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Mugabe speaks of peace as others talk of betrayal on Independence Day

By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 April 2012

Zimbabweans marked the 32nd anniversary of the country’s independence from
colonial rule on Wednesday, with many expressing a sense of betrayal by ZANU
PF, of the values so many died for in the liberation struggle.

Robert Mugabe meanwhile spoke of peace and tolerance of different political
views at a packed stadium in Harare on Wednesday, during celebrations
attended by top leaders of the coalition government.

The ZANU PF leader, who usually rants against his enemies at public
occasions, is said to have departed from his planned theme of Indigenisation
during the address, choosing instead to focus on non-violence during
elections. The MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, who attended the
festivities, said the theme had been decided by hardliners within ZANU PF.

“We are happy that President Mugabe focused more on non-violence and
tolerance. This is what we were insisting on as the MDC. Zimbabweans are
tired of fighting one another,” Mwonzora explained. He added that the youth
were also tired of being abused by politicians for self political gain.

ZANU PF’s Indiginisation policy, fronted by Minister Saviour Kasukuwere,
requires foreign and white owned businesses to give up 51% of their shares
to locals. Mwonzora said the MDC-T did not agree with the way this was being
implemented, calling it “nationalisation and expropriation” of private

“However we do agree with the day because it is important to celebrate the
ideals of those who brought about independence, who stood for democracy,
good governance and the equitable sharing of resources,” Mwonzora said.

Meanwhile, most sectors of Zimbabwean society, from political parties to
civic society, churches and student movements, talked about the values that
so many lost their lives for, and how they have all been betrayed by Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), who have campaigned for a new
constitution, strongly denounced what they called “the culture of ZANU PF”.
The NCA said it is ironic that the army and the police, who are meant to
“protect the people and foster an environment of peace”, have become the
“chief perpetrators of violence and chief violators of human rights”.

The group also criticised the “skewed” judiciary system, saying those
opposed to ZANU PF are being treated unfairly under the law. “We deplore in
the strongest terms the abuse of state machinery by ZANU PF for political
gains,” the NCA said.

This sense of betrayal was echoed by the Zimbabwe Association of Community
Radio Stations (ZACRAS), who focused more on the abuse of basic rights
related to freedom of expression, association, assembly and access to
information. ZACRAS said this is “a clear violation and betrayal of the
values that underpinned Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence”.

Addressing journalists and other guests on Tuesday, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai celebrated the many Zimbabweans who lost their lives or lost
limbs during the liberation struggle, and how people “gave the new
leadership the benefit of the doubt”.

“Contrary to expectations, the new leadership did not take long to betray
the very values central to the liberation struggle. Repression, violence and
looting became the order of the day,” the Prime Minister told reporters in
Harare on Tuesday.

It is unfortunate that 32 years after independence, so many Zimbabweans feel
that their ideals were betrayed by the same leaders who fought hard against
colonial rule, and were once the heroes of the liberation struggle.

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Mugabe’s broken Independence Day promises unveiled 32 years later

Zimbabwe marks 32 years of Independence

By Alex Bell
18 April 2012

Robert Mugabe’s broken promises have been laid bare this week as Zimbabwe marks 32 years of Independence.

Zimbabweans across the world on Wednesday commemorated the historic day when the country gained independence from white minority rule.

But no one could have predicted that 32 years later the country would still be craving independence from a murderous regime that has broken its promises to a nation hungry for change.

In 1980 Robert Mugabe delivered a moving speech on the eve of Zimbabwe’s independence, in which he promised a new, hopeful era. This speech has been re-released this week in time for the 32 year anniversary of the day and clearly shows how the ZANU PF regime has failed to fulfil its promises.

Back in April 1980, the then 56 year old Mugabe spoke about the “long, arduous and hazardous” march to Independence, making an unintentional prediction about the “death and suffering” Zimbabweans had and would still have to face for freedom.

“Our new nation requires of every one of us to be a new man, with a new mind, a new heart and a new spirit. Our new mind must have a new vision and our new hearts a new love that spurns hate, and a new spirit that must unite and not divide,” Mugabe said.

The future dictator went on to urge that all Zimbabweans embrace this new ethos towards a peaceful and successful nation, cemented in love and forgiveness. He held such forgiveness as a high priority, stating: “If yesterday I fought as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interest, loyalty, rights and duties as myself.”

“The wrongs of the past must now stand forgiven and forgotten,” Mugabe said, adding that “oppression and racism are inequities that must never again find scope in our political and social system.”

He continued: “Our majority rule could easily turn into inhuman rule if we oppressed, persecuted or harassed those who do not look or think like the majority of us.”

Mugabe must have forgotten his commitments to eradicate all forms of persecution, with ZANU PF unleashing years of oppression against its opposition. This persecution continues 32 years on, with opposition members and activists remaining the victims of partisan policing. The regime would also proceed to take revenge on Zimbabwe’s white farming community, in a campaign of violence hidden behind a claim of agricultural ‘reform’.

In 1980, Mugabe also pledged that the new democracy would be defined by the rule of law, another promise that has been broken with years of ZANU PF law proving more powerful than national law.

“Democracy is never mob-rule. It is and should remain disciplined rule requiring compliance with the law and social rules,” Mugabe said in 1980. He also added that Zimbabwe’s independence “is not the right to negate the freedom of others to think and act as they desire.”

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe’s broken promises have laid the foundation for an anniversary not worth celebrating, explaining that “Zimbabwe is in a deeper crisis than it has been.”

“All the rhetoric in his speech in 1980 gave way to looting, lying and revenge. The Gukurahundi massacre was soon executed. We had Murambatsvina, the revenge against white farmers, ongoing persecution. He broke all his promises,” Mashiri said.

