Harare, April 16, 2012 - Twenty one people died in a bus accident along the Masvingo-Beitbridge road on Monday morning after the bus they were travelling in overturned, police confirmed.
occurred around 2 am at the 92 kilometre peg along the Masvingo-Beitbridge road.
Several people were injured in the accident and were being ferried to Masvingo
General hospital and other clinics in the area.
The bus has been named as Mega-Link. Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Tinaye Matake said he will provide more details after the police finish their investigations.
Dozens of fatal accidents killing hundreds of people along the Harare-Beitbridge road which is the busiest in the country have been witnessed over the past years. The road which is yet to be dualised is busy with traffic which goes to South Africa as well as other regional countries like Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.
Several accidents involving Mhunga Bus Company over the years resulted in the bus company being temporarily being suspended from operating.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai lost his wife Susan when his car was involved in an accident along the Harare-Beitbridge road in 2009.
Monday, 16 April 2012 00:09
Secretary for land reforms and resettlement Cde Ignatius ChomboThe Zimbabwe
government will never allow white former commercial farmers ousted under the
Land Reform Programme to return, Zanu-PF secretary for land reforms and
resettlement Cde Ignatius Chombo has said.Addressing journalists in Harare
last week, Cde Chombo said the land reform programme was irreversible.
He said Zimbabweans owning the land should drive Zimbabwe’s economy without
interference from the white farmers.
“Some quarters, both local and international, continue to entertain the
possibility of the return of the white settler farmers to the land
appropriated in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe for equitable redistribution
to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Our people are now on the land and are committed to ensure optimum
utilisation of this valuable Zimbabwean resource.” Cde Cho-mbo said Zimbabwe
was beginning to reap the fruits of the land reform.
“After the land reform programme, we have seen a transformation in our
agricultural sector with numerous success stories in tobacco, cotton,
livestock and even horticultural sectors,” he said.
“We need not remind our detractors that people went to war in order to
reclaim, not just our independence but also our land.”
He said it was “wishful thinking” for people to imagine that whites would be
given a chance to appropriate the land.
Also the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement will this year
conduct a farm-by-farm audit to establish the extent of the challenges
resettled farmers are facing.
Acting Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Joseph Made told
Parliament recently that the verification programme will help Government
come up with proper policies for resettled farmers.
To date, a total of 145 775 A1 and 18 289 A2 farmers have benefited from
“In its day-to-day operations, the ministry has established that farmers are
facing various challenges which interfere with farm productivity and farm
“Financial support to farming operations is very limited from financial
institutions,” Minister Made said.
He said farmers faced various challenges from erratic power supply to
inadequate extension services and poor infrastructure.
Minister Made said the farm-by-farm verification programme will replace a
larger land audit due to lack of finances.
“These are issues which would have been captured in the proposed national
land audit had funding been provided for its implementation. In the absence
of funding for a larger land audit, the ministry plans to carry out
verification assessments on a farm-by-farm basis.
“If resources are availed to the ministry, the plan is to do verification
assessments on a farm-by-farm basis to
establish specific challenges per farmer, land utilisation and productivity
trends per farm and assess land uptake per farm,” he said. Resettled farmers
have defied odds by increasing yields despite facing many challenges. Last
year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the House of Assembly that major
crops had recorded increased yields with the exception of tea and coffee.
Government is however, working on three to five years rolling financing plan
for farmers that will do away with the ad-hoc preparations, which have
resulted in the late disbursement of inputs.
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 April 2012
The release of the final draft constitution is being held up by
disagreements over some contentious issues in the new charter, SW Radio
Africa learned on Monday. COPAC had promised earlier this month that a draft
constitution would be ready soon after the Easter break.
A highly placed source told us they expect the six-member COPAC management
committee to meet sometime at the beginning of this week.
The same body met a week ago but failed to agree on the devolution of power,
the Executive structure and dual citizenship.
‘The latest stalemate can be blamed on ZANU PF. They are not speaking with
one voice because of serious infighting. Another reason is that they are
damn scared of elections. COPAC has finished drafting the new charter, but
its not presentable to the principals if not complete. There needs to be
consensus on the three issues in dispute, or the unresolved issues mean a
delay in presenting a draft of the constitution to the three principals,’
our source said.
Our correspondent in Harare, Simon Muchemwa, said factionalism in ZANU PF is
now playing a big part in the delay in releasing the draft to the public.
‘There is a faction in ZANU PF that wants the death penalty to be included
in the new charter and another that is against it. You have two factions
that are literally worlds apart over dual citizenship and devolution. The
problem with these factional fights is that these people are not looking at
30 to 40 years from now, but what they stand to gain from issues arising
from the constitution. This is why you have certain individuals from these
factions pushing their own agendas,’ Muchemwa said.
Our correspondent said if the management committee declares a deadlock on
the problematic issues, the principals might be roped in to try and bridge
The committee members from the three parties are Tendai Biti and Elton
Mangoma of the MDC-T, ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche and
MDC-N’s Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Written by Maxwell Sibanda, Assistant Editor
Monday, 16 April 2012 14:47
HARARE - As the debate continues on the constitution-making process, with
the draft expected this week, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
has been giving acres of space to Zanu PF sympathisers who have been
Copac is the parliamentary body driving the writing of a new constitution
which is expected to lay a key foundation for future credible elections
after the disputed 2008 poll.
In a recent programme on ZTV, African Pride, Tafataona Mahoso charged that
Copac was becoming a provocation that should be stopped.
Mahoso said the views captured by Copac in the draft document were actually
to please foreigners who had given them money.
“They are going back to people who have given them money and saying look, we
have included what you wanted in the constitution. “And not what the people
“The people’s views have not been included at all in the draft constitution.
The drafters are faithful to their donors, the EU, Britain, America and
USAid, hence the draft contains aspects that protect whites’ interests,”
He said Copac has become a provocation at a time people should be fighting
cholera, sanctions and the ban in diamonds sale.
Mahoso said the government of national unity was created as a two-year
compromise which after the expiry of this time framework was supposed to go
back to consult.
“They haven’t gone back to consult and instead they are continually
extending its term. They are creating one comprise after another. Now they
want to create another comprise in which they will write a constitution
meant to last for six years only.”
He dismissed the idea of taking the constitution draft back to the people
for a referendum.
“Why should they go back to the people who have already given them their
views? What referendum when they have the people’s views.”
Another panellist, Vimbai Chivaura said Copac was trying to create a
platform of violence through the draft document.
He singled out the West as trying to fan confusion through the draft saying
they were itching for violence.
“If they indeed captured the views of the people, why are they saying it
should go to a referendum? Are they not trying to create a platform of
violence, so that there won’t be elections?”
He said Copac was actually taking a draft document to the people but without
“They want to expose the people to violence. That is their aim.”
Chivaura said it was easy to see that Copac was itching for violence.
“By including gay rights and white ideas, they are creating a scenario that
will make it difficult to hold elections. The draft clearly doesn’t contain
people’s views and going to a referendum is wasting people’s time.”
Chivaura said the drafters were there to produce a document that will help
facilitate “regime change and restore white rights and issues.
“Anything that we said is not in that document. People can go through it and
see if there is anything they said. “There is nothing.”
