JOHANNESBURG, May 08, 2011- Hundreds of Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) and
members of the two formations of the MDC showed rare unity on Saturday when
they stormed and disrupted a Zanu (PF) meeting at Hillbrow Theatre forcing
Zimbabwean leaders including Didymus Mutasa to run for their lives.
The meeting, organized by Zanu (PF) allies in South Africa, the Pan
Africanist Congress (PAC) had to be cancelled after both MLF and MDC
supporters confronted officials of the former ruling party demanding to know
why Robert Mugabe sent his Five Brigade to kill thousands of people in
Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Some of the officials had to be rescued by the police who arrived on time to
stop the youths from assaulting them.The exiled Zimbabweans most of them
from Matabeleland accused the Zanu (PF) party and its leader Robert Mugabe
of committing genocide in the region and the Midlands provinces in the 80s.
Witnesses told Radio Vop that the officials appeared traumatized by the
experience and were quickly escorted out of the hall by the police.The
youths told the officials to go and hold their meetings in their own country
and declared that Hillbrow was a no go area for Mugabe supporters.
Human rights groups estimated that up to 20 000 civilians were slaughtered
by Mugabe’s North Korean-trained army unit, the Five Brigade.The brigade was
exclusively compossed of recruits from Mugabe’s Shona ethnic group and the
victims were mostly minority groups in Matabeleland which supported the then
opposition Zapu party and its leader Joshua Nkomo.
Five Brigade soldiers said they had orders to wipe out the Ndebele and drive
the survivors back to South Africa where they came from in the 19th century.
The angry MLF and MDC youths in Hillbrow sang songs that are usually sung by
the people in Bulawayo at social gatherings.The songs included the popular
one “lingababulali yeya, lingababulali yeya lali bulala obaba ”.
The crowd toyi toyed and demanded justice for Gukurahundi victims as
Zanu(PF) delegates looked stunned and helpless.One Zimbabwean who witnessed
the commotion told Radio Vop that he saw fear in the eyes and faces of Zanu
(PF) for the first time in their lives.
“ They are used to bullying people at home and beating up opposition
supporters.But on Saturday they should thank the quick reaction of the South
African police who prevented the crowd from molesting them, “ said the
“Crowds gathered outside the hall by 11am yesterday when news came through
that Zanu(PF) would be conducting an anti-sanctions meeting. We waited for
Mutasa and his group outside the hall. As we waited, more and more people
joined the crowd ,” another witness told Radio Vop.
“When Mutasa and his delegation arrived they introduced themselves and said
they were the Government of Zimbabwe and started chanting Zanu (PF) slogans.
It is at this stage that all hell broke loose.MLF legal affairs chief,
Sabelo Ngwenya jumped onto the stage and spoke about people who were killed
by Zanu (PF) in Zimbabwe both during the Matabeleland massacres and those
killed during elections after 2000.
Ngwenya erupted into another song which is popular with those who survived
the massacres "labulala obaba. " Another activist Prudence Moyo joined
Ngwenya on the stage and Zanu(PF) officials watched helplessly as their
meeting was hijacked by the MLF and MDC youths.
“ Those murderers must thank the police that they are still alive today.We
wanted to teach them a lesson that no one messes up with our people and get
away with it.They will pay for what they did in Matabeleland,“ said one MDC
San Diego, May 08, 2011- A dream vacation turned into a nightmare for an
East County woman who was attacked by a lion while on a safari with her
husband in Zimbabwe.
Colleen Garbaczewski and her husband, who live in the quiet Singing Hills
neighborhood near Rancho San Diego, were on a lion walk at Victoria Falls,
according to a family friend.
Video of lion walks show people walking near lions. Some even sit with the
lions and even pet them. For Garbaczewski, something went terribly wrong.
Though the details are still unclear, the attack left Garbaczewski with what
her family said were non life-threatening injuries.
"It's terrible. That's horrible," said Joseph Kalfayan, who has lived near
the couple for 10 years.Garbaczewski is an executive with Pacific Coast
Rentals and is also involved in the community. She supports a charity that
helps children with Down syndrome and she's involved with Canine Companions,
a group that trains service dogs.
Kalfayan had this message for his friend: "I wish her good health, the best
of luck and a quick recovery."10News spoke with one member of the
Garbaczewski family on Friday night who said that Garbaczewski is recovering
well and should be home soon
By Stanley Gama and Tonderai Kwenda
Sunday, 08 May 2011 13:52
HARARE - Zanu PF negotiators to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) were in
an obtrusive mood yesterday when they met their Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) counterparts and the South African facilitation team in the
Cape Town round of talks this week.
And, speaking at the same time as the negotiations were coming to an
inconclusive end, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who was also in Cape
Town where he was attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum, said that
negotiating the GPA with President Robert Mugabe had been “the most
frustrating experience” of his life.
Although exact details were sketchy last night, a source close to the Cape
Town leg of the negotiations said “deliberations have been slow and
difficult” — pointing a finger at Zanu PF for stalling the momentum that
began with the Sadc troika meeting that was held in Livingstone, Zambia, a
“It appears sadly that there is a Zanu PF digs in hardening of attitude on
the part of the former ruling party (Zanu PF). What it also means is that
the full Sadc summit to be held in Namibia on May 20 will not be an easy
one,” the source said.
However, a spokesperson of the South African facilitation team, Ambassador
Lindiwe Zulu, who is also President Jacob Zuma’s international relations
advisor, told the Daily News from Cape Town, the negotiators had a “positive
meeting”, but “like in any negotiations, there will be always differences”.
“The roadmap discussions have been completed and the document will go to
the principals,” said Zulu who together with Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula
are facilitating the talks.
She would not reveal what exactly the negotiators failed to agree on.
“We dealt with the roadmap issues. Although there were differences, what was
positive was that the negotiators showed willingness to deal with these
differences. However, this is not the end of it, we will now go and report
to our principals,” she said.
