|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
This article was printed on page 11 of the Zimbabwe Standard on 13th June 2004 - it did not appear in the online-edition.
One correction - Dr Alexander von Paleske's position is Head of Department of Oncology at Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone/Botswana. He is an ex-lawyer (Barrister-at-Law, High Court Frankfurt (M), Germany).
Click here to read the article.
Makamba pleads guilty
by STAFF EDITORS (6/17/2004)
BUSINESSMAN James Chafungamoyo Makamba yesterday pleaded guilty to six
counts of contravening the Exchange Control Regulations but denied five
charges of externalising foreign currency. His trial, which was supposed to
have resumed yesterday, was however deferred to tomorrow.
Makamba, who has been in custody since February this year, pleaded guilty to
the charges of illegally selling more than US$130 000 on six separate
occasions to Telecel Zimbabwe when he appeared before regional magistrate
On all the occasions Makamba would exchange the American dollars at an
inflated rate instead of the official one at the time.
Makamba admitted that on July 30, 2001 he sold US$40 000 to Telecel at an
increased rate of Z$180 to the dollar when the official one was Z$55 to the
The prominent businessman also agreed that on June 10, 2002 he sold US$10
000 to the same company at Z$550: 1USD, repeating the same offence on
October 15 when he sold US$20 000 at a rate of Z$800: 1USD. The following
day Makamba is said to have again sold US$33 000 at a rate of Z$940.
The court was also told that on October 23, 2002 he sold US$10 000 at an
inflated rate of Z$1250 and repeated the same offence on November 5 by
selling US$20 000 at Z$1650 to the same company.
Makamba, who was granted $50 million bail by the High Court but still
remains in custody, refuted allegations of externalising foreign currency
when he allegedly made five payments outside the country.
The State counsel, Charles Kandemiri alleges that on November 24,1998
Makamba paid 210 000 British pounds outside Zimbabwe for the purchase of a
house in Harare.
Kandemiri further alleges Makamba made similar payments in foreign currency
when he imported three Mercedes-Benz vehicles using the Euro currency.
Makamba's lawyer, George Chikumbirike complained that the State acted in bad
faith when it delayed giving the defence State papers in time but confirmed
contravening the exchange control regulation when his client sold foreign
currency to Telecel.
"Despite numerous requests that I be furnished with the papers, the State
only delivered the papers at my office during my absence, the absence which
the State was fully aware of," Chikumbirike said.
Chikumbirike said he only saw the papers at around 4.30 p m on Tuesday,
denying him the chance to communicate with his client.
As a result of the delay in getting the State papers, Chikumbirike said the
defence did not have adequate time to give rudimentary instruction to its
With Makamba pleading guilty to the first charge, Chikumbirike indicated
that he was going to file an application for an exception on the second
His application was turned down by Sithole after the State argued that it
was not given enough time to go through the defence's exception application.
Kandemiri said the defence only intimated to the State that it intended to
except the second charges of making payments outside the country at around 9
" I need time to look at the State case given the ground that the defence
wants to except to the indictment," Kandemiri said, adding that he was not
in a position to respond to the issues that were to be raised by
Chikumbirike without the benefit of extra time.
However, Chikumbirike argued that the notice he gave to the State that
morning was enough for the case to proceed and accused the State of
repeatedly shifting the goal posts whenever trial was around the corner.
Makamba, Chikumbirike said, has been subject to an unjustified pre-trial
incarceration crippling the flow of communication between the defence and
"Allegations against him have been whittled down and are now next to
nothing," reasoned Chikumbirike.
"The State is acting in [bad faith], shifting goal posts while we are saying
let's deal with the match, we don't want an adjournment of the case,"
The court adjourned for half an hour to allow the State and defence to
decide when the trial should resume.
Chikumbirike wanted the matter to continue today while Kandemiri preferred
it deferred to Monday.
In an effort to strike a balance, Sithole ruled that the trial resume
tomorrow. This was after dismissing Chikumbirike's intended exception
application saying the defence should give notice to the State and the
grounds upon which it intended to make its application.
Interpreted, the exception to the application that Chikumbirike wanted to
make, argues that even if Makamba was to plead guilty to charges that he is
denying, it does not constitute an offence as he might have used free funds
to make the payments outside the country when he bought the vehicles.
Dressed in a black suit, a white shirt and a maroon tie with white dots and
seated in the dock, Makamba listened attentively to the court proceedings
before he was whisked back into custody.
ANZ sues Moyo, Herald for defamation
By Zvamaida Murwira
Last updated: 06/17/2004 10:12:09
THE Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) has instituted civil claims in
the High Court involving more than $50 million against the Minister of
Information and Publicity in the office of the President and Cabinet,
Jonathan Moyo and Zimbabwe Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd, arising from stories
carried by the publication which it contended were defamatory of the
ANZ, publishers of the defunct Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, has
also cited as a co-respondent, The Herald columnist, Nathaniel Manheru.
However, the real Manheru failed to appear in court in person but The Herald
editor, Pikirayi Deketeke told the court that Manheru was a pseudonym used
to run the column.
High Court judge, Justice Yunus Omerjee reserved judgement in the case
saying he needed time to consider the evidence led by both counsel for the
plaintiff and defendant.
ANZ lawyer, senior counsel Advocate Adrian de Bourbon said Moyo had defamed
the newspaper by cursing the ANZ publications last year in The Herald in
several of his statements, which alleged that ANZ was publishing
"anti-Zimbabwe stories meant to peddle British intelligence propaganda".
He further averred that stories from The Herald suggesting that ANZ was
British-owned would be a violation of provisions of Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which forbids foreign ownership,
thereby making the remarks defamatory of the ANZ.
De bourbon further said Moyo responded out of context to a story which had
appeared in the Daily News in May last year alleging that there would be an
economic package for Zimbabwe should President Robert Mugabe accede to a
The lawyer accused Moyo of abusing his position as a government minister in
order to pursue an agenda against the ANZ. "You are obviously making a
political statement without any base because when a newspaper defames a
person, it does not matter that one is a minister or an ordinary person but
it is one's legal right to seek recourse," said Moyo who occasionally had a
heated exchange with de Bourbon.
"I am not here as Jonathan Moyo the individual but I am here as a Minister
of Information, I am here in my official capacity and in that capacity I
should discharge my duty as what the President appointed me to do."
Moyo further said it was strange that the ANZ was suing another newspaper
when it could settle the issue by publishing an article countering it.
When asked how many cases he had instituted against ANZ, Moyo said: "I can't
remember because they are in the business of defaming people, they are too
numerous to remember."
In addressing the court, de Bourbon submitted that the respondents had
failed to make a proper defence on a requirement for fair comment in that it
should be fair, bona-fide, true and should be of public interest and based
on facts which are generally known to the relevant audience.
"The witness we have today is arrogant and used the opportunity as a free
licence to say what he wanted to say no matter how scandalous," said de
Bourbon. "He rumbled on why he denied the story.
"He talks of unethical pink journalism and Mr. Moyo would want us to believe
that those journalists who write for pink newspapers are unprofessional
without giving any shred of evidence."
He said Moyo must be made to pay $25 million and Zimpapers $30 million.
However, Deketeke, who admitted that he had written the Nathaniel Manheru
column complained about why he should be made to pay $100 000 in his
The respondent's lawyer, Johannes Tomana urged the court to dismiss the
claim saying the ANZ had failed to discharge the onus on them, that of
proving their case.
He said the respondents had merely responded to a Daily News article, which
he said claimed that there would be a transitional government in the country
within six months from the date of its publication.
"The defendants demonstrated the fallacy carried by the plaintiff (ANZ) on
May 17 2003 which said there would be a transitional government in six
months and yet it's now more than 12 months and no transitional government
is in place as claimed in the article."
Examination fees go up
From Bulawayo Bureau
FEES for Ordinary and Advanced Level November examinations have gone up,
paving way for the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council to set the
registration dates for the examinations, a process which has been delayed by
more than two months.
The Permanent Secretary for Education, Sport and Culture, Dr Stephen Mahere,
said the Government had set the fees at $500 per subject for "O" Level and
$5 000 per subject for "A" Level. "The Ministry is pleased to announce to
the nation that Government has approved the Ordinary Level and Advanced
Level examination fees for November 2004 as follows: 'O' level $500 per
subject and 'A' level $5 000 per subject," Dr Mahere said in statement.
Zimsec had earlier this year proposed to increase examination fees from $100
to $20 000 per subject for "O" Level, and $1 000 to $100 000 a subject for
"A" level candidates, but the Government put the move on hold, saying it had
to first establish whether parents would be able to raise the proposed fees.
Zimsec public relations officer Ms Faith Chasokela could not be reached for
comment yesterday following the latest developments, but the body is
expected to announce the registration dates for the examinations soon.
The examination body receives a yearly grant from the Government and has to
seek approval to raise fees.
Zimsec last week revealed that it was broke and was waiting for a Government
subsidy to import scanner sheets used for registering "O" and "A" Level
The examination board was allocated $1,1 billion under the current national
Traditionally, the deadline for registration for the November examinations
is set for the end of March. There were also delays in the registration of
June examination candidates, which was done in April.
Zimsec has been conducting "O" and "A" Level examinations since 1999
following their localisation.
Zim to import transport, telecoms equipment
ZIMBABWE will soon import aviation, telecommunications and rail equipment
from China following the signing of agreements between local and Chinese
The Minister of Transport and Communications Cde Christopher Mushohwe
yesterday said the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export
Corporation (CATIC) and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe have signed a
Memorandum of Understanding for the supply of aviation equipment.
He said the agreement was signed during his recent visit to China and
priority would be being given to the equipment for the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo
Addressing a Press conference in Harare, Cde Mushohwe said another MOU was
signed between the China National Railways and the National Railways of
Zimbabwe for the procurement of locomotives, wagons and commuter trains.
"Contracts for the supply of both fixed and mobile telecommunications
equipment were signed between Huawei Technologies and both TelOne and
NetOne," said Cde Mushohwe.
He said several MOUs were also signed during the visit, including the NRZ
and CATIC for the procurement of rail, coaches and telecommunications
He said Air Zimbabwe and Air China also proposed to enter into joint
operations, which would see the introduction of flights between the two
"Follow up meetings are already being undertaken to China by Air Zimbabwe
and Ministry of Transport and Communications officials as part of the
delegation led by the Ministry of Tourism. Similar proposals are being
pursued with Cathy-Pacific Airlines," said Cde Mushohwe.
He said his delegation also visited Singapore where it held meetings with
the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
Cde Mushohwe said they discovered that despite the existence of a bilateral
air service agreement (BASA) between Zimbabwe and Singapore, airlines from
Singapore and Zimbabwe were yet to exploit the opportunities provided by the
CAAS undertook to assist Air Zimbabwe by granting it fifth freedom traffic
rights on the Harare, Singapore, Beijing or Shanghai routes or any other
route its choice as Singapore believed in open sky policy, he said.
The BASA agreement was set up to introduce an air service between the
country and China.
He said CAAS also undertook to assist the local airline by granting them not
less than US$60 000 marketing support to develop the routes.
Cde Mushohwe said Singapore Airlines agreed to consider the lease or
outright purchase of the wide-bodied aircraft.
"The Ministry views such strategic alliances between Air Zimbabwe and other
airlines as crucial for its turnaround," said the minister.
Their visit was also to source funds for construction equipment, the
reconstruction and upgrading roads and bridges and the dualisation of the
country's major roads.
During the May 24 to June 7 visit, the minister was accompanied officials
from his ministry and others from Air Zimbabwe, NRZ, TelOne, NetOne, CAAZ
and Ministry of Finance.
Inferior chemical blamed for water woes
HARARE City Council has admitted that the water shortages in some suburbs of
the capital are a result of a sub-standard water treatment chemical supplied
by a local manufacturer.
Until yesterday, council had been blaming the shortages on pump failures at
Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant.
North-eastern and eastern suburbs have been without water for almost a month
resulting in council implementing a water demand management exercise that
entails cutting off supplies to south-eastern suburbs and diverting the
supplies to the east.
Council chief chemist Mr Lisben Chipfunde said the chemical, aluminium
sulphate, supplied by Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (Zimphos) has blocked
and damaged pipes at the Morton Jaffray plant.
He said investigations had revealed that Zimphos was not supplying the same
quality of chemical it gave as sample to council when it won the tender to
supply the chemical.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimphos were futile yesterday. Officials at
the firm who answered the phone told this reporter that no one was taking
calls at the managing director's office.
Mr Chipfunde said the company supplied a much clearer sample but as soon as
it won the tender it supplied a muddy chemical that authorities at Town
House described as dirty and unsuitable for the plant as it blocks pipes and
Aluminium sulphate is used to help solids settle to allow for their removal.
"But what has been happening is that Zimphos has been supplying us with a
chemical that has solids and not helping at all," said Mr Chipfunde.
"Alumnium sulphate is a coagulant. This means it helps solids to settle. If
we do not use it the water would not be drinkable," he said.
He said council had resorted to using aluminium sulphate imported from South
Africa because of its high quality.
He said when council went to tender, Zimphos undertook to supply a product
similar to the sample but has not been doing so.
Mr Chipfunde said the local product was cheaper as compared to that from
South Africa but becomes expensive when costs of repair to equipment and the
amount of electricity used when the product is in use are considered.
Council only became aware that there was a better product after Zimphos had
Mr Chipfunde said preliminary studies have shown that less electricity and
chemical amounts are used when the South African product is in use. There
was also little wear and tear of the pipes.
He said because of the solids in the Zimphos product, engineers at Morton
Jaffray have to stop pumping at least four times a day to clean the
Cleaning takes up to 30 minutes and treated water is used. During the
cleaning process, pumping to Warren Control and other reservoirs is
Investigations have also showed that because of the heavy amounts of solids
in the aluminium sulphate from Zimphos, council lost a lot of the chemical
as it solidified in the storage tanks.
The director of works, Mr Psychology Chiwanga, said the water-rationing
exercise would continue until the situation normalised.
He said council would, as soon as all reservoirs reach 50 percent levels,
shut down the Morton Jaffray plant to do major repairs.
Some Harare residents have alleged that the water rationing in the capital
is a result of political sabotage by some council workers unhappy with
developments at Town House.
Government last month suspended 13 councillors and fired six others late
The councillors were suspended on allegations of interfering with the
management of council affairs.
The residents said while it was agreed the Morton Jaffray plant had outlived
its lifespan, there was a need to investigate the operations of some
managers at the plant.
Mabvuku Residents' Association secretary-general Mr Mike Banda said the
conduct of the managers should be probed to ascertain whether there was no
politics at play.
He was supported by one resident from the same suburb who said there was
more to the water shortages in Mabvuku and Tafara than meets the eye.
"When we went on TV complaining, there was water the following day as if to
placate us and now there is nothing," he said.
Fears were also raised that if water rationing could start in June when
demand is low, there would be disaster in October when demand is high.
On Tuesday council introduced 24-hour water cuts in selected south-eastern
suburbs and diverted the water to Letombo, which feeds the north-eastern
suburbs which have experienced intermittent water supplies from the
beginning of June.
The affected areas are Braeside, Waterfalls, Eastlea, Park Meadowlands,
Hatfield, Cranborne, Mainway Meadows, Msasa, Hatcliffe, Arcadia, Ruwa, Zimre
Park and Epworth.
A visit to these areas showed that supplies were cut from mid-morning.
But town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya said council had budgeted $1,9 billion for
the purchase of spare parts for the Morton Jaffray works.
He said eight new pumps were bought and would be fitted after supplies have
"We do not want Harare to go dry, so we will allow the residents to have
some water before we can cut supplies again to fit in the new pumps," he
At least $8,5 billion is needed to completely overhaul the plant.
Harare's two treatment plants, Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward, are failing
to meet the demand of 700 megalitres a day.
