February 7, 2008
Jan Raath in Harare
The emergence of a new rival to President Mugabe, challenging him for the
presidency from within the ruling party's own ranks, has been greeted by
Zimbabwe's media with more than the usual bile reserved for the 83-year-old
The state-controlled daily newspaper, The Herald, said yesterday that the
announcement by Simba Makoni, a politburo member, that he would be standing
for president in elections on March 29 was less than the “bombshell”
described by most mainstream media. It was “the loud fart all silently agree
never happened,” it said, quoting from Dambudzo Marechera, the late
State radio reported the unexpected challenge within hours of Mr Makoni's
statement, but then said that the presence at his press conference of
officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and one each
from the British and American embassies “raises suspicion of a hidden hand”.
Yesterday The Herald was more direct, saying that the diplomats were “linked
to to the formation of a new party aimed at unseating the ruling Zanu (PF)
government and President Mugabe.”
The language has been used continuously over the last eight years to
discredit Morgan Tsvangirai, the founder of the now-divided opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, claiming that Britain and America have
installed him as the opposition leader and charged him with causing mayhem
to overthrow the Government.
Mr Makoni “has been sent to do someone's dirty work,” The Herald said.
“Simba has just subscribed to megaphone politics by giving a black face to
the voices from the White House and Whitehall.”
SW Radio Africa (London)
6 February 2008
Posted to the web 6 February 2008
Newly announced presidential candidate Simba Makoni had a taste of his own
party's medicine Wednesday when the state machinery against him kicked into
Not only was he expelled from Zanu PF but both the government owned media
and war veterans took turns slagging him off. A few hundred war veterans
demonstrated at the Zanu PF headquarters with deputy leader Joseph
Chinotimba warning Makoni against showing up at the building. He called on
war vets to take control of the headquarters declaring that Makoni and his
followers are now barred from entering the premises; 'We are now going to
campaign vigorously for President Mugabe. I feel sorry for Makoni, ayirasa
(he's lost it). From today to the nomination date we will have finished with
them. Mupanduki kana achinge apanduka anoziva zvinoita Zanu-PF (a sell out
will know how Zanu PF deals with them).'
Mugabe has traditionally used the war vets as a paramilitary force to
intimidate or beat up his opponents and on cue Chinotimba has fired the
warning shots. He said Makoni could not stand as a Zanu PF candidate and
should form his own party. He also accused the former SADC executive
secretary of being used by the West, alleging; 'We know them all, it is not
Makoni alone. We were waiting for them to come out in the open.' The war
vets demanded to know Makoni's status within the party and Zanu PF secretary
for legal affairs, Emerson Mnangagwa seemed to confirm the inevitable. 'He
has expelled himself from the party, he was not expelled by anyone but
himself. That is the position according to the rules of the party. So yes,
indeed, he is expelled from the party,' Mnangagwa told journalists.
A Herald story on Makoni's announcement was eager to link the challenge from
the former finance minister with sponsorship from the British, Swedish and
American governments. They accused the three countries of working with the
MDC to effect regime change and that Makoni was now part of the plot. Some
analysts however say Mugabe's regime has been shaken to its foundation and
the extension of the nomination deadline from the 8th to the 15th February
was now an attempt at weeding out Makoni supporters, who may be running for
parliament. Not lost on the minds of many Zimbabweans is still the
possibility of the entire charade being a plot to split opposition votes in
the urban areas. A private meeting between Mugabe and Makoni two weeks ago
remains a source of suspicion.
The MDC has meanwhile welcomed Makoni's decision. Tsvangirai party spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said, '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 country.' Gabriel Chaibva from the Mutambara camp
said, 'We welcome any Zimbabwean committed to fighting the dictatorship of
Mugabe. Zimbabweans strive to see our country rising again," he said.
Daily Mail, UK
By STEPHEN BEVAN and ROBERT YOUNG PELTON
Last updated at 00:12am on 7th February 2008
The mercenary leader and former SAS commando was spirited to the central
African nation from his Zimbabwean jail cell last week, where he now stands
accused of planning a failed coup against the oil-rich country's president.
