by Patricia Mpofu Friday 15 February 2008
HARARE – A relentless wave of political violence over the past 12 months and
in which state security forces played a major role has “already tainted”
Zimbabwe’s elections next month, the Zimbabwe Human Rights (NGO) Forum said
The Forum said 2007 experienced some of the worst violence and human rights
abuses in the last decade despite South African efforts to mediate between
President Robert Mugabe and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party.
“There is no doubt that politically motivated violence informs and
influences political thinking amongst citizens and ultimately voting
patterns in favour of those responsible for the violence,” said the Forum in
its latest report on Zimbabwe released this week.
“Given that the electoral process includes incidents that occur and
influence elections, the March 2008 election has already been tainted by the
violence that was attendant on the year 2007,” it added.
Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was not immediately available
for comment on the matter.
However, Harare has in the past rejected similar charges and accused human
rights groups of spreading lies to help a Western campaign to tarnish Mugabe’s
The Forum, which regularly publishes reports on politically motivated
violence in the strife-torn southern African country, said it recorded 586
cases of torture in 2007 compared to 368 the previous year.
The group documented 19 cases of politically motivated kidnappings last year
against 11 in 2006, while 3 477 violations of the freedoms of expression,
association and movement were recorded in 2007 compared to 1 866 in 2006.
“In the majority of the torture cases, members of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police or the Central Intelligence Organisation or both working in concert
were involved,” said the Forum that brings together 17 local groups involved
in human rights work and assists victims of organised violence.
Zimbabwe, which is grappling with its worst ever economic crisis, holds
local government, parliamentary and presidential elections on March 29.
Analysts say an unfair playing field coupled with political violence and
intimidation of opponents guarantees Mugabe’s government victory at the
polls despite clear evidence it has failed to break a vicious inflation
cycle that has left consumers impoverished and the economy in deep crisis.
Mugabe - who turns 84 next week and seeking another five year term to
complete more than three decades at the helm - denies his government is
responsible for Zimbabwe’s collapse and has promised a landslide victory in
March to once again prove he has the backing of ordinary Zimbabweans. –
by Own Correspondent Friday 15 February 2008
THE ZIMBABWE OF TODAY
FEAR, STRESS AND TENSION
Zimbabweans are experiencing stress and tension because of the
a.. Poverty that affects over 80% of the population.
b.. Rampant unemployment especially amongst the youth.
c.. Dispersion and disintegration of the national and family fabric
as Zimbabweans become economic refugees and live in the diaspora, many in
conditions of deprivation and want.
d.. Spiralling inflation and high cost of living.
e.. The cash crisis which results in people having restricted access
to their hard-earned cash.
f.. Massive decline in the condition and quality of education,
health, housing, energy, water, sanitation, and other services.
g.. Transport problems nationwide and the parlous state of road
h.. Corruption and lack of accountability in the conduct of national
i.. Social and political polarisation of our society. Division
between the people and leaders.
j.. Siege mentality in the state with the state resorting to
violence to suppress dissent.
k.. Lack of respect for the law.
l.. Gross abuse of state resources which has contributed to the
economic decline in Zimbabwe.
m.. National institutions have been corrupted, privatised and
n.. Scourge of patronage and gross abuse of power and culture of
o.. Lack of a national vision and agenda on the basis of which all
Zimbabweans could be mobilised for national reconciliation and revival.
DISEASE AND POVERTY
a.. The food crisis affecting the majority of Zimbabweans, resulting
in malnutrition, vulnerability to various infections and dependence on
agencies dispersing food.
b.. High HIV prevalence and mortality from AIDS.
c.. Lack of resources in hospitals, resulting in poor health care
including many neo-natal deaths.
DECLINE IN CAPACITY AND POLICY FAILURE
There has been a decline in capacity and capability to deliver
throughout the economy and society:
a.. Human capital erosion, attrition and lack of capacity to replace
and produce new skills and capacities needed in different sectors of the
b.. There has been failure in policy making and implementation,
resulting in stillborn attempts to turn around the economy.
c.. There has been failure in leadership, resulting in short-term
and ad hoc policies that have not yielded positive results.
THE ZIMBABWE WE MUST CREATE
NATIONAL RE-ENGAGEMENT AND DIALOGUE FOR ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND POLITICAL
a.. Undertake immediate and urgent tasks to:
a.. Resolve the food, power and fuel, water and sanitation
b.. Restore health and education services.
b.. Determine national priorities.
c.. Develop a policy framework for economic and social renewal, in
the short, medium and long term.
d.. Re-engage key national constituencies namely youth, women,
workers, students, employers, rural and urban people with the state in
e.. Implement gender policies to ensure equal rights and
opportunities for both men and women.
a.. The youth offer a window of opportunity for future development.
Special focus will be placed on the values and personal development of
youth as the leaders of the future. A stronger emphasis on technical/
vocational training to develop skills will strengthen employment creation
b.. Develop a housing policy that addresses the needs of the poor
and encourage the public and private sectors to institute house ownership
schemes for their workers.
c.. Strengthen and accelerate HIV prevention programmes and increase
support for HIV/AIDS victims.
d.. Strengthen the implementation of environmental improvement
REVIVING PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY
Land and Agriculture
a.. Affirm the necessity for land reform.
b.. Ensure transparent and equitable processes of land reform.
a.. Review the current land tenure systems as a means of
rationalising and refining the land reform and stimulating productivity.
b.. Institute comprehensive rural development programmes to
transform the communal areas.
c.. Revive agricultural production through programmes to ensure that
agricultural inputs and other resources are available to farmers.
