December 13, 2009
Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe has told Zimbabweans that he expects elections to be held
"soon" - raising fears that he will mount a new campaign of terror and
violence in his determination to hold on to power.
He was speaking on Saturday at the end of his Zanu (PF) party's five-yearly
congress that, predictably, endorsed him and his lieutenants to continue in
office. There was no suggestion at the congress that he should retire. If he
fought and won an election next year, he would be 92 at the expiry of his
term of office.
"Elections are not too far away," he said. "The inclusive government (shared
between his Zanu (PF) and the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change) was given a short life. Let's go out and drive the
engine at top gear."
The coalition agreement prescribes a two-year period for a new democratic
constitution to be drafted and under which the country's next elections
should be held, although it does not specify a deadline.
At the start of the congress Mr Mugabe conceded that Zanu (PF) had, for the
first time, lost parliamentary and the first round of presidential elections
and blamed unprecedented infighting between the numerous factions in the
party that has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 30 years.
Zanu (PF) is also short of funds, deprived by the power-sharing
administration of easy access to taxpayers' money, and its support is at an
all-time low. A recent opinion poll gave it 12 per cent of the vote if an
election was held now.
Mr Mugabe ignored the party's dire situation. "We must win resoundingly and
regain the constituencies we lost," he said.
However, the MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said: "They know they don't have
the support of the people. They say, 'to hell with the people'."
After the election setback last year, Mr Mugabe turned on Zimbabweans with a
vengeance to ensure he won a disputed second round of voting in June. It
left a reported 200 MDC supporters dead, and many thousands tortured, raped,
homeless and terrorised.
"If June was a storm, this next one will be worse," said Mr Chamisa. "This
is why we have to make sure we are ready."
He refused to elaborate, but international observers of Zimbabwe's bloody
elections since 2000 have affirmed that the MDC has scrupulously maintained
a policy of non-violence.
Human rights groups say there has been a steady rise in incidents of
violence and intimidation by Zanu (PF) and the security forces against the
MDC in the past six months.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger in Johannesburg
Published: 12:07PM GMT 13 Dec 2009
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party set the scene for the battle to succeed him as
Zimbabwe's president, even as it reappointed him as leader for five more
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party set the scene for the battle to succeed him as
Zimbabwe's president, even as it reappointed him as leader for five more
years Photo: REUTERS
Mr Mugabe was unanimously re-elected as first secretary of the party. But,
for the first time, delegates at the five-yearly congress in Harare spoke
openly of the need to plan for the succession.
After closed sessions that extended late into Friday night and resumed for
much of Saturday - when they had not been scheduled - Joyce Mujuru, the wife
of a former army commander, was promoted to senior vice-president.
Following months of bitter infighting within the party, it is a victory for
Mrs Mujuru and a major blow to Emmerson Mnangagwa, her great rival for the
Mrs Mujuru's husband Solomon is seen as the power behind her and a cabal of
influential army members and businessmen. But the battle is in no way over
and one delegate said there had been "fireworks" in the closed sessions.
Mr Mnangagwa has been indispensable to Mr Mugabe in his struggles against
the Movement for Democratic Change, and is popular in some quarters of the
party. His supporters claimed that provincial results had been manipulated
in Mrs Mujuru's favour.
"I come from Harare province and we don't want Joyce, many of us think she
is corrupt and we want Mnangagwa," said one delegate.
Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe,
said: "There is no reason to believe there has been a ceasefire of sorts
between the Mnangagwa and Mujuru factions. I see it as being a fight to the
"Mnangagwa may consider himself down, but not out, he waits for another day
to fight this permanent struggle which will only end with one of them being
in a commanding position, and whoever that will be may continue the struggle
in a harder form."
Mr Mugabe has spent a political lifetime playing off different factions
within the organisation against each other, making himself indispensable as
a unifying figure.
Along the way, his land reforms have left millions in need of food aid,
millions more emigrating in search of a better life, and the economy
After last year's violence-wracked election, in which more than 100
opposition supporters were killed and thousands beaten, he was forced to go
into a coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change. But Zanu-PF
retains control of the military, police, central bank and other organs of
state, and the party clearly intends to do everything it can to stay in
authority despite its plummeting public support.
