HARARE | Sun Jan 2, 2011 5:05pm IST
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is likely to postpone a parliamentary election
that President Robert Mugabe's party wanted by mid-year in order to allow
completion of constitutional reforms, a state-owned newspaper reported on
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party endorsed plans to call early polls two weeks ago,
despite strong opposition from rivals that the political climate was not
right for a free and fair vote.
The Sunday Mail newspaper, which is tightly controlled by ZANU-PF officials,
quoted unidentified sources saying it was not feasible to hold elections in
the first half of 2011 and that Zimbabwe had said so to fellow members of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) weeks ago.
"Sources yesterday said it was highly unlikely that the polls will be held
before June as the crafting of the new supreme law looks certain to spill
into the second half of the year," the weekly said, citing also what it
called "intervening complications" in the implementation of Zimbabwe's
ZANU-PF officials were unavailable on Sunday to comment.
Mugabe, 86, and arch rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) were forced into a coalition government two
years ago after a disputed 2008 election which had exacerbated a severe
The unity government, which also includes a small MDC faction led by Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, is credited with stabilising an economy
crushed by hyperinflation and reducing political tension.
But the coalition has been hobbled by quarrels over the pace of political
reforms, policies and state positions, and Mugabe has said he sees no need
to extend the coalition beyond the middle of this year.
In private, both ZANU-PF and MDC legislators have been lobbying against a
2011 election that will cut short their five-year term for the second time
after the previous tenure ended prematurely in 2008 following a 2005 vote.
Critics say rushed polls without political reforms, including a new
constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would only favour Mugabe and
ZANU-PF, who have held power since independence from Britain in 1980.
JOHANNESBURG, January 2, 2011-The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa
says 230 000 applications for work and study permits were received from
Zimbabwean immigrants who submitted their papers at 42 regional offices by
the close of business on December 31, the deadline to regularise their stay
in the country.
Those who did not submit their papers by December 31 face massive
deportations towards the end of January.Minister Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma is
defiant and has vowed there will be no extention for those who failed to
register with the department.
When Radio Vop visited the busy Home Affairs offices along Harrison Street
on Friday evening, there were about 200 Zimbabweans still trying to persuade
the officials to accept their papers.
Two officials came out and told them to go back because they had failed to
beat the deadline.The Zimbabweans were defiant and refused to leave.Police
who were outside the building were called in to remove them.
“ You failed to submit your papers when there was enough time for you to do
so.Enjoy your New Year holiday because after that we will deport you back to
Zimbabwe, ” one of the policemen told the Zimbabweans.
As the unfriendly policeman was busy threatening the immigrants with
deportation, a senior Home Affairs official emerged from the building and
asked those with ready forms to go in and submit their papers.A few minutes
later another official appeared too and instructed the security guard to
allow even those without forms to go in and collect foirms.
The desperate Zimbabweans quickly filled in their forms and submitted them.
“ I am so happy that at last I have submitted my forms.I thought that was
the end of me here in South Africa, ” said school teacher Mlungisi Ncube.The
officials allowed only 80 to go inside and fill in the forms and submit
them.The rest were told to back and wait for deportation.
Authorities say they have so far received more than 330 000 applications
since the Zimbabwe Dispensation Project began in September last year.In Cape
Town at least more than 800 Zimbabweans finalised their documentation as
early as lunchtime on Friday last week.
The offices in Wynberg, Paarl and George saw more than 3000 Zimbabweans
submitting their papers between Thursday and Friday.
Officials increased personnel in order to cope with the large number of
Zimbabweans who turned up at the last minute.The department says of the more
than 200 000 applications received so far 38 000 had been approved while 10
000 were rejected.
Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni says deportation is not
something of tomorrow - once the process is closed the law of the country
will be implemented. "However we need to stress the fact that if there's
somebody who did not take this opportunity given to them - come the time
when the process is closed - those people will face the might of our
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean national was arrested outside the Home Affairs
office in Pretoria for producing and selling fake letters of appointment.
The man was also allegedly found in possession of R25 000, earned from the
sale of those documents. Although deportation is not yet on the cards
law-breakers will not be left unpunished.
02 January, 2011 01:16:00 By
HARARE, -The Movement for Democratic Change MDC-N (N-Ncube) faction led by
the out-going President Arthur Mutambara says more than 5000 delegates bused
from Bulawayo are expected to converge on Harare Sports Centre for the
party's long awaited congress this weekend.
Unconfirmed reports said the party initially intended to hire a train from
National Railways of Zimbabwe to carry delegates from Bulawayo.
Fireworks are expected at the congress in which secretary-general Welshman
Ncube is tipped to take over the party leadership. This followed an
announcement by its leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara that he would
not seek re-election.
Party sources in Bulawayo said the congress will most likely lead to a
disintegration of the party and a mass exodus of supporters and disgruntled
Members of parliament, four of whom are reported to be moving to the MDC-T
while one senator is headed for ZAPU.
Mutambara has been sailing through troubled waters over the past 18 months
in which he made controversial and unpopular statements forcing the party,s
information department to work overtime doing damage control. In one of his
statements, Mutambara praised Mugabe as one of the greatest African leaders
and liberators-forgetting that Mugabe is seen as a monster in MDC- M
stronghold of Matabeleland.
The congress is being held under the theme “Celebrating Our Diversity”.
Insiders have said that Mutambara, who is accused rightly or wrongly of
siding with Mugabe in the shaky government of national unity, would be
recalled from government after the party’s provinces unanimously nominated
his secretary-general Ncube for the post of president.
“The Congress will take stock of the party's performance over the past five
years, ratify any amendments to the party's constitution, and discuss the
party's programmes, the major highlight being the election of a national
executive in particular, the election of a president and a
Congress is expected to come up with resolutions on the Inclusive
government, party positions on elections and key economic reforms,” read
part of the MDC-M statement.
It added that currently, the party was holding provincial nominations across
“Thus far there has been consensus in the nine provinces on Welshman Ncube
as president. Eight of the Provinces have also reached consensus on Priscila
Misihairabwi, Goodwill Chimbaira and Paul Temba Nyathi who have been
nominated as secretary-general, national chairman and national Treasurer
respectively. Party nominations will continue in the three remaining
The statement added that nominations close on the third of January, the
final elections will take place at Congress on the 8th of January 2011.
The Party’s last congress was held in February 2006. The MDC- M constitution
has a set two-term limits for the seven top positions which are the
presidency, vice-president, secretary-general, deputy secretary- general,
treasurer-general, deputy treasurer-general and national chairman.
It said Ncube and Dulini Ncube were therefore not legible to continue in
their current posts as secretary-general and treasurer- general
respectively.The post of vice-president was left vacant after the death of
Gibson Sibanda in August 2010.
MDC-M has four Cabinet Ministers and two Deputy Ministers in theInclusive
The party's current president Mutambara is one of two Deputy-Prime Ministers
in the inclusive government.
The party has six seats in the Senate and holds 10 Parliamentary seats. It
has divided the country into twelve provinces with Chitungwiza and Midlands
North and South designated provinces.
MASVINGO- January 01, 2011 – Arthur Mutambara led Movement for Democratic
Change MDC-M is likely to split into factions after Masvingo provincial
executive refused to go along with other provinces which have nominated
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube to take over the party leadership at this
week,s congress to be hled in Harare.
The provincial executive here says it will continue to recognize Mutambara
as party leader until 'certain issues are addressed'.The provincial
executive which convened an urgent meeting on Saturday resolved to boycott
the national congress if their complaints were not addressed.
The provincial secretary for information Martin Chengeta said there was no
need for them to be persuaded to nominate a president when everything in the
process to have new leadership was based on the violation of the party's
"We refused to be fooled and therefore resolved that we should not nominate
anyone. We will not recognize the congress until our complains are
addressed. If they (leadership) decide to ignore our call, we will then make
a move to start our own party or we will continue to recognize Mutambara as
our president," said Chengeta.
The executive also resolved to send provincial chairman Robson Mashiri to
Harare to meet the national leadership over the issue.
"Our chairman Mr Mashiri will travel to Harare before Monday so that he
would lobby for an urgent meeting with them. If they go against our wish,
then we also go against their proposals," added Chengeta.Mashiri confirmed
that he was given a petition from Masvingo signed by over thirty members.Two
weeks ago, Mutambara announced he would not be standing for any party
position at the congress.
“ I have played my role and its time for others to step in and lead the
party, “ said Mutambara, a former University of Zimbabwe student leader and
now one of the country,s two deputy Prime Ministers together with Thokozani
Khuphe of MDC-T party.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Another cholera outbreak is feared in Zimbabwe amid
reports that at least 20 families have experienced severe diarrhoea in the
capital Harare, a residents’ pressure group said here on Sunday.
The Harare Residents Trust said the 20 families from the high-density Harare
suburb of Mbare have been treated since last week for severe diarrhoea after
drinking what is suspected to be contaminated water.
A spokesman for the HRT, Samuel Mapurisa said residents have been taken to
the local clinic suffering from severe stomach aches, diarrhoea and vomiting
in what they suspect to be a repeat of the 2008 cholera outbreak that killed
more than 4,000 people in Zimbabwe.
Mapurisa said his association was receiving daily reports from Mbare
residents who feel their health is at risk if nothing is done urgently to
investigate and deal with the unraveling crisis.
“The water that residents here have been drinking is smelly, and we suspect
that the water delivery system has broken down and sewerage is leaking,
leading to the contamination of the water,” he said.
Residents of other Harare suburbs have also complained about the quality of
the water pumped by the Harare City Council which they say is greenish and
(AP) – 9 hours ago
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Western visitors to Zimbabwe are looking for zeros.
They're snapping up old, defunct Zimbabwe bank notes, most notably the one
hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill, as an economic souvenir.
The one hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill, which at 100 followed by 12
zeros is the highest denomination, now sells for $5, depending on its
condition. That bill and others — among them millions, billions and
trillions, were abandoned nearly two years ago, when the American dollar
became legal tender in the hopes of killing off the record inflation that
caused all those zeros.
"I had to have one," said Janice Waas on a visit to the northwestern resort
town of Victoria Falls. "The numbers are mind bending." She got her
so-called "Zimdollar" in pristine condition, from a street vendor who
usually sells African carvings.
