- Zimbabwe’s Mugabe plans ‘final phase’ of black ownership plan
- Sadc must stand firm on Zimbabwe
- Election petitions set for tomorrow
- Botswana not afraid to go it alone
- Zimbabwe, Iran and uranium: a story made in sanctions-busting heaven
- Successful, harmonised election – free and fair?
- ZimVigil Sunday 11 August 2013
- Mutambara tipped to get ministerial post from Mugabe
- The election was fixed but we must plan for life after Mugabe
- Civil servants pay rise this year
- In Zimbabwe, A Luta Continua
- Condolence Message: ZLHR Mourns Rebecca Mafikeni
- Zim business: quit calling Bob names
- Jailed MDC-T activist dies after two years in prison
- Kirsty Coventry ties the knot
- Women rights undermined in Zim
- Zimbabwe faces tough future as economy falters after elections
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe plans ‘final phase’ of black ownership plan – 08-13-2013
via Reuters – Zimbabwe’s Mugabe plans ‘final phase’ of black ownership plan Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe addresses supporters during celebrations to mark the country’s Defence Forces Day in the capital Harare. By Cris Chinaka (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday he saw his victory in last month’s election as a mandate for “total” application of policies forcing foreign-owned firms to sell majority stakes to local investors. Addressing a Defence Forces Day rally, Africa’s oldest leader at 89, maintained a belligerent defence of his re-election on July 31, which is being challenged in court as fraudulent by his main political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. Rejecting this challenge along with questions by Western governments about the election’s credibility, Mugabe said his new five-year term extending his 33 years in power gave him the chance to enact what he called the last chapter of a fiercely nationalist economic strategy. His so-called “indigenization” policy seeks to redistribute wealth by forcing foreign-owned firms to sell at least 51 percent to black Zimbabweans. The local operations of the world’s two largest platinum producers, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings, have already been targeted by this policy, and foreign-owned banks are also seen as likely targets. London-based Standard Chartered and Barclays are among the banks in Zimbabwe. “Now that the people of Zimbabwe have granted us a resounding mandate in the governance of the country, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our objective of total indigenization, empowerment, development and employment is realized,” Mugabe told the rally of both civilians and soldiers. “This is our final phase of implementing the ideals of the liberation struggle,” he added, without offering more details. His pledge of more forceful application of a nationalist agenda offered little comfort to foreign investors, who have been hoping Zimbabwe can build on a fragile economic recovery seen under a unity government since 2009 made up of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. The MDC filed a legal challenge on Friday in the Constitutional Court, calling for a re-run of the election on the grounds it was riddled with fraud and irregularities. Zimbabwe’s constitution says the top court must rule within 14 days. Analysts predict the MDC challenge is unlikely to prosper because they say Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party dominates the judiciary and state institutions. Tsvangirai and his party boycotted the Defence Forces Day ceremony, just as they had a Heroes Day celebration led by Mugabe on Monday in which he bluntly told critics of his re-election to “go hang”. MILITARY “PILLAR” In his speech, Mugabe praised Zimbabwe’s armed forces as a “reliable pillar” of his government, which he said was making efforts to improve military wages and living conditions. He accused Tsvangirai, who prior to the election was his prime minister in the fractious unity government, of working with former colonial power Britain by calling for reforms of the armed forces. Tsvangirai had accused the pro-Mugabe security forces of showing bias and intimidation against him and his party, making a fair election impossible. Mugabe said it was “surprising that some misguided fellow countrymen at the behest of their Western allies blatantly disregard the good work done by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in maintaining peace and tranquility in the country.” “They disguise this by demanding what they call security sector reform, when it is obvious the enemy’s real ploy is to dilute the efficiency of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,” he added. Pointing to multiple flaws in the July 31 vote cited by domestic observers, Western governments – especially the United States – have questioned the credibility of the election outcome and are considering whether to prolong sanctions against Mugabe. But Mugabe is drawing comfort from African election observers who endorsed the elections as largely free and orderly and have urged Zimbabweans to move on peacefully. Western observers were barred from observing the vote. (Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Robin Pomeroy)
Sadc must stand firm on Zimbabwe by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Sadc must stand firm on Zimbabwe – DailyNews Live by KERRY KENNEDY • 13 AUGUST 2013 4:04PM On July 31, 2013, Zimbabweans took their hopes and aspirations to more than 9 000 polling stations across the country to cast their ballots in a much- anticipated election. While many analysts in Zimbabwe and throughout the world predicted a close contest between longtime President Robert Mugabe and his chief rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, the results proved to be nothing of the sort. Indeed, several days later on August 3, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announced a historic landslide, with Mugabe winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote and his party securing an overwhelming two-thirds majority in Parliament. While the proceedings on Election Day were largely peaceful and rightly commended by both domestic and international observers, the myriad legal violations leading up to the vote combined with reports of irregularities and allegations of voter fraud on election day itself, have provided the international community ample reason to doubt the integrity of the outcome. The amount of credible and mounting concerns that have so far come to light should prompt an immediate and thorough investigation by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) before election results are certified. In March 2013, I led an international human rights delegation to Zimbabwe that documented the concerns of ordinary citizens, including human rights violations against individuals and civil society organisations participating in the electoral process. During our visit, I heard countless tales of intimidation, harassment, violence, and arbitrary detention of activists, as well as infringements on freedom of expression and access to information. I even received a small taste of that repression firsthand, as our hotel rooms were visited by shady State agents and our delegation stopped, searched, and questioned repeatedly by the police. By all accounts, violations of basic political rights and civil liberties continued unabated throughout the electoral process and were not adequately remedied by responsible State authorities. Most troubling is the fact that many credible reports suggest the electoral register was manipulated to provide the Mugabe regime the necessary latitude to unequivocally tilt the election in its favour, with reports that upwards of one million deceased voters and more than 100 000 citizens over the age of 100 remained on the roll. The fact that an electronic form of the register was not made available to the political opposition or to civil society organisations prior to Election Day is unacceptable, and a clear violation of domestic law and international electoral standards. On election day itself, it is estimated that between 700 000– 1 000 000 voters, mainly in areas sympathetic to the opposition, were disenfranchised by being turned away at polling stations across the country. In a statement on August 2, Sadc was quick to label the election as “free and peaceful,” though it stopped short of calling the results credible, and for good reason. One civic group has documented nearly 2 000 total breaches of the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, a vast majority of which were committed by Zanu PF officials or affiliated State authorities. Although Sadc acknowledged a number of electoral irregularities in its preliminary assessment, the regional body has yet to take a definitive stand on the Zimbabwe issue. Instead of applying its own standards to reach a conclusive and evenhanded judgment, Sadc has undermined the prospects for democracy not only in Zimbabwe, but for the region writ large. With important upcoming elections in South Africa, ?Malawi, Namibia, and most worryingly Mozambique —which is currently experiencing serious political strife —this is no time for Sadc to stand idly by or to blindly disregard its own guiding principles. The forthcoming Sadc Summit in Malawi provides a timely opportunity for regional leaders to hear the concerns of all parties involved in Zimbabwe’s electoral dispute, including domestic civil society and country observation teams. A mere lack of physical violence, while certainly a marked improvement for Zimbabwe, does not itself constitute a credible election.
