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Drop Zim sanctions, says Zuma and Banda

December 2 2010 at 06:51pm

President Jacob Zuma his Zambian counterpart Rupiah Banda on Thursday called
for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be dropped.

Sanctions were not aiding change in Zimbabwe, Zuma said in Pretoria after a
memorandum of understanding on environmental management and natural
resources between SA and Zambia was signed.

“We call on the globe to lift sanctions. It will be helpful. They (the
sanctions) are inhibiting our progress.”

Banda said the Southern African Development Community troika would meet to
discuss Zimbabwe in January.

Zuma said that country's President Robert Mugabe wanted a resolution to
Zimbabwe's problems, and that all parties in Zimbabwe were looking forward
to the election.

Banda is on a two-day state visit to South Africa. - Sapa

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Panic Grips Zim Media As Cops Are Recruited Into Newsrooms

02/12/2010 09:46:00

Bulawayo, December 02, 2010 - As the police cracked down on the Zimbabwe
media intensify panic has hit state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers)
Bulawayo branch after the recruitment this week of three serving police
officers as trainee journalists.

The three Constable Nqobile Moyo from Bulawayo Central police station
,Sergeant Rosemary Mangena from Plumtree police station and Constable
Siphiwe Makonese from Hwange police station were introduced as student
journalists on attachment at The Chronicle newspaper, although it was not
clear which journalism colleges there were attending.

According to senior journalists from Zimpapers Bulawayo branch, the three
police officers were referred from Zimpapers head office in Harare and even
local branch's management had no clue on their mission.

“We are really shocked. We don’t know what is happening. Everybody is
afraid, I think this is some form of intimidation by police. These three
police officers are not even studying journalism at any college in the
country, but were sent from head office as interns,” said a senior
journalist based at the Zimpapers branch who spoke on condition of

No comment could be obtained from Zimpapers Bulawayo branch Sithembile Ncube
as she was said to be out of office.

The Chronicle has been under fire from law enforcement agents in the past
recent years with two of its editors being dragged to court by the police.
The newspaper’s current editor Innocent Gore was arrested in September this
year and charged with contravening the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) over a story which a Nkulumane man alleged that two
people suspected to be police officers attempted to rob him.

Brezhnev Malaba former editor of the same paper has a pending court case
after police arrested him in April 2009 and filed criminal charges alleging
falsehood reporting over a story that senior police officers were stealing
maize from GMB.

The deployment of the three police officers at The Chronicle came at time
when police has arrested The Standard editor,Nevanji Madanhire and his
senior reporter Nqobani Ndlovu.

Ndlovu spent nine days at Khami Maximum Remand Prison recently before his
release on bail while Madanhire was released on bail on Wednesday. The
magistrate immediately ordered the state to investigate abuse of office by

Madanhire was arrested over a story published by the Standard alleging that
police were recruiting war veterans and retired officers in preparation for
elections. Ndlovu was arrested over the same issue.

Magistrate Don Ndirowei said the state should investigate allegations by the
defence that police were abusing their powers in detaining people even in
cases where the cases looked flimsy.

Madanhire’s lawyer, Chris Mhike had complained to the court that his client’s
arrest was unnecessary and was a clear violation of his rights. He said
police had the option of inviting him to the police station the next day as
he had handed himself to the police and was also a man of respected standing
in society.

Madanhire was granted US$100 bail and was ordered to appear in court on 16
December where the defence will contest his placement on bail.

If convicted, the journalist will be “liable to a fine of up to or exceeding
level fourteen or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years or both.”

Analysts have blamed the clampdown on journalists on Zanu PF hardliners who
want to control the flow of information ahead of next year’s elections

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Generals demand more cash from government

01 December, 2010 11:24:00    Staff Reporter

HARARE - In a fresh sign of military rule in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's
military Generals are whinging that the funds allocated to the military in
the 2011 National Budget saying they will compromise its ability to fulfil
its constitutional mandate.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week proposed US$194,67 million for the

Secretary for Defence Mr Martin Rushwaya said: "The situation is far from
adequate, we have serious constraints.

"The defence forces should have modern equipment because if we have obsolete
equipment then we are compromised and we will not be able to meet the
country’s defence requirements."

The Acting Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Major-General Martin
Chedondo, said they had a US$139 million debt to suppliers.

"We are unable to meet our contractual obligations to the tune of US$139
million and cannot get new equipment because we are said to be bad debtors.

"We are being reduced to an army of mere tribesmen and the meagre resources
will hamper the ZNA from meet ing its constitutional requirements."

Maj-Gen Chedondo said a credible defence force was insurance for a nation
and urged Treasury to allocate a further US$73 million to enable them to
carry out their duties effectively.

Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri said the
allocation was a far cry from what was required to maintain equipment.

"The AFZ is a highly technical organisation which owns assets worth more
than three Government ministries combined.

"The money made available for aircraft is not enough to even buy one spare
engine," he noted.

Of the US$194,67 budget, the ZNA got US$154,1 million while the AFZ was
allocated US$29,8 million.

The money will be used for salaries, rations, uniforms and maintenance of
equipment and infrastructure.

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Zimbabwe military takes charge of Zimbabwean football

02 December, 2010 11:21:00    By Nkululeko Ndlovu/Radio VOP

Harare,- In another maneuver to militarise all national institutions in the
country, as part of plan to foist Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as
successor to Robert Mugabe, a Senior officer in the Zimbabwe National Army
has been appointed the new Warriors team manager taking over from the Sharif
Mussa who was forced to resign.

Senior army officer and former Black Rhinos treasurer Christopher Chitinde
has been appointed the new Warriors team manager taking over from the Sharif
Mussa who was forced out.

Elesewhere we have reported of military officers being deployed into the
State media.

Mussa who has had a long term relationship with the Warriors cited pressing
business commitments, but sources said he was forced to resign.

Although he has no experience as a team manager, Chitinde's appointment does
not come as a surprise.

He has worked together with Zifa board member for finance Elliot Kasu, a
kingmaker at the football headquarters.

Kasu and Chitinde served in the same executive at Black Rhinos when Kasu was
chairman of the Zimbabwe National Army side while Chitinde handled the
team's finances.

Mashingaidze confirmed the Zifa board had resolved to give Chitinde the job
adding that they had also extended Madinda Ndlovu's stay as acting national
team coach until Belgian Tom Saintifiet's second application for a work
permit has been resolved.

