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

As Rains Pile Up, Zimbabwe Authorities Warn Residents Near Kariba Dam

Civil Protection Department Director Madzudzo Pawadyira said his agency had
warned authorities that it may need assistance in the event of flooding and
has already started issuing tents and supplies to vulnerable areas

Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye | Washington  21 January 2011

With heavy rainfall continuing in the Southern African region, Zimbabwe's
Civil Protection Department is urging people who live near Kariba Dam in
Mashonaland West province to move to higher ground before its flood gates
are opened to ease mounting pressure.

Officials issued flood warnings this week as rains swept Southern Africa
causing scores of deaths in South Africa and Mozambique and ravaging crops
in Zimbabwe.

Civil Protection Department Director Madzudzo Pawadyira said his agency had
warned related authorities that it may need urgent assistance in the event
of flooding and has already started issuing tents and supplies to area
susceptible to floods.

Pawadyira said flooding was reported in Tongogara, Middle Sabi and Chipinge,
all in Manicaland province, but had subsided due to a respite in the rains.

He said traditional flood prone areas needed to be watched included lowlands
around Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central province, Beitbridge in
Matebeleland South province, Tsholotsho in Matebeleland North, Gokwe in

Pawadyira told VOA Studio 7 reportern Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye that his
agency has launched a massive awareness campaign to instruct inhabitants of
low lying areas to take timelyl precautions against possible flooding.

In the event of flooding, Pawadyira said people should move to higher
ground, avoid crossing rivers and draw on their knowledge of local rivers to
determine safe crossings should need arise, and to find secure shelter until
flooding subsides.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Big Power Cuts in Zimbabwe Cities Unrelated to 2009 Estimated Bills - ZESA

ZESA Public Relations Manager Fullard Gwasira said that while the utility
did not write off estimated bills , indications are that some people delay
paying their bills until they can no longer afford to settle them

Gibbs Dube | Washington  21 January 2011

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority on Friday
dismissed reports the parastatal has disconnected power supplies to
Zimbabweans in urban areas based on 2009 estimated bills which a regulatory
body had ordered it to write down.

ZESA Public Relations Manager Fullard Gwasira said that although the
estimated bills were not written off by the electrical utility, indications
were that some customers delay paying their power bills until they can no
longer afford to settle them.

Gwasira said the Competitions, Pricing and Tariff Commission ordered a
revision of the bills based on meter readings. He could not account for
bills as high as US$600 in some cases.

Residents who have been cut off said bills were based on 2009 estimated

Gwasira said consumers must pay their electricity bills in order to continue
receiving power from the utility. “We are currently not disconnecting power
on estimated bills but for electricity consumers used over a long time
without paying for it,” he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kunzvi construction to start April: Nkomo

by Own Correspondent     Saturday 22 January 2011

HARARE – Construction of Kunzvi Dam which will augment Harare’s water supply
is due to start in April while the government has allocated the initial $4
million to kick-start a long-delayed multi-million-dollar project to pipe
water to the second largest city of Bulawayo, a cabinet minister has said.

Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said construction of the dam
would take between 18 and 24 months.

“It has been on the cards for too long and we are starting to build the dam
in April,” he told the latest edition of The Prime Minister’s Newsletter.

The construction project is a partnership between the government and local
and foreign private companies.

“We are in partnership with a local company and two other companies from
Nigeria and France,” he said without naming the partners.

The government has contributed $2 million towards the project, he said.

Construction of Kunzvi Dam on Nyaguwe River in Mashonaland East province was
approved by cabinet in 1996 to ease shortages of water in the capital.

The dam was supposed to be commissioned in 2002.

Lack of funds has stalled implementation of this and other water projects
such as the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, an ambitious
project to draw water from the Zambezi River to supply Zimbabwe’s perennial
dry second city of Bulawayo.

A long held plan to tap water from the Zambezi River through the
construction of a 450km pipeline to arid Matabeleland, the project was
mooted way back in 1912.

The total cost of the pipeline has sky-rocketed and the project is now
estimated to cost more than $600 million.

However, the crisis-ridden government has been unable to implement the
scheme, drawing the ire of Bulawayo residents and other pressure groups from
the region.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Crisis Ridden MDC-N Convenes Urgent Meeting

22/01/2011 12:00:00

HARARE, January 22, 2011- Crisis ridden MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube
meets in Harare on Sunday to discuss among other issues, the decision by
disgruntled former members who have dragged the party to court to challenge
the legality of its congress held two weeks ago.