Industrialisation, Empowerment and Employment Creation
a.. Establish the key role of the state in facilitating and
regulating rather than controlling industrialisation.
b.. Establish tax incentives and loans through the banking system to
support industrialization and boost production.
c.. Generate greater national and foreign investment.
d.. Support the manufacturing sector as one of the major drivers of
growth, employment and generation of foreign currency.
e.. Generate competitiveness and efficiency of the manufacturing
f.. Improve the supply of raw materials for manufacturing.
g.. Establish frameworks for the diaspora to play an important role
in support of industrialization as both active participants and investors.
a.. Restore the rule of law, particularly in the mining sector
which is critical for foreign currency inflows through the sales of gold,
platinum, diamonds, chrome and other minerals.
b.. Monitor transparency and accountability, particularly in the
c.. Establish programmes to protect the environment in the mining
d.. Support the beneficiation of minerals in Zimbabwe to create
employment and grow the economy.
e.. Support the improvement and expansion of the information and
communications technology industries as a key for technological enhancement
and employment creation.
a.. Establish people-centred processes closer to grassroots to
b.. Investigate and strengthen empowerment mechanisms and tools for
specific groups including women, youths, rural and urban dwellers
a.. Establish state policies and incentives for the private sector
and non-governmental sector to facilitate employment creation
b.. Support the construction sector as a major player in employment
creation across the country.
a.. Increase public works programmes to develop infrastructure such
as dams, schools, clinics and roads as a mechanism for employment creation.
b.. Support housing construction as one of the main drivers of both
economic development and employment creation.
The Financial Sector
a.. Examine and define the mandate of the Central Bank and its
relationship to the state.
b.. Restore the autonomy of the Central Bank as a regulator.
c.. Remove different foreign exchange rates as a tool for doing away
with the parallel market and removing distortions in the economy.
d.. Improve the relationship between the Central Bank and the
e.. Restore the integrity of the financial sector.
f.. Place emphasis on micro-finance to create employment and grow
Education, Health, Housing and Other Services
a.. Provide better, more effective and more efficient services to
b.. Restore government commitment to universal primary school
education, affordable and good quality secondary and tertiary education in
order to build up skills base.
c.. Restore government commitment to free preventive medical
services and affordable curative services.
a.. Establish a top-up fund to finance policies and measures to
attract and retain teachers, doctors, nurses and other skilled and
b.. Attract back skills from the diaspora to strengthen service
The Public Sector
· Strengthen the civil service and provide better conditions of
service for more effective and speedy service delivery.
· Remove patronage and corruption as pre-requisites for service
a.. Revive and reinforce the capacities and powers of local
authorities to deliver services efficiently.
a.. Rationalize parastatals to make them more efficient and cost
b.. Adopt privatisation measures where they would ensure more
effective service delivery.
The Uniformed Services
a.. Enhance security and protection services for the benefit of the
NATIONAL HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
a.. Address national issues that separate and divide us as a nation
and institute a process of national healing and reconciliation, including:
a.. Problems and challenges based on race and ethnicity;
b.. Rural and urban divide;
c.. Inter and intra party violence;
d.. The fuller integration of war veterans into society. War
veterans are the victims as well as the potential agents of national healing
e.. Replacing the state/party patronage system with rational and
effective social security provisions for war veterans as part of the
national social security system.
b.. Constitutional reform. A new people-driven national
constitution will be developed after full consultation.
a.. Harness the key political and technocratic skills required for
a representative and efficient government after the elections.
b.. Our mission is to:
a.. Restore people’s independence, dignity and confidence,
b.. Increase respect for our institutions and values.
c.. Project national interests before personal interests.
d.. Restore Zimbabwe’s standing within the international
SW RADIO AFRICA
HOT SEAT INTERVIEW:
Broadcast 14 February 2008
Link for audio interview:
Violet Gonda: Nothing has caused as much controversy recently as the entry
into the presidential race by a senior ruling party official and former
cabinet minister Dr Simba Makoni. It’s reported that some key ZANU PF
members are supporting Dr Makoni’s candidacy. One of the people involved
with Makoni’s bid is Wilfred Mhanda, a former liberation war senior
commander. He is also one of the people personally responsible for bringing
Robert Mugabe to power. Mr Mhanda is the guest on the programme Hot Seat and
he is here to set the record straight on a number of issues. Welcome on the
programme Mr Mhanda.
Wilfred Mhanda: Thank you Violet.
Gonda: You have not been actively involved in mainstream politics, why now?
What’s your interest in this?
Mhanda: It’s not a question of interests but the circumstances in which we
find ourselves in as a nation and as a country. Things have really gotten
out of hand and we are all desperately trying to make ends meet and to eke
out a living. So it is this which has actually pushed me to see if I could
also contribute to the resolution of the crisis that is gripping the
Gonda: So who are you representing exactly?
Mhanda: In what terms?
Gonda: Are you representing ZANU PF…? Do you have a political party…?
Mhanda: I am not representing ZANU PF and we do not have a political party
and Dr Simba Makoni has just been expelled from ZANU PF. But he has offered
himself as an independent candidate for the Presidential elections. And we
are supporting him as somebody who is in a position to lead the nation to
resolve the crisis. To lead us out of the crisis.
Gonda: But why Dr Makoni as President of your group. Why him in particular?
Mhanda: Firstly, he is the ideal candidate. When we scouted around for
someone with a national appeal, a broad national appeal, and also an
international appeal we found him to be an ideal candidate for us. At the
same time he also happened to have accepted the mantle of leadership for the
movement to re-direct and renew the country.
