The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

SADC meeting a game-changer: Biti

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

02/06/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti has described the Sadc meeting in
Angola as “probably the most important post-GNU summit” adding the regional
body had made it clear that new elections could not be held without
political reforms.

Parties to the coalition government travelled to the Angolan capital, Luanda
last week divided over the timing of new elections although they broadly
agree that policy and other divisions have rendered the unity administration
virtually unworkable.

President Robert Mugabe had hoped Sadc would endorse his push for new
elections to go ahead this year even if political reforms that include the
writing of a new constitution are not completed in time.

But Biti told the weekly Standard newspaper that Sadc had tasked its
Zimbabwe facilitator, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, with directly
ensuring the implementation of all outstanding GPA issues.

He said the troika meeting told coalition parties to implement all agreed
electoral, political, security sector and media reforms over the next twelve
months adding Zuma would soon travel to Harare to give the process a new
impetus.
Biti said under the new Sadc timeframe, elections could now only be held
between June and October next year.

He also dismissed Mugabe’s argument that Parliament cannot constitutionally
remain in office beyond March next year saying the legislative body’s
current term only expires in June 2013, meaning elections would have to be
held within four months after its dissolution.

However, Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo accused the MDC formations of
misinterpreting the Sadc resolutions saying the bloc merely said reforms
should be implemented within 12 months.

“We still have seven months before the end of the year. I am confident
within the next few months, we will have implemented the reforms in time for
elections in 2012,” he said.

Gumbo also dismissed reports that Zanu PF was in crisis mode following the
Angola meeting with senior officials concerned the poll delay could hurt the
party’s chances, especially as its candidate would be 89 next year.
Mugabe has been dogged by reports of ill-health but insists he is in robust
physical condition.

Gumbo said the Zanu PF leader would still be “as fit as a fiddle” next year
adding: “We only want to hold elections this year because we don’t want this
to interfere with the UN World Tourism Organisation congress, which will be
held in 2013.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC presses coalition on reforms

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

02/06/2012 00:00:00
by AFP

SADC leaders have urged the coalition government to set specific deadlines
for the completion of political reforms paving the way for elections.

In a statement after an extraordinary summit late Friday, SADC heads of
state urged the Zimbabwean political rivals "to develop an implementation
mechanism and to set out time frames for the full implementation of the
roadmap to elections."

Regional chief mediator on Zimbabwe, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa,
said in statement on Saturday that the meeting had noted "progress on some
aspects" of the agreed reforms.

But "urged the parties to implement all the outstanding issues so that a
conducive environment is created for elections to take place."
Election dates are yet to be fixed, but state media on Saturday reported
that SADC wants elections held within a year.

"The SADC troika on defence, politics and security cooperation yesterday
said elections in Zimbabwe should be held within the next 12 months," said
the paper, without elaborating.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said he could not immediately comment on the report until he was
briefed by the party's delegation to the summit.

Tsvangirai, 60, and Mugabe, 88, formed a coalition government in February
2009 after a disputed presidential poll run-off in June 2008.

The two leaders have been haggling over when new elections can be held.
Mugabe wants to exit the power-sharing deal as soon as possible, while
Tsvangirai insists that key reforms be implemented first.
Mugabe has repeatedly hinted he wants the vote to take place this year.

"We should go and finish the business to see when we can have elections
within the period left for us. We want elections to be held this year,"
Mugabe was quoted by state-run Herald newspaper as telling reporters in
Luanda.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bennett slams the 'intellect from hell'

http://www.timeslive.co.za

JAMA MAJOLA | 03 June, 2012 00:06

MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, in self-imposed exile in the UK, has attacked
President Robert Mugabe, describing him as ruthless, with an "intellect from
hell".

He said Mugabe manipulated history, race, ethnicity and grievances like land
and indigenisation to cling to power through violence.

Bennett, who was jailed a few years ago for pushing Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa to the floor, says a "criminal syndicate" loyal to Mugabe is
looting Zimbabwe's finances and resources, while using brutality to hang
onto power.

"This syndicate is laying waste to what remains of the nation's body and
soul," Bennett said in an address, titled Smoke and Mirrors: Another look at
politics and ethnicity in Zimbabwe, delivered at Rhodes House, Oxford this
week.

He said Mugabe was cruel from day one in office, as shown by his crackdown
on the Ndebeles, who opposed his rule during the 1980s.

After that, Bennett said, Mugabe shifted his campaign to root out whites
from commercial farms. Now he is targeting anyone opposing his rule, the
former MP said.

"Mugabe and his lieutenants have deliberately, cynically and strategically
acquired and defended power," Bennett said.

"Zanu-PF has been cunning and calculating .