The two plants have a combined daily output of 575 megalitres.
Even if the two plants are brought to full capacity they can only produce
614 megalitres a day.
The Morton Jaffray plant has in the past few weeks has had numerous
breakdowns with compressors blowing each time they are repaired while some
pumps are down.
Council engineers have been battling to bring them back into operation with
little success as most of the equipment at the plant has outlived its
In suburbs such as Chisipite, The Grange, Borrowdale, Hogerty Hill,
Philadelphia, Greystone Park and Glen Lorne, residents are having to rely on
neighbours with boreholes.
However, Zimre Park, Epworth, Ruwa and Msasa, which have been listed by
council as on the 24-hour cut list, have not been without water for the same
State keen on self-sufficiency in power supply
GOVERNMENT has now adopted a policy of self-sufficiency in electricity
supplies to avoid supply disruptions caused by erratic imports and would be
refurbishing Hwange and Kariba power stations at a cost of US$553 million, a
deputy minister said on Tuesday.
The Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde Reuben Marumahoko,
told Parliament that Cabinet had approved the projects together with the
requisite conditions specified by investors.
Cde Marumahoko said this while responding to concerns raised by the
parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and
International Trade on a rescue plan for industry and commerce.
He said his ministry would conclude negotiations with the investors on the
projects during the course of this year.
"Two units, each rated 300MW, will be installed at Hwange Power Station and
another two units, each rated 150MW, will be installed at Kariba Power
Station," he said.
"This additional capacity of 900MW is sufficient to displace all imports."
Zimbabwe currently imports electricity from the Democratic Republic of Congo
and South Africa.
The Government, Cde Marumahoko said, had also approved projects aimed at
upgrading, reinforcing and expanding the transmission and distribution
systems to bring them to acceptable levels of performance.
He paid tribute to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for providing US$90 million
for Zesa to clear its arrears as well as $40 billion under the reproductive
sector finance facility for recapitalisation.
Cde Marumahoko said equipment worth more than $100 billion had been
recovered through the operations of the anti-vandalism and theft taskforce.
The police, he said, had also recovered stolen equipment such as cables and
transformers running into billions of property.
He said theft and vandalism hindered delivery of efficient service and some
areas were experiencing power cuts because of such criminal activities.
Meanwhile, Cde Marumahoko said a total of 2 247 projects had been completed
under the rural electrification programme while work on another 809 projects
He said this while responding to concerns raised by legislators during a
debate on the Presidential Address to the House.
Cde Marumahoko said a total of 421 projects had been completed in Manicaland
Province. Other projects completed included Mashonaland Central (246),
Mashonaland East (379), Mashonaland West (257), Masvingo (315), Matabeleland
South (196) Matabeleland North (147) and Midlands (287).
The minister said projects that were still underway throughout the country
included the electrification of 68 secondary schools, 197 primary schools
and 42 chiefs' home- steads.
He said Government had secured a facility from a Chinese company that would
assist in supplying equipment for the rural electrification project and the
necessary equipment had started arriving in the country.
"The Rural Electrification Agency has also secured another facility from the
Chinese company to supply heavy vehicles to be used in the transportation of
the equipment and the vehicles are expected in the country in September,"
Cde Marumahoko said.
6/17/2004 7:37:13 AM (GMT +2)
SA leader left with egg on his face
Vows to continue push for talks
THABO Mbeki, the South African leader at the centre of a delicate
arbitration process in the Zimbabwean crisis, has emerged with dented
credibility and egg on his face as the intransigent local political parties
increasingly appear reluctant to return to the negotiating table
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who is heading the ZANU PF team to the talks, yesterday hinted that the
ruling party would not be hurried into negotiations when he said Zimbabwe
was a sovereign state and would not take directives from anyone including
"We are a sovereign country and are not pushed into any decision by
anyone. What I know is that we decided to engage in informal dialogue to
explore the opportunities of resolving our differences. We are the people
who are responsible for the dialogue. We are the people who dictate the
pace, issues to be discussed and evaluate our efforts," said Chinamasa.
Mbeki, who obviously had not fully appreciated the polarity of the
positions taken by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling
ZANU PF, had staked his reputation on resolving the Zimbabwean crisis,
saying that the stalled talks would have resumed by June.
However, given the hatred and intolerance between ZANU PF and the MDC
and their hatred for compromise, which is hardly a conducive backdrop for
sincere and successful negotiations, Mbeki's June 2004 deadline would be
missed by a wide margin.
The talks between the MDC and ZANU were aborted when they abandoned
the negotiating table some two years ago following differences over the
agenda for the talks.
Even though the South African leader has both the economic and
diplomatic clout to prevail over his Zimbabwean counterpart, the country's
crisis has always presented a delicate foreign policy problem to Mbeki.
Although Mbeki has been as diplomatic as he can possibly be, the MDC
felt that his integrity was questionable because they think he is close to
ZANU PF. And as such, the opposition party, which the Zimbabwean government
dismisses as a British front to effect regime change in the country, has not
made secret its sentiments that Mbeki is a dishonest broker.
Despite the fact that protracted efforts to re-start the talks have
drawn a blank and that the two parties do not seem to be interested in the
talks anymore, Mbeki's spokesman Beki Khumalo yesterday said the South
African leader would continue to push for dialogue regardless of the
"We have said that the deadline was to focus the attention of the
President (Robert Mugabe) to find a speedy solution to the Zimbabwean
problem," Khumalo said.
"If the deadline has not been met, we will continue to try. There is
need to step up our efforts, but a lasting solution requires patience. It
took 10 years to resolve the Congolese problem."
Asked whether it was not a slap in the face for Mbeki that ZANU PF and
the MDC had not yet returned to the negotiating table in the anticipated
time, Khumalo said: "Far from it. It's not a humiliation at all. All it
requires is patience."
ZANU PF now appears to have its radar locked on the 2005 parliamentary
elections where it is hoping to claim a two-thirds majority.
Chinamasa however indicated, like he has done in the past two years,
that engagements between the MDC and ZANU PF were still at an informal level
which has since earned the euphemism of "talks about talks". The generality
of disillusioned Zimbabweans however have a dim view of the "talks about
talks" which they feel is a time-buying gimmick by the politicians ahead of
the 2005 elections.
"When the process is over, I will go back and report the progress to
the people who sent me. At the moment I can't comment on the progress in the
press, but I will give the progress report to those who sent me," Chinamsa
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, who represents the main
opposition party as head of the negotiating team, said he had no idea where
the deadline came from and on what grounds.
"We have said that there has always been informal consultations but
with no progress and there is likely not going to be any progress. There may
be need to go straight into formal dialogue instead of dwelling on informal
dialogue, which has so many obstacles," Ncube said.
"If we had our way, we would have resolved this problem two years ago.
We have asked SADC (the Southern African Development Community) leaders to
intervene. We want no election to take place under the current electoral
laws. Let there be dialogue to discuss the minimum conditions of holding a
free and fair election to avoid the results being contested."
Moyo's influence ruffles feathers
6/17/2004 7:40:58 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWEANS' impression of the mercurial Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo is, like everything in life, influenced by their vision of the man who
switched academics for politics in 1999.
It is that of a man who gives credence to claims that politics is
fluid - anything can happen. It is that of an academic who learnt fast how
to switch from being the conscience of the people and a rabid critic of the
authorities to being one of them.
But beyond that, very few who claim to have known his convictions seem
to know what to make of the unpredictable man's intentions. Against all
odds, his robust way of doing things seems to have forced ZANU PF to break
Juniors now stand up to so-called party seniors without fear of being
reprimanded - a significant rupture with the past to those who know ZANU PF
and how it works.
Or by accepting the strength of Moyo's influence, does ZANU PF, which
has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and known to frown at anything
that might prise apart its fragile unity, all of a sudden believe that for
unity, the existence of a threat is essential?
Given the previously subtle but now open deeply divisive political
battling in ZANU PF, the psychological crises it has left on the ruling
party's old guard which has a lot to ponder and Moyo's political power and
influence which has grown beyond that ever enjoyed by President Mugabe's
liberation war colleagues who held the same portfolio prior to Moyo - there
are genuine and pertinent questions over whether the all powerful professor
has become the de facto prime minister of the country.
Others wonder whether it is because Moyo's ministerial
responsibilities are much greater than those of other seemingly hapless
awe-struck ministers? Only President Mugabe, who appointed the former
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, can answer that question.
These are the questions being bandied around given that previously
untouchable key members of the faction-ridden ZANU PF have become objects of
bitter covert and overt attacks from the Department of Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet headed by Moyo. The
attacks have been over policy differences and other issues of vital national
interest, clearly indicating that the ZANU PF high echelon is no longer
singing from the same song sheet over critical issues.
The objects of these attacks so far have been ZANU PF strongman, the
tough-talking Vice President Joseph Msika, widely seen as the angry man of
the ruling party's politics who was publicly humbled over the Kondozi saga
by Moyo, considered a Johnny-come-lately in the ruling party.
Next was Nathan Shamuyarira who came in for some flak over the Sky
News crew visit to Zimbabwe to which Moyo was opposed. Shamuyarira is a
former holder of Moyo's portfolio and confidante of President Mugabe and is
currently writing a book on the Zimbabwean leader.
The latest victim was ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo, who was
attacked for the confusion and chaos characterising over the farm allocation
Nkomo, formerly of the now defunct ZAPU led by late vice-president
Joshua Nkomo, is believed to have become the party's national chairman,
beating Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa, after intense lobbying and
provincial campaigning by Eddison Zvobgo who was hoping to use Nkomo to
achieve his presidential ambitions.
The three, Msika, Nkomo and Shamuyarira, who have had a taste of Moyo'
s vitriol, are therefore considered very powerful and influential in ZANU
PF, which brings into question where Moyo derives his clout to challenge
The strange happenings in ZANU PF indicate that the three's influence,
power and political relevance is just but for now, political observers said
They will not be much of a factor in the new political dispensation
when President Mugabe, who is seeing out his last term of office, leaves in
2008. This seems to have been accepted within the ruling party which
explains why Moyo "has been allowed to get away with whatever he has been
They said President Mugabe was trying to groom dependable and reliable
young people before he leaves office.
Moyo, whose "only constituency as non-constituent Member of Parliament
was President Mugabe" had unquestionable loyalty to the President on whom
his political future was dependent. Others were, however, sceptical,
maintaining that the politically shrewd President Mugabe was giving his
erstwhile political foes enough rope to hang themselves.
But political analyst and constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku
said there should not be any question as to where the politically
provocative Moyo derived his confidence and power from.
"Moyo has no other power apart from the power that comes from Mugabe,"
said Madhuku, who is also the chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, an organisation fighting for a new constitution. "His power base
is Mugabe. He (Moyo) knows that he can be fired any time so whatever he does
has to be in line with what Mugabe wants. He can only be doing what he is
doing with the blessings of the President, otherwise he would have been
kicked out by now. It would be very difficult to shield Mugabe from Moyo. He
(Mugabe) knows Moyo's every move."
President Mugabe appointed Moyo Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet in 2000 before
thrusting him into Parliament as a non-constituency legislator and later
into the party's highest decision-making body, the Politburo.
Another political analyst and publisher of The Daily Mirror and The
Sunday Mirror, Ibbo Mandaza, had this to say of Moyo's actions: "Those who
brought him into the party recognise him as a factor. He came in 2000 and
the same year he was elevated into the Politburo. That can't be ignored. It
means those who brought him have faith in him.
"But all that is happening is all part of the power struggle."
Moyo is believed to have been interested in two constituencies, Lupane
and Tsholotsho, but the Lupane seat has already been contested for in a
by-election won by ZANU PF. He has now set his eyes on Tsholotsho.
Political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei said: "Moyo's actions signal that
there is havoc in the party. As an individual, he may have the abilities,
but his energies need to be synchronised with the others. But the fact that
he has not been reprimanded or brought before a hearing means that they
(ZANU PF's high echelons) do not see a problem. Clearly he has been working
out of sync with others."
Bulawayo in sewage quandary
6/17/2004 7:43:22 AM (GMT +2)
Council owed $15b as it seeks $3b to refurbish plants
BULAWAYO - The Bulawayo City Council, once one of the best-run local
authorities in the country, is in a quandary. Its sewage treatment plants
The council needs US$575 000 (about $3 billion) to refurbish one of
the major treatment plants. But it does not have the money. Yet it is owed
nearly $15 billion - $10.9 billion by ratepayers and $3.99 billion by
The council, which has seven sewage treatment plants, is planning to
refurbish its Aisleby Works to cater for housing development in the
middle-density suburb of Mahatshula, the posh suburb of Selbourne Park and
the National University of Science and Technology campus.
Aisleby has three units. Plant 1 began operating in 1949, Plant 2 in
1956 and Plant 3 in 1980. Part of the equipment started failing in 1998, but
the council has not been able to rehabilitate the works because of the
Though the effluent from Aisleby is reused extensively for irrigation
purposes, part is fed directly into Umguza River and is now polluting the
river, posing a health hazard for downstream settlements.
The council's director of engineering services, Peter Sibanda, said
sludge from plants 1 and 2, which have a capacity of 27 megalitres a day,
was mainly discharged onto the farm, providing the council with natural
manure that enabled it to grow crops such as maize and wheat as well and
raise some livestock.
This provided some income to the council, which was offset against the
cost of farm management and effluent distribution.
Plant 3, which has a capacity of 10 megalitres a day, discharged its
effluent directly into the Umguza River and was therefore polluting the
river and downstream settlements.
"The now partially treated effluent discharged on the farm results in
pollution of ground water and reduction of fertility of the soils besides
affecting animal health," Sibanda said.
"Furthermore the current capacity of 37 megalitres per day is not
adequate to cater for expansion in housing development that is planned for
areas such as Mahatshula, Selbourne Park and the new university campus which
are all under construction in the works catchment. There is need to increase
capacity and this option is available under Aisleby 3 so that the works are
Sibanda said the situation was so bad that six of the seven plants had
literally been condemned by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)
because they were discharging pollutants of one form or another.
"Zinwa has four grades, blue for clean effluent, green for the not so
clean, yellow and red. It is just like in soccer, when you get a yellow
card, it's a first warning. When you get a red card, you are out. Most of
our plants have been red-carded," Sibanda said. "The only plant with a clean
bill is the Waterford treatment plant but, it is the smallest and has a
capacity of only 0.1 megalitres a day."
The council's other treatment works are at Thorngrove, Luveve,
Magwegwe, Cowdray Park and Southern Areas Sewage Treatment works (SAST).
Thorngrove was built in 1960 and has a capacity of 14.5 megalitres a
day. Luveve was commissioned in 1971 and treats 3.5 megalitres a day.
Magwewe has a capacity of 4 megalitres a day and came into operation in
Cowdray Park treats 6.1 megalitres a day. It became operational in
1998. SAST has a capacity of 27 megalitres a day. One plant was commissioned
in 1985 and the other in 2000.
Since the refurbishment of Aisleby was a matter of urgency, Sibanda
said the only solution was to borrow money from the government, or to raise
it from donors.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono, in his monetary policy review in
April, said local authorities could borrow funds from the public sector
facility which has an interest rate of 30 percent per annum if they produced
clean audited financial reports.
The council is currently inviting tenders from external auditors to
look into its books for the 2003/2004. It says the audit will have to be
completed in two months. The closing date for tenders is 7 July.
Zim troops for DRC again?
6/17/2004 7:44:34 AM (GMT +2)
JUST less than two years after suffering heavy losses and casualties
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe looks set to revive
its military adventure should findings of a regional emissary to the
war-ravaged country recommend regional intervention.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge told journalists in Harare
yesterday that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika
comprising Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa had agreed to send a team to
the DRC on a fact-finding mission.
