The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Mugabe, Tsvangirai finally sign deal

July 21, 2008

Golden handshake - President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai after signing deal.

By Our correspondent

HARARE – An unlikely spectacle was witnessed in the Zimbabwean capital on Monday , July 21. The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, looking somewhat sulky, and his bitter rival for a decade, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, stood and shook hands over a deal that had for long remained elusive.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF and opposition MDC have finally signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on future talks after months of tension and political violence caused largely by President Robert Mugabe’s party.

An embrace by the two leaders would have been more in keeping with the momentous occasion and convinced an anxious nation that genuine progress had been achieved.

The deal is intended to set conditions for talks on a possible unity government which would include President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

In June, Mugabe won an uncontested presidential run-off election after his opponent, Tsvangirai, withdrew at the last night minute over political violence against his supporters. Monday’s agreement comes after more than a year of talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki attended the signing ceremony at Harare’s Rainbow Towers, formerly the Sheraton Hotel. Also present was Prof Arthur Mutambara, leader of a small faction of the MDC. The faction won 10 parliamentary seats in elections held on March 29. Mutambrara and the entire leadership of his faction were, however, defeated.

The South African leader has been under fire especially by the United States and Britain for supporting mediation and opposing more sanctions on Zimbabwe. The United States and Britain proposed sanctions against Mugabe’s government at the United Nations Security Council, but the draft resolution was vetoed by China and Russia.

US and British companies have been under strong pressure from their governments to cease trading with Zimbabwe, while China enjoys a growing market in the country and shares a great President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pledged a new chapter in their bitter relationship as they agreed to hold fully-fledged talks on ending Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

A stony-faced Mugabe shook hands somewhat unconvincingly with a smiling Tsvangirai. They said it was time to work together after one of the bitterest periods in the country’s history.

“We sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a new way of political interaction,” said Mugabe.

“We must act now … as Zimbabweans, think as Zimbabweans and act as Zimbabweans,” said Mugabe.

Mugabe has often accused Tsvangirai of representing foreign interests.

Tsvangirai for his part said it was time to put the “bitterness behind me”. He said was committed to finding a solution with his old rival.

“We are committed to ensuring that the process of negotiation becomes successful,” he said. “We want a better Zimbabwe.”

Although copies of the memorandum of understanding were not immediately available, Mbeki said that all parties wanted a rapid resolution to their dispute sparked by elections in March.

“It commits the negotiating parties to an intense programme of work to try and finalise the negotiations as quickly as possible,” said Mbeki.

“All the Zimbabwean parties recognise the urgency of the matters they are discussing and all are committed to trying to complete this process as quickly as possible.”

Commentators have said that the biggest sticking point on resolving a crisis sparked by disputed elections will be the reluctance of either man to accept a position seen as inferior to the other.

But comments by Mugabe that there was an acceptance of a need to amend the former British colony’s constitution will fuel speculation that they may come to an agreement similar to that which recently brought an end to a post-election dispute in Kenya with the creation of a new post of prime minister.

“We agreed … that our constitution as it is should be amended variously,” said Mugabe.

The meeting between the two men was their first since Tsvangirai formed the MDC at the end of 1999.

The former trade union leader has twice been charged with treason and underwent medial treatment for head injuries last year after he was assaulted by members of the security forces ahead of an anti-government rally.

The bitter rivalry of Mugabe and Tsvangirai ascended to new heights during the course of the March 29 presidential election which saw Tsvangirai defeat Mugabe – the President’s first ever defeat since coming to power 28 years ago. .

The MDC leader subsequently pulled out of a second round of voting at the end of last month after more than 80 of his party’s supporters were killed in attacks that he blamed on pro-Mugabe militants.

Ignoring widespread calls to shelve the ballot, Mugabe went ahead and staged the poll without a challenger. He won a predictable landslide victory. But there was little celebration as the crisis continued to intensify its grip on Zimbabwe, while the economic crisis plummeted to an all-time low.

Meanwhile, United Nations political official Haile Menkerios is in Pretoria, South Africa, to further Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to help resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe, a spokesman for the world body announced today.

Menkerios, who is Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, has held meetings with South African President Thabo Mbeki and with the African Union Chairperson Jean Ping, Marie Okabe told reporters.

He was expected to be briefed on the state of the mediation efforts aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute between Mugabe and Tsvangirai

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Full text: MOU

By Staff ⋅ © ⋅ July 21, 2008 ⋅
Memorandum of Understanding between the Zimbabwe African National Union
(Patriotic Front) and the two Movement for Democratic Change Formations

21 July 2008
Zimbabwe Memorandum of Understanding


We the Parties to this Memorandum of Understanding;

Concerned about the recent challenges that we have faced as a country and
the multiple threats to the well-being of our people;

Dedicating ourselves to putting an end to the polarisation, divisions,
conflict and intolerance that have characterised our country’s politics;

Determined to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hate,
patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness,
transparency, dignity and equality;

Recognising the centrality and importance of African institutions in dealing
with African problems, and agreeing to seek solutions to our differences,
challenges and problems through dialogue under the auspices of the SADC
mediation, supported and endorsed by the African Union;

Acknowledging that we have an obligation of establishing a framework of
working together in an inclusive government;

Desirous therefore of entering into a dialogue with a view to returning
Zimbabwe to prosperity;

Recognising that such a dialogue requires agreement on procedures and
processes that will guide the dialogue.


1. Definitions

The ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (“MOU”) shall mean this written agreement
signed by the Principals.

‘The Parties’ shall mean ZANU-PF, the two MDC formations led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and by Arthur Mutambara respectively.

‘The Principals’ shall mean the President and First Secretary of ZANU-PF,
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the President of the one MDC formation, Morgan
Richard Tsvangirai and the President of the other MDC formation, Arthur
Guseni Oliver Mutambara.

2. Declaration of Commitment

The Parties hereby declare and agree to commit themselves to a dialogue with
each other with a view to creating a genuine, viable, permanent and
sustainable solution to the Zimbabwean situation and, in particular, to
implement this Memorandum of Understanding.

3. Representation

The Parties will be represented by two representatives each in the dialogue.

4. Agenda

The Parties have agreed to the following Agenda:

4.1. Objectives and Priorities of a new Government

(i) Restoration of economic stability and growth
(ii) Sanctions
(iii) Land question

(i) New Constitution
(ii) Promotion of equality, national healing and cohesion, and unity
(iii)External interference
(iv)Free political activity
(v) Rule of law
(vi) State organs and institutions
(vii) Legislative agenda priorities

(i) Security of persons and prevention of violence

(i) Media
(ii) External radio stations

4.2 Framework for a new Government

4.3 Implementation mechanisms

4.4 Global political agreement.

5. Facilitation

The Dialogue shall be facilitated in accordance with the SADC and AU

6. Time frames

The Dialogue commenced on 10 July 2008 and will continue until the Parties
have finalised all necessary matters, save for short breaks that may be
agreed upon for purposes of consultation. It is envisaged that the Dialogue
will be completed within a period of two weeks from the date of signing of
this MOU.

7. Venue

The Dialogue shall be conducted at such venues as shall be determined by the
Facilitator in consultation with the representatives of the Parties.

8. Communication with the media

None of the Parties shall, during the Dialogue period, directly or
indirectly communicate the substance of the discussion with the media. The
parties shall refrain from negotiating through the media, whether through
their representatives to the Dialogue or any of their Party officials.

9. Decisions by the Parties

The Parties shall not, during the subsistence of the Dialogue, take any
decisions or measures that have a bearing on the agenda of the Dialogue,
save by consensus. Such decisions or measures include, but are not limited
to the convening of Parliament or the formation of a new government.

10. Interim measures

10.1 Security of persons

(a) Each Party will issue a statement condemning the promotion and use of
violence and call for peace in the country and shall take all measures
necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions it controls are not
engaged in the perpetration of violence.

(b) The Parties are committed to ensuring that the law is applied fairly and
justly to all persons irrespective of political affiliation.

(c) The Parties will take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of
political violence, including by non-state actors, and to ensure the
security of persons and property.

(d) The Parties agree that, in the interim, they will work together to
ensure the safety of any displaced persons and their safe return home and
that humanitarian and social welfare organisations are enabled to render
such assistance as might be required.

10.2 Hate speech

The Parties shall refrain from using abusive language that may incite
hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred or undermine each other.

11. The role of SADC and the AU

The implementation of the Global Political Agreement that the Parties will
conclude shall be underwritten and guaranteed by the Facilitator, SADC and
the AU.

12. Execution of the agreement

This agreement shall be signed by the Principals in the presence of each
other and shall be witnessed by the Facilitator.

Signed at Harare this day of 2008.

Robert G. Mugabe
President, ZANU-PF

Morgan R. Tsvangirai
President, MDC

Arthur G. O. Mutambara
President, MDC

Thabo Mbeki
SADC Facilitator

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MOU: What they said

Morgan Tsvangirai
“It’s too early yet to make a judgment as to the outcome of the process” but noted that it is “a collective effort and it involves tolerance, compromise, (and) putting the best interest of Zimbabwe at the forefront of these negotiations.”

“Leader of the ruling party meeting with the leader of the winning party”.

“This is the first tentative step towards searching for a solution to a county that is in crisis”.
“We are committed to ensure that the process of negotiation becomes successful.

“We want to make sure that every Zimbabwean feels safe, we want to share a common prosperity for everyone and we want a better Zimbabwe.”

“Moving towards these negotiations I hope that all of us will always bear in mind the mother and the child who goes to sleep without food, the people that have been brutalised, the divisions, the hate speech - I hope that will become part of the past”

“We want to make sure that every Zimbabwean feels safe, we want to share a common prosperity for everyone and we want a better Zimbabwe.”

“This is a very historic occasion”

Robert Mugabe
“We are meeting in order to chart a new way”

“We must act now …… as Zimbabweans, think as Zimbabweans and act as Zimbabweans”

Today’s agreement arose from a decision, a decision that we made, we of southern Africa, made some time ago that we assist each other, and in this particular case we assist Zimbabwe, to overcome the political and economic situation which requires support”

“Let us start to move forward on what Professor Mutambara has been calling ‘one vision’

“There will be no European hand here”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe wins, democracy loses in any Zimbabwe power-sharing deal

The Telegraph

Analysis by David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
Last Updated: 6:25PM BST 21/07/2008
Scores of his supporters have been murdered and thousands tortured in the
cause of ridding Zimbabwe of President Robert Mugabe, yet Morgan Tsvangirai,
once the opposition leader, had no shame in shaking the old dictator's hand.
If a power-sharing deal emerges from the talks that will now open, Mr
Tsvangirai will join the president in a "government of national unity".

At a stroke, Mr Mugabe will neutralise his leading opponent, cripple what
remains of the opposition, win international recognition - at least in
Africa - and break the wall of isolation that presently surrounds him.

This would be no mean achievement. Less than two weeks ago, Mr Mugabe was
threatened with a United Nations Resolution that would have subjected him to
a global travel ban and asset freeze.

If he reaches a deal with his opponents, Mr Mugabe will vault from pariah to
elder statesman, certainly among his African neighbours.

In short, he will have succeeded in guaranteeing his grip on power until, in
his own good time, he chooses dignified retirement.

African autocrats follow one iron rule - either kill your opponents or buy
them off. Mr Mugabe's great innovation was to do both.

First he murdered Mr Tsvangirai's followers, now he will do his utmost to
buy off his leading opponent.

There is still a chance that Mr Tsvangirai will resist the pressure and
refuse to join a coalition government under Mr Mugabe.

But the former opposition leader is not very good at resisting pressure. On
the contrary, he generally blusters, vacillates and conducts numerous
u-turns - before choosing the course of least resistance.

If so, Mr Tsvangirai and his followers will be compensated with cabinet
jobs, official residences and smart cars. Mr Mugabe will ensure, however,
that real power rests with him.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa will claim vindication for his long
years of diplomacy, much derided by Britain and his legions of critics.

Having solved crises in Kenya, Congo and elsewhere, the creation of a
"government of national unity" will be described as the classic African
solution to political impasse.

But the result of the only contested round of Zimbabwe's presidential
election - which Mr Tsvangirai won - will be forgotten.

Everyone will be in the government, whether they won or lost the election.
The people's verdict will be ignored.

For as long as that outcome is tolerated, democracy in Africa is lost.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Humour masks enmity at Zim signing


    July 21 2008 at 06:46PM

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday struck an
uncharacteristically conciliatory note after his momentous signing of a
joint accord with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to begin talks on
sharing power.

"We sit here in order for us to chart a new way, a new way of
political interaction," the 84-year-old leader said at his first
face-to-face meeting with Tsvangirai in a decade.

Mugabe was speaking after signing a memorandum of understanding on
talks on behalf of his Zanu-PF party with Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leader Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC

Mugabe and Tsvangirai were responding to a call by the 53-member
African Union in June to form a government of national unity to end months
of political violence.

Monday's agreement arose from "a decision, a decision that we made, we
of southern Africa, made some time ago that we assist each other, and in
this particular case we assist Zimbabwe, to overcome the political and
economic situation which requires support," Mugabe said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, southern Africa's mediator in
Zimbabwe, oversaw the signing, which took place in a Harare hotel in an
atmosphere of good humour and camaraderie at odds with the emnity that has
characterised relations between Mugabe and Tsvangirai until now.

"Let us start to move forward on what Professor Mutambara has been
calling 'one vision'," Mugabe urged, expressing a desire for "brotherly",
"sisterly" relations with the opposition and saying of the accord: "We
(Zanu-PF) take it quite seriously."

Tsvangirai also adopted a softer than usual tone with the elderly
leader, recognizing that the two had "exchanged a lot of bitter words" over
the past 10 years and saying he hoped the divisions were "a thing of the

But Tsvangirai was also cautious in his overtures, referring to Mugabe
as "the president of Zanu-PF, Comrade Robert Mugabe" and not state
president, and calling himself "the leader of the ruling party" - a
reference to the MDC's victory in March parliamentary elections.

"We all committed ourselves to taking the first tentative step towards
searching for a solution to a country that is in a crisis," Tsvangirai said.

In a swipe at Mugabe's past venomous attacks on the MDC, whom he has
accused of being "puppets" of the West, Tsvangirai said: "There is no-one
who can claim the monopoly on the sovereign will of the people."

Mugabe, for his part, called Tsvangirai "the president of the MDC-T
(Tsvangirai)" and insisted that: "We shall be doing this (negotiating) as
Zimbabweans, entirely as Zimbabweans, with the help of South Africa."

"There will be no European hand here," he vowed.

Mugabe was also fulsome in his praise of Mbeki, who was in a jovial
mood for the ceremony, which represents a breakthrough for his
much-criticised "quiet diplomacy" approach to Zimbabwe.

Drawing gales of laughter from reporters, Mugabe praised Mbeki's
"positive insensitivity to criticism," over his mediation, saying such
criticism was "ill-placed, ignorant and undeserving."

Mbeki returned the praise, congratulating the various parties to the
agreement on taking a "very important step."

Both Mutambara and Mbeki said the three parties hoped to conclude the
talks on a powersharing arrangement quickly, with Mutambara talking of a
two-week period for the negotiations, which will take place in South Africa.

While describing the memorandum as a "very important document"
Mutambara said a "longer political conversation" was needed to resolve the
issues facing Zimbabwe, including talks on a new people-driven constitution.

Monday's agreement followed a first, failed attempt by Mbeki a few
weeks ago to kickstart direct talks between Tsvangirai and Mugabe.

Tsvangirai only came to the table last week after Mbeki expanded his
mediation to include African Union and United Nations representatives.

The African Union's call for a unity government in Zimbabwe came after
Mugabe was sworn in as president for a further five years in June following
a run-off election he alone contested.

Tsvangirai boycotted the election over a spate of deadly attacks by
Mugabe loyalists on his supporters. The MDC leader won the first round of
voting for president in March. - Sapa-dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

How Mugabe and Tsvangirai would govern together,
Monday July 21, 2008

What will happen in the power-sharing talks?
The South African president, Thabo Mbeki, will mediate the signing of a
memorandum of understanding between the ruling Zanu-PF and the two factions
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to outline a
framework for a formal agreement to try to resolve Zimbabwe's political and
economic crisis. Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai will both attend the
signing in Harare.

What is Tsvangirai likely to agree to?
Tsvangirai has previously refused to sign even a framework deal unless
government militias stop their violence. One of his key demands has been
that the mediation process expands beyond Mbeki, whom he has accused of
favouring Mugabe.

Last week it was announced a group of senior diplomats, including
representatives from the UN, the African Union and the South African
Development Community, would assist Mbeki in the negotiations, widening the
mediation process.

The MDC says it is open to a government of national healing - but only one
with moderate ruling party members, not Mugabe.

What will Mugabe do next?
At the time of the election, Mugabe said he would enter talks with the
opposition after the vote, suggesting he would try to form the kind of
"government of national unity" proposed by the African Union by co-opting
some members of the MDC.

But Tsvangirai has dismissed this idea. It would also be dangerous because
of the possibility of reprisals against those who refused to take part, and
against Zimbabweans who did not vote.

Zanu-PF has said it is open to power-sharing but only if Mugabe heads any
unity government.

What happened in the presidential run-off?
Tsvangirai was Mugabe's main opponent but withdrew before the polls, saying
he could not ask people to endanger their lives by voting for him.

Nonetheless, the electoral commission ruled that Tsvangirai had pulled out
too late to cancel the election and it went ahead. In the end, Mugabe won
more than 85% of the vote but the MDC said most people stayed away from
voting. There have been at least nine murders since the run-off last month.

Was it possible to vote MDC?
People could have voted for Tsvangirai, whose name remained on the ballot
despite his withdrawal. But few would have taken the risk. Before evidence
of election rigging was revealed in a Guardian film, there had been numerous
reports of opposition activists being assaulted and killed by ruling party
militants. Tsvangirai said the structure of the MDC itself was being

In the run-up to the election, the party was prevented from holding rallies.
Tsvangirai was detained twice and the party's secretary general, Tendai
Biti, was arrested and charged with treason.

Who monitored the election?
A regional group, the Southern African Development Community, sent more than
200 observers. Zimbabwean pro-democracy groups tried to field observers,
although they met repeated bureaucratic obstacles. The observers could not
move freely, particularly in the areas that had witnessed the worst
pre-election violence.

What was the view of the international community?
International opinion hardened against Mugabe. The EU backed Tsvangirai's
position on a national unity government and said it believed that if there
were to be one, Tsvangirai should lead it to reflect "the will of the
Zimbabwean people". Gordon Brown said the UN should send an envoy to
Zimbabwe to begin discussions on a transition agreement, and the US drafted
a UN security council resolution for further sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Are there divisions within Zanu-PF?
Zanu-PF is deeply divided over the course Mugabe is taking. One of the
vice-presidents, Joice Mujuru, and her husband, Solomon, are thought to lead
a dissenting faction in the party's politburo. Another is led by a former
finance minister, Simba Makoni, who stood against Mugabe in the first round
of the presidential elections. But since Zanu-PF's loss of its majority in
the house of assembly elections in March, the politburo has ceded power to a
narrower group of hardliners and generals in joint operations command, led
by Mugabe's lieutenant, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

What has been the impact of this on the economy?
Zimbabwe's economic collapse under Mugabe's rule has flooded neighbouring
countries with millions of refugees and saddled the once-prosperous country
with crippling food and fuel shortages.

On July 21, the central bank in Zimbabwe issued a new 100 billion dollar
note in an attempt to keep up with shortages of cash and the world's worst
inflation running at 2.2m per cent.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The biggest obstacle for Zim peace


    July 21 2008 at 06:51PM

by Susan Njanji

Harare - Deep mistrust between President Robert Mugabe and arch rival
Morgan Tsvangirai will remain a major obstacle to rapid progress in ending
Zimbabwe's crisis, despite an agreement to sit down and talk.

While there is a common sense of urgency for the two sides to bury
their differences as Zimbabwe's economy lurches from bad to worse, observers
say neither Mugabe nor opposition leader Tsvangirai is about to give up his
claim to be the country's rightful leader.

And while South African President Thabo Mbeki may have pulled off
something of a coup on Monday by persuading the pair to sign a memorandum of
understanding on full-scale talks, Tsvangirai's pointed refusal to refer to
Mugabe as president of anything more than his ZANU-PF party hardly boded

According to Joseph Kurebga, a political scientist at the University
of Zimbabwe, the talks could proceed "very fast and to the satisfaction of
all parties" -- but only if and when the main sticking point is resolved.

"President Mugabe will want to be recognised legitimately, while
Tsvangirai would also want to be recognised as the leader or winner of the

Mugabe was predictably re-elected late last month in a one-man poll
that was boycotted by Tsvangirai after a string of deadly attacks on
supporters of his opposition Movement for Democratic Change party.

Tsvangirai, who pushed Mugabe into second place in the first round of
voting on March 29, has refused to acknowledge Mugabe's victory and insists
he has the right to the biggest slice of cake in any power-sharing

In a speech a week after the June 27 second round vote, Mugabe warned
that for any talks to even begin, all sides had to recognise him as head of

"Everybody has to accept that if they want dialogue," he told

While Mugabe may have given some ground then in agreeing to at least
speak to Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku, a pro-opposition analyst, says that
should not be interpreted as a sign of the 84-year-old's weakening resolve.