Even while Mr Mugabe's position remains sacrosanct, the instinct for
self-preservation is motivating members to look beyond him.
"Succession was taboo," said Tendai Wenyika, the Zanu-PF youth secretary for
Harare province. "Now we are determined to get this settled."
She said Mr Mugabe was responsible for the defeat at the polls, saying he
had been "too long in power".
But Mr Mugabe turned on the faction-fighters, blaming them for the vote
"Instead of organising against the opposition, we are sweating for support,
not for the party, but for oneself," Mr Mugabe told party members.
"The party is eating itself up. The more intense the internal fighting is,
the greater opportunity we give to the opposition to thrive.
"We should be able to admit that the election produced a result that left a
huge dent on the party. We are responsible for the poor performance in the
election last year."
Seeking to reassert his authority, Mr Mugabe, wearing a lime green designer
jacket, reiterated his familiar anti-Western and anti-white rhetoric,
sending the 10,500 delegates rising to their feet, applauding wildly and
breaking into revolutionary songs from the 1970's war against the former
White politicians like Roy Bennett, the MDC's deputy agriculture minister,
who Mr Mugabe has refused to swear in until he is cleared of treason
charges, do not belong in Zimbabwe, he said. "Whites, even those born in
Zimbabwe," do not belong as they "were born from settlers", he declared, to
ululations from his audience.
Prof Masunungure said those predicting that Zanu-PF was mortally wounded
were making a mistake: "People should confound wishful thinking with sober
analysis, Zanu-PF went through tumultuous times 30 years ago. I hope Zanu
PF's rivals do not embrace the fallacy that the party is finished, as that
is hopelessly wrong," he said.
"I see it as a crisis of modernisation. It is far too early to write its
December 13, 2009
Robert MugabePresident Robert Mugabe - another five years at helm of Zanu-PF
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, whose fifth national
congress drew to a dramatic close in Harare on Saturday night, slaps its
partner in the unified government by adopting measures that could scuttle
the Global Political Agreement.
The party effectively ditched any further discussion on Mugabe's
controversial appointment of the central bank governor Gideon Gono, Attorney
General Johannes Tomana and provincial governors in total defiance of an
SADC Troika pronouncement that the issues were genuine demands by the MDC.
"Congress resolved that our inclusive government negotiators cease to
entertain any discussion on or negotiation of the issue relating to the
appointment of the governor of the Reserve Bank, the Attorney General and
the provincial governors as these fall outside the purview of the Global
Political Agreement and have their solid statutory origins that protect
them," reads part of the Zanu-PF resolutions.
Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa announced the resolutions
at the end of the congress Saturday evening.
Fresh clashes also loom between Zanu-PF and MDC following yet another
resolution by Zanu-PF congress that it will not allow the implementation of
any issues agreed in talks so far before sanctions are lifted and the
so-called pirate radio stations stop broadcasting into Zimbabwe.
"There should be no movement on the concerns of the MDC formations without
corresponding and simultaneous redress of Zanu-PF's concerns such as the
illegal western sanctions, western funded pirate radio broadcasts and
western interference in Zimbabwean international politics through the
funding of parallel government structures," said Mutasa.
"The President and first secretary of Zanu-PF and negotiators should not
countenance any introduction or inclusion in the ongoing inter-party
dialogue of provisions or agreements which seek to reverse or undermine the
gains of the liberations struggle."
Zanu-PF has further berated the MDC for demanding reforms around the
Zanu-PF says it has the privilege to remain in control of the country's
partisan security forces, claiming the institutions were founded through the
merger of the liberation war forces of Zanla and Zipra at independence in
According to Zanu-PF, the structure of the forces was "tailored to specific
threat perceptions" claiming any such control was "an unalienable right of
every sovereign state".
"Zimbabwe's security forces are a product of the national liberation
struggle, belong to the people and are mandated to defend the country's
territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty," said Zanu-PF in a
"Zanu-PF as the party of revolution and the people's vanguard shall not
allow the security forces of Zimbabwe to be the subject of any negotiations
for the so-called security sector reforms."
Any security sector reforms, says Zanu-PF, seeks to reverse or undermine
gains of the liberation struggle
The MDC is adamant the security forces, which are headed by commanders loyal
to Mugabe cronies, are not discharging their duties partially.
