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Anti-sanctions protesters disrupt US Ambassador’s Manicaland tour

By Violet Gonda
16 January 2013

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, who was touring projects funded by
the US government in Manicaland province, was greeted on Tuesday and
Wednesday by demonstrators who are against the restrictive measures imposed
by the US.

Wharton told SW Radio Africa that on Tuesday he had gone to visit the
Sangano Dairy Farm, a USAID funded project in Rusape, but had to abandon his
tour prematurely because of the disturbances by the placard carrying
protesters who sang liberation war and anti-sanctions songs.

Western countries, including the European Union, imposed a travel ban and
asset freeze on members of the ZANU PF government and some companies more
than a decade ago.

Ambassador Wharton said the US has made it very clear that it wants to see
the rule of law and democratic processes respected, before the restrictions
can be removed.

He said: “Sanctions do not affect the larger population of Zimbabwe. It is
my goal to see our relationship normalize but it will require work from both

“Secretary Clinton spoke in Cape Town last year and said that we will go
action for action with Zimbabwe.” Wharton added: “When and if we see a draft
constitution and a successful referendum then we will talk about how the
United States will respond.”

Suspended MDC-T Mutare Mayor Brian James said Ambassador Wharton was hounded
again by a group of “rowdy protestors” in Mutare on Wednesday, resulting in
him abandoning a public meeting at the Turner Memorial Library where the US
embassy has set up an American corner with an internet café for the general

“It was very unfortunate because there was quite a reasonable crowd that had
gathered to listen to the Ambassador and to engage in some useful dialogue.”

James said the group was “very disruptive” and verbally abused the people
who had gathered for the meeting, damaging some furniture in the library.

“The ambassador moved aside hoping that things would subside but they
basically hounded him back into his vehicle.” The Mayor added: “The sad
thing about it is that an opportunity to dialogue with the ambassador was

James said it would appear that the protests were nationally organized to
disrupt Wharton from meeting the people, using the sanctions issue as an

A statement issued by the US embassy said: “While the U.S. values the right
to peaceful protest, and notes it as a critical element of democracy, we
regret that the roughly 130 ZANU-PF protestors were not interested in a

“Ambassador Wharton spent about 15-20 minutes listening to their messages –
written on placards, and verbal – but was met with no opportunity for
constructive conversation.”

This was supposed to be Ambassador Wharton’s first official visit to parts
of Manicaland province since he presented his credentials to President
Robert Mugabe late last year.

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STATEMENT on Protests During US Ambassador Visit to Mutare

Public Affairs Section

US Embassy Harare

Mutare, January 16, 2013: In response to the protests today, January 16, which prevented Ambassador Wharton from engaging in a dialogue with the citizens of Manicaland at the Turner Memorial Library in Mutare, the U.S. Embassy releases the following statement:

While the U.S. values the right to peaceful protest, and notes it as a critical element of democracy, we regret that the roughly 130 ZANU-PF protestors were not interested in a conversation. Ambassador Wharton spent about 15-20 minutes listening to their messages – written on placards, and verbal – but was met with no opportunity for constructive conversation.

The U.S. Ambassador recognizes the critical need to work together to build a way forward but believes that this must begin with a respectful sharing of ideas.

Ambassador Wharton is on his first visit to Manicaland with a schedule that includes visits to USAID projects and meetings with businesspeople, academics, local authorities, and citizens. Please find attached the remarks that Ambassador Wharton was planning to give at the Turner Memorial Library public event.

# # #

Issued by the United States Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be addressed to Sharon Hudson Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, Tel. +263 4 758800/1; E-mail:; Url:

Click here to read Ambassador Wharton’s prepared remarks for Food for Thought session at the Turner Memorial Library American Corner in Mutare.

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Leading activist detained in ongoing crackdown on dissent

16 January 2013

“This case appears to have the hallmarks of politically motivated
prosecutions calculated to instill fear among human rights defenders as the
country prepares for elections some time in the year.”
Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International's Deputy Programme Director for Africa.

A leading human rights activist in Zimbabwe was denied bail today following
his arrest earlier this week as part of what Amnesty International said is
an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the country ahead of this
year's presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

Okay Machisa, who was remanded in custody until 30 January, is the director
of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights). He was arrested on
Monday in the capital city Harare and charged with publishing falsehoods,
fraud and forgery after allegedly conducting illegal voter registration.

Another ZimRights official, Leo Chamahwinya, was arrested on 13 December
2012, and remains in detention. He faces the same charges.

"This case appears to have the hallmarks of politically motivated
prosecutions calculated to instill fear among human rights defenders as the
country prepares for elections some time in the year," said Noel Kututwa,
Amnesty International’s southern Africa director.

"Many other human rights workers and NGO staff have been harassed,
intimidated and arbitrarily detained by police as part of the ongoing
crackdown on freedom of expression in the country ahead of the elections.

"The authorities must act to halt such rights abuses and release all those
detained as part of this crackdown. These cases cast doubt on whether the
country is ready to hold a violence free election."

Both ZimRights officials are charged with contravening Section 31, 136 and
137 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly
attempting to defraud the Registrar General’s Office by forging and
manufacturing counterfeit copies of voter registration.

Others recently arrested and detained as part of the crackdown include
Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza, senior staff members of
the Counselling Services Unit (CSU) a registered medical clinic treating
victims of organized violence and torture.

All three were arbitrarily arrested after police raided their offices in
Harare in November 2012. They were unlawfully detained and illegally
transferred from Harare and Bulawayo.

They were released after four days in custody and charged with "causing
malicious damage to property". The charges against Fidelis Mudimu were later
dropped for lack of evidence as he was out of the country at the time the
crimes were allegedly committed.

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Zimbabwe Human Rights Activist Charged With Forgery

Tatenda Gumbo, Thomas Chiripasi

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa, who was
arrested Monday, was formally charged in Rottenrow Magistrates Court in
Harare on Tuesday for publishing false and misleading information related to
the country’s voter’s roll.

The state alleges that the ZimRights director forged and conspired to commit
fraud as the organization tried to assist people to register as voters.

Machisa was arrested after voluntarily going in for questioning and kept at
Rhodesville Police Station.

Attorney Beatrice Mtetwa argued in court that her client should have not
been placed on remand after the prosecution’s request for remand charged
ZimRights in its legal persona rather than Machisa himself.

Mtetwa said his presence in court was improper. The prosecution argued that
Machisa had been on the run, after his fellow employees were arrested and
faced similar charges.

ZimRights employees Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwina, Farai Bhani and Tatenda
Chinaka, were also arrested and accused of conniving to discredit the state
by producing a fogged voters’ register. They remain in custody after being
denied bail.

The four have been denied bail by a magistrate and a High Court judge who
argue that their crime is so serious that they may flee if released.

Machisa is due in court on Thursday to make his plea.

In a statement, the Robert F. Kennedy Center (RFK) for Justice and Human
Rights denounced the arrest of Machisa and other civil society activists
ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2013 election.

It said political violence, human rights abuses, and intimidation against
civil society activists are nothing new in the lead up to the nation’s
general elections.