It appeared that among the biggest sticking points, were the realities of
rising violence in the country, authorities’ predilection for selective
justice and necessary security sector reforms.
The Daily News reported throughout this week that some Zanu PF hawks are
working hard to torpedo both the ongoing GPA negotiations and the inclusive
government, in a futile bid to hang on to power.
The newspaper also reported that Pretoria was aware of this development,
with a South African official saying they “long factored in this kind of
politicking” and that they were confident more progress would be made in
The official said this was part of the reason why Sadc had effectively taken
over the responsibility of seeking the removal of targeted restrictive
measures on Zanu PF leaders - a move Pretoria apparently believed would
“neutralise” Zanu PF’s biggest diversionary weapon in the party’s desperate
attempts to avoid the full implementation of the GPA.
To this end, a Sadc delegation made up of members of the South African
facilitation team, representatives of the Sadc troika on politics as well as
those of the Sadc chairperson, has been travelling to western capitals to
seek the removal of the restrictions.
They have so far been to Washington, London and Brussels.
Commenting on the sanctions development on Thursday, Zulu said: “The
sanctions became a Sadc issue when the summit in Zambia took the decision to
ask for their removal. The political parties have to help our efforts by
making progress in implementation on the ground”.
The United States, European Union (EU) and other western countries such as
Canada and Australia imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his
cronies in response to the increase in human rights abuses and assaults on
democracy in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said negotiating his shaky
unity pact with veteran President Robert Mugabe has been “the most
frustrating experience” of his life - although he believed this was key to
halting the country’s collapse.
Speaking in Cape Town at the end of the World Economic Forum meeting, which
he had been attending, he said: “It is the most frustrating experience of my
life to have to negotiate with somebody who lost an election, and then
forced to negotiate an arrangement where the loser comes through the window
in order to claim the same rights like somebody who has won.
“But I think you reach a stage where, given the level of collapse, you may
have to forego, whether you have won or not and say what is the best
solution for the people,” he said.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s power-sharing government - formed in February 2009
after a violent and disputed election - has succeeded in halting Zimbabwe’s
economic tailspin, mainly by ditching the local currency after record
But the pair has repeatedly locked horns over implementing the deal.
In March, regional leaders who met in Livingstone, Zambia, insisted that
Zimbabwe draft a new constitution before holding new elections that will end
the fragile coalition.
Meanwhile, it is believed President Barack Obama is courting Sam Nujoma’s
successor, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the current chairman of Sadc, who
is steering a new course for the regional body - ahead of the May 20 summit
that will again deal with the Zimbabwean political crisis.
Regional diplomatic sources who confirmed this to the Daily News last night
said this may entail advising his predecessor’s friend, Mugabe, to retire
State security chiefs call the shots
May 7, 2011 12:55 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA
Zimbabwe's state security forces - the army, police and intelligence
services - have warned President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF political
negotiators not to accept demands by representatives of the two MDC factions
to reform the securocratic apparatus during talks in Cape Town.
Senior military officers told the Sunday Times on Friday that they had told
Mugabe at the Joint Operations Commands meetings, to ensure that Zanu-PF
negotiators did not give ground on the sensitive issue of the security
sector reforms. The JOC brings together army, police and intelligence
chiefs, as well as Mugabe and security ministers.
Negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche have now been instructed to
tread carefully during talks on the issue and reject demands for reform.
State security service chiefs have also refused to dismantle the JOC despite
the establishment of the National Security Council, which was expected to
"We have told the president many times at JOC meetings that he must not
allow his party negotiators to agree to security sector reforms because we
know the agenda of the US and European Union is to weaken us and aid and
abet the takeover of government by Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T," a
senior army commander said.
"They know that the last line of defence for Gushungo (Mugabe) is us and
that's why they are very anxious to weaken the security forces through
Another senior army commander said Chinamasa and Goche have clear
instructions to reject the reform proposals. The MDC negotiators are
demanding security sector reforms before the next elections.
They also want political principals to "instruct the security forces to
issue a public statement that they will unequivocally uphold the
constitution and respect the rule of law in the lead-up to and following the
elections or referendum".
However, Zanu-PF negotiators refused to agree to this, saying "this is not
an election matter".
Chinamasa and Goche insisted "political parties have no right to direct
uniformed forces to issue political statements".
This is despite the fact that security forces have been openly dabbling in
politics in recent years to prop up Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Inter-party negotiators started on Thursday in Cape Town and were due to end
yesterday. The talks are aimed at producing a road map to free and fair
Other negotiators are Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma of MDC-T and Moses Mzila
Ndlovu and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga of MDC-N.
SA President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team of Charles Nqakula, Mac Maharaj
and Lindiwe Zulu is involved in the negotiations in Cape Town.
Negotiations deadlocked mainly on the staffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission and the role of the security forces in political processes and
A senior negotiator, who refused to be named since parties agreed to a media
blackout, said on Friday talks had started off "well" but "we have now
entered into the difficult part of the process".
"The agenda of the meeting is to finalise the Global Political Agreement
review document with the facilitators and also to look into the road map,
particularly areas of disagreements. The role of facilitators is to help us
to break the stalemate," the negotiator said.
"We started off well but we know Zanu-PF negotiators have been told not to
make concessions on critical issues such the ZEC and security sector
reforms. We are determined to find a compromise, but we know it will be
The negotiators and facilitators are pushing to finalise their talks before
the extraordinary Southern African Development Community summit in Windhoek,
Namibia, on May 20.
SADC leaders told Mugabe in Zambia last month they were "disappointed" and
were increasingly "impatient" with him over GPA issues and are set to read
the riot act to him in Windhoek.
May 7, 2011 1:02 PM | By SUNDAY TIMES CORRESPONDENT
President Robert Mugabe and the entire Zanu-PF leadership are reportedly
scrambling to avert a split in the party amid reports of worsening divisions
over who will succeed the 87-year-old ruler.