In his own closing address to the congress, President Mugabe praised the
defence forces for being "dependable".
The army has kept him in power for years in spite of his continued rejection
by the electorate.
"That is the most dependable force we could ever have," he said.
"It shall not be tempered with. The enemy would want to see it disintegrate
and any tactics, maneuvers, manipulations to tamper with the force as it is
would never be entertained."
Zanu-PF says it will block any new constitution that does not reflect the
values and aspirations of Zimbabweans.
"Congress signals its determination to reject any outcome of the
constitution making process that is not home-grown and acceptable outcome of
the constitution made by Zimbabweans, for Zimbabwe which entrenches the
ethos and gains of the liberation struggle and not the products of any
"No foreigners, individuals, cooperates or national in whatever capacity or
any from time to time find themselves involved in aspects of Zimbabwe's
bilateral disputes have the right to impose a constitutional order on
Zanu-PF has further asked South Africa President Jacob Zuma to be patient
with Zimbabwe's political crisis as well as understand that the political
crisis "has delicate, sensitive fundamental concerns that cannot be resolved
Zuma was appointed last month by the SADC Troika to preside over Zimbabwe's
crisis talks, taking over from his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. Zanu-PF thanked
Mbeki for a job well done. Meanwhile, Zuma's take-over generated both
excitement and optimism that he would soon find the solution that had
remained elusive under Mbeki.
President Mugabe was reelected Zanu-PF leader for yet another five-year
term. He will be more than 90 years old if he serves his full term. Vice
President Joice Mujuru (54) was also re-elected into her position.
Party chairman John Nkomo, age 75, was elevated to the second position of
vice president in the party. This means Nkomo will be elevated in government
from his post as co-Minister of National Healing to second Vice President of
Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo, 64, will
be recalled from Pretoria after he was elected to replace Nkomo as the party's
December 13, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - As the names of the members of the Zanu-PF Central Committee were
announced at the end of the party's just ended national congress, the
loudest and longest round of applause went to Professor Jonathan Moyo,
President Robert Mugabe's former spin-doctor who rejoined the party
recently, after four years in the political doldrums.
He was inglorious sacked from both Zanu-PF and from government in 2005.
Moyo took standing ovations from all the 10 provinces of the party during
the Central Committee introductions. All 10 000 delegates at the Zanu-PF
congress where Mugabe was re-elected as the party's leader, stood up for
Moyo when his name was announced. Elderly women with pictures of Mugabe
emblazoned across their bosoms sang and danced at Moyo's endorsement as a
Central Committee member.
Not since the formation of Zanu -PF in 1963 has the party been hungrier -
and more desperate - for leadership. And not since assuming power in 1980
after a protracted liberation struggle has there been a propaganda agenda as
bold or ambitious as the party is preparing to put in place to ward off the
challenge of its partner in the unified government, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
And it seems the party's leadership and the thousands who attended the
conference are pinning their hopes on Moyo reinforcing the party's defunct
propaganda machinery which now stands challenged in an unprecedented manner
by the increasingly well-oiled media campaign of Prime Minister Morgan
Mugabe set the tone for the need to rejuvenate his party and said Zanu-PF
had to work together, so they were "ready for elections in which must not be
defeated" as happened last year.
"We must win resoundingly and regain the constituents we lost," Mugabe said.
As the name of each member of the Central Committee was called out, there
was some response. But when Moyo's name was announced there was a deafening
applause amid dancing and ululation.
Moyo declined to comment to this reporter on his uproarious come-back.
But he told The Sunday Mail: "I am humbled and excited to be back in the
party's main structures. It's a call of duty. I want to take this
opportunity to work hard so I can justify this nomination. I am just one
member of a very strong Central Committee and I will take instructions from
The Zanu-PF congress was beamed live on State television. As his name was
announced the cameraman trained his camera on Moyo as he walked to the high
table to be congratulated.
Previously a strident critic of Mugabe and Zanu-PF, Moyo came to the
forefront on Zimbabwe's political landscape during the drafting of the Draft
Constitution in 1999. He was the spokesperson for the committee charged with
putting the final draft constitution together before it was tabled for
referendum in February, 2000.