Gonda: So what are the prospects of your group winning given that some
believe that those who come from ZANU PF are not elect-able because of their
connection with the regime?
Mhanda: If somebody stands up against ZANU PF that means that person is
exactly on the same footing as those people who are condemning ZANU PF.
Because if you have the courage to stand up and speak out against Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF that means you are no longer in that camp in terms of
your aspirations, your ideas and your objectives - they are now consistent
with the rest of the people. So that is not a problem at all.
Gonda: So isn’t someone like Dr Makoni only against ZANU PF now because he
failed to get his nomination in the party?
Mhanda: No, no, no. He accepted the leadership of our group long before the
nomination – long before ZANU PF held its primaries. It was long before that
when he accepted the call to lead the party and also one should recall that
Dr Makoni has in the past stood up for what he believed in. Like for example
as Minister of Finance, he clearly articulated and enunciated what needed to
be done to get the economy back on course and that took courage for someone
to do that. Very few people in ZANU PF have been able to do that.
Gonda: But why did he even attempt to run for ZANU PF if he was intending to
run against Robert Mugabe?
Mhanda: He never attempted to run for ZANU PF. Where is that information
Gonda: Did he not submit his nomination papers for one of the constituencies
in Manicaland province?
Mhanda: You mean as a member of parliament. We now gather that CV was
forwarded by some other people. He did not appear there personally. He didn’t
appear there personally.
Gonda: Are you saying Dr Makoni did not hand in his nomination paper and
that he was not going to stand as a ZANU PF candidate for the Makoni East
Mhanda: I am sure the best person to answer that question would be Dr Makoni
Gonda: So in terms of your support base who in ZANU PF is backing you?
Mhanda: We still going back, you are still going back to the question of who
is backing us in ZANU PF. This is for the people of Zimbabwe. The suffering
people of Zimbabwe! It has nothing to do with ZANU PF! We don’t care who is
in ZANU PF! Why do people in ZANU PF have to support us? What we are doing
is we are appealing beyond ZANU PF, to the nation as a whole. If those in
ZANU PF are happy – so be it.
Gonda: But in his first press conference Dr Makoni himself said there are
key elements or key members of ZANU PF that are going to come out and stand
for his group. So why is there so much secrecy? Elections are next month;
don’t you think Zimbabweans deserve to know who the players are – especially
the players that are coming from ZANU PF? At least so that people can see
how much support he has from within ZANU PF?
Mhanda: Why do we keep going back to showing support from ZANU PF? ZANU PF
is an unpopular party! Why do we keep going back to ZANU PF which is hated
by the people, as you already said? Dr Makoni has now got candidates who are
prepared to support him. They don’t have to be from ZANU PF! Where are we
getting lost here?
Gonda: But who are these candidates? Where are these candidates?
Mhanda: The candidates will be announced after nomination on Friday.
Gonda: But why haven’t people heard anything about these candidates? So far
it’s been Dr Simba Makoni, Dr Ibbo Mandaza and retired Army General Mbudzi.
Why is it taking so long for people to come out and say ‘we are standing
with this group’?
Mhanda: Do they really have to speak up? Dr Makoni was encouraged and
approached by a wide range of people to stand and like I said, why don’t you
wait till Friday after nomination and then you will find that there are
actually people – there are candidates. There are candidates. I for one will
be standing in Harare supporting Dr Simba Makoni. But why do I have to go
the press to say I am going to stand for him? Let’s be patient and wait for
Gonda: Do you not think at this point in time with elections around the
corner people need to know at least who is in this party? In the planning of
this whole thing did you approach the different factions in ZANU PF – I will
ask about the other groups like the opposition – but I would like to find
out if you approached the different factions in ZANU PF – like the Mnangagwa
faction and the Mujuru faction?
Mhanda: It’s really not a question of approaching them but consultations.
Wide ranging consultations were conducted with all manner of people in ZANU
PF and outside ZANU PF. The Emerson Mnangagwa faction and the Mujuru faction
and there was a consensus that they were opposed to Mugabe standing as a
Presidential candidate for ZANU PF. That consensus was there. But there was
no one to articulate this disenchantment within the party. Hence the need to
have somebody like Dr Simba Makoni to articulate that.
Gonda: So is it true that retired army generals Solomon Mujuru and Vitalis
Zvinavashe are supporting your group?
Mhanda: Like I said the best people to do that (comment) will be themselves.
It’s an assumption to say they are supporting the people. What I can say is
at best they are sympathetic but I am not authorized to speak on their
behalf to say they support Dr Simba Makoni. They would be the best people to
answer those questions themselves. The fact that they haven’t come out in
the open is that there might be a reason for that.
Gonda: What about the opposition? Why not form a coalition with the
Mhanda: You know there are a number of reasons for that. Here we are going
into elections and this grouping has come about through the need to save the
country from disaster. The MDC has tried that and from my perceptions it
would appear the majority of the MDC MPs are not so concerned about
resolving the crisis, getting Mugabe out but getting into parliament and
benefiting with the perks associated with that. So you see there are a lot
of dynamics that is involved in all this. So if people were candidates for
the MDC, all of a sudden you come as a grouping – you don’t necessarily have
to inherit all those MPs from ZANU PF and the MDC. And they won’t
necessarily step back for you. That will be very difficult for them to do.
Gonda: If you really want change why don’t you join forces with the people
who have been asking for this and the opposition has been asking for this
from the very beginning, unlikely people like Simba Makoni, who have been
largely quiet over the years, while the country has been burning.
Mhanda: Ok you say if we really want change we should be working with those
who have been calling for it from the very beginning. What have they
achieved in the last nine years?
Gonda: And what have people like Simba Makoni achieved and they were even in
decision making positions?
Mhanda: He was not a leader of a political formation. Now he is and we have
to judge him after he has stepped into the arena, not before!
Gonda: But were they not in the Politburo, the party’s Politburo (decision
making body), to do something about what was happening in the country.
Mhanda: As you know in terms of democracy, if you are a minority and you are
beaten by the majority you have to conform to the wishes of the majority! I
think that is democratic ethics and ethos. So for them to then have to go
outside and canvas against a decision taken by the majority it would not be
proper. In any political setting that would not be proper. It’s like in
Cabinet - once a Cabinet decision has been taken you are bound by that
Gonda: But you must admit that a lot of people are highly suspicious of
people who are coming from ZANU PF, and you have been highly critical of
ZANU PF in the past. The party has also a history of stuffing ballot boxes.
So what make you think that the people you are supporting now from ZANU PF
will be any different?
Mhanda: From what I can tell you, the MDC was a creation of ZANU PF. Morgan
Tsvangirai himself was a member of ZANU PF! Most of these people were
members of ZANU PF. They are breaking away from a rotten party. They are
breaking away. So you cannot stop by saying you are ZANU PF, you are so and
so. Then you will be reinforcing the polarization which has been taken
advantage of by Robert Mugabe to entrench his rule. We welcome anybody who
rebels against autocratic rule. Like I said the MDC is a creation of ZANU
PF. Most of those people were card carrying members of ZANU PF. Why should
it be different with Dr Simba Makoni and others?
Violet: But you must understand, and as I go back again, the economy has
been going down especially in the last seven years. 26 000% inflation,
unemployment, there is no electricity, no water and food shortages. How
committed to change is this group that has come out of ZANU PF when they
have not changed things in the past?
Mhanda: For you to be able to change things you need to be able to have the
power and capacity to do that. Surely you cannot expect that Dr Simba
Makoni - as a single member - in a Politburo of about 44 could have moved
things and changed things. He would have needed to win the majority of the
Politburo for him to be able to make any decisions. In any case Mugabe still
retains a veto power over anything. So what we are saying is give Dr Simba
Makoni a chance. Let him be elected President and then you will see that he
will deliver because he is motivated not by just wanting to be President and
it was not something that he initiated. He was approached by people who were
desperate for leadership – to take them out of the crisis.
Gonda: You launched your policy document on Wednesday. How are you going to
change things? For example what is your economic recovery plan?
Mhanda: What Dr Makoni said at the launch is what we want to do is to free
the people of Zimbabwe, to re-engage with them, to empower them so that they
can come up with solutions themselves. Dr Makoni is not going to dictate
solutions. There are a lot of competent people and competent stakeholders in
Zimbabwe who can offer solutions but they were not being listened to. But he
is going to open that avenue for people to be free to discuss about the
crisis and ways out of the crisis whereas Robert Mugabe was actually
stifling debate on the way forward. This is going to release the people so
that they can actually participate on discussions on the way forward.
Gonda: But is there really time to go back to the people and listen to the
people about what the economic recovery plan should be. Shouldn’t you as the
leaders – the people saying you want to bring about change – shouldn’t you
be coming up with ideas on economic reform?
Mhanda: The ideas are there but if you are talking in terms of whether there
is enough time that is up to elections. But once we get into power there
will be plenty of time for us to do that. Right now… (Interrupted)
Gonda: How committed are you to constitutional reform?
Mhanda: Come again?
Gonda: How committed are you to constitutional reform?
Mhanda: We are. We are actually committed to constitutional reform. A new
people driven constitution. That is part of the manifesto. We will go back
to the people. We are committed to a people driven constitution.
Gonda: And does this mean you are going to work with the civic groups and if
so have you approached them – that is civic groups and human rights bodies
in Zimbabwe? Like the National Constitutional Assembly?
Mhanda: Civic society, human rights groups and beyond. Not just the civic
groups. Everybody would be involved in that.
Gonda: But how are you going to convince the country’s civil society when
they issued a statement just a few days ago saying that they support the
opposition led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai?
Mhanda: We are neither appealing nor courting civil society. We are
appealing to the people of Zimbabwe not the civil society. Our target market
is the people of Zimbabwe not civil society.
Gonda: What about your stance on establishing private poverty rights?
Mhanda: One of the key tenants of the manifesto is to restore the rule of
law, respect for the rule of law that also entails of necessity respect for
private properties. Lawfully acquired individual properties should be
respected in terms of the law.
Gonda: So would you take the war veterans off the land, those war veterans
who violently grabbed land?
Mhanda: What you might term violently raided the land, some of those things
have been regularised in terms of the law. We will begin with the law and
then we will review the whole tenure system and see whether the land is
being used productively. What Dr Makoni emphasised was that land is an
important economic resource which should not be viewed sentimentally and
emotionally but in terms of its benefit to the people, to the economy and in
terms of alleviating poverty.
Gonda: But still people will want to know what you’re going to do with those
properties that were illegally taken especially by the war veterans, what
are you going to do specifically with those?
Mhanda: I wonder why you are just interested in war veterans. There are a
number of politicians, ministers, judges who have been involved in this but
you keep going back to the war veterans!
Gonda: And even the ministers, everyone who took the farms illegally, what
is your policy on that?
Mhanda: It will be in terms of the law; the law will have to take priority.
Things will have to be reviewed in terms of the law. I am not in a position
to say where and when the law was violated. Like I said, restoration of
respect for the rule of law is one of the priorities of Simba Makoni’s
Gonda: What is your view on the ZANU PF issue that power must be handed to
one nationalist generation to another?
