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referendum may be held in September 2011
By Tichaona Sibanda
The Parliamentary committee spearheading the drafting of a
has said it expects a referendum on the draft to be held in
year, raising doubts on the prospects of an election in
Douglas Mwonzora, the co-chairperson of COPAC, told our
Muchemwa that they will begin uploading information
gathered during the
outreach program on January 10th next year.
data collection exercise will take 15 days to complete. Basically they
be analysing the information that was gathered at the public meetings.
the thematic committee will sit between February and March, organising
information into different categories,’ Muchemwa said.
The drafting of
the constitution will then be in April with the all-
conference set for May. Muchemwa said the draft will then be
Parliament where legislators will scrutinise it for two months
can approve it.
‘Once if it passes through the Lower and Upper Houses in
believe the referendum will be held in September,’
On Thursday, COPAC paid all its debts to hoteliers and
provided transport for the outreach programme. The management
at least $5 million to its staff and service
‘Hoteliers and service providers have now been paid in full
leaders, rapparteurs, technicians and drivers were paid a third and
receive the remainder on the 10th January,’ Muchemwa told
COPAC has indicated they now have the funds to complete the drafting
new constitution, which has been delayed by lack of cash and resources.
MDC has actively sought a new constitution to help guarantee free
and entrench political and media freedoms, while strengthening
The new charter is also expected to introduce two
5-year presidential term
limits. The current constitution has no
presidential term limit, a situation
which has allowed Robert Mugabe to hold
onto power since independence from
Britain in 1980.
harmonized elections may only be held in the first quarter
of 2012, to
prevent the rainy season from disrupting the poll if it was held
2011. Since independence, all the country’s elections have been held
February and March, a tradition that the unity government might
must go now, says Minister Biti
23 December, 2010 02:22:00
HARARE, - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is tired and must go now, says
Finance Minister, Tendai Biti.
Biti, a lawyer, said he had
held a two hour meeting with President Mugabe
and he had slept during most
"I met with President Mugabe two weeks ago and he slept most of
during the two and a half hour meeting," Biti told a rally in
"Most of the leaders he was with are now gone. A person born
in 1980 is now
about 31 years old. Samora Machel, Joachin Chissano and
Nelson Mandela are
He is tired and must go now too."Biti said
most Zanu PF leaders were also
tired and should leave office to pave way for
a "younger generation of
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF controlled
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
has launched a President Robert
Mugabe daily radio programme.
Introducing the programme which is going to
run on Radio Zimbabwe (formerly
Radio 2) radio presenters Elsie Majapelo and
Perfect Thlongwane said the
programme will be called Zvirongwa and will be
broadcast every day profiling
Mugabe’s ‘national development
“This programme is going to bring the President closer to
the people so that
they appreciate him. This week we are going to review his
which he made during the party’s conference which ended at
“said the presenters on Wednesday.
ZBC has been
criticised for being biased towards Zanu (PF) party at the
expense of the
two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions led by
and Arthur Mutambara who are also part of the unity
government formed in
This year the ZBC authorised the playing of Zanu (PF) party jingles
countries press Zimbabwe on vote reforms
Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:08pm
WASHINGTON Dec 22 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's future depends on
elections and President Robert Mugabe's government must make major
to allow for a fair vote, major Western nations said on
"The coming months will determine Zimbabwe's prospects for the
come," the group, known as the Friends of Zimbabwe, said in a
praised the African country for progress since its unity
formed last year.
"However, serious concerns remain
relating to the protection of fundamental
rights, the rule of law,
governance and respect for agreements."
Mugabe, 86, is pushing for a
general election to be held by mid-2011.
Analysts say his ruling ZANU-PF
party may be betting on victory due to
infighting in the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), which is
struggling to hold on to gains made in
ZANU-PF rural strongholds in 2008.
Critics say Mugabe, in power for three
decades, is stalling on the critical
media, electoral and security reforms
needed for a free and fair vote.
The Friends of Zimbabwe, which include
the United States, Zimbabwe's former
colonial ruler Britain and a host of
other Western countries, said it was
urging Zimbabwe's neighbors and
particularly South Africa to work with
Harare to promote conditions for
credible, legitimate and peaceful
"Zimbabweans should not
face violence and intimidation to cast their votes,"
the group said, echoing
accusations of widespread intimidation and
irregularities in previous
The group commended Zimbabwe's unity government, which has
and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai into an uneasy partnership,
"significant gains in macroeconomic stabilization" after a 40
contraction in the economy from 2000 to 2008 attributed to
"The increasing state revenue and
strengthening the public finance system
provide an opportunity to improve
living conditions of ordinary
Zimbabweans," the group said, although it
hinted that opaque policies
covering Zimbabwe's mineral and natural
resources were still a problem.
