20 April 2011 Last updated at 18:09 GMT
An ATM in Zimbabwe's capital Harare has been issuing the old national
currency, sparking rumours that the defunct bills are back in circulation.
For the last two years, Zimbabwe has used US dollars and South African rand
after its world record inflation rates rendered its dollars worthless.
The BBC's Brian Hungwe in Harare says most Zimbabweans have no wish to see
the return of million-dollar notes.
The bank manager said the notes had been left inside the ATM by mistake.
'Seeing a ghost'
Our reporter says a woman approached an Interfin Bank ATM in central Harare
on Tuesday to withdraw $110 (£67).
But to the her horror, it spat out wads of old worthless Zimbabwean dollar
Bank branch manager Daniel Mandizvidza told the BBC that technicians had
been testing the machine using old dollar notes and had left them inside by
He said the customer's account had not been debited, but she had made
"unnecessary noise" about the affair.
"It must have been like seeing a ghost," one Harare resident quipped when
news of the incident spread.
Inflation in Zimbabwe peaked in 2009 at 13.2bn%, a world record.
Since the unity government came to power and the local currency was
abandoned, inflation has gone down and basic food commodities are readily
available in shops, our correspondent says.
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Harare, April 20, 2011 - Newsday senior reporter Verenanda Langa was Tuesday
summoned for questioning at the Zimbabwe National Army’s Defence House over
a story which she wrote last week reporting that powerful army Commander
Constantine Chiwenga had been taken ill and flown to China for treatment.
Langa was accompanied to the Defence House by Newsday assistant editor
“I can confirm Langa was summoned to Defence House on Tuesday,” said
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Foster Dongozi.
“It is in connection with a story she wrote saying that Chiwenga was ill and
had flown to China to seek treatment. They wanted to know the source of the
story. I have just spoken to her and she says they were
not nasty to her. But to us, it still remains a matter of concern because it
becomes difficult to separate a genuine desire to find out the source of the
information and harassment.”
Responding to reports of his illness, a visibly fit Chiwenga on Monday
scoffed at reports of his illness saying stories written over his health
were sensational and untrue.
“Why did they write such a sensational story, which is not true?” Chiwenga
was quoted in the local media as saying.
"If people were to be as sick as other people would want them to be, then
everybody would have died a long time ago. "Why is my absence, not anybody
else's, synonymous with being sick?” asked Chiwenga.
By Alex Bell
20 April 2011
Villagers in Hwedza have this week come under siege from war vets, as
intimidation and harassment of MDC supporters continues to intensify
According to the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, war vets went on the rampage
in Rukweza on Monday, and forced people to march to an Independence Day
celebration. Known MDC supporters meanwhile were blocked from attending the
celebration, while war vets threatened to shut down any businesses owned by
It’s understood that the war vets also threatened shop owners, and tried to
force them to sign ZANU PF’s ‘anti-sanctions petition’. War vets and youth
militia have been leading Robert Mugabe’s campaign to force people to sign
the petition, which calls for the lifting of the targeted, restrictive
measures still in place against the regime.
Meanwhile, the Hwedza villagers have also come under threat from the police,
who have been raiding homes and confiscating shortwave radios. Police
allegedly summonsed an MDC information official in the area, who was found
in possession of a radio. Local councilor Anderson Mugodhi’s home was also
raided and three radios were seized.
Phillip Pasirayi from the Crisis Coalition told SW Radio Africa that this
all forms part of ZANU PF’s election campaign.
“This is part of a wider strategy to deny people an alternative voice to the
state broadcasts, which continue to push the ZANU PF agenda,” Pasirayi
He continued: “ZANU PF are using a two pronged strategy of propaganda and
public violence, and so they are denying people the alternative voice of
broadcasts from SW Radio Africa and others.”
By Tererai Karimakwenda
20 April, 2011
Residents of Harare’s Epworth township, suspected of being MDC supporters,
on Tuesday lost plots of farm land to a gang of ZANU PF supporters who
invaded the area and threatened them with death. The gang was allegedly
helped by suspected “soldiers” in army uniforms and members of the local
neighborhood watch committee.
A resident from Epworth ward 7, where the ZANU PF elements are based, told
SW Radio Africa that MDC supporters were told that they are no longer
allowed to own land in the area. The invaders marched to the fields and
began allocating land to their own people. Our source said angry local
residents gathered and resisted the so-called invasions and violence broke
out, with both sides throwing stones until the ZANU PF supporters were
Our source named the same perpetrators mentioned in the NewsDay newspaper.
He said a soldier named Vengesai is leading the attacks on MDC supporters in
Epworth. He allegedly has the backing of Councilor Mawunge, the only ZANU PF
official who won out of 8 positions in Epworth. Thugs named only as Alfred,
Mashadaya and Manenji were also accused of leading the violence and
harassment of MDC supporters.
Our source said political violence and harassment by ZANU PF has continued
with no arrests or investigations, despite Mugabe’s empty words at
Independence Day celebrations on Monday, when he said that he wanted peace.
The gang in Epworth allegedly forced residents to attend celebrations at the
National Sports Stadium on Monday. They shoved people into mini buses and
then beat them as they tried to make their own way home.
Our source said the MDC has initiated many development projects in Epworth,
including the ongoing construction of a local power sub-station, paved roads
and sewage works. He accused ZANU PF supporters of trying to sabotage all
the progress and always disrupting MDC affairs in Epworth.
The Epworth area experienced severe attacks during the 2008 election period
when ZANU PF embarked on its brutal campaign against the MDC. The township
had overwhelmingly supported MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and the Mugabe
regime went out of its way to punish them for it.
Bulawayo, April 20, 2011- The leader for war veterans, Jabulani Sibanda has
defended Zanu (PF) politburo member Jonathan Moyo saying those who don’t
want him in Zanu (PF) are just few corrupt senior members who are scared of
being exposed.Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Sibanda said
the coming back of Moyo to Zanu (PF) is the coming back of development and
some few corrupt senior party members are worried about his return.
Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Sibanda said the coming back
of Moyo to Zanu (PF) is the coming back of development and some few corrupt
senior party members are worried about his return.
“Moyo can only cause problems to those corrupt people in the party who are
using their positions in government and party for their own benefit. Those
people whom I will not mention by names now, will continue facing problems
from Jonathan and from me,” said Sibanda.
Sibanda added : “The coming back of Jonathan is the coming back of
development which had been stopped for quite some time by those who crafted
his expulsion from the party”.
Moyo, who was recently re-admitted in Zanu (PF) after spending time in the
wilderness, is said to have divided the former ruling party’s presidium -
with Mugabe the only one in the top four tolerating him.
Two weeks ago Zanu (PF) through Moyo, attacked Zuma for announcing during a
SADC Troika meeting held last month in Livingstone Zambia that the regional
bloc was going to establish an election road map for Zimbabwe. However the
party has already distanced itself from Moyo’s attack on SADC and Zuma.
Zanu (PF) through Vice President Joice Mujuru is reported to have apologised
to South African President Jacob Zuma for Moyo’s recent attacks.
Moyo had written in state-run Sunday Mail newspaper blasting Zuma's proposed
roadmap as a regime change tool.
In a full page hard-hitting opinion piece, Zanu PF’s once prodigal son
suggested Zuma wanted to use the roadmap to overthrow Zimbabwe’s embattled
President Robert Mugabe in the same way the South African leader voted for
last month’s UN resolution that imposed a no-fly zone over Libya.
By Thelma Chikwanha, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 17:20
HARARE - Zanu PF’s use of repression, violence, and intimidation of
civilians including churches using pure Rhodesian tactics and laws has
destroyed President Robert Mugabe’s party to an extent that they are no
longer electable, influential Christian leader, Reverend Levee Kadenge has
In a wide ranging interview with the Daily News, Kadenge, who has been
arrested more than five times by the Mugabe regime, says it is frightening
that Zanu PF was now targeting churches but argued that this meant the party
had run out of ideas and was now history.
He said the end is nigh for Zanu PF which no longer enjoys the support of
people in the rural areas where they used to get most of their support.
