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Apology from

John Nkomo: We are sorry

08/12/2012 00:00:00
by New Zimbabwe Comment

FOR a period of an hour on Saturday, this website carried a story under the
headline ‘Vice President John Nkomo dies’.

The story was based on information given to us by two Zanu PF officials and
a senior civil servant who unfortunately turned out to be sharing a common
source. One of the sources we used has previously proved reliable, and was
at the time attending the party’s conference in Gweru.

But further checks initiated immediately showed that we had been misled, and
the Vice President is alive, although he remains gravely ill.

As soon as we became aware of this fact, we moved quickly to pull this
misleading story from the website, and delete it from our servers.

New has been online for nearly 10 years and during this period
we have gained a reputation as an authoritative source of news from

If ever we fail, we are letting down the people who mean most to us: our
On this occasion, we failed the nation and for that we are terribly sorry.
We also wish to apologise unreservedly to Vice President Nkomo and his
family, who unfortunately have had to deal with this speculation before.

In the 24-hour news cycle, mistakes like this will occasionally happen. But
that is not the standard New demands of itself. Our mission is
to tell the truth.

Our readers will be rightly disappointed, but we are doubly determined to
regain your trust and continue to be an accurate source for breaking news.

We wish the Vice President a speedy recovery while we strengthen our
internal systems to ensure errors like this do not happen in the future.

Our apology is sincere, unreserved and heartfelt.

This episode is now behind us and we hope to continue to serve Zimbabweans
honestly and truthfully.
Mduduzi Mathuthu

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Zanu-PF plotting landslide election victory

SUNDAY, 09 DECEMBER 2012 17:07

By Associated Press

Zimbabwe's long-time President Robert Mugabe said Saturday that his party is
geared up for a "resounding" victory in elections scheduled next year.

Mugabe, addressing 5,000 loyalists at the end of his party's annual
convention in the provincial city of Gweru on Saturday, said that his
ZANU-PF party will fight like a "wounded animal to reclaim the government we
lost" in 2008 elections.

Mugabe, 88, has been nominated as his party's presidential candidate. He has
ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980.

He is in a fractious four-year-old coalition with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai that was brokered by regional leaders a year after violent and
inconclusive elections.

The two-day convention was held in a $6.5 million conference hall that was
constructed in less than three months by a Chinese firm for the party

Mugabe said he was going to declare 2013, the "year of electoral victory
that will redeem us from the coalition."

Mugabe warned his top officials to desist from infighting because it is
"dangerous" and threatened unity. He said disunity and complacency had cost
his party the previous vote.

"We were very divided and suicidally indifferent in 2008," Mugabe said. "We
are now like a wounded animal, and you know how it fights."

Deep divisions in ZANU-PF have emerged over Mugabe's likely successor. Top
party leaders, Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice
Mujuru have been touted as possible candidates to lead the party in the
event Mugabe retires or dies.

But Mugabe on Saturday told supporters it is awkward that top party
officials were canvassing for top leadership positions in the party.

"In our time it was embarrassing for you to campaign for a post. Ambition
causes divisions in the party," Mugabe said.

He said Mnangagwa and Mujuru must stop getting people to support them as
individuals and instead must work at getting people to support the party.

"Ensure people are united but not around you, you are there to lead them,
the party doesn't belong to you," he said. That is dangerous, absolutely

Mugabe also told his supporters that there was no need to engage in violence
in the upcoming elections because "we have the strength of our policies"
unlike his partners in the coalition, Tsvangirai 's Movement for Democratic
Change party, as "clueless spooks sent to cause us grief."

Mugabe's often violent program to seize thousands of white-owned farms since
2000 disrupted the agriculture-based economy. He has also announced plans to
force businesses and mines to hand over a 51 percent ownership to black

"We don't want violence. That is dirty and we are a clean party because we
are intellectuals," Mugabe said.

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Zanu (PF) resolves to muzzle private radio stations


by Tawanda Majoni

The curtain came down on the 13th Zanu (PF) annual People’s Conference in
Gweru on Saturday with the party calling for the muzzling of private radio
stations and its First Secretary and President, Robert Mugabe, begging for
internal unity ahead of what he described as a “watershed” election next

The major highlight of the day was the afternoon presentation of cluster
resolutions, during which the head of the Media, Science and Technology
Committee, Olivia Muchena, told delegates that they had wanted the jamming
of radio stations beaming into Zimbabwe from outside.

These stations include SW Radio Africa, VOP and Studio 7 that are based in
the US and UK.

“Our committee is urging the party to adopt technology that will jam hostile
foreign media in areas where State radio and television services are not
available. We should find technology as a party so that these radio stations
are not accessible to the people in those areas,” Muchena announced.

These stations have been providing alternative coverage on Zimbabwe for more
than a decade in the wake of a State-imposed monopoly of the airwaves by the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

Already, they are victims of scrambling by the local secret service which is
reported to have received state-of-the-art jamming equipment from China
several years ago.

Muchena’s committee also urged the party to invest in Information
Communication Technology to fight “cyber warfare”.