Election petitions set for tomorrow – 08-13-2013
via The Zimbabwean – Election petitions set for tomorrow The High Court will tomorrow, Wednesday August 14, hear two petitions which seek to compel electoral authorities to produce certain information and material relating to the conduct of the July 31 election. The matter has been set down before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu at 9 am tomorrow. Bhunu was the same judge to preside over Morgan Tsvangirai’s treason case, when he was accused of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe through an assassination in the early 2000s. He is also hearing the case of the 29 Glen View MDC activists up for the murder of policeman Petros Mutedza. In April this year, the matter was postponed indefinitely by Bhunu in his chambers with the consent of both the state and the defence. The defence had failed to file the anticipated application for discharge at the close of the state case. The case has been going on for more than two years. The material and information that Tsvangirai seeks tomorrow is critical to the presidential petition. Tsvangirai wants the court to cancel the July 31 poll. However, the presidential petition has not yet been set down. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chief Elections Officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, Registrar General of Voters, Tobaiwa Muded, and Mugabe were cited as the first, second and third respondent in Tsvangirai’s application. The MDC leader, represented by Denford Halimani of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni, wants ZEC to avail presidential results per constituency. Among the election materials Tsvangirai wants produced are copies of the voters’ roll used in all polling stations and copies of the voters’ roll used in the special vote conducted on July 14 and 15. In his founding affidavit, Tsvangirai said he wanted to be provided with a “register of assisted voters at all polling stations in the election; copies of voters’ roll used in postal voting delimited by ward and constituency; copies of the electronic voters roll as at July 31 2013; register of voters whose names did not appear in the voters’ roll but were allowed to vote using voter registration slips; the register of authorised postal and special voters and contents of the closed and sealed ballot boxes and sealed packets delivered to the first respondent”. Tsvangirai and the MDC have vowed to”pursue every lawful, legitimate and constitutional channel to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe reclaim their stolen victory”. Official results gave Mugabe 61 percent of the vote compared to Tsvangirai’s 34 percent.
Botswana not afraid to go it alone – 08-13-2013
via Daily News – Botswana not afraid to go it alone GABORONE – Alone among African countries, Botswana has rejected the results of the Zimbabwean elections. It’s a brave stand, bound to frustrate their neighbours, but not unexpected. Over the last few years, Botswana and its president have shown that they can think and act for themselves. As African countries and institutions fell over themselves to whitewash the results of the Zimbabwean elections, there was a lone dissenter among all the official voices. In what’s becoming a regular occurrence, Botswana found itself out of step with its regional and continental allies — and unafraid to upset the applecart. “There is no doubt that what has been revealed so far by our observers cannot be considered as an acceptable standard for free and fair elections in Sadc,” said Botswana’s ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. “The community, Sadc, should never create the undesirable precedent of permitting exceptions to its own rules.” The statement continued by calling for an independent audit of the Zimbabwe results, and for the inconsistencies in the report of Sadc’s own election observers to be discussed at the Sadc summit later this month. As statements go, this one was undeniably brave and hugely embarrassing for South Africa and Sadc, who both have pronounced themselves satisfied with the poll. Both also play hugely significant roles in landlocked Botswana’s economy. But the statement was not inconsistent. Over the last few years, Botswana has made something of a habit of doing its own thing in the foreign policy arena, shamelessly flouting the unwritten rule of African diplomacy that priorities consensus and a united front above all else. A few examples: Despite his international arrest warrant, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been welcomed in many African capitals, even in countries that have signed the Rome Statute (meaning they are obligated under international law to arrest him). But he won’t be touching down in Gaborone any time soon. Botswana has repeatedly and vehemently asserted that they would happily detain Al-Bashir and hand him over to the International Criminal Court, defying pressure from the African Union to ignore the arrest warrant. “We have not surrendered the sovereignty of this country to the AU,” foreign minister Phandu Skelemani said pointedly in 2010. President Ian Khama was also instrumental in getting Malawi to deny Al-Bashir entry to the planned AU summit in Lilongwe last year — a diplomatic headache that caused the whole thing to be moved to Addis Ababa. The Foreign minister caused another diplomatic incident, this time with Kenya, when he applied the same principle in March to the then-president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, who is already on trial at the ICC. “If he refuses to go (to The Hague), then we have a problem. That means that they do not know the rule of law. You can’t establish a court and refuse to go when it calls you. If he refuses, he won’t set foot here.” Skelemani later apologised for these comments, but only because they seemed to pre-judge Kenyatta’s actions; there’s no doubt that the Kenyan president won’t be welcome in Botswana if he backs out of the trial. Botswana was also one of the first countries to break off relations with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya in 2011, as it became apparent he was murdering protestors in cold blood. At the same time, a completely befuddled African Union was trying to get the international community to give Brother Leader a break. Incidentally, the headlines about Botswana’s action on Libya mirrored those reporting its response to the Zimbabwean election. “Botswana breaks ranks over Gaddafi”, reported AFP in 2011; “Botswana breaks ranks with other African countries, says Zimbabwe poll wasn’t free and fair”, reports AP in 2013. Botswana, it seems, is not afraid to go it alone if and when it feels the circumstances demand. This bold foreign policy seems to be largely the brainchild of Botswana’s President Ian Khama, firstborn son of Sir Seretse Khama, the country’s liberation president. In his five years in office, Khama has overseen Botswana’s consolidation of its position as one of Africa’s best-governed countries, with impressive economic and development indicators (his record is much less impressive when it comes to treatment of Botswana’s San population). Not that he’s particularly consistent in applying his foreign policy ideals. Critics in Botswana have taken him to task for failing to take any kind of action against other African leaders implicated in human rights violations, such as Swaziland’s King Mswati III or the late Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika. He is also criticised for failing to produce an outline of what Botswana’s foreign policy principles actually are. “Botswana has no clear foreign policy,” said Bame Piet, a journalist with Mmegi/The Reporter, Botswana’s main newspaper, speaking to the Daily Maverick. “He’s very reluctant to come up with a clear position. It seems to be how he feels at that given point … Nobody knows what is going on in his head.” Whatever’s going on in his head it’s not making him popular with his fellow African leaders. By refusing to run with the pack, Ian Khama cuts a lonely figure on the African diplomatic stage. Given the scarcity of other dissenting voices, let’s hope he keeps it up.