“During the nation’s previous election cycle in 2008, when President Robert
Mugabe’s hold on the presidency was threatened by voters, more than 300
members from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were reportedly
killed, and countless more civic activists were abducted and tortured by the
police, security forces and associated militias.

“With elections once again on the horizon, it is of paramount importance for
the Zimbabwean government to cultivate an environment that is conducive to
peace, social cohesion, and free and fair polls,” said the center.

Nearly a dozen organizations including Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Counseling
Services Unit and the Gays and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe have
experienced harassment in the form of office raids, multiple arrests and
physical abuse at the hands of police"
Santiago A. Canton, Director of Partners for Human Rights at the RFK Center,
is quoted in the statement as saying “the increasingly brazen steps that
Zimbabwean authorities have taken to block civic activism are an unsettling
reminder of the violence and intimidation that has marred past elections.”

“In December, President Mugabe resolved to deregister so-called ‘errant’
civic groups that ‘deviate from their mandate’ during his annual political
party conference in December. The international community, and in
particular, leaders from the Southern African Development Community, must
urge the government of Zimbabwe to immediately end all forms of harassment
and intimidation against civil society organizations and human rights

Since August last year, nearly a dozen organizations including Women of
Zimbabwe Arise, Counseling Services Unit, and the Gays and Lesbian
Association of Zimbabwe have experienced harassment in the form of office
raids, multiple arrests, and physical abuse at the hands of police.

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RFK Center Denounces Arrest of ZimRights Director

Washington, D.C.January 16, 2013 - The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice
and Human Rights (RFK Center) has denounced the arrest of Okay Machisa,
director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and the most
recent target in a series of arrests against Zimbabwean civil society
activists in the lead up to the nation’s 2013 election.

Machisa, due in court Wednesday afternoon, was arrested Monday on on the
grounds of conspiring to "commit voter registration fraud and publishing or
communicating falsehoods".

"The increasingly brazen steps that Zimbabwean authorities have taken to
block civic activism are an unsettling reminder of the violence and
intimidation that has marred past elections," said Santiago A. Canton,
Director of Partners for Human Rights at the RFK Center.

"In December, President Mugabe resolved to deregister so-called 'errant'
civic groups that 'deviate from their mandate' during his annual political
party conference in December. The international community, and in
particular, leaders from the Southern African Development Community, must
urge the government of Zimbabwe to immediately end all forms of harassment
and intimidation against civil society organisations and human rights

Since August of last year, nearly a dozen organisations—including Women of
Zimbabwe Arise, Counseling Services Unit, and the Gays and Lesbians of
Zimbabwe—have experienced harassment in the form of office raids, multiple
arrests, and physical abuse at the hands of police.

The centre noted in a statement that Machisa's arrest, occurred just one
month after the arrest of his deputy at ZimRights, Leo Chamahwinya.

Political violence, human rights abuses, and intimidation against civil
society activists are nothing new in the lead up to Zimbabwean elections.

During the nation’s previous election cycle in 2008, when President Robert
Mugabe’s hold on the presidency was threatened by voters, more than 300
members from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were reportedly
killed, and countless more civic activists were abducted, tortured, and
disappeared by the police, security forces, and associated militias.

"With elections once again on the horizon, it is of paramount importance for
the Zimbabwean government to cultivate an environment that is conducive to
peace, social cohesion, and free and fair polls," noted the centre.

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Mine closes as workers’ wives strike

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 14:51
MASVINGO - Masvingo's biggest gold producer, Rio Tinto’s Renco Mine, has
been forced to halt operations after workers’ wives staged a strike and
blocked their husbands from going to work.

The irate wives said they were angered by Rio Zimbabwe’s failure to increase
salaries as well as pay last year’s annual bonuses.

They camped at the main entrance of the mine in the wee hours of Monday and
blocked access into the mine.
When the Daily News arrived at the mine, over 800 women from the mining
compound were blocking the gate, toyi toying and singing while demanding
their husbands’ dues.

Renco Mine workers’ wives association leader Doreen Madzora said they
protested on behalf of their husbands because workers who go on strike face
victimisation and termination of employment.

“It is us and the children who bear the brunt of our husbands’ poor
remuneration. We are blocking the mine from carrying out operations until
they increase salaries and give our husbands their bonuses,” said Madzora.

The women said their husbands were earning meagre salaries of between $100
and $300-a-month. They are demanding a salary hike for their husbands in
line with the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) hovering above $500.

Renco Mine workers’ committee chairperson Vincent Matiza confirmed the
workers were banking on their wives’ action.

“We have been blocked from entering our workplace by our wives who left us
in bed early in the morning,” he said.

“It is true we were not given our bonuses last year and our employer is
declining to increase our paltry salaries. So our wives took it upon
themselves to express their disgruntlement,” said Matiza.

“They say they will only move if their demands are met.”

Matiza said workers’ rights such as embarking on a job action were not
respected at the mine.

He claimed that about 100 workers were fired for participating or attempting
to organise an industrial action to demand decent wages and better working
conditions last year alone.

Renco Mine manager Syprine Kachisa declined to comment when the Daily News
visited his residence saying he was chased away by angry mine workers’ wives
when he attempted to access his office.

“I am the mine manager but I am not allowed to comment to the press. You
better get in touch with Rio Zimbabwe MD, Ashton Ndlovu at our head offices
in Harare,” said Kachisa.

Ndlovu could not be reached for comment as he was said to be out of the
country. - Godfrey Mtimba

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Miners threatened with dismissal if they support MDC

The MDC Today

Wednesday, 16 January 2013
Issue - 500

The MDC Youth Assembly chairperson, Solomon Madzore was on Monday served
with a letter telling him that he could no longer continue with his studies
at the University of Zimbabwe.

Madzore was a student at the UZ studying for a degree in social work.

However, on Monday, he received a letter from the deputy registrar Anne
Takawira informing him that the university had deregistered him. No reasons
were cited. Sources at the UZ informed Madzore who was set to finish his
final semester, that the decision to expel him was because he has a pending
murder case at the High Court. Madzore is one of the 31 MDC members who are
facing false charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare in

Madzore has since engaged his lawyers to deal with the expulsion. He said he
was shocked by the move by the UZ authorities to expel him as even convicted
prisoners were undertaking further studies and this confirmed persecution at
government institutions that are supposed to be instruments of democracy.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF MP for Masvingo South, Walter Mzembi has ordered all
workers at Renco Mine in the district to join Zanu PF or risk intimidation,
political persecution and dismissal from work.

The MDC provincial spokesperson Hon. Harrison Mudzuri today said Mzembi and
a few of his supporters were causing untold mayhem at the giant mine. He
said reports showed that Mzembi and his supporters had told workers to
denounce the MDC or risk being fired from the mine.

“We received detailed reports that Mzembi and his supporters were at Renco
Mine last week where they castigated company management and ordered all
workers to join Zanu PF,” said Hon. Mudzuri.

“Mzembi also told the workers that all MDC supporters will be thrown out of
the company since he wielded powers to do so. He has been wreaking havoc at
the mine since last year.

We believe that everyone including mine workers has the right to vote for a
party of his or her own choice. It is quite displeasing to note that a
government minister and legislator could sink so low as to participate in
cheap political activities,” said Hon. Mudzuri.