“ICTs are important in cyber warfare and the party should invest a minimum
of $5m for ICT platforms for social media. We will not explain the details
because we should not do that,” said Muchena, who, according to party
Chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, had to speak from the floor because of an
injured leg following an accident.

Her cluster also resolved that Zanu (PF) should establish a radio and
television station “as we cannot rely on State radio and television during
elections because of too many regulations” and urged the party to “treat
messages on cellphones with utmost caution as some of them are hostile”.

Her party seems to have adopted a combative attitude towards social media
and telephony in spreading vital information during elections.

Other major resolutions by the committees included:

• The setting up of an ideological school for Zanu (PF) members

• Holding elections “without failure” by March 2013 and a referendum on a
draft constitution this month

• Giving beneficiaries of the land redistribution programme the first right
of refusal in the event that mining claims are found on their farms

• Pushing for legislation forcing banks to financially support local

• Setting up banks in rural areas

• Establishing a Commission of Inquiry into the activities of diamond mining
giant, De Beers, during the time it operated in the country

• Setting up a Robert Mugabe Foundation to update supporters on party
developments throughout the world

• Establishing a Food Supply Scheme “to address food insecurity in the

• Reintroducing the supplementary feeding scheme in schools

• Shunning violence unless provoked by other parties

• Urging party elders to stop a culture of creating factions

• Giving 30 percent of government tenders to women

• Stopping the police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority from clogging
highways with roadblocks

In his closing remarks, Mugabe begged for unity.

“We are looking forward to the watershed year (2013) which is upon us.

Zanu (PF) is like a wounded beast, and you know how a wounded beast fights,”
said Mugabe.

“I urge the party to be united because in 2008, we went into the polls
either divided or relaxed. We hear that this faction belongs to Emmerson
Mnangagwa and this faction to Joice Mujuru. That is absolutely dangerous and
avoid that! What kind of leaders are you?” said Mugabe as he banged the

Mugabe was for the first time beaten by his bitter rival, Morgan Tsvangirai,
during the first round of the presidential poll in March 2008, but won the
violence-ridden June runoff on a technicality after his opponent pulled out
in protest.

Mnangagwa, the Defence Minister, and Mujuru, the Vice President, are said to
lead rival factions positioning themselves to take over from Mugabe, who has
however been endorsed as the party candidate for next year’s presidential

The Zanu (PF) conference, which this year ran under a theme emphasising
economic growth and employment creation apparently to win voters’ hearts, is
an annual event to analyse party activities and map the way into the future.

It is punctuated by party a party congress that takes place after every five
years and at which important decisions such as leadership change are made.

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MDC-T eyes electoral pact to unseat Mugabe

08/12/2012 00:00:00
by Mduduzi Mathuthu

MORGAN Tsvangirai is not the President of Zimbabwe because talks aimed at
reunifying the two MDC factions collapsed in 2008 – just months before
general elections, according to his party’s secretary general Tendai Biti.

Biti said the decision by the MDC-T – which won a larger share of the
electoral vote compared to the splinter party now led by the party’s
founding secretary general Welshman Ncube – to go it alone had aided
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

The talks collapsed over the distribution of parliamentary seats between the
two parties.
Biti, who had advocated for the reunification of the parties, says he became
so despondent after the failed talks that he would not want to be involved

Yet the Finance Minister, speaking in Manchester, England, on Friday
insisted that he had no doubt Mugabe would lose against a coalition of
determined Zimbabwean opposition leaders.

“For me personally, I did my best to see the reunification of the two MDCs
and I was really shattered when our talks broke down on February 2, 2008,”
Biti told New

“I think it was a disaster, and to prove that those of us who were preaching
unity were vindicated, the presidential run-off election was caused by the 9
percent that we theoretically lost to Simba Makoni.”

Makoni, a former Zanu PF official and leader of the then newly-formed
Mavambo-Kusile party, stood as an independent with the support of Ncube’s

Tsvangirai polled 1,195,562 votes (47.9 percent) to Mugabe’s 1,079,730 votes
(43.2 percent) which fell shy of the 50.01 percent which would have secured
him the presidency.

Makoni’s 8.3 percentage share of the vote meant there was no outright
winner, triggering a run-off election between Mugabe and Tsvangirai in June
2008 which the MDC-T leader opted out of, citing the widespread intimidation
and killing of his supporters.

Mugabe later agreed to share power with Tsvangirai and Ncube's MDC, then led
by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, after regional countries refused
to recognise his lopsided run-off victory.

Biti admits the two MDC parties are unlikely to reunite, but he still hopes
an electoral pact can still be possible to unseat the 88-year-old Mugabe who
has been in power since 1980.

He said: “I pray that there will be maturity at the relevant time not for
the reunification of the parties, I think that will never happen, but for
some kind of electoral pact.

“I hope the leaders of all the democracy loving political parties in
Zimbabwe – Simba Makoni, Dumiso Dabengwa, Welshman Ncube, Morgan Tsvangirai
and others – will come together for some kind of pact.

