By Violet Gonda
24 July 2009
The Principals in the coalition government called for an end to political
attacks, at the beginning of three days of countrywide prayers for national
healing and reconciliation. The government said it set aside this Friday,
Saturday and Sunday to allow Muslims, Adventists, other Christians and
religious groups to pray for national peace during their respective days of
Speaking at the official start of the weekend of prayers, Mugabe said:
"There are still reported cases of political violence and this must stop."
He added: "Let us move among the people... promoting the values and practice
of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as a sustainable means of
resolving political differences." Despite these words critics still question
Mugabe's sincerity, especially as scores of MDC activists continue to be
victimised by ZANU PF thugs across the country. There are also many reports
that indicate that the youth militia is again being deployed around the
country to ensure that people are 'persuaded' to back the Kariba Draft of
the constitution, which keeps Mugabe's powers intact.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the launch of the three days of national
prayers must mark the beginning of an open and genuine process and an
acceptance of responsibility for the hurts and pains inflicted on so many
Zimbabweans. "In addition to the three principles of truth, justice and
forgiveness, we must openly discuss the issue of reparation," Tsvangirai
Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said while Mugabe condemned the violence,
his keynote address talked more about the values of Zimbabwe and culture and
the essence of the liberation struggle. "Of course he did not categorically
mention the issue of Gukurahundi and the post independence violence, like
what the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara did."
Muchemwa said Mutambara did not mince his words and called a spade a spade.
The Deputy PM said the election violence of last year, which resulted in the
murder of scores of MDC activists, and the torture of tens of thousands,
should never be repeated, while Tsvangirai called for perpetrators of
violence to own up.
The Prime Minister did warn that retribution would only perpetuate violence.
He also noted that the reconciliation process should include the
pre-independence period where atrocities were also committed under white
He said: "Zimbabwe has suffered so many phases of trauma, upheaval and
conflict that there must be agreement on defining the scope of the healing
The Harare event at the Sheraton Hotel was attended by the diplomatic
community, government officials and parliamentarians.
Our correspondents said unfortunately not many members of the public are
aware of these three days of dedication as adverts only appeared in the
state control media - the ZTV and the Herald newspaper. "Which is
unfortunate because the people who are being targeted are victims live
mostly in the rural areas," Muchemwa added.
Meanwhile, the pressure group Zimbabwe Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR)
has invited the public to wear black clothes during these three days of
prayer to protest "the eclipse of peace in Zimbabwe and to remember our
fellow countrymen who lost lives, property and homes in the political
violence that preceded the June 27 2008 sham elections."
July 24, 2009
ADDRESS by the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on the occasion of the
National Dedication Programme towards Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration, Harare July 24, 2009:
Your Excellency, President Robert Mugabe, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara,
Vice President Mujuru, Deputy Prime Minister Khupe, Ministers from the
Organ of National Healing, Other Government Ministers and Senior Officials,
Traditional Leaders, Civic Leaders, Ambassadors, Invited Guests, Ladies and
I stand before you today at the beginning of what will be a long but
essential journey to heal our nation.
There can be no short cuts on this journey and no easy way to deal with the
pain and suffering that has been experienced by so many of our people. The
methods that will be employed for this essential process cannot be
prescriptive or imposed upon the people, but must be chosen and endorsed by
the people if we are going to achieve the goal of truly healing our nation.
These three days of dedication must herald the beginning of a genuine, open
and frank process that includes and incorporates the concept of transitional
justice, truth and accepting responsibility for the hurt and pain inflicted
upon so many Zimbabweans.
There can be no truth without justice. And no justice without truth.
National Healing cannot occur without justice and justice must be done, as
well as be seen to be done. There can be no room or tolerance for
retribution as retribution perpetuates the cycle of oppression and
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Organ for National Healing has been charged with
undertaking a process of grassroots consultation, together with civil
society, to define the form and content of our restorative programme. It
must be the people that define the period of time to be reviewed in our
National Healing programme.
Zimbabwe has suffered so many phases of trauma, upheaval and conflict that
there must be agreement on defining the scope of the healing process. We
cannot attempt to address one period of conflict to the exclusion of others.
If this process is going to lead towards genuinely healing our nation, we
must be inclusive in the scope of the programme.
We must look back resolutely to the pre-independence era, the post
independence Matabeleland massacres and the more recent political violence
that has torn at the fabric of our society. Many of our people have suffered
under each of the phases of our evolution to the Zimbabwe that exists today.
As citizens, we all have a role to play in standing up and taking
responsibility for our actions. Today's victims may be yesterday's
perpetrators and vice versa. We cannot shy away from either our collective
or individual responsibility for historic trauma or for the state of our
In examining how best to heal our nation, we must learn not just from our
past, but from the examples of our other countries and other nations that
have undergone similar trauma and have sought to unite their nation through
truth, justice and forgiveness.
We owe it to all the victims of the violence that has periodically swept our
nation to ensure that there is a platform and process that will allow them
to begin the process of healing.
Such a process can take many years if it is to be relevant and effective in
ensuring that we can move forward as a nation and as a people. In addition
to the three principles of truth, justice and forgiveness, we must openly
discuss the issue of reparations. While it may not be possible to undo what
has been done, it is sometimes possible to assist the victim to move on and
rebuild a life that has been shattered.
If these days of National Dedication are to herald the start of a genuine
process of National Healing then we, as leaders, must make an unequivocal
call to all our peoples and to all our supporters for an immediate cessation
of violence, persecution and lawlessness.
As I stand here today, a young woman lies in hospital in Harare after having
been brutally assaulted merely for being a member of a political party.
Sadly, this is not an isolated case. We cannot begin a healing process while
simultaneously allowing the perpetuation of injustice and a culture of
persecution and impunity.
As leaders we must ensure that there is no cover-up of past wrongs. We owe
it to the many thousands of victims to ensure that our programme of National
Healing is effective in addressing past wrongs in order to move towards a
future of peace and prosperity.
The Global Political Agreement recognizes the urgent need for a process of
National Healing to help our people regain confidence in national
While it is gratifying that today's event marks yet another facet of
implementation of the GPA, there remain too many aspects of that crucial
agreement that are yet to be implemented or adhered to by all the parties -
this undermines the confidence in, and potential effectiveness of, any
programme of National Healing.