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MDCs lament ‘betrayal’ of independence values

17/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

THE MDC formations have blasted what they see as an attempt by President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to “privatise” the Independence Day
commemorations adding the current economic and social strife is a betrayal
of the liberation struggle.

Zimbabwe celebrates 32 years of independence from colonial rule on Wednesday
amid deepening policy and other divisions in a coalition government which
has made little progress in addressing the country’s economic and social
problems since assuming office in 2009.

Unemployment remains high as the major economic sectors struggle to recover
from the crisis of the last decade while education, health and other social
services – the major milestones of the immediate post-independence era –
also remain in the mire.

President Robert Mugabe, one of the key figures in the fight against settler
colonial rule, blames sanctions imposed by former ruler Britain and her
Western allies for Zimbabwe’s problems. He claims he is being punished for
redressing historic imbalances in the distribution of land – one of the
major reasons for the independence struggle.

The Zanu PF leader has however, vowed to complete the independence project
by ensuring that the country's economy is in the hands of the black majority
through his party’s economic empowerment policy under which foreign
companies must transfer control of at least 51 percent of their Zimbabwe
assets to locals.

“We are living in the afternoon, if not in the evening of our lives and
those who are still in the morning of their lives will have the benefits we
are fighting for. They do not have to toil as we have done. It would be much
easier for them to proceed into the future,” Mugabe said Tuesday.

But political rivals who now partner Mugabe in the fractious coalition
government accuse the Zanu PF leader and his party of betraying the values
of the country’s liberation struggle.

Said MDC leader and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube: “We are
aware that as a nation we never fought for poverty, we never spent all that
time in the struggle fighting for corruption which we selflessly condemned
even during our struggle.

“We therefore condemn it today even from those that seek to apportion
themselves the credit of the liberation struggle yet on daily basis betray


Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said hopes for economic
growth and prosperity after the attainment of independence were soon dashed
as “repression, violence and looting” became the order of the day.

“We all expected our leaders to return our dignity by crafting policies that
benefit the ordinary citizen and poise the country for economic growth and
development,” Tsvangirai said in a statement Tuesday.

“Contrary to expectations, the new leadership did not take long to betray
the very values central to the liberation struggle. Repression, violence and
looting became the order of the day.”

The MDC-T leader – who has previously boycotted the event -- vowed to attend
Wednesday’s celebrations at Harare’s National Sports Stadium insisting Zanu
PF should not be allowed to “privatise” the occasion.

“We will attend because we will not allow Zanu PF to privatise this day,”
Tsvangirai said.

"We refuse to be chucked out of a national day which has nothing to do with
Zanu PF but has everything to do with the collective history of all
Zimbabweans in their diversity. So we will be there to pay tribute to the
gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who sacrificed everything to free
this country."

Tsvangirai and Ncube joined government after Zimbabwe’s neighbours
intervened to prevent the country’s political and economic crisis engulfing
the whole region following violent but inconclusive elections in 2008.

But the coalition administration has made little progress in implementing
political reforms and shepherding economic recovery, riven as it is by deep
policy differences that have not been helped by the fact that its vey
tenancy at Munhumutapa Building – the seat of government – was meant to be

“Today, even in the wake of an inclusive government, policy and ideological
discord at the instigation of some elements in this government have meant a
further betrayal of the people’s aspirations,” Tsvangirai said.

“We have disagreed in this government because there are others who want to
perpetuate the old culture of expropriation, looting and self-aggrandizement
clad in new and misleading nomenclature such as “indigenisation.”

Both Zanu PF and the MDC formations concede that they have failed to work
together and that fresh polls are needed to choose a substantive government;
but that is where the agreement ends.

While Zanu PF insists new elections must be held this year and that a free
and fair poll is possible under the current constitution, the MDCs want the
Independence charter replaced and more extensive political reforms completed

Implementation of reforms, the MDC’s argue, would help ensure that the
violence of 2008 is not repeated and that the outcome of the ballot is not

“The MDC is aware that we fought for a country where all Zimbabweans will
exercise their rights without fear. As a party we believe that the political
violence and intimidation together with unfree and unfair elections are a
mockery to a just and fair Zimbabwe that we fought for,” Ncube said.

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President Wants Elections to End Coalition Government

April 18, 2012

Sebastian Mhofu | Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe looks on during a rally marking
Zimbabwe's 32nd independence anniversary celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe,
April 18, 2012.
Photo: Reuters
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe looks on during a rally marking
Zimbabwe's 32nd independence anniversary celebrations in Harare, Zimbabwe,
April 18, 2012.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe marked the country's 32 years of
independence Wednesday by calling on a committee that is drafting a new
constitution to speed up the process so polls can be held to choose a new
leader and end the country’s coalition government.

Cheers met Mugabe as he arrived at Harare's largest stadium to celebrate
Zimbabwe’s independence from Great Britain.

In his speech, he urged Zimbabweans to be peaceful and have elections this
year to end the coalition government he formed with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai after the disputed and violent 2008 elections.

"We are now demanding that the draft constitution be delivered to us, so
that we can decide that in due course we put people in a referendum which
should mark the beginning definite process towards a general election we
would want to see held this year," he said.

Earlier this year Mugabe had said elections would be held even without a new
constitution, contrary to the demands of regional leaders and Tsvangirai,
who wants the polls conducted under a new constitution.

Throughout his speech on Wednesday, Mugabe was conciliatory. He called on
the West to lift sanctions imposed on him and allies with his ZANU-PF party
in 2002, following reports of election rigging and human rights abuses.

This was Mugabe's first public appearance since returning from Singapore,
where there were reports he was being treated for health problems. Mugabe
has not acknowledged having any serious medical issues.

Tsvangirai attended the independence celebrations, which highlighted the
country's "indigenization policy."

