By Tony Hawkins in Harare
Published: February 6 2008 16:05 | Last updated: February 6 2008 16:05
Following his decision to run against President Robert Mugabe in next month’s
presidential elections, Simba Makoni, a former finance minister in the
Mugabe cabinet, has been expelled from the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs, said Mr Makoni
had ”expelled himself” from the party. “That is the position according to
the rules of the party.”
The move represents a blow to the challenger because if were to win, he
would not have the backing of the majority party in parliament - which is
almost certain to be Zanu-PF.
He had hoped that by running as a member of the party he would be assured of
a parliamentary majority.
His expulsion is also a warning to others in Zanu-PF that they will get the
same treatment should they decide to follow Mr Makoni. This is particularly
significant because Mr Makoni is reported to have the support of one of
President Mugabe’s two vice-presidents, Mrs Joyce Mujuru.
If she were to follow Mr Makoni and take her sizeable faction, which
includes current and past military commanders, with her, President Mugabe
would be faced with a major split. As yet, however, there is no sign of
In response to a court ruling and pressure from all political parties, the
government has agreed to postpone nomination day by a week from Thursday
until February 15. This gives Mr Makoni more time to build a support base.
Already the smaller of the two wings of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change – the Mutambara group – has said it is considering
withdrawing from the presidential poll and supporting Mr Makoni, which would
give him a handful of parliamentary supporters.
Withdrawal by Mr Arthur Mutambara in favour of Mr Makoni could backfire,
however. Many in the Mutambara camp fear that they would lose their support
base if they were to join a Zanu-PF rebel. The net effect might be to
strengthen support for the main MDC, led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
From Mr Makoni’s viewpoint there is a danger that Mr Mutambara, who is
something of a loose cannon, would not add much, if anything, to his
Meanwhile the battle lines of the campaign have already been drawn. The
state media are claiming that the west has given up on Mr Tsvangirai and the
MDC and will now support Mr Makoni. The fact that his spokesman, Mr Ibbo
Mandaza, has long-standing very close links with the Swedish government is
also being used against Mr Makoni.
Joseph Chinotimba, one of the leaders of the war veterans, who played so
crucial a role in winning past elections for President Mugabe and in driving
the land takeovers, branded Makoni “a political turncoat” and predicted that
he would be crushed at the polls on March 29.
“Traitors should know that Zanu-PF has a history of dealing with their
kind,” he added threateningly.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
Wed 6 Feb 2008, 10:05 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - Veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war warned a former
ally of President Robert Mugabe who will run against him in next month's
elections that he was a traitor, government newspapers reported on
Former finance minister Simba Makoni, a senior member of ZANU-PF, entered
the presidential race on Tuesday, in the first major challenge to Mugabe
from within the ruling party in 20 years.
He had been expected to register for the poll on Friday but Zimbabwe
authorities moved the nomination date to February 15 after some politicians
won a court order to delay the process.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe's government-controlled media branded Makoni a
British and American-sponsored puppet seeking to split ZANU-PF and oust
Joseph Chinotimba, deputy leader of the war veterans, was quoted as saying
that Makoni was a political turncoat who would suffer a humiliating defeat
in the March 29 general election.
"We are now going to campaign vigorously for President Mugabe. I feel sorry
for Makoni, he has lost the political plot," Chinotimba told the Herald
"From today to the nomination date we will have finished with them. Traitors
should know that ZANU-PF has a history of dealing harshly with their kind,"
Chinotimba said Mugabe's war veteran supporters -- who have anchored
Mugabe's election campaigns since 2000 -- would not allow Makoni and his
supporters to enter the party's offices.
"We are calling on all war veterans to take control of the party," he said.
War veterans, who fought in the 1970s conflict, along with members of
ZANU-PF, have turned violent in the past in support of Mugabe. There are
30,000 war veterans in Zimbabwe.
Makoni will run as an independent because, according to ZANU-PF rules, he
will be automatically expelled from the party.
Political analysts say Makoni is popular with the business community and
urban voters disenchanted with Mugabe and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) but doubt he has the muscle to defeat the veteran
Zimbabwe's privately owned media has reported that Makoni is backed by a
faction led by retired army general and member of the ruling ZANU-PF party's
top decision-making body, Solomon Mujuru. Mujuru is married to Vice
President Joyce Mujuru.
Makoni said he had consulted party members and activists across Zimbabwe
before deciding to run. Despite economic turmoil, 83-year-old Mugabe had
been expected to defeat the divided opposition in the election.
Analysts say shortages of food, foreign currency and fuel, and the world's
highest inflation rate -- officially pegged at 26,000 percent -- are the
biggest challenge to Mugabe's rule.
But the opposition has failed to capitalise on Mugabe's failure to ease the
crisis and it remains to be seen if daily hardships will push Zimbabweans to
(Editing by Michael Georgy and Catherine Evans)
By Peta Thornycroft
06 February 2008
Political observers in Zimbabwe are charging new voting districts created by
the government violate the country's constitution. Peta Thornycroft reports
for VOA that election experts say the government has failed to allow details
of the new constituencies to be debated in parliament as required by the
The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network says President Robert Mugabe violated
the constitution in January by proclaiming elections and not allowing
legislators to inspect or debate the new boundaries.
The group says the constitution calls for legislators to approve or seek to
change boundaries and to see that voter populations have been allocated
The government has doubled the number of voting districts for the March 29
elections. Zimbabweans will for the first time vote in presidential,
parliamentary, senate and local government elections on the same day.
But there is still no map or even a description of the voting areas for the
local government elections and neither candidates nor voters know where they
will be able to cast their vote.
The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network says election authorities have made,
what they describe as "a mockery" of new election laws that went into force
The group also says the government ran out of voter registration materials
and has failed to adequately let people know where and when they could
register. In apparent acknowledgment of election-preparation problems, the
government has delayed the candidate filing deadline by more than a week,
until February 15.
Analysts say the election preparations are chaotic because President Mugabe
was determined to hold the polls in March and there was not enough time to
introduce so many new laws and voting districts.
South African negotiators who facilitated eight months of negotiations
between the ruling ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC failed to persuade
President Mugabe to delay the elections until the new laws could be fully
The Zimbabwe Elections Support Network says new electoral laws are being
regularly broken. One of them is a new media law that demands all
contesting candidates and parties be given equal treatment by state owned
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe which closely monitors domestic
media says in its weekly reports that the only daily newspapers, and the
only radio and television stations in the country break the law every day.
Opposition parties say high candidate filing fees are hurting the
opposition. The 210 parliamentary candidates from each party, need two
billion Zimbabwe dollars each.
