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African Leaders Pressure Mugabe

Published: April 1, 2011

JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe’s neighbors, long accused of being soft on its
autocratic president, Robert Mugabe, are putting an unusual amount of public
pressure on him to halt the political violence, intimidation and arrests
that have surged since his party began agitating for elections in recent

After meeting on Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political climate, the presidents
of South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique issued a statement late Thursday
night expressing “grave concern” about the country’s increasingly polarized
environment, one that human rights groups have attributed to Mr. Mugabe’s
party, ZANU-PF.

Zimbabwe had achieved a tenuous political stability in the two years since
regional leaders first pressured Mr. Mugabe to enter a power-sharing
government with his longtime rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, following a
discredited, violent 2008 election.

But that stability has been shaken in recent months. Journalists, activists
and civic workers have faced harassment and jailing. Soldiers and youth
militia under the control of Mr. Mugabe’s party have assaulted Mr.
Tsvangirai’s supporters, while police officers also answerable to Mr. Mugabe’s
loyalists have arrested leaders in Mr. Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, on charges the party says are false.

In recent days, the state media, controlled by Mr. Mugabe, has called for
the arrest of Mr. Tsvangirai himself on grounds that he should be held in
contempt of court for saying the country’s judicial system is biased in
favor of Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF.

In the past, regional leaders have stayed away from such issues, leery of
having Mr. Mugabe, a liberation hero to many for his role in ridding
Zimbabwe of white minority rule, accuse them of interfering in a sovereign
nation’s legal system.

But South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, the region’s mediator in the
Zimbabwe’s crisis, made it clear in meetings with Mr. Mugabe and Mr.
Tsvangirai in Livingstone, Zambia, on Thursday that Mr. Tsvangirai was not
to be arrested and that acts of violence, harassment and intimidation needed
to cease, said Mr. Zuma’s adviser, Lindiwe Zulu.

Ms. Zulu said in an interview Friday that Mr. Zuma declared, “All these
things must stop.”

Without mentioning Mr. Mugabe by name, the three southern African leaders
also insisted in their statement that Zimbabweans must have a chance to vote
on a new constitution, and that rules must be laid out to ensure a free and
fair vote, before the country holds an election to pick a president. Mr.
Mugabe has been pushing for a quick election this year – something Ms. Zulu
has said in recent interviews would take “a miracle” given how far behind
schedule the country’s constitution-making process has fallen.

Mr. Zuma’s bluntness, as described by Ms. Zulu, is a departure from the
much-criticized quiet diplomacy of South Africa’s former president, Thabo
Mbeki, who was seen by many analysts as having protected Mr. Mugabe, in
power since 1980, through years when his party oversaw elections widely
viewed as corrupted by fraud and violence.

But while Mr. Zuma has talked tougher than Mr. Mbeki, some diplomats in
Harare say that he has proved to be easily distracted by his own
considerable domestic political problems and has not yet found an effective
strategy for halting Zimbabwe’s backsliding – one that could bring back the
political crisis that has led to the country’s economic ruination.

Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, said
Friday that his party appreciated that this influential committee of the
15-nation Southern African Development Community had recognized the severity
of Zimbabwe’s problems.

“We await practical measures to make sure that the resolutions have an
impact,” he said. “In the past, resolutions are put on paper but not been
carried out in practice.”

The spokesman for Mr. Mugabe’s party, Rugare Gumbo, said in an interview
Friday morning that he had not yet been briefed on how to respond to the
statement issued by the regional heads of state. He did not respond to
repeated calls and text messages for the rest of the day.

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Region hardens on Zimbabwe's Mugabe over violence

Fri Apr 1, 2011 1:15pm GMT

* Regional leaders urge end to Zimbabwe violence

* Analysts say crackdown part of ZANU-PF campaign strategy

* Mugabe still pushing for early general elections this year

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 1 (Reuters) - Southern African leaders are hardening their
line against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe over political violence
before elections that may be held later this year.

Analysts say a call by a mini regional summit on Thursday for an end to a
crackdown on the opposition, including a wave of violence many blame on
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, may help to ease tension in the coming weeks.

But violence and intimidation are expected to resurface as Zimbabwe gets
closer to parliamentary and presidential polls.

"There is definitely a significant change in tone in what we heard from the
summit, it's quite hard by SADC standards," said Eldred Masunungure, a
political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.

"I think for now, it is going to help because ZANU-PF will take note and may
not want to antagonise SADC at a point when the stakes are not that high.
But when we get closer to the elections, we could get the usual game,
violence and intimidation," he told Reuters.

A meeting in Zambia on Thursday of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)'s security organ, attended by Zambian President Rupiah
Banda, South African President Jacob Zuma and their Mozambican counterpart
Armando Guebuza, condemned events in Zimbabwe in unusually strong language.

"There must be an immediate end to violence, intimidation, hate speech,
harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and
spirit of dialogue," the regional bloc said in a statement issued late at

The summit in the Zambian resort of Livingstone was also attended by Mugabe
and arch rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who were persuaded by SADC
to form a unity government two years ago after a disputed 2008 election.

Elections are meant to be held in 2013 or when democratic reforms are
completed and agreed with opposition but Mugabe has been considering early
polls for political advantage.

SADC has been criticised in the past for being too soft on Mugabe but the
tone of its leaders has stiffened as the country lurches from crisis to

Mugabe, 87 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has been
pushing for early polls before agreed democratic reforms, accusing his
opponents of wasting time on quarrels over appointments and delaying a
constitution re-writing process.

Analysts say an election without reforms, including a new constitution, a
free media and improved voter registration, will favour Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF party.

"The SADC position could help ZANU-PF to change course, not so much in
spirit but maybe in some sort of smoothness, in which case we get more
psychological games of intimidation than open violence," said Lovemore
Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a political
pressure group.

"But it's hard to say for certain what's going to happen."

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Southern Africa Region Slams Mugabe

Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg  April 01, 2011

The regional Southern African Development Community or SADC has delivered a
sharp rebuke to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and expressed
disappointment at the lack of progress in implementing the global political
agreement which is the foundation stone of the two-year-old inclusive

The SADC also decided to call for an extra ordinary summit on Madagascar.

The so-called Organ on Peace and Security comprising the leaders of three
countries in the southern Africa region handed out  stinging criticism of
the inclusive Zimbabwe government’s progress.

South African president, Jacob Zuma, SADC’s mediator on Zimbabwe,  expressed
"grave concern" about the resurgence of political violence,  arrests and
intimdation and demanded an immediate end to it.

The SADC leaders communique strongly rebuked Zimbabwean leaders for the
continuing stalemate and said  they will appoint regional officials who will
monitor progress towards free and fair elections.

Though it did not single out any of the Zimbabwean parties for blame,
independent human rights groups have directly criticized Mr Mugabe’s ZanuPF
party for a resurgence of political violence, arrests and intimidation.

Mr. Mugabe’s police  have recently arrested Energy Minister Elton Mangoma of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) party
and other officials and have threatened to arrest Mr. Tsvangirai himself.

The police have also banned rallies by Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC and the smaller
MDC led by Welshman Ncube. Both leaders and Mr. Mugabe were at the meeting
in the Zambian resort town, Livingstone Thursday.

Zimbabwe political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said the SADC communique and
committment was far stronger than usual, and that he was encouraged by its
commitment to insisting on the full implementation of the multi party global
political agreement, or GPA.

"I think this is a real breakthrough for the democratic forces in
Zimbabwe....issues around the violence around the full implementation of the
GPA  around preparations for free and fair elections," said  Raftopoulos.

