January 4, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - A group of about 10 soldiers clad in full military gear deserted
from 4 Brigade headquarters outside Masvingo on New Year's Day and went on
They assaulted people and looted goods from shops.
Residents of Rujeko, a high density suburb of Masvingo, spoke of a nasty
encounter with the deserters as they went from door to door, assaulting
people and demanding cash.
At least five people among them a three year-old were injured during
disturbances which lasted almost three hours.
The soldiers told those they assaulted that they were tired of working
without being paid and had every reason to obtain foreign currency from the
One of the deserters was arrested while nine are still on the run. The nine
are believed to have crossed the border into neighbouring South Africa.
"We were surprised to see soldiers in full military uniform at night ", said
Jereki Chanyau, a resident of Rujeko who was one of the victims.
"They assaulted anyone they came across and even went door to door demanding
money and other valuables."
The police in Masvingo confirmed the incident adding that they had since
launched a manhunt for the nine.
"We managed to arrest one soldier and nine are believed to have run away and
have never been seen", said a police officer who refused to be named.
"We want the rogue soldiers in connection with the looting that took place
in Rujeko and surrounding areas. At the moment five people are receiving
treatment in hospital including a three year old, after they were beaten up
by the rogue army elements."
Witnesses told the Zimbabwe Times that the soldiers said they were heading
for South Africa because they were tired of working for peanuts.
"They told us that they were now leaving for South Africa and therefore they
wanted to raise money for their journey," said one of the victims.
No official comment could be obtained from the army as senior officers were
reported to be still on holiday.
However sources at 4 Brigade said the arrested soldier confirmed looting
goods from shops as well as beating up people.
The incident occurred barely a month after rogue soldiers went on the
rampage in Harare and looted goods before seizing cash in both foreign and
local currency from members of the public.
January 4, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe's security establishment now sees determined preparation
for staging a coup against President Robert Mugabe in every nook and cranny.
A heavily armed group of armed security agents, some arriving by helicopter,
stormed an outdoor training camp on the outskirts of Harare on Friday night
under the pretext that training of insurgents was underway in military
strategies in preparation for a coup against the government.
The camp site, Kudu Creek, which trains boy scouts, tourists and others in
outdoor living, is located along Gardner Road in Ruwa. It is owned by Angus
Thompson and Gary Nestead. The invaders of the camp site allege that
Thompson and Nestead are former members of the Rhodesian Security Forces
infamous Selous Scouts.
The controversial Selous Scouts were a special-forces regiment of the
Rhodesian Army which operated from 1973 until dissolution at independence in
1980. They were named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous. The
Selous Scouts committed brutal acts against both civilians and ZANLA and
ZIPRA forces during Zimbabwe's war of liberation. The regiment also
recruited captured guerillas and often conducted operations in the rural
areas while disguised as guerillas.
Thompson and Nestead have run the Ruwa training camp for five years. They
offer training in adventurous activities and personal development
opportunities for young people.
Sources say the area around Kudu Creek was cordoned off around 11 pm on
Friday by four teams made up of about 40 people.
The four teams comprised heavily armed officers from the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP), military police, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and
the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ).
A source, who witnessed the swoop on the place, told The Zimbabwe Times that
he was also caught up in the raid.
"I was driving along Gardner Road on Friday night at around 11 pm when I was
suddenly confronted by a group of military police officers who instructed me
to remain in the car," said another source who lives along the same road as
the camp site.
"I couldn't even ask why because I was too terrified. Suddenly an AFZ
helicopter hovered above the place before landing at some distance.
"I saw everything that happened. The group entered Kudu Creek and ransacked
the place before taking away the two owners and a handful of people who were
there at the time.
The source said he was held up in his car until the early hours of Saturday
morning when his house and others along the same street were searched by the
A highly placed police source told the Zimbabwe Times that the operation was
led by two senior AFZ officers, Air Vice Marshals Henry Muchena and Martin
Chedondo, who arrived at the place in the AFZ helicopter.
"There was nothing at the place except equipment used to train tourists in
outdoor adventures such as bungee jumping and mountain climbing," said a
"There were also receipts from schools which have sent their pupils to be
trained as scouts at the place. It was just a waste of state resources
because some of the people who were taken together with the owners of the
place turned up to be mere gardeners.
"These people surely did not commit any crime."
He said the state was hoping to gather its evidence at the camp as it tries
to build a case against the mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
which it has accused of training bandits in Botswana to forcibly remove
President Mugabe from power.
The government is said to be preparing to present the evidence before a
Southern African Development Community (SADC) security organ, which has also
sent investigators to Botswana to investigate the claims.
"They are saying the people were being trained in military-style assault
attacks," said the source.
Close to 40 mainstream MDC members, civic society activists and a journalist
are in prison on charges of plotting to topple President Mugabe from power
The detained include a two year-old child taken along with her parents.
Lawyers representing the detained activists wanted the police to arrest the
people who abducted them. But the Minister of State Security, Didymus
Mutasa, vetoed the move saying it was a national security issue.
The activists have been detained for close to a month now, and have been
denied private medical treatment.
The High Court ruled that the activists be sent to the Avenues Clinic in
Harare or that doctors of their choice be allowed to examine them at
Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where they are currently detained.
The state has challenged these orders.
January 4, 2009
By Mxolisi Ncube
JOHANNESBURG - Some Zimbabwean political exiles based in Johannesburg have
dropped what could be bomb-shell on former Home Affairs minister, Dumiso
They accuse Dabengwa, who is the leader of the recently revived ZAPU party,
of personally presiding over their torture by state security agents close to
a decade ago.