Unshaven and in drab prison uniform, the old Etonian son of a former England
cricket captain, was last night shown on the nation's state-run television.
Despite being surrounded by guards armed with machine guns, the 55-year-old
Briton looked calmed and composed.
Earlier he told for the first time how he was beaten and dragged from his
prison cell Zimbabwe before being flown to Equatorial Guinea in the dead of
Mann is accused of planning a failed coup against President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema, the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, Africa's third biggest oil
Following a successful military career, Mann moved to South Africa and was
arrested at Harare airport in Zimbabwe in March 2004 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 where he faces years in a cramped jail in appalling
The friend of Mark Thatcher, has already warned of the consequences of his
transfer to a prison cell to a country with one of Africa's worst human
rights records, saying: "If I go there, consider me dead."
Mann insists the group arrested at Harare airport were heading for the
Democratic Republic of Congo where they would have guarded a mine.
Since the alleged plot was uncovered, Mr Nguema has become an ally of
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, supplying Harare's cash-strapped regime with
Mann yesterday told for the first time how he was dragged from his prison
cell in Zimbabwe and secreted to Equatorial Guinea in the dead of night.
The alleged coup mastermind claimed he was beaten and shackled by Mugabe's
police as they dragged him away. He said he was so disorientated by the move
he did not even know what day it had happened.
The security expert is now housed in the 'executive wing' of Equatorial
Guinea's infamous Black Beach prison where he said conditions were not too
In the past, the country's despotic leader Teodoro Obiang has been accused
of torture, corruption and even cannibalism.
Yesterday Mann was dressed in a clean grey prison all-in-one prison uniform
and slippers and was allowed a visit from the American Ambassador.
He appeared "healthy and in good spirits".
But his requests to see a lawyer have so far been refused and British
officials who have travelled to the capital Malabo from Nigeria were last
night unable to see him.
His extradition Zimbabwe came hours before his lawyer was due to lodge an
appeal. He had not been seen or heard from since.
Earlier this week, his wife, Amanda, 41, accused Obiang's government of
having "conspired with elements of the Mugabe regime to have my husband
kidnapped with complete disregard for his legal and human rights".
Yesterday however, American Ambassador Donald Johnson was allowed to visit
him at Black Beach prison where he has been held since Saturday.
It is understood Mr Johnson has since spoken to Mrs Mann to assure her he is
well and is not being mistreated.
Although Mann is said to have complained that he was roughly treated during
his extradition from Zimbabwe, where he had served three years for fire arms
offences related to the coup plot, he told the Ambassador he had not been
beaten since arriving in Equatorial Guinea.
According to sources in Equatorial Guinea, Mann has his own cell in what is
described as the "executive wing" of the prison, where those with money
enjoy better facilities.
They said: "I wouldn't say he was completely comfortable and obviously he's
not happy to be in prison but he appeared relatively relaxed.
"He was happy to be clean and he said the facilities were completely
But Mann did complain about being mistreated by the Zimbabwean authorities.
If found guilty of treason in Equatorial Guinea, Mann faces a lengthy
sentence in Black Beach, where ex-prisoners report being confined ten or
more to a cell and routinely tortured and starved.
The government, however, insists such stories are in the past and points out
that prison was rebuilt a year and half ago.
Last night a spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "A consular team from
Lagos has travelled to Equatorial Guinea and continue to seek access to
Simon Mann. He has been visited by the US Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of
Mission and they can confirm he is well."
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 20:46
HARARE - Even before the nomination court has sat, President Robert Mugabe,
has said he will not concede electoral defeat to the MDC at next month's
This renders the whole electoral process irrelevant and is tantamount to a
Mugabe, whose government resembles a military junta rather than a civilian
administration, reportedly told the SADC troika last week that a win by the
opposition would, in effect, be the re-colonization of Zimbabwe, and he
would not countenance that.
