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Zimstat reopens census after miscount outcry

03/09/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE body running the 2012 census says it is redeploying enumerators for a
so-called “mop-up count” after an outcry by people who say they were not

Residents of several Bulawayo suburbs said Monday they were excluded from
the 15-day population count which was carried out between August 12 and 27.
Similar complaints have emerged from areas such as Harare and Masvingo.

MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said: “These guys got to my house and told the
maid that they would only accept the numbers of people who live in our house
from either my wife or myself and since we were both at work, our family was
not counted.

“So the Bulawayo numbers cannot be correct. I just wonder how many other
people were not counted. Is this deliberate?”
Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu has already threatened to sue the
Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) claiming several of his
constituents were not counted in what he described as a gross violation of
their human rights.

“My household in Ward 8, Harare, was not enumerated. I have no explanation
from ZimStat as yet; I am not happy about this,” Gutu fumed.

“I live in a small close in Ward 8. There are seven houses in our close, but
none of the houses were enumerated. I feel that our constitutional right to
be enumerated was grossly violated. I am mooting taking appropriate legal
action against ZimStat.

“My family feels marginalised, discriminated and violated by not being
enumerated in this otherwise very important national programme that takes
place only once in every 10 years.”

Zimstat’s population census director Washington Mapeta said the agency would
deploy enumerators for a mop-up count to address the problem.

"We are checking all those reports and for the purposes of making the whole
process credible, enumerators will visit areas where people are said to have
been left out,” he said.

"It is something we are looking at seriously because we know that there are
single households where occupants might not have been there during the
official days."

Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently described the census as a success
adding results were expected by the end of the year.

Zimbabwe holds a census after every 10 years and the last count in 2002 put
the country’s population at 11,6 million.

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Minister, Hundreds of Households Left Out of Population Census

Tatenda Gumbo

Some Zimbabweans are crying foul for being left out of the just-ended
national population census saying they have not yet been counted despite
claims by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) that a recent
mop-up exercise was a big success.

Hundreds of households in various provinces claim that they have not been
visited by enumerators following the completion of the exercise last week.

People in areas such as Matabeleland North's Lupane District, Mhondoro in
Mashonaland West, and major cities - Harare and Bulawayo - told VOA they are
yet to be counted.

Zimstat officials last week reported that they had successfully completed a
so-called mop-up exercise but now say the process will continue this week.

National census manager Washington Mapeta said people who have not yet been
counted should contact enumerators or visit the deparment's offices in all

Mapeta said some households were left out as the exercise had to be
conducted in a timely manner in order to get accurate data.

Deputy Justice Minister and Harare resident Obert Gutu, who had been exluded
in the exercise and threatened to sue Zimstat, was today counted by
enumerators at his home.

Gutu said excluding Zimbabweans from the national count is a violation of
the rights of citizens.

The minister said he will press, along with other government officials, for
Zimstat to account for Zimbabweans who were left out of the exercise.

Former lawmaker Njabuliso Mguni of Lupane East said in his area 108
homesteads were not visited by enumerators "and there is no clear indication
why the homesteads were left out".

Mguni said there was no indication from local enumerators if the villages
would be counted.

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Chiefs want conservancy seizure reversed

03/09/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

CHIREDZI chiefs have demanded that the government reverse the controversial
indigenisation of Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked public clashes
between cabinet ministers and drawn threats of aid cuts by the European

Environment minister Francis Nhema recently directed that owners of the
prized 3,400 square-kilometre wildlife reserve in the south-east Lowveld
region take on some 25 individuals, most of them senior Zanu PF officials,
as partners in order to comply with the country’s indigenisation policies.

The beneficiaries include higher education minister Stan Mudenge, Masvingo
governor Titus Maluleke, senator Josiah Hungwe, MPs Ronald Ndava, Alois
Baloyi, Abraham Sithole and former legislator Shuvai Mahofa.

But the decision appeared to cause divisions in the cabinet with Tourism
minister, Walter Mzembi, accusing his party and cabinet colleague of
promoting greed by “empowering people who are already empowered severally in
other sectors, such as farming, ranching, sugar cane farming, mining”.

And on Monday, traditional leaders from the area, Chief Gudo, Chief Tshovani
and Chief Sengwe, called on the government to reverse the decision, accusing
Nhema of empowering a few individuals at the expense of their communities.

“The adopted programme, which sadly prioritises a few individuals is against
the concept of broad-based economic empowerment of communities,” the chiefs
told reporters at a press conference in Harare.

“It has allocated vast resources in Chiredzi to a few individuals. The
option that the governor and his clique have adopted, under which they
partner the sitting tenants, has caused a lot of destruction to the

“The option we had proposed would, instead, see the owners teaming up with
local communities who would own 51 percent of the project in line with the
country's indigenisation programme.”

The conservancy’s owners deny allegations that the project is controlled by
foreigners and warn that Nhema’s decision could lead to its complete

"Two-thirds of the stakeholders of the conservancy are black,” Wilfried
Pabst, a German businessman who is vice-chair of the conservancy said

"(The park) is a working example of how something really special can be a
success, by including all sectors of the community, especially the rural
poor who have previously got nothing out of wildlife.”

Still, the new partners have since vowed to stay put and dismissed claims
their involvement would threaten wildlife and leave thousands of jobs at

“What we are trying to do is correct the historic imbalances caused by
colo­nialism and opening up opportu­nities for blacks in Zimbabwe,” said

“We are the rightful players in the Save Valley Conservancy because we have
the leases and the other guys do not have anything.”

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Traditional leader assaulted by ZANU PF in Mutoko North

By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 September 2012

A village head accused of having too many MDC supporters in his area was
assaulted by ZANU PF activists in Mutoko North on Monday.

According to SW Radio Africa Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme,
Sabhuku Claudius Nyamudangara was targeted by two thugs named only as
Kambadza and Damios, who are known to be ZANU PF’s “hatchet man” in the
rural districts of Mutoko North.

