August 21, 2008, 18:30
While Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
soliciting support from regional leaders, MDC splinter group leader Arthur
Mutambara appears to have cut a deal with Zanu-PF. The deal could see a
member of Mutambara's faction elected speaker of parliament.
They may only hold 10 parliamentary seats, but the smaller MDC faction
wields the balance of power. Now they are poised to snatch the biggest post
in the House of Assembly -- the speaker of parliament.
The speaker assumes power temporarily if the incumbent president is unable
to perform the duties of office through illness or death. Mugabe's Zanu-PF
has backed the move. Such a politically astute move effectively sidelines
Tsvangirai visits Kenya
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai says if Zimbabwe's parliament convenes next week, it
will have violated the memorandum of understanding between Zanu-PF and the
MDC. He states that a mediator will have to intervene in the situation.
Tsvangirai was addressing the media in Nairobi, Kenya, where he met with
Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He says his visit to Nairobi has been
beneficial. He shared notes with Odinga on the experience of power sharing.
The MDC leader says discussions on mediation are still ongoing under the
leadership of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki. Tsvangirai says the
mediation talks are looking at ways where a framework of roles can be
established between the roles of the prime minister and the president.
Tsvangirai will leave for South Africa today. He says he will continue to
engage African leadership to find a focused African solution to solve the
pending Zimbabwean crisis.
Thu 21 Aug 2008, 12:06 GMT
By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura
NAIROBI (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe may have decided to abandon
power-sharing talks aimed at ending Zimbabwe's deep crisis, opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
Tsvangirai said Mugabe's intention to open parliament next Tuesday was a
"repudiation" of a Memorandum of Understanding on the basis for talks to end
a political deadlock that followed disputed June elections.
"If President Mugabe goes ahead to convene parliament, appoint a new
cabinet, it means he is proceeding to violate the conditions of the MOU
which means he may have abandoned the basis for the talks. But we don't know
what his intentions are," Tsvangirai told a news conference in Nairobi.
"A violation of the MOU will have to be dealt with by the mediator," he
South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating in the talks, which began
last month to resolve an impasse following Mugabe's unopposed election in a
widely condemned vote boycotted by Tsvangirai because of violence against
Tsvangirai confirmed that the talks were deadlocked over the roles of
president and prime minister in a new government. Mugabe is expected to
remain as president but, backed by security chiefs, he is reluctant to cede
Tsvangirai wants a real executive power as prime minister.
"There is one stumbling issue which we have been grappling with -- the
framework of the power and roles of the president and the new position of
prime minister for the duration of the transition leading up to 2-1/2
years," Tsvangirai said.
Whereas the opposition wants a short transition before new elections, Mugabe
is believed to want a full five-year term.
A member of a breakaway faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) said in a newspaper interview on Thursday that Tsvangirai had
rejected a deal that would have seen executive power shared between him and
Welshman Ncube, chief negotiator of the smaller MDC faction, told South
Africa's Star that southern African leaders, Mugabe and his group saw this
as a reasonable arrangement.
It was the clearest indication yet of the proposal being discussed at the
The faction, led by Arthur Mutambara, controls the balance of power.
Although any deal between him and Mugabe could weaken Tsvangirai, it would
be unlikely to end Zimbabwe's crisis.
Mugabe's decision to go ahead with opening parliament suggests there is no
solution in sight to the deep deadlock with Tsvangirai.
Political analyst and Mugabe critic John Makumbe said Mugabe, a skilful
negotiator, had gained the upper hand.
Tsvangirai won the first round of presidential elections in March and says
that entitles him to effective leadership of the once-prosperous nation.
Both sides are under major pressure from both within Africa and around the
world to reach an agreement that will pave the way for the rebuilding of
Zimbabwe's devastated economy, now suffering inflation of at least 11
The crisis has flooded neighbouring states with millions of economic
Tsvangirai said a new prime minister must have the authority to run and
control government. He said he did not expect Mugabe to be a ceremonial
president but neither could he be a ceremonial prime minister.
He said he had come to Kenya, for talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to
try to learn from the power-sharing deal that ended a bloody post-election
crisis earlier this year in which an estimated 1,500 people died.
Tsvangirai suggested Mugabe would not be able to convince all members of
parliament to attend next Tuesday's opening. "President Mugabe will not
proceed to do anything unilaterally, any steps that we take have to be by
consensus," he said.
(Writing by Barry Moody; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)
August 21 2008 at 02:20PM
Harare, Zimbabwe - President Robert Mugabe plans to open parliament
next week for the first time since members were elected four months ago, but
the opposition said on Thursday such a step would undermine power-sharing
Members of parliament were to be sworn in on Monday and Mugabe will
open their session on Tuesday, Cabinet clerk Austin Zvoma said on state
radio late on Wednesday.
Main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, speaking to reporters on
Thursday during a visit to Kenya, said he did not believe Mugabe would be
able to open parliament.
"Convening parliament is a violation, is a repudiation of some of the
conditions" of an agreement that opened the way to power-sharing talks,
The parties agreed that "President Mugabe will not proceed to do
anything unilaterally, that any step that we take has to be by consensus."
"If President Mugabe proceeds to convene parliament, appoint a new
Cabinet, it means that he is proceeding to violate the conditions ... which
means that he may have abandoned the basis for the talks. But we don't know
what his intentions are," Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai said a violation would "have to be dealt with by the
mediator," South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said Mbeki had not received a
formal request from Tsvangirai, but would be willing "to discuss the matter"
if such a request were made.
Mugabe can argue Zimbabwe's neighbours have endorsed his move. At a
weekend summit, leaders of the Southern African Development Community
pressed Zimbabwe's factions to complete the power-sharing negotiations and
said "that while negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene
parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed in the
parliamentary elections held" March 29.
The opposition won the most parliament seats in March, putting Zanu-PF
in the minority for the first time since independence in 1980.
But presidential elections held alongside the parliament vote were
disputed, and Mugabe and Tsvangirai are in power-sharing talks to try to
resolve the impasse.
By convening parliament, Mugabe may be hoping to pressure Tsvangirai
into making concessions. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai need the support of a
smaller opposition faction to control parliament, and that faction has
indicated it was ready to work with Zanu-PF.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change holds 100 seats - six
short of a majority in the 210-member house. Of the remaining seats, Zanu-PF
has 99, a breakaway MDC faction 10, and an independent politician who
recently left Zanu-PF one.
If Zanu-PF were to control parliament, Tsvangirai's position in the
power-sharing talks would be weakened.
In Kenya, Tsvangirai said negotiators have been unable to work out a
balance of power.
Tsvangirai told regional leaders at the weekend summit he wanted to be
a powerful prime minister. His proposal would leave the presidency to
Mugabe, but endow the office with few powers. Mugabe reportedly insists on
relinquishing little of the authority he has wielded since independence.
"How do you share not only responsibility, but also authority over
government?" Tsvangirai said on Thursday.
"How do you distinguish between head of state and head of government
without necessarily defining anyone as ceremonial? It is not envisaged that
the president becomes ceremonial. On the other hand, it is not envisaged
that you have got a ceremonial prime minister.
"It is that balance that is necessary to establish, and I think that's
where the outstanding issue is," he told journalists in Nairobi, Kenya's
Tsvangirai said he was consulting with Kenyan politicians on how they
agreed to share power after a disputed presidential election in December led
The Kenyan agreement left incumbent Mwai Kibaki, accused of stealing
the vote, as president, with his rival, Raila Odinga as prime minister.
In Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other candidates March 29.
However, the official tally did not give Tsvangirai the 50 percent plus one
vote needed to avoid a runoff. He withdrew from the June runoff, citing
state-sponsored violence against his supporters.
Mugabe held the widely denounced runoff anyway and claimed an
overwhelming victory. - Sapa-AP
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 August 2008
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti said they will attend the swearing-in
ceremony of elected members of parliament and senators next week, although
they remain adamant it's still not yet time to convene parliament because of
the inconclusiveness of the power-sharing talks.
Biti told Newsreel from Johannesburg on Thursday that they were going to
parliament to defend their mandate, saying they had a problem with convening
parliament, but not with the swearing-in of members. Clerk of Parliament
Austin Zvoma said MPs and senators were to be sworn in Monday and Robert
Mugabe will open the seventh session on Tuesday.
The MDC said it had not agreed or officially discussed the reconvening of
parliament after disputed elections earlier this year, claiming it could
endanger the mediation talks. The only time the issue of parliament was
brought up was during the closing ceremony of the SADC summit in
Johannesburg on Sunday. Incoming SADC chairman, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
said 'the summit recognised that while negotiations were continuing, it may
be necessary to convene Parliament to give effect to the will of the people
as expressed in the Parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008.'
Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday that by
convening parliament Mugabe may have decided to abandon the power-sharing
talks. 'If President Mugabe goes ahead to convene parliament, appoint a new
cabinet, it means he is proceeding to violate the conditions of the MoU
which means he may have abandoned the basis for the talks. But we don't know
what his intentions are,' Tsvangirai said.
Acting MDC spokesman Tapiwa Mashakada confirmed to Newsreel they were vying
for the speakership, as they have the numbers to do so. 'Voting is by secret
ballot, so we believe we have the numbers to win the parliamentary
speakership,' Mashakada said.
Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesman for the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara, said
it's elected MPs would attend the oath-taking on Monday.'If we don't attend,
Mugabe's MPs would choose the speaker and deputy. We cannot boycott the
sitting of parliament,' he said.
There was consensus early in the talks that, as reflected by the results of
the 29th March elections, the speaker in the lower house would come from the
MDC-T with the deputy coming from the MDC-M. In the upper house, Zanu-PF
would choose the senate president as they have the majority.
The seventh session of parliament will in itself herald a new dawn in the
politics of the country. This would be the first time that Zanu-PF is not in
control of parliament and that the speaker should, for the first time since
Independence, come from a party that is not the Zanu-PF.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thu 21 Aug 2008, 9:37 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwe power-sharing proposal rejected by opposition
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would give him and President Robert Mugabe
executive powers, an official with a breakaway opposition faction was quoted
Welshman Ncube, chief negotiator of the smaller Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) faction, said southern African leaders, Mugabe and his group
saw this as a reasonable power-sharing arrangement.
It was the clearest indication to date of the proposal being discussed. A
media blackout has been imposed on talks.
South Africa's The Star newspaper quoted Ncube on Thursday as saying in an
interview that both the president and prime minister would share power under
the proposal. "This is where an executive president has executive power and
an executive prime minister has executive power and they have to share this
power and they have to make decisions between themselves," said Ncube, the
faction's secretary-general. "Some of them by consensus, so that no one
feels that they have been booted out of holding executive authority."
The question of who gets executive powers is the main sticking point in the
negotiations aimed at ending Zimbabwe's political crisis, which has deepened
since Mugabe's re-election unopposed in June in a poll boycotted by
Ncube said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional
grouping has been trying to convince all parties to accept the proposal.
When asked if such a proposal was on the table, Tsvangirai spokesman George
Sibotshiwe said he could not discuss the details of the negotiations.
