The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Mugabe Orchestrated Rape - AIDS-Free World report

By Sholain Govender-Bateman

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 10 (IPS) - "When the tenth man finished raping me they
said they were going to rape my daughter. I cried out but I could not even
stand up at this time...they raped my daughter (while) I was there and I
couldn't do anything to stop them. My daughter was five years old..."

This is the testimony of a woman from Harare, one of 70 survivor's sworn
affidavits as detailed in the AIDS-Free World report titled "Electing to
Rape: Sexual terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe". AIDS-Free World is an
international advocacy organisation that aims to promote more urgent and
effective global responses to HIV/AIDS.

The report was launched on International Human Rights Day as an appeal to
leaders around the world to stop ignoring the violence being carried out
against the people of Zimbabwe and to declare the systematic rape of women
pre-, post- and during the 2008 elections, a crime against humanity.

"The report unequivocally establishes that Robert Mugabe and his henchmen
were guilty of crimes against humanity," said AIDS-Free World co-director
Stephen Lewis. "The politically-orchestrated and systematic campaign of
sexual violence unleashed against women who supported the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) carves yet another chapter in the
annals of Robert Mugabe's legacy of depravity."

Over the course of 11 months, AIDS-Free World spent over 300 hours with its
legal team interviewing dozens of women who described brutal beatings, gang
rape, abduction and torture at the hands of people who they say were clearly
identifiable as ZANU-PF youth militia or war veterans.

Betsy Apple, legal director and general counsel of the organisation, said
the 64-page report, which documents 380 rapes committed by 241 perpetrators
across Zimbabwe's ten provinces, would be used to build a legal case against
Mugabe and the perpetrators.

Nine of the women interviewed said they were infected with HIV/AIDS as a
result of the rapes, and an additional seventeen women also tested
HIV-positive in the months following the rapes, raising the possibility that
their rapists infected them. Ten women fell pregnant as a result of the

And 96 percent of the women testified that the men who raped them made some
kind of political statement indicating they were ZANU-PF, or that they were
targeting the women because of the women's MDC involvement, or both. One
woman recalls: "As they raped me, they said I must join the ZANU-PF and
defect from the MDC party. As this was happening, I could see and hear other
women being raped around me simultaneously."

Another woman from Harare said: "As he was raping me he said that he had a
sexually transmitted infection so he wanted me to die from the STI. After
they raped me, they said I was going to die from the HIV virus."

Lewis said the report was the first step in seeking justice for the victims
of violence in Zimbabwe and other countries where human rights violations
were ongoing and they were now determined to follow up on it.

He said the organisation would canvas the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders, African Union leaders and other key players to act
against these atrocities.

"The rage enters when one realises that those who could bring an end to the
madness, who have it within their power to rid Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe, to
end the reign of sexual terror, to throttle the culture of impunity, to
prevent the horrors of the last election from occurring again in the next
election...those who have power refuse to exercise," Lewis said.

He went on to say that by refusing to take action against Mugabe, individual
countries, sub-regions, entire regions and the international community were
complicit in what the Zimbabwean president was doing and in crimes against

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said last
year that "the UN Security Council and international tribunals have clearly
established that rape and other forms of sexual violence can amount to war
crimes and crimes against humanity ... Perpetrators should be brought to
justice if cycles of violence and brutal retribution are to be halted".

Apple echoed Pillay's words and said that although a meeting was held
"quietly" with several members in the country's government of national
unity, the ministers expressed their inability to deal with the crimes
internally as a result of the current legal limitations within Zimbabwe.
Other legal options include South African law that allows prosecution of
crimes against humanity as long as the perpertrator/s set foot on South
African soil, said Apple She said the region had the obligation to use other
legal options.

Zimbabwean writer and human rights activist Elinor Sisulu said she found it
difficult to read the report as it indicated that three or four generations
of Zimbabwean women have become victims of politically motivated rape and
yet impunity and lack of accountability persisted on a national and
international level.

"As a human rights activist I've heard this story in various forms and the
70 women in this report are just a small percentage of women affected,"
Sisulu said. The black working class rural and urban populations were mostly
targeted, according to Sisulu. "The working class is most vulnerable because
they lack the resources to take action and they make up the voting masses."

She said it was tragic that the Global Programme of Action does not address
the real issues faced by society and conflict would remain a chronic problem
for the region if SADC leaders did not take it pay specific attention to it.

"... in fact the message is that these issues should be swept under the
carpet in order to arrive at political agreements," Sisulu said.

The report says ZANU-PF's use of youth militia and war veterans as terror
squads to intimidate and prevent MDC supporters from voting for the
opposition dates back to at least 2000.

"To read the report is to weep and to be enraged simultaneously. The
accounts of the rapes from the women themselves - vivid, awful,
incomprehensible - make you wonder, yet again, how such things are possible
at the end of the first decade of the 21st century," Lewis said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe backers raped opponents in election: report

Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:48pm GMT

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's 2008 elections were marred by the
widespread rape of political opponents by President Robert Mugabe's
supporters, according to a report released by an HIV/AIDS advocacy group on

Mugabe was outpolled by bitter rival Morgan Tsvangirai in a first round
presidential vote, as his ZANU-PF party lost its parliamentary majority for
the first time since independence in 1980. Mugabe, however, secured
re-election in a controversial run-off poll after Tsvangirai pulled out
citing violence against his supporters.

Tsvangirai's MDC party says about 200 of its supporters were killed in
politically motivated violence.

The report prepared by AIDS-Free World says Mugabe's supporters, including
youth militia and some veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war,
"committed widespread, systematic rape in 2008 to terrorize the political

Officials from Mugabe's ZANU-PF, who routinely deny allegations that the
party has sanctioned the use of violence in election campaigns, were not
immediately available to comment.

AIDS-Free World said the 64-page report -- entitled "Electing to Rape" -- is
based on interviews with 72 survivors and witnesses, and documents 380 rapes
committed by 241 perpetrators across Zimbabwe's 10 provinces.

"ZANU-PF orchestrated its campaign of rape to terrorise, and destabilize
entire communities," said Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World.
"Clearly, the tactic worked: Mugabe is still president."

The 85-year-old leader was forced into a power-sharing government with
Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister, following widespread condemnation of
the violence that marred his re-election.

The unity government has overseen the restoration of relative political and
economic stability since its formation in February, but analysts say the
situation remains fragile amid in-fighting between the coalition partners.

Western donors, seen as key in providing the more than $10 billion the new
government says is required to rebuild Zimbabwe's battered economy, have
demanded broad political reforms before injecting direct funding.

AIDS-Free World called for an International Criminal Court probe into the
alleged sexual crimes and urged regional pressure on Zimbabwe to bring the
perpetrators to justice.

"The evidence is incontrovertible: Mugabe believes he can sanction rape
without fear of consequences. Zimbabwe is perhaps the greatest test for
ending impunity," AIDS-Free World co-director Stephen Lewis, a former UN
special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, said.

A senior official from Tsvangirai's party said that while some perpetrators
of political violence had been brought to the courts and convicted, the slow
pace of prosecutions was another sign of Mugabe's reluctance to fulfil the
power-sharing pact.

"In terms of the global political agreement, the police and the
attorney-general's office were supposed to expedite the investigation and
prosecution of all political violence cases," the MDC's deputy Minister of
Justice, Jessie Majome, told Reuters.

"There is no sign of urgency on the matter and this is yet another breach of
the (power-sharing) agreement. The justice ministry has no constitutional
powers to force the attorney-general to prosecute."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's party opens congress weaker


by Reagan Mashavave Reagan Mashavave - 2 hrs 31 mins ago

HARARE (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe's party opens its first congress
Friday since it lost its absolute grip on power, with supporters divided
over how to handle their role in the new unity government.

Publicly, ZANU-PF remains steadfast in its support of 85-year-old Mugabe,
who took the party's helm 35 years ago, at the height of the guerilla war
against the white-minority Rhodesian regime.

Once revered for guiding Zimbabwe to independence in 1980, the party is now
reviled as the architect of the country's demise, after a decade of economic
freefall and political violence.

"ZANU-PF will come out of the congress still limping," said Takura
Zhangazha, country director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said.

"They won't come out with a pragmatic approach to revitalise the party," he

After independence, Mugabe steadily grew the party's power, but this year
was forced into a unity government with his leading rival Morgan Tsvangirai,
now the prime minister.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) forced ZANU-PF into the
minority in parliament for the first time in elections last year.

Tsvangirai also defeated Mugabe in the first round of the presidential race,
but pulled out of the run-off as the nation descended into political unrest,
which rights groups say was fuelled largely by ZANU-PF.

The party has been riven by internal squabbles over who should eventually
succeed Mugabe, who has already been endorsed as the candidate in the next
elections slated for 2013, when he will be 89 years old.

But analysts say there's no sign that the party is ready to tackle its
challenges, much less turn around years of crisis that have left millions
chronically dependent on foreign food aid.

The veteran leader is expected to officially open the congress on Friday.
Officially the delegates are to discuss the state of the party, the unity
government, work on a new constitution and proposed media reforms.

In reality, little debate is expected, analysts said.

"There will be no noise during the congress, and there will be no meaningful
debate," said Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the pro-democracy group National
Constitutional Assembly.

"ZANU-PF has been divided for some time," he told AFP, adding that it had
been "weakened for some time."

Mugabe played factions within the party off each other to maintain control,
but he's largely ignored the feud over his succession, which has only
worsened tensions, Madhuku said.

"We have seen provincial chairmen resigning and that's an indication that he
is not in touch with what is happening in the party and on the ground."

Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist at Masvingo State University, said
the party is now suffering because it has never fostered a culture of debate
and openness, leaving divisions to fester underground.

"Mugabe has built a cult personality in ZANU-PF," Zhou said.

"The main problem is that the culture of debate is limited. There are people
who are aggrieved who will not be able to speak out."

Opinion polls show that ZANU-PF will likely lose any new election, although
the party retains significant support, especially in rural areas.

Zhou said the party divisions will make it even harder to win the next

"The question is, are the losers prepared to accept defeat?" he said.
"Knowing ZANU-PF, it will most unlikely accept defeat."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Looming split after bomb scare at Zanu-PF congress

  Thursday 10 December 2009 / by Alice Chimora
Security was heightened last night at Zanu PF congress with the army and
Central Intelligence Organisation operatives pitching up a temporal base as
tensions ran high.

On Wednesday afternoon, a politburo meeting was briefly disrupted with
reports of a bomb scare at the Zanu PF Head Offices. The meeting only
resumed after a sweeping clearance by the members of the Army's bomb
disposal unit.

A large majority of delegates are disgruntled over Robert Mugabe's self
endorsement without their approval and the idea of a break away party is
being sold to delegates.

Mugabe has kept a tight grip on ZANU-PF since becoming party leader in the
mid 1970s and spearheaded a guerrilla war against white minority rule. A
personality cult has developed around him in the party, with some officials
referring to him as the "second son of God" or the "supreme leader."