South Africa has a team of three mediators who regularly visit Zimbabwe to
check on implementation of the political agreement. SADC decided Thursday to
back them up with a small presence of SADC personnel in Zimbabwe.

"Most importantly is the inclusion of a monitoring team from  SADC to have a
semi permanent presence in Zimbabwe and be able to evaluate and report
back," he said.

Mr. Mugabe has been pushing to hold elections this year, but a new
constitutution will only be ready for a referendum in Setpember, and most
political analysts now believe the next polls will be held in March,  2012.

The summit also considered the political crisis in Madagascar which has been
suspended from SADC because of a military coup in March 2009 which ousted
elected President Marc Ravalomanana and installed the current leader Andry

SADC has also been mediating there under former Mozambique President Joaquim
Chissano who recently proposed a "Roadmap" to guide the country back to new
free and fair elections and constitutional order.

But the political parties of Ravalomanana and two other former presidents,
Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, rejected the roadmap because they said it
would leave Mr. Rajoelina as president with too much power during the

The three leaders said Mr. Rajoelina had violated even the terms of the
unacceptable road map in his recent decision to appoint a prime minister and
cabinet ministers without consulting other parties.

The SADC Troika summit in Livingstone Thursday decided to refer the Malagasy
crisis to an extraordinary full summit of SADC which would be convened

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Cautious welcome for SADC criticism of Zim deadlock

By Alex Bell
01 April 2011
A cautious welcome has greeted the criticism of the political deadlock in Zimbabwe by leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), who appear to have finally adopted a tougher stance in reaction to the Zim crisis.
SADC’s security organ, the Troika, closed its summit of leaders on Thursday with a statement criticising the slow progress of Zimbabwe’s unity government in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
"The summit recalled past SADC decisions on the implementation of the GPA and noted with disappointment insufficient progress thereof and expressed its impatience in the delay of the implementation of the GPA," read SADC’s communiqué.
The statement did not mention Robert Mugabe by name, but did raise many of the concerns voiced by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in recent weeks. Tsvangirai two weeks ago embarked on a diplomatic offensive to brief regional leaders about ZANU PF’s intensifying campaign of violence and intimidation against MDC supporters, including a wave of arrests of top party officials and human rights activists.
"The summit noted with grave concern the polarisation of the political environment as characterised by inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrest and intimidation in Zimbabwe," the SADC statement said.
It continued: "There must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of the GPA."
The communiqué featured unusually strong language for SADC, which has always avoided criticising Mugabe. The regional bloc stands accused of siding with Mugabe on several occasions, and it's widely believed that the power sharing arrangement, drafted by SADC, helped give Mugabe a political life line.
Since the formation of the coalition, SADC has done nothing to pressure Mugabe and ZANU PF to abide by the GPA, and the regional bloc has faced harsh criticism for refusing to take strong action in Zimbabwe. The statement on Thursday appears to be a contrast to the usual behaviour of the group.
Over the past two years SADC has repeatedly drawn up timelines for the implementation of the GPA, but these deadlines have come and gone with no movement on the key outstanding issues. In November 2009, a SADC summit gave Zimbabwe’s leaders 30 days to implement the GPA, with no success. A similar deadline was then set in August 2010, but that deadline also passed with no reaction or criticism from SADC.
Dewa Mavhinga, the regional coordinator from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who was in Zambia for the summit, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that observers are “cautiously welcoming this change in sentiment.”
“We think this is a bold statement with important steps towards free and fair elections in Zimbabwe,” Mavhinga said, adding: “The proof of the pudding however will be in the implementation of what SADC has said.”
Mavhinga explained that SADC has repeatedly outlined what they expect to happen in Zimbabwe, without ever holding the principals in the unity government to account when these steps are not followed.
“What we want to see now is a clear roadmap towards elections, with a clear timeline and a commitment to dealing with non-compliance,” Mavhinga said.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai both attended the summit, and had separate meetings with the participating Presidents - South Africa's Jacob Zuma, Mozambique's Armando Guebuza, Zambia's Rupiah Banda and Namibia's Hifikepunye Pohamba.
It was reported that Tsvangirai emerged from his meeting smiling but refused to make a statement to the press. Mugabe meanwhile is said to have left his meeting “scowling” but told journalists it had gone "very well". Mavhinga meanwhile said that Mugabe’s ZANU PF delegation was not happy after their attempts to protest SADC’s final statement were refused.
The SADC communiqué called for the full implementation of the GPA and pledged the regional bloc’s commitment to formulate guidelines towards the holding of a free and fair poll in Zimbabwe. The Troika is also set to appoint a team of officials to join South Africa’s facilitation team, to ensure the GPA is implemented. The team is set to work with Zimbabwe’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), which has been accused of being a ‘toothless’ and ineffectual organisation.
The Troika has also pledged to provide a progress report, to be presented at the next SADC Extraordinary Summit, likely to take place in the coming two months.
Observers have commented that SADC’s apparent about-turn in its attitude towards Zimbabwe’s crisis, though welcome, is more of a response to the media criticism that has greeted the group’s handling of the situation.
Commentators agree that only the implementation of SADC’s promises will prove the group’s commitment to change in Zimbabwe.
Full SADC Troika Communique (PDF)

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Mugabe vows to resist regional pressure


        – 1 hr 17 mins ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) – Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on Friday vowed
to resist pressure from fellow African leaders to resolve tensions in his
power-sharing government with Morgan Tsvangirai.

"The MDC thinks SADC or the AU can prescribe to us how we run our things,"
Mugabe was quoted as saying by the state-run New Ziana news agency at a
meeting of his party's central committee.

"We will not brook any dictation from any source. We are a sovereign
country. Even our neighbours cannot dictate to us. We will resist that."

Mugabe's response came after an unusually strong rebuke from regional
leaders criticising slow pace on the power-sharing deal with Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai and demanding an end to political

The 87-year-old said President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which brokered
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) backed unity deal with
Tsvangirai as prime minister, should not dictate what should happen in

"The facilitator is the facilitator and must facilitate dialogue," Mugabe
was quoted as saying.

"He cannot prescribe anything. We prescribe what we should do in accordance
with our laws and our agreement."

Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of cracking down on his supporters ahead of
new elections expected later this year.

The presidents of South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia did not
mention either rival by name but echoed concerns raised by Tsvangirai in a
statement issued after the SADC's security body met in Zambia.

"The summit noted with grave concern the polarisation of the political
environment as characterized by, inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrest
and intimidation in Zimbabwe," they said in the communique.

"There must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech,
harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and
spirit of the GPA" (unity pact).

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed the unlikely unity government in February 2009
to end a political and economic crisis after disputed 2008 elections.

While the deal succeeded in halting the economy's tailspin, mainly by
ditching the local currency, the rivals have repeatedly locked horns over
implementing it.

Both leaders have said they are ready for elections that would end the
transitional government.

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Plea to stop army brutality

By Stanley Gama in Zambia
Thursday, 31 March 2011 14:39

LIVINGSTONE - Zimbabwe's civic society groups have pleaded with regional
leaders  to intervene immediately to stop the country’s security forces from
intimidating and coercing people to support President Robert Mugabe and Zanu

Speaking on the sidelines of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and
Security meeting here yesterday, civic society groups under the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition banner said if the security structures, including the
military, were not stopped, there was a likelihood that the country would
slide into anarchy.