Mashingaidze said a series of international friendly matches had been lined
up for the Warriors in preparations for their second appearance at the
African Nations Championships (Chan) and Ndlovu would be in charge of those

Zimbabwe has been drawn in the same group with South Africa, Ghana, and
Niger in the Chan Championships to be held in Sudan in February. The Chan
tournament is exclusively for players who play for clubs in their domestic

After the Chan engagement, Zimbabwe's next international assignment is an
African Cup of Nations qualifier against Mali in Bamako on March 26 which
the Warriors must win if they are to remain with a realistic chance of
qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup finals.

After two matches, the Warriors are in third place with two points. The
leaders Cape Verde have four points while Mali has three. Liberia is rock
bottom with a single point. Only one team from the group qualifies for the
continental rendezvous.

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Zim may need South Africa's help in issuing passports

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Dec 02 2010 07:14

Zimbabwe may need to enlist the help of the South African government in
issuing new Zimbabwean passports because the country is unable to process
sufficient passports on its own, Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Co-Minister Theresa
Makone said on Wednesday.

Makone, who held talks with South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma and her co-minister Kembo Mohadi, said Zimbabwe could only
process 500 passports a day.

"The numbers [of passport applications] that are coming now show us that we
will obviously be behind by the 31st [of December].

"We are still having discussions with the minister to see if it is possible
for South Africa, even at a later stage, to come in and assist us doing the

She said Zimbabwe's equipment for processing the documentation could not
cope with the demand for passports.

Zimbabweans, who do not have proper study, work and residency permits, have
until December 31 to apply for the necessary documentation to obtain those

Deadline won't be extended
Dlamini-Zuma again insisted that the deadline for applying permits would not
be extended. She said that while Zimbabweans may not have received their
documentation at December 31, as long as their applications for passports
had been received by Zimbabwe's home affairs department before that date
they would still be processed.

Dlamini-Zuma, Makone and Mohadi said there were no differences of opinion in
how to deal with any problems encountered, including on how to deal with
Zimbabweans taking advantage of a general amnesty for Zimbabweans living on
fraudulent South African documentation.

She said one of the problems facing Zimbabweans was the fact that many only
have abridged birth certificates, which are insufficient for passport

She said Zimbabweans working on farms were having difficulties in getting to
Zimbabwean offices to apply for the necessary documentation because
employers were reluctant to give them time off.

There had been an estimated 70 000 applications so far.

Makone from the Movement for Democratic Change shares the home affairs
portfolio with Mohadi, a member of Zimbabwean President Mugabe's Zanu-PF

Earlier this year the department announced that all Zimbabwean immigrants
who did not have their papers in order must apply for relevant documents and
register their status in the country.

The special dispensation, allowing Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa
the right to live, work, attend educational facilities and access basic
healthcare for a period of six months, would come to an end with the
December deadline.

The permits are issued at the 46 regional Home Affairs offices in all the
nine provinces. Despite 213 home affairs officials deployed, both at
headquarters and throughout the provinces, to facilitate this process,
problems still arose as large numbers of applicants weren't being processed.
Claims of long queues outside Home Affairs offices and people queuing for a
number of days has marred the process.

The number of extra Home Affairs officials were increased to reduce
delays.-- Sapa

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WOZA swoop on Parliament Building
Written by JANE MAKONI   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 14:11
woza_oneThey grouped, gathered courage, split into two military like formations and yelled WOZA war cries as they bravely marched towards Parliament Buildings from different directions, to demand inclusion of their views in the constitution making process.
Battle hardened members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, WOZA, attracted attention and envy of people going about their normal business in central Harare, Thursday, December 2 afternoon. They took police officers keeping guard at the Parliament House off guard, 12 mid day on the dot, and sang human rights songs at the main entrance to the August House. The gallant women braved threats from the police riot squad and left after dumping hundreds of copies conveying their demands in the constitution at the main entrance to the building.
Part of the leaflets read: “As Zimbabwe joins the world to commemorate the 16 days of activism to end violence against women, for WOZA, November 29 is a special day for Zimbabwe women. We have selected to this day to launch our report to parliament on our constitutional outreach process.
“Our theme is ‘The rising of women means the rising of the nation-no more poverty and starvation, many sweating for a few to benefit. “As we prepare our presentation to parliament, our country is suffering political, legal, economic and social collapse and we desperately need a constitution that will give us back our dignity, a constitution with laws and policies that make women and men equal and eliminates all forms of discrimination.
“Time has come to address imbalances and oppression so that we can exercise our full citizenship and participate in and shape the nature and form of our democracy. As peace loving citizens we submit our views and demand that they be heard and respected. We look forward to a better life with dignity, peace and security that genuine constitutional reform can bring to our country.
“In preparation for the expression of views in the constitution process, WOZA, consulted a total 9036 members, 7 885 women and 1151 men from 37 urban (Bulawayo and Harare) and 23 rural areas in Matabeleland. The targeted age group covered the 14-93 years range.
One group of WOZA members demonstrating at Parliament Buildings for their rights and views to be encompassed in the constitution, while the other group wields placards spelling out their rights before joining the mainstream gathering at Parliament.
“As a result of the violence and intimidation experienced in Zimbabwe both directly and indirectly in the meetings and within the general environment of intolerance which obtains in the country, members asked that we compile their views and present them to COPAC. We look forward to our views being respected and included in any draft prepared for a referendum.
“The main constitution problem that Zimbabwe faces is the excessiveness of executive powers which were abused with impunity. We need to limit the executive powers, emphasize the separation of powers and provide adequate checks and balances to ensure that power does not come together in the hands of a single individual or small clique of individuals”.
Among other views, WOZA maintained that people born in the country should be automatically Zimbabwean citizens. Citizenship is a right which should be protected from being withdrawn.
“There should be no discrimination against people on the basis of race, tribe, culture or ethnicity, place of origin, birth, gender, age, religion, political opinion or affiliation, disability, HIV/AIDS status, marital status; pregnancy and sexual orientation. All must have equal status and capacity in the customary as well as civil law. Affirmative action should be allowed. A strong bill of rights should also include social and economic rights, all fully justifiable.
Among a host of women and gender issues, WOZA demanded that women should share in the decision making regarding the nature and frequency of sexual contact within marriage and intimate relationships. Marital rape must be a punishable offence under the criminal law. Women should also have a right to land and house ownership and equal allocation of land in communal areas. Demonstrating women called for inclusion in the constitution that every woman must be protected from political intimidation and threat to her person, and should have right to reproductive health and to abortion for medical reasons. WOZA members later staged a brief demonstration at Herald House before they disappeared into thin air.

