By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:26
HARARE - Facilitators to Zimbabwe’s political crisis have reaffirmed that
Zimbabwe cannot hold free and fair elections without necessary reforms, a
development which flies in the face of President Robert Mugabe’s assertion
that polls will be held next year.
If the necessary reforms are to be implemented, this will take the whole of
next year meaning there is no way elections can be held in 2012.
In the past Mugabe has admitted that he has no power to call for elections,
a fact confirmed by Sadc negotiators yesterday.
Mugabe, who at 87 years, was endorsed as the Zanu PF candidate in the next
elections, told his supporters at the party’s conference in Bulawayo last
week that elections will be held next year with or without reforms.
But South African President Jacob Zuma’s (pictured left) facilitation team
yesterday said Sadc’s position on Zimbabwe’s elections was clear — no
reforms, no elections.
Zuma’s international relations advisor and spokesperson of the mediation
team, Lindiwe Zulu said outstanding issues on Zimbabwe’s unity pact should
be finalised first before elections could be called and this includes
“According to a Sadc resolution, elections in Zimbabwe will only be held at
a time when the three principals in the unity government have agreed that
the ground is clear for free and fair elections,” Zulu said yesterday.
Zimbabwe is currently under a Sadc-initiated coalition government between
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and the two MDC formations of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube.
Zulu said as mediators, they cannot stop Mugabe from making political
statements about the elections but at the end, it was the Sadc decision that
“As a facilitator, we cannot stop any party from making political
pronouncements. President Jacob Zuma will come to Harare on the invitation
of the three principals as soon as they agree on the outstanding issues,”
Zulu said the tie between South African’s ruling party, the African National
Congress (ANC) and Zanu PF as former liberation parties would not compromise
the mediation effort led by Zuma.
“As facilitators, we draw out our mandate from Sadc, not the ANC and the
relationship between ANC and Zanu PF as liberation movements has always been
there and will not affect us in any way. I think all the parties can agree
that we had been very fair as mediators,” said Zulu.
Last week, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said his party was willing
to help Mugabe's Zanu PF party to regain lost ground and win the next
elections, despite frequently criticising Mugabe’s iron fisted rule.
“We will send campaign strategy teams to work with you; this will be the
best way to celebrate the centenary of the ANC in January 2012. We are
willing to assist in coming up with election messages and strategies that
would deliver victory,” Mantashe told the Zanu PF's annual conference in
Bulawayo, Observers fear Mantashe’s statements are set to compromise Zuma -
who is both ANC president and Sadc mediator for Zimbabwe.
Similarly, former South African President Thabo Mbeki was also been accused
of negotiating along Zanu PF lines.
But Zulu yesterday allayed the fears.
“The ANC and Zanu PF have always had a relationship and supported each other
as former liberation movements and the meeting in Bulawayo was understood in
that context. The historical relationship has not stopped. We have been
attending Zanu PF meetings in this context of liberation history, and the
same with other former liberation movements in the region. But throughout
the facilitation process, we have not played a one sided role – without fear
and favour,” Zulu said.
“It is about Sadc, through its facilitation team that is led by President
Jacob Zuma that we hope to see some reforms in Zimbabwe, a new constitution
and a conducive environment for free and fair elections,” she added.
She said they had been fair from the very day they were requested by Sadc to
mediate in the Zimbabwean political impasse and will remain like that.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC said it appreciated the mediation role played by
the South Africans and described the Zanu PF conference as a “baby shower
“We hope ANC will teach Zanu PF on how to win an election without rigging or
abusing state apparatus. There is need to clear the road to a free and fair
election, national healing, electoral, media and constitutional reforms
before any election is held Zimbabwe,” said Kurauone Chihwayi, the party
South Africa was tasked to mediate to a Sadc initiated political agreement
in Zimbabwe in 2009 after a disputed presidential run-off in 2008.
Mugabe contested in a one man election after Tsvangirai pulled out citing
violence against his party supporters.
The elections were regarded as a sham by the international community,
forcing Mugabe into a “marriage of convenience” with the two MDC formations
in a transitional period to facilitate reforms ahead of watershed elections.
But the reforms are moving at a snail’s pace and the shaky inclusive
government could remain for a little bit longer.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 December, 2011
Elderly passengers in wheelchairs and families with children spent Tuesday
night at Gatwick airport in London as Air Zimbabwe failed to secure the
release of the plane that was seized Monday over unsettled debts. This was
the second night passengers had spent not knowing when they would fly out.
On Monday night they had been put into hotels.
Tourists from as far away as Australia were among the estimated 200 people
stranded without any alternative arrangements by Air Zimbabwe. The Gatwick
airport press office said they had provided food, water and beds for about
50 to 60 people on Tuesday night.
The aircraft was due to be auctioned on Wednesday but according to reports
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche said negotiations with their creditors
were continuing and the auction would not go ahead.
Goche is quoted as saying the ministry was, “frantically looking for money”
to pay the $1.2 million owed to American General Supplies, the aircraft
spares company that impounded the Boeing 767-200 plane after getting a court
Zimbabwe’s treasury reportedly told management at the national airline that
no funds were available to save the plane. The government owns majority
shares at Air Zim and like other parastatals the airline has been riddled
with mismanagement and corruption.
SW Radio Africa presenter Ezra Sibanda, who was one of the stranded
passengers, spoke to a staff member from Air Zim who confirmed that the
auction had been deferred. The source said plans had been made for the
passengers to fly to Zimbabwe on Thursday afternoon but they would have to
sleep at the airport again on Wednesday evening.
We were unable to reach the regional manager David Mwenga to comment. It is
not clear whether the airline has secured enough funds to release the
aircraft and Sibanda said people were now very tired and most have accepted
that loud demands were producing no results.
Air Zimbabwe cancelled the flight from London at the very last minute Monday
night, after allowing people to check in. Frustrated passengers spent Monday
night in hotels around the airport. Several angry travelers were detained
briefly by riot police as they demanded answers.
According to the Associated Press, another Air Zim plane was impounded for
several hours last week in South Africa, over $500,000 that was owed to a
ground handling firm.
By Associated Press, Published: December 14
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s transport ministry says it is “frantically
looking for money” to recover a national airline jet impounded over debts in
The Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200 was seized at London’s Gatwick airport on
Monday by U.S. company American General Supplies for arrears of $1.5 million
for spare parts and maintenance equipment.
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche says an auction of the plane scheduled for
Wednesday won’t go ahead while negotiations continue between the airline and
“We hope to get the money soon,” he says.
Another plane was impounded for several hours in South Africa last week by a
ground handling firm that the troubled airline owes $500,000.
By Tichaona Sibanda
14 December 2011
MDC-99 President Job Sikhala has called on all pro-democracy Zimbabweans to
unite and work towards removing Robert Mugabe from office, through peaceful
and determined protests.
The militant former University of Zimbabwe student leader told SW Radio
Africa’s Hidden Story program on Wednesday that Mugabe’s dictatorship has
caused enormous collateral damage since the country gained independence in
‘Every time our nation has an election we go through traumatic times; our
people have suffered under a tyrannical regime which butchers citizens for
the sake of holding on to power, led by this evil man called Mugabe,’
The MDC-99 leader continued: ‘I call on the people of Zimbabwe to kick out
Mugabe from power. We are going to ratchet more pressure to the dictatorship
until it has lost control of the country.’
Sikhala was arrested on Tuesday for leading a protest march against Mugabe
at his Munhumutapa office. He spent hours with the police before he was
released late at night.
He said the reason why the ageing ZANU PF leader has become his ‘number one
enemy’ is because of the torture and beatings he’s received for opposing his
‘This is what has caused me to have more determination to have this evil man
overthrown before Zimbabwe holds civilised elections. He (Mugabe) has
divorced himself from the civilised community with his penchant for violence
and election rigging which has certainly not diminished in any way
whatsoever since 1980.
‘So this has intensified and solidified my determination to see that Robert
Mugabe is overthrown from power,’ the former MDC MP for St Mary’s said.
He warned the remaining dictators in the world to pay close attention to the
fate of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of
‘This is a lesson for all dictatorships…the clear fate of all who kill their
own people is to answer for their evil deeds, even here in Zimbabwe.’
Harare, December 14, 2011 - Maverick MDC99 president Job Sikhala was
arrested on Tuesday a day after he led a small band of supporters on a
peaceful demonstration outside President Robert Mugabe’s offices demanding
the disbandment of the coalition government.