Power-sharing talks began last month after Mugabe was re-elected in a vote
condemned around the world and boycotted by Tsvangirai because of attacks on
Ncube said all parties had initially agreed to documents which gave the
president the powers to chair the cabinet and made the prime minister his
The breakaway MDC faction would seek to take the position of Speaker of the
lower House of Assembly when Zimbabwe's parliament convenes on Monday, a
party spokesman told state media on Thursday.
The Speakership is a senior position in Zimbabwe's political hierarchy. "The
position (to seek the Speaker's post) is premised on the view that it is our
party that wields the balance of power," the faction's spokesman Edwin
Neither of the two major parties holds a parliamentary majority --
Tsvangirai's main MDC holds 100 seats in the lower house of parliament,
against the ruling ZANU-PF's 99.
The breakaway MDC has 10 seats and whoever it sides with gets an effective
majority in the legislative chamber.
How an MDC splinter group decision could betray the opposition
As the talks between Zimbabwe's rival parties teeter on the brink of total
collapse, Mugabe's Zanu-PF is hatching a plan which, with the aid of the
tiny MDC splinter group, could leave Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC opposition in
disarray. It involves the convening of Parliament on Tuesday next week.
With the MDC split widening by the day, the faction leader Arthur Mutambara
is said to be backing the move to convene the new Parliament. Tendai Biti,
Secretary-General of the main MDC, has declared that any such decision
would break the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed to such
acclaim before the talks began.
"The MDC has not consented to the convening of Parliament," Biti is quoted
as saying, adding that the move would ruin the talks, which have already
missed two deadlines, and would widen the gap even further between Zanu-PF
and the MDC
After the March 29 elections, which saw the combined factions of the MDC
gaining a majority of seats over the Mugabe party, Tsvangirai and Mutambara
agreed that they would continue the coalition in any new parliament. But the
alliance between the two men has fallen apart during the current talks.
A top MDC official told me: "With the way things stand now, there is no way
Mutambara and Tsvangirai can agree on anything. But if Zanu-PF and the
splinter group agree to go ahead and convene Parliament, Mugabe's people
will proceed to elect the Speaker and the President of the Senate. They will
Tsvangirai now has to decide whether to take part in the new Parliament, and
the MDC National Council will meet in Harare on Friday or Saturday this
week, to make that decision.
Tsvangirai, with no prospect of a transitional power-sharing government on
the horizon, will clearly be reluctant to say yes. But he has a problem. The
Members of Parliament have now been without pay for five months. Some may
defy any ban by Tsvangirai, and attend the new parliament, simply in order
to feed their families.
This will leave Robert Mugabe and his henchmen in charge of the country, and
we will all be back where we started.
Posted on Thursday, 21 August 2008 at 11:15
Aug 21st 2008
From The Economist print edition
Zimbabwe's rightful leader should not be bounced into a bad deal
PRESSURE is mounting on Morgan Tsvangirai, who in a fair world would already
be Zimbabwe's leader, to compromise with the election-usurping Robert
Mugabe, in order to forge a unity government to put Zimbabwe out of its
misery. But hold on. A bad deal may well be worse than no deal, if it lets
Mr Mugabe stay in power, with Mr Tsvangirai's lot as supplicant partners in
a government of bogus unity. Even if he seems to be prolonging Zimbabwe's
agony, Mr Tsvangirai should resist the blandishments of Thabo Mbeki, the
South African president, who has been trying to mediate an agreement that
would in effect leave Mr Mugabe and his thugs in charge.
The fact that negotiations have got under way, even if they have recently
stalled, marks progress. The old man has given ground merely by declaring
himself ready to share power. Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic
Change, which is acknowledged by all sides to have won a parliamentary
election in March while its leader indisputably won the first round of a
presidential poll, have suggested that Mr Mugabe should become a ceremonial
president and Mr Tsvangirai an executive prime minister in a transitional
period before fresh elections are held. Mr Mugabe seems ready to let the
opposition handle the bankrupt country's finances and even its foreign
affairs but insists on controlling the rump of the security forces, which
may anyway already be running the country.
That is where Mr Tsvangirai must remain firm. If he enters a government
without acquiring authority over the armed men, he will become an unwitting
agent for perpetuating the cruel and venal order that has turned Zimbabwe
from an African bread basket into a husk of destitution.
In truth, it is devilish hard to judge how much ground it would be wise for
Mr Tsvangirai to give, in the hope of gradually gaining rightful power. Once
his foot is in the door of government, with the cheers of the people and the
backing of foreign governments and aid agencies, he would strive to build
and then assert his authority. But Mr Mugabe and his security men, who could
end up in the International Criminal Court at The Hague if he bowed out, do
not see it that way at all. And Mr Mbeki seems content to leave Mr Mugabe in
place, in the hope that age alone will gradually ease him out.
He won't be there for ever
Nonetheless, horrible as Zimbabwe's plight is today, time may just be on Mr
Tsvangirai's side. A big factor in his favour is the economy's accelerating
meltdown. With inflation now officially at 11,000,000% a year, the currency
is virtually worthless. The latest harvest has been dire; bread is running
short; civil servants' pay is pointless; barter, the black market,
subsistence, remittances, charity and foreign aid (if Mr Mugabe lets it in)
will soon be how most Zimbabweans survive. Foreign governments, bankers and
aid givers should co-ordinate and display an emergency package, then make it
plain they will ride to the rescue only if a unity government is
transitional, with Mr Mugabe at best in a temporary ceremonial role and his
security men, who have bluntly said they would never serve under Mr
Tsvangirai's leadership, removed forthwith.
But why should Mr Mugabe co-operate in his own demise? Other dictators, such
as North Korea's Kim Jong-il, remain doggedly in power, sealed off from
their pauperised people. Mr Mugabe, sycophant-surrounded and with his own
foreign-currency wallet, is short of neither bread nor baubles, and may do
the same. Yet his regime is more susceptible to pressure than it seems.
Zimbabwe still has a kernel of civil society and free institutions. Nor is
it walled off from its neighbours, now hosting millions of sullen exiles.
Levy Mwanawasa, president of next-door Zambia, who died this week, sorely
wanted Mr Mugabe to go ; other African leaders are becoming impatient. The
best memorial to the decent Zambian would be for his peers to hasten Mr
Mugabe's removal-and not to cajole Mr Tsvangirai into signing a deal that
would leave the tyrant in charge as his country disintegrates.
Thomas Shumba | published: 21 August, 2008
The MDC rebel splinter faction led by Arthur Mutambara stand to be rewarded
by ZANU-PF when one of its MPs will be elected parliament speaker
Harare -- While Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai is soliciting support from regional leaders, MDC splinter rebel
group leader Arthur Mutambara appears to have cut a deal with Zanu-PF. The
deal could see a member of Mutambara's faction elected speaker of
They may only hold 10 parliamentary seats, but the smaller MDC faction
wields the balance of power. Now they are poised to snatch the biggest post
in the House of Assembly -- the speaker of parliament.
In an interview, Professor Welshman Ncube, the chief negotiator in the
Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC, had indicated that their faction would
vote for a ZANU-PF Speaker of Parliament, but that has been changed by
ZANU-PF which now wants to reward Mutambara for his steadfast support of
Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
The speaker of parliament is a powerful position as he is entitle to assume
power temporarily if the incumbent president is unable to perform the duties
of office through illness or death.
Mutambara has also indicated that his faction will work with whomever it
chooses be it the MDC or ZANU-PF, a remark analysts say is an indication
that Mutambara indends to completely severe ties with Tsvangirai's MDC.
It had been widely expected that Mutambara would join hands with Tsvangirai
to form a working majority in parliament against ZANU-PF. Even he Mutambara
had accepted the idea early in April, but the promises of power ZANU-PF has
made to him has forced him to renegade on his earlier agreement with Morgan
Tsvangrai. -- Tribune Briefing
The formation of the MDC Mutambara was a sound leadership demonstration
against factionalism, lack of a clear political agenda and leadership
struggles within the original MDC. Professor Mutambara volunteered to lead
the splinter group with the hope of reuniting the two MDC factions. I am
surprised to hear some distinguished compatriots labelling Professor
Mutambara as an opportunist, yet indeed on the contrary, his entrance into
the contemporary Zimbabwe political arena heralded the beginning of
constructive reunification dialogue between the two factions of the MDC.
Under his leadership, the two MDC formations prepared a detailed
reunification memorandum of understanding, but unfortunately MDC President
Tsvangirai refused to sign the agreement most probably following advice from
divisive opportunists scared of loosing positions to the returning old
guards. This resulted in the two MDC formations independently contesting the
elections with the MDC Mutambara supporting the Presidential candidature of
independent, Simba Makoni against Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
During the election campaign Tsvangirai blundered by intimating that he was
going to hand over Mugabe and the security chiefs to the International
Criminal Court should he win the elections. Due to the transparency of the
electoral system, the result was a MDC Tsvangirai majority win in the House
of assembly with the Mutambara faction securing the requisite deciding
votes. The election resulted in a split presidential vote with no clear
winner emerging between MDC Tsvangirai and ZANU PF Robert Mugabe. In
accordance with the electoral laws, the winner was to be decided through a
re-run of the Presidential elections between the two top candidates. Despite
ZANU PF publicly conceding defeat, the Joint Operations Command pressured
Mugabe to stand for the re-run and pledged their support to ensure a Mugabe
win at all cost. Again, Professor Mutambara endorsed the candidature of
Morgan Tsvangirai. Without consultation, Tsvangirai sought refuge in the
Netherlands Embassy and made a unilateral decision to withdraw from the
elections, technically endorsing Mugabe President elect.
In order to justify the cost of Presidential run off elections preparation
and fulfil the aspirations of the electorate, Mugabe proceeded to hold the
Presidential elections despite the Tsvangirai unilateral withdrawal from the
contest. The results of the election can be considered illegitimate but the
withdrawal of Tsvangirai from the presidential elections left Mugabe being
the only legitimate contestant and winner by default. The Pretoria brokered
memorandum of understanding was negotiated taking the Parliamentary election
results as the political baseline. This is the reason why the Simba Makoni
Project was not invited to the negotiations while the MDC Mutambara
participated in the negotiations.
The memorandum of understanding signed between ZANU PF Robert Mugabe, MDC
Tsvangirai and MDC Mutambara bears the hallmark of a cease fire agreement.
In the MOU Mugabe represented the legitimate government of Zimbabwe while
Tsvangirai and Mutambara represented opposition parties. Despite the facts,
unfortunately, Tsvangirai is convinced that he should have been the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe based on the first round elections which
produced no clear presidential winner. In accordance with the electoral
laws, in the event of the other contest withdrawing, the remaining candidate
will be declared president by default.
Both parties must realise that in negotiating a transitional government
under the contemporary Zimbabwe situation, the agreement will be somewhere
between extreme right and extreme left. The Zimbabwe situation is a
negotiation between a sitting government and those aspiring to unseat and
take over power. The Joint Operations Command is not prepared to take orders
from Tsvangirai and as such Mugabe can only negotiate a power sharing
Government of National Unity provided he does not hand over executive powers
related to defence and security. Tsvangirai seems to be under heavy pressure
from his supporters to negotiate a take over of all executive powers. How
does he intend to control the hawkish generals whom he vowed to bundle up
and hand over to the International Criminal Court? Tsvangirai must be man
enough to accept sharing executive powers with |Mugabe during the
The MDC Mutambara should be ready to sign any agreement reached between ZANU
PF and the two MDC formations. Unfounded allegations that the Mutambara
Formation was ready to sign an agreement with ZANU PF without MDC Tsvangirai
are wishful dreams. The MDC Mutambara is negotiating with ZANU PF and MDC
Tsvangirai as an independent and equal partner. It must be acknowledged that
a government of National Unity without the support of the MDC Mutambara
formation will not be able to implement any democratic changes. Let us move
together and form a formidable government of national unity in order to
restore our damaged national integrity.