"Mugabe still wants to be an executive leader of this country and he
will remain the executive leader, there's no illusion on that," said

"The major issue is where to place Tsvangirai, and whether Tsvangirai
will accept the position he will be offered or not."

If Mugabe has slightly softened his line, Tsvangirai has also had to
temper some of his demands such as on the make-up of the mediation team.

He has previously called for Mbeki to be sacked from the position that
was handed to him in March last year by leaders of the 14-nation southern
African Development Community (SADC) and more recently called for African
Union and United Nations envoys to be brought into the process.

Although Mbeki has now set up a new body which would allow input from
the AU and UN, he remains the chief mediator -- a point reinforced by his
presence at Tuesday's signing.

Mbeki, whose first shot at mediating came after the 2002 elections,
has come in for heavy flak over his consistent refusal to publicly criticise

Eldred Masunungure, a veteran Harare-based commentator, said Mugabe
owed Mbeki -- especially as he was instrumental in ensuring a bid to
introduce a new package of sanctions failed at the UN Security Council
earlier this month.

"The veto put them in a corner to support the negotiations," said
Masunungure. "Now it's payback time."

Weighing on Tsvangirai's mind will be the memory of how the late
Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU faction entered into a coalition in the early 1980s and
then saw his party swallowed up by Mugabe's ZANU in the merged ZANU-PF.

Madhuku however said that ZANU-PF, which lost control of parliament in
March for the first time since independence in 1980, was considerably weaker
these days which would make it harder to mess Mbeki around.

"Failure (in previous mediation) was mainly the refusal of ZANU-PF to
give in to any meaningful concession, so after the 29th March you should
expect Mbeki... to be facing a weakened ZANU-PF," said Madhuku. "I think
this will make Mbeki achieve a good deal."

Masunungure agreed the collapse of the economy in a country where
annual inflation is now officially running at 2.2 million percent meant that
ZANU-PF's hand was nowhere near as strong as in the past.

"There is an element of desperation on the part of ZANU-PF," he said.

"The economy does not respond to demands, you can't torture it, you
can't kill it."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe talks should reflect 'will of people' : US

Yahoo News

26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States cautiously reacted Monday to a pact
between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition to sit down and resolve
their differences, saying any talks must reflect the "will of the Zimbabwean

At a ceremony in Harare overseen by long-time mediator South African
President Thabo Mbeki, Mugabe and leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed an
agreement for negotiations to bring the country out of political chaos in
their first meeting in a decade.

"We support a negotiation process that leads to resolve the expressed will
of the Zimbabwean people," said State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

"Our understanding is that the MOU that was signed by the leaders of the
ZANU-PF party and both factions of the MPC is providing a vehicle for
undertaking the talks but that they have not actually started the talks," he

"We are obviously keeping an eye on what is happening there and we are
continuing to watch it closely," Gallegos said.

The memorandum of understanding inked by Mugabe, main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, head of a
breakaway MDC faction, paved the way for fully-fledged talks aimed at
finding solutions to the country's political and economic woes.

Tsvangirai, who pushed Mugabe into second place in the first round of voting
in March, pointedly refused to refer to the veteran leader as anything more
than president of the ruling party.

According to a copy of the MOU seen by AFP, the two sides have set
themselves a two-week timeframe to wrap up the talks which are expected to
take place in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Gallegos, when asked to elaborate on his statement on the need for a
negotiation process underscoring "the expressed will" of Zimbabweans,
highlighted "an election that is free, fair and open and (which) all parties
can participate in without fear from aggressive acts against them."

Russia and China last week vetoed a US-sponsored draft at the UN Security
Council that called for an assets freeze and a travel ban on Mugabe and 13
of his associates as well as an arms embargo.

Mugabe was re-elected in a run-off last month after Tsvangirai pulled out,
citing a campaign of intimidation and violence against his supporters that
had killed dozens and injured thousands.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Factbox - What next in Zimbabwe's crisis talks

Reuters Foundation

Date: 21 Jul 2008

July 21, (Reuters) - Below are answers to some questions on what is likely
to happen after Zimbabwe's political rivals signed a deal laying down the
framework for formal talks on forming a power sharing government to end a
deep crisis.

President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed the
agreement on Monday. The deal was mediated by South African President Thabo


The talks are expected to start later this week.

Officials from both sides said the framework agreement sets a two-week
deadline for the government and two factions of the opposition MDC to
discuss key issues including a unity government and how to hold new

Mbeki said the agreement committed the rival parties to an intense


The question of who leads a unity government would be at the heart of any
talks. Both sides sharply disagree on this point.

ZANU-PF will argue Mugabe is the country's legitimate leader as elected
president, while the MDC will maintain that Tsvangirai is entitled to lead
the nation based on his victory in the March 29 poll.

There are indications Tsvangirai might accept the prime minister's position
as long as it came with strong executive powers, allowing Mugabe to remain
as a nominal head of state. Mugabe is not seen agreeing to such an erosion
of his power.

There is also the important question of what a unity government would do and
whether its job would be to hold fresh elections within a specified time

The longer any negotiations take, the more they might favour Mugabe since he
is already in power and the attention of other countries could easily drift
to other issues as the elections recede into the past.


The prospects of reversing Zimbabwe's economic meltdown are slim without a
change in government. Mugabe refuses to consider reforms and Western powers
are unlikely to provide the billions of dollars in development aid needed to
bail out the economy.

Zimbabwe's neighbours could be swamped with an even bigger influx of
refugees than the 3 million who already left. Investors keen to invest in
Zimbabwe will keep plans on hold.


African leaders have generally favoured the diplomatic approach although
some want to punish Zimbabwe by banning Mugabe and his officials from
meetings of the African Union and Southern African Development Community.

African countries have rejected the toughened sanctions sought by the United
States, former colonial power Britain and other Western states and have
played down prospects for sending peacekeepers to Zimbabwe, an idea some had

Prospects for talks between Zimbabwe's rivals appeared to change late last
week when Mbeki agreed to expand the mediation process to include the
African Union, United Nations and other officials from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) as a "reference group."

The change came after Jean Ping, the AU's top permanent official and U.N.
envoy to Zimbabwe Haile Menkerios held talks with Mbeki last Friday.

Expansion of the mediation beyond Mbeki has been a key demand of Tsvangirai
who has strongly criticised the South African president, accusing him of
favouring Mugabe.


The United States and European Union already have visa bans and financial
restrictions on members of Mugabe's inner circle as well as sanctions on
arms exports. They are already discussing how to broaden their sanctions.

A global arms embargo on Zimbabwe is also an option, although it is unclear
that it would be supported by key countries, including South Africa, Russia
and China.

The European Union has said that only a government led by Tsvangirai can be
seen as legitimate.

Western countries are wary of actions that could deepen the suffering of
Zimbabweans, caught in the economic collapse of the once prosperous state.
They also realise sanctions have done little but embolden Zimbabwe's elite
to hold power.

(Reporting by Harare and Johannesburg bureaux; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe opposition MPs in hiding

Monday, 21 July 2008 14:50 UK

By Andrew Harding
BBC News, Harare

Pineal Denga, a newly-elected MP for Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party, peered out cautiously through the curtains of a safe house in Harare.

A supporter of Zimbabwe"s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lays in hospital in Ruwa, on July 7, 2008. The man (no name given) said that men with masks attacked him.
The MDC says 27 of its members have been killed in the past three weeks.

"I'm fearing for my life," he said angrily, "that's why I'm staying in hiding."

In the last few weeks, he said, his house and office have been raided repeatedly by the police, and many of the local councillors in his Mbare constituency have been attacked by Zanu-PF militia.

"There is no justice here. I was elected by the people, but I'm being treated like a common criminal," he said.

It appears that he is not alone.

The MDC says more than 1,500 of its officials are still in prison or in police custody; 27 people have been killed in the past three weeks; and 18 MDC MPs are currently facing charges – ranging from inciting political violence to treason – and many of them are in hiding.

Although the levels of violence across Zimbabwe have dropped sharply since the widely condemned presidential election run-off on 27 July, there is strong evidence of a continuing state-sponsored campaign designed to disrupt and weaken the MDC itself.


Lying on his stomach in a Harare clinic, a young MDC activist winced in pain as a doctor examined the deep gashes on his buttocks.

He said he had been beaten with sticks a fortnight ago by dozens of Zanu-PF militia, after he refused to join a rally celebrating Robert Mugabe's election victory.

It is not safe for us to move
MDC official

"If I go home, I am scared they will beat me again," he said.

In the woods just outside Harare, I found 170 opposition activists and officials hiding in a makeshift camp, crammed inside a few tents.

They had been there for more than two weeks.

"It is not safe for us to move," said the group's spokesman, an MDC official who asked for his identity to remain secret for his own protection.

"Zanu-PF militia are targeting mainly councillors, winning MPs and those in the party structure who have senior positions."


The same morning, in the centre of Harare, Eric Matinenga was busy tidying his desk at his law office.

It was his first day back at work, after spending some three weeks in prison, charged with inciting violence.

Why are people being brutalised?
Eric Matinenga, MDC politician

The newly-elected MDC MP is one of Zimbabwe's most prominent lawyers.

"Naturally, I keep a low profile. It's a survival instinct," he said.

"But it's hard because of the nature of my job. Let's just say I don't travel at night."

Mr Matinenga acknowledged that the country was quieter now.

"Maybe it's not on the same scale," he said, "but now we have a situation where the leadership of [the MDC] structures are deliberately targeted."

As for the possibility of substantive negotiations between the MDC and Zanu-PF, Mr Matinenga was sceptical, arguing that Robert Mugabe was simply buying time.

"If Zanu-PF are genuine, why are people being brutalised?... To me, Zanu-PF simply wants further space in order to achieve what it wants."

At another safe house in Harare, I met an MDC legal secretary from a constituency just outside the city.

He said he had been on the run for three months, and was hoping to flee the country soon.

"My family is living in fear," he said.

"I'm not afraid to die, but I don't want to die. Oh God, if I could get my hands on [Zanu-PF] I would tear them apart."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Papering over the cracks in Zimbabwe

The push for Mugabe and Tsvangirai to reach a political deal must not
overlook the root causes of violence in the country

Blessing-Miles Tendi,
Monday July 21, 2008

Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party are
reportedly close to signing a deal setting out a framework for talks on the
country's political crisis. A political stalemate exists between both sides
over the legitimacy of last month's violent one-man presidential election
runoff won by Mugabe. The move towards the beginning of talks has been
welcomed in some quarters with Zimbabwe's leading labour group, the ZCTU,
calling for the talks to be conducted swiftly because "the economy is in bad
shape". Tsvangirai is reported to be in favour of pressing ahead with
negotiations on the grounds that "the people have suffered enough". This
emerging rush to reach a power-sharing deal between Zimbabwe's contending
political parties risks papering over the need to address the country's
enduring legacies of violence, impunity and pseudo-reconciliation.

Zimbabwe experienced one of the most bloody and bitterly fought wars against
colonialism in Africa. There were untold human rights violations on both
sides but these were never addressed because of an independence settlement
reached at Lancaster House that did not lay a constructive foundation for
nation-building. Systematic racial discrimination was the pillar of white
domination in the colonial years but its negative legacies were not tackled
post-independence. Race relations remained problematic from 1980 but the
subject was never taken seriously and some even romanticised independent
Zimbabwe's so-called racial reconciliation.

The British-sponsored, short-sighted Lancaster House agreement was more
intent on appeasing and protecting the white minority's privileges than it
was long-term nation building. The Lancaster House agreement left white
Zimbabweans susceptible to envy and resentment by a majority black
population that understood white dominance in terms of unresolved colonial
legacies, fertile earth for demagogues attempting to rouse nationalist
sentiment. Mugabe had preferred a total military victory over the
white-settler government. His eventual resort to reconciliation was
expedient. The language of racial reconciliation bought western acceptance
for his government, which many had feared would espouse communism and
disregard private property rights by nationalising white-owned assets. These
unresolved legacies are part of the seed for the violent anti-white farm
seizures that erupted in 2000.

The early independence emphasis on racial reconciliation resulted in the
neglect of the need for meaningful reconciliation within the black
population. Little surprise that in the early 1980s Mugabe ordered a
campaign of violence aimed at crushing the Matabeleland province's
allegiance to ZAPU, a rival black nationalist party to Mugabe's Zanu-PF. Up
to 20,000 lives were lost. There is no existing official explanation for the
atrocities and the victims have been disallowed the right to articulate
their victim-hood publicly.

There have been other violent episodes in Zimbabwe's independence period
history, all of which are unaccounted for officially, nor has any form of
justice been served. In 1980, hundreds of Zimbabwean strikers were arrested
and others killed during state repression of massive strikes mostly against
multi-national corporations. In popular riots against the Zanu-PF government
over increases in the price of basic commodities in 1998, Zimbabwe's
military forces, equipped with live ammunition, guns, teargas, baton sticks
and armoured vehicles, were deployed in the townships to suppress the
unrest. Mass violence, beatings, intimidation and looting ensued for three
days. Uncounted deaths, injuries and arrests transpired. In 2005, the Mugabe
government carried out Operation Murambatsvina - a nationwide "urban
clean-up" - in which more than 569,000 Zimbabweans lost their homes in
evictions which, according to a UN report (pdf) "took place before
alternatives could be provided, thereby violating human rights and several
provisions of national and international law".

The disturbing violence and human rights abuses witnessed in Zimbabwe's
presidential election runoff have some of their roots in the country's
unresolved legacies of impunity, intolerance and the primacy of a coercive
state. The current diplomatic push to reach a political deal in Zimbabwe
must not overlook the pertinence of resolving these negative legacies once
and for all. If they are disregarded, as they were at Lancaster House and
throughout the post-independence period, Zimbabwe will experience more
violent occurrences in future - and the international media, concerned
states, and international and regional bodies will once again look on
helplessly wondering, "how can such violence be happening?"



Jul 21 08, 01:02pm (about 8 hours ago)

Nonsense. It is the terrorist Mugabe who caused the famine, the beatings and
the torture. It was a colonial agreement that told him rig an election,
steal millions?

Jul 21 08, 01:08pm (about 8 hours ago)

This actually makes me angry, genuinely pissed off. Somewhere like Zimbabwe
will never ever get any better if its government is taken off the hook like
this and somehow absolved of responsibility. Any attempts to blame the
whites dont offend me, they just miss the point, and do Africans governments
propaganda for them.

You want someone to blame for this? Look do the black leaders in South
Africa who dont give a *****.

Jul 21 08, 01:15pm (about 8 hours ago)

Why are we trying to a deal with Mugabe?

Given the country is moving to starvation, let it run its course and
eventually the old dictator...darling of the 70-80's left will start missing
his meals on wheels.

Jul 21 08, 01:25pm (about 8 hours ago)

"The British-sponsored, short-sighted Lancaster House agreement was more
intent on appeasing and protecting the white minority's privileges than it
was long-term nation building. The Lancaster House agreement left white
Zimbabweans susceptible to envy and resentment by a majority black
population that understood white dominance in terms of unresolved colonial
legacies, fertile earth for demagogues attempting to rouse nationalist
sentiment. Mugabe had preferred a total military victory over the
white-settler government."

Jul 21 08, 01:32pm (about 7 hours ago)

He may have preferred a total military victory but it's doubtful that he
would have won a victory against the white government.

Without the Lancaster House agreement, which allowed white farmers to remain
on the land, it's doubtful that the Ian Smith government would have given up
control of Rhodesia.

Anyway, in spite of the inequalities in land ownership, there's no reason
why Mugabe had to do things this way. As far as I'm aware the white
population was already declining and the land would have eventually ended
back into the hands of the government or black farmers.

Perhaps he he could have just raised property taxes on land holdings greater
than X number of hectares to encourage the white farmers to sell it to the

Jul 21 08, 01:36pm (about 7 hours ago)


You are too defensive and wrongly conclude that Blessing-Miles is blaming a
colonial agreement for what has happened in that sad country. No need to be
angry here. Blessing-Miles simply said the truth. The colonial agreement
caused the racial problems about land but I think its pretty obvious from
the article that the other problems were Mugabe`s (i.e. black Zimbabweans)
doing. You have missed Blessing-Miles point.

Jul 21 08, 01:52pm (about 7 hours ago)

I hope Zimbabweans can fix the historical problems Blessing-Miles talks
about. Its really sad whats going on in that country and quite frankly I am
sick of reading about Zimbabwe for all the wrong reasons. Its time they fix
this mess!

Jul 21 08, 02:02pm (about 7 hours ago)

Duballiland, When you ask why must a deal be made with Mugabe, the answer is
simple: Mugabe is 85 years old. He was once a hero, who liberated Zimbabwe
from the likes of Ian Smith' apartheid. So if we can give him an honorable
'exit' we should try this. With all the bad things associated with him, he
is still better than many despots in other parts of the world. Let him go in
peace. Hopefully we can say good bye to him soon.

Jul 21 08, 02:08pm (about 7 hours ago)


On your logic, the same can be applied to Hitler. He took them out of a
terrible recession, foreign occupation and then proceeded to destroy the

Mugabe may be a hero of independence, but he put Zimbabwe in the same place
as Hitler left Germany.

Hitler would have been executed had he not taken the cowards way out in
advance. I wish we could do a Nuremberg on Mugabe, but I dare say he'd kill
himself first, unless out of his guard wakes up and spares us the expense.

He deserves no honourable exit. $100billion notes that can't buy a loaf of

Jul 21 08, 02:39pm (about 6 hours ago)


I don`t think Mugabe and Hitler are in the same league to be honest. I can
see what you are trying to say but the times are different Duballiland,
don`t you think? Mugabe never started a world war like Hitler or killed 6
million Jews? I think Mugabe should not be let off the hook but I wonder if
this mess can be fixed without giving Mugabe and his corrupt cronies a safe
landing? They are a stubborn and violent lot. Might not be a bad idea to
give them a safe exit rather than risk a war??

Jul 21 08, 02:54pm (about 6 hours ago)

Mugabe slaughtered almost a complete tribe at the start of the 80's in the
south of Zimbabwe: Systematic genocide.

Poor people with no resources or anyone to speak for them internationally,
no-one cared then or now.

What's he perpetrated on what's left of his people since, systematically
implementing a scorched earth policy, is no worse than the devastation that
Hitler left Germany in.

Except when this is over the West is not going to pour money in as per the
Marshall Plan. Given the pathetic way Africa has reacted to this, Sudan,
Rwanda, Somalia before it...why should we in the West care, because Africa
very obviously does not.

Jul 21 08, 03:11pm (about 6 hours ago)


"Mugabe slaughtered almost a complete tribe at the start of the 80's in the
south of Zimbabwe" - So 20000 dead out of a tribe in the hundreds of
thousands is slaughtering almost a complete tribe???

Jul 21 08, 03:22pm (about 6 hours ago)

I wasn't aware the Zimbabwe government was in the habit of allowing
impartial observers to count the aftermath.

We have no true idea how many died in Rwanda, guessing wildly in Sudan and
we've given up on Somalia.

The only time it was stable for the indigenous population was when the
Europeans ran it...although their own wars insured it wasn't quiet.

No one is suggesting going back to that, but it raises the question about
life before the European's turned up.

Jul 21 08, 03:48pm (about 5 hours ago)

I think you have a Eurocentric view of how Africans lived before we showed
up. We did them no favours. If their societies were unstable they were no
more unstable than our societies were. We had the Napoloeanic wars, Crimean
war, WWI, WWII, etc. Peace and stability in Europe are as recent as 1945 and
we have still had problems like Kosovo and Bosnia! I dont see much

Jul 21 08, 04:02pm (about 5 hours ago)

Duballiland: 'I wasn't aware the Zimbabwe government was in the habit of
allowing impartial observers to count the aftermath'. Briefly, it was. The
deaths in Matabeleland in the 1980s were researched and published following
the unity accord between ZANU and ZAPU in 1987. After a decade of careful
excavation, examination by forensics and extensive interviews with
survivers, the findings were published by a Roman Catholic organisation, the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, in 1999. People of both Shona and
Ndebele ethnicity were killed in the early 1980s, although the majority were
Ndebele. The motive was politics, not genocide or ethnic hatred. (The rest
of the world was unsure how to react, given that the victims were said to be
supporters of South African sponsored destabilising forces, comparable to
those in Mozambique that the British Army was helping to train the Zimbabwe
National Army to fight.)

Comparisons with Hitler are really really not helpful... People are dying
here and simplistic posturing is thoughtless and dangerous.

Jul 21 08, 04:05pm (about 5 hours ago)

Dubaliland: It is a shame that you compare Mugabe with Hitler. Hitler was an
evil man. He killed 6 million Jews, a million less Gypsies and caused the
deaths of over 5 million Russians. I am not including other casualties of
western Europe. Add to that the misery he brought to Germans. He wanted a
master race and destroy everything else.

I am not defending Mugabe, but he is an angel compared to Hitler. The
problem with southern Africa is that the Brits distributed land to whites
generously and now that blacks are ruling the country, wealth is still with
those few. His method of redistribution is controversial, I admit, but we
should not make an evil man out of him..