Once the people of Zimbabwe had rejected the draft and following the 2000
parliamentary election which Zanu-PF won by a drastically reduced margin,
President Mugabe appointed the former political science lecturer and
newspaper columnist to his Cabinet. As Minister of Information in the
President's office, Moyo became the chief government spokesman.
Moyo was to become the architect of a regime of tough media laws, which led
to the harassment of journalists, the expulsion of foreign correspondents
and finally, the closure of newspapers, including the popular Daily News.
During his tenure Parliament enacted the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA)
(2001), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
(2002), Public Order and Security Act (2002) and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (Commercialisation) Act (2003).
He was expelled from government in 2005 after he defied Zanu-PF by
registering as an independent candidate for the legislative elections in the
Tsholotsho Constituency in March 2005. The party had reserved the
constituency for a woman candidate, thus effectively barring Moyo from
The decision was linked to a row over Mugabe's choice of candidate for
vice-President. Following his expulsion, Moyo (52) underwent radical
transformation to become, once more, a vociferous and vicious critic of
Mugabe and his party.
He has become undeniably the most controversial political figure on the
Zimbabwean political landscape, hated by most and loved once more by the
Moyo this year reapplied to rejoin Zanu-PF and was duly readmitted into the
party's top policy-making body. Now the congress has endorsed his return
into the Zanu-PF fold, with a crucial election on the horizon.
The expectation is that he has the potential to rejuvenate Zanu-PF, because
he is a master of propaganda. And the standing ovation said it all, causing
some Zanu-PF heavyweights at the high table to fidget uncomfortably in their
Meanwhile, Mugabe smiled broadly as his former propaganda strategist was
greeted amid such excessive pomp.
Vusumuzi Sifile and Valentine Maponga
12 December 2009
Harare - FORMER Information Minister Jonathan Moyo made a triumphant return
to Zanu PF's central committee yesterday as the announcement of his election
was made amid the loudest and prolonged applause.
But the Fifth Zanu PF National Congress failed to agree on crucial
amendments to the party's constitution, after ethnic divisions that have
been simmering over the years intensified.
In order to contain the explosive situation, the Congress elected people by
acclamation. The outcome was retention of the old line up. President Mugabe,
as a result, did not appoint members of his party's politburo.
The party leadership spent most of the time in what was supposed to be two
days of serious deliberations scheming ways of pre-empting a potentially
divisive fall-out from disgruntled members who felt there was "a serious
disregard of the voices of people at the grassroots".
After getting wind of plans by some members to move motions from the floor,
the party leadership decided to defer amendments to the constitution to the
next central committee.
It is hoped Mugabe will have a better chance of reining in rebellious
supporters within the central committee.
Sources said the draft list of amendments had six pages containing more than
The party's legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the
deferment of the amendments, saying the process would now be handled by the
"We have deferred the amendments because they are too many," Mnangagwa said.
"We cannot finish them at this congress. But this does not mean we have
dropped them, we can always discuss the amendments at the central committee
meetings according to the existing constitution."
Zanu PF sources said the postponement was one of the many desperate attempts
by the party's leadership to contain the chaos that had been building up in
the run up to the congress.
"In terms of what was supposed to be done, it's just as good as this was a
one-day congress. Most of the issues which we expected to be tackled were
either deferred or dropped from the agenda," said the source.
"All this is because of the leadership's fear of a revolt from people who
wanted to challenge what is now common practice by the leadership to subvert
"People elect their candidates, but you have the politburo just sitting and
reversing those processes, and imposing losers on the people."
"This fear of internal democracy flies in the face of the very ideals the
party fought the liberation struggle for - which is democracy."
Among other things, the disgruntled members wanted to nominate Oppah
Muchinguri for the Vice-Presidency from the floor.
In the only province where there was an open challenge for the other
vice-presidential post, Muchinguri clobbered the incumbent Joice Mujuru by
84 votes to 25.
"I can assure you, if given a chance, people would have reversed a number of
politburo decisions, and also clarify tendency that in the presidium there
is never an election. We are always presented with names for endorsement,"
added the source.
"What the provinces claim is not a true reflection of what the districts
want. Most of those nominees are not wanted by people at the grassroots."
In the initial list of central committee nominees, Manicaland had left out
former provincial chairperson Mike Madiro and Freddy Kanzama, who had been
overwhelmingly elected by their district.
