Click on the chart to enlarge: The chart above depicts a breakdown of breaches, by party, since the start of the ZIG Watch project. The vertical marker (grey) marks the date when MDC-T and MDC politicians were sworn in and assumed their respective roles alongside Zanu-PF in a power-sharing government. The breaches are recorded by daily monitoring of media reports. The counts therefore have to be viewed in the context of a repressive media environment, and as an indicator of total breaches rather than a comprehensive picture. It is likely to be an underestimate. For full details on each recorded breach, please visit http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch
The month of May closed on another low, as the unrelenting assault on democratic space in Zimbabwe took its toll. In broad terms, breaches logged in the May - June period fell into the following categories:
Statistics on our website indicate that responsibility for 87% of these breaches are attributable to Zanu PF.
The media shock of the month was the publication of video footage of police instructors violently beating helpless recruits at Morris Depot police training camp in Harare. The aim of the sadistic beatings of the recruits by their own instructors is yet to be established. The culture of violence promoted and perpetuated by Zanu PF has long reached epidemic proportions. Corroborating this, an article published in mid-June details the growth in the use of violence and intimidation by the uniformed forces and Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo, Muzarabani, Mberengwa, Chililmanzi, Mutoko, Cashel, Shamva, Dombashawa, Marondera, Odzi and Mudzi. Further instances of violence were recorded in articles detailing the violent disruption of peaceful demonstrations by activist groups - notably Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) - during the month.
The most recorded theme during the month was the ongoing - and escalating - issue of farm invasions. The most prominent story catalogued the events on Mount Carmel farm in Chegutu, where Zanu PF stalwart Nathan Shamuyarira is still attempting to illegally seize the land, property, produce and livelihoods of the farm owner, Mike Campbell, his family and their workers. The illegality of this and other actions by Zanu PF and its supporters was highlighted for the whole world to see when the SADC Tribunal, a new human rights court sitting in Windhoek, Namibia, held the Government of Zimbabwe in contempt of a previous ruling by the same court.
The latter ruling - in favour of Mike Campbell and 77 other white commercial farmers - ordered the Zimbabwe Government to “protect the possession, occupation and ownership of the lands of the applicants”. In true Zanu PF style, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa publicly denounced the court’s ruling and - in the same breath - condoned farm attacks. Sadly Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not seen fit to take a public stand against farm attacks - a matter that has angered, mystified and demoralised Zimbabweans from all walks of life.
Reflecting another escalating trend, Zanu PF this month intensified harassment through the courts of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MPs, politicians, activists, prominent legal figures and journalists. In the true blindness of self preservation, Zanu PF sees these actions as “legal” and “justified”, as they have been perpetrated through the courts. In a more notable case this month, Attorney General Johannes Tomana had three MDC activists (only recently released from illegal detention) re-abducted. The reason? To force them to turn state witness against some of their co-accused. Little wonder then that these activists are in the process of appealing to the High Court to be released!
Following on from this issue, the State recalled prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama to court on trumped up charges of “attempting to defeat the course of justice”. In another convoluted court case, MDC-T MP Shuah Mudiwa was convicted of kidnapping and awaits sentencing, in a case that MDC lawyers say is clearly manufactured. To add insult to injury, when Mudiwa’s lawyers tried to appeal against the conviction they were told that the court docket could not be found, making it technically impossible to proceed with the appeal. The “loss” of court dockets is a common occurrence in Zimbabwe.
Turning to the issue of freedom of speech, the month started with journalists being instructed to register with the now defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC). Taking rightful exception to this, journalists took the Information Ministry to court and won their case. Not to be outdone, Zanu PF functionaries, acting in contempt of the ruling, physically stopped the same journalists from covering the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit in Victoria Falls, giving rise to a new round of time-consuming and costly court cases to resolve the issue.
(Click legend to enlarge - or view project detail here)
With respect to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), Zanu PF this month played havoc with their continued control of the state media, downplaying Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s successes on his international tour. They toted the diplomatic tour (not a fundraising trip) as a failure, since monies promised by Western donors were limited, and all were to be channelled through aid organisations, rather than being directed via the Reserve Bank, still headed contentiously by Gideon Gono. In addition, the state media made no effort to include news of the MDC formations in their broadcasts, despite repeated requests to comply with the provisions of the GPA.
Legal right to freedom of association took a battering later in the month when the police violently disrupted a peaceful march by activists. The irony of the incident was that the secretary-general of Amnesty International, giving a presentation on human rights violations in Zimbabwe, was not more than 50 metres away from the scene. Had she looked through a curtained window, she would have witnessed this violence first hand. Some days later, anonymous police officers gave testimony to the fact that the police force was constantly getting directives from Zanu PF hardliners to beat and detain demonstrators - something that many police officers were actually trying to avoid.
The month closed with a disappointing article reporting that Deputy Mining Minister Murisi Zwizwai (MDC-T) had told a meeting of the Kimberley Process in Namibia that claims of mass killings in the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Zimbabwe were a result of “unsubstantiated reports”. His statements run contrary to many authoritative reports by respected persons and bodies who have documented large numbers of human rights abuses in the area.
Shocking video footage shows police recruits in Zimbabwe being tortured and beaten in a series of sickening assaults – apparently by their instructors. In one attack, a recruit is pinned down by six officers with one stepping on his back as laughing instructors whip and kick the defenceless man. The recruit can be heard screaming while one officer shouts, ‘wuraya’ (kill him). Other officers are also heard shouting ‘castrate him’, and ‘step on his throat.’ Screaming recruits are also seen being wrestled to the ground and held down while laughing officers kick and beat them with batons. The footage appears to have come from Morris Depot training camp in Harare. To view the 2-minute video: http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/4225
Worrying signs of growing violence and intimidation
This is Zimbabwe (Sokwanele blog): 17/06/2009
Violence against the MDC has occurred in Masvingo, Muzarabani, Mberengwa, Chililmanzi, Mutoko, Cashel and Shamva where some houses were burnt. In Dombashawa during the last two weeks soldiers have been beating up MDC members, using iron bars and bayonets at random. They are in groups of 15 to 20, some dressed in uniform. In Mutoko, some MDC members visited Zanu PF people in the area requesting they return livestock stolen from them last year. Agreement was reached amicably but police are now charging the MDC members with extortion. Trained Zanu PF youths are also intimidating MDC residents. In Odzi, a Zanu PF member evicted all his farm employees this week saying their political allegiance was dubious. They are now homeless and join the more than 90% unemployed. In Mudzi, a number of MDC members’ houses have been burnt. Police have been told to ignore this. Today, an MDC member was abducted from his home.
Chinamasa slams SADC land ruling & condones farm attacks
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 15/06/2009
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has slammed a SADC Tribunal ruling, meant to stop the ongoing wave of farm invasions, saying orders issued by the regional human rights court have no legal force in Zimbabwe. Chinamasa warned the same court against trying to ‘lecture’ Robert Mugabe. He condoned the attacks that have left thousands of farm workers without jobs, saying they are a justifiable protest against unfair land ownership by the white descendants of colonial-era settlers. It is now up to SADC countries to enforce SADC law. SADC is responsible - Zimbabwe being a SADC member state - for the safety and human rights of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe, as a signatory to the SADC Treaty, is bound by law to respect the regional bloc’s rulings. But with regards to the SADC rulings on land reform, the government refuses to comply. SADC itself has remained deafeningly silent on the matter.