Opposition election organizers say ruling ZANU-PF candidates have access to
government cash, but people in Zimbabwe are only allowed to draw 500 million
Zimbabwean dollars a day from their bank accounts.
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
With four ballots taking place simultaneously, completing the March
elections in a single day while ensuring everyone gets a chance to vote may
be well-nigh impossible.
By Joseph Sithole in Harare (AR No. 154, 06-Feb-08)
When Zimbabweans go to the polls on March 29, they will be presented with
not one but four ballot papers, adding a possible element of chaos to an
already fraught political event.
As well as deciding whether President Robert Mugabe should finally retire or
stay on for a further term, voters will choose members of both houses of
parliament, plus local councillors.
The country’s election commission says the four ballot papers will be
printed in different colours to make the process easier, but analysts fear
the sheer volume of activity taking place at polling stations within the
space of one day could prove logistically impossible.
After much agitation by the opposition, the Zimbabwean authorities
introduced the one-day rule for national ballots in 2004, in an attempt to
align electoral laws with those of other countries in the region. The reform
followed electoral guidelines produced by the Southern African Development
Before that, Zimbabwe had held elections over two or even three days. In one
case, for example, a ballot ran into a third day after the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, complained of a shortage of polling
stations in urban constituencies which meant many people were being denied
the right to vote.
The one-day rule recommended by the SADC was designed to reduce the scope
for tampering with ballot boxes and the count, – the argument being that
malpractice is easier if voting takes place over a protracted period.
The one-day system was used for the first time in Zimbabwe in the March 2005
parliamentary election, won by the ruling ZANU-PF.
The election of March 2008, however, will be the first of its kind,
synchronising presidential, parliamentary (House of Assembly and Senate) and
local government polls. Because voters will take longer to cast their
multiple ballots, the polling stations could rapidly become congested if
turnout is high, and one day might simply not be long enough.
A political analyst in Harare told IWPR that the practical problems of
conducting multiple ballots had been overlooked when the one-day system was
“It is now clear nobody had foreseen a situation where a single voter would
be required to vote for four candidates at one time. It simply means in the
event of a huge voter turnout, most potential voters will not vote,” said
the analyst, who did not want to be named.
“That will create problems which have the potential to turn awry as we have
seen in Kenya - except that in Zimbabwe it was the opposition which called
for this change.”
This unease over the implications of completing the vote in one day was
flagged up in a poll conducted last year by the Mass Public Opinion
Institute, MPOI, whose head is Eldred Masunungure, a political science
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
The MPOI survey, conducted in urban and rural areas in April and May 2007,
showed that 66 per cent of respondents nationally rejected the reform.
“The rejection was across the board - it cut across the traditional lines of
polarisation,” according to the MPOI report’s executive summary. “In the
rural areas, 64 per cent did not support the reform while 29 percent
supported it. The rejection rate was even higher in the urban areas, where
seven in ten (71 per cent) rejected it compared to the 25 per cent who
endorsed the new procedure.”
Among young people, 65 per cent were against the change, and even more
middle-aged voters - 73 per cent – rejected it. Support for one-day voting
was highest among the least education population group, and lowest among
those who had been to university or college.
The capital, Harare, showed the highest disapproval rate at 75 per cent,
followed by the Midlands and Mashonaland West – two regions where opposition
to Mugabe is strong. But interestingly, MPOI found that there was “no major
difference on partisan lines”, with both ZANU-PF and MDC supporters in the
65 to 70 per cent range opposing the rule.
“In short, it appears the one-day voting innovation has no takers,”
concluded the MPOI. “Those who administer elections (specifically the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) may have to take a second look at this,
especially given that the 2008 elections will be multiple elections….
Otherwise we foresee many potential voters being disenfranchised because of
failure to vote when they want to.”
The MPOI said at the time that it was not too late for the electoral
commission to review arrangements for the joint March 2008 polls in the
interests of “common sense and fair play”.
But the political analyst interviewed by IWPR said it was now unlikely that
the electoral commission would act to counter the risk of chaos on election
day, unless ZANU-PF and/or MDC were to ring alarm bells about it.
That does not seem feasible, as both parties have been preoccupied with a
confrontation over the timing of the vote itself. In a negotiating process
mediated by the Southern African Development Community, SADC, aimed at
ending the country’s political and economic crisis, the MDC has pressed for
the elections to be postponed from the anticipated March date to later in
the year, which would allow time for a new constitution to be introduced to
ensure a free and fair vote. On January 25, however, President Robert Mugabe
eliminated that possibility by setting a firm date of March 29.
According to the analyst, “In the event that there is no review, as the
parties are still engaged in negotiations over a new constitution and a
postponement of the poll, it might be necessary for the High Court to
intervene again, as it did in 2005, to extend the voting period; that is, if
there is an appeal against the practicality and unfairness of single-day
voting,” he said.
“It’s evidently [going to be] a logistical nightmare.”
Joseph Sithole is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Robert Mugabe is finally facing a serious challenge. The Zimbabwean
President's former Finance minister, Simba Makoni, has announced that he
intends to oppose Mr Mugabe in national elections scheduled for next month.
Mr Makoni declared yesterday: "I share the agony and anguish of all citizens
over the extreme hardships that we all have endured for nearly 10 years now.
I also share the view that these hardships are a result of failure of
This represents a pretty unambiguous attack on Mr Mugabe. It was always
likely that the first serious challenger would emerge from within the
Zanu-PF Party. Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), led by Morgan Tsvangirai, is weak and divided. And the state
security services and militias of war veterans would rapidly crush a popular
uprising. This might turn out to be a vindication of South Africa's policy
of "quiet diplomacy" – working with Zanu-PF rather than the MDC – to try to
resolve the crisis afflicting its northern neighbour.
Mr Makoni has no strong grassroots movement behind him, but if he can
attract the support of the influential Vice-President Joyce Mujuru and her
husband, the former army chief Solomon Mujuru, he has a chance of breaking
the hold on power that Mr Mugabe has had for nearly three decades.
Of course, Mr Mugabe might see off the younger man. The President may have
reduced his nation to an economic basket-case, but he has a formidable
ability to undermine opponents and stands at the top of a huge patronage
system. And, even if Mr Mugabe is deposed, Mr Makoni is hardly a desirable
candidate to take over. Despite being referred to as a moderniser and a
competent technocrat, as a member of Zanu-PF he has been close to Mr Mugabe
for many years and is implicated in his disastrous and murderous misrule.
The new leader might adopt a saner economic policy, but there is no reason
to believe that a Makoni election victory would result in a new flowering of
liberty in Zimbabwe. What the country needs is not just a new ruler but a
genuine multi-party democracy and a return to the rule of law.
