The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) will use 209 polling stations for the estimated 88,000
early voters, who will cast their ballots this coming Sunday and
The special voting is available for the security services and
others like the ZEC personnel, who would be unable to vote on July 31st
because they will be performing other duties.
ZEC sent out 120,000
applications that were meant to be filled in and returned by those who will
be on duty on Election Day. During a question and answer session with civic
groups on Wednesday ZEC’s deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazembe, said out of
120,000 application forms requested for the special voting facility 87,316
had been returned to their offices.
‘Others were rejected because the
applicants failed to attach copies of their ID cards. Additionally those who
failed to send their forms before the cut- off date of June 30th will not be
considered,’ she said.
Only those who returned their applications would
be able to vote and their ballots will be sent direct to their respective
polling stations where they’re registered.
ZEC said the police force
accounted for 69,222; ZEC 15,954; prison services 2,000 and 140 from the
Zimbabwe National Army. Kazembe said once voting is done on Sunday and
Monday, the boxes will be secured and the ballots will only be counted on
the same day as the other votes on July 31st.
But there are questions
being raised over the strength of the police force, with co-Home Affairs
Minister Theresa Makoni saying it only as 38,000 enlisted
Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed during a press
conference at Harvest house on Wednesday that his ministry’ salary bill for
the police caters for about 38,000 officers.
‘We have the salary
schedule as evidence and we’ve sent it to ZEC as part of the many complaints
we want them to look at,’ Biti said.
HARARE - Soldiers and police officers — who in 2008 voted under
the watchful eye of their commanders — will on Sunday and Monday exercise
their democratic right to vote freely after electoral authorities removed
polling stations from barracks and police stations.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson said observers are welcome
to monitor the special voting for the uniformed forces which will take place
on July 14 and 15, two weeks before the crunch polls set for July
ZIMBABWE Police As of Monday, Zec, the commission in charge of
electoral processes in the country, had received 87 000 applications from
the police, the army and the Zimbabwe Prison Services.
The Zec boss
said 60 000 police officers applied for special voting.
minister Teresa Makone has said the force does not have more than 40 000
Appearing before Parliament earlier in February ahead of a
referendum, Innocent Matibiri, police deputy commissioner-general
(operations), disclosed that the force was going to recruit 10 000 officers
in order to complement the 40 000 police officers.
stations are not going to be in barracks,” said Makarau. “Some are at
schools or at community halls but no polling station is within a
As the country hurtles towards the crucial elections, Zec
has already established 209 special polling stations. Processing of
applications for special voting is underway.
In the 2008 poll,
members of the uniformed forces complained that they were forced to vote
under supervision from their superiors at army camps or police
Police chief Augustine Chihuri has been at the forefront of
resisting the changes, writing to co-Home Affairs ministers, Kembo Mohadi
and Makone on July 26 last year protesting against the agreed electoral
But despite fierce resistance, Zec has
forged ahead, designing a new voting system for armed forces that seeks to
secure their vote.
The new requirements are in line with amendments made
to the Electoral Act, which have attracted angry denunciations from top
commanders - Zimbabwelection.
WASHINGTON DC — The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) says it is looking for information on the number of people in the
country’s security forces after Police Commissioner General Augustine
Chihuri recently requested an alarming number of application forms for
Speaking at a meeting convened by ZEC in Harare on
Wednesday attended by representatives of civil society organisations ahead
of the early special vote set to be conducted July 15, the chairperson of
the electoral body Rita Makarau said she needed more information to verify
the number of armed forces who are eligible to vote.
Makarau said her
organization has put some measures in place to ensure that the voting will
This is also the first time that police and army officers
will cast their ballots away from their work stations.
parties such as the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations have
complained that allowing uniformed forces to vote in their camps and
barracks was tantamount to voter intimidation and exposed the entire voting
system to electoral fraud.
Makarau said she believed that Police
Commissioner General Chihuri did not mislead her commission.
70,000 postal voting application forms requested by the police, only 1,000
were not returned.
But some political parties such as the MDC-T and Zapu
are arguing that forms applied for by Chihuri are way much more than the
country's entire police force. They fear this could be one of the ways Zanu
PF could use to steal the pending polls.
The ZEC chairperson also
told civil society representatives that those that would not have been
accredited by her commission by end of day Wednesday will not be able to
observe the postal voting.
Civil society also requested to be allowed to
verify that the names of the early voters would be cancelled to ensure they
do not vote again come July 31.
Makarau assured them that there were
no chances of double voting especially with safeguard measures that her
commission announced Wednesday that include that all people who will vote in
the early ballot will be directed to a specific polling station in a ward in
which their names appear on the voters’ roll.
The commission is
believed to have turned down an application by the American-based Carter
Centre to observe the July 31 elections.
The Zanu PF leadership says
organisations from countries that imposed sanctions on President Robert
Mugabe and his inner circle will not be allowed to observe this year's
At the same time, Makarau said elections to choose members of
the chiefs' council are expected to take place Friday ahead of the July 31
This is the first time that traditional leaders will
be represented in the house of assembly following the adoption of a new
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has
denied the international observation mission, the Carter Center, accreditation
to observe elections at the end of this month, although over 50 foreign observer
missions have been invited to monitor the polls. Some of these include known
ZANU PF allies who endorsed the flawed run-off election in
The globally accepted observer
mission, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has observed 94
elections in 37 countries. It is comprised of experts from a range of
But ZEC Chairperson Rita Makarau wrote
to the Carter Center on Tuesday informing them their application had been
declined, despite having received indications by all major political parties, in
a previous trip, that the Centre would be welcome to observe the
ZANU PF is on record sayingit will not invite countries that
maintain sanctions on Zimbabwe to observe the elections. To this end Britain and
the United States are among the countries excluded and in Europe only Russia,
Belarus and Serbia have been invited. Most of the countries invited are members
of the African Union and SADC, while others come from Asia and Latin
John Stremlau, who heads the Center’s
peace initiatives, told SW Radio Africa that they are an international
independent NGO. “We have had our differences with US administrations
–Republican and Democrats – over such things as having direct dealings with
Hamas in Palestine or the Maoists in Nepal, who are important stakeholders to
any progress towards peace.
He said the ZEC decision is very
surprising, given that they had received very positive signals from various ZANU
PF individuals, especially when an assessment team had visited Zimbabwe earlier
Stremlau, who led the observation
mission in the recent Kenyan election, said they had 52 observers in their
mission and many of them were from around the world.
He said: “The presence of
international observers is not to interfere but to bear witness, to ensure that
the process is faithful to the basic principles that the international observer
groups at the UN all agreed to back in 2005, including clear and fair secret
ballots and no intimidation. Clearly ZEC had a different
Stremlau said he is glad that there
will be a large delegation from the African Union and from the Southern African
Development Community, but said that the ‘proof will be in the pudding’, and
hopes that even the domestic observers will be given complete freedom to allow
them to assess the quality of the election.
A statement issued by the Carter
Center also said: “A peaceful and transparent election that reflects the will of
the people is the right of all citizens in a genuine democracy. International
election observation is widely recognized around the world as an important
measure to promote such transparency.
“Perhaps even more importantly,
impartial and nonpartisan citizen observation groups have a critical role to
play in promoting transparency and electoral credibility, especially in
Meanwhile another US based
organization, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK
Center), says state authorities in Zimbabwe have engaged in a pattern of
suppression that specifically targets groups engaged in voter registration,
education, and mobilization initiatives, with just weeks to go before the
The group recently released a report
entitled, “A Promise in Peril: How Widespread Rights Violations Undermine
Jeffrey Smith, an advocacy officer for
the RFK Center, said the report hopes to shed light on the situation in Zimbabwe
as around elections time there is typically a world event that diverts attention
from what is happening in Zimbabwe.
“There is always something that takes
the eye off the ball in Zimbabwe. In 2008 it was the post election violence in
Kenya and right now it’s the massive unrest happening in Egypt. We hope that
with our findings people will start paying attention to the happenings on the
ground, as these are potentially watershed elections.”