Sabhuku Nyamudangara had left his village to visit Jigu Village in Ward 17
when the two ambushed and assaulted him with fists and boots. “A report was
made to the police and they have opened a docket. Normally they do not even
follow-up but JOMIC has been involved and police want to appease them,”
Saungweme said.

He added that the traditional leader is making arrangements to travel to
Harare for medical treatment. “He was unconscious during most of the attack
and he woke up with a badly swollen face, lacerated ribs and suspects he has
a fracture in his right shoulder because he is in pain,” Saungweme

Our correspondent said a photo-journalist in the same area, Shadreck
Manyere, reported that his brother Saddam had his tomatoes and other
property confiscated by ZANU PF activists. Saddam had also been accused of
being an MDC supporter and too close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mutoko North is in Mashonaland East, the same province where ZANU PF
supporters killed the MDC-T ward one chairman for Mudzi North, Cephas
Magura, in May this year. The attackers also injured seven other MDC-T
supporters, who were admitted to the Avenues Clinic in Harare.

According to Saungweme, JOMIC has been monitoring violence in Mash East
province and there has been a presence of high level officials since Magura’s
death. The police are aware of this and appear to have eased up on their
usual partisan behavior.

Meanwhile Newsday newspaper reported this week that they were in possession
of internal party documents which show that ZANU PF’s campaign strategy for
the forthcoming general elections “will hinge on infiltration of churches,
neutralisation of civic society and use of traditional leaders to whip the
rural electorate into line.”

Saungweme said the politicization of traditional leaders breaches a section
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which stipulates that traditional
leaders have responsibilities and obligations to all members of their
communities, “regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion and
political affiliation.”

Article XIV calls on all Political Parties to: “Commit themselves to
ensuring the political neutrality of traditional leaders and calls upon
traditional leaders not to engage in partisan political activities at
national level as well as in their communities”.

But ZANU PF continues to use traditional leaders to victimise villagers in
their constituencies who are suspected of being MDC-T supporters. And those
who do not comply, like Sabhuku Nyamudangara, become the victims.

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Constitution stalemate designed to divert attention from reforms

By Lance Guma
04 September 2012

Attempts by ZANU PF to make ‘outrageous’ changes to a draft constitution
produced by all three coalition partners is designed to divert attention
from fundamental reforms that are needed, a cabinet minister has told SW
Radio Africa.

Information, Communication, Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa, the National
Organising Secretary for the MDC-T, said the haggling over a draft
constitution was just a ZANU PF ‘decoy’ designed to divert attention from
the need to reform the voters roll, media landscape and the security sector.

“A constitution alone has never been an instrument for the holding of free
and fair elections,” Chamisa said. He cited the staffing of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Secretariat) with partisan members from the army and
state security agencies, as an example of a crucial issue going under the

“We must be careful that we are not chasing after a ZANU PF kite. ZANU PF
are in the habit of creating false and pseudo-imaginations of problems when
in fact we must be focused on fundamental reforms to the issue of free and
fair elections.

“We have to address the issue of the ZEC, the technical composition of ZEC,
to speak to the issues of the media and media reforms. We must address the
voters roll, issues of delimitation, we must go to the software issues of
elections, election management and the security of the voter,” Chamisa told
SW Radio Africa.

Meanwhile it’s reported all three parties in the coalition government have
agreed to have members of a SADC technical team help the Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), a year after the team was appointed.
The agreement was secured by President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team in
Harare last week.

Its reported disagreements over the teams ‘terms of reference’ held up its
deployment. Ambassador David Katye from Tanzania and Mrs Colly Muunyu, a
diplomat from Zambia, are the members of the team. South Africa were meant
to supply a third member, but opted not to.

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Air Zimbabwe Woes Continue

Harare, September 04, 2012 - Air Zimbabwe woes continues to haunt the
parastatal as the airline continue to delay flights due to operational
On Monday the airline delayed passengers to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls for
two hours for what the captain, who was flying the Boeing 737, said were
operational problems.

"We are sorry for the late departure. This was due to operational problems,"
Chipo Matimba, the captain, told passengers.

The delay affected top government ministers who included Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu, Water Resources Minister Sipepa Nkomo and deputy health
minister Douglas Mombeshora.

The national airline was castigated by some passengers who had come without
tickets to board the plane thinking that the airline had a record of all
passengers booked.

But to the surprise of passengers, an official at Harare International
Airport said the airline was operating manually and they did not have
information of their passengers readily. They had to telephone their Harare
office in town to confirm passengers not carrying their tickets.

Air Zimbabwe has been facing problems over the years, which include plying
non viable routes, ageing fleet, corruption and mismanagement resulting in
the airline incurring over $100 million in debt.

At one time the airline flew one passenger from Victoria Falls to Harare.

Zimbabwe, which is hosting the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO) general assembly meeting with Zambia next year, has already
announced that it will approach South African airways to be the official
carrier of delegates next year.

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Zanu PF infiltrates churches

6 hours 36 minutes ago

ZANU (PF)’s campaign strategy ahead of the forthcoming general elections
will hinge on infiltration of churches, neutralisation of civic society and
use of traditional leaders to whip the rural electorate into line, internal
party documents have revealed.
Zanu PF has been pushing for fresh elections since 2010 and this position is
reflected in the reports obtained by NewsDay last week.

Part of the 2011 central committee report states: “These activities involved
a visit to church gatherings and conferences, meetings and traditional
leaders, minority groups and members of the business community.

“His Excellency, the President and First Secretary Cde R G Mugabe, pioneered
the programme by paying a visit to the Johane Marange Apostolic Church
gathering in Marange.

“Other members of the Presidium followed suit as guests of honour at various

Over four million Zimbabweans are estimated to be members of the mainline
churches which Zanu PF is targeting.

In April this year, Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu addressed
scores of members of the Guta Ra Mwari (Zvimiso) Church at its Holy Shrine
in Nyazura.

