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Zimbabwe to Start Registering New Voters Next Month

Irwin Chifera

HARARE — The government says it will embark on a massive voter registration
exercise next month as it starts preparations for a constitutional
referendum and elections sometime next year.

But officials said it will depend mainly on when the new draft constitution
is finalized.

The plan to register voters came out of a meeting organized by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and attended by Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commissioners to discuss preparations for
the forthcoming referendum and elections.

Minister Chinamasa told journalists after the meeting that they also
discussed how the government would pay for the two events.

Chinamasa said they agreed to commence a "voter registration blitz on
January 3, and also agreed that attempts will be made immediately to raise
$21 million."

The meeting resolved that Finance Minister Tendai Biti would be responsible
for raising funds.
Chinamasa’s deputy, Obert Gutu, said the prime minister assured them that
government would provide most of the funds required for both events.

Gutu said Mr. Tsvangirai and the other principals will meet next week to
discuss the issue after which Chinamasa and Biti would meet to discuss the
funding details.

"The money is going to come from government, this government is not as broke
as people might think, the right honourable minister did promise ZEC
(Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) and all of us present that the events are
going to be largely funded by government," said Gutu

Meanwhile, ZEC deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe said the organization has
slashed its referendum budget from $100 to $85 million.

Although President Robert Mugabe has insisted that elections must be held in
March next year, Chinamasa said the dates for both the referendum and the
election depend on the completion of the constitution-making process.

A committee tasked to resolve contentious issues has deadlocked but is set
to meet again Monday to try and break the impasse.

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ZEC forfeits delimitation, slashes poll budget

14/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE ZIMBABWE Electoral Commision (ZEC) says it has managed to reduce the
budget for next year’s general elections and the constitutional referendum
after scrapping the delimitation of constituencies which was expected to
cost millions of dollars.

The commission had proposed a total budget of $220 million for the two
plebiscites, factoring in the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

But authorities announced a reviewed figure of $192 million Friday after
government decided to cut costs and stick to existing constituencies.

Mathematically, that means the delimitation exercise would have gobbled
US$28 million.

The electoral panel held a meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric
Matinenga to answer questions concerning its readiness for both the
referendum and the general polls.

The referendum has been brought down to US$85 million from the initial $105
million, while the general election cost fell from US$115 to US$107.

“There is no delimitation this time around,” ZEC acting chair Joice Kazembe
told a news conference in Harare. “The 210 constituencies will remain like
what they are now. Even in wards, we will use what is there now.”

Also addressing journalists, Chinamasa revealed that government will begin
voter registration on January 3, adding the exercise will require an
immediate $21 million which he said will be provided by the Treasury.

Although government is known to be bankrupt, officials said it will folk out
three quarters of the total budget. But they did not specify where the
balance will come from.

It is understood that Cabinet is contemplating to approach the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which sponsored the
constitution-revision exercise.

In his 2013 national budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated the
electoral body $50 million – but it was only on paper. He admits he is yet
to look for the money.

Zimbabwe is currently pushing electoral and constitutional reforms ahead of
the balloting that President Robert Mugabe says should be held in March
without fail.

But interminable wrangling between his Zanu PF party and the two formations
of the MDC has delayed the referendum by almost two years.

While the MDC parties have endorsed the constitutional draft crafted by a
parliamentary panel, Zanu PF has rejected it demanding the deletion of a
number of provisions including the widely-supported devolution of power from
central government.

The party has also protested the slicing of presidential executive powers.

A panel tasked with finding common ground on the divisive issues is
currently deadlocked.

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Tsvangirai, Mugabe in cash scramble

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:45

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are
desperately in need of over $20 million to kick-start a voter registration
blitz ahead of a referendum and watershed election.

With the constitution-making process stalled because of disagreements
between Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s parties, the fragile unity government is
agreed that there is need to adequately fund the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) for the body to carry out a thorough job.

Zec is a constitutional body mandated with conducting elections and related
matters such as voter registration.

Tsvangirai yesterday met with Patrick Chinamasa, minister of Justice and
Legal Affairs and officials from Zec where all parties agreed that
principals should dig for cash to bankroll the election programme.

“The meeting was about making preparations for a referendum and an election
and how we can locally raise resources to fund the referendum and the
election,” Chinamasa said.

“We have agreed that we should commence a voter registration blitz from the
3rd of January. We have also agreed that attempts should be made to
immediately raise $21 million towards funding the initial steps or processes
towards the referendum.

“Some of the resources will have to be raised later but immediately Zec
wants $21 million which will be necessary to undertake the initial steps
towards a referendum,” Chinamasa said.

Before the meeting, Zec was demanding that Treasury sets aside a combined
$220 million for the harmonised elections and the referendum, but yesterday
Joice Kazembe, the commission’s acting chairperson revised the figure
downwards to $192 million.

“This was an urgent meeting towards preparation for the forthcoming
referendum and elections with respect to mobilising resources and the urgent
requirements of the commission,” said Kazembe.

Kazembe was optimistic that Zec, despite having been allocated a meagre $50
million in the 2013 national budget, would get additional funding to enable
the country to vote for a new constitution then go for fresh elections.

“We require $85 million for the referendum and $107 million for the
elections,” she said. “The figure has gone down because there are activities
we thought would happen which are no longer going to take place.”
While in past elections, constituency delimitation used to chew the election
fund, the often controversial exercise for the forthcoming polls has been

Apart from delimitation of constituencies, in the impending referendum,
citizens of the country will not be required to register with Zec in order
to vote but will use their national identity cards.

That has cut costs.

Other urgent requirements for Zec include purchasing indelible ink that
would be used in the voting process.

Obert Gutu, deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, who also attended
the meeting, said the indelible ink would cost at least $900 000 and then
take up to eight weeks for the manufacturer to deliver.

Gutu said Zimbabwe is not as broke as what many people believe and during
Monday’s principals meeting, funding for polls will be discussed.

“The premier has assured us that on Monday at the meeting of the principals
they are going to make sure the money is available.

The good news is that the money is going to be available. The money is going
to come from government,” said Gutu.

Despite the spirited efforts to mobilise funding for elections and a
referendum, there are no fixed dates yet in regard to when the two
plebiscites would take place.

Progress in the constitution-making process is currently stalled due to new
demands by Zanu PF to rewrite the draft.

A new constitution is regarded by Sadc guarantors of the coalition
government as a stepping stone towards holding free and fair elections, but
stakeholders say Zanu PF is delaying the process after demanding amendments
to the Parliament-authored draft.

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MDCs cross swords

Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:45

BULAWAYO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry minister Welshman
Ncube’s MDC have exchanged harsh words, blaming each other for the 2005
party split.

Economic adviser for the Tsvangirai-led MDC and Bulawayo South MP, Eddie
Cross blamed Ncube for the split, saying the party could still be united had
it not been for the latter’s “self centredness”.

Addressing a public meeting here organised by Bulawayo Agenda on Thursday,
Cross said it is no secret that Ncube personally caused the split of the

“Welshman Ncube was responsible for the split of united 2005. He was
personally responsible for that and everyone knows about it,” Cross said,
adding that no amount of denials by Ncube sympathisers will erase the “fact
that he caused the split of the united MDC”.

Tsvangirai and Ncube are former allies who founded the MDC in 1999 with the
former as president while Ncube was secretary general.

The vibrant party split in 2005 over strategy and the decision to
participate in Senate elections held then.

Ncube, together with the late Gibson Sibanda, formed their own breakaway MDC
outfit and invited Arthur Mutambara to lead their formation.

