By Tichaona Sibanda
29 July 2009
The first ever meeting between the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the
country's service chiefs is set for Harare on Thursday.
The National Security Council (NSC), which was constituted six months ago
upon the establishment of the inclusive government, will have its first
meeting in the capital following several failed attempts.
The NSC replaces the shadowy Joint Operations Command (JOC), a committee of
the service chiefs said by analysts to be the real power behind Robert
Mugabe. Parliament passed the National Security Council Bill in February
which analysts believe, once it's up and running, will trim the excessive
powers of the country's security chiefs.
Since the formation of the unity government there has been fierce resistance
to the formal constituting of the NSC among the service chiefs, who see the
establishment of the new security organ as a threat to their hitherto
Curiously, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Parliament on
Wednesday briefing MPs that the structure of the Defence Act was such that,
the service chiefs were only obliged to salute their commander-in-chief,
MDC MP for Makoni Central, John Nyamande who has waited six months for
Mnangagwa to answer this question said the Defence Minister stressed that
the generals were not obligated to salute Tsvangirai or the Vice-Presidents.
"The Minister told us the generals are not forced to salute the Prime
Minister, but can do so as a matter of courtesy," Nyamande said. The Makoni
Central MP viewed this as a pre-emptive announcement by Mnangagwa, to help
insulate the generals should they decide not to salute Tsvangirai.
Dr Knox Chitiyo, head of the Africa programme at the UK based Royal United
Services Institute, an independent think tank on Defence and Security said
Thursday's meeting would be an ice-breaker for all parties.
"Yes there's going to be tension in the room because of what has happened in
the past. But I don't think the issue of the chiefs saluting Tsvangirai or
Mutambara is really a big issue on the table tomorrow," Dr Chitiyo said.
He added; "The meeting tomorrow will be an ice-breaker between the parties.
I think its going to be mutual, respectful and more of introductions than
discussing policy issues."
The NSC consists of Mugabe as chairperson, his two deputies Joice Mujuru and
Joseph Msika; Tsvangirai and his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani
Khupe; Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
and the two Home Affairs Ministers Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi.
Significantly, the service chiefs are relegated to the role of ex-officio
members of the council. The service chiefs are Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, army Commander Lt General Phillip
Sibanda, Air Marshall Perence Shiri and the Commissioner-General of Police,
The Commissioner of Prisons Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and the
Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Happyton
Bonyongwe, also sit on the council.
July 30, 2009
Jan Raath in Harare
A deputy minister from Morgan Tsvangirai's party has been arrested and
imprisoned for alleged theft, the latest in a series of detentions of
supporters of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister since he formed a power-sharing
Government with Robert Mugabe.
Tamsanqa Mahlangu, the deputy minister of youth and a member of the Movement
for Democratic Change, was held after being accused of stealing a mobile
phone belonging to Joseph Chinotimba, a staunch ally of Mr Mugabe and head
of the notorious paramilitary war veterans' militia. Mr Chinotimba claimed
that Mr Mahlangu stole the phone, a 15-year-old Nokia, while they were
sharing a table at a "national shared vision" conference two weeks ago.
"It's outrageous," said Mr Mahlangu's lawyer, Charles Kwaramba. "It's a kind
of phone no one would take if you gave it to them." Two women arrested in
connection with the alleged theft were "severely beaten," police said.
Mr Mahlangu, who is also the MDC's youth chairman, is the 17th MP from Mr
Tsvangirai's party to have been arrested and charged since the formation of
a coalition Government with Mr Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party in February.
Observers say the latest arrest is an alarming indication that the shadowy
group of military hardliners in Zanu (PF) are becoming increasingly
emboldened in their resistance to Mr Tsvangirai's presence, and that their
tactics may soon turn into an open and violent confrontation that may see Mr
Four MPs from the MDC have been convicted this month by magistrates - whom
the MDC accuse of being under the direction of the secret police - on what
they insist are trumped-up charges and faked evidence.
Mr Mahlangu's arrest came a day after the MDC said that Tendai Biti, the
Finance Minister, had a bullet delivered to his home. It was accompanied by
a letter that said: "Sort out your will."
"There is a deliberate agenda by Zanu (PF) to eliminate the MDC's majority
in parliament," said the MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa. "If you are not a
marijuana smoker, police will find marijuana in your pocket. Honourable
members are now all vulnerable members."
By Violet Gonda
29 July 2009
Self styled war veteran and ZANU PF member Joseph Chinotimba is suing
Thamsanqa Mahlangu the MDC Deputy Youth Minister for US$19 million for loss
of business. Mahlangu was arrested on Tuesday on allegations of stealing a
cell phone belonging to Chinotimba two weeks ago. The MDC MP for Nkulumane
is being held at Rhodesville Police Station in Harare.
His lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that his
client was issued the summons in his prison cell. Kwaramba said: "Mr.
Chinotimba is claiming in excess of US$19 million for loss of business. He
alleges that he lost business during the time he didn't have his cell
The lawyer believes the self styled war veteran is' "playing to the gallery
and making sure that the Minister's image is tarnished as much as possible."
The allegations are that Mahlangu took Chinotimba's phone at the Harare
International Conference Centre and he is being charged with theft of a cell
phone. He denies the charges.
Two women, Geraldine Phiri and Patience Nyoni, who are alleged to be
involved in the same case, have been in custody since last week. They are
charged with contravening a section of the Telecommunications Act for
allegedly using a sim-card without the owner's permission. The two appeared
in court initially on Wednesday.
Kwaramba said he spent the day shuttling between the Attorney General's
office and Harare Central Police after he had been promised that Mahlangu
would appear in court on Wednesday, but was given no explanation when this
did not happen. The Deputy Minister is now expected to appear in court on
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed on Tuesday that Mahlangu and
'two of his relatives' are under arrest in connection with the alleged theft
of a cell phone at a function that was held at the HICC.
It is reported the MDC official sat at the same table with Chinotimba during
the lunch break, when the latter left his mobile phone on the table while he
collected some food, and on returning to the table he could not find his
phone. The police reportedly tracked the number with the help of the network
provider and arrested a Hwange woman who was using the sim-card. The woman
allegedly implicated Mahlangu when she was arrested.
But Mahlangu, through his lawyer, categorically denies the allegations made
against him. Kwaramba said: "Obviously there was a misunderstanding, and
what has sort of exacerbated the matter is that it is now being blown out of
proportion. He (Mahlangu) got the phone from one of his PA's who picked it
up. It had been dropped on the floor. It was picked up by somebody and they
handed it over to him thinking that it was his because he has a similar
phone. He then said it wasn't his, and what transpired thereafter is that he
kept it. He wanted to give it back to the organisers of the conference."
The lawyer said the Deputy Minister who stays in Bulawayo, immediately left
for Bulawayo after he was handed the phone. According to Kwaramba, his
client could not return to Harare in time to hand over the cell phone
because of the MP's busy schedule. The lawyer added: "But he doesn't have
this phone now. He had given it to another Minister - one of the Ministers
whom I can't mention now, who has the phone. He gave the phone sometime ago
to that Minister. So it is not really like he has had the phone for the past
There were reports claiming that one of the women allegedly found with the
sim-card is the Minister's girlfriend but his lawyer denied this. He said he
could not divulge the details as it could prejudice the defence. However, he
said: 'There is certain information to the effect that the sim-card was
recovered from a third party. But what I can tell you is, my client said
that person is not his girlfriend. It happened to be coincidental that they
happened to be at the same place at the same time."
Reacting to Chinotimba's lawsuit, the lawyer believes politicians are
hijacking the issue, "and it is going to blow up. I am sure in a few days
time we will be hearing much more drama on this matter."
Kwaramba maintains his client has an explanation which 'the world will know
in due course.' We were not able to get a comment from Joseph Chinotimba.
Meanwhile, the MDC says Mahlangu's arrest comes in the wake of renewed
persecution of MDC MPs and Ministers. The party has at least seven other MPs
who are 'facing trumped-up charges,' while others continue to be threatened.
Early this week the party's Secretary-General and Minister of Finance,
Tendai Biti received a letter with a bullet inside it.
July 29, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wants Parliament to launch an investigation into
the circumstances surrounding the wholesale arrest and conviction of a
number of its legislators.
The MDC parliamentary chief whip, Innocent Gonese, told The Zimbabwe
Times yesterday that his party was moving a motion in the House of Assembly
over this issue.
"We are doing so as the MDC parliamentary caucus," said Gonese.
"We are concerned about the arrests that are taking place and we want
Parliament to look into this matter."
The MDC's call for an investigation was made just a day after Thamsanqa
Mahlangu, its National Youth Chairperson who is the Deputy Minister of
Youth, was arrested in connection with the alleged theft of a cell-phone.
At least seven other MDC parliamentarians, all of them from Manicaland, are
facing charges described by the party as trumped-up. Five of the legislators
have already been suspended from Parliament.
