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ZANU PF lashes out after Obama calls for reforms

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell

SW Radio Africa

01 July 2013

Calls by US President Barack Obama for real reforms in Zimbabwe ahead of
elections have angered ZANU PF, with party loyalists accusing the American
leader of ‘meddling’ and ‘insulting’ Africans.

Obama made the remarks while in South Africa over the weekend, as part of
his official tour of African nations. He told reporters that bad governance
in Zimbabwe was responsible for the country’s problems, including the
destruction of the economy.

“If you look at Zimbabwe, it used to be one of the wealthiest countries on
the continent. And that governance has led to an economic disaster. It’s now
starting to come back. And thanks to the work of people like President
(Jacob) Zuma, there’s an opportunity now to move into a new phase where
perhaps Zimbabwe can finally achieve all its promise. But that requires fair
and free elections, and it requires those currently in power in Zimbabwe to
recognise that the interest of all people have to be served there,” Obama
said.

ZANU PF has reacted with anger, which could clearly be seen in the party’s
mouthpiece newspaper the Herald on Monday. The newspaper criticised Obama
for “abusing his visit to South Africa to meddle in Zimbabwe’s internal
affairs.” The paper also quoted a number of ZANU PF loyal ‘analysts’ like
Jonathan Moyo, Charity Manyeruke and war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda, who
offered their criticisms.

Sibanda was quoted as saying that Zimbabwe is a sovereign nation “governed
by its laws not the opinions of foreigners,” and the country “doesn’t want
interference from foreigners.” Moyo meanwhile described Obama’s statements
as “insults to Zimbabweans and progressive South Africans.” Manyeruke was
also scathing, saying Obama “wants to see Zimbabwe turn into another Somalia
so that the Americans can come in and plunder the country’s resources.”

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said Obama’s comments are welcome, and
reflect the widespread concerns of Zimbabwean civil society and citizens. He
said the ZANU PF reaction is unsurprising.

“It is expected that ZANU PF would react in a nasty and hostile way. This is
how they always react when they are being told things they do not want to
hear,” Mashiri said.


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Mugabe's Media Accuses Obama Of 'Sinister Plan' To Affect Zimbabwe Elections

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

07/01/13 11:47 AM ET EDT  Associated Press

Harare - The Zimbabwe president's party says US President Barack Obama's
calls for more democratic reforms ahead of elections in this southern
African nation are "hypocritical".

Zimbabwe state radio reported on Monday that Christopher Mutsvangwa, a
former ambassador to China appointed by President Robert Mugabe, said Obama,
currently visiting Africa, voiced "a sinister plan" to influence Zimbabwe's
elections to oust longtime ruler Mugabe, 89.

Speaking in Cape Town on Sunday, Obama criticised Zimbabwe for bad
governance and said the country is unlikely to have fair elections later
this month due to fear and insecurity among voters and bias by the police
and military.

In response Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper said Obama did not
acknowledge American law-breaking in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

The newspaper said Obama was mired in "international barbarism, drone
assassinations and spying".

- AP


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Power corruption killed Zimbabwe hope: Obama

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

30/06/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter I Agencies

PRESIDENT Barack Obama said on Sunday that political corruption destroyed
the hope of liberation in Zimbabwe's as he called for free and fair
elections in the country.
Obama, who was in South Africa on the second leg of his Africa trip, said
economic recovery had given Zimbabwe an opportunity to advance but only if
upcoming elections were "free and fair."

President Robert Mugabe, at 89 Africa's oldest leader, is seeking to extend
his three-decade rule in elections scheduled for July 31.  But the
opposition wants to delay the poll to allow reforms designed to prevent a
repeat of the bloodshed that marred the 2008 election.

"Zimbabweans have a new constitution. The economy is beginning to recover.
So there is an opportunity to move forward," Obama said in a televised
speech at the University of Cape Town during his three-nation Africa visit.

"But only if there is an election that is free and fair and peaceful so that
Zimbabweans can determine their future without fear of intimidation and
retribution," Obama said.

Speaking at a media briefing after bilateral talks with President Jacob Zuma
on Saturday Obama said: “We discussed the situation in Zimbabwe … and
President Zuma has played an important role in the region’s mediation
efforts.

“We agreed that the harassment of citizens and groups needs to stop, and
reforms need to move forward so the people of Zimbabwe can cast their votes
in elections that are fair, and free, and credible”.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, has been accused by critics of rigging
elections and driving the economy into near ruin by scaring off investors
with polices such as the seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to
landless blacks.

After a decade of contraction which saw the domestic currency rendered
worthless by hyper-inflation, the economy has been growing again, in part
because Zimbabwe has dumped its own dollar in favour of the U.S. dollar.

Obama said "the promise of liberation gave way to the corruption of power
and then the collapse of the economy."
“Zimbabwe … used to be one of the wealthiest countries on the continent. And
that governance has led to an economic disaster,” he said.

“It’s not starting to come back. And thanks to the work of people like
President Zuma, there’s an opportunity now to move into a new phase where
perhaps Zimbabwe can finally achieve all its promise.

“But that requires fair and free elections, and it requires those currently
in power in Zimbabwe to recognize that the interest of all people have to be
served there.”

Mugabe however, blames sanctions imposed by the US and other Western
countries for Zimbabwe’s economic problems.
The European Union (EU), the US as well as Australia have partially relaxed
the sanctions to reward the country for a series of reforms that include the
new constitution.

The EU however warned that it would re-impose the sanctions if the country
fails to organise a credible vote.


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SADC hoping for one month Zim poll delay

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell

SW Radio Africa

01 July 2013

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is hoping for at least a
months delay of the proclaimed July 31st election date, according to a
senior official involved in mediating a solution to Zimbabwe’s political
crisis.

Lindiwe Zulu, who is part of the South African mediation team led by
President Jacob Zuma, told the Bloomberg news service over the weekend that
they are hopeful that Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court will extend the poll
date by a month.

Zulu was quoted as saying that SADC is “hoping the (Constitutional Court)
will be sensitive to the process of the resolution of some of the tensions
in the build-up to elections.”

The Court will on Thursday hear a consolidated application that is seeking
to have the election date changed. The applications were last week grouped
together after a number of separate cases were put before the Court. This
includes the contentious one filed by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
and the counter application fielded by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
MDC leader Welshman Ncube.