Muzembi’s actions are characteristic of the hooliganism that is associated
with Zanu PF and should not be condoned. The bullying of hapless mine
workers because of their political preferences is not only primitive but
retrogressive in modern politics. Such behaviour will not distract the
people’s march to a democratic dispensation.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

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Armed soldiers terrorise villagers in the Midlands

By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 January 2013

Armed soldiers who were deployed to various parts of the Midlands province
in December, to distribute food under a ZANU PF scheme, have been accused of
terrorizing villagers in the areas where they are camping.

Reports vary from assaults to threats, robbery, unofficial curfews and
late-night home visits by uniformed soldiers with AK 47 rifles.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme spoke to trusted sources who
said the soldiers are restricting people’s movements in many areas and using
logs to assault those without a good reason for being outside at night.

In one incident, a security guard named Tavonga Ndlela was hospitalized for
three days following an attack by soldiers on Christmas Eve. Ndlela was
guarding three premises at Musume when the soldiers arrived in a taxi that
they refused to pay for. They then assaulted Ndlela with a log saying:
“Urikufambirei husiku”, meaning why are you walking at night.

Eight other people at the location were assaulted by the soldiers, who
accused them of having no identification cards at night.

In another incident, the MDC-T Secretary for Defence in the Midlands South,
Trynos Shava, was attacked by soldiers last week after being accused of
breaking a curfew at night. Shava had gone to Mataga to visit his family but
ended up hiding in a tree. He later fled to the mountains nearby.

Saungweme said that armed soldiers in Gokwe North, near Nembudziyah, have
been giving out bags of rice from China since December. But the rice comes
with the familiar threat to “vote for ZANU PF if you take this food or else”.

According to Saungweme, the most recent distribution of the rice took place
last Thursday at a place called Nyatso. Armed soldiers accompanied by ZANU
PF councilors threatened recipients, saying: “Kana madya chikafu chedu
moziva pekuvota,” and “Voterai ZANU PF kuti chikafu chirambe chichiuya”.

This means “know who to vote for if you eat our food” and “vote for ZANU PF
if you want to keep receiving food”.

Last week the rice from China was also distributed at Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) depots at Mutora, Chinyenyetu, Mushamba and paChoda. Villagers said
threats were made by ZANU PF councilors who were present at each location.

Saungweme said the situation in the Midlands has intensified since December
last year, as more soldiers were recruited to distribute the maize under
Robert Mugabe’s presidential inputs scheme.

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Abducted MDC-T youth still missing

By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 January 2013

A youth supporter of the MDC-T, who was allegedly abducted by a known agent
from the CIO last Thursday, is said to be still missing almost a week later.

According to the MDC-T, William Sibanda of Nyamandlovu in Matabeleland
North, was abducted at gun-point lastThursday morning by a CIO agent named
Chibango. A statement from the party said Chibango operates from Lupane
Police Station, but they have not been able to locate him or Sibanda at the

The MDC-T said no help has been forthcoming from the police officers.
“The continued abductions and harassment of MDC members are a well
calculated move by ZANU PF to intimidate people ahead of this year’s
elections. However the people of Zimbabwe are determined to vote for change
come elections this year,” the MDC-T said in a statement.

Meanwhile, there is still no clue as to the whereabouts of activist Paul
Chizuze, who went missing almost a year ago from Bulawayo. Chizuze was last
seen driving his Nissan Hardbody on February 8th, 2012.

South Africa’s Cape Times newspaper reported that the car itself was spotted
in Beitbridge four months later. It is still not clear what business might
have brought the activist to park outside the tax building in Beitbridge.
For unknown reasons, the Zimbabwe Republic Police did not investigate or
perform any forensic tests on the vehicle.

It is widely believed Chizuze may have been targetted because of his
involvement in documenting the Gukurahundi massacres of the late eighties.
Zimbabwean troops loyal to Robert Mugabe murdered tens of thousands of
innocent civilians in Matabeleland, after claiming arms of war had been
found hidden on a farm belonging to ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo.

In August last year, Education Minister David Coltart told SW Radio Africa
that Chizuze had “too much information on Gukurahundi”. Coltart worked
closely with Chizuze at the time.

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Zimbabwe police seize four tons of marijuana

Sapa-AP | 16 January, 2013 13:13

Police in Zimbabwe say they have seized about four tons of marijuana aboard
a truck driven from the neighboring country of Malawi, their biggest haul on

Police officials said Wednesday the truck was intercepted when it was being
suspiciously "escorted" by a minibus and a taxi to a parking lot in western
Harare, which appeared ready to ferry away some of the marijuana packed in
90 kilogram hessian bags normally used for tobacco.

The driver of the Malawi registered truck, destined also for South Africa,
was arrested but his suspected accomplices ran off, evading capture Tuesday.

The marijuana plant grows wild in southern Africa. The "Malawi Gold" suited
to that country's climate and grown in illegal plantations there, is sought
after by users across the region.

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Constitutional referendum set for March?

By Tichaona Sibanda
16 January 2013

A date for a referendum might be announced in Harare on Thursday, when the
three principals to the GPA meet to receive a draft report of the new

This reportedly follows a ‘breakthrough’ in talks to finalize the drafting
of the new charter by the cabinet committee that met in Harare on Wednesday.

SW Radio Africa was told the country is set to have a referendum at the end
of March with elections most likely to be staged in July this year

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told us on
Wednesday that they made ‘very good’ progress in their final day of talks in
the capital.

The Minister said the seven member cabinet committee will meet in Harare on
Wednesday evening to go through a draft report that would be presented to
the GPA principals on Thursday.

‘We finished our meeting at 3pm and met our secretariat to draft a report
that we will look at tonight (Wednesday evening) so that it is in a state to
be presented to the principals.’

Asked if they had finally dealt with all the contentious issues after three
years of drafting the constitution, Matinenga retorted: ‘If I say it was a
good meeting and we made good progress that should mean a lot.’

Although he refused to say they had completed the draft, Matinenga may have
let the cat out of the bag when he revealed drafters are to be called back
to work on the new additions.

‘The drafters are going to come back to redo the document and factor in all
the agreed issues and put it in a legal language,’ he said. The minister
speculated the referendum might be held at the end of March, saying a lot of
work still remained.

Paul Mangwana, the ZANU PF co-chairman, said there was ‘a great deal’ of
progress from the talks, confirming that the committee will be meeting again
to ‘go through’ the draft report before its presentation to the principals.

‘We are still talking and yes there was good progress but if you need more
information on that contact the coordinator (Matinenga),’ Mangwana said.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T co-chairman, said it was true they had agreed on
all issues from their Wednesday meeting. He said their last round of
negotiations ended with important progress on all issues, including the
contentious one on running mates.

‘The most prominent achievements were made on issues such as devolution,
national prosecuting authority, constitutional court, peace and
reconciliation commission and land commission,’ explained Mwonzora.

The same committee met on Tuesday but ended their negotiations without a
deal. The talks proved elusive after ZANU PF brought back issues already
agreed to by the co-chairmen.