Although Mugabe has flatly refused to discuss his retirement plans, analysts
have said he is unlikely to contest the next presidential poll - expected in
the next two years or in 2013 if the current unity government runs a full
term. Ordinary members are calling on Mugabe to hand over power to someone

"After the bomb scare of the party headquarters, it was decided that
security should be beefed up at the congress venue," said a senior party

Zanu PF Manicaland Provincial chairman Basil Nyabadza yesterday resigned
from his post saying his province "has never participated in the Presidium
since independence in 1980. I believe the case has not been handled properly
as our candidate is in his twilight years, politically - he is the most
experienced and we felt he should have been rightly nominated for the

Following last night's bomb scare, speculation is rife that Mugabe's party
could be on the brink of a split.

One faction led by Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa is reportedly
circulating documents at the congress spelling out "a get-out plan". It is
believed that the faction will run parallel structures in Zanu-PF with a
long term plan to form a fully fledged break-away political party whose
Congress is scheduled for September 2010.

A 200 page detailed document authored by former Information minister
Jonathan Moyo details the "sources of funding, recruitment of members from
Zanu-PF as well as the two MDC factions and external support".

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe summons provincial leaders

December 10, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Thursday summoned his Zanu-PF party's
provincial chairpersons to whip them into line and force them to accept the
candidates nominated by the provinces and endorsed by the party's politburo
for the party's presidium.The meeting followed continued disgruntlement
among some leaders who are demanding the reopening of nominations to the
post of Zanu-PF chairman during the ongoing congress.

"President Mugabe is keen to paper the differences within the party and
avoid a situation where some mischievous chairpersons spring up from the
floor during congress and nominate different persons from those already
endorsed by the politburo," said a Zanu-PF official Thursday, speaking on
condition of anonymity.

"He wants to make sure he whips provincial chairpersons into line so that
there are no surprises during the elective stages of the congress."

Soon after the two-hour long meeting Mugabe attended a central committee
meeting starting.

The Zanu-PF national congress is held once every five years.

Continued fissures within Zanu-PF were exposed on Wednesday when Manicaland
province's chairperson, Rusape businessman, Basil Nyabadza, resigned from
the post, citing the imposition of candidates by the leadership.

Manicaland governor Christopher Mushohwe, a Mugabe loyalist, was immediately
appointed acting chairman.

Nyabadza had pushed for the Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa, Manicaland's foremost politician, to take over the post of party
chairperson which has been reserved for Zimbabwe's ambassador to South
Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo.

Moyo, who secured the backing of the other nine provinces, replaces National
Healing Minister John Nkomo who is due to be elevated to one of the vice
presidents both in the party and the country. Both Moyo and Nkomo hail from

Sources say Nyabadza's resignation had the support of Mutasa.

There were reports of threats of more resignations by Masvingo chairperson
Lovemore Matuke and John Mafa of Mashonaland West over the same issue.

Zanu-PF fears the resignation by provincial chairpersons could have a
contagion effect on other party chairpersons leading to an embarrassing
situation where candidates endorsed by congress could be left out.

President Mugabe walks a tight rope as he battles factionalism, regionalism
and tribalism within his party, where some reformists also blame Zanu-PF's
dismal performance in the 2008 elections squarely on his long-term

Mugabe is also keen to retain his support among the former PF-Zapu members
who reportedly have threatened a split if denied the two posts of chairman
and vice president.

Zanu-PF reached a gentlemen's agreement with the former PF-Zapu officials
that two positions in the presidium would be reserved for them.

The Zanu-PF presidium comprises the party president, his two vices as well
as the national chairperson.

While it is not contestable that one of the co-vice presidential posts
should be occupied by a former PF-Zapu member, the gentlemen's agreement was
silent on the post of national chairperson.

It is further said a faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa is not too
enthusiastic over the nomination of Khaya Moyo, a former loyalist of the
late PF-Zapu founding president, Dr Joshua Nkomo, to become his boss as
national chairman. Mnangagwa is known to have long-standing presidential

The current congress is a make-or-break moment for the Mnangagwa faction
which is battling to secure a position within the presidium, where the rival
Solomon Mujuru faction has scored a victory. Mujuru is the husband of vice
President Joice Mujuru.

President Mugabe is expected on Friday to officially open the congress which
an estimated 10 000 delegates are said to be attending.

The Zanu-PF congress will confirm Central Committee, Women's League and
Youth League leaders on Saturday as well as the nominations of John Nkomo
and Simon Khaya Moyo's as vice president-designate and national

Mugabe was overwhelmingly endorsed before congress to retain his position as
president and first secretary of Zanu-PF.

Joice Mujuru will also retain her position as vice president and second

Analysts say the current Zanu-PF congress is the most unnerving in the
history of the party which lost its parliamentary majority to the rival
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in March 2008. This was the first electoral defeat for Zanu-PF
since taking over the reigns of power at independence in 1980

Mugabe himself only retained his position as President following a violent
election re-run two months later.

It is a cause of further concern to Zanu-PF that the party is being pushed
to relinquish more political power to the MDC. A SADC Troika summit held in
Maputo early last month directed that the feuding parties speed up the
implementation of outstanding issues in terms of the Global Political
Agreement of September 2008.

Hardliners in Zanu-PF see any further concessions to the MDC as detrimental
to the welfare of their own party, an organisation which they hail as having
brought about Zimbabwe's independence.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF bars independent journalists from covering congress

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2009

ZANU PF has moved with speed to bar journalists from the independent media
from covering their congress, which is fast degenerating into a fiasco
following an open rebellion against Robert Mugabe.
On Wednesday a politburo meeting at the congress was disrupted due to a bomb
threat, while disgruntled party members openly sent SMS messages and
distributed documents critical of Mugabe and the party leadership.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who failed to get accreditation to
cover the event, told us there are ZANU PF members who want fresh
nominations for the post of leadership, instead of rubber stamping Mugabe
for the next 5 years.
 'We understand the politburo has ratified the names of people to sit on the
presidium but we're getting reports that delegates are advocating for the
nominations to come from the floor, which might turn out to be risky for
Mugabe,' Muchemwa said.
It is believed the party's rank-and-file members are demanding that Mugabe,
and several leaders linked to him, be shown the door, while his staunch
supporters want him to continue. The vicious infighting among delegates
claimed its first senior scalp on Wednesday when the provincial chairman of
Manicaland province, Basil Nyabadza, resigned in a huff following heated
arguments over the nomination of members to the presidium.
Others suggest Nyabadza was forced to jump ship after openly defying the
party leadership. Muchemwa said there is fear within party ranks that more
sackings could be expected as the party conducts an internal inquiry into
the turmoil tearing it apart.
He said the scale of infighting was exposed Wednesday when text messages
were sent to many delegates containing a threat to ditch Mugabe at the
Clearly not wanting any bad news to emerge ZANU PF has blocked journalists
it can't control from covering events. Zimbabwe Independent journalists,
Faith Zaba and Wongai Zhangazha, were on Thursday also barred from covering
proceedings. The news editor of the weekly paper, Constantine Chimakure,
told media advocacy group MISA-Zimbabwe that their journalists were barred
by security details at the Harare International Conference Centre. Chimakure
said the two journalists were simply told they were not welcome at the venue
of the congress.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tongogara and Masuku: “most believe they were murdered”

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 12:30
HARARE - A leading lobby group, Zimbabwe Democracy Now (ZDN), has called on
both the MDC and Zanu (PF) to ensure that flags fly at half mast on Boxing
Day to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of General Josiah Tongogara.
(Pictured: Lookout Masuku)
The ZANLA commander died in a car crash in Mozambique on 26 December 1979
and his hurried burial without an official autopsy led to suspicions that he
had been murdered. ZDN spokeswoman, Mrs Ethel Moyo, said that celebrations
next April to mark three decades of independence “would be meaningless”
unless the nation knew the truth about the deaths of both Josiah Tongogara
and Lookout Masuku. “If you raise the issue of these men’s untimely deaths
with people anywhere in Zimbabwe, it soon becomes clear that most believe
were murdered,” she said
Masuku, who led Joshua Nkomo’s ZIPRA army from Zambia during the Rhodesian
war, died in 1986, after being jailed without trial by the Mugabe
government. He was 46 years old.
“A whole generation has grown up with little knowledge of these men,” Moyo
told The Zimbabwean. “Instead we have endless glorification of people those
who came through the war and who have gone on to become rich. But those who
died to put these people in their current positions are almost forgotten,”
she said. “The least we can do is to fly flags at half-mast on 26 December
and, if Zanu (PF) won’t sponsor that motion, I hope the MDC will put it in
place,” she said.
(Pictured: Josiah Tongogara)
Josiah Tongogara was born in 1938 and grew up on the farm owned by former
prime minister, Ian Smith, whose army he would eventually meet in battle.
Tongogara served both in Zambia and Mozambique, but his rise to prominence
happened at the 1976 peace talks in Geneva when he put his arms around Smith
and asked, “How is your mother.” Across
Africa and the world, Tongogara was seen as someone who could build lasting
peace and reconciliation with his enemies. By 1979, he was the best known of
all the military leaders, but after the Lancaster House settlement which
paved the way for British supervised elections and independence, Tongogara
died in a road crash in Mozambique and did not make it home and Solomon
Mujuru took over as head of ZANLA. He is buried at Heroes’ Acre near Harare.
Masuku was jailed in 1982 along with Dumiso Dabengwa in the wake of claims
that ZIPRA was planning a civil war. Mugabe sent the North-Korean-trained
Fifth Brigade into Matabeleland to settle the matter and in the resulting
genocide, thousands died and more than a million people were left homeless.
Masuku and Dabengwa were both set free by the courts, only to be arrested
again and held without charge under the Emergency Powers legislation. By 1
March 1986, Masuku was so ill that he was transferred under armed guard to
the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare where he died on 5 April. Rumours
persist that he was tortured and poisoned in jail.
Dumiso Dabengwa was released shortly afterwards and went on to serve as
police minister in the Mugabe government in the lead up to the 2000 election
when his officers committed multiple acts of violence against the civilian
population who had swung their support behind the Movement for Democratic
Change. Masuku was denied a place at Heroes’ Acre and is buried near
Bulawayo. Moyo said that, as a sign of respect to Tongogara, “flags should
be flown at half mast through Zimbabwe. “It seems that Zanu (PF) is content
with naming a road after him here and a school there, but beyond that they
seem happy to forget the general’s contribution,” she said.
A source close to the reformed ZAPU party, of which ZIPRA was the military
wing, said that there were plans next years to begin an annual commemoration
for the death of Lookout Masuku. David Magugula of the Matabeleland Freedom
Party said his organisation also planned to raise awareness of what he
called, “the almost certain murder of Lookout Masuku.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Minister defends takeover of Matabeleland-Zambezi project

By Lance Guma
10 December 2009

Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo has defended the government
takeover of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project. He accused politicians
in the region of exploiting the project towards election time, only to
disappear from the scene soon after. Last week Nkomo announced the
government takeover arguing it was meant to 'remove the many bottlenecks the
project encountered over the years' and to also avoid having water pricing
left in private hands.
The move did not go down well with ZAPU leader and Matabeleland Zambezi
Water Project Trust chairman, Dumiso Dabengwa, who says they were not
consulted. He described the project as an initiative by the people of
Matabeleland and therefore could not understand how the government could
take over its management and ownership. Dabengwa also narrated how they had
been frustrated by the Mugabe regime over the years, despite the Trust
finding investors willing to come into the project.