Kadenge expressed concern that citizens with different political ideologies
still find themselves being brutally assaulted and thrown into prison on
trumped up charges which do not hold in a court of law.
The Methodist Reverend who said he was not interested in any political
position but was merely exercising his prophetic role when commenting on
political developments in the country, expressed concern about the continued
abuse of power by Mugabe and his allies.
Mugabe, once viewed as the ideal leader after he preached reconciliation
soon after independence is now an object of scorn even by fellow regional
leaders who had previously stood by him.
Kadenge says the abuse of power and general mismanagement of the economy by
the liberators of this country has led to high levels of unemployment,
hunger, poverty, disease and internal displacement of Zimbabweans who went
to war to attain their basic rights to food shelter and health.
“They have even created laws to acquire property and companies without
paying a single cent from them. How can you get 51% of shares from a company
without paying anything and how can you stay in a house you have not paid
for,” Kadenge said referring to the largely discredited Indigenisation Act
which Zanu PF is using as a campaign vehicle.
Kadenge who is director of the Institute of Theological Reflection and
Liberty described the independence celebrations as a farce and a mockery of
the sacrifices of the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who went to war
to liberate the country.
He also warned against using hate speech through the public media as it
enhanced their chances of falling out of favour with the people.
“Zanu PF is monopolising ZBC and other state media organisations as vehicles
to speak ill of their opponents but what they don’t know is that they are in
fact campaigning for those opponents,” Kadenge said.
Kadenge who boasts of seven degrees said the strategy of violence which the
former ruling party had perfected over the past three decades, would not get
them the crucial votes during the elections.
He said people were still trying to recuperate from Murambatsvina, a
government clean-up campaign that sought to destroy so called illegal
structures in the cities in 2005.
The campaign which was meant to clean up the filth, saw more than 700 000
people losing their homes and livelihoods.
“Most of the people who lost their homes during Murambatsvina immigrated to
the rural areas where some of them were not even welcome. I know of several
people who died because they could not cope with the loss of their life
savings and investments,” Kadenge bemoaned.
He said the people were now realising that Zanu PF can be booted out of
power even in Uzumba Maramba-Pfungwe where they used to get unbelievably
high number of votes.
“Old people in UMP said they would go up into the mountains to fast and pray
to ensure that Zanu PF does not win. Brutality and violence do not work
anymore and now works is to let people know how much you love them.
“Mwari ndewe munhu wese (God is for every one), he cannot be monopolised,”
He went on to say that change was coming soon and would bring with it a new
dawn. Kadenge described the new dawn as an era devoid of a corrupt
government officials and the restoration of the rule of law.
He urged Zimbabweans to brace themselves for change but stressed that it
would not be similar to that of the North Korean way saying an uprising in
Zimbabwe was not necessary as Zanu PF had already defeated itself through
violence and intimidation against innocent people.
By Stanley Gama and Xolisani Ncube
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 13:00
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's hopes of unilaterally forcing through
elections later this year have been given the thumps down by South Africa -
with Pretoria only willing to give its blessings to elections in Zimbabwe if
all signatories to the GPA are agreed on the way forward.
An impeccable source in Pretoria told the Daily News yesterday that
President Jacob Zuma, the Sadc appointed facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis,
was holding firm to the principle that Zimbabwe's inclusive government was
"only legitimate because of the GPA".
“The president’s (Zuma’s) understanding of the situation is not a secret
really. It is that neither Mugabe nor (Morgan) Tsvangirai would be
legitimate leaders as president and prime minister of Zimbabwe without the
“And as you know, Zimbabwe’s inclusive government is a creation of the
region and South Africa played a key role in the crafting of that GPA,
culminating in Pretoria being asked by the region to be the chief
facilitator of the conversations that are still taking place in Harare. To
that extent, South Africa would never endorse an election that is not an
outcome of negotiations within the GPA framework.
“At any rate, none of the parties on their own have any legitimacy to
organise an election. So, the issue of anyone forcing through an election
does not arise at the moment as far as we are concerned. If anyone tries
that, it will be tantamount to committing suicide and South Africa will
react appropriately to such an undesirable outcome were it to happen,” the
source said ominously.
Mugabe has repeatedly and publicly shown his contempt for the GPA over the
past two years.
He has also threatened to go it alone on several occasions and force through
a national election that would effectively end the inclusive government.
Meanwhile, analysts said yesterday that regional pressure was beginning to
bear fruit after Mugabe softened his political rhetoric and committed
himself to Zimbabwe’s shaky unity government in his speech marking 31 years
Mugabe said on Monday that although the coalition government he formed with
the two MDC factions faced some “outright misunderstandings” it was
generally working and contributing to national unity.
“I am happy to report that the principals will continue to do their best to
give this country, our country, the political and socio-economic direction
it needs to take,” he said.
This surprised some analysts as Mugabe has for months attacked the accord
that created the unity government, telling his party conference in December
that it “can’t be allowed to continue”.
But in a clear indication that Zuma’s and Sadc’s sustained pressure on him
is bearing fruit, Mugabe said in his Monday speech that Zimbabwe should only
hold polls after a new constitution is drawn up, in line with the coalition
Mugabe also urged Zimbabweans to shun all forms of violence and to unite for
“Following the successful completion of the constitution-making outreach
programme, government now awaits the finalisation of the outstanding
processes, ahead of elections, as is stipulated in the Global Political
“The establishment of peace and political stability is a fundamental
requirement we should all work hard to achieve,” he said.
Shepherd Mntungwa, one of the analysts who spoke to the Daily News
yesterday, said it was always clear that if Zuma held his current line on
Zimbabwe then Mugabe had “nowhere to go”.
“It is quite clear that Zuma has interacted and treated Mugabe very
differently from how former South African president Thabo Mbeki protected
and baby-sat the Zimbabwe leader.
“Now that Zuma has been surprisingly and refreshingly firm with Mugabe, it
is obvious that there is nowhere to go for the old man but to heed Zuma’s
advice. Mugabe’s independence speech is confirmation that sustained pressure
on him works and that Zanu PF knows that without South Africa’s support they
are dead in the water,” he said.
Another political analyst Charles Mangongera said: “Zanu PF has finally
realised that Sadc was the only friend they had and it was important that
they mend the relations.
“They never wanted to strain their relations so that is the reason why
Mugabe had to change the tone on the Independence Day.
“The wise counsel given to Mugabe seems to have worked. But I am afraid that
the relations between Zanu PF and Zuma will soon turn sour again as soon as
the SA facilitation team demands to see progress made by Zimbabwe towards
the full implementation of the GPA.
“I don’t think the facilitation team will allow being hoodwinked by Zanu
considering the journeys they have made between Harare and Pretoria. They
have talked to many people and listened to so many views, they have also
seen it for themselves so I can tell you another collision is soon coming
between the two parties, especially if Zanu PF and Mugabe remain hard on the
implementation. Zanu PF is already violating the troika recommendations,”
Other analysts said Mugabe has no choice except to listen to Zuma even if it
means going down on his knees because the South African president is the
voice of the region in the Zimbabwe crisis and all regional leaders tend to
listen to him on the issue as he is the one on the ground.
20 April 2011
The trial of Makoni South Member of Parliament Hon. Pishai Muchauraya for allegedly undermining and insulting the authority of President Robert Mugabe’s authority could not commence at Murambinda Magistrates Court on Wednesday 20 April 2011 after the legislators’ lawyers served Magistrate Henry Sande with a Supreme Court application in which Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is challenging the Magistrate’s initial refusal to refer the matter to the Constitutional court.
One of Hon. Muchauraya’s lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa of ZLHR produced the application which had been drafted and filed by Tawanda Zhuwarara of ZLHR in March challenging the decision by Magistrate Sande to dismiss the legislator’s application to have the matter referred to the Supreme Court.
Zhuwarara petitioned the Supreme Court in March seeking to overturn Magistrate Sande’s ruling barring the Makoni South MP from approaching the Constitutional Court to determine the constitutionality of Section 33 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23). Hon Muchauraya is also being charged with contravening Section 37 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence. The lawyers also want the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the Section of the law.