Mahoso said the way forward now was to use the law that exists. “There is a
law that exists now and it is better we use it than that which does not
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 April 2012
There have been unprecedented demonstrations by hundreds of ZANU PF
supporters against their party chairman in Manicaland province, over alleged
imposition of candidates.
The demonstrators have been camped at the ZANU PF headquarters in Mutare
since Sunday night and have vowed that they will not leave until Mike Madiro
the chairman is ousted from his position.
The party held its District Coordinating Committees elections over the
weekend in five districts where the party chairman is alleged to have
imposed a number of candidates from the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction.
Madiro also went around the province de-campaigning candidates linked to the
Joice Mujuru faction. A Mutare based journalist told SW Radio Africa on
Monday that Madiro is well known for his close links with Defence Minister
He was also one of those senior party members suspended from ZANU PF for
taking part in the controversial Tsholotsho meeting in 2004 where allegedly
a coup was plotted against Robert Mugabe. This group of party ‘renegades’
was re-admitted to the party following ZANU PF’s dismal showing in the 2008
The battle for control in Manicaland is pitting Madiro against the party’s
deputy secretary for information and publicity in the province, Charles
Samuriwo. There are reports Samuriwo resigned from his position on Wednesday
last week, citing irreconcilable differences with Madiro and other members
of the executive
It is believed Samuriwo, with support from party heavyweight Didymus Mutasa,
is leading a spirited campaign to have the weekend elections declared null
and void. There are allegations that where candidates from the Mujuru
faction came out victors, results were immediately annulled, a situation
that helped spark the current crisis.
‘I can tell you without doubt that those people (Madiro and Samuriwo) are
the worst of enemies now. The factional infighting has been building for
some time and there has always been tension between the two camps so events
over the weekend brought their differences into the open. Demonstrators
outside the party headquarters are saying they want the national leadership
to see how the elections were rigged by Madiro to favour the Mnangagwa camp.
After that, they want Madiro and his executive to step down for setting in
motion events that have left the party in tatters in the province,’ the
Police in Mutare have not dared to intervene and there are indications the
fight is far from over as Madiro hit back at his detractors, saying he will
not step down.
‘Madiro is making it clear he will not step down and wants those responsible
for the protests to appear before a disciplinary hearing for bringing the
party’s name in disrepute,’ the journalist added.
By Alex Bell
16 April 2012
An elderly Zimbabwean farmer has died as a result of injuries sustained
during a violent attack in his Guruve home last year, which left him in
fighting for his life in hospital.
Bobby Ervine, who was 77 when he was attacked last October, never recovered
from the assault and passed away last weekend.
The motive for the attack remains unknown and although some arrests were
made in the aftermath of the incident, there has been no finality to the
At the time it was reported that two men attacked Ervine on his property one
night in late October, hitting him over the head with a garden hoe. He
collapsed and while he was unconscious the two men tied up his wife Barbara
and threatened her, demanding to know where there was money.
The men ransacked the house, breaking open all of the cupboards and drawers
and eventually fled with US$40 in cash plus a small roll of uncounted US$1
bills. They also took two cell phones and clothing including shoes, T-shirts
and a jacket.
Ervine’s wife was eventually able to untie herself and call for help. Bobby
was taken to hospital and had remained in a very serious condition ever
Charles Taffs the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) told SW
Radio Africa that the death is “tragic” and “unnecessary”, saying it has
“undermined the confidence of farmers in the area which is already very
The Guruve area was last year hit by a spate of house robberies targeting
mainly white farming families. In one of the incidents, just a month before
Ervine was attacked, farmer Colin Zietsman and his wife were also attacked
in their home. Zietsman died on the property.
Taffs explained that the impunity seen in these attacks is a result of the
land grab campaign, explaining that “people think they can act with impunity
when they hide behind the tag of so called land reform.”
“It is almost 32 years after independence and still this is allowed to
happen. The situation on farm remains completely unsettled and it needs to
stop,” Taffs said.
Criswell Chisa Hurungwe, April 16, 2012 - Tensions are high between Chief
Chundu and the people because of his allegiance to Zanu (PF) and forcibly
grabbing a council seat left vacant when Paddington Chavhuruma of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) died in 2010.
Villagers in the area are not happy that the chief imposed himself as
councillor because the people wanted Shadreck Chirimezani.
Pearson Matanda and Bernard Kapita said the chief had threatened to evict
MDC supporters from his area.
Commenting on the issue, the chief said: "Anyone who was brought up
traditionally cannot go against their leaders and my subjects must follow
that. Zanu PF is our party."
Zanu (PF) has managed to lure many chiefs to its side by offering them
incentives such as cars and allowances.
Hurugwe council executive officer Misheck Moyo said a by-election for the
seat will be held.
Written by Pindai Dube
Monday, 16 April 2012 14:52
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF’s plans to rig the forthcoming elections are already in
motion, with a voters’ roll that is in shambles being the trump card,
according to a spokesperson for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on voter secrecy in
Zimbabwe, MDC deputy national spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo claimed there
were more names of non-existent people appearing on the voters’ roll than
“They have rigged the elections already. If you check the voters’ roll today
you will realise that there are more names of people not existing than those
existing. Even in my constituency, Bulawayo East, there are strange people
listed on our addresses. For example on my home address there are 11 people
whom I don’t know. That is rubbish,” said Khumalo.
Khumalo said the MDC will push for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)
secretariat to be reshuffled before any elections are held.
Both President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree on the need for elections.
But they differ on the timing, with Mugabe insisting polls should proceed
this year under prevailing conditions. Tsvangirai says reforms such as a new
constitution must be completed before an election is held.
“The Zec secretariat is full of Zanu PF activists, government spy agents and
some army officers. So before any elections are held, it should be
reshuffled,” said Khumalo.
Speaking during the same occasion, Zapu national secretary for legal and
special affairs Steven Nkiwane described registrar general Tobaiwa Mudede as
an “incompetent liar and a Zanu PF activist” who should not be part and
parcel of any electoral process in Zimbabwe.
“His office should be detached from conducting voter registration in
Zimbabwe, and he is also a Zanu PF member,” said Nkiwane.
“When we met him last year in Kadoma during the constitutional outreach
programme, he told us voter registration has begun countrywide. But that is
a lie because right now if you visit any of his offices countrywide they
will tell you that the voter registration process for next elections has
not started,” said Nkiwane.
Zimbabwe’s elections have in the past been blighted by violence and charges
of vote rigging, resulting in the European Union, United States and other
Western countries slapping sanctions on Mugabe, senior members of his party,
security commanders and business associates.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:56pm GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe and David Dolan
HARARE/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Nicknamed "Tyson", Zimbabwe Empowerment
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere doesn't shrink from a fight when it comes to
taking on foreign companies that own mineral rights in his country.
"Somebody has to get them to understand the message," the man who has forced
global miners to give up majority stakes in their Zimbabwe operations, told
the Reuters Africa Investment Summit in Johannesburg on Monday.
"You can't continue with that old mentality of islands of prosperity and
seas of poverty, it just can't work any more. When we talk to these
companies, we are not being malicious or cruel, we are making them see the
reality," said Kasukuwere, who takes his nickname from the U.S. heavyweight
boxer Mike Tyson.
