Newsreel 1080509

On the Pulse 080509

Lance Guma speaks to Bulawayo based music producer Anthony Mukanga and previews the different artists at his Baseline Studio. Music played includes Kazevezeve, Amina, Smiles & Cries from Rassie AI and the smash hit Jobho Remix, originally done by Vabati Vevhangeri.

Callback 080509

Tsakani says people should give the GNU a chance because things are changing for the better; Sibongile agrees that things are getting better with prices coming down, but last term 95% of school children were sent home for non-payment of fees and she hopes that fees will be brought down soon. And, Chareka says he is concerned about any planned teachers’ strikes because the GNU is still in its infancy.

Hot Seat 080509

Violet’s guests on the Hot Seat programme are political analysts Professor Brian Raftopoulos and Dr Alex Magaisa. On 11 February Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, marking the beginning of an extraordinary new government which brought bitter enemies together in an uneasy coalition. On the 11th May the Prime Minister and his MDC party will have been in government for 100 days. We bring you an in-depth analysis, looking at the successes and failures of the first 100days.

Democracy 101 070509

This is the programme that gives a beginners guide to democracy. In the final programme of this series, Willy, Dominic and Tichaona reflect on past programmes and review the democratic process in Zimbabwe. They discuss the issue that is paramount to the birth of true democracy, namely the drafting of a new vibrant constitution, and the involvement in this process of civil society.
Next week ‘The Wednesday Forum’ will be replacing Democracy 101. Sam Takavarasha and Jeff Sango will be joining us with weekly feedback and reports from the Monday London MDC forum meetings.

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Amai Manyere says that in her area ZANU PF councillors are being given food by donors and they are only distributing it to their supporters; Jeff talks about the continued lack of transparency on the part of ZANU PF evidenced by the re-arrest of political detainees. He says Mugabe could also be using this as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from his failure to give in to the outstanding demands of the other GNU principals, and Amai Muchichwa says she and other terminally ill patients are being made to pay for their medication while others are getting it for free.

Heart of the Matter 070509

Tanonoka asks, ‘are we not pushing Tsvangirai too much, too far?’ He says that the MDC, but especially its leader, is paying a heavy price for its association with ZANU-PF, but ‘why should the MDC be the Samaritan always betraying its supporters’ aspirations while ZANU-PF is not changing anything about itself?’

Behind the Headlines 070509

A government media conference hung in the balance Thursday, after the majority of journalists stuck to their threat to boycott over the continued detention of fellow colleague Shadreck Anderson Manyere. This week on Behind the Headlines Lance Guma speaks to the National Chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter, Loughty Dube and asks him why they made this decision?

Newsreel 070509

Zimbabwe journalist’s bail application postponed
By Violet Gonda
7 May 2009

A High Court Judge has postponed the bail application of journalist Shadreck Manyere, MDC Director of Security Chris Dhlamini, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide Gandhi Mudzingwa, because the State said it needed more time to prepare a response. This is in spite of the fact that 13 other co-accused persons, including Jestina Mukoko, were finally freed on bail on Wednesday.

They are all facing charges of terrorism, insurgence, banditry and sabotage under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The defence team believes the three are deliberately being used as pawns in a political game.

High Court Judge Justice November Mtshiya postponed the matter to Friday after the State requested the postponement. State prosecutor Chris Mutangadura had initially wanted the matter to be postponed to Monday to prepare their response. He claimed they had been served the papers late Wednesday afternoon, but the defence argued that Monday was too far and that the prosecutor was seeking to prolong the incarceration of his clients who have been in detention since their abduction last year. The accused persons’ lawyer Alex Muchadehama said they had tried to serve the AG’s office the bail application papers on Tuesday, but an officer there had refused them, resulting in the delay.

Another defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa, the State will continue to oppose the release of the journalist and the MDC officials because they want to treat them differently from the rest of the broader group of abductees. “When we went to the Attorney General’s office yesterday, the AG made it very clear that they don’t want to treat these ones the same. He could only tell us that these three have their own controversies. Those were his words. We tried to ask what controversies he was referring to but he didn’t divulge.”

Manyere, Dhlamini and Gandhi remain detained in hospital.

The defence team believes the three are ‘hostages,’ and are being used as pawns in the political games as there is no evidence to support the State’s charges against them. Kwaramba said: “If you look at the facts, after they were indicted for court …there is not even any evidence in respect of their case.”
He said in the case of the other 13, ‘some sort of witnesses’ are being talked about but in the case of the hospitalised three, ‘there is nothing, and yet they are the ones who are being treated differently and being denied bail. So I think they are hostages.”