The Movement for Democratic Change MP is being charged under the two sections of the law for uttering public statements that allegedly undermined President Mugabe’s authority at a public gathering in October 2006.
The lawyers say these particular sections of the law are unconstitutional and give President Mugabe an unfair advantage over his political rivals.
Nyamaropa highlighted that it was clear that since Magistrate Sande was cited as the first respondent in the Supreme Court application he could no longer preside over the matter.
The State conceded and withdrew charges before plea pending the finalisation of the Supreme Court matter.
After the determination of the matter, the State would decide whether to proceed by way of summons or not.
Meanwhile in Harare, State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba set July 18 2011 as the trial date for six social, economic justice and human rights activists charged with treason. In an unprecedented move Nyazamba said the trial would take place in the regional magistrates court instead of the High Court, which usually preside over treason trials. The activists’ lawyer Marufu Mandevere advised Harare Magistrate Don Ndirovei that he would apply for the relaxation of the activists bail conditions. The six activists are Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma, and Tatenda Mombeyarara.
20 April 2011
Tormented Catholic Priest Father Marko Mabutho Mkandla and Hon. Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the co-Minister of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation and Integration on Wednesday 20 April 2011 walked out of remand prison after they surrendered their passports to the clerk of court at Hwange Magistrates Court.
Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu were granted $500 bail each by Hwange Magistrate Peter Tomupei Madiba on Tuesday 19 April 2011 after spending six and five nights in police detention respectively for allegedly violating the country’s obnoxious security laws.
Magistrate Madiba ordered Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu to pay bail amounting to $500 each and to surrender their passports with the clerk of court. Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila-Ndlovu were also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses. But they could not be immediately freed as they had to surrender their passports which were not on them. Father Mkandla and Hon. Mzila Ndlovu finally walked out of remand prison on Wednesday 20 April 2011 after satisfying all their bail conditions with the assistance of Victoria Falls based lawyer, Gugulethu Simango of Dube and Associates, who is a member of ZLHR.
Father Mkandla and Bulilima West Member of Parliament Hon. Mzila Ndlovu were arrested on Wednesday 13 April 2011 and Friday 15 April 2011 respectively and charged with contravening the country’s tough security laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly convening a healing service at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North, without notifying the police.
On Tuesday 19 April 2011, lawyers Lizwe Jamela, Nosimilo Chanayiwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Nikiwe Ncube of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners and Simango raised complaints in court against the police for denying Father Mkandla food since his detention at Tsholotsho Police Station. Mkandla’s lawyers told Magistrate Madiba that the police denied their client food and only gave him water during his period in detention.
The lawyers also complained about the police behaviour in denying them access to their clients and refusing to disclose the details pertaining to his detention as they moved him from one police station to another.
Lawyers also protested against the police who brought their clients while in leg irons.
By Lance Guma
20 April 2011
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika summit in Zambia at
the end of last month demanded an end to “violence, intimidation, hate
speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter
and spirit of the GPA.” But that rebuke has not discouraged ZANU PF
militants who continue targeting MDC supporters in different parts of the
A day after Mugabe’s tongue-in-cheek anti violence Independence Day speech,
MDC-T supporter Shadreck Malunga was assaulted by a group of soldiers at
Chipadze Shopping Centre in Bindura.
The MDC-T released a statement confirming that Malunga, whose wife is the
party’s Bindura North District Women’s Assembly Organising Secretary, was
assaulted after refusing to contribute towards the independence celebrations
for the province on Saturday evening. He was rushed to hospital after
sustaining deep cuts on the mouth, knees and ribs.
It’s reported the soldiers were going door to door forcing residents to pay
US$5 in preparation for the Independence Day celebrations. And the violence
continued in Hwedza, as mentioned in our other reports, with war vets
raiding villages and seizing shortwave radios, while in Epworth ZANU PF
militants have besieged the area taking plots of land away from MDC
supporters and forcing them to attend ZANU PF all night vigils.
In Masvingo notorious war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda is back in the
province “intimidating and threatening villagers with death if they refuse
to cooperate with Zanu PF” the MDC-T said. On Friday he held a meeting at
Chamakondo Business Centre where he summoned chiefs and village heads,
telling them to ensure their people do not vote for the MDC-T as they did in
On Tuesday the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) warned SADC leaders to
act decisively in averting the violence in the country and blamed ZANU PF
for instigating it. Addressing a press conference in South Africa, NCA
regional co-coordinator Munjodzi Mutandiri said SADC needed to be more
proactive in saving human life.
Mutandiri expressed concern that expected elections “might see areas of
interest such as Chiadzwa-Marange diamond fields attracting violence due to
their economic significance.” Already several credible reports indicate that
ZANU PF intends to use income from diamond mining to fund its election
campaign, which includes funding youth militias, to terrorize MDC-T
By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 17:15
HARARE - Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri has instituted a
disciplinary inquiry to investigate three police officers for failing to
guard his property and his home resulting in theft at his residence in
The three police officers, Sergeant Maedzenga, Sergeant Chipato, and
Sergeant Dzingirai, appeared at Southerton Police station yesterday for the
disciplinary hearing where they are charged with neglecting duty.
The charge sheet obtained by the Daily News reveals that the three officers
were guarding Chihuri’s residence when a break-in occurred and a Plasma
television was stolen.
“On the 15th of March 2011 at around 0645 hours, the accused persons
commenced duty at 47 Binton Road in Borrowdale up until 0645 hours the
following day that is the 16th day of March 2011.
“The accused persons, whilst on duty failed to carry out perimeter checks
effectively resulting in the theft of an LG 42 inch plasma television set
and other items including a satchel and a bottle of wine whose combined
value is yet to be determined, Borrowdale Police RRB 1118385 refers.
“The theft only came to light in the morning of 16th day of March 2011 at
around 0645 hours when the commissioner general of police asked the accused
persons about the missing television set.
“The accused persons were supposed to safeguard the property at 47 Binton
Road against theft during their tour of duty but neglected to do so and that
was contrary to the Police Special Tactics Troop Borrowdale Routine Orders.
Members have no right to perform duty in the manner they did,” reads outline
of the charges.
The three officers are denying the charge arguing that they believed it was
an inside job executed by one of the Chihuri family members.
They said there was no break in at the house and were not allowed to search
Chihuri’s relatives or their cars. The police officers also argue that their
duty was to protect the commissioner general and not his property.
The officers also want Chihuri and his wife to come and testify at the
Luck Mauwa of Mutezo and Mugomeza who is representing the officers applied
for the officers to appear before an independent board to investigate the
theft arguing that the police prosecutor and chair of the disciplinary board
were appointed by Chihuri and will have influence on the outcome of the
Judgment of the matter will be delivered next week on Friday.
The police officers face dismal from the police force if found guilty of the
By Staff Writer
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 13:37
HARARE - The rumour mill around President Robert Mugabe's health swelled
yesterday after the 87 year-old leader was spotted at Medical Chambers in
Harare but his spokesperson George Charamba immeditely dismissed any health
fears on his boss.
The Daily News was inundated with calls from staff and patients at Medical
Chambers along Baines Avenue when Mugabe arrived there with his
extra-ordinarily long motorcade comprising of his Mercedez Benz Limousine,
motor bikes, an ambulance, army vehicles, smaller Mercedes Benz vehicles and
Business came to a standstill while Mugabe was going about his business at
The Daily News crew rushed to the medical centre but due to the heavy
presence of armed soldiers and security personnel it was difficult to find
out where exactly the octogenarian leader was and why he had to cut short
the Cabinet meeting to rush to Medical Chambers.
Inquiries by the Daily News revealed that Mugabe was at Medical Chambers for
about an hour and reportedly arrived there between 12pm and 1pm.
Charamba worsened the speculation when contacted by the Daily News and could
neither deny nor confirm if Mugabe had gone for an emergency check up.