Critics accuse the former officer in Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence
Organisation of acting outside the law in forcing foreign companies to
Some say President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is using the empowerment
drive to squeeze money out of foreign firms to finance its election
"Tyson's" opponents also are suspicious of his leadership role in the
ZANU-PF youth wing blamed by many for violence that has marred Zimbabwe
elections over the last 12 years.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the rival Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), who works uneasily with Mugabe, has been critical of the way the
empowerment drive is implemented.
He says the campaign is driven by the upcoming elections and is scaring
But the burly, 41-year-old Kasukuwere, the youngest minister in the
MDC-ZANU-PF coalition cabinet, is seen as a rising star in his party.
He often is touted as a potential successor to Mugabe, 88, though for the
moment he brushes such talk aside.
"I have been asked by my president to serve as a minister. I am quite happy
with this position," he said. "I don't have an ambition to go beyond my call
of duty right now."
What that means in practice is taking on some very powerful players in the
world of global mining.
Last month he forced Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum
producer, to transfer 51 percent of its stake in its Zimplats operation to
locals, ending months of wrangling between Implats and Harare.
That has emboldened him to pursue other mines, including Anglo American
Platinum, which is developing Unki mine in central Zimbabwe, to comply with
the empowerment law.
His reputation for being tough on foreign firms was burnished by a public
spat with Implats CEO David Brown, which dragged on for months.
"The problem with Brown is that he talks too much. We are sick and tired of
his delaying tactics," he told Reuters in February, a month before Implats
bowed to Zimbabwe's pressure.
He also says the empowerment drive strikes a personal note, saying he faced
racism in building one of his early business ventures, oil importer ComOil.
"I know what it means for a young black business person to go into business
and during the times I did, the financial institutions were controlled by
colonial institutions," he told the Summit at Reuters offices in
"If they gave you a loan to buy a truck, the following day, they will come
and repossess because you would have failed to honour your obligations by
Unlike the stiff image conveyed by most senior officials in his party,
Kasukuwere is tech-savvy, trending on social network site Twitter and
maintaining his own homepage.
He easily took questions from participants in a Reuters chatroom for
financial clients, and used jokes to deflect questions about Mugabe's
He said he also has a business in South Africa, but declined to give further
details citing concern about international sanctions against leaders in
ZANU-PF for suspected human rights violations.
He is a farmer, having benefited from Mugabe's seizures of white-owned
commercial farms, and owns a freight business. All of his businesses are
said to have flourished since becoming a politician.
Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:18pm GMT
HARARE, April 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has ordered more than 100 mining and
prospecting companies to resubmit applications to exclusively explore for
minerals, providing shareholder details and proof of funding.
The order follows the ministry of mines' decision in January to hike
pre-exploration fees for most minerals by as much as 8,000 percent in a move
the ministry said was meant to curb the speculative holding of mine titles.
On Monday, the ministry said in a public notice it now wanted 109 companies,
including the largest gold miner Metallon Gold, the local operation of South
African miner Metallon Corporation, and individuals to make fresh
The companies should show they have capacity to carry out exploration work.
None of the major miners like Rio Tinto, Anglo American Platinum and Impala
Platinum, which have operations in Zimbabwe, were affected by the directive.
By Lance Guma
16 April 2012
Two senior managers and the town clerk of Mutare have dipped into council
coffers and treated themselves to three state of the art vehicles worth
US$150,000, despite what residents say is the poor service provided by the
A report by the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper says: “Town clerk Obert
Muzawazi, received a Mercedes Benz ML worth US$60 000 while the remainder
was shared between the director of Housing and Community Services, Sternard
Mapurisa and engineer Donald Nyatoti, who got Toyata Isuzu double cabs
The Combined Mutare Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (Comrra) have
already threatened to organise protests this week. Chairman Desmond Mwedzi
said: “It comes as a surprise that the council can manage to buy these
vehicles for the top managers for that kind of money yet service delivery is
Mwedzi also highlighted the fact that council employees were poorly paid and
were not getting their salaries on time. Council workers have also not
received their bonuses on time “but the town clerk and his senior managers
find it prudent to buy luxury cars using the ratepayers’ money. We will not
rest until sanity prevails at council”.
SW Radio Africa spoke to Mutare Mayor Brian James, who had previously called
for an audit of council finances before he was suspended by ZANU PF’s Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. James told us the purchase of the
vehicles was a “slap in the face for residents and ratepayers of Mutare.”
James said: “When I was there, we set aside just over US$100,000 for top
managers to borrow from, to buy vehicles for their own personal use and
obviously council use. But these purchases come in the face of that (budget
and arrangement) and show the skewed priorities that management obviously
have on expenditure.”
Although the town clerk defended the purchases saying they had received
authority from the Local Government minister, James told SW Radio Africa:
“The minister can give authority, but the bottom line is one has to live
within ones resources. Staff is still being paid late and the bulk are still
waiting for their 13th cheque.”
By Nkosana Dlamini Harare, April 16, 2012 - Zimbabwe needs to change the one
man party political culture that is stifling freedom, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said at the funeral of the late deputy minister of Transport on
Tsvangirai, who described the late Retired Colonel Tichaona Mudzingwa, as an
icon of both the liberation and democratic struggles, said he had been
denied hero status because he belonged to a different party.
"If I had my own way, I would not have hesitated to bestow national hero’s
status to Dr Mudzingwa," Tsvangirai said. "He earned it, because he was
committed to the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe. The problem is a
political culture which says if you belong to a different political party
which believes in one party, one mind and one-man-one-rule. That is a
political culture we have to change.”
Mudzingwa was buried at Glen Forest cemetery in Harare, where mostly
mourners from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party and
civil society activists attended.
“It’s not enough to be convinced that the people of Zimbabwe are independent
but you must be converted to believe in their freedom. Mudzingwa was not
only convinced, he was converted to the full," said Tsvangirai.
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche was represented at the burial by Permanent
Secretary in the ministry, Patson Mbiriri.
Zanu (PF) Senate President Edna Madzongwe and leader of the upper house said
the late Mudzingwa possessed a national outlook.
War veteran and Zimbabwe Liberators Platform leader, Wilfred Mhanda, also
known as Dzinashe Madzingura, rebuked the military chiefs for failing to
attend the funeral of their departed comrade.
"He worked with a lot serving senior personalities in the army who could not
come here to identify with him," he said. "Mudzingwa would have loved to
have them come and bid him farewell but their problem is that they deemed
him as politically incorrect."
He criticised Zanu (PF) for creating imaginary enemies, destroying the very
gains of independence.
Mudzingwa, who was once a member of the ZIPRA High Command, died at the age
of 69 last Tuesday.
Written by Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Monday, 16 April 2012 11:57
HARARE - War veterans, largely viewed as President Robert Mugabe’s pillar,
played a key role in the formation of the MDC, a party that has become the
88-year-old leader’s biggest threat to continued stay in power.
MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said veterans of the 1970s
war of liberation who felt Zanu PF had failed to live up to independence
struggle ideals pushed for the formation of the party.
Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister in a shaky coalition with bitter rival
Mugabe after marginally beating the veteran ruler in first round
presidential election in March 2008.
A runoff failed to produce a result after it was condemned by the African
Union, Sadc and the United Nations resulting in the formation of a
The MDC also ended Zanu PF’s control of Parliament, urban and rural councils
after a 2008 March parliamentary election held concurrently with the
Addressing hundreds of mourners at the burial of Transport and
Infrastructure deputy minister, Tichaona Mudzingwa in Harare yesterday,
Tsvangirai sensationally revealed that without the support of the war
veterans, MDC might not have been formed.