Tsvangirai again downplays severity of land attacks
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 22/06/2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai once again downplayed the severity of the farm invasions. In a BBC interview on Sunday, Tsvangirai referred to the current wave of farm invasions as “isolated incidents”. He also dismissed the critical fact that farm production had been halted in Zimbabwe, saying the farm invasions are “not an explosion that has started all over again to disrupt farm productions.” Tsvangirai then said during a later interview that the political parties had agreed to a land audit, as an answer to the current land attacks, despite the fact that a comprehensive land audit will take several years to complete. The President of the Commercial Farmers Union expressed great concern that the Prime Minister has again dismissed the attacks, saying Tsvangirai is playing a “game” in an attempt to secure government funding. He explained that the attacks on farmers are likely to intensify as farm attacks have been all but legalised in terms of the law.
MDC Activists Re-abducted
Three MDC activists who were illegally abducted and detained by State security agents last year, were on Tuesday forcefully taken from their homes again by State security agents. A party statement said the trio was abducted and taken to the Attorney-General’s office in Harare. They were instructed by the police that they should testify against other MDC activists who face trial on trumped-charges of banditry, or they would face unspecified consequences. The three were released and told to go home, but to come to court next week. The three were arrested in October last year and spent four months in illegal detention. They were never charged or brought to court and were released in February 2009 following a High Court order. MDC lawyers have prepared an urgent High Court application to stop the State from using the three as witnesses.
Muchadehama Summoned for Trial in Renewed State Onslaught
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 09/06/2009
Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama was on Tuesday summoned to stand trial at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on 17 June on allegations of obstructing or defeating the course of justice. Muchadehama was removed from remand on Monday 1 June 2009 by Harare Magistrate Catherine Chimanda who granted his application for refusal of further remand. This was after determining the State’s evidence tendered in court did not show that Muchadehama caused High Court Registry officials to unlawfully cause the release from custody of his clients. Magistrate Chimanda further held that if Muchadehama intended to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, he would not have communicated with and notified Chris Mutangadura of the Attorney General’s Office in writing that he was seeking the release of his clients. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights believes that the swift revival of the case against Muchadehama is an attempt by the state to prevent him from properly representing his clients who are on trial on allegations of banditry, insurgency and terrorism.
Appeal of Convicted Zimbabwe Lawmaker Stymied As Court Docket
VOANews (USA): 22/06/2009
Lawyers for MDC MP Shuah Mudiwa on Monday were unable to enter an appeal in Mutare magistrates’ court of his conviction Saturday on charges he kidnapped a 12-year-old girl in 2007, or seek bail for him, as his court docket could not be found. Mudiwa faces sentencing Saturday. Two other MDC-T members of parliament, Trevor Saruwaka, who represents Mutasa Central in the House of Assembly, and Mike Makuyana, who represents Chipinge South, also await sentencing on charges which their party and lawyers say are politically motivated.
Journalists barred from Comesa summit despite High Court order
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 08/06/2009
Four journalists who last week won a landmark case against the government over the legality of the Media and Information Commission (MIC), were this weekend barred from attending the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit. The Information Ministry two weeks ago instructed journalists wishing to cover the event to register for accreditation with the MIC. The journalists took the state to court over the issue and a High Court Judge ruled that the MIC was defunct, so no journalist was legally required to register with it. The court granted the journalists an interim order barring government ministers and others from interfering with their operations. But the four journalists were turned away from the summit venue in Victoria Falls, despite their production of the High Court order, as they were not on the Information Ministry’s list of accredited journalists.
MDC accuses state media of bias
Zim Online (ZW): 17/06/2009
In letters written to Zimpapers’ editor-in-chief and the head of ZBC, the MDC-T Director of Information and Publicity accused the two media houses of violating the Global Political Agreement (GPA) through unfair coverage and blacking out of MDC-T party activities. Issues raised were: - The refusal to deploy journalists to accompany Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai during his international tour, - The blackout of the Prime Minister’s press conferences, especially those relating to the GPA, - biased reporting on the MDC national conference, - amplification on the Zanu PF position on the issue of the RBZ governor Gideon Gono and the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, - the attempt to suppress the High Court ruling confirming the Media and Information Commission as a nullity, and - ZBC’s refusal to flight television programmes which involved MDC Senator Obert Gutu.
Zimbabwe police take batons to women protesters 50m from Amnesty
Times, The (UK): 19/06/2009
Minutes after the secretary-general of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, accused elements of the Zimbabwean Government of “persistent and serious human rights abuses” yesterday, riot police broke up a peaceful demonstration only yards away from where she stood. Ms Khan described the human rights situation in Zimbabwe earlier as grim. She said there was no indication that Mugabe intended to honour commitments to freedom of association and expression made as part of the deal to form the new Government last year. She also criticised Prime Minister Tsvangirai, saying that she saw “no sense of urgency” in implementing human-rights provisions in the power-sharing agreement. She urged Mugabe and Tsvangirai to make public statements clearly instructing all party activists to stop harassment, intimidation and threats. She said that reform of the police and other elements of the security apparatus had been too slow, and criticised efforts to bring suspected abusers to justice.
Police instructed to beat up civilians
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 22/06/2009
The Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit continuously gets directives from Zanu PF hardliners to beat and detain anyone suspected to be planning a demonstration, said a top police official. As police, he said, they can only apply force to violent demonstrations, not small groups of law-abiding civilians organizing their social meetings.
Minister denies mass killings in Chiadzwa diamond fields
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 24/06/2009
Deputy Mining Minister Murisi Zwizwai has denied there were any killings in the eastern Marange diamond fields last year, telling a meeting of the Kimberley Process in Namibia on Wednesday that claims were a result of ‘unsubstantiated reports’, and that the situation had been brought under control. There have been widespread accounts of killings in the Chiadzwa area. Last October the army was called in to disperse thousands of illegal diamond hunters. Government originally, illegally, seized the diamond claim and encouraged locals to help themselves. But violence and murder resulted after the area was sealed off by troops. Accounts from survivors detailed killings, machine-gun attacks by helicopter and armed attacks by ground troops. Locals reported that anyone attempting to enter Chiadzwa was arrested and often tortured and killed. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have said about 5,000 people were arrested during the operation, with three quarters showing signs of severe torture. MDC also claimed that hundreds of people were buried in mass graves, and that soldiers sent to ‘guard’ the fields had become illegal diamond dealers themselves.
By Lance Guma
06 July 2009
Finance Minister Tendai Biti's office has denied reports that he
contradicted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's announcement of a US$950
million credit line from China.
On Friday several news agencies quoted Biti telling a press conference that
the country had not received a single cent from the Chinese. 'There's no
foundation at all in reports that we have received US$950 million from
China,' the weekly Zimbabwe Standard newspaper quoted him as saying. This
was in sharp contrast to Tsvangirai's announcement last week Tuesday in
which he said; 'While I was away government, through Finance Minister Tendai
Biti, also secured lines of credit from China totaling US$950 million.'
On Monday Newsreel was told that Biti used his Friday press conference to
deny reports he had signed a much bigger US$5 billion deal with the Chinese,
which would have seen the mortgaging off of the country's platinum
resources. An official in Biti's office told us it was only when the Finance
Minister was responding to a question on the US$950 million deal, that he
clarified that this was not hard cash, but credit lines.