Yesterday Dabengwa briefly denied the allegations, saying he would respond
in full if another phone-call was made in half an hour. Several attempts to
call him thereafter failed as he had switched off his phone
The exiles, most of them founder members of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), which has now grown to become Zimbabwe's most powerful
political party since independence apart from Zanu-PF, accused the former
minister of "sitting and watching" while they were assaulted by state
security agents back in 1999.
The activists could not explain why they were now going public after
remaining silent for ten years.
Khumbulani Sibanda, formerly a youth member of the MDC in Bulawayo, and two
other former MDC activists who requested not to be named, told the Zimbabwe
Times that one night in 1999, they were tortured for more than eight hours,
some of the time in Dabengwa's presence, at Magnet house, headquarters of
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in the city).
"I was among a group of about 16 MDC activists who were raided in the city
one evening, while on our way to the MDC offices, where we wanted to leave
our posters and other party material after a rally. While on the way, we
were raided along Josiah Chinamano Street at about 7 pm, and force-marched
to Magnet House," said one activist.
He said that their captors, who numbered more than 40 people, most of whom
appeared to be war veterans, accused them of trying to return Zimbabwe to
its colonial rulers.
The activist, who claims he was among the most vocal members in the group,
says that on arrival at Magnet House, most of their captors departed,
leaving them in the hands of people they suspected to be members of the CIO.
They had then been tortured.
"They beat us up with anything they could lay their hands on, from baton
sticks to fists and booted feet, saying that we should tell them who our
foreign sponsors were," said the activist.
Confirming the allegations, Sibanda said that while they were still being
beaten, Dabengwa arrived in the offices and they thought that he would free
them, since he was a government minister.
"The CIO continued with the assaults, accusing us of being terrorists who
wanted to topple Mugabe. Dabengwa sat in one of the seats in the big office
and told us that we should co-operate or else we would die. He was there for
more than three hours, while we were being tortured and forced to eat party
fliers and other materials that had remained from the rally," he said.
"Despite now claiming to have left Mugabe, Dabengwa is one person that I
will not forgive for what he did to us that day," said Sibanda.
"If he did not have anything to do to control Mugabe's torture chamber, he
should not have come to laugh at us and demand that we tell people where we
were getting guns that they knew we did not have. I wish I could personally
testify against him in court in the event that we finally re-gain freedom
from Zanu-PF. He is just as bad as Mugabe."
One of the activists, who claims he fled to South Africa after he was
arrested and tortured on several occasions, says that he lost part of his
eye-sight and control of his left arm during the beating that Dabengwa
"My life has been destroyed now. I cannot do any job that is physically
demanding because I cannot control my left arm. I have to visit an eye
specialist every month, while also having to change spectacles every six
months," he added.
Sibanda is the secretary-general of the MDC Veteran Activists Association
(MDC VAA), which was formed to assist desperate activists living in exile,
also confirmed that Dabengwa was part of those who persecuted them.
"I was also in Bulawayo in the MDC intelligence section when these things
happened and I was told on numerous occasions that Dabengwa was there when
these crimes were committed. Now we have to offer psychological counseling
to these traumatised individuals who will be haunted forever by what they
went through," said Sibanda.
Dabengwa defected from Zanu-PF in February last year to join former Finance
Minister, Simba Makoni's Mavambo project.
When reached for comment, Dabengwa briefly denied the allegations Sunday
"I do not remember anything like that, but call me after 30 minutes," he
Repeated attempts to reach the former minister thereafter failed, as his
mobile phone seemed to have been switched off.
Dabengwa, who was Home Affairs Minister for eight years ending in 2000, is
now the chairman of a revived ZAPU, which broke away from a unity accord
signed by Mugabe and former political rival, Joshua Nkomo in 1987.
"When I was in government and in Zanu-PF, I used to tell Mugabe not to
victimize and use violence against the MDC but he did not listen," said
Dabengwa at a press conference soon after election to his new position.
"He refused to stop using violence against the MDC saying that the power
base of Zanu-PF was threatened. He was unrepentant and believes violence is
January 4, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe will form a new government by February,
state media has reported.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper which normally reflects official
government thinking, quoted unnamed sources as saying a new government was
most likely to be in place by the end of February.
It was expected then that the three parliamentary political parties would
have passed Constitutional Amendment Number 19 Bill with Mugabe signing it
Mugabe has invited MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to be sworn in as Prime
Minister. But Tsvangirai has declined the invitation, arguing he cannot be
part of the government until a number of outstanding issues have been
Mugabe met Arthur Mutambara, leader of the breakaway faction of the MDC to
discuss the formation of a new government.
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the MDC parties signed a power-sharing agreement on
September 15. The pact has stalled over the sharing of key ministries and
"The President has had enough of games from the opposition and he made this
quite clear in his meeting with MDC leader Professor Arthur Mutambara," said
a source quoted by The Herald. "They agreed that a Government should be put
in place sooner rather than later."
In the past, Mutambara has said the government without Tsvangirai would not
work, and that he would not be part of a two-man deal with Mugabe.
The Herald reported that Nicholas Goche, Zanu-PF's secretary for national
security in the Politburo and Public Service Minister, was in Musina on
Saturday to appraise the South African facilitators on "recent developments
and to map the way forward".
It is understood these included the invitations sent to Tsvangirai and
Last week, Mugabe terminated the executive appointments of ministers and
deputy ministers who lost their seats in last year's parliamentary
Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba would not she light on the meeting
with the South Africans. Goche is understood to have met Sydney Mufamadi,
mediator Thabo Mbeki's right-hand man.
Charamba, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information
and Publicity, said he could not comment on Goche's meeting as that was "a
party issue while I am a Government spokesperson".
However, in an interview with Violet Gonda of SW Radio late last year,
Charamba declared he was a Zanu-PF functionary.
In fact, Charamba has routinely spoken for Zanu-PF and overshadowed party
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira.
