By Alex Bell
15 August 2008
The message to Robert Mugabe that he must concede power will be clear at Saturday’s SADC summit in Johannesburg as thousands of South African trade unionists and other citizens will march to the summit venue waving red cards – the globally recognised football symbol for expulsion.
South Africa’s trade union federation COSATU is hosting the mass demonstration, to protest against the dictatorship of Mugabe. Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi said last Sunday that COSATU members and civil society groups must use the protest march on Saturday to show their “disgust” at Mugabe’s expected presence. He said: “We want a total isolation of Mugabe and his cronies”.
Vavi added on Tuesday that the isolation of Mugabe will continue and said a week long boycott of goods bound for Zimbabwe will be launched next month, throughout the SADC region. Vavi said the boycott is a bid to put pressure on Mugabe to concede power and end the ongoing suffering in his country. Vavi added that that all workers across the region must refuse to serve Mugabe and his cronies “so as to ensure that they indeed feel the heat of isolation”.
Global campaigning organisation Avaaz said on Friday that organisers of the march had approached the group and appealed to it for international support. In turn, Avaaz has formed the online “Red Card Campaign”, where members of the public can send a red card to show their support of the Zimbabwean people. The demonstrators at Saturday’s march will then carry banners and signs representing the red cards sent by Avaaz members and supporters from all over the world.
The group said it aims to have 100 000 cards from supporters across the world represented at the march, and added it would be an “overwhelming signal to Southern African leaders to act immediately to announce that the Mbeki-led negotiations have failed, and to launch a new and fairer negotiating process immediately.
People can send a card and show their support for the campaign by following
the Avaaz link on our website.
Fri Aug 15, 7:16 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Negotiators from Zimbabwe's rival parties are meeting
to try and reach a settlement to the country's crisis before this weekend's
regional summit, a spokesman for an opposition faction said Friday.
"They are trying to come to a settlement before the SADC meeting tomorrow,"
said Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesman for Arthur Mutambara, who heads a smaller
faction of Zimbabwe's opposition.
"They are already in South Africa at the moment and they are discussing,
they are actually negotiating," said Mushoriwa.
A summit of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community will be
held in South Africa this weekend.
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Johannesburg earlier
Friday after his travel documents were briefly seized by authorities at
Harare airport the previous day.
President Robert Mugabe was expected to arrive later on Friday.
Power-sharing talks between the rivals were stalled when three days of
negotiations adjourned on Tuesday after Tsvangirai said he needed more time
to consider a deal agreed by Mugabe and Mutambara.
Tsvangirai told AFP after his passport was seized on Thursday that he
remained "hopeful" talks to resolve the country's crisis would resume.
"The whole thing was going to be determined at this SADC summit," he said.
Zimbabwe's crisis intensified after Mugabe's re-election in a June
presidential run-off widely condemned as a sham.
Tsvangirai boycotted the run-off despite finishing ahead of Mugabe in the
March first round, citing rising violence against his supporters.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 15 (AFP)
Talks between Zimbabwe's rivals will push ahead "until we find a solution,"
South Africa's foreign minister said Friday ahead of a regional summit where
the country's crisis is high on the agenda.
"Of course there isn't power-sharing right now, but the talks are still
going on," Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told reporters ahead of a weekend summit
of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community.
"Until we find a solution they will continue to go on because SADC doesn't
have the luxury of walking away from Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe's political rivals had arrived in South Africa ahead of the summit,
and main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangrai was expected to meet with SADC's
political and defence body on Friday night.
The body includes Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete and Swaziland King Mswati III.
Arthur Mutambara, the head of a smaller Zimbabwe opposition faction, had
also been invited to the body's meeting, said Dlamini-Zuma.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was to participate in the summit after
arriving in Johannesburg on Friday.
Power-sharing talks were stalled when three days of negotiations adjourned
on Tuesday after Tsvangirai said he needed more time to consider a deal
agreed by Mugabe and Mutambara.
South African President Thabo Mbeki mediated the talks between the rivals.
African Union Commission chief Jean Ping, who was also in Johannesburg, said
the AU was keeping an eye on the negotiations.
"If a sub-region succeeds to solve a problem in a country of the same
region, we will applaud," he said. "But we monitor, we have to watch.
Shouldn't the process be successful, we will intervene."
August 15, 2008, 17:56
South African President Thabo Mbeki is to meet the main participants in
Zimbabwe's power-sharing talks today ahead of a regional summit which starts
in Johannesburg tomorrow.
Talks between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, opposition MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and breakaway MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara to end a
political crisis stalled earlier this week when Tsvangirai did not agree to
a proposed deal.
"There is a meeting with President Mugabe, thereafter Arthur Mutambara,
thereafter Morgan Tsvangirai," Mbeki's spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said.
"They [the meetings] are in progress. He [Mbeki] is meeting with them one by
one." Mbeki has been leading the regional mediation effort to resolve the
The power-sharing talks, which began soon after Mugabe's unopposed
re-election in June that was boycotted by Tsvangirai and widely condemned,
are expected to resume on the sidelines of a South African Development
Community summit that opens in South Africa tomorrow.
Mugabe and Tsvangarai at the centre of talks
Zimbabwe's political rivals, President Robert Mugabe
and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, are to resume
their talks at an undisclosed location in South Africa this evening.
Their talks were adjourned in Harare on Tuesday night with no agreement reached. Mugabe has now arrived in the country. Both men will be at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Sandton this weekend, but only Mugabe will be attending the meeting of regional heads of state.
South Africa's Foreign Affairs Department says all SADC heads of state, or their representatives, except Botswana are expected to attend the summit. Botswana says its foreign minister will attend instead of its President, Ian Khama. This is in protest against SADC's decision to invite Mugabe, whom Botswana does not recognise as Zimbabwe's lawfully elected leader. Analysts say Botswana is making an important political statement.
Zimbabwe is making an 11th hour bid to cement a power-sharing agreement. Rival parties, Zanu-PF, the MDC and its breakaway faction are currently meeting in Tshwane. They are seeking resolution on outstanding issues in the agreement, which the MDC had requested time to reconsider. The urgency of the talks coincides with tomorrow's SADC heads of state summit. President Thabo Mbeki is understood to be pushing for a signed and sealed deal before then.
NGOs are also stepping up pressure. A group calling itself the Zimbabwean Exile Forum has lodged an urgent court application. It wants SADC's invitation to Mugabe to be declared unlawful.
afrol News, 15 August - Botswana's president Ian Seretse Khama, is expected
shun weekend summit of Southern African leaders because his country does not
recognise Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe as a legitimate leader.
According to Botswana foreign ministry, president Khama's decision not to
attend summit in South Africa underscores mounting pressure from regional
leaders on Mr Mugabe and opposition to concur on sharing power to end
Power-sharing talks began last month, after president Mugabe's unchallenged
re-election in June, which was condemned around world as well as boycotted
by opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
who claimed attacks on his supporters.
Three days of marathon meetings in capital Harare this week failed to reach
a by and large agreement.
Botswana said in a statement that Zimbabwe's current government should not
be represented at a political level of 14-member Southern African
Development Community (SADC).
"Botswana does not accept result of 27 June run-off election in Zimbabwe, as
it violated core principles of SADC, African Union and United Nations,"
Botswana has taken harshest stand among Zimbabwe's neighbours as all fear
consequences if its worsening economic decline leads to total meltdown.
Millions of Zimbabweans have already fled across its borders, mainly to
Botswana and South Africa.
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF's chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa was quoted
as, "ZANU-PF and opposition will resume power-sharing talks at summit".
Mr Chinamasa said ZANU-PF sought a quick end to stalemate.
Political consultant to HSBC Securities, Nic Borain, said behind-the-scenes
manoeuvering by may be main impediment.