Dr Andrew Choga
Lecturer, University of Sierra Leone
newzimbabwe.com Last updated: 08/22/2008 03:55:44)
1. The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was held in Sandton, Republic of South Africa from August 16 to 17, 2008, on the margins of the 28th Ordinary SADC Summit.
2. The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ was attended by the following Heads of State and Government:
Angola: H.E. President José Eduardo dos
DRC: H.E. President Joseph Kabila
Lesotho: The Rt. Hon. Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Lesao Lehohla
Madagascar: H.E President Marc Ravalomanana
Malawi: H.E. President Bingu wa Mutharika
Mauritius: Dr. the Hon. Prime Minister, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK
Mozambique: H.E. President Armando Emílio Guebuza
Namibia: H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Seychelles: H. E. President James Alix Michel
South Africa: H.E. President Thabo Mbeki
Swaziland: H.M. King Mswati III
United Republic of Tanzania: H.E. President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
Zambia: Hon. Kabinga J. Pande, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Special Representative of H.E. Dr. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC
Zimbabwe: H.E. President Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Botswana: Hon. Pandu Skelemani, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
3. The Extraordinary Summit of the Organ considered the political developments in the Republic of Zimbabwe and:
i) Recalled the Resolutions adopted in Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania on 29th March 2007 and in Sharm El Sheik on 30th June to 2nd July 2008 on the framework of dealing with the Political Situation in Zimbabwe, which call upon the parties to form an all inclusive Government;
ii) Acknowledged the efforts made by the parties so far in implementing the SADC and AU resolutions;
iii) Commended the parties for their commitment to the dialogue in implementing the SADC and AU resolutions on resolving the Political Situation in Zimbabwe;
iv) Commended the Facilitator, President Thabo Mbeki for his efforts and encouraged him to continue in his mediation efforts and fully support his work;
v) Expressed strong opinion that documents as contained in the Facilitator’s Report reflect the framework, spirit and purpose of the SADC and AU Resolutions. In view of that, they are a good basis for a global agreement;
vi) Encouraged and appealed to the parties to sign any outstanding agreements and conclude the negotiations as a matter of urgency to restore political stability in Zimbabwe;
vii) Recognised that while negotiations are continuing, it may be necessary to convene Parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed in the Parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008;
viii) Remains committed to support the parties as they implement the agreement
Sandton, Republic of South Africa
August 17, 2008
Journalist Violet Gonda interviews politician David Coltart and
analyst Brian Kagoro. David Coltart senator with MDC led by
Mutambara Brian Kagoro
Thursday, 21 August 2008 07:59
Violet Gonda: We welcome David Coltart who is a newly elected senator for the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara and Brian Kagoro a political analyst, on the programme Hot Seat. Thank you for joining us.
Coltart & Kagoro: Thank you Violet.
Gonda: Let me start with David. The Herald reported that a deal had been signed by Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe, now as far as you know did Mutambara sign an agreement or this is a divide and rule tactic by the regime?
Coltart: I think this is another divide and rule tactic by the regime because our party is very clear that we will not enter into any bilateral agreement with ZANU PF. We recognise that unless all parties are involved, especially our colleagues in the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai, the public simply won’t accept any agreement reached.
Gonda: And what about your party? What if Arthur Mutambara was to actually sign this deal, will your party agree with that?
Coltart: Well we are speculating because I understand from Arthur Mutambara and Welshman Ncube that any agreement is conditional upon buying-ins from Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai so to that extent the question is moot, it doesn’t arise.
Gonda: And you know Mutambara has been intensely involved in these talks. Do you think this is right as he apparently has little support?
Coltart: Of course one could say that looking at him as an individual that he stood for an election and lost in Harare but of course he is the elected President of a political entity which secured a total of 16 seats in parliament - 10 in the House of Assembly and 6 in the Senate and of course it is a fact that because of the breakdown of the various seats won by ZANU PF and the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai that our small party effectively is the kingmaker in parliament. It will be able to decide who to back in regards to passing of legislation in the Lower House and of course will play a major role in selecting a Speaker and to that extent it is right that Arthur Mutambara in his capacity – in his ex-officio capacity - as President of that political entity should be represented.
There is another reason why he should be represented and that is because our party secured 8% of the votes in the March election. I am sure every single democrat will agree that 8% of the electorate should be represented in these talks anything other than that would be a negation of democracy.
Gonda: But still David other people would ask what gave your party legitimacy to be at the negotiating table if you actually endorsed Simba Makoni as your Presidential candidate, why isn’t it him at the talks?
Coltart: Well I think that is correct when it comes to looking at the Principals aspect but the Principals are not there in their individual capacities. I believe they are there as leaders of their respective parties. If you look at the Memorandum of Understanding you will see that it was signed by Robert Mugabe – not in his so called capacity as President of Zimbabwe but in his capacity as President of ZANU PF and likewise Morgan Tsvangirai is in that capacity and so is Arthur Mutambara. So they are there as the Principals of the political parties that secured 100 seats, 99 seats and 10 seats respectively in parliament.
Gonda: Mutambara has also received a lot of criticism over his speech at Heroes which has been interpreted as anti-West and appeared to be reminiscent of Mugabe’s rhetoric. What is your opinion of this criticism?
Coltart: Well I think there are aspects of Arthur’s statement that I am sure on reflection he would change. I don’t personally – and this is a personal view it’s not the view of the party - I personally do not believe it serves any purpose at this juncture to attack the West especially in such general terms when we have friends such as the Scandinavians and others who have stood so steadfast for democracy and not just in Zimbabwe but during the Rhodesian days. The Scandinavians may not have supplied arms of war but they supplied all sorts of other support to the forces seeking to liberate Zimbabwe . So my own view is that he used too broad a brush. But some of the comments that he made of course are valid. I think a very important point he made is that Mugabe cannot seek to legitimise the violence since independence on the same basis as the violence used in the liberation war was justifiable in the view of ZANU PF – and that is a very important statement. Whilst I personally don’t agree with everything he said I believe there are aspects of his speech that we need to take note of.
Gonda: Brian the Mutambara has received a lot of criticism from the general public. People see the group as aligning itself more with ZANU PF than the pro-democracy movement. Is this a fair assessment?
Kagoro: Politics is 90% perception. I trust my dear friend David will agree with me that half the judgements that are levelled against political actors are not necessarily made up of substance. It essentially means that when you dance on this open floor of politics you must be careful that even what you think subjectively to be an objective dance could be viewed as tilting to one hand or the other. Reading Arthur’s statements – a series of them – one sees a desperate attempt
by a political actor to sound somewhat different from Morgan Tsvangirai and at the same time to try and sound different from Mugabe. So he attempts to take aspects of Mugabe’s rhetoric that he agrees with – which is the anti imperial thrust or the pan Africanist ideal, and he takes some rhetoric from Morgan Tsvangirai which is the critique around the internal accountability of the regime to try and demystify this continuity of revolutionary violence, violence necessary for the armed struggle against colonial rule and equating that to whatever violence against opponents since 1980 as revolutionary.
Whilst one appreciates the academic import of that the majority of the populace do not interpret issues on that basis and frankly beyond that there is the issue of timing. It seems to me that whilst one may interpret what Arthur was attempting to do in either a good way or bad way the timing may perhaps have been unfortunate and also the location of where this particular speech was delivered. So perhaps he would be a victim not of what he said but of what Zimbabweans heard or expected him to say. And this is the real crux of the matter. We are in a country where people are dying and starving, in a country where barely a few months ago people were brutalised and in a country where over the last 28 years and even more they have been brutalised by a series of regimes, but more particularly by the present regime.
And one might argue, ‘I am a politician so I need not pander to populist notions of what I should say’ but it’s the timing. If you are given half a chance you need to score twice so the timing may have been inappropriate and even the location. But I am not going to detain myself with trying to determine whether Arthur has gone ZANU or Arthur is still opposition. I would urge that perhaps they should think more about nuance and timing a lot more strategically at the risk of being misinterpreted.
Gonda: What about on the issue of Mutambara being at the talks and not Simba Makoni?
Kagoro: My view is that if you take the principles that David enunciated, if you base the fact that this negotiation arose because there was a Presidential election won by one side and which was meant to go to a re-run – so you look at representation. As we understood from the media Arthur threw his weight behind Simba Makoni. So Simba Makoni got some percentage of the votes. So if you take the March election – which is really the only valid election at hand and you take both the Parliamentary and Presidential there is room to argue that all people who contested should be at the table.
So I would not be dispute why Arthur is there. I think David has articulated the reason that Arthur is there representing a political entity that got 8 percent – 16 seats. The same argument, if applied, would justify having the Mavambo outfit also included. However I think that is a bit problematic. The casting of the major dispute following the presidential election is it reduced it to a two-horse race – which is Tsvangirai and Mugabe. So if the dispute was about who is the legitimate President therefore the dispute would be for those two.
But this is negotiating a national settlement so my argument would be you need much more than Arthur Mutambara, Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai at the table – or even Makoni. You need the broader spectrum of Zimbabwe … So the question is then when do you bring everyone else to the negotiating table?
I think labour is a critical player and should be at the negotiating table, I think the women’s movement is a critical player they should be at the table. I think that the faith based institutions are critical players and should be at the table – they represent a critical constituency. So in my view the point is not to limit who is at the negotiating table, it is to broaden but to do so strategically so that what you are negotiating is not an elite pact but what you are negotiating is a truly representative deal.
Gonda: Morgan Tsvangirai is delaying in signing this so called power sharing deal with ZANU PF and the Mutambara- MDC. Why do you think he is doing that? What do you think are his considerations?
Kagoro: I am not necessarily a prophet but let me hazard some answer. I think that several concerns – as I have heard them from various actors - are that the understanding of functions of the Prime Minister and the President is not in itself a problem. The question is how do you ensure that this process is guaranteed? That it will not be reversed. So do you go through by way of another constitutional amendment no19? So you create the office of the Prime Minister and then you state that the Prime Minister shall convene cabinet etc etc. Do you go to the constitutional draft that the two MDC outfits and ZANU PF agreed in Kariba? Does this become an interim arrangement? If you go by way of amendment does that amendment necessarily do away with an earlier amendment which is no. 7 of 1987 that created the imperial Presidency under which we have suffered? So there are arguments around that technicality.
And fine tuning of roles - because I have been in Kenya for some time there are things that appear petty at the point of signing that become fundamental. So for example the Kenyans didn’t define the packing order - you know who would follow who? So they woke up the next morning, they had signed the grand coalition deal and of course the opinion of the then ruling party was that the Vice President is the second in line after the President and so it made the Prime Minister third or so. Then it went into parliament to try and determine who is the leader of government business and of course with the way they structured it was such that you ended up with the Vice President being the leader of government business. So technically a lot of people within the opposition were now asking, ‘What on earth is the Prime Minister, what is executive about the Prime Minister‘s role?’ So you ended up with a person in practise struggling to define the executive component of their powers.