"It is critical in this regard that the
development of natural resources is
pursued in a transparent manner that
empowers and benefits the people."
The group, which includes most major
Western aid donors, said it expected to
spend more than $500 million on
various aid projects in Zimbabwe in 2011.
Launches Robert Mugabe Radio Programme
December 23, 2010 - The state controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting
(ZBC) has launched a President Robert Mugabe daily radio
Introducing the programme which is going to run on Radio
Radio 2) radio presenters Elsie Majapelo and Perfect
Thlongwane said the
programme will be called Zvirongwa and will be broadcast
every day profiling
Mugabe’s ‘national development utterances’.
programme is going to bring the President closer to the people so that
appreciate him. This week we are going to review his Mutare statement
he made during the party’s conference which ended at the weekend,
presenters on Wednesday.
ZBC has been criticised for being biased towards
Zanu (PF) party at the
expense of the two Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) factions led by
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara who are also
part of the unity
government formed in 2009.
This year the ZBC
authorised the playing of Zanu (PF) party jingles which
questions what Zim has achieved since independence
23 December, 2010
The leader of the Zimbabwe African
People’s Union (ZAPU), Dr. Dumiso
Dabengwa, told delegates at a conference
in Algeria last week that he often
wonders what had been achieved in
Zimbabwe since independence, apart from
political independence, and whether
all the sacrifices were worth it. He
said that he was disappointed with
Zimbabwe and other African countries that
are governed by revolutionary
movements which have turned into ‘colonizers’.
Dabengwa made the comments
at the 50th anniversary of the United Nations’
adoption of the ‘Declaration
on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries
and Peoples’, known as
Dabengwa said; ‘There are some who have turned
colonizers of their own
people by running very undemocratic governments’ and
have prevented people
from enjoying the rights brought about by the UN
declaration that was being
celebrated in Algeria.
“Do our people have
all the basic rights accorded to them, such as freedom
of speech, press
freedom, freedom to earn a living, freedom from hunger,
access to decent and
affordable shelter, the right to own and control their
ended his speech by committing himself and ZAPU to, ‘upholding the
principles of freedom, democracy and good governance’.
politician’s words appeared to be veiled criticism of ZANU PF,
ruled Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe since independence in 1980. Yet
himself was once a top official within that party, serving as Home
lied about diamond claims: ACR
by Own Correspondent Thursday 23 December
HARARE – British firm African Consolidated Resources (ACR)
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu of misleading the nation about
the status of its
operations in Zimbabwe, insisting that there were no
irregularities in the
acquisition of any of its mining claims.
told the state media this week that the government planned to cancel
claims for gold, platinum and other minerals that were “fraudulently”
acquired by ACR.
But ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick insisted
yesterday that the company’s
operations in Zimbabwe are above
“The board of ACR wishes to confirm categorically that there were
irregularities in the acquisition of any of its mining claims or licences
known to it, and that, in its opinion having taken appropriate advice, none
of them were acquired fraudulently,” he said in a statement.
ACR was yet to receive any formal communication from Mpofu to the
that its licences are being cancelled.
The move to strip the United
Kingdom-incorporate firm of all its Zimbabwean
claims comes at a time ACR
chief executive Andrew Cranswick is facing
lawsuits over leaked United
States diplomatic linking senior Zimbabwe
government officials to diamond
The cables published by WikiLeaks two weeks ago claimed that
told US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, that senior
officials – including President Robert Mugabe’s wife
Grace, central bank
governor Gideon Gono and intelligence chief Happyton
Bonyongwe – have been
looting diamonds from the controversial Marange
Gono and Bonyongwe are both claiming damages from Cranswick over
claim is false information contained in the leaked documents that
published by newspaper all over the world.
denied ever providing such information to the American
has been in dispute with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines since March 2007
connection with its alluvial diamond discovery at Marange which discovery
has now attracted worldwide attention.
“ACR continues to assert that
it is the rightful legal owner of the claims
on which its discovery was
made, and will continue to do all it can to work
with the government to
resolve the Marange issue in a transparent manner for
the benefit of all
stakeholders,” said Cranswick.
To Set Up Own Schools
Harare, December 23,
2010 - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party wants
to set up its own
schools to orient young people about its ideologies ahead
of the 2011
The proposed schools, to be dotted all over the country, will
along those run by the Chinese Communist Party in China,
according to a Zanu
(PF) Central Committee report presented to Mugabe at the
just ended 11th
conference held in Mutare.