He has also eclipsed his former superior Sikhanyiso Ndlovu - now officially
dismissed from his post as Minister of Information after failing to secure a
January 4, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe's First Family flies out of Harare en route to Malaysia
early this week but without the head of family, President Robert Mugabe.
For what is probably the first time in many years he is spending his
vacation at home amid reports he feels insecure, confronted by abundant
evidence of simmering anger against his government.
Officially, Mugabe is now on his traditional month-long annual leave, but
will not join his wife Grace and their three children who will spend the
holiday in Malaysia. The Zimbabwe Times was informed that Grace and children
will return to Harare just before the opening of the first school term.
It is believed that the First Family now owns a home in Malaysia. They
usually spend the month of January there, with Reserve bank governor Gideon
Gono, a relative of the First Lady, in attendance.
The lavish lifestyle of the Mugabe family, which Gono facilitates, rankles
the majority of his countrymen, including supporters of his Zanu-PF party.
It is in stark contrast to the struggle of millions of Zimbabweans who
cannot afford basic commodities such as milk or bread.
The First Lady, who is 40 years Mugabe's junior, spends lavishly on clothes
The cancellation of Mugabe's annual holiday, something completely out of
character for him, has prompted speculation that the 84-year-old leader was
insecure in the face of intensifying opposition to his rule in the absence
of a government over the past nine months.
"This is more of a retreat than an actual leave," Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba told the official Sunday Mail newspaper.
"The President is very busy reflecting on new structures that are needed to
deal with the economic sanctions against Zimbabwe as well as working on
structures of an inclusive Government which must come too soon."
The State media did not state whether Mugabe will continue his official
duties or who will be in charge in his absence. In recent years, Vice
President Joice Mujuru has taken charge in Mugabe's absence. Vice President
Joseph Msika, two months older than Mugabe, has increasingly withdrawn to
the sidelines on power over the same period. In March 2005, Msika was rushed
to hospital after collapsing at home, apparently having suffered a stroke
and a blood clot in his head.
The spin by the State media on the causes for Mugabe's cancellation of his
annual trip stoked speculation that Mugabe did not want to expose himself to
risk by being away from Harare for too long at this period of political
Over the past few weeks, as Zimbabwe plunged into unprecedented economic
crisis and a devastating cholera epidemic killed more than 1 600 as a result
of the total disintegration of water and sanitation systems, international
calls for the ouster of Mugabe have reached a crescendo.
Key Western countries and some prominent Africans, such as Nobel Peace
Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, have proposed that Mugabe
should be forcibly removed from office if he refuses to heed calls to share
power, and also to cease attacks on the Movement for Democratic Change.
Under pressure, Mugabe has ordered the arrest of over 40 political activists
ranging from humanitarian workers to journalists, academics and opposition
supporters. They have all been linked to a plot to overthrow him, charges
dismissed by lawyers of the accused as trumped-up.
Mugabe has accused the MDC of training military insurgents in neighbouring
Botswana to orchestrate unrest in Zimbabwe.
In tandem with this alleged elaborate scheme, the Mugabe regime allegedly
staged bombings of police stations and at various strategic points, sources
said. Although there was no evidence, the government blamed elements linked
to the MDC for the attacks.
Mugabe is reportedly taking the threats against him seriously, according to
a government source. The threat was one of the principal reasons for
calling off his holiday.
He has characteristically reacted viciously and defiantly, lashing out with
"Zimbabwe is mine," he thundered at a conference of his Zanu-PF party last
month. "I will never, never, never surrender. I will never sell my country.
No African state is brave enough to topple me or order a military
Notwithstanding the fact that his re-election through a June 27 runoff
presidential vote which was boycotted by his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai has
been condemned as illegitimate, Mugabe insists that he is the duly elected
leader of Zimbabwe and that only the people can remove him through an
A senior Zanu-PF source said the party was sharply divided and the divisions
manifested themselves at the party's annual conference last month.
Factionalism reared its head amid sharp differences over the power-sharing
deal with the MDC, which some assert was a betrayal of Zanu-PF by Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's mounting economic hardships have catalyzed public anger even
within Mugabe's own party.
At the Zanu-PF conference Mugabe was forced to apologise after a quantity of
food was stolen resulting in some delegates starving - a sign of how
desperate even his supporters have become.
However, his belligerent rhetoric and fiery speeches betray his resolve to
remain in power.
Charamba claimed Mugabe had cancelled his holiday because he was "working on
structures of an inclusive government which must come too soon." He
contradicted earlier claims that Mugabe has decided to rule without the main
In a December 29 letter to Mugabe, Tsvangirai snubbed an invitation to be
sworn into office before outstanding issues have been resolved.
January 4, 2009
By Our Correspondent
THE leader of the breakaway faction of the Movement for Democratic Change,
Professor Arthur Mutambara, has said he believes strongly that the result of
the March 29 presidential election was fraudulent.
Mutambara was responding in writing to a question put to him by The Zimbabwe
Times arising from a statement he made in an article by him which was
published on the website Sunday.
In the article Mutambara argues, among other things that President Robert
Mugabe cannot be removed from office from office through a process of
negotiation. Mutambara argues that the election of March 29, 2008, had
produced no outright winner both in Parliament and at the presidency.
"The June 27 re-run was an illegitimate farce, so we are stuck with the
March inconclusive outcome," says Mutambara in the article. "As democrats we
must accept that this means that Mugabe and his party are as much a factor
as Tsvangirai and his party are. Short of a new set of elections or change
of leadership by their parties, it means neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe can
be negotiated away.