But the names had to be included after protests from ordinary supporters
Sources said there were near violent scenes especially during debate of a
report on the state of the party.
South African Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale who led a
delegation of the African Nation Congress (ANC) also made reference to the
"heckling" that characterised proceedings at the congress.
He pleaded with Zanu PF to fulfill the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
saying "what goes wrong in Zimbabwe will and must also affect South Africa
because we are joined by a little river called Limpopo".
The congress saw National Healing Minister John Nkomo and Zimbabwe's
Ambassador to South Africa being elevated to Vice-President and Zanu PF
Sunday December 13 2009
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe said he planned to regain his hold over
the country he has ruled for nearly three decades.
Mugabe appeared triumphant after being re-elected to the leadership of his
ZANU-PF party, which has been severally weakened after it lost its
parliamentary majority in last year's contested elections.
The 85-year-old leader was forced into a power-sharing deal with former
rivals after the 2008 poll, but many fear it is doomed to fail as Mugabe
clings on to power.
"The inclusive government has a short life of 24 months," he said. "So we
must be ready for the elections and we must not be defeated like we were
last year. We must win resoundingly and regain the constituents we lost."
A new election date has not been set, but many observers fear that the
build-up will see the return of the violence that has marred previous polls.
Joice Mujuru, a former guerrilla fighter in the bush war, retained her post
of second vice president. John Nkomo was elected as the party's other vice
president to replace Joseph Msika, who died this year.
The party has been long divided over who should eventually succeed Mugabe,
but the liberation hero has thwarted any challenges to his leadership.
On Friday, Mugabe lashed out at about 10,000 delegates, saying infighting
was "eating" the party and had cost them last year's election.
Zimbabwe is struggling to emerge from political gridlock, economic collapse
and international isolation and sanctions. Critics blame Mugabe's land
reform policies for Zimbabwe's economic meltdown after he ordered the
seizures of thousands of white-owned farms in 2000, disrupting the
agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket.
However, Mugabe remained characteristically defiant. "Land reform is
irreversible. We took the land and we are not going to hand it to the white
Written by MORGEN KULARE
Thursday, 10 December 2009 12:57
All non-governmental organisations (NGOs) intending to offer any
humanitarian assistance in the rural districts of Zimbabwe must first
register then work with the local government structures in these
communities. (Pictured: Waiting at a hammer mill (Chigayo) to have maize
milled into mealie-meal - Zanu (PF) accused of using district administrators
and local chiefs to deny food aid to MDC supporters)
Unfortunately the current Zimbabwean local government organs, most of whom
are inherited colonial structures are dominated by Zanu (PF) functionaries
who have faithfully and systematically sidelined perceived opponents of the
For the benefit of the majority of Zimbabweans, it is critical to briefly
look at the composition of local governance at district level where partisan
distribution of food and other humanitarian assistance has been the order of
The district administrator (formerly district commissioner under the Smith
regime) is the head of local government. Most of them hold the requisite
qualifications but they were largely recruited by the outgoing Zanu (PF)
regime and have been diligent in propagating that party's policies.
Food aid distribution
The first and critical wing under the DA is the traditional leadership
headed by a chief. Many Zimbabweans will remember that all chiefs received
cars, generators and had their homes electrified by President Robert Mugabe's
previous government in order to bribe them into wooing the electorate to
vote Zanu (PF) in any election. The Chiefs then in turn appoint various
headman and village heads who are obviously loyal, answerable and take
strict orders from them.
The second wing is the rural district council (RDC) headed by an elected
chairmen/chairwomen and consists of elected councilors and council staff.
Both Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations share control of these RDCs after
the March 2009 general elections.
The current local government policy is that beneficiaries of all food aid
and humanitarian assistance are selected by the concerned NGO in
consultation with the local traditional leadership.
Minister Chombo has conveniently ignored the RDCs after the formation of the
inclusive government upon realising that the two MDC formations control six
of the country's ten provinces and the majority of the RDCs.
Mugabe has polished and perfected his art of dictatorship by arguing that
the elected councilors represent party interests hence "fair" beneficiary
identification and food distribution can only be done by traditional
The other false contention which is now part of Zanu (PF) rhetoric is that
traditional leaders are respected by villagers and village heads (masabhuku)
are the only people with credible records of villager's needs.