Tsvangirai told journalists Tuesday that ZANU-PF had imposed the
indigenization theme without getting a consensus. The policy, spearheaded by
ZANU-PF, orders foreign companies to hand over 51 percent of their shares to
Zimbabweans, and is strongly opposed by Tsvangirai's party.

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Pressure keeps building on Zim mining sector

By Alex Bell
18 April 2012

Zimbabwe’s mining sector, which is already facing pressure to submit to the
ZANU PF led indigenisation drive, has come under even more pressure this
week, with mining firms told to resubmit their applications for exploration

469 local and foreign miners have been told to resubmit the applications
that detail their shareholding, proposed work, proof of funding and
technical capacity. The companies have also been told to provide full
details of directors and shareholders in their so-called exclusive
prospective order.

The Mines Ministry gave these orders in a statement published this week in
the state mouthpiece Herald newspaper. Mines affected include operations
owned by Metallon Corp. and Essar Group of India.

The indigenisation drive has already seen major players in the mining sector
submitting to the 51% share handover, with South African based Impala
platinum last month agreeing to sell 31% of its Zimplats unit to a state
agency and 20% to employees and communities.

Economic analyst John Robertson said the new orders from government are part
of increased pressure on the sector, but he said it will lead to decreased
production overall. He said that Zimbabwe’s government does not have the
money to put into the companies they insist on taking over through
indigenisation, saying “the government’s ideas are clearly in conflict.”

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee on mining has said that new fee
increases imposed on mining firms could be illegal. The increase of up to
5000% was announced by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu in February, through a
decree that requires miners to pay up to US$5 million for a mining

“There was no regard to whether the application to mine would succeed or
not,” the Legal Parliamentary Committee said in a report obtained by the
Bloomberg News group this week. The fees “impose a hefty financial burden on
citizens and non-citizens alike who opt to invest in the mining sector.”

Robertson said it would be good news if the parliamentary committee can make
an argument for the fees to be reviewed, saying it is the local, indigenous
mining firms who have been worst hit by this decree.

“The pressure for a fee review is not from the foreign firms. It is from
local firms who quite simply to not have the money to comply,” Robertson

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Five more farms seized by government under ‘land reform’

By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 April 2012

The government has reportedly moved to acquire five more farms in the Harare
and Chegutu districts, using the controversial land reform legislation. A
notice in the Government Gazette by the Minister of Lands and Rural
Resettlement, Herbert Murerwa, announced the acquisition, which includes a
sports club in Beatrice.

According to NewsDay newspaper, the land identified is to be used for the
purpose of “settlement for agriculture”, but this chaotic land reform has
been largely blamed for destroying Zimbabwe’s once lucrative commercial
farms, which produced enough to feed the nation and export to the rest of

The notice said the acquired land legally belongs to “the State” as of the
date of the publication, which was April 6th, 2012. Properties listed for
acquisition include farms registered to Melvin Douglas Wasterfall and Sheena
Catherine Wasterfall in Chegutu, Daniel Alexandra, Antony John Pettifor and
Charles Bruce in Harare.

Also listed for acquision by government is the Beatrice Showgrounds in
Harare district, which according to NewsDay measures nearly 51 000 acres and
belongs to “the Trustees of Beatrice Sports Club”.

Most of the country’s white commercial farmers were violently evicted by
ZANU PF thugs and war vets, doing the bidding for top military and ZANU PF
officials, who also evicted the farm workers and their families. This has
contributed to food shortages which ZANU PF uses as political weapon against
the MDC formations.

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Farm Workers Stranded As Mavhaire Takes Farm

Roy Chikara Masvingo, April 18, 2012 - Over 30 families have been left
homeless after Zanu (PF) politburo member, Dzikamai Mavhaire, invaded the 5
000 hectares Sheba Ranch farm and conservancy and kicked out everyone.

But Mavhaire declined grabbing the farm Tuesday, saying it had been
allocated to his son who shares the same name with him.

“My son was allocated that farm under the land reform but it took him years
to occupy because the whites who were there had taken the matter to the
courts,” said Mavhaire.

The farm workers, working for Lennar Collins, who owned the Mwenezi  farm
are now squatting on the side of the Masvingo- Beitbridge road. Collins is
believed to have fled to South Africa.

Workers said Mavhaire had also grabbed the farm's machinery which included
tractors, harrows, ploughs, herds of cattle believed to be over 100 and a
conservancy with wild life but Mavhaire dismissed the looting allegations.

Workers who spoke to Radio VOP said they had nowhere to go since they had
worked at the farm for over 50 years. Most were originally from Zambia and
Malawi and were too old to go back.

“We were not allowed to take anything except some few blankets and pots,"
said Taurai Ngidi, a former supervisor at the farm.

Recently three white famers,Terry Andres, John Taylor and Grant Hudson lost
their Savuli Conservancy to Zanu (PF)'s former Gutu south legislator Shuvai

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Chief in farm grab

Written by Xolisani Ncube and Ivan Zhakata
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 14:44

HARARE - While others are busy celebrating 32 years of independence from
minority white rule, businessman Christopher Goromonzi has very little to
celebrate after his farm was grabbed by a Zanu PF-aligned chief.

Chief Mashayamombe of Mhondoro has camped at Marsden Farm bought by
Goromonzi and such rogue actions expose how the controversial land
redistribution programme only benefitted a few politically-connected

When the programme was haphazardly initiated in 2000, President Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF said the programme was aimed at empowering indigenous
black people.

More than 4 000 white commercial farmers lost their land during that period.
The land was redistributed to black farmers mostly Zanu PF officials and war
vets and most of them have failed to fully utilise the land.

The traditional leader who is supposed to safeguard the morals and
traditions of the land, left his village in Mhondoro and took over Marsden
Farm from a fellow black man.