“One thing I can assure you is that I hope not to be involved in the
negotiations because the way they collapse is very painful, and I still have
a hangover from the collapse of the 2008 talks.”

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Chihuri defends Zanu PF conference appearance

08/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

POLICE chief Augustine Chihuri has told the MDC-T that it has no hope of
taking over power if the party does not respect veterans of the country’s
fight for independence from British colonial rule.

Chihuri was reacting criticism by MDC-T secretary general and Finance
Minister Tendai Biti who told New the security services chiefs
had abandoned all pretences at being public servants by attending the Zanu
PF national conference in Gweru.

Chihuri attended the gathering with defence forces chief, Constantine
Chiwenga, army commander, Phillip Sibanda, Airforce of Zimbabwe boss,
Perence Shiri, and prison services head, Paradzai Zimondi.

Speaking in the United Kingdom, Biti said the service chiefs should not have
attended a party political gathering.
“We have always said it that these people are partisan and lack the
professional discipline of civil servants. I wish I could say I’m surprised
by it, but I’m not because it confirms what we have always said.”

But Chihuri hit back Sunday saying: “We are part and parcel of the
revolution. We cannot be divorced from that revolution; those who are
thinking of leading this country without respecting those who fought for it
must stop dreaming.

“For us not to be part of that revolution is trying to make us forget where
we came from, who I am and who I would have been."
He added: “Remember, we fought for this country to keep and not to let it go
just like that; we fought a bitter war against the robbers, thieves and
murderers who were enjoying the fruits of our country while we were
languishing in poverty.

“We are service chiefs and we go everywhere where the President is. The next
time the conference is held, we will go and we will continue to go. It shows
that we are loyal.

“Besides, the blood which was shed is giving them freedom to say that
rubbish. They are doing whatever they are doing because we fought for this
country for it to be free.”

The MDC-T has been pressing for a reform of the country’s security services
after top generals insisted that they would not service under a President
who was not involved in the liberation struggle, a veiled reference to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai however, says the generals who have benefitted from Zanu PF’s
continued stay in power do not speak for the military rank and file.

The MDC-T leader says he is confident that an MDC-T government will take
over power should he win new elections expected in March next year.

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Frugal Mugabe shakes off 'out of touch' tag

08/12/2012 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

IF ZANU PF is diverting money from Marange diamonds as alleged by its
coalition partners, then some of the cash is probably not finding its way to
President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC formations accuse Zanu PF of skimming off money from Marange to fund
its war chest for next year’s elections at a time the government is
struggling to pay its workers a living wage.

They have cited the US$20 million input scheme Mugabe launched recently in
Harare as well as a new US$6 million convention complex built in Gweru for
the party’s conference.

But if Zanu PF is flash with cash, then the party may have forgotten to
lavish its leader with the riches as the famously frugal 88-year-old donned
party regalia from the 2005 election campaign.

Mugabe - in power since 1980 - addressed about 6,000 supporters at the Gweru
gathering, typically donning yellow party regalia emblazoned with his head.
But the devil was in the detail: a campaign message on his lapel urged ‘Vote
Zanu PF 2005’.

Still, Mugabe’s choice of clothing may have been deliberate. He rallied the
party faithful for key elections he wants to be held in March by asking for
selfless public service underpinned by prudence.

He demanded an end to corruption and projected himself as genuinely in touch
with the man on the street. He peppered his speech with condemnation of
Zimbabweans’ pet hates: traffic police, customs officers and fat cat

Some ministers, he said, were soliciting bribes from foreign investors
claiming that some of the cash would find its way to him. We are all victims
of these evil operators, was the message.

“I was getting complaints even kunze from former South African president
Thabo Mbeki who said some of our ANC people who come (to Zimbabwe) trying to
do business, have been told ‘if you want to do business you should give us
US$1 million. No, it is now US$5 million. We will take some of the money to
President Mugabe, zvekundinyepera’,” Mugabe charged.

“That is corruption. If I get information that minister so-and-so is doing
that, you go immediately. Unfortunately, vamwe vanenge vasingadi kutaura
mazita. Be disciplined. Do not try to deceive. There is a lot of
indiscipline taking place.”

Mugabe also said corruption was also rife in other public services such as
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the police, with officers inconveniencing
ordinary people by demanding bribes at road blocks and border posts.

He railed: “Mapurisa, mapurisa, mapurisa! Kumisa vanhu mumigwagwa; ‘mota
yako haina mabreaks haungaende mberi kana uchida, bhadhara US$200 woenda!’

“We want you to be straightforward people. You are representatives not only
of government, but of the people as a whole.”
Mugabe said it was wrong for public officials to demand payment for doing
their jobs adding thousands of young Zimbabweans who fought to liberate the
country never demanded a penny.

“It (joining the liberation war) was just commitment. If you want to be paid
to do your job, then you are practising corruption and you cannot boast of
having a well-disciplined police,” he said.

