The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Ten Zimbabweans Die In Police Horror Crash

21/12/2010 17:45:00

Harare, December 21, 2010 - Ten people including a mother clutching a baby
died here on Tuesday in one of the worst road carnages which can be blamed
squarely on the Zimbabwe Republic Police as the commuter omnibus rammed on a
truck while running away from the police along Simon Mazorodze Road.

The Glen View commuter omnibus was bound for the city when it was chased by
the police resulting in the crash.

Among the deceased was a mother who was clutching her baby in her hands. The
baby survived the horror crash.

Commuter omnibus passengers blamed the police for the accident as most
police officers were demanding bribes leading to the cat and mouse game.

On Monday Radio VOP reported that traffic cops manning road blocks along the
country’s major roads were demanding bribes from motorists and officers were
accepting anything from groceries to cash.

Zimbabwe's civil servants earn US$150 which is below the poverty datum line
of about US$500 a month.

This is probably one of the worst accidents in the country in the run up to
this year's Christmas holidays.

Meanwhile the Gweru National Blood Services said the blood donor base had
dropped to less than a hundred clients out of the over 3 000 a month.

Midlands Region Customer relations Officer, Aggrey Ngazana told Radio VOP:
“We are so much worried by the rate at which the adult clients continue to
dwindle and we are in the process of organising social gatherings in a bid
to lure more blood donors.”

“I am urging our old clients and potential clients to consider donating
blood in order to curb the seasonal shortages. Blood stocks are dwindling
and it is scary," he said.

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Biti orders action as thousands stranded in Beitbridge

21/12/2010 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporters

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has promised action after witnessing thousands
of holiday travellers between South Africa and Zimbabwe stuck at the
Beitbridge border post for hours – caught-up in the “depressing”
inefficiency and bureaucracy of immigration control.

Immigration authorities are battling to cope with an upsurge in the number
of travellers as Christmas and New Year’s holidays approach.

During a visit to the border on Monday, Biti said: “A border post should be
a place for happiness not depression – people should be happy that they are
going home or visiting a hospitable country.

"This border post is the preface to the country and whatever image we
portray here which is unfit for the 21st century is going to affect us as a
During most parts of the year, the border must cope with between 1,500 to
2,000 people per day.

However, during December and early January, the number of travellers trying
to pass through Beitbridge, surges to around 17,000 per day.

Zimbabwe’s understaffed port authorities, burdened by archaic technology and
byzantine regulations, traditionally struggle to cope with the surge in
human and vehicle traffic.

Biti, who travelled to the border with Transport Minister Nicholas Goche for
a first-hand account of the chaos, promised a transformation of the border
post to “world class standards” by next Christmas.

He said: "At the moment, people are taking between six and seven hours to
cross from Zimbabwe to South Africa. We are going to do everything within
our power to improve the situation.

"The state of affairs here is affecting the speedy movement of both cargo
and private traffic in what is the busiest port of entry in the country and

"Most of the infrastructure here is in a bad state and we have courted other
partners to help in the re-organisation and transformation of the border
post to world class standards.”
Biti said work on improving the border post would begin shortly and should
be complete by September next year.

The International Organisation is funding a project to computerise the
border post, after supporting a similar scheme at the Harare and Victoria
Falls airports.
The system -- to be also used to fight crime -- will allow for eye scanning,
passport scanning and image recognition.

Frustrated travellers, mainly drivers, complain about the many forms they
have to fill and the various offices they have to visit before they are
allowed to enter Zimbabwe.

Biti says most of the paperwork is unnecessary and wants the various
immigration departments brought under one roof, with the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority taking the lead.

He added: “We are going to consolidate services here and make the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority the lead agent and do away with a lot of control measures
which are frustrating and delaying travellers.

"You will realise that at the moment we have a lot of agents duplicating
services yet that can be consolidated and carried out by one lead agent.

"We have also noted with concern that a lot of operations are being done
manually which is slowing down the movement of people and cargo.

"We are going to work out on a serious programme to computerise services
especially with the Revenue Authority where we are going to link all the
computers through the Asycuda Clearance System.

"Some of the clearance facilities, especially for commercial purposes,
should be done over the internet rather than truckers spending days for
their documents to be processed manually.
"In essence, we need a multi-faceted approach to address the challenges we
are facing here.”

Biti and Goche heard from the Assistant Regional Immigration
Officer-in-Charge (Southern Region), Charles Gwede, who complained that they
were understaffed.

For instance, Gwede said, the Revenue Authority needed a staff compliment of
400, but currently had 227 officers at the border. The Immigration
Department had 55 officers, Gwede said, when ideally they needed no less
than 80 during the holiday period.
Between Friday and Sunday, Zimbabwe had cleared 55,190 visitors into the
country, with 21,738 moving in the opposite direction.

Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on
Budget and Finance, said last week that the country was losing millions in
revenue due to the poor management of the Beitbridge border post.

“Beitbridge is the biggest border post in Africa and has a huge national and
economic significance,” said Cross. “Millions of dollars are lost per month
in unnecessary costs due to corruption in particular.”

Cross said between January and December 2010, Beitbridge recorded movement
of people, private vehicles, buses and heavy trucks of 3,633,017 million –
suggesting those numbers showed "huge" revenue potential.

“Delays in commercial traffic is a hindrance to the growth of tourism. I
would say the situation in Beitbridge has reached crisis level. It is a huge
business and if we run it properly, it can make a significant profit for
Zimbabwe. It has actually cost us a lot of money.”

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Teachers Stranded As Zim Banks Run Out Of Cash

21/12/2010 12:03:00

Karoi, December 21, 2010 - Some rural teachers were left stranded on Monday
after banks ran out of cash to give them.

The teachers were forced to sleep outside banking halls on Monday hoping to
get a chance to access their salaries early Tuesday.

'I came from Mjinga and arrived here during midday but failed to access my
salary. I will sleep outside the bank so that I can get money early to buy
grocery for Christmas,' said a disgruntled rural teacher.

A bank teller said the shortage has been caused by the fact that teachers
had been paid their salaries earlier than usual.

'Intially teachers were scheduled to get salaries on 23 (December) and the
sudden change of payout date has affected our clients,' said the teller.

Meanwhile, some temporary teachers in the area received a shock when they
only received US$30 in their bank accounts as salaries. The salary was
worked according to a pro-rata basis.

'What does Government think I will do with this $30?' asked one temporary

Zimbabwe's prices of commodities have been increased in the past few months.
The price of petrol and diesel has also gone up which may see another round
of price increases by shop owners.

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Govt fights to keep Zim report under wraps

STAFF REPORTER - Dec 21 2010 17:24

The Mail & Guardian won't be getting its hands on a hitherto secret report
into Zimbabwe's 2002 elections just yet, despite the fact that two courts
have ordered the Presidency to hand it over.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) last week ruled that the report on the
constitutional and legal environment surrounding the controversial 2002
presidential poll, widely regarded as having been rigged in favour of Robert
Mugabe, must be made available to the M&G. This followed a series of
requests by the newspaper under the Promotion of Access to Information Act
dating back to 2008. In terms of the ruling, the hand-over was to have taken
place by the end of Friday December 24.

Instead, the Presidency will apply for leave to appeal the judgement to the
Constitutional Court, the state attorney on Tuesday informed the M&G's
attorneys, Webber Wentzel.

'Extremely disappointed'
The report was compiled for former president Thabo Mbeki by judges Sisi
Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke, and has never been made public.

The Presidency argued that doing so would reveal information given to the
judges in confidence by the Zimbabwean government, saying that the two had
been acting in a diplomatic or quasi-diplomatic role. Both the North Gauteng
High Court and the SCA found that the Presidency had failed to provide any
evidence for this contention, and hence had not provided the necessary level
of justification for keeping the document secret.

    * Read the SCA judgement (PDF)

"We are extremely disappointed with President Jacob Zuma's decision to keep
on fighting this matter in the courts," said M&G editor-in-chief Nic Dawes.
"He has lost twice, and costs have twice been awarded to the M&G. That on
its own should be a signal of the weakness of his case. More importantly,
the appeal will further delay the release of information which we believe
the South African public has a right to access.

"Worse, it will do so at a time when Zimbabweans are once again being pushed
toward an election that many of them believe cannot be free and fair.
Instead of continuing to burn public money on a case that we believe he
cannot win, President Zuma should show his commitment to the open democracy
provisions of our Constitution by handing the report over now."

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U.S. targets Zimbabwe attorney general for sanctions

Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:17pm GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Tuesday it
was imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe's attorney general, Johannes Tomana,
saying his actions undermined the country's democratic institutions.

"(His) targeting of selected political opponents threatens the rule of law
in Zimbabwe, harms the integrity of the government ... and counters the will
of Zimbabwean people who have expressed their desire to build a democratic
society," said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets

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Businesses urge Zim not to target foreign firms


A leading business group on Tuesday urged President Robert Mugabe not to
seize Zimbabwe-based firms from Western countries in opposing the sanctions
imposed on him and his party.

Last week Mugabe had made such a threat while addressing the annual congress
of his Zanu-PF party.

Under existing economic empowerment and indigenisation laws, foreign-owned
businesses have to be 51% owned by black Zimbabweans. Mugabe has warned that
unless sanctions were removed he would aim to seize complete control over
the firms.

"He (Mugabe) might have a point on sanctions, but a retaliatory approach
will not work," said Joseph Kanyekanye, head of the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries, the country's largest business group.