Zimbabwe, Iran and uranium: a story made in sanctions-busting heaven – 08-13-2013
via Daily Maverick – Zimbabwe, Iran and uranium: a story made in sanctions-busting heavenSimon Allison A recent report that Zimbabwe was in bed with Iran to supply the Islamic Republic with uranium (you know, the stuff used in nukes) has been furiously denied by Zimbabwe’s government. And yet, the story just makes so much sense that SIMON ALLISON can’t help but suspect there’s something to it. Just when you thought the stories emerging from Zimbabwe couldn’t get any more sordid, along comes a tale of sanctions-busting, nuclear technology and the Islamic Republic of Iran which, even if not true, sounds like it should be. The story, according to The Times of London which broke it, is that sometime last year a memorandum of understanding was signed between Zimbabwe and Iran in which Zimbabwe promised to sell its not inconsiderable potential uranium stockpile to Iran. Because both countries are under economic sanctions – Zimbabwe for human rights abuses and Iran for allegedly trying to build a nuclear bomb – knowledge of this memorandum was kept to a tiny handful of people at the very top of Zimbabwe’s government. The uranium would, of course, aid Iran in developing its nuclear program, which it insists is for energy purposes only; the cash would keep Zanu-PF in power and its leaders living in the style to which they have become accustomed. Unsurprisingly, Zimbabwe’s newly reinstalled Zanu-PF government has dismissed the story as scurrilous rumour-mongering, and launched a manhunt for Jerome Starkey and Jan Raath, the two journalists who reported it from Harare (along with colleagues Michael Evans and Hugh Tomlinson in London). “That is a blatant lie. Whoever is saying that is being malicious. We have never issued any licence to any Iranian company. We do not have any uranium mine at the moment,” said Prince Mupazviriho, secretary for mines and mining development. Mupazviriho is right on at least one count: Zimbabwe does not yet have a functioning uranium mine, although it does have proven deposits of around 45,000 tonnes of the stuff at Kanyemba near the border with Zambia and Mozambique. The rest could confidently be dismissed as bog-standard Zanu-PF bluster were it not echoed by a certain Gift Chimanikire, outgoing deputy minister for mines and mine development and the supposed source of the story in The Times. “I never said such a silly thing. We are exploring and not mining. He [Jerome Starkey] thought of selling his paper by being untruthful. I tried to call him after hearing about the article, but his phone is not reachable. It is a speculative and dangerous story … that journalist was very notorious.” There are two ways to interpret Chimanikire’s denial of the comments attributed to him. The first is that he is on the level and the journalists in question really did manufacture the evidence. The second is that he is furiously backtracking, trying to avoid potentially serious repercussions. (Edward Snowden has taught us even in the United States whistle-blowers feel the need to leave the country for their own safety. How much more dangerous is it to be blow the lid on a secret operation in Zimbabwe? Especially when Chimanikire belongs, as he does, to the recently vanquished opposition MDC-T). Given what we know, which is not much, option two seems the more likely. For a start, this is not the first time Iran and Zimbabwe have been connected on the issue of uranium. In 2011, a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency said that a deal had already been reached in which Iran received exclusive access to Zimbabwe’s uranium in return for fuel. Then there’s the question of the journalists themselves. Just how likely would it be that Starkey and Raath, the two reporters in Harare, would simply make things up? They are both seasoned pros working for one of the most respected publications in the world (even if it is owned by Rupert Murdoch), and the quotes in the article from Chimanikire are very specific and leave little room for misunderstanding. If Chimanikire is right, the journalists didn’t merely draw the wrong conclusion or present his comments out of context – they simply manufactured them from thin air. This strains credibility, especially coming as it does from a person with a vested (although understandable) interest in distancing himself from potentially dangerous revelations. Finally, and most compellingly, the story has a ring of truth simply because the connection between Zimbabwe and Iran seems so obvious. The two governments have both defined themselves in opposition to western states and ideologies and have found themselves suffering economically as a result. Zimbabwe has uranium, but no one to sell to. Iran wants uranium, but isn’t allowed to buy it from anyone. Working together for mutual benefit against a common enemy is a no-brainer, and a win-win for both governments. Even if no deal has yet been reached, and no memorandum of understanding signed, surely it is simply a matter of time before some agreement on uranium happens between Zimbabwe and Iran.
Successful, harmonised election – free and fair? by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Cabinet on Zim election: Successful? Yes. Free and fair? Mail & Guardian. by ANDISIWE MAKINANA Journalists have been left puzzled as Zuma’s Cabinet lauded Zimbabwe for a “successful, harmonised election” – without calling it free and fair. What does a “successful harmonised” election mean? Is it the same as a free and fair election? And on what is President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet basing its pronouncement that the recently held Zimbabwe elections were successful? These are questions that put a senior government spokesperson and a Cabinet minister into a spin during a post-Cabinet briefing on Monday morning. A prepared media statement, following last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting read: “The Cabinet congratulated the people of Zimbabwe and political parties on holding successful harmonised parliamentary and local elections.” “Cabinet commended the efforts of President Jacob Zuma as the Southern African Development Community [SADC] facilitator on the Zimbabwe Dialogue in ensuring that all political parties were committed to peaceful elections,” continued the statement. Zuma has led a four year facilitation process in Zimbabwe on behalf of the SADC, which concluded with the July 31 elections. ‘Anything but free and fair’ SADC is yet to meet and pronounce on the Zimbabwe elections, which many observers have claimed were anything but free and fair. This is why journalists in Parliament questioned the Cabinet’s use of the word “successful” with regards to the Zimbabwe elections and whether this was not premature considering Zuma’s role in those elections. “Given that the president’s mandate comes from SADC, is it not premature for the Cabinet to declare the Zimbabwe elections successful [and also] given that the SADC meeting is yet to take place?” asked one. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams responded: “The Cabinet has congratulated the people of Zimbabwe on the harmonised parliamentary and local elections, it did not get to discuss what SADC’s position is going to be; it didn’t discuss what is going to happen thereafter. It only commended the peaceful elections that were held in Zimbabwe.” Journalists were not convinced, and more questions arose. “Could you please explain what does “congratulating Zimbabwe on a successful election mean?” asked another. “What is the Cabinet actually saying: do you accept the result, do you think it was free and fair?” Decision pendingAgriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who attended the briefing to explain matters relating to her portfolio, jumped in. “We didn’t make any pronouncements on the state of the election. So there has [been] no pronouncement on whether the election is free or fair. We have just acknowledged that it has been successful,” she said. Joemat-Pettersson said a pronouncement on the elections would be made once the SADC has met and a decision is taken there. “So we are in no way making a pronouncement on the elections, we are congratulating that the elections ran smoothly without violence and without any incident of severe violence.” Does the government believe that you can have a successful election without having a free and fair election? “We have not declared whether the elections were free or fair. We do not have an opinion on that,” said Joemat-Pettersson wrapping up the press conference.