As a nation we cannot hope to promote equality, national healing, cohesion
and unity while abusing the rule of law, ignoring the right to free
political activity, freedom of assembly and association and freedom of
expression and communication.
While we are embarking on this process of National Healing, the state media
continues to propagate hate speech and political divisions through the
publishing of blatant lies and deliberate distortions. Media reports that
question the relative patriotism of any Zimbabwean undermine confidence in
the new political dispensation. This too must cease immediately if we are to
heal our nation.
While there is cooperation and communication at the top of the political
spectrum, this is not cascading down the party structures, fueling the fires
of distrust, disrespect and disregard for the commitments that we have made
to rebuild our nation, write a new, people-driven constitution and hold free
and fair elections.
Indeed, it is the environment in which these elections are held that will by
the ultimate measurement of success for this process of National Healing.
Will the next elections be held in a culture of tolerance, respect for the
rights of the individual and the rule of law?
Will government institutions act with impartiality, openness and
accountability and will the police serve to protect the people rather than
persecute them? This will be the ultimate test of whether, today we are
embarking on this process in a genuine attempt to address and right the
wrongs of the past, or whether we are merely trying to pay lip service to
the ideals of National Healing without taking responsibility for our
Ladies and Gentlemen, too many Zimbabweans have paid the ultimate price by
standing up for the ideals of democracy and self-determination during our
country's history. Too many Zimbabweans have lost love ones, suffered
horrific violence and persecution and lost possessions and the means to make
a living for this process of National Healing to be anything but genuine,
frank and honest. Zimbabweans demand and deserve a process that embodies the
principles of truth, justice and forgiveness.
I call upon all Zimbabweans, as well as the supporters of the MDC, to engage
in this process of National Healing, to stand by our ideals of peaceful,
democratic change and to move forward with me, my party and our Government
in rebuilding our country and healing our nation.
I thank you.
Robert Mugabe - who has been accused of human rights abuses on a genocidal
scale during his time as president of Zimbabwe - called for an end to
violence in the country on Friday.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger Southern African
Published: 8:01PM BST 24 Jul 2009
Mr Mugabe was making a rare joint public appearance with his prime minister
in the unity government formed earlier this year with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr Tsvangirai - who has been tortured while detained by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF
supporters in the past - watched as Mr Mugabe declared: "There are still
reported cases of political violence and this must stop.
"Let us move among the people... promoting the values and practice of
tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as a sustainable means of
resolving political differences," he said.
Last year hundreds of MDC activists and supporters were killed as thugs
loyal to Mr Mugabe mounted a campaign of violence after Mr Tsvangirai won
the first round of the presidential election, prompting him to withdraw. Mr
Mugabe claimed he had been re-elected in the second round, despite being the
Violence has been a key part of Mr Mugabe's political armoury since he came
to power in 1980. He once said that he had "several degrees in violence" and
during the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s in Matabeleland, at
least 8,000 people - some estimates are as high as 20,000 - were killed by
Mr Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade.
The Harare event, a prayer meeting for peace to promote "national healing",
took place in the Rainbow Towers, the Zimbabwean capital's most prominent
luxury hotel, and guests enjoyed a sumptuous buffet of beef cooked in
various ways, chicken, and imported vegetables, along with highly decorated
Most Zimbabweans, though, remain deeply impoverished five months after the
coalition was formed, with shop prices in US dollars leaving ordinary goods
out of the reach of many.
At the same time Zanu-PF hardliners are whittling away the MDC's
parliamentary majority, with MPs being stripped of their seats after being
convicted on what the party says are spurious charges.
Mr Tsvangirai, though, declined to blame Zanu-PF for the violence his
supporters have suffered, saying: "There can be no room or tolerance for
retribution as retribution perpetuates the cycle of oppression and
suffering." But he pointed out that as he spoke a young MDC member was
gravely ill in a Harare hospital having been attacked because of her party
"Healing cannot occur without justice and justice must be done, as well as
be seen to be done," he said.
Nonetheless, while thousands of MDC supporters have been arrested since the
party emerged 10 years ago, only a handful of Mr Mugabe's militia and
Zanu-PF activists have faced charges.
At the meeting a founding MDC member, who did not want to be identified,
said: "I don't want to mock this. Maybe if Mugabe talks about non-violence
often enough, it will happen."
July 24, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Zimbabwe's political leaders on Friday differed on the execution of
the national healing process while agreeing the exercise was needed after
years of politically-motivated violence.
The three leaders, President Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai of
the mainstream, MDC and Arthur Mutambara of the smaller faction of the MDC,
met Friday to launch the three days which have been designated to observe
national healing in Zimbabwe.
The colourful ceremony was witnessed by over 300 delegates who included
legislators, civic organisations, diplomats, academics, faith-based
organisations, among others.
The ceremony will lead into a full weekend during which leaders of various
church denominations, traditional leaders and other groups will lead their
followers into observing the national dedication to the national healing
However, the three political leaders did not seem to articulate a common
position on the conduct of the exercise.
At the two-hour ceremony, held at a Harare hotel, Mugabe dedicated much of
his hour-long address to the need for unity, apparently irrespective of the
aberrations of the past.
But Tsvangirai, who is also Prime Minister, emphasised the need to
incorporate transitional justice if Zimbabwe was to achieve true national
This is despite statements by the three co-ministers responsible for the
organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration that the process
would be conducted in a "true Zimbabwean way" where emphasis would be on
forgiveness and not justice.
The national healing organ falls under the Mugabe's office.
Mugabe appealed to the political parties and their supporters to unite in
emulation of the case with the three leaders who signed a political
agreement in September last year.
"We did establish among us reconciliation and harmony," he said, "but alas
,we took it for granted perhaps that what had happened between and amongst
the three of us had also perhaps happened between the segments that we
"Nothing has happened between the political bodies that we lead. The
grassroots still remain without the moral aspect of feeling for each other.
"The love that we have for each other, the bond of unity that we seek to
establish between and amongst ourselves should create a great oneness
amongst us, greater unity.
