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Zimbabwe's Unity Government Partners Agree Elections Not Possible This Year

Edwin Mushoriwa, a negotiator for the Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation,
added that it will suicidal for Mr. Mugabe to call snap elections, as he did
in 2008 and as some still fear he may do at some point this year

Blessing Zulu, Thabang Mathebula & Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington & Bulawayo
22 April 2011

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, a negotiator for the Movement for Democratic
Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said that he and all
of his fellow unity government party negotiators agree that elections are
not possible this year

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party are preparing to
roll back on their demand that new elections be organized this year amid
growing pressure from within and outside the country, sources close to
intra-government talks said Friday.

The Southern African Development Community and its mediator in Harare, South
African President Jacob Zuma, have signaled that they won’t bless a snap
election unless all signatories to the 2008 Global Political Agreement agree
on the proposed date.

Negotiators for the three unity government parties - including ZANU-PF -
delivered the final blow to hopes among ZANU-PF hardliners pressing for
elections this year. The negotiators concluded that elections can only be
held next year at the earliest.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said it lacks the means to run 2001
elections, noting that its funding is insufficient and its staff needs
additional training. The Electoral Commission was reconstituted in 2010,
replacing its discredited predecessor whose handling of 2008 election
results drew international condemnation.

Asked about the possible election date, Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser to Mr.
Zuma, said this will largely be determined by the road map negotiators have
sent to their principals.

ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo referred all questions to the party’s
negotiators but hinted that the party is backpedaling from its earlier call
for 2011 elections.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, a negotiator for the Movement for Democratic
Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said that he and all
of his fellow unity government party negotiators agree that elections are
not possible this year.

Edwin Mushoriwa, a negotiator for the Welshman Ncube-led MDC formation,
added that it will suicidal for Mr. Mugabe to call snap elections, as some
fear he still may.

Elsewhere, street battles and rock-throwing brought the Bulawayo provincial
elections for the Tsvangirai MDC formation to a premature end on Friday.

Dozens of youths backing the rival candidacies of Senator Matson Hlalo and
State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo, formerly a senior aide to Prime
Minister Tsvangirai, escalated their differences into a street fight in the
Matabeleland capital pelting each other with stones, smashing cars and
fighting each other in the city center, correspondent Thabang Mathebula
reported from Bulawayo.

Commenting, political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube said it is time for Mr.
Tsvangirai to show leadership and stop the violence and bitter wrangling
within his party which has seen a number of such incidents on its way to a
May congress to ready for elections.

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India holds pair over US$2m Marange gems

23/04/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

INDIA’S Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has announced the arrest of two
people for allegedly smuggling a consignment of diamonds from Zimbabwe
valued at over US$2 million.

"Zohra Desai, 53, and Prema Desai, 49, were caught in Surat with a 48,663
carat (9.72 kg) consignment of roughs diamonds valued at Rs 10.17 crore
(about US$2 million), sourced from Zimbabwe. They were trying to sell them
in Surat," a DRI official told Indian media on Saturday.

"The duo recently arrived in Mumbai from Nairobi, Kenya and had come to
Surat by road from Navsari. They failed to produce the mandatory Kimberley
Process certificate for the roughs," he said.

This is the second major haul of diamonds smuggled from Zimbabwe in Surat by
DRI over the last three years.

Two foreigners - Robai Hussain of Guyana and Yusuf Ossely of Lebanon were
arrested by DRI in September 2008.

Diamonds worth about US$1 million were recovered from the duo. They were
sentenced to four years in prison.

Surat, the state capital of Gujarat and one of the world’s leading diamond
trading centers concluded a US$1.2 billion rough diamond supply deal with a
Zimbabwean consortium.

However, Marange diamonds are at the centre of controversy with Western
countries and human rights organisations keen to see a Kimberly Process
export ban maintained over allegations of rights abuses and claims the
country has failed to meet the minimum conditions for trading in precious

The Zimbabwe government dismisses the rights abuse allegations and insists
that all compliance issues have been addressed.

