Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:26
BY CHIEF REPORTER
The use of torture in Zimbabwe, mainly by the state, is widespread,
Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, told The
Zimbabwean in an exclusive interview this week.
Although government has the means to prevent it, that the high number
of indictments for torture filed by the Attorney General's Office showed
that it is widespread.
Nowak, who was a special guest at the 10th anniversary of
pro-democracy group Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in Harare this week,
said the nature and level of organized violence and torture was widespread
and was perpetrated mainly, but not exclusively, by state agents.
The Forum has expressed concern at election violence, police
brutality; forceful removal of "illegal occupiers" of urban housing,
transitional justice, and gender-based violence as well as the use of hate
language and intolerance in Zimbabwe.
Nowak said that during the course of his visit to the country, he
received "numerous consistent and credible allegations" from former
detainees who reported that they were ill-treated by the police and army to
extract confessions, or to obtain information in relation to other criminal
He urged Government to ban torture through an Act of Parliament and
said that was the only way to criminalize torture and bring perpetrators to
Nowak decried the fact that no one had so far been convicted by
criminal courts for torture, yet the practice was so widespread.
While the Government does not agree that torture is widely practiced,
"I'm convinced and I think I have enough evidence for that," Nowak told The
He said the most serious allegations of human rights violations,
including torture, had reportedly taken place in government facilities and
he was not in a position to speak about that as he had not able to visit any
by Thenjiwe Mabhena Thursday 28 February 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's revenue authority hopes to collect Z$6 quadrillion in
tax this year, an enormous figure that is however really more useful as an
illustration of the extent of the rot in what was once one of Africa's most
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) said it could even surpass the figure
and boasted it had exceeded its target for 2007 by more than $50 trillion.
But ZIMRA was fairly honest about the secret behind it's unusual success -
the country's world record inflation of more than 100 000 percent that has
forced firms to frequently hike salaries which of course means more dollars
for the revenue collector.
"ZIMRA is confident that with the spirit of team work that is prevailing in
the Authority, as has always been the case in the other years, the target of
$6 quadrillion for 2008 will be easily surpassed," ZIMRA chairman Gibson
Mandishona said in the collector's annual statement shown to ZimOnline on
$6 quadrillion is equal to about US$200 million at the official exchange
rate of $30 000 to one American dollar or just about US$300 000 at the
widely used parallel market rate of about $20 million to one greenback.
ZIMRA had set itself a target to collect $30 trillion last year but more
than doubled this amount raking in $89 trillion, according to the statement.
Mandishona said although several companies retrenched staff or closed shop
altogether last year - which ordinarily would mean reduced inflows for
ZIMRA - the authority was however able to raise more from individual
taxpayers than was expected.
Mandishona said: "Individual Tax performed beyond expectations. The
performance of this revenue head has been mainly due to the many salary
adjustments awarded employees by employers in 2007 to cushion the former
against the ever increasing cost of living."
"Though to some extent inflation aided in the attainment of the target,
there was some concerted effort from all arms of the authority in ensuring
that the seemingly insurmountable target was surpassed," he said.
ZIMRA - which collected $406 billion in taxes in 2006 - said individual tax
recorded the largest contribution at 32 percent of total revenue in 2007
followed by value added tax (VAT) which accounted for 24 percent of the
Corporate contributors made up 17 percent of total revenue collected and
other fringe taxes accounted for the rest of the revenue.
Zimbabwe has long had the world's highest inflation rate as it grapples with
an acute recession critics blame on repression and wrong policies by
President Robert Mugabe, the country's sole ruler since independence from
Britain in 1980.
Zimbabweans have also had to grapple with rising poverty, unemployment of
more than 80 percent, shortages of food, fuel, electricity and just about
every basic survival commodity.
The political and economic implosion in the southern African country would
ignite protests anywhere else and would have meant certain defeat for Mugabe's
government in local government, parliamentary and presidential elections on
However, analysts say Mugabe looks set to win another five-year term in
office to take his time at the helm to more than three decades, thanks to an
opposition torn apart by divisions over strategy and leadership wrangles,
which undermines its ability to exploit Zimbabwe's economic crisis. -
by Thenjiwe Mabhena Thursday 28 February 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai toured some of
Harare's poorest suburbs where residents told him they were barely able to
survive in the face of an acute recession that has led to chronic shortages
of food, fuel, water and electricity.
Tsvangirai, whose Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party nearly ousted
President Robert Mugabe's government in elections in 2000 and 2002, was
mobbed by residents who thronged to see him at Kuwadzana home industries, an
informal trading centre where carpenters, blacksmiths and other tradesmen
struggle to eke out a living.
"Old man, we are suffering, we really cannot take it anymore," one youthful
looking trader shouted in the vernacular Shona language to Tsvangirai.
In the suburbs of Kambuzuma and Mufakose, residents among them the elderly,
children and women with babies strapped onto their backs broke into song and
dance as the opposition leader arrived.
