The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

City councillors condemn destruction of maize in Harare

By Alex Bell
12 January 2011

The MDC has lashed out at orders to destroy maize in Harare, with city
councillors distancing themselves from the ‘barbaric’ act.

Councillors held an emergency caucus meeting on Tuesday at Harvest House
after the slashing of maize crops in the city. The city officials said in an
MDC statement that they “dissociate themselves and condemn the ongoing
barbaric destruction of the staple maize crop in the high density areas of
the city.” The officials added that the Harare Council “has never made such
a resolution.”

“The MDC is a pro-poor political party and is fully behind all livelihood
support programmes among them urban agriculture,” the MDC statement read.

The instruction to destroy maize is believed to have come from the mainly
ZANU PF loyal police, in what the MDC suspects is an attempt to taint their
image in the Capital. According to the MDC statement, the instruction was
given to a Mr. Mutisi who works in the Housing Department as a manager in
the grass cutting section.

“Mutisi went on to implement the directive without any consultations,” the
MDC statement read.

The statement continued that “it is frightening to contemplate how the
police would give directives straight to council employees.”

“The MDC has always known that some council employees are partisan and are
working in cahoots with ZANU PF’s Ignatius Chombo and other securocrats to
ensure perpetual suffering of the Zimbabwean population,” the statement

The Harare Council has recommended that action be taken against the
implicated council employee, Mutisi.

“Council would like to warn the partisan Minister of Local Government never
to protect employees with satanic tendencies as he has done in other local
authorities,” the MDC statement added.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police in renewed crackdown against MDC officials

Tichaona Sibanda
12 January 2011

Police have in the last week intensified their crackdown on MDC officials
and activists, amid fears it may be the beginning of a new wave of political
arrests and harassment this year.

The partisan police force’s unwillingness to tolerate any ‘real change’ was
starkly illustrated in recent days, when several key figures in the MDC were
picked up by the police for holding consultative meetings

Analysts told SW Radio Africa that the security services are clearly
renewing their efforts to destroy the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai. The MDC-T was elected to rule the country two years ago, but
they were never allowed to govern, mainly because of the Robert Mugabe loyal
military junta.

Charles Rapozo, the MDC-T’s director for elections in Dangamvura in Mutare,
was arrested on Monday from his home for allegedly holding a caucus meeting
without notifying the police.

There were eight other party officials in his house but he was the only one
who was led away. Rapozo, though, suspects a disgruntled member of the party
tipped off the police about the meeting.

“Without beating about the bush, we have a member called Boniface Gweru, who
is working in cohorts with the police to undermine the party in Mutare. Even
the police who arrested me let it be known that he was behind my
incarceration,” Rapozo said.

Rapozo appeared in court in Mutare on Wednesday and was charged with
contravening the Public Order and Secuirty Act (POSA), by holding a meeting
without police clearance. He was asked to pay bail of $60 and was released
from custody.

“My arrest is nothing but political. You don’t need permission to have a
caucus meeting in a house. I could tell what the police wanted was
intelligence about our strategy for the upcoming party congress due in May,”
Rapozo said.

Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC-T spokesman for Manicaland told SW Radio Africa
that they were disturbed by reports that “certain individuals” within the
party were working with “enemies of the party” for selfish interests.

“We are investigating the allegations, and if it is a case of infiltration
then we will deal with the issue once and for all,” Muchauraya said.

In Masvingo, south district secretary, Elson Mutonhori was abducted at
gunpoint by a Major Toperesu of the army from his Renco Mine home on
Saturday. He was assaulted for allegedly wearing a party t-shirt. But police
in Renco refused to open a docket arguing that the matter was too political
for them to be involved.

“Surprisingly, the same police station, which refused to take Mutonhori’s
statements, hastily opened a docket for Reason Mujaka, the MDC ward 24 youth
chairperson, whose father was allegedly assaulted by a war vet for attending
an MDC meeting,” a statement from the MDC said on Wednesday.

The statement urges people to resist the intimidation antics of ZANU PF,
saying Zimbabweans proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they are able to
reclaim their position as a peaceful nation in March 2008.

“The MDC feels vindicated in its calls for the cessation of all abuses and
intimidation as the nation prepares to go for elections this year,” the
statement added.

Meanwhile four councillors and five MDC youths who were arrested in Victoria
Falls are still in police custody. Police officers working on the case have
said they are waiting for their boss, a superintendent based in Hwange, to
inform them on how to handle the matter.

Paulos Chilewede, councillor for ward 5 in the resort town was arrested last
week on Thursday. The other three councillors, Bernard Nyamande of ward 1,
Nkululeko Nyoni, ward 9, Taruvinga Makoti, ward 10 and the five youths were
arrested on Sunday.

They are being detained at the Victoria Falls Police Station. The nine are
facing charges of disrupting a public council meeting at the Victoria Falls
Community Hall last week. But they all deny the charges.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA says Zim deportations to resume in August

By Alex Bell
12 January 2011

South African authorities have extended its moratorium on Zimbabwean
deportations until August, to allow more time to process permit applications
made last year.

Officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and civil society groups had a
meeting on Wednesday, as part of ongoing efforts to successfully and
smoothly complete the Zimbabwe Documentation Project. The project was
launched last year when the South African government announced it was ending
its deportation moratorium, which has been place since 2009.

Zim nationals were awarded the brief opportunity to try and regularise their
stay in the country to avoid future deportation, by applying for relevant
work or study permits. That window slammed shut on December 31st last year,
with only an estimated 270 000 applications submitted.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Ministry had originally said this year that
deportations would resume at the end of March. But on Wednesday, Home
Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni told the civil society meeting that
the moratorium will be extended until August.

Gabriel Shumba from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) told SW Radio Africa on
Wednesday that they are “overjoyed by this news, saying it is “another show
of South Africa’s ability to appreciate the plight of Zimbabweans in this
country.” Shumba explained that the meeting also looked at the plan to
process all the applications made last year, including how to deal with the
Zimbabwean government’s lack of capacity to produce passports on time.

“The South African government indicated that its open offer to Zimbabwe
still stands and that if Zimbabwe needs assistance in producing passports,
South Africa will assist in any way that it can,” Shumba said. “We once more
appeal to the Zimbabwean Government to consider this offer as it will assist
our people in South Africa.”

The Zimbabwean authorities last year admitted it could not produce enough
passports to meet the sudden demand, with Zim nationals needing to submit
passports when they applied for South African permits. However, instead of
accepting South Africa’s offer of help, authorities turned them down,
leaving thousands of Zimbabweans without documents. South Africa was
eventually forced to accept permit applications with just receipts that a
passport application had been made. It’s understood that about 100 000 of
the applicants still don’t have passports.

Shumba meanwhile continued that one of the issues that must still be tackled
is the illegal actions of some members of the South African Police Service,
after a number of Zimbabweans were arrested recently and threatened with
deportation. Shumba said that there are “still elements in the police and
even in Home Affairs who are corrupt and feel that their source of income is
drying up.”

“These people are responsible for Zimbabweans being arrested and asking for
bribes or other forms of payment. They want to resume their nefarious
activities as soon as possible,” Shumba said.