"It's perfect if you like puzzles, calculus and things like Rubik's Cube,"
Janice's husband Thomas Waas, a physicist and engineer from Germany, said if
the population of the world is 7 billion people, every single person could
be a given thousands of old Zimbabwe dollars from this single 100 trillion
Janice Waas said Westerners were buying the bills for their curiosity value.
An Australian wanted one to display in his local bar back home.
Street vendors said visitors had been so intrigued by the Zimbabwe bills
that they were now running out of them, two years after a power sharing deal
between longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe and the former opposition
leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, made the old currency redundant.
Visitors from countries familiar with hyperinflation, such as the Congo and
other impoverished states in the region and in South America, showed less
interest in the highly marked bills. Instead, most bought curios and
artifacts, said vendor Lloyd Phiri, speaking on his mobile phone in Victoria
At the height of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown in 2008 when Zimbabwe's world
record inflation was running into the billions in percent annually and
prices were climbing each hour, the 100 trillion bill scarcely bought a cart
Teachers reported the printing of bank notes from millions to billions and
then trillions skewed their pupils' sense of numeracy, making them fail to
grasp the realities of numbers.
On one geography field trip, students scoffed at being told granite rocks
swept over Zimbabwe by ancient glaciers were 700 million years old. That
time frame seemed insignificant.
Back then in 2008, 700 million Zimbabwe dollars bought a loaf of bread.
Scientists and physicists estimate the number of atoms in the universe at 10
to the power of 80 — 10 followed by 80 zeros.
During the worst of Zimbabwe's economic meltdown and hyperinflation,
Zimbabwe's highest money denominations were logged at 10 to the power of
25 — 10 followed by 25 zeros.
The central bank then sliced off several zeros, but large transactions were
still calculated in quadrillions (15 zeros) and quintillions (18 zeros)
until the demise of the local currency.
If you are delayed at an airport during your Zimbabwe trip, play the numbers
game, advises Waas, the physicist.
He posed this challenge.
"If the pyramids in Egypt are 5,000 years old, there are 155 billion seconds
in 5,000 years and 1,000 billion make a trillion. So how many years are
there in 100 trillion seconds?" he said.
Waas said he was still waiting for the correct answer from friends and
fellow visitors in Zimbabwe.
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
ZIMBABWE is now edging Zambia in the battle for visitors to the prime resort
of Victoria Falls which lies on the border between the two countries.
The tourism chief in the Zambian border town of Livingstone, Kingsley
Lilamono, recently told a local newspaper that an increasing number of
tourists were now choosing to stay on the Zimbabwean side of the border.
“The tourist arrivals at the Livingstone International Airport do not
correspond with the numbers in the hotels and lodges because most of the
tourists proceed to Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe.
“We need to sit down and re-align our strategies because we face stiff
competition with Zimbabwe,” Lilamono said.
He added that Zambia needed to launch “massive marketing strategies” and
reduce costs of accommodation to claw back the business being lost to
The development marks a welcome change of fortunes for Zimbabwe which saw
visitor numbers collapse over the last decade as tourists were put-off by
the country’s political and economic problems.
The Victoria Falls continued to attract business but tourists only came as
part of packaged tours to South Africa or opted to stay across the border in
Investors also gave the country wide berth with South Africa’s Sun
International ditching initial plans to build the Royal Livingstone on the
Zimbabwe side of the border.
However, the formation of the coalition government helped ease political
tensions resulting in markets in the West recovering after governments there
lifted negative travel advisories on Zimbabwe.
Figures released by the ministry of finance show tourist arrivals reaching
2.2 million by year-end earning the country a projected US$770 million.
Last year 2 million people visited Zimbabwe bringing in US$523 million.
The Obama administration's efforts to get incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo
to step down after a disputed Nov. 28 poll reflects an ossified view of
African politics, writes guest blogger G. Pascal Zachary.
By G. Pascal Zachary, Guest blogger / January 2, 2011
The Obama administration’s approach to Ivory Coast's incumbent President
Laurent Gbagbo, based on reporting from The New York Times, suggests that US
officials are caught in a time warp. They’re behaving as if it is the 1990s,
and their object is to induce former dictator Joseph Désiré Mobuto from
power in the Congo. The proffer of “asylum” in the US – or a plum posting
with an international agency — has the ring of lunacy about it, as if the
administration was mistaking Mr. Gbagbo for former Liberian Preisdent
Charles Taylor, former Zambian President Kenneth Kuanda, or even current
Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe.
Gbagbo may possess many flaws, but he is not in need of asylum or an
international job for which he neither suited professionally nor
temperamentally. Nor will comical offers of relocating him to the US induce
him to leave Ivory Coast. Gbagbo might indeed be wondering who is crazier,
him or the US officials assigned to oversee his exit from office.
His defiant response to foreign criticism is thus no crazier than the
American conception of his exit. In his address on the eve of 2011, Gbagbo
said the pressure for him to quit amounted to “an attempted coup d’etat
carried out under the banner of the international community”.
To be sure, Gbagbo must go; not in a coup d’etat, but in a legal, necessary
and inevitable transfer of power. But once out of power, Gbagbo should be
free to choose where he wishes to live, and even include Ivory Coast on the
list of his future domiciles.
I recall distinctly how former President Jerry Rawlings in neighboring Ghana
was able to live peacefully amid his former subjects after he was “termed
out” ten years ago. One night in 2002, while dancing with my Nigerian wife,
Chizo, to a hi-life band in Ghana's capital, Accra, I found myself admiring
Mr. Rawlings up close. He was dancing with his wife’s sister barely inches
from me. I wrote an article at the time called “Dancing with Dictators” in
which I marveled at the capacity of Ghanaians to permit their former
dictator-turned-elected-president to live peacefully among them.
So, the answer to the question of whither Gbagbo post presidency is simple:
let him choose the terms of his persistence.
The zany notion presented by the Obama administration, expressed to The New
York Times by one anonymous official, that “the longer the stalemate ensues,
and the more violence there is, the more that window closes,” reflects an
ossified view of African politics, a bygone understanding of the internal
dynamics within Ivory Coast and West Africa.
The reality that Obama’s people refuse to face is that two years into
office, their president has been unable to forge an effective policy for US
engagement with Nigeria, the sub-regional economic powerhouse, or Ivory
Coast, the most important Francophone country.
Only in Liberia, where the US has a legacy of outsized influence, has Obama’s
presence been felt. Everywhere else in West Africa, even in docile Ghana,
the new president has left no mark, which is why, as I noted last month in
the Christian Science Monitor, his political fortunes appear to run counter
the fortunes of American relations with the sub-Saharan.
To be sure, in the days and weeks ahead, the US will influence the events in
Ivory Coast. But Obama’s amateur Africanists should not flatter themselves:
their influence, at best, is limited.
Only by playing well with others – the French, the United Nations, and the
sub-regional ECOWAS grouping dominated by Nigeria – will the US have any
role in the outcome in Abidjan. For Americans in power, the era of hubris
and over-reach – towards Africa and the international community – has yet to
We gathered under a gloomy sky for our New Year’s Day Vigil, relieved that the weather was merely miserable rather than freezing. Needless to say we soon had our tarpaulin up for protection against the drizzle . . .
We were encouraged by the presence
of supporters all the way from
We were also encouraged by the
strong line taken by West African states against the Mugabe clone Gbagbo for
trying to steal the
· It was good to start the new year with many Vigil regulars ready at to set up. Thanks to Luka Phiri, Gladys Mapanda, Godfrey Madzunga, Josephine Zhuga and Batson Chapata.
· Vigil stalwart Farai Marema – a musician who has performed with Thomas Mapfumo – has arranged one of the Vigil songs as a ringtone. He sings it with Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani and is putting it online this week. More on this next week.
Mutandiro led the singing and prayers. Her message for the new year was verse 33
from chapter 16 of
· As usual we are giving a summary of the Vigil’s past year’s highlights. Below is the first part drawn from Vigil diaries from January to June. The second half of last year will be covered next week.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
FOR THE RECORD: 38 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
The Restoration of Human Rights in
Zimbabwe (ROHR) is
the Vigil’s partner organisation based in
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.
To receive a copy by post in the
UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to
firstname.lastname@example.org and 0send
a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners
Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust
which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in
Workshops aiming to engage African
men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins
Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact the
As usual we are giving a summary of the Vigil’s past year’s highlights. Here is the first part drawn from Vigil diaries from January to June. The second half of last year will be covered next week.
Saturday 9th January
· Snow at the Vigil. It’s our eighth winter protesting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy but the first time it has snowed . . . To protect us from the elements we used two tarpaulins – one to catch the snow and the other as a windbreak.
the week the Vigil sent the following letter to the International Development
Committee of the British Parliament, which is to review the British government’s
Saturday 16th January
Revival of Vigil petition
to the international football federation to move the soccer World Cup
Tuesday 26th January
Vigil representatives attended the Parliamentary Committee Hearing on
Saturday 30th January
failure of the SADC-mediated talks to resolve differences over the Global
Political Agreement, the Vigil launched a new petition calling for elections as
soon as possible. The petition reads: ‘Petition to President Zuma of South
Africa: After a year of the Zimbabwe interim government it is clear that it
is going nowhere so we call on President Zuma as mediator for the Southern
African Development Community to arrange free and fair elections as soon as
possible.’ We intend to submit the petition to the South African High Commission
during President Zuma’s state visit to
Saturday 6th February
· This week we sent Morgan Tsvangirai a petition we have been running for several months urging the MDC to stop co-operating with Mugabe. The petition reads ‘Petition to the Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai. We urge you to refuse to co-operate with President Mugabe until he respects the rule of law and complies fully with the agreement under which the Zimbabwean coalition government was formed in February.’
· Launch of ZimVigil TV by Dr Tim Rusike of ZBN News from footage he took at the Vigil.