Zanu-PF officials have been shuttling between offices of senior party
members, with letters of complaint flying between overseers at provincial
levels and the presidium headed by Mugabe.
Zanu-PF told the Sunday Times this week that Mugabe might use a politburo
meeting to read the riot act to the two camps - one led by Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the Defence Minister, and the other by Joyce Mujuru, the
The battle for control of Zanu-PF escalated last week when it emerged that
Phillip Chiyangwa - the former provincial chairman of Mashonaland West, who
is regarded as being close to the Mnangagwa camp - wanted to bounce back in
the same position amid fierce resistance from the Mujuru camp.
Chiyangwa was expelled from Zanu-PF in 2004 following his arrest over a
alleged spying scandal involving the South African government. He was,
however, not convicted and was readmitted to the party last week.
The Zanu-PF infighting has worsened in recent weeks due to Mugabe's ill
health and age - and when it emerged he would not stand in the elections,
whether they are held next year or in two years time, when he will be 89
A top Zanu-PF official said on Friday that due to the divisions, Mugabe had
no option but to call an emergency meeting with his hardliners and those
jostling for positions.
"President Mugabe will have to take drastic measures to ensure that he
solves these internal fights which might explode soon. People are becoming
dirtier in de-campaigning each other and there is chaos.
"Mugabe has his own problems, the party is worse and every problem is piling
on the president's office. We have heard the leadership will tackle the
issue of divisions (next) week but we are not yet sure. The problem is that
we doubt whether the president is sincere in stopping the rot, because he
seems to enjoy these divisions. It looks like this time around the fights
have got a little out of hand and it's now worrying. President Mugabe has to
really show he is in charge of the situation," the Zanu-PF insider said.
The intriguing succession battle has been further complicated by a third
faction comprising a group of young politicians. Though they are from both
camps, they are also separately fighting to replace Mugabe.
Mugabe is said to be suffering from different pressure points within his
party, his failed policies, interference by the army in his rule, regional
leaders who want him to quit, his health concerns, pressures from his wife
Grace, and increasing pressure from his party that he must retire.
Zanu-PF advisers have told the president that winning elections through
violence, as allegedly being advocated by hardliners in the party, is not an
option, given that the international community has shown it takes note of
such offences - as in North Africa and the Middle East.
Mugabe has reportedly been advised too that such actions would increase the
friction between him and the West.
The SADC and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai believe Mugabe is no longer in
charge, with others seemingly telling him what to do.
Since January, Mugabe has travelled to the Far East five times amid reports
that his health is fast deteriorating.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba confirmed recently that Mugabe was
having problems with his eyes, but diplomats and the international media
insist that the octogenarian leader is having problems with prostate
cancer - a disease which is common in men of his age.
May 7, 2011 1:07 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT
The on-and-off constitution-making process in Zimbabwe has resumed after
nearly two months of dormancy.
The programme was reignited this week but there are doubts the constitution
will be in place before the end of the year.
The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac), the body charged with
drawing up a new constitution, has failed to meet to set time frames and
deadlines since its inception in July last year.
Copac failed to meet the deadlines mainly due to financial contraints and
squabbling between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) faction of leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
But after almost two months of stalling, Copac resumed the process with a
two-day training workshop in Harare this week.
The training, attended by about 600 people from political parties and civil
society bodies, was meant to equip participants with skills to work in
committees dealing with 17 themes.Participants who attended the workshop
said discussions centred around the best way of identifying key issues that
citizens raised in Copac outreach meetings, which ended more than three
months ago, and placing those issues in a draft constitution.
The Copac outreach process was mired by violence as supporters of Zanu-PF
and the two MDC fractions fought running battles.
In Mbare, one of Harare's poorest and oldest townships, one person was
killed as Zanu-PF and MDC-T supporters clashed when Copac teams moved into
the suburb to gather and record views from residents.
The process had to be abandoned, but was resuscitated about a month later in
the presence of heavily armed police.
There were also allegations of political intimidation and coaching of people
during the outreach process. At one time a laptop containing crucial data
collected from citizens was reportedly stolen from Copac's office.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a loose grouping of about 300 civil
society bodies shadowing the constitution-making process, says it hopes
Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions will shrug off their differences and
prioritise the drafting of a new constitution with a bill of rights, which
is expected to usher in fresh elections.
"The political parties should put aside their differences and prioritise
national interest, since the process is the road map towards the holding of
free and fair elections.
"Hence, the process must be given due respect," the Crisis in Zimbabwe
By Xolisani Ncube
Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:21
HARARE - Residents of Harare have slammed the Harare City Council for the
water shortages which have resurfaced in the capital.
The acute shortages have triggered fears of cholera outbreak in most high
density areas which are perennially known for their low pressure table.
Most high density areas, especially the poor townships of Mabvuku and Tafara
as well as the northern suburbs, have gone for weeks without water.
Minister of Water Resources Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said he was busy in Bulawayo
and could not comment on the current water crisis although he later said the
Harare City Council was responsible for managing water.
Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has attributed the water shortages to the old pipes
which need replacement and lack of money to undertake necessary repair work.
Masunda said the city is owed more than US $150 million in revenue by both
government and residents in unpaid rates.
“As the city of Harare, we are not receiving anything from the central
government. Government has done literally nothing in investing towards
infrastructure development so this is a great challenge,” Masunda told the
Daily News last week.
But Finance Minister Tendai Biti sourced US$17 million in 2009 for revamping
and improving the water and sewer reticulation systems.
New water pipes were installed in the city and surrounding suburbs.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) said the water crisis has become a widespread
problem needing urgent attention.
“We have received reports that taps in Kuwadzana are dry with residents now
getting water from unsafe places,” said Simbarashe Majamanda, HRT
Residents of Warren Park have been without water for weeks and are exposed
to unsafe water sources.
