by Farisai Gonye Thursday 14 February 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s police chief Augustine Chihuri this week told senior
officers to back President Robert Mugabe reminding them the veteran leader
had given them farms, resources and other perks, authoritative sources told
Chihuri on Tuesday met provincial and departmental police commanders at
police general headquarters in Harare where he handed them new luxury
vehicles for their personal use and told the officers that more perks were
on the way if Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party won next month’s
elections, said sources.
Officers of the rank of senior assistant commissioner attended the meeting
that took place in the force’s Room 50 conference room. Ten of the senior
assistant commissioners are in charge of police in the country's eight
administrative provinces and in the two biggest cities of Harare and
"He (Chihuri) told us that the President is counting on us and that we have
to be vigilant in our provinces to ensure that the opposition and other
reactionary forces did not infiltrate ZANU-PF structures,” said one of the
officers who received a Toyota Vigo truck from Chihuri.
The officer, who we cannot name to protect him, said: “Chihuri pointed out
that all commanders have farms and have generously received resources from
the government . . . he reminded us that we were able to afford luxury
lifestyles despite meager salaries because of President Mugabe's
According to our sources one officer, Nonkosi Ncube, who is in charge of
police in Mashonaland East province, turned down a white truck she had been
allocated insisting she preferred the truck black.
She was assured she would receive a car with the “right colour” next week
when middle-ranking police commanders would receive their vehicles.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka confirmed the meeting took place. But he
denied Chihuri had asked officers to support Mugabe and instead claimed the
purpose of the meeting was to brief senior officers on the upcoming
Mandipaka said: "It was a meeting to acquaint senior officers with electoral
laws and issues related to our operations during this election period. We
are non-partisan and the commissioner-general put that position very clearly
to the meeting."
Mugabe, in office since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain, has kept
top army and police commanders well fed, allocating them with lucrative
farms seized from whites, vehicles, government contracts and other benefits.
The security commanders in turn have not let him down, always ready to use
brutal tactics to keep public discontent in check in the face of an economic
crisis that has spawned hyperinflation and shortages of food, fuel,
essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival
Mugabe and ZANU PF are expected to win presidential, parliamentary and local
government elections on March 29. However, analysts say popular former
finance minister Simba Makoni’s rebellion to challenge the veteran leader
for the job of president has made the contest less than predictable. –
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 12:41
South African President Thabo Mbeki is supportive of Simba Makoni's
bid for the presidency of Zimbabwe, and there are indications that this is
the outcome of the Third Force project on which the SA leader has been
working for some time.
Impeccable sources told The Zimbabwean this week that Mbeki had
identified Makoni as the ideal candidate to pull Zimbabwe out of the current
political and economic crisis.
He had initially hoped to strike a deal between "reformists" from Zanu
(PF) led by Makoni and the opposition MDC factions that would see the
establishment of a transitional government of national unity pending
elections under a new constitution.
Sources say there was hope by Mbeki and other African and western
leaders that there would be a successful rebellion in Zanu (PF) at the
party's special congress in December to oust Mugabe and replace him with
Makoni, who had already pledged his commitment to the transitional
government arrangement and said he had no problems working with the MDC.
When the plan to oust Mugabe flopped, it put the whole game plan into
disarray and Mugabe became more paranoid and contemptuous of the
negotiations, which eventually collapsed.
"Makoni then told Mbeki he was ready and capable of contesting the
presidency," said a source who was involved. "They agreed that Makoni didn't
have to leave Zanu (PF) because it needed to be reformed - it remains an
obstacle to political change as long as it is still under Mugabe."
Mbeki made a surprise statement last week that had been success in the
negotiations between Zanu (PF) and MDC. Senior sources in the MDC say the
SA leader is making concerted efforts to try and forge an alliance between
Makoni and the two MDC factions to present a united front against Mugabe,
and consider the government of national unity proposal.
