Chaos dogs poll Dumisani Muleya A WEEK before
Zimbabwe's crucial general election, administrative and logistical hitches
are dogging the poll amid fears it could deteriorate into a washout unless
urgent corrective measures are taken.
Confusion is reigning supreme over
the issue of polling officers, polling agents, polling stations and the
voters' roll, among other important concerns.
This comes as
former Information minister and independent candidate for Tsholotsho,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, threatened legal action to stop the election unless
contentious issues were addressed. Moyo said the issue of election agents
could create untold chaos unless it was dealt with urgently.
terms of the law, there shall in each polling station be at least three
voting compartments, each containing at least one ballot box, allocated for
the use of voters whose surnames begin with the letters A to L, M, and N to
Z," Moyo said.
"This means that each candidate will need at least
four election agents, three inside and one outside. But as it is, each
candidate will have two agents, one inside and the other
Moyo, the author of Voting for Democracy which explores in
detail the electoral system in Zimbabwe, said it would be impossible for
election agents to cope, resulting in serious delays.
one person deal with three copies of the voters' roll, three polling booths,
three queues of voters and counting of ballots from three booths at the same
time?" Moyo asked in an interview yesterday.
"There should have been
adequate arrangements for this new electoral dispensation."
said he had raised the issue with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, but
nothing has been done yet.
"I raised the issue with Chinamasa two
weeks ago but there has been no action taken. The relevant authorities
continue to dilly-dally and exhibit ignorance about these fundamental
issues," Moyo said.
"Meanwhile, time is ticking away and we are
getting closer to the poll. If they continue to vacillate we will seek court
intervention on these issues."
Chinamasa could not be reached for
comment. However, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chair Justice George
Chiweshe a week ago claimed: "Indications are that all preparations are on
But MDC candidate Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga said
yesterday ZEC could not competently comment on poll preparedness as it had
no "capacity and human resources" to run the election.
has no capacity and what is happening is that the same old bodies are
running the election," she said. "The old national logistics committee,
which has failed us in the past, is still in charge."
officers will be trained during this weekend on the new voting system, a few
days before voting day on Thursday next week. The candidates have not yet
received from their constituency registrars the final voters' roll copies.
They have also not yet seen the supplementary voters' registers, allegedly
used to commit electoral fraud in the past.
These issues, combined
with the problem of poorly trained staff, could dramatically slow down the
voting process, replaying the 2002 presidential election
"A rose is still a rose by any other name," Moyo said. "The
reality is that the same old institutions and staff are still in charge of
the electoral process. Nothing has changed."
MDC hopes remain high despite hurdles Gift
Phiri THATCHED homes and bushes flash by, lit only by a glorious full moon as
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) campaign team speeds southeast in
the dead of night. Pamphlets spew out behind the truck and flutter wildly on
the barren lands of Nyanyadzi on the Mutare-Masvingo highway in
There are more than 30 000 fliers promoting the opposition
MDC in the truck. The passengers are on the legislative election campaign
trail for an opposition party harassed by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF
government so much that it is using the cover of night to strew pamphlets in
a "whispering campaign" to reach voters with its message.
number of MDC rallies have been prohibited by the police, and many
have been held have been disrupted by Zanu PF supporters who have
for months also been campaigning at night - manning roadblocks or roaming
from door to door harassing people who do not have party cards in the rural
Manicaland is an MDC stronghold, but there is still reason to
fear intimidation. The men tossing pamphlets are nervous.
come across another vehicle, duck so you can't be seen," says
Surveys forecast that the ruling Zanu PF will win at most 30% of the
popular vote in the area. Faced with loss of support and the collapse of a
patronage system that has richly rewarded party loyalty with jobs, money and
land, Zanu PF is resorting to desperate measures.
officials in the province are reported to have told villagers to line up
behind their headmen at the poll "so that it would be known how they
All sorts of tricks are being conjured to make up for the
potential shortfall in votes - from the selective registration of voters to
reducing the number of polling stations in urban areas where the MDC has
support while increasing those in rural parts.
Zimbabweans fear electoral manipulation may enable Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF
to squeak to victory, in Manicaland people are confident that Zanu PF stands
In some areas such as Nyanyadzi, Zanu PF has run out of
membership cards due to soaring demand from people who want the protection
they bring, but nobody is fooled.
"I managed to get one," said an
adolescent villager who only identified himself as Kuziva. "But even the guy
selling them supports the MDC."
Tsvangirai descended on the
constituency last weekend hardly three days after Mugabe had exited the
area. The contrast was striking.
Mugabe railed before a small, timid
crowd about land injustices, racial hatred and past victories when he
addressed his supporters in Chipinge. In Nyanyadzi, Tsvangirai spoke to a
cheering throng about prosperity, food, jobs, cultural diversity and a
"The whites want us to be slaves," Mugabe
thundered before 4 000 people in arid Chipinge where he admitted for the
first time that there was a food crisis. Three days later Tsvangirai,
addressing a larger crowd, promised "a new Zimbabwe, a new
With political violence against opposition supporters
continuing, sometimes with the alleged connivance of the police, -Mugabe has
drawn a storm of criticism from the international community. He has
responded in a characteristically militant fashion, defying all attempts to
Although his controversial land reform policies may have
some support in rural areas, his rally suggested that his support base in
rural Chipinge has all but collapsed. Scores of police and soldiers lined a
grassy clearing in Chipinge where he sat alongside his party
Mugabe recalled at length the struggle against Ian Smith's
white racist regime and his 11-year stint in jail. Then he concentrated on
now-familiar denunciations of Tony Blair, whom he accuses of harbouring
"What is their business here?" he
asked. "How can the prime minister of Britain behave like a street kid?" The
opposition MDC comprised British "stooges" and "a party of murderers" guilty
of abductions and killings, he claimed. The crowd cheered on cue but was
In contrast a deafening cacophony of whistles,
shouts and open-handed salutes - the MDC slogan - characterised Tsvangirai's
rally. Many of the 12 000-strong crowd wore red "No to violence" stickers on
their foreheads. Size was not the only difference.
front rows of Mugabe's rally were lined with middle-aged women wearing
dresses bearing the president's potrait, the Tsvangirai rally was dominated
by young people who pushed towards the front to get a better view of their
One speech was interrupted by an old tree branch that
crashed, bringing down several people with it. Tsvangirai urged voters to
back the wife of jailed white lawmaker Roy Bennett, who is running in the
parliamentary polls on behalf of her husband, after he was imprisoned for
shoving the Justice minister during a heated parliamentary
"On the 31st of March, the people of Chimanimani shall speak
with one voice, the people of Zimbabwe shall speak . . . Mugabe must go,"
Tsvangirai said. "Chimanimani will never be a Zanu PF constituency," he told
a cheering crowd.
Tsvangirai, accused by Mugabe of being a puppet
of former British colonial rulers, drummed up support for Heather Bennett
saying her husband has been "incarcerated on trumped-up charges, but we are
with him forever".
Roy Bennett won his case in the electoral court last
week to have polling in Chimanimani deferred by a month to allow him to file
nomination papers and run himself.
Tsvangirai - said he was
finishing the "process of change" started five years ago, when the MDC came
from nowhere to win a near-majority of seats in the 2000 parliamentary
election. Land reform was necessary but not the most important issue, he
said. The first priority was food and job creation.
Mugabe, on the
other hand, admitted there was no food. Mugabe was confronted in Chipinge by
the undeniable fact that the province had run out of grain earlier this
month. "We are aware that many people have nothing in their fields," he
said. "The government will not let people die of hunger. At the moment the
GMB is saying it has enough stocks to last the nation over the next three
Tsvangirai said his party had "plans in place" to secure
enough maize to feed the country for a year. And whereas Mugabe accused
white businesses of deliberately closing down to "force blacks onto the
streets and turn them against their government", Tsvangirai spoke of the
urgent need to attract foreign investors.
Mugabe has dubbed the
poll an anti-Blair election. For Mugabe, his party will defeat the MDC and
its "British masters". For Tsvangirai, it will be the foundation for "a new
Zimbabwe, a new beginning". An opinion poll published 11 days ago showed the
MDC in the lead, but in a sign of growing fears nearly 60 % of those who
participated in the survey refused to say how they would vote.
Polls acid test for govt competency Ray
Matikinye NEXT week's polls present an acid test for government's competency
to run credible elections. They also provide a plum chance for Zanu PF to
redeem itself from accusations of electoral fraud that have etched
themselves deeply in the public consciousness over the past five
The prospect of a chaotic poll are real as Zimbabwe's 5,6 million
registered voters have 720 minutes to cast their ballots on March 31 unlike
during the past five general lections when they had twice that length of
Zimbabwe's fate hangs on 12 hours of hectic
Close to 8 200 polling stations are to be set up countrywide
with an average of 30 polling stations designated in urban constituencies
while an average of 90 have been designated for rural constituencies where
the ruling Zanu PF party draws the bulk of its support.
8 175 polling stations for this month's election compared to 3 904 in 2000,
according to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn).
likely to witness a lot of chaos in these elections. There are polling
stations at contentious sites such as at the traditional leaders' homesteads
or very close to known war veterans' homesteads," Movement for Democratic
Change spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi said.