Goromonzi who is the rightful owner of the farm having bought it from a
white farmer as a joint venture with Zanu PF legislator for Mhondoro
constituency Sylvester Nguni in 2003.

In 2009, Nguni ceded his shares to Goromonzi, making him the sole owner of
the tobacco farm.

The Daily News established that sometime last year Mashayamombe approached
Goromonzi and appraised him on his intention to take over the farm.

Last week, Mashayamombe broke into the farm-house where Goromonzi’s farm
manager resides.

When the Daily News crew arrived at the farm situated in Selous yesterday,
Mashayamombe who has since had taken up residence at Marsden farm, ran away
when the crew arrived.

The hostile takeover has since landed the chief’s son Tendai Chiketa in the
dock after he illegally entered into the house while the current occupant
was away.

Tomorrow, Chiketa will appear before a Norton magistrate to answer charges
of malicious damage to property.

The farm that falls under the jurisdiction of Chief Chivero has a state-
of-the-art farm house which was built by the white farmer who sold the
property to Goromonzi and Nguni.

Yesterday, over 100 workers were roaming around the compound with no clue
about their future.

The miserable workers said they now feared losing their jobs and their homes
after Mashayamombe took over the 1 462 hectares of land from their boss.

At the farm house, an aloof Mrs Mashayamombe, a kettle and two cups of tea
welcomed the news crew but the chief went into hiding although he had
confirmed the meeting with the Daily News.

The wife said he had gone to Chegutu provincial office to prepare for the
independence celebrations that are being held country-wide but disgruntled
workers at the farm said the chief had driven his vehicle away from the
farm-house after seeing the news crew arriving.

“The woman is lying that the chief is away, he is here, we are actually
waiting to hear from him on the way forward. We want to know if our jobs are
secure,” a confused farm worker said.

It also emerged that two other people; Kudzai Gwenhere and one Shonei were
in possession of offer letters for the same piece of land further exposing
the discrepancies in the land redistribution programme which is yet to
undergo an audit.

It is not clear how land officers at Chegutu district offices allocated the
same piece of land to three different people when Gomoronzi had already
bought the farm.

Efforts to obtain a comment from Goromonzi were fruitless as his mobile
phone was continuously unavailable.

Mashayamombe said: “As we speak, I am at the farm and I am ready to take it
over, this is my place,”
Documents in possession of the Daily News indicate that in 2009 provincial
lands officer Farai Chikomba told the director of lands that the farm
belonged to Goromonzi.

“The district erred by not gathering enough evidence before allocating a
controversial farm. With all information, if the ministry feels Goromonzi
indeed bought the farm, then the offer letters generated in error must be
withdrawn and the beneficiaries relocated elsewhere,” reads Chikomba’s
recommendation to the director.

Goromonzi becomes the second high-ranking banker to have his farm grabbed
after Washington Matsaire, the former Standard Chartered Bank boss.

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Made hits out at ‘lazy’ war vet farmers

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has made an unusual outburst accusing his
fellow Zanu (PF) comrades, who grabbed the land during the controversial
land “reform” programme, of laziness.
by Nhamo Murefu

Addressing the Buy Zimbabwe Market Campaign this week, Made shocked
delegates when he said focus should be shifted from the debate on
genetically modified crops to the central question of underutilization of

“The GMO debate is a closed chapter. Rather we should ask why the land
distributed is being underutilized”.

“The country should come up with answers to the deadly laziness,” he said.
Zanu (PF) has hitherto stubbornly denied reports of underutilization of
nationalised arable farmland, which saw the country slumping from being the
“Bread Basket of Africa” to the “Begging Bowl of Africa.”

Since the bloody fast track land invasions begun in 2000, the country has
been forced to import most of its maize and other cereal products.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said that five out of the country’s ten
provinces are in dire need of food aid following the failure of the
2011/2012 farming season.

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Presidential input scheme must be investigated

Heal Zimbabwe wants principals of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to
intervene and investigate the Presidential inputs and grain loan schemes,
which are being are being abused by mostly Zanu (PF) politicians.
by Heal Zimbabwe

“Corruption and theft of the inputs has also weighed in heavily in the
already politicised scheme,” said the organisation in a press release last
week. “A proper investigation should be done to ensure that those who abused
the schemes are brought before the courts.”

The organisation said government officials and political activists were
using the schemes to pursue their political agendas instead of benefitting
the needy families mainly in rural areas.

Heal Zimbabwe had received reports of unfair distribution of farm inputs and
seed in Muzarabani, Guruve, Buhera, Zaka, Mount Darwin, Mutoko and Chiweshe.
Thousands of villagers in Buhera, Chipinge, Nyanga, Makoni north and east
and Mutare district had been denied assistance because they were Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.

In peri-urban centres, beneficiaries mainly from Harare South benefited
because they were mainly Zanu (PF) supporters.

Heal Zimbabwe observed that beneficiaries clearly had to be loyal members of
Zanu (PF) who possessed Zanu (PF) membership cards.

This was happening at a time when the 2011 -2012 agricultural season had
already been declared a poor one in terms of rainfall distribution, with
food shortages expected.

Heal Zimbabwe said there was need to address the anomalies in food
distribution before reports of starvation emerge, especially in areas that
had received little sporadic rains.

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ZANU PF infighting deepens in Manicaland

By Tichaona Sibanda
18 April 2012

The war of attrition between two factions within ZANU PF rumbled on in
Mutare on Wednesday when officials from both sides failed to attend
Independence Day celebrations because of threats to their lives.

Only the governor, Chris Mushowe and ZANU PF deputy minister Monica
Mutsvangwa attended the 32nd Independence Day celebrations at Sakubva
stadium. The MDC-T was represented by Mutare Senator, Keresensia Chabuka.