"The plan really is that Makoni must remain Zanu (PF) and there is
belief that he had backing of many members in the party meaning in the event
of any defeat of Mugabe, there can indeed by a reformed Zanu (PF) to work
with," the source said.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 17:12
….as Mugabe panics
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Retired army general, Solomon Mujuru, is believed to be under house
arrest after the CIO handed over a dossier to the fraud squad accusing him
of numerous cases of corruption in his vast business empire.
Impeccable sources from Mujuru's family as well as in the army and
police told The Zimbabwean that the influential former army leader has been
under virtual house arrest since late last year when media speculation grew
linking Mujuru to rumours that former finance minister Simba Makoni was
planning to from a new party.
Makoni has since announced that he will stand against Mugabe in next
month's presidential election, and has been officials expelled from Zanu
Zanu (PF) insiders say Mugabe instructed the CIO to place Makoni,
Mujuru as well as other top officials linked to the plans under strict
"He has been under house arrest since November and has been called in
by police and army on several occasions," a source close to the Mujuru
family said. "He is under 24-hour surveillance by the military
Sources at the Fraud Squad in Harare confirmed that Mujuru had been
called in for questioning on several occasions in relation to the dossier.
"He has been threatened with arrest and humiliation and that must have
been meant to intimidate him," said a senior police officer on condition
anonymity. "The corruption charges are enough to bring him down, whether
they are true or not. It is clearly a political game."
Repeated efforts to obtain comment from Mujuru or his wife failed but
one of their daughters said, "They have been harassing my father and we
actually fear for his life. He has been stripped of his liberties."
Mujuru has long been a thorn in the flesh for Mugabe, with incessant
reports suggesting he is the Kingmaker in Zanu (PF) and probably the only
one capable of facing up to Mugabe's dictatorial tendencies. However, Mujuru
was made to appear comical in December when he appeared on national
television and in newspapers holding the microphone for Rural Housing
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, leader of another faction in the party.
"He was already under house arrest then and attended the congress
under duress with Mugabe making sure it came out openly the retired army
general was still under his armpits," a senior Zanu (PF) official said.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 12:41
BY CHIEF REPORTER
Unproductive war veterans have angrily dismissed a government decree
ordering the repossession of 1,400 idle farms seized from white farmers and
handed to the ex-freedom fighters during the violent land grab.
In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the veterans' leader, Joseph
Chinotimba said whoever had made that directive could go to hell, adding
they would not give up the land without a fight.
"The comrades will not accept that at all," he said. "We fought for
this land and they cannot just take it away."
The government announced last week that it was moving to repossess
1,449 farms grabbed from white farmers and planned to hand them over to
farmers with better success records.
Land Reform minister Didymus Mutasa insisted this week his ministry
was repossessing, "all vacant and underutilized A2 farms," and would "not go
back on this exercise."
Saize Manyatera is one of the youthful war veterans who overran a
white-owned farm in 2003. He has, for the past five years, failed to even
put an acre under any crop but this week refused to accept that Mugabe had
bowed to pressure and ordered an eviction of unproductive resettled farmers.
The 35-year-old "veteran" of a war that ended by 1979, brandishing a
rusty hoe and a bag of seed he had hastily bought in town, looked
crestfallen when he realised that he may not now be able to continue
"farming" on his stolen land.
"We have heard nothing," he insisted. "We will remain here. We have
been given this land. We have been struggling for fertilizer and maize seed
"These are the fruits of our independence and they can't just take the
farms away. We took away this land from people, white people who colonised
Now the aspirations that have been unleashed among the impoverished
and ill-equipped new farmers will have to be reined in, which many hope will
trigger a round of infighting among the leadership of the ruling Zanu (PF)
party, boosting the opposition's prospects for victory in the forthcoming
March general elections.
The fact that he has failed to produce any meaningful crop on this
property for the past five years to feed the nation, cuts little ice with
"It doesn't matter that I am not producing anything. But the land is
my birthright," he said. Despite claims that the war veterans association
has 50,000 members, the real figure is thought to be between 3,000 and
Manyatera was transported here at the height of the land grab, in a
municipal vehicle, and will not see his newly acquired land discarded
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Thursday 14 February 2008
BULAWAYO - Civic groups say they will campaign for any new government that
assumes power next month not to pay for debts that were incurred by
President Robert Mugabe to sustain repression against Zimbabweans.