"Greater unity is the basis of your strength, the basis of your power of
self- preservation; the basis on which we can resist external interference
in order to protect ourselves from those external institutions and interests
which always look for opportunities to divide and tear us apart as a
Tsvangirai, whose constituency has suffered continued political violence
since the formation of the MDC in 2000, said the national healing process
should be genuine and should be carried out according to the wishes of the
"These three days of dedication must herald the beginning of a genuine, open
and frank process that includes and incorporates the concept of transitional
justice, truth and accepting responsibility for the hurt and pain inflicted
upon so many Zimbabweans," he said.
"There can be no truth without justice. And no justice without truth.
"National healing cannot occur without justice and justice must be done, as
well as be seen to be done."
He said there was however no room or tolerance for retribution, adding this
would perpetuate the cycle of oppression and suffering among Zimbabweans.
Mutambara spoke of the need to abandon any pursuit of revenge by parties
affected by political violence if true national healing was to succeed.
"Never again in this country should Zimbabweans brutalise and slaughter each
other because of political differences," he said.
"Never again in this country should we question each other's loyalty to
Zimbabwe because of our political differences.
"We must establish within Zimbabwe a 'never again' framework. We seek no
revenge, we seek no retribution in our country.
"However, we must also seek rehabilitation, restoration of those individuals
and communities who have been victimised by ourselves as a society and as a
The national healing programme covers the period prior and after Zimbabwe's
independence in 1980.
The three days of national healing will not be commemorated in the coming
years although steps would be taken to rekindle the spirit of national
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 July 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has postponed his trip to South Africa for
a meeting with SADC chairman Jacob Zuma, because of pressing commitments in
Tsvangirai was set to fly to Johannesburg on Friday for a meeting with the
SADC chair and President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on Saturday.
But James Maridadi, Tsvangirai's spokesman, told us Friday that the Prime
Minister had postponed his trip to next week Friday, because of a number of
engagements that he needs to attend to this weekend.
The Prime Minister wants to push the regional bloc to convene an urgent
meeting to deal with the remaining issues in the Global Political Agreement.
Zuma, who holds the rotating chairmanship of SADC, was sent a letter by
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara two months ago, asking for assistance in
resolving outstanding disputes in the inclusive government.
A SADC meeting was mooted for the end of this month but reports suggest it
might be deferred until some time in September, forcing Tsvangirai to seek
an urgent meeting with Zuma.
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 July 2009
The mother of a top MDC official based in Harare was savagely beaten over
the head with an iron bar and left for dead in Mvuma on Wednesday evening.
The attack on the defenceless Athanancia Mlilo, a 63 year old nurse and
mother of Nqobizitha Mlilo, has left the small community in Mvuma
shell-shocked. She had been walking home from work around 8pm when she was
set upon from behind by an unknown man.
Mrs Mlilo is now receiving treatment at a private hospital in Harare. Her
injuries were so serious she received 25 stitches to her head. The attack
has been described as attempted murder and the attacker has been identified
by the local community, but the police are too scared to arrest him because
of his political connections.
Mlilo believes that the attack on his mum was politically motivated and has
pointed a finger at Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa's thugs in the area.
Mnangagwa is the ZANU PF MP for Mvuma-Zivangwe.
Mlilo is a top aide to Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Economic Planning
Minister Elton Mangoma. Mlilo was the MDC's regional coordinator for years,
based in South Africa until February, when he relocated to Harare at the
advent of the inclusive government.
'I thank god that my mum is still alive. She was first hit from behind and
when she turned around the attacker continued hitting her head until she
fell down. Whilst down, the attacker still went for her head in an assault
described by eyewitnesses as an unprovoked and mindless thuggery,' Mlilo
Only her screams which attracted people nearby saved her life as they rushed
to her aid. The attacker fled the scene but people were able to describe to
the police his build and the clothes he was wearing.
'Mvuma is a very small community and one cannot commit such a cowardly
attack and go unnoticed. The police know who it is but they are too scared
to make an arrest,' Mlilo said.
'There is no doubt in anyone's mind that certain very powerful people were
behind the attack, so powerful that the police are turning a blind eye to
such a crime,' Mlilo added.
Recently, Mlilo sponsored two successful soccer tournaments for primary and
secondary schools in Mvuma and believes this could have led him on a
collision course with Mnangagwa, a man who is well known for dealing
ruthlessly with his political opponents.
Reports say Mnangagwa responded by organizing two similar tournaments, which
were however poorly attended. This triggered a conspiracy theory in the
Mnangagwa camp that Biti, Mangoma and Roy Bennett, the MDC
treasurer-general, were allegedly plotting to topple him from the
constituency in the next general elections.
'I've had so many phone calls from people in the constituency alerting me to
dangers I was exposing myself to by trying to uplift the community I grew up
in. I ended up going to the University of Cape Town because of the education
I received in Mvuma, so I owe it to the people there to offer my services
whenever I can,' he said.
Mlilo said he has been very clear that he has no political intentions of
being an MP in the area but also made it clear he would not succumb to
'If that was a message to say stay clear of Mvuma or they wanted to
dismantle my spirit of uplifting the community, then I don't know if that
will work by targeting other people who are not me,' Mlilo said.
by Daniel Misi
ZANU PF plans to make Robert Mugabe a life president of the party
gathered pace on Friday when its Harare youth league endorsed the
85-year-old as the "supreme leader who deserves no contest in the upcoming
December party congress," state television reported.
The youths' move followed a decision of the party in the Midlands
Province last weekend to reject any attempts to remove Mugabe and his two
deputies - Joice Mujuru and Joseph Msika, at the congress.
Reports on Friday said more provinces were expected to follow suit -
effectively making Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 29 years, the party's
candidate at the next presidential elections.
Mugabe and other senior leaders of the party "are still capable of
performing their duties effectively which effectively means there are no
vacancies", the Zanu PF provincial youth league chairman Bonface Karoro told
The leaders "have unparalleled leadership qualities that deserve to be
preserved for the good of the nation", he added.
"We declare our unshakable loyalty and support to the First Secretary
and president of Zanu PF Cde Robert Mugabe . We declare our full support for
the incumbent Zanu PF presidium ." said Karoro.
Zanu PF's provincial executive committees, the youth and women's
league are expected to fall in line in the coming weeks, stalling
momentarily the bitter succession debate in the party.
Zanu PF's legal secretary Emerson Mnangagwa - a rival of Mujuru for
the party leadership - stole the march on his rivals on Sunday when he
declared the Midlands Province was making Mugabe a "supreme leader".