The MPs include Trevor Saruwaka (Mutasa Central), Lynnette Karenyi
(Chimanimani West), Shuwa Mudiwa (Mutare West), Meki Makuyana (Chipinge
South) and Mathias Mlambo MP for Chipinge East. The party's treasurer
Senator Roy Bennett has since February not been sworn in Deputy Minister of
Agriculture. He also has a court case pending. Bennett is originally from
The MDC says the arrests are part of President Robert Mugabe's strategy to
wipe away the party's slim parliamentary majority.
Meanwhile, the party's secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti
received a death threat through a bullet sent to his Highlands home in
Harare on Monday.
The MDC has also demanded an investigation into this matter.
MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, said his party was taking the matter
"This is something that we are taking very seriously. It's not just a threat
it's actually some kind of a statement that the life of the Finance Minister
in particular and in general that of Members of Parliament is in danger,"
Biti received an envelope in which a 9 millimetre bullet was sealed.
Inside was a message instructing him to prepare his will, a message which
the MDC views as a death threat.
Chamisa said he hoped the police would investigate the case in the best
possible professional manner.
"We hope the police will step up to the plate and provide the necessary
policing services that are required and expected of them," said Chamisa.
The MDC's own Giles Mutseekwa is co-Minister of Home Affaris, the ,imistry
reponsible for the police.
Government minister accepts Zimbabwe and BBC had 'mutually ruinous
John Plunkett and Leigh Holmwood
Wednesday 29 July 2009 16.08 BST
The BBC and CNN will be able to report freely from Zimbabwe for the first
time in eight years after restrictions were lifted by the country's
Zimbabwe's minister of media, information and publicity, Webster Shamu,
claimed that the BBC had never banned from "carrying out lawful activities"
inside the country, but added that the BBC and his government had now
"acknowledged the need to put behind us the mutually ruinous relationship of
The thawing in relations with the BBC and CNN comes after Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party lost its majority in parliament for the first time in 28 years
in last year's elections.
After months of political turmoil, Mugabe signed a power-sharing agreement
with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. Tsvangirai became prime minister, while Mugabe is president.
The breakthrough follows meetings between the broadcasters and senior
government representatives, according to a report in today's Zimbabwe Times.
The BBC's world news editor, Jon Williams, and Africa bureau editor, Sarah
Halfpenny, were involved in the talks with Shamu and his permanent
secretary, George Charamba, according to the Zimbabwe Times.
Williams told MediaGuardian.co.uk: "We are pleased we have been able to
reach an agreement and we look forward to being able to operate legally in
Declining to comment on the BBC's previous exclusion from the country,
Williams said: "We all recognise the realities of the situation. If we look
back, we will never look forward. We have different perspectives on this,
but we have both agreed we need to look forward.
"The most important thing is not what has happened over the past 10 years,
it is that we can go into Zimbabwe and report openly and legally."
Williams added that no restrictions had been placed on what the BBC could
report and that it was currently considering whether it would open a full
bureau in the country.
BBC correspondent Andrew Harding is currently in the country and will report
live from there tomorrow.
After the meetings, Shamu sent a letter to the BBC which said: "We agreed
that whatever communication problems which the BBC and the officials of the
Zimbabwe [government] may have had in the past, the Zimbabwe government
never banned the BBC from carrying out lawful activities inside Zimbabwe.
"For the purposes of the record, I restate the main points of our meeting.
We acknowledged the need to put behind us the mutually ruinous relationship
of the past."
Shamu's letter said the BBC had agreed to employ local people at a proposed
bureau in Harare, adding that the corporation was free to send crews into
BBC reporters had been banned from Zimbabwe since 2001, although corporation
journalists, including world affairs editor John Simpson, had managed to
evade the ban by reporting from Zimbabwe undercover.
BBC reporters had officially been allowed in on two occasions since the ban:
for the cricket World Cup in 2003, when some matches were played in
Zimbabwe; and for the controversial England cricket tour to the country the
A CNN spokesman said: "CNN has not been allowed to operate in Zimbabwe. We
welcome the opportunity to do so going forwards."
A spokesman for Misa Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation that promotes
free, independent and pluralistic media, said it welcomed the development.
"The government should in similar vein revisit the issue of banned
publications such as the Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, the Tribune and
Weekly Times by speedily processing their licences as agreed to in terms of
the inclusive government's Global Political Agreement," Misa said in a
"The government can further demonstrate its commitment to freeing the media
environment by repealing repressive legislation such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Broadcasting Services Act to
allow the entry of new players in both the print and broadcasting sector."
By Taurai Shava, Brenda Moyo & Peter Clottey
Gweru & Washington
29 July 2009
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told a public meeting Wednesday
in Gweru, the Midlands province capital, that the country's leadership is
committed to the global political agreement but that has not sufficiently
filtered down to the grass-roots activists.
Mr. Tsvangirai was addressing around 200 senior public administrators,
business leaders and members of civil society at Cathedral Hall in Gweru.
He said many members of the governing parties - his own Movement for
Democratic Change formation, the rival one led by Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, and the ZANU-PF of President Robert Mugabe - have not
thrown their support behind the government because they were left without
positions. He said the government's biggest challenge is funding.
Correspondent Taurai Shava of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe who said
Tsvangirai wanted to clear up misunderstandings amongst voters about the
nature of power-sharing.
Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Brenda Moyo that
Tsvangirai in Gweru as previously in Masvingo wanted to maintain direct
contact with and inform stakeholders.
Though Mr. Tsvangirai today put a positive spin on the cohesiveness of the
unity government he has not always taken that line of argument.
MDC sources say that on Saturday he'll ask South African President Jacob
Zuma, chairman of the South African Development Community, to intervene
through SADC, a guarantor of the power-sharing arrangement, to help settle a
number of outstanding issues still troubling the so-called inclusive
government as it approaches its six-month anniversary.
VOA reporter Peter Clottey turned to political analyst Glen Mpani of South
Africa's Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation who says many
are impatient with Zimbabwe's fractious government, ranging from ordinary
citizens to potential Western donors.
By Peta Thornycroft
29 July 2009
A tribal leader who cooperated with an international investigation into
eastern Zimbabwe's disputed diamond area last month says he has been evicted
from his traditional home. The Kimberley Process group's interim report says
Zimbabwe security forces attacked miners in the area last October.
Newman Chiadzwa said the police and members of the Zimbabwe National Army
forced him to leave his home on Monday.
The tribal leader said army members told him the government of Zimbabwe had
authorized his eviction. Chiadzwa says the troops told him he had to go
because he cooperated with the Kimberley Process group in its visits to the
The Kimberley Process is an international initiative to stem the flow of
so-called conflict diamonds that are sold to finance illegitimate activities
in Africa. The Kimberley Process requires its 75 member countries to certify
shipments of rough diamonds as 'conflict-free'. Zimbabwe is a process
A draft interim report of the Kimberley Group's visit to Zimbabwe's diamond
fields has been made available. It says its investigators heard credible
evidence from 25 victims and witnesses, who said the government sent in two
helicopters to back the army and police in a violent campaign to remove,
what the government called, illegal miners from the area last October.
The report says the security services denied any violence had taken place in
the diamond fields or in a nearby town, Mutare.
The report says the "violence undertaken by "the police and army" in
removing panners and then attempting to maintain control of the area is
unacceptable within" the Kimberley process framework."
The report recommended a suspension of export of diamonds from the area
until effective security, internal control measures and resources are in
place. It also said there should be a "demilitarization" of the area.
The report said the group had free access to the area during its visit and
had been allowed to meet with whomever they wanted.
The Kimberley Process report also said in accordance with Zimbabwean law
ownership of mining claims should be respected. A British company, African
Consolidated Resources says it owns the lease on the diamond fields, which
it bought after the previous lessor's claim lapsed in 2006.
Police in Harare were not available for comment about the charges and Mining
Minister Obert Mpofu did not return a reporter's phone calls Wednesday.
by Andrew Moyo Wednesday 29 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe on Tuesday said it had finally ended a cholera epidemic
that began last August, killing more than 4 000 people out of more than 98
000 infections, in what the World Health Organisation (WHO) said was the
worst outbreak of the disease in Africa in 15 years.
Health Minister Paul Madzorera would not rule out a fresh outbreak of the
disease but said Zimbabwe's health system was now better placed to control
and a future outbreak.
"The cholera epidemic is finished now, it is gone," said Madzorera, a member
of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party that agreed to form a unity
government with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party to tackle Zimbabwe's
multifaceted crisis, including the cholera outbreak.
"We are declaring that cholera has now ended. I hope it will not occur
again. Our severance systems are now high. We are more prepared than we were
in August last year," Madzorera told a press briefing in Harare.
Cholera quickly spread across Zimbabwe fuelled by a collapsed public health
sector that lacked both drugs and trained staff.
Dysfunctional water and sewer systems in urban areas only exacerbated the
cholera crisis, which could have caused thousands more deaths were it not
for the WHO and other relief agencies that quickly moved in with medical
supplies and other aid to battle to the epidemic.
The new Harare government has moved fast to try tot revive the public health
system and to restore water and sewerage treatment facilities in cities and
But independent health experts and United Nations (UN) agencies say Zimbabwe's
water and sanitation services remain weak while the public health system
still faces too many problems making a fresh outbreak of cholera highly
likely when the new rainy season starts in less than five month's time.