At the same time, Director General Apleni emphasised new applications are
not being accepted, and added that those Zimbabweans who have not taken
advantage of the amnesty to surrender fraudulently obtained South African
documents “will now face the wrath of the law.” The DG also reiterated that
“the interest of Government is not to deport people; the objective is
instead to bring back dignity to Zimbabweans in our country.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War vet Sibanda threatens 2000 at Masvingo rally

By Tererai Karimakwenda
12 January 2011

Self proclaimed war vet leader, Jabulani Sibanda, is reported to have
brought his language of hate and political threats to the town of Triangle
in Masvingo over the weekend. According to the Crisis Coalition, Sibanda and
his thugs forced about 2,000 people to attend a rally at Gibbo Stadium on
Sunday, and threatened them with violence and death if they supported the
MDC in the next election.

The Crisis Coalition said Sibanda compared his campaign to “the biblical
story of Jesus cleansing the temple in Jerusalem,” after discovering it had
become “a market for thieves.” He reportedly told the forced audience that
he is “on a mission to restore order in Zimbabwe.”

There have been concerted efforts by the MDC and non-governmental
organisations to have Sibanda investigated and arrested for the violent acts
that he has committed, especially in Zaka, Bikita, Jerera and Chiredzi.

But according to the Crisis Coalition spokesperson Philip Pasirayi, the
police have not investigated the alleged acts and the war vet has continued
his campaign.

“We have made reports to the effect that he is spreading his terror.
Although the police have done nothing, we will not stop. We will bring the
allegations to higher authorities if necessary,” said Pasirayi.

At the Triangle rally, Sibanda is alleged to have threatened to take over
the Hippo Valley Estates, under the guise of indigenisation. He also
attacked the American government for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, despite
the sanctions being targeted, restrictive measures against Robert Mugabe and
his inner circle.

Pasirayi pointed to similar threats made by Mugabe at a rally in Gutu in
December, 2010, when he said Hippo Valley would be taken over if it fails to
give majority shares to locals.

“These are desperate attempts and they will not help Zimbabwe economically.
Investors will fear that the same will happen to them if they come here to
do business,” said Pasirayi.

According to the Crisis Coalition, ZANU PF officials have already seized
Mkwasine Estates in the same area and “run it to the ground by employing
unqualified staff and misusing funds.” Many farm workers that were employed
there now have no jobs. The approximately 10,000 workers that are employed
at Triangle Estates face the same possibility of losing their jobs if it is
taken over political chefs.

Pasirayi said Sibanda does not travel with a large team of thugs. He
explained that Sibanda manages to get thousands to attend his rallies
because he is known to be ruthless against suspected MDC supporters, and
people in rural areas do not want that label.

“Since the formation of the MDC many people have lost their life and others
their livestock and property. People are afraid not to attend the rallies,”
added Pasirayi. But he explained that this does not mean they support
Sibanda or ZANU PF.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Teachers On Go Slow

12/01/2011 16:15:00

Masvingo, January 12, 2011 - With just a day after schools opened for this
year’s first term, Zimbabwean teachers have embarked on a two week go slow
and have threatened a fully fledged strike if they do not get a salary
increase by the time they get paid.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his 2011 budget said he had increased civil
service salaries by 100 percent.

However, some of the teachers said they had since learnt from the soldiers
who got paid this week that they had not received the promised increment.

The Progressive Teachers Union in Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou
said the teachers were attending class but doing so under protest.

“We urged our members to return to work while assessing the situation. The
teachers are on a go slow and come pay day when we see there is no
increment, we will strike."

“Biti announced a salary hike but it seems there is nothing. We will prove
it on pay day," he said, adding that government cannot afford to take
teachers for granted because they deserved better.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

As New Term Opens, Some Zimbabwean Schools Turn Away Students Over Fees

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said its members would not start
teaching until they have learned the outcome of a meeting on Thursday
between union and government officials over salary demands

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 11 January 2011

Zimbabwe's first school term in 2011 started Tuesday with most teachers
reporting for work though some were not actively teaching to back up wage
demands while some institutions were refusing entry to classrooms to pupils
whose parents had not paid their fees.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said its members would not start
teaching until they have learned the outcome of a meeting on Thursday
between union officials and other teachers representatives and government
officials over salary demands.

But the Zimbabwe Teachers Association said its members will only stop
teaching if salary negotiations with the government fail. Teachers want a
base US$500 a month.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Secretary General Raymond Majongwe
told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that his organization's members
will stay in their staff rooms and out of classes until the Thursday
discussions are concluded.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC teachers terrorised

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 14:30

CHIVHU - Zanu (PF) hooligans in Chikomba district began the school year by
disrupting classes and trying to push out teachers who are alleged to
support the MDC.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe,
confirmed reports of staged demonstrations at Nhangambwe and Sadza Secondary
schools and said that the union was gravely worried.
"We have heard reports of the demonstrations that are targeting innocent
teachers. This is a cause for concern and should be stopped immediately,"
said Majongwe.
The MP for Chikomba Central, Moses Jiri, told this paper that on Tuesday,
Zanu (PF) thugs besieged Makuvimavi Primary School in Chivhu demanding that
Edwin Mareve, a teacher there, be transferred because he is the MDC-T
Organising Secretary. The marching crowds, led by Farai Watambwa, accused
the grade seven teachers of teaching pupils to follow the MDC.
“There is need for the police to act fast. Even though we reported the case
to the police they just went to the school and observed as the hooligans
abused the teacher. Classes were disrupted and parents seeking to register
their grade one children failed to do so as the administration block was
closed,” said Jiri.
So rampant are the disruptions that there was no one at the District
Education Office when Jiri went to report the case.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chamisa says MDC unity deal possible

By Lance Guma
12 January 2011

A spokesman for the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not
ruled out the chances of a unity deal with the smaller faction of the party
led by the newly elected Welshman Ncube.
Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Question Time programme, MDC-T spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said they “had the appetite for working together” with their
former colleagues but it had to be “a coalition of the willing.”

Responding to listeners questions on why they are not trying to unite the
two parties ahead of elections, Chamisa said “we have always emphasised as a
party that unity pays. Unity gives us the profit we would want politically.
Unity is ultimately going to be the winning political formula in this
country.” The problem, he said, was a difference of opinion on strategy and
political destination.

“We do not want a situation where you have certain people indicating left
while others are turning right. There has to be consistency of not just
message but political strategy, beliefs and political destination. And I am
sorry to say if you judge the character of our colleagues it would appear
they are quite remote from our thinking and from the way we see things,”
Chamisa told the programme.

Asked if it was not possible to bury their differences temporarily until
after the elections, he said: “We can’t just have a donkey and a horse, when
in fact it will lead to a retardation of the momentum.” He said a deal was
possible if they could agree on a set of objectives and how to achieve them.

