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Mugabe motorcade accident kills one, injures 15

By Lance Guma
19 June 2012

A third accident in just two weeks caused by Robert Mugabe’s huge motorcade
has claimed the life of one person and injured 15 others. Police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the accident in an interview with the Daily News

Bvudzijena said the crash took place seven km from Kutama, which is in
Mugabe’s rural home area of Zvimba. “The lead police vehicle (in the
presidential motorcade) crashed into a kombi carrying 22 passengers. They
were going in opposite directions,” Bvudzijena said.

“The police car was flashing its blue light and because a car in front of
the kombi was parking by the side of the road to give way, the kombi driver
tried to overtake and smashed into the oncoming police vehicle. Both
vehicles were extensively damaged,” Bvudzijena claimed.

Bvudzijena said Mugabe had not been affected since his armour-plated
limousine was far back in the motorcade. “The incident is a show of total
disregard to road regulations which state that whenever there is a flashing
red or blue light, be it a police vehicle or ambulance, other vehicles must
give way,” he said.

Two weeks ago two separate road accidents on the same day involving Mugabe’s
motorcade claimed the lives of two people. A homeless man died on the spot
after being run over by a bike, while later on a tyre burst claiming the
life of a Presidential Guard sharp-shooter who was on board a Toyota Land

Mugabe was said to be travelling to the funeral of a headman when the
speeding bike that leads his motorcade ran over the homeless man along the
Harare-Bulawayo highway near Pamuzinda Hide-Out. The rest of the motorcade
reportedly zoomed past the accident scene without stopping to assist the

In the second incident a land cruiser in his motorcade burst a tyre,
injuring eight members of the Presidential Guard. One of them, Private
Jeoffrey Mukotekwa, later died of his injuries at Parirenyatwa Hospital in

A former member of the police escort team who travel with Mugabe told SW
Radio Africa two weeks ago that during his period with the unit he lost,“5
good friends on duty through accidents while escorting Mugabe.” He estimated
some 10 motorbike outriders have died since independence.

The number of accidents involving Mugabe’s huge motorcade is piling up. In
2005 the motorcade ran over another homeless person, killing him on the
spot. In 2009, one of his outriders collided with a Mazda 323 in Harare and
in January this year a police BMW bike collided with a Toyota Hilux in
Borrowdale, Harare.

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Mugabe And The Deadly Motorcade: How Zimbabwe’s Potholes Became A Serious Problem


By Jacey Fortin: Subscribe to Jacey's RSS feed

June 19, 2012 1:57 PM EDT

For the third time in a mere two weeks, the motorcade of Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe has been involved in a fatal accident.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and the sirens were blaring. Mugabe's motorcade,
which includes motorbikes, high-security vehicles and a bullet-proof
limousine, was winding through the town of Zvimba when a bus driver
allegedly failed to heed the siren's warning.

The leading car in Mugabe's brigade struck the bus head-on, according to
Agence France-Presse, killing one passenger and injuring 15 others. Mugabe,
several vehicles behind, was unhurt.

The other two recent accidents both occurred during a single trip on June 6.
First, a veering motorbike ran into a homeless man and killed him. Then, a
burst tire resulted in the flipping of an armed truck, killing a member of
the presidential guard.

Three fatalities in short order certainly look suspicious, causing some to
wonder whether the motorcade drivers are purposefully careless -- or,
conversely, whether the civilians involved were on a crash course by design.
The dictatorial Mugabe is, after all, feared and reviled by much of
Zimbabwe's population.

But such conspiracy theories are unlikely. Each accident was different, and
there were fatalities on both sides. These were accidental deaths--
tragedies, but not murders. Recklessness is to blame.

Losing Control

Governmental recklessness has led to tragedy in more ways than one. Choosing
better motorcade drivers and training them to observe the rules of the road
is one short-term solution. But in order to prevent similar accidents that
occur all over Zimbabwe on a regular basis, a more comprehensive approach is

The missing link: governmental investment in public infrastructure. In order
to prevent accidents, the first step is to fix the roads.

Traffic accidents are more than a presidential problem; the past few months
have seen too many civilian deaths on Zimbabwe's roads. In March, 18 people
died when a driver lost control of a bus and ran into a stone wall. In
mid-April, 21 people lost their lives when another bus overturned on a
highway. In late May, a minibus rammed into a tree and killed 13.

The Guardian reports that Zimbabwe is notorious for impossible roads. The
streets are pocked with potholes, forcing drivers to swerve, often onto the
wrong side of the street. Traffic signs and signals are often absent, broken
or outdated.

The problem is endemic, and everyone suffers. Even Zimbabwe's Prime Minster
Morgan Tsvangirai lost his wife Susan in 2009, when a lorry smashed into
their vehicle.

Susan Tsvangirai was well-liked by the people of Zimbabwe; she was known for
being a quiet humanitarian, not often in the limelight but dedicated to
helping the country's poor and, unlike Mugabe and his wife Grace, averse to
flaunting wealth.

Morgan Tsvangirai himself is also considered a champion for many of
Zimbabwe's people. He leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
is opposed to Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF). Tsvangirai ran for president against Mugabe in 2008, and
the polls had him in the lead. But ZANU-PF waged a campaign of vote-rigging,
violence and intimidation. Tsvangirai eventually dropped out, and Mugabe
claimed victory.

A subsequent ruling from the Southern African Development Community resulted
in a power-sharing arrangement; Mugabe now acts as president and Tsvangirai
as prime minister. But this coalition has proven unstable. Tsvangirai and
many MDC members in Parliament have reported being harassed, persecuted and
even arrested by forces loyal to ZANU-PF.

Behind Tinted Glass

Tsvangirai might offer some hope for Zimbabwe's faltering infrastructure,
but so far he hasn't gotten the chance to lead his country.

Mugabe was first elected president of Zimbabwe in 1980. Back then, he was a
public hero due to his prominent role in the nation's independence struggles
during the 1960s and 1970s.

