By Tichaona Sibanda
22 December 2010
Johannes Tomana, the Attorney-General unilaterally appointed by Robert
Mugabe two years ago, has been placed on the U.S sanctions list for
‘undermining democratic processes in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe controversially named Tomana as the new AG in December 2008, without
consulting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in clear violation of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA).
His appointment still remains as one of the unresolved issues in the GPA.
Other issues not resolved are the swearing-in of Roy Bennett, the
appointment of provincial governors and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono
Tomana’s inclusion on the sanctions list was announced in Washington on
Tuesday by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets
But a check by SW Radio Africa revealed that Tomana has not been added to
the European Union list of sanctions at this stage.
It has emerged that most officials in the MDC thought the AG was already on
both the sanctions lists. ‘We always believed he was on both the U.S and EU
sanctions list and we were alarmed to say the least when we discovered he
was not. We got to know about it when we read it from various online
publications,’ a top official in the MDC-T said.
Another legislator from the MDC-T said Tomana deserved to be on the list,
describing him a ‘devillish little man who is extremely cruel’.
He went on to describe him as also lacking confidence, prone to blundering
and as not the cleverest of legal minds.
‘But he saves ZANU PF well in ruthlessly abusing the law to thwart MDC
activities,’ the Senator added.
Political analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri told us Tomana is a ZANU PF activist,
masquerading as the state’s chief law officer, whose job is to frustrate and
deny justice to anyone perceived to be in opposition to his party.
Mutandiri said he remembers too well when Tomana was appointed as AG and the
Zimbabwe Youth Network called on the US and EU to include him on their
‘The group made so much noise, but calls for him to be slapped with
sanctions were drowned by concerted efforts from the MDC formations to have
his appointment reversed by Mugabe.
‘The remaining issues on the GPA diverted the attention of a lot of people
to a point where his case went under the radar of the Western countries, as
far as targeted sanctions were concerned,’ Mutandiri added.
Last weekend the former ruling party was mulling over a law that will make
it treasonous for a person to support sanctions against the country in any
During the ZANU PF conference in Mutare Mugabe had urged legislators from
his party to look at the possibilities of coming up with legal mechanisms to
punish citizens, parties and organisations that advocate or support
sanctions on Zimbabwe.
‘It should be treasonous to do so; treasonous to call for sanctions on the
people and anyone doing so is inviting punishment. We want to have laws to
deal with this,’ Mugabe said.
Analysts have however pointed to the fact that the party doesn’t have enough
numbers in the House of Assembly to craft such a law.
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 22 December 2010
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF is using farm inputs to bribe
Harare residents as the faction-riddled former ruling party embarks on an
electoral charm offensive to crawl back into the capital where it has
struggled to win seats since 2000.
In a desperate move to endear itself with the electorate, Zimbabwe’s former
sole ruling party started last week to donate maize seed and fertilizer to
In one of the cases, ZANU PF officials in the Mabelreign area offered
residents “no-strings-attached” two kilogramme packets of seed and
fertilizer in what observers say is part of an overall strategy to revive
the party’s collapsed structures in the city.
“We just took the seed and fertilizer but there is no guarantee that we are
now ZANU PF supporters. After all, it’s our money that was used to buy
those inputs,” said one of the recipients who spoke to ZimOnline on
condition he was not named for fear of victimisation.
The freebies have until now been reserved for the rural electorate and the
extension of the donations to Harare shows ZANU PF’s desperation to wrestle
control of the cities from the former opposition MDC-T led by Prime Minister
Mugabe’s party lost all but one of Harare’s 29 parliamentary seats during
the last general election held in March 2008.
It also failed to secure any seats in the second largest city of Bulawayo
while it managed just a few seats in other major towns such as Mutare,
Masvingo and Gweru.
Zimbabwe is next year looking to hold a referendum on a new constitution
followed by elections that many analysts have warned could see a return to
violence without political, security and electoral reforms.
Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterized by political violence and gross
human rights abuses with the last vote in June 2008 ending inconclusively
after the military-led campaign of violence and murder that forced
Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential ballot.
He had earlier narrowly won the first round ballot in March of that year.
By Margaret Chinowaita
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:24
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his two colleagues in the unity
government have been slammed for dressing the internecine problems in their
administration that have left the power sharing deal hanging by a thread.
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy – Arthur Mutambara –
this week rallied to playdown the rift in the fragile government and
instead, said progress has been made.
This was in sharp contrast to the utterances by both Mugabe and Tsvangirai
who, recently, fired salvoes at each other by sending conflicting signals on
the elections whose date is yet to be announced.
“The principals’ stance of talking over the table while shouting insults at
each other during political rallies is a gimmick to appear organized before
the eyes of SADC,” Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst, told the Daily
“They are just pretending to be organized so as to please SADC.”
Zhangazha said both Mugabe and Tsvangirai were consistent in their tones
which signalled elections, and their rare act of solidarity on Monday, was
meant to hoodwink the world.
The three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), on Monday held
a joint press briefing where they made a dramatic U-turn on elections, which
Mugabe had said would be held with or without a new constitution.
“The next election, as far as the three of us are concerned, is a
process-driven setting. No one here can tell you we are going to have
elections on this date or that date,” said Tsvangirai while explaining the
different signals on elections coming from his party and Zanu PF.
“Different political parties have different interpretations. But until such
time as it can be discussed, when the time for elections comes and we have
one common position, I think you have party positions and not national
“This inclusive government has not collapsed and will not collapse. At least
we will ensure that it is there to fulfil its mandate for the duration of
the transition until an election is conducted,” he said.
Civil Rights defender Pedzisai Ruhanya accused Mugabe and his two colleagues
of double speak.
Said Ruhanya: “When the politicians preach peace on television this should
transcend to the grass roots. What the country needs now is a culture of
tolerance,” said Ruhanya.
Ruhanya observed that while the two major political parties in the country
had been calling for peaceful elections, the undertones of their speeches
left a lot to be desired.
“People should know that we are all humans after all and we should respect
each other. We are one of the African countries with a high literacy rate
and this should show on how we deal with each other,” said Ruhanya.
Speaking at the just-ended Zanu PF national congress, President Mugabe urged
his supporters to desist from violence during election time, but told them
to retaliate if attacked by opposition.
“But we must fight back if attacked; we must not fold our hands if we are
provoked,” he said.
An informal survey of consumers suggested many retailers have boosted prices
all around seeking a larger share of year-end bonuses received by the
relatively few Zimbabweans fortunate enough to have jobs
Gibbs Dube | Washington 21 December 2010
Some Zimbabweans are experiencing sticker shock this festive season as they
make the rounds of stores and find steep price increases for basic
commodities such as maize meal, sugar and cooking oil.
An informal survey of consumers suggested many retailers have boosted prices
across the board, according to some seeking a larger share of yearend
bonuses received by the relatively small number of Zimbabweans fortunate
enough to have jobs.