He said the MDC was
concerned about such locations given the history of intimidation and the
associated violence directed at the rural voter in the past and the more
subtle methods employed by ruling party supporters this time
The ruling party is in its worst dilemma in more than two
decades, having squandered enormous amounts of energy during the last five
years trying, without success, to convince the international community of
the legitimacy of the hotly-disputed 2000 election and the 2005 presidential
In Bulawayo province where 339 990 voters are eligible to vote,
an average of 540 voters will scramble to enter each one of the 630 voting
cubicles dotted around the seven constituencies in 12 hours before polling
closes at 7pm. If everyone eligible to vote goes to the polling station,
this allots him or her 98 seconds (1 minute 38 seconds) to complete the
Similarly in Harare province each one of the 832 517
eligible voters in the 19 constituencies has 97 seconds to go through the
process of checking his name on the voters' roll, dipping his hands in the
indelible ink, going into the cubicle to mark their ballot and dropping the
ballot paper in the translucent box.
In contrast, a voter in
rural Mashonaland East province has 3 minutes 44 seconds to go through the
process while their counterpart in rural Mashonaland Central has 2 minutes
37 seconds to complete the same task.
During the hotly disputed 2000
poll, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe constituency broke a record with the highest
voter turnout of 30 876 voters having cast their votes in one day. Pollsters
calculated that it took 42 seconds for each voter in the rural constituency
to go through the process despite the high numbers needing to be "assisted
to vote" among the elderly voters. Even though polling was conducted in two
days, they had completed casting their ballots on the first day of
"Logistically we should have made preparations earlier to
give ourselves ample time for adjustments where necessary. But in our view
it is better to hold the poll in one day because the second day has in the
past been used for vote tampering," Nyathi said.
He said despite
disconcert over the location of some poling booths his party could not
compromise on the integrity of the election by reverting to the two-day
polls, admitting that the preparations and setup were tardy.
problems is that when Zanu PF is compelled to do something logical it always
takes revenge and adopts a we-told-you-so attitude," Nyathi
Independent candidate for Harare Central, Margaret Dongo
expressed concern about the polling arrangement put in place for this
month's poll, saying the planning in Harare Central did not bode well for a
Dongo said the arrangements had not taken into account
homes for the elderly, citing Belvedere where she accused government of
"cluttering the area with polling stations with the hope of cap-turing the
Asian community and civil servants in that area" while booths were spread
thin in of Avondale suburb.
"All contesting parties should
participate in the process to delimitate constituencies and decide on proper
locations for polling booths. To avoid a lot of confusion avoters' roll
should be made available a year preceding the polling year to allow
candidates study it, if we have to avoid vote tampering," Dongo
Major fears have also emerged regarding the counting of votes
when polling closes in the evening.
Zesn chairman, Reginald
Matchaba-Hove said problems could be encountered in the counting of votes
when it gets dark.
"We are in the process of acquiring candles and
lanterns for use during the elections," chief elections officer, Lovemore
Voters still being registered Conrad Dube THE
Registrar-General's office is still registering voters more than a month
after the closure of the current registration exercise, the Zimbabwe
Independent can reveal.
The registration exercise is in full swing in
some areas, especially in Norton where people are being bussed in from
informal settlements such as Tongogara, just outside Harare along the
Contacted for comment yesterday, Registrar-General
Tobaiwa Mudede said voter registration was a continuous exercise. He said
the people being registered would not vote next week since registration
closed on February 4.
"Those who registered after that date will not
be entitled to vote as their names will not appear on the voters roll for
the March 31 parliamentary general election," he said.
claims that Zanu PF supporters are being given confirmation letters by
either party candidate Patrick Zhuwawo or by Local Government minister
Ignatius Chombo which they take to the Chegutu district office, or
sub-office in Norton, for registration.
Neither Zhuwawo nor
Chombo could be reached for comment.
A copy of a Certificate of
Registration as a voter in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent shows
that a person (name provided) registered on March 17 has a certificate
written "Closing date was 4/2/05".
Harare Central independent
candidate Margaret Dongo claims the people being registered will be included
on the supplementary voters roll which is yet to be made public. Dongo
alleges the Registrar-General deliberately delayed issuing the supplementary
roll to accommodate these new voters.
"The idea of delaying the
supplementary roll is to accommodate these new entrants. They will use the
supplementary voters roll for rigging. It's disappointing," said
Dongo in 1995 won the Harare South seat as an independent
candidate in a re-run against Vivian Mwashita of Zanu PF after a court ruled
the first poll had been rigged.
Dongo argues that if only one
polling agent per candidate is allowed in the polling station, it will be
difficult for opposition candidates' agents to oversee the process, in
particular when each voter has been registered.
"There will be three
lines at the polling station, A-L, M and N-Z, and this will make it
difficult for one polling agent to monitor all the developments in the
polling station," Dongo said.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change and independent candidates have complained about the state of the
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart in an
interview said any person registering after the closure of the registration
exercise is in breach of the Electoral Act.
"There will be all
sorts of tricks in this election if the past election is anything to go by,"
he said. "These problems will always be there so long as there is no
independent electoral body running the elections."
A voters' roll
audit conducted last month unearthed hundreds of ghost voters, with some
entered more than once. There are also incomplete addresses and dubious
Govt confiscates Zimind's satellite dish Staff
Writer A SATELLITE dish and ancillary equipment which was supposed to be
delivered by Reuters to the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard newspapers,
has been confiscated by government at Beitbridge border post Jocelyne
Muhutu-Remy the media account manager for Reuters (Africa) confirmed that
the driver of the truck which was carrying the satellite dish to Harare from
South Africa was arrested after paying duty to the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority (Zimra) at the border and the equipment was
The driver has since been released but the satellite dish
and the truck that was carrying the equipment are still being held by at the
The equipment is for receiving data only but the authorities
at the border, including police and intelligence officers, believe that the
newspapers would like to use the equipment to broadcast messages to
recipients abroad during the election period.
equipment can be found at most news organisations which receive news and
pictures from Reuters. The news agency owns the receiving equipment and
users pay subscription fees. Similar equipment is already installed at the
Zimbabwe Independent and the seized gear was meant to upgrade the current
The publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard has
since written to Zimra who have referred the paper to the Posts and
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe. The regulator has since
asked the publisher to provide specifications of the equipment and what it
would be used for.
Reuters logistics manager Garry Fielding last
week said there was no clear reason why the equipment had been confiscated
at the border but he thinks the matter is political.
they gave is that the machine, a receive-only dish, is meant for
transmission," he said.
Fielding told the Independent that
Reuters were now working on how the equipment could be released from the
"We are now consulting with the South African embassy and
other people to liaise with the people responsible and make new arrangements
on the transportation of the equipment to Harare," he said.
Chiyangwa diverted US$200 000 Gift Phiri/Chris
Goko PHILLIP Chiyangwa, the deposed Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial
chairman, used US$200 000 meant to capitalise a Namibian joint-venture
company to buy a posh sports car and expensive furnishings for his sprawling
$6,4 billion Borrowdale mansion, documents to hand reveal. Despite spirited
rebuttals by the embattled businessman that he did not misappropriate funds
for the failed Crittal Hope Namibia (CHN) last week, information at hand
shows that Chiyangwa used N$1 093 713 (the equivalent of US$200 000) through
various withdrawals from Standard Bank Gustav Voigts branch in Windhoek,
The spending ran from August 2002 to October 2003 where
Chiyangwa made various cheque payments to, among others, DaimlerChrysler SA,
Randburg Motor Link, Italian Lights and Furniture, Chris Carpets, and Casa
He paid Daimler and Motor Link nearly N$700 000, while the
other payments amounted to an accumulative N$166 904.
flamboyant businessman also wrote a N$80 000 cheque in favour of LN Valetti
on September 2 2002 and another one in his name with a face value of N$59
On July 4 2001, Chiyangwa allegedly elbowed out fellow CHN
director and co-signatory Sebil Dhewa to emerge the sole account
The account issue is now a matter of debate between Dhewa,
Chiyangwa's Zimbabwean lawyers Byron Venturas and Zimbabwean regulatory
authorities, excerpts of which are carried in Dhewa's letter to Chiyangwa's
Dhewa's letter came after Chiyangwa's lawyers
had rebuked him for propagating what they claimed were falsehoods about
their client's business conduct.
Wrote Dhewa: "As director of
CHN, I owe fiduciary responsibility to the company and, therefore, my
comments about the various allegations you make will be guided by this
"The registered office of the company was my
business's physical address and hence I became aware of the transactions
relating to CHN. Given directors liability, it became incumbent upon me to
ensure that all transactions were conducted in accordance with the laws of
Dhewa also said in clearing Chiyangwa, he was not sure
whether the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had consulted the Namibian Central Bank
"to ensure that the aforesaid transactions are regularised".
also emphasised that CHN was a Namibian-domiciled company and, therefore, he
had to ensure it complied with Namibian laws.
Byron Venturas had
written to Dhewa on March 14 demanding that he retract comments made to
Nathan Mariemuthu of Africa Resources Ltd (ARL), a holding company of CHN's
Namibian management contractor Africa Resources Project Services
The lawyers claim to be in possession of an e-mail written to
the ARL executive.
"We wish to advise you that the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe has cleared our client of any acts of impropriety," Chiyangwa's
lawyers said. "In the circumstances we would request a full, unequivocal and
public retraction of the contents of your e-mail."
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono said Chiyangwa was in the process of
repatriating funds to Zimbabwe. He said the outstanding foreign currency
should be regularised by the end of the month. He said Chiyangwa still had
to explain how he used the money.
The lawyers said Chiyangwa had
cancelled forthwith the management agreement between ARPS and himself,
Chiyangwa is now demanding N$5 million from Dhewa
for damages arising from alleged "defamatory remarks".
Venturas also demanded that Dhewa return company documentation, especially
accounting and electronic correspondence, relating to the joint venture
A recalcitrant Dhewa, however, said he was unable to
return documents belonging to a Namibian entity and "at law" the property of
"I face personal liability in Namibia and you are not suggesting
that I will be indemnified in the event the authorities here decide to
pursue the matter.