New KP chairman Mathieu Lapfa Lambang Yamba of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo last month gave Zimbabwe permission to export diamonds from
Marange but the move is being resisted by the United States, Britain and
Western human rights organisations. The KP takes decisions by consensus.

Meanwhile, leading diamond trade groups such as the World Diamond Council,
Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of
America have also instructed their members to stay away from Marange

The US and EU also warned diamond companies against buying Marange gems with
the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers all US
sanctions procedures, saying it would scrutinise any transactions.

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Police Hunt For Khuphe's Driver After Stabbing Incident

23/04/2011 17:23:00

BULAWAYO ,April 23,2011- A youth member of the faction ridden MDC-T,
Challenge Dube is fighting for his life at Galen House Emergency Medical
Clinic after he was stabbed once on the back and twice on the shoulder
during the party,s chaotic provincial elections on Friday.

Police were forced to call off the provincial elections after clashes broke
out between two rival factions, one led by State Enterprises Minister Gorden
Moyo and the other by businessman and Mzilikazi Senator Matson Hlalo. Dube
is alleged to have been stabbed by MDC –T Vice president Thokozani Khupe‘s
personal driver Witness Dube who was in court last week on public violence
charges.When the Radio Vop visited Galen House Emergency clinic one Saturday
morning, Dube was on intravenous drip.

Former MDC-T provincial chairperson Bhekithemba Nyathi confirmed that Dube
was stabbed by Witness and they have already made a report to the police.

“ We have already made a report to Bulawayo Central Police Station and
police are hunting for Witness and Thamsanqa Ncube over the stabbing of
Challenge Dube,” said Nyathi. Speaking to Radio Vop on Friday MDC-T
elections Officer Fidelis Mhashu said he was now confused about the clashes
between Hlalo and Moyo factions.

“As you can see there is nothing I can do now, there is confusion all over,
I am also confused and tired about this, ” said Mhashu.The elections were
being held for the third time after they were aborted in the past two weeks
due to clashes between the feuding factions.MDC-T deputy spokesperson
Thabitha Khumalo who was present at the MDC-T offices on Friday during the
chaotic elections also blamed Moyo for the violence saying “ he wasn’t
supposed to be presiding over the elections as he was an interested
 party. ”

Moyo denied that his supporters had disrupted the provincial
elections.Meanwhile  11 of  the 13 MDC-T  youths who belong to the Hlalo
faction who were arrested on Friday were released on Saturday afternoon
without charges being laid against them.The remaining  two are expected to
appear in court on Tuesday.

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Ministers defy Mugabe, Tsvangirai

Thursday, 21 April 2011 12:20

Staff Reporter
MINISTERS have continued to defy President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai over their expenditures resulting in government incurring
a deficit in the first two months of the year, with local travel expenses
overshooting budget by 100 percent in February. Figures published by the
Accountant-General’s department in the Government Gazette early this month
on the consolidated financial performance from the beginning of the year to
February 28 indicate a bad start for the inclusive government as it failed
to live within its means.
In February, employment costs for diplomatic missions were the major
culprits in overspending, overshooting their allocation by 100 percent, from
the budgeted US$2,5 million for the period under review to over US$5
The budget for civil service wages was pegged at US$70,8 million for the
first two months of the year, but US$78,1 million ended up being used on
that budgetary vote.
All in all, employment costs stood at US$89,5 million against the budgeted
US$78,3 million.
There was also a budget deficit on goods and services, with domestic travel
going beyond budget by 100 percent from US$500 000 to over US$1 million.
Although the percentage of overspending was low on foreign travel expenses,
it nevertheless shot above the budgetary limit of US$3,5 million and ended
up at slightly above US$4 million.
The overall budget for goods and services was US$19,2 million, but what was
actually used was US$23,1 million, a figure that could have been higher had
the US$4,8 million that was budgeted for programmes and institutions been
In January, the total budget for employment costs was US$69,33 million, but
this expenditure head gobbled US$72,4 million, while current transfers stood
at US$48,2 million instead of the prescribed US$47,5 million. Only goods and
services missed the target by about US$4 million.
Last year, Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, told The Financial Gazette that
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai would rein in ministers who
overspent. He also threatened to name and shame culprits.
Section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act passed by Parliament last
year requires Treasury to publish consolidated financial reports in the
Government Gazette within 30 days after the end of each month.
“The Consolidated Financial Statements (CFS) are prepared on the going
concern basis. The CFS have been based upon accounting policies, which have
been consistently applied and which are supported by the reasonable and
prudent judgments of estimates,” read a note accompanying the published
“The CFS have been approved by the secretary and paymaster-general and
Accou-ntant-General on 18 March 2011.”