President Mugabe is making such naïve claims now as a well calculated move
to elbow out the participation of the two MDC formations in the
identification of beneficiaries and distribution of food and humanitarian
assistance in Zimbabwe's rural areas.
Cases are widespread since the formation of the inclusive government in
which Zanu (PF) politicians have at various forums castigated and warned
NGOs for "meddling" in Zimbabwe's internal politics through food
distribution. Genuine humanitarian assistance beneficiaries will testify
that NGOs have never interfered in Zimbabwe's political affairs nor have
they been wowed by food to vote MDC.
The stubborn fact is Zanu (PF) which formerly controlled all RDCs has awoken
to the reality that MDC is now in control of a significant portion of the
RDCs and its participation in the distribution of humanitarian assistance
has sent them scurrying in fear of their political evaporation.
In districts still dominated by Zanu (PF), beneficiaries are still being
ordered to first register with the local DCC chairperson before assistance
is rendered. Such situations are prevalent in Mutoko, Maramba, Pfungwe,
Chiredzi, Mberengwa and Hwedza where prospective beneficiaries are also
required to attend Zanu (PF) political gatherings.
If the status quo continues to prevail, then all perceived opponents of
Mugabe will starve to death despite the formation of the inclusive
The organ on National Healing and Integration in the inclusive government
must sincerely acknowledge that polarisation still exists at grassroots
level in Zimbabwean politics. To avoid mass starvation due to political
discrimination, the organ must recommend that all NGOs only register at the
In fact it must be a requirement that the NGOs build their own capacity to
assess potential beneficiaries, register them, distribute the aid and
evaluate their programs without consulting these highly compromised local
government structures which have often misled them for their selfish
Progressive elements in the inclusive government must insist on widespread
reforms in local government including the amendment of the draconian
Traditional Leaders Act. All chiefs and traditional leaders must be confined
to solving domestic disputes and upholding traditional values.
The attempts to have chiefs play a pivotal role in the developmental
activities of their local communities has dismally failed. The section which
empowers them to participate in local governance must be repealed. Most of
the Zimbabwean chiefs are now Zanu (PF) supporters/activists and have
significantly contributed to Magabe's long overdue incumbency.
Editor's Note: Morgen Kulare is the National Research and Advocacy Officer
for Youth of Zimbabwe for Transparency and Progress (YZTP). He can be
contacted by email:email@example.com
Once the pride of Africa, Zimbabwe's education system has undergone a slow decline, with 25 per cent fewer children in school today than there were 10 years ago.
Robert Mugabe, the president, who was last week re-appointed as head of the Zanu-PF party, made education a priority early in his rule but the schools he built in the 1980s have since declined.
Teachers, who receive only $100-a-month from the government, are demanding better pay and an estimated 20,000 have left the profession in the last decade.
For parents, while school is supposed to be free in Zimbabwe, increasing costs such as enrolment charges, books and uniforms, make it too expensive for many.
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Harare, where some students are not even sure if their exam papers will be marked.
Written by Never Chanda
Friday, 11 December 2009 10:08
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the government would "soon"
announce members of the proposed Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and
three other statutory bodies created by the country's power-sharing
Delays in forming the ZHRC, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Zimbabwe Media
Commission have raised fears that President Robert Mugabe wanted to tamper
with nominations submitted to him by Parliament so that he includes some of
his loyalists. Interviews of prospective candidates for the three
commissions took place more than two months ago while the parliamentary
Standing Rules and Orders Committee is yet to select members of the
"The President and myself will soon be announcing the composition of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the other commissions designed to
provide support to the issue of peoples' rights," the premier said in a
statement to mark International Human Rights Day last Thursday. The
commissions are some of the political reforms that the Harare
coalition government must undertake as part of a drive to reshape and
democratise the country's politics. Zimbabweans hope establishment of the
commissions would help protect
citizens' rights and freedoms after a decade of worsening political violence
and rights abuses as Mugabe's pervious government resorted to more
repressive methods to contain rising public discontent in the face of an
economic and food crisis.
Tsvangirai said the formation of the four commissions would be important
milestones in Zimbabwe's torturous march towards respecting people's and
human rights. He said the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that led to the
formation of the unity government was based upon the sanctity of human
rights, particularly with reference to freedom from persecution, freedom of
expression and assembly, security of tenure, security of persons and
prevention of violence.