"I respect Mugabe for very little, but as an intellect from hell he is
outstanding.

"We are not just breeding and importing disease and destruction, we are
exporting it as well. Most strikingly, the Zimbabwean cancer is spreading to
South Africa.

"Bottom-feeders from South Africa, many of them outwardly respectable
companies, have trampled on ethics ... in the stampede for the Zimbabwean
carcass.

"Arrogant and hard-hearted, they have shown no hesitation in standing on the
heads of the Zimbabwean poor as they cavort with the Zimbabwean rich. They
believe they are untouchable."

He said South African businessmen and companies did not realise they would
import the Zimbabwean virus and unleash mayhem in their own country.

"They are bringing with them the people and practices that will annihilate
the very foundations upon which their comfortable lives are based. South
Africa is ripe for the Zanu-PF variety of national liberation," Bennett
said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WOZA Members Assaulted over Devolution Demos

http://www.radiovop.com

Bulawayo, June 02, 2012---Police brutally assaulted several Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activists on Saturday during a peaceful protest to
demand the inclusion of devolution of power in the new constitution.

On Saturday WOZA embarked on massive protests in Bulawayo by staging
simultaneous group sit-in protests blocking main roads leading into the city
centre, but armed police officers and some in plain clothes descended on the
protesters and violently dispersed them.

“We had embarked on peaceful protests demanding the inclusion of devolution
of power in the new constitution and most of our members were beaten by
police.

“We demand a devolution system that gives us the right to select our own
provincial and council representatives. We also want powers to make local
decisions based on our views about control and use of our local resources,”
said Williams.

Williams also said WOZA will continue embarking on peaceful protests
occupying streets until devolution of power is adopted.

Early this year President Robert Mugabe rejected “devolution of power”
saying Zimbabwe is too small for that and it will also divide Zimbabweans.

Zanu PF spin doctor and politburo member Jonathan Moyo also castigated
devolution of power recently saying the debate on devolution, has been
falsely morphed into a constitutional issue carrying all the baggage of
federalism which has become a dirty word in the Zimbabwean constitutional
debate.

The Zanu PF Tsholotsho MP also declared that Zanu PF will not support or be
part of any draft constitution that seeks devolution in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Human rights organisations, civic society groups, pressure groups
and other opposition political parties have called for the urgent
implementation of devolution of power in Zimbabwe to stop the continued
marginalisation of some provinces.

They are saying devolution of power is the only way of uplifting some of the
country’s provinces that have remained marginalised since Independence in
1980.

Some civic groups accuse the central government of robbing resource rich
regions to develop preferred provinces, notably Matabeleland which lags
behind in terms of development.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WOZA launch ‘Occupy for Devolution’ series in Bulawayo

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

WOZA launch 'Occupy for Devolution' series in Bulawayo More than six hundred
members of WOZA conducted street occupation sit in protests as part of a
campaign to pressure for a devolved system of government to be included in
the constitution draft. Nine separate protests were conducted simultaneously
at 11 am Saturday 2 June 2012 around the western suburbs.
03.06.1212:55pm
by WOZA

Members' occupied traffic controlled intersections, traffic circles and main
roads by sitting in for over 10 minutes bringing traffic to a halt. The
placard-bearing activists also passed out leaflets calling for a devolved
system of government and asking motorists and passers-by to make noise or
'hoot' for Devolution. The scenes of the protests where loud and noisy as
motorists 'hooted' their support.

At the protest on Khami road Ntemba traffic roundabout, the 200 protesters
were just completing their activity when a small black vehicle without
number plates arrived and plain-clothed police officers jumped out of the
vehicle and began to assault the members with sticks bearing thorns. Eight
members suffered the beating with one having to be taken to the clinic as
thorns were imbedded in a wound in her neck.

The demands of the protests are the release of a completed draft
constitution that gives power to the people. As talk of a second GNU
increases, WOZA demand an end to elite occupation of our systems of
government and a devolved power and accessible provincial government and
councils. WOZA make the charge that Bulawayo, Matabeleland is DYING because
of centralized decisions which kill it. The elite have killed Bulawayo and
now they are killing other parts of Zimbabwe.

The system required should include the following rights:

- The right to select our own provincial and council representatives.

- Powers to make local decisions, based on our views about control AND use
of our local resources. And how we want resource distribution to develop the
local economy and create jobs for locals.

- MPs and Councillors who will be accountable to us, the electorate, and the
right to recall them.

The protests will continue and citizens of Bulawayo and other cities are
asked to make noise in the street - Hoot or whistle to demand your human
right to a livelihood.