At the moment, however, Mr Makoni looks very much like the lesser of two
evils. And there is another reason to hope. History teaches that
authoritarian regimes are often at their most vulnerable not when repression
is at its worst, but when it begins to ease. If Mr Makoni's move signals the
beginning of the end for the grotesque regime established by Mr Mugabe,
those who care for Zimbabwe and its people should welcome it with open arms.
We woke to a beautiful sunny day and praised the Lord for his
we arrived at the City Sports Centre around 9:15am the car park was already
full of buses and cars and people were streaming into the Sports Centre. The
Security and Usher teams were in force provided by the Youth and the Bernard
Mizeki Guild. They had name cards identifying them and some had sashes as
well. The choirs were in magnificent voice and the noise emanating from the
inside was wonderful to hear.
By the time the service commenced the Centre was almost full and continued
to fill during the morning. The Cathedral and St Stephen's had dressed the
altar, lectern and the stage in white and green with two magnificent white
arrangements of flowers on pedestals. The chairs for the bishops had white
slip covers on them. The playing area had seats arranged in blocks with
padded chairs in the front two rows for invited guests and dignitaries. The
choirs sang the whole time and every now and then there would be a roar from
the congregation. The Mothers Union were present in force and they made
quite an impact in their blue and white uniforms. Two large screens had been
set up so that people would be able to see some close-ups of the
proceedings.The choirs were seated to the right in bays 13,14 and 15 and
were all wearing white blouses or shirts.
Just prior to processions of the bishops the servers, sub-deacons, deacons
and priests had filed in to sit in bay 16 immediately behind the altar. For
those who know the Sports Centre, this bay is where the score board is
situated. The service commenced with the arrival of the bishops. The first
one was Bishop Peter Hatendi followed by those from Zambia, Malawi, Botswana
and Zimbabwe. Each was announced and a brief curriculum vitae given stating
where they had been trained, when enthroned as a bishop and other pertinent
details. The bishops were led in down the aisle by servers wearing red
surplices and priests. The teams rotated so they walked many hundreds of
metres. The choirs continued to sing throughout the procession apart from
when the announcements were made.
Bishop Bakare commenced the service which was partially in Shona and
partially in English. The readings were Nehemiah 2: 11->; Psalm 99:1-9; 2
Peter 1:1-16 and Matthew 17: 1->. The Sermon was on Reconciliation and
Rebuilding based on Nehemiah 4:1-4. The sermon was given in English with Rev
Chris Tapera translating into Shona.
The Registrar Michael Chingore and the Deputy Registrar Vimbai Nyemba were
commissioned by Bishop Bakare assisted by the Diocesan Chancellor Bob
The Peace took several minutes as people milled around greeting friends and
passing on the Peace.The Collection Hymn followed with the ushers moving
around with large plastic bags to receive the collection. This was then put
into a fertiliser bag to present to Bishop Bakare. Perhaps not the most
elegant of bags but it served the purpose very well and possibly many were
not aware of it, but as we were sitting right near the altar we could see
During the Collection hymn just before the Preparation of the Elements,
Bishop Bakare went out of the Sports Stadium for several minutes. We were
told by Pam Stumbles and Rhona Harris who went out briefly that this was a
News Conference but it seemed strange to us to have one in the middle of the
Eucharist. The ciboriums had been filled with wafers and the bottles of wine
were put onto the altar, some decanted into the chalice and the consecrated
wine was then poured back into each bottle. The Dean of the Province, Bishop
Chama conducted the Preparation with Bishop Bakare also participating
half-way through. The bishops then received communion, followed by the
priests and their sub-deacons and servers. The priests and sub-deacons then
administered the sacraments by intinction. Those on the centre section came
up to the red carpet in front of the altar to receive and those in the bays
moved either up or down as directed by the ushers. It was incredibly orderly
and when one considered the size of the congregation took an amazingly short
The service had just about concluded at 1:25pm when the power failed and
Bishop Bakare announced when the generator started that we would move to
Plan B. Plan B was then revealed that as the congregation was so large and
so many would like to be present and the cathedral would not accommodate
everyone, the enthronement of the Bishop would take place at the Sports
Centre. In effect Kunonga had apparently camped at the cathedral all night
on Saturday and the cathedral was locked with guards so the service could
not take place there. People who had been invited to the Enthronement and
went to the cathedral were therefore unable to witness it, but those at the
Sports Centre were delighted that they were going to be able to witness the
The actual Enthronement was very simple as part of the pomp and ceremony
could not take place. A chair was placed in front of the altar as the
throne. The Dean of the Province presented Bishop Sebastian Bakare to the
congregation so "that all may know him to be the rightly appointed and
confirmed Bishop of Harare, and to give him that esteem and love which are
due to him for the work's sake as one set over you in the Lord."
The certificates of Confirmation of Appointment were handed to the Registrar
who also received from the new Bishop the Deeds of his Consecration and
Collation. The Registrar having satisfied himself that these were in order
then affirmed that "Sebastian Bakare is our undoubted Bishop."
The Bishop responded and thanked the congregation for their welcome and
promised "to be a faithful shepherd and servant among us." He prayed that
"the ministry which we shall share may be pleasing to God, and that it may
strengthen the life of this Diocese and the whole Church of God."
He was led to a "suitable seat" and the pastoral staff was laid on the
He then faced the congregation and promised "to respect, maintain and defend
the rights, privileges and liberties of this Diocese and to rule in it with
truth justice and love, not lording it over God's heritage, but showing
myself in all things an example to the flock of Christ."
The Acting Dean then enthroned him as Bishop of Harare.
The Acting Dean then blessed the Bishop who knelt before the altar. The
Acting Dean then took the Pastoral staff from the altar and handed it to him
saying " May the Giver of all grace enable you to be so merciful that you be
not remiss, so to minister discipline that you do not forget mercy; that
when the Chief Shepherd shall appear you may receive the never-fading crown
The Bishop was then presented to the people who welcomed him with a shout,
ululation and clapping.
The priests then expressed their loyalty to the Bishop while he was seated
on the throne.
This was followed by messages of solidarity. The first was given by Bishop
Nywatiwa of the Methodist Church and a German lady from Africa University.
Rev David Bertram (Christchurch, Polokwane - SA), St Aiden's Church
Chitungwiza and the Bishop of Rochester had also sent messages. Bishop
Hatendi also gave a message of solidarity and a message was read from the
Archbishop of Canterbury. The message concluded with an invitation for
Bishop Bakare to attend Lambeth Congress later this year. (Kunonga had not
been invited to this meeting.)
The wives of the various bishops were also acknowledged.
The service concluded with a Blessing and then the priests, etc. processed
out followed by the bishops and lastly the Dean of the Province.