Mhanda: I am not aware of that policy myself. I don’t think I understand
what you are saying.
Gonda: Robert Mugabe and many people in ZANU PF have always said that
nationalists are the only ones who can advocate on positions of freedom, do
you subscribe to that?
Mhanda: I don’t think I have heard or read that. What I recall President
Mugabe saying was that the West cannot teach us about democracy. We brought
democracy to Zimbabwe. He has said that quite often but for him to say that
the nationalists have the monopoly on democracy I don’t think I have
actually captured that from him.
Gonda: And speaking about the West or the International community rather,
what is the support or attitude, to start off with of South Africa and SADC
to your group?
Mhanda: Our intention is actually to bring an end to the International
isolation now afflicting the country, SADC and beyond. We cannot exist in
isolation during this era of globalisation, we need to interact and engage
everybody else on fair and equal terms.
Gonda: And what has been the response from South Africa for example and SADC
to you’re group?
Mhanda: Like I said we have just been, Dr Makoni only announced his
candidature last week and now he is in the process of actually forming a
team in terms of candidates for the elections and the next thing will then
be, just this afternoon there was a briefing with the diplomats.
Unfortunately I did not attend that, and I cannot give you feed back on that
but I am aware there was a briefing with the diplomats. And Dr Simba Makoni
or Mr Chanetsa or maybe Dr Ibbo Mandaza will be in a better position to give
you feedback on what actually transpired during that interaction with the
diplomats. But I don’t foresee any problems.
Gonda: Did the diplomats also include diplomats from the West?
Mhanda: No, No, No, Diplomats from everywhere, SADC and the International.
Gonda: Robert Mugabe told SADC that he is not relinquishing power to the
opposition. How will you deal with this if that happens?
Mhanda: We don’t foresee him winning the election anyway. We are going to
win the election so that question does not arise.
Gonda: But he had warned already that he will not accept defeat. What would
you do if this happens?
Mhanda: He would have staged a coup against the people of Zimbabwe and it
will be up to the people of Zimbabwe to react to that.
Gonda: But hasn’t he already compromised the vote by saying that he will not
Mhanda: Robert Mugabe, this is politicking, this is campaigning. There is an
election coming no matter how flawed, how unlevelled the playing field is
but there is an election coming about and we are confident we are going to
win because we represent the embodiment and aspirations and wishes of the
people of Zimbabwe - who wish to bring as speedily as possible their
suffering to an end.
Gonda: But what has been the response from the ZANU PF or Mugabe rather to
this announcement that some people from his party are going to stand against
him. So have you received any threats or what has been his response?
Mhanda: The response was to expel Dr Simba Makoni from ZANU PF and also to
threaten to expel anybody who supports him, that is as far as I know. In
terms of physical threats I haven’t heard of any at the present moment.
Gonda: And what about response from the grass roots - people on the ground?
Mhanda: Ever since Dr Simba Makoni, not even ever since Dr Simba Makoni
announced his candidate. Ever since word appeared in the press that Dr Simba
Makoni was going to stand it has generated a lot of interest. And also the
wave of people seeking to verify whether their names appear on the voter’s
roll, and those registering afresh, was clear testimony as to the
overwhelming positive response to Dr Simba Makoni’s candidature.
Gonda: But is that really an indicator; is it possible that people could be
going to check the voter’s roll because they want to vote against ZANU PF?
Mhanda: Why all the rush, why all the sudden rush all of a sudden - why?
Gonda: Why not for the Movement for Democratic change for example? How do
you know that these are your supporters, that these are people that will
Mhanda: They had all the time to go and verify their names and to go and
register but this coincided exactly with his (Makoni’s) announcement. So
surely there is a co-relation there.
Gonda: Before you go can you briefly give us your final thoughts on the
situation on the ground especially as you only have a few weeks before
elections, draconian laws are still in place, the state media does not give
enough coverage to opposition members. How are you going to deal with all
these things that are against the opposition parties in the country?
Mhanda: I think it has been said on a number of platforms and by a number of
countries that the Zimbabwean crisis can only be resolved by the people of
Zimbabwe themselves and we have taken up the challenge. The people who are
going to campaign are not Dr Simba Makoni per se but the people themselves,
who will be campaigning, who will ensure also that their vote is respected
and protected. It is up to the people.
I actually call on all the people of Zimbabwe to take an interest in this
election. Those who haven’t registered to go and register. For those who
have registered to verify whether their names appear on the voter’s roll and
with two days left for those people who wish to present themselves as
candidates to do so as quickly as possible and present themselves as
independent candidates so that they would support Dr Makoni after he wins
the forthcoming presidential election.
Violet Gonda: Thank you very much Mr Wilfred Mhanda.
Wilfred Mhanda: Thank you Violet.
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By Brenda Moyo, James Butty, Thomas Chiripasi & Loirdham Moyo
Washington, Harare & Mutare
14 February 2008
A senior official of one of Zimbabwe's two main opposition formations said
Thursday that the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur
Mutambara will join forces with Simba Makoni, a former finance minister the
ruling party has expelled.
Vice President Gibson Sibanda of the Mutambara MDC formation said the deal
would be announced Friday in a joint news conference by Mutambara and
Makoni. Such an alliance would undermine the candidacies of both President
Robert Mugabe, seeking re-election, and Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC founder
who is also running.
Sibanda told reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his
formation strongly believes in a united front against President Mugabe.
The Mutambara and Tsvangirai factions recently announced that they had not
been able to overcome their differences to reunite behind a single
Mutambara has not formally declared his candidacy, and Sibanda's
announcement of a deal suggests he may throw the weight of his faction,
generally considered to have a smaller membership than Tsvangirai's
grouping, behind Makoni's breakaway bid.
Makoni unveiled an election manifesto on the themes of national
"re-engagement" and reconciliation Wednesday, and expanded on it an
interview with VOA's James Butty.
In other political news, two parliamentary candidates of the Tsvangirai MDC
formation were said to have been barred or chased from meetings in their
constituencies by supporters angered at their imposition as candidates by
the party leadership.
Two incumbent lawmakers of the same formation were unseated in primary
elections. in Harare constituencies, reported correspondent Thomas
Elsewhere, opposition rural candidates in Manicaland Province charged that
the have been denied receipts showing they have paid local service fees,
without which they cannot run for parliament, as Loirdham Moyo reported from
Mutare, in the east.
HARARE, 14 February 2008 (IRIN) - Political violence has been a traditional
staple of Zimbabwean elections, but with the ruling ZANU-PF party now split,
next month's ballot could see a whole new scale of trouble.
"Violence breeds destruction of property, life and infrastructure, and we do
not want lives lost. We will stamp it out and nip it in the bud," police
commissioner general Augustine Chihuri warned this week after meeting senior
In a veiled threat to the opposition, he added: "We are tired of people who
complain when they lose but endorse the results when they win. In any
election some win, others lose, and this should be accepted."
With Kenya’s experience of post-election violence fresh in people's minds,
senior judges Rita Makarau and Lawrence Kamocha added their voices to
appeals for peace during the voting on 29 March. Kamocha urged the police to
be impartial, and politicians to demonstrate determination to fight violence
during and after the polls.
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has long
complained about the unfairness of the political contest, from restrictions
on campaigning to access to the media. Since the 2000 election when the MDC
first emerged, election observers have routinely condemned the organisation
of the ballot and the environment of intimidation.
A new element, likely to make next month's election even edgier, is the
decision by Zimbabwe's former finance minister, Simba Makoni, to challenge
President Robert Mugabe, 83, as an independent candidate. This has
heightened tensions in ZANU-PF, where a post-Mugabe succession debate has
"The most vicious violence could be the fights among former ZANU-PF allies,
who have been split into two factions: those supporting Makoni and those
supporting Mugabe," political commentator Paddington Japajapa told IRIN.
"Even more worrying is the fact that it is in ZANU-PF where you find former
guerrillas of the war of liberation, and there is the possibility that
former comrades in arms could turn their guns against each other."
Feeling your pain?
Makoni, 57, told IRIN that he was opposed to any form of violence. "No
presidential candidate is worth dying for; certainly, no presidential
candidate is worth killing for. I appeal to all Zimbabweans, especially the
youth, not to be used by anybody to engage in violent behaviour."
The election is being held against the backdrop of dire economic hardship.
Japajapa commented that the country's deep recession, reinforced by the cold
shoulder from Western donors, has served to heighten the drama around the
coming poll. The International Monetary Fund has estimated Zimbabwe's
inflation rate at 100,000 percent and still rising.
Unemployment is now over 80 percent, maternal mortality rates, and infant
and under-five deaths are all above threshold levels that should trigger
international concern. Although nutrition levels are not the lowest in the
region, only in Zimbabwe are the trends in “stunting” and “underweight”
In announcing his candidature, Makoni stated: "I share the agony and the
anguish of all citizens over the extreme hardships that we have all endured
for nearly 10 years now. I also share the widely held view that these
hardships are a result of failure of national leadership, and that change at
that level is a prerequisite for change at other levels of national
Makoni was one of the youngest ministers in Mugabe's first post-independence
government in 1980. He was appointed executive secretary of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) in 1984. After the shock of ZANU-PF's
near defeat in 2000 he was part of a group of technocrats drafted into
government, but fell out with Mugabe over economic policy and resigned in
Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, executive director of the pro-democracy Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN), told IRIN that a rushed timetable for the
local council, legislative and presidential elections - the first time they
have been run simultaneously - was undermining their credibility, despite a
SADC-brokered dialogue between MDC and ZANU-PF.
"Two days before nomination courts sit throughout the country, none of the
parties has completed the final list of candidates ... We are going into the
elections before the SADC-brokered talks have seen the signing of an
agreement," said Chipfunde-Vava.
"We don't think there is enough time to implement some of the agreed changes
to security and media laws that were agreed to under the [SADC]-mediated
Chipfunde-Vava said the onus was now on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC), appointed by Mugabe, to deliver a credible vote. However, with only
six weeks left before the ballot, it was still recruiting staff and battling
to find office space in some parts of the country.
Lovemore Madhuku, chair of the rights lobby group the National
Constitutional Assembly, told IRIN that piecemeal amendments to the
constitution would not deliver the required reforms for a free and fair
poll. "We are saying that Zimbabweans are participating in these elections
although they know that the elections are not legitimate."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
So many people have written about the "confusing" political environment in
Zimbabwe especially following the entry of Simba Makoni in the political
arena. Some political commentators are even talking about hard choices the
voters are facing. Non Zimbabwean observers are puzzled by the Zimbabwean
people's psych given the well-documented suffering they have endured under
ZANU PF failed policies and corrupt leadership. My response to some of these
quips has been that you should not expect clear thinking from a people who
has been beaten senseless and is being starved to death. A clear excuse on
my part covering my own foggy understanding of my own people of course.
The people of independent Zimbabwe do not know any other government apart
from the infamous ZANU PF government. Every hardship being experienced in
Zimbabwe today lies firmly in the hands on a collective ZANU PF leadership
and no further. Makoni was, until last week, part of this leadership that
feeds on ZANU PF patronage while the country is burning. Zimbabweans should
not care whether the suffering is caused by " Western sanctions", drought,
or just bad luck. The steel of a national government is measured by how it
leads its people through such hardships. Instead what we have witnessed in
Zimbabwe is a regime that has successfully led some chosen families to the
green pastures awash with the national loot. You all know them and how they
amassed "their" riches. Hard choices? No!
Those who witnessed the so called land redistribution would have been
forgiven to think that the colonialists were back but disguised as black
Zimbabweans. Vulnerable, poor and unconnected Zimbabweans were left
wondering what the hell was happening around them. Never have I seen so much
innocent Zimbabwean blood being shed by a black Zimbabwean sovereign
government for the benefit of the chosen few. In doing so, the Mugabe
government told the nation that they were actually fighting the Blair
government some 6,000 miles away. That "war" is yet to come. Hard choices?
On 29 March Zimbabweans are going to vote for almost any public office you
can think of. Given the prevailing socio-political environment in Zimbabwe
it should not matter how many will go to the polls or where the delineation
of new constituencies are, the result should be the political burial of ZANU
PF as a governing party. Surprise surprise some people will still be
confused about who to vote for. Some will still want to vote for more of the
same or for the recycled ZANU PF. Hard choices? No, just ignorance and some
don't even believe they have a choice. Educated (academically that is) as
the Zimbabwean populace might seem, many think that the power to run the
country is vested in Mugabe, Tsangirai, Makoni or Mutambara. They do not
realise that the power is vested in them through their vote. For me the
choice is as they as it could be. Nobody is perfect but there is no way I
will vote to have more of ZANU PF rule in whatever guise it takes. By
process of elimination, I will leave you to do the rest. Absolutely no
contest. But is it still a Hard Choice? What a Hard Choice?
These choices come once every four to five years. Go for a wrong choice and
you will have 28 more years of the same. Be patriotic. Think of others. Be
The fight for freedom in Zimbabwe is not going to end with Mugabe's
By Carole Gombakomba
14 February 2008
Zimbabweans continued to register to vote and inspect voters rolls on
Thursday after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Registrar General's
office announced a further 24-hour grace period on top of a previous
extension of nearly one week.
The Electoral Commission had announced through the state-run Herald
newspaper that registration and inspection of voter rolls would conclude on
But the Herald on Thursday quoted Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede as saying
registration and inspection would continue through Thursday. The further
extension was also announced to the nation on state television late
Chairman Noel Kututwa of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network told reporter
Carole Gombabkomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the conflicting
statements reflected the confusion in the electoral process ahead of ballots
set for March 29.
Elections director Dennis Murira of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai said that although the extension was
needed, many would-be voters may not have benefited from the last-minute
by Thenjiwe Mabhena Friday 15 February 2008
HARARE - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has agreed
to help pay salaries of Zimbabwean doctors and medical staff in bid to stem
a massive brain-drain that has seen the best qualified health professionals
leave the country.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa on Thursday told ZimOnline that at least
44 medical doctors, pharmacists and laboratory technicians based at district
hospitals would have their salaries topped up by the Global Fund.
"Some doctors will have a top-up (of salaries) in local currency. The money
is from our partners. It is going to help us retain doctors and curb the
current brain-drain," said Parirenyatwa.
Since its creation in 2002, the Washington-based Global Fund has become the
dominant financer of programmes to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,
providing well over 20 percent of all international finance against AIDS and
two thirds of global financing for TB and malaria.
The Fund has over the past few years shifted towards supporting the salaries
of health staff in an attempt to retain their services in impoverished
African countries. Its decision to help fund salaries will come as a relief
to Zimbabwe's health professionals, among the poorest paid in southern
Hundreds of doctors and nurses as well as other professionals such as
engineers, lawyers and accountants had fled Zimbabwe over the past eight
years to seek better paying jobs and living conditions in neighbouring
countries and as far afield as Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The brain-drain has helped exacerbate the rot in a public health sector -
once among the best in the developing world - but now barely functional at
the best of times due to under-funding, drug shortages and an overload of
HIV/AIDS cases. - ZimOnline.
15 February 2008
By Andrew Mudzingwa
Zimbabwe has produced a plethora of intellectuals, academics and technocrats
who have occupied cabinet posts and senior government positions since
independence. Below are a few notable examples:
Dr Simba Makoni, PhD (Chemistry) –Minister of Finance, when inflationary
economics became entrenched; Minister of Industry and Energy, when Zimbabwe
experienced its first fuel shortages in the early 90’s.
Dr Jonathan Moyo, PhD (Political Science) – Minister of Information,
declared a war on independent media and introduced draconian legislation and
proclaimed that title deeds should be worth less than toilet paper.
Dr Joseph Made, PhD (Agriculture) – CEO –ARDA, Minister of Agriculture,
blamed monkeys for sabotaging the country’s sole fertiliser plant and
formulated a ludicrous idea of trying to grow winter maize in 2002.
Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, (Medical Doctor) – Minister of Defence, responsible
for sending 1256 Zimbabweans to their death in the DRC War and appeared
barefoot inspecting hillsides in Chinhoyi for diesel oozing from rocky
outcrops produced by a clairvoyant.
Dr Dzingayi Mutumbuka ( Chemistry) - Minister of Education, barred the
construction of private universities in the early 80’s and became one of the
Ministers nabbed by the Sandura Commission for corruption over the
Willowgate motor vehicle scandal .