They especially appealed to SADC facilitator to the Zimbabwe political
crisis, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, to ensure that the latest
Troika meeting comes up with a lasting solution.

Crisis spokesperson, Phillip Pasirayi said: “SADC should stop the deployment
of soldiers who are brutalising and torturing people. We do not have guns to
protect the people and that is why we want SADC to intervene.

“We reiterate that Zimbabwe is not ready for elections in 2011 and that on
her own, without assistance from SADC and the African Union, Zimbabwe cannot
deliver a credible election.

“We state unequivocally that the conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe such as
widespread state-sponsored violence, partisan application of the law,
increased deployment of soldiers across the country openly intimidating
citizens and campaigning for Zanu PF, and increased arrests and harassment
of rights activists and MDC leaders all confirm that state institutions
remain unreformed and unrepentant,” said Pasirayi.

He further urged SADC and the AU, to deploy peace-keeping monitors at least
three months ahead of elections to prevent state sponsored violence and
intimidation and to guarantee peaceful transfer of power to the eventual
winner of the elections.

Crisis also implored SADC to make sure that a democratic constitution, which
guarantees freedom of expression and an updated voters’ roll was in place
before the elections.

Zimbabwe has in the past few months been experiencing widespread
intimidation with hundreds of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters arrested or displaced from their

Already, Tsvangirai has alleged that Mugabe is no longer in charge claiming
that all the power was now with the military.

Tsvangirai told the Daily News last week that he came to the conclusion that
Mugabe had lost grip of the country because whenever they agreed on
something, the 87-year-old leader would change that position after meeting
hardliners in the security structures of government.

The civic society organizations have also documented statistics of MDC
supporters that have been arrested, beaten up and intimidated by Zanu PF
activists and the police.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) executive director Irene Petras
said there has been an upsurge in the number of cases they had handled
saying the figures were now so alarming that SADC needed to come in.

“Since February, our lawyers on the ground have recorded 576 people directly
affected by violence and intimidation by politicians and government
structures. The cases include unlawful detentions, selective application of
the law and malicious prosecutions.

“We have seen MDC supporters and officials being charged with public
violence, criminal insults – some against President Mugabe, treason,
subverting constitutional government and revival of old cases. This is what
lawyers have gathered and, we do not even know the extent of other cases,”
said Petras.

Zimrights director, Okay Machisa who is also part of the Crisis group which
wants to petition the SADC leaders also expressed alarm at the level of
intimidation and harassment in Zimbabwe and urged the Troika to come up with
a solution this time around.

“SADC has been holding meetings on Zimbabwe for the past three years and we
hope that this time around, they will come up with a concrete solution.

SADC cannot be discussing Zimba-    bwe only for three years and now they
should push for a commitment from President Mugabe to implement the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) in full,” said Machisa.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara were due to
arrive in Livingstone late yesterday for the Troika meeting to try and find
a peaceful solution to the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

President Rupiah Banda of Zambia arrived in this resort town on Tuesday
while Zuma was also expected late yesterday.

Zuma, as the facilitator is under pressure to ensure that he comes up with a
solution to the crisis including an acceptable road map which will lead to
credible and acceptable elections.

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Zambian Leader Urges Democratic Reform in Region Or Risk Egypt-Style Revolts

Zambian President Rupiah Banda warned countries in the region including
Zimbabwe to heed the lessons of Tunisia and Egypt and implement democratic
reforms before they too face mass demonstrations

Blessing Zulu | Washington  31 March 2011

A Southern African Development Community mini-summit in Livingstone, Zambia,
took a surprise turn on Thursday as Zambian President Rupiah Banda warned
countries in the region including Zimbabwe to heed the lessons of Tunisia
and Egypt and implement democratic reforms before they too face mass
demonstrations and uprisings.

Banda as host made his remarks in opening the meeting of the SADC troika on
security, defense and politics called to examine the current stage of the
crisis in Zimbabwe as well as issues in other countries in Africa's southern

"If there is anything that we must learn from the upheavals going on in the
northern part of our continent, it is that the the legitimate expectations
of the citizens of our countries cannot be taken for granted," President
Banda declared.

"We must therefore continue at the SADC level to consolidate democracy
through the establishment of institutions that uphold the tenets of good
governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law," he said. ""The
issues that we will be addressing require decisive resolutions in charting
the future of our regional body."

In addition to Zimbabwe, Mr. Banda was referring to Madagascar, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Swaziland.

But sources said his remarks were aimed in particular at Harare which
recently arrested 45 activists on charges they plotted Egyptian-style
protests, and has been cracking down on the former opposition Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Sources
said SADC has become increasingly concerned.

President Ian Khama of Botswana, one of the most outspoken leaders in the
region on Zimbabwe, recently said Harare must not become a permanent SADC

The SADC troika invited not only the three principals in the Harare unity
government – President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, but also MDC formation leader Welshman
Ncube. That MDC wing has challenged Mutambara's right to his post now that
he no longer leads the party.

Sources said late Thursday that the troika, which besides Mr. Banda includes
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, took
the decision to recognize Mutambara before the summit was convened.

Mr Zuma, SADC's mediator in Harare, reported on progress in his mission in
Harare. Sources said the troika criticized the crackdown on the MDC and
civic groups.

The leaders also called for the full implementation of the 2008 Global
Political Agreement for power sharing in Harare, and said they want a clear
road map to elections, adding that they would send monitors to Zimbabwe for
the elections, as yet unscheduled.

President Mugabe was said to have objected, saying Zimbabwe is a sovereign
state. But the troika members said that because SADC like the African Union
was a guarantor of the power-sharing arrangement following 2008 elections,
they must monitor the next elections which many hope will yield a government
with full powers.

Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka earlier told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Blessing Zulu that Mr. Tsvangirai's main demand was for a clear road map to

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga, lobbying on
the sidelines of the mini-summit, welcomed Mr. Banda’s remarks on reform.

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Top Zim rights activist arrested

Apr 1, 2011 4:45 PM | By Sapa-AFP

A top human rights activist has been arrested in Zimbabwe, in what Amnesty
International deplored as an attempt to silence government critics.

Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, was arrested
on Wednesday and charged with failing to properly register his organisation,
police said.

"The charges against Abel Chikomo appear to be part of an orchestrated
strategy by the Zimbabwean police and other state security organizations to
silence critics of their human rights record," said Michelle Kagari,
Amnesty's deputy director for Africa said in a statement.

"The charges against him must be dropped immediately."

The arrest was made on the eve of a regional security summit in neighbouring
Zambia, where African leaders demanded an end to harassment and intimidation
in Zimbabwe, in what was seen as a rebuke to Mugabe.

The charges against Chikomo are the latest in a growing list of human rights
activists facing arrest and unlawful detention for their work.

In February, 45 activists including former lawmaker Munyaradzi Gwisai were
charged with treason for discussing mass protests in Egypt and Tunisia.
Thirty-nine of the activists were later acquitted but the remaining six who
were released on bail could face the death penalty if convicted.

In Bulawayo, the leaders of the activist organization Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, have gone into hiding
following threats of arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention.

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Amnesty International Calls on Zimbabwean Authorities to End Harassment of Human Rights Defenders

Friday, April 1, 2011

Human Rights Leader Charged as Crackdown Continues

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150,

(New York) -- The Zimbabwean police authorities must end the systematic
harassment and intimidation of human rights groups, Amnesty International
said today after the head of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum was
targeted with politically motivated charges.

Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, on Wednesday
was charged with running an illegal organization.