The move effectively set the clock for other provincial committees to
publicly endorse Mugabe before December's congress.
The Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday that Zanu PF secretary of
administration, Didymus Mutasa and national chairman John Nkomo met
provincial chairpersons at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare on July 6
where Mutasa instructed them to retain the current presidium.
"Mutasa told the chairpersons to ensure that their provinces nominate
Mugabe, Msika, Mujuru and Nkomo, but Mashonaland Central and Manicaland
chairpersons Dick Mafios and Basel Nyabadza objected saying it was
unconstitutional; the leaders of Mashonaland West and the Midlands, John
Mafa and Jaison Matyaya backed the secretary for administration," the paper
While Mujuru, 55, is still relatively fit for office, the same cannot
be said of Msika, 86, who recently suffered a stroke. He was released from
hospital last week and is thought unlikely to resume work.
By Lance Guma
24 July 2009
The Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
Raymond Majongwe says his union will next week go out on a 'consultative
blitz' to find out if their members still want to continue with the current
Friday class boycotts. Teachers and other civil servants have said the 40
percent salary increases offered by government last week were not adequate
to cover their needs. Before the increases the PTUZ had asked its 16 000
membership to boycott classes every Friday until they got what they
considered an acceptable increase.
On Friday Majongwe told Newsreel the PTUZ position will always be guided by
their members and this is why they had to consult them. He conceded there
were some teachers in the union who felt the increases were adequate 'for
now' as they continue to lobby for more. Majongwe said they were
disappointed government did not consult the trade unions and that this was,
'state paternalism where government behaves like Father Christmas.' He said
they were not 'children of the government' but were instead partners who
should be consulted when making decisions that affect them.
The Poverty Datum Line, a measurement of how much the average family
requires to survive, puts US$454 as the amount needed. Majongwe said this is
what they asked for from government, but instead got US$150 to US$200
salaries, depending on grade. Responding to claims that government was broke
and could not pay what they wanted Majongwe said: 'We cannot wallow in
poverty and be told to tighten our belts when we see lavish spending in
government'. He said the same government was spending in excess of US$30 000
for each MP in parliament to buy a lavish car (the government has set aside
at least US$6 million for this exercise.)
'Day in and day out minerals are being taken out of Zimbabwe. Who is the
beneficiary of all this mineral wealth? Why are we as citizens not enjoying
the diamonds, gold, lithium, platinum and chrome being mined? Why are we not
hearing about the money coming from all this mining? If this government
cannot provide for its people, it should ship out,' he said.
Meanwhile the larger Zimbabwe Teachers Association says it will decide at
the end of the month whether to call for a strike. The Public Service
Association which represents all the other civil servants who are not
teachers or from the armed forces, says it will be holding a meeting in due
course to decide what to do.
The Herald, Friday, July 24, 2009
By Hebert Zharare and Mabasa Sasa
THE Office of the Prime Minister has distanced itself from a policy
proposal document that seeks to re-order the functions of Cabinet.
The Herald has a copy of a document which sources say originated from
the Premier's Office and which calls for a downgrading of the
importance of the Cabinet, which is chaired by President Mugabe,
while seeking a commensurate bolstering of the role of the Council of
Ministers chaired by PM Morgan Tsvangirai.
However, yesterday Minister of State in the PM's Office Gorden Moyo
said the document - titled "Comments and Suggestions Alterations" -
was a compilation of the views of various ministers from the three
parties in the inclusive Government.
He said in its first meeting following the formation of the inclusive
Government, the Council of Ministers resolved to form a sub-committee
that would collate submissions from portfolio heads on the changes
they would like to see made in line with the Global Political
The sub-committee, he said, comprised Ministers Patrick Chinamasa,
Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti.
"It was agreed that the ministers were free to make their submissions
for consideration to the sub-committee.
The three ministers were chosen by virtue of their roles as
negotiators in the talks leading to the formation of the inclusive
"There is no official document so far and what was published (by The
Herald) might be the submissions of some ministers to the Council of
Ministers and these were supposed to be handed over to the
"Not all the submissions are going to be included in the final report
of the sub-committee," he said.
Minister Moyo denied that the document was authored by the PM's Office.
Among other things, the document advocates that ministers report to
the PM and not the President, that ministers be allowed to make
official public statements that have not yet been approved by
Cabinet, and that the Council of Ministers meets more often than
The document said PM Tsvangirai should have no obligation to report
to Cabinet, and that President Mugabe should not be referred to as
"Head of State and Government", even though it is clear from the GPA
and the Constitution of Zimbabwe that this is his designation.
Observers said on Wednesday that the proposals flew in the face of
the Cabinet Handbook, which - among other things - defines the
operations of Cabinet, its committees and the organs falling under
the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet as outlined in the
Observers said the proposals were an attempt to "usurp" President
Mugabe's constitutional authority.
Minister Moyo's comments come on the back of Information
Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa's reported
disownment of a draft ICT Bill that Chief Secretary Dr Misheck
Sibanda is said to have declined to transmit to Cabinet because it
sought to also unprocedurally re-assign the functions of at least
Yesterday, Minister Chamisa said he could not comment on the draft
Bill "because it is a Cabinet issue".
However, Government sources said Minister Chamisa had indicated to
his colleagues that he had not authored the document and that it had
originated before the formation of the inclusive Government.
One of the sources said: "Chamisa says he was given this document
after he was sworn into office by President Mugabe in February."
The source said the draft was "largely created
by the former Ministry of Science and Technology and Minister Chamisa
merely forwarded it to other arms of Government".
Last night, Dr Olivia Muchena, who headed the former Science and
Technology Ministry and is now Women's Affairs and Gender Minister,
said she could not say if the present draft ICT Bill was the same one
that Minister Chamisa was distributing.
She also pointed out that the Bill created during her tenure had been
drafted unprocedurally and she had declined to handle it.
"When the ICT policy was approved and launched by President Mugabe in
September 2007 there was a plan of action that incorporated an ICT
"The process for creating a Bill is supposed to start with the
ministry getting the set of principles of the proposed law approved
"That means you do not start drafting a law before agreeing on the
principles of that law in Cabinet.