On replacing Arthur Mutambara as leader of the MDC-M, Welshman Ncube
launched an astonishing attack on the MDC-T calling them ‘pseudo democrats’
and ‘hypocrites’. He went further to say ‘we refuse to be intimidated, we
refuse to be cowed by your lies and your head mentality even if you are
supported by your friends in the media.’ Any unity deal will have to
overcome this political sniping.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC row gets nasty as faction insist Mutambara is leader

11 January, 2011 08:43:00    OWEN GAGARE

The fractured MDC led by newly-elected president Welshman Ncube is headed
for a showdown over property ownership after the faction headed by former
national chairman Joubert Mudzumwe indicated it would compel Ncube to
produce an inventory of the party’s property it claims it is entitled to.

Mudzumwe walked out of a national executive meeting he was chairing ahead of
the party’s congress last weekend alongside several members, including the
women’s assembly chairperson Hilda Sibanda, deputy national organising
secretary Morgan Changamire, secretary for education Tsitsi Dangarembga and
national youth chairperson Costa Chipadza.

They convened at another hotel where they announced they would not attend
the congress accusing Ncube of violating the party’s constitution to elbow
out Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara from the helm of the party.

Mudzumwe said his group would continue to regard Mutambara as the leader of
the party regardless of the results of the congress while announcing the
elevation of Nomalanga Khumalo to the vice-presidency.

Mudzumwe said they would hold a separate congress where a new leadership
would be ushered in.

Changamire said Ncube should produce an inventory of the party’s property
and financial statements before assuming any power.

“We want Welshman (Ncube) to produce audited financial statements and a list
of the property which the party has because he has been abusing party
property. That property belongs to us and we can prove legally that his
congress was unconstitutional,” said Changamire.

“Before we hold our congress, we will seek to address the issue of the party
property. Everything must be declared and we will then take it from there.
We want accountability and justice.”

Changamire justified his claim to the party’s property arguing that they
were the real MDC since Ncube and his backers had attended an
unconstitutional meeting.

“In fact they expelled themselves from the party by attending an illegal
congress,” he said.

Ncube, however, said his party would not entertain the request from Mudzumwe
and his supporters. He dismissed Changamire and said the clique was
attempting to justify the “theft” of party vehicles by Mudzumwe.

“They walked out of a full national council meeting. Actually it was seven
people with the support of 106 other people and it’s surprising that they
are claiming that they are genuine members of the party. Imagine if Dynamos
was playing a soccer match with 11 players on the field and two decide that
they have had enough then they come back and say they are the real Dynamos.
It’s so absurd,” he said.

“Besides, the party constitution is clear that all property belongs to the
party and not individuals. If you move away you don’t move away with the
party property, and even if the party dissolves, which is not the case here,
there is a clear way of how the property is disposed.”

Ncube said the group was making noise to justify the fact that Mudzumwe has
been holding on to some party vehicles.

Mutambara lost the MDC-M presidency to Ncube over the weekend. He had
however indicated he would not contest for any position at the congress.

Mutambara, who said he would remain a soldier of the party, called for unity
and said the party should seek ways to accommodate those who had boycotted
the congress. - NewsDay

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Party leader calls for GPA implementation

by Simplicious Chirinda     Wednesday 12 January 2011

HARARE – The new leader of one of Zimbabwe’s three ruling parties has called
on the parties to fully implement their more than two years old
power-sharing agreement before new elections can be held.

Welshmen Ncube, who at the weekend took over from Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara as leader of the smaller MDC party, said all clauses of the
power-sharing pact known as the global political agreement (GPA) must be
implemented in order to avert political violence and another disputed poll
as happened three years ago.

Ncube said the troubled coalition government that has brought economic
stability but has struggled to implement political reforms should be given
until 2013 to implement the GPA and democratic reforms.

He said:  “Our position as MDC is that we want to see the full
implementation of the GPA so that we don’t have a repeat of the 2008
situation. We want this political and economic stability that we are
experiencing now to continue until the full legal term of Parliament comes
to an end in 2013.”

Ncube dismissed calls by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, who heads the main MDC formation, for elections this year as
political grandstanding, saying democratic polls were impossible in Zimbabwe
without a new constitution to guarantee a free and vote as well as the basic
freedoms of citizens.

He said: “The constitution making process must be completed …. restore
political freedoms, freedom of speech, media freedom and the right to
campaign freely before any election can be held.”

Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterised by political violence and gross
human rights abuses with the last vote in June 2008 ending inconclusively
after the military-led campaign of violence and murder that forced then
opposition leader Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential

Tsvangirai had been tipped to win the second round election after beating
Mugabe in the first round ballot but without the percentage of votes
required avoiding the second round run-off poll

The former foes eventually bowed to pressure from southern African leaders
to agree to form a government of national unity whose future is uncertain,
with Mugabe insisting Zimbabwe must hold elections by next June to choose a
new government to replace the coalition administration.

According to the GPA, Zimbabwe must first write a new and democratic
constitution before holding fresh elections. However a multi-party
parliamentary committee leading the writing of the new constitution is
lagging behind and is not seen producing a new charter by June when Mugabe
says a new vote must take place.

But Mugabe, who wields the most power in the unity government, has
previously said Zimbabwe can still hold elections with or without a new
constitution. -- ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hardliners in Mugabe's Party Insist On Early Constitutional Referendum, Election

Though ZANU-PF is pushing for an early referendum, Constitutional Affairs
Minister Eric Matinenga of Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC formation has said he will
not be pressured into accelerating the schedule

Blessing Zulu | Washington 11 January 2011

As the parliamentary committee in charge of revising Zimbabwe's constitution
moves to digest public opinion collected in an outreach phase last year,
parties sharing power in the country's unity government are arguing about
when a referendum can be held.

Hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party are pushing for a vote
in June despite increasing pressure in the party and outside it for a later
ballot, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement
for Democratic Change is talking about a referendum in September, which
seems a more likely timeline.

Political sources said the ZANU-PF hardliners, led by Defense Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa and members of the Joint Operations Command comprising
security service chiefs, are demanding a referendum for the constitution be
held in June with a fresh round of presidential and general elections before
the end of the year.

Facing intense pressure for a slower pace toward elections from the Southern
African Development Community, Mr. Mugabe is said to be amenable to a delay.
SADC wants to see broader political and electoral reforms before the next
elections are held.

A ZANU-PF conference late last year resolved to hold elections by June.
ZANU-PF has accused the MDC of working with Western donors to delay the
process of revising the constitution, and said elections will be held with
or without a new document.

But Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga of Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC
formation has said he will not be pushed into accelerating the election

The ZANU-PF co-chairman of the parliamentary select committee running
constitutional revision, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, said the process should
be done by June.

But Douglas Mwonzora, select committee co-chairman from the Tsvangirai MDC
wing, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that his panel will adhere to the
sequential timelines set out in the 2008 Global Political Agreement for
power sharing - though in theory the drafting of the constitution should
have been completed late last year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Finance Ministry Rejects Central Bank's Appeal For Financial Aid to Settle Debts

Sources said the RBZ recently wrote to the ministry asking for at more than
US$5 million to keep its creditors at bay while waiting for Parliament to
draft a law allowing the government to take over its debts

Gibbs Dube | Washington 11 January 2011

Zimbabwe's Finance Ministry has turned down a request by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe for help in paying creditors and meeting downsizing costs, sources

Government sources said the Reserve Bank recently wrote to the ministry
asking for more than US$5 million to keep its creditors at bay pending
passage by Parliament of a law that would allow the government to take over
its US$1.2 billion debts.