Smith said although Zimbabwe is not
seeing the same amount of violence in previous elections there continues to be
systematic political intimidation, especially in the rural areas, including the
banning of shortwave radios, arbitrary detention of activists and widespread
violations against freedom of expression and access to
He said it is surprising that the ZEC
refused to accredit the Carter Center but allowed countries with a very
“chequered”human rights and democracy history such as China, Belarus,
Ethiopia, Sudan, Venezuela and Cuba.
Elections Support Network (Zesn) today called for Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to extend mobile voter registration by at least a week after many
potential voters failed to get registered particularly in urban areas such
as Harare and Bulawayo.
The national election
observation body said the failure by potential voters to register was mainly
caused by limited time the mobile teams spent in each ward, slow processing
of people, lack of adequate personnel to carry out the exercise and
inadequate voter education.
Zesn in the statement added that the 30-day
intensive voter registration process received very little
“ZESN therefore calls for an extension to the mobile voter
registration process by another week and the development of a supplementary
list to enable new registrants to vote in the harmonised elections,” the
ZESN said its staff members and volunteers on the
ground witnessed many potential voters spending long hours in queues at
Kambuzuma Community Hall, Marlborough High, Market Square in Harare, Zaloba
primary school in Chiundura constituency, Phumelelo primary school in Mkoba,
Gweru, Rusunguko High School in Shurugwi, Lobengula Secondary School in
Bulawayo and Fairbridge Primary School in Umguza.
implored Zec to seriously consider uploading the official updated voter’s
roll on its website to enable people to check and inspect their names in
addition to holding a comprehensive voter education exercise for the
The election preparation is at an advanced stage
with all participating contestants having filed their nomination papers a
fortnight ago and starting campaigns in earnest despite concerns of
inadequate that the government may not have enough funds to cater for the
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party has urged the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to extend voter registration to Friday
insisting many people had failed to register at the close of the exercise on
ZEC chief, Justice Rita Makarau this week said that registration
and voters’ roll inspection had closed on July 9 adding those registered
after the deadline would not be able to vote although their names would be
added to the roll.
“The law stipulates that voter registration and
inspection would end on July 9 and we do not operate outside the law. Those
who register after that will remain on the voters roll for future purposes
but won’t be able to elect the incoming President, senators, councillors and
national assembly members,” she said.
“We have received complaints in
some areas and in some cases the teams have been increased and we also
issued out an instruction that preference should be given to women with
children, pregnant women and those with disabilities.”
But in a
statement, the MDC-T said many people had still not managed to register
because the commission had failed to cope with the huge numbers in several
“The intense voter registration exercise enshrined in the new
Constitution (has ended) with multitudes of Zimbabweans still stuck in long
queues across the country in a desperate attempt to exercise their right to
elect a leader and a government of their choice,” party spokesman, Douglas
“The MDC has received complaints from across the country
from potential voters who have been frustrated at registration centres. As a
party, we believe it would be a travesty of justice and a violation of
people’s rights if this exercise is closed when we have people wishing to
register to vote.
“We hold sincerely the view that the registration
period be extended until Friday, 12th July 2013 to allow the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission to mop up people who wish to exercise their right of
“We also expect that ZEC will give the people of
Zimbabwe a reasonable opportunity to inspect the voters’ roll to ensure that
an agreeable voters’ roll is used on the 31st July election. An election
without a transparent and credible voters roll will be robbed of its
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, July 11, 3:09
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Baba Jukwa’s name is whispered in buses, bars and
on street corners by Zimbabweans eager for the inside scoop on President
Robert Mugabe’s ruling party. One avid follower even climbs a tree in a
rural village for a signal to call a friend for the latest tidbits from the
mysterious yet stupendously popular blogger.
Baba Jukwa, or Jukwa’s
father in the local Shona language, is a ZANU-PF party insider, or “mole,”
who says on his popular Facebook page that he is disheartened by the
“corrupt and evil machinations” of President Robert Mugabe’s fractious
From its launch in March the Baba Jukwa page now has a larger
following than either the president and prime minister with at least 200,000
The shadowy blog points to what it claims are exposes by
well-connected insiders of Mugabe’s health secrets, murder, assassination
and corruption plots, and intended intimidation and vote-rigging ahead of
upcoming elections scheduled for the end of July. It also, in some postings,
calls for violent retribution against ruling party
Zimbabweans who follow Baba Jukwa now say they have unfettered
access to what they have always wanted to know but never dared ask for fear
of being arrested. Under the nation’s sweeping security laws, it is an
offense to undermine the authority of the president and national security
There is even a Baba Jukwa claim on the page that there is a
bounty on his head, although it is believed there are several authors
because the writing style of the posts changes from day to day.
state-run media, loyal to 89-year-old Mugabe, said the president made a trip
to Singapore for an eye check-up, the Baba Jukwa page stated: “When we
welcomed him at the airport yesterday early in the morning our old man,
ladies and gentlemen, looked weaned and very weak. It was clear that the
chemotherapy process he went through in Far East Asia was still having
effect on him.”
It said Mugabe was suffering from a severe recurrence
of prostate cancer.
“It is a bad sign for the country that there’s no
free flow of information,” Lewanika told The Associated Press.
faceless Baba Jukwa vows to end Mugabe’s rule by exposing the alleged
involvement of his top officials, secret agents, police and military in the
violence that led to disputed elections in 2008 and corruption and internal
plotting ever since.
Baba Jukwa says Mugabe won’t be able to
withstand a grueling election campaign.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party
spokesman Rugare Gumbo said that his party does not know the identity of
Baba Jukwa and other possible contributors.
The posts are factually
incorrect, he said. However, some have proven to be correct as events
unfold. The distribution of private and secret telephone numbers of security
agents and forecasts of political developments have been corroborated in
later public statements by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
“Whoever he is, he
fabricates lies and is not doing any good to the morality of our society,”
Baba Jukwa’s posts claim Mugabe’s ZANU-PF is incensed by the
site and is making desperate efforts to establish his identity and has put a
$300,000 bounty on him or them being unmasked. That claim could not be
“They are wasting their time as I am extremely careful and
working from within the country and will never go anywhere as long as these
evil old people exist I will continue fighting. My blood will water freedom
and democracy for Zimbabweans if I die for this cause” he said, in a recent
“Asijiki,” a word in the local language for “we do
not retreat” is the signoff Baba Jukwa uses at the end of all the
Baba Jukwa has been dubbed by his followers “Zimbabwe’s own Julian
Assange”, but he describes himself in the local Shona language as “mupupuri
wezvokwadi” which means “the harbinger of truth.”
A former minister
from Mugabe’s party was killed in a car wreck June 19 after a post had
warned several times of an assassination plot against him. The page claimed
Edward Chindori-Chininga was suspected of being a Baba Jukwa contributor who
leaked inside information on infighting in Mugabe’s party.
you there will be body bags coming this year ... The war has begun,” Baba
Jukwa posted on his wall.
The posts have detailed the correct private
phone numbers of police, intelligence chiefs and under-cover intelligence
officers and urged readers to call them.
In one post, Baba Jukwa
warned Saviour Kasukuwere, the nation’s black empowerment minister who has
been accused of violence, that his child would be kidnapped “in lieu of any
act of violence he perpetrates.”
Jukwa also posted Kasukuwere’s personal
phone number, and the minister publicly admitted to receiving least 50
insulting calls a day, and some even went to his children and aging mother.
He said the calls were taking a toll on his family but added “it’s a price
we have to pay for our country,” he said.
Baba Jukwa has promised to
revealed his identity in time.
