Reforms must be implemented now, says damning report
Apr 16, 2011 12:20 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has warned of revolts like those in
North Africa and "unprecedented upheavals" if reforms are not implemented in
It was a warning contained in a damning report, which the Sunday Times has
seen, handed to President Robert Mugabe and his partners in the unity
government this week.
In the report, which was presented to the recent SADC Troika on the
Zimbabwean situation in Livingstone, Zambia, Zuma admonishes the three
partners in the global political agreement for failing to implement
positions agreed during his mediation in the Zimbabwe crisis.
An angry-looking and frustrated Mugabe left that summit in Zambia and
reportedly told a meeting of Zanu-PF's central committee that Zuma had no
business telling him what to do.
Zuma said the revolts in North Africa - where dictators in Egypt and Tunisia
were toppled and where Libya's Muammar Gaddaf i was under siege - reveal the
need and importance of a speedy resolution to the Zimbabwean problem.
Zuma's frank assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe also angered one of
Mugabe's chief spin doctors, Jonathan Moyo, who cast aspersions about the
South African leader's mediation in the crisis.
The report cites Zuma as having told the meeting that the situation in
Zimbabwe could no longer be tolerated and that talk of fresh elections was
Zuma said once the international community's attention shifted from the
problems in North Africa and the Arab world, indications were that Zimbabwe
would be the next focal point.
"It is time the SADC must speak with one voice in impressing to all the
parties concerned that the situation can no longer be tolerated.
"The focus that Zimbabwean parties have placed on elections without creating
the necessary climate for those elections is an unfortunate sidetrack," Zuma
stressed in the document.
"The fact that Zimbabwean parties are in electioneering mode, and are more
and more agitating for the holding of elections, while they have not done
enough groundwork towards ensuring that the building blocks and institutions
are firmly in place towards the holding of free, fair and democratic
elections, is counterproductive."
Zuma said elections could not be held in the current environment as it was
characterised by violence, intimidation and fear.
Despite widespread opposition from Movement for Democratic Change formations
and from other Zimbabwe politicians, Zanu-PF has said that conditions in the
country are conducive for polls that it says must be held this year.
If Zimbabwe proceeded with the polls, it might find itself in a worse
situation than in 2008 when there was a lot of bloodshed in the country,
Zuma said in the report.
He continued that there was a "lack of political will" to move the process
forward by implementing issues that had so far been agreed.
"While the media commission has been established, the biggest challenge is
that the board of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has not been
appointed, nor has the Media Trust been constituted.
"Those matters, including the absence of enabling legislation, restrict the
media commission in discharging its functions."
Zuma said there should be unbiased and equal access to the print and
electronic media for all political parties and the right of reply for all
Zuma found issue with Zimbabwe's failure to constitute important commissions
such as the land audit, the anti-corruption commission and the absence of an
enabling law for the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
On targeted sanctions, Zuma said the call for their removal by all parties
was not happening consistently and regularly.
(AFP) – 6 hours ago
HARARE — Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday warned of
"dangers and difficult choices" ahead of possible elections later this year.
"As we enter our 32nd year of liberation, there will be many treacherous
voices trying to convince you to cast away your determination for a new and
democratic Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai said in a statement before Monday's
Independence Day commemoration.
"The coming year will also hold many challenges, dangers and difficult
The message comes as tensions grow in the power-sharing government of
President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai, ahead of elections Mugabe has vowed
would be held later this year.
In the latest incident, police detained co-minister for national healing
Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and a Roman Catholic priest after addressing a memorial
services for victims of a government crackdown on dissidents in the 1980s.
Tsvangirai insists elections should only be held when conditions are ripe.
Without giving names, he said the country was being held at ransom by a
clique of people.
"It is a fact that there are some among us who are determined to take this
country back to the dark years of repression, violence and intimidation,"
Meanwhile, The Standard newspaper reported that Tsvangirai has taken a
decision to replace Roy Bennett's seat in the Senate, after he had missed 21
consecutive seatings while exiled in South Africa.
The 53-year-old white ex- farmer was picked by Tsvangirai for the deputy
Agriculture minister job, after the formation of the unity government.
He was arrested in February 2009, shortly before he was to be sworn in, over
accusations that he had funded a plot to topple Mugabe five years ago.
Mugabe has refused to swear him in pending his legal woes.
"It is true that Bennett?s period of absence outlived the stipulated time in
parliament," said Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change told the privately-owned Standard.
According to the newspaper, ministers are required to have a seat in the
upper or lower houses of parliament and after losing his seat, Bennett is
not eligible to become minister.
by Business Reporter
IN remarks that may rattle the country’s mining sector further,
Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has hinted that
the government may consider the value of minerals to be equal to 51 percent
of the value of companies and so pay them nothing.
Under the country’s indigenisation legislation, foreign-owned companies must
give up at least 51 percent of their shareholding to locals as part of
measures to economically empower the country’s previously marginalized black
But investors are concerned that neither the government nor any of the
intended beneficiaries can raise the cash needed to take up the equity which
some analysts have estimated at more than US$1 billion.
Speaking in an interview after addressing mining companies and others at a
closed conference organised by the SA Institute of International Affairs in
Johannesburg Kasukuwere said it did not make sense to make Zimbabweans pay
for their minerals.
“Why should I pay for minerals that belong to us? You can’t value on the
basis of an asset that is not yours. Then I have to tax the people of
Zimbabwe to pay for their resources,” Kasukuwere said.
Asked if this meant miners risked getting nothing for their shares,
Kasukuwere said: “That’s a commercial decision, isn’t it? I mean if it makes
sense that you’re going to be exploiting these resources worth so much, if
it makes sense, then that is how we must proceed.”
Prodded further on whether the policy would be implemented along the lines
of the country’s land reforms, Kasukuwere ominously remarked: “Exactly. It’s
Zimbabwe has given miners until May 9, 2011 to submit plans for complying
with the indigenisation law and – if approved by the government – six months
to complete the divestiture of at least 51 percent of their shareholding.
The Chamber of Mines has already warned that the legislation risked slowing
growth in the sector while critics say the policy will scare-away
But Kasukuwere said there was no need for panic.
“I think it is always better that investors are at ease in jurisdictions
where they are working and that there is fair benefit that also accrues to
the people of the country,” he said.
He also dismissed concerns that ordinary Zimbabweans would ne benefit from
the measures with the shares going to politically-connected people.
“We’ve basically warehoused the shareholding on behalf of the majority of
Zimbabweans so that we can allow the majority to participate in the fund. It’s
a board that spearheads empowerment processes and programmes. Secondly, we
are setting up the Sovereign Wealth Fund to store value for generations to
come,” he said.
“Thirdly, we have a partnership that can be entered into with the Zimbabwe
Minerals Development Corporation. And to some extent workers and management
as well as communities will be considered.”
MASVINGO, April 17, 2011- Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan
Tsvangirai has warned top party officials to stop splitting the party along
factional lines using money ahead of their national Congress to be held in
Bulawayo at the end of this month.
Addressing party supporters and the factious provincial leadership at the
Civic centre on Saturday Tsvangirai, who was in Masvingo to mend fences
between the two warring factions in Masvingo pitting Bernard Chiondegwa and
Masvingo urban Legislator, Tongai Matutu that has split the MDC apart since
the provincial elections held last week, Tsvangirai said top officials were
using money to sway supporters from supporting other members.