The team would discuss the way forward with the Congolese government
and neighbouring countries. SADC would then evaluate whether there would be
need for military intervention to restore peace in the mineral-rich country.
"The mission would then advise on the strategies for SADC support to
the DRC," Mudenge said.
Kinshasa, the DRC capital, was last week rocked by gunfire following a
night of fighting between Congolese troops and rebel fighters led by Major
Eric Lenge, who reportedly seized control of the government's radio station.
SADC ministers have condemned attempts to topple a sitting government.
But can Zimbabwe, a country that has never benefited from its military
interventions, afford another expensive military adventure in view of the
country's collapsing economy?
In 1998, Zimbabwe sent about a third of its then 11 000 soldiers to
the DRC to assist the late president Laurent Kabila, who was under attack
from rebel fighters assisted by neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda. To date no
official statistics of the death toll have been released.
Joseph Kurebwa, a local political analyst, said while it is difficult
to quantify the price of peace, the last experience in the DRC contributed
to the current economic mess.
"There has to be a cost benefit analysis. But, under the current
scenario, I do not think that Zimbabwe will utilise as many resources as
before given the fact that this time round other SADC countries would be
involved as well as the United Nations. Also the fact that it's only one
rebel leader who is causing nuisance there means not many resources may have
to be used," he said.
Mudenge said SADC would not tolerate unconstitutional change of
governments, hence the undertaking to safeguard the security and political
stability of the region.
Alois Masepe, another political commentator, said Zimbabwe has to play
a part in regional initiatives. He said: "SADC countries now have to look
into resolving the DRC problem once and for all."
Estimates indicate that about 3.3 million people have been killed in
the DRC since the DRC civil war broke out.
Forced fees cut to close schools
6/17/2004 7:42:03 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - Private schools, stung at the beginning of this term by the
government's decision to close them unless they revised their fees, are to
meet soon to decide their fate amid concerns that further impasse may force
some of them to shut down.
Neil Todd, a consultant with the Association of Trust Schools of
Zimbabwe (ATS), told The Financial Gazette this week that some of the
schools might have to close before the end of this term if they do not find
ways to raise money to meet their commitments.
A circular distributed to parents by the schools says most of them had
complied with the education ministry's directive under duress "solely and
expressly" to enable children to return to school pending "immediate appeals
to the ministry".
The Ministry of Education barred 48 private schools from reopening for
the second term unless they revised their fees downwards. Most schools had
increased their fees by up to 500 percent in the first term and wanted to
double them in the second term.
The ATS says despite assurances by Education Minister Aeneas
Chigwedere and his permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere, that appeals would
be accepted, schools had now been informed that the case had now been
It said the directive which forced certain schools to peg fees, in
some cases at September 2003 levels, had rendered some insolvent.
"This considerable reduction in revenue, which flows from the position
taken by the ministry, has serious consequences for the schools, some of
which will be rendered insolvent almost immediately and all of which will be
facing difficulties in relation to possible contractual and other
commitments to staff and suppliers," the circular says.
"Most, if not all ATS schools, risk closure before the end of the
Todd could not say how many schools were in dire straits. He said he
would only know this after the meeting, to be held in a week or two.
The ATS said there was a lot of ignorance and mistrust on how private
schools operated. This, it said, had been amply demonstrated by statements
made by the minister on national television where he claimed that the
schools were foreign-owned, that they generated huge profits, which they
externalised, and that they employed their kith and kin to create employment
The circular also quoted Chigwedere as saying the only reason the
schools were hiking fees was to make them unaffordable to blacks. The
minister reportedly said that the schools were factories to produce
"If indeed this was the reality, it is doubtful that ATS schools would
enjoy such overwhelming support from Members of Parliament, the armed
forces, high-ranking civil service officials and leaders of commerce and
industry, who have chosen to have their children educated in our schools,"
the circular says.
It also says the ATS, a loose association of 60 schools comprising 40
primary and 20 secondary, has about 25 000 pupils, adding that it has a
central bursary fund presently supporting 200 pupils at a cost of over $120
Schools also have internal bursaries that offer assistance to over 2
000 pupils. In addition, parents of children at private schools invest more
than $150 billion a year in education, it says.
"ATS member schools eschew racism and elitism and do not discriminate
against pupils in respect of entry. The schools are non-profit making
enterprises, owned by trusts. They have no shareholders, no capital reserves
and no endowments," the circular says.
"The governors receive no financial reward, not even expenses. Fees
charged are set at levels sufficient only to recover costs."
Observers said private schools had been severely jolted by the
government's decision to shut them down if they did not revise their fees.
"All along they had thought they were in control, but the ministry's
decision finally showed them who was in control," a teacher who has been
working at private schools since 1991 and has served in Mashonaland West,
Masvingo and Bulawayo said.
Even the ATS admitted that things had gone haywire.
"At the outset, it must be acknowledged that several of the Trust
schools were grossly irregular in their non-observance of the (Education)
Act and there is need to apologise unreservedly," the circular said. "All
schools are now in full compliance and it has been accepted that such
behaviour will not be tolerated in the future."
Govt in land nationalisation climbdown
6/17/2004 7:40:22 AM (GMT +2)
Nkomo's announcement no faux pas
THIS week's announcement by the government that it did not intend to
nationalise all farmland, contrary to what John Nkomo, Minister of Lands,
Land Reform and Resettlement says, constitute a policy reversal of major
proportions which highlights the chaos that has punctuated the state's land
As the furore over the nationalisation plans announced last week
reverberated throughout the country, the government beat a hasty retreat,
saying "there has not been any change of government policy or law in respect
of land tenure and ownership.
"Apart from existing forms of land tenure which remain in force and
are legally valid, land acquired under the fast-track and current phase of
land reforms automatically reverts to the state, with beneficiaries
accessing it under 99-year lease agreements with the state for general
agricultural use, and 25-year lease agreements for conservancies."
The government's statement, issued by the Information and Publicity
Department, added that other lawful forms of land tenure would not be
This retreat has left observers baffled, coming as it did less than a
week after Nkomo, in justifying the continued listing of farms for
compulsory acquisition, announced that all land would ultimately become
"It will now be the state which will enable the utilisation of the
land for national prosperity.
"We want a situation whereby this important resource becomes a
national asset," state media quoted Nkomo as saying.
However, after a flurry of criticism from the opposition, farming
groups and legal experts who questioned the constitutionality of the
controversial policy pronouncement, government moves to pour water on Nkomo'
s statement have raised more questions than answers.
The about-turn has the same proportions as the decision by President
Robert Mugabe to allow genetically modified maize to be brought into the
country against belligerent denouncements of GMOs by Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made and other senior government officials.
In the current nationalisation debacle, questions arise as to how key
policy pronouncements, particularly those relating to land reforms, are
being handled at the highest level in government.
Some observers have pointed at Nkomo's announcement as much more than
the faux pas government now wants to make it appear.
"There are many inconsistencies in the whole land issue as far as how
government has gone about executing it, not just over the nationalisation
fiasco. Remember the ill-fated Bhuka report? What about the Kondozi
"Even the shifting of the land reform portfolio underlines the
flip-flop nature of the land policy, which has filtered down to the ground,
with catastrophic effects to the economy and the country's
self-sufficiency," one economic commentator said.
A cursory look at the government's statement gives an indication that
there was no consultation prior to the policy pronouncement.
Nkomo has also been accused of trying to divert attention from the
criticism his ministry has received in recent weeks, particularly in the
state media, over the purported withdrawal of offer letters to resettled
farmers, who have charged that the ministry was intent on accommodating the
former white farmers at their expense.
Some analysts surmised that the government might have realised that it
was not sufficiently equipped to embark on the nationalisation project
because of constitutional constraints.
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku disagrees.
"They (government) have always acted unconstitutionally. The reversal
is simply because nationalisation would stand against the individual
interests of the politicians, most of whom cherish being rich landowners
owning private farmland.
"I never thought they would really go ahead and nationalise the land,"
Madhuku said, adding that the policy-making position had never been clear,
particularly where the controversial land issue was concerned.
"We have here a government which has perfected the art of survival,
their incompetence notwithstanding. The latest flip-flop is a sign of
confusion and carelessness,"he added.
Economic commentator and farmer Jonathan Kadzura said the
nationalisation of all farmland would be inimical to the interests of the
land reforms, adding that it was good that the government had realised that.
"I do not believe that it is a good thing to do. It would affect
long-term projects on the farms, which one can only embark if they enjoy
security of tenure.
"Uncertainty makes it difficult for farmers to plan. I am glad,
though, that the seemingly divergent views emanating from the government on
this important issue have brought about debate from all shades of opinion.
"I do not see this as a humiliation on the part of the minister
(Nkomo), but I think he wanted to raise the issue, so as to provoke public
debate," Kadzura said.
However, the circumstances surrounding the government's latest
about-turn on a major policy announcement has also provided an insight into
the increasingly divided Cabinet.
The land hot potato, which has been the single most divisive political
issue in the past four years, now also appears to have divided Cabinet.
Apart from the latest land nationalisation episode, some government
ministers - Jonathan Moyo, Joseph Made and Christopher Mushowe - had a
public stand-off with Vice President Joseph Msika over Kondozi, a lucrative
horticulture farm in Odzi, Manicland, which has been taken over by the
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority against the vice president's
protestations and to the three ministers' ill-disguised glee.
Dealing with the perceived enemy in the media?
6/17/2004 7:41:31 AM (GMT +2)
THE closure of The Tribune last week could not have come at a worse
time for the increasingly ostracised Zimbabwe.
To human rights groups, opposition political parties and the Western
governments, this is a red flag that should not be ignored.
It is the excuse they needed to intensify the pressure on the country
which they have always accused of having one of the most repressive and
The closure of The Tribune, at a time when the right to be informed to
enable people to engage in essential debate on essential political and
social problems besetting the country is widely seen as an integral part of
efforts to a new democratic dispensation, comes barely a year after the
closure of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of The Daily
News and The Daily News on Sunday.
The two were closed for violating provisions of the controversial
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Observers, who pointed out that the attitude towards individuals or
individual corporate citizens should be a criterion used to judge how moral
or immoral a country's policies are, were agreed that the "unfortunate"
closure of The Tribune could widen the gap between Zimbabwe and the
They said restrictions imposed on the media should have been allowed
to be swept away in the rubble of the previous minority regime.
But the government-established Media and Information Commission (MIC)
The commission yesterday said the mass media were not sacred cows
which should be allowed to operate outside the law.
"Journalists must desist from the habit of sensationalising national
laws as expressions of the personal whims and even vendettas of particular
ministers or other officials against their perceived enemies or rivals.
Respect for the laws of Zimbabwe is a constitutional requirement which
should not depend on personal whims, political vendettas or political
affiliation," it said.
The international community has always accused the government of
legislated muzzling of the Press. Even though transparency does not always
guarantee good governance, it is agreed that in order to nurture assertive
citizens in the face of undemocratic and secretive regimes, freedom of the
Press should not be compromised or curtailed.
While it has been argued that previously closed public life should be
prised open throughout the world, some of the most despotic governments in
the world, the Nazis in Germany and the Fascists in Italy destroyed all
avenues of information dissemination in the belief that by creating an iron
curtain, they would muzzle debate and dissension. This would allow them to
commit atrocities and all sorts of crimes against humanity without scrutiny.
A hue and cry has also been raised in the United States of America,
one the fiercest critics of the Zimbabwe government, where the access code
has become more restrictive in the aftermath of the September 11 2001
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Independent National Editors' Forum (Zinef)
Iden Witherell said: "This represents a further closure of democratic space.
In that respect, it prevents Zimbabweans from making an informed choice even
in elections. You need a diversity of views. The state is denying
Zimbabweans space to make informed choices. The government can't then claim
that it's a victim of a demonisation campaign when it takes measures which
are likely to further damage Zimbabwe's standing abroad."
Eliphas Mukonowe-shuro, a political analyst and advisor to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said of
the latest government onslaught on the media: "This really confirms that
this government is hostile towards the independent Press. It is all part and
parcel of the regime's strategy to silence the media ahead of the 2005
parliamentary polls. They are simply killing democracy."
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku had this to say: "Zimbabwe
is really led by people who do not know what the interests of the nation
are. It's unthinkable that another newspaper would be closed following the
saga that went with the closure of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe."
He added: "Zimbabwe remains a crisis point and definitely will
increasingly be isolated from the international community."
Trouble for The Tribune started after its publisher, the embattled
ZANU PF legislator for Makonde, Kindness Paradza attacked the repressive
AIPPA in his maiden speech, saying its provisions scared away investors.
Immediately after his speech, Paradza left for the United Kingdom and
while he was there, a barrage of criticism was thrown at him accusing him of
disrespecting the party including President Robert Mugabe.
He was also accused of teaming up with ANZ directors with a view to
bring back the company's two titles through the back door.
It was then that the MIC stepped in and said the newspaper had failed
to notify the commission of changes in the masthead and ownership, trade
name and the frequency of publishing the paper as required under AIPPA.
MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso then shut down The Tribune, much to the
chagrin of human rights groups, media associations and the local and
This week, the MIC maintained that Press freedom is only worth that
name if it is exercised within the law.
". . . they say that they should not be required to obey the same
rules as other citizens because they happen to be special wtachdogs of Press
freedom, democracy and freedom of expression. This set of values is used to
the exclusion of the other set: transparency, accountability and the rule of
law," it said.
It was, however, the view of the MIC that there was no self-respecting
society anywhere in the world which allows the two sets of values to be kept
and used as mutually exclusive.
Jonathan Moyo sued for $25 mln
6/17/2004 7:42:35 AM (GMT +2)
INFORMATION Minister Jonathan Moyo, an ardent critic of the private
media, was yesterday dragged before the High Court on charges of defamation
over statements he made in the state-controlled Herald.
The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publisher of The Daily
News and The Daily News on Sunday, is suing Moyo for $25 million, The Herald
$30 million and the daily's columnist Nathaniel Manheru $3 million, with
interest dating back to May 17 2003.
The charges arise from statements made by Moyo in The Herald of May
17, June 3, June 10, June 14, June 15 and June 18 2003 against the now
defunct Daily News.
Other stories attributed to Moyo and rabid columnist Manheru include
attacks on senior editorial ANZ staff and directors. The ANZ claims the
statements were defamatory and damaged its reputation and commercial
Moyo, who is cited as the first respondent, said he issued the
statements in his capacity as Information Minister to protect the country's
Moyo, who used the court platform to lash out at the ANZ lawyer,
accused The Daily News of being a political party and not a professional
"Dealing with a political party is difficult from dealing with a
professional newspaper," Moyo said when he appeared before High Court Judge
Justice Yunus Omerjee.
Moyo, who was at pains to explain whether he had undertaken any basic
course in journalism, lashed out at Advocate De Bourbon and refused to
answer some of his questions, saying they were irrelevant.
Justice Ormejee reserved judgement in the matter to study
presentations from both parties.
ZANU PF probe: storm in a tea cup
6/17/2004 7:44:05 AM (GMT +2)
ZANU PF heavyweights, who thought they had Speaker of Parliament
Emmerson Mnangagwa on the ropes, could be sorely disappointed as the twisty
investigations into the ruling party's investments have failed to come up
with anything that constitutes a crime.
Impeccable ruling party sources yesterday revealed that the
investigations, which to all intents and purposes were aimed at Mnangagwa as
the immediate past finance chief for the party, had failed to find anything
that could stick against the Speaker. As finance chief, Mnangagwa, seen as a
shrewd political schemer, was key to ZANU PF's complex and secretive
Political vultures behind the intensifying war of attrition within
ZANU PF's latest succession battles, had started circling amid heightened
speculation that Mnangagwa was President Robert Mugabe's chosen successor.