"The charges against Abel Chikomo appear to be part of an orchestrated
strategy by the Zimbabwean police and other state security organizations to
silence critics of their human rights record," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty
International’s deputy director for Africa. "The charges against him must be
dropped immediately."

Since the beginning of February, Chikomo has been under police investigation
and subject to regular interrogation, mainly on his organization’s work on
transitional justice. The police have alleged that he has been managing and
controlling the operations of an illegal Private and Voluntary Organizations
(PVO) - charges he denies.

Organizations registered as common law associations, as provided for under
Section 89 of the constitution of Zimbabwe, are supposed to be exempt from
registration under the PVO Act.

"Police and other state security organizations in Zimbabwe are obliged to
observe the country’s obligation to respect the rights of human rights
defenders provided under international law," said Kagari.

The charges against Chikomo follow a recent increase in the numbers of human
rights activists facing arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention for
conducting their legitimate work.

In February, 45 activists were charged with treason for watching videos
clips of events in Egypt and Tunisia. Thirty-nine of the activists were
later acquitted but the remaining six who were released on bail could face
the death penalty if convicted.

In Bulawayo, the leaders of the activist organization Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, have been forced to go
into hiding following threats of arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers
in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The
organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the
public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and
dignity are denied.

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Facebook user granted bail after quashing of magistrate’s ruling

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights - logoZLHR Press Release: High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Ndou on Thursday 31 March 2011 quashed Magistrate Gideon Ruwetsa’s ruling denying bail to Bulawayo resident Vikas Mavhudzi, who is charged with subverting a government by unconstitutional means.

Justice Ndou’s setting aside of Magistrate Ruwetsa’s ruling came after Mavhudzi’s lawyers Lizwe Jamela and Nosimilo Chanayiwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) appealed to the High Court challenging Magistrate Ruwetsa’s decision to deny Mavhudzi bail. In their application, the ZLHR lawyers argued that Magistrate Ruwetsa erred and misdirected himself when he denied bail to Mavhudzi.

Magistrate Ruwetsa had on Wednesday 16 March 2011 denied bail to the 39 year-old Magwegwe resident, who is facing charges of subverting a government by unconstitutional means over a comment he allegedly made on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s facebook page. In dismissing Mavhudzi’s bail application, Magistrate Ruwetsa said he based his decision on public security and “what happened in Egypt is a reality”.

Mavhudzi was arrested in Bulawayo last month for reportedly expressing his approval of the protests in Egypt that led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak as president.

According to the State, on 24 February 2011, Mavhudzi “unlawfully or suggested” to Prime Minister Tsvangirai “the taking over or taking over or attempt to take over the Government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of the Government, that is to say he sent an e-mail to Morgan Tsvangirai saying: ‘I am overwhelmed, I don’t want to say Mr. or PM what happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey’.”

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Police Charge MDC MP With Theft

HRD’s Alert

1 April 2011




Chipinge police on Friday 1 April 2011 charged Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Chipinge West Member of Parliament Hon. Sibonile Nyamudeza with theft for allegedly stealing some pre-cast concrete pipes belonging to the District Development Fund (DDF).

Hon. Nyamudeza reported to Chipinge Rural Police Station on Friday morning in the company of his lawyer Langton Mhungu of  Mhungu, Matutu, Kwirira and associates, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, where he was charged by the police for allegedly stealing some concrete pipes.

Prosecutor Last Goredema alleged that Hon. Nyamudeza stole the pre cast concrete pipes some time between the beginning and the end of February. Goredema accused the Chipinge West legislator of instructing “certain” people to steal and ferry the concrete pipes which belong to the DDF from Bangwe to Tanganda in Chipinge without the authority of the government-run institution.

Mhungu said his client denies the charges.

Nyamudeza was granted $100 bail by Chipinge Magistrate Chrispen Ngweshiwa, who ordered him to report once a week on Fridays  to Chipinge Rural Police Station.

Magistrate Ngweshiwa also ordered the legislator to continue residing at his given address and not to interfere with witnesses.



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Diamond Trade Chief insists Zim diamonds can be exported

By Alex Bell
01 April 2011

The head of the diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), has
insisted that Zimbabwe can export diamonds from the controversial Chiadzwa
diamond fields, despite international protest over the decision.

KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba said last month that Zimbabwe could begin shipping
diamonds from Chiadzwa “with immediate effect,” making a reported unilateral
decision. The decision has since been questioned by KP members, including
Canada and the US, who called for a consensus agreement before Zim exports

But Yamba told the Bloomberg news service this week that the KP will not
reverse its decision, despite the objections raised by other members. Yamba
said that a review will be conducted at future meetings of the KP.

Exports from Zimbabwe were barred in 2009 over human rights abuses at the
Chiadzwa fields, abuses that are reported to be ongoing. The KP, tasked with
ending the trade in ‘blood diamonds’, has come under pressure to ban
Zimbabwe completely from trade. The group has instead taken a lenient
approach to dealing with the country, allowing two monitored diamond exports
to take place last year.

This was meant to pave the way for an agreement by all members, which would
allow full exports to resume. But no agreement has been reached despite KP
policy dictating that decisions must be consensual.

Meanwhile, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has said that Yamba’s decision proves
Zimbabwe is adhering to the rules. “We are going ahead because we are
compliant,” Mpofu told Bloomberg.

He said complaints by Western countries are “political games,” adding: “They
are bent on frustrating our economic development. Zimbabwe has acted
responsibly and will continue to act responsibly.”

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Reporters Without Borders Urges Respect for Press Freedom in Zimbabwe

Daily News reporter Xolisani Ncube was reported to have been attacked last
week outside the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai

Studio 7 Reporters | Washington  31 March 2011

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has welcomed the return of
Zimbabwe's formerly banned Daily News newspaper, but expressed concern
following reports that a Daily News journalist was attacked outside the
offices of a political party.

Daily News reporter Xolisani Ncube was reported to have been attacked last
week outside the headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai while conducting interviews.

Reports said Ncube was attacked by MDC supporters, one of whom hit him in
the face, and his digital camera was stolen.

Reporters Without Borders said the attack last week came a fortnight after
an incident in which MDC press staff ejected freelance journalist Nkosana
Dhlamini from a Tsvangirai news conference because his questions were deemed
to be hostile and tilted toward the ZANU-PF party of President Robert

The group urged all parties to promote media freedom and let journalists do
their jobs.

Deputy Chairman Njabulo Ncube of the Media Institute of Southern Africa’s
Zimbabwe chapter told reporter Sandra Nyaira that no party has the right to
abuse journalists.

Elsewhere, another independent daily newspaper launched in Harare Thursday
with the publication of a limited edition of the Mail. Daily publication
will begin next week.

Mail Editor Barnabas Thondlana told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo
that his newspaper is owned by a consortium of businessmen, and promised
that his publication will report news that Zimbabweans want to read about.