He said the continued use of money to buy loyalty from supporters was
responsible for the alarming increase in factionalism in the party, a
situation he said could spell the down fall of the country’s biggest mass
movement party that has been fighting dictatorship in the country for the
“Our party is being destroyed by some individuals who are abusing their
financial muscles to buy loyalty of people thereby splitting our movement.
Our party when we formed it had no money and was a party of the poor with a
vision to represent the poor in the country but since the coming in of some
people with money the party is dividing, money is splitting our party” he
said. Tsvangirai pleaded with party officials and supporters to unite ahead
of the congress so that the party will emerge powerful to fight its common
enemy, Zanu (PF) in this year’s anticipated elections.
He added that the party would crack whip and chase away all those who abuse
their money and use it to split the supporters of the party when they are in
a critical time to end Robert Mugabe’s 31 - year-old rule.
“I want to warn all those who are using money to fane factionalism that they
have no place in MDC. Any one who will be caught doing that will be expelled
from the party because we do not have time to deal with people who want to
pull back the struggle. We should be united and strengthen our party so that
when we fight our enemy we will be very strong, ” he added.
Reports indicate that some top MDC officials are buying supporters and
manipulate them to hate other officials a development that has funned
factions as party officials jostle for positions in the provincial and
national executive in elections to be held at the Party’s third congress to
be held in Bulawayo.Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga will be the guest of
BULAWAYO,April 16,2011-The Welshman Ncube led MDC national youth assembly
has threatened massive protests over the arrest of National Healing and
Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu who is also a senior member of
Addressing a media conference in Bulawayo on Saturday morning Descent
Bajila, the MDC youth assembly secretary general said they were closely
following Mzila- Ndlovu,s case and if he is not released by Monday they
will visit all police stations around the country to stage protests.
“ If they don’t release him after the weekend we are going to embark on
massive protests countrywide whereby all MDC youths will visit every and
each police station and also ask to be arrested in solidarity with
Minister Mzila- Ndlovu, ”said Bajila.
Bajila said they were shocked that Mzila-Ndlovu was arrested for addressing
and organising a Gukurahundi prayer meeting which is part of his job as the
National Healing Minister.
“Mzila-Ndlovu was doing his job and we are shocked why they arrested him.
The MDC appointed him on that position to work hard and his duties included
tackling the Gukurahundi issue. You can’t talk about national healing
without talking about Gukurahundi massacres,” the MDC youth leader added.
Mzila Ndlovu is being held in the same camp with Roman Catholic priest
Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla who was arrested on Wednesday evening after
organising a mass to honour the victims of the Five Brigade.
In 1981, President Robert Mugabe sought the help of the North Koreans to
train a special and secretive army unit which he christened “ Gukurahundi.”Its
recruits came from the ranks of former Zanla guerrillas from Tongogara
Assembly Point.On its formation the then Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo described
the brigade as Mugabe,s tribal and personal army unit whose mission was to
exterminate ethnic minorities in Matabeleland and some parts of the Midlands
Human rights groups estimated that 20 000 civillians were murdered by the
brigade under the command of a former Zanla cadre, Perrence Shiri, now
Zimbabwe,s Air Marshall.
HARARE, April 17, 2011- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have
demanded a probe into the death of an 82- year-old Nyanga village kraal
head, Rwisai Nyakauru who died after he was incarcerated in prison for three
Nyakauru, a kraal head for Nyakauru village in Nyanga North constituency in
Manicaland province, passed on around 1:00am on Saturday at his son’s
residence in the Waterfalls suburb of Harare. He was a victim of organised
abduction and assault by some war veterans and Zanu (PF) supporters. Nyanga
North legislator Douglas Mwonzora and Nyakauru’s son Isaac confirmed the
death of the octogenarian.
Nyakauru was abducted from his home by some war veterans and Zanu (PF)
supporters on 14 February who detained and assaulted him at Taziwa Shopping
Centre in Nyanga before handing him over to police at Nyamaropa Police
Station who charged him with contravening section 36 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.
The kraal head was assaulted all over his body by a group of people led by
war veteran Wilfred Pokoto with sticks and a cattle prod during his
detention. His assailants, who accused him of leading MDC-T supporters to
destroy some shops belonging to Zanu (PF) supporters in the area, ordered
him to lie on his stomach before brutally assaulting him. They also took
away his spectacles.
Nyakauru’s condition was aggravated when he was detained for three weeks at
Mutare Remand Prison together with 23 other individuals including Nyanga
North Member of Parliament and Constitution Select Committee (COPAC)
co-chairperson Hon.Douglas Mwonzora after prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasiri
vetoed a bail order which had been granted to Nyakauru and 23 other
detainees by Nyanga Magistrate, Ignatio Mhene.
The bail order was later reaffirmed by the High Court. As a result of the
invoking of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Nyakauru
languished in remand prison where his condition worsened. A medical report
prepared on 10 March 2011 by prison doctors indicated that Nyakauru suffered
from chest pains, severe bronchospasm and respiratory infection during his
detention in prison. Mwonzora, who spent time with Nyakauru at Mutare Remand
Prison described his death as a tragedy.
“ His story is a story which tells how brutal and senseless this regime is.
You had an 82- year -old being accused of public violence and the Attorney
General’s office believing in its story. It’s a tragedy but within that
tragedy he was defiant, ” said Mwonzora.
ZLHR, which represented Nyakauru, Mwonzora and 22 other villagers when they
were arrested in Nyanga in February called for a probe into the
circumstances leading to the death of the kraal head.
“Those implicated in, and responsible for, his abduction, assault and
detention, as well as the police who denied him medical attention when he
was incarcerated in police cells, and the prison authorities who failed to
afford him medical treatment while at Mutare Remand prison are complicit in
and contributed to his sad death. ” said a statement from the human rights
2011 April 17 13:05:09
According to reports in Zimbabwe, the Tsvangirai led MDC are set to drop Roy
Bennett as a Senator next week. The non-constituency senator has failed to
attend 21 consecutive sittings, the maximum allowed by law.
Last year the former Chimanimani Member of Parliament was acquitted on
banditry, sabotage and insurgency charges. It is understood the police are
still keen to question him regarding further allegations.
In 2009, emerging from jail, Bennett was quoted describing his jail
experience as traumatic adding; "I would not wish it on my worst enemy."
The potential of further arrest has undoubtedly influenced him to remain in
exile and in the process forfeiting the Senator post and inevitably his role
as the Treasurer General of the MDC-T.
Nelson Chamisa, MDC-T spokesman was quoted in The Standard confirming that
his party are in the process of replacing Bennett as a Senator.
"The next step would be taken in consultation with the other principal,
Mugabe, with the MDC-T informing him on who it wants to replace Bennett. As
you know, it's a non-constituency post." He said.
This new development is set to pave the way for Dr Bekithemba Mpofu who is
widely tipped to replace Bennett as the party Treasurer General. Mpofu, the
founding youth secretary general is said to be Matabeleland region nominee
for the post.
The Matabeleland provinces are believed to be keen on the position to ensure
an equitable distribution of senior posts in the party which they argue won
the united MDC support in the region.