The RBZ had also asked for US$20 million to fund severance packages for
1,600 workers being laid off in a major restructuring of the troubled

Financial sources said the central bank owes creditors more than US$1.2
billion, mainly from procurements on behalf of the previous government for
various programs.

Attorney Davison Kanokanga, representing RBZ creditor Farmtech Supplies and
Implements which is owed US$2.1 million, said the RBZ has to meet its
financial obligations even if it is being protected by government.

Economic commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs
Dube that the beleaguered central bank's creditors will eventually be paid
off by taxpayers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu (PF) blows $3,3 million on conf

Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 12:58

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party squandered US$3,3 million
at its annual national conference held in Mutare last month, according to

A central committee report says US$3,3 million was gobbled by accommodation
costs, food, transport, equipment hire and renovations to Marymount Teachers
College, which was spruced up for the annual gathering. About 4, 000
delegates attended the conference.

The conference attracted delegates countrywide, and its diaspora branches in
Joburg and London.
The figures show that Zanu (PF) has spent millions of taxpayers' money as
they failed to devise a rescue plan for the political logjam that is still
perilously close to the cliff edge of disaster and threatening the GNU.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party accuses Mugabe of stubborn
defiance in implementing terms of the power sharing pact. The Central
Committee report says Zanu (PF) this year got US$1,094 million of taxpayers
money as a grant under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Party leaders produced a communique that papered over the cracks in GNU and
pressed for renewed economic growth as the answer to Zimbabwe's woes. They
continued to repeat the tired ‘sanctions’ mantra and urged the grabbing of
western-owned companies.
The College was turned into a no-go area so that the leaders could enjoy
their conference in peace. Details of the security bill for the summit were
not included in  the Central Committee report, which paints a picture of a
party in financial distress. The party’s printing company, Jongwe Printing
and Publishing, has been mothballed, with a US$100 000 need. The report says
it failed to print its propaganda sheet Zimbabwe News as a result. Zanu (PF)
is also struggling to bankroll the party mouthpiece The Voice. The party has
hit by acute donor fatigue, with a paltry US$114 679 raised in fundraising
activities and groaning under a US$3,4 million budget deficit. Last year,
the party spent US$6 333 581 and raised only US$2 929 991 as revenue from
membership fees, donations, a government grant, fundraising and conference
hall hire.

"How can anyone trust a party that throws away such large sums of money for
a day's partying — or trust the rest of the Zanu (PF) leaders who attend
such a meeting inside a wire fence fortress while they discuss how to win
elections through violence," said political commentator Ronald Shumba.

"There must be a less wasteful way of holding these get-togethers, and there
must be a more productive way than these useless events to achieve
cooperation on burning political issues."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Victoria Falls councillors & youths are still in police custody

Written by MDC Information & Publicity Department
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:55

The four councillors and five MDC youths who were arrested in Victoria Falls
are still in police custody as the police officers are saying they are
waiting for their boss, a superintendent based in Hwange, to inform them on
how to handle the case. Paulos Chilewede, councillor for ward 5 in Victoria
Falls was arrested last week on Thursday.  The other three councillors;
Bernard Nyamande of ward 1, Nkululeko Nyoni, ward 9, Taruvinga Makoti, ward
10 and the five youths were arrested on Sunday.  They are all detained at
the Victoria Falls Police Station. The nine are facing charges of disrupting
a public council meeting at the Victoria Falls Community Hall last week.
Meanwhile, the trial of Glen View South MP, Hon. Paul Madzore who is facing
bogus charges of resisting lawful arrest and assault failed to kick off at
the Harare Magistrates’ Courts as the State’s witness; Constable Everisto
Maponga failed to turn. Hon. Madzore is facing charges of resisting arrest
and assualting Maponga of Southerton Police Station at Makomva shopping
centre in May 2006. However, Maponga failed to turn up for the trial and the
case was postponed to 15 February.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe detains Chinese nationals caught using fake visas

12 January, 2011 12:05:00    APA

Harare –Three Chinese men have been arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly using
fraudulent visas to enter the country, the state-run Herald daily reported

According to the newspaper, the visas were from a visa book stolen from
Zimbabwe’s Immigration Department.

Yan Xiao Hua, He Huiju and Huang Jia Xing were arrested upon arrival at
Harare International Airport on Sunday and are awaiting deportation.

The trio’s lawyer Charles Chinyama, however, said his clients were innocent
victims of fraud.

"Our clients applied for Zimbabwean visas while they were still in China.
They engaged services of an agent, Bo Liung, who promised to process the
visas on their behalf for a fee.

They duly paid the required fees to Mr Bo Liung and they were later advised
that their applications for visas had been successful and their passports
were returned with visas," he said.

Bo Liu has already been deported from Zimbabwe on related offences.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has tightened residency requirements for foreigners,
telling investors wishing to settle in the country to show proof of personal
funds amounting to US$1 million before becoming eligible for permanent
residency, private radio station Radio VOP reported Wednesday in Harare.

Private radio station Radio VOP reported Wednesday that Zimbabwe’s
Department of Immigration now also requires a US$500 non-refundable
processing fee from foreigners upon submission of an application for a
permanent residency permit while US$2,500 would be paid when the licence is

Zimbabwe’s immigration regulations allow local companies to employ
foreigners under temporary work permits.

Such permits are only issued by the Department of Immigration upon
application by the company, which should provide proof that the requisite
skill cannot be sourced locally.

Foreigners are only permitted to work within the capacity for which their
specific permits were issued.

Their spouses and children may reside in Zimbabwe provided that they do not
take up employment.

Zimbabweans are currently up in arms over the influx of Chinese and Nigerian
business people who have taken up most of the shop space in the country’s
main towns and cities.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Misa Declares Zim's Controversial Accreditation Fees Illegal

12/01/2011 17:05:00

Harare, January 13, 2011 - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) has
declared the 400 percent controversial increment in accreditation fees for
journalists and media houses in Zimbabwe as not legally binding.

Misa noted in a statement on Wednesday that despite attempts by Zimbabwe's
Information Minister to distance himself from the fee increases which had
already received criticism from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the
statutory instrument that authorised the increment clearly specified that
they had been made by his Ministry.

"The instrument that was published as a supplement to the Zimbabwe Gazette
dated 31 December 2010, clearly states that the Ministry “made” the
regulations in terms of Section 91 of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]," said Misa.

In his response, Minister Webster Shamu stated that his ministry’s
relationship with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) is ‘strictly
administrative’ and the statutory media regulatory board “only turns to the
Minister and the Ministry for legal administrative instruments that give
full effect to its decisions”.

"While Minister Shamu’s statements are legally correct, the wording in the
Statutory Instrument 186 of 2010 gazetting the accreditation fees implies
that the regulations emanated from his Ministry," noted Misa.

