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Zimbabwe 'facing fresh violence'
Tuesday, 9 June 2009 09:06 UK
Sekai Holland (undated file image)
Ms Holland said violence could break out at the next elections

Zimbabwe could be heading for a new wave of violence, a minister in the country's unity government has warned.

Sekai Holland, a member of the former opposition MDC, told the BBC opponents of the power-sharing government were drawing up assassination lists.

She said she believed the worst violence was being planned to coincide with elections due in 18 months.

Her comments echo earlier claims by PM Morgan Tsvangirai of ongoing political intimidation and abuses in Zimbabwe.

Ms Holland, Zimbabwe's Minister for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, told the BBC that she and other members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), including fellow ministers, were receiving threatening phone calls every day.

They had been told that hardline members of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party are adding their names to a lengthening assassination list.

"We are told that they do have a list of people that they will kill," she said.

"No-one feels safe in Zimbabwe, no-one - and I mean no-one. We haven't reached a ceasefire. We are still at a point where people have their guns cocked."

Ms Holland is a senior member of the MDC and was badly beaten by Zanu-PF supporters two years ago.

Fear continues

Ms Holland also claimed that 39,000 militiamen "working inside the civil service and outside" were being paid a wage of $100 (£62) a day to beat up MDC supporters, in the event of an election.

Zanu-PF supporters assaulting an opposition supporter last year

This, she said, meant that violence in the next elections could be even worse than in 2008, when some 200 people were killed and thousands injured.

Last month Mr Tsvangirai, the prime minister and leader of the MDC, criticised the speed of political change in Zimbabwe.

He said that although the MDC was in government, it had not succeeded in restoring the rule of law and warned his party that Zimbabweans remained hungry and afraid of political persecution.

But Mr Tsvangirai, currently on a tour of Europe seeking financial aid, has insisted that the government would stabilise the situation in Zimbabwe.

He said it was "a work in progress", but that the "period of acrimony" between him and Mr Mugabe was "over".

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Security alert!

9 June 2009


HARARE - Deon Theron, the vice President of the Commercial Farmers Union,
was called by Harare Law and Order Section to appear at their offices at 2pm
today as they have another charge to lay against him. They declined to say
what the "new charge" was.

Mr. Theron was first arrested and detained for taking photographs of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's vehicle just after the crash in which Mai Susan
Tsvangirai died.  Since then he has been continually harrassed.

Knowing the modus operandi of the Law and Order section, it is likely that
Mr. Theron will be detained in the cells.

This is just another example of the Zanu PF regimes intention to carry on
"as normal" with total disregard for the inclusive government, the GPA and
most important of all, the rule of law.  The latter having been non existant
for the past 9 years.

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Journalists sue Mugabe minister for contempt over conference ban

Africa News
Jun 9, 2009, 16:52 GMT

Harare - President Robert Mugabe's information authorities are being sued
for contempt of court after officials refused to admit four Zimbabwean
journalists to an international conference despite court orders that they be
allowed in, lawyers said Tuesday.

The incident at the meeting at the weekend of the 19-nation Common Market of
Eastern and Southern Africa summit was seen as the latest refusal by
Mugabe's nearly four-month-old coalition government with former
pro-democracy leader Morgan Tsvangirai to reform the country's repressive
media controls.

Tsvangirai, prime minister of the interim government, is presently on a
lengthy tour of the United States and Europe to seek increased aid for the
country's wrecked economy from Western governments - which are in turn
insisting on 'irreversible' reforms to the country's record on human rights
and media freedom before they commit themselves to releasing major finance
to Harare.

On Friday last week, a high court judge delivered a landmark ruling when he
ordered that information minister Webster Shamu and his top official, George
Charamba, had no right to insist that journalists covering the summit be
accredited by a state media commission formed seven years ago as part of
Mugabe's control over the media.

The Media and Information Commission (MIC) was abolished in January last
year and was due to be replaced by new and somewhat more liberal body, but
no steps have been taken to set it up, leaving a vacuum in state media

Nevertheless, the MIC continued to register journalists, charging up to
30,000 US dollars for foreign news agencies, and to insist that journalists
produce MIC accreditation cards before they were permitted to enter official

Armed with the high court judgement, journalist Stanley Gama, correspondent
for South Africa's Independent Newspaper Group, and four colleagues flew on
Sunday from Harare to Victoria Falls in north-west Zimbabwe for the summit,
and waved the document in the faces of security officials at the conference
venue entrance.