Currently the party is accused of making leaders in Matabeleland junior
partners and deputies particularly after failing to appoint a respectable
number of cabinet ministers from the region.
The next congress is expected to set the tone for election campaigns in the
region due to the prospect of Professor Welshman Ncube becoming a
When contacted for comment, Dr Mpofu could not confirm if he is campaigning
for the Treasurer General position. "I will serve in any position that l am
nominated and elected by the party structures," he said.
By Thelma Chikwanha, Senior Saff Writer
Sunday, 17 April 2011 16:29
HARARE - Regional non-governmental organisations have expressed concern with
the slow progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement,
GPA, and also the attacks on Sadc by Zanu PF officials and their
This emerged following the meeting between Prime Morgan Tsvangirai and the
Sadc Council of non-governmental organisations who are on a fact finding
mission following Sadc’s rebuke of President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF
Sadc’s troika on politics, defence and security summit in Livingstone
lambasted Mugabe and his party for perpetrating violence and intimidation
The visit by the organisation which represents the interests of civil
society groups within the region comes at a time when regional leaders are
apparently appearing to be fed up with President.
While the organisation’s representative refused to speak to journalists
after the meeting with Tsvangirai, the Daily News has been told that issues
which were discussed includes Mugabe’s attack on Sadc during his central
committee meeting, and the state media’s attack on President Jacob Zuma’s
facilitation which have created diplomatic problems between South Africa and
“Jonathan Moyo’s utterances came up for discussion as the civic society
group was adamant that nothing appears in the state media without official
The group also expressed concern with the violence and intimidation going on
in the country,” said a source close to proceedings.
The regional NGO organisation also held meetings with various stakeholders
including the Zimbabwe Electoral Committee, ZEC, and the Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee, Jomic, to find out if they were implementing
guidelines given by South African President Jacob Zuma and his team.
The fact-finding team had also come to establish and see first-hand the
violence meted out on innocent members of the public by a police force and
some sections of the Zanu PF militia. Last week, police wielding baton
sticks, guns and tear gas canisters descended on innocent worshipers who had
gathered to pray for peace in the country.
Civil society leaders have since called on government to reform the security
sector to ensure the security of Zimbabweans.
2011 April 17 13:15:00
Another cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe is likely, according to the World
Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
A document produced by WHO and the ministry stresses that a cholera
epidemic - similar to the deadly one experienced in 2008 - cannot be ruled
The Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin from the ministry and WHO says cases of
cholera continue to be reported .
About 937 cases were reported last year, with 22 deaths, and this year there
have already been 16 deaths among 431 cases reported.
The document states: "Nine out of the 62 districts - Bikita, Buhera,
Chimanimani, Chipinge, Chiredzi, Kadoma, Murewa, Mutare and Mutasa - have
reported cases since the start of 2011. There were 431 cumulative cases: 373
suspected cases, 58 laboratory-confirmed cases and 16 deaths reported by
March 20. The crude case fatality rate is 1.6%."
Most of the cholera cases, 94.9%, are reportedly occurring in rural areas,
where drainage systems are poor and hygiene is at a minimum.
In 2009, it was reported that cholera victims in Zimbabwe were 10 times more
likely to die than those who contracted the disease elsewhere, according to
aid agencies such as the Red Cross.
The area most affected by the disease is Mutare, where 152 cases have been
reported already this year.
According to Portia Manangazira, the epidemiology and disease control
director in the Ministry of Health, Apostolic churches contribute to the
difficulties in fighting the disease. Taking clinical medicines is against
the Apostolic creed and in most cases members hide their children from
immunisation and treatment against disease.
The government has promised to work on provisions to arrest people who hide
children needing treatment from Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
Another problem in Zimbabwe's fight against cholera is funding. The
emergency response fund (ERF) last month hosted a round-table donor event to
support the fund. Speakers included the Norwegian ambassador; Christian
Care, representing Zimbabwe's NGOs; Help Germany, representing international
NGOs which have received ERF funding in the past, and the United Nations'
The Norwegian ambassador emphasised the decline in financial contributions
to the ERF comes against a delicate humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. The
country's preparedness and response capacity in case of a cholera outbreak
Written by IRIN
Sunday, 17 April 2011 08:38
HARARE -- Jennifer Madongonda, 43, shares a seven-roomed house with three
other families the low-income suburb of Budiriro, about 15km southwest of
the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. Seven months ago the municipality cut off
water supply because they couldn't pay the bill.
"Water supplies to this suburb are very erratic. People get running water at
most four times a week and for short periods, but for us who live at this
house, it means nothing because we accumulated a huge bill that we are
struggling to pay," Madongonda told IRIN.
"We used to rely on the boreholes that were set up in 2008 but most of them
have broken down and no one has come to repair them. Our neighbours don't
want to share their water because they are afraid they will accumulate huge
Budiriro was regarded as the epicentre of the cholera epidemic that began in
August 2008 and lasted for a year before it was officially declared at an
end in July 2009. The waterborne disease killed more than 4,000 people and
infected nearly 100,000 others, and all water sources were found to be
contaminated in the working class ssuburb.
Many neighbourhoods had dug shallow wells after the collapse of water and
sanitation infrastructure in Zimbabwe's economic implosion, creating ideal
conditions for the proliferation of cholera, which infects the
gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and diarrhoea that can lead to
acute dehydration; left untreated, it can kill within 24 hours.
To combat cholera, donor organisations, including the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF) Zimbabwe, drilled scores of boreholes, but many have since fallen
into disrepair and at night it is not uncommon to see long queues at the few
remaining working boreholes as residents jostle to get water for the next
"We now cook at all sorts of times - sometimes at midnight or early
morning - when we manage to get water. We can hardly spare any to wash
clothes because we don't have containers big enough to store it," Madongonda
A stream about 5km away is used for laundry and bathing. "Many women
complain of skin problems and we suspect it is because the water is polluted
with sewage and dangerous chemicals dumped in the stream by factories. It
will not be long before there is another cholera outbreak," she warned.
UNICEF Zimbabwe's head of communications, Micaela Marques de Souza, told
IRIN the boreholes drilled "in response to the 2008/09 cholera outbreak were
handed over, and are being maintained by Harare City [municipality]".
"I am aware of the fact that most of the boreholes, even some drilled last
year, have broken down because there are too many residents using them and
some of them are careless, but I am surprised that we are supposed to be
repairing them," a senior health official in the municipality's public works
department, who declined to be named, told IRIN.
Reticulated water is also becoming scarce In Glen Norah, the suburb next to
Budiriro, where boreholes were also sunk to combat the cholera epidemic.
"A lot of people use the bush and buckets to relieve themselves because of
the water shortages. Toilets are overflowing and our children suffer from
running stomachs most of the time." The tap water was "suspicious", because
whenever supplies returned briefly, it was dirty, Glen Norah resident
Trymore Purazi, 28, told IRIN.
Chris Magadza, a researcher at the University of Zimbabwe, told participants
at a recent workshop that "clinical studies carried out on Harare's water
supplies, and the results obtained, revealed that the water bodies carry a
significant amount of pollutants, which pose a potential health risk."