Jul 21 08, 04:19pm (about 5 hours ago)


  The disturbing violence and human rights abuses witnessed in Zimbabwe's
presidential election runoff have some of their roots in the country's
unresolved legacies of impunity, intolerance and the primacy of a coercive
No, Blessing they have to do with Robert Mugabe's use of brutality and
violence to stay in Power. You can't keep blaming Britain for the abysmal
mess that is Zimbabwe. It might have been a colony but it wasn't a mess when
Mugabe got his hands on it. It was quite a well off country with an
excellent agricultural economy and markets. Now it has a million percent
inflation and the breadbasket of Africa can't even feed itself.

Mugabe wrecked Zimbabwe all on his own. It has nothing to do with a colonial
past and everything to do with its new beginning.

Jul 21 08, 04:28pm (about 5 hours ago)

"The British-sponsored, short-sighted Lancaster House agreement was more
intent on appeasing and protecting the white minority's privileges than it
was long-term nation building"

Thats rich.

They wanted independence so we gave it to them, then they had a civil war
and we helped them broker a peace. Their peace, not our peace imposed on
them. They wrote it and signed it and confirmed it be vote a hundred times
over. And now we are supposed to believe that they (Mugabe and the other
"freedom" fighters) wrote it to appease white privilege. If that is true
then its true because Mugabe et al wrote it, signed it and enforced it for
30+ years. No one forced it on them they chose it.

Still at least now they have "woken up" to the evils of whites and expelled
them. Let me know how that works out. Oh wait, it already did.

The sooner that thugs like Mugabe and ZANU-PF are prevented from claiming
the colonial past and white people as the cause of the ills they have
created the sooner Africa will have responsible government.

The sooner that property rights are returned to Zimbabweans irrespective of
their colour the sooner their farms and businesses will reopen and they will
cease to go hungry.

As long as people like you Mr Tendi continue to apologise for them make
excuses for them they will continue to rape (yes rape in every sense of the
word) the nation of Zimbabwe and its people.

Jul 21 08, 04:34pm (about 4 hours ago)

June15 and dubailand and Co. Let's not get carried away with our
righteousness on Zimbabwe. We were wrong on Zimbabwe when it counted most,
and that's why we have so little influence over Mugabe today. What I mean is
that, during the critical period of Zimbabwe's struggle against white
minority rule, the U.S. and Britain demonized the liberation forces as
Communist tools, which they were not. China and Russia, on the other hand,
put themselves on the right side of history by aiding the liberation
movements, including Mugabe's.

I repeat I do not consider him a good leader. But he fought to end
apartheid. Where were you then? Not hunting him and other freedom fighters
to be able to kill them like animals without any proper court case? I have
heard a lot of stories of this nature, I rather not talk of details.

Jul 21 08, 05:13pm (about 4 hours ago)

"Zimbabwe experienced one of the most bloody and bitterly fought wars
against colonialism in Africa."

You don't know much about colonial wars in Africa. The Spanish army lost
twenty thousand dead in a single battle at Annual against the Rif. During
the course of the Rif War around fifty thousand Rif were killed.There were a
quarter of a million dead in the Algerian War. Then we have the very brief
colonial war - it lasted around six months or so - in Abyssinia in 1935 in
which ten thousand Italians were killed and perhaps as many as one million
Abyssinians when taking into account civilians. Then we have assorted
colonial wars in Egypt and the Sudan in which people died by the hundred
thousand. How about the Anglo-Ashanti wars? Anglo-Zulu wars? And more
recently the Portuguese Colonial Wars in Angola and Mozambique where people
died by tens of thousands.

The recent Zimbabwean conflicts were and are tame affairs, largely because
the Zimbabweans are themselves easily intimidated and only brave when in a
pack attacking the defenceless. During the Rhodesian War, most of the
casualties were the result of Patriotic Front terrorism - landmining buses,
mortaring farm homesteads, executing villagers for not toe-ing the Patriotic
Front line, shooting down civilian airliners......

This cowardliness explains how a population in the millions allows Mugabe
and a small coterie of henchmen to terrorise the entire country. Castro with
fifteen men and only twelve rifles between them toppled Batista and the
Cuban Army in two years....

Jul 21 08, 08:16pm (43 minutes ago)

You are right about the cracks being papered over, where a president is on
the way to being unseated by 49-42% and then allows a terror to be unleashed
to ensure the runoff election will avoid the humiliation of inevitable

But the idea put forward, that the reasons for this violence "have some of
their roots in the country's unresolved legacies of impunity, intolerance
and the primacy of a coercive state" is a sixth former sophistry beyond

How did you dream up (or plagiarize) this "primacy of a coercive state" ???

To most people the violence is due to an arrogant male elite that is totally
lost in its own selfish welfare, and determined not to lose the privileges
they have pirated, at any cost.

It has nothing to do with white men or white dominance but has governed much
of Africa for centuries. The guilt of the British at Lancaster House is
that, as in the Sudan, and in Iraq, and in Indonesia by the Dutch, etc,
their imperialism was transferred from one elite to another.

No one asked the inhabitants of the imperial domain if they wanted to belong
to a false country with false borders, drawn by pirates on pirates maps. The
new owners of all those souls conveniently forgot to mention that, lost in
some higher consciousness - that of themselves - and a self importance every
bit as arrogant as those they replaced.

The main point is that everyone is responsible for what they do. You cannot
murder or torment your people and say that, "the Hiroshima bomb was worse",
or "what about what the Belgians did" or " the Romans crucified far more"
and on and on and on.....

Try thinking about how ordinary people in Zimbabwe feel instead of using
their nightmare as a launch pad for yet another "blame" orgy.

On the "Independent" website there is a comment by Robert Fisk on how he has
just found out that during WWI the Germans did line up civilians, women and
children included, in Belgium and shoot them in cold blood, red faced with
anger for some.

The word of mouth "myth" was in fact found to be true, after the painstaking
work of tracking it down. However the response is yet another "blame" orgy -
read it.

The more important idea of how events become myths, and myths are made out
to be events, or just what happens to draw apparently ordinary people into
committing such atrocities, how you really are a victim of your own culture
(not just those colonialists), seems too complicated for the chattering
class mind. That mind sometimes seems happier grinding some axe in its
status and gossip based intellectually.

Jul 21 08, 08:44pm (15 minutes ago)

I think it's very interesting that for most white people NO blame can ever
be placed at the hands of other whites. It seems to be that it doesn't
matter whether the independence government (who interestingly you "gave"
independence because obviously it belonged to you and not to them) was white
or black. The important detail is that a bad balance was struck between the
needs of one group and the needs of another. If this is indeed true, then
this article is correct. An even balance needs to be struck or violence will

There is an accusation of "blame game" or as they say here in America
"playing the race card" whenever any problem is attributed to racial bias,
but only an idiot would claim that race doesn't play a part in
decision-making, particularly in colonial and post-colonial Africa. It is
not the fault of every white person that some white person has used this
bias to his or her benefit, or even that an entire government has done so.
Take a deep breath and THINK. You are not being attacked. The only reason
for you to feel attacked is if you are part of and complicit with a system
of prejudice. Acknowledge that white people have some times been on the side
of wrong. The writer here freely admits that black people have been. Then
address the real issue instead of conflating your own racial oversensitivity
with the writer's aims.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Why power-sharing offers false comfort in Zimbabwe

Mon, 07/21/2008 - 12:21pm
There's heavy speculation that today's agreement between Zimbabwe's
government and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could be setting the
stage for a power-sharing arrangement between two sides. South African
President Thabo Mbeki as well as mediators from the African Union (AU) and
Southern African Development Community (SADC) are all pushing the idea of a
"government of national unity" along the lines of the one that was formed
during Kenya's election crisis earlier this year.

It's understandable that the African community likes this solution. It's a
quick way to stop the bloodshed while giving some concessions to the
opposition who, after all, won the original election. But it's a rather
feeble solution nonetheless. Although the deal in Kenya may have put an end
to the violence, the divided government in Nairobi remains highly

In Zimbabwe, there's even less reason to believe that Robert Mugabe and
Morgan Tsvangirai, who openly hate each other's guts, could ever form a
workable partnership. Any sort of power-sharing deal is little more than a
fantasy while MDC leaders still fear for their lives.

But what's most worrying is the precedent this sets for elections in Africa.
From now on, if a strongman leader loses an election, all he needs to do is
ignore the result and provoke violent unrest. Before long, AU or SADC
mediators will swoop in to propose a "government of national unity" in order
to defuse tensions. In most places, when you lose an election, you have to
step down. In Africa, it's just a starting point for negotiations.

The MDC may have no other choice but to accept such a deal, but African
leaders are heading down a very dangerous path by pushing for it.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Opposition Warned of Power-Sharing Risks

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Current opposition would do well to remember the fate of ZAPU, say analysts.

By Jabu Shoko in Harare (ZCR No. 156, 21-Jul-08)

As the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, agreed to discuss a
power-sharing deal with the Zimbabwean government, analysts in the country
warned the opposition party not to allow itself to be coopted and then

At an unprecedented meeting in Harare on July 21, President Robert Mugabe
and his opponents Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambare, representing the
larger and smaller factions of the MDC respectively, signed a document
setting out a framework for formal negotiations on a shared transitional
administration intended to lead the country out of its long-running
political and economic crisis.

South African president Thabo Mbeki, who has led the mediation effort and
drafted the document, attended the signing ceremony at a hotel in Harare.

Teams of negotiators from either side will now spend two weeks hammering out
the details of a possible deal.

At this point, no one is saying what kind of transitional authority might
come out of the talks.

Previously, Mugabe has indicated that he sees himself in charge of a
government of national unity, to which he would appoint some opposition

Tsvangirai, meanwhile, has insisted that he should head the interim body, on
the grounds that he won more votes in the first-round presidential election
held on March 29. He pulled out of the June 27 run-off, citing mounting
political violence against his supporters. Mugabe proceeded to stand
unopposed, and was duly declared the winner.

If the power-sharing deal comes off at all, the question is just how equal
the relationship will be.

Analysts in Zimbabwe recall the unhappy experience of another opposition
force in a different era which was intimidated, subsumed and then
effectively done away with by Mugabe's ZANU party.

Joshua Nkomo's PF- ZAPU emerged as a rival to Mugabe soon after Zimbabwe
became independent in 1980.

Citing the current political violence directed against the MDC, analysts who
spoke to IWPR said they believe Mugabe is now using the same strategy he
used to bring the late Nkomo under his control - first violence to weaken
his opponent, and later an unequal division of power.

Maxwell Mkandla, a veteran of PF-ZAPU's armed wing, the Zimbabwe People's
Revolutionary Army, ZIPRA, recalled the military offensive that Mugabe
launched to eliminate Nkomo's support base in the Matabeleland and Midlands
provinces in the first half of the Eighties. Accounts of the number of dead
vary, but at least 10,000 people are believed to have died in Operation

A badly battered PF-ZAPU was then forced to sign up to a unification deal
with ZANU in December 1987, creating the present ZANU-PF, still entirely
dominated by Mugabe's people. Nkomo was appointed vice-president of Zimbabwe
and held the post until his death in 1999, but wielded little real power.

Speaking of the current situation, Mkandla, who now heads the Liberators'
Platform group in Matabeleland, said, "It's reminiscent of the Gukurahundi.
The only difference now is that the violence is directed at his own people
for voting for Tsvangirai, but the tactics are the same."

Mkandla warned the MDC to be wary of Mugabe's apparent willingness to talk.

Eldred Masunungure, a politics lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe,
agreed that "the parallels [with what happened to PF-ZAPU] are there, and
very close".

"ZANU-PF has resorted to using the powers of the incumbent for leverage in
the intra-party talks. What's going on in terms of the security situation is
typical of what happened in Matabeleland and the Midlands during the late
1980s," he said.

Violence which the MDC says left over 100 of its sympathisers dead before
the June 27 ballot and at least 20 since then is, according to Masunungure,
an attempt to force Tsvangirai to the negotiating table, just as Gukurahundi
did to Nkomo.

Analysts also draw comparisons between the decimation of PF-ZAPU's party
infrastructures in its heartland provinces in the Eighties and the current
campaign of violence, which many say has focused particularly on rooting out
MDC activists from areas traditionally seen as ZANU-PF strongholds, where
the opposition scored surprise wins in the March polls.

Gorden Moyo, executive director of the Bulawayo Agenda group, agrees that
Mugabe's tactics are similar to those he unleashed in the Eighties. But he
insists that Tsvangirai and his MDC faction are well aware of the pitfalls,
and will take care to avoid them.

"Tsvangirai has tried to behave differently. The MDC is trying very hard not
to be ensnared by ZANU-PF, because ZANU-PF wants history to repeat itself,"
said Moyo. "ZANU-PF's strategy is, and has always been, to use [its
experience with] ZAPU as a model."

By contrast, said Moyo, the MDC is prudently setting conditions for a future
deal. Tsvangirai has said he will not sign anything until the violence
against his supporters stops, and unless the mediation team is expanded to
include an envoy from the African Union.

Mbeki is acting under a mandate from the Southern African Development
Community, a grouping of regional states, but the MDC suspects him of being
too close to Mugabe to act as a truly honest broker.

Now the MDC is "refusing to walk into the lions' den willingly", said Moyo,
urging the party to "continue to insist on the expansion of the mediation

On July 18, Mbeki met the United Nations special envoy to Zimbabwe Haile
Menkerios and the chairman of the African Union's commission, Jean Ping.
According to the AFP news agency, they agreed that while Mbeki's team would
continue to lead on mediation, it would work more closely with the UN and
African Union, and a new joint body would be set up to monitor progress.

Jabu Shoko is the pseudonym of a reporter in Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Seeking Justice for Zimbabwe
A Case for Accountability Against Robert Mugabe and Others | 1981 - 2008

By Professor David M. Crane, Sir Desmond De Silva, QC, Professor Tom Zwart | July 21, 2008


Read the full report (pdf)

Legal options available in holding accountable President Robert Mugabe for possible international crimes

For almost three decades Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe. Under his regime Zimbabwe has declined into a state of anarchy. Recent political unrest around the elections for President has resulted in death, destruction of property, persecution of political opponents, and the flight of Zimbabweans out of the country.

This political unrest has caused the withdrawal of the opposition candidate from the run-off election Mugabe himself has refused to back down and has called for “war”. He was recently “elected” and sworn in as President.

These actions have brought condemnation from various capitals, few from Africa. This did not change after the African Union meeting. The withdrawal of the only viable opposition candidate in the run-off election in order to quell the unrest and destruction of life and property appears to have been the line that, when crossed, has now forced the international community to take action. The recent G8 Summit noted the turmoil in Zimbabwe.

There are numerous legal, political and diplomatic options available to the international community which include doing nothing to the creation of a justice mechanism by which Mugabe would be held accountable for alleged domestic and international crimes committed while President of Zimbabwe.

This discussion paper will highlight the parameters of the legal options available to hold President Robert Mugabe accountable for various international crimes. It must be stressed that political and diplomatic options impact on the legal options. To a large degree it will be a political decision as to whether Mugabe should be held accountable, though the development of an accountability/justice model to be used, should the decision be taken to investigate Mugabe, is appropriate now.

Based on the extant facts and circumstances, Mugabe could either be tried by a hybrid international war crimes tribunal or an internationalized domestic court. The location should be in Harare or within the region. The International Criminal Court has limited jurisdiction as the gravamen of the offenses took place prior to July 2002.

The mandate should be prosecuting either Mugabe himself alone or those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed in Zimbabwe, to include Mugabe and selected henchmen. The facts will bear out who those possible indictees are.

The crimes committed are both international and domestic in scope. It appears the international crimes are largely crimes against humanity. Using the Rome Statute as a guide, Article 7, crimes against humanity, some charges would include persecution, imprisonment and other severe deprivation of personal liberty, as well as other inhumane acts that intentionally cause great suffering, all pursuant to a state policy.

The practical aspects of this initiative call for local, regional, and international political support and action. At the local level both the people and the Diaspora will need to be a part of the process. At the regional level the African Union, along with the European Union will have to support this effort, calling upon the United Nations Security Council to take appropriate action. The Commonwealth of Nations will also need to step up and endorse the initiative. The African Union will be reluctant to do this, but without their support the effort will be weakened indeed.

It is also important to dialog with and get support from key NGO’s, e.g. the International Commission of Jurists, the Venice Commission etc.

At the international level the United Nations Security Council will need to pass a resolution calling for some type of legal sanctions on Mugabe and his henchmen, to include an endorsement of a regional court or a domestic court with international aspects to it to ensure fairness and efficiency.

A truth and reconciliation aspect to this overall initiative should be considered, as well, as a way of building a sustainable peace.

Due to his age, it is realistic to consider an amnesty or a type of immunity arrangement (under the threat of indictment) if he agrees to step aside and leave Zimbabwe for good. This is only an option because of his advanced age. Other potential indictees should not get the benefit of this amnesty.

The bottom line is that there should be accountability at the local and regional level, with international support, for those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe over the rein of Robert Mugabe. Due to his age this needs to be done within the next year or two at the latest.

Read the full report (pdf)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai Still Minus Passport

HARARE , July 21 2008 - More than a month after approaching the
Registrar General's office for a new passport, Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai is yet to be issued with one.

On 16 June officials from the RG's Office told Tsvangirai that they
could not issue him with a new passport citing "unspecified reservations"
from the police. His lawyers, led by Alex Mambosasa of Mambosasa Legal
Practitioners, were last month turned down after High Court Judge Justice
Chatukuta ruled that the matter was not urgent.

Mambosasa told Radio VOP that Tsvangirai, a key figure in the on-going
talks meant to solve Zimbabwe 's political and economic problems, was still
having problems trying to get a new passport after exhausting all the pages
of his current one.

"My client paid all the US dollars that are required for one to apply
for a 'super urgent' passport. The application process went well for two
days before everything fell apart, with the officials saying the police had
stopped them processing it for security reasons," said Mambosasa.

Under normal circumstances, passport applications paid for in foreign
currency are processed within seven days. Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede
has written to the law firm advising them that Tsvangirai's application was
going through "the normal vetting process" before they could issue him with
a replacement.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

JAG - urgent press release communique - Dated 21 July 2008

Email: :

JAG HotlineS: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410.  If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

Jag believes the attached case history regarding Mr Charles Lock's Karori
Farm in Headlands is particularly news worthy at this time. It provides a
window into the workings of the political process in relation to so called
"land reform" in one small instance. In Headlands alone, Ministers Made,
Chinamasa and Mutasa have been key players in the process of designation,
acquisition and allocation of land. They have sought to ensconce themselves
as well as relatives, friends and well connected party members with multiple
properties. The process has been neither transparent, legal or in line with
stated policy and has been hijacked for personal gain and political

The recent electoral process has seen inordinate violence and political
intimidation in the Headlands area, including several murders. There has
been clear involvement by some senior military and political figures. In
addition there has been the persecution of policemen who attempted to
exercise their right to vote freely. The policemen were subsequently
incarcerated and dismissed from the police force. Alongside this has been a
campaign of suspension and withdrawal of offer letters from small scale A1
beneficiaries of the land reform process because of perceived support for
the MDC. All of the above is well documented. The allocation of looted
spoils for loyal political service remains a clear agenda.

This case of the persistent harassment and forced illegal eviction of a law
abiding farmer by a high ranking military officer is a clear case in point.
Particularly noteworthy are the following pointS:

. Mr Lock voluntarily relinquished, to the land reform process, his own
inherited 1250 ha farm
. He subsequently gave up a further72% of his father-in-law's farm, to land
reform, although the farm clearly fell outside the stated policy guidelines
for land to be compulsorily acquired.
. The remaining 379 ha portion was allocated to him by confirmation in the
Administrative court and the Vice President responsible for land reform , at
the time Acting President
. Mr lock has therefore complied with both the spirit and the law of land
reform in the country
. He has never taken the state to court but has successfully defended
himself against the state twice.
. He has, never-the-less, been forced to seek recourse through the courts
when he has been evicted and experienced other disruptions perpetrated by
well connected individuals with offer letters.
. These individuals were already beneficiaries of other land in the
. The impact on the 175 permanent farm workers and their families has been
life threatening, traumatic and disruptive to a very serious degree
. The disruption to farm infrastructure and production has contributed to
the on- going decline in the country's economy

The police are clearly able to act to enforce the law however they are
subject to external political interference. This remains the reality for
most Zimbabweans. It is now essential that in all spheres of activity the
professional role of the police, military and other organs of the state be
restored and divorced from partisan political activity. This is particularly
true in all matters relating to a just and enduring solution to Zimbabwe's
land issue.



I am a Zimbabwean citizen trained in Zimbabwe as an agriculturalist. I have
worked most of my life in Zimbabwe barring seven years when I worked as an
agriculture consultant for a tobacco company traveling all over the world. I
have represented my country at international level as a cricketer. I
inherited a farm of 1250 ha from my father in 1999 in the district of

. In 2002 I voluntarily gave up my farm to the state as part of their land
reform Programme and moved onto my father-in-laws farm in Headlands. It was
1200 ha and in 2003 I acquired the majority shareholding. The farm produced
tobacco, roses, cut flowers, cattle and maize turning over US$1, 5 million
per annum. We built a school on the farm holding 400 pupils and a clinic
which we funded.

