The group cautions that the pace of reforms and credible preparations for
elections will determine the level of interaction between donors and the
Blessing Zulu & Tatenda Gumbo | Washington 23 December 2010
Analysts say the call for credible elections by the Friends of Zimbabwe
reflects the concerns of donors who have been holding back on aid due to
fears of increased political risk
Western donors have pledged to provide more than US$500 million in
humanitarian and other aid to Zimbabwe in 2011, but caution that the pace of
reforms and credible preparations for elections will determine the level of
interaction between donors and the unity government.
The so-called Friends of Zimbabwe, an informal group of donor nations and
financial institutions met recently in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It issued a statement urging the Harare unity government to cooperate with
the Southern African Development Community to promote conditions for
legitimate and peaceful elections, including enhanced transparency into
activities by the government and implementation of reforms.
Finance Minster Tendai Biti told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that Harare
needs to take the issues raised by these key donors seriously.
Analysts say the call for credible elections by the Friends of Zimbabwe
reflects the concerns of donors who have been holding back on aid due to
fears of increased political risk.
Economist David Mpamhedze told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the donors
are holding out the incentive of expanded aid in hopes of motivating
Travelers coming from South Africa report delays of many hours at Beitbridge
where an estimated 17,000 cross daily
Tatenda Gumbo & Loirdham Moyo | Washington/Mutare 23 December 2010
With the Christmas holiday at hand, many Zimbabweans have found themselves
in a holiday crunch with access to cash difficult and transport in many
Travelers coming from South Africa report hours-long delays at Beitbridge,
the southern border post through which an estimated 17,000 may pass daily in
the holiday season.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Transport Minister Nicholas Goche traveled
to the border to assess travel conditions, promising a tranformed post come
next holiday season.
Biti said the border infrastructure was in bad condition and that the govhas
engaged international partners to reorganization and transform the bridge to
"world class standards."
Elsewhere, numerous frustrated consumers in Mutare have found themselves
without cash 48 hours before Christmas as banks overwhelmed by demand for US
dollars and South African Rand exhausted their stocks of hard currency.
Many travelled from rural areas hoping to draw banknotes and make purchases,
but had to return empty handed.
Studio Seven reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke with Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions Secretary General Wellington Chibebe and Reheal Zimbabwe Information
Officer Tsabile Dewa to discuss the holiday deadlock.
Dewa, who recently traveled to South Africa, says the conditions on the
Beitbridge left much to be desired.
Harare, December 24, 2010 – Passengers who wanted to fly Air Zimbabwe planes
were left stranded Friday after the pilots and other staff members went on
strike demanded to be paid their December salaries and other outstanding
allowances dating back to 2009.
Sources from Air Zimbabwe told RadioVOP that all the flights that were
scheduled for Friday morning were cancelled on short notice after the pilots
remained in the airport’s car park demanding the salaries be paid before the
“The salaries that the pilots are talking about have been owed from last
year. Right now they are in meetings with management and I don’t think they
will get an agreement today,” said a source adding that the December
salaries have also not been paid.
"In their last agreement with the employer which happens to be the
government, it was agreed that they will be paid 50 percent immediately with
the remainder staggered over six months but the time has come and payments
have not been made,” said the source based at Air Zimbabwe headquarters at
A group of pilots could be seen milling around the car park at the company’s
headquarters when Radio VOP visited the Harare International Airport. A few
confused passengers were also milling around the airport terminal waiting
for news on the flights.
Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer Peter Chikumba confirmed the job action
but added that they will have to take the matter to their lawyers because
they were not given a notice by the pilots.
“In terms of the law the pilots should notify management of a pending job
action and that was not done,” said Chikumba.
Air Zimbabwe operates a Boeing 767 to Harare from London every Thursday and
Monday night, and from Harare to London every Wednesday and Sunday morning.
It also operates flights on regional routes, mainly between Johannesburg and
Harare and between Bulawayo and Johannesburg. It also operates domestic
flights between the two major cities and the Victoria Falls.
Air Zimbabwe says it needs US$750 million to renew its fleet and match
regional competitors, but the government is reluctant to give up
shareholding to private investors who can mobilise the needed finance.
The airline lost thousands of dollars in revenue after the pilots went on
strike again September demanding to be paid their outstanding salaries and
The airline’s chairman Jonathan Kadzura said: "I can't talk to you much
right now because I am in the middle of a strike, let me handle this right
now and will be able to take your questions later."