“Drawing lessons from the
Chinese Communist Party, there was a call for a
party school which should be
used to build leadership and consciousness,”
read the report.
schools will teach young people about the history of the liberation
among many other related issues.
Zanu (PF) controls national youth
training centres which are aimed at
instilling ‘patriotism’ among young
people in Zimbabwe.
However, graduates from the Border Gezi National
Youth Training programmes
have become infamous for spearheading violent
attacks on supporters of the
MDC-T and other political parties opposed to
Those who pass through this institution get first preference
to join the
military, police force and other jobs in government.
also get preferential treatment at government run tertiary
Even under qualified youths are considered for recruitment
teacher training colleges as long as they passed through the
The setting up of Zanu (PF) schools come at a time
temperatures are rising amid fears next year’s poll will be
Mugabe has resisted calls from some of
his closest followers to allow the
inclusive government to continue running
They say the inclusive government has brought political
revived the economic.
But Mugabe says he is not happy
with the other principals in the inclusive
government because they sell out
Business leaders in Zimbabwe have also urged Mugabe not to
press ahead with
elections because this will upset the political stability.
local human rights organizations also fear the election
will be marred by
M&G to oppose
December 23 2010 at 12:46pm
The Mail & Guardian
said on Thursday it would oppose President Jacob Zuma's
leave to appeal last week's Supreme Court of Appeal ruling
ordering him to
hand over a report on the 2002 Zimbabwean election to the
“Our attorney spoke to his state attorney on Tuesday and
he confirmed that
they will seek leave to appeal. We will oppose their
application,” Mail &
Guardian editor Nick Dawes said.
Zuma had until January 6 to serve documents asking for leave to
the weekly had to respond by January 20.
He expressed disappointment at
the latest development in the newspaper's
long court battle to get Zuma to
release the Kampepe-Moseneke report,
believed to confirm widespread abuse
during the poll that returned President
Robert Mugabe to power.
are disappointed. Two courts have given very clear rulings and both have
found that the president failed dismally to prove a need to keep the report
The appeal court last Tuesday dismissed the presidency's
challenge to a
North Gauteng High Court order that Zuma hand the newspaper
commissioned by then president Thabo Mbeki before the 2002
elections in a
Both Mbeki and Zuma have
resisted repeated calls for the report, compiled by
two Constitutional Court
judges - Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and
Justice Sisi Khampepe, to be made public.
SCA Judge Robert Nugent said
the court had to be satisfied that secrecy was
justified and the presidency
had failed to establish cause for refusing
access to the
Dawes said it was time for Zuma to comply with the court
“I really think that what the president ought to do is save
money, show some commitment to transparency and the PAIA
Access to Information Act) process and hand it
The presidency was not available for comment.
wrangle is set against a background of unhappiness with the
Information Bill, which introduces lengthy prison sentences
classified documents, and the ruling party's plans to
establish a state
tribunal to regulate the press. - Sapa
arrest sparks fury
MAGISTRATES accused police of “bully tactics” on Thursday
arrest of Manicaland’s Provincial Magistrate Billiard Musakwa
prosecutor on corruption charges.
The Magistrates’ Association
of Zimbabwe called on Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri to step in
following last weekend’s arrests in Mutare.
businessman Farai Rimayi who was facing rape allegations
Truman Joma withdrew the case before trial.
The chief law officer Michael
Mugabe filed reasons for dropping the case in
the record of
But police moved to arrest the prosecutor and the magistrate
The Magistrates’ Association called on
Chihuri to “rein-in his officers and
instruct them to exercise restraint and
not to approach matters with shut
“The police abused their
powers and must be dealt with decisively,” the
union said. “The bully
tactics exhibited by the police in this case will not
sway magistrates into
making uncivilised and injudicious decisions in order
“Magistrates are not answerable to the police and the belief
officers or anybody can question judicial decisions must be
police officers’ minds.”
The magistrates added that
they would not “surrender the duty imposed upon
us by the laws of this
country to administer justice impartially without
fear or favour.
Bar ZAPU Demo Over Unity Accord
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Bulawayo, December 23, 2010 – The Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) on
Wednesday barred the Zapu youth from holding a protest march
commemoration of the Unity Accord on Wednesday.
commemorates unity day every December 22. The unity accord was
between President Robert Mugabe and the late Vice President Joshua
Zapu which is led by former Zanu (PF) politburo member Dumiso
it no longer recognised the unity accord due to the neglect of
people who were never compensated for the atrocities committed
during the gukurahundi era. The era saw Mugabe unleashing the
trained Fifth Brigade army on the people in the Midlands and
resulting in many deaths.
