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
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
"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.
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
"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."
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
"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."
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
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".
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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,"
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,"
"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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
Thursday, 10 December 2009
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