The Court is being asked to review its decision to order Robert Mugabe to
proclaim an election date by July 31st, which the ZANU PF leader
subsequently did last month. If the ConCourt remains steadfast on its
decision there will be just 28 days to the election, from Thursday to July
31st.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa that SADC needs to
be more explicit about what it wants from Zimbabwe, arguing that the timing
of elections is not as important as the reforms that need to take place. He
criticised the region for previously saying it will support whatever the
Constitutional Court rules, instead of focusing on the reforms needed in the
country.

“It is important for the region and for SADC to pin down Zimbabwe to
implement the reforms. So what matters now is not an election date. If SADC
continues to insist on calling for an election date without biting, then
this toothless bulldog will once again just serve to confuse Zimbabweans
about their intentions,” Ruhanya said.


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New electronic voters’ roll makes inspection easier for Zimbabweans

http://www.swradioafrica.com
 

The website for www.myzimvote.com

By Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
01 July 2013

A group of organizations involved in the pro-democracy movement have created a website with an electronic voters’ roll, after years of refusals from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to provide this service.

It is the same voter’s roll that ZEC has, and Zimbabweans from anywhere in the world can access it. All you need do is enter your ID number to check if you are registered.

The development comes after a preliminary report has been compiled, and will be handed to ZEC this week, which is a damning expose showing massive ballot stuffing in various constituencies around the country. The report shows there are significantly more people who have registered to vote than the actual population in many areas.

The MDC-T obtained a voters roll dated May 27th 2013 and it is believed it is this same roll that is being supplied by a coalition of civic groups to provide clear, simple and accurate voter registration information for the general public, as the country prepares for polls scheduled for July 31st.

Zimbabweans are encouraged to check the new www.myzimvote.com website and to take any queries or anomalies found to the relevant authorities, such as the ZEC.

Zimbabwean voters’ roll expert, Topper Whitehead, who was deported from Zimbabwe in 2006 after exposing how the former ruling party rigged the 2002 presidential election and subsequent elections, said it is a tragedy that ZEC has been reluctant to supply an electronic voters’ roll.

Whitehead is among the group of people who extensively studied the updated voters’ roll and gave this information to the organizations that will release the report to ZEC. He said the report reveals ‘mindboggling’ figures.

“Zimbabwe did a national census last year but if you compare that census with the voters’ roll in the various age bands, from 30 and above, there are more registered voters than there are people registered as far as the census is concerned,” Whitehead said.

The roll is said to have at least 5.8 million registered voters, of people over the age of 18. Zimbabwe’s population is 12 million according the recent population census.

Whitehead added: “When compared with the actual age bands you will see that there are more registered voters than there are people. It is frightening to see that there are some ghost voters on the voters’ roll.”

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans have not been able to get to registration centres to check if they are on the voters roll and many have spent numerous hours trying to physically check. But if people have access to the internet, the group behind myzimvote say the website is a fast and convenient way to inspect the voters roll.

The website has been so popular that many people have had problems accessing it due to the large volumes of traffic to the website, that overloaded the server at one time. The organization said this problem has been dealt with and everyone should be able to check it at any time.

http://www.myzimvote.com/


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Release Poll Funds Urgently, Cash-Strapped Electoral Body Tells Harare

http://www.voazimbabwe.com/

Thomas Chiripasi
01.07.2013

HARARE — The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Monday urged unity government
principals to move with speed and secure $132 million the electoral body
needs to adequately finance this year’s elections.

With only 30 days before national elections scheduled for July 31, ZEC says
the treasury is yet to release money it intends to use to run this year’s
polls.

Chairperson Rita Makarau told journalists after meeting Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai at his Charter House offices that the electoral body
should be adequately financed in the run-up to the polls. Makarau said her
commission’s machinery is ready to roll but needs oiling.

The ZEC chief said government has promised to look for funds for the
elections but added time was fast running out.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, confirmed the ZEC request,
adding that Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who also attended the meeting,
said his department was doing all it can to ensure the polls are adequately
financed.

Minister Biti is on record saying Harare is cash-strapped, adding the
government would require external support to finance this year’s crunch
polls although nothing has materialized from requests to the Southern
African Development Community and other bodies.

Turning to the on-going voter registration, Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai
expressed concern to ZEC over the slow pace of the exercise in urban
centres.

Tsvangirai, Tamborinyoka said, also expressed his concern about what he said
was a shadowy Israeli organization called Nikuv that is working with the
Registrar General’s office to allegedly tamper with the voters’ roll.

Tamborinyoka added that the premier is also concerned about the number of
police officers who have applied for postal voting for the forthcoming
elections.

Makarau said the names of those who qualify for special voting would be
subjected to public scrutiny.

President Robert Mugabe proclaimed July 31st as the date for elections and
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has asked the constitutional court to
delay the polls to August 14th in line with a SADC directive.

But the date could change if the court rules in favour of Tsvangirai and
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC formation, who
have challenged Mr. Mugabe's decision to have national elections end of the
month.

Tsvangirai and Ncube argue that Mugabe’s proclamation was unconstitutional,
adding key democratic reforms need to be implemented before the date of
elections is fixed.


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Chaos reigns as Zim prepares for elections

The Sunday Independent

Africa, June 30
 
 
Peta Thornycroft

Chaos marked Friday's nomination day ahead of Zimbabwe's elections which are expected next month.

Since President Robert Mugabe unilaterally proclaimed elections for July 31, political parties had four days instead of two weeks to complete complex registration forms for thousands of candidates, some  in remote rural areas. The elections are more complicated this time because the polls are a new mix of winner-takes-all and proportional representation.

The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties complained that some temporary staff hired by the election commission at the courts were untrained and did not understand new electoral laws

Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC said the party did not know if all of their candidates for local government elections had been registered successfully in all of the 1950 wards when the courts closed at 4 pm Friday.
 
"Yes, it was chaos in places. We know that civil servants who wanted to stand in local government elections struggled to get clearance certificates from other members of the civil service. We don't know even now how many of those candidates were successful or not," he said.
 
The civil service is dominated, especially at senior levels, by Zanu PF.
 
