03/03/2008 17:38 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has made it illegal
to possess more than Zim$500m in cash, it emerged Monday -the equivalent of
21 US dollars.
According to a new regulation published last month, anyone found with more
than Zim$500m in cash will be guilty of "unlawful hoarding".
Officially Zim$500m is worth around US$16 000. But it equates to only around
US$21 on the dominant parallel market rates for foreign exchange.
It is also illegal for companies to settle any bills for more than US$250m
(just over US$10) in cash. That means it is now technically illegal for
traders to pay for 10 litres of fuel in cash.
The new regulation has been published under the Bank Use Promotion and
Suppression of Money Laundering Act.
The authorities want to maintain a tight grip on the cash in circulation.
Central bank governor Gideon Gono last December blamed what he called "cash
barons" for creating cash shortages and pushing up annual inflation, now
more than 100 000%.
The authorities want to encourage use of cheques and cards. But power cuts
mean it?s often impossible to settle bills by electronic transfer of funds.
Many schools and supermarkets do not want bills settled by cheque because of
roaring inflation rates. In the five or so days cheques take to clear,
traders stand to lose a significant amount of money.
Mon 3 Mar 2008, 15:51 GMT
By Haggai Chilabi
LUSAKA, March 3 (Reuters) - Europe wants to see an election result that
reflects the will of Zimbabweans in a March 29 poll, European Union trade
chief Peter Mandelson said on Monday.
But he said in the Zambian capital Lusaka it was not up to the EU to dictate
what the result should be.
Veteran Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is facing a challenge in the
presidential election from his former finance minister Simba Makoni, who is
standing as an independent after being expelled from the ruling ZANU-PF
Morgan Tsvangirai, a long time rival from the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), will also contest the election.
"The EU wants an election that will produce the result that the (Zimbabwean)
public wants and the people need. It's not for me or anyone else in the EU
to say what the result should be, but it needs to be one that reflects the
genuine will and mandate of the Zimbabwean people," Mandelson said.
"Above all, we want the people of Zimbabwe to win politically, economically
and socially because that's at stake," he told a news conference following a
meeting with ministers from east and southern Africa to discuss trade
Millions of Zimbabweans hoping for an end to a decade long economic crisis
are due to vote in presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections
described by Mugabe and his opponents as a landmark poll in the
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says the vote will
silence the opposition and shame Western critics who accuse him of rights
Mugabe rejects blame for daily hardships marked by the world's highest
inflation rate of over 100,000 percent, high unemployment and food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages.
He says Western powers working with the opposition have sabotaged the
economy in retaliation for his policy of seizing white-owned commercial
farms to resettle landless blacks. (Writing By Shapi Shacindal; Editing by
Mon Mar 3, 5:54 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's deputy Joyce Mujuru has
thrown her weight behind the veteran ruler's bid for a sixth term,
dispelling speculation linking her to Mugabe's rival Simba Makoni.
Mujuru was quoted by the state-owned Herald newspaper on Monday as saying at
a rally: "Firstly, you should vote for Comrade Mugabe, our presidential
candidate, then ZANU-PF (the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -
Patriotic Front) councillors, MPs and senators.
"You should vote for ZANU-PF."
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, is facing a
challenge from former finance minister Makoni whose campaign got a boost at
the weekend when ruling party heavyweights including two former cabinet
ministers publicly endorsed him.
Since Makoni announced early February he was challenging Mugabe for the
presidency at a general election on March 29, there has been widespread
speculation he enjoyed the tacit support of Mujuru as well as her
influential husband Solomon Mujuru, a former head of the armed forces.
Joyce Mujuru was at one stage seen as Mugabe's chosen successor before the
84-year-old decided to seek another term in office.
Before declaring his candidacy, Makoni had been a member of ZANU-PF's
politburo and has since claimed that he has the backing of many
disillusioned party cadres in a country where annual inflation is now over
Mugabe has likened his former finance minister to a prostitute.
Monsters and Critics
Mar 3, 2008, 9:08 GMT
Harare - The chairman of Zimbabwe's ruling party under President Robert
Mugabe says upheavals in ZANU-PF marked by the defection of senior
politicians are a 'non-event,' state radio reported Monday.
John Nkomo's comments came after Dumiso Dabengwa, a ZANU-PF politburo member
and veteran nationalist, announced that he would back ex-finance minister
Simba Makoni's bid for the presidency on March 29.
Other key former ZANU-PF personalities who have joined Makoni, include
one-time cabinet minister Edgar Tekere, former parliamentary speaker Cyril
Ndebele and former education minister Fay Chung.
'There is nothing alarming about the existence of pro-Makoni rebels within
the party as all previous opposition formations have come out of the ruling
party,' the radio quoted Nkomo as saying.
Makoni, also a longstanding member of Mugabe's politburo, made the shock
announcement in February that he would challenge the 84-year- old leader's
28-year old hold on power.
Makoni was immediately expelled from ZANU-PF. An angry Mugabe, who launched
his own election campaign on Friday, labelled Makoni an opportunist and a
In comments to reporters in Bulawayo, Nkomo said ZANU-PF rebels were
'sell-outs.' But, he said, their existence showed there was democracy in
Zimbabwe and the ruling party, said the radio report.
For the first time in Zimbabwe's history, the March 29 polls will see
Zimbabweans voting for parliamentarians, local councillors and a president
in one day.
Analysts predict there will be widespread confusion - there are nearly 1,000
candidates for the upper and lower houses of parliament alone.
Makoni will also be standing against main opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai of the larger of two factions of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), who lost to Mugabe by less than 500,000 votes in the last
March 03 2008 at 01:18PM
Harare - Police in Zimbabwe are on alert but do not anticipate "ugly
scenes of political violence" in March's make-or-break polls, a senior
police officer has said, according to reports on Monday.
Senior Assistant Commissioner Josephine Shambare said that the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) would not tolerate any disturbances in the
March 29 presidential, parliamentary and local government polls.
Shambare is the officer commanding the Police Support Unit, a
paramilitary police team instantly recognisable by its black boots and
navy-blue uniforms, usually brought out to deal with street disturbances.
"Although we do not anticipate any ugly scenes of political violence,
the Support Unit will remain vigilant, alert and ready to decisively deal
with any eventualities," she said.
"We encourage the electorate and contesting political parties to
remain peaceful during their campaigns and on the election day when people
will be exercising their democratic right to vote," Shambare added, in
comments carried by the official Herald daily on Monday.
Tensions have been rising ahead of the polls, which pit longtime
president Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF against the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and the
former finance minister Simba Makoni who has several independent backers.
Senior members of the ruling party are apparently furious with
officials who have pledged allegiance to Makoni, 57. There has also been
backbiting within the ranks of the MDC, with a breakaway faction of the
party slamming trade unionist-turned-politician Tsvangirai.
Analysts predict widespread confusion for Zimbabwean voters, who have
known only Mugabe as leader for 28 years.
There is widespread weariness with Zimbabwe's economic problems among
all but the wealthy and well-connected elite. Inflation is running at more
than 100 000 percent and there are shortages of basics like fuel, milk and
Bread sold for Z$6-million a loaf in some shops Monday, up from 4.5
million last week.
"We don't care who wins," a senior Zimbabwean college lecturer told
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"We just want something to bring change to this country." - Sapa-dpa
David Coltart | March 04, 2008
THINK of Zimbabwe and you may have a vision of the majestic Victoria Falls,
the breathtaking eastern highlands or the animals of the Hwange.
But the more realistic image of Zimbabwe today is of dictator Robert Mugabe
and the swollen, beaten faces of opposition leaders and supporters who dared
to attend a peaceful democracy gathering last March and were nearly killed
Elections scheduled for March 29 are not likely to change this scene,
despite the outward trappings of a democratic process.
The fact the elections are called for March 29 gives a clue as to the
absurdity of Mugabe's attempt to legitimise his brutal dictatorship. This
date gives opposition parties scant time to organise and rally their forces,
a task already made almost impossible due to crackdowns on media freedom and
on public gatherings.
To add crushing insult to considerable injury, the regime in the past few
weeks has begun detaining opposition leaders and supporters across the
country for acts that in democracies would be normal campaigning activities.
This week, the police have banned door-to-door campaigning and political
meetings held in the evening. Yet those of us in the opposition movement
take some heart from these tactics. They confirm to us and to the world that
Mugabe knows if free and fair elections were allowed, he would lose.
Should he win the March election, it will confirm an election, again, has
been shockingly rigged.
This should come as no surprise, not even to Mugabe. Subverting his heroic
role in gaining independence for Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia, in 1980,
he has become the most significant force holding Zimbabwe back from the
political and economic gains that are its right.
In the years following independence, Zimbabwe had the second largest economy
south of the Sahara and the third highest per capita gross domestic product.
In the first two years after independence, the economy grew by 24 per cent.
This was followed by 5 per cent annualised growth in the next 15 years. The
highest inflation rate was 12 per cent.
Since then, and especially since 2000, Zimbabwe has gone from being a
promising country, full of committed, highly literate and skilled people, to
a basket case with a population broken by years of neglect and numerous
assaults on their ever-dwindling liberties.
Today, 70 per cent of the country's commercial agriculture has been
destroyed by government mismanagement. Only 10 per cent of the winter food
crop was planted due to lack of fuel and fertilisers. More than four million
Zimbabweans are in need of food aid, 45 per cent of the population is
malnourished and unemployment is over 85 per cent. One in four of the
population has HIV-AIDS and 350 children in Zimbabwe are orphaned every day
due to the disease.
Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy in the world. Women can expect to
live to 34.
Inflation is running as high as 150,000 per cent. The price of a carton of
milk taken from a supermarket shelf can be higher by the time it reaches the
It should come as no surprise that Zimbabwe has the world's second highest
per capita diaspora, following only Palestine.
This is an election that has significance not just in Zimbabwe. As Africans
across the continent come to terms with growing opportunities and the
benefits of good governance, a model is needed. A free Zimbabwe could be in
a position to offer leadership for a democratic Africa.
Should the world community let this moment pass without ensuring the March
29 poll is sufficiently democratic, despots across the continent will
understand that the will to remove their dead hand on African progress has
again failed to emerge.
The signs are not good, as few leaders have seen fit to censure Mugabe's
ridiculous election timetable or to sufficiently engage the democracy
movement in the country.
The time has come for Zimbabwe to remove a dictator who can promise only the
direst future for all but a few Zimbabweans. It is incumbent on the global
community to ensure these elections are fair and free, for the truth is that
today they are not and are not likely to be. That's a tragedy for Zimbabwe
and for Africa.
David Coltart is shadow justice minister for the Movement for Democratic
Change and a member of Zimbabwe's parliament.
By Torby Chimhashu & Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/03/2008 20:28:24
INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Simba Makoni on Sunday came short of
branding President Robert Mugabe a liar when he expressed surprise at
remarks by the 84-year-old leader that the former Finance Minister wanted to
reverse land reforms for the benefit white land orders forcibly driven out
of their properties since 2000.
"I would not have believed it had I not seen him personally on television on
Friday," Makoni told supporters at a campaign rally in Harare. "Had someone
told me that Mugabe said I will return the land to whites, I would not have
"But what he said is not true. When did I say it (that I would return farms
to whites) and where did I make such pronouncements? I, Simba Makoni Nyathi
(his totem) won't reverse agrarian reforms but will make sure that those
with multiple farms are taken and given to deserving people. In short, I
will give the farms to the deserving majority not a few politicians who have
grabbed farming equipment and parade at their idle farms."
Makoni accused Mugabe of hypocrisy. The Zanu PF leader, said Makoni,
publicly castigated multiple farm owners but would cool off in his cabinet
and politburo meetings where "he sat with multiple farm owners".
He charged that Mugabe had backtracked on his policy of "one farm per
Warned Makoni: "Those with more than one farm each, those who took farms by
force saying 'there is a nice house on top of the mountain; there is a dam -- there shall be gnashing of teeth! They will face the consequences.
"I advocate for a fair, transparent, equitable and just land reform not a
skewed exercise that breeds starvation. An audit under Mavambo/Kusile (A New
Beginning) will give land to the majority. We have noted that nothing
tangible came out of the land audits did by Charles Utete and Flora Bhuka.
Now we hear Didymus Mutasa has his own (audit)."
Mugabe, while addressing his supporters in Harare on Friday, tore into
Makoni and accused him of wanting to reverse his controversial land
The octogenarian leader launched a scathing attack on his former minister by
labelling him "a British stooge, political witch, charlatan and prostitute".
Since the land seizures began in 2000, Zimbabwe has seen a dramatic decline
in food reserves. For the eighth year running, the country is grappling with
a food deficit.
Makoni also moved to quash speculation that he could be a decoy for Mugabe.
"There those who say I am still with Mugabe. I will not go backwards," he
3rd Mar 2008 11:56 GMT
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
HARARE - Dr Simba Makoni yesterday launched his presidential election
campaign with a scathing attack on President Robert Mugabe whom he accused
of having reneging on the pledges he made to Zimbabweans at independence and
paying lip service to fighting corruption.
Addressing about 5000 people who had thronged Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields
the former Finance minister said Mugabe - whom referred throughout his one
hour speech as 'father' or 'granny of my children' - was responsible for
the economic meltdown and was not making any efforts to breathe life into
"At independence he (Mugabe) talked of unity and growth with equity and that
is the way we started. If we had remained on that track we would not be
having all these problems. We had laid a solid foundation good for our
country but along the way we got corrupted with power and forgot about the
people's wishes," said Makoni in Shona. He used Shona throughout his
The rally was charged. Makoni had to plead with supporters after a police
officer asked him to wind up his speech.
Police mounted roadblocks in most suburbs and asking cars ferrying people to
the rally to make a u-turn.
Makoni denied allegations by Mugabe that he was being used by the Western
"Why is it that anyone with a different view becomes an enemy and must be
discarded?" said Makoni. "After all these years working with him closely him
giving me major tasks and responsibilities and he used to keep quiet, only
that I have announced that I differ with him I become an enemy? We need ask
the people who is the real enemy of the people."
He ruled out going back to Zanu PF. "I want to make it clear that I was
never sent by baba neither am I working with Zanu PF to scuttle the
opposition vote. There (in Zanu PF) I left and I will not go back t. But I
want to say there are many Zanu PF people who support me, even in MDC there
are there," said Makoni.
Notable former senior Zanu PF people who attended the rally include former
Makonde MP Kindness Paradza, former education minister Fay Chung, Margret
Dongo, Edgar Tekera and Ibbotson Mandaza
He said if elected into power at the 29 March election he would fight
corruption and address the tottering economy mainly through a transparent
"Year after year, he (Mugabe) loses voice condemning corruption even to an
extent of saying he knows some senior Zanu PF members yet he does nothing
about it. Under new dawn there won't be sacred cows," said Makoni.
Makoni refuted what Mugabe said on Friday that he would reverse the land
"I want to know when I said I would return the land to the enemy. I never
said that," said Makoni. "Year after year he loses voice talking of multiple
farm owners. Yet senior people in his Politburo have six or even more farms.
Under a new dawn there will be a gnashing of teeth for those multiple farm
owners which they grabbed for various reasons. We want land distributed
fairly and equitably to rectify the chaos identified in the four different
Makoni said he wants the price control and stringent foreign currency
He made an attack on Zanu PF government for being hypocrites.