Although President Mugabe is on record as saying that he would not handpick
a successor, the speculation about Mnangagwa has not yet been publicly
The latest revelations comes as it also emerged this week that the
five-member probe team, whose impartiality has since been questioned, had
successfully asked for more time to complete the investigations, which
should have been wrapped up by May 31.
Highly placed sources said despite the loads of evidence gathered by
the probe team since the beginning of April, there is nothing specific to
nail individuals to secretive operations of a swathe of ZANU PF companies
that fell victim to President Mugabe's anti-graft crusade.
They said without testimonies from ZANU PF directors, who fled the
country at the inception of the investigations, there is a missing link to
make the jigsaw puzzle complete.
Jayant Joshi, his brother Manharlal and Dipak Pandya skipped the
country and sought refuge in the United Kingdom, where they have denied any
wrong doing through their lawyers. It is alleged that the trio was
accompanied to the Harare International Airport by an unnamed ZANU PF
heavyweight, giving credence to suspicions that some ruling party
heavyweights could have covered their tracks.
Mnangagwa is said to have appeared three times before the committee
chaired by ZANU PF secretary for finance David Karimanzira. As the former
finance chief, he wielded a lot of influence in the party's affairs.
"The evidence that is there is very weak. It's like saying so and so
had a meeting, without the details of the discussions," said well placed
ZANU PF source.
Karimanzira, who could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was
said to be attending a seminar in Mutare, had been slated to present the
committee's findings before the Politburo this month, but the issue was
deferred as the team was still to complete the probe.
The other members of the committee comprise Matabeleland North
Governor and Resident Minister Obert Mpofu, former Finance Minister Simba
Makoni, retired army general Solomon Mujuru and the ZANU PF deputy secretary
for Transport and Welfare Thoko Mathuthu.
As the investigations continue, observers within the ruling party fear
that ZANU PF could suffer self-inflicted divisions. The investigations have
run into countless pitfalls as Karimanzira and some of the high-ranking ZANU
PF officials sit on the boards of the companies under investigation.
For example, Mnangagwa and Karimanzira sit on the Treger Holdings
board, which is facing allegations of externalising $39 billion in foreign
currency. Police had tried to charge 13 directors of Tregers with
externalising foreign currency, but backtracked. Police have since decided
to prosecute the corporate entity and not its directors.
ZANU PF has built a multi-billion dollar empire out of two investment
vehicles - M & S Syndicate, which was set up before independence in 1980 and
ZIDCO Holdings, whose board comprise Jayant Joshi, his brother Manharlal and
Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramyi.
The two investment vehicles, whose operations have been highly
secretive even to some of the top members of the ruling party, acquired
significant stakes in companies quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange such
as First Banking Corporation and the Southern African Reinsurance.
Other ZANU PF companies include Ottawa, Catercraft and Zidlee
6/17/2004 9:01:48 AM (GMT +2)
IT is said that when nature sends its worst it is like God's cheque
has bounced. And that is exactly what Zimbabweans feel every time the
intermittent but devastating droughts hit them with far-reaching
consequences. These have more-often-than-not been accompanied by acute food
shortages that have always sparked off nightmares of fresh waves of
sensitive price increases.
But this year, mother nature has been generous with this erstwhile
regional-bread-basket-turned-basket-case. Disturbingly though, worrying
predictions of yet another poor winter crop have started percolating
through. These predictions, which the increasingly paranoid government will
obviously dismiss as the work of saboteurs to cause alarm and despondency,
are not without foundation. Weekend reports indicated that there could be a
critical shortage of agricultural inputs for winter wheat, which will deal a
body blow to any prospects for a bumper crop. The situation, which is eerily
reminiscent of that surrounding last year's winter crop, should be blamed
squarely on government mistakes. In fact, that we are still talking about
inputs this late hour should be cause for concern. Government admitted as
much this week when it said wheat should be planted between May and mid-June
because a late planted crop could be difficult to harvest as it coincides
with the early summer rains.
And this, coming at a time when surging wheat prices on the back of a
shortage of the commodity are putting a squeeze on millers, bakers,
retailers and ultimately consumers, could only be disastrous for those
Zimbabweans feeling the sharpest edge of the knife in the economic
melt-down. It will inevitably spawn worse socio-economic difficulties than
those experienced in the past. There is no point in pretending otherwise.
Not only that but this seemingly chaotic situation resulting from
shortages of inputs which have left new farmers holding on to large tracts
of land which they are not able to use but are instead destroying through
deforestation and environmental degradation does little, if anything, to
demystify the terrible aura of the extremely emotive land reform. If
anything, it gives ammunition to those opposed to the approach, style and
form of the controversial land reform, which they had warned would be
destructive, counter-productive and open to abuse.
They have always argued that a careful balance should be struck
between legal security and economic flexibility to provide optimum
opportunity to achieve the objectives of equitable land redistribution -
guaranteed food security and economic empowerment for the historically
marginalised blacks. Government dismissed this as a see-through red herring
by those caught between reality and insecurity as it sought to address
historic injustices and inequality through land reform.
But the detractors could just be vindicated if Zimbabwe fails once
again to feed itself despite the good rains received in the 2003/2004
season. We have said it before that given the teething problems
characterising not just the winter crop, but the agrarian reforms as a
whole, it is like the new farmers were given cheques they cannot cash. It is
indeed sad that with the current chaos and confusion in the sector, the land
reform is neither improving the economic standing of most of the
"beneficiaries" nor adding value to the national economy. In fact, most
frightening is that with the persistent shortages of critical inputs we
could also, following the launch, see the subsequent tragic and disastrous
failure of the small-scale commercial agriculture scheme.
The spectre of wheat shortages in particular and the likely failure of
small-scale commercial agriculture in general, which threatens to compromise
the country's food security situation, is despite the fact that government
is said to have contracted suppliers in advance under the Inputs Credit
Scheme. The obvious question is: Why then are these companies failing to
meet their supply obligations? How were they awarded the contracts to supply
the inputs? Was this not yet another product of influence peddling and
back-scratching relationships, which all along have cost Zimbabwe dearly?
The public has a right to know.
The foregoing shows that instead of government officials engaging in
an orgy of self-congratulation about the supposed success of the most
radical change in land ownership on the African continent, it is now time
for them to, if they have a conscience, do some self-introspection as to
whether they have the hands-on strategy and sufficient depth to run the
Otherwise the sad reflection on the shrunken state of the once
reassuringly robust Zimbabwe agriculture, which previously had the single
biggest sectoral contribution to the country's gross domestic product, is
difficult to explain other than in terms of mismanagement and lack of
forward planning on the part of the government department running the
Admittedly one quick route towards soothing the economy's running sore
is to bolster the faltering agricultural productivity upon which the economy
has always been dependent. As has been said before, if agriculture catches a
cold the Zimbabwean economy sneezes. It cannot be insulated from the
collapsing agricultural sector. The evidence is there for all to see because
when the sector was in fine fettle the economy was firing on all cylinders
and now that agriculture is under the weather, the economy is ailing.
Without agriculture, the Zimbabwean economy is like a Viking without a
helmet. Therefore, that agriculture can unlock the country's economic
potential is beyond argument. However, it will not be easy to light the fuse
for the all-elusive economic turnaround on the back of sustainable
agricultural recovery given the government's upside-down priorities where
resources are not being channelled where they are needed most - in this
case, the all-important agricultural sector.
Thank you very much for the noble 'Third Chimurenga'
6/17/2004 7:45:32 AM (GMT +2)
EDITOR - This is an open letter to President Robert Mugabe.
Dear Comrade Mr President
I'm sure you are feeling quite lonely these days and that not so many
people show you gratitude. I hope this letter comes as a welcome change.
I have something to thank you for. I would like to thank you for
setting me free.
I have lived in Zimbabwe all my life and I am a victim of colonialism
because I wasn't alive to persuade my grandparents not to settle in Africa.
Until October 2002, I was gainfully occupied producing many things
from the land, alongside 150 farm workers and their families. I wasn't an
actor farmer and I have a relevant degree.
I took farming very seriously because I believe implicitly that if
every individual in a country is productive, then that can only have a
positive effect for the nation as a whole. I am very patriotic, you see.
Now, farming life was sometimes wonderful and rewarding, but it was
also tough and I often felt trapped by it, as I have often felt trapped by
what was once Cecil John Rhodes' dream, but that is something way in the
You see, the 150 farm workers and their families, totalling 300
people, needed housing, education, transport, health facilities, enough food
and enough money. All these things we did for them because, mostly, we loved
them and many of them had lived there for three generations and they had
buried their loved ones on the farm.
Now, if our government had helped us with providing all these basic
social requirements for the farm workers, then they would not have been so
dependent on us.
I never realised that I was part of your patronage. I wish you had
explained this to me earlier because then I would have understood why you
became so angry when the NO vote prevailed in the constitutional referendum
of February 2000.
I naively thought that I was exercising my democratic right. It had
nothing to do with Tony Blair.
In fact, I have always agreed with you and Ian Smith that Rhodesia and
Zimbabwe were capable of running their own affairs without the interference
of the British.
I am still very confused about one aspect of your land reform. You are
always making reference to empowering your own people and yet the facts show
that more people have been displaced by the exercise than have been
This makes no sense to me because the 300 people who worked so hard on
our farm for the good of the nation have received no land and most of them
have been displaced.
To end, I would like to qualify the gratitude I gave you at the
beginning of this letter. Although I have been freed of the dependency
syndrome,which had its origins in the colonial mentality, the resultant
suffering of the dependent majority is too high a price to pay. The irony is
that I can express my gratitude, but the majority are voiceless and
Enemies of the state
6/17/2004 7:47:17 AM (GMT +2)
EDITOR - I'm living outside the country and when I read about the
political situation at home in The Financial Gazette and other Zimbabwean
newspapers, I really wonder what it is that our government is trying to
Some of the decisions it makes are so blatantly not in the interest of
the nation that only a government constituted by foreigners bent on
destroying the present and future potential of the country can make.
...and now to the Notebook
6/17/2004 8:05:15 AM (GMT +2)
If ever it is true . . . please only if it is true . . . Cde-Dr David
Nyekorach-Matsanga of the UK-based Africa Strategy should have had a
wonderful time at Harare International Airport on his last visit to the
Zimbabwean capital, where he says he was thoroughly tortured by state goons
unleashed by some ZANU PF mandarins violently opposed to his inviting the
"colonial" Sky News to shoot documentaries and to interview the Great Uncle.
We have to say if it is true because the problem is that this Matsanga
man is not a credible person. He just tells too many lies.
That is why we only pray that it is indeed true that he was robbed and
made to experience how electric power feels on one's bottom.
We hope and pray that, for once, Matsanga's claim is true because he
badly needed that experience so that when he preaches his gospel about ZANU
PF, he does so from a point of knowledge.
He needs to understand the feelings of many Zimbabweans who have been
subjected to this treatment by the party he has done so much,
internationally, to defend!
Zimbabwe is now a gala country. No dispute about this one!
Like women's notorious kitchen parties, it is now gala after gala
every time some unscrupulous people want to make some quick buck.
The way the so-called Umdala Wethu gala is now being handled, no one
can deny that it has been commercialised. It is now a big money spinner for
those who, like the cash-strapped ZBC, seem to be just too happy that at
least they can pay some outstanding salary arrears.
Why on earth would CZ or any other patriotic Zimbo pay a whopping $15
000 to join the crowd that will this year gather at Gweru's Ascot Stadium to
commemorate the death of Father Zimbabwe?
And see how much someone is planning to get in adverts from this sad
Inevitably, CZ wonders what will happen when the Greatest of all our
Uncles, who has done so much for his people, finally goes to enjoy his
well-deserved heavenly reward. Maybe these money-spinning galas will be run
every month, if not every week!
So a recommendation has been made that Cde Kindness Paradza should be
expelled from the great revolutionary party? Sorry maningi! Inga murombo
haarovi chine nguwo.
But why did he make that mistake of criticising AIPPA, a law that
makes his party tick? Why did he quarrel with Cde Fidza, his godfather, and
everyone else as if he had power of his own?
He now understands how it is like to offend the sun.
His newspaper has been closed on flimsy charges arising from an
unconstitutional media law, and he is losing his job as an MP simply because
he forgot the elders' saying that: to sup with the devil, you need a long
But wait a moment: Cde KP's sins in the party did not only stem from
the fact that he does not have a party card, but also from past newspaper
articles critical of the First Family and the great revolutionary party, in
addition to the fact that he allegedly does not respect seniors in the
party. Fine and dandy.
But there is also this other Johnny-come-lately - who some in the
party now call Coconut Head - who not only does not have a party card, but
also made a career and a big name for himself out of shouting obscenities at
the Great Uncle and his great revolutionary party.
Coconut Head has of late shown some penchant for clashing with senior
What will happen to him? We wonder.
CZ's experience with Chinese products is that they are criminally
inferior . . . so criminal that it would be cruel to give some of these
products to anyone for free, let alone sell them.
But there is one thing that CZ cannot understand. Our appetite for
Chinese products seems to grow by the day. Is it poverty or just sheer
Just buy anything cheap from these mushrooming Chinese shops and you
are sure to get a guarantee that the product won't last a season. Be they
electricals, clothing, household goods, anything . . . as soon as you buy
one, you should immediately start saving to buy another - because the
product will not last!
But still our appetite for products from that part of the world
continues to grow.
Last week, we were told that Walter Mzembi & Co were bringing in
hundreds of tractors and other farming implements from China. We hope they
will last long enough to get us out of this current food shortage.
And the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is replacing the fighter jets we lost
in useless battles in the DRC with a dozen or so imports from China. The ZDF
is also importing about 100 vehicles from the same Chinese.
We pray they last long enough to be handy when we need to defend the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of yet another SADC state!
It is good to have friends. But some friendships are useless and
costly. This is exactly the case with our long-standing Chinese friends.
Wait until local industries start closing down because of the cheap
and inferior imports Cde Chris Mutsvangwa is sending us!
CZ strongly believes that it would be grossly unfair for the
government to inherit the huge debt accumulated by the ZBC over the years
while it was in the process of doing this country a national disservice.
In all fairness, ZANU PF should inherit the debt because the staid
broadcaster belongs to that party and no one else.
Because Harare City Council nurses are on an indefinite wildcat
strike, last Friday a Warren Park woman had to give birth in full view of
the public outside the Suburban Hospital.
According to the woman's husband, nurses at the hospital had flatly
refused to take her in because the couple could not afford to pay the huge
sums wanted upfront. Talk of the Hippocratic Oath!
CZ still waits to hear from the MDC what the party's star policies
are. Thank you!
ZESA, Wankie clash
6/17/2004 8:49:28 AM (GMT +2)
IN a sign of the seriousness of problems at the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA), the state-run power utility has accumulated a
staggering $40 billion debt with Wankie Colliery Company (WCC), which is
gathering interest at the rate of about $1 billion a day.
The debt has weighed down WCC, which is now operating on a shoestring
cashflow that can only prolong the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern's
strategic turnaround plan adopted in September last year.
ZESA has an agreement with the country's sole coal miner, which is
also listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, compelling it to pay for all
its coal and coke purchases from WCC within 30 days of delivery.
The power utility has, however, failed to honour its obligations for
over 90 days now in breach of the agreement - leaving WCC in the lurch.
Investigations by The Financial Gazette revealed this week that the coal
miner is headed for collision with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)
after failing to Value Added Tax (VAT) owing to the cash squeeze.
ZIMRA garnished WCC's bank account recently to press for the tax
remittances amounting to about $12 billion, but temporarily suspended the
draconian action on the strength of a proposal submitted by the WCC
Contacted this week for comment, the marketing and public relations
manager for WCC John Nkala said because of the strategic nature of ZESA,
management had escalated the issue to the board of directors for guidance.
