By Lance Guma
27 April 2011
The daily newspaper, NewsDay, has reported that its offices were broken into
Monday evening. A laptop belonging to its editor and several hard drives
from computers used by journalists were stolen.
The incident comes six days after army chiefs at the Defence House
headquarters in Harare summoned the paper’s senior reporter, Verenanda
Langa, to be questioned over a story that General Constantine Chiwenga had
been taken ill and airlifted to China for treatment. The army wanted to know
her source for the story.
On Monday evening ‘unknown criminals,’ as the paper put it, broke into the
offices and stole ‘vital information and data’ contained in the hard drives,
including a laptop belonging to the editor Brian Mangwende. Coincidentally
the ‘thieves’ also targeted a computer belonging to Langa, the victim of the
army inquiry last week.
Other journalists whose computers were targeted include assistant editor
Wisdom Mudzungairi, political editor Kelvin Jakachira, sports editor
Wellington Toni, chief reporter Owen Gagare, chief business reporter Mernat
Mafirakurewa, business reporter Victoria Mtomba and sub editors Sam
Mutsvanga and Lillian Chitare.
On Wednesday the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe issued a statement
condemning the raid. The group said it was “an attack on the freedom of the
press in Zimbabwe” and was “calculated at instilling fear among media
personnel in the country.” A total of eleven computers were targeted in the
raid and NewsDay believes the idea was to paralyze the production of the
Last year in February ‘unknown people’ broke into the offices of Mines and
Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu and took away confidential
information which the Minister claimed was being used in the media against
him. The raid was linked to ZANU PF factional fighting over control of
diamonds, with one faction said to control the army and the other
controlling the spy agency.
In 2007 one of the faction leaders, Emmerson Mnangagwa, had a laptop,
documents and a mobile phone stolen from his office while still Rural
Housing and Social Amenities Minister.
The tactic is thought to be widely used by members of the military
Harare, April 27, 2011 - Unknown criminals broke into the offices of Newsday
in Harare on Easter Monday and stole the editor’s laptop, hard drives and
other components from computers used by senior editorial staff.
"Unknown criminals broke into the offices of News-Day in Harare on Monday
night and stole a laptop belonging to the paper's editor, Brian Mangwende,
hard-drives and other components from computers used by senior editorial
staff at the country's fastest growing independent daily. The stolen drives
contained vital information and data," Newsday said.
Mangwende writes a hard-hitting column titled: From the Editor’s Bottom
Mangwende said the raid was a serious blow on press freedom coming as it did
a few days before World Press Freedom Day commemorations on 3 May 2011. “We
will not be deterred by these criminals who are not merely targeting the
property of Newsday, but freedom of the media. “
Newsday is owned by media mogul, Trevor Ncube, the owner of Alpha Media
Holdings the publishers of the Independent, Standard and the South African
Mail and Guardian newspapers. Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chief executive
officer Raphael Khumalo said the break-in and theft was aimed at creating a
negative psychological effect on the papers’ staffers.
He said he hoped the action will be condemned as the world celebrates press
freedom day next week. "That does not put Zimbabwe in a good light. It is
going to be seen as a fight against the independence of the media."
He, however, commended the swift response from the police after they
reported the break-in and theft.
In a statement to the media, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) -
Zimbabwe urged the police to be thorough in their investigations and bring
the culprits to book.
“It should send a strong message to would-be other criminals of similar
intent that Zimbabwe is more than ready to defend press freedom.
“This incident should be given the seriousness it deserves and should not
linger unresolved considering the deafening silence on what became of the
investigations into the bombings of The Daily News offices and printing
press in 2000 and 2001 respectively. No one has been arrested for the Daily
News bombings since then,” read part of the MISA-Zimbabwe statement.
Meanwhile, police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri has blasted the
Daily News newspaper for leading with a headline titled "31 years of hell"
on the Independence Day more than a week ago.
The state controlled Herald newspaper said Chihuri blasted the Daily News
while addressing the police recruits who visited shrines where hundreds of
war fighters and ordinary people were buried in mass graves in places like
Chimoio, Mozambique. The police chief said the daily paper 'insulted' the
nation by writing the story saying the liberation war which ended in 1979
was still fresh in people's minds.
"Somebody writes that, '31 years of hell’. Have you been in hell and know
what it is? The sad memories (of the liberation struggle) are still fresh in
our minds and we should never forget that gallant sons and daughters of this
country lost their lives," Chihuri was quoted by the Herald as saying.
Chihuri, a former combatant has been commanding that police recruits visit
the shrines or mass graves during their training, a move that has been
described as meant to show his loyalty and support to Zanu (PF) and
President Robert Mugabe, analysts have said.
By KITSEPILE NYATHI, Nation Correspondent in Harare
Posted Wednesday, April 27 2011 at 18:21
Zimbabwe does not have the $400 million needed to organise elections this
year, Finance minister Tendai Biti has said.
Mr Biti said the coalition government also faces a $150 million deficit this
year because it had missed all revenue targets with almost half the year
The government has set a revenue target of $2.7 billion this year, but the
economy has performed poorly due to the unstable political environment.
President Robert Mugabe says he wants an early election because he has
failed to work with his rivals in a coalition government formed in 2009
following his disputed re-election a year earlier.
“The economy cannot sustain an election,” Mr Biti told journalists in
Harare. “The budget we have has remained static.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has submitted a budget of $400 million.
“Where do I get that kind of money when I am looking for $150 million to
fund the budget deficit if the revenues remain as they are?”
The revelations by the minister came hard on the heels of an election road
map produced by the three parties in the coalition last week, which
effectively rules out elections this year.
Negotiators from President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) formations crafted the blueprint with the assistance
of facilitators appointed by South African President Jacob Zuma.
The draft is now awaiting the approval of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) — the guarantors of Zimbabwe’s power sharing deal.
Some of the important issues contained in the roadmap are the constitution
making process and electoral reforms, which must be completed before the
polls are held.
Both processes are beyond schedule with the referendum on the new
constitution expected towards the end of the year. Indications are now that
a credible election may only be possible at the end of next year.
The coalition government has managed to halt the country’s rapid economic
decline, but President Mugabe’s reluctance to fully implement the
power-sharing deal is threatening to reverse all the gains.
By Guthrie Munyuki, Deputy News Editor
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 09:48
HARARE - Finanace minister Tendai Biti has warned that foreign trips -
including President Robert Mugabe's to Asia as well as ministers' travel
jaunts - may blow up to US$50 million this year if they are not curbed.
“The situation is out of hand. It’s alarming. It’s frightening. It’s
criminal that you can spend $12,5 million on travelling and you can’t put
that money either into health or education.
“At this rate, the $28 million which was spent last year on foreign travels
could be easily surpassed. The travel expenses could reach $50 million by
end of the year,” an exasperated Biti said yesterday.
Since the beginning of this year, Mugabe’s private and medical excursions to
the Far East have gobbled an estimated $12 million, while millions more have
been spent in other nondescript travels by ministers.
Mugabe is due to chew millions more US dollars tomorrow when he leaves for
Italy to attend the Food and Agriculture Organisation summit in Rome.
According to presidential spokesman George Charamba, Mugabe is expected home
from yet another trip to Asia tomorrow morning, and will be back in the air
hours later, heading for Europe.
Questioned about Mugabe’s travel expenditures at the presentation of the
state of the economy yesterday, Biti said the cost of foreign trips was
“I don’t know why you are asking a political question instead of an economic
question because I am the Minister of Finance.
Of course, government trips include the President’s trips; he is part of the
government,” he said.
Biti said what was more disquieting about these foreign trips was that
nothing tangible had come from them, even though they were gobbling enormous
amounts of money from the treasury.
He also bemoaned the lack of transparency that characterised many of the
But Biti’s “we eat what we gather” policy, which encompasses austerity
measures and huge cuts in spending, is clearly falling on deaf ears.