Peter Chimutsa, a director in Sikhala’s Office, said the former legislator
for St Mary’s was picked up by members of the Law and Order Section at
Harare Central Police Station, who allegedly indicated that they would be
pressing treason charges against the controversial politician.
On Monday Sikhala led MDC99 executive members in a peaceful march towards
Munhumutapa Building in Harare, which also house Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
Sikhala submitted a demand for the GNU to come to an end and that there must
not be elections in Zimbabwe as long as President Mugabe and his Zanu (PF)
party controlled the process, arguing that would be tantamount to
‘commitment to bloodbath’.
“Sikhala was arrested around midday Tuesday and taken to Harare Central
Police Station. The police claim to have compiled statements by Sikhala
dating back to 2005 which they allege to be treasonous,” said Chimutsa.
Wayne Bvudzijena, the national police spokesman, was not immediately
But in most of the statements, Sikhala has been criticising President Mugabe’s
“By end of yesterday (Tuesday) it was difficult to establish more
information about the whereabouts of Sikhala after he was held incommunicado
by the police,” said Chimutsa.
The MDC99 leader last week announced and gave notice of commencement of
action by his party to press for and demand an end to the GNU and also that
President Mugabe must not be allowed once again to preside over the
declaration of election dates, their conduct and management as well as
announcement of results as has been the case for 31 years.
Sikhala is no stranger to arrest, torture and abuse by Zimbabwean police,
having been arrested more than 50 times since his days as a student leader
at the University of Zimbabwe and developing into an MP in 2000 until he
formed the MDC99 in 2010.
“The MDC99 strongly condemns the arrest of the party president and calls on
all progressive forces to call for his release. No amount of intimidation
can, and will, stop the demand for an end to the promiscuous GNU as well as
the abuse of power by the Mugabe dictatorship,” said Chimutsa.
13 December 2011
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF legal affairs secretary, said
the party must target the media, Facebook users, civic groups and human
Blessing Zulu | Washington
A crackdown on opponents of President Robert Mugabe seems likely to
intensify in the aftermath of his ZANU-PF party's annual conference during
which hardliners pushed through a resolution to target perceived critics
ahead of expected 2012 elections.
In a report by the party's central committee at the just-ended conference,
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF's legal affairs secretary, said
the party must target the media, Facebook users, civic groups and human
Mnangangwa said those groups were spreading “hate messages” and urged
ZANU-PF to block offensive material coming from such sources.
ZANU-PF insiders said the party might ask China for technology to monitor
critics and filter the internet.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, however, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing
Zulu that his party will take steps to counter critics but will not step up
surveillance of them.
Information and Communications Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa of the
co-governing Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai said Harare won't be buying Chinese spy technology.
Commenting on Mnangagwa's report, human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said targeting government critics shows that
ZANU-PF is desperate.
Many Zimbabweans are wary of a repeat of the 2008 election which saw
extensive and often deadly political violence and a stalemate that
eventually led to the formation of the power-sharing government.
By Staff Reporter 17 hours 8 minutes ago
SHURUGWI - Fresh from his controversial endorsement as Zanu PF Presidential
candidate in the yet to be announced election, Robert Mugabe has targeted
Finance Minister Tendai Biti for attacks for his refusal to fund Zanu PF
agriculture programmes and other productive sectors linked to the former
Mugabe said this is evidence of discord among the partners in the inclusive
government, but sources in government said Mugabe is angry at Biti's control
of government funds which, over the years, he has used to splash to rural
voters through donations of bags of maize seeds and fertliser.
Biti is not having none of it.
The Ministry of Finance has come under fire from Robert Mugabe and his
supporters on many occasions for failure to handover cash to party activists
masquerading as Champions black empowerment programmes especially the failed
Funding for the sector has dried up since the formation of the inclusive
government and Zanu PF loyalists say the MDC-T Finance Minister wants the
programme to fail.
Mugabe said, the MDC-T party is also against what he called the economic
indigenisation and empowerment programme which has been viewed in some
quarters as asset looting.
In line with these the party programmes, Mugabe has launched Community Share
Ownership Trusts in Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba, and in Shurugwi where mining
giant linked to defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Unki is operating.
The Schweppes Management and Employee Ownership Scheme another scheme run by
Zanu PF loyalist Charles Msipa, son of former Midlands Governor Cephas Msipa
has also been launched
At the just ended Zanu PF 12th Annual National People’s Conference, a
resolution was passed to condemn Finance Minister Biti for lack of
prioritisation of funding of Zanu PF empowerment programmes.
A call was also made to end the inclusive government, which Mugabe described
as dysfunctional, thus the need for partners to divorce and go for elections
Meanwhile Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has also castigated his
Finance counterpart Tendai Biti for failing to release what he called
adequate funds to the Grain Marketing Board to enable it to pay farmers well
ahead of the agricultural season.
Addressing farmers at the Zinwa Main Camp in Chiredzi North, Mnangagwa said
the delays had affected farmers who wanted to buy inputs.
“We are worried that farmers struggle to get agricultural inputs due to lack
of funds when they are owed huge sums of money by the GMB.
“We put the blame squarely on Finance Minister Biti of the MDC-T who does
not release funds to the GMB on time,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said President Mugabe was ready to assist farmers get the
inputs under the Presidential Input Support Scheme.
“There is concern over lack of adequate support to our farmers from the
Finance Ministry, that is why President Mugabe had to intervene personally
with the Presidential Input Support Scheme that has seen most rural farmers
getting agricultural inputs for free,’’ he said.
Minister Mnangagwa, however, appealed to Zinwa not to cut off water supplies
to villagers in Chiredzi for failing to pay their bills.
In the US leaked cable report, Finance Minister and who is also the Movement
for Democratic Change secretary general Tendai Biti told United States
ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray that Vice-President Joice Mujuru and
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa were both “unelectable” in a national
Commenting on the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front congress
of 2009, Biti said the congress had been a disaster because the party had
been unable to resolve the internal struggle over succession.
Referring to the election of John Nkomo as a party vice-president, Biti
said: "An 86-year-old man swearing in a 75-year-old man is a disaster."
He said Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sidelined by the Congress, had more
support within the party than Joice Mujuru. But Mujuru had more support than
Mnangagwa nationally, and both were "unelectable" in a national presidential
Newly elevated party chairman Simon Moyo "couldn't win an election in a
The Zimbabwe Peace Project has released a damning report on the
politically-motivated violence that has been sweeping across the country.
by Brenna Matendere Munyati
According to the recent document, which contains statistics of
politically-motivated violence recorded in the month of October, it is clear
that all is not well. Manicaland had the highest number of reported
incidents with 153 cases documented out of a total of 605 recorded
countrywide. Trailing on the record was Masvingo with 126 and Midlands with
In a statement, ZPP said that the October trends were still high and
worrying, despite a fall of cases from 791 in September.
Meanwhile, 441 cases of intimidation and harassment were recorded
countrywide. 115 cases were recorded in Manicaland making the province the
most volatile. Masvingo had 100 reports and then Midlands with 61 cases. ZPP
attributes the cases to Zanu (PF) organised crime.
By Lance Guma
14 December 2011
A heated debate in parliament on Tuesday exposed how the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) awarded two commercial radio licences to
companies and individuals with strong links to ZANU PF.
The MDC-T MP for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya, last week said he would bring
a motion to parliament calling for the withdrawal of the radio licences
given to the government owned Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and AB Communications,
owned by journalist and ZANU PF sympathiser Supa Mandiwanzira.
On Tuesday there was heated debate to see if the motion had enough support
from MP’s. Chikwinya’s motion also wants the current BAZ board to be
dissolved because it was unilaterally appointed by ZANU PF’s Information
Minister Webster Shamu in 2009. Predictably, ZANU PF MP’s are opposing this
There was drama in parliament when Chikwinya accused BAZ chairman Tafataona
Mahoso of being a dictator, working on behalf of another dictator in Mugabe.
“We have thieves and an illegal board sitting around issuing licences and we
are not going to have a board that is going to give licences to clones of
ZBC and a board which was unconstitutionally appointed. Mahoso executes
strategies of a dictator on behalf of another dictator and he is far worse
off than the President of Zimbabwe,” Chikwinya said.
Several ZANU PF MP’s stood up to object, demanding that Chikwinya withdraw
his statement implying that Mugabe was a dictator. They even threatened to
derail the whole debate if he did not withdraw it. The Deputy Speaker of
Parliament Nomalanga Khumalo told Chikwinya to withdraw the statement and
the MDC-T MP did so, under protest.