. In 2003 the state officials demanded we give up some of our remaining
farm. We agreed to let go of 250 ha. A month later we were asked by the
District Administrator to give more. We agreed again to another 250 hectares
but confirmed with the D.A. and the Governor that we were free to remain
with the rest and the matter was finalized.

. At the end of 2003 Minister Made moved into the area and allocated our
remaining portion to his relatives and we were put under pressure on the
land by him and his agents. We were served prosecution notices and taken to
court over the remaining portion despite all our prior agreements. In the
prosecution we were granted 376ha of land.

. The minister refused to accept this and his relative continued the
harassment on the ground until we had him evicted through a high court

. We then had about 2 years of trouble free farming until Brigadier General
Mujaji arrived on the farm and claimed all was his including my crops and
equipment. He produced an Offer letter signed by Minister Mutasa and put 4
to 8 armed soldiers at my gate. My labour were harassed as was I, and some
of my equipment was looted. We were forced to grow crops for him at gun
point. I then went to see the Acting President Msika who is chairman of the
National Lands Board. He told me to stay on the farm as I had been allocated
it by the state under the Land Programme. He ordered the Governor to put
this in writing for me.

. Mujaji said that he did not listen to Msika and carried on with his
extortion at gunpoint. I then went to the high court and got an order
against him requiring him to leave and replace what he had taken. He
appealed against this to the Supreme Court and failed.

. He refused to acknowledge the ruling of both the courts and evicted me at
gunpoint from my house whilst the police looked on. He took whatever
equipment remained on the farm. I then sought a contempt order on him and he
was found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in prison with hard labour. See
appendix 5. He was never arrested despite the order being served.

. I returned to my farm in November 2007 and built things up again. We grew
a large crop of maize 500 tons, and managed to get about 20% of our workers
back. My flowers had been destroyed as had the tobacco crop amounting to a
loss of 85% of income. As soon as we had finished reaping Mujaji pitched up
to the farm with Militia and army staff and attacked us on the farm. My
labour was beaten up and I was barricaded in my house. I managed to escape
at night and walked 15 kilometers to the main road where I got a lift. My
key workers were chucked off the farm and Mujaji removed some of my
irrigation pipes and a trailer and stole maize. He told me he was taking my
crops including my wheat crop in the ground, my tobacco seed beds and all my
equipment. Even my house was looted. The police reacted after two weeks and
only after I took the issue to Head Quarters Police. They arrested no one.
Mujaji still commandeers the farm with his soldiers and youth. He has
prevented me from delivering any maize and all my workers have been severely
threatened should they communicate with or assist me.

. In the meantime I have again been charged by the state for being on the
land unlawfully; this was a criminal case and holds a sentence of 2 years
imprisonment. I pleaded not guilty and was acquitted.

Mujaji ignored this and the local police have refused to deal with him.

I have got authority to be on the land from

1. The Acting President Msika and the Governor of Manicaland.
2. Two High Court Orders backed up by a Supreme Court Order.
3. A Civil Prosecution where I was allocated the Land
4. A criminal prosecution where I was acquitted thereby confirming my

In spite of all this and including the fact that I donated my own farm to
the State and 70% of my last remaining farm which really belonged to my
father in law; built a school and a clinic, I have been evicted at gun point
and my crops and equipment looted and taken by Brigadier General Mujaji.

 I have never once taken the state to court believing that they would honour
their own laws and agreements. I am currently trying to get the Police,
through their highest office, to act, to ensure the law is upheld. Mujaji is
a senior member of the Zimbabwe National Army who is openly using Military
Personnel to defy the Courts, Police and laws to steal a farm that he wants.

By Charles Lock - 18 July 2008

Below is a full 2 part transcript of an interview conducted with Charles




M: Ok this is a recording with Charles Lock on the 8th July 2008 um first of
all Charles can I ask if you consent to being recorded?

C: Ja no problem.

M: Ok. Um I just want to get a sort of background about your history in
agriculture um and the farm in question that we are talking about now is ah
Karori Farm, was that your first farm or did you have one before then?

C: No the uh I am a Zimbabwean born bred and raised I was trained at Gwebi
college, which is a local college, um and I worked on farms here for about 8
years. I then went abroad and trained as a professional Agricultural
consultant and worked for a tobacco company for another 5 years. I then
returned to this country and carried on my farming practice.

M: When did you return?

C: I returned in 1995 and I worked with a tobacco company running 5 farms in
Mount Darwin.  Um you know those farms were then forcibly taken over in
2001, 2002 and we had to vacate.  I had my own farm in Murewa called
Leylands (sp) which wasn't well developed at the time and I had gradually
been building it up.

S: When did you get Leylands?

C: Leylands was acquired in about 19 uh it was acquired in 96, 97

S: So you had a certificate of no present interest from the government?

C: Yes that was, it was actually acquired through my father alright and it
was passed on to me.

M: Was that the sort of family homestead that farm?

C: Um, No it wasn't the family farm, it was part of the family farm and when
my father died he passed that on to me.  Uh and I didn't have the capital to
develop it at the time, so the plan was to try and get capital to develop
it, um which was happening slowly.

S: What was sorry what was on Leylands?

C: Leylands was basically um a dozen tobacco barns it was a multi
agricultural cropping farm with sort of reddish soils, it was 1500 ha um
S: Water?

C: Ja it had boreholes and it had rivers and so on but they all had to be

S: And dams?

C: But that was all being done.  No it didn't have a dam

S: No dam ok.  So you had irrigation on it.

C: So we had irrigation on it ja

S: Ok what did you grow on there?

C: So it was a small, basically tobacco, a bit of winter cropping and some

M: You had a compound there?

C: Ja no there was workers quarters there for about 40, 50 guys,

S: Did you live on it?

C: No I didn't live on it I had a guy living there who rented it ok and the
plan was to move on there but events overtook everything.  Um ja so when I
left the farms in Mount Darwin um

M: That's in 2001?

C: Ja. I had a choice of either to move on to Leylands or to get out of the
agricultural business altogether.  I was approached by my father in law who
owned Karori Farm at the time and asked me to come in with him on Karori, so
I agreed in doing that and I joined him on Karori farm

S: Being in the same area?

C: Being in the same area exactly. We then voluntarily relinquished Leylands
farm to the Government, we conceded, we didn't object

S: When was that?

C: And we did that around 2002, 2003.

S: You had received sections at this stage for Leylands

C: We had received sections for Leylands

S: Ok so how did you do that?

C: Well we basically just said we won't object to this and we made it known
to the authorities that we wouldn't object to it on the basis that we could
retain our remaining farm.

S: Ok, so who did you see?  Did you go and see the Governor ah for Mash East
or who did you see?

C: Um we explained it to the Das

S: Who was that?

C: It was done to the local authorities through their Agritex Department who
were itemising farms then and it was also done to the authorities in Eastern
Mashonaland, because it was in the district of Murewa.

C: Ok

M: Mrs Murewa. Um ja I'm just, did you put that in writing

C: We have got documents to the effect that we would not contest this farm
um and that you know we would be remaining on the other farm

S: So did you withdraw from that farm? The guy who was leasing

C: We withdrew completely, we cancelled the lease and we withdrew

S: Ok.

M: And um did you get a response to that withdrawal?

C: No there was no real response at all um it was all you know "yes that's
fine we accepted this and you can remain on your farm".  Um Then I was on
Karori farm and we got approached by the local authorities again, from the
DAs office who said they were now under pressure to take more land. and

S: This was Chiringa again?

C: This was Chiringa and there was an Agritex Officer there called Richard
Makoni who has since long gone but is specified in the open order um.

S: Sorry I just want to go back to Leylands had, did they resettle people?

C: Oh yes.  Oh no yes

S: They did so they accepted they took it and they resettled people and you
moved on to Karori ok.

M: As far as you are aware did they do it for A1, Model A1 or Model A2

C: I think it's a combination because Leylands was actually 2 title deeds
and I think the one went to A2 and the others went to A1, but I haven't
taken further interest in that since we

M: Pulled out of it.

C: Uh yes so then on the Karori side we voluntarily conceded 250 ha, um

S: You demarcated that

C: We demarcated and they accepted it, um and that was done through an LA3
um a few months later they were back again saying they needed more than the
250 so we agreed to a final 250 which was 500 ha in total and we said that
is it, no more.

S: How big was Karori?

C: Karori is 1200 ha so this was about 45%.

S: And how, what were you growing on it at the time?

C: It was a multi faceted farm it produced um about 75 ha maize, 50 ha of
tobacco, 2 ha of roses, 300 head of cattle uh um a lot of grass seed,
pastures.  Turned over probably in the region of 1 million US Dollars at the

S: Ok so you had water you had everything

C: It was

S: Fully developed

C: It was a fully developed farm with two dams; four water rights all the
underground piping completely done, everything.

S: Homesteads?

C: We had a full valuation done on the farm ah. From the immovables and it
had three homesteads, and that was valued in the region of 1.6, 1.7 million
US at the time uh

S: And what about your compound, how many labour did you have?

C: We employed 200 people and I think there was plus or minus about 70 homes

S: Ok with water, ZESA

C: Everything was watered, everything, uh we were on a horticultural scheme
thereby we were trying to comply with European standards so a lot of effort
had been put into developing all the workers quarters and the workers
conditions to comply with what was called GAP standards and so you know it
was a very smart set up um.

S: Schools, Clinic?

C: We had a we had a school that we at Karori actually built ourselves, and
we were the responsible authority, we had 10 teachers there and it had ah
400 pupils of which we probably had about 80 from Karori the rest came from
the surrounding community.

S: Did you employ those teachers or was it Government?

C: We covered all maintenance costs for that school except for the teachers
salaries, Zesa and personal things

S: Ok.

C: Which were paid for by the Government and I continue to this day to be
the responsible authority for that school

S: And they didn't take that away Charles, they allowed you to continue?

C: I will explain that

C: So after the concession of the 500 ha, ah the Minister of Agriculture,
Made moved into the area and his brother Mr Chiware (sp) was suddenly
allocated the balance that was left to us, so we argued and said how can
this be when you have already agreed that we can remain on this piece.

S: How did you how did you know that?

C: This was done in the DAs office

S: Did you get a letter to say, did he show you and offer letter Chiware ?

C: Yes came and said I have got an offer letter so the DA then said um this
is beyond me these issues are now being taken over directly by Harare Office
you must deal with Harare Office.  Uh on going to Harare office I didn't
speak to the Minister directly but we were told that the farm had now been
given in its entirety to Mr Chiware and we must make way for him

S: When was this Charles was it?

C: It was 2003

S: Ok

C: So we then proceeded to object and we were immediately served with a
section 8 and a further section 7 and we were subjected to harassment by
Chiware and his employees who he put on the farm, about three or four of

S: What were they doing?

C: Just harassing workers, and basically harassing me and you know stopping
our planting, stopping our operations like every third day

S: Just four of them hey?

C: Yes

S: Were they armed?

C: No they weren't armed, these were civilian details and the police were
just so slow to react in all these cases and made life very difficult

S: And did they react?

C: Ah they would react eventually but they always you know hid behind the
political curtain.

S: So you have got RRB No's for your reports or did they not even give them
in the end?

C: A lot of these incidences, they were just happening on such a regular
basis that there were no RRB Nos.

S: Ok

C: Then we were, the section 7 was actually bought to court, surprisingly it
was bought early and we heard the section 7 in October, the hearing, we were
dragged, taken to the administrative court in Mutare where the Chief
Justice, Bere, (sp) um he was a, his designation, he was a judge, he was
the, I can't remember he was a Chief Judge uh highest one in Manicaland at
that time, and he heard our case, we were in there for four days um and at
the end of that case he specified that this case would never have actually
come to court, the reason it had come to court was because of peoples
personal interests and the influences within the acquiring authority uh he
said it smacked against the law of the land and he had dismissed it and
ordered the state to give us 376 ha, which was even less than what we had
originally agreed, um but we accepted it and he ordered the state to give
that to us.  Um the state didn't even appeal against the order.  Their reply
was to just immediately issue a new section 5 and a new section 8 within in
days of the ruling

S: So this is the end of 2003?

C: Ja

S: So Christmas time now?

C: Yes, and this was done uh directly from the Ministry under the orders of
the Ministry of Lands, Made, himself, and we were subjected to further
harassment, the Chiware gentleman refused to leave um and caused more
trouble which extended for another three or four months after that.  The
police refused to move him so we eventually were forced to get a high court
order against him which we did and when we got that high court order the
police acted and they removed him through the auspices of the Deputy
Sherriff.  We then farmed peacefully for about a year and a half, two years,
there were mutterings of this and that and this is going to happen to you
and that is going to happen to you and so on, but we didn't have any direct
issue happening.

S: Your neighbour you mentioned earlier was Made, did he ever in that 2
years he never came back he never came to visit you on the farm

C: No I have actually never even spoken to the Minister at all

S: Ok not even as a neighbour

C: Not even as a neighbour

S: Ok

C: You know he's, he's a whole farm away from me, and you know I basically
kept to myself I just kept to my little operation there uh and other
neighbour is Chinamasa (sp) who moved on to Richard Yates' farm and I
haven't had much to do with him either, I mean most people just keep to
themselves and just get on with their work.  The next issue we had was come
October 2006 we suddenly had a detail of army people of 4 or 5 army people,
fully clothed, fully armed with AK's posted at my main gate and proceeded to
instruct us that they had been offered the farm and that they were taking it
over and the Brigadier Mujaji arrived and said that ah

S: No documentation given to you they

C: Just produced an offer letter straight

S: Oh they did. With his name on it

C: With his name on it, said the farm's his.  I said how can that be, the
farms actually been allocated to me by the state themselves, through their
own legal channels.

S: Who was the spokesman at this time?

C: And the spokesman was, Mujaji

M: Mujaji personally

S: Oh personally sorry I thought

C: Personally yes it was him

M: And were they armed when they came?

C: Fully armed and fully threatening

M: Was he in uniform?

C: Yes, he was in uniform once, after that he wasn't

S: so only the initial um

C: Ja but all his troops were always in uniform, always had their weapons
there and they often cocked them and threatened us and ja it was a problem

S: Charles were your family around at the time, were they on the farm with

C: Ja they were but I then had to move them off and

S: This was in 2006

C: And I stayed there on my own

S: You were planting your tobacco crop at this stage, being October

C: We had planted all our crops, we had just completed everything, he
actually came at the end of October.  Once all the crops were planted the
maize was planted um the flowers had been sorted out, he said, he helped
himself, uh then what proceeded from there was basically one year of really
severe harassment, intimidation um and it was a tortuous year where our
workers were abused, I was threatened, abused, we had, it got so bad we even
had police officers stay on the farm to guard us

M: This was October 2006

C: Right up to up to October 2007

S: Over a year

C: Um he he

S: Interfering with your farming

C: Every single day there was interference.  He actually forced me to
irrigate and plant for him, he forced me to do his crops for him.  He
stopped us from selling tobacco for two and a half months. To the point
where I didn't sell 80 tonnes of tobacco until the very last day of the
floors, meanwhile we had to load 6 lorries at night, it was only at the
instigation that the police came there and allowed us to do that.

S: Did you have the same member in charge from ah like 2004 to 2000 and

C: The member in charge of Headlands and the member in charge of Dispol
Rusape were actually very helpful during this period.

S: Oh were they, this 2006, 2007 time.

C: But they were constantly having their orders, they were being restricted
by head office.

S: They told you that

C: They told me that as much.  Its difficult, I don't know if you can put
this down, but they were restricted and they just said we cannot operate, we
you have to get your documents in order for us to actually support you here,
um although they knew what was happening, they were in a very difficult

M: You made did you ever get RRB no's from them?

C: There's countless RRB no's in Headlands, there's countless statements
made and if some one wants to dig in there they will find them all

M: Ok.

C: Um Mujaji he you know he would stop me reaping.  At one time he shut all
my boilers down, he closed up all our fans.  We had 16 tobacco barns full,
which had started to rot, um he stopped all reaping, he stopped all reaping
of flowers.  Uh. Everything except the water and irrigation of the, of his
crop which we had to do under duress.

S: What was his crop, what were you growing for him?

C: A little span of sugar beans. And he um

S: How many ha

C: 5, 6, 8 ha

M: Did he supply all the inputs for that crop or?

C: Ja no he did he, um he, you know we lost financially quite a lot at the
hands of this guy and the abuses that he carried out.  He looted my
equipment um my whole workshop stuff was taken out at night.

S: Again reported to the police

C: Reported to the police, my scales were taken out.  I've had electric
motors taken out by them.  And the police have made dockets on him on this,
but they said they cannot act 'because they have no order from Propol and
they can only do it unless they have an order from Propol.

S: Who's head of Propol there?

C: Propol changes quite regularly, the latest one is a guy called Mutatu,
(sp) um before that was a guy called Benge (sp)

M: Would you happen to know why they would change very regularly, would you
think it is 'cause they are helpful or they just

C: I don't know, I would assume that these guys get moved around

S: Have you tried to form a relationship with, you obviously have already
with the police at Headlands, because you have been there for years but then
again with Dispol and then Propol.

C: Ja we have very good relations with Headlands police, and Headlands
police were actually very good.  But just before this last election they all
got removed and there's now a bunch of people there that are totally
compliant and will not act at all unless they receive a direct order um

S: Ok

C: Uh he, the final, I actually went to Msika, the acting President, after
having spoken to virtually everybody within Manicaland.  I then got to see
Msika on a number of occasions and Msika ordered that that farm be left to
us as it had been allocated to us by the states through their own laws, and
he said this was not the states policy to behave in this manner, and he
instructed the minister of lands, who was Mutasa at that time, to make sure
this was carried out.  Mutasa never did this and I had details of all those
conversations that I had with Mutasa and with Msika.

S: When did you see Msika?

C: I must have seen Msika 6 times,

S: When, 2007?

C: 206, 207

S: Ok

C: Ja

M: Do you know if Msika actually gave Mutasa an instruction in writing to
that effect or.

C: I know that Msika ordered Mutasa to

M: To back off.

C: To allocate that farm to me.

M: Ok

C: Not to allocate it, to ensure that I remain on the farm, because it had
already been allocated to me. Ok. And he was very clear and he said this was
not the Governments policy and he specified that um what had been settled
before Mutasa's Ministry alright, was not up to Mutasa to now change, but
just cause there was a change in the Minister he was not entitled to change
the law itself. Um he wrote a letter to Mujaji himself telling him to back
M: Did Msika say anything disparaging about Mutasa in your conversations
with him.

C: Look these are meetings, (sighs) I was there at those meetings um and it
was quite evident that there was a conflict of views here.  Of Musika who
didn't believe what was happening and I was correct and Mutasa who obviously
had a different view. So that's what the story was, but it got to the point
where eventually I said to Musika, I said this can't go on like this.  I
have been allocated this land, you have tried me, you have taken my own
personal farm. You have tried me in your own courts and your own laws and
you your own Government has allocated me this land.  Now under what basis
are you taking it away from me and handing it over to a man in Military
Service by force and Msika said no that is totally incorrect and he called
the Governor into the office while I was there and ordered the Governor to
ensure that I remain on that farm.

S: Was this Muchingure the Governor?

C: No that was Chigudu (sp)

M: Chiguru

S: Chiguru oh he took over from her hey?

C: Ja
(paper shuffling, break in recording)

M: Recommencing with Charles Lock

C: So the Governor then gave me a letter which confirmed my meeting with
Msika stating alright quite clearly, and Msika was acting President at the
time, that they were not to take that farm from me, that I had already given
up my own farm and that I was to remain upon Karori farm, now this letter is
a letter that I will never use in court in any case against the state and
for the record I have never actually taken the State to court ever.  The
state has always been the one who's prosecuted me; it has always been the
other way around.  I have only taken the individual concerned who has
caused any unlawful behaviour on the farm.  I took this letter to Mujaji and
Mujaji response to this thing was that he doesn't listen to anyone, the vice
President or acting President and he put that again as a public statement to
some reporter uh that was made at the time.  So we were in a situation here
where we had conflict and at the end of the day Mujaji forcibly evicted me
in October, no in September he brought in some extra soldiers.

S: 2007

C: Ja. He drove me out of my house.  I was forced to unpack my house at
gunpoint.  All my workers were driven off the form off the farm at gun
point, within 24 hours there wasn't a worker on that farm.  He then seized
what equipment he could.  I didn't go back to that farm for about a week and
when I did go back I managed to get a few things off, they seized the keys
off me
S: Were they very aggressive when you went back?

C: Extremely aggressive, when you have got soldiers shouting and screaming
at you with cocked weapons and Mujaji's wife ordering them to do this and

S: Where were they living, were they living on your farm?