Today, Mugabe's reputation is one of mismanagement, ruthlessness, violence
and corruption. Zimbabwe has made little developmental progress since its
independence; poverty and hunger are widespread throughout the landlocked
country. Zimbabwe has huge mineral assets, including diamonds, which could
be used to finance the public sector and necessary infrastructure projects.
But reports indicate that these funds are regularly embezzled by ZANU-PF

"The benefits of the diamond sales go primarily to allies of the president,"
said Mike Davis to the New York Times. Davis is a researcher at Global
Witness, an organization that monitors Zimbabwe's mining industry. He
described this graft as "part of a wider attempt by people around Mugabe to
seize the diamond wealth for their own political purposes, which in the
short term means beating and cheating their way to another election."

While Mugabe rides the streets of Harare in glittering motorcades, and while
ZANU-PF finances superfluous projects including the planned construction of
a new luxury, high-security mansion in the South African resort town of
Ballito, Zimbabwe's citizens are left with a spotty electrical grid, poor
sewage systems, and chronically potholed thoroughfares.

A World Bank report last year found that infrastructure investments are far
below what they should be, though things began auspiciously.

"Zimbabwe made significant progress in infrastructure in its early period as
an independent state, building a national electricity network with regional
interconnections, an extensive and internationally connected road network,
and a water and sewer system," said the report.

"But the country has been unable to maintain its existing infrastructure
since it became immersed in economic and political turmoil in the late

Patching Things Up

If his past record is any indication, Mugabe seems unlikely to address his
country's infrastructure problems in any real way. His allegedly poor health
doesn't help matters; the president is 88 and is rumored to suffer from
prostate cancer. There are even reports that he is no longer mentally fit to
lead Zimbabwe.

But if Mugabe is not in power, then who? The president is pushing for 2012
elections, which would be ahead of schedule. Some suspect that he wants to
get through the campaign season before his health declines further. ZANU-PF
has already asked the supportive military to campaign on its behalf, a bad
sign considering past election-season violence. And even if Mugabe himself
falls from power, recent meetings with -- and high-profile diplomatic
assignments for -- ZANU-PF former spy chief Emmerson Mnangagwa suggest that
this close ally of Mugabe is being groomed for succession to the presidency.

Meanwhile, MDC officials including Tsvangirai hope that this next round of
voting finally puts an end to the reign of ZANU-PF. Otherwise, Zimbabwe's
citizens could be in for more of the same. Infrastructure will keep
deteriorating without better oversight of government funds, and the failing
roads that result in so many preventable deaths will continue to crumble.

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Masvingo Road Carnage Cause for Concern

By George Maponga, 18 June 2012

Close to 70 people died along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road in the first five
months of this year amid calls for Government to take urgent measures to
ensure safety on one of Zimbabwe's busiest highways.

Sixty-seven people died in 417 road accidents during the same period.

The province has reported an average of 16 deaths a month between January
and May this year.

The highest number of deaths was recorded along the Masvingo-Beitbridge

Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke on Saturday expressed
concern at the increased road carnage in the province.

Officially launching the provincial Traffic Safety Emergency Awareness
Campaign in Masvingo, Governor Maluleke said there was no need to blame the
accidents on black magic.

He said most of the accidents were caused by human error.

"Masvingo province records an average of 105 road traffic collisions, 65
injuries and 16 deaths every month and be that is it may we had an
unprecedented record of road traffic fatalities in our province in the past
one and half months (April-10 May 2012).

"In April alone 29 lives were lost due to road traffic collisions and in
May, 12 lives were lost through road traffic accidents meaning that the
province lost 41 lives between 1 April and 10 May this year as result of
road crashes," hesaid.

He called for a shift from ad hoc road safetyactivities by developing and
implementing sustainable road safety programmes.

Acting provincial police officer commanding Masvingo Assistant Commissioner
Elliot Musvita said there was a 15 percent increase in road accidents
compared to last year.

He said 417 accidents were recorded this year compared to 362 cases during
the same period last year.

Asst Comm Musvita blamed most of the accidents to drunken driving and human
error. He challenged stakeholders in road traffic safety to come up with a
vibrant road map dove-tailed to arrest rampant road carnage to in Masvingo.

The launch was held under the theme, '"Save Lives, Save Money. Save
property. Masvingo says No to road carnage."

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Seven WOZA members briefly detained after Bulawayo demo

By Alex Bell
19 June 2012

Seven members of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were
arrested and then briefly detained on Tuesday, after a ‘die-in’ protest in

The ‘die-in’, which saw three different groups of WOZA members lying down at
main traffic intersections in the city, form part of a WOZA led campaign to
pressure for a devolved system of government to be included in the draft
constitution. The group has warned that their home city, Bulawayo, is dying
around them with businesses continuing to close all over the city.

Two of the three protests went ahead as planned on Tuesday morning, whilst
the third was stopped by riot police who followed the activists for over 30
minutes as they tried to regroup. They eventually managed to regroup and
conduct their ‘die-in’ without incident at Main Street and 6th avenue.

The members, carrying traffic signs and red flags, lay down at the
intersections faking ‘death’, which WOZA’s Jenni Williams explained was a
way to symbolise that Bulawayo is dying. She told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday
that WOZA feels that the reason the economy and cities like Bulawayo are
being left to ‘die’ lies in the “political culture of centralised power and
resource control.”

“WOZA are of the view that a key way to change this destructive culture is
through a devolved system of government which must be adopted as a principle
in the new constitution,” Williams explained, adding that this “will help
change the political culture that is clearly so destructive in Zimbabwe.

Williams also explained how police rounded up seven of their members at the
protest at Main Street and 8th Avenue and detained them for a few hours.
They were eventually released when the officer in charge, Chief Inspector
Rangwari said they had not caused any damage.

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MDC members denied bail at the High Court

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

All the 29 MDC members who are facing false charges of murdering a police
officer in Glen View, Harare last year were today denied bail by Justice
Chinembiri Bhunu.

Citing Section 117(6) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Justice
Bhunu said the 29 members had not shown any special circumstances to be
granted bail.

He blamed the legislators for putting in place the Act as it disadvantaged
those facing murder charges. He said the Act stipulates that if anyone
murders a police officer on duty the accused person cannot be granted bail
unless special circumstances are shown.

Justice Bhunu said the accused had a better chance for a fair trial in the
main trial than by appealing for bail. The accused have been in remand
prison since their indictment for trial in March. The have been denied bail
on several occasions and some of them have been in prison for over a year

Before delivering his ruling, Justice Bhunu attacked one of the defence
lawyers, Charles Kwaramba for commenting and blasting the judiciary about
the trial in the media.

