A new opposition leader emerged in Zimbabwe today when a former ally of Robert Mugabe said that he would challenge him for the presidency.
In a surprise announcement in Harare, Simba Makoni, 57, a former finance minister and member of the ruling Zanu-PF party�s politburo, said that he would stand as an independent candidate in the elections due on March 29.
Mr Makoni�s decision marks a formal split in the ruling party.
He blamed the president for Zimbabwe�s �extreme hardships� and said: �I won�t be in this campaign alone. There will be many of us, a great many of us. I am not an opposition party. I am not standing in the name of any party.�
Mr Makoni, who studied chemistry at Leeds University in the 1970s and took a doctorate from Leicester Polytechnic, is not expected to win.
But his candidacy could herald a new era in Zimbabwe politics.
Aziz Pahad, the deputy South African foreign minister, said that the �political ground appears to be shifting�.
Mr Makoni was sacked as finance minister in 2002 when he tried to devalue Zimbabwe�s currency - which has since become worthless.
The decision by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to divide into two factions has opened the way for him to become the standard bearer of opposition to Mr Mugabe, who turns 84 on Feb 21 and has been in power for almost 28 years.
Morgan Tsvangirai, formerly the most prominent opposition leader, has been discredited by the MDC�s collapse and is now widely distrusted.
One MDC faction, led by Arthur Mutambara, has been secretly talking to Mr Makoni and may back him.
If so, he would gain votes in the two Matabeleland provinces.
Gabriel Chaibva, Mr Mutambara�s spokesman, said: �We welcome anything that is opposed to Mugabe�s dictatorship. Even in his own party Mugabe has got opponents.
"We are proponents of one candidate to fight and defeat Mugabe, that is our philosophy. What will happen we don�t yet know.�
Zimbabwe has the world�s fastest-shrinking economy, mainly because Mr Mugabe has destroyed commercial agriculture by confiscating 90 per cent of white-owned farms since 2000, which earned 40 per cent of foreign currency.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that inflation is 150,000 per cent - the world�s highest. The government only admits to 26,000 per cent.
Mr Makoni is one of the few Zanu-PF leaders who did not accept a seized farm and bought his own.
Almost uniquely for someone who served in the highest levels of Zimbabwe�s regime, he is also untainted by corruption.
He is seen as a liberal economic reformer who could unlock support for Zimbabwe from the IMF.
By Joseph Winter
BBC News website
Simba Makoni, a senior member of Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, has announced he is to challenge Robert Mugabe for president.
With a PhD in chemistry, his supporters say he has the magic formula to reverse Zimbabwe's economic collapse and end its political stalemate.
The mild-mannered, jovial man has long been seen as a possible compromise candidate, with backers both in Zanu-PF, as well as plenty of admirers in the opposition.
He has variously been described as a moderniser, a technocrat and a "young turk".
Opposition MP Priscilla Misihairabwi told the BBC News website that Mr Makoni was very courageous to publicly challenge Mr Mugabe from within the system.
He could be living up to his name, Simba, which means lion in Swahili.
Ms Misihairabwi also says that Mr Makoni is a man of principles.
The then finance minister stood up to President Robert Mugabe over economic policy in 2002 and was sacked for his trouble.
Mr Makoni's supporters note that he has a good understanding of orthodox economics and he comes from the party which delivered independence from Britain in 1980 and which does not want to relinquish power.
He could appeal to those voters who are desperate for some improvement in their daily lives but do not quite trust the opposition.
But his critics dismiss him as a political lightweight within his party and say he will struggle to compete against Mr Mugabe, who will be his main opponent in the March elections.
He was brought in as finance minister in 2000 to restore relations with donors and the business community but failed to change Mr Mugabe's policies.
He was sacked 18 months later after calling for a devaluation of the currency to try and boost exports.
Mr Mugabe said those who wanted a devaluation were "economic saboteurs".
Mr Makoni responded by cheerfully introducing himself as "Saboteur".
But until he announced his candidature for the elections, he remained a member of Zanu-PF's policy-making body, the politburo and so must share some of the blame for the country's economic woes.
He nevertheless tried his best to distance himself from the crisis.
"Let me confirm that I share the agony and anguish of all citizens over the extreme hardships that we all have endured for nearly 10 years now," he said.
"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 pre-requisite for change at other levels of national endeavour."
But he is believed to have the backing of Zanu-PF heavyweight Solomon Mujuru, whose wife Joyce is vice-president.
Zimbabwean political analyst John Makumbe said that if the former army chief is indeed backing Mr Makoni, then the Zanu-PF vote would be split in the 29 March election - boosting the chances of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which is also fielding two candidates.
"This is a significant development," he said. "We are beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel."
At just 57, he comes from a different generation to the octogenarians currently running the country and its ruling party.
While the party old-guard were fighting the 1970s guerrilla war of independence, Mr Makoni was studying chemistry in Britain.
When the first post-independence government was formed, he was appointed deputy minister of agriculture at just 30.
Over the next four years he served as minister of energy and of youth before abruptly leaving government.
"He was too hot to handle," one long-time associate told the BBC.
"He was too clever and too young for the older members of the party. They wanted him out of the way."
Mr Makoni went on to become Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community, (SADC), a job which he says required "a fine balance between high principles and pragmatism".
Ms Misihairabwi says that Mr Makoni is also untainted by allegations of corruption or scandal.
"He is very approachable and ready to laugh - unlike Mugabe," she said.
"There is a real excitement about this but whether that will translate into votes is another question."
by Patricia Mpofu Wednesday 06 February 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Tuesday welcomed the emergence of a new
challenger to President Robert Mugabe, seeing it as a multiplication of
forces opposed to the veteran leader’s 27-year grip on power.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party – which
ironically is itself hopelessly divided – said former finance minister Simba
Makoni’s decision to stand against Mugabe would split and damage ZANU PF
ahead of general and presidential elections in March.
ZANU PF politburo member Makoni on Tuesday announced he would stand against
Mugabe in next month’s election, in the biggest rebellion against the
Zimbabwean leader in decades.