"You have Tsvangirai's backers who are playing hardball and insisting on
virtual disappearance of Mugabe, and you've got Mugabe's backers insisting
he remains and maintains some kind of executive powers," Mr Borain said.
Mr Chinamasa further said there was pressure to convene parliament and form
ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority in elections for first time since
independence but is eyeing a possible alliance with opposition defectors.
MDC condemned what it called "corrosive" attempts by ministers and
intelligence agents to recruit some of its members to join Mr Mugabe's
"These are the actions of a desperate and cornered regime," MDC said in a
Mr Tsvangirai's absence from new government would do nothing to chase away
investors' concerns about a country facing economic ruin, with world's
highest inflation of 2.2 million percent, chronic food and fuel shortages,
and high unemployment.
Chances for a breakthrough in negotiations may depend on whether regional
leaders can present a united front when trying to persuade all of Zimbabwe's
parties to bury their differences.
While Botswana has taken a tough line on Zimbabwe, South African President
Thabo Mbeki, the chief mediator in the talks, has come under incessant fire
for being too soft on Mr Mugabe.
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), a Southern African organisation, reportedly
said it has brought an urgent application to a regional tribunal seeking to
have Mr Mugabe barred from summit.
By staff writer
From The Cape Times (SA), 15 August
Hans Pienaar and Special Correspondent
Harare - Negotiators in the Zimbabwe talks will launch a last-ditch effort
today to agree on a deal, as signs emerged that President Robert Mugabe
might sidestep the process altogether and convene Parliament on Monday.
Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti, the party's
chief negotiator, will go to South Africa for last-minute negotiations with
his counterparts from Mugabe's Zanu PF and the smaller MDC faction led by
Arthur Mutambara. Negotiations broke down on Tuesday when Tsvangirai asked
for more time to consult his party on whether he should sign up to a deal
which left Mugabe as head of government and himself as Mugabe-appointed
prime minister. "I'm hopeful the talks will resume," Tsvangirai said
yesterday, adding that he had planned to meet SADC's security troika, as
"the whole thing was going to be determined at this SADC summit". But MDC
leaders fear Mugabe is already preparing to play his next card, convening
Spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said yesterday Zanu PF cabinet ministers and
agents from the feared Central Intelligence Organisation had approached MDC
MPs offering crossover deals. He also suggested that the apparent closer
relationship of Arthur Mutambara's smaller MDC faction would cue Mugabe's
new moves. But Mutambara yesterday vociferously repeated his denial that he
was working with Mugabe. The combined MDC has a slim majority in parliament.
Mugabe needs only to buy a few MPs, and intimidate a few more to stay away
from parliament, and he will have the majority needed for the first
challenge: electing a speaker from Zanu PF ranks. Biti said: "I think they
(the Zimbabwe government) are sending a clear message to President Mbeki, to
SADC, to the African Union, to the United Nations and everyone else that
they are being forced into dialogue with the MDC, but are not interested."
The harassment could also indicate serious divisions within Zanu PF. Some in
the party, particularly those who believe they will get cabinet posts in a
transitional authority, appear to want the deal, providing Mugabe retains
some executive powers. However, other ministers will lose their jobs, and
they are reportedly determined to collapse the stalled negotiations. "We
also expect tensions to rise and violence to begin again," a source said
yesterday. Police have already made some arrests, according to unconfirmed
reports from Harare.
15 August 2008
Nearly 80 organisations, including a number of Amnesty International's
African sections, have come together to show solidarity with the people of
Zimbabwe. In a statement to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), which is meeting this weekend in South Africa, the organizations
voiced their concern about the continuing violations of Zimbabweans' human
In the statement, the organisations recognised that attempts are being made
by Zimbabwean political parties, SADC, the African Union and the United
Nations to address the political and economic situation.
However, the organizations, also including HURINET based in Uganda, the
Southern Africa Human Rights NGO Network (SAHRiNGON) from Tanzania and the
Legal Assistance Centre from Namibia pointed to violations that have
persisted since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by
political parties on 21 July. They highlighted the continuation of torture
and other ill-treatment, and harassment and intimidation, of political and
human rights activists.
"We are also concerned that important questions of justice and impunity were
not explicitly tackled in the MoU, suggesting that these issues will not be
dealt with in the talks between the political parties," the statement
"We add our voices to the increasing number of civic and political leaders,
activists and ordinary citizens in condemning the events in Zimbabwe which
have brought untold suffering to its people. The ongoing political violence,
suppression of fundamental human rights and the failure of governance which
has directly contributed to the impoverishment of the people of Zimbabwe
must be addressed now.
"The present government has brutally suppressed democratic dissent and
persecuted political and human rights activists in callous disregard of the
rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights."
The letter calls on African leaders at all levels - pan-African, regional
and national - and their institutions to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to
immediately end serious human rights violations in the country and publicly
denounce and call for the cessation of all political violence.
August 15, 2008, 14:30
The Zimbabwe Exiles' Forum has brought an urgent application before the SADC
Tribunal, asking it to suspend the invitation to Zimbabwe President Robert
Mugabe to attend the SADC summit in Johannesburg this weekend.
The forum argues that SADC's own observers found that Zimbabwe's June 27
presidential run-off elections were not free and fair and not reflective of
the democratic will. It says since Mugabe was not constitutionally elected,
he is not a lawful head of state and should not be allowed to take his seat
at the summit.
This comes after Botswana confirmed that its president, Ian Khama, would
boycott the summit in protest against the invitation to Mugabe to attend.
Botswana also does not recognise Mugabe as Zimbabwe's legitimate leader, for
similar reasons to those cited by the Zimbabwe Exiles' Forum.
Several civil society organisations attending the pre-SADC heads of state
and government consultative forums in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, have
welcomed the Khama's decision to boycott the summit.
Nairobi-based UN policy analyst, Thomas Deve, says the move will boost
opposition MDC's credibility in its push to reduce Mugabe's executive powers
at the ongoing power sharing talks.
|15 August 2008|
By BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI
Is President Thabo Mbeki seriously negotiating a settlement in Zimbabwe, or is he simply concocting a nice little deal for his friend, Robert Mugabe? Right now, discussions seem to centre on the fate - or future - of the man, not the country or its people.
Mugabe must be pleased with the turn - and tenor - of events. It's his needs that are paramount. We're making such a fuss about him, one would think he won the elections. His future comforts, with all the trappings of power, are a prerequisite. What Mbeki calls negotiation is nothing more than traipsing wearily around Mugabe, careful not to offend him and occasionally flying to Harare to caress his ego. Not once has the old codger been required to leave the comforts of his lair.
It will be a bitter pill to swallow for many Zimbabweans to accept a government led by the man they've just rejected in an election. It's like asking the people of Cambodia to accept the return of Pol Pot in exchange for peace, with the terror and savagery of the Khmer Rouge still fresh in their minds. It would be unconscionable.
Setting a two-week deadline to resolve a conflict that has been allowed to drag on for almost a decade was over ambitious, if not naive. But Mbeki is a bit of a novice on these matters. He was a peripheral figure during the negotiations which ushered in the new SA. His stock in trade so far has been to humour whoever is in power and to work for the retention of the status quo. It sort of worked in the DRC, where the negotiation merely helped to reinforce Joseph Kabila's position. At least it stemmed the violence. But Mbeki came a cropper in Côte d'Ivoire.
A similar Mbeki formula is emerging in the Zimbabwe talks: for the deal to stick, Mugabe has to be assured of a cushy life in perpetuity. He has to live in the lap of luxury at the expense of the very people he has driven to misery and penury.
Mbeki's approach to the conflict has been driven by two things: his obsession with preserving the octogenarian; and his antipathy to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The interests of ordinary Zimbabweans have been lost in the process.