The speech went down very well with the party faithful ahead of key
elections next year, in which Zanu PF hopes its message of “empowerment”
will win the day.

The party’s elections chief Webster Shamu said they would “saturate the
national heart’s and mind’s battlespace with the party’s ideological
teachings and deny that same space to the Western regime change surrogates
that are active in our national body politic”.

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Hoop dreams: Robert Mugabe's son abandons basketball ambitions

Robert Mugabe's son has abandoned his dream of a basketball career because
US sanctions mean he cannot play in America, his mother Grace said at the

By Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg 5:10PM GMT 09 Dec 2012

Mrs Mugabe, 47, told journalists at the annual Zanu PF conference in
Zimbabwe that her son Robert, 19, was "very good" at basketball and longed
for the chance to play in the "best league in the world," the NBA.

"We had to sit him down and explain that he cannot join a club playing in
the US college league because of the sanctions. It hurt him because there
was a lot of interest in him, but now he understands what it means to be the
son of President Mugabe," she said.

None of Mr and Mrs Mugabe's three children are named on US and EU sanctions
lists, and there is nothing therefore to stop Robert Jnr from travelling to
the United States.
"Tino," as the young Mugabe is known among friends, attended the same rural
Catholic mission school, Kutama, where his father was educated.

After poor 'O' levels at Kutama, he transferred to St John's School in the
capital Harare, close to his parents' lavish home. There he failed all his
'A' levels but shone at sports, in particular basketball.

State media have described Mr Mugabe Jnr as "the gangly first son" with a
"rare" talent for basketball. His father, on the other hand, is a known
cricket fan.

Middle child Robert Jnr was born shortly after Mr Mugabe's first wife Sally
died of kidney disease 20 years ago.

During Sally's last years, Mr Mugabe chose Grace Marufu from the
presidential typing pool as his mistress and had a daughter, Bona, now 23
and studying in Asia. They went on to marry after Sally Mugabe died.

Mr Mugabe, who will be 89 in February, told the Zanu PF conference he will
lead his party to victory in elections next year.

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100% Lunacy – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 8th December 2012

Mugabe’s call for 100% ‘indigenous’ ownership of companies in Zimbabwe is an invitation to a new wave of looting which will end foreign investment, killing any prospect of economic growth while Zanu PF is in power. And remaining in power is what the policy is about.

Speaking at the Zanu PF conference in Gweru, Mugabe said: ‘The notion that capital is more important than any other factors is nonsense.’ He added that the notion was ‘dirty, filthy and criminal.’

Launching a blatant vote-buying campaign for re-election, he said of indigenization: ‘I think now we have done enough of 51 percent. Let it be 100 percent’ (see: – Mugabe backs 100% black ownership of Zimbabwe-based firms).

Mugabe said that if foreign owned companies don’t want to abide by these rules they should go away. And so they will. Ironically Mugabe’s new policy was announced on the same day as the economist Eric Bloch wrote in a newspaper article that foreign investment is essential for Zimbabwe. He said: ‘There is an abysmal and contemptuous disregard for the irrefutable fact that the country desperately needs such investment in order to attain substantive growth of its economy. That growth is critical if a comprehensive reduction
of the overwhelming unemployment that has plagued Zimbabwe for too long is to materialise’ (see: – Barriers to investment on the increase).

The Vigil believes the welfare of ordinary Zimbabweans has never been of concern to Mugabe. The only growth that counts for him is in the money he can spend to ensure he stays in power. And, thanks to diamonds, he has shown there is a lot of that.

News that Zimbabwe was to be discussed at the SADC meeting in Dar es Salaam should have given us encouragement. After all, SADC laid down the rules for the next elections and is supposed to enforce them. But following the recent comments by President Zuma’s adviser Lindiwe Zulu we are expecting nothing. She said of the lack of progress in the constitution-making exercise merely that she hoped the political parties would ‘try to move the process quicker than it is moving at the moment’.

Ms Zulu wouldn’t say who was responsible for the deadlock but everyone knows and until South Africa faces up to Mugabe’s intransigence there can be no progress and no fair elections (see: Zuma team meets political parties over constitutional deadlock –

Other points

· Our sister organization the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) met in Birmingham to elect a new executive. Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, who set up ROHR in 2007, was confirmed as Chair. Around 70 people attended, representing most of the branches in the UK. The conference resolved to relaunch programmes in Zimbabwe and start operations in South Africa as well. Signatures were collected for a petition to the UK Border Agency protesting at the treatment of Zimbabwean deportees. Representatives from the Vigil and Zimbabwe We Can attended the conference to express their support. Mr Tapa said there’d been an enthusiastic attitude at the meeting with determination to continue the work. A full report will be posted on the ROHR website

· We were glad to have with us a festive choir in Santa Claus hats from our partner organization the Zimbabwe Association. They sang rousing Christmas songs in Shona and English.

· Following the suicide of our supporter Bernard Hukwa, we are ever mindful of how difficult life is in the UK for Zimbabwean asylum seekers (particularly in the winter). Thanks to Josephine Zhuga and Louisa Musaerenge for their compassionate assistance to one of our supporters who came to us today in considerable distress.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 43 signed the register.


· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 15th December from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

· Film ‘Robert Mugabe: Villain or Hero’. Saturday 15th December at 2 pm. Venue: British Film Institute, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT. There will be a panel / audience discussion. For full details:

· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

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

· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani). To download the band’s theme song Vigil Yedu visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

· Vigil Facebook page:

· Vigil Myspace page:

· To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to

· Useful websites: which reports on Zanu PF abuses and where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

Vigil co-ordinators

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

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Zimbabwe; what if ZANU (PF) wins

Posted On : December 9th, 2012

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe greets crowds during his 88th birthday
rally in Mutare about 265km (165miles) east of the capital Harare, February
25, 2012. Mugabe turned 88 on Tuesday. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE –
Never say never, because politics is an unpredictable and dirty game.

A colleague of mine posed to me a very fascinating mental challenge the
other day. She challenged me to imagine what would happen to Zimbabwe if
ZANU (PF) won the next elections and became the next legitimately elected
government. I laughed at her, saying that that is definitely the most
ridiculous thought I have heard this year. However since that conversation,
the possibility of an outright majority win by ZANU (PF) in the next
elections in Zimbabwe has somehow kept my mind occupied. It is an issue that
I am compelled to seriously contemplate upon because as we all know, never
say never, especially in politics

I therefore cannot continue to ignore a likely scenario where ZANU (PF)
attains the majority of the vote and remains the majority governing party in
Zimbabwe until 2018. To ghastly to contemplate for sure.

Let me share with my readers a true story. A black small holder tobacco
farmer was seen weeping outside the tobacco floors just outside Harare.
Asked what was wrong with him, he said that nothing was wrong at all. In
fact, he was just so happy and overwhelmed because he was holding in his
hand, a cheque for USD6, 000 made out to him. In his entire life, he said
that he had never imagined that he could own such a huge amount of money.
Thank God for Mugabe, he said, because if it was not for him, a black farmer
like him would never have had such an opportunity. He would definitely vote
for Mugabe anytime, because it was Mugabe who chased away the whites who
used to make all the money and now it was his turn.

That about sums up the conundrum we are faced with. The majority of rural
Zimbabweans, where the most votes reside, are poor and seem easily swayed by
crafty political gimmicks. Give them a piece of land to farm on, some inputs
and empty promises for a better future, and then you are most likely to get
their vote. This is beside the fact that they may never own that piece of
land on which they farm on. They are caught in a cycle of low expectations
and subsistence survival. They cannot imagine a much better life than that
which they have already attained and ZANU (PF) has over the years, mastered
just how to capitalize on that.

It has since dawned on me, that these are the very people that are likely to
determine my destiny through their vote, simply because of their numbers.
They most definitely do not have the same concerns and aspirations as I
have, but unfortunately, they have a big say in my future. That is why I
think a majority vote system where all votes are equal, and winner takes all
is the worst form of democracy. In my opinion, mass opinion is the worst
enemy of progress because, the masses are almost always wrong when it comes
to politics and economics. All you have to do is to look across Africa.

Now, if ZANU (PF) wins the next elections, it will be the rural folk that
deliver power to them as I am convinced that Zimbabwean urbanites are ready
for This of course excludes the ZANU(PF) patronage brigade in all sectors
who will vote to maintain their lifestyle. I am forced, therefore, not to
write this scenario off as impracticable, but to anticipate the likely

I imagine that if this happens, the international community will have to
accept the choice of the majority of Zimbabweans and remove any financial
restrictions that are now in place. If they insist that Mugabe must go, ZANU
(PF) may quickly replace him as he is due to retire anyway. That could then
hopefully result in a more moderate leader, who would then offer an olive
branch to the MDC and establish a coalition government in order to present
an acceptable front to the world. The dilemma is whether the MDC would
accept such an arrangement.

This would be the best case scenario I think. However, the downside is that
it may lead to more of the same, where economic recovery will be very slow
and the ownership structures of the economy, business activity and public
enterprises remain intact and under the control and direction of ZANU (PF).
Indigenization would most probably be ramped up and we are likely to see
very little foreign direct investment. The economy would have a glass
ceiling while our projected economic growth will hardly be achievable; we
will therefore achieve very little, very slowly.

In such a scenario, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora would definitely not return,
nor would we see any significant shift in national development priorities.
In other words, we would be stuck with the devil we know for another five
years. That would be distressing.

I do think that ZANU (PF) would be pleasantly surprised of such a
development, while the MDC will have failed to deliver democracy to the

The worst case scenario would be increasing political arrogance, the
stifling of the opposition and the continued misguided indigenization
rhetoric of ZANU (PF). This would result in an enclave economy characterized
by increasing poverty, lack of development and the consolidation of
political and economic power by the army and the ZANU (PF) cabal. We cannot
write this possibility off and must continue to pray that this will not

To be prudent, I think we need to factor the above scenarios into our
thinking and planning for next year because politics is an unpredictable and
dirty game. We just have to hope for the best and do whatever we can to
avoid the continued domination by ZANUPF). However given the history of
Zimbabweans, I am nervous that most will accept whatever scenario and once
again wait for divine intervention.