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the authorities to release the journalist, who was the last remaining abductee to leave Chikurubi Maximum Prison after spending four months in jail. He was re-arrested a few days after having been granted bail on 17 April.

The journalist has received massive support from fellow colleagues, which has resulted in a government organised media conference being postponed following a boycott by journalists in solidarity with him.
The journalist was also last week awarded the 2009 Foreign Journalist’s award by the U.S. based National Association of Black Journalists.
The President of the Black Journalists Association said this year’s prize recognised the ‘bravery and courage’ of Manyere, and called attention to the plight of many imprisoned journalists across Africa and the world.


Land audit gets green light as farm attacks continue
By Alex Bell
07 May 2009

The unity government is reportedly set to press ahead with a land audit that will ultimately uncover the depth of land related corruption in Zimbabwe, as well as put a stop to the ongoing farm invasions across the country.

The decision comes on the back of a report by a ministerial delegation tasked to investigate the recent wave of farm attacks, which have left the remaining commercial farming community reeling. Since February, more than 100 farmers have been targeted with prosecution merely for being on their land, while most productive farms have been forcibly taken over by ZANU PF loyalists and their henchmen. Many farmers have been forced into hiding under constant threat of attack, while hundreds of farm workers have lost their jobs because of the invasions. The attacks have all been in the name of Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme, which has been wholly beneficial to only top ZANU PF officials and Mugabe’s cronies.

The ministerial team, led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last month visited farms that have been recently targeted with attack, and issued a strong order for the invasions to cease and for food production to continue. But the order has been completely ignored, and the attacks have continued and even intensified.

In Chegutu, Mount Carmel farm, which has been almost entirely taken over by invaders, came under fresh violent attack this week after the farm’s owners sought a court order for the invaders to leave the land. The group of thugs retaliated with violent threats on Tuesday night, destroying property and even abducting and beating the farm’s foreman. The worker was only discovered on Wednesday morning at the Chegutu police station where he was being held, and is now receiving treatment for serious injuries.

The land audit, which has long been a demand of the MDC, is largely being viewed as the key to resolving Zimbabwe’s ‘land question.’ Justice for Agriculture’s (JAG) John Worsley-Worswick said on Thursday that a land audit is necessary, but emphasised a need for such an audit to be independent.

“An audit will highlight that the whole land issue is a complete debacle,” the JAG official explained. “But if it is not independent then we run the risk of exposing farmers out there and making them more vulnerable to attack.”

Worsley-Worswick added that there needs to be a moratorium declared on land invasions for the audit to be conducted properly, and said this would create much needed stability in the farming communities. But he expressed anger that it would only take an audit for this to happen, arguing the government ‘has taken absolutely no stand on these ongoing attacks.’


ZANU PF governors to get compensation for standing down
By Tichaona Sibanda
7 May 2009
The three principals to the Global Political Agreement have agreed to compensate ZANU PF governors who will step down to make way for new ones from the MDC formations, Newsreel learnt on Thursday.
A highly placed source told us that during their Tuesday meeting, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara agreed that six out of the ten governors appointed by Mugabe on 24th August last year would have to step down. The sticking point during their previous meetings was what to do with the governors once they step down.
“The thinking between Tsvangirai and Mutambara was that it was not their problem to deal with that issue since they were not involved in their appointments in the first place. They felt Mugabe was best placed to deal with that because he unilaterally appointed the governors without consulting them,” our source told us.

Mugabe reportedly agreed to the sharing of Provincial governor positions under an earlier agreed formula but under one condition, that those jobless governors be paid their full salaries and benefits for up to five years. A governor’s term is usually five years but analysts point out that the inclusive government will probably last 18 months before fresh elections are held.

Economist Luke Zunga said the principals should approach SADC or the AU for the compensation since the inclusive government was broke.

“How can Zimbabweans be punished by providing tax money to compensate people who were irregularly appointed. The country is broke and the principals should go to SADC and the AU who are the guarantors of the inclusive government,” Zunga said.

Under the present formula the party with the most seats in a given province would nominate the governor in that province. Therefore, MDC-T is entitled to have five governors, Zanu PF four and the Mutambara MDC one.

The MDC-T is currently entitled to appoint governors in Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland, while Mugabe should have the three Mashonaland provinces and Midlands. The Mutambara MDC faction will appoint a governor in Matabeleland South.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi confirmed to us that the issue of governors had now been dealt with. He also confirmed that the principals had agreed to compensate those who were to step down.