Since January, Mugabe, dogged by age and persistent rumours of ill health,
including that of his wife Grace lately, has travelled five times to
Singapore on medical grounds.
Weekend reports claimed that the octogenarian had on each of his Asian
jaunts requested US$3 million for travel expenses.
The excursions, which often see the president commandeering Air Zimbabwe
planes, include an army of aides and bodyguards.
Recently, striking pilots were compelled to come back to work and fly him to
The money that Mugabe and his entourage receive from the treasury is mainly
for accommodation, allowances for the travelling party and an emergency
Biti said government’s wage bill had become astronomically high compared to
other Sadc countries, and this was worrisome.
“Total employment costs during the first quarter amounted to US$248,6
million, accounting for 48% of the total recurrent expenditures.
“Mor appalling is the fact that, despite this high wage bill, individual
salary levels in the civil service are pathetic.
The civil service audit that was sanctioned by government in 2009 has
revealed rampant existence of ghost workers,” he said. “However, there has
been slow movement in rectifying the anomalies and the nation continues to
suffer as a result.
“Clearly, eliminating these ghost workers remains the only avenue, not only
to stop the haemorrhaging of the fiscus, but also to competitively reward
genuine civil servants.
“Government should therefore, move with speed on this issue.”
Biti said the civil servants audit revealed that at least 75 000 jobs were
questionable and 13 500 of these were definite ghost workers who remained on
the government payroll.
Public Service Minister Elphas Mukonoweshuro has handed over the report to
cabinet which is yet to make a decision on the matter, which has attracted
Government could be losing as much as US$11 million every month to ghost
workers at a time when the majority of the civil servants are earning
On average, depending on the grade, civil servants earn between US$240 and
US$520 a month.
Civil servants have warned that they could strike if government does not
improve their salaries, which are well below the US$520 poverty datum line.
Mugabe has repeatedly promised them increments based on diamond revenues,
which Biti said yesterday were surrounded by a veil of secrecy.
“As it is, we are going to have a shortfall of US$150 million by the end of
the year. I don’t know where I am going to get the money, but it has to be
“We can only improve the salaries of the civil servants when we are able to
create jobs, attract foreign investment and have transparency,” he said.
Reduce Mugabe’s foreign trips - Biti“Government’s wage bill has become
astronomically high compared to other Sadc countries”
By Thelma Chikwanha, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 16:24
HARARE - As local and regional concerns around President Robert Mugabe’s
health status continue to grow, the clamour for the Zanu PF leader to
publicly declare once and for all whether he is fit enough to lead Zimbabwe
is reaching a crescendo.
So bad has the speculation around the president’s health become that some
parliamentarians, from both the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
Zanu PF, are believed to be working together to investigate the possibility
of impeaching him on account of his advanced age and alleged failing health.
While the likelihood of that happening any time soon appears remote, the
concerned legislators have been emboldened by the dramatic defeat of Zanu PF’s
candidate in the recent speaker of parliament elections.
It is generally accepted that some Zanu PF MPs voted with their MDC
counterparts to vote back Lovemore Moyo and to embarrass Zanu PF’s chairman,
Simon Khaya-Moyo in that epoch-making ballot.
At the same time as Zimbabweans are seized with the issue of the president’s
wellbeing and his frequent visit to the Far East for medical assistance,
Sadc leaders have also been quietly expressing their anxiety about the
87-year-old’s frail physical condition and what this might mean in the event
that his fitness continues to worsen.
The concerns around Mugabe’s health also come as Sadc and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai have expressed some disquiet around the fact that Mugabe
is no longer in charge of the country as securocrats have allegedly taken
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said while they wished Mugabe
well, his health status was a “legitimate national issue” for Zimbabweans
and needed to be dealt with openly and transparently.
“As we have seen across our border, in South Africa, when Madiba (Nelson
Mandela) fell ill, the whole of South Africa went into panic mode and this
only changed when the South African government became a little bit more
upfront with his condition.
“It is the same here in Zimbabwe. People are genuinely concerned about the
president’s state of health and what this means for our troubled nation.
Sadly, there has been so much disinformation and clearly equally untruthful
denials about how he is feeling and this is creating unnecessary speculation
“Someone in Zanu PF ought to realise that the nation now needs assurance
that the president is well and in charge of the country. Failure to disclose
his status is contributing to the whispering crisis and the paralysis in
some parts of government that we see,” said an analyst who requested
University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer John Makumbe said people
deserved to know if the president was ill or not because a significant
amount of money had been spent on the president’s trips while civil servants
were denied salary increments.
Makumbe said releasing information on the state of the president’s health
was a matter “of good and transparent governance”, where people had the
right to know about the health of their president and his wife.
“People need to know how much they are paying to have the president and his
wife treated. People also need to know why he has to go to the Far East to
get treatment, yet China is willing to send its doctors here.
“People also deserve to know why he is not being treated here as many
Zimbabweans do,” he said.
Makumbe went on to say that the “president’s illness is no longer a secret”
because of the number of trips he has made to the Far East.
“Many Zimbabweans think the smart thing to do is for him to step down and
nobody will chase him away. To assume that at 87, he still has what he had
at 37 is unreal.
“It’s also advisable for him (Mugabe) to take a rest while Tsvangirai is
still in charge of the MDC because he (Tsvangirai) will not take him to the
“Other guys will parade him along First Street,” Makumbe said.
Human rights researcher Pedzisai Ruhanya, who believes securocrats are now
the defacto leaders of the country, said that the physical appearance of the
president bore witness to the fact that he was ill.
“It is a general sickness that is associated with old age. At 87 we cannot
expect him to be fit.
“We expect him to resign and rest and allow those who are healthy, those who
are fit to administer the affairs of the state after a democratic free and
fair election,” Ruhanya said.
Crisis Coalition spokesperson Philip Pasirayi said people had the right to
access information concerning the health of Mugabe because it was an
important criterion used in the election of a president.
“The first criterion for the election of a president is the state of his
health. People should have the freedom to talk about the president’s health
on the basis that it is them who voted him into office,” Pasirayi said.
He said Zimbabweans wanted a president who was fit and energetic enough to
drive the country forward.
By Alex Bell
27 April 2011
Robert Mugabe and his cronies have once again been exposed as the top
beneficiaries of the unlawful land grab campaign, in a new report published
The report by the Daily News shows that Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, as
well as most ZANU PF cabinet members and top military personnel, own
multiple farms across the country. The list shows that the land grabbers own
a staggering five million hectares of Zimbabwe’s best agricultural land,
which is a third of all the land seized over the past 11 years.
The list says the Mugabe’s own at least 13 farms, covering more than 15 000
hectares, while 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 in
Makonde, while the First Lady’s late brother, Reward Marufu, is listed as
owning Leopards Vlei farm in Glendale and Kachere farm in Mazowe.
At the same time, Mugabe's deputy Joice Mujuru, her husband Solomon Mujuru
and many of their relatives are said to own at least 22 farms.
Among the military top brass listed as beneficiaries are the Commander of
the defence forces Constantine Chiwenga and Air Marshall Perence Shiri, who
have two farms each. Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri is listed
as having one farm.
Almost all ZANU PF politburo members, MPs and senators were also allocated
farms, as well as many traditional leaders and top judges.
The Daily News report supports the information revealed by an investigation
by the ZimOnline news service last year, which also exposed that Mugabe and
his cronies are the country’s top land barons.
The ZimOnline report shows that, contrary to Mugabe’s claims that the land
grab was for the benefit of the nation, a “new well-connected black elite of
about 2,200 people now control close to half of the most profitable land
seized from about 4 100 commercial farmers.” The report said that Mugabe and
his top allies control nearly 40 percent of the 14 million hectares of land
seized from white-owned farms since the land grab began in 2000, which “if
put together are the size of Slovakia.”