In his presentation Chikwinya described how Mahoso contributed lengthy
articles to the state owned media. He even quoted ZANU PF spokesman Rugare
Gumbo who once said Mahoso was “carrying out voluntary work for ZANU PF in
Chikwenya went on to argue: “A member of the BAZ board, Susan Makore, is
managing director at Mighty Movies, owned by Supa Mandiwanzira, who was
issued with one of the licences under AB Communications and that is already
a conflict of interest.”
He went on to say that other BAZ board members included retired soldier
Colonel Reuben Mqwayi, Charity Moyo who was a ZANU PF youth while at
university, and Vimbai Chivauram who presents ZBC programmes that are
clearly in support of ZANU PF.
MDC-T Zaka Central MP Harrison Mudzuri supported Chikwinya’s motion and
called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate how BAZ was
constituted. He argued that the whole charade exposed institutionalised
corruption by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster
“One is forced to conclude the issuance of licences was a political gimmick
meant to cheat SADC and the AU into believing that now the government was
fulfilling provisions of the GPA to open up airwaves. The two (radio
stations) would be handy propaganda tools during elections and it would be
impossible to hold free and fair elections,” said Mudzuri.
On Wednesday there was no debate on Chikwinya’s motion as MP’s were dealing
with another motion raised by the MDC-T, which was for the Clerk of
Parliament Austin Zvoma to be removed for incompetence. Tempers flared with
ZANU PF MP Savior Kasukuwere said to have become emotional in defending
Zvoma. The motion on BAZ will now be further debated on Thursday.
Meanwhile Supa Mandiwanzira, whose company was given a radio licence, was
seen by journalists at the ZANU PF conference in Bulawayo wearing a tag that
said ‘delegate’. It’s being speculated that ZANU PF want him to stand as one
of their parliamentary candidates in Nyanga South.
According to the state owned Manica Post newspaper, ZANU PF Secretary for
Administration Didymus Mutasa also presented Mandiwanzira to the Nyanga
South electorate at a constituency coordination meeting held at Sedze
Business Centre in October. Another reason critics say, that explains why he
was given a radio licence.
By Chengetai Zvauya, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:20
HARARE - MDC legislators yesterday in Parliament called for the withdrawal
of commercial radio licences from Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and AB
Communications in arguing that they are Zanu PF mouth pieces.
The motion was moved by MDC MP for Mbizo Settlement Chikwinya. The motion
won immediate backing from Zaka East constituency MDC MP Harrison Mudzuri.
They argued that the licensing of the two Zanu PF sympathisers by the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) was irregular.
“The history of this country has shown that since 1980 there is only one
political party getting the licenses and there will be a lot of biased
reporting and we don’t have the confidence in the Baz board as most of them
are known to be Zanu PF supporters and sympathisers,’’ said Chikwinya.
“I have no confidence in the chairman of Baz, Dr Tafataona Mahoso who does
some consultative work for Zanu PF and some board members who have military
background and also the two companies that were given licenses have strong
linkages with Zanu PF. There will be no difference between them and Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation,’’ said Chikwinya.
Chikwinya also called for the dissolution of the Baz board saying it was
staffed with Zanu PF supporters.
Chikwinya said Zanu PF had allowed the issuance of the licences to the two
media houses as a ploy to hoodwink Sadc leaders that there is pluralism and
media divergence in the country.
The Global Political Agreement Article XIX (19) signed between MDC and Zanu
PF in 2009, seeks to ensure the immediate processing of all applications in
terms of the Broadcasting Services Act to achieve freedom of expression in a
The GPA also demanded the opening of the airwaves and the operation of as
many media houses as possible in the country.
Zanu PF MPs led by Paul Mazikana of Mbire Constituency opposed the motion
saying that the two companies are owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.
He said they were better than foreigners who were churning out Western
propaganda in the country especially during election time which risks
causing genocide in the country.
By Alex Bell
14 December 2011
A noted activist who has championed the rights of villagers in the diamond
rich Chiadzwa area, has said that new houses are not enough for the hundreds
of families who have been forced to leave the area since 2009.
Farai Maguwu, who heads the Mutare based Centre for Research and Development
(CRD), also told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that there are other issues
that need to be prioritised.
More than 500 families have been displaced to make way for the mining
activities of four different companies, which are joint venture partnerships
with the State owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). These
companies are Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources and the recently
licensed Diamond Mining Corporation.
The Chiadzwa villagers have all been relocated to Arda Transau Estate, where
the mining companies have been building houses and clearing land for
farming. This exercise has taken about two years, and for months many
villagers were living in dire conditions.
Many families are now starting to move into their newly constructed homes,
which are said to have cost more than US$50,000 to build. About 400 families
were this week allocated half acre pieces of land to cultivate at their new
homesteads which include three bedroom houses.
But the CRD’s Maguwu said that new houses “have never been an issue,”
explaining there are other issues that are being overlooked.
“People have been crying out for compensation for their actual homes, they
don’t necessarily want new houses. What they want is food security, access
to education, a livelihood. These displacements have taken these critical
things away from them,” Maguwu explained.
He also explained that the emotional cost of the displacements is very
serious, with people being forced to leave homesteads that have been in
their families for generations.
“This is a very serious issue. There is a cultural attachment to their
homes, people have loved ones buried there and they had traditional roots.
Some people now don’t even have the same traditional leaders that they once
did,” Maguwu explained.
He added: “This is a complete uprooting that cannot just be replaced with
Harare, December 14, 2011 – Embattled Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma has
filed an urgent application with the High Court in desperate attempts to
halt a motion in the house by legislators from the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) T seeking his dismissal.
Zvoma, who is accused of showing bias towards Zanu (PF) in his execution of
parliamentary business as the chief executive of the bicameral parliament,
wants the High Court to stop the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo from
entertaining the motion proposed by MDC-T legislator Brian Tshuma.
In his application Zvoma, who has served as Clerk of Parliament since 1989,
said Tshuma and Shepherd Mushonga, the other MDC-T legislator who supported
the proposed motion, lacked locus standi to put forward the “purported”
notice from the floor, arguing that the two, third and fourth respondent in
the matter, neither employ nor have supervisory powers of him.
The MDC accuses Zvoma, among other things for allegedly failing to properly
conduct elections for the post of Speaker of the House of Assembly in August
2008 and unprocedurally deferring the sitting of Parliament on March 27 this
year, following the nullification of Lovemore Moyo’s election by the Supreme
Court a week earlier.
He is also accused of ignoring advice given by Attorney-General Johannes
Tomana's advice to the effect that Moyo was supposed to revert to being the
MDC-T Matobo North legislator following the Supreme Court decision.
“Third and Fourth Respondent do not have the right to hire and fire. The
rights of members are collective, through parliament,” reads part of Zvoma’s
He said as a matter of fact he was appointed to the post by the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) in 1989.
Zvoma charged that Speaker Moyo would be the wrong person to preside over
the matter if it was ever to be brought to the house where the MDC-T enjoys
First (Moyo), second (Nomalanga Khumalo) and third (Tshuma) respondents are
all members of MDC-T party. At present MDC-T holds the highest number of
seats in the House of assembly 98, Zanu (PF) holds 97, MDC-M holds 7. First
second and third respondents are all members of MDC-T and there is a real
likelihood that the party will vote on party lines since it was moved and
seconded by their members. A decision reached on political grounds would not
equate to an independent and impartial tribunal and would conflict with the
constitution,” said Zvoma.
However, Khumalo, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, stated last week that
she was a member of the Arthur Mutambara faction where she has been elevated
to the post of Vice President of the party.
“By law, any process for my dismissal shall be exercised by the body
supervising me, that being the CSRO chaired by the Speaker of the House of
Assembly. Given his (Moyo) conflict of interest the rules provide that this
body will be chaired by the Fifth Respondent (Edna Madzongwe) in this
matter,” said Zvoma.
Madzongwe is a known Zanu (PF) top official who went into parliament
courtesy of the party’s ticket.
Chinhoyi, December 14, 2011 - President Robert Mugabe is said to have
recently moved in to block another attempt by Zanu (PF) national commissar,
Webster Shamu, to smuggle his wife into the Central Committee as division
continue to rock the party in Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland West.
Party insiders told Radio VOP here that President Mugabe was concerned about
divisions in his home province which has failed to hold elections to elect a
"It was embrassing for national Commissar Shamu when he was asked about
allegations that there were individuals trying to impose their women in
party positions,’’ said a close provincial coordinating committee member.