Written by Chief Reporter
Sunday, 17 April 2011 08:17
HARARE - Zimbabwe marked 31 years of independence on Monday, although
government's planned lavish party had to be scaled back after a row over the
arrest of a minister of National Healing and Intergration from one of the
coalition partners in the unity government. Our chief reporter explains why
he did not celebrate.
Although the opposition two years ago swept away the party which had ruled
for 28 years, the majority of Zimbabwe's 12m people still live below the
poverty level of $1 a day.
Because of mass unemployment, there is rising poverty and vice -
prostitution, armed robbery and carjackings - in Harare and other major
Basic infrastructure such as roads, landline telephones, railways and
electricity are in a shocking state of disrepair.
Although Zimbabweans embraced a new era of democracy with the landslide
opposition victory two years ago, corruption and political tensions still
haunt the so-called unity government.
One could argue that infact little has gone right since the Union Jack was
lowered on the eve of April 17, 1980.
Robert Mugabe - young, and confident - took over the reins of power in 1980
after a bitter 16-year bush war which claimed over 40,000 guerilla war
He set up a political system that would last for more than three decades,
now based on political nepotism, ethnic favouritism and the detention or
elimination of political rivals.
Under the old man - Zimbabwe started off very well with significant gains in
education and health care.
As Zimbabwe turned 31 on Monday, the most pertinent question is: Where did
it all start to go wrong? The commonplace poverty and international
isolation has never been this stark. Never has the country lacked a unifying
vision for the nation and its rulers so reviled by those they govern.
Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo says the day is very very
important because its the day the country attained internal self rule.
"Its a very important day in the history of our country," Khaya-Moyo said.
"We must recognise that its the birthday of our country and naturally we
celebrate in a joyous manner the defeat of settlerism and colonialism. We
must reflect on what happened, the prosecution of the liberation struggle.
Thousands of our colleagues were killed, others maimed, others disappeared.
We remember them with honour. We are free because of their sacrifices."
Khaya-Moyo steers clear of commenting on how Zanu PF has re-invented and
abused the national rallying cry of Independence and used it as basis to
seek absolute rule.
For the first ten years, Mugabe presided over a rapid reconstruction
programe underlined by expansionist policies in education and health which
ran concurrently with probably the worst repression in independent
Ziumbabwe's history, which saw the assassinations of an ethnic minority
loyal to his political opposition, Zapu. The era, which came to be known as
Gukurahundi, saw the brutal suppression and impoverishment of the smaller
ethnic Ndebele group.
Mugabe's renowned charisma and the leading role he played in pursuit of
independence ensured that he managed to retain a heroic glow even as he
subjugated Zapu which he eventually intergrated into his Zanu PF.
Then, a younger Mugabe outlawed all political parties and kept the police
busy rounding up all suspected enemies of his regime.
Most of them say they were tortured, jailed or detained without trial.
Commentators suggest that if President Mugabe had retired in 1990, Nelson
Mandela-style, he would have gone with his reputation intact.
of reconciliation, he presided over nation-building, the expansion of
education and social services, and played an important role on the world
The future seemed bright at the dawn of the second decade of Independence.
The one-party-state project was about to be abandoned, the state of
emergency lifted and the economy opened up to investment.
But by 1990 evidence of the rot was already discernible. A brutal campaign
of suppression in Matabeleland had revealed a totalitarian agenda that held
By the early 1990s, Zimbabwe began to lose its reputation as one of Africa's
most stable and prosperous countries after disastrous IMF prescriptions that
restructured the economy with disastrous consequences. Anti-debt campaigner
Hopewell Gumbo says the IMF's Economic Structural Adjustment Programme
(ESAP) devastated the economy.
"The IMF prescription recommended a slash in government spending, scaled
back on social programmes, stopped subsidies in education. The IMF stopped
UZ students from getting bacon at campus. ESAP resulted in retrenchments
because the IMF wanted a lean government."
The concommitant result catalysed public anger against Mugabe. And the
resistance to the Mugabe regime, mainly from the working class, was met with
Pressure from foreign donors forced Mugabe to hold multi-party elections
starting in the 90s mainly against smaller parties. .
But strongholds of the working class then decided in 1999 to mount its first
serious challenge through the opposition MDC. , Mugabe in 2000 launched his
bid for political survival by authorising war veterans to seize commercial
farms. It was a death blow to the economy which ended 20 years of
self-sufficiency in food production and choked off forex earnings.
From that there has been no recovery.
The MDC claims the president rigged the first three multi-party elections in
the 21st century in 2000, 2002 and 2005, although many Zimbabweans believed
a split in the opposition itself denied them victory in the 2005 elections.
Then, for a moment - in March 2008 - the country seemed to have shed the
skin of repression, 28 years after independence.
A new coalition government brought together leaders from opposition parties
and Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF - a political feat that had eluded the
opposition in 10 years of multi-party politics in the 21st century.
Zimbabweans - fed up with rising unemployment, economic meltdown, crime and
graft - voted decisively for the first time for change in the 2008 polls,
ending 28 years of misrule and grotesque corruption.
But 26 months on, the opposition alliance seems to have been manipulated by
Mugabe, a cunning political veteran, who has refused to share executive
authority with his erstwhile partners in the GNU.
Despite dramatic moves to enact economic reforms that ended a decade of
economic meltdown, internal feuding in the ruling coalition has undermined
the credibility of the unity government and eroded confidence among
Zimbabweans in the new era.
From the beginning, Mugabe and his coalition partners Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara contained some ambiguities.
The ramshackle coalition running the country has dismally failed the nation
espcially in political reforms necessary for a fresh poll. The
2008 post-election euphoria has worn off.
While the MDC says there have been abuse of the rule of law through
arbitrary arrests of prominent MDC figures, mainly ministers, there is
widespread concern that even the MDC has succumbed to the corrupting
influence of power.
Elton Mangoma, the Energy minister and a top ally of Tsvangirai, has been
implicated in one of the biggest multgi-million dollar corruption scandal,
in which kickbacks were allegedly paid to a phoney company importing fuel.
He has denied any wrongdoing, and says the charges are trumped-up.
Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the minister of National Healing's arrest last Friday
has resulted in the boycott of Independence festivities by the MDC led by
Prof Welshman Ncube.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF ministers and army generals are already at the centre of
scandals involving diamonds mined in the rich Marange diamond fields, while
government struggles to pay a living wage to civil servants.
Feuding - mostly over a new constitution that would dilute Mugabe's
presidential powers - is already slowing the coalition government's efforts
to reverse the country's long decline.
Two years ago, ubiquitous euphoria led to dancing in the streets when the
coalition government took power.
But Mugabe's refusal to share power and belligerant rhetoric has failed to
persuade multilateral lenders such as the IMF to resume lending, cut off due
to failure by Mugabe's previous government to amortise its debt with the
Bretton Woods institution. Western countries, concerned about the pervasive
corruption under Mugabe, have withhheld pledges of US$10 billion in aid
until the GPA is fully implemented.
But many Zimbabweans are concerned over the ability of the new government -
and that of a combative 87-year-old president who has not been in the best
of health - to continue governing and cleaning up Zimbabwe's politics.
As a result, Zimbabwe has been held hostage to this intellectually brilliant
but deeply flawed leader. He is the sole reason many did not celebrate
Independence Day on Monday.