“I assure you will know me in a new
Zimbabwe where our government will be transparent,” he said.
catchphrase “tapanduka zvamuchose,” a Shona term that he has “gone rogue,”
Baba Jukwa gives details of secret venues and times of undercover
ZANU-PF insiders have reported they are afraid to leave
important meetings to go to the bathroom in case they are suspected of
firing off smart phone texts to Baba Jukwa. The site has reported getting
tip-offs from the midst of meetings of Mugabe’s politburo, its highest
policy making body, and other confidential gatherings.
an estimated 12 million mobile subscribers with 60 percent estimated to have
direct access to the Internet through their cell phones, according to
commercial company reports from the three main mobile networks.
Lewanika, director of Crisis Coalition, an alliance of democracy and human
rights groups said the Facebook site has provided ordinary Zimbabweans with
a platform to access information on secretive state security operations.
Lewanika said Baba Jukwa remains anonymous because of the dangers associated
with what he is doing.
Political tension is
rising in Kwekwe after suspected ZANU PF supporters went on a spree,
defacing campaign posters belonging to the MDC-T candidates.
MDC-T Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya, who is seeking re-election,
said his team discovered the damage Wednesday morning and suspects the
vandals struck overnight.
Chikwinya said his team started putting up the
campaign posters two days ago while ZANU PF had a head-start, having started
during their primaries held on June 24th, without any problems.
were shocked this morning to discover that most of our posters in Mbizo, and
the main bus terminus in the city centre, had been torn or removed. We view
this as an act of intolerance by ZANU PF members.
“The culprits removed
only MDC-T posters and left ZANU PF ones intact, so we strongly suspect it
is ZANU PF militia Al Shabaab, who are notorious for such acts,” said
Kwekwe is the home of ZANU PF vigilante group Al-Shabab which
is named after a Somalia-based al Qaeda terror cell and is responsible for
countless attacks on perceived opponents, as well as for disrupting MDC-T
Although the matter has been reported to the police no arrests
have been made, with previous incidents involving the terror group also
going unresolved and unpunished.
Chikwinya added: “We have in the
past reported all acts of political misconduct by Al Shabab to the police
but history tells us that the group is above the law where the police are
“With the elections starting July 14th and 15th (for the
police) we had hoped that political liaison committees run by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission will already be in place so that they can restrain
their respective supporters from engaging in provocative and violent
conduct,” he said.
Despite the provocation, Chikwinya said his
supporters will try not rise to the bait: “They are provoking us in the hope
that we will retaliate and thereby give them an excuse to instigate
violence. We can’t be expected to sit back and watch them doing
“This is pointing to the beginning of a terror campaign and if we
are to have a free and fair election, the relevant ministries need to step
in. Today they have torn posters, tomorrow it will be T-shirts, and then
they will start tearing up people,” the ex-legislator observed.
Wednesday another ZANU PF terror cell, Chipangano, are reported to have
attacked and injured Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire, who is also the
MDC-T candidate for Southerton. We were unable to get more details before
going on air.
In the bloody 2008 elections, ZANU PF unleashed a
terror campaign led by infamous groups such as Chipangano in Harare, Top Six
in Chinhoyi, Jochomondo in Hurungwe, Jambanja in Marambapfungwe. The
Al-Shabab outfit was formed in 2012, supposedly to champion ZANU PF’s
controversial indigenisation drive.
Meanwhile in Bulawayo, violence
broke out in the city’s Magwegwe Constituency where MDC-T supporters are
alleged to have attacked ex-MDC-T MP Felix Mafa’s campaign team,
confiscating and burning his posters.
Mafa will be contesting the
Magwegwe seat as an independent after losing to Anele Ndebele during the
party’s disputed primary poll. He told SW Radio Africa Tuesday that he was
saddened that MDC-T supporters “were now acting like thugs”.
are tearing up our posters, intimidating our supporters and harassing old
people. They even kidnapped (Mr) Nhamo. This is not democratic and should be
stopped,” Mafa said.
The independent candidate said he was convinced that
his rivals were feeling threatened by what he had done for the constituency
during his five years in parliament.
“They are aware of my work with
the people of Magwegwe: I am popular because I related well with everyone,
and I handled the Constituency Development Fund well. The same (defacing
posters) is happening in Mpopoma where (Samuel Sandla) Khumalo, another
independent, is a candidate.
“Tearing down posters is illegal and incites
violence when we should be saying ‘no’ to violence during election. This
morning (Wednesday) I caught Nqobile Ndlovu, Josphat Mutanda and others
cutting out Morgan Tsvangirai’s face from my posters and also covering up my
posters with theirs,” Mafa said.
Magwegwe resident Jobha Freddie
Mambo narrated to Bulawayo-based correspondent Lionel Saungweme how he was
manhandled and his T-Shirt torn by MDC-T candidate Ndebele’s
Magwegwe police are said to be handling the case, according
to the ex-MP who also expressed confidence that the perpetrators of the
skirmishes will be arrested.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti
Wednesday repeated his call for President Robert Mugabe’s intervention, as
the cash-strapped Treasury struggles to raise funds for elections on July
Speaking to SW Radio Africa Monday, Biti said Mugabe should come on
board, especially on the issue of revenue from the (Marange) diamonds, which
was not being remitted to Treasury.
“We don’t have money for these
elections, and everyone knows it. It’s a horror movie except that you are
not watching the movie, you are part of it,” Biti said.
his mid-term statement at a press conference Wednesday, Biti repeated his
appeal for strong leadership to ensure that diamonds funds are remitted to
Treasury to help fund the elections.
“On election funding, the total
budget is $130 million dollars and this is a comprehensive budget covering a
lot of things to do with the elections.
“The biggest components of this
budget are the per diems (allowances) that are paid to civil
“The second are the logistics of transporting people to the
centres, followed by the actual election logistics: ink, printing of the
ballot papers, preparations of the polling stations, and then the purchase
of the translucent ballot boxes.
“There is also the stationery used
by the presiding officers and the security, plus the capital equipment used
by the polling officers, the computers and vehicles,” the minister
The minister revealed that as part of the election budget he had
released $30 million for the two voter registration campaigns. However he
said following the sitting of the Nomination Court, the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission had new expenses.
“First identification and advertising of
polling stations secondly, because the law says special voting must take
place 15 days before the elections, it means that ZEC must now print and
publish the ballot papers with the names of all the candidates before the
“So we have given them money for that. A lot of you keep
asking that ‘you have given $11 million for the special voting’, it’s not
for the special voting, it’s for the elections,” Biti said.
explained that the printing of the ballot papers is for the entire election,
of which the special voting is a part. But he said despite releasing the $11
million, the country was far from meeting the target, with an estimated
shortfall of almost $90 million dollars.
To make matters worse, the
minister said Zimbabwe could not “borrow as the market was crowded out by
the $40 million we borrowed for the referendum”.
“And we can’t increase
taxes as this will just increase the burden on an economy that is already
suffering under the weight of the uncertainty of elections.
“But as I
have already said, there is need for elections and we will get money for the
elections yesterday. First: leadership around diamonds. Diamond exports by
end of June exceeded $300 million and half of that belongs to us because we
are a 50% shareholder. That would give us more than we need for the
elections,” Biti said.
Biti also indicated that his fundraising efforts
were constantly being frustrated by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who
was following up on, and threatening, potential donors from the
“So I need protection and we need leadership on these two issues. I
have already written to President Mugabe to say we need leadership on
diamonds and on the Chinamasa issue,” he said.
On Monday this station
reported that the Treasury had already frozen government payments to
suppliers, in a bid to raise money for the elections. Biti said he was also
speaking to the SADC Secretariat for possible funding.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been
travelling to solicit votes for the upcoming elections on July
On Sunday he was in Marondera for the launch of his party’s
manifesto and on Tuesday he made his way to Mashonaland central, where he
addressed hundreds of supporters at roadside rallies.
addressed supporters at stop-over rallies along his route in the province, a
ZANU PF stronghold and once a no-go area for the MDC-T. Tsvangirai held
rallies in Rushinga and Bindura and made stop-over appearances in Mt Darwin
Tsvangirai is urging Zimbabweans to come out in huge numbers
and elect leaders of their choice. His message so far has been that the
MDC-T and their coalition partners are committed to selling the right
policies, as opposed to the name calling and dirty tricks employed by their
‘As MDC-T, we want to assure everyone that we will conduct
peaceful campaigns across the country, selling the right message to
Zimbabweans,’ he said.