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Air Zimbabwe buys 2 Airbus jets: paper

23/04/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

AIR Zimbabwe will take delivery of two new Airbus 340-500 long-range
jetliners in June this year as the struggling airline moves to modernise its
ageing fleet.

The privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent reported that the government used
proceeds from diamond sales to acquire the planes which cost around US$260
million a pop.

Airbus says its 340 family, which first went into service in 1993, can sit
up to 359 passengers.

The deal is said to have been completed with the help of a Chinese energy
company to bypass United States and European Union sanctions against

Plans to acquire the planes were confirmed by airline officials last year
but appeared to have been put-off after the government was said to have
failed to raise sufficient funds.

However, Secretary for Transport, Patson Mbiriri, told senior management at
Air Zimbabwe during a recent crisis meeting that the deal was back on adding
the planes, currently in Toulose, France, would be delivered in June.

“Mbiriri indicated that the two Airbuses are in France. China’s Sonangol
will sponsor the deal because of trading sanctions which are in place,” an
aviation expert told the Independent.

The planes will boost Air Zimbabwe’s current long haul fleet of two Boeing

The airline’s pilots, who have just returned to work after a month-long
strike, recently warned that the company needed to replace its ageing
aircraft, particularly the 737-200 ADV planes which must be retired by June
this year.

Air Zimbabwe also recently concluded a long term lease arrangement with Air
Zambezi for a Boeing 737-500 which would service its regional routes.

Officials said the deal was part of a wider programme to modernise its

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President Tsvangirai re-elected unopposed

Saturday, 23 April 2011

President Morgan Tsvangirai has been re-elected as the MDC president by all the provinces ahead of the party’s Third National Congress to be held in Bulawayo next week.

The MDC national spokesperson, Hon. Nelson Chamisa today announced the names of all the people who were nominated by the provinces at Harvest House in Harare.

Hon. Chamisa said the party would be announcing the final list of the nominees on Tuesday after their confirmation on whether they want to contest or not.

The People’s Party of Excellence, MDC, will hold its Third National Congress at Barbourfields next week under the theme: “United, Winning – The People’s Covenant to Real Change” and will be officially opened by Prime Minister of Kenya, the Rt Hon. Raila Odinga on Friday.

At least 6 000 delegates are expected to attend.

United, winning, the people’s covenant to real change!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Tsvangirai Travels To Byo To Deal With Intra Party Fighting

23/04/2011 17:22:00

HARARE, April 23, 2011- MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is
travelling to Bulawayo this weekend to deal with intra party violence that
has prevented the election of the provincial executive twice in two weeks.

“The leadership is descending on people who are involved in this matter. I
can confirm to you that President Tsvangirai and the party leadership is
travelling to Bulawayo to stamp our authority and put a full stop to the
long play of nonsense in Bulawayo, ” Nelson Chamisa, MDC-T national
spokesperson told a media briefing in Harare on Saturday.

He said what is happening in Bulawayo is against the party principles and
those who were involved in the violence during the provincial elections
would be punished no matter how senior they were in the party.MDC-T Bulawayo
elections were once again marred by violence on Friday with members of the
Gorden Moyo faction clashing with those belonging to the Matson Hlalo
faction leading to the postponement of the election process.

The elections followed similar incidents earlier this month where rival
MDC-T factions clashed leading to the postponement of the first
elections.Earlier this month the provincial elections of the MDC-T in
Matabeleland were marred by intra-party violence with beer bottles, stones,
baseball bats, iron bars and fists used by that party's supporters to pound
each other.

Losing candidate, Hlalo refused to accept defeat in the intra-party poll,
citing violence and rigging. The MDC-T national executive refused to
recognise Hlalo's plea by nullifying the results. Moyo remains the elected
representative.The position of the Party President was not challenged
meaning that Tsvangirai is going to be voted the party’s President for the
third term.

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MLF Zim Leaders Condemn Flag Burning By SA Members

23/04/2011 17:18:00

BULAWAYO, April 23, 2011 -A senior leader of the extremist Mthwakazi
Liberation Front (MLF) has strongly condemned the organisation,s youths who
burnt to ashes a Zimbabwean flag on the streets of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Max Mkandla who is MLF,s organisation Secretary and war veteran was so angry
with the flag burners describing them as criminals.

“ You cant fight the system by burning a flag.Negotiating with authorities
is the best way forward.The behaviour of our members in Johannesburg is
unacceptable and some of us we condemn their actions, ” Mkandla told Radio
Vop from Bulawayo.

More than 500 members of the movement on Tuesday staged what they called “
Freedom March ” on the streets of Johannesburg which attracted the attention
of passersby.Business was brought to a standstill when the protesters burnt
the Zimbabwean flag describing it as a symbol of oppression for the people
of Matabeleland.

“ What those boys did in Johannesburg will create problems for the MLF
internal leadership.Paul Siwela is still in prison and authorities could
harden their stance after the burning of the country,s flag by those
misguided youths, ” Mkandla fumed when he spoke to Radio Vop on Saturday.

Three senior MLF leaders, John Gazi, Charles Thomas and Paul Siwela were
arrested last month for distributing what the police termed “ subversive
material ” calling on Zimbabweans to rise against President Robert Mugabe,s
government.Two of them Gazi and Thomas were later granted bail but Siwela is
still languishing in prison.His fate will be decided by the supreme court.

Mkandla said the South Africa leadership of MLF needed to be reshuffled in
the wake of Tuesday,s controversial protest march and flag burning.Flag
desecration is a serious offence in many countries.But its difficult for the
police to bring those who committed the offence to justice since the burning
took place in a foreign land.

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Raffingora Celebrates As Terror Gang Disintegrates

23/04/2011 15:07:00    By

Raffingora, - A sombre mood gripped Zanu (PF) supporters in Mashonaland West
following the death of acting chairperson Robert Sikanyika on the eve of
Independence holiday on April 18 in a car accident.

He was declared liberation hero by the party and was buried at Nyarugwe farm
in Raffingora on Thursday.

Though his death could have been a shock to his Zanu (PF) party, it was a
sigh of relief from the members of his community whom he had terrorised and
brutalised since the early 2000 soon after the launch of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Sikanyika, rose through the party ranks since 1987 in Raffingora but was
virtually unknown till 2000. He teamed up with five others and together they
were popularly known as the Top Six. The terror gang was believed to be
bankrolled by an influential businessman who is also a close relative of

Other members of the notorious gang included Josphat Saidi, Dominic and
Josphat Chiweshe, Joseph James and the late Tichaona Sande. The gang is
believed to have been involved in many atrocities inlcuding extortion of
money from suspected MDC supporters, businessmen, farmers and raping of
women. The group was known to giving orders even to senior police officers.

The group operated in mainly in Chegutu, Kadoma, Karoi, Kariba and Hurungwe.

Sikanyika was elected into the party central committee in 2004, but failed
to play the needed‘’balancing act’’ in feuding party camps where Defence
minister Emerson Munangagwa is believed to be leading a faction with Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo. Party sources said Sikanyika was
aligned to Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka widely believed to also be in
Munangagwa faction.

’He was enjoying both worlds of these factions and failed the balancing act
during his tenure as acting chairperson when he took over from John Mafa two
years ago‘’ said one party insider.

Last June, Sikanyika led Zanu (PF) youths to disrupt the Constitution
outreach in Mhangura and Chinhoyi where former governor Nelson Samkange,
Members of Parliament and others were sent packing.

He also forced school children to sign the anti sanction petition launched
by President Robert Mugabe recently.

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Indian docu-maker captures Mugabe's horrors


Bangalore: An Indian has made a telling and insightful 54-minute documentary
titled `Mugabe's Zimbabwe' that has caught the attention of critics and also
filmed at Cannes (France) this April. It has been selected as one of the Hot
Picks of 2011 in the factual entertainment section.

The documentary film by Shrenik Rao is an inquiry into Zimbabwean dictator
Robert Mugabe's rule.

Commenting on the film, Barry Baerak, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist,
said the film is "a primer to the situation, something of value especially
to those not yet familiar with Zimbabwe and its recent history".

Speaking on the documentary, Rao said: "Once upon a time Robert Mugabe
fought for Zimbabwe's Independence from an oppressive white minority rule
and garnered a black majority rule. Mugabe became the President of Zimbabwe,
a beacon of hope for democracy and peace in the country.

But, 30 years after independence, Mugabe, who was once the darling of the
world, is now considered a despot. A man who was once called a 'Liberator'
is now called a 'Dictator'. A man who is the 'President' of a country is
called a 'Tyrant'. And Zimbabwe today is a mismanaged nation that is
bankrupt, isolated and marked by abject poverty and spiralling

Mugabe's Zimbabwe is an inquiry into how Zimbabwe, from its successful
independence 30 years ago has collapsed dramatically. The film presents a
terrifying story, plotting Robert Mugabe's three decades of bloodshed,
terror and corruption and narrates how he turned hope into desolation.

Speaking of his experience while making the film, Rao said: "I must say that
it was a life changing experience. I have been in some very interesting
situations when dealing with people. I spoke to a cross section of people -
from heads of states to people on the streets. There was a range of diverse
perspectives - usually disjunctive.

"What was interesting for me was the way power manifests itself. When I was
a kid, I remember reading about Robert Mugabe. He was considered to be a
liberator. But years after that, he was accused of grave abuse of human
rights. I wondered if this was how power manifests itself. When I spoke to
people in Zimbabwe, I felt it was important to visually document their
stories and instinctively, I knew that I was making this film".

The film is made in English and will be translated into several other
languages - French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Arabic, Mandarin, etc and will
be distributed world wide across multiple media platforms.

It has been taken up for worldwide distribution by TVF International.

Source: India Syndicate

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Zimbabwe Still Fails On Human Rights

While state-sponsored abuses of human rights were at a much lower level than
during the electoral crisis of 2008, significant problems remained.


For 34 years, the United States has reviewed the state of human rights
around the world, to provide the U.S. Congress with a record to help it make
decisions on our relations with other nations. Human rights begin with a
fundamental commitment to the dignity that is the birthright of all people,
and the report is one measure of assessing how a country measures up to that
ideal, in the interests of its citizens and the greater international

The recently released Human Rights report for Zimbabwe in 2010 shows that
while state-sponsored abuses of human rights were at a much lower level than
during the electoral crisis of 2008, significant problems remained. Security
forces and elements of the government dominated by the ZANU-PF party
continued to commit serious human rights abuses. While there were no
documented politically motivated killings by government agents last year –
unlike 2009 – security forces continued to torture, beat and abuse
non-ZANU-PF political activists and party members, student leaders and civil
society activists with impunity.

Regarding labor rights, some positive developments were seen in 2010, but
violations remained. The government cooperated in allowing an International
Labor Organization mission to visit the disputed Marange diamond fields to
investigate allegations of forced labor there. Government restrictions of
workers' rights of association continue to curtail the formation of
independent trade unions. Child labor continued to occur pervasively across
a wide range of economic sectors, particularly in agriculture and artisanal
mining, where children routinely face health and safety hazards.

While no country is perfect, a government that endeavors to protect the
rights of its citizens is one that prospers.  A government that ignores the
voice of its citizens and maintains control through intimidation, coercion,
and the manipulation of democratic institutions will never be able to
compete with a modern democratic state that respects and truly empowers its

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Wasted all these years

Dear Family and Friends,

A day before the start of the long Easter weekend, I gave a friend a lift to
his rural village. It was very slow going through the nearby town as huge
queues of people were again trying to withdraw their April salaries from
building societies and savings banks. It had been government pay day the day
before but that had coincided with an extensive power cut. Every time the
electricity goes off, the computers go blank and salary withdrawals come to
a standstill – a bitter pill for people barely earning enough to survive on,
made worse because it was the start of the Easter weekend. One startling
image, hard to miss in the crowds and queues, was the large number of khaki
police hats that could be seen right at the front of the masses – not to
keep order but to withdraw their own pay.

At every intersection on the way out of town the roads were thronged with
people trying to get lifts. The commuter minibuses were overflowing with
passengers, packed in, sitting sideways, like sardines in tomato sauce, the
roof racks loaded high with bags, furniture, bicycles and suitcases.

Before long, under a startling blue, cloudless sky, we were heading into the
country. All along the road, for mile after mile, the grass stands higher
than a man and it took a little while to understand why. There is nothing
here to eat the grass anymore. The herds of beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep
and goats that used to graze these commercial farms and crop the grass to
ground level have long since gone to the abattoirs and not been replaced.

Every now and again, in the dips and rises of the road you catch a glimpse
of a mud walled hut with a thatched roof. Nearby these primitive homes are
little patches of stunted brown maize plants surrounded by an ocean of
towering grassland. My friend and I talked about the yields from these
little maize fields on the seized commercial farms; he says they will be
lucky to have grown enough to support their families through the seven,
long, dry months ahead. Not a chance there is surplus to help feed the
country’s population. He tells me that in his village less than 10 of the
120 families resident there have been able to grow enough maize for their
own needs this year. Many planted too late and their crops couldn’t stand up
to the heavy rains. Most simply didn’t have the money to get enough
fertilizer to boost their crops.

We pass mile after mile of dense grassland where all the fences have been
stolen. We don’t see animals or people; we don’t see tractors or combine
harvesters; we don’t see gangs of farm workers harvesting summer crops onto
trailers or even walking in the lands. All the seized farms here are
overgrown, barely utilized and all but deserted. A single monkey jumped out
of a tree and ran across the road in front of my car and for a moment I felt
like we were in a time warp, in a country that has gone back in time by a
hundred years or more.

Arriving at my friend’s village the contrast was dramatic. The grass is
shorter, chickens scratch around immaculately swept yards, goats and cows
are out in the fields. There are warm handshakes all round, smiles and jokes
and everyone willing to lend a hand with unloading and carrying. Everywhere
you look you see people busy: harvesting their maize; fetching water,
pushing wheelbarrows, tending vegetable gardens. On two sides the village is
bounded by seized commercial farms but the villagers tell me they are not
welcome on those farms. They cannot graze their cattle there, fetch water
when their wells run dry, cut grass for thatching their houses or even
gather firewood. “They share nothing with us” the villagers say as they look
with contempt at the long grass and inactivity on the seized farms on their
boundaries. “They have done nothing, those people, only wasted all these

I end this week with a message of condolence for the family and friends of
Rwisai Nyakauru, the 82 year old headman for Nyamaropa in Nyanga who died
after being kicked and beaten by war veterans and Zanu PF youth and then
spent 25 days in leg irons in police custody. May his soul rest in peace.