At one point, WCC which is considering changing its name to Hwange
Colliery Company Limited, took the decision to cut off supplies to ZESA,
which generates 68 percent of the nation's power requirements locally.
It rescinded on the idea after excessive pressure from senior civil
servants and politicians who warned the ZSE-listed company that it risked
being labeled "an economic saboteur", a popular phrase used by ZANU PF
officials on people perceived to be working against the party and government
Nkala said: "ZESA had promised to make weekly and monthly payments to
off-set the debt, but nothing has happened to date and as a result, our cash
flow has been impacted negatively and it has become really hard for us to
He said WCC is struggling to pay for supplies, consumables, fuel and
A ZESA official who declined to be named told The Financial Gazette
this week that the power utility was querying some of the charges effected
by the coal miner, hence the delay in payment.
"We cannot pay for things under dispute," said the official who added
the ZESA was now actively pursuing plans to open its own coal mine.
ZESA has seemingly failed to shed its financial handcuffs. As of
February this year, the utility owed two foreign power suppliers US$51
million, which it could not pay because of the shortage of foreign currency
sparked off by the economic recession and the lack of balance of payments
WCC is also going through a rough patch as evidenced by the $5.9
billion loss incurred in the full year to December 31 2003 on the back of
high input costs, foreign currency shortages, price controls and high
Sources said ZESA debt could spring up during WCC's annual general
meeting slated for June 25 2004. They said it had become difficult to force
ZESA to pay up because the utility's executive chairman, Sidney Gata has not
been attending meetings convened by WCC and had instead sent junior
employees who cannot make decisions to represent him.
The absence of a board at ZESA, where Gata acts as both management and
board, has complicated matters for WCC, which is now considering taking up
the issue with the Energy Ministry.
An official with WCC said efforts are now underway to review the coal
supply agreement and the gas supply agreement, which he said were not doing
the company any good.
"Some of the clauses in these agreements don't make sense at all. For
example, in one of the agreements WCC is penalised heavily if it fails to
notify ZESA of a breakdown, 30 days in advance," said the source.
Land nationalisation scuttles $100 billion sugar mill plan
6/17/2004 8:57:01 AM (GMT +2)
PLANS by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to establish a
$100 billion sugar mill and refinery plant that would process raw sugar from
Chisumbanje Estate now hang in the balance following the government's move
to nationalise land.
Sources told this paper this week that the long-standing project was
now in limbo amid revelations that it had become difficult for the IDC to
court domestic and foreign investors to take part in the project in view of
the controversy surrounding the land reform.
"The latest developments are a threat to the project as there is no
investor who is interested in risking their money in this kind of economic
climate. The nationalisation programme spells doom for the local agriculture
industry," said the source.
The long-standing project was expected to rival Hippo Valley and
Triangle Limited, monopolies in the country's sugar industry.
Sources also said the project, which was expected to involve local as
well as international investors, would have provided a window of opportunity
for the current crop of sugar cane farmers who are having difficulties in
milling some of their sugar cane.
At one time, IDC said it was close to sealing a partnership deal with
some international investors who were going to pump in capital for the
establishment of the sugar milling plant.
The deal hit a snag when the Agricultural and Rural Development
Authority (ARDA) failed to secure the land on which the plant would have
Mike Ndudzo, the general manager of IDC, had not responded to
questions sent to him by this paper at the time of going to print.
IDC indicated last year that it needed the security of water rights
from Osborne Dam and land use rights from ARDA to dedicate the land to sugar
cane growing and also to secure the commitment of investors.
The government, in its latest and highly publicised move to dispossess
the white community of prime agricultural land, recently seized Kondozi Farm
in Odzi, one of the country's largest horticultural exporters.
Economic analysts noted that the horticultural sector has been
operating under extremely difficult conditions which might stunt its future
The ongoing wrangle between listed horticultural producer and
exporter, Interfresh Limited, and the settlers at Mazoe Citrus estates have
been disruptive to the smooth operations of the company.
In its first quarter 2004 trading update, Interfresh said 88 percent
of the farm remains listed with 46 percent having been actively resettled.
Forty-seven properties that form part of the Hippo Valley Estates were
recently listed for compulsory acquisition in addition to 133 farms. Hippo
Valley is still listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
The stalled IDC project had been expected to compete with Hippo Valley
and Triangle, which are the biggest sugar mills in the Lowveld.
IDC, tasked by government to explore opportunities and invest in
greenfield projects, estimates that the area under sugarcane at Chisumbanje
estate could be increased from 1300 hectares to at least 10 000 hectares.
Tobacco deal gives farmers the creeps
6/17/2004 8:09:36 AM (GMT +2)
NEW tobacco growers have expressed dissatisfaction with the contract
growing scheme offered by the Agricultural Rural Development Authority
(ARDA) in collaboration with Gold Driven Investments (Pvt) Limited (GDI).
The government recently approved a tobacco contract growing and
marketing scheme aimed at giving farmers an opportunity to acquire inputs
and extension support.
The new initiative has seen a dual marketing approach, with the
traditional auction system operating alongside the contract scheme.
Under the programme, tobacco merchants finance tobacco growers to
nurture a certain hectarage of the golden leaf.
The tonnage harvested would then be sold directly to the tobacco
merchant who would have financed the crop.
ARDA is one of the nine companies tasked by the government to operate
pilot contract schemes this year.
But the new farmers expressed fear that they would not benefit fully
from the scheme.
At a recently held tobacco exhibition, they accused ARDA of exploiting
them, saying benefits for growers from the deal were minimal.
The farmers insisted they preferred to finance, produce and market
their own tobacco crop.
The tobacco growers' concerns come barely two months after ARDA held
its inaugural contract-buying scheme.
The parastatal claims this first project was a big success.
ARDA says it surpassed the highest price at any sale during that
period. The sale produced a current seasonal price of US$2.85/kg.
ARDA also says farmers received prompt payment within two hours of
A total of 376 bales out of 382 laid during the April sale were
bought, with six bales being rejected
Hurdles to poll petitions in Zimbabwe
6/17/2004 8:11:26 AM (GMT +2)
Better stop an election than contest the results
The practice of indulging in electoral violence has been the hallmark
of the ruling party's politics since independence.
A multi-dimensional approach to electoral theft at all levels of
elections involving - but not limited to - bribery, rigging, undue
influence, duress and advanced deception has been applied successfully.
There is adequate documentation, including newspaper reports and court
records, evidencing these immoral perversions of the ruling party.
In the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, the
propensity to flout electoral laws not only reached a crescendo, but left a
sense of shock and alarm in the minds of all right-thinking people.
Surprisingly, the habit of pounding human flesh through unmitigated
violence and the spilling of blood for the sake of power continues unabated
despite adequate laws outlawing such habits.
Part 10 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:01) deals with various forms
of conduct held to be corrupt practices. Section 104 prohibits the direct or
indirect giving or receiving of any food, drink, entertainment, lodging or
provisions as a way of inducing one to vote at an election. Anyone who
contravenes this provision shall be guilty of an offence.
Further, Section 105 penalises any person who directly or indirectly
makes use of or threatens to make use of any force or violence, including
inflicting or threat of inflicting such force or violence.
Later sections also extensively deal with the offences of bribery,
personification and illegal transportation of voters. One valuable but
redundant section expressly provides for a sentence of up to one year's
imprisonment on convicted culprits as an alternative to payment of a fine.
However, it is obvious that Section 105 only applies to mild,
unaggravated incidents of violence and intimidation. Nothing in the Act or
any other law precludes law enforcement agents from apprehending and
prosecuting people suspected to have maimed, raped, kidnapped, abducted or
killed just for the sake of votes.
Our police force, heavily infiltrated by political activists, has
become a willing appendage of the ruling party. As a result, it has, at
election time, failed to discharge its constitutional duties by perverting
the course of justice through refusing or failing to protect citizens
without fear or favour.
It has stood aloof unperturbed when ruling party militias have
inflicted ferocious violence on members of the opposition. It has also
watched with glee when ruling party contestants have bought and provided
their supporters and anyone else sumptuous beverages in the form of alcohol,
soft drinks and food - all in open violation of the Electoral Act.
When opposition and independent candidates have failed to get
protection from law enforcement agents, they have approached civil courts
for remedies, sometimes with futile results.
The process of seeking to overturn an election result on the grounds
of electoral malpractices has often proved to be an insurmountable task.
The only notable case when a member of the opposition won an election
petition was the celebrated case of Dongo versus Mwashita and others decided
Other candidates wishing to or launching litigation have been
frustrated by the electoral law and the broader legal process.
It is argued here that until we set up an independent electoral court,
those seeking to challenge election results shall forever be haunted by the
torment and trauma of failing to enforce their rights. This is because until
constitutionalism is restored, the legal remedies in our law shall be
illusory - a fiction far divorced from the realities on the field of
politics, power and the courts.
Part 13 of the Electoral Act identifies those entitled to launch
election petitions and the procedures to be adopted. Thus, a candidate in an
election or any registered voter in a constituency offended by poll results
can launch a challenge.
Such a petition must be launched within 30 days from the date the
results are announced.
It is also important to note that an election petition shall be tried
by the High Court in an open court. This entails the calling of witnesses,
some of them who might have been victims and targets of bribery, to render
accounts of their experiences, to be cross-examined and to have their
Such a trial applies only to parliamentary elections and not local
polls. Challenges to local elections must be done through normal court
procedures, either through issuing of summons or launching a court
Neither of the above methods has proved to be effective because of a
multiplicity of impediments, some of them legal and some non-legal.
The foremost hindrance to a successful and timeous challenge is the
monumental backlog affecting the High Court.
After this comes the shortage and inexperience of judicial officers
and clerical staff, shortage of equipment and general bureaucratic and
corrupt tendencies of the civil service.
These problems and a host of others have gravely affected our justice
No judicial system can function properly without adequate funding. And
by failing to provide such funding, the government has deliberately sought
to assassinate the judicial process to achieve its own selfish objectives.
Despite regular pleas for funding, our esteemed leaders opt to fund
useless youth training centres at the expense of the indispensable judicial
The problem with our leaders is that they seem to wear thick skulls,
so much so that one needs an electrical drill to open and pour sense into
In view of the prevailing shortcomings in our courts, an election
petition will only likely be heard nearly three to four years after its
launch. Obviously, such a scenario creates an absurdity in that the next
general election might come before any such matter is heard, rendering
continued litigation only of academic interest.
Even if such a challenge were to be successfully heard in time by the
High Court, an instant appeal to the Supreme Court would ordinarily render
the decision of the trial court unoperational.
Again, prosecuting an appeal is an onerous exercise that, if not
affected by backlog, might be affected by the usual habit by Appeal Court
judges to "reserve" passing of judgment for unreasonably lengthy time spans.
Local election challenges brought by normal court applications usually
fail to meet the requirements of procedure.
Although in the ordinary course of events such an application brings
early results, in an election challenge it will not. This is because
election petitions usually are fraught with many disputes of facts, which
cannot be resolved on the papers.
Such applications are usually dismissed on this technicality or
referred for trial, where again they fall into the backlog cauldron.
Where there are perceived anomalies before any election, the best
procedure to adopt is to apply for an interdict to stop such an election up
until a time when normalcy has been restored.
lVote Muza is a legal practitioner with Gutu & Chikowero law firm.
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org: www.gutulaw.co.zw
Zimbabwe Pleads for Exiles' Cash
Business Day (Johannesburg)
June 17, 2004
Posted to the web June 17, 2004
Bank governor on tour to raise funds by offering a special diaspora rate'
ZIMBABWE's bid to raise desperately needed foreign currency comes to SA this
week, when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono will plead with
exiled Zimbabweans to send their hard currency home.
Gono, who is spearheading a bid to revive Zimbabwe's crisisridden economy,
held top-level meetings last week with International Monetary Fund (IMF)
officials in Washington.
The meetings were aimed at keeping Zimbabwe's IMF membership, and getting
the institution to restore balance-of-payments support it suspended five
years ago over policy issues.
Gono has also met expatriates in London and other UK cities.
Zimbabwe claims to have already received about $64m sent back over the past
Zimbabwe's IMF voting rights have been suspended over nonpayments of debts.
The IMF's executive board is expected to examine closely any progress made
on policies and payments when it considers a report compiled by a delegation
that visited the country in March. It is also due to take a decision on
Zimbabwe's overdue payments early next month.
At the end of February, Zimbabwe owed the IMF's special drawing rights
The country, reeling from a deep economic and foreign currency crisis, has
committed itself to making $1,5m quarterly repayments to the IMF.
Zimbabwe's foreign debt has soared to $4bn, while domestic debt is expected
to soon top Z2trillion. The country's serious balance-of-payments support
situation has been attributed to the fall in exports, from $2,5bn in 1998 to
1,3bn in 2002.
The negative outflows in the capital account and alarming build-up of
external payments arrears have been cited by the IMF as cause for concern.
From Washington, Gono flew to London to urge expatriates to send money back
home through government channels. He made a similar plea in Birmingham.
The visits were marked by protests from exiled Zimbabweans, who accused Gono
of raising cash to prop up Mugabe's "collapsing" regime. They urged the UK
government to place a travel ban on Gono.
The South African leg of his roadshow at Gallagher Estate will see him
address Zimbabweans working in SA.
Gono has been battling to attract money from Zimbabweans abroad because of
the country's foreigh exchange controls. Those that do repatriate money
often use the black market where the exchange rate is favourable.
He has now offered a favourable exchange rate to those repatriating funds
through Zimbabwean banks. The "diaspora rate", which is reserved for those
working outside the country, was pegged at the beginning of this month at $1
to Z5200. He also introduced the forex auction system at a rate of $1 to
Z5300 to counter the black market which is paying $1 to Z6000. This has been
without much success.
Recipients of money from abroad are allowed to receive their funds in local
or foreign currency. They are also given an easy opportunity to open a
foreign currency account provided the amount received is at least $200.
An average of $750000 a day is now flowing through formal money transfer
agencies in Zimbabwe, with official claims that about $64m has been received
in the past two months from Zimbabweans working abroad.
Gono was thrust into the bank hot seat last December to spearhead economic
He found the economy in free fall, beset by serious macroeconomic
instability and agriculture in ruins due to chaotic land reforms. Inflation
had topped 600% and unemployment stood at about 75%. His measures have in
part led to a drop in the inflation rate to 449%.
Vince Hogg resigns as managing director of ZCU
Wisden Cricinfo staff
June 17, 2004
Vince Hogg has announced his intention to resign as managing director of the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union. Hogg, who has been increasingly worn down by the
protracted player dispute, will take leave of his office on August 6, after
which time he will return to commercial life in Zimbabwe.
"The past few months in office have really been strenuous on me," said Hogg,
who was caught in the crossfire between the 15 rebel players and the ZCU's
heavyweights. "I have decided to resign because I was no longer enjoying the
"My view is that the recent player dispute was ill-conceived at the outset
and has left both parties and cricket in Zimbabwe worse off. I personally
did not agree with the action taken by the players in boycotting games and
breaching their contracts. Unfortunately, there have been no winners in this
Hogg expressed his hope that some of the disaffected players might one day
return to Zimbabwe to play alongside Tatenda Taibu, and remained adamant
that the ZCU was not an institution that had been influenced by government
appointees. "I can state in all conscience that I have never been pressured
by any political force or government department during my tenure as managing
"I have in fact received a great deal of support from the Sports and
Recreation Commission during my time in office. It has been a privilege to
work for cricket in Zimbabwe and to see the emergence of many talented young
cricketers, both black and white, over the past couple of years. As a former
national player, it has been my wish to contribute to the building of a
Zimbabwe team that can hold its own and earn the respect of all opponents."
Peter Chingoka, the chairman of the ZCU, said Hogg's resignation had been
accepted with regret. "While we are sorry he wants to go, we respect his
decision and the personal reason for it. He leaves the union in a healthy
financial state, and we wish Vince all the best in his future endeavours."