"Given the interest in the matter by the police in
Zimbabwe, I am not sure what approach your client wishes me to take as a
director of CHN," Dhewa wrote to Chiyangwa's lawyers
Chiyangwa, meanwhile, is said to be making steady progress
towards repatriating the US$200 000 largesse he spirited to Namibia under
the guise of forging an alliance with Namibia Northern Investment
The venture was to manufacture construction materials and
equipment, including window frames.
His Native Investment Africa
Group was to be the technical partner, providing plant machinery and other
CIO stalking NGO leaders Staff Writers ZIMBABWE'S
notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is stalking leaders of
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with a view to monitoring their
This has been brought about by the state's quest to buttress
its claim that NGOs have failed to account for funds availed by donors for
the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) of 2003.
The government has
accused NGOs of diverting humanitarian assistance funds to bankroll the
The National Association for Non-Governmental
Organisations (Nango), a coalition of more than 350 organisations operating
in Zimbabwe, this week warned its members to be on the lookout for state
Nango said it had received information that the CIO was keen
to gather information from NGOs to bolster the state's
Nango sent out the warning to its 350 members and urged them to
be on the lookout.
"It has come to the attention of Nango that
there have been reports of increased surveillance of NGOs by people believed
to be state agents, at the back of an announcement by Public Service, Labour
and Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mangwana, that a committee has been set up
to probe NGOs," it said in a statement.
"This includes people
being followed, unidentified vehicles being parked around the vicinity of
offices of NGOs, and NGOs being approached by strangers and asked intrusive
questions about their personal lives and institutional
It said NGOs should therefore improve their security
awareness and take measures to minimise their exposure to being isolated and
subjected to danger.
"This involves avoiding cooperation with
strangers - whose personal and work details have not been disclosed to your
satisfaction - without legal representation."
director of the Nango, said his organisation had received such reports of
surveillance from at least four of its members. He said the state agents
have been requesting confidential information such as bank statements and
Mudehwe said it was an attempt to bring the
organisations into disrepute.
"These reports must be taken seriously
especially because of the nature of the operating environment in Zimbabwe
where unlawful arrests are possible," Mudehwe said.
last year barred non-governmental organisations from providing food aid
following Agriculture minister Joseph Made's insistence that the country
would have a bumper harvest of 2,4 million tones of grain.
government has accused the NGOs of embezzling funds amounting to US$88, 7
million in aid money mobilised by the United Nations Development Programme
for Zimbabwe's consolidated aid appeal in 2003.
Minister Paul Mangwana last week set-up an eight-member committee to
investigate 13 NGOs that failed to account for the money.
'Cough up or stay out' Gift Phiri THE government
turned down scores of applications by foreign journalists to cover the
general election next Thursday but in a major turnaround this week signalled
to others that they were welcome to come - so long as they had the
It will cost them US$600 to secure
Although Media and Information Commission (MIC)
chairman Tafataona Mahoso could not immediately comment on the number of
foreign journalists that had been accredited by Tuesday, saying "they are
still coming", official sources said more than 50 journalists mainly from
"unfriendly states" had been denied accreditation to cover the
Mahoso however confirmed that there was a heavy presence of
journalists from South Africa and the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc). He said other news agencies such as Reuter and AFP were bringing in
reinforcements but could not immediately comment whether British and
American journalists would be accredited.
"We have received over
100 applications but we will obviously not accredit all of them, they are
too many," Mahoso said.
The international media is clamouring to
cover what many expect to be a strong challenge to Zanu PF's 25-year
President Mugabe has accused the independent media
in Zimbabwe and foreign correspondents of "printing lies and stirring up
unrest in the country".He has divided the foreign press into perceived
friendly and unfriendly camps in an effort to control the media coverage.
The BBC and most mainstream British media outlets have been banned in recent
weeks as organs of "the former colonial masters".
Angus Shaw of the Associated Press, Brian Latham of the Bloomberg financial
news service, and Jan Raath, correspondent for the London Times, Sapa, and
German news agency DPA fled Zimbabwe after police raided their
In January, President Mugabe signed an amendment to Aippa to
clamp down on journalists practising without licences.
Zanu PF imports Chinese regalia Augustine Mukaro IN
a move that could be a violation of the Political Parties (Finance) Act
T-shirts, caps and doeks were recently flown into the country from China by
Zanu PF for its election campaign.
Under the Act, it is illegal for
political parties to receive assistance from abroad. Party sources said the
campaign material could have been donated by the Chinese
Highly placed sources in the ruling party said the Zanu
PF regalia was brought in aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane plying the
Harare-Beijing route on March 9.
Although the company that
supplied the material could not be established, the cartons had a stickers
marked "DAS Air Cargo 761" and another, green in colour, was written in
The Independent this week witnessed the dispatch of the
material to various constituencies from the party's headquarters in
Sources privy to the development said Zanu PF was sourcing
campaign material from China because of its failure to pay previous
"Local suppliers are now demanding cash upfront or at
least a substantial down payment before taking Zanu PF orders," sources
Suppliers for the 2002 presidential election campaign material
ended-up dragging Zanu PF to court to recover their monies. Some of the
suppliers are understood not to have been paid in full up to now.
African Commission to hear Aippa challenge Ndamu
Sandu THE African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) will hear
an application against the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (Aippa) at its 37th Ordinary Session in Gambia next month.
session runs from April 27 to May 11.
Applicants in the case are the
Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz), Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR), and the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of
Southern Africa (Misa) while the respondent is cited as the Republic of
In correspondence to the applicants' lawyers, Scanlen &
Holderness, ACHPR said it had received a communication from the
"The communication has been registered.It will be
considered for seizure at the 37th Ordinary Session of the African
Commission for Human and People's Rights scheduled to take place from 27
April to 11 May 2005, in Banjul, The Gambia," wrote Omari Holaki,
officer-in-charge of ACHPR affairs.
In papers filed with the
commission, the applicants argue that compulsory registration of journalists
as stipulated by Section 79 and the abuse of journalistic privilege cited by
Section 80 of Aippa are an infringement on freedom of
Parts of Section 80 have been struck down by the Supreme
The applicants said the two sections were in contravention of
Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights to which
Zimbabwe is a signatory.
The applicants noted that accreditation
fees provided for under Zimbabwean law "are an additional restriction on
freedom of expression".
The applicants contend that compulsory
accreditation of journalists by the Media and Information Commission
interferes with professional independence and autonomy of the journalism
"Independence and autonomy of the journalism profession
are essential for the free receipt and dissemination of information, ideas
and beliefs," the applicants noted.
The applicants said they had
sought audience with the ACHPR because they had exhausted local remedies.
This week the Supreme Court upheld contentious sections of Aippa as
constitutional in an application by Associated Newspapers of
Since the enactment of Aippa in 2002, four newspapers have
been closed down, namely the Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, Tribune and
the Weekly Times.
RBZ never gave us money - Byo mayor Loughty Dube/Susan
Mateko BULAWAYO executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube has dismissed claims by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that the central bank has advanced $150
billion to the local authority as a mere political gimmick by Zanu PF. No
such funds have been availed to the local authority, says the
Ndabeni-Ncube this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that the
council had not received the funds that RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, claims
had been availed to the Bulawayo city council.
"As far as we are
concerned, no money has been availed to the Bulawayo city council," said
Ndabeni-Ncube. "Gono has been talking about money that none of the local
authorities have got yet.
"We just read about the funds in the press
and we believe that all this is politicking ahead of the elections," Ndabeni
Gono announced last year that local authorities would
under the $10 trillion Parastatals and Local Authorities
Re-Orientation Programme (PLARP).
Ndabeni-Ncube said while the
money was welcome, he was against the politicisation of the funds by the
ruling Zanu PF.
"We had Vice-President Joyce Mujuru over the weekend
lying that Bulawayo council has not come forward to access the funds and
even Gono last year told a public meeting during his monetary policy
presentation in the city that local authorities were not coming forward to
claim the funds when it is actually not true," he said.
changed recently and what we hear is that we have benefited from the $50
billion availed by the RBZ but we have not received the money.
just read about it in the press and it ends there but the impression Gono is
creating is that the Bulawayo council is not using the money
Ndabeni-Ncube said the council did not receive any
communication from the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing and
from the RBZ about the cash injection.
He said the RBZ failed to
raise the funds for the local authorities after the floating of the bonds
failed to raise anything last week.
"We have no objection to Gono
genuinely coming to the aid of local authorities but he should not play with
people's feelings by raising their hopes when nothing in effect was being
done," Ndabeni-Ncube said.
He said the alleged misinformation peddled by
the RBZ Governor was putting the council in a fix, as residents want to know
how the funds they read about in the press are being
Meanwhile, the government has not yet approved the Bulawayo
city council budget for 2005, three months into the
Ndabeni-Ncube said the delay in the approval of the budget was
affecting service delivery to residents.
ZEC appeals against poll delay Godfrey
Marawanyika ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission chairman Justice George Chiweshe
has filed an urgent application with the Electoral Court and Supreme Court
challenging a ruling by the Electoral Court last week enabling incarcerated
MP Roy Bennett to stand in Chimanimani.
The court postponed the poll
to next month.
In its appeal the ZEC argues this would
"inconv-enience" other candidates.
Economist Samuel Undenge is standing
on the Zanu PF ticket in the constituency.
The appeal, lodged on
Tuesday, follows President Robert Mugabe's outburst last week when he said
that the ruling by the Electoral Court to postpone the election had to be
Mugabe's utterances were roundly condemned by lawyers and
civics both locally and internationally.