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Jonathan Moyo filed lawsuit against Daily News

Written by Chief Reporter
Friday, 01 April 2011 11:30

HARARE  - The recently relaunched Daily News has been hit with a US$60,000
damages claim by the man who banned the newspaper seven years ago.
Zanu PF Politburo member Prof Jonathan Moyo has filed the suit against the
paper demanding that the paper immediately stops publishing his archived
content that is scathing in its criticism of President Mugabe and Zanu PF
ostensibly because the paper  does not have his authorization.
Although the publication mentioned that the the articles are publicly
available on his blog, it is very possible to sue the
Daily News under the Copyright and Neighbouring Act  if the paper doesn't
take any action to stop, legal experts say.
Moyo's suit cites the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the publishers of
the Daily News, as the first respondent, and managing editor John Gambanga
as the second respondent, in a move media observers say is the latest
attempt to gag the paper.
"The offending works are a reproduction of the original works (or
substantial part thereof.)," says Moyo's suit. "Further, the second
defendant has caused the first defendant tyo sell or by way of trade offer
or expose for sale or distribute in Zimbabwe copies of the offending works
to such an extent that the plaintiff is prejudicially affecvted," Moyo says
throuigh his lawyers Hussein Ranchod and Co.
Gambanga said the ANZ will "defend the matter." Moyo  accuses the Daily News
of violating copyright laws by giving its
readers access to archived newspaper articles which the papers themselves
would now charge people to read, and wants "all copies of the works in the
defendant's possession returned."

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Defense attorney in Africa wins Ohio ethics prize

Published on Thursday Mar 31, 2011

Ohio's Case Western Reserve University is awarding its annual $25,000 ethics
prize to a prominent human rights attorney who defends jailed journalists in

The university said Thursday that Beatrice Mtetwa (meh-TAH'-bwah) will be
honored with its 2011 Inamori Ethics Prize in September on the Cleveland

The award honors outstanding international ethical leaders. Past winners
include Ireland's first female president, Mary Robinson.

The Committee to Protect Journalists presented Mtetwa with its International
Press Freedom Award in 2008 for aiding journalists jailed or threatened by
the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean journalists have faced arrest and harassment for the past decade.

Western critics and political rivals have complained about Mugabe's
authoritarian rule. Mugabe's party and state media have mounted a campaign
to discredit them.

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For $700 Million Mugabe Lets China Write Its Own Rules

Foreign Policy in Focus blog

By Michael Busch, April 1, 2011

Mugabe Jintao(Pictured: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and China's
President Hu Jintao.)

In what has to be one of the largest protection money payouts ever recorded,
the Chinese government announced last week that it had agreed to loan
Zimbabwe $700 million in desperately needed funds. Of course, the Chinese
did not frame their offer as anything other than humanitarian, announcing
that the loan would be used for investment in the agricultural, health and
water sewage sectors. But amidst President Robert Mugabe’s demand that all
foreign-owned mining ventures sell majority holdings to black Zimbabweans,
the meaning of the money was clear. Vice Premier Wang Qishan, visiting
Harare last week to announce the agreement, was unambiguous about the
expected return on the loan, stating flatly that he “hope[d] Zimbabwe will
protect the legitimate right of Chinese businesses in the country.”

Mugabe is likely to respect Beijing’s wishes. China’s largesse was timed
perfectly with a particularly acute moment of crisis in Zimbabwe where
political turbulence is quickly being overshadowed by the increasing threat
of food shortages in the country. The country’s agricultural minister,
Joseph Made, announced this week that six of the country’s ten provinces are
currently facing severe food shortages. The country claims to have enough
food to stem the threat of widespread hunger but not the resources to cover
transport and distribution costs. The UN has requested nearly half a billion
dollars in emergency aid to help aid efforts, but Made managed to soil the
offer by announcing he would refuse to allow the UN-affiliated agencies into
the country to assess Zimbabwe’s needs in the name of national security. The
reason? “We don’t want to have politics in food,” Made argued. The country’s
food czar quickly performed a rhetorical about-face, however, claiming that
he had been misrepresented in response to critics’ contentions that the only
person salting the country’s food with politics was the agricultural
minister himself. But given the current circumstances, this may be the least
of his problems.

The looming threat of mass starvation couldn’t come at a worse moment. As
nationwide elections approach, steadily mounting political tensions between
Mugabe and opposition prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai threaten to collapse
the unity government that has been precariously in place since 2008. In
recent weeks, Mugabe has ordered an end to MDC protests, jailed one of the
prime minister’s closest allies, and has threatened to arrest Tsvangirai
himself. But the prime minister has more than just Mugabe to contend with.
The MDC leader must also keep his own party from splitting apart at the
seams. A breakaway faction lead by Welshman Ncube has been flexing its
muscles of late, refusing to come under the discipline of the party’s high

Ncube claims he was blocked from a top parliamentary position by a
Mugabe-Tsvangirai tag-team effort, and that his faction will no longer
follow the party line at a critical moment when the MDC needs all the help
it can get. Complicating matters further, Ncube’s son is married to the
daughter of chief peace negotiator and president of South Africa, Jacob
Zuma, who dispatched his team to Harare to help find ways to keep the peace.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s food security forecast is bleak. After a brutal
drought last month, crop yields are expected to be virtually nonexistent
throughout much of the country over the coming months which will almost
certainly prompt an accompanying spike in food prices nationwide.

The shortages are nothing new in Zimbabwe, which has suffered through a
decade of Mugabe’s failed land reform policies on the one hand, and Western
sanctions targeting the regime’s dismal human rights record on the other.
But this year looks to be especially bad, which makes China’s timing all the
more remarkable.

Last month, the Chinese boldly offered Mugabe $3 billion for complete
control over the country’s platinum reserves and a share of its lucrative
diamond mining sector. By most accounts, Mugabe was ready to seize on the
deal, but was rebuffed by opposition members of his coalition government who
pointed out China’s opportunistic attempt at a wholesale land grab.  Public
outrage followed, and for good reason. Conservative estimates of Zimbabwe’s
platinum reserves value them at between $30 and $40 billion, nearly ten
times greater than what the Chinese offered.

Since then, China has ordered a public relations full-court press to contain
resentment of their presence in Zimbabwe. Immediately before Vice Premier
Wang landed in Harare, the Chinese government dispatched a small army of eye
surgeons to the country to perform free cataract removal for hundreds of
poor Zimbabweans. These complimentary procedures were the first in what the
Chinese government promises will be a series of missions to cure the entire
population of reversible blindness. Not only that, China has underscored its
commitment to help Mugabe’s coalition government battle western sanctions,
and most recently extended the landmark $700 million loans for agricultural

Their efforts have already paid off. On Sunday, Mugabe announced that he was
aggressively moving ahead with his plan to force all foreign-owned mining
firms to sell majority stakes to local investors. Mugabe made clear that
foreign-held mining corporations have until May 9 to outline plans for
turning over majority control to Zimbabwean financiers, and six months to
finalize indigenization of the country’s mining sector, or face unspecified
penalties. All corporations, that is, except for those owned by China.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Chinese companies, including those
mining diamonds in Marange, will be exempt from indigenization regulations
because they are carrying out ‘national projects,’ said Indigenization and
Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere.”

If this defense for exempting Chinese multinationals from national policy
sounds fishy, that’s because in all likelihood it is. The irony, of course,
is that while the indigenization scheme is designed to decisively erase the
last vestiges of western colonialism’s legacy in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is
potentially opening the door to the next generation of foreign domination.
Only this time, instead of Europe maintaining the upper hand, Zimbabwe’s
economic dependency will be hitched to the growing power of Beijing and a
new era of imperialism—with Chinese characteristics.

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Leo Mugabe pressures Telecel to give up majority stake

By Tererai Karimakwenda
01 April, 2011

The looting of Zimbabwean companies continued this week after it was
reported that a local consortium, led by Leo Mugabe, was set to acquire
majority shares in the mobile giant Telecel.

Leo Mugabe has connections at the very top of government, being Robert
Mugabe’s nephew. He is known to have used that status to build a huge
business empire and has been after the Telecel shares for some time.