Hinting at more upheavals in Mugabe’s ZANU PF, Makoni said he was working
with like-minded people from the party whose names he would disclose at a
more opportune time.
Neslon Chamisa, spokesman of the larger faction of the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai said: “What we are seeing is a split in ZANU PF and we have said
it before that any weakening or limping of ZANU PF is good music for all
democratic forces in Zimbabwe.
“The chickens are coming home to roost. This has to be seen as a ZANU PF
rebellion which should crystalise the momentum for democratic change in this
Zimbabwe holds local government, parliamentary and presidential elections on
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, appeared to have
effectively smothered internal resistance to his continued stay in power
when he got ZANU PF to endorse him as candidate for president – that was
until Makoni’s open rebellion on Tuesday.
Gabriel Chaibva, spokesman of the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC camp, also
welcomed Makoni’s move. “We welcome any Zimbabwean committed to fighting the
dictatorship of Mugabe. Zimbabweans strive to see our country rising again,”
Both MDC officials were non-committal when asked whether their respective
parties were prepared to accept Makoni – a widely respected diplomat and
business technocrat - as a candidate for a united opposition front.
Makoni yesterday said he was standing as an independent candidate and did
not represent the opposition.
There was no immediate response from ZANU PF to Makoni’s decision to break
ranks with the party. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Wednesday 06 February 2008
HARARE – Chemistry graduate Simba Makoni on Tuesday announced he would stand
against his former boss President Robert Mugabe in presidential elections on
A former finance minister, Makoni commands respect across the political
divide. He had long been touted as a possible successor to Mugabe and most
people expected him to eventually bid for high office on a ZANU PF ticket.
Reactions from some ordinary voters and some of the key players from across
Zimbabwe’s political spectrum ranged from surprise to disbelief, while
others accused Makoni of opportunism. Their views:
Xolani Zitha, co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe civic alliance said: “The
announcement by Makoni came to many of us as a surprise.
“What is of interest to us in the civil society is the timing of his
announcement. It actually presents to us many questions as to whether he is
genuine or his announcement is just yet another ZANU PF project ahead of the
“What it simply does is to leave more questions than answers to us in the
civil society on which course to take. It will be interesting to see who
among the opposition and the ruling party will join up with Makoni.”
Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly political pressure group
Lovemore Madhuku saw opportunism in Makoni’s move.
He said: “Makoni is a joke. He belongs to the ZANU PF group, which has been
‘inappropriately’ referred to as a reformist ZANU PF. What he has done is
opportunism. He has simply taken advantage of the forces that have been
fighting Mugabe all along and those forces are us.
“The big question that he should be asked is, where was he at the height of
Mugabe’s brutality when opposition and political leaders where brutalised in
March last year? He was part of the suppression which condemned our progress
as democratic forces.”
Harare shop assistant Munyaradzi Mugowo had a different take on things. “I
think it’s a good thing that finally Mugabe has found his match in someone
from his own party,” Mugowo said.
“That’s what we have been waiting for all along. I like Makoni because he
has demonstrated in the past that given a chance he can run the economy
efficiently and he is not cruel too.”
The Zimbabwe National Students Union welcomed Makoni’s move but for slightly
different reasons to Mugowo’s. ZINASU president Clever Bere said: “We
welcome Makoni’s announcement because it shows that ZANU PF as a party is
“It shows that there is no democracy in ZANU PF because Mugabe simply tried
to cling to power through a presidential endorsement that he pushed at the
last ZANU PF congress. This exposes Mugabe’s dictatorship and as ZINASU we
are behind what Makoni did because it nurtures democracy.”
Lazarus Chibwe, who works for a Harare furniture manufacturer, thought
Makoni had done the right thing but just could not see how he would succeed
where others have failed.
The furniture maker said: “So does this mean they will allow Makoni to hold
campaign rallies? Makoni has set himself an impossible mission and honestly,
I do not see him taking over as the new president, come March 29.
For Harare private economic consultant John Robertson, the former finance
minister’s move came as “quite a surprise considering that he has been
denying it. It is a good thing though.
“Makoni can be trusted to do good things with the economy and its good that
he cannot be pressured to be following disastrous policies, as is the case
at the moment. What we needed are many political policy changes and they can
only come from people like Makoni and they will be done quickly.” -
February 6, 2008
Jan Raath in Harare
A wealthy businessman put himself forward for one of the most dangerous jobs
in Africa yesterday, seeking to depose Robert Mugabe as President of
Simba Makoni, a former Finance Minister sacked as an “economic saboteur” for
suggesting that Zimbabwe should devalue its currency, announced that he
would run against Mr Mugabe in presidential elections due next month.
The move was hailed as the boldest internal challenge for 20 years to the
man who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.
At a stroke a campaign expected to rubber-stamp another five-year term for
Zimbabwe's de facto President-for-life was thrown open. A breakaway faction
of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change threw its weight
behind Mr Makoni's challenge. He will stand as an independent candidate
because party rules mean that he faces automatic expulsion from the ruling
Zanu (PF) party. Mr Makoni, who is untainted by the corruption and brutality
associated with the party, told reporters that he had won the backing of
several prominent officials. Their names would be revealed when he unveiled
his manifesto in the coming week.
“I know I will not be in this campaign alone. There will be many of us, a
great many of us in this campaign,” he said. He shared “the agony and
anguish of all citizens that we have all endured for nearly ten years” and
blamed “the failure of national leadership”.
He said that the overwhelming majority of ruling party supporters had been
hoping that a special congress of the party in December would have brought
change in the party's leadership. In the event, it failed after Mr Mugabe
manipulated the meeting to ensure that he was the only candidate.
Soon after Mr Makoni's announcement, Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of the
two factions of the MDC, said that he would support him, adding significant
impetus to his challenge. Attempts to unite the MDC before the elections
failed at the weekend.
The challenge is expected to heighten the appetite for change among a people
crushed by the disintegration of the Zimbabwean economy, infrastructure and
The repeated failure of the MDC, brutalised and cheated by Mr Mugabe in each
of the three elections since 2000, and now with a fatal split that will
divide its vote in presidential, parliamentary and local government
elections on March 29, appear to have taken away much of the impetus.