According to the court
papers, Chiweshe claimed that the judgement by Justice Tendai Uchena was
The ZEC is seeking an interim order from the Electoral Court
suspending the March 8 ruling pending a determination by the Supreme
The Commission has also filed an application in the Supreme
the court to set aside the Electoral Court's ruling and
ensure the election is held in Chimanimani on Thursday.
would like the Supreme Court to make a ruling on the issue and in the
interim also suspend the Electoral Court's ruling.
"If the judgement
of this Honourable Court is not suspended, it will mean that all preparation
for the elections including the preparation of the ballot boxes and the
polling stations will be put on hold," Chiweshe said in his application to
the Electoral Court.
"If then the Supreme Court upholds Applicant's
contentions and reserves the decision of this Honourable Court, it will then
be too late to attend to the preparations relevant to the elections to
enable them to be conducted on the date already set down by proclamation.
This will obviously then cause great inconvenience," the court papers
A fortnight ago Justice Uchena of the Electoral Court ruled
that the selection of Chimanimani candidates be redone.
said that the contesting parties who were interested in the Chimanimani seat
should lodge their papers on April 4, whilst the actual polling should take
place on April 30.
Presently, the Chimanimani legislator Roy Bennett
is behind bars for flooring Justice minister Patrick
ZEC is being represented by George Chikumbirike of
Chikumbirike & Associates, whilst Bennett is being represented by
Beatrice Mtetwa of Kantor & Immerman.
coming this weekend and where will politicians be as they prepare to enter
the home straight of their campaign for the general election on Thursday? As
Zimbabweans prepare to attend church services and other events associated
with Easter this is also the last weekend for them to consider which
candidates to select after weeks of relentless campaigning by the two main
Last Easter United States presidential aspirant John
Kerry's quest to fulfill a religious obligation by attending a church
service suddenly became a political issue. He was not the first Democrat to
want to attend a church service but that seemingly innocuous act became a
national issue because Kerry was standing in a presidential election. The
church's position on Kerry's standpoints was crucial hence the media watched
with interest in which church the politician's knee would
If Kerry, a Catholic had stuck to his home Boston Archdiocese,
he faced the implied threat from Archbishop Sean O'Malley of being refused
Archbishop O'Malley, according to the Washington Post, had
declared that pro-choice Catholic politicians were in a state of grave sin
and could not properly take Communion, though he mentioned neither Kerry nor
other Democrats subscribing to the politician's ideals.
campaign for the presidency, Kerry favoured human stem-cell research; the
right to abortion, including partial-birth abortion; and civil unions
between homosexuals which was contrary to church teachings. He could
therefore not take Communion.
Reports say he ended up
sidestepping the Communion issue by attending the Missionary Baptist Church,
where he quoted a few verses from the second chapter of James.
again worshipped with a Protestant congregation at the African Methodist
Episcopal Church in Dorchester where he received plaudits from the
"We're thankful that there's going to be a revolution in this
country ... a new movement," the Rev Gregory Groover said from the pulpit
during the Palm Sunday service. "And we say, God, bring him on, the next
president of the United States."
That is the church taking a
stand on key issues of politics. There are many who did not vote for Kerry
because they abhorred his stance on gay unions, human cloning and abortion.
Of course, praise for the Democrat who eventually lost the poll to incumbent
George Bush rang in church auditoriums. God, bring him on, the next
president of the United States!
This weekend, there are many
candidates here who would wish to have that kind of support from the altar.
Candidates entering houses of worship will be watched with curiosity,
especially the infrequent visitors, not necessarily seeking divine support
but to making an appearance before a constituency that is imbued with
immense societal influence.
That is why Pamela Tungamirai had Zanu PF
imbed Rev Obediah Msindo at rallies in Tafara and Mabvuku last weekend
notwithstanding the spectacle created by the huge wad of cash - $90 million
in all - which he held during his "sermon". I did not see a bible in the
hand of the man of God!
Msindo's campaigning for Zanu PF has been as
overt as it gets. He has even beatified Mugabe to the
A number of senior Zanu PF officials have of late been
regular visitors to the churches where overawed clergymen have surrendered
the pulpit to political mandarins to expound the virtues of their party and
Mugabe. Did I lately hear one of them saying the Zanu PF government brought
the people of Zimbabwe closer to God by "democratising the church?" At a
church service in Harare Central last weekend parishioners listened in awe
as the preacher expounded the virtues of women leaders and why change was a
demonstration of lack of faith.
I see more visitations to
churches and other religious gatherings by aspiring politicians this Easter.
They cannot be turned away but it is important for parishioners to question
what the politicians stand for. It is important for the church to analyse
campaign literature being used by candidates' respective
Does the church in Zimbabwe have a view on hate language
used by Zanu PF for example in its jingles on radio and television? Does the
church believe that it is fair for children as young as six to be herded to
rallies where they sit for hours under the baking sun waiting for the convoy
of motor vehicles or helicopters to disgorge the leader? Parishioners,
especially in rural areas, could this weekend be barred from assembling to
celebrate Easter, especially if ceremonies coincide with a political rally
to be addressed by the local god.
When will the church stand up
to this bullying. Does their silence mean endorsement or apathy?
Forces of coercion versus popular will Dumisani
AS Zimbabwe's electioneering ahead of next week's general election
enters the last stretch of what looks like a close race, political parties
are increasingly stepping up their nationwide scramble for votes to win the
crucial poll. The election will be mainly fought between the country's
major parties, the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC). While the ruling party controls the forces of coercion, the
MDC has an edge in terms of popular will. Other small parties and
independent candidates - who are trying to coalesce into a Third Way - are
by and large inconsequential, except perhaps in symbolic terms. Although
Zanu PF and the MDC on paper stand an equal chance of grabbing a hard-won
majority in parliament, the reality on the ground clearly favours the ruling
party, which appears determined to win by fair means or foul despite its
incoherent campaign. Zanu PF has all the advantages any party can wish for: a
skewed playing field tilted in its favour; flawed electoral system that
allows it to control the electoral bodies; a poisoned political climate in
which fear rules the roost; a solid national structure; vast experience in
politics and the theft of votes; and huge state resources at its
command. But its problems are equally numerous. The most debilitating one is
that the party is approaching a crucial election for the first time since
1980 deeply divided. The cleavages in Zanu PF are gaping and many. The
party's policies are seen as unworkable and in some cases irrelevant. Zanu
PF also appears clueless when it comes to looking for solutions and running
a modern economy. The party acts as if it is caught in a dangerous time warp
and thus lacks capacity and vision to move the country forward. It is
clearly suffering from the malaise of a liberation movement that failed to
renew itself. The MDC has an outside chance of pulling a shock victory, but
the practicalities of the electoral process diminish its prospects. The
opposition's main advantages include that fact that the political tide
sweeping across the country is in its favour. There can never be any doubt
that popular disenchantment has deepened beyond Zanu PF's ability to contain
it. The current state of the economy and the plethora of socio-economic
problems make Zanu PF's case untenable. Which explains the desperate tone of
its propaganda. Zimbabwe's real gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk
by a cumulative 30% in the past five years. Zimbabwe became the fastest
contracting economy in the world. Its inflation, which peaked at 622% in
January last year, was the highest in the world, according to jailed Finance
minister Chris Kuruneri. The budget deficit in 2003 reached historic
proportions at 24% of GDP, the total value of output actually produced in
the whole economy over a particular period of time, usually a
year. National savings were decimated, drastically reducing chances of local
investment. Other economic fundamentals were dislocated. The fiscal and
monetary policies were divergent and inevitably created financial
chaos. Agriculture - the economy's mainstay - was devastated through a
chaotic policy of land seizures which began in 2000. Resultant acute food
shortages necessitated massive food imports and donor
assistance. Wholesale company closures also became the norm rather than an
exception. The economy's dramatic decline fuelled unemployment, grinding
poverty, shortages of basic commodities and food, severe lack of foreign
currency and imported essentials like fuel and electricity. In brief,
Zimbabwe's social and economic conditions deteriorated, mainly reflecting
damaging economic policies and structural changes that badly weakened the
economic base. In particular, the disorderly land reform programme
contributed to a sharp reduction in agricultural production. Widespread
concerns about governance, the rule of law and human rights and the
continued lack of clarity about property rights severely damaged confidence,
discouraged investment, and promoted capital flight and emigration. The
country also continued to sink irretrievably into a debt trap. Social
indicators worsened and the HIV/Aids pandemic remained largely
unchecked. All these problems were, fairly or unfairly, put at Zanu PF's
doorstep. The party and its government almost gave up on how to resolve the
crisis but President Robert Mugabe engineered what in their view was a clear
masterstroke: central bank governor Gideon Gono's appointment. Gono came
into office in December 2003 and applied a stringent monetary policy which
partly helped to deal with certain problems, particularly inflation. His
approach also saved a lot of companies from collapse but created havoc in
the banking sector. Although the measures were well-intentioned, they were
not well-thought-out and seemed decidedly haphazard. Gono's performance
and statistical manipulation were then used by Zanu PF to claim an economic
recovery, which was not supported by evidence. This situation gives the MDC a
good chance to make political capital and catch votes if well-articulated
and credible solutions are prescribed. The other advantage for the MDC is
that it represents an idea whose time has come. A younger generation is not
fooled by Zanu PF's puerile explanations for economic failure. However,
the MDC has fundamental weaknesses. The party's command hierarchy is weak
and has fragile national structures. In some cases the organisational
structures are virtually non-existent. Its policies are sometimes
questionable and vague. They generally do not resonate with the masses and
sound unrealistic, although their refinement may provide a basis for a
serious policy framework. But the electoral system will be decisive in the
poll outcome. Elections are not just a function of the range and quality of
liberties guaranteed to voters by the constitution but are defined by the
overall institutional framework within which they take place. Although
there is necessarily no link between elections and democracy - elections
also take place in some dictatorships - the question of whether a country is
democratic or not is ultimately settled by the organisation and quality of
its electoral system. It determines the election of representatives to the
legislature and, in presidential regimes, the election of the president. It
has a direct impact on the composition of parliament, the configuration of
the party system and formation of government. The electoral system
determines - perhaps more than anything else - the tactics and strategies
that political parties use and has a direct bearing on voters'
choices. The Southern African Development Community has principles governing
democratic elections in the region. The guidelines encourage free and fair
elections. But in general, an election is considered free and fair if it
fulfils certain conditions: substantially the entire adult population has
the right to vote; no major section of the voting population is
disenfranchised for whatever reason; it takes place within prescribed time
limits; all seats are contested; campaigns are conducted in a reasonably
free political climate where neither law nor violence nor intimidation
restrict candidates; and ballots are cast freely and counted in an honest
and transparent manner. Zimbabwe only meets one of these basic conditions:
holding elections regularly. Against this background, it would be
difficult, if not impossible, for the MDC to win when the political
environment is hostile and the electoral system is decisively tilted in
favour of Zanu PF. For these reasons, if for no other, Zanu PF will win the
poll. They can only lose it themselves! But on April 1 all the problems that
bedevil the country will still be there.