Masvingo resident Tonderai Kuvheya said the price of sugar has risen 50
cents to US$2.50, a 25 percent increase just in the past week. He said such
price moves have put many basic food items out of reach for poorer
“The majority of people will not afford to buy most of these commodities
during and after the festive season,” Kuvheya said.
Across the country, Bulawayo resident Sibasa Tshuma confirmed the trend.
“Retailers are increasing prices of basic commodities as if we are still
using the worthless Zimbabwe dollar,” Tshuma said, adding that the
government should intervene "to ensure that sanity prevails in the retail
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Bulawayo Regional Manager Comfort Muchekeza
said food price rises rises are being driven by recent increases in gasoline
But economist James Wade said price increases have become a tradition in the
festive season, though he acknowledged various other factors are at play.
“We expect the price increases to slow down after the festive season as most
people will have little disposable income,” Wade told reporter Gibbs Dube.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 December, 2010
Conditions at Beitbridge have been described as ‘chaotic’ and ‘depressing’
by Finance Minister Tendai Biti, after he visited the border post on Monday.
Accompanied by transport minister Nicholas Goche, Biti said he was shocked
to see thousands of people stuck for hours between South Africa and
Zimbabwe. He expressed concern that the chaos is affecting tourism by
discouraging visitors andhe promised that improvements would begin shortly.
As always the holidays bring thousands more travelers passing between the
two countries. An estimated 17,000 are reported to have been passing into
Zimbabwe every day this month, compared to just 2,000 per day throughout the
rest of the year. Last weekend 55,190 visitors were cleared to enter the
Zimbabwe and 21,738 passed into South Africa.
Immigration officials at Beitbridge, as usual, are struggling to deal with
the numbers of people and vehicles, because of their old equipment and slow
bureaucratic methods. Many officials are allegedly taking advantage of
desperate travelers by asking for bribes in order to speed up their journey.
Zimbabwean writer and journalist Geoff Hill, who is based in South Africa,
confirmed reports of the chaos, saying it is the same every year. He told SW
Radio Africa that one of his colleagues who left South Africa on Monday,
took 17 hours to cross into Zimbabwe at the border post.
Hill explained that Beitbridge gets very crowded because it is also a
transit route for people going to Zambia and Malawi. The immigration office
is small and all traffic is funneled through one narrow lane. The only way
to increase capacity would be to add more officers and more desks.
Regarding reports that travelers are forced to use any available spaces to
relieve themselves, Hill said: “There is nothing else people can do. There
is a lot of open bush space on either side but I have not heard of any
outbreak of disease.”
After ruling Zimbabwe for 30 years Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF have failed to
install basic computer systems at the country’s busiest border post.
A project is reported to be underway to computerize the systems, but that is
being financed by an international NGO, who financed similar projects at the
airport in Harare and Victoria Falls.
Another indication of how Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF invest nothing in the
infrastructure of Zimbabwe.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 December, 2010
A family in Esgodini township outside Bulawayo discovered on Wednesday that
their father is at Gwanda police station, after he went missing last week.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that a street vendor named Johan
Ndhlovu was arrested by former army colonel George Nhare, after he was heard
to say ‘the old man must resign’.
According to Saungweme, Ndhlovu never uttered the name Robert Mugabe, and so
could have been referring to anyone. But Nhare who is currently working with
the CIO, accused the vendor of ‘insulting’ Mugabe and took him into custody.
“Nhare is well known for taking part in the farm invasions and has been
working with ZANU PF youth. He is one of the people intimidating villagers
in Esgodini,” our correspondent said.
Several ZANU PF youths helped with the arrest and they took Ndhlovu to an
unspecified location. Saungweme said Ndhlovu’s family had been looking for
him since last week, assisted by some members from the community. It was
only on Wednesday that they found he was in detention at Gwanda police
Ndhlovu was arrested at Zeederberg garage, where many farmers sell their
products. It is not clear what he is being charged with but Saungweme said
he believes the arrest is meant as a message to others in the area, that
they too can suffer the same fate if they do not support Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Over the years many people have been arrested after making innocent comments
about Mugabe or the government. Our correspondent said the arrests are meant
to send a political warning to suspected MDC supporters.
Ndhlovu was still in police custody as of early Wednesday evening. His
family hopes that he will be released in time for Christmas.
President Mugabe and his former ruling ZANU-PF party had earlier insisted
that presidential and general elections be held by next June
Blessing Zulu | Washington DC 21 December 2010
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signaled that there is room for
discussion of just when the next round of national elections should be held,
in contrast with his earlier insistence - and that of his ZANU-PF party in
conference just last weekend - that the national unity government should
fold and elections be held by mid-2011.
Analysts parsing his comments in a joint news conference Monday with his
fellow unity government heads - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, respectively of the greater and lesser
formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change -
detected a surprisingly concilliatory note.
The president has not actually reversed himself, but suggested he would
entertain some consultation within the "inclusive" government on when to
proceed to a ballot.
Though stating that the 2008 Global Political Agreement underpinning power
shareing is “not a permanent establishment,” President Mugabe observed that
"it is envisaged in the GPA that there will be a process towards
elections.The parties have different opinions and these opinions will be
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a year-end statement as
president of the larger MDC formation, said his party is “ready for an
election and not a war,” and that his MDC would not join a “blood-soaked
event masquerading as an election.”
Mr. Tsvangirai also reiterated his call for a vote on the presidency alone,
leaving the current Parliament in place as the 2008 general election results
The prime minister called for a clear road map to new elections, with
benchmarks for reforms and milestones on a timeline for progress, with the
Southern African Development Community and the African Union guaranteeing
Political analyst Hopewell Gumbo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu
that Mr. Mugabe’s seeming shift in position looks more like a tactical move.
By Alex Bell
22 December 2010
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has said that the all the licences awarded to a
British based mining firm, which used to operate out of Chiadzwa, will be
The group, African Consolidated Resources (ACR), has been fighting a
protracted legal battle to have its Chiadzwa claim returned, after being
kicked off the site at gunpoint in 2006. The government, through its mining
parastatal the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), took over the
site and started mining under two joint venture mining agreements. The joint
ventures, Mbada and Canadile, have been linked to high level corruption
involving top ZANU PF officials, who have been plundering Chiadzwa for their
ACR meanwhile has mining interests in other sectors in Zimbabwe, including
platinum, gold and nickel. But Mpofu has this week threatened to revoke all
the licences granted to the group, saying “all of them were acquired
ACR’s Chiadzwa licence is already being contested after the High Court in
September rescinded a 2009 ruling, which stated that ACR was the legal
Chiadzwa site owner. The company has appealed this decision, but despite the
ongoing fight over who has legal ownership there, diamond mining has
It is widely thought that Mpofu’s threats against ACR are linked to Robert
Mugabe’s warning last week that Western companies may face sanctions if the
targeted sanctions against the regime are not lifted. Mugabe said at the
ZANU PF conference in Mutare last week that it was “time to read the riot
act to the British,” and other western states for refusing to lift the
targeted sanctions on the ruling elite. But Mpofu has denied that the
threatened action against ACR is linked to Mugabe’s comments, saying only
that ACR’s licences “will be revoked because there were irregularities when
they were issued.”