"After getting the principles you start drafting and then after that
you approach the Cabinet Committee on Legislation with the draft.
"However, in this case, the people who drafted it did a
back-to-front. They started by drafting the law before they had
received a set of principles from Cabinet and so I refused to handle
it because it had been written without following the proper
"So I never read the draft and I cannot tell if the document (being
distributed by Minister Chamisa) is the same one. I never saw the
contents of the draft done when I was Minister of Science and
Technology," she said.
www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-24 14:10:43
HARARE, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Head of the United Nations Habitat
Organisation Anna Tibaijuka is expected to attend a housing convention from
Oct. 26 to 30 in Harare this year, New Ziana said on Thursday.
National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Fidelis Mhashu said
Tibaijuka and a senior European Union director were among delegates expected
to attend the convention, which is expected to lift the housing delivery
system in Zimbabwe to an international level.
Tibaijuka created controversy in 2005 when she produced a damning
report on the clean up campaign that the government had implemented to
remove illegal structures in both urban and rural areas throughout the
country, the state news agency said.
"The EU director will make a presentation on possibilities of the
organization funding housing delivery in the country," Mhashu said.
Mhashu said his ministry was frantically making preparations for
the convention whose participants will include both local and international
experts in housing delivery, law and fund raising.
He said about 400 delegates were expected to attend the
convention, expected to be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe and
officially closed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Fri, 24 Jul 09 17:29 administrator
ROHR ZIMBABWE HAS PLANNED A PROTEST MARCH SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROW SATURDAY 25
JULY 2009. PEOPLE WILL BE WEARING BLACK IN PROTEST AND ALSO IN SOLIDARITY
WITH VICTIMS OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE. WE INVITE EVERYONE TO COME AND
PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTION.
ROHR Zimbabwe also invites you to wear black on 24,25,26 July in protest at
the eclipse of peace in Zimbabwe and to remember our fellow countrymen who
lost lives, property and homes in the political violence that preceded the
June 27 sham elections.
We are aware of the indaba that took place at the rainbow towers where the
three political party leaders, President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and DeputyPrime Minister Arthur Mutambara addressed the nation
celebrating Zimbabwe's 'new found peace and unity' As ROHR Zimbabwe we
disagree with the Government's objective which is to urge people to forgive
and forget the previous human rights crimes while trotting away from the
real need for truth, justice and compensation for victims. This is obviously
ZANU PF's idea because it protects them from prosecution and the need to be
accountable to what their crimes.
We believe that peace is likely to remain elusive as long as the status quo
described below continues.
· Violence against MDC supporters continues.
· Threats of violence issued by war veterans and ZANU PF thugs against
civil society organizations that disagree with the use of Kariba draft as
the basis for constitutional reform in Zimbabwe.
· Continued armament and mobilization of militia and youths in rural
· Violent invasion and disrespect of property rights at farms around the
country at the government's instigation.
· The state controlled newspapers, television and radio stations continue
broadcasting party propaganda and lies at the expense of the truth.
· Those who committed human rights crimes and other atrocities continue to
be protected by the state, while the attorney general relentlessly harasses
victims of state abductions. To this we refer to human rights activists,
journalists, and MDC members abducted and tortured late 2008 on trumped up
· As long as the political parties in the inclusive Government remain
mistrustful of each other and maintain the logjams preventing full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and subsequently
inviting SADC to solve their problems.
· As long as the police enforce the law partially depending on who has
committed the crime, with those belonging to ZANU PF getting favorable
treatment than others.
· As long as the government views human rights and democracy as western
ideologies those threaten the Nations unity and sovereignty.
· The supporters of ZANU PF idol the use of violence as a trade mark of
patriotism and tools of recognition and heroism within the party structures.
· As long as Mugabe and his bigwigs responsible for various human rights
crimes do not publicly admit wrong doing and apologize for the role they
played in the Gukurahundi massacre, Operation Murambatsvina, 2008
inter-elections violence and the blood diamonds terror in Chiyadzwa.
For more information please contact:
Edgar Chikuvire, Information and Communications Director
Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe, 5 Normandy Road, Alexandra Park,
Tel no. +263(4)744593, +263(4)2911641, Mobile no. +263912 426638
Last Updated ( Fri, 24 Jul 09 17:48 )
The right to health is the right to the enjoyment of a variety of facilities,
goods, services and conditions necessary for the realization of the highest
attainable standard of health. This right is guaranteed not only by timely and
appropriate health care but also by determinants such as access to safe and
potable water, adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition,
housing and access to health - related education and information. This Human
Rights Bulletin has been prepared against a background of the collapse of basic
service delivery such as health, education and food in Zimbabwe. The aim of this
particular Bulletin is to examine the collapse of the health system in Zimbabwe
and to consider the Government of Zimbabwe's (GoZ) international obligations in
terms of guaranteeing the right to health for its citizens, and the
internationally accepted benchmarks that the Inclusive Government must aim to
achieve to ensure the attainment of 'the highest standards of living' for all
Zimbabweans. The Right to Health and Zimbabwe's International Obligations Zimbabwe is party to legally binding treaties such as the International
Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter
on Human and Peoples Rights among other treaties that observe the right to
health. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic Cultural and Social
Rights states that: The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the
right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of
physical and mental health Under the general obligations clause of Article 2 (1) of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a State Party is required to
take legislative and other steps to the 'maximum of its available resources',
with a view to achieving 'progressively' the full realization of the rights
recognized in the Covenant, including the right to health. This means that the
Government of Zimbabwe has a legal obligation to all its citizens to be
concerned about their health needs. Furthermore, the 1998 Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights notes in Guideline No. 10 that "resource scarcity does not
relieve States of certain minimum obligations in respect of their implementation
of economic, social and cultural rights". Thus if the Zimbabwe government should argue that it is unable to meet its
minimum obligations to the right to health for its citizens because of a lack of
resources, it must at least be able to demonstrate that every effort has been
made to use all resources that are at its disposal in an effort to satisfy those
obligations. Apart from these obligations, international law creates a number of legal
obligations on every state to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the
enjoyment of human rights by all those under its jurisdiction. The obligation to
respect health rights requires the Government of Zimbabwe, and thereby all of
its organs and agents, to desist from carrying out any discriminatory and
retrogressive practices or sponsoring or tolerating any practice, policy or
legal measure violating the rights of the individual to health. In Zimbabwe's
case the responsibility to respect health rights requires the State to refrain
from such acts as sending away patients from health centres because they are
members of an opposition political party. Concurrently, the obligation to protect the right to health obliges the State
and its agents to prevent the violation of any individual's right to health by
any other individual or non-state actor. The Government of Zimbabwe, therefore,
has a duty to protect its people by making sure that the privatization of health
services does not interfere with access to such facilities by poor people, and
that medical practitioners and other health professionals meet appropriate
standards of education, skill and ethical codes of conduct.