© Wisden Cricinfo Ltd
6/17/04 - ZIMBABWE NEWSPAPER
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States
The government of Zimbabwe has shut down The Tribune, an independent weekly
newspaper. The newspaper's license has been suspended for one year. The
Tribune has been published since 2002 and has reported on government
President Robert Mugabe's regime closed down the Tribune on a technicality.
Zimbabwe's Media and Information Commission says that Kindness Paradza, the
publisher, failed to notify the government of ownership and name changes.
But Mr. Paradza says he complied with all requirements:
"Those allegations are not valid, in our opinion, because they were meant
just as compliance, and this is what we did. We have complied with whatever
they [the Media and Information Commission] wanted us to do."
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that the U.S. condemns
the Mugabe regime's shutdown of the Tribune:
"The action is the latest in a series of assaults on press freedom and on
access to independent information in Zimbabwe. It follows the government's
attempts to tighten controls on the internet use, last year's forced closure
of The Independent Daily News, and the ongoing intimidation, harassment, and
prosecution of independent journalists."
Four directors of The Daily News, another banned newspaper in Zimbabwe, are
now on trial for allegedly publishing without a license. Mr. Boucher says
that the U.S. notes with dismay Zimbabwe's "repressive media control laws":
"The Media and Information Commission is mandated to enhance the Zimbabwean
people's access to information. However, it seems clearly intent on using
the country's draconian media legislation as a political tool to silence
voices that are raising legitimate concerns about the Zimbabwean government'
s corruption, human rights violations, economic mismanagement, and abuse of
democratic institutions and the rule of law."
Zimbabwe is in crisis. The economy has collapsed, and government
mismanagement has led to the threat of widespread famine. Eighty percent of
adults are unemployed. Many brave Zimbabweans have spoken out and they are
being silenced. Their struggle is not about foreign values or foreign
interest. It is about their dream of a Zimbabwe that reflects the highest
ideals of both traditional and modern Africa.
Zimbos now a bunch of DIY enthusiasts
By Mavis Makuni
6/17/2004 7:53:56 AM (GMT +2)
Major lifestyle changes as economic meltdown bites
WHEN I told my daughter about a decade ago that mashed beetroot was
used as a sandwich filling in Britain during the Second World War, her smug
reaction was: I would rather starve than eat that stuff!
At that time, food was plentiful and affordable in Zimbabwe and she
had an unlimited choice of what to put in her lunch box. All kinds of fruits
were in abundance. She could use jam, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, fish
paste, mayonnaise and a wide variety of cold meats to make sandwiches.
How things have changed in 10 short years! Despite being a "born
free", recent political developments in Zimbabwe have meant growing up in
the same circumstances as those prevailing when food was rationed during the
Second World War in the United Kingdom.
My daughter has yet to acquire a taste for beetroot sandwiches but
she, like most Zimbabweans, has had to make major lifestyle changes.
Of course, there are those for whom things have never been better. The
rest, however, have had not only to tighten their belts, but to become
innovative in dealing with every day needs.
My daughter, now a young adult and familiar with the austerity imposed
on ordinary families, has invented all sorts of sandwich fillings such as
cooked greens, home-cooked legumes as opposed to store-bought baked beans,
tomato and onion relish etc. She now knows that a loaf of bread at its
stratospheric price of $3 000 is a luxury.
"Only doctors must be pleased with these deprivations," my daughter
grumbled one day while vehemently rejecting my suggestion to make a macimbi
sandwich! She had previously cheated when the doctor banned certain foods
from her diet to control her teenage fat. Now, the doctor's orders are
automatically observed because she can no longer afford her favourite "junk"
She and her friends, whose cynical slang sounds like a foreign
language to me, jokingly call the foodstuffs featuring on the menus of
ordinary families these days "Inflation nosh". Most cash-strapped families
now include lots of vegetables, beans, kapenta, lacto and potatoes in their
Chicken and beef are now special treats to be savoured once in a
while. Days when family members could stake claims on particular pieces of a
chicken are only now a distant memory. At almost $15 000 per kilogramme,
chicken now has to be diced into beef-style pieces for it to go round.
Some lifestyle changes imposed on ordinary people by the circumstances
we find ourselves in can give rise to some hilarious situations. For
example, a white neighbour of mine became incensed when she saw a group of
black women make a bee-line for the lush weeds outside her gate during the
Thinking they were up to no good, she was ready to give them a piece
of her mind when they politely apologised. They explained that what she
considered weeds was a traditional vegetable they described as "wild
spinach". Disarmed by their honesty, my neighbour invited them inside to
pick some more. The women explained to her how to prepare the wild spinach
and she now has such as an acquired taste for it, she is careful not to weed
it out from her flowerbeds as she has done for years.
A normally choosy acquaintance has told me that she can no longer
afford her favourite imported jam. She therefore has had to brush up on the
jam-making skills her mother taught her as a girl. She now regularly uses
the profuse produce from her lemon tree to make marmalade.
Housewives are not the only ones falling back on the old ways of doing
things. "Do it yourself" is back in a big way.
A cousin of mine has told me how he used to watch his father, who
worked as a "houseboy" before independence, using a certain liquid to
dry-clean his suits and other special clothes. Now faced with astronomical
dry-cleaning bills, he rues the fact that he never bothered to find out what
his father used. He has embarked on extensive research among the extended
family to establish whether anyone remembers how his now deceased father did
the trick as well as the professional dry-cleaners, without spending a
A sign of the hard times which also highlights the importance of
skills and crafts that we had begun to take for granted is the way my
favourite shoe-repair shop has been swamped with demand for its services.
Gone are the days when shoes needing any fixing would either be thrown away
or handed down to someone who did not mind wearing them as they were.
They would, without much ado, be replaced with a brand new pair. But
now with the cheapest pair of shoes costing $50 000, one has to think twice
about tossing away a deformed pair.
The reality is that a pair of shoes now has to last as long as
possible. Cobblers are therefore under pressure to perform miracles.
"The trouble," said the proprietor of the shoe shop referred to above,
"is that this is an extremely labour-intensive art and it takes many years
to train someone to be really good at it."
The shop is under immense pressure because more people are bringing
items to be repaired and they want the job done pronto. This is because
those shoes they have brought are the only decent pair they have left and
they need to wear them to work or school tomorrow!
In our house, scraps of soap are no longer thrown away these days.
They are collected in a jar and later boiled in water to form soap jelly,
which can be used for cleaning up.
I learnt to make soap jelly while doing domestic science in school. I
know that is going back quite a bit but it just goes to show how valuable
these old ideas and hints are in the prevailing economic crunch.
If someone were to collect all the do-it-yourself ideas Zimbabweans
are resorting to these days, it would make a very useful survival guide.
Farmers Fail to Meet Target
The Herald (Harare)
June 17, 2004
Posted to the web June 17, 2004
Farmers in Mashonaland West, the country's breadbasket, have only managed to
plant 15 000 hectares under the winter wheat cropping programme out of a
targeted 30 000 hectares citing logistical problems and insufficient
"The farmers are finding it difficult to access finance because the demands
from financial institutions are too much," the chief agricultural extension
officer for Mashonaland West, Mrs Edna Shambare, said.
She said most of the farmers who had signed up for the programme did not
have the collateral demanded by the institutions.
Mrs Shambare also cited lack of co-ordination between the concerned players
as a major constraint.
"We seem not to be synchronising well as the involved parties," she said.
"When the farmers were mobilised for the programme, they were at different
levels of functionality with some needing the funding to get their systems
off the ground," Mrs Shambare explained.
The Arex chief irrigation engineer for Mashonaland West, Mr Conrade Zawe,
cited other constraints facing the programme together with the
rehabilitation of irrigation schemes in the province.
"The process of implementation has not been on time due to lack of
supervision, slow disbursement of funds and the structures were not meeting
from time to time to review the projects," Mr Zawe said.
He added that it was still possible to improve the winter wheat under
irrigation from the current 15 000 to the initial target of 30 000 hectares.
The Government recently unveiled a multi-billion dollar wheat programme in
which 100 000 hectares would be put under the crop for a target production
of 420 000 tonnes.
The country needs 400 000 tonnes of wheat to meet national requirements.
Fears are that if the various provinces fail to meet their production
targets, the country may experience shortages again this year.
Last year, 220 000 tonnes of wheat were produced, just over half the
Mr Zawe said that since the commercialisation of the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa), water charges had skyrocketed making it difficult for the
farmers who intended to irrigate their crop.
"There is also need for a clearly enunciated policy on the relationship
between central Government and the local authorities on the allocation of
funds for projects," he added.
Mr Zawe was speaking shortly after touring the Seke-Sanyati Irrigation
Scheme with the Minister of State for Policy Implementation in the office of
the President and Cabinet, Mr Webster Shamu.
"Policies under the land reform programme should also go further and give
the number of hectares limited to each individual operating under an
irrigation scheme," Mr Shamu said.
He handed over $11 million to the farmers donated by Rio Tinto Zimbabwe to
train farmers on the best methods of farming.
Mr Shamu called on Arex and Zinwa to work in close collaboration for the
success of the scheme.
Rio Tinto was also involved in the construction of the Seke-Sanyati Dam,
which would be used as a major source of water by the farmers.
Rio Tinto invested $16 million towards the construction of the dam in 1996.
Government weighed in with $850 million for the completion of the scheme.
This year, the scheme will see 40 hectares under irrigation moving to 100
hectares within the next two years.
Standards for the Restoration of Genuine, Democratic
Elections in Zimbabwe
On behalf of all Zimbabweans, we demand the following minimum standards be met for the restoration of genuine, democratic elections. These principles, based on the SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards, are an essential prerequisite to the exercise of our fundamental human rights and must be in place at least six months prior to election day to be meaningful. These standards are no different than the electoral practices that our brothers and sisters across the SADC region already enjoy.
Restore the Rule of Law
End all political violence and completely disband the youth militias.
Ensure that police and security forces are impartial and non-partisan in conducting their duties.
Establish a special impartial and independent electoral dispute court to hear and swiftly resolve all election related disputes.
Restore Basic Freedoms and Rights
Revoke those aspects of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) that curtail the right of citizens to move, assemble and speak freely.
Repeal those aspects of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that curtail media freedoms and remove all obstacles preventing independent print and electronic media from operating freely.
Liberalise the electronic media and open the airwaves to provide balanced and proportional coverage of all political parties.
Ensure that all Zimbabwean citizens residing outside the country are allowed to vote.
Establish an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Establish a genuinely Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in conformity with the SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards, that is responsible for all aspects of the elections and the electoral process.
Amend the electoral legislative framework to conform to the principles of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards.
Restore Public Confidence in the Electoral Process
Conduct an independent audit of the voters’ roll that results in an accurate and up-to-date voters’ roll and provide electronic copies of the voters’ roll to all political parties and interested persons.
Establish a sufficient number of polling stations (at least 1 polling station per 1000 registered voters in a constituency) in order to ensure that voting can be completed in one day (from 07h00 to 19h00).
Institute a code of conduct for political parties and create peace committees involving the IEC, all political parties and civil society to monitor political violence.
Ensure unhindered access to the entire electoral process by political parties as well as domestic, regional and international observers and allow civic organisations to conduct voter education.
Restore Secrecy of the Ballot
Use opaque ballot papers and allow voters to place their marked ballot papers directly in the ballot box without first showing them to the presiding officer; permit “assisted” voters to select a person of their own choosing to help them vote; use translucent plastic ballot boxes of secure single piece construction, and use visible, indelible ink to mark individuals who have voted.
Count ballot papers at polling stations immediately after voting ends and post the results at the polling station and provide copies to all party agents and observers.
Table of Contents
1. Restore the Rule of Law........ 3
1.1 Violence and Intimidation..... 3
1.2. Police and Security Forces... 6
1.3 Electoral Disputes 7
2. Restore Basic Freedoms and Rights...... 10
2.1 Personal Freedoms... 10
2.2........ Print and Broadcast Media... 12
2.3........ Right to Vote... 14
3. Establish an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)...... 16
3.1 Independent Management of Elections... 16
4. Restore Public Confidence in the Electoral Process (Pre Polling Day) 19
4.1........ Voter Registration. 19
4.2 Polling Stations 20
4.3 Peace Committees 21
4.4 Election Observers and Voter Educators... 21
5. Restore Secrecy of the Ballot (Polling Day)...... 23
5.1. Voting Procedures... 23
5.2 Counting Procedures... 24
Appendix One: SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards
Appendix Two: Incidents Report, Lupane By-Election (15-16 May, 2004)
Appendix Three: Political Violence Report 2004 (MDC)
Periodic and genuine democratic elections are the cornerstone of any functioning democracy; they empower citizens to have a direct influence in shaping the society in which they want to live by enabling them to freely elect a government of their choice, a government which reflects their values and aspirations. Governments which are the product of a credible, transparent and trusted election process are an expression of the will of the people, a factor which bestows on them the legitimacy and credibility that are the essential pre-conditions for political stability and economic prosperity.
It is only genuine elections, held in accordance with regional and international standards, that enrich and strengthen the process of democratisation. Elections are in effect a litmus test on the state of democracy and governance in a country. Elections which fail to conform to recognised standards erode the integrity of the electoral process, thereby retarding the institutionalisation of democracy. This is what has happened in Zimbabwe in recent years.
The failure of recent elections in Zimbabwe to accurately reflect the sovereign wishes of the people has resulted in a government chronically lacking legitimacy and moral authority. This severe democratic deficit goes to the heart of Zimbabwe’s current political and socio-economic crisis.
Lack of legitimacy has not always been the case in Zimbabwe. Elections held at independence in 1980, even with the limitations imposed by the compromises made at Lancaster House, were recognised as generally ‘free and fair’ and bestowed legitimacy on the country’s first truly representative government. At the time Zimbabwe was seen as the democratic template for the region, providing the springboard for the spread of democracy in Africa.
Since Zimbabwe’s independence, a revival of multi-party democracy has spread across southern Africa. Beginning in Namibia in 1989; Zambia in 1991; Malawi in 1993; Mozambique and South Africa in 1994; and Tanzania in 1995. The region embraced human rights, the rule of law and sound electoral practices. New constitutions that enshrined core democratic values were drafted and new electoral systems that conferred integrity on the electoral process were established across the region.
The significant progress made by most SADC countries over the past ten years, in terms of consolidating and deepening democracy, stands in stark contrast to developments in Zimbabwe during this period. In Zimbabwe, democratic gains have been gradually reversed, rather than consolidated and strengthened. Anti-democratic legislation has imposed severe limits on freedom of speech, assembly and association whilst the entrenchment and proliferation of a coercive and violent political culture has provoked wide-scale human rights abuses.
The integrity of the electoral process has been severely eroded due to the cumulative impact of the flawed polls that have been held in recent years. Elections have come to symbolise the subordination of the will of the people to the interests of a narrow ruling elite and are characterised by state sponsored violence and intimidation.
Rather than acting as a vehicle for the consolidation of democracy, elections in Zimbabwe are deliberately manipulated to have the opposite effect: that is the retention of power by an illegitimate ruling elite.
In the case of Zimbabwe therefore, the question simply cannot be about the need for new elections. What is needed are genuine, democratic elections, held in accordance with the SADC Norms and Standards, adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum Plenary Assembly on 25 March 2001 and accepted by the Zanu(PF) delegates present.
On behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, this document sets out a list of minimum conditions drawn from the SADC standards and observed in other SADC States, based around 5 guiding principles, that need to be addressed before any genuinely democratic elections can be held. It is important to note, however, that these minimum conditions are not definitive; they do not claim to encapsulate all the issues that currently preclude free and fair elections from taking place. The fundamental aim of this document is simply to inform the debate on the need to restore integrity, transparency and legitimacy to the electoral process in Zimbabwe.