The meeting was also attended by Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman Mike
Madiro and several central committee members.

In June, party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo officiated at the Annual Feast of
Tabernacles of St John’s Apostolic Church of the Whole World.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Mashonaland West governor Faber
Chidarikire, president of the Senate Edna Madzongwe, Zanu PF Mashonaland
West provincial chairman John Mafa, MP for the area Sylvester Nguni and
local chiefs were among the delegates.

In his address, Khaya Moyo pledged to dole out land and three boreholes to
the church members and urged those interested in owning residential stands
to approach Chombo.

The party has gone a step further to use compromised preachers to prop up
the Mugabe regime at church gatherings.

Zanu PF has also courted the support of traditional leaders, according to
the reports.

To date, several chiefs have been allocated farms and service vehicles, a
move that has been widely condemned as a vote-buying gimmick. Most chiefs
have in the past openly declared their allegiance to Zanu PF while others
are reported to have threatened to evict non-Zanu PF members from their
areas of jurisdiction.

Both party reports praised war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda’s
countrywide“mass mobilisation campaign”.

According to the reports, the youths would be lured through the
indigenisation programme while “Western-sponsored” civil society’s
resistance would be neutralised by the establishment of “progressive”

“The indigenisation programme and economic empowerment policy were
reaffirmed as the main policy of the party and it is the message Zanu PF
will take to the electorate,” the party said although in public it has
described the policy as a national programme which deserves support from all
political parties. - NewsDay

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Howard Hospital nurses stand trial after violent protests

By Alex Bell
04 September 2012

A case against a group of nurses from the Salvation Army run Howard Hospital
in Chiweshe was heard in court on Tuesday, after violent protests against
the dismissal of a top doctor there last month.

The nurses have been accused of inciting the violence that saw 12 Chiweshe
residents being arrested. The protest was called over the removal of Dr.
Paul Thistle, who was the chief doctor at the Hospital and a highly
respected and greatly loved member of the community.

The Canadian born doctor has been in Zimbabwe for more than 16 years and had
helped Howard Hospital become one of the most respected medical facilities
in the country.

But it is understood that he recently ran afoul of the Salvation Army
leadership in Zimbabwe after raising concerns about missing funding and
materials meant for the Howard mission. These concerns have led to him being
removed from the hospital, and last month he was given a 48 hour ultimatum
to leave the country and return to his native Canada.

SW Radio Africa has been told that the doctor is refusing to leave Zimbabwe
while the case against his colleagues is pursued. According to a source, the
Salvation Army has tried on three separate occasions since his dismissal to
get him and his family on a plane bound for Canada, but he has refused.
There was no news about the results of Tuesday’s case by the end of the day.

Residents in Chiweshe meanwhile have told SW Radio Africa that they are
planning to petition the government, urging intervention in getting Dr.
Thistle returned to the hospital.

A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that the
hospital is still not functioning properly, and there is general concern for
the wellbeing of patients.

“Morale is very low. Things just aren’t the same and services are not as
good as when Dr. Thistle was here. People are collecting signatures to give
to the headman to give to the president’s office, because they want Dr.
Thistle back,” the resident said.

Speculation remains rife about the real reasons for Dr. Thistle’s removal,
with allegations that he is a victim of ZANU PF infighting. SW Radio Africa
has been told that Joice Mujuru is a senior member of the Salvation Army in
Zimbabwe and she has used her influence to have the doctor removed. This is
believed to be in an effort to control the area where her rival Emmerson
Mnangagwa has support.

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Siwela says Mugabe fears retribution for crimes

By Tichaona Sibanda
04 September 2012

Paul Siwela, leader of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), believes Robert
Mugabe and his ZANU PF party will never relinquish power as long as they
think they will be held to account for the atrocities committed during their
32-year reign.

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program, the MLF leader said as
long as fundamental issues that have littered the country’s troubled history
are not dealt with as a matter of urgency, ZANU PF will delay the transition
to democracy.

‘Do you think Mugabe, knowing that his troops killed over 20,000 Ndebele
speaking people, will step down willingly knowing that he could face
possible deadly retribution…no,’ Siwela said.

He added: ‘The stumbling block to the change that everybody wants is the
lack of sincerity and clarity on issues which have to be dealt with so that
the country can move forward.

‘If those issues are not dealt with, no solution will be found but the
country will head towards serious turbulence.’

Siwela is of the opinion that Mugabe and his ZANU PF party should sit down
with all stakeholders and seek guarantees for their safety if they lose the
next poll.

‘However, those guarantees won’t come cheap. They have to admit to their
crimes and compensate victims of the Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and 2008
elections where hundreds of MDC supporters were killed.

‘That way alone can heal this nation and he will step down knowing he has
made efforts to right the shameful wrong,’ Siwela.

The outspoken Siwela gave the constitutional stalemate as one example that
showed ZANU PF’s insincerity to move the country forward.

‘This delay in the constitution process is giving them a window of
opportunity to see how they can wriggle out of this issue. They don’t want a
new constitution and they have never wanted one. It’s all a fallacy,’ he

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Kombi pullout leaves thousands stranded

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:53
Farai Kuvirimirwa
Herald Correspondent

Thousands of commuters from Chitungwiza were yesterday stranded after kombi
drivers withdrew serv­ices in protest over high police presence along Seke

A few operators who remained on the road increased fares from US$1 to US$4
per trip.

Most commuter omnibus drivers started plying St Mary’s–Makoni routes that
were not affected by road­blocks.
Police in riot gear were immedi­ately deployed to Makoni shopping centre and
dispersed drivers who had a brief gath­ering.
The drivers said they were losing a lot of money to police manning
roadblocks mounted each morning on the route.
“On our way to town there will be several roadblocks, at times seven.