In a report released last week the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said most Zimbabweans still had no access to
safe water, raising the risk of catching cholera in the event of an
Highlighting fears within the international community that Zimbabwe remained
at risk of a new cholera attack, WHO representative in Zimbabwe Castodia
Mandhlate said the international health agency had bought "strategic stocks"
of drugs to combat a possible outbreak of the disease.
"We had a lot of community death that we would like to prevent. We are happy
to hear that government had provided resources for water management because
that is the real cause of the disease," said Mandhlate, speaking at the same
press conference addressed by Madzorera.
The final figures on cholera cases and deaths as at 15 July released by the
UN's OCHA last week stood at 98 592 infections and 4 288 deaths. - ZimOnline
by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 29 July 2009
HARARE - The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday said it had instructed the
police to allow citizens to demonstrate but warned those who might take to
the streets without giving notice to law enforcement agents, a government
minister announced Tuesday.
"We had a meeting with the Commissioner General of Police (Augustine
Chihuri). He will not unnecessarily impede people who want to demonstrate.
We have given certain instructions to the police for the people to be
allowed to demonstrate," co-home affairs minister Giles Mutsekwa told a news
conference in Harare.
But Mutsekwa, who is from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party,
warned demonstrators who fail to notify the police that they shall be
"guilty of an offence" and added that the police will not hesitate to use
"minimum force" to control demonstrators.
Mutsekwa presides over the home affairs ministry with Kembo Mohadi, a member
of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, under an arrangement agreed by
the Zimbabweans parties as part of their power-sharing deal.
Mohadi was not immediately available for comment on the matter, while there
was also no immediate confirmation from Chihuri's office that the police
would abide by the order to allow public demonstrations.
Chihuri, who is one of the key security figures behind Mugabe's power, has
been accused of ordering police to break up demonstrations by civic
organizations, opposition political parties and other groups perceived as
opposed to Zimbabwe's veteran leader.
The police had continued to ban protests even after formation of a
power-sharing government by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, who heads a smaller faction of the MDC.
"The ministry does not deny anyone from taking part in peaceful
demonstrations. Let it be known to all and sundry that demonstrations are
allowed in Zimbabwe but must be done within the confines of the law,"
In 2004, Mugabe and his then sole ruling ZANU PF party enacted the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) which made it illegal to demonstrate without
first notifying the police.
The Act also made it a requirement for anyone to seek police clearance if
they would want to hold a gathering of more than ten people.
Tsvangirai was brutally assaulted last year after he attended a public
prayer meeting in Harare's Highfield working class suburb that the police
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara formed a coalition government last February
to tackle Zimbabwe's economic and humanitarian crisis.
The coalition government has said it needs US$10 billion to re-build
Zimbabwe's economy. But Western governments with capacity to provide the
funds are withholding direct financial support insisting they want to see
more reforms including measures to uphold basic human rights before they can
provide aid to Harare. - ZimOnline.
Interview Broadcast July 23 2009
Former MDC MP for Highfield and University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Munyaradzi Gwisai, is the guest on Behind the Headlines. Gwisai was one of the presenters at the All Stakeholders Constitutional Conference, which was disrupted by ZANU PF thugs. He also gives his thoughts on the current unity government and says the MDC gave Mugabe breathing space by entering into a coalition, when the ZANU PF government was on the verge of collapse last year.
Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to another edition of Behind the Headlines. My guest this week is former Member of Parliament for Highfield with the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai. Mr Gwisai is also a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. Mr Gwisai, thank you very much for joining me.
Munyaradzi Gwisai: Thank you Lance and manheru mhuri yeZimbabwe.
Lance: Right the starting point Mr Gwisai obviously is the constitution-making process that you yourself are involved in right now. Give us a summary of what you think is happening so far and your attitude towards it. I’ve had Dr Madhuku on the programme; he’s heavily opposed to this process saying it should not be politician driven. What’s your take on it?
?Gwisai: I work under a coalition of progressive and people based civic groups called DUF the Democratic United Front for a people driven constitution. We are participating and we participated in this Stakeholders Conference, under protest but we believe that this is a very important occasion and an event that the ordinary people of Zimbabwe and those who seek to fight for democracy and progress must engage in as an important platform and terrain for democracy.
We do not think that the process should be boycotted as has been called for by colleagues who for instance are in the NCA, Madhuku and others. We think that’s just like the March 2008 elections, this is an important opening that democrats and all those who are fighting for a better Zimbabwe, especially those who are fighting for a Zimbabwe in which ordinary people can have a stake, and can have a say and can make a living in this country. It’s an opening that we must take advantage of and that we must push for change, so for that reason we have called for participation and we call upon for participation but under very strict benchmarks and conditions.
Lance: Is there not a worry then Mr Gwisai that you might, as participants to this process, not have control over the final outcome?
?Gwisai: Oh well, the issue of control that you raise that people like Madhuku and others have said you do not want a politician process. We in DUF believe in a people-driven process but I think you must be very clear about what people-driven means. People-driven ultimately does not mean Parliament but neither does it mean asking civic society as well. It must mean the people of Zimbabwe. The ideal opportunity and ideal process for writing a people-driven constitution is through an elected constitutional assembly. That is in the experience throughout Africa and throughout the global south and not self-chosen personalities or organisation as is happening now or as would happen under some of these things.
The real thing at the end of the day I think, as to whether or not we achieve it will depend on the level to which the opposition, democrats, ordinary people are prepared to stand up and defend the space that is opening up and that is exactly what we did on the second day of the constitutional conference when elements aligned to hardliners in ZANU PF tried to obstruct and stop the conference precisely because they are afraid that if this kind of process goes on, just like in March 2008 they will be exposed and that the will of the people will prevail.
Lance: Let’s draw on your experiences of what happened on that day, the last Monday that the whole Stakeholders conference was supposed to be convened, I understand that you were also one of the presenters on various thematic issues there, just for our listeners who were not there, what exactly happened?
Gwisai: Oh well obviously what happened is that during the course of, when the event started, the many delegates were very clear and were pointing out very clearly their opposition to any process that would be driven by the political parties around their Kariba Draft. You must bear in mind that the three political parties, that is ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, had actually agreed in 2007 to a constitutional draft which they are going to try and then use as the draft that would be used as the foundation of the constitutional process.
Now this draft is completely unacceptable to most people in civic society, to most ordinary people in the opposition and most democrats because it was written secretively by six people, it seeks to perpetuate the executive presidency of Mugabe. It also excludes the bread and butter issues – the right to education, the right to jobs, the right to health, ARV drugs etc for ordinary people, so most people were opposed to this and were making this very clear and I think what was very clear in the mood of the meeting was that up to two thirds if not more of the conference was clearly in opposition to the Kariba Draft which one person, Mugabe, has been insisting that they were going to use.
So when this happened, the ZANU PF, elements of ZANU PF people started throwing, chanting down the Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo and causing disruption because they could clearly see that they were in a minority in the conference and that is what eventually led to the disruption. But we stood our ground, that is most of the ordinary people who were there in the opposition and the civic society and we insisted that the conference had to take place. We also insisted that proper security had to be provided and the conference did resume only partially the following day after the leaders of the three parties had also come out on television saying that they did not support the disruption.
So I think it was a very important test and this is where I think colleagues and comrades who are boycotting are making a mistake, the fact that people were able to stand their ground and insist that this process must continue but also insist that the constitutional process must continue, not around the Kariba Draft because that is what was won and then secondly that the constitutional process must also ensure gender parity with 50 percent of women, I think were important gains that were made and that we need to defend and go ahead and fight for in the opening process.
Lance: But some will point obviously to that chaos at the Rainbow Towers as evidence that this whole process is going to be dominated by partisan interests from the various parties.
Gwisai: Yah but how can you avoid a partisan political interest in a constitutional process? A constitutional process is a fundamental process of setting up values, principles and institutions of society and in that process, political parties are going to be engaged. So one of the issues that we have raised with colleagues, for instance in the NCA, is that their demand that political parties have 20 percent representation in the constitutional process is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic because the MDC, certainly the MDC-Tsvangirai and ZANU PF, between the two of them as shown by the March 2008 elections represent millions of Zimbabweans.
You can’t just dream and wish them away and neither can you just wish that civic society groups, many of whom are small groups that are run by volunteers and that are funded externally should then seek to represent the will of the people. You come to South Africa where the most democratic constitutional process in Africa, that process was done by seven political parties after an election. You go to Uganda, you go to Ethiopia. So, but the reality is that I think, those of us who seek change within the political parties and outside must fight for benchmarks that allow genuine consultation and engagement of the people and defending the space that is there.
So I don’t buy the argument that you must marginalise political parties. Political parties are legitimate expressions of the will of people and you can’t just wish them away in favour of civic groups.
Lance: OK Mr Gwisai, I’ll move slightly to another topic just setting aside the constitutional debate and focusing on the coalition government that we have had since February. What do you make so far of this new arrangement?