Webster Shamu’s wife, Constance, has been vying for the Mashonaland West
provincial women league chairperson position in elections that have been
Shamu could not be reached for comment as his mobile was unreachable.
President Mugabe bemoaned the practice of imposing candidates at the just
ended party conference held in Bulawayo.
Party sources also said President Mugabe was not happy with the way
businessman Philip Chiyangwa, believed to be his nephew, was ‘’readmitted’’
into the party.
Mugabe blocked Chiyangwa into contesting the chairmanship post of the
Mashonaland West is divided with a faction led by Local Government minister
Ignatious Chombo blocking the re-election of chairman John Mafa as he is
linked to Emmerson Mngagwa faction that has support of national chairman,
Simon Khaya-Moyo and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa. Khaya
Moyo and Mutasa are believed to be positioning themselves as vice presidents
in the post Mugabe era.
Mutasa has since denied the allegations saying he is a national leader.
There was no immediate comments from Chombo and Khaya-Moyo at the time of
By Taurai Mangudhla, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:14
HARARE - Close to 150 families at Bromley Farm were yesterday left homeless
after they were forcibly evicted by the new landowner, who apparently
acquired the property from its former white owners.
The families were left in the open with their children and belongings at a
time the rainy season is around the corner.
Evicted workers described this as a reversal of the country’s controversial
fast track land reform programme of 2000, which saw many white farmers
losing their land to blacks and the ongoing indigenisation programme which
seeks to give black locals a majority stake in all businesses.
Scores of dejected farm workers gathered around the farm, 46 kilometres from
Harare along the Harare-Mutare road together with their belongings after
being displaced by heavily armed police officers during the forceful
The uniformed forces were working together with other “hired bouncers” to
raze the farm compound to the ground in a typical operation Murambatsvina
restore order fashion.
Laston Dinala, an elderly farm worker in his late 60’s, said he was left
with nowhere to take his wife and three grand children.
“My belongings are now along the railway line and I have nowhere to go. I
have worked on this farm since I came into the country from Malawi in 1963
and I wonder if this is what President (Robert) Mugabe wants,” said a gloomy
“We have not been paid our salaries and gratuity so we can’t go anywhere,”
Joseph Chihuri, a Zanu PF Goromonzi South official, said the move was at
tangent with what his party leader Mugabe preached at the just-ended Zanu PF
“It pains us to see people who have lived here for so long being evicted.
They have put their effort to build these houses and now they have to leave
their parents graves behind with nothing,” he said.
“We are in fact losing votes and this will also bring back cholera because
there is no shelter and children will get sick,” Chihuri added.
Another Zanu PF Mashonaland East official Joice Chirodza said the evictions
were a serious let down to the party’s revolutionary struggle.
“This is clear selling out and it is suspicious that the policemen were
hiding when they saw journalists. Why should they run away if they are under
(police commissioner general Augustine) Chihuri’s directive,” she said,
adding that the displacement would destroy the whole ward.
Bromley Farm is a tobacco processing concern and now owned by a black farmer
who is believed to be out of the country studying.
His twin brother has been masquerading as the new land owner and evicting
Minutes from a July 26, 2006, meeting between farm workers and Lombard’s
family reveal that the farm owner had guaranteed his employees shelter on
his property until they were paid full terminal benefits and relocation
The twin brother escaped from raging farm workers in his car when the Daily
News crew arrived.
Lombard — who now resides at an old people’s home in Marondera could not be
reached for comment at the time of going to print.
By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:09
HARARE - Six Chinese nationals were on Monday deported after failing to
produce valid residence and work permits.
The six, Jian Xinku, 38, Xing Wutun, 48, Lou Benwu, 35, Qingyuan Fu, 54,
Yaofang Yu, 47 and Jin Zhang, 23 were all arrested by immigration officials
on December 5 and brought before Harare magistrate Elijah Makomo on Monday.
Magistrate Makomo warned, cautioned and discharged them.
The six were being charged with contravening Section 29 (1) (a) as read with
Section 29 (2a) of the Immigration Act Chapter 4:02, after they failed to
produce valid permits to remain in the country.
They were also facing another charge of contravening Section 36 (1) (h) as
read with section 36 (1) (j) of the Immigration Act Chapter 4:02, after they
engaged in employment at Ming Chang Sino Africa Mine in Shamva without
Prosecutor Joyce Sithole told the court that the first accused Xinku arrived
at the Harare International Airport on April 27 this year.
He was declared a business visitor before being granted 30 days to stay in
The court heard that he did not renew his permit after its expiry. He
secured employment at Ming Chang Sino Africa, where he was working as a
Computer Control Engineer.
The court was told that the other Chinese nationals came one after the other
in the ensuing months.
They were all granted a month’s permit stay in the country on business
tickets, which they did not renew after expiry.
They all found employment at the same company where they were rounded up by
The state was cited as the complainant in the case and was represented by
Godfrey Kondo, an immigration official.
Augustine Mutsuva, the key state witness in a case in which MDC-T Mkoba MP,
Amos Chibaya, is accused of defeating the course of justice, has disowned a
by Brenna Matendere Munyati
Mutsuva said police forced it on him. Early this year, Chibaya spent a week
in filthy police cells at Mtapa station after he had been arrested in
connection with the case. He was accused of assaulting a senior army
officer, Lovemore Hungwe, and then trying to defeat the course of justice by
influencing Mutsuva to misrepresent facts on the matter. Hungwe has denied
ever being assaulted by Chibaya.
Giving evidence before Gweru Magistrate Meo Rubwe, Mutsuva said the police
had threatened to incarcerate him if he did not implicate Chibaya in the
“Police told me that they would detain me if I did not say that Chibaya
committed the crime. I had already spent three days in the cells and I was
assured that implicating him was the only way I could be free,” said
Asked by prosecutor Bornwell Balamanje whether he did not get the
opportunity to see the statement he was disowning before signing it, Mustuva
said: “I only agreed to all the police wanted me to do because I needed my
freedom from incarceration.”
In an interview, Chibaya’s lawyer, Reginald Chidawanyika told The Zimbabwean
that the state had failed to prove its case and the sensible way to move
forward was to apply for the legislator’s discharge.
By Alex Bell
14 December 2011
Three South African women have been honoured for helping foreigners in their
communities, including Zimbabweans affected by xenophobia.
Soweto born Florence Mashu, Alexandra Township’s Randzani Babadzali and
Thandi Sangweni from the Soweto Concerned Residents group, were all awarded
last week, during an event organised by the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF).
Mashu is known for helping Zimbabweans for a number of years, including
spearheading feeding campaigns to help those displaced by the xenophobic
violence which rocked South Africa in 2008.
The violence saw thousands of foreigners flee communities across South
Africa where angry locals turned violent. More than 60 people died.
The South African women were honoured during a two day symposium hosted by
the ZEF, which focused on encouraging social cohesion in South Africa. The
event, held on the last two days of the international 16 Days of Activism
against gender violence, focused on how women can encourage tolerance in
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, has blasted
countries that enact laws meant to suppress migrants.
by Mxolisi Ncube
With an estimated three million of its people exiled in South Africa alone,
Zimbabwe is one of the world’s highest refugee-producing countries. Most of
the exiles are being suppressed and harassed in their host countries.
The UNHCR Chief said “dramatic” events had forced hundreds of thousands of
people to seek refuge across borders in 2011, when more than 750 000 people
became refugees, following upheaval and conflict in Africa and the Middle
“Global forced displacement figures already stood at a 15-year high at the
end of 2010, with 43.7 million people uprooted by conflict and persecution
worldwide,” he said. “Recent events indicate that this number is likely to
rise again by the end of the year. These events have amply demonstrated why
it is so important to do what we have gathered here to do: to reengage with
and recommit to the core values underpinning the entire system of
international protection – tolerance, solidarity and respect for human
rights and human dignity.”
He accused some populist politicians and irresponsible elements of the media
of exploiting feelings of fear and insecurity to scapegoat foreigners,
trying to force the adoption of restrictive policies and actively spreading
racist and xenophobic sentiments.