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Concern raised over irregularities in SA deportation process

By Alex Bell
04 September 2012

Concern is being raised over serious irregularities in South Africa’s
process of deporting foreigners, including thousands of Zimbabwean
nationals, who are being picked up and dumped at Beitbridge without any
consideration for the law.

The International Organisation for Migration in Zimbabwe has reported that
more than 28,000 Zimbabweans have been deported since South Africa lifted
its moratorium on the forced returns last year. They said many of the
Zimbabweans had been picked up and then dumped at the Beitbridge Border
Post, without being given the chance prove their legal status or to collect
their personal belongings and salaries.

Diana Zimbudzana from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa confirmed
these reports, telling SW Radio Africa that they have been dealing with such
cases for several months.

“What is happening now is that people are just being picked up in trucks and
not even being given a chance to prove if they are legal or not. The problem
is this is very difficult to prove to the higher levels of Home Affairs,”
Zimduzana said.

There are also growing reports of abuse, violence and victimisation of
Zimbabwean nationals at the notorious Lindela Repatriation Centre in South
Africa, where the South African Human Rights Commission is reportedly
launching a probe. Recently a Zim national detained at the facility told SW
Radio Africa that four people, including two Zimbabweans, died after a riot
at the facility on the 13th August. The riot was in protest at the brutality
of security guards at the centre.

Their ‘reign of terror’, as is being reported by South Africa’s Sunday Times
newspaper, has now led to a probe by the Human Rights Commission. The
Commission has also confirmed that there were eight new complaints about
abuses and human rights infringements at the centre in August alone.

Meanwhile the Lawyers for Human Rights group has warned that xenophobic
violence in South Africa is on the rise. Most recently a group, calling
itself the South African Blacks Association, made threats of violence
against foreigners in Mayfair, Johannesburg, in pamphlets distributed to
foreigners there.

“We will burn your houses, your so-called luxury cars, we will kill your
fucken [sic] puppies [children] and burn down your shops,” the pamphlet
reads. The authors of the pamphlet have also threatened to rape and kill
foreign women.

Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh from Lawyers for Human Rights said these kinds of
threats are not isolated, and violence “is gaining momentum.” She said that
this is “reminiscent of the precursors to the 2008 violence, where 60 people

“In the 2010-2011 year, about 100 people died in incidents related to
xenophobic violence. So it hasn’t gone away, it’s just not being picked up
in the media,” Ramjathan-Keogh said.

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‘Harare turning into desert’

Tuesday, 04 September 2012 10:55

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party has warned of
desertification of the capital Harare which is being triggered by haphazard
parcelling of wetlands.

Obert Gutu, spokesperson for MDC Harare province, spoke as Cabinet trashes
residents’ objections to the construction of a $100 million shopping mall in
the leafy Borrowdale suburb.

Another 300-room five-star hotel is being built by a Chinese investor on a
wetland between Belvedere suburb and the National Sports Stadium.

“MDC Harare province would like to express its utmost disappointment at the
continued parcelling out of wetlands to certain people and organisations for
the purpose of constructing hotels, shopping malls,” Gutu told the Daily

“It is a well-established environmental concept that wetlands should be left
as open spaces for recreation purposes in order to protect such fragile
pieces of land from degradation.

This is a global practice meant to ensure the environment is protected and
preserved,” said Gutu.

Gutu, who is also deputy Justice minister in the fragile coalition
government, said scientific studies had proven that the preservation of
wetlands was important to ensure the water table remained high in the long

He said this was an effective remedy against the negative effects of climate

Gutu said the proposed mega-mall dubbed the Millennium Park was unnecessary
given that there were shopping centres such as Sam Levy, Bond Street, Mt
Pleasant, Chisipite and Kamfinsa nearby.

Ken Sharpe, the controversial tycoon building the mall in partnership with
Johannesburg-listed international property group and developer McCormick
Property Development, insists his luxury outlet will be a draw card for
tourists and locals, and could help stop cross-border shopping.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda claims existing shopping malls in the
Borrowdale area were failing to meet the expectations of “fairly affluent

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Survey shows Zimbabweans fear violence flare-up in next year’s poll


AN OPINION poll conducted by Afrobarometer shows fears of political violence
breaking out during elections next year persist among Zimbabwean voters, as
the country’s political leaders forge ahead with plans to hold the elections
that will end the three-year-old unity government.

The Afrobarometer report, titled Voting Intentions in Zimbabwe: A Margin of
Terror? notes that "Zimbabweans remain deeply concerned about political

Fully 88% think that multiparty competition "often" or "always" leads to
violent conflict. … 63% of Zimbabweans say that during an election campaign
they personally fear becoming a victim of political intimidation and

The percentage of voters afraid of political violence, according to the
report, had increased from 80% in 2009 to 88%.

The findings by Afrobarometer, which surveyed nearly 3,000 voters has now
been used by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai to counter a damning report released last month by Freedom House,
entitled Change and New politics in Zimbabwe.

"The document from Afrobarometer seems to confirm our position on the
questionable reliability of the Freedom House report," MDC spokesman Douglas
Mwonzora said at the weekend.

But Jonathan Moyo, a Zanu (PF) Politburo member, warned the MDC not to get
"carried away" with the latest report.

"The Freedom House statement confirmed that Zanu (PF) has more popular and
sustainable support on the ground — especially in between and beyond
elections when policies matter the most than the MDC which in the past comes
alive during elections to capitalise on the political discontent of the
moment only to become clueless and utterly redundant after and beyond

Political observers indicated that the Afrobarometer report highlights the
"tight contest" that could characterise the next election and could
culminate into a repeat of the June 2008 presidential election rerun.
President Robert Mugabe has faced off against Mr Tsvangirai in successive
presidential elections held in 2002 and 2008, with the outcome bitterly

"The results of the report show a close call" between Zanu (PF) and the MDC
under the prevailing circumstances and we are likely to go for another
election which will end in a rerun," Trevor Maisiri, an analyst at the
International Crisis Group, said. "This close call between both political
parties also increases the stakes and means we will see desperate and
resolute measures being applied by both parties to win in the next

More state-sanctioned violence cannot be dismissed, he said. The next
election would be a high-level political showdown "which given Zimbabwe’s
history is a recipe for violence and undue means will be used to win in the

Underpinning Zanu (PF)’s comeback onto the political stage, the
Afrobarometer report linked this to efforts by the former ruling party to
"invest resources" in preparation for the elections, while the MDC was
basking in the marginal success of stabilising the economy that it had
scored in the unity government.