A man could be heard shouting from among the crowd: "Chitonga Tsvangirai,
ZANU yakonewa" which is Shona for, "Tsvangirai, take over the government
because ZANU PF has failed."
Speaking to journalists during the tour, Tsvangirai he was saddened by the
deep levels of poverty and the collapse of infrastructure in most of suburbs
of the capital.
"This visit has been a short assessment of the high-density suburbs. Poverty
amongst the people has deepened. There is infrastructure decay, massive
unemployment and people are hungry," said Tsvangirai who has vowed to defeat
Mugabe in the polls.
"The objective of this election is to give people hope and to say that
change is alive. March 29 is about change that is going to offer jobs, food
and proper life for the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
However, analysts say an unfair playing field guarantees Mugabe victory at
the polls despite clear evidence that he has failed to break a vicious
inflation cycle that has left consumers impoverished and the economy in deep
Mugabe - who at one time boasted that no one could have run Zimbabwe better
than him - has promised a landslide victory against Tsvangirai and former
finance minister Simba Makoni in March to prove he has the backing of
ordinary Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline
by Ntando Ncube Thursday 28 February 2008
JOHANNESBURG - At least 300 demonstrators marched to the Zimbabwe Consulate
in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday demanding free and fair
elections in the southern African country next month.
The protesters accused President Robert Mugabe of seeking to hold on to
power by barring millions of exiled Zimbabweans from casting their votes in
the 29 March presidential and parliamentary elections.
Madock Chivasa, the spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
civic group that organised the demonstration, said Mugabe was still using
colonial era tactics to hold on to power.
"We as the youth of Zimbabwe are tired of rigged elections and this time we
demand that the government conducts an election that is not contested.
"We also demand transparency on the issue of printing of ballot papers as
well as the right for millions of exiled Zimbabweans to vote in the
election," said Chivasa, whose civic group is fighting for a new, democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans go to the polls next month to elect a new president,
parliamentarians and local government representatives.
The government has however rejected opposition demands to allow exiled
Zimbabweans to participate in the polls saying it does not have the
resources to allow postal votes.
At least three million Zimbabweans are said to be living outside the country
the majority of them in South Africa after fleeing political repression and
an economic crisis described by the World Bank as the worst outside a war
zone. - ZimOnline
by Chenai Maramba Thursday 28 February 2008
KAROI - Two opposition election candidates who were arrested last weekend
for holding political meetings without police clearance were on Tuesday
released on free bail after spending four nights in police custody.
The two, Godfrey Gumbo and Maireva Gudo Nziramasanga, of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Arthur Mutambara, were arrested last
Friday in Karoi, about 200 kilometres north-west of Harare.
They were being charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), a
tough law that requires Zimbabweans to first seeking permission from the
police before meeting in groups of more than three people to discuss
Karoi magistrate, Elisha Singano, ordered that the two MDC candidates be
released on free bail and that they should appear in court next month.
"You have to come to court on the 12th of March," said Singano.
Earlier this week, the Mutambara-led MDC condemned the arrest of the two
describing the charges leveled against the duo as spurious.
Zimbabweans go to the polls next month in elections political analysts tip
President Robert Mugabe to win because of an unfair political playing field
that favours the veteran leader.
The MDC and human rights groups have in the past accused the police of
applying the law selectively, arresting and harassing opposition candidates
during election time, a charge the police deny. - ZimOnline
by Mutumwa Mawere Thursday 28 February 2008
JOHANNESBURG - It is not accurate for Bennett to state as fact that
Makoni was defeated for the presidency of ZANU-PF.
My understanding is that Mugabe's term as President of ZANU PF is due
to expire in 2009 and the national elections just happen to occur when he is
still the head of the party.
Accordingly, as head of the party, he was endorsed as a candidate at
the December special congress. No elections were held or called for
otherwise all the other office bearers of the party would have been
Whether Makoni has people behind him or not is irrelevant as the
voters will be the jury. I should like to believe that even the so-called
ZANU-PF political heavyweights have not been given more than one vote each.
If this is the case, then the people who can tell Makoni that his time
is not now are the people in Zimbabwe.
Bennett then labels Makoni an opportunist while accepting that it is
highly unlikely that the opposition will win.
If Bennett concedes that victory is remote should he not be
open-minded instead of pre-empting what may emerge as a surprise for the
people of Zimbabwe?
If change is the primary agenda for the opposition, then surely the
MDC must be the first to embrace Makoni for taking the courage to run as an
While it is unjustified to call Makoni an opportunist, I am sure that
Bennett would not take kindly being labelled as such.
It is a historical fact that white settlers were allowed to protect
their gains acquired through non-market forces during the colonial era.
I find it strange that Bennett now would want to suggest that the same
policies applicable to beneficiaries of the colonial state be restricted
only to ZANU-PF.
He wants ZANU-PF to face the people of Zimbabwe instead of all
perpetrators of injustice to face the people of Zimbabwe without favour or
Violet: What about the fact that Mutambara MDC is waiting to throw its
support behind Simba Makoni?