Mudzingwa, a liberation war veteran and a non-constituency MDC Senator, died
last week after a cardiac arrest.
“Without the ideas of some war veterans, MDC could not have been here. I don’t
think MDC could have got the legitimacy it has in the minds of people
without the support of the war veterans,” Tsvangirai said.
He said it was sad to note that some war veterans had been treated as aliens
simply because they had ideological differences with Zanu PF and joined the
MDC. Tsvangirai said Mudzingwa, like many other war veterans, deserved to be
buried at the National Heroes Acre but could not be laid there because he
was not Zanu PF.
“Let’s differ but not hate each other even in death. Inga vakuru vakati wani
afa anaka (our elders said you cannot say bad things about the dead or hate
them in death). If I was the one to select who is buried at the national
shrine, we could all have been gathered there right now,” said Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai said war veterans played an important role in bringing
independence to Zimbabwe but independence alone was not enough without
freedom, a permanent value that should be inculcated in the minds of the
“The liberation struggle was important at that stage but now that
independence has been attained, an economic revolution is necessary. People’s
progress should be measured by economic progress,” Tsvangirai said.
Speaking at the same event, Wilfred Mhanda (known as Dzinashe Machingura
during the liberation war) said Mudzingwa joined the MDC because Zanu PF had
Mhanda, a top commander during liberation war, is leader of the Zimbabwe
Liberation Platform (ZLP), a group of former liberation war fighters
dedicated to democratising the country.
“Mudzingwa was committed and fought for freedom, social justice, democracy
and above all, peace. He joined the MDC because freedom was not enough,”
Machingura said it was sad that devoted cadres like Mudzingwa are not buried
at the national shrine and service chiefs whom he fought with side by side
during the liberation struggle snubbed his burial.
He said hero status should not be conferred by individuals, neither should
it be a political party prerogative.
“Even if he is not buried at the National Heroes Acre, but his contribution
to the country is unquestionable. He worked with many generals but they are
not here today because it is not politically correct."
“Zimbabwe has developed a permanent revolutionary syndrome where we keep
inventing enemies. We fought the war so that we will use political power,
not revolutionary movements,” said Machingura.
Mudzingwa served in the army from 1980 before retiring as a colonel in 1994.
He is remembered for trying to arrange a meeting with the army's top brass
after the March 2008 election to organise a power transfer strategy on
behalf of Tsvangirai claiming that Mugabe had lost the election.
He was the first Vice President of the MDC.
Written by Staff Writer
Monday, 16 April 2012 11:57
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has all but confirmed that
the coalition government is failing to hold up, with the party’s national
council adopting resolutions that tear into current government policies.
Among the key issues which the MDC national council took a hard stance on is
the controversial indigenisation and empowerment programme.
“The party is aware of Zanu PF machinations of asset stripping, looting,
patronage, clientelism, corruption and self-aggrandisement euphemistically
referred to as indigenisation and empowerment,” the party said in a
statement issued after the meeting.
The national council is the MDC’s most powerful decision-making body outside
The pro-labour party said it was disgusted by Youth and Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere’s proclamation earlier this month that with immediate
effect, 51 percent of shareholding in all foreign mining companies now
belonged to the state.
“Furthermore, the MDC restates that Kasukuwere’s proclamation is null and
void and in total breach of the Constitution and that Zimbabwe and
Zimbabweans need jobs, investment and upliftment,” the party stated.
The MDC said it will not be party to elections held before democratic
reforms are completed and a roadmap to a free, fair, credible and legitimate
elections endorsed by Sadc is adhered to.
Mugabe, the MDC said, lost the power to unilaterally call elections when he
lost the presidential election to coalition partner and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai hence his demands for an election this year were hollow, the
“Elections cannot and will not be called for unilaterally by one person or
one party and that the election in Zimbabwe will not be date driven but
Violence and selective application of the law, the party said, were still
rife. “The party notes that in March alone over 63 people were arrested,
assaulted or severely harassed by Zanu PF, its infamy Chipangano hoodlums
and its complicity criminal justice system.”
|I consider the sewage that is offloaded into the river a blessing because it makes my vegetables grow well and fast|
|Growing risk of waterbourne diseases in rural areas|
|Is another cholera epidemic on the way?|
|Typhoid spreads amid water shortage|
|Making the water safer|
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
16 April 2012
Gibbs Dube | Washington
Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Harare is losing billions of
dollars in potential revenue due to lack of a competent legal team to
negotiate contracts with foreign investors. As a result, said Biti, foreign
investors are landing lucrative deals at the expense of the nation.
Biti is quoted in the state controlled Herald newspaper as saying the
country’s dependence of inexperienced lawyers in the attorney general’s
office recently resulted in an unnamed investor getting a piece of land in
Selous, Mashonaland West, stretching over 100 kilometers for only $200
He said the investor should have paid at least $20 billion for the land in
question which has 26 million ounces of platinum worth $56 million.
He said the government also signed what he termed disastrous deals with
diamond companies in Marange, Manicaland province. Attorney General Johannes
Tomana was not available for comment.
Economist Eric Bloch said such disastrous deals are common in Zimbabwe.
“In some cases this involves corruption which prejudices the country of
billions of dollars in potential revenue,” said Bloch.
Commercial law expert Matshobana Ncube said re-negotiating these contracts
is an uphill task. “Business deals are normally conducted in a manner that
both parties clearly understand provisions of their contracts,” said Ncube
by: Adam Shand
From: The Australian
April 17, 2012 12:00AM
AN Australian mining entrepreneur is in custody in Zimbabwe following
allegations he was involved in a goldmining scam involving high-level
political figures in the southern African nation.
Lee Waverly John, 42, has been charged with illegal prospecting and forgery
after police swooped on his mining operation in the midlands town of Kwekwe
Sources in Zimbabwe told The Australian that Grace Mugabe, the wife of
Zimbabwe's old and ailing President, Robert Mugabe, was behind Mr John's
Mr John is accused of illegally awarding tribute agreements to several
individuals and companies and collecting royalties on gold tenements to
which he did not have legal title.
The tenements were formerly controlled by Australian company Delta Gold,
which sold the claims to Mr John during Zimbabwe's chaotic agrarian reforms
Mr John's Kwekwe Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) entered into tribute
agreements with high-ranking members of the ruling ZANU-PF party as he
sought to exploit the ground that once boasted the richest goldmine in the
country. The beneficiaries of tributes included party officials with close
ties to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is widely tipped to succeed
Mr Mugabe. Among the individuals are former senior military figures, cabinet
ministers and provincial intelligence chiefs.
Rec Coverage 28 Day pass
Mr John has faced accusations of corruption brought by the chairman of a
local workers trust, Cleopas Chipangura.
Mr Chipangura told a local newspaper that gold had been looted from the area
"Lee John is not a businessman. He is bringing in politicians who are
scrambling for the gold. There is a lot of corruption even in ministries.
There are politicians who are protecting him, but now we have had enough. We
are prepared to die," Mr Chipangura told Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette.