WOZA members believe that a devolved system of government is necessary to
save the city from sure death. Bulawayo is WOZA's home town and members have
been watching as it becomes closer and closer to death by marginalisation
and neglect. Once Bulawayo was the industrial hub of the country, but
centralised decision making has been used to sideline many business, social
and political initiatives that would have raised the resource-rich province
to great heights. This neglect has nothing to do with the current economic
downturn as in early 1920s, the then Government refused to initiate a
programme that would have brought waters from the mighty Zambezi river into
the dry arid earth of Matabeleland and created an industrial and
agricultural oasis.

Recently public statistics quote the closure of more than 80 businesses and
the loss of over 20 000 jobs. Over one million Zimbabweans are said to live
in South Africa, with the majority being Ndebele speaking people from
Matabeleland forced into economic exile by marginalisation.

WOZA selected this form of protest to make a point that public spaces are
spaces for public expression. Since last year Bulawayo police have been
taking occupation of the streets with large deployment of riot police, water
tankers and other instruments of protest repression.

Bulawayo residents along with WOZA members have grown weary of the constant
and indiscriminate 'stop and search' of pedestrians and commuters. Most of
the time Police officers manning these points will directly tell people that
they are looking for 'WOZA women' with placards or WOZA material.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mpofu in Washington for Diamond Indaba

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare, June 3, 2012 – Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu left the country
on Sunday for a crucial meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme (KPCS) to be held in Washington DC as it emerged the United States of
America temporarily lifted his travel ban.

Mpofu is leading a Zimbabwe delegation which includes officials from the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and civil society organisations
linked to Zanu PF.

Western diplomats said the US had temporarily lifted travel sanctions on
Mpofu to allow him to attend the diamonds indaba.

In 2001 the US and the European Union slapped President Robert Mugabe and
about 160 members of his inner, including Mpofu, with targeted sanctions
that, among other things, bar them from travelling and transacting in the
United States.

The KPCS intercessional meeting opens in Washington DC on Monday and ends
Friday.

Mpofu told Radio VOP before his departure that he was confident that people
against Zimbabwe’s trade in Marange diamonds will be disappointed after the
meeting.

“I was personally invited by Gillian Milovanovic, the Kimberley Process
chair, and I am sure they now understand our position especially the fact
that Zimbabwe does not have blood or conflict diamonds,” said Mpofu.

“In fact, we are not going to entertain any politics on so-called human
rights abuses. We have taken journalists and human rights activists to
Marange and they have not seen any abuses.

“Nothing has been written by journalists that went there on the so-called
human right abuses because there are no such violations in Marange,” he
said.

"I am confident we are going to have a successful meeting." Mpofu and his
team are expected back in Harare next Sunday.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Activists Jailed For Assaulting Vic Falls Mayor

http://www.radiovop.com

Bulawayo, June 03, 2012- Seven Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)
activists including three councillors have been jailed for assaulting
Victoria Falls Mayor, Nkosilathi Jiyane.

Jiyane who resigned from MDC-T last year runs Victoria Falls Town Council as
an independent and has strong links to Zanu-PF.

Magistrate Richard Ramaboea on Friday sentenced the 7 MDC T activists to two
months in prison for contravening Section 44 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act for assaulting Jiyane.

The jailed MDC T activists are Paulos Chiliwede (Councillor Ward 4), Bernard
Nyamambi (Councillor Ward 1), Taruvinga Makoti (Councillor Ward 10),
Fredrick Ngwenya, Bongani Moyo, Robson Salimu and Nkululeko Moyo.

According to the state’s case, the MDC T activists assaulted Jiyane after
disrupting his residents meeting that was taking place at Chinotimba
Community Hall on 6 January last year.

The Victoria Falls Mayor is a close confidante of Local Government Minister,
Ignatius Chombo.

Chombo recently came to Jiyane’s defence after MDC-T councillors threatened
to fire him accusing him of incompetence.

The minister in turn accused the councillors for bringing internal party
squabbles into local governance issues. MDC-T wanted to replace the mayor
with a former commercial farmer Larry Cunnings.

Chombo has to date expelled a number of MDC T mayors and councillors country
wide.

The MDC-T has accused Chombo of fighting to reduce the number of its
councillors in local authorities and also of frustrating corruption probes
against him.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amnesty International Petitions Mugabe over Death Penalty

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare, June 03, 2012-Amnesty International has petitioned President Robert
Mugabe requesting him to use his executive powers to remove death penalty in
the draft of a new constitution.

“Our letter to the leadership of the inclusive government is urging them as
political leaders to lead in the abolishment of death penalty.

“After having realized that it is returning the death penalty though there
are some crimes that have been removed like mutiny and treason but the
murder crime still and returns in the draft and we are concerned and we are
trying to urge the leadership of the country to use their political muscles
and remove death penalty as sign of progression.