His campaign theme is "Zimbabwe will never be a colony again".
Shocked diplomats told The Zimbabwean that Mugabe informed the SADC troika
on Politics, Defence and Security at the recent African Union summit that he
would accept any result "except the re-colonisation of Zimbabwe".
With the economy falling down about his ears, the Zanu (PF) leader faces a
stiff challenge from the MDC to his 28-year rule.
Since its formation 1999, Mugabe has routinely accused the MDC of being a
British puppet. He now says an electoral win by the opposition party would
be akin to allowing British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to rule Zimbabwe by
This outrageous statement makes a mockery of more than nine months of
negotiations between his ruling Zanu (PF) and the two formations of the MDC.
SA President Thabo Mbeki, reportedly painted a rosy picture of the collapsed
talks at the SADC meeting. He insisted that there was "significant progress"
before Mugabe unilaterally proclaimed March 29 as a date for the elections,
and refused to implement the new constitution agreed at the talks.
Responding to queries that the opposition would have wanted the vote put off
until June to allow time for political reforms, Mugabe reportedly launched
into a furious tirade and said he would not allow the opposition to set the
agenda in "my Zimbabwe", according to our diplomat source.
Xolela Mangcu, a respected South African political analyst and author, said
this week he suspected Mugabe's use of the term "recolonisation of Zimbabwe"
was merely a euphemism for referring to the possibility of an MDC win.
"I am not surprised any longer by whatever Mugabe does," Mangcu said. "He
has always treated Zimbabwe as his personal fiefdom. The slur is a
demonstration of the failure of Mbeki to persuade Mugabe to behave
Ronald Shumba, a Harare-based political commentator, said it was not up to
Mugabe to decide whose candidacy was valid
"If the MDC wins, that should be the end of the story. It's not up to
Mugabe, who himself is an interested party to judge the credibility and
authenticity of another would-be president," Shumba told The Zimbabwean.
"The matter lies exclusively on the sovereign domain and competence of the
Zimbabwean people," he added.
by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 07 February 2008
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday cancelled a scheduled meeting
of his ruling ZANU PF party’s inner politburo cabinet, which had been
expected to tackle an internal rebellion fronted by former finance minister
Authoritative sources told ZimOnline that ZANU PF secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa, who is close to Mugabe, informed politburo
members that the powerful committee would meet next Wednesday. Politburo
meetings are normally held every Wednesday.
“We were supposed to attend a politburo meeting today (Wednesday) but the
office of the party administrator said it has been moved to next week. No
reasons were given,” said a source, who is a member of the politburo.
Mutasa refused to discuss the matter with the Press. “That is not for
journalists. Why do you want to know?” he said curtly before switching off
A dark cloud has engulfed ZANU PF since Makoni’s shock announcement on
Tuesday that he will stand against Mugabe in next month’s election, in what
has been labelled the biggest rebellion against the Zimbabwean leader in
A mood of fear has gripped the party amid rumours of plots, conspiracies and
counter-conspiracies after Makoni clearly stated that he was not working
alone but with like-minded people in the party.
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.
However, several more big names are being linked to Makoni’s rebellion.
ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday told state
radio that Makoni had automatically expelled himself from the ruling party
by standing in the presidential race against the party candidate, Mugabe.
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 have effectively smothered 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. – ZimOnline
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 07 February 2008
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition on Wednesday said the country’s political
crisis was far from over and described as dishonest claims by South Africa
that negotiations between the opposition and President Robert Mugabe’s
ruling ZANU PF party were no longer necessary.
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the main faction of the divided opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, said a statement by South
African deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad that the Zimbabwean
dialogue was concluded and that only procedural matters remained to be
sorted out was unfortunate.