Decide the future you
deserve ZIMBABWEANS go to the polls next Thursday with an unenviable yet
crucial task of deciding the fate of their beloved Motherland for the next
five years. In less than 12 hours the electorate has an enormous task to
decide how best to regain the deserved glory that accompanied its collective
ability to unshackle itself from colonialism. They have to decide how they
prefer to be governed through the next half decade. It is a unique moment
offering the Zimbabwean electorate an opportunity to chart a new path
leading to a healthier destiny for generations to come. Voters have a task
to restore the nation to the lofty pedestal that it merits among the
international community of nations. The electoral choices Zimbabweans will
make on polling day have immeasurable consequences. Will they remain
stuck in the quicksand the Zanu PF government has dragged them into through
numbing fear that has immobilisd their collective power to resist being
taken hostage? They have to engage in intense self-introspection before
entering the voting cubicle and ask themselves whether they are comfortable
with the way they are being governed or whether they deserve better. This
is the bottom line. Voters have to look back a short five years and take
stock whether their lives have progressed or regressed, whether they have
transformed for the better or for worse. Or better still, whether they enjoy
the freedoms they anticipated when hordes of them left to prosecute the war
for national independence. Rather poignant is the fact that the election,
more than anything else, offers each and every Zimbabwean an exceptional
opportunity to rediscover themselves and become the master of their destiny.
It also offers a rare opportunity for the electorate to collectively
retrieve and repossess the inviolable power to decide who should rule over
them. Over time the electorate has gradually lost that omnipotent clout to
determine who should lead them, often settling for the second-best and
meekly resigning themselves to whatever fate comes their way. That should
not be so for an electorate that boasts being the best educated in the
sub-region. It should not be the case because it is the voter who wields
unmatched power in his or her hand to elect or unseat a government. Every
democracy functions on the consent of the governed. By the break of dawn on
Thursday next week the election should unbundle the inherent energies in the
electorate and empower it to elect a leadership that strikes a chord with
national aspirations. Zimbabwe is currently at the Biblical crossroads and
the Zimbabwean voter can be likened to an earthling standing at the fork,
deciding which road to take between one that leads to Eternal bliss and the
other to Eternal agony. The voter participating in the Thursday election is
confronted with a choice to push Zimbabwe over the precipice or redeem its
image from being a pariah of the continent merely by casting a marked ballot
paper. It does not matter much who they vote for provided the trust they have
invested in that choice keeps Zimbabwe out of harm's way. That is how the
polls should define their patriotism - the love of their country's wellbeing
ahead of any other consideration. If the voter decides to vote for the
opposition MDC so be it. If another voter prefers to vote for Zanu PF or an
independent candidate for that matter, let no one question that choice if
that political preference guarantees Zimbabwe's social, political and
economic prosperity. Guaranteed national prosperity should be the sole
guiding light to the way we vote come March 31. Next Thursday's polling
is like no other before it. Voters have to be intensely aware of the
international context in which these elections are being held. For the past
five years Zimbabweans have been traumatised by the unpleasant feeling of an
illegitimate child in a community of nations. Our electoral choices have the
potential to open up a vista of social, economic and political opportunities
beyond human imagination. If we mess up this election we are doomed as a
nation. Our patriotism will be shredded. We have a chance to wake up the
following day, beating our breasts in self-glorification for having
displayed unimaginable political maturity and acumen. So let us grab the
opportunity with both hands and make a conscious effort to redeem ourselves
and our country. Let all of us take voting on Thursday as a matter of
national duty, a collective national responsibility.
THIS column seeks to avoid political commentary, except when
political actions or statements have economic connotations or consequences.
When that occurs, commentary becomes necessary, for the focus of this column
is supposed to be economic and financial issues. It was with that in view
that some weeks ago this column commented negatively upon the Movement for
Democratic Change attack upon the 2005 Roadmap and Fourth Quarter, 2004
Monetary Policy Review of the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ). That attack disregarded a multitude of facts, misconstrued an even
greater number of facts and by so doing sought to make political capital,
without any concern that the already weakened business confidence of
Zimbabwe would decline further. However, for the same reasons, it is now
necessary to comment upon some of the grossly appalling, deceptive and
counterproductive advertisements which Zanu PF is plastering throughout the
print media. Those advertisements not only detract from the very excellent
advertisements recording the government's achievements in bringing education
to millions, but also destroy prospects of national unity, of greatly needed
reconciliation with the international community and intensively mislead and
deceive insofar as economic issues are concerned. Few will disagree that
the single greatest need of Zimbabwe is to reverse economic decline and to
embark upon such substantial economic growth as will eliminate the near 80%
unemployment level, the over 70% of the population struggling to survive on
incomes below the poverty datum line and the almost 50% of the population's
bare existence below the food datum line. However, the ruling party
apparently has other priorities, for the keynote of the advertising campaign
is "anti-Blair campaign". Instead of addressing substantive issues of
national concern, the target is an immature, childish personal attack which
can only further worsen Zimbabwe's relationships with key elements of the
international community. That community's friendship and support is critical
to Zimbabwean economic recovery. The advertising then identifies the
government's campaign weapons. The first is stated to be "getting back your
land". Implicitly, there is a contemptuous dismissal of the facts that most
of the land was neither occupied or productively used prior to the colonial
era. There is dismissal of the fact that the manner of "getting back the
land" was devoid of justice, and in outright conflict with international
law. Even worse is that this disgraceful policy of the government has been so
destructively pursued that over 300 000 farm workers, together with more
than 1,2 million dependants, were displaced, rendered homeless and
unemployed; maize production fell from 1,8 million tonnes to 600 000 tonnes;
tobacco output critical to foreign currency generation fell from over 237
million tonnes to a little over 80 million tones; the national herd
decreased by almost two-thirds; and the economy was set upon a downward
escalator to collapse. The foundation of the economy was destroyed by the
state and its near eradication of agriculture. Then the advertisements
pronounce that there will be "an end to racist factory closures". The
contention that such actions have occurred is spurious in the extreme. No
matter how racist may be some factory owners they would not ruin themselves
by factory closures, but would express their racism in other ways. Instead,
all that advertising achieves is to foment racism and widen any racial
divide. The president has declared 2005 as the year of investment, and has
urged the international community to invest in Zimbabwe. But a positive
response cannot be motivated by recurrent attacks upon all who are not of
indigenous origin (as defined by the president). Moreover, the fuelling
of racism is a breach of the Zimbabwean constitution that the ruling party
claims to uphold, and business confidence and economic development cannot be
forthcoming when there is state contempt for the law. Similarly, the
allegation in the advertisements that there is "racist withholding of
commodities" is devoid of credibility. Not only are the accusations of
racism undoubtedly greatly exaggerated, but yet again the suggestion that
racists would deliberately jeopardise their business is unbelievable. That
is especially so when it is recognised that, in reality, the causes of
shortages are first and foremost the government-created ruination of
agriculture and the inadequacy of foreign currency availability to fund
essential imports. The extent that the racist allegation is ludicrous is
illustrated by the magnitude of the scarcity of petroleum products. Those
products are, in the main, imported and distributed by a parastatal and by
more than 60 indigenous operators. Is the ruling party seriously suggesting
that they are all puppets in the hands of racists? Surely not! Then the
advertisements promise "an end to politically motivated price increases". It
is long overdue that the government recognises the realities of the
disastrous economic environment it has created. When it is the cause of
wide-ranging shortages, it needs to recognise that those shortages cause
price increases. If demand exceeds supply, it is inevitable that prices
rise. But of even greater impact is that when commodities are scarce, the
suppliers must apportion their operating costs and overheads to fewer
numbers of units of those commodities, necessarily forcing price
increases. And, when foreign currency is grievously short, production volumes
decline, with a consequential increase in prices of the limited quantities
that are produced. The resultant hyperinflation fuels yet further
inflation, and particularly so when wages are increased to an extent of
inflation, or greater. If prices do not rise in these circumstances, almost
wholly the creation of government, then the commodities cease to be
available in even limited quantities, factories close down, more become
unemployed, and the economic collapse becomes total. As if all the
misrepresentations did not suffice, the advertisements repeated the
government's prolonged false depiction of the sanctions applied by some in
the international community. The advertisements imply that those sanctions
are a cause of the economic morass, or that they are targeted at the
Zimbabwean population. The actuality is that the sanctions are only directed
against the governmental and Zanu PF hierarchy, being bans on travel to
those countries applying the sanctions, and endeavours to freeze the foreign
assets of that hierarchy. The party propagandists strive to suggest that
sanctions are more wide-ranging by drawing attention to those countries that
have discontinued providing donor aid to Zimbabwe. In practice, most of the
donor states have continued to provide humanitarian aid, but have
discontinued such aid as was supportive to the government.The advertisements
suggest that Zanu PF is achieving "faster economic turnaround". At present
there is no evidence of a turnaround, save only for a decline in inflation,
which is nevertheless still at untenable levels. The only turnaround of
the economy overall is that it continues to be in a "flat spin", on a
downward spiral, although the RBZ - and not the government - is striving
vigorously to bring about a positive turnaround.