Reports said 60 percent of the shares are owned by the Egyptian firm Telecel
Globe. The company had allegedly “agreed” to reduce their stake to 49
percent by selling shares to the Zimbabwe Wealth Creation and Empowerment
Council, run by Leo Mugabe.

This Council boasts several organizations affiliated with ZANU PF, including
the notorious war vets who spearheaded farm invasions and the Affirmative
Action Group at the forefront of indigenization. They reportedly pressured
Telecel to sell the shares, claiming they lost shares through “trickery”
when the company was formed.

The news comes in the same week that the Finance Ministry hosted another
economic conference in Harare, in an attempt to encourage more business
activity in the country.

Economic analysts have said ZANU PF’s policies are driving away all

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Key political risks to watch in Zimbabwe


April 1, 2011

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE, April 1 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's security
officials have cancelled several opposition rallies and detained some rival
figures, heightening political tension ahead of a possible general election
this year.

Divisions between coalition partners Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai have widened after a minister from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
published regulations giving an ultimatum to foreign-owned mines to cede
majority control to locals by September this year.

Mugabe has also threatened to pull out of the writing of a new constitution
seen as vital for free elections, while accusing his coalition partners of
delays to avoid the polls.

Tsvangirai has has responded with an appeal to regional leaders to persuade
Mugabe to allow for wide democratic reforms before elections, but political
analysts believe he will only concede ground if there is threat of regional

In an unfolding turf war, Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party
(MDC) and ZANU-PF supporters have clashed with clubs and bare hands in a
spate of violence in some districts, including townships in the capital

Mugabe, forced into a unity government with Tsvangirai after a disputed
election in 2008 marred by violence, is pushing for presidential and
parliamentary elections this year, two years ahead of schedule.

Tsvangirai, who once backed an early election, now says conditions are not
conducive for a free vote, and threatened to boycott polls if they are
called for this year.


Pro-Mugabe heavies -- led by veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war
and ZANU-PF youth brigades -- have stepped up countrywide campaigns,
sparking turf wars with MDC supporters.

The rivals blame each other for the violence and Tsvangirai says he fears a
bloodbath before the next poll.

Violence in the last elections caused thousands to flee to neighbouring
South Africa, leading to a migrant crisis Pretoria is still trying to sort

Attempts by backbenchers in parliament across the political divide to resist
an early election appear to have failed.

But Tsvangirai's MDC and a smaller MDC faction, which is also in the unity
government, hope to lobby leaders in the Southern African Development
Community to pressure Mugabe.

What to watch?

- An increase in political violence which could force ordinary people to
flee and ZANU-PF security organs to crack down on opponents. A number of MDC
legislators have been arrested on charges of fanning violence.

- Arrests of activists and journalists suggesting Egyptian-style anti-Mugabe
protests. Zimbabwe's tight security laws have sweeping provisions against
anything that could be viewed as inciting violence or rebellion.

- Reactions from influential regional leaders, especially South African
President Jacob Zuma, who is the region's mediator in the Zimbabwe political


Security officials have arrested dozens of political activists accused of
plotting anti-government protests against Mugabe, who has been in power for
31 years, similar to those that toppled long-standing leaders in Egypt and

Most have been freed by the courts, but five are still awaiting trial on
treason charges.

Police have also arrested a senior Tsvangirai ally, Energy and Power
Development Minister Elton Mangoma, on corruption charges, and several MDC
legislators for political violence in what the party sees as selective
prosecution. Mugabe's ZANU-PF has previously threatened to expel foreign
diplomats and ban non-governmental organisations "meddling, and interfering
in Zimbabwe's internal political affairs".

Analysts say while Tsvangirai and his lieutenants have legitimate complaints
against Mugabe over outstanding reforms, there is growing frustration among
his supporters that he is being outwitted by Mugabe, a cunning political

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana has ordered a probe against Tsvangirai over
State Department cables released by WikiLeaks about his briefings with U.S.
ambassador Charles Ray.

According to another confidential U.S. cable dated October 2009 on
WikiLeaks, a senior MDC official suggested the United States should
contribute to a fund to buy off security service chiefs to achieve regime
change in Zimbabwe.

What to watch:

- Any moves against foreign-funded civic organisations involved in election
education and monitoring work.

- How Mugabe uses WikiLeaks to pressure Tsvangirai.


ZANU-PF has launched a campaign for more than 2 million signatures for a
petition against the travel and financial sanctions it says have ruined
Zimbabwe's economy.

The MDC is in a quandary because it is bound to support the power-sharing
government but does not believe ZANU-PF has reformed enough for the embargo
to be lifted.

What to watch:

- How the MDC responds to the anti-sanctions drive which ZANU-PF is sure to
use as part of an election campaign.


Mugabe has turned the heat on foreign-owned mines after the government gave
the firms 45 days to submit plans on how they plan to transfer majority
stakes to locals within six months.

Mugabe signed an Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act in 2008, which
forces foreign-owned companies worth over $500,000 to achieve at least 51
percent black ownership within five years.

But there are sharp differences on the policy which the MDC says could hurt
economic recovery efforts.

Mugabe has warned ZANU-PF will nationalise firms from countries that have
imposed sanctions, arguing they cannot operate freely while Western powers
punish his party further worrying investors interested in the resource rich

What to watch:

- How mining companies will react to the short timeline set by the
government and impact on new investment in the sector.

- Establishment of an anti-sanctions fund and a plan requiring executives to
declare their positions on sanctions.


Although a multi-party parliamentary committee leading a constitutional
review process says it will respect the wishes of ordinary Zimbabweans, the
final charter is likely to be a compromise between ZANU-PF and the MDC who
both lack a two-thirds majority in parliament needed to pass the new supreme
law on their own.

A referendum on a version in which there is no agreement between the two
parties could lead to violence.

Tsvangirai says Mugabe has used war veterans, youth brigades and security
forces to whip up support in the countryside, which allowed ZANU-PF to
dominate public debate on the new charter.

ZANU-PF denies the charge and says Tsvangirai is already preparing an excuse
for his party's defeat.

What to watch:

- Compromise deal. Many Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing the
pre-independence document, will strengthen the role of parliament, curtail
presidential powers and guarantee civil, political and media liberties.

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Fears for Next Generation of Women Leaders

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Mar 31, 2011 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's veteran women
politicians fear there are no younger women coming up through the ranks to
replace them. Measures to improve women's representation have achieved
little and young women are absent from the traditional entry points into

Tabitha Khumalo, deputy national spokesperson for Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC-T) says there has not
been much effort in any of the country's political parties to encourage and
support women in politics. Khumalo, who was a constitutional reform team
leader for the MDC-T, says the drawn-out process of drafting a new
constitution including nation-wide consultations with the public represents
a missed opportunity.

"I am disappointed with the lack of capacitation of women during this
(constitutional reform) exercise," she told IPS. "Political parties merely
concentrated on proportional representation but neglected to say whether
this would be by merit. It is not enough to say women must be allocated
equal slots as men and end there," she said.

The veteran politician says there are a few powerful and active women in
Zimbabwe's politics. "We have a handful of women like Gladys Dube, for
example, who have made their mark to change the colour of both the writing
of the constitution and local politics. But it is always the same women
being called upon to wear different hats. So what happens when we grow old
and there are no younger women to take over from us?" asks Khumalo.