"On what basis can we have a negotiated agreement that excludes Robert
Mugabe? If we accept the March results as legitimate, he is a leader of a
party which won 99 MPs vs 100 for MDC-T, 30 Senators vs 24 for MDC-T. He
came second to Tsvangirai, 43.2 percent vs. 47.8 percent. More importantly
Mugabe currently possesses the presidency of Zimbabwe, yes illegitimately.
The question put to Mutambara was: "Do you have any considered thoughts on
the inordinate delay in the announcement of the outcome of the presidential
election held on March 29... after five weeks?"
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced the result of the
presidential election only on 2 May, saying that mainstream MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai had won 47,9 percent (1 195 562 votes) and Mugabe won 43,2
percent or 1 079 730 votes), thereby necessitating a run-off, which was
held on 27 June 2008.
A third candidate Simba Makoni who stood as an independent garnered 207 470
votes (8, 3 percent).
Tsvangirai withdrew from the second-round election, citing violence against
supporters of his party, leaving the field clear for Mugabe to win 85
percent of the vote in a one-man election.
Mutambara's response to the question was: "I do not have hard evidence on
anything. However several things are prudent to consider."
He said there had been need on the part of Zanu-PF to destroy the momentum
of the MDC victory by delaying the announcement of result. Zanu-PF also
needed time to consider its options and to strategize, he said.
"More importantly, there was need for time to fudge the numbers," he said.
"For RGM (Mugabe) to give MT (Morgan Tsvangirai) 47, 8 percent (2, 2 short
of victory) and himself 43, 2 percent after five weeks, means MT certainly
had far more than 47, 8 percent, and RGM had far less than 43, 2 percent.
"I am not too clear how the rigging was done, but five weeks provided enough
time to creatively do it. Only a small percentage of votes needed to be
manipulated, anyway. They could also have taken a few votes from Simba to
(give to) Mugabe. We all have not clearly thought about this, as the
attention was now just on RGM and MT.
"I strongly believe that the March 29th result was quite fraudulent, but
because June 27th was such a total and tragic farce, we have all
psychologically sanitized the March elections, as we viciously condemn the
Mutambara says that was a major mistake.
"We must condemn both, in particular both presidential election results. By
accepting the March 29 elections results as legitimate we are now stuck with
Mugabe/Zanu-PF as a legitimate and democratic factor you cannot do without,
as I argued in my New Year piece.
"The fact that everyone refers to the March election results as the
legitimate expression of the people's will is actually victory for Mugabe's
fraud. We have been had."
Throughout his 4 600 article Mutambara creates the impression that both the
result of the March 29 presidential election and Mugabe's presidency, won
through the ensuing election run-off, are legitimate
ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO AND JULIO MONTANER
From Monday's Globe and Mail
January 4, 2009 at 9:30 PM EST
Maiba is in her late 40s. More than 20 children live under her care - her
own children and those of her deceased siblings. In June, she was captured,
gang-raped and severely beaten by youth militia, members of Zimbabwe's
ruling ZANU-PF party, as punishment for saying she had no food to give them.
Afterward, they literally dragged her home and ransacked her house. She said
what hurt her most was knowing that her attackers were young enough to be
her sons. She said they threatened to kill her if she talked to the police,
but she talked anyway. She felt she was already dead.
In the weeks before the sexual torture of Maiba (not her real name), there
was still no clear winner from Zimbabwe's March 29 election, and President
Robert Mugabe's future was in jeopardy. We have since seen a presidential
runoff that ostensibly ended in a tie, months of power-sharing talks
obstructed by Mr. Mugabe's lust for absolute authority, the terrible
spectacle of a country disintegrating, assorted toothless bleating from
world leaders. Meanwhile, the people of Zimbabwe, particularly the women,
have been bloodied and broken under a nationwide campaign of sexual
violence, meticulously orchestrated during the election period to maintain
Mr. Mugabe's control. They endure intimidation, rape, torture, murder, the
spectre of HIV - and the fear of more to come.
At the request of a Zimbabwean women's and children's rights group, the
international advocacy organization AIDS-Free World has been collecting
testimonies. But as we scramble to document the crimes and preserve evidence
for future legal proceedings, we are deluged with warning signs that the
violence is about to boil over again.
Zimbabwe is a very loudly ticking time bomb. Health care and education are
distant memories. Patients on HIV drugs can no longer get them. Cholera
rages. Human-rights activists disappear for weeks on end while the
government claims ignorance of their whereabouts. Prominent activist Jestina
Mukoko was recently abducted, discovered alive in government custody 21 days
later, "disappeared" again when police defied a High Court order to release
her to hospital, then held again, charged with plotting against the
In November, we learned from rights groups that the women raped between May
and June, systematically and on orders of the government, number in the many
hundreds and perhaps thousands. Interviews with survivors show clear
patterns in the timing of the attacks, in the verbal threats against
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in the
organized ways that groups of men methodically confiscated MDC materials, in
the method of rampaging through homes, abducting the women and brutalizing
them at "torture bases" for hours or days.
Testimony has been handed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights. An urgent letter was faxed to members of the Security Council, which
met but took no action. It's time for the UN to do its job - because, we can
assure you, the siege against women is about to resume.
Rape is a simple, covert, inexpensive way to terrorize and silence not just
women, but through them their men and communities. The infrastructure is in
place: a clear command structure for deploying ZANU-PF militia and extensive
lists of female MDC supporters. All the "youth militia" loyalists need is an
order to act.
It need not happen. Although the people of Zimbabwe have been rendered
powerless, the leaders of the world have unanimously agreed that UN member
states have a responsibility to protect when a government is unable or
unwilling to protect its own citizens from precisely these sort of threats.
Member states have legions of experts on peace and justice at their
disposal. They could decide to send peacekeepers to Zimbabwe. They could
further ostracize Mr. Mugabe. They could appoint a new negotiator to work
out a viable power-sharing arrangement. They could let women into those
negotiations, since women are bearing the most extreme brunt of the crisis.