“Having been in government myself for many years, I know that no state can
disregard the security of its citizens, their social and economic well-being
and the cohesion of society,” he said. “States also have the right to define
their own immigration policies; provided they do so in respect for human
dignity and basic rights. But all this can be done, and needs to be done, in
ways that ensure protection is granted to those who need it. This means
guaranteeing their access to territory, fair treatment of their asylum
claims and adequate integration policies that contributes to social
He said that despite the 1951 Convention, implementation challenges
remained. Many refugees still do not enjoy the minimum standards it sets
out, as many systems are marred by poor quality decision-making,
disproportionately low recognition rates or a lack of access to legal
“In many situations, refugees do also not have freedom of movement, access
to social care or permission to work. The burden of hosting large refugee
populations is borne predominantly by developing countries. They have
granted asylum to 80 per cent of the world’s refugees, and more than one
third of the 20 top refugee-hosting states are Least Developed Countries. As
many of these states struggle to provide even basic services to their own
populations, the generosity they show towards hundreds of thousands of
refugees from neighbouring countries demands an effort that is
disproportionate to the resources at their disposal.”
Morgan Tsvangirai is a man of great charisma. He came to the scene with a
lot of political vim, vigor and vitality and there is no doubt that he is
loved by many inside and outside Zimbabwe.
by Chief Sub-Editor UK
The young and the old smiled - Bob had met his match in this man. I remember
attending Tsvangirai’s star rally in 2000. It was all jubilations,
ululations and cheers from the young and the old. One old man captured my
attention. Despite his age, he was clad in an MDC bandana with the open hand
symbol and was dancing with all his strength. He was struggling to keep up
with the rigorous slogans and gestures, but one thing was clear - hope had
come to all!
Since independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe has never been fully tested. We
saw many who tried to play him fall by the wayside. The casualties were
many. The late father of Zimbabwe, God bless this great leader, was
outwitted by the cunning cock. The late Ndabaningi Sithole went right to the
grave a frustrated man.
The late Edgar Tekere had raised hope before betraying his own cause after a
short flame. Thank God he was instrumental in stopping the one party state.
We can mention many others: Abel Muzorewa, James Chikerema, Enock
Dumbutshena etc. All of these men were flattened by the sneaky Bob.
Hope for the weary
The emerging of Morgan brought a lot of hope to weary souls. Many had
resigned themselves to their fate and impatiently waited in the hope that
the invincible Bob would go the way of all men - to the grave.
Tsvangirai earned the love and respect of many in Zimbabwe on the altar of
great sacrifice when he led the food demonstrations in the 1990s. That on
its own was an act of great bravery. The man had a lot of guts. He literally
laid his head on the block for the people of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu (PF) had the machinery at their disposal to crush any dissent. His
bravery then, and in the years that followed after the formation of the MDC,
earned him a solid place at the centre of many hearts.
The year 2000 was to be the year to finish off Zanu (PF)’s dominancy in
parliament after the people had been energized by the triumph of the NO vote
in the 1999 referendum. Many that I know had to spend long nights waiting
for Tobaiwa Mudede
and his team to announce the results constituency by constituency. But,
whether the results were rigged or not, one cannot conclusively tell except
to say that there were numerous cases of results contestation court cases
that got nowhere, as many would have expected or predicted.
Robbed in parly
I remember voting for Trudy Stevenson who I didn’t even know. I remember a
friend saying to me, “tadzosera nyika kuvarungu apa”. All I wanted was
change. It didn’t fully come. But the reality of a credible opposition could
never be disputed because the MDC won 57 parliamentary seats against Zanu
(PF)’s 63. Many thought that the MDC had been robbed of a majority in
The people then waited for the 2002 presidential election. Predictably Zanu
(PF) sharpened its machinery and there was widespread violence resulting in
the death of many of the opposition supporters. In the urban areas where
Tsvangirai enjoyed the bulk of his support the Zanu (PF) chief strategist,
Jonathan Moyo, made sure that the voting centres were as few as possible.
We had to stand in the voting queue for two days to be able to cast our
precious vote. Many were discouraged and went away before voting. The
results were announced and Tsvangirai had failed to wrestle power from the
grip of Bob. Many thought that Tsvangirai had been robbed of a victory.
No go areas
The 2005 parliamentary elections were also marred by violence and
intimidation and some areas were declared “no go areas” by the Zanu (PF)
militia and war veterans. The people’s dreams were not realized. It was
again the same story of rigging and court contestations.
Then came the senate elections. That was after the MDC split and we know the
heartaches and fatigue that began to grip even the most enthusiastic
supporters of the movement. The hearts of the people had started to grow
cold. The 2008 harmonised elections rekindled a lot of hope. These were held
at a time of a severe economic meltdown. Zimbabweans were now scattered all
over in the diaspora.
A lot of preparations were made and the elections had a semblance of
credibility. We will all remember the transparency - for the first time
ever, the results were going to be pasted at each polling station. Election
observers had come in reasonable time to
observe the elections. In MDC the slogan changed to “Gwendo gwuno
hazvikone!”. We all think that the will of the people was denied. The
election results were withheld for an unprecedented period. The ballots were
counted and recounted. Finally we were told that Tsvangirai had garnered
1,195,562 and Bob 1,079,730 votes and so there was to be a run-off.
The run-off was characterized by great retribution. “Operation makavhotera
papi” was rolled into motion. Over 200 supporters of MDC were allegedly
murdered. The MDC was denied campaigning space. All this saw Morgan pulling
out and it was the same old “we were robbed” story.
Those who claim to be intellectual may argue that Tsvangirai lacks the
strategies to counter the Zanu (PF) shenanigans. They say he lacks the
killer punch. The MDC, and Tsvangirai, need to devise serious counter
strategies against violence and vote rigging and other tricks that have been
employed in the past. Just threatening to boycott elections or appealing for
the intervention of SADC or AU may not be enough. No one has ever won an
election by boycotting.
Recently we heard Welshman Ncube chiding the PM as the only ceremonial Prime
Minister in the whole world. We may argue that he went to bed with a
dishonest partner - all that is true. But, there is no excuse for failure.
That is the ultimate
message that the electorate will one day wake up to tell Tsvangirai. He may
have all his arguments, but the electorate who trusts him to take them to
the Promised Land will not be patient forever. Come 2012, Tsvangirai must
deliver or his multitude of supporters will lose confidence in his
Paralysed by fear
My own analysis seems to just zero on one thing - FEAR. There appears to be
mortal fear among the opposition leadership since Tsvangirai was arrested
and beaten by the police and his bruised face was brandished all over on the
internet. We also saw Chamisa’s face after a similar brutal attack. The
strategy that was employed by Zanu (PF) seems to have instilled fear in the
hearts of the current opposition leadership. From that time they began to
play it safe by avoiding confrontation. To me that
cowardice is a betrayal of the many MDC supporters who sacrificed their
lives and perished in various orgies of violence across the country.
Cowardice will only earn them a place in the political dust bins when they
fail to dislodge Zanu (PF) in the next election.
The MDC must fight fire with fire. Will Tsvangirai hit Bob on the jugular
this time? Let’s wait and see. We are impatient now and the recent blunders
on the gay issue have not helped at all.
December 14 2011 at 05:00am
The ANC’s backing for Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe’s elections next year is a
demonstration that former liberation parties that waged guerrilla wars do
not want to see other liberation movements losing power, but analysts do not
believe there will be an economic meltdown if President Robert Mugabe has
another term in office.
This is the view of political economist Steven Friedman, who said the ANC
did not feel comfortable with former guerrilla movements like the MPLA in
Angola, Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe, Frelimo in Mozambique and Swapo in Namibia
losing political ground, but Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said propping
up Mugabe to power for another term would be disastrous for workers.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe committed his party to support Zanu-PF
at its annual national conference in Bulawayo last week. He was reported as
saying the ANC and Zanu-PF belonged together, and Zanu-PF should regain its
lost ground with the ANC’s help.
Craven said Cosatu stuck by its existing position on Zimbabwe. “We do not
support Zanu-PF or Robert Mugabe.” While the ANC had historically supported
Zanu-PF “and clearly they have not changed their policy… we will have to
disagree with them on that, they have the right to adopt a different policy”.
This support was “unfortunate”, Craven said, given the policies at play in
Zimbabwe “particularly towards workers and farm workers… who have suffered
particularly under the Mugabe government”.
It would be unfortunate if the period of Zanu-PF rule was prolonged,
delaying the transition to “a genuinely democratic government”, Craven said.
Friedman said he suspected that the ANC wanted the Zanu-PF/Movement for
Democratic Change unity government to remain in place or better still, for
Zanu-PF to win outright.
Friedman said South Africa’s foreign policy was largely supportive of the
status quo: “There is a simple reason for this: the idea of a former
liberation movement losing an election to an opposition party is not
something with which the ANC is very comfortable.”
The consequence of propping up the Mugabe government actually meant that the
police and army generals were propped up.