Party insiders told Radio Vop that the national working council of the
MDC-M, which unceremoniously ousted its previous leader and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara in a bloodless coup two weeks ago, would move to
take disciplinary action against disillusioned members who attempted to
disrupt the congress.
The group, led by the party’s former national chairperson Joubert Mudzumwe,
petitioned the party leadership on the eve of the congress citing
irregularities in the way the congress was convened. The group is
challenging the election of Ncube saying delegates invited for the congress
were allegedly cherry-picked to endorse the former secretary general’s
presidential bid.
In its petition to Ncube and other top leaders of the party, the group also
alleged misuse of party funds by the leadership it also accused of
dictatorial tendencies. On Monday the disillusioned members, including
former chairperson of the party’s Women’s Assembly Hilda Sibanda, filed an
urgent court action in the Harare High Court challenging the legality of the
congress which elected Ncube.

The group still maintains that Mutambara is the legitimate leader of the
party, a development which has created despondency in the faction amid fears
of a looming split, reminiscent of the infamous 2005 split from Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The same sources added that the party’s national working council would also
deliberate on deployment of officials in the coalition government as it
emerged that supporters of Ncube were pressuring him to remove Mutambara
from the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Ncube, by virtue of being elected the leader of the MDC-M, is now the
principal of the party in the coalition government, alongside President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai.Nhlanhla Dube, the MDC-M newly
appointed spokesperson confirmed that a national working meeting of the
party has been slated for Sunday.

“Yes, there’s a meeting of the national standing committee on Sunday,”said
Dube. “It’s the first meeting after congress. It’s a strategic formulating
meeting. The focus is on how the party will collectively move forward and
implement resolutions to the last congress,” he added.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diesel shortage hits Harare

22/01/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

LONG queues have resurfaced in Harare as a shortage of diesel threatens to
cripple business operations in the country.

Motorists waited patiently in meandering queues stretching two kilometres in
places for a chance to be served at the few filling stations that still had
diesel in Harare on Saturday.

Filling station owners blamed the shortages on financial problems at the
state procurement agency, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM).

Fuel shortages have also been reported in Bulawayo, Gwanda, Masvingo,
Plumtree and Victoria Falls, which are geographically dependent on South
African exports.

The shortage of diesel is expected to trigger an increase in prices as most
manufacturers depend on the commodity to move products to markets.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma appeared to blame the crisis on his colleague
at Finance, Tendai Biti.

“For the good part of December we didn’t have any supplies coming from Beira
and the only fuel that was coming into the country was from South Africa.
But South Africa did not have adequate supplies hence they also stopped
supplying us,” Mangoma said recently.

“In the middle of all this, we had our own domestic affairs with $35 million
disappearing from NOCZIM which was due to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party on Saturday urged the
coalition government to resolve the fuel supply problems.

“The (MDC-T) national executive noted that three decades of Zanu PF
corruption and mismanagement of the economy was at the centre of the current
challenges of fuel and power," it said in a statement.

“The executive called on the inclusive government to immediately find
permanent and sustainable solutions to the aforesaid challenges to mitigate
the plight of Zimbabweans."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War veterans invade bird sanctuary

By Thelma Chikwanha
Saturday, 22 January 2011 19:03

HARARE - War veterans have invaded the bird sanctuary, Kuimba Shiri, on the
shores of Lake Chivero  in Mashonaland West, ostensibly to make way for
President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.

Garry Stafford, the founder and owner of the flourishing  bird garden, a
popular tourist centre which caters for more than  450 species of birds said
that the invasion came after a meeting at Zanu PF  headquarters.

“There was a meeting held at Zanu PF and a Tapfumaneyi told us that it had
been decided at party level that only 12 farmers were to remain in Mashonald
West.  Patrick Zhuwao is the one who is interested in this place,” Stafford

Zhuwawo could not be contacted  by late yesterday for comment.

The war veterans who were led by the director general of the Department of
National Parks and Wild Life Vitalis Chadenga, have already hoisted the
national flag and placed Mugabe's portrait bearing the inscription,
“Tinokutendai nekuvhota murunyararo,” which means, we thank you for voting

When Daily News crew visited  Kuimba Shiri, a family business, there was no
sign of physical violence and disturbances save for the presence of  the war
veterans clad in Zanu PF  regalia.

There were no visitors as the Zanu PF youths manning the gate turned them
away. The only two cars parked in the visitors car park belonged to the
Zambian Ambassador to Zimbabwe who was asked to leave and an ML Mercedes
Benz belonging to one of the war veteran leaders.