Human rights violations have however continued despite the formation of the
coalition government by Mugabe and Tsvangirai, with, partisan security
forces stifling ordinary Zimbabweans' rights to freedom of assembly,
association and movement. Perceived Mugabe opponents continue to be harassed
and arrested by the police and other elements aligned to the Zimbabwean
strongman who has ruled the southern African country with an iron fist since
independence in 1980.
Tsvangirai spoke as hundreds of people joined a Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association (Zimrights) march through Harare's central business district to
commemorate International Human Rights Day.
Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, 11 December 2009 10:46
HARARE - Finance Minister Tendai Biti risks "falling foul" of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) after disregarding the Bretton Woods
institution's advice to save special drawing rights (SDR) funds allocated to
Zimbabwe three months ago, an economic think-tank has warned. (Pictured:
Finance Minister Tendai Biti)
Biti last week succumbed to pressure from within Zimbabwe's 10-month-old
coalition government by allocating more than half of the US$510 million
given to the country in September to cushion the economy from the ravages of
this year's global economic crisis. Presenting his 2010 budget on December
2, Biti told parliament that he would draw down some US$260m from the IMF
The SDR payments are separate from IMF programme financing, which comes with
strict policy conditions and goes into a country's foreign exchange
reserves. To turn SDRs into hard currency, Zimbabwe will have to reach an
agreement with another IMF member to buy the SDRs. The SDR, the IMF's
internal unit of account, is made up of a basket of euro, yen, sterling and
dollars and each country's SDR allocation is based on the size of its IMF
quota share, which is broadly calculated according to the size of the
economy, trade and reserves.
Biti has come under intense pressure from central bank governor Gideon Gono
and lately Vice President Joice Mujuru to step up public spending. This he
has now agreed to do, allocating US$210 million to infrastructural
investment and US$50 million for the provision of inputs to small-scale
farmers. "In so doing, however, he risks falling foul of the IMF, which has
urged Harare to save the entire US$510m special SDR allocation and use the
money to rebuild its virtually non-existent reserves," observed London-based
think-tank Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
During the budget presentation, Biti mentioned that he would seek the IMF
permission to use the money for infrastructure development and farm inputs.
The IMF refused to comment last week on whether it would sanction the change
in the use of the SDR funds or if the Zimbabwean minister had already
applied for permission. A staff team from the IMF that visited Harare in
October advised the Zimbabwean authorities to seek sustained concessional
donor financing in support of their medium-term growth and poverty reduction
objectives rather than relying on non-concessional SDR-related funds.
"The SDR allocation provided an important one-off boost to Zimbabwe's
depleted international reserves, and should be saved," the IMF mission said
at the time. A decade of economic turmoil has seen Zimbabwe's foreign
reserves declining from the recommended three months import cover to about a
day's cover at the height of the country's problems last year. Although
latest figures could not be obtained at the time of going to print, the
country's official foreign reserves were last pegged at a paltry US$1.2
million in March 2008, equivalent to about a day's
import of fuel.
Zimbabwe uses about US$40 million a month to import fuel.
Dec 13, 2009, 12:26 GMT
Harare - Two South African companies partnering a state- owned Zimbabwean
mining firm in a controversial diamond mining venture in eastern Zimbabwe
have been ordered to stop operations by the country's environmental
protection authorities, reports said Sunday.
The state-run Sunday Mail said Mbada Diamond Mining and Canadile Miners have
been told to halt work after it was discovered they were exploiting the
Marange diamond field without having had a mandatory environmental impact
The fields have become the focus of international condemnation after
Zimbabwean troops and police in 2008 carried out a brutal eviction of
thousands of illegal diggers and panners.
Geologists say the field has emerged to be the richest diamond area in the
The Kimberley Process, the United Nations-founded body meant to stop the
trade in blood diamonds fuelling violent conflict, reported in October that
soldiers had murdered and tortured diggers and that smuggling at Marange was
The government illegally seized the field from a British-based company,
African Consolidated Resources, in 2006 and in recent months have turned the
claim over to Mbada, a joint venture between South African-based scrap metal
dealer New Reclamation and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation,
which is also in partnership with a little known South Africa group, Core
Mining, to form Canadile Miners.
