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Four ZEGU law students leave for moot court – The Herald

Four ZEGU law students leave for moot court

Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau

Four law students at the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (Zegu) who qualified for the Philip C Jessup International moot competitions yesterday left for Washington DC in the United States to take part in the competitions.

The competitions begin today and runs until April 7.

The team comprises of two lead oralists Aquila Moyo and Takudzwanashe Wayne Chinyemba, a primary orator Tadiwa Chipunza and their think-tank a lady, Tadiwanashe Trish Pfende.

Their coach Mr Nyasha Chirambwa said they will be in the US together with participants from the Herbert Chitepo School of Law School at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU).

The two universities successfully submitted their legal arguments (memorials) on a proffered problem case.

All the other local law universities participated in the primary competitions.

“When we arrive in the United States, we are going to have an oral competition against our counterpart GZU to determine team Zimbabwe 1 and 2,” he said.

“In the history of the Philip C Jessup International moot competitions, they haven’t been won by an African university. This could be due to the stringent financial burden on universities to participate.

“The subject is widely taught amongst Western, Eastern countries and Northern European universities. Most of the students who win the competition are in master’s classes focusing on international law.”

America, India and Eastern Front universities have previously won the Philip C Jessup International moot competitions.

Mr Chirambwa said participating in the competition is a platform to showcase that undergraduate students in Africa can proffer solid arguments.

“We are not undermining our competitors or being reluctant. We want to do our best and come back with a win.”

Zegu’s acting vice chancellor Professor Innocent Chirisa said:

“It adds another leaf to us that we are churning out the right candidates who answer societal problems as they occur. Our motto is committed to excellence and we will continue to strive.

“They are also lifting the flag of Zimbabwe and Africa , representing Zimbabwe well as legal minds who can debate on topical issues. We thank the Chancellor the late Baba Ezekiel Guti for extending resources towards the expenses including flights and accommodation.”

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law an courts

A fight about Chinese-mined lithium in Zimbabwe is causing legal uncertainty all over – News24

Arcadia Lithium mine is pictured in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe. In 2021, the Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt said it would pay over $400 million for the hard-rock lithium mine. (Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Stringer/Getty Images)

Arcadia Lithium mine is pictured in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe. In 2021, the Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt said it would pay over $400 million for the hard-rock lithium mine. (Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Stringer/Getty Images)

  • Chinese lithium miners have in the past two years invested over R19 billion in setting up in Zimbabwe.
  • A court dispute blocks a Chinese lithium miner from processing lithium ore worth R285 million.
  • All mines registered after 2003 could be deemed illegal if a controversial High Court judgment is upheld.

A protracted lithium mining dispute between Chinese investors and a Zimbabwean government-owned corporation has led to a contentious High Court verdict that could result in the termination of mining licenses issued after 2003.

The case has also drawn attention to the risks associated with investing in the lucrative mining industry, particularly the recent lithium rush in the country. 

Last year, Zimbabwe earned R3.9 billion from lithium exports in the first nine months alone. The mineral is poised to become the country’s third-largest mineral export after gold and platinum-group metals. 

Chinese firms have spent up to R19 billion in the past two years to acquire and develop lithium projects in Zimbabwe.

Some of the big players are Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, Sinomine Resource Group, Chengxin Lithium, Yahua Group, and Canmax Technologies.

But it is the little-known Avoseh Investments which is at loggerheads with state-owned Sandawana Mines.

Sandawana is owned by the government through the Kuvimba mining house.

Avoseh and Sandawana are locked in battle over a lithium mining claim, which the latter alleges to be in its jurisdiction.

READ | AI-powered mining firm linked to Gates, Bezos claims huge copper find in Zambia

The dispute arose after Sandawana was granted first rights to prospect in an area registered in 1964 as the property of Rio Tinto, a British-Australian multinational company, now the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation.

Private players were invited after Sandawana pegged a 3 800-hectare area. 

Avoseh then arrived and pegged its 24 blocks, which it registered in November 2022. The Chinese firm went on to mine and now sits on lithium ore that is, according to court papers, worth R285 million.

But Sandawana got a court interdict for the ore not to be moved to a processing plant because it was allegedly illegally mined from the area, it claims. 

Sandawana sought and received a ruling that Avoseh was improperly given rights to carry out mining activities.

In her ruling, Justice Lucy Mungwari sitting in the High Court in Harare said Avoseh’s mining claim was null and void because it had received a mining permit before getting an environmental impact assessment certificate (EIAC).

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Section 97 of the EMA Act requires applicants for mining permits to first acquire an EIAC before a mining licence, since 2003, according to Justice Mungwari. 

As such, it “is not disputed that Avoseh’s claim was registered in the absence of the EIAC. It obtained mining title in the absence of the said certificate. An EIAC issued by EMA is a condition precedent to any mineral prospecting, mineral mining, ore processing and concentrating among other kindred mining operations”, she said.