Muddying the waters even further are claims from Mugabe that the deal with
the Chinese was negotiated long before the unity government was formed.
Mugabe insisted it was a US$5 billion deal that would be made available to
them in tranches. He went on to cite the US$950 million as one such tranche.
Newsreel spoke to a journalist who attended last week's press conference and
he said he found it strange that Biti's office would deny something that the
minister had said openly. We are also told Biti confirmed claims by Mugabe
that the application for US$950 million was made in 2005, way before the
unity government was formed. The Chinese government, through the Eximbank of
China, this year requested that Zimbabwe re-activate the application they
made back then.
Another source told Newsreel Tsvangirai probably jumped the gun in
announcing the deal, which is still to be finalized. Prime Minister
Tsvangirai meanwhile is said to have met the Chinese ambassador in Harare
and the finer details of the deal are being finalized. An MDC official told
us the deal would almost certainly go through.
Robert Mugabe has dismissed Johnnie Carson, the most senior American
government official dealing with Africa, as an "idiot", in the Zimbabwean
president's latest criticism targeting African-Americans.
By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Published: 6:31PM BST 06 Jul 2009
Mr Mugabe met Johnnie Carson, the Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs, on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Libya at the
It was the first meeting at such a high level between the two countries for
several years, as relations plunged to dire lows while Mr Mugabe destroyed
his own economy and condemned his people to penury.
But despite the formation of the coalition government with the former
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Mr Mugabe was unable to depart
from his anti-Western rhetoric.
He told Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper that Mr Carson's attitude
was condescending. "You wouldn't speak to an idiot of that nature," he was
quoted as saying on Monday.
"I was very angry with him, and he thinks he could dictate to us what to do
and what not to do in the inclusive government."
Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since independence in 1980, has long blamed
the West for the ills that have befallen Zimbabwe, denying any
responsibility of his own.
"You have the likes of little fellows like Carson, you see, wanting to say:
'You do this, you do that.' Who is he?" Mr Mugabe said.
"I told him he was a shame, a great shame, being an African-American."
Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party have long claimed they are the only
organisation which can preserve Zimbabwe's "independence", accusing the MDC
and the West of wanting to "re-colonise" the country.
Whether he really believes his claims, or whether they are mere politicking,
it is a worldview which has apparently led him to reserve the worst of his
vitriol for black Westerners, who he seems to regard as traitors.
He once described Mr Carson's predecessor Jendayi Frazer as "that little
girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute" while the official media
regularly denounced James McGee, the former American ambassador in Harare,
as a "house Negro".
By Tichaona Sibanda
3 July 2009
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday dismissed attempts by ZANU PF to
force the Kariba draft constitution on the people, saying it is up to the
people to decide and no one should impose a solution on them.
He said the process to draft a new constitution was not about individuals or
political parties, but a people-centred initiative, which should involve
everyone. The MDC leader told a party rally in Marondera that the new
constitution should outlive the politicians.
Tsvangirai's comments were a reference to Robert Mugabe's rallying call to
ZANU PF supporters that the new constitution must be anchored in the Kariba
Draft, that was agreed to by ZANU PF and the two MDC formations on September
'The constitution is not about individuals or political parties. The people
must define the future of this country by writing their own constitution
which should outlive the politicians,' Tsvangirai said.
'So let us not miss this opportunity. Let us work together so that there is
no sliding back to violence,' he added. Civil society organizations have
also come out in the open castigating politicians for wanting to have an
undue influence on the process.
Over 2000 delegates who attended the 2009 People's Constitutional Convention
from Friday to Saturday in Harare unanimously agreed not to use the Kariba
draft as a reference point.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said conclusions drawn up at the end
of the two day convention highlighted the need for ordinary Zimbabweans and
not politicians to have more input into the drafting of the constitution.
Muchemwa told us delegates demanded that in a democracy sovereignty must
rest with 'the people'. There can be no higher authority, no-one who can
tell the people they can't have what they ultimately want.
'Basically what they were saying was they should be masters of their own
destiny, free and equal and empowered to decide the next constitution of
Zimbabwe,' Muchemwa said.
By Stanley Kwenda
HARARE, Jul 6 (IPS) - The Zimbabwean coalition government cannot afford to
repay debts incurred when President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF was ruling on
its own and will not repay those debts.
Zimbabwe's finance minister, Tendai Biti, told debt cancellation campaigners
at a conference that "Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay the debt
and we will not pay this debt."
The minister was responding to growing calls from civil society
organisations for a comprehensive debt audit. The organisations want the
audit to determine the extent to which the country's debts have become
illegitimate and odious.
Debt becomes illegitimate when contracted by corrupt governments outside
legal frameworks and when there is no public consultation. Debts become
odious if they are not used to benefit the citizenry but rather to oppress
Civil society groups have demanded to know how the money was used before the
debts are repaid.
Biti was speaking at a conference with the theme "Economy in Transition -
Towards Sustainable Public Debt for Zimbabwe", hosted by the Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) in Harare last week. ZIMCODD is
a socio-economic justice coalition established in 2000 to facilitate
citizens' involvement in making public policy and practice pro-people.
According to the latest ministry of finance and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
statistics, released on Jun 30, Zimbabwe is sitting on a total external debt
of 4.6 billion dollars. Approximately 65 percent of these external
obligations are in arrears.
To compound matters, Zimbabwe requires 8.4 billion dollars for its Short
Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP), an economic blueprint launched by
the government in April this year.
The huge external debt may extinguish whatever possibility exists of an
economic recovery. Although the country is starting to register slight
improvement in general economic performance, the huge debt stock remains an
Revenue collections have steadily risen from 4.7 million dollars in January
to 28.7 million dollars in February, climbing further to 41.7 million
dollars in March. The upward trend continued in April and May when 51.6 and
66.8 million dollars was collected respectively. These amounts are, however,
a drop in the ocean considering the huge recovery work that the country
The country's industrial base still operates at 20 percent capacity while
hospitals remain without essential equipment and medicine. The International
Labour Organisation (ILO) puts the unemployment rate at 95 percent, a
reflection of an economy which is far from ticking.
Against this background, Biti told the conference that it would be an
"obscene" act for him to attempt repayment of debt.
He reiterated this in an interview with IPS: "It would be obscene for me as
the minister of finance to direct that we pay when 90 percent of our people
are living below the poverty datum line, surviving on less than 20 dollar
cents a day."
The international financial institutions (IFIs), the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, have demanded the repayment of past loans
before new lines of credit can be opened.
Biti responded that this kind of approach will only leave Zimbabwe with a
"debt overhang". He suggested the formulation of a sustainable debt strategy
which will enable the country to meet its obligations without abandoning
"It is this debt strategy which will form the basis upon which government
will re-engage the international capital market players," Biti told IPS.
Biti further argued that Zimbabwe's economic indicators now reflect that of
a low income country and therefore Zimbabwe should qualify for the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). Countries that fall under the
classification of HIPC benefit from exceptional arrears clearance support
from the IFIs and the African Development Bank (ADB).
The civil society groups are arguing that the colossal debt that the country
has accumulated is largely illegitimate. An example is the decision by the
ZANU-PF government to send soldiers into the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), an unbudgeted expenditure.
In the book "Zimbabwe's Plunge - Neo-Colonialism and Exhausted Nationalism",
Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya wrote that Zimbabwe was using one million
dollars a day to fight in the DRC.