ACR chief executive, Andrew Cranswick, has told the Bloomberg news service
that “none of our claims were improperly acquired.” He added: "We will do
everything we can to protect our rights.”
22 December 2010 @ 12:49 pm BST
African Consolidated Resources plc said it has not received any formal
notice from Zimbabwe cancelling its mining licences.
The company was responding to a press report quoting a statement by Obert
Mpofu, the Zimbabwe minister of mines, that all its mineral claims would be
revoked due to irregularities when the licences were issued and claiming
they were acquired fraudulently.
ACR said it wished to confirm categorically that there were no
irregularities and that, having taken appropriate advice, none of the
licences were acquired fraudulently.
The company has been in dispute with the ministry since March 2007 in
connection with its alluvial diamond discovery at Marange.
Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
Friday, 17 December 2010 10:34
Dumisani Ndlela, Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe government has ordered local diamond mining firms to sell their
gemstones through an auction system in an interesting twist to a turbulent
sector currently under international spotlight over exploitation of the
Marange alluvial diamond deposits. Sources within the mining industry and
government said the move, which comes hard on the heels of a Cabinet
decision limiting the mining of all alluvial diamonds to government, has
been communicated to the country’s independent diamond mining firms by the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
Zimbabwe has two major diamond mining firms — Murowa Diamo-nds and River
Murowa is jointly owned by Rio Tinto Plc and the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange-listed RioZim Limited while River Ranch is majority-owned by a
Saudi Arabian magnate.
However, other players were recently licenced to produce gemstones from the
controversial Marange claims. These include Mbada Diamonds, Marange
Resources, Sino-Zim-babwe, Anjin and Pure Diam.
The Financial Gazette could not immediately establish the rationale for the
decision. However, industry players said the new arrangement allo-wed the
MMCZ to closely monitor the disposal of the gemstones.
“It looks like they are trying to establish the true value of Zimbabwe
diamonds,” said a Ministry of Mines official close to Mines Minister, Obert
Zimbabwe diamonds have always been sold through the MMCZ, a statutory body
created under the MMCZ Act of June 1982.
The MMCZ is the exclusive agent for the selling and marketing of all
minerals produced in Zimbabwe, except gold and silver.
As a wholly owned government parastatal, the parastatal falls under the
ambit of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The MMCZ controls and carries out sales and exports of all minerals produced
in Zimbabwe and also manages the stockpiling of minerals in the country.
It also has the mandate to minimise opportunities for underhand and
dishonest dealings that border on transfer pricing and, under invoicing.
The corporation also coordinates all marketing intelligence, monitor
international affairs and keep pace with technological chan-ges to the best
advantage of the State, producers and the industry.
The MMCZ also evaluates gemstones and is responsible for the issuing of the
Kimberly Process Certificates in Zimbabwe to diamond mining firms.
The MMCZ acting chief executive officer, Masimba Chandaveng-erwa, declined
to comment when contacted by this paper over the latest development.
But several mining firms confirmed there has been a change in the selling of
Officials said even preliminary and partial documentation could help them
acquire a safe haven against being deported as illegal aliens as of January
Tatenda Gumbo | Washington 21 December 2010
As a year-end deadline in South Africa approaches for Zimbabweans to
regularize their residency status, the Home Affairs office is urging them to
persist in seeking documents even if it does not seem likely they will
complete the process by December 31.
Officials said even preliminary and partial documentation could help them
acquire a safe haven against being deported as illegal aliens as of January
South African authorities have been adamant that the deadlilne will not be
extended - but modifications to the documentation program give Zimbabweans
who have had problems renewing passports or securing other papers a chance
to submit applications before the fast-appproaching deadline so they will at
least be in a Home Office database.
For instance, those who have a receipt showing they have applied for a
Zimbabwean passport, or who have some other form of Zimbabwean identity
docment can submit an application to the Home Office for a four-year
The Home Office said applications can be sumbitted without fingerprints, as
those can be collected once all necessary documents are provided by an
But officials warn that Zimbabweans cannot use passport receipts or other
documents being accepted as the basis of applications as travel documents.
Those still in Zimbabwe must obtain a passport before entering South Africa
to complete the process.
South African Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni told VOA reporter
Tatenda Gumbo that those without any identification will be entered into a
special database – but stressed that they must provide their information
before the deadline to the Home Office, the Harare government or
non-government organizations helping in the process.
One option for Zimbabweans without any documents at all is to submit their
particulars to a member organization of the Stakeholders Forum, which will
pass the information on to the Department of Home Affairs. Any member
organization can accept data.
Ngqabutho Dube of the South African office of the Movement for Democratic
Change formation of Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said
his party has been submitting names and encouraged Zimbabweans to call the
Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:34pm GMT
* Immigrant problems could unsettle both governments
* South Africa pleads with immigrants to apply
* Fears of another wave of attack on immigrants
By Jon Herskovitz
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Trucker Cephas Mugaranyemba joined
thousands of desperate immigrants queuing at South Africa's Home Affairs
ministry, wondering if he would be one of about 1 million Zimbabweans facing
deportation in the New Year.
After waiting days to press their case, the migrants end up crammed in an
office before an imposing metal grill separating them from bureaucrats
filing through papers that could determine if they will have to flee their
homes in just weeks.
With unemployment at 25 percent, South Africa has faced criticism from its
poor for allowing hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to enter its
territory without documents when the state plunged into economic and
political chaos two years ago.
It is now requiring those migrants to apply for proper visas by Dec. 31,
setting the stage for a mass deportation some time next year that could
spark another round of violence directed at foreigners after deadly attacks
two year ago unnerved investors in Africa's largest economy and rattled the
Mugaranyemba had to wait even longer as Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini Zuma stopped at the office for a surprise inspection on Monday to
see how bureaucrats were coping with the tens of thousands of Zimbabweans
who have camped out by immigration offices since then to meet the deadline.
"There is no urgency to what they are doing," Mugaranyemba said as the
minister spent an hour talking to office staff a few metres away from him
and fellow Zimbabweans at the head of a line stretching down two floors and
onto a dusty Johannesburg street, where a faint wind lifted the stench of
"If I can't get the papers, I will have to go home," said the man who had
lived in South Africa for four years.
ELECTIONS AND CHAOS
For Zimbabwe, the migrants are likely voters for rivals to long-standing
leader Robert Mugabe who could alter an election sought by his ZANU-PF for
next year. They are also a source of remittance payments that help steady
its wobbly economy.
"For ZANU, having these people outside the country and not able to vote is
an advantage. As long as people can stay in South Africa and support people
in Zimbabwe, it has been able to maintain some semblance of recovery," said
Loren Landau, director of the African Centre for Migration and Society at
the University of the Witwatersrand.