it occurred to Zanu PF that every time they pull one of their election
stunts the public become increasingly indifferent? Warning was given that
a stunt would be forthcoming by Webster Shamu in the Sunday Mail. The MDC
had been training Zimbabweans living in South Africa to "unleash violence"
in order to discredit the election, he claimed. "The alleged hooligans and
thugs have been given instructions on how to perpetrate violence," he
said. Then predictably, the next day the Herald carried a headline announcing
the arrest of five MDC youths who were accused of being a "terror group"
trained in South Africa to "unleash a reign of terror" in Zimbabwe. How
many people believe this rubbish any more? Don't we recall almost identical
stories ahead of the 2000 and 2002 elections? What happened to those "plots"?
The evidence evaporated once the election was over just as it did in the
Tsvangirai treason case! The MDC replied to the Herald's silly story saying
they had seen it all before. "For instance, on the eve of the March 2002
presidential poll, 17 army 'deserters' were paraded on ZBC. The Mugabe
regime claimed that the 17 'deserters' had been arrested for plotting to
cause disruption ahead of the poll. No evidence was ever produced to support
this claim. After the election the issue of the '17 deserters' and their
alleged crimes was never mentioned again by the regime. "In November
2001, five MDC activists were arrested for the murder of war veteran Cain
Nkala. At the time Mugabe claimed that their arrest proved that the MDC was
a party bent on using violent means to achieve its political objectives.
After being held in prison for over two years, and subjected to torture, all
five were acquitted last year." As for the MDC training Zimbabweans to
"unleash violence", which party is it that has a record of unleashing
violence against its opponents? Which party has been using youth militias to
impose its will on voters? The police helpfully claimed that according to
their investigations "the MDC wanted to commit acts of violence so that Zanu
PF and the government of Zimbabwe would be viewed as perpetrators of
violence". Who was responsible for the murder of Talent Mabika and Tichaona
Chiminya? What has happened to their killers? Who tortured Gabriel Shumba
and what has happened to those responsible for the torture and subsequent
death of Tonderayi Machiridza? Who were the very real perpetrators of
state violence in those cases and why have they not been brought to
justice? Please, no more "impish" stunts just because an election is pending.
It all looks like smoke-and-mirrors to even the most gullible
S till on torturers, the Sunday Mirror this week thought it
had an exposť on the United States' poor human rights record with a front
page article titled "CIA in torture scandal". The article contained a
revealing comment from Information permanent secretary George Charamba who
cheerfully said: "The US has historically been a net exporter of
torture." So that's where Zimbabwe has been importing all its torture skills
from used by our law enforcers? Muckraker feels Zimbabwe can now qualify to
be a net exporter of torture considering the country's well-documented
exploits in the run-up to the 2000 and 2002 elections.
doubted the "independence" of the Electoral Supervisory Commission they
should read the remarks by ESC spokesman Tarisai Manzonzo. He told the
Sunday News that the British and US governments were "begging Zimbabwe" to
accredit their officials as election observers. We should not be surprised by
this. The last such spokesman was a former Herald deputy editor! But
Manzonzo should be told his attempts to be helpful to the state media and
its partisan cause by depicting British and US embassy officials as
"begging" for accreditation when they were simply applying for it in the
normal way does nothing for the reputation of the ESC. The same goes for
ZEC spokesman Utloile Silaigwana's naive remarks about how "happy" the ZEC
was that President Mugabe was "encouraging tolerance among political
parties" and how this had "immensely contributed to the prevailing
peace". Does that include Mugabe's remarks last week about Roy
Bennett? What we have here is a body appointed by Mugabe and accountable to
him supervising what is supposed to be an independent electoral
We note Justice Chiweshe's statement that the ZEC had begun
dispatching application forms for postal votes to the ZRP, Defence forces
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as some of them would be working outside
the country. So why only government personnel working outside the
country? What about those who, whatever the opinion of the Supreme Court,
are equally entitled to vote as Zimbabweans working outside the
country? It is significant that in this case and the Aippa case the
government and Zanu PF celebrate every time the rights of Zimbabweans are
abridged. And they think nobody outside the country notices! As one
government columnist said last week, the MDC is not benefiting from this
"rule-of-law nonsense". "Well done the Chief Justice," he added, suggesting a
rather unhealthy measure of patronage!
Tafataona Mahoso continues to
invite ridicule in his weekly frothing. Because Morgan Tsvangirai invited
President Mbeki to come to Zimbabwe to assess compliance with the Sadc
protocols in the run-up to elections, this means, Mahoso claimed, he has
issued a "blank invitation by an opposition party to the president of
another power to come and literally take over the functions of those
constitutional authorities in Zimbabwe who should be responsible for
elections". Mahoso called this "treasonous and unconstitutional". Does
Mahoso want to be taken seriously or not? If he does, he needs to avoid
these sort of fatuous claims that are just downright daft. Sadc leaders
have as their mandate the need to check compliance with their own protocols.
The whole point about Zimbabwe is that, despite its claims, it is not
complying with the Mauritius terms. Mahoso does not help his case by citing
the South African Human Rights Commission's findings on its investigation of
the media several years ago. There can't be a single person, apart from
Mahoso, who takes that profoundly flawed report seriously. But we liked
the picture of Durban in 1976. At least Mahoso's tortuous prose enables the
Sunday Mail to dig into its 1970s photo collection!
We also liked the
following comments carried in the Herald's report on the Supreme Court
ruling in the Daily News case last week. ".The court criticised MIC chairman
Dr Tafataona Mahoso for creating misgivings and causing mistrust in him by
the ANZ through making comments in articles he wrote in newspapers that were
likely to make the applicant feel it would not get a fair hearing from the
commission he chaired. "The judge was referring to numerous articles authored
by Dr Mahoso which were placed before the administrative court by the ANZ
lawyer seeking to prove that he was biased against his client. In one of the
articles Dr Mahoso had referred to ANZ as an 'outlaw' and indicated that its
application would not be considered. "He also remarked that the MIC was
conducting itself in an inappropriate manner. Dr Mahoso, he said, should
have appreciated he would chair the commission dealing with the ANZ's
application for registration and, hence, should have stopped making such
statements of personal belief and opinion. Accordingly, he should have
refrained from making comments that were likely to make (the) applicant
apprehensive of not getting a fair hearing from the commission chaired by
him." Despite all this, the Supreme Court noted that the evidence submitted
to the Administrative Court failed to prove actual bias on the part of Dr
Mahoso. It needs to be asked what he actually has to do or say to convince
their lordships of bias if not what they cited above! There is also the
case of Chengetai Zvauya who was refused accreditation by Mahoso on the
grounds that he had been found guilty of an offence by a court. This
related to a report in the Standard which claimed the Constitutional
Commission had reached its conclusions before its investigations were
complete. Zvauya was acquitted on appeal, a case Mahoso appeared not to be
following despite the MIC being a quasi-judicial body! Will we see an
improvement in his behaviour following the Supreme Court's admonishment?
Don't hold your breath! Meanwhile, we noted the Supreme Court's ruling that
once the ANZ complied with the law "this court will accord it the same
protection it accords all citizens who are law-abiding". Not much comfort
Muckraker was intrigued by a story in the Sunday Mail's Metro
supplement this week. Written by Gilbert Munetsi, it said: "For a whole
weekend I was inside the walls of Harare Central, though by design. My
mission was to track down a former celebrated Commonwealth boxing champion,
then incarcerated, to find out if he really had converted to Christianity as
alleged in press reports. "This for me meant dressing in prison garb and
swapping my name for a number after which I hoped to stalk my prey for
perhaps a whole day before spelling out the purpose of my visit to him and
convincing him to grant me an exclusive interview. In journalism that is
called pulling a stunt." No it's not. It's called unprofessional conduct. As
a journalist, Gilbert, you are supposed to disclose your presence and your
identity, not "stalk" your "prey" in a situation where he could hardly say
no to your "design". And what was the Prison Service doing allowing you to
pose as a prisoner in order to stalk another prisoner - boxer Arifonso
Zvenyika serving an 18-month sentence for theft. The interview took place
a year ago, we are told, so it is difficult to understand why it is only
appearing now. We would welcome a statement from the Director of the Prison
Service on this. We note that state journalists have the privilege, when
they go in, of deciding when to come out!