In Glen Lorne residents told the Daily News that they had gone for two weeks
without supplies despite repeated council promises to rectify the problem.
“They always tell us you will have water by this day and once that day
arrives they change and this has been continuing for quite some,” said the
resident who blasted council for prioritising issues of revenue over the
welfare of residents of the city.
Council has recently been pushing for an increase in water tariffs and its
proposal has so far been shot down by the Minister of Local Government,
By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:25
HARARE - Human rights activists and political commentators have demanded the
deportation from ther United Kingdom of four children of the late deputy
director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation, (CIO) Menard
Muzariri, where they are political refugees.
Muzariri’s four children sought political asylum in the UK and did not
attend their father’s burial the National Heroes Acre.
A family uncle read a condolence message from the four children during
Muzariri’s burial last month.
Professor John Makumbe said the UK must deport the children to face the same
problems that every other ordinary citizen is facing in Zimbabwe.
“I am sure the late Muzariri knew his kids had sought asylum in the UK. They
must come here and face the music,” Makumbe said.
“They must come back and face the problems that were created by their
parents here. It gives a bad image to the Mugabe regime that their children
are running away from this country. These are the children of a former top
government official. Who is going to harm them here?”
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya echoed the same sentiments saying
Muzariri’s children must come back to Zimbabwe. “If it is true that these
kids have sought political asylum in UK, it is double standards.
They cannot enjoy both worlds.
They were living pretty in Zimbabwe and now want to enjoy more comfort in
the UK. This is not acceptable; children of top Zanu PF leaders must be
brought back here. You cannot expect children of these leaders to be
accommodated in the UK,” said Ruhanya.
The British Embassy’s First secretary for political and communication
affairs, Keith Scott said the embassy does not comment on individual asylum
“We do not comment on individual asylum cases. The restrictions imposed by
the EU apply only to those individuals and entities on the list. It does not
extend to family members or dependents. Mr Muzariri was not on the list of
individuals covered by the EU restrictive measures,” said Scott.
Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:28
HARARE - Olga Bungu, the woman at the centre of the Grace Mugabe truck saga,
in which the first lady lost $1 million in a botched deal has been unmasked
after she was appointed a police commissioner by President Robert Mugabe.
Her appointment was announced in the state media yesterday.
Bungu claimed in court papers that she was unemployed but the Daily News
exposed her as an aide of Mugabe who was also working in the police force.
Legal experts yesterday said if she lied under oath she must be charged with
In an affidavit seen by the Daily News, Bungu claimed that she was an
unemployed business person who wanted to venture into business when she was
fleeced US$1 million.
Through a shadowy Chinese national Ping Sung Hsieh, Bungu transferred US$1
million to the fugitive businessman to buy six trucks for the First Lady but
he never delivered the trucks and has refused to refund the money.
Hsieh claimed through his lawyers that he was dealing with Grace’s son
Bungu had however told one of Hsieh’s South African lawyers that she was in
fact an aide to Grace and they travel together to foreign countries on a
She was promoted from the post of senior assistant commissioner to a full
commissioner, a development which exposed her as the person behind the
Contacted for comment Bungu refused to answer any questions over the
telephone. She said: “I don’t know you. I don’t want to speak to anyone that
I don’t know.”
May 7, 2011 1:32 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA
The Zimbabwe government is broke to a point that it cannot afford to fund
national projects such as the constitution and presidential elections, and
the latest addition to the list is the national population census.
These projects are supposed to be concluded within a three-year framework.
As things stand the government will have to rely on donors.
The Central Statistical Office says the country might fail to hold the
census in time next year if it fails to get funding of at least $25-million.
Every 10 years the CSO conducts a national census which is crucial for
national planning and policy making.
The mapping and listing of households in preparation for the exercise is
The CSO is pinning its hopes on getting donor funds. "The government does
not have money. We are in need of at least $25-30-million to get the process
under way," said CSO director Moffat Nyoni.
The CSO is facing serious challenges, ranging from shortage of vehicles and
funding to enable enumerators to travel countrywide for the mapping and
"Between August 17 and 18 this year we will conduct a pilot census to test
the effectiveness of our logistics and instruments for the actual census on
the same dates next year," added Nyoni.
The August 2012 census will be the fourth since independence. In 2002 the
population was 11.6-million compared to 14.4-million in 1992.
Most of the constitution-making process, due to be finished at the end of
the year, has been funded by the donor community.
The constitution will then lead to general elections that Zanu-PF had been
calling for to take place at the end of this year, until recently moving the
Finance Minister Tendai Biti argued that the government did not have the
money to hold elections any time soon.
Zanu-PF faced up to this reality with Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
confirming that the earliest possible time for elections was 2013.
HARARE, MAY 8, 2011 - The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) on
Saturday suspended the new airport departure tax, which will see domestic
travelers paying US$10 and international travelers coughing up an extra
CAAZ said the tax, which was introduced under the Aviation Infrastructure
Development Fund (AIDEF) and was supposed to come into effect on May had
been suspended because of “logistical” challenges.
“Passengers who have been charged the levy in May 2011 should approach the
relevant airline, travel agent or airport authority for a refund,” said
David Chawota CAAZ chief executive officer.
“Airlines and travel agents who have collected AIDEF levies should not remit
the funds to CAAZ but refund the passengers.”
The authority said AIDEF would be used to upgrade the country’s airports
since it was not receiving enough money from government. But tourism players
criticised the move saying it would affect the sector which is still trying
to recover from the decade long political and economic crisis in the
A few airlines still fly into Zimbabwe after many pulled out at the onset of
the political crisis.Passengers on transit, diplomats and children under the
age of two would be exempted from the tax when it is finally introduced.