"Going by the wording of the statutory instrument, the ministry is in
violation of the law making the instrument invalid and consequently of no
legal force. This is because section 91 of AIPPA, which formerly empowered
the Minister to make regulations as stated in the statutory instrument, was
amended in 2007 to give the Zimbabwe Media Commission the authority to make
such regulations. The Ministry only approves them," read the statement.

"According to Act No. 20 of 2007 section 91(b) (1), “the Commission may,
with the approval of the Minister, by regulation, order or notice, prescribe
matters that, by this Act, are required or permitted to be prescribed or
that in the opinion of the Commission are necessary or convenient to be
prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.”

"It seems there is no other clause under AIPPA implying the contrary, or at
the very least, giving the Minister any leeway to act outside the ambit of
this administrative role.

"It is therefore MISA-Zimbabwe’s considered view that since the gazetting of
the statutory instrument on the new accreditation and registration fees was
inconsistent with the enabling legislation, they are void and therefore
cannot be legally binding."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond Activist Calls For Protection Of Chiadzwa Villagers

12/01/2011 11:51:00

Harare, January 12, 2011 - Zimbabwe diamond activist, Farai Maguwu, said
there is an urgent need for the government to secure the security of people
living in the gem-infested Marange area.

Maguwu said it is important for the government to first consider the welfare
of the villagers ahead of commercial interests that are pushing for the
relocation of the thousands of families in the area to pave way for

“I feel it’s an area where there is a need for the government, non
governmental organisations and the international community to secure the
security of the people of Marange,” said Maguwu.

Maguwu was speaking at an event organised by the United States Embassy to
discuss human security.

About 50 000 families have so far been relocated from Marange area better
known as Marange on 17 December last year. The families were given small
plots, 200 bags of maize meal to share but no seed and fertilizer at the

They recently received a $ 1000 fee per family as disturbance fees.

Maguwu however said vital facilities such as schools and clinics are located
3 kilometres away from the residences of the families and the timing of the
relocation mid agricultural season was wrong.

“There was no proper planning and these do not meet the minimum United
Nations standards on human security,” said the Mutare-based diamond
activist. More so the relocation is being done in the middle of the
agricultural season.”

Turning onto the security issues in the country Maguwu said many Zimbabweans
do not enjoy the basic human security and are often subjected to structural

He urged Zimbabweans to start setting the agenda for the politicians not
vice versa.

“We need the people of Zimbabwe to be more determined and set the agenda not
the politicians to set the agenda for them. Right now the problem is that
the politicians are setting the agenda while the people continue sitting and
folding their hands,” said Maguwu who last year was arrested for exposing
government malpractices in diamond extraction.

He spent close to three months in jail until he was acquitted on the

When asked whether he feels safe when doing his diamond extraction research
work, Maguwu said, “When you do the work that I do and working in this
sensitive area, it will not be accurate to say I am secure. With this kind
of work you threaten a lot of people,” said Maguwu.

Maguwu last week said the Kimberley Process (KP) which regulates world
diamond trade should be tougher when dealing with Zimbabwe’s diamond trade
compliance. This was against a backdrop of claims by the Zimbabwean
government that it has finally secured authorisation to sell its diamonds
mined between 2006 and 2009 at Marange.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Massive mineral wealth exposed

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 14:33

HARARE - Beneath Zimbabwe’s  blood-soaked soil lies fabulous wealth which,
if transparently and expertly exploited, could put an end to unemployment,
poverty and disease and turn the country into one of the most prosperous on
the African continent.
A secret document in our possession, prepared by the Zimbabwe Investment
Authority (ZIA), shows that the country is sitting on 2.8 billion tonnes of
platinum, 26 billion tonnes of coal and 30 billion tonnes of iron ore, not
to mention extensive diamond deposits.
The document has been distributed secretly in an attempt to woo
international investors.
Despite this huge wealth, investors are still hesitant to put their money
into Zimbabwe because of Zanu (PF)’s continued anti-western rhetoric, the
indigenisation law, disregard for the rule of law and property rights, and
massive corruption.
According to the document, Zimbabwe also has a staggering 16.5 million
tonnes of diamonds especially in the Chiadzwa area in Manicaland, Murowa
Diamonds and at the controversial River Ranch near Beit Bridge.
There are 13 million tonnes of gold deposits in Bindura, Kadoma, Mudzi,
Mvuma and Kwekwe.
"Opportunities exist throughout the whole mining cycle from exploitation,
mining production, marketing and downstream activities," the document says.
"There are also opportunities for joint venture partnerships in existing low
capacity running projects as well as new ventures.”.
The country has the largest methane reserves in southern Africa as well as
5.2 million tonnes of copper, 930 million tonnes of chromite and 4.5 million
tonnes of nickel.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond director on the run

Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 12:50

HARARE - A director of a diamond company booted out of the rich Marange
diamond fields has gone on the run after being accused of lying and
attempting to steal US$300,000 from a Harare law firm that represented the
Zimbabwe government at the Kimberley Process talks.

Canadile Miners director Lovemore Kurotwi, was detained for days for
fraudulently misreresenting to government that his company had money to
exploit the rich Marange diamond fields, when in fact the company was
bankrupt, government alleges.

Kurotwi appeared in court last month, and was granted bail. He has now been
hit with a further charge of writing to Farai Mutamangira's law firm
Mutamangira and Associates, demanding back US$300,000 Canadile paid in legal
fees to represent Zimbabwe at the KP talks in Jerusalem.
Kurotwi demanded Canadile's money back after government cancelled its
licence to mine the Marange fields. It has emerged that Canadile Miners,
Marange Resources, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe bankrolled the legal representation
rendered to government by the law firm. ZMDC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa
and former chairman of Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd Cougan Matanhire were said
to have lodged a criminal complaint against Kurotwi on Saturday at the
Harare Central Police Station, but police say they cant find him. "He is
missing," said a police spokesman. A warrant for his arrest has been taken
Detectives are understood to have made extensive efforts to trace Kurotwi,
raiding his home on Saturday and hunting for him at the Chikumbirike law
firm. Police are now appealing for the public's help to track him down.
Police said Kurotwi had shown "total disregard" for the law and the police.
But his lawyers said he was not on the run. His lawyer George Chikumbirike
told The Zimbabwean on Monday: “He is not on the run. I will accompany him
to the police as soon as he gets back to town."

The government earlier accused Kurotwi, together with other diamond bosses,
of duping the government into believing that a non-existent South African
firm was ready to invest $2bn in Zimbabwe in order to obtain a licence for
Canadile Miners. The State was told to proceed by way of summons on the

Even before the ink was dry on that acquittal, Kurotwi was again wanted on a
further charge of attempting to extort money from government's lawyers. This
is significant because the law firm won approval for Zimbabwe to sell
diamonds from the Marange fields,  and is naturally the darling of the

Observers say the swiftness with which the police have pursued the case is

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ethanol project on course

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 12:16

HARARE - Construction of Africa's largest ethanol plant in the Lowveld is on
course, with management indicating Tuesday that fuel sales will commence

Zimbabwe’s Green Fuel company is expected to start producing ethanol fuel in
March, a development expected to impact positively on the economy as this
will bring down the price of fuel in the country. The billion dollar
investment employs 6 000 people.