24 December, 2010 07:55:00 By staff Reporter
Harare, - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of the Movement
Democratic Change (MDC) says he is ready for elections next year but not
He said in his Christmas message to Zimbabweans: "We won the Presidential,
parliamentary and local government elections of 2008 and we are not afraid.
The holder of the heavyweight title can never be more afraid than the
challenger; the one itching to inflict revenge after being humiliated in the
first round. And we won the first round. So we are ready for an election and
not a war.
"We are only ready for a free and fair election, a peaceful election where
violence, rigging, intimidation and a biased public media have no space;
where our soldiers, our police, our central intelligence officers and our
war veterans remain impartial actors that respect the Constitution of
Zimbabwe. A free election where losers hand over power and winners begin
urgently to transact the business of the people and to set in motion
policies that will guarantee a prosperous future for us and our children.
"So we will only participate in a free, fair and violence-free election. But
we will not participate in a war. We are simple defenseless citizens of this
country fighting for change through peaceful and democratic means. So we
will not participate in a blood-soaked event masquerading as an election.
"On 16 December 2010, our national council took a position that the
outstanding electoral business is the unfinished Presidential election of
2008. There was no contestation on the outcome of the Parliamentary and
local government elections. This means Zimbabweans should be given a chance
to vote for a President of their choice in the next election. We have been
forced to walk the road of violence and we are not prepared to walk it
"I, like every other Zimbabwean, have personally experienced this violence
and I understand the pain of brutality and indignity. There have been
disturbing and treasonous statements by a parasitic minority in Zanu PF that
they will not allow an election to decide the future leaders of this
country. The people of Zimbabwe, with the active assistance of SADC, must
ensure that the people's will prevails if we are to entrench a new culture
of democracy in our
"I am aware that more needs to be done to realise our full potential in
bringing hospitals and schools to their former glory and in ensuring that
our silent factories start working again. But we have made our positive
change in this government amid renewed tension which is threatening our
collective march from a dark past of uncertainty to a future of hope and
"I have my own frustrations about many things in this government. Chief
among my frustrations is the failure to implement the Global Political
Agreement, the resurgence of violence in the country and President Robert
Mugabe's unilateral and unconstitutional acts which have blighted the dawn
of possible progress.
"I am frustrated because these things have stood between us and the great
things we could have achieved as a coalition government. I am frustrated
because we have taken Zimbabweans for a ride and betrayed the trust bestowed
upon us by you, the people of Zimbabwe as well as SADC and the African Union
as the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement.
"I am frustrated because we cannot implement the 24 issues we have agreed
upon for the simple reason that President Mugabe has chosen to run away from
his signature and treats fellow Principals with utter disdain and contempt.
"I am frustrated because the noble-constitution-making process has failed to
stand the test of legitimacy after Zimbabweans were disallowed from freely
expressing their views. However, we must continue with this process of
crafting a new charter for ourselves while awaiting the making of a truly
people-driven Constitution in a post-transitional environment.
"It is a shame that 30 years after independence, we still use a Constitution
given to us as an order of the Queen at Lancaster House, albeit a
Constitution mutilated 19 times. And we still have the have the temerity to
call ourselves a sovereign nation while at the same time subverting a noble
process of crafting our own, home-grown Constitution.
"I am frustrated because those who lost the election have chosen to mistake
our goodwill and benevolence for a weakness. They have deluded themselves
into thinking that they invited us. But we derive comfort in that while they
are soaked with the blood of innocent Zimbabweans, we remain drenched in the
legitimacy bestowed upon us in a free and fair election.
"We are the true repository of the people's aspirations. But our present
frustrations must not blind us to the nightmare of the past and the prospect
of a better future.
"We are now on the home stretch-the last mile. As we go on this last mile,
we remain undaunted by the prospect of an election, as this is the only
route through which a legitimate government can begin to transact the
the people and bring about real change.
"This month, we all celebrate the birth of Christ and look positively to the
year ahead, well aware of the value we have brought into government and the
role we have played in stopping the bleeding and making sure that
Zimbabweans have every reason to hope again," he said. "We are not there yet
and I have no doubt about the huge task that lies ahead in returning the
country to normalcy and in laying the foundation for a great future for our
He said among the successes of MDC were the ability to add value to the
government, pulling the nation from the brink of collapse to a new potential
of hope and averted an inevitable plunge into the abyss to set the country
back on the rails; on a new path of stability, development and growth.