We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to work with political parties and civil society to take immediate steps to give practical effect to these minimum conditions in order to create a political environment and electoral framework conducive to a free and fair election. The multi-faceted crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be brought to an end until a legitimate and democratic government is established, based on the authority of the people, secured through a free and fair ballot.
We also call upon SADC, the AU and the broader international community to make a concerted effort to assist Zimbabwe to open up the political space, restore the democratic election process and restore the fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly, as established under the UN Charter and enunciated in AU and SADC Protocols.
In terms of the Zimbabwean Constitution, Parliamentary elections must be held before June 2005, and from recent pronouncements made by Zanu (PF) it appears that their intention is to hold the elections even earlier than that. It may well be that some of the demands listed above are met by Zanu (PF) in the run up to these elections. Two points must be stressed in this regard.
Firstly, these are minimum standards and as such every single condition should be complied with. A democratic election will not be secured if some of the conditions are complied with. A democratic election will only be secured if there is total compliance with the SADC Standards and the conditions set out in this document.
Secondly, a democratic election will not be secured if these conditions are met shortly before the election is to be held. The rule of law and political environment in Zimbabwe has been so badly subverted in the last four years that a democratic election will only be achieved if there is a minimum period of at least six months prior to the date of the election during which all of these conditions are in place. That period is necessary to restore equilibrium in Zimbabwe and to give all those parties wishing to contest a reasonable chance to campaign in a democratic environment.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “every individual shall have the right to liberty and security of his [or her] person.”
The Draft African Union Declaration on Elections, Democracy and Governance states that “respect for the rule of law on the part of all institutions and sectors of society [is] essential to democracy“ and that “it is the responsibility of governments to create an enabling environment [for elections].”
The NEPAD Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance states that African governments are to enforce the rule of law.
The Election Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries Principles argues that “all electoral stake holders should commit themselves to a culture of peace and tolerance at all times” and that they should promote “a culture of peace and tolerance before, during and after election day.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone has the right o liberty and security of person” and that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.”
Across southern Africa elections are generally peaceful events devoid of violence or intimidation throughout the voting process. Violence and intimidation have become the exception rather than the rule. Where there are concerns about election related violence and intimidation, such as in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the government has deployed police and security forces well in advance of elections to ensure peace and indeed the recently held elections in South Africa were overwhelmingly peaceful in all areas of South Africa outside of KwaZulu-Natal.
Political violence and intimidation has become an endemic part of Zimbabwe’s political culture and is particularly intense during election periods. In its 2004 Report, Amnesty International stated that “During local council, mayoral and parliamentary by-elections on 30 and 31 August  Zanu PF supporters armed with catapults, stones and iron bars intimidated polling agents and MDC supporters by blocking approaches to polling stations”.
The report further observed that “there was an escalation in state sponsored attacks [in 2003] on critics of the government, particularly supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Incidents of ill-treatment and torture were reported throughout the year. Hundreds of people were detained for holding political meetings or peaceful protests.”
Both the June 2000 Parliamentary Elections and the March 2002 Presidential Elections were characterised by unprecedented levels of state sponsored violence, resulting in scores of deaths and thousands of injuries.
In 2002, human rights groups recorded that 1,062 MDC supporters were tortured, 58 murdered and 227 abducted and beaten. The Zimbabwe NGO Human Rights Forum compiled the following statistics on political violence during 2003:
- Abduction/kidnapping: 52
- Assault: 388
- Freedom of Expression/Assoc/Mvt: 809
- Murder: 10
- Political discrimination/int/vict: 466
- Torture: 497
(Note: The overwhelming majority of incidents that were recorded were committed by either Zanu PF supporters or members of the state security forces)
Statistics published by the above organisation for the period 1 Jan 04 – 29 Feb 04 revealed the following:
- Abduction/kidnapping: 10
- Assault: 66
- Freedom of Expression/Assoc/Mvt: 129
- Political Discrimination/int/vict: 124
- Torture: 76
(Note: According to the report that was published all the victims of violence were either MDC supporters or civic society activists)
In March 2004, the Zimbabwe Institute published a report entitled ‘Playing With Fire’ which documented the personal accounts of human rights abuses experienced by 50 MDC MPs and 28 opposition election candidates. Below are some of the salient findings contained in the report.
1. The 78 individuals interviewed reported a total of 616 instances of human rights violations against themselves or those close to them
2. More than 90% of MPs reported human rights violations against themselves
3. 24% of MPs reported surviving assassination attempts
4. 16% of MPs interviewed have been the victims of torture.
5. 3 MPs who were the victims of vicious assaults have subsequently died
6. 50% have had their property vandalised or destroyed
7. 60% of MPs reported arrest and detention.
8. 22% reported physical assaults on members of their families
9. 3 MPs have had members of their staff brutally murdered
10. 32% of candidates reported assaults
11. 22% of candidates reported surviving murder attempts
12. 50% of violations are attributed by MPs to the police, CIO and army combined
The notorious Zanu PF youth militia, the subject of a recent BBC documentary are at the vanguard of political violence. Human rights organisations have compiled volumes of evidence pointing to the involvement of the militia in the perpetration of gross human rights abuses, including murder, rape and torture. A report published on 5 September 2003 by The Solidarity Peace Trust provided an informed and disturbing insight into the activities of the youth militia in advancing Zanu PF’s political agenda. It illustrates the role played by the militias in the areas of voter intimidation, political violence and food aid manipulation.
Members of the militia are now present in virtually every constituency in Zimbabwe in what is a deliberate attempt to intimidate and cow the population. Polling days have become notorious for intimidation of voters by supporters of the ruling party whilst it is often the case that opposition candidates are unable to campaign in their constituencies. In a by-election held in the constituency of Gutu North in February 2004, the MDC candidate was prevented from entering the constituency due to the very real threat of violence by ruling party supporters.
The prevalence of state sponsored violence and systematic intimidation has seriously undermined the electoral process in Zimbabwe. In order to create an enabling environment for a free and fair election to take place there has to be an end to political violence and a disbanding of the youth militia. This in itself though, will not be sufficient as the violence can only be effectively tackled if the police and security forces comply with their statutory obligation of enforcing the law impartially. Urgent steps need to be taken to restore public confidence in these institutions in order to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process.
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa requires governments to “ensure that adequate security is provided to all parties participating in elections.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards requires that “all Government Security Forces should act impartially and professionally.”
The Election Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries Principles state that “security forces should maintain a neutral role in the provision of election security.”
All across the SADC region the police and security forces have largely stayed out of political affairs and have remained neutral. In sharp contrast to other regions of the world, there has been no successful coup d’ etats in southern Africa. The police and security forces are seen in SADC as loyal to the nation rather than the government of the day.
In contrast to the security forces in other SADC countries, the police, the secret police (the CIO) and the army in Zimbabwe have become increasingly politicised and discharge their basic mandates on a partisan basis. In a statement issued on 5 May 2004 Amnesty International said that, “[it] is gravely concerned by the conduct of the Zimbabwe police, who continue to illegally and arbitrarily arrest, harass and ill-treat Zimbabwean citizens as part of a systematic clampdown on freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly”.
Since the MDC was formed in September 1999, only 7 out of the party’s 55 MPs have not been subject to arbitrary arrest; whilst out of 37 members of the MDC National Executive only two have not spent time in jail on trumped up charges.
The failure by the police to uphold the rule of law, and to respect the basic democratic principle that everyone is equal before the law, has eroded public confidence in the police as an institution. This erosion of trust has been accelerated by members of the police actively engaging in acts of violence against opposition supporters. During the MDC sponsored mass action of 2-6 June 2003 members of the police and army actively joined with members of the ruling party to attack MDC supporters, real or perceived.
Police collusion with the activities of the ruling party was demonstrated once again on May 20  when members of the police force escorted hundreds of Zanu PF supporters to the MDC Head Office in Harare. The supporters proceeded to attempt to break into the building, smashing windows and threatening the staff inside. The police did nothing to stop this. Instead, they arrested four MDC officials who were inside the building at the time.
Recent elections have witnessed the increasing involvement of members of the police and security forces in acts of violence committed on behalf of the ruling party. The psychological impact on the electorate, of the police and security forces’ complicity with the political agenda of the ruling party during election periods, has been immense. This blurring of the lines between key state institutions and the ruling party not only defines the collapse off the rule of law it also helps to explain why an increasing number of Zimbabweans no longer see any value in the electoral process.
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that governments will commit themselves to “establish … competent legal entities including effective constitutional courts to arbitrate in the event of disputes arising from the conduct of elections.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “governments should establish by law ad hoc Electoral Tribunals to enforce electoral laws and codes of conduct during elections.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards calls for the strengthening of courts devoted to dealing with election petitions and offenses and further states that there must be clear time limits for resolving election petitions.
The Election Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries Principles requires that “clear provisions should be established for appeals against results and any other matters related to the conduct of the elections” and that “appeal procedures should be established for all elections and should be dealt with by the courts.”
In much of the SADC region the resolution of election related disputes remains problematic. However, such delays undermine not only public confidence in the electoral process, but also faith in the judicial system. Both SADC and AU documents clearly call for the swift resolution to election related disputes to ensure political stability.
The principle of restoring the rule of law, as a minimum condition for a genuine election, does not just refer to ending political violence and ensuring the impartial conduct of the security forces, it also refers to the judicial framework for handling electoral disputes.
At present, election disputes in Zimbabwe are handled by the existing court structures; however, this system has failed to fairly and expeditiously resolve election disputes. In the immediate aftermath of the June 2000 parliamentary elections, the MDC filed petitions to the High Court challenging the ‘victories’ of Zanu PF in 37 constituencies. To date only 11 of these petitions have been heard and Judges have ruled in favour of the MDC in 7 of these cases. Less than a year away from the next parliamentary elections, the 7 Zanu PF MPs, whose victories were declared null and void by the High Court remain in parliament pending appeal hearings in the Supreme Court. Six of the appeal cases have been with the Supreme Court for over three years. The delay in hearing the appeal cases raises doubts about the independence of the judiciary and the commitment of the judiciary to issuing impartial rulings.
The issue of the MDC election petition, challenging the outcome of the March 2002 Presidential Election, raises similar concerns about the independence of the judiciary. The petition was submitted on 31 April 2002 and is nowhere near being completed. The trial began in November 2003 but awaits an interim judgment to be handed down by the presiding judge who himself has been the beneficiary of a farm granted to him by Zanu (PF).
The current delay in hearing electoral disputes is unacceptable and has no place in a functioning democracy. Justice delayed is justice denied. As such the legal framework for a genuine election needs to include a provision for the establishment of an impartial electoral dispute court, capable of resolving disputes expeditiously within an acceptable time-period.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others” and “the right to freedom of movement.”
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that African governments should “safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly [and] association.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “the right of peaceful assembly shall be recognised” and that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others.”
While repressive regimes, such as the racist Smith government in the then Rhodesia, and the pariah Apartheid system in South Africa, sought to curtail personal freedoms, new and amended constitutions across SADC have enshrined the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association and movement. Further, governments across southern Africa have acted to ensure that these freedoms are not only words in constitutions, but practical rights that their citizens can enjoy.
The past three years in Zimbabwe have witnessed a concerted assault on the democratic space, through the creation of a legislative framework aimed at curtailing basic civil liberties.
The Public Order and Security Act (POSA), promulgated in February 2002, has been used as a weapon against the MDC and civic organisations critical of the Zimbabwe Government. It has been employed to prevent these organisations from holding public meetings, engaging in peaceful protest and freely expressing their criticisms of government actions. Thousands of people have been arrested under POSA. The Act makes it virtually impossible for opposition parties to campaign during elections.
The list below provides an indication of the extent to which POSA has closed down the democratic space in Zimbabwe.
In order to assist with the re-opening of the democratic space, those aspects of POSA that curtail peoples’ basic freedoms will need to be revoked. For instance provisions that:
- Make it a criminal offence to intentionally make statements likely to engender feelings of hostility towards or cause contempt or ridicule of the State President, whether in his person or in respect of his office 
- Give the police powers to arrest anyone at a public meeting who is not in possession of an identity card
- Require police permission for meetings of two or more people to discuss political issues
- Empower the police to completely ban party political meetings for up to three months in any given jurisdiction
The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights states that “every individual shall have the right to receive information” and that “every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his [or her] opinions.”
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that African governments should “safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of access to the media on the part of all stakeholders, during electoral processes.”
The Draft African Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance states that “special attention will be paid to … equitable access to public resources, including the Media, for all political parties and candidates in the pre-election period.”
The NEPAD Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance states that African governments commit themselves to “ensure responsible free expression, inclusive of the freedom of the press.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards asserts that “governments should take the emergence of private media as a healthy development in the institutionalisation of the democratic process and the conduct of elections and should therefore refrain from taking decisions that thwart the development of a strong private media. There should therefore be a domestic information law that reaffirms the existence of private media.” Further, they declare that all political parties should have equal time and space on publicly owned media.
The Election Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries Principles state that “equitable access to the public media should be available to all contesting parties and candidates.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his [or her] choice.”
The Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press states “the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation.”
Print and broadcast media freedoms have expanded greatly in the last 15 years across the SADC region. Independent newspapers and radio stations are now the norm rather than the exception. Even independent television stations are emerging. While independent print and electronic media are at times criticised by governments and have to operate responsibly within a legal framework, the right of independent print and electronic media to exist and operate is not questioned.
In Zimbabwe, the right of independent print and electronic media to exist and operate is not only called into question by the ruling authorities; there is also a determined and sustained attempt by the authorities to muzzle and emasculate this cornerstone of democracy through coercion and repressive legislation, namely the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). AIPPA has drastically curtailed the fundamental right to freedom of speech, including the right of the press to disseminate information to the public and the right of the public to receive information.
Under provisions contained in the Act, media organisations and journalists are required to register with the government controlled Media and Information Commission.
Since it was promulgated in March 2002, AIPPA has been applied almost exclusively against the private press. 31 journalists from the independent media have been arrested and charged under AIPPA. In its annual report published in May 2004 the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) confirmed that Zimbabwe has the worst record in terms of media freedoms. According to MISA’s findings, 54% of the total of 188 alerts issued last year on possible violations of press freedoms, concerned Zimbabwe.
No journalist working for the state media has been arrested or charged under AIPPA. Moreover, provisions contained within AIPPA were used as the basis for the recent closure of the Daily News, Zimbabwe’s only independent daily which also had the biggest circulation figures of all newspapers in Zimbabwe.
It is important to note that there is no independent broadcasting service in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which provides the only radio and television services in Zimbabwe, is increasingly partisan in favour of Zanu (PF). Independent surveys have shown that the only time allocated to cover opposition political parties is to criticise or ridicule them.
The closure of the Daily News, the severe restrictions placed on the remaining independent papers and the absence of private broadcast media, makes it extremely difficult for opposition parties to communicate their messages to the people given that they are denied access to the state media.
The tight restrictions on the flow of information severely distorts the electoral process as it denies voters the opportunity to make an informed choice when it comes to casting their ballots.
Balanced and equitable access to the state media for all political parties, and the lifting of restrictions on the activities of the private media, is essential if citizens are to be able to exercise their democratic right of accessing and receiving information that they require.
It is critical therefore that those aspects of AIPPA that curtail media freedoms are repealed or amended. For instance provisions that:
- Create a series of wide and vague offences that can be committed by journalists. These offences can attract severe penalties. They include falsifying or fabricating information and publishing a false statement, an offence which is punishable by up to two years imprisonment
- Force Zimbabwean citizens to apply to the Information Minister for special permission to work for foreign media
- Force all journalists operating in Zimbabwe to register with the government-appointed (and, therefore, controlled) Media and Information Commission (MIC)
- Provide the MIC with wide-ranging powers that empower it to decide which newspapers may operate and which journalists may practice their profession
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “every citizen shall have the right to participate in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives.”