"After they destroyed education system they now send their children abroad
to write exams which they tell us that they are for colonial masters," said
"In hospitals, the main functioning department is a mortuary. If a leader
falls sick they go to Morningside Clinic, what about the entire populace?"
He said he wanted the manufacturing and mining sectors to resume operations
at full throttle by addressing the power shortages and removing price
controls. He said a culture of self-reliance needed to be addressed.
He said: "Self-determination is not about reliance, even communal farmers
must be able to buy their needs if the economy has life, in 1986, they used
to feed the entire nation and have surplus for export but the nation is now
relying on food handouts. Why? It is because we destroyed the nation. We now
stay in darkness but we had power supplies for the whole country. Patients
are now dying because they can be in theatre because of constant power
3rd March 2008 -
MDC candidates and supporters continue to be arrested and intimidated by the
police and state security agents ahead of the March 29 elections with the
parliamentary candidate for Bulawayo East, Thabita Khumalo being arrested
for carrying out a door to door campaign in the constituency in the latest
clampdown on the party members.
Khumalo, who is also the party's deputy secretary for information and
publicity and other MDC activists were carrying out a door to door voter
education campaign in the area when they were arrested by the police at
taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station.
The group was still detained at the police station by late today.
Last Friday the MDC candidate for St Mary's, Marvelous Khumalo and other 11
party members including three councilors were also arrested for carrying a
door-to-door campaign. He was denied bail today and he was remanded to
tomorrow. He is still detained at Chitungwiza Police Station.
One of the 11 party members from St Mary's was seriously injured when he was
attacked with an axe on the head by a council security guard. The injured
MDC member is recovering at Avenues Clinic in Harare.
Throughout the country, cases of violence against MDC continue to escalate.
The MDC believes that the arrests by the police and state security agents is
a systematic campaign of frustrating MDC supporters and candidates ahead of
the harmonised elections.
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 February 2008
Posted to the web 3 March 2008
We received reports from residents of Mabvuku and Tafara high-density areas
of Harare that people have been dying from water borne diseases. Their
sewerage systems have collapsed and the authorities are doing nothing about
Residents described shocking situations where human excrement is flowing
into the back yards where they grow vegetables. Anyone who has visited says
the stench is unbearable.
Schools and nurseries are surrounded by sewerage flowing through the streets
and vendors are selling fruit and vegetables in the midst of all this.
Sherpard Madamombe, a parliamentary candidate for Mabvuku-Tafara in the
Tsvangirai MDC, said he recently toured the area and was shocked to see how
much sewerage was actually on the streets. He said some residents can no
longer access their homes because human waste was flowing right into their
houses. And people are dying from diarrhea and dysentery.
Madamombe said desperate residents dug a borehole in order to have drinking
water, but the well is located close to a huge pit to where sewerage is
being re-directed. He thanked a non-governmental organisation called Doctors
without Borders because they are providing chemicals to treat some of the
drinking water. Madamombe said UNICEF, the UN children's unit, has also been
bringing water bowsers to the area.
As for electricity, Madamombe said areas like Chinjanje and Old Tafara have
had no power for about 9 months now. Old Tafara is where the district office
is located. The local officials used to use computers, but without power
they now have to resort to ball point pens to record rent payments made by
Madamombe said government officials went around taking notes recently but
nothing has been done so far. The city of Harare and all its surrounding
suburbs have been neglected since the elected Mayor Elias Mudzuri and
elected councilors were removed illegally by the Minister of Local
government Ignatius Chombo - who then appointed commissioners to run the
city. They have raised rates but are not providing any services. Corruption
and mismanagement have also been rampant.
by Nqobizitha Khumalo & Lizwe Sebatha Tuesday 04 March
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe authorities on Monday refused to say when they
would announce election results, as non-governmental organisations said the
state's electoral commission lacked capacity and could take up to a week to
name poll winners.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said it would not commit
itself to a date when it would announce results of the March 29 polls for
fear this could spark Kenyan-style post-election violence in the event it
failed to keep the promise because of possible delays in the voting process.
"We do not want to be accused of rigging elections if we release the
results earlier or later than the estimated dates . . . doing so might also
spark post-election violence, similar to that experienced in Kenya," ZEC
spokesman Shupikai Mashereni told ZimOnline by phone.
But the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said the commission
did not have the logistical capacity to run the multiple elections, the
first ever in which Zimbabweans will choose a new president, senators, House
of Assembly representatives and local councillors.
"The ZEC has no capacity and the logistics to handle this election so
the results might take between four days and one week before they are
announced," said ZESN chairman, Noel Kututwa.
The ZESN is a coalition of civic groups and is involved in providing
voter education and monitoring of the electoral environment before and after
Opposition parties and election observers have in the past argued that
delays in announcing poll winners allow time to tamper with results.
But Zimbabwe's Electoral Act does not set out specific time limits
within which results should be announced, only saying this should happen
immediately when results are ready and available.
Zimbabwe goes to polls amid an acute economic recession critics blame
on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe and seen in the world's highest
inflation rate of more than 100 000 percent, 80 percent unemployment and
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.
However, analysts say an unfair playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory. The veteran leader - who at one time boasted that no one could have
run Zimbabwe better than him - has promised a landslide victory against main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba
Makoni. - ZimOnline
by Prince Nyathi Monday 03 March 2008
HARARE - The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party has accused the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) of
imposing a blackout on its activities ahead of elections this month.
The MDC said ZBH was seeking to prop up President Robert Mugabe and
his ZANU PF party's campaign through favourable coverage, in what the
opposition party said was a breach of regional guidelines that all political
parties should receive equal coverage in the public media.
Zimbabwe holds presidential, parliamentary and council elections on 29
March and Mugabe's government faces a tricky challenge from the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC and from former finance minister Simba Makoni who is
running as an independent but has the backing of a smaller faction of the
divided MDC led by Arthur Mutambara.
"It is our view that ZBH has abused its privilege to give unfair
advantage to ZANU PF and its candidate even though as a publicly funded
broadcaster, you are expected to give equal coverage to all political
players," MDC information director Luke Tamborinyoka wrote in a letter to
ZBH boss, Henry Muradzikwa, dated February 27.
The ZBH runs the country's only radio and television stations and has
the widest reach beyond independent newspapers that give fair coverage to
the opposition but circulate almost exclusively in urban and peri-urban
There are at least three smaller radio stations that broadcast into
Zimbabwe from outside the country but they do not have the same impact as
ZBH. The government has from time-to-time jammed signals from the
foreign-based radio stations.
Tamborinyoka said the ZBH gave prime time coverage to ZANU PF and
Mugabe while ignoring the opposition and cited as an example the broadcaster's
failure to cover the launching of the MDC campaign manifetso in Mutare city.
ZBH did not send reporters to the event even though it had been
invited but instead devoted several hours to reporting Mugabe's 84th
birthday celebration, which the veteran leader used to attack and denigrate
Muradzikwa was not immediately available for comment on the matter
while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that conducts elections and has
responsibility to ensure fairness said it was finishing preparing new
regulations on the coverage of contestants in the polls.
"The regulations are being finalised and I can't comment further than
that until the regulations are in place," ZEC spokesman Utoile Silaigwana.
He did not say when exactly the regulations would be announced.
Analysts say an unfair political playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory at the polls despite his failure to end Zimbabwe's severe economic
crisis seen in the world's highest inflation rate of more than 100 000
percent, 80 percent unemployment and shortages of food, fuel and foreign
currency. - ZimOnline
SW Radio Africa Transcript
Hot Seat interview: Violet Gonda interviews Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga
from the Mutambara MDC.
Broadcast Friday 29 February 2008
Violet Gonda: On the programme Hot Seat this week I am speaking to Priscilla
Misihairabwi Mushonga, the Deputy Secretary General of the Mutambara MDC.
Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga: Thank you, thank you Violet.
Violet: Let me start with the electoral environment in the country right now
and with the elections around the corner, do you think they will be free and
Priscilla : Certainly, we have never been under any elusion that these
elections will be free and fair but what is getting clearer by the day is
that these elections will actually be much more difficult and that the
environment will also be much stricter than it has been or that it was in
2005. Because we are noticing that the police for example are stopping
candidates from doing evening meetings. I know that Trudy Stevenson has been
stopped from having her evening meetings and she's currently trying to do a
court petition at the moment. We know that people have been picked up for
doing door-to-door campaign, they now have something ridiculous like a
charge called Criminal Nuisance or something like that, and whilst we had
amendments on POSA, that were supposed to create much more freer and better
environment, the police are not taking on any of those things that they have
put on to POSA. They are forcing themselves onto new meetings and wanting to
sit into party meetings. They are not acknowledging the rules that you can
have 15 people gathered without necessarily having to asking police
permission. So clearly, you can see that ZANU PF is going to make this
election much, much, much more difficult than it has been in 2005.
Violet : Clearly things are worsening and one would ask why participate in
such an environment?
Priscilla : Well we have made it very clear, our formation has made it very
clear, that we will participate in every election because we want to make
the cost of the dictatorship expensive; we are not going to allow ZANU PF to
have a free ride in anything in any form of election. We will fight them
tooth and nail in anything that they will try to do; secondly we do not
believe that just passing boycotts will make a difference. We need to show
ZANU PF for what it is - a dictatorship. If ZANU PF allowed us to have free
and fair elections there would not be a dictator, there would not be a
dictatorship, so the very fact that they are behaving the way that they are
behaving only proves our point and we will make sure that we make it clear
to the world that when we say this is a regime that is not going to allow
for a proper and easy transition of change over of power, then we need to
put it to practice and we will do this every other minute and every other
time there is need for a contest. We will contest them.
Violet : What about the issue of the Presidential race. Why did Professor
Arthur Mutambara stand down in the Presidential race?
Priscilla : You will remember that from day one what Professor Mutambara
always said is that we want to make sure that every vote counts. It does not
matter how small that vote is, it does not matter who is voting but as long
as that individual is voting against Mugabe, we do not want to ever sit down
and say we wasted a vote. The only way you can make a vote count is to make
sure that you have a one Presidential candidate. We've spent the last 8
months talking to our colleagues in the other MDC and had hoped that we'd
reach an agreement to make sure that at least we would have one candidate
from President to the lowest level and unfortunately our colleagues had a
different thinking around what we should be doing and decided to pull out at
the last minute. When Simba Makoni came into the race and because we still
believed in the one candidate philosophy, we then decided that whilst we may
not necessarily have an electoral pact with him, we will call upon our
supporters and everybody else to make sure that they do put their vote on
for Simba Makoni because he is standing against Robert Mugabe.
Violet : I will come to that issue about your alliance or the relationship
you have with the Simba Makoni formation. But I want to go back to the issue
of Professor Arthur Mutambara standing down. Does it not hurt your chances
as the Mutambara MDC - does it not hurt your chances of representation when
you don't have a Presidential candidate?
Priscilla : Certainly not! We think it is stupid for anybody right now to
think that if you have three candidates you can make it with those three
candidates - and in that way I am talking about opposition candidates. All
it would mean is that the more Presidential candidates you have, the less
you have chances to win the Presidential race and in our thinking what we
need in Zimbabwe right now is to make sure that we make use of the capacity
and the resources that we have, and we believe that we should spend our
energies and resources in making sure that we have enough Senators and
enough Councillors and enough Members of Parliament to make a difference -
when you need some kind of coalition of forces of the opposition. And that
is what we are spending most of our energies on, instead of putting in
energies on a Presidential race where you know by the mere fact that you now
have three opposition people that are running the chances of actually making
it in that race is pretty. And we have decided to actually be the ones who
will say "we will pull out", if only to enhance the chances of those that
are staying in to be able to beat Mugabe.
Violet : Could it be said that Professor Arthur Mutambara knew he had no
following and that your group was weak and that is why he opted for a
Priscilla : Well people can say whatever it is they want to say but I am
sure that any person that has any form of brain would understand that just
merely trying to run in a race and you already are three of you, would mean
that you would divide whatever vote that you have. Whether he was the one
who was going to have the least vote, for us it's not important. All it
means is that whatever votes he was going to get is a vote that could be
added to another Presidential candidate who is fighting against Robert
Mugabe. So it only makes sense to anybody to then decide that this is what
we are going to do but he had also said "I still want to be a player, I will
find a constituency, I will mobilise at a constituency level and I will make
sure that the vote that I will get from that constituency level becomes a
vote that adds up to the totality of the votes against Robert Gabriel
Mugabe." I think people should be concentrating much more on the principle,
and the value and the need to begin to say, "this is not about Arthur
Mutambara, it is about making sure that I become part of a group, part of an
alliance that works against Robert Gabriel Mugabe, because for some of us
this election is not about who becomes the best opposition leader. This is
about how do we ensure the we enhance the chances for the people of Zimbabwe
who have had so much suffering, to get rid of this regime and to get rid of
Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
Violet : But on the issue of representation, you didn't field candidates in
many of these constituencies - whether it's for the Parliamentary race or
the Senatorial. Now is this an exception that you are weak and what is your
game plan since you don't have a lot of candidates?
Priscilla : That actually not true, that's actually not true. In fact we
fielded 65% of the places where we needed to field. And again our fielding
has just not been willy-nilly, we literally have fielded in areas where we
believe we have the potential to be able to make a difference. We do not
believe that you can go and field a candidate in Umzumba Maramba Pfungwe
where up until now we have not been able to hold a rally and attract more
than a 1 000 people in UMP. But in those areas where we have structures and
we have work that has gone on we have actually fielded candidates. You'll
remember that when we did the rural council elections, again people asked us
the same questions; "Oh the Tsvangirai grouping had fielded candidates in
every other area," but if you look at the results of those rural council
elections - we had 41 they had 40 but they had fielded in more areas. So we
will be able to see whether fielding in every other place makes a difference
or making sure that you invest your resources, you invest your time in those
constituencies in which you believe you have the capacity and the ability to
be able to win. So we believe that in is close to 65-70% of the places in
Zimbabwe we have fielded candidates and that's where we are spending most of
our time in. We are not going to waste our time in places where we know up
to now we have not done enough work.
Violet : Since now you are not contesting in the Presidential race, have you
now accepted that you are just a parliamentary opposition?
Priscilla : Certainly not. I don't know where people are getting that from
and the world over; you will find that people only begin to negotiate on
particular leadership when they now have seats in their hands. It would be
interesting and we may want to have these discussions after the 29 th and
actually indicate who has more power in the event that you are now
discussing serious coalition within opposition forces. So anybody who is
going into these elections and think they can have a clean sweep, are
probably lying to themselves. Any opposition force that is going on right
now should be going on with the understanding that any government that is
going to be coming, is going to be a government based on a coalition, going
to be a government based on issues of power sharing and perhaps at this
stage that's what Zimbabwe needs. We have had more than 28 years of a
dominant party. We need to begin to dismantle that kind of thinking.
The reason why most other countries in Europe are successful is because you
don't necessarily have a one party that is dominant. It is dangerous it
should never be repeated. Power rests in Parliament, power rests in
Senatorial, power rests in local government and you can only begin to put
yourself in checks balances if you do have that. Yes it is clear we have
made up our minds, at this stage we are not necessarily running for
President but you may be surprised that in terms of forming a coalition
government we may actually be the political party that holds power and
controls whoever becomes the President after 29 th of March.