South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki was facilitating talks between ZANU PF
and the MDC with the backing of the Southern African Development Community
"If he (Pahad) said that, I am shocked," Biti said. "He is aware that the
parties to the talks have not signed an agreement. He is aware that we
reached a deadlock on the timing of the elections and he is also aware that
there is no agreement on the need for a new constitution before the
Biti said his party had in fact written to SADC to formally inform the
regional bloc that talks with ZANU PF had collapsed. The body that has been
pushing for a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis
is yet to respond to the MDC.
A key objective of talks was to ensure Zimbabwe’s council, parliamentary and
presidential elections next month are truly free and fair. The talks hit
deadlock after Mugabe refused to implement a draft constitution agreed by
negotiators and which the MDC believed would guarantee fair polls.
Pahad earlier this week told journalists in Pretoria that negotiations were
no longer necessary in Zimbabwe because the MDC and ZANU PF had “agreed to
He said Mbeki would continue his mediation role but said this was really
only to help the Zimbabweans tie up the remaining procedural matters because
all substantive issues had been concluded.
Mbeki is also reported to have told SADC leaders on the sidelines of the
African Union summit in Ethiopia last week that agreement had been reached
on all substantive matters pertaining Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
However, Biti said Zimbabwe remained in political crisis, adding that MDC
supporters continued to be subjected to politically motivated violence
contrary to the spirit of the dialogue.
He said: "The Zimbabwe question still remains. There is a crisis in Zimbabwe
of governance and leadership . . . we are also concerned about the
deteriorating political environment where our members and supporters are
daily assaulted and tortured."
ZANU PF chief representative to the talks Patrick Chinamasa was not
immediately available for comment on the matter. Welshman Ncube, secretary
general of the other faction of the MDC was also not available.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic recession – blamed on
repression and wrong policies by Mugabe – and seen in hyperinflation, a
rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a country not at war according to
the World Bank and shortages of every essential commodity.
Analysts say free and fair polls in March are a prerequisite to any plans to
resuscitate the southern African country’s once brilliant economy. -
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 19:48
'The only way to demonstrate the illegitimate nature of the regime
would be to contest every seat and make sure Zanu (PF) has to rig massively
to get a result in its favour'
'The vote was carried unanimously, there were no dissenting voices'
'The decision was received favourably across the country'
After nine months of negotiation under the auspices of SADC, the MDC
was finally forced to make decisions as to what to do about the whole
electoral process this weekend. Two sets of negotiation had been going on in
parallel - talks with Zanu (PF) under the facilitation of the South African
government and talks with the Mutambara faction of the MDC in the hope that
the party might be reunified to fight the next election.
In the first process we had in fact made huge progress. 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
they were implemented. Mugabe, who all along had been negotiating under
duress, was eventually faced with the decision - allow these reforms through
and face defeat or just tell his South African and SADC colleagues that they
were asking too much - he decided on the latter.
Mbeki was forced to use his last option - to confront Mugabe's refusal
to implement the deal negotiated at such expense and time at a meeting of
SADC Heads of State. 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 - such a decision could only be taken on a
consensual basis and four against censure and eight in favour was just not
So when the MDC leadership gathered in Harare last weekend to consider
the question of fighting the next election, it was against the background of
a failed mediation effort by Mbeki. In addition to this setback, we faced
the reality that despite the reforms already adopted and passed through
Parliament with our assistance, the regime in Harare was maintaining its
barrage of anti democratic policies against the MDC.
Marches and rallies were being banned, there is no sign of any reform
in the media and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is 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.
The debate in the National Executive and then the Council was short
and when the vote came to participate it was carried unanimously, there were
no dissenting voices. In answer to those who claim that by running we are
going to legitimize a rigged election, the President stated that to the
contrary, the only way to demonstrate the illegitimate nature of the regime
would be to contest every seat and make sure that they have to rig massively
to get a result in their favour.
So now we have five days to put up nearly 2000 candidates under the
MDC banner. That is no small task and it's just as well we anticipated this
decision and are far down the road on this one. I do not think we will get a
candidate into every Rural District Council seat but we will contest every
Urban Council seat and every Parliamentary and Senatorial seat, plus the
In addition, we had been talking to the other faction of the MDC for
over a year. Initially they had wanted an "amicable divorce" but insisted on
continuing to use the MDC name and symbols and we said that if they wanted
to do so, then unity was the only route we would accept.