It's not for us to decide. But it is for us - for all of us - to remind our
elected leaders of their responsibility to protect. For the raped women of
Zimbabwe, for the people of Zimbabwe and for us, so we can stand without
shame. Angélique Kidjo of Benin is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and
co-founder of the Batonga Foundation. Dr. Julio Montaner is president of the
International AIDS Society and director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in
HIV/AIDS. Both serve on the advisory board of AIDS-Free World.
Sunday Jan 4th
Zimbabwean politicians must understand now that the people are not looking
for another theorist whom for his own benefit wants to drive away the
attention from Mugabe to something that is advantageous to their
aspirations. Plain truth is we are tired of Mugabe whether he goes running
or walking, if he does not want to go we will start pretending he is gone
To think the Zimbabwean people will lose their focus and put it on the west
is wrong theory of the Mugabes is one last thing the people will do. If
Britain and America supported Mugabe during those days, fine, we don't know
what was on their minds but the most important thing now is that we know
what we want and it is that Mugabe must go, period. Mutambara should refrain
from telling us what to do but he must just wait for our surprises.
Blowing an unnecessary trumpet is not the true essence of good leadership.
He is a leader of that part of the opposition by default and that is plain
truth. That he was with Mugabe at state house a few times more than
Tsvangirayi is just another bit that shows that he is in by defalt.
If Tsvangirayi wanted that position the way Mutambara does, he is in a more
summarised position than anyone that he could have jumped on in no time. A
leader has to be a dealer in hope, hope to the people who vote to choose
leaders and convincing to the critics that wrong may be right.Mr Mutambara
has to be convincing, not be so prone to doubts, to be openly seen as to
want to take advantage of a situation.
Mutambara's outbursts on the West are nothing but just frenzied outbursts of
emotion and that is not patriotism, the patriotism we need is the tranquil
and steady dedication of a lifetime. Going from failure to failure without
losing enthusiasm is equivalent to success and we have leaders that have
Tsvangirayi has stood firm with the people and listened to them in all he
wants to do, Tendai Biti has been incasareted,Nelson Chamisa has been
brutalised, Paul Madzore has been imprisoned and tortured , the list is
endless, it would be betrayal not to mention these and some gallant fighters
of tyranny. Leadership might not be where they are right now but the
direction they are moving is towards leadership.
When we look at the problems we are facing in Zimbabwe, we all know what the
west did long time ago and we do not forget but the mudslinging will not
free us from oppression by our own people. It is more painful to be
oppressed by your own blood than an outsider. That is why a child cries more
when beaten by his/her own parent than by a stranger. Our problem is not
what the west did some time ago but what our leaders were supposed to do
that they did not do right. Believe me the wrongs of Zanu pf were fuelled by
greed not the west.
Let us leave the west for now and concentrate on the departure of Zanu
pf.As for Mutambara comparing himself toTendai Biti that he too has charges
laid by the Mugabe Government, his (Mutambara's)are just cosmetic charges to
make it look like there is equal treatment of the opposition.
We all know how flawed the SADC is and that is why Mutambara wants us to
listen to them, the SADC does not know the difference between leadership and
management, doing things right and doing right things.Mr Mutambara is so
caught up in the destination that he has forgotten to appreciate the
journey, he will have everything that he wants in life without giving the
people what they want.
If the electorate were something to go by in Zimbabwe,Mutambara could just
have been that one who blows coals in quarrels that he has nothing to do
with, if the sparks go in to his eyes he should not complain, because he is
just equal to Makoni,why is he in the voyage with the players? Zimbabweans
want freedom and peace for the full expression of their personality, nothing
The anger in Mutambara on the west is obviously with a reason but not a good
one. The anger in Mutambara should be that which focuses on the emancipation
from this leadership carnage that has left Zimbabweans hopeless, restoration
of democracy, transparency and the right to exercise freedom under peaceful
means. We have been in this humanitarian crisis since the year 2000 and we
have had two presidential elections, what will be different now? If anything
could be possible with Mugabe to hold elections by himself on 27June 2008 ,
what has changed that much? What could be difficult with the whole country
going for an election?
It has only been a few months, if it is for the people to lead a life then
at all costs Zimbabweans can be ready for elections. It is true that America
and Britain were not in favour of the GPA because they were clever enough to
have seen where it was leading and this is where we are with it, can we say
they were wrong?
NO! South Africa is our neighbour and who said Zimbabwe cannot be without
them? The belief that the negotiations on Zimbabwe will not produce any
viable results without South Africa is very irresponsible and
undermining.Negotiotors are normally supposed to be neutral not of any other
part's choice. Thabo Mbeki was Mugabe's favourite in the past negotiations
because of his inability to sit on the fence, we might as well change to a
different country because Motlanlhe and Mbeki are the same breed and it is
normal that they love the same people.