Mr John's lawyer, Valentine Mutatu, said the charges were politically
"These are trumped-up charges so certain individuals can take over my
client's mine," he said.
KCGM director Emmanuel Nhamo defended Mr John and the beneficiaries of the
mining rights. He told The Australian that everything was done above board.
"He is one of the most popular people in Kwekwe after all the tributes he
has given to people," Mr Nhamo said.
He said the push to arrest Mr John -- who also happens to be Zimbabwe's
national champion in cross-country mountain biking -- had come from a local
politician after Mr John had refused to renew an expired tribute, he said.
"There is a small group of people who are trying to take this mine from the
company," Mr Nhamo said.
It's understood that the politician has links with Mrs Mugabe.
Mr Nhamo said that instead of having claims lying idle, KCGM had entered
into tributes, consistent with Zimbabwe's thrust to empower locals.
"So how can they say after 10 years of operating normally that the tributes
were not done legally? It is utter madness," he said.
Mr John had legally bought the assets from Delta in 2002 and had followed
all laws and regulations since, Mr Nhamo said.
Mr John faced similar accusations in 2009 when his critics had him deported
for illegally representing KCGM as the owner of the tenements. Mr John
appealed against his deportation and was allowed to return from Australia to
Zimbabwe, where he was awarded a two-year investor's residence permit.
Mr John was given bail on a surety of $US1000 ($967) at the weekend but
police have used regulations to hold him for a further seven days while they
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Nomathemba Ndlovu, the MDC Matabeleland South Women’s Assembly chairperson,
was yesterday arrested in Gwanda while distributing the Prime Minister’s
newsletter in the town.
Ndlovu is being charged under the draconian Public Order and Security Act
Reports from Gwanda say Ndlovu was distributing the newsletter and was
summoned to Gwanda Police Station by one Assistant Inspector Machingura. She
was immediately arrested upon her arrival at the station.
At the time of writing, Ndlovu’s lawyer was still trying to secure her
Police have intensified their persecution of MDC members in recent weeks.
This week, police in Gweru arrested Abisha Nyanguwo, MDC Chief of Staff for
frivolous charges bombing Zanu PF Gweru offices in December 2011. He
appeared before a Gweru Magistrate and was given an outrageous $500 bail.
The harassment of MDC members is meant to cow them by a panicking Zanu PF
ahead of the next elections.
The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it.
MDC Information & Publicity Department
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Four MDC members were yesterday arrested in Kariba for convening a meeting
to discuss travel arrangements for the late Deputy Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development, Senator Tichaona Mudzingwa’ s funeral.
The arrested members who were briefly detained at Kariba Police Station
before being released on condition that they report to the police on Monday
are District Secretary George Masendu, Robbie Tigere, the Youth Secretary,
Farai Chinobva and Elijah Garisamoyo.
In arresting the members, District Police Officer Mundanda and Officer In
Charge Taderera said the group did not notify them of the meeting. This is
clear abuse of power as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) does not
require that the police be notified when people want to converge for the
purpose of holding a funeral. As a party, we condemn the partisan manner in
which the police are operating and we immediately call for security sector
The crackdown on MDC supporters by the police has intensified in recent
weeks, ahead of the forthcoming elections.
On Friday, Matabeleland South Women’s Assembly chairlady, Nomathemba Ndlovu
was arrested in Gwanda while distributing the Prime Minister’s newsletter.
Ndlovu is being charged under the draconian POSA.
Earlier last week, the police arrested Abisha Nyanguwo, MDC Chief of Staff
for allegedly bombing ZANU (PF) Gweru offices in December 2011. He appeared
before a Gweru Magistrate and was remanded on $500, 00 bail.
The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
Monday 16 April 2012
OPINION: -- Three years after the commencement of commercial diamond mining
in Marange, and five months after the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme
(KPCS) removed an international ban on Marange diamonds, there are fears
that diamond mining operations in Marange could undermine the work of the
inclusive government, democratic transition and sustainable economic
development in Zimbabwe.
Whilst there is no doubt that all the four mining companies doing business
in Marange have brought in state of the art mining equipment and have
established infrastructure that meets the Kimberly Process (KP) minimum
standards, fears abound that Marange diamonds could be used to undermine
democracy in Zimbabwe through opaque business deals involving the country's
political elites and their business-cum-political allies in Asia and the
Diamonds may also be retarding genuine economic development by over-reliance
on one commodity and through failure to invest diamond revenues wisely in
other sectors of the economy.
All the four mining companies in Marange, namely Anjin Investments, Marange
Resources, Mbada Diamonds and Pure Diamonds, have now been certified
compliant by the KPCS.
Following the KP green light, the Ministry of Finance announced that it is
anticipating $600 million from diamonds in 2012, whilst Minister of Mines
Obert Mpofu said Zimbabwe can earn as much as $2 billion from diamonds
annually. However events unfolding on the ground suggest that a sizable
percentage of diamonds coming out of Marange is smuggled out of the country
On 17 March 2012, an Israeli pilot was arrested at Harare International
Airport whilst trying to smuggle out of Zimbabwe 1,300 pieces of diamonds
estimated to be worth $2.43 million.
According to the state controlled Herald newspaper, Mr Shmuel Kainan Klein
is employed by CAL Airlines of Israel as a pilot and has a house in
‘The diamonds in question were taken to the Minerals Marketing Corporation
of Zimbabwe for assay and weighed 1,7 kilogrammes with a caratage of 8486,66
valued at $2,437,708.24’, added the Herald. Mr Klein (58) was not formally
charged and immediately granted $5,000 bail.
The volume of diamonds Mr Klein was trying to smuggle could not have been
obtained from artisanal miners who are now finding it hard to continue their
operations in Marange.
A recent visit to Marange by civil society groups and the media proved that
security in Marange is water tight with hands free security cameras and high
perimeter fences around all the mining concessions.
Chances of anyone tempering with the security cameras in place are very slim
given that there are several security cameras which are monitored through
CCTV. Various systems are in place to ensure that everyone is under some
sort of surveillance.
From Marange diamonds are flown to company headquarters in Harare where the
diamonds are stored in a vault before being auctioned. Security at the
storage centres is also reportedly water tight.
It is therefore baffling that diamonds of large quantities continue to evade
the KPCS despite the certification of all diamond mining companies in
The attempted smuggling of diamonds by Mr. Klein raises a lot of questions
on the implementation of the KP minimum standards in Zimbabwe. It is also
crucial to evaluate the implementation of the Kinshasa agreement reached
between Zimbabwe and the KP in Kinshasa in November 2011 in light of the
continuation of massive smuggling of diamonds.
Proponents of the Kinshasa agreement argued then that if Zimbabwe was
allowed to export her diamonds, there would be improved accountability and a
reduction in illicit trade involving Marange diamonds, blamed by civil
society and progressive governments within the KP for undermining the
However, questions still abound as to whether the government continues to
smuggle diamonds in spite of the KP approval for exports.
Others argue that as long as the state diamond regulator, Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, and its sister company, Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe, remain subject to EU and US sanctions, there is no
way diamond smuggling from Zimbabwe can end.