But the entire leadership of ZANU PF in the province felt too unsafe to
attend after being issued with threats that they would be ‘humiliated’ in
front of a capacity crowd.

A journalist who asked not to be identified told SW Radio Africa that only
chairman, Mike Madiro showed up, but only during the closing stages of the

“He came just as guests were preparing to leave the stadium but if what we
saw at Sakubva today (Wednesday) is anything to go by, the former ruling
party is in trouble indeed,” the journalist said.

The party has since the weekend been divided into two distinct factions
following the controversial District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections
this past weekend. It is understood that the party is clearly split between
the Joice Mujuru brigade and the Emmerson Mnangagwa cabal.

To prove how fractured the party is now, every slogan chanted since Sunday
during demonstrations outside the party headquarters in Mutare is laced
either with a Mujuru or Mnangagwa signature.

ZANU PF officials who lost the DCC elections thronged the party HQ
challenging results that they say were rigged by the provincial leadership
in Manicaland. According to sources in ZANU PF, the elections were heavily
skewed in favour of candidates backing Mnangagwa for the top leadership of
the party, after the eventual departure of Robert Mugabe.

The crisis was reaching boiling point when ZANU PF was forced to dispatch
Webster Shamu, the political commissar to cool down tempers.

Shamu was in the eastern border city on Tuesday night were he addressed the
disgruntled party supporters. Where DCC elections are yet to be held, he
immediately ordered that they be put on hold, while they look into
complaints of irregularities in polls held last Saturday and Sunday.

There were DCC elections in Mutare, Chipinge, Nyanga, Makoni and Buhera, but
all these were overshadowed by reports of widespread intimidation and

The provincial chairman has now been the target of criticism from party
supporters with over 400 of them camping outside the ZANU PF headquarters in
Mutare demanding a re-run. This sit-in lasted until Tuesday night.

During Shamu’s address to the supporters he promised them the party would
not leave a stoned unturned to find out what happened. With that, the
demonstrators dispersed but promised to return if their demands are not
addressed soon.

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NCA Pushing Zimbabweans To Reject New Constitution

By Professor Matodzi Harare, April 18, 2012- The National Constitutional
Assembly insists it will oppose the new constitution draft and campaign for
people to reject it at a referendum planned for later this year.

The spokesman of the NCA, Madock Chivasa, warned the parliamentary
constitution select committee (COPAC) that spearheaded the constitution
making process was in for a rude awakening.

“Our campaign will be intensified in our villages, townships and farm
meetings……We urge you all to be resolute and steady fast in this front line
walk of advancement towards egalitarianism. Let us join hands, take charge
and complete this change which is imminent,” said Chivasa in a message to
mark the country’s 32 independence anniversary on Wednesday.

“As the NCA, we passed a vote of NO confidence in COPAC, since the day it
was incepted, after a careful analysis that the model as articulated by
Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), was far from what the
people of Zimbabwe envisaged as a process that can yield a truly democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe," he said.

Chivasa said the constitution making process should have been driven by an
independent commission rather than politicians.

The NCA is a coalition of individual Zimbabwean citizens and civic
organisations including, labour movements, human rights organisations,
student, church and women groups and churches.

The drafting of a new constitution is one of the key reforms that President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to implement under
a power sharing agreement including a raft of electoral and security law
reforms to level the political field before holding new elections.

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EU, US should call Mugabe’s bluff on “sanctions”

All Zimbabweans agree that their country is well and truly messed up -
politically, economically and socially. Although even school children
understand the causes of our problems, Zanu (PF) leaders continue to stick
their heads in the sand and vociferously blame ‘illegal sanctions imposed
upon the country by the West’. Whether they actually believe this to be true
or not is an interesting subject for discussion.
by Pius Wakatama

President Mugabe has several times said that he is going to call for
elections this year with or without a new constitution. In response the
other political parties in the coalition government have sworn that they
will not participate in any election before the full implementation of the
Global Political Agreement, which includes a new constitution.

According to civil society organizations, the level of politically inspired
violence across the country has heightened significantly because of this
election talk. All this has brought the country to a dangerous crossroads
with the inclusive government in danger of falling apart and the country
descending into chaos. It is, therefore, now imperative that all people of
goodwill in Zanu (PF) listen to their consciences, cast off their cowardice
and fear and stand up to say, “Enough is enough!” Mugabe is well aware that
many leaders in his party no longer support him. Recently he challenged MPs
who do not want elections this year to go and join the MDC. He forgot to
say,”... and see what will happen to you.”

If these men and women of goodwill are not able to reclaim and reform their
once illustrious party then they should take his advice and leave that party
to join the majority for the sake of Zimbabwe.

Sitting on the fence can no longer do because very soon there will be no
fence to sit on.

Recently Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been criticised for calling
upon the United States and the European Union to lift the targeted measures
against Zimbabwe -even though the GPA is not fulfilled and the road to free
and fair elections is not yet cleared. Those criticising Tsvangirai are
right in a way but fail to see the valid point he is making. Zanu (PF) is
hiding behind a finger.

They are linking the sanctions to the reform agenda and saying they can’t
agree to reforms when the country is under illegal sanctions. The European
Union and the United States should, therefore, call their bluff. This will
leave Zanu (PF) exposed and in a quandary because their key propaganda hymn
would have been taken away from them. Also, lifting the sanctions won’t hurt
the country any more than it has already been hurt. After all there are no
sanctions against Zimbabwe. In fact, trade between the EU and Zimbabwe is
booming and doubled during the last year.

What Zanu (PF) calls sanctions are not sanctions at all but restrictive
measures imposed on Mugabe and about 50 Zanu (PF) leaders and 20 entities.
The restrictions include bans on travelling and an asset freeze.