The news crew however was lucky and was allowed in without fuss.

Stafford, who was flanked by fellow white farmers from within the community
sat in the shed near the bar and the war veterans had planted themselves
like weeds on a well manicured lawn.

The two parties sat facing each other without any communication for close to
two hours. The silence was only broken when Chadenga arrived and addressed
the parties separately.

Chadenga first addressed the first group of whites and told them that they
were not under arrest.

“You don’t have to stay here, you are free to go home and take a shower, eat
and watch t.v. We are not at war ,” he said.

The group of white farmers  left without establishing their fate which is
now hanging on a thread.

A source who declined to be named for fear of victimization said the farmers
were eager to know if they would still have their homes and properties after
the planned invasion.

According to Stafford, the war veterans have been putting up at his farm
since Friday resulting in loss of revenue. The farm, a sanctuary for
abandoned and injured birds on an average day receives at least 50 visitors.

“They came and asked who my supporters were; they wanted to know who had
visited the sanctuary and I showed them my visitors book,” he said.

The take over of Kuimba Shiri comes at a time when the country is
experiencing violent protests from Zanu PF supporters.

Last week, Zanu PF  youths tried to bar the  Member of Parliament  for
Harare North, Theresa Makone from constructing a  market place for Hatcliffe
women  saying it was a  Zanu Pf project which the MDC wants to take over.

In the same week, rowdy youths invaded Town House, destroyed property and
beat up council employees and innocent members of the public while
protesting against “Mugabe’s maize “that had been slashed by council

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T blames Mugabe for civil service pay crisis

22/01/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party has blamed its coalition
partners in Zanu PF for the country’s civil service pay crisis as state
employees threaten a potentially disastrous walk-out on Monday.

Talks between the government and civil service unions collapsed with no
agreement on Thursday leaving open the prospect of a nation-wide strike that
could be a major blow to the country’s still-recovering economy.

And as pressure mounts, Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party– which oversees the social
and economic affairs portfolios in the coalition administration -- claimed
that Zanu PF was responsible for the crisis.

In a statement issued on Saturday following a meeting of the party’s
national executive meeting the party said it “noted the destructive role
being played by the Zanu PF side of the inclusive government in the quest to
redress the concerns of the civil servants”.

The party also claimed there was no accountability in the use of proceeds
from the sale of diamonds from the eastern Marange district..

“The Executive further noted the lack of accountability in the management of
the proceeds from the sale of diamonds in Chiadzwa to address the plight of
the civil servants,” the statement read.

“The Executive called for all the proceeds from the sale of diamonds to be
channeled towards the civil servants and not to line private pockets as is
currently the case.”

But Public Service Minister, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro – who is also a senior
official in the MDC-T – earlier told state media that diamond sales were not
bringing in “enough money to transform the lives of government employees”

Still, the party further claimed that Zanu PF had worsened the problem by
massing the ranks of the civil service with thousands of “ghost workers”.

“The Executive also called for the immediate action on all ghost workers,
Zanu PF functionaries smuggled into civil service as youth and women
officers in every ward in the country.

“Further, the Executive called for the release of the Public Service audit
without delay as well the immediate cessation of all new recruitments of
soldiers and other civil servants until the plight of the existing civil
service is addressed,” the party said.

Unions representing the civil service have rejected pay rises of between
US$6 and US$9 announced by Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, last week.


The salary review, rejected as an insult across the board, will see the
least paid government worker paid US$128 up from US$122.

The highest paid civil servant will be paid US$241.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Join Zanu (PF) For Your Protection-Zipra veterans

22/01/2011 11:42:00

TENGWE, January 22, 2011- War veterans who fought under the Zimbabwe
People,s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) during the war for independence have
urged Zapu supporters in Mashonaland West province to join Zanu (PF) and
attend that party,s rallies for their own safety.

The Zipra war veterans who spoke to Radio Vop on conditions they were not
identified said they have split from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Associations (ZNLWVA) headed by Jabulani Sibanda  and are currently
re-organising their party structures in resettlement areas around Tengwe 50
km east of Karoi town in preparation for elections.

The war veterans also confirmed the deployment of the army in the rural
areas of Mashonaland West.During the liberation war Zipra guerrillas who had
military bases in Zambia operated in Hurungwe, Makonde and Kariba tribal
trust lands-as they were known during the colonial Rhodesian rule.