After some argument during which the officials consulted with superiors on
their mobiles, the reporters were told they could not enter without MIC
cards. 'They told us to 'get out with your court orders',' Gama said.

'We are filing a contempt complaint,' said lawyer Selby Hwacha. 'They (Shamu
and Charamba) didn't take steps to ensure the court order was complied
with.' Contempt of court orders in Zimbabwe usually results in the arrest of

Since the new government was established in February, Tsvangirai has been in
constant conflict with Mugabe over foot-dragging over reforms, as well as
blunt refusal to revoke unilateral appointments of Mugabe's senior cronies
to top government positions.

Two weeks ago the editor and news editor of the respected local Zimbabwe
Independent were arrested for publishing the names of police torturers.
Observers say that the new government is faced with paralysis and collapse,
while Western governments withhold finance desperately needed for

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MDC source denies that land invader is Tsvangirai relative

By Violet Gonda
8 June 2009

Just recently Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said land invasions were
'blown out of proportion' and that the 'so-called farm invasions were
'isolated incidents'. There was an outcry from the farming community with
white commercial farmers saying the number of violent invasions had actually
increased since the formation of the inclusive government. This has resulted
in thousands of farm workers losing their jobs and more than 100 farmers
being hauled before the courts.

Many of the new occupiers have been members of the ruling elite, but on
Monday the website ZWNews alleged that a 'niece' of the Prime Minister was
attempting to grab a commercial farm in Chegutu, Mashonaland West.

Dr. Arikana Chihombori, the 'mystery woman' who was seen with the Prime
Minister at South African President Jacob Zuma's inauguration last month, is
reported to be actively trying to seize De Rus Farm from Mr L J Cremer. At
the time of the discussions around who it was who had been seen with
Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement identifying the
woman as his niece.

We were not able to reach the Cremers or Dr Chihombori, but Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) spokesperson John Worsely Worswick said feedback he
received from the farmer was that he was very alarmed to find someone with
an American accent looking to taking over his property "and they took issue
with the American embassy to try and trace her origins and establish exactly
who she was."

The JAG spokesperson said: "The feedback that came to the Cremers was to the
effect that this was the same woman who attended the inauguration with
Tsvangirai and that the ambassador had taken Tsvangirai to task about who
this woman was and that he had denied any knowledge of her. Now that is very

But MDC sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the woman who was
seen with the Prime Minister at the Zuma inauguration, and who is now trying
to invade the Chegutu farm, is not related to Tsvangirai. We were not able
to get a comment from the Prime Minister's office.  Related or not there is
photographic evidence of her attendance at the Zuma inauguration with

ZWNEWS reported: "Mr Cremer was first contacted in November 2008 by the
local Lands Officer, who produced an offer letter dated August 2007 showing
that De Rus farm had been allocated to Dr Chihombori. In January this year,
Dr Chihombori's sister sent a group of unemployed youths to take the farm,
but the occupation only lasted three days, after which the youths left,
complaining of not being paid enough. In April Dr Chihombori applied to the
courts for an application to evict the Cremer family, producing the same
offer letter as evidence, this time dated December 2008."

It's reported Dr. Chihombori is an American citizen who was born in Chivhu
but has lived in the United States for the last 30 years. The doctor
practices family medicine in Antioch, Tennessee.

The Cremers said in a statement: "It is very obvious that this acquisition
is not about land reform. Here we have a small productive farm being taken
from Zimbabweans and given to someone who resides in America. It is about
greed, people stealing our homes, land, jobs and livelihood and hiding
behind politics."

"How can this government ask for food aid while they are busy removing food
producers from their farms? How can they justify the unemployment rate while
they are removing 300 people from employment under the guise of Land Reform?
Our workers, many of them also born on this farm, are very worried about
their futures as they have seen the workers on the surrounding farms which
have been 'acquired', starve or have to resort to theft to survive."

The Cremers' property had already been downsized from about 700ha to 70ha
for resettlement. It is reported the largest part of the farm taken over for
resettlement is lying idle and is in total disuse. Cut flowers are grown for
export as well as vegetables for the local market. Furthermore, the part of
the farm now under dispute was granted Export Processing Zone status and
later turned into an Investment License, which gives legal protection
against seizure by the state.