Full_Report (pdf* format - 346.4 Kbytes)
What the right to health entails
The right to health is the right to the enjoyment of a variety of facilities, goods, services and conditions necessary for the realization of the highest attainable standard of health. This right is guaranteed not only by timely and appropriate health care but also by determinants such as access to safe and potable water, adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition, housing and access to health - related education and information. This Human Rights Bulletin has been prepared against a background of the collapse of basic service delivery such as health, education and food in Zimbabwe. The aim of this particular Bulletin is to examine the collapse of the health system in Zimbabwe and to consider the Government of Zimbabwe's (GoZ) international obligations in terms of guaranteeing the right to health for its citizens, and the internationally accepted benchmarks that the Inclusive Government must aim to achieve to ensure the attainment of 'the highest standards of living' for all Zimbabweans.
The Right to Health and Zimbabwe's International Obligations
Zimbabwe is party to legally binding treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights among other treaties that observe the right to health. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic Cultural and Social Rights states that: The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Under the general obligations clause of Article 2 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a State Party is required to take legislative and other steps to the 'maximum of its available resources', with a view to achieving 'progressively' the full realization of the rights recognized in the Covenant, including the right to health. This means that the Government of Zimbabwe has a legal obligation to all its citizens to be concerned about their health needs.
Furthermore, the 1998 Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights notes in Guideline No. 10 that "resource scarcity does not relieve States of certain minimum obligations in respect of their implementation of economic, social and cultural rights".
Thus if the Zimbabwe government should argue that it is unable to meet its minimum obligations to the right to health for its citizens because of a lack of resources, it must at least be able to demonstrate that every effort has been made to use all resources that are at its disposal in an effort to satisfy those obligations.
Apart from these obligations, international law creates a number of legal obligations on every state to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the enjoyment of human rights by all those under its jurisdiction. The obligation to respect health rights requires the Government of Zimbabwe, and thereby all of its organs and agents, to desist from carrying out any discriminatory and retrogressive practices or sponsoring or tolerating any practice, policy or legal measure violating the rights of the individual to health. In Zimbabwe's case the responsibility to respect health rights requires the State to refrain from such acts as sending away patients from health centres because they are members of an opposition political party.
Concurrently, the obligation to protect the right to health obliges the State and its agents to prevent the violation of any individual's right to health by any other individual or non-state actor. The Government of Zimbabwe, therefore, has a duty to protect its people by making sure that the privatization of health services does not interfere with access to such facilities by poor people, and that medical practitioners and other health professionals meet appropriate standards of education, skill and ethical codes of conduct.
BULAWAYO, Jul 24 (IPS) - Today is the first of three days dedicated to
national healing in Zimbabwe. For the man charged with steering
reconciliation in Zimbabwe after the recent bloody struggle for power, it is
walk down a familiar path.
The soft-spoken John Nkomo is one of the three faces of the Organ on
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, a body appointed in April
by President Mugabe under the framework of Zimbabwe's Global Political
Agreement (GPA) to "set up a mechanism to properly advise on what measures
might be necessary and practicable to achieve the National Healing, Cohesion
and Unity in respect of victims of pre-and post-Independence conflict."
Today, the inclusive government led a national ceremony dedicating Zimbabwe
to peace and committing all three parties to renouncing all forms of
violence as part of three days set aside for Zimbabweans to pray for and
reflect on peace and reconciliation.
"These will be days of prayers where we dedicate our country to God and seek
his guidance as we create a new Zimbabwe where we live together, tolerant of
each other," said Nkomo in a telephone interview with IPS.
The dedication ceremony is only the first step in what is expected to be a
lengthy process. Nkomo said the Organ will soon start country-wide
consultation to gather views on how national healing should be done.
"Country-wide consultations will guide us in our work in getting to the root
cause of the violence," Nkomo told IPS. "For we need to have cool heads in
undertaking the task of reconciliation and we do not believe in revenge. If
it is an eye for an eye, Zimbabwe will have no eyes to guide it."
The 74-year old Nkomo has lived through several rounds of violent political
struggle, from the war of independence in the Rhodesia of 1960s and 1970s,
the brutal repression in Matabeleland in the mid 1980s, the violence that
accompanied land seizures beginning in 2000, and the recent fear and
brutality of the 2008 elections.
As chair, Nkomo will work alongside Gibson Sibanda - a former trade unionist
and a founding member of the Movement for Democratic Change now representing
the Arthur Mutambara faction - and human rights activist Sekai Holland,
another MDC founding member now with the Morgan Tsvangirai faction.
"We are aware there is a lot of pain and hurt, but we are saying let us find
a way to heal that pain and reconcile our differences. We are putting
together a system that will facilitate for people to share ideas and
implement an acceptable mechanism to heal the wounds in our nation."
It's not the first time Nkomo has been called upon to play the role of
peacemaker. He was the mediator between government and a committee
established to help victims of the Gukurahundi killings in the early 1980s.
Gukurahundi - a shona term referring to the first rains which wash away the
chaff - became the name of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade deployed
to Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the early 1980s to end armed
conflict with remnants of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union, the other
party that fought for Zimbabwean independence. Thousands of people died in
Nkomo is one of the four big wigs who make up the Presidium of ZANU-PF, the
highest decision making body in the party, the others. Others include
President Mugabe and Vice-presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru. He is
said to be level-headed and firm, and enjoys political clout and respect.
Those close to Nkomo say he believes in consultation when he is not in the
know, is a team player and a close confidante of President Mugabe. A teacher
by training, Nkomo was involved in the liberation struggle and has worn many
ministerial hats in the government since independence. He served as Speaker
of Parliament in 2005 but did not contest the elections in 2008. He was
appointed to the Senate by President Mugabe.