Joshua Mhambi, the Ncube -led MDC policy director, who was one of the
panellists, dismissed Cross’s statements as a lie.

“We know who was responsible for the split. Tsvangirai knows very well who
was responsible for the split and to say our president was responsible for
that is completely wrong,” Mhambi said.

Tsvangirai last year described the acrimonious split of the MDC in 2005 as
the “saddest part of his political life”. The premier, during the burial of
Sibanda, said the split could have been avoided.

In the run-up to the 2008 poll, the two parties attempted to close ranks and
back Tsvangirai as presidential candidate, but Ncube alleges the mainstream
MDC kept on shifting goal posts until the talks collapsed.

Tsvangirai and Ncube have also been trading barbs, with Tsvangirai alleging
Ncube was a “village politician” without national appeal.

The showdown has put a damper on prospects for the reunification of the two
parties to mount a strong challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu

Ncube has ruled out reunification with Tsvangirai.

“The things that divide us now make it impossible for us to work together,”
he said.

“I have absolutely nothing against the person of Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Our differences are about our political behaviours and the things we do as
politicians. I keep underlining, it is on record that our colleagues in the
other MDC often practice violence; it is on record that Morgan Tsvangirai
himself has reversed collectively made decisions and it is also on record
that the local government structures that they control have acted as
corruptly if not more corruptly than the
Zanu PF ones,” said Ncube.

The acrimony has worsened as officials in the smaller MDC have defected to
Tsvangirai’s party in recent months.

Two weeks ago Ncube’s MDC fired three MPs on allegations of aligning
themselves to the mainstream MDC.

In 2009 the party expelled Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni
(Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East) again for allegedly working
with the mainstream MDC. - Pindai Dube

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Political Tension Grips Zimbabwe Ahead of Crucial Polls

Blessing Zulu

Analysts and watchdog groups say the level of politically-motivated violence
and intimidation in Zimbabwe is on the rise as the country heads for a
constitutional referendum and a general election next year.

Detectives Thursday raided ZimRights offices in Harare and arrested an
employee, though have not yet filed charges.

Last Friday, police in Gweru in the Midlands Province briefly detained 29
members of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, but also released them
without charges.

A few weeks ago, police raided the offices of the Counseling Services Unit
and arrested three officials and members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
group were assaulted by police last month after demonstrating peacefully in

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wing of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) says they receive reports of assaults, displacements, arrests
and harassments by their supporters every day from all over the country.

In late November, the MDC reported that scores of their members were injured
after they were assaulted by armed soldiers at a rally in Zhombe, Midlands

Senior MDC officials have not been spared with Energy Minister and MDC
deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma appearing in a Bindura Magistrates Court this
week on allegations they insulted President Robert Mugabe.

The MDC party accuses Zanu PF of activating the same groups and methods used
during past elections to intimidate opposition officials and supporters.

These groups include soldiers, central intelligence organisation operatives,
the police, traditional chiefs and the youth militia.

In a report released Friday titled ‘Zimbabwe Transition Barometer’, Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition blamed the police and the military for siding with
Zanu PF and harassing President Mugabe’s opponents.

The report reads in part: “National security institutions continue to
function in a partisan manner with senior officials and some politicians
making statements that impact negatively on security towards, during and
after the election."

According to Crisis Coalition, “this tends to crowd out civilians and the
general citizenry from occupying their natural political space as security
sector interests in politics become over-projected.”

It adds that given the marked interest of the security sector officials in
politics and elections, there is “a high potential for increased state
sponsored violence and intimidation.”

The organization also warns that the credibility of the election itself is
threatened by threats of military involvement should eventual results not
fall in favour of Zanu PF.
Some senior army officers are on record as saying they will not allow Mr.
Tsvangirai to lead the country even if he wins the presidential election.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union also released a statement, saying it is
alarmed by the recent upsurge in arrests of civic society members.

ZimRights Director Okay Machisa told VOA Studio 7 that talk of elections
always brings violence in Zimbabwe.

The Washington-based Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Human Rights also
condemned what it calls “a massive crackdown on the NGO community”, warning
it may intensify as the country moves closer to elections in 2013.

The R.F.K Centre’s senior advocacy officer, Jeff Smith, went so far as to
say that international peace keepers might need to be deployed in Harare
before elections.

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Zambia, Zim set for UNWTO indaba

December 15, 2012


ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe are on course with preparations to co-host the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly next year.

Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi said resolutions
of the 94th UNWTO held in Mexico recently indicated that the two
neighbouring countries were on course to co-host the international

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo said the
Statutory Instrument issued recently to waive tax on imported tourism goods
and articles had improved the quality of service in the tourism industry in

The two ministers were speaking in Lusaka yesterday during a second joint
ministerial meeting ahead of the general assembly scheduled for August.

Mr Mzembi, who led a joint delegation during the 94th session of the UNWTO
executive council, resolved that the level of preparedness by the two
countries to co-host the general assembly was excellent.

“I am happy to report to you that the resolution of this meeting is that we
are on track, and there is a statement of confidence in both Zambia and
Zimbabwe’s level of preparedness,” he said.

He said the UNWTO executive council meeting scheduled for Serbia in May 2013
would be the last to be held outside the venue for the 2013 general

Mr Mzembi commended the Zambian Government for introducing a Statutory
Instrument that waives duty for the importation of capital goods and others
directly associated with the tourism industry.

Ms Masebo, on the other hand, said the Statutory Instrument was aimed at
improving service delivery in the tourism industry.

The Zambian Government, she said, would ensure maximum benefits accrue from
the industry such as the creation of employment and the generation of
foreign exchange.

Ms Masebo called for accelerated efforts in the two countries as the date of
the general assembly draws closer.

She said the second joint ministerial meeting in Lusaka was a measure of the
levels of preparedness to co-host next year’s general assembly.

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Madhuku mulls entering active politics


by Staff Reporter

National Consultative Assembly Chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, has said
sooner or later, he will leave civil society work to become a politician.

Addressing journalists at a training workshop organised by the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network in Kadoma on Thursday, Madhuku said.

“I have made enough sacrifices and it would be foolish for me not to
eventually become politically active.”

He said he had done enough preparations and ground work, through helping
form the NCA and MDC, to become a successful political player.

“My active participation in civil society activities and active role in the
formation of MDC were pointers that one day I would turn a politician.
Remember, I was once beaten and left for dead because of my involvement in
civil society programs which some people regarded as political. Such
suffering cannot just be endured for nothing,” said Madhuku.

He indicated that he would neither be involved in MDC or Zanu (PF) politics,
but did not specify which party he would join, or whether he would form his

“I will not be part of MDC-T as the party is not principled. The Tsvangirai
led party has displayed too many double standards. One will easily recall
that the most popular national demonstration initiated by Tsvangirai while
still with The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions

(ZCTU) was in protest against the deployment of Zimbabwe troops to the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Surprisingly, the troops have been redeployed again to the same country
while Tsvangirai is Prime Minister. This is one example of Tsvangirai’s
sickening hypocrisy,” said Madhuku.

Madhuku took the opportunity to dismiss rumours that he was eying the Mbare
constituency under MDC-T ticket.

“There is no grain of truth in rumours that I am eying the Mbare
constituency under the MDC-T ticket. I only regularly visit Mbare on church
business since my church is based there. Besides church activities, I have
no other interests in the area.”

Madhuku was part of the group that formed the NCA in the 1990s and has
remained active in his dream for a people-driven constitution.

In 2000, he was part of the movement that mobilised voters against a draft
constitution that many felt had been hijacked by Zanu (PF) and President
Robert Mugabe’s government.