Saturday 13th February
Our Iranian friends in
Mugabe Birthday Protest – Saturday 20th February
appropriately from a Methuselah of champagne, a swaggering (or was it swaying)
Robert Mugabe, accompanied by Amazing Grace, celebrated his 86th
birthday at the Zimbabwe Embassy. Mugabe (in the Vigil mask) visited the nearby South African High
Commission to pay his disrespects ahead of President Zuma’s visit to
Saturday 27th February
letter sent to the South African High Commissioner in London requesting
permission to present our petition to President Zuma when he calls at the High
Commission during his State Visit
(3rd – 5th March). A copy of a Vigil letter to Zuma is
TV page goes live on Zimvigil. Dr Tim of ZBN News reports that his coverage of
last week’s Mugabe birthday demo had unprecedented response from all round the
Wednesday 3rd March
regular Josephine Zhuga gave a passionate account of the life of women in
Thursday 4th March
· Vigil supporters attended a meeting at the Royal Commonwealth Society on ‘The Role of the Media in Zimbabwe's Transition’ at which the BBC journalist Sue Lloyd-Roberts spoke about her recent damning report ‘The polarised lives of Zimbabwe’s rich and poor’.
· The Vigil’s Ephraim Tapa took part in a BBC Radio debate. He wiped the floor with Blessing Miles-Tendi who had written a piece advocating the lifting of sanctions.
South Africa House Protest to greet President Zuma, Friday 5th March
Protest outside South Africa House to greet President Zuma during his State Visit. Our message: elections cannot come soon enough provided that the international community can ensure that they are free and fair. Our petition outlining this was delivered to the High Comission. Mugabe (in the Vigil’s mask) was present to greet his friend Zuma with the following placards: ‘Thank you Zuma’, ‘Bring me my machine gun’ and ‘Have another wife on me’. Zuma’s appeal for the lifting of targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his gang went down like a lead balloon. It made him seem out of touch with reality. Here’s what the Times said in a leading article ‘Jacob Zuma is hard to take seriously, but his support of Robert Mugabe is a disgrace’. The real message to Zuma was in the spontaneous booing from more than 100 Zimbabweans and the chant of ‘Shame on you’ when he arrived. We were joined by some South Africans who shouted something like ‘Ag Ag Zuma is Kak’, whatever that means.
Saturday 6th March
We were told that we were joined by actor Jeremy Irons during the singing of Ishe Komberera / Nkosi Sikeleli. Judge for yourself – picture 2128. Many famous actors have dropped by in the past including Tim Robbins, Emma Thompson and Simon Callow. We are grateful for their support.
Saturday 13th March
Launch of Vigil petition to the UN
Security Council calling on it to ensure that the elections are not stolen
again. The petition reads: ‘We call on
the Security Council to ensure that the next elections in
As we explained to President Zuma,
Vigil supporters believe that the situation in
1. After a year of the interim unitary government it is clear that it is making no progress. If anything it is going backwards. The Mugabe regime has shown that it is determined to cling to power and that it will block real change, such as a free media and independent judiciary, so new elections are the only way forward.
2. The situation will steadily deteriorate as long as Mugabe and his gang remain in power. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has admitted his hoped-for foreign budgetary aid and external investment will not be realised and, on top of that, the national exchequer has seen zero benefit from the exploitation of the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
rejects the argument that lifting or suspending targeted sanctions will make the
Mugabe regime more conciliatory. On the contrary, we are convinced that
appeasing the regime will only encourage it in its intransigence. We believe
that the Mugabe gang fears that any change will lead to their prosecution for
human rights and other abuses and that it is up to
particular, Vigil supporters reject the notion that sanctions should be lifted
because they are misrepresented by the Mugabe regime as sanctions against
Zimbabweans in general. We believe the proper answer to Mugabe’s propaganda is
Saturday 27th March
Milestone was the sale of the
1,000th of our hessian bags labelled ‘Working for a new
Saturday 3rd April
All the equipment from pupils at the
Sunday 4th April
A special Prayer Vigil for
Independence Day Protest – Saturday 17th April
The Vigil marked
Satuday 1st May 2010
The Vigil marked May Day by
supporting an appeal from Amnesty International for the Zimbabwean authorities
to stop intimidating and harassing human rights activists. People at the Vigil
carried placards reading: ‘May Day Appeal - End Human Rights Abuses in
Monday 3rd May
Many Vigil supporters attended the
London Citizens and Citizens UK pre-election assembly with David Cameron, Nick
Clegg and Gordon Brown at the Methodist Central Hall,
The Vigil received an email from James Chidakwa about a commemoration for his friend and fellow activist Tonderai Ndira who was brutally murdered two years ago. Reports say that he had been shot in the heart, with multiple stab wounds, his eyes gouged, his tongue cut out, and his neck, skull, jaw and knuckles broken.
Tuesday 11th May
Vigil supporters attended a memorial for Tonderai Ndira. They reported that it was a warm-hearted occasion as they remembered the horrors meted out to Tonderai two years ago. Money was raised to support Tonderai’s family.
Friday 21st May
Vigil dancers performed at City and
Saturday 29th May
The Vigil sends letter to Foreign
Secretary William Hague calling on the new British government to support our
demand for early elections in
Saturday 12th June
(in our mask) popped up at the Vigil to demand that the next World Cup should be
prominent human rights activists from
the week a number of Vigil supporters attended a House of Lords debate on
supporters attended two events to launch
Media Release from the
Hague: New government to continue policy on
Reply to Vigil letter from new British Foreign Secretary, William
Hague. He made it clear there will no change of policy on
Saturday 26th June
Church service in support of Zimbabwean victims of torture with the Vigil providing the choir and drummers. Speakers at the service included the Rev Useni Sibanda (National Director of Zimbabwe Christian Alliance) who joined a procession to the Vigil where he paid tribute to the Vigil for carrying on the struggle for so long.
Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 02/01/11
This year’s political events could herald the beginning of the end of Robert
Mugabe’s controversial grip on power. Some commentators believe this to be
Zimbabwe’s make or break time on the political front. That is precisely the
case especially as we have learnt that South African President Jacob Zuma is
drafting a roadmap to Zimbabwe’s elections due this year.
The document which every concerned Zimbabwean would like to lay their hands
on will be presented at an extraordinary meeting of the SADC Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security in the next few weeks. The reason for the
excitement is not what we already know, namely the SADC or Mauritius
Principles and Guidelines governing democratic elections but what diplomats
say is or will be contained in the roadmap - mechanisms for the transfer of
Before we get too excited, a word of caution is that ‘the devil is in the
details’. We have seen the true meaning of that saying since the signing of
the so-called Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2008. After the signing,
there were allegations, counter allegations as well as denials about the
‘doctoring’ of the GPA and how some paragraphs went missing from the final
document signed on the 15th of September 2008. It is useful to reflect on
the experience of the GPA in order to put into perspective some of the
coalition government’s problems and chart the way forward. ‘Forewarned is
forearmed’ so goes the saying.
Responding to the allegations in an interview with Violet Gonda of SW Radio
Africa in November 2008, Welshman Ncube Secretary General of the faction led
by Arthur Mutambara said:
“The allegations can only be the product of people who are extremely
malicious, who have no journalistic ethics who run with a stupid false story
without even the decency of talking to the people who are accused of the
fraudulent alteration of a document. As far as I know I did not take part
nor participate in any alteration of any agreement at all. The fact of the
matter is that yes there are alterations in the document which was signed by
the principals on the 15th. Those alterations are three – I will come to
that in a moment.”
(There were three documents. There appeared to be no problem with the first
two documents which formed the agenda of the negotiators and the agreement
signed on the 11th September, respectively) my own emphasis.
“So the first two documents are correct “, Ncube said.
“The third document which was signed at the formal ceremony on the 15th of
September has three alterations or three omissions – if I may call them
that. As far as we know we have raised this with Zanu-pf and (Patrick)
Chinamasa whose Ministry of Justice was responsible for producing the final
document which was to be signed by the principals. Minister Chinamasa has
freely admitted that he made one of those alterations because – he
explains – he was advised by his principal (Robert Mugabe) that the three
principals – Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and Robert Mugabe had
agreed to alter the document to that effect. And as far as we know that is
not correct. We have checked with our principal (Mutambara) who denies that
he ever agreed to change the document to that effect”, he said.
“And that particular change is a change in the original that we negotiated
and agreed. It was to provide that the five existing Senate seats shall go
to Zanu-pf. There shall be created an additional six Senate seats – four of
which will go to Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and two of which will go to Arthur
Mutambara’s MDC. It is that clause which Chinamasa altered to read that the
existing five will go to Zanu-pf and nthere shall be an additional nine -
three to be shared equally among the three parties.
“That was never part of the agreement. It is an invention of Patrick
Chinamasa and he admits that he is the one who put it there. The South
Africans were not involved. We were not involved. I was not involved So it
is absolutely malicious for someone to suggest that some of us were involved
when in fact the person who altered the document freely admits that he
altered it and explains why he altered it, in that respect…”, Ncube said.
According to Violet Gonda the second alteration is a paragraph that is
completely missing in the final document. The missing paragraph says anyone
appointed to the position of Deputy Prime Minister and Vice President would
automatically be a Member of Parliament. If that person is already an MP
his/her party will appoint a non-constituency MP. Ncube said this clause is
missing and said Chinamasa claims it was “deleted by accident.” (Welshman
Ncube denies doctoring power sharing document, SWRadioAfrica, 03/11/08).
The third alteration comes in the form of another missing paragraph in the
final agreement that said the Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Ministers
and the President and his Vice Presidents shall sit to make appointments of
senior government employees like Ambassadors and Permanent Secretaries.
Patrick Chinamasa allegedly claimed the paragraph was accidentally deleted.
Now my comments:
If the allegations about the doctoring of the GPA had not been made, the
public would have remained in the dark about some of the problems which are
threatening Zimbabwe’s coalition government. The information provided by
Ncube was very useful in the sense that we can now understand what Zanu-pf
is up to. In view of these disclosures, we can understand why Morgan
Tsvangirai called Mugabe a crook, and why Morgan Tsvangirai was
disappointed with Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of governors, ambassadors
and so on. We can also understand why Mugabe allegedly ordered the deletion
of the two paragraphs in the final document well before the government was
formed. Hopefully, MDC will be more vigilant next time. Given the bad faith
shown by Mugabe and Zanu-pf and the ongoing persecution of Tsvangirai, the
MDC should stick to the coalition government and attend cabinet meetings but
ignore Mugabe’s Monday morning teas. We learn from chess about the tactic of
‘keeping our friends close and some of our enemies closer’. It may be what
Mugabe is doing to Tsvangirai but it can work the other way round too.