But with Zanu PF supporters accused of the bulk of violence in the run up
and after the elections of 2008, some critics have questioned the fitness of
one of the highest ranking members of the same party to lead reconciliation
between perpetrators and victims. Nkomo said he expected that there would be
people questioning his leadership on this matter, but he is determined to
use his knowledge to give reconciliation a chance.
Former Zanu-PF strongman and defence minister, Enos Nkala, is one of those
"What are they healing and who are they healing," asked Nkala. "To me it is
all about employment. They have jobs to do.
"Are they going to restore the huts that were burnt? How will they deal with
victims of violence who are alive today who are spiritually, emotionally and
physically wounded? We should begin by calling for a truth commission."
Suggestions from civil society organisation are that government should have
begun by consulting widely on who should lead the reconciliation process.
NGOS and other stakeholders further say a truth commission should be held as
a first step to reconciliation and ultimately healing. Perpetrators of
violence and victims must talk about what happened and then find ground for
Nkomo dismisses calls that the team appointed is not fit for the task
saying: "We are the right people because we were victims of the colonial set
up, some of those people who point fingers are not victims but want to speak
for victims. As politicians we know what violence is all about as we fought
each other and we understand it."
While the government has left it to the Organ to propose mechanisms for
reconciliation and recommend actions that will heal citizens from the
country's violent past, there is strong sentiment in the country that
reconciliation is not possible without justice. Nkomo says the Organ will
open the floor to many suggestions including that of a truth commission as
long as the process is 100 percent managed by Zimbabweans.
Civil society organisations which met under the auspices of the Civil
Society Monitoring Mechanism have concerns about the national dealing
initiative. They argue the national dedication ceremony is a government ploy
to cover up the serious and ongoing violations of human rights.
"We remain deeply concerned by government's failure to consult civic society
and the general populace on the proposed national healing initiative, in
particular the Dedication Ceremony which is scheduled for 24 July 2009,"
civil society organization represented by NANGO said in a statement.
"We note that this process cannot be sincere in the current socio-political
context until and unless there is an immediate halt to the ongoing
state-sponsored politically motivated violence, selective and targeted
By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer Michelle Faul, Associated Press
Writer - Fri Jul 24, 6:24 am ET
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Fewer Zimbabweans are getting infected with AIDS,
and researchers speculate it's due in part to a battered economy that's
leaving men short of money to be sugar daddies and keep mistresses.
Presenting a study of the infection rate among pregnant women at a major
international AIDS conference in South Africa this week, Dr. Michael
Silverman said the prevalence of the virus that causes AIDS fell from 23
percent in 2001 to 11 percent at the end of 2008. His study was based on
tests of 18,746 women at a prenatal clinic in rural Zimbabwe over that
Silverman, a Canadian infectious disease expert, works at Howard Hospital in
Zimbabwe, where the women were tested.
Silverman said he concluded that "a lot of the effect (of the decline in HIV
infections) is from the collapsing economy." AIDS experts have long noted
that the richest countries in Africa are also those with the highest
"You can't pay the sex worker if you have no currency," he said. "It's hard
to have a concurrent relationship if you're always in earshot of your
spouse, because you can't afford to travel. Because of the economic
collapse, people are forced to stay home, like being in quarantine."
Getting accurate AIDS numbers in Africa, however, has been notoriously
difficult since researchers are often forced to guess from imperfect
indicators like HIV incidence in pregnant women, instead of counting actual
numbers of HIV patients.
Researchers long have speculated how much they could drive down incidence of
AIDS if people were constricted to having sex with partners in their age
group. Now, in Zimbabwe, said David Katzenstein, a professor of infectious
diseases at California's Stanford University who has worked in Zimbabwe for
25 years, "everybody's hungry, there aren't as many sugar daddies (older men
who attract young girlfriends with gifts and money) and those that are
around don't have as much sugar."
"The good news from Zimbabwe is that, apparently without any intervention
whatsoever, there does seem to be a declining incidence in young women and
maybe young men," said Katzenstein, who was not involved with Silverman's
"Lack of transport, lack of money, lack of food, all decrease the amount of
sex that you can have and the number of partners," Katzenstein said.
Katzenstein noted there is no evidence of a decline in infection rates in
other places which had incidences as high as Zimbabwe - Swaziland, Botswana
and South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. AIDS infections in many African
countries are tending toward a plateau.
But Mike Chirenje, an AIDS researcher in charge of obstetrics and gynecology
at the University of Zimbabwe, said: "You're also talking about a period of
time when a lot of people were not accessing ARV (anti-retroviral) therapy.
So you cannot rule out cases of people dying for lack of access to ARVs" and
therefore not being around to be studied.
Another consideration: Women infected with the virus are less likely to fall
Many ask how anyone can really know what is going on in Zimbabwe, where
President Robert Mugabe's yearslong fight to remain in political power
triggered economic and social crises that caused as much as a third of the
population to flee, collapsed government health and education and left more
than 80 percent jobless. The collapse of piped water services brought on a
cholera epidemic that killed 2,000 people.
But Howard Hospital, run by the Canadian branch of the Salvation Army,
remained open throughout the crises.
The decline registered by Silverman at Howard is "in keeping with national
data that shows from research 10 years ago a decrease from 30 percent
(prevalence) to 15 percent today," said Chirenje, whose work is funded in
part by the U.S. National Institutes for Health and who has done clinical
trials, especially in HIV prevention through microbicides and risk reduction
through condom use.
Simon Gregson, a professor at Imperial College London and a demographer and
epidemiologist who has worked half time in Zimbabwe since 1998, said he also
sees a sharp decline in Zimbabwe. He was not involved with Silverman's
Through studies following the same 10,000 to 12,000 people every couple of
years, Gregson said: "We have found that it is not just that more people are
dying than are becoming newly infected; it's not just because the death rate
is very high; but the rate of new infections have been coming down and that
is because people have been changing their behavior and adopting safe
The studies show people, particularly men, are having fewer partners, and
condom use is quite high, Gregson said in an interview from his office in
"What's not so clear is what caused them to change their behavior and why
there is more of a change in Zimbabwe than in other neighboring countries."
Chirenje also said that behavior change appeared to be mainly among men.
