The ZIMBABWE Situation
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ZANU PF admits millions owed to displaced farmers

By Alex Bell
10 December 2012

ZANU PF has admitted that it does have an obligation to pay compensation to
farmers forced off their properties in the land grab campaign, also
admitting it illegally seized many farms.

This was revealed in a Central Committee report tabled before the ZANU PF
Annual Conference over the weekend. The report said that farms covered by
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) were
seized, in contravention of those agreements. These include properties
belonging to citizens from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the
Netherlands and Switzerland. The report detailed that out of 153 BIPPA
protected farms, 116 were taken over under the land grab.

“The agreements require that Government pays fair compensation in currency
of former owner’s choice for both land and improvements for acquired BIPPA
farms. In this regard, Government has an outstanding payment of 16 million
Euros awarded to Dutch farmers,” the report states.

The Dutch compensation claim was filed by farmers who lost land in Zimbabwe
between 2000 and 2002. The group of farmers took their case to the
International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID),
which ruled in their favour in 2009 and ordered Zimbabwe to pay them 8.8
million euros compensation, with an additional 10% interest for every year
since the farms were seized.

The Central Committee report meanwhile said there was no money to pay

“The Dutch farmers who took the country to the International Court for
Settlement of Investment Disputes and won have not been paid. In addition, a
German family, the Von Pezolds, has also taken us to the ISCID for their
farm which we acquired and partly resettled. We are framing our defence with
the Attorney General’s Office. The Von Pezolds claim is in the region of
US$600 million.”

The takeover of farms has also continued unabated with the ZANU PF report
saying that more than 200 farmers are being prosecuted for “refusing” to
give up their land.

Former commercial farmer Ben Freeth said the campaign will not end while
there is no outcry from key sectors of Zimbabwean society, namely the MDC
parties in government. He warned that ZANU PF is carrying out “ethnic

“This is racist. This is apartheid. Zimbabwe will remain hungry and remain
poor so long as this backwards, feudal system is able to persist and no one
does anything about it,” Freeth said.

Meanwhile ZANU PF has finally taken over the farm that used to belong to Ian
Smith, with the Land Ministry handing the property to a college. The
remaining portion of Gwenoro farm was the final part of the property not to
be taken over in over a decade of land seizures.

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Mugabe ‘upbeat’ about electoral victory following Gweru conference

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2012

Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF are predicting a massive electoral victory in next
year’s presidential and parliamentary polls, following the party’s 13th
annual conference held in Gweru.

The conference, described by the state controlled media as a resounding
success, left the party faithful upbeat about reclaiming lost ground to the
MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The very first ZANU PF congress, at its formation, was also held in the
Midlands capital and Mugabe was the only surviving founding member to be at
the just ended conference.

Apart from 5,000 party delegates the conference was attended by the country’s
top military junta. These were Defence Forces commander General Constantine
Chiwenga, army commander General Phillip Sibanda, Air Force chief Air
Marshal Perence Shiri, Prisons Commissioner retired General Paradzai Zimondi
and CIO director-general, Happyton Bonyongwe.

Also in attendance was the chief of police, Augustine Chihuri. The MDC-T’s
finance minister, Tendai Biti, said service chiefs should not have been at
this gathering.

Responding to this comment one media outlet quoted Chihuri as saying:
“We are part and parcel of the revolution. We cannot be divorced from that
revolution; those who are thinking of leading this country without
respecting those who fought for it must stop dreaming.

In 2008 ZANU PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since
Independence in 1980, but Mugabe told his supporters his party is poised to
snatch its parliamentary majority back.

The party believes that its indigenization policy, which compels foreign
companies to transfer 51percent of their ownership into the hands of locals,
will resonate well with the electorate.

In fact during his address to delegates Mugabe said he wanted foreign firms
operating in the country to become fully owned and controlled by

Other resolutions that came out of the conference included an increase in
the jamming of private radio stations, such as SW Radio Africa.
ZANU PF’s head of the Media, Science and Technology Committee, Olivia
Muchena, urged the party to adopt technology to jam ‘foreign based
broadcasts’ into Zimbabwe. It seems that she is unaware that they already
have this technology, and regularly use it.

Economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF’s
policies had left average Zimbabweans much worse off.

‘There is no prospect for economic growth where people want to reap where
they did not sow. Zimbabweans will see through this whole thing about
indigenization, that it is not a policy objective but a vote catching thing.
This is just an electoral campaign tool especially now that Mugabe is
pushing for 100 percent and not just 51 percent,’ Mhlanga said.

Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us that what came out of
the conference were self serving resolutions that will not be well received
by the electorate.

He explained that voters in Zimbabwe were now more sophisticated than before
and are more concerned about the state of the economy and can see through
policies that enrich just a few individuals.

‘They are confident that the people are going to reward them with their
votes for dishing out the indigenization policy. This typifies the misplaced
prioritization of things by ZANU PF. They want to grab things for themselves
and not work on things that benefit the citizens of the country,’ Saungweme

The Standard newspaper said the whole conference was lacking any atmosphere
and that there was an air of ‘uncertainty’ among delegates. The paper said
Mugabe’s age has also finally caught up with him and he frequently had to
lean on the podium and some times his speech was slurred.

He also showed he was a little behind the times – his lapel badge read:
‘Vote for ZANU PF………….in 2005.’

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"There is no wounded lion" President Tsvangirai tells Mugabe

Monday, 10 December 2012

President Tsvangirai today castigated statements by Robert Mugabe at his
dead Zanu PF conference that this time he will fight like a wounded lion.

“There is no wounded lion. Who would you want to fight? Who will you
convince? To kill who? The people know what they want and they will
determine it at the right time,” he said.

Speaking during the burial of Nyarai Makone at Glen Forest Cemetery today,
President Tsvangirai took a swipe at the spirit of violence saying there is
need to end that flame of violence. “There is no need for anymore
confrontation. The problem we have now is those who want to spread the flame
of violence. If we are able to deal with this flame, this country has a
bright future. I continue to encourage you not to fight each other. Do not
be aggressive to other people. Do not kill each other”.

He encouraged the Makone family to grieve with hope as Nyarai was a gift and
a flower from God given to her family, adding that in God’s season, he
decided to pluck the flower.

He said he is mourning as a parent as Nyarai was just like a child to him as
the Makones and the Tsvangirais were close family friends. “I am mourning an
assertive daughter. Nyarai was a unique girl and I can tell you that she was
very brilliant. But unfortunately, all that brilliance has gone,” he

President Tsvangirai said: “Nyarai represents a generation of Zimbabwean
youths, whose expectations we should strive to fulfill. The gap between
their expectations and what we are delivering as a country is so wide. Every
youth here expects to have a job, to have a family.

To grow up to be successful especially with the way we are educating them.
The question we have as parents is what future are we providing for our
children? Are we providing a positive and bright future? Are we providing an
aspiration for all the youth in this country that they would love to lead a
better life?”

He added that Zimbabwe has talented young people and the parents need to
instil hope in the children.

Nyarai passed away on Friday at her parents home in Domboshava. She was 32.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

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'No reforms no polls' - SADC warns intransigent Mugabe

Staff Reporter 11 hours 19 minutes ago

SOUTHERN African leaders have concluded a regional strategic meeting in
Tanzania with a call for “responsive political will” from Zimbabwe’s unity
government partners and a vow not to “rest until peace is restored in
eastern DRC.”
Heads of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had gathered for
a weekend extraordinary summit to deliberate on the unfolding DRC conflict
and review mediation efforts in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
SADC pledged to mobilise 4,000 troops for a neutral force that will be
deployed in DRC where M23 rebels have over the past months mounted a vicious
onslaught against the government of President Joseph Kabila.
Tanzania promised to contribute a battalion of soldiers while other SADC
nations said they will "activate" a standby brigade of 3,000 soldiers by
mid-December. It was not immediately clear if Zimbabwe will also be
contributing towards the force.
“I want to inform SADC that we will not rest until peace is restored in
eastern DRC,” said Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, chairman of the SADC
Troika on Peace, Defence and Security.
South Africa weighed in with a logistical support pledge for the standby
President Jacob Zuma said: "The Summit has reaffirmed the commitment of our
region to collectively pursue regional peace and stability, particularly
with regard to the security situation in the eastern DRC."
And on the long-drawn Zimbabwean question, SADC urged Zanu PF and MDC
politicians to expedite the constitution revision process and put the new
draft charter to a national referendum ahead of elections that President
Robert Mugabe insists should be held in March, even without any major
“We should continue to appeal for responsive political will [in Zimbabwe],”
Kikwete said.
SADC commended Zuma – regional facilitator in Harare – for his ongoing
mediation efforts and urged him to continue pushing for resolution of all
outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement, including political
and electoral reforms.
The power-sharing government’s pursuit for a new democratic constitution has
stalled, and the charter’s completion is in jeopardy as Zanu PF and MDC
continue to haggle over its contents.
Although the two MDC formations have endorsed the draft – crafted by a
parliamentary committee after gathering public opinion – Zanu PF has
rejected it, objecting to various governance issues including devolution of
power from central government to provinces.
The party argues that devolution is a divisive concept, adding that it might
be exploited by separatists to push a cessationist agenda. Zanu PF has also
protested the whittling down of presidential executive powers, among other