C: Ja

S: In one of those three homesteads and

C: That was when I actually was, was removed, ah I left fertiliser there,
there was quite a lot of equipment there and so on.  Anyway, we took the
commissioner of the police to court because the police refused to act on
this matter, although it was so blatant now, they just said no we are not
going to act, so we took the commissioner of police and the commander of the
army to court um and Mujaji, let me just stop there for a moment.  Mujaji,
the High Court issued an order in March of 2007 whereby stating that Mujaji
must get off the farm ok.  Mujaji appealed against that to the Supreme Court
and hid behind the appeal, now an appeal suspends the order, it suspends the

M: Ja

C: So he remained on the farm with his soldiers causing trouble. So we had
a problem there in that legally we could do nothing to combat what he was
doing. However, we pushed for the appeal and this appeal was heard in July
and the Supreme Court threw his appeal out.  Once the Supreme Court threw
his appeal out, he has no leg to stand on, and the High Court Order must
automatically be enforced, the Police still refused to act.  They said that
because the Military were involved there they were not going to be able to
react. So we then took Mujaji to court for contempt and he was sentenced
to 30 days with hard labour, I think, and his wife, unless he purged
himself of that contempt within 72 hours, whereby removing himself,
returning all the equipment that was stolen and returning the workers that
he kicked off, he refused to accept that.  Legally where did we stand? We
then cited the Commissioner of police and the Commander of the army for
failing to uphold the law of the land. The judge said that he would hold
those two in contempt themselves if they didn't enforce this order.  Nothing
happened for 6 days, on the 7th day the Military Police arrived and removed
the army, the police then arrived, only under the auspices of the Deputy
Sheriff which I had to pick up and carry all the time. They provided no
transport.  They provided no effort to help in any other way other than to
witness and support the Messenger of the Court. We had Mujaji's wife
arrested and she served I think 12 or 15 days of the 30 days.  Mujaji as far
as I am aware has never been arrested although the papers were served on him
in Harare.  I am told he has served 6 or 7 days

M: For contempt of court?

C: For contempt of court, but I have no evidence of that and I certainly
think that he hasn't done 30 days.  We removed all his things from the farm
and very hesitantly we went back there.

S: What time frame are we looking at here now?

C: November

S: 2007

C: Ja. I then decided that I might as well do something with the farm so we
planted 75 ha of maize and that was it.  Our roses we had 2 ha ah a hectare
of roses had been destroyed because he hadn't looked after them during the
period he had been there, and so we lost that in its entirety. Uh the state
of the farm was not good um.  Anyway we planted our 75 ha of maize, and
since then I have put in some seed beds and we've just tried to get the farm
back into a sort of a running form.

S: So your labour came back only when you went back in November?

C: Only when I went back

S: They came back

C: Not all of them, probably a third of them

S: Ok

C: And we have tried to get the place working again.

S: What about your equipment that he took? Did you recover that?

C: I have filed RRB numbers, I have filed reports to the police, the police
say they are aware of it, they know that he's got it, but they wont act.

S: Do they know where it is?

C: They say they know where it is

S: Do you know?

C: Well I am sure he's got it on his farm (.) was booted off

M: Which Is?

S: Which Is?

M: Which is he has another farm?

C: He's had land all over, he's been allocated 2 or 3 pieces of land

S: Do you know any of the names of those farms Charles

C: No, but I know where they are

S: Ok

M: Ok

S: Not in the same district?

C: No, he's got some in the same district.  He had a farm in Goromonzi,
actually he right back in 2003 he was allocated land next door to us and
he kept that land for a year and then he asked me to load some of his
equipment for him cause he said he had been allocated another piece of land
in Goromonzi and he was off.

S: Was he in the Congo?

C: And, I have no idea. And then he went off to Goromonzi and the next time
I heard that he was back, he was back jambanjering us

M: I I. Why do you think?  Do you have any theories as to why he has picked
your farm?

C: I think he is related to some of the head honchos there and that's just,
they like to have all people that are related to them in the area, basically
just sort of power enforcement.  Um the, the next issue happened was quite
out of the blue on last Wednesday, we were, he pitched up with

S: We talking about July 2008 sorry I just want all the dates

C: Ja he pitched up with about a dozen youth on the farm and I was there.

S: He being Mujaji

C: Mujaji himself, and with uh Sergeant Mukoni,(sp) he was one of the army
guys who had been probably the most vociferous and aggressive during the
previous you know episodes

S: Again all in uniform, armed?

C: No all of them in civvies

S: Any weapons?

C: Not that I could see, all brandishing sticks, um they then threatened me,
they said go back to my house, I refused, so they ignored me and rounded up
all my workers.

S: You were on your own then, no family with you?

C: I was on my own. The workers were rounded up they beat a couple of them
there which I witnessed, they then threatened me and told me to go back to
my house, um again I refused so they told me if I wanted me to beaten up in
front of my workers then I better comply so I then went to my house and from
there I could see what was happening.  They rounded up all the workers made
them sit down, kneel down.  Some of the senior guys were hit over the head
by the youth under the instruction of that Sergeant Mukoni. They then um had
them singing and dancing for that night and they locked all my gates and put
some guards around and told me not to come out of the house.  Under cover of
darkness I managed to break out and I walked to Headlands.

S: Sorry before we go on. Um what about fires and food and?

C: Ja they lit some fires around the place and they got some of the women to
cook them some food and

S: Where did they get that from?

C: It was my maize

S: So they stole your maize your mealie meal

C: Exactly

S: Ok. What about cattle, did they slaughter any of your cattle?

C: No they didn't do any of that

S: Ok.

M: What about keeping you in your house what things did they do to you?

C: They just threatened me I mean I was locked in there.

M: They locked you in did they put any guards around?

C: Well they had guards all around anyway, and so I couldn't really get out.
If I got out I was going to get beaten, and there was only one gate to get
through with a lock um so I just watched from the offices as to what was
happening, and I saw them pouring water over one of my foremen I mean this
is middle of winter 8, 9 o'clock at night and they made him stand out there
with cold water on uh and the rest were singing and dancing and they were
shouting things at them, just basically intimidating them.  So anyway I got
out and I got to Headlands and caught a lift

S: How far away is that Charles?

C: About 15 kms.

S: Ok

C: I then reported the matter to the relevant authorities, I reported it to
Headlands, I reported it to Dispol in Rusape, I reported it to Propol. They
have all got copies of my High Court Orders everything but they failed they
are not acting, and I'm being told straight I'm playing (.) at them they not
going to act, when I had been barricaded, I did call the Dispol, they sent
a vehicle, it arrived. It made no attempt to come and see me. It was there
probably 30 seconds and it turned around and went back.

S: Who did you speak to at Dispol

C: Dispol told me, uh Mujongwe, (sp) that they are under orders from Propol
ah that, that to call back that lorry. Since then I must have spoken 20
times to all these people, they will not act, they will not send anybody
there. Uh the reports I'm getting from the farm through workers who have
been chucked off ah are that the plan was to intimidate all the workers,
after two or three days to bring me out in front of them, to get the workers
to beat me up and to chase me off the farm thereby the workers having done
it, they only found out a day after I had gone that I was not there and they
sent the youth to go and fetch me from the house, when they found out that I
was not there, they then decided to turf off all the main, remaining people
from the farm, I picked up three, in Headlands one and two in Marondera

S: Did they contact you?

C: No no-ones contacted, my workers did

S: I'm talking about your workers yes sorry.

C: They related me what had happened, they had pungwes every night for three
nights. Um that some of them had been hit over the head basically um I'd say
the worst was what I had seen. They told me that um some of our maize had
gone missing and that some of our pipes had gone missing.

S: Irrigation pipe

C: Ja they said also that our tractor had been used to ferry people around
and that they were using my vehicle to drive around the farm and so on

S: And your fuel

C: And my fuel. They were all told that if anyone communicated with me in
any way that I, they will be beaten. Um As it stands I haven't gone back to
the farm, I intend to go soon as I need to pay my guys.  We've got a barley
crop in the ground 50 ha ah 40 ha of barley which obviously will probably
die because it needs diesel to run the generators.  Mujaji has sent
messages to me through my workers that nothing will leave that farm um
unless I negotiate with him

S: Do you know what he wants to negotiate?

C: I think he, Mujaji wants to keep all my equipment, he would like to keep
some of that maize and probably some of my cattle he's probably going to try
and take whatever he can get his hands on.

S: Do you think he wants you to stay there and farm it for him?

C: No. I think he wants me to remove any court orders on him. I think he
would like to for me to uh agree to leave.  Cause all my orders which are
from the highest court in the land state clearly that these orders will
stand unless I voluntarily relinquish or leave that farm so the only way he
can undo this is to force me to voluntarily leave.  I have submitted
statements to the Head Office in Harare here PGHQ, to their legal
department, who are fully aware of the situation, they have copies of my
statements, they have copies of my orders, they still refuse to act.

M: Um Mujaji has he ever said that, said as much to you, said lets
negotiate has he ever offered to talk about negotiating for your equipment
or asked you to drop the

C: Yes often, often when he used to barricade me um before this incident and
stop me, stop us from grading tobacco or selling, his plan was to say right
there is going to be no selling of tobacco, that you must lift your court
orders on me, he said that to me in his office.

S: Ok so he's worried about this.

C: Ja and wants all the legal things off and wants to keep the equipment

S: Take it now

C: It's just a looting exercise

M: So he wants everything

C: He wants everything, and the police appear to see it happen at this

M: Um how long has the army been present on your farm then, that's about?

S: We've had them for a whole year

M: A whole year, and 9 of them or

C: It varied, sometimes 4, sometimes 10, they used to vary and chop and
change depending on what he had in mind

S: And he obviously came out or somebody came out and paid them and fed

C: Ah he used to come out regularly his wife used to come out regularly,

M: And they were soldiers in uniform.

C: Ja, uniform and always armed.  Often I was threatened, um cocked weapon
and threats.

S: Have your family been off um your wife and children been off since 2006
then or did they go back with you in March last year.

C: No you know sometimes I would take them back there um

S: But as a home hey Charles it's been

C: But as a home its just it's not at all safe to have family there.  Uh
Since we've got back on in November, um we've been back a number of times
and you know we've tried to get it back to looking like a home, but you know
it's obviously deteriorated.

S: Charles your labour how, you mentioned before we started recording that
they have been very supportive um

C: They have been through this with me for 8 years and they have put up with
so much harassment and so on and they

S: They have never demanded SI6 package or anything

C: No, no I have always told them that if I leave the farm I would pay them,
and when Mujaji kicked us off at gun point I did pay everybody, you know
they have also got to survive so I paid them off, everybody on the farm, and
when I came back again the ones that wanted to come back came with me.

S: And have any of them been beaten that they have needed hospitalisation or
have you got any medical reports or have they medical cards

C: I don't know

S: You have never had to take someone to the hospital because they have been
so badly beaten.

C: No. No no the beatings are basically intimidation, but its not life

S: Ja. They haven't made them go I know you said, mentioned they were
drenched in water they haven't been made to go and tread water in the dam or
anything like that

C: Uh No no but I know this latest incident the labour are getting really
scared because they have had a year of it and they know what these guys can

M: Have they ever mentioned um MDC or anything in that respect over the
election time.

C: No look we have always stayed out of politics and there has always been a
plan to try and paint us as a big political stronghold there and so on um
but it's a very low key they always put polling stations right at the school
uh and so on but there has never been any political issues there,

S: Ok

C: Really um.

S: You mentioned the school you said there was a story about the school.

C: Ja we've got a school there which we built. It was mentioned in our (.)
court order that the fact that we have done this for the community and that
we still run the school and pay for it is a commendable thing. Right now we
are re-thatching and trying to sort it out, ah but obviously that's of no
interest to the state, and this this um Mujaji I don't think she has the
same view point.

S: How old is this Mujaji do you think?

C: He must be quite close to retirement

S: Oh really.  How's your wife?  I mean how are they taking all this and the

C: Look it's not easy, you know it's a choice that we've all had to make. Do
we acquiesce to the wrongs that are happening here and just pack our bags
and go, or do we stand by what we believe in and see it through.  I've
always sort of believed that you know provided that we are on the right side
of the law that we should stand by it and provided that the laws of the land
are in our favour we should stand by it, its now got to the point where the
State won't abide by its own laws and you know there's total lawlessness
going on, the police are totally, are probably complicit in this whole
thing just by virtue of the fact that they won't act at all, they won't
carry out their duties.

M: Do you ever have days when you yourself feel really despondent and
despair and...

C: You know I do I have moments when I think its time to chuck this whole
thing out and what is it all for and you know and then all of a sudden I'll
get a little light that will come through and give me a bit of hope and say
no just see it through you know and I take it on a day by day basis um I've
always said when it gets to a position where my family and myself and their
lives are threatened then obviously that's the point where its not worth it
any more, its just land at the end of the day and its living, but its become
more than that in many respects its become a focal point for our actual, all
our civil liberties, all our way of life style in this country, when your
institutions themselves are being used against ordinary civilians you know
who are on the right side of the law it becomes more than just land. This is
way way beyond that.

M: What about in terms of your own identity as a farmer, I mean the land is
part of that you know I mean.

C: Look everybody is, I'm a farmer I need land to farm, I'm a Zimbabwean.
Its, by virtue of what the state is doing here, not only are they, they
basically disowning us, as civilians you know as people of the country we
are just being disowned.  Its like going to a guy who is a doctor and just
saying right fine, well you've got no hospital to work in, we are taking all
your injections, all your things away, and all the rest of it you know he
no longer becomes a doctor um

S: Ja. What's going on with the other, I mean there have you got other
people around you who are farming, commercial farmers what's going on with
them as well . Are they

C: Ja we've got other farmers. I am targeted because I have basically taken
a moral stand. We have farmers around us who lease land.  We have farmers
around us who have taken a totally different approach to the way I've taken
and um they are not as contentious but I have decided that you know if
people aren't prepared to even listen to their own laws of their own country
then what is the point of entering into an agreement, a negotiated agreement
with them, they can't even abide by that, they can't even listen to the
acting president of their own country what's the hope of even discussing
anything with them.  So rather stand by the principal and by the law and see
how far that takes you.  If that won't work then obviously nothing will
work. So that has been my thinking of that process

S: Ok what is your what is your thinking now what is your way forward from
today, you've been yesterday you were with PGHQ and lodging all your
statements and everything , so now what do you what's next?

C: Obviously the, the um
(ringing noise)

C: Obviously the (sighs) I would have to go back to the police and lodge a
high court order citing them, the Commissioner and the Commander of the army
for further contempt uh because as an acting member of the military he has
again broken the law in exactly the same way as he did when the previous
contempt order was raised and he was forbidden from coming to the farm in
any way until I prosecuted and found guilty. The. That would be the first
thing to do.  Once they are cited and they fail to act then we are clearly
the situation of total lawlessness.  If that happens I have no other option
other than to take the issue to SADC and hope that they will intervene and
to install some form of law into the situation. I have never taken the state
to court ever they are the ones who have prosecuted me in each case, in fact
I am under prosecution right now for the second time

S: I was going to ask you about that

C: And if my case was initiated in July last year and it's been going on for
the whole year

S: By the state or by Mujaji

C: By the state. The state has prosecuted me for the second time for being
on the land unlawfully which seems ludicrous because how can they prosecute
me when I am actually being allocated the land through the same laws that
they wish to prosecute me and on top of that it has been backed up by a
letter from the most senior person in the country who is the Chairman of the
Land Reform Board, himself, who acknowledges that I have been given that
land so I don't see how they can find me guilty, I think if they do wish to
find me guilty on it, it is not going to be through not lawful means but
another angle.

S: Mm jeepus

C: So we await, I I have got to go to the court on Friday again, instructed
she, the Judge, the Magistrate actually said she would pass Judgement on
whether I should even have to give evidence any more because the State in
making their case presented one witness who was incapable of answering more
than 50% of the questions that were put to him and in fact refused to answer
most of the questions, which in itself is an offence as they are the
prosecuting authority

S: Their witness

C: Their witness.  They then asked for an adjournment to call for more
witnesses when they recognised that they had a problem here.  The magistrate
accepted that adjournment and said you have got three weeks to come up with
other witnesses.  They certainly will not put any senior person on the land
because I have got evidence against all of those people which I will produce
in court if I am prosecuted.  The State closed its case without bringing any
further evidence or any further prosecute any further witness thereby making
this case, its got such a weak case.  The magistrate herself appeared
surprised um.

M: So you will apply for

C: So we immediately applied to have this case withdrawn and for me to have
an immediate acquittal because I have a high court order allowing me to be
on the land and they have specified that I am there legally and they have
specified the time frame that I have been there legally. So in law I don't
see how I can be found guilty. The law does not say that it can undo a
previous court case or a previous law. I have been allocated the land by
the Government, so I think that this is just sheer intimidation and taking
advantage of the situation and abuse of all the legal

M: Processes

C: Processes

S: Absolutely

M: That's it

C: I would never take the State to court in this country. Why should I need
to when they have already given me the land, what is the point, but it
appears that they can't even abide by their own law.  Its, it's quite a
serious implication

S: Jeepus so if nothing else Charles you've exposed huge

C: Ja well

M: Corruption. Can of worms

S: Incredible

C: Well I don't think the courts are corrupt in terms of the law

S: Well discrepancies let's put it that way then

C: Ja you know the judges have treated my cases fairly.  The judges have
made good judgement.

M: Ja ja

C: No judge has looked at it and made a ridiculous judgement.  They have
looked at it and in terms of law they have made fair judgements. The problem
comes in the enforcement of those laws. And in terms of my current case
where I am being prosecuted, The magistrate I think will find it extremely
hard for her to carry on with the prosecution with this sort of evidence
against it, and even if she acquits me, who's to say that they are going to
listen to that.  The issue is no one listens to the laws that are made.  And
I have always said quite openly I have said to Mutasa, and I have said to
Msika, and I have said to the Governor and I have said to virtually every
single authority, I said why all this intimidation, why all this nonsense.
I said you are the governing people in this country.  You make the laws if
you want to remove us just make a law whereby we have to go, simple and we
will go. I said if I am guilty and I am on the wrong side of the law, I will
go.  I will just pack my bags and go, why military people why jambanja, why
intimidation, beating the people, why this whole farce.

S: And what's their answer to that I mean do they respond to that?

C: They agree with me but nothing changes

S: Ja

C: Um so that's where we're at

S: Phew

M: Gee. Anything else?

S: Have you anything

M: Anything more you want to add

C: Uh ja I think just as a final note on all of this there's just a view
point here that the few remaining white farmers, you know, are enemies of
the state in terms of being on the land and I think it needs to be carefully
looked at as to why those people are on the land and on what authority that
they are on the land um and look at this whole issue from a proper legal
professional point of view.  The anarchy that is reigning here is just for
the benefit of those individuals who seem to be just taking advantage of the
whole situation.  For it to go forward I don't know where we, where this is
all going to lead us.  But a lot of those farms that are being taken over,
it has just got to the point where it is just irrecoverable, the amount of
capital required to get these farms back and working is huge, and more
importantly the workers that are required to do it are just not there any
more we have lost a whole generation of workers right now who have the
skills to do this, who have gone and the people who are we are left to work
with are youth who have been indoctrinated to think in a totally different
manner. So unless this thing stops soon its going to be irrecoverable, it
will take generations and generations. Look how long they've taken in
Mocambique to get the agriculture going they, it won't be a thing that money
can sort

S: Absolutely, I've said it all along.

C: And that is, we are getting to that point where we are virtually over the

S: Slippery slide down fast.

C: That's all I've got to add

M: Thank you very much

S: Thank you Charles thanks.

DATE: 16 JULY 2008


C: Charles Lock

M: This is an interview with Charles Lock on the 16th July 2008.  First of
all Charles can I ask you if you consent to being recorded

C: Yes I do

M: Okay when we last left it, you were about to go back to your farm having
left it under duress, you had to climb out of the over the fence and walk,
um as far as I remember, is that correct?

C: Ya, that is correct

M: Okay what, what's happened since then?  You said we last spoke you said
you were going to return to the farm,

C: Right, um on Wednesday I, Mujaji (sp) arrived on the farm with his
militia and his army and basically jambanjaed us and I've explained all of

M: Ya

C: The Thursday I was in town recording everything and trying to see people.
On Friday I received a message that 3 of my senior workers had been dumped
in Headlands and I picked them up. My senior workshop guy had been hit over
the head quite hard, that I had actually seen myself when I had been
barricaded.  The other two guys had been accused of um supporting me.  One
of them had to stand up and had water poured all over him at night time.
The other one was a security guard and they were told to get off the farm
and their belongings dumped with them. Another two guys had managed to make
it out to Marondera that was a driver and also a senior lorry driver.  The
gentleman were picked up at Headlands by myself and I took them to Headlands
police station where they all made statements. When they made those
statements I also made a statement and submitted that to the Officer in
Charge and he gave me a stamped copy of which you've got a copy I'm leaving
here at this office.  Um, I explained um what Mujaji had done, I explained
the whole jambanja and the people involved, I explained picking up my
workers, I explained what had happened to them.  They also put it down on
their affidavits that the plan had been for me to have be brought out in
front of my workers and for me to have been beaten up by my workers and
chased off and thereby absolving the militia and the army for that
particular job

M: Sorry who explained that?

C: My three workers I had picked up

M: Oh okay (.)

C: Over the weekend I did not receive much information from the farm, the

S: You came back to Harare hey?

C: I came back to Harare

S: And those guys what happened to them?

C: I basically gave them some money and some food I didn't have much maize
meal because it was all on the farm and I asked them to just take a few days
off, which they did

S: Charles, sorry their families weren't affected; I assume they had wives
and children, were they all okay at this stage?

C: Um from what I understand yes. I got messages from workers who ran off
the farm who asked to not be identified by names because they were told
categorically that anyone who communicated with me would be beaten up. Um
there was a very big effort to stop all communication between the workers
and myself.  On the Monday I saw more people.  On the Tuesday I made a plan
to go out to the farm

S: More people being who?