The slow grinding wheel of change will once again be with us.

Aluta continua!

Vince Musewe is an independent economist in Harare and you may contact him

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‘I’ll let Mugabe die in peace’

Sunday Times UK

Despite smears and suspicious deaths, Morgan Tsvangirai is offering his
rival an amnesty to head off further violence

Dan McDougall, Harare Published: 9 December 2012

THE prime minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is still grieving
over the deaths of his wife and grandson and who has been smeared by
allegations of a bigamous marriage, has held out an olive branch to his old
foe, President Robert Mugabe.

When he last contested the presidency in 2008, Mugabe’s supporters unleashed
a murderous tide of violence against members of Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), forcing him to pull out of the race.

Now Tsvangirai, 60, has made Mugabe an offer in the run-up to the next
election, expected in April. In an interview with The Sunday Times at his
mansion in the affluent Harare suburb of Borrowdale, he promised to grant
Mugabe, 88, and his Zanu-PF party cronies an amnesty if he wins, so they can
retire quietly to the farms they have seized.

“I’m not motivated by revenge or looking back,” Tsvangirai said. “We can’t
look back or take retribution on Mugabe or Zanu-PF for what’s passed. If we
win we’ll not go after Mugabe. If he loses he’ll have no more life to lead.
We’ll finally see a frail old man who’s lived his day. There’ll be no need
to take action.”

Despite calls for justice by the families of Mugabe’s victims, Tsvangirai
proposes a truth and reconciliation process similar to that of
post-apartheid South Africa. “If we win there’d have to be a process that
puts Zanu perpetrators face to face with the relatives of their victims.
That’s something we’d do.”

Tsvangirai has suffered considerably. Apart from being cheated of victory in
the last election, in 2007 he was beaten by police for taking part in a
peaceful prayer meeting that the police had deemed illegal. Mugabe crowed
that his rival “deserved” his punishment for disobeying police orders.

He has also survived several assassination attempts, including one in 1997
when unknown assailants burst into his 10th-floor office and tried to hurl
him out of the window.

Since he agreed to join a unity government in which Mugabe holds most of the
power, Tsvangirai has had to watch the few remaining white farmers having
their land seized and the country’s vast diamond wealth being looted by the
president’s allies. Huge riches from the Marange Valley diamond fields are
under the control of Mugabe.

Tsvangirai believes that during the past few years the party and its leaders
have siphoned off about US$1bn (£620m).

He said: “Our diamond revenues are nearly $1.5bn, but our fiscal budget only
benefited from $40m this year, when we expected almost $500m. So over $1bn
in revenues hasn’t reached the Zimbabwean people.”

Tsvangirai has experienced tragedy during his time in office. Both his wife,
Lilian, who was his political mentor, and his three-year-old grandson, Sean,
died in accidents in 2009.

“Look, there is no denying it’s been a harrowing journey for me. Political
life has been fraught and has brought enormous challenges,” he said.
“Politics in Zimbabwe can be a deadly business.”

Friends say Tsvangirai never fully recovered from Lilian’s death in a car
crash and Sean’s drowning in a swimming pool. Serious questions remain over
Lilian’s death, in which a lorry swerved into the path of their Toyota Land
Cruiser four days before Tsvangirai’s 57th birthday. Car accidents have
become a cause of death for several of the regime’s enemies. Tsvangirai
dismisses talk of a plot but a close adviser said his wife’s death was

“Morgan’s public face is to deny it was an attempt on his own life that took
his wife’s, but none of his team believes it was an accident. It was a
miracle he survived and is with us today,” the adviser said.

According to opinion polls, Tsvangirai has been damaged by the messy
circumstances of his marriage to Elizabeth Macheka, 35, in September: he was
accused of bigamy.

Days before the lavish ceremony, a Harare magistrate ruled that Tsvangirai’s
former lover, Locardia Karimatsenga, had proved she was his wife under
Zimbabwe’s traditional marriage laws. As a consequence Tsvangirai and his
fiancée had to exchange vows under a “customary marriage” law that allows

In a country where the churches still hold great sway, Tsvangirai believes
Mugabe’s agents orchestrated a plot to humiliate him. “There’s been a focus
on my personal life to unseat me. It was mischief-making by my enemies and
without foundation,” he said.

As the election grows closer there have been signs that Zanu-PF is once
again turning to violence to ensure Mugabe clings to power. A new generation
of Zanu-PF youth militias is emerging in campaign battlegrounds.

Attacks on MDC members, including a brutal assault on John Kinnaird, the
party treasurer for Midlands North, and his wife, Jackie, who were taken to
hospital after being beaten with tyre irons, are growing more widespread.