“It's a dramatic announcement,” Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe
political scientist, said. “This will throw the elections wide open. Zanu
(PF) has been taken by surprise. The thirst for change is there but Makoni
had better be prepared for Zanu (PF)'s viciousness. This is not going to be
a tea party.”
Mr Makoni, 57, has the power to spoil Mr Mugabe's determination to hold on
for another five years — making him 89 when his term ends — by appealing to
the frustration of a deeply disenchanted party membership.
— Simba Makoni studied chemistry at Leeds and Leicester universities, taking
a PhD before returning to Zimbabwe and joining Mugabe's fight against
— He held senior positions in the ministries of Agriculture, Youth and
Energy. He left in 1984 to work for the Southern African Development
— Returning to Zimbabwe, Makoni was appointed head of state-controlled news
group Zimbabwe Newspapers in 1994
— In 2000 he was made Finance Minister but his promised economic recovery
— State media reported his resignation in 2002. He has since pressed for
February 05, 2008, 20:15
There are divided views in Zimbabwe as to whether presidential hopeful Simba
Makoni can pose a real challenge to President Robert Mugabe.
Makoni, a former Finance Minister, announced today he would stand against
Mugabe as an independent in next month's presidential election.
Takavafira Zhou, an analyst at Zimbabwe's Masvingo State University, says
Makoni will present a stiff challenge, especially if he can attract other
disillusioned members of the establishment. But another Zimbabwean political
analyst, Takura Zhangazha, disagrees.
Zhangazha says if anything, Makoni will simply divide the opposition votes
because he does not foresee ZANU-PF supporters abandoning Mugabe in favour
Political analysts say Makoni faces a mammoth task in standing against
Mugabe. Makoni says he has consulted extensively with ZANU-PF members
countrywide and has their overwhelming support.
Analyst George Katito, who is affiliated to the South African Institute of
International Affairs, says Makoni's bid should not be seen as a direct
rebellion against Mugabe.
By Innocent Chofamba Sithole
Last updated: 02/06/2008 02:14:29
FOLLOWING Simba Makoni’s decision to run for President on March 29, the time
may be ripe for opposition faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara to pack in and run for parliament instead.
Mutambara acknowledges his limits in the presidential race at the present
moment and regards himself really as a future president. This is why, in my
opinion, he has been ready at various times in the unity discussions between
the two MDC factions to play second fiddle to Morgan.
He recognises the work put in by Tsvangirai, both in the formation of a
viable opposition party and in consolidating and sustaining opposition
politics in the country, thereby giving Zimbabwe - as did PF-Zapu before -
the institutional building blocks for a more democratic politics, or the two
party politics as it is known.
However, there is widespread recognition that through his foibles and
strategic indiscretions over the years, Tsvangirai has lost the aura and
novelty with which he entered the political arena in 2000.
The long-drawn out economic crisis and its attendant hardships have fostered
popular disillusionment with politics and the political leadership both
within and outside the state. In other words, when people fail to see either
side as their liberator, they get p****d off with the political class
It is fair to say Tsvangirai still retains the respect and influence that he
has garnered over the last ten years and that it will be a boon to Makoni if
he could back him by getting out of the way.
But I will put my money on Mutambara, not only getting out of Makoni's way
but actually assisting him on the understanding that a government of
national unity could be in the offing. Remember that there is an imminent
reconstruction of the state post-election through the adoption of a new
constitution at whose core is the introduction of a Prime Minister with
significant executive powers.
It has been suggested that Simba Makoni will only be a spoiler. If anyone
should fit that role, it's Mutambara, since he clearly has no chance of
winning against either Tsvangirai or Mugabe.
It is without doubt that Makoni is held in higher esteem than either
Tsvangirai or Mutambara. Whatever the objective merits, at closer scrutiny,
he is regarded as more experienced in statecraft. He does have the so-called
gravitas that Mutambara claims to have over Tsvangirai.
And the key dynamic in all this is that his candidacy brings with it the
aura and excitement that Tsvangirai once invoked in the 2000 and 2002
elections. There is the excitement of something new and yet so long-expected
One key factor to consider is that unlike Zanu PF, the MDC's electoral
success has depended consistently on a large pool of floating voters. The
MDC has for a long time been sustained by an anti-Zanu PF sentiment, which
is not the same thing as a pro-MDC sentiment.
Zanu PF, on the contrary, has a more solid support base; they have a bigger
constituency of core supporters. You only have to check the consistency of
its voters in urban centres; they almost always score the same numbers. In
sharp contrast, there's a consistent decline for the MDC with each new
election. In other words, the people on the outer concentric circle of the
MDC are like loose electrons - they can move on to more attractive options.
My view is that Tsvangirai, particularly, should make way for Makoni. The
two can work together in a government of national unity. I also think
Makoni's arrival can potentially preserve Tsvangirai’s political career.
There's now no need for Tsvangirai to sacrifice himself in an election he is
bound to lose anyway, not least because it will definitely not be free and
Defeat here will most certainly consign him to history and render his
presidential ambitions illegitimate if he should stand in the way of new
leadership within the MDC thereafter.
Everyone deserves a second shot at the top post and Tsvangirai can save his
for later. In the interim, he can get into parliament and exercise
leadership in a role that Zimbabweans have never seen him before. He can
hone his leadership skills there and perhaps, having served in a government
of national unity, will have garnered renewed political clout to make a go
at it one more time - hopefully in more favourable conditions.
Tsvangirai can play kingmaker here. So, there are opportunities for everyone
in this, I just hope they all don't go for broke.
By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 02/06/2008 00:50:10
A FORMER senior army officer running Simba Makoni’s presidential bid has
warned Zimbabwe's intelligence services against “overzealous reaction” to
the former finance minister's dramatic pitch for political office.
Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi told journalists in Harare on Tuesday that he
expected retribution from President Robert Mugabe’s notorious spy agency
which has gained world infamy for using unorthodox tactics against his
Mjr Mbudzi said: “We expect overzealous reaction from the intelligence. They
must be warned that we were also part of the intelligence and we won’t
tolerate that. We warn them that they would be dealt with accordingly in
their individual capacity.
“This is a rescue operation (having Makoni challenging Mugabe). Zimbabwe is
at the boil. Simba has offered his services to the people of Zimbabwe and
would want to turn around the situation which has degenerated into a sense
of decay,” Mbudzi said moments after Makoni had officially announced his
decision to fight Mugabe in the March 29 elections.
The former finance minister who two days earlier had been barred from
contesting in the Zanu PF primary elections in Makoni Central, Manicaland
Province, said he would challenge Mugabe as an independent.
Mbudzi said they would not launch a party and were comfortable with the name
Zanu PF since “the constitution is fortunately silent on the use of symbols
The former military man said Makoni consulted widely and had the backing of
90% of key people in the party. Makoni is thought to be close to Vice
President Joice Mujuru and former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa.
“We are confident of winning the election. Simba will not field candidates
except himself. This is our new concept of participating in elections. He
will form a government of national unity and heal the country,” Mjr Mbudzi
Analysts said the decision by Makoni to fight Mugabe was tantamount to a
palace coup on the soon-to-be 84 veteran leader.
“There is nothing wrong with what Simba has done. This is free country and
he is free to challenge Mugabe. What this shows is that Zanu PF is now
split,” said John Makumbe, a political analyst.
Makoni appeared to have sold Mugabe a decoy when he met the former guerrilla
leader and assured him of his backing two weeks ago.
Mugabe in turn gave the nod to him to submit his CV for the Makoni Central
primary elections where he was pitted against Justice Minister Patrick
But there was a always a chance of a sting in the tail as the Zanu PF
leadership disqualified Makoni at the last minute, arguing he had submitted
his papers late, prompting the dramatic announcement Tuesday.
“There is no way Makoni will be used by the intelligence to split votes.
This is not time for playing games. This is a serious operation aimed at
reclaiming Zimbabwe. Forget about this belief that this is an intelligence
project,” Mbudzi said.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
5 February 2008
Posted to the web 5 February 2008
THERE are shocks in the Zanu-PF primary elections results which began
trickling in yesterday with indications that some ministers, party
heavyweights and sitting MPs lost to newcomers.
Party national commissar Cde Elliot Manyika confirmed that minnows upstaged
some heavyweights, promising to release the full results today.
"There are indications that there will be shocks in some areas. Some
provinces are through with the primary elections while others are still to
complete the exercise," said Cde Manyika.
"We will be announcing election results starting from tomorrow. We will be
making them public because we have nothing to hide. We want it to be clear
to everyone that democracy thrives in our party."
Preliminary results showed Zanu-PF heavyweights -- among them Cabinet
ministers, deputy ministers, sitting MPs and senators -- lost in the
primaries conducted at the weekend.
Some party supporters, including traditional leaders, from different
provinces converged at the party headquarters in Harare yesterday to
register their displeasure over the selection of candidates in some
Traditional leaders from Hurungwe in Mashonaland West Province were among
those at the headquarters.
Businessman and farmer Cde Temba Mliswa, Cde Luke Chirasasa and Cde
Alexander Nyaria are eyeing the Hurungwe West House of Assembly seat.
The supporters, who included Chief Matawu, were unhappy with the inclusion
of Cde Stella Boni in the race.
Cde Boni was allegedly roped in as the provincial leadership argued that it
sought to meet its quota for women candidates.
Elections in the constituency have since been stalled as the party
supporters met secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa.
In Harare Province, Mvurachena Senate constituency sitting senator Cde
Vivian Mwashita lost to Cde Miriam Chikukwa while in Hwata Senate
constituency, Cde Charles Tawengwa beat Cde Sabina Thembani.
Hwata Senate seat covers Highfield, Glen Norah, Glen View, Kuwadzana,
Dzivaresekwa and Mufakose.
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees'
Association Cde Victor Kuretu beat his rival Cde Jabulani Thembani to win
the ticket to represent Zanu-PF in the Mufakose House of Assembly
Cde Jabulani Thembani congratulated Cde Kuretu and pledged to work with the
winner in campaigns for the March 29 elections, saying he lost in a free and
"I am very excited. The process was very free and fair. It was also very
transparent. No one can complain. And I am more than ready to face the
opposition candidates," said Cde Kuretu.
Cde Ellen "Mai Cresta" Samuriwo -- who runs a popular food outlet in
Mbare -- won the Ward 34 primary and will represent Zanu-PF in the council
elections after beating Cde Mangota.
In Masvingo Province, Cde Anna Rungano lost to Cde Cecilia Chabaya in the
Bikita Senate primary.
In the Bikita South House of Assembly constituency, musician and banker Cde
Elias Musakwa beat sitting MP Cde Claudious Makova while in Bikita East the
incumbent Cde Kennedy Matimba lost to former MP Cde Walter Mutsauri.
Cde Wilson Makonya was unopposed in Bikita South.
Elsewhere, reports said in Mashonaland East three ministers lost in the
Meanwhile, inspection of the voters' roll has been delayed in some parts of
Mashonaland Central because inspection centres were inaccessible due to
impassable roads and bridges damaged by rains.
However, in Harare and other urban centres inspection was progressing
Roads and bridges in Muzarabani, Guruve and Mt Darwin districts have been
damaged by flash floods.
Mashonaland Central provincial registrar Mr Augustine Tsuro said some
officers failed to get to their designated centres.
He, however, said the situation was now under control after the
Registrar-General's Office arranged for a helicopter to airlift the officers
to the inspection centres.
"Some villages such as Mutasa area, Kapfunda and areas surrounding the Dande
area in Mt Darwin had been badly affected by the floods and we were forced
to send a helicopter to drop our officers at (inspection) points," he said
By Sunday, Mr Tsuro said, the helicopter had dropped all the officers at
their respective centres.
He said the province was yet to receive feedback on progress in such areas
but in others inspection was going on without hitches.