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Crackdown on rights activists continues ahead of elections

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2012

Rights groups on Monday once again voiced fears that authorities in the
country have launched a crackdown on rights activists as the country gears
up for elections set for next year.

With just months to go until crucial elections in 2013, a number of leading
rights activists, including lawyers and journalists, have been arrested in
an attempt to silence dissent, activists say.

The latest arrests were in Gweru on Friday where twenty-nine members from
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) were picked up while attending
a meeting.

27 members were released the same day after spending 10 hours in police
detention at the Gweru central police station. Police had wanted to charge
them with attending an unlawful gathering, but decided against it.

They however charged Emmaculata Chiseya, ZESN’s Public Outreach Manager, and
Lucy Chivasa of the Legal Resources Foundation, with organizing an unlawful
gathering and failing to notify the police of a gathering in contravention
of a Section the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Chivasa and Chiseya were only released from custody on Monday.
In a statement released Monday, ZESN deplored the continued harassment and
intimidation of human rights activists.

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ZESN staff and taskforce member released



The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) member of staff Emma Chiseya
and taskforce member Lucy Chivasa who were arrested by the police on Friday
have been released.

The two were arrested up by the police on allegations of contravening
Section 24 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and spent two nights
in custody before being released yesterday. According to their lawyer Brian
Dube of Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) the presiding prosecutor had said the was no case.
The case will now proceed by way of summons if there is any new evidence.

ZESN deplores the continued harassment and intimidation of human rights
activists especially as the country gears for elections set for 2013.

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ZCTU leaders arrested during Human Rights demo


by Gladys Ncube

Two Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) leaders were arrested in
Bulawayo today Monday morning during a demonstration to commemorate the
Human Rights Day.

ZCTU Western Region Vice Chairman Ambrose Sibindi and administrator Percy
Mcijo were arrested after police blocked the ZCTU demonstration at the Large
City hall in the city centre.

Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo, Reason Ngwenya, and ZCTU Western Region
Chairman said his deputy Sibindi and Mcijo were arrested during a march to
commemorate the Human Rights Day in the city centre as police accused them
of marching without their permission.

“There was some confusion this morning which saw police arresting Mcijo and
Sibindi before taking them to Bulawayo Central police station. Last week the
Bulawayo Police District Regulatory Authority gave us a permission to go
ahead with the march. But we were shocked today when some overzealous junior
police officers blocked our march and arrested the two on allegations
organizing an illegal street march without police clearance. The two were
only released after we produced a clearance letter from police Bulawayo
District Regulatory Authority and the demonstration was allowed to proceed,”
said Ngwenya.

During the demonstration the morethan 400 ZCTU members were carrying
placards written “Respect Workers Rights,” Candles cannot replace ZESA” and
“We Need Revival of Bulawayo Industries”

The march kicked off from ZCTU offices along 13th Avenue and passed through
the High Court and City Hall before it ended at the same offices.

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December. The
day was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and
proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. The day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences
and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human
rights issues.

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Zanu PF admits losing support

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56

President Robert Mugabe
GWERU - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is bleeding voters
massively, losing almost 250 000 members over the past year.

A central committee report tabled at the 13th national people’s conference
that ended in Gweru last night, states that the party had sold a paltry 266
550 membership cards by October 31, 2012, down from 513 832 cards sold by
end of October 2011.

That total is for membership cards sold in all of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces
and Zanu PF’s Diaspora branches in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Harare suffered the biggest loss in membership, with 91 391 members in 2011
tumbling down to 20 626 by end of October.

Manicaland also saw the membership sliding from 47 085 in 2011 to 18 752

Mashonaland Central was almost static from 18 730 to 18 858, while
Mashonaland East dropped to 97 936 from 100 565 members last year.

Mashonaland West, Mugabe’s home province, suffered dramatic collapse in
membership from 46 718 in 2011 to 13 526 by end of October 2012.

Masvingo also saw membership falling from 21 928 to 10 743.

Matabeleland North and South both marginally lost membership from 7 948 and
11 425 respectively to 4 480 and 10 433. Bulawayo province increased
membership from 6 651 members in 2011 to 7 577 members now.

Midlands bled membership massively from 161 394 members in 2011 to 63 500 by
end of October this year.

While the party failed to sell 3 000 cards sent to South Africa last year,
it managed to sell 119 cards this year.

In the UK, the party failed to sell even a single card last year and this

“It is imperative for the provinces to double their effort in mobilising
card sales in order to boost both our membership and revenue,” the central
committee report says.

As at the end of October 2012, the party had raised $119 947 from membership
cards and subscriptions.

The Marxist leader maintained that elections will be held early next year,
notwithstanding his party's sliding membership figures.

“If there is anything certain, it is that legally and constitutionally, the
inclusive government has to end,” Mugabe said.

“Therefore, nobody should make any mistake about this because we are going
to hold elections early next year without fail as the law clearly

Meanwhile, the party budgeted $2,6 million for the 13th annual conference on
top of the $6,5 million used to build the controversial conference centre,
dubbed the Hall of Shame.

This is despite the fact that Zanu PF is in the red to the tune of $3 964
495, being a bank loan that the party is struggling to service, according to
the central committee report. Under the Political Parties Finance Act, the
2012 budget allocated $3,3 million to Zanu PF, but the party says it got
only $1,9 million.

The party got donations of $2,5 million from undisclosed “friends and well

The party blew $725 241 on constitutional meetings, with marathon politburo
meetings that ran well into the night to discuss the Copac draft gobbling
$243 715.

Out of total expenditure of $7 938 429, the major expenditure item was
constitutional meetings.

In a foreword to the central committee report, Mugabe blamed the MDC for
wasting 44 months haggling over the draft.

“Looking back to April 2009 when Copac was set up, after a long,
inexplicable and wasted 44 months, it is clear that the electoral cowards
and enemies of the values and ideal of our liberation struggle have violated
public trust by abusing their participation in the GPA-mandated
constitution-making process to sabotage our electoral process,” Mugabe said.

“Their prime motive is to delay the holding of elections in order to extend
their ill-gotten stay in that awkward animal called the inclusive government
whose policy gridlock and non-performance have been a monumental betrayal of
our people’s legitimate expectations.” - Gift Phiri, Politics Writer

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SA ‘unlikely’ to toughen KP diamond trade laws

By Alex Bell
10 December 2012

South Africa is being urged to strengthen the mandate of the international
diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), when the country takes
over the rotating chairmanship of the body next year.

The KP has faced serious criticism in recent weeks for endorsing Zimbabwe’s
diamond trade, and for lifting the oversight mechanisms that were in place
to ensure the country fell in line with international standards. The KP has
now insisted these standards have been met, despite widespread concern that
diamond profits from the Chiadzwa alluvial fields are being used to entrench
ZANU PF’s grip on power. There are also ongoing concerns of human rights
abuses and other illicit activity.

The KP’s argument is that Zim has met the technical standards of
international trade and that it is does not have the mandate to deal with
the other concerns raised. South Africa’s impending role as Chair is now
being touted as a potential game-changer for the KP, with the country facing
pressure to ensure the mandate of the KP changes. Currently, the body’s
narrow mandate does not include anything on human rights.

