Local News

Zim endorses draft Constitution

ZIM GOVT ENDORSES DRAFT CONSTITUTION
Harare, July 20, 2012 (New Ziana) -Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga on Friday described the draft Constitution which has been handed over to the principals as a fair representation of the wishes of the people and the parties in the inclusive government.
The Management Committee of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the new Constitution (Copac) handed leaders of the three political parties drafts of the new supreme law to hand over to the principals.
Matinenga said the draft, which he described as “good”, would be debated in Parliament and would go through a referendum.
“The document that has been produced can be described as good. When you look at a Constitution, you can never accept each and every clause in it,” Matinenga told journalists at a briefing.
Copac announced Thursday it would hand over the draft constitution to the three principals in the inclusive government, President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, after which the final draft would be made available to all Zimbabweans in local languages.
Matinenga dismissed assertions that Zanu PF had the majority of its wishes reflected in the draft constitution, describing it as balancing the interests of the people in the country.
“The draft opens a new era in the governance of Zimbabwe. It is important that as a nation we apply this draft in a positive and purposeful manner,” he said.
“It provides the basis for a democratic and developmental state respecting the rule of law.”
While the draft retains executive powers for the President, it limits the terms of the Head of State to a maximum of two five year terms and also provides for the Vice Presidents to be elected by the people unlike the current Constitution.
Matinenga said the draft proposed that any Constitutional changes to the terms of the President would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament as well as go through a Referendum.
Other key highlights of the draft include the expansion of the Bill of Rights which now covers economic, social, cultural, environmental rights as well as the rights of children.
It also curtails the death penalty which has now been limited for imposition on men for conviction on murder in aggravating circumstances.
The penalty cannot be imposed on women and as well as men above the age of 70.
The draft also introduces devolution of governmental powers to the country's provinces and introduces six new Commissions and a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which is independent of the Attorney General's Office.
The Commissions will be responsible for elections, human rights, gender, media, anti-corruption and the peace and reconciliation.
Matinenga said the AG's office would strictly be the legal think tank of the government without prosecuting powers which would be vested in the NPA.
New Ziana

Farmers still owed for grain from last year

GVT STILL OWES FARMERS US$4, 4 MILLION FROM LAST YEAR
Harare July 19, 2012 (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe government owes farmers US$4.4 million for grain delivered to the Grain Marketing Board last year, a cabinet Minister said on Wednesday.
The GMB has been criticized for delaying to pay for grain deliveries, with the parastatal blaming it on the government which did not release funds on time.
Presenting the mid-term Budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the government paid US$61.9 million for grain delivered to the GMB, leaving a balance of US$4.4 million.
“During the 2011/12 marketing season, grain deliveries (maize, wheat and small grains) to the GMB for the Strategic Grain Reserve amounted to 223 303 tones and was valued at US$66, 3 million,” he said.
Biti said as at June 30 this year, farmers had delivered 5 966, 52 tones of grain comprising 5 926 tones of maize, at least 3.79 tones wheat and 36.73 tones of small grains.
He said the total value of grain delivered so far amounted to US$1 760 771, with maize accounting for US$1 748 170, wheat US$1 766 and small grains US$10 835.
“Payments made amount to US$800 000 for 2 711.9 tones,” he said.
Biti said the GMB was holding 298 032 tonnes of grain under the Strategic Grain Reserves.
New Ziana
Meanwhile, Biti said favourable food security conditions exist across the SADC region, with combined exportable grain surpluses of 407 000 tons.
“These conditions are expected to prevail through the Outlook period and beyond, especially in areas that had a favourable agricultural production season,” he said.
New Ziana

Econet wants USF scrapped

ABOLISH USF - ECONET
Harare, July 20, 2012 (New Ziana) – Econet Wireless says the Universal Services Fund (USF) is no longer necessary as telecommunications companies are expanding their networks to cover the whole country.
Telecommunications companies in the country are obliged to contribute two percent of their gross monthly earnings to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (Potraz)-managed USF.
The fund was established to finance telecommunications projects in outlying areas which the telecommunications companies were under-servicing.
Econet, which is bitter over its contributions to the USF which were lost during the hyperinflation period, argues the fund was no longer relevant as companies were investing in infrastructure to spread services to all areas.
Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Media, Information and Communication recently that operators should retain the funds for deployment into equipment and infrastructure.
“As an operator we are building infrastructure in the rural areas anyway, so we are basically of the view that the USF is probably no longer as relevant as it was in the past because we are already doing the work that it was supposed to do anyway,” Mboweni accused Potraz of sitting on USF contributions between 1998 and 2008 while inflation was galloping before the adoption of multiple foreign currencies.
“We are quite emotional when it gets to the money we paid during the period 1998 to 2008. We kept paying money into the USF only to be told after dollarization that it was all gone,” he said.
“Not a single site was built using that money.”
He said it was wise for the funds to be kept by the operators who would then quickly deploy the monies towards useful project unlike what Potraz did before adoption of multi-currencies.
Meanwhile, Econet has contributed over $30 million to the USF since the introduction of multiple currencies in 2009.
Mboweni alleged that government-owned telecommunications entities were not be contributing to the fund.
Tel One and Net One are struggling due to failure by the government to inject capital into the companies.
Mboweni said the playing field should be leveled to ensure that the rule applied to all the companies.
Potraz has announced that it intends to construct eight base stations using the USF funds in areas where there is limited access to connectivity, especially in game parks.
New Ziana