Bennett: I think that clearly explains that the split in our MDC and
that is the way it always has been. They are going home, they are joining
ZANU PF where they belong.
The fact that Mutambara elected not to offer himself for the
Presidency was his personal choice based on his own assessment about his
chances of success.
It is not correct for Bennett to allege that Mutambara played any part
in the October 12 split of the MDC.
What would be helpful is for Bennett to record historical events
accurately rather than to opportunistically seek to shade the truth for
The leadership challenges that MDC faced were as natural as the
challenges facing many political organisations. ZANU-PF has its own history
of such challenges and, therefore, the maturity of any movement is measured
by its ability to resolve such challenges.
However, it has become a habit for the opposition to blame ZANU-PF
even for personal differences that occur between party members.
To allege that Mutambara is ZANU-PF is political mischief at its best.
I do not think that Bennett is fair to seek to undermine Mutambara who was
invited by senior members of the MDC who sought to assert their rights in a
party they genuinely believed was betraying the democratic values on which
it was founded.
I would like to believe that Mutambara has played his part and history
will be kind to him. His input was useful in the Mbeki-led initiative and
credit must go to Tsvangirai for accepting the fact that there were two
formations of the MDC and the opposition parliamentarians had divided
It would be wrong to suggest that the parliamentarians and members of
the MDC who chose Mutambara to be their leader are fools.
Surely, if change is the motive behind Bennett's activism then respect
of the choices made by others must be the starting point. Mutambara has
never been a creature of ZANU-PF and his record speaks for itself.
It is always easy to criticise other people but it is important to
imagine how different the history of Zimbabwe would be if Mutambara had not
accepted to lead the leaderless formation that had chosen to differ with
It is also important to imagine what would have happened if Tsvangirai
had been elected President and the differences of opinion had emerged while
he was in office.
Would Tsvangirai have accepted and respected the right of Ncube,
Sibanda and others to differ with him without using the state machinery to
The manner in which the MDC has resolved the differences between its
members should be a cause for concern especially given the propensity of
Africans to abuse state power when they seize it.
I can appreciate Bennett's views on power given his heritage and it
may well be the case that Mugabe also inherited the strategies and tactics
used by the colonial state to handle his opponents.
To the extent that Bennett is a senior member of the MDC one has to
carefully evaluate his comments because they may have a bearing on key
foundational principles of the post-Mugabe era.
Anyone with interests in the future of Zimbabwe like me has to factor
the Bennett equation in the construction of a new Zimbabwe and implications
thereof on the rule of law and black property rights.
Could it be the case that Bennett supports Tsvangirai because a deal
on property rights has been cut?
Why would Bennett not be open to allow Zimbabweans to make their own
choice in an electoral process without prejudging the outcome?
Even if Makoni were to win, it appears that Bennett will still find a
reason to manufacture conspiracy theories forgetting that in 1980 the
incumbent Muzorewa/Smith lost to ZANU.
Equally, ANC won in 1994 in an election where the balance was tilted
in favour of the status quo.
Zimbabwe deserves a new chapter and it is evident that Bennett would
rather take the country back and lock it into the polarisation that
transformed the Zimbabwean promise into a nightmare.
Violet: But wasn't the ethos of the Mutambara camp - wasn't it to
destroy ZANU PF from within and that included working with reformers within
ZANU PF. There are some who believe that Makoni is a moderate and that he
could help weaken the Mugabe regime.
So if the Tsvangirai MDC is calling for all progressive forces to
fight Robert Mugabe, why not form an alliance with him to do so, if that is
Bennett: We understand, that's why I said, we haven't seen it yet but
we believe from the press and the chattering class and what is thrown at us
that Solomon Majuro is backing Simba Makoni.
Now, the properties that Solomon Mujuru has stolen, the wealth that he
has stolen through corrupt practices, do you really think that after the
suffering we've had in the last eight, nine years by standing up for
democracy and challenging the system of ZANU PF of corruption, of murder, of
rape and of blunder; do you really think that we could get into bed with him
now and call that an alliance of all democracies or an alliance of all
democratic forces to defeat the dictators? Why don't we just join up with
Mugabe and say we are all one and let's just go ahead.
Bennett states as fact that Mujuru has stolen some properties without
naming the victims. He also makes allegations that Mujuru has acquired his
wealth corruptly without naming the corruptor.
He then makes the point that reconciliation is not acceptable in the
new Zimbabwe as if to suggest that Mugabe was wrong in forgiving the
beneficiaries of the colonial state.
I know that Bennett would also find it easy to label me a thief
because it is common cause that the colonial state had zero tolerance on
black economic empowerment.
Whatever Bennett acquired during the colonial state must be accepted
as legitimate while any capital accumulation that has been acquired in the
post colonial state is easily defined as proceeds of crime.
The criminalisation of the beneficiaries of the post-colonial state is
regrettably not a monopoly of the MDC. Even Mugabe has accepted the notion
that black progress necessarily represents corruption.