With the plant nearing completion, Green Fuel says a distillery section is
being installed at Chisumbanje in Chipinge.

“The main function of the distillery section is to receive the raw juice
from the mill for purification and fermentation into the final product –
ethanol. The distillery columns form additional structures that are now
visibly above ground at the Green Fuel ethanol plant site,” Graeme Smith,
the company's general manager said.

“The construction site itself is a hive of activity as welders, boiler
makers, carpenters, surveyors, engineers and project managers negotiate
their way around the rains that have been pounding Chisumbanje to make good

‘We have had exceptionally high rainfall this year – having received already
50% of the usual total of the whole season for this area. This has affected
work in the fields - at some stage in December we had to stop all planting
and tillage because of the mud,” he added.

While the current rains have been a relief for the group’s agricultural
activities in watering its cane fields, Green Fuels has experienced minimal
disruptions as the south eastern company and operation has experienced
increased power cuts by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

It has, though, been relying on back-up power from generators.

On completion, the plant will produce more than a million litres of fuel,
stock feeds and excess power - out of its projected 120 megawattage
generating capacity - to light the whole of Manicaland.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliament a success – Speaker

Written by BY Mtotobi Zingwenya
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 13:30

HARARE - The Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, says the house is doing
well despite the presence of legislators with divergent views.
Moyo says he has managed to bring about sanity and respect for the august
house even though it was not a stroll in the park. Moyo told The Zimbabwean
“It was never going to be easy for an outsider to come and take over the
leadership of an institution that has known only one political party for
over 30 years. It meant that structures of that institution were pro-Zanu
(PF) and the systems applied are biased towards that party.
“That alone was a challenge, not to mention different political parties with
different political backgrounds and ideology. I have managed to change the
culture of doing things in parliament. I became a speaker when the donor
community had lost faith in us. I managed to beg them and they resumed
sponsoring us so that our programmes can be successful. In December 2010 we
managed to install audio equipment in parliament to replace the obsolete
system we inherited in 1980.”
The Speaker has signed seven memoranda of agreement with the donor community
since he assumed office. Besides presiding over some robust debates and
coming up with some friendly and progressive legislation, the portfolio
committees have become effective.
“They now have ‘teeth’ such that some ministers have complained that they
were now ‘biting’ too much. The portfolio committees do an oversight role of
seeing that government departments are spending the money wisely and doing
what they are supposed to do,” said Moyo.
The former Matobo legislator also put the Zimbabwe Constitution Select
Committee, COPAC, in place and managed to cool the tempers of diametrically
opposed legislators.
The three political parties represented in Parliament do not share a common
philosophy, yet Moyo managed to bring about consensus and stability in this
diversity. There were also reports of bad blood between the Speaker and the
clerk of parliament, Austin Zvoma, while Moyo’s  mother-in-law Sthembiso
Nyoni is an MP.
Moyo says, “I can lead my relatives, friends and those who are not my
friends. I am a natural leader. I do not mix work and family issues.”
He was elected in Namibia late last year to chair other speakers of
parliament in the SADC region. T
Moyo said Parliament would move urgently in 2011 to amend laws like the
Electoral Act and complete the constitutional-making process and the
referendum. There are also plans to take Parliament to other towns like
Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru where the public will be able to listen to the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shoppers defy govt order

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:11

HARARE - Supermarkets country-wide have defied a government order banning
them from giving shoppers plastic bags.

The ban has shocked many in the country and its flimsy environment
cleanliness assertions have not been convincing to the general public. While
major shops in the country have complied with the ban medium and small
supermarkets have continued to give away plastic bags.

“We have large stocks of plastic bags and we are not going to stop giving
them to our customers. If people cannot carry their groceries in plastic
bags then where else can they put them?” said a shop manager in Harare.

The general public expressed shock and dismay at the ban that attracts a
US$20 fine.

“How does the government expect us to carry our groceries if we cannot get
the plastic bags? The government has nothing better to do,” said Evelyn
Sakande from Chitungwiza.

The ban on plastic bags has, however, allowed vendors to make a roaring
trade by selling them on the doorsteps of shops.

“Before the ban I used to take home US$10, but I am now making twice that
amount,” said a woman who sells bags along Julius Nyerere.

The ban that came into effect last week was passed by the Zimbabwe
Government in May 2010 under the Environment Protection regulations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF functionaries abusing our security sector

Written by MDC Information & Publicity Department
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 09:51

The actions of Zanu PF functionaries in our patriotic security sector pose a
threat to the freedoms and peace of Zimbabweans. The abduction of our
Masvingo South district Secretary, Elson Mutonhori on Saturday morning at
gunpoint allegedly by one Major Toperesu and others from his Renco Mine home
over a petty issue of putting on MDC party regalia, is a case in point.
Renco Mine police refused to open a docket arguing that the matter was too
political for them to be involved.

But surprisingly, the same police station, which refused to take Mutonhori’s
statements, hastily opened a docket for Reason Mujaka, the MDC ward 24 youth
chairperson, whose father was allegedly assaulted by a war veteran for
attending an MDC meeting; took the young man to court; and ensured that he
is locked up in Mutimurefu prison serving his six months sentence.

It never ceases to amaze every level-headed Zimbabwean, why Zanu PF
functionaries masquerading as civil servants would descend on a Zimbabwean
citizen and question his right to freedom of association and assembly.
Zimbabweans need peace. They need protection. They know the security sector
is a necessary element of governance to protect the integrity, autonomy and
interests of this country, not for a few corrupt officials to use them as
tools of aggression against the people who need protection.

Such actions by Zanu PF wrongfully place the image of our patriotic security
forces. The security sector should concentrate on ensuring the nation is
protected from external aggression and must observe its Constitutional
mandate at all times. The people of Zimbabwe yearn for the return of their
dignity in society; they strive for their security, to restore their
dignity, self esteem and confidence.

The MDC urges the people of Zimbabwe to resist the intimidation antics of a
hornless owl; Zanu PF. Zimbabweans proved beyond any reasonable doubt that
they are able to reclaim their position as a peaceful nation in March 2008.
The MDC feels vindicated in its calls for the cessation of all abuses and
intimidation as the nation prepares to go for elections this year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Welshman Ncube - A Divisive Figure or Mere Casualty of the Unforgiving Nature of Zimbabwean Public Opinion

Saturday 8th January 2011 will go down as a historic day in Zimbabwean
politics. For the first time in the histroy of our volatile politics,
the sitting able and living leader of a political party stood down and
handed power to another member of the party. No matter how much those
people among us Zimbabweans who have chosen to be judges of the
Zimbabwean politcal discourse and Zimbabwean politicians may seek to
belittle or dismiss this monumental event as non-event, this is
historic as much as it is important a development that puts a lot of
things relating to Zimbabwean politics into perspective.

