The Nation, Kenya
By KITSEPILE NYATHI
Last updated: 2 hours ago
NATION Correspondent in HARARE, Sunday
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe set the tone for a violence riddled
election campaign Sunday when he described the decision by his former ally,
Dr Simba Makoni to challenge him for the presidency as a big provocation.
Analysts say Mr Mugabe is not likely to win a credible election on March 29
against a reinvigorated opposition.
He desperately needs to win a violence free election that will enable him to
regain the international recognition he has been craving for in the past six
Since his controversial victory in the last presidential elections in 2002,
which were marred by state perpetrated violence, the United States and
Europe have maintained sanctions targeted at Mr Mugabe's inner circle for
alleged human rights abuses.
In a rally to mark his 84th birthday in the border town of Beitbridge, the
ageing leader, whose party is expected to officially launch its election
campaign this week, dismissed his opponents as puppets of the West who
threatened the country's sovereignty.
Mr Mugabe faces what is probably his greatest electoral challenge from
former ruling Zanu PF politburo member, Dr Simba Makoni and veteran
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Mr Morgan
"This is a test on whether we are still the party that crushed small parties
that came our way," the President said. "Who is Simba? . In fact, what he
did was the worst provocation we could get."
Mr Tsvangirai also used the official launch of his party's campaign to warn
the ruling party that if he wins the March 29 general election, those who
have been implicated in cases of political violence, which is becoming
endemic in the country, will be prosecuted.
Political violence has been a permanent feature in the menu of any
Zimbabwean election since independence and signs are already abound that
next month's polls might even claim more casualties.
Last week, the United States warned its citizens that travelling to the
restive Southern African country, in the run-up to the election might pose
immense security risks.
"The national election season in Zimbabwe may pose a security threat to US
citizens in Zimbabwe," the US embassy in Harare said in a statement.
"Previous elections in 2000, 2002 and 2005 were contentions and sparked
food, water and fuel shortages as well as occasional outbreaks of violence."
"Given the present significantly weaker Zimbabwean economy, chronic
hyperinflation and on-going shortages, the 2008 election season has the
potential to generate widespread instability and violence."
Mr Mugabe, who in the past has been accused of bullying opponents with the
aid of his storm troopers - the veterans of the country's war of
liberation - is by all means cornered.
Observers say he is likely to resort to his tried and tested method of
coercing voters to save his skin - the loyal former fighters.
The war veterans led the veteran president's controversial farm seizure
programme, beating and killing several white farmers in a bid to force them
to surrender their properties.
They threatened to 'deal' with Dr Makoni and his backers in the ruling party
before the elections, an open admission that they were on the war path.
The former finance minister's last minute defection rocked the ruling party
to its foundations as evidenced by the high level defections and chaotic
primary elections, which were marred by intra-party violence.
One of the high profile victims was the Minister of Finance, Dr Samuel
Mumbengegwi, whose official government vehicle was stoned by members of a
rival faction during the primary elections.
He subsequently lost the election to a novice and went on to shock the Zanu
PF establishment by filing his nomination papers to challenge the party's
official candidate - another recipe for intra-party violence.
As if to prove the predictions by the American government correct, in
another case, a gun-totting former minister and a member of Zanu PF was
arrested for leading his supporters in a protest.
This was after he lost in the ruling party's controversial primary
As if that was not enough, when the campaigns officially kicked of last
week, leaders of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), were attacked by
Zanu PF youths as they distributed flyers critical of the country's
PTUZ represents about a third of Zimbabwean teachers, who also have borne
the brunt of previous violent election campaigns, as they are accused of
sympathising with the opposition.
Police, who have been accused of bias against opponents of the ruling party,
picked up the leader of the union, Mr Raymond Majongwe and his colleagues
accusing them of disturbing public peace.
They are now fighting for their lives at a Harare hospital under heavy
police guard, following the clashes with the Zanu PF militias.
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said Mr Majongwe
and members of his association allegedly provoked the Zanu PF youths by
distributing the material.
"We condemn violence and we want to warn anyone bent on causing disturbances
that they will be dealt with accordingly without fear or favour," he told
the state media. He said a Zanu PF youth involved in the clashes had also
The clashes coincided with an announcement that police in the country's two
provinces had banned the carrying of dangerous weapons in anticipation of an
upsurge in cases of politically motivated violence in the run-up to the
Banned weapons include machetes, spears, knobkerries, swords, knives and
In another case, a husband of a long serving legislator who allegedly
torched the homestead of a party official suspected of supporting a rival in
the disputed Zanu PF primary elections appeared in court facing arson
The issue of political violence is also likely to dominate the campaign,
with opposition candidates accusing the government of institutionalising
Mr Tsvangirai said if the MDC wins the election it will establish a Truth
and Reconciliation Commission modelled along the lines of the one set up in
post apartheid South Africa.
He said the commission will investigate human rights abuses in the country
since independence and recommend the prosecution of perpetrators.
In the policy document launched with the party's manifesto on Saturday, the
MDC said there had been four main periods of gross human rights violations,
which were all tied to electioneering.
It added that the commission would investigate the 1980-7 Gukurahundi
military campaign, where the government was accused of deploying North
Korean trained troops in the southern parts of the country to purge
supporters of the then opposition PF Zapu.
The conflict ended in 1987, with PF Zapu entering into a unity accord with
Zanu PF after nearly 20 000 civilians were killed.
Another dark period to be investigated, the MDC says is the 2000 land reform
programme where Mr Mugabe's supporters invaded white owned commercial farms
whose owners were accused of funding the opposition.
Urban clean operation
There is also the 2005 urban clean operation that targeted opposition
strongholds and the "violence and destruction of property during the
struggle to restore democracy in Zimbabwe."
"In each of these four periods of intense political suppression, thousands
of criminal acts were committed, hundreds of thousands experienced human
rights abuses and even the death of loved ones or suffered physical injury
of one kind or another."
It added that the commission would be in place three months after it assumes
The MDC claims since its formation in 1999, thousands of its supporters have
died at the hands of Zanu PF supporters and state agents.
However, there is raging debate on whether threatening Mr Mugabe with
prosecution when he leaves office will help motivate him to give way to a
In 2006, the former guerrilla leader had encouraged open debate and even
appeared to have anointed his Vice President Mrs Joyce Mujuru to succeed
him, only to make a u-turn the following year and seek another term.
This led to speculation that he was afraid of suffering the same fate as
former Liberian leader, Mr Charles Taylor who is now facing numerous cases
of human rights violation at The Hague.
In March last year, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was
forced to intervene in Zimbabwe when Mr Tsvangirai and several fellow
opposition leaders were severely tortured after they tried to attend a
prayer meeting in Harare.
South African President Thabo Mbeki was tasked with bringing the ruling
party and the opposition into the negotiating table to ensure a free and
fair poll this year.
But after a year of negotiations that yielded little in electoral reforms,
the MDC announced that the talks had broken down without any major
breakthrough or assurances from Mr Mugabe that the elections will be free
"In the circumstances, we hold the firm view that the 2008 elections which
are being held under the same conditions as previous disputed elections
cannot by any stretch of the imagination yield a legitimate outcome," said
Mr Tendai Biti of the Mr Tsvangirai led MDC.
The Zimbabwean government says it will not welcome election monitors and
observers especially from Western countries who have declared previous
elections as not free and fair.
by Farisai Gonye Monday 25 February 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's secret service has provided controversial cleric and top
government ally Nolbert Kunonga with manpower and other support in his bid
to stop a caretaker bishop from taking control of the Harare Anglican
church, sources told ZimOnline.
The sources, who are members of the police, said the spy Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) assigned agents to assist Kunonga, while a
state-trained youth militia - known for victimising opposition supporters -
was roped in to help him seize control of the church's Cathedral of St Mary's
and All Saints headquarters.
Kunonga - who as Bishop of Harare tried to use the pulpit to defended
President Robert Mugabe's controversial policies - was dismissed by the
Anglican synod of Central Africa after he attempted to withdraw the Diocese
of Harare from the synod.