Dakarayi Matanga, ZIMCODD director, told IPS that it is important to
determine the legitimacy of public debt because it affects the realisation
of people's social and economic rights. "We should analyse the legitimacy of
the debt in order to separate what ought to be paid and what not. Public
debt is one of the major hindrances to the realisation of sustainable
development," argued Matanga.
"Countries spend huge amounts of national resources servicing debt at the
expense of development projects and the provision of basic services such as
health and education," he added.
Debt cancellation campaigner Sarah Bracking, a senior lecturer at the
University of Manchester's School of Environment and Development, argued for
a debt audit. "The Zimbabwean debt is politically related. Citizens did not
take part when decisions to contract loans were made," Bracking told IPS.
Betty Nyamupinga, a ZIMCODD debt campaigner, indicated to IPS that the debt
audit should have a gender dimension. "Let's look at the impact of debt on
gender. It is us women who are supposed to take children to hospital and
give birth in a dilapidated facility but when decisions are made we are not
consulted," Nyamupinga stated.
Vitalis Meja of the African Forum on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) called
for the total cancellation of debt. "Let's cancel the damn debt. (Repayment)
is like being given a rope to go and hang yourself and you do just that,"
Obert Gutu, a senator in the Zimbabwe parliament speaking in his own
capacity, declared that by asking for loan payments, the IFIs are issuing a
death warrant for Zimbabweans: "They are simply saying, 'we want you to die'."
By Violet Gonda
6 July 2009
A visiting delegation from the Kimberley Process has just concluded a week
long investigation into Zimbabwe's controversial diamond mining trade and
found that the country's military and police were major contributors to the
illegal activities, human rights abuses and murders that took place in the
Marange diamond fields, despite denials by government officials.
The Kimberley Process is an initiative by international govenments and
civil societies to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Although the full
report has not been publicised, the interim report said: "There cannot be
effective security where diamonds are concerned, with the involvement of the
The anti-blood diamonds group recommended that the army should be
immediately removed from the diamond fields. Liberian Deputy Mines Minister
Kpandel Fayia, who is the head of the Kimberley Process delegation, is
quoted in the Herald saying the full report on Zimbabwe would be issued
within a month.
Human Rights Watch senior researcher Tiseke Kasambala said: "If this is
truly the case, then that is indeed a positive statement from the Kimberly
Process and was one of the key recommendations from our report we released
about a week and a half ago, calling for the de-militarisation of the
diamond industry in Zimbabwe."
The rights group also said government denials of killings, especially by the
army, are a cover up as gross abuses have been taking place in the Chiadzwa
area since the diamond fields were discovered in 2006. Kasambala said it is
disappointing the authorities are denying the atrocities that took place,
instead of addressing what happened and trying to bring about accountability
and transparency in the mining of diamonds in Zimbabwe.
"The army has carried out terrible abuses, including forced labour of
children, women and men and took part in the massacres that took place in
October and November 2008." According to the group, at least 200 people were
killed by military personnel during a crackdown on so called illegal diamond
Last week the MDC criticised its own minister for making 'inaccurate'
statements about what transpired in the Chiadzwa area. Deputy Minister of
Mines, Murisi Zwizwai, said there had been no killings in the diamond
fields. But his party said: "We view the remarks as premature and
inaccurate in the absence of an investigation into the murky dealings in the
Chiadzwa diamond fields where a lot of things happened out of the public
eye. Hon Zwizwai's claims are therefore fact-hostile and evidence-free."
It is understood the Kimberly Process fact finding mission also spoke with
victims of the military crackdown, some with gunshot wounds, and to some
relatives of those killed.
Mon Jul 6, 2009 4:36pm GMT
By Carolyn Cohn
LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will not return to using its own
currency in the near future, and any move back to the Zimbabwe dollar will
be linked to export strength, Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti said
"It is not our intention to depart in a hurry from the regime of multiple
currencies that we are using at the present moment," Biti said in an
interview with Reuters television on the sidelines of an Africa forum.
"There is no reversion to the Zimbabwe dollar at all. If it happens, it will
depend on the performance of our economy, the performance of our exports. We
are still a very, very long way to the return of the Zimbabwean dollar."
Zimbabwe has allowed the use of multiple foreign currencies since January to
stem hyperinflation which has left the Zimbabwe dollar almost worthless in
the midst of a severe economic crisis.
President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe may revive the use of its own
currency because the U.S. dollar was unavailable to a majority of people in
Biti told Reuters that inflation would reach 3-4 percent this year, after
averaging -2.0 percent over the January-June period.
Zimbabwe recorded a monthly inflation rate of -1.0 percent in May.
The last inflation figure announcement before the country permitted the use
of foreign currencies was in October, which showed prices racing along at a
record 231 million percent.
Biti also said Zimbabwe needed budgetary support.
"We expect our 2009 budget to be $1 billion, I expect to collect $800
million by the end of the year. This will leave us a shortfall of $200
Biti said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had a "very successful" trip last
month to the United States and Europe, which he hoped would help the country
to attract money to plug the budget gap.
The International Monetary Fund said last week that improved economic
policies in Zimbabwe had led to a "nascent" recovery in the economy, but
that the country must clear more than $1.1 billion in areas to creditors
before it can qualify for IMF financial aid.
"Three things are critical -- Zimbabwe has to reengage with its friends, we
need development assistance and we need trade finance in the immediate short
term," Biti said.
"The real challenge is the mistrust of the international community of this
inclusive government experiment."
Rivals Mugabe and Tsvangirai are seeking $10 billion to rebuild Zimbabwe's
(Editing by Ron Askew)
MASVINGO- July 6, 2009- The Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) failed to
open on Monday as students shunned the high fees.
"We can not go back to college this semester when we are not able to
pay the fees for the last semester. We could not manage to get our results
because they were suppressed after we had not managed to pay full tuition
fees," said one of the students who spoke to RadioVOP.
The university is demanding at least US$ 300 from students for the
The University Vice Chancellor Professor Obert Maravanyika said: "This
is a national problem. Students are having difficulties in raising their
fees all over the country. We are not an exception but we just encourage all
our students to come and register so that they would be able to attend
lectures. I can not conclude that students have already failed, I know they
"We can not teach because there are almost five percent of the
students here. If they do not reduce the fees, then there will be no
learning in the near future," said one of the lecturers.
HURUNGWE- There is been a serious exodus of temporary teachers in
Zimbabwe's Hurungwe rural area following non-payment for the past five
The untrained teachers had heeded a call by the government in February
and submitted their contract forms at Magunje education offices where they
have been gathering dust ever since and were not forwarded to the Salary
Service Bureau (SSB).
The various teachers had been deployed in rural schools and were
battling to make ends meet.
Teachers in full time employment receive USd 100 allowance from the
government which has said it has no money to adequately renumerate them.
Zimbabwe's coffers are dry following a decade long decay of its
economy due to political instability and economic mismanagement. Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has just returned from a trip to European Union
States and America to raise funds for the country which need about USD 10
billion to revive its economy. Very little, so far has been raised as most
countries have demanded a stop to human rights abuses and a return to rule
of law before they can committ meaningful support.