Other MDC activists have been burnt and have had their legs broken.
Tsvangirai called on the United Nations to ensure a fair election. He said:
“To make sure they are fair we must be transparent, but Zanu doesn’t want
the UN here. They don’t want this transparency.”

He added that next year’s poll would be the country’s best chance to escape
its spiral of dictatorship, violence and economic decline: “We want a fair
election. I’ve had an extraordinary experience taking on this fight. I’ve
suffered loss and hurt but this struggle is my fate. It’s time to put the
politics of the gun behind us once and for all.”

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Zimbabwe: Has its first coalition improved the country?

Maxine Mason

Today Zimbabwe is a devastated nation, but this wasn’t always the case.
‘There was a time when the country was so prosperous that people from
neighbouring countries came to live out their dreams in Zimbabwe,’ says
Kudzinetsa Sitotombe, a former citizen. However, many citizens now live in
fear and discontent. An ex-resident who wishes to remain anonymous describes
the horror: ‘I am a personal victim, having been beaten and had my home and
possessions taken away. Many people have been victimised, burnt, tortured,
and raped by the regime.’ Although the current government is an all-party
coalition that has promised radical reform, Zimbabwe remains in turmoil.

The coalition between the MDC and ZANU PF parties was formed in 2008 after
ten years of autocratic rule by Robert Mugabe. At first there was hope among
the Zimbabwean people. Now there is only disappointment. A former MDC
parliamentary worker, who will be known as ‘Pete Jones’, argues that
‘wherever in the world there are remaining dictators … one can draw a
parallel to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean issue has nothing to do with race, it
is about a repressive regime fighting to stay in power without the support
of the people.’

When Morgan Tsvangurai of the progressive MDC joined the coalition, it was
believed that he would exert a positive influence. Another interviewee, ‘Tom’,
sees things differently: the joint government is ‘a dictatorship’ which has
,‘‘successfully ‘governed the country to its total collapse’.

‘Pete Jones’ adds that, at first, ‘the coalition between the MDC and ZANU PF
never "fell" in to place, it came about as a result of the Zimbabweans
people’s resolve and [desire] for change. In spite of violence and rigging,
ZANU PF was defeated but Mugabe and ZANU PF refused to transfer power in
order to create stability and ease the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.
The MDC entered into an agreement that was to allow a period of reforms to
be carried out in preparation for a non-violent free and fair election
[whose] outcome would be uncontested. This period has passed and two thirds
of the issues in the agreement have still to be implemented by ZANU PF. It
is a difficult coalition with little agreement on policy issues.’

Another resident agrees. ‘The coalition is just a window to show the world
that the parties are getting along.’ The coalition has failed to resolve the
struggles of old. Another interviewee claims that ‘the situation continues
because the people are completely disenfranchised and controlled by a
ruthless and seemingly invincible regime that stops at nothing to retain

‘Most Zimbabweans believe that the nations of the world, including African
nations and especially Britain, have failed them.’ This is the view of a
Zimbabwean who fled the country to seek refuge abroad.

The international media has largely ignored the abuses of the coalition and
Zimbabwe’s worsening political and economic situation. Robert Dowden asserts
that the ‘international media can sometimes view Africa as a brand through
which it is characterised as riddled with war, famine and disease.’ Zimbabwe
is part of such a ‘brand’ and receives little coverage abroad due to the
international media’s attitude to African news stories. Author Susan Moeller
states that ‘to forestall the “I’ve-seen-it-before” syndrome, journalists
reject events that aren’t more dramatic or more lethal than their
predecessors.’ Arguably, situations that haven’t changed much over periods
of years are regarded as less relevant than newer, more rapidly-developing
situations. ‘Editors and producer,’ continues Moeller, ‘don’t assign stories
and correspondents don’t cover events that they believe will not appeal to
their readers and viewers.’

It is evident that the coalition has not been covered by the global media as
thoroughly as previous issues and events in the country.

‘Zimbabwe meant a lot to me,’ says a dismayed ex-resident. ‘It was my place
of sanctuary and refuge in this world and where my family was and indeed
some [members] still are’. Despite assurances of much-awaited change, the
coalition has proven to be nothing more than a broken promise which has in
no way lived up to the expectations of the Zimbabwean people. One can only
hope for significant political progress to restore hope to the once
bread-basket of Africa.

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Constitution Watch of 8th December [Principals Set Up Committee to Deal With Post-Conference Deadlock]


[8th December 2012]

Principals Set Up New Committee to Deal with Deadlock

Continuing Story of Delay and Deadlocks

The whole constitution-making process has been characterised by delays and deadlocks. Although a “final” COPAC draft [available from Veritas], was signed as complete by the negotiators of all three parties in July [over 2 years late according to the schedule laid down by the GPA] subsequent discussions in the ZANU-PF Politburo led to that party demanding a whole raft of new changes and producing its own re-draft in late August [also available from Veritas]. The other parties rejected the ZANU-PF demands, and it was the COPAC draft that went to the Second All Stakeholders Conference on 22nd October. The Conference merely continued the stand-off, with delegates sharply divided between those supporting the COPAC final draft and those supporting the ZANU-PF demands. No resolution was even attempted at the Conference. The COPAC Select Committee’s report on the Conference [not yet available to the public] reflected the unresolved issues and referred them to the Management Committee.