Violet : Now tell us a bit more about this coalition because Professor
Arthur Mutambara told journalists that he had made an alliance with Dr
Makoni and I think I saw an article a couple of weeks ago where you were
quoted also saying that you had formed this alliance with the Makoni
formation. But Dr Makoni has been on the record, he's been interviewed on
South African radio saying that he is not seeking alliance. So what really
is the relationship between your group and that of Dr Makoni's?
Priscilla : Let's just correct that. Professor Mutambara at the press
conference did not refer to any alliance. I have not referred to any
alliance. What we said at the press conference was that we were endorsing
Simba Makoni as the Presidential candidate. Simba Makoni is standing as an
Independent; he is not in alliance with us. We do not have an electoral
pact, we have no agreement. We were seeking an agreement with our colleagues
in the MDC because we have always been in one party. We were talking around
issues of reunification. We have not discussed with Simba Makoni over issues
of policy, over issues of ideology. We have only said for purposes of this
election because you have three candidates - you have Robert Gabriel Mugabe,
you have Simba Makoni and you have Morgan Tsvangirai. We were having
discussions with Morgan Tsvangirai who refuted and said he does not want to
be working with us as a formation.
You are then left with two Presidential candidates: who is Simba Makoni and
Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We cannot support Robert Mugabe because we are
fighting against the system of Robert Mugabe. Which leaves us with one
candidate and that particular person has said, "I am standing as an
Independent, I am willing to work with every other Zimbabwean who believes
that I have the potential of being a Presidential candidate," and we have
said at a strategic level - because we believe this is somebody who is
coming from ZANU PF, who has the potential of breaking down the institution
of ZANU PF - we will endorse his candidature.
So at no point have we spoken about an alliance with Simba, at no point have
we said we have an agreement or an electoral pact. We have said we are
endorsing his candidature; it is like the Kennedys waking up in the morning
and saying we are endorsing the candidature of Obama. You are merely saying
I am asking every other person who believes in me and think they can vote
for me, that when they vote for me, they can also vote for Simba Makoni. But
you are not necessarily saying I am going to be standing up and talking of
the policies of Simba. It is not our mandate, we hold no brief for Simba
Makoni but at this particular point in time given the candidates that we
have for Presidential he is the candidate that we have endorsed.
Violet : Some will ask that how is it you will still endorse a man like
Simba Makoni who refuses to say he is against Robert Mugabe and refuses to
publicly condemn what the system has done. Does this not worry you that you
are endorsing such a person? How would you answer that?
Priscilla : Again it is not true that Simba Makoni has said he is not
against Robert Mugabe otherwise he would not be standing against the man. He
has said his politics is not about fighting individuals and I think it is a
good policy. It is a change to the concept that when you go into an election
and you are opposing an individual you should be seen as particularly an
enemy to this individual. It is a change of that culture and a change of
language. I at a personal level appreciate that we have got somebody who is
beginning to make a difference between being an opposition or a competitor
to say I am against you. You are never against an individual. You are merely
at that time a competitor for a particular post. So let's clear that.
What he has also said is that he would have preferred under normal
circumstances to be able to hold a contest with Mugabe within the ZANU PF
because he believes that his leadership in ZANU PF has led to the kind of
disastrous policies that are in ZANU PF, but because he was not given an
opportunity to do so precisely because that system has become undemocratic -
he is doing it outside the system. That he believes there are people who are
within ZANU PF who still believe that ZANUPF is a good party but are against
leadership things of Robert Mugabe and certain policies that are being
undertaken within that political party. Who still supports him? And I think
it is right for somebody to be that open and to be that frank. If ZANU PF
had given him an opportunity he would have wanted to change ZANU PF and
still contested under ZANU PF but he was not given the opportunity to do so
and he is now doing it as an Independent. It's actually nothing wrong with
It is exactly the same as somebody like Jacob Zuma. If he had not been given
the opportunity to be able to stand in the ANC and challenge Thabo Mbeki, if
he had then gone out and said I still believe in the ANC, I believe it is a
revolutionary party but because it has not allowed me as Jacob Zuma to be a
contestant in the ANC I am now forming a political party or I am standing as
an Independent. How does that make a person a bad person? I don't
Violet : Priscilla it's known that your group has shadow structures on the
ground in Zimbabwe and it appears that Dr Makoni has none or no structures
at present. So are you his surrogate structures now or rather, what is he
getting from your endorsement?
Priscilla : Precisely not. What is sad about Zimbabweans Violet is that we
have become such a skeptical nation that even when the opportunities are
provided to make a difference, we spend so much time being negative. For me
what Simba Makoni did this time is the most brilliant strategy that anybody
in ZANUPF has ever thought about, because if you get out of the system you
do not inherit the structures of ZANU PF. If Simba Makoni had gotten out and
said I am forming a political party, it would have been difficult for him to
inherit some of the structures that are in ZANU PF. So in fact, what the
structures that Simba is using for himself are ZANU PF structures. So you
literally have two parties within one. You have a Simba Makoni side and you
have a Robert Mugabe side. What does it mean? It means you have the best
strategy of destroying that particular institution. The reason why
opposition political parties have failed year after year is because we have
always been operating from outside of ZANU PF and not necessarily eating
ZANU PF from within. And what Simba Makoni is attempting to do -whether he
will be successful or not successful - but for me it is a beginning of
something that we need to have if we are going to destroy the institution of
ZANU PF. And not one person can give me an example of any African Political
party where you have been able to deal with it without finding ways of
dismantling it either by having some people from within the system eating
out of it or by having people within the system beginning to challenge the
system and I think it is the best thing.
So, if he is able to balance dividing ZANU PF and picking out people that
are from outside the ZANU PF without necessarily having to sit down on the
table and saying this is what I am going to give you, the reason why our own
arrangement that we were trying to do with our brothers and sisters in the
Morgan Tsvangirai group, the reason why they failed is that people became so
pre-occupied with provisions and where they are going to be - to such an
extent that people lost the bigger picture. People were more worried about
how many seats and who is going to be standing in what area in Bulawayo and
Matabeleland that they forgot the struggle was about Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
With Simba Makoni no one is sitting around him trying to find out whether
they will be a cabinet minister. That can only happen afterwards. At the
moment if you support Simba, you are only supporting him because you believe
he is able to mobilize enough votes to dislodge Robert Gabriel Mugabe. Simba
is not looking to dislodge ZANU PF, he has no candidates to dislodge ZANU
PF. Simba is looking to dislodge Robert Gabriel Mugabe. We are looking to
dislodge ZANU PF at Parliamentary, Senatorial and Council level. I think if
we were all of us, as Zimbabweans, were to agree that this is the two tier
strategy we are going to use that would to be the formula to do so but
unfortunately Zimbabweans being Zimbabweans, we are spending so much time
doing a critique around; "Why is it someone that was in ZANU PF is now
outside ZANU PF, why he is not castigating ZANU PF?" I think it is sad and
sometimes I actually think that Zimbabweans deserve Robert Mugabe because
sometimes we behave like we deserve him.
Violet : But Priscilla with all due respect you must understand that people
have suffered at the hands of this despotic regime so it's only natural for
people to feel this way. That's why people would ask your group that what
makes you think that Simba Makoni will be different since his been part of
this regime for a long time. And you yourself have admitted that you don't
know his strategies, you don't know his policies, so how can your group
trust this formation if you don't know anything? All you have done is to.
Priscilla : No! It's not totally true to say we don't know Simba, we know
Simba. We know Simba is the one Minister of Finance who was fired by Robert
Gabriel Mugabe because he happened to speak his mind. We know that Simba is
one Zimbabwean . (interject)
Violet: But do we really know. (Interject)
Violet : But do we really know the conditions for which Makoni was fired, do
you really know why he was fired?
Priscilla : Yes! I know that! I was the chairperson of the Public Accounts
Committee and I know that Simba was fired because at that stage he was
against the monies that were going to be given to the war veterans, the
$50,000 that was going to be given to war veterans. I now that Simba was
fired because at that time he was talking about the issue of devaluation of
the Zimbabwean dollar. People should not pretend they don't know that and
everybody in ZANU PF who you speak to, knows that if there is anybody who in
a Politburo meeting and was able to take Mugabe on and ask him questions it
would be Simba. So we know that.
But I think also Violet every other person who is in the opposition right
now, the majority of them, perhaps with some of us who have not been
necessarily been in ZANU PF, the majority of those people have been in ZANU
PF. Morgan Tsvangirai was a member of ZANU PF. He was a member of ZANU PF.
When he was a secretary general of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions,
he was a member of ZANU PF. He would invite Ministers in ZANU PF. We have
war veterans from ZAPU and ZANU who currently are leaders in the Movement
for Democratic Change. We can not punish people because they were part of
the system at some stage. If somebody said I tried to deal with the system
when I was there now I have gotten out of it I want to challenge this
individual they can't be punished. In fact they are having double standard.
All those people who were part of ZANU PF should never be in the opposition
if that is the position that we are going to take.
The only thing that I said about Simba is that the reason why I could sit
down and openly say to you we are having an agreement with the Tsvangirai
grouping is that at the time we were discussing, we were discussing a
reunification and we were discussing the values and principles that set up
the Movement for Democratic Change. So I could come out tomorrow and say I
have an agreement with these guys because that agreement followed the values
and principles and everything else in an ideological issue. Those things
have still not been clarified by Simba - at the moment, which is why I did
not go into an electoral pact and I still feel that if I have enough votes,
if I have enough MPs enough Senators I will be able to influence some of the
policies that he has if he then seeks a coalition with me. But at this
particular point in time I think he has got the best chance of dealing with
Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He holds the biggest axe to deal with this man and I
will support him. What is the alternative?
The alternative is to say Robert Gabriel Mugabe stays in power. The
alternative is not to support Morgan Tsvangirai because he has said he doesn't
want my support. So that is the position that we are in as the Mutambara
grouping and clearly given the choices that we have at the moment the only
choice that we've got is to endorse Simba but we are not going to be his
foot soldiers. We cannot speak on his behalf; we can only say given these
choices we think our best bet is Simba. If the people of Zimbabwe think
Morgan Tsvangirai is the there best bet we respect their decision to do so.
But I as Priscilla when I get into that ballot box will vote for Simba
because he is the one who has asked for my vote. I wanted to give my vote to
Morgan Tsvangirai he said he doesn't want it and I respect his position and
I will not force him.
Violet; Why do you think Morgan Tsvangirai said he didn't want your vote?
What went wrong?
Priscilla: Some of us who were part of the negotiations, I will tell you
Violet, are still in shock because by Saturday at 12 midnight we could have
signed that agreement but by 7:30 in the morning Tsvangirai was a completely
different person altogether. I believe two things could have happened. The
first thing is I believe either during the process in which we were
negotiating they were not negotiating in good faith, that they were playing
some game that we will have to find out one day. Or if I give them the
benefit of the doubt I believe the system, which is the CIO, must have gone
to Tsvangirai between the time we finished our meeting at 12 midnight on
Saturday to 7:30 in the morning and must have either lied to him and said to
him if you go back to these guys and say to them; "unless if you give me the
entire Matabeleland, I am not prepared to go into this process with you."
Told him that we were so desperate that if he demanded for the entire
Matabeleland we would still agree to an agreement. But certainly sometime
later on in life somebody will be able to write a story or will be able to
tell us who went to Tsvangirai's house from midnight on Saturday to 7:30 .
Because we had a meeting on Friday and if at that meeting on Friday while we
were negotiating, if the negotiations had broken down, I would honestly be
saying to you Violet that we both can be held responsible for those
negotiations breaking down. Because at some stage we all got emotional and I
remember all of us picking up our papers and saying this is useless! The
only person who sat in that room and looked at all of us and said, "you can
be as angry as you want, you can throw as much tantrum as you want but I, as
Morgan Tsvangirai am not walking out of that door facing the people of
Zimbabwe under a divided MDC."
So I am very convinced that from the time we started talking on Thursday,
Friday and even Saturday Morgan Tsvangirai was committed to having a united
MDC but something happened between 12midnight and 7:30am . And anyone who
knows who Morgan saw between 12 and 7:30 will one day tell us who that
individual is because that person was paid big money and he was paid big
money by the system! That's all I can say.
Violet: Some analysts say it was egos and nothing regarding policies and
strategies that could have caused the unity talks to fail. Do you agree?
Priscilla: No but I am telling you Violet, in fact our formation has put out
a day blow by blow account of what was happening on each day from the time
we started negotiating to the time that these things broke down! And if
those analysts have anything to say they should go and look at that blow by
blow account and be able to tell us, like I am saying, what happened between
12 midnight and 7:30 ? Because at 12 midnight on Saturday we were only left
with talking on two constituencies and those constituencies were whether we
were going to be giving Morgan Tsvangirai two other constituencies - one
from Mat North and one from Mat South in exchange to nothing or whether they
were going to be giving us two other constituencies in exchange for
something. We had gone through all the egos that you are talking about. We
had gone through all the tantrums and the madness that could have broken the
negotiations and it does not make sense to me that Tsvangirai was able to go
through all the madness of these negotiations and decided on the Sunday at
7:30 to say he is no longer interested in these negotiations. Something
happened! Somebody spoke to him! And that person can only be someone who new
that a united front would be a sure way of Robert Mugabe getting out of
power and that is the person that the analysts and everybody who cares about
Zimbabwe needs to find out. At least I personally am going to spend all my
living life trying to find out who that person is because he is a very
dangerous individual and I say "he" because I believe it can only be a man.
Violet: Now Priscilla why would you believe it could only be a man and not
some women in the opposition?
Priscilla: Because at the time those negotiations were taking place - there
were only two women on the Tsvangirai side. It was Teresa Makone and
Thokozani Khupe. At the time we came back to Zimbabwe and started these
negotiations the only other two women in the opposition were myself and
Miriam Mushayi. Secondly we could not have been the people who went to
Morgan Tsvangirai's house. So the people who were present on the last day of
these negotiations were the men and Teresa Makone. I do not want to give
Teresa Makone the power that she may have turned this thing around. After
all she had just entered the leadership in the last few days. It is possible
it may have been her but I believe out of the men who were sitting at that
table and in my mind it is wrong to say it is this individual but when I
finally finish the book that I am writing I may just have the guts to name
this particular individual because I have a very strong suspicion that among
those men that were negotiating, one of the very high profile people in the
Tsvangirai camp - who is said to have gone to Tsvangirai's house at about
1:30 in the morning - is the person who was sent by the security forces. And
is the person who actually made sure that these negotiations don't come to
Violet: Had you established a coalition with the Tsvangirai MDC would you
have pushed harder for a broader coalition with Makoni as well?
Priscilla: Certainly. I actually believe that if we had had the United Front
Simba Makoni would have had no choice but to actually come into the broader
grouping because it would have been established already that you'd have no
choice but to work within the broader formation of the progressive forces.
The reason why Simba was then able to come out as an Independent is I purely
believe it's because the kind of coalition, the kind of reunification that
needed to take place between the two MDC had fallen through.