Gwisai: Well this arrangement just proves what many of us on the left have been arguing that this was a compromise, elitist arrangement between elites in both the ruling party ZANU PF and elites in the opposition MDC to reach a compromise that would allow them to sit down and share the cake of Zimbabwe among themselves while the people are suffering. So the reality is that the conditions and lives of ordinary people, of workers, of people in the rural areas, of our students, our children, life has continued to be extremely harsh, extremely hard whilst politicians across the divide are busy looking after themselves as seen by a situation where the University of Zimbabwe remains closed, as seen by a situation where water, electricity are unaffordable for ordinary people but MPs demand and are given $30 000 for their cars.
So this is an elite arrangement. The dollarisation of the economy has also brought untold suffering but at the same time, it’s an elite arrangement that leaves the ZANU PF dictatorship in power. The power of Robert Mugabe as the President of Zimbabwe remains intact despite the fact that he lost the election. So as far as I’m concerned the arrangement has allowed a bit of space in terms of democratic opening but fundamentally it has not changed the character of an authoritarian and dictatorial regime in power.
Lance: Do you think the opposition had a choice? Is there any other alternative that maybe you would have recommended and say right, this is the route that you should take?
Gwisai: Well certainly they had, by the end of the year, by December 2008 general election 2009, Zimbabwe was grinding to a halt. Virtually everything was coming to a standstill in terms of public services like electricity, like water, education and when you have a situation where members of the armed forces, junior soldiers were now revolting in the streets you can then know that the regime is on its back. So what was required I think was the courage and vision to mobilise the ordinary people, the working people of our country and the same remains now which is indeed one of the reasons why we still support participation in the constitutional process, we’re simply saying we must use this space to reorganise, to remobilise, knowing fully well that this government and regime that is in power right now is not going to surrender power on a silver platter.
We are going to have to wrest power, we are going to have to fight in the streets of our country and use the current space to build towards that confrontation. Anyone with illusions that Mugabe is going to go peacefully, anyone with delusions that ZANU PF is going to go peacefully is just dreaming or is fooling the people of this country. The real struggle remains ahead. What we must do is to mobilise and organise from the working people’s perspective.
Lance: OK Mr Gwisai, we’re running out of time but I’ll ask one final question, in your own assessment of this arrangement, obviously both parties to this agreement have something that they want from it, in your assessment, let’s start off with ZANU PF and Mugabe what do you think they want from this coalition government?
Gwisai: Mugabe needs breathing space. ZANU PF and Mugabe need a breathing space. As I said that their backs were on the wall as a result of a collapsing economy and as a result of isolation regionally, internationally and also growing working people unrest. So what he wanted was and what he still wants is a breathing space that Tsvangirai gave him, the MDC gave him and to be able to reorganise and after that, re-impose the dictatorship of the regime, so this is why the security operators of the regime has not been dismantled. This is why JOC is still meeting so the dictatorship is still there and will crush the opposition including Tsvangirai when the time is right, when it feels that it has gone over the hill.
Lance: And what about Tsvangirai and the MDC, what do you think they are seeking to benefit from this arrangement?
Gwisai: Well I think they are just naive. I think they are naive, I think they believe that, they naively believed and that Tsvangirai still proceeds to argue as he did when he was recently on his Western trip and tour that things have fundamentally changed in Zimbabwe. Now I think for most of the leadership of the MDC, many of them are tired, exhausted, some are just outright rank opportunists who are prepared to make their bed out of this new arrangement, but in terms of the ordinary people of the MDC, of the opposition, I believe that obviously there was an element of that tiredness and exhaustion but I think that to continue trusting and for them to continue putting complete faith in their leadership would be disastrous.
I think that for the ordinary people of Zimbabwe in the opposition, they must take the slight opening up of democratic space that is there now, including the current constitutional process, to reorganise, rebuild in order to take, head on, this dictatorship. I think a united people of Zimbabwe, especially from an ordinary people, fighting from a working people perspective, centred on bread and butter issues can in fact take on and defeat the Mugabe regime.
Lance: Now Mr Gwisai a lot of people are curious, you are a former member of the MDC and people would want to know is there is any chance of you rejoining the party?
Gwisai: Well not necessarily in the immediate but what brought us together I think is also what still can allow us to work together. The desire and goal of fighting the dictatorship in Zimbabwe and the fight for democracy in particular, the democracy that would make ordinary people have better lives as opposed to the elite, and that is what we are doing in the constitutional process. More so that the MDC leadership has now come out renouncing the Kariba Draft and we are going to be ready to work with them in that process as long as they are fighting the dictatorship and as long as we are saying the many fronts on which to fight. What matters is that our goal remains one of fighting for a people based democracy against a dictatorship by Mugabe and by the capitalists.
Lance: That’s Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai joining us on Behind the Headlines. Mr Gwisai, thank you so much for joining us.Gwisai: No, thanks a lot Lance. – ZimOnline
July 28, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed outright any
prospect of President Robert Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF, ever swallowing his
own Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Such fears have variously been expressed since February when the two parties
joined hands with the smaller MDC party led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara to establish a Government of National Unity in terms of the Global
Political Agreement signed by the three parties in September 2008.
The dreaded imagery of the MDC being literally demolished by the President's
party arises from a similar political development 22 years ago when the then
all-powerful Zanu-PF signed a unity pact in December 1987 with the then
opposition PF-Zapu, which was led by veteran nationalist, Dr Joshua Nkomo,
Nkomo was forced into the agreement in a quest for peace as the bloodshed of
the Gukurahundi campaign ravaged rural Matabeleland, PF-Zapu's power base.
Nkomo died a disappointed and frustrated man 12 years later. Meanwhile
Mugabe had tightened his grip on power while Zimbabwe was reduced to a de
facto one-party state.
Addressing heads of government ministries in Masvingo Tuesday Tsvangirai
said if any party was to be swallowed it had to be Zanu-PF.
"No one is going to swallow anyone and that is very clear," said Tsvangirai.
"I sometimes joke with President Mugabe that, 'I hear that you want to
swallow me', and I am clear on that that no one is going to swallow
The Prime Minister said he was on a nationwide tour of the ten provinces to
brief people on the objectives of the inclusive government.
"We want people to understand the inclusive government," he said; "that it
is provisional arrangement which reflects the ideals of all the political
"It is not Mugabe's government; neither is it Mutambara's or mine. It should
show the ideals of all the political parties."
Tsvangirai said the current process of national healing and integration was
one of the toughest challenges faced by the inclusive government. He said
the exercise was challenging because it involved people who had lost
relatives and friends.
"This is not an easy process," said Tsvangirai. "It is a very difficult one
because it involves people who have lost relative and friends.
"Some people are saying let the perpetrators be prosecuted while others are
talking of compensation but how do you deal with the victims? You cannot
just ignore them.
"But as leaders we have to be very clear that Zimbabwe needs peace and there
has to be peace. Gone are the days when Zimbabweans killed or maimed each
Tsvangirai was accompanied by Gorden Moyo, minister in the Prime Minister's
Turning to the issue of food security, Tsvangirai said the inclusive
government had set as a priority the provision of inputs and other
necessities to the small-scale farmers so that they can increase production.
He said about one million small-holders and small-scale farmers had been
targeted as recipients of agricultural inputs so they could increase
"Malawi cannot produce more food than us," he said. "Hence we have to make
sure that small-scale farmers revert to their position in which they
produced over 60 percent of the country's food requirements."
On the constitutional reform process, the Prime Minister said what mattered
most was the substance of the product and its content, and not the process
through which the constitution would be crafted.
Tsvangirai was responding to criticism by some civic organisations that the
government-led constitutional reform process was flawed.
"What we have to ensure is that what the people want is reflected in the
constitution," he said. "We want to make sure that the views of the people
will carry the end of the day, and not the process.
"After all the constitution will be subjected to a referendum where people
will have the chance to choose what they want."
Some NGOs, including the mainstream MDC's former allies, the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(ZINASU) have said that they are embarking on a parallel constitutional
reform process in protest against the government-led exercise.
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that intervention measures
will be taken within the Southern African Development Community and other
continental structures, should there be any indication that the provisions
of democracy inside Zimbabwe are compromised.
"We have noted that since the establishment of the coalition government in
Zimbabwe the nature and extent of violence has subsided," he said, giving a
written reply to a Parliamentary question tabled by Athol Trollip, the
Democratic Alliance leader in Parliament.
"We are confident that the current coalition government will make greater
efforts to make certain that there is wide-spread respect and promotion for
the rule of law and human rights, including political rights and freedom of
Trollip had asked whether he would make public the report made by retired
generals sent to Zimbabwe to investigate the role of the military in the
last year's post-election violence, and whether he would send them back
again now to probe reports of continued intimidation and harassment.
The President's reply indicated that he would not send them back, and he
told Trollip that since the report was only made orally to former president
Thabo Mbeki, he had no report available to release.
By Peter Clottey
29 July 2009
Zimbabweans are hopeful that the scheduled meeting between Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will help resolve
a stalemate in the unity government.