Tiseke Kasambala, the Africa Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, told
SW Radio Africa that the KP risks becoming ‘obsolete’ if there are not key
changes made. She said Monday that the decision to endorse Zimbabwe’s
diamonds means ‘conflict diamonds’ are being allowed into the mainstream

She also raised concerns about South Africa taking over the Chairmanship
role, because of the role the country has played in ensuring that the
restrictions on Zimbabwe’s diamonds are lifted.

“South Africa has not always played a positive role in the KP, especially
with regards to Zimbabwe where they were at the forefront of making sure the
restrictions were lifted,” Kasambala said.

She added: “In a perfect world South Africa should be pushing for a revision
of the conflict diamonds definition and explicitly include a human rights
role in the KP.”

Alan Martin, a campaigner with Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), agreed that
South Africa should be using its KP chairmanship role to make changes. But
he said this was unlikely, particularly in terms of Zimbabwe’s trade future.

“The real challenge for South Africa is that it will need to change its
approach. Previously it has said reforms are important, but has then done
its utmost to scuttle those reforms. This needs to change,” Martin said.

He added however that whatever changes are made they are unlikely to impact
on the recent decisions on Zimbabwe, “because the KP has demonstrated it
does not have the political will to deal effectively with the country. Until
such a time comes that Zimbabwe is a serious issue, it will not feature on
the KP agenda.”

“The KP is no longer the first port of call in the fight against blood
diamonds. That debate will have to take place outside of the KP,” Martin

Another point of controversy is the intention by China to become the deputy
chair of the Kimberley Process, a step that would hand the country the
chairmanship role in 2014. These intentions were voiced by the outgoing KP
chair from the US, with no mention of damning reports on China’s role in
Zimbabwe’s diamond trade. China has at least three diamond mining operations
in Zimbabwe and has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses and smuggling.
The country also stands accused of helping Zimbabwe’s illicit trade, with
its army previously being implicated in being part of an “arms for diamonds”
trade -off with Zimbabwe.

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Civil Servants Demand Contracts First Before Poll Participation


Civil servants have warned that they may not participate in the national
constitutional referendum or elections as polling officers if they are not
given contracts.

This follows the non-payment of allowances to civil servants who
participated in the August national census.

Sercretary general of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe said they
had taken a cue from parliamentarians who refused to pass the budget unless
they were paid allowances.

“For the meantime, we expect minister Biti to unpack his budget before
January to prove that there is an increment for civil servants,” Majongwe
told the state – run herald newspaper.

Civil servants are always used for national exercises in return for
allowances that they say are either too small or they come late.

Said majongwe: “In the event that there is no meaningful increment, there
would be no point in participating in the events (referendum and elections).
We know that anyone who needs our vote in the election will push that we get
increments be it Zanu-PF, MDC-T or MDC.”

PTUZ regional representative for Matabeleland, Enock Paradzayi tells Studio
7 civil servants are tired of being used and not paid.

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Walk the talk, Zec tells Mugabe, Tsvangirai

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his bitter coalition partner Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are battling pressure from the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) to put their houses in order.

The electoral body has submitted a raft of demands that includes cars, cash,
lifting of government job freeze, full-time jobs and adequate notice to
ensure credible elections become real next year.

The demands include a 90-day notice that could effectively mean Mugabe’s
wish for March elections is dead.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree that elections, which are likely to be
Zimbabwe’s hardest fought since the 1980 independence polls, should go ahead
next year.

But Zec appears far from convinced that the two are doing enough to make
this a reality despite the tough public talk at political rallies and

The Daily News can reveal that principals to the power-sharing Global
Political Agreement have received a plethora of demands from Zec which they
are battling to deliver on.

Besides the sticky issue of funding which has forced the coalition to beg
for funds from the United Nations and erstwhile enemies in the European
Union, the elections body has demanded eight weeks’ notice before the
referendum can be held and 90 days for the general election.

A copy of the demands seen by the Daily News also reveals the election
commission needs cars, equipment refurbishment and staff to be fully
operational before any poll is held.

“Zec needs a waiver of government’s freeze on the civil service staff
recruitment policy for it to operate optimally. Of the 830 staff members
required by the commission only 470 are available at the moment and dotted
around the country,” states Zec.

“We also would like the commissioners to work full-time to make sure
preparations proceed unhindered. The commission also needs 131 cars,” Zec

The Daily News has it on good authority, that apart from giving the go ahead
to Cabinet to seek funding from external sources, Mugabe and his coalition
partners last week agreed to allow Zec commissioners to start working on a
full-time basis.

This comes amid claims that Zec chairperson, the Namibian-based jurist,
Simpson Mutambanengwe is unhappy with the working arrangements and lack of
clarity from government on how the commission should operate.

Mutambanengwe’s deputy, Joyce Kazembe, has been the acting Zec boss during
his lengthy absence.

The electoral body in its plea to Mugabe and Tsvangirai said it had a budget
of only $7 million, and besides the cars, also required $23 million for
equipment, training, voter education material and salaries.

Tsvangirai confirmed in an interview with the Daily News the electoral
supervisory body had made the demands.

“Zec told us it requires an eight week notice to adequately prepare for the
referendum. I am happy though that this process will only require citizens
to provide their national identity cards so they can vote. So there is not
much need for the voters’ roll on this one,” he said.

“However, after that there is a very important exercise of voter
registration and I must say the Registrar-General (RG) has been placing
unnecessary barriers to those who want to register. That will need to be
looked at and make sure Zec plays its role of supervising the registration
of voters,” he said.

Mugabe and hawks in his former liberation movement have been calling for
elections since 2009 and in the past few months the veteran Zanu PF
strongman has declared the country will go to the polls in March.

Tsvangirai maintains dates for elections are dependent on the completion of
a string of reforms, including media and security sector realignments and
the adoption of a new constitution.

“We cannot be talking about dates when Zec has no money,” said Tsvangirai.

Zec spokesperson Lovemore Sekeramayi could neither deny nor confirm this.

“These are obviously very important matters that I cannot discuss over the
phone. I am off duty I would request you to put them in writing,” Sekeramayi

He had not responded by the time of going to print.

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‘PM will take keys to State House’ - Khupe

Staff Reporter 11 hours 1 minute ago

DEPUTY Prime Minister and MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe has called on
party supporters to deliver “the keys to State House” to their leader Morgan
Tsvangirai next year.
Khupe said people should turn out in large numbers to give Tsvangirai a
landslide victory over President Robert Mugabe in next year’s polls.
The DPM, who is also MP for Makokoba in Bulawayo, made the remarks at a
rally in her constituency where she dispelled reports that she was in bad
books with Tsvangirai.
The media reported recently that Tsvangirai wanted to discipline Khupe over
allegations of fanning factionalism and instigating violence in Bulawayo
ahead of the MDC-T congress 19 months ago.
“You have the keys to State House,” she said. “Take those keys and give them
to President Tsvangirai and he will open the doors to good life for you.”
“A new Zimbabwe is only possible if you vote for MDC-T. In Makokoba, we must
have 20 000 votes so that we achieve a new Zimbabwe. When voting, do that
for a better life and the future of your children.”
Khupe said Tsvangirai two weeks ago launched the economic blueprint called
Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment (Juice) and in it
“lies a better future for Zimbabweans”.
“In the next five years, if you vote for Tsvangirai the smoke which used to
characterise Bulawayo industry will be seen again,” she said. “We speak of
decent jobs and decent wages and that is what Juice stands for.”
Speaking at the same meeting, MDC-T deputy national organiser Abednicho
Bhebhe said it would be unwise for people to vote for Zanu PF leader
President Robert Mugabe next year.
“You must not vote for a person whom you will start nursing because of old
age instead of him to run the country. You must stop being ruled by a
‘mystery’.” - NewsDay

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I'm favourite to win Presidential elections - Ncube

Staff Reporter 21 hours ago

MDC leader, Professor Welshman Ncube, has declared himself the favourite to
win next year’s Presidential elections and tipped his party to sweep the
majority of seats in Parliament and council elections as he claims his party
is better prepared for elections than other political parties.
“At the January congress that saw me become the president of MDC, we came up
with a strategy to woo voters and we believe it has paid dividends as the
numbers of people who are on our side have multiplied. We have been holding
rallies throughout Zimbabwe. We started early because we knew that we were
far behind the other political parties, namely Zanu-PF and MDC-T.
“We have been recruiting new members, mobilising and restructuring the
party. Our presence is felt in all the provinces of the country. We are not
a Matabeleland party but a national party and that will be reflected come
elections. We are confident of victory, victory is certain,” said Professor

Professor Ncube shot down claims that MDC has managed to hold rallies all
over Zimbabwe because it is bankrolled by foreign donors and said their
outreach was due to conviction and determination.

“One of the reasons we started early on the campaign trail is because we do
not have the financial muscle of other political parties. We believe that by
being the early bird we will catch the worm. We are sponsored by
businesspeople who identify with our policies and party members. Some of the
funds we utilise are from our own pockets. We also use the 10 percent we got
from the Political Parties Finance Act. We believe that we have used this
money wisely compared to Zanu-PF and MDC.

“If we had access to foreign funds, we would have new vehicles like other
parties. We would be holding rallies every week, but our rallies are
staggered because we don’t have unlimited funds. We have three rallies every
two weeks because we are living within our means,” he said.

Professor Ncube said the emergence of his party was because they had fired
former leader, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

“With (DPM) Mutambara, we had five years of stagnation, virtually nothing
took place. We have already said it was a mistake to have Mutambara as
president, but now we have the benefit of hindsight. It was not only a
mistake to elect him leader, it was a mistake post-congress because we have
had to deal with court battles. It has cost us time and money. We believe
(DPM) Mutambara’s actions to undermine the party have vindicated us. We won’t
make the same mistake again,” Professor Ncube said.

Professor Ncube dismissed speculation that his party would close ranks with

He said: “How can villagers unite with royalty? (PM) Tsvangirai said we are
villagers a few days back and he is royalty. Do you think there is a chance
of us uniting with such people? We are MDC and we will not have pacts with
other parties. We stand alone because what we stand for is different from
what other parties stand for.”

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Zanu PF presses for local currency, Biti resists

10/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF ended its conference in Gweru on Sunday by adopting a resolution to
push for the re-introduction of the local currency and adoption of other
currencies including the Chinese yuan as legal tender.

Among several resolutions, President Robert Mugabe’s party which shares
power in a coalition government with the two MDC factions, said it would
“instruct government to work out modalities for the reintroduction of
domestic currency alongside the multi-currency system in order to address
the current liquidity crisis and to enable our people to carry out their

Zimbabwe abandoned its currency in 2009 after its value was wiped out by
hyperinflation which peaked at over 230 million percent.

The country adopted a multiple currency regime which saw the United States
dollar, the South African rand and Botswana pula being used as legal tender.

But if Zanu PF has its way, some form of local currency – not necessarily
the Zimbabwe dollar – could be introduced to be used alongside the pula,
rand and US dollar as well as the currencies of Brazil, Russia, India and

The proposal is unlikely to find appetite among Zanu PF’s coalition
partners, including Finance Minister Tendai Biti who is secretary general of
the MDC-T party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Speaking at Manchester University, England, last Friday, Biti said the
collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar had left Zimbabweans with mental scars and
confidence was still low.

But Biti said a bigger hurdle for the local currency’s return is the slow
recovery of the economy.
“As I speak, our imports are about US$7 billion and exports about US$3
billion – so there is a ratio of 3:1. That essentially means we are running
a very dangerous current account,” Biti told an audience of academics and

“Surely, you can’t return the Zimbabwe dollar when you don’t have the
economy to sustain it. Your local currency is a relationship between your
imports and exports, and if you have this skewed deficit in your current
account, in your balance of payment position, in your capital account, you
don’t have the economy to sustain a currency.”

Biti said banks, which had increased their assets from a low base of US$200
million in 2009 to US$4,2 billion today, had played a major role in
financing Zimbabwe’s current account deficit as well as the millions of
Zimbabweans who live abroad who have been remitting an average US$350
million a year.

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Poacher shot dead, 2 rifles seized

10/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

GAME rangers shot and killed a suspected poacher at Kazungula National Park
on Saturday – the second fatal confrontation in a month, police said on

Four other poachers escaped in the early morning raid on their camp in the
Matetsi Unit Six area, a subdivision of the sprawling game reserve.

Matabeleland North police spokesman Inspector Billie Dube said on December
7, the rangers deployed at Quebec base in Matetsi received information from
Econet engineers working on a facility along the Victoria Falls-Kazungula
road who heard two gun shots in the area.

Inspector Dube said: “The rangers made a follow up and came across human
tracks about 800m from the Econet facility and started tracking until it got

“The rangers then camped for the night before resuming the search for the
suspected poachers early the next morning.
“At about 6AM, the rangers intercepted five poachers at Camp 21. They saw
one of the poachers seated by a huge tree and opened fire on him, killing
him on the spot. The other four poachers managed to flea in different

Two loaded assault rifles were recovered along with three elephant tails,
two cooking pots and a mobile phone with two Zambian SIM cards.

The dead poacher, who has not been named, had seven bullet wounds.

The dead man’s body is at the Victoria Falls Hospital mortuary.
Inspector Dube said game rangers were authorised to shoot to kill in a high
stakes game with poachers who are always armed to the teeth and have
previously fatally wounded rangers.

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Mugabe swings last missile

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe made a powerful pitch for his re-election
at the end of the 13th Zanu PF annual convention but even some of his
hardcore supporters privately acknowledge his gamble is dicey.

Turning 89 in February, Mugabe reinforced the indigenisation and empowerment
policy as his last ace up the sleeve in a race to overturn the March 2008
defeat to bitter coalition partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

He touted his controversial policy that forces foreign firms to surrender 51
percent shareholding to locals and outlined he will be vigorously pursuing a
100 percent stake in a drive that critics say imperils foreign investment if
he wins a fresh term.

“In addition to developing our marginalised communities and creating
sustainable employment opportunities for our youths, our indigenisation and
economic empowerment policy must now give real stake to our workers,” Mugabe
said in a 148-page report tabled to the conference.

“The employee share ownership schemes that have been established in a number
of key corporate organisations, whose compliance has been notably high, are
a clear and tangible direction of our party’s indigenisation and economic
empowerment policy.”

With one eye on a looming presidential election, all sorts of people made it
to the conference.FROM PAGE 1
Aside from the usual cronies and government officials, young men and women
from youth groups loyal to the ruling party such as student group Zicosu
suddenly found themselves in favour.

They do not usually get much attention. But this is election time and every
vote counts.

The Mugabe campaign worked hard to whip up enthusiasm for the empowerment
drive at the conference, making Mugabe the centre of an elaborate
personality cult he has forged during his three decades plus in power.

As Zimbabweans get ready to head to the polls for what looks likely to be
the most closely fought election since independence in 1980, Mugabe pushed
the indigenisation war cry.

“Our people expect the policy of indigenisation and economic empowerment to
transform and develop our country’s hitherto marginalised communities that
have been ravaged by the effects of the evil and illegal sanctions,” Mugabe

“We must be rest assured that there is no alternative to our indigenisation
and empowerment policy.”
Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment — the slogan turned up
everywhere at the conference, from umbrellas shielding delegates from the
rain right down to T-shirts and even some of the water bottles given away to
keep supporters hydrated at the conference.

But privately, even his most hardcore supporters acknowledge, Mugabe’s
experiment in indigenisation is dicey. After the chaotic grab of commercial
farms for redistribution to landless blacks — agriculture production has

Mugabe proposed an economy run along the same rigid lines that crippled
eastern bloc economies for much of the 20th century.

Foreign investors are closely watching the next election for regime collapse
at a time the electric utility has brought chronic blackout throughout the
country and the economy is slowly grinding to a halt, amid the waste,
corruption and mismanagement of incompetent central planning.

Benefitting from one of the world’s largest diamond reserves, critics say
Zanu PF is kept afloat by a torrent of diamond dollars that helped the party
build the $6,5million conference centre in a short three months.

“None of this revolutionary thrust is against foreign investment since it is
infact the foundation for genuine and sustainable foreign investment,”
Mugabe argued.

The veteran leader said he was happy the conference had taken an unreserved
and robust stance against political violence. Still, his coalition partners
doubt his sincerity — as do most observers — and believe he will again try
to stay in power through his tried and tested means. Mugabe and Zanu PF have
constantly been forced to deny accusations of using violence during
elections since 1980.

Senior commanders now attend virtually all of Mugabe’s public appearances,
and were at the conference, reinforcing the image of a military state.

Almost certainly, however, this will be one of those close Zimbabwe
elections, like 1980, that may not be settled until the closing days.

In the wake of the launch of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s economic
blueprint, Juice, and Zanu PF’s push for its empowerment agenda, more
important, may be which camp sets the agenda over the next weeks.

Tsvangirai wants the conversation to be dominated by the nation’s persistent
economic struggles — underscored by the toxic effect of Mugabe’s
indigenisation policy on the economy and jobs, and the prospect of five more
years of the same.

The MDC leader is promising one million jobs in the first five years of his
term and a $100 billion economy.

The Zanu PF candidate’s campaign seems intent on accentuating, not playing
down the unemployment crisis while pushing his indigenisation economic
prescription which critics say is in fact the biggest threat to jobs.

“It is for this reason that many other countries within our region and
beyond have recently followed the example of our indigenisation and economic
empowerment policy by adopting laws and policies similar to ours,” Mugabe
said without naming the countries.

Mugabe said he wants to focus on a violence-free, issues-based election and
the way he is repeating this message on the stump, is striking.

“The strength of our mobilisation strategies and messages for the
forthcoming make-or-break election must be our superior ideology, policies
and organisation as Zimbabwe’s only vanguard and revolutionary party,”
Mugabe said. “The opposition MDC formations are ideologically bankrupt and
have no policies to offer.

“We know we will win the forthcoming elections thunderously and convincingly
and I therefore exhort you all to desist from tainting our victory with any
form of violence.”

The influence of money in this presidential campaign cannot be

The Mugabe campaign enjoys a huge resource advantage; it has plenty of funds
to be competitive anywhere it chooses. - Gift Phiri, Politics Editor

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We are ready to die for Tsvangirai: Madzore

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56

BEITBRIDGE - MDC youths say they are ready to die defending party leader
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the event “dark forces” prevent him from
taking power legitimately.

These are some of the bold statements MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore has
been making since being released from remand prison last month.

“This time we are going to make sure that our leader Morgan Tsvangirai goes
straight into the State House after winning elections and noone will stop
him,” said Madzore during an address to about 400 party supporters in
Beitbridge on Saturday.

“We are ready to die for Tsvangirai. We fear only God and not (President
Robert) Mugabe,” Madzore said.

Tsvangirai and many other Zimbabweans fear that security sector commanders
fiercely loyal to Mugabe will move to prevent the former trade unionist from
taking power if he wins against the 88-year-old like he did in March 2008.

Repeated statements by some commanders and Cabinet members such as Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa that the defence forces would not allow
Tsvangirai to take power even if he wins popular vote, have deepened the

Madzore and his MDC youth band appear ready to tackle such a situation if
the need arises at least according to their daring public statement. In his
Beitbridge address, Madzore took aim at defence forces commander Constantine
Chiwenga and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, two men who have
publicly declared their undying allegiance to Mugabe’s Zanu PF and have
vowed never to salute Tsvangirai.

“Chiwenga and Chihuri will have to salute Tsvangirai. If they refuse we will
just tell them to go. We need peace in Zimbabwe after next year’s elections
and Mugabe has to respect the will of the people,” said Madzore, before
going for the head.

“Mugabe must leave for Zvimba (his rural home) after losing elections next
year. We won’t allow him to continue holding the future of Zimbabwe
hostage,” said Madzore, who spent more than a year in remand prison on a
charge of killing a police officer.

He denies the charge and trial is ongoing. - Pindai Dube

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Devastated Makone family mourn daughter’s death

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2012

Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone and her husband Ian, a close aide to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, on Monday spoke of their shock over the
death of their 32 year-old daughter Nyarai.

Nyarai was found hanged on Saturday morning at the family home, in a
suspected suicide, while her parents were away on a business trip to
Nairobi, Kenya with Tsvangirai. Both Theresa and Ian said the death of
Nyarai had left them devastated and traumatized. She was buried on Monday at
the Glen Forest cemetery near Domboshawa.

She apparently left a note apologizing to her parents and sister. Highly
placed sources said the note read: ‘Dear family, I know it’s sad but I’m

Her mother Theresa said: ‘This is so difficult for us. Nyarai was an
articulate, intelligent and caring young woman. Lately she has been very
happy and doing really well. Nyarai was not just my daughter, she was my
best friend.

‘I have dealt with people who have been bereaved but until something awful
like this happens to you, you can never understand how it feels,’ she added.
The Makone’s first born daughter Taneta posted a tribute to her sister on
her Facebook page.

She wrote: ‘All I can do is pray and thank God for giving me this radiant
lovely beauty that I called ‘Sister.’ Please join me, her friends and
family, in offering your prayers in remembrance of her.

She continued: ‘As some of you might now already, Nyarai has been burdened
with clinical depression for a little more than eight years.

Every day of those eight years was a struggle in managing a regime of
countless medicines to manage the extremes of her condition, visiting
psychologists, psychiatrists, GPs, relying also on extensive prayer,
fasting, retreats, music, art and design, anything to restore herself to a
sense of equilibrium.’

Taneta added that ‘there are so many living angels amongst us who did all
they could to help my sister; some took her into their homes abroad for
respite and change of scenery, others who involved her in community outreach
programmes that she was passionate about- anything to help lift the dark
cloud of despair and doubt that hovered over her.

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I am a messenger of hope: Tsvangirai

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:31
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declares he is a “messenger of
hope” who would never threaten his followers.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday reporter Richard
Chidza (RC), Tsvangirai (MT) talks about the MDC, his deputy Thokozani
Khupe, resignation if he is defeated by President Robert Mugabe in next year’s
general elections among other issues. Here are excerpts.

RC: Is Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe (DPM) going to appear before a
disciplinary hearing for fanning violence?

MT: What came out of the Maanda (Trust) commission report is too
generalised, and for your own information the DPM was never mentioned. We
want specifics rather than sweeping statements.

It makes it difficult to prosecute those that have been fingered in the
violence and we have asked the secretary-general (Tendai Biti) to follow up
with the commission and get specifics before the chairperson will set up a
national disciplinary committee.

The Khupe issue is a lie and the journalist who wrote the article was asked
by Luke Tamborinyoka, (PM’s spokesperson) to provide evidence where I said
that, they cannot. It is a paper that is bent on maligning the deputy
president to the extent of saying people are defecting from the party in her
constituency. It is a media pre-occupation to create a rift between the
leadership of the party and create chaos.

RC: A lot has been said about corruption and your failure to decisively deal
with corrupt councillors in particular.

MT: I will be the last to defend corruption. We have acted on corruption and
fired some councillors. When we are in a collaborative environment you would
not expect ministers to cause discord by taking partisan positions. We fired
councillors in Chitungwiza for corruption and minister (Ignatius Chombo)
re-instated them but later fired them; if we were alone in government we
would take a decision and implement it.

We can only do so much as party within the power that we have.

RC: You have told everybody who cares to listen that your party has friends
across the world. Have they assisted you in any way since you joined

MT: We could not have been where we are without them.

They have helped with lots of money. Through the Health and Education
Transition Funds that have transformed the lives of our children and
pregnant mothers.

The 2000 boreholes we will be sinking in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland
South and North and Masvingo under the Wash (water sanitation and hygiene)
programme are all testimony to the partnerships we have around the world.

RC: So you have learnt a lot from Zanu PF?

MT: The only variable in government that has brought some sense of stability
and semblance of positive performance in government is the MDC. We were
inexperienced but we had a plan. Now we have the experience and the
narrative here is have we made an impact and a positive impact.

There is no need for the MDC to harp on about it, Zimbabweans should judge
us and we need a chance to be judged cleanly.

RC: Is Morgan Tsvangirai ready to give up his post in the party if he loses
the presidential election next year?

MT: I am not under any pressure to make that decision now and if there are
any people who have been misled by those reports they need to calm down. I
intend to see through my five-year term and I will be here until the next

I am a messenger of hope and cannot be a carrier of bad news. I cannot be
discouraging my own supporters or threatening them. We will win the next

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Is Zanu PF richer than the state?

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Monday, 10 December 2012 10:16

HARARE - The contrast could not be starker.

While government has been scrambling for funds to buy medicines and build “a
shack” for next year’s United Nations tourism meeting, President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu PF splurged $6,5 million on a Gweru conference facility for
its annual gathering.

This, observers say, is not only embarrassing, but typifies the octogenarian
leader’s misplaced priorities since 1980.

With tourism authorities announcing three weeks ago that about 800 to 1 000
delegates are expected for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO) summit, the Victoria Falls jaunt “hangs in the balance” due to
logistical problems, including a lack of conferencing facilities for the
participants from across the world.

Although Tourism minister Walter Mzembi is “ever so optimistic about a
miracle” to salvage the situation and the country’s image, he denies his
party is being profigate in splashing on a potential “white elephant” than a
national project to support an industry once earning the country in excess
of $6 billion a year.

“We have, however, received a commitment from the Finance ministry that
funds for the conference in Victoria Falls will be made available in a
fortnight, so there is no crisis at all, ” he said.

“Those are two different events and you cannot link the two. However,
government — for that matter one of national unity — should be ashamed that
Zanu PF has managed to build such a facility,” Mzembi said.

While it is known that Mugabe’s party is broke — with non-performing loans
at one key bank — it is surprising how the ex-majority party has managed to
fund such activities as the Midlands facility, which the youthful minister
dubs “best investment decision ever”.

In fact, Zanu PF secretary for administration and fundraising committee
chairperson Didymus Mutasa hinted that all was not well with their
fundraising activities ahead of the Gweru conference.

Dubbed the “hall of shame” by Zimbabweans miffed by Zanu PF’s insensitivity,
given the sorry state of Gweru companies including Bata, the monstrous 5
000-seater superstructure was built on the fringes of the Midlands capital
with the help of Chinese funders.

With many asking where Mugabe and his party — leading one of Africa’s
alleged failed states — are getting the money to bankroll such a project,
there are growing fears of “Mobuto-cracy” here and where the late Congolese
dictator had more money than the state.

David Coltart, a lawyer and Zimbabwe’s Education minister, lamented the
situation, as his ministry continues to survive on the goodwill of donors.

“We have a warped system in Zimbabwe; a history of misplaced priorities
(such as) this hall in Gweru and the military college in Mazowe constructed
to the tune of $100 million. If that money had been channelled towards the
rehabilitation of schools, then we would have improved the learning
institutions,” he said.

Schools around the country are in a state of disrepair with children having
to learn seated on hard floors or perched on stumps under the cover of

Coltart, whose ministry has only been given $8 million for this year said he
has engaged the ministry of Finance over lack of funding.

“I have talked to Finance minister Tendai Biti over budget allocation to the
education sector and I should say he was very sympathetic unfortunately he
has little room to manoeuvre. We need a complete change in our priorities,”
said Coltart.

With nearly two million people on the government housing waiting list,
Housing minister Giles Mutsekwa says it is “extremely embarrassing” for Zanu
PF to be splashing $6,5 million on the hall.

“When I heard about the... hall in Gweru I was shocked. Zanu PF is our
partner... (and) for them to splash such an amount on a hall is
embarrassing. I am struggling to give people houses because the government
is broke,” he said.

“If I had been given that (kind of) money, we could have built houses for
more than 300 people.

“For instance, the Willovale Flats were built for $8 million,” Mutsekwa

Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst, said Zanu PF must do some serious

“The first question for Zanu PF is: where is the money coming from? But
perhaps a more important question is: why throw such lavish and obscene sums
towards the construction of a hall when the people of Zimbabwe have numerous
urgent and pressing needs, including the health sector, clean water or
general support to the ailing economy?

“This... points to a party out of touch with the people; a party in cloud
cuckoo land,” he said.
Mutasa said the hall was about “comfort and nothing to be embarrassed about”.

“People are not struggling because of the hall; people are suffering because
Tsvangirai brought sanctions to this country. There is absolutely no
connection between the hall and the lack of service in the country,” he

Apart from splashing on an isolated “conference centre”, Mugabe’s party has
also bought 400 cars for next year’s polls. — Weekend Post

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Zimbabwe: speaking from where I feel safe

BETTY MAKONI 10 December 2012

Many women in Zimbabwe face war in their homes daily and face war with the state when we try to overcome it. Often we find ourselves in combat when all we are actually trying to do is to crawl out of our own small room, says Betty Makoni.

Since birth, I have never lived in peace in my own county, Zimbabwe. I was born during colonialism and everything I learnt was about a war which had raged on for years where blacks were fighting for liberation. Since independence, we have had the genocide of Matabeleland, the farm invasions of 2000 and three decades of bloody elections. In 2005, state sponsored violence left women and children homeless and livelihoods permanently destroyed. The political violencewhich ensued in 2008 gave many women and girls little time to recover. Many have never recovered. We have had to rebuild almost every year and engage in fake reconciliation and peace programs that last as long as those who rule us want. We need to ask what peace means for the women of Zimbabwe.

Most lives and rights are lost in economic wars. One consequence of the most recent violence has been a large number of girls falling pregnant and dropping out of school and an increase in the number of brothels: women are giving their bodies in order to live. For when the Zimbabwean economy fell, it crumbled on women. It is women who provide a basic meal. Faced with economic challenges, and even starvation, some women are going to South Africa. Many are losing their lives and thousands more are raped when they try to cross the border.

The women of Zimbabwe are facing a kind of silent victimisation and silent pain as families disintegrate and many fathers turn their daughters into wives. Women who have come over to England to secure a better life for their families and left their daughters back home live in a state of fear. Some hear reports that their daughters have been raped or are struggling to eat.

Many women in Zimbabwe face war in their homes day-to-day and some women, like me, face war with the state when we try to overcome it.

At war in the home

My own experience of peace in Zimbabwe was shattered age 6, when I was raped whilst vending on the streets. It was during the 1970s when the whole of Zimbabwe was at war and this kind of case simply wasn’t of concern to most people. It was the norm to rape a girl for whatever reason. My mother was murdered in domestic violence shortly after, and with war raging on elsewhere, the death of a woman in the home mattered just as little as the rape of a small girl.

I never went to war with guns, but the many wars that subsequently spilled into our homes claimed the lives of many girls and women I knew. Those were the women who inspired me to start Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe in 1998, and to establish the first girls empowerment village for girls fleeing violence in Rusape in 2001.

We were able to set up the first girls empowerment village by reviving an old cultural practice that accords royalty to girls. 400 years ago, my great, great, great aunt migrated from Tanzania to Zimbabwe where she fought in a war alongside men. When she defeated men, her brother said “I won’t abandon you, you are also going to be royal. She was given the title Muzvare (Her Royal Highness) and that’s why I also have a title today. As a result of my aunt’s bravery, women were given chieftainship in her village, which meant that as a woman she was respected and you wouldn’t touch her. This is the tradition I revived in the town. I demonstrated to the chief that we could plant a positive culture and respect for human rights that would bring prosperity to the village. The piece of land the chief donated became like royal shrine where girls who were raped could come to feel their greatness.

Often, when girls report to their local authorities that they have been the victims of violence they cannot go back to their abusers or their village and so they make their way to an empowerment village. This is a one-stop shop where they can get counselling, administrative support and education. There is also a clinic for girls who are HIV positive. School teachers run empowerment clubs in within the villages, and we also train girls in peer counselling so that they can support one another. We cover questions such as, how do you ask another girl about her experiences? How do you report a case? With the girls supporting each other, the information comes out more quickly than in other forums. At the empowerment village the girls are also re-registered in schools; even if they are attending court they must be in the nearest school. The local police work with us to monitor the girls, and the courts work with us to secure justice. Everything the police officers do is monitored and written on a card which the girl keeps. This helps us to help her make sense of the jargon, and also to ensure that she knows where and when she has to be in court. This is all part of empowering a girl to demand justice.

Between 1998 and 2008 alone, the Girl Child Network movement empowered over 300,000 girls to respond to violence and to reclaim their right to peace and housed over 70,000 girls from all across Zimbabwe at girls’ empowerment villages. One girl from a village 400 kilometres away had been raped by a traditional healer who sucked out some of her blood in a ritual. While we kept her in safety, her perpetrator could not get to her and he was locked up. The support of the local police enabled us to transfer her files so that we had the authority to demand that her trial be heard in the village rather than in her home town by a biased court. Our job was just to let the girl tell her story and secure justice. This girl’s case was one of the 80% of cases that lead to a prosecution.

There are now four empowerment villages in Zimbabwe. Some of the girls who first came to find sanctuary there are now women who have taken over their leadership while I live in self-imposed exile.

At war with the state

The last thing any human rights defender wants to do is to leave her home, work and settle in a foreign country. This was my last option during my time of despair and persecution in 2008; only the man I shared my home with knew as I grabbed my handbag and sped out of the door to run for safety.

My work at the women’s empowerment villages was extremely dangerous and put me in direct conflict with the Zimbabwean state and thousands of local actors. An 80% prosecution rate equates to around 4,000 men in jail each year. You can times that by ten to count the number of angry relatives out there and work out for yourself the risks we ran. The most dangerous cases were rape cases linked to Johane Marange apostolic churches. When I was arrested, a senior police intelligence officer who belonged to the church told me that if I had no alternative to girls being given away to appease spirits, or to God’s consent for a girl to marry a man, then I should keep my mouth zipped shut. In 2008 I was incarcerated for targeting a church that had strong political links.

My autobiography, Never Again, describes the state persecution I experienced as a result of my work defending girls’ human rights. Some of this persecution constituted outright criminalisation; other forms were more subtle, like mental torture wearing you down.

In 2002, I was arrested for operating Girl Child Network as a trust instead of a ‘PVO’(another form of organisation), even though the two are exactly the same. I spent a whole year in and out of the courts. I had a choice to leave girls dying at my doorstep or use a deed of trust to continue my work and save lives. I chose the latter.

In 2004 I was banned from conducting rescue missions for girls in forced marriages and a letter was sent all over the country stating that police were not allowed to accompany us on rescue missions. In some cases we rescued girls from forced marriages and brought them to empowerment villages so that the churches could not remarry them. A church linked to the ruling party had lodged complaints that we were destroying their marriages with young girls.

In 2005, I was arrested and labelled a threat to national security for giving testimony about the rape of girls and home demolitions to Anna Tibaijuka, UN Envoy for human settlements. All my office files were seized. Out of over 2000 leaders of civil organisations who testified and gave written testimonies, I was the only one singled out in a government newspaper. I spent a week in and out of the police station. During interrogation, the government told me this case against me was “unforgivable”.

In 2006, I was arrested for my work with girls who had testified about the ‘virgin myth’, a myth current at the time that sex with virgins could cure HIV/AIDS. A media blackout was imposed on me and all my finance files and donor agreements, receipts and client files were seized by the Central Intelligence. When they were returned back to our offices after a month several files were missing.

In 2007, just before the 2008 bloody elections, I was again arrested together with film Director Michealene Risley who came to document cases of girls raped because of the virgin myth in the film Tapestries of Hope.

I had first become aware of the ‘virgin myth’ back in the late 90s when a 13 year old girl called Leona reported to me that she had been raped at knife point by her mother’s boyfriend. The man, it turned out, was trying to extract her first blood as a virgin. After breaking her hymen, he had started sucking it out with his mouth. He had been prescribed this ‘treatment’ by a witch doctor as a cure for HIV. Similar cases emerged and I discovered that you could see a certain trend. In 2001, I published a document called 1,000 Worst Cases of Rape in Zimbabwe where I made the myth public. From 2005, the government privately acknowledged the issue and arrests increased. One prominent case was that of Macheke, a HIV positive man who raped close to 51 girls one after another. Quite a few high profile people in churches were also arrested. One of them, Katsio Katsiru, fought to bring me down.

The government launched a defamatory media campaign against me, labelling me a child abuser, and I received death threats including one saying that I would be murdered by one of my staff members. I knew that the many rape cases perpetrated by high profile political figures had landed me in danger because some hard copies of the information we had gathered was never returned to us when our files and computers were confiscated by police.

In March 2008, a group of secret undercover police tried to bribe me to pay a US$ 8000 protection fee to be saved from abduction, and I later learnt from one of them that my abduction was planned for 18 March. I escaped to South Africa on 17 March 2008. After I had fled, other women human rights defenders likeJestina Mukoko were abducted and only found after several months.

From the local to the global

In June 2008, when reports of women and girls being sexually tortured in youth militia bases reached me, I said enough is enough and became an activist in exile. I set up an empowerment house in Botswana and mobilised the international community to help women deposit evidence of rape as a weapon of war so that it could be preserved for future prosecutions. Starting a women and girls empowerment centre in neighbouring Botswana worked well as the women testified in an environment that was peaceful and where they did not have to hold back their trauma. They went back to Zimbabwe healed and looking forwards, armed with basic counselling skills to help rebuild their communities. I wanted the women to know that one day they would have justice and so they shouldn’t destroy evidence.

Replication of our model in Sierra Leone, Uganda, South Africa and Swaziland in recent years has helped us to run projects on the ground to protect girls and also build a global network of supporters to help us target policy makers. These days, one does not necessarily need to be physically present to do advocacy work: technology connects us. Some high profile rape cases we get are easy to deal with because women and girls are in a safe place where they feel they can speak out. At the same time, those on the ground can keep feeding us information. My work is to speak from wherever I feel I am safe. To be strategically positioned from the village to the global level transmits our work much faster. Yes I am still in exile, and these days I am cyber bullied on the internet daily - this is a new tactic to target women human rights defenders. But at least my work continues with those who know my good intentions to save the most vulnerable.

When people think about wars in Africa, they think about tanks and international troops, but there are countries with no official war like Zimbabwe where a girl must fight. Sometimes we find ourselves in combat when all we are actually trying to do it to crawl out of our own small room. These are women organising political rallies in order for us to have democracy. These are the foot soldiers toiling on the ground for economic empowerment and ensuring their basic human rights are protected. These are the heroes who have watched as every bullet went past their falling hut. These are the women we want to think of as target beneficiaries when in reality they are the ones who defend rights of the most vulnerable.

This article is adapted form a presentation given at the recent conference,‘Women Human Rights Defenders: Empowering and Protecting the Change-makers’ held by Peace Brigades International with the support of GAPS-UK, Womankind and Amnesty International UK and the British All Party Parliamentary Group on Women, Peace and Security.

Read other articles in this series, 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

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Robert Mugabe, my husband: 'he chose me' gushes Zimbabwe's first lady

Grace Mugabe, married to Africa's oldest leader, says her husband is
'supportive of women' and a 'fine gentleman'

David Smith, Africa correspondent

The Guardian, Monday 10 December 2012 17.00 GMT

To his political foes and western critics he is a cold-hearted tyrant blamed
for bloodshed and national decline. To his wife, however, Robert Mugabe is a
supportive, God-fearing family man who is never without his rosary.

Grace Mugabe, the first lady of Zimbabwe, was not talking to Oprah Winfrey
but speaking at the opening of a children's home, the state-owned Sunday
Mail newspaper reported, when she told the love story ofAfrica's oldest

"I was very young when I started living with President Mugabe, but he was
patient with me and took time to groom me into the woman that I am now,"
Grace, 47 and four decades his junior, was quoted as saying. "Some of you
see me doing all this charity work and reckon that it is all my thinking and
doing, but that is not the case. "VaMugabe is very supportive of women
because he knows kuti musha mukadzi [a woman makes a home]. He supports me
in everything I do unlike other men who do not encourage their wives'
entrepreneurial skills because they always want to feel superior by being
the breadwinners and having women ask them for money every time."

Grace – dubbed "DisGrace" by her enemies – was married to an air force pilot
when she became Mugabe's secretary, then his mistress, while the president's
Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer. After her divorce, she
married Mugabe in 1996 in a Catholic mass hailed by local media as the
"wedding of the century". He was 73 when she gave birth to their third

"Every day, I make it a point to thank VaMugabe for making me the first lady
of Zimbabwe," Grace said in the speech last week. "There are a lot of
beautiful women in Zimbabwe, but he chose me, a village girl, and made me
his wife.