"We urge people to go to their respective wards and check their names. This
time the voters' roll is based on wards unlike in previous elections where
we had a constituency-based roll," he said.
Mr Tsuro said the constituency-based roll allowed people to check their
names from any point in the constituency unlike the ward-based roll
by Farisai Gonye Wednesday 06 February 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is expected to postpone nomination
of electoral candidates so he could first reorganise his ruling ZANU PF
party, shaken by rebellion and widening rifts within its ranks.
Authoritative sources told ZimOnline last night that the Nomination Court
initially scheduled to sit on February 8 to receive names of candidates for
the local government, parliamentary and presidential elections could now be
shifted to the 15 of this month.
According to our sources Mugabe, yesterday morning instructed Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa to draft a fresh statutory instrument giving
effect to the new development.
“The statutory instrument is set to be published today, or at the very
latest on Thursday,” said one of our sources, a top government official who
we cannot name for legal reasons.
ZimOnline was last night unable to get immediate comment on the matter from
Chinamasa or Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba.
ZANU PF politburo member, Makoni, on Tuesday announced he would stand
against Mugabe in next month’s election, in the biggest rebellion against
the Zimbabwean leader in decades.
Hinting at more upheavals in ZANU PF, Makoni said he was working with
like-minded people from the party whose names he would disclose at a more
Makoni, who commands considerable respect among the political divide, has
for long been rumoured to be working with powerful former army general
Solomon Mujuru, the husband of Mugabe’s second deputy, Joice Mujuru.
A former minister of finance, Makoni is also said to enjoy the support
several senior ZANU PF leaders who feel Mugabe should step down and allow a
new leader to take over.
Our sources said Mugabe wanted to use the time between now and the sitting
of the Nomination Court to screen out Makoni’s suspected backers.
“He wants to vet who goes into Parliament because Makoni's group could end
up having an upper-hand in Parliament even if it lost the presidential
election,” added another source.
“He wants to block attempts to influence ongoing party primary elections to
smuggle Makoni's people onto the list of ZANU PF parliamentary candidates.”
The nomination date was already being challenged in court by independent
legislator Jonathan Moyo who wanted the exercise stopped allegedly because
Mugabe did not follow the law when he set the date.
Moyo, who lodged a joint court appeal together with former legislator
Margaret Dongo, claims Mugabe violated the law when he set the date of
nomination before publication in the government gazette of the final
delimitation report showing names and boundaries of voting constituencies.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron-like grip since independence in 1980,
brooking no challenge within his own party and from without.
He appeared to effectively smother internal resistance to his continued stay
in power when he got ZANU PF to endorse him as candidate for president last
December – until Makoni’s open rebellion on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute economic recession critics blame on
mismanagement by Mugabe and seen in the world’s highest inflation rate of
more than 26 000 percent, 80 percent unemployment and shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency.
Mugabe, who routinely organises rallies and public marches by supporters to
showcase his popularity, denies ruining the country and has promised a
landslide victory in March to once again prove he has the backing of
ordinary Zimbabweans. – ZimOnline
by Patricia Mpofu Wednesday 06 February 2008
HARARE – A former top ally of President Robert Mugabe has appealed to
the High Court to stop nomination of candidates for next month’s elections,
allegedly because the veteran leader did not follow the law when he set the
February 8 nomination date.
Jonathan Moyo, a former government information minister who
masterminded Mugabe’s controversial re-election in 2002, says in papers
filed with the court that the President violated the law when he set the
date of nomination before publication in the government gazette of the final
delimitation report showing names and boundaries of voting constituencies.
Moyo, who is now independent Member for Parliament for Thsolotsho
constituency, lodged his application jointly with Margaret Dongo, a former
Zimbabwe holds local government, parliamentary and presidential
elections on March 29.
Moyo and Dongo insist that failure to abide by the basic rules of the
election process could “have far reaching implications on the credibility of
the forthcoming elections.”
The urgent application by Moyo and Dongo had not been set down for
hearing by yesterday.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute economic recession critics blame
on mismanagement by Mugabe and seen in the world’s highest inflation rate of
more than 26 000 percent, 80 percent unemployment and shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency.
Analysts say free and fair polls next month are vital to any plan to
revive Zimbabwe’s comatose economy.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has called for
the inspection of the voters’ roll to be extended by three weeks arguing
that the allocated time for the inspection was too little.
In a statement to the media, the election watchdog said the time
allocated for the inspection of the voters’ roll was “far too short
considering that there are new constituencies and wards countrywide.”
“ZESN believes that this time is inadequate and proposes that it be
extended to at least three weeks,” said the group. – ZimOnline
SW Radio Africa (London)
4 February 2008
Posted to the web 5 February 2008
The MDC faction headed by Professor Arthur Mutambara has dismissed
allegations by the Tsvangirai MDC that unity talks over the weekend, which
were aimed at creating a united front against Robert Mugabe in the March
elections, collapsed due to unreasonable demands on their part.
On Monday we reported that the talks had collapsed and the MDC leaders will
contest as separate presidential candidates. Each party will also field
their own candidates for parliament. Both MDC formations have admitted that
the unity talks collapsed due specifically to differences over the
allocation of parliamentary seats, particularly in Matabeleland province.
But they differ however over which party had been unreasonable in their
Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the Tsvangirai MDC, said their National
Council had rejected proposals to share parliamentary seats equally with the
Mutambara MDC. He said they had wanted 50% of all seats, including in
constituencies where they had no structures. Chamisa said demands by the
Mutambara formation had been viewed as "arrogant and unreasonable".
On Tuesday we spoke to Gabriel Chaibva, spokesperson for the Mutambara MDC,
and he denied the allegations that they had been unreasonable. He said the
two groups had adopted a "unification document" which established two broad
The first was that there ought to be one candidate for every position, from
president, senator, house of assembly and local government. Secondly, that
both formations would be guaranteed at least 30% of all the contested seats
in the respective provinces.