In the article, Kwaramba is quoted saying; “It just goes to show that there
is no equal application of the law. This is a classical example. Here we
have police officers who are supposed to protect the people being accused of
murdering a civilian for a dollar.

“On the other hand we have 29 civilians who have been in prison for over a
year now, being accused of killing a cop. So far, there is no evidence that
points at them, but the speed of arrests shows that the police wanted to
arrest them because they are MDC.

There were no investigations when the 29 were arrested.

“One wonders how the Shamva cops were granted $50 bail each in a murder case
while the 29 activists are failing to get the same even when there is no
evidence,” said Kwaramba.

Kwaramba said that the moment a person is labelled MDC, then justice will be

“Just like Mutedza, Chivambo (Luxmore) and Magura (Cephas), left families
who expect justice to be carried out in full,” he said.

The High Court trial resumes this afternoon.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!

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Zambian president to be targeted in Free Zim protest

By Alex Bell
19 June 2012

Zambia’s President Michael Sata and his ongoing support for Robert Mugabe is
set to come under international condemnation on Thursday, as part of the
sixth round of the Free Zimbabwe Global Protests.

The monthly demonstrations, dubbed the 21st Movement, are organised by the
international structures of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and have been
taking place outside Zimbabwean and South African embassies and consulates
around the world. The protests for the last five months have been primarily
targeting South Africa, as the mediator in the ongoing political stalemate
in Zimbabwe, as a way of putting pressure on Jacob Zuma to ensure real
change before a fresh election.

But for the sixth round the focus will now shift to Zambia, with the
organisers of the demonstrations saying they are “dismayed” by recent
comments and actions of Sata’s.

Most recently Sata chanted ZANU PF slogans at a regional summit of Southern
African leaders in Angola, while referring to Mugabe as ‘sekuru’
(grandfather). He has also previously denigrated the MDC-T, accusing it of
being a ‘puppet’ of the West.

“To our greatest disappointment, Mr. Sata has become a self-appointed
spokesman and gatekeeper for not only ZANU PF but those who work daily to
crash democratic voices in Zimbabwe,” said Den Moyo, the coordinator of the
21st Movement and the Chairman of the US executive of the MDC-T.

He told SW Radio Africa that Sata should leave Zimbabweans to determine
their destiny “without him carelessly supporting a party whose time had
expired and trying to remain in power through violent suppression of the
democratic aspirations of people.”

“Does he not see any paradox in wishing us a life president when Zambia has
changed leaders five times?” Moyo said.

He added that the whole of SADC needs to be pressured and encouraged to
champion democracy around the region, and he hopes their protest will drive
this message home.

The protests are set to get underway on Thursday across the globe, including
in Washington, London and South Africa. More information can be found on the
official Facebook page:

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Tsvangirai and new wife to wed in September?

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 September 2012

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is reportedly going to formally wed new
wife Elizabeth Macheka in September this year, according to an independent

The daily Newsday, in its Tuesday edition, said the Prime Minister will tie
the knot with 35 year-old Macheka on September 15th, at a ceremony likely to
be held in Harare.

But Tsvangirai’ spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka denied reports of the premier’s
imminent wedding, telling the paper that he would inform them if such plans
are made.

Calls to Tamborinyoka from SW Radio Africa went unanswered although many in
the Prime Minister’s party welcomed news of the ‘wedding.’

The couple both lost their spouses in tragic circumstances. Tsvangirai lost
his wife Susan in a 2009 car crash along the Harare-Beitbridge highway,
while Elizabeth lost her first husband, Mabasa Guma, in a car crash along
the Harare-Bulawayo road, some 10 years ago.

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Devolution Of Power Guaranteed;Mwonzora

Nompumelelo Moyo Bulawayo, June 19 2012-COPAC Co-Chairperson, Honourable
Douglas Mwonzora has assured Zimbabwean youths that devolution of power is
guaranteed in the new supreme law of the land and that Zanu (PF) has no
powers to alter that clause.

In an interview with Radio VOP on Monday,
Mwonzora said more than 82 percent of people in the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe
said they wanted devolution of power and Zanu (PF) was aware of that.

"Zanu (PF)has no powers to alter the written draft constitution and they are
aware that more than 82 percent of Zimbabweans who contributed in the
gathering of information for the constitution making process said they
wanted devolution of power.

“As Copac we also wonder why one party out of three parties in the GPA is
not happy with people’s contributions on devolution of power. I urge you not
to vote no in the coming constitutional referendum because Zanu-PF is trying
to refuse peoples contributions.

Devolution of Power is guaranteed in the new constitution. I can only urge
you to go and register to vote and those without proper documents to go and
get one than to campaign for a no vote,” said Hon Mwonzora.

He said Chapter five of the draft constitution covers devolution of power
whether President Robert Mugabe wants that or not as MDC and MDC-T are for
Devolution of power.

“It is the reason why Zanu-PF walked out in one of the meetings when we told
them that we will not support any constitution without devolution of power
as people of Zimbabwe said they want that in the new constitution,” said Hon

He added that devolution of power is the answer to unemployment, development
and a number of challenges faced by the people of Zimbabwe.

Bulawayo MDC, MDC-T and ZAPU Youth Assemblies have vowed to campaign for a
no vote in the constitutional referendum if devolution of power is not there
in the new constitution.

The Youth Assemblies are saying Copac should desist from allowing Zanu-PF to
veto the views of the people and they don’t want a skeletal devolution but
one with provincial government that are elected by the people.

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No devolution, no constitution: MDC

Written by Pindai Dube
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:34

BULAWAYO - State Enterprises minister and MDC Bulawayo provincial
chairperson Gorden Moyo says his party will not accept a new constitution
which ignores the concept of devolution.

“Zanu PF is blocking devolution of power in the new constitution saying that
it is about tribalism, but that is a lie,” Moyo told MDC youths during Day
of the African Child commemorations in Bulawayo at the weekend.

“Devolution of power is about fair distribution of state resources to all
provinces. We will not accept a constitution without devolution of power,”
he said.

His stance could mean more delays in the completion of a draft constitution
viewed as a key foundation for future stability.

Zanu PF says it will not accept a constitution which recognises devolution.