"We are the people's conscience in this government and every day, we are
mitigating the excesses of entitlement and corruption and keeping in check a
sulking minority unused to working in the interest of the people.We have
shown what a determined people can do, even in the face of open Zanu (PF)
"We have weathered and survived dark and sinister plots to undermine the
collective government work programme and the real change agenda. We have
remained resolute, in the full knowledge that we are the true people's
representatives because of the clear mandate given to us in a legitimate
"As I take stock of the past year and look at the priorities of 2011, I am
humbled by some notable achievements but at the same time aware of the great
strides we would have made were it not for the needless tension in this
government," noted Tsvangirai.
He said Zimbabwe's inflation has been tamed and the country is poised for a
growth of 8,1 percent after having
spent the past two years concentrating on stabilising the economy. There is
food on the shelves, schools have opened and hospitals have begun
He said a one-stop shop that will enable prospective investors to have their
papers processed under one roof in less than 48 hours had been opened.
Tsvangirai said he was unhappy with the remuneration for civil servants
considering their patriotism and their great service to the country.
He also said a false impression had been created that the MDC and its
leadership were fighting the national security institutions.
"We have nothing against our soldiers, our police and our CIO officers as
long as they stick to their Constitutional mandate of protecting the people
of Zimbabwe. But we have a problem when the same institutions are used for
partisan interest, to intimidate and mete out violence against innocent and
"So we need a roadmap to a free and fair election, with clear benchmarks and
time-bound milestones that will ensure the people's views will be
24 December, 2010 07:51:00 By staff Reporter
Mutare, - Speculation is rife that former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
may bounce back at the helm of the Ministry following his recent election to
Zanu (PF)'s politburo, the highest decision making body of the party.
Moyo was instrumental in the crafting of the oppressive Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which he used to shutdown
newspapers. He was also responsible for the loss of jobs for hundreds of
journalists and other media professionals from the state-owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation and the news agency, Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News
Agency (Ziana), for allegedly siding with the then opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change. He renamed Ziana, which was one of the best
news agency in Africa, new Ziana.
Sources told Radio VOP that President Robert Mugabe wanted a cabinet
reshuffle in order to fit Moyo in before the elections next year. Mugabe
wants to use Moyo to silence organisations perceived to be critical to the
former ruling party.
Sources said the current Information Minister Webster Shamu will be moved to
the National Healing
Moyo was re-admitted into the party last year after he was sacked for
masterminding a failed coup d’état against
Mugabe six years ago.
He is expected to be hard on media organisations that does not subscribe to
the ideas and principles of Zanu PF) in a bid to make sure that the party
makes a clean sweep in next years projected election to avoid another
embarrassing defeat by the MDC-T.
“Shamu was not effective in dealing with media houses hostile to Zanu (PF).
So a resolution was made to bring back Moyo to save the party from a
possible humiliation if the country is to go to polls next year and it will
be just a matter of time before the changes are made,” said the source.
He added that the decision was made after Zanu (PF)’ s supreme decision
making body, the politburo said Moyo was credited of saving Zanu (PF) from
collapse during the 2000 era.
The move is set to cause panic at the ZBC and Zimpapers where Moyo is likely
to purge deadwood appointed by Shamu when he was brought to the ministry
Although efforts to get a comment from Zanu (PF) spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo
were fruitless, sources said Moyo was expected to rejuvenate the parroting
of Zanu (PF) propaganda in the state media. - Radio VOP
Karoi, December 24, 2010 - Some police officers were on Friday being accused
of demanding bribes from commercial workers who they round up during their
The suspects can negotiate for their immediate release before reaching the
charge office as the police do not have transport to ferry them there.
Commercial sex work has been rife for the past eight years here due to
economic and social challenges.
'I met three officers who demanded that I pay US$10 as clearance fee or I
risked spending a night in police cells for loitering' said a 19 year old
sex worker only identified as Irene from Chiedza Suburb here.
Those who fail to pay the 'clearance fee' are detained overnight before
being forced to pay US$20 admission of guilt fine.
'These officers are robbing us and we cannot make any income during the time
when our clients have more money to spend,' said another sex worker named
Mercy aged 27 years.
The police officers however, accused the sex workers of harbouring criminals
during the festive season.
'Some sex workers are used as hideouts by criminals. They should report any
police officer who demand bribes to the seniors,' said an officer who denied
to be named.
There was no immediate response from Officer Commanding Hurungwe district,
Chief Supt David Mandizha as his mobile was constantly unavailable.