“As a country which is committed to improving its human rights situation and
record we do not want to miss this glorious opportunity were the global
trend is moving towards the elimination of death penalty and Zimbabwe is
moving a step backwards,” Amnesty International Director Cousin Zilala told
Radio VOP at the end of the week in Harare.

The development comes after revelations of the retention of the death
penalty in the draft constitution despite campaigns by human rights
defenders for the elimination of death penalty.

Zilala said his organisation will not rest campaigning for the elimination
of death penalty if government does not remove it from the new constitution.

Scientific studies have consistently shown that the death penalty is not, in
fact, a better deterrent to crime as compared to other punishments, as
demonstrated by the consistently high crime rates in many of the states of
the USA that retain capital punishment.

There is currently lack of consensus in the inclusive government over the
issue of death penalty with some calling for its abolishment while others
are supporting it to deter capital crimes.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kereke guns for two Ministers

http://www.timeslive.co.za/

JAMA MAJOLA | 03 June, 2012 00:06

Former adviser to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, Munyaradzi
Kereke, is on the warpath against senior government officials and his
ex-boss, raising concerns in the corridors of power.

After a series of battles with Gono in and out of the courts, Kereke this
week opened a new front against two senior cabinet ministers whom he accused
of sabotaging his medical investment projects, raising fears that he could
destabilise the government.

Kereke attacked Health Minister Dr Henry Madzorera and Finance Minister
Tendai Biti, accusing them of trying to sabotage his medical investment
projects by failing to reply to his numerous letters concerning a hospital
licence and medical equipment, and classifying medical equipment as
furniture to ensure he did not get a waiver on duty.

Kereke said instead of replying to his letters, Madzorera had been making
"irresponsible Facebook remarks" while he was on a visit to Switzerland,
including saying he did not deal with licensing issues. He also said the
minister ignored a case of a "Grade 7 boy whose leg was traumatically
amputated in a road traffic accident".

"I reported this case to you so that as the minister of health, you would be
aware of it and put your weight in protecting the Grade 7 boy and his
parents, as well as any members of the public who could be suffering in
silence at the hands of a few bad apples in the health sector.

"It is therefore seriously shocking that you elected to ignore my letters on
this glaring matter of public interest and then flew to Europe and
proclaimed from the comfort of the lofty Switzerland that 'we are here to
serve', as well as 'rubbishing us as fellow Zimbabweans'," Kereke said in a
letter to Madzorera.

Kereke said Madzorera and Biti had refused to help him import medical
equipment, which they classified as furniture, while the health sector was
facing collapse.

During the week, Kereke was also fighting Gono in the courts over a case in
which he claims two central bank security officers assaulted his driver.

The case was back in court on Thursday and Friday. Kereke faced allegations
that he had forged a medical affidavit to build a case against the security
officers to prevent them repossessing a car that belongs to the Reserve Bank
from his driver.

Kereke recently escalated the battle against Gono in court, demanding
$2.5-million that he claimed accrued from an acrimonious dispute involving
$100 000. He has also accused his former boss of corruption.

However, his fights within official circles have raised fears that he will
go after many other senior authorities, destabilising government.

This has prompted many secret manoeuvres by concerned authorities to
persuade him to stop his crusade or to rein him in.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe tourism rebounds

http://www.timeslive.co.za/

JOHN NQINDI | 03 June, 2012 00:06

The year 2013 is the best opportunity yet for Zimbabwe to realise notable
growth in the tourism sector, which is slowly recovering from a decade-long
recession.

Since the beginning of political and economic turmoil in 2000, tourism in
Zimbabwe has declined.

After rising during the 1990s, with 1.4 million tourists in 1999, industry
figures showed a 75% decline in visitors to Zimbabwe by December 2000, with
less than 20% of hotel rooms occupied.

This had a huge impact on the Zimbabwean economy, where thousands of jobs
were lost due to companies closing down or simply being unable to pay staff
wages.

Several airlines pulled out as the situation deteriorated only to return
after the inclusive government was formed in 2009.

However, tourism has been on the rebound since the formation of the
government of national unity.

A survey carried out by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority shows that the United
States and the United Kingdom, two of Harare's biggest critics, led the pack
in tourism arrivals into Zimbabwe for 2010.

However, the poor state of affairs in the aviation industry, where the
country's sole airline failed to remain operational, resulted in more
tourists resorting to using road transport, the survey said.

"During the period under review, tourists' arrivals by road rose by 32%
while those by air fell by 43%."

International airlines have revived their interest in flying into Zimbabwe.
Emirates, Namibian Airways, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airways,
Tanzanian Airways and British Airways have also shown interest in operating
in Zimbabwe.