His organisation has of late been experiencing financial problems after
donors pulled out, in a trend observers said indicated that his opposition
to the current constitution-making process had become irrelevant.

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Police burn war veterans’ homes

Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:45
MASVINGO - Heavily-armed police in Masvingo torched over 30 homesteads
belonging to war veterans who invaded black-owned farms on Thursday.

The war veterans said they invaded the farms because the new owners were
leasing land to white farmers who were chucked out during the chaotic 2000
land grabs.

The demolition of the homes has brought a fresh rift between war veterans
and Zanu PF, with war veterans angrily accusing the party of instructing
police to remove them from the farms.

Officials aligned to Zanu PF are against the invasions saying the action is
against the principles of the land reform programme.

War veterans under the banner of Masvingo East Growers Association (Mega) on
the other hand said they lost property worth thousands of dollars after the
police action to evict them.

“Armed police descended on our farms and razed our homes to the ground,”
said Mega chairperson, Rueben Chikono.

“They said this was a result of an instruction from the provincial lands
committee led by party big wigs. We are not happy with this and we will
fight back,” he said.

The move has brought fresh chaos and controversy to the land redistribution
exercise as fellow comrades are now fighting against each other on the

Chikono, who is a high ranking war veteran in the province, said they were
now staying in the open with their families after the police set ablaze
their homes at Makwari, Wind Crest, Manna Bill and Sundowns farms.

He described the officials who deployed the police as “sell outs” because
they were protecting white farmers returning to the farms.

“The land redistribution is clear that we take farms from the whites.

Unfortunately, our colleagues were bought and because of greed they have
brought back the whites. That’s why we moved into their farms because we
cannot let them sell out but the party is protecting them,” said Chikono.

Masvingo police spokesperson, Peter Zhanero could not be reached for comment
while provincial administrator Felix Chikovo declined to comment saying he
was on leave.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke declined to comment. -
Godfrey Mtimba

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Mutambara in USA to Launch Zimbabwe Diaspora Initiative

Violet Gonda

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is in the United State capital
Washington DC to launch the Zimbabwe diaspora home-front interface
initiative, a platform to exchange information and promote collaborative
investing among the Zimbabwean diaspora, the government and non-state actors
back home.

It is estimated that there are at least two million Zimbabweans in the
diaspora and many professionals, including engineers and doctors, have
formed groups since the formation of the coalition government in 2009 to
help rebuild the country’s economy and contribute to the nation’s economy
across political affiliations.

Chairman of the Diaspora Networking Group, Dr. Norbert Mugwagwa, told VOA
Studio 7 that the program that will be launched Saturday at the Zimbabwe
Embassy in Washington DC aims at developing a skills database of Zimbabweans
abroad that can be accessed by employers, investors, and others back in the

“This program is a follow up to a meeting which was here in Washington in
July with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara where he challenged Zimbabweans in
the diaspora to come together in the spirit of promoting convergence and
disseminating ideas which promote economic growth and development.”

Expatriate Zimbabweans in 2010 launched the Development Foundation of
Zimbabwe in South Africa, aimed at boosting the nation’s economy through
harmanozing and strengthening diaspora networks.

Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who
officially launched the initiative, challenged Zimbabweans in the diaspora
to help their country regain its place as a regional economic power.

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'Army backs Kasukuwere' - Ngwena

Staff Reporter 7 hours 52 minutes ago

DEFENCE minister Emmerson 'Ngwena' Mnangagwa yesterday said the army is
backing Zanu PF’s controversial empowerment programme being spearheaded by
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Addressing delegates at the signing ceremony of the terms of agreement for
an empowerment plan between platinum miner Mimosa Mining Company and
government, a tough-talking Mnangagwa pledged to support the policy which
compels foreign-owned companies to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals.
Mimosa is a joint venture between Australia Stock Exchange-listed Aquarius
Platinum and Impala Platinum of South Africa.
Mnangagwa’s remarks come barely a week after his Zanu PF party resolved to
step up the empowerment crusade ahead of watershed elections slated for next
“You may be wondering what the Minister of Defence is doing here,” he said.
“Firstly, I hail from Zvishavane and those who doubt Cde Kasukuwere now know
that the army is behind him.
“If there are any people who doubt that the time will come to review the
(indigenisation and empowerment) policy, the answer is no!
“The best thing is to join them if you can’t beat them.
“If an investor is not comfortable with our policy, we will assure them that
our platinum will not be rotten over the years.
“It will stay under the ground until we find the right technology . . .
“The purpose of an investor is to make profit, not loot . . . I say things
as they are because of my background.
“I try to be diplomatic, but it’s difficult.”
Under the agreed empowerment plan, Mimosa will relinquish 31% to the
National Indigenisation and Economic Fund, and 10% apiece to the Zvishavane
Community Share Ownership Scheme and an employee share ownership scheme.
Speaking at the same function, Kasukuwere tried to allay investor fears
although he warned that government would rein in on non-compliant firms.
“The process that we have started will not be chaotic,” he said.
“There is no reason to employ a strategy that is barbaric. The law is there
and it should be followed.
“However, it doesn’t mean that we will send roses to companies that do not
follow the law. We do not grow roses.”
The Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T, a partner in the country’s
shaky coalition government, criticises the modus operandi of the empowerment
programme, arguing that the policy will scare away investment.
There are indications that the military wants to play a prominent role in
Zanu PF’s election campaign.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga has
reportedly dangled $2 000 a month to war veterans to join Zanu PF’s
campaign. - NewsDay

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Tsvangirai says leadership not about degrees, but influence

14/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has issued a veiled rebuke of critics who
question his lack of solid academic credentials saying leadership is “not
about degrees” but rather, “influence.”

While he did not make an explicit personal allusion, Tsvangirai appeared to
talk not only in general but individual terms when he addressed a party
provincial meeting in Mutare on Friday.

“Leadership is about influence, it’s not about how many degrees you have,”
Tsvangirai told his supporters.

“It’s good to be educated, but be educated with a purpose... Once you elect
a leadership, you should have confidence in them. We waste our efforts
looking for the negatives.”

Equipped only with a moderate education, Tsvangirai has found himself being
subjected to derision by some of his political opponents especially in Zanu
PF who brand him a “tea boy” lacking basic schooling to lead the country.

Some senior officials in his own party have expressed similar sentiments,
albeit in hushed tones.

MDC leader Welshman Ncube, a professor, has also made Tsvangirai’s
educational achievement an issue on the campaign trail, telling supporters
that the former trade unionist - now Prime Minister - lacks the wisdom to
rescue the country from its enduring economic troubles.

Ncube was quoted as telling a rally in Redcliff last year: “Business has
collapsed, factories ruined and schools have all but collapsed, and these
require a leadership with vision and capacity, which only this party has,
not a tea boy.

“Tsvangirai cannot perform miracles and solve problems of our nation. That
era ended with Jesus who performed them a long time ago.”

The MDC-T leader has however, faced down his critics arguing that education
alone is not enough for effective leadership. President Robert Mugabe, he
argues, has several educational degrees but all he has achieved is to
destroy Zimbabwe’s economy.

Tsvangirai urged delegates at the Mutare meeting to shun party divisions and
unite as the country heads towards the next general election.

He urged his party councillors to shun corruption, telling them to change
the “narrative of political governance set by Zanu PF.”

Tsvangirai vowed a rigorous vetting process for council candidates.

“Some of the councillors have damaged the image of this party, and this time
we want to set qualifications for councilors who we will give performance
benchmarks,” he said. We have zero-tolerance to corruption. No, No, No, No
to corruption.”