Tendai Biti, the MDC’s secretary-general and Zimbabwe’s finance minister,
admitted his party had been caught up in the transition, but they would
learn from its mistakes. "The major lesson being learnt is that the MDC
needs to reconnect with its base and needs to carry out protracted
programmes of mobilisation, advocacy, education, recruitment and delivery.
We accept fully the message that the MDC does not have a God-given right to
govern and that the MDC by action has to wake up and work for the support of
Zimbabweans," Mr Biti said.

The MDC was basking in the marginal success of stabilising the economy that
it had scored in the unity government

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Zimbabwe's Man-Made Food Crisis
Zimbabwe's poor harvest is not only the result of drought, but years of failed agricultural policy.
Zimbabwean pupils planting maize in 2009. Photograph by Peter Morgan/Sustainable Sanitation.
Mutare, Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwe is facing severe and widespread food shortages. 1.7 million Zimbabweans currentlyrequire food aid and some fear the situation will get even worse before the next harvest in April.

“The situation is really bad. Many people are going for days without proper meals”, Nekias Mkwindidza, a village elder from Zimunya, about 50 km south of Mutare, tells Think Africa Press.

In Buhera district, Jane Sithole reveals that some are now surviving on porridge made from baobab fruits. “We’re appealing to the government and non-governmental organisations to assist. Some children are no longer going to school because they cannot go on empty stomachs”, she explains.

Tambayi Mhlanga, another villager from the Hotsprings area in Chimanimani district, explains that although the area is accustomed to droughts, this year has been particularly bad. “I am not sure whether we will make it to the next season”, he says, “The future looks so bleak”.

The shortages follow some of the poorest farming weather for years, but the crisis derives not just from recent, uncontrollable factors, but from some longer-term and very much man-made problems.

Too little too late?

Last November, 1.2 million hectares was planted with maize, the national staple. Although this should have been nearly enough to produce the 1.8 million tonnes Zimbabweans consume annually, the agriculture ministry only delivered seed and supplies once the rains were already well underway, a frustrating practice that has been repeated since 2000. As early as January, farmers’ unions were warning that they expected to harvest just 700,000 tonnes, 1.1 million tonnes short of the required figure.

In April, Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made reported that around a third of planted crops had failed due to the lack of irrigation systems and the fact farmers were unable to buy the necessary inputs in time.

At the same conference, Finance Minister Tendai Biti made available $20 million for farmers to buy seeds, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs in a bid to boost crops, in particular wheat, and mitigate the crop failure.

Made said: "I hope in what we are doing we are correcting the situation so that never again are the inputs are delayed…. Farmers suffer the vagaries of weather. That you cannot control. The best is to assist farmers by development of irrigation."

Despite this intervention, however, the UN estimates that this year’s cereals harvest was a third lower than last year, and that the number of people in need of food assistance is 60% higher than during the last lean season. The impact will be greatest between January and March next year.

World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, Felix Bamezon said: “The United Nations World Food Programme and our partners are gearing up to respond to this large rise in food needs…Our field staff is already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet.”

But while the WFP’s targeted assistance programme is scheduled to run until the end of March, its $119 million budget is currently facing a shortfall of approximately $85 million.

Self-inflicted failure

Droughts, poorly implemented policies and a shift by banks to fund tobacco and cotton instead of maize and other grains have all contributed to Zimbabwe’s current situation, but to fully understand how the country reached this state of affairs from once being southern Africa’s breadbasket requires us to look further back to 2000.

In 2000, as President Robert Mugabe was struggling politically for the first time, he launched a reform programme seizing land from white commercial farmers to be restored to black peasant farmers. The expropriation of the land broke apart one of the most important pillars of the Zimbabwean economy and often replaced white agriculturalists with inexperienced farmers, with insufficient planning and state support. Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has never quite recovered and this season, farmers who got free land under Mugabe's policy contributed just 16% of total maize output.

Charles Taffs, president of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe, insists the country’s predicament is self-inflicted and the result of the government’s agricultural policy or lack thereof. “For the last 12 years, we haven’t been feeding ourselves and the problem is that we are growing maize where it is not suitable to do so”, he said. “There is no drought here. It’s bad planning. The country does not have an agricultural policy.”

Vice-President Joice Mujuru last week launched a new drought-tolerant maize seed variety, which could help for next season, but currently many are struggling to get by and it seems unlikely this will be enough to reform Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.

“It does not make sense to talk about the decline of agricultural output as an embarrassment", says Taffs. "It is a direct result of poor policies. Currently the land has no value and farmers cannot plan.”

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COPAC’s accounts must be audited

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

By Blessing Vava

Last week South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma SADC appointed facilitator in
the GPA, dispatched his facilitation team among other issues to break the
so-called impasse in the constitution making process. But, specific to the
issue of the constitution, the so-called deadlock is as a result of ZANU PF’s
sponsored amendments to the COPAC daft. This is despite the fact that its
pool of negotiators appended their signatures on the 18th of July draft
produced by COPAC. The COPAC final daft is a product of the management
committee who also happen to be negotiators in Zimbabwe’s unending
negotiations in the GPA. Interestingly, when the management committee
members appended their signatures and handed over the document to their
principals, what that meant was that their role has now been complete and it
was now up to the principals to discuss and agree on the final document. In
the same way the Kariba draft, and the GPA, were done, after the signatures
of the negotiators it goes to the principals.