Meanwhile Welshman Ncube’s MDC has protested the fact that he was not
included in the Monday meeting of the principals when they met to discuss
the constitution. The MDC said this was ‘in violation of the SADC meeting
(in Mozambique) which stated that Ncube was a principal.

It was Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara who met as
principals on Monday.

Ncube and Mutambara remain locked in a legal battle for control of the MDC
and SADC made the unwieldy decision last year that Ncube would deal with the
mediation team and Mutambara would continue to attend meetings of GPA
leaders. This has created endless debate about who attends which meetings.

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West plotting to ‘kill’ me: Mugabe

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 12:25

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has accused Western countries of plotting
to assassinate him to gain access to Zimbabwe’s wealth.

Mugabe told a meeting of Zimbabwean students in Beijing during his annual
vacation that Western countries planned to kill him.

Zimbabwean leaders usually use the term “West” to refer to Britain and the
United States in particular.

In an already tense election campaign, where his opposition senses it has
its best chance to end the socialist leader’s 32-year grip on the South
African nation, Mugabe implied that the plot had come from within the West’s
own ranks.

The report on State TV did not specify the exact source of the plot.

But it is the second time the 88-year-old leader has made the shocking claim
after making similar claims at his Zanu PF party’s annual conference last

Mugabe said the plot involved hostile non-governmental organisations
bankrolled by the West and was aimed at driving him out of power and
imposing a “puppet government”, a phrase he regularly uses to refer to his
foe and coalition partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who hopes to
block his bid for re-election this year.

Mugabe gave few details of the alleged plot.

“They send NGOs into our system, they always want puppet regimes and if
there is a strong government, they talk of regime change,” Mugabe told the

“They want to change us, change me for a long time if not get rid of me if
not to kill me altogether. And that is the appetite of the West for wealth.
We also have appetite for wealth, but not for other people’s wealth.”

Earlier last month, Mugabe told his 13th national people’s conference: “You
can’t be afraid that you will be killed. How many have died? This is my
country. I will die for it. A lot of others have died for it.”
US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton told reporters in Bulawayo last
month that there was no plot whatsoever to bump off the veteran ruler.

“That is not our policy and we would not do that. It is not our policy in
Zimbabwe,” Wharton said.

“Let me be very clear: the United States wants a strong, stable, prosperous,
just Zimbabwe. We are looking for ways to support that through healthy
positive productive means, no other means,” he said.

If anything, the US was ready to work with Zanu PF if it won a free and fair

“If the elections are open and neutral and the people of Zimbabwe and Sadc,
supposedly the monitoring teams, say these are good elections, yes, I think
the United States would support a Mugabe government if it is elected,” he
said. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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Mugabe wants Africa to have one President


Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, on Jan.15 called upon his peers to
focus on the appointment of one president to lead Africa when the
forthcoming African Union (AU) summit meets soon.

Mugabe said the summit should discuss the appointment of a ‘President of
Africa’ to foster unity among Africans and ensure that member states adhere
to the founding principles of the original Organization of African Unity

“Yes, we need a President for Africa,” Mugabe said. “That is what we are
going to discuss at the AU summit. Africa is not a united continent. We are
not at the stage our founding fathers wanted us to be when the organ was
formed,” he is reported as saying by the Zimbabwe publication News Day.

Addressing journalists at State House in Harare alongside his guest, Thomas
Boni Yayi, the president of Benin, who is also the outgoing AU chairman,
Mugabe said the AU had failed to integrate Africans, with some only seeing
themselves in the context of Anglophones and others Francophones.

The proposal to set up a ‘United States of Africa’ was first mooted by the
late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1999 as a way of ending the continent’s
conflicts, but it failed to gain enough support from his African
counterparts, including Uganda’s president Museveni— with some doubting
Gaddafi’s real motive.

But Mugabe emphasized Africa should have one president who would help fight
divisions and move Africa to a continental power from the regional shell he
claimed it is today.

Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for over 30 years and is only 36 days shy of
his 90th birthday said he was pleased that even though Zimbabweans had
political differences, they had realised they were guided by the same
destiny and hoped the forthcoming elections scheduled for March would be
peaceful. Mugabe is expected to stand again for another term in office.

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‘No electoral interference from NGOs’

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00

Felex Share Herald Reporter

Non-governmental organisations should not interfere with the electoral
processes in the country under the guise of humanitarian assistance, an
official has said. Launching the Zimbabwe Humanitarian

GAPS 2013 Appeal in Harare yesterday, Regional Integration and International
Cooperation secretary Mr Tadeus Chifamba said Government would not hesitate
to ban NGOs that meddle in the country’s electoral processes.

He said the donor community should continue working with the existing
Government structures to avoid unnecessary duplication and tension that
would hinder the vulnerable’s access to the much-needed relief.

“As the country prepares for the constitutional referendum and elections,
Government would like to urge NGOs not to interfere in the internal
political processes under the guise of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

“Let Zimbabweans be given an opportunity to define their future and
Asked why Government was pushing away donors from the electoral process yet
they had contributed in the constitution making process Mr Chifamba said the
needs of the Zimbabwean people lay with their Government.

“We are not pushing away anyone but what people have to understand is there
are certain countries that have already taken a stance in relation to

‘As much as they have contributed to the constitution, they are seen as
interested parties who will compromise neutrality in the observance of our
electoral process,” he said.
Zimbabwe requires about US$131 million for humanitarian purposes this year.

Mr Chifamba said Zimbabwe had a right to appeal for assistance but such
assistance when rendered, should not usurp Government responsibility but
rather complement it.
He said Zimbabwe was neither a ‘classical’ humanitarian case nor a failed

“There are more deserving cases out there emerging from extreme weather
conditions like floods and natural calamities such as earthquakes.

“The fact that there is a reduction in our appeal from close to US$200
million last year to the amount we require this year is an acknowledgement
that Zimbabwe is on the road to recovery and sustained economic growth,” he

Mr Chifamba said donor assistance should now shift from being humanitarian
to developmental.
“Sustained dialogue and engagement between Government and the co-operating
partners coupled with developments on the political and economic fronts have
witnessed growing consensus to shift from humanitarian to developmental,” he

“The Zimbabwe Humanitarian GAPS appeal is the first serious attempt to
isolate purely humanitarian challenges from transition and developmental

In its appeal, Zimbabwe wants assistance mainly on food security, health,
civil protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash).

Areas such as education, agriculture, nutrition and livelihoods are now
outside the humanitarian appeal.

Norway ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Ingebjorg Stofring said donors should
respect global humanitarian principles when conducting their duties.

“There must be no interference in the internal affairs of a particular
country but activities should be guided by set global humanitarian
principles,” she said.

She said joint efforts between Government and the donor community would save
lives of thousands of vulnerable people.

“Zimbabwe is no longer a typical emergency country and it is our hope that
this good relationship will continue until we achieve our goals,” she said.

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Mudede Rejects Online Voter Registration Proposal

Ntungamili Nkomo

WASHINGTON DC — Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede has turned down a proposal
by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to introduce online voter
registration, saying such a system could be vulnerable to electoral fraud.

MDC secretary-general Priscillah Misihairambwi-Mushonga had pitched the idea
saying it would make registration for the upcoming elections much easier.