The civic groups said while the people of Zimbabwe had an obligation to pay
for debts accrued for infrastructural developments such as roads and
hospitals, they should not pay for debts accrued to sustain dictators.
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
pressure group, said yesterday that civic groups were unanimous that debts
incurred to sustain Mugabe's brutal regime would not be honoured.
"Civic society agreed that any debts accrued to build infrastructure should
be paid back . . . but we will not pay for debts for the supply of weapons
and tear gas that is continuously being used against the masses," said
Madhuku, a strong critic of Mugabe's government, cited loans given to Harare
by the Chinese and Libyans to buy military hardware among those that he said
were likely to be ignored by any new government.
Mugabe has over the past eight years secured loans from Libya, China and
Malaysia as well as from Equatorial Guinea in West Africa raising fears that
the Zimbabwean leader was mortgaging the country to foreigners.
At least 50 non-governmental organizations met for their National People's
Convention in Harare last weekend to decide which political party to support
in next March's parliamentary and presidential elections.
The meeting however ended in disarray after civic groups clashed over which
candidate to back in the election that is likely to be a three-horse race
pitting Mugabe against his former finance minister Simba Makoni and Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The civic groups also expressed their dissatisfaction with plans for the
elections saying any elections that would be held in Zimbabwe under the
present "defective" constitution would remain illegitimate.
"We hold that all elections in Zimbabwe remain illegitimate without the
ushering into existence of a new democratic and people-driven constitution.
This means that all elections held hereafter remain without national
legitimacy and merit if not undertaken under a new people-driven
constitutional dispensation," said the groups.
The civic organisations said the political environment in the country has
remained characterised by a lack of respect for the rule of law, political
violence, a lack of fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of
expression and information.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute economic crisis critics blame on
repression and bad policies by Mugabe. The veteran Zimbabwean leader says he
is ready and raring to go for the 29 March election. - ZimOnline
by Prince Nyathi Thursday 14 February 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwean teachers, who have been on a two-week strike to press
for more pay, say they will not return to work until the government
increases their salaries to Z$1.7 billion a month.
Oswald Madziva, the national co-ordinator of the Progressive Teachers' Union
of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said although the government had awarded salary hikes
last month, the salaries were still way below their expectations.
Madziva said the strike by teachers had plunged the entire education system
into chaos after hundreds of teachers failed to report for duty at the
beginning of the term last January in protest over poor salaries.
"This week teachers got back-pay for January ranging between $220 million to
$260 million. This puts a teacher's salary and allowances at $551 million a
month but we are saying this is still too little," said Madziva.
The president of the Zimbabwe Teachers' Union (ZIMTA), Tendai Chikowore,
could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Teachers who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said even some of their colleagues
affiliated to ZIMTA, largely seen as pro-government, had also downed tools
to press for a further salary adjustment.
"Now it's every teacher because these hardships know no affiliation," said a
teacher at a Harare school who refused to be named.
A survey by ZimOnline yesterday showed that there was virtually no learning
taking place at most schools in Harare with school children spending the
greater part of the day loitering in school grounds.
"The situation is the same across the country. It is not Harare alone. Even
in rural areas, teachers have also downed tools," said Madziva.
Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere could not be reached for comment on the
Zimbabwe's education system, once revered as one of the best in Africa, is a
shadow of its former self because of a severe economic crisis ravaging the
country that has seen government fail to pay realistic salaries to teachers.
The PTUZ says at least 25 000 teachers quit their jobs in disgust over poor
pay and working conditions last year alone with most of the teachers fleeing
to Zimbabwe's prosperous neighbour, South Africa. - ZimOnline
By Sithandekile Mhlanga
13 February 2008
Organizers of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise said 11 of their
members were severely beaten by police in Harare Wednesday afternoon after
they staged a demonstration in the city center to urge better care for the
A WOZA statement said about 250 members of the organization gathered in the
city center to demonstrate and were "set upon by a truckload of riot police
who threw tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. Several members were
badly beaten with baton sticks by riot and uniformed police officers after
WOZA said the demonstration was organized "to encourage Zimbabweans to stand
up for their children in these times of extreme hardship" with elections on
Some of the demonstrators were discharged after being treated at Avenues
Clinic and others were still receiving medical care, the organization said.