Teachers returned to schools when a new unity government was put in
place in February following an appeal from Tsvangirai and long discussions
with the new Education minister David Coltart who appealed to the teachers
to resume work while government sought solutions of how to raise their
Schools in Zimbabwe were seriously disrupted last year with teachers
attending an average 23 days of work the whole year.
''Initially our contract forms were just for a month until it was
reversed to three months covering the whole term and we have been battling
to have them submitted to Harare SSB for payment with education officials at
Magunje blocking our efforts'' said a temporary teacher who has since given
up to remain in the remote area of Kazangarare.
The teachers accused the district education officer Muchineripi
Ndewere of not acting on their contract forms with urgency.
Ndewere refused to comment over the issue when contacted referring
Radio VOP to provincial education officer Sylvester Mashayamombe who only
said, ''Mashonaland West has enough qualified teachers''.
However teachers within Hurungwe gave a different accounts of the
reality on the ground with Dete primary school being understaffed by 15
''There are many schools that do not have adequate teaching staff but
Hurungwe education officers are bungling over the contract forms and this
will affect the enrollment of children. It's unfortunate the officials
believe those teachers who went out of the country will return soon with
such unprofessionalism at Magunje education offices,'' said another
frustrated teacher from Mjinga area.
PRESIDENT Mugabe was in Sirte, Libya, for the 13th Ordinary Session
of the African Union General Assembly this past week. He answered questions from
Zimbabwean journalists on the outcome of the summit, the US$950 million Chinese
facility to Zimbabwe, his meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs and the MDC-T boycott of the last Cabinet meeting, among other
things. But I think it is coming back because many countries have now realised that
the West does not give money to enable us to build the capacity we require to be
Here, we reproduce the full transcript of the interview held at Al Kabir Hotel in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.
Question: Your Excellency, you had three days of intensive discussions in Sirte, we recollect sometimes you had to go to sleep in the early hours of the morning. What came out of Sirte (venue of the just-ended AU Summit)?
Answer: Well, quite an exercise it was, but at the end of the day we are happy about the result, we are very happy with the result indeed. The entire exercise was about the transformation of our body, we have moved from the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) to the AU (African Union), then its administrative body as the Commission.
True we have had alternating chairpersons, but overall it was the administrative organ that determined the levels that we were going through.
Whether those levels were qualitative or transformative enough to enable us to say we are moving towards the goal of a real Union with political power or not, it remained to be decided. But this time, a definite decision was made to turn the organisation now into an authority.
And so you have now these levels that have been built; right at the top, the president and the deputy president, and, of course, you have the administrative subordinates, and each subordinate in charge of a different function.
Previously there were commissioners, about eight of them.
Just now the commissioners are secretaries responsible for the various portfolios assigned to them, but we have added two more: defence and foreign affairs, but coordinating functions only.
Co-ordinating defence and co-ordinating foreign affairs, that means consulting with, firstly the regional bloc organisations, and then, in a subsidiary way of course, with the nations themselves in regard to those portfolios.
They are sensitive ones, as you might have heard or seen.
Of course, countries were very sensitive about defence, the area of defence being completely an area where total authority was ceded to the new African Union Authority, and countries would not want that.
But they would want certain aspects of defence in the event, of course, of our taking action as the Authority, an African Authority, to naturally be co-ordinated somehow by an authority hence the creation of that portfolio, as well as the creation, of course, of the foreign affairs portfolio.
Q: We collect that the operationalisation of this new animal (AU Authority) has got to have ratification by individual parliaments of the 53 member-states. Does it still hold that we have to go to our parliaments to ratify this?
A: I suppose that’s purely now the arrangement to ensure that there is concurrence on the part of everybody, we have all voted for it, we have all agreed and ratification is a matter of procedural nicety, it’s a technicality so I think countries will ratify.
Q: Still in Sirte, agriculture was at the centre of your discussions?
A: Yes, we had agriculture; that was a project that was meant to be discussed, yes.
Q: Any experiences drawn from the Zimbabwe Land Reform Programme?
A: Well, we are not the only ones who have had experiences; other countries had their own experiences. But it was a combination of experiences that we were pooling together, and, of course, taking into account also the climatic vicissitudes that we have now which have yielded for us in Zimbabwe more drought seasons than rainy seasons and what we should do in those circumstances.
What it meant was we must gather the water that falls, little though it may be, and be able to conserve it, and then from it naturally we can gain the life of our crops through irrigation and utilisation of that water in various other ways.
So that is irrigation, mechanisation of our agricultureand making our agriculture really, really the basis of the transformation of our economy.
And you noticed that FAO was there also. The Food and Agriculture Organisation, yes, it’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, but food comes from agriculture.
Q: We came to Sirte, but we could have been in Antananarivo where a coup happened, and you had to change the venue of the summit. Any hotspots you discussed, Madagascar for example?
A: Madagascar, you recall that Sadc decided there should be mediation, mediation through a facilitator and we chose former president Chissano, former president of Mozambique to be the facilitator of the mediation that we believe will bring about some understanding between the two sides; that of former president Ravalomanana and the other rebel, Rajoelina, who is only 35 years old and is barred by the constitution from assuming that role as the president but he has the support of the army.
We said it’s not yet a moment for us to think of military intervention, let’s try a peaceful thrust and that thrust should be regulated, supervised by a facilitator. Chissano is the right man because not only is he fluent in Portuguese and English, but he also speaks French fluently as well.
Q: Your Excellency, what is happening in Africa seems to be a realisation of the Pan-Africanism ideology.
Would you say that, that idealism about bringing Africa together is still alive or it’s something that is being pushed by what is happening somewhere else?
A: I think over the recent few years gone by there has been a development, a development I think which was more determined by the economic situations of our countries and a situation that greater reliance on Western funding would assist our economies in transforming, and because of that naturally if you are a beggar, you cannot at the same time prescribe, you see, the rules of how you should be given whether it’s food or any items at all.
So we were subjected to certain conditionalities as a basis on which whatever was paid, be it food, be it humanitarian aid in other directions, was sent to us.
And in some countries, you see, they did not have even the necessary economic capacity, which could enable them to sustain their civil service, their security arms — the army, airforce and the police force —without outside help.
And once you are inadequate in terms of funding yourselves monetarily and you have got to look outside for someone to assist you, and that someone outside naturally dictates conditions on you, and the moment that happens you have lost a bit of your own sovereign right to determine how you run your affairs.
Those who give you money will naturally determine how you should run your country, and through that we tended to subject ourselves to the will of outsiders, to the will, even, of our erstwhile colonisers. It was neo-colonialism back again, what Nkrumah called neocolonialism. There it was, it was crammed into our system, they were deciding how we should run our elections; who should be in government, who should not, regime changes, that nonsense.
So our Pan-Africanism was lost because Pan-Africanism was based on the right of Africa determining its own future, the right of Africa standing on its own, and being the master of its own destiny, master of its own resources that had been lost.
They will give you little funds, you know. ‘Yes, you are afflicted by this epidemic, we will give you a bit of help here and there.’
‘You are suffering from the effects of drought, yes, a bit of food here and there et cetera, et cetera’, but with conditions that you run your system in a given way.
That now is our realisation. The funds we have been getting are, by and large, little humanitarian bits and pieces of funds. This has not helped Africa to industrialise.
Just look around and tell me which country in Africa has industrialised?
Yes, you have South Africa, which has inherited that ystem of development, but the rest of Africa; we are still where we were.