The companies have been mining the area since September in violation of a
court order that the claim belongs to ACR, which is seeking an eviction
order from the courts against Mbada and Canadile.
The government has said it wants to move the several hundred villages living
on the fields.
Last week the residents drove away a bulldozer sent by Mbada to destroy
their homes, reports said. They refused to move to another site provided by
the government, and said they wanted a share in the diamonds at Marange.
Mining experts said the environmental obstacle could stop the two companies
operations for months, with considerable loss of income to both.
Mbada is currently processing 10 tonnes of diamond-bearing alluvial soil and
hour, but plans to bring in machinery to increase the volume to 150 tonnes
an hour that would produce 4.5 million US dollars of diamonds each day.
The Vigil began well with an enthusiastic supporter reporting that MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti had criticised President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind Robert Mugabe. Our supporter said he had woken up to an early morning news report on BBC radio about the Zanu-PF Congress. It was followed by an interview with Biti, who apparently spoke about Mugabe ‘sulking and adopting a wait and see attitude’. Of course, in his dozy state our supporter had misheard. It turns out that Biti was being interviewed while on a visit to Manchester (yes, England!) and was criticising the West and not Mugabe.
Silly mistake. We should have known at once how unlikely it was that Biti would criticise Mugabe – despite Mugabe’s characteristic hate speech against Britain at the party congress, this time with his own mocking rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’. (The man must have practised and deserves a spot at the last night of the Proms.)
What is Biti on about? He appears to say the West is sulking when it is pouring in humanitarian aid. Is he the mouthpiece of Mugabe, expecting Britain to accept these insults and lift targeted sanctions when Biti’s own party says only 12% of the reforms agreed in the GPA have been implemented.
All of us at the Vigil recognised the truth of the latest report by one of the MDC stalwarts, Eddie Cross, in which he said ‘Attempts to reform the media and allow new broadcasting and TV channels have been met with total resistance even though they agreed to the reforms in the GPA. Only 12 per cent of the reforms negotiated over two years under the facilitation of SADC have been implemented in 9 months of political squabbling. No progress on democratic conditions for elections, no progress on the rule of law, freedom of assembly and association, no progress on the enforcement of contract law and respect for property rights, no progress on media reform.’
The Vigil was amused that Biti popped up in Britain only weeks after complaining about the millions of dollars being spent on official jaunts by the Zim ruling class. This would have to change, he said, while booking himself a ticket to Manchester for an obscure university meeting. Did Biti really have to be there when there are delicate negotiations going on at home on the future of the country?
The Vigil expects that Biti along with all the other movers and shakers in Zimbabwe will move on to Copenhagen for the climate do. Last word is that Mugabe is taking about 60 and Tsvangirai 20. We are disturbed at this disparity and demand that Tsvangirai should be allowed to take another 40 people at least. He could take the entire staff of the Zimbabwean Meteorological Office. They recently confessed that foreign airlines could not safely overfly Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe could never tell them the weather conditions.
PS For all these ‘movers and shakers’, the best place for shopping is in downtown Copenhagen where there are many small side streets off the main pedestrian thoroughfare. As for clubs the best are Rust, Guldbergsgade 8 and Vega, Enghavevej 40. They can get 10% off designer clothes or champagne dinners if they mention the word ‘Vigil’.
Despite the cold people didn’t disperse until long after our scheduled close. The strongest message was ‘To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go’.
· A group from an organisation ‘Communities Point’ joined us all the way from Yorkshire.
· Highlight of the season so far was SW Radio Africa’s Christmas Card. Their email entitled ‘SWRA wishes to refute the scurrilous allegations that we are a pirate radio station’ showed a photo of the whole staff dressed up as pirates. Check http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/sets/72157622988334994/ on our photo website.
· Hats off to one intrepid supporter from Cardiff, Wales. Mesline Ndebele got up at 5 to catch the coach to London. She first visited her seriously ill sister in hospital in London then came on to the Vigil. She told us she would not get home till 1 am.
· Many of the Vigil management team were away today through illness and previous commitments. Thanks to Jonathan Kariwoh, Godfrey Madzunga, Josephine Zhuga and Caroline Witts who stepped in to manage the two Vigil tables today.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
FOR THE RECORD: 199 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
· Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.