WOZA Coordinator Jenni Williams told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police launched tear gas at women demonstrating
By Carole Gombakomba
13 February 2008
Voter registration and inspection of voter rolls ended Wednesday amid
complaints by voters who had previously registered that they were unable to
find their names on the list of those registered, while others said they
received no receipt upon registering.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said it was looking into the charges,
adding that has received many complaints that people have not found their
names on rolls.
Voters reached in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces said officials of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said that if their names were not listed in
their constituencies or if they could not produce voter slips, they would
not be allowed to vote in March.
The electoral commission recently completed a massive redistricting exercise
in which 90 new elective constituencies were added to the lower house of
parliament, bringing the total to 201. However, the delimitation was carried
out in relative secrecy, and the final report with its maps has not been
made widely available even to lawmakers.
Twenty-seven senate seats have been added for a total of 93 under the terms
of a constitutional amendment that was passed with ruling party and
opposition support at a time when the ZANU-PF party of President Robert
Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party,
were in crisis resolution talks.
But those talks deadlocked over the issues of the timing of the elections
Mr. Mugabe set for March 29 over opposition objections, and demands by both
factions of the divided MDC that a new constitution be introduced before the
Resident Thomas Gono of the Harare district of Kuwadzana told reporter
Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he faced a number of
difficulties when he tried to verify his registration and found that he had
SW Radio Africa (London)
13 February 2008
Posted to the web 13 February 2008
The full list of all MDC candidates for next month's presidential,
parliamentary, senatorial and urban council elections will be released on
Thursday, a day before the nomination court.
Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has already been endorsed as the presidential
candidate and is expected to launch their election manifesto on the 23rd
A number of primaries are taking place countrywide Wednesday, following
delays over the initial choice of candidates in some of the constituencies.
A provisional list of candidates shows that the party's two well-known
spokesmen, William Bango and Pishai Muchauraya, are contesting the
parliamentary poll in Chikomba and Makoni South. Veteran journalist Bango is
a former spokesman for Tsvangirai. This would be his first time contesting
in any election in independent Zimbabwe.
Muchauraya, the fearless Manicaland spokesman, is standing against his old
Zanu PF rival Shadreck Chipanga, the man who narrowly beat him by less than
240 votes in the 2005 elections, when both men stood for the Makoni East
Marondera farmer Ian Kay is standing again in Marondera central, another
seat which the MDC narrowly lost in 2005. Contesting against Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, a Zanu-PF heavyweight, Kay lost that contest by
a mere 86 votes.
'We didn't lose those elections. The results were manipulated by the
election officials to ensure that the cabinet ministers retained their seats
through hook and crook,' Muchauraya said.
The party's director of elections Ian Makone is a candidate for Goromonzi
West while his wife Theresa, the Women's Assembly chairperson, is contesting
the Harare North seat currently held by Trudy Stevenson from the Mutambara
faction. Sekai Holland, the secretary for research and policy, is a
senatorial candidate for Hwata in Mbare. She has been recovering in
Australia from serious injuries sustained during last March's crackdown on
the opposition, that left some activists dead and hundreds more injured.
The MDC's chief representative in London, Hebson Makuvise, said they are
confident of snatching back other seats lost to Zanu PF in the last
parliamentary elections. Like Muchauraya, Makuvise strongly believes Zanu-PF
won more seats than the MDC as a result of rigging and intimidation.
'If you look closely at the results, some were controversially declared in
favour of Zanu-PF candidates, after two or three recounts that still showed
MDC candidates as the winners,' Makuvise said.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 12:42
BY CHIEF REPORTER
In its first 100 days in office, the MDC (Tsvangirai) says it will
reduce the number of ministers to 15, and eliminate unnecessary expenditure,
such as that spent on deputy ministers and provincial governors.