The march which was scheduled
to coincide with Unity Day on Wednesday had
initially been authorised by the
police in Bulawayo on 15 December, 2010.
Methuseli Moyo, the ZAPU
spokesman, said five days later the police
overturned the clearance and
issued a prohibition order against the march.
Moyo said the first letter
was signed by Superintendent P. Moyo of Bulawayo
Superintendent L. Singo from the same office issued the
prohibition order on
20 December 2010.
Zapu Youth Front secretary Patrick Ndlovu and
information officer Tulo
Makwati were on Monday, December 20 summoned to the
police district offices
at Southampton House where they were told in no
uncertain terms by police
and CIO chiefs not to dare organize the
“Zapu believes the police commanders were forced to
overturn the clearance
after being put under pressure by members of the Zanu
(PF) regime in the
city. This is a blatant violation of citizens’ rights to
freely,” said Moyo.
The Unity Day on Wednesday
went largely unnoticed by Zimbabweans gearing for
one of the merriest
Christmas and New Year festivities after a decade long
S. African Rand In Short Supply In Zimbabwe in Festive Season
Zimbabweans are camping outside banks in hopes of getting their hands
banknotes while travelers find themselves unable to follow through on
holiday plans for lack of banknotes to pay for transport
Gibbs Dube |
Washington 22 December 2010
Tonderai Kuvheya of Masvingo said he has
been unable to travel to Harare to
visit his family as planned because he
cannot get enough cash
US dollars and South African rand are in
particularly short supply this
holiday season in Zimbabwe with many
households and businesses unable to
obtain an adequate supply from banks for
their transactions - including
funding their holiday travel.
people are camping outside banks hoping to get their hands on
Consumer and financial sources said the situation is worst
growth points -n clusters of residential and business
development in rural
areas - and small towns with a limited number of
savings and loan
institutions such as the Central African Building Society
and the national
Post Office Savings Bank to choose from.
Nelly Ruwocha of Gutu, Masvingo province, told VOA most people
there and in
surrounding villages have not been able to get cash for two
Tonderai Kuvheya of Masvingo said he has been unable to travel
to Harare to
visit his family as planned because he cannot get enough cash
out of his
Bulawayo bank manager Samson Nhliziyo said building
societies and banks have
too many clients which has resulted in demand for
cash outstripping supply.
“These institutions never expected this to
happen especially during the
festive season and there is little they can do
to tackle the situation,” he
Economist Prosper Chitambara said
cash shortages reflect general liquidity
issues as there are simply not
enough notes in circulation in the country
which abandoned its own dollar in
2009 to adopt a monetary regime of mixed
of Nyanga, Zimbabwe, Withhold State Broadcast License Fees
lawmaker Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for Democratic Change
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he and others are
prepared to defend
themselves in court
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 22 December
Licenses cost US$50 a year and provide much of ZBC’s revenue
advertising, which has fallen off sharply of late
residents of Zimbabwe's Nyanga North district of Manicaland province
refusing to pay radio and television license fees to the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation because they do not
transmissions and depend on foreign broadcasters including
VOA's Studio 7,
SW Radio Africa and Radio Mozambique.
Last month Bulawayo residents also
threatened to withhold license fees,
saying state radio and television has
not justified the levy through the
provision of quality services. The
Matabeleland region residents said they
relied on the South African
Broadcasting Corporation, which they said offers
superior and more
Licenses cost US$50 a year and provide much of
ZBC’s revenue along with
advertising - but the latter revenue source has
diminished by 60 percent in
Failure to pay license
fees can lead to a lawsuit by the state broadcaster.
But Bulawayo Residents
Association Coordinator Roderick Fayayo said none of
his group’s members has
been taken to the courts by ZBC or partner Zimbabwe
Broadcast Holdings so
Nyanga North lawmaker Douglas Mwonzora of the Movement for
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA
Studio 7 reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that he and others are prepared to defend
praises South Africa’s Mbeki as a ‘great man’
By Alex Bell
One of the latest diplomatic cables released on the WikiLeaks
detailed how former South African President Thabo Mbeki and
President Zuma are viewed by Robert Mugabe.