According to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tsvangirai will meet
President Zuma to brief him about what the party claims are the ZANU-PF
party's violations of the unity agreement.
The MDC blames President Robert Mugabe's party for the tense relationship in
the unity government, charges ZANU-PF denies.
Political analyst Glen Mpani told VOA that Zimbabweans are unhappy about the
performance of the unity government six months into its formation.
"The expectations are that the outstanding matters that have been part and
parcel of this six months inclusive government. lead to the convening of
SADC (Southern African Development Community) to try as much as possible to
break the impasse," Mpani said.
He said the regional body has yet to address complaints of the MDC in
Zimbabwe's unity government.
"As you are aware, there are outstanding matters that the MDC forwarded to
SADC, and they had requested SADC to convene. But apparently this has not
happened. So meeting Zuma, who is the current chairman of SADC, they'll try
and push for the convening of that meeting," he said.
Mpani said there is pressure within Zimbabwe on members of the coalition
"There is indeed real pressure. I think part of the pressure is one, a
disillusioned civil society which has not seen any significant commitment to
ZANU-PF in terms of its role in the inclusive government. The second level
of pressure is coming from the supporters of the MDC within the party where
there are reports of disgruntlement," Mpani said.
He said Zimbabweans are hopeful that President Zuma will be more effective
than his predecessor in ending the stalemate in the coalition government.
"There have been a lot of expectations that Zuma as the new president will
take a different approach. Considering that the alliance partners that
supported him were very critical of the governance in Zimbabwe.there is also
high expectation on him in terms of is he going to deal with the issues
expeditiously, or is he going to follow the same approach that his
predecessor took in terms of engaging with Zimbabwe?" he asked.
While in South Africa, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is also expected to
hold discussions with potential investors to help revive Zimbabwe's
July 29, 2009
By Our Correspondent
ZANU-PF Youth Chairperson, Saviour Kasukuwere, has denied media reports that
he led a group of rowdy supporters into disrupting a constitutional
conference two weeks ago.
Kasukuwere described the reports as ridiculous.
"I went to the Sheraton to participate and not to disturb the conference,"
he said. "But what happened on that day is that people became agitated
because of the chaotic handling of accreditation. People came in and slept
out in the streets, already there was a very bad climate towards the whole
process, it is very clear if you go through the reports even those written
by the NGO Forum that the whole organisation was chaotic."
"To allege that Saviour Kasukuwere did orchestrate a programme to disturb or
undermine the constitutional making process of this country is ridiculous
and I can tell you frankly that I am a law-abiding citizen of my country."
But the co-chairperson of the 25-member parliamentary constitutional
committee, Douglas Mwonzora, said his committee has irrefutable evidence on
video which shows Kasukuwere and President Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwawo,
a Zanu-PF legislator, actively disrupting the conference.
"The committee will not leave any stone unturned in punishing the
perpetrators of violence," Mwonzora said last week. "In this programme,
justice is going to be blind, we do not care much who the person is as long
as that person committed an offence to the people of Zimbabwe who were
"We have evidence that these people were brought in a lorry, we are checking
the owner of the lorry and these people were singing and one of the songs
that there were singing is that they are going to repeat what they did in
June and that is organised violence."
Zanu-PF militias and state security agents went on an orgy of nationwide
violence last year that left more than 200 MDC supporters dead. This was
after President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party lost the March
presidential and parliamentary elections to the MDC.
Speaking in Bulawayo last weekend, Mwonzora said his committee has video
evidence of what transpired on the day and had already forwarded it to the
country's three political leaders.
"We have complied videos and disks which will be used as evidence during the
prosecution of the legislators and other people who disrupted the
conference - the days of lawlessness have to come to an end," Mwonzora told
a meeting in Bulawayo.
Despite this move by Parliament, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara have
already announced that there will be no witch-hunt, urging respect and
reconciliation among citizens.
There is an expectation that a new constitution to replace the Lancaster
House Constitution of 1979 will reduce presidential powers, strengthen the
role of Parliament and guarantee civil liberties and political freedoms.
The existing constitution has so far been amended a total of 19 times since
the country's independence in 1980 and critics say the changes have only
helped to strengthen Mugabe and Zanu-PF's stranglehold on power.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean civic society organisations have launched a parallel
constitutional process to challenge the government's process which is led by
The rival process was launched at a constitutional conference held in
Chitungwiza on Monday.
The civic groups argue that the official process launched by government two
weeks ago is undemocratic, defective and will produce a flawed document.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) is spearheading civic society's
constitutional process under the theme "Take Charge".
The NCA brings together civic groups, women's organisations, churches,
opposition political parties, and labour and student movements. In 1999 it
worked with the MDC to reject a government draft constitution in a
referendum which delivered Mugabe's first ever electoral defeat.
The grouping wants the parliamentary led constitution making process to be
abandoned and be replaced by an independent constitutional commission.
By Alex Bell
29 July 2009
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) has lashed out at the South African
government's plan to redeploy the army to patrol the border with Zimbabwe,
saying the move will pose a serious risk to Zimbabwean exiles still fleeing
The proposed move follows a recent tour of South Africa's borders with
Lesotho and Zimbabwe by members of the country's main opposition, the
Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA officials found that large stretches of the
border fencing had been stolen, flattened or cut open. They also found an
almost complete absence of police officers, who are supposed to guard the
borders. The officials expressed concern about the movement of criminal
syndicates over the unguarded borders, as well as the threats of poachers
and disease already causing problems for South African farmers. The party,
shortly after the visit, called for a concrete plan to deploy the South
African National Defence Force (SANDF) to protect the borders.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Lindiwe Sisulu already agreed in
principle in Parliament last month that the SANDF should be deployed back to
the borders as part of a wider scheme to tackle crime by releasing policemen
and women from border duty. It followed the announcement by President Jacob
Zuma in his State of the Nation speech last month that among other key
initiatives to fight crime, 'we will start the process of setting up a
border management agency.'
The military was pulled out of border patrol last year after civil society
groups such as the Exiles Forum reported numerous accounts of rape and
torture of refugees at the border. ZEF Director Gabriel Shumba said on
Wednesday that army officials 'are not properly equipped in terms of human
rights to deal with the sensitive issue of immigrants,' arguing that
redeploying the army so soon will create more problems.
Shumba argued the move echoes a worrying trend by the new administration
under President Zuma of, 'stricter and less tolerant controls on the
Zimbabwean populace in South Africa.' Shumba explained new discussions are
underway to reverse a widely welcomed plan to provide special permits for
Zimbabwe, saying the South African government has a wrong perception about
what is happening in Zimbabwe. The permits, which have now been placed on
hold by the government, would give Zimbabweans rights to education, health
care and rights to work for a period of 6 months.
"The Zuma administration has this perception that Zimbabwe's government of
national unity has managed to contain the situation, and that everything has
stabilised," Shumba explained. He continued: "The changing attitude and
policies are increasing our vulnerability in the country."
Shumba referred to last week's incident of xenophobic violence in South
Africa that President Zuma dismissed as part of widespread service delivery
protests in the country. Last year, a violent spate of xenophobic attacks
left more than 60 people dead, and rights groups have warned that fresh
attacks are likely to occur.
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COURT ORDER 5075/08 24/08/2008
15/7/2009 Charles Nyachowe, ID 70/067/169Q, of 29 Manyonga Drive,
Glen Lorne (011-402 150) arrived with three people. Lands Officer
Tigere, Ministry of Lands, Chinhoyi. Told Moses, our Farm Manager that
they were going to come back with Offer letter.
18/07/2009Charles Nyachowe plus five people parked outside near
ramp, crept through fence, walked around houses.
19/07/2009 Charles Nyachowa plus two people parked outside near
ramp, crept through fence, walked around. High Court Order says he is
forbidden on Ingwerati Farm, Case Number HC 5075/08 24/08/2008.
20/07/2009Phoned Sheriff Gate (0912-295 144) who evicted Charles
Nyachowa on 12/9/2008. He took me to ZRP Norton. We saw Insp Ndebele
0912-735 980 and Sgt Tarangarawa who was at eviction. He advised me to
come the next day and report to the Member In Charge, Mhandy (0912-749
427), who I had smsed and told that Nyachowe was on the Farm.
21/07/20099am Chief Insp Mhandy called Sgt Chirinda (0912-918 546)
who went through all CR and phoned Lands Officer Chinhoyi, Tigere
Ministry of Lands Chinhoyi 067-21763 (0912-585 660).
29/08/2008Gazetted Ingwerati Spitzop 12+14 108B-2008 Hec 348-68
Hec. Last offer letter 28/08/2008. Whole Ingwerati 351.00 hec. He
said he had not left offer letter, only spoken to Manager Moses. He said
we are to vacate by 31/08/2009.
21/07/2009Sgt Chirinda and Chief Insp Mhandy advised me to go to
the DA in Murombedzi. DA L M Bakare Room 41. He phoned Lands Officer
Tigere. He spoke to Lands Officer Chikomba. We went to Chinhoyi as
advised but he had a meeting with Governor Chidarikire at 3pm and wanted
us to wait until 4.30 to see him which we could not do as that was too
late for the two hour drive home. Sent him an sms (0912-585 660) to
cancel and phoned his Secretary, Daphne 067-21763.