Biased ZBC's monopoly remains unchallenged
May 7, 2011 1:21 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT
As Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in marking World Press Freedom Day
this week, the country's inclusive government was roundly condemned for
maintaining the monopoly of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which is
biased towards President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Independent editors, media lawyers and media watchdogs noted that the Global
Political Agreement mandated the signatories to rollout media reforms,
especially the transformation of the ZBC from a state broadcaster to a truly
The GPA and Constitution Amendment Number 19 mandated the partners in the
inclusive government to undertake comprehensive media reforms that would
allow new players into the broadcasting sector.
However, after nearly three years, not a single private player has been
Loughty Dube, the chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA), Zimbabwe chapter, said his organisation noted with great concern
that 10 years after the crafting of the African Charter on Broadcasting and
enactment of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), Zimbabwe was still far
from fulfilling the three-tier broadcasting system as envisaged under the
This system comprises public broadcasting, private and commercial
broadcasting and establishment of community radio stations.
Dube said it was against this background that Misa-Zimbabwe came up with its
2011 World Press Freedom Day theme: "Broadcasting Reforms on Agenda: Free
the Airwaves Now".
"A majority of the 14-member states of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) now boast of a plethora of privately owned broadcasting
stations and community radio stations. Zimbabwe thus remains stagnated as a
monolithic pariah state whose airwaves continue to be monopolised by the
state-controlled ZBC," he said.
"While the Zimbabwe Media Commission has taken commendable steps towards
fulfilling the obligations of the Windhoek Declaration for a diversified,
pluralistic and independent media environment by licensing more than 20
media houses in the print sector, the broadcasting media environment remains
restricted and constricted."
There are several community radio initiatives in the country waiting for the
call from the inclusive government to establish community radio stations,
among them Bulawayo-based Radio Dialogue and Community Radio Harare (Corah).
Corah last month took the government to court in a desperate attempt to be
granted a licence.
Father Nigel Johnson, the founder of Radio Dialogue, said the Bulawayo-based
station was fully equipped and ready to operate.
"What Radio Dialogue is waiting for is a licence. We call on the government
to expedite the process so that the communities can benefit," said Johnson.
Iden Wetherall, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Editors Forum, said it was a
scandal that the country had no independent broadcasters and only depended
on the partisan ZBC.
Award-winning media lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said it would be difficult to
transform the ZBC into a truly public broadcaster due to years of
"I doubt that ZBC in its current state and in our current political
environment can in fact be transformed," said Mtetwa.
"The route we ought to be taking is not the transformation of the ZBC but
providing serious competition to ZBC. To transform ZBC we need the political
will to do so. Our state of governance and democracy will not allow ZBC to
be transformed; we will need to transform ourselves first."
She blasted the politicians in the inclusive government for wasting time
discussing transformation, saying they should rather introduce alternative
media and see if ZBC survived.
"If ZBC dies, let it die because other broadcasters will be there and will
be favoured by those who require their services more than we are currently
getting from ZBC," Mtetwa added.
Mugabe and Zanu-PF use the ZBC as part of their election campaign machinery.
Jingles hero-worshipping Mugabe are played every hour on all ZBC radio
stations. However, the ZBC has refused to play MDC-T jingles or songs.
Written by Midlands Correspondet
Friday, 06 May 2011 17:05
.. as Mauritian firm demands ZESA, coal supplies
REDCLIFF - Zimbabwe's sole iron and steel manufacturing firm, Zimbabwe Iron
and Steel Company (ZISCO), has failed to pay its water bill to Kwekwe
council for years. The arrears have ballooned to $15m.
The company has a potential to produce two million tonnes of steel per year
and can contribute about $1 billion to the country's fiscus if properly
Ownership of majority shares at ZISCO is now in the hands of Essar Africa
Holdings of Mauritius, who acquired a 54% stake from government at a cost of
Kwekwe Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa confirmed the development and said the company
has been given an ultimatum of three weeks to come up with a payment plan to
clear its bill.
“We had a crisis meeting with management at ZISCO and we told them that they
should pay up their bill because it is costing the people of Kwekwe,” Mayor
Tobaiwa said in an interview.
He also revealed that the money that council is owed by ZISCO is enough to
foot its annual budget when paid in full – the town’s budget for 201 is
pegged at $14.5m.
“We felt that we could cause an outbreak of cholera in Redcliff if we
disconnected water supplies to ZISCO – that’s why we are being soft with the
firm,” he said.
Though on the surface government and Essar Africa Holdings seem to have
sealed the deal on ZISCO, The Zimbabwean ****** can reveal that the
Mauritian firm has given conditions it wants agreed upon before it can begin
These include control of nearby Munyati Power Station and voting rights at
Hwange Colliery Mine to ensure uninterrupted supply and access to
electricity and coal respectively.
In the past Industry Minister, Welshman Ncube, said corruption was pulling
down efforts to revive ZISCO. This was in apparent reference to Zanu (PF)
officials who in September 2006 were fingered by then Industry and Commerce
Minister, Obert Mpofu, for looting proceeds from ZISCO.
Sunday, 08 May 2011 15:15
HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday voiced
support for his country’s controversial indigenisation policy, which
stipulates that locals should own at least 51 percent of the shares in
“Indigenisation is not about expropriation or nationalisation ... it’s about
setting fair value,” he said at a debate at the World Economic Forum in Cape
It was the first time Zimbabwe’s opposition leader made clear he was in
favour of the new laws, which took effect in March when foreign mining firms
were given six months to sell a majority stake to local black investors.
Mining is one of the few profitable sectors in Zimbabwe and analysts warn
indigenisation could curtail capital inflows.
“People have raised concerns about indigenisation,” Tsvangirai told
reporters. “Across the political divide, we agree on the principle of
Tsvangirai said what was important was how the new laws would be
“We are trying to model a matrix that will satisfy both the investor and our
desire to see people (participate more in the economy).
“We are contributing the mineral resource, you will exploit it and we will
exploit it to the benefit of both of us.