But Mudede wrote Misihairambwi-Mushonga a letter Monday arguing that “online
registration does not have adequate checks and balances to detect electoral

“There is a strong probability that some people will be involved in the
abuse of passwords to register or transfer voters without their consent to
deliberately distort and corrupt the voters’ roll,” Mudede said.

He also argued that prospective voters in the countryside would not benefit
from such a scheme as they have no access to computers and the internet,
hence his decision to reject the proposal.

However, political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya of the Liberal Market Solutions
dismissed Mudede’s concerns saying they were exaggerated.

The voter registration outreach by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
failed to take off on January 3 due to lack of funds and poor planning by
the commission.

The MDC formations and civil society groups are demanding a revised voter
register, arguing the current one is replete with “ghost voters,” most of
them people who are late.

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CZI: Zimbabwe's Manicaland Province Facing Milk Shortages

Loirdham Moyo, Obert Pepukai

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) in Manicaland Province says
the dairy industry in the region may not be able to provide fresh milk to
keep up with demand.

Manicaland regional president Charles Tavazadza told VOA Studio 7 that the
number of milk producers in the province is down from 33 farmers to a mere

Mr. Tavazadza said the drop in the number of dairy operations is due to many
factors, including a lack of money to keep the farms running and the lack of
training in current dairy operations and management.

The result, he said, is a likely milk shortage in the near future. The CZI
has been told that the reduced supply will lead to the probable closure of
the Mutare Dairy Depot, a key first customer for both commercial and
small-scale dairy farmers in the province.

The likely closure of the depot was confirmed by an employee at the firm,
who requested to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak to the

The worker said the milk volumes the depot receives has drastically fallen
to levels too low to sustain operations. Efforts to get an official comment
from Dairyboard management at Mutare Dairy Depot were unsuccessful.

Tavazadza noted that the dairy industry is important as it supports other
sectors of the economy.

Petros Maunga is a small-scale dairy farmer based in Watsomba, about 40km
north east of Mutare.

Maunga said running a dairy project is costly for upcoming farmers.

Meanwhile, more than 50 of Zanu PF supporters, most of them veterans of the
1970s liberation struggle, over the weekend invaded Gutu Rural District
Council land designated for sporting facilities.

The invaders argued that they do not have space to plant seeds donated to
them by President Robert Mugabe under the Presidential Well-Wishers Input
Scheme at the beginning of the current rainy season.

The group, led by Muzorodzi Makwashe, said they invaded the property, which
had a football, volleyball and basketball pitches and other sporting
facilities because they want to utilize it for farming purposes.

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Robert Mugabe looks to 'indigenize' Barclays in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is now targeting Western banks, including Barclays, with operations
in the country after top African conglomerate Ecobank complied with black
empowerment laws of selling majority shares to locals.

5:55PM GMT 16 Jan 2013

"Ecobank has complied with our indigenisation laws. Their plans are now in
order," Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe's indigenisation minister told AFP

"We are now looking at other banks like Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays
and Stanbic to comply."

Stanbic, is a subsidiary of South Africa's Standard Bank with operations
elsewhere on the continent.

The Togo-headquartered Ecobank, which has branches in 33 countries across
Africa, confirmed the deal but refused to give details.

The indigenisation drive, which is being spearheaded by long ruling
President Robert Mugabe saw the world's number two platinum miner Implats
cede 51pc of the shares in its local unit Zimplats to Zimbabwean investors
last week.

The campaign, signed into law in 2007, has been described as illegal and a
threat to Zimbabwe's ailing economy by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe's central bank chief last year warned the country's fragile economy
could grind to a halt if the government rushed its planned seizure of
majority stakes in foreign-owned banks.

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Miracle money claims ‘irresponsible’: Gono

on January 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

CENTRAL bank chief Gideon Gono has warned Zimbabweans against taking
‘prophet’ Uebert Angel Mudzanire’s “so-called miracle money” and urged the
“man of God” to find other ways of pleasing his followers.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono
Gono told NewsDay that although he had no intention of getting embroiled in
controversies with the “prophet” regarding the “miracle money”, Mudzanire’s
activities had the potential to invite international scrutiny on the

“All my knowledge and experience to date in matters financial is also at
variance with what the men of God are telling their followers and I can
safely say that what they are telling people is very dangerous indeed and
they must stop it forthwith,” Gono said.

“You cannot just wake up in the morning and say that my account has this
much money which I cannot tell where it came from and hope that you can have
access to it or escape interrogation by authorities. It’s not possible.”

The central bank boss’ remarks were in response to reports that Mudzanire
had left several of his followers rich after they found their bank accounts
credited with the “miracle money”.

Others reportedly had cash mysteriously stashed into their pockets while
attending his church services in Botswana last October and on New Year’s Eve
in Harare.

However, Finance minister Tendai Biti immediately issued a statement casting
aspersions over the development and challenged Mudzanire to perform his
exploits and raise the $10 billion required to offset the country’s debts to
prove his “miracle money” was indeed real.

Added Gono: “It is possible, however, that our men of God are not aware of
all these serious earthly laws and could be at risk of breaking them
unknowingly, but then, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no

Gono said the “prophets” were not following the norms of sweat, hard work,
honesty, opportunity and perseverance in accumulation of wealth.

He warned: “If money is ‘faked’ or counterfeited under whatever disguise,
various international conventions and protocols to which all member
countries, including Zimbabwe, are signatory to, require that we declare
such miraculous money ‘proceeds of money laundering’ and continuing to
encourage such practices is a very serious offence under the United Nations
Convention on Suppression of Financing of Terrorism (1999),and the
Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, otherwise known as the
Palermo Convention.

“In Zimbabwe, three main pieces of legislation govern legitimacy of money
and its uses. These are the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of
Money-Laundering Act (Chapter 24:24), the Serious Offences (Confiscation of
Profits) Act (Chapter 9:17) and the Suppression of Foreign and International
Terrorism Act (Chapter 11:21).”

Gono said the “prophets” should be careful not to cause “or invite
unnecessary attention and adverse scrutiny upon the country’s financial
systems for whatever reasons by sticking to acceptable, universally
acknowledged earthly norms of earning money, enriching themselves and others
they are privileged to lead”.

“One suggestion maybe is to emulate the route taken by our Lord Jesus Christ
when He fed multitudes of people from five loaves of bread and fish.

“It may not be such a bad idea to do that as food is a basic necessity for
all that is visible and fills the tummies of congregants who can, if in need
of more food, come back every day or on selected frequencies — a
week/month — to the venue(s) of prayer, thereby keeping those who want, out
of the misery of hunger and malnutrition,” Gono added.

“We are a country still under illegal sanctions and economic siege and, in
any case, where were these miracle men and women of God during the period
1998 to 2008 when some of us were trying every trick in and outside the book
to keep this country afloat?” NewsDay

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Zimbabwe not a ‘basket case’, donors told

16/01/2013 00:00:00
by Brian Paradza

A SENIOR government official has told donors that Zimbabwe was not a basket
case as United Nations (UN) agencies launched a global appeal for US$131
million to meet food, water and other emergency needs in the country.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator, Alain Noudehou, said at least $110
million of the money will be used to provide food for more than 1.6 million
Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.