Another observation worth making is whether Jacob Zuma will also submit to
SADC the much awaited secret report on Zimbabwe’s election 2002 and the Army
Generals Report on Zimbabwe’s Election 2008 for consideration by the Troika,
now that two court orders have cleared the way for the release of the 2002
report to Mail and Guardian. This is because SADC has said an independent
investigation is needed to verify reports of violence and intimidation
before a general election can be held in Zimbabwe (Tichaona Sibanda,
Before I close, I would like to apologise to my readers for omitting the
word ‘not’ in my previous opinion paper: ‘2010 - The year when Zanu pf
failed to bury the bad news’ published on
Part of the second paragraph on Land Reform should read:
“However, it does not make sense that Zimbabwe is relying on food handouts
while experienced Zimbabwean commercial farmers are being denied access to
land resettlement because they are not black like me. It is scandalous, in
the wake of revelations that Mugabe’s elite controls an estimated 5 million
hectares of Zimbabwean land, much of it unutilised.”
Our next instalment will be on the shortcomings of the Kariba Draft which is
being promoted by Zanu-pf for adoption as the country’s constitution.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London
Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:08
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
A Cabinet minister distributed some “holy water” from a renowned African
prophet at the party’s women council meeting recently as jostling for
positions reach feverish levels ahead of the MDC-T party’s congress
scheduled for May.
Authoritative party insiders said the “holy water”, which some suspicious
members of women’s assembly national executive committee refused to take,
was to be used as “luck charm” to enable whoever used it win a post at the
party’s congress slated for May 8 and 9 this year.
The women’s assembly was meeting to consider amendments to their
Sources said Home Affairs co-minister of Theresa Makone, who is facing a
revolt from party’s women structures, had previously travelled to Nigeria
where she got the water from TB Joshua (pictured) of The Synagogue, Church
of All Nations to enhance her chances retaining her hotly contested post at
“Makone came with bottles of water which she said were for healing,” said a
source who attended the meeting.
“Some of us refused to take the water because we did not believe in that. I
believe in working with the people from the grassroots and that way you get
Makone yesterday confirmed giving out the holy water to some members of the
party’s women assembly. The minister said she had visited TB Joshua to renew
“Yes, I went Lagos to see TB Joshua and I brought with me some holy water
for healing for myself and my family,” said Makone. “I gave it to other
members because from the airport I went straight to the meeting and when
they realised that I was from Nigeria some asked me to share with them the
She however denied that the water was meant to ward off challenge from
political foe, Lucia Matibenga who is likely to challenge her for the post
of chairlady of party’s women’s assembly.
Makone said all the influential leaders who have visited the popular prophet
are also given such water for healing or prosperity depending on what one
asks for. She urged African leaders in influential positions to seek
guidance from the Lagos-based prophet to ensure peace and stability on the
Reports say MDC president Tsvangirai last year visited TB Joshua to enhance
his chances of beating President Robert Mugabe, who has been ruling the
country for the past three decades, in the next elections.
Sources in the party said the battle for positions in the women’s assembly
has reached epic proportions. There were fears that it would surpass the
Makone versus Matibenga fight of 2007 which virtually split the labour-based
party into two factions.
The sources said Makone and Matibenga were likely to face each other again
this year for the same post.
In 2007, Makone and Matibenga’s supporters clashed at Harvest House, the
party’s headquarters in an intra-party weekend violence which also targeted
Then, Elias Mudzuri, the party’s organising secretary claimed "hired"
elements were behind violence which targeted supporters of Matibenga, the
former head of the party's women's wing ousted in favour of Makone, a
Other women said to be interested in chairing the women’s assembly include
MPs Evelyn Masaiti and Tabitha Khumalo.
Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Jessie
Majome said she was not interested in any position.
Sources said Matibenga initially wanted to challenge national chairman
Lovemore Moyo but there were some talks and she agreed to revert back to old
position in which she strongly feels was unfairly removed.
The battle for posts is not confined to the women’s assembly only. Party
sources said there is friction in the party as members position themselves
for posts ahead of the May congress.
“The kitchen cabinet has virtually camped at Strathaven,” said one source.
“In most of the cases they arrive there early morning and leave late in the
evening trying to seek favours from the president because most of them know
that they cannot survive an election,” said the source.
Tsvangirai lives in Harare’s Strathaven suburb.
They said MDC organising secretary, Elias Mudzuri was likely to face stiff
competition from his deputy Morgan Komichi or Glen View MP-cum music
composer Paul Madzore.
Among other members who are likely to lose their post are MDC youth
chairperson Thamsanqa Mahlangu and Women’s assembly organising secretary
Lynette Karenyi, who is also MP for Chimanimani West.
The sources said posts that are safe are that of Tsvangirai, his deputy
Thokozani Khupe, national chairman Moyo, secretary-general Tendai Biti and
deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the congress roadmap was yet to be
availed to the party structures. He said the congress was never meant to
throw anyone out of the party.
“The nominations have not been done yet,” said Chamisa. “The early part of
2011 is going to be part of our consolidation, togetherness and oneness as
we build a strong and great MDC that will continue to maintain its position
as a party of excellence. We are the winning team.”
Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:16
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
A new round of controversy is looming over national hero’s status following
the declaration of Nevison Nyashanu as a hero.
The declaration of heroes has been a serious bone of contention over the
past 12 months with the MDC saying it will not attend heroes’ burials as
they were Zanu PF events.
President Robert Mugabe (pictured) worsened matters when he declared that
the Heroes Acre was for Zanu PF people who fought the liberation war.
Matters got to a head when the Zanu PF declined to declare MDC-M vice
president, Gibson Sibanda a hero, despite calls from Mugabe’s coalition
partners that the former trade union leader be conferred with the status.
Later in the year, Welshman Mabhena a former Zapu stalwart was declared a
national hero and was to be buried at the Heroes’ Acre, but his family would
have none of it.
Nyashanu’s conferment will certainly spark calls for the overhaul of the
declaration of hero’s status, with Zanu PF’s coalition partners in the
inclusive government also demanding a say on who is interred at the national
MDC-T spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said while they shared grief with the
Nyashanu family, they would not attend the burial ceremony as Zanu PF had
made it clear that the Heroes’ Acre was theirs exclusively.
“Zanu PF has declared that this is their exclusive partisan shrine and we
have no reason to bulldoze in a party event,” he said.
Chamisa said there was need for all parties to come together in deciding who
would be buried at the Heroes’ Acre, so it could have meaning to all
Zimbabweans across the political spectrum.
“We need a collective national psyche and a national imperative so we can
form the basis of who is defined as a national hero,” he said.
Chamisa said the system of declaring one a national hero on the basis that
they were involved in the armed struggle was archaic and ought to be
broadened to other spheres like economics, sport and journalism among
The MDC-T spokesperson said the declaration of hero's status should be a
unifying factor rather than a divisive element.
"We are awaiting for that day when Zimbabweans will come together and
celebrate national events, rather than on partisan lines," he said.
Zapu spokesman Methuseli Moyo said while Nyashanu had belonged to the old
Zapu, the party had not made any arrangements and not been informed on the
“We are not stopping anyone from attending the burial, but as you know Zanu
PF is in charge of logistics and they might bar people who are not from
their party,” he said.
While Nyashanu has been declared a national hero, details of how he was
incarcerated in the years after independence are beginning to emerge.
Observers noted that Zanu PF was shedding crocodile tears as Nyashanu was
arrested several times under the government’s orders.
Nyashanu was first detained at Chakari Police Stations following the 1985
elections where he had unsuccessfully contested against Benard Chidzero in
the Harare Central constituency.
At the time, he was charged with treason and he was severely assaulted by
state security operatives. He had been informed that his life would be
harder after he contested in those elections.
Following one of his prison stints Nyashanu, along with the masticated Zapu,
forged for the signing of the Unity Accord.
Nyashanu will be buried tomorrow at the Heroes Acre.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:30
BY SIMBARASHE MANHANGO
MORALE reached rock bottom at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
this week as the financially struggling national broadcaster had, by
yesterday, not paid most of its workers their December salaries and November
Authoritative sources yesterday said the workers were supposed to get their
salaries and bonuses before the Christmas holiday.
They said what irked most workers was that they only found out that they had
not been paid when they visited their respective banks.
The national broadcaster only paid a handful of workers.
“Some workers were paid and that is true but I can confirm that personally I
did not receive both my salary and bonus”, said one worker.
“The top officials did not even make an effort to communicate the reason why
they failed to pay our salaries. All they did was to wish us a merry
ZBC public relationsmanager Sivhukile Simango refused to comment.
“The issue of salaries at (ZBC) is an in-house affair to the workers and the
employer and The Standard should take note that we will never discuss the
issue of our workers salaries with you”.
According to one worker, only drivers and general workers received their
salaries. Most of worker had a bleak Christmas and are likely to face a more
unpleasant New Year.
“It is demoralising to note that up until now we are not paid and the top
management decided to pay the lowly ranked workers, which means they
prioritise them and are taking us for granted,” said one middle management
The worker said management was not only failing to pay workers in time but
always threatening them with dismissal whenever they raised issues regarding
salaries and welfare.
Most ZBC workers last year got their October salaries two weeks late in
November after they threatened to go on industrial action.
Sources at the national broadcaster said ZBC was facing financial glitches
because of misplaced priorities.
They said instead of paying workers good salaries on time, management was
awarding themselves huge loans for houses and stands at the expense of other
Senior managers are also earning obscene salaries and allowances although
the company has antiquated broadcasting equipment. Technicians have
perfected the art of “cannibalism” to make things happen at the sole
ZBC chief executive officers threatened to sue The Standard in November when
the newspaper first exposed the rot at the institution.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:29
BY JENNIFER DUBE
ZANU PF has claimed victory in the constitution making process with the
party’s central committee telling its recent congress that the majority of
views from citizens countrywide were aligned to it.
In its report, the committee declared that the Constitution Parliamentary
Committee (Copac) outreach programmes confirmed its positions.