There is no funding with an investment capacity from the West that will enable us to move from primary agriculture to secondary stages of development.
They do not want us, the West, to be that.
They do not want us to be their equals, they enjoy being masters over us and this is what Zimbabwe rejects.
Q: Zimbabwe recently got an injection from the Chinese facility. How far do you think it will go for us?
A: Well, it’s a fund that was negotiated long ago, and all that nonsense that it’s the MDC and so on is just politicking.
It’s a fund also that is targeted, it will come variously.
There are amounts for the various sectors, for agriculture, for health, for mechanisation et cetera and so on, and they will cover energy as well and so we are happy.
But you don’t get the political conditionalities from the East. Look at what has happened?
Look at the fund, that US$950 million, and we know there is more, there will be more; is given in circumstances quite different from what the West prescribed for the mini-funds that attended, you know, all that venture that the Prime Minister went on from the Netherlands to the United States, the United States back to Europe.
And they treated him in a mean way, very, very mean way even to the extent of trying to divide the inclusive Government as happened in America where they wanted just the non-Zanu-PF side, which meant the MDC side led by the Prime Minister, to accompany him to a meeting with Obama.
Fortunately, that did not happen elsewhere in Europe, but still in Europe look at the little funds that they were giving, and giving mainly for humanitarian purposes.
And how given?
Through NGOs and what do NGOs mean in our own situation where Government is running a country, running a country with definite demands, you see, in various sectors?
What they think of first is their own NGOs so that the money is absorbed by their own agents in the first place. Or it comes in a crooked way to serve their own political objectives in our country.
The Chinese fund does not come in that way. It has been targeted rightly, it’s a fund coming to Government not NGOs, to Government, an inclusive Government, towards development and will assist us in turning around the economy, and that is the kind of help we would want to get, and not the Western dictates.
Q: Do you think there has been a realisation within the parties in the GPA that the West is only there to dictate the pace at which Africa develops, especially when you consider that the Prime Minister had gone for two weeks in Europe and America and got back with virtually nothing?
A: The lesson is there for everyone with a bit of brains to learn, and those who have not learnt the lesson that the West is always up to mischief, if they have not learnt that lesson, then they won’t have any lesson to learn or they are hand-in-glove with the enemy.
Q: The American Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs sought an audience with you in Sirte. Anything which came out of that meeting?
A: No, you wouldn’t speak to an idiot of that nature. I was very angry with him, and he thinks he could dictate to us what to do and what not to do in the inclusive Government.
We have the whole of Sadc working with us, and you have the likes of little fellows like Carson, you see, wanting to say ‘you do this, you do that’.
Who is he? I hope he was not speaking for Obama. I told him he was a shame, a great shame being an African-American, an Afro-American for that matter.
Q: On Monday, just the day before you left for Sirte, you had a Cabinet meeting which was boycotted by a section of the MDC-T. Any lessons which they learnt from that boycott, probably?
A: We talked a bit about it with the Prime Minister and he apologised for it, and thought they should have come and if they had any grievances, aired their grievances in the meeting.
It was a surprise to me to tell you the truth. I don’t know whether this is going to be the order of doing things. It’s insolence on one hand, but it’s also abysmal ignorance on the other. -- Herald
PRESIDENT Mugabe was in Sirte, Libya, for the 13th Ordinary Session
of the African Union General Assembly this past week. He answered questions from
Zimbabwean journalists on the outcome of the summit, the US$950 million Chinese
facility to Zimbabwe, his meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State for
African Affairs and the MDC-T boycott of the last Cabinet meeting, among other
But I think it is coming back because many countries have now realised that
the West does not give money to enable us to build the capacity we require to be
Harare, July 6th 2009: Ambassador James D. McGee left Harare yesterday, concluding two years of service as Ambassador to Zimbabwe. A career diplomat, McGee will continue working for the State Department at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.
McGee bade farewell to hundreds of Zimbabwe at the July 4th Independence Day commemoration last Friday, noting the changes that have taken place in Zimbabwe since he arrived in November 2007.
“Today … we have an inclusive government comprised of Zimbabwe’s three main parties. … Zimbabwe is at least working on recovery. But at the same time so much remains to be done. The rule of law and human rights are still under attack in Zimbabwe. Innocent Zimbabweans continue to be arrested and prosecuted. ”
McGee pledged his government’s support to efforts by Zimbabweans to restore democracy and economic prosperity.
“For real change to take hold in Zimbabwe, average Zimbabweans must do what the founders of the U.S. did 233 years ago. They must stand up for their rights and demand a government of their choosing that serves their interests. If they do so, I promise that the United States will support them in their quest,” said McGee. (See full remarks at http://harare.usembassy.gov)
Katherine S. Dhanani is Charge’d Affaires.
President Barack Obama has announced his intention to nominate Charles A. Ray, a career member of the Foreign Service since 1982. Ray has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs since 2006. He served as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia from 2002 to 2005.
# # #
Issued by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Contact: Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: +263 4 758802 Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Affairs Section
Taken Question: Ambassador McGee ends
Taken Question: Did Ambassador McGee bid farewell to President Mugabe before leaving Zimbabwe?
Answer: Over two weeks before Ambassador McGee departed Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy requested a courtesy call with President Mugabe through a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Unfortunately, the U.S. Embassy never received a reply from the Government of Zimbabwe regarding the U.S. Ambassador’s request for a meeting with the President.
Issued on July 6, 2009 by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Harare
By Alex Bell
06 July 2009
The African Union (AU) is facing heavy criticism from international human
rights groups, dignitaries and even some African governments, after the body
last week resolved to ignore the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the
arrest warrant of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
At a summit in Libya on Friday, the pan-African body adopted a motion
effectively ruling out the arrest of al-Bashir on the territory of any of
its members and urged the United Nations to intervene to delay the case. The
decision followed the surprise draft resolution brought forward by the
summit host, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday, to boycott the ICC
over the indictment of African personalities. The draft text was on Friday
changed to single out al-Bashir's indictment, but the final decision itself
has set a worrying precedent for justice in Africa.
"What we see here is a very heavy-handed attempt by Libya to force states
who are members of ICC to abandon their legal obligation and to give a free
pass to Omar al-Bashir to traipse around the continent without worry," said
Reed Brody, a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. The organisation has
taken an active role in urging that the indictment of al-Bashir is upheld,
and has reacted with shock and anger to the AU resolution.
At the same time, Amnesty International said on Saturday that the move
showed 'disdain' for the victims of violence in Sudan's western Darfur
region, where al-Bashir is accused of war crimes and crimes against
"This decision by the African Union member states shows a disdain for those
in Darfur who suffered gross human rights violation and makes a mockery of
the AU as an international body," said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty's
"By supporting a wanted person accused of war crimes and crimes against
humanity, it undermines the credibility of states who are party to the Rome
Statute and the AU as a whole."
The summit decision effectively allows al-Bashir to travel across Africa
without fear of arrest, despite 54 African nations being party to the Rome
Statute that formed the ICC. Those countries are supposed to arrest
al-Bashir or any other ICC indicted personality if they travel there, in
order to face prosecution in The Hague.
Meanwhile Botswana on Sunday distanced itself from the AU decision, saying
it has "treaty obligations to fully cooperate with the ICC in the arrest and
transfer of the president of Sudan to the ICC." Foreign Minister Phandu
Skelemani said in a statement that the ICC was established specifically to
help end impunity by, for instance, prosecuting those suspected of
committing genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes.