C: I basically had meetings with various people who I thought could help.  I
spoke to all the Propols, the Dispols. I had meetings with Mabatamasango
(sp) who is the head of the Legal Affairs Department at PGHQ.  Um I gave him
all my documents.  He said my papers were in order and legally I was the
occupier of the farm um and that the only thing that was pending was my
court case" of which a judgement was coming the following Friday.  He said
my High Court Order was extremely specific and he had ordered the Propol and
the Dispol in my presence by telephone to arrest all those concerned and to
rectify the situation and to recover all property that had been taken and to
take whatever necessary statements that need to be taken.  He made that
order twice when I was there on both the Monday and the Tuesday and then he
instructed me to go out to the farm.  Um I did go out to the farm and I took
some people with me.  I had an accredited reporter with me; I also had a
driver because I wanted to recover one of my vehicles. Um on arriving at
the farm um I was met by all these people at the gate. I asked for the
driver and

S: All these people being the militia

C: Being militia and the army

S: Okay in uniforms still?

C: Of which Sgt Makoni (sp) was the head

M: They were in uniform?

C: Um one of them was but the other two I know were in the army because they
have been part and parcel of being at the farm for the past year when they
were finally evicted from previous problems.  These guys all sort of
surrounded me and I told them that I wanted to pay my workers and I wanted
to verify what was going on on the farm.  They wanted to know who was in the
pickup and they sent some people to find out who was in there

M: Which pickup?

C: The one that had the reporter in and my driver.  I also had a backup car
with two friends in which were sitting sort of half way off the farm.  Um I
went into the yard and they locked the gates after me and they stayed all
around me these guys but they were not threatening, they seemed to be quite
calm and they said that I could see if everything was in order but I was not
allowed to speak to any of my workers

S: Do you know at this time if Propol or Dispol had been out to the farm?

C: Um as of yet, no

S: Not at that time, that was Wednesday?

C: No. Yes.  They, I then asked to do an audit.  I checked my maize stocks
and noticed that 19 bags of maize were missing.  They indicated that Mujaji
had taken them but they didn't want it to go any further.  I asked where my
irrigation pipes had been taken and they didn't want to make any mention of
that. They said "Oh they will just be returned". They didn't say who had
taken them or how they had been taken. I also noticed a trailer had been
taken and they made no comment on that either. I checked the rest of my
equipment and it seemed to be alright but some of my diesel had been taken
and I noticed that my vehicle had been used, um I asked my manager what the
story was with the vehicle and he was very hesitant to make any comment.  He
later told me that if he mentioned anything to me, he had been threatened.
I then went into my house because my house had been broken into and I
noticed that quite a few things had been looted - clothes, food, um a few
utensils, um a few provisions. I um, had made a statement to the police
about this and noticed that a statement had already been made by the army
and by my maid as to the break-in.  While I was walking around and

M: Were you privy to that statement made by the army? (.)

C: No I was not privy to it I just actually went and saw it at the police

M: Did you manage to read it?

C: I just took note of what they had written down that had been taken, it
was very specific I don't know how they could have been so specific because
I am the only person who knew what was in that house exactly.

S: (Chuckle)

M: Ya

C: Um in my deliberations around the area during the course of the day I
managed to get some information from two guys who told me they actually knew
who the person was who jumped over the wall and into the house, they had his
name but they weren't prepared to tell me about it because Sgt Makoni had
said if they spoke about it, they would be sorted out, so I haven't released
their names to anybody yet.  The um RBZ then pitched up with a few police
officers wanting to buy some of my maize and this caused a bit of chaos in
the area and upset the rhythm of things.  Um Mujaji also arrived and
despatched some people to go and find this photographer and or newspaper man
and driver and also to find the backup vehicle I had. The backup vehicle
left the farm when they realised they were being pursued although I believe
that Mujaji spoke to them and was quite cordial and said "No you can come in
if you want" but they declined.  The cameraman was found and they took his
film off him, I don't know if he'd taken any pictures they wanted to know
who he was what he was doing and they took his ID and went through all of
his personal effects

S: Was this just coincidence RBZ arriving and Mujaji at the same time?

C: Ya

S: It was?

C: Ya this was just coincidence

S: Wow

C: It just upset the rhythm of things and I think they were wrong footed.
Mujaji then allowed me to take my pickup and I took a few belongings out of
my house that were immediately vulnerable because they had broken down two
doors. And then he wanted to speak to me.  He said that basically the farm
was his, he told me that the maize had been grown on his land. He would
honour my contracts okay but anything over those contracts would basically
be his. I presumed that he would be paid by the contractor for the maize
that would be delivered. He indicated that no maize would be leaving the
farm without his authority.  He said that all his equipment would largely be
mine that the Government would be coming to do a valuation of all my
equipment and that they would value and pay me for it. He said that
fertilizer stocks and chemical stocks I could take unless I wanted to
remove, um sell it to the state or to him but that I should co-operate if I
wanted this to happen. He also stated that I had cattle on the farm.  He
said "your cattle are on the farm, we'll look after them for you", he wanted
to buy some but he said at some stage I must move them off.  He said my
barley was basically and my tobacco seedbeds because I had grown them on his
land and then he just told me to go away and think about it.  I made no real
comment I just listened and after that I picked up my pickup and the
reporter who was a bit nervous at this stage and we left.  I proceeded to
the office at Headlands where I submitted a report

S: Office for

C: Headlands Police and submitted another report as to what happened that
day.  That was my 2nd report

S: Was it just you and Mujaji talking or were there other hangers on?

C: Sgt Makoni was there, um I also had a driver with me who was there and he
heard most of what was said.  They were questioning the driver as to what he
was, they wanted to know where he was from so on and I think they accepted
who he was after his questioning.  Mujaji told me to be there on Thursday to
check the valuation and I said "I won't be there" and that was it. I made my
reports to Propol Dispol and the local police um but nothing happened. I
then proceeded to inform Mabatamasango again on Thursday back in Harare
exactly what happened. Mabatamasango again 2nd time around ordered Dispol
and Propol to affect an arrest and comply with the High Court Order.  I left
his office and proceeded to Rusape on Friday morning.  At Rusape I awaited
the judgement for my criminal prosecution.  At that prosecution a Mr
Superintendant Zvombe (sp) who is directly underneath Mabatamasango from
Legal Affairs Head Office Harare was present at that verdict.  There were
police around the court room, it was full.  I noticed Mujaji in the
background but I didn't see him sitting in the actual court room.  The
verdict was read out it was one and a half hours long and I was acquitted
and discharged.  After that acquittal

M: Sorry just for the clarity for the recording.  The criminal prosecution
is in terms of

C: Consequential Land Amendment Act, Consequential Provisions Land Act and I
was charged by the State for being in occupation of the farm unlawfully

M: On State land?

C: On State land.  Um the Magistrate stated that the State had provided
absolutely no evidence. 1) that the land had even been acquired, 2) that I
was there unlawfully, 3) that there was any evidence to the contrary of the
statements that I've produced that I have been allocated that land.  They
produced one witness who refused to answer any of the questions. In summary
it was a very, very poor effort and she stated that in her judgement saying
if they wanted to prosecute this they should have brought a number of
witnesses and prepared their case in a more thorough manner.  Um she stated
that when my letter had been presented from the Acting President Msika and
the Governor allocating me that land and confirming that I was to remain
there the witness refused to answer any more questions after that which is
quite interesting.  Anyway, I didn't go back to the farm that weekend but I
did receive reports that the soldiers were still there, that maize was going
bag by bag and that um court case that had happened was not be relayed to
anybody on the farm.  I went back to Mabatamasango on Monday I showed him my
court case and he acknowledged that Zvombe had been there but that he had
not communicated with Zvombe.  He said that I should return to the farm on
Tuesday and that I would be happy with the efforts of the police when I
arrived there that I would find nobody there.  He said "If you are not
happy with the situation then you feel free to report matter to the Deputy
Commissioner in charge of Crime Debi Sibanda (sp) who's one under the
Commissioner himself. I went out to the farm; I went out with my nephew

S: This is yesterday now

C: Yesterday.  I went to Headlands they gave me three details. When I
arrived there I found that Dispol was there in their vehicle with another 3
details.  Sgt Makoni was there and he's been the prime criminal in this
whole case.  Um they said that no one was on the farm

M: Sgt Makoni is (.)

C: From the army and Mujaji's 2 IC.  Um and he is the guy who I actually saw
him in Headlands driving around in my vehicle believe it or not with about
20 people in the back. That's already been subject to a report.  The police
made no effort to arrest Makoni, they merely said "everything's fine here.
Do you want to check everything is okay?" I said "fine".  My manager was not
allowed to release any information to me out of fear.  I found a paper about
maize taken by Mujaji and Makoni but he didn't give it to me I actually got
that out of the office later. Um, he tried to deny that any maize had been
taken so I did my own stock take and found that about 60 bags in total
including the 17 prior were missing.  I also established that 35 irrigation
pipes and fittings and a trailer been taken off the farm by Mr Chakonyora
who was the guy who had stolen a lot of stuff off the farm in the first
jambanja a year ago. This had been taken to Mujaji's farm had not been

S: Which farm is that, do you know?

C: Mujaji has a farm in Headlands

S: Don't know what it's called

C: I don't know what it's called.  I mentioned this to the police, the
police merely said "Oh this has been borrowed and will be returned" I said
"I gave no authority for the stuff to be borrowed, this is theft", they
merely wrote it down.  I then checked my house again and nothing else had
been taken.  My vehicle had been used extensively over the last week and was
in a bad state of disrepair, it no long started, the speedo cable had been
disconnected or is broken, the diesel thing didn't work, both windows don't
work um and the exhaust has broken off.

S: In how long Charles, 2 weeks?

C: In 2 weeks! I actually got it out from some of our workers that it had
been used every single day.  Um they had been ferrying people backwards and
forwards to Headlands, they had been putting maize in there they had been
using it for personal things and running around the farm. At the end of all
of this I said to the police that could they take Makoni away to Headlands
presumably to be locked up and also could they check the house next door
where Makoni and his people had based themselves and had been living, they
just drove around, had a look, came back and told me no one was there and
then proceeded off to Headlands

M: With Makoni?

C: With Makoni. I spoke for an hour with my manager who was quite shaken up
about everything who said that these guys were not going to leave they are
going to come back they have threatened us, if we tell you really what has
been happening we will be beaten up and sorted. I explained to him that he
needs to make a proper affidavit because that would be his only protection
and I said that I would be in touch. I said I had to go to Rusape to go and
get my Acquittal Order.  I did that and went off to Rusape; I got my
Acquittal Order and the Judgement and drove back.  I thought I had better
just check up on the farm on my way back from Headlands so I drove up
through the farm I stopped at the green houses which were about 300m from
the main gate, I deliberately didn't go up to the main gate and I just had a
look.  I saw two workers coming by, who will remain nameless and they stated
to me that um they didn't want to talk.  I said "Are the soldiers still back
there?" and they said "Boss, they have arrived, they've come straight back"
and I said "what since the police took them off?" and they said "yes" I
decided not to go into the area and cause any trouble and I would just
report this issue back to the police and leave which is what I have done.
This morning which is Wednesday morning I wrote a letter out to the
Assistant Commissioner General Sibanda in charge of crime at PGHQ. I met him
personally, I gave him a copy of the letter and I gave him a copy of my
Acquittal I explained everything that has been happening on the farm and I
asked him please if he would see to it that this was resolved as Propol and
Dispol were not acting in a proper manner here to order the situation, that
my High Court was not being carried out, that my Acquittal was not being
recognised and that Mujaji was still playing games with the soldiers on the
farm, that my equipment had not been returned and that I would like to have
all my maize and the stuff taken from the farm to be returned, he said he
would look into it.  From there I proceeded into the office and I am now
making this statement.

M: Okay

S: Have you had any communication from your workers or your manager on the
farm overnight till this morning?

C: I haven't, I haven't I am a bit concerned as to what has happened to him.
But if nothing has happened by the end of the day I will take the matter up
further.  I mean I think his life could well be in danger as could be a few
others there. They have obviously tried not to release any information to me
but I have ways of finding it out. Um and ya I think I am pretty accurate in
what is happening on there.  I have copied my letter into Propol that I sent
to the Assistant Commissioner General and there is a copy here which I am
including on the records including my statements that were sent to the

S: Okay

M: Have the police ever refused to give you a RRB number or anything?

C: No they have never refused to give me a RRB number but they have been

M: Obstructive

C: Slow to react and in some cases they just don't react at all.  Um they
were instructed to go and arrest these individuals and when I spoke to
Superintendant Dube from Dispol he said he just sent some people out there
to tell them they were there illegally and that was it.  These guys have
been on the farm for 2 weeks.  The court order specifies that they must be
arrested immediately and brought to the Registrar of the Court in Harare.
That still has not even been done not one single one of them has been
charged in spite of all the crimes on top of their contempt order have been
committed. We have all their names, we know who they are.  Mujaji drives
around as if he's a protected man and he can break the law openly.
S: Sounds like he is, shocking man jeepers.  So this Mabatamasango is having
no effect really is he (.)

C: Well he has tried and I have taken it through the normal and proper
channels um through all the proper channels and I cannot go any higher than
this other than to site a complaint order onto the Commissioner himself
which may have to be the next route if they refuse to to sort this matter
out but I have tried to avoid that um rather to try and get some action to
lend them the opportunity to try and sort it out themselves but it appears
within the province there is certainly no will to do that

M: Um what about your contract with um Delta? Have they been of any

C: I have mentioned it to them and they are most concerned but I don't think
they can do anything and I also have contracts for my maize.  They are (.)
most concerned I mean they had to pay for a lorry to go out there and come
back empty

M: They weren't allowed to load up?

C: They weren't allowed to load.  I mean that's a jail able offence
immediately.  That's theft of maize large quantities of it and nothings been

S: GMB are not involved hey?

C: No the GMB is not involved my maize is contracted to Delta and Staywell.
The GMB didn't provide us with any assistance um I've sold them a bit of
maize to show goodwill but my contracts are with those two people.
M: What about production on the farm is there anything that, obviously

C: Well my labour force is in tatters so I probably won't be able to put in
a tobacco crop this year.  I'm extremely worried about security about theft
of our cattle about our implements, about irrigation pipes and equipment
that are all outside about theft at night because the farm has been a free
for all youth militia, army all sorts of people over the last 2 weeks
they've had access to everything, our keys the lot, so I'm concerned about

S: Tell me did the Government valuators go out there on Thursday?

C: Apparently they did, yes

S: So how can you get hold of the inventory and the valuation?

C: Well they say that the inventory is done, I mean there are laws as to
what they have to do on that valuation but to be honest I don't see how they
can value my equipment and say they want to acquire it when I am the lawful
occupation of the land and utilizing it

M: (.)

C: And I already have an order to that effect but they just chose to ignore

M: So you are utilizing that equipment

C: Ya

M: So it cannot be acquired, mm interesting.  Is there anything else you
want to add?

C: Basically I just think Mujaji and his co-horts are just acting above the
law and unless the law acts and sorts them out then we are living in a
totally lawless society right now where the military are in control and the
evidence is here for everybody to see

S: Ya you are right hey, scary

M: Okay thank you

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitutional Deadline Missed

BILL WATCH 29/2008
[18th July 2008]
Opening of Parliament
Constitutional Deadline Missed
The 15th July deadline for the first meeting of the new Parliament has been missed.  The deadline is imposed by section 62(2) of the Constitution:  "There shall be a session of Parliament beginning in every calendar year so that a period of more than one hundred and eighty days shall not intervene between the last sitting of either House in any one session and the first sitting of Parliament in the next session."  It has been questioned whether section 62(2) applies only to the period between sessions of the same Parliament and therefore cannot apply to the present situation.  However, all experts in Constitutional law consulted by Veritas reject that suggestion.  The provision in the Constitution is clear and it is set in a historical context, the purpose being to prevent government without Parliament. There is no other provision in the Constitution for the commencement of a Parliament.  We have not yet had a session beginning in this calendar year, and it is now over 180 days since the last sitting of the session that commenced last year.
The date for Parliament's first meeting is determined by the President and published in a Proclamation in the Government Gazette.  [Constitution, section 62(1): " Š.. the sessions of Parliament shall be held in such place and shall begin at such time as the President may, by proclamation in the Gazette, fix."]
Swearing-in of New Parliamentarians
This must be done before the opening of Parliament.  The timing of the swearing-in ceremonies is determined by the President. [House of Assembly Standing Order No. 2: "At such time on such day as is fixed by the President, members shall assemble at the time and place appointed, and shall make and subscribe to the oath of loyalty in terms of section 44 of the Constitution."  The Senate has a similar Standing Order.]  The House of Assembly already has its full complement of 210 members waiting to be sworn in.  The Senate, however, is still incomplete.  Senators for the 60 elected seats were elected in the March 29 poll, and the 18 Senator Chiefs were chosen separately by their own electoral colleges.  Still to be announced are the 5 presidential appointees and the names of the 10 Provincial Governors [who are ex officio members of the Senate].  [Total seats in the Senate 93]
Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of House of Assembly
Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, members of the House of Assembly must elect their Speaker and Deputy Speaker.  [Constitution, section 39: "(1) When the House of Assembly first meets after any dissolution of Parliament and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business it shall elect a presiding officer to be known as the SpeakerŠ (4) When the House of Assembly first meets after any dissolution of Parliament it shall, as soon as practicable after the election of the Speaker, elect in accordance with Standing Orders a member of the House of Assembly Š to be the Deputy Speaker ".]  And [House of Assembly Standing Order No. 3: "Members having assembled and made and subscribed to the oath of loyalty in terms of Standing Order No. 2 shall, as soon as a quorum (25 members) is present, forthwith proceed to elect a Speaker and during such election the Clerk shall act as Chairperson." This is followed by the election of the Deputy Speaker.]
The election of the Speaker is the subject of intense interest.  Normally the party [or combination of parties] with the majority of MPs would determine who will be Speaker and Deputy.  The combined MDC has 110 MPs against ZANU-PF's 99 [+1 Independent - total 210].  But police action against MDC legislators has resulted in some being held on criminal charges.  [See below]   Also, in the post-election violence some MDC MP's have been hospitalized.  Others have reported threats of violence or arrest and have gone into hiding.  This raises the possibility that the combined MDC voting power may be significantly eroded by the absence of some MPs [Note:  MPs do not have any special immunity from arrest on criminal charges; subject to that, however, preventing an MP from attending Parliament is a serious contempt of Parliament under the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, punishable by a level 7 fine or imprisonment of up to two years; that punishment may be imposed either by Parliament itself or by a court.]   The balance between the two parties could also be affected, either way, should any of the pending election petitions result in the unseating of members elected in the 29th March poll.  However, early finalisation  of the election petitions seems unlikely. 
Once elected, the Speaker enjoys considerable security of tenure.  He or she can be removed from office by MPs, but only by the affirmative votes of at least two-thirds of the total membership of the House [i.e.140 votes]. 
Election of President and Deputy President of the Senate
Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony,  Senators must elect the President and Deputy President of the Senate [Constitution, section 35, as read with Senate Standing Orders, Nos. 3 and 8, which are to the same effect as the provisions set out above for the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.]
In the election of the President and Deputy President of the Senate the President's party is likely to carry the day in any event.  Although the 60 elected Senators are evenly split between ZANU-PF [30] and the MDC [30], the President's 5 nominees and the 10 Provincial Governors would be expected to support his party, and the Chiefs tend to vote with the Government.  This would give a majority of 63 senators likely to support a ZANU-PF candidate against MDC's 30.  
Criminal Charges against Parliamentarians
Ten MDC MPs have been arrested on criminal charges and detained for varying periods since the 29th March.  A further 6 are believed to be in hiding.  The seat of any legislator accused of a criminal offence must be considered at risk, having regard to sections 41, 42 and 43 of the Constitution.  Section 41(1)(d) provides that a member forfeits his or her seat if absent from twenty-one consecutive sittings during any session without the leave of the Senate or the House of Assembly, and if the House concerned resolves, by the affirmative votes of more than one half of its total membership, that the seat shall become vacant.  Section 42 provides that a member automatically loses his or her seat if convicted and sentenced to death or imprisonment for six months or more.  Section 43 provides for expulsion of a convicted MP sentenced to a lesser sentence, if the House concerned decides by a vote of at least two-thirds of its total membership that the MP is unfit to continue in office.
Against that background, the following figures of MDC legislators arrested since 29th March, or said to be wanted by the police, are significant, because in most cases the offences alleged are serious and punishable by prison sentences in excess of 6 months: 
MPs arrested (10):  Tendai Biti, MP for Harare East;  Mischeck Shoko, MP for Chitungwiza South; Trevor Saruwaka, MP for Mutasa Central;  Shuwa Mudiwa, MP for Mutare West;  Amos Chibaya, MP for Mkoba;  Heya Shoko, MP for Bikita West];  Eliah Jembere, MP for Epworth; Naison Nemadziwa, MP for Buhera South;  Eric Matinenga, MP for Buhera West;  Ian Kay, MP for Marondera Central;  Norman Mpofu, MP for Bulilima East;
Senators arrested [2]: John Masaba, Senator for Kariba; Lutho Tapera, Senator for Bulilima-Mangwe
MPs reported wanted by police [6]: Pearson Mungofa, MP for Highfield East; Shepherd Mushonga, MP for Mazowe Central; Elton Mangoma, MP for Makoni North;  Pineal Denga, MP for Mbare;  Broadwin Nyaude, MP for Bindura South;  Edmore Marima, MP for Bikita East
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Toe the line or else, warns SADC


    July 21 2008 at 02:26PM

By Angela Quintal

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has taken a dim view
of some of its member states who have broken ranks about Zimbabwe and has
effectively told them to toe the line on regional positions.