Engagement with the West was "critical", as more foreign investment and
access to capital from abroad were needed to bolster any recovery in
Zimbabwe, Kanyekanye said.

"The economy must not suffer as a result of indigenisation," he told

'Smart sanctions'
In 2002, Western countries imposed so-called "smart sanctions" on Mugabe and
some top party officials, which Zanu-PF blames for Zimbabwe's deep economic

Minister of Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere has argued
that seizing Western-owned companies would not worsen the economy.

"Gone are the days when our resources are being exploited and nothing is
coming to us," Kasukuwere said. "If they [the West] continue with their
sanctions, we will also give sanctions."

The indigenisation laws have sparked fierce differences in the fragile
coalition government, with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the rival
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposing the laws. -- Sapa-DPA

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ZPP wins French Prize

Written by Gift Phiri
Sunday, 19 December 2010 12:11

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Peace Project has won the French Republic’s Human
Rights Prize, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” for 2010 for its continuous
defence and furtherance of human rights in the troubled southern African

The prize was presented last week by the French Minister for Justice to ZPP
director Jestina Mukoko at a ceremony described as " warm and friendly."

"The 15.000 € award granted to ZPP will allow the NGO to improve its human
rights monitoring capacity with an emphasis on the violence early warning
systems, using the latest information communication technologies (ICTs),"
the minister said.

"Through this Prize, the French Republic salutes the courage of hundreds of
thousands of human rights defenders in the world who endanger their lives
for the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental

The Human Rights Prize is given by the French Government and awarded
annually by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme
(National Consultative Commission of Human Rights).

Recipients are handed the prize in Paris, usually on December 10th of each
year, on the occasion of the Human Rights Day proclaimed by the United

The award consists of a medal and a total 75.000 € prize shared between the
various winners that has to be used to implement projects aimed at promoting
human rights.

This year’s prize went to the ZPP, two Burmese and one Mauritanian
organisations, and one Chinese blogger.

Several organizations from Afghanistan, Argentina, Benin, Egypt, Moldavia,
and Thailand received special mentions.

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Diaspora Forum To Embark On Business Initiatives

21/12/2010 12:04:00

Harare, December 21, 2010 - The Development Foundation for Zimbabwe (DFZ)
Executive Director, Nokwazi Moyo said Diasporans had resolved to engage
Zimbabweans in the country when launching their various initiatives.

The resolution was passed at the just ended Diaspora conference held in the
Victoria Falls. Delegates drafted proposals to strengthen Diaspora networks
and boost their ability to contribute to economic recovery and development
particularly in social services, investment, governance, human rights and
rural development.

Moyo said DFZ aimed to tap into the rich Diaspora community to develop ways
through which those living outside the country could help rebuild their

“The DFZ believes that an economic recovery strategy that emphasises the
return of skills must have a clear agenda,” he said.

He added that the call for Zimbabweans to return home must be accompanied by
appropriate policies aimed at absorbing these skills through a range of
government programmes, alongside creative solutions developed by those in
the Diaspora.

Moyo said it was vital to underscore the point that in an age of
technological advancement, returning home can take various forms beyond the
physical movement of persons. He said returning home can be through the
Diaspora deploying their financial investments in the home market.

He said the Diaspora experience had given skills to many and had also
de-skilled as many. Teachers, nurses and other professionals had been forced
into menial jobs in order to survive, yet other citizens had furthered their
education whilst outside the country.

He said the DFZ hoped that these groups may wish to make voluntary or
temporary, virtual or permanent returns to help shore up the skills base in
the Zimbabwean public service or other sectors of the economy.

Moyo said this patriotic desire was not tied to partisan political interests
but to the love for Zimbabwe and the belief in the country's potential to be
a truly great African nation and global icon.

The conference brought together business leaders, civic society, politicians
and Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora, run under the theme “Engaging the
Diaspora toward Zimbabwe’s Economic Reconstruction “.

Among other issues, the conference facilitated the formation of an
institutional framework that will support effective contributions to and
participation in economic recovery by Zimbabweans living abroad, and
provided a platform for opinion leaders and implementers to discuss the role
of the Diaspora. The conference is the first in a series of high profile
meetings which will continue to consider ways in which the Diaspora and key
plays within Zimbabwe can work together to promote development. An estimated
4,5 million Zimbabweans live outside the country and the majority of them
are believed to be in South Africa.

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Kunonga’s ‘supporters’ pledge unwavering support to ZANU PF

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 December 2010

Senior priests in the Anglican church faction led by excommunicated
Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga, have come out and declared their support for
ZANU PF and its leader Robert Mugabe.

In an article carried by Newsday on Tuesday, the senior priests said the
church prayed only for Robert Mugabe and no other leader. Reverend Admire
Chisango, accused the media of supporting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
MDC-T party to get rid of Kunonga’s faction and to effect regime change in

Chisango told the journalist who interviewed him that he had been fed with
lies by the other faction that ‘brought you here’ for the interview.

‘We can only pray for President Mugabe not all the others. We realise him as
the leader given to us by God and we will continue to pray for him whether
you want it or not. You cannot separate the church and the ruling party and
that is why we will continue to support and pray for President Mugabe,’
Chisango is quoted as saying.

Some members of the Anglican church hit back at Chisango, saying he
represented no one because his master Kunonga was excommunicated and does
not have anything to do with the church.

Anglican Reverend Lameck Mutete told us he wanted to remind people that
Kunonga is an excommunicated Archbishop who was no longer part and parcel of
the Anglican church.

‘As a result of that he can say anything and it doesn’t hold any water. So
any comment that comes from his followers has nothing to do with the
Anglican church,’ Rev Mutete said.

During his tenure as Archbishop, Kunonga turned his Anglican diocese into a
religious branch of Mugabe’s then ruling ZANU PF party.

The church also accused him of abusing his position to terrorize christians
while systematically destroying the institution. He’s known to have invaded
farms and evicted families, and ordained all his cronies as priests.

When he was excommunicated, Kunonga unilaterally declared independence from
the Anglican Province of Central Africa, technically meaning that he fired
himself, but he is refusing to relinquish church assets.

‘Kunonga is more of a political figure than a man of the cloth. His
political rhetoric destroyed the fabric of the church and in the process
lost a whole generation of followers.

‘He is a discredited individual, rejected by the church and has no place
whatsoever within the Anglican church. When he does say anything, remember
he’s speaking for himself, because you must realise he’s not a Bishop and
certainly not an Archbishop. He’s simply Nolbert Kunonga, full stop,’ Rev
Mutete added.


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MDC-M deny reports of violent factions

By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 December, 2010

The Zimbabwe Mail news site has reported that rowdy mobs belonging to rival
factions of the MDC-M fought running battles all day in Mutare on Sunday,
after Manicaland province rejected Welshman Ncube’s nomination as MDC-M
leader. The report said police responded to violent clashes between Ncube’s
supporters, and supporters of current President Arthur Mutambara, who is
from Manicaland.

Mutambara announced over the weekend that he would not seek re-election as
MDC-M president at the party’s congress due in January, 2011, in order to
avoid divisions within the party. It is known that he had lost the
endorsement of 11out of the party’s 12 provinces to Ncube.

MDC-M spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa on Tuesday denied the allegations that
rival factions had fought in Mutare. He described the Zimbabwe Mail report
as ‘malicious’ and ‘meant to tarnish the image of the party’.

Mushoriwa said it is also not true that Manicaland province had rejected
Ncube. “There is only Professor Ncube for president in all the provinces,
including Manicaland, and there were no objections,” said Mushoriwa.

The MDC-M spokesperson also denied the report that Mutambara was being
defiant and insisting that he will run for President in elections in 2011.
He said the party was united and the reports are coming from ‘people who
want to create divisions within the MDC’.

But there has been a huge outcry from MDC-M members over the fact that
Senator David Coltart was not nominated for any top positions within the
party. Some of them ‘attacked’ secretary-general Ncube on his Facebook page,
describing Coltart as ‘hardworking’ and crediting him with improving the
education sector, in his position as education minister.

Ncube reportedly responded by announcing that Coltart would be appointed
into a ‘National Executive Council’.

On Monday SW Radio Africa had reported that the MDC-M provincial chairperson
for Manicaland, Sondon Mugaradziko, had been arrested after heavily armed
police barged into a meeting he was about to chair in Mutare on Sunday.
MDC-M spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa said that Mugaradziko was still in police
custody Tuesday and was facing charges of ‘organising a political meeting
without clearance’.

But Mushoriwa explained that according to the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), a political party does not need to inform the police when they hold
a private meeting. He said their chairperson was taken by the police before
the meeting had even started.

“It works in ZANU PF’s favour when we cannot meet to organize,” said the
frustrated spokesperson.


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Mangoma denies Wikileaks report

By Reagan Mashavave
Tuesday, 21 December 2010 16:09

HARARE - Elton Mangoma, the deputy treasurer general of the main formation
of the Movement for Democratic  Change (MDC) has dismissed reports that he
approached the United States government to contribute to a "trust fund" to
buy out army commanders into retirement.

The reports, carried in Wikileaks, a whistle blower media organisation, said
Energy and Power Development minister Mangoma, asked the US government
through their Harare embassy to contribute to a "retirment fund" that would
cushion army chiefs who are loyal to President Robert Mugabe, "urging" them
to retire and pave way for free and fair elections.

