The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Mugabe, Tsvangirai ‘plot’ against Ncube

Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:24

The smaller formation of the MDC has accused President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of conniving against the party claiming the
two are afraid of Professor Welshman Ncube’s stance on matters of principle.

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga told The Standard
that the two continue to support and “protect” Deputy Prime Minister
Professor Arthur Mutambara despite a recent High court ruling ordering him
to stop masquerading as both a principal in the coalition government and
president of the party now led by Ncube.

“The recent court judgment was clear in that Mutambara is not a principal
and there is no basis for him to remain in the inclusive government,” she
said.  “Mugabe and Tsvangirai have showed that they do not care about the
judgment and have taken a political decision to keep him in government for
purely different reasons.”

Misihairambwi-Mushonga alleged that Mugabe wanted to keep Mutambara in
government to render the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the
negotiating process dysfunctional.

Tsvangirai, she added, also wanted the robotics professor to stay because of
his “personal hatred” for Ncube who cannot be swayed on matters of principle
and policy.

Bad blood between Tsvangirai and Ncube was clearly shown in 2005 when the
MDC broke into two factions. Ncube led the faction that supported senatorial
elections while Tsvangirai’s camp boycotted the polls dismissing them as
unnecessary, costly and an undemocratic constitutional change.

Misihairambwi-Mushonga added: “There is a group within Zanu PF and the CIO
who want to create chaos by keeping Mutambara in government so that the GPA
is not fully implemented.”

She said Tsvangirai was shooting himself in the foot by entering a
partnership with Mugabe and Mutambara thinking he was fixing Ncube.

She said Mutambara’s presence in the coalition government was now illegal
but Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who were empowered to remove him, had entered
into a “marriage of convenience” and deliberately failing to enforce the
rule of law.

Misihairambwi-Mushonga said during the inter-party anti-violence indaba held
in November, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and some intelligence officials tried to
sneak in representatives from the Mutambara faction, a move which was
however, thwarted by her party.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora dismissed claims that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai were conniving to block Ncube’s ascendency by supporting

“Ncube is dying a natural political death,” he said. “He has shown very
awkward leadership qualities. In fact, Ncube is the most trigger-happy
president of a political party, as evidenced by his firing of elected
parliamentarians from his formation.”

He said Mugabe’s and Tsvangirai’s hands were tied because the dispute
between Ncube and Mutambara has still not been finalised by the courts.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba or Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare
Gumbo could not be reached for comment.
Mutambara recently appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court
ruling which ordered him to stop masquerading as a GNU principal and MDC

He has also lodged a complaint with Judge President Justice George Chiweshe
alleging that Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, who delivered the ruling against
him, should have recused himself in the matter as he was a close relative of

But Misihairambwi-Mushonga dismissed the allegations saying the matter was
heard before Justice Kamocha who made the judgment. Justice Mathonsi only
read the judgment on behalf of Kamocha who was not present on that day, she

“They (Mutambara faction) are really desperate and coming with these
ridiculous allegations. They are clutching at straws,” she said.

Meanwhile, Misihairambwi-Mushonga warned that Zanu PF risks committing
political suicide if Mugabe goes ahead to unilaterally declare elections
before the implementation of the agreed roadmap and against the
recommendation of Sadc.

She said if he turns against Sadc, Mugabe will be isolated like what
happened to some North African dictators such as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi who
were shunned by the Arab League during the Arab Spring uprisings.

PM’s hatred of Ncube documented: Mushonga

Asked why she thought Tsvangirai had a personal hatred for Ncube,
Misihairambwi-Mushonga claimed that this was well-documented.

“Tsvangirai hates Ncube with a passion. He wrote disparaging remarks about
Ncube in his book At the Deep End calling him a termite,” she alleged.

But recent reports show that Ncube has been on the war path, ridiculing
Tsvangirai at each and every occasion.

Tsvangirai recently said he was surprised that Ncube continues to attack him
personally, instead of marketing his party policies to the people of

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cash crisis recedes in Harare

Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:36

HARARE’s central business district (CBD) had a semblance of normality
yesterday as the Christmas shopping and banking chaos that previously ensued
had subsided.

Banks were open in the morning but there was little activity as most clients
had withdrawn their money by Friday in time for travelling for the holidays.

Earlier in the week, banks were overwhelmed with some branches running out
of cash as thousands of people jostled to withdraw their monthly salaries
and bonuses before last Thursday’s Unity Day public holiday.

A ZB Bank employee who requested anonymity said the bank’s branches had
adequate cash to meet demand.
“Most of the branches in Harare today have enough cash. As a matter of fact
there are not that many people in the banking halls right now,” he said.

Police mounted roadblocks at various points in the city in a bid to prevent
commuter omnibuses from causing further mayhem in the central business

A snap survey by The Standard revealed that by mid-afternoon yesterday only
a few people could be seen trickling into the city fortheir last-minute

Mbare Musika long distance bus terminus was unusually quiet with transport
readily available.

“I only managed to access my money this morning from the bank. I was
disappointed because I could have travelled earlier but otherwise I’m
looking forward to a safe journey and a joyous holiday,” said Dominic
Mazarire, who was about to travel to Bulawayo.

Fares were hiked nominally as public transport operators sought to cash in
on the festive season. Bus fare from Harare to Bulawayo were, on average
pegged at US$19, compared to the normal charge of US$13.

Meanwhile, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary
Siyachitema lambasted the banking sector for failing to plan for the
anticipated increased demand for cash towards the festive season.

“The banking sector must sit down and take a look at themselves,” said
Siyachitema. “They knew that the festive season was approaching so they
should have made adequate preparations to cater for the increased demand."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF resists CIO reforms

Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:34

AN Executive Commission to run the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
is on the cards as part of efforts by the coalition government to make the
dreaded and secretive body accountable for its actions.

But Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul
Mangwana (pictured) dismissed the proposal as wishful thinking on the part
of the two MDC formations, arguing that there was no such commission “under
the sun” to run intelligence services.

Currently, the CIO is under the Office of the President but the organisation
is accused of being partisan and grossly violating human rights with

Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said the Copac adopted a principle
agreeing that security organs including the CIO must uphold the constitution
and observe human rights in their work.

“We think this is not undue interference with their work,” he said.
“This is why we are insisting on the establishment of an executive
intelligence commission which will ensure that operatives who abuse human
rights are brought to book.”