The other aspect which people are not talking about which I am going to talk
about Violet, is the very fact that we have the males in Civic Society who
are working very hard to make sure that this United Front did not take
place. And some of those males have spoken to me personally so I am not
talking about things that I have heard from outside. These males have said
they want Morgan Tsvangirai to participate in this election as an individual
with a fractured MDC. They want to make sure that Morgan Tsvangirai loses
this election so that he gets out of the way so that those males who are in
Civic Society will then come in and inherit the structures that are in the
Morgan Tsvangirai group and become the leaders in the MDC - Tsvangirai
grouping. These are the same males who were at the center of divisions of
the MDC, the same males that have organized a convention and have decided as
Civic Society they will say, "we will endorse Morgan Tsvangirai," when
everyday of their lives they are the same males who have been talking to
some of us, calling Morgan Tsvangirai a sellout with Amendment 18, calling
him unreasonable, calling him uneducated, calling him all sorts of names.
And it is the same males who are standing up right now pretending that they
are supporting Morgan Tsvangirai. And it is important for the world to know
Violet: But who are these people?
Priscilla: . These are the other forces that are making sure that the MDC
will never be a re-united front because it limits their chances of getting
into politics. But trust me you will be able to identify these males after
the 29 th of March and you will understand what I am talking about.
Violet: How are people going to know and what are they going to do after the
29 th of March and are you able to name these people?
Priscilla: This is why I am saying if I name them now people will tend to
think I am merely doing so because I want to malign certain individuals but
the reason I am putting it out to the public is that when people begin to
see their behaviors after the elections, they will understand what I was
talking about. If I know what is going to happen after the 29 th - if after
the 29 th none of the Presidential candidates that are standing against
Robert Mugabe have made it for President, you will be able to see the kind
of political formations that are going to be coming out after the 29 th. But
let it be rest assured that Morgan Tsvangirai should know that the people
that are standing up and saying "you did a good job not to re-unite with the
Mutambara group, you did a good job for you to stand on your own," those are
the same individuals who will be waiting to take him for his burial after
the 29 th. And people will know who these males are and it will be much more
clearer because they will have to come out of the woodwork where they are
hiding right now.
Violet: Now briefly because I am running out of time, some consider you as
sellouts and Roy Bennett said recently that you people have gone back home
to ZANU PF - and there are others who accuse you of being part of a plot to
bring back ZANU PF through the backdoor - how would you respond to that,
Priscilla: I will not even dignify those kinds of statements with any
responds Violet! When we ran for the Senatorial elections we were called
sellouts, we were called people who were trying to sanitize ZANU PF. The
same individuals that stood on podiums and castigated us are the same
individuals today who are not only running for the Senate but are beating
people up in their own political parties so that they can become Senators. I
have no time for people who think like that. You can lie but you cannot lie
to everybody like that. I have never been ZANU PF, I have fought ZANU PF
from the time that I became anybody that can stand up to the system, I will
fight ZANU PF until I die and it does not matter how many times you stand up
because you think it will give you more donor money to castigate us, it will
not change the Priscilla that I am. I will fight for justice and if you are
part of the people that are working against the issues of justice, we will
also fight you and it doesn't matter how much and how many times you call me
a sellout I know who I am and God will vindicate some of us. It may take
10years, it may take 15years but people will remember that some of us speak
for justice all the time!
Violet: And on that issue about your group standing for justice can you
finally tell our listeners what your group is offering the electorate, as
elections are around the corner.
Priscilla: Ours is very simple. The reason why we are contesting against
ZANU PF, the reason why we are saying we are an alternative is because of
one thing. We believe that ZANU PF has betrayed the poor, the peasantry, and
the working class. They have betrayed the ideals of the liberation struggle.
We are the political party that wants to go back to those ideals. The ideals
of freedom, the ideals of justice, the ideals that says if you are a
Zimbabwean it does not matter what political party you come from you are a
Zimbabwean and you should be treated with dignity. The ideals that says
every person is important irrespective of the class, of tribe, of gender.
And in everything that we do - whether it is in the economy, whether is
social services we will be guided by those particular principles. And that
is what we stand for.
Violet: Thank you very much Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga.
Priscilla: Thank you Violet.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail and Guardian
Mail & Guardian reporter
03 March 2008 11:59
The contest for the presidency in Zimbabwe has begun, with
candidates preparing manifestos and travelling the length and breadth of the
country to drum up support.
Unlike his opponents, Mugabe can rely on state resources to
drive his campaign.
While other people arriving in Beitbridge last weekend had to
endure the crumbling highway that leads into the border town, Mugabe and his
family were flown in on a special police plane and driven to his
birthday-party venue in a 4x4.
His birthday speech, which he used to launch his campaign, was
later simultaneously broadcast on the country's four radio channels and on
Mugabe was unforgiving in his attacks on his rivals, saving his
choicest insults for Simba Makoni. To illustrate his criticism of what he
said was Makoni's "naive ambition", Mugabe said of him: "He is like the frog
which puffed itself up so much, trying to get to the size of an ox. The frog
kept doing this until it burst."
Mugabe is due to launch his campaign manifesto next week at a
function in Harare that will be attended by his top officials.
While his rivals' manifestos are setting up the economy as the
central issue of the campaign, Mugabe is unlikely to come up with a
substantive manifesto. He told a television interviewer that his job was
already done: "I have given people something tangible," he said, pointing to
farm equipment -- from ox-drawn ploughs to tractors and fertiliser -- which
he has been handing out to rural voters over the past year.
"People look at what you do between elections, not just before
elections," he said.
Analysts agree, saying his "farm mechanisation" programme is
likely to bolster his traditional rural support, despite his own admission
that the government's predictions of a bumper harvest were false.
But poor harvests ahead of elections are always a godsend for
Zanu-PF. Now Mugabe can distribute food aid and the grain his government has
imported, mostly from South Africa and Malawi, in exchange for votes.
A new ward-based voting system -- where voters can only vote
within a small radius of their home -- will also make it easier for Mugabe
to pick out which hungry villages voted against him.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the larger of the two factions of
the MDC, launched his campaign at a rally in the eastern town of Mutare last
With media focus in recent weeks on new entrant Makoni, the
large turnout at his rally will have lifted Tsvangirai's spirits, and, he
told his supporters, his party remained the "legitimate" opposition in
On Wednesday, he went on a "walkabout" in Harare's central
business district and in some of the capital's poorest suburbs, meeting
supporters without interference from the security services.
But Tsvangirai said the biggest test of Mugabe's commitment to
upholding promises of a free poll will come when the MDC rolls out its
campaigns in Mugabe's rural heartland. Previously, Zanu-PF has declared
rural areas "no-go areas" for the opposition, violently crushing MDC
While amendments to security and media laws agreed between
Zanu-PF and the MDC sought to create a freer environment for campaigning,
there is no real sign the opposition will have it any easier this time
Last week, police chief Augustine Chihuri said he had given his
officers licence to use firearms against opposition activists he accused of
planning "street protests or Kenya-style riots if the ballot does not go in
The same day Mugabe was launching his campaign, two opposition
candidates were being held by police in Mashonaland West, Mugabe's home
province, for holding what authorities said were illegal gatherings.
While Zanu-PF officials, including Mugabe himself, have pledged
a violence-free election, at least two ruling-party candidates have been
accused of torching the homes of rivals over the past week.
Access to public media has also been denied the opposition,
despite new electoral legislation compelling the country's sole broadcaster,
the ZBC, to give all parties fair coverage.
Last week, the ZBC banned voter education adverts taken out on
radio and television by an independent election monitoring group. Zanu-PF
then stepped up its own media campaign.
To hammer home its message that the opposition is
foreign-funded, Zanu-PF took out a full-page advertisement in the Herald.
The ad featured a banner saying "Zimbabwe not for sale" and a copy of a
letter from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown purportedly confirming his
government's funding of opposition groups.
In a suburban house turned into his campaign headquarters,
Makoni last week wove between stacks of freshly printed pamphlets bearing
his picture and banners carrying his "New Dawn" campaign slogan.
He chatted to members of his campaign team, many of them in
yellow T-shirts, as he prepared for his first foray outside Harare and into
Mugabe's rural stronghold to launch his campaign.
But the frustration and exhaustion of some of the 40 members of
the team were visible.
While Mugabe and Tsvangirai have launched their campaigns before
large crowds, Makoni's is still struggling to get off the ground.
After a flurry of media events following the announcement of his
bid in early February, the Makoni campaign has fallen off the radar, giving
rise to speculation that it is already running low on momentum and funding.
He has also faced a series of setbacks, some of which reveal how
difficult it can be to run a campaign against Mugabe's well-oiled machine --
and how hard Zimbabwe's economic crisis is hitting.
On Monday, the car-hire company that had agreed to supply
bakkies telephoned to cancel. The few vehicles Makoni still had at his
disposal were out of fuel. On Tuesday, the company that had been printing
Makoni's campaign material called to say it could not continue as it had run
out of paper.
Earlier, the Makoni campaign had even struggled to open a bank
account as banks had hesitated to take business from Makoni, aware of the
trouble this would bring them.
But Makoni's people insist they can still mount a successful
campaign in the four weeks that remain before the elections. Spokesperson
Godfrey Chanetsa told the M&G: "We had not expected some of the bottlenecks,
but we are sure we can get over this and get ourselves on the road. We are
still confident he will win by a landslide."
Exports Stressed Despite Shortages For Basic Needs
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 3, 2008; Page A13
NORTON, Zimbabwe -- Meals come only once a day for Helen Goremusandu, 67,
and the six children she is raising. With prices for the most basic food
products increasingly beyond her reach, that daily meal often consists of
nothing more than boiled pumpkin leaves, washed down with water.
About a mile away, a Zimbabwean government grain mill is churning out a new
product: Doggy's Delight. Announced by its creators in January, the
high-protein pet food is aimed at the lucrative export market, one of the
dwindling sources of foreign exchange in a collapsing economy.
The shift away from making food for humans -- or for pigs, chickens and
other animals that humans might eat -- is just one of the more striking
distortions in an economy ravaged by government price controls,
hyperinflation and a severe food crisis. The World Food Program estimates
that 4.1 million Zimbabweans, about one-third of the population, will need
food aid this year.
Goremusandu is struggling to raise five grandchildren and one
great-grandchild on her monthly salary of 1.8 million Zimbabwean dollars for
part-time cleaning work -- worth about 30 cents in U.S. currency at
black-market rates. The finely ground cornmeal used in sadza, the boiled
white mush that is the nation's staple food, costs 12 million Zimbabwean
dollars for an 11-pound bag.
"People are hungry," said Goremusandu, a widow with deep-set eyes and large,
calloused hands. "They should not be prioritizing making dog food when
people are hungry."
Zimbabwe was long regarded as the breadbasket of southern Africa, exporting
corn, tobacco and other agricultural products to a hungry region. But the
industry was dominated by the country's small minority of whites, who
controlled most of the prime land until 2000.
That year, President Robert Mugabe, facing unprecedented political
opposition, encouraged landless black peasants to invade thousands of farms.
Mugabe said the resulting land redistribution would redress colonialism's
The industry soon collapsed, as the white farmers fled the country and the
land fell into the hands of Mugabe's political cronies or was divided into
tiny parcels tilled by former peasants with little experience in commercial
agriculture. Zimbabwe has received heavy doses of international food aid
The loss of export earnings also devastated the nation's currency, sending
it into a spiral of hyperinflation that has reached more than 100,000
percent. The government and businesses struggle to find sources of foreign
currency so they can import essential products such as fuel, food and
manufactured goods. Loans from international institutions, including the
International Monetary Fund, also must be repaid in U.S. dollars or some
other foreign currency.
Zimbabwe's economic devastation has made it difficult even for skilled
farmers to get tools, fertilizers and seeds.
David Shumba, whose farm is about 30 miles away on the outskirts of Harare,
said he stopped raising thousands of chickens last year because feed had
become too hard to find and is thinking about giving up pigs, too. Shumba
said he bought 20 tons of water-damaged corn last year to feed them, but
hungry farm workers already have stolen a ton of it.
Reaching into a bag of dried corn kernels turning brown from rot, Shumba
said, "Stuff like this, people eat now."
Across the country, stores are half-empty because of the food shortages and
government price controls, imposed in June, that mean merchants would have
to sell goods below cost. But low-quality processed foods are plentiful,
including a snack called Curly Worlys that requires few quality agricultural
A thriving black market offers many goods -- for those who can afford to
pay, at double the government price.
All Zimbabwean farmers by law must sell their corn, wheat and other cereals
to the government's Grain Marketing Board, which also imports food for
distribution in Zimbabwe.
A spokesman for the Grain Marketing Board declined requests for an
interview, but Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette reported that several other
animal feeds were being developed along with Doggy's Delight.
"In pursuit of our strategic commitment to expand commercial activities
through value addition, we have successfully developed and launched our
first animal feed, Doggy's Delight, which is targeted for the export
market," William Ndindana, a marketing board nutritionist, was quoted as
After that story appeared in January, police arrested Ndindana and other top
marketing board officials on charges of giving animal feed and other
supplies to agency employees and their friends, according to news reports.
The amount of grain that goes into Doggy's Delight is far from enough to
alleviate Zimbabwe's chronic food shortages, but news of the product's
launch -- along with the criminal allegations against the board
executives -- has come to symbolize the Mugabe government's priorities.
"They don't care about the people," said Renson Gasela, who headed the Grain
Marketing Board in the 1990s before becoming a leader in the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. "I don't see how this government could use
something that's in daily demand for people as pet food."
Philip Barclay is Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Zimbabwe
It is the best of climes, the worst of crimes....
I can honestly say, even on day 742 of my posting in Zimbabwe, that I never
overlook the beauty. As I'm brewing up in the kitchen, I see armies of Abdim's
storks impaling frogs, shadows 10 metres long cast by the dawn sun; hooded
weaver birds defying gravity with their nest-building and my ancient
Rhodesian Ridgeback, bounding around consumed with the joy of another bright
morning, impervious to the fact that the country he's named after no longer
exists. It's a great day for us both to be alive.
Sadly not all is beautiful in Harare and as I cycle the 20km from home to
the British Embassy, I see much that is vile and immoral, alongside the
decency and kindness of a terribly put-upon people.
First I pass the turn-off for Hatcliffe Extension: a township flattened by
the Government in 2005 as a collective punishment for electing an opposition
MP. I remember standing chatting with Savemore, a remarkably crinkley
granny, in the ruins of her house, a plastic sheet her only roof. She can't
understand why she's been targeted, as she's never voted. Her grown-up son
and daughter-in-law died of AIDS leaving her to look after four
grandchildren, in her damp and feeble shelter. God knows if she's still
alive - and indeed God is the best chance for her and her family. Churches
are doing brave work rebuilding homes and lives smashed by the Government in
2005, with a little help from the British taxpayer.
Onwards up steep Crow Hill. As I labour along, gasping and wheezing,
everyone has a friendly word - wishing me a good morning and asking after my
health. (My health would be better if I lost some weight). The humblest
Zimbabwean is literate and fluent in several languages and the universal
practice of good manners never fails to lift my spirits. There is a
dark-side, of course. Female cyclists can be harassed with wolf-whistles and
rude suggestions; an echo of the silent crimewaves of rape and child abuse,
which shatter families and fuel the HIV epidemic.
Finally the top of the hill - it's flat all the way now. There is a
remarkable number of people waiting at the junction for a bus. The buses
aren't running too well at the moment, because ZANU-PF has appropriated
their fuel for electioneering.