If the restrictive measures are lifted some of the individuals concerned may
not even be keen to leave Zimbabwe for fear of being arrested for their
involvement in the Gukurahundi genocide and gross human rights abuses. If,
indeed, they choose to go and enjoy their ill-gotten loot hidden elsewhere,
we can only say good-riddance. The lifting of these ineffective restrictive
measures cannot stop the true liberation of the people, which those with
keen nostrils can already smell.

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100 children a day dying in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, 18th April 2012

An average of 100 children under the age of five are dying every day in
Zimbabwe, with most of the fatalities due to preventable conditions.

The results of the government's 2010 Global Systematic Analysis of National
Causes of Child Mortality Report revealed that 10,758 newborns die in the
country annually, with pre-term delivery (37 per cent) asphyxia (27 per
cent) and infection (19 per cent) all accounting for a significant
proportion of the deaths.

Senior Health Ministry Official Dr Gibson Mhlanga believes most of these
fatalities could be avoided if basic maternal and newborn health procedures
were improved.

"The birth of a child is supposed to be a cause for celebration, but when we
hear the news that the same child has passed on a few hours after birth it
becomes miserable," said Dr Mhlanga.

Unicef Country Representative Peter Salamao said that most of the changes
needed would be very simple to implement - even for a basically-trained
health worker.

Officials hope a new scheme - part funded by Unicef – entitled Absolute
Return for Kids will be enough to raise standards and lower the newborn
death rate in Zimbabwe.

Posted by Paul Robertson

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Project helps 350 children return to school

A local non-governmental organisation has just completed a pilot project in
Chiredzi which has seen 350 children removed from places of work to attend
by Tapiwa Zivira

The Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe (CACLAZ), spearheading the
project hopes to have returned 1 000 children in Chiredzi back to school in
the next three years.

CACLAZ National Co-ordinator Pascal Masocha said his organisation was
promoting what they called child labour free zones. These were like ‘bridge
schools’ or ‘incubation centres’ where children were housed temporarily
while they received psycho social support and screening tests to determine
their academic capabilities before they are released from work and placed
into schools.

The concept is a replication of the Indian model which is now two years old
and has successfully returned one million children to school.

“In the next three years, we hope to ride on the success of the pilot
project and send 1 000 children back to school in two wards in Chiredzi,”
said Masocha.”Hopefully with the help of other stakeholders we will continue
expanding our project to many more parts of the country.”

Five other African countries- Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco and Ghana-
are also implementing this concept. This followed a 2010 exchange visit to
India by African agencies.

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Grace Chirenje’s passion to fight women’s oppression

Grace Chirenje (29), a passionate feminist has vowed to fight for women’s
rights so that women do not continue to be viewed as second class citizens.
by Wendy Muperi

“I want a Zimbabwe where I’m free to say what I want,” she told The
Zimbabwean recently. “I want a Zimbabwe that guarantees safety before and
after expressing yourself, where we share resources equitably.”

“I want a country where I can decide what I want to do with my life and do
it with all the passion, energy and strength that I possibly can harness,”
she added.

During her university days, Chirenje realised that fighting women’s
oppression “was a career for some people. I quickly realised that it was a
lived reality and a calling.”

“I will not get tired to push this agenda for as long oppression of women
exists, and for as long as women are treated as second class citizens in the
country of their birth,” she declared.

Chirenje is a former Midlands State University graduate and holder of a
Master of Arts degree in Leadership. Her passion for success has seen her
leading the Zimbabwe Young Women Network for Peace Building Project, an
organisation that focuses on issues of women’s participation in politics,
democracy, literacy and skills training and concentrates mainly on rural
communities in Zimbabwe.

Her activism has opened several doors. Not only is she a former Vice
Chairperson for the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe but had been part of the
prestigious International Visitors Leadership Programme sponsored by the US
State Department in Zimbabwe.

In addition, last year she had an opportunity to meet American First Lady,
Michelle Obama, at the Young African Women’s Leaders Forum in South Africa.

She is also one of the few African young women to attend the UN Commission
on the Status of Women, held in New York City in February this year.

Chirenje is married to Brian Nachipo and they have two children. Her ability
to balance family life and work is proof of how much women can achieve in
society when they are determined.

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Police punish the commuter

April 17th, 2012

My home is a 30 minute drive to Harare and this dual highway stretches for
at least 30 km.  It is not an enjoyable ride, especially in the morning when
one is headed for work or on the way home when one is tired and eager to hit
the pillow.

Either way it’s a daily routine that I and hundreds of thousands of
commuters have endured for so many years.  We have, with zeal and
exuberance, commuted to work to eke out an honest living, boarding
overcrowded and speeding kombis – a reality which no longer frightens us.

But now that “normal abnormality” is under even more stress, with law
enforcement agents haunting kombis and the innocent passengers.  My 30
minute journey now takes more than an hour.

The police have at least five roadblocks en-route to town and kombis are
being milked dry, with police demanding bribes under the threat of fines and
court appearances.  One driver was even fined for his vehicle being dirty!

Recently finance minister Tendai Biti poignantly stated roadblocks are cash
points for the law enforcements agents.  Kombi’s are now regularly stopped
up to five times daily and fined. The next day the same cycle occurs.  The
road is a feeding trough for the police.

The commuter now has to wake up even earlier so as to make it to work on
time.  Many kombi drivers are now forced to take alternative routes to avoid
the police and all too often we are vomited out of the kombis far from our
destination, on the entry points of the CBD.

The police roadblocks prove to me this is a government that is not for the
people, but is doing everything possible to corner its citizens. Maybe its
punishment for living in the urban areas, which are said to be in the hands
of forces that oppose Mugabe.

This entry was posted by Simon Moyo on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 at 8:30 am

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We’re victims of police brutality, say vendors

Written by Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 14:42

HARARE - The trial of 12 vendors who clashed with police officers in January
this year commenced at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday with all of
them claiming they were brutally assaulted by police while in custody.