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that “every citizen has the right to fully participate in the electoral process of the country, including the right to vote.”
The NEPAD Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance states that African governments commit themselves to “ensure the inalienable right of the individual to participate by means of free, credible and democratic political processes in periodically electing their leaders..”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to take part in the government of his [or her] country, directly or through freely chosen representatives” and that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage.”
The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “every citizen shall have the right and opportunity … to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections.”
One of the main goals of the liberation movements in southern Africa was to secure the right to vote for those previously denied their humanity and hence their ability to determine for themselves their political destiny. The importance of the right to vote is codified in constitutions and election laws across the region. While countries across SADC have not expanded the franchise to citizens living outside their borders, the international trend is to permit citizens in the Diaspora to vote. Countries like Malawi, while not providing for voting by non-resident citizens, do try to be as liberal as possible in defining voting rights and permit non-citizens who have resided in the country for seven or more years to vote.
The right to vote is an inalienable right, a right that defines participatory democracy. Without the ability to vote a citizen is denied an opportunity to have a direct influence on how his/her country is governed. Obstacles to Zimbabweans exercising their basic democratic right to vote is the recurrent theme of this paper.
One obstacle in particular though which is often overlooked, and which needs highlighting, is the right of citizens residing outside Zimbabwe to vote in elections back home. Under existing electoral laws, only members of the diplomatic service and armed forces, serving overseas, can vote outside the country. This provision disenfranchises an estimated 2 million Zimbabweans currently living in exile. The majority of those in exile are still Zimbabwean citizens and therefore should have the right to vote in elections.
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that governments will commit themselves to “establish impartial, all inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies staffed by qualified personnel.”
The Draft African Charter on Elections, Democracy and Governance states that “special attention will be paid to the independence of the Electoral Commission.”
The NEPAD Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance states that governments will commit to “strengthen and, where necessary, establish an appropriate electoral administration and oversight bodies.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “in the interest of promoting and entrenching pluralism, multi-party democracy and the integrity of the electoral process, the complete independence and impartiality of the Electoral Commission in dealing with all political parties should be reaffirmed in the constitution.” Further, they call for the harmonising of electoral laws across the region.
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries Principles states that the legal framework in every country should “provide for the establishment of an independent and impartial electoral management body” and that the election commission should be accountable to Parliament rather than a ministry.
The importance of the independent and impartial administration of elections is understood across the SADC region. Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia all have independent election commissions. While the independence and impartiality of the commissions is at times questioned, the assumption that these bodies must be independent and non-partisan is held across the region.
Despite being a signatory to the SADC protocol on elections, Zimbabwe is yet to replicate steps taken by its SADC counterpart’s vis-à-vis constitutional and legislative amendments in relation to the electoral framework. As a consequence, Zimbabwe’s constitutional and legislative framework for elections is inconsistent with the principles set out in the SADC ‘Norms and Standards’, underlining how out of step Zimbabwe is when compared to other SADC countries.
The current management of elections in Zimbabwe is flawed as it is a process that is very much influenced and directed by the interests of the ruling party. The very structure that is in place to manage elections supports this argument. At present elections are managed and run by the Elections Directorate (ED) and Registrar General. The ED is chaired and run by senior civil servants, all appointed by President Mugabe. In addition, members of the military have been drafted into the ED. All these appointments are very much influenced by the strength of their loyalty to the ruling party. Similarly, the Registrar General, who is responsible for the day to day running of the election, is a senior civil servant whose loyalty to President Mugabe and Zanu PF is unquestionable.
With regards to the supervision and monitoring of the conduct of the electoral process, the responsibility lies with the Electoral Supervisory Commission whose members include former military personnel appointed by the President.
Given the management and supervisory framework for elections it is therefore not surprising that public confidence in the impartial running of elections is extremely fragile, a factor that erodes the integrity of the overall electoral process.
Removing State and Executive control from the electoral process and consolidating the existing management and supervisory framework into a new single, independent, body, (Independent Electoral Commission) is an essential prerequisite to restoring public confidence in the electoral process. For this to happen, the legislative framework for elections will need to be amended accordingly and a specific provision enshrining the needs for an independent body to manage elections, inserted in the constitution.
To assist in the establishment of a ‘level playing field’ other areas of the existing constitutional and legislative framework will also need to be amended or repealed in order to address the distortions that are currently in place. The Zimbabwe constitution, for instance, does not clearly enshrine the right of Zimbabweans to vote. The Zimbabwe constitution also allows for 30 non-elected Members of Parliament, appointed by the President and who are empowered to vote in the legislature – essentially creating a permanent majority for any ruling party.
The Electoral Act, as it currently stands, does not provide procedures that ensure the integrity of the electoral process nor does it enable political parties or observers sufficient access to the process. More importantly, the Act provides the President with arbitrary powers to unilaterally change any aspect of the electoral process at his or her discretion at any time, something Mugabe did frequently in the run up to the 2002 Presidential election.
Zimbabwe’s electoral legislative framework does not, at present, facilitate the holding of genuine elections as existing statutes are designed to strengthen the status quo as opposed to strengthening democracy. The existing framework requires serious amendment in order to harmonise its provisions with regional and international standards.
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “a properly compiled register of voters provides a sound basis for the organisation of free and fair elections.”
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries Principles states that “the voter registration process should promote broad participation and should not inhibit the participation of eligible voters” and that “parties should have access to the voters’ roll, without charge.”
Across the SADC region significant steps have been taken to ensure that all individuals who wish to register to vote have an opportunity to do so and, further, that they also have a chance to verify their registration. In addition, political parties and observers have been encouraged to be part of the process to ensure that there is public confidence in the process. For example, in 2003 Namibia conducted an entirely new voter registration exercise to ensure that the country’s voters’ roll was as accurate and up-to-date as possible. The result around the region has been voters’ rolls that have been largely accurate and up-to-date. Electronic copies of the voters’ roll in South Africa was made available to all contesting parties in the recently held election.
In Zimbabwe the voter registration process is complex and bureaucratic, discouraging many people from registering. Moreover, the process is conducted by the Elections Directorate, whose members are appointed by the President; a factor which raises serious questions vis-à-vis the integrity of the voter registration process. Suspicions are further raised by the fact that opposition parties are denied electronic copies of the voters’ roll and have so far been denied complete copies of the hard copy version. This precludes attempts to verify both the accuracy and completeness of the voters’ roll.
Studies which have been carried out on sections of the hard copy that have been made available, have revealed numerous glaring anomalies, indicating a deeply flawed and inaccurate voters’ roll. The anomalies include: missing names of eligible voters; the names of non-existent individuals, the names of dead people and ‘errors’ which could preclude eligible voters from casting their ballots or which allow ineligible voters to vote.
In order to restore confidence an Independent Electoral Commission will need to conduct a thorough ‘clean-up’ of the existing voters’ roll and ensure that it is electronically available to all interested parties. As in neighbouring countries, all eligible Zimbabweans should have the right to have their name appear on the voters’ list.
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries Principles state that “there should be as many polling stations as the population density and settlement pattern demands, to ensure easier access, minimise waiting time and enhance efficiency.”
Across southern Africa, election commissions establish a sufficient number of polling stations for all voters to easily cast their ballots in one day. Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia all limit voting to one day without any inconvenience to voters. In the recently held South African election millions of South Africans successfully voted in one day. The same applies further abroad in Africa – for example Kenya, with a much larger population than Zimbabwe and extremely remote districts, votes on one day.
The disproportionate distribution of polling stations in Zimbabwe poses an additional obstacle for Zimbabweans, vis-à-vis exercising their right to vote. This is especially true in high density urban areas. In the 2002 Presidential Election, the number of polling stations in urban areas was reduced whilst in many rural areas the number was increased. As a result many people in urban areas declined to vote given the long queues or were unable to cast their ballots in the time period allocated under the Electoral Act. In Harare, for instance, some people who had queued for three days were unable to cast their ballots in time and were thus denied their democratic right to participate in the democratic process.
An adequate number of polling stations, proportionate to population density, needs to be introduced in order to enable people to cast their ballot expeditiously and to ensure that voting is completed within one day.
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries Principles states that “An enforceable Code of Conduct to regulate the behaviour of political parties and their supporters should be adopted through a consultative process involving the [election management body], political parties and other electoral stakeholders.”
Peace committees that bring election commissions together with political parties and other interested organisations (such as domestic monitoring groups) to ensure the peaceful conduct of elections are becoming more and more prevalent in SADC. In Zambia the 2001 tripartite elections, national and provincial level committees were established to bring all stakeholders together, to resolve informally, election related disputes.
As a mechanism to help restore public confidence in police performance during an election period, peace committees will need to be set up to act as a watchdog in relation to police performance. The peace committees should be comprised of representatives from all political parties, civic organisations including the church, the police and the Independent Electoral Commission.
The African Union Declaration on the Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that African governments commit themselves to “ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process by facilitating the deployment of representatives of political parties and individual candidates at polling and counting stations and by accrediting national and other observers/monitors” and to “promote civic and voters’ education on the democratic principles and values in close co-operation with the civil society groups and other relevant stakeholders.”
The African Union Guidelines for African Union Electoral Observation and Monitoring Missions states that “International, regional and national observers have come to play an important role in enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections and democratic governance in Africa.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “election observers should be accepted as apart of the process to institutionalise multi-party democracy.”
The Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries Principles state that election management bodies “must ensure speedy, efficient and non-discriminatory accreditation processes for observers and monitors” and that “civil society capacity, such as NGOs, CBOs, the faith based organisations (FBOs) and other institutions should harness and support civic and voter education to ensure an effective distribution through the country.”
Across southern Africa, domestic, regional and international election observers are taken as granted and seen as contributing to the legitimacy of the process. Domestic, regional and international organisations have observed elections in the past decade in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia without controversy. Further, civic organisations play a central role in all of these countries, working with election commissions to conduct voter education in order to ensure voters understand the importance of voting as well as the mechanics of the process.
When a country has a history of conducting elections that do not conform to international standards, the presence of local, regional and international observers is essential to help confer legitimacy on the outcome or provide the crucial objective analysis supporting claims that the outcome was fraudulent. Observers therefore help to provide transparency and reassurance, thereby injecting confidence into the electoral process.
In the 2002 Presidential Election a number of foreign observer missions were denied entry to Zimbabwe whilst many domestic observers were denied accreditation due to the discriminatory procedures that remain in place today.
The attitude of Zimbabwe towards observers is in stark contrast to its SADC partners. Across the region, the necessity of having domestic and international observers and allowing them unfettered access, is now accepted practice. For genuine elections to take place in Zimbabwe an adequate number of observers need to be accredited and deployed well in advance of polling day so that the whole campaign process leading up to polling day can be properly observed and accurately assessed.
Similar to the case of observers, the non-discriminatory and expeditious accreditation of voter educators, and their deployment well in advance of the polling day, is a key ingredient for a genuine election.
The Zimbabwe Government has recently tabled amendments to the Electoral Act which will ban civil society organisations from conducting voter education. Instead, under the terms of the proposed amendments, the Electoral Supervisory Commission (whose members include former military personnel appointed by the President) will have sole control over voter education, exposing the process to possible manipulation by the ruling party.
For voter education to fulfil its role as an essential exercise in strengthening participatory democracy, it is essential that civil society has sufficient capacity to conduct effective nationwide voter education. This should be one of the core responsibilities of the Independent Electoral Commission.
The African Union Declaration on Principles governing Democratic Elections in Africa states that African governments will commit themselves to “take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices.”
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “the right of eligible individuals to vote unimpeded and the right to vote in secrecy in a ballot box should be protected and enshrined in the constitutions of the SADC countries” and that “those SADC countries that still use opaque wooden ballot boxes are urged to discard them in favour of transparent ballot boxes.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections … held by secret vote.”
The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “citizens shall have the right and opportunity … to vote … by secret ballot.”
Across the SADC region the secrecy of the ballot goes unquestioned. While concerns may be raised about vote buying or the manipulation of the results, all over southern Africa “your vote is your secret.” Procedures common in the past that undermined the secrecy of the vote were largely eradicated during the 1990s.
Recent elections in Zimbabwe have eroded people’s confidence in the secrecy of the ballot to such an extent that many voters, especially in rural areas, no longer believe that their vote is secret. Increasing incidents of headmen loyal to Zanu PF camping outside polling stations and writing down peoples names as they arrive to vote, combined with regular incidents of targeted retribution against accused MDC voters in the aftermath of an election, has served to strengthen the perception that voting in accordance with your own wishes is a risky business. This pervasive obstacle to a genuine election was again in evidence during the recently held Lupane by-election (15-16 May)
Events in Lupane will have convinced many voters that the secrecy of their ballot is pure wishful thinking.
In Zimbabwe there are deep concerns that protection measures in place to ensure the integrity of voting procedures are inadequate. These concerns stem from existing electoral practices. For instance, election officials use small dabs of invisible ultraviolet ink to mark individuals who have already voted. This ink is not visible to the naked eye and can only be viewed with the use of specialised equipment which is often inaccessible to political parties’ agents. In practice therefore it is impossible for polling agents and observers to verify if a potential voter has ultraviolet ink on his or her finger, therefore making it impossible to determine whether or not someone has already voted. The use of visible, indelible ink, as is the practice in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia and in the recently conducted South African election, would solve this problem.
The SADC Parliamentary Forum Election Norms and Standards states that “counting of votes should be done at the polling station … [and] there should be immediate release of official election results on completion of counting.”
The Electoral Commissioners Forum of SADC Countries Principles states that “the counting process should take place in the polling station immediately following the close of the hours of voting.”
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia all count ballot papers at polling stations immediately after the conclusion of the poll rather than first moving the boxes and then counting the ballots papers at a centralised counting centre.
The procedures in place for the counting of ballots is open to serious abuse and the procedures in no way comply with regional and international standards. Under the current system, ballot boxes are taken from polling stations to central locations and held overnight before they are opened and counted. In recent elections the army has been deployed to facilitate this process whilst on occasions, and in certain areas, observers and opposition officials are banned from accompanying ballot boxes from the polling stations to the counting centres. This accountability deficit increases the likelihood of fraud and manipulation.
The minimum conditions set out in this document are fundamental to the restoration of genuine democratic elections in Zimbabwe. In the case of Zimbabwe, opening up the political space and creating an environment within which people are free to elect a government of their choice is essential if we are to prescribe long-lasting solutions to the chronic political and socio-economic crisis with which Zimbabwe is currently confronted; a crisis which, if allowed to fester, will pose serious challenges to the SADC region, in terms of collective stability and economic growth.
It is only through the restoration of democratic government, based on the authority of the people, that Zimbabwe can make real progress towards completing the unfinished business of the liberation agenda and building a national consensus around a progressive political culture (based on the core democratic values of solidarity, social justice, freedom and equality); a political culture capable of replacing, and eradicating, the violent dimension that has plagued and scarred Zimbabwe since the arrival of the British in 1890.
In the absence of a new progressive political culture Zimbabwe will remain stuck in a cycle of bad governance and violence that prevents the country from developing into a stable, pluralist, multi-party democracy that up-holds the rule of law and protects and promotes citizens’ basic democratic and human rights.
 The Solidarity Peace Trust consists of church leaders of Southern Africa and is dedicated to promoting the rights of victims of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The Trust was founded in 2003.
 An executive President is an active politician who heads his government. As with other politicians, members of the public and the press have a democratic right to express even strong criticisms of actions taken by the President, and even to express that criticism in the form of ridicule. In the context of a presidential election campaign it is simply nonsensical that opposition candidates are banned from criticizing the incumbent, when the incumbent himself/herself is likely to be a candidate.