And there's another problem deterring people from travelling. The police -
plundering like modern Defarges - have set up a roadblock a few hundred
metres along. They are pulling over buses and making passengers turn out
their bags. Anyone carrying maize meal is threatened with arrest for being
an illegal trader. So people trying to take food to their families on the
other side of town don't want to risk boarding transport just yet. They may
have to wait for hours. As I cycle round the roadblock the coppers give me a
cheery wave - amazing how people can be so happy while condemning their
compatriots to hunger. But I suppose they are desperate too trying to
survive on a few pence a day.
Down Domboshawa Road I cycle past waste ground. A group of Apostolic women
pray in radiant, white robes. Graffiti: "Vote MDC!" has been crossed out and
replaced with blood red letters: "Vote ZANU-PF or you will all starve." It's
normal for parties to play dirty tricks on each other, but the message is a
chilling reminder that the campaign leading up to the election here on 29
March will be more than dirty - it will cost many lives.
Picking up speed, I head into town on Borrowdale Road. I pass a particular
rock, about the size of a football. It sticks in my memory because one dark,
rainy night a year ago the Presidential guard pulled a man from his car,
beat him, then hit him on the head with that rock. His 'crime' was failing
to pull his car sufficiently far off the road as the motorcade roared by. He
was lucky to survive. The truck carrying these brutes then drove dangerously
fast to catch up with the presidential limousine and had a horrific head-on
collision. L'État, c'est moi.
A right turn into quiet Fifth Street. I pass a hospital and remember a sunny
day when I handed over a generator paid for by the British Embassy Community
Projects fund. We do what we can to help the people left behind as the
economy crashes. Again there are darker memories, of March 11 last year when
dozens of civic and opposition leaders were brought here after being
tortured by the regime. Doctors braved death threats to help them - it is a
far far better thing they do than I have ever done! The state media accuses
us of using British resources to bring down the Government. In fact our
assistance goes to victims like those tortured on March 11. We have nothing
to apologise for.
Nearly there now. Avenues lined with dense purple jacarandas. Parents
carrying children tied with towels to their backs. I pass State House,
dripping with gaudy furnishings. I can almost imagine the residents to be
Louis and Marie, baking huge cakes to celebrate their endless birthdays,
which the people never eat.
The Embassy. Two floors of a failing office block right in the centre of
town. There's a power cut, so no traffic lights. I weave my bike through
gridlocked chaos. The lifts are out so I drag my sweaty blubber up six
flights. As I get into reception a stick-thin woman gets painfully to her
feet and introduces herself as Esther. Can I look at her application for
funding? I could really murder a shower and a coffee (and maybe a doughnut),
but there's a spring of hope in Esther's eyes, rather than the usual winter
of despair. She'd like a few billion dollars - which luckily translates into
little more than a hundred pounds - to set up a small peanut-butter factory
in her area for HIV+ people (of whom she is one). The scheme is well
thought-out, practical and offers a chance to a group of people who will
soon return to dust if they can't make a living. I agree to the grant on the
spot. I hope she doesn't think I spend my whole day in crumpled shorts and a
After meeting Esther I check out the notice on the Embassy door. The
exchange rate for a pound has gone up from $12 Million to $35 Million. Damn.
I've got $500 Million in my pocket, so I've just lost £25. We live in the
age of foolishness here.
Finally through the door and nearly in my office. It's 8.05am, I'm almost on
time, the day's just starting, but I feel that I've lived my whole life in
Zimbabwe - a country with everything before it and nothing before it - in
the course of my journey to work.
We've decided to expand this blog from just my observations to those of
other members of the Embassy. We hope this will enable us to give a broader
picture of life in Zimbabwe and our work here.
posted by Philip Barclay on 29 Feb 08
By Byron Dziva and Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 2:24am GMT 03/03/2008
Senior members of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party have publicly backed
Simba Makoni, Robert Mugabe's presidential challenger.
Mr Makoni's hopes of securing the presidency in elections later this
month depend on him splitting Zanu-PF and gaining the support of figures who
control sections of the state and party machinery.
The more backing he earns, the harder it will become for Mr Mugabe to
rig the vote, as he is widely believed to have done in the last presidential
election in 2002.
At a rally yesterday in Highfield, a suburb of Harare, thousands
gathered to see Mr Makoni share the stage with Edgar Tekere, who co-founded
Zanu-PF with Mr Mugabe.
"Let's get Zimbabwe working again in the spirit of national
reconciliation," said Mr Makoni. "There's enough space for all of us under
the Zimbabwe sun."
Several veterans of the independence war, who have traditionally been
fanatically loyal to Mr Mugabe, used the rally to come out in public support
of Mr Makoni.
Most significantly, several aides to Solomon Mujuru, the former army
commander believed to be backing Mr Makoni, were present.
One said Mr Mujuru feels uneasy about publicly opposing Mr Mugabe
while his wife Joyce is still vice-president of Zimbabwe.
On Saturday at a rally in Bulawayo, Dumiso Dabengwa, a former
government minister and a member of the Zanu-PF politburo, also announced
his support for Mr Makoni. "It is time they give way to a new leadership
that can face up to the challenges facing our country," he said.
More party members formerly loyal to Mr Mugabe are expected to go
public as the campaign intensifies in rural areas.
Mr Makoni is campaigning on a platform "to get Zimbabwe working
again", seeking to capitalise on Mr Mugabe's destruction of the economy,
which has left inflation higher than 100,000 per cent, unemployment at 80
per cent, and millions in need of food aid.
Mens News Daily
March 2, 2008 at 8:02 pm
There may well be so-called heavyweights leaving the zanupf-Mugabe sinking
ship and running to a new home in the zanupf-Makoni faction. Who wouldn't
leave this sinking ship? With self inflicted inflation running at 100,000%
and rising, exponentially collapsing exchange rates, empty supermarket
shelves, 95% unemployment, widespread starvation, a refugee crisis of
massive proportions and so many other world record negative catastrophic
statistics, it's quite logical to see the writing on the wall. In any event,
it can be safely assumed that there is little left at Mugabe's patronage
trough because these so-called heavy-weights have already licked it dry.
It's time to re-invent and time for a facelift. The pigs are looking for a
new sty and a new trough in which to feed.
Enter the new face of zanupf and the new love-child of some in the
diplomatic circuit. Enter Simba Makoni.
So why are they punting Makoni, who after all, has held very senior
positions in both the regime itself and the highest decision making body,
the politburo, right from the very beginning? These are the structures and
men that have destroyed every Zimbabwean's hopes and dreams and laid waste
what was once prosperous country.
What do Zimbabweans really think about all this? What are the realities on
It's a numbers game, so let's look at who is getting the numbers on the
ground. In Zimbabwe, election rallies tell a completely different story to
the newsflashes in current circulation.
Over this past weekend, Simba Makoni held 2 rallies, his launch in Bulawayo
(Zimbabwe's second largest city) and Harare, the capital. The attendances
were a dismal 4000 and 2000 respectively.
A week before, Morgan Tsvangirai launched his election campaign in the rural
town of Mutare in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. 60,000 people attended
this rally. This past weekend he held rallies in the small rural towns of
Bindura and Shamva. The attendances were 15,000 and 3000 respectively.
What's happening is that Makoni's new zanupf home isn't translating where it
counts - support on the ground. Tsvangirai hasn't gone near the major
centres yet he gets 3000 to a rally in the hick village of Shamva. Makoni's
zanupf faction isn't going to see the light of day come election time if
this trend continues.
What seems to be completely misunderstood and certainly not being reported
is that the people of Zimbabwe are sick and tired of Mugabe and his zanupf.
They are tired of the dictatorship and they are tired of the violence and
abuse by this regime. In whatever shape or form zanupf attempts to morph in
to, it's not going to wash anymore.
The people want change and would have got change years ago if past elections
weren't rigged. This time, they are taking no chances and they know that
rigging is going to be much harder this time round. Many outsiders may be
fooled into believing what has undoubtedly become fashionable in diplomatic
circles, dubbed "The Makoni Factor". It's almost like a Clint Eastwood
western. But what's missing is something significant is being overlooked.
It's people on the ground that really matter. The people can see the Makoni
mirage for what it is. It's just another zanuPF get-out-of-jail card and an
insidious attempted facelift for zanupf to stay in power. At the end of the
day, it's all about trust. Mugabe, zanupf or any combination thereof is no
If will of the people prevails, Tsvangirai will be Zimbabwe's next
President. The writing is on the wall already.
03 March 2008
A HELIUM balloon hoisted by Zimbabweans at the Beit Bridge border post to
protest against President Robert Mugabe's recent expensive birthday bash in
the border town read, "You've had your cake, now beat it".
Even as some lucky Zimbabweans left the challenges of 150000%-plus inflation
behind for a few hours to tuck into the president's trillion-(Zim)-dollar
feast, the harsh realities of life in the country still lurked beyond the
decorated walls of the venue.
Bold statements by presidential candidates in the country, who began
campaigning at the weekend for the March 29 poll, make it seem as if
Zimbabweans may finally have a real chance at getting Mugabe to beat it. The
excitement injected into the election process with the entry of former Zanu
(PF) politburo member Simba Makoni, now an independent candidate, is
palpable despite the scepticism many feel about his ruling party origins.
Suddenly the moribund and tiresome process of a poll that, for nearly three
decades, has been held exclusively to rubber-stamp successive terms for
Mugabe, has become a national preoccupation.
This is reflected not just in a sudden increase in the number of people
being registered to vote, but also in the number of conspiracy theories
doing the rounds.
Zimbabweans have every right to be suspicious of unfolding events - as an
electorate they have been bullied by the state for many years and been lied
to and manipulated by the government's propaganda machine for as long as
they can remember.
Makoni's candidacy has raised multiple questions that have yet to be
answered. His support base is unclear, the extent of his backers even less
so, although former home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa, also a member of
the ruling politburo, made his support known at the weekend.
"If the general is behind this, let's see him," a Zimbabwean friend said
over lunch last week, referring to Gen Solomon Mujuru, former head of the
army and widely believed to be wanting to satisfy his own political ambition
through a stalking horse. Mujuru is playing his cards close to his chest.
Presumably he, and other unspecified Zanu (PF) rebels who are said to back
Makoni, are hedging their bets at this stage.
Zimbabwe newspapers are reporting that the police are after Mujuru for his
alleged involvement with banker James Mushore, who has been charged with
exchange control violations. This sounds like a typical Mugabe strategy to
neutralise political opponents.
Another theory doing the rounds is that the Makoni candidacy is the product
of an informal deal by some key members of the Southern African Development
Community (including SA) as part of a negotiated solution. Makoni has never
before exhibited the kind of boldness that requires one to step out of the
embrace of a ruthless dictator and take him on. This suggests that he has
more than one powerful backer - and who better than the president himself.
Some believe that the focus of mediation efforts that have publicly involved
only the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have become a
smokescreen for another behind-the-scenes deal - one more agreeable to
Mugabe. This theory suggests that Makoni will win with the nod from Mugabe
in return for immunity from prosecution. The old man will stand down and run
things from behind the scenes.
A more likely scenario is that Mugabe will win and bring Makoni, as an
independent, into a government of national unity (that will, however,
exclude the MDC), thus restoring at least some of the credibility required
to unlock international reconstruction funding under Makoni's direction. Yet
other people (mostly those funding him) believe that this time around Morgan
Tsvangirai will win the election, unencumbered by the breakaway faction of
the party, which has thrown its weight behind Makoni.
Of course none of this might be true - or all of it, to differing degrees.
But there is also another theory. If Mugabe really wants to win, he will.
Everything else is wishful thinking.
Games is director of Africa @ Work, a research and publishing company.
Zanu-PF Must Rectify, Relaunch Revolution
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
3 March 2008
Posted to the web 3 March 2008
THE harmonised elections set for the 29th of this March offer, on the one
hand, a massive challenge to Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution - as there are
apparent danger signs on the path of the revolution - and, on the other
hand, offer the Government an opportunity to carry out an honest revision,
rectification and relaunching of the revolution for the ultimate victory
that lies in the total economic emancipation of the poor masses of Zimbabwe.
The three Rs are a direct borrowing by this writer from the current strategy
adopted by President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela where "revision,
rectification and relaunch" of the Bolivarian revolution has been his call -
all in the wake of threats to the Venezuelan revolution - threats that have
striking similarities with those faced by Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution.
Since December 2, when President Chavez's proposed constitutional reforms
were thwarted by a referendum defeat, the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition,
together with the entire US imperialism machinery - have each seen the
defeat as the green light to push forward their plans to destabilise
This is reminiscent of the momentum gained by British imperialism and the
Western-backed Zimbabwean opposition MDC in 2000 when a similar draft
constitution proposal was defeated in a referendum. For Zimbabwe, the MDC
leadership went to the extent of appointing some people for diplomatic
postings as they prematurely wrote off the ruling party as dead and buried
before the general election. Of course, the referendum defeat only awakened
the revolutionary Zanu-PF into action as they embarked on massive
restructuring of the party and also on that memorable land redistribution
programme. The ruling party rose up like the giant of the pre-independence
era and went on to win the parliamentary election that year, the
presidential election in 2002 and another parliamentary election in 2005 -
each time rendering apparent weakening effects on the disintegrating
The Bolivarian revolution - as the process of change led by socialist
President Hugo Chavez is known - has got growing internal problems, largely
coming from a strengthening of the rightwing of the Chavista movement
calling itself the "endogenous right". These are the people within Chavez's
own Chavista movement who are advocating reforms to the Bolivarian
revolution - reforms that advocate a re-establishment of links with
This rightwing group within the Chavista movement has become the most
serious threat to the Bolivarian revolution - far more dangerous than the
US-backed right wing opposition.
It is apparent that Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution is facing similar threats
from a similar group of rightwing reformists whose loudest manifestation has
been Simba Makoni of the independent presidential candidate fame, or is it
These reformists in Venezuela want a Chavista revolution without socialism,
in other words without Chavez - they want an anti-capitalist revolution that
does not break with capitalism. In Zimbabwe the internal rightwing within
Zanu-PF want a land revolution that pleases capitalism - a land reform
programme that does not break with imperialism. They want an agrarian reform
programme without the masses - one without the pro-peasant Robert Mugabe - a
revolution applauded by imperialism. This is what we hear Makoni preaching
at his Press conferences. It is what Morgan Tsvangirai was struggling to put
across at Sakubva Stadium when he launched his party's election manifesto.
While the 2000 draft constitution for Zimbabwe sought to redistribute
white-occupied arable land, Chavez's constitutional reforms sought to
institutionalise greater popular power and to increase restrictions on
capitalists to the benefit of the working people of Venezuela.
Just like was the case with Zimbabwe in 2000, the capitalist-owned private
media responded by launching a campaign based on lies and disinformation
aimed at confusing the common man in Venezuela.
The damaging negative media campaign was, for both Zimbabwe and Venezuela -
reinforced by economic sabotage - contributing if not leading to shortages
of basic goods such as milk for Venezuela, fuel, foodstuffs, water,
electricity and cash for Zimbabwe.
The Western-backed opposition in Venezuela was able to stoke the discontent
that still exists among the
over such problems as corruption and bureaucratism. The discontent was
whipped up to the extent that nearly three million people who voted for
Chavez in the 2006 presidential election abstained in the referendum,
handing the opposition its first electoral victory since Chavez came to
power in 1998.
The Western-backed opposition in Zimbabwe is clearly trying to emulate their
brothers in treachery in Venezuela by stoking the discontent that exists
among the urban poor over problems such as corruption, inflation, food
shortages, erratic power supplies and water problems. These are the problems
upon which the MDC has based its campaign for the harmonised elections.