Contacted for comment Mangoma denied ever having a meeting with "anyone" on
the need to create a trust fund to retire service chiefs.

“Certainly not true, I did not talk to the Americans on those matters. What
will be my basis of saying that? I have not met anyone and discussed that,”
Mangoma said.

He reportedly said he planned to approach the UK and Germany with the same

According to the reports, the money was to be used to pay exit packages for
the service chiefs.

“Mangoma said that a primary obstacle to political progress and reform was
the service chiefs. Unlike many ZANU-PF insiders who had stolen and invested
wisely, these individuals had not become wealthy.”

“They (service chiefs) feared economic pressures, as well as prosecution for
their misdeeds, should political change result in their being forced from
office,” Wikileaks said quoting a classified report by a US diplomat,
Katherine Dhanani.

According to the report by Dhanani, Mangoma also said that the MDC will also
try to put pressure on the retirement of Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono.

Wikileaks said Mangoma made the suggestions when the MDC disengaged from the
unity government in October last year after the party complained about the
slow implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which formed the
coalition government.

The report says Mangoma was hopeful an agreement will be reached with Zanu
PF to end his party’s disengagement from government adding that if it fails
“the MDC will continue pursuing its long-term strategy of preparing for

Army chiefs who are former liberation war fighters have openly expressed
their support for Mugabe in all the elections in the last decade.

The service chiefs have said they will not salute a democratically elected
President who does not have liberation war credentials and that the country
will go to war if people vote out Mugabe. Civic society groups have
castigated the statements saying a free and fair election will not be
possible if army chiefs make such pronouncements.

Zimbabwe service chiefs include Defence Forces commander, General
Constantine Chiwenga, army commander, Lieutenant General Valerio Sibanda,
Air Marshal Perence Shiri and Zimbabwe Prisons General, Paradzai Zimondi.

Chiwenga, Shiri and Sibanda attended the just ended Zanu PF annual
conference which was held last week in Mutare.

Wikileaks continues to release classified documents by the US embassies
across the world. The media organisation has said it has over 250 000
classified US documents from US embassies across the world. Zimbabwe has
some of the highest cables totaling 3000 dating back to 1966.

On Monday when the three principals in the GPA, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara met to give their end of year
statements, George Charamba the permanent secretary reportedly asked
reporters not to ask the three leaders about Wikileaks as they were ‘not
interested’ in taking questions on the controversial reports.

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Zimbabwe threatens to revoke all African Consolidated licences

Mineral claims under threats in bold move from government
Published: 2010/12/21 07:42:05 AM

ZIMBABWE would cancel all mineral claims held by African Consolidated
Resources, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said yesterday .

WikiLeaks this month released a classified diplomatic cable from US envoy
James McGee that contains a list of Zimbabwean officials allegedly involved
in the country’s illegal diamond trade. African Consolidated Resources CEO
Andrew Cranswick is named as one of several sources in the report.

The licences "will be revoked because there were irregularities when they
were issued", Mr Mpofu said in Harare. "All of them were acquired

He said the cancellation was not related to President Robert Mugabe’s
warning last week that UK and US companies may face sanctions if they failed
to lift targetted sanctions against the president and his inner circle.

African Consolidated Resources has been fighting a government takeover of
its rights to the lucrative Marange diamond field — one of the biggest in
the world — for years. The company has been active in Zimbabwe since 2004
and has interests in gold, nickel, platinum and other commodities.

Mr Cranswick yesterday said the company had done nothing wrong.

"None of our claims, including those in Marange, were improperly acquired,"
he said in a phone interview from the UK . "We will do everything we can to
protect our rights."

Mr Mugabe said last week it was "time to read the riot act to the British"
and other western states for refusing to lift targeted sanctions, which the
states say should stay until corruption is curbed and the power- sharing
agreement is properly implemented. Mr Mugabe effectively ended the deal on
Saturday, and called for elections early next year.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights urged the ruling parties yesterday to
allow free and fair elections or risk a new bout of Zanu (PF) -instigated

Many opposition groups and human rights organisations fear Mr Mugabe’s Zanu
(PF) might resort to violence to stay in power . Bloomberg, Sapa-DPA

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Two faced Mugabe has kind words for Tsvangirai

By Lance Guma
21 December 2010

A few days after vowing his ZANU PF party would ‘crush’ the MDC at the next
election Robert Mugabe on Monday exchanged kind words with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, at an end of year press conference at State House. The
function was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Over the weekend Mugabe told his annual ZANU PF party conference that he was
not happy with the coalition government and wanted a fresh election. He also
said that the MDC would finally be ‘crushed.’ But on Monday the 86 year old
was singing a different tune, claiming the coalition is making progress and
had given people ‘a sense of togetherness’ despite the partners being ‘at
each other’s throats.’

Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara are reported to have held talks for about
an hour at State House emerging later, to give the press briefing. Speaking
with Tsvangirai by his side Mugabe said; “Just because we go at each other's
throats at party level, let people not think we are a dysfunctional

Tsvangirai returned the pleasantries by saying; "We have made gains in
economic reform and public services," before blaming a shortage of money and
resources for preventing them from achieving more. "This inclusive
government will not collapse. We will make sure that it does not collapse,"
he said. Strangely, Tsvangirai also said he had "camaraderie" with Mugabe, a
contradiction of his outburst in October when he accused Mugabe of betraying

The most jaw-dropping statement however was reserved for Mugabe who said
there should be no violence in the next election. "What we would want to get
to our people is our voice and our command that there should be no violence,
but that does not mean that everybody will listen to us," he said.

But the fact is his party has deployed soldiers around the country to help
rebuild collapsed ZANU PF structures and intimidate people into voting for
them. War vets, led by Jabulani Sibanda, have been terrorizing people,
especially in the Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. The defence Minister
and police chief have already said even if ZANU PF loses they will not allow
‘puppets’ to rule them.

If Mugabe was truly sincere about bringing an end to the violence, he could
do so overnight.

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Probe Chombo - Residents

21/12/2010 17:47:00

Harare, December 21, 2010 - A Harare based residents pressure group has
written to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner General asking
him to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against the Minister
of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) wants Commissioner General
Augustine Chihuri to investigate the numerous cases of corruption.

Chombo’s corrupt affairs came to light after revelations of hundreds of
properties that he owns throughout the country came to light through a messy
divorce affair with his estranged wife Marian.

The pressure group accuses Chombo of unlawfully acquiring land belonging to
the council in a letter addressed to Chihuri and the Co- Ministers of Home
Affairs, Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi. The letter was dated 21 December

“The Combined Harare Residents Association is disturbed by the fact that it
would appear that no action has been taken by the police to investigate the
issue of Chombo’s unlawful acquisition of land,” said CHRA Chairperson,
Simbarashe Moyo in the letter.

“This creates the impression that the politically powerful can commit
serious crimes involving the public property with impunity. The precedent
that the inaction against Chombo sets is that, the powerful members of our
society can acquire public property illegally secure in the knowledge that
the long arm of the law will not reach them. As Combined Harare Residents
Association, we are aware of the fact that the police does not desire to set
this precedent.”

The Harare City Council (HCC) resolved during last week’s full council
meeting that the police should act on a report that was lodged with the
Harare Central Police Station with complaints about Chombo’s unlawful
acquisition of property.

“On behalf of Harare residents, CHRA implores you to take action on the
report that the Harare City Council lodged against Dr I Chombo,” said Moyo.

The Harare City Council councillors early this year compiled a report in
which it detailed the unlawfully acquisition numerous properties in Harare
by businessman Phillip Chiyangwa in which Chombo was directly involved. The
report led to the arrest of the councillors and summoning of journalists who
picked up the story.

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Another land invasion case referred to an international court

By Alex Bell
21 December 2010

An international tribunal has been appointed to consider the case of a
German farming family in Zimbabwe, whose three farms were illegally invaded
by ZANU PF members in June.

The von Pezold family, who are the largest German investors in Zimbabwe,
were forced to approach the Paris-based International Centre for Settlement
(ICSID) of Investment Disputes in July, after the farms were invaded. At the
time, Germany’s government threatened to cut off all aid to Zimbabwe unless
the reportedly armed and alcohol fuelled ZANU PF mob that invaded the
properties was ordered to leave. The land invaders are said to have looted
maize and other crops valued at more than a million dollars before they left
the farms after a three week long stand off with the von Pezolds.

The ICSID has now appointed a three-member arbitration tribunal to consider
the case filed by the von Pezold family, who are suing the Zimbabwe
government for loss of income and for failing to act against the land
invaders. The properties are meant to be covered by a bilateral investment
promotion and protection agreement between Zimbabwe and Germany, which was
formed in 1995, but which only came into force in 2000. The agreement is
meant to protect all investments by Germans in Zimbabwe, including
agricultural investments, and precludes any farms from ‘expropriation’ under
the land grab campaign.

This will be the second time the Zimbabwe government had been dragged before
the ICSID, after a group of Dutch nationals in April last year won its case
after their farms were invaded. The Dutch farmers argued that their
properties were protected by a BIPPA, under which Zimbabwe promised to pay
full compensation to Dutch nationals in disputes arising out of any
investments in the country. The Dutch group has still not been compensated
despite winning their case in the Paris court last year. They have now
approached an American court seeking an enforcement order, and the court is
reportedly ready to attach Zimbabwean owned properties in the compensation

There have been several attempts to try and force the Zimbabwe government to
compensate farmers who have lost land because of Robert Mugabe’s land grab
scheme, but all court orders, whether domestic or international, are being
blatantly ignored.