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Rushinga teachers flee on foot as CIO botch abduction

By Lance Guma
02 December 2010

Six teachers being vicitmised by ZANU PF militants in Rushinga fled
Gwangwava Primary School on foot, after a botched abduction attempt by a
member of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

On Wednesday we reported how the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) expressed concern over the whereabouts Julius Mawarire, Tinashe
Mavurayi, Talent Muchakazi, Angela Zanza, Silibaziso Mawire and Maphios
Chisora after a CIO known as Nkomo tried to abduct them.

On Thursday the MDC issued a statement saying they were ‘concerned about the
welfare and life of these teachers as they had to flee the school on foot
during the night. It is regrettable to note that the victimisation of the
teachers is being fueled by the headmaster of the school, Luckson Chidhidhi,
Rushinga district education officer Beauty Gasa and ZANU PF supporters.’

The teachers are being targeted by the ZANU PF militants because they defied
directives to keep quite during the constitutional outreach exercise. Last
month the Education Ministry intervened in the matter and transferred the
teachers, as a way of protecting them. This however was overturned by a
labour court last Friday who said the transfers could only be done with the
consent and input of the teachers.

Banking on the court order the teachers went back to work on Tuesday only
for the CIO to move in to try to enforce the ZANU PF directive for them to
leave. This week the PTUZ petitioned South African President Jacob Zuma and
the United Nations to safeguard the lives of their members, who are being
targeted by ZANU PF militants ahead of a possible constitutional referendum
and elections next year.

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Zimbabwe elections- a war situation, Concession residents
Written by Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition   
Thursday, 02 December 2010 06:23
Residents of Concession, in the politically volatile province of Mashonaland Central declared over the weekend that elections in Zimbabwe resemble a war situation and as such, talk of elections should be coupled with the development of protection strategies for citizens prone to human rights abuses.

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Urgent SADC summit on Zim in January

02/12/2010 19:40:00

HARARE, DECEMBER 2, 2010 - Zambian president, Rupiah Banda and his South
African counterpart have agreed to call for a special regional summit early
next year to tackle the Zimbabwe and Madagascar crises.

A previous summit to deal with the Zimbabwean question failed to take place
in Botswana after Banda and his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebbuzza
failed to make it for the meeting.

Banda and Zuma’s announcement of the special summit follows a three day
state visit by the Zambian leader to South Africa that started on Thursday.

Zuma is a mediator to the Zimbabwean crisis, while Banda heads the Southern
Africa Development Commission’s (SADC) organ on politics defence and

The South African president was then called to intervene in an effort to
save the two year old inclusive government after a rift over the appointment
of ambassadors and governors.

Zuma was in Zimbabwe last week and expressed “satisfaction” with talks with
the country’s leaders following a breakdown in the inclusive government.

A report on the negotiations in Zimbabwe has been presented to the South
African leader and Zuma said he expected to meet the negotiators soon.

Negotiations over the implementation of the Global Political Agreement had
stalled forcing Zuma to be called to intervene in the dispute that
threatened Zimbabwe’s two year old unity government.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai had accused
his coalition partner, President Robert Mugabe of making unilateral
decisions in the appointment of ambassadors and governors.

Tsvangirai has instituted a lawsuit to force Mugabe to reverse those

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Newborn deaths at Zimbabwe settlement must be investigated
2 December 2010

The Zimbabwean government should urgently investigate the deaths of newborn babies at a settlement it created to re-house people made homeless by its mass forced eviction program five years ago, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

The report No Chance to Live, Newborn death at Hopley Settlement found that at least 21 newborns had died at Hopley within a five month period indicating a very high level of newborn deaths within the settlement.

"When people were settled in Hopley, the government promised them a better life but things have gone from bad to worse," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's Deputy Africa Director.

"Many of the women we spoke to felt that their minimal access to healthcare contributed to the deaths of their babies. Others suspected that their babies died of cold because they live in plastic shacks."

"The government must ensure these women have access to maternal and newborn healthcare in order to prevent further avoidable deaths."

The government justified its 2005 mass evictions program, Operation Murambatsvina, by claiming that the communities evicted were living in deplorable conditions.

They set up a housing scheme named Operation Garikai (Better Life) to re-settle several thousand of the victims of the eviction program promising them better access to services. Hopley - located about 10 kilometres south of Harare - was one such scheme.

"The victims of Operation Murambatsvina have been forgotten by the government and, five years after losing their homes and livelihoods, their situation continues to deteriorate," said Michelle Kagari.

Women in Hopley told Amnesty International that they were well aware of the importance of maternal and newborn healthcare, and many had received such care during previous pregnancies before the government moved them to Hopley. All said they wanted to give birth in a hospital or with the assistance of a trained birth attendant.

Many women described how they could not afford the US$50 required to register for antenatal care. While this cost is applied to all pregnant women in Zimbabwe, Hopley residents are particularly unable to afford the costs because many lost their livelihoods during the mass forced evictions when market places and other informal businesses were destroyed.

Expecting mothers at Hopley are also affected by the lack of transport when they go into labour. The nearest maternity clinic is in Glen Norah, some 8km away.

Harare City Council only has three functioning ambulances which service a population of about two million. Many private ambulances and transport operators will not go into Hopley settlement for fear of crime, especially at night.

On 19 February 2010, Megan (40) gave birth to twin boys prematurely at around midnight and could not get transport to the maternity clinic. The babies were delivered in her shack. Both the babies died while she was on her way to the clinic the following morning. This was her fifth pregnancy. She has four surviving children who were all born before the family was settled at Hopley by the government.

Fadzai (25) went into labour on 26 February 2010 and gave birth to a baby girl who died the same day. She thinks her baby died because she could not keep it warm.

"Limited access to health services is one of the causes of the high levels of newborn deaths at Hopley," said Michelle Kagari. "Low cost interventions and basic healthcare could save young lives as well as those of their mothers."

It appears that the newborn deaths at Hopley have largely gone unnoticed by the authorities. A Harare City Council official told Amnesty International that the council and the government did not have demographic information of the population at Hopley, which they felt was necessary to plan health interventions.