So I am certain that both the Mutambara and Tsvangirai MDCs have studied the Kenyan process both the deal signed as well as the difficulties in implementing it and they maybe apprehensive about the fine text and what it means in actually implementing it.
Gonda: Let me go to David. What are your views on this and also if I may add - the MDC says Mugabe continues to preach dialogue but acting war – and that the authorities even went on to seize passports belonging to Tsvangirai and his delegation to the SADC summit. We all know that the bone of contention is over the issue of sharing executive powers. Is it realistic for the MDC to think Mugabe will reduce his executive powers?
Coltart: Well the one thing we know about Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF is that they are not democrats. They have never been. They have always been committed at their call to a Marxists Leninist philosophy. They believe in a one party state. They don’t believe in tolerance, in freedom of expression and they have been forced to the negotiating table. So we must expect that they are going to try to limit the amount of time they yield to the MDC and to Morgan Tsvangirai so I am not surprised. I think we need to remember the process which led to the signing of the unity accord on the 22nd December 1987 . ZANU PF kept the pressure up on ZAPU right until the final moment. Some of the worst massacres - the New Adams Farm massacre occurred at the end of November 1987. People in ZAPU were detained right up until the bitter end. This is the way ZANU PF operates. They believe the best way to get the deal they want at the negotiating table is to be ruthless and violent and the actions today seizing or attempting to seize Morgan Tsvangirai’s passport, delaying them at the airport are entirely consistent with that philosophy.
I have received a report today from colleagues in Harare that there appears to be this fear of an increase in violence. I think we should expect that and part of this philosophy of ZANU PF is that the best way to extract a deal in their favour is to brutalise, to torture, to intimidate the people sitting right across the table from them to get them to make concessions that they would otherwise not be prepared to make.
Coming back to your fundamental question Violet about Morgan Tsvangirai and the tactics that he is employing. Well I think we need to remember that there are a variety of levers being employed against all parties. President Mbeki knows he has come under intense international scrutiny and criticism for his failure to achieve a result. Robert Mugabe knows that he cannot hold on much longer, that the economy is spinning out of control. He must realise that very soon he is not going to be able to pay the army and others who support him. And likewise I think there is pressure on Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and the pressure on those two opposition leaders is of course the suffering of the people. We know we simply cannot hold out too long because there is no food in the country - people are starving and people are desperate for a solution.
But let me come back to Morgan Tsvangirai and his strategy at this stage. He has to balance the need to secure a reasonable deal against the need to bring this negotiating process to an end as soon as possible. So that we can relieve the suffering of Zimbabweans. I believe that at this stage he is right to try to extract the best possible deal. We simply cannot tolerate a situation in terms of which Robert Mugabe retains effective control of the government. At the very least there needs to be an effective power sharing and the agreement reached thus far or what is being offered thus far rests too much power in Robert Mugabe and he is going to perpetuate tyranny - well then Morgan Tsvangirai is entirely right to bargain for more. However he has to bear in mind the need to try to bring these negotiations to finality because of the extreme suffering of Zimbabweans at present.
Gonda: But can you make a pact with the devil because this is a government that has shown it will go to the most appalling lengths to hold on to power and some have even said ZANU PF can use the transitional period to annihilate the MDC?
Coltart: Violet we have very little choice but to make some sort of agreement in this situation. Let me tell you and along with Brian, both of us have roots in human rights law in Zimbabwe and the thought of perpetuating this culture of impunity is anathema to both of us. It is certainly anathema to me the thought of having Robert Mugabe in some influential role and having to sit down with people who are guilty of crimes against humanity is anathema. But we have to recognise there is a political reality there. The political reality is that there is a stalemate. The opposition secured the majority of the votes in March but Robert Mugabe still retains control of most of the levers of power. He retains the support of the hierarchy of the military and he is unscrupulous in exercising that control, and we have to break the political logjam especially given the suffering of Zimbabweans. And for me the key is not so much sitting down and negotiating with these people - I believe that we have no choice but to do so - the key thing for me is: Will the agreement result in the status quo continuing or will it result in a continuation of this process of change. Will we see an inevitable continuation of this process?
I wrote about this last year in my article entitled: The Gorbachev Factor, when I referred back to the actions of Mikhail Gorbachev who felt he could hold on to the Soviet Union and never wanted to see the end of the Communist party but because of economic pressures was prepared to make some reforms and of course the moment he made those reforms the process ran away from him and he could no longer control that. The Soviet Union broke up and the Communist Party was effectively destroyed. I believe we are at a similar juncture. The core of this state, the core of ZANU PF is so weak at present that as distasteful as this process is, so long as reforms are made, so long as those reforms are irreversible we will see this process of change continuing and Robert Mugabe won’t be able to stop that. And ultimately we will get to the stage where we get a democratic constitution and fresh elections and an entirely new government that reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people.
Gonda: Brian what do you say about this? Is the core of ZANU PF weak now because it seems these talks have emboldened Mugabe as he is carrying on with his functions, addressing the nation on Heroes Day, promoting and even rewarding the masters of terror in the military and just his body language says he is still the Head of State. What can you say about this?
Kagoro: I think I would agree that the core of ZANU and indeed all political parties in Zimbabwe are in some disarray. The popular support that ZANU assumed it had it does not have and this is what the March election showed. Especially if you look at the results of the civic seats where out of 800, 600 went to oppositional formations. However that is only if you look at ZANU PF as the institution. If you look at ZANU PF as both the political process and culture of primitive accumulation - as everyone else has been focusing on the political process - we have seen an unprecedented scramble for Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth in diamonds, in platinum and this has essentially gone to people within the military, people within the public service, serving ministers and political party criminal elements and activists.
We are at the same historical juncture similar to where the Patriotic Front was in 1978. You are in danger of there being some settlement of sorts and in the settlement you all worry about the political powers and the sharing of political powers. You may actually get a deal that gives you political power but the fundamentals of economic power would have been siphoned off - if not given away as payment to the Russians and Chinese and all sorts of people who have kept the regime alive. They would have been conscripted by those lieutenants and activists within the ruling party.
So there is a political weakness around organisational structures. ZANU as an institution is an institution that is unlikely to recreate its legitimacy and therefore unlikely to win an election if the process of transformation or transition is a popular election. It’s a system that is unlikely to retain its coherence because part of this primitive accumulation has generated rabid competition within ZANU itself. It’s a system that is unlikely to retain cohesion because various pockets within ZANU, whose sole interests in being ZANU has been this private accumulation will begin to make alignments with international finance capital, alignments with sections that they see as more powerful in the emerging MDC formations.
So yes, whilst ZANU organisationally appears weak I think we have a new danger and that new danger is that a new economic elite which was embedded in ZANU politics, which financed part of ZANU PF’s politics of impunity and violence has made inroads into the economy using all sorts of means legal and illegal. And I am not hearing a lot of talk about those particular components and so the impunity that we focussed on is the impunity around physical violations and psychological violations.
We need o start articulating impunity with respect to the economic plunder - the asset stripping - and I think both David and I have alluded to this in the past. So that is one point. The second bit is that ZANU is a political culture that has a way of doing things that exhibits intolerance and unaccountability, we need safeguards that ensures that if our friends do get into government they don’t also become part of the plunder and the pillage. And also when you have an interim arrangement or an arrangement that is birthed out of unpleasant circumstances such as we have experienced you need to make sure that it is short-lived - this is as experienced in Liberia .
Make sure that what arrangement this unity government is not for 5 years or more. Make sure that it is short-lived so that you move back to a situation where your government is a government that has popular mandate. So will ZANU as an institution survive? I doubt. Will ZANUISM as a political culture survive? Very likely. And that takes me back to the David point - how do you ensure that change or the process of change, the spirit of change, the values of change are irreversible? It seems to me that you would need to make sure that there is a constitutional process that is inclusive, a constitutional process that makes part of the change irreversible. The rest depends on political culture because when you ask for justice and you are given law it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be satisfied.
I am worried; worried by the secrecy that has shrouded these talks. I am worried by the fact that these talks have been - for all good reasons according to Mr Mbeki - been confined to only issues like three critical players. I am also worried by the fact that the levels of accountability of those at the talks for what they agreed to, to the rest of the Zimbabwean population seems highly limited. So Zimbabweans would be presented with a fait accompli that says this is what we have agreed, and they will have to function through that and if there is no other process of opening up and enlarging the dialogue then the negotiated settlement may very well be the worst nightmare we would have achieved. All it will do is buy us short term peace.
Gonda: So briefly Brian in your opinion what do you think Morgan Tsvangirai should do right now, just briefly.
Kagoro: Well I think he must first of all make sure that he is not short-changed. He is the only winner of a legitimate election at the present moment – the March election. No. 2: He must make sure that there are constitutional guarantees or a guarantee that there will be a constitutional process that safeguards the process of change. Number 3: He must make sure that this thing is not forever. It is for a fixed duration of time. He himself must subject himself to a popular endorsement along with the other colleagues. No.4: He must make sure that when we talk economic recovery it is not just the rabid open up Zimbabwe to all sorts of money. Though we must be clear that the national development trajectory that we take is one that is premised on a clearly and popularly owned national development strategy that guarantees social security and safety nets for the most vulnerable of our population. We know it will not be a miracle turnaround unless if there is define intervention.
What we will have is that we will need to deal with 80% unemployment, a lot of people are vulnerable. They face hunger, starvation and so he needs to ensure that there is no overzealousness of the moment that suggests that all Zimbabweans needs is to deal with the power problems. Zimbabwe has fundamental structural problems that need to be thought through carefully and I don’t think Morgan alone with Robert and Arthur will be able to think through this.
I think that he needs to buy time to include some of the best resources we have.
Coltart: Well let me first of all say at the risk of puffing up Brian, that I can’t improve much on his wisdom and his advice. But let me just focus on one aspect of what he has just said and I will go back to the Gorbachev factor. The Communist party ended, the Soviet Union split up but as you know Russia has hardly become a democratic society and state and it’s because of precisely what Brian has just been speaking about – mainly that whilst the political parties were shattered and I believe that ZANU PF is severely weakened the culture remains and the great challenge for us in these negotiations and in the months and years that lie ahead is to break the culture that has developed in Zimbabwe – not just over the last 28 years but over the last four decades.
Ironically it’s a Rhodesian Front culture. A culture of intolerance, a culture where transparency is not a virtue, and we have to break that. But the most important thing that we have to do is to get a new democratic constitution agreed to as soon as possible through an inclusive process involving the civic society, involving faith based organisations so that we get the entire country to embrace whatever emerges from that process.
Tied into that is the need to build the institutions which are going to buttress democracy. We saw in the Herald today this talk about these organisations like SW Radio Africa having to stop their operations and for you Violet to come home. I support that. However SW Radio Africa should be allowed to set up in Harare . We need to have Violet Gonda in Harare broadcasting as freely as you broadcast from London . We need the Daily News back. We need an independent judiciary and all of these institutions are going to be the main guarantors of democracy - ensuring its survival in the years ahead. You can’t rely on political parties for that and you can’t rely on the constitution in isolation for that. You have got to embolden, strengthen civil society, you have to strengthen the fourth estate and you have to strengthen the electorate.