At his rally in Chipadze, Bindura, the Premier
told his party supporters that President Robert Mugabe, 89 years-old,
confided in him during one of their regular Monday meetings that he wanted
to rest but is being forced into an early election by hardliners in ZANU
Other observers have commented that Mugabe is playing mind games with
his main rival and has every intention of holding on to power for as long as
On Wednesday the Prime Minister was on the campaign trail in
Mvurwi and Glendale. Mugabe has yet to begin his electioneering campaign,
reportedly because of problems with his presidential helicopter.
is believed the only operational Super Puma helicopter based with the 8th
squadron at Manyame air base is undergoing a service while the other one was
damaged in crash some time back, under the control of Squadron leader Luke
Before Mugabe started using the Super Puma, he had spent
years using the Augusta 412 Bell helicopters. These have since been
decommissioned for presidential use.
SW Radio Africa has been
informed the Airforce of Zimbabwe is in the process of training its
technicians and pilots for a new set of VIP helicopters from
Rarely has Mugabe travelled in a motorcade for distances
further than Chinhoyi and Marondera.
He has always used air transport
and at 89 years of age it’s going to be a major challenge to embark on the
grueling campaign that has been planned, with 10 star rallies to be held in
the country’s provincial capitals. On Wednesday the Polituburo convened an
emergency meeting to decide on the rally dates. Some reports suggested that
the Polituburo was also concerned about Mugabe’s health and debating what to
ZANU PF did not disclose if Mugabe would address all the rallies.
MASHONALAND CENTRAL — Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) influenced
the formation of the unity government so that President Robert Mugabe may
have a dignified exit in democratic polls.
Mr. Tsvangirai said this
in Mashonaland Central Province where he addressed three election rallies
Addressing his supporters at Chipadze Stadium, Bindura, to
wind-up Tuesday meetings with his followers, Mr. Tsvangirai said President
Mugabe, who has ruled the country since independence in 1980, was saved the
humiliation of leaving office in an undignified manner after losing the
March 2008 elections.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who won the first round of
voting, pulled out of the presidential run-off vote citing increasing
violence targeting his supporters.
Despite difficulties faced by many
people to register as voters, especially in urban areas, in an exercise that
ended Tuesday midnight, Mr. Tsvangirai said he is confident of winning the
hearts of Zimbabweans come July 31.
He encouraged his supporters not to
be swayed by violence that he says may be introduced by Zanu PF ahead of the
polls. Several of his supporters in Mashonaland Province were victimized in
the run-up to the presidential run-off of June 2008.
issues that affect the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans, Mr. Tsvangirai said if
elected into State House, his priority would be to reduce poverty amongst
the country’s citizens.
For the country’s economy to grow, the prime
minister said the rule of law has to be restored.
He claimed that Mr.
Mugabe is clinging to power because the veteran leader departure will create
a power vacuum in his fragmented Zanu PF party.
The Movement for
Democratic Change founding leader, who also held other meetings with his
supporters in Rushinga and Mt. Darwin on Tuesday, is expected to wind up his
campaign in Mashonaland Central Province on Wednesday where he is expected
to address rallies in Mvurwi and Glendale before taking his campaign trail
to Mashonaland West Province on Thursday.
major institution I have not heard President Robert Mugabe threaten to pull
out of is his family. I hope he has not done that in private; I would hate
him to the grave if he did, because I cherish the family so
Wind back to about 75 years ago, when Mugabe, as a teenager
herding cattle in the vleis of Kutama, would withdraw his beasts from the
communal herd whenever he felt offended. Back then, he acquired the
propensity to pull out of the community represented by his peers and herd
At Lancaster, during the ceasefire talks, he had the tendency to
threaten to walk out whenever he felt his point was not being heeded. At
perhaps every negotiation session, he would warn that his Zanla guerilla
movement would renew their military onslaught if the likes of Ian Smith did
not capitulate to his demands. He only stopped when Josiah Magama Tongogara,
the Zanla head, reminded him that war was not like the candle lit dinners
they were enjoying at Lancaster as people were dying like flies.
should know better
He actually pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth
close to a decade ago and he has been making threats of withdrawal from the
Government of National Unity from day one. The teenage Kutama spirit is
relentless, as he is now telling us that if “SADC makes stupid mistakes, we
are going to pull out”, but Mugabe should surely know better and do
I am not sure if, when he made the threat last week during the
launch of Zanu (PF)’s manifesto, he really meant it, but, to all intents and
purposes, the Old Man is capable of anything. In any case, there is a
certain stubbornness that comes with old age.
I am not sure who
Mugabe was referring to when he said “we”. I don’t think he was being
representative of all Zimbabweans, not to mention his partners in the
caretaker government. If he was talking on behalf of the largely rented mob
that thronged Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, then his thinking is fatally
Zanu (PF) is not ruling the country. Instead, it is a political
partner in a transitional set up as we wait for the general election that is
hopefully going to usher in a new dispensation. Since his party is not the
government or Zimbabwe, it doesn’t make any sense for it to pull out of
SADC. The regional bloc is not composed of sectarian political institutions
such as Zanu (PF), but whole nations.
away the possibility of a political bluff in Mugabe’s pullout threat,
disengaging from SADC is like running away from oneself. It is like a
self-conceited man who runs away from his own home thinking that he is
settling scores with his family. Sooner or later, he will come
Zimbabwe can’t survive without SADC and pulling out is the same as
imposing sanctions on ourselves. That is the plain fact. Imagine how much
business we do with South Africa alone. What would happen to the economy if
we were to pull out? What about the many bilateral agreements we have with
SADC member states, without which we can’t survive? How many of our kids are
attending school in the region, and how many poor families are managing to
subsist, courtesy of regional integration?
one, would not want to be once again queuing for a visa to go to South
Africa, that is, if that facility would remain? Then there is power, fuel,
basic commodities and ready employment bases that Zimbabweans enjoy by
virtue of us being a member of SADC. I wonder if Mugabe ever thought about
this when he told the hapless crowd that “we” could pull out of SADC.
Getting out of the Commonwealth was a different ball game. That club is
largely symbolic, even though I know of friends who had to discontinue their
education when Mugabe and his hardcore band made the decisions to selfishly
remove us from this union.
Of course, I know where Mugabe’s beef with
SADC is located. It is this very institution, together to some extent with
the African Union, that forced him into a coalition government with Morgan
Tsvangirai. He will never forgive the bloc for refusing to endorse his
recalcitrance after the June 2008 presidential run-off and make him share
power with a man he believed would never rule Zimbabwe.
He was left
with so much egg on his face and his gargantuan ego suffered irreparably. It
is SADC that keeps reminding him that he has become obsolete, and I know the
Old Man hates being thought of as some kind of relic.
The recent Maputo special summit that directed him to go back to
the negotiation table, as I pointed out in an earlier installment, sounded
the death knell on his claim for political immortality. Mugabe knows that
SADC can still deal a fatal blow to his grand plan for a political come
back, seeing as it is he is so desperate to win the July 31 race and be
recognised as a legitimate statesman.
But whatever disillusions
Mugabe is suffering, the plain fact is that SADC is as indispensable to
Zimbabwe as oxygen. The sooner he realises this, the better for him and for
Zimbabwe. - For feedback, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
HARARE — The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which says it is
participating in this year’s elections under protest, has written to the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), guarantors of the unity
government, complaining of massive irregularities in the just-ended mobile
voter registration exercise it says are titled to give Zanu PF room to steal
The party also says it is concerned by the resurgence of
political violence ahead of the July 31 polls.
Addressing a press
conference in the capital Wednesday, MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti
said his party has been forced to go back to SADC, especially after Zanu PF
refused to implement media and other democratic reforms that could have made
the poll credible.