It is not the USA and UK alone who feel that the GPA is just as useless
but the whole democratic thinking population of Zimbabwe feels the same, it
so much puts Mugabe where he wants to be,incharge.He followed too much
public opinion from within Zanu pf,if I were him, I could have been wiser
and left by democratic means of 29 March 2008. We are not mostly worried
about what we get by achieving our goals but it is important to think of
what we become by achieving these goals that should be our patriotic
mindset. By Lovemore mazivisa
Begin with a coalition of 'a league of democracies'
Monday, January 5, 2009
While the world stands still, hearing of the terrors and deaths inflicted on
Zimbabweans by their inhuman president, Robert Mugabe, a December 7 lead
editorial in this newspaper got to the insatiable evil of his rule as the
United Nations customarily just mutters away its useless concerns. "People
are starving and compete in the countryside with baboons, jackals and goats
for roots and wild fruits; health care has imploded and cholera is on the
march as water and sewer systems collapse; and refugees by the millions have
left the country." Some of those refugees bring cholera with them to
South Africa keeps shaming itself by continuing only to "mediate" this
virulent crisis as if it's possible to mediate relations with a plague. And
the 15-nation Southern African Development Community also continues its
minuet with the deadly Mr. Mugabe. Only Botswana and Kenya face the naked
truth and call for his removal. Said Mugabe (Associated Press, Dec. 19):
"Zimbabwe is mine." On Dec. 18, I heard Mr. Mugabe himself on the BBC
actually saying that the ravages of cholera among his people are "a disease
planted by former colonial masters to foment war." Those Western masters, he
implies, must have also caused hospitals to shut down, water taps to go dry
and food supplies to vanish. But what of the continuing kidnappings of
Zimbabweans opposing Mugabe as well as the kidnappings of humanitarian
workers? The kidnappers must be agents of former colonial masters disguised
as Mugabe's police and soldiers.
There are many anxious commentaries on how to pressure the United Nations to
break the political deadlock unmovingly maintained by Mugabe as he refuses
to give the opposition any means to rein in the official thugs who savagely
beat and have murdered many of the Zimbabweans who do not revere their
"Liberator." And even if there were a U.N. Security Council resolution to at
least threaten action - armed action - against this oppressor, Security
Council members China and Russia would automatically veto even an intimation
of real force against the ruler of this utterly broken sovereign state.
The headline of the Dec. 7 Washington Times editorial, rare among voices on
this international treadmill of protest, was: "Forced action for Zimbabwe?"
And the editorial ends: "Alas, at some times in some places diplomacy just
doesn't work because one side's ... values are so averse to civilized
society that words, hopes, logic and reason are pointless ... there seems to
us, at least no debate going on in Zimbabwe under Mr. Mugabe. Has anyone in
that part of the world thought of the 'f' word, force?" Some have thought of
that word in this part of the world. George W. Bush had been thinking of
force against the genocidal tyrant, Gen. Omar al-Bashir, in Sudan, and was
dissuaded by advisers. I expect the destructions of families, including so
many children, in Zimbabwe also affects him deeply, but he will soon be
The new vice president-elect, Joe Biden, has recommended force so that we
can actually say "never again" in Darfur. And Republican Sen. John McCain,
acutely aware of United Nations' impotence, not only in Sudan and Zimbabwe,
has been strongly advocating a "league of democracies" - nations whose
fundamental values would impel them to intervene when sovereign states are
exercising that sovereignty to dismember their people.
Enter President-elect Barack Obama. Whatever other goals he achieves in his
presidency, despite the unprecedentedly enormous domestic and international
obstacles confronting him, he could eventually leave office having helped
make possible a stunningly historic coalition of nations that would be ready
to use force to stop genocide and such other atrocities now wholly
uncontrolled in Sudan and in Zimbabwe. At least, Mr. Bush now states there
can be no government power- sharing with Mugabe still in office.
Members of that coalition, which could save untold numbers of lives, could
include, among others, England, France, Canada, Germany, India, Australia
and Japan. Since delay means more deaths, Mr. Obama and his
foreign-relations team could soon begin initial contacts with prospective
members of "the league of democracies" to start planning for crucially
Meanwhile, to spark interest in this desperately humanitarian intervention,
there is a report by Lydia Polgreen from yet another massacre in the Belgian
Congo (New York Times, Dec. 11): "As the killings took place, a contingent
of about 100 United Nations peacekeepers was less than a mile away,
struggling to understand what was happening outside the gates of its base.
The peacekeepers... short of equipment and men [were] already overwhelmed,
[U.N.] officials said, and they had no intelligence capabilities or even an
interpreter who could speak the necessary languages." If Mr. Obama were to
become an inspirer and facilitator of the league of liberators, what a
global legacy of exceptionally audacious hope he would leave in the name of
the United States!
Listen, Mr. President-elect, to Samuel Adams: "Our contest is not only
whether we ourselves should be free, but whether there shall be left to
mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty." And now,
real-time asylums beyond borders.
Nat Hentoff's column for The Washington Times appears on Mondays.
5th Jan 2009 01:56 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
IN one high-density suburb in Harare, someone at Zesa, the government-owned
power utility conglomerate, is said to have offered residents a deal:
If they each paid US$700, their busted transformer, out of commission for
nearly a year, would be replaced or repaired. There was no clear information
on the identity of the originator of the offer.
In another high-density suburb, residents were each asked to donate US$10 if
they wanted Zesa engineers to drive to their area to examine what had put
the power up the spout.
The donations would be for fuel.
There were no takers of either offer. The prevailing suspicion among
residents almost leans towards a collective paranoia of sorts. The
government, hence Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, intended to punish them for not
voting "correctly" in the March presidential and parliamentary elections. In
most of the urban constituencies, the MDC won, almost hands down.
The record so far is indisputable that after those elections, agents acting
on behalf of Zanu PF rampaged through the suburbs, killing and maiming
people who had alleged "humiliated" Mugabe and his party.
On the contrary, recently Zanu PF bigwigs have been donating fertilizer to
rural voters, apparently in preparing for a rerun of one or both elections.
In the high density suburbs, transport fares are being hiked daily, with the
police attempting only cosmetic efforts to curb the racket.
Most urban dwellers are convinced Zanu PF is determined to make the point,
brutally, that if they make the same mistake of not voting for Mugabe and
his party in any other election, life could be even more intolerable.
It is now known that among the urban dwellers there is impatience at the
snail's pace of the negotiations towards a government which includes both
formations of the opposition. Mugabe is hoping that the pressure will mount
on Morgan Tsvangirai to speed up the talks and agree to a formula which
brings last September's agreement to a fruitful conclusion.