But thankfully, as events in Ivory Coast illustrated last week, no regime
lasts forever. Sooner or later tyrants who abuse their people face an
Political analysts say those who have betrayed the promise of 1980 by
encouraging, promoting, and excusing the brutal dictatorship that so blights
our lives would do well to ponder the fate of other self-proclaimed leaders
who are now discovering that no army can resist an idea whose time has come.
Written by Methuseli Moyo
Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:35
Zimbabwe turns 31 on April 18, 2011. Congratulations, Amhlophe, Makorokoto
Sadly, events in the last 31 years have left the population wondering if for
sure we are independent. In our view, this is a valid question prompted by
the Zanu-PF regime under Robert Mugabe’s leadership style. It has been a 31
years of controlling power, 31 years of ever declining employment, 31 years
of worsening poverty, 31 years of virtually no development for most areas,
31 years of hunger, 31 years of homelessness, 31 years of fear, 31 years of
no freedom of speech, 31 years of no freedom of assembly. The list of human
rights violations is endless.
If truth be told, we replaced a white Ian Smith regime with an equally
brutal, murderous, segregationist and self-centered black regime. The
Zanu-PF regime has easily equalled if not bettered the Smith regime on the
genocide front, killing an unbelievable 20 000 in Matabeleland and the
Midlands during Gukurahundi in the 1980s. Their only crime was supporting
Zapu, or belonging to the wrong tribe. As if the 20 000 were not enough,
hundreds more nationals have been killed since the year 2000. Their crime:
supporting a rival political party, the MDC. Zapu, the authentic and founder
liberation movement of Zimbabwe, firmly believed and still believes in the
doctrine of non-discrimination, freedom for all, the right to life for all,
the right to one’s political opinion, the right to work, and the right to
earn a decent wage. Sadly, our fellow liberation movement and disputed
winner of the 1980 elections, Zanu, has used their 30 years in power to
destroy all the hopes the people had when our nation became independent.
Zapu takes this opportunity to call on the Zanu-PF establishment to stop
immediately those activities that continue to render our independence
meaningless. These include the continued use of the justice system to punish
opponents and critics, the curtailment of freedom of speech and assembly,
freedom of the press, freedom of worship, among other human rights. It is
sad that we are supposed to be celebrating independence when several
citizens, including a Cabinet Minister and priest, are languishing in police
cells for attending a memorial church service for victims of Gukurahundi,
and for saying the obvious. It is sad that we celebrate independence at a
time when someone has been languishing in the Rhodesian-built Khami Maximum
Prison for allegedly expressing his wishes about a separate state of
Matabeleland, which we all know was the case before colonization.
It is sad that we celebrate independence at a time when fellow nationals
have lost land and all their assets, while some are on the brink of losing
their businesses for having a white skin. As our late leader Dr Joshua
Mqabuko Nkomo always stressed, the war was never against the colour of
Smith, but against the unjust system. Zapu believed and still believes it is
very possible to correct racial imbalances without victimizing anyone.
Racism, whether black or white, is a sin.
Zapu calls on the Zanu-PF establishment to be honest with themselves and
answer the question whether people are really free or what has simply
changed is that we are now a colony of the people who claim to have
decolonized us. Zapu, the founder and authentic liberation movement of
Zimbabwe, offers itself to the people of Zimbabwe to once again to lead a
real Third Chimurenga to re-liberate ourselves.
We take this opportunity to thank the international community, AU, SADC, and
in particular our neighbour South Africa’s political leadership for working
tirelessly to assist the people of Zimbabwe to move towards democracy, which
certainly will arrive after the forthcoming elections. Zanu’s 31 years in
power has surely made us all wiser. None but us can liberate ourselves.
Director Publicity, Information and Marketing
Apr 16, 2011 12:36 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA and VLADIMIR MZACA
The volatile Matabeleland region is seething over President Robert Mugabe
and Zanu-PF's decision to bury former Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) deputy director Mernard Muzariri with a trumpet blasts at the Heroes
Acre this week.
Muzariri, declared a national hero by Mugabe and his party for his
contribution to Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, was given a state funeral
and buried on Thursday at the North Korean-built Heroes Acre in Harare.
However, political parties and civil society groups in Matabeleland, a
region fiercely opposed to Zanu-PF, say the move showed Mugabe and his
party's lack of remorse over civilian massacres that occurred in the region
between 1982 and 1987.
Activists say Muzariri was involved in the Gukurahundi killings, in which at
least 20 000 civilians in the southwestern and Midland regions were
slaughtered by Mugabe's Fifth Brigade. Most of the victims were minority
Ndebele civilians who supported PF-Zapu, led by the late Joshua Nkomo.
Mugabe and Nkomo, as well as their parties Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu, were bitter
After gaining power in 1980, Mugabe unleashed a reign of terror in a bid to
destroy Nkomo and his party to establish a one-party state and ensure that
he became president-for-life.
Activists say Muzariri was central in the murders of civilians during the
civil strife and should not have been buried at Heroes Acre.
Muzariri was posted to Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland region, in 1982
where he was responsible for all CIO operations.
The agency, working with the Fifth Brigade and other state security forces,
has been accused of committing gross human rights abuses and atrocities.
This is seen as part of the reasons for Mugabe's fear to relinquish power.
Zapu spokesman Methuseli Moyo said Muzariri's hero status confirmed that
Zanu-PF had a "blueprint" for the massacres as it rewarded all those who
"Muzariri's national hero status confirms that Zanu-PF intended to kill and
suppress the opposition [Zapu] in the early 1980s. Muzariri was directly
involved in the mass brutal killings and declaring him a national hero is
celebrating his legacy. As long as one is associated with Mugabe and is a
killer he is guaranteed of national honours," Moyo said.
Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda leader, Effie Ncube, said the move
undermined reconciliation and national healing efforts. "How can people
forgive and forget when Zanu-PF is giving gun salutes to the same people who
were involved in the killings of more than 20000 defenceless citizens in the
Midlands and Matabeleland?" Ncube said.
"As long as things like this continue to happen, the Heroes Acre will never
be taken as a legitimate national shrine because most of the people buried
there are mass murderers. Those affected by Gukurahundi are getting the
message loud and clear from Zanu-PF - the party does not care nor regret the
Zenzele Ndebele, a filmmaker who has produced a documentary on Gukurahundi,
said the Muzariri issue compromised efforts to move Zimbabwe beyond the
bitter memories of the massacres.
"Zanu-PF arrests the victims who want this issue addressed, while protecting
and honouring perpetrators. All those who have blood on their hands are
promoted and credited with influential positions in government, the army,
police and the secret service. There seems to be a club of Gukurahundi
criminals out there who are untouchable," Ndebele said.
National Healing and Reconciliation co-minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu has also
been arrested for saying that there won't be any reconciliation without
justice for victims.
Ndlovu gave an emotional address during a public debate forum, Independent
Dialogue Series, on transitional justice on Wednesday in Bulawayo, saying it
was not possible to bring perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice
when they were still in power.
Human rights lawyer Kucaca Phulu said holding perpetrators to account was
difficult because atrocities were committed by army, police and intelligence
officers with orders from the top.