(Dube is the MDC-T Senator for Mabutweni, a poor working class suburb in
Bulawayo and is also the deputy chair of the Constitution Select Committee.)
But she she does not see many women working their way up through the
structures of political parties today.

"Some of us are from the labour movement, and ours is a road less travelled
by women," she said. "We have been arrested and getting here has been no
easy walk. I believe we still need to have more active involvement for women
in national politics despite the obvious challenges."

Khumalo says there hasn’t been any emphasis on recruiting young
university-educated women into the political ranks, which has meant there is
no continuity in grooming more women into Zimbabwe’s political movement.
These views are echoed by Sylvia Chiume, a gender expert and academic who
says the nature and history of local politics has not encouraged young women
to follow that path.

"It can be seen even with student activism at tertiary colleges. Not many
girls take up the gauntlet and it is known that politicians in Zimbabwe cut
their teeth at university campuses fighting for students’ rights," Chiume
said. (END)

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Highlights from The US Embassy News

Embassy of the United States of America

Public Affairs Section

April 1st 2011


Key Highlights:


·         The United States has been proud to stand with our NATO, Arab, and European partners. We’ve been responding to the appeals of the Libyan people and to the Arab League’s call for urgent action.


·         The United States Government is truly honored to be associated with Africa University, an academic institution clearly dedicated to improving the quality of life by promoting peace and prosperity for the peoples of Africa. The university held the 10th Anniversary Celebrations for the Jokomo Yamada Library on Thursday 31 March 2011 at its campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe.


·         A cool drink on a hot day is one of life’s joys. But when freshwater grows scarce, that simple pleasure becomes a source of conflict, says Ambassador Charles Ray in a recent oped published in a local daily.


·         We captured Ambassador Ray’s public lecture on video last week, at the Women’s University in Africa featuring inquiries (some cheeky) from his audience including the issue of visas to the United States for Zimbabwean women, U.S. policy regarding Libya, and the various programs by the U.S. to support women in Zimbabwe

·         Website Decommissioning is being decommissioned on March 31, 2011, and will be available only as an archive site. Information on U.S. foreign policy and national interests will be available through or

·         Facts on U.S. sanctions on Zimbabwe are at our embassy website:


On Our Calendar:


·         Food for Thought at our Eastgate auditorium: On April 5 at 3 pm:  Dr. Grace-Mae Taruvinga of the Leadership Agenda will talk about “Hope for Zimbabwe: Outlining Transformational Strategies for Development.”


·         National Library Week (April 11-15), Earth Day (April 22), and Jazz Appreciation Month


·         The United States Achievers Program (USAP) assists disadvantaged Zimbabwean A level students negotiate the application process for college and university scholarships in the U.S. The deadline for applications for the next cohort/ class is April 16, 2011. All the details you may need are available here.



Andrew Posner, Acting Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Harare


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Veteran journalist Bill Saidi publishes his memoirs

1st Apr 2011 15:03 GMT

By a Correspondent

MISA-Zimbabwe today launched the memoirs of veteran Zimbabwean journalist
Bill Saidi as captured in his publication,  A Sort of Life in Journalism, at
a ceremony attended by luminaries of Zimbabwean journalism.

The book which was written under MISA-Zimbabwe’s Journalist-in-Residence
project, captures the escapades and experiences of the veteran journalist in
a career spanning more than 50 years dating back to 1957 when  he first cut
his teeth in the journalism profession.

Veteran journalist Bornwell Chakaodza, who was the guest speaker  said of
the book which he also edited and proof-read:

“One of the most provocative and potentially important books on journalism
to appear in some time in this part of the world. After reading this book,
it is hard not to feel hopeful about the power and ability that each
individual journalist has to make an imprint.

“Sometimes funny, at times serious, his descriptions of people and events
can be completely hilarious. Bright and fascinating, Bill parades some of
the figures he reported  on entertainingly and with a spice of mischief! You
could hear the crushing of egos!

“This book written by Bill is the work of a newspaperman, not a university
scholar – simply and beautifully written, the power of words, the sheer
vigour and expressiveness of writing, is out of this world!”

Chakaodza lamented the reluctance by Zimbabwean journalists to write their
own memoirs despite spending time reporting on other people including
politicians who then go on to write their own experiences based on the work
of journalists.

“We (journalists) must appreciate the fact that things exist in their own
time. We need to write our own experiences and from our own perspectives
rather than letting other people do these things for us.,” he said.

MISA-Zimbabwe Chairperson Loughty Dube concurred with Chakaodza noting that
the country’s contemporary history- from a journalistic perspective- has
over the years been written and projected through the pens and lens of
foreign journalists that have lived and worked in Zimbabwe.

“We as Zimbabweans and more so as journalists, should be the chroniclers and
writers of own history. We should therefore take the lead and be the
reference and entry points for historians,” said Dube.

He said it was against the background of the existence of the knowledge gap
within the media and the public at large that MISA-Zimbabwe decided on the
Journalist-in-Residence project as part of efforts to encourage journalists
to write their own memoirs.

“The narratives of the experiences of journalists remain imperative to
foster  media freedom that is cognisant of both history and its impact on
the present and future,” said Dube.

The Journalist-in-Residence project is designed to among other
considerations, encourage senior Zimbabwean journalists to share their
experiences with fellow professionals and members of the public through the
writing of memoirs, blog posts and lectures as well as mentoring upcoming

The first phase of the programme was launched last year and drew on the
expertise and experiences of Bill Saidi as the inaugural MISA-Zimbabwe
Journalist-in-Residence Fellow.  During his fellowship stint, Saidi
conducted journalism lectures throughout the country and also found time to
write his memoirs culminating in tonight’s launch ceremony.

The second phase of the project is already underway following the engagement
of veteran journalist Grace Mutandwa to follow in Bill’s footsteps.

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U.S. Embassy invites applications for USAP scholarship program

Harare, March 28, 2011: The United States Embassy’s Public Affairs Section is inviting academically qualified and motivated, low-income, Upper Sixth “A” level students in Zimbabwe to join the United States Student Achievers Program (USAP) to apply for consideration for its 12th cohort. The successful USAP students work with Education USA Advising Centers in Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo during the course of the 2011 and 2012 to secure places and financial assistance to begin study in the U.S. in August 2012.


Application forms are available online at and through the Education USA Advising Centers at the Bulawayo Public Library, Gweru Memorial Library, Turner Memorial Library in Mutare and the US Embassy’s EducationUSA Advising Center on the 7th Floor of the Goldbridge in Eastgate in Harare. Forms should reach any of these offices by April 15, 2011.


USAP assists highly-talented and determined, economically-disadvantaged Advanced Level students to negotiate and finance the admissions process for colleges and universities in the United States with the aim of producing highly-skilled and widely-educated leaders to build tomorrow’s Zimbabwe. More than 250 Zimbabwean students have studied in the U.S. on full scholarships through USAP.  This year’s acceptances include USAP students who have been offered funding to attend Columbia, Davidson, Harvard, Mt Holyoke, MIT, Smith, University of Pennsylvania, Williams and Yale.


USAP works closely with students through regularly scheduled meetings and seminars to assist them throughout the application process to secure admission and scholarships for colleges and universities in the United States. USAP finances all costs of the application process, including registration fees for required standardized examinations and provides free membership to the Education USA Advising Center.

“We expect a sincere commitment of students to give back their energy and time to the program and to their communities and to apply themselves to the intensive US university application process.  We are committed to helping them at all stages with the hope of nurturing a cohort of dynamic, open-minded and highly-educated future leaders for Zimbabwe,” said Rebecca Zeigler Mano, EducationUSA Advisor.