We were pleased that so many people were able to witness this historic
occasion in the rebuilding of our Diocese but were sad that we were denied
the right to have it in the Cathedral. We feel too for those who waited in
vain for the Enthronement at the Cathedral as I understand some people
waited for at least two hours. Ruth Chard had spent several hours practising
on the organ for the service.
We hope that we will now be able to move forward in the love of Christ. So
much unity and joy was expressed yesterday and our congratulations go to all
who made this historic occasion happen so smoothly.
Warden Avondale Church
By Tom Woods, Roger Bate and Marian L. Tupy
February 6, 2008
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and political repression just keep
accelerating. Four million Zimbabweans have now fled the country, and most
of the 8 million remaining there face extreme hardship.
Since 1994, average life expectancy in the beleaguered nation has plummeted
from 57 years to 34 years for women, and from 54 years to 37 years for men —
the shortest lifespans in the world.
And small wonder. Some 3,500 people die every week from the combined effects
of HIV/AIDS, poverty and malnutrition. State-sponsored killings and torture
of the opposition activists are common as well. More people die in Zimbabwe
every week than in Afghanistan, Darfur or Iraq.
Clearly, African leaders — most notably South African President Thabo
Mbeki — have failed the people of Zimbabwe. Yet, as the crisis worsens,
there is hope that a new regional leadership will address Africa's forgotten
tragedy more forcefully. The United States, too, must reconsider its past
policy toward Zimbabwe and seize this new opportunity.
None can fault past U.S. policy, which has featured tough rhetoric and
sustained effort to coax the world to act by embracing targeted sanctions.
But it's time to change course.
Change in Zimbabwe has always required a healthy dose of reality. There has
never been a time like the present to call for a tightening of the noose on
the Mugabe regime. The time is now ripe for one simple reason: President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is heading for the door.
For years, the U.S. State Department has found it way too convenient to
"support without reservation" Mr. Mbeki's leadership in resolving the crisis
in Zimbabwe. With Mr. Mbeki's departure, State should now admit his "quiet
diplomacy" was an unmitigated failure.
Mr. Mbeki's inaction and cavalier attitude to the suffering of the
Zimbabwean people has done grave harm to the idea of an "African
Renaissance." One can't help but wonder if he ever actually intended to do
anything to end the cruelties of Robert Mugabe's reign in Harare.
There is good reason to hope Mr. Mbeki's replacement, the newly elected
African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, understands the calamity that
is unfolding to his north and is willing to take the steps necessary to wake
the region from the nightmare that Zimbabwe has become.
For one thing, Mr. Zuma's election would have been impossible without the
support of South Africa's powerful trade unions that have close and friendly
ties with Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Meanwhile, Washington can do more too. Admittedly, direct U.S. national
interest in Zimbabwe is limited, but we can do more to relieve one of the
world's greatest humanitarian disasters than simply voice hollow rhetoric.
The time has come to break away from the Mbeki-led talks between the ruling
ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) and the opposition
MDC. These talks will never produce a way out of Zimbabwe's political
crisis. The talks already are melting down as the MDC sees clearly that Mr.
Mugabe does not intend to follow through on reforms that would guarantee
free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections in March.
The United States should engage Mr. Zuma and, importantly, the new National
Executive Council of the ANC, in discussions on how to create a six-month
road map that can lead Zimbabwe through constitutional reforms and toward
competitive and internationally monitored elections.
And now that the long-suffering MDC looks set to finally reunite, the White
House should invite their presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, for an
Oval Office meeting with President Bush in the next month or so. Mr. Bush is
said to be keen to do more about the Zimbabwean crisis. An Oval Office
meeting would give Mr. Tsvangirai much-needed international recognition and
greater clout at home.
Washington also needs to prepare for a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe. The State
Department would do well to intensify its contacts with the opposition.
But long-term planning offers little solace to the suffering people of
Zimbabwe. Left alone, the 83-year old dictator will likely outlast many of
the hungry and poverty-ridden Zimbabweans he holds captive.
The U.S. can play a more constructive role on Zimbabwe and help it find a
way to freedom by publicly and expeditiously parting with the moribund
"quiet diplomacy" of Thabo Mbeki.
Tom Woods is a senior associate fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a
former deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa. Roger Bate is a
resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Marian L. Tupy is a
policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and
February 06 2008 at 02:33PM
Harare - Zimbabwe's state-controlled media on Wednesday went into
action against new presidential candidate Simba Makoni, a former cabinet
minister and senior ruling party official, dismissing his ambition as "a
They also denounced the former finance minister and respected
businessman as having being planted in the election by Western governments
to overthrow President Robert Mugabe and install a regime of "Western
Makoni (57), who was in Mugabe's first cabinet at independence in
1980, on Tuesday blamed the 83-year-old's "failed leadership" for the
catastrophic collapse of the once-prosperous nation's economy.
Zimbabwe is characterised by world record inflation that has pushed
the cost of a banana to over a million Zimbabwe dollars, crippling power and
water cuts, dysfunctional hospitals, a dangerously potholed road network
after decades of neglect, and famine.
Makoni announced his candidacy on Tuesday and declared he would stand
as an independent candidate in presidential, parliamentary and local
government elections on March 29, promising, if elected, he would "work with
He said he would elaborate further when he announced his election
State radio reacted within hours of his announcement on Tuesday,
reporting that he had joined the presidential contest but adding that the
presence at his press conference of officials of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and of the British and US embassies "raised
suspicions of a hidden hand".
Then on Wednesday in the state-run Harare-based daily Herald
newspaper, a senior columnist scorned descriptions of Makoni's announcement
as "a bombshell" and said it was more like "the loud fart all silently agree
"He has been sent to do someone's dirty work," the paper said.
"It all shows there is a hand calling the shots."
Since the emergence seven years ago of the MDC, Mugabe's state media
relentlessly characterised the party as a "puppet" of the British and US
Every reference to the party's founding leader, former trade unionist
Morgan Tsvangirai, is followed by charges that he is given orders directly
from London and Washington, using him to bring down Mugabe's regime so that
Britain and the US can recolonise the former British possession which gained
independence in 1980.
Observers say the ruling party propaganda machine is adopting the same
tactic against Makoni.
In its front page report, the Herald said the presence of a British
and a US diplomat during Makoni's announcement was "linked to the formation
of a new party aimed at unseating the ruling Zanu-PF government and
The paper's columnist also dismissed Makoni's criticism of Mugabe's
leadership as "a shrine of lies", and went on: "Simba has just subscribed to
megaphone politics by giving a black face to the voices from the White House
The suspicion on Harare's streets is that Mugabe may have made a
secret deal with Makoni, to get him to fight the election and somehow
disable the campaigns of the MDC.