“It was unbelievably bad, chaotic,” said Welshman Ncube leader of the small MDC.  "It was a terrible day, I could not believe the kind of chaos we saw and had to endure."
 
He and Mwonzora say that the police and other civil servants, including officials from the Central Intelligence Organisation were helping Zanu PF registering its candidates. Zanu PF only finished its primary elections 24 hours ahead of nomination court.

“We know that Zanu PF would not struggle with nomination of candidates because the state will help them, as usual,” Mwonzora said.

“Some officials at the courts wanted police clearance for candidates, others didn’t. Some candidates were on the voters roll on Monday, but their names didn’t show up Friday," Ncube said.

Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for Zanu-PF, and who failed to be nominated in the party's chaotic primary elections as a candidate in the parliamentary poll said he had been in Gweru, in central Zimbabwe during nomination day.

“It all looked quiet and orderly to me. I didn’t hear of any problems. The civil service were helping candidates of all political parties.

“We want elections now because we will win but the MDC parties in the inclusive government wanted this to continue, because they know we will win," said Gumbo.

Ncube said he did not know what the Southern African Development Community (SADC) could do at this late stage: "SADC  could withdraw the political protection Zimbabwe has enjoyed via SADC's mediation.

"No SADC country should give money to the government for these elections when Mugabe has basically told them to fXXX off,” Ncube said.

MDC finance minister Tendai Biti said there is no money in the treasury to finance elections which will cost more than R1 bn.

Ncube said Friday that Zanu PF will find money for elections: “They will raid bank accounts, raid parastatals, raid the HIV/ AIDS levy, that sort of thing, as they did in the past.”

Lindiwe Zulu, South African facilitator for the SADC which has been mediating the Zimbabwe crisis for five years said Friday: “We are aware of what has been happening in Zimbabwe at the nomination courts and are waiting for a report which we will then take to SADC.”
 
It will take several days for political parties to find out if their candidates for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections are registered for the polls and whether their party lists for election by proportional representation for the senate, provincial councils and 60 new parliamentary seats for women, are accepted by the Zimbabwe Election Commission.
 
A week ago President Jacob Zuma issued a report at a SADC summit in Maputo on Zimbabwe's reforms over the last five years and suggested to Mugabe that he extend the election date by at least two weeks.
 
The constitutional court said Friday it will rule on applications for a delay on July 4.
 
At midnight yesterday, Zimbabwe's parliament which housed the fractious inclusive government for more than four years, was dissolved.
 
Despite all its difficulties, and Zanu-PF obstruction on several key reforms signed in a multi party political agreement after 2008 disputed elections, all parties say they are pleased that they finally went into the transitional authority.
 
"The main point of it was that we achieved a new constitution. People are also better off. The inclusive government, with the MDC in charge of finance brought stability to the country, and food and goods back in to the shops, and children were back at schools and the hospitals were open again," Mwonzora said.
 
Veteran Zimbabwe political analyst, Brian Ratopoulos said the inclusive government, despite its many flaws,  had brought "some respite, and time to open up spaces so people could begin to imagine and think and fight for different alternatives and peaceful elections."
 
On the eve of the dissolution of parliament ahead of elections, Gumbo said Zanu PF was pleased that the inclusive government had come to an end: "We are more divided than ever before, but we were grateful for the inclusive government as it stopped the Western regime change agenda. At the end of the day people want to see concrete steps to see their lives changed totally so we say good bye to it and good riddance."
 
 


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RG ignores Mawere court ruling: Coltart

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/
 


Citizenship restored ... Mutumwa Mawere's new national ID card issued after court ruling

30/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Court ruling bein g ignored ... David Coltart
 

THE Registrar General’s (RG) office continues to demand that holders of foreign passports surrender them before registering to vote, apparently ignoring last week’s Constitutional Court ruling which effectively endorsing dual citizenship, it has emerged.

South Africa-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere filed a successful Constitutional Court application requesting that his right to dual citizenship be confirmed after RG Tobaiwa Mudede had refused to restore his citizenship in line with the new Constitution.

Mudede had asked Mawere to renounce his South African citizenship first, contending that dual citizenship remained illegal even under the new Constitution.

But the court ruled in Mawere’s favour last Thursday and stated that “the refusal or failure to issue (Mawere) with a national identity document upon application on May 27, 2013, was unlawful and in contravention of section 36(1) and applicant’s right to vote enshrined in section 67(3)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“The [Registrar-General] is interdicted from demanding the applicant to first renounce his foreign-acquired citizenship before he can be issued with a national identity document.”

Mawere, subsequently, managed to secure a new national identity card and register as a voter.

However, MDC legal affairs secretary and education minister David Coltart said the RG’s office was continuing to demand that holders of foreign passports surrender them first before they can change their identity documents.

“The effect of (the Mawere) judgement is that all those born in Zimbabwe … who have foreign passports cannot be denied the right to a Zimbabwean passport, the right to register and the right to vote,” Coltart said in a statement.

“(But) I have received numerous complaints from constituents stating that the Registrar General's staff are ignoring the judgment and demanding that holders of foreign passports surrender them before being able to change their IDs from "alien" to citizen - and then of course to be registered.”
Coltart said the development was part of efforts by the RG’s office to frustrate prospective voters ahead of key elections to replace the coalition government.

“I have no doubt that this is a deliberate and desperate measure by the RG's office to deny thousands of Zimbabweans the right to vote because they know that all those citizens who have been regarded as "aliens" and treated with such contempt by Zanu PF during the last decade will not vote for Zanu PF,” he said.


“I appreciate that this policy is designed to frustrate and deter citizens - so that they simply give up and cannot vote. Please do not give up - please be determined to get your citizenship back, to register and then to vote these people out of office.

“The future of our country is too important for us just to give up in the face of people who want to frustrate us and deny us fundamental rights. It is going to take patience, dogged determination, endurance and time to do this but it is critical that everyone tries.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is currently registering voters around the country in an exercise expected to run until July 9.

President Robert Mugabe had proclaimed that elections would be held on July 31 but the Constitutional Court is set to hear various applications seeking a delay of the vote on Thursday.