Noudehou said this year’s food shortages are “worse” compared to the past
three years due to drought, erratic rains and cash shortages to buy seed and
fertilizers for resettled farmers, many who took over formerly white-owned

But secretary for regional integration and regional cooperation, Tedius
Chifamba, said aid groups should stop projecting Zimbabwe as a “classic
humanitarian case”, insisting the country was on the mend.

Chifamba said Zimbabwe now needed budgetary support and should no longer be
classified under the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), a tool developed by
aid organisations to raise funds for humanitarian action as well as plan,
implement and monitor their activities together.

“There is general consensus that Zimbabwe is not a classic humanitarian case
that should continue using the CAP. There should also be an acknowledgement
that Zimbabwe is on road to recovery and sustained economic growth,”
Chifamba said.

“Zimbabwe is neither a classic humanitarian case nor is it a failed state;
there are more deserving cases out there emerging from extreme weather
conditions, natural and man-made calamities.”

The country is emerging from a decade-long social and economic crisis which
President Robert Mugabe blames on sanctions imposed by the West to punish
his government for re-distributing white owned farms to land-less blacks.

A 2009 political deal with long-term rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now Prime
Minister, saw the establishment of a unity government which has helped ease
political tensions and put the country’s economy on the road to recovery.

The UN agencies concede that the humanitarian situation in the country has
improved with this year’s appeal for US$131 million reduced from about
US$238 million last year but insist that challenges remain.

“Humanitarian challenges remain, that include food insecurity mainly caused
by drought and sporadic outbreaks of waterborne diseases,” the UN office for
the coordination of humanitarian affairs said in a statement.

Still, Noudehou said attention would this year shift from emergency
assistance to recovery and development.
“I would like to implore all of us especially those who will work on the
operational side, at the field level, to help us ensure that there is
greater focus on results and risk reduction in the utilisation of the
resources that we avail,” he said.

“The Humanitarian Gaps Appeal for this year has prioritized four clusters of
WASH, food, protection and health.”

Meanwhile, Chifamba also warned aid groups against interfering in local
“As the country prepares for the constitutional referendum and elections,
the government would like to urge the NGO’S not to interfere in the internal
politics processes under the guise of humanitarian assistance,” he said.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold fresh elections this year to replace the
coalition administration which came into office after violent but
inconclusive polls in 2008.

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Diaspora Diaries with Alex Bell and guest Ben Freeth

Alex Bell talks to Ben Freeth on Diaspora Diaries

15 January 2013

AB: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Diaspora Diaries on SW Radio Africa, your independent voice. I’m Alex Bell and on tonight’s show I’ll be joined by former Chegutu farmer turned activist Ben Freeth to talk about the future of the regional Human Rights Tribunal.

As you know, the SADC Court remains inactive more than two years after regional leaders moved to suspend it for daring to rule against the Robert Mugabe regime. Despite widespread condemnation and warnings about what this means for the rule of law in Southern Africa, there has been no attempt to revive the court to fulfill its chief function – protecting the human rights of SADC citizens.

But there is hope the situation will change with the case being brought before the African Commission on Human and People’s rights. Joining me now to talk more about this is Ben Freeth. Ben thank you as usual for joining us on SW Radio Africa. The last two years has been, I guess, a case of wait and see – lots of waiting to see what decisions will be made regarding the fate of the SADC Court; lots of fighting going on from people like yourself who really want to see this Court fully reinstated; and yet absolutely no urgency from regional leaders to revive this incredibly important Court. So where do we actually stand in terms of the Court at the moment and its function in SADC as a regional bloc?

BF: Well I think the final nail in the coffin really took place in August 2012 when the regional leaders met in Maputo and they decided that the regional court could not be approached by individuals any longer at all. Before that obviously the judges had been sent off and unable to hear any cases at all, but it was that decision in August 2012 which was a decision that stopped individuals from being able to approach the court in the future. There has been no changes to the Treaty, there’s been no changes to the protocol but this is dictatorial dictatorship at its worst where a group of leaders can get together and they can say this court doesn’t exist any longer, individuals can’t approach it any longer. So the whole separation of powers aspect was breached. And the long road towards tyranny has been started I believe by the SADC leaders doing this to the regional court. So really that’s where the court is at the moment; it’s dysfunctional, it’s a shell of a building sitting in Namibia unable to do its work of meting out justice to the people of Southern Africa.

AB: Ben I think a lot of people seem to get confused about the role the SADC Tribunal is supposed to play mainly because there are so many different groupings that are part of SADC that again act, are toothless bulldogs that don’t do very much. But essentially in very, very basic terms – without this court what does it mean for one, for human rights protection in the SADC region?

BF: Well basically where a country goes into a system of dictatorship, an individual country and the judiciary becomes compromised, the judges have become appointees of the president and the courts fail to function properly, there has to be a court of last resort where that dictator does not have the ability to influence those judges. There has to be an impartial system of justice in order to ensure that the people of that country do not fall under tyranny. And so this was the vision in 1992 when the SADC Treaty was signed – that there should be a court of final appeal and that’s what was set up. The SADC Tribunal finally came into being through the SADC Treaty and was there as the court of final appeal for where human rights failed in a particular country and where justice was not being able to be sought by the citizens of that country. So that basically is what the SADC Tribunal was there for. It was also there to ensure that country to country disputes could be sorted out through a rational kind of judicial system. But the fact that it’s not there now leaves people in a position where, if their countries do fail them in giving justice, there is nowhere left to turn.

AB: The fight of course isn’t over though for the SADC Tribunal, we hope. I know that there is some hope now Ben that maybe a little bit more pressure will come to bear on the SADC leaders for what they’ve done – essentially putting the pin in any attempt to protect human rights of SADC citizens because you, on behalf of your late father-in-law, and farmer Luke Tembani have made this application before the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. Maybe you could bring us up to speed on this and really what this means going forward.

BF: Well I think the wonderful thing about the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights is that they have accepted our application; they have become seized of it and they, towards the end of last year, want our legal argument. So that legal argument is going in this week and has been put together to basically bring all these issues to the fore in the African Commission. which is part of the African Union, set up as a result of the African Union’s commitment to human rights wherever in Africa. And so we’ve put that application in, the legal argument is all done, it’s just the finalisation of the translations has just been finished in to French and Portuguese. So it’s very exciting that that historic case is going into the African Commission now. All 14 heads of state and their governments are respondents to that application and we do hope that it puts pressure through the African Union, through bodies higher than the African Union and the world’s United Nations etcetera to, on these 14 heads of state and their governments for taking away this court, the SADC Tribunal for the citizens of southern Africa. So it is very exciting.

AB: Ben I’m sure you are as surprised as I am that to date there hasn’t been what we would have expected, which was outcry, the kind of shock that we’ve spoken about many times over the last few years. But it seems that going to the African Commission and spurning them into action, it seems kind of sad to me. I was kind of hoping that they would have done it automatically.