The state machinery has been targeted at blacks on the premise that
the objective of a post colonial state was not to advance the careers of the
previously disadvantaged rather to entrench the wealth primitively acquired
It is significant that Bennett and his colleagues have invested in a
new reality where corruption has taken a black face. Anyone associated with
ZANU-PF is then easily labelled corrupt.
To the extent that Bennett now wishes to revisit historical injuries
it is important that we all join in this conversation so that we can
comprehensively deal with the reasons why poverty in Zimbabwe like many
African countries has a black face.
I am acutely aware that in as much as I may be angry at the loss of my
assets to the government of Zimbabwe, I would not have acquired any such
assets if the colonial state had been under settler control.
I would not be surprised if Bennett finds the expropriation of my
assets justifiable. What is ironic is that in Tsvangirai, Bennett may have
found a leader who has also accepted that whites are not corrupt.
It would be interesting for Bennett to give us any names of white
ZANU-PF cronies and suggest how they should be treated in the post-Mugabe
Bennett has made his choice about who should be welcome in his new
Zimbabwe in which Tsvangirai would be his superintendent.
The language of Bennett exposes the naivety of some of the most ardent
supporters of change in Zimbabwe. They genuinely believe that we are all
idiots and for some reason they have more rights than they wish to confer on
Violet: Your critics say this issue of people coming from ZANU PF
should not really be a factor because a lot of MDC leaders were members of
ZANU PF. They say that Mr Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU PF until the late
80s and said nothing during Gukurahundi and that you almost stood as a ZANU
PF candidate in 2000. How would you answer them?
Bennett: Very, very simply, Violet. We listen to the call of the
people and they told us that ZANU PF was rotten and the policies of ZANU PF
were wrong so we formed the opposition.
We have welcomed and continued to welcome with absolute open arms
anybody who rejects ZANU PF and joins change. We will never accept a
lukewarm change within inside ZANU PF and Simba Makoni has come out
categorically and said on many, many occasions, he is ZANU PF, he believes
in ZANU PF and ZANU PF is his party.
So therefore it's not a case of ZANU PF people leaving ZANU PF coming
to join the opposition and fight against everything that's destroyed our
They are saying to us that Morgan Tsvangirai should stand down and we
should come under ZANU PF to form this wonderful new country of democracy.
Where they have sat on the Politburo, they have sat and stood by very
silently and watched every act that has been perpetrated against our country
and against the people of our country.
So I don't know Violet whether people think the people of Zimbabwe are
fools, whether they think because they are rural devastated populations
through the policies of the government, 85 percent unemployed, can't get any
medical help, can't eat, whether they think that has affected their brains,
I don't know.
The people of Zimbabwe know what they want. They have stood up for
change they have stood behind our President Morgan Tsvangirai a man they can
trust, its all about trust. Can I trust Simba Makoni? I very much doubt it.
I can trust Morgan Tsvangirai, he's never ever backtracked on what he
stood for, and he has never changed on his quest to stand for the people of
Zimbabwe to bring them a better life and a new beginning.
That's where we are Violet, nothing and nobody is going to change us
and we are going to get there even if not this time, next time we will keep
going, we will keep trying, and we will get there.
Bennett alleges that ZANU-PF is rotten and hence the formation of the
opposition. He then makes the conclusion that anyone who is a member of
ZANU-PF is not capable of embracing change.
With a population of about 13 million, not all Zimbabweans are members
of political organisations and yet in Bennett's mind, there are people who
can easily be identified as ZANU-PF.
It is accurate to say that less than 10 percent of Zimbabweans are
members of political organisations and, therefore, the proposition that
change can be located in political parties only is wrong.
It is common cause that Makoni was a member of ZANU-PF until he was
dismissed. Under the constitution of Zimbabwe, Makoni's choice to be a
member of ZANU-PF must be respected in as much as Bennett's choice to join
Surely, any new dispensation must entrench the rights of citizens to
make their own choices about who they should associate with.
The suggestion made by Bennett is that ZANU-PF is culpable for the
economic meltdown and political crisis when it may well be the case that
both the ruling and opposition parties should be held culpable for
sacrificing national interest to advance their selfish interests.
David Smith sat on Ian Smith's cabinet and yet President Mugabe
appointed him as Minister of Finance. What is striking is that Bennett is
suggesting that any person associated with ZANU-PF should necessarily be
disqualified from serving in the new Zimbabwe.
This kind of arrogance cannot be good for any nation building
enterprise. Bennett is entitled to trust Tsvangirai in as much as other
people are entitled to trust Makoni let alone Mugabe.
Surely, the foundational principles of the post colonial state ought
to be the basis on which people should locate their own principles.
What is evident is that in a post-Mugabe era in which
Tsvangirai/Bennett is in charge, citizen rights may be permanently impaired
in the name of change.
The term change has been abused more so in the last eight years where
the agents of past injustices appear now to be angels of change.
It is not too late for Zimbabweans to take note of what is at stake
for the enemies of real change may not necessarily be restricted to what has
been simplistically labelled as ZANU-PF.