As of now I do not believe that there is yet a deadlock to talk about
until principals meet to discuss the document. The principals are the ones
who assigned these negotiators and logically if you are sent with a message
by your superior you have to relay back the message. That is what the
management committee did. They came up with that document and handed it over
to the principals meaning that it was now left to their principals to
decide. However this GNU has set a bad precedence. After a deadlock between
negotiators, the principals come in. This has been the game in town.Three
individuals now have the power to decide on the contents of a constitution
which is to govern more than 14million Zimbabweans. This has been a bad
process from the start and sadly the country lost considerable time and
resources to a process which is now seemingly a mere circus. They failed
even to honor up to what they agreed in the GPA, and what guarantee do we as
Zimbabweans have that they will respect the constitution they are writing
should it be accepted in a referendum?

That has been the tragedy of allowing politicians to write a constitution.
They will never do it in earnest, it is all about their power that is why no
one is questioning the blotting of the National Assembly for example at a
time many Zimbabweans have been complaining about a large government. And
talking about MPs, I was left dump-founded after reading media reports
alleging that members of parliament are demanding more money which they
allege were their dues from COPAC, a complete fraud and scandal which should
never be entertained. First and foremost the MPs should understand that the
cars they were leasing and even driving during the outreach process were
bought using tax payers money through the treasury and none of them paid a
single cent for their purchase. To have such cars is a mere privilege and
not a right our ignorant members of parliament should be reminded. Their
levels of greediness is shocking and utterly disgusting. This only shows
that they participated in the COPAC process to make money and nothing else.
With the high allowances they were getting everyday and hotel accommodation
is sheer extravagance. Some of the MPs even abandoned their families to stay
with their girlfriends in hotels despite some of them residing less than a
5km drive from the hotel. This is despite the fact that many Zimbabweans are
earning salaries that hardly allow them to afford descent accommodation and
transport fares to their work places. Under such circumstances, legislators
should consider themselves fortunate to own cars.

Clearly the notion of being servants of the people is now alien it now
appears that the people are now the servants of these politicians whose
alarming rate of resource and wealth accumulation deserves a chapter in the
Guinness Book of Records. Surely the 45million spent by COPAC was money
wasted luxuriously by politicians and their cronies and no one else. And as
we move forward COPAC should be forced to account in detail for every cent
used since the process started. These were resources sourced under the guise
of writing a constitution for the country and as such they should be audited
and the results be made public. We would want to know how much they used for
their allowances, their hotel bills, and mark my words it wont be surprising
that much of the money was for allowances and hotel accommodation. That
being said, it is high time that the process being concluded to pave way for
a referendum so that the people of Zimbabwe be given a chance to finally
participate in rejecting the COPAC daft which they did not input. We are
tired of this political posturing, Zimbabweans should now demand a
referendum. Politicians, for far too long have been taking Zimbabweans for a

Blessing Vava is a blogger from Chipinge. he can be contacted on

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Constitution Watch of 3rd September 2012 [What is the Future of the COPAC Draft Constitution?]


[3rd September 2012]

What is the Future of the COPAC Draft Constitution?

ZANU-PF have rejected the COPAC draft constitution They have produced a redraft of it which has altered the COPAC one to such an extent that it may as well be called the ZANU-PF constitution. [Veritas distributed the re-draft as an attachment to Constitution Watch of 24th August – if any one missed this and wants a soft copy email]

Both MDCs have rejected the “ZANU-PF Constitution President Mugabe handed copies of ZANU-PF’s re-draft to the principals Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Ncube, after the Cabinet meeting on 21st August. Both MDC groupings were quick to reject the ZANU-PF document and the idea of further negotiations on the COPAC draft. They have reiterated their statements that the COPAC draft was signed by all party negotiators and that they are committed to the COPAC draft.

Impasse unresolved The ZANU-PF Politburo confirmed its endorsement of the ZANU-PF re-draft at a meeting on 25th August. It was now, said ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, up to the principals to decide the way forward. But the MDCs have said they have compromised enough during the COPAC process. Mr Tsvangirai for MDC-T said “to open the draft constitution debate now is like opening a floodgate, for once you start you will never know where to stop”. Prof Ncube spoke more strongly: “I am astonished at the sheer scale of disrespect, contempt, insult and audacity exhibited by the amendments.....In fact, the draft is not just an insult on us but is also a mockery of the people who took time to make representations to COPAC.....There is no way we could ever accept those amendments. Anyone who does so would be committing political suicide.” He went on to interpret it as a ploy by ZANU-PF to go for early elections.

And the impasse continues unresolved.

The SADC Factor

President Zuma’s facilitation team was in Harare on 28th and 29th August, and met the three party negotiating teams separately on the 28th before a joint meeting on the 29th. The MDC negotiating teams maintained their position that they were not prepared to have further negotiations over the COPAC draft. ZANU-PF would not budge from its position that insisted changes to the COPAC draft could still be made at the level of the party principals. The MDC teams declared a deadlock and invoked the recent SADC Summit resolution requiring intervention by President Zuma, as the SADC Facilitator, and President Kikwete of Tanzania, as chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, in the event of difficulties arising over the constitution. They were requested to confirm this in writing to President Mugabe. Talk of an imminent visit by the two Presidents is premature until the principals have met over the present impasse.

Any Chance of Further Negotiations

Mr Tsvangirai has suggested that the position might have been different had ZANU-PF questioned only one or two issues. This may be seen as leaving some space for consideration of more modest changes to the COPAC draft in discussions at the level of the GPA party principals – for example, the removal of the presidential running-mates provision from the COPAC draft in return for ZANU-PF’s abandonment of what the other parties have described as its outrageous and insulting rejection of the draft’s provisions on presidential powers, devolution, etc.