ZimVigil Sunday 11 August 2013 by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via ZimVigil Diary Entries. Call for diaspora unity – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th August 2013There has been a call in London for a conference of the Zimbabwean diaspora to discuss the way forward following the rigged elections which have returned Mugabe to power for another term. The call came from Ephraim Tapa, President of the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) and a founder member of the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past eleven years in support of free and fair elections. Mr Tapa was speaking at a demonstration outside the Embassy on Saturday attended by exiled Zimbabweans from various parts of the UK, including members of the defeated MDC. He said that, following the stealing of the elections, people at home had lost faith in the politics of the ballot box. The MDC project had run its course and Zimbabweans were looking to the diaspora to come up with an alternative programme to save Zimbabwe. He said there were encouraging signs that the various Zimbabwean groups wanted to speak with one voice. A range of reactions to the rigged elections were expressed – from an angry call for revolution from activist Martin Chinyanga to the bitter tears of MDC official Makusha Mugabe. Another senior MDC official Elliot Pfebve, a defeated candidate in the elections, told the crowd of the various ways the voting had been manipulated. He said the people in Zimbabwe were in a desperate situation and looked to the diaspora for help but things ultimately depended on the people of Zimbabwe themselves. During the day hundreds more signatures were added to the Vigil’s petition which calls on President Zuma of South Africa to urge the Southern African Development Community to demand new elections. The plight of Zimbabwe has been spelt out in the demented ravings of Mugabe about the policy of indigenisation and empowerment. An article in the Herald quotes him as telling the first Politburo meeting after the elections ’ZANU-PF is going to deliver on promises made to the people during its highly subscribed and successful election campaign’. The Herald added ‘President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would precisely do the opposite of what the West wished for’ (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/mugabe-says-hell-deliver-on-promises/ – Mugabe says he’ll deliver on promises). For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website. FOR THE RECORD: around 100 signed the register. EVENTS AND NOTICES: · Zimbabwe Yes We Can meeting. Saturday 17th August from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. · Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 17th August from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It’s next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn. · ROHR Executive meeting. Saturday 7th September at 11 am. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. · Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2012 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/467-vigil-highlights-2012. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2012 Highlights page. · The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR. · Facebook pages: – Vigil: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts – ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515 – ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights/301811392835 · Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil. · Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe
Mutambara tipped to get ministerial post from Mugabe by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Mutambara attends Heroes function, tipped to get ministerial post from Mugabe – My Zimbabwe News Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister and deposed MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara on Monday made his first public appearance in months after hibernating from the political radar at a national event boycotted by the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T party and western diplomats. Mutambara went into political oblivion in the run-up to last month’s harmonised elections and uncharacteristically remained silent throughout the election period. However, the former leader of the breakaway faction of the MDC party resurfaced at the national shrine on Monday during a rally held to mark Heroes Day and which was addressed by President-elect and Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe. Mutambara, who was seated next to Mugabe at the Heroes Acre, could be seen smiling while following proceedings that lasted almost one hour. On Monday, Zanu PF insiders told Radio VOP that the robotics professor might be given a ministerial position in the Zanu PF-led government as a reward for being loyal to Mugabe during the tenure of the shaky coalition government during which Mutambara sided with the octogenarian leader in times of disagreements with Tsvangirai. Mutambara said people must rise above political differences when it comes to observing and commemorating national events. In an interview soon after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Professor Mutambara said national events like the Heroes Day are what defines a people and their values and it is important for every Zimbabwean to rise above political differences. “When gallant sons and daughters of the soil took up arms to redeem Zimbabwe from the clutches of oppression, they had one priority, driven by a shared goal, to liberate every Zimbabwean from colonial bondage. It is therefore proper for everyone to show some respect for the departed and living heroes and heroines, regardless of one’s political affiliation,” said Professor Mutambara The MDC said they would not take part in a Zanu PF function, especially soon after a stolen election.
The election was fixed but we must plan for life after Mugabe by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via The election was fixed – but we must plan for life after Mugabe | This is Devon from Western Morning News I am not surprised by the results of Zimbabwe’s presidential and general elections; disappointed, but not surprised. After all, Zanu-PF had four years to plan its campaign to hold on to power. Robert Mugabe has worked hard on squaring his next-door neighbours – in particular South Africa. He knew that intimidating the voters during the campaign would lead to international condemnation; so what did he do? The proceeds from the Marange diamonds went to Zanu-PF rather than the Zimbabwean Treasury. Mugabe fixed the registration process by appointing a senior Zanu-PF player as chairman of the Electoral Commission, and then didn’t release the electoral register until it was too late for his opponents to do anything about it. Apart from ensuring that the roll included two million dead voters and a large number of centurions, when the average age is 51, a million voters were omitted. Mkhululi Nyathi resigned from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission saying that the polls two weeks ago did not meet the benchmarks of fairness.
Intimidation had been taking place some two years ago, when Kate Hoey MP (the Chairman of the Zimbabwean APPG) Lord Joffe (Nelson Mandela’s and Jacob Zuma’s solicitor) and I visited Zimbabwe with the Commonwealth. while there, we learnt that 26 MPs from the MDC – the main opposition to Zanu-PF – had been arrested; that the Speaker of Zimbabwe’s Parliament, Lovemore Mayo, had been forced to face re-election to his job within the Parliament, and that beatings were underway in rural areas. Mugabe refused to allow any UN observers to oversee the registration process or the election; only representatives from the African Union were allowed to act as observers. Soon after polling day, I was told of people turning up at the polling station only to be informed that they were not on the electoral register or had been reassigned to another polling district. So with over two-thirds of the membership of the Zimbabwean Parliament, Mugabe can now change the country’s constitution. He is no longer forced to have a coalition government with his arch opponent Morgan Tsvangari, and stick to the MDC’s spending plans. Mugabe will have the power to force through his indigenisation polices where foreign-owned companies in the countries will have to employ Zimbabweans irrespective of their qualifications But Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe’s victory may have much wider international and regional implications which could damage British strategic trade interests. During our 2011 visit, we learnt that the Chinese are investing in a new staff college outside Harare, and are reportedly building in hi-tech communications similar to what might be found at our own GCHQ. This weekend the Chinese media reported that Hua Chumying, the Chinese Foreign Minister, hoped that all the political parties would accept the result. Zimbabwe’s economy is now very dependent on the Chinese. This makes a mockery of our, the US and EU sanctions. The Chinese are also South Africa’s largest trading partners. The Simonstown naval base, near Cape Town, is of major strategic importance as it controls the Cape of Good Hope’s trade routes – which we the British need to export our goods to the Far East should the Suez Canal not be available. China funded Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s armed struggle, while the Russians funded Joshua Nkomo and ZAPU. So what can the West do to try and bring about change? Any outside pressure will have to come from SADAC and specifically South Africa, the principal regional power. The problem here is that Mugabe is the only southern African leader left over from the anti-colonial struggle for independence and as such is treated with reverence and respect. Britain and the EU should continue with sanctions on Mugabe and his key lieutenants, while we need to encourage the Chinese to try to put pressure on the Zanu-PF regime we also need to remember that the Chinese are indifferent to human rights and will want to protect their economic investment. We should be identifying the more moderate members of the Zanu-PF leadership who might be keen to see an end to sanctions and being brought back into the Commonwealth. The generals and brigadiers also need to be convinced that they won’t pay a personal price for any regime change. The immediate future for Zimbabwe is gloomy. However, having led Zanu-PF to an unprecedented election victory, Mugabe, who is 89 and suffering from prostate cancer, may decide to bow out and enjoy what is left of his retirement. The West therefore needs to plan for life after Mugabe.