Confirmation ... Mutumwa Mawere registered to vote but others continue to be blocked


 
 


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Hope For Murambatsvina Victims as Harare Ratifies Displaced People's Convention

http://www.voazimbabwe.com/

01.07.2013

HARARE — Its eight years now since the massive Murambatsvina clean-up
exercise that left hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes in an
operation that was criticized by the international community.

Now there’s hope that victims of the operation could get some assistance
following parliament’s ratification of the African Union Convention for the
Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons.

Amnesty International Zimbabwe director Cousin Zilala says the ratification
of the convention, also known as the Kampala Convention, gives hope to
survivors of operation Murambatsvina and other internally displaced persons
that life can now improve.

Zilala says the government should implement, monitor and adhere to the
provisions of the convention.

Zengeza lawmaker Collin Gwiyo says it not enough to ratify the convention.
He adds government must take appropriate measures to ensure it benefits
people on the ground.

Before its dissolution midnight Saturday parliament ratified the convention,
the world’s first legally binding instrument to cater specifically for
people displaced within their own countries.

Labor and Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa Gwanyanya says the
convention aims to establish a legal framework for preventing internal
displacement and protecting and assisting internally displaced persons.

More than 700,000 people were displaced during operation Murambatsvina in
2005. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Zimbabweans have also been displaced
around the country dur to projects such as mining ventures in the rich
alluvial diamond fields in Marange.

About 10 million people have been displaced internally in Africa largely due
to conflict and violence. There are almost four times as many internally
displaced people as there are refugees on the continent.

Unlike refugees, internally displaced persons do not have special status
under international law.

Although Zimbabwe had long signed the convention it was not legally bound by
its contents because it had not ratified it.


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MDC-T moves to address multiple candidates fiasco

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
01 July 2013

In a move that is likely to split votes for the MDC-T, preliminary
indications from the nomination court process show that the party has
fielded more than one candidate in certain areas.

Details are still emerging as to the extent but so far, the MDC-T fielded
two candidates in Chikanga/Dangamvura constituency of Mutare, where Arnold
Tsunga and Giles Mutsekwa are battling it out for the party’s seal of
approval.

In Chitungwiza, the MDC-T submitted to the nomination court more than one
candidate to run for office in at least nine Wards.

The run-up to the nomination court has been controversial, with reports of
unprecedented malpractice within the MDC-T camp, while ZANU PF went a notch
higher in the malpractice stakes by imposing most of its candidates.

Both parties have announced that disgruntled candidates who lost the
primaries and went to lodge their nomination papers as Independents have
effectively expelled themselves.

The significant number of MDC-T members standing as Independents has raised
fears of serious vote splitting, reminiscent of the 2008 elections when the
party lost seats it could have easily won.

A Bulawayo-based lawyer told SW Radio Africa Monday that although it was up
to political parties to decide how many candidates they put forward, the
MDC-T should consider what this means for its support base.

He said: “It is not the duty of the electoral court to say to political
parties ‘you can’t submit more than one contestant. The nomination court
only concerns itself with eligibility of the person filing the application.

“But the question that the party needs to be asking is whether they want to
be splitting votes at a time when the infighting in ZANU PF should come as a
boon,” the lawyer, who asked not be named, said.

MDC-T deputy national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe said the issue of
double submissions by the party had been resolved Monday.

“Where there was that kind of arrangements it means there was a mix up as
you know that this (election date) proclamation was rushed, and there was
also the issue of the court application which might have confused things,
hence two nomination papers from the same party.”

Bhebhe said the party leadership has since met to resolve the issue, and
indicated that the disgruntled members who had filed as independents had
also been approached with a view to urge them to withdraw from the race.

He said: “Some of them might have applied as independents out of sheer
anger, confusion or greed but discussions have been held with some of them
and they have seen the light and have started withdrawing their
applications,” he said.

Bhebhe said most of the Independents were expected to step down “unless
their motive is to destabilise the party in which case, there will be no
loss if they left.”

He further revealed that the party had reached a decision on who will
represent it in Chikanga/Dangamvura as well as the Chitungwiza Wards, but
declined to give details, preferring to say the party would issue a
statement soon.

However, SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that the party leadership was
leaning heavily on Tsunga to make way for the preferred candidate, Mutsekwa.

Bhebhe defended the move to offer one of the seats reserved for women under
the quota system to Grace Kwinjeh, whom the party said had won in Makoni
Central before reversing that decision.

“Yes, she may have lost the primaries but in any formation or party, you don’t
just throw away senior leaders of the party, especially those that were
deployed by the party outside the country,” he added.

The MDC-T said those standing as Independents had seven days to withdraw
their applications as stipulated by the electoral law. If they fail to do so
they would have chosen to expel themselves from the party.


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Ncube ready to re-admit Mutambara

http://www.herald.co.zw/

Sunday, 30 June 2013 22:37

Bulawayo Bureau
THE MDC faction led by Professor Welshman Ncube has said it will welcome
former members who defected together with Professor Arthur Mutambara, if
they decide to seek re-admission. This comes after the former Mutambara
loyalists passed a vote of no confidence in him last week. They said they
had resolved not to recognise the robotics professor as their president and
announced his ouster.

The grouping also demanded Prof Mutambara to unconditionally withdraw the
court case he mounted against Prof Ncube, over the presidency of the
faction. They also hinted they could align themselves with Prof Ncube; two
years after Prof Ncube led them out after he lost the contested party
presidency.

MDC spokesperson Mr Nhlanhla Dube said the party would not seek retribution
against the group.
“If they want to come back we will obviously welcome them with the firm
belief that there has been a realisation that the party is greater than
individuals. Unity among members is the answer to polls.

“As a party we have processes and procedures. Naturally, the party’s code of
conduct should be followed. Anyway we hold no grief to treat them ill, no
negativity towards any former member wishing to rejoin.

“Gladly we will accept them as comrades and colleagues. Bygones will be
bygones from that minute when they decide,” he said.
Commenting on Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader, Dr Simba Makoni’s move to back
MDC–T, when in 2008 MDC supported him for the presidency; Mr Dube said his
party had matured and had its own presidential candidate now.

“We were victims of trust in honesty when it comes to negotiating
settlements and relationships in 2008. Because of that we found ourselves
with no candidate for president and settled for Dr Makoni but we have made
sure that doesn’t happen again.