Mugabe, 86 and in power for three decades, told a meeting of his ZANU-PF
party this month that elections should be held next year to dissolve a
coalition government he formed last year with rival Prime Minister Morgan
The last election sparked political violence, which would likely resurface
with another poll in the turbulent state.
For South Africa, the immigrants are the most visible symbol of ethnic
tensions that led to xenophobic attacks in 2008, which killed 62 and left
hundreds of thousands homeless.
Violence could flare again ahead of local elections planned for the first
half of 2011 if South African politicians pander to jobless voters by
calling for deportations of foreigners.
"I'm really not safe here. There are people with guns who take my money. But
in Zimbabwe, there is nothing. No Jobs. If I stay here, at least I can earn
money to pay for school for my children in Zimbabwe," said electrician
Humanatsike Jobolinka, in the crowd trying to file papers before the
Linda, a waitress with two sons, plans to go back to Zimbabwe because no one
will care for them if she is arrested.
IT technician Phakamami Dube obtained a proper visa but worries for his
fellow Zimbabweans who cannot.
"An election in Zimbabwe will make things worse. There would be a new round
of chaos," he said.
South Africa has called on all the immigrants to apply for visas ahead of
the deadline, saying it will not be extended. It has increased staff for
visa processing, eased requirements and extended working hours until 10 p.m.
until the end of the year.
"If they are not in by the 31st, they are out forever," Minister Dlamini
Zuma said at the inspection.
As of Dec. 19, 124,314 Zimbabweans had applied for visas, the government
said, far short of what relief agencies estimate could be as many as 1.5
million in South Africa.
"The process will go on until we have processed every application," she
said. After that, the government will go after those it believes are staying
Zimbabwe has deployed a team in South Africa to help process documents. But
few expect the bulk of immigrants to relocate due to the economic hardships
in Zimbabwe, where most earn less than a dollar a day and per capita GDP is
about 95 percent lower than in South Africa.
"There are so many coming already across the border that you would probably
see an intensification of that -- and a deep reluctance of people here to go
back voluntarily," said Landau.
2010 , 12:24:00
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says more than 10 000
applications from Zimbabweans who are applying for dispensation have been
rejected. She paid an un-announced visit to the Wynberg Home Affairs office.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans queued outside to complete their applications. The
department says more than 127 000 applications have been received, while
just over 42 000 have been processed.
Minister Dlamini-Zuma says there could be a variety of reasons for the
rejections, which are also being reviewed. "One of the reasons used was
somebody misunderstood and didn't only want a copy of the persons passport
but also a copy of the person's employer."
She says the biggest challenge now is to increase staff at their offices,
since the number of applications is increasing as the deadline is looming.
By Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 16:46
HARARE -International press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders,
says it is outraged by the libel suit which First Lady Grace Mugabe has
brought against the independent The Standard newspaper.
Grace is demanding US$15 million from the private weekly for quoting a US
diplomatic cable, leaked by WikiLeaks, accusing her of involvement in
“The First Lady’s libel suit aims to undermine The Standard, which just
reported information available to everyone thanks to WikiLeaks,” Reporters
Without Borders said.
“It highlights the dangers of reporting compromising allegations about
senior officials or people linked to the government in Zimbabwe. Grace
Mugabe did not think twice about abusing her position in an attempt to
cripple this newspaper”, it said in a statement released Wednesday.
The Paris-based body said Grace’s libel suit was an example of how President
Robert Mugabe’s administration is trying to “strangle critical news media
“Suing The Standard for such an exorbitant sum in damages is tantamount to
forcing it to shut down,” it said.
Filed on 15 December, the libel suit was prompted by a report about a 2008
cable in which the then US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, told
Washington that Grace and other members of the Zimbabwean elite were earning
substantial sums from trafficking in diamonds from the Chiadzwa mine in the
eastern region of Marange.
The libel suits brought by Grace and central bank governor Gideon Gono, who
is alleged to have printed additional Zimbabwean banknotes to finance her
purchases of diamonds from the mine, come hard on the heels of other
lawsuits that have been brought against the weekly.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu is suing the newspaper for US$25 million over a
story about a property-buying spree. Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe
is suing it for US$500 000 over an article that insinuated she was
impregnated by a wealthy Zimbabwean businessman.
The ZBC is demanding US$10 million over a story saying its executives were
getting rich while delaying the payment of journalists’ salaries.
Said Reporters Without Borders: “The First Lady’s libel suit has exacerbated
the already tense relations between the authorities and The Standard, one of
few independent newspapers in a country that has been deprived of press
freedom for many years.”
Written by Captain Silver Beard
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 13:44
Around this time in December 2008, scores of people were forcibly taken away
from their homes, buses and business centres . Tearful colleagues and
relatives reported a total of 41 missing persons. Over the past two years
,some of these tormented citizens have been released from secret state
detention centres but five of them have virtually disappeared, looks like
the world has all but forgotten about them, does anyone know anything about
these poor souls, please check and insert comments on the attached Table of
Name of victim
Date of abduction/arrest
Details of incident
1. Lovemore Machokota
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
They were abducted at gunpoint during the day at Nembudziya Growth point by
a gang of armed men led by Known CIO operatives Tobias and Gumbo
2. Charles Muza
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
They were abducted at gunpoint during the day at Nembudziya Growth point by
a gang of armed men led by Known CIO operatives Tobias and Gumbo
3. Ephraim Mabeka
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
They were abducted at gunpoint during the day at Nembudziya Growth point by
a gang of armed men led by Known CIO operatives Tobias and Gumbo
4. Edmore Vangirayi
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Edmore was abducted at gunpoint during the day at Nembudziya Growth point
by a gang of armed men led by Known CIO operatives Tobias and Gumbo
5. Gwenzi Kahiya
Sunday, October 12, 2008
One of the 15 MDC officials and supporters who were abducted from their
homes in October, in Banket Zvimba North constituency. They were briefly
detained in various police stations in Harare and were then handed over to a
Chief Supt Makedenge( ZRP officer ). 14 where found but Gwenzi Kahiya has
not been seen since.
6. Graham Mtetwa
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Graham was abducted by two armed men these were however identified as
Dangirwa and Lucky Chingara.
Found Alive on 6 February 2009
7. Peter Munyanyi
Peter was abducted from Uchinda Business centre at gun point by four
strange men .
Found Alive on 29 June 2009
22 December, 2010 12:54:00 APA
Harare - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the rest of
the international community should insist on a process leading to credible
elections in Zimbabwe, the deputy permanent secretary for media at Botswana’s
Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, Jeff Ramsay, said in a
press statement on Wednesday.
Jeff Ramsay said that Botswana respected Zimbabweans’ right to choose
leaders of their choice but such elections should be “truly democratic and
genuinely free and fair”.
“In this regard SADC, with the support of the international community, must
insist on such a process for the delivery of credible elections in that
country and must put in place, well before the elections and leading up to
election day, a monitoring mechanism to guarantee such an outcome,” said
Ramsay in the statement sent to APA.