“ We are busy restructuring our support base in preparation for the next
elections and we are convinced our party, Zapu will win some seats here, ”
said one of the Zipra veterans.Zapu split from Zanu (PF) IN 2008 on the
grounds that the unity accord signed in 1987 between Joshua Nkomo and Robert
Mugabe was no longer serving any useful purpose.

The party is now led by Dumiso Dabengwa who headed Zapu,s intelligence
organ, the National Security Organisation (NSO) during the liberation war.

" We are concerned about the government,s decision to freeze pensions of
some of our members.This is another Zanu (PF) way of manipulating voters, ”
said another Zipra veteran.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Corruption and decay at ZBC

Saturday, 22 January 2011 12:45

HARARE - A thick stench sweeps across the passage from the toilets, cutting
across the entire reception area at the second floor of the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation’s Pockets Hill Studios in Harare. Staff members
criss-cross, barring the stench from intruding their nostrils with their
open palms, while disgusted visitors and occasional job–seekers frown as
they throng the corridors waiting to be served. The independent media has
been awash with stories of corruption at the once-revered Pockets Hill, but
have been branded misinformed and unprofessional. But the beleaguered
broadcaster still manages to churn out an unceasing flood of Zanu (PF)
propaganda – the electronic mouthpiece of a desperate dying horse.
Nothing has ever been done to address reports of corruption at ZBC, with the
Chief Executive Happyson Muchechetere having rather chosen to press lawsuit
charges against The Standard. Last year that newspaper carried a story
detailing the huge salaries awarded to management while ordinary workers,
including reporters, fetched for as little as US$350 per month.
Some top officials at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings were reportedly taking
home over US$20 000 monthly, excluding allowances.
The main building that houses the CEO’s office right through to the Human
Resources department depict a gloomy picture of the national broadcaster. A
recent visit showed walls cracking while the white-wash paint was peeling
off the outside. A walk in the corridors of most of the buildings at ZBC by
this reporter revealed cracking floors. Some wooden floors were breaking up,
tiles scattered on the floors with nobody bothered by their presence in the
passages. The ceiling at the far end to the side of the Human Resources
department in the first floor hang down, threatening to fall off, onto the
hapless head of any passerby, be they the CEO or any other bigwigs at ZBC.
Some doors in other offices that clearly were no longer serving any purpose
were broken down, some hanging off, almost coming off their hinges, the
inside of the abandoned offices full of all sorts of garbage and broken
furniture, with the dust of ages covering every object.
Hordes of flies buzzed discordantly in the staff canteen, crowding the area
from where food was being served. The poor employees appeared unmoved by the
flies as they joyously devoured their 50 cent sadza, laughing and sharing
Most of the chairs and tables in the canteen were aged and broken and some
of the staff just stood as they ate their food.
A further visit to the CEO’s office revealed a sharp contrast.
The spacious office was furnished with brand-new furniture, while the ZBH
boss relaxed comfortably in his imported leather armchair, pompously talking
on the phone, clearly giving some instructions to someone junior to him as
he rocked up and down, to and fro in his armchair, clearly content with the
luxury that filled his office. But employees who spoke to this reporter on
condition of anonymity revealed that they were enslaved at the embattled
“We are here working as slaves, the salaries we are getting are next to
nothing, yet our bosses are taking home thousands of dollars every month
each,” said one of the workers in the TV Production department. Another
employee, who gave her pseudo name as Tracy Mhere, said she was coming to
work daily simply because she had no other alternative. “If an option could
arise anytime for me, I would leave this job without a second thought,”
Mhere said. She takes home less than US$350 although she has a family to
feed and is a single mother.
Other reporters lamented that the journalism profession at ZBC was now
completely non-existent. “Considering the ridiculous salaries that we are
earning here as reporters, it is humiliating for us to come out in the open
about our jobs,” said another journalist in the Channel 2 TV Station at the
national broadcaster.
“We feel absolutely downgraded and dehumanised by the sarcastic salaries we
continue to earn here at ZBC while reporters at News Day, The Zimbabwe
Independent and The Standard are reported to be earning over US$850,
starting from the most junior reporter,” said the disheartened journalist.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-M spokesman Nhlanhla Dube Behind the Headlines

Written by SW Radio Africa
Saturday, 22 January 2011 11:58

This week Behind the Headlines SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma speaks
to Nhlanhla Dube the newly appointed national spokesperson of the MDC led by
Welshman Ncube  and gets his reaction to accusations they hired thugs to
retrieve party vehicles from two senior officials who rebelled against the
new leadership. Why did the party decide against changing the MDC name? When
will Ncube take over from Mutambara as Deputy Prime Minister? Is it fair
they are labelled a tribal or regional party?