So Zimbabwe is President
Mugabe's wife? He is angry with British Prime Minister Tony Blair because he
believes he is a wife-stealer. At a rally at Mataga Growth Point in the
Midlands last Saturday Mugabe said he would fight tooth and nail if Blair
tried to steal his wife. "Kana iye Blair akada kutora mukadzi wangu
tinonetsana," the Herald reported him as saying. No society should
tolerate men who go about stealing other people's wives. Do you recall the
story of a man who stole a secretary in his office who incredibly turned out
to be someone else's wife? Unfortunately the husband did not fight tooth and
nail against the wife-stealer. He was simply exported on a slow boat to
Hwange in barter deal with Chinese Ndamu Sandu COAL
miner Hwange Colliery Company Ltd (HCCL) has entered into a barter deal with
China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) to export coal and coke in
return for coal haulage trucks and earth moving equipment from the Chinese
firm, businessdigest heard this week.
The equipment would be used in
the coal miner's expansion project to increase the production of coal and
HCCL managing director Godfrey Dzinomwa said the coal miner is
set to export coke and coal to Norinco and at the same time import
earthmoving equipment and haulage trucks.
"We are starting
exporting in April to Norinco's smelter in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hwange will import the equipment in the second half of the year," Dzinomwa
The coal and coke from Zimbabwe would be used to fire smelters
in the DRC with the end products being shipped to China. Dzinomwa said HCCL
was also exploring the logistics of exporting coal and coke to
Dzinomwa said discussions were still underway adding that HCCL
would work with Norinco as trade partners and progress to joint ventures
once discussions are concluded.
Dzinomwa said HCCL and Norinco
had defined "their requirements and put the framework together" to enable
the trade but was optimistic that HCCL "would give as much as it could in
HCCL and Norinco signed a memorandum of understanding last
year and officials from the Chinese firm toured the mine in December last
Dzinomwa said HCCL was in constant discussions with officials
from Norinco offices in the country.
HCCL exports to South
Africa, Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo with inquiries
from China and India. Dzinomwa said HCCL was working on measures to meet all
its requirements locally.
HCCL is currently undergoing a turnaround
programme to halt the declining coal production.
The 3 Main
Underground Mine was opened last month and will produce 50 000 tonnes of
coal per month in the initial stages. The production is expected to rise to
100 000 and then 150 000 at its peak.
Dzinomwa said plans were
underway to recapitalise the current opencast mine operations and the
commissioning of a coal fines recovery plant.
Dzinomwa said the
recapitalisation would need US$8,7 million. On the sources of the funding,
Dzinomwa said the money would come from various sources including financiers
and internal sources among others.
HCCL is listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and JSE Securities Exchange.
Economic ills worsen housing plight Conrad Dube THE
government has reduced Zimbabweans to perpetual tenancy as an acute shortage
of housing worsens.
The country has a housing shortage of about four
million units and this has driven most Zimbabweans into informal settlements
around major cities. Harare alone has a housing backlog of about one million
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for economic
affairs Tendai Biti says Zimbabweans have become so poor that they cannot
afford decent accommodation as the economy continues to tumble. Biti was
speaking at a rally in Norton on Sunday.
"We have seen an
unprecedented increase in lodgers because the government has failed to
provide basic accommodation to citizens," said Biti.
"The government is
ignoring the suffering of the people.
"Zimbabweans can no longer
afford even decent underwear while their dignity has been reduced to levels
where they accept sub-standard products from China," he said.
said the economy has continued to tumble due to lack of foreign currency, a
weakening local unit and the collapse of industry. The dollar is currently
trading at $14 000 to the United States dollar and $22 000 to the British
pound on the parallel market.
While on one hand the depreciation
of the dollar has steeply raised the prices of imported raw materials and
inputs, industry, on the other hand, has not been privileged with a
corresponding price increase of commodities as price controls on selected
For instance, fuel merchants were last month
ordered to revert to the old fuel price of $3 600 per litre after they had
increased prices to $3 900 a litre.
Economist John Robertson in
an interview said interference in pricing slowed down business in the three
months to March while elections caused uncertainty in the business
"Many companies put expansion and new investment plans on
hold because of the uncertainty currently prevailing. Some of it was caused
by the elections and some of it was caused by the changes to the platinum
sector and agricultural marketing," said Robertson.
He added the
business community had questions over February's inflation rate figure which
showed a 5% decrease to 127% from January's 133%.
"The three months were
characterised by foreign currency shortages and were quite difficult for
many businesses," Robertson said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce president Luckson Zembe said the trading period was relatively
depressed due to annual closures and the election period. Zembe said
investors had adopted a wait and see attitude ahead of the
"Foreign currency inflows were lower than expectations as
demand continues to outstrip supply. We have been supplying only 10% of
demand on the foreign currency auction and this creates pressure on the
exchange rate," Zembe said.
The pressure on the exchange rate
will create a fertile ground for businesses to engage in speculative
activities which feed into the parallel market, according to
"The answer is not in more controls but pushing up supply
side. We really need balance of payments support and the restoration of
international relations if we are to successfully deal with the foreign
currency problem," the ZNCC chief told businessdigest.
ON Monday night I watched Movement for Democratic Change
secretary-general Welshman Ncube being "interviewed" on television by Supa
Mandiwanzira and Happison Muchechetere - two of the usual trio of Zanu PF
lackeys who purport to conduct ZTV's "impartial" political
Ibbo Mandaza was missing. Perhaps he had the good sense to
realise that he would be hopelessly outclassed by the intelligent,
These lackeys of the ruling regime were made to
look foolish by Ncube. The manner in which they conduct themselves,
especially the hapless and hopeless Muchechetere, guarantees votes for the
MDC. Long may their incompetence be used by ZTV in its vain and futile
attempt to portray the MDC as a "puppet of Western
These Zanu PF apologists attempt to castigate the MDC
by claiming that the opposition wants to effect regime change. Of course
that is what the MDC wants to do! Have they no idea what democracy is all
Only Zanu PF believes that it is democratic for one party to
rule forever and that elections have nothing to do with regime change, and
that if by some chance the opposition does win then the military will ensure
that democracy Zanu PF-style prevails by refusing to serve under anyone of
whom they do not approve.
These same apologists irritatingly and
constantly attempt to put words into the mouths of those they are
"interviewing". Fortunately the likes of Tendai Biti, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Ncube are more than a match for these sycophants
who are unused to dealing with a combination of integrity and
On a previous programme Mandaza, when "interviewing"
Biti, attempted to attack the calibre of the MDC's candidates. What brazen
hypocrisy! Has he not considered for one moment the calibre of his own
colleagues in Zanu PF? Many of them may have a multitude of degrees, the
likes of Joseph Chinotimba notwithstanding, but of what worth are they
Mandaza talks of the need for experience. Experience
of what? Of corruption, of destruction, of failure?
night Supa Mandiwanzira attempted foolishly to castigate the MDC for it
having been a disaster "in government" at the local level and for having
failed to keep its promises. Is he so blind that he cannot see the irony in
attempting such attacks on the MDC? Has he ever interviewed Zimbabwe's
president or any of his ministers and asked such questions?
Has he ever
considered that an opposition can only be held to account for its electoral
promises if it comes into power?
A word of advice to this trio of
functionaries of the ruling party: don't risk asking the MDC about the
calibre of its candidates, or about its "broken promises", or about it being
a "disaster" in government, or about the "regime change" that is the
fundamental purpose of any opposition in a democracy. When you raise such
matters you merely draw attention to the calibre of Zanu PF's candidates,
their broken promises, their disastrous record as a government and to their
fundamentally undemocratic nature.
At least these well-fed
functionaries of Zanu PF have had enough sense, so far, not to raise the
issue of Zimbabwe's hungry masses. Now that would be very difficult to
No wonder that Zanu PF does not want the MDC to have equal
access to the media when it has spokespersons of the calibre of Ncube, Biti
WITH just a week before the parliamentary election, the
indications are that the democratic forces of Zimbabwe will turn the tables
against Zanu PF.
However, sensing defeat, Zanu PF seems to be resorting
to its usual dirty tricks in order to cling on to power.
there has been reduced violence as President Robert Mugabe feared openly
clashing with other Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries
due to non-compliance with the bloc's protocol on elections, the regime has
decided to exploit some requirements of the Sadc protocol, specifically the
requirement to hold the elections in one day and the use of translucent
There are allegations that Zanu PF has been going about
intimidating people both in the urban and rural areas, telling them that
because counting will take place at the polling station the party will be
able to identify all people who vote at that polling station and these will
be punished where the opposition wins the majority votes.
there will be more polling stations than has been the case in past
elections, most polling stations are likely to have a turnout of less than
300 voters, so it will be easy for them to follow up the voting
Zanu PF has allegedly also told the electorate that the
ballot paper will unfold when it is dropped into the translucent box,
enabling them to see which party one will have voted for.
there is optimism that the majority of the people of Zimbabwe now realise
that such intimidatory statements are nothing but empty threats, I want to
suggest that voter education be intensified to instil confidence in the
electorate that their vote is not only their right but their secret, and
that no one will ever know who they will have voted for.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the media, civic society and all the
contesting parties must spread the message in the remaining days before the
ZEC must set a good precedent for future elections. The
learned men and women in that body must know that Zimbabwe is under
scrutiny, and they should strongly advise Zanu PF and the government against
stealing the elections as they did in 2000.
ZEC and civic society
organisations must run advertisements on radio, television and in the print
media to assure the electorate that the practice by some political parties
who are taking down their names, addresses and national identification
numbers is illegal and unconstitutional, and that it is up to them to choose
to vote or not to vote, that their vote is their right and that no one will
ever know who they vote for. Such advertisements may help restore
credibility in the whole process.
If the voters make the mistake and
vote for Zanu PF out of the usual fear, then there is no future for the
majority of Zimbabweans.