"The Herald gives a clear indication of the credibility of this
rumour," said a diplomat.
"If Makoni was a front in a Mugabe election plot, the Herald wouldn't
have attacked him." - Sapa-dpa
Business Day (Johannesburg)
6 February 2008
Posted to the web 6 February 2008
AFTER nine months of negotiations under the auspices of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was
finally forced at the weekend to make decisions about what to do about the
Two sets of negotiations had been going on in parallel - talks with Zanu
(PF) facilitated by the South African government, and talks between the MDC
faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the faction led by Arthur Mutambara ,
in the hope that the party might be reunified to fight the next election.
In the first process we had in fact made huge progress. A comprehensive
package of reforms was negotiated, giving us the chance of a free and fair
electoral process if they were implemented. President Robert Mugabe was
faced with a decision -- allow these reforms through and face defeat or tell
his South African and SADC colleagues that they were asking too much. He
decided on the latter.
President Thabo Mbeki was forced to use his last option -- to confront
Mugabe's refusal to implement the deal at a meeting of SADC heads of state.
He did so last week on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis
Ababa, and we understand he pulled no punches. However, in the end, Mugabe
was backed by the heads of three other states -- Swaziland, Namibia and
Angola -- and Mbeki came away with no decision.
So when the MDC leadership gathered in Harare this past weekend to consider
the question of fighting the next election, now just two months away, it was
against the background of Mbeki's failed mediation effort. In addition to
this setback, we faced the reality that despite the reforms already adopted
and passed by parliament, the regime in Harare was maintaining its barrage
of antidemocratic policies against the MDC.
The debate in the national executive and then the council was short, and
when the vote came to participate in the election, it was carried
unanimously. In answer to those who claimed that by running we were going to
legitimise a rigged election, MDC president Tsvangirai said that, on the
contrary, the only way to demonstrate the illegitimate nature of the regime
would be to contest every seat and make sure Zanu (PF) had to rig massively
to get a result in its favour.
So now we have five days to put up nearly 2000 candidates under the MDC
banner. That is no small task and it's just as well we anticipated this
decision and are far down the road on this one. I do not think we will get a
candidate into every rural district council seat, but we will contest every
urban council seat and every parliamentary and senatorial seat, plus the
We had been talking to the Mutambara faction for more than a year.
Initially, it wanted an "amicable divorce", but insisted on continuing to
use the MDC name and symbols. We said that if it wanted to do so, unity was
the only route. We have since negotiated a full reunification agreement and
when the election was announced, it was decided to translate that into an
electoral pact that would take us past the elections and then going on to a
congress, where the unification process would be completed. But the devil is
always in the detail and when the MDC leadership was presented with the
suggested list of allocated seats, the whole deal fell apart.
It is now generally accepted that the group led by Mutambara is the smaller
group -- the crucial question is how much smaller? Obviously, we feel that
it is very much the junior player while they (understandably) do not agree.
Had they accepted the selection of candidates by a democratic system, there
would have been no real argument -- the decision as to who stood where would
have been left to the party structures in the electoral districts concerned.
But the Mutambara group feared that such a process would decimate its
representation and refused.
In the end, failure was inevitable and we resolved to adopt the unity
agreement with one or two minor amendments and to go back to the Mutambara
group with a revised allocation of seats -- one our leadership felt was more
realistic. They rejected this out of hand and we mutually decided to go it
So now -- for better or for worse -- we will fight this election. The
Tsvangirai-led MDC, joined by Zanu (Ndonga), will fight all seats and the
Mutambara group will put up as many candidates as it can and run against us.
There will be other parties in the game. I know of five so far, perhaps with
more to come, but, in essence, it will be the three-way scrap between Zanu
(PF) and the two MDC groups that will receive most attention.
Only the main wing of the MDC offers the chance of regime change and this
puts all others at a severe disadvantage, and they know it. There was a
profound sense of gloom at the hotel where the Mutambara group was caucusing
yesterday in Harare.
But at least we now know where we stand . Our focus has to be on the
campaign -- explaining to the voters what we will do if elected. Then we
must persuade people to turn out and vote -- a steep hill to climb as the
past decade has persuaded many that voting is a waste of time.
But our main task will be to stop Zanu (PF) doing a Mwai Kibaki on us --
stealing the result when we have done enough to win.
Cross is a member of the Movement for Democratic Change.
SW Radio Africa (London)
6 February 2008
Posted to the web 6 February 2008
The MDC national council, the party's main decision making body, has
endorsed Morgan Tsvangirai as its presidential candidate for next month's
Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said primaries to choose parliamentary and
council candidates are also almost complete. He said party structures have
since Saturday been selecting candidates for all the 210 constituencies up
'The exercise should have been completed by yesterday (Tuesday) but we have
cases where candidates have disputed the results and as such our election
directorate department is attending to that,' Chamisa said.
He said that Tsvangirai was unanimously endorsed by the national council
that met over the weekend. Chamisa added that a number of newly created safe
seats in Harare and other provinces would be recommended to outstanding
party cadres, who would not go through a primary election.
Without giving names Chamisa said; 'We have a number of party cadres who
have worked tirelessly for the party since its formation and the national
council decided to honour them by giving them safe seats that they will
contest in the elections.'
Reports indicate that senior party members like the former Mayor of Harare,
Elias Mudzuri, has already been lined up to contest the safe Warren Park
seat in the capital. Others being mentioned are Kerry Kay, the secretary for
Welfare, Lucia Matibenga (Kuwadzana), formerly Chamisa's constituency, Eddie
Cross in Bulawayo and possibly Roy Bennett, the exiled Treasurer-General of
the MDC in Manicaland.
The party spokesman confirmed he was shifting constituencies and would be
contesting the newly created constituency of Kuwadzana East. He would not
however disclose the list of candidates who successfully won the primaries,
saying it was too early to do so because of the 'disputes'.
Asked what would happen to Harare seats that are being held by members of
the Mutambara faction, but won in 2000 under a united MDC, Chamisa could
only say; 'That's going to be interesting, but I cannot let the cat out of
the bag now'.
06 February 2008
Statement by Morgan Tsvangirai February 4 2008
The National Council met over two days and considered a number of national
issues. Deliberations centred around two key issues: the March elections and
the quest for a united MDC.
Zimbabweans are hungry, angry, have no food and have no jobs. Zimbabweans
want to get out of a deep hole, reclaim their voice and get on with their
After a protracted democratic struggle, we supported the SADC initiative on
the understanding that the process could lead to a free and fair election.
The SADC dialogue has now reached a deadlock. On our part, we strongly
believe SADC has a regional responsibility to unlock the political impasse.