Zim and China urged to strengthen ties

VP MUJURU CALLS FOR STRENGTHENING OF ZIM-RUSSIA TIES
Harare July 19, 2012 (New Ziana)-Vice President Joyce Mujuru on Thursday said there is need to further strengthen ties that exist between Zimbabwe and Russia for the benefit of the two countries.
Addressing a seventeen member Russian delegation that arrived in the country two days ago at her Munhumutapa offices, VP Mujuru said there were avenues to strengthen the ties.
“Right now even though we have this friendship that we appreciate, we are not very happy about the level of our relationship which can be much more than what is happening now,” she said.
“There is still a lot that we can do together. It is up to us to see which areas we can start emphasizing on.”
VP Mujuru said there was also need to strengthen trade between Moscow and Harare, highlighting the need to ensure that agreements reached were implemented.
She expressed her gratitude over the stance taken by Russia in support of Zimbabwe at international fora such as the UN.
Head of delegation, Russian deputy Industry and Trade of Minister Georgy Kalamanov who was accompanied by business people from his country said they were eager to invest in various sectors of the country’s economy.
Kalamanov said during their stay they held talks with various business people were they signed several agreements.
He said they were also interested in developing infrastructure in the country and other satellite sectors of the economy.
“We want to create a business council with Zimbabwe and also bring back to life the work of the inter-governmental meetings,” he said.
“The huge coal reserves in Zimbabwe cannot be underutilized as they can create big opportunities for thermal power plants.”
Kalamanov said during their stay they had also orchestrated the beginning of the crafting of a Bilateral Investment Promotion Protection Agreement which they hope would be completed within the next two months.
“The leadership of our country and business people are looking forward to developing these opportunities and transform the longstanding political ties into economic relations,” he said.
He also reiterated Moscow’s continued support for Zimbabwe and its government.
Russia and Zimbabwe enjoy cordial relations that date back to the days of the liberation struggle.
New Ziana

Govt targets women empowerment

GOVT TARGETS WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
Harare July 19, 2012 (New Ziana) – President Robert Mugabe on Thursday launched the Broad Based Women's Economic Empowerment Framework (BBWEEF) as the government moves towards improving the participation of women in the economy.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the framework sets the agenda for empowerment of women in all sectors of the economy in line with the indigenization law.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act directs foreigners to dilute their shareholding in companies across the economy in a bid to address colonial imbalances.
It also seeks to facilitate enhanced participation of locals in economic activities.
President Mugabe said emancipation of women was critical for the nation's development.
“We want to see women in key economic decision-making positions,” he said. “They must get equal employment opportunities with man and must be allowed to acquire shares in companies as well.”
President Mugabe encouraged women entrepreneurs to focus on areas where they were better skilled to succeed as well as form partnerships.
He said for the success of the framework, women must be capacitated to grow in business and areas of specialty.
President Mugabe bemoaned the government's inability to fully participate in the process at the moment due to limited financial resources.
He said the government had done a lot since independence to enhance gender equality as well as uplift the status of women in the country.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara called on the government to invest in women, who made up the majority of the country's population.
“Zimbabwe will do better when women are empowered,” he said.
He said investing and listening to women would help reduce poverty levels in the country.
Women's Affairs Minister Dr Olivia Muchena said the frame work sought to address inequalities between men and women by democratizing the economic space.
“We need affirmative action to redress the gender disparities,” she said.
The BBWEEF aims to empower women through enhancing business ownership or entrepreneurship, facilitating participation of women in key economic decision making positions, ensuring employment equity and assisting women from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate and benefit from viable informal and formal livelihood activities.
The framework has a five year time frame with short-term, medium-term as well as long-term objectives.
At the launch, women participating in various economic activities such as agriculture and mining outlined to the gathering the various challenges they were facing, which responsible Ministers promised to address.
Women miners complained of high license fees as well as stiff penalties the Environmental Management Agency was making them pay.
New Ziana

Photo Gallery 

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/536265img1.jpg

Kids talk to soldier dad in Ir

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/168258img2.jpg

U.S. lacks mechanism to accura

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/133965img3.jpg

US Tank and Cryogenics has ove

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/507035img4.jpg

The Black Hawk helicopter seri

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/371478img5.jpg

Listen to child soldiers, woun

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/774443img7.jpg

Helicopters carried US and Afg

Rioting has erupted at a march to commemorate the killing of a 15-year-old boy who was shot by Greek police in 2008. Officers fired tear gas at scores of hooded See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/571155img14.jpg

We left the observation post t

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/205742img16.jpg

Street Battles As Army Tackles

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

http://newziana.co.zw/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/564842img17.jpg

Thousands of Troops Are Deploy

President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like See details

Latest comments