"The people of Africa and Sudan in particular have been victims of these
crimes. Botswana strongly holds the view that the people of Africa,
including the people of Sudan, deserve to be protected from the perpetrators
of such crimes," he said.
At the same time, in an opinion piece in the New York Times this weekend,
former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan wrote that the decision "demeans
the yearning for human dignity that resides in every African heart." He also
wrote that the decision "represents a step backward in the battle against
"The ICC represents hope for victims of atrocities and sends a message that
no one is above the law. That hope and message will be undermined if the
African Union condemns the court because it has charged an African head of
state," he asserted.
This document is not meant to be a comprehensive report on the state of the interim government of Zimbabwe. Rather it is aimed at giving an overview, month by month, of political developments under the terms set out in the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The sections profiled in monthly outputs may vary depending on events and issues raised in that particular report. Where possible, the relevant article as stipulated in the GPA has been provided. As this documentation began in April, there may at times be references to activities or events that took place in previous months.
Table of Contents
Article II Commitment
Article VI Constitution
Article III Economic Development
Article XXI Electoral Vacancies
Article XX Framework for a National Government
Article IV Funding
Article VII, XVI Humanitarian & Food Assistance
Article XXII JOMIC (Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee)
Article V Land Reform
Article XVII Legislative Agenda Priorities
Article XI, XVIII National Security Council
Article XV National Youth Training Programme
Article X Free Political Activity
Article VII, XII Reconciliation
Articles XII, XIX Rights and Freedoms
Article XI Rule of Law
Article IV Targeted Sanctions
Article VI, VII, XIII Civil Society Mechanisms
Download the full document below.
Some time back, Morgan Tsvangirai said that the transitional government in
Zimbabwe was like a marriage between a donkey and a horse. I joked that such
a union would produce sterile offspring. At a rally in Matabeleland the
other day I said that this analogy might also apply to a weird couple tied
together in a yoke and trying to pull Zimbabwe out of the deep hole it is
If you take that analogy one step further and ask yourself how this crazy
set up can actually work, it will become clear to you that such a union will
be largely dysfunctional, barely productive and if it is going to pull us
out of the hole we are in, it will need help. This is especially so since it
is clear that Zanu PF are still digging the hole deeper even while they
pretend to help pull on the outside of the hole.
Zanu PF is digging the hole deeper by continuing to destroy what is left of
our agriculture, legal and judicial system and is continuing to loot those
State institutions they still control. At the edge of the hole, the donkey
is barely pulling. It stands there with its head down and makes no effort to
help the horse pull the chains that link them to the country in the hole.
How deep that hole is was illustrated for me this week when I had lunch with
an investment fund manager from London in Harare . He gave me a report that
stated that based on official exchange rates, the GDP in Zimbabwe in 1997
was nearly 10 billion US dollars. Last year their calculation put our GDP at
2 billion dollars. Over the same period little Botswana next door took its
real GDP from US$7 billion to US$14 billion. Seven times the GDP of Zimbabwe
with only 15 per cent of its population.
This explains the extreme difficulties we are in - can you imagine an entire
country living on barely survival income levels? That is where we have come
from. This same visitor told me that they were impressed with the progress
made since the new government took charge. They showed me the sales of beer
by a local manufacturer - clear beer up from 34 to 76 in January - April and
opaque beer up from 65 in December rising to 249 in April. I have long
believed in the beer index as a measure of relative income, so this is very
By the way, two other measures for you - maize deliveries to official
markets - 110 per cent in 2000 down to 5 per cent in 2008. Manufacturing
output indicators down from 110 per cent in 1998 to 15 per cent in 2008.
But then we all knew that - just did not appreciate how low we had got last
year. I am satisfied that if we had not signed that deal in September, we
would have done the unthinkable and seen a total collapse of the economy and
all services. Getting back from that would have been tough - it may not have
been recoverable. At least now we are holding the situation and are no
longer going backwards; a gradual recovery is underway. It may not actually
be so gradual; I think our growth this year will actually be quite strong.
But back to the horse and the donkey. A few things about this couple - first
they do not like each other. Second they are not compatible, there is no
ways they are going to become a couple in the modern sense of the word. They
are obliged to work together but when the work day is over, they go their
different ways. Also there is no way that the people watching this struggle
can ever confuse the donkey with the horse. They are quite different and
will remain so.
They were hitched to these chains by regional governments led by South
Africa . Some in this group wanted to protect the donkey and to try and turn
it into a horse. Others saw this as a chance for the horse to stop the rot
and get itself into a position where it might just be able, by sheer
determination and with the help of others to actually pull the country back
over the edge. Once the rescue had taken place they could then unhitch the
weird pair and take a breather while a better team is put together to take
the country along the path that lies ahead.
Morgan is in a tough situation, while he is tied to this donkey in this yoke
he has no choice but to work with her. If you have ever ploughed with a pair
of animals in a yoke, you know that it is important to have two evenly
matched animals. If you do not have a matched pair, the resulting exercise
is a nightmare for all who are involved. The plough goes all over the place
and is very difficult to hold steady.
When you want to train a young ox for this task, you yoke him to an older,
bigger ox that can then be relied upon to make up for the inexperience of
the other and is strong enough to hold the line when the younger animal
strays. This is not possible with a horse and a donkey - the horse is much
taller, stronger but the donkey is stubborn and all decisions by the pair
must be consensual.
What makes it really tough for Morgan is that there is little to be gained
from kicking the donkey while she is in the yoke. He just has to make the
most of it while the situation continues - and keep his mind on what has to
be done to pull the country out of the hole in the next 15 months.
Is he getting enough help? That is the key question right now. I happen to
think so and feel that the recent trip to the US and Europe was all part of
that and will be very helpful. The recent actions by the Chinese government
will also help. They received the Zanu PF delegation in Beijing as just
that - a political party delegation. They came home empty handed. Made went
to Iran and I am sure he came back with little but comfort. On the other
hand the Chinese went out of their way to demonstrate their support for
Morgan - a massive, low interest loan negotiated and signed off while the
Zanu PF Team was out of the country.
Mr. Mugabe went to Libya to attend the AU summit this week. The only thing
that came out that made the news was a decision to defy international law
and refuse to execute an arrest warrant out against the President of Sudan.
The local State run rag (the Herald) headlined the fact that Mugabe was to
meet the American Under Secretary of State for Africa on the sidelines of
the UA summit. Not quite Obama, but a step in that direction. However, it
did not turn out so good; he objected to some remarks by the US official and
stormed out of the meeting - no help for him there!
Harare , 4th July 2009
CHENJERAI HOVE: COMMENT - Jul 06 2009 09:00
Imagine a scene in a science laboratory. Three scientists are busy on an
experiment to produce urgent scientific solutions to a huge problem.
Somehow, two of the scientists agree on the chemicals. But as the experiment
goes on, the air is flooded with nasty odours. The reluctant scientist is
discovered to have poured sand and dust into the test tubes.
This is the Zimbabwe political scene. The inclusive government is indeed an
experiment, with Zanu-PF pouring sand into the political goulash, while the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations try hard to make the
political experiment work fruitfully. Eyed by restive supporters, the MDC
runs the risk of being viewed as bandwagoners of the Mugabe gravy train.