Mugabe is not a president. He heads an illegitimate regime. But Mugabe gets the royal treatment from Mbeki. He's handled, not as a participant in a negotiation process, but as a sitting president. Tsvangirai, on the other hand, is treated almost as a finicky piccanin who doesn't quite know his place.
But it's Mbeki who doesn't seem to know his place or understand the power and authority of his position or presidency. He's shuttled to and from Harare for Mugabe's convenience. Mugabe, like Tsvangirai, should be making the trip to Pretoria. He is, after all, the recipient of our favours.
Tsvangirai may not be the smartest politician around. He seems unable to bring his people into the streets or mobilise their passion as a bargaining chip. They have yet to demonstrate any propensity to die for the cause. Mugabe, on the other hand, has all the resources and the violence of the state. In a negotiated setup, therefore, Tsvangirai is likely to settle for less than he deserves. But it's not for us to judge. The Zimbabweans have made their choice. He won the elections. That counts for a lot; in fact for everything.
These negotiations are therefore unnecessary. They are not only a waste of time but, like the Kenyan exercise before them, are creating a dangerous precedent. Autocrats will in future, on losing elections, refuse to leave office simply because they are sitting on stockpiles of weapons which they can unleash on the general populace unless they can cut a nice deal for themselves. That's not democracy. It's tyranny.
The current exercise should have only one purpose: to put into effect the will of the people as expressed in the general election.
Anything less will be an abomination.
Memorandum to SADC Summit on Zimbabwe and Swaziland,
16 August 2008
We, civil society organizations from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland,
gathered at this meeting of SADC Heads of State in Johannesburg on 16 August
2008, reassert our commitment to the struggle for a transition to democracy
in Zimbabwe and Swaziland.
We stand firmly by the principles of democratic governance that are embodied
in the SADC and African Union Charters, declarations and protocols on good
governance which are the birthright of every African. We note that the key
defining features of both Zimbabwe and Swaziland are electoral fraud,
political manipulation by ruling elites, institutionalised oppression, state
brutality and an environment of fear and oppression.
We therefore call upon the leaders of the SADC to adopt the following
We urge SADC to be guided by the Zimbabwe People's Charter, which was
adopted after widespread deliberation and discussion with the public. It
provides us with a mandate to struggle for the principles a respect for
freedom, equality, human dignity, accountability, non-partisanship,
non-violence and a culture of peace.
It declares that the existing constitutional order is incapable of producing
a democratic government. Elections will remain illegitimate until they are
held under a new, democratic constitution and that a constitution is invalid
unless it is the product of a people-driven, participatory process which
makes room for the input of all Zimbabweans.
We call upon the SADC to commit itself fully to the struggle for the ideals
of democracy, including press freedom, people-centred economic planning, an
appropriate balance of power in government, a respect for human rights, and
an enabling environment for children, the youth, women, the disabled and
People Living with HIV/AIDS.
Scores of Zimbabweans have been killed, hundreds imprisoned and thousands
driven from their homes. The space for democratic participation by the
political opposition, civil society organisations, and the public at large
has been eliminated by draconian laws and extralegal exercises of power.
The following steps must be taken to create an environment conducive to open
negotiations by all stakeholders:
1. Cessation of political violence. The threats, physical assaults, torture,
and acts of arson that have characterised the period following the 29 March
elections must be halted immediately. Additionally, the structures which
have been perpetrating and directing these attacks, including all militia
bases, must be immediately dismantled. International monitors should be
invited to enter Zimbabwe to assist with these tasks.
2. Establishment of law and order. All political prisoners must be released,
oppressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act must be repealed to open space for
democratic participation, and perpetrators of political violence must be
brought to justice.
3. Facilitation of humanitarian relief. Bans on aid groups and civil society
organizations must be lifted to allow them to attend to victims of the
humanitarian disaster. A council should be established to address the plight
of internally displaced people and refugees.
If the foregoing conditions are met, we urge SADC to support a transitional
authority to provide an appropriate vehicle for ushering in democratic
reform. It would have a specific, limited mandate to oversee the drafting of
a new, people-driven constitution and the subsequent facilitation of free
and fair elections. We reject any elitist power-sharing agreement that fails
to address the inadequacy of the current constitutional regime.
We demand that civil society organisations and the general public be party
to these negotiations. Although the exact details of the transitional
authority's mandate would need to be determined through debate and public
consultation, the following elements are necessary to ensure that it is
successful in establishing a new democratic order:
1. Leadership by an impartial party. The transitional authority should be
headed by an individual who is not a member of ZANU-PF or MDC.
2. Broad representation. Individuals from a broad sector of Zimbabwean
society should be incorporated into the transitional authority, including
representatives from labour, women's and children's rights groups, churches,
and other interest groups.
3. Specific, limited mandate. The transitional authority should be tasked
with facilitating the drafting and adoption of a new constitution and then
holding elections under the new constitutional framework. It should only
govern the country until the newly elected government is installed. The
negotiating parties should provide a very clear timeframe for this process,
with no more than 18 months of rule by the transitional authority.
4. People-driven constitutional development. The process of drafting a new
constitution must include broad-based consultation with the public and civil
society organisations. The draft constitution should not be enacted until it
has been ratified by the public in a national referendum.
5. Restoration of good governance. State institutions - the judiciary,
police, security services, and state welfare agencies - should be
depoliticised, demilitarised and reformed. Steps should be taken to fight
corruption and promote accountability for public officials. Restrictions on
press freedom should be lifted and access to state media outlets should be
6. Economic recovery programmes. Initiatives should be undertaken to resolve
the current economic crisis and ensure an equitable distribution of national
resources for the benefit of all Zimbabweans, including land as a national
asset of the people and not an elite, whatever its colour or race.
7. Transitional justice initiatives. The transitional authority should
design and implement a victim-centred process to bring to justice the
perpetrators of gross human rights violations and promote national healing.
This framework for transitional justice should be embedded in the new
We note the courage of the people of Zimbabwe in their determined efforts to
soldier on against all odds, in the face of extreme hostility and state
violence. The world community of democracy-loving people remains fully
behind them at this hour of need, always acting to raise their issues and
suffering in order to promote awareness and put pressure on regional leaders
to act decisively.
We note the SADC mediation efforts led by South African President Thabo
Mbeki, which have raised hopes for the possible resolution of the protracted
conflict, but we believe a lot still needs to be done for the right
environment to be created.
Swaziland has the oldest state of emergency in the region, with all public
institutions and decision-making the monopoly and sole preserve of the royal
family. There are no democratic elections, systemic and institutionalised
corruption and state terror against political and worker activists, founded
on the basis of the 1973 king's decree that concentrated all power in his
hands. Years of convenient silence on Swaziland have promoted a culture of
impunity and disregard for the fundamentals of democracy in the whole
We further note the deepening political and socio-economic crisis, and the
protracted political impasse which has not been resolved by the new
constitution promulgated in 2005, which itself is a product of an
illegitimate process and royal imposition.
We urge SADC leaders to support the following demands formulated by civil
society, under the banner of the Swaziland United Democratic Front:
1. Multi-party democratic elections: The continued denial of political
space, particularly the ban on multiparty politics and the right to
participate in public institutions of decision-making, remains a denial of a
core tenet of democracy and flies in the face of the SADC Mauritius
Principles governing elections.
2. The unbanning of political parties: The continued banning of political
parties which was initially authored by the King's proclamation to the
Nation of 1973 has since been validated by the new constitution promulgated
3. The return of political exiles: Although continually denied by the state,
several Swazis remain in exile for fear of persecution by the state.
4. The evolution of a truly representative national dialogue or national
convention which will result in a truly democratic constitution which will
represent the will of the people of Swaziland: The current constitution
remains illegitimate as it was unilaterally driven without the critical
input of Swazi stakeholders.