With more traffic coming into Zimbabwe, tourism companies and hotels are
posting notable profits. Some major hotels in resort areas are investing in
upgrading their properties as well as constructing new structures intending
to capitalise on the tourism boom.

"There was a perceptible momentum in changing fortunes in 2011, backed by
hard statistics, and 2012 has seen that pace quicken with 'good news'
stories coming in a steady stream," Africa Albida Tourism has said.

The good news referred to is that the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
endorsed Victoria Falls to co-host the World Tourism summit with Zambia in
August.

Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi said the global summit offered many
opportunities for Zimbabwe's reputation and growth of tourism.

The Victoria Falls is Zimbabwe's flagship tourist attraction.

"Three thousand delegates and spouses from 158 countries are expected to be
in the resort area of Victoria Falls for the summit.

"It is an opportune time for us to show the world that we are world-class.
This is the biggest opportunity for us," Mzembi said.

Zimbabwe this week hosted the Africa Travel Association (ATA) congress in
Victoria Falls, where Mzembi was elected president of the association for
the next two years.

The UN, in preparation for the summit, named a tourism ambassador in
President Robert Mugabe, who this week, with his Zambian counterpart Michael
Sata and UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai, penned the historic Trilateral
Host Agreement for the 2013 summit.

Last week Zimbabwe signed a loan agreement with China for the refurbishment
of the Victoria Falls Airport ahead of the summit.

This would be the second time Africa would host the general assembly of the
UNWTO after Senegal did so in 2005.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe gets lift from weak Rand

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

03/06/2012 00:00:00
by City Press

AS the South African currency slumped to a six-month low against major
currencies, among them the United States Dollar this week, Zimbabweans
breathed a sigh of relief over the weakening rand – ecstatic that they would
get more rands for their US dollars.

The rand shed 1.8 percent on Wednesday to trade at R8.5055 to the greenback
fuelled by uncertainty linked to the crisis that has gripped Greece and the
European Union.
The new low surpassed the previous rate recorded last November of R8.40
against the US dollar.
Economic analysts expressed optimism over a weakening rand and said this
would help contain Zimbabwe’s inflation levels.

Eric Bloch, a senior economist at H&E Bloch, a consultancy firm said: “A
weak rand is marginally beneficial for Zimbabwe in the short term as it will
reduce the cost of imports and which will also help contain inflation
levels. It will also assist the poor.”

He added: “The South African economy has been weakening tremendously and
there is no sign that the monetary authorities there have a solution to end
the downturn, so Zimbabwe is set to benefit from this.”

But Bloch fired a caveat that Zimbabwe’s inflation could rise owing to food
shortages linked to a poor harvest that resulted in a maize shortfall of
nearly one million tons.

The country has to rely on food imports, with the bulk of its grain
requirements of 300 000 tons coming in from neighbouring Zambia.

Although South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner on the
continent, Zimbabwe has been shy of adopting the rand as its official
currency and joining the rand monetary union – alongside Namibia, Swaziland
and Lesotho.

Instead, the country has preferred to take comfort in a multi-currency
regime, in which US dollars are used alongside the rand and Botswana pula.

The latter currencies are mainly used in the southern regions of the
country, given their proximity to Botswana and South Africa.

Tony Hawkins, an economics professor at the University of Zimbabwe said:
“with the rand weakening, the South African economy will suffer and when the
South African economy declines, that country will have to restore their
monetary policies and we will be locked in those policies.

“If Zimbabwe were to join now, we will be dragged in these issues and will
suffer needlessly, so it remains a safe bet to keep the multi-currency
system for the foreseeable future”.

Meanwhie Bulawayo residents who have borne the greatest brunt of currency
fluctuations between the US dollar and rand – have emerged as the key
beneficiaries of the fall of the rand.

Cross-border traders plying the Zimbabwe-South Africa route say they are now
able to buy more goods in South Africa for resale in Zimbabwe and were
“hopeful business would continue to pick up”.

Despite the current troubles gripping the South African economy, Zimbabwe is
keen on wooing nations that make up the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa) group – with the Industry, Trade and Commerce Minister
Welshman Ncube announcing plans to hold quarterly trade fairs aimed at
strengthening business ties with the developing countries.

Ncube said, “We are in discussion with the emerging countries that perhaps
on a three-monthly basis we can have a China Week, a Brazil Week or a South
Africa Week so that we can enhance bilateral trade between us.”
He is brimming with optimism but cautions that it is still a work in
progress and “that is the direction we want to move in”.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe ordered to speed up reforms – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 2nd June 2012

As we joined in the celebrations of the Queen’s Jubilee, Vigil supporters also rejoiced at the tough line against Mugabe taken at the SADC meeting in Luanda. Regional leaders made it clear they would not be steam-rollered by Zanu PF into agreeing to elections in Zimbabwe before the GPA has been honoured. Instead they ordered Mugabe to observe a twelve month framework for introducing reforms.