On Thursday Minister Nkomo however told us he was surprised at Dabengwa's
comments. He said the decision to take over the water project was made in
January 2004, but the then Water Resources Minister did not follow through
on it. Nkomo also said they had consulted former and current ZAPU leaders,
including the late Joseph Msika, John Nkomo and others. Sipepa Nkomo said
they had also met Dabengwa and his CEO, Sarah Ndlovu, with a follow up
meeting slated for the New Year.

Nkomo said he wanted to 'liberate the project from politics' and pointed out
how its leadership was composed of members from one political party, and
that was ZAPU. 'Each time an election came you would see activity but
afterwards nothing would happen. It's because it was used as a political
tool,' he added. So what is going to be the relationship between government
and the Trust led by Dabengwa? Nkomo said he was still not sure but was
'open to how we will relate'. Despite the developing acrimony he insists the
Trust remains an important stakeholder.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Announcement due next week on state of GPA talks

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2009

Negotiations to resolve outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement
are still far from over, amid reports the three principals will next week
announce what has been agreed to so far.

The three parties to the GPA contend that negotiations to resolve their
differences are very complex, and 'discussing them in public would only
weaken their positions' in the talks.

Negotiations broke off on Tuesday without achieving a breakthrough despite
indications from both ZANU PF and the MDC that there was some 'small
movement' in the last two weeks. The announcement next week is also expected
to include details of how the talks will proceed from this stage onwards.
Once again Zimbabweans, whose lives are going to be affected by decisions
reached, are not allowed to know what's going on, as the negotiators have
established their own ground rules and blocked any access to information.
But SW Radio Africa is reliably informed discussions so far have only
scratched the surface and have also been largely disappointing.
'I don't think there was progress on anything worth noting because their
meetings have amounted to 'a repetition of everything that has been said for
the last two years,' our source said.
The feuding politicians suspended talks Tuesday after producing a report
that was presented to Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
The report was also handed over to the South African facilitation team that
was in the country on Monday. Lindiwe Zulu, one of the members of that team,
told journalists in Harare that they would deliver the report to President
Jacob Zuma.
The South African President will in turn consult SADC Troika chairman,
Armando Guebuza. The Mozambican president will decide if the remaining
issues need to be dealt with by a SADC summit.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Female inmates use rags for sanitary pads

by Tendai Maronga Thursday 10 December 2009

HARARE - Female prisoners at Zimbabwe's notorious Chikurubi Maximum prison
have to use old rags and tissue paper during their menstrual periods because
the jail does not provide sanitary pads, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani
Khupe was told on Wednesday.

A senior prison officer, Susan Muyambo, said the jail that houses some of
Zimbabwe's most dangerous criminals did not have funds to buy sanitary pads
for the 122 female inmates, adding that some pads donated to the jail by
well-wishers had since run out.

"On the issue of sanitary wear the situation is dire," Muyambo told Khupe,
who was visiting the jail to donate sanitary pads to inmates.

The prison officer said: "Most of the inmates here rely on pads that are
brought in by their relatives .. for the other inmates who are very poor and
do not have relatives who visit them, there is a very big problem. If the
pads are available we just give them one pad per day."

Khupe, who gave pads to last the jail for the next two months, said failure
to supply women inmates with the pads was a violation of their dignity while
also exposing them to possible infection from using dirty old rags and

 "There is nothing as dehumanising to a woman (as being deprived of) her
sanitary wear. It is our duty as government to ensure that every prisoner
gets food, sanitary wear and the necessary clothing," she said.

Khupe added: "I came to give you cotton wool to use, as a woman I felt that
I had to do this because we found out that most women use tissues and rags
which are dangerous for one's uterus."

Khupe, a member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party and one of
his two deputy prime ministers in Zimbabwe's coalition government, also
donated sanitary pads to the maternity ward at Harare central hospitals, one
of the biggest referral centres in the country.

Human rights groups and some of Zimbabwe's most senior judges have long
condemned conditions in the country's prisons, where hundreds of inmates are
said to have died because of diseases, hunger and an acute shortage of other
basic requirements.

An amnesty granted to certain categories of offenders earlier this year
helped reduce overcrowding in jails while the Red Cross has moved in with
food and medicines for inmates.

But human rights groups say more still needs to be done to bring conditions
in jails to more acceptable standards. -- ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

German investor acquires Zim bank

by Andrew Moyo Thursday 10 December 2009

HARARE - German investment house African Development Corporation (ADC) on
Wednesday said it had acquired controlling stake in Zimbabwe's Premier
Finance Group (PFG) in a US$6 million transaction that saw Harare waive its
empowerment rules to leave the financial institution in foreign control.

The deal, announced in Harare will not only see the group repositioning
itself among leading financial institutions in Zimbabwe but also open the
floodgates to credit lines through ADC's extensive network, PFG executive
director George Manyere said.

Yesterday's transition was the first in a financial institution since the
February formation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that brought an end to a debilitating
financial crisis in Zimbabwe following a decade-long economic meltdown.

The investment by the Germans is a feather in the cap for the unity
government's efforts to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy which analysts say
needs to grow by an average 15 percent for the next five years to generate

The deal saw PFG and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed ADC obtain a waiver
on Harare's stringent banking and empowerment policies to allow foreign
investors a controlling 54 percent stake in order to facilitate
recapitalisation of Zimbabwe's financial services sector.

The southern African country's indigenisation laws restrict foreign
companies to a maximum of 49 percent stake of a business with the remainder
reserved for Zimbabweans while the country's central bank has put in place
policies to make sure that no single investor will own more than 10 percent
shareholding of a financial institution.

But ADC chief executive officer Dirk Harbecke said these policies were
waived after they presented their plan for Zimbabwe, detailing a long term
road map which will see PFG expanding into the region following
consolidation in Zimbabwe.

"We have confidence in the new team at PFG and in the potential of the group
to grow," he said.

"We are not looking in the past (but) there is a need for change. We will
make sure we restructure and build a successful financial institution. That
is our aim in Zimbabwe and that is the aim of the team here. We will partner
with PFG, restructure it and expand, possibly in the region. The next phase
will be to put in place a substantive team to drive the institution,"
Harbecke said.

ADC, which manages more than US$1 billion worth of assets in both developed
and emerging markets, has investments in commercial banking, asset
management and insurance and has been in African in the past three years.

It is controlled by the Altira Group, one of Germany's leading independent
asset managers and has spread its tentacles to Rwanda, Mauritius and Guinea.

The group is planning to make the troubled southern African country the hub
for its investments into the region.

"In Africa, we are investing in countries with strong prospects for growth,"
Harbecke said.

"We are planning to make Zimbabwe the hub for our investments in southern
Africa," the ADC chief said, rejecting claims that the investment climate in
Zimbabwe was still volatile.

"That statement is not true. The environment has changed dramatically in the
past 12 months. We have been screening the market since last year. We think
this is the right time to invest. We might be the first to invest in
Zimbabwe but investor perception has changed and more investors are coming
because of the stable currency situation.

"Because of the unity government, there has been a lot of improvement in the
economy. It (the economic crisis) is going to be solved. How fast we don't
know but the prospects are good. You will find that step by step, other
investors will begin to come. This is a small problem, sooner or later,
recovery will be achieved," he said. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Unity Government Talks in Zimbabwe Could Open Door to 'Pirate' Radio Stations

Discussions among the three parties sharing power in Harare have focused on
the need for accelerated media reform and demands by President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party for action against 'pirate' radio stations

Blessing Zulu & Sandra Nyaira | Washington 09 December 2009

The Zimbabwean government could invite broadcasters who transmit news to the
country from outside its borders to set up in Harare if negotiators for the
parties in the troubled unity government get their way, sources said

Discussions among the three parties sharing power in Harare have focused on
the need to accelerate media reform along with charges by President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party that what it describes as "pirate" stations -
including VOA's Studio 7 - violate the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

The agreement calls upon foreign governments operating or funding broadcasts
to Zimbabwe to cease such activity, and for Zimbabweans broadcasting from
abroad to return to the country and operate under a national license.

The development came amid mounting pressure from South African President
Jacob Zuma and his team of facilitators for the unity partners to settle all
of the outstanding issues that have troubled power-sharing from the outset.

Sources informed on the discussions said the negotiators also propose to
adopt the original version of Constitutional Amendment 19. Prime Minister
Morgan  Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change says
the draft was altered by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa before its

In addition, the sources said, the parties to the power-sharing arrangement
will form a tripartite committee to urge the West to lift targeted

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara were to meet next Monday to discuss the results of the
talks, and were expected to ask Mr. Zuma for more time - though committing
to wrapping up the negotiations before Christmas.

Remaining issues include tough ones including the leadership of the Reserve
Bank and the office of the Attorney General - posts filled by Mr. Mugabe in
late 2008 without consulting his future partners in government - and the
swearing in of Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture minister. Bennett, the
Tsvangirai MDC's treasurer, is currently on trial for an alleged
anti-government conspiracy.

Political analyst Teresa Mugadza told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu
that if there is the political will, negotiations can be concluded in short

The government of Botswana, meanwhile, has rejected charges by Harare that
it is hosting "pirate" radio stations within its territory.

The issue of foreign broadcasts has loomed large in negotiations. ZANU-PF
has lodged a complaint with the Southern African Development Community
saying stations like Studio 7 are relaying "hostile" messages from Botswana.

But a statement issued by a Gaborone spokesman this week said there is
nothing exceptional about the VOA relay station situated on its territory.

The British Broadcasting Corporation has some 60 relay facilities in Africa,
a third in SADC member states.

Botswanan government spokesman Jeff Ramsay told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra
Nyaira that the VOA facility in Selebi-Pikwe has been in operation for three
decades and was built to beam to the region, not just Zimbabwe.

London-based political analyst and rights lawyer Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa
commended the government of Botswana for what he described as its solidarity
with the news-hungry people of Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Botswana responds to ZANU PF complaints over ‘pirate radios’

By Lance Guma
10 December 2009

Botswana’s government has poured cold water on claims from ZANU PF that it
is hosting so-called ‘pirate radio’ stations from its territory.
Presidential spokesman Dr Jeff Ramsey issued a statement noting ‘the
re-appearance of allegations in a section of the Zimbabwe media’ but said
Botswana did not ‘harbour any such radio stations.’

Ramsey said Voice of America’s Studio 7 was produced in Washington and ‘is
only relayed from VOA facilities in Botswana, a fact which has, moreover,
been acknowledged by the Government of Zimbabwe in the past. It can thus not
be properly characterized as a radio station.’ Ramsey said there was nothing
exceptional about this as for example the BBC had some 60 radio broadcast
relays across Africa, ‘a third of which are located in the SADC member

The statement also went on the explain how other broadcasters like Radio
France International, Radio Netherlands and Radio Deutsche Welle (Germany)
are among the other international broadcasters known to have relay
facilities in the region. Ramsey also said ‘the VOA relay station, located
near Selebi-Phikwe, has been in open operation for three decades. Its
frequencies are filed with the International Telecommunications Union.’