5. End to cancerous corruption and greed: The royal family has entrenched a
deep culture of cancerous corruption and greed in Swazi society, with the
state institutions permanently involved in pervasive corruption that eats
away the social fibre of society. A huge part of the budget is corroded by
perpetual corruption and greed, which is led by the ruling minority, in a
country where almost 70% live on international food aid and which is almost
a world leader in the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS.
We draw SADC's attention to the recent positive developments within the
oppressed and struggling people of Swaziland. Most notable is the formation
of Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), which brings together all
progressive forces and further unites all the people in struggle for
democracy and social change.
We further note the joint celebration of May Day by all worker organisations
and trade unions in the country, for the first time in the history of the
country, sending a clear statement that the time for the people to act
together has come and that the people will resist all attempts at disuniting
To that end we call upon SADC to adopt the following goals of the Swazi
· Creation of a new and democratic constitution that derives its legitimacy
from the will of the people.
· Building and institutionalising the culture of democracy, the rule of law
· Democratisation of traditional institutions to serve the needs of the
people and respond accordingly to the desire of the people to be free and
· Full recognition of the rights and responsibilities of civil society, and
its independent right to exist and act freely from any form of state
influence and control, including royal patronage.
Urgent action needed
We urge SADC to adopt a new sense of urgency to tackle the crises in
Zimbabwe and Swaziland. We have for too long allowed these illegitimate and
undemocratic regimes to fester and begin to affect the entire fibre of the
Robert Mugabe and Mswati III are not legitimate leaders of their countries
and cannot claim any legitimacy to rule, for they have not been
democratically elected by the peoples of their countries.
As representatives of civil society we condemn the behaviour of these two
leaders and take it upon ourselves to expose them and their unacceptable
behaviour before the eyes of the world.
Today we express a hope that the long journey to emancipate the citizens of
both Swaziland and Zimbabwe is near its end. Although we face numerous
challenges, we believe that a commitment to the principles which have guided
us in our struggle for democracy will lead to a resolution of the current
political impasse obtaining in the two countries. We therefore urge all SADC
heads of state and citizens to join us in our efforts to realize a just and
democratic society, not only in Zimbabwe and Swaziland, but throughout the
entire region. Let us continue fighting for our freedom, democracy and
co-prosperity, underpinned by progressive development paradigms founded on
the basis of a redistributive system.
Signed, on 16 August 2008, in Sandton, Johannesburg, by:
Congress of South African Trade Unions
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum
Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
People's United Democratic Movement of Swaziland
Swaziland United Democratic Front
Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions
Swaziland Federation of Labour
Swaziland Youth Congress
Federation of Unions of South Africa
Treatment Action Campaign
On behalf of the SADC Secretariat
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Friday August 15 2008 15:55 BST
Robert Mugabe is attempting to lure opposition members of parliament into a
new government with promises of influence and wealth in a bid to legitimise
his refusal to relinquish power.
The move comes as Mugabe prepares to persuade a summit of southern African
leaders in Johannesburg tomorrow that he is striving to put together a
power-sharing administration with the opposition. But the governments of
Botswana and Zambia have already joined Mugabe's opponents in Zimbabwe in
accusing the president of negotiating in bad faith.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, said cabinet ministers in Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and senior
officials of the Central Intelligence Organisation have approached dozens of
MPs from his party, which became the largest in parliament at the March
"They're asking at least 30 of our MPs to send in their CVs and asking if
they willing to join the government. It's an attempt to buy them off," he
said. "This crude Machiavellian behaviour shows the way Mugabe operates. He
says he is negotiating in good faith and meanwhile he's trying to form an
Mugabe is desperate to win recognition from neighbouring states for his
continued rule in the hope that if he can persuade African governments that
he heads a legitimate administration, representing all major parties, they
will pressure western nations to provide aid to rescue Zimbabwe's imploding
Yesterday, intelligence officials detained Biti and the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, at Harare airport and confiscated their passports as the men
were headed to Johannesburg for the summit. The passports were returned
hours later after South Africa intervened.
Biti said the attempt to stop them travelling is a reflection of divisions
in Zanu-PF over whether to shift power to Tsvangirai.
"I think they are sending a loud and clear message that they're still the
mafia they were. The sooner Mbeki recognises that the better," he said.
"The people behind this are the people in Zanu-PF don't want an agreement.
They are desperate. Zanu-PF is divided between the junta who don't want an
agreement and a small section that recognises the writing is on the wall and
they have to do a deal," he said.
By Joe De Capua
15 August 2008
A group of doctors from South Africa and Uganda say international medical
organizations must "loudly and clearly" condemn human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe. Their comments appear on the website of the British Medical
The doctors say, "The people of Zimbabwe deserve the support of those who
claim to uphold the traditions and healing and caring.
One of the authors of the article is Dr. Dan Ncayiyana, editor of the South
African Medical Journal and professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology
at the Durban University of Technology. From Durban, he told VOA English to
Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua why international medical organizations
should speak out on Zimbabwe.
"I think it is the job of international medical organizations because the
issues involved are human rights issues. And the medical fraternity across
the world ought to be concerned about issues relating to human rights," he
Speaking about the situation in Zimbabwe, Dr. Ncayiyana says, "Conditions in
Zimbabwe are hellish at the moment. And the human rights group (Zimbabwean
Association of Doctors for Human Rights).reports that hospitals are
overwhelmed by victims of violence by police, and the army and militia."
The BMJ editorial describes Zimbabwe's health care system as being in
"shambles," after once being rated one of the best on the continent. Dr.
Ncayiyana says, "There's been an exodus of health care providers,
professionals, from Zimbabwe.. The other issue is that of a shortage of
supplies. The hospitals simply don't have the equipment and supplies to take
care of sick people, whether they are victims of violence or not." He adds
that there is also a lack of adequate transportation to take sick people to
Asked why the medical profession would be upholding the tradition of healing
by taking on human rights issues in Zimbabwe, he says, "I believe that
buried somewhere in the Hippocratic Oath is an undertaking to care about how
people are treated around the world. You know, the WHO (World Health
organization) defines health as not only the absence of infirmities, but
well-being, the general well-being. And abuse of people actually undermines
that well-being and causes disease because it causes people to suffer and
die. And just as much as we as a medical profession strive to prevent
diseases like polio and so on, we should also be committed to preventing
human abuses that in fact affect peoples' lives and health."
The BMJ editorial also calls the Zimbabwean Association of Doctors for Human
Rights the "moral conscience" of the medical profession, praising it for
standing up to the government of President Mugabe.
"I think that the medical profession should be the moral conscience of
society when it comes to human rights as they affect people's health and
well-being. And of course health in general because that's what our calling
is. Our calling is to promote the best possible health condition for our
people," he says.
Friday, 15 August 2008 14:47
15th August 2008
Nine WOZA women arrested in Bulawayo
NINE WOMEN, were arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday night. They are
being charged with 'malicious damage to property', a charge, which they are
denying. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are representing the women and
hope they will appear in court on Saturday August 16.
Four of the younger members were seen 'road-writing' the WOZA 'love'
slogan and the 'Woza Moya' (come healing wind) on a road in Mabutweni suburb
of Bulawayo under cover of darkness. They were arrested and detained first
at Western Commonage station before being transferred to the dirty police
cells at Bulawayo Central. Police officers then threatened them and forced
one to point out the homes of other leaders. A further five including two 75
year olds, were taken from their homes and detained. It is unclear why they
are facing the same charges or why they were arrested.
WOZA wish to make it clear that the arrest of our members is a
furtherviolation of the Memorandum of understanding signed by Zanu PF, and
the 2 MDC parties as part of the SADC led Dialogue. It is further proof that
Zanu PF may have called for an end to violence in word but no in deed. It is
also our view that unless there is an audit and transformation of the police
and army, there can be no healing and restoration of human rights in
Zimbabwe. We will continue with our grafitti road writing our messages until
the politicians hear us loud and clear.