As of last Sunday, Tsvangirai was still in Botswana. Even after the news
that he now has a passport, the MDC leader seems to be holding out for a
cast-iron guarantee that Mugabe is negotiating in good faith - which has
obviously not been the case in the past.
Tsvangirai knows the kind of political skullduggery Zanu is capable of. He
will most likely have studied closely the blood-spattered history of Joshua
Nkomo's struggle to conclude the so-called Unity Accord with Mugabe and Zanu
In his brief autobiography, published in 1984 in London, where he was in
exile after fleeing his own country, after he alleged there was an attempt
to kill him by Mugabe's people, he writes on the last page:
"During my brief exile in 1983, I appealed .to Prime Minister Mugabe,
calling as a start for a national conference of all he country's interest
groups, under his chairmanship to begin the process of reconciliation.
"He did not answer then. Perhaps in the interval between the writing of this
book and its publication will change his mind and reply constructively. For
my part, I shall continue working to that end..Long live Zimbabwe."
In 1985, Nkomo's PF Zapu took part in parliamentary elections, in which they
won everything on offer in the two provinces of Matabeleland.
It would take another two years of negotiations before the Unity Accord
would be signed. Some in his party thought the basis of the unity was
disastrously flawed against PF Zapu.
But Nkomo knew that was all he would extract from Mugabe, a man who had
publicly warned he would remove him from the political scene. "After all,
who is Nkomo?" he had asked with undisguised contempt.
Around the same time, Nkomo had described Mugabe as being "sly".
Tsvangirai is understandably wary of Mugabe's strategy. He won the
presidential election in March, but not with enough votes to eliminate the
need for a run-off - according to figures collated by Mugabe's officials.
There then followed the comedy of a presidential election in which Mugabe
was the only candidate. The comedy turned to farce when Mugabe was actually
sworn in as president.
The arrogance of the man is almost beyond comprehension, if it wasn't for
the fact that he realizes the stakes are so high they could be described as
a matter of life and death - for him.
Nkomo, certainly more intimately familiar with Mugabe's capacity for
megalomania, realized if he did not sign the Unity Accord, he would lose
everything, including either his life or his place in the history of the
struggle for independence.
But above all else, there was his desire not to be responsible for more
bloodshed. Yet, in the end, this made no difference whatsoever to the future
political and economic development of Zimbabwe - Mugabe remained top of the
heap, refusing to concede an inch of ground to the opposition, until 2000,
when an avalanche of opposition swept 57 of his MPs out of Parliament, a
humiliation for which he has apparently not forgiven the MDC or Tsvangirai.
If Mugabe is now ready to actually share power with the opposition, why is
the impression being created, worldwide, that this will happen only on his
Playing the two leaders of the opposition against each other is vintage
Mugabe-Zanu PF. The Sunday Mail reported that Mugabe met Professor Arthur
Mutambara last week. They apparently agreed to wait until hey could get
Tsvangirai into the talks before continuing. This must suggest Mutambara
decided he would not play into Mugabe's hands, by - for instance - agreeing
to proceed with the talks in Tsvangirai's absence.
Mugabe would be delighted to drive as big a wedge as he could between the
two MDC leaders. He would be over the moon if Mutambara, perhaps as
impatient with Tsvangirai as some of his supporters are, decided to end the
stalemate by agreeing to take part in the government - without the
Fortunately, Mutambara appears to have stuck to his guns. It would appear
that even the marriage between Jacob Zumba's daughter and the MDC-Mutambara
secretary-general, Professor Welshman Ncube's son, did not affect his
principled stance, for which Tsvangirai would be grateful.
What is almost tragic is the unwillingness of the African Union and the Sadc
leaders to make Mugabe an offer he cannot refuse. This is not a man to be
tackled with kid gloves. The last thing to include in any handling of Mugabe
is to defer to his so-called senior statesmanship, for he really has lost
True, he should not be handled like a political flibberty-gibbet, or a wil'o
the wisp. He is the consummate politician, but not of this 21st century, but
of the last. He is still trapped in the time warp of the doctrine of might
In truth, he needs to be handled with the brutality that the real African
dictators have been handled - with no quarter given, none taken.
Unfortunately, the two men who could have handled Mugabe decisively - Samora
Machel of Mozambique and Julius Nyerere - are no longer with us. It is up to
the men holding the leadership of those two countries to live up to the
reputations of their predecessors.
They knew how to solve a problem like Mugabe.
Posted: 01/04/2009 07:08:27 AM PST
The Bush administration wisely reversed course last week in its support of a
power-sharing arrangement in Zimbabwe, which has rapidly deteriorated into a
place of violence, hunger, disease, chaos and misery under the autocratic
rule of President Robert Mugabe.
The hope had been that Mugabe's tendency to abuse his authority and
brutalize the populace could be assuaged somewhat if he shared power with
his chief political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who, by many accounts, won the
presidential election in March.
Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs,
succinctly summed up the reason for the change. Mugabe has "lost it," she
said, adding that he is "out of touch with reality." He surely is.
A legendary leader who has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from
Britain in 1980, Mugabe at 84 years old has devolved into a sinister force
who is slowly destroying the country. Zimbabwe, which once prided itself on
being Africa's breadbasket, can no longer feed itself. Today, its economy is
in ruins. Dissenters, human-rights activists, political opponents and
ordinary citizens are routinely beaten and jailed without cause or charge.
Now a cholera epidemic is racing across the country and beyond. The disease,
which is spread by fecal-tainted water, is emblematic of, and a direct
consequence of, Mugabe's failures.