“The conclusion of the Copac outreach programmes has sent a loud and clear
message to the MDC and its merchants of confusion among our detractors who
all along were doubtful of our party’s capacity to speak with and for the
people of this country,” part of the report reads.
“Now, there is nobody who does not know that more than 80 percent of the
views expressed and gathered during the Copac outreach programme echoed and
affirmed our Zanu PF’s views and positions on the content of the proposed
new Constitution for our country.
The report adds, “What that has demonstrated is that, as the centre of
governance, our party has formidable intellectual capacity, for governing
and running the country.”
But Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) rubbished the claims,
saying political parties should be wary of influencing the outcome of the
referendum in which the public will have a choice to accept or reject the
proposed new constitution.
“To say that 80 percent of the views are any party’s views is a lie,”
Mwonzora said. “What we can confirm as Copac is that there was consensus in
about 80 percent of the issues in the sense that there was no dispute.
“Claiming that this 80 percent reflects a certain party’s views is
soliciting for a “No” vote in the referendum.”
Mwonzora said there were striking similarities in position papers circulated
by various political parties for purposes of the outreach exercise although
these differed in how they were expressed.
He added that during meetings, party supporters could easily be
distinguished when it came to controversial issues like title deeds to land,
dual citizenship, executive authority and transition.
“There was however consensus on issues about women and some aspects of
land,” Mwonzora said. “A lot of these views were expressed in as much force
in areas regarded as MDC strongholds.
“There was consensus on the need for a limited Presidential term limit and
this is not a traditional Zanu PF view.”
The Zanu PF central committee said what is salutary for its party is that
the next election, whenever it is held, will take place in the context of
the ongoing constitution-making process, and that such process would have to
be accelerated and not inhibited as appears the case.
Mwonzora said starting from 10 January, Copac will upload the data collected
in outreach meetings on a special server before it is summarised according
to thematic areas.
This process will take about two weeks before thematic committees’ next
meeting where areas of differences arising from the data will be discussed
and a way forward regarding them determined.
Mwonzora said they have enough funds for the uploading of data and were are
counting on government and donors to provide more money so that a draft
constitution could be ready in two and a half months.
The draft constitution will then be put before a referendum where the public
will either accept or reject it.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:27
BY OUR STAFF
WITH MDC-M nominations for national executive council members in full swing,
questions have been raised on the seemingly conspicuous absence of David
Coltart is regarded as one of the driving forces within the party and his
absence on the nomination list got tongues wagging, with some speculating
that he could be on his way out.
So far, the Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister has only been
nominated by Matabeleland South province as treasurer general, while
Bulawayo nominated him as an NEC member.
Party secretary general, Welshman Ncube cleared the air this week saying
Coltart was likely to be retained as secretary for legal affairs.
“The position of secretary for legal affairs is not up for nomination, but
rather that person is elected by the NEC,” he said.
Ncube said probably the provinces were happy with Coltart’s job as legal
affairs secretary and wanted to retain him in that portfolio.
Meanwhile, an intriguing battle is looming for the party’s vice presidency,
with Frank Chamunorwa and party spokesman, Edwin Mushoriwa literally neck
and neck in the battle to assume the top post.
Mushoriwa seemed the likely candidate to take up that position, but
Chamunorwa has had a late rally to keep in touch with the party’s spokesman.
It was revealed that from the six provinces that had held their congresses
the two had garnered and equal number of nominations.
Sources within the party said if there was nothing to separate the
candidates the issue would be taken to a vote by delegates at the party’s
Party leader Arthur Mutambara recently announced that he would not be
standing for the party presidency or any other post at the party’s congress
He said he would remain an ordinary member of the party.
The announcement came a few hours after the MDC-M Harare province had
announced that it was backing Professor Ncube to take over the presidency at
the party’s congress to be held in Harare this month.
Mutambara’s withdrawal from the race clears the way for Ncube, who has not
hidden his leadership ambitions.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:26
BY KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA
THE Harare City Council has expressed commitment towards alleviating the
plight of street children and assisting local organisations in empowering
the children with life skills.
Speaking at the Mayors Cheer Fund party held for socially disadvantaged
street children and young adults, Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the
city council recognised street children as an integral part of Harare's
"Our children are very important as they are an integral part of our city.
Harare is an inclusive city which caters for all interest groups," said
"The Harare City Council will continue to assist Streets Ahead through the
Mayor's Cheer Fund," he said.
Streets Ahead is a registered charity which provides psycho-social support
to street children and empowers them with life skills which they will use
later in life.
The mayor also urged Streets Ahead to maintain a register of street children
so that all efforts aimed at assisting them will be meaningfully directed.
Harare has over the years witnessed an increase in the number of street
children and young adults living in the streets owing to the economic
hardships that have hit hard on vulnerable groups and households.
Government has in the past taken a tough stance to the social problem but
has now adopted a partnership approach with street child-oriented
organisations to help the children to reintegrate into society.
Streets Ahead provides a youth-centered empowerment method called
participatory socialisation which is aimed at equipping youths with skills
for survival and enabling them to become socially responsible.
Musician Mike Madamombe, also known as Mic Inity, made a special appeal to
various sectors of society to help remove children from the streets before
dishing out a thrilling performance for the gathering.
"It is everyone's responsibility to take care of these children. We intend
to help the children for a good cause," he said.
"Although funds are opportunity we would want to do more," said Madamombe.
Two children were called upon giving the vote of thanks, one of whom spoke
concisely much to the awe of amazed guests.
"It was a hard time for us this year because the police were arresting us
for no reason. We know that God-driven hearts are here to accomplish
something," said a young man who received applause from the audience.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:21
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
AFTER a promising year following the formation of the inclusive government,
the usual squabbling and uncertainty returned to haunt Zimbabwe’s political
landscape in 2010.
Cracks in the wobbly inclusive government continued to widen last year to a
point that Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai started calling for fresh elections.
The two parties that agreed to form the three-party coalition government in
February 2009, disagreed on almost everything forcing South African
President Jacob Zuma to send his team of facilitators to Harare on several
trips that yielded almost nothing.
Zanu PF retreated into its shell refusing to honour its part of the bargain.
The party insisted that the MDC-T must first actively call for the lifting
of sanctions imposed on some state-owned companies and President Robert
The so-called outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
widen from three to about 27 as new areas of disagreement emerged.
In April the differences between the two parties became more apparent when
Tsvangirai and his ministers boycotted the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
because Mugabe had invited Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad to
officially open the annual showcase.
Tsvangirai denounced the visit as bad for Zimbabwe’s image because of
Ahmadinejad’s human rights record and his status as an international outlaw.
MDC-T issued a very rabid statement calling the Iranian leader a “warmonger,
a trampler of human rights and executioner.”
Another controversial figure, Julius Malema of South Africa’s African
National Congress (ANC), also jetted into the country in a visit that caused
further disharmony in political circles after his attacks on MDC-T and his
open support for Mugabe.
ANC had to call Malema to order after his antics.
The following month Mugabe’s commitment to the inclusive government was once
again tested when the High Court acquitted MDC-T treasurer-general Roy
Bennett of treason charges.
Mugabe had been using the treason charges as an excuse not to swear in
Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled that the State had failed to prove there was
reasonable grounds to put Bennett to his defence on the terrorism charges.
Bennett is yet to be sworn in and Mugabe has made it clear that his race is
There was a glimmer of hope in May when the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC)
licenced five new newspapers included NewsDay owned by Alpha Media Holdings.
NewsDay hit the streets a few weeks later becoming the first privately owned
daily since the popular Daily News was forced to shut in 2001 by the
ZMC was one the three commissions that were formally appointed in March as
part of the agreement that underpins the unity government. Others are the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
In June Tsvangirai took the nation by surprise when he fired influential
ministers from his party that included Elias Mudzuri (Energy and Power
Development) and Fidelis Mhashu (National Housing) after a “performance
Others were redeployed and new appointments were made in a move that was
seen as an attempt to deal with factionalism and a threat to Tsvangirai’s
The month also saw the dramatic arrest of controversial Zanu PF businessman
Temba Mliswa after he launched a blistering attack on police commissioner
general Augustine Chihuri whom he accused of corruption.
Mliswa endured several weeks in notorious police cells around Harare and at
one time faced more than 72 charges, which were related to property seized
from former white farmers and a company he tried to grab from a British
As the charges continue to fall by the way side in the courts many now
believe that the cases were politically motivated.
Others saw it as a test to the chaotic land reform programme and predicted
that the case would not go anywhere as its success would have serious
implications on Zanu PF “chefs” who looted equipment from the fleeing
The long-awaited outreach programme to solicit for people’s views on the new
constitution was also off to a chaotic start in June as some meetings
especially in Harare were cancelled because of violence blamed on Zanu PF
The poorly-funded programme is way behind schedule and a referendum is now
expected sometime in September. The new charter must be in place before
fresh elections are held.
August was an eventful month for Zimbabwean politics.
The country started selling diamonds from Marange after it was given the
green light by the Kimberly Process to carry three supervised auctions.
But the dirty politics surrounding the rich diamond fields became more
intriguing as the year drew to a close with the KP refusing to sanction more
Corruption also muddied the industry with government withdrawing the license
of one of the three companies that formed a joint venture with the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Mbada.
The company’s directors were arrested in connection with the alleged fraud.
ZMDC executives were also picked up by the police and their cases are now
before the courts.
African Consolidated Resources (ACR), which claims ownership of the Marange
diamonds also continued to fight in the courts to get its claims back.
The death of Mugabe’s sister, Sabina and MDC founder Gibson Sibanda also
went a long way in showing that Zimbabwe still remains a divided nation.
The deaths re-ignited debate on the conferment of hero status after Zanu PF
elected to deny Sibanda the status only to award it to Mugabe’s sister.
The debate gained momentum in October when Zanu PF granted hero status to
former Matabeleland North governor Welshman Mabhena only for his family to
refuse to hand over his body for burial at the Heroes Acre.
The Mabhenas said the late outspoken politician who was ostracised by Mugabe
for speaking against the underdevelopment of Matabeleland had made it clear
that he did not want to be buried alongside “thieves” at the national
In September government erected a controversial statue of the late Vice
President Joshua Nkomo in Bulawayo only to pull it down a month later after
the family rejected it.