In a speech at his burial, Mugabe described Muzariri's death as a blow to
the nation and urged the younger generation to emulate his deeds.
Mugabe has not openly apologised for the massacres, except admitting that
they were an "act of madness".
MASVINGO, April 17, 2011- In a bid to unite different factions of his MDC-T
party Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has invited both the newly elected
executive members and those who lost provincial elections to the national
congress expected to be held in Bulawayo at the end of this month.
Under normal circumstances, those who lose an election are not supposed to
go for national congress as delegates but after a four hour closed door
meeting with his supporters in Masvingo, Tsvangirai concluded that no one
was going to be barred from national congress.Tsvangirai held a meeting with
both the losing candidates and the newly elected candidates after the losers
insisted that they wanted a third round of election in Mucheke stadium.
“I have heard your queries and one thing which is common to you all is that
you are dedicated party cadres who want to attend the congress hence I am
now inviting all of you to the forth coming congress,” said Tsvangirai amid
applause from the members.Tsvangirai said the outstanding issues between the
two factions were not serious hence the problems would be solved after
“Since your immediate request is to attend a congress, I have granted you
that permission and we will solve everything at our pace later. However, I
plead with you not to fight each other because you know that we are all here
because of our one common enemy, Zanu(PF)." Tsvangirai told the
meeting.After the meeting members of various factions managed to talk to
each other for the first time since last week when the Elphas Mkonoweshuro
faction walked out of Mucheke stadium in protest as Tongai Matutu (MP for
Masvingo Urban) faction romped into victory.
Member of Parliament for Zaka West Festus Dumbu openly told Tsvangirai that
unless the elections are run for the third time, he was not going to respect
the current executive.But Tsvangirai said for now, the current executive
should be respected. MDC-T Masvingo spokesperson and Member of Parliament
for Zaka Central Harrison Mudzuri told Radio Vop that Tsvangirai proved to
be a ‘real leader by uniting the fighting factions in Masvingo’.
Although Mudzuri refused to give details of the meeting, he said the meeting
gave hope for unity.
“ We are one and we will never split. The meeting brought us together as a
family and it was a starting point. We are sure that fighting each other or
factionalism in Masvingo will soon be a thing of the past, ” said Mudzuri.
NETHERLANDS, April 17, 2011- Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama
received on Friday the Lawyers For Lawyers award in the Netherlands.The
father of three is humbled by the award received from his Dutch legal
colleagues. It doesn’t make his work in Zimbabwe any easier, but now
Muchadehama knows that the world is watching. And there is another bonus,
winning the award gives him protection against harassment from the Mugabe
“It is an encouragement to me and others to keep defending, but my heart
goes out to the people we represent, the actual victims of the repression.
They deserve the prize more than myself” says Muchadehama who traveled to
Amsterdam to receive the prize in person. “Apparently, lawyers around the
world are watching. And that is a defence mechanism, because now I know that
if I’m attacked in the line of duty, lawyers may come to my rescue!”
Muchadehama is a member of the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, a
non-profit organisation that wants to improve the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe. After receiving several local awards, the Lawyers For Lawyers
award is the first international prize that Muchadehama brings home.During
his career, 45-year-old Muchadehama experienced the brutality of the ZANU-PF
regime in person. He was arrested three times while defending others, and in
2006 the University of Zimbabwe graduate had to seek refuge in the Dutch
embassy in Harare to escape from prosecution.
Right now, he is defending 46 suspects in a case that has gained
international attention. The group was watching video tapes of the Jasmin
revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia when the police rushed in to arrest them.
But Muchadehama expects victory in court. “The judge has indicated that the
State’s evidence is very weak. That’s why six of the key suspects have been
released on bail. I don’t think that they will be convicted, but we’ll hear
the final verdict when their case comes up on April 20.”
The Lawyers For Lawyers award is handed out for the first time, after a
prominent jury carefully considered several nominees. “The nominees had to
be put forward twice by different lawyers or firms” says jury member Egbert
Myjer, normally a judge with the European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg, France. “With this level of excellence, we decided to weigh the
nominees on their current activities. We wanted attention for people that
put their lives on the line as we speak. Unanimously, the jury declared
Muchadehama the winner of this award.”
Alec Muchadehama is praised because of his perseverance. “This lawyer did
not give up, he deserves international recognition. And, this prize may also
give him extra protection” judge Myjer tells Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
“When one is known internationally, it might be harder for the Zimbabwean
government to harm him.”
But Muchadehama is not certain about the protection that the award will give
him: “I don’t know how the regime will respond, the people down there act
in a funny way. I see it as a buffer against a possible attack on my person.
If they want me, they must know that everyone in every corner of this world
After several dictatorships in the Middle East have been toppled, many look
at the situation in Zimbabwe. Muchadehama: “The fact that the state has to
repress the people is an indication that the people want change. Not in the
Egytian way, or in the Tunesian way, but I foresee change coming.”
Change in Zimbabwe can only happen when president Robert Mugabe steps aside.
And this is not very likely to happen, the 87-year-old dictator has
announced that he wants to win another term. But Muchadehama doesn’t believe
it would take much longer: “Nothing lasts forever, particularly
Apr 16, 2011 1:16 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA
Zimbabwe has a shortfall of 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity of the 2000MW
required daily and the country's power utility intends to cover that through
the introduction of energy-saving legislation.
The country currently produces only 1300MW and imports 300MW, leaving a
shortfall of 400MW.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has urged policymakers to
introduce a bill that will force electricity users to opt for energy-saving
lights and do away with incandescent light bulbs.
"The best way to go around the energy issue is to lobby for the banning of
incandescent light bulbs. We have in the past pushed for parliament to look
at the issue," said Fullard Gwasira, the spokesman for Zesa.
If the authority has its wish granted it would like to see legislation that
puts incandescent bulbs on a high import tariff.
If this happens, they would become a luxury and fewer people would prefer
them and switch to energy-savers, most of which are produced locally.
"Energy-savers use less power and are more durable compared to incandescent
light bulbs," said Gwasira.
Incandescent light bulbs have been banned in other parts of the world.
In 2009 a Europe-wide campaign to ban incandescent bulbs began.
The only complaint has been that energy-saving bulbs are not as bright as
the incandescent ones.
"The whole world wants to save energy and banning these bulbs is one of the
ways," Gwasira said.
Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Sunday, 17 April 2011 09:06
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s security chiefs who have stubbornly resisted democratic
reforms could be forced to give way to change – this time because of death,
with a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) top director buried last week
and Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) supremo Constantine Chiwenga reportedly
grappling with an undisclosed but serious health problem.
Also known as securocrats, the security chiefs have the hard power to
prevent a smooth democratic transition in Zimbabwe, often acting as spoilers
to any efforts by the country’s coalition government to institute
much-needed political reforms.
They publicly identify with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF), not only
because of a long history dating back to the liberation struggle but also
because of the economic benefits derived from this association.
Analysts said last week’s death of CIO deputy head Menard Muzariri and news
of Chiwenga’s poor health could be a harbinger of things to come for
Zimbabwe’s troubled political landscape.
“This could all point to a gradually loosening of Mugabe’s grip on Zimbabwe
as the bedrock of his power makes way for forces of nature,” political
analyst Donald Porusingazi told The Zimbabwean On Sunday.