22/07/2009Reported back to Sheriff Gate. He took me to Public
Prosecutor Munyoro 062-2579 (0912-911 134) to find out the verdict of the
CR18/10/08 This case was CR37/08/08. Gilbert Pengo Charles Nyachowe
threatened to kill him with a gun at his head if he stopped him from
breaking into my house with a locksmith which he did on 04/08/2008 and
stayed in the house until 12/09/2008 with ten guards. Court date
CR128/08/08 Breaking and entering and abuse of my personal household
possessions, theft to the value of $1850. Court cases 12/12/2008,
16/02/2008, 24/03/2009 and 17/04/2009.
CR145/8/08 Assault of Kennith Vaughan Sherriffs. Charles Nyachowe
paid Admission of Guilt fine at ZRP Norton.
22/07/2009Public Prosecutor Munyoro and Deputy Sheriff came and
looked at abuse to stove and microwave. The staff, who have the beds and
mattresses, said that were disgusting and they washed and cleaned them
and are using. I was told to go and see Insp Ndebele with the list of
malicious damage to my property after the Public Prosecutor phoned him.
CR39/9/08 Paul Nyachowe, brother of Charles, whom he works for and
was in my house with the guards, drove into our truck twice, hitting it
with Charles Nyachowe's green tractor twice, which has not been
repaired. This case has now been transferred from ZRP Norton to Marimba
08/09/2008, reference number 219/10/08. Quote US $1,575. 2/12/2008 Inv
23/07/20094:30pm Charles Nyachowe and two vehicles with 8 men took
hacksaws and cut the lock to the main gate. This is the fifth lock he
has cut to enter the Farm (Ingwerati). At the main house, has broken
into the security gates at the front of the main house. Phoned ZRP
Norton, Sgt Chirinda 0912-918 546, Insp Ndebele 0912-735 980, Sgt
Tarangarawa 023-265 208 and Sheriff Gate 0912-295 144. The Guard Rhamosi
was told by Charles Nyachowe that he will kill him if he closes the gate.
23/07/2009Charles Nyachowe stole ½ tonne of gum wood from the
Manager's house and took it to the main house. His vehicle number,
a green Nissan AAO 1706.
24/07/2009We went with the Sheriff and Officers Nzombo and Chirinda
to Ingwerati. Nyachowe and his brother Paul were looking at the borehole
opposite the manager's house. The Sheriff advised him that he was
going to issue him with CIV29A Notice of Removal. Nyachowe went bezerk
and said that all high court orders only last 90 days and that the State
owns the land and he has been given Ingwerati. The Sheriff said the High
Court ruling was valid until it is revoked by the High Court with a new
offer letter. The offer letter dated 2/08/2008 that Nyachowe gave the
two policeman, the Sheriff said was the same one that was thrown out in
the High Court as false. The policemen said that they thought the
Sheriff was wrong and Nyachowe's letter was valid. Charles
Nyachowe shouted and screamed and said that he is going to get Bob and he
is going to get 20% of Boheke and threatened the Sheriff. He pointed at
myself and said he knew where I lived at Northfields.
The Dispol, Chief Superindent Makunike said the policeman had made a
mistake and the Sheriff was correct. We then obtained a Bond of
Indemnity (CIV41A) from Coghlan Welsh & Guest to allow the Messenger of
the Court to act on our behalf.
At 4.30, the Sheriff went back to Ingwerati with the CIV29A Notice of
Removal and issued it to Nyachowe who said there would be war and he
would be killed if he came on Monday. The Sheriff had three people as
witnesses who heard these threats.
25/07/2009Charles Nyachowe took another ½ tonne of gum wood from
the Manager's house which he was seen leaving the farm with.
25/07/2009Charles Nyachowe cut the electric boundary fence with the
assistance of three of his men to make a new entrance to the main house
to avoid going passed the guards.
26/07/2009Charles Nyachowe maintained his presence on the farm with
other visitors on and off throughout the day.
27/07/2009The Sheriff sent me to the Norton Police to pick up five
details to go with him for protection during the eviction. The Member In
Charge, Mhandy 0912-749 427, called Nzombo and Chirinda, and they agreed
that they would not give the Sheriff back-up. The ZRP told me that Mr
Nyachowa had gone to see the Secretary of Justice, Mr Mangota.
The Dispol Inspector, Makunike 0912-840 653 and
0913-426 074, told them that this was not correct but could not get them
to comply with their duties.
The Sheriff came to town and went to the Police
Headquarters and they assured him that he would get back-up, however,
when he returned the backup was not forthcoming. The Sheriff has his
truck with ten officials to help him with the eviction. He then
proceeded in his car to Ingwerati and told Paul Nyachowe, who was in the
main house, that he would be back on Tuesday to evict him.
27/07/09 I wanted a report made at Norton Police Station of the
lock being cut (This is the 5th lock he has cut) the wood stolen, and the
boundary electric fence he and 3 other men cut, making a new entrance to
the main house. The police refused to write up this on a wait and see
28/07/2009The Sheriff returned to Mhandy, ZRP Norton and was
refused the police details to back him as they said they have a docket
for us for over staying at the farm. The Sheriff was waiting for the
Master of the High Court to issue a directive to the police to assist.
This morning, our Dairy Manager, Moses, contacted
us to say that Charles Nyachowe had gone into the Dairy and told him he
was to stop milking and move the cows on Wednesday and also that he was
going to be welding the gate so that we would not have entry and that his
men would be running the farm. There are 89 Holstein highly pedigree herd
on this farm.
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1. Dear JAG,
The problems of poverty, racism and unemployment are not simply technical
problems in search of the perfect ten-point plan. They are also rooted in
societal indifference and individual callousness-the desire among those
at the top of the social ladder to maintain their wealth and status
whatever the cost, as well as the despair and self-destructiveness among
those at the bottom of the ladder.
Dealing with these challenges will require changes in government policy,
it will also require changes in hearts and minds.
The case in point here is our beautiful and resources endowed Zimbabwe
which we have turned into a laughing stock of the nations because of
decadent emotional nationalism devoid of reason and strategy in a planet
that is changing every day and living us behind.
The economies of our neighbours Botswana, Namibia, South Africa,
Mozambique and Zambia have been flourishing for years while that of
Zimbabwe crashed. We are told our collapse is as a result of "illegal
sanctions" which stopped us from borrowing money which could have fixed
This is not true. We could no longer borrow because we had not repaid
previous borrowings. Our bankers had already cut us off long before any
sanctions were imposed.
So why then are we in such a mess when our neighbours are not? What
really caused the problems we face but did not affect the countries
around us? Why has it dragged on for so long that we are now even unable
to pay the civil service proper wages?
Tha answer is the "Fast Track Land Reform Programme"(FTLRP).It has
destroyed the country's economy along with our wealth creating abilities
.It has made it impossible to make any economic progress. Allow us to
explain how wealth has always been created and why it is we can no longer
do so because of the FTLRP and are thus doomed to keep on falling.
All wealth comes from the ground or the oceans. It may come in many
forms; minerals,oil and harvests of fish or crops, forests, livestock and
wildlife. It may come from using what has come from the earth and adding
value to it, for instance converting metals, plastics and rubber into
motor vehicles and aircraft. Or it may come from using manufactured items
like aircraft and vehicles to satisfy and service the needs of travellers
who wish to move from place to place or to use machines to add value to a
metal or commodity. But ultimately all wealth comes from the earth; in a
nutshell wealth is created by entrepreneurs or businessman investing in
the factors of production. These factors of production are land ,l abour
and capital. Familiar isn't it?
Why do we not then just get on with it and have our entrepreneurs combine
their skills to the factors of production which are staring back at us?
In this way surely we can return to being as rich as or richer than we
were before? The FTLRP has made this impossible, it does not matter which
way you look at it. The FTLRP through the destruction of property rights
has also destroyed the factors of production and erased that necessary
economic ingredient, confidence.
Entrepreneurs, those that really matter ,having seen that there was no
security of tenure, no property rights in Zimbabwe, have gone. What is
more they have taken their capital with them. The capital which remained
behind has been destroyed by inflation. Take twenty-five noughts off even
Bill Gates' fortune and he too will be penniless like the rest of us.
There is now, as Biti has found out just no money, no liquid working
What about labour? Surely there must be plenty around. Surprisingly not.
Labour ,especially skilled labour is like money. It is very fluid and
mobile. Both flow to where they perceive they will achieve the best
returns. Labour moves locally, within the region and overseas. These
migrations range from nearby gold panning, to jumping regional borders
and may even include finding a financial managerial post in the City of
London. Labour cannot sit by patiently waiting for the good times to
return, labour must eat as must labour's families.
The land what about it? We are told the land was stolen and now that it
has been taken back an excellent state of affairs must prima facie exist.