We urge SADC to act.
What this deadlock means is that we are going into an election in March
whose outcome is likely to be contested. In doing so, we are guided by one
principle - to give Zimbabweans yet another fighting chance to confront the
dictatorship. The dangers of a contested outcome in an election are common
A democratic struggle of the nature we are engaged in is a process. An
election is but one of the several strategies a people can use to achieve an
outcome that ultimately leads to the resolution of the national crisis.
We decided to go into this election fully aware of the potential dangers
surrounding the process.
Our struggle seeks to go beyond the March election until the people can see
and feel a fundamental change in their daily lives.
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF have a choice. The people, by demanding that we
participate in the elections under unsatisfactory conditions, feel Mugabe
and Zanu PF must be allowed to clear and finish off any residual strains of
legitimacy he still claims to have.
We believe the struggle shall continue beyond Mugabe's narrow and selfish
electionistic approach to the deepening national crisis. The people know
that they won the last three elections. They know that they shall triumph.
Unity of the MDC
The MDC split caused a lot of pain and anxiety at home and abroad. For a
greater part of last year, we worked together with our colleagues in the
other formation. We worked as a team in the SADC brokered talks with Zanu
PF. Together, we are disappointed by the outcome.
We buried our personal differences in the national interest and continued to
pursue our quest for a united MDC, not for purposes of the March election
alone, but to give the people another chance to fight for a new Zimbabwe as
We agreed on a set of principles and guidelines for a united front. The
National Council adopted those principles and resolved to adhere to these
lofty goals in the future.
However, the National Council disagreed on the selection of candidates,
causing a temporary delay to an agreement that still shall ultimately see a
single MDC home take shape. On our part, we committed to act unity and
exercise our discretion as a leadership and to refrain from contesting in
selected constituencies currently being held by sitting MPs in the other
We shall demonstrate the spirit of togetherness in all other areas,
co-operating in our campaign against Zanu PF and ensuring that the MDC
The need for unity of all progressive forces arose from our own initiative
and is in the national interest. We shall always be guided by the principle
and shall act accordingly.
We aim to focus on Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF as the authors of the Zimbabwe
We believe there is strength in unity. And, with this approach I believe our
victory is in sight.
The speech was issued by the Movement for Democratic Change on February 4
06 February 2008
THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) has lauded President Thabo
Mbeki’s mediation efforts between Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu (PF) and opposition
MDC, despite the MDC insisting they have failed.
Mbeki briefed the SADC summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last Thursday and
Friday on the status of negotiations between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu
(PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The SADC s ecretariat said yesterday that the two parties had reached
agreement on all substantive matters relating to the political situation in
Zimbabwe, which the ruling party and the opposition had placed on their
This included the c onstitution, electoral laws, security legislation,
communication legislation, and matters relating to the political climate in
Zimbabwe, such as the land question, sanctions, politically motivated
violence, and external interference in the country.
The most urgent of these, including constitutional and statutory changes,
had already been put into effect through constitutional and legal amendments
approved by parliament , to which Mugabe had assented. The only outstanding
matter related to the procedure to be followed in enacting the agreed draft
c onstitution, the body said.
The MDC’s economic affairs spokesman, Eddie Cross, said a comprehensive
package of reforms — some of which have been implemented — was negotiated,
“giving us the chance of a free and fair electoral process if they were
He said Mbeki had been forced to use his last option — to confront Mugabe’s
refusal to implement the deal negotiated at great expense and time at a
meeting of SADC h eads of state. “He did so last week at Addis on the
sidelines of the AU summit and we understand he pulled no punches. However,
in the end Mugabe was backed by three other heads of state — Swaziland,
Namibia and Angola — and Mbeki came away with no decision. Four against
censure and eight in favour was just not enough.
“So when the MDC leadership gathered in Harare this weekend to consider the
question of fighting the next election, now just two months away, it was
against the background of a failed mediation effort by President Mbeki,”
In addition to this setback, the MDC faced the reality that despite the
reforms adopted by parliament , the regime in Harare continued to ban MDC
marches and rallies. There was no sign of any reform in the media and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was under the control of Zanu (PF) , and was
being staffed with many of the old electoral management from the security
services, he said. Sapa
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and
working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the
challenges of leading a normal life. Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The
country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation - 8,000% - and just one
in five has an official job. How to be upbeat about life in Harare? I think it's only possible when
you stop looking at everything that's going on as being abnormal, and just
accept it as it is. My sister bumped into our cousin yesterday on her way back home
from town. She (our cousin) was just standing at the rank, not boarding any
of the combis [commuter buses] that were leaving in the direction of our home
(we all stay in the same neighbourhood). When my sister asked her why she was just standing there, she
said she did not have enough to pay the bus fare - the last time she used public
transport, she had paid 1.5m Zimbabwean dollars. But fares are now 3m Zimbabwean dollars. And, it's not that she had last been in town months ago - it was
only just two weeks before. Fortunately my sister had money to spare and so paid the
difference. This lady I share the office with is busy praying it does not
get warm today. She's wearing a pullover jumper to hide her un-ironed blouse
because their power went off two nights ago, and she's since run out of ironed
clothes. You can't call the power company to ask what's going on because
they never answer their phones. Or maybe they just keep them off the hook.
Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend who lives in a VERY
posh suburb of Harare. She has had no running water for two weeks STRAIGHT. So all the water her family uses is in drums, plastic buckets,
pots - any container that is clean. It's really quite unbelievable... Her kids go to an exclusive private school, she has two, no,
actually three cars parked in the yard, goes shopping in Dubai and Joburg, but
she has no running water in her house. I miss the Harare of old: where pot holes were patched up as
soon as they appeared, when you could walk into a supermarket and buy milk
without joining a stampede to a supermarket where it has just been delivered (I
witnessed one yesterday). And hey, you could budget and save for that divine pair of
shoes. I saw a pair about two or three weeks ago going for 150m
Zimbabwean dollars but when I went back to the store after getting paid they
were retailing for the princely sum of 450m Zimbabwe dollars. Crazy!
Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.
Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation - 8,000% - and just one in five has an official job.
How to be upbeat about life in Harare? I think it's only possible when you stop looking at everything that's going on as being abnormal, and just accept it as it is.
My sister bumped into our cousin yesterday on her way back home from town.
She (our cousin) was just standing at the rank, not boarding any of the combis [commuter buses] that were leaving in the direction of our home (we all stay in the same neighbourhood).
When my sister asked her why she was just standing there, she said she did not have enough to pay the bus fare - the last time she used public transport, she had paid 1.5m Zimbabwean dollars.