John Worsley-Worswick from Justice for Agriculture (JAG) told SW Radio
Africa on Wednesday that these reports reaffirm the critical need for an
independent land audit. He said the reports are no surprise, but emphasised
that an audit is necessary “to hold these guys to account.”
Worsley-Worswick said that the land grab has been nothing more than “an
insidious political programme that has allowed and legitimised looting.” He
added that the land “beneficiaries” are “the illegal recipients of stolen
“This is theft, that is all it comes down to, and an audit needs to hold
these people accountable for the destruction of the economy, the rights
violations that have occurred on the farms during jambanjas, everything,”
By Godfrey Mtimba
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 15:36
HARARE - Controversial Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZINLWA) leader, Jabulani Sibanda on Monday left scores of villagers struck
in fear after he threatened to unleash former liberation fighters from
Matabeleland to the province to “deal” with all suspected MDC supporters
ahead of anticipated elections later this year.
Addressing villagers who were force marched to a meeting purportedly to
teach them the liberation war history at Gozho Primary School in Masvingo
Central, Sibanda said his organisation would send war veterans to unleash
terror to rival party supporters to whip them back to the fading Zanu PF
party and vote for President Robert Mugabe.
Sibanda accused the villagers of turning their backs against his leader,
Mugabe, whom he described as a legendary revolutionary.
He said Zanu PF’s fading rural support led to Mugabe being defeated by arch
rival MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the 2008 March harmonised elections.
The two are set to square off against each other in another election whose
date is yet to be announced, but political analysts fear there will be a
bloodbath following ugly scenes of violence that have been witnessed in the
past polls around the country.
Sibanda said this time they would swap war veterans from provinces so that
they will deal with villagers without showing any mercy as local liberation
war fighters were failing to do so because they are known in their
“This time we want to ensure maximum discipline and we will bring war
veterans from other provinces like Matabeleland to deal with errant people
who are against us. These will show no mercy unlike what our local comrades
who know you are doing. This time we want no defeat for our leader President
Mugabe, so we will be tough,” he said.
Sibanda also demanded that villagers vote for Zanu PF losing candidate for
the constituency, Edmund Mhere who was stunned by MDC’s Jefferson Chitando.
Villagers from the age of 12 were forced to attend Sibanda’s meeting while
village heads and other traditional leaders were ordered to write down the
names of people who declined to turn up for the meeting which forced
business to close at Gozho business centre, Mapanzure, Muchakata, and other
surrounding business centres.
Zanu PF has unleashed Sibanda to threaten villagers in the province after it
was shocked by losing majority parliamentary seats in the province to the
MDC for the first time since the country’s independence.
The party is vigorously using the combative war veterans leader and the
armed forces to instill fear to villagers so that they vote for Zanu PF and
its octogenarian leader, Mugabe who turned 87 two months ago and is one of
Africa’s longest serving presidents.
The MDC says Zanu PF has deployed the army in different parts of the country
to intimidate the people.
Sibanda added that he would be staying in the district for quite a long time
and announced a provincial war veterans meeting on 13 May at Nemamwa growth
“I will be here for a long time to monitor and teach you the right way as
many of you are losing direction and I promise you my war veterans will be
working with you until you are whipped into line. I will be meeting all war
vets in the province next month at Nemamwa and will map our way of doing
things to ensure we get your support in the coming elections,” he said.
Sibanda has been in the province since late last year and camped in three
districts which are Bikita, Zaka and Gutu in a mission to force people to
support Zanu PF.
Written by Munyaradzi Dube
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 10:51
CHITUNGWIZA - Chitungwiza has never seen anything like it before. Sex, drugs
and free booze were the order of the day at self-styled prophet Godfrey
Nzira’s week-long homecoming party. Nzira, a convicted rapist, was
celebrating his pardon by President Robert Mugabe. Eye witnesses said trucks
delivered beer and the faithful, vapositori, helped themselves to the
illegal mbanje, while the celebration deteriorated into a sexual orgy at
Nzira killed two cattle a day to feed the hordes who attended, and declared
that his war against Mugabe’s perceived enemies had just begun. Among those
present were senior Zanu (PF) officials Webster Shamu, Minister of
Information and Publicity, and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
The party at the shrine nestled deep in the indigenous trees adjacent to the
Harare-Seke highway started on April 19 and continued until Easter Monday.
The entire location reverberated to music from the likes of Alick Macheso
and Tongai Moyo spiced up with the music of Mbare Chimurenga.
Selling beer is by no means a new phenomenon for the ailing prophet, who is
a former employee of the National Breweries, now Delta. In his prime as a
prophet before he joined Zanu (PF) in the 90s, Nzira ran a shebeen in Seke
“We had a party of a lifetime and there was nothing religious about the
party. It was a homecoming party for Nzira but for us it was a way of
killing time with free beer and free food,” said a reveller.
Some even left the beer halls at Makoni Shopping centre, less that 500
metres away from the shrine, to enjoy the free-flowing beer - which was
accompanied by mbanje for those who wished to indulge themselves in the
illegal drug. But the scale of the beer drinking binge at a religious shrine
left many deeply shocked. They said it was a “sacrilege that demeaned the
“It was just too much. The noise was deafening and sleep was difficult,”
said a person who lives next to the shrine.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 09:09
HARARE - Zimbabwe's black empowerment advocacy group the Affirmative Action
Group (AAG) is dispatching a delegation to South Africa on Friday to offer
solidarity to embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.
Human rights group AfriForum took Malema to the Equality Court, contending
that his singing the struggle song "Kill the Boer"
constitutes hate speech. Malema in turn accused the group of wanting the
“limelight”. The AAG - aligned to President Mugabe's Zanu PF - said it was
offering solidarity to Malema as an honorary member of the AAG. He became an
honorary member of the group last year after his visit to Zimbabwe where he
was hosterd by President Mugabe and was given an
extravagant reception by Zanu PF.
The AAG is dispatching its president, Supa Mandiwanzira, and the secretary
general, Tafadzwa Musarara. “We are leaving for South Africa on Friday,"
Musarara said. "The delegation will be comprised of myself as
secretary-general and the
president, Supa Mandiwanzira.”
A solidarity letter says: “On behalf of the Affirmative Action Group, the
vanguard of broad-based black economic empowerment in Zimbabwe, I would like
to categorically state that, as our honorary member, the group is fully
behind you during and after your court trial proceedings. Our entire
membership is disturbed and extremely infuriated by the goings- on at the
by James Mombe Wednesday 27 April 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwe police have banned public marches to commemorate Workers’
Day next Sunday, apparently scared anti-President Robert Mugabe elements
could hijack the processions to turn them into mass protests against the
State security forces have, since the toppling of Presidents Zine El Abidine
Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak in mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt
respectively, clamped down hard on civil society activity and dissent in
general, banning several public meetings and marches by groups perceived to
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the police have banned
marches in the second largest city of Bulawayo and in the cities of Kwekwe
and Mutare, while the fate of more May Day processions planned for other
cities and towns remained in limbo with no word from the police whether
these will be allowed to take place.
ZCTU deputy secretary general Japhet Moyo, who insisted the police have no
“good reason” to ban the marches said the union has instructed its lawyers
to challenge the bans at the High Court.
The main The May Day rally that the police have not stopped – apparently
because it will not involve street marches -- is scheduled for Gwanzura
stadium in Harare.
The police and the state’s spy Central Intelligence Organisation have
maintained a watchful eye on civil society groups since the North African
protests, quickly stepping in to break up any mass gathering with potential
to turn into anti-Mugabe mass action.
The police earlier this month forcibly broke up public marches organised by
the Women of Zimbabwe Arise pressure group to mark the International Women’s
The police, who remain staunch Mugabe loyalists despite formation of a unity
government two years ago, also earlier this month poured out in full force
into the streets of Harare to block mass protests that had been called by a
group of exiled Zimbabwean activists.