Critically, the regional Tribunal which ruled in 2008 that Mugabe’s land
grab was unlawful has been suspended this year, in what critics say is an
attempt to appease Mugabe. The court had ordered the government to
compensate farmers for properties that had been illegally seized and protect
the remaining commercial farming community from new threats. But this order
has been completely ignored and farm invasions have continued unabated,
despite the formation of the unity government.

John Worsley-Worswick from Justice for Agriculture (JAG) explained on
Tuesday that it is important for these rulings to be made, despite the
breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. He said that while there is a
“total abandonment of the judiciary,” it is just a temporary issue.

“At some stage in the future the judiciary will have to be revamped and
there will be a return to property rights,” Worsley-Worswick said.

The JAG official added that this latest case before the ICSID needs to be
dealt with more comprehensively than the previous Dutch case, saying:
“Compensation claims are now beyond just the value of the land that was
seized.” He explained that the question of what constitutes compensation has
changed in light of a recent ruling this year by a British asylum court. The
court dismissed an asylum application by a confessed land invader, and
stated that the land grab scheme was a crime against humanity.

“This level of illegality should underwrite compensation claims of farmers
and their workers,” Worsley-Worswick said, adding: “Other issues now enter
into this, and these are issues of damages and disturbances losses.”

Worsley-Worswick said that issues of lost income for both farmers and their
works, plus relocation costs, trauma costs and the length of time people
have been waiting for compensation, must be taken into account in future
cases. He added: “It is critical that these rulings are made in
international courts to set the necessary precedent.”

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Zimbabwe State Enterprises Minister Moyo Slams State Media Partisanship

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings falls under the Ministry of State
Enterprises, but its operational arm, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation,
answers to the ZANU-PF controlled Information Ministry

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 20 December 2010

State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday criticized state-run
media for its continued partisan coverage favoring President Robert Mugabe's

Moyo, speaking at the Development Foundation for Zimbabwe conference in
Victoria Falls on Sunday, accused state media of churning out political hate

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings falls under Moyo’s ministry, but its
operational arm, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, is controlled by the
Ministry of Information, headed by Information Minister Webster Shamu and
Mugabe spokesman George Charamba.

Sources said ZBH is not financially sound as revenue from advertising has
fallen by more than 60 percentin recent months, some say because ZANU-PF has
not paid for the commercial air time it commands to run pro-Mugabe,
pro-party jingles or songs.

Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his ministry cannot do
anything to address issues of fairness because it only deals with management
policy issues.

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Zimbabwe envoy to Australia emphasises on the positives

21 December, 2010 08:00:00    BY NATASHA RUDRA - The Canberra Times
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Zimbabwean ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila is about to celebrate her first
Christmas in Australia with her family and grandchildren after a turbulent
few months.

Ms Zwambila became ambassador to Australia early this year but in recent
months has been caught up in a bizarre incident involving allegations from
three embassy staff that she stripped off her clothes during a heated

Speaking publicly for the first time since the incident yesterday, Ms
Zwambila said the allegations were false.

''I totally deny those allegations,'' she said.

Ms Zwambila returned abruptly to Harare to meet foreign affairs secretary
Joey Bimha late last month but said she had not been recalled as ambassador.

''I was never recalled. I went to Harare because this thing with the papers
was happening and as ambassador and head of mission I had to explain what's
going on,'' she said.

''I went back to report on an administrative matter, in which a letter was
submitted ... and any head of embassy would go back and explain what was
going on, which I did.''

Ms Zwambila spent 10 years as a political activist for the Movement for
Democratic Change, the opposition party led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

She is one of five Zimbabwean ambassadors appointed by the Movement for
Democratic Change under a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe.

Ms Zwambila declined to comment on suggestions that she was the victim of a
smear campaign by supporters of Mr Mugabe and said she was unaware of
allegations that illegally mined ''blood diamonds'' were being smuggled into
Australia through the Zimbabwean diplomatic bag.

The three embassy staffers who sparked the incident are on recall to Harare,
including charge d'affaires Felix Nyamupinga, whose wife Biata is an MP from
Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

''All I do know is that in any new team which is formed, there is a process
of getting to understand each other, a process of forming as a team,'' she

''There are different management styles, I definitely have a different
management style. Getting people together as one team I think that takes
time and some people are able to and others are not.''

Ms Zwambila said the embassy had been working to re-establish a close
relationship with the Australian and New Zealand governments.

''That [work] is continuing. We have development aid from Australia, when I
first came it was quite negligible, but now Zimbabwe is getting, I believe,
25 per cent of the total Africa aid from the Australian Government,'' she

For more on this story, including Ms Zwambila's comments on the impact the
new inclusive government is having on society there, see the print edition
of today's Canberra Times.

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Zimbabwe Pressured to Issue Coins

    By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
December 20, 2010

Zimbabwe’s politicians and central bankers have been talking a good story,
but when it comes to delivering local bankers and merchants wonder if
circulating domestic coinage will become a reality or if it just simply
sounds good politically.

There is no question Zimbabwe is going to revamp its currency system,
changing both the appearance and the denominations on its bank notes at the
same time. Central bank authorities have also indicated coins will return to
circulation despite their use having been discouraged by inflation, but so
far there is no evidence plans for a new domestic coinage is in motion.

Instead, the blame game appears to be popular. The Bankers’ Association of
Zimbabwe has been complaining of shortages and related problems due to a
lack of circulating coinage, while retailers are blaming BAZ for setting an
unreasonable exchange rate that has impacted the availability of coins in

Zimbabwe in theory has stainless steel composition 10-, 20-, and 50-cent and
$1 and $2 coins in addition to a steel center, brass ring $5 ringed bimetal
issue, all of which are supposed to circulate. Due to inflation and a lack
of production this simply hasn’t happened.

Instead local banks carry South African rand, Botswana pula, and US coinage,
but even this has failed to circulate due to a disparity between the
official and unofficial or parallel market exchange rates.

BAZ Chairman John Mushayavanhu summarized the problem in the Oct. 25 issue
of the Zimbabwe newspaper News Day, in which he said, “Banks have loads of
coins ranging from 1 cent to 5 rands—as much as nine million South African
rand, but the problem is that retailers want an exchange rate of one to 10.”

According to News Day, “He [Mushayavanhu] blamed retailers for not being
reasonable and said his organization was considering repatriating the coins
back to South Africa.” This would be the equivalent of either Ecuador or
Panama sending U.S. dollar coins back to the United States while refusing to
make a domestic replacement available.

Mushayavanhu continued, “If the retailers insist on their own rate, they
want the banks to make a loss. We do have coins lying idle in our banks and
it is all about retailers who are not willing to have them. Now we are
considering repatriating them because it is dead money.”

The newspaper reported that government and the business community have
arranged to meet and deliberate on the issue at a pre-budget consultative
meeting, however it appears the government may not be able to sit back idly
and allow BAZ and merchants to slug it out.

Rosemary Siyachitema is a rather vocal spokesman for the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe. She places the blame on the government for not issuing any
domestic coinage.

Siyachitema recently said, “If you buy goods for $1 and you pay $2, you are
forced to take sweets or other unbudgeted [merchandise] for groceries and
that means retailers will be benefiting at the expense of consumers which is

She continued, “The relevant officials should be engaged to end all this as
a matter of urgency.” While this discussion and any associated blame becomes
more vocal Retailers’ Association of Zimbabwe Chairman Denford Mberi added
his comments, saying the problem isn’t with his association, but is a
national problem that requires a national solution. He added that the
bankers’ association needs to be more sensitive to the needs of retailers on
this matter.

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti was in Washington during early
October seeking U.S. assistance in obtaining additional US coins and bank
notes for use in his country. The U.S. State Department has remained hostile
due to alleged human rights violations by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
and his ZANU-PF political party.

The official U.S. dollar and South African rand rate to the Zimbabwe dollar
is one to seven.

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Coin Suggests Past Chinese-African Trade

    By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin news
December 20, 2010

Yongle Tongbao coins of 15th century China are back in the news as Chinese
and Kenyan archaeologists continue to study the coins as artifacts as they
connect the dots regarding past trade between China and the East African

According to an article posted Oct. 20 on, “The story of a
small rusted coin with a square hole in the middle will certainly rewrite
the dynamics of China-Africa relations and give impetus to China-Africa

Professor Qin Dashu of the Department of Archaeology at Beijing University
is leading the Chinese team that is working closely with Kenyan
archaeologists. According to Qin, “These coins were carried only by envoys
of the emperor, Chengzu.” (Chengzu was from the Ming Dynasty.)

Qin suggested the coin his team has been studying may have been a gift from
the emperor. It was issued between 1403 and 1424, and was discovered
recently in the northern town of Malindi, Kenya.

The time frame of the minting of the coin and the location at which it was
discovered are both important. According to Chinese records, the Chinese
Muslim eunuch Zheng He was the admiral of Emperor Zhu Di’s (Yong Le) fleet
during this time. It is believed the admiral commandeered a fleet of more
than 200 ships across the Indian Ocean from China to Eastern Africa in two
expeditions, one between 1417 and 1419 and a second between 1431 and 1433.
During the trips the fleet is said to have traveled the coastline, trading
with people in what are today Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania.