Civil servants pay rise this year by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Civil servants pay rise this year: Mugabe by Mduduzi Mathuthu Robert Mugabe on Monday made his first public speech since winning re-election, punctuated by a raft of populist spending priorities for his government. War veterans, ex-detainees and the 230,000-strong public sector workers will all see an upward adjustment in their allowances and salaries this year as a fulfilment of a campaign pledge, Mugabe said at the Heroes Acre on a hill just outside Harare. “The government is concerned about the welfare of members of the public service, and will continue to implement strategies aimed at improving their conditions of service,” Mugabe said to cheers from the gathered thousands at the commemoration of Heroes Day. He said despite budgetary constraints, the outgoing coalition government which he led had managed to increase the basic salaries and allowances of public servants by 5,3 percent with effect from January this year, raising the public sector wage bill to US$2,6 billion – about 68 percent of the total budget expenditure. During the same period, Mugabe said, the government had also introduced allowances for members of the public service based in rural areas. He added: “In addition to augmenting the monetary allowances, the government is offering other initiatives such as housing, training loans and housing stands. “We have promised to address the issue of salaries and conditions of living; we pledge to fulfil this promise this year.” Pressing all the populist buttons, Mugabe said his government was committed to improving the pensions and general welfare of war veterans, ex-detainees and dependents of the 1980s liberation war dead who were granted hero status. To fund these unbudgeted payments to war veterans, Mugabe said the government would rely on its “empowerment schemes” – reference to funds generated through the indigenisation programme in which mines and other foreign-owned companies are being forced to contribute to a national fund previously accessible to youths and women. “The National Heroes Dependents Assistance Fund which was established to provide monthly allowances for both surviving spouses and minor children under the age of 18 will receive support from government’s empowerment schemes,” Mugabe said. “We are aware that this supporting was lacking for a long time, but we will certainly do something about it now.” He said youth and women empowerment “remains particularly central to government’s priorities as we continue to pursue socio-economic transformation”. Mugabe also outlined some of his new government’s top agenda items which include infrastructure development in the areas of road maintenance, energy provision and telecommunications. He said special attention would be paid to the revival of the manufacturing industries in order to boost exports while also pledging to support farmers to improve yields.
In Zimbabwe, A Luta Continua by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via In Zimbabwe, A Luta Continua — by David B. Moore | African Arguments Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has outwitted its main opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, once again. The Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front’s 61% to 33% victory in Zimbabwe’s July 31 presidential race and its 2/3 majority in parliament guarantee it a firm hold for the next five years (barring yet to be seen constitutional changes), although its own internal tensions may see it fall from heights that even it did not expect. The ZANU-PF applied, Machiavelli-style, a classic Gramscian combination of forceful power and sly persuasion – the dialectic of coercion and consent – to confound the fourteen-year-old MDC challenge, along with most members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, and the western world (including the Andrew Youngs and Jesse Jacksons who filed into Harare’s State House hoping the United States could take a clean and sanctionless ZANU-PF beyond pariah status). The scale of ZANU-PF’s claims of a “credible” electoral win are tarnished by reports of chicanery and what the MDC likes to call “shenanigans”, as it declares the results null and void, but it is doubtful that records of all the “revolutionary party’s” electoral misdemeanours will change the harsh world of realpolitik that will allow ZANU-PF’s careful plan to proceed. The MDC’s hopes for a crossover reached their peak in what is said to be Zimbabwe’s largest ever political rally, in Harare behind the Rainbow Towers Hotel, two days before the hastily packaged election process reached its end. Zimbabwe’s 89-year-old president may attain his 2005 promise to rule until he is 100 years old. The crossover was in stark contrast to the hopes of the MDC, its civil society supporters, and democrats the world over, but it does mark a fundamental transformation in the Zimbabwean polity and social order. All Zimbabwe’s political actors will face at least five years of deep change as their country marks the end of its ruler’s 33 year reign, with no anointed successor in sight. Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization (reportedly with a diamond mine of its own to help) masterminded a campaign that blended carrots (for those who would respond negatively to coercion) with sticks (wielded directly or indirectly in the form of timely reminders by ‘retired’ and otherwise members of the security apparatus) for those for whom carrots were not enough. Those in Matabeleland who do not easily forget the Gukurahundi in the eighties that may have killed 20,000 were showered with teapots and other diamond funded trappings. Some urbanites were happy to have their rates arrears annulled shortly before the election (not thinking how this would worsen their already shambolic municipal service delivery, and forgetting how central state stymied any efforts by MDC councillors to get the cities running again), while others in the cities were hassled into a state of fear approaching the mid-2008 presidential ‘runoff’, when the violence was so severe Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, by the ZANU-PF instigated chipangano milita gangs. Meanwhile rural chiefs were told to line up support for ZANU-PF in time honoured fashion: the consequences of a repeat of the March 2008 vote, when even the inventive vote counters could not manufacture a majority for Mugabe, were made more than clear. New farmers struggling to make end meet on the farms carved out of former commercial units were showered with inputs, directly in Mugabe’s name. Media manipulation – a small example being the headlined flagging of an invented Freedom House public opinion piece saying that ZANU-PF would win with 69.5% of the vote, but which had been “gagged by the American embassy” – was also part of the mix. Combined with the MDC’s flat-footedness and a hubris partially generated by over four years of being so-close-but-so-far to power in the heavily skewed transitional inclusive government (TIG, often called the Government of National Unity) corralled by SADC’s facilitator Thabo Mbeki after the mid-2008 massacres, ZANU-PF’s clever and long-planned strategy won the day. The result, however, will lead to flip-flopping between ultra-nationalist policies, from the hats of some of ZANU-PF’s young turks, and efforts at technocracy by some of its older guard, who would like their leader to fade away with a reputation renewed from the last few years of disrepair. The reconciliator of 1980, the Mugabe who romped into power with a post-liberation war election that history may show to be as marred as this one, will try to be reborn. Along with policy fluidity will come mixes of retribution