While the police in February arrested 45 civil society activists found
watching videos of the Tunisian and Egyptian protests and allegedly
discussing how to stage similar mass action in Zimbabwe.
The majority of the activists have since been cleared of any crime by the
courts while five have been remanded out of jail on charges of treason
although there are indications the charges could be altered to a lesser
Most Zimbabwean political analysts say any attempts to stage Tunisia or
Egypt-style mass action in Zimbabwe would flop because of a fanatically
pro-Mugabe army and police that are likely to use force to crush such an
uprising. -- ZimOnline
Written by Munyaradzi Dube
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 12:36
HARARE - Wellington Chibebe (Pictured) the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has described the police move to ban May day
marches in Kwekwe and Mutare as a clear indication that the country has
become a police state.
Police in Mutare and Kwekwe imposed a ban on processions to mark the
celebrated May Day when workers reflect on their labour and also air freely
their demands. Chibebe said that as a union his organisation does not need
the permission of the police to carry out processions .
"We are a trade union and we are allowed to march when we want to and we
don't have to seek permission to do so instead we just notify them," said
Chibebe. Last month in Bulawayo the police arrested members of ZCTU in
Bulawayo as they marched in commemorating mother's day.
And Chibebe says that banning rallies and arrests of workers are only but a
demonstration that the country has relapsed into a police state. "It is not
police business to interfere with trade union work. Such actions show that
we are now a police state. We are going to take corrective measures so that
our workers are not prohibited from marching to mark this crucial event
Bulawayo, April 27, 2011 - Zimbabwe’s Co-National Healing Minister, Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu who had a taste of Zimbabwe's prison conditions recently on
Wednesday revealed that police officers had denied him food, water and a
bath on Independence Day during his detention at Lupane Police Station.
The minister had been arrested for statements he made during a recent
Gukurahundi memorial service and spent five days under police custody in
Lupane holding cells.
He told Radio VOP in an interview that the conditions in the cells were
inhuman and called on the Red Cross and other international humanitarian
organisations to urgently intervene to improve prison conditions.
“On Independence Day, I spent the whole day in police cells without any food
or water to drink," he said.
“I could smell some good food somewhere near the cell and could tell that
Independence Day celebrations were in full swing. Little did I know that my
party members had visited me and had been barred from seeing me. I told my
lawyer that I had been denied food and water and had not been allowed to
bath and he raised that in court.”
He slept without blankets in an overcrowded cell.
"In one cell there were 22 of us and we slept on the bare floor without
blankets. We would sleep in two rows, our feet joining at the centre and
that means there was no chance of turning around at night. It is so hard to
be in a police holding cell,” Mzila-Ndlovu added.
Mzila Ndlovu said he was kept like a common criminal for five days where he
was threatened and bullied by police officers including senior prisoners.
Mzila-Ndlovu, the MDC House of Assembly representative for Bulilima West and
co-Minister in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration, was arrested on Friday 15 April for addressing a memorial
service for Gukurahundi victims and survivors at a Roman Catholic Church
Mass in Lupane on Wednesday 13 April.
The minister appeared in court on 19 April where he was charged with making
utterances prejudicial to the State, and was given a US$500 bail.
Mzila Ndlovu was also ordered to surrender his travelling documents and was
ordered to stay at his given address in Bulawayo.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011 22:54
THREE more people who were travelling in an army truck that was involved in
a head on collision with a Toyota Landcruiser on Monday night near the 31km
peg along the Harare-Chirundu Highway have died.
This brings to seven, the number of people who perished in the accident.
Of the seven, four died on the spot, including a five-year-old boy while 11
others were injured when the accident occurred at around 5pm. Two died after
being admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital while one died at Inkomo Barracks
Hospital on Monday night.
Two more deaths were recorded nationwide by end of day on Monday, bringing
to 82 the number of people killed in road traffic accidents countrywide
during the Easter Holiday, making it the blooodiest Easter break in recent
Forty-four people perished on the roads during the four-day holiday last
According to police, two of the people who were injured in the Nyabira
accident and believed to have been travelling in the Toyota Landcruiser were
treated and discharged.
The other nine injured in the same accident were still admitted at
Police yesterday said the army truck was travelling from Inkomo, heading
towards the city while the Toyota Landcruiser was moving in the opposite
The names of the deceased will be released once their relatives have been
National police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri yesterday said
another 536 people were injured in 497 accidents recorded during the Easter
Harare and Mashonaland West provinces recorded the highest numbers of deaths
at 17 each, followed by Mashonaland East with 14 while the province with the
least deaths was Matabeleland North with one.
The causes of the accidents have been attributed to misjudgment, vehicle
defects, drunken driving and speeding.
Supt Phiri said they impounded 632 unroadworthy vehicles and issued 38 463
"We would want to urge drivers to continue obeying all traffic regulations
and the force will remain firm on the ground to ensure that sanity
prevails," he said.
Supt Phiri said 44 drivers were arrested for drunken driving.
By Tichaona Sibanda
27 April 2011
Over 6,000 MDC-T delegates are descending on Bulawayo for the party’s third
national congress that kicks off on Thursday. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila
Odinga is to officially open the congress on Friday.
Many delegates have been telling SW Radio Africa that the main agenda of the
gathering, the election of the party’s top leadership, will be one of the
most unpredictable elections since the party was formed 12 years ago.
Founding President Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to remain at the helm of
the party after he received nominations for re-election from all of the
party’s 12 administrative provinces. No other candidate has been nominated
for the presidency.
Political analyst Luke Zunga said there was a risk the MDC would have lost
its footing if it changed its leader at this critical time.
‘I think by maintaining the same leader they are consolidating their
challenge to depose Robert Mugabe who could be in opposition after the next
election,’ Zunga said.
However party insiders said what looked set to be a straight contest between
deputy leader Thokozani Khupe and party legislator Tabitha Khumalo has now
been transformed into a three-horse race. Another Bulawayo based party
stalwart, Norman Mabhena, has thrown his hat into the ring for the post of
‘We will certainly see one of the tightest races in the history of our
party, whose side effects no one dares to predict. Some candidates have
received more nominations than others but that will not guarantee them
‘When nominations were done, only the top leadership from provincial
structures sat down to choose their nominations. Each province has a
leadership of about 25 people and their thinking does not reflect that of
its other members from districts and wards who constitute about 80 percent
of the electoral college from each province,’ an MDC insider said.
Some positions that are to be hotly contested are that of party Secretary
General and Organizing Secretary. Incumbent Secretary General Tendai Biti is
facing a stiff challenge from International Relations expert Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro, the Public Service Minister.
The current Organizing Secretary Elias Mudzuri is facing a strong challenge
from Nelson Chamisa and many analysts believe he would be the first high
profile casualty to lose his post at the congress.
‘Mudzuri’s political fortunes have nose dived dramatically in the last year
and many people predict there is a good chance he might also lose party
primary elections for his Warren Park parliamentary seat,’ another MDC
The former Mayor of Harare is however expected to make it back into the
standing committee through the back door, with strong hints that he has
already been earmarked to be appointed the party’s director of elections.
This position allows the office bearer to sit in the expanded Standing
Committee, the top decision making body of the party.
Speaker of Parliament and party national Chairman Lovemore Moyo could face a
strong challenge from Lucia Matibenga. She was the former women’s
chairperson, elbowed from that post by Theresa Makone.
The co-Home Affairs Minister is to battle it out with Evelyn Masaiti and
former trade unionist and Kadoma central MP Editor Matamisa for control of
the Women’s Assembly.