However the manner in which the diamonds were being smuggled and the fact
that the suspect was searched, arrested and brought to court suggests that
it was most likely a criminal adventure involving untouchable individuals
and entities and has nothing to do with the operations of central
But given the sensitivity of diamonds, not only in Zimbabwe, but also in
other diamond producing countries - mainly due to the potential revenue they
contribute to the treasury and as a way of protecting the image and
integrity of the Kimberly Process - one would have expected Mr. Klein to be
remanded in custody whilst full investigations are taking place.
The swiftness with which the Israeli diamond dealer was granted bail is
troubling in the extreme. In light of the large consignment involved, it
cannot be ruled out that the suspect will take the opportunity granted by
the courts to interfere with accessories and or witnesses to the case. It is
also likely that assistance may be provided by the smuggling syndicate for
Mr. Klein to leave the country and avoid trial.
This is not the first time pilots have been implicated in smuggling Marange
diamonds. In 2009, the Centre for Research and Development did research in
Mozambique which revealed that pilots of passenger planes flying out of
Mozambique were part of the syndicates involved in smuggling Marange
This was not surprising at all given that there was a thriving market for
diamonds smuggled from Marange in the town of Vila De Manica in Mozambique,
less than 30km from the Zimbabwean border. The diamonds were bound to leave
Mozambique anyway since Mozambique does not have cutting and polishing
The existence of a thriving illicit diamond market in Mozambique was enough
sign that Mozambique was a safe haven for cartels, including pilots,
involved in illicit diamond deals. Pilots flying out of Harare to the Middle
East and Asia have also been implicated in diamond smuggling syndicates.
In the case of Mr. Klein he is said to have intended to leave for South
Africa on a South African Airways (SAA) flight number SA23. ‘It is alleged
he was clad in a pilot's uniform when he presented himself to the passenger
screening point which was manned by a Civil Aviation Authority security
officer’, reports the Herald.
He is also said to have arrived aboard a South African flight as a passenger
but did not have his passport stamped as he disguised himself as a
crewmember. It is not clear whether the SAA crew knew of Mr. Klein's mission
and whether they assisted him to misrepresent himself to the Zimbabwean
In April 2011 two Indians were arrested in possession of 9.7kg of diamonds
which they claimed had been smuggled from Zimbabwe. These sad developments
cast a dark shadow on efforts by the inclusive (coalition) government to
maximize revenue collection from diamonds.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti presented a budget of $4 billion for 2012 of
which $600 million is expected to come from diamonds. However, with the
current level of opaque deals involving Zimbabwean diamonds it is less
likely that the target of $600m will be reached.
Moreover, the fact that an individual can arrive in Zimbabwe and smuggle
diamonds worth $2.43m within a few hours leaves several unanswered questions
about how much Zimbabwe is losing to cartels and dealers and how much
difference this lost revenue could make to the lives of ordinary
Zimbabweans, whose life expectancy at 33.5 years for women is the lowest in
The low life expectancy is attributed to a poorly funded health delivery
system, a high unemployment rate estimated at above 70%, and widespread
The continued theft of large quantities of diamonds by dealers and cartels
is a threat to national security and may undermine the work of the inclusive
government in Zimbabwe.
There is concern that powerful quasi state institutions may be clandestinely
selling diamonds to starve the Ministry of Finance, whose plea for diamond
revenue transparency has so far not been heeded.
In its report on the involvement of the security sector in diamond mining in
Zimbabwe, Global Witness expressed concern that this may undermine democracy
by enabling 'securocrats to set and fund their own agenda, with little
control or scrutiny exercised by elected politicians'.
Zimbabwe is in the process of crafting a Diamond Act to address the existing
loopholes. However, much depends on the political will to ensure that every
diamond is accounted for and that diamond contracts are negotiated in a
transparent manner, which involves several stakeholders such as Parliament,
Cabinet and civil society.
Mining licenses that are obtained corruptly will always lead to opaque
business practices that do not benefit the ordinary citizen.
The Center for Research and Development believes the proposed Diamond Act
should address the following:
- Clearly defined rules of investor identification and contract negotiations
- A well defined, transparent and accountable system of marketing diamonds
- Harmonisation of government ministries and departments dealing with
- Eligibility of persons to serve on the mining boards
- Consultation with affected communities and compensation of families in
cases where relocation is to take place with special reference to the
Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements
- Clearly defined obligations of mining companies to the communities where
- A legal framework for artisanal / small scale miners to curb both human
rights abuses and illicit diamond deals that do not benefit the treasury
- Upholding the rule of law and respect for human rights in the diamond
- Beneficiation / value addition
- Establishment of the School of Diamonds to develop local expertise in
diamond mining, cutting and polishing
- Minimum and maximum sentences for people caught in illegal possession of
- Environmental protection.
* The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) engages in research and
advocacy in the extractive sector and civic education to promote peace,
community development and grassroots participation in decision making on
natural resource management. The CRD is based in Mutare, Zimbabwe.
* Article first published by Pambazuka News.
|Landline:||263 4 339065|
|Mobile:||263 712 603 213|
It is decidedly “un-African”, indeed inhumane, to ready champagne corks for popping at the possible demise of a fellow human being. The degree to which the world media has been salivating over Zimbabwean boogeyman Robert Mugabe’s ill health would be deemed unsavoury in most decent Zimbabwean homes – were they not, truthfully, hoping for his demise too.
Those still within the country’s borders are no doubt doing their wishing quietly behind closed doors. Those of us beyond Mugabe’s reach are, God forgive us, uttering the hope rather more publicly.
This is no indication of our lack of humanity but rather an indication that Zimbabweans everywhere have been pushed to the limit by this man and his regime.
The way he governs is one the world would do well to remember. As large and almost omnipotent a figure as he has seemingly become in Zimbabwean politics, it would be absurd to suggest Mugabe is singularly and single-handedly responsible for an entire country quite literally going to the dogs in every sphere of life – politically, economically and culturally.
No. That level of mess takes a rather concerted team effort.
If there is any truth in recent succession rumours about a – forgive the term – gentlemen’s agreement between Mugabe and the Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then don’t hold your breath for rainbows and unicorns.
Should Mnangagwa take over the reins I really see very little but the name above the door changing. He has long been a figure of considerable power within Zanu-PF structures, going as far back as the days of Zapu and Zanu-PF battles in Matabeleland and during the brutal period of land invasions.
Many commentators and citizens have watched the so-called Arab Spring, the uprisings in the North African countries of Egypt and Tunisia, wondering if this would provide the catalyst or impetus for the people of Zimbabwe to say “enough is enough”.
Truthfully, many of our African neighbours who have fought bitter liberation battles themselves have for some time quietly grumbled that it was high time Zimbabwe got serious about securing its own liberation, rather than waiting for a miracle or western intervention.
A winter wave does seem to be gaining some momentum, but spurred on, truthfully, only by the scent of weakness in the old guard potentially at death’s door.
As a Zimbawean who has lived in SA for some time now and been exposed first-hand to people who fought for and achieved political freedom here, I must confess I too have on occasion wondered why my people have not, or seem unable to, mount a credible and sustained opposition to Mugabe like the anti-apartheid struggle.
What the definitive answer is, I do not know. What I do know is that we are a people who have lost our national identity. The brain drain across every level of society has been colossal.
And to my way of thinking, this is the greater challenge facing Zimbabwe rather than who gets the keys to the executive office when the old beast finally goes.