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to another exciting edition of Behind
the Headlines. This week my guest is the newly appointed national
spokesperson for the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube. His name is
Nhlanhla Dube. Mr Dube thank you for joining us.

Nhlanhla Dube: Thank you very much for having me on your programme.

Guma: Now over the weekend there were accusations that your party, led by
Professor Welshman Ncube, had hired party thugs to retrieve vehicles that
belong to the party. Making this accusation of course is your former
national chairman I believe, Mr Jobert Mudzumwe who, as we’ve been reporting
these past weeks tried to lead, or led a rebellion of senior party
executives. Let’s start off with that story Mr Dube and get your reaction.
Is it true that over 20 youths were hired to go take away this Mazda 323
from Mr Mudzumwe?

Dube: I think the correct thing to say is to remind listeners that Mr Jobert
Mudzumwe having gone public a day before our National Congress which was on
the 8th and 9th of January in Harare, he then stepped outside his drawn
parameters of being a party representative. That party representative status
had given him the right to use a party vehicle which he had in Masvingo.

At Congress, elections were done for national chairman for the party. Let me
remind listeners also that Mr Jobert Mudzumwe had not been nominated, not by
a single province, to stand for election at Congress, so he lost the right
to be party chairman, both by the fact that he went away from the party, he
walked away from the party caucus, but also because he couldn’t stand at
Congress because he wasn’t nominated so he is no longer national chairman of
the party.

And not being national chairman of the party meant that he lost the right to
use the party’s vehicle. So what happened is that the party sent a couple of
drivers to go and retrieve the vehicle from him. Also the party sent drivers
to go and retrieve a vehicle from Mashiri who was the chairman of Masvingo,
also because Mashiri was no longer the chairman of Masvingo and he had lost
the right to use that party vehicle.

The party does not hire thugs and it does not have thugs – that is a huge
departure, would be a huge departure from the principles of our party which
espouse non-violence and constructive resolution to any disputes so…

Guma: Yes but our listeners will be aware that there is a political dispute
between several members of the national executive and that these gentlemen
convened a press conference a few hours before the Congress at which they
were laying out their disputes essentially and made it very clear that they
were the legitimate MDC as far as they were concerned.

So the first question our listeners will ask is, bearing in mind there is
this dispute, obviously this retrieving of the vehicles could not have been
done peacefully?

Dube: No, no, no it is an imaginary dispute, there is no dispute. What
happened was this – and I think it is important for the listeners to hear
this and understand this and we will always be available to explain this at
any given time, that at the last national council which was the day before
Congress, they presented, together with other provinces, a petition with a
number of issues that they wanted debated.

Now during the course of that debate, you’ll appreciate that the agenda item
which was going to deal with those petitions was clashing with their time to
address the press conference that they had arranged so they then stormed out
of the meeting before the petition was even attended to, before the petition
or their concerns were addressed or debated.

So there are people that were creating a smoke screen through the
presentation of the petition, all they really wanted was to create a
sideshow which they called a press conference, which they called a potential
split. After they did that, Professor Arthur Mutambara who was leading the
party until Congress, took over the chairmanship of the national council
meeting and the national council went ahead, so there is no dispute,
absolutely none.

We know of no split, they can call themselves whatever they want to call
themselves – we are not sure what they are calling themselves if they form
themselves into a party. We will obviously have no negativity about that
because it is their right to form themselves into any party if they wanted
to. You’ll appreciate that people belong to political parties by choice and
if they decide they no longer belong to that political party, it is fine.

But that property that you have as a member of the political party that went
to Congress, re-elected people and re-positioned people will then collect
its property and it’s a legal property owned by the party, not by an
individual and that property must go back into the inventory of the party,
which party owns those properties, not its leader, not its secretary
general, not anyone else in their individual capacity except the party as a
body politic.

Guma: OK, point taken but the question I think and this is the question that
a lot of people have been asking, given these individuals were insisting on
holding onto the cars, did they willingly hand over these vehicles to you?

Dube: Absolutely, absolutely, nobody, nobody was touched violently, nobody
was touched physically. They were handed over peacefully and we took it as
their understanding of the fact that those vehicles did not belong to them
individually but belonged to the party and they handed them over and there
were absolutely no incidents of violence.