No public official figures exist but the Zimbabwean government estimates a national average of 29 neonatal cases per 1000 live births. Hopley has approximately 5,000 residents.

"The Zimbabwean authorities have failed to monitor the health situation at Hopley. They must act immediately to combat the rate of newborn deaths revealed by Amnesty International's investigation," said Michelle Kagari.

Amnesty International has called on the Zimbabwe government to urgently address the threats to the health and lives of newborn babies by immediately putting in place all necessary measures to ensure pregnant women and girls at Hopley settlement, and other Operation Garakai settlements, have access to maternal and newborn care.

The organization said that the government must also address as a matter of urgency the appalling living conditions which expose newborns and pregnant women and girls to risks of ill health and death.

A health surveillance system to monitor the overall health situation in Operation Garikai settlements, including Hopley is also urgently needed; with a specific focus on maternal, neonatal and infant mortality and morbidity.

Most of the people who now live at Hopley were forcibly moved there by the government. They had been living at Porta Farm, a settlement on the outskirts of Harare.

The government had moved people to Porta Farm following forced evictions from Harare precincts in preparation for the 1991 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Porta Farm was destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina in spite of three court orders barring the government from removing the community without adequate alternative accommodation.

This report is part of Amnesty International's Demand Dignity campaign which aims to end the human rights violations that drive and deepen global poverty. The campaign mobilizes people all over the world to demand that governments, corporations and others who have power listen to the voices of those living in poverty and recognise and protect their rights. For more information visit the Demand Dignity page


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Zimbabwe needs $415 mln in food aid

02/12/2010 20:03:00

HARARE, 2 December – The United Nations on Thursday appealed for 415 million
dollars (315 million euros) to feed almost two million Zimbabweans facing
near immediate malnutrition.

"An estimated 1.7 million Zimbabweans will face severe food insecurity in
the peak hunger period of January to March 2011," Alain Noudehou, the UN's
humanitarian coordinator for Zimbabwe, told journalists in Harare.

"To assist the most vulnerable with humanitarian and early recovery
assistance, the 2011 consolidated appeal requests a total of 415 million

Noudehou said one in every three children in Zimbabwe is chronically
malnourished and hunger contributes to nearly 12,000 child deaths each year.

Zimbabwe has experienced a decade of acute food shortages brought on by
drought and President Robert Mugabe's land reforms, which crippled farm

However, the sum requested for 2011 is down on the 478 million dollars asked
to feed 2.17 million people last year, and marks a significant improvement
from the disastrous 2008 harvest, which left seven million people needing
food aid.

The southern African country has been showing signs of recovery since the
formation of a power-sharing deal between Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai
to ease political tensions and mend an economy ravaged by years of
hyperinflation. (AFP)

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Zanu PF have hijacked the food aid programme

Thursday, 02 December 2010

Zanu PF members in most parts of rural Mashonaland have hijacked the food aid programme and are giving the donations only to those who are known card carrying Zanu PF supporters. In Muzarabani North district, Mashonaland East province, food aid donated by the World Vision, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) is being distributed through the councillors and headmen, who have formed food committees with known Zanu PF people.  As a result MDC supporters and most vulnerable people are being excluded.

Another NGO, Christian Care is giving food distribution in Uzumba.  But this has been seized by a Zanu PF councillor, only identified as Manguwo who is excluding MDC families. In the same districts, reports received show that government seed is being sold at subsidized prices but known MDC activists and supporters are being excluded.

In Mbire district, Mashonaland Central province, members of the Zimbabwe National Army are moving around in the area forcing everyone to purchase Zanu PF membership cards for $US1.00 saying that if anyone is found without one, they will be beaten. The soldiers have base at the Lower Guruve Development Association offices. In Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central province, chiefs are reportedly selling Zanu PF membership cards for $US2.00.

Meanwhile, Hwange senator, Hon. Jabulani Ndlovu who died on Wednesday at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo will be buried on Saturday in Victoria Falls. Senator Ndlovu passed on after being involved in a car accident along the Hwange – Victoria Falls road last month. Mourners are gathered at Number 116 Collen Road, Leeside, Bulawayo.

Together, united, winning, ready for real change!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Mugabe Tries to Turn U.S. Comments Into Campaign Issue

    * DECEMBER 2, 2010, 1:30 P.M. ET

By Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Peter Wonacott in Johannesburg,
South Africa

The release of U.S. diplomatic cables this week may be a source of
embarrassment for American diplomats and foreign officials named in them.
But in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe and his supporters are trying to
turn U.S. criticisms into a campaign issue as they seek an end to the
country's fractious coalition government.

A 2007 cable, authored by then-U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell,
confirms what many in Harare long have suspected: Washington was eager to
see the end of President Robert Mugabe's regime but anxious about what might
follow with a flawed set of democrats in charge.

In the cable, titled "The End is Nigh," Ambassador Dell predicted that Mr.
Mugabe wouldn't be able to hold onto power much longer. Mr. Mugabe was
described as being "more clever and more ruthless than any other politician
in Zimbabwe," but also hampered by a big ego, short-term thinking and
ignorance of economics.

In fact, President Mugabe managed to retain his grip on power that he's held
since 1980. The leading opposition figure, Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out of
a presidential runoff in 2008 because of attacks on supporters of his
Movement for Democratic Change Party. The two leaders were then forced into
a power-sharing deal last year, with Mr. Tsvangirai as prime minister.

But now that deal appears to be unraveling, as both jockey for new elections
as soon as next year. The ambassador's cable is providing ammunition to Mr.
Mugabe's supporters who say it has boosted their election prospects.

"What is God-sent to us is the confession that the U.S. is officially
working with a local puppet Tsvangirai to dislodge us," said a spokesman for
Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, Rugare Gumbo. He added that the U.S. ambassador
had arrived "seeking regime change, he got none and went back disappointed."

Some of the president's allies are even trotting out old anti-imperial
slogans to frame the election as a ballot for which party can better resist
pressure from foreign powers. "This election is about defending this
country's sovereignty more than ever," said Oppah Muchingura, leader of
ZANU-PF's women's wing. She is pushing delegates to a forthcoming party
conference to declare Mr. Mugabe president for life.