The synod, the Church's supreme authority in the region, appointed retired
Bishop Sebastian Bakare as caretaker head of the Harare diocese, a move
Kunonga is fiercely resisting.
"Kunonga is protected," said a source, who spoke on condition he was not
named. "This is why he has been ignoring court orders and using violence,"
added our source.
He was referring to Kunonga's refusal to allow Bakare and his followers to
worship in the St Mary's cathedral despite a High Court order that the two
men's followers be allowed to use the cathedral.
Kunonga's followers, who have been accused of intimidating and beating up
Bakare's followers, two weeks ago, locked up the cathedral doors to prevent
Bakare's followers from entering. This was a violation of a court order but
police details who were present did not intervene.
When a court deputy sheriff forcibly unlocked the cathedral doors, the
police responded by attacking Bakare's followers forcing them to disperse.
The involvement of the CIO, according to our sources, had weakened the hand
of police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri who apparently had wanted
Kunonga stopped from defying court orders.
However, police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka insisted the police were in
control of the situation, adding the law enforcement agency had held
meetings with both factions of the Anglican church to urge them to find a
peaceful solution to their dispute.
"We have been talking to both parties to ensure that they co-habitat
peacefully until they solve their internal disputes," said Mandipaka.
Kunonga's spokesman, Reverend Morris Gwedegwe, denied he was receiving
support from the CIO, saying Kunonga did not need political backing or to
use violence because he had the full support of the entire diocese.
Gwedegwe said: "We have not been violent. We do not need political support
to hold on to what clearly belongs to us. The decision to pull out (from
synod of central African) was made by the diocese and not by President
Mugabe or Kunonga. It was a collective decision."
Kunonga was elected Bishop of Harare in 2001. He has not made secret his
sympathy for Mugabe's government, which handsomely rewarded his support by
giving him a farm seized from its former white owner. - ZimOnline
by Lizwe Sebatha Monday 25 February 2008
BULAWAYO - Police have imposed unofficial curfew in some parts of the
country, illegally restricting movement of people in the evenings, the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) said at the weekend.
ZimRights said the police forced people to stay indoors after dusk
reportedly in order to stop them from using the night to campaign for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party as next months' key
elections loom closer.
The rights group cited the suburbs of Manyame Park, Zengeza and St Mary's
all in the opposition stronghold of Chitungwiza city where it said it had
received the most reports of police imposing unofficial curfew, especially
"Some (police) officers operating within these areas are taking it upon
themselves to impose unofficial curfew on the youths. Some concerned youths
complain that some police details are harassing and ordering them to stay
indoors after dusk, accusing the youths of organising opposition meetings as
if it is a crime," ZimRights said in a statement.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available for comment
on the matter.
Under the government's Public Order and Security Act, Zimbabweans are
required to first seek permission from the police before gathering in public
in groups of more than three to discuss politics.
The Act was however recently relaxed under a raft of legal reforms agreed
between the government and the opposition under mediation of South African
President Thabo Mbeki and meant to ensure conditions for free and fair
The amendments allow groups or individuals denied permission to organise
political meetings or demonstrations to appeal the ban before a magistrate,
while the police are also required to provide reasons for banning meetings.
But human rights and pro-democracy activists have criticised the amendments
as piecemeal and inadequate.
Zimbabwe holds local government, parliamentary and presidential election on
Analysts say an unfair playing field coupled with political violence and
intimidation of opponents guarantees President Robert 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. - ZimOnline
by Chenai Maramba Monday 25 February 2008
KAROI - A senior ruling ZANU PF party politician has directed a state grain
company in the town of Karoi to sell maize-meal through councilors - all
members of his party - in what the opposition says is a blatant vote-buying
Zimbabweans elect a new president, parliament and local councils on March
29, in polls that analysts say the government will win due to an unfair
political field that disadvantages the opposition.
John Mafa, who is chairman of ZANU PF in Mashonaland West province under
which Karoi falls and is also provincial manager of the government's Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), confirmed ordering the company to sell the staple
food through ward councilors.
He said the move was not meant to buy support for ZANU PF but rather to
ensure that all hungry people got a chance to buy cheaper priced maize-meal
from the GMB.
''Councillors have well known structures so that undeserving elements in the
wards cannot take advantage of our sincerity. We have many people who are
just cropping up in these wards but councilors know who is who there and who
deserves,'' he told ZimOnline.
In addition, he said the move was meant to ensure the hungry were able to
benefit from lower prices offered by the GMB by removing middlemen such as
retailers who would put a mark-up on maize-meal sourced from the GMB.
Mafa, who insisted everyone would get a chance to buy maize-meal regardless
of which party they supported, said he would also try to use local
councillors to distribute maize-meal in Chegutu town where he is the ZANU PF's
candidate for the constituency's House of Assembly seat.
However, main Movement for Democratic Change party provincial officials said
ZANU PF councilors were compiling lists of people to receive maize-meal
during campaign meetings of the ruling party, which left out supporters of
''Our members are being denied maize-meal by ruling party councillors as the
lists are drawn up during their ward party rallies," said MDC provincial
treasurer Biggie Haurobi. "Its unfortunate that the GMB is being used to woo
voters for the ruling party.''
Zimbabwe - also facing its worst economic crisis - is in the grip of acute
food shortages that critics blame directly on President Robert Mugabe's
haphazard fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white
commercial farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately
funded black farmers.
Food production plunged by about 60 percent as a result while chaos in the
agriculture sector because of farm seizures also hit hard Zimbabwe's once
impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a robust farming sector
for orders and inputs.
Most of Zimbabwe's firms have since the beginning of farm seizures in 2000
either closed completely or scaled down operations to about or below 30
percent of capacity, in a country where unemployment is more than 80
percent. - ZimOnline
Monsters and Critics
Feb 24, 2008, 14:35 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - Voters in Zimbabwe's elections due in five weeks will
have to puzzle through a blur of alliances, divisions and sub-divisions
among the political parties before they can decide who is really the
parliamentary candidate they want to vote for.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the official election administrator,
published Sunday a list of 779 candidates for the 210 seats in the lower
house of assembly, and 197 aspirants for the 60 elected seats in the upper
house, the senate, from 12 political parties and 116 independents.
The choice is narrowed by the fact that three of those parties have clear
national support. The clarity ends there.
Thereafter, voters are faced with numerous candidates claiming to represent
the same party, others purporting to represent the genuine faction of one of
the mainstream parties but in fact using the name and symbol of a different
faction, and independent candidates who are not really independent but
allied to factions of other parties.
'It's going to be very confusing to a lot of voters,' admitted David
Coltart, senate candidate for the smaller faction of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change.
The muddle of candidates adds to widespread concern over the elections on
March 29, where, for the first time, the electorate of 5.5 million people
will have to mark their Xs on four different ballot papers for presidential,
house of assembly, senate and local government wards.
Church and civic groups point out that the head of ZEC, judge George
Chiweshe, has been illegally appointed by Mugabe; that he ignored legal
procedures for the setting of the election date; that the boundaries of the
constituencies in the elections were illegally promulgated; and that there
is evidence of comprehensive manipulation of the voters roll.
They say that ZEC has carried out almost no voter education on the
complicated new system, the campaign period is far too short and there is
scant hope of all would-be voters being able to cast their vote in a single
President Robert Mugabe, who turned 84 at the weekend and has been in power
since independence in 1980, is standing for re-election with a record in the
last eight years of bringing the country's economy to its knees.
Also standing for the presidency are former national labour leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, head of the larger faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
who since 2000 has been beaten by Mugabe in the last three elections - all
dismissed by independent observers as fraudulent - and former ruling party
politburo member Simba Makoni, the surprise candidate denounced by Mugabe as
Makoni describes himself as an independent without a political party, but
has asked disgruntled members of Mugabe's ruling ZANU(PF) party to back him
by registering themselves in the parliamentary elections, also as
In eight of the constituencies for the two chambers of parliament, the
ruling party appears to have registered two candidates under its name.
However, in all cases, one of the two is an angry would-be candidate
fighting against the official ZANU(PF) candidate imposed by the party
hierarchy after its primary elections that were riddled with bribery and
The development is unprecedented in the party's history, and observers say
it indicates the deep divisions over corruption and the state of the economy
that threaten to destroy the organization.
Tsvangirais faction of the MDC, formally registered as MDC- Tsvangirai, also
has double candidacies facing each other in 11 constituencies, the result of
two new separate sub-factions that developed since the popular original
party sundered in 2005.
Other discontented MDC-Tsvangirai candidates have had themselves listed just
as MDC, to distinguish themselves from the former labour boss faction.
Unfortunately, this is also how the other faction of the original MDC has
been registered, and there are 16 constituencies where candidates
representing different groups will appear on the ballot paper to be
representing the same party.
'We have a problem,' said Coltart.
23rd February 2008 - MDC Pressroom
HARARE---A record crowd of 60 000 people turned up today at Sakubva stadium
in Mutare in Manicaland province for the MDC"s election campaign launch
ahead of the watershed plebiscite on 29 March 2008..
Thousands more had to be turned away by riot police as they tried to make
their way into the full stadium where a carnival atmosphere of song and
dance brought a deafening din to the tranquil environs of the working class
suburb of Sakubva.
Thousands came from all corners of the country to attend the launch, where
the MDC unveiled its manifesto as well as the party's candidates for the
forthcoming election, who are dubbed "the winning New Zimbabwe team."
The party also unfailed a music album with party messages which was well
received by the thousands who came from all the 12 provinces to witness the
launch of the party's election campaign ahead of the watershed poll.
They came by train, by road, on food, on bicycles, on buses and in their
private vehicles to witness the start of the big journey to a new Zimbabwe.
President Tsvangirai assured the huge crowd that he would not betray them.
He said the MDC was a people's project aimed at total transformation and not
reform. He said he was alive to the national mandate on him and the party to
deliver a new Zimbabwe and a new beginng.
Vice President Hon Thokozani Khupe and the secretary-general Hon Tendai Biti
also addressed the mammoth crowd.
The town of Mutare ground to halt as the MDC juggernaut rolled into the
eastern border town to launch the people's campaign for food and jobs; it is
a campaign to reclaim our dignity, to bring back real money and the values
and ethos that we have lost during 28 years of misgovernance and
Starting this week, the MDC's election tsunami rolls into life in all
corners of the country. The party's manifesto, which prioritises a new,
people driven Constitution as the foundation for a new Zimbabwe, was given
out to delegates who attended the launch. The party is also flighting
advertisements in national newspapers to publicise the party's manifesto and
policy programmes to showcase what we will do in critical sectors such as
the economy, land, communications, transport, health and education.
The people's campaign has just rolled into life. A New Zimbabwe, a new
beginning. Now is the time!
PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI'S ELECTION LAUNCH SPEECH
23rd February 2008 -
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Chairman I am proud to stand before you on this
Thank you for the great courage you have shown by coming here today.
There are two gatherings in Zimbabwe today.
The dictatorship of Robert Mugabe is gathering in Beitbridge.
The free people of Zimbabwe are gathering here.
The dictatorship is gathering to celebrate the 84th birthday of the
The people are gathering here to bring about the birth of a new Zimbabwe.
The dictatorship celebrates that they have gotten away with it for another
The people celebrate the spirit of our nation that will not die.
The dictatorship is a gathering of the satisfied.
The people here is a gathering of the hungry.
The friends of the dictatorship are satisfied with the past five years of
They are satisfied with the highest inflation rate in the history of
mankind. They are satisfied that a million of our children are out of
They are satisfied in cities without electricity, and farms without crops.
They are satisfied that a million have died and three million have fled.
The people are not satisfied. The people are hungry.
The people are hungry for jobs. We are hungry for education. We are hungry
for justice. We are hungry for change. We are hungry for hope. We are hungry
We are hungry.
Each of us, as we leave here, must leave here with a question. As we return
to our towns, our villages, our cities and our farms, we return with a
We must ask this question to everyone we meet.
Across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe, we will ask the great question
facing the voters of Zimbabwe.
Are you hungry? Are you hungry for jobs? Are you hungry for justice? Are you
hungry for change?
ARE YOU HUNGRY?
If you are angry ad hungry then it is time you controlled your destiny and
be part of history. Be part of this movement whose proud legacy is that it
is the face of change in the country. We remain the legitimate drivers of
the democratization of this country. We are aware of the historical burden
placed on shoulders but we will walk the path and complete this change.
In March 2007, we briefly became world figures-our picture appeared on
television screens around the world.
Why were our pictures shown around the world? We were not rock and roll
musicians; We had not won the Olympics.
We made the news because we were bleeding. After a peaceful prayer meeting,
after three days in the custody of the dictatorship, some of us were
released and we were still bleeding.
We appreciate the attention given to us by the world news media, but that
really wasn't news.
All of Zimbabwe is in the custody of the dictatorship and we are all
bleeding. Every one of us.
We are beaten, but we are unbowed, we are bleeding, but we are marching.
We are weak with hunger, but we are strong with anger.
When we leave here, we leave here with two questions. We will ask every
person we meet, are you hungry? And are you angry?
We have a lot to be angry about.
As the people gather here, and as the dictatorship gathers over there, each
group has a political party. The party of the dictatorship has a political
party-Zanu-PF. And the people have a political party-MDC.
The Movement for Democratic Change was born out of the failure by ZANU PF to
implement the ideals of the liberation struggle, in particular the extension
of freedoms to all as well as economic emancipation of Zimbabweans.
The working people's convention of February 1999, laid the foundation for
our historic movement and placed in our hands the peoples mandate to deliver
change and usher in a new government that is accountable to the people.
The recent people's convention has reaffirmed the desire of the people of
Zimbabwe not to reform but to transform our nation.
Some day Zimbabwe will be a democracy. When it is, it will have many
national, democratic parties.
When it does, those national, democratic parties will move in and out of
power as they solve, or fail to solve, the problems of the people. That is
for the future, today is now.
Today, the only alternative to the party of the people is the party of the
Some mornings, when I have nothing else to do, I read the Herald. You should
I especially enjoy reading the Herald when they say that the MDC has no
The dictatorship has a program, or course. Poverty, exile, starvation,
disease-that's been the program of the dictatorship for the past five years.
And the Herald says we can't top it.
They say that the MDC has no program-and they say one other thing-that the
president of the MDC is a union leader and a miner and a man of no
Well one successful political leader worked as a waiter in a restaurant. He
said that politics is a lot like being a waiter-you listen to the people-and
you bring them what they want. That's not a bad definition of democracy.
For the last few weeks l have been around the country and I've been
listening to the people. When I was a miner, I learned to listen to what
people are saying. That's something that professors who have degrees in
economics sometimes never learn.
I have been there under a tree, in small little huts, at the dip tank and in
the various communal fields. I listened to the people.
What the people have been saying to me is that they are having to walk for
many miles because of the unavailability of transport. They are having to go
for days without eating a single meal.
On this listening tour l have been witnessing unprecedented cases of
deepening poverty, collapse of general infrastructure and the desperation
with which people have tried everything possible in order to survive. I was
touched by the sincerity of their desperation.
The people are not talking about parliamentary seats, senatorial seats or an
opportunity to go to the state house. l agree with them, that the focus of
this campaign and indeed the ideals of our struggle is how we can serve the
So based on my listening-and the listening of the other leaders of the MDC,
we have developed our program, our MDC manifesto.
The MDC manifesto puts the issue of the constitution at the centre of our
struggle. The autocratic state in Zimbabwe has vandalized and abused its
citizens and created weak institutions. We therefore need a new constitution
to articulate a new dialogue and discourse. A constitution that will
engender trust and confidence amongst our brutalized people. That
constitution should be made by the people and for the people.
We believe the Zimbabwean economy is an enclave economy that is uneven,
unequal and virtually dead. The challenge of the MDC is to craft an
alternative human centered , auto-centric economic program that is based on
domestic demands, use of local resources, domestic savings ad people based
regional integration. A t the centre of this alternative economic program
must be institutionalized stake holder participation through the Zimbabwe
Economic development Council which we created in our full economic blueprint
RESTART. Restart still remains our fundamental economic recovery vehicle
whose key tenet is strong Social Democratic state based on three pillars.
-Participatory Democracy based on constitutionalism and the rule of law.
-A strong economy based on sound social economy.
-A progressive growth with oriented redistributive state.
Thirdly, we need to trade in our centralized government for local autonomy
In democracies, people feel safe. They know and trust their local
leadership, and public confidence in more distant government builds on the
confidence people have in the government they know.
The Dictatorship does not want people to be confident-it wants them to be
afraid. Decisions are taken away from the people and made in dark and
distant places because they cannot stand the light of day.
Our next point is the rule of law. At its most fundamental, the rule of law
means no one is above the law. The dictatorship thinks that Robert Mugabe is
above the law. He thinks he can do whatever he wants, that the law must be
applied selectively and some getting away with impunity, murder, arson, and
The rule of law means that no one in government can do anything that the
people have not authorized government to do. An MDC government will remember
that all of us are under the law.
The rule of law leads directly to our next point-the end of corruption.
Government should serve the people, not steal from them. Zanu is a
kleptocracy. That's a fancy word that means a government of thieves.
Zimbabwe is one of the world's great humanitarian crises-we need food,
drugs, medical care. The nations of the world are helping-but we need more.
Zanu cannot ask for more because the dictatorship does admit there is a
Beyond humanitarian aid, we need the help of the world to rebuild our
economy but more than anything else we must look after our own.
Today, the devastation is much greater, and the funds we need will be
larger. Nations from the East and West will be called on to help. We need
$10billion-not $10 billion Zimbabwe, but $10billion US.
The world has watched as Zanu has destroyed our nation. They know that
Robert Mugabe is one of the great tyrants of the 21st century. When we bring
him down, they will be there to help.
As we raise money to rebuild our nation, we need to focus on four groups of
our society have a special call on our resources.
First are the war veterans, those who served our nation in our war of
independence. The war veterans gave their loyalty to the cause of our
liberation and they have remembered Zanu as the party for liberation for
these twenty eight years.
But the truth is the war veterans are among the most exploited of our
people. Their courage is no defense against the devastation brought by the
If the war veterans want to know what the government could have and should
have done for them, they need to look at the other nations of the world. In
those countries veterans are loved and respected by all the people. Veterans
are represented in the cabinet, honored for their serviced, and helped with
medical care, housing, and education for their children.
Our veterans have been neglected for twenty eight years-and they are not
getting any younger. The time to help them is now.
Second, are victims of Operation Murambatsvina. We need a fund to help those
people rebuild the homes and businesses that were destroyed, including
grants to buy building materials. The world community watched the Operation
Murambatsvina in horror and are especially ready to offer assistance.
Third are the people of Matabeleland. We cannot restore the life that was
lost during the Gukurahundi. But we can rebuild the devastated communities.
We can build roads and schools and make loans to people to establish income
We can also create special economic zones, exempt form taxation during the
period of rebuilding.
Fourth, those small businesses that were crippled and closed by the policies
of the past year. Supermarkets, butcheries, grinding mills are essential to
life in the rural areas. Bus fleets and bus operators must be put back to
An MDC government will establish national trust funds to aid each of these
three groups within our nation. We must rebuild our nation as one family-but
take special care in our family for those who have special claims on us.
The MDC has a program of land reform. The dictatorship's land policy has
created famine in one of the best farming nations of the world.
Here are six things an MDC government will do as our promise to the people.
First, we will carry out an independent audit of land to establish the
physical and legal status of all holdings. After the disasters of the past
eight years, every land owner must answer two questions for the people.
Where did you get this land-how good is your claim-and what are you doing
with it? Are you using land productively for the people?
Second, based on the principle of need and ability, we will implement and
coordinate a participatory all inclusive and well planned resettlement
Third, we will design and define the recommended minimum and maximum land
holdings per region.
Fourth, we will ensure the enactment of laws that guarantee the ownership of
one household per one land holding.
Fifth, we will introduce an equitable Land Tax to discourage land wastage.
Sixth, we will carefully manage the transition to a people driven and human
centered land market.
So much of Zimbabwe's current problems started with dictatorship's land
policy. And those policies cannot be changed until the dictatorship is swept
Zimbabwe can and will feed itself again-for the good of the nation and all
those who work upon the land.
The five killer diseases of childhood our in retreat around they world;
except in Zimbabwe. Our child mortality rates our now the highest in the
world. The dictatorship has destroyed our once strong health care system.
Our trained health care professionals have been forced into the diaspora. An
MDC government will rebuild our medical system and bring our doctors,
nurses, and other health professionals.
After independence, education and literacy spread across our land. That was
one of the proudest achievements of the new government-one of the best
records in all of Africa. Now, we are one of the worst-1.5 million children
out of school, and the government throws teachers in jail.
We need to change our foreign policy. We need to replace our warrior foreign
policy with a commercial foreign policy. We won our independence twenty
eight years ago-but the dictatorship continues to engage in a battle with
shadows. The dictator is engaged in a long running battle with Britain-with
Tony Blair as long as he was in power, and now that Blair is gone, maybe
with the Queen. This battle cuts the people of Zimbabwe off from the world's
commerce and does no damage whatever to the Queen of England. It's time to
take Yes for an answer. Yes we are independent; and Yes we are ready to
participate in the prosperity that other English speaking nations have
We need to present Zimbabwe once again as the best tourist destination in
Africa. Zanu, of course, does not really want people from Europe or America
to come to Zimbabwe-we welcome them.
We need real money. The Zimbabwe dollar, once the strongest currency in
Africa, is now the weakest in the world-indeed some say the weakest in the
history of the world.
The new Zimbabwe will have a new Zimbabwe dollar. A dollar that has value
again; that the people can trust.
With the destruction of our currency has been the destruction of our
pensions. Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans need to know that we will pay
their pensions in those new Zimbabwe dollars.
Our civil servants must be paid in real money. Our soldiers and policemen,
our doctors and nurses, our teachers and professors-and all those who work
hard for our countries good and cry silently at night, weeping at what has
happened to their country and their families-they will be paid in real money
in the new Zimbabwe.
Real money is also essential for our national security. Fortunately we live
at peace with our neighbors-even the bravest soldier cannot defend our
nation without modern equipment. Today we have no foreign currency to buy
the basic requirements of a modern defense force.
In addition to equipping our soldiers and police, we need to address their
needs. They too have families that need schools and hospitals; and we want
them to be loved and admired by their fellow citizens as they once were.
Twelve points from the MDC manifesto. Not just promises-things we will do.
And each is something Zanu cannot do-because each one undermines the system
that keeps Zanu in power.
Now, I want to speak directly to the people of Zimbabwe.
This election is about dealing with generational and political transitional
We have to understand that this election is a referendum on Mugabe's misrule
over the past thirty years.
We are not the cause of our poverty. The dictatorship is the cause.
We need to move away from the political culture of patronage, corruption and
We want to work. The dictatorship has destroyed our jobs. Are you angry?
We want to teach our children. The dictatorship has destroyed our schools.
Are you angry?
We want to eat. The dictatorship has destroyed our food. Are you angry?
Are you hungry? Are you angry?
In conclusion l want to say that the people of Zimbabwe are not fools. They
have been in the trenches for a long time. They know the dictator and his
many forms. They are hungry and they are angry. They have been beaten with
us, they have bled with us. We promise them hope and love, justice and
We have a covenant with them. We will not break it. I as Morgan Tsvangirai
will not break the promise l have made with and to the people.
That promise is that together we will walk to the motherland of change, to a
Vote MDC. The time is now.
Zimbabwe's police don't think Makoni is worth protecting - and they've told
Simba Makoni, controversial candidate for the Presidency and the man on whom
so many are pinning their hopes in Zimbabwe, has had his request for routine
protection turned down by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
Makoni applied for protection for himself, his family, and his close
associates - a normal and, in the circumstances, advisable step - this week.
He received an immediate reply from Deputy Commissioner Innocent Matibiri,
who runs the VIP Protection Unit.
I was shown the letter, dated February 19, yesterday. In it, Matibiri is
blunt, to say the least. "Please be advised accordingly Dr. Makoni that
police protection is only awarded to individuals with VIP status.
Regrettably you do not hold such status." This is an extraordinary statement
to make to someone who's in a two-horse race for the Presidency, and
Matibiri then continues with a remark that is frankly chilling.
He says that as Makoni has yet to be confronted with any violence, he will
remain under the "general protection of the police as with other
Zimbabweans." Those of us who also enjoy this "general protection" will know
exactly how much that's worth. We have the bruises to remind us.
Makoni has good reason to fear for his safety, and that of his family. As I
revealed recently, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is gearing up
its surveillance and harassment operations for the run-up to the election,
and Makonis is now a specific target.
My CIO source told me that a total of 61 operatives have been asigned to
watch his every move, at his Mandara residence, his workplace in
Graniteside, and his party offices in Belgravia.
Additionally, Dr. Ibbo Mandaza, believed to be his chief adviser, has been
assigned 12 operatives, and retired major Kudzai Mbudzi, another key member
of the Makoni team, is being watched by four.
Meanwhile, as the plotting and scheming develops, the war of abuse has also
begun. Our venerated President appeared on television in person on Thursday
night, and described his opponent, Makoni, as a "political prostitute."
That's what this election needs - the scintillating cut and thrust of
Posted on Friday, 22 2008
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 24, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Karonga Chakanetsa moved through the trash-strewn
streets of Zimbabwe's decaying capital with the swift, easy grace of a
His prey? Soap. Cooking oil. Bread. Salt.
If Zimbabweans need it, Chakanetsa buys it and sells it. With inflation
exceeding 100,000 percent, the almost daily price increases are too dizzying
for most shoppers to track.
Dressed like a junior executive in an oxford shirt with an open collar, dark
slacks and brown loafers, he searched block by block, shop by shop for
essential goods still selling at the government's low official prices. A
small nylon rucksack crumpled in a pants pocket waited for the right
They don't last long. Because once a bottle of cooking oil or a bar of soap
hits the streets, black marketers can make nearly twice what they paid. Such
tactics allow some Zimbabweans to survive -- or even thrive -- in a nation
where 80 percent of the population has fallen below the official poverty
"People don't buy clothes these days," said Chakanetsa, 39, with the knowing
tone of a businessman who understands his market.
After cruising through a warehouse-style shop with high ceilings and long
shelves -- dominated by such superfluous goods as corn puffs, cream soda,
green plastic cups and cotton balls -- he walked right out, his rucksack
still tucked away.
"Big store," Chakanetsa said dismissively, "but there's no basic
President Robert Mugabe often blames illegal traders for Zimbabwe's
troubles, saying their frantic buying and selling have pushed up prices. But
since Mugabe imposed price controls in June, the black market has thrived
and many traditional stores have gone out of business.
Customers such as Annamore Mukwena, 34, have suffered.
"There's no mealie meal in the stores," she said, referring to the finely
ground cornmeal used to make sadza, the porridge that is Zimbabwe's staple
The smallest bag costs 12 million Zimbabwean dollars on the black market,
more than her weekly earnings, said Mukwena, a widow who is raising her two
children on her meager earnings selling snacks on a street corner. When the
mealie meal runs low, she feeds her family nothing more than a thin gruel
made with the leftovers.
The economy began its free fall when landless black peasants invaded
white-owned farms in 2000 with the support of Mugabe, who said the
redistribution would undo colonial inequities. The often violent process
decimated the country's most crucial industry and biggest earner of foreign
exchange, triggering hyperinflation that has rarely paused on its staggering
Today, it's not unusual to see a wadded-up 10,000-dollar bill lying on
Harare's filthy sidewalks. Though officially worth about 33 cents in U.S.
currency, the real value is about one-tenth of a penny.
As Chakanetsa moves through the city, downtown Harare's most established
retailers look as if a cyclone blew through, sucking out the inventory,
leaving mostly empty shelves and bare clothing racks. Yet the most crucial
goods can be had, for the right price, on the black market.
The leather school shoes impossible to find in shops are plentiful at the
rollicking Mbare market, an outdoor bazaar. The fuel that often runs out at
pumps can be bought from the young men lingering near most gas stations. The
vegetables missing from a grocery store's shelves are offered, at
black-market rates, in the shop's own parking lot.
Trader Atson Karwenya, 31, said store managers phone him when they expect
the arrival of basic goods and offer to divert them for the right price.
Delivery trucks sometimes drop off bags of scarce products at Karwenya's
home in a working-class Harare suburb, allowing him to stockpile the most
valuable goods, he said.
Mugabe's government occasionally cracks down, as it did in its 2005
"clean-up campaign," when police rampaged through the nation's slums,
demolishing hand-built shacks and flattening illegal marketplaces.
Chakanetsa's business partner, Victor Chidatsi, 25, said he spent five days
in jail then.
More commonly, though, police -- who, like other government workers, earn
the equivalent of only a few U.S. dollars a week -- generally can be bribed
for a few cents.
Chakanetsa's mornings begin with long, expensive bus rides from the
hardscrabble slum of Epworth to Harare's lush northern suburbs, where
gardeners sell cans of gasoline siphoned from their employers' cars.
Chakanetsa then heads to a fruit distributor on Harare's industrial southern
edge, where he buys 40 pounds of bananas to sell to hungry workers downtown.
If he manages to sell them all, his profit will approach $10 -- the
foundation of a good day of trading.
The fruit stand also offers a convenient cover for his illegal trade in
price-controlled groceries. On this afternoon, Chakanetsa had an order to
fill: A customer had requested a large bottle of cooking oil and a stick of
all-purpose green soap about the length his forearm.
Two days ago, green bar soap was going for 7 million Zimbabwean dollars. But
at the first shop on this day, it was 11.9 million, at the second 12.8
million. A sign at the third shop boasted: "1 Kg Greenbar Soap $8,500,000,"
but there was only an empty pallet on the floor and a single broken bar
Chakanetsa kept moving south, toward the railroad tracks that run along the
edge of Harare's downtown. A cluster of distributorships there offered goods
at discount prices but few amenities for shoppers, just bare walls, concrete
floors and long lines.
Finally, he stepped into a small, dark shop that reeked of curry. On a shelf
behind a lone clerk, a bar of green soap was priced at 8.5 million
Zimbabwean dollars. And a bottle of cooking oil was marked at 38 million, a
bit more than at a busier shop but cheap enough to make a profit.
Chakanetsa handed over several grungy 10-million-dollar bills and slipped
the loot into his rucksack. Order filled.
"Everybody is hungry," he said. "If you're not working, you will die."
A few hours later, as massive white storm clouds began to build, the
customer who ordered the soap and oil had not appeared. A promised delivery
of mealie meal, diverted from a local college, had not arrived. And
Chakanetsa had seven bananas left to sell.
"There's no profit today," he said, dejected.
Chakanetsa slung his rucksack over his shoulder, hoisted the box of bananas
and began searching for bread to sell. He hoped to find 10 loaves for 3.2
million Zimbabwean dollars each and sell them near his home for 3.8 million.
But at the first shop, no bread. At the second shop, it was too expensive.
At the third were only a few stray rolls.
So as the sky darkened to a dusky orange, Chakanetsa turned south, toward
the bus home, his hands empty but for a few spare bananas to feed his
HARARE, Feb 24 (AFP)
Zimbabwe's biggest state hospital has stopped surgical operations because of
a breakdown of equipment and shortages of drugs, a rights group said Sunday.
"There is a critical shortage of items ranging from anaesthetics to surgical
equipment at Parirenyatwa hospital," Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of Zimbabwe
Doctors for Human Rights told AFP.
"Surgeons can carry out operations but they are saying they cannot risk
their profession and increase the risk on the lives of the patient.
"They are not prepared to be blamed for an operation which goes wrong
because it was done without the necessary equipment, and operating on a
patient when there are no painkillers to relieve their pain amounts to
subjecting that patient to torture."
The state-owned Herald newspaper said Parirenyatwa Hospital was referring
patients requiring emergency operations to Harare central hospital which is
battling with its own shortages.
Those who can afford it are referred to expensive private hospitals.
Deputy health minister Edwin Muguti blamed the shortages on western-imposed
"Government is aware of the serious anaesthetic drugs shortages that have
hit our central hospitals," Muguti was quoted by the Sunday Mail as saying.
"These are results of western-imposed sanctions that we are always talking
about. We can't promise when the situation will return to normal but we want
to assure the nation that we are treating this as an urgent matter."
The deputy minister said the last stocks of the widely-used ketamine and
propofol drugs were donated and have since run out.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of economic crisis with annual inflation
officially at over 100,000 percent. There is a chronic shortage of basic
goods and the majority of the population live below the poverty threshold.
From The Sunday Independent, 24 February
The South African government says that if the Zimbabweans implement
everything they agreed to in their negotiations mediated by President Thabo
Mbeki, their March 29 elections should be free and fair. But who is going to
ensure they comply? The Zimbabwean government made it clear on Friday that
only friendly governments and organisations would be invited to observe the
poll. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) believes the
elections cannot be free and fair because President Robert Mugabe has
already refused to implement important things he agreed to in the
negotiations, especially a new constitution. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the
foreign minister, was asked at a press conference on Monday what the
prospects were for free and fair elections in these circumstances. She
replied: "Well, the view of the South African government is that if the
Zimbabweans implement everything that they have agreed upon during their
negotiations. (if they implement the laws passed by parliament around
security, information, media and all those laws) . the prospects for free
and fair elections should be good."
But, leaving aside the MDC's concerns about the lack of a new constitution,
who will be in Zimbabwe to observe whether these other agreements are
implemented? Zanu PF and the MDC never agreed that they should have a joint
say in who could monitor the elections to ensure a full range of observers.
And George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, made it clear on Friday that, once
again, only countries or organisations that had not criticised past
elections would be invited. This included South Africa and all other
Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. It was the SADC
leaders who mandated Mbeki's mediation mission. Charamba said the South
African government would be especially welcome as it would want to observe
the results of its mediation. He said SADC itself would also be invited as
well as the East and West African regional blocs, the African Union, the
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and certain developing world countries such as
Zimbabwe would not - "and I repeat, not" - invite the European Union (EU),
although, intriguingly, Charamba suggested that one or two specific but
unnamed European states would be invited. Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesman for
the department of foreign affairs, responded by expressing South Africa's
willingness to send an observer mission, either on its own or as part of the
SADC. On past performance, Charamba's announcement means that no observers
will issue critical reports of the March 29 elections. After the 2000
parliamentary elections, the EU monitors issued a critical report and were
not invited back. After the 2002 presidential elections, the Commonwealth
observer mission said it was unable to certify the election as free and
fair. This led to Zimbabwe being suspected from the Commonwealth and so the
Commonwealth has never been invited back.
That year SADC - that is, the 14 governments in the organisation - declared
itself satisfied with the elections. But the SADC parliamentary forum -
which includes not only ruling parties but also opposition political parties
from the region - did not approve the election. So it was denied observer
status at the 2005 parliamentary elections, except as a member of the
official SADC mission, which it declined, as this would have compromised its
autonomy. Other entities whose applications to observe the 2005 elections
were turned down included Cosatu, Norway, the United States, the Electoral
Institute of Southern Africa - a Johannesburg-based NGO that specialises in
monitoring Southern African elections - and the Zimbabwe Observer
Consortium, a group of South African NGOs including the South African
Council of Churches and the South African NGO Coalition. South Africa has
pronounced itself satisfied with all these elections, though some
non-government members of the observer mission have issued dissenting
A cold day marked the end of our sixth February outside the Embassy. Spring
is almost here in the UK inspiring us with the promise of renewal and
growth. For Mugabe on his 84th birthday only winter lies ahead. Vigil
Co-ordinator Rose shared birthday celebrations with Mugabe. Her celebrations
were much lower key, with not a balloon in sight. We shared a cake to mark
the occasion and Rose was given a large golden piggy bank by supporter Mary
Ndoro. Rose in response to the warm greetings of supporters said 'Over the
years of our protest the Vigil has become a family and I have made many good
friends amongst supporters.'
Among those drawn to see the Vigil was an actor in Oscar Wilde's play 'The
Importance of being Earnest' showing just down the road. He said his
grandmother in Zimbabwe had been robbed 3 times and beaten. A young woman
from the BBC French Africa service joined us to discuss the situation in
Zimbabwe. With the elections only a month away it is important to keep up
public awareness. We publish on the Vigil website a report by our partners
in Zimbabwe, ROHR (Restoration of Human Rights) about their demonstration in
Harare last month. As the organizer Sten says 'Freedom has a price. If need
be, I am prepared to pay the price.' We salute our brave comrades at this
While Patson Muzuwa and Dumi Tutani led the singing and dancing, 14
month-old Zizi Tutani, who has become very mobile, wandered off.
Fortunately Arnold Kuwewa noticed his flashing shoes and raced to save him
when his 'walk of death' nearly took him into the busy Strand.
For this week's Vigil pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
FOR THE RECORD: 125 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
· Monday, 25th February 2008 at 7.30 pm. Central London Zimbabwe
Forum. The forum will discuss action on the elections. Venue: Bell and
Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross
Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
· Saturday, 8th March 2008, 12 - 1.30 pm. Action for Southern
Africa (ACTSA) Rally for Dignity! and Democracy in Zimbabwe on International
Women's Day in Trafalgar Square, London. Speakers include: Lucia
Matibenga, Vice-President Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Takavafira
Zhou, President, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, Maureen Kademaunga,
Gender and Human Rights Officer, Zimbabwe National Students' Union. The
rally is followed by the Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zimbabwean Embassy at
14.00 and at 15.30 the Million Women Rise Rally to end violence against
women in Trafalgar Square. More information on www.actsa.org. Please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 3263 2001 to let ACTSA know if you are
· Saturday, 29th March 2008, 6 am - 6 pm: Zimbabwe Vigil's diaspora
polling station and mock ballot.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
This brief report seeks to record the dedication, commitment and bravery of
all ROHR Zimbabwe activists who took part in the January 25 demonstration
against human rights affronts to the people of Zimbabwe. We also recognise
the support of our partner the Zimbabwe Virgil who have remained steadfast
in the fight for the restoration of people's rights and fundamental
freedoms. The partnership with the Zimbabwe Vigil has enabled our struggle
to take place on many fronts which not only increases the pressure on the
oppressive leadership of Zanu PF but helps amplify our voice to the
ROHR will go undeterred on a national offensive and continue to hold
unsanctioned demonstrations across the nation to pressure the government
towards levelling the electoral field ahead of the March presidential
elections and to desist from intimidating the citizens from expressing their
will. We have noticed with grave concern that the dialogue process between
the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
has not yielded anything meaningful to help suffering Zimbabweans. The
socio-economic and political crisis continues to intensify as we head
towards another presidential election. The Mugabe-led ruling party remains
unrepentant and continues to strengthen its hold on power at the people's
In particular, the electoral environment remains largely uneven. Further,
the government of Zimbabwe has reneged on promises it made to President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa regarding the progressive review of legislation
such as AIPPA and POSA and its commitment to introducing democracy. The
infrastructure of violence - especially the green bombers -is still intact.