and co-optation amidst internal restructuring in both parties. Today, as since 2000 when the MDC entered the electoral fray while the “land invasions” got underway, the opposition has been defeated. It has rejected the results as fraudulent, and as the numbers proving its point are being crunched its leaders debate the merits of pulling out of the seats they have won. The results, carefully pre-contrived by the ruling party and Nikuv, its electoral mercenaries from Israel (to be sure a sight better than mercenaries of Executive Outcome hues in the past) with a myriad of tricks including a fantastical voters roll, and slanted in polling stations with such tricks as thousands of “assisted voters” (instantly “illiterate” voters being helped along by police officers, who in any case were overly-represented in the stations), will inevitably be proven fraudulent enough, but they will take months if not years to verify. In any case, the Constitutional Court that will be the forum of disputation is stacked with ZANU-PF stalwarts. The international complainants will lose stomach, hoping to engage with the victors of an election already declared “credible” (note how international standards have changed where democracy is dangerous) by SADC and the AU to encourage stability and maybe even the pursuit of neo-liberal economic policies. The MDC will have to stomach the bitter pill and become a purely oppositional party once again. While MDC leaders debate a boycott of parliament and local governments, the party will have to consider the demands of its members who need a salary, not to mention the needs of their constituents. To leave them to the whims of the exultant victors would likely be counter-productive. The MDC will have to rebuild along the lines of opposition parties everywhere. It will be faced with two serious issues in the next weeks, months and years. First, Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership will be questioned. He has fobbed five elections since 2000. Noble history aside, he is severely hobbled. Perhaps excessive reliance on the likes of the International Republican Institute has contributed to the fall of the one-time trade union-based party. This ties in with the second issue: the party must rebuild its mass base. As this process unfolds, the Cold War between Secretary-General Tendai Biti and much younger national organizer Nelson Chamisa – no real challenge to Biti – must be resolved without tearing the party apart. The party has failed to organize well enough to counter the cunning ZANU-PF centaur: 50 years of war and operating in the milieux of local and international maneuvering has created a party very hard to beat; the MDC must learn to beat it and faction fights will not help. Charismatic preaching does not match dedicated intelligence and hard electoral work that matches Obama’s in calculated sophistication. Biti, no longer hamstrung by the poisoned chalice of the ministry of finance, and a TIG bereft of diamond revenues that could hardly barely get its hands on enough funds to run the election, can now focus on where the MDC left off in 2008. As for the mass base, with trade unions decimated in 15 years of de-industrialization and a core of youthful civil society intellectuals disenchanted with the MDC’s collapse into modes of politics reminiscent of African patron-client relations and its inability to make the TIG work, one foresees a hard road ahead. Add ZANU-PF’s habit of harsh recrimination to those seen to have stymied its right to eternal power, and the path becomes strewn with even more obstacles. New parties led by seasoned civil society actors may flower. How can the MDC rejoin these former colleagues? Yet ZANU-PF too has a history of imploding during times of crisis, and this victory could be a crisis in disguise. Authoritarian populist policy and practice could ruin Zimbabwean society once more. There are no assurances that diamond and platinum revenue will be ploughed into the state and redistributed, but even then extractive economies are not enough. With the cancellation of payment of overdue rates – perhaps followed by that for electricity in an economy long used to to regular power outages – how will the municipalities rebuild their failing service infrastructure, let alone pay their workers? Countrywide, civil servants are wondering if they will be paid. Will the international financial institutions re-engage to get their $300 billion back? Zimbabwe’s current economic discourse wobbles from instant indigenization (49%/51% deals on offer to multinationals have capital fleeing and the stock exchange tumbling) and weak technocratic offerings: pre-election promises to return from the American dollar imposed to stop free-fall in early 2000 to a local currency are said to have been reversed, but no one can tell if this side of the policy debate will win. The “patriots” will not be derailed any time soon. Combined with the more visible competition in the longstanding “Mnangagwa vs Mujuru” competition for succession, the “group of 40” or “super-Zezuru” faction – and these categories are very fluid, kept under control only by the now-flagging abilities of Mugabe to keep them guessing – a self-destructing ZANU-PF could well be in the cards. The “patriots” could be emboldened by diamonds – but the other factions have access to more of them. Such battles mean that it is unlikely that many of the gems will get to the state institutions needing them. If the economy nosedives again, the choices facing Zimbabweans at large will be stark. They have become very adept at making the informal sector work – and bringing in millions from relatives in the diaspora – but this is a precarious political economy at the best of times. Zimbabweans may well have to chance the resistance option once again. Will the MDC be able to marshal a collective desire for contestation to its side before it gets out of hand, or will a ZANU-PF style of populism win the day? As always in Zimbabwean politics, the phrase born out of its neighbours struggles – “a luta continua” – is apposite, especially as it jars with its turn in the English variation to “the looting continues”. David B. Moore is a Professor at the University of Johannesburg.
Condolence Message: ZLHR Mourns Rebecca Mafikeni by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
Posted as a comment “from SA” Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is deeply saddened to learn about the unfortunate and painful death of Rebecca Mafikeni. Rebecca (30) passed on, on Monday 12 August 2013 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, where she had been detained since falling ill while incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison since her arrest in May 2011 on charges of murdering a police officer in contravention of Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 alternatively or concurrently Public Violence as defined in Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23. In prison, Rebecca was made to suffer the worst of prison’s inhumane conditions and some universally guaranteed human rights were stripped off the political prisoner as she spent close to nine months in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. Prison authorities allowed her only 20 minutes a day out of the confined cell where in during these 20 minutes, she was expected to complete all chores human beings are expected of in a day – from laundry and bathing to exercising and just “enjoy” a bit of sunlight out of her dingy prison hole. At one time, raw sewer would flow inside her prison cell and she would be forced to clean the sewer using her bare hands. As a result of the malevolent and unjustified actions of the State, Rebecca languished in prison where her condition deteriorated. Those implicated in, and responsible for her predicament are complicit in, and contributed to, her sad death. These architects of Rebecca’s death must be held accountable for the loss of such a precious life, and we call for an immediate investigation into her death and swift action against the perpetrators by the prosecutorial authorities. It is cruel, unwarranted and unfair that such a well-lived life has ended in this needless manner. Only bringing the perpetrators to account will assist in ending this unacceptable culture of impunity. It is ZLHR’s firm belief that bad things that happen to good people serve a greater good, and Rebecca’s death should teach us all something about standing up for what is right if we only let ourselves be taught. There are no words to describe the despondency that we feel, and we cannot possibly imagine the shock and sorrow that has been thrust on Rebecca’s family, relatives and friends. To the Mafikeni family, we are grieving with you at this sad moment as you traverse this difficult time in life. May God give Rebecca eternal rest and may her soul rest in peace. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Zim business: quit calling Bob names by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Zim business: quit calling Bob names – The Perfect Storm | Moneyweb The perfect storm Author: Sipho Ngcobo Where farmers went wrong years ago and how business needs to change its tack. What do you when, as a multi-billion dollar global mining company, you wake up to the news that the newly-elected government of Zimbabwe where you do business, plans to seize control of foreign-owned mining operations without compensation? Do you scream at the top of your lungs in the hope that the international community will come to your rescue? Do you organise a legion of soldiers of fortune to unseat that government and replace them with your own puppet administration? Do you call Bob Mugabe names . . . like black dictator, black lunatic . . . Or do you simply cover you face with both hands and cry? Not a single one of the above options would work. Whatever may be your tactic, learn a lesson from what the white Zimbabwean farmers did or failed to do in the face of those land grabs more than 13 years ago. Let me take you back a little. In the year 2000, during the height or the heightened beginning of the land grabs, Mugabe was addressing Zanu-PF supporters in what was his last campaign of the parliamentary elections in the Chinhoyi District. I was standing right in front of him as I was covering that story, and Mugabe publicly invited white Zimbabwean farmers to sit around the table with him to discuss the matter of farm grabs. “Come, come. Let’s have a discussion,” he said. It did not happen. White Zimbabwean farmers were in a furious mode. So, the farmers lost out, Zimbabwe lost out. Mugabe and his policies aside, white farmers failed to sit around the table with the man (Mugabe) to find a meaningful solution to what was a looming socio-economic disaster. Instead, they organise themselves into a few bands of military style militias to defend their farms against the so-called liberation war veterans with disastrous consequences. A lot of people died, including farmers. After those early land grabs, there was a tremendous drop in agricultural output with exports suffering severely, resulting in starvation and famine. Zimbabwe which was the sixth largest producer of tobacco in the world in 2001 produced a third less of that produced in the previous year, the lowest volumes in 50 years. Zimbabwe had once been so rich it was considered the “bread basket” of Southern Africa. Today, Zimbabwe is struggling to feed its own population. Some 45% of its people are now considered malnourished. So what should mining companies do today? Do yourselves a favour: engage Mugabe and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere whose portfolio includes directing the foreign transfer of foreign companies’ assets to black Zimbabweans and government. Engage, engage. Sit them around the table until you find a solution. Who knows? You might surprise yourselves at those roundtable discussions. You might find these guys are not monsters after all. You owe it to your shareholders, staff and some of those communities where you do business, and most of all you owe it to yourselves and your consciences. Executives of companies doing business in Zim, were employed to lead and managed. This includes managing governments. In crisis like these, please go to the table and engage. Good luck ladies and gentlemen. Nobody said it was going to be easy.
Jailed MDC-T activist dies after two years in prison by ZimSitRep – 08-13-2013
via Jailed MDC-T activist dies after two years in prison | SW Radio Africa Tererai Karimakwenda SW Radio Africa An activist from the MDC-T, accused in the case of a murdered policeman in 2011, has died at Parirenyatwa Hospital following a two-year spell in jail. Clifford Hlatywayo, national spokesman for MDC-T Youth Assembly, told SW Radio Africa that Rebecca Mafukeni passed away Monday morning after a short illness. She had been hospitalized two weeks ago. Hlatywayo said the MDC-T legal team had approached the courts seeking to have her transferred to a private hospital for better treatment, but this request had been denied. State run hospitals like Parirenyatwa are notorious for lacking basic medical drugs and are poorly equipped. Mafukeni, who served as the party’s deputy organizing secretary for youth in Harare province, was arrested along with 29 other activists from Glen View following the murder of policeman Petros Mutedza in May 2011at a local pub. The police rounded up MDC-T activists at random at the time, claiming they were investigating the fatal incident. But the MDC-T activists deny the charges and insist they were targeted by ZANU PF in efforts to disrupt their structures. “They are systematically eliminating progressive voices fighting for the emancipation of ordinary Zimbabweans. People are sad and as you know the election was rigged. Our hope has been stolen by ZANU PF and today we lost one of our own, one of our sisters,” Hlatywayo explained. He added that there were still some party activists in jail and others out on bail as this drawn out murder case continues. 21 of the accused MDC-T activists were granted bail in December, 2012. Five were still in detention including Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madozkere, Yvonne Musarurwa, Simon Mapanzure and the now late Rebecca Mafukeni. Tarirai Kusotera and Jackson Mabota, arrested later in 2012 and charged separately for the same murder case, were held in detention for a month before being released on bail. Their case still drags on.
Kirsty Coventry ties the knot – 08-12-2013
via The Daily News – Kirsty Coventry Ties the Knot HARARE – Kirsty Coventry swapped her swimming costume for a bridal frock on Saturday when she wedded fiancé Tyrone Seward. The two-time Olympic champion and former world record holder last year revealed plans to marry long-time boyfriend Seward, who is also her manager. The lovebirds tied the knot during a private ceremony in Harare. Last year the 28-year-old Zimbabwean sporting icon revealed that 32-year-old Tyrone was set to pay lobola to the Coventrys. And following the traditional ceremony, wedding vows were exchanged on Saturday. “Tyrone and I are married!” Kirsty posted on her Facebook page yesterday, drawing congratulation messages from her followers. “You have done us all proud in the past, so have you today and welcome Tyrone, for the wife you married, our wonder girl, our sister and our pride, we love you!,” commented Nkululeko Mkastos Sibanda. Wrote Patience Mangezi Sampson: “Wobikirawo murume Kirsty.”