Then why is it that the land is not properly used , or used at all? Why
is the current wheat crop going to be the lowest ever? Why is Biti
talking of providing US147 million(from where no one knows) to fund the
summer crop which estimates say will cost at least US850 million? If
there is no funding,then off course there will also be no summer crop.
All our savings have been eaten up by inflation, nothing is left. Gono
can no longer print inflationary Zimbabwe money because he has made it
worthless. He has long since ruined our currency through his BACOSSI's
and ASPEF's. Our present dire straits are to deteriorate further. There
is no money nor will there be any, to import food.
But hang on, why do the banks not provide the money to grow the crops as
they used to? Government (for which read the taxpayer)historically was
never saddled with the burden of funding agriculture. It is not true, as
some politicians would have us believe ,that the banks are just being
spiteful. Banks do not lend out their own money, they lend out money that
belongs to the public who would have deposited these funds into the
banks. If they lend out the public's funds unwisely, these loans will not
be repaid. The banks will then have to dip into their own pockets; they
will have to use their own capital to repay the depositors whose funds
have been lost. In any event the economy has been run down so low that no
funds of any consequence remain in the banks longer than a month.
Available funds must be withdrawn to take across the borders to buy more
stocks-currently we produce nothing.
This is the crunch. Banks use title to lend ,all sorts of it, to secure
their lending; to guarantee that the money they lend and that the
interest they levy on these loans will be repaid. Now the title to
farmland has been destroyed it cannot be used as security, nor can
farmland without funding produce optimally as it used to do. Nor can
farmland use its intrinsic value and worth to create working capital for
the people to use for projects other than funding cropping and livestock.
These projects include dams, boreholes, equipment, and transport and
irrigation development. Commercial farmland now has no value, it cannot
be sold, its value has evaporated into worthlessness. Government says it
is State Land just as Communal Land is State Land. The Communal Land
cannot be sold either; it too has no real economic value.
Lack of security is the whole reason why banks no longer fund farmers;
nor can they until title is restored to Commercial Farm Land and title is
provided to Communal Farm Land. Then both categories of land can function
Biti admits that in the first six months of this year he has only raked
inUS$157million in taxes, yet he budgeted on spendingUS$1000 over a whole
year. The reason why the tax income is pitiful is a direct result of
economic activity being so putrid. There is no production. As explained
the economy cannot recover and will forever remain in this present state
of devastation until the factors of production are freed up to allow them
to do their job of wealth creation.
Tsvangirai has been around the world looking for funds to rebuild the
country's economy. He failed, not because Western nations are unwilling
to assist, but because they understand that the factors of production
cannot come into play and perform their wealth generating function whilst
property rights and interlinked security of tenure are not recognised.
Even the Chinese understand this concept. They know from their own bitter
histories that businesses cannot function effectively without security of
tenure-be it a mine ,a factory or a farm.
What is the solution to lift us out of this never ending cycle of
poverty? It is quite simple and has been laid out for us by a uniquely
African institution, the Southern African Development
Community(SADC).This is an African institution which understands what
makes countries rich and prosperous .In their wisdom they know what is
needed to provide a proper framework and economic climate which will
encourage entrepreneurs to get into action. Entrepreneurs take big risks
when launching new ventures. When the economic climate is not conducive,
these new ventures either do not occur, or are moved to countries where
chances of success are better. When entrepreneurs succeed in combining
their skills, limited capital labour and land, they generate further
wealth for themselves and in so doing they produce more taxes for the
nation. We must restore production.
This knowledge is encapsulated in the Southern Africa Development
Community Treaty. The Treaty draws on the very same knowledge that made
our neighbours Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia far
wealthier after independence than they were before. President Robert
Gabriel Mugabe recognised this when on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe,
he entered into the Treaty by signing it on 17 August1992.As the Treaty
requires us to do it was ratified by Parliament on 17 November 1992, thus
becoming part of our National law. The Treaty lays down rules of good
governance showing how member states should behave to make the SADC a
prosperous and delightful part of the world for all of us who leave here.
The overseer of the SADC Treaty was created when the SADC Tribunal came
into being. Article 16 of the SADC Treaty recognised the need to
establish a Tribunal "to ensure adherence to and the proper
interpretation of the provisions of this Treaty.
This was to ensure that the provisions of the Treaty were upheld.
Importantly, our President, with his vision shared by other Member States
accepted and undertook that the "decisions of the Tribunal shall be final
and binding"(Article 16.5-Treaty).
President Mugabe has become our saviour and shown us the way to save
ourselves from the terrible predicament in which we presently find
ourselves. We must adhere to the ruling of the full Bench on 28 November
2008 when they ruled that farmers must be left in beneficial occupation
of their lands. Those that had been evicted must be paid fair
compensation. This will solve the present impasse and open the way to
security of tenure and funding from the Western nations.
Since it is beyond the capacity of the current Government to pay
compensation to those evicted ,(remember they cannot properly pay their
wages)it will become necessary to consider other options. The Tribunal
Ruling is binding and we are forced to respect it. It is our salvation
and for the sake of us all and our children, we must surely use it .Do we
really want another round of hyper-inflation, violence .starvation and
All is not lost Zimbabwe shall prosper. It is time to stop the "war"
techniques of secrecy, snooping, and misinformation used against
opponents as tools of domestic politics and a means to harass critics,
build support for questionable policies or cover up blunders.
Let us all be guided by what works and not what we wish should work.
All for the love of our beautiful Zimbabwe think about it.
VINCENT NDLOVU (UK)
2. Dear Violet
I have just read the transcript of the interview with Dr Chimbori and
John Worswick. I allude in particular to an allegation that the British
Government is funding white commercial farmers thereby allowing us to pay
much higher wages to our workers. What absolute codswallop. I cannot
even imagine how this story gets aired.
As background we are very small dairy farmers and survive on 30 cows
production. It is NOT easy, and we receive NO funding from any outside
agency. We pay the same as everyone else, a USD a day plus benefits.
(free food, housing transport water electricity). Going into the new
season we cannot afford diesel for ploughing, seed or fertiliser.
No, we did not pay to continue farming, otherwise we would not be sitting
in court on a regular basis
The travesty of justice is unbelievable.
As for being able to clop our staff, well that hasn't happened in
our farming times. Maybe fifty years. If perceptions don't move
on, the Hon. Doc will find that she goes down in history as the American
Doctor who stole a farm from some old people...and she can deny it as
much as she likes.
I can't believe how time has flown since my last letter to you.
My last letter was about ducking and diving from the law, and that was
done successfully so that I could go to Zambia for a polo clinic, and to
South Africa for a hockey tour with the Lomagundi Girls.
On my return from SA, the police had said they would come back and and
give me my summons to go to court for being on the farm.
So for the last 3 months I have been waiting for this summons, which up
to date has not arrived. Probably come tomorrow now.
It is not a pleasant way to live, waiting for the axe to fall. All around
here, and in the rest of the country, white farmers are being taken to
court daily for being on their farms, and mostly been given a remand, but
quite a few have been evicted from their farms and deposited in town
Our faithful leader has stated he does not want to see a white farmer on
the land, then turns round and offers land to Chinese, Malaysians and
south Africans. Seems a bit stupid to me, and is real racialism at its
best. Those whites born and bred in the country are not allowed land, but
anyone else can have it.
We are in the middle of a most bizarre case at the moment, whereby a
black doctor, was born in zim, but lives in USA, has American
citizenship, has nothing to do with zim, but has now decided she wants
land in zim, and is trying to kick off a very productive fruit farmer
from his land. And she shows no sign of remorse about what she is doing!
Can anyone in the USA organise some Red Indians to take over her house
and practice on the grounds that their fore-fathers might have stepped on
the land some 100 years ago, and therefore it is theirs!
Oh, and no compensation please, and out of the practice in 24 hrs!!
Our new government is an absolute mockery of the word. The old s.o.b.
has no intention of abiding by any rules that were set down by SA and
others; all it has done is buy him time to carry on doing exactly what he
did before, and all his ministers do the same, just steal.
They have the courts in their pockets, so no prosecutions are allowed on
any senior gov't officials at all.
Rhino poaching, diamond poaching, you name it and it carries on
Really all a bit dis-heartening.
I have planted 50 ha's of barley, so that is up and going strong. Whether
I will see it finished or not is another matter. The person who thinks he
owns my farm hasn't been here since November, and my blokes all say he
has died of Aids. (Couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke!) But it does
make for interesting thinking if he has died, because the gov't cannot
issue another "offer letter" in terms of the Unity agreement, and the
original letter is specific to to the holder, not the family, so
Gyppslander is a vacant plot. But that doesn't stop the gov't in any way,
they just want the whites off.
So we continue, hoping sanity will eventually arrive and we can continue
on the farm, but I must admit, I don't know when this is likely to
I have finally decided to retire from Polo on my 65th birthday last week.
Will probably still play some club polo and will carry on riding at home.