Tsvangirai is of the opinion that whipping up the emotions of these poor
urbanites is good politics that can earn him an election victory.
The uninvited and unwelcome lecture on free and fair elections by US
Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee - a lecture arrogantly delivered to
Zimbabweans at the end of February - was just an attempt to build up on the
hardships of the country for the benefit of imperial domination.
In Venezuela, there are similar efforts where a renewed US offensive has
been unleashed with the aim of isolating Chavez internationally, and also to
undermine the process of Latin American integration spearheaded by
Venezuela. These are similar efforts being made by the US and Britain in the
attempt to set up Sadc and other African countries against Zimbabwe.
A key part of this strategy has been to fuel tension between the targeted
country and its neighbours - the way it has worked with Chad and Sudan in
the Darfur crisis and also the way it's working with Colombia and Venezuela
over the issue of the Colombian civil conflict involving the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - Colombia's largest leftwing guerrilla
group and the pro-America Colombian government.
The US keeps sending its officials like Admiral Michael Mullen, Pentagon's
joint chief of staff; and John Walters, the US director of National Drug
Control; to Colombia on missions to make baseless claims that Hugo Chavez
materially supports FARC.
John Walters has gone further to accuse Chavez as "a major facilitator of
the international drug trade" an accusation that serves as a sharp reminder
to what the US did with Manuel Noriega of Panama in 1989.
South Africa could long have played Colombia on Zimbabwe had it not been for
President Mbeki's pan-Africanist resilience. The major reason Tsvangirai and
his Western backers are livid with South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy
is the failure of Western efforts to fan the flames of conflict between
South Africa and Zimbabwe. Of course, they will always claim loudly that
they are dead worried about the welfare of Zimbabweans - never mind how
ludicrous it ever sounds.
For Zimbabwe, the most serious imperialist attack has been the illegal
economic sanctions that were mobilised by Britain in retaliation to the
reclamation of white-held land by the masses of Zimbabweans. These sanctions
have come via ZIDERA for the US, the blocking of credit lines for the IMF
and the World Bank and a general embargo against Zimbabwe for the
Commonwealth and the EU.
For Venezuela, similar measures have been put in place as court orders have
been obtained by ExxonMobil, backed by the US State Department, to freeze
US$12 billion worth of assets of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, in both
British and Dutch courts - a move Chavez has described as an "economic war".
ExxonMobil is retaliating after Chavez's government nationalised the Orinoco
oil belt where the multinational company had invested heavily. PDVSA is the
major financer to Venezuela's social projects and the broader aim is to
cripple these projects and send a warning to other Latin American countries
that might be considering resource nationalisation. The warning is simple -
imperialism will fight back.
The known extra-parliamentary destabilisation by the US-led Western alliance
usually involves the stepping up of economic sabotage by the capitalists - a
style reminiscent of the sabotage suffered by the leftwing Chilean
government of Salvador Allende in 1973. The sabotage was a precursor to the
US-backed military coup by General Augusto Pinochet later that year.
This campaign involves the hoarding, speculation and smuggling of food,
contributing to shortages. Of course, this is always combined with a
virulent media campaign aimed at fuelling discontent.
The opposition in Zimbabwe and Venezuela is capitalising on the discontent
within the urban population and they are both focused on networking to
spread perfidious rumours meant to mobilise the people against the
respective incumbent governments.
Eva Golinger of Venezuela recently revealed that the networking for the
spread of rumours is funded by Usaid, a US government-funded organisation.
In Zimbabwe, this rumour machine is funded through a whole spectrum of civic
organisations and a growing number of online publications - some of them
with a strict editorial policy of publishing anything but the truth.
In the wake of this challenge, Presidents Mugabe and Chavez have called for
greater unity within their respective revolutions.
It would appear both the Zanu-PF-led Zimbabwe agrarian revolution and the
Venezuelan Bolivarian revolution are facing the challenge of divisions
involving pro-capitalist economic blocs - for Venezuela there is an element
of individuals with important military influence being part of the problem.
For Zimbabwe, the face of this pro-capitalist bloc has been Makoni, a man
who claims to have powerful backing within the ranks of the Zimbabwean
revolution. He has, however, continuously failed to substantiate his
claims - although the opposition rumour machine has so far significantly
benefited from the speculation created by Makoni's claims.
For both Venezuela and Zimbabwe, there is the element of a more radical
left, strong among the grassroots as well as among some major elements
within the State - an element that wants to deepen the process of
empowerment and to overcome corruption and bureaucratism - them being the
two major impediments holding back the advance of the revolution.
The reclamation of land by the masses of Zimbabwe was a major victory for
the empowerment of poor people just like the agrarian and nationalisation
projects have been for Venezuela. However, problems such as
sanctions-induced suffering, a divided workers' movement, a divided
ideological focus as well as a growing gap between rhetoric and reality -
all have meant that these problems have only been exacerbated to the
advantage of the imperialists and their teams of lap-dog politicians in both
Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
This has also meant that the rightwing element within each of the two
countries' revolutions has somewhat gained momentum to the detriment of the
In Venezuela they called for a "Yes" vote during the day yet they spent each
night discouraging voting for the radical constitutional reforms that
threatened their material interests. In Zimbabwe, some of them openly
castigate Makoni as a renegade sellout by day yet they are spending each
night encouraging people to sympathise with the dissident former Politiburo
This is why the revolution is calling for a comprehensive revision,
rectification and relaunching. There are danger signs ahead and this is the
only way to pre-empt the imperialist assaults lying ahead.
In Venezuela the endogenous right is attempting to take over the Chavista
party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) just like Zimbabwe's
Makoni and Kudzai Mbudzi were initially claiming that their project was
about "changing the bus driver in order to ensure the safety of passengers".
Such divisions reflect the class struggles within the revolutionary process.
There is an element of conflict between the left and the right within the
revolution - not the traditional right as is found in the MDC and the
opposition in Venezuela but a revolutionary "rightwing".
In each revolution there is always an attraction of those who certainly
fight imperialism for standing in their way towards aspired riches yet they
definitely do not fight for national liberation, that is, for the cause of
These are people who vainly believe that breaking imperialism or US
domination can assist economic development within a capitalist framework.
They would rather create state capitalism where they, by virtue of holding
political office, become the new owners of capital and the new exploiters of
Needless to say, these people have to contend with the revolutionary element
of radicals, for whom nothing short of a thoroughgoing social revolution
will solve the needs of the oppressed majority.
The problem with this local class of capitalists is that they reinforce the
imperialist cause - in the process pushing the revolution further left and
thereby creating more challenges and widening the gap between rhetoric and
reality - in the process giving momentum to imperialist forces.
This is the homework for the 4 000 delegates who received instructions on
how to sell Zanu-PF's manifesto last Friday. The reason President Mugabe
reiterated the importance of admitting to failures and not promising
unachievable goals to the electorate is precisely to deal with this gap
between rhetoric and reality. This is part of the revision, rectification
and relaunching of the revolution that is needed.
In this relaunch there is need for integrity, honesty and commitment. There
is need to decisively deal with corruption, also a big problem in Venezuela.
There is need to get rid of all counter-revolutionaries and to rid the
revolution of the capitalist element. There is need to transfer all power
back to the people, not the Simba Makoni way which says "Simba kuvanhu" as
in Simba his name but in the real sense of the term where people are
organised to monitor social projects and create their own sense of
A people's revolution cannot be stolen or killed but it can be delayed and
March 29 is the day for all the revolutionary people of the Republic of
Zimbabwe to come forward in defence of the revolution. This is no time to
listen to the baiting voices from the right. Zimbabwe cannot be given away
for a paltry US$10 billion which Tsvangirai baselessly claims is adequate to
solve all the country's problems.
It is homeland or death for Zimbabweans. Together we will overcome.
l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer
3rd Mar 2008 12:03 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
SENIOR citizens will be familiar with the following passage:
"On each landing, opposite the lift shaft, the poster with the enormous face
gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived
that the eyes follow you about when you move.
"BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING, the caption said."
Over the years of our independence, there has sprouted a small portion of
the population which, almost ritualistically, imagines a Zimbabwe without
Zanu PF - before every general and presidential election. There are mostly
senior citizens too, burdened with this enormous optimism that one day,
after such an election, Zanu PF, the party which has run he country since
1980, will have been ground into dust.
A few weeks before 29 March, this same group of slightly geriatric
optimists, has resurfaced. This time, their optimism is almost overwhelming.
The electoral deck is so loaded against Zanu PF, they believe the chances of
the party winning are almost negligible.
The basis of their upbeat mood is so blindingly visible it hurts the eyes:
the open rebellion in Zanu PF, which has reduced President Robert Mugabe to
an old man so furious with himself he can only use expletives to demonise
his imagined enemies.
Perhaps they are not in his imagination, these enemies. One of them is Simba
Makoni, a former protégé. Another is Dumiso Dabengwa, not a protégé but
someone he must have imagined he had taught a lesson he would never forget:
a long spell in jail for daring to challenge him.
By the end of this week, more "enemies" may have crawled out of the
woodwork: young, old and middle-aged former diehard Zanu PF zealots now so
disillusioned with Mugabe, they are prepared, one again, to lay down their
lives for something they believe in: change.
Most of them had been ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice years ago, during
the struggle for independence. They are ready to do it again for exactly the
same cause, a new form of independence, an independence without Zanu PF
anywhere in sight.
Not many citizens have ever consciously imagined a world without Zanu PF.
The party has engineered, in the minds of the population in general, a
permanent existence, a life in which Zanu PF is a palpable presence, a
Zimbabwe in which Zanu PF is a permanent fixture, like the nose on your
For a while, after independence, many were willing to tolerate this
appendage on their bodies. But as the years passed, it became an intolerable
intrusion, something so ugly a few of them sought to chop it off from their
faces, even though this might entail transforming them into monsters.
The people who really believe Zanu PF is on its last legs, because of what
Simba Makoni and others have initiated have faith in the courage of the
Zimbabwean people to dare to hope for a future without Zanu PF.
In their estimation, Zanu PF, from being the catalyst in the struggle for
independence from colonialism, has turned out to be the albatross around
their necks. It will not allow them free rein as citizens, unless they are
willing to pray at its altar and to "forsake all other gods", even the gods
of freedom of expression and association.
In the 28 years Zanu PF has been in power, it has chipped away at the people's
dignity, forcing them into political servitude, forcing them to live in
permanent fear of this party which was helped to achieve the goal of
liberation by all the people of this country, but will now not accord them
Apart from the violence it has inflicted on the people, Zanu PF has shown
scant regard for their dignity, forcing them to attend its meetings, or
endure physical punishment for their temerity.
Moreover, even their livelihoods, never given priority by the colonialists,
have not risen appreciably since 1980.
With its usual impunity, the party introduced Murambatsvina, then launched
the price blitz. These measures were aimed specifically at the poor,
although Zanu PF tried to disguise them as being targeted at "enemies of the
Even the measures introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, ostensibly
aimed at ridding the poor of citizens preying on their meager earnings,
brought such pain and misery to ordinary people they called the governor,
Gideon Gono, nasty names behind his back.
Yet the recent Zanu PF meeting during which the names of the party's
candidates for the elections were announced, President Mugabe looked
supremely self-confident, as if there was no revolt against him, as if
Makoni's challenge was a flash in the pan, a nuisance.
Joseph Msika, one of his vice-presidents, in a rambling speech which was
punctuated by odd silences and pauses, attacked the newspapers for alleging
he and others were backing Makoni.
If there was truly no smoke without the fire the media was pointing out, why
would he bother?
And if Mugabe was utterly unruffled by Makoni's defection, why did he call
him nasty names? The statesman's response would have been a quiet, sombre
assessment of what had motivated Makoni to rebel and wished the young man
It will always be difficult for those who wish Makoni well to place his
chances of success very high, without warning of the obvious impediments.
Has he had enough time to prepare? Has he the resources to cover the entire
country with his candidates for the House of Assembly and the Senate?
And who can ignore Morgan Tsvangirai?
He has become a seasoned trouper. His formation of the MDC has solid
structures and there is ready identification of its candidates, men and
women who have either been in Parliament for a number of years, or have
featured in elections since 2000.
For the two formations of the MDC to triumph over Zanu PF will take a lot of
courage and the ability to organize more effectively than during the last
two parliamentary and presidential elections.
What may inhibit voters from turning out in their millions is the admission
by the MDC that Zanu PF reneged in its earlier commitment to implement the
agreements negotiated with the aid of President Thabo Mbeki.
Constitutional amendments designed to "democratise" the electoral process
were not instituted as comprehensively as the MDC had demanded. Tendai
Biti, for the Tsvangirai formation, was particularly scathing in his
condemnation of Zanu PF's failure to honour its part of the bargain.
In still agreeing to participate in the election, in spite of these
discrepancies in the implementation of the amendments, the MDC showed itself
to be so desperate to remain "relevant" it didn't mind not aiming for the
big prize - victory to the extent of forming the next government.
Yet these elections are going to be historic, one way or the other. Simba
Makoni's role is going to be crucial, especially if - as expected after
Dumiso Dabangwa's public defection from Zanu PF - other Zanu PF politburo
heavyweights decide it is time to try and live their lives without the
presence of Zanu PF being a constant reminder of their political mortality.
Mugabe himself must know that, although his slogan that " Zimbabwe will
never be a colony again", may still ring true, another slogan may be heard
loud and clear throughout the land: Zanu PF will never be the centre of
political power again.
For most ordinary people, a Zimbabwe without Zanu PF could turn out to be a
Godsend, a chance for the country to regain its status as the breadbasket of
the region and a chance to achieve for it the democracy that the early
freedom fighters - Herbert Chitepo, Masotsha Ndlovu and others - had
envisaged for it. The passage at the beginning is from 1984.
----- Original Message -----
From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:07 AM
ANOTHER TWENTY QUESTIONS
USE YOUR VOTE!
YOUR VOTE IS YOUR SECRET AND YOUR POWER.
VOTE SIMBA MAKONI FOR PRESIDENT
VOTE ORIGINAL MDC FOR PARLIAMENT
VOTE SIMBA MAKONI FOR PRESIDENT
VOTE ORIGINAL MDC FOR PARLIAMENT & COUNCIL
3rd Mar 2008 12:12 GMT
By David Baxter
MUTARE - Edgar Tekere, a former Zanu PF strongman and a luminary of Zimbabwe's
war of liberation, says the regime of Ian Smith was far less brutal to
dissenting voices than the post independence government led by Robert
Tekere told a political gathering in this eastern border city that during
the struggle for independence the Smith regime never ill-treated opposition
activisits in the manner in which Mugabe's government does.
He was referring to the brutal beatings, by the police in their custody, of
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several of his party activists last year.
Tsvangirai and his fellow supporters were brutally assaulted by police while
in custody after they were rounded up during a prayer meeting at Zimbabwe
MDC activists such as Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland had to seek medical
treatment in South Africa.
"Ian Smith's regime never treated us in the manner in which Mugabe is doing
to the opposition," the tough-talking politician said. "That's the legacy of
Smith was the prime minister of Rhodesia before it was liberated in 1980 and
renamed Zimbabwe. Smith's regime was notorious for jailing and torturing
independence activists during the turbulent 1970's.