He first claimed that Mugabe was chairing Cabinet at a time when he was
supposed to be at Medical Chambers but immediately changed stance on
realising that the Daily News had solid facts on the issue. The paper had
already confirmed that Mugabe had temporarily left cabinet during the time
he was spotted at Medical Chambers.
He then turned and attacked the Daily News for “wishing Mugabe ill”.
“Each time that you see Zim One (Mugabe’s official vehicle) parked outside a
hospital you say the President is ill, can’t he have a sister who is sick,
or a son? Which country do you live in? Don’t you know that his sister was
taken ill after the death of Sabina?” Charamba said.
This added a further twist to the puzzle as Medical Chambers does not admit
patients. It is a centre for different kinds of tests and is full of
Charamba added: “The health of the president is not an issue of national
interest except for the Daily News. You have been focusing on it for the
past three months.
You said the president is on his death bed and I produced him and said there
is the president.” However, the Daily News never said Mugabe was on his
At the Medical Chambers soldiers from the presidential guard unit were
stationed at the entrance of the centre and some at different corners.
Inside the medical centre, armed security men spotted in their trade mark
dark glasses and shiny suits maintained a heavy presence.
by Staff Reporter
AIR Zimbabwe pilots called off their month-long strike on Wednesday, and
international flights were set to resume immediately, an official said.
The state-owned airline's general manager for Europe, David Mwenga, said:
"An agreement has been reached with pilots, and the Harare office will
outline the details later.
"I however want to let our customers know that the flag is flying again, and
there will be a London flight tonight from Harare. The plane will turn back
on Thursday, marking a return to the normal flight schedule."
Air Zimbabwe pilots have been on strike since March 22, pressing for
outstanding pay and allowances. The airline had insisted it was broke, and
unable to pay the US$4 million arrears.
Pilots had also demanded an improvement in conditions of service, including
the acquisition of new airplanes to make the airline competitive again.
Air Zimbabwe announced on Monday it had acquired a new B737-500 on a long
lease agreement, but airline bosses insist the entire fleet may need phasing
out, including its two B767s which ply international routes.
Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 10:24
HARARE - ABOUT 45 Zimbabweans per every 1 000 die of malaria, the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Henry Madzorera, has confirmed.
This is less than the 62 cases reported and recorded per 1 000 last year by
the health ministry.
"I must, however, warn the media about some of these figures because they
are very sensitive and must be reported correctly," Dr Madzorera said.
"People read newspapers and believe what they read in newspapers and so
journalists must not report unsubstantiated figures which are not coming
from us and our officials in the Ministry."
This comes amid reports that there were "conflicting" figures from different
sources published in newspapers which did not emanate from the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare.
Sources interviewed by The Zimbabwean, however, pointed out that the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is "very secretive" about revealing
"figures or information" in general, thinking that putting out "bad
figures", for example, could result in Zimbabwe's aklready battered image
being further "tarnished".
"Look at what happened when we did not tell the world the truth about our
HIV/Aids crisis," said a source in an exclusive interview. "This resulted in
Zimbabwe being rated anmong the nations with the highest Aids-related deaths
in the world. This could have been prevented had the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare come out in the open and told people the truth. Look now it is
only when things are going well that the ministry wants to reveal the
otherwise still very shocking state of affairs in the country."
At least 3 000 Zimbabweans are understood to be dying weekly in the poor
country due to the HIV/Aids virus or related diseases.
More than 1,1 million Zimbabweans are currently living with HIV, 60 percent
of them being women.
Dr Phillip Makurumidze told The Zimbabwean that the HIV/Aids prevalence rate
currently stood at 14,26 percent down from about 30 percent a year ago.
He re-interated this figure at a two-day conference for the Zimbabwe
Association of Family Therapists and Professional Counsellors (ZAFTPC) held
at the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare.
"The prevalence rate (HIV) locally currently stands at 14,26," Dr
The conference, the first to be held by the association in Zimbabwe, was
attended by more than 50 family counsellors from around the country.
Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:13
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has admitted for the first time that the
country is facing food shortages and is currently in the process of
assessing the deficit in order to make maize imports.
Even though organisations such as Fawsnet had already painted a grim picture
on the country's agricultural prospects this season Mugabe and his
agriculture point man Joseph Made had declared that the country will have
enough to feed the its people.
However, at the Independence Day commemorations Mugabe who was more composed
and less emotional said that though the early rains had given much hope to
the agricultural season the succeeding draught dashed hopes of farmers who
had hoped for a bumper harvest.
"Many parts of the country succumbed to a prolonged drought that affected
our food security. Government is assessing the situation in order to see
whether there is need to import maize," said Mugabe.
The United Nations last year issued an appeal to donors for $415 million for
2011 season as it estimated that about 1.7 million Zimbabweans will face
hunger from January through March when the annual maize harvest begins.
Zimbabwe has experienced a decade of food shortages due to drought and
- say experts - as a result of the land reform program launched in 2000 by
President Robert Mugabe, which severely disrupted the agricultural sector as
white operators were ejected.
Christian Care National Director Reverend Forbes Matonga said donor agencies
have already started distributing food in parts of the country most prone to
In a new food assessment, FEWSNET said 75 percent of Zimbabweans considered
to be food insecure live in rural communities in the semi-arid provinces of
Matabeleland North and South and Masvingo, with the rest in urban areas
facing high food costs.
FEWSNET also observed that most Zimbabweans are battling to make ends meet
due to prevailing low incomes and high levels of unemployment.
Masvingo, April 20, 2011 - A Zanu (PF) MP in Chiredzi lost his house and all
property worth over US$ 100 000 dollars in a suspected arson attack by rival
faction members in his party, as in fighting for control of the province
threatens to tear apart the former ruling party here.
Ronald Ndava, Chiredzi north legislator, was left homeless after suspected
party youths from the rival former provincial governor, Dzikamai Mavahire
of the Mugabe must go fame’s faction allegedly petrol bombed his house over
the weekend accusing him of being a loyal member of the Josiah Hungwe
faction which is in control of the provincial executive.
The petrol bomb destroyed Ndava’s house and all his property living him and
his family with only the clothes they were wearing. The MP told journalist
that he suspected foul play from fellow party members and said police have
since opened investigations.
“I was left homeless after mysterious fire from something that looked like a
petrol bomb thrown into my bedroom gutted down my house. All my property and
clothes were reduced to ashes and am in a desperate situation,” said Ndava.
He added that he suspected an inside job as he had recently received
unspecified threats by a fellow party member (name supplied) during an
altercation at a provincial executive meeting.
“I strongly suspect that this was an inside job. Recently I got some
unspecified threats from one senior party member from my rival faction and I
suspect he sent his youths to do this to me because my neighbours said they
saw truck full of youths speeding in my streets soon after my home caught
fire,” he said.
Ndava said his life was some in shambles as he had nowhere to leave but was
accommodated temporarily in a one bed roomed flat by his young brother. He
added that politics proved a painful career after the incident as everything
important to his life perished in the inferno.
Zanu (PF) provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke confirmed the incident but
refused to shed more light saying investigation by his party were underway.
“Yes we have received the report but I can’t say more now because we have
since instructed investigation over the matter, “he said before hanging his
Police also confirmed the report.
Mavhaire’s faction is aligned to Vice President Joice Mujuru while Hungwe’s
sympathetic to party intelligence supreme Emerson Munangagwa widely known as
‘Ngwena, the crocodile’ in political spheres. The two factions are fighting
for the control of Masvingo province.
By Alex Bell
20 April 2011
Hundreds of people gathered in Soweto, South Africa on Wednesday for a mass
rally, to demand real democracy in the Southern African region.
The demonstration was organised by Zimbabwean civil society groups together
with groups from Swaziland and South Africa, who called on leaders in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to put the will of the people
before that of dictatorial regimes.
Public pressure is building on SADC leaders to ensure that there is real
democracy for all people in Southern Africa, amid growing impatience with
oppressive regimes in the region.
Last week, a three day protest against the King Mswati regime in Swaziland
was suspended, after a heavy security clampdown, which saw tear gas and
water cannons being used on the public. Hundreds of people were also
arrested as the security forces tried to stamp out any sign of public
unrest. Labour union leaders who led the protest action, eventually called
the protests off to restrategise a way forward.