With ZANU PF saying they would lodge a complaint to SADC over the broadcasts
Ramsey blew a hole in that argument by stating the obvious; ‘The VOA relay
transmitter was not constructed to relay to Zimbabwe alone, but to the
region as a whole, including of course Botswana,’ he explained.
Ramsey also explained that ‘the hosting of international relays is
consistent with the principle embedded in the SADC Protocol on Information,
Culture and Sports which provides for a diversity of opinion and free flow
of information in the region.’ An SW Radio Africa listener recently wrote in
to question why ZANU PF would want external radio stations shut down when
they did not allow internal ones to operate. ‘You close the external radio
stations by allowing the internal ones to operate,’ he argued.
Unfortunately, for reasons that remain unclear, the MDC signed off on a
unity government agreement which included the closure of external radio
stations – knowing full well that they had no power over these broadcasts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cops thwart minister over ‘missing’ dockets

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 12:14
MUTOKO - There is fierce resistance from police as he tries to get to the
root of the disappeared dockets at Mutoko Police Station, says MDC
Co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa (Pictured), who is in charge of
the police.
The missing dockets are said to have been destroyed at the command of
Assistant Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti who is in charge of Mashonaland
East Province, according to reports in The Zimbabwean. "I carried out an
investigation into the matter of the lost dockets and the police have been
reluctant to furnish me with the finer details," Mutsekwa confirmed to this
newspaper. Many police officers in this area are political appointees and
claim to be war veterans.
Victims of political violence in 2008, who had reported their cases to the
police, have still not seen any justice. They believe their dockets have
been destroyed while the perpetrators of violence boast of their immunity as
they have continued to unleash terror on the victims. The National Healing
Project established by the GNU early this year has thus far remained
ineffective, leaving victims of political violence disillusioned.
Mutsekwa has met stiff resistance from police heavies who owe their
allegiance to Zanu (PF). Recently he was forced to cancel a tour
Matabeleland Province because the police officers in charge of the area said
they had not been consulted about the trip.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu’s secret plan : Top brass worried by grassroots support for MDC

Written by GIFT PHIRI
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 12:23
bonyongwe_generalsHARARE - Zanu (PF)’s leadership has admitted that the
party faces political extinction and has concocted a battle plan to revive
its flagging fortunes. Minutes of a recent secret meeting of the party’s
hierarchy have been leaked to The Zimbabwean and show that Zanu recognises
that it has been mortally wounded by the MDC.

“The MDC is operational daily in our districts, provinces, townships, towns.
They are busy canvassing, mobilising, recruiting and preparing their
supporters for any eventuality of elections as Morgan Tsvangirai has been
expounding at his party's gatherings for people to gear up for elections.
“MDC is busy in government with the only agenda of preparing for elections
and gain (sic) ground, making them better poised and positioned
advantageously through their participation in this government of national
unity. This is our biggest problem and challenge," say the minutes.
At the time of going to press we had not been able to independently verify
who attended the meeting, but the minutes in our possession have spin doctor
Jonathan Moyo’s DNA all over them.
The minutes detail a secret plan to reinvigorate the party in a desperate
attempt to prolong President Robert Mugabe’s three-decade hold on power. The
plan features the same tired old strategies that have been employed by the
party since Moyo took over the information reins in 2000.
These include a media blitz. The minutes reveal that Moyo and Mugabe’s other
allies are extremely worried about the effectiveness of the few independent
newspapers and radio stations. But make no mention of why Zanu (PF)’s
massive propaganda arsenal – a total monopoly of the airwaves, television
and daily newspapers, which dwarf all the independent media outlets together
has failed to garner support for the party.
The plan is brutally honest about Zanu (PF)'s sliding popularity ratings,
and bemoans the fact that there is "so much laxity, no popular vigilance and
no vigorous party visibility in (sic) the ordinary citizens that shows that
Zanu (PF) remains the sole party that has been mandated to rule Zimbabwe."
The notes continue: "In safeguarding our gains of the independence and
national sovereignty, our enemy the MDC, at the same time, is wide awake and
clandestinely working day and night with its supporters to hand over our
Zimbabwe to the whites".
The meeting decided to come up with "counter-strategies" to stall every plan
the MDC has of "advancing this European goal of re-colonising Zimbabwe".
"Our aim in this exercise is make Zanu (PF), our liberation party, be the
sole party with the mandate to rule Zimbabwe ad infinitum by mobilising
Zimbabweans to rally behind the party and continue holding on to the tested
and proven able leadership of our gallant son of Africa, His Excellency,
President RG Mugabe."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe exodus to South Africa continues
Thursday, 10 December 2009

Asylum seekers at a centre in Musina, Limpopo
Desperate Zimbabweans come into South Africa illegally daily to escape poverty

By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News, Musina

More than a year after the signing of a power-sharing deal aimed at rescuing Zimbabwe's shattered economy, young people are still leaving the country in droves, seeking a better life in South Africa.

"Not much has changed in Zimbabwe over the past year," says 21-year-old Blessed Rugaru, a day after arriving in South Africa from the eastern Zimbabwean city of Mutare.

Brian Ngovu wants asylum in South Africa
If I can get papers for asylum I can get a good job
Zimbabwean Brian Ngovu, 17

She has left behind her parents, who have both lost their jobs.

Zimbabwe's economy has stopped its freefall - mainly because the government has adopted foreign currencies instead of the worthless Zimbabwe dollar.

But this means that those without access to hard currency are in a desperate situation.

The Red Cross has launched an appeal to aid some 220,000 people - mainly in rural areas - it says have no access to money from abroad.

And so those who can send South African rand back to to their families are increasingly valuable.

"There is nowhere to work in Zimbabwe - even if you are educated there are just no jobs," says Brian Ngovu, 17.

They are some of hundreds of Zimbabweans waiting in long queues to be served at a refugee reception centre in Musina in Limpopo Province.

It opened its doors in July 2008 to deal with the thousands of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers then camping out in an open field in the border town.

There are three refugee centres in South Africa and the Limpopo centre, close to the Beit Bridge border post, receives the largest number of people - about 350-400 new asylum applications daily.

"The trends have not changed, we are still seeing the same large groups of people coming here as before the elections last year," says a senior official at the centre.

He refuses to give his name in case he gets "into trouble for speaking to the media".

Queuing for change

The halls and corridors of the centre are packed; the air is warm and stuffy and there is very little conversation as people wait their turn.

Migrants, most of them from Zimbabwe, at an entrance of a refugee centre in Johannesburg in 2008
Many applications for refugee status are turned down

Mr Ngovu is in the queue that snakes outside; beads of sweat have formed on his face.

He has had nothing to eat that day but he says he will not go home without being served - which looks unlikely to happen before the office closes.

He has been in South Africa for a year - trying to get a job but failing as he does not have legal documents.

He is living in Thohoyandou, about 100km (62 miles) from Musina, with friends who sometimes get jobs at gardeners or painters, but they never get anything long-term because they do not have papers.

"I am looking for a job here so I can help my family back home. If I can get papers for asylum I can get a good job," he says.

But unemployment is high in South Africa and he left school a year before graduating. With no official qualification, finding a job - even with legal documentation - will be difficult.

In a country of close to 50 million people, more than 23% of South Africa's citizens are without jobs.

But between three and four million Zimbabweans are believed to have already crossed into South Africa.

Xenophobic fears

Tension in some townships and informal settlements with a large number of foreigners is on the rise again, following last year's spate of xenophobic attacks.

Blessed Rugaru is a Zimbabwean asylum seeker
I want to be able to build computers from scratch and then I can fix the broken computers in my country
Zimbabwean Blessed Rugaru, 21

Some 3,000 foreign nationals, mostly Zimbabweans, were recently driven from their homes in a township outside Cape Town - their shacks were set alight and their belongings destroyed.

Ms Rugaru says fears of more attacks against Zimbabweans are never far from her mind.

"I am worried that the attacks might happen again," she says.

"Things are not good right now in Zimbabwe but I will go back, home is best."

But she is prepared to stay in South Africa as long as it takes to get her refugee papers.

"When I get asylum papers I will use them to apply for study bursaries here," she says.

"I want to be able to build computers from scratch and then I can fix the broken computers in my country."

No guarantees

Both Ms Rugara and Mr Ngovu believe the answer to their troubles is being awarded refugee status.

However, the authorities at the centre say only cases that have "merit" are considered.

"South Africa is obliged by AU [African Union] laws to give permits to refugees, but most of these people do not qualify for refugee status," the senior official explains.

"We cannot give refugee status to people who only leave their country because there are no jobs; these people are economic migrants not refugees," he says.

Although many Zimbabwean asylum requests are rejected, until its economy starts to recover, people will continue to risk their lives crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo river to earn the hard currency their families need to buy food back home.

Policemen’s ‘hell’ before run-off

Written by Mxolisi Ncube
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 12:05
JOHANNESBURG – Junior officers, including those who either deserted or were
fired from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) last year, have described
their life in the run-up to the botched June 27 Presidential election
run-off election as “hell”.

The junior officers, most of whom said that they had waited with bated
breath for the end of President Robert Mugabe’s rule, told The Zimbabwean
that they were subjected to untold suffering by their superiors, who kept
accusing them of supporting “the enemy”.
Tsvangirai and his mainstream MDC had just defeated both Zanu (PF) and
Mugabe in the earlier round of the plebiscite, held on March 29, but Mugabe
responded with a campaign of retribution against the electorate.
The officers, who spoke to The Zimbabwean in Johannesburg this week, told of
suppression of their liberty of movement, intimidation with both dismissal
from work and being subjected to firing squads if they refused to rig
elections. They also described the strict internal surveillance they were
under by the notorious Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI).

Restrictive orders from above
They received officials’ orders banning them from leaving the police camps
or hosting visitors at their homes inside the camps. The Zimbabwean is in
possession of copies of these orders that bear the stamp of the provincial
police commissioner for the Midlands
“Every time we had station lectures, there would be accusations of us
working for the demise of Zanu (PF),” said a former junior officer who
deserted his job a few days before the run-off vote.
The meetings were labelled ‘Police Projects Workshops’ in the written orders
that the officers received. This was a bid to cover up the political
lectures in case the orders fell into the wrong hands.
“Threats always followed and names would be read of junior officers from the
rank of Assistant Inspector and below, who would be accused of supporting
the MDC and threatened with immediate dismissal.
The officers said that the “Police Projects Workshops”, which were supposed
to be meant for the members themselves, if they had been genuine, were
mandatory for them, their spouses and all dependants.

Dependents threatened
“The dependants were told that they would all first have to vote through
postal ballots in stations first, before going to their polling stations,
where they were also threatened with death of their husbands if they voted
MDC,” added another member.
One of the orders that ***The Zimbabwean is in possession of is dated June
3, 2008 – 24 days before the scheduled polling day, and was written by the
then Officer Commanding Kwekwe district – Chief Superintendent Ruth Madya to
all stations in the district.
“All details who applied for postal ballots must be on standby as the ballot
papers may arrive any time and voting may be at short notice,” read part of
the signal, whose reference number is RM227/2008. “OICs (officers in charge
of stations) are advised to inform their NWC (Neighbourhood Watch Committee)
members to make themselves available when required. All details leaving the
station must book in the charge office diary and make their whereabouts
Despite them being civilian volunteers, members of the NWC were forced to
vote through postal ballots at police stations first, before being released
to their polling stations, according to the officers.