In fact the principals have not yet met to discuss the issue. The principals usually meet on a Monday, but the President was out of the country on Monday 27th August, having left the day before on his way to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Teheran. And it is not yet clear whether he will have returned in time to be available for a meeting on Monday 3rd September. The impatience of SADC leaders for progress on the constitution, as shown by the resolutions adopted at the Maputo Summit on 18th August, is likely to be a major factor in the principals’ discussions.

Comment: As the GPA set up a Parliamentary process to produce a new constitution, correctly it is COPAC that should have the last say [and they have already signed off on the COPAC draft], rather than the principals.

Meanwhile MDC-T Announce YES Campaign for COPAC Draft

Start on 8th September

On 30th August Mr Tsvangirai told leaders of civil society organisations that MDC-T would, starting 8th September, be campaigning to inform the people about and seek their support for the COPAC draft constitution.

Comment: It is puzzling why the MDC-T have made this decision. In statements endorsing the COPAC draft after its release, both MDC parties made it clear that the draft was a less than ideal compromise document, and that each of them had made concessions to permit a consensus to be arrived at between the three parties. Why, then, has the MDC-T chosen to run with the COPAC draft when it contains provisions with which MDC-T is not happy? If ZANU-PF feels free at this late stage to push for what it really wants, why shouldn’t they come up with their own draft constitution putting back what they surrendered during the long drawn-out negotiations at Management Committee level, from the Nyanga Retreat in June to the initialling of the COPAC draft in the early hours of 18th July?

More than One Draft for the Referendum?

The possibility of submitting two drafts – COPAC’s and the ZANU-PF re-draft – has been mentioned by President Zuma and others. ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said on 29th August that ZANU-PF was against the idea of taking both the COPAC draft and the ZANU-PF re-draft to the Referendum. In fact, in terms of the Referendums Act there is no reason why two or more drafts should not be put to the vote, but it would be impractical for other reasons [see below]

Fear of Referendum Violence

There is a growing fear that if ZANU-PF go for a NO vote and MDC-T for a YES vote, or if ZANU-PF and MDCs [and anyone joining in] are rallying supporters to vote for different drafts, the Referendum would become a party popularity contest and likely to be accompanied by the same degree of violence and intimidation that characterised the 2008 elections.

In Fact No Party Can Go It Alone

If ZANU-PF remains opposed to any draft but their own, the reality is that even it the MDC-T could garner enough support for a YES vote for the COPAC draft [or their own draft], it would probably be pointless. A YES vote in the Referendum is not the final stage in the constitution-making process. The new constitution needs to be passed by two-thirds majorities in both Houses of Parliament. Neither grouping alone has a two-thirds majority in the House of Assembly nor the Senate. It is unlikely that MDC-T would persuade a two-thirds majority to vote with them. And then it has to be signed by the President [ZANU-PF] for his assent.

COPAC Activities Still Stalled

COPAC’s preparations for the remainder of the constitution-making process are still stalled pending a resolution of the impasse that has followed the production of the ZANU-PF re-draft. Translation and printing arrangements continue shelved, as do other preparations for the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference. This is because all important decisions require consensus among the parties, something that is not possible as long as the impasse continues.

Still No Publication of National Report

Discussion of issues surrounding the draft constitution continues to be hampered by COPAC’s failure to publish the national report on the Outreach process. ZANU-PF claims that the COPAC draft constitution published on July 18 ignores views of the people gathered during the national outreach programme and contained in the national report, and that amendments made in the party’s re-draft used the national report as a yardstick. But both MDCs have said the COPAC draft expresses the people’s wishes and the ZANU-PF re-draft does not. ZANU-PF has challenged COPAC to make the document public.

It would clarify the issues and be of interest to the public if COPAC made the national report available, but COPAC seems to be avoiding the issue. Jesse Majome, COPAC’s spokesperson [also MDC-T Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs],
has dismissed as nonsensical ZANU PF’s call to make public the COPAC national report. She insisted: “There is nowhere in the GPA where it says after the process you release the national report. Article 6 of the GPA is clear on the functions of COPAC. And in any case, the Select Committee is answerable to Parliament and that body has not demanded such action from us.” [Comment: This statement seems to invite an interested Parliamentarian to make such a request.]

Does a complete national report really exist? COPAC has mentioned in the past both a statistical report and a narrative report, so a complete national report should include both. COPAC has also said it would make it available at the end of the process. If it exists, why not just make it available now? ZANU-PF has said it will publish the national statistical report itself, but has not yet done so. There is a natural suspicion, because of lack of a clear methodology, and the constant arguments about quantitative data and quantitative data during the collation of the analysis of the public consultations, that there is in fact no narrative report. [Comment: Considering all the other “leaks” from the process, surely if it exists it would have been “leaked by now”?]

Some months ago ZANU-PF supporter Goodson Nguni said he proposed suing COPAC to get a High Court order forcing COPAC to release the national report. So far no court papers have been served on COPAC.

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

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Bill Watch 41/2012 of 3rd September [House of Assembly & Senate to Meet 4th September]

BILL WATCH 41/2012

[3rd September 2012]

Both Houses resume sitting Tuesday 4th September

No Date Yet for Ceremonial Opening of Next Parliamentary Session

Parliamentary Sittings to Resume on 4th September

There has still been no announcement of a date for the official ceremonial opening by the President of the next session of the present Parliament – its fifth and final session. As a result both Houses will be sitting again on Tuesday 4th September, which is the date to which they adjourned in late July when starting their end-of-session break for the August school holidays. This break was in fact briefly interrupted by a special recall on 7th August to approve three Chinese loan agreements [see Bill Watch 39/2012 of 20th August]. It is normal practice to adjourn to a particular date. When a new opening is expected, this date is set well in advance in the expectation that a new session will start before that date.

It had been generally expected that by now the President would have proclaimed the end of the fourth session and delivered his speech to Parliamentarians opening the new session. That would have left members of the House of Assembly and Senators taking the customary adjournment to mull over the President’s outline of the Government’s plans for the new session and then getting down to work in earnest again on 18th September – the date earmarked on the 2012 Parliamentary sitting calendar for the start of a series of sittings scheduled to last until mid-October.