But according to Chaibva, when it came to discussing new seats the
Tsvangirai MDC wanted all 18 new seats created by the delimitation of
constituencies in Harare, except for 1 which would go to Mutambara. He said
that in Matabeleland the Tsvangirai MDC demanded all the seats, including
areas where the Mutambara MDC had sitting members of parliament.
Chaibva said the Tsvangirai MDC wanted seats for all their "relatives,
colleagues and bootlickers". He added: "I would want to leave it to the
people of Zimbabwe to decide on who is unreasonable in this context."
With the lack of transparency and open discussion with the media it is
impossible to know which MDC faction is presenting the true facts.
What is known is that Mugabe and Zanu PF have always had great skill in
ensuring there has been no effective opposition to their misrule.
by Lizwe Sebatha Wednesday 06 February 2008
BULAWAYO – Authorities at the state-run Bulawayo Polytechnic College have
suspended five student leaders for spearheading demonstrations against an
increase in tuition fees as well as falling standards at the college.
The five Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) leaders – Melusi
Hlambano, Tinashe Mhlanga, Bothwell Gwature, Brian Sibanda, Tinashe
Chechera – were served with their suspension letters on Monday.
According to the suspension letters, the ZINASU leaders were guilty of
“inciting other students at the institution to revolt against the
administration” in protest over high fees and falling standards.
Students at the Polytechnic last month staged rowdy demonstrations demanding
a halt to a massive exodus of staff, lack of reading materials and increased
ZINASU President Clever Bere yesterday condemned the suspension of the
students adding that the move was illegal as they were never called to a
disciplinary hearing as required under the law.
“We are appealing against the suspension of the five as it was unprocedural
since they were not even called to a hearing on the matter. The institution
wants to suspend more students for participating in the protests,” said
Themba Ndlovu, the principal of Bulawayo Polytechnic College, refused to
comment on the matter yesterday.
Protests by university and college students over high tuition fees and
falling academic standards are common in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s education sector, once a shining beacon on the African continent,
has virtually collapsed due to a severe economic recession that has driven
away the best teachers and lecturers.
Thousands of experienced teachers and lecturers have left the country to
search for better paying jobs across Zimbabwe’s borders, the majority of
them in South Africa and Botswana. - ZimOnline
05/02/2008 16:29 - (SA)
Cape Town - The Southern African Development Community on Tuesday lauded
President Thabo Mbeki's mediation efforts between Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF
and opposition MDC, despite MDC insistence it has failed.
Mbeki briefed the SADC summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last Thursday and
Friday on the status of negotiations between President Robert Mugabe's
Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
According to the SADC Secretariat on Tuesday, the two parties had reached
agreement on all substantive matters relating to the political situation in
Zimbabwe, which the ruling party and the opposition had placed on their
This included the Constitution, electoral laws, security legislation,
communication legislation, and matters relating to the political climate in
Zimbabwe, such as the land question, sanctions, politically motivated
violence, and external interference in Zimbabwe.
The most urgent of these, including constitutional and statutory changes,
had already been put into effect through constitutional and legal amendments
approved by the Zimbabwe's parliament, to which Mugabe had assented.
The only outstanding matter related to the procedure to be followed is
enacting the agreed draft Constitution, the statement said.
"The summit welcomed the good progress made by the Zimbabwe negotiating
parties and congratulated them for successfully concluding their
"The summit thanked the SADC facilitator President Mbeki and his
facilitation team, for the role they had played in helping to achieve this
outcome and asked President Mbeki to continue in his role as facilitator, to
help the Zimbabwe parties to conclude the outstanding 'procedural' matter of
the enactment of the agreed draft Constitution," they said.
Senior MDC member and economic affairs spokesperson Eddie Cross conceded
that after nine months of negotiation under the auspices of SADC, huge
progress had been made.
"A comprehensive package of reforms - some of which have been implemented,
was negotiated, giving us the chance of a free and fair electoral process if
implemented," he said.
"[However] Mugabe, who all along had been negotiating under duress, was
eventually faced with the decision - allow these reforms and face defeat or
just tell his South African and SADC colleagues that they were asking too
much - he decided on the latter."
Cross said Mbeki was forced to use his last option - to confront Mugabe's
refusal to implement the deal negotiated at a meeting of SADC Heads of
"He did so last week at Addis on the sidelines of the AU summit and we
understand he pulled no punches.
"However in the end Mugabe was backed by three other heads of
state -Swaziland, Namibia and Angola - and Mbeki came away with no decision.
"So when the MDC leadership gathered in Harare this weekend to consider the
question of fighting the next election, now just two months away, it was
against the background of a failed mediation effort by President Mbeki,"
In addition to this setback, the MDC faced the reality that despite the
reforms already adopted and passed through Parliament with its assistance,
the regime in Harare was maintaining its policies against the MDC.
Marches and rallies were being banned, there was no sign of any reform in
the media and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was totally under the
control and direction of the Zanu-PF led regime, and was being staffed with
many of the old electoral management from the security services, he said.
Tue, 05 Feb 2008
Negotiations to address Zimbabwe's political crisis were no longer needed as
it was only procedural issues that remained outstanding, SA's Deputy Foreign
Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Tuesday.
The parties have agreed to all "substantive matters" and it was an issue of
procedure that remained outstanding, Pahad said during a regular media
briefing at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
"There are no longer any negotiations needed; it's now procedural, they have
agreed to everything ... its now really procedure that the Zimbabweans
themselves have to sort out," Pahad said.
He said President Thabo Mbeki would continue to mediate between the parties
to solve the outstanding procedural issues.
Pahad was briefing reporters on a report Mbeki gave to Southern African
Development (SADC) leaders on the fringes of the African Union Summit in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.
Mbeki said that President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and factions of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have completed negotiations
on all substantive matters related to the political situation in the
SADC on Tuesday lauded Mbeki's mediation efforts.
According to a statement issued by the SADC Secretariat, the two parties had
reached agreement on all substantive matters relating to the political
situation in Zimbabwe, which the ruling party and the opposition had placed
on their negotiations agenda.