At the same time, the situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate, and
concern is growing that ZANU PF is readying itself for another bloody
election. SADC has since pledged to form a roadmap towards a credible poll
and called for an immediate end to violence and intimidation in the country.
But those calls have gone unheeded by ZANU PF.
Gabriel Shumba, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum which
was part of Wednesday’s Soweto rally, told SW Radio Africa that SADC needs
to prove its commitments to democracy and respect for human rights. He said
the demonstration served as a warning to SADC leaders “to heed the civil
uprisings, seen in North Africa and the Middle East.”
“This kind of situation could also be seen in Southern Africa, if SADC does
not urgently intervene in Zimbabwe,” Shumba said.
He explained that more than 400 people gathered for the rally, including
groups like the Global Zimbabwe Forum, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a
host of Swazi groups, and even South Africa’s trade union federation,
“The weight of this rally was not actually in the numbers. We must focus on
the multifaceted number of people that took part, because it sends a strong
message to SADC,” Shumba said.
Written by Chris Ncube
Monday, 18 April 2011 20:47
JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe Consulate has extended the deadline for its
nationals to collect passports and other identity documents for which they
applied for in South Africa.
Officials said the deadline had been moved from April 8 to one that it is
yet to announce as thousands of passports have not been collected. Passports
are gathering dust at the Consulate after the Department of Home Affairs
reneged on its guarantees to contact applicants when the documents were
ready for collection.
Last year when South Africa stated plans to resume deportations of
undocumented Zimbabweans, it urged these nationals to apply for passports at
Zimbabwean consulates. Thousands welcomed the initiative and applied.
Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs pledged to contact the applicants in a move aimed at
easing congestion as desperate Zimbabweans would flock the collection
centres before such documents were processed.
But it has failed to do so. While Consulate General, Christopher Mapanga,
could not be reached for comment, officials at the consulate’s base in
Meadowdale, east of Johannesburg, confirmed the deadline had been moved.
“Initially, the deadline was set as April 8 but the majority of Zimbabweans
who applied for the passports here have not come and collected. A new
deadline will be set in due course but we urge those that applied for the
passports last year to come and collect them,” an official told The
If uncollected, the passports would be sent to the head offices in
Johannesburg which Zimbabweans have complained is inaccessible owing to
‘insensitive’ security personnel. The Consortium of Refugees and Migrants of
South Africa (Cormsa) confirmed thousand of passports had not been
“They (consulate) have moved the deadline for collection because they want
to encourage Zimbabweans who have applied to collect these passports as soon
as possible. They have received 20 000 passports and these are all ready for
collection immediately,” it said.
Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:01
HARARE - ZIMBABWE'S struggling cotton farmers are smiling all the way to
their commercial banks after the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made
gave them a 200 percent hike for their "white gold".
Cotton prices have been increased from the paltry US$0,30 per kilogramme to
US$1, a more than 200 percent hike for the cash-strapped farmers who had
regularly complained to the minister.
In the region, cotton farmers are paid between US$0,80 and US$0,90 which
makes local cotton farmers the best paid.
"In Malawi, for example, cotton farmers are currently getting US$0,80 while
in South Africa they get US$0,90 per kilogramme," an official from the
Cotton Marketing Board (CMB) said in an exclusive interview.
Farmers interviewed said they welcomed the price hike which would go a long
way in solving their production costs which were escalating annually.
"We pay a lot of money for such items as fertiliser and inputs," a communal
farmer said in an interview.
"So, this US$1 will go a long way in trying to solve our cash problems. The
money is very welcome but it has come a bit late."
The official from the cotton organisation said now that the price had been
increased he hoped production would go up from the current 20 percent
especially from communal farmers.
While it is very expensive to produce cotton prices are generally low even
on the international arena where the majority of the cotton produced is sold
in Liverpool in the United Kingdom (UK).
Zimbabwe produces among the best quality cotton lint in the world and such
designer label shirts including Van Heusein being made in the country but
sent to the UK for labelling.
The majority of the cotton is sold by the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited
(Cottco) and Quton (Private) Limited, a private player in the industry.
Most of Zimbabwe's cotton is hand-picked as opposed to mechanisation done
"This makes the quality of our cotton to be very high and attractive," the
official pointed out.
It is fast approaching dusk and activities on the historic Victoria Falls Bridge that straddles the Zambian-Zimbabwe border are fast dying down.
The 106-year-old-steel bridge crosses the mighty Zambezi River just below the world famous Victoria Falls and has border posts on the approaches to both ends, at the towns of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Livingstone, Zambia.
The flow of human traffic at the end of the day however betrays a deep rooted rivalry between the two countries that share the global heritage.
Clearly there is a heavier flow of traffic towards the border post on the Zimbabwean side and into the leafy Victoria Falls town.
“Zimbabwe historically tends to take the bulk of foreign visitors because of its more advanced lodge facilities on its side of the border,” Chris Kakunta, a Zambian national says.
Inquiries among tour operators and business people around the shared border point however reveals fresh rivalry over visitors to the magnificent site that has been billed one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
At the peak of political and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe, Zambia witnessed a flurry of activity on its side of the border as more foreign visitors flocked the few available lodges to avoid the hostile environment next door.
A political deal between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai however seems to have turned the tables on Zambia.
The two political heads agreed to form a coalition government—leading to improved fortunes for Zimbabwe as some development partners eased sanctions earlier imposed on Harare.
This has now seen more foreigners trooping back to the Zimbabwean side of the border—lured by the more advanced facilities in Victoria Falls Town.
This means that Zimbabwe is tipped to earn more from visitors coming in to marvel at the Victoria Falls, boosting accommodation services on its side of the border.
The resurgence of Victoria Falls town as a tourism hub was further boosted after it successfully hosted a summit of Heads of State from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) in 2009.
“Zambia may have itself to blame because it has not marketed itself well among the foreigners. The accommodation facilities on its side also need to be improved and expanded to pull visitors,” Friday Phiri, a Lusaka based journalist says.
Stung by the exploits of Zimbabwe, investors in Zambia are moving to improve accommodation facilities on their side of the border.
A drive on the Mosi-au-Satunya Road that connects Livingstone town to the Victoria Falls reveals massive activity.
Several new lodges are under construction on either side of the road and along the Zambezi River that passes nearby.
“Investors on our side seem to finally be waking up to competition but they need to do more,” Mr Kakunta says.
But in what could provide a consolation to Zambia, statistics showed that the Victoria Falls are traditionally more visited by locals—meaning that the country could still cash on domestic tourists who are not necessarily swayed by accommodation needs.
Zambians and Zimbabweans visiting the Victoria Falls outnumber foreigners owing to the ease of access by train and bus unlike the game parks that are more popular with foreign visitors.
Both Zambia and Zimbabwe allow tourists to make cross-border day trips on the Victoria Falls without obtaining a visa in advance, although visas issued at the border are expensive, particularly upon entering Zimbabwe.
But even with such advantage, lack of stringent vetting measures at the gates to Victoria Falls still costs the country fortunes in leaked gate collections.
The staff manning the gates hardly counter-check the nationalities of visitors, leading to huge losses in revenue.
According to the card rates, a foreigner is required to pay $20 before gaining access to the Victoria Falls while locals are charged half that amount.
Because of the lapses in identification procedures, almost all foreigners pose as locals to avoid the charges.
A lot of illegal trade also thrives on the stretch to the Victoria Falls Bridge.
A common activity here is the hawking of the high denomination Zimbabwe dollar notes that have been stretched by super inflation over the years.
“Don’t dare touch that money, it could land you in trouble with the authorities,” one of our guides warned us as we get lured with a 50 billion note.
Despite the rivalry, the activity on this bridge won’t die any time soon.
The bridge is the only rail link between Zambia and Zimbabwe and one of only three road links between the two countries. It carries a road, railway and footway.