This comes as Zimbabwe's political parties have finally agreed to
power-sharing talks, which could lead to an end to political violence and
the implementation of an economic recovery plan for the country.

Key officials in the SADC warned at the weekend that member states
were divided about Zimbabwe and that these differences could threaten peace
and unity in the region.

Among those who have been openly critical of Robert Mugabe are Zambian
President Levy Mwanawasa and Botswana's President Ian Khama, as opposed to
key Mugabe allies, such as Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The unprecedented situation was highlighted at the opening of the
ministerial committee (MCO) meeting of the region's organ on politics,
defence and security, which met in Durban about two days at the weekend.

The chairperson of the MCO, Angolan foreign minister Dr Joao Bernardo
de Miranda, said there were "many interpretations" of the Zimbabwean
presidential run-off election, which was boycotted by Morgan Tsvangirai.

"As a result the unity and cohesion of the SADC is somehow fragile
(sic). Such a fact is a very dangerous precedent, a very worrying situation
because in fact it touches on the fundamental principles of our organisation
and which could constitute an obstacle to regional peace."

He warned that it could also scupper the implementation of steps
already taken for the region's political, social and economic integration.

But a statement released after the meeting stressed there would be no
change to the region's support for the African Union's resolution on
Zimbabwe, including the creation of a government of national unity.

The MCO also reaffirmed its support for Thabo Mbeki's mediation
efforts and "urged all parties to engage in serious dialogue" and to do so
in a "genuine and constructive manner" for the sake of peace and

SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao described the MCO discussions
as "frank".

"When you have differences here and there, there is a culture in the
SADC that we take our decisions in a consensual manner."

It had been brought to the attention of member states that whenever
the region faced difficulties on the political front, this should be left to
the SADC's organ's troika "which has the responsibility to mediate, take
positions and to brief the summit in that regard".

This did not mean, however, that the SADC was trying to censor the
more outspoken heads of state. Salomao said the SADC member states had
agreed on the way forward.

Zimbabwe's political parties are expected to sign a memorandum of
understanding in Harare on Monday that will set the scene for power-sharing
talks, scheduled to begin in Pretoria later in the week.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Daily News on July
21, 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Dollar Hits 1,2 Trillion Against the UK Pound

SW Radio Africa (London)

21 July 2008
Posted to the web 21 July 2008

Lance Guma

Zimbabwe's economic decline was emphasized Monday when its currency slumped
to an all time low of trading 1 British pound to Z$1,2 trillion.

With inflation officially at 2,2 million percent but unofficially over 10
million percent, the Reserve Bank responded by introducing a Z$100 billion
dollar note. But a loaf of bread alone is costing more than Z$100 billion,
in an economy that is beset by crazy contradictions. Teachers and other
civil servants are earning around Z$140 billion a month, just enough to buy
two packets of potato crisps.

It was only in January this year that a $Z10 million note was issued. That
was quickly followed by Z$50, Z$100 and Z$250 million dollar notes, meant to
stave off cash shortages in the banking sector and allow for easier
transactions. But it has only taken a couple of months to move from million
dollar notes to billion dollar ones. While the regime has done its best to
blame so-called 'western sanctions,' economists say the printing of money in
an economy that is not producing anything has fuelled the hyper-inflationary

Over eighty-percent of the population is living below the poverty threshold,
with millions thought to be facing starvation, following the banning by
government of aid distribution by NGO's. Most people in formal employment
are having to sell goods and services on the side to supplement their
incomes. One teacher interviewed said teachers are selling sweets to their
students to supplement their meager wages, in violation of Ministry of
Education rules. Not surprisingly there are rumours that soldiers have just
been awarded trillion-dollar salaries, although it's impossible to find out
if this is correct.

Meanwhile the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the MDC and
Zanu PF on Monday brought mixed reactions on whether the country's economy
could soon turn a corner and improve. With promises of massive investment if
the political situation does improve many Zimbabweans were hoping their
suffering might be a thing of the past. Those who are skeptical feel that
Mugabe is using the MDC to get legitimacy for himself, and the situation
will only change for those at the top while ordinary people's suffering

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mass starvation looms for Zimbabweans

By Tererai Karimakwenda
July 21, 2008

Global media reports have said mass starvation is looming for millions of
Zimbabweans this year, following recent poor harvests and the ongoing food
shortages in the shops. But people on the ground are using a different
language. They say they are already starving. The government's chaotic 'Land
Reform' programme has resulted in poor harvests, even though there were
heavy rains this season. Government policies have produced an economy
characterised by hyperinflation and severe food shortages in the shops. With
experts estimating that inflation is currently between 10 and 15 million per
cent, prices for some goods are more than doubling every day.

An estimated five million people in the country will be in need of food
assistance very soon and hundreds of thousands who harvested very little
this season will require food aid immediately. This is according to the
United Nations, who also said that one third of the population suffers
malnourishment. An increased number of children are now suffering from
kwashiorkor, a serious disease linked to malnutrition.

Renson Gasela, an official in the Mutambara MDC and former head of the Grain
Marketing Board, said starvation is very, very visible these days. He said
in a country where everyone depends on maize as their daily food, it is a
serious problem when there is no maize at all. A 20-kg bucket of maize meal
now costs up to Z$ 1 trillion.

Gasela said he worries about going to his constituency because people expect
him to do something about the food shortages. A woman that he knows showed
up on his farm last week, selling a large bag full of her family's clothing.
Gasela quoted her as saying: "We can always buy more of these in the future,
but right now we need to eat."

Gasela angrily criticised the current government ban on humanitarian aid
agencies, that is stopping them from feeding people in the rural areas. He
said: "When you remove NGOs from feeding children, what are you saying? You
are saying that they are condemned to die."

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said many people are showing up in
the capital after leaving their rural homes because they did not grow enough
food to keep them alive. The shortages have been worse since the
presidential runoff election when ZANU-PF handed out bags of maize meal to
supporters with party cards.

The government recently announced what they call 'People's shops,' where the
food is subsidised. But the exercise has been criticised as nothing more
than a publicity campaign. Muchemwa said even one of these shops that he
went to have empty shelves, and only soldiers, intelligence agents, police
and prison officers have access to the food. In one shop last week, soldiers
argued over supplies of sugar that had just been delivered, threatening to
pull out guns if they did not get any.

Even if you have money there is another problem. Banks have a maximum
withdrawal limit of Z$100 billion per person a day, and it costs more than
that for a soft drink.

Muchemwa said cross border traders are reporting that Zimbabwe's shortages
are now causing price increases in South Africa and other neighbouring
countries. Supplies across the borders are reportedly getting scarce as
Zimbabweans buy in bulk to sell at home.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbare report, 21 July 2008

Mbare Residents
Power Supplies: Residents have expressed concern at the inconsistent power
supplies to the western parts of Mbare, split by Mhlanga Avenue. For the
past two weeks, power supplies have been erratic and outages have gone on
from 5 am to around 8.30pm or 9 pm. Refrigerated foods in the shops are
going to waste, in these trying times, worsening the plight of business.
Refuse collection: It remains a puzzle to the Mbare Residents' Trust why
residents have to continue to pay for the once a week refuse collection when
nothing is being done. Council workers are regularly seen loitering without
doing much work. Street corners have heaps of uncollected garbage.
Food shortages: The crippling shortages of maize meal threaten many families
in Mbare as the commodity is now scarce at Mbare Musika. When available it
is going for as much as Z$600 billion, making it unaffordable to the
majority of residents, who mostly survive on the informal sector to earn a
living. The black market has become almost the formal market as almost
everything; scarce in the shops has become readily available at a high cost.
The situation has put the lives of nearly 500 people on the home-based care
programme and over 2 000 orphans in jeopardy of starvation. Families have to
take one meal a day to prolong the time taken with a small portion of mealie
meal. The Trust forecasts if the situation is left unchecked in the next
fortnight or three weeks, most families would starve to death due to
malnutrition.  In fact most families now prepare their relish without
cooking oil. Our major concern is the plight of the sick that have to eat
nutritious food before taking their daily medication.
Health Services:  It has come to our attention that our clinics seem to be
operating on go slow.  Our investigations at Mbare Poly Clinic revealed that
the institution looks understaffed.  TB patients are appealing o the nurses
to process them earlier.
Bus Terminus Security: Mbare Musika bus touts are running riot at the
termini.  They can be seen jostling women as heavily laden would be
passengers.  They wittingly relive people of their luggage then start
running in all directions, parcels disappear in the ensuing confusion.  We
call upon the Municipal Police and ZRP to seriously look into this matter.
Beer Halls Security: Beer Garden patrons have noted that most of these no
longer have Municipal Police manning hem.  It's not rare to see women with
babies strapped on their backs drinking.  Underage kids can sometimes be
seen selling cigarettes to patrons.  One is now risking life and limb by
patronizing these unprotected bars, because tsotsis are now calling the
shots.  Most patrons are complaining that bar workers are short-changing
patrons by adding ZINWA (Water) to their opaque beer.  We call upon Rufaro
Marketing to look into these matters.

Contact us on email

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's thugs waved through Australian skies

Sydney Morning Herald

Russell Skelton
July 22, 2008

AIR ZIMBABWE is using Australian air space to ferry military officials and war veterans responsible for political violence in Robert Mugabe's repressive regime to China.

Flights from Harare, also carrying tonnes of illicit goods including ivory, gold and diamonds, pass directly through Australian air space en route to Singapore, before touching down in Beijing and southern China.

The Herald has been told that the flights, scheduled to depart on Monday and Fridays, have regularly been commandeered over the past year by Mr Mugabe and his "palace cronies" for junkets and holidays, leaving business passengers stranded at Harare International Airport.

Zimbabwe aviation sources said a recent flight carried 15 tonnes of unidentified "palace cargo" to Beijing to be exchanged for weapons and luxury items.

A spokesman for Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, yesterday declined to say what Australia's position was on the flights.

The Herald understands that Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition party is bewildered by Australia's failure to ban Air Zimbabwe from its air space - in line with a ban announced by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, David Emerson, last month.

The ban, following Zimbabwe's violence-marred run-off election on June 27, is accompanied by restrictions on Zimbabwean government, military and police officials and their families travelling, working and studying in Canada.

It is believed the aircraft are guided through Australia air space over the Indian Ocean by traffic controllers in Brisbane. Government sources said the Rudd Government had the power to refuse the flights access to the air space.

Zimbabwe aviation sources said the China flights were a political lifeline for President Mugabe and his Government, which faces international condemnation from Europe and the US. They claimed the country's wealth was being freely exchanged in China for luxury items and fittings for the $15 million presidential palace.

"You often see war veterans on these flights. They are being rewarded for their thuggery with free junkets to China," a flight engineer said. "When the flights arrive back in Zimbabwe they are escorted to a secured part of the airport and unloaded by trusted palace staff. They are often crammed with plasma televisions and luxury goods that people can only dream about.

"Just before the recent elections the return flights carried tonnes of posters and printed political propaganda and T-shirts for the war veterans.'

China has been steadily spreading its influence in Africa in an effort to secure energy and food resources for its rapidly expanding economy.

Another Zimbabwean flight engineer, who also asked not be named to protect his safety, said the Beijing flights were hazardous because safety requirements and mandatory rest breaks for crews were regularly ignored. "There is non-stop smoking. Flight engineers are not properly rested, yet if something goes wrong, they are the ones responsible for fixing it."

In April a Chinese ship carrying 77 tonnes of small arms including AK-47 rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades destined for Zimbabwe was turned away from the South African port of Durban.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF Loses Parliament again

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ © ⋅ July 20, 2008 ⋅

ZANU PF’s hopes of legaly overturning the MDC’s majority in parliament faded
when the Electoral court threw out a total of 16 petitions by ZANU PF.
Some reasons for the Court to throw out the petitions was the timeframe they
were filed while other petitioners filed on time failed to deposit security
fees within the proscribed time of 10 days.

ZANU PF also withdrew 10 cases before the Electoral Court had sat to
deliberate on them.

Judge President Rita Makarau dismissed eight ZANU PF petitions after the
petitioners had served the petitions at the MDC’s harvest house

This, she said, did not amount to compliance with the Electoral Act, which
provides for the petition to be served at the respondent’s residential or
business address.

“Section 169 is quite clear as it employs clear language that admits of no
ambiguity. It requires all petitioners to serve written notice of the
presentation of the petition and a list of proposed sureties upon the
respondent, personally or by leaving it at his residence or place of
business within 10 days of the presentation of the petition.

“This is what all the petitioners ought to have done or were required to do
by the law,” said Justice Makarau.

Losing ZANU PF candidate former Minister of Water Resources Munacho Mutezo ’s
case challenging MDC’s Lynette Karenyi’s victory in Chimanimani West was
thrown out as he failed to file the election petition within the 10 days set
out by the Electoral Act.

Ten Zanu (PF) ministers lost their parliamentary seats and some include
Patrick Chinamasa, Samuel Mumbengegwi, Aeneas Chigwedere, Amos Midzi, Mike
Nyambuya, Joseph Made, Munacho Mutezo, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Chris Mushowe,
Oppah Muchinguri and Rugare Gumbo.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Makoni denies also meeting Mnangagwa

July 21, 2008

By Geoffrey Nyarota

FORMER Finance Minister Dr Simba Makoni has denied he met President Mugabe
in January in the presence of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Rural
Housing and Social Amenities.

It was reported in an article published on this website on Thursday July 17
that contrary to his widely disseminated claim that he consulted Mugabe in a
one-to-one meeting before he launched his bid for the presidency early in
February, Makoni had, in fact, met Mugabe in the presence of a third person.

Makoni dismissed this allegation in a statement issued Thursday to The
Zimbabwe Times.

"My last meeting with the then President Robert Mugabe was on January 21,
2008," The former minister said. "It was the two of us alone."

The Zimbabwe Times immediately went back to the primary source of the
information about the meeting between Makoni and the President. The source
conceded that Makoni was indeed by himself when he arrived at State House on
January 21.

"It is true that Makoni was alone when he arrived at State House to see the
President," the source said. "Three other people had, however, entered the
State House grounds, just ahead of him. These were George Charamba, the
permanent secretary for information, Chris Mushohwe Minister of Transport
and Communications and Mnangagwa.

He added that on arrival, Mnangagwa had gone in briefly to see the President
and then had gone out but, had remained in the grounds of State House.

"Makoni was taken to see the President immediately on arrival," said the
source. "They discussed for just over one hour. It was at the end of the
hour that Minister Mnangagwa then went in to join them. The meeting
continued for about another hour."

This new information was submitted to Makoni in writing on Thursday with a
request for his urgent response. By Sunday night he had not responded
despite reminders on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In fact, a number of
questions pertaining to Makoni's meeting with Mugabe were submitted to him
at two email accounts on Wednesday, before the article was published. The
initial story was published before Makoni responded. In his statement on
Thursday Makoni said he had failed to respond to the initial questions
because he had not visited either of the email accounts by the time he
retired for the night on Wednesday. He had, therefore not seen the email, he

"I only became aware of the story when a friend contacted me from
Switzerland on Wednesday," said Makoni.

He said he had then checked his email and seen the questions and had
immediately responded and emailed a statement to The Zimbabwe Times. He
complained that he had not been granted sufficient time to respond. For the
record, Makoni has still not responded to a number of questions submitted to
him in February during the run-up to the March 29 elections. The questions
were copied to the Mavambo publicity secretary, Godfrey Chanetsa.

At the time of writing on Sunday night Makoni has not responded to fresh
questions four days after they were submitted to him.

Thursday's article in the Zimbabwe Times also alleged that Makoni's
Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn had procured 25 pick-up trucks from South Africa and
that senior official Dumiso Dabengwa had travelled to South Africa on a
fund-raising mission. It was further reported that the vehicles had not been
used for the election, save for one that was issued to Dabengwa. We have
since obtained information that another vehicle was allocated to Chanetsa.
Chanetsa is a former press secretary to President Mugabe and was
subsequently posted to London as information attache.

The rest of the fleet had allegedly been parked at the premises of Fidelity
Printers, a company which is operated by the Reserve Bank in Msasa, Harare,
where bank notes are printed.

It was alleged in the story that the vehicles, still unregistered, had later
been released and used by the military in the campaign of violence that
engulfed Zimbabwe from the beginning of April. Brand new twin-cab trucks
were invariably reported to have transported perpetrators to the scenes of

"Yes, we procured 25 vehicles during the campaign period," Makoni said in
his statement. "Only five were received by us and used before polling date.
The rest were only cleared after March 29, and remain in our possession, for
use in the work of our movement country-wide. They definitely were not, at
any time, stored at Fidelity Printers, and were not used by 'death squads .
killing innocent Zimbabweans."

Makoni has not responded to follow-up questions relating to the whereabouts
and the current circumstances of the trucks, including whether they still
remain unregistered.

Makoni denied a suggestion in the article that he had been in South Africa
since early April.

"I have been in Zimbabwe all the time," he said, "and remain here now; am
writing to you from my office in Harare. I visited South Africa from June 1
to 13 2008, to meet Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn (M.K.D) activists and sympathisers
there; consult with members of President Mbeki's facilitation team and other
public officials; and attend the Africa Summit of the World Economic Forum."

Makoni gave a South African mobile number as his reliable contact number.

He denied he had met Mnangagwa again after the alleged State House

"I have met Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa only once since I left Zanu-PF," Makoni
said. "That meeting was in early June, 2008. I met him, as I have done with
other Zanu-PF leaders, to advance two matters, viz; to seek an end to the
violence unleashed after the release of the results of the March 29 poll,
and to urge for cooperation among political leaders to end the national
crisis, including discussion on a national transitional authority."

Makoni also denied that Dabengwa has visited South Africa on a Mavambo
fund-raising mission.

"You can see from the foregoing that the "information from extremely
reliable sources" and "those close to (me)" is pure fabrication," he said.
"You may wish to re-assess your rating of the reliability and closeness to
me of your sources. You will be aware that during the election campaign
period, an attempt was made to link me to so-called "British and American
multinational organisations". I suspect this may be continuation of the same
smear tactics.

"It is noteworthy that the information is being released at a time when our
(M.K.D) proposition of a national accommodation (transitional national
authority or government of national unity) has taken centre stage, as the
only way out of the country's crisis."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Speech given to Bulawayo Agenda meeting

President Room, Rainbow Hotel
Friday 18 July 2008


It is appropriate for me to open my speech by conveying hearty
congratulations to Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday.  I think I speak on
behalf of all here today in wishing him continued health and happiness as he
enters the twilight of his long and illustrious life. It is also appropriate
to refer to Nelson Mandela in the context of today's meeting.  As terrible
and as insurmountable as the problems we face in Zimbabwe appear to be today
the fact is that South Africa was in a similar crisis in the late 1980s.
South Africans managed to negotiate a settlement which culminated in the end
of apartheid, the introduction of the new Constitution and the laying down
of a new foundation on which to construct a modern, vibrant, free and
democratic state.  Whilst the international community played a constructive
role in bringing South Africans together, ultimately it was South Africans
themselves who negotiated a new beginning for South Africa.

Key to the success of the South Africa negotiations was of course the
towering figure of Nelson Mandela himself.  More than any other single
factor it was his wisdom, his commitment to genuine reconciliation, his
commitment to a peaceful resolution and, most importantly, his profound
commitment to freedom, liberty and democracy that ensured the success of the
negotiations.  There were many occasions when the negotiations could have
floundered; for example when Chris Hani was assassinated South Africa could
have slipped back easily into anarchy and civil war.  It took the wisdom and
calm head of Nelson Mandela to pull the process through those crises.

One of the great strengths of Nelson Mandela is his humility and modestly.
He has always been on the first to acknowledge that he was fortunate to be
surrounded by other great leaders who also had level heads.  South Africa
was fortunate that it had people of the calibre of FW De Klerk, Cyril
Ramaposa and Roelff Meyer involved in the negotiation process.  There is no
doubt that they played a key role in keeping the negotiations on track.
They had the wisdom to know the right time to compromise and the right
issues to compromise on. They had the strength to haul recalcitrant elements
in their respective political parties along with them.

It seems almost certain that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed
next week. Whilst the MOU will undoubtedly be a positive step forward
towards a negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe, many pitfalls still lie ahead
and we will need Mandela-like wisdom to negotiate them.

A few weeks ago in London Nelson Mandela commented on the Zimbabwean crisis
using four words which are profoundly significant as we move towards a
negotiated settlement. He said that the Zimbabwean crisis was, and I quote,
a "tragic failure of leadership".  At that time many took his comments as an
attack on Robert Mugabe alone.  However I do not believe that his comments
were directed solely at Robert Mugabe. I believe that he was referring to a
collective failure of leadership in Zimbabwe not just this year but over a
protracted period.