Roy Bennett, as in the previous congress, is expected to be overwhelmingly
re-elected the Treasurer-General in absentia, after the military junta
hounded him out of the country. The popular former Chimanimani commercial
farmer has been deployed by the party as the new MDC chief representative to
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, Bennett’s deputy, is to slag it out with
Sekai Holland and Sam Sipepa Nkomo for the deputy Treasure-General’s
By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 April, 2011
Paul Siwela, one of the leaders of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), is
still in police detention, 3 weeks after he was granted bail by the High
Court. The Supreme Court has delayed setting a date for the hearing of his
bail appeal case and no explanation has been given. Siwela’s lawyer, Kucaca
Phulu, told SW Radio Africa that they would take steps to try and find out
the reasons for the delay, but conceded there was not much that could be
MLF leaders Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas were arrested on March 3rd
for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government at a meeting. They are
also accused of distributing flyers calling for the separation of
Matabeleland from the rest of Zimbabwe. The activists face treason charges,
which carry the death penalty in Zimbabwe if found guilty.
Phulu explained that all three activists were granted bail by the High Court
but Siwela was further detained after prosecutors, representing the attorney
general, invoked controversial legislation blocking his release. The law
says they have seven days to submit their bail appeal and this was done 3
Phulu said he has not received any information from the Supreme Court, which
is due to hear the bail appeal case. “We are in the dark as to why it is
taking too long,” said the lawyer. But he would not be drawn to speculate
whether the MLF policy of separating Matabeleland from Zimbabwe had any
bearing on the delay. “The case is still before the courts,” he added.
Meanwhile Siwela remains in custody at Khami Remand Prison. Phulu said the
activist is obviously distressed at the delay because he has not been found
Observers have criticized the arrests as part of the ongoing crackdown on
political activists by the Mugabe regime, which is supposed to be partners
with the MDC factions in a coalition government. An illegal ban on public
and private meetings is also being enforced by the police, who have
disrupted several MDC and civic gatherings this year.
The MLF secretary for legal affairs, Sabelo Ngwenya, told NewsDay newspaper
last week that the group had decided to take their illegal arrests and
harassment by the Mugabe regime to the African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). They intend to name Robert Mugabe himself and the
Zimbabwe government in the case. But unfortunately the Commission only makes
recommendations and cannot punish offenders.
Harare International Festival of the Arts has rolled into life with various plays, theatre, dance and music scheduled from Tuesday 26 of April to the 1st of May.
However the main focus today was "Rituals" a play by Rooftops Promotion which has been allowed to show by the police.
Riruals which was authored by Stephen Chifunyise and directed by Daves Guzha is a musical journey through community driven healing processes that are impeded by lack of political will.
The play has since been termed the excellent rendition of the very complex process of allowing communities to heal the rifts in their midst while the macro conditions which caused the rift in the first place have not gone away.
Most of the acts in the play portrayed the events during and after the March 2008 harmonised elections and June 2008 run off which left close to 200 people dead.
Can a legal settlement to political violence super cede the spiritual settlement of appeasing the avenging spirit in the case of murder?
Hoe possible is it for an activist to confess knowledge of murder and compensate the dead person's family with a daughtre without risking being arrested and condemned for abusing the right of the girl child?
Such questions are loaded in the play which promotes community driven, not just national driven healing as it appeals for individuals as opposed to institutionla interventions in peace building and reconciliation.
The group made headlines folloowing their arrest in Manicaland on 5 January 2010 only to be acquitted on 22 February 2011.
In Bulawayo police tried to stop the play but were told not interrupt with the play after and exparte application by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
In Mashonaland Central the police arreted the team and refered them to law and order in Bundura but were later released due to lack of evidence.
The play has attracted so much attention even from politician hence the presence of various opposition figures suct as Trudy Stevenson and the first HIFA outing today.
Question Time brings you part 2 of the interview between SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma and MDC-T Treasurer General, Roy Bennett. The exiled Bennett responds to listener’s questions on a variety of issues, including reports that the MDC is broke and state media claims that lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa advised him to escape arrest and leave the country. Bennett also reflects on his ‘harrowing’ time in custody at Mutare Remand Prison.
Interview broadcast 13 April 2011
Lance Guma: Hallo Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me for part two of the Question Time interview with MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett. Last week we covered several of your questions mainly centred on the call by Roy Bennett for Old Mutual to withdraw controversial investments in Mbada Diamonds and Zimpapers.
We continue this week with more of your questions and obviously I have to start by thanking Roy for joining us once again.
Roy Bennett: Pleasure Lance, thank you.
Guma: Now Roy, a ZANU PF sponsored publication last week claimed you were advised by your lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to escape arrest in Zimbabwe when it became clear you would be charged with contempt of court and perjury. Let’s start off with that – would you like to respond to their claims?
Bennett: Well again Lance, we understand the people we’re dealing with; we understand the tremendous good Beatrice has done and we understand her threat to the regime through her representation to people through Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who are facing human rights abuses and unjust and unfair attacks by the ZANU PF government, so again these people will put a spin on anything.
There’s no ways Beatrice advised me that I shouldn’t come back to Zimbabwe or that I must escape Zimbabwe because I am facing arrest. She confirmed with me that there were warrants out for my arrest for contempt of court and for perjury and even for her to get that, she had a run around from the CID Law and Order who for a long time refused to tell her.
It is then up to me to make the decision whether I come back or not and whether I want to go to prison and face these charges, looking at the number of charges that have been put against me in the past and also looking at the fact that we’re going into elections and where would I be most useful.
So it’s totally, totally false and very misleading to blame Beatrice or try and connect her, but knowing these people, they want to have a go at her so they’ll use anything.
Guma: What’s the status of those issues? Do they have an arrest warrant out for you? How far have they gone in this campaign?
Bennett: I understand there are arrest warrants out for me. I understand that people were waiting to arrest me on my re-entry into Zimbabwe. I’m sure nothing’s changed, I’m sure these people are still as relentless as ever and that the only thing they understand is repression and fix their munhu (fix their person).
Guma: Interesting Beatrice received an award recently and she was talking about attempts by several people within ZANU PF to bribe her to stop her human rights work. She was saying they were offering her farms and seats on several boards of parastatals. Were you surprised when you read that?
Bennett: Not at all, these people will go to any lengths Lance, they will go to any lengths. The current 51% indigenisation – it’s the lengths they are going to, to try and patronise members of the security, members of any of the securocrats to try and keep them loyal to ZANU PF by taking something away from someone and giving it to somebody else and hold them beholden to the ZANU PF party through patronage.
So it’s not only that they’ve offered her farms – I’m very sure that Beatrice would have received very severe phone calls and threats as well as offers of monetary value.
Guma: Simon in Harare says the state media is going to town about claims that the MDC is broke and has for over a month now failed to publish its weekly newsletter owing to financial constraints. As Treasurer General, what’s the position of the finances?
Bennett: Lance it’s a difficult one. Simon himself lives in Zimbabwe, most political parties survive on the funding from their members but how do you expect anybody in Zimbabwe under the current economic conditions to fund anything? It is very, very difficult for us to raise funds.
We don’t have the corruption, we don’t have the patronage that ZANU PF has into the diamond mines, into the platinum mines, into the gold, into forcibly getting money out of businesses on the threat of 51% indigenisation.
This is how these people keep going, that is how they raise their funds and have the funds to carry out their human rights abuses they have on the people of Zimbabwe. We don’t have that. We don’t extort money out of anybody. We don’t steal money from anybody.
We don’t use Zimbabwe’s natural resources to enrich ourselves to then pay people to carry out acts of violence. We battle, we battle for resources, it’s a continual battle and its part of the reason that I am sitting here in London trying to raise those resources to keep the party machinery moving and to keep things going.
Guma: Now as you are saying, you are leading this major fund raising effort from here in the UK, leading what has been called a Global Advocacy Programme. Now it has been mentioned you are even planning a Free Zimbabwe concert – talk us through this and how your supporters and well-wishers can help.