But Tekere says such treatment, which nationalists endured under Smith, was
far from what the Mugabe's government was doing to those opposed to his
Tekere, a former Zanu PF secretary general and Cabinet Minister, is
contesting the March 29 polls as a senatorial candidate for
Dangamvura-Chikanga, Mutare Central and Mutare North.
He is standing as an independent but representing Simba Makoni, the
independent presidential candidate.
The fiery politician castigated Mugabe for boasting that he had degrees of
violence saying such behavior had damaged the image of the country.
Tekere said if Mugabe were to be removed at the March polls international
investors would immediately descend on Zimbabwe -even before they were told
who would have taken over.
"If they hear that Mugabe is no longer there, without being told who has
taken over, they will run to this country and things will start moving," he
said amid applause.
03 March 2008
The recent developments in Zimbabwe dispel the notion propagated by the
media that President Robert Mugabe wins elections only through rigging,
violence and intimidation.
It is becoming undeniable that Morgan Tsvangirai's lust for both money and
power is the reason why the vigilant people of Zimbabwe prefer to stay with
the devil they know.
The once lauded Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) split a few years ago
when Tsvangirai insisted, for no better reason than advice from Britain,
that the MDC should not contest the parliamentary elections being held at
the time. This led Zimbabweans to conclude he is a power-monger who is
hungry for donations from Britain.
When Simba Makoni created an opportunity for a better political assessment
and possible coalition in the fight against Zanu (PF), Tsvangirai went on
the rampage, accusing Makoni of being "an old wine in a new bottle". When
the other faction of the MDC seeks talks on some form of coalition to force
regime change, he rejects the idea outright so that he continues to be the
sole ruler of the opposition. Aren't these signs of a dictator in the
With the opposition in Zimbabwe now divided further into three parts, Mugabe
need little effort, let alone electionrigging, to march to victory.
Tsvangirai is becoming a political liability and, sooner rather than later,
he will be shown the door. Just like Fidel Castro, Mugabe will be the second
leader in the world who, despite the wishes of the w est, will not only
retire on his own terms but will leave the US and Britain with egg on their
By Precious Shumba, Harare
Since Presidential hopeful Simba Makoni announced his intentions to run
against his mentor Robert Gabriel Mugabe on Tuesday 5 February 2008, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) under Morgan Tsvangirai and some civic
leaders have issued insincere statements, driven by political jealousy and
fear of the future.
Opposition to Mugabe did not start in 1999 at the formation of the MDC but
there are Zanu PF officials who have openly opposed Mugabe's corrupt
dictatorship. We need to recall that Edgar Tekere stopped Mugabe's one-party
state; Margaret Dongo exposed electoral irregularities in the nation's
voting system, Nkosana Moyo resigned after failing to agree with Mugabe's
rogue politics, Jonathan Moyo and Emmerson Mnangagwa attempted to change the
Zanu PF presidium ahead of a Zanu PF congress, and several others
highlighted in the media.
It is my considered view that Morgan Tsvangirai has been inconsistent in his
bid to oust Mugabe since the decision to split the main MDC along tribal and
minute issues ahead of the senate poll in October 2005. He has demonstrated
absolute failure to reconcile divergent interests and gel them into one
formidable unit that can fight against an opposition of Mugabe's character.
As a registered voter, l am not interested to know who has been in the
trenches for long against Mugabe but who can possibly revive this ailing
economy and serve the nation in a transparent and accountable manner. I have
witnessed and experienced how some of Tsvangirai's lieutenants hate opinions
different from theirs and how they want to be the only voice against
Zimbabweans are a mature citizenry; capable of deciding who they want to
vote for without anyone trying to manipulate how they must behave in public
or what they must say to the media, for fear of being labelled. They have
gone past the stage of accepting any information that portrays Zanu PF as
the only source of our national problems. There are some corrupt officials
in the MDC and civil society just like in Zanu PF but there are also others
who are real, genuine and honest in both parties. Citizens want to know how
the MDC and the rest of civil society benefit or suffer in the current
situation of 'guided democracy' under Mugabe's dictatorship. Whose mandate
is the civil society serving if it starts to decide which political party
citizens must mistrust or endorse?
It is public knowledge that the nation is experiencing a national water
crisis; the Zimbabwe economy has collapsed, 80 percent of the population is
unemployed, declining life expectancy due to entrenched poverty, and
declining health standards, corruption, political manipulation and the
breakdown in the rule of law. More so, Zimbabweans have witnessed how some
officials in the opposition and the civil society have grown richer, drive
state-of-the-art vehicles, live like kings yet all over in the high-density
suburbs, the levels of poverty have intensified. The difference between them
and Mugabe's ruling elite is invisible.
The electorate must demand accountability and audit the performances of all
legislators since they were elected in 2005 before giving them new terms.
The open hostility to Makoni's latest bid for the presidency has the
potential to end their democracy projects that only benefit a few while the
majority of Zimbabweans languish in abject poverty. Initiatives must
benefit the majority citizenry and not only bring to us matters already
decided for our procedural endorsement, disguised as consultations.
The electorate will decide who best represents them without coercion. No
amount of deception by the State-controlled media and or panicking leaders
will deter the electorate.
Simba Makoni, like the MDC and some civic society leaders have a democratic
right to challenge Mugabe for the presidency. There is no single
organisation, party or individual with the sole preserve to oppose Mugabe.
You never know what the electorate will do; maybe they will endorse Makoni
ahead of Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
3rd March 2008 - MDC Pressroom
Harare - THE MDC kick started its election campaign ahead of 29 March
elections across the country, which saw President Morgan Tsvangirai
addressing over 15 000 supporters in Bindura on Sunday.
Other parliamentary, senatorial and council MDC candidates addressed large
gatherings at various venues across Zimbabwe.
At Chipadze Stadium in Bindura, Mashonaland Central province, President
Tsvangirai told the gathering that the 29 March elections were a chance for
every Zimbabwean to vote for a change that they believed in.
"This year's elections are a chance for everyone to vote for a new beginning
and a change that you believe in and trust in.
"For the country to come out of its current mess, every Zimbabwean should go
out and vote for a better future of our country and our children," President
Tsvangirai to the gathering.
President Tsvangirai also unveiled at the rally all the MDC candidates from
Mashonaland Central province that are participating in the elections.
The election campaigns come after the party successful launched its 2008
election campaign and unveiled its election manifesto Sakubva Stadium in
Mutare, Manicaland province were over 60 000 people attended the launch.
After the Chipadze rally, President Tsvangirai addressed another well
attended rally at Chakonda Business Centre in Shamva also in Mashonaland
Over 10 000 people attended the rally in Shamva.
Other successful rallies where held by various parliamentary, council and
senatorial candidates in different parts of the country that received huge
In Matobo, chairman Hon. Lovemore Moyo addressed over 8 000 people at
Maphisa Growth Point and urged the people to vote for an end to the current
crisis that the country is in.
"We cannot continue to see the country decline like this. We should all go
out in our numbers and vote for jobs, health and education," Hon. Moyo who
is also the MP for Matobo South said.
Other people gathered at the Maphisa rally were the senatorial candidate for
Matobo, Sithembile Mhlotshwa, parliamentary candidate for Matobo North and
19 council candidates from the constituency.
The MDC also held rallies in Kuwadzana East and West constituencies that are
being represented by Hon. Nelson Chamisa and Lucia Matibenga respectively.
Other rallies were in Zengeza East and Dzivarasekwa.
However, an MDC rally that was supposed to be addressed by President
Tsvangirai at Juru Business Centre in Mashonaland East was cancelled after
the police sealed of the place and told people gathered to disperse as they
claimed that the police had not been notified about the event.
Contrary to these claims, the police in the province had been notified by
the MDC Mashonaland East provincial leadership of the event seven days
before the event in line with the amended Public Order and Security Act
Meanwhile, this weekend, President Tsvangirai moves his election campaign to
White City Stadium in Bulawayo where the City of Kings is expected to roll
into life as the MDC campaign trail holds another star rally.
03 March 2008
The Association is organizing public meetings that will invite contesting
candidates in the oncoming harmonized elections. The public meetings are a
platform for residents to interrogate would be leaders with a view to
assisting residents to make informed decisions and vote competent leaders.
The meetings will be running in all the 46 wards. Residents are also
informed that due to the delimitation of wards boundaries, there is
likelihood of confusion and chaos during the voting day. It is thus
important for residents to attend these public meetings. They will clarify
on ward boundaries, where to vote and many other enquiries related to
elections. The Association will also run an information center during the
elections to assist residents and also to receive reports of those turned
away, election violence etc. Further details on the public meetings and the
election information center will be available on the CHRA website
(www.chra.co.zw) before the end of the week.
Meanwhile the Associations General Council has resolved to hold a march for
free and fair elections. The march which will be done before the elections
in the city center is meant to conscientise political parties and activists
to desist from violent practices during and after the elections. CHRA ward
committees will also hold their own marches in the communities. The marches
are a campaign for free and fair elections. The police will be notified of
these events. It is important that elections are held in a free and fair
manner so as to restore legitimacy at Town House and on the government. The
elections must be held as stipulated by the SADC protocols on the holding of
free and fair elections.
Farai Barnabas Mangodza
Chief Executive Officer
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
145 Robert Mugabe Way
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
Contacts: Mobile: 0912638401, 011443578, 011862012 or email email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
THE Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights is outraged by the threats issued
by the Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu against the
Financial Gazette over a story that appeared in the financial weekly on
Thursday 21 February 2008.
The Minister's threats arose after the Financial Gazette reported that
several high-profile Zanu PF officials had been coerced to sign President
Mugabe's nomination papers for the Presidency in the March 29 harmonised
elections. We are curious to know why Ndlovu is so angry with the Financial
Gazette on that story. Is there something else the story insinuates that
the public does not know?
According to the main 8pm news bulletin of the only state broadcaster the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), Minister Ndlovu revealed that the
government will resort to other means to ensure the Financial Gazette
retracts its lead story on Mugabe. It is this level of intolerance by the
regime that this nation is so polarised since 2000. That explains why the
government has said it will not allow any journalists and observers from
'unfriendly nations', who ask and document 'unfriendly' truths about the
situation in our country.
The ZJHR has previously viewed Minister Ndlovu as a reasonable and
responsible man who understood the media but now realises that the man is
just as hateful of the truth as his master Robert Mugabe. It is the same
hate language of intimidation and threats that ex-Minister Jonathan Moyo
used against the banned Daily News and its staff that must be a stuck
reminder to all who care to listen that this is a harbinger of worse things
to come ahead of this crucial 29 March vote.
As the nation braces for the March 29 harmonised elections, the media,
particularly the private media should be mindful of the threats posed to
their lives by the desperate regime that thrives on intimidation and
harassment of the messengers of truth. The ZJHR continues to document all
violations against the people in terms of their rights to information.
The ZJHR is neither deterred nor intimidated by Minister Ndlovu's threats.
We reject any further erosion of our freedoms as Zimbabwean journalists by
curtailing our rights to tell the story as it is. Minister Ndlovu should
demonstrate the same zeal when dealing with journalists in the employ of the
government-controlled newspapers who daily pour scorn on the opposition
leadership and other private citizens who oppose the regime's economic
policies and political repression.
It is more important at this stage ahead of the election for the private
media to become united and confront the tyranny with one voice which knows
neither fear nor favour.
The ZJHR urges the State to shun language that fuel hatred against the
private media in the run-up to the harmonised elections. We also ask
Minister Ndlovu and his colleagues in government to desist from issuing
reckless statements that further undermine the media's role in a democracy.
For details and comments please contact the ZJHR on 0912 869 294, our legal
department on 0912 218 754 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights
Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (Harare)
21 February 2008
Posted to the web 3 March 2008
The SADC Energy Ministerial Task Force (EMTF) on Implementation of Power
Sector Programmes convened an emergency meeting at Boipuso Hall in Gaborone,
Botswana on the 21st February 2008. In the absence of the Chairperson of
SADC EMTF, the Minister of Mines and Energy of the Republic of Namibia, Mr.
Erikki Nghimtina, the meeting was Chaired by Honourable Michael Nyambuya,
Minister of Energy and Power Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe and
opened by Honourable P. H. K. Kedikilwe, Minister of Minerals, Energy and
Water Resources, Botswana. The Executive Secretary of SADC, H.E. Dr. Tomaz
Salomao also gave brief remarks on the status of the power supply situation
in the SADC region.
The Ministerial Task Force meeting was preceded by preparatory meetings of
the members of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the Regional
Electricity Regulators Association (RERA) and other parties on 19th February
2008 and Senior Energy Officials on 20th February 2008.
The Ministers registered their recognition of the high electricity demand
which has outstripped supply due to, among other factors, the positive
economic growth which averaged about 5% in most of the SADC Member States
and rural electrification projects in most Member States.
The Ministers noted the current status of power supply within the region,
which has an installed capacity of 54,742 MW of which only 46,391 MW is
available. Although new generation amounting to 1,810 MW has been
commissioned in the region in 2007, the reserve margin is still in deficit
against a required reserve margin of 10.2%. The situation will continue
until 2013 when all planned generation projects are commissioned.
The Ministers reviewed the status of implementation of SAPP generation,
transmission and interconnector projects which are categorized as
rehabilitation and related infrastructure, short term, medium term and long
term projects. These projects require a total of US$46.4 billion.
In addition to these projects, the Ministers noted progress made on the
Western Corridor Project (WESTCOR).
The Ministers took cognizance of the proposed short-term measures being
instituted by Member States and SAPP to overcome the diminished surplus
installed capacity and the expected impact of these measures on the power
supply situation. These measures include respective utilities' short term
projects, ESKOM's Recovery plan and power capacity being availed by
Mozambique for export to the rest of the region. The Task Force noted that
ESKOM through the Recovery Plan has achieved a 10% load reduction in South
Africa, a reduction of power supplied through bilateral contracts by 10% and
a saving of 600 MW in ESKOM demand specifically in the Western Cape. In
Mozambique the Ministers noted that HCB has recently concluded a
rehabilitation project on all units, resulting in the availability of the
units increased to 90%, which has released 300MW to be used on non-firm
basis to alleviate the crisis that the region is facing.
Following the understanding that the SADC region is undergoing a power
emergency situation, the Ministerial Task Force adopted a road map to
accelerate the region's recovery from this power shortage through ensuring
the effective connectivity of the interconnectors, as well as Supply Side
and Demand Side Management initiatives as follows:
· A Power Conservation Programme (PCP) be formulated and implemented as a
· a SADC policy be developed to ensure efficient use of electrical energy;
· development of a minimum energy efficiency standard for all new electrical
· phasing out of incandescent light bulbs in preference to Compact
Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
· direct the recapitalization of power utilities
· implementation of renewable energy technologies
In addition to the initiatives above, the Ministerial Task Force noted that
an enabling environment is indispensable to accelerate private sector
participation and additional investment in the power sector. In order to
achieve an enabling environment the SAPP will
i) work towards the harmonization of national electricity policy frameworks;
ii) accelerate the pace of Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) reforms to
improve governance and performance;
iii) develop and implement the necessary national policies and promulgate
legislation that will ensure:
· promotion of power conservation practices;
· provide financial and fiscal incentives to the Utilities for Demand-Side
iv) adopt and implement principles of cost reflective tariffs to allow
utilities and Independent Power Producers (IPP) to recover production costs
and allow for recapitalization.