Zuma now adopts Mbeki’s quiet diplomacy

December 10, 2009

By Junior Ncube

JOHANNESBURG – Days after the expiry of the deadline for the Zimbabwean
political parties to resolve all outstanding issues with regard to the
Global Political Agreement (GPA), the Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s
official opposition, says President Jacob Zuma has failed in his role as
mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis and has adopted the infamous policy
of “quiet diplomacy”.is is the failed policy which guided Zuma’s
predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, during his many years as mediator in the Zimbabwe

Mbeki failed dismally and bowed out as president of both South Africa and
the ANC in disgrace.

The Democratic Alliance has now challenged Zuma to make public the findings
of the task team that he dispatched to Zimbabwe to assess the progress made
in finding solutions to the problems afflicting the unity government.

DA parliamentary leader, Athol Trollip, said the silence regarding the
findings of Zuma’s task team and the latter’s shelving of his own proposed
trip to Zimbabwe this last weekend brought to question the South African
president’s commitment to resolving the issue in hand.

“This weekend marked the 30-day deadline for Zimbabwean political parties to
resolve all outstanding issues with regard to the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) and President Zuma appears to have failed in his role of ensuring that
Zimbabwe emerges with concrete decisions from the negotiations,” Trollip

“The deadline was set by the SADC Troika in renewed efforts to resolve the
conflict threatening Zimbabwe’s unity government. SADC appointed President
Zuma as facilitator to monitor the negotiation process between the three
main political parties in Zimbabwe but Zuma himself has apparently passed
the buck as the facilitator, leaving us to question his commitment to
finding a solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

“President Zuma was scheduled to visit Zimbabwe this weekend in order to
evaluate the progress of the negotiation process. The president however did
not follow through with this visit and has been eerily quiet ever since he
dispatched his newly formed facilitation support task team to Zimbabwe.”

This weekend marked the 30-day deadline for Zimbabwean political parties to
resolve all outstanding issues with regard to the GPA with a task team sent
by the South African president to the neighbouring country remaining mum on
their findings.

Trollip said this development highlighted South Africa’s retention of “quit
diplomacy”, which over the years contributed to Zimbabwe’s political woes.

“Since their return the support facilitation team has however refused to
comment on the progress of the negotiation process in Zimbabwe,” said
Trollip. “President Zuma’s political advisor and leader of the facilitation
support team, Charles Nqakula was reportedly only willing to say, ‘We will
not make a determination of the quality of what we were able to get, but we
are satisfied that we came and did our job.’

“He confirmed that ‘Our instruction was to come here and do an assessment of
how far the parties have gone in terms of finding answers.’ This tells us
nothing.  What is more concerning is President Zuma’s silence on the lack of
concrete developments in the Zimbabwean negotiations, especially since he
has been mandated by SADC to facilitate and monitor the process. The
facilitation support team was scheduled to report back to the president this
week who will, in turn, report back to SADC.

“The DA believes that President Zuma’s establishment of a task team was a
step in the right direction and a clear indication of South Africa’s
determination and commitment to establish a legitimate democratic government
in Zimbabwe. Sadly however, this appears to have been short-lived and the
presidency seems to have reverted to its familiar stance of “quiet
 diplomacy” so characteristic of the Thabo Mbeki regime.

“If President Zuma is truly committed to bringing about change in Zimbabwe
he needs to be transparent about his role as facilitator in the Zimbabwean
negotiation process.”

Zimbabwe’s unity government has been beset by problems for the better part
of 2009 after President Mugabe unilaterally appointed Gideon Gono and James
Tomana to the posts of Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General

Mugabe’s defiance of calls to dismiss these officials as well as his refusal
to swear in MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of
Agriculture prompted the mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai to temporarily suspend its participation in the unified
government. The party, however, returned on board after the SADC Troika met
in Maputo and issued the 30-day deadline to resolve the outstanding issues.

The deadline which was generally perceived and portrayed as a toughening of
stance against President Mugabe by the SADC and facilitator President Jacob
Zuma was December 6, last Sunday.

Trollip said Zuma said following the elapse of the deadline, Zuma should be
more active in resolving the problems.

“The DA believes that if the president is serious about bringing change to
Zimbabwe, now is the time to show it with action. There is no doubt that
President Zuma has been much more vocal on the Zimbabwe crisis than his
predecessor but he needs to strengthen it with concrete action. In his
report back to SADC, President Zuma needs to make it clear that the
organisation needs to take the “necessary” steps to ensure that political
parties uphold the decisions set out by the SADC Troika. Any appeasement by
Zuma will only raise fears regarding his partiality and/or inclination to
take a public position against Robert Mugabe,” he said.

Journalists lament official hijack of ZUJ

December 10, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Journalists in Zimbabwe have lamented the state of press freedom in
the country, while decrying what they regard as an attempt by the
authorities to hijack the biggest organization of journalists in the

A congress held last by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), which is
said to represent more than 400 journalists, installed as its new executive
a team of journalists working for state media organizations. State aligned
journalists have routinely been accused of covering up information that is
deemed unacceptable to the authorities.

There are concerns that the new ZUJ executive lacks the capacity to drive
the media freedom agenda forward because they cannot effectively lobby the
authorities against the media monopolies whose dominance many in the
fraternity want to see curtailed. Journalists have long used ZUJ to lobby
for a new media dispensation characterised by a plurality of newspapers and
open air waves.

There are fears now that the new team will not rise to the challenge.

A recent study by the Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA)
suggested that presidential spokesman George Charamba, who is also the
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity,
wields too much power at the only state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), and at The Herald newspaper, the flagship of
the government owned Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd.

Charamba has in the past been accused of producing an elaborate plan to
transform the union into a pro-State organization of journalists. Media
analysts say Charamba controls The Herald and ZBC television and radio
channels with a tight fist. His detractors accuse him of working late into
the night while personally editing Herald stories and crafting lengthy and
vitriolic op-ed articles for publishing.

He launches attacks on perceived foes of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party and, critics say, his own. The MDC of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
has recently voiced concerns over Charamba's attacks and intemperate

Charamba enjoys a cordial relationship with outgoing ZUJ president Matthew
Takaona, who finally stepped down from the helm after serving for a record
10 years amid widespread allegations of corruption in the union. Takaona has
now been retained in the new ZUJ executive as a consultant.

Observers say Takaona single-handedly engineered the installation of the new
pliant executive.

The new ZUJ executive, headed by Dumisani Sibanda, the news editor of the
state owned Sunday News newspaper in Bulawayo, is being accused of failing
to stand on professional principles.

Already there are advanced plans to challenge in court the election of the
new executive, after the outgoing ZUJ executive surreptitiously moved the
venue of the congress to How Mine, some 30 km south of Bulawayo, thus
effectively disenfranchising many journalists who wanted to attend the
congress but did not about or could not travel at short notice to the
disused mine.

Those elected to the ZUJ executive include president Sibanda (Sunday News),
first vice president Mercy Pote (ZBC), second vice president Michael Padera
(Herald), secretary general Foster Dongozi, a freelance journalist, and
treasurer Vince Mugumbate, formerly of ZBC.

"Journalists can't go into a disused mine shaft to hold elections?" said
political cartoonist Tony Namate. "That was not an election."

Namate called for the revival of the splinter Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe.

"It will force ZUJ to be professional," Namate said. "It's a pity that we
are not organised. Look at the recent Quill Club elections. You can never
have harmony."

Namate dismisses the idea that the ZUJ executive had been stuffed with State
media journalists to stifle the lobby for media freedom.

"It's nothing to do with media freedom," Namate says. "It's simply a money

Another journalist warned that the chaos within ZUJ was bound to cause donor
fatigue, and consequently lead to the collapse of the union itself.

Journalists say they are forming a collective protest against what they see
as attempts at media censorship.

A Herald reporter who attended the congress but spoke on condition of
anonymity said the electoral process was crafted by Takaona in a manner that
would produce a pre-determined outcome.

He said the details of the venue were kept secret and that all the winning
delegates were funded by the outgoing ZUJ executive, which has in recent
months allegedly developed close links with the office of the President.

Vice president Pote was singled out as having enjoyed full ZUJ support
including travel, allowances and boarding, even though she was not in the
previous ZUJ executive. The congress significantly deviated from past
practice where only fully paid members were eligible to vote. This time only
chairpersons and secretaries of branches were eligible to vote.

"It was a charade," said Constantine Chimakure, news editor of The Zimbabwe
Independent. "Personally I don't recognise that ZUJ executive which was
elected at congress held in a mine compound. Some of the delegates were not
real journalists."

Chimakure said the congress was a strategy to retain Takaona in control of
ZUJ. He was declared a consultant for the new executive.

"He is now a consultant," Chimakure said. "He is now like the ZUJ chief
executive. A consultant for what? You hire a consultant to do a specific

Chimakure urged journalists to immediately mount a court challenge or form
splinter organisation. He dismissed the new executive as "a group of pseudo

There were also complaints that branches with more than 400 workers such as
ZBC were allocated the same voting rights with small branches such as The
Worker newspaper, which was represented at the congress by one Bright
Chibvuri, who allegedly left the employ of the labour newspaper more than
two years ago.

One Levi Mukarati attended the congress as a representative of The Voice,
the official mouthpiece of Zanu-PF even though the newspaper has for long
been out of circulation.

The United Kingdom based Zimbabwean newspaper was purportedly represented at
the ZUJ congress by two people allegedly with no mandate from other
journalists working for the newspaper.

Zanu PF cornered, panicking, desperate and dangerous

10th Dec 2009 17:59 GMT

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

ZANU PF is cornered, panicking desperate and dangerous because of it's
failure to get targeted sanctions lifted and realising that time is not on
their side because this year's congress could be Mugabe 's last while in
some kind of office without a successor leaving them very vulnerable.
Meanwhile SADC is tired of Mugabe.

Who is afraid?

Mugabe's Zanu-PF's inner circle especially it's hatchet men namely,  Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, General Constantine Chiwenga, Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri,  Prisons Chief Paradzai Zimondi, Air Force
Commander Perence Shiri, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Johannes
Tomana. These are the people running Zimbabwe.

They include those on the targeted sanctions list some of who failed to
account for public funds whether Zimbabwean or foreign, and those who have
benefited from the bloody land grab campaign, the abuse of the national
youth service and the looting of diamonds, vehicles, state fixed properties
and other national resources some of which were uncovered by the Comptroller
and Auditor General.

Why are they afraid?

They are afraid of retribution for the innocent blood of victims of
Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, Election Violence 2008, brutal murder, torture,
disappearances, Operations Makavhotera Papi, Burutsai Madhishi, Blood
Diamonds, illegal incarcerations etc

They know that people whose lives were disrupted by violence forcing them to
become destitute or refugees abroad are very angry and bitter. So are those
forced into the diaspora leaving their good lifestyles back home due to the
economic meltdown.

The congress has branded 99 percent of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
affiliated to the National Association of NGOs (NANGO ) "enemies of the
party and the State". Ironically, some of the NGOs fell victim to Gono's
raids on FCAs, while others are doing a magnificent job resuscitating the
country's health service and water purification system.