But Friedman believed “there won’t be a meltdown” with a surge of
Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa. Even if this were to occur, they tended
to be the more entrepreneurial people who created work and opportunities in
Brait economist Colen Garrow said the end of Mugabe’s rule would unleash an
economic boom, with the construction industry, in particular, being boosted
with repairs to unmaintained infrastructure commencing.
Backing Mugabe was a classic case of liberation politics. “Isn’t that what
politics is about… it doesn’t make sense at times,” Garrow said.
Dennis Dykes, Nedbank’s chief economist, said Mantashe’s stance was “not
particularly a new position” on Zimbabwe, but he would have liked to see a
pledge in support of democracy “rather than a particular government”. -
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga recently announced his intention to quit political office when elections are next held. The MP for Buhera West spoke to SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma and explains his decision. Matinenga denies media reports that he is quitting because he is disillusioned with Zimbabwean politics. He says it was always his plan to serve only one term in office and go back to his law practice.
Interview broadcast 07 December 2011
Lance Guma: Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga recently announced his intention to quit political office when elections are next held. The MP for Buhera West joins us tonight on Question Time to answer listeners’ questions.
Minister Matinenga thank you for joining us.
Eric Matinenga: You’re welcome.
Guma: Now the most asked question from our listeners obviously is why you have made this decision to quit politics.
Matinenga: If I wanted to be coy I would retort and say ‘why should I not?’ but I do not want to be coy, I want to answer this question for the umpteenth time and the issue is all about my personal philosophy. It’s about what I believe in and it’s about what I believe politicians should do when they hold political office.
When I accepted to run for office for Buhera West I would rather at that stage had been doing something else. I was successful in my law practice and would have preferred at that stage to continue in my law practice but I accepted with humility the confidence which the people of Buhera West had shown inviting me to be member of parliament on their behalf.
I made an undertaking then to myself, to my family that we needed to set a target: what did I want to do in politics? Because I believed that I was offering my services elsewhere to the MDC-T and to the Zimbabweans in general, I thought that the best I could do is to offer myself for a single term or rather, let me do this – get that constituency out of the clutches of Zanu PF – that was the target.
Serve for a single term and thereafter, pass on the baton to somebody else. So that has been my personal philosophy – the very day I accepted that I should run. I’m not one who believes that everybody always has got as unfinished programme because I think it is a fallacy, it is a myth. I do not believe that people are indispensible, I think there is a huge pool of people out there who can represent this interest and I think the more we can accept that with humility the better for all of us, the better for Zimbabwe.
Guma: Now the general feeling from a lot of our listeners is that your general disillusionment seems to stem from the way the coalition government has administered the country and some are asking the question – would you have made the same decision had the MDC been the sole party in government?
Matinenga: Obviously I experienced some form of disillusionment when I got to be operating in government but that was not my reason. That position comes out when I was asked to comment about my experiences in government and obviously I made reference to the experiences I’ve had in cabinet and I made it very clear that things could have been better and that, it tended to be people resorting to their political trenches when important issues of state were discussed.
But that is not the story, that is not why I left and I noted that people wanted a story, they wanted to know that well Matinenga has been pushed, he has been forced – no, that’s really not the story. The story is that I made up my mind from the very beginning and before the story broke out, I’d actually been speaking to a lot of persons from Buhera West to find out who would be prepared to take over from me.
In all my meetings in my constituency, I always impressed upon them, all on the need for a succession policy and I know, I’m not beating my case but I think I was popular in the constituency, but I said – look, no matter how popular one person may be, no matter what you think that person was delivering, you can never ever say without him, then there is no representation because there are other persons who have got different nuances, who approach issues from a different perspective and you maybe surprised to find that whilst you thought that the incumbent was delivering, maybe the person who came next will deliver even more than the incumbent. So I tried to sell this position from the very beginning in my constituency.
Guma: On Facebook we have George Mike with a rather cynical question and comment – he says in announcing your intention to quit, you appear to be painting yourself as a saint. He then concludes his comment by saying – you are quitting because you are a weak character. What would you say to people who say this?
Matinenga: Look I’ve always said that people have got a right to make their own assessment but you know, I’m not going to force them to accept what I say, but what I’m telling you is the truth of the matter in that this is the position which I hold and which I hold dear.
Guma: As a respected lawyer, do you think there’s room for lawyers in Zimbabwean politics in general? You have admitted yourself there was a perception you were an aloof character so is there a division between those perceived as educated and those who have modest education?
Matinenga: No, no, no, there certainly is. You know again I think that assessment was made out of a misunderstanding of my position. Because I knew I was going to be in this political office for this limited time, I did not believe it was prudent for me to seek a position in the political structures of the party because I was going to be going anyway and people then perceived that as aloofness but I thought it was only fair that I do not do so because I was never prepared to stay in the structures as long as what it takes but as for the respect for lawyers in politics, obviously there is.
Guma: Okay let me take you to another subject – members of parliament from all three political parties this week were accused of holding back on approving the 2012 national budget to force the Finance Minister into buying them new cars and pay off salaries and allowances outstanding since 2008. Several listeners want your comment on this. Is this true?
Matinenga: Well the budget passed last night so it is now water under the bridge but yes, I’m aware that members of parliament have raised concerns about their outstanding allowances and I’ve made again my position very clear on this issue which is – members of parliament are owed that money and I said we should distinguish between liability and quandram and a member of parliament is due that sitting allowance the moment he starts sitting.
So that is the law, we cannot change it, but as to how much they get which is an issue of quandram dependent upon the president setting the quandram so it is not true when people say well they are not due this money. No legally they are entitled to that sitting allowance but it’s just a question that the requisite functionary did not set the amount which was due to each member.
Guma: Now the perception that it has created obviously because the MPs squabble all other things but they were united on the issue of money; we had the other separate issue of cars and people were calling it “luxury-gate”, MPs want posh cars – what’s the status of that because people were making the argument for a poor country, the type of cars MPs want…
Matinenga: Let me say this and I have made the point again, I’ve been telling MPs that look, they must look at these two issues separately because they are not the same. Right? The issue of debating the budget should not be mixed with the issue of social welfare issues of what we must get or what must we not get. In terms of the motor vehicle issue, I’m glad that those motor vehicles are not being delivered because as I said there is neither a moral nor legal basis for that.
And I’m glad that the Minister of Finance accepted this but it is different from the issue of the allowances which is a legal entitlement. And I said the MPs must be able to say we are going to look at the budget debate and address the substantive budgetary issues and not to mix that with their social welfare affairs. And I’m glad that, you know, it appears that yesterday he accepted it and the budget was debated and it passed.
Guma: From Mutare comes an email from Lazarus who says he’s not happy with the continuous adjournments by parliament this year. He’s calling into question the role and value of the institution. He says given the high running costs to cover salaries and allowances, he says many times we’ve just been told parliament sat for a few minutes and then adjourned. Any particular reason why this is the case?
Matinenga: Look I think it’s very difficult to respond to this general question because for an example, yesterday, I think we sat late into the night to deliver on this critical issue which was the budget. There are sometimes reasons why parliament is sitting or not sitting, for example – in the run-up to the budget presentation there were various impediments to the budget statement to be delivered.
I think initially it was supposed to be delivered, I think the president was out of the country or something and the budget could not be delivered and there was another excuse later but it’s not that members of parliament did not want to participate it’s just that some unavoidable occurrences came about and you know…
Guma: Talking about those unavoidable occurrences, Veritas who monitor legal and parliamentary issues have raised the issue of why Zanu PF traditionally have their conferences or congresses in December the busiest time of the year for parliament. MPs have had to be excused to attend this conference and we are told this has disrupted the completion of important business. Do you think this is an issue worth reviewing?
Matinenga: Look I think it’s, I don’t belong to Zanu PF, so I’m unable to say whether they should change or not change but I am told that the principals agreed that they should accommodate each other, or rather that the respective parties should accommodate each other and that if one of the parties have important domestic engagements then the other two parties will accommodate it. And in this case, the other two parties in parliament have accommodated Zanu PF’s function.
Guma: Kudakwashe in Harare wants to get an update on the progress made in making amendments to the Electoral Bill and the Human Rights Bill.
Matinenga: I’m afraid it’s, you know, there is not, there is nothing which is happening now. You’ll recall that the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs introduced these two Bills into parliament but when parliament prorogued the two lapsed and it is now up to the minister to refine the details.