Mwonzora said the commission, similar to the one for Defence and Police
forces and Prison Services, does not necessarily have to be independent but
have executive powers.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti who is also a Global Political Agreement
(GPA) negotiator insisted that such a CIO services commission is possible
and should be answerable to Parliament and not the executive.

He said executive commissions, including the Public Service and Defence
commissions, should be depoliticised as there were partisan and loyal to
Zanu PF instead of the people of Zimbabwe.

“State institutions and state organs must be impartial and must serve the
people. The police must be a people’s police. The army must be a people’s
army. The CIO must be a people’s CIO,” said Biti.

He said executive commissions used to be under a neutral person, Canaan
Banana who was a ceremonial president from 1980 to 1987, but the bodies have
become politicised under the system of an executive President.

Biti said even cabinet ministers perceived to be powerful such as Defence
Minister Emerson Mnangagwa had no legal control over the likes of Zimbabwe
Defence Force Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, who report directly to
President Mugabe.

Zanu PF has resisted reforming the security sector, the only pillar that has
kept Mugabe, who has ruled the country for the past three decades, in power.

The party’s national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo recently said security sector
reforms were irrelevant and were not part of the Global Political Agreement.

Copac co-chair Mangwana adamant

However, Mangwana said there was no agreement on the establishment of an
intelligence commission as the two MDC formations have failed to provide
examples of where such bodies exist elsewhere in the world.

“The trend is that Intelligence is always under the Presidency just like the
American CIA and British MI5,” he said.
“Intelligence has to do with the security of the nation. If you establish
such a commission, you weaken the security and sovereignty of the state.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

50 dead as Xmas accident toll soars

Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:28


Nearly 50 people have died in road accidents countrywide since the police
started monitoring festive season accidents 10 days ago amid fears the
number could surpass that of last Christmas and New Year holidays.

Road accidents continue to claim more lives despite the deployment of more
traffic officers along the country’s major highways in an effort to reduce
the carnage.

On Friday, unconfirmed reports said three people died on the spot while
several others died on the way to hospital when a Sheron Bus Service coach
heading to Beitbridge from Harare collided with a truck near Beatrice, some
60 km from the capital city, on Friday night.

Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri yesterday said the police were yet to
establish the total number of people who perished in the accident as some
are said to have died on their way to hospital.

Police were also still investigating the cause of the accident. A survivor
of Beatrice accident, Benson Moyo (47), said the bus collided with an
oncoming truck after the truck was sent off track by an earlier collision
with a smaller car.

Another survivor Mirirai Zinyemba said the bus was trailing the small black
car which kept swerving from side to side in a suspected case of drunken
driving. At one roadblock the bus driver had even asked police to stop the
swerving car without success.

“We caught up with it later and it was swerving again and in no time it had
collided with the truck, which also went on to collide with our bus,” said
Zinyemba. “Many people, especially standing passengers and those who had
resorted to sitting in the corridor after failing to secure seats, were
seriously injured.”

Zinyemba added: “I was lucky to have been sitting next to a strong man who
hit the emergency exit window panel next to us and jumped out before helping
me out through the window.”

But Trymore Bare, a passenger in the Toyota and brother to the car’s driver,
refuted claims that their car caused the accident, saying the truck
encroached into their lane.

“The truck got out of its lane and came straight for us, causing our car to
turn around and face the direction we were coming from,” said Bere. “The
police said the car which was criss-crossing was a CRV and this is a Toyota.
My brother is a member of an apostolic sect and does not drink beer.”

Both the bus and the truck were reduced to a complete wreck while the Toyota
was partially damaged. Efforts to get latest accidents statistics from
national traffic police and Harare provincial police spokespersons Tigere
Chigome and James Sabau respectively were fruitless as they referred all
questions to Phiri.

Phiri, who had earlier promised to provide updated statistics of road
accidents since the beginning of this festive season, was not answering his
phone when The Standard later tried to call him.

Police nab drivers for reckless driving

About 182 drivers were arrested for drunken driving, while 2 909 defective
vehicles were impounded. Most accidents were attributed to speeding,
misjudgement, lack of attention and drunken driving.

Police said as of Friday 32 people had died while 247 others were injured in
509 road accidents reported countrywide since the police started monitoring
festive season accidents on December 15.

Phiri was also quoted in a local daily as having said police had impounded 1
116 unroadworthy vehicles countrywide. He indicated that Harare had the
highest number of accidents with 202, most of them said to have been caused
by commuter omnibus drivers.

Last year, 92 people were killed while 1 090 others were injured in 1 119
road accidents recorded during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Irrigation scheme under threat from Chinese firm

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:40


ANXIETY has gripped small-holder farmers at Nyanyadzi irrigation scheme in
Chimanimani district after a Chinese mining company hinted it might order
them to stop farming to enable the firm to mine diamonds in the area. The
company, which is also mining diamonds in Chiadzwa in Marange district, has
told villagers that they might cease farming operations once they harvest
the crops if presence of the gems is confirmed.

Villagers who spoke to The Standard last week said if the company was to
start mining in the area, hundreds of families would lose their source of
livelihood as they rely on the irrigation scheme for survival.

“They (Chinese) came here and did some excavations where they took some
stone and soil samples,” said one villager.
“They said if the results confirm availability of gems we would have to stop
farming as mining operations would have to commence but this will affect a
lot of families that solely survive on this irrigation scheme for food.”

The scheme, which is in geologically dry region five, irrigates 440 ha of
land cultivated by some 500 plot holders.

Councillor for Ward 8 in Nyanyadzi, Charles Dirikwe confirmed that a Chinese
company had visited the area and took some samples.
He said he had a meeting with officials from the company and the district
administrator, where assurance was given that the small-scale farmers would
not lose their plots and houses without compensation if the mining venture
was approved.

“They said they would discuss further after seeing the results of the
samples they took,” said Dirikwe.

“If they are to do that (mining), they would have condemned us to death
because for decades we have been surviving on this irrigation scheme.”
Dirikwe said the Chinese company officials were being assisted by one
Colonel Dube, who was acting as the interpreter. Efforts to get a comment
from Dube were fruitless.

Acting Chimanimani district administrator Simon Sigauke refused to comment
referring questions to Manicaland provincial governor, Christopher Mushowe,
who could not be reached for comment.

Nyanyadzi smallholder irrigation scheme is situated in the Muusha communal
lands, 100km south of the city of Mutare.

It receives water, by gravity, from both the Nyanyadzi River and Osborne
Dam, several kilometres upstream on the Odzi River.