Speaking at the Bulawayo function, Constitution Select Committee (Copac)
co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said: “All the country’s provinces including
President Robert Mugabe’s Mashonaland West province demanded devolution in
the new constitution."

"So we are surprised when Mugabe is rejecting what his people want.
Devolution of power will be in the new constitution whether Zanu PF wants it
or not. We have to respect the people’s will.”

Copac is a cross party parliamentary body leading the crafting of a new

Mugabe and Zanu PF are rejecting devolution of power, saying Zimbabwe is too
small for the concept. They also fear that devolution will divide

But local human rights organisations, civil society groups, pressure groups
and opposition political parties say devolution is the best way to stop the
continued marginalisation of some provinces.

They say devolution of power is the only way of uplifting some of the
country’s provinces that have remained marginalised since independence in

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President Mugabe Bashes Finance Minister Biti Over Byo Businesses

By Ngoni Chanakira BULAWAYO, June 19, 2012 - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has
castigated his Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, accusing him of sidelining
the "City of Kings" - Bulawayo.

"If Bulawayo dies then all of Zimbabwe dies," President Mugabe said in
Bulawayo before dashing out to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil to attend the
three-day Summit on the Environment.
"I asked Biti what he had done with the US$500 000 we had been given by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and he said he only had about US$100 000
left. We should have used that money to bring the businesses in Bulawayo up
to standard because most of them were closed. During the colonial days,
Bulawayo was used for the manufacturing industry and that is why the
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has its head quarters here. Harare is
the Administrative Centre of Zimbabwe and, therefore, Bulawayo must survive
and not die because most of our factories are here."
President Mugabe then took a bash at the IMF accusing them of sidelining
developing nations, including Zimbabwe, which owes the Washington-based
organisation US$550 million, US$140 million of it, being in arrears.
Politicians and business executives based in Bulawayo have accused his
government of ignoring Bulawayo, the country's second largest city.
Some Harare-based politicians generally accuse Bulawayo citizens of being
sell outs because they voted for the MDC-T led by Prime Minister, Morgan
Minister Biti is MDC-T Secretary General.
He has, however, so far not made any statement on the burning issue.
The moves comes at a time when the delegation from the Washington-based IMF
is making its visit to cash-strapped Zimbabwe for the Article VI Annual
Consultations when they scrutinise the economy.
Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears to the IMF have now reached US$140 million at
a time when the country owes the influential group US$550 million.
Biti said Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears under the Fund's Extended Credit
Facility (ECF) now amount to US$140 million.
The ECF replaced the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
"Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF's arrears from its
own resources," Biti said in Harare.
"In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a
concessional bridging loan or grant to settle arrears to the IMF."
He said clearance pf ECF arrears would unlock new financing arrangements
from the IMF, within the context of a Fund supported financial arrangement,
which would then be used to repay the bridging loan obtained from the
cooperating partners.
Biti says Zimbabwe owes multilateral institutions a grand total of US$2,504
billion, of which the World Bank is owed US$1,126 billion, the IMF, US$550
million, the African Development Bank (AfDB) US$529 million, and the
European Investment Bank (EIB), US$221 million.
Biti says government is "implementing a series of reforms focusing on many
He said these included strengthening public finance management, budget
implementation and execution, review of national tax laws, effective aid
coordination, debt management, as well as privatising, restructuring and
commercialising state enterprises.
Biti said the GNU would also boost its financial sector stability sector.

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Zimbabwe Launches Immunization Drive Against Measles, Polio

18 June 2012

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington

Zimbabwe embarked on a massive immunization campaign against measles and
polio on Monday, targeting about two million children under the age of five.

Statistics show that at least 100 children die of largely preventable
diseases in the country everyday, and officials say the weeklong vaccination
program is meant to roll back the worrying mortality rate.

Health and Child Welfare Minister, Henry Madzorera launched the program in
Harare, administering vaccines to a number of children and doses of Vitamin
A supplements.

He urged parents across the country to have their children vaccinated at
designated points, including those from apostolic sects that normally shun
conventional health care.

"Diseases do not select on the basis of religious affiliation, and it is the
duty of every adult to ensure that no child dies of a preventable disease,"
state radio quoted Madzorera as saying.

The government is carrying out the immunization outreach with the help of
the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, which normally handles funds
donated by different agencies and countries to help revitalize Zimbabwe's
health sector.

The campaign is funded by Japan. UNICEF representative in Harare, Peter
Salama said he was hopeful all children needing immunization would get it.

"In partnership with the international donor community, the rate of children
immunized will continue to rise," Salama told VOA.

"Through the support of Japan and the ministry of health, UNICEF has managed
to provide all the measles and polio vaccines and injection, and safety

The program is also supported by the Measles-Rubella Iniative, American Red
Cross, U.S. Center for Disease Control, among others.

Zimbabwe's economic decline over the years has had a devastating effect on
the health sector, resulting in the acute shortage of medication, including
Aids drugs.

It has also seen the death of hundreds of people of curable diseases such as
the cholera outbreak that claimed more than four thousand lives in 2008.

But experts say the improvement in the country's economic conditions since
the adoption of a multi-currency system that includes the U.S. Dollar and
the South African Rand in 2009, has slightly infused life into the
struggling health sector.

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Mines Minister Casts Doubt Over Essar-Zisco Iron Ore Deal

18 June 2012

Irwin Chifera | Harare

Zimbabwe's mines minister cast doubt on Monday over the urgent
implementation of the $750 million Essar-Zimbabwe deal telling a
parliamentary committee that Harare will not allow the steel giant to access
the nation's 30 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves for free.

The Essar-Zimbabwe agreement stalled after political opponents in the shaky
coalition government differed on the true value of the deal to resuscitate
the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco).

The deal was signed between Essar and Zimbabwe's industry and commerce

In testimony to parliament's industry portfolio committee on the troubled
Essar deal, Obert Mpofu said his ministry and stakeholders were not
consulted on the deal allowing the steel maker access to iron ore reserves
without pay.

Many political players in the country have criticized the deal saying it
short-changed the country with deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
recently saying the deal should have been worth at least $2 billion.

Mpofu told VOA afterwards that Cabinet had not discussed the deal prior to
signing, adding Industry Minister Welshman Ncube brought the papers to their
weekly meeting "as an after thought a few months down the line when they
discovered there were other issues to deal with our mineral resources."