African leaders, as the regional mediators in the political
been criticised for not taking a firm stance against Mugabe and
relentless grip on Zimbabwe. Mbeki’s policy of ‘quiet diplomacy’ has
widely slammed by critics as pandering to Mugabe, and it was hoped this
‘softly-softly’ treatment of the dictator would change when Zuma came into
But Zuma is regarded as even more of a disappointment. Before
South Africa’s leader he was a vocal critic of Mbeki’s support for
sparking hope he would take tougher action. Instead he has done
influence Mugabe to genuinely share power with the MDC in the
coalition government. Zuma has also clearly demonstrated his
Mugabe by making calls on his behalf for targeted Western
place against the ruling elite, to be lifted.
unsurprisingly, is clearly pleased with how his South African
have behaved, describing Mbeki as a “great man.” He also had
praise for Zuma
calling him a “man of the people.” Commentators however say
that Mugabe, at
the time, was still waiting for Zuma to prove his
referring to him as a man “who likes to make promises
knowing how to fulfill them.”
The details were revealed in a cable dated
June 2nd 2009, 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.
unreleased cable describes Mugabe in 2009 as “possibly the
85-year-old in Zimbabwe”, “clearly stuck in the past” and
re-engage with the world and to be treated as an elder
Questioned by McGee about Zuma’s government, Mugabe “sighed that
think (the ANC) treated Thabo (Mbeki) well, particularly as he was
midst of helping Zimbabwe.” While describing Mbeki as “judgmental and
calculating and cautious with policies”, he said, “to us (Mbeki) is a great
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa
that there was
no surprise about Mugabe’s opinions of the South African
“everyone knows that South African leaders are in
“Anyone who has questioned how Mugabe has been allowed
to stay where he is
has suspected that they are his buddies,” Makumbe said,
should be trepidation on the part of the MDC, because how can
be credible mediators?”
Makumbe said the situation is
worrying because of impending elections,
warning that Zuma is “more in
Mugabe’s corner than Mbeki ever was.” He said
that Mbeki had the
“intelligence to hide open admiration for Mugabe.” In
contrast, Makumbe said
Zuma was “more on the crude side, and he simply does
worrying for Zimbabwe because Zuma is playing as both the referee and
nighttime player for only one team,” he said. “It is a great risk for
democracy because Zimbabwe will be shortchanged by a man who prefers one
party over the others.”
This latest WikiLeaks cable detailed how
Mugabe launched into an “hour-long
monologue,” at the meeting with the US
representatives, during which he
painted himself “as the victim of
international abuse and broken promises.”
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?”
Christmas: an ordinary
day for Zimbabwe's poor
December 24, 2010, 12:59 amAFP
ZIMUNYA, Zimbabwe (AFP) - For ordinary
Zimbabweans this Christmas will bring a mixture of pleasure and pain, with
once-empty shops full of food and drink but most families left wondering how to
pay for it.
In Zimunya, a village 280 kilometres (175 miles)
east of the capital Harare, a few dollars would be enough to ensure a special
celebration but many people here are resigned to spending December 25 like any
Webster Kurwaisimba, 38, jobless with a family
of four, cannot afford to pamper his loved ones with presents. The best he can
hope for is a decent meal.
"I know Christmas is almost here but I have no
money and things are tough," he says. "My main concern is how will I manage to
raise money for school fees for the children before schools reopen next
Kurwaisimba lost his job in the nearby city of
Mutare and moved back to Zimunya when one of the country's leading wholesale
chains closed several branches and laid off scores of workers in
The former goods buyer and receiving clerk is
now a familiar sight on the sides of a nearby highway where he can be seen
raising a bowl of wild mushrooms, signalling passing travellers to buy them. He
takes home six dollars on a good day.
"If I can get 10 US dollars, it will be enough
to buy bread, milk and probably chicken. That will be Christmas for me. If I
can't get the money we will attend a church service all day."
An average Christmas dinner in Zimbabwe will
comprise chicken and rice and a crate of soft drinks and beer for adults.
Fortunate children will be treated to biscuits, sweets and potato
For an average family of seven, chicken will
cost seven US dollars, rice will cost two dollars, a crate of drinks nine
dollars and a crate of beer 20 dollars. A packet of sweets costs two dollars and
biscuits three dollars.
Zimbabwe's economy is slowly recovering from a
near decade-long crisis which saw supermarkets resemble empty warehouses because
of hyperinflation which once peaked at 231 million percent, forcing daily price
The crisis led the country's two main political
blocs into a power-sharing government to try to mend the economy. In 2009 they
finally agreed to scrap the worthless local Zimbabwean dollar, adopting the US
greenback in its place.
Scarce commodities became readily available
although to most people in rural areas many goods remain a luxury.