Taurai Nherera, 17, Simbarashe Keith Makaha, 35, Jefias Moyo, 39, Leonard
Dendera, 29, Muchineripi Muzengeza, 34, Patson Murimoga, 32, Samson
Nerwande, 40, Murambiwa Dzwenge, 38, Kudakwashe Usai, 20, Mclean Barnabas
Mapipi Mwakanaka, 27, Simbarashe Chinodya and Paul Majarira, are facing
charges of public violence.

The vendors who were remanded out of custody on $100 bail save for Moyo who
is custody in connection with the case of 29 Glen View activists accused of
murdering police inspector Petros Mutedza last year, deny the charges.

They told Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe that police had pounced on them
while they were selling their wares in Harare’s city centre.

A newspaper vendor, Nherera, told the court he was “a victim of police
brutality”, while Mwakanaka a textbook salesperson who yesterday was walking
with the assistance of crutches said the police broke his leg during the

In making submissions on behalf of Mwakanaka, defence lawyer Alec
Muchadehama said: “The same police officer who had hit him at or near Ximex
Mall with a brick or stone hit the injured leg breaking it. The same police
officer was saying he wanted the accused person dead. The accused was
bleeding profusely from the broken and bruised leg.”

The majority of the vendors who sell belts complained they had been arrested
without committing any offence.

They claim they were rounded up by police while on their way to drink some

According to prosecutor, Gift Zumbika, police officers from Harare Central
Police Station were carrying out an operation which was aimed at arresting
illegal vendors on January 11, 2012 when they clashed with the suspects.

The court heard that at around 1:30pm on the same day, the 12 connived to
assault uniformed police officers, in a bid to stop them from executing
their constitutional duty.

According to state papers, the group was armed with stones and iron bars.

They allegedly assaulted sergeant Chitima, Constable Mutanda, Tatenda Zhou,
Aaron Mutsengi and Shadreck Matare who sustained injuries and were
hospitalised at Parirenyatwa hospital.

It is alleged the group went further to attack a police van with stones,
before proceeding to First Street, where they proceeded to attack the
Zimbabwe Republic Police base breaking 12 window panes in the process.

After being arrested on different dates, the state claims the vendors were
positively identified by the witnesses, a fact which they deny.

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Silly Ninny – Zimbabwe Vigil: 18th April 2012

Like Mugabe, the respected columnist and broadcaster Matthew Parris is said to be a charming man. But he has raised some hackles with superficial articles on his recent holiday in Zimbabwe. His first  piece was in the Times on 29th March:

Time moves on. Haunts of childhood stay still

Zimbabwe Notebook: Home hasn’t changed at all


Amazing how fast everything comes back after 44 years. It was Salisbury airport then and it’s Harare airport now, but, hire car collected, I at once remembered the way back into town and never needed a map even though the street names – Stanley Avenue, Jameson Avenue – had mostly changed. Returning to what was then Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe has given me a new sympathy with John Major’s much-mocked exclamation in a party political video in which he returned to his boyhood home in Brixton. “It’s still there!”


“Of course it is, you ninny,” we all cried. But time and again in the past week, and to the exasperation of my companion, I’ve been whooping spontaneously at the amazed discovery that an entire country does not vaporise simply as a result of one’s ceasing to favour it with one’s presence. “My old school — it’s still there!” “Our old house, it’s still there!” “The Chimanimani mountains – still there!”


Washing lane

The potholes, though, are new. Actually Zimbabwe has a better road network now than when the white government fell at the end of the 1970s, but there does seem to be a problem with maintenance. Potholes are a major topic of conversation among Zimbabweans black and white, each contributor outbidding the last, like anglers, in their claims as to the size and frequency of the shockers they’ve most recently encountered.


Nobody, however, has yet outbid one motorist I met who had heard from a friend just over the border in Mozambique: “. . . and on this lonely road he rounds this bend, and there in the middle of the road was this almighty pothole so he jams on the brakes and to his astonishment a woman’s head appears above the surface of the road, then her body, then a towel which she wraps herself in and scuttles towards the ditch clutching all her clothes and a bar of soap.

She had been bathing in the pothole.”


A working country

So potholes, yes; and power cuts, yes; and the grass verges aren’t as well mown as they were in the days of white Rhodesia. But if you’re expecting ambushes, armed robberies and empty shelves in the supermarkets, you’ve been misinformed. Huge political problems abound, but Zimbabwe is not devastated and its people are not destitute. Now that they’ve abandoned their own currency in favour of the US dollar and the South African rand, the country more or less works.


As a tourist — and I do emphasise “tourist”, for who knows what a tourist never sees? — you will encounter a gentle, friendly and safe place; a muzzled press but fairly open conversation; a viable mobile phone network, fuel in all the petrol stations, clean rooms in a range of lovely hotels, nice people, good English, spectacular landscapes — and almost no other tourists at all.


We appeared to have the Chimanimani mountains almost to ourselves. No, not “almost”: entirely. The visitors’ book at the national park entrance recorded the last visit as being three days before. I had always wanted to climb these mountains as a boy, and now here we were, on a cool day of sunshine and cloud, clambering up steep footpaths across tumbling streams towards a magnificent wall of pale quartzite peaks, their summits some 8,000ft above sea level.

We picnicked on a wide, flat valley beneath them — thick with yellow elephant grass, small antelope scampering away. We clambered down before a glorious sunset, bade the warden goodbye and good luck in getting another visitor or two, perhaps, in a few days; and made our weary but exultant way back to our bungalow — the Bradt guide quoting a description of the proprietor as “probably the nicest person in the world”. She was.