Firstly, what does it take to be a good, inspiring and examplary
Zimbabwean politcian? Secondly, what defines relevance and importance
in Zimbabwean politics. What defines actual Zimbabwean politics? What
are the core values of Zimbabwean politics? As we delve futher into
the 21st Century what kind of politics do we as Zimbabweans expect
from our political leaders? Lastly, does the size of the party matter
in a country where the big parties like ZANU PF have assumed
monsterous tendencies that exploit their size to the detriment of the
generality of the populace and any up-and-coming parties? These are
just a few of some random but many questions that come to mind when
one looks at what is happening in our national body politic.

The subject of my writing is the MDC formation formally led by Arthur
Mutambara and what has happened in that rather smaller but definitely
no-push-over party. It is a smaller party in terms of its size in
membership, representation in both houses of parliament as well as
seats in government. But the achievements of this party are by no
means small at all. Indeed Mutambara in his parting address at the
ended congress called it "....this great party!" This is a party that
has produced a Deputy Prime Minister and has ministers heading key
ministries such as Education and Industry and Commerce among other
portfolios. These two are ministries of paramount importance in the
development of our country especially from a point of view of the
supposed peacetime we must be enjoying. However, in the era of ZANU
PF's tyranical rule where force and brutality has become the hallmark
of being in power, the ministries of Home Affairs, State Security and
Defence have been catapulted ahead of these and the result has been
the collapse of education and the economy.

This supposedly miniature party now called the MDC-M, (I hate the
suffixing of political parties with the surnames of politicians by the
way), has been leading from the front in every respect but very little
credit has been given to the leadership of that party thanks to what I
think is largely the judgemental, opinionated and somewhat unforgiving
nature of Zimbabwean public opinion. It is this kind of vengeful,
vitirolic and condemnatory attitude to our politics and the
politicians plying that trade that has in a way prolonged our
political quagmire under which ZANU PF has thrived. We the Zimbabwean
public, we are our public enemy number one. We hate each other with a
vengence and sometimes for no substantiable reason instead of
sincerely thriving to work together for the good of our country.
Another virtue that seems to have fast deserted us is that of the
memory to appreciate the efforts of those that have done certain
things to contribute especially to our national politics. There is a
very conservatively used expression that says "history is not build by
trashing the contributions of your forebearers" meaning that for us to
be part of, and to make history, we have to appreciate the
contributions of those before us, or simply those who are doing what
"we" might simply be watching from a distance.

The leadership of this smaller MDC-M has courted the ire of
Zimbabweans but quite unjustifiably in some or rather most of the
cases and this has resulted in the people of Zimbabwe failing to fully
appreciate what the leadership of this smaller party but "great party"
has done. For purposes of this writing, I will remove Arthur Mutambara
from the equation and focus especially on Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga and their record. Ncube, an academic and
constitutional lawyer and businessman is the founding Secretary
General of the formally unified MDC Party. Ncube was a compromise
candidate for that position and he has lived up to that role of being
a compromise politician in the rupturous terrain of Zimbabwean
opposition politics. Ncube entered politics for the very first time
when the MDC was formed in 1999 and the role of Secretary General is
one that he went on to grow into and filled in extremely adequately in
the process. He went on to become one of the most respectable MDC
leaders at home and abroad but very little notice has been paid to the
pivotal role he played almost singlehandedly in taking the MDC beyond
the Africa. I was privy especially to that process of taking the MDC
to the international community because of my involvement with the
party in those initial years and by virtue of happening to be abroad
quite early on in the party's existence.

As SG of the party Ncube was like the point person of the MDC
Management Committee and was also among the so-called Top Six of that
committee comprising himself, Morgan Tsvangirai, the late Gibson
Sibanda and Isaac Matongo, Paul Themba-Nyathi and Fletcher Dulini .The
softly spoken, carefully worded Ncube qickly won over the hearts of
many international governments and world leaders as the roving
ambassador of the party taking the MDC agenda to all parts of the
world as the Zimbabwean situation became global as much as it was
national if Pan-African. At home Ncube did not get consumed into the
rapidly megaphone and highly charged politics of the MDC in which
punctutated insults towards ZANU PF and their leader Robert Mugabe
became the norm. He remained largely restrained and calculatedly
cautious at a time when visibly dangerous but seemingly popular
politics of "taking the regime on" became the order of the day.This
was a dangerous course that would lead the MDC to a full blown
confrontational course with ZANU PF that would lead to the violence
that I dare say needlessly, claimed hundreds if not thousands of
lives. It was a miscalculated and dangerous way of politicking because
the MDC leadershp would be proved to lack both the capacity and the
will to substanciate their rooftop threats to ZANU PF. I personally
fell that some of the MDC leaders were responsible for endagering
thier supporters through engaging in confrontational politics that led
to the brutal retaliation from ZANU PF

Like any profession politics also calls for risk assessment, judgment,
analysis, and most importantly, restraint and caution on the part of
those who lead from the front. Like any leader of any such trecherous
expedition as politics, be it a mountanearing or jest-skiing
expedition, there is need to have an analytical awareness of the
occupatiotional hazards therein. I strongly feel that there was either
an element of reclessness on the party of the MDC leadership in the
initial stages or simple failure to grasp the real threat and potency
of a rejected ZANU PF in the face of real opposition. There were some
very careless and inflamatory rallying overtones that were
disseminated by some among the MDC leadership that their unassuming
followers maybe sheepishly picked on and these would only lead to the
kind of fatal reprisals we witnessed in our exetremely violent
politics. A good example was Tsvangirai's infamous retort that if "If
Mugabe does not go we will push him and that was seized upon by some
innocent MDC supporters who genuinely thought he was saying what he
was capable of following up with requisite action. Ncube made his own
individual assessment of the Zimbabwean poliotcal terrain quite early
and he made up his mind to pursue cautious but effective politics.
This is the kind of politics that enabled him bridge the ever widening
gap between Tsvangirai and Mugabe making it possible to have the two
erstwhile enemies serving in the same government. Without Ncube that
would very certainly have never been able to be achieved

The very inaccurate and rather patronising assertions by the recalled
American ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell that Ncube is a
divisive figure in Zimbabwean politics must never go unchallenged.
However Ncube may indeed, cause divided opinion among Zimbabweans from
a political perspective, but he should not be held reponsible for the
porousness that is simmering in Zimbabwean public opion at the moment.
Because that is without doubt the result of ZANU PF and Robert
Mugabe's divide and rule tactics that he inherited very impressively
from Ian Smith at independence. If anything Ncube has been a unfier
and I will once again revist his unifying role later on, but this
again has never been fully appreciated because of this bizare fixation
with Ncube's sparse weaknesses rather than his visble strenghts and
virtues as a politician. The dilema of course with Zimbabwean politics
at the moment is one of suitability versus capability and
acceptability. There are certain politicians who are perceived to be
more acceptable (yet not necessarily suitable/capability) to the
Zimbabwean populace without necessarily giving due dillkigence to
their preconceived (suitability/capable) role as the torch bearers of
the Zimbabwean national agenda.