For shopkeepers, however, who for years have
seen their shelves left bare for want of supplies, this year's festive season
will be a boon.
Benard Tinorwiraishe, a grocery store owner in
the farming district of Nyazura, is fully stocked up with cooking oil, powdered
milk, tinned meat and bread, all of which were scarce at the height of the
"I cannot complain," said Tinorwiraishe drifting
between the interview and his need to attend to customers trickling into the
"This year all the commodities are easily
But for every shopkeeper on the up there are
hundreds of ordinary citizens facing a harsh day with little hope of
Widows Hilda and Margaret Nhukarume will use
Christmas to thank God for sustaining them through a difficult year without
They were left with seven children each and they
are also looking after their husband's two children from another
"We don't have any plans," says Hilda, the
younger of the widows from a polygamous marriage.
"We cannot afford to buy the children clothes to
wear on Christmas day. We wish we could but we can't. We will be content if we
get five dollars to buy a maize meal. It will be just another day unless a
well-wisher comes to our aid."
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a
customer watchdog, said the food basket for an average family climbed in
December to 144.19 dollars from the November figure of 142.77
The council said the rise was caused by
retailers who put up prices to cash in on consumer spending at Christmas
With civil servants -- who make up the bulk of
formally employed Zimbabweans -- earning an average of 150 dollars per month,
many have little or nothing to spare for the traditional rural
"In the past many in rural areas got a transfer
of wealth during Christmas from family members working on farms, in mines and in
towns who either came to visit or sent money," said independent economist John
Robertson."It's now pretty hard for
people in general. Money is scarce and expenses are
Zimbabwe Vigil Christmas Message 2010
Our families and friends in
Zimbabwe are foremost in our minds at this
time, although we will not be meeting outside the Embassy on Christmas Day. We will meet next week as usual – here is
Flee As Election Campaign Begins in Gutu
December 18, 2010 – Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) activists from
Nyazvidzi area in Gutu North constituency are fleeing to neighbouring urban
settlements after armed soldiers, police, Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans
started victimizing them as campaign for next year’s anticipated elections
Activists who spoke to Radio Vop on Friday said they were afraid
to stay in their villages after fellow villagers were severely beaten during
previous elections. Legislator for the area Admore Maramwidze Hamandishe
confirmed the development saying at least two people are dying in his
constituency every month due to injuries sustained from politically motivated
assaults. “There are no more MDC-T youths here. All of them are fleeing after
Zanu PF youth, war veterans and armed soldiers who patrol the area openly
announced that they are prepared to ‘slaughter our supporters like goats before
pouring acid on them’ as soon as we start campaigning. “The threats are not
taken lightly since we bury our comrades every two weeks,” said
The latest victims of violence in Gutu North are Crispen
Gurajena and his wife Raina who died in Gutu
week. The two left young children who are afraid to stay at home
“Since the death of our parents, we are afraid to stay at home
alone. We meet the people who killed our parents everyday and we are not sure of
what they might do to us. The same people who killed our parents came here and
took all things including the plough, maize seed and other property, leaving us
with nothing,” said Tafadzwa Gurajena, 16, their son who wept bitterly during
The deceased were ordered to eat their faeces on the day
they fell victim for their support for the MDC-T.Ward three chairman. Phillip
Mahachi said his wife Mavis, 38, is admitted in a hospital in
she failed to recover since the day she was beaten.
our children are no longer staying with us. They fled and they are now living in
safer areas. My wife is critically ill and I am afraid that she might be the
next victim of this violence,” said Mahachi. War veterans led by retired colonel
identified as Masanganise are moving around Gutu threatening to crush the MDC-T
supporters like flies if they did not support President Mugabe. Hamandishe said
the government must make sure that the issue of national healing was addressed
as a matter of urgent.
Albeit late, we were pleased to come across the
following article: ‘Vigil: a cry for a new
Zimbabwe continues . . .’ by Gilbert Bere (see: http://www.zimeye.org/?p=20005). Gilbert is a columnist on the Zimeye website.
The process of nation building is
both cumbersome and painful. Without sound legal prescriptions, even the
strongest of nations will crumble- Zimbabwe is no exception. Now the big
question is: “as the architecture of a new
Zimbabwe, what should we do?’’ We can not
pay a blind eye to the problems in Zimbabwe and hope that some James Bond will
show up with a blazing sword and clean up- our mess. The time is conducive and
the long journey to a new Zimbabwe which is at peace with itself is
gaining momentum by the passing of each day. I applaud Vigil Coalition
UK for their steadfast campaign for a
democratic Zimbabwe since 2002. Despite constant
pressures from the powers that be, Vigil continues to play a pivotal role in the
struggle for a new Zimbabwe.