Bennett: Well again Lance, it’s a party programme. I’m merely a representative to try and help on the organisational part. Obviously the first thing comes is the funds because when you’re planning an event of this magnitude, it requires event management companies, it has to be done properly and in order to have that you have to have the funds but on the Global Advocacy, any of our friends and listeners who have connections to anybody in the celebrity or respected environment who could connect us to those people, for them to support our cause towards a violence-free and fair election.
Anybody that could help us with connections to groups that would be prepared to get on a platform and play for the recognition that we need a violence-free and fair election in Zimbabwe. Anybody that can help in that aspect through either contact, through material, through resources – please, please contact us through the freezimbabwe.com web site.
Guma: Now I know Roy the Political Finances Act bars foreign funding of political parties, but if your supporters in the Diaspora wish to help the party, is that considered foreign funding?
Bennett: Of course it is. ZANU PF will use any excuse, that’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m not going back to Zimbabwe until we have a free Zimbabwe where all the repression’s gone and I will take the stick and I will take the blame and there’s nothing they can do to me with those regards Lance.
Guma: From Mutare comes an email from a listener who says he was among a group of people who in 2009 supported calls for your release outside the police station in the city. When you eventually left Mutare Remand Prison you described your incarceration as a harrowing experience. Talk us through what you went through Roy.
Bennett: Lance it was most horrific. I don’t even like to think about it. When I left prison I did everything in my power to have an expose, for that to be highlighted and to be seen – and it was and as a result of that you had the International Red Cross Doctors Without Borders get involved in the prisons and help but it’s still, you cannot help a system that through its ministry and the Minister of Injustice, Patrick Chinamasa, who one day has to face what he has put the prisoners in this country through – how can you arrest and incarcerate people under such conditions?
If you haven’t got the means to protect people that are under government custody it’s terrible. You know the conditions are overcrowded, the food is non-existent, a lot of the food because the conditions for the prison wardens and the prison officers are so bad that a lot of that food is sold outside of the prison and doesn’t reach the prisoners.
You know it is absolutely horrific those conditions and I’m sure that they remain the same, I’m sure the overcrowding is still there and what is needed is good governance and it’s needed a fiscus that can support the ministries and put prisons there that are prisons where people go in there, they have dignity and they have a chance to reflect and reform. The way prisons are there now you turn people into animals in those conditions.
Guma: You also talked about five people having died while you were there and their bodies being collected after four, five days.
Bennett: Absolutely, well you see at that stage it was the time of the hyper-inflation, the government was totally defunct. ZANU PF forget that they had completely destroyed the country so prisoners were getting a basis of one meal a day based on a hand sized plate of a bit of sadza and water really and things like HIV develop into full blown Aids and many of the people were suffering with full blown Aids and it was actually six that died in the 40 days that I was there.
The government didn’t even have the fuel to send vehicles to come and fetch the bodies from the prison to take it to the mortuary. They didn’t have fuel – I sat there, in that time, and in two weeks nobody went to court. They didn’t even have a vehicle to take the people who were on remand, some of them on charges they should have been released, they couldn’t even take the people to court because they didn’t have a vehicle and that went on for the whole of 2008 and it must have been mirrored all round the country.
So the pain and suffering that that ministry caused to people that should have been released because you can’t look after somebody in prison – why kill them there? Why put them under conditions where they starve to death and there’s not the medical support or the support for those people.
So it’s very close to my heart Lance and it’s very, very painful to remember it and to go through it and it’s certainly something that when we achieve a free Zimbabwe under an MDC government that I will certainly put the biggest of my efforts to help assist and make conditions in those prisons become humanitarian and at least somebody is treated like a person and not like an animal.
Guma: Do you think part of the problem is a general, is it a lack of political will or just a general assumption that oh well these are prisoners, they are bad people, who gives a damn about their welfare?
Bennett: Exactly, that’s exactly what it is. It’s not just about that, it’s the ZANU PF culture and mentality – they do not give a damn about the people of Zimbabwe. The whole legacy that ZANU PF was supposed to stand for, and it was very interesting to see Edgar Tekere’s comments recently about all that they had fought for in the liberation struggle has been sacrificed for nothing because there’s no ways that they would fight for what is there in Zimbabwe today and it is that whole culture of don’t care about people, the chefs is all that matters, the chefs’ welfare, money, ten cars, big houses, kids overseas at the most lavish schools and to pay for it at the will and expense of the people.
Guma: Now when you left remand prison in 2009 you went straight to Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s rural home to pay your respects following the death of his wife Susan. Elizabeth texting from Masvingo is interested to get your views on that car crash that killed Mai Tsvangirai and whether you think it was a genuine accident.
Bennett: I personally am not in government and I fully understand President Tsvangirai’s hurt and sorrow but I honestly believe those people planned that and executed that, myself personally that’s what I believe.
I don’t believe it was an accident, it was just too opportune for me to have been an accident. The people involved, the fact that the CIO were involved in escorting our president – I think those people – that’s what they do, that’s what they understand, that’s what they’re good at, that’s what they live by, is intimidation, violence, killing, fear – all the bad things.
Guma: Was there a lot of pressure on your party to handle this matter delicately given we were just going towards a transitional period where people were trying to get the two parties together in a coalition government?
Bennett: Absolutely Lance. If you look at what President Tsvangirai has sacrificed on personal capital, political capital, his own feelings, it’s absolutely, it’s none other than total commitment to the country and the people of Zimbabwe and yes, there is a lot of that, it’s to try and make something work and so therefore you have to make sacrifices and President Tsvangirai is that kind of man.
He’s made those sacrifices, he’s made those sacrifices personally and for politically for the people of Zimbabwe, but they understand Lance. Everybody knows, people are not stupid, the average man in the street – don’t ever take him for granted – he knows exactly what the situation is. And all ZANU PF are and continually do is score their own goals.
Guma: And our final question for you Roy, just out of interest – you were someone the Chimanimani community took to heart, very loved in the constituency, you have since of course been displaced by the regime from that particular part of the country – are you still in touch with people back there?
Bennett: Most definitely Lance on a daily basis just about. I speak to people there, you know the current, the new elections, the new chairman, I speak to the youth chairman, I speak to the organising secretary on a regular basis.
Not two or three days go by that I don’t chat to them and understand what’s going on in the area and they’re the ones that call me, they give me comfort, they reassure me that I’ll be home soon and you know Lance (speaks in shona).
Ndombo taura ne Shona, ndokuti zvinyaso kunzwika. Kwataka ronga zvinhu izvi, tirivanhu veku Chimanimani, patakanyatso kubatana. Nguva yandakamirira Zanu PF, Zanu PF ikati rasa. Pa pasina MDC. Saka patakaenda kunotsvaga veMDC tichitaura navo, tichizovapa rudo kuti tinoda kushanda nemi, isusu pachedu takapanachisungo.
Vanhu veku Chimanimani, ndakavaudza kuti munotozviziva kwatiriukuenda uko kwakaoma. Zanu inotozikanwa. Hapana asinga zive Zanu nemamirire e Zanu. Saka imi kana mune chokwadi kuti mucha mira, ininiwo ndinomira. Ngatipane chisungo kuti hatisiyane. Saka nhasi na nhasi chisungo chiripo.
Hatisati tambo regedzana, ende ndineshuwa hatimboregedzana. Ticharamba tichishanda tese, tozosumudza nzvimbo yedu, tozonyatso pinza chokwadi, runyararo, upfumi mubudiriro yedu.
Loose translation: I used to represent Zanu PF and then they deserted the people. Back then there was no MDC. We formed MDC structures by looking for people, giving them love and building up a commitment with them that I will always be there for them.
I told the people of Chimanimani that the road we would travel would be hard. Zanu PF is known for its repression. I will continue to work with the people of Chimanimani and bring truth, peace and prosperity in its development.