This nonsense that Ncube has manipulated the entire MDC-M provincial
establishement around the country to ensure he is catapullted to the
presidency of that party is to me extremely biggoted and tinkers on
the equally bankrupt notion that has also been peddled by some warpped
analysts that, being from a Ndebele from the Matabeleland part of the
country, there was no way Ncube could mobilise predominantly Shona
provincial councils to nominate him and eventually getting him voted
for the presidency of the party. The development in the MDC-M party
must send a very clear message that political influence is in those
who are in politics and not those sitting inthe cormfort or rather
discamfiture of their armchairs and anlysing from their distant homes.
It is only a shame that this is not happening at government level and
I am sure most people would have wished it was Mugabe passing the
button not Mutambara. As Zimbabweans if we fail toappreciate this very
significant development in the history of our politics in which the
sitting, able bodied and very young leader of a political party has
realised the need to pass on the torch we will be doing ourselves and
our politics a great disservice. It is not the MDC-M party that has
been creating "safe positions" in its party. The entire Zimbabwe knows
which part has been doing that.

We have seen how contagious clinging on to power can get because ZANU
PF is now very well being replicated in the other MDC-T formation of
the spliontered MDC where the outcome of the congress of that party's
forthcoming congress has already been predetermined. Mugabe has been
saying that he can not even contemplate stepping and risk compromising
his party's we-have-lost-count-of chimurenga and he intends to die in
power. Now Tsavngirai in his ten years or so in politics had already
taken his lessons on clinging on to power so well that even he cant
step down and risk compromising the "democratic struggle". What
democratic struggle is this. Surely a party that has such a narrowly
defined agenda as the now hugley diluted MDC-T party should be more
than capable of replacing its leader from within its ranks. Does this
really mean that if Tsvangirai were to drop dead today then he would
be buried together with his dear party as no one after him would be
able to carry on from where ever he would have tragically left? Yes
Mutambara has not done or achieved anything spectacular as such as
MDC-M leader, but he has taken the politcal establishment by storm by
safely and without any pandemonium save a few disgruntled delegates
who were too sad to see him go, passed on the buttom in the democratic
possible way in African political standards. Neither has Tsvangirai
achieved anything spectacular as MDC-T leader other than a few near
victories at the ballot and he should surely step now seriously also
ponder stepping aside.

Obviuosly Ncube's calculated and cautious approach to national politcs
might not have earned him a lot of admirers over the years and this is
against a time when vocalism and confrontation was deemed heroic and
the most MDC waY of dealing with ZANU PF. In some circles Ncube
started to be viewed as a sympathiser of ZANU PF and his backgrounD as
a University of Zimbabwe lecturer did not help matters as the
insitution's adminstration remained firmly loyal to ZANU PF in stark
contrast to the student popultion that have had constant running
battles with the authorities. But Ncube was and remained MDC through
and through and the main reason why he had been put in that position
of party Secretary General was purely on the basis that he was an
up-and-coming academic-turned politician with no trace whatsoever to
ZANU PF activities. When the MDC party split in 2005 Ncube took a lot
unjustify and at times bizare criticism that he was responsible for
the break-up of the party. One wondered how one man could singled
handedly split a party that he had secretary-generalled for six years
especially given that the MDC had become something of a mega party by
the time of the split. To his credit Ncube never came out frothing
like we saw some MDC politicians some of whom were actually more
responsible for the split than Ncube doing.

There was a lot of tribal vitriol that was directed towards most of
the MDC leaders from Matabeleland and yet there was nothing tribal at
all with the split of the MDC. The insults that were directed towards
Ncube and his colleagues especially Themba-Nyathi and Sibanda prompted
Tsvangirai into a belated if terse apology at Sibanda's funeral but
why did it take so long to realise that an apology was an appropriate
way of making up to a disaffected colleague. There is no way now that
Tsvngirai can tell if Sibanda got and accepted his belated apology. As
Zimbabweans if we are really serious about working together for the
good of the nation then there is an opportunity here. Ncube is now the
most senior politician from Matabeleland because he is the person from
that region leading not just some briefcase party, but a party that is
actually in government. And if was to assume the Deputy Premiership (I
am not necessarily suggesting that he should or he will), he will be
the second most senior person in government from Matabeleland behind
only John Nkomo the Vice President and this is only thanks to ZANU PF
paranoia has sought to belittle the role of the Prime Minister and
Deputy Prime Ministers the structure and composition of this GNU.

There are critics who have cited Ncube's perceived detastation of
Tsvangirai as a possible hinderance should the former become DPM
thereby causing friction in government. Again this is unfounded as it
is unsubstantiated because these people conveniently forget that it
was Ncube's crafty negotiating skills played a key role in the process
that brought the three parties to form a unity government. Ncube does
not hate Tsvangirai personally but has very consistently whenever
prompted, cited his personal disquiet with some of Tsvangirai's
decisions and stances. If Ncube did not like Tsvangirai that much he
would have never allowed or facilitated his party, for which he was
representative chief negotiator, to come to the table to talk to
Tsvangirai's party period.

As for the great party that is the MDC-M I think the biggest miss of
the ended congress was the suggestion to change the name of the party
to Congress of the Movement for Democratic Change that was reportedly
short down by some delegates who obviously still have very strong
nostalgic connections to the original MDC Party of 1999. That was a
missed opportunity to cement the party's serious credentials as a
serious contributor to our national politcal and democratic discourse
and I think that is a subject the party may need to revisit as a
matter of urgency because reality should dawn to any sections of that
party the original MDC Party of 1999 is no more. As the MDC-M party
seek to go forward it need to brand itself in amanner that is will
strike a cord with its target support in 21st century Zimbabwean
politics. I dont think the suffix M that gives the party some extended
relative (of Mutambara) status will inspire and attract a lot of
serious support going forward. It is a phenomenon that it typical of
African politcs where politcal leaders seek to own political parties
and run them as their own prized personal properties.I am not
necessarily suggesting that this is what Mutambara is doing in this

Lastly, I have not necessarily been inspired to write on this subject
because of any particular agenda to make Ncube more or less acceptable
than he already is. However, I just felt that as Zimbabweans we are
still searching for a political solution to our problems. Everyone who
is in the political trenches deserves to be supported for what they
are doing if there is a genuine desire on their part to improve the
Zimbabwean lot politically. The MDC as a prty did not live up to all
our expectations and it never delivered what Zimbabweans thought the
party would deliver. We are therefore still very much search and
nobody knows now who sdhall take our country to the promised land.
Ncube is someone I talk to like any other politician in Zimbabwe and I
get very strong sentinment from him that he holds his country dear and
he will always act in its best interests. I wish him and people like
Themba-Nyathi all the best because ZANU PF politicians from
Matabelleand have failed that region dismally.

In the next instalment I will be looking at the role Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga has played in shaping post-independent
Zimbabwean national politics. Misihairambwi-Mushonga is one woman I
personally was very instrumental in instilling confidence especially
among Zimbabwean women to take up national politcs and acitivism but
she has not been adequately appreciated. People have been very
judgemental on her and she was also very unjustifiably accused like
Ncube for theoccastrating the spilt of the MDC. It is quite heartening
that she has never been bogged down and completely hounded out of
national politics.

Silence Chihuri writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on

Back to the Top
Back to Index