President Robert Mugabe has said that Zimbabwe will hold elections next year
although his partners in the coalition government insist that conditions are
not yet conducive for the holding of a free and fair poll.
They are demanding a SADC-guaranteed election roadmap that would ensure the
ballot is held under conditions leading to violence-free polls and where the
outcome is representative of the people’s will.
“It is the position of Botswana that... there is no single party that is
ruling in Zimbabwe but rather an inclusive government. As such any decisions
on an election date must be arrived at by agreement of all parties and not
through any unilateral pronouncements,” Ramsay said.
More than 200 Zimbabweans were killed during the last polls held in June
22 December, 2010 07:49:00 By staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE's Robert Mugabe regards former South African President Thabo Mbeki
as a “great man” and his predecessor Jacob Zuma as a “man of the people who
likes to make promises without necessarily knowing how to fulfil them”.
Details of a “surreal” three hour meeting in which an “alert, articulate”
and “defiant” Mugabe expressed his views to US diplomats are contained in a
classified US embassy cable leaked to whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
The previously unreleased cable, obtained exclusively by Media24
Investigations, describes Mugabe as “possibly the healthiest 85-year-old in
Zimbabwe”, “clearly stuck in the past” and “desperate to re-engage with the
world and to be treated as an elder statesmen”.
Dated June 2 2009, and bearing the subject line: “Tea with Mugabe”, the
confidential 16-page cable records a “marathon” meeting between Mugabe,
Zimbabwean government officials, the former US ambassador to Zimbabwe -
James McGee - and US Democratic Party congressman Donald Payne.
Questioned by McGee about Jacob Zuma's government, Mugabe “sighed that he
didn't think (the ANC) treated Thabo well, particularly as he was in the
midst of helping Zimbabwe”. While describing Mbeki as “judgemental and
calculating and cautious with policies”, he said, “to us (Mbeki) is a great
'Zuma will have to take from the whites'
According to the cable: Mugabe “noted that the South African people want to
see their social needs attended to”.
“While Zuma has made promises, it remains to be seen if they will come true.
Mugabe opined that in order to fulfil his campaign promises, Zuma will have
to take from the haves – the whites – and give to the have-nots. The
question, Mugabe believed, is if they (the whites) are willing to share
their businesses with blacks.
He said it was "easier" in Zimbabwe where there are "not that many whites",
but "South Africa has four million whites...plus the Indians.”
Mugabe remarked that South Africa “truly is a rainbow nation”.
The meeting – which was conducted at Mugabe's official State House residence
in Harare on 30 May last year was the first between US diplomats and Mugabe
in over a year. Welcoming his guests he commented that “Zimbabwe hadn't had
many visitors lately”.
'Victim of international abuse'
Then he launched into an “hour-long monologue” in which he painted himself
“as the victim of international abuse and broken promises” and embarked on a
“longwinded rehashing of Zimbabwe's history”.
He talked “non-stop...without so much as a sip of water or a clearing of the
throat”, declaring at one point that “we want to engage with the world”.
Growing “increasingly adamant and agitated”, Mugabe asked: “In the context
of all the countries in the world – are we really the worst?”
Discussing the country's mineral wealth and rich uranium deposits, Mugabe
giggled and said “Zimbabwe doesn't intend to 'go nuclear' like some
countries have done”.
Payne then “gently and masterfully praised Mugabe for his liberation
credentials before confronting him about human rights abuses”.
Describing himself as having been a “fan” of Mugabe as a young man, Payne
said he had followed the Zimbabwean president's “distinguished” career since
its beginnings “but noted that he is now concerned about the things he
Payne said there was a stark "dichotomy between the compassionate statesman
who fought for freedom...and the current government that now allows police
to beat black women who dare protest”.
Did not confirm or deny abuses
According to the cable, “Mugabe sank into the couch and appeared
expressionless and somewhat stunned.
“At the mention of police beating women, he responded with a puzzled look.
"Which women? Where did they get them from?”
Mugabe “neither confirmed nor denied the abuses” but “responded well to
Payne's gentle confrontation”.
Then he piped up: “Well, I think we deserve some tea.” A “white-gloved
butler emerged and began the very formal process of serving tea”.
After the butler poured water over the guest's hands into a bowl and offered
each guest a clean towel to dry their hands, the butler served tea, parmesan
bread sticks, dinner rolls, sausage and a beef/onion dish.
Mugabe took his tea with milk and a few bread sticks but did not eat
Throughout the discussions, the Americans keenly studied Mugabe for signs of
ill-health. But, while he “could not sit still” and “constantly pulled up
his socks”, he “appeared to be a vigorous 85-year-old in superb health”. -
Written by TREVOR GRUNDY
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 13:40
Ten years after President Robert Mugabe launched his controversial land
reform programme, the accepted wisdom of most commentators and nearly all
Western journalists, is that it has proved an unmitigated disaster. Now,
a new book written by Ian Scoones, a Professorial Fellow at the Institute
for Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University in the UK, together with
a group of Zimbabwean co-authors, challenges that assumption. Trevor
Grundy reports -
PROFESSOR IAN SCOONES has worked as a visiting researcher and ecologist in
the Masvingo Province in east and southern Zimbabwe for the last 25 years.
His new book Zimbabwe’s Land reforms – Myths and Realities will be launched
in the UK on 14 January at the Royal African Society in London.
“We have been working on this book for the last ten years,” he told me from
his offices in Brighton on the south coast of England. “When we launched it
in Harare, it generated a very interesting debate, one that I would like to
see broadened and continued because so much that has been written and spoken
about land reform is based on not much more than emotion and conjecture.”
The land reforms –which some call land invasions - started in 2000.
They met with howls of protest, not only from hundreds of displaced and
often badly beaten white commercial farmers (who in 1980 owned about 16.4
million hectares of prime land) but also from diplomats, businessmen and
leader writers on the big British and American newspapers.
Even before its launch, Professor Scoones’s book attracted attention in
academic and policy circles because it turns upside down the almost
universal belief that Robert Mugabe’s reforms have proved an unmitigated
disaster and that they only benefitted sycophants, the relatives of top
ranking political and military officials and the president’s relatives –
Mugabe’s Cronies, they are called.
“But there was next to no real research going on,“ Professor Scoones
aid. ”Now, there’s a real eagerness in Zimbabwe to hear the empirical facts
from on the ground; stories about what has been going on over the last ten
years. There has been a lot of distortion and misleading facts. Debates have
got stuck in emotional and ideological positions around land. We really
wanted to find out what has been happening and one of the things about our
study was that it threw up all sorts of interesting findings, ones that, to
some extent, countered the dominant image and perspectives as portrayed in
He said that there has been great heat but little light on the result of the
land reforms which the programme's critics call seizures.
“There’s a real hunger to find out what’s going on, even in government
circles. One of the senior officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, a
provincial extension officer, put it to us this way: ‘We don’t know our
clients.’ Here was a technical official who, for many years, has been
serving largely the communal areas, the smallholder areas, but there were a
very large number of new clients for his team’s services, in the province
and they didn’t know abut them and so they were all interested to find out
about our research. There was an eagerness for the data on the ground.”