If there was any we would encourage them to go to the police and report this
and of course show evidence and so forth and so on but as far as we are
concerned there was absolutely no violence. It was just a normal collection
of a vehicle that doesn’t belong to that particular person because of their
new status in the party or outside of the party…

Guma: Why is Mr Mudzumwe being quoted as saying 20 thugs destroyed property,
attacked his family in the Runyararo West suburb? Why is he saying that?

Dube: Because from the start he is the man who created this phantom
break-away group which announced a split a day before Congress. He is
creating this bull in a china shop, he is creating attention to himself. He
will obviously go on a smear campaign and say all sorts of things. We
certainly can’t get into his head and say this is why he is doing this. What
we can give you is the fact as best as we are and say we absolutely have no
record, we absolutely have got no report of any form of violence happening
in the collection of those vehicles.

And as far as we are concerned as a party, if he was touched violently, if
he was threatened and so forth and so on the system in Zimbabwe will take
its course through the police, he can make a report there. There was
absolutely as far as we are concerned, there is absolutely no need for
anyone to be violent when you are collecting something that belongs to an
institution not to an individual.

Guma: In handing over the reins to Professor Welshman Ncube, Professor
Mutambara urged party members to deal with the concerns raised by Mudzumwe
and the other members who led this rebellion. Are there any moves towards
maybe honouring those remarks by Professor Mutambara? Is this something the
party is looking into?

Dube: When you belong to a political party you subvert yourself to certain
dictates. You subvert yourself to a certain behavioural types. There are
lines of communication. But if you say you belong to a political party and
you are constantly attacking it from outside and in the public space and so
forth and so on and not engage in that particular political party within the
structures that are created it is then impossible to fulfil the wishes of
our outgoing president, Professor Arthur Guseni Mutambara.

It will be the best thing to do will be for them to approach the organs of
the party that can start formulating a constructive resolution of this
dispute, of their concerns. The party is open to speaking to any disgruntled
member because it is their democratic right to raise issues but while it is
a democratic right I don’t think that working for the station that you are
working for my brother, you would go the BBC and speak about your own web
station, I think that would create a problem in any resolution.

The most important thing is to appreciate that when you have got a dispute,
you are still within the confines of that political party and then you
address your concerns within the guidelines of whatever party or board you
belong to.

Guma: OK, moving on to the next issue – we have seen vicious if not constant
speculation on when Professor Ncube will take over from Arthur Mutambara as
the deputy prime minister. We even saw Tsholotsho North member of parliament
Professor Jonathan Moyo joining in the debate saying Professor Ncube should
come out in the clear open and say when he is taking over. How is this
matter going to be resolved because people are wondering? Professor Ncube is
senior in the party and yet junior to Mutambara in the government. How is
this matter being sorted out?

Dube: I for one, speaking on behalf of the party, don’t understand why we
are being stampeded to state what or how the party is going to deploy. I
think that is generated by people that want us to follow one route or
another, but look, the party has said straight after Congress, what is going
to happen is that the national council is going to sit and will give a
direction of how the party should deploy its new leadership into government
and anywhere else in the party where need be.

And that is going to happen and no-one should halt that by criticising or
commenting adversely we’ll then be stampeded into satisfying some ego-driven
decision making process. I think it is a decision that should be arrived at
carefully and following constructive forms of debate within the party and we
are currently doing that. And when that decision is made believe me the
media will be the first to know because that is the instrument that we will
use obviously to communicate to everybody what decision we have taken. That
decision will be made in due time.

Guma: OK but do you not think also Professor Ncube’s supporters, having
taken joy in seeing him assume the position would naturally want him as
deputy prime minister so it might not necessarily be negative attacks coming
from people who just want to see the party destroyed but Ncube’s supporters
who would want to see him take over as deputy prime minister?

Dube: So far the only comments about his ascendancy or lack there of, of
getting to be deputy PM has been coming from the negative corner of the
participants in this discourse. His supporters understand that an orderly
system has to be followed. We certainly aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and
just decide knee-jerk how to do things.

I think a process has been put in place, a decision making pattern has been
put in place that is going to be followed until that decision is arrived at
and we would urge all his supporters to be patient and to appreciate the
party is the one that deploys. Professor Ncube as the leader of the party is
not the one that deploys himself.