Councillor for Ward 20 Zekias Nhachi also said officials from the same
Chinese company had also attempted to take samples from Gudyanga area, 10km
from Nyanyadzi, but were blocked by the local leadership since they had not
sought permission.

“They were about to start excavation where we bury our traditional leaders
and this is the same area where we perform traditional rites such as
rain-making ceremonies,” said Nhachi.

The threat of evacuation of plot holders comes after several hundreds of
families were displaced from Chiadzwa to make way for diamond mining
operations. The families have since relocated at ARDA Transau Estate, about
24km from Mutare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF hijacks beauty contest

Saturday, 24 December 2011 18:32

Miss Mash West beauty contest was turned into a political circus after a
Zanu PF protégé company, House of Gushungo, virtually ran the whole function
to the chagrin of the people who attended the occasion at Orange Groove
Hotel, Chinhoyi last week.

The poorly attended event, which was supposed to select three top beauties,
who would represent the province at the Miss Zimbabwe to be held early next
year, was won by Harare-based beauty Christable Zvinavashe.

Chinhoyi residents also accused the organisers of the event of hiring
contestants from Harare at the expense of locals.
The first princess was Betina Nhamburo while Letwin Muropa came third.

House of Gushungo is a clothing label which is under Yedu Nesu Holdings and
it promotes the waning image of Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe.

Zanu PF jingles were played during the contest. Dr Davison Gomo, a chairman
of Affirmative Action Group (AAG), another outfit with Zanu PF links, was
one of the five judges.

But the organisers’ spokesperson, Pamela Rusere, said there was nothing
amiss with the inclusion of political elements in an event that must be

'House of gushungo' main sponsors

Under normal circumstances, Miss Mashonaland West like other beauty contests
must embrace everyone regardless of political persuasion.

“House of Gushungo is the main sponsors of the event,” said Rusere. “We
chose them because mainly of their roots in Mashonaland West province.

We wanted everything to be associated with the province hence selection of
House of Gushungo to sponsor the function.” Rusere also denied hiring
contestants from Harare.

Several beauty contests have been hijacked by Zanu PF politicians, who have
in the past been accused of abusing the young and unsuspecting girls.
They also use the platform to seek relevance to the electorate as their
support base continues to dwindle.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cement plant workers cry foul over safety

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:44

A number of Sino-Zimbabwe Cement plant workers in Lalapanzi near Gweru have
alleged that they are contracting respiratory disorders from exposure to
dangerous cement dust.

They accuse the company of not providing them with enough protective
clothing and not improving the working environment. But Sino-Zimbabwe
management dismissed the claims as false, saying the company had one of the
best occupational, health and safety records in the country.

One worker, who requested anonymity, said he was recently diagnosed with
tuberculosis after working for the company for the past three years as a

“My doctor told me that I contracted the TB from cement dust and gave me one
month sick leave,” he said. “When I gave the company the doctor’s sick note,
they terminated my contract, but now they are refusing to pay me my

The worker alleged that employees were no longer getting milk and were
sometimes forced to work with faulty respirators thereby exposing them to
cement dust.

Another worker in the production department also claimed to be experiencing
chest pains, attributing this to exposure to cement dust.

“We are exposed to a lot of dust because the protective clothing given to us
does not last long and it takes long to be replaced by the company,” he

Another employee claimed that one worker died last year from respiratory
diseases after years of exposure to cement dust.
However, Sino-Zimbabwe general manager Dereck Moyo said the company complies
with government stipulated occupational health and safety standards.

“I don’t think these people complaining are our employees,” he said. “They
are probably disgruntled employees who were fired or were on contract. Here
everything is transparent. All our issues are discussed transparently and we
have nothing to hide,” added Moyo.

He said the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the Environment
Management Agency regularly came for inspections at the plant to ensure that
the company complied with environmental, occupational, health and safety

Workers committee chairman Nhamo Mushavi said employees were given
protective clothing twice a year. These included a work suit, gumboots and

He said the works councils, comprising workers and management, regularly met
to discuss various issues, but no serious concerns had been raised with
regards to health and safety.

A NSSA official in Gweru confirmed that the authority inspected the company
twice a year to verify whether it was complying with the Factories and Works

Generally, the company complied although there was still room for
improvement with regards to dust, noise and heat emissions, he said.

The official said  Pneumoconiosis, an occupational lung disease caused by
the inhalation of dust, normally takes over 10 years to develop, making it
difficult to prove some of the claims being made by the workers.

He said it was myth that milk is good for employees working in dust
conditions as this has not been scientifically proven. Dust goes through the
lungs, while milk can only clear the throat.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

2011: Remembered for media onslaught

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:41


THIS year shall be one of the least memorable for the media, particularly
The Standard journalists, as they bore the full brunt of an assault on media
freedoms. The stage was set with the arrest last year of the editor, Nevanji
Madanhire and reporter Nqobani Ndlovu on charges of criminal defamation.
It was in reaction to a story written by Ndlovu about the postponement
police examinations and the recalling of former war veteran officers back
into the force.

Ndlovu had to endure nine nights in detention, by no means an easy feat.

Prosecutors invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act on the guise that they wanted to investigate further but
bizarrely, did not oppose bail, when the case was brought before the High

Madanhire on the other hand spent one night at Rhodesville Police Station,
also facing the same charges.

It later turned out the story was true and exams were written a few months
later. The constitutionality of the criminal defamation law has since been
challenged and the case is pending before the Supreme Court.

However, this has not stopped the police from continuously charging
journalists under this section of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
While we might have thought that the worst was over with the detention of
Madanhire and Ndlovu, the police were back at the offices, this time for
Madanhire and Patience Nyangove.

The two were charged with criminally defaming a police officer, Chrispen
Makedenge, over a story involving the arrest of Minister of State in the
Prime Minister’s Office, Jameson Timba.

The case is still pending before the magistrates’ court, with the trial set
for January 20.
Makedenge said he had been criminally defamed by being referred to as

In July, all hell broke loose in parliament over disagreements on the Human
Rights Bill and journalists were again at the receiving end.

The Standard’s reporter Nqaba Matshazi and Levi Mukarati, then with the
Financial Gazette, were at the receiving end of vicious attacks by Zanu PF
supporters who accused them of writing falsehoods.

Photographer, Aaron Ufumeli was also roughed up outside parliament, with the
hooligans threatening to grab his camera.