He insisted that the team met with no official blockage when it came to
implementing the research programmers and that the work had no political
motive or agenda.
“We’re just trying to find out what is happening. So we were left free to
explore and gather information in an impartial, rigorous way.”
In the book, Professor Scoones and colleagues note the dramatic decline in
production of some of Zimbabwe’s best-known agricultural products since
2000, including coffee, tea, wheat, tobacco plus other cash crops sold
throughout the world.
But he said that since then, some crops grown by small-scale black (new )
farmers have exploded, notably small grains (up 163 percent since 2000),
edible dry bean production (up a whopping 282 percent) and cotton, up by 13
He said: ”The agricultural sector has been transformed and there are major
problems in certain areas but it has certainly not collapsed.”
Of particular interest to Zimbabwe-watchers is the finding that of the 400
householders (new black farmers) interviewed by Scoones and his team in
Masvingo Province only five percent could be categorized as cronies.
“About half the people we interviewed are doing really well,” he said. ”They
are accumulating from below as we call it, re-investing in agriculture and
getting farming moving and this, of course, has knock-on consequences for
the broader economy. Once you get successful production going there’s more
employment, there are other businesses that emerge to supply farmers with
their needs and so on. So we see on that basis a productive economy
emerging, admittedly under very difficult circumstances because we have to
remember that over the last decade the Zimbabwean economy has been in really
dire straits, so many of these farmers establishing new farms in very, very
difficult circumstances. There was a lack of supply of inputs, lack of seed,
lack of fertilizer and in the hyper-inflation period there was obviously no
credit, no banking systems and so on. So these were difficult situations and
people, to our surprise, have been doing really well . . . not everyone by
all means but a significant core which, we argue in our book, can be the
basis for a broad-based economic revival for the country.”
He explained that before 2000, there was a dualistic system existing in
agriculture with large-scale commercial farmers producing quality maize,
wheat, coffee, tea, flowers for export and top quality tobacco.
“Now, we have a much more integrated farm system of different sizes ranging
from the very small up to the large but with a much larger group in the
middle range. We will see the production of maize and millets, which are
essential to food security, but also cash crops. There are plenty of cash
crops that smallholder farmers are very effective at producing. Cotton is
the classic one which in the 1970s was a so-called white farming crop but in
the 1980s and onwards across Zimbabwe became a very successful smallholder
crop. And now tobacco is a crop that small-scale farmers can grow
effectively. The net result of this will be a change in the type of
agriculture but also a broader-based agricultural sector which is not just
in the hands of the very few.”
Professor Scoones said that he would not duck the issue of corruption and
violence that had accompanied the land reform programme which many insist
should be called armed invasions of land legally owned by commercial farmers
who made their homes in Zimbabwe after 1980.
“Yes, there has been serious corruption and violence and so on. We would not
deny that has been part of the story but it’s not the whole story. And I
think that what is important for everyone to appreciate both inside and
outside Zimbabwe is that the story is much more complicated and we have to
appreciate both the successes and the failures and the limitations of the
land reform programme and not to take a misleadingly one sided perspective
on it all. Very often we see in the press that the whole of Zimbabwe’s land
was taken by Mugabe’s cronies, that the only people who benefitted from land
reform are the elite and sometimes this is reported in very respectable
newspapers in the UK, in South Africa and in Zimbabwe. But this is simply
not supported by the facts on the ground. Sure, there are elites who have
grabbed land and unquestionably there are some connected to the elites in
the party and the military who have multiple farms, contradicting the
official policy of single farm ownership. But overall, and certainly from
our study, we found that about two thirds of new land beneficiaries were
income and asset poor people mostly from nearby rural areas. These were
former communal farmers and poor, unemployed people from nearby towns who
joined the land invasions and got land as a result of the reforms. In
addition, there were others – civil servants, businesspeople, who have
gained land. These are, however, not necessarily the elites and people have
added new skills, new connections, entrepreneurial abilities injecting them
into the new settlements.”
I said to Professor Scoones that there aren’t too many Western academics
writing books on Zimbabwe’s land reforms. Again, he insisted he was not
pursuing any kind of political agenda but “opening a debate so that a broad
and balanced picture of what is going on emerges. “
Yes, there is a need for a more rounded perspective.” he says. “This
requires presenting the facts from the ground. But there’s also a need for
the government, the political parties, the international media, donors,
embassies and so on to engage in the debate more fully. And this is why the
research that we've just published – along with other solid field research
on the impact of land reform – needs to be at the centre of debate. We want
the debate to move ahead based on evidence, on facts, on details and on
information based on research rather than on conjecture.”
Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities published by James Currey by Ian
Scoones, Nelson Marongwe, Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba, Jacob
Mahenehene and Chrispen Sukume.
By Ignatius Banda
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Dec 22, 2010 (IPS) - In Thembekie Gwebu’s yard under the
roof leaves stands a curious giant green plastic container with a plastic
pipe connected to the gutter. She has been asked a number of times by
curious visitors and passers-by what the contraption is, and she happily
Gwebu, a 60-something year-old widow, uses the container for rainwater
At a time when the Bulawayo municipality has introduced water-shedding as
part of long existing efforts to conserve the disappearing water from supply
dams, the coming of the rain in this city – traditionally characterised by
low rainfall - has been welcomed by residents like Gwebu as an opportunity
to use rainwater collected from roofs for their daily needs.
"This helps during the time when there is water rationing," Gwebu says. Even
when there is water running from the taps, the harvested rainwater has come
handy in reducing the council water she would otherwise pay for.
Gwebu is one of a growing number of residents in this city of more than two
million who have rediscovered the old method of water conservation through
harvesting rainwater for domestic use, when in the past many had relegated
this to rural communities.
However, the continued water woes in this City have awakened many here to
how this naturally available resource can be harnessed and exploited. "I use
the rainwater I harvest for drinking, cooking, laundry and also in the
toilet," Gwebu said, adding that the water stored in the 2,500 litre bowser
can last her up to a month.
Not only does this conserve the municipal water from supply dams but she
also does not pay her water bill for the month.
Rainwater harvesting is increasingly being encouraged across the Southern
Africa Development Community, SADC, as an alternative provision of clean
drinking water at a time when some communities are failing to adequately
exploit groundwater amid concerns of contamination and pollution.
These household rainfall catchment systems have also been commended by the
SADC’s Water Division, as the rainwater harvested from roofs does not
require treatment before consumption and they are also a means to mitigate
the effects of long dry spells in cities like Bulawayo.
"I was in Maun, Botswana recently and I was impressed at the extent to which
rainwater is being used," said Barbra Lopi, Communications and Events
Officer with the SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project. "Nearly
every household, and almost all schools, have a rainwater collection
facility and the water collected is used for gardening and in the toilets
and for laundry" she said.
The SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project says up to 70 percent of
people in the region rely on groundwater, but the shift to rainwater
harvesting will ensure better sustainability as this resource is not
depleted by falling water tables.
The interest in rainwater harvesting is also critical in ensuring that
countries that have struggled to provide adequate access to clean water meet
their Millennium Development Goal number 7 - that seeks to provide safe
drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
The NGO, Plan Action, says rainwater harvesting in Zimbabwe’s low rainfall
southern regions under which Bulawayo has assisted to improvelivelihoods
with improved harvests, has meant that households have been able to reverse
the threat of food insecurity.
"Even for areas like urban Bulawayo, rainwater harvesting has been
successful in ensuring that households can store much-needed extra water
even when the rains are low," said Gilbert Nyoni a, field officer with Plan
Action. "People need containers that can adequately store the water for
extended use," Sibanda said.
While a few residents like Gwebu have benefitted from huge bowsers donated
by World Vision in conjunction with the Swedish International Development
Agency,SIDA, others like Sithembeni Dube use makeshift containers to harvest
"I use these dishes and jerry cans and it’s painful for me when there is so
much rain and I fail to trap the water," Dube said, expressing a common
sentiment among residents here who have rediscovered the benefits of
In the 1990's, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches set up the Rainwater
Harvesting Programme in Bulawayo after a realisation that even if more
boreholes were sunk in this dry city, they would only be a drain on the
water table and would also require constant maintenance. And today, with the
growing awareness among households, this could be what the doctor ordered as
the rains continue to pound the city albeit intermittently.
"This has been particularly helpful to vulnerable groups like the elderly,
who lack resources to pay for council water," said Pastor James Choruma, who
works with the implementation of community-based sustainable development
initiatives in Bulawayo.
"I think what is important is that this interest in water harvesting will
benefit residents who have learnt to live with water cuts and burst sewers,
so if they are able to store as much water as they can, it means they have
water to flush their toilets," Choruma said.
The Department of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of
Zimbabwe says it is fairly easy for residents to adopt rainwater harvesting
technologies as they are cheap, and this can go a long way toward improving
environmental management among poor communities.
This, the department says, can also assist in the resuscitation of wetlands.
For Gwebu meanwhile, harvesting rainwater is a boon that she hopes will give
her enough water to drink when other residents make a beeline to congested
municipality boreholes scattered across Bulawayo when taps run dry.
ALLISTER SPARKS: At home and abroad
Published: 2010/12/22 08:04:50 AM
NOW that we know, thanks to WikiLeaks, what our government really thinks of
President Robert Mugabe, the question begging for an answer is why it hasn’t
It is not just that our International Relations Minister Maite Nkoane-
Mashabane shared her impression of Mugabe as "a crazy old man" with US
diplomats, but that she also expressed the view that support should be given
to Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Why, then, has the South African government, the regional superpower and by
far the most influential player in this drawn-out saga, not done exactly
that? Why, instead, has it insisted on protecting and indeed assisting the
"crazy old man" and his supporters, who are responsible for the continuing
human tragedy that is Zimbabwe?
To some degree one recognised, even while not condoning, former president
Thabo Mbeki ’s compulsive need to spring to the defence of incumbents when
they were challenged in African political contests. His stance violated
every ethical value of our long struggle for democratic liberation, but it
happened to be a personal obsession of our curiously insecure second
democratically elected president.
But what about President Jacob Zuma ? Why has he inherited the same timidity
in dealing with Mugabe? He owes him nothing, and certainly his alliance
partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions doesn’t — given the
abusive treatment Mugabe’s thugs dished out to its leaders when they tried
to visit their fellow trade unionists in Zimbabwe a few years ago.
According to some press reports, Nkoane-Mashabane intended making noises of
protest about the embarrassing WikiLeaks cables when she met US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton in Washington the other day.
Short of a fresh flood of these diplomatic leaks, I guess we’ll never know
how that exchange went — if it went at all. But I can imagine at least one
possible riposte from the sharp- tongued Clinton: "Well now, Madam Minister,
perhaps you can tell me why your government doesn’t put its money where your
Diplomatic niceties aside, what makes this issue topical is the contrasting
manner in which the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) is
confronting the issue of President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to step down
after losing Cote d’Ivoire’s presidential election last week to Alassane
Ouattara by what the United Nations has called an "unchallengeable margin".
In a strongly worded statement, Ecowas has called on Gbagbo to step aside,
and has formally recognised Ouattara as the legitimate president of the
Compare that with the limp-wristed approach of our own Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) when Mugabe so blatantly refused to step down
after clearly suffering a first- round defeat at the hands of the MDC’s
Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe’s 2008 election. The word in diplomatic
circles is that Mugabe was ready to go on national television and concede
defeat publicly, but his security chiefs stepped in and ordered him not to,
undertaking to rig the figures to deny a first-round result and then use
their own violent methods to ensure Mugabe won the runoff.
The not-so-crazy old man bought the idea.
Aware of this, Tsvangirai pulled out of the contest, leaving Mugabe to run,
in effect, unchallenged.
The Sadc didn’t recognise the result, but instead of taking the tough stand
Ecowas is now taking, Mbeki pussy- footed around the issue and brokered a
so-called unity government with elaborate requirements for joint decision-
making, which Mugabe has never honoured — and which the Sadc, as guarantor
of the deal, has never sought seriously to enforce.
Now Mugabe says the unity deal is a failure and wants to end it by calling
an election at about the middle of next year , which he no doubt plans to
rig again in the confident expectation that the Sadc will let him get away
with it as it has done before.
I often hear it said that there is little SA can do about the Zimbabwe
crisis. That a military solution is obviously out of the question, and SA
can’t close its borders or impose other sanctions without doing grievous
damage to other neighbouring countries, and indeed to the innocent citizens
For years I have disagreed with this contention — and now Ecowas has shown
the way in the Cote d’Ivoire case that I have long advocated the Sadc should
take on Zimbabwe. Which is to tell Mugabe that unless he runs a free and
fair election, following all the Sadc’s clearly spelt -out requirements for
that, which includes free campaigning and media coverage well before polling
day, the regional organisation will not recognise the outcome.
If he retains power in violation of the outcome, or breaks any of the rules
for fair electioneering, Sadc and the African Union of which it is part,
will not recognise his government. It will be classified as an illegitimate
regime. No member of that regime will then hold diplomatic status if they
enter any Sadc state, which will mean any of them coming to SA for medical
treatment, for example, will run the risk of arrest on international
criminal charges as Chile’s Augusto Pinochet was when he checked into a UK
hospital in 1998.
This effectively is the shot Ecowas has fired across the bows of Gbagbo. And
because it is such a potent action by the regional organisation, it has
encouraged a barrage of additional threats from the international community
far stronger than anything that has been directed at Mugabe.