Guma: And is this where the name Pachedu comes from?
Bennett: I don’t know, I’m not sure Lance, possibly.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett joining us for the part two final segment of the Question Time programme where he was joining us and taking your questions. Roy thank you so much for being our guest.
Bennett: Pleasure Lance, thank you very much and thanks to the people of Zimbabwe, be strong, we’ll get there soon.
SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe’s Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.
Written by John Makumbe
Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:02
Thirty-one years since the advent of Independence in Zimbabwe, and only two
years after the inauguration of the inclusive government, it is apparent
that all is not well in the power structures of this nation. (Pictured: John
The foot-dragging that is the hallmark of President Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) in
relation to the implementation of the provisions of the global political
agreement (GPA) is clearly a function of the diversity of opinions in that
beleaguered party regarding the merits and demerits of the government of
national unity (GNU).
It is my considered view that there is a Fifth Column within Zanu (PF) that
is very unhappy about the continued existence of the GNU. This Fifth Column
largely comprises hardliners or hawks who view the inclusion of the two MDC
formations in government as an intrusion and a negation of the power and
authority of Zanu (PF).
Included in this Fifth Column are the securocrats, who have effectively
taken over the running of Zanu (PF) from the civilians. Mugabe is merely the
front used by this Fifth Column to give a semblance of civility to an
essentially military take over and control of all national affairs.
The detested Joint Operations Command (JOC), comprising mainly but not
exclusively the chiefs of staff, is the core of the Fifth Column. The Fifth
Column would like to see the GNU collapse as soon as possible and fresh
elections held regardless of whether a new constitution will have been
adopted or not. In fact the Fifth Column would prefer to have elections
under the current constitution which is significantly favourable to Zanu
Elements of the Fifth Column are notorious for, inter alia, gross violations
of human rights, abuse of power, ridiculous demands for support for Mugabe
and Zanu (PF) from all Zimbabweans, and high levels of corruption. Most of
the vicious attacks levelled against the SADC Troika following its
Livingstone mini summit were authored and directed by members of the Fifth
Column. Mugabe had to undertake serious damage control soon after these
attacks were published, but to date there is clear evidence that the hawks
within Zanu (PF) are increasingly becoming impatient with the 87-year old
man and his diplomatic etiquette.
If the Fifth Column could have its way the GNU would be dissolved and fresh
elections called before you can say, “Jack.” Mugabe is well aware that the
threats from the SADC and Jacob Zuma need to be taken seriously. The Fifth
Column is crudely undiplomatic in its approach. It regrets that Mugabe is
handling the MDC formations with kid gloves.
Indeed, most of the current arrests and harassment of MDC members and
supporters are the work of this group. The purpose of these evil acts is to
get the MDC formations so frustrated that they will throw in the towel and
walk out of the GNU. Fortunately, the leaderships of the MDC formations are
aware of these sick machinations and are determined to hold on to the
democratic space that they have managed to emancipate from the Mugabe
The question that demands answers is: how do we deal with this Fifth Column
in the next few months? My view is that the Fifth Column is doing a lot to
discredit itself as well as to alienate itself from Mugabe, the SADC and the
doves within Zanu (PF).
The Fifth Column contains the seeds of its own destruction. It must be
accorded enough rope to hang itself as it almost did following the latest
SADC Troika meeting. It is also likely to botch up matters big time during
or soon after the forthcoming SADC extraordinary summit in Windhoek next
From the Zimbabwe Vigil – 27th April 2011
No safe haven for Swazi King
ZimVigil supporters had to search Mayfair on Tuesday when Swazi despot Mswati and his entourage of 50 failed to turn up at London’s deluxe Dorchester Hotel to stay for the Royal Wedding.
About 80 demonstrators had gathered outside the hotel to support the Swaziland Vigil which had arranged a picket of protest against Mswati’s oppressive rule – only to find that the Swazi freeloaders had gone to the nearby Four Seasons Hotel.
Mswati had obviously got the message as members of his entourage at the Four Seasons were overheard talking about our demonstration which had attracted much media attention with protesters carrying posters such as ‘Swazi King parties while country starves’ and ‘Royal Wedding guests are human rights abusers’.
The demonstration obviously embarrassed the Dorchester who made desperate efforts to contact the police to have us moved on to the Four Seasons.
The Swaziland Vigil now plans to demonstrate outside the Four Seasons at 6.30 pm on Saturday when Mswati is holding a reception.
Swaziland Vigil co-ordinator Thobile Gwebu said ‘Mswati must understand that things have changed. He is now an endangered species – only safe in his Zoo’.
For pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End?
Harare/Johannesburg/Nairobi/Brussels, 27 April 2011: The situation in Zimbabwe is deteriorating again under a new wave of political violence organised by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, and the country faces another illegitimate election and crisis unless credible, enforceable reforms can first be implemented.
Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End?, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the limitations of the much delayed reform process that threatens to derail the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA). President Mugabe’s call for early elections has increased fears of return to the unbridled violence of that year. Attacks have already intensified against those deemed to be enemies of his long-time ruling party, and Prime Minister Tsvangirai, the leader of the main wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), has appealed for help from the region.
A 31 March troika summit of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) responded sharply to the lack of progress in GPA implementation, as well as rising levels of violence and intimidation, with a communiqué that laid out steps that must now be taken to address the situation. This is a significant development that illustrates an unprecedented public hardening of attitudes and increasing frustration within the regional organisation toward the GPA signatories, in particular ZANU-PF.
“The next few months will determine whether SADC can follow up its words by securing action that advances the reform agenda and prospects for a sustainable transition”, says Piers Pigou, Crisis Group’s Southern Africa Project Director. “That in turn will indicate whether the conditions necessary for credible elections exist. It will be important for the West, including the UK, the European Union and the U.S., to give SADC, its South African-led facilitation team and the African Union strong support”.
The GPA was signed in September 2008 by the three parties - ZANU-PF, and the two wings of the former opposition, MDC-T and MDC-M - after Mugabe was “re-elected” in an uncontested run-off following violence that caused Tsvangirai (who led the first round) to withdraw. It was meant to provide a legitimate foundation for response to the multiple political and economic crises and did lead to an inclusive three-party government. But ZANU-PF, in partnership with the unreformed security sector leadership, continues to thwart any reforms that could facilitate a democratic transfer of power. The state media remains grotesquely unbalanced, and the criminal justice system is still used against ZANU-PF opponents.
The inclusive government should cooperate fully with SADC recommendations and enable a process that allows citizens to campaign for or against the draft constitution under preparation without fear. It must support the Constitution Parliamentary Affairs (Select) Committee’s (COPAC) constitutional reform process and other legislative measures to advance rule of law and overcome the legacy of political violence and impunity.
The full memberships of SADC and the African Union (AU), as GPA Guarantors, need to endorse the 31 March communiqué to give its recommendations even greater weight. They should also initiate a comprehensive assessment of violence and related matters to determine whether conditions are conducive for free and fair elections, as set out in the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
“It remains to be seen whether further tangible reforms will be secured through either the COPAC process or measures agreed to in the GPA”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “These reforms must be more than marginal, otherwise there will be a need to ask hard questions about what conditions will be in place when elections are held”.
Zimbabwe: The Road to Reform or Another Dead End?
Africa Report N°17327 Apr 2011
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Intensified violence against those deemed to be ZANU-PF enemies has exposed the limitations of Zimbabwe’s much delayed reform process and threatens to derail the Global Political Agreement (GPA). President Mugabe’s call for early elections has increased fears of a return to 2008’s violence. Prime Minister Tsvangirai has appealed for help from the region. Eventual elections are inevitable, but without credible, enforceable reforms, Zimbabwe faces another illegitimate vote and prospects of entrenched polarisation and crisis. GPA guarantors – the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its South African-led facilitation team – have an uphill battle to secure implementation. ZANU-PF is increasingly confident it can intimidate opponents and frustrate reform, and there is waning faith, internally and externally, in MDC-T capacities. Mugabe’s health and ZANU-PF succession turmoil are further complications. Without stronger international pressure on ZANU-PF, the tenuous current coalition may collapse, triggering further violence and grave consequences for southern Africa.