WOZA leaders will march with South Africa labour and civic society on
Saturday 16 August 2008 to deliver demands to SADC leaders. Once such demand
is articulated in our slogan - Woza Moya which is written on many roads in
Zimbabwe by WOZA members. (South African contact details +27 78 371 5665 or
+27 79 188 1560 (15th - 19th August).
For further information, please contact Jenni Williams on +263 912
898 110 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail address is being
[15th August 2008]
Bill Watch was delayed in the hopes of being able to send out details of what had been negotiated under the MoU between the main political parties. No overall agreement was reached and there has been no official release about whether any of agenda items on the MoU have been satisfactorily resolved. It is still uncertain whether there will be a Coalition Government/ Government of National Unity [GNU] or what form this would take. Dialogue is still continuing and the mediator Mr Mbeki will be reporting to the SADC Summit in Johannesburg, 16th and 17th August. [For those interested in the Kenya Model of a GNU we can supply the Kenyan National Accord and Reconciliation Act and the consequential Constitutional Amendment on request.]
Opening of Parliament
No date for the opening of Parliament has been announced. It was thought that the outcome of the current negotiations will dictate this date. Under the MoU Parliament can be convened only if all three parties consent. Nevertheless the state newspaper [14th Aug] has said that "the other two parties Š would proceed with the formation of an inclusive Government and the convening of Parliament".
Possibility of a Two-Party Coalition
Some press reports suggested that ZANU PF and MDC Mutambara may form a coalition government without the MDC T. This is an unlikely scenario as:
· as long as the Dialogue is acknowledged to be continuing, all three parties to the MoU have to consent to the outcome
· it is improbable that the elected House of Assembly or Senate representatives from MDC Mutambara would go along with this and vote with ZANU PF - the majority would be likely to vote with MDC T, so ZANU PF would still not have a majority in the House of Assembly
· if there was an agreement to add appointed seats to the Senate to accommodate both ZANU PF Ministers who lost their seats and the Mutambara executive who did not win seats in the recent election, there would have to be a Constitutional Amendment - and that needs a two-thirds majority of all the members in each House, which the two-party coalition would not have.
If MDC Mutambara representatives to the House of Assembly leave their party, through which they were elected, and join ZANU PF or rejoin MDC T [or refuse to vote with their party leader and are subsequently expelled], there would probably have to be by-elections. [According to section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution, members of the House of Assembly automatically lose their seats if they cease to belong to the party they represented when elected, and that party notifies the Speaker in writing that they have ceased to represent its interests in Parliament.]
The same would apply to MDC T representatives who are disowned by their party. [A MDC T news release [14th Aug] has stated that ZANU PF government ministers and functionaries have approached an extensive number of MDC T members of parliament asking them to submit their CVs and asking them to be part of a Mugabe's government.]
Implications of Continuing without a Parliament
The Constitution stipulates that the country should not be governed without a Parliament for more than 180 days [section 62]. We are well past this [the 180 days expired in mid-July]. Legally, the MoU does not override the Constitution - it is merely a contract between the political parties, which cannot contradict the supreme law of the land. On the other hand, a Parliament convened late will not on that account be an "illegal" Parliament.
The last Appropriation Act was passed by Parliament in December 2007. In view of current inflation an Appropriation (Supplementary) Act is now overdue, which presumably means that Ministries are being allocated supplementary funds not voted by Parliament. There is a constitutional provision allowing this for a limited period as long as any such expenditure is submitted to Parliament for confirmation by an Appropriation Act and is accounted for in accordance with that Act. This provision assumes no more that 180 days between Parliaments, which means the principle of a government having to get expenditure approved by Parliament is now being violated.
Vice-Presidents and Ministers
If we continue without Parliament being convened, the present Vice-Presidents and Ministers, including those now without seats in Parliament, can remain in government. As soon as Parliament meets, those still without seats will automatically lose their posts. [See Bill Watch 30 of 26th July.]
If Parliament Reopens Before/Without Inter-Party Agreement
This would be in breach of the MoU unless agreed to by all parties, and might therefore lead to a total breakdown of the Dialogue. Apart from this there are other implications:
Appointment of Ministers
Once Parliament opens, Ministers who did not retain their Parliamentary seats would no longer be eligible to hold Ministerial office unless they are given one of the five appointed Senate seats. [See Bill Watch 30 of 26th July].
Election of Speaker
ZANU-PF will not be able to impose a Speaker against the wishes of a combined MDC majority. A report in the Mail and Guardian stated that the election of the Speaker requires 106 affirmative votes in the House of Assembly [i.e., an absolute majority of the total membership of the House]. In fact, no such majority is required. A majority vote of those present and voting is sufficient, as long as there is a quorum [25 members]. [Constitution, sections 39, 54 and 56; House of Assembly Standing Order No. 3.]
Balance of Power in House of Assembly
MDC T's majority over ZANU-PF in the House is marginal [100-99]. Press reports have referred to the small MDC faction led by Mr Mutambara, with its 10 members, as having the capacity to tilt the balance of power in ZANU-PF's favour by using its 10 votes against MDC T. This would be true of a third party which was totally unaligned and willing to vote with either party, but not in this case, because most of the 10 members of the House elected on the MDC Mutambara ticket are committed to being in opposition to ZANU PF.
ZANU PF Government without a Majority in the Lower House
If the MDC vote is combined against ZANU PF, then the Government would be a minority party in the Lower House. This would mean not only that Mr Mugabe's government could not amend the Constitution, but also that it may not be able to get any legislation through Parliament. In which case, and in particular if the Lower House does not pass the Budget [Appropriation Act], the President may have no option, but to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections. Because of Constitutional Amendment No. 18 these would be harmonised elections - Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government.
MDC T would not be able to force a vote of no confidence in the government, as a two-thirds majority  of the total membership  of the Lower House would be needed and the combined MDC vote  would fall far short of this. As regards "impeachment", while 110 votes would be enough to commence an inquiry into the removal of the President from office, they would not be enough to guarantee passage of a resolution for removal [which would require a two-thirds majority of a joint sitting of the House of Assembly and the Senate].
MDC could introduce private members Bills and get them passed through the Lower House, but not having a majority in the Senate would mean that these Bills could be delayed by the Senate.
ZANU PF would have a Senate Majority
At the moment ZANU PF have 30 elected seats, MDC T have 24 and MDC Mutambara have 6. If Mr Mugabe appoints the 10 governors and the 5 appointed Senators from its own party and can sway the 18 chiefs, then ZANU PF would have a comfortable Senate majority. But the Lower House has the ultimate say over the passage of all legislation.
Presidential Succession by Parliamentary Vote
Under Constitution Amendment No. 18, if the President resigns or dies, a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament will choose [not by secret ballot] another President to hold office for the remainder of the five-year Presidential term. A ZANU PF government would hold a majority in a combined sitting of both houses. Out of a total of 303 members, 163 would probably vote ZANU PF and 140 would probably vote MDC. This would allow the ZANU PF to determine the succession of President.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Via an MDC Press Release:
MUGABE'S BLOODY LEGACY
The following people were murdered after the historic election on 29 March
2008 in which Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were trounced by President Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC. These people were killed by the regime of Robert
Mugabe for voting for change. Notwithstanding that their killers are known,
their deaths have not been investigated by the police and no arrest has been
made. More people than those on this list were killed and buried in shallow
graves. These are the only people whose deaths were recorded while thousands
others, including women and children, are still missing.