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 23rd April 2011. Copyright
© Cathy Buckle.

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Letter from the diaspora

How do they sleep at night?
April 22, 2011, 5:56 am

How do they sleep at night? It’s not the first time I’ve asked myself that
question over the years but in recent weeks as incidents of Zanu PF’s
mindless violence have increased all over the country, I wonder again how
these men - and women - live with the memories of what they have done to
fellow human beings, their own compatriots. There seem no limits to their
depravity, these brain-washed thugs whose only weapon is brute force.

Zimbabwe has always been, like most of Africa, a deeply religious country
and now it is churches as well as anyone suspected of supporting the
opposition feeling the wrath of Zanu’s thugs. In the past couple of weeks we
have seen attacks on church congregations who are beaten and terrorised in a
place of worship; an innocent cleric thrown into gaol, refused food and
denied access to legal representation; villagers kicked out of their own
homes because they would not sign the anti-sanctions petition; people
frog-marched to attend the funeral of a hated CIO boss and Christians
refused police permission to conduct their Palm Sunday processions, even
though the Act clearly exempts churches from requiring police permission to
hold services. The list of horrors is endless and far reaching; from Epworth
to Hwedza, from Lupane to Masvingo, the violence is country-wide. Reverend
Levee Kadenge, a Methodist Pastor, said this week that it’s a sign of how
utterly desperate the former ruling party is. Reverend Kadenge thinks it
proves that Zanu PF now know that they are unelectable and the attacks on
Christian churches and their followers represent a desperate last stand by
Mugabe’s storm troops. Reverend Kadenge may well be right but it’s not much
comfort if you are the victim of the wave of violence that is sweeping the
country. Soldiers are now a permanent fixture in Chitungwiza, for example,
where they are camped out at police stations striking fear into the hearts
of local residents. Robert Mugabe’s anti-violence speech on Independence Day
carried little weight in the light of the ongoing violence being carried out
by war vets, soldiers and police. Either they no longer listen to the Old
Man or they know very well that these are just crocodile tears and weasel
words designed to pacify the South Africans.

More than any other incident this last week, it was the death of   82
year-old Headman Rwisai Nyakauru  from Nyanga that once again provoked my
‘How do they sleep at night’ reaction. Inspired by the wisdom and humanity
of his wonderful smiling face, I wrote about the Headman a few weeks back
and to hear now that he has died as a result of the beating he received in
prison is deeply shocking. How can one human being do that to another, an
old man who had done nothing illegal except to belong to a different
political party? The sickening brutality and cowardice of beating an old man
in such a way as to bring about his death must shock anyone with even a
shred of compassion left in their hearts. But, it seems that in their blind
loyalty to Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF any action by his followers is
justified if it damages the opposition and furthers the end of a Zanu PF
victory at the next election – whenever that is. The thinking, I suppose, is
that by inspiring terror in the population, abject fear will make people
vote for Zanu PF and thus ensure victory for the ‘party that won our
liberation’. After all, it has worked (sort of) for 31 years! But it seems
to have escaped Mugabe’s notice that his old comrades in the eastern bloc
have long since discarded such thinking; even the Chinese have opted for a
seemingly more benign form of capitalist/communism. In Cuba, Mugabe’s old
friend Fidel Castro has stood aside in favour of his brother Raoul who
declared at the Meeting of the Cuban Communist Party a couple of weeks ago
that from now on top leadership posts – including his own – will in future
be limited to two five-year terms. All around him times are changing, but
Mugabe clings to his old ways. I wonder how he sleeps at night knowing as he
surely must that his own time is running out. And when he does finally
depart this life he will leave behind a nation deeply traumatised by decades
of violence and fear, all of which is directly attributable to one man and
his desperate desire to remain in power whatever the cost to his fellow
Zimbabweans. Not a legacy to inspire peaceful rest.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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