Two things helped my decision:
1 Pat Aitchison, who is 2 years older than me, had a mild heart attack
when he was playing in a tournament in Harare the other day, and if
anyone looked fit, it was Pat, and
2 Playing in a tournament at Umzari, I fell off a stationery horse,
whilst trying to hit the ball, and broke 2 ribs, hurt my elbow, and
twisted and tore the cartilage in my other knee, so I am hobbling around
with my bionic knee absolutely perfect, where-as the original one will
now have to be scraped and looked at, might even have to have a bionic
knee put in there!!!
The worst part is that the doc that does these op's is away until the
beginning of September, so I have a long wait ahead.
Apart from that, all family are well. Nicky produced a 3rd grandchild for
us, Paul, in April and he is growing daily. Karen's bump is getting
bigger daily, she is due in September.
Sherri-Lyn is about to start her polo tours, off to Singapore and the USA
Jo keeps all the labour on their toes here, whilst waiting to start up
I promise to write a lot quicker than this last time.
Best wishes and stay well.
4. Dear JAG,
Thank you so much for these letters we receive from JAG, and to hear the
inside story. It really is frightening to hear what you folks are having
to cope with in Zim, and how you remain cheerful and hopeful. I am sure
that you will start to see the steamroller start to slowly go up the
hill, although it is hard work to make it move. Once the momentum starts,
I'm sure you will see improvements coming fast. We seem to be so hopeless
here to do anything for you. All I can think of is that I circulate your
Emails locally and to England and Ireland.
All the best to you all
Colleen (South African)
5. Dear JAG,
Well done, Mr. McCabe. We need to be shaken out of our complacency and
understand how the world really sees us.
Trudy Stevenson - Let us hear more from you. Keep telling us what is
Still happy to be here.
6. Dear JAG,
I hear that Mr. John Nkomo of the Organ of National Healing told his
audience in a radio interview that Zimbabweans should "live together,
tolerant of each other". Would he be tolerant of his murderer, abductor,
raper, maimer, torturer? What means that blabla and useless
prayers instead of saying openly on the radio that is was false and
even a crime to tell the militia young men that a person who is
against ZANU did not deserve to live? Instead of telling those young men
that they have been abused and sending them home? Instead of guaranteeing
that the police can work on each and every report of violence
impartially without having to fear that they will be victimised for that
like Constable Admire Takawira of Macheke police station and alikes? When
I hear those hypocritical statements of tolerance just to avoid to do
something reasonable and useful to tackle the mess I feel myself tempted
to become violent.
Hi Jag team,
I have lost touch with my friend Audrey Folkertsen. I think her ex
husband is still farming in Zimbabwe and would be very grateful if you
could put me in touch with someone who knows how I can contact her.
Thank you for any assistance
July 29, 2009
by Constance Manika
- Zimbabwe -
There have been many obstacles that threaten the already shaky power sharing
agreement between the ZANU PF and MDC political parties, stalling much
needed progress in Zimbabwe. Convincing the donor community to assist or
investors to come back to the country when things are upside down like this
is like asking ZANU PF's Robert Mugabe to leave office.
In a proper working democracy, when a government fails to provide simple
services such as repairing burst sewer pipes, collecting and disposing of
refuse from residential suburbs and providing clean water, the reasonable
thing for that government to do is to step down.
However under the leadership of Mugabe, who many see as a selfish old man
with absolutely no conscience, this has not happened. In fact, when
confronted last year with the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of
independent Zimbabwe, Mugabe and his cronies were determined to hold onto
power, and even downplayed the country's cholera crisis.
After months of refusing to compromise in a Southern African Development
Community (SADC) brokered power sharing deal, Mugabe finally entered into a
Global Political Agreement (GPA), which led to the formation of the
Government of National Unity (GNU) with the two factions of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, led by Arthur Mutambara and
But many people here have seriously questioned ZANU PF's commitment to the
power sharing agreement with MDC leaders because of what has happened since
the GNU was enacted.
The farm invasions that began in 2000 have continued despite a ZANU PF
promise to stop. These farm takeovers, which strip white commercial farmers
of their land, are blamed for the current food shortages and economic
instability in the country. According to the Commercial Farmer's Union,
since the GNU formation, ZANU PF supporters and top party officials have
invaded more than 100 commercial farms in Mashonaland Central Province. This
is one of many contentious issues holding back donor support - interpreted
by the global community as a clear lack of respect for the rule of private
property and the rule of law.
Also in bad faith, at the end of February, ZANU PF appointed permanent
secretaries without the consent of the MDC factions, disregarding the terms
of their GPA which stipulated that the three parties collectively appoint
such positions. With a track record that includes the continued stay of the
governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Gideon Gono, who is viewed by many
as Mugabe's personal financier, ZANU PF should not be allowed to disregard
such critical terms of the GPA. In his tenure Gono presided over the worst
economic crisis the country has ever faced, which he himself fueled by
printing more money and buying foreign currency on the black market to
finance the ZANU PF led government. Gono also dipped his hands into donor
funds from organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis, Aids
and Malaria. Many donors are reluctant to give their funds to Zimbabwe with
such a dubious character as central bank chief.
Barely a month after the GNU was formed, Morgan Tsvangirai and his wife of
31 years were involved in an accident en route to their rural home when a
huge USAID truck side-swiped their vehicle along the Harare-Masvingo
highway. Susan Tsvangirai was killed on the spot. After the accident
speculation was rife among many Zimbabweans, including myself, that this was
probably a hit from Mugabe's infamous hit squad.
Mugabe, his wife and other ZANU PF officials, who have never really liked
Tsvangirai, were the first to visit him at Avenues Clinic where he was
treated for his injuries. Some said Mugabe couldn't believe that Tsvangirai
had come out of that accident alive and wanted to confirm for himself. Then
after spending just a few hours in treatment, Tsvangirai was whisked off to
Botswana in a private jet provided by President Khama after his security
team reportedly had heard rumors that Mugabe's hit squad wanted to finish
him off at the hospital and claim he had failed to survive his injuries.
The accident raised so much tension and suspicion in the country that it
threatened to collapse the GNU. Though Tsvangirai rejected any foul play,
the issue remains a mystery. Many people say Tsvangirai was playing the role
of peacemaker when he refuted the allegations of a possible hit.
There is also the thorny issue of the continued detention of MDC activists
and human rights defenders, highlighting the precarious human rights
situation in the country even after the signing of the GNU. While ZANU PF
says they should be tried in a court of law like everyone else, state
prosecutors are exploiting loopholes, opposing bail applications and working
tirelessly to keep them behind bars.
One case that raised the ire of many Zimbabweans has been that of human
rights activist Jestina Mukoko of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP). Mukoko
was abducted last year in December by state security agents and went missing
for weeks only to turn up in police custody on what everyone knows are
trumped up charges of banditry and treason.
After months of languishing in prison as state prosecutors sought to delay
the case, Mukoko was finally released in March but many other MDC activists
have not been as "lucky." Mukoko's case is a sad story of gender-based
violence. In an affidavit of the circumstances of her abduction, Mukoko said
state security agents came for in her bedclothes - she was not wearing
undergarments. When she asked to go back in the house to dress
appropriately, her abductors refused.
Zimbabwe needs about US$10 billion to help rebuild the economy and ease the
humanitarian situation, but so far few donors have come forward to assist.
Recently in his capacity as the prime minister of Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai
toured Europe and the United States on a fundraising mission but all he
managed to return with were promises of humanitarian assistance.
In every country Tsvangirai visited he was told the same thing: go back home
and deal with the human rights crisis. As long as Mugabe and his cronies
remain uncommitted to improving the lives of the people of Zimbabwe, donors
will limit their intervention to humanitarian aid instead of the development
aid that the country really needs.
With these obstacles many Zimbabweans are already telling the MDC the
famous: 'we told you so' and urging them to pull out of the GNU because ZANU
PF has not shown it is capable of change. But I think the MDC is better in
this government than out because leaving ZANU PF alone and in control of
every democratic space in the country is extremely dangerous for us all.
It is also important to recognize that the MDC's entry into the GNU has not
been entirely in vain. Already in just a few months since the MDC was put in
charge of the Ministry of Finance, the uncontrolled printing of money by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has stopped, bringing inflation down.
The GNU has also managed to get teachers and health workers back to work on
the promise that things will improve soon. State hospitals are finally open
again. Now headed by the MDC, the Ministries of Education and Health have
been trying their best to get things moving in sectors that had been
neglected for years by Mugabe's government. Since this power sharing
agreement is transitional, I think the MDC should hang on until fresh
elections in two years and protect the people of Zimbabwe.
I believe these are starting points and that it is only fair that we give
the GNU more time. But the true starting point must be for Mugabe's ZANU PF
party to respect the rule of law and stop actions such as farm invasions. It
is important for ZANU PF to have a heart for the suffering people of
Zimbabwe, some lying on cholera beds still battling for their lives. But
with what is going on now, this does not seem likely.
Constance Manika is a journalist who works for the independent press in
Zimbabwe. She writes under this pseudonym to escape prosecution from a
government whose onslaught and level of intolerance to journalists in the
independent press is well documented.
This is the second article in a two-part series from Constance that updates
on the realities facing Zimbabwe today. The previous article is available