And when I asked the minister whether he was going to do that this side of the year, the indication he gave to me was that he was waiting for the MDC-T to communicate a certain position to him regarding the certain amendments which have been suggested. So before that position is communicated, he is unable to tell me as to when these amendments or when these Bills are going to be resuscitated.
Guma: But obviously given the fact that you are not seeing eye to eye on some of these amendments in some of those provisions in those Bills, it does look like nothing will come out of it. How would you get over that impasse of, the impasse based on positions?
Matinenga: You know as has happened in Zimbabwe all the time, when it gets to this point, then the matter is firstly referred to the negotiators, then it is referred to the principals and there’s some feeling that that issue will be resolved sooner rather than later.
Guma: Now I know you are a devout Anglican. A brief comment on how you see the whole saga surrounding Bishop Norbet Kunonga, what’s the latest?
Matinenga: Again there is no positive movement, if one was looking for any good news for Christmas. The matter is still in the courts.
Guma: Why is it taking so long for the courts to deal because Kunonga was provisionally given custody of the properties pending a final determination? Now it’s years and years now since that final determination was made.
Matinenga: You know I really don’t understand why. I think the last time I was speaking to the lawyers concerned, apparently one record was still outstanding because when you appeal, the record on appeal must be prepared according to certain specifications.
There are quite a number of records which needed to be prepared for these numerous appeals to be heard because I gathered that the chief justice has said he wants all these appeals to be heard one after the other, but there has also been an application of a constitutional nature and I’m hoping that maybe early in the New Year, then these matters will be resolved but we worship nevertheless and I’m so humbled by the attitude of the people to pray and say look building do not count, we’ll carry on, we’ve managed to get people to offer us their premises and yah we soldier on.
Guma: My final question for you and three of our listeners have asked this question – having announced you’ll be stepping down, what’s next for you?
Matinenga: I am going to law practice, I am going back. You know when, that’s why I explained to you I always have a target, when I left my office at Advocacy Chambers I did not sell a single piece of my furniture, I did not sell a single piece of my library, so my furniture, my library are still intact. It’s just a question of making a formal application and opening up my office. So for those who believe that I’m behaving like a houlier than thou person that is the clearest indication of what my plans have been all about.
Guma: I suppose the great irony of course is that probably the bulk of your clients will be persecuted MDC activists and other human rights defenders?
Matinenga: Look this is why I said that people, I believe that I can offer service in a situation where I believe that I’m professionally competent and efficient and people tend to look at service as public political service.
I said even before I accepted to stand for Buhera West, I still chaired what was then called an MDC support group and people thought I was doing so in order to get into parliament, but no, when I was invited I nearly declined and invited other persons to do so.
I only then accepted to run because Zanu PF then doubled the rural constituencies and simply there was no longer time to identify someone to run in Buhera West but I’ll still be in a position to contribute in one way or the other in the political development of this country and I actually think that I’m better suited to do that in my legal contribution.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe, that’s the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga joining us on this edition of Question Time. Minister Matinenga thank you so much for your time.
Matinenga: No you are welcome.
To listen to the programme:
December 14th, 2011
The month of November 2011 has been little different to so many before in Zimbabwe’s recent history – violence remains unchecked despite an agreement reached at a meeting by the principals of the GPA to have their supporters restrain themselves. A number of senior Zanu-PF cadres openly indulge in hate speechwhile there are media reports of their supporters running riot riot in high density suburbs. There is news too that war veterans, militia and the army are continuing to terrorise people living in rural areas.
Members of “opposition” parties (i.e the MDC-T and MDC parties) continue to suffer legal harassment, whilst political and apolitical rallies, marches and demonstrations continue to be banned or blocked by police, even if pre-approved by the courts.
Freedom of speech remains restricted, or abused through the state media, whilst journalists and their media houses are still being hounded and harassed.
During the month of November 2011 a total of 60 media articles were recorded for ZIG Watch. The bulk of the violations reflected in these media articles (constituting breaches of the GPA) was made up of incidences of violence, intimidation, hate speech, threats, abductions and brutalityArticles highlighting legal harassment of perceived opposition politicians contributed a large number of breaches in November, while cases of denial of the right to freedom of speech, or abuse of freedom of speech Also featured prominently, along with stories highlighting violations of the GPSA hrough the subversion of legal processes.
Ten sample articles provided at the end of this report represent this month’s media coverage of events in relation to the GPA.
The full range of articles logged in November is available at http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch .
An article about angry commuter bus operators and touts in the Mbare suburb of Harare clashed with members of the notorious Zanu-PF Chipangano gang on Monday 31st October exposes a state of social tension in Zimbabwe. Trouble started after Chipangano members tried to set up their own bus terminus near the ZBC studios in Mbare, in order to extort ‘ranking’ fees from operators. However, angry commuter operators refused to be intimidated into paying more money. Street fighting broke out which the police failed to control, resulting in the army being called in.
The Chipangano gang is known to be strongly aligned to the Zanu Pf party, with one newspaper reporting earlier this year hat it was heavily armed with weapons supplied by the party, and that it was “masterminded” by prominent senior Zanu PF members and politicians, including Ignatius Chombo, Amos Midzi, politburo member Tendai Savanhu and retired soldier Boutros Magwaza (The Zimbabwean, 16 July 2011).
The MDC-T was forced to cancel its rally at Chibuku stadium in Chitungwiza on Sunday 6th November after violence, reportedly orchestrated, targeted, financed and planned by Zanu-PF, was sparked by Zanu-PF militia, led by the Chipangano gang, who attacked MDC-T rally organisers. Scores of Zanu-PF thugs were bussed in to the stadium armed with iron bars, machetes, and stones. Five MDC-T party vehicles and the public address system were destroyed or had parts stolen, along with money, flags and banners, in full view of the police who took no action. But on the Monday following police had the temerity to arrest two MDC-T youths, Julius Marambakutongwa and Kuda Muchemwa in Chitungwiza, alleging they were behind the disturbances. We note the involvement of Chipangano thugs for the third time in two weeks.
There was more political violence in the rural areas: villagers in Chimanimani district reported that ZNA colonel Charles Muresherwa is resuscitating torture bases last used by Zanu-PF during the run up to the bloody June 2008 presidential run-off. This activity is seen as preparing for elections tentatively planned for next year. Villagers this week (14-18 November) accused Muresherwa of setting up the semi-military bases at Mhakwe, Biriwiri, Nhedziwa and Shinja primary schools where Zanu-PF youths are being indoctrinated, alledgedly spending the whole night singing pro- Zanu-PF songs and denouncing MDC. Muresherwa is said to be working closely with Zanu-PF youths who terrorised villagers during the previous election.
On 20 November violence broke out when Zanu-PF attempted to extort donations from farmers at a meeting in Insiza North in Matabeleland South. The farmers, including members of varies political parties, declined to fund Zanu-PF’s national conference next month. Zanu-PF Insiza district official Aggripa Ndlukula and an assistant gate-crashed the Insiza/Shangani Farmers Association meeting and told farmers to donate towards the Zanu-PF conference, threatening that those who did not would lose their land.
A case highlighting legal harassment of perceived opposition politicians and supporters occurred at Chikore farm in Masvingo on 8th November. Thirty three war veterans (representing more than 60 families) were arrested by police for allegedly defying a court order to vacate the farm over a land dispute with Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Stan Mudenge, despite their having appealed against the court order. Mudenge is fighting to evict them from the farm. The war veterans have allegedly been unlawfully detained in custody in Masvingo. Their lawyer alleges that Mudenge is using his political clout to force the Judiciary to detain them. “They should not be arrested until the case is heard in the High court…,” their lawyer said
In another case, members of an international charity group Oxfam fell victim to legal harassment when they were briefly detained by police. Police, accompanied by Immigration officials, on Wednesday 9th detained 10 visiting international Oxfam officials who were attending an internal planning meeting in Harare. The 10 foreign participants were rounded up, their passports seized, and were then transported to Immigration offices. The officers claimed to be verifying the passports and the status of the Oxfam members’ participation at the meeting, as well as investigating if the foreign group had legally entered the country. They were released and their passports returned after lawyers pointed out it was not a public meeting, therefore not subject to security legislation restrictions.
More legal harassment constituting breaches of the GPA was evidenced in an an extraordinary case in which the High Court had postponed – for the fifth time in a row – (on 23rd November) the bail hearing of MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore, who is accused of murdering police officer Petros Mutedza in May. Justice Maria Zimba Dube said Madzore’s bail hearing will now proceed on November 30. The hearing was postponed to allow state prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba to analyse fresh submissions made by Madzore’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi. Mtisi had presented an affidavit from MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora to convince the court that Madzore was not a flight risk.