“As of today, Prof Ncube is in the running for president. We have a
candidate and can’t say much about Dr Makoni’s decisions,” he said.
He said despite Dr Makoni joining forces with MDC-T, the move meant nothing
as MDC had a fair chance of victory just like any other political party. He
said the 2013 election was a fresh election.

“I will speak to the reality of the work that we have done and seek to God
as a party and say that we will live and die for our party principles.
“We will stand up and be counted and represent ourselves.

“Our chances are as good as the next political party. We are starting from
zero and we are growing. Everyone is at ground zero. No one has an advantage
since this is a new election, one can’t read much from history. History is
history; we all will start from the starting line. We will meet each other
in the field,” he said.


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Mugabe back from Singapore

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

30/06/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

PRESDIENT Robert Mugabe returned home Sunday after undergoing a “routine”
medical check-up in Singapore.

Mugabe, who left the country last Tuesday with his wife, Grace, arrived at
Harare International Airport Sunday afternoon, accompanied by son, Chatunga,
and some government officials.

His spokesman, George Charamba said the veteran leader had gone to see an
eye specialist for a routine check-up after undergoing a cataract operation
in the country in 2011.

He has often travelled to Singapore for check-ups and passed through the
Southeast Asian city state during a trip to Japan three weeks ago.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa denied the 89 year-old leader had any
major health concerns as he filed his nomination papers last Friday.

Mnangagwa told reproters: “He (Mugabe) is fitter than you. He is a careful
man. He has gone for a normal medical check-up on his eye."


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Government takes over RBZ debt

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

July 1, 2013 in Business

GOVERNMENT says it is ready to take over Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ)
US$1,1 billion debt and has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for
technical assistance to strengthen the bank’s accounting and internal
auditing systems.

REPORT BY NDAMU SANDU

The takeover of the debt—recommended by the IMF after an annual visit in
2011 – would be done through the RBZ Debt Relief Bill set to go through
Parliament by the end of September and is the last leg of reforms at the
central bank.

In an attachment to the letter of intent for an IMF’s Staff Monitored
Programme (SMP) Harare said that restructuring of RBZ’s balance sheet was
key to increasing financial sector stability and it had various options in
place.

“We expect to bring this project to the implementation phase in 2013 with
the submission to Parliament of the RBZ Debt Relief Bill by end-September,”
it said.

IMF recently approved an SMP for Zimbabwe that would run up to December.

An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff
to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic programme.

SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive
Board.

The SMP focusses on putting public finances on a sustainable course, while
protecting infrastructure investment and priority social spending,
strengthening public financial management, increasing diamond revenue
transparency, reducing financial sector vulnerabilities, and restructuring
the central bank.

“This Bill [RBZ Debt Relief Bill] will provide for the creation of a Special
Purpose Vehicle which will warehouse the RBZ’s non-core assets and
liabilities, thus allowing the RBZ to focus on its core business,”
government said.

RBZ owes US$80,2 million in central bank lines of credit, has a non-resident
sovereign debt of US$452,6 million, non-resident institutional debt (US$110
million) and domestic debt (bank/deposits) of US$439 million.

The central bank contends that it is also owed US$1,5 billion by government,
when it engaged in quasi-fiscal activities to finance critical needs such as
funding elections, sustaining parastatals and financing the farm
mechanisation exercise, among others.

In a 2011 Article IV consultation report, IMF said the debt was constraining
the central bank’s ability to undertake liquidity provision and distracts it
from focusing on its core functions.

“Proposed modifications to the RBZ Debt Relief Bill will focus on
transferring the liabilities from RBZ’s balance sheet to a fund managed by
the finance ministry,” IMF said.

“While this is a less balanced approach than the comprehensive balance sheet
bifurcation [splitting] recommended by Fund TA [Technical Assistance]
missions, it remains consistent with the objective of restructuring the RBZ
balance sheet.”

Zimbabwe asked IMF for technical assistance in financial sector diagnostic
assessment, review of RBZ’s accounting and IT systems and manuals, internal
auditing, accounting and documentation system and corporate governance and
reporting practices.

It also asked for technical assistance in areas such as risk-based bank
supervision, regulation of non-bank financial sector and assessment of
financial sector legislation.


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IMF's Unsung Staff Monitored Program for Zimbabwe

http://www.thezimbabwean.co/

01.07.13

by Clemence Machadu

Relations between the IMF and Zimbabwe seem to be making headway, with the
approval by the former of a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for the latter,
last month – making it Zimbabwe's first IMF agreement in more than a decade.

An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and IMF staff to
monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. It will
cover the period April-December 2013.

The SMP came into existence after two years of its recommendation by some
directors of the Fund. In 2011, after making Article IV consultations on
Zimbabwe, IMF directors were divided about whether or not to grant the SMP
to Zimbabwe, as some recommended it while others were against the idea.
Hoewever, two years down the line, the SMP has been finally launched.

“The SMP supports the Zimbabwean authorities’ comprehensive adjustment and
reform program and has been endorsed by Zimbabwe’s Cabinet, a strong signal
of their commitment. A successful implementation of the SMP would be an
important stepping stone toward helping Zimbabwe re-engage with the
international community,” said the Fund.

The SMP is said to focus on putting public finances on a sustainable course,
while protecting infrastructure investment and priority social spending,
strengthening public financial management, increasing diamond revenue
transparency, reducing financial sector vulnerabilities, and restructuring
the central bank.

“In particular, fiscal consolidation efforts aim to move the primary budget
balance from a deficit in 2012 to a small surplus in 2013, helping start
what should be a gradual rebuilding of fiscal buffers and international
reserves,” said the Fund.

The IMF however noted that the decline in commodity export prices, financial
sector stress, and uncertainties related to the election year, pose some of
the risks to the program.

“Going forward, sustaining high growth will require determined efforts at
economic reform. In this regard, the SMP already envisages important reforms
in public financial management, financial sector regulation, and other
areas,” added the Fund

Zimbabwe’s external debt is high and largely in arrears, cutting off the
country from access to most external financing sources. “In particular,
Zimbabwe remains unable to access IMF resources because of its continued
arrears to the Fund. А strong track record of maintaining macroeconomic
stability and implementing reforms, together with a comprehensive arrears
clearance strategy supported by development partners, will be essential for
resolving Zimbabwe’s large debt overhang.