“Companies want political stability and policy consistency, we have been
consistent in the area of indigenisation,” he said.
Tongue in cheek, Tsvangirai asked a mining panel discussion why there was no
metals exchange in Africa or a cartel such as Opec.
He criticised the lack of accountability in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, saying
that the fiscus had only received a few dollars from the industry.
“We can’t have this .... there must be accountability for how they are
dispersed to the benefits of the population.” – businesslive.co.za
HARARE, May 08, 2011- Influential think-tank the International Crisis Group
has warned the African Union and the Southern African Development Community
that Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate election if the polls are conducted
without credible and enforceable reforms.
ICG joins human rights organisations, SADC and civic organisations in
putting pressure on President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to fully
implement the Global Political Agreement which brought about the inclusive
government in Zimbabwe.
In a report titled: Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End? ICG
said the violence against Zanu-PF's opponents that escalated in Zimbabwe in
the past few months was a reflection that lack of reform is seriously
threatening the GPA.
The report comes more than a month after the SADC troika on politics,
defence and security rebuked Mugabe over the use of violence in dealing with
opponents and also over the continued arrest and intimidation of Zanu-PF
"Eventual elections are inevitable, but without credible, enforceable
reforms, Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate vote and prospects of
entrenched polarisation and crisis. GPA guarantors - the AU and the SADC and
its South African-led facilitation team - have an uphill battle to secure
"Zanu-PF is increasingly confident it can intimidate opponents and frustrate
reform, and there is waning faith, internally and externally, in the MDC-T's
capability. Mugabe's health and Zanu-PF's succession turmoil are further
complications. Without stronger international pressure on Zanu-PF, the
tenuous current coalition may collapse, triggering further violence and
grave consequences for Southern Africa."
ICG had words of praise for SADC, saying the Livingstone troika outcome took
a bold decision to push for reforms in Zimbabwe.
The report says this was a significant development, which illustrated a
public hardening of attitudes and increasing frustration within the region
towards the GPA signatories, particularly Zanu-PF.
Negotiators from the GPA were due to end a three-day meeting in Cape Town
yesterday where they were expected to come up with a final road map to
elections and where the remaining outstanding issues, especially the
security sector reforms, were to be discussed.
The meetings were being held amid reports that Zimbabwe's security sector
leadership had expressed concern that the Zanu-PF's negotiators - Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche - were giving in too much to the MDC
negotiators. Reports say they are now under instructions to harden their
stance at the talks.
The ICG further said: "The next few months will determine whether the SADC
can follow its words by producing action that advances the reform agenda and
prospects for a sustainable transition.
"That in turn will indicate whether the conditions necessary for credible
MDC-T and Zanu-PF clash over rights of voters abroad
May 7, 2011 1:06 PM | By HARARE CORRESPONDENT
Zanu-PF and the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change are
clashing over the diaspora vote amid revelations that President Robert
Mugabe's party is vehemently against it.
About three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be in the diaspora after
fleeing the economic and political meltdown between 2000 and 2010.
Mugabe and Zanu-PF allegedly fear that those in the diaspora support Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T faction, hence the veteran
politician's reluctance to allow them to vote in the next elections.
Zanu-PF's Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is thought to be vying to succeed Mugabe,
said this week his party would not allow those in the diaspora to vote.
He said restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (EU) and other
Western powers on Mugabe and his inner circle should be unconditionally
lifted before the Zimbabweans outside the country are allowed to vote.
Mnangagwa said because of the targeted sanctions, the Zanu-PF leadership was
unable to travel to Europe and the US to canvass for support from the
diaspora yet Tsvangirai and his leadership were able crisis-cross the globe
to campaign. "It would be folly for us to allow them to vote," he said.
But in a hard-hitting statement to the media on Friday, Tsvangirai's party
said that all adult Zimbabweans, either at home or in the diaspora, should
be allowed to vote in any election if democracy has to assume its "generic"
meaning outside the current political transition.
The MDC-T said Zanu-PF and Mnangagwa should know that sanctions and the
diaspora vote were not linked.
"The inclusive government was set up to give birth to a completely new
society, a society that reflects a radical departure from our dark past. The
MDC recognises the fundamental right for total franchise for all eligible
citizens of Zimbabwe. The right to a vote can never be treated as a
privilege, and cannot be bargained for," it said in statement.
"Decades of economic and political chaos drove millions of Zimbabweans off
their home base. As if to further punish them the former regime quickly
disenfranchised them purely on allegations of supporting the party of the
future, the MDC. Now that Zimbabwe is being ruled by an inclusive
government, there can never be any justification for official discrimination
against citizens in the diaspora," said the MDC-T.
"For the record, these Zimbabweans living and working abroad gave the
country a lifeline during a debilitating hyperinflationary period through a
steady flow of remittances in cash, food and fuel. They continue to do so
today as the country teeters back to its feet.
"They should never be denied a voice to determine the future of their
As negotiators exchange notes with the SADC facilitation team in Cape Town,
SA , the MDC-T called for the restoration of the diaspora vote as a natural
"The liberation struggle was anchored on the need for a one person, one-vote
principle. To deny a Zimbabwean such a right would amount to a regrettable
betrayal of the ideals of that struggle," it added.
The MDC-T has strong branches in the UK, US and South Africa, where there
are large numbers of Zimbabweans.
JOHANNESBURG, May 08, 2011- THE International Police Organisation (Interpol)
is tracking down a South African based human trafficking syndicate that is
said to have recruited more than 100 young girls, including Zimbabweans, to
work as sex slaves, according to The Sunday Mail.
A South African police spokesperson last week confirmed that Zimbabwean
citizens were part of the group of trafficked girls who had been held
captive on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal by a group of people working for a
Nigerian syndicate which ships young women to work as sex slaves in Asia
after promising them jobs.