What isn’t clear from the negotiations at present is whether we have these acceptable guarantees in place and we will only know that when the full settlement is revealed.
Gonda: You know you have just reminded me of one other issue and perhaps this will be my last question to you David, when you were talking about the need for a culture of tolerance. It’s reported that your group has never really wanted Morgan Tsvangirai as a leader and the Zimbabwe Times this week alleges that in 2005 you tried to sneak in an amendment clause which would have barred non-degreed politicians from aspiring to be President. And the website said your obvious target of the proposed amendment was Morgan Tsvangirai. Can you comment on that?
Coltart: Well I can and I have already responded to Geoff Nyarota’s article and he has apologised on the website for getting it wrong again. That is a falsehood which has been rebutted by me consistently for the last three or four years. In 2005 we approached constitutional lawyers who prepared a draft constitution for us and they included this clause which said that a non executive ceremonial President would have to have a degree. When we got that draft, before it was tabled in parliament I read it and I deleted that clause because it didn’t reflect MDC policy. The constitutional lawyers had got that clause from the document entitled: ‘What the people want’. If you recall in the 2000 referendum a document was produced by the Constitutional Commission following its surveys and it found that the majority of people wanted a ceremonial President who had a degree. And the original draft reflected that view which didn’t reflect the MDC view.
So there are three points; Firstly I did not draft that it was drafted by constitutional lawyers. Secondly, when I saw it before it was tabled in parliament I took that clause out. Tendai Biti who seconded the motion when we tabled this motion is my witness to that. So in other words when it was tabled in parliament it excluded that clause. But the third point is – and this concerns the issue of Morgan Tsvangirai as an individual – this clause in its original form related to a non executive ceremonial President which Morgan Tsvangirai has never aspired to become. He wanted to be an executive President or an executive Prime Minister. So this is a falsehood which has been peddled around for a long, long time and I am grateful that you have raised it so that I hope can clear the air once and for all and set the record straight on this issue.
Gonda: And Brian finally the civil society has called for a transitional authority that should be headed by a neutral person. What are your views on this?
Kagoro: (laughs) I sympathise with my colleagues in the civil society. I drafted the original yellow paper with my colleagues Everjoice Win, Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga and co and that is where that demand was contained. That was in 2002 the day we believe Mugabe stole the election. At the present moment the problem is one of control of the state apparatus for purposes of development. So you have Morgan Tsvangirai who we have agreed won an election in March, we have Mugabe who remains, as David said, in de facto control of the arms of State. You have two centres of power - one popular by popular mandate and one who retains by coercive mandate. So to suggest that you take these two forces, tell them to hold at bay and find a neutral party who neither has control over the military nor control over the popular will or the popular mandate and say this person will for the next 18 months run the country to try and bring sanity - knowing the characters that we are dealing with because we are not in a vacuum, we are not in the same situation where Liberia was - we are dealing with very strong characters. We are dealing with a hunger for change that is stronger than before.
If you will persuade MDC supporters in their hundreds of thousands that Morgan should make way for a neutral party who will select this neutral party? Does a neutral Zimbabwe exist that you know of that is neutral with respect to what‘s going on? One that ZANU PF will say ok this one is neutral? That the MDC will say this one is neutral? There will be a problem and it will take us forever to find that one person.
If we gave you any name - whether the person has been living on Mars or planet Jupiter – we will be able to find his relatives in Zimbabwe and trace the relatives to ZANU PF or to MDC. If it’s going to be someone effective enough to run the country we are likely to find that the person has at some stage or the other been aligned to the constitutional movement, the labour movement, the liberation war or something of that nature. So the person’s credibility will be questioned. It will become problematic to constitute any authority that is not representative or inclusive of the major political players.
So in my view whilst I sympathise with the history of that demand and even see its logic I think in the particular context we are in it maybe a good principle that’s academic and difficult to apply, that’s one. Number two, what is it that we are trying to achieve? And what is it that we are redressing? We are redressing the fact that there was an election won by one person which didn’t have sufficient constitutional majority to form government. And then we had a one man show that happened. We have a dispute that neither the SADC nor the AU has been able to pronounce upon either way. We have a very highly polarised society. We have this plunder of the economy that I talked about. You have violence that is going on. Any person who does not command sufficient power over the military and other arms, who doesn’t have sufficient popularity with the public will not be able to control and effectively run a government in Zimbabwe. Unless if you are sending an occupation force of sorts from SADC or from somewhere. But the AU has been struggling to raise sufficient forces for Darfur so where will we get a force for Zimbabwe?
So in the absence of all the other things which normally at international law enable a neutral person to run a country I think that suggestion should be taken as a very good suggestion that is not presently applicable.
Gonda: Ok I am afraid we have run out of time but thank you very much Brian Kagoro and David Coltart.
Kagoro: You are welcome.
Coltart: Thank you Violet goodnight.
SW Radio Africa Hotseat Transcript - Broadcast 15 August 2008
Journalist Violet Gonda interviews politician David Coltart and analyst Brian Kagoro.
David Coltart senator with MDC led by
August 21, 2008 | By Metro Investigations Unit |
The Secretary General of a small faction of the MDC, Welshman Ncube has
implied that his faction will likely vote for a ZANU PF parliamentary
speaker and said the coalition agreement signed with the Tsvangirai led MDC
is no longer valid.
Speaking to a reporter in South Africa Ncube said the MDC parliamentary
coalition formed was for the run-off and nothing more.
'.We cannot and we will not annex our votes to anyone. What was done by the
leadership of the MDC . . . was to back MDC-T in the run-off. But the
run-off was terminated prematurely when ZANU PF unleashed violence on the
people. As things stand now, each of the MDC parties are independent of each
other. Anyone who wants to work with any other will have to approach the
other and have a deal. As of now, there is no deal with anyone.
'The discussions which took place between the two elections were founded on
the fact that Morgan had won the 29 March election and would win the 27 June
elections. That did not happen and therefore what was agreed then does not
constitute a coalition.'Ncube said.
Ncube did not explain how and why the coalition was called a parliamentary
coalition when it had nothing to do with parliament.
The new revelations by Ncube differ sharply with what was expressed on
Tuesday April 29 2008 by the faction leader Arthur Mutambara who said,
"We are all going to work together in case Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF try to
sabotage the will of the people. We are in control of parliament. We are
also controlling the senate. This is the state of affairs in our country."
Mutambara further dismissed that the coalition was for the runoff only
"The question about a runoff doesn't arise," he said.' I'm here to show
solidarity to the winner of the presidential election in Zimbabwe."
Tsvangirai has already expressed concern at the sudden change of tone by the
faction and doubted its reliability as a coalition partner.
"I thought we were all playing in the same court . . . But it would appear
that that is not the case. They (the Mutambara faction) have other views.
And I think we need to revisit the coalition agreement and ask them whether
we are still together."he said.
Metro reported two months ago that Welshman Ncube resisted the coalition and
instructed all MPs not join MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai when he visits
their constituencies during the run-off campaign.
Metro also established during its investigations that the factions's
national executive had argued that their faction should not have fielded
candidates in Gwanda South, Redcliff and Pelandaba-Mpopoma by-elections
against those of the MDC-Tsvangirai, because at least it was their
candidates that had died. Ncube reportedly over ruled the decision.
Ncube also reportedly read the riot act to his faction MPs who attended the
MDC caucus addressed by Tsvangirai on May 30 this year.
A rift has reportedly emerged in the faction among the unelected National
Executive and its 10 MP,last month the executive fired the MP for Nkayi
South, Abednico Bhebhe as spokesman after he argued that the faction's
executive was making decisions that are betrayal to its electorate.
Metro also has it on good authority that the faction has reportedly struck a
deal with the Mnagangwa faction of ZANU PF. The Mnangagwa faction whose
influential members include Emmerson Mnangagwa,George Charamba and Patrick
Chinamasa has been trying to sabotage talks with the MDC since they started.
The development comes as the United States is considering taking the same
measures against the faction members they have taken against ZANU PF.
The first move might include revoking the faction leader Arthur Mutambara's
US permanent residence.
The United states government's Acting Deputy Spokesman Gonzalo R. Gallegos,
hinted on the development in a press briefing earlier during the week,
'We're going to continue to watch. We're going to continue to see what
happens there. Ultimately, as I've said before, from here, what we want to
see is that the will of the Zimbabwean people is reflected in the results of
this or any talks that may take place to come to a resolution to this
situation,and if anyone aids the subverting of the people's will even if
they are not from ZANU PF will face the same measures we have taken against
ZANU-PF.' said Gallegos.
The entire Mutambara MDC National Executive Council lost in the March
parliamentary election and it is comprised of Arthur Mutambara,President
lost Zengeza West, Gibson Sibanda,Vice President lost Nkulumane,Welshman
Ncube Secretary General lost in Makokoba, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga
Deputy Secretary General lost Glen Norah,Miriam Mushayi Deputy Treasurer
General lost Harare West,Jobert Mudzumwe,National Chairperson lost Masvingo
Urban,Fletcher Dulini- Ncube Treasurer-General lost Lobengula-Magwegwe.
21 August 2008
Move to convene parliament leaves Tsvangirai's MDC with a dilemma
ZIMBABWE's power-sharing talks are hanging in the balance, with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) saying Zanu (PF)'s intention
to convene parliament on Tuesday would be a "clear repudiation" of the
framework for dialogue.
The move to assemble parliament has left relations between Zanu (PF) and the
two MDC factions in disarray.
It also threatens to sabotage talks that were said to be in their final
stages. The talks have deadlocked over the division of executive powers
between President Robert Mugabe and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti yesterday said assembling parliament would
ruin the talks and widen the gap between the parties.
"Any decision to convene parliament will be a clear repudiation of the
memorandum of understanding (MoU), and an indication beyond reasonable doubt
of Zanu (PF)'s unwillingness to continue to be part of the talks. In short
convening parliament decapitates the dialogue," Biti said.
"The MoU makes it clear that no party shall take any decision or measure
that has a bearing on the dialogue, save by consensus. Such a decision or
measure includes, but is not restricted to, the convening of parliament or
formation of a new government. In the present case, the MDC has not
consented to the convening of parliament," Biti said.
His stance contradicted that of Tsvangirai and another party spokesman
Tapiwa Mashakada, who said the composition of a new cabinet was their main
concern, and not the reconvening of parliament as such.
Tsvangirai is understood to be relying on a coalition agreement with the
breakaway MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara to protect him from attempts
by Mugabe to secure a parliamentary majority by co-opting MPs from his or
the other faction in the party.
But senior MDC officials last night confirmed to Business Day that there
were fears that Mugabe would "make a deal" with sufficient opposition MPs.
"There is a feeling of uncertainty . our worst fears are that Mugabe would
manipulate the situation," one official said.
Zanu (PF) holds 99 seats, the main MDC 100 and the Mutambara faction 10
seats, while Mugabe needs only 106 seats to form a government.
Welshman Ncube, Mutambara's secretary-general and chief negotiator, said
they had no objections to the convening
Continued on Page 2
of parliament. The latest stalemate gave President Thabo Mbeki, the talks
mediator, an added challenge . His task could be more difficult if Mugabe
appoints five senators and 10 provincial governors to the 93-member senate.