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Muchadehama Summoned for Trial in Renewed State Onslaught

9 June 2009

Press Statement


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member and prominent human rights
lawyer Alec Muchadehama was on Tuesday 9 June 2009 summoned to stand trial
at the Harare Magistrates' Court on allegations of obstructing or defeating
the course of justice. The summons requires Muchadehama to appear at the
Rotten Row Magistrates' Court, Court Four, at 08:30hrs on 17 June 2009 for

Muchadehama was discharging his professional duties at the High Court, where
he was representing four abductees who are seeking a referral of their
matter to the Supreme Court, when he was served with summons at 13:13hrs by
Detective Sergeant Jasper Musademba. Musademba had spent the better part of
the morning and precious tax dollars waiting for the lawyer outside the
courtroom in order to serve him, rather than serving the summons at his
office, which was the address listed on the document.

Muchadehama was removed from remand on Monday 1 June 2009 by Harare
Magistrate, Catherine Chimanda, who granted his application for refusal of
further remand after determining that the State, represented by Prosecutor
Tapiwa Kasema, had failed to show any reasonable suspicion that he had
committed the alleged offence. The Magistrate also found that the State had
failed to prove that Muchadehama had an intention to commit the offence.

Magistrate Chimanda ruled that 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, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandi
Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere. She 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 due to the
lapse of the 7-day period in which the State was supposed to file its appeal
but during which it had failed to do.

ZLHR believes that the swift revival of the case against Muchadehama is an
attempt by the state to prevent him from dedicating his energies to properly
representing his clients who are on trial on allegations of banditry,
insurgency and terrorism in the High Court. The Attorney-General and his
officers, who are also seized with the matters involving the abductees, are
well aware that he represents these individuals and are blatantly seeking to
intimidate, harass and prevent him from executing his professional mandate
by placing him on trial in the middle of all the other ongoing trials. As
the Magistrate has already indicated, the charges against Muchadehama are
flimsy and unsustainable. It is regrettable that valuable resources are
being wasted on such malicious prosecutions, whilst the office of the
Attorney General could be better utilizing resources and energies clearing
up the backlog of cases which have unnecessarily filled up our prisons and
prosecuting real, rather than imaginary criminals.

For more information please contact;
Kumbirai Mafunda

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Zimbabwe: Still living in fear
Tuesday, 9 June 2009 08:13 UK

Zanu-PF supporters assaulting an opposition supporter last year

By Mike Thomson
BBC News, Harare

A Zimbabwean mother and daughter are still too afraid to return home after being abducted and repeatedly raped by militiamen from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party a year ago.

Joyce, not her real name, quietly tells me how she and two of her daughters were assaulted over a week-long period.

She told her attackers that the youngest of her two children was just 13, but even that did not save the girl.

Her husband, who was helping to organise MDC supporters to vote, initially managed to escape.

But a few days later he was caught, and suffered appalling burns after a naked flame was applied to his genitals.

Victims of violence
The psychological scars of this mother and daughter will not heal quickly

Joyce and her 19-year-old daughter are staying in a large, bare-walled safe house in the capital, Harare, along with other victims of last year's political violence.

Most have recovered - physically - from the bruises, broken bones and gunshot wounds they suffered.

But their psychological wounds will take a lot longer to heal.

When the long-standing opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was sworn in as Zimbabwe's prime minister in a power-sharing government earlier this year, hopes were high that the devastated country's nightmare was nearing an end.

While it was widely expected to take months, if not years, for the ruined economy to recover, it was at least thought that political violence and the fear of it were a thing of the past.

Yet, it seems, nothing could be further from the truth.


Tapfuma, 20, sits on the other side of the room from Joyce and her daughter.

He and his mother were beaten with sticks by a Zanu-PF mob that invaded their home in the early hours of the morning.

I would be killed, even torn to pieces. I definitely believe that

"They were thrashing me with big sticks on my legs and hands. I was just begging for mercy. I even called to God. When they left we were both unconscious. My mum was just lying there," he says.

His mother can no longer use her hands. When I ask him why he does not go home now that the new unity government is in power, he replies:

"Zanu-PF, the people who did this, are still out there. They are still wearing their T-shirts."

Later that day, a middle-aged woman is shown into the room, carrying a large book.

It contains the names of people tortured, killed, raped or maimed by Zanu-PF mobs last year.

The woman - Patience - has compiled the list covertly over recent months, with the help of mortuary officials, hospital staff and court clerks.