IMF staff will remain engaged with the authorities to monitor progress in
the implementation of their economic program, and will continue providing
targeted technical assistance in order to support Zimbabwe’s
capacity-building efforts and its adjustment and reform program,” said the
Fund


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Water woes at Chikurubi

http://www.herald.co.zw/

Monday, 01 July 2013 01:03

Herald Reporter

CHIKURUBI Maximum Security Prison is facing critical water shortages and the
authorities are making efforts to alleviate the problem, Officer Commanding
Mashonaland Region Senior Assistant Commissioner Wonder Chisora has said.

He said this in an interview on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony of 18
prisoners who had completed a tobacco farming course held at Banket
Semi-Open prison.
Asst Commissioner Chisora said the situation at the giant prison was bad but
Zimbabwe Prison Services together with other stakeholders were working
frantically to alleviate the problem.

“As you are all aware the greater part of Harare is facing water shortages,
Chikurubi is no exception.
“I know it’s not easy to overcome this challenge, I am convinced if other
stakeholders come on board we can move forward,” he said.

He added that Zimbabwe Red Cross with the help of other stakeholders had
drilled a borehole and intended to pump the borehole water into a reservoir.
Lafarge Cement donated water tanks to lessen the water shortage. Asst Comm
Chisora said although there had been no record of disease outbreak the
prison was facing an acute shortage of protective clothing.

“Church organisations and the business community are chipping in with
clothing for inmates,” he said.
The City of Harare has experienced persistent water shortages over the last
few years as old pipes constantly burst leaving residents with no water for
days on end.


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Tsvangirai meets ZEC officials


The MDC Elections Bulletin – Issue 19

Monday, 01July 2013



President Tsvangirai in his capacity as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe today questioned the credibility of the voters’ roll ahead of the coming elections after it has emerged that an Israli company, Nikuv International Projects is working on the roll in Harare.

President Tsvangirai said in a meeting with the Justice Rita Makarau, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson and other ZEC commissioners at his government offices.

The meeting was meant to appraise the President on ZEC’s preparedness in running the coming elections and how the mobile voter registration exercise was proceeding.

Speaking through his spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, President Tsvangirai said Nikuv had a bad track record of tampering with the voters’ roll in many countries that have held elections in the past.

“It (Nikuv) has a bad record of tampering with the voters’ roll and it is a matter that is on public record,” Tamborinyoka said. In response to the President’s concerns, Justice Makarau promised to look into the issue.

Nikuv is working on the voters’ roll at the Defence House, the headquarters of the Zimbabwe Defence Force and the company is a front for the Israeli spy agency Mossad.

It is unclear what Nikuv’s involvement in this coming election is but it specialises in population registration and election systems. The company is working under the direction of Daniel Tonde Nhepera, the deputy head of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

It emerged during the meeting that over 50 000 police officers had applied for special voting permission but the Minister of Home Affairs; Theresa Makone said this was not possible as the police force did not have such a high number of officers.

On the slow pace of the mobile registration exercise, which has seen long queues while some people are being turned away on flimsy reasons by officials from the Registrar General’s Office, Justice Makarau said ZEC would look into the complaints.  She said no one should be turned away because he or she does not have an affidavit but could secure an affidavit from the registration centre.

The mobile voter registration exercise ends on 09 July.  Justice Makarau said ZEC needed US$131 million for the elections and the Treasury through the Minister of Finance, Hon. Tendai Biti would look into it.

Zimbabwe’s economy in need of adequate power supplies – Min Mangoma
Zimbabwe’s economy which is on the recovery path cannot grow productively without reliable and adequate power supplies, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Elton Mangoma.

He said this while on the official installation of electricity at St Peters Jombe secondary school in Mutasa Central, Manicaland at the weekend.

“A country’s development is measured by the number of people who use electricity.  Zimbabwe is committed to produce electricity for all. An increased supply of electricity will not only ease pressure on indigenous forests on which people fall back on for fuel resulting in deforestation but will ease women’s burden of fetching firewood , water and cooking,” he said.

Minister Mangoma emphasised the importance of pupils to study science and technology and said this can only be truly achieved with the availability of electricity.

“Our children should be technologically literate. Electricity makes learning of science subjects easy. Students that study technology through hands-on approach achieve significantly better than students who are taught through traditional methods,” he said adding that Zimbabwe is committed to produce electricity for all because no economy can function successfully without reliable and adequate electricity supplies.

After the official opening at the school, the minister toured Duru Hydro project in the same area, which is owned by Nyangani Renewable Energy.  The hydro project has a capacity of 2.1 megawatt.

Nyangani Renewable Energy further owns a 1,1 megawatt capacity hydro electric plant at Nyamhingura and a 2,8 megawatt capacity hydro electric plant at Pungwe River, all in Mutasa district.

The Nyangani Renewable Energy hydro electric plants is benefitting more than 45000 people as well as rural businesses and clinics in Zindi, Mapokana and Sagambe villages across Honde Valley through the national ZESA grid.

“ZESA is the sole customer of Nyangani Renewable Energy and they pay us a competitive price. When they generate and supply electricity at this end, the quality of electricity is greatly improved as voltage is stabilised, loss of power is minimised and the impact is improved as compared from taking electricity from the western part of the country, in Hwange and Kariba to this end,” he said.

Minister Mangoma said hydro electricity is renewable and environmentally friendly with minimal adverse effects. “With trees being used to substitute electricity due to the country’s load shedding programme, an increased supply of electricity will also ease pressure on indigenous forests on which people especially in urban areas fall back on for fuel resulting in deforestation,” he said.
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Together, united, winning, ready for a real change
 


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ZESN observes Nomination Court proceedings

29 June 2013-Harare. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network deployed
volunteers nationwide to observe the nomination court proceedings on the
28th of June 2013. The environment during which candidates filed their
papers for nomination was generally calm and ZESN teams observed that there
were no major incidents.