Dr Gideon Gono – (Honorary) - Governor of the RBZ, the godfather of cash
barons, has predicted the mother of all harvests. His poverty stricken
housemaid found a stash of illegal foreign currency under his bed and
converted it to her own use. The charges were dropped against her.
Dr Simon Muzenda – (Honorary)-Life Vice President, “Chero tikakupayi gudo
kuti murivhotere muZANU (PF) munotorivhotera.” Even if we nominate a baboon
for you, you have to vote for it, that’s the ZANU way. His security details
shot Mr. Kombayi (Mayor of Gweru) in the gentilia in his presence in Gweru
during parliamentary elections in the 90’s.
Dr Fay Chung (Education) – Minister of Education, "I think, to say that as
many as 20 000 people were killed during Gukurahundi is not true. I think it
is a few hundred.”
Dr Eddison Zvobgo- PhD (Law) - Minister without Portfolio, the architect of
the 1987-1990 constitutional amendments that created Mugabe’s powerful
Other intellectuals that have been part of the ZANU (PF) machinery since
independence include; Dr Naomi Nhiwatiwa, Dr Bernard Chidzero, Dr Felix
Muchemwa, Prof Walter Kamba, Dr Robbie Mupawose, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, Dr Nkosana
Moyo, Dr Nthuli Ncube, Dr Julius Makoni, Dr Chenjerai Hunzvi, Dr Sam Moyo,
Dr Herbet Murerwa, Dr Utete, Dr Taka Mutunhu, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Dr Samuel
Udenge, Dr Tafataona Mahoso, Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndhlovu,
Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, Dr Stan Mudenge, Dr Kombo Moyana, Dr Liberty Mhlanga
The only visible monument the above-mentioned collective intellegencia has
left on our landscape is a gleaming cemetery (the National Hero’s Acre).
What did the country get in return? Hyperinflation, the world’s fastest
shrinking economy, the world’s lowest life expectancy, and shortages of
everything from electricity to toilet paper.
“Tisarove imbwa takaviga mupini – lets call a spade a spade.” At
independence in 1980, ZANU (PF) inherited an economy and infrastructure that
had been built by farmers. 60% of the Rhodesian government cabinet and
indeed its leader were farmers. To the contrary 70% of the ZANU (PF)
government ministers are doctors, academics, intellectuals and its leader
holds a Masters in Economics and various other degrees in violence.
In other words it has taken educated people twenty-eight years to dismantle
an economy which rebel settler farmers, albeit using cheap black labour,
built over one hundred years.
One does not need to be a nuclear physicist or molecular biologist in order
to lead a nation. Common sense, principled African values, universal norms,
tolerance, and the rudimentary understanding of sadza and gravy issues, must
be the hallmarks of our next leader.
"The agricultural sector faces a decline of 24.6 percent," Makoni told the
House in July, 2002 when seeking approval for a $52.97 billion supplementary
budget for food imports and farming inputs for farmers resettled under the
government's land reforms. The same year he allocated $4 billion to Minister
Elliot Manyika and his permanent secretary Dr Thompson Tsodzo, PhD, for the
establishment of youth militias training camps at the former 2 Brigade Army
Barracks in Mount Darwin.
On 1 August, 2000 Dr Makoni announced a 24% devaluation of the Zimbabwe
dollar against the US greenback, taking it down from its pegged level of
38:1 to 50:1. On August, 3, 2000 in his address to parliament Dr Makoni
announced that Zimbabwe’s total revenues were Z$87.2 billion with total
expenditures of Z$141.9 billion, a budget deficit as a percentage of GDP of
14.9% with an average annual inflation of 59%.
Zimbabwe is now endowed with presidential aspirants who are qualified to fly
unmanned drones to outer space, interpret the sexual behavior of monkeys,
yet have failed to perform the simple task of creating a national balance
sheet for communal farmers.
We must be careful what we wish for. Let us interrogate the issues at hand
before we make another monumental mistake. If we do not change direction we
will get to where we are going.
By Jabulani Moyo
Published: February 17, 2008
Growing up in Zimbabwe, I dreamed of being a teacher. My mother taught
elementary school, and I was inspired by the world of ideas. When I was
young, my country was a highly educated society with a strong economy. We
had plenty of food to eat and a sense of freedom.
Everything changed under Mugabe’s rule. I finally realized my dream of being
a college professor by 2000, but inflation was so bad that I couldn’t afford
enough food. Sometimes I’d eat only one meal a day, making it hard to
concentrate. So I’d often stand in front of the class embarrassed by my
weakness and hunger, even though the students were fainting or absent
because they were starving too.
I decided I couldn’t go on pretending that everything was fine. As a teacher
responsible for young minds, I felt I had an obligation to speak out. But
immediately after I began to talk about the political situation, I got phone
calls telling me to stop. Spies were placed in my classroom. I was followed
and could go out only with a group for my own safety.
Then one day I was sitting in my office when six police officers showed up
and dragged me out in handcuffs in front of my students and colleagues. They
took me to the station, told me to strip off my shirt and shoes and beat me
badly. None of my friends or family knew where I was, and I was terrified I’d
never be seen again. I was let go two days later, but it was a real turning
point for me. I realized I had to leave Zimbabwe, or I would die there.
It’s been two years since I left, and I still have nightmares, but I’ve
never regretted speaking out. There are times when you simply can’t remain
quiet no matter how dangerous it is. I still have family in Zimbabwe, and I
miss them dearly. I hope that one day my country will change, and I can go
Jabulani Moyo is now teaching at a small college in the United States, where
he was placed by the Scholar Rescue Fund of the Institute of International