Studies from his research unit at primary health care centers have women
reporting no changes in the frequency of their sexual activity of three or
four times a week, he said.
Chirenje estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of Zimbabweans eligible
for ARV therapy are receiving it. Katzenstein said only about 100,000 are
receiving therapy - one-tenth of those believed infected and much fewer than
the 250,000 who should be getting treatment. He said an estimated 50,000
Zimbabweans are dying of AIDS each year.
24th july 2009
However bloody the battle, be it in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, the DRC or
Ruanda, sooner or later the opposing sides have to sit down and talk to each
other. One of the excuses that Africa and the west have used for not
intervening in Zimbabwe has been that there is not a situation of outright
conflict. There has been no war they say - unless you call the long, slow
war of attrition waged by Zanu PF against innocent civilians a war - and, I
would argue, there is no real peace. Misguided, or just plain deluded
politicians may argue otherwise but reality tells a very different story. Up
and down the country we have documented cases of violence still going on;
that violence takes many forms and we cannot exclude wrongful arrest, the
misuse of the police and the courts whose political allegiance appears to be
stronger than loyalty to their oath of office. The state under Robert
Mugabe's misrule has become an instrument of violent repression against any
citizen who dares to disagree with the Zanu PF. With complete disregard for
the fact that is his own party that has been primarily responsible for the
continuing violence, Robert Mugabe has declared a period of National
Healing. The Extraordinary Government Gazette declares that July 24-26 will
be days when "Zimbabweans at home and abroad renounce and report all forms
of political violence in an effort to restore peace and stability in the
country." And to compound the hypocrisy of this nonsensical declaration,
Mugabe's 'partners' join him in this call for 'National Healing'. While
their own MDC supporters, including MPs are being arrested on patently
trumped up charges, or beaten up like the young woman in UMP, the MDC
leaders blithely ignore their plight and join the President in his call for
three days of National Healing.
It all sounds very worthy but several questions spring to mind. Apart from
the sickening hypocrisy of Mugabe's call, I ask whether it is remotely
possible that 'healing' can take place when the Zanu PF perpetrators of the
violence are still at large and the police steadfastly fail to prosecute the
wrong-doers? Appeals to the churches to participate in this process of
National Healing may well be heeded on the grounds that it is the
'Christian' thing to do but I for one cannot see how there can be genuine
healing without justice and truth. It is Gordon Chavunduka, the leader of
the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association, who best sums up the
reality. "It is too early for such a process," says Chavunduka, "the wounds
from the 2008 violence are still too fresh and those who committed such
violence must take responsibility." That is the nub of the matter. From
Robert Mugabe himself right down to his thugs on the ground there has been
no acceptance of responsibility for their crimes, no sorrow expressed for
the victims of the barbarous cruelty and inhumanity that has been meted out
on innocent men, women and children. Instead we are offered three days of
'National Healing' as if that alone could do any more than draw a veil over
unpardonable crimes against humanity.
Just to be absolutely sure I understood exactly what is meant by the term
'Healing', I checked the word 'heal' in the dictionary. This is how it is
defined: 'to restore or be restored to heath; to repair (of a wound) by
natural processes, as by scar formation; to cure a disease or disorder; to
restore or be restored to friendly relations, harmony etc. The word 'heal'
derives from the Old English 'haelan' meaning 'whole'. It follows then that
national healing implies that what was hurt or wounded in the nation would
be made whole again. Does anyone seriously believe that can be done in three
days? One look at the ongoing violent situations around the world tells us
that healing may take a very long time. Indeed, Mugabe himself is hardly an
example of Christian forgiveness and healing. Despite his stirring words at
Independence, we have seen little 'healing' of the wrongs done over the
years to Zimbabwean citizens. Mugabe has had nearly thirty years to
demonstrate the spirit of national healing and forgiveness but all we have
heard from him is hatred and intolerance towards anyone who disagrees with
him. Healing takes time apparently, longer for some than others. I was
vividly reminded of that by a piece in the UK Independent this week. The
article dealt with an incident which took place 25 years ago. In October
1984 a thirty-pound IRA bomb blew up the Grand Hotel in Brighton, an English
seaside resort on the south coast, where the ruling Conservative party was
holding its Annual Conference. Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister was
there, of course and was the probable target. She was unharmed in the
massive explosion that followed but Norman Tebbit, a senior minister in her
government, was buried under tons of rubble. He was rescued after hours of
digging and eventually recovered from his injuries. His wife, Margaret, has
been in a wheelchair ever since, paralysed from the neck down. Norman Tebbit
said he can never forgive Patrick Magee, the IRA man who planted the bomb.
"The only way he would ever want to bump into Patrick Magee" Tebbit said, "
would be with a heavy truck." As I said, it takes different people in
different ways, this healing process. Another victim of the bomb-blast was
Sir Anthony Berry and it is his daughter who has befriended Patrick Magee
who was released from prison under an amnesty when the Good Friday Agreement
was signed. Together these two unlikely allies have worked tirelessly for
peace in the troubled land. Magee has set up a charity called Building
Bridges for Peace and has publicly expressed his sorrow for the loss of life
that his action caused. He has, however, defended his reasons for planting
the bomb. Whether one agrees with the IRA cause or not, the fact is there is
now peace of a sort in Northern Ireland and a genuine power-sharing
government is in place.
From where I'm standing, the same cannot be said of Zimbabwe and three days
of National Healing will do little more than produce a whole lot of pious
platitudes from the politicians who all have their eyes on the next
election. At the risk of repeating myself, I still say that until I hear
Robert Mugabe himself come out on national radio and television ordering his
followers to immediately cease and desist from violence and for the police
to vigorously prosecute all offenders, I will not believe that the
President's call for National Healing is any more than a clever PR trick.
Clever because, after all, what political leader could come out openly and
say he didn't agree with 'National Healing'? Once again, Mugabe comes up
smelling of roses, except for the cynics among us who definitely detect
something 'fishy' about the whole exercise. On another continent, Patrick
Magee served a prison sentence for his horrendous crime, expressed genuine
sorrow for the suffering he had caused but maintained his cause was a just
one. What 'cause, I wonder, other than silencing all dissenting voices,
would Robert Mugabe put forward to excuse his crimes against the Zimbabwean
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH.