The ZIMBABWE Situation
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PF admits millions owed to displaced farmers
By Alex Bell
ZANU PF has admitted that it does have an obligation to pay
farmers forced off their properties in the land grab
admitting it illegally seized many farms.
revealed in a Central Committee report tabled before the ZANU PF
Conference over the weekend. The report said that farms covered by
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) were
contravention of those agreements. These include properties
citizens from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the
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.
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
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
Former commercial farmer Ben Freeth said the campaign will not end
there is no outcry from key sectors of Zimbabwean society, namely the
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.
ZANU PF has finally taken over the farm that used to belong to Ian
with the Land Ministry handing the property to a college. The
portion of Gwenoro farm was the final part of the property not to
over in over a decade of land seizures.
‘upbeat’ about electoral victory following Gweru conference
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
The conference, described by the state controlled media as a
success, left the party faithful upbeat about reclaiming lost
ground to the
MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
first ZANU PF congress, at its formation, was also held in the
capital and Mugabe was the only surviving founding member to be at
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
Also in attendance was the chief of police, Augustine Chihuri.
finance minister, Tendai Biti, said service chiefs should not
have been at
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
In 2008 ZANU PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first
Independence in 1980, but Mugabe told his supporters his party is
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
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
Muchena, urged the party to adopt technology to jam
broadcasts’ into Zimbabwe. It seems that she is unaware that
have this technology, and regularly use it.
analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF’s
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.
correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us that what came out of
were self serving resolutions that will not be well received
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
‘They are confident that the people are going to reward them
votes for dishing out the indigenization policy. This typifies
prioritization of things by ZANU PF. They want to grab things
and not work on things that benefit the citizens of the
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.’
"There is no
wounded lion" President Tsvangirai tells Mugabe
Monday, 10 December
President Tsvangirai today castigated statements by Robert
Mugabe at his
dead Zanu PF conference that this time he will fight like a
“There is no wounded lion. Who would you want to fight? Who
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
and the Tsvangirais were close family friends. “I am mourning an
daughter. Nyarai was a unique girl and I can tell you that she was
brilliant. But unfortunately, all that brilliance has gone,” he
President Tsvangirai said: “Nyarai represents a generation
youths, whose expectations we should strive to fulfill. The
their expectations and what we are delivering as a country is so
youth here expects to have a job, to have a family.
grow up to be successful especially with the way we are educating them.
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
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!!!
reforms no polls' - SADC warns intransigent Mugabe
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
Heads of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) had gathered for
extraordinary summit to deliberate on the unfolding DRC conflict
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
draft charter to a national referendum ahead of elections that
Robert Mugabe insists should be held in March, even without any
“We should continue to appeal for responsive political
will [in Zimbabwe],”
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.
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
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
on rights activists continues ahead of elections
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
With just months to go until crucial elections in 2013, a number of
rights activists, including lawyers and journalists, have been
an attempt to silence dissent, activists say.
arrests were in Gweru on Friday where twenty-nine members from
Election Support Network (ZESN) were picked up while attending
27 members were released the same day after spending 10 hours in
detention at the Gweru central police station. Police had wanted to
them with attending an unlawful gathering, but decided against
They however charged Emmaculata Chiseya, ZESN’s Public Outreach
Lucy Chivasa of the Legal Resources Foundation, with organizing
gathering and failing to notify the police of a gathering in
of a Section the Public Order and Security Act
Chivasa and Chiseya were only released from custody on
In a statement released Monday, ZESN deplored the continued
intimidation of human rights activists.
staff and taskforce member released
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) member of staff Emma
and taskforce member Lucy Chivasa who were arrested by the police on
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.
leaders arrested during Human Rights demo
Two Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) leaders were
Bulawayo today Monday morning during a demonstration to
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
Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo, Reason Ngwenya, and ZCTU
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.
some confusion this morning which saw police arresting Mcijo and
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,”
During the demonstration the morethan 400 ZCTU members
placards written “Respect Workers Rights,” Candles cannot
replace ZESA” and
“We Need Revival of Bulawayo Industries”
kicked off from ZCTU offices along 13th Avenue and passed through
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
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
PF admits losing support
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56
GWERU - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is bleeding
massively, losing almost 250 000 members over the past year.
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
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
Mashonaland West, Mugabe’s home province, suffered dramatic
membership from 46 718 in 2011 to 13 526 by end of October
Masvingo also saw membership falling from 21 928 to 10
Matabeleland North and South both marginally lost membership from 7
11 425 respectively to 4 480 and 10 433. Bulawayo province increased
membership from 6 651 members in 2011 to 7 577 members now.
bled membership massively from 161 394 members in 2011 to 63 500 by
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.
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
card sales in order to boost both our membership and revenue,”
committee report says.
As at the end of October 2012, the
party had raised $119 947 from membership
The Marxist leader maintained that elections will be held
early next year,
notwithstanding his party's sliding membership
“If there is anything certain, it is that legally and
inclusive government has to end,” Mugabe
“Therefore, nobody should make any mistake about this because we
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
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
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
Out of total expenditure
of $7 938 429, the major expenditure item was
In a foreword to the central committee report, Mugabe blamed
the MDC for
wasting 44 months haggling over the draft.
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
legitimate expectations.” - Gift Phiri, Politics Writer
‘unlikely’ to toughen KP diamond trade laws
By Alex Bell
South Africa is being urged to strengthen the mandate of
diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), when
the country takes
over the rotating chairmanship of the body next
The KP has faced serious criticism in recent weeks for endorsing
diamond trade, and for lifting the oversight mechanisms that were
to ensure the country fell in line with international standards.
The KP has
now insisted these standards have been met, despite widespread
diamond profits from the Chiadzwa alluvial fields are being
used to entrench
ZANU PF’s grip on power. There are also ongoing concerns of
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
She added: “In a perfect world South Africa should be pushing for a
of the conflict diamonds definition and explicitly include a human
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 is no longer the first port of call in the fight against
diamonds. That debate will have to take place outside of the KP,”
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
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.
Servants Demand Contracts First Before Poll
Civil servants have warned that they
may not participate in the national
constitutional referendum or elections
as polling officers if they are not
This follows the
non-payment of allowances to civil servants who
participated in the August
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
Civil servants are always used for national exercises
in return for
allowances that they say are either too small or they come
Said majongwe: “In the event that there is no meaningful increment,
would be no point in participating in the events (referendum and
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.”
representative for Matabeleland, Enock Paradzayi tells Studio
servants are tired of being used and not paid.
the talk, Zec tells Mugabe, Tsvangirai
Monday, 10 December 2012
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his bitter coalition partner
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are battling pressure from the Zimbabwe
Commission (Zec) to put their houses in order.
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
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
Besides the sticky issue of funding which has forced the coalition to
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.
of the demands seen by the Daily News also reveals the election
needs cars, equipment refurbishment and staff to be fully
any poll is held.
“Zec needs a waiver of government’s freeze on the civil
recruitment policy for it to operate optimally. Of the 830
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
unhindered. The commission also needs 131 cars,” Zec
Daily News has it on good authority, that apart from giving the go ahead
Cabinet to seek funding from external sources, Mugabe and his coalition
partners last week agreed to allow Zec commissioners to start working on a
This comes amid claims that Zec chairperson, the
Simpson Mutambanengwe is unhappy with the working
arrangements and lack of
clarity from government on how the commission
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
“Zec told us it requires an eight week notice to adequately
prepare for the
referendum. I am happy though that this process will only
to provide their national identity cards so they can vote.
So there is not
much need for the voters’ roll on this one,” he
“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
the adoption of a new constitution.
“We cannot be
talking about dates when Zec has no money,” said Tsvangirai.
spokesperson Lovemore Sekeramayi could neither deny nor confirm
“These are obviously very important matters that I cannot discuss
phone. I am off duty I would request you to put them in writing,”
He had not responded by the time of going to print.
will take keys to State House’ - Khupe
Staff Reporter 11 hours 1
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.
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”.
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.”
at the same meeting, MDC-T deputy national organiser Abednicho
it would be unwise for people to vote for Zanu PF leader
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
favourite to win Presidential elections - Ncube
Staff Reporter 21
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
“At the January congress that saw me become the president of MDC, we
with a strategy to woo voters and we believe it has paid dividends
numbers of people who are on our side have multiplied. We have been
rallies throughout Zimbabwe. We started early because we knew that
far behind the other political parties, namely Zanu-PF and
“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
over Zimbabwe because it is bankrolled by foreign donors and
outreach was due to conviction and determination.
the reasons we started early on the campaign trail is because we do
the financial muscle of other political parties. We believe that by
the early bird we will catch the worm. We are sponsored by
who identify with our policies and party members. Some of the
utilise are from our own pockets. We also use the 10 percent we got
Political Parties Finance Act. We believe that we have used this
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
“With (DPM) Mutambara, we had five years of stagnation,
took place. We have already said it was a mistake to have
president, but now we have the benefit of hindsight. It was not
mistake to elect him leader, it was a mistake post-congress because
had to deal with court battles. It has cost us time and money. We
(DPM) Mutambara’s actions to undermine the party have vindicated us.
make the same mistake again,” Professor Ncube
Professor Ncube dismissed speculation that his party would close
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.”
PF presses for local currency, Biti resists
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
Among several resolutions, President Robert Mugabe’s party which
power in a coalition government with the two MDC factions, said it
“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
The country adopted a multiple currency regime which saw the
dollar, the South African rand and Botswana pula being used as
But if Zanu PF has its way, some form of local currency –
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
Speaking at Manchester University, England, last Friday, Biti
collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar had left Zimbabweans with mental
confidence was still low.
But Biti said a bigger hurdle for
the local currency’s return is the slow
recovery of the economy.
speak, our imports are about US$7 billion and exports about US$3
so there is a ratio of 3:1. That essentially means we are running
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
imports and exports, and if you have this skewed deficit in
account, in your balance of payment position, in your capital
don’t have the economy to sustain a currency.”
banks, which had increased their assets from a low base of US$200
2009 to US$4,2 billion today, had played a major role in
Zimbabwe’s current account deficit as well as the millions of
who live abroad who have been remitting an average US$350
shot dead, 2 rifles seized
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
Inspector Dube said: “The rangers made a follow up and came
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
“At about 6AM, the rangers intercepted five poachers at Camp 21.
one of the poachers seated by a huge tree and opened fire on him,
him on the spot. The other four poachers managed to flea in
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
The dead man’s body is at the Victoria Falls Hospital
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
previously fatally wounded rangers.
swings last missile
Monday, 10 December 2012 09:56
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
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
shareholding to locals and outlined he will be vigorously pursuing a
percent stake in a drive that critics say imperils foreign investment if
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
“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
With one eye on a
looming presidential election, all sorts of people made it
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
The Mugabe campaign worked hard to whip up enthusiasm for the
drive at the conference, making Mugabe the centre of an
personality cult he has forged during his three decades plus in
As Zimbabweans get ready to head to the polls for what looks
likely to be
the most closely fought election since independence in 1980,
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
be rest assured that there is no alternative to our indigenisation
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.
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
eastern bloc economies for much of the 20th
Foreign investors are closely watching the next election for
at a time the electric utility has brought chronic blackout
country and the economy is slowly grinding to a halt, amid
corruption and mismanagement of incompetent central
Benefitting from one of the world’s largest diamond reserves,
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
“None of this revolutionary thrust is against foreign investment
since it is
infact the foundation for genuine and sustainable foreign
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.
commanders now attend virtually all of Mugabe’s public appearances,
at the conference, reinforcing the image of a military state.
certainly, however, this will be one of those close Zimbabwe
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
The Zanu PF candidate’s campaign seems intent on
accentuating, not playing
down the unemployment crisis while pushing his
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.
said he wants to focus on a violence-free, issues-based election and
he is repeating this message on the stump, is striking.
“The strength of
our mobilisation strategies and messages for the
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
“We know we will win the forthcoming elections thunderously and
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
are ready to die for Tsvangirai: Madzore
Monday, 10 December 2012
BEITBRIDGE - MDC youths say they are ready to die defending party
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the event “dark forces” prevent
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.
are ready to die for Tsvangirai. We fear only God and not (President
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
Madzore took aim at defence forces commander Constantine
Chiwenga and police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, two men who have
their undying allegiance to Mugabe’s Zanu PF and have
vowed never to salute
“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
and Mugabe has to respect the will of the people,” said
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
He denies the charge and trial is ongoing. - Pindai Dube
Makone family mourn daughter’s death
By Tichaona Sibanda
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 was found hanged on Saturday morning at the family home,
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
Theresa said: ‘This is so difficult for us. Nyarai was an
intelligent and caring young woman. Lately she has been very
happy and doing
really well. Nyarai was not just my daughter, she was my
‘I have dealt with people who have been bereaved but until
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
Every day of those eight years was a struggle in managing a
countless medicines to manage the extremes of her condition,
psychologists, psychiatrists, GPs, relying also on extensive
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.
am a messenger of hope: Tsvangirai
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
10 December 2012 09:31
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declares he
is a “messenger of
hope” who would never threaten his followers.
an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Sunday reporter Richard
(RC), Tsvangirai (MT) talks about the MDC, his deputy Thokozani
resignation if he is defeated by President Robert Mugabe in next year’s
general elections among other issues. Here are excerpts.
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
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.
issue is a lie and the journalist who wrote the article was asked
Tamborinyoka, (PM’s spokesperson) to provide evidence where I said
they cannot. It is a paper that is bent on maligning the deputy
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
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
We can only do so much as party within the power that we
RC: You have told everybody who cares to listen that your party has
across the world. Have they assisted you in any way since you joined
MT: We could not have been where we are without
They have helped with lots of money. Through the Health and
Transition Funds that have transformed the lives of our children
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
MT: The only variable in government that has brought some sense
and semblance of positive performance in government is the MDC.
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.
is no need for the MDC to harp on about it, Zimbabweans should judge
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
MT: I am not under any pressure to make that decision now and if
any people who have been misled by those reports they need to calm
intend to see through my five-year term and I will be here until the
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
Zanu PF richer than the state?
By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
December 2012 10:16
HARARE - The contrast could not be
While government has been scrambling for funds to buy medicines
and build “a
shack” for next year’s United Nations tourism meeting,
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
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.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi is “ever so optimistic about a
salvage the situation and the country’s image, he denies his
party is being
profigate in splashing on a potential “white elephant” than a
project to support an industry once earning the country in excess
billion a year.
“We have, however, received a commitment from the Finance
funds for the conference in Victoria Falls will be made
available in a
fortnight, so there is no crisis at all, ” he
“Those are two different events and you cannot link the two.
government — for that matter one of national unity — should be
Zanu PF has managed to build such a facility,” Mzembi
While it is known that Mugabe’s party is broke — with
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”.
Zanu PF secretary for administration and fundraising committee
Didymus Mutasa hinted that all was not well with their
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
was built on the fringes of the Midlands capital
with the help of Chinese
With many asking where Mugabe and his party — leading one of
alleged failed states — are getting the money to bankroll such a
there are growing fears of “Mobuto-cracy” here and where the late
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
of schools, then we would have improved the learning
Schools around the country are in a state of disrepair with
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
“I have talked to Finance minister Tendai Biti over budget
allocation to the
education sector and I should say he was very sympathetic
has little room to manoeuvre. We need a complete change in
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
“When I heard about the... hall in Gweru I was shocked. Zanu PF is
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
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
“This... points to a party out of touch with the people; a party
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Mugabe, my husband: 'he chose me' gushes Zimbabwe's first lady
Mugabe, married to Africa's oldest leader, says her husband is
of women' and a 'fine gentleman'
David Smith, Africa
The Guardian, Monday 10 December 2012 17.00
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
"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
Grace – dubbed "DisGrace" by her enemies – was married to an
air force pilot
when she became Mugabe's secretary, then his mistress, while
Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer. After her
married Mugabe in 1996 in a Catholic mass hailed by local media
"wedding of the century". He was 73 when she gave birth to their
"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
"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
There was reportedly enthusiastic applause at the Midlands
in Gweru when Grace added: "As women, we teach men almost
including how to dress, but it seems we have not done much in
that they can also cook and help with household
Mugabe was raised a Roman Catholic and attended the elite
Kutama College, where he was mentored by an Irish priest.
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.
the Catholic way and always moves with his rosary in his pocket …
he changes clothes he makes sure that rosary is in his pocket.
something he was taught by his mother and he still practices it up to
day. His mother taught him that protection comes from God and that is
reason why he always takes principled and God-fearing positions even
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
Ruramai’s Story – International
Human Rights Day 2012
December 10th, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ruramai and those in her circumstances deserve our