Biti said massive irregularities were recorded in the
voter registration exercise which saw more 300,000 people failing to add
their names onto the voters’ lists in Harare alone.
The MDC-T wants
the exercise to be extended to next Friday to mop-up all eligible
Biti said charged that an Israel company called Nikuv
International Projects is working with Zanu PF and the Registrar General’s
Office to tamper with the voters’ roll ahead of the elections.
says all political parties should analyse and agree on the roll that will be
used in the election once the process to add new voters is
Biti said the agreed voters roll should be kept by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
He said his party has also complained
to the commission about the number of police officers who have applied to
vote early, adding ZEC has advised them to wait until it has finished
processing the applications.
Biti said since last Sunday, cases of
violence have gone up around the country with several MDC-T activists being
He said MDC-T campaign posters are being pulled down in some
areas. Today some MDC-T activists on a door to door campaign were severely
assaulted in Southerton constituency, Harare.
He explains MDC-T
deputy youth chairperson, Costa Machingauta, was arrested in Budiriro for no
Biti said police also barred him from holding a campaign
rally in his Harare East constituency.
He said because Zimbabwe
ignored SADC resolutions on media and security sector reforms, the regional
body must make a pronouncement on whether Zimbabwe’s elections will be
The finance minister also reiterated that treasury has no money
to fund the elections. He said he held talks Wednesday with four countries
which he did not name over poll funding.
Biti previously said he had
approached South Africa and Angola to help fund the elections.
said if there was transparency in the mining and selling of diamonds in the
country, Zimbabwe would have been able to fund its polls without a
Meanwhile, sources in Mutare say police have banned all
political meetings in the city until after July 31, a move that is likely to
attract the wrath of political parties challenging Zanu PF in the upcoming
Police Wednesday banned a non-governmental meeting to discuss
national healing and reconciliation. The meeting had been organized by the
Peace Building Network.
Police sources told VOA Studio 7 initially
political meetings had been banned for this week ahead of President Robert
Mugabe’s trip to the eastern border city Friday but has been extended to
cover the whole election campaign period.
The ban follows Saturday’s
arrest of four civic organization employees who were on a voter education
road show in the city.
HARARE (AFP) – Nine supporters of Zimbabwe Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were injured during an attack Wednesday by
suspected activists from veteran President Robert Mugabe's party, a party
"I can confirm, I just received news of the incident,"
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told
A party source said members were pasting campaign posters in Harare
for their candidate Gift Chimanikire ahead of crucial general elections
later this month when rival youth from Mugabe's ZANU-PF attacked
"They are currently receiving treatment at a private hospital but
it's not yet confirmed whether they have been admitted or not," the source
said. The MDC condemned the attack.
"Zanu PF should not push the
people further into the wall," the party said.
"This behaviour exposes
them as hypocrites, opposed to diverging views. That they support an old and
tired party should not restrict other forces of development, growth and
Police could not be reached for comment.
hold elections on July 31 to choose a successor to the country's shaky
Previous elections in the country have been
tainted by violence including the 2008 presidential run-off election which
Tsvangirai boycotted citing the killing of over 200 party
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government four
years ago to revive the economy and avoid a tip into conflict in the
aftermath of the bloody run-off election.
HARARE – Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF secretary for administration
and Headlands aspiring parliamentary candidate, has sued Finance minister
Tendai Biti for $5 million for allegedly accusing him of “murdering a
12-year-old Headlands boy”.
In his High Court papers on Friday, the
State minister for Presidential Affairs said Biti had damaged his
Mutasa filed the multi-million dollar damages suit five
months after a statement allegedly made by Biti during a stormy Cabinet
session in which the Finance minister fingered the former liberation fighter
for plotting the arson attack that claimed Christpowers
Mutasa claimed Biti impaired his character after he told a
Cabinet meeting held on February 26 and attended by all members including
President Robert Mugabe that the former liberation fighter was responsible
for masterminding the death of the Headlands boy, who was burned in his
Mutasa will square off with MDC’s David Tekeshe in
parliamentary elections scheduled for July 31.
Mutasa said Biti also
repeated the same statement outside Cabinet, to the media and during the
burial of Christpowers, implicating him in the murder of the boy. The Zanu
PF administration secretary said Biti’s statements injured his “good name”
as he is internationally known and has a unimpeachable
“The defendant (Biti) has struck on plaintiff’s (Mutasa)
professional reputation and good character,” reads part of Mutasa’s summons
and declaration filed in the High Court.
“Plaintiff is greatly
insulted, degraded and outraged by the accusations. Plaintiff’s dignity has
been seriously impaired as people now believe or suspect that he is a killer
of young innocent children.”
HARARE – Lovemore Madhuku’s cash-strapped National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) has failed to pay over a dozen former employees over $121 000
after donors ditched his organisation.
NCA — a broad alliance of
opposition parties, church groups, trades unions and civic organisations —
acknowledged in court papers filed in the Harare magistrates Court that it
was yet to pay its 20 former employees after being deserted by
“The NCA hereby unequivocally states that it has legal obligation
to pay each of its former employees listed in the attached schedule the
amount of money appearing opposite the name of each former employee,”
Madhuku’s memorandum reads.
“The NCA wishes to have it put on record
that the sole reason for its failure to pay all the outstanding amounts is
its inability to secure donor support in the past few years.
now clear to the NCA that there will be no donor support in the immediate
future and therefore the NCA will have to rely on membership contributions
to raise the required money to make the said outstanding payments to its
The organisation refused to sell its properties to pay
the 20 former workers.
“It is in the interest of all former employees
for the NCA to continue to exist. Accordingly, it is the view of the NCA
that it would be against the interest of all for the NCA to sell its
remaining assets for the purpose of paying former employees when there are
other avenues available to make those payments while remaining in
operation,” Madhuku said.
“The NCA will make three equal instalments to
each former employee on the following dates: first instalment: July 31,
2013, second instalment: October 31, 2013, third and final instalment
December 31, 2013.”
According to court papers, NCA however, denied owing
Eddie Sithole a Pajero car and cash.
“Defendant (NCA) will also say
that there was a genuine error in signing the agreement which resulted in
plaintiff (Sithole) claiming what’s not due him,” Madhuku avers. “Defendant
will say that plaintiff fraudulently caused defendant to sign the agreement
fully aware that he was not owed the amount being demanded.”
is being represented by Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni legal
The papers were filed following a letter Madhuku had
received from Sithole’s lawyers Mwonzora and Associates demanding the he
pays Sithole what is due to him.
“In terms of clause six thereof,
your organisation is duty bond to transfer ownership of a motor vehicle
being a Pajero AAT 5424 to our client MR E Sithole,” said a letter attached
as an annexure. “Although he has possession, he is yet to take ownership.
Can we therefore request that you avail the registration book
“Further in terms of clause 7b you were supposed to pay him $3 123.96
by the 31st January 2013 which you have failed to do,” the letter adds.
elections just over three weeks away, the cash-strapped Zimbabwean
government has frozen all spending except for salaries.
Tendai Biti confirmed the drastic cost-cutting measure yesterday, saying it
was necessary to help fund the elections.
''We can't afford to pay
anything but salaries. The government is frozen,'' said Biti, who is a
leading figure in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Yesterday, President Robert Mugabe's office said it was
cancelling cabinet meetings until the elections so that ministers can
Zimbabwe says it needs $132-million for the polls - scheduled
for July 31 - but so far has only allocated $14-million to the Zimbabwe
In April Zimbabwe withdrew its plea to the UN
for poll funding because Harare did not accept the conditions set by the
But with the government struggling to raise money from a raft
of measures that include an increase in the import duty on fuel and getting
more revenue from diamond-mining companies, Biti has sent an SOS to the
Southern African Development Community.
''We snubbed the UN and
efforts to get help from other international donors have been frustrated.
Our best bet is the SADC.
''I wrote to the regional grouping but so far
there has not been a response," Biti said.