Some MDC-T-controlled urban councils have been accused of corrupt
tendencies, and the party has responded by firing a number of councillors.

“Our differences [with Zanu PF] must be like sunrise and sunset. As MDC, we
want to create a modern, democratic and developmental state. Our governance
should give hope to the people,” Tsvangirai added.

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Zanu PF MP begs for British aid

By Ndakaziva Majaka, Staff Writer
Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:26
HARARE - Zanu PF MP Biata Nyamupinga gushed at British ambassador Deborah
Bronnert last week, begging the envoy for more aid.

At a time her party has identified Britain as one of its foremost enemies,
Nyamupinga appeared out of tune.

But then it is not the first time she has been caught in the crosshairs of
political allegiance versus daily and family needs.

Nyamupinga had the task of introducing Bronnert to guests at the
commemoration of 16 days against gender-based violence campaign and went on
to shower praises at the diplomat in ways that could have made hard core
Zanu PF officials shift in discomfort.

Bronnert is a woman with “Zimbabwe at heart” doing a great job in
channelling funds to the vulnerable and abused women in the country, she

“Please note that we have in our presence Britain’s first female ambassador
to Zimbabwe, handpicked by the queen to serve you.

“Her Excellency the ambassador has been studying the current affairs of
Zimbabwe since she was a teenager, and is passionate about the Zimbabwean
plight,” Nyamupinga said while introducing the envoy.

Nyamupinga’s appeal for foreign investment comes shortly after President
Robert Mugabe blasted Western countries for creating dependency in Africa
through foreign aid at the recently-ended Zanu PF annual conference.

“We have all the resources to cater for everyone so foreigners should not
think they can come to us and make us slaves, they can keep their funding,
Zimbabwe will never beg,” he said.

Bronnert promised Nyamupinga, who is also the chairperson for the
parliamentary women’s caucus, that her government would shift goal posts and
channel the majority of its aid towards gender main-streaming projects.

According to the ambassador, Britain channelled $140 million in donor funds
to Zimbabwe this year alone.
After the economic meltdown of the last decade, Zimbabwe has been relying on
donor funds to ward off mass starvation, disease outbreaks and prop the
education sector.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) report results
released this year, nearly one in five rural people in the country — an
estimated 1,6 million people — are likely to need food assistance during the
peak of the coming “hunger season ”.

The number of people in need is 60 percent higher than those who needed food
assistance during the last lean season.

The assessment, which estimates national food insecurity levels, is
conducted annually by the government in collaboration with UN agencies and
non-governmental organisations.

For Nyamupinga, a simple job to introduce the British envoy could provide
internal Zanu PF political rivals with fodder to attack her.

But she is no new to this. She is still smarting from being accused of
trashing Mugabe’s presidential inputs scheme as partisan. She denies the

Before that, she was playing dutiful sister to paper relations between Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and younger sister, Locardia Karimatsenga, one of
the premier’s string of scorned women.

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Anglicans set for cleansing ceremony

Saturday, 15 December 2012 12:45

HARARE - Anglicans from across the world are thronging into Zimbabwe for
tomorrow’s cleansing ceremony of church properties “defiled” by
ex-communicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga.

Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) archbishop Albert Chama is
expected to lead the ceremony.

For five years, Anglicans have been worshipping in the wilderness but a
Supreme Court ruling last month gave control of church properties back to
the CPCA and threw out Kunonga and his supporters who often used force to
cling to the properties.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, Anglicans from across the globe are
travelling to join their Zimbabwean colleagues to “clean” their churches,
schools and hospitals after five years of legal and physical battles with
Kunonga’s supporters, an official said.

Despite having returned to the churches, Anglican priests have refrained
from using the altars until after tomorrow’s ceremony. The church says
Kunonga turned the properties into brothels, canteens and classrooms.

Clifford Dzawo, secretary for the CPCA Harare diocese, said the ceremony
would be turned into a special thanksgiving service after the Supreme Court

“The archbishop is coming for the thanksgiving service. We are thanking God
for keeping us while we were in exile and other churches that gave us areas
to worship.

“We would also like to thank the media for covering us during trying times,”
said Dzawo.

Dzawo said Chama, who hails from Zambia, has confirmed he is coming along
with other Anglicans from across the globe.

“Tomorrow the archbishop will rededicate the Cathedral while on Monday,
senior clergymen will be dispatched to carry out cleansing ceremonies since
some of the churches were no longer being used for worshiping but for
wedding receptions while other churches were turned into bedrooms,” said

Judge president George Chiweshe on Monday put an end to the Anglican saga
when he ruled that
Kunonga could not appeal a judgment made by the Supreme Court.

The CPCA is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and includes 15
dioceses in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia.

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Sexual abuse of children on the rise

14/12/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE SEXUAL abuse of minors is on the increase with more than 2,400 having
been raped between January and October this year.

The appalling statistics were released by the Victim Friendly Unit on
Friday, which also reported a rise in domestic violence cases.

Of the 3, 421 child abuse cases reported during the period ending October,
2, 405 were raped.

Forty one percent of the abuses are said to have been carried out by
neighbours of the victims, while relatives accounted for 27 percent.

Speaking at a crime awareness event organized by the Zimbabwe Republic
Police, Victim Friendly Unit Assistant Commanding Officer Isabella Sergio
said most of the abused children were under the age of 18.

She urged parents not to put their children in danger by leaving them in the
custody of strangers or untrustworthy relatives and neighbours.

“Parents leave minors in the custody of male relatives or their neighbours
as they go about their activities,” Sergio said. “This exposes them to
sexual abuse.”

“As an organisation we are obviously worried by the fact that children
continue to bear the brunt of sexual offences.”

Teenage boys, she said, were among the abusers who took advantage of little

“What has become more worrisome now is that boys under the age of 18 years
have developed a habit of sexually abusing young girls below 12 years.

“These teenage boys take advantage of unaccompanied minors left in their
custody or waylay them in secluded footpaths, bushy areas and maize fields
as well as along the distances between schools and homesteads especially in
rural areas,” she said.

Sergio also reported that cases of domestic violence were surging. Last year
her organization recorded 8, 296 cases compared to the 9, 807 already
documented this year.

“Infidelity and misuse of family income are other major causes of domestic
violence,” she added.

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Sister Act: The Rhodes Scholar Edition
We spoke with Naseemah Mohamed, who in 2013 will follow in her sister's footsteps as an awardee.
Naseemah Mohamed (Courtesy Naseemah Mohamed)

(The Root) -- Two sisters from the same African nation winning Rhodes scholarships -- what are the odds? For the Mohamed family of Zimbabwe, the lightning of international recognition has struck twice in less than a decade. In 2004, Shazrene Mohamed, then a Harvard astrophysics student, won the prestigious honor. And on Tuesday, the Rhodes Fund, which administers the scholarships, announced that Shazrene's sister, Naseemah, had won a 2013 Rhodes Scholarship -- the only "sister act" in the 109-year history of what may be the most renowned international graduate scholarship program in the world.

Naseemah, who at 23 is eight years younger than Shazrene, said she felt "humbled and grateful" as a Rhodes recipient, and thankful to big sister (now an astrophysicist at the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa), with whom competition was apparently never an issue in childhood. "We were never rivals growing up, since we went to different primary schools," Naseemah toldThe Root on Friday via email from Zimbabwe. "However, before being sponsored to attend high school in the U.S., I attended my sister's ex-high school, where she was deputy head girl and a straight A-plus student, before attending Harvard University.