To all this, South Africa and neighboring countries do little more than
cling to the futile hope that the man Mugabe once was will resurface.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is sinking fast. The international community can no
longer expect a different outcome without its direct intervention. Britain
joined the United States last week in withdrawing its support for the
power-sharing deal, but South Africa and the neighboring 15-nation regional
bloc did not. That is unfortunate. Those countries are in the best position
to pressure Mugabe to change course. However, their misguided loyalty to a
desperate and despotic ruler must not deter the United States and the
international community from continuing to send food, medicine, financial
aid and other emergency supplies to relief groups in Zimbabwe.
The international community also must step up efforts to get South Africa
and neighboring countries to stop coddling Mugabe. Withdrawing the offer for
a power-sharing deal should set the stage for a different approach designed
to remove Mugabe from a position he has not fairly earned, and get Zimbabwe
back on track to economic growth and political stability.
The Miami Herald
Nonprofit led by two nurses sends medical, basic supplies to Africa
By SHIRA SCHOENBERG
January 05, 2009 - 12:00 am
The pictures show a woman doing her laundry in the bathtub. A young
girl then bathes in the same tub. A homeless orphan boy sits in the dirt,
keeping his belongings in a wheelbarrow. Another young boy transports the
casket of his relative in an ox-driven wagon. A girl, maybe 11 or 12, takes
care of her younger siblings in the absence of their parents.
This is the Zimbabwe that Canterbury resident Sue Heppenstall has seen
on her three trips to the country. This is the Zimbabwe she hopes to help.
Heppenstall, an intensive care unit nurse at Catholic Medical Center,
and her friend Ann LeRoux, also a nurse, are the founders of A Light For
Zimbabwe, a nonprofit organization that sends medical supplies and basic
necessities to Zimbabwean villagers.
LeRoux, of Tuftonboro, recently returned from a trip there, and
Heppenstall hopes to go again in February.
"I feel compelled to go back, and I don't know why," Heppenstall said.
"The situation is overwhelming, but if you can make a difference for one
person, for a small community. . . ."
Heppenstall, a former social worker who has been a nurse for 22 years,
said she was fascinated with Africa since she was in school at Dickinson
College in Pennsylvania. She received her nursing degree from Jamestown
Community College, a member of the State University of New York system, in
1987 and wanted to do an overseas mission.
After some research, she discovered Global Ministries, a program of
the United Church of Christ, of which she is a member. In 2006, she and
LeRoux went to Zimbabwe for the first time, for a six-week visit to Mt.
Selinda Hospital. The hospital, in the southeastern part of the country, is
connected to an orphanage, which houses 50 kids. The American nurses
stayed in a doctor's nearby home.
When she first landed in Africa, Heppenstall
said, she was "blissfully ignorant" of what she would find there. "I
was so excited I could scream at the top of my lungs, 'I'm in Africa!' " she
What she found was a medical system "a generation behind" that of the
United States, she said. There was a shortage of supplies, bandages and
equipment. The X-ray machine was broken, there was no ventilator for the
surgery room, and there was one lab technician - who has since left.
The American nurses needed to learn how to treat diseases such as
malaria and tuberculosis. There was also a large number of HIV/AIDS
patients. In the morning, they helped out in the hospital, and in the
afternoon they visited the orphanage, giving the orphans the emotional
attention they often lacked.
When they returned to New Hampshire, Heppenstall and LeRoux started
the nonprofit organization. "We felt we had to do more," Heppenstall said.
The group consists of the two of them and is run out of Heppenstall's
living room. They pay for their own trips to Zimbabwe and speak at schools,
Rotary clubs and churches in order to raise money to send to the country.
Heppenstall returned for two eight-week trips in 2007, but she was
unable to return in 2008 due to violence and instability in the region.
LeRoux did go there at the end of the year.
One of the biggest problems today is the lack of personnel. About 80
percent of Zimbabwe was unemployed in 2007, a figure that has since grown to
90 percent, Heppenstall said. For a time, the doctors had been paid by the
church, but then the church stopped paying them. Some teachers also had not
been paid for a year. Schools closed, and doctors and nurses left the
For part of 2008, the government denied nongovernmental organizations
access to the country as President Robert Mugabe cracked down on his
opposition in advance of the country's elections. In that time, Heppenstall
said, the situation only worsened. A cholera epidemic broke out, and
malnutrition among residents increased. Nurses and teachers had to return to
their villages to take care of their families. Inflation ballooned and
Zimbabwean currency became worthless.
Mt. Selinda Hospital, which used to have 50 nurses, ended up with just
five senior nurses running the place. The hospital remained open only for
maternity care, pediatrics and some adult emergencies.
So far, A Light for Zimbabwe has sent three large shipments of
medication, worth about $4,000, through an organization called MAP, or
Medical Assistance Program.
They also sent two 40-foot containers filled with donated medical
supplies, school supplies, books, tools, food, clothing, soccer balls and
bicycles. The goods go to several Zimbabwean villages that have formed
partnerships with New Hampshire churches. Occasionally, the organization
will send cash with people traveling to Africa.
On their trips, Heppenstall and LeRoux have tried to set up
sustainable agriculture projects, giving the orphanage goats and cows that
can be milked and bred for meat. They taught the women to sew, then bought
their quilts and baskets to sell in the United States. In this upcoming
trip, Heppenstall hopes to fill in for missing nurses and help teach the
children who no longer have schools.
She also wants to set up a committee of local Zimbabweans to identify
and help those children, often AIDS orphans, who head their own households.
Just by visiting, Heppenstall said, she hopes to show Zimbabweans that
someone cares. "There's no communication, intermittent electricity and
hardly any running water," she said. "They feel isolated and forgotten. To
know that someone comes back sustains their hope and faith."
For more information, or to help, visit alightforzimbabwe.org.