Yet Ambassador Dell's cable—while scathing of Mr. Mugabe—didn't plot his
ouster. He was also critical of Mr. Mugabe's rivals.

Ambassador Dell described Mr. Tsvangirai as "a brave, committed man and, by
and large, a democrat" but "a flawed figure." He added of Mr. Tsvangirai's
movement: "I leave convinced that had we had different partners we could
have achieved more already."

Mr. Tsvangirai's spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, said the ambassador was
entitled to his opinion but the 2008 elections showed he had won a popular

Another opposition figure at the time, Arthur Mutambara, was seen as "young
and ambitious, attracted to radical, anti-western rhetoric and smart as a
whip. But in many respects he's a light-weight who has spent too much time
reading U.S. campaign messaging and too little thinking about real issues."

Mr. Mutambara says he wasn't surprised by the American assessments, having
spent time in the U.S. as a graduate student. "It just goes to show that
America doesn't have permanent friends, only permanent interests," said Mr.
Mutambara, who is now Zimbabwe's deputy prime minister in the coalition

In a statement after the release of the documents, the current U.S.
ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles A. Ray, condemned disclosure of information
meant to be confidential but wouldn't comment on whether the documents were

"Diplomats must engage in frank discussions with their colleagues, and they
must be assured that these discussions will remain private," he said,
according to the U.S. embassy statement. "Honest dialogue—within governments
and between them—is part of the basic bargain of international relations; we
couldn't maintain peace, security, and international stability without it."

Some political analysts are skeptical that a cable by a former American
ambassador will sway Zimbabwe public opinion—let alone a national election.
"The document is circulating among elites through the Internet, and
grass-roots communities do not know about this," said Phillip Pasirayi,
director of Centre for Community Development, which conducts civic education
in rural communities. "ZANU-PF will not be able to convince people that
Prime Minister Tsvangirai is not a credible leader, when most of the
economic and political reforms by the coalition government are attributed to

However, other analysts say that Zimbabwe's security forces could use the
specter of a foreign threat to justify a crackdown that prevents a rival to
Mr. Mugabe claiming victory. Most of the top commanders in Zimbabwe's
military, intelligence and police agencies fought with Mr. Mugabe in the
1970s to end Zimbabwe's colonial rule, and they remain loyal.

"They have the guns," says John Makombe, a political science professor at
the University of Zimbabwe. "Now they will have justification to say: Look,
it's confirmed. Tsvangirai is a U.S. puppet, so he can't rule even if he has

Write to Peter Wonacott at

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MDC fights back to reclaim market stalls ‘grabbed’ by ZANU PF

By Tichaona Sibanda
2 December 2010

MDC activists and supporters have reclaimed market stalls violently taken
away from them on Tuesday when ZANU PF youths invaded the Bloom Gate flea
market in Mbare, Harare.

The ZANU PF youths ran amok on Tuesday when they invaded flea markets, a
council boarding house and other council premises, in raids they described
as ‘taking back what belongs to us.’

MDC-T MP for Mbare, Piniel Denga, told us the mayhem took place when most of
the market stall holders had gone to Granville cemetery for the burial of
Augustine Mahute, an MDC activist from Matapi Flats in Mbare. Mahute died
Saturday night from injuries he suffered while in police custody.

Mahute was first attacked by ZANU PF youths and then by the police officers
at Matapi Station, where the youths had taken him by force.

‘So when most of the market stall holders were at the burial, ZANU PF youths
attacked the few who remained holding fort, and even drove away some who
support ZANU PF. The problem is that almost all the stalls were distributed
to the current holders by an MDC councilor.

‘These were distributed in a non-partisan manner but just because an MDC
councilor oversaw the exercise, so everyone who got a stand there is being
perceived as MDC,’ Denga said.

On Thursday morning, those evicted had a meeting at which it was decided to
‘fight tooth and nail’ to reclaim what belongs to them. The group first
informed police in Mbare of its intentions, before they confronted the ZANU
PF youths.

‘The ZANU youths were so overwhelmed with the number of owners who wanted
their stalls back. Among those reclaiming their property were those from
ZANU PF who were clearly frustrated by the actions of the rowdy and violent
youths. The MDC is a party for the people, so our youths made sure even
those from ZANU PF got their stalls back,’ the MP added.

Mbare is fast becoming a volatile political hotbed, with clashes between MDC
and ZANU PF supporters increasing each month. There has been an upsurge of
political violence engineered by ZANU PF youths in Harare since the
Constitution–making process moved to the capital city in October.

Senior ZANU PF central committee members, Hubert Nyanhongo the Harare South
MP and Amos Midzi a losing parliamentary candidate in Epworth in the 2008
elections, are allegedly financing ZANU PF youths to unleash violence.

The two are reportedly paying the youths, who operate under a rogue outfit
known as ‘Chipangano,’ to unleash violence on suspected MDC supporters. The
ZANU PF shock troops operate from Carter House, a boarding house owned by
the Harare City Council in Mbare.

In a statement the MDC said it noted with concern the resurgence of violence
and displacement of thousands of innocent people in Mbare, with the open
endorsement of ZANU PF.

‘The party (MDC) wishes to caution the perpetrators that they are spoiling
for conflagration and unnecessary mayhem from which ZANU PF would certainly
emerge as a crying loser. The party is totally opposed to the abuse of
youths for selfish political gains. It is common cause that ZANU PF is
financing youths in Mbare and other areas to attack the people,’ the MDC

The statement went on to say that against this background the MDC calls on
the police, as a matter of urgency, to act decisively on the evictions and
the violence in Mbare, emanating from known ZANU PF supporters.

‘That ZANU PF youth leaders can dislodge and harass innocent, peace-loving
and law abiding citizens with impunity and in front of the police is totally

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New wave of media repression in Zim: RSF

by James Mombe     Thursday 02 December 2010

HARARE – Reporters Without Boarders has warned of a fresh wave of media
repression in Zimbabwe following the arrest of two journalists in the last
14 days, amid reports police were confiscating shortwave radio sets to force
listeners to tune in to the state-controlled ZBC.

“We regret that freedom of opinion is being gagged in this manner in the
run-up to next year’s elections,” the group known by its French acronym RSF
said in a statement following the Tuesday arrest of Nevanji Madanhire,
editor of The Standard newspaper.

President Robert Mugabe has said he does not want his unity government with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai exceeding its two-year lifespan that is up
next February.