Vigil’s weekly protests which seek
to bring to the surface the current problems confronting
Zimbabwe have become a common feature at the
Zimbabwe House in
London. Scores of resilient Zimbabweans
gather weekly drawing the world’s attention to
Zimbabwe’s political, social and economic
challenges. Those who attend these weekly events since its inception in 2002
have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt their commitment to the rebirth of
a new Zimbabwe.
Vigil as it stands represents
Zimbabwe and gives its people the platform
to export our culture to the wider world, namely,order and peace – two
characteristics embedded within the common Zimbabwean life.
The struggle for a new
Zimbabwe continues and Vigil today as in
2002, still plays its crucial role.
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from
14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in
Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October
2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are
held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
Is Mugabe Playing A Monumental Bluff?
Robb , Derby
Mugabe has stated that elections next year will only take
place after a constitutional referendum. He also stated that he would like to
see elections carried out in about June/July.
Now we read that the referendum will be carried out in
September next year which would effectively push the election into late
My question is relatively simple, and I have asked it in the
past… With the coalition reporting exhausting its tenure in February, and the
elections now looking to be held in late 2011, who will run the country in the
“The committee drafting Zimbabwe’s new constitution says
it expects a referendum on the draft in September next year, casting doubts on
the prospects of an early election.
Robert Mugabe has been calling for an election soon after
the February 2011 second anniversary of the unity government, which he formed
with his arch rival and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The 86 year-old leader says he is not happy in the
inclusive government and was last week endorsed by his ZANU PF party to run for
another term next year.
But on Wednesday President Mugabe appeared to be climbing
down from his hardline position when he told ZANU PF supporters that the polls
will only be held after referendum.
Mugabe has said elections are expected some time next year
- would only be held once the constitutional referendum has been
So – who makes any governmental decisions or runs the country
in the period between the end of the coalition government and
The MDC have the popular mandate, but have been effectively
sidelined by Mugabe’s unilateralism, his illegal appointments and the inability
of Mugabe to allow the MDC to take any real stance in government.
ZANU PF believe that they have the God-given right to rule in
Zimbabwe, and have stated, even quite recently, that only a Mugabe win at the
polls would be acceptable when the election is finally run. They refuse to
believe that any other party has the right to rule Zimbabwe.
“Drafting a new charter for the country was one of the
major reforms agreed by the coalition partners but the exercise has been delayed
by squabbles between the political parties and the lack of
And, frustrated by the delays Mugabe, had previously
stated that the country would hold elections whether or not the exercise was
However, addressing thousands of supporters in Gutu where
he was visiting his uncle Kasirai Masanganise who is Chief Gutu and brother to
his late mother Bona Mugabe, the President said the referendum would be come
“There is going to be a draft constitution which will be
put to a referendum; after that we will then have general elections,” Mugabe
said, speaking in Shona.”
It must be remembered that the decision to launch the
vicious, violent and deadly land grab was launched after a referendum for a new
constitution was rejected by the population in early 2000. Mugabe reportedly
ordered the land grab to begin in a fit of rage at having been rejected by the
Perhaps he is looking to go one better this time around by
effectively assuming and holding the disputed reins of power before any
referendum is voted upon, thereby removing the opportunity that the people may
have of overruling his wishes…
Certainly, it is food for thought.
“Mugabe insisted that his party’s views should make up most
of the final draft claiming ZANU PF had dominated the outreach programme which
was aimed at gathering public contributions.
“We must make sure that when the draft constitution
is put together ZANU PF’s views are dominant because the party dominated the
outreach programme,” he said.
The ZANU PF leader said new elections were needed to replace
the coalition government which he said was only a temporary measure and again
slated his rivals in the coalition government.
“Even in Government they have no policy as compared to us
in ZANU-PF who came up with policies in education, health and even
indigenisation of the economy which is now expanding to cover mines and
factories,” Mugabe said.”
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man
Is Zimbabwe's media really
23 December 2010 Last updated at
In recent weeks the number of
journalists in Zimbabwe arrested has increased
The rain arrives quickly in Harare. A newspaper
seller on the corner of Samora Machel street gathers his wares in his arms and
dives for shelter.
A trickle of customers follow him. Alongside
The Herald - the
state daily - sits a new privately owned tabloid - News Day.
It describes itself as non partisan and is one
of four independent newspapers to receive a licence in the past six months.