"Summit congratulated and thanked the SADC facilitator President Mbeki and
his facilitation team, for the role they had played in helping to achieve
this outcome and asked President Mbeki to continue in his role as
facilitator on Zimbabwe, to help the Zimbabwe parties to conclude the
outstanding 'procedural' matter of the enactment of the agreed draft
Constitution," the statement said.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 02/06/2008 00:01:31
AIR Zimbabwe has warned of flight disruptions for the next three weeks
blamed on Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis that is affecting operations.
In a press statement, Air Zimbabwe group Chief Executive Officer Peter
Chikumba said the disruptions and flight cancellations started on January
“The flight changes and flight cancellations are attributed to JET A fuel,
equipment constrains and crew shortages. The airline would like to reassure
the traveling public that this is a temporary setback and expects the
schedule to normalise within the next six weeks,” Chikumba said.
“All affected passengers will be notified of changes to their itineraries
through our sales offices or their travel agents.”
Both domestic, regional and international flights will be affected.
Air Zimbabwe has made proposals to the government, seeking to be allowed to
charge fares in foreign currency. The airline says 70 percent of its
outgoings are paid in foreign currency, and accepting fares in the unstable
local currency means the airline cannot meet its debts.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications
chaired by Zanu PF legislator Leo Mugabe (Makonde) has supported the idea.
The committee established that the national airline has been facing serious
viability problems caused mainly by inadequate resources, in particular the
mismatch between revenue and expenditure, it said in a report seen on
The report added: “The airline has been charging fares for regional and
international routes in local currency, whilst other airlines charge for the
same in foreign currency."
Bulawayo Morning Mirror
1. A person in South Africa has to invite you.
They have to go to home Affairs office and get a form to fill in with their
This is then taken to a Police Station to be certified as a true statement.
The details on this form may include a copy of their bank account to prove
support your stay!!
2. You then put that form along with a letter of invitation along with the
following to the
South African Embassy in Harare (takes 1 week to 10 days to process) Cost of
Harare return at the moment 15 million.
a) Police clearance (This take 2 weeks and is a whole different exercise on
b) 2 passport photographs
c) Your ORIGINAL long birth certificate. Or a certified copy by the Lawyers.
d) R2000 travellers cheques the real ones! Which will cost you R2000 and
million (at today's costs)
4 February 2008
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) notes the announcement made by
the Registrar General’s office concerning the opening of inspection of the
voters’ roll from 1 to 7 February 2008. ZESN is seriously concerned that the
time allocated for the inspection of the voters’ roll is far too short
considering that there are new constituencies and wards countrywide.
ZESN believes that this time is inadequate and proposes that it be extended
to at least three weeks. ZESN is also deeply concerned that the inspection
of the voters’ roll that started today was only announced in the print
media. Prior to commencing the exercise it has not been adequately
publicized. This might result in most prospective voters not being able to
participate in this crucial exercise. ZESN believes that advertisements in
the print media are not an appropriate and sufficient medium of
communication of this strategic component of the electoral process. This is
especially so when considering that a large number of Zimbabweans live in
remote areas where they have little, if any, access to newspapers or are too
poor to afford them. It is evident that not all eligible voters will get the
opportunity to inspect and register if the exercise is to be ‘fast-tracked’,
as projected in the announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections recognise
the importance of full participation of citizens in the political process.
It is with this in mind that ZESN calls on the ZEC to ensure that all
eligible Zimbabweans are registered as voters and are aware of their
respective new wards and constituencies.
ZESN believes that voter registration processes in particular, inspection
should not be a cosmetic exercise but should be a meaningful and
all-inclusive electoral process in order that it may amply serve its purpose
in the conduct of fair elections. In order for the country to hold truly
democratic, free and fair elections it is necessary for these processes to
be taken seriously and accorded ample time so as to ensure that an up to
date voters’ roll is compiled.
ZESN calls ZEC to immediately launch a massive education campaign on the
need to inspect the voters’ roll and reiterates on the need to extend the
inspection of the voters’ roll.
ZESN, also still calls on all Zimbabweans to go out in their numbers to
inspect the voters’ roll and ensure that they know their constituencies and
ward so that they may be able to exercise their right to vote in the 2008
harmonised elections. End//
PROMOTING DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE
February 05 2008 at 04:39PM
Farm communities have not changed their sexual behaviour and are
contributing greatly to HIV and Aids prevalence in Zimbabwe, the Herald
newspaper reported on Tuesday.
This was according to Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David
Parirenyatwa who said settlers in farming areas were scuttling government
efforts to reduce the HIV prevalence rate.
He was addressing a gathering at Mahume Business Centre in Murehwa at
belated provincial World Aids Day commemorations at the weekend.
World Aids Day is commemorated annually on December 1.
"Sexual behaviour of people on farms is very worrying. Both men and
women exchange partners within the same compound regardless of the fact that
the new partner's spouse would have succumbed to Aids," Parirenyatwa said.
He urged communities to delay engaging in sex to attain an Aids-free
In an interview with the Herald, Mebras Zengeya of Mahume Primary
School said throughout the year, women, especially widows, and orphans of
different ages sell fruits along the Harare-Nyamapanda Road trying to make a
But they exposed themselves to HIV and Aids by selling sex to haulage
truck drivers who use the road, he told the Herald. - Sapa
05 Feb 2008 09:22:00 GMT
Source: Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - International
Although basic health care is granted to all in South Africa, including
undocumented migrants, lack of information and fear of arrest and
deportation hinders Zimbabwean migrants' access to health care.
Johannesburg - Following the raid at the Central Methodist Church in
Johannesburg, the international humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF) is extremely concerned about the health conditions of
Zimbabwean migrants living in South Africa.