The veteran President has said Zimbabwe must vote for a new government next
year in polls that many fear could see a return to violence and human rights
abuses in the absence of meaningful political, security and electoral

Analysts say the move to arrest and charge Madanhire over a story alleging
that police were hiring pro-Mugabe war veterans and recalling retired
officers ahead of elections is part of a drive to intimidate the small but
vibrant privately owned media in the country from exposing political
violence and human rights abuses expected to peak once polls are declared.

Police say the recruitment story is false and a deliberate attempt to defame
the law enforcement agency.

Madanhire was yesterday released on bail, while his reporter Nqobani Ndlovu,
who authored the story and was first to be arrested more than week ago, was
released on bail last Friday. The two journalists face up to two years in
jail if found guilty, in a case sure to send shivers down the spines of
editors and their reporters.

RSF said the arrest of Madanhire and Ndlovu coupled with the confiscation of
shortwave radios from villagers in rural areas was an attempt to censor
information and an “attack on media diversity”.

Shortwave radios donated to villagers by non-governmental organisations
enables listeners to tune in to programmes made by Zimbabwean journalists in
exile as an alternative to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio and

The ZBC -- owned by the government but controlled by Mugabe loyalists  -- is
the only one permitted to provide radio and television broadcasts in
Zimbabwe and often uses the opportunity to propagate raw propaganda from
Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

RSF secretary general Jean-François Julliard described the seizure of the
shortwave radio sets as a “large-scale censorship campaign” designed to keep
media presence in rural areas to a minimum.

He said: “These measures are designed to limit the population’s access to
freely-reported news and to ensure that the views expressed by
pro-government media are not challenged by the views of independent and
opposition media …. this is an attack on media diversity.”

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office condemned the arrest of
Madanhire and Ndlovu, saying it was a violation of the global political
agreement (GPA) – the power sharing agreement signed by the Premier and
Mugabe in 2008, which led to the 2009 birth of their coalition government.

The GPA commits the parties to protect and promote the basic freedoms and
rights of Zimbabweans including the freedoms of the press, association and

Jameson Timba, the Minister of State in Tsvangirai’s office, said:  “The
arrest of Nevanji (Madanhire) and Ndlovu is not only against the spirit of
the GPA but flies in the face of the efforts to achieve media freedom in

While the a string of half-hearted reforms by the Harare unity government
that included issues of licences to more private newspapers has helped ease
the media environment journalism remains essentially a risky occupation with
reporters liable to arrest and imprisonment for violating a raft of state
security, secrecy and criminal defamation laws. -- ZimOnline

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Arrest of journalists threatens democracy

By Chengetai Zvauya
Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:57

HARARE - The continued harassment and intimidation of  journalists by the
police  threatens to take Zimbabwe back to the dark and barbaric days where
innocent citizens of the country were detained without cause, a leading
media lawyer has said.

Appearing at the magistrates’ court in defence of the Standard editor,
Nevanji Madanhire, Chris Mhike of  Harare law firm Atherstone and Cook
lambasted  the police for their “inhuman” behaviour and overzealousness
saying this painted a bad image of the country.

Madanhire was released on US$100 bail by Harare magistrate Don Ndirowei on
Wednesday. He was arrested on Tuesday and charged with criminal defamation
for a story which appeared in the Standard which alleged that war veterans
were being recruited into the police ahead of elections next year after
thepolcie had cancelled the annual promotions examinations.

Mhike’s allegations prompted the magistrate to order the state to
investigate the claims.

''Your  Worship, may it be placed on the record that we are highly
displeased and dismayed with the fact of the detention of our client
overnight at Rhodesville Police station. The detention was for a case that
we considered to be very minor and was totally unnecessary.

“This honourable court would do well to remind the police about the
importance of the media and liberty of citizens in a civilised and
democratic society.

"It is high time the police were reminded about the paramount importance of
the liberty of citizens.

“If this trend of the frequent  arrests and harassment of journalists is
allowed to continue unabated, our justice system and indeed our nation could
soon slide back to the dark and barbaric  days when citizens could just be
detained without just cause and be generally treated in inhuman ways - a
society without any respect for the media,” said Mhike.

Journalists have been under siege from police in the last few weeks raising
fears that there is a deliberate plot to silence the media before elections
next year.

Mhike said what was disturbing was that his client had voluntarily appeared
at the police station yet he was detained overnight in the cells when the
police could have asked him to appear in court the following morning from
his home.

“We imagine that this sort of treatment of journalists might be a way by the
police and the State to send the message that the media should not write
critically or in any potentially negative light, about the police or the

“We particularly make this complaint in light of the worrying and increasing
unprecedented harassment of members of the press in recent months.  The high
number of journalists and media practitioners arrested or harassed by the
police in recent times is a cause for serious concern.

“ It must be made clear that detention should not always be used, even in
cases where citizens can be trusted to submit themselves to court or other
legal processes,” said Mhike.

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US embassy sponsors public HIV testing for celebrities

By Lance Guma
02 December 2010

On Wednesday several young Zimbabwean celebrities took part in a public HIV
testing exercise, meant to encourage other youths to get tested and know
their HIV status. The programme was launched by the US embassy on World AIDS
day, which is commemorated worldwide.

Setting the example were footballers Norman Maroto (Gunners), Washington
Arubi and Desmond Maringwa (both Dynamos), musicians Alexio Kawara and Edith
Katiji, TV personality Rumbidzai Mugwira and Big Brother Africa star and
actor Munyaradzi Chidzonga.

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, also got tested, telling
those who attended that ‘wiser older folk’ like him were not always listened
to and they had brought the well known footballers, singers and TV star to
set an example for others to follow. The exercise was also witnessed by
local journalists.

One by one the celebrities explained why it was important to get tested and
did their best to dispel fears over the consequences of knowing your HIV
status. They all stressed the importance of planning for the future. The
results from the public testing will be kept confidential but all of them
did go through counseling first.

Meanwhile the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
hosted the 10th annual Auxillia Chimusoro Awards Ceremony. The awards honor
individuals or organizations that have excelled in their involvement in the
fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. One of the winners was Catherine
Murombedzi, the first journalist in Zimbabwe to publicly reveal her positive

Around one in ten of the population in Zimbabwe is living with HIV and the
tense political and social climate has made it even harder to respond to the
epidemic. Since 2000, the United States government has invested over US$245
million in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.