Written by John Batwell
Monday, 18 April 2011 20:50
John Batwell reviews Zimbabwe’s strategic rail system in Southern Africa 30
years after independence…...
Three decades ago, the fledgling Southern African independent state of
from its “colonial masters” one of the continent’s finest railway systems –
once a vitally
important, seamless and well-greased rail corridor contributory to the
economic well-being of
the whole region. Sadly, just over 30 years later economic mismanagement of
Zimbabwe by the
ruling ZANU-PF government has crippled its numerous parastatals including
the almost 2 800km
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) system.
In latter years, the brain drain from the NRZ compounded by strike action
exchange remuneration owing to the collapsed local currency prompted the
pulling in of
retired staff. The overt opulence of NRZ senior management driving brand new
4 x 4
vehicles also prompted industrial response. In a country that laid claim to
be safe and pretty
crime-free, the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” has catapulted
being a free-for-all society. The NRZ has not been spared this survival
mind-set. In 2011, at least
US$750 million is required to rebuild the NRZ, according to Ministry of
Finance statistics, with
US$59,9 million required to remove speed restrictions, US$284 million to
rehabilitate rail tracks,
US$23,3 million to re-electrify the 307-km Dabuka-Harare section and US$83,9
purchase signalling and telecommunications equipment. The short,electrified
section was a
modernshowpiece just four years after Independence. The situation has
deteriorated to the
supporting masts being uprooted besides the theft of the wiring. The
electrified section, in which
360km of copper cables were stolen, has thus ended up returning to diesel
traction, rendering the
fleet ofelectric units useless. In December 2010, NRZ reported that only
one - of an original fleet
of 30 electric locomotives - was operable.
The theft of phone lines along the system has created a return to
paper-written instructions and
also radio communication between train crews and Centralised Traffic Control
(CTC). The former
Rhodesia Railways prided itself on having put CTC in place from as far back
as the early fifties. In
the past 10 years some horrific collisions have occurred, resulting in
considerable human loss, a
fact the state-controlled media chose to play down.
The system is reported to be working at between 30-50% of its capacity owing
to the myriad
challenges. The struggling parastatal has on more than one occasion failed
to raise, via
government, the monies to put in place desperately-needed new motive power
stock procurements. Seven years ago, a $US110.4m deal with China for 10
commuter train-sets and 64 inter-city coaches came to nothing. Further
orders for twenty-
nine passenger coaches, from Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock Company, and 14
have been thwarted too. The system’s oldest diesel-electric motive power
type, although it was
re-engined, now dates back to the mid-1960s. Elements of the passenger
rolling stock date back
to the fifties.
NRZ’s passenger services, both urban in the form of “The Freedom Trains”
linking the high-
density suburbs with the main city centre in both Bulawayo and Harare, as
well as the inter-city
services were popular when the Zimbabwean currency was in free-fall. The
train was cheapest!
However, since the US Dollar has become the standard currency following the
the hyper-inflated Zimbabwe Dollar, commuters have returned to road
transport as the taxi
services are quicker and competitive once again fare-wise. The aged
passenger train rolling stock
has become dirty, smelly and dangerous owing to dark travel – carriage
interiors are often not lit,
making commuters feel vulnerable. Late running of the trains has also become
an issue with
patrons as well as overcrowding when insufficient saloons are laid on. There
has been a decline
in goods carried to 3.7million tonnes during 2010 from 18 million tonnes
shipped in 1998!
In December 2010, NRZ’s corporate communications manager stated in the media
China North Railway Company (CNRC) would only deliver an order for 14 diesel
units on full
payment of what is a $US29 million deal. Government had raised a 10% deposit
The World Bank was not shy of late to suggest many parts of the rail system
be shut down owing
to their poor condition. The Zimbabwean Government has dragged its heels in
to help revive its parastatals, not least NRZ.
Not only is the railway important to the economic viability of Zimbabwe, but
as stated earlier the
NRZ network is a major corridor for neighbouring states, such as Zambia and
Republic of Congo, and their life-line connection to South African ports. In
March this year, the
parastatal announced to the independent media that it was expecting cargo
volumes to surge by
58% to 6,4m tonnes this year – time will tell if such traffic is actually
The National Railways of Zimbabwe’s woes continue – in December, it was
Zimbabwean farmers had moved a step closer to seizing planes belonging to
state carrier Air Zimbabwe and trains owned by the NRZ in their efforts to
for farms seized by President Robert Mugabe - without any compensation -
since 2000. In
claims registered recently in New York, the farmers have now been empowered
planes, trains and any assets belonging to quasi-state corporations which
they can identify
outside Zimbabwe’s borders.
Despite the gloom and doom, the NRZ still plays host to tour operators by
safaris in the southern and western part of the country. These clients speak
highly of the
NRZ operating department’s efforts to put on a good spectacle against the
odds at hand. The NRZ has recently embarked on a new business unit -
marketing and running its
own Rail Leisure ventures (see www.nrz.co.zw). That’s one thing - the
Zimbabwean people have
always had to be admired for their absolute gob-smacking resilience and
ability to get stuck
in and “make a plan”.
In late March, the Zimbabwean Cabinet approved two bills that provide the
legal framework for
the implementation of reforms and restructuring in troubled parastatals,
like the NRZ. One hopes
something far more tangible than just cheap parliamentary banter and debate
comes out of these
bills since Zimbabwe’s rail system is so pivotal to the seamless regional
transport structure desired
by rail managers on the ground and by politicians – in the latter’s case,
hopefully not just rhetorically
[Batwell is the Southern African regional editor for the International
Railway Journal, UK and France’s Le Rail magazine]
Solidarity Peace Trust
By Erin McCandless - Erin McCandless consults with the United Nations on a range of peacebuilding, statebuilding and development issues, and teaches part-time at the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School, in New York. She is also Co-Executive Editor of the Journal for Peacebuilding and Development.
We invite you to participate in discussion stimulated by this article by following this link and submitting comments on this or other essays included in the section on our website known as the Zimbabwe Review. You may also respond via email: please send your comments to email@example.com. Please note that some comments may be selected for publication on our website alongside the article to further stimulate debate.
It is common and understandable for people living in divided or developing countries to tire of international researchers coming to examine their plight, observing their situation from particular disciplinary and/or experiential lenses, often rapidly assessing the situation after a short period in the country and after speaking with a limited number of people. They often don't share the fruits of their labour with the society that hosted them.
Having lived in Zimbabwe (January 2001-June 2004) where I conducted my doctoral field research, followed by numerous trips back to the region in the years that have followed, I am finally publishing a book. I am guilty of taking a long time in sharing findings; like most doctoral students, I had to make a living in the interim and the book was put on the back burner. But my belief in the importance of these issues that drove my research ensured that I kept coming back to Zimbabwe.(1) In this short paper I want to present some of the findings of my forthcoming book - Polarization and Transformation: Social Movements, Strategy Dilemmas and Change. I also want to share my motives and assumptions that drove the research, and my thoughts on why I think Zimbabwe's challenges matter greatly to a larger international audience, beyond the powerful forces focused on regime change.
After coming to Zimbabwe to start my fieldwork, my intended research focus changed considerably, often the case with qualitatively oriented researchers. Originally I was planning to examine the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI), which sought to create a process for civil society to evaluate the impacts of structural adjustment policies. Zimbabwe was one of about seven cases chosen by the global Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Network (SAPRIN). I was an activist minded critic of structural adjustment amidst my peace work at the time. Upon reaching Zimbabwe to start my field research however, I learned that the primary aim of SAPRI - a tri-partite dialogue between the World Bank, the government of Zimbabwe and civil society would not be possible - because government had pulled out, with the effect that the Bank could also not participate. The ZANU-PF government pulled out because one of the themes that Zimbabwean civil society had chosen to look at, among the many economic focused topics, was governance.
As I had wanted to examine social movements and state-society-international relations, my focus shifted to the vibrant constitutional movement - headed up by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA). But I was not content to only look at governance; the land issue had long resonated for me as something of vital import to large sections of the Zimbabwean polity. I had examined the land issue previously, in 1997, coming from South Africa where I had been doing research on reconciliation and justice, but was concerned that little attention was being paid to the latter, at least in no meaningful way with respect to economic justice. I was convinced that any solution to Zimbabwe's crisis had to engage with both economic and political issues, and that reconciliation always had to be built upon some sufficiently agreed measure and type of justice.