We have since negotiated a full reunification agreement and when the
election was announced, it was decided to translate that into an electoral
pact that would take us past the elections and then going onto a Congress
where the unification process would be completed. But the devil is always in
the detail and when the MDC leadership was presented with the suggested list
in terms of allocated seats, the whole deal fell apart.
It is now generally accepted that the group led by Mutambara is the
smaller group, the crucial question is how much smaller? Obviously we feel
that it is very much the junior player while they (understandably) do not
agree. Had they accepted the selection of candidates by a democratic system
there would have been no real argument - the decision as to who stood where
would be left to the Party structures in the electoral districts concerned.
However the Mutambara group feared that such a process would decimate their
representation and refused to go down that path.
In the end we resolved to adopt the unity agreement with one or two
minor amendments but to go back to the Mutambara group with a revised
allocation of seats - one that our leadership felt was more realistic. The
Mutambara group rejected this out of hand and we mutually decided to go it
alone. Although I had anticipated this outcome, I was astonished by the
reaction - not only in the MDC itself but nationally. The decision was
received favourably across the country.
So now - for better or worse, we will fight this election - the
Tsvangirai-led MDC joined by Zanu Ndonga will fight all seats and the
Mutambara group will put up as many candidates as they can and run against
us. There will be other Parties in the game - I know of 5 so far, perhaps
with more to come, but in essence it will be the three-way scrap between
Zanu (PF) and the two MDC groups that will receive most attention. Only the
main wing of the MDC offers the chance of regime change and this puts all
others at a severe disadvantage, and they know it. There was a profound
sense of gloom at the hotel where the Mutambara group was caucusing
yesterday in Harare.
by Simplicious Chirinda Thursday 07 February 2008
HARARE – The Zimbabwean lawyer of British mercenary Simon Mann said he
was preparing to appeal to the Supreme Court to order immigration
authorities to bring back his client from Equatorial Guinea where they
deported him last week.
The lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said he was only waiting for formal
confirmation that Mann was indeed in Equatorial Guinea before launching his
“We have requested for information confirming that indeed Mann
arrived in Equatorial Guinea and once we have that we will proceed by
formally asking the government to bring him back through the courts,”
Samkange told ZimOnline.
Mann, a former member of Britain’s Special Air Service, was deported
last Wednesday night, just hours after the High Court ruled that he could be
extradited to the west African country.
He faces treason charges in Equatorial Guinea after he allegedly
plotted to overthrow that country’s President Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
But his lawyers argue that his deportation was not in accordance with
the law especially because authorities in Harare were aware Mann was due to
launch a court appeal against the High Court order authorising his
The Briton’s lawyers have also argued that it was wrong to send him to
Equatorial Guinea because he faced torture there and was unlikely to receive
a fair trial because his case was political.
Mann was convicted in 2004 after he was arrested at Harare
International airport as he met a plane that carried over 68 mercenaries who
were suspected to be on their way to Equatorial Guinea to overthrow its
He was convicted of trying to buy weapons without a licence as part of
the plot against Obiang.
He was briefly released in May last year after serving a four-year
sentence but was soon re-arrested on an immigration warrant while he awaited
deportation. - ZimOnline
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
By Jonga Kandemiiri
06 February 2008
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Wednesday that district
education officials in company with suspected state security agents have
been visiting schools and demanding the names of union members who are on
The union said it has received reports of such intimidation from Mashonaland
East, Mashonaland Central, Harare, Gweru, Masvingo and Matabeleland.
PTUZ members and some other teachers are in the third week of a strike
backing their demand for a monthly entry-level salary of Z$1.7 billion,
about US$280. Union officials said about 80% of public schools in the
country have been affected.
PTUZ National Coordinator Oswald Madziwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that
the union will take legal action to protect its striking members from such