Mugabe confirmed during Muzariri’s burial that the reclusive CIO director,
who succumbed to cancer last Monday, had been ill for some time and has
regularly been sent for treatment in China.
The late CIO boss is alleged to have been behind a ruthless state campaign
to cow opposition to Mugabe since the 1980s.
He allegedly participated in the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres that saw the
murder of more than 20 000 innocent civilians by the army and secret
ZDF commander Chiwenga reportedly fell seriously ill two weeks ago and was
also airlifted to China.
The acting ZDF commander is Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Perence Shiri,
himself rumoured to be ill.
Similar rumours of illnesses have been made against Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Defence Minister Emmerson
Chihuri spent more than a week in a private South African hospital in 2007
and has since then looked frail.
Mnangagwa is believed to be the figurehead for the group of Zanu (PF)
hardliners opposed to coalition government formed by Mugabe and his
arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai two years ago.
“The demise of the intransigent security chiefs could pave way for a new
crop of generals more amenable to reforms,” Porusingazi observed.
There has also been widespread speculation about Mugabe’s health after his
aides two months ago broke with tradition to confirm that the 87-year-old
Zimbabwean strongman had during his January vacation in Singapore undergone
an operation to remove an eye cataract.
He has returned to Singapore twice since February for alleged cataract
reviews on his eye, stoking up speculation about the Zimbabwean leader’s
health, even as some of the reports suggested that his last visit on April 8
was to accompany his wife, Grace, who was not feeling well.
Grace was not with Mugabe at Muzariri’s funeral for reasons that were not
In power since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain and Africa’s oldest
leader, Mugabe’s health is a closely guarded secret.
BULAWAYO, April 17, 2011- As the 18th of April 2011 draws closer Zimbabwe’s
Independence Day is already in the forefront of politics and tabloids. The
statements being bended around question whether Independence Day should be
about celebrating or politics. Some have even made insinuations that
Zimbabwe is not independent and for that reason they do not celebrate
In many ways Zimbabweans have short comings when it comes to National
identity. Natives of other African Countries can be identified through
national apparel or attire and other visible attributes. While the natives
of Zimbabwe have this identity crisis the country itself has its own
distinct identity which it draws from the Liberation struggle.
It is important to note that politics does not operate in isolation of
strategic opportunities meaning that it will always ride on the momentum of
advantageous circumstances. Indeed the Independence Day is a strategic and
unique opportunity across the Zimbabwean political spectrum. With this
background in mind let’s turn to the competitive advantages and penetrative
advantages of Independence Day to political parties.
Two political parties, more specifically the oldest parties in Zimbabwe
cannot be detangled from drawing competitive advantage from Independence
Day. The two can be viewed as one depending on one’s political position.
They draw competitive advantage on the grounds of their contributions in the
Liberation struggle which led to the independence of Zimbabwe. The
competitive advantage resonates in the value, rarity, inimitability and
non-substitutability of Independence of Zimbabwe.
The value obviously comes from the freedom which people used to be denied of
and more importantly the birth of a new state with a new name Zimbabwe. This
marked a social paradigm shift and political dichotomy. What’s more is that
Zimbabwe’s independence contains elements of rarity compared to other
countries; consequently this adds value to the Independence Day.
Independence is inimitable meaning no one is able to rewind the clock and do
it again. Even religious philosophies and hypnotherapy practices cannot
reverse and get a rebirth of Zimbabwe. Furthermore it is non substitutable
in that it is a nationally recognised day. Regardless of future developments
in the political arena independence will still be sustainable.
Emerging and newly established political parties, movements and pressure
groups challenge the dominance of the older political group/s. More
specifically they point out that the older political group/s use/s the
celebrations of the Independence Day as a platform for political Leverage.
Indeed it is has become the norm that a sharp political message is part of
the diet on Independence Day. Although it is common sense to reflect on the
birth of Zimbabwe, emerging and newly established political groups argue
that it is deliberately over done and too political.
While there is case against politicking, it is important to note that
emerging and newly established political groups are seeking to lower the
competitive advantage of their rivals through penetrative strategies. The
penetrative strategies draw their strength from their value. Their value is
in that they appeal to a wider apolitical audience, supporters of emerging
and newly established political parties, movements and pressure groups. The
non inflammatory and low political tone penetrates the hearts and souls of
those who just want to celebrate Independence Day and because it sounds
responsible and less exclusionary.
The penetrative strategies used by emerging and newly established political
groups lack rarity, inimitability and non substitutability meaning they
cannot monopolise the political arena. Although this is a weakness that
works in favour of apolitical natives it is still political. It is political
in that post independence political movements cannot claim participation in
the liberation struggle so they sell this weakness to the public by arguing
for depoliticisation but that very act itself is politics. Whether by
accident or design the Independence Day is political and any insinuation
which claims to be apolitical about this day is political.
Farai Chikowore: is a Local Governance Reader who graduated in Strategic
Public Management (MSc) and in Public Policy Government and Management (BA,
Honours) at De Montfort University. He likes to evaluate the contribution of
political discourse to understanding government policies. His main areas of
interest are in Research in: Partnership Working, Local government, Local
governance, Democratic renewal, Policy process and Strategic
Thobile Gwebu (centre)
Vigil supporters are disappointed that Mugabe’s Ambassador to London has been invited to the Royal Wedding on 29th April. Management team member Luka Phiri spoke for many when he said he was shocked. But we understand that the demands of diplomatic protocol sometimes trump common sense. And – who knows? – the presence of Ambassador Machinga might be entertaining as he goes around Westminster Abbey soliciting signatures supporting the 2 million person anti-sanctions petition. Judging by the level of coercion, every signature counts!
Zim Vigil regular, Swazi national Thobile Gwebu took a stronger line when she heard that King Mswati of Swaziland would be present at the wedding, travelling to London with an entourage of no less than fifty to stay at the super expensive Dorchester hotel. Thobile, who launched a Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission in London modeled on our own protest, was particularly annoyed that the world’s last absolute monarch would make impoverished Swaziland a laughing stock at the occasion, what with his 13 wives. Mswati was a pupil at Sherborne public school in England which was founded in 1550 which seems to be the epoch where Mswati aims to keep Swaziland.
On the plus side, Thobile was able to reach a large audience by being interviewed on the BBC TV Newsnight programme on Friday (15th April), which looked at the brutal repression of the recent unrest in Mbabane (check: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010dqgv/Newsnight_15_04_2011/ – 15.10 minutes into the broadcast – available until Thursday 21/4). She has since been invited to speak on South African radio.
‘Mswati may be coming to London but I hope I have helped alert people to what is going on in my homeland’, she told us at the Vigil.
Her comments resonated with President Zuma’s report on the state of play in Zimbabwe. In the light of the uprisings in North and West Africa, he warned SADC leaders of the dangers of taking people for granted. Zuma’s warning has not been heeded in Swaziland or Zimbabwe. Indeed, violence in Zimbabwe has been increasing – even in the absence of the whisky-loving commander of the defence forces, Constantine Chiwenga, who has gone to China to dry out.