Zanu-PF's desperate measures agreed at the congress:

 - Create vigilante groups in the townships and seriously revive national
youth service which is compulsory for all students
  - Infiltrating student bodies and using "Pan Africa philosophy" to win
over the students.
  - Distributing party regalia through church organs in political hot spots
like Matabeleland North and South, Gokwe North and Mutare Urban
  - Reviving the party's defunct newspaper, The Voice
  Forming "Pan African, patriotic and pro-government NGOs and hold workshops
for church leadership, academia, uniformed forces and the civil service on
patriotism, Africanism and other black consciousness movements
  - Creating the "Black Consciousness Movement' and "flush out MDC
Eurocentrism" which the party alleges has been installed in students by the
private press and "other gutter imperialist media."
  - Recruit, mobilise and encourage media students to write in defence of
the country, its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence

While Zanu-PF sponsors some websites and writers, I wonder what the party
agreed on websites that help people express their views.

The recent introduction of the issue of so-called pirate radio stations in
the GNU talks was yet another counter strategy tried by the panicking despot
in an attempt to silence the truth, freedom of expression and fair
criticism. Intimidation of Botswana to close Studio 7 relay station should
not be dismissed lightly as Zanu-pf is now very desparate and dangerous that
provoking a war with Khama would be politically expedient for the
militarised Zanu-PF.

These strategies are however, Zanu-PF's weakest link.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, London UK

Suspected Xenophobic Attack in South Africa Hospitalizes Six Zimbabweans

South African media reports said the attacks were sparked by the killing of
a South African national, following which residents of Westenburg went on a
rampage assaulting Zimbabweans and leaving the six for dead

Chris Gande & Patience Rusere | Washington 09 December 2009

Six Zimbabweans were said to be in critical condition at a hospital in a
suburb of Polokwane, a city in the northern part of South Africa near the
border with Zimbabwe, after being attacked by local residents on Monday

South African media reports said the attacks were sparked by the killing of
a South African national, following which residents of Westenburg went on a
rampage assaulting Zimbabweans and leaving the six for dead.

Director Joyce Dube of the Southern African Women for Migration Affairs told
VOA Studio 7 reporter Chris Gande that Zimbabweans now fear that after the
World Cup of Soccer next year such xenophobic attacks will increase.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says the South African health care system
discriminates against migrants, including the Zimbabwean economic immigrants
and political refugees estimated to number anywhere from 1 to 3 million

The watchdog organization said in a report entitled "No Healing Here" that
undocumented Zimbabweans are especially vulnerable to health risks, as they
are denied access to hospitals and as a result may not seek help.

The rights group says immigrants are subject to xenophobic abuse from health
care staff or are given inadequate treatment due to their marginal status.

Human Rights Watch Researcher Rebecca Shaeffer told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Patience Rusere that Zimbabweans are at risk of being physically attacked or
raped, which without immediate intervention heightens HIV infection risk.

Zim loses 149 rhinos to poaching

by Own Correspondent Thursday 10 December 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe has lost 149 rhinos over the past three years to poaching
resulting in a marked decline in the country's rhino population,
conservation groups have said.

According to a report compiled by five animal welfare groups including
Africa Rhino Specialist Group, Asia Rhino Specialist Group, Species Survival
Commission, TRAFFIC and International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) South Africa has lost 152 rhinos and Kenya 16 over the same period.

"The seriousness of the current situation in Zimbabwe is again evident in
the fact that losses since 2006 represent 26 percent of the living rhino
population," the groups' latest report said.

The report said that estimates indicate Zimbabwe's rhino population has
declined by 14.7 percent since the end of 2007, with the bulk of "the
decline affecting black rhino (546 to 432)".

Last week the world's oldest and largest global environmental organisation
IUCN and its partners named Zimbabwe and South Africa - two of four
countries in the world that still have significant rhino populations - as
the "epicentre" of poaching of the endangered rhino in Southern Africa.

The other two countries, all in Africa, are Kenya and Namibia.

According to the IUCN most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined
for medicinal markets in southeast and east Asia, especially Vietnam, and
also China.

"Currently, most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for
end-use markets in southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and China."

Zimbabwe has banned hunting with the country's wildlife authorities, who
have found it hard to contain poaching in national parks especially after
landless villagers began invading - with the government's tacit approval -
white-owned farms in 2000, saying they want to verify all hunting permits.

There have also been widespread reports of illegal and uncontrolled trophy
hunting on former white-owned conservancies now controlled by powerful
politicians from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party.

The government however denies that politicians are illegally hunting game
and insists it still has poaching under control. - ZimOnline

A Week in Mugabe's Zimbabwe

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Author of Shalom in the Home
Posted: December 9, 2009 03:36 PM

Visiting Zimbabwe can be a heart-wrenching experience. It is a beautiful
land of warm and soft-spoken people. But hovering over the landscape at all
times is the specter of extreme poverty and political oppression. The
poverty is merely tragic. But the oppression can make your blood boil. I met
so many beautiful people who went quiet with fear on the subject of Robert
Mugabe. Everyone is afraid that the stranger that are speaking to may be a
government agent. Mugabe has brought a reign of terror to this nation and
has disgraced the name of Zimbabwe by making it synonymous with mass murder,
political intimidation, brutalization of opposition elements, and illegal
land grabs. The country now has next to nothing. The stores are half empty,
and last year they were completely empty. The ATMs often have no cash. Many
of the gas stations have run out for the day. There are barely any tourists.

We stayed at a Safari lodge that was once a jewel of Africa. Queen Elizabeth
stayed there in 1992 with Prince Phillip. There were four people there,
including me and my daughter. I walked into the kitchen to see, being
kosher, what we could eat. It was tragic to see the kitchen almost
completely empty except for a few eggs and vegetables. The four men who
lived there and ran the place were dependent on our tourism to feed their
families. They smiled at me for leaving what passed for a generous tip. We
laughed and joked together, until we began asking them about the Gukurahundi
massacres, perpetrated by Mugabe's fifth brigade, that claimed about 20,000
lives in the early 1980s. It was near their tribal dwellings and they had
witnessed it. But they went silent and barely spoke to me after that. Why
would I be asking? Do I work for Mugabe?

In Harare you don't feel the oppression very blatantly. It is a beautiful
city, albeit threadbare from so many years of political terror and complete
government corruption. It is not always easy to find basic items such as
milk. The farm reclamations, in which the government has brutalized and
robbed white farmers who had made Zimbabwe into the bread basket of Africa,
means that farm production is down significantly. Donor agencies estimate
that more than 5 million Zimbabweans, who represent almost half the
population of the country, currently rely on food handouts. Cell phone
service works one day but the very next day your phone will read 'Network
Busy' for the entire day.

There are many beautiful neighborhoods and enormous houses. A white
population of approximately 4000, down from about 250,000, still remains.
They seem to love Zimbabwe, consider it their home, and insist on staying.
We experienced these sentiments first hand when we stayed with a white
Christian family who do extensive service work with black orphanages.

The black population is welcoming, extremely polite and exhibit the nobility
of spirit of people who have suffered so much but complain little. They are
very hopeful about the new unity government which has brought Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara into power. The country is definitely more
free as a result of the unity government. But farm confiscations continue
and Mugabe's thugs continue to terrorize political dissidents. But there is
definitely so much more light, truth, and openness in the country now and
perhaps the miracle of Mugabe being slowly marginalized will take place. The
problem is that Mugabe and his cronies are so concerned about human rights
tribunals, after their three-decade reign of terror, that they have no
choice but to hold on to power to avoid being prosecuted. That's why some
are wondering whether a South Africa-style 'Truth and Reconciliation
Commission' which would spare Mugabe prosecution, is the solution to him
leaving. But make no mistake, for all the political progress Mugabe still
runs the police and military and is the dominant power in Zimbabwe.

I don't do well with tyranny, have undisguised contempt for tyrants, and
knowing that I was staying just a few miles from Mugabe's house spooked me
throughout my stay in Harare. As you drive by his home you are told that you
are not allowed to look for fear of attracting suspicion and being arrested.
A few highly-educated locals told me there is a law that says that you
cannot stare at his motorcade as it passes, and that his guards have been
known to fire on those who do. They were not being at all facetious.

We met many people with horror stories, like Ben Freeth, who campaigns
against farm confiscations and who had his skull cracked and beaten,
bringing him within inches of his life. We met the son of a prominent
journalist who publishes 'The Zimbabwean,' and who was forced into exile
after they burned down his presses and attempted to kill him. Yet the fact
that the newspaper, which is trucked in daily from South Africa and
chronicles Mugabe's extensive crimes, is sold on the streets of Harare is a
tremendously positive sign of a potentially new era of political openness.

Obviously, hearing all this horror made me love America that much more, a
country where I can, should I so choose, go into any public square and
denounce my government without any kind of fear. These promising signs show
that Zimbabwe may be headed for that kind of openness, G-d willing. I had
the distinct pleasure of meeting Arthur Mutambara, the country's Deputy
Prime Minister, at his office. He is a former Rhodes scholar from Oxford,
and he and I knew each other from the time that I served as Rabbi there. A
man of about 40, he is the next generation of Zimbabwean leadership, a bold
man who is tremendously eloquent and highly educated, with a keen strategic
vision for his country. You can read my interview with him in its entirety
on my website.

Most moving all, of course, was the work we did with my dear friend Glen
Megill and ROCK of Africa. The bags of corn seed we distributed in the
poorest villages. The mosquito nets we gave out. The AIDS victims we hugged
and prayed for. The large meals and feasts we provided for people who live
in mud huts and rarely have a hearty meal. Most of all, I remember the
children. The orphans in Harare with whom we colored pictures and to whom we
distributed toys. The children in Mondy Village to whom we served hot meals.
I remember them all, children with the most beautiful spirits imaginable.
Well-behaved, quiet, innocent, and bereft of parents because of the
continent-wide ravages of AIDS.

I can see why so many who could have left Zimbabwe continue to live there
and love it. As Regina Jones, an American who has lived there four years
doing relief work told me, "It is extremely moving to see a people who are
on the one hand so utterly imprisoned continue to be so utterly free." I
will remember you Zimbabwe and hope to have the honor of visiting you again
real soon. G-d bless you and may He grant you the blessing that is every
human being's birthright, freedom.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was on a relief mission to Zambia and Zimbabwe with
Rock of Africa, a Christian relief organization run by Glen Megill. For a
comprehensive view of the visit, please go to

ZANU PF cling to the blame game

Having commentated on the Zimbabwean crisis for a few years - and having the
'inside edge' of having lived in that country for 30-odd years - I am still
surprised at the attempts made by Mugabe apologists to excuse their leader
for his destruction of the economy, the country and everything in between.

None more so than yesterday when I read an amazing article that was once
again printed and published "by the government of Zimbabwe" (I touched upon
this in yesterday's editorial - I am confident that the MDC were never
conferred with before this article was published.)

In the article, the writer attempted to lay blame of the demise of the
economy and the targeted travel sanctions at the door of the MDC.

"As MDC-T celebrated its 10th anniversary on November 29, they did so amidst
questions from many stunned and angry Zimbabweans: What really was there to
celebrate? Celebrating 10 years of existence that have destroyed livelihoods
of millions of Zimbabweans?

Does it need a genius scientist for MDC-T leaders to see that all is not
well, and that the people are suffering?