It is just over 50 years since Garfield Todd's tenure as Prime Minister of
Southern Rhodesia ended on the 17th of February 1958. In his farewell
statement Garfield Todd said "we must make it possible for every individual
to lead the good life, to win a place in the sun.  We are in danger of
becoming a race of fear ridden neurotics - we who live in the finest country
on earth". Those wise words have been disregarded by a succession of
political leaders in Zimbabwe for the last 50 years.  Zimbabwe has been
blighted during the last 50 years by political leaders of all races and of
all ideologies who have been guilty of the following errors of judgement:

1. They believe in physical force rather than moral force

Since the early 1960s Zimbabwean political parties have generally been led
by men who believe that physical force is more important than moral force.
The 1961 Constitution would have led to a gradual and orderly transition
from white minority rule to majority rule but it was derailed by both black
and white politicians who did not believe in compromise and who preferred to
place their faith in the use of force and violence either to retain power or
to acquire it.  The politics of the 1960s and 1970s were marked by a
shocking lack of commitment by most political leaders to seek non-violent
means of resolving the then political crisis.  Since 1980 we have been led
by a regime that has a deep-rooted belief in and commitment to the use of
violence to achieve political objectives. Tragically as so often happens
under tyrannical regimes those who oppose tyranny sometimes get poisoned by
tyranny and themselves replicate or mirror the methods used by the very
tyrannical regimes they
 oppose. Zimbabwe has been no exception and I have no doubt that the
struggle for freedom has been compromised periodically when we in the
opposition have lapsed into the thinking that our problems may be resolved
through the use of physical force and violence.

I was horrified to read recently statements made by a few senior opposition
leaders which betray this thinking. One threatened a "shooting war" and went
on to say that the MDC should not be blamed "when we start."  Another wrote
that an option was to "pick up arms of war" and drive Mugabe out. Whilst I
fully understand the deep sense of frustration which leads to statements
like this being made, these utterances are irresponsible. War, or the threat
of war, should never be part of our lexicon, especially during any
negotiation process. That is the language we expect to hear from Mugabe - it
should never come from a democrat at this juncture of our history.

All democratic political leaders must consider the legacy of the last 50
years of violence in Zimbabwe.  We need to all understand that it is this
continual reversion to violence which has brought our great nation to the
sorry state is in today.  Unless all political leaders unequivocally revoke
the use or threat of violence there will never be a meaningful negotiated
settlement in Zimbabwe.  And it is simply no excuse for opposition leaders
to threaten the use of violence or war in response to the shocking brutality
exercised by this regime against the Zimbabwean people.  All those threats
will do is perpetuate the horrifying cycle of violence this country has
experienced in the last 50 years. In short war or the threat of war is
simply not an option. If the talks, which are about to commence, are to
succeed that threat should never be used by anyone, certainly not by the

Accordingly if a negotiated settlement is to be achieved there needs to be a
fundamental commitment to the use of non violent means to settle the
political crisis henceforth.  Martin Luther King in 1963 drafted a pledge
for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.  Paragraph 8 of their
pledge records a commitment to "refrain from the violence of fist, tongue or
heart".  I do not believe that one can wave a fist and speak of peace at the
same time.  The two are mutually exclusive. And whilst of course it is ZANU
PF which has been overwhelmingly responsible for most of the violence the
fault does not just lie with them. We in the opposition have also on
occasions been guilty of simply paying lip service to the use of
non-violence. One of the greatest tragedies of the struggle for freedom
during the last eight years is the fact that in the last three months
several of the young men within the opposition who were suspended in 2005
for deviating from the opposition's polic
y of non-violence have now themselves been brutally assassinated by the ZANU
PF regime's hit squads. I cannot help but feel that had they been led more
actively along a different path they may have survived to see a new dawn of
freedom and tolerance in Zimbabwe. But that is now past and we must move

I should stress that whilst my sentiments in this regard are mainly rooted
in principle and morality there are also practical reasons why violence and
the threat of war is simply not an option, and indeed never have been.
Firstly it is trite that if one is going to make a threat one should be able
to carry it out if it is to carry any weight. For reasons which require
another whole speech the opposition has not managed to organise mass
protests against the regime so its chances of successfully organising a war
are minimal. There is no public will for war. We do not have neighbouring
States which would in any way support a war. So, even if one believes in war
it is in reality a hollow threat so serves no purpose. Secondly, and perhaps
more importantly, we must understand that one of our greatest strengths
internationally is that we have by and large demonstrated a commitment to
using peaceful, non-violent, democratic methods to achieve our political
goals and that has generate
d immense sympathy for our cause throughout the world. The world has a
limited attention span and interest and often support comes down to a simple
understanding of who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are. In Zimbabwe,
certainly this year, it has been very easy for the world to grasp who has
been "good" and "bad". Despite strenuous efforts made by ZANU PF to avoid
responsibility for the horrors our nation has experienced since March, the
world knows who is responsible and that is one of the main reasons why ZANU
PF is so isolated now, even in Africa.

Accordingly if we are to negotiate a settlement there must be a profound
commitment to refrain from the violence of the fist, tongue and heart by the
opposition, irrespective of what ZANU PF leaders have done or are planning
to do. We must recognise that we occupy the high ground morally as we enter
this process and we must not lose that position by making foolhardy threats
at this critical juncture.

2. They are concentrated on either the retention or acquisition of power
rather than the national interest

I question what has happened to all our patriots? It seems to me that our
nation has been blighted by a succession of leaders who are more concerned
with their personal interests or the narrow interests of their own political
parties and supporters then they are in the great nation state of Zimbabwe.
This should be a great nation; it is richly endowed with bright articulate
hard-working people; with rich natural resources; with the best climate in
the world; it is a country of stunning natural beauty.  As Garfield Todd
said over 50 years ago it is indeed the finest country on earth.  How can it
then be that the finest country on earth is the location of one of the
world's worst nightmares? I believe that is primarily because our political
leadership has for decades put selfish personal interests ahead of the
national interest.

One of the reasons the Lancaster house talks did not provide a long-term
resolution to Zimbabwe's problems is because white rights were put before
the entrenchment of universally recognised human rights.  Instead of
ensuring that the new Zimbabwean Constitution deeply rooted democratic
principles there was a concentration on protecting white interests.  In
contrast both FW De Klerk and Roelff Meyer in the South African negotiations
recognised that it was more important to entrench democracy for all than it
was to seek to protect white privilege.

Likewise the reason the December 22, 1987 Unity Accord has come unstuck is
because it accommodated the interests of the political leadership of ZANU PF
and ZAPU rather than the general interests of the Zimbabwean people. One of
the reasons there is such antipathy in Zimbabwe today regarding a government
of national unity is because of the 1987 Unity Accord.  The Unity Accord is
viewed by most people, certainly in Matabeleland, as a settlement which
benefited a few leaders that which did not entrench democracy and so lay the
foundation for meaningful economic development which would benefit all

Sadly that attitude continues to this day and applies to both ZANU PF and
the MDC. I fear that the current negotiations may focus on who gets what
instead of what structural reforms are needed to put Zimbabwe back on the
road to recovery.  If the negotiations focus on how much power is either
retained by ZANU PF or acquired by the MDC rather than the policy reforms
needed then any settlement that arises from the negotiations will not be
wholeheartedly embraced by the Zimbabwean people.

To this extent who leads the country and who is in any Cabinet is
irrelevant.  Let me be quite clear what I mean.  Obviously the democratic
will of the people of Zimbabwe as reflected in the 29th of March 2008
elections must be respected.  However the problems Zimbabwe face are so
severe and intractable that we cannot allow petty bickering about who gets
what to derail the negotiations.  All national leaders must recommit
themselves to the national interest and be prepared to subordinate their
personal goals and ambitions to what is in the best interests of Zimbabwe.
This means that in the interests of compromise there may have to be some
power-sharing mechanism during a transitional period.

In this regard let me briefly respond to the statement issued by the civil
society organisations yesterday the 17 July 2007 in which they call upon a
transitional government to have "leadership by a neutral body" and a
transitional government "headed by an individual who is not a member of ZANU
PF or MDC". Once again whilst I appreciate the sentiment which lies behind
the statement one cannot just disregard the wishes of the Zimbabwean people
as expressed on the 29th of March. Our society remains deeply polarised and
we cannot ignore the fact that leaders on both sides of the political divide
enjoy the passionate support of their respective supporters. They have been
given a mandate by their supporters and that mandate must be respected in
the negotiation process.  However it is because of that deep polarisation
that I believe we will have to consider some interim power sharing
mechanism. And it goes without saying that power-sharing involves compromise
on both sides.  As a l
awyer who has been involved in human rights issues and who has been
concerned about the problem of impunity for my entire professional life I do
not like compromise on certain issues.  However at this juncture of our
nation's history I do not see any alternative which will bring our nation's
tragedy to an end without further loss of blood.

The world has passed us by in the last 50 years

Tragic consequences

We need to recognise that the world is passed us by the last 50 years. I
think that Bulawayo airport stands as a monument, a constant reminder to us
of our lost opportunities.  It was built in the 1950s some 20 kilometres
from the city centre, an island in a sea of trees and bush. It was designed
that way because our city fathers anticipated that there would be great
growth in Bulawayo. However it remains an island because Bulawayo and
Zimbabwe has stagnated for 50 years.  Indeed if anything our economy is now
smaller than it was in the 1950s.  We have suffered 50 years of lost
opportunities and this country's great potential has not been realised. We
need to all now draw a line on the sand and move forward.

But the tragic consequences are not solely confined to economic collapse.
Almost of greater concern to me is the collapse of the moral fabric of our
society. We need to consider the effect of 50 years of violence on our
national character.  In this regard and I am not only speaking about the
victims of violence but also about the perpetrators.  In the last few weeks
I have seen horrifying injuries inflicted on Zimbabweans by young men.
Doctors say that some of these injuries are so severe that they would never
occur, for example, in a traffic accident.  Bones had been broken repeatedly
by young men acting on the instructions of their political leaders.  I have
no doubt that they will be haunted by what they have done in the years that
lie ahead.  Scientific studies show that those who inflict violence on
political opponents often go on to inflict violence on those they love
including spouses and children. It is also a fact that we now have a deeply
ingrained culture of viol
ence. The Genie is out the bottle and it will be difficult to get it back in
even if there is political will shown by ZANU PF. If negotiations are to
succeed then not only must this violence stop immediately but other measures
must be taken to ensure that violence does not derail either the talks or
the transition.

In these circumstances the demand by the MDC that all violence should stop,
that political detainees should be released and that is NGOs be allowed to
distribute food are reasonable.  However I would qualify these demands by
recognising that even if ZANU PF gives undertakings it will be difficult to
verify the compliance of those undertakings in the short term and to change
the mind set of a generation of youth militia overnight.  I believe that
SADC has a key role to play in this regard.  I think the State should
immediately deploy civilian monitors to report back to the facilitators
regarding whether militia camps have been removed, whether NGOs are able to
function and other legitimate issues of concern have been addressed. I think
that if such a commitment is given by SADC then negotiations should commence
without further ado. But we must recognise that unless there are neutral
SADC monitors deployed in the country eruptions of violence are more likely
to occur and these
may have the effect of disrupting the talks.

It follows as well that a crucial aspect of the talks must be how to tackle
the culture of violence so that it does not derail any transitional period
agreed to in the talks. Time does not permit me to go into what is needed in
this regard. Suffice it to say that we must not underestimate how serious
this problem is and our need for an ongoing presence of SADC monitors even
during the transitional period. In short even after the talks have ended the
world must not pass us by - we will need an ongoing international help and
commitment, especially from our SADC brothers and sisters, to stabilise our
beloved country.

The way ahead


For the reasons I have outlined above a government of national unity will be
viewed with extreme scepticism by most Zimbabweans.  The fear of Zimbabweans
is that the government of national unity will draw in unscrupulous political
leaders who then become part of a corrupt system.  The fear is that those
leaders are then compromised and that they will fail to deal with the
fundamental problems facing Zimbabwe.

Transitional authority

It is for this reason that a transitional authority should be agreed to and
I would like to discuss a few aspects of this authority. Before I do so let
me respond to those who may say that there is no difference between a GNU
and a Transitional Authority. Some argue that this is just about semantics.
I disagree - the difference is all about emphasis. A GNU focuses on "unity";
substance is secondary and the notion of a transition to something different
is completely subordinate to unity. A Transitional Authority focuses on
"transition". There can, and must of course, be unity in transition but the
emphasis is on a transition to something new, not just a changing of the
guard at the top.

1.  Composition

In the same statement issued by civil society organisations yesterday they
said that the transitional authority should be neutral and should include
all representatives of civil society groups including churches.  That sounds
fine in theory that a major problem faces us all in agreeing who is neutral.
In addition agreement would have to be reached within civil society as to
who from civil society should be included in any such transitional
authority.  One needs to ask the question "what is a person's mandate". How
will agreement reached regarding who should represent civil society,
especially bearing in mind the urgency of the crisis? Bearing in mind that
the civic organisations which have made this call are generally aligned to
the MDC there must be a danger that if inclusion is insisted upon that
"civic organisations" aligned to ZANU PF, such as the War Veterans
Association and others, will make similar demands. In short whilst one
understands the need for inclusion there
are practical problems which should not be allowed to derail or hinder the
process at this juncture.

My own belief is that any transitional authority emerging from the talks
should generally respect the will of the people as expressed on the 29th of
March 2008. As stated above because our nation is so deeply polarised there
will have to be a power-sharing arrangement during the transition including
all the political parties given a mandate by the electorate in March.
However during the transition civil society will have to play a major role
in certain aspects of the transitional authority's mandate, especially
regarding the process which should culminate in a new democratic

2.  Duration

Any transitional authority agreed to should have a finite mandate.  It must
be made clear that the authority will not have a mandate to govern
indefinitely.  In addition the duration of the authority should be as short
as possible; and it should be understood that it is to govern in the short
term - I would hope for no longer than 18 months to two years.

3.  Mandate

It seems to me that there are four critical areas that need to be addressed
by a transitional authority.

A. The economic crisis

The transitional authority should be mandated to stabilise the economy, to
seek balance of payments support, to tackle inflation by engaging
institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. It will need to draw on
technical expertise from qualified Zimbabweans and others who can introduce
the necessary economic policies to stop Zimbabwe's economic freefall.

B. The humanitarian crisis

Zimbabwe is arguably suffering the world's greatest humanitarian crisis at
present. The country faces a severe food shortage; our hospitals are devoid
of qualified personnel and medication.  An absolute priority of the
transitional authority should be to engage the international community to
ensure the importation of the necessary food and drugs and introduction of
policies which will attract qualified personnel to return to Zimbabwe to
address the food and health crisis.

C. The Constitutional crisis

At the root of the political, economic and humanitarian crises is our deeply
flawed Constitution. The transitional authority should immediately engage
all Zimbabwean political parties, civic organisations that trade union
movements, churches and other interested organisations to recommence the
constitutional debate and to agree on an all-inclusive process which will
culminate in a new constitution.

D. Fresh elections

Once the economy has been stabilised, the humanitarian crisis addressed and
a new constitution enacted the transitional authority should hand over to a
genuinely, and objectively verifiable, Independent Electoral Commission
which will then conduct and genuinely free and fair elections supervised by
SADC and the AU.

Unique opportunity

Zimbabwe has reached a political stalemate.  There is no way out for ZANU
PF. Its nemesis is now the economy.  It has no solution to hyperinflation.
It knows that in the coming weeks and months it will not even be able to
feed key elements of its support base. To that extent it has no choice but
to negotiate. Likewise the combined MDC in respecting its moral and
practical commitment to a non violent solution to the Zimbabwean crisis must
recognise that it to too has no choice but to negotiate, no matter how
unpalatable that may be in certain respects.

Despite our fears and reservations we must see this as a unique opportunity
to negotiate a peaceful settlement for our nation.   Our country is in great
peril today.  We can either allow it to continue down its present slide to
destruction and oblivion or we can all work together to seize this
opportunity to lay the foundations for a great nation.  I reiterate again
the words of Garfield Todd made over 50 years ago - this is indeed the
finest country on earth.  It is missing one key ingredient at present -
democracy. When that ingredient is rooted I have no doubt that the Zimbabwe
will yet become the jewel of Africa.

Senator David Coltart
Khumalo Constituency
18th July 2008

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbeki kicks for base

By Eddie Cross | Harare Tribune News
     Updated: July 21, 2008 13:23

I must say that the past week has surprised me. Mr. Mbeki came home
from his trip to the G8 summit in Japan in a hurry. First he called for an
immediate resumption of the dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF - suspended
after the debacle last year when Mugabe simply put his foot down and said
that he would not implement the agreement thrashed out over 9 painstaking
months by the negotiating teams under Mr. Mbeki's mediation. MDC was
reluctant to begin 'talks' but eventually agreed to resume 'talks about
talks.' These got under way on Friday last week and after two days of
fruitless arguing, the talks were suspended and the negotiators returned

On Monday this week, the South Africans continued the dialogue and
although we know little of what went on behind closed doors, we understand
that it was a very rough session - almost physical at times. The result was
a draft 'Memorandum of Understanding' which the South Africans then said -
'sign that - all of you'.

By all accounts Zanu PF were prepared to sign but the MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai stuck to its guns and said they would not sign nor begin
substantive talks until its preconditions were fulfilled. There was much
huffing and puffing about that - both in the State controlled media here and
in South Africa where the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs dismissed the
MDC demands with several snide remarks in Pretoria.

On Thursday the MDC National Executive was recalled to review the
draft MOU and after two hours of intense debate and several amendments, they
agreed that providing our preconditions for substantive talks were
satisfied, MDC would sign the MOU as a basis for full negotiations on a
transitional authority to run the country until a new constitution could be
adopted and free and fair conditions held - perhaps in two years time. I was
astonished by the terms of the MOU and said so to the President.

Now today (Sunday) the BBC has stated that following a terse
announcement in Johannesburg to the effect that Mr. Mbeki would be assisted
in his mediation role in these talks by both AU and UN representatives, MDC
has announced that we would sign the MOU on Monday. In fact behind the
scenes there was more to this than met the eye and I think most media have
yet to fully appreciate what in fact has transpired.

On Thursday the Chairman of the AU Commission, Mr. Ping, arrived in
Johannesburg and on Friday the SADC Organ on Security and Politics joined
him. In subsequent meetings, they thrashed out an agreement that paved the
way to the appointment of the AU and UN representatives and by doing so met
one of our key demands as a precondition for the talks. The other
preconditions were all covered in the MOU and had already been agreed by
Zanu PF on Tuesday. These include a complete cessation of political violence
and the resumption of humanitarian aid on a non-political basis.

And so the stage is now set for full negotiations between the MDC and
Zanu PF. The first step in this process will be a short, but highly
significant meeting between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai - the first
such meeting since this crisis began 10 years ago. Following this meeting to
agree on the basis for the negotiations, locale and timetable, the leaders
will sign the MOU. At this point I would imagine that the MOU would become a
public document and be available to everyone via the Press and other Media.
When this happens I forecast shock and trepidation in Zanu circles and
astonishment and delight everywhere else.

It represents a full climb down by Mugabe and his cohorts made even
more significant by the fact that nowhere does it mention that Mugabe is the
President of Zimbabwe. In fact we really do not have a government at the
moment - not even a caretaker one as the winners of the March election have
yet to be sworn in and the subsequent 'election' of Mugabe as President has
not been accepted by any of the major multilateral organisations involved -
the SADC, the AU and the UN. Far from taking Zanu PF forward, the sham
election held on the 27th of June has simply compounded their problems and

Once the MOU is signed I expect the full negotiations to begin
immediately at a secure location and with the full team of mediators
present. Our own team is now being selected and appointed and will include
both technical experts and politicians. Theirs is a very tough assignment
and nobody inside or outside the country is putting any money on a
reasonable outcome. Skeptism is almost universal.

This time my own money is on an outcome that we can live with and
start the long process of stabilizing and reconstructing our battered
economy. The reasons are quite simple - Zanu PF is at the end of the road,
Mr. Mbeki and his associates want this crisis resolved and those with the
resources to help us put Zimbabwe back together again have a very clear
understanding of what they will accept in terms of a political solution that
qualifies us for assistance. There is absolutely no point in negotiating a
deal that is not acceptable to the people with money - both in the shadowy
world of finance and investment and in the realm of bilateral donor

The one feature of recent events that convinces me that this time
Mbeki is kicking for the posts is that he has demanded that the whole
process is wrapped up in two weeks. In fact there is talk of a SADC summit
of Heads of State in mid August to receive a report on the talks and to
consider their outcome and any future role of SADC as a guarantor of the
implementation of the final Agreement. I agree fully with this timetable, as
our own economic slide is now so fast that not many are going to survive the
ride for much longer.

Not covered in any of the talks so far or mentioned in any agenda is
the issue of just what is going to happen to the many monsters who have been
responsible for planning, managing and undertaking the violent repression of
the opposition in the past decade or more. Clearly there is no place for
these men and women of violence and corruption in any transitional
administration. That is a key subject that the Mediators will have to attend
to and resolve.

Back to the Top
Back to Index