1.. Tapiwa Mbwanda
2.. Murunde Tembo
3.. Tatenda Chibika
4.. Moses Bashitwayo
5.. Solomon Bote
6.. Brighton Mabwera
7.. Zvidzai Mapurisa
8.. Tabitha Marume
9.. Tenos Manyimo
10.. Bigboy Zhuwawo
11.. Chrispen Chiutsi
12.. Clemence Dube
13.. Gilbert Nyagupe
14.. Catherine Makwenjere
15.. Tapiwa Meda
16.. Joseph Madzuramhende
17.. Alex Chiriseri
18.. David Tachiwa Mapuranga
19.. Arthur Matombo
20.. Patson Mudzuramhende
21.. Jeff Jemedze
22.. Nelson Emmanuel
23.. Tonderai Zireni
24.. Isaac Danda
25.. Musafare Mudimu
26.. Karombe Benson Chipungu
27.. R Gomwe
28.. Ruth Mushayahembe
29.. Elias Madzivanzira
30.. Sam Kahari
31.. Remember Kayembe
32.. Bright Mafuriro
33.. Fischer Chirese
34.. Sairiro Kamufuto
35.. Beta Chokururama
36.. Ken Nyevhe
37.. Godfrey Kauzani
38.. Edson Zaya
39.. Tonderai Ndira
40.. Choukuse Nyoka Mubango
41.. Tafirenyika Kapfudza
42.. Rosemary Maramba
43.. Manyuke Nyamukada
44.. Shepherd Jani
45.. Taurai Matanda
46.. Kidwell Zvavamwe
47.. Washington Nyamwa
48.. Dadirai Chipiro
49.. Nyasha Mashoko
50.. Daniel Nhende
51.. Pamela Pasvanai
52.. Sofia Chingozho
53.. Dumisani Hapazari
54.. Mabika Mudzinga
55.. Leonard Mhete
56.. Tiziro Moyo
57.. Stanford Mapuranga
58.. Mirai Zvidzai
59.. Chengerai Kahari
60.. Kennias Artwell Bvekerwa
61.. Simbarashe Chikomba
62.. Victor Mungazi
63.. Abigail Chiroto
64.. Eliot Matthew Machipisa
65.. Archford Chipiyo
66.. Ngoni Knight
67.. Yuana Jenti
68.. John Luke
69.. Simba Magetsi
70.. Stanford Mapuranga
71.. Francis Zihwihwi Singende
72.. Robert Ziyengwa
73.. Masitafundikera Gumura
74.. Aqualine Sanzvengwa
75.. Sandros Mandizha
76.. Godfrey Mashaka
77.. Chrispen Chijeke
78.. Darlington Chingombe
79.. Gift Tavengwa
80.. Hama Chironga
81.. Nguwani Madamombe
82.. Taurai Kamuchira
83.. Kudakwashe Majongosi
84.. Ruben Mutewe
85.. Francis Phiri
86.. Lewis Musiwa
87.. Hama Ngowani
88.. Tavengwa Gibbs
89.. Munoda Mushaike
90.. Amos Moyounotsva
91.. Dickson Sibamba
92.. Nharo Chimweta
93.. Joshua Bakacheza
94.. Maxwell Mararangwenda
95.. Takawira Muzondiwa
96.. Mark Chiraradza
97.. Gift Mutsunguma
98.. Method Chabuka
99.. Alex Kazembe
100.. Irene Ruzerai
101.. Crispen Chimusoro Chigaga
102.. Gift Mutsvungunu
103.. Anna Maria Maedza
104.. Norman Muchabayiwa
105.. Manomano Ndawi
106.. Kufakunesu Chiwera
107.. Farai Matakata
108.. Stanford Mapulanga
109.. Shelton Gwaunza
110.. Charles Mukwena
111.. Tellmore Meki
112.. Rueben Kadhii
113.. Freddy Mungure
114.. Mike Chakabvapasi
115.. Fungisayi Ziome
116.. Kingsley Muteta
117.. Runyararo Mugauri
Thousands more have been killed over the years, including over 20 000 people
who were murdered during Gukurahundi in the Midlands and Matabeleland
provinces of Zimbabwe. Africa, especially SADC, must take a strong position
against Robert Mugabe and his illegitimate government.
This entry was written by Sokwanele on Friday, August 15th, 2008
August 15 2008 at 09:29AM
Eighty African civil society organisations have called on southern
African leaders, meeting in Joburg on Saturday, to stop human rights
violations in Zimbabwe.
The leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meet
for their annual summit, where President Thabo Mbeki is to report back on
negotiations between Zimbabwe's political parties.
The 80 civil society organisations, co-ordinated by Amnesty
International and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, issued
an open letter to leaders of SADC, the African Union and other African
It calls on the Zimbabwean government to allow the deployment of
independent human rights monitors, and to establish an independent
commission of inquiry into political violence.
The 80 civil society organisations come from Benin, Botswana, Burkina
Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius,
Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, SA, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on August
Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 08:54:14 +0200
Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri says the
recent bomb blast that rocked Harare main police station resulting in the
destruction of some offices was orchestrated by insiders.
Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri says the
recent bomb blast that rocked Harare main police station resulting in the
destruction of some offices was orchestrated by insiders.
He was addressing a contingent of officers on their return from United
Nations peace keeping operations.
Commissioner General Chihuri reminded the police officers to remain guided
by their constitutional mandate.
He said the deterioration of the country's economy has been worsened by
corruption despite calls for all sectors to shun the practice.
The Commissioner General commended the South African President, Mr. Thabo
Mbeki, who is mediating in the inter party dialogue on his efforts to help
correct the challenges facing Zimbabwe.
Get this: the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) cannot supply
enough power to homes and businesses on a regular basis. This means
incessant power cuts. It also means that many people have had to go out and
buy generators at great expense. These generators also need to be serviced
(often) and they need fuel. Not a cheap endeavour.
However this is now seen as a way for the authorities to make some money.
According to The Zimbabwe Independent, "the government has introduced a
legal instrument which now makes it an offence to own a generator either for
domestic or industrial purposes without the approval of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Regulatory Commission (ZERC)."
Apparently ZERC will charge US$ fees for the "verification and inspection"
Come on Zimbabweans . . . go tell the government where to shove their
levies, preferably in a place where the sun doesn't shine.
This entry was posted on August 15th, 2008 at 1:20 pm by Bev Clark
Trymore Magomana | published: 15 August, 2008 12:24:00
As has been said, it is the JOC that holds the key to a breakthrough in the
GNU talks between ZANU-PF and Tsvangirai
Harare -- Hope for the success of the GNU talks between ZANU-PF and MDC is
quickly dwindling by the day in Zimbabwe. The main factor stalling the
talks, analysts say, is the unwillingness by Robert Mugabe's hardline
supporters to see Morgan Tsvangirai assume executive powers.
Sources close to Mugabe say he has been ready to relinquish power to his
former arch rival, but pressure from his backers and other ZANU-PF cronies
fearing prosecution for their crimes have prevented him from doing so.
Last week, the militant war veterans association, led by Joseph Chinotimba
and Jabulani Sibanda, wrote a letter to Mugabe making it clear that they
wouldn't accept an agreement that left Morgan Tsvangirai in power.
"We have read and heard through rumour that you have agreed to give all the
executive powers to the opposition," part of the letter, shown to the
"As war veterans, if you agree to this then you have sold out. We will never
agree to any arrangement which will see you lose your executive powers. We
are ready even to take up arms and defend the gains of the liberation
struggle. Giving your executive powers to anyone will mean you have
completely reversed the gains of our liberation struggle".
The war vets, who are credited with leading the violent invasion of white
owned farms over the years, helped Mugabe win the June 27 election in which
he was the only contestant. The war vets violence, as part of ZANU-PF
militia units, left more than 122 people, mainly MDC supporters and
Although the war vets have considerable clout with Robert Mugabe, it is the
members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which unifies the heads of
the main uniformed and security services, that Mugabe listens to keenly.