Even in a Eutopianesque scenario where Mugabe goes and opposition party the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, takes power, just who is left to fix this husk of a country? In the South African case political exiles and their families poured back into the country jubilant and ready to get on with the job of rebuilding Mzansi.
But let us be frank, as vile and oppressive as the apartheid lot were, they left a country, an infrastructure and an economy to come back to.
Zimbabwe has none of that.
Clearly a change in political regime would boost investor confidence and I dare say international aid is unlikely to be in short supply.
But the vast diaspora of young Zimbabweans will consider it a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea to consider returning at this juncture, no matter how much they love the land of their birth. And we do.
Zimbabwe has lost so much of its dignity. When the currency of your country is literally gifted by people across the world to each other as a joke present, the retention of pride and self-worth in your national identity is damn near impossible.
Any new government will have to mount a herculean effort to attract Zimbabweans back home. And even before that, the wisdom of Job will be required to ensure the country runs smoothly.
The sheer scale of poverty and desperation would seem to indicate that some level of international peacekeeping force will be required to ensure that a tsunami of social unrest is not unleashed by people literally fighting and clawing for limited opportunities.
But even if our long-suffering neighbour SA or the UN put troops and resources in place to stop an implosion of power grabbing and coups, the heart, soul and ultimate success of a nation is never guaranteed or even created by its government, but rather by its people.
The citizens of a country create ideas and jobs and are responsible for the innovation which fuels wider identity and economic growth.
Zimbabwe, sadly, has lost to the four corners of the Earth the generations who possess that kind of fire in the belly.
This is not in any way to demean my brothers and sisters who have elected to stay in Zimbabwe and battle from within. Theirs is bravery and sacrifice I can scarcely comprehend.
The truth, however, is that so many of the citizens who have remained in the country are battle-weary, beaten down and spent.
If my country is ever to find its way again, quite simply, the kids have got to come home.
It’s a big ask. What are we coming home to and at what personal and individual sacrifice?
Zimbabwe has been a mess for so long that so many of us built lives, careers and even families in our adopted homelands. To give all of that up to attempt to rebuild a nation and an identity that has become a somewhat fuzzy memory in our psyches, with no guarantee of success, seems cruel in the extreme.
Am I that noble a man? Are my fellow countrymen and exiles who live everywhere but home that noble a generation? I pray to God we are.
n Madanhire is a Zimbabwean-born professional motivational speaker and entrepreneur based in Pretoria.
April 16 2012 at 07:59am
WHEN Bruce Willis puts together the next instalment of his blockbuster Die
Hard, he need not look beyond Zimbabwe as the setting for the thriller.
He could title it Die Hard Again With A Vengeance. Starring Zimbabwean
President Robert Gabriel Mugabe as RG, an evil old man who dies many times
and rises each time to haunt his enemies just when they think he is dead and
It could become a box office hit of the magnitude of the award-winning Idi
Amin movie, The Last King of Scotland, featuring Forest Whitaker. Except
this one will have Mugabe playing Mugabe.
We could throw in a few extras, including editors who sit in their stuffy
offices all day dreaming up the ultimate headline to mark the end of one of
the most tumultuous eras of African history: the demise of one of the
continent’s longest-serving rulers – a liberation war stalwart who became a
I can even see this headline running across the screen of an old, battered
computer of an editor on a Harare newspaper: “ROBERT MUGABE DIES”. The
sub-head: “Scenes of jubilation in Harare as Zimbabwean dictator perishes.”
It’s an ideal script for a winning movie and the kind of story that sells
newspapers. Except it’s only a dream.
Mugabe’s death is highly anticipated not only in the media, but also in his
ruling Zanu-PF, which is sharply divided, and in the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). It seems that only death will dislodge Mugabe from
32 years of power.
Mugabe, even at 88, still refuses to die. Except in the British and
For a man his age, Mugabe really does look “fit as a fiddle”. He even jokes
that he is “a young old man”.
Life has been good for Mugabe, who says he exercises daily, eats healthy,
avoids meat, doesn’t smoke and never touches a drop of alcohol. A younger
wife probably also keeps him on his toes.
The prostate cancer he is said to suffer from appears not to have done much
damage to his health. Except perhaps for a few secret visits to foreign
hospitals for a minor operation or check-up (which isn’t a new phenomenon,
because most of these African leaders can’t even build a decent hospital in
their own countries and seek medical assistance elsewhere when they stare
death in the face), he appears fit enough to outlive many of his peers.
And yet the Zanu-PF strongman, affectionately known as RG in his party
circles, has died a dozen times on the pages of newspapers obsessed with the
Grim Reaper’s unceremonious visit to Zimbabwe House, his official residence
north of sunny Harare.
No wonder then that when Nigerian pastor TB Joshua prophesied that a leader
in southern Africa would die suddenly this year, all eyes were on Harare.
Newspaper editors in the Zimbabwean capital, and their counterparts in
England, began to dust off their Mugabe obituaries in preparation for the
And when the Grim Reaper appeared to have got a wrong address and landed
instead on the stoep of Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Lilongwe
residence, the disappointment could be felt across the world.
Within minutes of Mutharika collapsing, the internet was also abuzz with
gossip and rumours about Mugabe “dying”. All this shows the extent of the
desperation to rid Zimbabwe of Mugabe – even if he is only killed in the
newspapers. To many of those who believe the reports of Mugabe being
“seriously sick” or “dead”, death had struck the wrong place. It should have
moved a few hundred kilometres southward to Harare.
Some newspapers believed Mugabe was “fighting for his life” in a Singapore
hospital, and ran the story on their front pages.
It didn’t help that Mutharika’s demise coincided with RG taking his annual
Easter pilgrimage to the Middle East, where his eldest child, Bona, lives
and is due to start her postgraduate studies. Each year this time, Mugabe
and his South African-born wife Grace travel to the Middle East, the only
place outside Zimbabwe where they feel at home, to shop and to take a break
from the pressure that comes with presiding over a country battling an
economic and political morass.
It became even more interesting when Malawi’s deputy president, Joyce Banda,
took charge last week, becoming the first woman head of state in southern
Africa, and only the second on the continent. Zimbabwe’s vice-president is
also a Joice (Mujuru). Surely, some argued, God had answered the prayers of
the people of Zimbabwe, but then mistook them for Malawians.
Banda also became the third Banda to rule a country in the region.
Malawi’s founding president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, died at a Joburg
hospital in 1997, ending years of dictatorship in the tiny country famous
for its fish dishes.
Zambia was under the leadership of Rupiah Banda between 2008 and last year
after President Levy Mwanawasa suffered a stroke while attending an AU
meeting in Egypt in 2008. He died in a Paris hospital.
But while fate appears to have changed the fortunes of her neighbours,
Zimbabwe hasn’t been lucky. Mugabe continues to die, but only in the fertile
imagination of foreign newspaper editors.
Mugabe has outlived may of these editors, just like he has outlived most of
his political opponents and comrades in Zanu-PF, adding to the desperation
to see him meet his Maker sooner rather than later. But he still lives to
die another day.
Mugabe’s obituary is one that many political journalists always wanted to
write. But legend has it that even at Zimbabwe Newspapers Group, the
publishers of the state-run and -controlled Herald daily, and The Sunday
Mail, the task of updating RG’s obituary in the system has now been left to
new recruits from the Harare Polytechnic College’s division of mass
communication, once the mecca of Zimbabwean journalism. Stories abound on
how updating RG’s obituary has become a curse – every journalist who has
touched it has been outlived by the octogenarian.