The teams deployed in Matebeleland South, Masvingo, Harare, Matebeleland
North and Midlands provinces reported that the courts opened on time at
1000hrs and closed at 1600hrs. However, some nomination centres were not
able to open at the stipulated time such as Manhenga RDC in Mashonaland
Central which opened after 10 am. At the same centre that opened late,
nomination papers from a ZANU PF candidate were accepted after 1600hrs. In
Glendale, Mashonaland Central, there was a soldier who filed his documents
while wearing his uniform. ZESN observers reported that the interpretation
of 1600hrs deadline was construed differently in centres as aspiring
candidates were allowed to bring in documents after the cut off time if they
had been at the nomination centre earlier than 1600hrs. For example, in
Bindura, Mashonaland Central the nomination court received documents from
candidates until 12 midnight. In Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West, there were
problems for aspiring councilors whose papers were rejected as they owed
their local authority, a condition which ZEC had waivered for councilors.
This was later rectified around mid-day however, aspiring candidates who had
filed papers in the morning were prejudiced and their papers rejected on
this basis. Observers in Mashonaland East reported that most aspiring
candidates had filed their papers earlier, however the process remained slow
in most centres. The rooms allocated for the process were small and
generally crowded.

ZESN observers also noted double candidature in ZANU PF for the Bikita West
constituency seat in Masvingo. ZESN teams also noted double candidature in
the MDC T in Mashonaland West particularly for the council elections. This
resulted in confusion and chaos at the centres where this was prevalent. In
cases where aspiring candidates were not happy with the primary election
results of their parties, they filed their applications as independent
candidates. ZESN urges parties to uphold the values of intra-party democracy
in order to allow the will of the people to prevail.
Most of the ZESN teams were able to observer the process; however in
Umzingwane, Beitbridge, ZESN observers were denied access to the nomination
court located in the rural district chambers in Esigodini as well as Murehwa
Centre Rural District Council Board Room in Mashonaland East. Given that
this process is open to citizens, denying access to interested citizens
violates the values of transparency.

In some cases, ZESN teams noted different treatment given to political
parties by the some of the officials in the chambers. Candidates whose
nomination papers were rejected were as a result of failure to meet the
stipulated requirements except for Mutumwa Mawere who papers were rejected
for undisclosed reasons. ZESN holds that in the interests of transparency
and fairness, the court should disclose reasons for rejection of nomination
papers. In Masvingo, one MDC T aspiring candidate had nine people supporting
his nomination instead of ten and failed to rectify this in time. ZESN noted
that some aspiring candidates had problems getting signatures from
registered voters as voter registration was still in place. ZESN observers
reported many candidates that filed as independent candidates due to
problems with intra-party democracy. The timeframe between political parties’
primary elections and nomination did not allow aspiring candidates adequate
time to put together the required documentation. ZESN recommends that the
nomination period be extended to allow aspiring candidates to put their
papers in order without rushing. Furthermore, the nomination process should
take place after voter registration process. The ZEC became overwhelmed by
the many processes taking place while preparing for the election.
ZESN observers also reported that most candidates who filed their papers
were men and very few women filed papers. It is important for political
parties to promote the participation of women in political processes.
Observers reported media bias and preference for known politicians as these
were covered the most. In the places where ZESN teams observed, the process
was generally peaceful and without much incident./ENDS//


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Politics should serve business

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

July 1, 2013 in Opinion

In recent weeks it has been quite refreshing to hear Zimbabwe’s business
leaders, individually and through their various industry groupings —
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
and Business Council of Zimbabwe to name just a few, come out of their
shells, crying out for an early, credible and peaceful poll.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Their previous “quiet diplomacy” whenever elections have been held in the
past seems not to have given the desired results.

Now there seems to be agreement that nothing other than progressive
democracy ushered in via a sound electoral process, can take this economy
forward.

The business leaders and citizens at large have finally understood that the
country’s politics should serve to improve the business climate as a
necessary condition to strengthen the country’s economic competitiveness,
build investor confidence and boost growth potential and thus create
sustainable jobs and investment opportunities.
Zimbabwean business leaders are not alone in this observation.

This week the World Bank in its Interim Strategy Note (ISN) on Zimbabwe for
the period 2013 to 2015, observes that given the anticipated elections on
the back of the new constitution, Zimbabwe’s economic rebound hinges on
fostering private sector-led growth.

The ISN says despite capacity in both the public and private sectors having
suffered from a decade of poor investment, the private sector in particular
could, with a conducive environment, be the key driver of growth post this
year’s elections.

However, while there are several structural impediments to growth and
investment, politics is central to the revival of the private sector and
whoever earns the right to form the next government must be decisive and
quick to resolve this issue.

Principally, the uncertainties caused by the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act have invariably deterred foreign investment and scared off
other capital flows, exacerbating the domestic liquidity crunch, resulting
in very high credit costs and a dysfunctional financial intermediation
environment.

The second must-do for the new government is to restore order and put
finality to agrarian reforms, particularly issues to do with compensation
settlements for displaced farmers, rationalisation of land holdings and
granting of permanent title to new farmers.

Thirdly, resolving issues haunting the mining sector, mainly the lifting of
the veil of secrecy around the exploitation of key mineral resources such as
diamonds, iron ore, gold and platinum in order to improve transparency and
enhance the contribution of the mining sector to the country’s sustainable
growth.

Greater clarity in the country’s mineral policies is required to deal with
the current lack of due process in the allocation of mining rights, the
concealment of beneficial ownership, opaque financial terms of joint
ventures, and other vices which have led to leakages and diversion of
revenue away from the fiscus.

The business community has previously been silent leaving their interests at
the mercy of politicians.

As commanders of entrepreneurship and capital, we are glad that they have
finally taken the bold step of joining hands with the lowly folk to demand
an environment which is conducive for economic recovery and growth.


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Zim’s electoral drama enters home stretch

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

July 1, 2013 in Opinion

ZIMBABWE’S unfolding political drama enters the home stretch today with
political parties and candidates filing nomination papers for the various
positions of a devolved system of government.

Candid Comment with Dingilizwe Ntuli

The Nomination Court is sitting between 10am and 4pm as per the
unconstitutional and illegal proclamation made by President Robert Mugabe
for elections to be held on July 31 after a Constitutional Court (Concourt)
ruling that polls be held by that date.

Sadc has, however, urged Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to seek an
extension. The case is still in the courts, although more chaos has unfolded
when he filed an application without any input from the MDC formations.

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai filed a
counter-application arguing that the two-week extension Chinamasa sought was
inadequate for fulfilling all legal requirements ahead of polls.

The Concourt deferred indefinitely the poll date hearing meaning the July 31
date still stands until a ruling is made.

This poll date confusion created by Mugabe and hardliners in his Zanu PF
party spelt shambles for all political parties and institutions dealing with
elections, such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and the
Registrar-General (RG)’s Office.

The mandatory 30-day voter registration has seen the RG’s Office limiting
the exercise to just three-days per ward and the relatively few centres in
urban areas have resulted in eligible potential voters failing to register.

Political parties, including Zanu PF, were also forced into rushed and
largely chaotic primary elections whose outcomes in some cases are just
tantamount to candidate impositions.

Although the MDC parties may have had some time to sort out any problems,
aggrieved losing Zanu PF candidates will be left with no recourse as there
is no time for appeals since nomination papers are being filed and
respective lists for the proportional parliamentary representation system
and provincial councils have to be submitted today.

Although disarray scenes are the political parties’ business, it is the
confusion at Zec that is a cause for concern.

It is disturbing that Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and her deputy
Joyce Kazembe can issue conflicting statements in the same week regarding
the filing of papers for municipal candidates.

Makarau told political party representatives on Tuesday that for councillors
to qualify they should have no criminal record and be up to date with their
utility bills.

But 24 hours later Kazembe told traditional leaders that aspiring
councillors were no longer required to produce a police clearance
certificate and submit evidence of up to date utility bills.

Although Makarau released a press statement yesterday clarifying Zec’s
latest position, it was rather late and had certainly already caused
inconveniences to prospective candidates being short-changed by this chaos..


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Taking on the Zanu-PF Goliath

http://www.iol.co.za/

July 1 2013 at 04:18pm
By Eddie Cross

One of the small political parties in Zimbabwe (there are 28 right now and
more coming) said this past week that “you cannot remove a dictatorship by
democratic means, only by revolution”. When he used the word “revolution”, I
assume he was actually referring to the use of violence in some form to
unseat an entrenched autocracy.

Those African states that were governed by a settler class (South Africa,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola) all had to fight to gain their rights. In
Syria right now the majority is trying to remove a minority dictatorship by
the use of arms. The same happened in Libya.

Only in those countries where an external force (the colonial state)
exercised its power to determine the nature of the transition did some sort
of independent democratic state emerge. In some cases like Egypt the regime
collapsed and change became possible simply by street action – another form
of violence.

Turkey’s situation is another example of this sort.

What makes the situation in Zimbabwe so distinctive is that the effort to
remove the Mugabe dictatorship has concentrated almost exclusively on the
use of democratic means.

There were good reasons for that choice: it is difficult to imagine that any
of our neighbours would have given the forces of change here secure external
bases and support.

The fact that the cold war no longer sets one group of states against
another in such regional or country-based conflict is yet another reason.
Sourcing arms would be another difficulty, although the trade in weapons is
widespread.

But beyond those arguments, it was a choice that the leadership of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) made at its inception and in which it
was supported by its membership – largely drawn from the working class and
rural peasants.

Our assumption at the outset was that everyone would recognise what a
revolutionary stance this was and that support would be forthcoming from
local business, intellectuals, regional states and the global powers.

It was not to be. We found ourselves the subject of regional and even
continental ostracism, fuelled by the active and determined efforts of the
South African government.

Aid from the international community was sporadic and even parsimonious:
technical assistance yes – funding no.

The largest contribution we got in the early days was a $50 000 (R500 000)
grant from the Westminster Foundation in London. That was bitterly attacked
by the regime and no further assistance was available. We found ourselves
isolated in the region, the AU and even in the UN.

As for business, they could see no purpose in funding the MDC – what could
we offer them? They feared retribution from the state (fully justified) and
could not see us ever unseating what looked like an entrenched, powerful and
ruthless oligarchy.

Despite these difficulties (a German politician told me once that politics
was all about money) the MDC made rapid and surprising progress.

We won the March 2000 referendum, nearly beat a frightened Zanu-PF in the
June parliamentary elections (they retained their majority by three seats)
and then went on to beat them soundly in the 2002 presidential ballot.

Only regional intervention and protection allowed them to “fix” the result
and allowed Mugabe back into State House.

Then in 2007 we were reluctantly accepted as a player who could not be
ignored and we were brought into play. The international community followed
suit with great cynicism, the African community with some respect for these
plucky “small boys”. We were forced into negotiations and eventually a
government of national unity, even though it was a totally unequal and
unjust arrangement.

Through it all, we stuck to our principles and worked towards a democratic
solution. Strangely, this struggle gained us little recognition or
attention. One old-time journalist, a veteran of many conflicts, once said
to me, “Come on Eddie, let’s see some violence, some blood on the streets:
give us a story.”

You can see the effect of that – just watch your news every night on any
channel. It’s not the peacekeepers who get the exposure and attention. The
US gave $300 million to the struggle in Syria – for humanitarian aid. That’s
great, but when they have to fight an election, will they get the support
they need to win?

Now we have had yet another Southern African Development Community summit –
very encouraging, but no sooner had we got back than Zanu-PF were once again
up to their old tricks. In all probability we will be forced into another
election on an uneven playing field.

In the middle of the most serious crisis in the past 14 years, the summit
and the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe did not justify a single minute
of news time on any of the major networks, or even the networks of southern
Africa.

Just hours of riots in Turkey and smashed buildings and ruined lives in the
Middle East.

If, as I suspect, we end up with an election on July 31, without media
reform, without security sector realignment, with a manipulated voters roll
and millions denied the right to vote, we will still win by a wide margin,
because the people are totally fed up with the status quo.

Perhaps we will then merit a 60-second news clip on the BBC, but for the
rest we are just another small country taking a halting step towards the
future.

What they all will miss is that this is a story of courage and principle, a
story of David and Goliath, a victory for the ordinary men and women in the
world who just want to make a better life for themselves and their children.

But above all, it will be a victory for the democrats.

* Eddie Cross is MDC MP for Bulawayo South. This article first appeared on
his website www.eddiecross.africanherd.com


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