"Growing up, my sister was actually my role model. She knew she wanted to be an astronaut at the age of 12, and I distinctly remember her teaching me about the solar system when I was about 5 or 6. Shaz never, ever told me that I was too young to understand anything. She always explained everything to me (that was when I was willing to listen!)."

Born and raised in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Naseemah left that country in 2004 to attend Portsmouth Abbey High School, in Portsmouth, R.I. "Before attending Portsmouth High School, I was above average, but I was not focused enough to be at the top of my class," she said. On the strength of her skills at reading poetry, she was picked to enter a debate competition in Zimbabwe.

"To my surprise I was one of four students selected to represent Zimbabwe at the International Debate Exchange Program in the United States. By that time my sister Shazrene was studying at Harvard. When her Harvard host family heard about me representing my country, they thought I had potential, and they offered to sponsor me to attend Portsmouth Abbey School. They paid for everything, from my ticket to my school fees to my bedding. When I recognized the incredible opportunity I had gotten, I promised to do my very best, not only for myself, but for my family, and for my country."

For a 15-year-old girl from Zimbabwe, the Portsmouth experience was a major transition. "I had a huge sense of culture shock, especially since I was one of two African students in a wealthy preparatory boarding school," she said. "The way that I coped was by getting involved in almost every extracurricular activity offered by the school, so by the end of the day, I was too tired to feel homesick. I also coped at Portsmouth Abbey because of a few amazing teachers who supported me all through high school."

Her biography suggests she entered into an agreement with forces of nature to repeal the limits of a 24-hour day. After her graduation from Portsmouth, she attended Harvard, graduating this year cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies and African Studies. Naseemah now works for the Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE), an organization she co-founded earlier this year to broaden understanding of African cultural traditions. Her senior thesis was an arts literacy project that, according to her profile at the CACE website, "focuses on training teachers to use the arts as a teaching tool in order to break the colonial legacy of rote learning and corporal punishment that is still pervasive in the Zimbabwean educational system."

As a Harvard student, she was also the president of the African Students Association, co-directed the Pan African Drum and Dance Ensemble and made time for personal pursuits like ice skating and poetry recitals.

Naseemah said after the University of Oxford in England, where all Rhodes scholars study, her focus will be on improving education in her home country of 12.6 million people, a nation with a median age of under 19 years old.

"I would ideally like to work with an international education institution to get exposed to different education systems around the world, as well as the technical work that organizations such as UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] or the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] carry out. I would really like my work to focus on developing nations, including Zimbabwe and other African countries."

It's a desire borne of her own experience. "Having at one stage not been a high achiever, I empathize with students who haven't discovered their full potential," she said. "Winning the Rhodes for me is a testimony of the power of education opportunities in making the dreams one thought were never possible come true."

The scholarships were established in 1903 under terms of the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Naseemah is one of 15 black Rhodes scholars for 2013; fellow Zimbabwean Dalumuzi Mhlanga is also a 2013 Scholar. Some 7,000 Rhodes scholars have made their mark in various endeavors in public life, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

Michael E. Ross is a regular contributor to The Rootand the author of American Bandwidth, on the Obama campaign and presidency. He blogs on national affairs at Short Sharp Shock.

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Alone but together


by Obert Gutu

It will get worse before it gets better. Prophets of doom and gloom are
running amok; like people possessed. Opportunists, chancers as well as
political low lives are cleverly positioning themselves. Fencesitters are
busy gazing into the open space; not exactly sure which ship to jump onto.
These are very exciting times that we are going through in Zimbabwe.

The land of milk and honey beckons and some comrades’ appetite for plunder
is now greatly under attack from an increasingly discerning electorate who
would want the elections in 2013 to be issues-based as opposed to
personality-based. The time for sloganeering is most certainly over. The
people have clearly refused to be fed on an incessant diet of hate, malice
and propaganda. The game is on. We are absolutely alone; but we are

History has taught us the lesson of dialectical materialism; simply put it
means that the old collapses into the new and that nothing lasts forever.
Political parties that stubbornly refuse to mutate and move with the times
will inevitably collapse into the dustbin of history. In similar measure,
politicians who morbidly think that they are God’s gift to mankind will soon
find out that no one is indispensable. Change is inevitable and change is

At the elections to be held in June , 2013, the people of Zimbabwe will
refuse to be locked up in history. They will totally reject the politics of
thievery, kleptocracy, retribution and obscurantism. The people will bid
farewell to a system that has brought untold suffering into their lives. A
system that has perfected the art of patronage and consistently rewarded
mediocrity, insolence and downright incompetence.

In the corridors of power, alarm bells are ringing. They are ringing so
loudly they have become a constant irritant. Thirty two years of unbridled
political power and control has, unfortunately, made some of these comrades
impervious to the winds of change. While dynamic revolutionary parties such
as Chama Chama Pinduzi ( CCP) in Tanzania and the South West Africa People’s
Organisation ( SWAPO) in Namibia have constantly appreciated the need to
periodically renew and re-invigorate their leadership, a certain political
party in Zimbabwe, which party is as old as the writer, has not seen it fit
to bring in new and fresh blood to jump start and crank its fading engine.

Like an ostrich, this political party continues to bury its head in the sand
in the vain hope that the hand of time will come to a standstill and that
miraculously, the wheel can be re-invented. We all know this party. Its top
four leaders have a combined age of around 300 years! With due respect, this
is an old and extremely tired leadership. This is a retirement-bound
leadership which has, of course, seen better days. To expect them to be able
to take Zimbabwe to the next level will be as futile as expecting heavy
snowfall in the Sahara desert. It simply won’t happen. Finish and klaar.

The voters are discerning. You can no longer sell them a dummy. You can beat
the hell out of them, rape their wives, sisters and daughters, loot their
meagre possessions and even kill them but then one thing is certain. You
cannot take away their humanity. You cannot and will not strip them of their
convictions. On polling day, they will hit you back in a very harsh way. You
may bribe the traditional l leaders and buy them beer so that they are
always sloshed but the truth is you can never stop an idea whose time has

You may actually think that the people are alone but what you certainly do
not know is that the very same people are, in fact, together. They know what
they want. They know you for what you really are ; a sly, thuggish and
intolerant political class who are corrupt to the bare bones. They will not
be seduced by your smash and grab policy disguised as empowerment and
indigenisation. The people are not impressed when you routinely rob Peter in
order to pay Paul. You will not touch the people’s hearts by creating
thoroughly discredited and corrupt, so-called community share ownership
trusts whose directorship and shareholding is opaque and shadowy.

The people may be desperately poor but they are not stupid. They know what
they want. They know that thirty years of looting has brought extreme
poverty into their lives. One day, very soon, they will punish you heavily.
Zimbabwe is more than ripe for change. This is the time for women and men of
honour and integrity to rise up and save their nation from collapse. This is
the time to renounce the notoriously discredited smash and grab policy and
start to create wealth. You cannot continue to squabble over a small and
dwindling cake.

In fact, you should actually create new wealth and the best way to do so is
by giving the people JUICE. ( jobs, upliftment, investment, capital and
environment) Yes, it is possible to create one million new jobs by 2018. It
is also possible to bring macro-economic stability anchored by single digit
inflation. Indeed, it is very possible to attract foreign direct investment
( FDI) that is at least 30% of the gross domestic product ( GDP). More
importantly, it is feasible to establish a US$100 billion first world
economy by 2040.