Sources say the cabinet, though not happy about the deal, has directed that
iron ore resources that were used by the then Zisco, be transferred to Essar
Africa Holdings but Mpofu maintains his ministry would not do it for free.

Mpofu told Parliament said investigations by his ministry show that iron ore
resources that were used by Zisco at Buchwa and Ripple Creek were adequate
to resuscitate Zisco operations. He adds a request for extra resources by
Essar are not justified.

The mines minister said it would be improper for the nation to cede its more
than 30 billion tonnes of iron ore to Essar without any benefit accruing to
the fiscus.

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Essar Africa demands ‘ridiculous’: Mpofu

19/06/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

CHANCES of operations resuming at Ziscosteel appeared remote Monday after
Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu, dismissed as ‘ridiculous and outrageous’
demands by Essar Africa Holdings for the hand over of iron ore reserves at
Mwenezi ranch in Masvingo.

Essar Africa acquired a 54 percent stake in Zisco (now renamed New Zim
Steel) in 2011 in a US$750 million deal which included taking over debts and
liabilities of the of the Redcliff-based steel-maker.

The deal was expected to see operations at Zisco, stopped in 2008, resume
but work is still to begin several months later as disagreements continue
between the government and Essar over the transfer of iron ore reserves.

Essar has rejected reserves the government offered at Buchwa mine in
Zvishavane saying they were "too deep to exploit," and claims those at
Ripple Creek near Redcliff were not sufficient to enable them to recoup
their investment.

Instead the firm wants reserves at Mwenezi with an estimated resource of 30
billion tonnes of iron ore.

But Mpofu told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and
Commerce that the Indian firm was making unreasonable demands.

"What these guys are asking for is ridiculous, it is no longer about Zisco
it is about something else," he said.

Mpofu said in the meantime the government would only transfer rights to
Buchwa and Ripple Creek that would enable Essar to resume operations.

"The Ministry's concern was why the Indian firm wanted so many claims if the
agreement was primarily for the resuscitation of the steel works in
Redcliff, thus the Ministry's approach was to identify claims with enough
resources in terms of quality and quantity for the revival of Zisco,” he

Mpofu insisted that the Ripple creek claims were sufficient with an
estimated resource of 59 million tonnes of ore and could be exploited over
32 years.

The Buchwa claims were holding up to 15 million tonnes of high grade ore
reserves, he said.

Mpofu said the government had erred in agreeing to hand over 80 percent of
iron ore reserves in the country to Essar adding that the provision would be

He said cabinet had resolved to re-align that provision so that government
would own more than 50 percent of the mineral rights.

"We cannot give all the reserves to one company. No, we are not foolish," he

Mpofu however said his Ministry was not involved in the original
negotiations for the deal

"The Ministry was not involved in the deal, and did not know about the
agreement. We had to look for the agreement from the Ministry of Industry
and Commerce only part of that agreement was obtained and up to now the
Ministry does not have a formal copy of the agreement,” he said.

"As the custodian of the mineral resources of the country, the Ministry of
mines should have been involved especially where issues to do with
management of iron ore resources are concerned."

Once the biggest integrated steel works in Africa, Ziscosteel stopped
collapsed several years ago weighed down by huge debts and ageing plant and
equipment as well as the lack of working capital.

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Chiadzwa murder lands top cop in trouble

Written by Sydney Saize, Own Correspondent
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:02

HARARE - A senior police officer who allegedly killed an illegal diamond
miner in Chiadzwa is set to stand trial next Monday.

Joseph Chani, a police chief superintendent who once commandeered of Mutare
urban district before being transferred to Harare, was last Friday indicted
for murder by magistrate Charles Murowe.

Chani, who is languishing in Mutare remand prison, will be in the dock on
murder charges when the second circuit of the High Court kicks-off in Mutare
on Monday.

Mike Tembo is representing the state.

An indictment refers to a situation where a suspect who is not on remand is
brought to court to be notified of his/her High Court trial date set.

During this period the accused person is locked in remand prison and can
only apply for bail at the High Court.

Chani allegedly murdered illegal panner Tsorotsai Kusena in September last
year after severely assaulting him.

Court officials told the Daily News they had indicted Chani after receiving
a full murder docket from homicide detectives in the eastern border city.

It is alleged Chani assaulted Kusena with switches after the illegal diamond
panner and three colleagues had been re-arrested by the police following a
thwarted escape bid from lawful custody.

Earlier on, Mbada Diamonds Mine security guards had nabbed the illegal
panners whom they caught panning for the precious gems and handed them over
to the police.

While in police custody following their short taste of freedom, it is
alleged Chani assaulted the illegal panners all over their bodies using

Kusena later died that night reportedly from the serious injuries sustained
from the beating at the hands of Chani.

A medical report is also going to be used as an exhibit of the cause of

Kusena was aged 37 when he died and left behind two children, Tanaka aged
seven and two-year-old Sharley as well as widow Sithandekile.

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Zimbabwe Opens Marange Diamond Fields for Visits

19.06.12, 10:57 / World

The government of Zimbabwe has announced that it is welcoming diplomats from
the European Union and other Western countries to visit the country's
Marange diamond industry, to judge for themselves whether human rights
violations are still ongoing there, Rough and Polished reported. Until now
only allies of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe were permitted to access
the region.

European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Arricia confirmed that there
would be an official visit to the diamond fields at the end of June.
Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu told Zimbabwe
journal Zim Eye that Western diplomats had expected his government to refuse
their requests to coordinate an inspection of the Marange sites.

International sanctions prevented diamonds harvested in Marange from being
sold legitimately in global markets until 2011 when sanctions were lifted.
Despite the lifting of international sanctions, the United States has
continued to ban Marange diamonds.

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Chimanikire Defends Army's Presence At Chiadzwa

18 June 2012

Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Gift Chimanikire has defended
Zimbabwe Defence Industry's participation in diamond mining at Chiadzwa as
common practice the world over.

He said defence industries across the globe were involved in business

He was responding to Mazowe Central representative Mr Shepherd Mushonga
(MDC-T)'s question in Parliament last week on the nature of shareholding of
companies operating at Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland.

"Anjin is owned by the Chinese and the Government of Zimbabwe where ZMDC
owns 10 percent and Zimbabwe Defence Industries owns 40 percent
shareholding. Honourable Members of Parliament should be alert and be
abreast with matters of national interest.