Last month the SADC
committed itself in principle to helping Zimbabwe fund the polls but that
commitment has been cast into doubt after Mugabe defied efforts by the
regional bloc to postpone the election until crucial electoral reforms were
Biti described preparations for the July 31 polls as "a
"We don't have the money for these elections and everyone
knows it. It's a horror movie except that you are not watching the movie,
you are part of it," he said.
Mugabe's opponents insist that he
declared the July 31 poll date without consulting coalition leaders in a
ploy to favour his party. He said he was complying with a Constitutional
Tsvangirai, 61, who has forged a coalition with other
opposition parties, began intense campaigning in the remote northeast
Mugabe, 89, has not announced his own campaign schedule but
Vice President Joyce Mujuru has begun a series of rallies. - Additional
reporting by Sapa-AP
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF
JOURNALISTS 10 JULY 2013 PRESS RELEASE
IFJ Condemns Arrest of
Student Journalist In Zimbabwe
The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest and detention of Leopold
Munhende, a student journalist with the Masvingo Mirror, by the Masvingo
Police on Tuesday, 9 July 2013. Munhende was arrested while taking pictures
of long queues of people trying to register as voters.
authorities in Zimbabwe should desist from any act of intimidation and
harassment of journalists as this is a very crucial period in the nation’s
political history”, said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office”.
“During this period it is the right of every citizen to seek and receive
information as concerns their right to vote in the upcoming elections.
Journalists should therefore be allowed to perform their duties without any
form of hindrance as this helps in the monitoring of the election
In a statement issued by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ), the union’s Chairperson in Masvingo, Goerge Maponga confirmed that
Munhende was picked up at 8:00 am but eventually released at about 5:00 pm
after being detained for 9 hours.
The Secretary General of ZUJ,
Foster Dongozi, condemned the police action and stressed that such behaviour
was unacceptable. “This is another development which is unhelpful to our
profession and indeed to our country. On Saturday we will have another
meeting with the SADC Parliament and we will certainly update them on the
issues of safety and security of journalists.”
The IFJ calls on the
authorities in Zimbabwe to allow journalists to perform their duties during
this critical election period based on the principles of public interest and
the rights of the citizens to know. “The authorities must act to the maximum
to guarantee the safety and security of journalists and the citizens in
general. Anything short of this will be a huge failure on the side of these
authorities” added Baglo.
STATEMENT ON THE END OF THE 30
DAY MOBILE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE
HARARE, 10 July 2013- The Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) notes the end of the 30 day mobile voter
registration exercise, but is deeply concerned that many potential voters
could have been left out of the process. Reports received from ZESN
observers and feedback from its social media platforms indicates that many
people failed to register due to the slow processing of people, limited days
spent in a ward, lack of adequate personnel, inadequate voter education and
publicity about the process. Although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) extended the mobile voter registration exercise to 12 midnight on the
last day many people in most urban centres failed to be attended
ZESN reiterates its previous concerns regarding the limited time
spent in each ward by mobile registrations teams. The 3 days spent per ward
by the teams was inadequate given the huge turnout of potential voters in
various parts of the country, especially urban areas. ZESN is of the view
that the teams should have been deployed for 30 days in every ward to cater
for the vast number of people intending to register to vote.
concern was the slow processing of people at the registration centres and
few centres in urban areas as well as long distances in rural areas. ZESN
has observed that people had to stand in long queues, sometimes up to eight
hours before being attended and this was mostly observed in urban areas.
ZESN observers in Bulawayo noted how some officials from the Registrar
General’s office seemed to be inadequately trained; they also noted
different application of procedures and varied handling of affidavits. This
resulted in some people being turned away at the close of the process
despite having been in queues for the whole day. This was witnessed by ZESN
staff members and volunteers who tried to register at Kambuzuma Community
Hall, Marlborough High, Market Square in Harare, Zaloba primary school in
Chiundura constituency, Phumelelo primary school in Mkoba, Gweru, Rusunguko
High School in Shurugwi, Lobengula Secondary School in Bulawayo and
Fairbridge Primary School in Umguza.ZESN observed that the slow processing
was also a result of people requiring to register and inspect the voters’
roll standing in a single queue instead of having two lines for registration
We believe this process was also affected by
inadequate voter education given that only two people were deployed per ward
to conduct voter education. The extension by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission of the registration on the last day of the registration exercise
to twelve midnight was a welcome move but ZESN observers noted that the
process was slow and chaotic in most areas, for example in Marlborough. ZESN
therefore calls for:
• An extension to the mobile voter registration
process by another week • The development of a supplementary list to
enable new registrants to vote in the harmonised elections • District
centres to be manned by more personnel and to close late • Audit of the
voters’ roll by ZEC • ZEC should serious consider uploading the official
updated voter’s roll on its website to enable people to check and inspect
their names. • Comprehensive voter education exercise for the harmonised
The ZESN reiterates that a good voters’ roll is the backbone of
an election and ZEC should seriously take all concerns from all stakeholders
particularly political parties and observers as this can affect the
credibility of the impending harmonised election. We call upon ZEC to use
all the powers vested in them by ensuring that no potential and eligible
voters are disenfranchised from voting after failing to register.
A map produced by Transparency
International shows the percentage of people surveyed in each of 107 countries
who paid a bribe to one of eight services in the last 12 months.(Transparency
By Alexandra Zavis
July 9, 2013,1:29
In Zimbabwe, women delivering
babies at a hospital were reportedly charged $5 for every scream. In Bangladesh,
corrupt building practices were believed to have contributed to the collapse of
a garment factory complex that killed more than 1,000 people.
These are some of the ways that
corruption affects people around the world, according to a new report from
Transparency International. The Berlin-based watchdog’sGlobal Corruption Barometer
More than 1 in 4 people reported
paying a bribe when using public services and institutions in the previous 12
months, according to a survey conducted in more than 100
The figures were highest in the
African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where 75% and 84% of those surveyed
paid a bribe, respectively, the report says. That is compared with just 1% in
Australia, Denmark, Finland and Japan. In the United States, 7% of those
surveyed reported paying a bribe.
“Bribe paying levels remain very
high worldwide,” Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle said in a
statement Tuesday. “But people believe they have the power to stop corruption,
and the number of those willing to combat the abuse of power, secret dealings
and bribery is significant.”
More than 114,000 people in 107
countries were surveyed between September 2012 and March 2013 for the
Nearly 9 out of 10 said they would
act against corruption, and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay bribes
said they had refused at least once, the report says.
Too often, however, the
institutions responsible for fighting corruption are themselves viewed as
corrupt, the report says. Police were viewed as the most corrupt institution in
36 of the countries surveyed and the judiciary in 20
Trumping them all were political
parties, which were viewed as the most corrupt institutions in 51 countries,
including the United States.
WEDNESDAY, 10 JULY 2013
07:13WRITTEN BY TAWANDA
explains why she's holding up queues around Harare and questions why
supermarkets and stores should reap the rewards of a pennyless economy
The US dollar became our own in 2009 with many intended and
unintended consequences.On one hand we now have a stable currency that doesn’t require you
to load it into a wheelbarrow in order to go buy a loaf of bread. Those days are
gone, but how far we have progressed (or not) is seen in the legacy of tatty,
filthy one-dollar notes that we pass from hand to hand, day after
day.Those notes that seem to suggest a cholera epidemic is festering in
your wallet, waiting to break out.
As Zimbabweans, we have accepted that this is a part
of our daily lives.This is because when US dollar notes
arrived they didn’t come with their little friends: coins. Those shiny silver
disks jingling in your pockets. You may get lucky in a kombi with rands and pula
but good luck ever seeing the coins that match the primary currency in
The solution? Credit notes? Noooooooo!A promise to provide the customer
with a future exchange provided that:
a)You don’t lose
b)The ink doesn't fade
and the amount owed is still visible
c) You take it back to
the exact same store from which it was issued
issuing the credit note does not suddenly go out of business
Most people have experienced a), b) and c) leading to
what is possibly the greatest con in history. Who really remembers to carefully stow
away their credit notes in a safe place so that you can use them next time you
go to the store?I’m afraid that a credit note looks
too much like a receipt which I (like most people) don’t keep, but throw away
almost immediately. So supermarkets
across the country are reaping the benefits of unfortunate, careless people like
myself, and must be making thousands in profit from all those credit notes that
never make it back to their stores.