But fares are now 3m Zimbabwean dollars.
And, it's not that she had last been in town months ago - it was only just two weeks before.
Fortunately my sister had money to spare and so paid the difference.
This lady I share the office with is busy praying it does not get warm today.
She's wearing a pullover jumper to hide her un-ironed blouse because their power went off two nights ago, and she's since run out of ironed clothes.
You can't call the power company to ask what's going on because they never answer their phones. Or maybe they just keep them off the hook.
Over the weekend, I went to visit a friend who lives in a VERY posh suburb of Harare.
She has had no running water for two weeks STRAIGHT.
So all the water her family uses is in drums, plastic buckets, pots - any container that is clean.
It's really quite unbelievable...
Her kids go to an exclusive private school, she has two, no, actually three cars parked in the yard, goes shopping in Dubai and Joburg, but she has no running water in her house.
I miss the Harare of old: where pot holes were patched up as soon as they appeared, when you could walk into a supermarket and buy milk without joining a stampede to a supermarket where it has just been delivered (I witnessed one yesterday).
And hey, you could budget and save for that divine pair of shoes.
I saw a pair about two or three weeks ago going for 150m Zimbabwean dollars but when I went back to the store after getting paid they were retailing for the princely sum of 450m Zimbabwe dollars.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 15:41
HARARE, (Zimbabwe) - AT least 20 engineers left Air Zimbabwe this week to
join Dubai Airlines despite measures by the national airline to retain
experienced staff by paying them in foreign currency.
A Senior Manager at Air Zimbabwe, said the 20 tendered their resignations
letter on the first day of this month and the engineers just left without
serving their notices.
"It's a serious problem that we are now having to face on a monthly basis.
We are loosing qualified and experienced engineers to better paying airline
in the emerging markets in the Middle East. A lot of people are now making
Air Zimbabwe as a stepping stone to better paying airlines," said the senior
manger who requested anonymity.
The majority of tthe engineers who have quit the airline are reported to
have joined Dubai Airlines, which recently boosted its fleet.
Last month, the government bowed to the demands of Air Zimbabwe engineers
for their salaries to be paid in foreign currency.
Sources said the government gave the Air ZImbabwe management the green light
to pay engineers in foreign currency following an exodus, which saw over 50
experienced engineers leaving the national carrier in 2007.
Air Zimbabwe Corporate Affairs Manager, Pride Khumbula, could neither
confirm nor deny the exodus saying employment issues a better not discussed
in the press. She however confirmed that the national airline had put in
place retention packages for the engineers.
"The airline has put in place retention packages for pilots and engineers,
in accordance with recommendations from government and the central bank,"
Air Zimbabwe boasts a team of 50 pilots and 220 engineers. When the
airline's chief executive officer Peter Chikumba took over the reins in
February last year he made it clear that staff retention was one of his
Air Zimbabwe engineers now earn between US$800 to US$ 1500, which the
engineers is far too little as compared to their counterparts in the region
who earn around US$5000
Mail and Guardian
Zahira Kharsany and Sapa | Johannesburg, South Africa
06 February 2008 05:20
Many Zimbabwean refugees seek shelter at the Central Methodist
church in Johannesburg’s CBD, sleeping on stairs and in passageways in the
only place they can find free accommodation.
Up to 1 500 refugees living on the church premises were arrested
in a late-night raid last week to round up illegal immigrants. Bishop Paul
Verryn confirmed on Tuesday this week that, as far as he knew, all but 15
refugees had been released and cleared of all charges.
Verryn said that all the refugees has returned to the church and
“maybe even more have come in”.
The church was raided by members of the South African Police
Service (SAPS) from Johannesburg, metro police officers, provincial
reservists and immigration officers.
However, SAPS spokesperson Captain Bheki Mavundla could on
Tuesday not confirm Verryn's numbers. He said the raid was part of
“sustainable crime-combat operations” that were "legally authorised to
eradicate criminal elements from the district and building".
Some of those who were arrested had their papers in order, while
those who didn't have were still trying to acquire them, according to
Janet Love, national director of the Legal Resources Centre, did
confirm that there were 14 detained refugees who were still trying to obtain
bail at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. Love said that of all those who
had been arrested, “none have been charged so far, but 14 are outstanding
“The police could not provide satisfactory evidence in the
court, so the magistrate has remanded the 10 cases till [February 12]. This
is so that the police can provide evidence for the bail application.”
The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) is at present
investigating the conduct of police officers who took part in the raid.
Advocate Siphokazi Moleshe, who head the ICD in Gauteng, told
the Mail & Guardian Online: “I decided in the interest of the public to
carry out the investigation into what the police allegedly did there during
the raid, whether they conducted themselves in an appropriate manner or not.
It is our own initiative and no one has formally laid a complaint.”
Verryn and several refugees have complained that they were
abused and pushed around during last week's raid. The bishop, speaking to
the M&G Online last week, said he was verbally abused and shoved by police
officers when he asked them why they were breaking down doors and assaulting
"I saw them assault people as they took them away in their
vans," the bishop said at the time. "One of them kicked a bottle at me and
pushed me. I am able to identify those who pushed me. One of them said I am
a disgrace to the church for allowing these people to come in."
He questioned why police had to break down doors when he had the
keys. "We can have the doors fixed," he said, adding, though, that the
church had not been desecrated. "The most serious violation is of the
people -- that is the desecration I find worrying."
Many of the refugees were asleep when the raid got under way.
Elizabeth, a Zimbabwean refugee staying at the church, said: “I was hit and
kicked around, but I was not arrested. It was very traumatic and I am still
recovering from it.”
Police are expected to continue such raids regularly, Mavundla
said. “The raids will continue over time, until the area is safe again.”
Verryn insisted that the church would continue to be a refuge
not only for Zimbabweans, but also for any South Africans without shelter.
Meanwhile, Gauteng community safety minister Firoz Cachalia will
meet police officers who were involved in the raid, his office said on
Wednesday. This is part of an agreement reached at a meeting on Tuesday
between Cachalia, Verryn, the Legal Resource Centre, the station
commissioner of the Johannesburg Central police station and the provincial
At the meeting it was agreed that the Johannesburg station
commissioner would meet the leaders of the Central Methodist church to work
out specific details about how to improve communication and relations
between the police, the congregants of the church and the broader community
in the area.
The provincial commissioner has also undertaken to investigate
thoroughly all of the allegations against the police officers who took part
in the raid, and take action where necessary.
Following the meeting, Cachalia expressed his "deep concern" at
serious allegations against members of the police.
"In order to be effective in fighting crime, all our police
officers have to uphold the Constitution and behave in a professional manner
at all times. We all agree that the police have an important role to play in
fighting crime, protecting people and enforcing the laws of our country,
which includes the immigration laws," he said.