My research in Zimbabwe for the next three and a half years, where I lived in Harare and taught part-time at the Africa University in Mutare, focused on both the land and the constitutional movement, and the organisations behind them - the NCA and the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA). In case study research, I sought to deeply understand the perspectives of both of these organizations and movements, and the politics driving both sides of Zimbabwe's polarization of which these were apart. This was instinctual given my disciplinary training - long rooted in areas of peacebuilding and development and the nature of my professional work, where I have long sought to identify and strengthen integrative approaches to address structural sources of conflict. These values also underpinned the lens that I brought to my research in Zimbabwe.
Overview of Study and Paper
Polarization and Transformation investigates Zimbabwe's polarization and prospects for transformation through the lens of two pivotal organizations and the social movements they led. It deeply analyses the nature of these organizations, the strategy dilemmas they have confronted in trying to mobilize change, the choices they made and results that have ensued, and the implications for wider social goals of transformative change and peace. While the book spans the period of 1997-2010, there is a strong focus on the years 1999-2004, on understanding the NCA and ZNLWVA structure and identity, their strategy dilemmas and key strategic actions. The outcomes and impacts of their actions are considered up until the Global Political Agreement was signed in 2008, and then reflections are made on the current, Inclusive Government context for understanding the strategy dilemmas, polarization, and transformation.
Three interlocking aims guide the study:
1. Depolarizing concepts
In Zimbabwe the nature and role of civil society is deeply questioned. Accusations about political and self-serving agendas and motives of different actors, and their alliances and relationships with political parties, the government and donors, I argue, are at the heart of polarization. The study unpacks these issues through in-depth examination of the NCA and ZNLWVA, aiming to contribute to efforts to transcend liberal/Marxist interpretations of civil society that, I argue, contribute to Zimbabwe's polarization. (2)
Choosing to examine the ZNLWVA as civil society is no doubt controversial, given the nature of the ZANU-PF government's role in the process at the time, and the historically close relationship of the war veterans with the party. At the same time, reality, perhaps more often than not, does not fall within neat conceptual categories. This is reflected upon below and in detail in the book.
2. Transcending strategy dilemmas
Secondly, the book seeks to shed light on the nature and operational mechanisms of 'strategy dilemmas' and how processes of polarization are effected by and entrench these dilemmas, in an effort to highlight ways to transcend them.
As conceptualized in the study, there are two primary strategy dilemmas confronting Zimbabwean civil society organizations and social movements. The first is whether and how to work with government and/or donors given, in particular, with their political, economic, and social agendas (participation or resistance). Participation here refers to the strategy of partnering with, or working within, processes set up by government or donors, and resistance to the strategy of fomenting change by working outside the system, challenging and transforming existing structures of authority or processes that visibly reinforce the status quo, or creating entirely new, parallel structures and processes. The second strategy dilemma is whether to prioritize political or economic rights and concerns in efforts to foment nation-wide transformative change (rights or redistribution). Rights discourse is often associated with liberal thinking, concerned in particular with civil and political rights and individual liberties. Redistribution, as discussed above, is often associated with Marxist thinking, in particular, with the redistribution of wealth, and often land and other natural resources.
3. Contributing to transformative change and peace
Finally, the book aims to contribute to thinking and practice about how social movements and wider civil society can work to ensure their actions contribute to transformation rather than polarization. As such, the results of key strategic actions of the NCA and the ZNLWVA are assessed and analyzed in depth: the NCA's "No" vote campaign and ongoing use of "mass action," and the ZNLWVA-led land occupations. The "social process outcomes" of each are examined, and then a "Transformative Change and Peace Impact Assessment," developed for this study and drawing heavily on Zimbabwean conceptions, is undertaken. Transformative change and peace are conceptualized as both valuing constructive changes of (rather than in) the system and structure, and of the movement towards constructive inter-group relationships. Both are process- and outcome- oriented. Both are rooted in practices of people-centered democracy and development.
The rest of this short paper aims to give a "taster" of the lessons for civil society that emerged from the analysis of the above three aims. I assume the reader knows something of the history and dynamics of the Zimbabwe situation, and if not, there is plenty of quality literature on this.(3)
Lessons Learned from the Zimbabwean Case
While some of the lessons that follow may appear obvious, they are often ignored, overlooked in planning, and/or not accounted for when weighing the costs and benefits of particular social actions. It is hoped that this analysis will provide insights for those working to transform the deep divisions and to prevent new forms of polarization emerging in the Zimbabwean context and beyond.
A strong social base can come in many forms and is shaped by context: While there is little doubt that a strong social base is needed to build a legitimate, nationally based movement, assumptions are often made about the nature of the social base - constituencies and interests in particular - that fuel polarization. As the study illustrates throughout, generalizations are not helpful for the following reasons. A social base is likely to change in composition as different interests come to the fore. It is likely to change over time, particularly as the organization grows and especially if it operates democratically. Critically, it is heavily shaped by contextual factors, and in social movement discourse the "political opportunity structure." Both the NCA and ZNLWVA set precedents and effectively raised the bar for civic organizations in achieving organizational forms with strong decentralized structures along the lines of Zimbabwe's political administrative systems down to the grassroots level. They both developed and led national social movements at particular points in time that had robust and diverse social bases. It is clear that Zimbabweans value both issues the NCA and ZNLWVA have struggled for, a testament to the desire for democratically achieved social change, in both the material and political realms.
Interests and motivations of an organization's members are not collective and the social identities comprising them are not monolithic: Individuals within a movement are likely to be bound by a collective goal as they hold great diversity in their ranks in motives for wanting to achieve this goal. Thus while concern about financial motives driving many individuals attracted to increasingly "professionalized" civil society organizations is legitimate, this critique should not apply to a movement or organization involving thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of people who are engaged at different levels, the vast majority of whom are not paid. Also, volunteerism is likely to be deeply challenged where there are exceedingly high levels of poverty or economic insecurity. In Zimbabwe as in other contexts, polarization often occurs when people assign particular motives and interests of others to specific social identity categories, be they real, imagined, or constructed. In addition to race, ethnicity, class, and gender, the use of terms like "politicians," "intellectuals," and "activists" are common in Zimbabwe, with associated stereotypes concerning ideological worldviews and political agendas. Examining the NCA and ZNLWVA, generalizations underpinning the identity categories, more often than not, were not sustainable.
Social movements are political: Accusations that an organization is "political" suggest that decisions are made on the basis of interests of status or authority rather than matters of principle; motives and grievances are questioned and conclusions drawn that undermine the organization's claim to legitimacy, fuel stereotyping and other processes underpinning polarization. In global scholarship and activism it is widely accepted that social movements and civil society more broadly are "political," and that their action is part of "normal" politics (Meyer and Tarrow 1998), that is, part of the environment that shapes and gives rise to parties, courts, legislatures and elections. At the same time, Africa's particular history of unifying struggles for decolonization meant that many civic actors joined post-colonial governments or maintained strong relations with governments in the post-colonial era. As well, the redirecting of donor aid since the 1980s from African governments to their civil societies, often towards professionalized NGOs dedicated to rights-oriented issues (Carothers and Ottaway 2000), has not been welcomed by African leaders, particularly as it has occurred alongside economic liberalization reducing the state's role in development. These trends have arguably served to undermine the development of healthy state-society relations, and must be factored into understandings of state-(civil)society dynamics in Africa that drive strategy and policy development.
* * *
These lessons illustrate the complexities underlying the nature of civil society in particular contexts, suggesting the need for more nuanced approaches to conceptualizing civil society. In the context of Africa's post-colonial transitions where civil societies did not develop organically and where they now confront myriad processes of globalization, civil societies will reveal hybrid interests and are naturally marked by internal diversity and contradiction, as Zimbabwe scholars have suggested (Sachikonye 1995; Moyo, Helliker, and Murisa 2008, 2). In divided societies, where the stakes are higher and systems and structures for fomenting change are less reliable or available, and where transitional arrangements are in place to accommodate intractable situations, it should also be assumed that the boundaries of social actor categories are likely to be even more blurred. Zimbabwe illustrates the power of Gramscian insights - that civil society can become a battleground for powerful national and international actors to intervene with hegemonic projects, and/or it can be a site for problem-solving in defence of society against the excesses of both the state and the market. A challenge in achieving the latter requires that strategy dilemmas become entry points for transformative change rather than vehicles for destructive processes of polarization.
Transcending Strategy Dilemmas
Participation and resistance are not mutually exclusive, and both are strategic in particular situations: Social movements and civic organizations draw on different strategies in their relationships with governments, political parties, donors, and international actors. It is not surprising that different approaches will result in different outcomes and that there will be risks associated with different strategies. While many Zimbabwean civic organizations tend to draw upon one or the other strategy, the cases examined suggest that both participation and resistance have been relevant and effective for the ZNLWVA and the NCA at different times and in relation to different actors, although both strategies have also had unintended impacts. More systematic consideration needs to be given to the prerequisites for the use of each and the fault lines - the divisive issues that may disrupt the process and lead to destructive polarization and violent confrontation.
History continues: rights and redistribution both matter: Despite Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis in 1992, pronouncing the victory of liberalism globally, economic rights - associated in this study primarily with redistribution of land - remain a powerful element for transformative change, particularly where historical injustices remain unaddressed and undermine broad-based, human sustainable development. Redistribution should not be simply ruled out as a worthless vestige of socialism but upheld as a key ingredient for peace. This fact is increasingly recognized beyond Zimbabwe's borders. One only needs to take heed of the conflict and efforts to bring peace in Sudan, or the popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East. On the other hand, Zimbabweans also fought for democracy in the Liberation War. Thirty years on, Zimbabwe's democratic credentials are deeply in question. The same popular uprisings also illustrate popular fatigue with multi-decade rulers, who obstruct democracy and whose general pursuits in the name of development for all their citizens are questionable. Both the NCA and the ZNLWVA can be accused of not sufficiently addressing the other "side" of this duality. Rights and redistribution has arguably not been as much of a dilemma as it needed to be for most civic actors in Zimbabwe over the last decade, who have tended to be drawn to one or the other without fully recognizing the value of both.
Contributions to Transformative Change and Peace
Violence always has a context but remains problematic for peacebuilding: Violence has been a key tool for social change around the world, and there is need to understand its role and impact in particular contexts. The land tenure context upon which the land occupations were predicated was one of extreme structural violence. In the absence of serious movement on land redistribution through willing-seller, willing-buyer approaches and numerous efforts to negotiate a way forward with both national actors and the donor community, it was only a matter of time before the situation would erupt into crisis. At the same time, violence has taken a great toll on Zimbabwe, one that is impossible to measure. While many agree that healing and reconciliation cannot be realized without justice, the impact of physical violence on human relationships can take decades to heal, if ever. This is why peace theory and practice tends to value the processes, and not only the outcomes, of making and building peace.
Understanding counter-movements as a force for transformation: Social movements and civil society never act in isolation. One group's actions must be understood within the wider context of social action. The interaction of various movement and actor strategies, actions and outcomes must also be factored into any analysis of change. Polanyi's notion of "counter-movements" (1944)(4) is used in the study to examine how the NCA and the ZNLWVA's interactions. I argue that together, they have been strong forces catalyzing and driving a dialectical process of change that, albeit the evident social costs, arguably has contributed to laying critical foundations for transformation. The dialectical exchange that these two movement organizations have together fuelled in both strategy dilemmas needs to happen not just in Zimbabwe but also globally - though preferably in less polarizing and violent ways.
While the Inclusive Government has created a new operational context for civil society that raises fresh questions and challenges, the same strategy dilemmas are alive and kicking. There are still decisions about when and how to participate and/or resist - though now with the Inclusive Government and its three parties, and with donors and other international actors who take varied positions and push different interests that often block organic processes or force them to adapt. Decisions about rights and/or redistribution - issues that have divided Zimbabweans historically - also remain alive, and taking new forms in the changing context.
While land conflicts continue as legal challenges and policy dilemmas proliferate, the discovery and exploitation of a rich diamond field has unearthed this dilemma for Zimbabweans again. This time, however, there is no former colonial power involved. While the equitable allocation of natural resources presents extreme challenges for effective governance, Zimbabweans have a precious opportunity to apply the lessons of the land reform process and to work together for rights and redistribution to ensure that the diamonds serve as a resource for economic recovery rather than a curse leading the country into deeper turmoil.
In Polarization and Transformation I argue that over the decade (2000-2010), despite exhaustive efforts on the part of civil society to bring change, the two strategy dilemmas have not always been well managed; they have often served as obstacles rather than entry points for transformative change. The empirical research and assessment in the study illustrates how civic actors have at times been drawn into polarization, and how their activities, have even served to fuel polarization. This is unsurprising if one takes the view, as I do, that Zimbabwe has struggled largely because the issues matter to enough of the Zimbabwean polity to form the social base of this polarization. This does not mean to suggest that there is no political manipulation of societal views, that popular uprisings against Mugabe's rule would not occur if there was greater operating space for social action and less fear on the part of society to rise up, or that the Movement for Democratic Change would not be in power had there been free and fair elections - to the contrary. These are all likely true.
I am simply arguing that the issues underlying Zimbabwe's polarization and driving the strategy dilemmas I have described represent poignant and legitimate grievances that need to be properly valued and fairly addressed for genuine peace to emerge in Zimbabwe. International actors have a role to play here - to back their rhetoric with reality, employing principles they have associated themselves with - i.e. taking context as a starting point and doing no harm. Too often a clear understanding of Zimbabwe's historical and present social context is totally absent from proposed action. Blame is too easily placed entirely on the shoulders of the three-decade ruler, without due recognition of the role of political-economy factors often beyond Mugabe's control, notably the peace agreement preventing desperately needed non-voluntary land distribution at Independence, and the destructive effects that structural adjustment had on the economy in the 1990s. Over time, international donors have overwhelmingly focused their support towards the rights agenda without due recognition of the redistribution and basic human development needs in the country. Both sets of issues are vitally important - both are reasons Zimbabweans went to war in the first place. Recognizing one and devaluing the other however, has arguably played a role in deepening Zimbabwe's polarization, with implications for deepening the chasm of understanding and trust, broadly speaking, between the North and South.
There is certainly no easy route to transformative change and peace in Zimbabwe. As I try to illustrate in my book, ignoring issues of vital concern to large portions of Zimbabwean polity does not produce constructive results - something both the NCA and ZNLWVA, amongst many others, have been guilty of thereby undermining their potential transformative power. These are not simply issues of import to Zimbabwe, and thus it is my hope that Zimbabweans will work to embrace the issues holistically and build a sustainable peace. Zimbabwe has profound lessons to share if the world listens, and hopefully acts, without violence, to actually learn from them.
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869
Following comments in the Vigil diary on 16th April, the London Evening Standard took up the matter of the invitation to the Zimbabwean Ambassador to attend the Royal Wedding next week. After some research the newspaper concluded that the UK would be justified in withdrawing the invitation so the Vigil sent the following letter to the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague.
‘Exiled Zimbabweans in the UK represented by the Zimbabwe Vigil wish to express their disappointment that the Zimbabwe Ambassador Gabriel Machinga, has been invited to attend the Royal Wedding.
President Mugabe and his corrupt coterie have rightly been placed under EU sanctions for their human rights abuses and Mr Machinga has always made it clear that he represents Mugabe and not the people of Zimbabwe or even their coalition government.
We draw your attention to the article on the matter in the London Evening Standard of Tuesday 19th April (http://londonersdiary.standard.co.uk/2011/04/critics-protest-at-zimbabwes-wedding-invite.html) and urge the UK government to withdraw the invitation.’
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk