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Mugabe's plan for snap Zimbabwe elections shot down

By Jan Raath Apr 24, 2011, 12:20 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's plans to hang on to power
through early elections this year have been shot down after his negotiators
agreed to an election roadmap that would push the ballot well into next
year, officials confirmed Sunday.

Mugabe has vowed that he would force elections to be held by June, without
the consent of his partners in the country's shaky coalition government,
stirring widespread fears that the vote would bring another wave of violent
mayhem against his pro-democracy opponents.

However, the latest development shows that has been Mugabe pushed further
into a corner, Western diplomats say, after his Southern African neighbours,
led by South Africa's president Jacob Zuma, last month ordered Mugabe to end
the repeated cycles of violence and to carry out the democratic reforms he
agreed to at the inception of the coalition government in February 2009.

Negotiators from Mugabe's ZANU(PF) party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change and the smaller faction of the MDC have been
wrestling for more than two years to reach agreement on the wide range of
democratic and electoral changes their leaders undertook to carry out, with
only a handful of the issues settled. Mugabe was widely accused of stalling
on implementation.

'The negotiators have agreed on certain milestones which need to be
completed before we go to elections,' Edwin Mushoriwa, one of the smaller
MDCs negotiators told the German Press Agency Sunday. 'If we look at the
things agreed, it makes it practically impossible to hold elections this

The key issue was on the making of a new democratic constitution, with the
three parties still to begin drafting of a new national law from the
opinions of thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans heard in countrywide
consultations, to be followed by several more rounds of talks to approve the
draft, then a referendum, and approval by parliament.

'That cannot happen in the course of the year,' Mushoriwa said.

Then there are also media reforms and other issues that need to be resolved.

Analysts believe that Mugabe can only win elections through a strategy of
violent intimidation. In March 2008, the country held its first
violence-free ballot since 2000, when Mugabe faced his first real opposition
since he came to power in 1980 and he lost, only to force his way back to
power in a brutal run-off vote. Opinion polls since then have put Tsvangirai
well ahead of the president.

Since late last year, human rights monitors have reported that thousands of
soldiers and youth militia have been deployed in rural areas all over the
country in preparation for Mugabe's snap vote. Mugabe has banned the MDC
form holding meetings and had scores of MDC officials arrested, all familiar
pre-election patterns in Zimbabwe.

However, Zuma's officials have said that he and other Southern African
leaders would not recognize an election that was not held with the agreement
of the two MDC leaders.

Observers say that Mugabe's options are complicated by reports of worsening
health. The weekly Standard reported Sunday that last week the 87-year-old
authoritarian travelled for the fifth time in four months to Singapore,
where he is understood to be receiving medical treatment.

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We have a fresh list of land grabbers: Zimbabwe newspaper

by Ndou Paul
2011 April 24 11:16:26 | 85 Views

The MDC-T aligned Daily News say it is in possession of a fresh list of who
has grabbed what farms in the country which shows that land grabbers now own
five million hectares of Zimbabwe’s best agricultural land, or a third of
all the land seized from white commercial farmers and some black business
people over the past 11 years.

Daily News say that although not all the details on the list could not be
verified with the alleged land grabbers at the time of going to Press, the
list says the Mugabe’s own 13 farms, covering more than 15 000 hectares.
Some of the farms especially in Norton have been merged into one.

Mugabe's deputy Joice Mujuru, her husband Solomon Mujuru and a host of their
relatives allegedly own at least 22 farms.

The only other prominent personality outside of Zanu PF who got a farm is
Welshman Ncube from the smaller faction of the MDC.

Among the military top brass are the commander of the defence forces,
Constantine Chiwenga, and air marshall Perence Shiri have two farms each.

Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri is listed as having one farm.

It would appear that virtually all of Zanu PF’s politburo members, members
of Parliament and senators were allocated farms.  The former ruling party’s
patronage was also extended to many traditional leaders, as well as to some
Supreme Court and High Court judges.

Surprisingly though, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono does not appear on
the updated list, with sources even at the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)
confirming last night that he bought the farms that he owns.

The director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Happyton
Bonyongwe is also missing on the list and sources again said he bought his
farm believed to be in Manicaland Province.

According to reports from different organisations like the CFU, government’s
own investigation and non-governmental organisations, the Mugabe’s own
Gushungo Estates (Mazowe), Gushungo Dairies (Mazowe), Iron Mask (Mazowe) ,
Sigaru farm (Mazowe), Gwebi Wood (Mazowe), Gwinha farm (Banket), Leverdale
farm (Banket), Highfield farm (Norton), Cressydale farm (Norton), Tankatara
farm (Norton), John O’Groat farm (Norton), Clifford farm (Norton),
Smithfield Extension (Mazowe) and Bassville farm (Norton).

Mugabe’s close relatives own more than 20 farms. The relatives include
Mugabe’s sisters and nephews, Leo Mugabe and Patrick Zhuwao.

Leo Mugabe owns three farms, Nangadza farm in Mhangura and Journey’s end
farm in Makonde, Mashonaland East province and another farm believed to be
in Banket. Zhuwao owns Marivale farm in Mazowe.

Mugabe’s late sister Sabina’s farm is listed as Rem Ext of Mlembwe (of
Mimosa of Lembwe) in Makonde but the Daily News could not verify the other
two farms under her name..

The First Lady’s late brother Reward Marufu is listed as owning Leopards
Vlei farm in Glendale and Kachere farm in Mazowe.

Indigenisation and Youth Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere is
reported as owning three farms in Mazowe which are Usaka, Harmony,
Re-extension of Pimento and Conurcorpia.

Commander Defence Forces, Constantine Chiwenga’s family is listed as owning
three farms including Chakoma or Risumbeti farm in Goromonzi while his wife,
Jocelyn owns Sheppard Hall farm.

According to the lists Local government minister, Ignatius Chombo sources
confirmed that he owns Allan Grange and Oldham farms while two other farms
are owned by relatives.

State security minister is said to own, Sydney Sekeremayi owns Maganga
estate and Ulva farm, it has been said. Legal Affairs minister, Patrick
Chinamasa owns Lot 1 of Mirror 2 in Nyazura and Nyazura farm in Rusape.

The lists say the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu owns Umguza Block 39 farm
and Auchenbery of Rochester in Nyamandhlovu.

Kasukuwere became angry when the Daily News made inquiries saying the
questions were stupid.

“Go ahead and publish those farms you are talking about. That’s stupid.
Those rumours must come to an end. That’s stupid,” Kasukuwere said before
cutting off.

Chombo denied that he owns more than one farm and refused to give any
details about which farm he owns. He said: “Go back to your sources and
confirm with them. Why don’t you check with the Agriculture department? I
don’t know about that. Go ahead and publish what you have.”

Sekeramayi cut off his phone soon after the Daily News reporter identified

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said the
multiple farm ownership is one of the 24 agreed issues that have not been
resolved by the unity government.

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This law is an ass, says an angry MDC

Section 121 used on 30 Zanu-PF opponents this year

Opponents of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and human rights activists
are ganging up to fight the draconian Section 121 of the Criminal Evidence
and Procedures Act, which lawyers say is being used to oppress the people.

Section 121 empowers the Attorney-General to appeal against a court decision
to grant bail, and, if invoked, the decision of the magistrate or judge will
be suspended and the AG has seven days to appeal against the bail ruling
while the accused remains in custody.

If the AG or his representative does not appeal within seven days, the
accused person can be released. The accused person can also be released if
the courts throw out the appeal.

What has irked Mugabe's opponents and human rights defenders is that the
draconian law, which dates back to 1898, has been used against opponents of
Mugabe or those who would have been perceived to have crossed his path.

Since the beginning of the year, the law has been used on 30 people - all of
them Zanu-PF opponents, including Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, MDC MP
Douglas Mwonzora and Mthwakazi Liberation Front leaders, John Gazi, Charles
Thomas and Paul Siwela.

The Sunday Times understands that MDC ministers and backbenchers are
planning an attack on the law by proposing a motion in parliament to have it

An MDC MP confirmed the move on Friday. "We are tired of this law, because
it is being used against MDC officials and human rights defenders.

"It has to be repealed because it is being abused. It is a good law in a
democracy, where it would be used against rapists and murderers.

"But in our situation, it is being used against Mugabe's opponents and this
is unacceptable and we have to have it repealed," the MP said.

Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu agreed that the section was being
abused by some people in government and said he would, as an MP, support the
idea of having it repealed.

"It is being used as a tool of harassment. The problem in Zimbabwe is that
our legal system operates politically and we tend to misuse and abuse laws.

"The intention of the law was not to be used to incarcerate political

"It is a special provision that was to be used sparingly. It would be useful
to use it on murderers and rapists, but in our case it is being used
exclusively to harass political opponents.

"In a delicate situation like Zimbabwe where there is no democracy, the law
is easily abused. It is needed in a democratic country to deal with real
criminals - not political opponents. The law must be set aside," Gutu said.

The director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Right, Irene Petras, recently
told the media that the law was a violation of the constitution as it denied
Zimbabweans the right to protection of the law.

"Once Section 121 has been invoked, a judge's hands are tied. It will be
outside the court's jurisdiction where the prosecution is taking over the
role of the judiciary. There is no separation of powers there," Petras said.

Last year, local lawyer Alec Muchadehama challenged the constitutionality of
the section but the matter is still pending.

Muchadehama applied for the referral for the section to the Supreme Court in
the case of the state versus Toendepi Shonhe.

"We challenged the constitutionality of the section as it gives too much
power to the Attorney-General.

"It is not reasonably expected in a free democratic society which Zimbabwe
is supposed to be," he said.

Since 2008, Section 121 has been used on nearly 100 MDC activists, officials
and even ministers.

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ZABG is in big trouble

'PricewaterhouseCooper refuses to certify results because bank is in the

The Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group failed to publish year-end results last
month amid reports that PricewaterhouseCooper has refused to certify its
financials as it is bankrupt.

PwC managing partner Tinashe Rwodzi declined to comment on the issue, citing
client confidentiality.

Bank spokeswoman Theresa Munjoma confirmed ZABG was hobbled by the return of
the assets of Barbican, Royal and Trust banks, hence its failure to meet the
mandatory deadlines for results publication.

"The unbundling affects balance sheet items and publication of the bank's
financials will be done when the exercise is complete," she said, adding
that Stephen Gwasira's bank had also completed reorganising its branch
network countrywide.

Although several other banks have published results by the March 31
deadline, the Reserve Bank did not reply to queries on what action it would
take against the distressed bank.

Central bank governor Gideon Gono created ZABG seven years ago under the
guise of preserving the assets of its three antecedent banks, but it has
always been dogged by underfunding and a 2005 Supreme Court ruling that the
takeover of the assets of Royal, Barbican and Trust was illegal.

Following the court order and ZABG's progressive descent into disaster, Gono
was compelled to hand back the banks' assets in August last year.

Around the time, two Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance and RBZ
verification reports revealed that the bank had debts of nearly $15-million,
which precipitated PwC's refusal to certify the stricken bank's numbers, as
liabilities far outstrip assets.

While Gwasira and his team were installed "to turnaround" the fortunes of
the bank, the Deloitte report said the amalgamation was in financial ruin
owing to several inept decisions and inadequate oversight mechanisms.

The team, for example, inflated the three former independent banks'
head-count by 300 staffers - out of Royal and Trust's combined 232 employees
at closure - while also acquiring a record 132 cars in five years.

At a time when the wider financial sector was beginning to feel the pinch of
a dollarised economy, the ZABG hierarchy awarded themselves generous
salaries, with Gwasira netting $16000 a month.

The hefty wage bill and costs, which further bled the bank, saw ZABG fail to
pay for utilities, including electricity, rental and telephones for its
various offices. It also owed the National Social Security and Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority vast amounts in staff pensions, and other taxes.

This dire financial state not only showed how Barbican, Royal and Trust
banks' inherited assets were wrecked and shrunk, but also brought into
question whether the new team brought in any new and serious business, if
not fresh capital, at all.

At closure, Royal and Trust were jointly ranked number five in terms of
trading market share, but the Deloitte report showed they had slipped to a
lowly number 13 as at September 2009. The two also had an 11% market share.

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Diplomatic immunity claim in land-grab case

Govt won't take challenge from three farmers lying down
Apr 23, 2011 3:06 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

The Zimbabwean government says it hopes the South African High Court will
take into consideration its diplomatic immunity in a case involving the
government and three commercial farmers.

The farmers, all victims of President Robert Mugabe's land grab, have taken
on the Zimbabwe government with the help of South African lobby group

Zimbabwe argues that South African courts have to take into consideration
that they do not have jurisdiction to register a Southern African
Development Community (SADC) ruling, on the basis of sovereignty, and in
terms of the Foreign States Immunity Act (Fisa).

Fisa is a law that establishes the limitations of whether a sovereign nation
can be sued in a foreign court.

It also establishes procedures for the attachment of property against a
foreign state.

Zimbabwe's legal team, led by Patric Mtshaulana, said they would not take
the ruling lying down if it is not in their favour.

The farmers - Louis Fick, Richard Etheredge and Michael Campbell, who died
recently - took their fight to the Zimbabwean government with the help of
Afriforum, which in its press statement said it wanted to show that Mugabe
was not untouchable.

"The Mugabes of the world have to realise that justice will prevail, even
though this might happen in another country," said Afriforum in a statement
by its chief executive, Kallie Kriel.

The ruling in the case is expected in the next three weeks and if the
farmers get the go-ahead it would set a precedent for anyone of South
African origin with a valid case against the chaotic land reform in

"The rulings will open doors for all those who have been robbed by Mugabe's
government," Kriel added.

Zimbabwean farmer Harry Hales said if the farmers received compensation it
would be a landmark victory for all commercial farmers who were displaced
and persecuted.

"Justice should prevail thanks to the SADC tribunal. A lot of productive
farmers were affected by the land invasions and they continue to suffer at
the hands of Zanu-PF," he said.

If this legal action goes ahead it won't be the first time Zimbabwe lost a
court case in South Africa.

A few years ago German development bank KFW Bankengruppe seized seven
properties around South Africa after the Zimbabwean-government failed to
settle a multimillion- dollar loan.

In 2002, government-run iron giant Ziscosteel failed to pay back a bank loan
and the bank seized properties and put them up for auction.

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Chief Vows To Kick Zanu (PF) Out Of Chundu

24/04/2011 13:36:00

CHUNDU, April 24, 2011- The government has been forced to pay monthly
salaries to two chiefs in Chundu in Mashonaland West province after the one
who was acting refused to hand over power claiming he will stay put until
Zanu (PF) is out of power in the area.

Picture Bereu has been acting Chief Chundu for nearly three years following
the death of his father Josias. Late last year traditional leaders in the
area forwarded the substantive chief of the area.

“ Last year traditional leaders led by Mhondoro Mubaiwa forwarded Kazizi
Chundu to the local district administrator to take over chieftainship after
going through traditional vetting and rituals. The DA then made formalities
that saw senior government officials attending the ceremony in October last
year but Picture Chundu refused to vacate the throne , ” said one elder
Daniel Bhiriyadhi of Nyamasoka village in Chitindiva area.

Villagers here claim that Picture Chundu has vowed not to handover the
throne to the new chief saying his mission is to make sure Zanu (PF) is of
power. He mobilised support for the party but lost councillorship to the
Movement Democratic Change (MDC-T) candidate Paddington Chavhuruma.

“ Bereu has the backing of Zanu (PF)  and senior government officials and is
using political muscle to stay put but is misinformed.Traditionally he is
not accepted and his refusal to leave power has created confusion to the
local people, ” said a close relative of Bereu.

Although Hurungwe DA Tendai Chirara was not immediately available for
comment, junior officers confirmed that there were two chiefs for the area.
“ Bereu's salary and that of the new chief are still being paid by the
government.As civil servants, we are caught between tradition and party
politics, ” said a junior official who declined to be named for professional

Bereu was hostile when approached for comment saying: “ Why do you want to
tarnish my image and Zanu (PF) over these petty issues?” before walking
Some chiefs have become partisan and have barred opposition meetings in
their areas in a bid to stay in Zanu (PF),s good books.

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Thousands Of Zim Children Starving To Death: Report

24/04/2011 14:32:00

HARARE, April 24, 2011- Up to 12000 children die of malnutrition each year
in Zimbabwe, according to the office of Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani
Khupe and Unicef.

This shocking information is contained in a dossier "A Situational Analysis
on the Status of Women's and Children's Rights in Zimbabwe, 2005-2010", made
public recently. The situation has been exacerbated by the food crisis -
mainly caused by the chaotic land grabs - and compounded by the ensuing
gross human rights abuse against a background of the disastrous drought in
2002. The findings of the report were said to be "startling" by the

"Today, one in every three Zimbabwean children suffers from chronic
malnutrition. Globally, maternal and child undernutrition contributes to 35%
of all child deaths . "Applying these estimates to Zimbabwe, undernutrition
is likely to contribute to more than 12000 child deaths each year," the
report states.
The alarming figures indicate a forecast of poor development in the near
future as children are the leaders of tomorrow.

"The undernourished children who survive, suffer lifelong consequences: they
are more susceptible to disease, and are likely to have poorer educational
outcomes, poorer birth outcomes and reduced economic activity into
adulthood. "Undernourished young children, who gain weight rapidly later in
childhood and into adolescence, are at an increased risk of chronic
conditions such as cardiovascular disease later in life," the report says.
When Zimbabwe's economy was faring well in the early 80s to the 90s, child
mortality was the lowest in the region.

"While rates of chronic malnutrition in Zimbabwe are moderate relative to
other sub-Saharan African countries, they have been rising at alarming rates
over the past 15 years. "Rates of chronic malnutrition have increased by
nearly 40% since 1994 and, at present trends, will reach critical levels
within the next decade.

Even more concerning are the large disparities in rates of malnutrition
between districts, wealth groups, boys and girls, and children residing in
rural and urban areas . Rates of chronic malnutrition range from a low of
21% in Beitbridge district to a high of 47% in the Mutare district.
Furthermore, rates of chronic malnutrition are considerably higher among the
poorest of the population (40%) than the wealthiest (25%).

Malnutrition in Zimbabwe knows no class. "Wealth and malnutrition in
Zimbabwe appear to have an inverse relationship; the poorer the population,
the higher the malnutrition.

"It is interesting to note, however, that even the wealthiest have
unacceptably high rates of malnutrition," the report adds.
The report warned that unless the food and health situation is taken as a
top priority, things could get out of hand.
"A sudden deterioration in the food security or health situation in Zimbabwe
could trigger a rapid deterioration in rates of acute malnutrition."

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Former Beauty Queen Arrested For Accusing Ministers Of Sexual Harassment

24/04/2011 14:03:00

BULAWAYO, April 24, 2011-Police on Saturday arrested and sent prominent
businesswoman and founder of Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant, Sipho Mazibuko to
Ingutsheni Mental Hospital after she made a report accusing several
ministers and senior government officials of sexually harassing her for the
past five years.

In 2007 Mazibuko, who also runs beauty contests under the Miss Summer
Strides, was briefly detained by police on allegations that she abused girls
under her care during camps for the Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant.But Mazibuko
in turn accused Karikoga Kaseke the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) boss of
victimising her by using police after she turned down his demands for sexual

However police officers on duty at Bulawayo police station accused Mazibuko
of suffering from a mental illness after she visited the police station to
make a report against certain ministers and other senior government
officials whom she claimed abused her and her models who were part of the
Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant.

Mazibuko had also called journalists to come to the police station and be
witnesses whilst she was making the report of sexual abuse. When Radio Vop
visited central police station Mazibuko, who had finished making her report-
CR number 8884/11 had been arrested. Police officers on duty refused to
reveal to journalists the names of the ministers and government officials
whom she accused of sexually harassing her and her models.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed police arrested
Mazibuko  and sent her to Ingutsheni Mental Hospital after she caused a stir
at the Station.

“ She was arrested and sent to Ingutsheni as we suspect she has a mental
problem because after making her report of sexual abuse she started shouting
at police officers on duty especially at the male officers , ” said Moyo.In
2008, Mazibuko announced she was retiring from the world of beauty pageants.
The former beauty queen said she wanted to focus on charity work.Mazibuko
caused a stir a few years ago when contestants at the Miss Rural Zimbabwe
pageants paraded bare breasted on stage.

But she defended her decision saying there was nothing unusual about
expossed breasts because it was part of the culture of the Ndebele and other
tribes in the olden days.

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Call Mugabe’s Bluff: Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 23rd April 2011

It’s been a busy week for Vigil supporters, with our Independence Day demonstration against violence and our appeal to the Foreign Office to withdraw the invitation to attend the Royal Wedding unthinkingly issued to Mugabe’s Ambassador in London.


Naturally we follow the doings of the Foreign Office quite closely and this week proved an unusually interesting one – one which gave us hope of a more robust approach to Southern African despots. This is how it developed:

·         Monday: word from Malawi that the British High Commissioner was to be sent packing for privately criticizing the government of Mugabe’s ally, President Mutharika – who has been given a stolen farm in Zimbabwe and in return named a highway after his hero.

·         Tuesday: the Foreign Office whispers in Mutharika’s ear that his country is bankrupt and kept afloat by the generosity of British taxpayers.

·         Wednesday: grovelling apology from Mutharika – ‘Britain is our best friend’ (what about Mugabe?)


What about Mugabe indeed! The Vigil wants the Foreign Office to spell out similar home truths to the other Mugabe acolytes receiving handouts from Britain.


Even the most obtuse of SADC leaders knows the sanctions issue is a nonsense but nevertheless it has surfaced again in Harare’s submission to President Zuma for his roadmap for elections.


The Vigil suggests that – to save the obtuse faces – it might be an idea to offer to suspend the targeted sanctions if the EU, US etc are satisfied with the election arrangements and are allowed to send observers.


After all the aim is to achieve free and fair elections. We can always deal with the crooks later.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check  


FOR THE RECORD: 87 signed the register.



·           The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

·           ZBN News. The Vigil management team wish to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News. 

·           The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit website:

·           Swazi Protest against Royal Wedding Invitation. Tuesday, 26th April 2011 from 6 - 8 pm. Venue: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London W1K 1QA – protest located at main entrance to hotel on public footway in Deanery St W1. Tube: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. Please join the Swaziland Vigil’s protest outside the Dorchester Hotel where King Mswati who is attending the Royal Wedding will be staying. He is bringing an entourage of 50 to the UK.

·           ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 30th April from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069. Future demonstration: 28th May. Same time and venue.

·           ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 30th April from 2 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church opposite ASDA store, Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth BH8 8AY. Contact: Sekai 07772211220, Sledge 07788850146, Abi Nzimba 07780831455.

·           ROHR Harlow general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Sherards Hatch Nursery, Ployters Road, Harlow CM18 7PS. MP Mr Robert Halfon, ROHR President, UK National executive and a well-known immigration lawyer will be present. Contact Bothwell Nyemba 07725208657, Grace Kachingwe 07405637283, Aleck Kayima 07961907097, Lloyd Kashangura 07506481334 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·           ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 7th May from 2 – 6pm. Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·           ROHR Manchester meeting. Saturday 14th May: (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact: Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353, P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070 or P Chibanguza 07908406069.

·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: St Saviours in the Meadows Church, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. The church is just a few minutes walk from the train station. ROHR National Executive members will be attending to discuss the abuse of human rights and political situation in Zimbabwe. Contact: Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 28th May from 12.30 – 4 pm. Venue St Peters Church Hall, White Hall Road, B70 0HF, West Bromwich. ROHR President, National executive members and a well-known lawyer present. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069.

·           Vigil Facebook page:

·           Vigil Myspace page:

·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

·           Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust ( Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( if you are interested in taking part.


Vigil Co-ordinators

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


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Is Robert Mugabe now playing politics with his maker?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 24/04/11

Mugabe’s recent attack on Catholic Bishops is very disturbing at a time when
Christians all over the world were marking the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ. What is even more worrying are reports of police intimidation
of Anglicans in Zimbabwe.

Surely, for Mugabe to disown the Catholic Church in which he was born 87
years ago and accuse the Bishops of being liars and puppets of the West is
just unbelievable. Considering the fact that he was cared for by priests and
bishops as a young boy then as a political prisoner and during the
liberation struggle, Mugabe may soon have to apologise to his maker like he
is doing to SADC leaders after losing it.

“Even though I was born in this church (Catholic), their bishops are all
over me on a daily basis. They attack me and criticise me because they are
led by the whites who have their interests and agendas. They say I am an
oppressor because they are not happy that the country is being led by a
Blackman,” Mugabe was quoted as saying on Thursday 21st April 2011 (The
Daily News, 22/04/11). So he thinks he is not an oppressor? While he fought
for liberation, Mugabe has turned against his own people and that is what
the church is telling him but he does not want to hear the truth.

It is very sad that some Anglicans were reportedly worshipping in Africa
Unity Square and under trees, while other worshippers were appealing for
police protection after being ousted from the Anglican Cathedral in Harare
by a Mugabe supporter, Norbert Kunonga who was ex-communicated in 2008.

More shocking are reports that tens of thousands of Zimbabwe’s Anglicans are
being forced to worship in pubs, tents and private schools while their
churches stand empty, shuttered by the controversial Nobert Kunonga. All
Saints Church in Marondera Vestries were said  to have been vandalised as
Kunonga people allegedly removed locks and put their own as they have turned
them into residential homes.

Some of the news reports are very frightening and distressing. For example
that there were strong suspicions that the 89-year old Anglican priest Jesca
Mandeya who was found dead in February was allegedly murdered by security
operatives (The Zimbabwe Mail, 19/02/11). Church members and Bishops are
living in fear of being killed as some of them continued to be followed by
suspected operatives of the spy agency.

Strangely, there are some similarities with developments in China where
dozens of Christians were arrested on Sunday 24th April when police
prevented an evangelical Protestant church from holding its Easter Sunday
service, as the state continued its attack on protests against one-party
rule (, 24/04/11).

Is this what Mugabe meant by looking East policy? Is Robert Mugabe now
playing politics with his maker?
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri,

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Daggers out ahead of MDC-T congress

Sunday, 24 April 2011 11:25


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is the only MDC-T leader who will not be
challenged at the party’s congress which opens on Thursday.

A list of nominations released yesterday showed that many heavyweights, save
for Tsvangirai, risk returning from the congress as ordinary card-carrying

Final nominations will be announced on Tuesday after elections are concluded
in Bulawayo.

The polls were abandoned for the second time after a fistfight broke out
between rival factions.

At the congress, Tsvangirai’s deputy Thokozani Khupe will have to slug it
out with veteran politician and MDC-T national executive member Norman

Kuwadzana MP Lucia Matibenga, who was controversially sidelined from the
contest for the leadership of the Women’s Assembly in 2005, is challenging
party chairman Lovemore Moyo.

Co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone is pitted against Matibenga, Eveline
Masaiti and Editor Matamisa for the leadership of the Women’s Assembly.

Another interesting duel will be between Finance minister Tendai Biti and
his Public Service counterpart Eliphas Mukonoweshuro for the powerful post
of secretary-general.

Sources say nine provinces nominated Biti while Mukonoweshuro received two

Elias Mudzuri will have to outwit party spokesman Nelson Chamisa to retain
his post of organising secretary.

Mudzuri and Chamisa’s fight has already turned dirty with the former Harare
mayor  accusing his rival of using the media to fight his wars.

Chamisa’s nomination for the powerful post opened the door for Nyanga North
MP Douglas Mwonzora and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment
minister Tongai Matutu to contest for the post of secretary of information
and publicity.

Former Nkayi South MP Abednico Bhebhe, Thamasanqa Mhlangu, Dennis Murira and
Mudzuri have also been nominated for the post of deputy organising

Announcing the nominations, Chamisa said those nominated more than once
would have to decide by Monday which position they wanted to contest as one
person could not contest in two or more positions.

For the post of deputy chairperson, Morgen Komichi will be battling it out
with Blessing Chebundo, Alexio Masundire and Matibenga, if she decided to go
for this post.

Deputy Mines minister Gift Chimanikire has been nominated for the post of
deputy secretary-general where he is set to wrestle it out with the
incumbent Economic Development minister Tapiwa Mashakada, Bekithemba Mpofu
and Paurina Gwanyanya.

Current national chairman Moyo has also been nominated for the post but
sources said chances were nil that he would contest for the lower post.

Exiled treasurer general Roy Bennett is being challenged by Energy and Power
Development minister Elton Mangoma and Sekai Holland, the co-minister in the
Organ of National Healing and Reconciliation.

The youth assembly chairperson post will see Solomon Madzore, Amos Chibaya
and Promise Mkwananzi fighting it out. It’s understood that Chibaya was
nominated by seven provinces, Madzore by three and Mkwananzi one.

Chamisa said the elections would be conducted through secret ballot.

“Elections will be by secret ballot,” he said. “We have retaining officers
that are non- party leaders nor in our structures.

“They are from civic organisations so that we eliminate any bias.”

The jostling for posts has left the party badly divided. Last weekend
Tsvangirai warned that vote-buying and violence was threatening the
existence of the party.

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Mugabe’s Singapore trips cost $3m each

Sunday, 24 April 2011 11:15


PRESIDENT Robert Mu-gabe left the country on Friday to collect his ailing
wife in Singapore; they are expected back home on Wednesday, sources have

Mugabe’s sixth trip to Singapore since the beginning of the year came amid
revelations that the ageing leader demands at least US$3 million from
Treasury each time he leaves the country.

Impeccable sources have revealed that soon after his return Mugabe will be
off to Rome on Friday for a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) summit.

Grace Mugabe has been receiving treatment in Singapore since last month and
this has forced her husband to travel to the Asian country frequently.

She allegedly dislocated her hip during a fall at their Borrowdale house
sometime in March and doctors have been battling to rehabilitate her.

Her 87 year-old husband, according to his spokesman George Charamba, had an
eye operation to remove a cataract in January also in Singapore.
Impeccable sources told.

The Standard that Mu-gabe’s handlers demand US$3 million from Finance
minister Tendai Biti each time he leaves the country.

The money is believed to be for medical bills and travel expenses for his
usually large entourage.

Mugabe is known for travelling with as many as 80 people as part of his
entourage that are all given hefty allowances.

Sources in the inclusive government that spoke on condition of anonymity
said Mugabe’s demands had become excessive and were threatening to cripple
the cash-strapped coalition.

The sources said Biti had tried to stand his ground but was now forced to
release substantial amounts after sustained pressure.

“The travelling expenses have shot up to an extent that they have gone out
of hand,” the source said.

“They are now crippling government operations.

“The demands are unlawful and if you look at it they have gone there almost
six times this year.

“However, Mugabe is not given the US$3 million he demands because the money
is just not there.”

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Charamba were fruitless.

One of Biti’s major challenges since he took over the hot seat in 2009 has
been to reduce money spent on foreign trips by the government but the MDC-T
secretary general appears to be losing the war.

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Zanu PF loses battle for 2011 polls

Sunday, 24 April 2011 11:30


PRESIDENT Mugabe’s plan to have an early election has suffered a body blow,
with revelations that the roadmap for polls says these can only be held
towards the end of next year.
Negotiators from Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two MDCs last week crafted a
blueprint for the next elections, agreeing that polls this year were
virtually impossible.

The drafts have been sent to the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) and principals of the three parties for approval.

Mugabe, with his back against the wall following a stinging rebuke by
regional leaders, might be forced to delay elections and implement the
recommendations contained in the election roadmap.

Key among the issues contained in the electoral blueprint are the
constitution-making process and electoral reforms, which have to be
completed before elections.

The constitution-making process, already behind schedule, is viewed as the
biggest impediment to holding elections, as it is now moving to the thematic
committee stage, then for drafting, before being taken to parliament.

After this process, a referendum will be held, and if approved, the new
constitution would be returned to parliament for ratification.

This process alone, informed sources revealed, meant that a credible
election could only be held at the end of next year.

Previously Mugabe had warned that he would call for elections “with or
without” the new constitution.

MDC vice-president, Edwin Mushoriwa, said with the roadmap complete, the
parties now had to work on the given timeframes.

“There are milestones that have to be achieved before the holding of
elections,” he said. “The Sadc troika has already advised that elections
could not be held before these targets were met.”

Mushoriwa, who was standing in for the imprisoned Moses Mzila-Ndlovu as a
negotiator, said however, the different political party leaders had to
assent to the roadmap before it could be binding.

Presently, the negotiators are reviewing the GPA and among the thorny issues
are missed deadlines, with the political parties having been told to deal
with outstanding issues swiftly.

A summit to deal with Zimbabwe and Madagascar is set to be held in Namibia
in May and regional leaders had advised that a roadmap had to be ready
before that meeting.

Zanu PF negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa told state media last week that the
blueprint had been signed and would be sent to the principals.

“The report identifies activities that had to be undertaken before elections
are held.

“These are the lifting of sanctions, completion of the constitution-making
process and enactment of amendments to the Electoral Act.

“Those are some of the critical issues,” he said.

However, there were some sticking points that would be addressed by the
South African facilitation team in the first week of May.

These included state sponsored political violence and the invitation of
international election observers and monitors for elections when they are

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70 perish in holiday road accidents

Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:09


AT least 70 people have died in road accidents during the Easter and
Independence holidays, police have said.
Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said as at 9am yesterday, 359 accidents had
been recorded across the country.  The statistics were collected starting
from April 15.

“These accidents resulted in the death of 68 people while 386 others were
injured,” Phiri said.

“We have arrested 39 people for driving while drunk and impounded 499
unroadworthy vehicles.

“We have also issued out 24 852 traffic tickets.”

Mashonaland East recorded the highest number of deaths, accounting for 13
followed by Harare with 12.

In one accident that occurred in Mash East, seven people perished when a
Mitsubishi twin cab which was being driven by a police officer and a Nissan
twin cab were involved in a head-on collision.

Phiri said the Nissan encroached onto the lane of oncoming traffic.

Both drivers died on the spot.

A man who said he was related to five family members who perished in the
accident appealed for help to bury them.

“Five family members died in the accident – four on the spot and one at
Chivhu General Hospital,” Kudakwashe Mubika said.

“They were nine in the Nissan and the four surviving members are admitted at
Harare Hospital.

“Two are in the intensive care unit while the other two are in a stable

“We do not know what to do as a family as we have no money and one of the
deceased was the breadwinner.”

He said those who died included the driver Chipo Musoni (40), Cornelius
Musoni (58), his sister-in-law Nancy Chitombo Gwinji  and her children Roy
and Faith Gwinji.

Mourners are gathered at Mainway Meadows, Waterfalls. Phiri blamed most of
the accidents on human error.

Holidays in Zimbabwe have become synonymous with a high number of accidents
and some people believe they are linked to the country’s poor road network.

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Ballantyne Park residents turn the heat on Chiyangwa

Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:05


THE battle for the control of a recreational park in Ballantyne Park between
flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa and residents intensified last week
with the latter petitioning Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda seeking his
The residents say they were alarmed to see Chiyangwa erecting a fence around
the park, which they say was donated to the community by a Ballantyne

Chiyangwa said he was doing the residents a favour as the park was dirty.

The residents placed an advert in the press thanking him for fencing the
park and cleaning it.

“By thanking him, we were hoping to disempower him thinking he will be
embarrassed to later claim ownership of the park,” one resident said.

Masunda confirmed receiving a petition with 1 250 signatures from concerned

While Masunda said he had tasked officials to look into the matter,
Chiyangwa said the residents were wasting their time as both the city and
Masunda have no jurisdiction over the matter.

“I am a resident in that area who is more acceptable than these people who
are complaining,” Chiyangwa said.

“That place was now a sex park and I decided to do what I felt was right and
the Environmental Management Agency applauded me for that,” Chiyangwa said.

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Masunda attacks Chombo over slashing of tariffs

Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:03


HARARE mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has scoffed at government’s recent move to
reduce tariffs for various services offered by city councils saying it
amounts to unwarranted interference.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last week said he had agreed with
Water Resources Development and Management minister Sipepa Nkomo to slash
water charges.

Harare’s fixed water charge for high-density areas was reduced from US$7 to
US$5 and that for low-density suburbs from $13 to US$11.

Consumers will now pay US20 cents per cubic metre down from US30 cents for
the first 20 cubic metres consumed and US60 cents per cubic metre from 21 to
50 cubic metres.

Chombo said ratepayers who did not receive water for 30 consecutive days
should refuse to pay for that particular month.

Also slashed were health fees, with maternity charges reduced from US$50 to

Children will now pay US$2 and US$5 at clinics and hospitals respectively
while adults will pay US$5 and US$10.

Masunda said slashing charges will negatively affect council’s capacity and
government should be exploring ways of settling its US$50 million debt to
council and funding city councils to improve service delivery.

“Slashing maternal fees will only reduce the capacity of the clinics and
thus put the life of the pregnant mother and unborn child at risk,” he said.
“We are doing all we can to reduce maternal mortality.

“We set these figures after a lot of consultations, taking into cognisance
all critical factors, including the fact that local authorities are not
getting any funding from central government.

“I have had to approach personal friends I learnt with so they help fund our
health institutions.”

Masunda said while the city’s financial inflows were trickling, outflows
were high. He said council spends more than US$2 million on water chemicals
every month but was owed US$150 million by various stakeholders including

The slashing of charges came at the back of complaints by residents’
organisations who feel councils’ service delivery does not tally with the
money they are being asked to pay.

In Harare, organisations such as the Harare Residents’ Trust want residents
to pay only US$2 in fixed water charges and maternity fees against council’s
proposed US$30.

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Mutambara set to lose DPM post

Sunday, 24 April 2011 14:00


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has finally given up on Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara and will ask the robotics professor to hand in his resignation in
June, insiders have revealed.
This might pave way for MDC leader Welshman Ncube to assume the deputy
premiership, but insiders claim his interest in the post has become lukewarm
since Mugabe declined to swear him in earlier this year.

“Ncube is busy campaigning for the next election and he is not interested in
the position,” an insider said. “We donated Mutambara and the deputy prime
ministerial position to Zanu PF and we are not interested.”

Sources revealed that the ageing leader was reluctant as ever to let go of
Mutambara, but a number of issues, including a witch- hunt following Zanu PF’s
loss in the vote for Speaker of Parliament, have added pressure on him to
reconsider his position.

Hawks within Zanu PF are said to be angry that the decision to keep
Mutambara seems to have made the two MDCs close ranks and unite against Zanu
PF in the elections of the Speaker and in future.

“Keeping Mutambara seems to have backfired and now Zanu PF is weaker in
parliament with the two MDCs keen on working together,” the insider

Mugabe is also said to be trying to appease the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc), which came hard on him at the troika summit in Zambia last

South African president, Jacob Zuma is said to have questioned Mugabe
privately on why he was subverting the will of the MDC by keeping Mutambara
in government, when it was clear that he had been disowned by his party and
his legitimacy in government was questionable.

“Mugabe was stung by the last Sadc meeting and he is keen to make peace with
regional leaders, he will be making concessions bit by bit,” a Zanu PF
confidante revealed.

What gives credence to the June date is that Mutambara had initially asked
to be in power until June when he expects to have completed his Public
Private Partnership (PPP) programme.

“When Mutambara was initially asked to vacate the post, he asked that he
stay on until June when he hoped to have made headway in his PPP
 initiative,” the source revealed.

“But now with Mugabe’s indigenisation drive that initiative has all but
fallen away and Mutambara has become expendable.”

The president is also said to have remarked that he had been handicapped
because on one hand he was dealing with Ncube and on the other hand he had
to deal with Mutambara.

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Zanu PF official accused of abusing council property

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:22


KWEKWE — A lease agreement between council and a company owned by a top Zanu
PF official for a brick moulding plant has reportedly disappeared, sparking
accusations of corruption.
Councillors want the lease of Kwekwe Bri-cks by Zanu PF provincial executive
me-mber Owen Ncube reversed because they say it is not clear how it would
benefit the local authority.

Lucia Mnkandla, the acting Kwekwe town clerk told a full council meeting
recently that she could not tell the councillors the terms of the lease
because they had failed to locate the agreement.

Mnkandla said she could also not say how much the council had realised from
the deal but indicated that moves were now being made to terminate the

But Ncube, who is a close ally of Minister of Defence Emmerson Mnangagwa and
former Zanu PF provincial chairman July Moyo, said he was not aware of a
letter from council indicating an intention to cancel the lease.

“That letter has not come through to me and therefore I cannot talk about
it,” Ncube said.

“We have a lease agreement with council which was signed around 2006 and
will run for 10 years.

“Anyone who thinks he can terminate that lease outside the legal
requirements must have money.”

Councillors wanted to know the terms of the lease which was signed by the
previous Zanu PF council led by former mayor, Stanford Bonyongwa.

They accused the previous Zanu PF councillors of conniving to use council
property to enrich their peers in the party resulting in the local authority
being prejudiced of potential revenue.

Ncube dismissed the accusations saying the deal was purely business and had
nothing to do with politics.

However, Councillor Weston Masiya told the council meeting that the local
authority was losing revenue since the plant was lying idle.

“We are losing revenue by not taking stock of our properties and demanding
what is due to this city,” he said.

“I sense a lot of corruption which is happening here and there is need to
correct it.

“How can council lease out a property and say they can’t find the lease

Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa said there was deep-rooted corruption at council,
dating back to the tenure of previous Zanu PF councils.

He said his council will revisit all “shady deals” with a view of reversing

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Zimbabwe’s widening ethnic divisions

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:19


ATTEMPTS by the police to muzzle debate on the Gukurahundi massacres and a
resurgent secessionist movement in Matabeleland has reignited debate on
Zimbabwe’s tribal politics.
Analysts last week noted that the widening tribal divisions coming 31 years
after Zimbabwe’s independence were a serious indictment on President Robert
Mugabe’s legacy.

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence, has struggled to prove
critics wrong, that just like the country’s vanquished colonisers, politics
of divide and rule have been hallmarks of his political career.

The critics say these traits were evident from the split of Zapu in the
1960s on tribal lines leading to the formation of Zanu PF and the
Gukurahundi massacres.

Zanu PF’s decision to give national hero status to Central Intelligence
Organisation deputy director general Mernard Muzariri, who is said to be one
of the top architects of the massacres, appears to have inflamed emotions.

MDC president Welshman Ncube claimed that Muzariri shot and killed a Zapu
official Njini Ntutha during Gukurahundi.

The arrest of the co-minister in the Organ on National Healing and
Reconciliation Moses Mzila Ndlovu and a Roman Catholic priest Marko Mnkandla
last week also exposed that securocrats feared an open debate on atrocities,
which some groups believe were an attempt at ethnic cleansing.

Most of the top commanders in the army, police and CIO have been linked to
the massacres.

Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander  Perence Shiri was the commander of the
Fifth Brigade, which carried out the atrocities.

But it was the burning of the Zimbabwean flag during street protests by
Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) activists in South Africa, which clearly
demonstrated that Zimbabwe is a country at war with itself.

MLF was formed by Zimbabwean exiles based in South Africa who are
campaigning for a separate Matabeleland state, alleging discrimination
against Ndebele-speaking people.

Three MLF leaders are set to appear in court soon facing treason charges
after they called for the partitioning of the country.

Analysts said not even pretences that the country was still unified under
the Unity Accord signed by PF Zapu and Zanu PF in 1987 could end the country’s
tribal divisions.

Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic who has written papers on the
country’s tribal politics, said the burning of the flag was a big symbolic
gesture, which the authorities must take seriously.

“The burning of a flag is very symbolic and it seeks to make sense of and
clearly locate the calls for a separate state within its rightful place in
the discourse, hearts and minds of our people,” he said.

“As a symbolic gesture it shows that the people of Matabeleland now know and
understand that they do not belong to Zimbabwe with all her symbols of
sovereignty, including the Zimbabwean flag.”

The tribal divisions have also become evident in Zimbabwe’s splintered
political groups with all the political parties split on ethnic lines.

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Violence strategy will only bolster MDC-T support

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:19

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe says Mugabe’s
strategy (of violence and repression) is backfiring because it is making the
MDC-T a saint while Zanu PF is turning out to be the spoiler in the face of
Sadc and the international community.
He said harassment was meant to frustrate the MDC-T out of the unity

“When this happens,” he said, “Mugabe will appoint his own ministers and
call for elections under the current political environment, which favours

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the crackdown was designed to dampen
the spirits of those fighting for a democratic dispensation in the country.

“The onslaught is meant to weigh down democratic forces, hoping to make
their life difficult and in the end discourage them from pushing for a new
and free political establishment in the country,” Chamisa said.

He said the new wave of arrests of Mugabe’s critics and opposition activists
must be seen in the context of the pending elections.

“They are desperate and panicking,” Chamisa said. “Remember all weak
characters are violent and all unpopular regimes are violent.”

Mugabe’s violence strategy has forced the MDC-T to insist on the drafting of
a roadmap to elections that comprises of the security of the voter and the
outcome of the poll, he said.

But another political analyst who requested anonymity said Mugabe was not in
total control of what is happening as Zanu PF hardliners, aided by Joint
Operation Command (JOC) members make crucial decisions.

Mugabe (87) is battling advanced age and persistent ill-health.

The analyst said JOC, an organ for the co-ordination of state security
matters in the country, has embarked on a scorched-earth policy in a bid to
protect ill-gotten wealth and avoid prosecution for human rights abuses.

“Civilian authority is no longer making decisions in Harare,” the analyst

“JOC is running the show and they don’t hesitate to use violence to protect
whatever they have been grabbing over the years.”

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Mugabe spoiling for a fight: Analysts

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:17


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is “digging his own grave” by intensifying the
crackdown on critics and opposition activists at a time when the wave of
mass protests against autocratic rulers is blowing south, political analysts
have warned.
While Mugabe’s strategy is meant to cow critics ahead of elections, analysts
contend that this was likely to backfire as it emboldens the people’s
resolve to fight for their democratic rights.

Analysts believe Zimbabweans may feel encouraged by successful mass revolts
that recently toppled dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Even South African President Jacob Zuma, the facilitator in efforts to
resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, warned Mugabe of “unprecedented upheavals” if
pro-democracy reforms are not implemented in the country.

Instead of following Zuma’s advice, Mugabe has intensified his crackdown on
MDC officials, church leaders and any other civil society activists
perceived to be against his 31-year-old rule.

The MDC-T claims that over 100 senior party officials have been arrested in
the past four months on trumped-up charges.

Some have been brought to court in leg-irons for holding unsanctioned
meetings as if they were dangerous criminals.

Religious groups, believed to be critical of Mugabe’s rule, have not been
spared in the onslaught.

Just two weeks ago, guns and baton-wielding police stormed a church in
Harare and threw teargas canisters at frightened parishioners from different
denominations who were praying for peace.

Parishioners, among them children, were forced to flee, some  through
windows, resulting in many sustaining cuts from broken glass.

So petty and paranoid has Mugabe’s handlers become that they see shadows
almost everywhere.

Early this year, police arrested theatre actors, accusing them of
“triggering political commotion” when they staged a play, Rituals.

They were charged with criminal nuisance.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said Mugabe was pressing a
self-destruct button by intensifying repression against an already agitated

He said with civil servants angry over low salaries coupled with
macro-economic problems fueling unemployment, Mugabe is sitting on an
“political powder keg” that is bound to explode.

“The more people are pressed against the wall, the more they are determined
to fight back,” he said.

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‘Female condom side-effects exaggerated’

Sunday, 24 April 2011 12:01


FOURTEEN years after the female condom was introduced in Zimbabwe, the
device remains unpopular among women despite its celebrated advantages.

Experts say the female condom remains the only tool for HIV prevention that
gives women control and choice over their sexual health.

There are different types of female condoms and the old model was made of
plastic (polyurethane).

The second generation of the female condoms is made of synthentic nitrile
and are said to make less noise during intercourse.

A recent version is made of latex, the same material used in male condoms.

A snap survey showed that the device was not popular with women because of a
number of perceptions and lack of information.

Most women who were interviewed said the condom produced too much noise
during intercourse and was difficult to use.

Patricia Chiutsi, a 43-year-old vendor from Tafara said she started using
the female condom this year when her husband  tested HIV positive but has
never enjoyed the experience.

“l was introduced to female condoms when I visited Beatrice Hospital with my
husband,” she said.

“We liked it because we realised that it was very strong, reliable and that
it can be worn hours before the act.

“Unfortunately after a week of using it, l developed some rash and l
immediately went to seek medical attention and was told to stop using it.”

Mary Mutasa (39) who is also a vendor said she did not know anything about
condoms because her husband was not interested in using protection.

“Ever since we got married 10 years l ago we have been having unprotected
sex,” Mutasa said.

“There is no way that he can agree to start using protection today but given
a chance I would use the female condom.”

A teacher from Glen View said she stopped using the female condom after she
failed to learn to insert it.

But a sex worker who only identified herself as Beulah said she had been
relying on the contraceptive for years now because it does not easily burst
like male condoms.

Patience Kunaka, the Population Services International (PSI) interpersonal
communications manager’s said most negative perceptions about the female
condom were unfounded.

“According to research, these condoms do not have side effects,” she said.

“One might develop that rush after using an expired product or that person
might have developed the rash before using the condom.

“It is always safe for people to check the expiry dates of the condoms
before using them.”

Kunaka also dismissed rumours that prostitutes especially in border towns
re-use the female condom saying the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has
intensified the distribution of the free condoms in rural areas.

She said where the condoms are sold, they were available at reasonable

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No need for KP monitor — Mpofu

Sunday, 24 April 2011 12:31


GOVERNMENT says Abbey Chikane, the Kimberley Process (KP) appointed monitor
on Zimbabwe diamonds does not have any more role to play in the since the
country has complied with the international body’s provisions to sell the
Marange diamonds.
This comes amid indications that Chikane wants to quit the job as KP
appointed monitor on Zimbabwe.

“Our position is that we have complied and therefore there is no need for a
Joint Working Plan and monitors.

“We should be treated like any other compliant state,” Obert Mpofu, Mines
and Mining Development Minister said on Friday.

“Once the Joint Working Plan expires, Chikane goes.”

Chikane was appointed KP monitor for Zimbabwe last year following
recommendations of a plenary meeting in 2009 which said the country should
meet the minimum standards before it could sell the Marange gems.

Last month KP chairman Mathieu Lapfa Lambang Yamba of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo gave Zimbabwe the nod to sell the gems.

The move is being resisted by other KP members who allege that the chair had
made the decision unilaterally with western countries such the United
States, Britain, Germany and Australia calling for the extension of a ban.

However, African and other countries including Russia have opposed the ban
on the sale of the diamonds.

Mpofu said it “was a big mistake that we (government) accepted the Joint
Working Plan because not only is it unprocedural but against the principles
of the KP.”

Mpofu said there is a scramble by people to get a job in Zimbabwe yet they
want to frustrate the county’s sale of diamonds.

“We will not allow any person who comes here and want to get a job yet he is
behind plans to frustrate the country to sell its diamonds,” Mpofu said.
This comes amid revelations that Simon Gilberts, a British national would
replace Chikane as KP monitor on Zimbabwe.

Contacted for comment, Chikane told Standardbusiness the matter between
Zimbabwe and the KP is under discussion.

He said Yamba has not given a verdict on the way forward.

He referred further questions to Yamba who could not be reached for comment.

The KP banned Zimbabwe from selling diamonds from Marange in 2009 over
allegations of human rights abuses in the extraction of the gems and failure
to meet minimum requirements for trading in the precious stones.

But the organisation allowed Zimbabwe to conduct two supervised sales which
took place in August and September last year following a report by Chikane
that said Harare had met all KP conditions.

The last KP plenary in Jerusalem in November last year failed to reach a
decision on Zimbabwe, but the country was however given a conditional
agreement to sell its diamonds in January.

However, government declined the offer saying that it wanted to be allowed
to sell the gems without conditions since it had met the conditions.

Mpofu said there is no country in Africa which was more compliant   than
Zimbabwe and blasted the “country’s detractors using the KP to pursue the
anti-Zimbabwe agenda”.

Government hopes revenue from Marange gems will inject cash into the economy
in the absence of lines of credit from multilateral institutions.

A new diamond Act would be promulgated to plug the loopholes in the diamond
industry and generate more revenue for the economy.

Money from the diamonds is expected to be channeled towards the civil
services’ salary increments.

Civil servants ear an average salary of US$225 per month.

Zimbabwe was banned from selling diamonds in 2009 over human rights abuses
in the extraction of the gems.

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SundayComment: Roadmap progress commendable but...

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:16

Negotiators to the Global Political Agreement have started to make progress
in crafting a roadmap that can lead to elections acceptable to all parties
in Zimbabwe and also to the international community.
The progress, made after several months of stubborn resistance by President
Mugabe and hardliners in his party, is a sign that finally the pressure
exerted by the region is beginning to bear fruit.

At a summit held in Zambia a few weeks ago, the Sadc Troika read the Riot
Act to Mugabe who has been treated with kid gloves in the past.

They told him point blank that he had to change his ways and stop endemic
political violence, the arrests of political opponents and allow for the
establishment of a roadmap that would result in free and fair elections.

An angry Mugabe came back from the summit talking tough against the
facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma, but such talk was
short-lived as he quickly realised the folly of his actions.

So the progress reported by negotiators on Thursday should be understood in
the context of Mugabe doing all he can to avoid alienating himself further
from the region.

The negotiators should be applauded for identifying amendments to electoral
laws as one of the critical issues that need to be addressed before
elections are held.

It is common knowledge that these laws favour the incumbent Mugabe at the
expense of other candidates.

While this progress is commendable, both the MDCs and Sadc should be wary of
Mugabe, ahead of the May 20 extraordinary summit set for Namibia.

The 87-year-old remains the same obstinate and crafty leader who is only
concerned about maintaining his grip on power. His commitment to reform
should therefore be judged by actions and not words.

While Mugabe appears conciliatory to political rivals, on the ground the
actions of the police, his ministers and youth militia show that Mugabe is
far from changing his ways.

Leopards don’t easily change their spots, so the old adage goes.

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SundayOpinion: Like Smith, Mugabe is abusing chiefs

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:14

By Tapera Zimbabwe

Perennial wisdom, according to Professor Jonathan Moyo dictates that all
things good or bad, righteous or evil, will come to an end.
Likewise Zanu PF’s malevolent abuse of Zimbabwean traditional chiefs will
end one day.

Clearly this regime has perfected the art of using chiefs for their own
political gains. It’s an art they inherited from Ian Smith’s regime.

After realising how sacred traditional chiefs were regarded in their
communities, Smith saw gains in illicitly using them as his political
superintendents in the rural areas.

These regime appointees were used not only to spy on freedom fighting
activities but also to illegally kill the spirit of democracy among the
blacks who were the majority.

Loyal and puppet traditional chiefs were appointed and some of them openly
disassociated themselves from freedom fighters who were fighting to liberate

Bootlicking Smith, these appointees expressed despair at the activities of
brave Zimbabweans who had braced themselves for the armed struggle to free
this nation.

The then minister of Information, Immigration and Tourism Pieter van der Byl
would appoint puppet chiefs who were against the Chimurenga struggle.

These chiefs included Jeremiah Chirau and Khayisa Ndiweni etc. Thus, the
institution of chieftaincy during Smith’s time became an entrenched organ of
settler control in rural areas.

Highly censored racial media would spend acres and acres of space covering
appointment ceremonies of these imprecise chiefs. Statements of chiefs
denouncing the freedom struggle were also made headlines in order to mislead
the whole world.

The African Times, which was the Smith regime mouthpiece masquerading as the
state newspaper, just like The Herald, praised chiefs for their stance
against fellow citizens who were engaged in efforts to free Zimbabwe.

On November 7 1973, The African Times carried the headline “Chiefs back
government against terrorism” and went on to report that over 1 000 chiefs
and headmen had been consulted and condemned the Zimbabwean heroes for
taking arms and fighting for their freedom.

As if that was not enough, the same paper on December 12 that year had a
bold front story, “Treat them as outcasts, says chiefs”. The paper reported
that chiefs had absolutely rejected the liberation struggle and wanted all
our dead and living heroes at that time to be treated as unwanted elements
in the society.

Chiefs were used to silence all voices which were against the Smith
government.  More so, chiefs were deliberately made to speak on behalf of
the people thereby making misleading statements aimed at derailing the
spirit of the Chimurenga Struggle.

However, little did we know that the Zanu PF government would use the same
dirty tactics to silence democratic voices in independent Zimbabwe.

This regime has embraced Rhodesian tactics after realising how fast it was
losing grip among their once fully-fledged supporters.

The regime is appointing its own loyal chiefs to act as watchdogs against
their political opponents.

Bootlicking and puppet chiefs who blindly worship Zanu PF and the ageing
president have questionably been crowned by Local Government minister
Ignatius Chombo.

Hefty and unexplained benefits are being dished to the chiefs in an effort
to make them pliable. Last year we were informed by The Herald that the
chiefs were allegedly satisfied with President Mugabe and did not want
anyone except Mugabe to lead this country.

The chiefs belittled their own integrity to the extent of not seeing any
future after Mugabe. The Sunday Mail of October 31- November 06 2010, just
like the aforesaid Smith newspaper, carried the headline “Chiefs want
President Mugabe for life”.

The paper alleged that chiefs, led by their president Fortune Charumbira,
had resolved to have Mugabe for life presidency.

Is that not a wanton blow to the values and ethos of democracy? If chiefs
can appoint someone for life presidency, so why are we wasting precious
resources going for an election?

To simply rubber stamp their choice!

That’s exactly how the Smith regime abused traditional chiefs in order to
kill variant views.

These days all chiefs, except for a few level headed ones,  are Mugabe
apologists and enemies of the MDC and all other political parties with
different views from those of ZANU PF.

I am not an MDC supporter but just a mere sympathiser and my heart bleeds
when traditional chiefs treat this party’s supporters as outcasts or
unwanted elements who deserve no space in the country. I really feel for
those who wish to democratically and legally express their voices in rural
areas but are met with heavy backlash from some notorious chiefs and

These villagers are sometimes made to pay fines and even face evictions from
their areas for the simple reason that they support or voted for the MDC,
which is a a legal political party in Zimbabwe.

It is disheartening to note that today the institution of chieftaincy with
the manipulation of ZANU PF has become an entrenched organ of ZANU PF
control especially in rural areas where this regime has since lost its once
popular support. Can’t we have brave chiefs like Rekai Tangwena?

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From the Editor's Desk: Acts of bravado hardly the panacea for failed states

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:13

By Nevanji Madanhire

Lots of my friends studied in Cuba. When they returned after four years on
the Caribbean Island they waxed lyrical about the great revolutionary Fidel
Castro. None of them had anything bad to say about him. One of my greatest
wishes therefore was to meet this great icon before he or I died. Now
because of his poor health this might not be possible or even necessary!