Some say the JOC, an Ian Smith relic, has become the true seat of power in
Harare in recent months. Security sources said the directive to prevent
Tsvangirai's departure to South Africa Thursday came from the JOC.
Cabinet-level sources say that the JOC, like war vets, does not want to see
a power-sharing agreement concluded between Mr. Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
For the service chiefs, the GNU talks are not about ending the crisis in
Zimbabwe, but about protecting their ill gotten fortunes. Air Marshal
One of the centrals figures in the JOC is Air Marshal Perence Shiri, who is
second in command to Gen. Chiwenga.
In 2002, weeks before the presidential election, Air Marshal Shiri, together
with his estwhile boss Gen. Zvivanashe, said that Tsvangirai was
unacceptable to the country's military and security chiefs.
Air Marshal Shiri, who became a multimullionaire through business deals on
the back of Zimbabwe's army's involvement in DRC, agreed with Gen.
Zvinavashe that the military would only support leaders who fought in the
Air Marshal Shiri said that the military would "not accept, let alone
support or salute anyone who does not possess liberation struggle
Back in the early 1980s Air Marshall Shiri was the colonel in command of the
notorious North Korean-trained 5th Brigade which, on Mr Mugabe's orders,
massacred some 30,000 peasants in Matabeleland in western Zimbabwe.
Known as "Black Jesus", Air Marshal Shiri christened his 5th Brigade
soldiers Gukurahundi - a Shona language expression that translates as "the
rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rains".
Air Marshal Shiri, who at the time was a colonel, banned journalists from
leaving the Matabeleland provincial capital, Bulawayo, before the 5th
Brigade began a year-long campaign in 1983-84 of mass murder and beatings of
alleged anti-Mugabe dissidents and the burning of their properties.
"Most of the dead were killed in public executions involving between one and
12 people at a time," said a report, based on a five-year-long
investigation, by Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.
"Black Jesus" Shiri, like most ZANU-PF cronies, has good reason to fear
Tsvangirai's ascendency to State House . Human rights groups have demanded
that the air marshal, who is from Mugabe's home village, be tried for crimes
He would also be deprived of Ruia Falls Farm, a big holding confiscated from
a white farmer and handed to him by Mugabe rather than to one of the 350,000
poor black labourers removed from their farm houses under the fast track
land reform programme.
Gen Chiwenga stands to lose a similar farm, as well as a fortune estimated
at £50 million, if Tsvangirai comes to power. He, along with Air Marshal
Shiri, is a director of Osleg, a Zimbabwean company founded to exploit the
rich diamond mines around the central Congolese town of Mbuji-Mayi in return
for Zimbabwean army support of the Kinshasa government against
As long as there is no blanket amnesty against people in ZANU-PF like Air
Marshal Shiri, it is unlikely that Mugabe would agree to give up power to
the MDC.GNU talks
In the run-up to the March 29 election, the election that Mugabe lost with a
wide margin, Air Marshal Shiri joined other service chiefs in reiterating
that they won't salute Morgan Tsvangirai.
It is safe to assume the service chiefs haven't changed their stance. If
they said they are not prepared to salute Morgan Tsvangirai for the past
eight years, why whould they do so now?
For the service chiefs, the GNU talks are not about ending the crisis in
Zimbabwe, but about protecting their ill gotten fortunes.
As long as there is no blanket amnesty against people in ZANU-PF like Air
Marshal Shiri, it is unlikely that Mugabe would agree to give up power to
The most likely scenario in the days and weeks ahead is the sudden
announcement that a deal has been reached, in which Morgan Tsvangirai is a
Prime Miniter with no real power.--Harare Tribune News
15th August 2008
Robert Mugabe once boasted that he had the best educated cabinet in Africa;
he himself claims to have no less than seven degrees. On Heroes Day he
introduced Arthur Mutambara as 'an astute young professor'- you would think
that Mugabe would have realised by now that professors with political
ambitions are not entirely reliable characters! The fact that this professor
is a robotics engineer strikes me as vaguely comic; like a robot, which
after all cannot think for itself but is programmed to perform, Mutambara
proceeded to say exactly what Mugabe wanted to hear. Despite the fact that
he has lived in the west for fifteen years and gained his doctorate at
Oxford, Mutambara launched into a Mugabe-esque tirade against the west.
Strange, coming from a man who received a Rhodes scholarship and owes his
academic education to Britain and America! Such men drone on about the evils
of colonialism and the 'colonial legacy' yet fail to see that they
themselves mirror the snobbish attitudes of their former masters who
promoted education as a 'civilizing' influence. These highly educated types
apparently feel only contempt for anyone less educated than themselves. It
explains a lot about their attitude to men like Morgan Tsvangirai who,
incidentally, chose not to be present at the Heroes Day celebrations
believing as he does that the annual jamboree is nothing more than an
opportunity for glorification of Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF. With 'heroes'
like Hitler Hunzvi buried there, it is not difficult to understand why the
MDC feels as it does about the place and the occasion.
Mugabe's thinly veiled contempt for Tsvangirai is typical of the snobbery of
the intellectual elite; humility is not their strong point. One
characteristic Mutambara appears to share with his new political bedfellow
is arrogance; hubris as the ancient Greeks described it, which ultimately
leads to downfall and ruin. Mutambara would do well to remember that. If
reports of a 'deal' between himself and Mugabe are true - and I tend to
believe they are since 'divide and rule' (another colonial hangover) is a
typical Mugabe ploy - Mutambara is Mugabe's choice as Prime Minister.
Zimbabweans may well ask who exactly the professor represents? He failed to
win his own seat in the March elections and his party gained a mere ten
seats in the House of Assembly. From what I read seven of those ten have
clearly stated that they will not support Mutambara if he accepts a post in
Mugabe's so-called Unity Government. Is Mutambara's arrogance so great that
he is prepared to go it alone for the sake of his own personal advancement?
His party's ten seats will count for little without backing from his MP's -
or will they all be swallowed up by Zanu PF?
Mugabe's own speech at Heroes Day was a mere twenty-five minutes long and he
said very little about the ongoing talks. What I found particularly
interesting was his reference to God. Mugabe seemed to be justifying the use
of violence against the opposition, using God as his excuse. " God says I
give you power to protect yourselves.God gives people the power to protect
themselves even if that means violence" With the news this week that the
death toll of MDC members has now reached 125 and the Report by the Zimbabwe
Coalition indicating very clearly the number and details of the horrendous
violence inflicted on opposition supporters, it is hard to see how God can
be held responsible. Zimbabwe is not at war, there is no enemy except in
Mugabe's own mind. 'God allowed me to do it' hardly constitutes a
justification for torture and murder. On Defence Forces Day Mugabe further
extolled the politics of the fist. He heaped praise on his armed forces and
honoured the men who had made it possible for him to remain as president,
either by delaying the election results like George Chiweshe or by actively
promoting the violence before and after the runoff election where Mugabe
stood against himself and won! To emphasise the point that violence is the
only power he respects, when the talks resumed Mugabe was accompanied by
Constantine Chiwenga, the man who says he will never recognise anyone other
than Robert Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe.
The signs were all there. The humiliating business of the confiscation of
the MDC leaders' passports on their way to the SADCC meeting simply
confirmed what we all knew: Mugabe was never going to accept Morgan
Tsvangirai or anyone else as an equal partner. So, Thabo Mbeki went back to
South Africa empty handed. There is no deal for him to boast about, no real
success for his 'quiet diplomacy'. A deal, if there is one, with Arthur
Mutambara will not solve Zimbabwe's problems. It will not persuade the west
to part with billions to revive the comatose economy and it will not
convince Zimbabweans at home or abroad that democracy has finally come. Like
others before him Mutambara will be used by Robert Mugabe to keep the old
man in power - but not, I suspect, for much longer. Shame on these
'educated' men who play political games while the people suffer. All credit
to Morgan Tsvangirai and his team who have remained true to their support
base, the millions of ordinary Zimbabweans who time and again have voted for
a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH
15 August 2008
Raw sewer is flooding homes and streets following the
reconnection of water supplies to certain areas in Mabvuku. Most sewer pipes in
Chief Executive Officer
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
VOP | published: 15 August, 2008 08:37:00
A vigilante group of villagers in Gutu District, angry at the police for not
taking action on a ZANU-PF militia thug, doing it themselves
Masvingo -- A ZANU PF militia and former commander of the illegal political
bases that sprouted countrywide ahead of the June 27 runoff polls had his
house torched Tuesday night by angry villagers whom he assaulted in the
run-up to the second round of elections.