* Mutumwa Mawere is a South African businessman born in Zimbabwe
By Carole Gombakomba
27 February 2008
Acting Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare of Harare, Zimbabwe, said Wednesday
that Zimbabweans should use next month's national elections to express
themselves on the state of the nation, wracked by hyperinflation and a
permanent political crisis.
Bakare came out of retirement at the request of the Anglican hierarchy in
Southern Africa to take charge of the Harare archdiocese following the
dismissal of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, his predecessor in the post. But
Kunonga has refused to give up his offices and with state backing his
followers have occupied the Anglican cathedral.
Bakare recently received a human rights award for promoting justice and
peace in Zimbabwe. It was presented at a prayer meeting hosted by the
Christian Alliance, a civic group, and attended by eminent U.S. civil rights
activist Elbert Ransom.
Bakare says the government has interfered in church affairs by backing
Kunonga, but says this should not deter it from taking a leading role in the
In an interview with reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe, Bakare said the harsh conditions Zimbabweans now face should
motivate them to go to the polls and vote responsibly.On the turmoil in his
church, Bakare says the ruling ZANU-PF party is using Kunonga to seek a hold
on the Anglican flock.
SW Radio Africa (London)
27 February 2008
Posted to the web 27 February 2008
The bitter election battle in Manicaland has once again spilled over into
violence after the MDC spokesman in the province, Pishai Muchauraya, was
attacked by a mob on Wednesday.
Muchauraya, the MDC parliamentary candidate for Makoni South in next month's
elections, was travelling to the constituency with his driver and an aide
when they stopped at a roadside store to buy some refreshments at 9am.
A mob travelling in a trailer drawn by a tractor approached the trio outside
Lamour supermarket, close to the Africa University in Old Mutare. The driver
of the tractor blocked Muchauraya's truck, a Mazda B2500, and the mob of
over 45 youths set upon the trio and ripped off the MDC t-shirts they were
'It was a vicious and callous attack and I'm lucky I didn't sustain serious
injuries. But we suspect my driver Michael Murapa could have sustained a
fractured hand, while my aide Tendai Chimonya was also injured in the
attack,' Muchauraya said.
In the confusion, the three MDC officials managed to get away and hid in
tall grass for nearly two hours before they could use a mobile phone to
alert the police and other MDC officials.
The mob ransacked the truck and took away a mobile phone, over 1000 party
cards, Z$1,4 billion in cash, party regalia including t-shirts and
Muchauraya's information pack, which contained the manifesto that was
launched on Saturday.
The Manicaland spokesman said the mob came from a nearby farm owned by a
Zanu-PF senator. Two well-known war veteran leaders named as Choga and
Masukume led the group. Police visited the scene three hours after the
attack but no arrests were made.
'The police officers were getting instructions from the senator and the two
war veterans on the scene. I guess they were too scared to lay their hands
on the culprits,' said Muchauraya.
The incident has triggered fears for the safety of Muchauraya, a fierce
critic of Robert Mugabe and his ruling party.
The fearless spokesman is challenging Zanu-PF's Shadreck Chipanga in the
forthcoming poll. Chipanga narrowly beat Muchauraya by less than 180 votes
in the 2005 election and his small majority is under serious threat from the
Muchauraya said it was clear his attackers were worried that he could become
MP for an area which has largely been dominated by Zanu-PF heavyweights.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:25
HARARE - Retired army commander, General Solomon Mujuru, is under
24-hour surveillance, we have established from impeccable intelligence
sources. Two weeks ago, under the headline "Mujuru under house arrest", we
reported that Mugabe had instructed the CIO to place Mujuru and other
supporters of Simba Makoni under strict surveillance.
An angry Mujuru denied that he had ever been placed under house arrest
and threatened to sue The Zimbabwean. We took him at his word and apologized
at the weekend in our sister paper, The Zimbabwean on Sunday. We reiterate
that apology here, as it has been established that indeed Mujuru is not and
has not been under house arrest.
However what has come to light in the course of our investigations to
establish the truth of the matter, is that the general is under 24-hour
surveillance by Mugabe's police, intelligence services and the army. So is
Simba Makoni, John Nkomo, Dumiso Dabengwa, Joice Mujuru and Sydney
Sekeramai. Their phones are tapped and they are followed everywhere. This
has been corroborated by several independent sources within the three
Since publishing the apology on Sunday, The Zimbabwean has been
inundated with phone calls and email messages from serving members in the
forces who insist that our story was correct.
"I am a senior member of the army, and have actually been hoping to
get hold of your reporters to give them more information. Mujuru is not only
under house arrest but he survived an assassination attempt in January by
CIOs sent by Bob. Perhaps you do not understand these things. What is
happening with Mujuru is all his movements are followed by CIO and army
personnel assigned to him and they guard him at home 24 hours. That does not
mean he is not able to move around but everything he does is tracked.