MSF believes that the raid and detention conditions experienced by the
Zimbabwean migrants will further jeopardize their mental and physical
"The South African constitution guarantees access to health care services to
all those who live in the country. However, devastating operations like the
recent raid at the Methodist Church undermine Zimbabwean migrants' access to
health services," said Sharon Ekambaram, MSF's General Director in South
The morning after the raid and detention of approximately 300 migrants,
after persistent negotiation, an MSF team had access to the detainees taken
to John Vorster Police Station and was able to assess their health
"Some had suspected fractured ribs and possible lung contusions after
receiving blows," said MSF nurse Bianca Tollboom. "Others were under HIV or
tuberculosis treatment and didn't get the amount of food required to take
their medications. We left medicines for some patients, but the police
officers failed to give them the drugs, although they had promised to do
Despite MSF's repeated requests for patients in need of referral to be
immediately taken to hospital, patients remained incarcerated.
The team also identified signs of deterioration of the mental health of
"The cells were overcrowded, the detainees were scared and hungry. They were
being shouted at and verbally abused. They felt humiliated, were crying and
some were in a state of panic," said Tolboom.
"These actions increase the state of stress and fear of this already
vulnerable population and might prevent them from seeking health care,"
Since December 2007, MSF has been providing access to health care to
migrants living at the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg and in the
Musina area in Limpopo, and facilitating their access to health structures.
Although basic health care is granted to all in South Africa, including
undocumented migrants, lack of information and fear of arrest and
deportation hinders Zimbabwean migrants' access to health care.
The Sun, UK
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
By STAFF REPORTER
THE wife of British mercenary Simon Mann said today that the African nation
holding her husband had refused to give any undertakings about how her
husband would be treated.
A tearful Amanda Mann was at the House of Lords where oil-rich Equatorial
Guinea is asking a panel of Law Lords to allow a damages action against the
alleged instigators of a failed coup attempt.
Her husband, alleged to be the man who plotted the coup, is now believed to
be in the notorious Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea after the
Zimbabwean authorities secretly deported him at the weekend.
Mrs Mann, 41, attended the House of Lords hearing where Equatorial Guinea is
represented by its Attorney General Jose Olo Obono in the hope of hearing
news of the husband she has not seen since he was arrested in Zimbabwe in
She said: “I believe that the government of Equatorial Guinea has conspired
with elements of the Mugabe regime to have my husband kidnapped with
complete disregard for his legal and human rights.
“I fail entirely to understand how such a government, which has no regard
for human rights or for the rule of law, can have the audacity to seek the
assistance of the British legal system.
“And this morning the Law Lords were told that the Attorney General of
Equatorial Guinea, Mr Jose Olo Obono, had refused to give us undertakings
about how Simon would be treated.”
Mr Mann, the old Etonian son of a former England cricket captain, is accused
of planning a failed coup against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the
dictator of Equatorial Guinea.
The 55-year-old Briton served in the SAS before moving to South Africa and
was arrested at Harare airport when his plane touched down with 67 mainly
black former soldiers to pick up weapons.
They were charged with illegally buying arms and he was sentenced to seven
years, reduced to four.
On Mann’s release last year, he was re-arrested on an extradition warrant
from Equatorial Guinea.
His lawyers claim that his deportation was a “criminal conspiracy” on the
part of the Zimbabwean authorities.
Mann made frantic efforts to avoid extradition to the West African state but
in the end was extradited after his lawyers claimed the Zimbabwean judicial
system thwarted plans to file a further appeal to the Supreme Court.
Mann insists that the group arrested at Harare airport, all former South
African soldiers, were heading for the Democratic Republic of Congo where
they would have guarded a mine.
The Nation (Nairobi)
5 February 2008
Posted to the web 5 February 2008
The Zimbabwe government has started repossessing productive commercial farms
that were parcelled out to new black farmers during the country's disastrous
land reform programme less than eight years ago.
President Robert Mugabe's government has been forced to make the major
policy reversal to arrest declining agriculture output, which has seen the
southern African country falling from being an exporter of food to a net
Critics say most of the beneficiaries were government officials and ruling
Zanu PF supporters who had no knowledge of farming and were only holding the
land for speculative reasons.
Told state media
Mr Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of Lands and Land Reform told the state
media that so far 1,449 subdivided commercial farms had been repossessed.
"Government is repossessing all vacant and unutilized farms and we are not
going back on this exercise," Mr Mutasa said. "We will withdraw the offers
and allocate the farms to new deserving applicants."
He said an audit of the farms that were seized from the former white
commercial farmers carried out last year indicated that most of the
beneficiaries were not productive.
Agriculture experts say Zimbabwe's agriculture industry has declined by more
than 70 per cent since Mr Mugabe's government seized 4,000 white owned farms
and distributed them to landless blacks.
Tue 5 Feb 2008, 14:49 GMT
By Mabvuto Banda
LILONGWE, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Malawi has started rationing the sale of maize
across the country following a report in parliament that the country's maize
stocks are dwindling, authorities said on Tuesday.
The southern African nation harvested 3.1 million tonnes of maize in the
last planting season -- its biggest in 10 years. The government exported
400,000 tonnes to hunger stricken Zimbabwe.
Dzoole Mwale, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, told
Reuters in an interview that the rationing came after an assessment found
that most government markets either had a shortage or were running out of
Government buys and sells maize through the Agriculture Development and
Marketing Corporation (Admarc)
"We found serious maize shortages in Admarc markets in most parts of the
country and this has created serious problems especially in the urban areas
where people rely on buying maize from Admarc to feed their families," Mwale
"But we are happy that government has moved in quickly and started rationing
the sales to make sure that everyone has a share," Mwale said.
Mwale said the committee would meet on Friday to discuss among other things,
whether the maize shortage was linked to exports to neighbouring Zimbabwe.
People said Admarc was only allowing people to buy not more than 25 kg of
maize a month.
"I have eight children and a 25 kg bag is not enough to feed my family for
the whole month," said Esnart Phiri, among scores of people waiting for
maize at Lilongwe's Area 25 Admarc market.
Admarc said the rationing was temporal and the country had enough stocks to
last a year.
Most parts of Malawi usually start having maize shortages between December
and March of each year when most households have exhausted their previous
harvest and wait for the next.
U.N. agencies in the country estimate that a million or more people may need
food aid as floods continue destroying crop fields in 14 districts. About
72,000 people have been left homeless and six killed by flooding. (Editing
by Phumza Macanda and Michael Roddy)