Media reports in November highlighted issues with freedom of speech with one article reporting that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is being accused of abusing its authority by awarding the country’s first independent radio broadcast licenses to Zanu-PF affiliated organisations. This partisanship implictly continues the denial of the right of freedom of speech, and access to impartial information, to the majority of Zimbabweans. BAZ chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, announced on 24th November that Zimbabwe Newspapers’ Talk Radio and Supa Mandiwanzira’s AB Communications had been chosen for the two FM frequencies, from 15 applications. Journalists at the press briefing said they had known for weeks that the result was a forgone conclusion.
Similarly, on November 26th the State-controlled press showed the extent of its influence through its attempts to vilify Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over his personal life. Locadia Tembo, Prime Minister’s supposed wife, is alleged to have slept outside his Harare home in Strathaven for 3 days, in an apparent attempt to force him into marrying her. Sources close to the Prime Minister are reported to have said he is battling a major sting operation coordinated by Zanu-PF. Tembo went at the weekend to meet Tsvangirai’s mother without the knowledge and consent of the PM. Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, pre-empted Tembo’s visit to Buhera by writing about it even before she made her trip. To make matters worse, Tembo was allegedly accompanied by journalists from the state owned media and posed for pictures outside and inside the house.
In an article dated November 22nd, MDC-T youths in Midlands South were barred from army recruitment by a Zanu-PF war veteran. The youths, who wanted to join the Zimbabwe National Army as junior soldiers, were removed from the process. One of the youths said the war veteran Maxwell Chitera walked around the queue where youths were waiting: “Chitera pointed at several youths and told us that no MDC members would be allowed to be become soldiers. He said they should first convert to Zanu-PF, if they were serious about pursuing their dreams of getting into ZNA,” said the youth.
Soldiers deployed in Mbare as residents counter Chipangano gang
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 02/11/2011
Soldiers were deployed in the Mbare suburb of Harare Monday after angry commuter bus operators and touts clashed with members of the notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang. Trouble started after Chipangano gang members tried to set up their own bus terminus near the ZBC studios in Mbare to extort ‘ranking’ fees from operators. But just like Hatcliffe on Sunday, when angry MDC-T supporters retaliated against a ZANU PF mob trying to disrupt their rally, a similar angry reaction saw commuter operators refuse to have money extorted from them. Street fighting broke out which the police failed to control, resulting in the army being called in.
MDC-T – ‘Disruption of Tsvangirai rally was well planned’
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 07/11/2011
The MDC-T party is publicly blaming Zanu-PF for the violence that rocked Chitungwiza on Sunday, forcing the party to cancel its rally at Chibuku stadium. The violence, reportedly orchestrated, targeted, financed and planned by Zanu-PF, was sparked when its militia, led by the Chipangano gang, attacked MDC-T rally organisers. Scores of Zanu-PF reinforcements were bussed in to Chibuku stadium armed with iron bars, machetes, and stones. Five party vehicles and the public address system were destroyed or had parts stolen, along with money, flags and banners, in full view of the police. But on Monday police arrested two MDC-T youths, Julius Marambakutongwa and Kuda Muchemwa, in Chitungwiza, alleging they were behind the disturbances.
Colonel revives torture bases
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 18/11/2011
A Zimbabwe National Army colonel, Charles Muresherwa, has allegedly been resuscitating torture bases here which were used by Zanu-PF during the run up to the bloody June 2008 presidential run-off. Villagers this week accused Muresherwa of setting up semi-military bases at Mhakwe, Biriwiri, Nhedziwa and Shinja primary schools where Zanu-PF youths are being indoctrinated. “Muresherwa is moving around the district in army uniform setting up Zanu-PF youth bases. One famous base is at Mhakwe primary school where youths spend the whole night singing pro- Zanu-PF songs and denouncing the MDC,” said a teacher. The villagers said the army colonel was working closely with Zanu-PF youths who terrorised villagers during the previous election.
Zanu-PF threatens farmers in Insiza North
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 23/11/2011
Farmers in Insiza North in Matabeleland South, including Zapu members and supporters, on Sunday 20 November, 2011 resisted attempts by Zanu-PF to extort donations from them to fund its national conference taking place in Bulawayo next month. Zanu-PF Insiza district official Aggripa Ndlukula, accompanied by an assistant only identified as Moyo, gate-crashed an Insiza/Shangani Farmers Association meeting and told farmers to donate towards the Zanu-PF conference, threatening that those who did not would lose the land. Vice Chairman of the association, Mr Nehemiah Nyathi told the two that “things have changed” and farmers would not allow politicians to hold them to ransom anymore. The intruders then said only those who were willing should donate.
War Vets Languish In Prison Over Land Dispute
Masvingo – 33 war veterans were yesterday arrested by police for allegedly defying a court order to vacate Chikore farm involving a land dispute with Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Stan Mudenge, despite having appealed against the court order. The war veterans represent more than 60 families. Mudenge is fighting to evict from the farm. The war veterans, represented by Martin Mureri of Matutu, Kwirira and Associates are allegedly unlawfully detained in custody at Masvingo remand prison by Magistrate Dorothy Mwanyisa. Mureri said the detention was unlawful and political as Mudenge is allegedly forcing the Judiciary to detain them. “They should not be arrested until the case is heard in the High court…,” he said.
Oxfam staff detained & harassed by Zim police
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 11/11/2011
Members of international charity group Oxfam were this week briefly detained by police and the local leadership interrogated. The police, accompanied by Immigration officials, on Wednesday detained 10 visiting international officials from Oxfam, who were attending an internal planning meeting in Harare. The 10 foreign participants were rounded up, their passports seized and then they were transported Immigration offices at Linquenda House. The officers claimed to be verifying the passports and the status of the Oxfam members’ participation at the meeting, as well as investigating if the foreign group had legally entered the country. They were eventually released and their passports returned, after ZLHR pointed out it was not a public meeting.
MDC activist bail hearing deferred for fifth time
Daily News (ZW): 24/11/2011
The High Court yesterday postponed for the fifth time in a row the bail hearing of MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore, who is accused of murdering police officer Inspector Petros Mutedza. Justice Maria Zimba Dube said Madzore’s bail hearing will now proceed on November 30. The hearing was postponed to allow state prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba to analyse fresh submissions made by Madzore’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi. Mtisi had presented an affidavit from MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora detailing rallies attended and addressed by Madzore in September – including video evidence – to convince the court that Madzore was not a flight risk.
Zanu-PF allies get first ‘independent’ radio licences
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 24/11/2011
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) stands accused of awarding the country’s first independent radio broadcast licenses to Zanu-PF affiliated organisations. Winning bidders are alleged to have been recruiting staff and buying equipment weeks before the results were announced. BAZ chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, announced on Thursday that Zimbabwe Newspapers’ Talk Radio and Supa Mandiwanzira’s AB Communications had been chosen for the two FM frequencies, from 15 applications. Journalists at the press briefing said they had known for weeks who had been selected. Mandiwanzira had been building studios at his offices in Eastlea and had also been recruiting management, while equipment was actually brought into the country, especially for Zimpapers, who will be operating from Herald House.
Tsvangirai’s ‘lover’ slept outside his house for 3 days
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 29/11/2011
Locadia Tembo, the woman at the centre of the marriage storm with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is alleged to have slept outside his Harare home in Strathaven for 3 days, in an apparent attempt to force him into marrying her. Sources close to the Prime Minister said he is battling a major sting operation coordinated by Mugabe’s regime.” Tembo went at the weekend to meet Tsvangirai’s mother, without the knowledge and consent of the PM. Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, pre-empted Tembo’s visit to Buhera by writing about it even before she made her trip. To make matters worse, Tembo was allegedly accompanied by journalists from the state owned media and posed for pictures outside and inside the house.
MDC-T youths barred from ZNA
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 22/11/2011
MDC-T youths here have been barred from army recruitment by a known Zanu-PF war veteran. The youths, who wanted to join the Zimbabwe National Army as junior soldiers, were removed from the process. One of the affected youths said the war veteran, Maxwell Chitera, walked around the queue where youths were waiting. “Chitera pointed at several youths and told us that no MDC members would be allowed to be become soldiers. He said they should first convert to Zanu-PF, if they were serious about pursuing their dreams of getting into ZNA,” said the youth. Another youth added: “We are indeed MDC-T supporters, but we never imagined it could cost us an opportunity of becoming civil servants.