"We used to rely on your newspaper for breaking such things but it
seems you are giving in to fear. I know Mujuru has threatened you for you to
say the story was not true. You have disappointed me and many other people
who were hoping that your paper will expose more other things," said one
Another said: "Mujuru was put under house arrest last year by Robert
because he organised the coup. I am one of the army members that have been
send to monitor and track him. We supported Mujuru's coup project but the
guy is a coward he chickened out and allowed for the slaughter of Gunda and
many other junior soldiers. He has done the same with Makoni after promising
him that he was going to come out in the open and support him but he has
told Robert that he has nothing to do with Makoni."
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:23
HARARE - MDC (Tsvangirai) candidate for Harare North, Theresa Makone
alleges electoral fraud in the constituency through the manipulation of the
voter registration process.
Makone, who is the MDC House of Assembly candidate for Harare North,
says she has established that the ruling party has been bussing voters from
outside of the constituency and ensured they were all registered to vote, in
addition to having many names of dead people still appearing on the voters'
roll. She is battling it out with Zanu (PF)'s Justice Zvandarasha and MDC
(Mutambara)'s Trudy Stevenson.
Makone, whose husband Ian is the MDC director of elections, says that
she is planning to appeal to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after
discovering the "broad daylight cheating" even before the elections day. Ian
says that the situation in Harare North is prevailing generally across the
whole country making the voters' roll shambolic.
"We have established that there is serious fraud in the constituency
and Zanu (PF) is determined to steal victory in Harare North unless
something is done to stop the cheating," Makone said. "There are many ghost
voters registered in the constituency and we have discovered that it was
done systematically with what appears to be the collaboration of election
authorities. We are going to appeal against this as a matter of urgency."
ZEC director of public relations Shupikai Mashereni, said they were
yet to formally get complaints from the MDC over the allegations of fraud
and Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, who conducted the voter registration
process said, "the process was done in a transparent manner and all parties
were able to assess the voters' roll".
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:19
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba has
ordered the State-broadcaster ZBC to pull off air voter education adverts by
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, ZESN.
This IS in blatant contravention of SADC principles governing the
conduct of elections in member countries.
Authoritative sources at the State broadcaster confirmed that ZBC
stopped airing the voter education adverts, which have been conspicuously
absent from the airwaves since Friday, the day the directive from the
President's Office came.
ZESN chair Noel Kututwa confirmed the development and said the State
broadcaster was preparing to give the independent poll monitoring group a
refund, although no formal communication has been noted.
The directive comes hardly a week after the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) stopped ZESN for conducting voter education, stating that
under the Electoral Act, only ZEC was mandated to carry out voter education.
ZEC has admitted that it is heavily ill-equipped and under funded to
carry out any exercise on its own.
The ZESN adverts had raised awareness among the electorate about
voting procedures in a four-tier election that is set to present logistical
and voting nightmares.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:22
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has called on
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to make voting by security forces
and diplomats transparent. Previously this has been shrouded in secrecy.
Speaking at a Transparency International workshop here last week under
the theme "Guarding against Corruption in Elections" ZESN coordinator Jack
Zaba said in all previous elections the security forces secretly cast their
votes days before polling day and they were doing it secretly.
"This use to give room to Zanu (PF) to rig every election. So what we
are calling for is that security forces and diplomats vote in the presence
of election observers," he said.
Meanwhile residents of Queenspark suburb have accused some ZEC voter
educators of campaigning for Zanu (PF). The uniformed advisers told them
last week to vote wisely by voting for President Mugabe in March elections
as he has the people of Zimbabwe at heart.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:19
MHONDORO - Pro-Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) church leader, Revered
Obadiah Musindo, dished out part of the money he was given to campaign for
the geriatric leader and told the electorate here that if they wanted more,
they should vote for Mugabe and Zanu (PF) candidates in next month's
In violation of SADC electoral principles, which condemn the use of
money to buy the electorate, Musindo gave out Z$1 billion to a few women's
groups in front of a crowd that gathered at a rally organized by the ruling
party's House of Assembly candidate for Mondoro-Ngezi, Bright Matonga.
"You have to vote for President Mugabe and Zanu (PF) if you want to
get more money because that is the only way you will get it," Musindo told
the crowd. He is believed to be among the group of Mugabe's bootlickers in
church leadership positions that were issued with more than Z$3 trillion for
use in campaigning in their congregations as well as generally among the
electorate. Others include ousted former Anglican bishop for Harare diocese,
Nolbert Kunonga, who now moves around in the company of Zanu (PF) thugs and
CIOs causing terror in the city's parish.
When challenged by The Zimbabwean on his use of money to entice the
electorate to vote for Mugabe, Musindo said, "We have always been giving out
money for development and there is nothing wrong with that".
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 16:17
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, (ZNCC) said the latest
inflation of 100,580% was understated and did not reflect the true picture
on the ground.
ZNCC president, Marah Hativagone, confirmed the predictions of the
International Monetary Authority (IMF) which said Zimbabwe's inflation was
set to hit the 100 000% by December, 2007.