Was this the same MDC-T who always rapped ZANU PF for being spendthrifts,
and being insensitive to the people's plight, while they painted themselves
as saviours?

Or could we just conclude that despite their claims, MDC-T finally proved
that it is and has always been detached from realities on the ground and
their 10th anniversary was nothing but lack of sensitivity?"

How neatly the writer fails to talk about the annual birthday parties given
by ZANU PF costing the country astronomical figures - which aren't paid for
by the party because it is broke. He fails to talk about how the local
businesses and residents of whatever area he intends to celebrate in next
have been forced to make donations and give animals for slaughter.

Any MDC celebration wilts in comparison to those feted by ZANU PF.

Mugabe apologists are renowned for turning the questions of their policies
on their opposition - and this is no different.

The writer maintains that the MDC-T (interesting how they no differentiate
between the two factions of the MDC, following Mutambara's claim to be just
the "MDC".) are singularly responsible for the "illegal economic sanctions"
in force against Robert Mugabe and his loyalists, and that these sanctions
are responsible entirely for the economic decline of Zimbabwe.

"Recently, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai chose to play golf when other
members of the inclusive Government and the people were at the National
Heroes Acre burying national hero Cde Misheck Chando, who was not just a
member of ZANU PF, but was also a parliamentarian?

At that time, questions were asked on what constitutes leadership, when a
leader could not respect the death of a parliamentarian just because that
person was from ZANU PF whom they claimed to have "disengaged" from?"

Maybe Tsvangirai was working on his short game, or perhaps his putting - I
don't know!

Did Mugabe come to any of the funerals of the 130-plus MDC members butally
killed by ZANU PF members, supporters and brigands last year? No!

If blame were to be flung around as abundantly as this writer, then Mugabe
should also stand up and be counted.

Lets see now.

Thirty years in power - through guile and subterfuge - and what have we got?
A country that cannot feed itself, unemployment at more than 90%, no
transport, schooling or medical services, no water, electricity or sewerage
system to speak of.

Did all this come about with the advent of the MDC?

I don't think so.

But the writer is adamant that the country's ills are the fault of the MDC,
and so, by association, the West.

"Lest we forget, it was MDC-T that assisted in the drafting of the heinous
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, the US sanctions law
that has blocked our access to lines of credit. They also helped the West in
the implementation of the sanctions regime, because their faith in NGOs,
most of which are run like personal fiefdoms, did not only result in many
Zimbabweans losing jobs, but it also resulted in the closure of our vibrant
manufacturing and commercial sectors.

There is this false notion that just because Zimbabwe is using multiple
currencies, then all is well with the people, and the economy is really
turning around for the better."

Surprisingly, the writer then tries to blame the financial woes of Zimbabwe
upon the MDC - because the finance minister is a member of the MDC.

Just hang on! Surely ZANU PF have to at least give him a chance? It took
ZANU PF just shy of 30 years to mess up the proclivity of Zimbabwe's
economy, and yet expects the MDC to turn it around in just a matter of

Incredibly, the writer then states: "One does not also need to be a Nobel
laureate in economics to see that even the overpriced basic goods and
services such as transport, bread and maize-meal are actually beyond the
reach of most people - countrywide."

Did the transport sector in Zimbabwe collapse overnight with the formation
of the very fragile 'unity' government? No - it has been approaching
implosion for many years - all under the watchful gaze of ZANU PF.

I could go on and on - but then I might sound like the writer writing for
"the government of Zimbabwe" - but it would probably be pointless, of little
value and prove just about nothing - to the Mugabe-ites, that is.

Like the three monkeys, they see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Or
at least that is what they proclaim.

It is the doing of the evil that they make a habit of.

ZANU PF play the blame game better than most, but only because they have had
many more years experience than others.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

A message from a Zimbabwe Mother - her story, her message

Today is International Human Rights Day.  ZIMRIGHTS organised a peaceful
demo starting at 10am.  I was so excited last night to be part of a big (not
knowing how big!?) "legal" demo that I got out an old white t-shirt and
using a whole bottle of nail varnish decorated my t- shirt front and back.
My friend dropped me off outside ZIMRIGHTS and there were literally
thousands of people all wearing human rights t-shirts and carrying
professionally done placards. I was co incidently the only pale face in the
crowd, but what an awesome reception. A few bum waggles and the scene was
set!  The Police officers in the escort car (yes the demo was Police
escorted, also ambulances) were professional - there was just no aggression
anywhere.  ZIMRIGHTS organisation was brilliant - everyone was controlled,
although very excited!  I have to admit that I am not good at being in big
crowds, courtesy of Zanu PF's treatment the past 11 years, but today was
very very special. Half way to our destination, Unity Square, I was
ululating, gyrating and just loving a dash of freedom of expression, when
one lady came and took my right hand and a guy took my left hand, telling me
that "we" were together for the duration.  How Zimbabwean.

The Police water cannons were posted around but if they had entered into the
spirit of the day they would have come and gently sprayed water over 4000
plus hot and sweaty bodies. But that is apparently not written into Police
Standing Orders!!??

A stage had been set up in Unity Sq, loud speaker systems in place and then
all the leaders of civic society gave a one minute spiel.  It is beyond my
literary limits to describe the people there today, the feelings, the
camraderie.  I was standing in the sun listening to the speeches when one
lady sidled up to me and shaded me with her umbrella. Not a word. She was
just there.

Second demo was with Zim Lawyers for Human Rights, quite a few of whom have
defended all of our family at some stage or another in the past 11 years. It
was a priviledge to march with them.  They started from the High Court,
(t-shirts and umbrellas commemorating Human Rights day, were given to
participants) and off we all went led by a Scottish Pipe Band!  Our Minister
of Injustice did not appear to accept the Petition (not actually sure who
did take it?) and thereafter the small but awesome band of lawyers for human
rights marched through town to the park behind Monomatapa Hotel where a
little ceremony was held around the "Human Rights Tree".

Yesterday I found a little bird fallen from a nest.  It was doing so well
with me feeding it grasshopper pieces and worms, but this afternoon it died.
I think that God sends me messages in different forms, because  watching it
die just released an unstoppable flood of tears!  The seven soldiers who
died from torture two weeks ago, the hundreds of wonderful people who have
been tortured and killed over the past ten years (not forgetting
Gukuruhundi), how many are still missing "presumed dead" from last years
state sponsored and perpetrated violence  ............ and I am still

The point i am making is that in my humble opinion, we as Zimbabweans have
had to hold back so much anger, so many emotions, so much pain and betrayal,
and have just had to keep going (like a hamster on a wheel, because if you
got off, you would never get back on again) and all it takes is a window of
freedom of expression (Police being professional instead of beating shit out
of you) - that it's no wonder, emotions overcome one!   Today (despite the
tears now!) has given me more hope than i have had in a long time.

Zimbabwe is worth it!!!!


Heads Must Roll - Who Spent US$28 Million in Ten Months?

The first pro-poor budget, which allocated US$32 million for "vulnerable
groups" such as the grandmother and child-headed households- presented for
the first time since Independence by a non ZANU (PF) minister, conforms to
the spirit and the letter of the Global Political Agreement, brought welcome
relief to the rural underprivileged.

Alas, before any ululating and cheerful public appreciation by the "at risk"
rural folk could occur, avaricious GNU officials on "government related
travel" had spent it all.

The GNU Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed as he delivered his 2010
budget statement in parliament that the foreign travel bill for the
Government of National Unity (GNU)'s ministers and senior officials between
January and October of 2009 was US$28 million,

In June 2009, President Obama promised US$73 Million in U.S. aid to the
people of Zimbabwe, saying, "The U.S. assistance would go directly to the
people of Zimbabwe because Washington believes that President Robert Mugabe
does not always act in the interest of Zimbabwe's people".

Zimbabwe's total debt-including domestic and external arrears-is US$5.7
billion, of which US$5.2 billion is external and US$413 million domestic
liabilities. The external debt of US$5.2 billion includes total arrears of
US$3.6 billion. The country needs US$45 billion for the next ten years to
recover to 1997 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) levels.

The top-heavy GNU is comprised of a President, Prime Minister, two Vice
Presidents, two Deputy Prime Ministers, eight Ministers of State, thirty
Cabinet Ministers, ten Resident Ministers & Provincial Governors and twenty
Deputy Ministers, totalling seventy-four of some of Africa's  corrupt and
hungriest officials.

The US$28 million dollar travel pocket money in question equates to a ten
month travel cash stipend of US$400 000, or US$40 000 per minister per
month - a whopping US$1 333 per Diem allowance. GNU officials now wear
US$100 dollar suits, paid for with public funds, when civil servants like
schoolteachers and nurses earn US$100 per month.

Finance Minister Biti proposed in his budget for a spending of $2.25 billion
against anticipated revenues of $1.44 billion resulting in an $810 million
deficit to be closed with help from donors.  The GNU is actually planning to
spend monies it does not have in 2010; the government must learn to live
within its means and revert to a cash budget - only spending what the
country earns honestly.

An airline economy class return ticket from Harare to Europe averages US$1
000, with a business class ticket costing US$4 000. A respectable hotel,
suitable for a minister from a country struggling with economic recovery,
would cost around US$150 per night.

Therefore, if each minister travels once a month to a European/US
destination: UN, APC, EU - AU summits, and spends a week away from home
accompanied by his ministry's permanent secretary and one other ministry
technocrat, this should cost US$12 000. What happens to the remaining US$28
000 travel allowances? Why does Zimbabwe need its ministers to travel so
many times in the first place?

Prime Minister Tsvangirai must now issue a travel moratorium for all
ministers for the next six months. In the name of transparency, a government
monthly calendar must be gazetted showing the itinerary of ministers, the
prime minister, and the president.

On November 15, Mugabe and his 60-strong delegation arrived at Fiumicino
Airport, Rome, Italy, on a private flight to take part in the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO)'s three-day World Summit on Food Security and
stayed for a week. Only to take the podium and deliver an incendiary and
divisive speech, which ridiculed the very people whose food aid he requires
to avert the imminent cereal shortages in Zimbabwe.

"Amai vanoba vakabereka mwana kumusana, mwana paonokura rinenge ririgororo".
If a mother with a baby strapped on her back steals, the baby will grow up
to be a thief.

Zimbabweans demand immediate accountability and an independent forensic
audit whose findings must be made public. Which ministers used the money?
What hotels did they stay in and at what cost? To which countries did they
travel? What was the purpose of the travel and what did they achieve?

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) must now provide customs declarations
made by all members of the GNU who have travelled abroad on behalf of the
Zimbabwean people. Economic looters do not pay taxes on the very productive
national assets acquired under one self-enrichment programme or another.

It is always unwise to invest with debt; gallivanting around the world with
begging bowls and mortgaging our national assets to the highest foreign
bidder does nothing to ameliorate the plight of the suffering electorate.

In order to fund these extravagant foreign jaunts, the Government of
Zimbabwe has abused the equivalent of 38% of the US$73 million pledged by
President Obama from the taxpayers in the USA, leaving a mere US$45 million
for the Zimbabwean people.

