Keeping secrets is not the way to make friends

South Africa’s proposed Protection of Information Bill, now back with the adhoc parliamentary committee for redrafting, is chillingly similar to Zimbabwe’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, warns Maddy Halyard of Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory (SITO). It could turn everyday citizens who posses protected intelligence, even unknowingly, into common criminals, while exempting intelligence agencies such as the NIA and the police force from public scrutiny. Read more here and comment below.

SADC centre for agricultural research launched in Botswana

Centre for the Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA), which was established by SADC in 2010 under a charter, launched its center in Botswana on 14 July, 2011. The center is expected to coordinate joint regional research programmes in SADC, facilitate the sharing of research information and resources, as well as strengthen partnership and collaboration. In the launch, it has been emphasized that to keep pace with population growth and other life demands, research and technology development must remain focused and ahead of time. Africa must position herself to compete with the best in the global market. Read more here.
Angela Mdlalani

Zimbabwe cotton industry could grow with GMO crops

According to agro-industrial firm Aico Africa, Zimbabwe could quadruple its cotton output by 2015 if it starts to grow genetically modified (GMO) crops and increase support to farmers. The government had accepted in principle to allow the growing of GMO cotton. Aico provides seed and fertilizers to most of the small-scale farmers, who are contracted to sell their crops to the company. Read more here.

SITO’s first Election Watch for Zimbabwe

The Election Watch is based on the SADC principles and guidelines for conducting elections. It holds countries to the standards that they originated and agreed to abide by as members of the regional community.

It will be released on a monthly basis in order to track progress towards or divergence from the SADC standard. Read it here.

What is Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement?

If intended as a ceasefire agreement, Zimbabwe’s GPA has failed to deliver, but as a power-sharing mechanism it could well be guaranteed of success

For those who viewed the Global Political Agreement as amounting to a viable political agreement, the resurgence of serious political differences among the key protagonists is evidence of the failure of that document to deliver sustainable and sound solutions.  Read more here.

Idasa/RAU study records police torture of Zimbabwean women

While police have been responsible for some of the most serious human rights and rule of law violations in Zimbabwe today, women in particular have encountered torture, assault, harassment, intimidation and imprisonment. The fate of women activists, especially those from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members has been documented in interviews of more than 2,200 women across Zimbabwe, and a few living in South Africa and Botswana, conducted by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) in partnership with Idasa, as well as the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Women‟s Coalition of Zimbabwe. Read the full paper here.

Can the world do something to make sure Zimbabwe pulls off a successful election?

African democracy institute Idasa says yes. Analyst Bryan Sims from Idasa’s States in Transition Observatory considers four threats to Zimbabwe’s transition and the likely political scenarios. Read the full analysis here.

What the rush, Mugabe?

African democracy institute Idasa identifies the political and social factors affecting Zanu PF’s “rushed” election strategy that could further destabilise politics in the country. Read more here.

Zimbabwe: The Evolving Public Mood

At the end of 2010, Zimbabwean citizens remained broadly supportive of power sharing as an antidote to political crisis.  But they were increasingly critical of the halting performance of their country’s coalition government.  Most people also perceived declining civil liberties and feared resurgent political violence.  Yet clear majorities called for constitutional reforms to limit the powers of the presidency and seemingly even for free elections in 2011 to return the country to legitimate rule.

These are the major findings of an Afrobarometer survey conducted among a national cross-section of the Zimbabwean adults in late October 2010. See the full report here for more information.

What’s 2011 going to bring for Zimbabwe? Idasa outlines four possible scenarios.

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) will complete the drafting of the new foundation law for Zimbabwe in mid-2011. A referendum on the new law will be conducted in September and a YES response will be attained. Presidential elections will then be called for early December 2011. Likely? Nope, according to SITO’s current Zimbabwe fellow, Dr John Makumbe, who has drawn up four possible scenarios in a paper entitled “Zimbabwe in 2011/2012: Political Scenario Mapping”. In the end all he can say with certainty is that “2010 ended on a rather sour note for most politicians in Zimbabwe” and “Zimbabwe’s current political arrangement is increasingly untenable”. But he also says a lot more besides – click here for this fascinating analysis.