"It is imperative that Honourable Members of Parliament understand how
Defence Industries are run," he said.

The ZDI is one of Africa's top defence contractors outside South Africa and,
although nominally a private concern, all the shares in company are held by
the Ministry of Defence.

Deputy Minister Chimanikire said there was nothing sinister with the ZDI's
involvement in diamond mining.

"Defence Industries are a common practice the world over and there is
nothing perculiar about it in Zimbabwe because Anjin itself is a defence
industry company that is owned by the Chinese, which is in a joint venture
with ZDI," he said.

Government's wholly owned Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds and Diamond
Mining Corporation which are joint ventures with the State and private
partners are some of the companies in Chiadzwa.

Deputy Minister Chimanikire refuted allegations that the Central
Intelligence Organisation, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe
Prison Service were involved in diamond mining in Chiadzwa.

"From a ministry point of view, Central Intelligence Organisation and
Partners, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Partners and Zimbabwe Prisons and
partners do not have any companies operating in Chiadzwa Diamond Fields.

"I would advise Members that if they have any information contrary to what
the ministry is providing to approach the Anti-Corruption Commission because
it can only be a corrupt practice that the ministry is not aware of," he

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‘Land reform programme failed to benefit war vets’

Written by Fungi Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 15:00

HARARE - Top ex-army generals working in the ministry of Defence yesterday
tore into President Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme as having failed
to benefit war veterans.

They also spoke against the abuse of war veterans, many of whom are
routinely used by Zanu PF as political shock-troops.

Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence and Home
Affairs chaired by MDC legislator, Paul Madzore, a team led by Defence
ministry permanent secretary, Martin Rushwaya, said there is need to
depoliticise the welfare of war veterans.

“This committee can help us by seeing to it that issues of war veterans are
not politicised,” said retired brigadier general, Collin Moyo.

“If they are involved in politics, you will have a certain political party
saying they belong to us.”

Moyo said the current dispensation has made it difficult for war veterans to
appeal to some sectors of the Government of National Unity because of the
political polarisation.

“When we want assistance from the unity government some people will say ‘why
are you giving them money when they are doing this?"

“These are people who participated in the liberation war, don’t involve them
in politics. The issue of war veterans should have nothing to do with
politics,” Moyo said.

Director for war veterans, retired major general Richard Ruwondo told the
committee war veterans have not received money for projects since 1997 when
ex-combatants received a Z$50 000 windfall in gratuities.

Ruwondo said it is pointless for the government to give war veterans 20
percent of land in districts without adequately resourcing them.

“From 1997 we have had several ministers (for Defence) and none of these has
given us anything,” Ruwondo said.

“We are looking at one who can help us. In as far as land allocation is
concerned, 20 percent should go to war veterans. If this thing of projects
was functioning, then we could have allocations to provincial officers.”

Ruwondo, who is in charge of the welfare of war veterans, said government
should expedite giving war veterans money for projects as that will stop the
dependency syndrome that has characterised the land reform programme.

Under the War Veterans Act of 1997, government committed to provide for the
establishment of schemes to assist war veterans and their dependants, and
also to provide for the establishment of a fund to finance such help.

Currently the government, through the ministry of Defence, is only providing
money for education and health.

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War vets demand US$18,000 payments

18/06/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

WAR veterans have claimed that they are still owed about US$18,000 each from
the gratuity deal reached in 1997 and are demanding that the coalition
government stumps up the outstanding payments.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans (ZNLWVA) secretary general
Shadreck Makombe said the independence war fighters were growing impatient.

“When we were given Z$50,000 each in the 1990s, each war veteran was
supposed to get Z$500,000 and by then the Z$50,000 was equivalent to $2,000
while the Z$500,000 was equivalent to $20,000,” Makombe said.

“This means the government still owes each of us $18,000 in gratuity and as
liberation fighters, we feel we have been neglected and long forgotten.”

The 1997 gratuity payouts represented a rare capitulation to pressure for
President Robert Mugabe and, since they were not budgeted for, came at a
huge cost to the country’s economy.

Analysts blame the payments for what came to be known as the “Black Friday”
markets crash of November 14, 1997, when the Zimbabwe dollar crashed and
lost nearly half its value on a single day.
The stock market was also hit, losing about 46 percent of its value as
investors scrambled for cover.

Makombe said ZNLWVA members understood that the government was pressed for
cash as the economy struggles to recover but insisted war veterans also
needed to be rewarded for their sacrifices in the 1970s bush war for

“We appreciate that our economy is coming from a very difficult situation
but at least the Ministry of Finance should do something in recognition of
the sacrifices that the war veterans made,” he said.
“It is not that we are after money. We did not go to war for money but the
issue of gratuity is the case the world over.

“In fact in the SADC region, Zimbabwe is the only country which is still to
really do something in honour of the work done by the war veterans save for
the Z$50,000 which we were given in the 1990s.”

He also claimed that the government had failed to stick to the terms of the
1997 deal, insisting war veterans were not receiving several other benefits
they are entitled to under the War Veterans Act.

“Under the War Veterans Act (1997), Statutory 280 and 281, we have a wide
range of benefits. There is talk of loan benefit, education benefit,
gratuity, funeral grant, among others, but as war vets we are not enjoying
anything of this except for the Z$50,000 we got in 1997,” he said.

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Zimbabweans tune in to foreign media
Published on : 19 June 2012 - 1:45pm |
Even squatter camps have satellite dishes
Even squatter camps have satellite dishes

At 98 percent, Zimbabwe’s literacy rate is the second highest in Africa. Among its population of 14 million, 6 million are said to be cell phone users. Yet since gaining independence in 1980, the country’s regime has maintained a tight grip on the media. Some citizens believe the one national TV station, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC), and few radio stations that do exist simply churn out propaganda.

By Misheck Rusere, Harare

To fill the vacuum of trustworthy information, Zimbabweans now resort to news reports originating outside the country’s borders.

“Sometimes I need time away from my daily routine, alone with my radio or television, but I can’t tune into the ZBC poison,” says Eugene Makaya, a vegetable vendor in the Harare suburb of Mbare. “It’s like I’m being taken for granted or simply as a fool, so definitely I will go for the foreign media, using my free-to-air-decoder, or simply tune in to Studio 7 or Radio VOP on shortwave, where I feel the truth is being told.”