It has become clear in the past few months that my friends had been allowed
to see, or had not been inquisitive enough to discover, what was really
happening in Cuba. They were beneficiaries of Castro’s magnanimity and our
own government encouraged a view of the island that was beyond reproach.

But I had my own fears. A few years ago the high-profile defection of two
Cuban doctors working in Zimbabwe had awakened in the minds of even the
least sceptical that “everything was but what it was not”.

Last September Castro confirmed in his own words that his economic model no
longer worked even for Cuba.

He told Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly magazine that
“The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”

Even in that statement Castro was being economic with the truth.
Soviet-style socialism never worked for Cuba in the 50 years that he was
forcing it upon his country.

A week ago Castro’s party, the Communist Party of Cuba, was meeting to
discuss a raft of reforms that would, it was hoped, transform the country
into a modern state and, more importantly, save the moribund party.

That meeting coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs.

On April 17 1961 about 1 300 exiles, armed with US weapons, landed at the
Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba. Hoping to find support from the
local population, they intended to cross the island to Havana. It was
evident from the first hours of fighting that the exiles were likely to

President JF Kennedy had the option of using the US Air Force against the
Cubans but decided against it. Consequently, the invasion was stopped by
Castro’s army.

By the time the fighting ended on April 19, 90 exiles had been killed and
the rest had been taken as prisoners. The invasion made Castro wary of the
US. He was convinced that the Americans would try to take over the island
again. From the Bay of Pigs on, Castro had an increased fear of a US
incursion on Cuban soil.

This was a heroic moment for Cuba for successfully defending its sovereignty
but it also defined how Cuba was to operate in the next half century.

Because of the paranoia that resulted from the Bay of Pigs episode Cuba has
been defined by little acts of bravado that brought economic stasis.
In the interview with Goldberg Castro even criticised his own actions during
another little act of bravado, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when he urged
the Soviet Union to launch nuclear weapons against the United States,
telling Goldberg “it wasn’t worth it at all”.

How many other acts of the Communist Party of Cuba were not worth it at all?
Sports boycotts, for example, were they worth it? And these were many.

For political reasons, Cuba boycotted the 2002 Central American and
Caribbean Games in San Salvador, El Salvador. In 1987, Cuba did not compete
at the Women’s World Junior Volleyball Championships in Seoul (South Korea).
The reason: there were no diplomatic relations between Cuba and South Korea.

For political reasons, Cuba did not send a baseball team to the 27th
Baseball World Cup in South Korea in 1982. Cuba boycotted the 1988 Olympic
Games in South Korea.

Cuba sent only seven athletes to the 2007 World University Games in
Thailand, heeding Fidel Castro’s fears about future defections. But the 1991
Pan American Games were held in Havana in which 39 countries participated.
It is reported the Games were a huge source of pride for Castro.

Castro has been replaced as the leader of the Communist Party by his younger
brother Raul who is trying to lead reforms, the major hitch though is that
Raul himself is 79 years old and his vice José Ramón Machado Ventura, is an
80-year-old veteran of the revolution.

What this means is that although Raul is urging both political and economic
reform, Cuba will for a while longer remain in the clutches of the same
leadership that has failed to move it forward in the past 50 years.

One factor that stands out is that among Raul’s proposed reforms is not the
opening of political space to other political parties. His major reform is
that presidential terms would be limited to two five-year terms. This will
not personally affect him for it will allow him to remain at the helm until
2018 when he will be 86.

A Cuban independent economist is quoted saying that term limits won’t
“resolve our essential problem, which is the monopoly on power by a group
whose policies have failed for 50 years.”

But Raul does not see this; he wants to stick with the same geriatric
leadership instead of inviting competing opinion

“Today, we are faced with the consequences of not having a reserve of
well-trained replacements with sufficient experience and maturity to
undertake the new and complex leadership responsibilities in the Party, the
State and the Government,” he said at his party congress.

What is clear from the Cuban fiasco is that eventually it is not the little
acts of bravado that will stand a country in good stead on the world stage
but its cultural software. By cultural software I refer to a country’s
exploits in the arts, in sport and in initiatives that encourage national
and world peace.

South Africa, for example, has taken its place on the world stage because of
the efforts of liberation icon Nelson Mandela, when he was still able to
bring peace to the world after he reunited his own people who had just
emerged from apartheid. The leaders that followed him are also engaged in
peace-building initiatives on the African continent. But also importantly,
its hosting of the Rugby World Cup and the Fifa World Cup have made it a
giant on the world stage.

In Zimbabwe Zanu PF’s little acts of bravado have not moved the country
forward. Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, chaotic land reform, pulling out of the
Commonwealth and alienating the country from the West have already brought
untold suffering on the common people.

When will President Mugabe meet his Damascus moment and ask himself: “Is his
model working for us anymore?”

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SundayView: Veterai ranting will not derail MDC resolve

Sunday, 24 April 2011 13:11

By Gilbert Mehluli Sibanda

Reading through the words of the Matabeleland Police boss in the local daily
I was reminded of the male mosquito; this insect makes so much noise.
Despite sucking some blood and causing some pain, it does not cause malaria
in the human body.
Now that Edmore Veterai has made a political statement it is inevitable that
my submission will have to be political too.

This attention seeking police officer’s action will not cause any meaningful
harm and he will not get the attention he desperately needs from Welshman
Ncube and the MDC party. If anything, his actions will obviously cause more
shame and embarrassment to the security forces’ chefs that are already being
viewed as appendages of Zanu PF.

It is being shallow-minded for someone  who is supposed to be a senior
public officer of the country to assume that to celebrate Independence Day
means to be paraded sitting closer to those that have made the celebration
of this great day a mockery; those that have become the monuments of
betrayal of this great day.

It is no longer a secret that the Zanu PF regime has trampled upon all that
the ex-combatants and the people of Zimbabwe sacrificed for. Worse still,
this year our Independence celebrations came at a time when the nation is
still living under the pre-independence legislations, has  a political
environment resembling that of the colonial times and nationalwealth remains
in the hands of the ruling elite and the politically connected.

I believe the MDC was and is convinced of the innocence of the Deputy
Secretary General and the co-Minister of the National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration Moses Mzila Ndlovu.

I believe that the arrest of the minister while performing his ministerial
and constitutional duties does not only smack of malice but is also
contemptuous of the Executive.

It would have been a betrayal of unimaginable proportion if MDC President
Welshman Ncube was to be seen jostling for the seat close to the First
Secretary of Zanu PF while Moses Mzila Ndlovu is languishing in the custody
of the police, solely for asking the people of a possible way of reconciling
the country after the crimes that were committed by the Zanu PF regime.

This politics of patronage entrenched in this country by Zanu PF over the
past three decades has driven its beneficiaries to the embarrassing levels.
It is surely unfortunate that the security forces have become the greatest
causalities, the spurious allegations, threats and the contempt of the
opposition political have become the unwelcome order of our politics.

I am convinced that this frustration against the MDC has been developing
over time; the security chefs aligned to Zanu PF have been watching the
transformation of the MDC from the congress, which was a resounding success
to the rallies in the rural areas that Zanu PF had turned into their safe
zones. It is a thorn in the flesh of Zanu PF to see the party growing at
this rate, attracting hundreds of people to its rallies.

It should be clear to the likes of Veterai that the people of Zimbabwe have
outgrown this intimidation; no amount of vilification of their leadership
will dampen their spirits.

It is now a fact that it is not subject to debate that Prof Welshman Ncube
and the MDC will form the next government through the democratic processes
that we are currently negotiating. We would not lose sleep over the
statements of some desperate elements who seek to get recognition by
engaging in some dirty conversations with President Welshman Ncube.

The imagination that the MDC wanted to forcibly release Mzila from the
police custody is preposterous, the party is aware that these malicious and
baseless charges against the Deputy Secretary General will not see light in
a competent court, how then can the party want to take him by force when it
is aware that Mzila is going to be released finally.

The MDC over the years has seen its cadres facing serious allegations,
President Welshman Ncube included when he was charged of treason but in all
these charges the state has never won a conviction. I don’t remember a day
that the MDC has attempted a violent release of its cadres.

I am convinced that due to the commitment of the MDC to the liberation of
this country that has remained undiluted over the years, that it has the
policy in place for the rehabilitation of the victims of political

Those that have over the years found themselves in a position to please the
system by crying more than the hurt in exchange for comforts. The MDC will
put a system of  rewards and promotion based on professional achievements
and certainly not patronage.

Gifford Mehluli Sibanda is the Chief  Information and Communication Officer
of MDC.  He writes in his personal capacity.

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