In response to these ludicrous pieces of paper
I’ve decided to be pro-active.If you see me at a supermarket till,
I will be the one holding up the queue because I’ve insisted the till operator
call his manager to bring me my change in coins from the back office.I know they have it.They just won’t give it to you unless
you stand up for your right.I brave the annoyed customers behind
me for the five minutes it takes for someone to bring me my change.A senseless revolution, you say?But one that is saving me, I’d say,
about $8 every month.
Last year I visited Bulawayo where not once did I
receive a credit note.At each and every shop the till
operator gave me change in coins. Either it’s that Bulawayo is closer to
shimmering borders or the system is more organised than in Harare, or maybe it’s
just because it’s the right thing to do. Let’s all take a lesson from that
beautiful city, and let Harare folks have what is theirs by right: real
On Friday it was announced that there may be a
return to the Zim dollar.What great new adventures do we have
to look forward to?A clean, billion-dollar note I can
use at any shop but that will only buy me a loaf of bread? Time alone will tell.
Tawanda Karasa's journey to Brisbane has inspired him to give back
to the community where he grew up.
For Brisbane activist Tawanda
Karasa, it's not enough that he's escaped the poverty of his childhood - he
wants to continue changing lives in the community where he grew
Mr Karasa spent his youth in the Hatcliffe extension, a place he
describes as being like "any other slum in the world", about 25 kilometres
out of Zimbabwe's capital Harare.
"It's a place where people live in
plastic shacks," he says.
"There is no sanitation, no running water, no
nearby schools, no clinics.
"It is a place where there is an 80 per cent
unemployment rate, where school attendance is rare. Seventy per cent of
students drop out of school before they get to year seven."
says growing up in such challenging circumstances inspired him to get
involved in social justice work.
The challenges got even harder in 2005,
when thousands of homes in Hatcliffe were destroyed as part of the
government's Operation Restore Order, leaving tens of thousands of people
A Human Rights Watch report into the aftermath of the
operation described a massive internal displacement crisis in Zimbabwe, with
many residents subject to blatant human rights violations.
the fight from afar
With his family's safety in jeopardy, Mr Karasa
travelled to Australia in 2008 for the Homeless World Cup soccer
On Australian soil he applied for - and was granted -
Now living in Brisbane, he is continuing his focus on social
justice with moves to set up a charity to bridge the divide between his old
home and his new one.
The organisation, Friends of Hatcliffe, will
focus on supporting vulnerable children and women through education,
training and development.
"Friends of Hatcliffe is a community-led
organisation obtaining its direction and basing its objectives on the input
on a wide range of Hatcliffe extension community members," Mr Karasa
"It's basically about sharing of resources and information ... just
looking at people as equal human beings who have got something to
In the future Mr Karasa hopes interested people will travel from
Brisbane to Zimbabwe to deliver assistance on the ground.
now, the focus is on setting up a reference group in Hatcliffe to ensure any
assistance meets local needs.
"Hatcliffe extension is an area where the
people have shown determination to succeed beyond their adversity," he
"Despite the considerable challenges facing the community members,
these people have endless ambition and talents with much to give their
families and community.
"People here in Brisbane will be mobilising
resources to share with people in Zimbabwe, [but] the members of the
Hatcliffe community will decide on the things they want to do to improve
their quality of life."
Zimbabwe prepares for watershed
While the Friends of Hatcliffe is a non-political organisation,
Mr Karasa believes that this month's election represents an important moment
for his home country.
"If these elections are going to be free and
fair we are going to see a new political situation in Zimbabwe," he
"There are a range of problems that people want to solve and they
believe the (opposition) Movement for Democratic Change is the only party in
Zimbabwe that can deliver better lives for people."
have reported that Zimbabwe's finance ministry is millions of dollars short
of funding the election.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders wanted the poll
delayed, arguing there was not enough time for the needed democratic reforms
to take place.
But Mr Karasa says the people of Zimbabwe have been
waiting a long time for the opportunity to vote.
"People in Zimbabwe
want to be able to go to school, they want the educational quality to
improve, they want production in agriculture to increase, they want jobs,
they want the economy to improve," he says.
"They want peace, they want
freedom, they want their human rights to be recognised, they want to be
treated with human dignity.
"The people of Zimbabwe have been waiting for
a long time, they have been waiting for decades for a change."
I want a peaceful and
corruption free Zimbabwe. Where we have affordable education that accommodates
orphans and vulnerable children. I want a Zimbabwe that upholds the right of
freedom of worship. - David Madziwa
inotigadzirira mabasa hama dzangu dzokai kuZimbabwe tivotere new Zimbabwe. -
Ignatious Mandaza: via SMS
I love to be in
zimbabwe and l enjoy my country Zim. Do you love your country as l love my Zim?
Kis!!kiseee to zim. - via SMS
improved infrastructure, the opportunities each Zimbabwean deserves #myZim, but
above all recognition!. - Luke Brown@LukeBrownZim
I want a Zimbabwe
where services are readily available and affordable. A Zimbabwe full of job
opportunities. I wish for a Zimbabwe that upholds its culture and where men pay
fixed bride price to minimise cases of people paying huge sums of money even
after the death of the wife. - Peter Emmanuel
A change of
government so that other political parties are given a chance to rule so that
citizens can have a feel of a different government. We have been promised land
and jobs by Zanu (PF) but we never got anything. - Thomas
I want a Zimbabwe
where I can get national identification documents. At 26 years and born of blind
parents I do not have any identification documents and I wish for a Zimbabwe
that can afford me these documents. - Andrew Keto
A zimbabwe which is a
total contrast of the current one. - Addmore Kabaya
A Zimbabwe that hogs
international spotlight for all good reasons. I also wish to see all sectors of
the economy revived including Agriculture so that Zimbabwe reclaims her bread
basket status. - Peter Tavagwisa in Lesotho Always a Zimbabwean via
A zimbabwe which a
president can be voted out when not wanted. - Addmore Kabaya
We need money to
develop our project. - via SMS
We want a gvt which
will consider the plight of unemployed graduates. - via SMS
I want a Zimbabwe
with its own currency that is strong against other currencies. A Zimbabwe where
I can buy all luxuries I like. - Lloyd Kanyemba
My greatest wish 4
the future of Zimbabwe #myzim is that we be recognised 4 who we are:
intelligent, passionate, welcoming. - Luke Brown@LukeBrownZim
A free Zimbabwe. -
We need our zimbabwe
to be back to its old days where education is not expensive and us youth be able
to go to universities of our choice and get jobs lesley breesy. - via
“I constantly wonder
how we are going to detox ourselves from almost three and a half decades of
chronic misinformation and paralytic distortion of our history. lol! if
scientifically we need the same number of years to completely cleanse our
mentality of this era, then my generation will be the one thats gone through a
life of misery from youth to demise.”- Exaverio Dafa
I want a Zimbabwe
with peace without violence. Where our farms are productive and people can
afford cheap but good quality food. - Brian Goso
to all networks. - via SMS
I want Zimbabwe to
have peaceful and fair elections-elections that won’t result many families to
continue starving..#Myzim. - Britoh B @Brianchidzomba
A zimbabwe with zero
tolerance 2 corruption. - Addmore Kabaya
We want jobs “ we are
struggling no money. - via SMS
I want A Peaceful
Zimbabwe. via SMS
We want freedom. -
@ a new Zimbabwe:
Surely after all the billions diamonds and other minerals Zimbabwe has churned
out we still dont have a major road especially from Beitbridge to Chirundu. The
country has lost revenue as trucking companies now use the Botswana route from
South Africa to Congo and Zambia. Surely our country, which belongs to one and
all, is being run like a cartel if anything else. This should stop! - Exaverio
I want a Zimbabwe
where I can get a job and work for my family. I have four kids and only worked
once in my life in 2004. I tried vending but have failed to acquire a stand at
any people’s markets and municipal police has destroyed my business through
arrests. I also want a Zimbabwe where people are not cowed to favour certain
political parties of not their choice. - Tichaona
A zimbabwe whose
natural resources are used 2 develop the country. - Addmore
We as zimbabwean we
want jobs and better salaries. 90% of Zimboz are jobless and prices to go down.