Mutare, December 24, 2010 - A diamond dealer from the West African country
of Guinea was murdered by two Zimbabwean men after they lured him from his
base in Mozambique.
Laye Fode Kaba was recently strangled to death and robbed of US$14 000 after
being lured into Zimbabwe for a non-existent deal.
Police have arrested Tinashe Muhammed (30) and Simbarashe Muyambo (24), in
connection with the murder.
The two appeared before magistrate Fabian Feshete on Thursday. They were
remanded in custody to December 28 because it was feared they will interfere
The state also argued the release of the accused after the death of a
foreigner on Zimbabwean soil would induce pandemonium and jeopardize the
public confidence in the Zimbabwe criminal justice system.
For the state, Truman Joma, alleged the two lured Kaba who resided in
Mozambique, a safe hub for foreign diamond dealers.
The prosecutor said on November 28, the two Zimbabweans called Kaba in
Mozambique and duped him that there was diamond up for sale in Mutare.
Kaba agreed and asked for the accused persons to collect him in Mozambique
at his house and smuggle him into the country.
The Prosecutor said on November 29, the two smuggled Kaba into Zimbabwe.
But after crossing the Mutare-Machipanda railway line, near the three
kilometre peg, the Zimbabwean men strangled Kaba to death and robbed him of
$14 000 and two mobile phones.
As a cover up they placed the body along the railway line and it was dragged
by a goods train for about 60 metres before it stopped.
Meanwhile soldiers manning the bloody Chiyadzwa diamond fields were
employing ‘illegal miners’ whom they are using to mine the diamonds and sell
the mineral on their behalf.
Illegal diamond miners who spoke to Radio VOP said entering in the diamond
fields was now not a problem if one has links with the security men manning
Most of them however, complained that they were being used by the soldiers
who demand half share of the sold diamonds.
“They are telling ‘their’ miners to recruit more people who will work for
them. If you enter through that channel you will be protected but the
problem comes after selling the diamonds as the soldiers demand an equal
share with you.
“Its difficulty to avoid them (soldiers) when you have sold the diamonds
because you will be escorted by to the market,” said Charles Siyamupepe.
“We are being enslaved by soldiers here because how can we have an equal
share after the labour we would have gone through? Yes it’s true that they
will be protecting us but from who? Imagine after selling my loot for say
US$20 000 they demand US$10 000. It’s unfair, “complained Clever Ganyiwa.
A middle ranked soldier deployed in the controversial diamond fields but
declined to be named said corruption was the order of the day at Chiyadzwa.
“That's how most of us are making a living here. Where do you think private
soldiers and junior police officers who are here get money to buy those
expensive cars, said one soldier.
Human rights organisations have been calling for the withdrawal of soldiers
from the area, citing corruption and human rights abuses, but the government
said they were there to protect the looting of the precious mineral by
Masvingo, December 25, 2010- As many Zimbabweans were pushing their trolleys
full of groceries on Christmas Eve, some beggars said it was their hardest
time as busy shoppers failed to notice them.
Radio VOP which visited OK Supermarket, one of the country’s biggest retail
group here witnessed hordes of shoppers doing last minute buying. Many of
the shoppers were preparing to go for their rural homes to enjoy Christmas
with their families.
“It is Christmas time, and we have to make merry,” says Tatenda Moyo,
holding a bottle of whisky in one hand and a box of cigarette and a packet
of biltong in another.
He said he was heading for his rural home to booze.
Hardly 200 meters away, a visually impaired beggar and his three children,
also blind were singing on top of their voices, beating plastic containers
with sticks in a bid to attract attention of the passersby.
But nobody seemed to pay attention as most people were caught in the hustle
and bustle of Christmas.
“We have no home, we live in a shack. Our homes were destroyed during the
Operation Murambatsvina (Clean up operation). We live on begging,” says
Josia Rugara, the 40-year old destitute.
Although Christmas is also a time for giving and remembering the less
privileged, very few have extended the olive branch to Rugara’s begging
bowl. In fact, according to Rugara, as Christmas approached, many locals
tightened the strings of their purses.
“On some days, I could get around US$5 to US$6. But as Christmas drew
closer, very few were willing to donate. Today, I just got a dollar at noon,
and it shows the day is not going to improve,” he said.
A few meters from Rugara was another beggar who is physically challenged and
is in a wheelchair.
“I would have loved to work if I was born like others. It is not my wish to
be in the streets getting very little, especially on times like these where
we expect to be remembered. To me, Christmas is just like any other day,”
said Garirai Rwonzi.