The main opposition MDC won 24 seats in the senate, the breakaway faction
six and Zanu (PF) 30 in the March 29 poll.
The appointment of senators and governors is part of the talks.
Convening the 210-member parliament would also require a speaker to be
elected - a post that is also part of the discussion at the talks. The issue
of senators, governors and the speaker had not been resolved when talks
stalled last week.
Southern African Development Community leaders approved the convening of
parliament during their summit last weekend in Johannesburg.
Mugabe immediately started preparing for the swearing-in of MPs on Monday,
and the opening of parliament on Tuesday - causing consternation within his
party and the opposition circles.
Zanu (PF) hardliners and ministers who lost their parliamentary seats oppose
Army, police and intelligence chiefs who meet under Joint Operations
Command - which also serves as Mugabe's power base, are also opposed to the
talks - especially the proposal that Tsvangirai should attend their
By Peter Clottey
21 August 2008
Civil and non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe are expressing their
strong opposition to moves by President Robert Mugabe to open parliament
officially next week. The organizations say the move would seriously
jeopardize the recently signed memorandum of understanding between the
ruling ZANU-PF party and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The MDC reportedly said that convening Zimbabwe's parliament would
break a framework agreement governing power-sharing talks to try to end
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. But President Mugabe's government
rejected the accusation, saying the plan to convene parliament will continue
as planned. Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwean with the International Crisis
Group. From the capital, Harare, he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the
move is against the spirit of the recently signed memorandum of
"I think given the spirit of the MOU (memorandum of understanding), which up
front stated that within the spirit of the agreement, no party was going to
convene parliament or formulate a cabinet before an agreement is signed.
Moving to swear in parliament is in part a breach of the memorandum of
understanding. However, we need to make a qualification there that the
contestation in the talks right now is not about the swearing in of
parliament is in dispute, but I think the most critical point, which ZANU-PF
and President Robert Mugabe moves beyond that, he would be crossing the
rules is assembling the cabinet," Masamvu noted.
He said it would be an affront to the ongoing peace negotiations aimed at
resolving Zimbabwe's problems if President Mugabe goes ahead to name a
ZANU-PF led cabinet.
"Assembling cabinet will actually be vesting authority in institutions, and
I think that will amount to be in total breach of the negotiating process
and by extension, it will undermine the talks," he said.
Masamvu said the MDC would not have significant opposition to the convening
of parliament if it is based on the March 29 general elections.
"The opposition has no problem in the opening of parliament insofar as the
swearing in of parliament comes in from the results of the March 29
elections, which by and large the MDC has actually stated that it reflects
the will of the people. What the bone of contention is based on the March 29
elections, which leads to the swearing in of parliament, the assembly of
cabinet put Mugabe in a position where he uses the June 27 results that he
would use for vesting himself as the president to assemble a cabinet. And
that is where the dispute is, and that is where it will undermine the talks
and the spirit of the MOU," Masamvu noted.
He said the assumption on which the MOU was based is what could be the bone
of contention with Mugabe's plan to reconvene parliament and possibly
assemble a cabinet.
"When you read the MOU, it states that before the agreement is signed,
parliament and cabinet should not be sworn in and the cabinet should not be
assembled. But I think the MOU was based not only on an understanding, but
also on an assumption by the facilitator that by then they would have rapped
up the deal and there would have been a concrete deal on the table and all
the parties would have signed up to it. So, I think this issues have been
long drawn and it is a long haul and there is no signature appended to this
process by all the parties. It actually brings into question the issue of a
breach of the memorandum of understanding, which says parliament and cabinet
shouldn't have been assembled," he said.
Masamvu described President Mugabe government's plan to reconvene parliament
"I think the move is meaningless for the simple reason that what he can only
get from there is that is how the issues of the speaker of our parliament is
going to be nominated. I think that is where the only leverage is, but the
battleground is the cabinet," Masamvu pointed out.
Meanwhile, the MDC says any decision to convene parliament would be a clear
repudiation of the memorandum of understanding, and an indication beyond
reasonable doubt of ZANU-PF's unwillingness to continue to be part of the
talks. The MDC adds that convening parliament decapitates the ongoing
dialogue. But Zimbabwe's government is accusing the opposition of
flip-flopping. It charges that the MDC originally consented to the opening
of parliament, only to turn around later to reject it.
By Alex Bell
21 August 2008
Zimbabwe's National Association of NGOs has added its voice to the growing
chorus of criticism aimed at the Southern African Development Community -for
failing to facilitate an end to the Zimbabwean crisis at the weekend summit
in South Africa.
The regional body has come under fire this week following the meeting of
heads of state, which Robert Mugabe attended with his political rivals,
Morgan Tsvangerai and Arthur Mutambara, in an effort for SADC to breach the
deadlock in the power sharing negotiations.
The National Association of NGOs said in a statement that SADC had
effectively endorsed Mugabe by inviting him, despite global pressure on SADC
not to recognise the dictator as a legitimate leader. The statement said
that SADC has contributed to the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe by failing
"to uphold and enforce compliance with its stated commitments to democracy,
rule of law and human rights".
SADC has also been severely criticised for failing to condemn or even
mention the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe, where violence has continued and
an entire nation is facing starvation because of the government ban on
international food aid. In a final communiqué from SADC following the
weekend summit, no mention was made about the call by the United Nations,
NGO forums and the MDC for the aid workers to resume their efforts in
Zimbabwe. The communiqué instead urged the country's political parties to
sign outstanding agreements that will lead to a power-sharing deal "to
restore political stability", but it completely ignored the desperate
Fambai Ngirande, spokesman for the Zimbabwe National Association of NGOs,
told Newsreel on Thursday he was shocked by SADC's approach to the glaring
crisis in Zimbabwe. He said the regional body is "sending out contradictory
messages" by recognising Mugabe and emphasised that the region's future
stability and reputation is on the line. He added that SADC has "failed the
people of Zimbabwe" by not protecting their rights and said SADC must be
tougher on leaders who gain power through unconstitutional means to prove
Southern Africa is genuinely committed to a democratic ideal. He said for
SADC to make amends for the damage that has so far been done, the body needs
to follow in Botswana's footsteps by proactively refusing to recognise the
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Alex Bell
21 August 2008
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has lodged an application with the Southern
African Development Community Tribunal in Windhoek, to declare Robert Mugabe's
government illegal and force regional leaders to stop inviting him to their
Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer who was severely tortured by Mugabe's
regime in 2003, led an urgent application to the tribunal last week seeking
to block Mugabe from attending the weekend SADC summit in South Africa as
head of state. SADC however failed to respond and Mugabe was welcomed as
Zimbabwe's leader, despite the application and a boycott of the meeting by
Botswana's President Ian Khama, who refused to attend because his government
does not recognise Mugabe's re-election.
The forum has now taken the legal fight further, serving papers on several
individuals as well as the tribunal's head office, in an effort to get
Mugabe and his regime officially declared illegitimate. The urgent
application was filed against SADC, its Executive Secretary Tomaz Augusto
Salomão, Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe. The action seeks to hold
SADC to it's own founding principles, arguing that since Mugabe's election
as President of Zimbabwe was declared by SADC itself, as neither free and
nor fair and not reflective of the democratic will, Mugabe should not be
recognised as a head of state.
Human rights lawyer with the Forum, Anna Moyo, told Newsreel on Thursday
that the African Union law requires that a state party be suspended
immediately once there is an unconstitutional change in government. She
explained that any refusal by that government to relinquish power is
equivalent to a political coup d'etat.
Moyo argued that since Mugabe was not constitutionally elected, he was not a
lawful head of state and should not be allowed to take his seat at the SADC
summit, or any other forum. He said the forum wants the tribunal to declare
that, in terms of SADC's own underlying principles set out in the SADC
Treaty, it may not recognise governments that come to power by
The SADC tribunal was recently set up to deal with cases coming from it's 14
member states. The first case it had to deal with involved Zimbabwe, after
several white farmers challenged the seizure of their farms. The tribunal
ordered the government to stop the seizures, but this ruling was ignored by
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thursday, 21 August 2008 12:21
In an increasingly becoming popular change of strategy, Zanu PF
supporters are resorting to poisoning rival MDC supporters as a new method
of elimination, abandoning the violent approach. Cliff Humbasha, MDC Ward
Chairperson, Stanly Bepura, Ward 4 MDC Organizing Secretary and Fanuel
Mudyazvevamwe, an MDC youth were poisoned on the 13th of August 2008 after
drinking a home made traditional alcoholic beverage laced with an unknown
It was later revealed that the Zanu PF councilor for Ward 20 Brantina
Gora and Zanu PF councilor for Ward 6 Misheck Masango planned the
elimination and are currently assisting police in their investigations. The
poisoned three were transported to Karoi District Hospital after
experiencing severe stomach cramps and diarrhorea and failure to get the
appropriate medication at Kasimure Clinic, both government run institutions.
They again failed to get medication at Karoi District Hospital and were
transferred to Chaka Private Clinic where treating them proved difficult as
the doctors failed to identify the poison they had been given so as to
identify the appropriate medication. The police were called in at this stage
and travelled to Lazy 5 resettlement area, the community were the incident
occurred, in an effort to retrieve the remaining contents of the laced
beverage in order to run tests to establish the poison. Unfortunately the
remaining alchohol had been disposed prior to their arrival. The three are
reported to be in a stable condition but are still experiencing severe
Mashonaland West Situation Report, Hurungwe East.
VOP/Tribune Staff | published: 21 August, 2008
ZANU-PF warlord Joseph Chinotimba, in a testimony of who has the power in
Zimbabwe today, issued threats to NIPC boss Wednesday.
Harare -- Controversial Zanu PF functionary and former Harare City Council
security guard, Joseph Chinotimba, has threatened to deal with National
Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) Chairman, Goodwills Masimirembwa, whom
he accuses of discrediting the ruling party by allowing prices to be
increased at will.
Cde. Chinotimba has been away from Harare for several months, leading
ZANU-PF militia units, together with a Col. Mzilikazi, in terrorizing
villagers in Manicaland Province. Cde. Chinotimba had ran for a seat in
Buhera South, which he lost to the MDC's Naison Nemadziva.
Chinotimba said he would physically harm the top lawyer just like he did to
Harare City Council Chamber Secretary, Josephine Ncube, a few years ago.
Chinotimba on Wednesday said Masimirembwa was a non-entity, who did not have
the mandate to set prices in Zimbabwe.
He said the regular price increases were Masimirembwa's doing and that he
was being used by the West and the two MDC factions.
The inebriated Chinotimba caused a stir at the New Ambassador Hotel in
Harare when he arrived with two bodyguards and demanded two bottles of white
He drank and finished one of them within 10 minutes and asked for a second,
after which he launched a tirade against Masimirembwa, much to the dismay of
the guests there.
Chinotimba had been scheduled to meet the NIPC chairman at the hotel.
Chinotimba said Zanu PF was unhappy with the NIPC boss and would remove him
just like they removed businessman, David Govere, in 2007.
Govere lasted only 24 hours on the NIPC job before being fired for telling
it like it is.
Chinotimba said he would talk to the Zanu PF leadership and urge them to
remove the top lawyer, whom he accused of making the MDC look good at a time
when Zimbabweans are suffering.