Women rights undermined in Zim – 08-12-2013
via The Daily News – Women rights undermined in Zim Zimbabwe’s history is complex. As the vast majority of African nations, this country (formerly known as Rhodesia) declared independence from the United Kingdom on November 11, 1965, then renamed and finally self-governed as Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980. Currently, it is placed as number 172 in the Human Development Index and has been ruled by Robert Mugabe since independence. Eager to remain in power, international and regional organisations have constantly demanded justice for victims of intimidation and violence, especially during electoral contests which threaten his mandate. Women make up for 52 percent of the population in Zimbabwe, nonetheless, have limited access and participation in the country’s public life. In their path towards democracy, women have become targets of attacks as a result of the efforts in supporting opposition’s role during elections. As many other Zimbabweans, women fight for free, fair and credible elections that will make their nation a real democracy. Since 2008, women have played a key role in fostering citizenship, such as the “Feya Feya Campaing” an online survey that has asked Zimbabweans about their preferences and demands, as well as other activities promoted by women activists like Jenni Williams, Jestina Mukoko and Magodonga, all whom have committed to non-violence demonstrations in representation of the many Zimbabweans who suffer from systematic intimidation, physical assaults, rape, torture and imprisonments. Mugabe was re-elected in 2008 however, a series of international efforts led by the US and the EU along with international organisations emerged, heading Mugabe’s administration to a “new government paradigm” in which a new constitutional referendum would take place. Even though the referendum was postponed in 2010 and 2011, it was finally voted last March 2013. Around 95 percent of registered voters approved a new constitution, wherein women and girls were part of a gender equality agenda that included legal changes and affirmative actions that would benefit them in public and private environments. Women would now be guaranteed 60 out of 201 seats in Parliament, would increase their guardianship and custody rights over children minors. Yet, activists claiming political and civil rights and NGOs, have declared all these actions as being in vain for many, as women continue to be victims of inequality. Women have been charged for “obstruction of justice”, such as lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, while others do not make it to the headlines and are also victims of persecution and intimidation. Zimbabwe’s recent elections demonstrated that Zimbabwean women’s rights are still undermined. Reports made by Amnesty International and other organisations observing the electoral contest reported that they were forced to feign illiteracy, blindness or physical injury, which meant some other person would be marking their ballot on their behalf. Other political activists in rural areas, reported threats by Zanu PF (Mugabe’s party), which translated into fleeing to nearby towns. Moreover, almost a dozen women informed NGOs that they left their homes with their children as members of Zanu PF ordered them to not vote for the opposition. Politically motivated displacement against Zimbabwean women was registered in several areas and even though sexual assaults have not been registered as it happened in 2008, the situation is highly prone to occur in the upcoming days. Zimbabwe recorded “assisted voters” in high numbers, even though 90 percent literacy has been achieved in the country over the last decade — one of the highest in Africa. Women were the most affected by these threats and actions from groups seeking to benefit a candidate. And at the end of the day, Mugabe won the presidential poll with 61 percent of the vote, while the opposition claims fraud along with other NGOs. Transition and opposition are essential components of democracy, which are undeniably needed in this African nation. Additionally, the inclusion of women in all economic, social, political and cultural spheres that allows them to fulfil all their human rights accordingly. Women’s rights should be a top priority in Zimbabwe’s agenda and international pressure towards Mugabe’s administration, along with efforts made by NGOs, represent a hope for Zimbabwean women. Many have empowered themselves and will continue to participate in the country’s political and civil emancipation. Yet, media’s focus in this nation’s women will play a key role in their struggle. African development will not be achieved unless transparent and efficient governments lead their way. If Mugabe’s mandate has shown not to work efficiently in almost three decades, a new 5-year mandate is indeed highly questioned, but it also represents a big challenge for Zimbabwean women and men. Karol Alejandra Arámbula Carrillo — Consultant in Political and International Affairs from Guadalajara, México.
Zimbabwe faces tough future as economy falters after elections – 08-12-2013
Standard Digital News – Kenya : Zimbabwe faces tough future as economy falters after elections. By Tim Bowler Zimbabwe’s election may have been a triumph for President Robert Mugabe, but the economic impact looks uncertain, with the country now facing “huge challenges”, say analysts.
Sham result Tsvangirai has said he will seek to challenge what he has called a “sham” result, and has until the end of the week to make his case with the courts. The United States and European Union also questioned the election, but observers from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the vote had reflected the “will of the people”. But whatever the politics, of immediate importance to ordinary Zimbabweans is whether the country’s frail economy can survive the end of the MDC and Zanu PF unity government and the return to Zanu-PF rule. Before the coalition was formed in 2009, the country had gone from being one of Africa’s strongest economies to one of its weakest — as Zimbabweans grappled with hyperinflation, mass unemployment and widespread poverty. Hyperinflation was largely brought under control when Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency and adopted the US dollar in 2009. The question for many investors now is what kind of policies the new government will pursue. At the heart of this is Zanu-PF’s indigenisation law — a policy to acquire 51 per cent ownership of 1,100 foreign-controlled companies operating in the country. The world’s two largest platinum producers, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings, have already had to sell majority shares in their local operations. The mining sector is key to Zimbabwe’s earnings, accounting for 71 per cent of its exports, $720 million (Sh62.6 billion) in the first four months of 2013. Despite Zanu-PF’s victory, the mining firms are likely to stay put, says Justin Froneman, platinum analyst at SBG Securities in Johannesburg. “There is no rush to do anything right now,” he says, “The elections do not change the status quo for these companies.” Wealth-transfer model Before the vote, some observers had voiced the hope that Zanu-PF’s indigenisation agenda was largely electioneering. However, the government has since restated its commitment to the policy. “Over the next five years Zimbabwe is going to witness a unique wealth-transfer model that will see ordinary people taking control of the economy. Zanu-PF said in a statement this week. It aims to set up a $7 billion (Sh609 billion) state empowerment fund for Zimbabweans, though there are few details as to how this will work. Foreign-owned banks, including Standard Chartered and Barclays, are next in the government’s sights. The minister responsible for the indigenisation programme, Saviour Kasukuwere, said the government would compensate bank owners and that companies in other sectors might only be required to hand over smaller stakes in their operations. But for many analysts, there are big question marks over how this policy will play out, and growth estimates for 2013 have been cut from 5 per cent to 3.4 per cent. “What we are seeing now is a level of uncertainty,” says Catherine Grant-Makokera, of the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg. “Investors are very reluctant to put more capital into Zimbabwe at the moment — and that is leading to a slowdown in growth.” Godfrey Kanyenze, of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe think-tank, is sceptical that many ordinary Zimbabweans will reap the benefits of these changes in share ownership.” People are aware that Zanu-PF was campaigning on the back of continuation with economic empowerment and indigenisation — which most people read as policies which just benefit the elite,” he told BBC World Service’s World Business Report. “If you just target the few companies that are remaining in the economy and you are taking over their share ownership, and 51per cent is given to the local population who do not have the capacity then to finance that 51 per cent — that is a recipe for disaster.” However, Kasukuwere this week defended the indigenisation programme, saying it was a “logical economic plan” that would help Zimbabweans “achieve greater benefits from their resources”. Whatever the merits of compelling companies to cede share ownership, Zimbabwe still faces “huge economic challenges, particularly around unemployment”, says Grant-Makokera. Unemployment In January 2012, Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank said unemployment was at 10.7 per cent. But many others organisations, such as the UN, put the figure as high as 80-94 per cent – the size of the country’s informal sector makes an accurate figure hard to gauge. Zimbabwe is a country of “enormous disparities between a very wealthy few and the impoverished mass, with a squeezed middle,” says Sue Onslow, of the Africa international affairs programme at the London School of Economics. The economy’s doing much better than it was in 2008-2009, but it’s started to falter. “The lack of a stable policy environment has been a cause for concern for the international business community that wants to put substantial investment into the country.” But the government’s room for manoeuvre seems to be limited. Kanyenze says: “Even before the election, 70 per cent of the budget was going to employment costs, so very little was remaining for service delivery or rehabilitating the infrastructure, which implies that all those issues which are critical for growing the economy — dealing with power outages, water shortages, the decay of infrastructure, the cost of capital and dealing with the out-datedness of technology … those issues are not going to be dealt with. “We are in a survivalist mode at the moment, with very little in the state coffers.”