To take Zimbabwe to the next level, we need an invigorated team of dedicated
and honest leaders who shun corruption and who are able to work their socks
off. We need a new vision to enable JUICE to be enjoyed by the people. Gone
should be the days when patronage rules the roost. If you are incompetent,
lazy and/or corrupt, you should be promptly shown the exit door. There
should be zero tolerance to corruption, across the political divide.

Let sloganeering become a lazy person’s past time. Zimbabwe is crying out
for workaholics and not schemers, opportunists and political scavengers who
see enemies where, in fact, there are no enemies. And we should never forget
to recover looted public assets. All ill-gotten wealth should be accounted
for in the new dispensation coming soon. Money that has been looted and
externalised, should be repatriated to enable Zimbabwe to start running
efficiently again. There should be no impunity for looting. Neither should
there be immunity for the perpetrators of gross human rights violations.
Lest I be misconstrued for advocating for an eye for eye approach; I am not
by any stretch of the imagination clamouring for retribution.

My argument is that no one should be seen to have benefited from their
deliberate and criminal acts of thievery. In similar vein, perpetrators of
heinous human rights offences should be dealt with in accordance with the
tenets of the law in order to bring closure to both the victims and the
perpetrators. Without bringing closure, there will be no lasting and
sustainable peace in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has to literally start from scratch. A battered economy such as
ours cannot be resuscitated by cowboy and thuggish economic policies as
exemplified by the doomed to fail so-called empowerment program. We have to
adopt a rational and pragmatic economic blueprint. Populist economic
blueprints that feed on lies, thievery, opaqueness and patronage should be
totally rejected.

Indeed, we should not smash and grab and call it indigenisation and
empowerment. Instead, we should give the people plenty of JUICE.

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is also the MDC Harare
provincial spokesperson & Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal
Affairs. He is the Africa Heritage Society Goodwill Ambassador for Justice
& Messenger of Peace.

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Zanu PF conference a complete failure

on December 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

By Jacob Nkiwane

As the country gears for harmonised elections planned for next year,
political parties are busy formulating winning strategies based on their
understanding of what the country expects.

The just ended ZANU PF annual conference held in Gweru was partly an annual
formality and a platform to come up with resolutions for the future. The
majority of resolutions passed were supposedly meant to ingratiate and
endear the party with the voting public.

As soon as the curtains came down inside the party’s newly built conference
hall, the party’s propaganda machine went straight to work, starting with
the publication of resolutions passed. Since ZANU PF is a party made up of
senior members of the community in terms of age, political experience and
positions in government, the country was waiting and expecting a clear guide
into the future.

In particular, the electorate was expecting to hear plans to eradicate
poverty, tackle health issues, reduce unemployment, improve and mend
relations with other countries and providing housing among others. Most
importantly, people wanted to know the leaders who will oversee
implementation of those policies and steer the country out of its current
economic decline.

A guile and crafty figure, President Mugabe had no opposition in his quest
to represent the party in the forthcoming elections and possibly see his
wish to die in office. He was confirmed as the party’s presidential
candidate, the first mistake coming out of the conference.

The party failed to present a credible alternative to Mugabe whose policies
have ruined the once-prosperous nation.

Zimbabweans know President Mugabe’s policies for the last 32 years. If he
failed to deliver a better country whilst he was still young, energetic and
in good health, it will take a miracle for him to do that now when he is
worried more about his health and old age than anything else.

To make matters worse, the resolutions passed offered very little hope to a
country overly expecting. As usual, it became a platform for the party
leader to attack his foes both domestic and foreign, within and outside the

Instead of focusing on what his government will do to develop the country,
President Mugabe dwelled on how the party must win at all costs, hopefully
incinerating other contenders such as Tsvangirai’s MDC into political
oblivion. The issue became that of winning the elections more than about
plans to develop the country.

The core element of ZANU PF’s campaign narrative lies in the empowerment
agenda crafted around the philosophy of indigenisation.

Although the concept sounds good to a gullible mind, ZANU PF has so far
implemented the policy with dissimulating ends, benefiting only a few. In
the final analysis, the party’s idea of empowerment has killed jobs and
discouraged foreign direct investment.

ZANU PF’s indigenisation and empowerment campaign is the only outstanding
policy thrust. The party had to pass a resolution applauding itself for
“intensifying the indigenisation and empowerment programmes”.

The fact that a party can pass a resolution to applaud itself is quite
laughable and telling of what people of Zimbabwe should expect if they were
to vote such leadership into power again. Whilst the country was burning
from a myriad of problems, the party leadership congregated to pass a
resolution to give themselves a pat on each other’s back.

How can an institution pass a resolution to ‘applaud’ itself?

Since Zimbabwe is a country struggling to attract foreign investment, access
the much needed lines of credit and mend its relations with other countries
particularly the west, one would expect the party to strike a conciliatory
tone and promote diplomatic avenues.

To the contrary, the party resolved to condemn the west particularly the US,
Britain and the EU. Such a resolution should worry Zimbabweans who want
their country to normalise relations with other countries and become part of
a responsible global community of nations.

And then came the misplaced identification of shortage of power as the
single biggest inhibiting factor to economic growth. The fact that ZANU PF
can blame electricity as the biggest problem and challenge to economic
growth is by itself a reflection of the lack of understanding of what is at

It is quite surprising given that all along the party has been telling
people that economic sanctions are to blame. Industries are failing to
recapitalise and increase production, not because of electricity shortages
but because of lack of finance. It appears the party simply doesn’t get

The other surprising move was an attempt to insulate the local government
minister from criticism. The responsible minister, Ignatius Chombo, is a
member of ZANU PF and the party failed to look at one of its own in the eye
and reprimand him. Whilst it is common knowledge that ministers’ competences
are measured by the performances of their respective portfolios, the party
blamed councillors for poor service delivery instead.

The minister has been in the urban councils portfolio for a long time,
presiding over the decline in service delivery in the process. The minister
has failed to come up with any strategic plans to revive urban councils.

Instead of becoming a team player helping mayors and councillors, he has
been acting like a referee flashing red cards to mayors and councillors at
every turn. In the end urban councils have been without clear guidance and
leadership. The conference failed to apportion blame at the top where it is
due but rather blamed junior councillors for political expedience.

Another very worrying resolution concerned an attempt to promote gold
panners commonly known as Makorokoza. The party is resorting to gold panning
as a way of creating employment regardless of the negative consequences to
health and the environment.

Condemning the youth to gold panning instead of creating better employment
opportunities must be embarrassing to the party leadership who are trying to
convince the electorate that ZANU PF is a party for the future. If there was
anyone wondering how ZANU Pf will create employment, there you have it
folks. Gold panning is ZANU PF’s answer.

Very little or no resolutions were passed which targeted areas of health and

In a country ravaged by HIV and AIDS and other health challenges, one would
expect serious attention to such issues by way of promoting research either
nationally or regionally. The electorate also expected a national
development plan by way of well proposed economic blue prints.

When one walks in the information neighbourhood of the other party the MDC
led by Tsvangirai, one comes across a well-defined developmental plan
addressing economic and employment issues among others. The JUICE document
is sure to see ZANU PF failing to match their opponents in terms of short,
medium and long term strategies for the country.

The party’s resolutions presented an opportunity for Zimbabweans to compare
and contrast policies of the two main political players namely MDC T and
ZANU PF. On one side there is a party which believes in seriously fighting
corruption through actions.

Tsvangirai’s MDC fired all councillors and mayors who were accused of
corruption. On the other side there is a party which speaks about corruption
without taking action as evidenced by President Mugabe’s rhetoric at the
conference which is not supported by any actions.