The masterminds of the syndicate dramatically eluded a police raid recently
and it is feared that they will continue conscripting more girls into
prostitution. Other girls are said to be mostly from Swaziland and
The suspected human trafficking syndicate allegedly operates on an
international scale, transporting its victims to European and Asian
countries where they work as prostitutes or outright slaves.
According to information from the SA police, the syndicate is made up of
South Africans and Nigerians.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge
confirmed that police were hot on the syndicate¡¯s trail after they came
painstakingly close to nabbing the syndicate¡¯s operatives in
"We were very close. We almost had them but they were somehow tipped off and
they disappeared with the young children. Our big fear now is what has
happened to these children," he said.
He said they believed the syndicate mainly trafficked girls from Mozambique,
Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
"Once across the border, the girls are apparently brought to the farm, which
we believe is being used not only to house them, but also as a brothel.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
confirmed receiving reports on the recruitment of Zimbabwean victims, saying
local police were in constant contact with their South African counterparts
regarding the matter.
"We communicated with our colleagues in South Africa and they confirmed that
there are a number of Zimbabweans in the trafficked group. We are yet to
receive information on the exact number of victims but we are in constant
touch with South African police and they will furnish us with further
details soon," he said.
The human trafficking syndicate is said to have been operating a brothel on
the farm outside Paulpitersburg since 2006.
The farm is apparently also being used as a holding camp for young girls who
are taken to Europe and Asia
Mugabe repentant after visit to Vatican
‘Zuma Save Zimbabwe’ read our banners displayed at the Vigil. President Zuma would recognize them because we made them for his State Visit to London in March last year when the Vigil greeted him outside the South African High Commission.
We got a friendly wave from him then and we would like to give him one back: it depends on whether he follows up on the challenging line he took with Mugabe at the SADC Troika Summit on Zimbabwe last month.
Since then the six GPA negotiators have been working on the roadmap for elections to be presented to the SADC Summit in Windhoek on 20th May. Vigil supporter Clifford Mashiri, a former diplomat, is scathing about their work.
He told SW Radio Africa that the draft roadmap was a big joke. Nothing about it was satisfactory. “SADC will need to fulfill its promises and ensure that if there is a roadmap, it is one that ensures the safety of the people and the credibility of a vote. Otherwise this is just a roadmap to disaster.”
We suspect Zuma sees it in the same light as he is apparently to visit Harare in the coming week to bang heads together again. Just what is at stake has been spelt out by the MDC’s re-elected Treasurer-General Roy Bennett, one of the people who inspired the launch of the Vigil nine years ago. Speaking to South African businessmen in London, Roy warned that the entire region would face disaster if the Zimbabwe crisis was not resolved (http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/may6_2011.html#Z18).
Some of Mugabe’s friends in SADC may not take this warning seriously but President Zuma will certainly take heed – especially in light of the findings of a British parliamentary group which recently visited Zimbabwe. They reported that the securocrats remained the main obstacle to reform in Zimbabwe
· One of our supporters Ian Pocock borrowed our Mugabe mask for a protest against the UK selling weapons to unsavoury regimes – see http://london.indymedia.org.uk/articles/8960#comment-2201 for pictures.
· Beverley Mutandiro, who usually leads prayers, was unable to come this week because she was working night shifts as a nurse. But we all heeded her message to us – ‘everybody sing – it will relieve stress and make you forget your problems’.
· The authentic Vigil atmosphere is captured by a great video of the song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ on youtube. There are lots of shots of the Vigil and Vigil people – check it out you may be on it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE). Thanks to Dumi, Farai and Patrick for a brilliant production.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.
FOR THE RECORD: 99 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QukqctWc3XE.
· ROHR Manchester meeting. Saturday 14th May: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
· ROHR North East (Newcastle) general meeting. Saturday 14th May from 12 – 3.30 pm). Venue: Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead NE8 9SJ. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange. Contact: Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Sharon Masocha 07751610298, Collin Matongo 07775987006, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator) 07795070609.
· ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.
· ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes’ walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
· ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, White Hall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe. To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe
· Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa (email@example.com) if you are interested in taking part.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Zanu just does not seem to understand that suddenly the world has moved on and in the process left them behind. They now understand that the President, Mr. Mugabe, cannot be the next candidate for Zanu PF simply on health grounds. The mirage of an election in 2011 under the same conditions that prevailed in 2008 has dissipated and the reality that they are going to be held to their signatures on the GPA road map is dawning on them. The consequence is an election in a years time, time they simply do not have, reforms to the electoral process that will prevent the essential rigging they had planned and therefore seals their fate. Zanu PF simply cannot win any election in the near future.
Discussions in the Cape this week will almost certainly produce a proposed road map to an election in 2012 and will bring with it essential reforms to the whole process, supervised and guaranteed by the region as a whole. I have been saying to people for some time now; do not underestimate the commitment of the region and wider African leadership to the GPA process. This is an African construct and they are going to see it through.
I spent the afternoon today at the opening of the Trade Fair in Bulawayo. This was attended by Mr. Mugabe and it was clear as he drove into the Stadium with full pomp and glory; outriders, armed soldiers, brass bands and a spectacular honor guard, that he was greeted in almost silence except for the rent-a-crowd sitting in one part of the stadium and a few loyalists behind the podium. The heads of the Army and the Police were there and this may be the last time that we will see them in their uniformed splendor. Both are listed for immediate, compulsory retirement in the road map.
The Trade Fair was a pleasant surprise – they had pulled out all the stops and it was packed with people and nearly all stands were taken up. Much different from the dismal affair in recent years and giving me hope that our private sector is not yet totally dead.