Zimbabwe has two vice-presidents, and more than 48 ministers, deputies
and governors, all with hefty allowances, chauffeur-driven government
vehicles and an aide.
"The MDC government would eliminate all government activities that are
not concerned with immediate domestic priorities. This would involve
reviewing the external missions abroad, and the cancellation of all
outstanding contracts for military hardware," said the party's economic
policy chief, Eddie Cross.
A National Revenue Authority Board and an independent board which
includes the private sector experts on taxes would be set up to improve tax
collection and increase government revenue.
"The objective would be to privatise all parastatals within a period
of two years. Special attention would be given to the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority the National Railways of Zimbabwe, ZimPost, Net*One and
Tel*One," said Cross.
He said there would be a new management system to control government
expenditure with strict reporting and controlling systems to limit over-runs
Cross said contrary to the focus by the discredited Zanu (PF)
government on peripheral issues such as land, the role of white business and
farming community, the MDC would focus on high priority areas first.
The real issues are rapidly increasing prices, stagnant incomes and
deteriorating social services," he said. "MDC recognises the need for
equitable distribution of land, but it has set its main immediate goals in
the economic arena. It is determined to restore the confidence by both the
international and local business communities."
The MDC economic plans include upgrading private sector housing
policies, modernising the crumbling education and health systems and a
commitment to a free regional trade system.
By Patience Rusere
13 February 2008
A Zimbabwean nongovernmental organization has warned that political violence
is on the rise with national elections less than seven weeks off on March
The Zimbabwe Peace Project issued a report saying its violence early warning
system pointed to Manicaland, Masvingo and Midlands provinces as likely
Peace Project National Director Jestina Mukoko said that since November the
group has recorded 1,775 incidents of political violence compared with about
1,000 in the comparable period in 2004-2005, in the run-up to the 2005
Mukoko told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
most of the violence is perpetrated by ruling party supporters, and that the
increasingly tense political violence is affecting the distribution of food
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 13:04
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was not appointed in terms
of the law and should be disbanded and a new committee set up to run polls
next month, the Zimbabwe Catholic Church's human rights arm said on Tuesday.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) said preparations for
the March 29 elections were hurried, while there was inadequate education of
voters, a situation it said has led to confusion and reduced prospects of
truly democratic polls."The appointment and composition of the electoral
body, the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, is illegal after the amendment. We strongly recommend
that the old ZEC be dissolved with immediate effect and a new one be
appointed in terms of the new law," the CCJP said in a statement.The main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and human
rights groups say a constitutional amendment last September provides for the
creation of a new and independent ZEC to oversee registration of voters,
demarcation of voting constituencies and overall management of elections.The
government has rejected opposition requests to appoint a new commission
to run polls and merely tasked the old commission to carry out the new
functions stipulated under Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act Number
18.Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, an ally of President Robert Mugabe who
accused of manipulating the voters' roll to ensure victory for the
government, has also continued registering voters despite the new
constitutional provision.The CCJP said there was confusion among voters over
voting procedures during
the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections that are
being held at the same time for the first time since Zimbabwe's 1980
independence from Britain."We note with grave concern that there had been
inadequate preparation and
voter education on the electoral process in the new harmonised elections
such that confusion continues to exist today as to the manner in which such
elections will be conducted," the CCJP said.The group lamented the fact that
barely seven weeks before voting, the
public remained in the dark over new boundaries for parliamentary
constituencies and council wards. It also remained hazy which political
parties would contest the elections or who the candidates would be.The CCJP
also raised concern over the fact that an estimated three million
Zimbabweans living and working abroad and all eligible to vote would be
excluded from voting because the government did not provide facilities for
exiled Zimbabweans to participate in the polls.ZEC spokesman Utoile
Silaigwana was not immediately available for comment on
the matter.Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis critics
misrule by Mugabe and that is seen in the world's highest inflation rate of
more than 26 000 percent, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a
country not at war according to the World Bank and shortages of foreign
currency, food and fuel.
Analysts say truly democratic polls are a key requirement to any plan to
pluck Zimbabwe out of a deepening crisis
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