On one hand the country has a party that believes in mending relations and
making friendship with all nations, becoming a member of such bodies as the
Commonwealth, benefiting Zimbabwe citizens in sports, scholarships and
networking. On the other hand there is a party that believes and thrives on
isolation, pulling out of the same bodies such as the commonwealth and
attacking other countries at every opportunity.

Most importantly, Zimbabweans have a party that believes in creating gainful
employment for the youth through good industry and occupational jobs. That
belief is cast in the form of a well-defined economic blue print JUICE. On
the other side, there is ZANU PF which believes employment of the youth lies
in them picking up shovels and heading to river banks to do gold panning.

The differences between these two parties have never been this clearer. As
people head to the polls next year, they will chose from two parties with
fundamentally different visions for the country. For failing to come up with
concrete steps towards reviving the country’s ailing economy, ZANU PF
conference was a complete failure.

Jacob Nkiwane can be contacted on

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Why army is important to Zanu PF survival

on December 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

By Pedzisai Ruhanya

Zimbabwe’s treacherous political transition to a possible democratic
dispensation has so far shown that no institution matters the most to the
Zanu PF regime’s survival than the military and therefore the
democratisation process cannot succeed without a positive role played by the
security establishment.

This is not to blindly suggest the military’s role alone is sufficient to
make a successful transition to democracy in Zimbabwe because there are
social, economic and political factors and unforeseen events that can
influence how a democratic shift unravels.

However, the decisive involvement of the military in Zimbabwe’s political
and electoral affairs in the past elections in 2000, 2002 and 2008 makes
cogent the role of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and other security
institutions, including the police, intelligence services and prison
service, is critical in the process leading to democratic transition and
power transfer.

The recent annual Zanu PF conference in Gweru shows the party’s membership
has declined in Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces, while in regions like
Mashonaland Central province, the party is disorganised. This suggests that
without the support of the security apparatus it is not possible for Zanu PF
to retain power.

Given this apparent decline in Zanu PF support across the country, by its
own admission, it is imperative to closely and critically scrutinise, as
well as interrogate what determines the support of the military for
President Robert Mugabe’s regime and why the soldiers are propping up Zanu
PF’s political elite.

Like any other huge organisation, the military has institutional interests
to protect and advance.

In this regard, the military’s move to back Zanu PF in electoral and
political administration of the state or not, support for the democratic
contingent or decision to stay neutral and respect the will of the people
will depend on several issues that should be diagnosed, while putting proper
solutions in place ahead of crucial elections next year.

As has been witnessed in the Arab spring upheavals, a number of internal and
external factors shape and determine the military’s response to the
democratic aspirations of the population. Questions such as how legitimate
are the regimes in the eyes of the soldiers and top military commanders as
well as those of the general populace?

How does the military relate to the state and civil society?
Is there consensus within the rank and file of the military to support the
regime and do the military and the security services have blood on their
Answering these questions will give some ideas on why the military in
Zimbabwe side with Mugabe’s regime, not the people. In general, the stronger
a regime’s record of satisfying political and socio-economic demands, the
more likely the armed forces will prop up the system. This is a critical
aspect of the relationship between the top military brass with the political
elite in Zimbabwe.

Through an elaborate patronage system established to reward partisan senior
military commanders and keep them loyal to Zanu PF and Mugabe, the military
has increasingly played a central role in directing production and
controlling ownership of the means of production.

The military, through political patronage, has also become a significant
part of the domestic bourgeoisie and many top commanders have teamed up with
politicians and businesspeople to form political and economic interest
groups venturing into lucrative businesses such as farming, platinum,
diamond and gold mining as well as running a number state-owned enterprises.

A state that pays its senior army officers generously, as Zanu PF has done
through the involvement of the military in economic affairs, will be better
placed to receive their enthusiastic protection.

Top army commanders from 2000, when Zanu PF lost its grassroots support to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have been openly campaigning for
Mugabe and his party, in many instances abusing human rights in the process.

The soldiers have on several occasions pronounced they will not respect any
victory other than that of Mugabe, thereby pre-determining electoral
outcomes in flagrant violation of domestic and international conduct
expected of professional armies; besides breaching the constitution and the

There is clear cohesion between top army officers and regime elites based on
their economic interests which they protect by maintaining and promoting the
status quo.

The military has been accused of human rights violations as they prop up the
Zanu PF regime in past elections as was seen during the sham June 2008
presidential election run-off when the army was part of the election
campaign for Mugabe which ultimately became a political onslaught on civil
and political liberties of opponents.

An army that has a record of extensive human rights violations is more
likely to shamelessly stick with a norm-violating regime than support the
democratic contingent. These are the issues that should necessitate
behind-the-scenes negotiations with the military to persuade them to remain

A clear fear of possible prosecution in a new democratic dispensation will
make some military elements continue to abuse human rights in the next
elections in order to maintain the status quo that will guarantee them

Like in any situation where the military sides with a political
dictatorship, the key external variables are the threats of foreign
intervention, the impact of widespread democratic diffusion that can lead to
a revolution and the type and degree of education or training that military
officers may have received abroad.

If the army in Zimbabwe realises a real possibility there will be both
regional and international intervention in the event they blatantly subvert
the sovereign democratic will of the people either through a violent
electoral process or a blockade of a democratic transition, it will soften
its stance and abandon the political cabal clinging to power through
illegitimate methods.

As the country prepares for elections in 2013, partisan military generals’
decision to support continued violation of human rights and subversion of
the democratic process on behalf of their political handler, Zanu PF, will
be largely affected by their calculations on whether foreign powers might
intervene to back the democratic contingent or not.

It is therefore critical to continue advocacy work among Sadc and AU-member
states, showing empirical evidence of the interference of the military in
the electoral and political affairs of Zimbabwe ahead of elections next

Pedzisai Ruhanya is a PhD candidate and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy

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Robert Mugabe and me – how a despot has clung on to power
As the first Western film-maker to gain access to Zimbabwe’s long-time President, Roy Agyemang witnessed his charisma and the anti-colonial zeal that drives him
In 2007, live on British television, the Archbishop of York, Bishop John Sentamu, cut his collar up with scissors to protest against Robert Mugabe being in power. He said he would only replace his collar if Mugabe were removed.
Five years down the line Robert Mugabe is still the President of Zimbabwe. The 88-year-old leader, recently the subject of a number of health scares, has managed to survive against all odds. He has now been in power for 32 years.
From Britain, that survival may seem extraordinary. Mugabe's Western reputation as a thug is well-documented; evidence was provided, for example, during the elections in 2008 that he and Zanu-PF co-ordinated a campaign of violence against his political opponents. And his country has suffered through rampant inflation and shortages of basic food commodities.
I was in Zimbabwe between 2007 and 2010, when that economic catastrophe was at its height. I thought I was going to witness the ousting of Mugabe. But he just held on. And he is still there.
The question of how Mugabe has clung on to power is of vital importance to anyone trying to understand his country's past, or who hopes that it might have a better future. As the first Western film-maker to gain access to Robert Mugabe, I wanted to understand the answer. Together with my UK-based Zimbabwean fixer, I travelled to all corners of the country with Mugabe, trying to build his trust in the hope that he would give us an interview.
The fact that I stayed in the country and lived through the hardships like the rest of Zimbabweans seemed to help. We ended up travelling as part of his delegation on foreign trips, even catching a ride on Colonel Gaddafi's luxury private plane. And I witnessed first-hand how power can be addictive. It was easy to see why some leaders in Africa are reluctant to hand it over without a fight.
But I saw the more complex roots of that addiction, too. Whatever his misdeeds, Robert Mugabe's need for power has nothing to do with its superficial trappings. There is no doubt the former schoolteacher is a disciplinarian. But that is not the sole reason he has survived. Despite everything, a significant number of Zimbabweans support his pro-African policies: he is obsessed with making sure that black Africans take full control of their natural resources.
"Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans," I heard him say. "It cannot be for the British, it cannot be for the Americans, if you want to be friends with us, fine. You stand there and I stand here, we shake hands but remember, the gold in my country is mine."
Mugabe believes his people are fighting a war for economic independence in Africa, a war far greater than the one for political independence. "They are clever not to give us that aid," he said of the West, when he finally gave me that interview. "If they gave us aid to make us economically independent, then they would not have this lever, the leverage which they now have to control how we run our things."
That spectre of Western power looms large in his view of the world. And since his land redistribution policy began in 2000, Western governments have not supported the newly resettled black farmers, but have chosen instead to impose sanctions on the country. This has played into the hands of his supporters, who feel that Zimbabwe is being punished for Mugabe's policy of taking land from "white people".
Western hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed in Zimbabwe. At the time Mugabe received his knighthood in 1994 on the recommendation of then Prime Minister Sir John Major, there was no meaningful land reform taking place, and Mugabe was accused by some of his people of protecting the white farmers. Worse still, some years earlier in the 1980s, Mugabe authorised the North Korean-trained 5th Brigade to put down armed dissidents from a rival party who were threatening to destabilise the country. The operation was code-named Gukurahundi. Atrocities were committed. Mugabe later acknowledged that it was "a moment of madness".
Yet, as these atrocities were being committed, Western institutions were rewarding him with honorary doctorates. So now, he would argue, he has redressed a colonial imbalance: his former friends are now his enemies. That reversal may explain why, before I spent time with the man, I always had this perception of a dictator disconnected from his people. But Mugabe clearly has a special relationship with the grass roots. He would travel the length and breadth of the country delivering two-hour speeches, often twice a day.
Some village chiefs would openly criticise the lack of development in their area. Listening to stories of people going hungry should have affected the old man: his legacy was being eroded. But in typical Mugabe style, he was able to rally his support, blaming the suffering on the sanctions imposed by the West. "Your sanctions will in future demand reciprocation from us," he would cry. "When we reciprocate, we will hit your companies here."
That charisma is visible up close, too. Once you get through the security personnel and government ministers, what you see is a very smartly dressed, quite ordinary old man. He was witty, charming and always had the sharpest mind in the room. I was in many forums where he would sit with other African presidents, and he was always one step ahead of them.
I had a conversation with Mugabe which left a lasting legacy with me. He called by my surname – Agyemang – and he said to me: "I understand Ghana has found themselves a bit of oil." And I replied: "Yes, your Excellency. Ghana should be pumping oil for the next 150 years." To which he replied: "What are you, as a British-born Ghanaian, going to do to help develop or benefit from that resource?" I was silent.
Soon after that conversation I went to Ghana and purchased a bit of land, which one day I hope to develop, and from which Ghanaians and my children will benefit. But now I understand the feeling of empowerment.
It is strange to say that I owe this to Mugabe. And it is strange to say that so many of his compatriots feel something similar. But it is, perhaps, part of why he has held on for so long. And it is part of why he shows no sign of going away.

Mugabe: Villain or Hero? will be screened for the first time at BFI Southbank at 2pm today as part of the African Odysseys series

Robert Mugabe: Story of survival

1980 Robert Mugabe becomes prime minister after his ZANU-PF party wins independence elections

1982 Mugabe's troops are accused of killing thousands of civilians while defeating a guerrilla rebellion

1987 Mugabe makes himself executive president with new powers

1990 ZANU-PF and Mugabe win parliamentary and presidential elections

1998 High inflation leads to riots and a swell in support for rival Morgan Tsvangirai

2000 Mugabe oversees the seizure of white-owned farms by veterans of the independence war

2001 President blames food shortages on drought but opponents say farm seizures are responsible

2002 Elections criticised by observers give victory to Mugabe over Tsvangirai, before more land acquisition laws are passed

2008 Mugabe beats Tsvangirai in presidential run-off, but hyperinflation leads to a power-sharing deal

2009 Mugabe swears in Tsvangirai as prime minister

2011 Mugabe says power-sharing government is a monster and confirms he will run as president again

Rob Hastings

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Is China the new colonial power in Africa?

December 14, 2012, 1:27 pm

Is China the new colonial power in Africa? A map of Africa reveals China’s
presence in most if not all African countries and, of late, particularly in
Southern Africa. China is under new leadership, Xi Jinping is now head of
the Communist party and it remains to be seen exactly where he stands on the
question of China’s relationship with Africa. Is it a partnership of equals
or is China exploiting Africa for its own benefit? China vigorously defends
its role in Africa, claiming that it has built schools and roads and greatly
benefited the African continent’s infrastructure and uplifted the standard
of living of Africa’s people.

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s ‘Look East’ policy was the signal for an increase in
China’s involvement in Zimbabwe. What was in it for China? For a country
desperately short of natural resources, the answer was plain: Zimbabwe is
rich in minerals. Take the diamond industry; speaking in a recent interview,
Farai Maguwu, the head of a leading advocacy group, revealed that in
practice the diamond industry is 50% owned by the Chinese Anjin company and
40% by the Zimbabwe Defence Industry. The fact that a foreign company is a
major shareholder in one of Zimbabwe’s most lucrative natural resources is
surely at odds with Saviour Kasukuwere’s much-touted Indigenisation policy?
The Chinese claim there is mutual respect between the indigenous Zimbabweans
and the Chinese but that is not immediately evident. As for the Chinese
bringing employment to Zimbabwe, that is a moot point since they often bring
their own workers who are unable to speak the local language, thus limiting
communication with the local people and increasing the possibility of
resentment against these ‘foreigners’ who have come into their area. If that
is not direct colonialism it certainly bears a close resemblance to the bad
old days of British occupation of Africa when communication was limited to
the vernacular language of master and servant.

One of the major side-effects of mining is the effect on the local
population. With the discovery of Marange’s diamonds in 2006, a vast area
was under threat. Originally calculated at 70.000 hectacres the area of the
Marange diamond mine is now reckoned to be more than 120.000 hectares with
more mineral exploration going on. Moving people who have known no other
home for their entire lives is an explosive issue but not one that local or
foreign journalists are allowed to report. A veil of secrecy hangs over the
Marange project but some things cannot be hidden. The environmental damage
is plain for all to see as local rivers are polluted and the once clear Save
river is now no more than a muddy and polluted stream. In addition, the
peace of the African bush is broken by the noise of heavy traffic day and
night. The area’s rich wild life has disappeared and the only beneficiaries
of all this activity are the military and the Chinese-owned diamond company.
Meanwhile, a new diamond technology centre is being built at Mount Hampden
in Harare which promises an incredible 40.000 new jobs. For the 90% of the
population who are unemployed that is good news, if the figures are
accurate! For the majority of Zimbabwe’s people, the diamonds have brought
them nothing but for Robert Mugabe, all this diamond wealth is good news; he
has the diamond-rich generals on side, access to limitless cash to win the
next election and the wherewithal to buy patronage. Mugabe said at his party
conference that he wants nothing less than “sole control” of the country.
The helicopters hovering over the Conference centre for the duration of the
party conference were a reminder to everyone that he means it. Mugabe is
determined to win at all costs and diamond wealth will help ensure he does
just that. No doubt his friends, the Chinese, will be very happy with an
electoral result that keeps him in power.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson

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