The brutality of the attack was worsened by the fact that it happened in
parliament, a sacred place which all and sundry are supposed to respect.
Strangely, none of those assailants have been arrested even when they are

Madanhire and Matshazi were once again in trouble with the law after they
were arrested for allegedly stealing documents from Green Card Medical Aid
Society, they denied this charge and it has since been dropped before plea.

They, however, face charges of criminally defaming the owner of the medical
aid society, although indications are that these may be dropped too formally
next month.

But this was not before the two were dragged to police cells, where they
spent the night as guests of the State.
They were granted US$100 bail and had their passports taken as surety that
they would not leave the country.

Their celebrations of freedom were however, short-lived as the police pried
ready to pounce and the very next day were preparing to charge Madanhire and
Matshazi with criminal defamation once again.

The charges arose over a story where farmers in Beitbridge claimed they were
involved in a long-running land battle with Home Affairs co-minister, Kembo
Mohadi. The two have since signed warned and cautioned statements.

The editor of our sister paper, The Zimbabwe Independent, Constantine
Chimakure and reporter Wongai Zhangazha were also summoned by the police,
facing charges of contravening the Official Secrets Act over leaked
documents involving Youth Development and Indigenisation minister, Saviour

To cap off a horrible year for the media, Daily News reporter, Xolisani
Ncube and his editor Stanley Gama, were briefly detained by the police again
facing criminal defamation charges, this time over a story where Local
Government, Urban and Rural Development minister, Ignatious Chombo is said
to have bragged over his wealth.

Commeting on the continued persecution, Madanhire said, “We-’ll continue to
protect the weak from the powerful. All cases we’re involved in are about
the powerful trampling upon the weak.”

It is no secret that Zanu PF was pushing for elections last year and polls
in this country usually come with an escalation of brutality on the media.

There was a brief lull in the persecution of the media, with the GPA
highlighting that press freedom was one of its cornerstone, but it seems
that this was only the calm before the storm.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WikiLeaks saga exposes Zanu PF, MDC-T leaders

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:40

Controversial whistle blowing website WikiLeaks almost caused a massive
political fallout in the country after releasing leaked US diplomatic cables
revealing that  top leaders of Zanu PF and  MDC-T, were effectively isolated
with dwindling support from their immediate lieutenants.

The explosive WikiLeaks revelations exposed  senior Zanu PF and government
officials who held secret meetings with US diplomats where they allegedly
discussed sensitive succession issues, including demands that Mugabe should
leave office.

The officials exposed include the two Vice-Presidents Joice Mujuru and John
Nkomo, Ministers Emerson Mnangagwa and Saviour Kasukuwere as well as
Tsholotsho North legislator Jonathan Moyo.

The cables also revealed that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai did not
command the respect of top members of his party, who told US embassy
officials that their leader was out of his depth and did not have the
capacity to lead the party.

The Prime Minister’s close confidants, MDC-T national organising secretary
Nelson Chamisa and deputy Justice Minister, Senator Obert Gutu described him
as an inept and indecisive leader.

Unresolved mystery of Mujuru death

The death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru in a mysterious inferno at his
Beatrice farm in August shocked the nation.  Questions remain unanswered
which include why the liberation war stalwart could not escape through
bedroom windows, and why it took soldiers and police officers guarding the
farm hours to notice that the house was on fire.

Foul play is suspected but up to now police have not released results of
investigations opting to instead go for an inquest. Zhangazha believes
WikiLeaks coupled with Mujuru’s death has complicated the succession debate
and thrown Zanu PF into turmoil.

“In this year, we have seen Zanu PF crumbling, exposed, and behaving like
the true junior partner in the government as by their behaviour in
disrupting Parliament’s work, Copac and many other activities typical of
junior partners.  Under such an environment Zanu PF had no option but to
retain Mugabe in charge,” he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

2011, the year politicians would want to forget head

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:38

THE curtain is coming down on 2011, but for some political leaders it is a
year they want to quickly forget as they were caught up in career
threatening scandals and gaffes.

Drama seemed to unfold almost everyday on the political stage with
squabbles, violence, scandals, exposures and even mysterious deaths shaking
the nation.

Unending disputes among the coalition government partners, Zanu PF and the
two MDC formations, over the implementation of outstanding issues to the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) dogged the nation for the whole year with
not much progress made.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) continued to intervene,
albeit with little success, in repeated attempts to resolve the Zimbabwean

The watershed Livingstone Troika summit in Zambia was held in March where
for the first time President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF came under fire from
the regional bloc for allegedly engaging in acts of violence, intimidation
and harassment of opponents.

A subsequent Sadc extraordinary summit held in June in South Africa endorsed
the Livingstone Troika resolutions despite spirited efforts by Zanu PF hawks
to discredit and reverse the outcome of the Zambia summit.

The two summits effectively threw to the wind Mugabe’s desire to hold
elections this year as Sadc put its foot down, declaring that the bloc will
not tolerate rushed elections before the implementation of an agreed

Political analyst Takura Zhangazha says it has since turned out that the
inclusive government and the political parties in it have been demonstrating
a “false urgency” when it came to dealing with Sadc on the outstanding
issues such as security sector reforms and appointment of provincial

“These issues seem to be somewhat subdued as the year closes,” he notes.
“This demonstrates that either our political leaders have short memories or
are now comfortable with each other to the extent that they no longer have
as many differences as they had when the year started.”

Zanu PF’s trump card continued to be the issue of Western sanctions. The
party launched an anti-sanctions campaign in March aimed at collecting over
two million signatures on a petition against the targeted measures it blames
for the economic mess in the country.

The government has since threatened to approach international courts to
challenge the sanctions.

Tsvangirai storm over marriage

Tsvangirai torched a political storm after a controversial “marriage” to
Harare businesswoman Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo in November which badly
damaged his image.

Tsvangirai walked away from the marriage, 12 days after the traditional
ceremony, claiming to be a victim of people trying to discredit him
politically, but his opponents pounced, accusing him of promiscuity in the
face of an Aids pandemic.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Unity Day is hollow – Analysts

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:37


THE death of North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il last week will provide little
consolation to the survivors of Gukurahundi but it has put into context this
year’s Unity Day celebrations. A North Korean army unit, under the command
of the late Kim Jong-il’s father, trained the infamous 5 Brigade, which was
deployed in the south western regions of Zimbabwe in the 1980s ostensibly to
pursue dissidents.