In her ruling, Mungwari added:

It is wrong for anyone to assume that the EIAC is not a necessary or indispensable requirement for the grant of a prospecting licence or indeed a mining licence.

Since Sandawana took over from Rio Tinto, the judge said, it had not been affected by the new requirements. 

But Avoseh – and any other mining entities in Zimbabwe that received their licences in a similar fashion since 2003 – have been mining illegally.

Avoseh is appealing against this ruling.

However, if the ruling stands, it implies that all mines registered in Zimbabwe after 2003 were illegally operating.

Avoseh’s lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, claimed that the court needed to distinguish between the implementation and execution of mining operations on the one hand and the legality of a title on the other.

READ MORE | Mozambique wants to end Cahora Bassa deal with Eskom, threatening SA power supply

“A mining title is valid without reference to the EIAC. It is the carrying out of the operations that ought to be held in abeyance until the EIAC is acquired,” he said.

Madhuku argued that one can get a licence, but cannot go ahead and mine without the EIAC.

He also argued that there was no way anyone could get an EIAC of an area that they don’t have rights to. Therefore, it was impossible for Avoseh or any other firm, to have an EIAC before having rights to a piece of land.

Sandawana took this route after it failed to prove in court that Avoseh encroached into its area.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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law an courts

Uganda’s Constitutional Court rejects petition against anti-gay law – Al Jazeera English

Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 imposes penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations and possible death in ‘aggravated homosexuality’ cases.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court has rejected a petition seeking to annul an anti-gay law that has been roundly condemned internationally as one of the toughest in the world.

The court found on Wednesday that some sections of the law violated the right to health and it was “inconsistent with right to health, privacy and freedom of religion” but did not block or suspend the law.

“We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” Justice Richard Buteera, Uganda’s deputy chief justice and head of the court, said in the landmark ruling.

According to Ugandan television station NTV, the five-member court reached a unanimous decision to reject the petition against the law, which enjoys broad popular support in the country.

In a statement posted on X, the Uganda-based Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum warned that the decision “unfortunately will fuel human rights violations” against the gay community in the country.

Steven Kabuye, a 25-year old activist and executive director of the advocacy group Colored Voice Truth to LGBTQ, also warned against the dangers of the court decision. In January, he was stabbed by unknown assailants after receiving death threats for his advocacy.

“The court’s decision opens a ‘Pandora’s box’ that will push the lives of gay Ugandans further more into darkness,” he wrote on X.

The legislation was adopted in May, triggering outrage among the LGBTQ community, rights campaigners, the United Nations and Western nations.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 imposes penalties of up to life in prison for consensual same-sex relations and contains provisions that make “aggravated homosexuality” an offence punishable by death.

President Yoweri Museveni’s government has struck a defiant tone with officials accusing the West of trying to pressure Africa into accepting homosexuality.

The Constitutional Court in Kampala began hearing the case in December.

The petition was brought by two law professors from Makerere University in Kampala, legislators from the ruling party and human rights activists.

They said the law violates fundamental rights guaranteed by Uganda’s Constitution, including freedom from discrimination and the right to privacy.

The petitioners also said it contravenes Uganda’s commitments under international human rights law, including the UN Convention against Torture.

West trying to ‘coerce us’

A 20-year-old man became the first Ugandan to be charged with “aggravated homosexuality” under the law in August.

He was accused of “unlawful sexual intercourse with … [a] male adult aged 41”, an offence punishable by death.

Uganda, a conservative and predominantly Christian country in East Africa, is well known for its intolerance of homosexuality.

It has resisted pressure from rights organisations, the UN and foreign governments to repeal the law.

In August, the World Bank announced that it was suspending new loans to Uganda over the law because it “fundamentally contradicts” the values espoused by the international institution.

In December, Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem accused the West of seeking “to coerce us into accepting same-sex relationships using aid and loans”.

In 2014, international donors had slashed aid to Uganda after Museveni approved a bill that sought to impose life sentences for homosexual relations, which was later overturned.

The ruling is part of a growing anti-gay crackdown across Africa. Ghana passed stringent anti-gay legislation in February, intensifying a crackdown on the rights of LGBTQ people.

Homosexuality is criminalised in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. Some Africans see it as behaviour imported from abroad and not a sexual orientation.

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law an courts

Uganda top court declines to block Anti-Homosexuality law – The Zimbabwe Mail

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KAMPALA,- Uganda’s constitutional court on Wednesday declined to nullify or suspend an Anti-Homosexuality law that prescribes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, but found it inconsistent with certain fundamental rights.

Activists say the law has unleashed a torrent of abuse against LGBT people by both private individuals and state agents.

“We decline to nullify the anti-homosexuality act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” said Richard Buteera, lead judge, reading the judgment on behalf of his colleagues.

The court did find, however, that some sections of the law violated the right to health, and that it was “inconsistent with right to health, privacy and freedom of religion”.

Source: Reuters

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