Mugabe haunts everyone. Some of us who have witnessed him die for more than
three decades now just laugh when new reports of his death emerge.
It’s hilarious, and no one can put it better than Mugabe himself when he
says he has perfected the art of dying and rising, doing it better than
“I have died many times – that’s where I have beaten Christ,” he likes to
point out. “Christ died once and resurrected once.”
Mugabe has simply refused to die. He will die again next year this time.
But there won’t be any funeral. Nor reports of his resurrection.
Dying has become part of Mugabe’s annual activity. The moment he steps out
of his hideout in Harare for his annual Easter sojourn in the Middle East,
some bored British journalist dreams up a story that the man is dying in
some foreign hospital. And before you can even say “Zanu-PF”, the lies are
everywhere. A few days later RG returns home to live his life, just like he
did this week.
He will probably die in a foreign hospital some day, like Kamuzu Banda and
Mwanawasa before him, but it seems we are going to have to put away the
obituaries for now.
As I write this, I can imagine RG back at Zimbabwe House this week, dressed
in designer Chinese boxers, topless, dancing his old butt off and singing
along to HHP’s smash hit Bosso ke Mang.
His lovely wife, Grace, sits there and cheers him on, while the world waits
for his next death.
But RG ain’t going anywhere. Not anytime soon, it seems.
I am thinking of penning an open letter to the old man. It says: “Dear
Comrade President RG. When you die, and this time for real, please let the
people of Zimbabwe get the news first. It’s the least you could do for them.
“Yours sincerely, JMN.”
Yesterday I attended a committee meeting at the Party Headquarters and saw a
copy of the draft Constitution for Zimbabwe. It is now almost complete and
they are expecting the final version to be ready next week for presentation
to the Principals to the GPA. This has taken nearly three years, it was
meant to be completed in early 2011 so we are about 18 months behind
schedule, but behind the scenes there have been months of hand to hand
This has been an intellectual, legal and political process and from what I
have seen they have done a remarkable job under very difficult
circumstances. It is far from an ideal version of a national constitution,
but it covers all the bases and is a big improvement on what we have now and
what was originally negotiated behind closed doors in the Kariba draft. It
cannot be called a “Peoples” draft and we in the MDC recognized some time
ago that we would have to compromise and use the new constitutional
framework as a transitional arrangement to secure a democratically managed
change of Government.
Once it is adopted by the three Principals it will then go to the second
National Peoples Convention for debate and adoption and only then go to a
Referendum. If all goes to plan this will be fairly soon and the Parties
will join hands (as they did in Kenya) to get the Constitution adopted by a
clear majority of the people. I have no doubt that if we in the MDC support
the final draft it will be sanctioned by the great majority of our people.
We then have a lot to do – take the new Constitution through both Houses of
Parliament, get it implemented and all ancillary legislation changed. Then
start the process of reform to create the conditions required for a genuine
free and fair election. What is needed for this to happen is well known and
clearly established in the various agreements that all three political
parties have signed up to since 2008. They are also clearly defined in both
AU and SADC protocols and practice.
It is clear that regional leadership and the wider leadership of Africa as a
whole now support this process. This was clearly demonstrated last year at
Livingstone, then at Mid Rand and finally at the major SADC summit in
Luanda. As far as the AU is concerned the position of the SADC leadership
was endorsed at the summit in Addis in February this year almost without
This consensus is very powerful and a land locked country like Zimbabwe
simply cannot ignore the reality that this represents. In many respects our
position is similar to that of Mali – land locked and unable to withstand
the pressure from regional States when they really put their collective foot
down as they did recently. So where does that leave us?
Firstly it shows what the international Community has begun to recognize;
this is real progress, it’s not reversible and Zanu plans either for a
military or a political coup against the GPA process are unlikely to
Secondly it narrows down the options for all Parties who must now make
decisions; collectively they are on a road that will eventually take us to
elections that none of us can control. The people will decide, for maybe the
first time in our beleaguered history, who will govern them into the future,
or at least the next five years.
Does Webster Shamu really think he can continue to defy the President and
the Prime Minister when it comes to media reform? Is he really challenging
the authority of the President and leader of his political party and does
Mugabe no longer have the power to control his minions? Does Savior
Kasukawere really think we are going to allow him to nationalize the mines
and the banks and lead us down a path that Zambia strayed into in the 60’s
with such disastrous consequences? Does Mnangagwa really think he has a
snowballs hope of ever leading Zanu – let alone Zimbabwe?
For all of these people, the situation is now down to the wire. Sure they
control the security services, so what? – in the new dispensation under the
new Constitution they are back in their barracks and under civilian control.
The region has pulled their teeth and you know the fate of a toothless
Sure they control the diamond fields and the money that is being generated
there but 90 per cent of it is being stolen and hidden away in foreign bank
accounts and only a handful are really benefitting – does Obert Mpofu really
think he is going to enjoy his ill-gotten wealth and assets in Zimbabwe?
Where will all these once powerful and untouchable individuals be when
finally the chips are down and a peoples Government is in charge of the
affairs of State? Do they not think about these issues or are they, like
Hitler in his Bunker in Berlin in 1945, still issuing orders to a broken
army while the Russians and the Allies crossed the bridges into the City.
For all these people, this situation is going to the wire and it is moving
much more rapidly than they appreciate. Mr. Mugabe may well run down the
stairs of the plane that brought him home on Thursday this week – but it is
clear to all that time is no longer a friend. He must seek now to secure his
place in history and avoid a totally undignified end and exit and his real
allies in that exercise are in the MDC not Zanu PF.
I really feel sorry for the guys on the stock market – they are always so
hopeful and positive. They know what they are looking at is a real potential
gold mine with assets at 20 per cent of their value or less, yet week by
week, the markets vote against them and last week was no different. If
Kasukawere was even watching or interested, the turnover on the local bourse
fell from $16 million in the previous week to $4 million in a market worth
perhaps $3,5 billion at today’s values. Share prices fell yet again and must
now represent the best investment option in global markets worldwide. A real
vote of “no confidence”, if I ever saw one and Savior was personally
Just to confirm that these people are in never never land, an 80 year old
women in the leadership of Zanu PF took over a large functioning Conservancy
last week, forcing the owners and their staff out of their homes and
depriving them of a life time investment – she already has taken over 8
other farms, all of which are now in varying degrees of degradation.
I flew over Middle Save estates last week and looked down and saw that apart
from the old ARDA farms now being leased and managed by a private company,
all the farms occupied by Zanu PF hangers on were derelict and empty – not
even a single maize crop – nothing. These were at one stage some of the most
productive farm properties in the country.
This year, after 12 years of fast track land reform, we will import 80 per
cent of our food. The failure of the programme is absolute. The pathetic
excuses no longer play to anyone. The King has no clothes on yet he struts
down the road dressed only in the false images in his mind – created in part
by his own propaganda.
Does anyone really think this can go on? Of course not and now it’s only a
matter of time, time that Zanu PF no longer has much left. It’s down to the
wire at last and decisions must be made and made soon or the consequences
for those who are living in the past and cannot face reality, will be
Bulawayo, 15th April 2012