“Some will step down but others will remain. Those who will step down will be compensated,” Maridadi said. He however could not say how much each governor will receive as compensation.
Maridadi said the principals also agreed during their Tuesday meeting that they would put finality to the remaining issues next week.
He added that the principals had made progress on some issues, and disagreement on others, but they have promised to deal with all the remaining concerns when they continue with their negotiations next week Tuesday.
The other outstanding issues which Mugabe has refused to back down are the reappointments of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and the swearing in of MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

The delay in finding a lasting solution to these concerns forced the MDC on Wednesday to issue a five day ultimatum to the principals to deal with them by Monday next week.

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti told journalists in Harare that the slow pace of the negotiations were becoming of great concern to them. He said, in their view these issues should have been concluded soon after the formation of the inclusive government in February.

He said the party was worried that some elements in government, ZANU PF, the security forces and public media, ‘continued to disregard some clear provisions laid out in the Global Political Agreement.’

“There are a number of toxic and poisonous attitudes that some of these institutions are showing. Their attitude is as if they are in a war situation,” Biti said.


Media conference postponed to Friday pending Manyere bail hearing
By Lance Guma
07 April 2009

A government media conference that was meant to start in Kariba on Wednesday hung in the balance Thursday, after the majority of journalists stuck to their boycott threat. The journalists grouped under the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe have said they will not attend if fellow journalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere is not released from detention where he is facing spurious banditry and terrorism charges.

On Thursday Deputy Information, Media and Publicity Minister Jameson Timba told Newsreel, they were now awaiting the outcome of Manyere’s bail hearing which has been moved from Thursday to Friday morning, and he was hopeful that a favourable result in court will rescue the conference from collapse. Timba said they have moved the registration for the conference to Friday and if all goes well it will now end on Sunday. National chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter, Loughty Dube, confirmed to Newsreel they were sticking to their boycott until Manyere was released.

The re-detention of former ZBC newsreader and Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko and Manyere triggered the initial move to boycott on Tuesday. Although Mukoko was released on Wednesday along with other political detainees, Manyere remained under police guard in hospital along with Gandhi Mudzingwa and Chris Dhlamini. The journalists say it is not possible for them to attend a conference when one of their own is under detention using the same repressive laws that are meant to be under discussion.

Meanwhile Timba defended the controversial inclusion of so called ‘media talibans’ at the conference, saying while he appreciated the ‘emotions surrounding certain individuals’ it was important to allow everyone a chance to express their own views. ‘People are not bound by those views,’ Timba explained. He said the critical working groups at the conference will focus on media economics, media regulation and law, conditions of service for journalists, private and public media, and journalistic ethics.


IMF lifts suspension of technical assistance to Zim
By Alex Bell
07 May 2009

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lifted its suspension of technical assistance to Zimbabwe but only for targeted sectors in the country, warning that political instability will undermine the country’s reform.

The Washington based IMF said in a statement it would help Zimbabwe with tax policy and administration, payments systems, banking supervision and central banking governance. Technical assistance from the Fund was suspended as a remedial measure because of the country’s multi million-dollar debt, and the move to lift the ban is being lauded as a key step toward ending Zimbabwe’s isolation from the international community. The IMF decision is also being hailed as a positive step towards encouraging investment in the country.

In forming the decision the IMF emphasised that the revival of Zimbabwe’s economy depends critically on attracting private, domestic and foreign investors and improving economic competitiveness. The IMF said it took into account a significant improvement in Zimbabwe’s cooperation on economic policies to address its arrears problems, and ‘severe capacity constraints in the IMF’s core areas of expertise that represent a major risk to the implementation of the government’s macroeconomic stabilisation program.1

But the IMF also warned of significant risks to the country’s economic recovery, because of ‘potential policy reversals,’ saying it is essential that the unity government “ensures the protection of property rights, maintains the rule of law, guards against protectionism, and pursues prudent wage and income policies.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has secured an additional credit line of US$250 million from the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to help its economic reconstruction. According to Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, who made the announcement on Thursday, the line of credit will be used to support the gold and tobacco sectors, ‘as well as provide liquidity for banks and grains imports.’ Biti also explained that Afrexim has agreed to help establish a Diaspora bond, which will be open to Zimbabweans living abroad and other investors.

Zimbabwe has already secured US$400 million credit to revive its manufacturing sector from regional bloc the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as neighbours South Africa and Botswana. The credit line pledges have been the only financial commitments made from regional governments, but are a far cry from the cash boosts the unity government had hoped the region would invest in the fledgling coalition.

Hidden Story 060509

Exiled journalist Makusha Mugabe says the government sponsored media conference that began in Kariba on Wednesday, is bound to fail as it will not resolve the core issues strangling the media industry in Zimbabwe. He says that reading through the topics set for the three day event, it is evident there will be no change to the media repression.

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