The MDC has expressed an interest in prosecuting Cde. Chonitimba for the
crimes against humanity that he committed in Buhera over the last few
By Carole Gombakomba
21 August 2008
Zimbabwean human rights lawyers say that despite the recent power-sharing
talks between the long-ruling ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic
Change and the subsidence of post-election violence, many violations of
human rights are continuing to occur.
But many such lawyers say they have not been able to get involved in such
cases for fear of their lives - a good number of rights lawyers were obliged
to flee the country following the March elections and in the approach to the
widely condemned June 27 presidential run-off election when violence against
government critics escalated in both urban and rural areas.
Arnold Tsunga of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, currently Africa
Director of the International Commission of Jurists, tells reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that rights lawyers are trickling
back into the country hoping to file actions against the ZANU-PF government
they allege perpetrated violence and denied humanitarian aid.
HARARE, August 21 2008 - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
secretary general, Tendai Biti, has filed a High Court application seeking
to have a Harare Magistrate's decision to have him placed on remand in his
ongoing treason trial, set aside.
According to court documents (H/C case number 5077/08), Biti through
his lawyer, Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha legal practitioners,
wants the ruling by Harare Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, set-aside on the
basis that it is "irrational and grossly unreasonable".
In a short ruling made on 20 July, Guvamombe said the state had enough
evidence to disclose an offence against Biti.
Hwacha said in the founding affidavit that it was his client's
contention that the "magistrate's short ruling and unreasonable decision"
was evidence enough that the magistrate did not apply himself to the case.
"This Honourable court will observe that the 'pertinent issues' raised
in the refusal of remand included the fact that the documents on which the
State relied on were/are plainly inadmissible in court," argued Hwacha in
the application for review.
He also indicated that the investigating officers were not even called
in to give any evidence to clarify the pertinent issues raised in the remand
"On the basis of these compelling examples, applicant (Biti)
respectfully contends that a decision such as the brief statement made by
the court, which is content to escape the liability of making a full and
reasoned judgment, as liable to be set aside," said Hwacha.
He added that his client also contends that the failure by the court
to give reasons alone, "especially a failure to give reasons answering into
the facts and law before it", constitute reviewable irregularities. Biti
faces four charges including treason, which carries the death penalty.
The treason charge stems from a document titled "The Transitional
Strategy" which Biti is said to have written ahead of the March 29 election
between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Biti denies writing the document, which his lawyers have described as
"doctored." From the same document stem two other charges of causing
dissatisfaction among the army and bringing the office of the president into
The fourth charge Biti faces is communicating falsehoods prejudicial
to the state by allegedly announcing that Tsvangirai had won the March
presidential election by an outright majority.
Results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission five weeks
later indicated that while Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe, he had failed to
garner a majority.
Biti is out on bail.
By Violet Gonda
21 August 2008
The Herald newspaper has come under fire from the Botswana government for
publishing what they say is "misleading content" about their position on
Zimbabwe. On Thursday the Herald published a report entitled "MDC-T leader
lied to us about Zimbabwe situation".
The paper went on to write: "Leaders from Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania
expressed "embarrassment" at having "blindly supported Tsvangirai" during
the 28th SADC Heads of State Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, after South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who is facilitating talks between Zimbabwe's
political parties, gave them a full briefing on what was taking place."
But the Office of the President of Botswana said it is concerned about the
misleading article. Botswana said its position, with respect to the
political situation in Zimbabwe, has not altered.
Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Coordinator of the Botswana Government Communication
Information System, said the article also deceptively attributed certain
sentiments to his Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The state mouthpiece claimed Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, said his
analysis of the situation was that Morgan Tsvangirai had misled them on
Zimbabwe's political processes, alleging that the Batswana official said
this after he read a report from Thabo Mbeki, to the Organ on Defence,
Politics and Security.
The Herald wrote: "He (Skelemani) said they had been misinformed and were of
the opinion that Tsvangirai should accept the agreement that President Mbeki
had facilitated as it was quite reasonable. His exact words were, 'What more
does Tsvangirai expect?' But we cannot order him to accept the agreement,
all we can do is try and persuade him to see sense'."
Clifford Maribe, the spokesperson in the Foreign Office of Botswana, told
Newsreel that the statement and allegations by the Herald are false and a
"figment of the editor's imagination."
He said the SADC session on Zimbabwe was a closed door event and the
Minister gave no interviews to journalists. "So we see this as simply a
clear and deliberate attempt to misinform the public and cast aspersions on
the principled position that Botswana took with respect to the political
situation in Zimbabwe."
Relations between the regime and Botswana are at an all time low after
Botswana criticized Zimbabwe's recent sham Presidential election. President
Ian Khama boycotted the recent SADC summit and sent his minister instead,
because he does not recognise Mugabe as the legitimate President.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thu Aug 21, 10:06 AM ET
GENEVA (AFP) - The United Nations mission in Zimbabwe is over-cautious in
its dealings with Harare, contributing to a weak response to the country's
internal displacement problem, an NGO said Thursday.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre urged the UN to get tough with
President Robert Mugabe's government on the issue, adding that a failure to
raise these issues could undermine the UN's credibility.
"The UN country team has taken an overly cautious approach in its dealings
with the government and has failed to develop a coherent and systematic
response to the ongoing displacement crisis in Zimbabwe," it said.
It pointed to a 2004 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
study which found that in places where the displacement problem is ignored,
the United Nations needed to have "more assertive response".
In Zimbabwe, the centre said, the internal displacement problem remains
hidden, as there are no camps for such refugees, no official statistics and
no government acknowledgement of a problem.
However, it said several hundred thousand Zimbabweans have been forced from
their homes since 2000 by such government initiatives as rural land reform
and urban demolition campaigns.
It asked the United Nations to "impress upon the government of Zimbabwe its
responsibility to protect the rights of Zimbabweans who have become
displaced" and for UN staff in Zimbabwe to take measures to help the
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, set up in 1998 by the Norwegian
Refugee Council, calls itself "the leading international body monitoring
conflict-induced internal displacement worldwide".
On behalf of the United Nations, it maintains a database on internal
displacement for some 50 countries.
Aug 21, 2008, 14:27 GMT
Harare - Striking hospital doctors in Zimbabwe vowed to stay off the job
until government acceded to their demands for better pay conditions to help
cushion them against the effects of 11.3 million per cent inflation.
The nationwide strike began Wednesday over the doctors demands to be paid in
foreign currency instead of the nearly worthless Zimbabwe dollar.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (HDA) chairman Amon Siveregi told
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa the doctors would continue the industrial action
until government came to the table.
'We notified them on Monday that our situation had forced us to down tools
but we are yet to get a response from them,' said Siveregi.
Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa said the government was unable to keep
up with galloping inflation, which shot up from 2.2 million per cent in May
to 11.3 million per cent in June, but is thought to be really much higher.
'From time to time we review their salaries but at times we cannot cope up
with the ever escalating cost of living,' he said.
A visit to three government hospitals in Harare province - Parirenyatwa,
Harare Central and Chitungwiza showed that some patients had not been
attended to by doctors since Tuesday, thus further paralyzing a health
system that is on its knees.
The exodus of health personnel abroad, the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic
and the failure by President Robert Mugabe's government to import essential
medical drugs and equipment have aggravated the situation.
While refusing to say how much he was paid Siveregi assured: 'Our demands
are very reasonable. We just want to be paid a decent salary.'
'I wish these doctors would just continue working while the government look
at their concerns,' said Theresa Marimwe, a woman whose four-year-old
daughter Grace to Chitungwiza hospital, is suff from cholera and looked pale
'She has a running tummy. I wonder if she will get a prescription,' Marimwe
said with concern.
Zimbabwe's doctors, among the best trained in Africa but also among the
worst paid, earn a starting salary of 680 Zimbabwe dollars a month - just
enough to buy three loaves of bread.
MAZ statement to the negotiating parties and incoming MPs on the media
situation as obtaining in Zimbabwe.
The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) notes with concern that since the
signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by political parties on 27
July 2008, the media environment in Zimbabwe has not shown any signs of
embracing the principles of freedom of expression or access to information.
MAZ also notes with great trepidation that the harassment, torture, threats
as well as legal cases against journalists and media workers have continued
without any corrective actions by those that are in control of the state
security services or any statements of condemnation or redress from the
political parties involved in the current mediation process.
MAZ holds true that this situation and these circumstances that are still
negatively informing and impacting on Zibmabwe's media environment, cannot
be conducive to any mediation process.
It is near impossible for MAZ to welcome any progress made in direct
relation to the current mediation process in an environment that continues
to flout the rights of freedom of expression, access to information, media
freedom and prevention of unlawful detention or torture.
Further still, MAZ is deeply disturbed by the current manipulation of the
government-controlled media which has shut out dissenting voices and
provided only a partial and partisan account of the talks. What is required
at this juncture is a media which informs the public of the issues at stake
and allows a variety of views to be heard. Journalists should not behave as
government public relations officers and should adhere to professional
standards. That is clearly not the case at present.
The Alliance, therefore, recommends to the political parties involved in the
negotiations, the SADC appointed mediator, President Mbeki of South Africa,
Hs excellency the Chair of the African Union Commission Mr. J. Ping, The UN
Special Representative to Zimbabwe, Mr H. Menkerios the Members of
Parliament elect of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe that any meaningful
negotiations for the people of Zimbabwe must in them ensure the following:
a) That Zimbabwe totally repeals the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, the Broadcasting Services Act and the Interception of
b) A constitutional provision that explicitly guarantees Freedom of the
Press in line with other democratic practices.
c) Recognition of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, a professional
media self-regulatory body that was endorsed by all media stakeholders in
2007; and abolition of the statutory regulatory body, the Media and
Information Commission, which has been open to official abuse.
d) Enactment of media laws that guarantee freedom of the media to criticise
public office bearers and not unnecessarily protect them from public
scrutiny. (These will also take into account that there are libel laws that
protect individuals from invasion of privacy.
e) Enactment of a broadcasting law that promotes media diversity through a
three-tier system as espoused in the African Charter on Broadcasting of 1991
that Zimbabwe is signatory to. The current Broadcasting Services Act has
failed the nation and the test of democracy in the past eight years.
f)The transformation of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and Zimpapers
from state media to truly public media that serve all concerned Zimbabweans.
g)Enactment of a broadcasting law that encourages foreign investment in the
media for growth of the industry.
h) Enactment of enabling legislation that recognises the convergence of
broadcast, telephony and other information communication technologies (ICT's);
and the rescinding of regulations that impede cost effective access by the
public to ICT's including wireless spectrum and voice over internet protocol
i) An immediate cessation to the continuing climate of repression in the
country, including the arrest, assault and incarceration of journalists and
media workers, and use of hate speech by those in public office against
alternative voices. People should not be afraid to air their views.
Should these recommendations be adhered to, it is the strong view of MAZ
that the right to freedom of expression, which is the cornerstone of any
democracy will allow for the mediation process to be more meaningful to the
people of Zimbabwe. MAZ therefore calls upon the negotiators and incoming
MPs to take into account issues of media freedom and freedom of expression
if true democracy is to be realised in Zimbabwe.