Alghouth the Christmas Cheer fund had been distributed, very few orphanages
benefitted little as the amount was little.
Masvingo Mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda said the business community only
pledged US$1 000, les than a quarter raised last year.
“Because business was not that good, we raised a little amount from the
business community. We would have loved to help everyone and make sure that
even those in orphanages and those on the streets have a smile this
By close of business on the 20th December 2010 13 million textbooks will have been dispatched to around 5,300 schools. The coverage map is attached. Due to a significant number of schools not having been on the original distribution lists and rising enrolments, 93% of schools will be covered by the time the trucks reach their destinations within the next week to 10 days. Inevitably there will also be some schools which will not receive enough books and we know of shortages already in certain subjects and grades. Unicef and the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture are currently negotiating to procure the mop-up and buffer stocks with Longmans and will be able to complete the job early next year while still remaining well under budget for textbooks.
As I have recently advised we have secured funding for the Secondary school textbook programme which will be rolled out early in the New Year. We hope that these textbooks will be delivered to Secondary schools countrywide during the second term of 2011.
Senator David Coltart
Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London
The statement ‘what you see is what you get’ seems to aptly describe Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. This is so because he appears to convey the message that ‘I may not be perfect, but I'll be making no efforts to improve, so be warned'' (phrases.org.uk).
For a leader whose party is facing its ‘Lazarus moment’, Mugabe proved that desperate times have forced his party to adopt various desperate measures lately e.g. by burying the succession issue. Some analysts likened Zanu-pf to ‘Mugabe’s wives’ after they confirmed without any debate the 86-year old as the party’s presidential candidate in the election 2011 and by maintaining loud silence on who succeeds Mugabe who is very old..
Mugabe announced at the 11th Zanu-pf national the elevation of Jonathan Moyo to the Communist-style politburo exactly 6-years since his expulsion. In reference to Moyo, Mugabe said ‘I don’t want to call him a prodigal son”, a development seen by some analysts as evidence of desperation by turning a blind eye to scathing articles penned by the Tsholostho MP especially the controversial article entitled: ‘There is a sinister agenda at work’ (Zimbabwe Independent, 22/09/06).
In his paper, Moyo lambasts Mugabe, Zanu-pf ‘mandarins’and securocrats and makes one useful revelation for the opposition if they didn’t know already, saying the party’s strategy calls for:
‘state security to infiltrate the opposition in order to destroy it from within. The core purpose of this strategy is to enable state security to determine Mugabe’s successor and the manner or process of his succession on behalf of factional interests in Zanu-pf.’
In the wake of spirited rejections by Welshman Ncube of any chances of his faction uniting with the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, one wonders what has prompted a resurgence of efforts to reunite the two MDC parties ahead of possible elections in 2011. While unity is a desirable ideal under normal circumstances, these are not normal circumstances in view of the state security strategy referred to above. Early this month, Jenni Williams of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) warned about an infiltration strategy called ‘hemming in’ whereby ‘people are hemmed in’ (Zimbabwean, 06/12/10).
Before the conference ended Mugabe declared on 18th December 2010 that a legal framework must be put in place to ensure individuals and organisations that call for sanctions against the country can be charged with treason (New Zimbabwe, 18/12/10). Criminalising the freedom of expression will obviously have no valid legal basis as it will only make things worse. For instance, in order to claim asylum abroad one would simply call for the retention of targeted sanctions on Mugabe and would have committed a ‘treasonous offence’ according to Zanu-pf law. One would not need to prove membership of a political party, arrest or torture to be justified in fearing for their life in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe under the proposed ‘sanctions law’.
Interestingly enough, targeted sanctions which are intended to restrict named individuals from travel to the USA, Canada, Australia, EU and the UK have been used as an excuse for nearly every little problem imaginable in Zimbabwe – including driving a long distance to work, causing poverty, ‘biting’ education and child mortality.
In March 2010 a provincial governor blamed targeted sanctions for forcing her to commute more than 240 kilometres daily to work ‘at tax-payers’ expense’ (The Zimbabwe Times, 30/03/10). Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku of Zanu-pf reportedly said in a bid to beat ‘sanctions’ she was forced to drive more than a thousand kilometres to work each week in her chauffer-driven government issue Mercedes Benz E280 as she commuted between a farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo and her offices in Gwanda. Meanwhile, Bulawayo Metropolitan Governor, Cain Mathema also of Zanu-pf, allegedly travels a similar distance from rural Tsholotsho to the city. The two government officials jointly clock 2,400 kilometres to and from work in a five day week.