Most shops in Zimbabwe have now been filled with imported goods after
factories failed to meet demand due to productivity problems.
While the products are readily available on a burgeoning black market,
many Zimbabweans have resorted to buying their essentials from neighbouring
countries like Botswana, South Africa and Zambia
The imported goods, which are outside the National Incomes and Pricing
Commission (NIPC) control are currently priced at black market parallel
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:23
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe reportedly summoned top officials at
power and water utilities and put them under pressure to ensure improved
supplies of electricity and water ahead of the elections.
Water Resources and Infrastructure minister Munacho Mutezo confirmed
that there were meetings with the president over the water issue but
declined to give details.
A ZINWA source told this paper that after the meeting with Mugabe,
management at the beleaguered parastatal were ordered to "fix the water
situation in Harare, Bulawayo and other major urban centres as a matter of
Our source added, "Mugabe said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would be
ordered to make funds available for the procurement of vital chemicals that
are lacking in water treatment and that this would be done soon. He wants
the water supply situation to improve within two weeks."
Water problems have been affecting all cities and towns since the
take-over by ZINWA despite recommendation by parliament against the move.
Mugabe is seeking re-election in next month's presidential election but
faced with a daunting task in his bid to win the vote after presiding over
the crumbling of the economy, characterized by shortages of basic
commodities, with power and water crises bringing social and economic
activities to a halt across the country.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:25
BY PINDAI DUBE
A Bulawayo man, mistakenly suspected to be an army deserter and an MDC
supporter, spend three days in leg irons at a military camp in Kwekwe, where
he was tortured.
Tendai Masakara (30), a computer engineer visiting his relative in
Kwekwe was arrested on February 18 by military police after they mistakenly
identified him as army deserter who had run away from the army two years ago
and now a MDC activist. He was taken to 5 Brigade barracks in Battlefields.
Masakara, shivering and in pain, told The Zimbabwean this week the two
military police in army gear accused him of being army deserter. He has
never been in the army or tried to get into the army.
He now has difficulty walking and has deep scars on both legs. He said
he was in leg irons for three days and repeatedly assaulted with fists and
boots on the head, chest and private parts. He was only released after the
commander of 5 Brigade barracks intervened, and found out that he has never
been in the army. He was then given a lift back to Kwekwe.
He identified the army officers who arrested and assaulted him as
Sergeant Pande, Corporal Mwale, Chirangwa and Tlou.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) arranged for him to see a
private doctor who diagnosed internal injuries. Masakara is now he is
working with ZLHR on taking the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to court for
$150 billion compensation over the assault.
Wed Feb 27, 1:57 PM ET
HARARE, Feb 27, 2008 (AFP) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
deplored wide-spread poverty Wednesday as he visited townships around the
capital Harare in his campaign for the presidency in elections next month.
Without directly blaming incumbent President Robert Mugabe for the plight of
his countrymen, Tsvangirai said only political change could reverse their
"The election on 29 March ... what is the objective of that election. To me
it's very, very simple. It's to give all these people hope that the change
that is coming is one that they can trust," he said.
"It is the change that will make a difference in their lives. You have seen
... evidence of poverty (and) infrastructure decay including sewage. You
have seen massive unemployment, all these young people around here are
unemployed and the people are hungry and angry because there appears to be
no solution to their problems."
Tsvangirai was touring the high-density suburbs of Mufakose, Kambuzuma and
Kuwadzana, home to many of Harare's poorest residents.
"It's obvious that the poverty among the people has deepened," he said
Zimbabwe's crumbling economy is expected to feature highly in the election
campaigns of those contesting joint presidential and parliamentary elections
With the economy on a downturn for the past eight years, the country's
official exchange rate recently skyrocketed to over 100,000 percent -- a
Once the breadbasket of Africa, about 80 percent of the population is now
estimated to be living below the poverty threshold as many skip meals or
strike basic foodstuffs off their shopping lists.
Mugabe, 84, is widely blamed for the state of affairs for his controversial
land reform policies that all but killed commercial agriculture and scared
off foreign investors.
Tsvangirai is challenging the veteran Mugabe in a four-horse race for the
presidency that also includes former finance minister Simba Makoni and
Langton Towungana, an obscure independent candidate.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 16:18
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has dashed all hopes by mining sector
stakeholders to reverse the country's mines indigenization legislation by
announcing that he will not relent nor go back on plans to empower locals
and give them over 50% of shareholding in foreign mining companies.
Parliament sources are reported to have indicated in recent weeks that
the government was likely to go back to the drawing board to redraft the
Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill.
Current proposals are that the law would make it mandatory for all
mining companies to cede 51% shareholding stakes to local black Zimbabweans.
Welshman Ncube, chairman of Zimbabwe's parliamentary Legal Portfolio
Committee recently said that the Bill had lapsed and would have to be
Chamber of Mines president, Jack Murehwa, last week said even though
the Bill had not been passed its mere presence continued to affect the
mining sector and its prospects to attract investors. He said mines were
unable to plan unless they are clear about the fate of the Bill.