Kim Jong-il was then a top military official and since then many Zimbabweans
have utter disgust for the late North Korean strongman.
As if to add insult to injury, Zanu PF has described Kim Jong-il as “a
lovely man”, one whom they are not ashamed to associate with.
“He was a lovely man whom we associated with,” Zanu PF’s secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa said.

“He was our great friend, and we are not ashamed of being associated with

Analysts say Unity Day is irrelevant, because the Unity Accord was signed
between two parties, Zapu and Zanu PF, while other parties like UANC and
Zanu Ndonga, where ignored.

They argue that it was not an all-encompassing agreement and therefore, does
not have relevance beyond the two parties that signed it.
The revived Zapu has over the past couple of years dismissed the holiday,
arguing that it has been overtaken by events.

“The so-called National Unity Day is irrelevant in the circumstances,” Zapu
says on its website. “Apart from the fact that it has been overtaken by
events, the day is exclusive and does not embrace all Zimbabweans.”

It argues that there are more political parties now, and December 22 is a
Zanu PF day, which they want scrapped.

Media scholar, Brilliant Mh-langa said the day is a farce and a serious
joke, describing it as a day “in which people want to celebrate merely the
day and not the actual history and memory as informed by the events that led
to the need for a form of unity.”

While Zanu PF has been keen to wipe out the existing memory of Gukurahundi,
claiming it was a closed chapter, memories of the killings, like a bad
habit, just won’t go away, largely due to oversights by the party.

Mhlanga said people of Matabeleland and Midlands, particularly those who
bore the brutality of the 5 Brigade, should curse this “meaningless” day.
But Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu was adamant that Unity Day
held a special place in Zimbabwe.

“It’s an important day,” he said. “Without unity we would not be enjoying
peace and development that we have.”

Ndlovu insisted that PF Zapu policies were still being implemented within
the united Zanu PF and the party was not dead as people are insinuating.

Unity Day, celebrated on December 22, marks the ending of hostilities
between PF (Zapu) and Zanu PF, but observers say this day has long lost

Survivors and victims of the 1982-1987 pogrom which claimed more than 20 000
lives are yet to receive closure, for an incident that authorities have
backhandedly dismissed as  “a moment of madness”.

The breakaway of former Zapu members, albeit not all of them, from Zanu PF,
has also raised questions as to whether Unity Day celebrations are of any

To add to the debate that marking the holiday is largely irrelevant, unlike
other state holidays like Independence Day, Heroes and Defence Day holidays,
Unity Day does not have an official state programme and waltzes by largely

Save for the Unity Gala, this year held in Bulawayo, the day can pass
without anyone knowing about it.

A storm was raised over the construction of two statues of the late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, which ironically were made in North Korea.

Observers said this was an insult to both Nkomo’s memory and to the victims
of the disturbances, which some scholars have described as genocide.

“The very fact that it took 10 full years, from December 1987 to 1997 for
Zanu PF to put up this charade of a Unity Day, shows they are not serious
about it,” he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Potentially vibrant tourism development under threat

Saturday, 24 December 2011 12:35


A US$300 million tourism development near Lake Chivero is under threat, as
it emerged that the Ministry of Transport, Communications and
Infrastructural Development plans to set up a navigation centre on the land
earmarked for a state- of-the-art resort. The navigation centre is meant to
monitor boat activities on the lake.
The tourism resort had potential to create 500 jobs and had attracted
interest from the world’s leading hotels, according to people close to the

The megaproject would spread over 600 hectares of land. Of that land, 200 ha
is in private hands, another 200 ha owned by National Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority and the remainder is state land.

The promoters of the project have already got blessings from National Parks
as well as secure the land which is in private hands but now requires the
remaining 200 ha where the Ministry of Transport wants to build a control

Standardbusiness was told last week that the area was designated as tourism
development zone by then Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema.

Up until the construction of a hotel in Beitbridge by the National Social
Security Authority (NSSA) and Rainbow Tourism Group, there has not been any
tourism development over the years.

Garry Stafford, director at Kuimba Shiri told Standardbusiness that it was
weird that the ministry was coming up with such a project and suspects
“someone is trying to jeopardise the development”.

“It’s strange because there are options. The piece of land they are fencing
has no facilities such as water and electricity,” he said.
“It (navigation centre) has been here at Kuimba Shiri for 20 years. Why do
they have to build another one where there is no water, electricity and
roads when everything here was provided for free?”

Stafford said that there are other government-owned properties where the
centre could be housed and if it goes ahead there would be government
offices in front of the chalets.

According to the project plan, there would a 50-roomed hotel, a golf course
and a cultural village. The project also aims to enhance water activities on
the lake, gaming and photographic safaris.

Stafford said the Transport ministry has already fenced the 200 ha piece of
land on where the project would spread to.

Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development minister Nicholas
Goche’s mobile numbers went unanswered on Friday.
His deputy, Tichaona Mudzingwa, was unavailable to shed light on the matter.

The initial development at the resort is the refurbishment and construction
of new self-catering chalets at Kuimba Shiri at a cost of US$6 million.
Currently, there are seven chalets and there are plans to add 40 more.

Stafford said that he was talking to three bankers in January when Zanu PF
activists invaded the resorts around the lake.
“It (invasion) puts us back and we haven’t progressed,” he said.

In January, Zanu PF activists invaded the resorts against what they termed
utter racism by some operators.
The invaders were driven off the properties by the Joint Operation Command,
a unit that comprises members from the police, army and the intelligence.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is on a growth path spurred on by the stable
political environment obtaining in the country.
In his 2012 budget statement Finance minister Tendai Biti said the continued
growth of tourism would be driven by the development of a National Tourism
Master Plan, review of the Tourism Act to streamline the roles of different
players and rehabilitation and development of tourism infrastructure among

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Little gained from regional integration

Saturday, 24 December 2011 12:30


THE year 2011 witnessed a few developments on the regional trading front,
but Zimbabwe, smarting from a decade-long economic recession, did not accrue
much from the new arrangements. The country’s industrial capacity
utilisation levels slightly improved during the year while external
investment in local industry has remained minimal.

The major blight has centred on government’s propensity for policy
inconsistency and political bickering between the country’s leading
political parties thereby dissipating investor confidence.

Significantly, a number of Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
countries have pledged to commit to the regional integration agenda focusing
on easing trade barriers, improving market access, facilitating free
movement of people across borders and attracting investment inflows among
other objectives.

The Sadc summit held in Luanda (Angola) in August this year discussed the
modalities of setting up a regional free trade area. Calls were made to
expedite the process as this will have positive trickle down effects on
member states’ economies.

Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomão recently said the regional body is
working towards the creation of the development fund, a financial reserve to
support the holding of studies and projects approved by the organisation.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sadc member countries is estimated at
US$600 billion.

However, the regional integration process has not been as swift as
policymakers anticipated, as major trade constraints continue to prevail.
According to a research paper by the South Africa-based Trade Law Centre,
most African countries have the highest export product concentration and
high export market concentration echoing massive dependence on primary
commodity exports mainly to Western countries and China.

Africa also ranks low on trade policy and facilitation performance while
markets remain fragmented and borders are difficult to cross, which deters
the emergence of regionally integrated industries and supply chains.

Furthermore, Africa’s regional economic communities have overlapping
memberships which have served to be a major hindrance to integration.
This has led to trade disputes and tariff confusion as each trade bloc
pursues its own economic interests.

For instance, Namibia and Lesotho are both members of Sadc and the Southern
African Customs Union (Sacu) while Zimbabwe is a member of Sadc and the
Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa).

The trading structural arrangements have been criticised as making it easier
to trade with Europe and China rather than intra-regional trade.
South African President Jacob Zuma says there is need for the private sector
to pay more attention to African markets in order to be competitive and

The month of June witnessed the launch of the Comesa-Eac (East African
Community)-Sadc Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations in South Africa.
The theme centred on deepening integration in the tripartite and the vision
to move towards a single market.

The heads of State of the 26 member countries adopted a developmental
approach to the tripartite integration process anchored in three pillars,
namely: market integration based on the Tripartite Free Trade Area (T-FTA),
infrastructure development, and industrial development.
Industrial development of each member state is a pillar of the new approach
to integration.

However, T-FTA states’ reliance on revenue inflows from excise duties and
other indirect taxes accruing from levies charged on imports has served to
stifle such integration as such trade barriers continue to prevail.

At the summit, leaders launched the negotiations for the establishment of
the T-FTA and adopted the roadmap for establishing the T-FTA negotiating
principles, processes and institutional framework.

Member states envisage that by positioning half of Africa as one large
common market, the establishment of the T-FTA would allow the region to
benefit from global trade flows, attract more investment and large-scale

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Passengers can help curb road carnage

Saturday, 24 December 2011 16:24

Dozens of road accidents have been witnessed countrywide already resulting
in tens of people losing their lives. It happened last year and the year
before that. In fact, it is expected every festive season that many people
will lose their lives on our roads.

In the past, as now, defective vehicles, drunk drivers and poor roads have
been blamed for the carnage on our highways. The police have also been
blamed for not being stringent enough in enforcing road rules particularly
in dealing with those driving under the influence of alcohol.

But how far is the travelling public complicit in all this? This is a very
important question because travellers can do a lot to influence their
drivers. Often the public allow themselves to be driven by drivers whom they
know to be drunk.

Obviously this is a result of desperation as often there are not too many
options to pick. Too many people are travelling during this time of the year
yet buses are few and far between. In the end people hand their lives
literally into the hands of their killers.

But public transport passengers have the right to refuse to be driven by a
drunk driver. They can exercise a kind of “citizen arrest” by alerting the
police about the condition of their driver.

Bus operators too must be able to replace errant drivers and therefore
should have their inspectors strategically placed along all routes. They
should ask passengers how their drivers are behaving.

It is also wrong for passengers to be drinking while in transit. They might
end up behaving in a manner that distracts the driver. Drunken passengers
have in the past been heard urging the driver to drive faster than
stipulated speed limits.

Drinking passengers are even more dangerous in private vehicles for they are
often friends or close relatives of the driver. They supply the driver with
the beer and because everyone in the vehicles would be drunk there isn’t any
attempt at regulating the driver’s behaviour.

Passengers therefore must play their part in ensuring drivers behave
properly, by behaving accordingly themselves.

Quote of the week

"As the facilitation team, we will remain committed to helping Zimbabwe find
solutions to its challenges and hope
that together we will conquer those challenges,” spokeswoman of President
Zuma’s facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Year of political deception

Saturday, 24 December 2011 16:21

Predicting future events in Zimbabwe’s general cultural practice is usually
the preserve of spirit mediums, prophets and scientists. Political
predictions are more difficult even for “specialists” in that line of work.

In Zimbabwe’s case it is necessary to attempt outlining potential key
political developments for the year 2012, bearing in mind that in some
quarters there is talk of a harmonised election while in others there is
fear, foreboding as well as calls for electoral reform before any elections
can be held.

Further to this, there is also excitement in elite economic circles about
the Community Share Ownership Trusts, Youth Fund and diamond sales, all of
which indicate that these are issues that will take centre stage as 2012

Whereas the Chinese have their own animal-titled lunar calendar years (for
example, the year of the “boar” or even the year of the “rat”), I think that
the next 12 months in Zimbabwe should be referred to as the year of “the
people’s politicised deception”.

This is because the leaders of the inclusive government will once again
individually try and hoodwink the people of Zimbabwe that they are serving
their best interests while they slug it out in Cabinet and Parliament over
elections, Sadc mediation, diamonds and allowances.

In order for this to be acceptable to their supporters, they will mix the
personal with the political and the political with the economic.

The personal will be in relation to issues to do with the social and private
lives of various leaders that will be made public by an eager media, while
the economic will be through the partisan distribution of resources either
via the Youth Fund or the community trusts that are being established via
the indigenisation programme.

In both  cases, there will be the cajoling of party supporters to toe the
official party line on all issues as well to try and make sure that party
supporters get a piece of the economic pie. In short, it will be a
political-party fest that will seek to undertake, on behalf of itself, the
continuation of a partisan but non-people centred political narrative in

It is for this reason that 2012 will be characterised by a number of
specific events that are easy to predict. The first such event is that there
will be another big political dispute next year over the issue of elections
which will once again involve Sadc.

As in March 2011, the parties will try and influence Sadc on the matter of
the election roadmap, security sector reform and sanctions. In doing so, the
end result will be similar to the Livingstone Sadc Troika summit whose
resolutions ended up being disputed and remaining unimplemented.

At best, however, Sadc will probably seek a compromise that will lead to the
holding of elections at end of the five-year term of Parliament, which is

In the midst of the Sadc lobbying, the political parties are going to
continue arguing about the contents of the Parliamentary Select Committee
(Copac) draft constitution.

Whoever wins on the contentious issues of the same draft will also take
comfort in the knowledge that all of the member parties to Copac will still
campaign for a “yes” vote to the draft in order to save face and to continue
with the contested argument that the whole process was “people-driven”.