Will this week’s sittings be productive? It remains to be seen whether Parliamentarians will be prepared to do something useful when they resume on 4th September. Or will they, perhaps, just meet briefly and then adjourn again to wait for the start of the new session, which cannot now be long delayed? There is still unfinished business on the order papers, particularly in the House of Assembly – and, as having Parliament sitting is a costly exercise, it would be a pity to leave this business untouched.


On the House of Assembly Order Paper


National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill This item has been on the agenda since the beginning of the Session without action from the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

Private Member’s Bills There are two Private Member’s Bills listed – the Urban Councils Amendment Bill and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendement Bill [to repeal the now infamous section 121(3) of the principal Act]. But proceedings on them are effectively suspended pending the Supreme Court’s decision on an application by ZANU-PF Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatious Chombo for a ruling that Private Member’s Bills are inadmissible during the lifetime of the GPA.

Note re Bills not yet on the Order Paper

· Securities Amendment Bill This new Bill was gazetted more than two weeks ago – on 10th August – it qualifies for its First Reading. If that happens, it would be referred straight to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] and would go no further pending the PLC’s report. [For summary of this Bill see Bill Watch 39/2012 of 20th August].

· Microfinance Bill As this was only gazetted on 31st August, it does not qualify for its First Reading this week.

Report of the Privileges Committee on SMM Administrator Gwaradzimba This report is ready to be presented by the chairperson of the Privileges Committee appointed to investigate a charge of contempt of Parliament said to have been committed by Mr Gwaradzimba in a press interview about his appearance before the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.

Portfolio Committee reports awaiting presentation or further debate include: the Government’s Agreement with Essar Africa Holdings on New Zimbabwe Steel; ZESA service delivery; Air Zimbabwe; deportations.

Motions for presentation include: resuscitation of a committee on government assurances to monitor Government follow-up action on recommendations by House committees; the need for public/private partnership arrangements for running the mining town of Hwange; allegations of corruption at the Reserve Bank.

On the Senate Order Paper

PLC Adverse Reports

The Senate’s agenda lists 17 PLC adverse reports on statutory instruments. All of these were presented and explained to Senators by the PLC chairperson in July, before debate was adjourned for reaction from the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. 16 of the 17 reports concern penalty provisions in local authority by-laws, and since July discussions between the Minister and the PLC have resulted in an agreement that there will be appropriate changes made to the by-laws [see Bill Watch 37/2012 of 6th August]. After that is done, the PLC will withdraw the adverse reports. This agreement makes further debate unnecessary, although Senators need to be formally updated on this development. As for the seventeenth report, the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs has advised the Minister of Defence to repeal SI 61/2012, which criminalises unauthorised entry into the premises of an Army boarding school in Kadoma. But, the repealing SI has not yet been gazetted.

The agenda, though it looks formidable, is likely to be speedily dispatched. It would be expected that Senators had other national and constituency concerns to raise in a country which faces so many challenges.

January’s New Mining Fees Still Not Repealed or Modified

The Senate adopted the PLC adverse report on Statutory Instrument [SI] 11/2012 [the controversial mining fees increases] on 28th March. But, the President has still not gazetted the repeal of the SI although under the Constitution this should have been done “forthwith” after the Senate’s adoption of the adverse report. Nor has the Minister of Mines and Mining Development gazetted more reasonable fees despite statements from both him and the Minister of Finance that fees would be reviewed.

Microfinance Bill Gazetted

The Ministry of Finance’s Microfinance Bill was gazetted on 31st August. The Bill provides for the registration, supervision and regulation of persons conducting microfinance business in Zimbabwe. The supervising body will be the Reserve Bank, which must appoint one of its employees as Registrar of Microfinanciers. Microfinance business is defined to cover the providing of loans and other credit facilities by individuals, financial institutions, companies and partnerships. Registration will have to be renewed annually, and will not be granted to individuals who are not “fit and proper persons” to carry on moneylending business, or to institutions or companies that are not controlled by fit and proper and suitably experienced persons. Appropriate business plans will also be required.

The Bill also makes amendments to the Banking Act and the Moneylending and Rates of Interest Act. Registered banks will have to register their microfinance divisions under the Bill. For moneylenders, registration by the Registrar of Microfinanciers will replace the present licensing under the old Moneylending and Rates of Interest Act – but the anti-usury provisions of the latter Act [which was once called the Usury Act] will be maintained in force.

Status of Bills

[one new entry – underlined]

[Bills available from unless otherwise stated]

Passed Bills awaiting Presidential assent and gazetting as Acts

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

Electoral Amendment Bill

Older Persons Bill

Appropriation (2012) Amendment Bill

Finance Bill

Bill gazetted and awaiting presentation in Parliament

Microfinance Bill [gazetted on 31st August – see summary above] [not yet available]

Securities Amendment Bill [gazetted on 10th August 2012]

Government Gazette of 31st August

[copies not available]

Bill Microfinance Bill [see above]

Statutory Instruments

Collective bargaining agreement SI 140/2012 corrects an error in SI 138/2012 affecting monthly levies payable to the Motor Industry National Employment Council by workers and employers.

Customs rebate SI 141/2012 provides for a rebate of duty on the importation of CO2 compliant coolers and HFC-free refrigeration equipment during the period 31st August to 31st December 2012 only. The rebate is restricted to importers approved by the Minister of Finance.

Axle-loading regulations SI 139/2012 sets out new fees payable for registration of abnormal vehicles and permits for the use on Zimbabwe’s roads of abnormal size vehicles and carriage of abnormal loads.

General Notices

Withdrawal of exclusive prospecting orders GN 352/2012 notifies the withdrawal with effect from 3rd August of 90 reservations against prospecting and pegging under the Mines and Minerals Act. These withdrawals follow the refusal of applications for exclusive prospecting orders over the areas concerned.

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

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