- Lancie Liwanda
I long for a country
where there are equal opportunities for everyone regardless of their political
affiliation.I want a country where there is minimal if no corruption at all.
Service provision should be a priority so that citizens enjoy their right to
good life. - Svodai Bhema
“peace,unity a love”.
- Wilson Ketani
I dont care which
political blueprints be it JUICE or ART that the MDC-T sells to me as long as
their district treasurer for Mhangura, David Zungura, continues to abuse my late
father’s house as a political consultancy office without paying me for the
services. I demand the right to development, human or otherwise. - White Mvula,
Mhangura via SMS
The Zimbabwe i want
is where there is peace and harmony. As we head towards elections, there should
be a guarantee of people’ safety from political violence. I want a country where
i do not fear that it is election time again. - Tafadzwa
I want a Zimbabwe
where there are jobs and i am guaranteed that i will get my pension after
retirement. - Thomas Navhaya
I wish for a Zimbabwe
that is able to cater for the health needs of its citizens. Give us affordable
health care and then everything else comes thereafter. - Faith
A pollitically stable
one. - via SMS
I want a just society
that respects people’s rights. Zimbabwe should reert back to being the bread
basket of Southern Africa, then we know we are getting there. - Charlie
That’s exactly what l
want, a Zimbabwe full of opportunities. - Calvin Makuyana
In rembering the late
vice president l think a new stadium must be constructed in Byo and be named
Joshua Nkomo stadium e.g Mandela bay in S.A Nkomo was a heroe too. - via
Give people in high
density areas a chance to elect people who hail from there. Zimbabwe to appeal
to the hague for the arresting of american sec of state john kerry edwards for
killing innocent farmers, fishermen, babies and children in 1975 in vietnam. -
Help Mabwe via SMS
Zimbabwe need much
money to save the employers & help those who are suffering from many
different types of diseases. - via SMS
We want a zim where
there is less corruption,high employment rate, less exploitation of the working
class especialy in chinese ind & love among the Zimbabweans ourselves. -
reluctantly launches election campaign after failing to delay poll - with
Mugabe looking set for victory
Simon Allison for Daily Maverick, part
of the Guardian Africa Network guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 July 2013 02.04
In Zimbabwe, campaign season has begun. If all goes according to
plan – the plan that nobody admits to liking, even as everyone concerned
seems powerless to halt it – then there's not much time to persuade voters
one way or the other: Zimbabweans will mark their ballots in just a few
short weeks, on 31 July.
It's hard to imagine, however, that there
are any Zimbabweans who need an introduction to this particular drama; and
even fewer who haven't made their mind up one way or the other already. As
in 2002, as in 2008, this presidential contest pits a certain Robert Gabriel
Mugabe against his erstwhile foe, Morgan Tsvangirai, in a fight that's about
far more than occupancy of State House.
Even in South Africa, south
of the Limpopo, we know these characters well, and the plot. Robert Mugabe
is, of course, the arch-villain: a template of how to do a tin-pot African
dictatorship, and how to get away with it, all the while maintaining a
flawless complexion (seriously, how does he do that? Ladies, ditch the
Clinique and seize the reins of state power instead).
meanwhile, is the plucky fighter, a tragic hero who has endured arrests,
intimidation, and the death of his wife, but remains Mugabe's most outspoken
critic, even if he has been forced to compromise a few of his nobler ideals
along the way (can he recover from the ignominies of sharing power, or the
illusion of power, with Comrade Bob?).
This is meant to be Tsvangirai's
turn. He has patiently suffered through the government of national unity,
waiting for his opportunity to right the electoral injustice that was the
2008 poll. This time round, Zimbabwe has a new constitution, the security
sector has been comprehensively reformed and the election will be held under
the watchful eye of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – all
factors meant to play into his hands, given that by now, surely, enough
Zimbabweans have had enough of Mugabe.
That was the theory, anyway. The
reality's a little different.
There's a new constitution, sure, but it's
not exactly the most progressive document around, and many key provisions
will only take effect after a decade (by which time everybody, including the
old man himself, reckons Mugabe will have headed off into the Great
Presidential Palace in the Sky). The security sector is exactly where it was
five years ago – firmly in Zanu-PF's pocket. And SADC are playing a very
delicate game, which looks like it might have backfired: after five years of
general acquiescence to Mugabe's demands, the regional organisation finally
stood up to Mugabe last week, demanding that he push back elections – which
Zimbabwe is not even nearly ready for – to give them a better chance of
actually working. Mugabe wasn't happy, threatening to pull out of SADC
completely and dismissing President Jacob Zuma's international relations
adviser Lindiwe Zulu, who has been coordinating the Zimbabwe mediation, as a
"stupid, idiotic woman". This is going to greatly complicate the regional
body's intended role as guarantor of the Zimbabwean elections.
makes sense, then, that on Monday, the day he launched his campaign,
Tsvangirai was already on the defensive. In fact, he sounds like he's
already given up hope.
"We participate with a heavy heart… We have
tried our best over the last four years, against serious resistance from our
counterparts in government, to ensure that this country is prepared for a
genuine, free, fair and credible election," he told thousands of supporters
in Marondera. "Regrettably, what we have witnessed in the last few weeks is
a concerted effort designed to rob the election of legitimacy before it has
Tsvangirai maintains that he trusts that the people of
Zimbabwe "will do the right thing"; and that he's got God on his side.
Mugabe, however, has got the army and the police on his side – and so far in
Zimbabwe's history, they've been more powerful. It is also important to
remember that, even if all things were equal, Mugabe would be no electoral
pushover. Opinion polls in recent months have repeatedly shown that
Tsvangirai's popularity has been hurt by divisions within the opposition and
his own scandalous love-life, putting him and Mugabe neck-and-neck, with the
wily president even edging in front on occasion.
This is all a
long-winded way of saying that Mugabe is looking good to win these elections
– and if he does have to cheat, he doesn't have to cheat by all that much.
This is hardly a revelation. We are talking about Zimbabwe, after all, and
one of Africa's longest serving leaders.
What we should really be worried
about is that, even if they are as flawed as Tsvangirai thinks they will be,
the elections might still pass the regional test of fairness and
transparency, making Mugabe a democratically elected president once
For this possibility, SADC has only itself to blame. Rewind to
December 2011, to the just-concluded elections in the Democratic Republic of
Congo. This was far from a model vote. A range of international observers
were watching, and uncovered a long list of offences: evidence of vote
tampering; impossibly high rates of voter turnout in places known to be
loyal to the president; strangely low turnouts in opposition areas; the
mysterious disappearance of 2,000 polling station results in Kinshasa; and
violence in the run-up during the campaign which killed 18 people, mostly
committed by incumbent Joseph Kabila's presidential guard.
SADC, along with the African Union and three other African observer
missions, declared that the elections were "successful", duly confirming
that the organisation's standards of fairness and transparency are very low
indeed; and sending a message to other leaders, like Robert Mugabe, that
there's a fair amount of electoral mischief that they can get away with
before the regional body will call them out on it. And if Mugabe is called
out, he's well within his rights to label point out SADC's hypocrisy – and
ignore their verdict.
Once again, somehow, Mugabe holds all the
cards. There's a reason why he's lasted in power so long – and why he's
still got a little while to go.