I ask her what would happen if she took this list to the police or to the Ministry of Justice and demanded that those responsible be prosecuted.

She puts the book down, turns and looks straight me in the eye before saying:

"I would be killed, even torn to pieces. I definitely believe that."

She goes on to tell me that she has been warned recently that Zanu-PF hardliners have heard about the list she is making, and are now trying to find her.

'Fresh violence'

She believes they are desperate to destroy evidence like this, which - she says - could put them in court should President Mugabe eventually be forced from government.

Sekai Holland
Every day, different members of the MDC are getting phone calls from people who give the names of people who are going to be assassinated
Sekai Holland
Minister of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration

Patience says they are currently planning fresh violence to help ensure that does not happen.

"Zanu-PF are writing the names of all the leaders of the MDC. These are the names of the leaders in the north, and they have already started in our area."

Patience says the names were handed to state intelligence agents.

I took these claims to the MDC's Sekai Holland, Minister of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, herself the victim of a beating by Zanu-PF militia that left her in hospital for weeks.

The minister says she is not in the least surprised by what I have told her.

"Every day, different members of the MDC are getting phone calls from people who give the names of people who are going to be assassinated," she says.

"I think there is a department which meets to plan the survival of Zanu-PF as a ruling party. We are told they do have a list of people they will kill."

Ms Holland tells me she expects the new round of violence to start at the next elections, which could come in just 18 months.

'No-one feels safe'

She says the government still has more than 30,000 paid militia working inside the civil service that can be used, when required, by Zanu-PF ministers.

John Mukumbe
If the inclusive government does not work we are going very close to Somalia
John Makumbe, University of Zimbabwe

She goes on to tell me: "No-one feels safe in Zimbabwe. No-one, and I mean no-one. We have not reached a ceasefire. We are still at the point where people have their guns cocked."

Back at the Harare safe house, Joyce warns of her fears for the future:

"I am very worried, because in my mind I think they will come back again. They warned us that they would do this at the next elections. I'm so frightened about those elections. That is the time when the violence is going to start all over again."

For now, many continue to hope that the unity government will succeed in bringing Zimbabwe back from the brink by winning new international investment and marginalising the men of violence.

But, if it fails, the situation is set to get even worse, according to Harare University Professor of Politics, John Makumbe.

"If the inclusive government does not work we are going very close to Somalia. We are going into the scorched earth policy. That is what Mugabe is going to do. Destroy everything in the name of ideology, destroy everyone."

You can hear Mike Thomson's special reports from Zimbabwe on the Today Programme throughout the week.

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'No visa review'

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 13:46
There was no review of the dispensation allowing Zimbabweans to travel to
South Africa without a visa, Home Affairs said on Tuesday.

"There is no such," spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said in reference to a
report in the Business Day on Monday.

The newspaper wrote that Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had
referred back to the drawing board the proposed special dispensation
allowing Zimbabwean passport-holders the right to work in South Africa for
90 days.

It also reported that the department was reviewing the 90-day visitor's
permit granted at the border, which allows undocumented Zimbabweans to seek
casual work during their stay.

Business Day quoted Mamoepa as saying that Dlamini-Zuma was reviewing all
processes in the department.

However, reacting to the report on Tuesday Mamoepa said: "The minister sent
the dispensation to Cabinet, to inform it of the nature, scope and
implications of the decision."

She did not make any specific recommendations to the Cabinet, he said.

Mamoepa said Dlamini-Zuma had been briefed by various units of the
department so she could familiarise herself with her new ministry and
prepare for her budget speech.

In May, former Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that
Zimbabweans need not apply and pay for visas to travel to South Africa, but
could instead apply for the free visitor's permit.

The decision sparked mixed reactions from human rights activist and
political parties.

While some commending the waiver as a progressive policy, others believed it
could create problems in the long run.