On 12th October the Management Committee also reached deadlock, with ZANU-PF members wanting the principals to take over and negotiate a solution, and both MDCs saying the COPAC draft, with changes already agreed, should go to Parliament and then to the Referendum. The MDCs’ stance follows the Article 6, but would probably just push the impasse to another level [see Constitution Watch of 19th October].

Next Sequence of Events

With pressure mounting from SADC, the principals decided they would take over the process [as the President warned at the Conference]. But they did not have a special meeting to discuss the way forward. Instead they chose to leave it to their routine Monday weekly meeting.

Monday 19th November : Principals briefed

At this meeting the principals received a briefing from Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga. They then requested him to prepare a report containing his recommendations on the way forward. Another week passed before they took the matter up again.

Monday 26th November : Principals call for another committee

Minister Matinenga presented his report, and recommendation that the Management Committee should try again, at a meeting attended by President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara, but the decision reached was to set up a small new Committee which would include a Minister from each party to make further efforts to overcome the deadlock. Professor Ncube was then allowed to join the meeting and was informed of the decision. [This seems an anomaly, as Professor Ncube and his party have been the ones involved in the COPAC process.]

Comment: There has been a great deal of criticism that this step is an interference of the Executive in what the GPA designed as a Parliamentary constitution-making process.

Setting up the New Committee

MDC reaction to new Committee

ZANU-PF and MDC-T were quick to put forward their Ministerial nominees for the new Committee – Ministers Chinamasa and Biti, respectively.

MDC, however, was dissatisfied with the way in which Professor Ncube had been called into the meeting and in effect presented with a fait accompli. MDC Minister and GPA negotiator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga voiced this dissatisfaction on behalf of the party. She complained that President Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai were not complying with the resolution of the August 2012 SADC Summit in Maputo that Professor Ncube, not Professor Mutambara, is the MDC principal for GPA purposes. The MDC also made it clear that their party position was that the principals should not take over COPAC’s mandate to produce a new constitution. All this created a general impression that MDC would not be taking part in the proceedings of the new Committee, even though the party’s standing committee had not yet met to decide whether to participate, and would only do so the following week.

SADC facilitation team in Harare

President Zuma’s facilitation team was in Harare on 28th November and held meetings with negotiators of all three GPA parties. The team were briefed on, amongst other matters, the current stalemate in the constitution-making process and the formation of the new Committee.

Thursday 29th November: Clarifying statement by Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs

At a press briefing on 29th November Minister Matinenga explained that the Committee would deal with areas of disagreement in the substantive second all-stakeholders’ report in an effort to unlock the deadlock. If the Committee could not do this, the problem would have to go back to the principals. He insisted that the setting up of the new Committee did not signify that the constitution-making process had ceased to be a COPAC and Parliamentary affair. Any conclusions reached would be referred to the Select Committee for endorsement and the Select Committee would still have to present its report and the draft constitution to Parliament ahead of the Referendum.

Tuesday 4th December: MDC decides to take part in Committee

At its meeting on Tuesday the party’s standing committee decided that MDC would not boycott the Committee. It confirmed Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga as its Ministerial member on the Committee. A spokesman explained that the party was doing this “to participate in the process of finding the best and quickest route to having a Referendum”, and on the understanding that the Committee is not a new body: “This Committee is a continuation of work done by COPAC”. The new Committee is in fact a pared-down version of the Management Committee, with three members, wearing their Ministerial hats instead of their party negotiator hats, plus the co-chairs and Minster Matinenga .

Composition of New Committee

The Committee has the following seven members:

· Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Matinenga as convenor and chairperson

· three Cabinet Ministers, one from each of the three GPA parties [Chinamasa, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Biti]

· three COPAC co-chairs. [Mwonzora, Mangwana and Coltart or Mkhosi]

New Committee has First Meeting and Will Meet Again on 10th December

Minister Matinenga convened an inaugural meeting on 5th December. There was full attendance [Matinenga, Chinamasa, Mangwana, Biti, Mwonzora, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Coltart]. [Note: Mr Mkhosi, Minister Coltart’s alternate co-chair, was absent for medical reasons. Mr Coltart was appointed the MDC co-chair as he is an experienced lawyer, as are the other two co-chairs, but as he has been so busy with his duties as Minister of Education that Mr Mkhosi has been the usual MDC co-chair.]

Since then Committee members’ other commitments have prevented the Committee from getting down to serious work. Minister Chinamasa and Mr Mangwana have been involved in the business of the ZANU-PF Annual Conference, starting with the Politburo Meeting on Wednesday and continuing until Saturday. Minister Biti had engagements in the UK.

The Committee has scheduled its next meeting for Monday 10th December, continuing on Tuesday if necessary. Minister Matinenga has said he believes the Committee can in that time decide whether or not agreement is possible.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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