She said that USAP welcomes Upper Sixth students from all parts of the country and all types of high schools as long as they fulfill the USAP criteria of academic talent, demonstrated leadership potential, the ethos of giving back to community and economic disadvantage. Students who will write either ZIMSEC or Cambridge "A" level examinations in November 2011 are eligible. In addition to financial need, students must demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and be actively involved in co -curricular, leadership and community activities.  For more information on the program and the success of its participants, please see


# # #


Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section, Harare. Inquiries should be directed to Andrew Posner, Acting Public Affairs Officer,, URL:


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BILL WATCH 13/2011 of 31st March [The Speakers Election]

BILL WATCH 13/2011

[31st March 2011]

The House of Assembly has adjourned to Tuesday 5th April

The Senate has adjourned to 10th May

MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo Elected as Speaker [Again]

Proceedings commenced at 3 pm on 29th March, less than 24 hours after the official announcement of the date and time of the election.  The announcement had been preceded by days of secrecy on the part of Parliament over what was happening, which seemed uncalled for about an event of such national interest. 

Results of the vote were announced by the Clerk of Parliament shortly after 6.30 pm, as follows:

Lovemore Moyo [MDC-T]:             105

Simon Khaya Moyo [ZANU-PF]:      93

Spoilt ballot paper:                             1

Events in the House Before the Poll

·      Lovemore Moyo ejected by the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, on the basis that he was not a Member of Parliament, whereupon MDC MPs objected to the presence in the House of Vice President John Nkomo.  The Clerk said he would not allow any questions or challenges.

·      Vice President John Nkomo and Oppah Muchinguri sworn in as members of the House by the Clerk. This gave ZANU-PF two more votes.  [Note: Oppah Muchinguri was last week nominated to fill a non-constituency seat that had been vacant for over two years. Mr Nkomo’s swearing-in came as a surprise [for detailed comment see below], but the Clerk ignored objections from the MDC MPs.]  

·      The Clerk addressed MPs, explaining the background of why there was a new election for Speaker, saying that the President had fixed Tuesday 29th March at 3.00 o'clock as the date and time for the election [see comment below] and laying down new ground rules for the election, taking into account the Supreme Court’s judgment.  

·      Nomination of Candidates

Mr Simon Khaya Moyo – ZANU-PF [nominated by Lawrence Mavima, seconded by Joram Gumbo]

Mr Lovemore Moyo – MDC-T [nominated by Tendai Biti, seconded by Murisi Zwizwai]

Mr Jonathan Moyo – ZANU-PF [nominated by Tongai Matutu, seconded by Amos Chibaya of MDC-T], but Mr Moyo promptly declined.

·      Speeches for Candidates

Lawrence Mavima spoke urging members to vote for ZANU-PF candidate Simon Khaya Moyo.

Tendai Biti then spoke in support of MDC-T candidate Lovemore Moyo. He prefaced his statement with scathing remarks especially about the manner in which the Clerk had handled the whole issue since the Supreme Court decision, and also mentioned that some members of his party had been approached with bribes by ZANU-PF MPs, to vote for ZANU-PF. The Clerk said such remarks would not be recorded, and they do not appear in the official Hansard report of yesterday’s proceedings [see comment below].

Voting Statistics

199 members were present to take part in the poll out of a possible 203 eligible members of the House [members had to be present to vote].

                           Possible                                           Actual

ZANU-PF     98 [including Nkomo and Muchinguri ]    96

MDC-T         97 [after exclusion of Lovemore Moyo]   96

MDC              8                                                            7

These figures prompt the conclusion that 3 ZANU-PF members voted for Lovemore Moyo [see comment below].  

Absent Members [4]

ZANU-PF     Neddie Masukume [ill] and Cephas Sindi

MDC-T        Elton Mangoma [in remand prison – the State had that morning thwarted his release on bail by notifying its intention to appeal against the bail order under section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act]

MDC            Edward Mkhosi [ill]

Mr Speaker Moyo’s Acceptance Speech

In a short speech to the assembled MPs after the result had been announced, Mr Moyo thanked members across party lines for showing confidence in his leadership. He said that his re-election gave all MPs an opportunity to continue work to democratise, modernise and strengthen the House of Assembly’s portfolio committee system, and mentioned the need to ensure that Parliament takes up its position in the regional and international family of Parliamentary diplomacy.  He also managed to work in an oblique comment on his removal from office by the Supreme Court:  “Moving forward from here, I think there is need for the nation to open a broad debate on the meaning of the doctrine of separation of powers between the three arms of the State with a view to strengthening our institutions and defending their operational autonomy for the good governance of our country. It is healthy for our country to have these debates on this and many other questions that remain unanswered and that prevent the emergence of a strong sense of nationhood.”


Comments on the Election

John Nkomo’s Membership of House of Assembly  Until Tuesday Vice-President John Nkomo was regarded as an appointed Senator, having been appointed by President Mugabe in August 2008.  He continued to be listed as such by Parliament in Hansard after his appointment as Vice-President in December 2009.  His swearing-in as an ex officio member of the House of Assembly is questionably based on what Article 20.1.8 of the GPA says about the consequences of appointing a Vice-President:  “Persons appointed to the posts of Vice-President, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and who are not already Members of Parliament, become ex officio members of the House of Assembly.  Should persons so appointed be already members of Parliament, then the Party of which that person is a member or nominee shall have the right to nominate a non-constituency member of the relevant House.”  But, Mr Nkomo was already a member of Parliament [as an appointed member of the Senate] when he was appointed Vice-President.  That being so, the first sentence of the Article does not apply to him and he did not become an ex officio member of the House of Assembly.  He remained an appointed Senator, and in terms of the second sentence of Article 20.1.8, ZANU-PF had the right to nominate a non-constituency Senator – which it did last week by nominating Rugare Gumbo.  If his party had wanted Mr Nkomo to sit in the House of Assembly, he should have resigned his Senate seat to entitle him to a lower house seat under the GPA.

Omissions from Hansard report The omission from the Hansard report, by direction of the Clerk, of certain things that were said during Tuesday’s proceedings is surprising and a cause for concernHansard is supposed to be an authoritative and complete verbatim record of what is said in the two Houses of Parliament.  This may cause an unfortunate precedent and result in lack of transparency in the business of Parliament.

President’s Role in Timing of the Election  Neither the Constitution nor Standing Orders authorize the President to fix the date and time of a Speakers election during the life of a Parliament.  As events turned out, his intervention did not prejudice the MDC-T candidate, but again it is a bad precedent, as timing could favour the preparations of one party.

Ballot-Papers Must Be Kept Secret After the Election  There have been reports of a ZANU-PF witch-hunt to identify the party members who voted for Lovemore Moyo.  It is axiomatic that in a secret ballot the completed ballot papers remain secret – so the Clerk of Parliament cannot allow anyone to have access to the ballot papers in an effort to trace how individual members voted.  In any event the ballot papers were not numbered, so cannot be traced to particular voters.


MDC-T Case against Clerk of Parliament Withdrawn

The MDC-T legal case challenging the Clerk of Parliament’s handling of the run-up to the Speaker’s election came before Justice Hlatshwayo on Wednesday 30th March, the day after the election.  The upshot of the hearing before the judge was that MDC-T withdrew the case, which had been rendered academic and not urgent by the holding of the election the previous day.  The judge will decide who should pay the costs of the case in due course, after receiving written submissions from both parties. 


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