It seems that all the SADC leaders – apart from Sata of Zambia – came out against Mugabe’s rush to the polls. If he now goes ahead and calls elections unilaterally the results will not be recognised by SADC or anyone else.

People from the Vigil went on to a lively and well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) on Saturday night after we finished our weekly protest outside the Embassy. There was no confidence in the GPA and we discussed what we could do to keep up pressure on SADC and mobilise people in the event of a Zanu PF suicide attack. Several people were tasked to set up a facebook page for ZAF and it was agreed the next meeting would be brought forward a week because of the urgency of the situation.

As for the likelihood of Zanu PF going ahead with an election this year, we were interested to get an email from the MDC MP Eddie Cross about a meeting between an unnamed person and a retired army general. The unidentified person reported: ‘The general said the military was not engaged in rhetoric when they say they are not prepared to countenance a possible MDC victory. They mean it and they are ready to take over power in the event the MDC wins the next elections. On the issue of elections he said there was nothing that could stop President Mugabe and Zanu PF going ahead with the elections in 2012.’ (For full email, see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/405-email-to-eddie-cross.)

Vigil supporters welcomed the outspoken comments by the exiled MDC Treasurer-General Roy Bennett in a speech at Oxford. Roy was one of the people who inspired us to start the Vigil. Here are a few extracts from his speech (for full text see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may30_2012.html#Z13Roy Bennett Speech: Smoke and mirrors: another look at politics and ethnicity in Zimbabwe):

‘What I am asserting is that the primary agenda (of Zanu PF) has always been the pursuit of wealth and power –and that basic human rights, let alone the national good, have always been thrown out the window when they impinge on that agenda. The Big Lie is found in the contradictions between rhetoric and reality: the ‘liberators' enslave, the ‘avengers' steal, the ‘defenders' murder and rape.’

‘The talk now hides, very barely, sheer gluttony and rampant avarice. This is a disease, an addiction unhinged and uncontrollable. Many of Mugabe's acolytes have become unimaginably rich. But, now, in Zimbabwe, enough is never enough.’

‘What we have, then, is the exaltation and ruthless pursuit of mammon, a god whose worshippers come from all shades of life and who are supported by regional and international bandits and shoplifters. This criminal syndicate is laying waste to what remains of the nation's body and soul.’

‘Already, the tried and tested (coercive) methods are being dusted off for the next elections. Meanwhile, some of the lucre must be distributed to members of the opposition whose eyes have become bigger than their heads. This is the largely untold story of the last four years, since MDC has entered the so-called government of national unity.’

The British government has assured the Vigil that it is ready to help SADC in its efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The assurance came in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to our petition submitted on 21st April calling for UN intervention in Zimbabwe. Here is part of their reply: ‘We share your concerns over the potential for violence in the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe and that the international community, particularly SADC, have a critical role to play in ensuring that this does not happen. We are encouraged by SADC’s commitment, as guarantor of the GPA, that necessary reforms must be completed so that elections, whenever held, would be credible and free from violence. We stand ready to assist SADC in any way we can to help them achieve this.’ For full text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/406-letter-from-the-fco--30-may-2012.

Other points

The Vigil found it ironic that Zimbabwe showed such an ugly face to visitors in the same week as Mugabe was named a UN ambassador for tourism. At the very least, the arrest of the British music presenter Petroc Trelawny showed a paranoid, dysfunctional, ‘bully’boy’ government. Whatever Zanu PF thinks, Zimbabwe’s jails are not a tourist attraction. The Vigil, which broke the news to the media of Trelawny’s plight, is impressed by his generosity of spirit (see: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/world/my-cold-night-in-zimbabwe-police-cell-by-bbcs-petroc-trelawny-7811022.html – my cold night in Zimbabwe police cell, by BBC's Petroc Trelawny). Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton went on BBC’s Radio 5 to alert the world to his situation.

Rose was also on SW Radio Africa’s ‘Beyond Protest’ talking about the wider role of the Vigil as a protest (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/podcasts/wordpress/?p=15694).

Another Vigil person in the media was Addley Nyamutaka who with son Mandla was filmed on ITV taking part in a Queen’s Jubilee party in Brixton, south London to express the gratitude of asylum seekers and other immigrants to Britain for their welcome to this country.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 72 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 16th June from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

ROHR North East Meeting. Saturday 16th June from 12 - 3pm. Venue: Gateshead Council Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3mins walk from Gateshead Interchange and Metro station before Gateshead Central Police Station. Free parking available.For directions please contact Tapiwa Semwayo 07722060246 / 07412236229, Susan Ndlovu 07767024586 and Catherine Tshezi 07428189705.

Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 30th June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Zimbabwean street

http://www.politicsweb.co.za

Eddie Cross
03 June 2012

Eddie Cross says even poorest citizens are highly informed about what's
going on in the country

I had been in a meeting for an hour, came out of the front door and found a
bunch of street kids hanging around the entrance. They recognized me and
crowded around asking about what was going to happen at the SADC summit and
if we were likely to have an election this year as demanded by Mugabe.

I am constantly amazed at the information that these urchins of the street
have at their finger tips. I used to call them collectively "Mugabe's
children" because we never used to see them in these numbers before he came
to power 32 years ago. We talked for some time and they asked why the MDC
did not help them, I responded that we never had any money, could not even
pay our staff properly or on time. They laughed and said that Zanu PF had a
lot of money.

They then talked about the new wealth of a man called Robert Mhlanga - a man
who once was the pilot for Mugabe and who now lives in Sandton in
Johannesburg. He is "Chairman" of Mbada diamonds, the company that
represents the Mugabe family in the Marange Diamond fields. They talked
about the buildings he was buying in South Africa, the lavish lifestyle and
a private jet. Their detailed understanding of his activities and assets
would have done an investigative journalist proud.

They knew he had done nothing to justify the new wealth and lifestyle. They
understood it was patronage and corruption and they clearly understood the
links with the Zanu PF leadership.

When I said that the SADC summit could be the end of the road for Zanu and
we should watch the outcome very carefully, they said they used their cell
phones and the internet for news. Dressed in rags and hungry, these kids
were well informed, savvy and astute in their judgments.

No wonder dictators the world over, fear them. Over in Luanda, in five star
hotels and luxury lodges built for these occasions, hosted by one of the
wealthiest men in the world, President dos Santos of Angola, the leadership
in the SADC were considering just what they were going to do in yet another
effort to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis.

Now in its 15th year (the crisis really started in 1998) Zimbabwe is in
overtime when it comes to resolving its political and economic difficulties.
The SADC is losing patience with the people who are supposed to be leading
us out of the mess we are in and relieving them of their burden of
responsibility for a peaceful transition back to democracy.

A year ago, in May 2011 they had read the riot act to the local leadership
and demanded that we expedite the process. They repeated the mantra at a
special summit in Mid Rand and then at the Luanda summit in September. In
February 2012, their view was endorsed by 42 of the 44 members of the Union.
They are not about to change their minds or the message - "fulfill your
obligations under the GPA you signed and restore legitimacy to your elected
government".

It's not that we have not made some progress - we have. The Security
Services in Zimbabwe now understand that no one here wants them in politics.
They also now understand that a military led "solution" would not be
acceptable under any circumstances. This has narrowed their options and they
have now ganged up with the hard liners in Zanu PF led by Mnangagwa and have
been pushing hard for a political coup in the form of a forced election
under unreformed conditions.

Unfortunately for them the street knows full well what they are planning and
doing and so does Jacob Zuma and his colleagues. To pull off the political
coup they must have the support of the SADC leadership and if it was given,
there would be little that anyone could do to stop them. But I think the
SADC leadership fully understands that a government elected under those
conditions could never get recognition from the major democracies in the
world. They know that that would not represent progress or resolve the
crisis.

Once the SADC leadership has made their position clear to the Zimbabwean
leadership, Zanu PF will have to consider their options. They are now very
narrow - go along with the demands of the region, pass a new Constitution,
reform the electoral system, open up the media and then participate in an
election supervised by the region and watched by the whole world. For Zanu
PF this would be tantamount to collective suicide. If they decide not to go
that route, then they have to have MDC approval for any alternative and that
is going to need a real climb down.

But I think that there are alternatives to Armageddon - there always are -
although they will require some tough decisions. Such arrangements might be
quite stable and constructive and will allow us to heal the wounds of the
past 32 years while we put together our future.

And what a future we could have - just look at what we have achieved with
the limited reforms made possible by the flawed GNU that came out of the GPA
even with the dead feet of Zanu on the brakes:

We have seen our GDP recover from $4,3 billion in 2008, to an estimated $16
billion in 2012 - a average growth rate of over 40 per cent;

We have increased tax revenues from $200 million in 2008 or 5 per cent of
GDP to $4 billion in 2012 or 25 per cent of GDP;

We have got all schools, clinics and hospitals reopened and functioning
normally. Food aid to people in desperate need is down from 7 million in
2008 to 1,5 million in 2012;

Foreign trade has risen from $3,8 billion in 2008 to $16 billion this year,
exports from $1,4 billion to 4,6 billion and imports (all paid for) at $8,3
billion in 2011.