As a shaky two-year arrangement, the new government brings two disparate
political parties into the semblance of a government. Zanu-PF's primary task
and goal is to retain power. The MDC perseveres in trying to prove it can
deliver effective and efficient service. Thus, in this marriage of
antagonistic partners, their intentions are as far apart as the north and
President Robert Mugabe's patronage crew were only compelled to sign a
distasteful agreement for the purposes of international legitimacy,
resuscitation of their shrunken financial load on the gravy train and the
avoidance of public unrest by the impoverished citizens who have nothing to
lose any more except their bondage.
Without legitimacy, Mugabe knows his political demise is near. So, the logic
was to bring the MDC into government and pretend, theatre-style, that the
two were sharing power. Experience tells us that dictators never risk
sharing power with former enemies. They give away only mirages of power.
The collapsed economy shows its ugly head in all government institutions
such as education, health, public services and finance. A fundraiser and
legitimacy arm had to be found in the popular MDC, hence they were given the
finance portfolio and other service ministries with no real power on the
political shelf. (Poor Tendai Biti, a minister of finance without finance, a
cow without an udder.)
Having lost the 2002 and 2008 elections, the only viable solution for Mugabe
was to swallow a bit of his pride and put up a charade called the "inclusive
government", a misnomer for an exclusive government. Twenty-nine years of
looting and plundering the economy sharpened the appetite for the fruits of
power among Mugabe's elite. That appetite still lives in their blood, hearts
An inclusive government depends for its survival on the goodwill, honesty
and openness of the participants. Mugabe has always publicly claimed he is,
like the pope, infallible in the exercise of his quest for more power, not
Zanu-PF rule is only describable with the help of a new word,
arrogantocracy, rule by arrogance. Mugabe is arrogant enough to tell the
Western governments from which he seeks aid "to go to hell" or "to go hang".
That attitude has filtered down to his key allies. As the agreement was
being negotiated and typed, some of Mugabe's ministers were, in circus
monkey-style, tinkering with it under cover of backstage darkness.
Mugabe runs a government entirely dependent on his patronage. Some of his
ministers have been in office for 29 years, in the process acquiring wealth
beyond measure. Normally people get fed up holding on to the same job for
that long, but Mugabe's allies cling to power like ticks to a corpse. The
economic benefits are too juicy to part with and the consequences of
departure too bitter to swallow.
The two MDC formations know only too well that they won the 2008 general
elections despite the rigging and violence. Sharing power with a dominant
loser seems a politically demeaning insult to electoral democracy.
Zimbabwe has had a "soft" military coup since 2002. Prior to that election,
the service chiefs publicly announced their refusal to salute a candidate
not chosen by them. They had still not changed that view in 2008. The
service chiefs are happy to have inherited the joint operations command
(JOC) created by the Ian Smith regime as an informal coordination team to
fight the then "terrorists", but now rulers. Just as he inherited the
colonial laws intact, Mugabe happily inherited the JOC and left it intact
for future use.
That meant even if the opposition won the elections, which it did, the
commanders would not tolerate its leader as head of state. A "soft" military
coup without bullets and bloody corpses in State House!
Echoing the voice of his service chiefs, Mugabe warned the nation: "The pen
[ballot paper] cannot be mightier than the gun. Don't waste your ink."
Militaristic language in defiance of democracy, by a political hostage.
Having massacred innocent citizens and looted their property in the midlands
and western provinces in the 1980s civil war, the Zimbabwean military went
on to Mozambique. The president then, Samora Machel, was facing a
devastating civil war. Machel rewarded the Zimbabwe military with a free
hand to plunder the minerals and natural resources of that country.
The next adventure was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the 1990s.
Zimbabwe's military saved Laurent Kabila's power from collapse. It is on
record that Zimbabwean army chiefs registered thousands of private companies
whose activities covered all areas in milking the DRC economy.
It was only a few months ago that the current vice-president, Joice Mujuru,
wife of a former army commander, attempted to export four tons of rough DRC
gold to Zurich for processing. Wealth and military power seem to enjoy a
fruitful marriage in Zimbabwe.
Wielding so much power, the JOC determines economic and monetary policy as
well as who, from Mugabe's inner circle, should be in the Cabinet. For their
regular JOC meetings, it is reported they either use the offices of the
president or those of the central bank chief, an arrogant personal banker of
the president. Thus, the JOC determines who gets the cash or who starves.
Zimbabwe's military coup is of a special kind: hold the defeated president
hostage until such time that he is able to negotiate a general amnesty
covering all the crimes committed in the past three decades. This coup is
also manifested in the way Mugabe has militarised all institutions in which
the government has a voice -- railways, grain and food distribution, the
airline, oil procurement, national parks, prisons, secret police, election
commission, broadcasting, sports and more.
So, it would seem the service chiefs are not about to allow this unity
government to function and deliver on what the MDC politicians promise the
citizens. Zanu-PF ministers are silent on any promises in this fragile
The allocation of ministries tells it all: soft and troublesome ministries
to the MDC and powerful ones to Mugabe's team. As an election strategy,
Mugabe made the MDC run ministries in which it is likely to antagonise its
support base: labour unions, women's groups, human rights activists and
lawyers, medical unions, students and teachers.
Zanu-PF is already eyeing the elections within two years and would not
cherish the idea of allowing the MDC ministers to deliver on their promises
for political mileage. Structures for election rigging, violence and
electoral chicanery are not about to be dismantled. Army officers and
militia still ominously camp in the villages, waiting for the next kill.
An urgent crisis of expectation overwhelms the inclusive government, the
functioning of which is hampered by absolute lack of trust between the two
major signatories to the political agreement.
Mugabe has never been known to respect his signature. He will one day sign
for the rule of law and the following day throw the papers away. His police
and secret services continue to behave as if the unity agreement never
existed. Mugabe probably glows with an inner smile as his military
commanders defy the legitimate prime minister who should, in fact, be
All the harsh, cruel laws crafted to kill citizens' rights and freedoms are
still intact, with no immediate sign of their urgent repeal or erasure. The
victims of those laws are the innocent citizens pursuing their professions
and attempting to live normal lives in an abnormal political set-up.
The Global Political Agreement is like a patient attended to by several
doctors. Some doctors argue that the patient is dead, others believe he is
alive and can be saved. Meanwhile, the patient dies and decays. Known
criminals are still paraded and hailed as "heroes" of Zimbabwean sovereignty
and patriotism. The orphans, widows and cripples of the political violence
continue to starve and suffer the indignity of their forgotten scars and
With typical Mugabe arrogance, when cholera wiped out more than 4 000
innocent lives, Mugabe declared the disease eradicated - and his media man
then claimed: "The president was only joking."
Mugabe's gospel of "aid with no strings attached" does not sell well to
those whose purses contain the economic carrot. It is only a fool who lends
money without any condition, they seem to say -- from experience.
Faced with a Zanu-PF leadership whose sole vision is greed for money, power
and privilege, human rights are thrown to the dogs. Selective justice still
flowers. Abductions and torture still persist like an ominous ghost.
Innocent citizens are dragged to court as "dangerous traitors" who deserve
to be hanged so the president can sleep "with his conscience".
One hundred days in the office of solitude, not years, and the jittery
Zimbabweans hope the experiment will not fail and lead to the catastrophic
break-up of the state.
Chenjerai Hove is an award-winning Zimbabwean novelist