MAZ - the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe - comprises Misa Zimbabwe, the Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, and the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
TANONOKA JOSEPH WHANDE
From the programme Heart of the Matter
I had the privilege of being the only invited journalist to a briefing by
MDC National Chairman, Lovemore Moyo, MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and
his vice president, Thokozani Khupe.
They spoke well and explained several issues that were of concern to the
thirty-something group of invited Zimbabweans.
I could not help to feel that were people given such information in daily
briefings, it would go a long way in consolidating support for the talks
among the people, a point I made to them but, of course, was reminded that
certain trade-offs are necessary in delicate negotiations, such as these.
I was personally interested in the post Mugabe era. I am very concerned
about the unnecessary deaths mindlessly rained on the people by ZANU-PF.
Families were destroyed with parents and children made to disappear. I
cannot, for the life of me, believe that our nation shall ever contemplate
that it is business as usual when we think of those killed for the
glorification of a dictator.
The issue of those killed by this government before, during and after
independence is one that is going to be very difficult to lay to rest,
especially if it is handled in a cavalier manner for the convenience of
political parties and leading individuals at the expense of the people.
Amnesty is the "official pardon for people who have been convicted of
Surely, the MDC is not thinking of this?
Take Mugabe, for example. If he is granted amnesty, it means he had been to
court and was convicted of, among other things, genocide, but his successor
government might just decide to pardon him and let him spend time on his pig
farm as a free man, a status he denied Zimbabwean citizens since he became
Prime Minister and, later, President.
Amnesty is offensive in that those against whom those crimes were committed
have no say. Politicians just forgive each other for their own conveniences.
Amnesty is offensive in that it does not take into consideration the
feelings of those whose parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives
perished for no reason at all.
It is highly offensive to me that a man who murderers another man at a beer
hall is sentenced to death and his death sentence is actually carried out by
the government, the very same government that would pardon a man who,
through deliberate abuse of office and betrayal of public trust, killed
thousands of innocent people just to boost his own ego and to hold on to
power because people no longer liked his policies.
Yet we always hoped the state is the custodian of justice!
It gets worse.
There is what they call immunity and it is "the protection or exemption from
something, especially an obligation or penalty".
Surely, the MDC is not really thinking about this?
Take Mugabe, for example. If he is granted immunity, he will go home to
Zvimba and be free to continue abusing people and the hogs on his farm.
Immunity is offensive because a government that we are going to vote into
power hoping to be afforded the opportunity of closure will protect and
exempt the men who are terrorizing us and them today.
Imagine the MDC protecting Mugabe from fellow citizens?
As we talk today, Mugabe's goons continue terrorizing people in Manicaland,
abducting, kidnapping and assaulting opposition party activists.
As we talk today, many people cannot go back to their homes because of
These are the people who are floating around words like amnesty and immunity
at any opportunity they get, especially at the talks in South Africa.
How can immunity and amnesty be granted to men who never admitted committing
any crime and who, while waiting for an answer to their request for
immunity, continue to kill and abuse people, including those same ones who
are supposed to grant them their request?
As MDC National Chairman was taking me back to my residence after the
briefing, I revisited the issue of immunity and amnesty and he repeated more
or less the same thing he had said in the briefing and that is that in the
interests of Zimbabwe, the MDC was prepared to accept some unacceptable
things, like amnesty and immunity.
On the whole, it does make sense that agreements to free Zimbabwe should not
be derailed by a request for amnesty or immunity from Mugabe.
The reasoning seems to be: give the man what he wants and save lives and
rebuild the nation.
It's not that easy as any successor to Mugabe, be they ZANU-PF, MDC or
something in between, will find out.
Can the people of Zimbabwe really forgive Mugabe and most of his people?
I find this difficult to believe.
As for me, I am in a quandary. I am a Christian, a former Catholic alter boy
who was taught to forgive those that trespass against us as those we
trespass against are bound to forgive us too.
But I can't.
Mugabe need not forgive a single Zimbabwean because no single Zimbabwean
ever did him any wrong.
I know my God is listening and I hope He understands why I cannot forgive. I
do not, and I repeat, I do not forgive these men because they continue with
their evil ways. They continue committing the same crimes for which they
seek immunity and amnesty.
They are starving children and chasing parents into the mountains and want
to be forgiven while they scout for more families to destroy and kill. They
are denying people they injure access to hospitals which they control.
If my refusal to forgive Mugabe, my homeboy Emerson Mnangagwa, Chiwenga,
Perence Shiri, and all those who played cheerleaders to the murder of
Zimbabweans will condemn me to the fires of hell, then I am prepared for
I will find Mugabe and his cronies there as well and none of us will have
the advantage of fireproof gear.
We will be fighting on equal terms and there is nothing I would cherish
That, my compatriots, is the way it is today, Thursday. August 21, 2008.
August 21, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Caesar Zvayi, the former Herald political editor, who deserted the
paper in search of greener pastures in Botswana, has been accorded royal
treatment, like the biblical prodigal son, on his return to the government's
flagship following his deportation from Zimbabwe's neighbouring country.
Zvayi, who was deported from Botswana two weeks ago because of his links to
Zanu-PF, has been rehired by his former employer and promoted to the
position of assistant editor, much to the chagrin of loyal fellow employees.
The new position comes with a brand new double=cab truck as well as a double
storey government house.
A source at Herald House yesterday said Zvayi, who returned to work at the
government-controlled daily on Monday, was welcomed with a promotion and
cozier working conditions.
He has been allocated a brand new, all terrain twin-cab Toyota Hilux Vigo as
his official vehicle. The 4 X 4 truck, worth more than US$30 000 is similar
to the vehicles which the government has allocated to High Court judges and
security chiefs recently.
"He is back with us," said the source. "He came to the office on Monday. You
remember he was a desk editor before he left for Botswana. He is back on
promotion as an assistant editor in charge of the political and features
Zvayi was deported from Botswana on August 8 about two months after he had
been appointed to a job as a lecturer in the Department of Media Studies at
the University of Botswana in Gaborone.
That was soon after the European Union added the journalist's name to the
list of Zimbabweans who are not permitted to travel to any of the member
countries of the regional bloc.
The name of Munyaradzi Huni, political editor of The Sunday Mail was also
added to the same list that is headed by President Robert Mugabe and
features the names of members of his cabinet, as well as security chiefs and
heads of parastatals.
The EU accuses Zvayi and Huni of propping up President Mugabe's rule through
their pro-establishment writings.
Our Herald source said that Zvayi had just moved into the double-storied
house in one of Harare's leafier suburbs.
When he appeared on national television last week to give an account of his
ordeal in Botswana, Zvayi was featured as strolled with his two young
daughters in the garden of a property with a large double-storey house.
"When he returned from Botswana, he did not have accommodation here and we
understand that he was allocated a house by the government somewhere in the
northern suburbs. It is said, he will be given that house outright, if he
has not been given already," our source said.
The source said, given government's established patronage system which
Zanu-PF or Mugabe rewards loyalists richly, it was only a matter of time
before Zvayi was allocated a commercial farm in a prime farming area. This
is the ultimate reward as Mugabe distributes the resources of patronage at
A week before the re-hiring of Zvayi the Permanent Secretary for Information
and Publicity; George Charamba said the government would "give Caesar back
his pen back".
Charamba's remarks, made at the National Heroes' Acre on Heroes' Day,
created uneasiness at The Herald, as senior journalists were anxious about
the security of their own positions.
Former Herald political reporter, Mabasa Sasa, Charamba's other blue-eyed
boy who replaced Zvayi as political and features editor when he left for
Botswana, was particularly worried, sources say. He, however, retained his
Charamba wields much influence over the political section at the daily
newspaper. He contributes a regular column in which he launches virulent
attacks on the leadership of the political opposition.
The column is penned under the pseudonym Nathaniel Manheru, which he
inherited from his former boss, Prof Jonathan Moyo, the former Minister of
I am so ashamed of South Africa for not doing more to help save your
beautiful country from the tyrant/dictator/despot Mugabe. Mbeki does not
have the support of any South Africans I have met- in regard to his abysmal
mediation efforts. I have never supported violence as a means of achieving
peace and democracy, but am starting to believe that using force will be the
only way to get rid of Mugabe. He will never give up executive powers, and
we should not even be thinking that talks will achieve that.
I wish Mugabe dies soon, along with his greedy wife and evil army generals.
I read the Zimbabwe situation every day- and am grateful for it as our SA
newspapers are not covering your story fairly- or giving it the coverage it
deserves. Good Luck and dont give up the fight for peace and democracy in
the truth of the mattter is that there can never be a solution that ignores
justice in zimbabwe,ZANU PF knows what it did in the 80s and 3months ago and
as such they do not want to face the consequences of their actions but
instead they want another opportunity to do it again and again as they are
doing it now i.e.to kill to kill and live to kill again and again.Only the
Almighty can bring justice and to Him let us all look for not only our
ecocnomic salvtaion but for the greatest of our needs-the salvation of our
souls.let no one be fooled we do not have an enduring city here-thats a
fact.GOD bless you as you take these troubles to be opportunities of
I am rather puzzled at how this is working out. This is not seemingly being
done to assist us ordinary Zimbabweans but to suit the current ZANUPF
structure and Government.
It would appear there is concerted effort in the SADC to retain and empower
the PRES. of ZanuPf rather than promote Democratic change.
Please God spare us from this tragedy in the making. What is it that the
outgoing Government will do to bring us out of the quagmire they have
rolled us into?
21st Aug 2008 01:10 GMT
By Mduduzi Mathuthu
THERE are many ways to describe what happened at the Bird's Nest Stadium in
Beijing on Wednesday.
"VW Beatle running alongside a Ferrari," one of our readers wrote on our
"Actually, a Ferrari running aside a Bugatti Veyron," corrected another as
if to suggest they are both good, but one just too good.
"Brian Dzingai ran like a frog out of water," opined another, "but then
again he was trying to beat lightning."
"We need a re-run here," said another despairingly, and doubtless a keen
follower of Zimbabwean politics.
On lane 5 of the men's 200m final at the Beijing Olympics, Zimbabwe's Brian
Dzingai found himself in the middle of history.
Running on the inner lane was a 21-year-old Jamaican sub-human sprinting
machine named Usain Bolt, and aiming to be the first man since Carl Lewis in
1984 to sweep the Olympic sprint titles, having already won the 100m last
Saturday with a new world record.
For Dzingai, the weight of Zimbabwe's last medal hope on his shoulders, the
sight of Bolt flashing past him at the first bend must have carried the
hopelessness with which a VW Beatle driver attacks a Ferrari.
Once on the straight, Bolt accelerated away into the history books as he
beat Michael Johnson's 12-year-old record set at the Atlanta Olympics. Bolt
was past the finish line in 19.30 seconds, smashing Johnson's mark of 19.32.
Dzingai arrived on 20.22, and took fifth position out of eight runners, but
only because Wallace Spearmon of the United States was disqualified for
stomping on the line while negotiating the bend. Spearmon would have taken
The fact Dzingai got to the final is an achievement on its own. Billions
around the world were watching. And whenever Bolt's history making sprint is
replayed, Dzingai will be part of it. Like the Ferrari, he is by all
accounts in a small class of super sprinters. But against Bolt, a Bugatti,
it was a mismatch. - newzimbabwe