President Robert Mugabe has
had a frosty relationship with the foreign media for several
Despite this nod towards liberalisation, as
stipulated in the power-sharing deal between Zanu-PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), News Day is the only newcomer operating.
The Daily News, the first private newspaper
which was closed down by the government more than seven years ago, has yet to
make it back onto the streets although its licence has been
The greater choice of newspapers is felt most
keenly in urban areas.
This is tamer political territory for Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangarai's MDC. 'Media hangman'
But in Headlands - a swathe of villages just off
the road between Mutare and Harare - newspapers rarely make an appearance.
“If I listen on my headphones, nobody knows. It's my
Resident of Headlands
Radio, or more accurately
state radio, is the main source of news.
A queue of private broadcasters is waiting in
the wings for licences to be granted.
People speak in hushed tones here.
This is Zanu-PF territory and many are reluctant
Yet one woman I spoke to, a bright mother of
four with a mouth shaped into a permanent smile, confided that the radio on her
mobile phone sometimes picked up signals from stations beyond Zimbabwe's
"If I listen on my headphones, nobody knows,"
she whispers, "It's my secret."
While Zimbabwe's Information Minister Webster
Shamu has made optimistic noises that broadcasting licences will be issued soon,
he has been flatly contradicted in recent weeks by President Robert Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba.
Foreign media at the Zanu-PF
gathering were feted as guests
He says they need more ways to monitor and
regulate private operators.
The appointment of Jonathan Moyo onto Zanu-PF's
top table - the politburo - does not inspire confidence that the airwaves will
be open soon.
While some consider him a brilliant strategist,
others describe him as a "media hangman".
He is credited in the past with ushering in some
of the most repressive legislation to curtail press freedom.
After a spell away from the party - he is now
back - and with elections expected next year - the timing is perhaps no
As foreigners reporting from the Zanu-PF
conference you would expect us to be treated as "the enemy".
Newspapers are readily
available in towns, but not in the countryside
But in characteristic African gesture of
hospitality we were feted as guests.
People came to chat or hand over bottles of
"Zanu-PF water" - mineral water with a picture of the party leader emblazoned on
the plastic bottle.
Even something as elemental as water cannot
escape politics here.
The conference was a battle cry to the party
faithful - goading them on ahead of expected elections next year.
President Mugabe, looking fit and in fighting
mood, called for the "indigenisation" of foreign firms, enabling the state to
take a majority stake in big corporations. A familiar refrain.
And the words thundered by Simon Khaya Moyo, the
chairman of the party, captured the tone. Zanu-PF is on an "unstoppable
I wondered how far the party would be prepared
to go given the experience of the last bloody elections two years ago.
In recent weeks the newspapers have been filled
with stories about the alleged recruitment of war veterans to strategic posts
ahead of elections.
Diamonds are now a no go topic
There have been reports too claiming that heads
of the security services will "only accept a Zanu-PF win". Chilling copy.
Stories that have landed reporters in jail.
About an hour's drive from the conference lies
the diamond rich area of Chiadzwa - a no go area for journalists.
It has been tainted by allegations of plunder
and human right abuses. Claims that the party denies.
A resident from this diamond desert agreed to
meet us discretely.
He spoke of the police and military patrols who
continue to stalk the areas, of the people forced to stay indoors from 1800 and
of the gang rapes of women who refuse to comply with their rules.
There is no way to independently verify this
man's ghastly testimony.
Chiadzwa is a militarised zone, but his story is
consistent with reports that diamonds are being used as a weapon of control.
Zimbabwe's President, Robert
Mugabe, tells the BBC of his desire to remain in power
A resource which save for a handful of secretive
companies, is being manipulated by Zimbabwe's "securocrats" - the military,
police and intelligence services, to stay in power claim human rights groups
The discovery of diamonds has been "a gift from
god" declares President Mugabe. It could be his salvation.
A Zimbabwean newspaper just last week reported a
Wikileaks cable - published around the world - which implicated the first lady
Grace Mugabe and a handful of others in allegedly benefiting from illicit
diamond deals. Something they deny.
The mood has swiftly changed and the lawsuits
have begun. One paper is being sued for $15m (£9,7m).
Diamonds are a no go topic of conversation and
it seems the drive towards greater media freedom or glasnost African style - has
ground to a shuddering halt.
The next few months will be the litmus test for
If newspapers like News Day continue to offer
diversity right through until election day, Zimbabwe will have advanced
But if journalists are increasingly threatened,
harassed and jailed, Zimbabwe will have slide back into its old