A flat housing government workers is dotted with satellite dishes
A flat housing government workers is dotted with satellite dishes

Makaya’s experience is echoed by university dropout Petros Mabasa when it comes to television. “I’m better off watching news presented by SABC, BBC or Aljazeera than watching ZBC,” he says. “It has nothing to offer economically marginalized people like us because most – if not – all of their time, they are talking politics, ignoring…our plight as marginalized communities.”

“All they do is churn out hate speech – and I hate it,” he adds.

No words
Even the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), which is empowered to issue broadcasting licenses, had no words to defend the ZBC’s poor-quality programming.

In an interview with the BAZ, chairperson Tafataona Mahoso said: “Who am I to say this or that? Go out to the people there and ask them, carry out surveys and use whatever information you get from them.”

A satellite dish installed on a makeshift house at a squatter camp in Harare
A satellite dish installed on a makeshift house at a squatter camp in Harare

Local media expert Ernest Mudzengi believes that ZBC has long abused its monopoly, resulting in viewers’ lost trust. “People are not happy with what is being offered locally,” he says. “Basically, what we need to do is to free the airwaves so that people can have a wide choice to choose from.”

According to the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS), exiled radio stations such as Radio VOP, Studio 7 and Short Wave Radio Africa now attract the majority of listeners in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, over 60 per cent of TV owners have abandoned state-controlled Zimbabwe television in favour of free-to-air regional and international channels.

To tap into international broadcasts, some Zimbabweans are making use of new technology. Particularly popular these days are free-to-air-decoders. Costing between 45 and 55 euros, they can be found at almost any electronic shop, even in small towns and remote business centres. They require no licence.

Satellite dishes crammed on a flat in Mbare, Harare's oldest township
Satellite dishes crammed on a flat in Mbare, Harare's oldest township

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has requested all the exiled radio stations to register and regularize their operations. And yet, a disturbing trend where only President Mugabe’s loyalists have been awarded the operating licenses has been noted.

Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), an organization tracking news coverage by the country’s media outlets, states that the coverage of critical voices by the state media is only negative. Such individuals are presented as enemies of the state when in fact they are opposed to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) mindset.

Credibility-questioning Zimbabweans have gone so far as to call for a reconstitution of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. The BAZ comprises Mugabe loyalists – chief among them is its current chairperson, who is also former chair of the Media and Information Commission. During the time he served in that role, Mahoso gets credit for the closure of several media houses, which some eight years ago had the courage to challenge the government of the day.

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Sentech fights SABC blackout order

18/06/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MILLIONS of Zimbabweans viewing free-to-air South African TV channels are
likely to continue receiving the service for several more months after a
South African firm responsible for the signal challenged a court ruling
directing it to end the piracy.

Botswana broadcaster eBotswana, a sister channel to South Africa’s etv, won
a lawsuit in the Johannesburg High Court in February against the state-owned
signal carrier, Sentech.

The court ordered Sentech to "take all reasonable steps necessary" to
encrypt its signal within the next three months, after finding it guilty of
being "wrongful, negligent and in breach" over its failure to prevent
broadcast piracy.

The three-month transmission grace period ended on May 31, but Sentech have
appealed against the court ruling – meaning millions of people in the SADC
region who receive the free channels including SABC 1, 2 and 3 will continue
to do so pending the outcome of the appeal.
SABC say they have no control over the signal, and lay the blame squarely at
the feet of Sentech.

Spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told South Africa’s Business Day: "We broadcast in
SA and Sentech is in charge of ensuring the signal is protected and stays in
SA. Anybody who is not in SA and is watching SABC content terrestrially is
doing so illegally."

eBotswana General Manager Dave Coles said Monday that Sentech lodged the
appeal in May, and had so far not paid the P10 million damages award nor
encrypted its signal.

Free-to-air decoders including Wiztech, Fortec Star and Philibao have
created a booming market for satellite TV viewership in Zimbabwe, Namibia,
Mozambique and Botswana.
MultiChoice Zimbabwe, which offers pay-TV on its DStv platform, is eyeing
massive benefits from the looming blackout.

Zimbabwe does not have an independent TV channel and rights activists fear a
blackout would lead to a large section of the population living off a diet
of biased pro-Zanu PF broadcasting.

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Zanu-PF ministries' 'ghost staff'

Sapa-dpa | 19 June, 2012 00:03

More that 10000 people have been hired "illegally" in Zimbabwe by ministries
run by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, including those responsible
for the army and police, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has warned.

Biti has the job of implementing austerity measures as the country tries to
dig itself out of a deep economic hole.

But the minister, who is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) - formerly an opposition party, now Zanu-PF's partner in government -
has had trouble reining in ministries run by Mugabe's party.

"The two chief culprits are the Ministry of Defence, which employed 4600
since January, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has recruited 1200
personnel without Treasury approval," Biti told parliament last week.

The recruiting was exacerbating the acute shortage of food at army barracks
and adding to a wage bill Zimbabwe could not afford, he said.

"All indications are that the military is preparing for elections and for a
violent election, like there was in 2008," said Dewa Manhinga, a South
Africa-based political analyst for Crisis Coalition, an international think

The military has in recent months supported Zanu-PF and dismissed the MDC,
which is led by Mugabe's main rival in 2008 and current prime minister,
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The army's chief of staff Major-General Trust Mugoba, last week declared at
a public parade: "We will not even allow them [the MDC] to go into office."

When Biti at a ministerial meeting last week refused to pay the wages of the
new army recruits, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly threatened
him with violence.

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Two tons of African ivory seized

June 19 2012 at 05:06pm

Interpol on Tuesday said its biggest international operation against ivory
traffickers had led to more than 200 arrests and yielded nearly two tonnes
of contraband ivory.

The three-month-long Operation Worthy, spread across 14 countries in east,
south and west Africa, also led to the recovery of more than 20 kilograms of
rhinoceros horn, a statement said.

Leopard and cheetah pelts, crocodile and python skins and live specimens of
other protected species were found. Firearms including AK-47s and M16 rifles
were also recovered.