Several years ago Kenyan fishermen from Lamu dredged up a 15th century
Chinese vase in their nets, a find that appears to correspond to reports of
shipwrecks within Zheng’s fleet during a storm. The yet to be substantiated
local story is that survivors from the wreck came to live with the local
natives, marrying some of the women.

According to the report, “Recent DNA tests have confirmed the
claims of certain [Lamu] fishermen to have Chinese ancestors.”

Perhaps coins will never replace DNA as archaeological evidence, however
coins are to archaeology what index fossils are to paleontology. Coins may
“talk” since they have inscriptions, can be dated, may reflect technological
abilities of the area from which they were issued, identify local rulers,
mark trade routes, and much more. In this instance the coins being found
recently in Kenya indicate there was trade between China and that African
region before the better known trade between Portugal and East Africa.

Malindi may be the epicenter of the likely trade between the region and
China. According to Chinese records, an emissary from Malindi visited the
Chinese court in 1414. Chinese records also indicate Emperor Zheng visited
the Sultan of Malindi, who at the time was the most powerful ruler in East

Coins and other artifacts also point to likely 15th century trade between
China and both Eastern and Southern Africa. Chinese coins and ceramics have
been found at archaeological sites in what had been Great Zimbabwe.

All of this trade appears to have ended in 1433, after which time China
abandoned its maritime ambitions. Trade between China and this region of
Africa would not be continued until the late 19th century.

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Analysis: World vs Ivory Coast's Gbagbo is African test case

By Mark John

DAKAR | Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:25pm EST

DAKAR (Reuters) - Rarely have world powers and neighbors piled so much
concerted pressure on an African leader to quit as Laurent Gbagbo faces
after an Ivory Coast poll he is almost universally judged to have lost.

But with Gbagbo determined to stay in power, the stand-off is becoming a
test of how far the world is prepared to go to resolve the type of election
dispute that has plagued African politics for decades.

"The level of consensus is unprecedented," Rolake Akinola of political risk
consultancy VoxFrontier said of the endorsement by the United Nations,
African leaders, Washington and Europe of Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara
as winner.

"It will make others elsewhere think hard about what they are going to do,"
she said.

With 17 national elections scheduled in Africa next year, it will be the
busiest year of voting for the continent since the independence era.

A November 28 poll intended to draw the line on Ivory Coast's 2002-2003
civil war now risks plunging the world's top cocoa grower into new conflict
after a pro-Gbagbo constitutional body overturned Ouattara's win on grounds
of fraud.

His subsequent swearing-in triggered a diplomatic backlash intended to show,
in the words of a senior U.S. State Department official, that "the era of
stealing elections is over."

Suspensions of Ivory Coast by the ECOWAS West African bloc and the African
Union suggest Gbagbo -- who already had few natural allies in his
neighborhood -- has been frozen out by peers more completely than even
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.


Defying his demand that the 10,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force leave, the
U.N. Security Council this week extended its mandate for another six months
and France is also keeping its 950-strong force in place.

The IMF has said it can only work with a UN-recognized government and donors
such as the African Development Bank and World Bank have put programs under
review, potentially depriving Gbagbo of debt relief and lending.

European Union countries have agreed travel bans on Gbagbo, his powerful
wife Simone and 17 officials. The United States is looking at a move that
could even mean the children of Ivorian officials are ejected from U.S.

But so far Gbagbo appears unmoved, at least officially. A personal telephone
call and letter from U.S. President Barack Obama have gone unanswered, while
Gbagbo's interior minister said simply of the EU sanctions: "They make us

"Ouattara may have the moral high ground, but Gbagbo has all the levers of
power," Stratfor analyst Mark Schroeder said.

He still controls the army, state broadcaster, the bulk of cocoa output and
the country's two main ports.

Views differ on how the coming weeks and months could play out -- assuming
all-out civil war does not happen first.


Starving Gbagbo's government of external funds could stir discontent in the
army and civil service if wages do not get paid. Ivorian diplomats and other
officials will consider the risk to their reputation of being allied to a
pariah regime.

Which way the Senegal-based BCEAO regional bank -- the central bank of the
West African franc monetary zone -- swings could be vital. Ouattara has
asked it to recognize only his parallel administration as a signatory to
transactions. But so far, the Bank appears to be sitting on the fence.

"If the pressure is kept up, sooner or later the (Gbagbo) administration
will start to get squeezed," said Akinola, suggesting things could get
tougher for Gbagbo as time goes on.

Others are less convinced but acknowledge that a next possible step -- a
sanctions regime on the cocoa industry that supplies around 40 percent of
the world market -- is risky.

"Sanction of the cocoa sector could backfire, both on the global markets as
well as a prospective Ouattara government," said African security adviser J.
Peter Pham, noting the risk that it could turn cocoa farmers strongly
against Ouattara.

But if there is little international appetite for a cocoa embargo that would
deny a poor country of a major export earner -- and possibly entail major
humanitarian consequences -- there is even less support for armed

An African Union-led military intervention in the Indian Ocean islands of
the Comoros in 2008 to oust the presidential claimant after an illegal
election is not seen setting a viable precedent for similar action in
20-million-head Ivory Coast.

If the crisis drags on, the likelihood could grow of talks on possible
power-sharing deal, despite the reluctance of the AU and ECOWAS to accept a
route followed by Kenya and Zimbabwe after similar disputes.

With 2011 due to see elections in Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Zambia, Uganda
and elsewhere, such a messy outcome is not the best encouragement to
Africans who long for the chance to choose their leaders through the ballot

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Zambezi Wind Song

New book by Donette Read Kruger will be available from
next week:

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The Global Political Agreement as a ‘Passive Revolution’: Notes on Contemporary Politics in Zimbabwe

Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, and Solidarity Peace Trust, Cape Town,
South Africa
ABSTRACT The Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed between the two Movements for
Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
set the change for a new set of political dynamics in Zimbabwe. Although it has not transformed
the coercive base of ZANU-PF’s support, it has led to new battles for state power and changes in
the strategies of the major political parties. The discussion below uses the great Italian Marxist
Antonio Gramsci’s conception of the ‘passive revolution’ to understand the changes in the political
economy that have marked recent Zimbabwean politics, looking in particular at the different
approaches of the three parties to the GPA during this period.
At the heart of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), mediation on
the Zimbabwe crisis has been the role of the South African government, which in its
position as political and economic leader in Southern Africa has attempted to end the
decade-long political crisis in the country. The complexity of this task must be set
against the many challenges facing such a process, including the continued
recalcitrance of a former liberation movement determined to defy a plebiscite rejecting
its continued rule, the impediments in implementing the regional body’s protocols on
democratic accountability, and the perplexing task of navigating a path between the
demands of the ‘good governance’ agenda of the international community and a still
resonant anti-imperialist messaging of a resurgent nationalist politics. In addition to
this, then President Mbeki had to deal with strong perceptions of his own bias towards
the Mugabe regime throughout the mediation, and a divided opposition in which the
different formations used the mediation to deal not only with the Mugabe regime but
also with their own contestations over future electoral competition and positioning
over possible state power. Thus, as is often the case, such mediation became the site of
intense contestation in which national, regional and international forces became
embedded in an increasing complexity.
The Mugabe regime through its discourse and destructive party accumulation
project represented a provisional, and never total, authoritarian nationalist
disengagement away from the dominant international norms on political and
economic accountability, and in its defiance confronted a South African mediator
whose continental ambitions forced him to negotiate a tightrope between Pan-
African sensitivities and the need for Western support for his leadership in a broader
African vision (Freeman, 2005). In contrast to this the opposition was constructed
through a language of liberal constitutionalism, human rights advocacy and postnationalist
aspirations, with its economic vision, in common with other emergent
opposition parties in Africa in the 1990s, never having much option but to conform
to the dominant nostrums of neo-liberalism (Olokushi, 1998; Raftopoulos, 2009a).
While Mbeki and his successor in the mediation process, Jacob Zuma, maintained an
economic prospectus close to that of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
the weight of the liberation legacies on the African National Congress (ANC) and
the politics of balance in SADC ensured a tight hold on any substantial censure of
the Mugabe regime. Faced with this politics of solidarity against the inconsistencies
of Western demands on human rights and the application of international justice, the
MDC (Tsvangirai) in particular has been hampered as much as helped by the
political support of the West. Notwithstanding its clear popular legitimacy at
national and international levels, it has had to contend persistently with its image in
Southern Africa in the face of its demonisation by the Mugabe regime, and to
confront the major obstacles to removing peacefully a former liberation movement
from power. In the course of the years since its formation in 1999, the frustrations
attendant on dealing with an authoritarian polity have had their own negative effects
on unity and accountability in the opposition, resulting in its own pathology of
violence and divisions (Raftopoulos, 2006). The major purpose of this discussion is
to track the central contours of the SADC mediation and its effects on the politics of
the two MDCs, and tangentially the civic movement, in the context of the regional
and international pressures that have woven their own agendas into the politics of
this period.
A Theoretical Note: The Mediation, the Global Political Agreement and Opposition
Politics as a Passive Revolution
One theoretical route to understanding the process underway is to deploy Antonio
Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution, which in his Prison Notebooks functioned as
both a concept for historical interpretation and an analytical device for a theoretical
problem (Sassoon, 1982, p. 131). Gramsci developed the concept of passive
revolution to understand the form of unification that took place in Italy under the
Risorgimento. From this analysis he elaborated the passive revolution as a
characteristic response of the bourgeoisie to a period of organic crisis and
disintegration, in which major transformations in a country’s political economy
are carried out from above through the agency of the state, without expanding the
processes of democratic participation (Simon, 1982). Thus this ‘revolutionrestoration’
that Gramsci viewed as a feature of ‘every epoch characterised by
complex historical upheavals’ (Gramsci, 1978, p. 114) takes place in ways that both
transform the relations between the state and civil society and seeks to restructure
the model of capital accumulation and the political forms of its existence. The central
role of the state, as the constitutive motor for the production and reproduction of the
elite, as well its major site of struggle, becomes particularly apparent in the ways that
‘hegemony is replaced by statist and bureaucratic domination’ (Buci-Glucksman,
1979, p. 22), or what Gramsci referred to as ‘dictatorship without hegemony’.
Furthermore as Buci-Glucksman (1979) noted, one should not assume that the
theory results in a dualism between production and politics; on the contrary, the
politics of the passive revolution need to be located in the changed production
relations of a particular period, in which, ‘through the legislative interventions of the
state far-reaching modifications are being introduced into the country’s economic
structure’ (Gramsci, 1982, p. 120). Moreover, the structural changes in the economy
as a result of state intervention and coercion undermine the capacity of popular
forces to develop their own autonomous politics and to organise alternative
hegemonic alliances.
An analysis of Zimbabwean politics over the last decade can certainly be read
through the conceptual lens of a passive revolution, in which major changes on the
land, though unleashed through the agency of war veterans, remained largely under
the control of the state, in a process of land distribution that has, for the most part,
been carried out through a violent and coercive process that has largely politically
marginalised the majority of the population. Similarly, the broader struggles for
indigenisation of the economy, and in particular the looting of the large diamond
deposits in the Chiadzwa area, have added another dimension to the militarisation of
the state, the terror of the population and the crude accumulation of the elite. These
policy interventions, in addition to the broader deleterious economic policies of the
Mugabe state, have transformed relations not only between the state and civil society
but also between the state and existing capital. However, the challenges such changes
have presented for the regime, in terms of both national legitimacy and punitive
international responses, forced the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) into a temporary power-sharing deal that it did not want, but
was forced to accept. Thus, in important ways the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) brokered through SADC could be seen as one major aspect of the passive
revolution that has taken place in Zimbabwe, in which a ruling party facing an
organic political and economic crisis has used the space to reconfigure and
renegotiate the terms of its existence with the opposition, civil society and the
international community. It continues to face challenges to the national legitimacy
and international re-engagement it seeks, particularly with the continued ‘sanctions’
against the regime. However, because of the growing entrenchment of the militaryeconomic
elite in Zimbabwe’s political economy and the shield of regional political
solidarity along with, for the moment, the Chinese and Russian protection at the
United Nations, under which they brave their politics, the crisis in Zimbabwe is
likely to be a lengthy process. Added to this, the political legacies and grotesque
economic accumulation of Mugabe’s party are not likely to disappear even if there
were to be a change of ruling party in the near future.
In another application of the concept of passive revolution, it may also be
argued that the politics of the MDC and the civic movement under the GPA can
best be understood under the register of this analytical tool, for several reasons.
Both formations of the MDC have also been pushed into the GPA as a result of a
combination of: state repression and violence against the structures of the MDC;
the inability of the opposition to translate their electoral victory in 2008 into state
power in the face of ZANU-PF’s control of the coercive arms of the state; the
structural erosion and political exhaustion of its support base, particularly in urban
areas, as well as the weakening of the civic movement as a result of similar factors;
and the limits of Western diplomacy in removing the Zimbabwe question from the
SADC regional bloc in which Mugabe’s Pan-Africanist message and the
shortcomings of the regional body itself have ensured Mugabe regional cover
against the thunderous imprecations of the West (Solidarity Peace Trust, 2008,
2009, 2010).
Drawing on the theoretical position above, it is clear that the changes in the
structures and relations of production as a result of the changes in the accumulation
model and forms of employment in the country, particularly the rapid informalisation
of labour, have had a number of effects. They have severely eroded the
structural basis for labour and opposition mobilisation in a more informally
constituted economy, in which the discipline and modalities of formal organisation
built up by a once formidable labour movement have been lost to the different
rhythms of survivalist opportunism endemic in the more precarious conditions of
informal livelihoods. In the words of Hammar et al. (2010), the crisis of displacement
that has characterised the historic upheavals in the Zimbabwean economy has
reshaped patterns of production, accumulation and exchange, reconfigured state
power, and led to conflicting claims and obligations. One might add that the kukiyakiya
(wheeler/dealer, getting by) survival strategies that have come to constitute a
dominant form of social relations in the informalised urban area (Jones, 2010) have
emerged as a result of the suppression of the more disciplined and public forms of
organisation associated with the labour movement. With the removal of this more
accountable form of organisation from the public sphere, such popular organisations
and their allies have seen their past attempts to build an alternative hegemonic
project severely undermined, a major result of ZANU-PF’s party accumulation and
authoritarian restructuring from above (Raftopoulos, 2009b).
The discourse of human rights so effectively deployed by the civic movement since
the 1990s has also had an ambiguous effect on the politics of democratic struggle in
Zimbabwe. On the one hand the language of civic and constitutional rights has
greatly expanded the debate on democratic participation in the context of a long
tradition of such rights struggles around, for example, the rule of law, the vote,
urban and rural governance, women’s rights, workers’ rights in the anti-colonial
struggles, as well as the strategic use of universalist claims around citizenship to
confront the repressive constructions of the settler state (Ranger and Bhebe, 2001;
Ranger, 2003). Moreover, the politics of the human rights movement has created a
strong tradition of research, reporting and advocacy on rights issues at national,
regional and international levels that has made Zimbabwe one of the most
documented countries in this area on the continent. The vigilance and courage of
civic activists in the country have made them the scourge of the Mugabe regime,
providing a series of damning reports and advocacy interventions that have helped
to undermine the legitimacy of the regime.
The discourse of human rights, however, has also been constructed in a global
context in which, since the 1990s, aid from the EU and the OECD has linked neoliberal
economic policies to the ‘good governance’ agenda and political conditionality,
in which the emphasis has been placed on elections and formal political and civic
rights, rather than on social and economic rights (Abrahamson, 1997). Under this
framework, it is believed that elections will ‘broaden and deepen political
participation’, and serve ‘not just as a foundation stone but a key generator of
further democratic reforms’ (Carothers, 2002, p. 8). Through US state-funded
organisations such as the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican
Institute and Freedom House, this dominant political perspective of democracy
assistance is funnelled, in which aid is targeted at key political institutions such as
political parties and civic groups, ‘with the hope of catalytic effects’ (Carothers, 2009,
p. 5). Much of the human rights discourse and lobbying in Zimbabwe is constructed
through this framework, with little analysis of political economy issues, the broader
effects of global neo-liberalism on local debates, or the politics of regional dynamics
in SADC.1 Moreover, notwithstanding the recurrent problems of violence and
accountability in the MDCs, there has been too little critical attention given to this
matter in the civic movement because of the strategic priority of removing the
Mugabe regime. The result is that there is likely to be little preparedness for the
problems that have confronted other pro-democracy movements coming to power,
namely weakly institutionalised political systems, and the challenges of succession
and executive dominance that drive such parties (Rakner, 2010).
The making of such a critique is not aimed at undermining both the strategic and
political importance of the human rights debate in Zimbabwe, for as has been
pointed out above this has a long historical record behind it. Nor do such criticisms
vitiate the need for legitimate elections. However, such interventions are meant to
contextualise the current import of the human rights debate, and to take note of its
limitations and disabling elements in the interpellation of people as juridical rather
than more broadly political subjects, and as part of the language of the new form of
imperialism (Neocosmos, 2006, p. 374). This linkage becomes particularly perilous
when the national social base and local forms of civil society from which to launch
such universalist claims have been severely eroded by structural economic crisis and
political repression, and the major advocacy pressure is emanating from external
sources. Drawing once again from Gramsci, it can be noted that when such pressures
are not tightly linked to a strong national social base, there is a greater likelihood of
them becoming extensions of international developments, and passive citizens in a
project beyond their control (Gramsci, 1982, pp. 116–170). In such circumstances
emphasis for political change is placed on changes in the control of the state, with
little thought given to the broader developmental issues required for substantive
Tracking the SADC Mediation
Having set out this general theoretical argument, this section will turn to the detail of
the SADC mediation. As the Zimbabwe crisis unfolded from the late 1990s around
the questions of post-colonial democratisation and the legacies of colonial
inequality, the politics of the crisis posed serious dilemmas not only for
Zimbabweans, but also for the region and South Africa in particular. On becoming
President of South Africa in 1999, Thabo Mbeki, faced with the politics of solidarity
and sovereignty in SADC and the African Union, was determined to avoid the
pitfalls of unilateralism that the South African state encountered in its dealings
with Nigeria, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1990s.
The post-9/11 world and regime change strategy that became a hallmark of US
foreign policy under George W. Bush also heightened the sensitivities of African
states to opposition movements on the continent viewed as the agents of such a
The Mbeki government was also very sensitive about being seen as the regional
bully, pushing its own agendas in conflict situations, and hence continuing the
ambitions of the apartheid state. Thus, on the Zimbabwe question South Africa’s
broader ambition of leading the continent and becoming a global player meant that
it had ‘to walk the tightrope of keeping South Africa’s continental ambitions alive
(by not coming out in opposition to Mugabe’s regime) without totally sacrificing
Western support’ (Freeman, 2005, p. 156), seeking also to link the ‘rhetoric and
energy’ of Pan-Africanism to a struggle to reform the global order (Habib, 2009). In
a paper written on Zimbabwe soon after taking over as head of state, Mbeki stated a
key aspect of his assessment of the problem and his attitude to the ‘party of
revolution’, ZANU-PF:
Of critical importance . . . is the obvious necessity to ensure that Zimbabwe does
not end up in a situation of isolation, confronted by an array of international
forces it cannot defeat, condemned to sink into an ever-deepening social and
economic crisis that would result in the reversal of so many of the gains of the
national democratic revolution. It is also important that the party of revolution
should consider its internationalist responsibilities to the rest of the Continent
and especially to southern Africa, given the reality that events in any one of our
countries has an impact on other countries particularly in our region. (Mbeki,
2008, pp. 66–67)
In breaking down the policy of ‘quiet diplomacy’ that led from Mbeki’s assessment
of the Zimbabwe crisis, Jeremy Cronin (2004), a key member of the Alliance in South
Africa, noted three phases in the strategic approach of the South African
government to Zimbabwe by 2004. In the first phase between the formation of the
MDC and the 2000 general election in Zimbabwe, the MDC was viewed as ‘both a
symptom of weaknesses and errors committed by ZANU-PF, and as a challenge that
could (and should) be warded off’. To deal with the challenge the South African
government encouraged a combination of sustainable and stabilising macroeconomic
policies, pushed by the ‘reformers’ in ZANU-PF, combined with a
modernised electoral strategy that would avoid violence. This, it was hoped, would
avoid the danger of a ‘regime change’ via the ballot box. This strategy was soon
confronted by the resistance of key ZANU-PF factions to any reform strategy, as
well as the party’s preference for violent, patronage-based mobilisation geared
towards maintaining ethnic balance in ZANU-PF. It also failed to account for the
rapid accumulation strategies that the economic crisis presented for the ruling party
In the second phase during the run up to the 2002 Presidential election, after the
surprising success of the MDC in the 2000 general election, the support and social
base of the MDC could not be so easily dismissed. However, the Mbeki government
had three concerns around the MDC. First was the fear that the Zimbabwean
military and security sectors would not accept an elected MDC government, and a
statement to that effect on the eve of the 2002 election merely confirmed that fear.
Second, the South African government was concerned that the MDC would not have
the capacity to run a state, and that this weakness would very quickly lead to a weak,
unstable state on its border. Third, the concern that the MDC was too close to the
West increased anxieties about its future role in the region.2 Given this assessment,
Cronin described the hopes of the South African government in the following terms:
Regime change is one thing, the practical consequences in the immediate
aftermath (as the present reality in Iraq reminds us) is quite another. For these
reasons our government hoped that, as a best case scenario, ZANU-PF would
win a free and fair election. If, however, elections were less than free and fair,
but the ZANU-PF candidate was still declared the winner, the fall-back
scenario would be a pragmatic recognition of a Mugabe ‘victory’, but in return
for this recognition, ZANU-PF would be expected to move immediately to
establishing a GNU with the opposition. (Cronin, 2004, p. 5; see also
Landsberg, 2004)
The highly contested nature of the 2002 election, resulting in a further polarisation of
Zimbabwean politics and the West–Africa divide on the Zimbabwe crisis, scuttled
this scenario.
In the aftermath of another highly contested general election in 2005 and the
deepening divide around Zimbabwe that ensued, the Mbeki government continued
to place its emphasis on the need for a national dialogue between the major parties,
leading to a free and fair election. It was also hoped that this eventuality would result
in the removal of the sanctions, and that the heightened succession battle in ZANUPF
would lead to a Mugabe exit and a reformed ZANU-PF agenda, on the
understanding that such a transition would have the support of the military.
This analysis of the Mbeki government is interesting because, in the view of this
writer, its central theses provided that paradigm for the mediation attempts that
followed. Moreover, this was an assessment that largely framed the constraints of the
Zuma administration that succeeded Mbeki. The unified MDC up to 2005 shared
Mbeki’s objective to move towards a free and fair election, but clearly differed with
him on the future role of ZANU-PF. In the early attempt by President Obasanjo of
Nigeria and President Mbeki of South Africa to mediate a settlement in 2002, the
MDC stated this position clearly:
. . . we in the MDC stand ready to embark on a process of national
reconciliation and national healing. But such a process must be anchored in a
sound foundation characterised by an unconditional return to legitimacy. This
can only be achieved through fresh presidential elections, under free and fair
conditions and supervised and monitored by the region, the continent and the
international community. (Tsvangirai, 2002, p. 3)
For its part, ZANU-PF noted that its central position was tied to legitimacy, not
derived primarily from an electoral process, but from the sovereignty achieved as a
result of the liberation struggle:
The huge sacrifices which accompanied our rise to statehood makes the
sovereignty of this country sacred and sacrosanct, a non-negotiable issue we are
duty bound to uphold, defend and augment for all times as Zimbabweans. No
one party around or to come, can ever arrogate to itself the right to negotiate
our sovereignty. Indeed, no one party can ask for permission to diminish our
sovereignty through associations, whether national or international, which may
threaten it. (Chinamasa, 2002, pp. 5–6)
These competing discourses continued to run right through the positions of ZANUPF
and the two MDCs in the period leading to and in the wording of the GPA signed
in September 2008, with the language of much of the civic movement according
closely with that of the MDCs. Moreover, in Mbeki’s early treatise on the Zimbabwe
situation, mentioned above, one could detect both discourses, with a definite
partiality towards the language of the liberation movement in Zimbabwe (Moore,
After the Extra-ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of SADC
in Dar-es-Salaam on 29 March 2007 mandated President Mbeki to act as facilitator
between ZANU-PF and the two MDCs, Mbeki stated that the dialogue should
achieve the following:
. Endorse the decision to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008.
. Agree on the steps that must be taken . . . to ensure that everybody concerned
accepts the results of the elections as being truly representative of the will of the
. Agree on the measures that all political parties and other social forces must
implement and respect to create the necessary climate that will facilitate such
Mbeki also put forward his hope that the projected 2008 election would ‘provide a
golden and strategic opportunity’ to ‘begin the process leading to the normalisation
of the situation in Zimbabwe’ and the ‘resumption of its development and
reconstruction process intended to achieve a better life for all Zimbabweans, on a
sustained basis’.3 In response the two MDCs set out their conditions for a free and
fair election, stressing that the existing constitution was the ‘root cause of many of
the problems’ that beset the country, and that therefore new elections ‘should only
take place after a new democratic national Constitution comes into operation’
(MDC, 2007). Predictably, ZANU-PF responded that the Land Question, ‘and not
the so called need for a new Constitution, alleged human rights violations or alleged
lack of the rule of law or a declining economy’ was at the centre of the Zimbabwe
situation (ZANU-PF, 2007).
With electoral conditions and constitutional reform at the heart of the mediation
process, Mbeki attempted to cajole both sides into an election as soon as possible,
going so far as to make exaggerated claims in his report to the SADC organ on
politics, defence and security, in February 2008, that the parties had reached
agreement on all substantive issues relating to the political situation, noting that ‘the
only outstanding matter relates to the procedure to be followed in enacting the
agreed draft constitution’ (SADC, 2008). A joint statement by both MDCs protested
against Mbeki’s report and the subsequent SADC statement, pointing out that the
issues of the date of the elections, the time-frame for the implementation of the
agreed reforms and the ‘process and manner of the making and enactment of a new
constitution were not matters of procedure but of substance and went to the heart of
the matter’. Moreover, Mugabe’s unilateral announcement of the election date
‘amounted to a repudiation of the SADC dialogue by ZANU-PF’ (MDC, 2008).
After the electoral victories of the MDC-T in particular in the general and first
round presidential elections of 2008, and the ensuing illegitimate presidential run-off
in June of that year, the resumed SADC mediation resulted in the September 2008
GPA. ZANU-PF has used its continued monopoly over the state’s coercive forces to
limit the implementation of those aspects of the GPA that could potentially open up
democratic spaces in the Zimbabwean polity. In particular, Mugabe’s party has