The family said the North Korean made statue was not a true reflection of
the larger-than-life politician.
Efforts to erect another statue in Harare created more controversy after a
company went to the High Court claiming ownership of the piece of land near
Karigamombe centre which had been set aside for the project.
Matabeleland-based politicians also argued that erecting the statue near
Karigamombe would be an insult to Nkomo because the name was associated with
the “swallowing” of PF Zapu by Zanu PF.
The relationship between Mugabe and Tsvangirai continued to deteriorate to a
point that the two leaders stopped having their traditional meetings to
review the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Zuma was forced to visit the country in November to talk to the two leaders
and impressed upon them the need to work on a roadmap for fresh elections
which must be held this year.
A meeting of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to deal with
the Zimbabwe crisis that had been set for Botswana was cancelled.
Sadc is the mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis and another meeting of its organ
on politics and security is now set for Zambia in the New Year to deal with
the region’s hotspots.
Zimbabwe’s politics was shaken once again when the whistleblower website
WikiLeaks started releasing secret United States documents that gave a
glimpse of what American diplomats think of our politicians.
Zanu PF used the dispatches to call for Tsvangirai’s arrest on treason
charges for allegedly calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe in private
The leaks also gave Zanu PF cannon fodder for what would have passed as
another talk show at its national conference last month.
The party passed a resolutions calling for a law to punish Zimbabweans
campaigning for sanctions against the country.
Mugabe also used the conference to step up his rhetoric against the West as
he threatened to grab American and British companies in retaliation against
The conference also saw the bouncing back of a politician most Zimbabweans
especially journalists would love to hate.
Jonathan Moyo was recalled into the Zanu PF politburo and there is already
speculation that he would be made Media, Information and Publicity
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:13
By Walter Marwizi
With the principals to the inclusive government on a well-deserved New Year
holiday after sparring for the greater part of last the year, Walter
Marwizi, the Deputy Editor of The Standard makes an imaginary reshuffle,
retiring deadwood and selecting achievers from various spheres of life to
serve in the dream cabinet.
Below is how he reshapes the cabinet which has failed to deliver on its own
Prof Arthur Mutambara
Minister of Science and Techonology
Because he is no longer deputy Prime Minister after being recalled by the
smaller faction of the MDC-N, Mutambara is the new Minister of Science and
Technology. Only a few can question the robotics professor’s skills in this
field and his visionary leadership and unparalleled scientific knowledge
should propel Zimbabwe to be one of Africa’s most scientifically advanced
Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development
It may come as a surprise to many but Harare Mayor Masunda is taking over
from Ignatius Chombo at the ministry. Masunda’s credentials as a lawyer,
arbitrator are well known and we hope the experience he gained as mayor
during the past two years gave him an invaluable insight into inner workings
of urban councils. As someone who experienced firsthand the frustrations of
working with an overbearing minister, Masunda should be able to devise a
better working relationship with rural and urban councils.
Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development:
Priscilla Misiharabwi-Mushonga takes over from Olivia Muchena who has not
been outstanding in this role. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is a well known
activist who could push the agenda of women to another level. She is also
outspoken, a character trait that is admired by many women suffering in
Ministry of Finance
Biti’s wise stewardship of the economy has earned him another term of
office. He has a lot on his plate and it would be foolhardy to remove him.
He should however strive to be less confrontational as Minister of Finance.
Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture
Despite a brush with war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, Coltart’s gets
another term of office. Coltart still needs more time at the ministry which
is in the process of distribution millions of textbooks to schools. Zimsec
remains in disarray and Coltart’s skills are needed if the mess at the exams
body is to be sorted.
Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement
Herbert Murerwa is being replaced by Rukuni at the ministry which has been
expanded to take over the roles of the Ministry of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. Minister Joseph Made who was in
charge of the ministry has left so he can effectively manage President
Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo diary estates. Rukuni, a world-renowned
agricultural economist, has the right skills needed to resuscitate the
Minister of Health and Child Welfare
Madzorera retains his portfolio but will need to raise his profile to match
that of his predecessor. He inherited the position from David Parirenyatwa
who left a mark in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Madzorera
should strive to do better.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Forget about former US Ambassador Dell’s comments about Ncube being a
divisive character. Ncube is a genius when it comes to engaging diplomats.
At the height of the divisions rocking the MDC over participation in the
senate, Ncube exhibited his skill while arguing his case for a split with
Morgan Tsvangirai. Ncube is unlike former Foreign Affairs Minister Stan
Mudenge who spoke to diplomats like he was speaking to his children. Ncube’s
eloquence and grasp of the laws of the country makes him a good Ambassador
for us all. As for our relations with SA, these may assume a deeper and
personal meaning, what with Ncube conversing with his in-law President Jacob
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
Madhuku replaces Eric Matinenga who has been almost invisible at the
ministry. Madhuku’s fight for a new democratic constitution needs no
explanation and his presence at the ministry could boost all those wanting a
new supreme law of the land. Madhuku’s wise counsel on constitutional
matters could also greatly benefit the cabinet.
Minister of Media, Information and Publicity
Former DJ, Webster Shamu, who has been silent when journalists were harassed
during the past year, has been replaced by Chamisa. Chamisa’s star appears
to be on the rise and is one of the two MDC-T politicians identified by
former US Ambassador as brilliant leaders. Over the years as the MDC-T
information point man, Chamisa has gained deep understanding of the problems
the industry faces and is better placed to push for the freedom of the
Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation:
The leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Makoni may have been a big disappointment
politically but is best suited to this position. Makoni, a former Finance
minister knows the region well after serving as executive secretary for Sadc
and should excel in this role.
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education:
It’s time to retire Isaac Stanley Gorerazvo Mudenge, whose penchant for
verbosity is legendary.
Nyathi is expected to bring sanity to schools and institutions of higher
learning. The historian and cultural activist will use his experience in
shaping curricula in schools that is devoid of partisan politics.
Minister of Home Affairs:
Dumiso Dabengwa is the man to take over home Affairs. It will be a second
bite at the cherry for the veteran politician who has friends in all the
political parties: Zanu PF, the MDCs, Mavambo and in Zapu. Dabengwa is
expected to bring sanity to a ministry that has had to content with two
ministers of diverse political views. One of the ministers Theresa Makone
raised eyebrows when she stood for the rights of Didymus Mutasa’s son held
at Matapi. She however turned a blind eye when Standard journalist Nqobani
Ndlovu spent nine days in custody for practicising his profession.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
The way Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has handled the Mutumwa Mawere
saga leaves a lot to be desired. Besides that case, Chinamasa has
discredited himself by championing laws, too many to be mentioned, that have
nothing to do with bringing justice to the Zimbabwean masses. Senator Gutu,
his deputy is the sober person at the ministry and is therefore promoted. We
hope Gutu’s years of experience as a lawyer will guide him in the very
important task of ensuring that Zimbabwe is a country that follows its laws
to the letter. He will also be tasked with ensuring that Zimbabwe works
towards achieving transitional justice for victims of political violence.
Minister of Youth, Small-to-Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development
The new ministry is an amalgamation of the old Youth, Indigenisation and
Empowerment ministry headed by Savious Kasukuwere and the one headed by
Important to note is the new ministry no longer carries the Indigenisation
and Empowerment mandate. Indigenisation and empowerment are toxious subjects
that not only alarm investors but breed lawlessness at a time when Zimbabwe
desperately needs to revive the economy.
Mzembi should find it easy to connect with the youths.
Minister of Defence
Mnangagwa, a veteran of the liberation struggle, retains his post for now,
mainly because it would be unwise to unsettle our unrepentant service chiefs
who think in terms of “straight jackets”. He however escapes with a strong
last warning to keep his mouth shut. Everybody knows Mnangagwa’s political
affiliation but making alarming statements about elections is not part of
Minister of Labour and Social Services
Chibebe replaces Paurina Mpariwa who has been more or less invisible as a
minister of such a crucial ministry. If you look at the chaos at NSSA, you
realise that the parent ministry of such an institution requires a strong
person to sort the mess there. Chibebe has strong credentials in the fight
for workers rights and there is no doubt that he can push the workers agenda
with renewed zeal.
Minister of Environmental and Natural Resources Management
The Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) replaces Francis
Nhema in this important ministry. Rodrigues who is a well known
conservationist who has worked tirelessly to save wild animals that have
fallen victim to the lawlessness that has occurred in Zimbabwe. ZCTF was
formed in April 2001 by a group of Zimbabweans, desperately concerned about
the unacceptable levels of poaching as well as the destruction of the
environment due to the break down of law and order in Zimbabwe.
Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry
With vast experience in the industry, Munyeza could be the answer that the
ailing ministry needs to turn around its fortunes. We have seen
unimaginative ways of reviving our tourism industry like bringing in Mai
Azuka from Nigeria to promote tourism but the coming in of Munyeza could
shake up things at the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which has become a major
Minister of Water Resources and Management
An unknown quantity politically, Makoni is a public health scientist who is
passionate about water issues. He is the manager (research and
implementation” at the Institute of Water Development. He replaces Samuel
Sipepa Nkomo who is yet to make a mark on the ministry. Under Sipepa Nkomo’s
watch, the quality of water in Harare has been deteriorating. The minister
has also not shown any remarkable determination to solve the water crisis in
Bulawayo. Nobody wants cholera to resurface again and we need somebody who
knows what he is doing in this ministry.
Minister State for State Security in the President’s Office;
Sydney Sekeremayi is lucky to retain his job in the President’s Office. This
is due to the fact that unlike Mnangagwa, he has largely kept a low profile
and has not sought to publicly politicise his ministry. There may be no
reason for now to ask him to pack his bags.
Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
Mashakada retains his portfolio. We will however continue to assess his
performance which will be up for review during the next reshuffle.
Minister of Public Service
Nzuwa, the chairman of the Public Service Commission is the new minister,
taking over from Prof Eliphas Mukonoweshuro. While critics may point out
Nzuwa was responsible for employing 10 000 Zanu PF youths, we want to
believe he only acted on an instruction coming from the Youth Ministry
headed by Saviour Kasukuwere. Nzuwa’s vast knowledge of the operations of
the public service may be crucial in weeding out ghost workers and turning
around the fortunes of public servants. It’s akin to setting a thief to
catch a thief.