Although the youth militia has been demobilized to give an impression of
peace and tranquillity prevailing in the country, their presence within
communities remains a pillar of Zanu PF's intimidation machinery.
Despite some minor and cosmetic changes which the ZANU PF politburo has
introduced such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that is supposed
to independently administer elections, the electoral laws remain heavily
weighted in favour of the incumbent. Electoral processes and institutions
continue to be militarized and politicized.
Our programme of action as ROHR is to counter Zanu PF's strategies to steal
the election. We will unleash a series of demonstrations across the nation
to achieve the following objectives:
1. Moulding the spirit of resistance amongst the people of Zimbabwe to
defend their vote through pockets of demonstrations country wide.
2. Pressuring the government of Zimbabwe to level the electoral field
before the elections.
3. Putting Zimbabwe on the agenda through street protest, defying
repressive laws such as POSA.
4. Creating awareness of human rights violations, locally, regionally
5. Ensuring that the citizenry is empowered with relevant information
so that they can make informed decisions as to who should govern them.
The recently held march had great impact and the response has been
overwhelming. Over 200 people participated. 26 people were arrested,
including Sten Zvorwadza. 24 Activists were brutally and mercilessly
assaulted by the Zimbabwean police turned Zanu-PF agents of oppression. The
wounded spent more than 10 hours at Harare central holding cells. They were
released around 23.00 hrs and rushed to a clinic. Chairman Tichanzii
Gandanga was released the same Friday but Sten Zvorwadza had to spend the
whole weekend languishing in the cells.
The demonstration marks another stage in our action plan and we are set to
increase the number of participants in the demonstrations to come. We are
encouraged by the spirit shown by Zimbabweans to commit and take part in the
process to fight for their freedoms.
· The demonstration boosted the people's confidence and courage in
the fight for human rights. The general public is calling at our offices to
find out when we are holding our next demonstration.
· The demonstration helped to expose that no change has been brought
about by the SADC talks.
· It managed to expose that the ruling party is unwilling to create a
conducive environment for a free and fair election come 29th March. The
arrest and brutal assault of members who took part in the demonstration is a
clear indication that the state is still bent on using the police and army
to intimidate and instil fear in the general public.
· The demonstration attracted wide media coverage. We got coverage
from local, regional and international organisations such as the Zimbabwean,
the Standard, SW Radio Africa, VOA Africa Radio, to mention but a few.
· We got positive feedback from various stakeholders. We received
phone calls from embassies including the Norwegians, Dutch, Danish, British,
Americans and many others.
· Increased our networking capacity. Numerous organisations
volunteered support in different ways after the demonstration - to mention
but a couple, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
THE WAY FORWARD
Our greatest challenge is putting together adequate resources to ensure that
our plan will not leave our participants exposed at the hands of the
merciless illegitimate government. We require funding in the following
· Transport expenses in mobilising people to the venue of action and
back to their homes.
· Production of campaign material in the form of banners, placards,
· Refreshments for the participants
· Transport logistics for the casualties
· Medication expenses to supplement the available facilities.
· Transport fees for patients attending reviews/check ups
ROHR Bank Account
Donations can be paid into our UK bank account:
Sort Code: 20-46-60
Account Name: ROHR Zimbabwe
Account Number: 20204870
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Friday, 22 February 2008
*TANONOKA JOSEPH WHANDE
There is a raging battle about what is going on in Zimbabwe. Because of its
undisputed importance in the region, the happenings on the Zimbabwean
political landscape are of interest to many people, in and outside Zimbabwe.
There is undeserved euphoria about Simba Makoni, a ZANU-PF prodigal son who
clearly owes his political identity to Robert Mugabe, the dictator he seeks
to replace today.
Makoni's challenging of Mugabe will not benefit the people of Zimbabwe in
any way, if anything, it is retrogressive.
Die-hard ZANU-PF members and senior Mugabe loyalists, including once
disgraced ones, are reportedly extending encouragement and support to Makoni
and there is a reason for that.
Decidedly, this is Mugabe's swansong, his last hurray. Most of ZANU-PF's top
brass now supporting Makoni are looking for protection in a post-Mugabe
All these people have grave cases (pardon the expression) to answer and
explanations to give, including Makoni himself, and they are trying to band
together to shut out possibilities of trial.
Then there are people like Mutumwa Mawere who can't believe their luck on
seeing Makoni on the ballot. Mugabe and ZANU-PF are sitting on Mawere's
business empire and are slowly dismantling it regardless of what a British
court ruled last week. Mawere would rightfully want to have his property
back. Having been so ill-treated by his former ZANU-PF buddies, I think he
believes he stands a better chance with a ZANU-PF Makoni government than
with an MDC government who might want to delve into his empire a little too
Zimbabweans are being taken for morons on all levels. Even reporters like
Peta Thorncroft cannot help to put their journalistic credibility on the
line and write slanted views in favour of their favourite candidate Makoni.
Alarm bells are already ringing.
Thorncroft's venture to promote Makoni for whatever reason is a dangerous
undertaking, one that gives credence to Robert Mugabe's ridiculous rantings
about 'white' people out to destroy his government and reporters working for
Thorncroft apparently believes that in the absence of a truly free and
vibrant independent press in Zimbabwe, she can mislead the world with her
treacherous comments. That time is passe.
Who said Makoni is a people's choice? Who really is saying that Makoni is
well respected across party lines and even outside? What poll was taken,
where and when? Who is telling us that this failure is "respected by the
international financial community" and what is that based on?
It is only those people who want to use Makoni as a shield. These ZANU-PF
people have been sidelined for very long and now want a go at the national
cake too. But above all, they are really worried about their security since
they are already ticking off Mugabe's numbered days.
And that is why only ZANU-PF people, who know their crimes, are looking for
a hiding place by promoting Simba Makoni.
Makoni wants to be my president for the wrong reasons. He wants to use my
faith in him to protect people who stole our nation's faith. Using my faith
and my vote, Makoni wants to protect Mugabe, his mentor, and those who
murdered Zimbabwe and its people.
I am a Zimbabwean and I care about who my president should be. Last time I
checked, I was still looking.
I do not know what all the fuss about Simba Makoni is. The forthcoming
elections are a contest between old warrior Morgan Tsvangirai and the
seasoned despot Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabweans are being invited to take sides in a ZANU-PF domestic squabble.
Makoni is to ZANU-PF what Arthur Mutambara and his shameless kittens are to
Mutambara, like Makoni, can't tell people what they stand for and anyone who
does not stand for something will end up falling for anything. And they have
already fallen for Makoni. Yet only two weeks ago, they wanted a joint
effort with Tsvangirai. They change positions more frequently than
What Makoni and Mutambara have in common is that they are momentarily both
newsworthy only because they left, at critical points, organisations they
did not found. Big deal!
Yet I strongly believe that Zimbabweans from around the country should
aspire to lead their nation. The country is crawling with presidential
possibilities. But we seem to believe that party leaders and presidents
should only come from Manicaland. Now the nation watches as a group of
homeboys scratch each other's eyeballs out to lead the country.
I wonder what would really have happened had Edgar Tekere and Rekayi
Tangwena not done us the disfavour of 'leading' Mugabe to Mozambique where
he usurped party leadership with the help of Samora Machel.
Anyway, Matabeleland, both north and south, where are you? And is Masvingo
now in ruins? Is Emerson Mnangagwa the only ambitious person in the
Midlands? Mash Central must give us a better possibility.
Come on people, there are a lot of potential presidents everywhere in
Zimbabwe. Surely, the Look East Policy is not meant for politics too, I
thought it was just for bad business!
I must admit that our eastern province did produce brilliant and some not so
brilliant leaders. From Ndabaningi Sithole to Herbert Chitepo through Morgan
Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Makoni himself.
But this look east policy is narrowing the field to our disadvantage and
Zimbabweans from all our land must show an interest in the leadership of the
nation. Run for the presidency, Zimbabweans, run! My quest is to extinguish
the lack of interest on the part of citizens. We don't even take elections
seriously anymore. And that is painful to me. A nation and its people can
only take so much.
A nation and its people can only flee so far. However, I am appalled by
Makoni's backers. The same old guard that presided over our demise and
humiliation are now changing vehicles to deliver the same message.
What does our nation expect from Nkomo, Solomon Mujuru, Joseph Msika, Joyce
Mujuru, Ibho Mandaza, and so on?
We are talking about the very top ZANU-PF brass. Makoni's arrival is
actually more dangerous than the current situation where we are watching
Mugabe's last hurray.
Makoni, surrounded by the ZANU-PF architects of our misery, wants to follow
the same path and protect the same perpetrators.
Are we going to make ourselves pay the price? I have no intention of
slipping on the same banana twice. Makoni's candidature does not offer, as
Mutumwa Mawere claimed in a rumbling 3500- word article on ZimOnline, "the
only available option."
Mugabe is cornered and the ZANU-PF vultures have started circling. Fair
enough. But what choice do we have? Or is it none of the above?
We have a very simple choice here. We are being asked to vote for four
quarters from two halves.
One half is the MDC whose little sister is looking for shelter from the
other half of ZANU-PF. Shall we vote for ZANU-PF Mugabe or shall we vote for
Mugabe and Makoni? Why am I reminded of mentors and proteges? Papa and Baby
Doc Duvalier. Fidel and Raul Castro. Then there is the perennial question:
Why does the MDC always participate in flawed elections? This Zimbabwean
election, like others before it, does not meet SADC or any international
standards. What Mawere calls the "MDC's strategy of participating in a race
while openly acknowledging that the vote will be stolen" is real cause for
Or, maybe, there is money to be made from chaos.
I need a break.
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist.
Comment from The Sowetan (SA), 22 February
Of the three presidential candidates in the March 29 elections, two are in
their 50s and one will be 84 years. The preference is for the young people,
although a logical poser will be: what do they know about running a country
with the highest inflation rate in the world and a currency so devalued it
is the laughing stock of the entire world? At its independence in 1980,
Zimbabwe's currency was not at all ashamed or embarrassed to be standing
side by side with that of the former colonial master, the British pound. If
you stood it cheek to cheek with the mighty US dollar, it managed to keep
its upper lip stiff, its chest thrust out, pugnaciously. It was no pushover.
Who of the three candidates has the foresight, nay, the courage, to bring it
back to those truly good old days when its strength was anchored in the
country's agriculture and mining?
Today, nearly 28 years after President Robert Mugabe was sworn in as its
prime minister by Lord Soames, the Zimdollar is worth very little. Mugabe
himself, though maintaining a cocky stance as we go into the elections,
knows his days are numbered, if not by Father Time, then by the winds of
change ushered in by an economic collapse which will probably deal his
ruling Zanu PF a fatal blow to the political solar plexus, come March 29.
Mugabe has said he is "raring to go" into the contest. He is relying more on
his past glory than on any tangible feats of achievements during the last
seven years. His land reform programme, turned into a political gimmick for
the 2000 parliamentary elections, cost the country its status as the
breadbasket of the region, into simply a basket case. Agriculture,
previously the mainstay of the economy, plummeted in value, followed almost
immediately by a drop in the value of the dollar. The economy went into a
tailspin, shedding jobs like a withered msasa tree shedding leaves in a
windstorm. Millions of citizens fled the poverty and the political
repression that followed the economic collapse.
The competitors for the top job, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change, and Simba Makoni of the non-political Mavambo
(beginnings) movement are promising change. For many voters, any change from
Zanu PF is glorious enough, even without the specifics. Yet victory for
either of them cannot be guaranteed: Zanu PF will not lie down and die
quietly. It still has its ace up its sleeve: the fact of being the ruling
party, controlling all the levers of the electoral process, which it has
used in the past to ensure victory. What most analysts see is the combined
electoral clout of the two opposition groups overwhelming Zanu PF in the
elections for the senate, the house of assembly and the local government. In
the presidential stakes, Mugabe could score big in the rural areas, his
stronghold, where the fear of a return to the guerilla war of the 1970s has
always frightened the voters into preferring Zanu PF to any other party. But
it would seem that a clean sweep by Zanu PF is not in the offing. What may
be difficult to predict is how Zanu PF would react to a rout. Mugabe has not
repudiated his claim to having "many degrees in violence". Zimbabweans may
still be far from achieving the Zimbabwe they want, the Zimbabwe they lost
to Zanu PF...
By Lindie Whiz
Last updated: 02/25/2008 08:10:22
COLONEL Tshinga Dube has launched a scathing attack on Industry and Trade
Minister Obert Mpofu for being "irresponsible" and denting Zanu PF's
electoral chances by causing shortages of basic commodities.
The Zimbabwe Defence Industries chief executive and aspiring Zanu PF
parliamentarian - without mentioning the minister by name - said Mpofu acted
irresponsibly by ordering companies to slash prices in June last year,
causing many businesses to close shop.
Dube, who is standing on a Zanu PF ticket in Makokoba, was addressing
members of the Bulawayo Press Club on Friday.
He said some ministers were incompetent, but always found their way back to
Col. Dube said: "When I went out in my constituency (Makokoba), I realised
that the name Zanu PF is not very popular. Why? When you go through a lot of
hardships you want to find out who caused it and now it is being associated
with the government of Zanu PF.
"Sometimes people look at a party as a homogeneous entity, instead of
looking at it as being composed of people, and these people are the ones
causing these problems within the party.
"We have had a system that must be corrected; people stay in government for
too long and begin to feel that the government is there because you are
there. You have ministers who do wrong things and believe that nothing would
ever happen to him or her because he believes the government is part of him,
and he is a shareholder.
"So these people create this hatred of the party, yet they are just people.
I think as journalists, you like frank talk. Let me give a typical example,
on the price controls. You know that it is not government as a whole but
people who were given charge to look into this problem who completely made a
"Those type of things are not done by the government but by individuals.
From that time all the shops went dry. So it was wrong, isn't it? Something
went completely wrong because of someone. As a result he has messed the name
of our party. When someone is very angry and does not like the name of the
party, it is because of those type of people."
Challenged to clarify if his comments did not also refer to President Mugabe
who has also "overstayed" in power, and is responsible for appointing
ministers, Dube said as a soldier, he could not comment of the head of
state, who is his Commander-In-Chief.
Pressed further to comment on reports that senior Zanu PF officials he
enjoyed good relations with - including Dumiso Dabengwa and Solomon
Mujuru -- were believed to be working against Mugabe, Dube declined to
"As they used to say long back, 'ibizo lomuntu liyadula. (It is expensive to
talk about someone's name). I am not going to speak on behalf of anybody.
Ask them themselves," he said.
Dube said Matabeleland was underdeveloped because most of the ministers from
the region were "invited" to government without support from the people, and
therefore not voice their concerns for fear of being chucked out.
"If I was elected into Parliament I would raise my voice the loudest knowing
no one will say shut up," he said.
Dube will battle it out with incumbent Thokozani Khuphe of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and Welshman Ncube
from a rival faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
He has rolled out a well-publicised humanitarian assistance programme in
Bulawayo's oldest and poorest township, and says he is confident of victory.
The wealthy Dube is well-known for his philanthropic gestures - most notably
rescuing Highlanders Football Club from financial ruin. At one time, he paid
British coach Eddie May's salary in foreign currency for a year.
He has also used his influence to secure players for Highlanders from army
clubs - Black Rhinos and Chapungu. His latest exploit came last week when he
got the Air Force team, Chapungu, to release striker Cuthbert Malajila to