Let us come out in our millions and vote out
ACCORDING to press reports Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
minister Patrick Chinamasa has stated that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions has not been invited to observe next week's parliamentary vote as it
has "biased and preconceived ideas about the outcome of the
If that is the criteria then presumably any observers from
South Africa's African National Congress should be immediately sent
Mind you, only the brain-dead or the dishonest could pretend
that there is anything remotely "free and fair" about the forthcoming
What price an honest and intelligent observer or two
IN his infamous SkyNews interview in April last year, President
Mugabe said, "why foist food on us, do you want us to choke?". Less than a
year later, he is now desperately trying to assure the people that no one
For a head of state to talk about seven truckloads carrying
a paltry 224 tonnes of maize for the whole Masvingo province shows the
systematic use of maize for political gain. As a matter of fact, MDC
imported more than 300 tonnes of maize for distribution for one constituency
in 2003, which was confiscated by government. We had plans to bring in over
20 000 tonnes but were prevented from doing so.
starving in the following provinces: Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland
North and South and Midlands. This government is fully aware of the starving
people throughout the country. At MDC rallies, which are always attended by
police details, thousands of people complain about starvation. What happened
to the 2,4 million plus tonnes bumper harvest? We have evidence of the
rampant politicalisation of food by the regime.
The Grain Marketing
Board claimed that there was enough maize to take the country to August this
year. It is a fact, and they admitted it, that they have been importing
maize all along. They have been receiving imports at the rate of 15 000
tonnes a month from a purchase from South Africa of 100 000 tons. It is this
maize that they are distributing and selling selectively.
We know how the
regime successfully stopped all food aid so that they are the only ones with
food during the elections. The effect of the current rain shortfall would be
later during the year, not now.
The country has now virtually run out
of maize. There will be no food after the elections. If the voters make a
mistake and vote Zanu PF into power, there will be starvation of major
proportion in the country. The use of food to buy votes plus intimidation of
voters is clear evidence that Zanu PF has no support whatsoever in the rural
We will defeat Zanu PF inspite of all the threats and
deliberate starving of people and usher in a new beginning for the people of
31 people at home will have an opportunity to say to Mugabe and his bunch of
crooks in ministries and state parastatals that we have had enough of Zanu
PF mediocrity. We need a government of people that looks ahead. People who
are still able and full of energy and of the correct political philosophy
Mugabe and his elderly lieutenants must go and rest and
bask in the sun and make way for a leadership that will put the people
first. Whilst Mugabe changed cabinet ministers with every reshuffle that
came, none of the people in Zanu PF have the honesty to tell him that he too
needed to be replaced. Mugabe has overstayed his welcome in the true
judgement of true patriots and nation loving cadres. We need Mugabe to leave
politics, open Zanu PF to democracy and then we can build our
Mugabe is Zimbabwe's greatest enemy not Zanu PF and we must
replace Mugabe so that the party can take a breath and recondition, reshape
and reinvigorate itself for the fulfillment of the agenda for which the
party was born.
I am talking about the war in which Josiah
Tongogara was involved and the entirety of the cadre community who perished
in pursuit of the fight for Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe that was fought for has
not been open to all. It has been the property of a few as was the situation
under colonial persecution.
It cannot be right to assume that only
Mugabe knows what is best for the country and that it is impossible to find
another leader even within Zanu PF to take over. The fact that those in Zanu
PF have been unable to see this or to say it leaves Zimbabwe with only one
option - the opposition, provided the latter unequivocally assures us that
they are not the latter-day Mobutu Sese Seko's of
I REFER to
the "Talking Politics" programme aired last Tuesday, March 15 on ZBC, where
the MDC was invited to present their economic blueprint for Zimbabwe, and
wish to draw attention to the following.
The outrageous, unprofessional
and crass manner displayed by the three presenters, Supa Mandiwanzira, Ibbo
Mandaza and Happison Mucheterere towards the panellists, Tendai Biti and
Prisicilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, calls for drastic action to be taken by
those in authority against the harm done to the reputation and credibility
of ZBH by the unacceptable behaviour of these three men.
spoke over the "guests", shouted them down, cut them short whilst answering
questions, snorted and scoffed openly at answers, were extremely disruptive
and hostile and generally created a drunken bar room atmosphere to ruin an
otherwise important national occasion which has great impact on the course
that our nation will decide on March 31.
Those three have shown
disrespect to the viewing public and should be held accountable for actions
that have no place in a public broadcast.
Now that you have been given another chance to
get rid of the evil Zanu PF regime are you going to blow it again? It only
takes good men and women to be quiet for evil to triumph.
not take a rocket scientist to understand that Mugabe and his cabinet have
destroyed Zimbabwe that was once a prosperous and much envied
How many promises has Zanu PF made? Why is it that every
election they make promises and disappear once voted in? Have any of the
promises materialised? This is the time to cut them to size and let them
know who has the power. History will judge you harshly if you don't take
action. Prices of basic commodities are sky-rocketing daily. The health
delivery system has collapsed, unemployment is at record
People of Zimbabwe, it's time you vote thugs out. People are
starving while they are busy lining their pockets. It's time you speak. Go
and vote wisely. You have the power to change things.
EDITOR, allow me
space in your widely-read newspaper to warn the likes of President Mugabe
and his lot against making childish lies especially in the run-up to
I was totally taken aback by sentiments he made recently in
Epworth that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is to blame for the
rot in the city of Harare.
Whom does Mugabe think is not aware
that it is he and his lot in Zanu PF that are responsible for all this decay
we have not only in Harare but in Zimbabwe as a whole? Does he surely think
that the people in Epworth don't have eyes and brains?
It is a
well-known fact that the MDC administration led by the ousted mayor Elias
Mudzuri was never given any room to breathe by Ignatious Chombo with the
blessing of Mugabe himself.
Mugabe thought that by not giving the MDC
administration room the people would turn against the MDC but that never
happened. A word of warning to the president is that cheap and childish lies
never win an election. Stop making yourself a laughing stock.
all Zimbweans stop the habit of crying behind closed doors saying "we are
being oppressed" yet we don't go and vote.
"When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way
of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and
for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of
1: ZW - TRANSFER FROM RURAL CONSTITUENCY, received 24.3.2005
Dear JAG TEAM
I have just discovered that everyone I know
who transferred from a a rural constituency to a city constituency does not
appear on the voters roll. That includes the revised roll. I have been
concentrating on Harare North and East as i do not have access to the
Although we were given receipts to say that we have
registered,there is no guarantee that we will be allowed to vote on
I have just spoken to Mr Shereni at the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) who assures me that our transfer registration receipts are
enough proof even though our names do not appear on the voters roll and we
will be allowed to vote!
The names I have so far gathered go across
the ethnic divide.
I feel it is important to gather as much information
as possible should these receipts prove futile.
Please could you put
out a communique asking people who did do a transfer to make contact with me
at firstname.lastname@example.org ,stating full name,ID
No including prefix as soon as possible?
2: RE: MUGABE'S REMARKS ON FARMERS, received 24.3.2005
On the 19th March 2005 it was reported in the
Mail & Guardian (SA) that President Mugabe had made the following remarks
at a campaign rally, "we will kick out the few remaining white farmers if
they despise my government".
The few remaining white farmers who the
President referred to are represented by the CFU and it is they who will
speak for the remaining few. JAG seeks to speak for the dispossessed many.†
The Presidents remarks imply that the dispossessed white farmers despised his
government because it was black. The President's remarks are unfair and
uncalled for.† We only despise corruption; incompetence; nepotism; unjust
laws and mendacious propaganda.
In 1980 Comrade Mugabe made the
following statement in public to the white farmers, " I want you to stay,
there is room for all, stay and help me build a better Zimbabwe".
trusted you and we stayed. Bruce
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† please don't hesitate to
contact us - ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has expressed
concern at the slow accreditation of election monitors from civil society
The NGO said it was concerned that accreditation for civil
society monitors in the second city of Bulawayo had been delayed until
Friday. However, the statutory Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) this
week started deploying 30,000 election monitors around the country, all
drawn from the civil service.
The poll is to be held on 31
ZESN national director Rindai Chipfunde told IRIN that most of
their previous concerns, including the absence of constituency maps and
problems of lighting at rural polling stations, were being addressed
following consultations with government.
She, however, expressed
concern at the slow rate of accreditation of civil society monitors, adding
that it would affect their work as they could be deployed much latter than
others. ZESN had trained 6,500 election monitors for the poll.
of our earlier concerns have been addressed but we are still worried about
the slow accreditation of monitors. The ESC has already started deploying
its monitors but civil society organisations have to wait. Such delays can
affect the efficiency of the monitoring process," said
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Paul
Themba-Nyathi said the party was also worried about the high density of
polling stations in the rural areas compared to the urban areas. Rural areas
are traditionally ruling ZANU-PF party strongholds.
He also dismissed
government assertions that the number of registered voters per constituency
influenced the density of polling stations.
The government has increased
the number of polling stations from 5,000 in the last two elections to 8,227
for the coming polls.
Justice George Chiweshe, the chairman of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) told IRIN that constituency maps were
still being distributed. He added that all would be ready by Monday next
He also sought to allay concerns over security and lighting
problems in remote locations, adding that the state had agreed to provide
sufficient security at polling stations.
"The government has ordered
many candles and lanterns will be sourced from all government departments.
The police are there to ensure that the polling stations are protected. So
there is no cause for fear," said Chiweshe.
Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said all preparations were
on course. He said 43,600 out of the 50,000 translucent ballot boxes ordered
from China were already in the country. He said the remainder could arrive
anytime and would be taken to the polling centres immediately.
run-up to the elections has been characterised by civil society and
opposition allegations that they would not be free and fair, as they alleged
that the government had failed to fully comply with the Southern Africa
Development Community guidelines on democratic elections.