The darker side

Tourists, as I said, don’t see everything; and our happy picture was sometimes challenged by darker stories. Once he trusted us, one young African in Matabeleland told us that his parents, who had become too “political”, had been wired into their hut while the children were away and incinerated when the hut was set aflame. Terrified and still a youth, he had walked south, alone, and crossed the Limpopo River illegally to South Africa to make his way in the world.

Now he had returned, because “the storm has abated ... for the immediate”. He had an outstanding command of English but as if learnt from a 19th-century Methodist school textbook. “Let me now put the flesh of detail”, he said gravely, “on the skeletal outline with which I have already furnished you.”

Then he explained how the park that we were in had been protected as national patrimony “for the benefit of babies and sucklings”. I thought of this clever, orphaned boy picking his way alone in the dark across the Limpopo, possessing literally nothing, towards a future completely unknown.


The article drew a sharp response from Tom Benyon of Zane:

Zim ruled by fear Published at 12:01AM, April 3 2012

The shops may be full of goods but people right across the community in Zimbabwe cannot afford to buy anything on offer


Sir, Matthew Parris (Mar 29) claims that “Zimbabwe is not devastated and the people are not destitute”. Although Zimbabwe may look peaceful, it is still a vicious police state, its people ruled by fear. The government is proceeding with its “indigenisation policy” which means the confiscation of half of all the businesses in the country. Although the old, debauched currency has given way to the SA rand and the US dollar, and the shops are full of goods, the people served by Zane (Zimbabwe A National Emergency) right across the community have long since been rendered destitute and cannot afford to buy anything on offer.

Tom Benyon, Director, Zane, Bladon, Oxon


The Vigil thought to leave the matter at that. But supporters in Australia pointed out to us an article in the Spectator ( – The troubling truth about Zimbabwe, Matthew Parris 7 April 2012). They asked use for our comments. Here they are:


The troubling truth about Matthew Parris is not that he is challenging received opinions but that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. The Vigil has no qualms with his historical commonplaces about the Smith regime etc. But he shows only a superficial understanding of what is going on today.  There is no sign that he has read any of the dozens of books published on Zimbabwe in recent years or any of the stories about Zimbabwe easily available on the internet. Has he ever, for instance, looked at the Zimbabwe Situation website, a daily compendium of news about Zimbabwe, often containing as many as 20 or 30 stories? He could usefully have looked at the Sokwanele summary of abuses, which he could have found in Zimbabwe Situation ( Inclusive Government Watch – Issue 37).


We at the Vigil – 95% black – are in constant contact through our families with what is going on at home. Our relatives there do not share his rosy picture, redolent of patronizing white colonialists: ‘Don’t shout at Mugabe. We can’t expect to understand these charming black people or their culture of killing each other.’


Mr Parris may, for all we know, be visiting rural Iran and have a similar piece in the Times this Saturday when we will be protesting as usual outside The Zimbabwe Embassy in London. We will also be demonstrating outside the South African High Commission at their failure to get Mugabe to honour the global political agreement he signed. And we will also be visiting Downing Street to present a petition calling for UN supervision of the coming elections.


Sorry for the shouting Mr Parris. But you are paying for your holiday with our blood.


Vigil co-ordinators

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

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Inside Mugabe’s descent into autocracy
By Sam Strangeways
Published Apr 18, 2012 at 8:12 am (Updated Apr 18, 2012 at 8:12 am)


Please go to the website to watch the video

5pm Saturday at BUEI

The title of this disturbing documentary says it all. How did Zimbabwean liberation hero Robert Mugabe turn into one of the world’s most oppressive and hated leaders, an internationally-reviled autocrat?

While director Simon Bright may not have all the answers, his fascinating film does a brilliant job of tracing Mugabe’s journey from inspirational young politician to isolated dictator.

It’s a story that will be familiar to anyone who has ever read George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. Mugabe starts out with all the right ideals, about democracy and self-determination, only to end up violent and power-crazed.

What’s truly shocking and depressing about this narrative, though, is that it’s non-fiction and that Mugabe remains president of the southern African nation, albeit now old and reportedly very ill.

The film tells both his story and the story of Rhodesia’s transition to become Zimbabwe. Both are of interest to anyone who cares about history, politics and human behaviour.

Zimbabwe came into being, officially, in 1980, when its independence was internationally recognised after colonial and white-minority rule.

Mugabe was an African nationalist, who led the Zimbabwe African National Union from 1975, and was elected as prime minister of the renamed independent country.

The footage of Mugabe’s early years in the public eye is quite something to watch.

Can this determined and charismatic young African, espousing the importance of democracy, really be the same man who will go on to order massacres, rig elections, cause his people to starve and declare: “The gun is mightier than the pen”?

Depressingly, it is. But Bright doesn’t attempt to attribute the monstrous transformation to any single event in Mugabe’s past.

Instead, he simply and clearly tells the complicated life story of a man born in a country where he had no rights who became an almost omnipotent figure.

We learn, for example, that during the struggle for independence, Mugabe was jailed for 11 years by his white supremacist enemies and wasn’t allowed out to bury his dead son.

Once in power, he created a government of unity, giving positions in his cabinet to an opposition leader and a white former Minister.

But it wasn’t long before allegations of horrendous brutality by the Fifth Brigade of the Zimbabwean Army emerged.

A human rights report later determined that thousands of civilians were slaughtered after independence to stem insurrection.

Bright’s interviews with survivors are upsetting. One man recalls dogs walking around carrying pieces of human flesh.

And there is more horror to come as the documentary details Mugabe’s violent intimidation of the media and the treatment meted out, including gang rape, to those who dare to vote for his political enemies.

As one Zimbabwean commentator puts it, the 88-year-old will leave behind a “legacy of genocide and despair” when he finally dies.

As such, don’t expect this film to uplift you but do expect to come away better informed.

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