A very disturbing pattern of sleaze is now emerging as soon as the plane
lands on a Western tarmac, GNU ministers are transformed into shopping mall
manikins holding blank chequebooks. The original cabinet authority and
mission that gave them reason to travel abroad for the good of Zimbabwe
becomes secondary at the sight of designer clothes and the lavish lifestyles
of these insensitive GNU shopaholics in full view of Diaspora residents is a
bitter pill to swallow.

The US$28 million would have been better used to purchase 30 000 tonnes of
maize seed for this year's agricultural season, or to import water
purification chemicals necessary to avert cholera, but was instead,
ironically used  to travel to Western capitals to beg for food aid.

Multilateral and donor agencies who wish to assist Zimbabwe need to
establish representative offices in Harare. Ministers and senior government
officials will then be compelled to meet the donors by merely driving or
walking across Samora Machel Avenue from their offices. This will save
valuable foreign currency and remove the need for foreign trips to meet the
same officials abroad.

Kudyiwa kurikuitwa mari nevanhu varimuGNU kwavakusvota munhu wese kunge
mafuta emuswe wehwai.

Phil Matibe -


Absolute poverty, total tyranny – why are we still talking?

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 10:21
It is now ten years since the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy got underway
in earnest, writes EDDIE CROSS. It actually started in 1997. but only really
began to slide two years later when the effect of policy changes took root.
It is perhaps time that we looked back on this lost decade and ask ourselves
what sort of price have we paid?
The numbers are astonishing – if you assume an average potential growth of
five per cent in GDP over this decade, then the actual cost in terms of lost
GDP earnings is more than $76 billion. In human terms, life expectancies
have halved and over three million people have died at a younger age than
they would have died in the decade before. In human terms, the collapse has
been nothing short of a catastrophe – a third of our population has left the
country – nearly four million going to neighbouring states. About half a
million people have lost their jobs and nearly two million people displaced
Absolute poverty is now the norm, with average Zimbabweans receiving less
that a dollar a day on which to subsist – the international measure of
living below the level required for essential needs. This is confirmed by
the fact that over 70 per cent of the national population was being supplied
with their basic food needs at the beginning of this year.
On Sunday, I attended a meeting where I was told of an incident where a
woman encountered a man who was clearly insane wandering about a shopping
centre. She was told he was a former member of the security forces who had
been involved in torture. I understand there are thousands who are haunted
by the crimes they have committed under state direction.
The consequences of the genocide in many areas of Matabeleland have not been
addressed and remain a shadow over many communities. So too the effects of
Murambatsvina in 1995, when 1.2 million people were displaced by a state
campaign to force people back into the rural areas. Thousands died in the
aftermath and hundreds of thousands are still homeless.
All of these are the consequences of a political tyranny that has sought to
defend its hold on power and privilege. While the country slid into poverty
and collapse accompanied by joblessness, homelessness and despair, a small
minority who came to power in 1980, have become wealthy beyond their
imaginings. They shop in Dubai and Johannesburg and holiday on the ski
slopes of Europe. Their children go to the finest universities and schools
in the world. Many have homes in Zimbabwe that would do the wealthy in the
West proud.
They conduct a clever and professional campaign to cover up their crimes. In
offices in Toronto, London, Washington and Johannesburg, highly paid experts
counter the attempts by the victims in Zimbabwe to tell their stories.
Dozens of websites spew out their propaganda and people with false names
correspond across the globe.
Inside Zimbabwe, they are terrified of any independent sources of news and
Attempts to reform the media and allow new broadcasting and TV channels have
been met with total resistance even though they agreed to the reforms in the
Only 12 per cent of the reforms negotiated over two years under the
facilitation of SADC have been implemented in nine months of political
squabbling. No progress on democratic conditions for elections, no progress
on the rule of law, freedom of assembly and association, no progress on the
enforcement of contract law and respect for property rights, no progress on
media reform. Instead we are faced with a flood of propaganda about “pirate”
radio stations, “sanctions” (shopping restrictions) and “regime change”; as
if elections are not all about regime change by democratic means.
In place of real reform we continue to see harassment of the political
opposition, illegal arrests and prosecution, the use of the legal system,
(not for justice) as a mean of suppression.
Political violence continues across the country with thousands of militia
deployed and active, and communities fearful of a knock on the door at
midnight. We are waiting, like everyone, for some news of the discussions
that have been taking place over the past two weeks. These talks were not
about negotiations – they were about a timetable for implementing what all
the parties have already agreed and signed up to in the GPA. Why they have
taken so long is a mystery to me – what is there to talk about? They signed
up to the deal; all that remains is to get on with the job of implementing
the agreement and in full.
It is obvious that once again we in the MDC are being asked to compromise.
Quite frankly it is difficult to see any reason why we should. We won the
2008 election – hands down, we clearly control two-thirds of the country
through local authorities. Everyone knows full well that in a genuine
election with free and fair conditions that the opposition to the MDC would
be miniscule. We have suffered under a tyranny for 30 years. Believe me, we
are quite prepared to suffer for a bit longer if at the end we can elect a
leadership that we can trust with our future under a system that will allow
us to dismiss them if they fail us or abuse our trust. After all that is
what democracy is all about.

Problems stem from culture of intolerance

December 10, 2009

By Geoffrey Nyarota

WHILE such issues may not be at the top or even on the agenda of the Zanu-PF's
national congress currently underway in Harare, the occasion is an opportune
moment for the party's leadership to reflect on those real issues that have
adversely affected the lives of the majority of citizens, especially over
the past decade of hardship.

Few Zimbabweans have not somehow or other been affected by the vicissitudes
of corruption, abuse of State power, political intolerance or by the
political violence meted out mostly by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF

There is one single act that acted as a catalyst in the transformation of
the image of President Robert Mugabe, the guerilla leader who at
Independence in 1980 was suspected of harbouring elaborate plans for a
ruthless campaign of retribution and blood-letting against his adversaries
during Zimbabwe's war of liberation. It was his pronunciation on
Independence Day of his much acclaimed policy of national reconciliation.

While Mugabe's policy of reconciliation may, in retrospect, not have been
deep-rooted, it nevertheless effectively averted the potential inferno that
political pundits had feared might erupt.

Sadly, Mugabe's reconciliation policy was confined to the realm of
inter-racial relations between black and white to the total exclusion of
interaction among black political parties. As Mugabe was showered with
accolades, being recognised and honoured internationally for his
reconciliation, the Gukurahundi atrocities raged through the Matabeleland
and Midlands regions of Zimbabwe.

Thousands of poor and defenceless peasant supporters of Dr Joshua Nkomo's
PF-Zapu were ruthlessly massacred, while others were maimed or rendered
homeless. Elsewhere a campaign of terror was mounted against supporters of
the United African National Council (UANC) of the short-lived and much
vilified Zimbabwe-Rhodesian Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa.

Elections since 1980 have been marred by an orgy of violence unleashed
mostly by Zanu-PF on supporters of the opposition parties of the day -
PF-Zapu, the UANC, Edgar Tekere's Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) and in
recent years the movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai, now the Prime Minister.

Their own day of reckoning arrived for the white community early in 2000
when Zanu-PF orchestrated a wave of violent invasions of white-owned
commercial farms. The farmers were accused of having backed and funded the
MDC and NCA-led rejection of government's draft Constitution in February of
that year.

That event signaled the end of Mugabe's policy of reconciliation as murder
and mayhem descended on Zimbabwe, leaving thousands massacred, maimed or
displaced. The country's lifeline, the commercial farming sector, lay
smouldering in ruins around the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

A singular feature of Mugabe's leadership going back to his initial project
to transform Zimbabwe into a one-party state in the early days of
independence, has been his intolerance, a common thread that runs through
all the campaigns of violence that Zanu-PF has unleashed on the opposition
with total impunity. The agents for widespread violence have been
impressionable party supporters, mostly youths, who have come to believe
that Zanu-PF cannot be legitimately challenged or criticized.

Intolerance has, therefore, become one of the most destructive legacies the
President of Zimbabwe has bequeathed upon his troubled nation.

Partly because they are openly incited by party officials and partly because
their leaders, Mugabe in particular, have never articulated principled
pronouncements to denounce political violence, Zanu-PF youths believe they
are within their rights to suppress political opposition through violence.
Carnage has become a scourge on Zimbabwe's political landscape.

Perpetrators have occasionally been rewarded for committing acts of

Around the 2008 presidential election re-run an orgy of particularly brutal
violence was unleashed mostly by Zanu-PF youths. The nation was cowed as
terror groups rampaged throughout the countryside in a bid to coerce the
electorate to re-elect the embattled Mugabe.

On June 29 he collected his trophy - at 84 he was sworn in as Zimbabwe's new
head of state.

Long before then a combination of intolerance on the part of Mugabe and that
of former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo resulted in a tightening of the
relentless grip on the government's media empire and a total clamp-down on
the  independent press. As Moyo presided over the media there was a violent
campaign against newspapers viewed as propagating news and views against the
interests of government. Several, including the popular Daily News, were
banned after they were subjected to a campaign of intimidation, arrests,
death threats and even bombings.

Suppression of the media has become one of the worst forms of political
intolerance. AIPPA, the instrument that government has invoked in seeking to
keep the media under control is essentially motivated or driven by
intolerance to criticism and independent or alternative voices.

"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity
toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd," so wrote Bertrand
Arthur William Russell, the British philosopher, pacifist and social critic.

While he died 10 years before Zanu-PF's ascendancy to power in 1980 Russell
wrote as if he had the future Zimbabwe in mind.

French writer, essayist, and philosopher Voltaire (real name François-Marie
Arouet) was one of the most celebrated writers of the 18th-century
intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. He was well-known for his
wit and his defense of civil liberties.

In his "Treatise on Toleration" Voltaire wrote: "Not only is it extremely
cruel to persecute in this brief life those who do not think the way we do,
but I do not know if it might be too presumptuous to declare their eternal

This is the kind of message that President Mugabe, if he cares for the
welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, should finally be propagating at the
ongoing Zanu-PF congress.

If the Zanu-PF leadership has the interests of the nation at heart they
should now be preaching the gospel of reconciliation. If that were to
happen, by the time their negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche,
return to the negotiating table with their MDC counterparts it would merely
be to adopt a plan of action for the speedy implementation of the
outstanding clauses of the Global Political Agreement that they signed more
than a year ago now.

Zanu-PF has the capacity to bring the current talks to a speedy conclusion
if it so wishes. It is, indeed a shame that the collective leadership of
Zanu-PF and the two MDCs should genuinely expect our political problems and
differences to be solved or reconciled by the youthful leaders of Swaziland
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As a nation we are totally shameless. To think that Messrs Patrick
Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche, Tendai Biti, Elton Mangoma, Priscilla
Misihairabgi-Mushonga and Prof Welshman Ncube expect King Mswati and
President Joseph Kabila to succeed where they have failed.

Meanwhile, every effort should be made by the leaders of the two MDCs to
ensure that they do not inherit Zanu-PF's culture of intolerance. While it
is clear that this particular legacy of Mugabe has become deeply ingrained
throughout the ranks of Zanu-PF it is to be hoped that the President has not
won converts within the MDC.

Vexing signs that this could already be the case have started to surface,
especially among rank and file supporters of the party. Zimbabwe belongs to
all its citizens regardless of their diversity of opinion, political
persuasion and ethnic background or liberation credentials.