Three thatched houses belonging to Vurayi Chakandi, a self styled militia
commander from Matombo village in Chin'ayi, Gutu East, were burnt down by
victims of political violence who are angered by the police's reluctance to
mete justice on the terror thugs.
Chikandi had brought sleepless night to the local villagers whom he
assaulted at night vigils, as well as snatched their livestock for slaughter
at the bases.
One villager was also said to have died from the injuries sustained from the
assault by the militia, who were based near Munyikwa High School.
Although the police refused to comment on the matter, reliable sources
confirmed the incident, saying MDC retribution might continue if the ZANU PF
youths who maimed opposition supporters are not tried at the courts.
"He had his house burnt. The people are angry. He was beating up neighbours
and now he is left alone, all the politicians that sent him are gone," said
a teacher at Matombo School, who refused to be named for security reasons.
Two weeks after the June 27 polls which Tsvangirai boycotted citing violence
among his supporters, the police launched an operation dubbed "Waitumwa
Nani," making follow up arrests of all the perpetrators of violence
regardless of their political affiliation.
But it has turned out that the blitz was targeted at MDC supporters, who in
most cases were defending themselves-as the police are said to be sitting on
the ZANU PF cases.
Ordinary people and other Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists who
are riled by the police's failure to take corrective action on political
violence perpetrators, largely president Mugabe's sympathizers, also
threatened to take the law unto their own hands if the responsible
authorities continue to move at a snail pace in dealing with the cases.
Friday, 15 August 2008 14:38 UK
As political parties in Zimbabwe try to negotiate on power-sharing, Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula tells the BBC what lessons Zimbabwe can learn from Kenya.
Mr Wetangula was on the negotiating team that led to the formation of a grand coalition between President Mwai Kibaki and then opposition leader Raila Odinga earlier this year after violent post-poll clashes.
So they start from a very difficult positions.
However, one of the critical components of these negotiations is that they must be predicated on trust.
You do not like each other politically but fate has brought you together. So they must proceed on laying the interests of the country above any individual.
President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai must sacrifice a great deal and marry their manifestos and this can be tricky because as they agree, their lieutenants still have the hangover as vicious opponents so they have to thaw the mistrust that is deep rooted so that they can work as a team.
Whoever gets an opportunity to serve in the cabinet must be selfless; it is such that the onus on our colleagues to bring Zimbabwe back to the economic rails is so great.
One hopes that they come up with a team of men and women whose patriotic credentials are impeccable, who are ready not to be hostages of history but are keen to look to the future, so the choice of cabinet is as important as the agreement they sign.
And as Zimbabwe goes into this agreement, which is imminent, the role of the security organs in the country must be addressed by both leaders.
In the run-up to the elections the chiefs said they would not salute anyone other than President Mugabe.
So if Mr Tsvangirai is coming into the coalition as an equal partner it is obvious that these gentlemen will be in a very awkward position, how do you deal with this?
This is an agenda for the two of them, they should either look for born-again chiefs who will respect the new arrangement or start on a clean sheet, because you cannot underestimate the role of the army in Africa and third world countries.
President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai must de-politicise the army and the veterans who now act as a paramilitary wing, this scenario must be contained or these forces will turn round and become an antithesis to what they are doing.
Even as they talk, we must note that this situation is retrogressive to democracy but it also brings into question whether the usual winner-takes-it-all situation in Africa is the right way to go.
But unlike Kenya, where we had free and fair elections that were only disputed at the tallying, in Zimbabwe violence was a characteristic all through the electoral process.
And even the second round of elections was a sham.
Therefore, the right way to go in Zimbabwe is to go for a transitional government which will first ensure they reconstitute the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and have credible people who can organise an international accepted election.
I suggest that this transitional government should last for between 24 to 36 months.
And President Mugabe should take advantage of this situation, at 84 years old, he is not a spring chicken, and if I had an opportunity to advise him, I would ask him to look for a sunset programme.
It will be the right time for him to prepare the country for a proper and acceptable election process and he would leave a better legacy.
And am sure, if he takes the step to say, "I have done my beat and let
someone else take over," all players in Zimbabwe and even in the continent will
be happy to confine all what he has done to history and instead look to the
future and allow him his stature as an African statesman.
HARARE, August 15 2008 - Zimbabwean authorities have finally taken
heed of a court order compelling them to release a vehicle belonging to two
South Africans arrested last month for illegally working as MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai's bodyguards.
Lawyer Alex Mambosasa said authorities had agreed to release the
vehicle, a Land Rover Defender, which was being used by the two South
Africans Sphiwe Elijah Nkosi and Isaac Lekgoe.
"We managed to get the order from Harare Provincial Magistrate Mishrod
Guvamombe on the 5th of this month. From there we have been trying to
persuade the authorities to comply with the order up until yesterday. The
car is now being taken to the Beitbridge Border Post today," said Mambosasa.
He said the vehicle was impounded by the police when the two were
arrested for working in Zimbabwe without work permits. A Harare magistrate
fined the two ZW$25 billion after they pleaded guilty of breaching
Zimbabwe's immigration laws.
The two revealed in court that they earned R 750 each per day for
working as Tsvangirai's close security guards.
The court ruled that their working as Tsvangirai's bodyguards without
proper working permits was a serious offence according to the country's
Both Nkosi and Lekgoe are employed by a South African security company
called Pasco Security.
They entered Zimbabwe through Plumtree Border Post on June 5, where
they claimed to be proceeding to Uganda but stayed on as Tsvangirai's
State prosecutor Alois Gakata said the two men, who were employed by
Pasco Security in South Africa as security guards, worked illegally as
bodyguards for the opposition leader.
The State alleged that the two entered Zimbabwe disguised as visitors
heading for Uganda.
BULAWAYO, August 15 2008 - Zimbabwe has been hit by a shortage of both
opaque and clear beer much to the disappointment of beer drinkers in the
crisis ridden country where guzzlers seek solace in drowning their sorrows.
The shortage comes amid reports that the major brewer, Delta Beverages
has stopped brewing beer, citing viability problems. A fortinight ago the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) ordered Delta to reduce the
price of its products by over 50 percent, a development which was welcomed
by the drinking public.
Before the reduction, a quart of clear beer was being sold at ZW$80
(new currency) while a pint was being sold at ZW$40.
Bottlestore owners who spoke to Radio VOP this week said they had been
queuing at the Delta depot for almost four days without getting any
" I have been going to the Delta Depot for the last three days and
there is no beer. In some instances they are demanding cash upfront when a
day's withdrawal limit at the bank is just ZW$300. They are now refusing
cheques or Real Time Gross Transfer System (RTGS)' said Brain Mushonga," the
Managing Director of Cambitzs Bottlestore.
Most beer outlets in town are selling either imported beer or spirits,
which are very expensive.
Sources at Delta Beverages said the sole brewery had applied to the
NIPC for a review of the prices.
"The current retail beer price is not even enough to buy packaging for
the beer. We will only resume producing when are concerns are met. We can
not just make ends meet otherwise we might be forced to close down,' said an
official who can not be identified.