It remains to be seen whether it will bring Gbagbo down. He is a ruthlessly
determined character with a force of about 9000 well-equipped troops loyal
to him, and it looks as though his tactic may be to threaten a resumption of
the civil war he ignited after coming to power after messy elections in
But the West Africans seem to be a more resolute bunch than we southerners:
they have already dispatched the Liberian monster, Charles Taylor, to The
Hague for trial at a Special Court set up there for crimes committed in
Sierra Leone, and some of the Ecowas people are using tough language about
Gbagbo. Such as Mohammed Ibn Chambas, a senior Ghanaian diplomat and former
Ecowas president, who said it was time African politicians proved they were
in tune with the times.
"It’s a test case for West Africa, indeed for all of Africa," Chambas said.
"We need to say that we mean it when we say we have turned the page."
Take note, President Zuma! And while you are doing so take note, too, that
nothing could boost SA ’s economic growth rate and reduce our unemployment
more speedily than a swift end to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Zimbabwe has been a cosmic black hole in the midst of a potentially vibrant
economic universe in this well-endowed part of the continent for years — all
because of the craziness of that one "old man" and his band of greedy but
Summon the political will to fix it, Mr President , and you will see SA ’s
economy take off as the engine of a revitalising region far faster than any
of your ministers’ various growth plans can ever hope to achieve.
It is time to turn the page, for our own sake as well as theirs.
- Sparks is a veteran journalist and political analyst.
Mugabe is not interested in democracy. Neither is he interested in leading the country as a duly elected President should. He is more intent on enforcing his tenure in the top office of the land, come hell or high water.
Mugabe has no care as to how many lives will be snuffed out with his mission to intimidate and oppress the public into ‘voting’ for ZANU PF.
Polling stations will be very busy with policemen and other ZANU PF ‘helpers’ ensuring that people vote for the rowdy, vicious and violent party.
So when Mugabe tells his adoring supporters that he and his party are preparing to bury the MDC for once and all, we expect nothing more than a repeat of the events that raged during the run up to the elections in 2008.
And I find the use of the expression 'bury' to be rather offensive, and deeply ominous.
"Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has said his party is ready to bury his Western-backed opposition 'forever' as there are warnings his forces are fanning out across the country in a bid to intimidate voters ahead of elections.
Speaking to thousands of delegates at the annual conference of his ZANU PF party in the eastern city of Mutare, the 86 year old president said he wanted to see general and presidential elections held as early as June next year."
Mugabe is incapable of participating in a 'free and fair' election in Zimbabwe. Since 1980, Mugabe has used violence, intimidation, threats and oppression to force his way into office.
And he sees nothing wrong in this practise.
"Sources say the Zimbabwe National Army is already conducting reconnaissance missions and has orders to carry out raids on the MDC-supporting villagers, supported by local ZANU PF cadres.
Rumours are also swirling about a planned "Operation
Headless Chicken" to follow on from the 2008 "Operation Short Sleeves"
which saw the limbs lopped off those opposing Mr Mugabe as a warning to other
I have not read of any incident to back up the idea that limbs are being cut off, but Mugabe may be playing the game with his cards VERY close to his chest. It is possible.
The apparent intimidation and the putting in place of Mugabe’s forces of oppression does remind me of the events that led to the massacre and genocide in Rwanda and Burundi in the 1990s.
The people driven internet encyclopaedia “Wikipedia” has the following to say about that bloody event:
“The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people. Over the course of approximately 100 days from the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6 through mid-July, at least 800000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Other estimates of the death toll have ranged between 500000 and 1000000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population. It was the culmination, largely influenced by the Belgian colonization which favoured the Tutsi minority group because of their more "European" appearance, of longstanding ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959-1962 and overthrown the Tutsi monarchy.”
Wikipedia goes on to state: “The killing was well organized by the government. When it started, the Rwandan militia numbered around 30000, or one militia member for every ten families. It was organized nationwide, with representatives in every neighbourhood. Some militia members were able to acquire AK47 assault rifles by completing requisition forms. Other weapons, such as grenades, required no paperwork and were widely distributed by the government. Many members of the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi were armed only with machetes. Even after the 1993 peace agreement signed at Arusha, businessmen close to General Habyarimana imported 581000 machetes for Hutu use in killing Tutsi, because at the time, machetes were cheaper than guns.”
Mugabe has had a major problem with importing arms into Zimbabwe, and the use of violence as opposed to guns has become more and more prevalent. And let’s face it, the Mugabe administration doesn’t care how the end is achieved, as long as it is achieved.
Civil war is not far away in Zimbabwe.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man
The bond of a shared language can help to maintain a sense of community amongst Zimbabweans abroad - no matter how long ago we left, or how far we’ve travelled.
Since Shona is spoken by over 90% of Zimbabweans, learning and retaining it is also a good way to solidify one’s ties with people in Zimbabwe. As such, we present over the coming weeks, lessons in Shona to help those of you who want to learn it for the first time, or who want to recap some concepts.
This lesson follows on from the vowel pronunciation and pronouns from week 1. You may wish to review this before continuing.
My - angu
Your - ako (to a peer)
Your (to a more senior person) - enyu
Its - acho
His/Her (to a peer) - ake
His/Her (to a more senior person) - avo (p./r.)
Your (plural) - enyu
Our - edu
Their - avo
Here are some introductory, commonly used expressions that use the materials from this lesson and those from week 1.
Excuse me - pamusoroi
I’m sorry I am late - ndine urombo ndanonoka
I don’t know - handizive
I don’t have - handina
I don’t have money - handina mari
I don’t want - handidi
Congratulations - makorokoto
Quiet - nyararai
Please reduce noise - ndapota taurirai pasi
You are lying - urikunyepa
Tell the truth - taura chokwadi
Slowly/very little - zvishoma shoma
Please repeat slowly - ndapota dzokorora zvishoma shoma
The Verb, ‘to know’
The verb, ‘to know’ is kuziva.
I know - ndinoziva
I don’t know - handizivi/e
I’m not sure - handina chokwadi
To understand - kunzwisisa
I don’t understand - handinzwisisi/e
Greetings are very important in the Shona culture and so constitute a large proportion of early lessons. This is because in Shona culture, the way you greet people varies considerably depending on the seniority of the person whom you’re addressing.
The concept of seniority in Shona depends on age, if someone is older then they are typically addressed in the senior form.
However, a peer of roughly the same age can be addressed in the informal way.
For formal encounters it can be more polite to use the deferential form of addressing a peer until you get to know the person better, but it’s not essential. They will just be very impressed that you are speaking Shona to them!
We’ll have some expressions that demonstrate greetings in the next lesson, but for now just familiarise yourself with the vocabulary this week. Remember that a language is not learned by memorising grammar, but by speaking the words. The audio for this lesson can be obtained from http://www.learnshona.com in an mp3 format that can be played on the computer, on many phones and music players.
Next week’s topics include first encounter greetings, respectful or formal greetings, morning greetings and extended greetings. We’ll also have a set of common phrases that follow on from the concepts in this lesson.
Nyasha Madavo. Nyasha Madavo is founder of LearnShona.com.