BF: Well yah I think, you know, all these big bodies you need to put in the complaint and then it’s a long and slow and arduous process to actually get it through. It’s the same with the United Nations. All these kind of big bodies seem to be extremely slow in reacting to terrible situations within countries around the world so I think the important thing is that they have become seized of it, they are wanting further argument, they haven’t thrown it out and we’re putting our argument in and we hope to have it argued properly before the eyes of the world so that everyone can see exactly what is going on here. Whether the SADC leaders are acting like tyrants, like dictators or whether they’re going to come round to the understanding that their decision has to be dependent on what their people say and what their people think and what their people want.

AB: A lot of criticism of course has been about the fact that the case in particular that the SADC Tribunal suspension is linked to has been about the land grab campaign in Zimbabwe, the so-called land reform programme. But this is so much more than issues about property rights and compensation Ben. This has become a fight I would assume about human rights generally. Would you agree?

BF: Well absolutely. I think the fact that the two applicants that have gone to the African Commission are from Zimbabwe, the fact that they are both farmers or that there’s one is a black farmer and one white farmer is indicative of the fact that human rights within Zimbabwe are obviously in crisis at the moment; that human rights on the land are where the nub of the human rights crisis has stemmed from essentially. It’s where the majority of the people of Zimbabwe are – on the land but I think the fight that we are fighting is far bigger than where the nub of that crisis is. The fight that we are fighting is something that is for all the people of southern Africa, it’s a fight for justice within Southern Africa, for human rights within Southern Africa, for the development of a system of honesty and justice so that the people of Southern Africa can in the future thrive. We all understand and know full well that where honesty and justice, where truth are all allowed to be casualties within countries, those countries do not develop, they do not go forward, they cannot feed themselves and everyone suffers as a result. There’s mass migration out of them. People vote with their feet by going to countries where truth does prevail, where there is justice and where there is honesty because those places are going forward. So this is a fight that I believe, goes to the core of where the problems lie, where, why it is that although we’ve got this huge potential within Southern Africa, we’re not going forward in the way that we should be going forward. So this is something for our children, this is something for the future generation and Luke Tembani, he’s of the older generation, I’m of a younger generation, he’s black, I’m white but we are fighting for the same thing – we want our children, our grandchildren to have a better future within Southern Africa.

AB: Ben it seems also at this point with Zimbabwe now heading towards yet another election period with still ongoing political uncertainty, human rights abuses that are still occurring, being committed, a complete lack of respect for the rule of law – it seems quite critical that this case is now before the African Commission at this particular time.

BF: Well I think in Zimbabwe we are going to go into an extremely difficult year in 2013; I’m very concerned about what’s going to happen to particularly our more isolated vulnerable rural people in Zimbabwe. There seems to be nothing in place to really stop what is going to happen. We know what happened in 2008, in 2005 and 2002, in 2000, in all those elections and 2013 appears to have no real differences. All the things that were in place in previous elections remain in place and so it is very concerning as we go into 2013 and it’s absolutely imperative that there are systems of justice, systems of international justice in place to make sure that perpetrators of violence against people within Zimbabwe are able to be brought to book in some way. And so this case to the African Commission is obviously looking at how we can have that further recourse. But we need far more than that. Here a court is one thing but a court is only, it’s there as a buffer once things have happened. We need in this country people who are going to be peace keepers who are prepared to come in and to make sure that the violence cannot take place in the same way that it has taken place before. I’m very concerned that we are entering a year which will go down in the annals of Zimbabwean history as a year where the blood flowed and none of us want that in Zimbabwe. I believe that it’s up to the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, it’s up to those authorities that are supposed to care about the people, to mobilize international support to ensure that this thing cannot happen yet again.

AB: Well that was former Chegutu famer Ben Freeth. If you’d like any more information about the case or if you’d just like to leave your comments, you can email me on or find me on Twitter. For now though we’ve come to the end of tonight’s Diaspora Diaries but join me at the same time next week.

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Zanu PF and MDC: Strange bedfellows

16/01/2013 00:00:00
by Senator Obert Gutu

MY POLITICS is generally located left of centre. I abhor dictatorships in
whatever form and/or manner in which they manifest themselves.
As an avowed leftist, I have always been uncomfortable with crude and brazen
capitalism. In fact, I always see evidence of the demise of capitalism when
I look around the world. Put bluntly, capitalism has collapsed.

My vision of a New Zimbabwe is a country that shuns all forms of oppression
of man by man; a country where the rule of law, as opposed to the rule by
law, thrives. I am absolutely convinced that politics should be a vocation
and not a profession. As such, leaders should come and go. We should not be
slaves of obscurantism and fanaticism.

The culture of intolerance is symptomatic of a society in decay. It is the
nemesis of developmental politics and indeed, it is the ultimate
manifestation of a decadent and self-destructing political architecture. As
human beings made of flesh and blood, we should accept that we are fallible.
We are all prone to making mistakes. Indeed, no one is and can be perfect.

They say politics is dirty, but I don’t agree with that assertion. It is
misleading and inaccurate in the extreme. Politics is not dirty. It is the
people who play the game of politics who can be dirty, sometimes. When
politics is taken as the sole source of one’s income and living then, yes,
it can be dirty, very dirty. When politics is used to slander, malign, hate
and domineer then, yes, it becomes a very dirty and crude game.

We should graduate from the politics of personalities and start engaging in
the politics of ideas and issues. We should now focus on quality rather than

In previous articles, I have argued that Zimbabwe is in a state of
socio-economic and political decline. We are not a nation on the rebound. In
fact, we are still battling to stabilise our economic and political
superstructure. We may not necessarily be detained in the intensive care
unit but we are certainly still in the general ward! We are not yet out of
the woods.

Zanu PF and the MDC are presently in a forced marriage; a union of
convenience at best. This is a very unhappy and unstable four-year-old
marriage. There is very little fun and happiness in this forced marriage.
Beset by rabid and insidious back-biting and a general lack of commonality
in addressing national challenges, there is no love lost in this forced

Be that as it may, it is not the purpose of this discourse to grant a decree
of divorce on this forced marriage. We will leave this for another day.
Suffice to state that evidence abounds confirming that this union has
irretrievably broken down and that there are no reasonable prospects of the
restoration of a normal marital relationship. Thus, I am unable to agree
with the school of thought that argues that we should have a second
coalition government. That would be an unmitigated disaster.

The situation is simple and straightforward and thus, defeatism shouldn’t be
on the agenda. We should never accept the insipid argument that Zimbabwe
cannot hold a free and fair election and thus, the lifespan of this
thoroughly exclusive but inclusive government should be extended and
collapsed into a GNU 2.This is a fallacious argument that is completely
devoid of logic and factual support.

The present GNU was, at best, a stop gap mechanism that was never supposed
to last forever. In similar fashion, it was never going to be easy to
reconcile the policies of the MDC and Zanu PF. Zanu PF has never really
transformed itself into a conventional, modern day political party. It is a
commandist and centrist former liberation movement where real political
power resides in one man and one man alone.

By contrast, the MDC is not and has never been a one-man band. It is a
popular, social and broad-based democratic movement. While the movers and
shakers who drive the one-man rule agenda in ZanuPF are obsessed with regime
security and regime retention, since its formation in September 1999, the
MDC is pre-occupied with achieving peaceful and democratic change in
Zimbabwe. Its primary focus is to fundamentally democratise the way in which
government is run; hence its popular slogan “Chinja Maitiro” or “Guqula
Izenzo” simply meaning “Change Your Ways”. Fundamentally, Zanu PF and the
MDC are like oil and water. They cannot and in fact will never mix.