The Vigil is marking the 31st anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence on 18th April by protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy from 12 noon to 3 pm against this violence. We are being joined by Action for Southern Africa, the successor organization of the anti-apartheid movement, which will be sending a card to the Zimbabwean Ambassador to pass on demands for an immediate end to the violence, free and fair elections and justice for the people of Zimbabwe.
On domestic matters, it was good to see several members of the Vigil management team back: Addley Nyamutaka (studying in Bournemouth), Bonny Adams (investigating sustainable farming in India) and Arnold Kuwewa (who has just come out of hospital). Also thanks to regular supporter Edna Mdoka for her help on the front table.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.
FOR THE RECORD: 117 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit website: www.imusicafrica.com.
· ‘Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe’ Vigil. Monday 18th April outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand WC2. The protest, on Zimbabwean Independence Day, has been organized by Action for Southern African (ACTSA) which has invited the Vigil to join them. ACTSA will be protesting from 1 – 2 pm but the Vigil will be there from 12 noon – 3 pm. Check: http://www.actsa.org/page-1028-Events.html for more details.
· ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 23rd April from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. Contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609
· ROHR Yorkshire general meeting. Saturday 23rd April from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Ashley Rd , Leeds LS9 7AB. Contact: Chinofunga Ndoga 07877993826, Prosper Mudamvanji 07897594874, Wonder Mubaiwa 07958758568, Donna Mugoni 07748828913.
· ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 30th April from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future demonstration: 28th May. Same time and venue.
· ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Sherards Hatch Nursery, Ployters Road, Harlow CM18 7PS. MP Mr Robert Halfon, ROHR President, UK National executive and a well-known immigration lawyer will be present. Contact Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07405637283, Aleck Kayima 07961907097, Lloyd Kashangura 07506481334 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
· ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6pm. Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
· ROHR Manchester meetings. Saturday 14th May: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, Charles Nenguke 07925146757, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
· ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 14th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe. To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to email@example.com and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
· Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in taking part.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
17 April 2011
Eddie Cross explains the food crisis in Zimbabwe
The BBC carried a story today about the rise in global food prices. The IMF
stated that on average prices for food had risen 36 per cent this year and
among these was a 74 per cent increase in maize prices. In the past, perhaps
since about 1950, Zimbabwe had enjoyed a situation where by and large
agricultural prices were set at export parities and global food prices were
themselves already quite low. As a consequence we became accustomed to
relatively cheap food and this was clearly apparent when you crossed the
border into any of our regional neighbours.
After independence in 1980, the policies that had created that situation
were maintained and agriculture was the main contributor to national growth
and development. In 2000 all that changed, commercial farmers and their 350
000 workers were made the target of a campaign that in the past ten years,
has seen some 7 000 farms deliberately invaded and taken over by force. They
were then occupied by so called A1 and A2 farmers, the former small scale
and the latter large scale squatters.
Since then the majority of these farms have become largely defunct, their
homesteads and farm building derelict and their arable lands have returned
to bush or been the subject of subsistence style agriculture. Although the
land audit promised in the GPA has not been carried out because of Zanu
opposition, it is known that perhaps as many as half these properties have
been abandoned after their assets had been looted.
As a consequence, agricultural output has collapsed to about 20 per cent of
the levels that had prevailed in the era before the farm invasions.
Zimbabwe, for the first time in half a century is now a net importer of all
types of food and agricultural products. Cotton and tobacco being the sole
As a result food prices are dictated by import costs and are therefore
higher than in our neighbouring countries. Remember that import parity
prices means that you pay the world market price PLUS the cost of
transporting the product to Zimbabwe - sometimes over thousands of
kilometres. Export parity pricing means that you pay prices set at world
market levels LESS the cost of transport to the overseas or regional
The commercial farmers that own the farms that are invaded and occupied by
this rag tag collection of people, had built some 10 000 dams on their
properties and could, when required irrigate their crops when normal
rainfall failed. To do this they had the pumps, pipelines and irrigation
equipment to irrigate up to 267 000 hectares of land.
People who do not know Zimbabwe think that farming is an easy game. They do
not appreciate that in fact this is a tough country to farm in - just take
one factor, our mean average variation in rainfall is about 40 per cent. In
the main grain belt of America it is 5 per cent.
Anyone who has visited to States will know how you can drive through a
hundred kilometres of flat, rich farm land and see crops planted from
horizon to horizon. Not in Zimbabwe, our typical commercial farm was about 2
000 hectares of which, perhaps a quarter was arable - but in small irregular
patches separated by small kopjies or hills and wetlands or vlei.
Then our soils - we have millions of hectares of poor sandy soils that are
very hard to farm. Our heavy soils are also difficult to cultivate and need
heavy equipment. Finally the season is short - 90 to 120 days at most and
the need to plant on time and to do things strictly to the calendar is
legendary. If you miss these deadlines the land is a hard task master and
will punish you with low yields and poor quality.
Just to compound these difficulties we suffer from severe storms. Hail is a
constant threat and droughts are a regular occurrence - not always
nation-wide but always difficult to deal with, in some years (1992/3) the
dry conditions can be so severe that crops are decimated, dams dry up and
livestock die in their thousands.
What is also not appreciated is that these farms were all large business
ventures - some of them large even by world standards. We had individual
companies that grew 150 000 tonnes of grain a year, the two sugar companies
grew 500 000 tonnes sugar, individual tobacco growers grew on average 300
000 kilograms of tobacco, the largest tobacco growers in the world. As such
they had to borrow significant sums of money each year to finance their
crops and livestock activities. Many of the best farmers were engineers or
accountants and relied on outside expertise for the rest.
To support these farmers was a network of training establishments and
research stations - some of them world famous. These same farmers
consistently grew crops that yielded well above regional and even
international best practice standards.
We held the world record for yield in maize production for example. We were
the second largest exporter of flue cured tobacco in the world and the
largest exporter of beef in Africa. We were self sufficient in tough crops
like wheat and barley even though our climate was not suitable and they had
to be fully irrigated.
I think Zanu PF thought that by simply taking over these farms at no cost to
themselves, that they would be able to make easy money. Most of the farms
they invaded had been paid for over 25 or 30 years by farmers who struggled
every year to make the bond payments. Nearly all the farmers I knew put
every cent they made back into their farms with the result that many were
real show places.
The fact that these highly successful enterprises simply collapsed under
their new stewards came as a real surprise to many, but not to those who had
sweated blood to create these business ventures out of the bush, living in
mud huts for years while they built barns and cleared lands.
A very small percentage of any population has the capacity or the
inclination to go farming - it is generally thought that this percentage is
below 5 per cent of any population. In our surveys of the population since
2000 we have never had a reading of more than 5 per cent for all Zimbabweans
who see farming as a way of life and a life choice.
Sure we all want a piece of land - it is after all the only way the average
person in Africa can ensure some security in the long term, but that does
not mean that all are going to be able to farm, or even want to farm.
The other surprise for Zanu PF is that they have not been able to shake the
sure grip of title rights as a legal basis for farm operations. They know
they do not own the farms they occupy and that one day they will have to
account for what they did to the rightful owners who still hold title.
That is simply a legal fact and will not go away. However that is scant
comfort for the average Zimbabwean who must today pay 30 to 50 per cent more
for his food than he would have if the agricultural industry was working as
it once did.
Eddie Cross is MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on his