"After I got into state house, I said to God, 'Father I did not grow up in a
fancy house, but I want to make sure that I provide such facilities to
children who have been orphaned'. That is when I told the president about my
dream to set up a children's home and he has been very supportive from day

Mugabe, 88, is striving to groom their sons into "fine gentlemen" just like
their father, the first lady says. "They might be members of the family, but
my sons cook meals for the family. I have one daughter, so I realised that
the workload of household chores would suffocate me and decided to come up
with a plan that sees them cook for the family regularly.

"I must say they are good at it. Making them cook even when the family has
helpers is my way of making them appreciate life and prepare them to be
husbands who appreciate their wives."

There was reportedly enthusiastic applause at the Midlands Children's Home
in Gweru when Grace added: "As women, we teach men almost everything,
including how to dress, but it seems we have not done much in teaching them
that they can also cook and help with household duties."

Mugabe was raised a Roman Catholic and attended the elite mission school
Kutama College, where he was mentored by an Irish priest. Grace claimed
faith was still central to his life. "He has the ability to remain calm even
when everything appears to be going wrong. I believe that calmness is divine
because my husband is very religious.

"He prays the Catholic way and always moves with his rosary in his pocket …
Even when he changes clothes he makes sure that rosary is in his pocket.

"It is something he was taught by his mother and he still practices it up to
this day. His mother taught him that protection comes from God and that is
the reason why he always takes principled and God-fearing positions even
when everyone is on the other side."

Grace is infamous for lavish overseas shopping trips and launched her own
dairy products earlier this year. In a separate report at the weekend, she
was quoted as saying that the Mugabes' 19-year-old son, Robert Jr, had been
forced to abandon his dream of playing professional basketball in America
because of US sanctions.

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Ruramai’s Story – International Human Rights Day 2012

December 10th, 2012

Campaign image for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Ruramai was married young, at 15. The age of sexual consent in Zimbabwe is 16.

When she got married, her now late husband, Simbarashe, was a self-employed cross-border trader who spent most of his time travelling to faraway places such as Dar-es-Salam, Lusaka, Gaborone and Johannesburg to buy clothing for resale back home. This is a common pastime for many in Zimbabwe, a country with an employment rate estimated at over 90 percent.

Ruramai’s father, Zakaria, is a polygamist with six wives and 29 children. Ruramai’s mother is ‘wife number two’, and she has five daughters. Zakaria is old and unemployed, feeding his large family through subsistence farming.

Ruramai’s entire life has been one of being at the receiving end of violence against women.

Like many large families in remote areas of rural Zimbabwe, it is not uncommon to decide not to educate the girl child. Ruramai’s situation is not an exception: she received only 3 years of primary school education before she joined the long line of her sisters and half-sisters as the main providers of labour on Zakaria’s farm.

Denial of an education was Ruramai’s first real taste of gender-based abuse, and by having her labour exploited as a child on her father’s farm, she was further subjected to another form of abuse; namely, child labour. To cap all this, she was married off to Simbarashe at the tender age of 15. This was, undeniably, an act of abuse against her by both her father and Simbarashe.

In some cases the act of marriage is expected to be a blessing, but in the case of Ruramai the act failed to break the cycle of abuse. Although her husband loved and respected her, he was almost always away from home and so she assumed all the responsibilities of running a home at a very tender age, assuming the roles of both mother and father to her children.

The errand nature of her husband’s occupation meant Ruramai did not fully enjoy connubial rights as did other young married women. Although she understood that her husband was justified in spending a lot of time away from home in order to earn a living for the family, it pained her, and it can be argued too that this fact constituted a further denial of her rights as a woman.

One evening Simbarashe arrived home from a long trip to Dar-es-Salam and he looked weak and sick. He told his wife that he had fallen sick while in Dar-es-Salam and had visited a doctor there who had advised him to take an HIV test, which he had done. The result had been positive, meaning that Simbarashe carried the HIV virus that causes the deadly AIDS disease.

For the first time Simbarashe disclosed to Ruramai that he had been seeing two women: one in Gaborone and the other in Dar-es-Salam. He told her that he had a sickly daughter with the woman in Gaborone, and that the woman in Dar-es-Salam had suffered two miscarriages and she had been sick for a long time.

Ruramai was devastated by the disclosure, and she cried all night. She visited the clinic the following morning, where she took an HIV test which confirmed that she too had the virus. By now Ruramai had two daughters: the youngest was 6 and in her first year at school.

Neither Simbarashe nor Ruramai were put on anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs immediately. The clinic advised them that they would be put on ARVs only after their CD4 count had fallen to below a certain figure. They were therefore advised to visit the clinic regularly for checkups.

Simbarashe continued with his trips, but as he grew weaker and his health deteriorated his trips had became less frequent and, consequently, profits gradually plummeted. He was eventually put on drugs after his CD4 count had fallen to below the figure 350, but he did not respond well to the medication and he eventually died.

As per tradition, Simbarashe’s property was shared among his close relatives. Ruramai had been the most highly prized piece of ‘property’ that Simbarashe had left behind, and so she was ‘given’ to his younger brother, Robson. Robson, who was unmarried and had just secured a job in Masvingo town as a clerk, had also taken over Simbarashe’s surviving children as his own, and had immediately relocated to Ruramai’s homestead to share the bedroom with her.

Despite the fact that Simbarashe exhibited all signs of HIV and AIDS during his long illness, and despite the fact that Ruramai was HIV positive herself, Robson, in his wisdom (or lack of it) found it difficult to act against tradition. Ruramai, as was expected, had also been powerless to decide on her future because she was part of the deceased’s property, and her fate had to be determined by the late Simbarashe’s nephew, the executor of his late uncle’s estate. She had to prepare herself to endure yet another round of abuse. But why, she must have asked herself? The answer is simply because she is a woman. Period!

Within a year of Robson having moved in with Ruramai, the two were blessed with a son and Robson named him Simbarashe, perhaps as an act of gratitude for having been left a woman by his relative. Ruramai had now started taking ARV medication and, on the advice of the doctors, she had not breast-fed Simbarashe Junior. Luckily for her, she responded well to the medication and all the signs her sickness vanished.

Hardly a year after the birth of Simbabrashe Junior, Robson was taken ill, and his condition fast deteriorated. Within a couple of months he had wasted away so much he could hardly walk without the support of Ruramai. He was admitted to Masvingo Provincial Hospital where he tested HIV-positive and was immediately placed on drugs. But it was too late, he succumbed to the dreadful disease and died within a month.

Ruramai was widowed once again and, as before, she awaited the executor’s next move.

Two years passed by after Robson’s death, and nothing had happened. Ruramai met and fell in love with a widower who lived in the city. They were both HIV-positive. They dated secretly until one day they bumped into a villager who knew Ruramai well.

Robson’s people were alerted to the relationship and life immediately changed for Ruramai once again. They called for a family meeting at which they accused Ruramai of having brought a curse into the family by having a love affair before the family had conducted the ‘kurova guva’ (literally translated ‘beating the grave’) ceremony, an important traditional ritual that is carried out at least a year after the death of a man or woman who has left behind offspring. The purpose of the ceremony is to bring the spirit of the deceased back into his home to protect his offspring.

The family meeting led to the members taking drastic measures against Ruramai for having defiled their home. An emissary was sent to meet Ruramai’s family to demand back part of the dowry that had been paid to them by Simbarashe when he had married Ruramai. The emissary also demanded that Ruramai’s family take her back, since by her disobedience she had effectively forfeited her right to remain in her matrimonial home.

Another emissary was sent to meet Ruramai’s lover to claim six herd of cattle as compensation for dating a married woman.

Ruramai’s case is not an isolated one. Thousands of women in Zimbabwe go through similar experiences, if not worse. In my view, these acts are all forms of abuse against women, the psychological impacts and long term life consequences equally as devastating as the physical form of violence that tends to attract more attention from the government and non-governmental organizations.

As we arrive today at the conclusion of the ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign’, coinciding with International Human Rights Day, it is time to redefine our understanding of gender-based violence with the view to bringing to the front cases such as Ruramai’s, and to mobilise communities to fight this gross violation of the rights of women.

Ruramai and those in her circumstances deserve our help!

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