Johannes Tomana is a politician and is unsuitable as Attorney General. Moyo
is taking over the hot seat with immediate effect.
The leading lawyer is charged with restoring public confidence in the AG’s
Office. He is expected to rid the office of political appointees whose job
is only to serve their masters. They do this by pursuing trumped-up charges
against perceived Zanu PF opponents. It’s not an easy task for Moyo because
prosecuting MDC activists has become the in-thing for Tomana’s protégés.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:10
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
THE launch of the Umthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) has set tongues wagging
as it is arguably the first formation ever to publicly call for the total
cessation of Matabeleland from the rest of the country.
MLF was launched last week in Bulawayo but questions have been asked about
the movement with some claiming it was a group of disgruntled people who had
nothing to offer the people of the region.
Since independence the Matabeleland region has been the hotbed of opposition
politics, with politicians often taking advantage of a strong anti-Zanu PF
sentiment in the region.
A number of parties have been launched each calling for the independence of
the Matabeleland, but MLF’s call is seen as the most explicit and militant
Among the parties that have launched include the Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (Puma) and Zapu 2000, which have all called for some degree of
autonomy for the region.
MLF says it is a group of disgruntled people, who are victims of tribalism
and perceived underdevelopment of Matabeleland compared to other provinces
in the country.
“We want to free the people of Matabeleland from economic variations in the
country, where some areas seem to be developed at a quicker pace than
others,” MLF chairman Max Mnkandla said.
Among a host of claims, Mnkandla accused Zanu PF and MDC-T of tribalism,
greed and an indifferent attitude towards the ills Matabeleland faced and he
thought the region would be better if it were completely independent.
He said their call for cessation was in no way treasonous and anyone who
accused them of that was “mad” and needed to be examined.
Despite having what others have described as a combative name, Mnkandla said
they hoped to achieve their means in a peaceful manner.
MLF has been accused of being a tribal grouping but on the other hand it
claims that it stands for a rainbow nation. “We envision a rainbow nation in
which all nationalities, tribes and peoples would be treated equally,” reads
the group’s Facebook status.
“Join MLF today and help smash the Zanu PF and MDC-T driven tribal
supremacism and discrimination.”
MLF took exception at the MDC-T’s claims that it was a fly by night party,
but the group says it is a movement with its “sole goal to liberate its
people from bondage”.
Analysts, however, expressed mixed views on the party with some saying it
would not see the light of day.
An analyst, who preferred anonymity, said what could handicap of the party
is the none appearance of its leader, known as General Nandinandi at the
launch recently as he was said to be in South Africa.
“How can a leader be absent when his party is being launched? They will have
a lot of questions asked on their credibility,” he said.
The analyst said the party’s leader was an unknown and before he became
visible it would be difficult to assess the genuineness of the party.
Takura Zhangazha, a political analyst, said as far as he was concerned the
call for cessation in Matabeleland was not as popular as was being
“Decentralisation and devolution are the popular concerns in Matabeleland,”
he said. “If (cessation) is their mandate, then it is a mistaken one.”
Zhangazha said there was nothing new with the new party as there were
similar parties in Matabeleland before, but they had all floundered.
“This is typical grandstanding not yielding any results,” he said.
“Such parties should be treated with suspicion as they do not understand the
nature of politics.”
But Effie Ncube, a civic society activist from Bulawayo, chose to differ
saying the formation of MLF was good for democracy.
“Anything set to liberate the people of Matabeleland is welcome,” he said.
“This movement is an expression of the diversity in the country and it
should be appreciated.”
Ncube said there was a sizeable population in the region that was against a
unitary state and they could express themselves through the MLF.
MLF said it was not interested in politics and would not contest the
elections set for next year, but rather it had one goal of liberating the
people of Matabeleland.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:07
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
ZANU PF has resolved to embark on an outright onslaught on non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) believed to be sympathetic to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai as well as oiling its rusty propaganda machinery ahead of
national elections likely later this year.
In its Central Committee Report to the party’s national people’s conference
in Mutare recently, Zanu PF said it would silence vocal NGOs and at the same
time stepping up its propaganda apparatus as it builds momentum towards the
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF accuses most of the 2 500 NGOs operating
in the country of supporting his political foe, Tsvangirai who heads the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in pursuance of facilitating regime
Presently, NGOs provide food and other forms of humanitarian assistance to
nearly half of the country’s population, of which over 85% live below the
poverty datum line (PDL).
“There is need, therefore, to ensure that the NGOs do not interfere with the
internal affairs of the country by putting in place measures that restrict
the NGOs to their core business of providing humanitarian aid,” said the
In previous election years, Zanu PF has always restricted operations of NGOs
that are involved in information dissemination and food distribution. Some
organisations were not allowed to operate in certain rural areas.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo on how the
party plans “to put measures that restrict the NGOs” were fruitless last
But observers said the proposed restrictions by Zanu PF set the stage for
the usual antagonistic relationship that has become the norm between Zanu PF
and with civic society as well as the international community.
Interchange Organisation for Development Co-operation programme manager for
Zimbabwe Fambai Ngirande described the resolution by Zanu PF as “dangerous”
as it creates a negative human rights environment in Zimbabwe, known for
gross abuse of civil liberties.
“It’s a very familiar tactic by Zanu PF which always arises towards major
elections in the country,” said Ngirande, former spokesperson for the
National Association of Non-governmental Organisations (Nango).
“This is done to justify crackdown on NGOs and human rights defenders all
over the country.”
He said the same threats were issued during the violent 2000, 2005 and 2008
elections in which several human rights activists were tortured and at least
200 MDC supporters murdered by suspected state security agents and Zanu PF
Ngirande said Zanu PF’s desire was to politicise the distribution of food to
millions of hungry Zimbabweans so that it could get political leverage
against its rivals ahead of elections. Under normal circumstances, relief
organisations identify the recipients with the assistance of local
leadership and distribute the food.
Zanu PF also plans to revive its sleepy propaganda machinery as it prepares
for the polls. It is set to revive the party’s publications, The People’s
Voice newspaper and the Zimbabwe News, a monthly magazine as well as a
website which had become dormant for a long time.
The party’s printing and publishing entity, Jongwe Printers, will be
revamped and recapitalised to the tune of US$10 000, said the Zanu PF
Jingles, which praise the soon-to-be 87-year-old leader who has been ruling
the country for the past three decades, have also been composed showing the
seriousness with which the party is looking at the next polls.
Analysts believe the revival of several “propaganda projects” is the
brainchild of former Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo, who was recently
co-opted into Zanu PF’s supreme decision-making, the politburo.
The return of Moyo, now regarded as anti-private media following the closure
of several newspapers during his tenure sends shivers down the spines not
only of journalists but also ordinary Zimbabweans.
They cringe at the appointment of Moyo whom they consider the architect of
some of the most draconian laws in the land akin to those used by the late
colonial Rhodesia Prime Minister Ian Smith against blacks.
The former University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer had a hand in
drafting the restrictive Broadcasting Services Act (2001), the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (Commercialisation) Act (2003) and the notorious
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) of 2002.
A senior official with Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) Phillip Pasirayi
believes Zanu PF’s propaganda projects will do little to lure support
because people are now familiar with the party’s repeated lies.
He said Zimbabweans were aware that the current problems bedevilling the
country were caused by Mugabe’s misrule and the jingles and the other forms
of propaganda will not bring food on their tables.
“People know what they want ... they want food on the table not meaningless
jingles denigrating other principles who, in actual fact, brought relief to
the economy when they formed the inclusive government,” said Pasirayi.
Even the much-talked-about return of Moyo is insignificant as far as
rallying support for Zanu PF is concerned, said Pasirayi.
“His return is inconsequential because all over the country people know him
as a propagator of hate speech and a media hangman,” he said. “His return is
just symbolic. There is nothing new he is going to bring to Zanu PF.”
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:02
Today is New Year’s Day. It heralds the beginning of new personal and
national dreams. For many people the day is spent trivially shaping up what
are called “New Year’s resolutions”, sets of intentions normally forgotten
by the end of the next day. It’s a game that everyone enjoys but rarely any
more than that.
As a nation more serious introspection has got to be done. In the year just
past there were many issues that vexed our minds. Although the year panned
out better than the others in the decade, the general feeling among the
people is one of trepidation.
The decade beginning at the turn of the millennium was about the most
difficult for the country.
The politics were just not right. After two decades of Zanu PF’s
totalitarian rule the Zimbabwean body politic had by 2000 decided that
enough was enough and they demanded change. Little did the nation, or the
world, know the lengths to which Zanu PF was prepared to go to retain power.
During that whole decade the country was reduced to a Golgotha, the Biblical
place of execution.
As the New Year beckons, the nation sits precariously on a knife edge; the
fear is that the country might tilt and plunge back to the murderous past.
The fear is made very real by the call to hold another election midyear.
Elections in Zimbabwe have never been peaceful, and the proposed ones are
unlikely to be an exception.
Besides the poisoned politics, our economy is still very fragile. Signs were
beginning to emerge that our economy, with concerted effort, could be turned
around. World-record hyperinflation had been tamed and supermarkets whose
shelves had gone bear two years ago had filled. Although access to the US
dollar remained difficult for the majority, there was never any threat of
But how to remove the fear that pervades our land is an issue that will
continue to tax the nation’s thinking. Sadly, our politics are unlikely to
change for the better any time soon.
Sunday, 02 January 2011 12:00
By Chipo Masara
It is with much thankfulness and jubilation that most of us celebrate the
New Year and if the truth may be told, we have to admit that 2010 has been
good to most of us. Besides the ongoing infighting within our coalition
government, Zimbabweans have generally enjoyed a general feeling of serenity
Although most Zimbabweans have been crying foul over the meagre salaries
that their employers are awarding them and the rate of unemployment is still
at a record high, at least we have enjoyed a degree of stability.