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Voting For War

Robb , Derby: 1 hr. ago

Zimbabwe :

For thirty years, the Zimbabwean people have been bullied, pushed and forced into ‘electing’ M’gabe and his murderous party into power. Then, in 2008, they discovered that they could vote for another party - bearing in mind that for many years Mugabe declared Zimbabwe a ‘one party State’ - and since then, his party have relapsed into being the party that rewards independent thinking with a bullet, the temptation to dream of freedom with a beating, the want for a peaceful existence with incarceration…

With the coalition government expiring its tenure in February next year, an election is expected within a few months thereafter. I have asked this question, and no one seems willing to furnish me with a response. In the months between the end of the coalition government and the election, who is in control of the country?

That aside, ZANU have already got their people dictating to the population…

Not very many days ago, the Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, stated that no other result than a Mugabe win was acceptable to ZANU PF when it came to the elections being planned for sometime next year.

There were calls amongst the Zimbabwe faithful that Mnangagwa should be punished for these statements as they could be construed as ‘treasonous’.

Then we had the war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda, saying that a vote for the MDC in next years’ election would be a vote for war in Zimbabwe. I do believe that these utterances should be viewed with the same candour as those of Mnangagwa.

Jabulani Sibanda, the violent ZANU PF thug who is chairman of the National War Vet Association, is reported to be in the Lowveld area, terrorizing innocent villagers and threatening death to anyone who supports the MDC. Our sources said Sibanda has ordered his team to send the names of all known MDC supporters to the war vets office by December 4th, so that his team can ’shed their blood’.

The atmosphere in the area is said to be very tense and people do not know what to do because the police will not act against ZANU PF. SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that Sibanda has been in the Lowveld for several weeks and has been staying with one of the chiefs in the Jerera, Zaka area. The violent thug is reported to be organizing meetings and forcing villagers to attend so he can announce his ‘rules’ for the coming elections.”

What is happening in Zimbabwe is that ZANU PF is setting up these warlords whose job it will be to ‘educate’ the masses, and those they fail to comply will be dealt with ‘accordingly’ - which is ZANU PF talk would mean that they will be ‘disappeared’ overnight - in any other language, killed.

Surely this sort of fighting talk transgresses some law in Zimbabwe? Inciting violence is a crime. So is making threats on the lives of others.

But, because Mugabe has bought the loyalty of the police chief, Augustine Chihuri, the ZRP refuse to do anything about the war veteran leader’s threats.

And we are aware that these are not just idle threats...

Our source said one of these so-called ‘re-education meetings’ took place two weeks ago on a resettled ranch where Sibanda told the villagers to make sure that they have ZANU PF in their heart. He said that goat milk must be more precious than the blood of a MDC supporter and anyone pointed out by the youth is going to be killed. Sibanda told the villagers that to be saved from what is coming they need to make sure that they have ZANU PF cards.

Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga said the threats show the level of desperation that ZANU PF has sunk to. But he warned that in the Zimbabwean context any threats must be taken seriously.

Mhlanga explained that Jabulani Sibanda is the same character who failed to deliver votes for Mugabe in Matabeleland back in 2008, when he used the same violent strategy.

“We have seen him move from area to area but remember that he has left every area discredited,” said Mhlanga.

Using war vets, youth militia, intelligence officials, traditional leaders and the military, ZANU PF hopes to get votes in the rural areas where villagers are isolated. But some observers have said this could backfire and turn people quietly against ZANU PF.

It takes a very brave person to stand up to ZANU PF - but you and I know that it is well overdue.

When it comes time to vote they said people will remember what was done to them and will not reward violence.

What is happening in the rural areas is unacceptable - but Mugabe says and does nothing to stop the progress of the programme - which, for me, means that not only does it get his sanction but it is to be advocated for. Mugabe could find himself looking at defeat - once again - at the ballot box, so has had all his ‘representatives’ pull out all the stops to ensure a ‘Mugabe win’.

The people of Zimbabwe are fast approaching the ‘enough’ stage where they have had about all they can handle from Mugabe and his antagonistic ‘rule’. And the Zimbabwean people are a very patient lot, and when they do decide that enough is enough, I really wouldn’t like to be a ZANU PF member.

There are thirty years-plus (remember what atrocities his ‘freedom fighters’ did to the civilian population during the chimurenga?) of Mugabe’s intimidation, violence and killing...

And Zimbabweans don’t forget that easily.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

Read more:


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Zimbabwe 2011 - the elections which Zanu-pf dreads

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 02/12/10

As the political temperature rises in Zimbabwe, it is not rocket science to
diagnose the signs and symptoms of a terrified political party. This is made
much easier by the predictability of Zanu-pf’s strategy. In the same way the
regime placed security forces on high alert ahead of the March 2008
presidential elections, anticipating Mugabe’s victory (Zimbabwe Independent,
27/03/08), the former liberation movement is at it again, albeit rather
early this time. However Zanu-pf cannot hide the fear of its own shadow
despite bragging about its war credentials.

Zanu-pf’s growing anxiety about the prospect of losing elections again is
not difficult to see because it is underpinned by the party’s traditional
strategy of using intimidation, fear and violence.  Evidence includes
inflammatory speeches and press reports of a massive army recruitment in
Matabeleland, the unleashing of terror in Nyanga North by Hubert Nyanhongo,
the setting-up of terror bases at Sabvure Clinic, CBC Nyakomba, Arex Offices
in Nyamaropa, Nyadowa Clinic, Kambudzi Clinic, Chifambe School at Kiss
Shopping Centre, Avilla Mission Hospital and Dumba Business Centre in
Nyautare (The Zimbabwean, 01/12/10). This is why international election
observers are needed now.

Additional signs of Zanu-pf panicking include youths being forced to undergo
military training at Igava farm in Wedza, soldiers or ‘Boys on Leave’ being
drafted to direct Zanu-pf’s election campaign, soldiers at Joko Army
Barracks in Mashonaland East holding  military drills in the villages
instead of the ‘secluded’ military base near Mutoko (Zimonline, 01/12/10)
and a media crackdown despite assurances of a level playing field in the
so-called Global Political Agreement. This militarization of the state could
also help explain why SADC countries would rather appease Mugabe than dare
criticise his tyrannical rule.

However, all seems not so well in the Supreme Leader’s party. For example,
with all that Zanu-pf claims to have done for its why does it need to use
the national army, the central intelligence organisation (CIO), war
veterans, traditional chiefs, headmen and the youth militia – all paid by
the state to campaign for Mugabe? We are talking of a former liberation
movement here which should have masses behind it politically and not a
“braai stick” political party.

Another matter of interest is that Zanu-pf has almost finished the business
of its National Conference before it has been held leaving questions as to
what will be left to discuss when they meet this month. Amidst conflicting
reports, important decisions seem to have already been made before the
National Conference some of them rather hurriedly.

For instance, recently the party’s politburo rubber-stamped Mugabe’s
decision to go for elections in 2011 after initial confusion but could not
announce the date.Also,Zanu-pf has already “unanimously” nominated or picked
86-old Robert Mugabe as its Presidential Candidate for the 2011 elections
without any contest or primaries despite the on-going succession manoeuvres
that threaten to split the party as the electoral pressure mounts. Mugabe
will be 87 years old in 2011 but  some of the provinces or wings of the
party have already “unanimously” declared him their life president before
the Conference.

Assuming all these decisions or recommendations will be adopted by the
National Conference and there is no reason to doubt that, Mugabe’s life
presidency would therefore mean the death of “Zanu-pf succession debate” or
the deletion of that phrase from the party’s vocabularly as long as the
Supreme Leader is still alive. That’s not all.

Zanu-pf is a party of many contradictions. Apart from striking age
differences in the anachronistic communist style politburo, officials still
address each other as ‘comrades’ in the 21st century when even the Cuban
Communist Party has seen it necessary to change. Mugabe’s party is the only
one to my knowledge, of the few remaining professing socialist parties in
the world where within 30 years in power, the president and his wife now own
14 farms measuring approximately 16,000 hectares – enough to build 160,000
medium density houses as part of a land reform programme according to an
investigation by Zimonline published on 30 November 2010.

Students of political science need not worry anymore for examples of what
C.Wright Mills called, “The Power Elite” or George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,”
because, in Zimbabwe, a well connected black elite of about 2,200 people now
controls 5 million hectares - close to half of the most profitable land
seized from about 4,100 white commercial farmers most of whom helped make
Zimbabwe the breadbasket of Africa..

According to the investigation team, Mugabe’s ministers and their deputies
are multiple farm-owners, with one top party official and his relatives
owning at least 25 farms with a combined hectarage of more than 105,000. The
owners are typically Zanu-pf loyalists. The only notable exception on the
list though not on the EU targeted sanctions list is Welshman Ncube who got
a farm. Ironically, 350,000 black farm workers were not catered for in the
land grab by the ‘socialist and revolutionary’ party.

Probably this could help explain the highly charged ‘war mode’ of Zanu-pf’s
top brass ahead of election 2011 and why the party is now relying on rented
mobs for its campaign as was seen with the use of CIOs to speak on behalf of
Mugabe’s supporters during the constitution outreach programme. With
hindsight, everything begins to make sense when you reflect on threats of a
coup by Mnangagwa and Chihuri if Mugabe loses in 2011 although the country
is already under some kind of a coup since the last election.

Another Zanu-pf contradiction is the party’s decision to call for elections
when it does not stomach a rejection. For example after losing the
presidential elections to MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai in March 2008 an
embittered Mugabe said:  “We fought for this country, and a lot of blood was
shed. We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a
ballpoint fight with a gun” (The Times, 17/06/08).

A disturbing development since 2000 is the militarization of Zimbabwe
elections as documented by Eldred Masunungure’s “A Militarised Election: The
27 June Presidential Run-off” a contribution to Defying The Wind of Change.
He cites the Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin Chedondo’s words:

“…Soldiers are not apolitical. Only mercenaries are apolitical. We have
signed and agreed to fight and protect the ruling party’s principles of
defending the revolution. If you have other thoughts, then you should remove
that uniform?”(Masunungure, 2009).

As the race for 2011 hots-up, some unlucky policemen and women had the
misfortune of being sent on an indoctrination tour of Chimoio camp where
freedom fighters were massacred by the Rhodesian forces. The Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri warned: “This country came through blood and
the barrel of a gun and it can never be re-colonised through a simple pen,
which costs as little as five cents” (The Zimbabwean, 01/12/10). References
to ‘puppets’ and ‘re-colonisation’ are familiar, baseless and overused
Zanu-pf  tactics of blackmailing political opponents and they don’t work.

Elections present Zanu-pf with a dialectical problem. Sometimes they like
elections when they are rigging, but they also hate them especially when
monitored by international observers or challenged by someone with evidence
of rigging. In June 2000, former Zanu-pf guerrilla, MP and ex-CIO, Margaret
Dongo speaking as the president of Zimbabwe Union of Democracts (ZUD)
accused the ruling party of rigging elections claiming that over 300 people
who were not residents of her Harare South constituency had been registered
as voters. “Elections are not rigged at the time of voting. They are rigged
during the compilation of the voters roll,” said Margaret Dongo who seemed
to know what we all didn’t know.

When rigging becomes a tall order perhaps due to a vigilant civil society,
Zanu-pf has in the past made good use of the Central Intelligence
Organisation to infiltrate or eavesdrop on opposition parties. For example,
in a rare public admission of espionage, the CIO claimed victory for causing
conflict within Margaret Dongo’s party ZUD by alleging that they had planted
moles who orchestrated the split of the party into two after three months of
work by intelligence operatives based at Hardwick House along Samora Machel
Avenue (Zimbabwe Independent, 16/07/99).

Similarly, on 30 April 1990, a press conference held by ex-Zanla guerrilla
leader Edgar Tekere’s Zimbabwe Unity Movement at the Monomotapa Hotel, now
the Crown Plaza was marred by CIO bugging. “To my disappointment, the CIO
had appeared and installed a listening device to record the proceedings ad
most of our speakers suddenly became faint hearted,” said Tekere in his
book, A Lifetime of Struggle, 2007:163.

With so much at stake for Mugabe and his party in 2011, nobody should be
under any illusion about Zanu-pf’s capacity to employ dirty tricks including
attempts to infiltrate rival organisations especially when political
blackmailing has yielded no meaningful results. After all, it’s the taxpayer
who pays the bill, not the party member. As for the militarization of
elections, while a sign of panicking, could have a boomerang effect.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London

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