Additional reporting by Percy Zvomuya
6th Feb 2008 02:25 GMT
By a Correspondent
Zimbabwe: Escalating Violence in 2007
USA: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
"In Zimbabwe, ordinary citizens suffer under a tyrannical regime. The
government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions
to flee their homeland. The behavior of the Mugabe regime is an assault on
its people -- and an affront to the principles of the Universal
Regime crackdown: 2007 is the worst year yet for defenders of freedom in
Zimbabwe. Despite recent efforts by regional leaders to resolve the ongoing
crisis, the assault against human rights and democracy by Robert Mugabe's
government has ac°©celerated.
The consensus: Numerous internationally recognized organizations agree that
the Mugabe regime has failed to respect the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and note that human rights abuses, particularly political violence,
are on the rise. Further, Amnesty International, Article 19, Human Rights
Watch, the International Bar Association, and Redress, among others, contend
that the Mugabe government has failed to protect rights set forth in the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.1
THE VICTIMS: The Mugabe regime has used Zimbabwean security and intelligence
forces and youth militias to intensify its campaign against peaceful
citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and
association. Zimbabweans from all walks of life have been targeted,
including the political opposition, democracy and human rights activists,
religious leaders, labor unions, women's groups, journalists, and students.
Victims are attacked at locations across the country, including homes,
workplaces, shopping centers, university campuses, peaceful rallies, and
6,000 VIOLATIONS and Counting: Recent reporting from Zimbabwean NGOs
suggests an appalling trend: Over 6,000 instances of human rights abuse have
been reported since the beginning of 2007, with at least 500 violations
occurring each month and over 1,400 attacks against students alone.
* Disappearances and Abductions Over 90 reports of politically motivated
kidnapping and disappearance.
* Torture and Assault 3,463 victims of torture and assault received
medical treatment in 2007, nearly triple the 1,185 victims recorded in
2006.4 Victims report beatings with whips and cables, suspension, and
* Arrests and Detention More than 1,200 cases, though few go to trial or
result in conviction.
* Harassment and Intimidation Over 3,000 incidents have targeted the
political opposition, civil society, and ordinary citizens.
* Denial of Basic Needs The Mugabe regime's interference with
humanitarian activities, partisan distribution of food, and refusal of
medical treatment to victims of politically motivated violence continues.
* Ongoing Repression With over 2,000 complaints recorded, broad
restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association
By Patience Rusere
05 February 2008
Sources around Zimbabwe said water and electric services remained erratic
following a major power blackout over the weekend which the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority blamed on a system malfunction.
An informal survey by VOA found that most parts of Harare had no electricity
or water on Tuesday. Nearby Chitungwiza had had no water or power for nine
Electricity in Bulawayo has been turned off almost daily for four to 12
hours at a time. Bulawayo reservoirs are full, but residents have had no
water for the past four days.
In eastern Mutare, residents said electric power had been available for up
to 12 hours a day in the past two days; previously it was on for just two
hours a day.
In Gweru, Midlands, residents had gone without water for four days and some
living in the high-density suburb of Mkoba were digging wells and selling
water. But the flow of electricity had improved in Gweru since the national
blackout on the weekend.
Electric power was erratic in Masvingo, but the south-central town has a
steady supply of water, which some attribute to the fact that the water
system is still controlled by the municipality rather than the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority. ZINWA has taken over many city water systems in
the country in the past year.
Chitungwiza resident Nicholas Zulu said he has had no water for nine days.
Zulu told reporter Patience Rusere how he is surviving the water and power
Independent Catholic News
LONDON - 6 February 2008 - 500 words
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has called for all to join in prayer and
solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe on his return from a pastoral visit
to southern Africa with Bishop Crispian Hollis, chair of the Catholic
Bishops' Conference international affairs department.
During their trip they held meetings with bishops from across Southern
Africa and visited a number of humanitarian projects run by the local
Cardinal Cormac said: "I have been profoundly moved by the past week in
southern Africa and particularly in Zimbabwe; by the suffering and anguish
of those living in terrible poverty and living with HIV/AIDs but also by the
compassion and strength of those in the Church working with the most
"I have seen a united Church working with and among the poor and the sick.
It is when caring for the poor, sick and most vulnerable to bring them hope
that the Church is at its finest. It has been a profound blessing for us to
come and experience the love of all those working here and also the belief
of those Zimbabweans who live amidst the crisis their country is undergoing.
"As the Bishops of Zimbabwe have already stated in their pastoral letter of
last April, there is a crisis of governance in the country, a crisis of
spiritual and moral leadership and a collapse of civic society. But there
are no simple, quick answers. We were told that there must be a better way
to run the country, but the crisis in which Zimbabweans are currently living
will take years to put right. Material assistance is essential, but above
all what the Church can offer is our sense of prayer and solidarity through
which hope grows. Walking in solidarity with the Bishops and people of
Zimbabwe and across Southern Africa is what we are all called to do at their
time of need."
In Zimbabwe, the Cardinal and Bishop Hollis met with Archbishop Robert
Ndlovu, the Archbishop of Harare and others from the Zimbabwean Bishops'
Conference where they were informed about the current situation and the
Church's work, which is assisted by the Pontifical Mission Society.
There followed visits to a parish in Mbare, a township in the South of
Harare where poverty and illness are endemic; outbreaks of cholera were
eported in some of the shanty towns around Harare. The collapse of the
formal economy and extreme food shortages have created a desperate
situation, with groups lying outside the parish hoping for some food
hand-outs. The previous week, five tonnes of maize was distributed by the
Jesuits who run the parish to the needy and went in three days.
At Mashambanzou ("dawn of a new day"), the Cardinal and Bishop Hollis were
told of the work of the HIV/AIDs charity, supported by Cafod and Caritas
Internationalis among other international aid agencies. Sister Margaret
McAllen, who has been directing the project since 1989, told of her work
caring for over 3,500 families in the community and bringing in the most
sick into residential care until they are strong enough to return to the
community. Dealing with death and the dying on a daily basis required
emotional and spiritual support, said Sister McAllen
"We get our spiritual energy from people like you coming here. This is vital
to our work. We are all channels of God's grace and by knowing that you are
with us is important as it gives us strength in our mission. We need this
support," said Sister McAllen.
Archbishop Ndlovu thanked the Cardinal and Bishop Hollis at a public Mass at
Harare Cathedral for their visit and their message of hope. The Mass, during
which the Cardinal preached, was celebrated in a packed Harare Cathedral.
The Cardinal's homily focused on hope: the hope for a better future for the
people of Zimbabwe.