“This has been to date the most wide-ranging operation coordinated by
Interpol against the illegal ivory trade, not just in terms of seizures and
arrests, but also in targeting the criminal organisations,” said David
Higgins, manager of Interpol's Environmental Crime Programme.

The drive drew more than 320 officials from the police, customs and
environmental protection agencies.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which sponsored a training
programme for the participants ahead of the operation, said ivory poaching
was rising sharply.

“Thousands of elephants are butchered for their ivory every year and the
situation continues to worsen,” said Kelvin Alie, IFAW's Wildlife Crime

“2011 was the worst year on record for seizures with over 23 tonnes of ivory
seized,” he said. “These animals suffer terribly as they are cruelly killed
or wounded so that their skins, tusks, quills and other body parts can be
torn off and trafficked.”

The countries which participated in the operation were Botswana, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South
Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Seizures of contraband ivory in Africa and China have soared in recent years
as syndicates with deep roots in the billion-dollar wildlife smuggling trade
seek to feed the spike in demand among increasingly wealthy Chinese. -

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Bill Watch 27/2012 of 18th June [Palermo Protocol and African Charter on Democracy, Elections & Governance]

BILL WATCH 27/2012

[18th June 2012]

Both Houses of Parliament will meet again on Tuesday 19th June

The Parliamentary agenda for this week includes motions to approve two important international agreements.

Palermo Protocol

United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children

MDC-T Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makoni has put on the agenda of both Houses a motion seeking approval of Zimbabwe’s accession to the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. It is a Protocol to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. This convention and its supplementary Protocols [the others deal with Smuggling of Migrants and Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms] were opened for signature by UN member states in December 2000 in Palermo, Italy.

The Protocol came into force on 25th December 2003 after ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by forty countries. The current position is that 149 countries have become States parties. 39 of 54 African countries are States parties, including 12 of the 15 SADC countries. All our bordering countries – South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana – are States parties . The only SADC countries that are not States parties are Zimbabwe, Angola and Swaziland. As cross-border trafficking is taking place in the region, having Zimbabwe as a non-party has hampered regional efforts to stop trafficking. Because Zimbabwe did not sign the protocol when it was open for signature, the procedure for becoming a State party is by accession. This will be achieved by lodging an instrument of accession, signed by the President, with the UN Secretary-General after the Protocol has been approved by Parliament.

Although the region does have a problem of trafficking across borders, it is also important to note that the definition of trafficking includes enforced or coerced exploitation of persons for purposes of prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour and similar practices even if it takes place within a country, a town, a rural area, a community or even a family. Until mechanisms are in place for data collection it is difficult to assess the problem, either cross-border or within the country, but it is thought that, in the present economic conditions and the concomitant movements of people, it is extensive.

The Minister is to be congratulated on responding to lobbying for this Protocol to be acceded to. Accession will lay an obligation on the country, among other duties, to:

ensure that suitable legislation is put in place to prevent and punish trafficking in persons

implement the legislation

collect data

cooperate across borders with other States parties.

It is hoped that Parliamentarians will support the Minister’s motion and follow this up by making a concerted effort to see that the necessary legislation is put in place and other mechanisms set up, so that these obligations are met quickly. When opening the present session in September 2011, President Mugabe said that Parliament would be asked to approve Zimbabwe’s accession and that Government intended to “domesticate” the Protocol by presenting a Bill to incorporate its provisions into Zimbabwean law. But to effectively combat trafficking in persons sufficient budgetary provision must also be made.

Too often International Instruments are signed and ratified or acceded to without the necessary follow-up being done. Perhaps the Senate’s Human Rights Thematic Committee and the House of Assembly’s Portfolio Committees on Women, Youth, Gender And Community Development and Health and Child Welfare could take it on themselves to monitor, once Zimbabwe has acceded to the Protocol, that the Government follows through by ensuring legislation is passed and budget allocations are made to fulfil obligations under the Protocol.

For details of the duties of States parties, and for key provisions considered necessary in an anti-trafficking Act, Parliamentarians are referred to the Parliamentary Briefing Paper produced by Veritas’ Director and printed by Frederick Ebert Stiftung [FES] which was distributed to all Parliamentarians in March last year. The Palermo Protocol is available on the UN website or from

African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance

In the Senate last week, MDC-T Senator Marava introduced a motion expressing dismay that Zimbabwe has still not signed and ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which was adopted by the AU in Addis Ababa on 30th January 2007, and calling on the Government to expeditiously sign and ratify the Charter. The Charter came into force for States parties on 15th February this year, when the necessary numbers of States had ratified or acceded to it.

Debate on the motion was adjourned to enable senators to read the Charter, which Parliament undertook to provide them with.

In the House, a motion on the agenda, to be introduced by Hon Chitando [MDC-T] and Hon Rutsvara [MDC-T], notes there has been peaceful transition in some African countries, but contrasts this with violent transition in others, and goes on to cite the context of Zimbabwe holding elections within a year and states that “violent manifestations are already emerging” and that there is “a need to ensure a peaceful post-election transition in Zimbabwe”. Finally, the motion calls on the Government to put in place the necessary mechanisms for peaceful transition and urges SADC and AU to ensure that member states subscribe to the ethos of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

The Charter recognises the link between democracy, elections and good governance and establishes a code of international law with respect to issues of democracy, human rights and conduct of transparent, free and fair lections. Throughout, it emphasises the rule of law and constitutionalism. About elections it obligates States parties, among other things, to ensure:

an independent and impartial national electoral commission

fair and equitable access to State-controlled media by contestants

a binding code of ethics for contestants

an AU exploratory mission prior to elections to ensure necessary conditions and a conducive environment for transparent, free and fair elections

free access to information and movement for AU observers during elections .

The Charter also lays down obligations for an independent judiciary, strengthening civilian control of armed forces, conducive conditions for civil society, and legislative and policy frameworks to establish and strengthen a culture of democracy and peace.

Everything in the Charter is in accordance with principles being professed by all political parties. On elections, it is in harmony with the SADC Election Guidelines. It is hoped that members of both Houses, whichever party they support, will pass these motions for accession to the Charter and prove their party principles are more than just talk.

The Charter – formulated by African states – would also form a good background against which to read the draft of the new constitution. It is available on the AU website or from For those interested in comparing it with the SADC Election Guidelines, these are also available from or on the SADC website.

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

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