The GPA, signed by the three political parties (ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC-M) in September 2008, was intended to provide a foundation for response to the multiple political and economic crises, but it has become a battleground for control of the country’s future. As in 2008, ZANU-PF’s ability, in partnership with the unreformed security sector leadership (the “securocrats”), to thwart a democratic transfer of power remains intact. The state media is still grotesquely unbalanced, and the criminal justice system continues to be used as a weapon against ZANU-PF opponents, in particular the MDC-T.
The centrepiece of GPA reforms is a parliament-led constitution-making process under the direction of the Constitution Parliamentary Affairs (Select) Committee (COPAC). That body launched an outreach program in the latter half of 2010, but several civil society organisations and the MDC-T criticise it for falling far short of being inclusive and open and accuse ZANU-PF of having captured and manipulated the process. Many Zimbabweans, however, still consider the constitution-writing exercise important for moving the country forward. While drafting has begun, leading toward an all-stakeholders conference, parliamentary approval and a referendum, every step presents opportunity for opposition, delay and obfuscation.
Both MDC parties argue that COPAC must finish its work before elections are held, but ZANU-PF says elections can proceed with or without a new constitution and links its cooperation on democratic reforms to removal of targeted international sanctions, over which the parties have no control. In late February 2011, the facilitation team’s visit to Harare resulted in a commitment from the three party leaders to implement their August 2010 agreement on outstanding GPA issues. This did not include a commitment to the sequence of elections after a constitutional referendum. Nevertheless, having failed to produce an agreed plan themselves, the party leaders deferred to the facilitators to produce a roadmap for pre-election action.
The GPA guarantors and the facilitation team have until very recently shied from addressing poor progress directly. On 31 March 2011, however, the SADC troika (Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia) took note of the lack of progress in GPA implementation and related matters and the rise in levels of violence and intimidation and laid out steps that must now be taken to address the situation. This is a significant development that illustrates a public hardening of attitudes and increasing frustration within the regional organisation toward the GPA signatories, in particular ZANU-PF. The MDC-T welcomed the communiqué, which is a direct response to the multiple grievances it as well as civil society groups have expressed. ZANU-PF and Mugabe have countered that they will not tolerate external interference, even from neighbours. The next few months will determine whether SADC can follow its words by producing action that advances the reform agenda and prospects for a sustainable transition. That in turn will indicate whether the conditions necessary for credible elections exist.
The worsening climate of fear and violence means security sector reform (SSR) should be the most immediate challenge. In addition, important institutions need to be strengthened, including parliamentary committees and the Human Rights, Media and Electoral Commissions. These measures should be supplemented by continued support for civil society to engage with those bodies as set out in the GPA. Until the draft constitution is produced, however, it is unlikely that even the limited SSR contained in the GPA will be meaningfully addressed.
The facilitation team recognises that it needs a constant presence in Zimbabwe. Its roadmap should propose an audit of what has and has not been done, what the parties can and cannot achieve. If further power-sharing is inevitable, a pragmatic assessment of the current arrangement’s failure is needed. The guarantors and facilitation team have relied on the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), set up by the GPA – four members from each of the three signatory parties – for evaluations, but it has not fulfilled its mandate, due to inadequate monitoring capacity, no enforcement leverage and problems navigating the distorted balance of power within government. In recognition of its poor performance, the SADC troika recommended strengthening the facilitation team’s monitoring and reporting capacity, so it could work closer with the JOMIC. The annual progress review the Periodic Review Mechanism should provide in consultation with the guarantors has not been done, though the party leaders recently agreed to correct this. The guarantors must ensure a comprehensive review.
The roadmap should call upon the political leadership to collectively establish clear priorities, with a particular focus on how to secure conditions for credible elections. As endorsed by the recent troika summit, the SADC “Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections” provides the accepted frame of reference. The referendum envisaged for the draft constitution would be an important opportunity to test electoral conditions.
The GPA still offers a coherent framework for putting in place conditions for credible elections. However, progress remains stymied because ZANU-PF has not demonstrated a credible commitment to democratic reforms, and the MDC-T is not strong enough to force them through. The GPA guarantors and South Africa have now indicated they are prepared to take a much more hands-on approach, although it is unclear how this will manifest itself. It is important that they continually engage Zimbabwe’s political leaders to take their own commitments seriously and set clear benchmarks and timelines for achieving the concrete steps set out in the SADC communiqué. Accelerating the implementation of key reforms, many of which have already been approved, is all the more necessary because a credible election process cannot take place until the appropriate conditions are in place.
To the Inclusive Government formed pursuant to the GPA:
1. Cooperate fully with the recommendations in the communiqué of the 31 March 2011 SADC summit of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
2. Make finalisation of the COPAC constitution exercise a priority, including by identifying and utilising available resources and support from the GPA guarantors and the wider international community, so as to enable a process that allows Zimbabweans to campaign for or against the draft constitution without fear or persecution.
To the Constitution Parliamentary Affairs (Select) Committee (COPAC):
3. Pursue constitutional reform and other legislative measures that advance rule of law and overcome the legacy of political violence and impunity, including by promoting professional and accountable policing, removing the military’s involvement in internal policing and promoting effective parliamentary oversight of all security and intelligence structures.
To the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) as GPA Guarantors:
4. Endorse at head of state level in both organisations the 31 March 2011 SADC troika communiqué calling for constitutional reform before elections and a roadmap to enable credible elections to take place.
5. Initiate, including by deploying an AU exploratory mission, a comprehensive assessment of violence and related matters in Zimbabwe to determine whether conditions are conducive for free and fair elections, as envisaged under the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the SADC “Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections”.
6. Make recommendations to assist in the achievement of such conditions, including with respect to the need to ensure that the country’s security forces are not undermined by renegade elements.
7. Support the COPAC process and broader GPA reform initiatives through technical and financial assistance, as well as the deployment of personnel from the region where feasible; and review, in coordination with the political parties, the existing legislative agenda to identify GPA reform priorities that have not been addressed, with a focus on enabling conditions for credible elections.
8. Ensure that the facilitation team’s roadmap recommends a revision of the GPA’s internal monitoring and review mechanisms, in particular that:
a) JOMIC should have a more active role to deal with cases of political violence, including oversight of investigations by national police and producing regular public reports to the GPA signatories, who in turn should be obliged to respond publicly in writing; and
b) JOMIC reports should provide a basis for the Periodic Review Mechanism’s reporting and recommendations as set out in Article 23 of the GPA.
9. Affirm that participation of civil society organisations is necessary to provide full legitimacy to the COPAC and other GPA reform processes and to this end establish a channel for direct access to the SADC facilitator for civil society actors to raise concerns about implementation of the GPA.
To the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
10. Ensure full accountability and transparency in the use of its funds in support of constitution-making so as to create greater confidence in the process.
To the Government of South Africa:
11. Seek to use the South Africa-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security to undertake an assessment of defence and security conditions in Zimbabwe and their related implications for South Africa.
To the wider International Community, including the UN and European Union:
12. Assist, including by active diplomatic engagement, the efforts of the GPA guarantors to ensure and facilitate processes and institutions supporting the development of democratic and accountable governance.
13. Support and strengthen civil society’s efforts to provide coherent, systematic and accurate reports and analysis of violence, including by improving verification methods, identifying priority concerns, developing clear and effective channels of communication and, ultimately, by bringing findings to the attention of local, regional and international policymakers, institutions and media.
Harare/Johannesburg/Nairobi/Brussels, 27 April 2011
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