There shall be a well-funded “yes” vote campaign that will be used to test
the electoral waters by the three antagonists in the inclusive government.
Whatever the result of the referendum, it will be used more for partisan
political interests than for broad national legitimising of the supreme law
of the land.

There shall also be serious political competition as to issues of “economic
development” or community economic beneficiation by the three political
parties particularly due to the establishment of the various support funds
to the youth, small-scale business, and “rural women”.

A number of projects will be contested over and the youth ministry will be
at the forefront of the greater majority of them in what will be a concerted
effort to lure young peoples’ votes.

Social services will become more expensive due to the lack of a central
government plan to make these available to all. The safety and security of
citizens will continue to be under threat from repressive laws and partisan
security forces habits.

So as it is, 2012 is a year in which our political leaders will appear to be
very busy trying to resolve national problems when in fact they are
resolving their own.

It is up to the people of Zimbabwe to seek to bring them to account on
concrete matters that cover the broad spectrum of challenges the country is
facing. In doing so, we must be wary of being co-opted into false realities
that appear urgent when instead they are the stuff of momentary political
flashes in the pan.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Editor's Desk: Wake up and take the kids to the Lunar Park

Saturday, 24 December 2011 16:20


It’s Christmas Day. Of course you’re already broke. Don’t worry; it’s not
the Holy Bible that says, “A fool and his money are soon parted”. It is only
a proverb in the poem Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry by one Thomas
Tusser, a mere mortal like anyone of us.

So, if you have spent all your money, you haven’t sinned against God; that’s
little consolation though. Because you’ve sinned against a more powerful
force, the children whom you promised to take to the Lunar Park today. Had
you sinned against God, you know He would give you a chance to confess. All
you needed to do was to go to a confessional and tell the good man there
what you had done and He would instruct you to do so many Hail Maryies and
postpone the punishment until Kingdom come.

But with the more powerful force now fidgeting in the lounge, there is no
room for a good confession and doomsday is now. Going to the good man at
church would not help in this instance because if you’re Catholic, the man
would not understand because he knows nothing about children.

Yesterday you behaved like a king, man. On Friday the bosses gave you
half-day off, feel like cursing them eh? You teamed up with the boys and
caroused into the witching hour. The round was rather large wasn’t it, and
none was drinking Eagle lager which goes a dollar for two. And you were not
in the suburbs where you get them lagers US$3 for four. What we call pump
price. You chose that wretched place in the middle of the city. US$3 a can!
And there were all the six of you. The round came to US$18. We ain’t talking
about Gono money here; we’re talking about the real Obama dollar. The one
with that satanic eye on a pyramid.

Have you seen the satanic eye? It glares at you like a cyclop’s sending
flashes of light right into your face. Let me not go into its symbolism lest
I’m slapped with targeted sanctions by the bloody Yanks. They don’t want
their symbols explained, and it’s not fun joining Robert Mugabe on the list.
The booze, man! The booze. It flowed throughout the night and in the small
hours of the morning when you crawled home. I know what you are thinking
right now! Next payday! But that will only be around January 24th earliest.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day, remember? What are you going to do with the kids?
They will be angry, really angry because you didn’t take them to the Lunar
Park. And, Good Gracious, Tuesday is a holiday too! Who gives these holidays
so soon after Unity Day?

I know you’re missing the office. At the office everything is fine. You read
the newspapers quietly in your office and someone brings you a cup of tea or
coffee at 10 and then again mid-afternoon. There are no angry kids asking
you to take them somewhere. You’re practiced on how to dodge the boss and
how to make buns for lunch look really cool. Polony, French or garlic; lunch
for a dollar!

Get out of bed now buddy, the kids are waiting. Don’t light a fag; you know
the missus doesn’t like you smoking in the house, let alone in the bedroom.
Don’t make matters more complicated than they already are. You know the
missus is seething on behalf of the kids. She knows your whole story, for it’s
a repeat of last year’s. You never learn eh, do you?

You have only two options. One, remember attack is the best form of defence.
Get in there all worked up and look at everyone with a talking eye, an eye
that says shut up or else. But remember the kiddies have been watching too
much television; they won’t be easily taken in by that one. The alternative
is that you feign illness. Crawl in there on all fours. There is no law that
forbids a man from crawling in his own house. When they ask, tell them you
suspect you have cancer, just to confound them call it pancreatic cancer —
which you probably have — which they have never heard about. They will all
begin to wail, “Daddy has cancer, daddy is going to die.” And, they will
forget about the Lunar Park. Cool.

I tried it once and my youngest said not without concern, “But Dad, if you
got cancer and we go to the Lunar Park, the big Ferris wheel will cure it. I
saw it on TV.”

Don’t ask for food; that will worsen the missus’ mood. Keep on crawling
until you reach the fridge. If by any chance there is a beer, don’t be
tactless and dive for it. Pour yourself a glass of water instead and take a
huge swig. Don’t jump up yet, even if the water has rehydrated you; remember
you’ve pancreatic cancer.

Keep on crawling until you get into the yard. Right in the middle of it, dig
up a small hollow and put 10 pebbles in it and ask the kids to play nhodo.
Remember nhodo? You throw an eleventh pebble in the air and scoop out those
in the hollow; you catch the flying pebble, throw it back in the air again
and return the other pebbles minus one into the hollow, so on and so forth,
until there is none left. Very exciting! And free. Why can’t the children of
today understand such simple things as indigenous games? And who says on
Christmas Day children should not play the good old butterscotch? “Am I? Am
I? Are you (ara uru)?”

But the Kasekes! The Kasekes! Our equivalent of the Joneses. Their children
are already filing into the car, they’re heading for the Lunar Park. Mrs
Kaseke is throwing meaningful glances at the missus. You have always known
there was something hugely wrong with this Mrs Kaseke. She cannot let a
decent family play nhodo in peace!

If you expect the missus to walk over to the fence and tell Mrs Kaseke hubby
has pancreatic cancer you got something coming. Never trust what the
Americans say on their money. “In God we trust!” Right now you can’t trust
Him. You’re abandoned!
Merry Christmas!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SundayView: Why Zanu PF will not win free and fair elections

Saturday, 24 December 2011 16:17


It is shocking that 31 years after independence Zanu PF is unable and
unwilling to provide an alternative candidate to contest for the leadership
of Zimbabwe. This is one of the reasons why   Zanu PF will be defeated in
the next harmonised elections.
Some of the reasons why it will lose are as follows:

Lack of a viable candidate
The fact that President Mugabe should make way for younger leaders has
become obvious even in Zanu PF  itself as evidenced by the WikiLeaks
exposures in which various party officials confided in American diplomats
that Mugabe needed to go if the country was to move forward. For most
Zimbabweans and the international community Mugabe has come to personify and
symbolise the Zimbabwean crisis and given free choice Zimbabweans will vote
Mugabe out.