The stores were this year packed with all the necessities so much that most
people did not find it at all necessary to travel to neighbouring South
Africa or Botswana for their holiday shopping as had become the norm in the
past few years. And with the United States dollar, one can nicely do the
When you look back at the conditions that this nation had been subjected to
for the past decade, before the government of national unity(GNU) came into
play, especially so in 2008, you will realise that indeed we do have
something to be thankful for because there really has been some positive
changes. It might not be as much as we would like to see or maybe it did not
happen at the exact pace that we would otherwise have liked it to but we
really just need to give thanks.
I mean honestly, with the environment that prevailed in our country in 2008,
did you never imagine us going into a civil war of some sort? I mean it
really looked like a possibility back then. Fate however seemed to be on our
side and come end of 2010, we all have something to be thankful about,
something to smile about.
But come beginning of 2011, there is so much uncertainty as the majority of
the Zimbabweans wonder “Now what?”
This feeling comes after the two major principals of the coalition
government, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
announced their intentions to hold elections early 2011, a move that most
people view as rushed as they fear it will reverse all the strides that have
been realised since the implementation of the GNU.
Talks of yet another elections no doubt triggers people’s memory back to the
2002 and 2008 scenarios where elections were characterised by unprecedented
levels of violence with thousands of people reported to have lost their
lives while many more were left incapacitated. Considering this, you cannot
blame people for wishing the elections would be laid off until later.
It is not that people do not want to choose a leader and a government of
their choice because they do, but it is the discomfort and the human
suffering that have come to characterise Zimbabwe’s polls that scares
people. They would rather enjoy the peace and the little freedom a while
But events in Zimbabwe have been known to be rather unpredictable as they
can take turns that you could never have imagined, and that is the main
problem! As a result, as we face 2011, the bulk of us have no idea what the
year has in store for us.
Are there really going to be elections or not? Will the president really act
on his threat to push Western company owners out of the country? If he does,
what repercussions will this have on us as a nation?
And what about the Constitution, where is it? When it finally does come out,
will it be credible enough to represent the will of the people?
As we celebrate 2011, it would have been good if we knew exactly where we
stood and where we are going. As things are, we are clueless and this
hinders most people from making any real long-term plans as they do not know
whether the environment that will prevail say four months down the line will
permit such plans.
As it is, most people, especially the ordinary Zimbabweans, are forced to go
through life without the slightest clue as to where they are going, a
situation I find highly unfair and rather unacceptable.
It would be good if the powers that be could come together and make
consensual decisions and then have the audacity to inform the general public
on where we are going so that we constantly know the path that our lives
But as I said, that is just Zimbabwe for you. One thing I know, we will not
let politics and all this uncertainty deter us from having a wonderful start
to the New Year! And may we never forget to be thankful for the good in our
Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:58
By Nevanji Madanhire
“In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings,
endings and time. His most prominent remnant in modern culture is his
namesake, the month of January, which begins the New Year. Most often he is
depicted as having two faces, facing opposite directions; one head looks
back at the last year while the other looks forward to the new,
simultaneously into the future and the past...
“He was frequently used to symbolise change and transitions such as the
progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to
another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He
was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the
past with one face and into the future with the other.
Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting
times, as well as marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He was
representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization,
rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.” — Wikipedia.
So, right now as we celebrate New Year’s Day we are seated in the middle
ground between barbarity and civilisation. Does that sound too severe an
assessment of ourselves and our country?
Were there any acts of barbarity in the year just gone by?
Many acts of cruelty emerged mainly during the constitution-making outreach
programme. In an otherwise peaceful year during which the nation was
recovering from the excesses of 2008, political violence resurfaced as the
Constitution Select Committee sought to collect people views on the new
constitution. According to the political roadmap that should lead to free
and fair elections, the country was supposed to come up with a people-driven
constitution. That meant people’s views had to be gathered nationwide in an
atmosphere in which they were able to express themselves freely.
This did not happen. Some sections of the political leadership saw the
constitution-making process as a life and death issue. They saw certain
views as dangerous and went out of their way to suppress them. Through the
use of violence people were intimidated into silence while a few parrots
were coached and paraded at meetings as the true representatives of people’s
On its own admission Zanu PF now boasts 80% of the views expressed during
the outreach programme are its own views. But at what cost? How many people
died and how many more were brutalised so that those views could prevail?
The country is now faced with another situation where its supreme law will
not be people-driven; that means therefore that we are going to be saddled
with another illegitimate document similar to the one we got at Lancaster
In the past two years the country has been ruled by a coalition government.
Although it was far from being a perfect arrangement it went a long way into
stabilising the country after years of political mayhem.
But during 2010 many barbaric things were done that sought to destroy the
only arrangement that was practical at the time. Any act that threatened to
break this arrangement was an act of extreme cruelty.
This might sound like an extremist view, but when a person is wounded and
the wound is beginning to heal any act that could revive the wound is an act
During the year the nation was always on the edge as the principals in the
inclusive government squabbled without end. Unilateral decisions were made
and some parts to the agreement threatened to walk out.
The arbiter, Southern African Development Community (Sadc) was indecisive
and clearly looked partial. Sadc came out as a toothless bulldog; a good
example was when its important arm, the Sadc Tribunal, was rubbished by the
Zanu PF side of the inclusive government. Sadc also often played truant when
the MDC approached it with grievances.
The latest example was last month when two senior members of the Sadc
Troika, Mozambique’s Amando Guebuza and Zambia’s Rupiah Banda, chose not to
go to Botswana where MDC principals had sought a parley.
The public press, particularly broadcast, continued to carry hate speech.
High-ranking members of Zanu PF continue to threaten that they would not
cede power even in the face of defeat. Journalists in the private media were
threatend and arrested. Our staffer Nqobani Ndlovu had to suffer nine days
in a maximum security prison chained to hard-core felons.
Can we look into the future with hope? Hardly! The referendum that should
bring the draft new constitution to the public is going to be nothing but a
fuss. Zanu PF will use its old tactics to ensure that a “Yes” vote prevails;
this will be for their very survival. Many groups will campaign for a “No”
These will include most non-governmental organisations under the tutelage of
the National Constitutional Assembly. These civic organisations will
constitute “the opposition” and Zanu PF will descend upon them like a tonne
The “Yes” vote is likely to win considering the tactics that will be used.
Areas where opposition is likely to be will simply not be given the chance
to express themselves.
More importantly, the ballots will be handled by the same partisan cadre
that has always rigged our elections. So the result of the referendum is
As soon as the issue of the referendum is done away with, the real war will
begin. Elections pencilled in for midyear will plunge the country once again
into a warpath. The international community, as is their wont, will look on
making lots of impotent noises.
One thing we can bet on is that Zanu PF does not give a hoot if the
elections are internationally acceptedor not. It is telling, it is not, that
Zanu PF is the only ruling party in the world that has stood by Ivory Coast’s
Laurent Gbagbo who is refusing to transfer power when he clearly lost an
Efforts by the international community to pressure him into submission are
proving fruitless. Zanu PF is watching intently the developments in the West
So, this new year we fail again to move from barbarity to civilation!
Sunday, 02 January 2011 11:54
By Blessing Miles Tendi
Amid the gathering storm of the MDC’s 2005 split I asked a forlorn Welshman
Ncube: “If you could turn back the clock what would you do differently as
He grew miserable before he recounted in a movingly expressive manner
several strategic errors the MDC committed. A single aspect of that segment
of my interview with Ncube has gnawed at my fingers for years.
“What if the MDC had campaigned for a successful YES vote, not a NO vote in
the 2000 draft constitution referendum?” Ncube asked before adding, “On the
draft constitution referendum we wanted the whole loaf but got nothing in
the end. It was the lost moment”.
I want to return to this gnawing piece of counterfactual history as the
first decade of the second millennium breathes its last breaths.
A sombre and insufficiently acknowledged truth is that the extent of the 10
years of crisis gone by would have been reduced had the 2000 referendum
result gone differently. By using counterfactual or virtual history, which
is the posing of “what if” questions about past scenarios, the significance
of key historical events can be seen in novel ways.
By campaigning for a successful NO vote in the February 2000 referendum the
MDC provided the Zanu PF government with an indication of the extent of its
unpopularity. Following the referendum three instructive events ensued.
First, Mugabe appeared on national television, humbly accepting defeat and
promised to abide by the will of the people.
Second, there was a surge in state-backed violent invasions of white-owned
commercial farms led by war veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation war.
And third, Mugabe postponed the parliamentary polls, due in April 2000, to
June 24 2000. Zanu PF’s responses were enough to win it 61 seats to the MDC’s
58 in the 120 parliamentary constituencies contested.
It is conceivable that Zanu PF would have gone into the 2000 election
uninformed about the degree of its unpopularity had the MDC-NCA alliance’s
NO vote not prevailed in the referendum. Zanu PF had won 76% of votes in the
1995 parliamentary election. In the 1990 election it had secured 76% of
votes cast. Its share of votes in the 1985 and 1980 elections was 77% and
63% respectively. Electoral history pointed to another Zanu PF victory in
2000. Zanu PF was overconfident, resting on its laurels as Zimbabwe’s
liberation party, and headed for a rude awakening parliamentary election
In an interview on August 11 2005 Zanu PF stalwart Kumbirai Kangai admitted
to me that it was the party’s politburo which “mobilised the war veterans
and told them to get on the farms” in response to the referendum defeat.
Indeed in March 2000 war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi declared they had
“entered into a US$20 million campaign deal with Zanu PF to campaign
everywhere including in buses and bars to keep President Mugabe and Zanu PF
in power”, and that “war veterans belong to Zanu PF”.
If the YES vote had won the day in the referendum the violent seizure of
white-owned commercial farms would not have occurred. Moreover, the proposed
draft constitution contained a clause allowing for the expropriation of land
by the state without compensation, diminishing the likelihood of violent and
chaotic land takeovers.
Had the YES vote been victorious in the 2000 referendum the problem of long
political incumbency would have been resolved because the draft constitution
proposed to limit the number of presidential terms an incumbent could serve
Although the draft constitution bore a clause stipulating that the two-term
limit would not apply in retrospect, which granted Mugabe the right to serve
two more terms, the 2008 presidential election would have been the last
occasion the long time president had legal right to contest a poll, assuming
he had managed to hold on that long.
Blessing-Miles Tendi is the author of “Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe:
Politics, Intellectuals and the Media”.