He is naturally by being the president of the party, he becomes the
principal, that’s natural, however the party might decide not to deploy him
to be deputy prime minister, might decide to deploy him to be deputy prime
minister. He will also wait as patiently as everyone else within the party
is waiting until the national council sits and makes that decision. It is a
painful waiting process but it must be done because things must be done

Guma: And the issue of the MDC name? I know since the party split in 2005
there has been much discussion about this and when he took over, Professor
Ncube at your Congress, spoke about this saying there had been a suggestion
to change the name and then it was shot down. Various people have been
commenting on various forums wanting to know exactly why the party does not
choose to get another name and get rid of the confusion. What’s your
position on this?

Dube: The leadership of the party sitting as the national council had come
out with a raft of possible constitutional amendments. You’ll remember that
the constitution can only be amended by Congress, can only be amended by its
members representing the various provinces that they come from.

Now when the issue of the name came up because the deputy national council
and a few, one name was agreed on, it was agreed that there should be an
attempt to change the party to possibly to read the Congress for a Movement
for Democratic Change but when we got to Congress, the delegates who are the
owners of the party refused to have the name changed in according to how
what they felt we were the MDC, our compatriots are MDC-Tsvangirai and as
far as we are concerned they are holding dear the name and they felt it was
absolutely unnecessary for us to change the name.

The leadership had wanted to change it because of the general fatigue around
explaining all the time that we are not MDC-M and now we see that we are
being called MDC-N and we just wanted to do away with that so that people
just stick to who we are so that so that we can work on programmes and so
forth and so on…

Guma: But that actually works against you because a lot of people are saying
that represents a fear on your part to stand alone and you are holding on to
the old MDC name. If you have new ideas, you have a new logo, you have a new
motto, why not adopt a new party name and build your own brand?

Dube: You’ll appreciate that you are talking to me as one of the leadership
of the party, I speak on behalf of the party. Congress who are the owners of
the party decide otherwise. They see it fit that we keep the name and
unfortunately you can’t bulldoze and dictate to the Congress and say look
let’s change the name so we’ll just have to work with the name as it is.

We have re-branded to go green and black and white and that is what we are
going to go with. Yes we understand that people out there will see it as a
fear but someone we will turn around and say you know what, MDC led by
Tsvangirai call themselves MDC-T so is it a fear factor also? Maybe can wait
for their Congress in May, maybe they will also decide to change their name,
we will wait and see what goes so the fear is certainly not on our part but
fear might be on their part also.

But look, the way we carry on we always allow for the democratic process to
take place; Congress must decide and whatever Congress decides the
leadership implements so it’s not the leadership that decides. The
leadership is only there as representatives of the party.

Guma: My final question for you Mr Dube – the emergence of ZAPU led by
Dumiso Dabengwa – some analysts are saying basically you are going to have
Dabengwa and Welshman Ncube fighting for the same political cake in terms of
the Matabeleland vote and the prediction is that this can only benefit
Tsvangirai. What’s your reading of this scenario?

Dube: Look those statements are largely made by very narrow minded people
who think that a party led by a Ndebele speaking person is then only
confined to Matabeleland. That is actually a very big insult to Zimbabweans
because you are assuming that a party led by an Ndebele person or Tonga
person or a Kalanga person or a Xhosa person or Venda or Sotho cannot be
representative nationally and we are a national party whose interests are

A Ndebele problem to us is a Karanga problem, is a Manyika problem, is a
Bocha problem, is a Korekore problem. Any part of Zimbabwe which has a
problem it must be seen as a national problem and to us, the emergence of
ZAPU is absolutely of no concern to our national thinking about how we
should address national problems in Zimbabwe. We are certainly not a
regional party, yes we will certainly debate and contest for position in any
province and any region in the party.

Guma: But you can’t argue, you can’t run away from the fact that in the
March 2008 election, most of your seats, if not all of them came from one
particular region so it’s more of a historical fact; even ZAPU predominantly
draws its support from the Matabeleland region so would you be running away
from that fact?

Dube: No, no, no it’s not running away from the fact, it’s just stating how
we are framed. I mean the result of 2008 stand, they are historical, they
are then seen. Are you then saying to us that ZANU PF is a few region party
because they are not dominant in Matabeleland? Now if we look at it that way
then yah we will then say possibly that ZANU PF is limited in effect in
Matabeleland and therefore they are not a national party, which you could
even say the same for MDC-T which for me would be a very myopic argument.

I think that all parties that are national must focus on national problems,
it doesn’t really matter where the greatest number of your seats come from.
It might be a case of strategy, it might be a case of where your candidates
perform the best but it is not reflective of the way you are framed because
you are framed nationally.