Just imagine what we could do without Zanu holding us back with their
retrogressive demands in the reform process and their senseless campaign of
indigenisation that has frozen all new investment and fostered capital
flight. Just imagine what we could do if an MDC led government controlled
Marange and we could give Civil Servants decent salaries and boost State
expenditure on schooling and health services.

The Street is fighting back, and we will win; it's just a question of time
and when we do, this country is going to fly.

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


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Kimberley Process should redefine “blood diamonds”



Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 3rd June 2012.

Plans by the Kimberley Process to change the definition of “blood diamonds”
to “conflict diamonds” is a giant step in the right direction and should be
applauded.

It is correct that the KP needs to modernise its functions by ensuring the
term “conflict diamonds” accurately reflects contemporary concerns about
human rights abuses by governments against their own people such as in
Zimbabwe as it did at its formation ten years ago when the perpetrators were
rebels.

Then, the term “blood diamonds” referred to diamonds mined in a war zone and
sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts or a warlord’s
activities, usually in Africa. But the situation has changed now with
governments as culprits.

As to be expected, Zanu-pf’s Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has threatened to
resist the proposal to redefine ‘conflict diamonds’ because of its
implications for the coterie behind the Chiadzwa diamonds.

It is common knowledge that the regime’s position is influenced by its
reluctance to address tragic human rights abuses which were committed by the
military at Marange’s Chiadzwa diamond fields, fearing possible prosecution
and possible massive compensation claims.

Sadly, some gem dealers and jewellers have also threatened to lock horns
over the proposal floated by the Kimberley Process Chairperson from the
United States, Ambassador Gialian A Milovanovic.

Notably, Indian jewellers are reportedly gunning for a showdown with the KP
Chair over plans to include diamond-related violence in rough diamond
producing and trading areas.

Opposition is also expected to plans by the KP to introduce a permanent
administrative office of the Kimberly Process at the forthcoming
intercessional meeting scheduled in Washington from June 4.

Naturally, only those states and dealers who have benefited from blood
diamonds and the organisational weaknesses of the Kimberley Process would
stand to lose from planned improvements in governance.

Furthermore, the detractors to the proposed changes inevitably expose
themselves to criticism of unashamedly thriving on evil (the sale of blood
or now conflict diamonds).

Genuine Zimbabwe’s civil society organisations are expected to support the
fight for the adoption of a new definition which will facilitate
accountability for human rights abuses and money laundering. Obviously,
there will be fierce debate at the meeting.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London
zimanalysis2009@gmail.com


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series - 2nd June 2012 [Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 4 - 7 June]

BILL WATCH

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES

[2nd June 2012]

Committee Meetings Open to the Public 4th to 7th June

NB: Members of the public who cannot attend meetings, including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, can at any time send written submissions to committees by email addressed to to clerk@parlzim.gov.zw

Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committees will meet this coming week, in both open and closed session. The meetings listed below will be open to the public as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak. The meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare. If attending, please use the entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets and note that IDs must be produced.

This bulletin is based on the latest information from Parliament. But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid disappointment by checking with the committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.

Monday 4th June at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism

Oral evidence from Chitungwiza Acting Town Clerk on waste management

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon M. Dube Clerk: Mr Munjenge

Portfolio Committee: Higher Education, Science and Technology

Oral evidence from the Minister of Science and Technology on Science and Technology Policy

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon S. Ncube Clerk: Mrs Mataruka

Monday 4th June at 2 pm

Portfolio Committee: Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare

Oral evidence from the National Employment Council for Zimbabwe Lumber and Timber Processing Industry

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon Zinyemba Clerk: Ms Mushunje

Thematic Committee: Gender and Development

Oral evidence from the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs on gender mainstreaming in the prison system

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Clerk: Ms Masara

Tuesday 5th June at 10 am

Joint Meeting: Portfolio Committees: State Enterprises and Parastatals, & Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Oral evidence from ARDA Board on the state of affairs at Middle Sabi Chisumbanje Project

Committee Room No. 4

Chairpersons: Hon Mavima and Hon Jiri

Clerks: Ms Chikuvire and Mrs Mataruka

Thursday 7th June at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development

Oral evidence from the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development on the current activities and programmes being undertaken by the ministry

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon Matienga Clerk: Mr Kunzwa

Thursday 7th June at 11 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

Presentation on the Bafokeng Community Share Ownership Trust

Committee Room 311

Chairperson: Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

Back to the Top
Back to Index