“The problems we are facing are caused by the illegal economic sanctions that were imposed by Britain and her allies. Our major buildings in Matabeleland South are still undergoing construction after many years,” Masuku said. Mathema blamed the coalition government for not allocating him a house in the city of Bulawayo. Just how some people find a link between a ban to visit London or Washington with governors’ accommodation in Zimbabwe, is hard to decipher.
This story has a striking resemblance with that of a boss who would not buy heaters for his freezing staff and had them hypnotised into thinking they were warm (The Sun, 23/12/10).The employer bought coats for the ‘lads’ in his cobblers workshop where temperatures had plunged to -13 degrees centigrade, but because doors were left open to clear solvent fumes, the workers were reportedly still feeling cold. However, just a five- minute session with a hypnotist saw them stripping down to shorts and T-shirts, saying they were too HOT! (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3315242).
Mugabe claimed poverty in Zimbabwe had remained high because of the ‘debilitating effects caused by targeted sanctions’ while addressing the United Nations plenary meeting on Millennium Development Goals in New York in September 2010 (SWRadioAfrica, 22/09/20). Similarly, ‘sanctions’ were blamed for biting education in Zimbabwe this month after a ‘key German ally’ reportedly rejected the release of a 15 million Euro tranche due to ‘infighting among key Unicef funders who are divided over Zimbabwe’s diplomatic relations with the European Union’ (Financial Gazette, 03/12/10). Mugabe’s wife, Grace on 9th December 2010, blamed sanctions for high numbers of maternal and infant mortality rate in Zimbabwe (RadioVop, 09/12/10).
The truth is that Zimbabwe’s economy was already in freefall before targeted sanctions were imposed on 200 individuals and some state enterprises that were seen as propping-up Mugabe’s regime especially over accusations that Zanu-pf rigged the 2002 presidential election. It could be argued as a fair comment that the reluctance of the South African government to release a report on Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections despite two court orders could be due to fears of opening a can of worms and unintentionally help justify the case for targeted sanctions on certain individuals.
Desperate measures have seen senior priests in the Anglican Church faction led by ex-communicated Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga declaring their church’s unwavering allegiance to Zanu-pf and that the church will pray for Mugabe and no other leader (Newsday 20/12/10). On the other hand, the new Bishop of Harare Sebastian Bakare, who is at loggerheads with police-backed Kunonga told The Daily Telegraph that riot police had attacked "nearly all" of Harare's 58 Anglican churches in 2008. "People are too scared to try to worship in their churches in case they are beaten," he said.
If all was well within Zanu-pf there would be no plans to nationalise western private businesses or expel diplomats from western countries. There would be no plans to set up Zanu-pf schools to ‘orient’ young people about its ideologies ahead of 2011 elections (RadioVop 23/12/10) because it’s too late. In any case, the intended beneficiaries would be too young to vote in 2011. The ‘look East policy’ envisages propaganda centres to be dotted all over the country modelled along those run by the Chinese Community Party.
Despite freedom of information being enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the so-called Global Political Agreement (GPA), police and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Agency operatives are reportedly confiscating solar powered, wind-up radios that were donated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to rural communities because they are allegedly ‘selling out the country by listening to foreign broadcasts’ (ZimbabweJournalists, 06/12/10).
The Supreme leader had a compliment from the cables released by Wikileaks for being ‘fit and healthy for an 85-year old’ rather than earlier reports alleging failing health, but Mugabe’s healthy appearance comes at a price to the taxpayer. He has round the clock medical care 24/7, something not being enjoyed by people of the same age even in some of the country’s hospitals, therefore he has an unfair advantage. However, the cables noted that Mugabe “could not sit still” and “constantly pulled up his socks” during the meeting with American diplomats last year. Latest reports in 2010 quote MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti as saying Mugabe allegedly sleeps during meetings.
If that is the case, instead of wasting public funds seeking medical attention abroad, Mugabe should build modern health facilities in Zimbabwe including those for cancer treatment which can be used by all the people. Funds for hospitals and ambulances can come from the sale of Mugabe’s redundant Russian made helicopter which according to media reports is now being used by one of his ministers because he does not like it.
Mugabe would have done the country a lot of good by persuading the securocrats to apologise and say sorry for their alleged offences against humanity and step down in return for no retribution so that Zimbabweans don’t have to sleep with one eye open come election 2011. Surely, he can do more than ‘what you see is what you get’.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London email@example.com