This country is one singular country within one border with one interest,
for us at least as a party and we will project those interests at a national
platform and consistently refuse to be regionalised and paddocked within the
environment or the parameters of Matabeleland. We are not a regional party,
we are a national party.

Guma: I know I had said final question but I just have to ask this – why do
people do that Mr Dube? Why do they frame your party in this particular
manner saying either you are a regional party or a tribal party? Why do they
do that?

Dube: It’s an age-old behaviour. It’s a, if you look at it, it’s a colonial
legacy which people have failed to shake off. It is a divide and rule legacy
which people have failed to shake off, which people fail to look straight in
the eye and say eh we need to get rid of this, if we are national, we are
national irrespective of who leads what, irrespective of who (inaudible)

It’s a colonial legacy which we need to deal with, which we need to disabuse
ourselves of, which we need to be free to debate in Zimbabwe and move on
from. So we understand it in that context but we think that it’s something
that certainly people need to be able to be brave enough to look in the face
and say you know Zimbabwe doesn’t deserve this, Zimbabwe deserves better.

Guma: Well that’s Nhlanhla Dube the newly appointed national spokesperson
for the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube. Mr Dube, thank you so much for
joining us on Behind the Headlines.

Dube: I thank you too. Have yourself a good day.

Feedback can be sent to or

SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe’s Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave
4880 KHz in the 60m band.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Whispers in the pine needles

Dear Family and Friends,
There is a natural swimming pool on a cold mountain river in
Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. At a spot where the Inyangombe River
cavorts over an outcrop of smooth, weathered, brown rocks, the river
settles briefly into a pool below the waterfalls. Sometime in the
past, many decades ago, river sand was brought in and deposited on the
banks, creating a perfect beach. The water in the pool is clear and
cold, the river base covered in smooth pebbles and when the wind blows
in the branches of the overhanging trees and whispers in the pine
needles, you can’t help but forget the absurdity of current affairs
in Zimbabwe.

When a friend got a hole in the exhaust pipe of his car this week, a
simple job turned into a marathon. A visit to a local garage, line the
vehicle up, drive onto the ramp and then wait while the car is
elevated a couple of metres off the ground and the repair is
undertaken. No problem you say? Ah, but only as long as the
electricity stays on! Twenty minutes into the job the electricity went
off, the car was left stranded 2 metres off the ground. Closing time
approached and my friend got anxious. “What about my car,” he
“Nothing to do” the mechanic replied, “I’ve got no way of
getting it down. It’ll have to stay there till tomorrow.”
“Haven’t you got a generator?” my friend asked, his wallet, ID
and house keys were all locked inside the car which was hanging over
his head. The generator wasn’t powerful enough to run the elevator
ramp and so the workshop was closed up till the next morning.

Long before opening time my friend was back at the garage. The
electricity had come on overnight when no one was around but had gone
off again at 5 in the morning.
Close your eyes, can you hear the wind in the pine trees above the
Inyangombe River, I thought to myself as I heard the story.
8 o’clock came, 9, 10 and then finally at 11 in the morning the
electricity flickered back into life. A simple 15 minute job had taken
19 hours and the loss of business incurred by my friend and the garage
owner another incalculable drain on our stone broke, impoverished

Every day brings to light another absurdity in Zimbabwe, never more so
than now as talk of elections gains momentum. I could hardly believe
news reports that a convicted rapist, the leader of an Apostolic
Church, has just been released from prison 13 years early because
he’s got high blood pressure. My own blood pressure soared at the
news, particularly because this church man has long been an outspoken
supporter and campaigner for Zanu PF. “High blood pressure!” still
the words echo in my head as I close my eyes for a moment and listen
for the hiss of the Inyangombe River tumbling over the rocks.

Then came the staggering news from the Zimbabwe Election Support
Network who have been conducting research into the state of
Zimbabwe’s voters role. One of their findings is that a third of the
registered names on the voters roll are of dead people. They also say
that 2,344 names belong to people aged between 100 and 110 and that 9
names are of people apparently aged between 111 and 130 years. This in
a country where life expectancy is less than 40 years, leaves us all
in no doubt that without a new voters roll, change is certainly not
coming to Zimbabwe anytime soon. Are you listening Mr Zuma, SADC and
the AU?

Oh to sit on the beach alongside a clear, cool mountainous pool!

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. Copyright � Cathy
Buckle 22nd January 2011.

Back to the Top
Back to Index