refused to consider any security sector reform, for fear of unravelling the centre of
the party. Moreover, although there has been some movement in the establishment
of new electoral and human rights commissions, the opening up of the media space
has been confined to the print media, with the more popular electronic media still
firmly under party control. In the area of constitutional reform, the agreement under
Section 6.1 of the GPA to carry out the process under the auspices of a Select
Committee of Parliament represented a position in which the MDC compromised on
the process in order to try to gain as much as possible from the content. It is likely
therefore that the substantive content of the new constitution will be composed of
the compromised Kariba Draft signed by the negotiators in September 2007.
It bears repeating that the lack of internal leverage by both MDCs against
Mugabe’s authoritarian project, notwithstanding the electoral majority of the MDCT,
gave them little room but to negotiate the compromises of the GPA. Since
entering the Inclusive Government in February 2009, the MDCs have on the one
hand pushed for full implementation of the GPA, while on the other hand they have
struggled to position themselves in a state whose structure is still largely shaped by
the imperatives of ZANU-PF’s military-economic elite. The seemingly endless
struggle over the outstanding issues overlaps with both these processes and has once
again cast the MDCs not only against ZANU-PF but also against each other, and in
a few cases led to agreement between MDC-M and ZANU-PF over the
interpretation of the outstanding issues.4 With their politics henceforth focused
largely on working within the state, the effects of this emphasis on the MDCs have
been twofold. At one level the already difficult relationship that existed between the
two MDC formations during the mediation process grew more antagonistic both in
the run up to the 2008 elections and in the period of further mediation that followed.
After a brief attempt to draw up principles of cooperation in April 2007, lack of
agreement over parliamentary selection and the jostling for future positions in the
state ensured a growing animosity between the two formations with the dominant
MDC-T, seeing little gain in developing a parliamentary pact with a rump of the
original party, whose prospects beyond another election looked terminal. The
relationship between the two formations continued to be difficult in the Inclusive
Government, with the MDC-T and much of the civic movement viewing the
Mutambara formation as a temporary irritant, undeserving of its place in such an
agreement. That such intolerance should persist in the ranks of the opposition
remains a disturbing feature of Zimbabwe’s political culture.
At another level the focus on state power, away from party organisational work,
led to increasing tensions within each party. In the MDC-T, organisational and
structural problems in the party as well as internal party violence, which led to the
split in 2005 (Raftopoulos, 2006), recurred in 2010 because the issues were left largely
unattended to. Reported struggles in this party have, as in 2005, focused on the
tensions between the offices of the President and that of the Secretary General, with
the role of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ once again coming to the fore (Zimbabwe Independent,
2010). Apart from the changed contexts in which these tensions emerged, there are
three differences between the struggles in 2010 and those preceding the 2005 tragedy.
First, in the earlier period the donors largely supported the removal of Welshman
Ncube, the Secretary General of the united MDC and one of the leading protagonists
in the 2005 split, as they saw him as an obstacle in strengthening the powers of the
Presidency. In the recent period the donors were very much behind Tendai Biti
because of his management of the economy (Zimbabwe Independent, 2010). Second, in
2005 Ncube’s social base in the party was weak and the ethnicisation of the politics of
the split led to a rapid demonisation of his person, not only in the party but also in the
allied civic movement. In the current period, although Tsvangirai’s position in the
party and the country is unassailable, Biti’s position is much stronger that Ncube’s
was in 2005. In a further twist to this internal struggle, Mugabe was reported to have
warned Tsvangirai against removing Biti both because of his effectiveness as a
minister (Zimbabwe Independent, 2010) and arguably because of Biti’s role in
negotiating a future normalisation of relations between Zimbabwe and the
International Financial Institutions (IFI). Third, it is highly unlikely that the current
tensions in the party will lead to a split, as they did in 2005. This is because Biti has
neither a sufficient political base nor the political space in the current conjuncture for
such a move, and Tsvangirai, on his part, feels the divisions can be dealt with within
the party structures without threatening his position. Both are aware that another
split in the MDC would be disastrous.
In the smaller Mutambara MDC, the bleak prospects of surviving an election in
the near future, as well as the severely weakened state of the party, have led to several
defections, criticisms of the party leadership, and the formation of yet another
splinter group, MDC 99, led by a former member of this formation and a student
leader in the 1990s, Job Sikhala. With little prospect of surviving outside the current
arrangements of the state, it is not surprising that such squabbles emerged over
existing positions (NewsDay, 2010; Financial Gazette, 2010).
All these developments signified internal party tensions in the context of a broader
political parabola still shaped by the destructive politics of ZANU-PF, in which the
electoral power of Tsvangirai’s party had yet to provide the leverage to shift the
military power at the heart of Mugabe’s party. In the face of these challenges,
the role of the international community proved equally problematic. Since the early
2000s, sanctions imposed against key figures in the Mugabe regime by the United
States and the EU, combined with the lack of new development assistance from the
IFIs, have been the major strategic weapon used by the West in attempts to push the
regime into political and economic liberalisation. The language of the sanctions has
been cast as punishment against the regime for its use of political violence and
intimidation, lack of free and fair elections, human rights abuses, erosion of the rule
of law, a land acquisition process that undermined the protection of property, and
the abuses of the media and judiciary (MacDermott, 2009).
After the signing of the GPA, however, the politics of the sanctions issue became a
further site of the ambiguity in the Inclusive Government, and thus a source of
renewed rhetorical fire from Mugabe’s nationalist turrets. The GPA committed the
parties to work ‘together in re-engaging the international community with a view to
bringing to an end the country’s international isolation’ (Global Political Agreement,
2008, p. 4). In the ‘Final Report of the Negotiators on the Post-Maputo Interparty
Dialogue’, issued in April 2010, it was also agreed that the principals ‘should meet
and consider the issuance of a statement and the convening of a press conference
restating commitment to the GPA, and the removal of sanctions . . . and the
implementation and execution of a consistent message on the question of sanctions’.
SADC persistently supported such a position, and Mbeki’s successor Jacob Zuma
repeated it during his state visit to the United Kingdom in March 2010.
Both the EU and the United States on their part argued that the removal of
sanctions could only be linked to a full implementation of the GPA, and that until
such time the measures would remain in place with assistance restricted to the
humanitarian sphere. The US and British governments in particular were always
clear that any full re-engagement between Zimbabwe and the international
community depended on the removal of Mugabe. At the end of 2008, a few months
after the signing of the GPA, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi
Fraser, was categorical about this: ‘Mugabe is a barrier to progress, and is not likely
to be a viable partner towards the successful implementation of the September deal’
(Business Day, 2008). This position was stated more diplomatically by the Foreign
Secretary of the new British government in June 2010:
This government will focus on supporting a process that gives Zimbabweans a
chance to state their democratic preferences, and that leads to a stable
government genuinely representing the people’s will. It is vital that elections,
when held, must be concluded in a manner that allows Zimbabweans to express
their opinions in an informed and free way and without fear of violence and
intimidation. We will be working with the international and regional
community to ensure that this can happen. (Zimbabwe Vigil, 2010)
The debate on Zimbabwe’s future thus took on, once again, the complexion of an
Africa versus the West confrontation, with Mugabe, and SADC, arguing that the
EU and the United States should respect the terms of an African-negotiated
solution. With the human rights groups generally supportive of the position of the
donors, advocacy around the sanctions issue appeared as an issue largely driven by
outside actors, with the local advocacy groups in a junior, supportive role. The
advocacy around the suspension of Zimbabwe in the Kimberley Process over the
human rights abuses related to the mining of diamonds in the Chiadzwa area
appeared in a similar light, notwithstanding the arrest of local civic activist Farai
Maguwu. The key point that emerged from these forms of pressure was that with a
severely weakened local civic base and in the context of an opposition that had
signed up to a regionally negotiated power pact, these measures took on the
appearance of a politics driven largely by external sources, thus subordinating local
forces to a different kind of passive revolution. In July 2010 the negotiators of the
three parties in the GPA held talks with the Vice-President of the EU and the
Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, under Article 96 of the Cotonou
Agreement, with the aim of moving the dialogue between the parties forward, with
the discussion particularly focused on constitutional and security reforms. After the
talks Ashton stated that the EU ‘appreciates some progress made implementing the
Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe and remains ready to continue the dialogue
and to respond flexibly and positively to any clear signals of further concrete
progress’. Moreover, following this meeting the mandated parties in Harare were
tasked with defining the indicators, setting the timetable for the achievement of
concrete objectives based on their respective roadmaps of commitments, and
monitoring progress (Europa, 2010). It remains to be seen whether this will be a step
towards the ‘normalisation of the situation’ in Zimbabwe envisaged by Mbeki.
This paper has attempted to argue, using the Gramscian concept of ‘passive revolution’,
that Zimbabwe’s democratic forces have become part of a passive revolution through
two processes. In one part of this configuration, notwithstanding the electoral popularity
of Tsvangirai’s MDC, the repressive anchor of the Mugabe regime, itself pushed into a
negotiated settlement by a variety of factors, has largely shaped the contours of this
settlement, forcing the opposition to adjust to ZANU-PF’s reconfiguration of the state
and its relations to capital from above. Moreover, ZANU-PF has carried out this
manoeuvre under the cover of the regional body, itself constrained by its own
limitations. In another part of this conjuncture, the control of an important tool of
leverage for change in the country’s political relations by external forces has placed the
opposition and civic forces in a subordinate role to broader global agendas on political
and economic change. In this context, the politics of the opposition and civil society
groupings could be understood as being in a defensive mode, fighting to institutionalise
forms of politics that could establish a broader basis for imagining and carrying out
alternative political visions. Moreover, the MDC-T in particular has had to adapt its
political positioning to the imperatives of the GPA, the politics of SADC, and the
demands of its supporters in the West. In this field of force the persistent calls for new
legitimate elections have been understandable, but clearly face enormous odds. Finding
a way through the problem remains a complex challenge that involves not just an
electoral strategy but a broader development vision.
1. A good example of this trajectory of research and advocacy is the Research and Advocacy Unit, What
are the Options for Zimbabwe? Dealing with the Obvious!, Harare, 4 May 2010, where the lack of an
historical sensibility is palpable.
2. I heard these concerns on many occasions between 2002 and 2007 in my discussions with key figures in
the Mbeki administration and the leadership of the two MDCs.
3. Letter from Thabo Mbeki to Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, cc President Robert
Mugabe, 4 April 2007.
4. See the Final Report of the Negotiators on the Post Maputo Interparty Dialogue, April 2010. The
MDC-M refers to the smaller formation of the MDC, led by former student leader and prominent
academic Prof. Arthur Mutambara, which emerged after the split in the organisation in 2005.
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