The previous weekend was our Congress and contrary to all the expectations, it was a great success. There was no violence and the elections were properly managed and the whole process democratic. Several senior leaders lost their posts and accepted defeat gracefully. Resolutions were adopted and speeches made – and in particular the keynote address by the President, Morgan Tsvangirai, was in my view one of the best he has ever made. Not far behind was the opening speech by the Prime Minister of Kenya who pressed all the right buttons. That was followed by the heaviest storm of the season when nearly 100 mm of rain fell on the grounds, soaking everyone and all the equipment. Rain is always welcome in Bulawayo and it did not spoil the mood. In the morning we woke up to a brilliant clear blue sky and the final day was weather perfect.
There was one interesting development after Congress – in a two page comment in the local State controlled paper, one of their many “analysts” wrote about efforts prior to Congress to influence the elections in our lower structures (branches, wards, districts and provinces) to support an effort to weaken the power base and support for the Party President. This was interesting because it confirmed what many of us had seen first hand in the field for several months now – a concerted effort was made to try and subvert the whole process and very large sums of money were spent in doing so.
We allowed it to carry on because we did not want to subvert the democratic process as a whole and because we simply did not have the time or the resources to counter it effectively. But now that Congress is over, the MDC has resolved to investigate the whole thing and to take action against the many who were responsible for violence and vote buying in the lower structures of the Party.
Building a democratic system in any country is not an easy or a quick process. Like an internal combustion engine, all parts must be working and no part is less important than another – tyres may not be glamorous but you cannot move without them. You cannot mix oil, fuel and water – but you have to have all of them in close proximity for the engine to function properly.
If the Parties representing the people in a democratic State are not themselves democratic it undermines the whole system. The democratic system itself is a complex structure with many parts – each of which has to function properly to yield a result that the people will accept. I doubt that we have had a single real democratic vote in this country since Independence. Zanu PF has used every trick in the book and a few of their own invention, to ensure that they retained total power in the past 30 years.
Despite this, our people have never lost faith in the system and for me, one of the great experiences that I have had in recent weeks was supervising elections at Ward and District level in remote areas on the country. Driving into a village after a 150 kilometer journey to find 300 men and women sitting under a tree waiting to conduct their own secret ballot elections for new leadership. Many walked 20 or 30 kilometers and then walked back when we finished. Simple farming families who revel in the opportunity to influence how they are to be governed in the next five years.
All this effort (perhaps 10 000 branches, 2000 wards and 210 districts) led up to the Congress where several thousand elected delegates sat patiently in the sunshine in an open stadium, to listen to the speeches, participate in the electioneering and campaigning and then to line up and vote for the leaders of their choice. Not a policeman in sight. Zanu sent two truckloads of young people past the Stadium – perhaps to try and incite some violence and I was so proud of our people as they simply laughed at them and gave them the MDC open hand and then turned back to the business in hand.
Nothing terrifies a despot more than the freedom of his subjected people and if the recent tough stance by SADC and the AU was not enough to rock their world, believe me the sight of those events in the Stadium in Bulawayo, would be enough to totally discourage them. Zanu is trying to work out just what to do. They are deeply divided, their strategies in the past two years have not shaken off the grip that MDC has taken on the political process and now they are tied into an exercise in self destruction.
A glance at the international news shows that the game has changed – the events in Pakistan, the Ivory Coast, Angola, Sudan and Kenya, all show a new resolve to build and enforce democratic practice in the world around us. The world has moved on rapidly in recent months and we are part of the process. Those who stand still, are simply left behind as yesterdays men.
Bulawayo, 6th May 2011
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 08/05/11
Zimbabweans are anxiously watching developments in the endless GPA (Global
Political Agreement) talks on the election roadmap which adjourned on Friday
6th May 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa. Hopefully, there will be no false
alarms this time.
It should be noted that talks on the Zimbabwe crisis could soon qualify for
entry into the Guinness Book of Records as the most protracted but fruitless
negotiations if they have not yet already done so since they started in 2008
on outstanding issues. As a result this could be described as Zimbabwe’s
The biggest problem in all this is denial. In an attempt to deflect
criticism for what many consider a flawed coalition agreement that has left
too much power in Mugabe’s control, in 2009 former President of South
Africa, Thabo Mbeki denied crafting the GPA and claimed he wanted Mugabe to
become a ceremonial President but the Zimbabwean negotiators refused
(Swradioafrica, 04/08/09). Interestingly, in 2000 Thabo Mbeki denied the
existence of HIV/AIDS, and that Zimbabwe’s land crisis would spread to South
Amid mounting pressure on Robert Mugabe to release the results of the March
29, 2008 presidential poll, Thabo Mbeki said: “I wouldn’t describe that as a
crisis. It’s normal electoral process in Zimbabwe. We have to wait for ZEC
(Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to release (the results)” (Telegraph.co.uk,
Despite a sense of relief in some quarters when the GPA was signed in
October 2008 obviously to legitimise the presidency, critics including the
author warned that the devil was in the details and the current crisis is an
example of that. Three years later, there are still ongoing talks and no
prizes for guessing who has won the game of buying time. This comes after
another series of talks on so-called outstanding issues which have never
On top of the list of outstanding issues then was Mugabe’s unilateral
appointment of the Attorney General Johannes Tomana and the Governor of the
Reserve Bank, Gideon Gono. We have not heard of what happened to those
issues for years. Then there were hopes or misconceptions that Roy Bennett
would be sworn-in soon after his acquittal on treason charges and the
appointment of MDC provincial governors. That can only happen over the
Supreme Leader’s dead body!
It is hoped President Zuma will be soon visiting Zimbabwe for talks with the
principals on the issue of security sector reforms. We wish him well.
However, there is a possibility that securocrats may want to seize on the
Diaspora vote as a bargaining chip by demanding a quid-pro-quo deal in order
to get-off the hook of targeted sanctions which they once bragged about as
‘being not smart enough’. There is no linkage.
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are not expecting pre-conditions for their right
to vote but the date of the next election. That right is not negotiable
because it is an inalienable human right. Nothing should ever be offered by
anybody to anyone in return for exiled people’s right to vote. There should
be no secret deals either. The world is watching.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,