The Ministerial Task Force noted that in addition to the supply side and
demand side issues, the power sector is facing additional challenges in
financing of power projects and institutional arrangements for
implementation. The Ministers therefore agreed on the following actions:
1) Commission a study to recommend a financing model for cross border
2) SADC/SAPP to assume a direct responsibility for coordinating and
monitoring project implementation
3) Member States should make full use of project preparation facilities to
4) SADC should follow up on international pledges made to finance NEPAD
The Ministerial Task Force considered and approved structures for
implementing projects, which include SADC Ministers responsible for Energy
with ultimate oversight on the Power Sector Projects Road Map, the Energy
Ministerial Task Force, to review the pace of implementation of projects;
the SADC Secretariat Project Coordination Unit, to be responsible for
strategic coordination of implementation of infrastructure projects, which
includes, project development, packaging, monitoring and reporting process
in conjunction with the Member States, SAPP, RERA and Key International
Partners. Project Teams and Project Steering Committees will undertake day
to day implementation and review of specific projects.
In addition to the above structures, the Ministerial Task Force agreed to
strengthen SAPP to ensure that it has adequate capacity to facilitate the
implementation of the Roadmap; and RERA to undertake capacity building
within the regulatory and institutional framework to ensure that an enabling
environment continues to obtain. In addition SAPP and RERA was given new
mandate to champion regional power projects in conjunction with Member
The Ministerial Task Force underscored the importance of the proposed
measures as a response to address the emergency situation. They impressed
upon the SADC Secretariat, SAPP and RERA, supported by the utilities and
other cooperating partners, the need to have clear milestones and timeframes
for the proposed measures so that their status of implementation is
measurable. In their reaffirmation for the support for the proposed measures
the Task Force took note of the report of the SADC Secretariat on the
Madagascar Power Sector and that the proposed solutions for Madagascar are
very similar to those made for the rest of the SADC Member States.
The Task Force noted with appreciation the reassurance by South Africa that
she will honour her contractual obligations with regard to the power supply
to the rest of the region.
In conclusion and following the offer by RSA to host the next Energy
Ministerial Task Force Meeting at a date to be determined during the SADC
Energy Ministers meeting to be held 30th April 2008 in DRC, the Ministerial
Task Force conveyed their appreciation to the People and Government of
Botswana for the conducive environment which led to the successful outcome
of the meeting, the SADC Secretariat and the Ministry of Minerals, Energy
and Water Resources of Botswana for the preparations they made for the
meeting and all the stakeholders for their continued support.
Boipuso Hall, Gaborone,
21 February 2008
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
1 March 2008
Posted to the web 3 March 2008
The Member of the House of Assembly for Mpopoma Mr Milton Milford Gwetu of
the MDC-Mutambara faction has died.
Mr Gwetu(78) who died at his Mpopoma home yesterday was also the Professor
Arthur Mutambara's faction candidate for Mpopoma-Pelandaba constituency.
His death came a few days after the faction lost another candidate, Mr Glory
Makwati, who was standing in Gwanda South. The director of elections in the
faction Mr Paul Themba Nyathi, confirmed Mr Gwetu's death adding that
members of his party were in despair.
"Honourable Gwetu died sometime this morning. He has been unwell for
sometime and was complaining of general tiredness but we never thought he
would die. He was a strong person and we believed he would recover," said Mr
Nyathi. "People in the party are devastated as you know his death comes a
week after the death of (Mr) Glory Makwati (the faction's candidate for
Gwanda South). We will miss him and as you know, there was never a moment
when he was angry with anyone. He will be missed in the party."
Mr Nyathi described Mr Gwetu as a humble person who took his legislative
role very seriously. "He was one of the Members of Parliament who did a lot
of work in his constituency. He took responsibility, and held report back
meetings with his constituency very, very regularly. He was simple, humble
and a grassroots person," he said.
Mr Nyathi said although his party was devastated, it would still press ahead
with its election campaigns. Mr Nyathi said his party would nominate
candidates to replace the two in Mpopoma-Pelandaba and Gwanda South
constituencies. "We will try to elect candidates of a similar calibre," he
Mr Gwetu was born in the St Cyprians area of Ntabazinduna on 28 January 1930
and grew up under the parentage of a devout Anglican family. He completed
primary school education at Tegwani Institute in Bulilima and later
proceeded to do Standard 7 at Indaleni High school in Richmond,
Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal Province.
He later enrolled with St Francis College at Marianhill, Durban, where he
did his higher education through the joint Matriculation Board of
Universities of South Africa. Mr Gwetu spent most of his adult life in the
labour movement. He was instrumental in the resuscitation of the Bulawayo
Municipal Workers Union and was its secretary from 1950 to 1952. He was
involved in the labour movement until the formation of the MDC in 1999.
He was elected as the MP for Mpopoma in 2000 and 2005 and was seeking a
third term in the 29 March elections.
Monday, 3 March 2008
FRANCISTOWN: The scene is reminiscent of the biblical story of the troubled
traveller who was receiving a battering from this merciless world. While on
his journey with his soul tormented by his insurmountable problems, the
stranger is said to have found a rock and rested on it.
It was while still sleeping on this rock that he had a very nice dream. He
is said to have dreamt about heaven. In that dream he was now in heaven and
living a wonderful life with God, the Almighty.
This situation suits the description of one Singazi Dube of Whange village
near Binga in Zimbabwe. We found him at this rather dangerous spot where
innocent people have been attacked before. He is lying 'lifelessly' on this
rock at this place.
As he sees us, he raises his arms and beckons us to come closer to him. We
cannot hear what he is saying. After hesitating for a few minutes, we decide
to take a few steps towards him.
As we approached him, he raises his arm, a gesture that he is surrendering
to us. His red and big eyes are now fixed on us. He uses the last energy
that seems to be left on his rather pale and weak body to point to his
We quickly examine his ankles. His feet are swollen including the ankles. "I
need help! I am an illegal immigrant. I have got no papers," he says as
tears flood his eyes.
The man is gasping for air. "I have been walking for the past two days and
sleeping in the bush. I am very hungry. Please help me".
These are the only few words he can utter.
We looked at him and at each other before we decided on an emergency plan to
help this innocent soul. We whisk him away to a nearby restaurant and buy
food for him. We have to be more than patient as we walk him to the car.
The man can hardly walk.
After enjoying the meal, Dube is now back to life and begins to narrate his
ordeal. "I have been walking for the past two days from Plumtree in
Zimbabwe. I am en route to Mmopane near Gaborone.
When I was deported last time I left my clothes and my money there. I want
to go and collect them," he begins his story.
Dube reveals that the walking has to be done throughout the day and mostly
in the bush. "I had to cover a reasonable distance during the day and have a
rest at night," he says.
He also discloses that at night he just slept in the bush. " At night I just
find somewhere to sleep in the bush.
I just sprawl on the ground. Unfortunately due to darkness, at times one
falls on thorny shrubs. But that will be one of those unfortunate
incidents," he explains, as he showed his mutilated skin.
His skin bears testimony to his words. It is a body that is full of wounds
and scratches. His hands are as hard as a rock. They also have scratches and
scars. But for him, the struggle continues.
Dube explains that he never thought of the danger that the bush presents
particularly at night due to the presence of wild animals and snakes. "I
never thought of that, my friend. I had to stay focused on my objective,
which is to reach my destination. I just put my trust on the Lord and find
solace on my name Singazi that means 'We don't know' in English.
"I simply conclude that it is only God who knows about what will eventually
happen to me. If he decides to end my life through snakebite or an attack
from a wild animal, let it be.
I always say a short prayer for God to protect me so that I may see the next
He also reveals that the only thing that worries him is the fact that
temperatures drop significantly low in the wee hours of the morning. "It
gets dangerously cold at around 2am,"
he says, as he coughs a bit perhaps a sign that the body can no longer
afford another day in the open.
He reveals that some of the challenges that confront him on his ambitious
journey are the different treatment that he receives from those he comes
into contact with.
"At times I am forced to 'trespass' into some homestead to ask for water to
drink. Others give me water while for others I become a source of
irritation. Some set their dogs on me as they chase me out of their
compounds. They say they don't want to talk to Zimbabweans. I have to run
for my dear life.
But I understand their frustrations in the midst of increasing crime rate
levels in this country," he says.
Dube says he decided to rest at this place because his left leg was now
painful. "This leg forced me to temporarily suspend my journey so as to let
it recover. I have used all my pain killers," he showed me the empty plastic
that contained the painkillers, his only possession during his journey.
He also reveals that initially when he first saw us, he was scared to death
and just decided to give up on life. "I simply told myself that this marks
my demise. I silently called to God to accept my soul. I simply declared
that: 'Let this rock be a standing reminder of or monument in memory of the
son of Dube'," he said with tears streaming down his face.
Dube asked us to surrender him to the nearest police station. "I have no
choice gentlemen. May be the police will take me to the hospital," he
He went on to express his gratitude for the help that we offered to him.
"Your arrival here was a real blessing for me.
I was going to die from hunger," he says, as he claps his hands in
"I have never been in contact with journalists before. I will never forget
what you have done for me, guys. May the Lord bless you," he says.
We finally took Dube to the Francistown Police station. As we say our
goodbyes to Dube, my heart bleeds.
"Some people are really suffering in this world," my colleague sums up the
whole episode as we leave the police station.
Monday, 3rd March 2008. 5:37pm
By: Manasseh Zindo.
PIUS Ncube is widely believed in Zimbabwe and around the African
continent to be the latest victim of the dirty tricks of President Robert
Mugabe's regime being orchestrated by the most feared Central Intelligence
Archbishop Ncube, who recently resigned as head of the Catholic Church
of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, has been a vocal critic of
Mugabe's regime. Pope Benedict XVI accepted Ncube's request to step down and
the archbishop emeritus has gone into private life.
In July 2007, Archbishop Ncube called for foreign intervention to
remove President Mugabe, a call analysts described as a bold statement in
Mugabe's Zimbabwe. A week after the statement, the former prelate called
President Robert Mugabe a "megalomaniac, a bully and a murderer". Barely two
weeks after that, state media gleefully published photos, allegedly of the
archbishop in bed with a married woman.
Archbishop Pius denied the allegation, but whatever the truth, the
scandal led to his resignation, with the husband of the implicated woman
suing Ncube for damages. Many believe that those who orchestrated the
scandal succeeded in ruining the career of man who had dedicated his life to
serving the people of Zimbabwe. "The CIO manufactured all that," says Tendai
Biti, secretary general of one faction of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). "He fought the regime and the regime fought back."
Archbishop Ncube himself has talked of the crude machinations of a
wicked regime but vows: "I will not be silenced". The BBC's Joseph Winter
says that Ncube, however, has lost his job and it remains to be seen whether
his voice will carry the same influence without the backing of such an
One strong member of the National Constitutional Assembly, which
campaigns for political reform in Zimbabwe, Mr Lovemore Madhuku, says that
as soon as you stand up and criticize the government, you are taking a huge
risk. "Opposition activists have been beaten up, tortured and even killed
but CIO agents also employs subtler methods, such as those many believe were
used against Bishop Ncube. They are very clever," he says. "They cannot
force you to have an affair but they study you, so they can take advantage
of your weakness."
"They visit your husband, or your wife, or your workplace and try to
interfere in your day-to-day life," Madhuku told the BBC News website. He
says that other favoured methods are to entrap businesspeople into doing
something illegal, like dealing in foreign currency. They then keep this
information and use it against you when they judge the time is right,
blackmailing you into giving up politics.
According to Mr Madhuku, CIO agents have repeatedly gone to the
University of Zimbabwe, where he works in the law faculty, to try to get him
sacked. He says they have successfully managed to stop him taking a
high-profile role in his Church.
The CIO reports directly to the office of the President and agents are
selected on the basis of their loyalty to Mr Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
party. It has a massive budget despite Zimbabwe's economic hardship, access
to latest technology and a massive network of informers. "You don't know who
you're talking to, who you can trust," Mr Biti told the BBC. He talked of
how the CIO has infiltrated every structure of every organization in the
country, with opposition parties the first in their firing line.
Two years ago, the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC), which has
presented Mr Mugabe with its strongest challenge since he led Zimbabwe to
independence in 1980, split into two factions, making it far less effective.
Many see this as another CIO coup. Mr Madhuku alleges that their agents
infiltrated the highest levels of the party and successfully played on the
egos of top MDC officials to engineer a split.
Although the government denied involvement at the time of split in
MDC, it was not the first time that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had been
In the days leading to the 2002 presidential election, Mr Tsvangirai
was charged with treason, based on evidence of Ari Ben-Menashe, a
Canada-based political consultant. He testified that in a secretly-filmed
meeting in December 2001, the MDC leader had arranged the assassination of
President Robert Mugabe. As evidence, he produced a grainy recording but on
that occasion, the CIO's standards had slipped and it was obvious that the
clip had been edited in an amateurish attempt to fix incriminating words
into Tsvangirai's mouth. Their plan failed, and for whatever reason, Mr
Tsvangirai was acquitted.
Morgan Tsvangirai was not the first opposition leader to be tried for
treason on spurious grounds in Zimbabwe. The Rev Ndabaningi Sithole, Mr
Mugabe's rival for more than 20 years, always claimed that he had been set
up when he was charged with trying to assassinate Mr Mugabe in 1997. The Rev
Sithole was found guilty and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in
prison, although he died, aged 80, before serving any term.
Prior to the treason charges, another CIO ploy to discourage one of
the only two opposition MPs at the time, had been to show Rev Sithole a
document allegedly showing that his wife was having an affair with a
Lovemore Madhuku says such petty interference, as much as the threat
of physical violence, is why many ordinary Zimbabweans have decide not to
get involved in politics, despite the country's economic collapse.
Mr Tendai Biti of MDC says President Mugabe owes his position to dirty
tricks and his craftsmen who invent them. "They are the real brains of this
By Jonga Kandemiiri
03 March 2008
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Monday that it is submitting
applications for election observers to the Ministry of Justice, which has
taken the responsibility for clearing applications by domestic observers
before they can be processed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, nominally
the authority in this domain.
Though the commission issues observer permits, Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, senior negotiator for the ruling ZANU-PF party in the South
African-mediated crisis resolution talks which dead-ended earlier this year,
was quoted in the state-run Herald newspaper this weekend laying out the
procedure for applications.
The election support network said it will draw observers from its
membership, which includes a number of civil society organizations.
The South African-based Electoral Institution of Southern Africa has sought
permission to send observers, but a spokesman for the group said it awaits a
response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That ministry is also
considering an application from the Parliamentary Forum of the Southern
African Development Community, whose application to send observers to 2005
general elections was turned down.
An Electoral Commission official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
declined to say if any observers have been accredited as of Monday, stating
only that the process is open until March 29, the day of the presidential,
general and local elections.
Election Support Network Chairman Noel Kututwa told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri that his organization will face major difficulties if its
observer applications are rejected.
By Patience Rusere
03 March 2008
The Law Society of Zimbabwe on Monday rejected the accusation by a minister
that it is an opposition political body working with the West to bring down
The state-controlled Herald newspaper on the weekend reported charges by
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to that effect. The pro-government Sunday
Mail said the Law Society wants to observe the elections on behalf of the
Law Society President Beatrice Mtetwa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government wants to divide its membership
because it has been outspoken on the breakdown of the rule of law in the