The 2008 experience
The March 2008 elections gave Zimbabweans the confidence that Zanu PF and
President Mugabe can indeed be defeated in elections after he was walloped
by Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential elections. For decades people had
come to believe that Mugabe and Zanu PF were invincible. The people had, of
course, tasted victory in the 2000 referendum. The fact that Mugabe was
beaten comprehensively even in Zanu PF traditional strongholds such as
Masvingo, Manicaland and parts of Mashonaland East has given people the hope
that, indeed, Zanu PF can  be defeated. The March 2008 result may thus
inspire people to complete the process of change.

The never-again syndrome
Zimbabweans do not want to go back to the pre-2009 period when Zanu PF
single-handedly presided over the demise, cremation and burial of the
economy which saw hardworking citizens scrounging around for the most basic
commodities such as bread, milk and maize meal. Zimbabweans do not want to
go through the trauma of shortages of fuel, water and even money which they
underwent especially during the 2006 — 2008 period when most of the
population was pauperised by Zanu PF’s populist policies.

Sanctions mantra failure

Zanu PF’s sanctions propaganda will backfire badly because people may want
to vote for political parties or leaders who can navigate the country out of
the so-called “illegal sanctions”. Whether the sanctions are legal or not,
or whether they are targetted measures or not or whether they exist or not,
may become immaterial because the electorate  will want a government which
is able to solve their problems not a  government which blames the West or
sanctions for its failures. It is like a parent who comes home every day
without bread and other daily provisions blaming the neighbours or
unemployment for the plight of the children. The sanctions mantra will thus
be suicidal for Zanu PF in the next elections.
Zanu PF will lose because of other reasons such as the boomerang effect of
violence and repression which the people will reject through the secrecy of
the vote. State control of the public media will have minimal effect as most
Zimbabweans no longer watch or listen to the ZBC which has become an
appendage of the former ruling party. Most people watch South African
television and listen to short wave radio even in the most remote rural
The Zanu PF regime also authored and engineered record-breaking economic
inflation, the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar, mass unemployment and the
demise of the productive sector. What could they possibly offer now?
Zanu PF should start preparing for a future as an opposition party and at
best strategise how they can win the 2018 elections after losing the 2013

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dictatorial Grief – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th December 2011


          Description: Description:

               Congolese demonstrators cheer the Vigil                                                                    Practice grieving for Mugabe


Inspired by videos on youtube showing North Koreans apparently weeping hysterically at the death of Kim Jong-il ( and, the Vigil spent Christmas Eve outside the Zimbabwe Embassy practising public grieving for Mugabe. After all, we don’t want to be found wanting when mourning comes.


With notices explaining ‘Zimbabweans practising weeping hysterically for the forthcoming death of Mugabe’, Vigil supporters beat their breasts, pounded their heads against the nearest soft object (after all it was just a practice), wept controllably, heaved their shoulders and generally looked bereft at the sight of a prostate Mugabe (played by Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask) lying wrapped in a shroud.


To add a seasonal touch, Mugabe wore a Father Christmas hat (we don’t expect Mugabe to wear one when he really passes on – though of course nothing is certain at this stage).


The general wailing and gnashing of teeth helped keep us warm on a mid-winter day. The truth is we were laughing with real tears at the comment by Didymus Mutasa, Mugabe’s groveling footman: North Korea’s blood-soaked dictator was ‘a lovely man’ he said ‘we worked together well’.


We were further cheered by the vociferous support for us shown by Congolese demonstrators as they passed the Vigil on their way to Whitehall to express their outrage at the stolen presidential election in the DRC. One demonstrator broke away from the tightly-policed procession to hurl water in the face of Mugabe depicted on one of our banners ‘Mugabe wanted for murder’. Mugabe was the only head of state who attended the disputed swearing-in of Kabila as President. The Vigil was presented with two Congolese opposition flags.


Anyway, a happy Christmas to all our supporters wherever you are. It’s our 10th outside the Embassy and we hope it’s our last.


Other points

·         Vigil founder member Ephraim Tapa, who is also President of ROHR and the newly formed Zimbabwe We Can Movement, addressed the Vigil. He said the solution to the Zimbabwe crisis wouldn’t come from within Zimbabwe but from the diaspora, where people lived in freedom. There was an enthusiastic response when Ephraim said Zimbabwe We Can was planning a joint forum after the Vigil once a month.

·         We meet as usual next week although it is New Year’s Eve. Time to celebrate is when Zanu-PF is history.

·         Our sympathy to people trapped at Gatwick by Air Zimbabwe’s Christmas fiasco, which even saw a Zimbabwean corpse being bundled out of a hotel for non-payment of bills. The screws are tightening. The light has even now dawned on the Chinese and the Iranians that Zimbabwe never pays its bills.

·         Vigil management team member Patson Muzuwa featured in a BBC World Service Radio ‘Heart and Soul’ programme ( on the role of the stepfather in light of the position of Joseph.

·         Our thanks to Beverley Mutandiro who, despite being unable to join us because of toothache, sent a beautiful cake with ‘Happy Xmas Vigil’ iced on it.  Thanks also to Jonathan Kariwoh who brought biscuits and chocolates for us all to share.

·         We draw attention to an academic paper by Dr Godfrey Tawodzera which has just been published. It is titled ‘Vulnerability in Crisis: Urban Household Food Insecurity in Epworth, Harare, Zimbabwe’. Dr Tawodzera, a former lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, concludes that poverty and food insecurity are no longer the preserve of rural areas (


For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


FOR THE RECORD: 35 signed the register.



·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·         ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·         The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353.

·         ROHR Leicester monthly meeting. Saturday 7th January from  1:30 – 4:30 pm. Venue: New Walk Museum Café, 53 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA. Contact Rachael Munda 07989093661, Enniah Dube 07403439707 or Lorraine Manenji 07854801250

·         Vigil Facebook page:

·         Vigil Myspace page:

·         ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.


Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, 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.





Back to the Top
Back to Index