Gerontocracy, clientiism and kleptocracy define and capture the Zanu PF
political mindset. This is an organisation that is obsessed with political
power as an end in itself. They are not bothered whether or not 80% of the
population lives on less than US$2 per day. What drives this organisation is
not the welfare of the people. They don’t care one iota whether the people
are starving or not. They are driven by an insatiable appetite for personal
aggrandisement. This is the main rationale behind the destructive
indigenisation programme. They will smash and grab and rob Peter to pay
Paul. It is not about empowering the majority of the people.

The whole game is about creating a few but politically-well connected
billionaires. They have come up with these shadowy and Mafia-like so-called
community share ownership trusts whose trusteeship and membership is
opaque. Otherwise well-meaning and respectable chiefs and other traditional
leaders have been hoodwinked into “celebrating” the formation of these
trusts. Alas, these trusts are nothing but a mirage where these traditional
chiefs will be routinely used and abused to ratify, justify and sanctify a
programme that is inherently corrupt, economically destructive and
politically puerile in the extreme.

By contrast, the MDC has designed a sustainable economic blueprint with the
acronym JUICE simply denoting jobs, upliftment, investment, capital and
environmental protection. JUICE is underpinned by job creation and
investment promotion as opposed to the grabbing of already existing wealth.
Where Zanu PF smashes and grabs, JUICE will create wealth and employment.

Zanu PF boasts that it has created a sovereign wealth fund that now has US$4
billion. That, of course, is a crude lie. If indeed, this fund has US$4
billion in its coffers, why is that a leading and strategic economic player
such as Cairns Holdings is allowed to go bust? Why do we allow Cairns
Holdings, a company that can actually synergise with the farming sector, to
retrench 1,000 employees if we are really sitting on a sovereign wealth fund
worth a staggering US$4 billion?

The indigenisation policy is designed in hell. It is bound to be a
spectacular flop. Right now, the formal industrial and manufacturing sector
is shrinking at an alarming rate because no serious-minded businessperson
can pour money into a country that pursues predatory, thuggish and primitive
economic policies packaged as indigenisation.

By its very crude nature, the indigenisation policy promotes corruption and
greed. Little wonder, therefore, that there has been absolutely no real,
tangible benefit to the local people in areas where these doomed so-called
community share ownership trusts have been formed.

Zimbabwe has to hold elections that pass the test of legitimacy before the
end of 2013. There is really no other viable way out of our present
political quagmire. It becomes critical, therefore, to ensure that
conditions for the holding of a free and fair election are promptly put in
place. By now, the voter registration exercise should have started in
earnest. It is a public secret that our voters’ roll is in a shambolic
state. It is virtually impossible to run a credible election based on an
archaic and shambolic voters’ roll.

Let me take this opportunity to kindly call upon the powers that be to
immediately ensure that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is
adequately funded to enable it to begin the public awareness and voter
registration programs without any further delay. Time is of the essence.
Running a credible election is a mammoth task. We are still haunted by the
June 2008 fiasco. We do not want a repeat of that mayhem.

We should now agree that the GNU has served its purpose. Definitely, it
has now gone beyond its sell-by date. It is, however, extremely sad to note
that one of the key deliverables of the GNU might never be realised i.e. the
adoption of a new people-driven constitution. But then, we have to move on
as a nation. It is utterly pointless to keep flogging a dead horse. No
matter how loud you whistle through a graveyard, chances are you will not
get any response.

The year 2013 should be the year in which Zimbabwe finally extricates
herself from this apparently endless political logjam. Oil and water will
never mix. Why should anyone force them to, anyway?

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is also the MDC Harare
provincial spokesperson and the Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs

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The real tragedy in Zimbabwe

JANUARY 16 2013, 05:42

HAS there ever been an economic tragedy simultaneously so profound and so
disregarded as Zimbabwe? The situation is so much more tragic because it has
raised so little attention in the capitals of the world. No outraged
editorials in the New York Times; just vast, international indifference.

Zimbabwe’s financial collapse resulted in an inflation rate so extreme it
was treated more with wry amusement around the world than with the concern
rightfully due to its citizens. How many countries in the world have gone so
far backwards so fast? The Zimbabwean middle class has long deserted the
country, its most promising citizens have left, its hospitals have few
medicines, and a once glorious education system lies in ruins. A promising
country with an industrial base once second only to SA in southern Africa
staggers on, with its citizenry at the mercy of its greedy, self-righteous
and conniving political class. The deeper its sinks, the more conniving and
the more toxic that political class becomes.

The era of hyperinflation is now over thanks to what Zimbabwean politicians
laughingly call their "decision" to abandon the Zimbabwean dollar. There was
never really a decision; the currency had ceased to function. Now Zimbabwe
is technically growing again, but everybody knows it is growing from
minuscule to slightly larger than minuscule, and that is not much of an

Having gone through what the country has gone through, you might think the
consequences of economic catastrophe would have chastened the political
class, and made it more cautious about embarking, yet again, on any dubious
economic adventures. Yet, seemingly undeterred, the government has now
embarked on a process of "indigenisation" — a polite word for an asset grab
by the elite. Under the cloak of localising ownership, Zimbabwe is picking
off what remains of the carcass of business entities, forcing them to sell
half of their equity to politically connected locals. That includes a shady
fund managed by military figures.

This process is akin to SA’s process of black economic empowerment (BEE).
Yet, for all its flaws, the foundation on which BEE is premised is an
earnest attempt to rectify inequality caused by apartheid. Indigenisation,
on the other hand, has no such grand moral aims. It is simply an act of
national economic chauvinism. That may play popularly among the political
class; indeed, that is its intention. But the economic consequences are
horrendous. Essentially, it means that to invest in Zimbabwe, the return on
capital has to be double that achieved elsewhere, as the equity is halved.
That may be possible in tiny, marginal areas of the economy, but generally
it is an obvious mistake.

The indigenisation programme places existing investors in Zimbabwe in a
tight spot. There is little international companies can do except try to
explain the basic economic rules to Zimbabwe’s political elite. But, as they
are not listening, the choices are stark. This week, Impala Platinum struck
the deal necessary to abide by the legislation, as its only choice is to
comply or withdraw. As the ore is available in minable quantities only in
Zimbabwe and SA, its hand is forced. In fact, as the company is one of the
few large-scale employers left in Zimbabwe, its bargaining position with
labour is close to despotic. So what it loses in the equity grab by the
politicians it can counterbalance in lower production costs — one of the
unpleasant ironies of this situation.

Now Zimbabwean Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere says his next target
is the banking sector. Even in Zimbabwe, there is some opposition to this
move. No doubt the British and South African banks will comply, as the
contribution of their Zimbabwean branches is negligible anyway.

Yet the fact remains that Zimbabwe has taken another step towards economic
perdition. It does so with the world, not to mention its southern neighbour,
determinedly looking the other way. Ultimately, that is the real tragedy.

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