"For as long as the revision of mining laws is not completed,
investment will most likely stay away from Zimbabwe," Murehwa said.
"Investors want to know the rules of the game before they risk their money.
Investors are just like you and me. Would you invest a large sum of money in
an environment where you do not know the rules of the game?"
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 22:19
HARARE - Election observers, mainly from China and other countries in
the Far East, are expected to start arriving soon after being invited and
accredited by government.
The Zanu (PF) government has reportedly requested the government of
China to send a huge delegation.
President Robert Mugabe has put it on the record that only "friendly"
nations would be invited to observe the elections and effectively ruling out
members of the European Union and the US his regime deems as enemies.
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed
to this paper that government had started inviting and accrediting
observers, including Chinese. "Yes observers are already being accredited
and we invited from across the whole world including China because we want
to prove that these elections will be free and fair."
The Zimbabwean heard from officials in the ministry of foreign affairs
that in addition to an expected influx of Chinese, countries in the SADC
region are also going to deploy delegations to observe the pre-election
conditions in the coming weeks and give the usual thumbs up to the
prevailing conditions in order to aid claims by the Mugabe regime that the
elections shall be free and fair.
Wednesday, 27 February 2008 16:26
BY MUSA NYASHA
By the corner of Baines Avenue and Colquhoun Street in the Avenues area of
Harare is a clinic. There is a burst waterpipe that has been spewing water
along the clinic's wall for weeks now. ZINWA is fully aware of this burst
pipe. The reason for the failure of the workers to plug the leak is said to
be a need for an old type of pipe that is no longer available.
This situation is typical of the workings of the Government of Zimbabwe and
its various departments. There is a clear lack of ability and a complete
failure to find solutions to problems. The Government is preoccupied with
creating unnecessary departments and organisations like ZINWA and NSSA, not
to mention the creation of a senate, increasing the number of MPs,
introducing governors and other expensive and bureaucratic nonsense that
does nothing to improve the lot of Zimbabweans.
Whenever elections come up, the amazingly optimistic Zimbabweans hope for a
complete change of regime or a least an improvement to how the nation is
governed. The reality of elections is supposed to be a reminder to elected
officials that they are accountable to the people and should therefore shape
up or ship out. Zimbabweans continue to be betrayed by the people they
Sovereignty not food?
Zanu (PF) continues to tell hungry people that what they need is not food to
eat and the ability to plan their lives, but instead we need "sovereignty".
Zanu (PF), without carrying out a referendum, also proclaims that
Zimbabweans are "prepared to suffer" for this sovereignty. The MDC on the
other hand hopes and prays for the Western world or SADC to intervene by
kicking Mugabe out of office and thrusting the opposition party(s) into
power. Meanwhile Zimbabweans continue to pray for a miracle.
Has that miracle come in the form of Simba Makoni? What can one individual
achieve? If he does win, how is he going to work with Zanu (PF) and MDC MPs?
If he does lose (which is more likely considering the circumstances), will
that be the end of Simba Makoni and possibly the hopes of many Zimbabweans?
Simba Makoni, the 'new kid on the block' has a lot of work to do, in very
little time. The time to convince people to register to vote has been lost.
He must now urge people to actually make the effort and go to exercise that
right to vote. Makoni must help people understand how he can effectively
make the different arms of government work if he, without a party and MPs
aligned to him, wins. He must also help people see what his role in
Zimbabwe's future will be if he loses. After all, he won't even be an MP.
Does Makoni plan to form a political party as once rumoured? With whom will
he form this party? It has been rumoured that he plans to join forces with
the likes of Professor Jonathan Moyo.
I am one of those people who believe in Jonathan Moyo's effectiveness if
kept on a tight leash, but the truth is, the Professor is one of the most
unpopular people in Zimbabwe, having personified everything that people
hated about Zanu (PF) not so long ago.
Strangle-hold on media
Jonathan Moyo's effectiveness is one of the reasons why Makoni will struggle
to make people know and understand him. Zanu (PF) has such a strangle-hold
on the media because of Jonathan Moyo with help of Tafataona Mahoso. Radio
and television are virtually closed to those who challenge Zanu (PF). Apart
from the fact that newspapers have become a luxury to poverty-stricken
Zimbabweans, there are no independent dailies on the streets.
Access to the media is just one of the many challenges facing Simba Makoni.
Added to this, he has to quickly assemble a campaign team. Apart from being
politically savvy, that team must be prepared for the thugs that will
inevitably be unleashed to disturb his march to State House.
I would like to appeal to the conscience of all politicians to refrain from
abusing the good people of Zimbabwe. We are the most governable people on
the planet. Nowhere in the world can you find such a peaceful people. Where
else in the world would people tolerate the imposition of people of Sekesai
Makwavarara's calibre? Where else do you have so many incompetent
bootlickers as those in our cabinet?
Zimbabweans deserve better. Treat us with the respect we deserve.