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Tsvangirai in Washington for 2nd leg of tour

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 June 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Washington late on Monday for a
5 day visit that will culminate in a meeting with the United States
President Barrack Obama at the Oval office.
James Maridadi, Tsvangirai' spokesman, told us from Washington that the
Prime Minister has a very busy schedule ahead of his meeting with the U.S.
President at the White House on Friday.
'The Prime Minister is meeting various interest groups as a build up to his
meeting on Friday. His itinerary is punishing as he wants to ensure he
explores every avenue that will get the country recognised again
internationally,' Maridadi.
Contrary to reports that the Prime Minister was on a fund raising trip to
the west, Maridadi said Tsvangirai was re-establishing contacts first,
before he starts talking about financial aid.
'If aid comes out of this trip, then that is a bonus. What he's really
concerned about now is having the country readmitted to the family of
nations. You cannot look for money before establishing contacts,' Maridadi
The inclusive government is appealing for $8 billion to rebuild the
shattered economy, but most donors and investors have insisted more reforms
and the rule of law must be in place before they commit funds.
Tsvangirai played down the aid question during the first leg of his tour in
the Netherlands on Sunday and emphasized he was mending relations between
the governments after years of acrimony between Harare and the West.
In the Hague, the Prime Minister was told that the Netherlands won't support
the government financially until it institutes reforms on a range of issues.
Two weeks ago Tsvangirai told his party conference that his efforts to
restore democratic freedoms and the rule of law have so far failed.
The former trade unionist went into a coalition government with longtime
rival Robert Mugabe in February to end the country's political deadlock and
economic collapse.

He gave his party's annual convention a bleak assessment of the situation in
the country and said that hard-liners backing Mugabe were frustrating
'We have not yet succeeded in restoring the rule of law ... our people do
not live free from fear, hunger and poverty,' Tsvangirai said. The official
state media remains biased and there is only limited freedom of movement and
Tsvangirai leaves Washington on Saturday headed for Germany. His three-week
state visit will also take him to France, Sweden, Britain, Belgium, and
Meanwhile a civil society team comprising the ZCTU, Crisis and NGO Human
Rights forum is on a lobbying tour to the European Union, speaking to
various key Institutions.

Fambai Ngirande, programmes director of NANGO, said they were seeking to
advise departments of foreign affairs and ministries of development
cooperation in the EU on what should or could be their priorities in
relation to Zimbabwe, from a funding to a re-engagement perspective.

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Mutambara MDC rocked by massive defections

By Lance Guma
09 June 2009

The entire district executive of the Mutambara MDC in Nkayi is reported to
have defected, to join the main wing of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
The executive, along with 23 councillors in the area, met over the weekend
to consider the suspension of local MP Abednico Bhebhe. Last month it was
reported Bhebhe and 4 other MP's from the faction were suspended on charges
of allegedly undermining the party and its leadership. Bhebhe was present at
the meeting in Nkayi and gave his side of the story. A decision was then
reached by the structures to defy the party and back him.

Newsreel contacted Bhebhe on Tuesday but he refused to comment saying he
will not be giving interviews until the party's disciplinary hearing has
been finalized. No date for this hearing has been given yet. Newsreel
understands Bhebhe is a very popular figure in his constituency and his
suspension has predictably angered the party structures there. Members have
vowed to ignore a letter signed by Secretary General Welshman Ncube advising
them not to interact with Bhebhe until the suspension has been lifted.

Speaking for the Mutambara MDC, deputy spokesman Renson Gasela said it was
incorrect to say 5 MP's had been suspended and that only 3 of their MP's had
been served letters. He said the chairman of the party's disciplinary
committee, Lyson Mlambo, was handling the matter and would soon announce
when the hearings will be held. Gasela queried why the district executives
and councillors in Nkayi would defect to the Tsvangirai MDC when the MP they
were defending (Bhebhe) is still a member of the Mutambara MDC and had not
jumped ship.

With Mutambara MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda needing a parliamentary
seat to retain his ministerial post, there is mounting speculation Bhebhe
could be sacrificed to make way for him. But with the constituency
structures flexing their muscles and refusing to play ball it is expected to
be some fight if the plan is pushed through. Under the unity deal none of
the major parties to the agreement can field candidates for by-elections.
But should Bhebhe and the other MP's get sacked they can still run as
independents and their popularity or otherwise could determine the outcome.

Last month acrimony in the Mutambara MDC was said to be high after Ncube
threatened to quit the party if the officials were not suspended. Party
leader Arthur Mutambara, and his deputy Sibanda, were reported as wanting
the charges dropped. It was Ncube's position which was eventually pushed
through with support from his deputy, Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and
treasurer-general Fletcher Dulini Ncube.
Party district chairman, Jabulani Ncube is quoted by the Zimbabwe Telegraph
website saying, 'we can't remain loyal to a leadership which victimizes its
members and with that reason in mind the whole constituency and district
leadership has crossed the floor to MDC-T led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai.'
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said it was good news for democracy
as they wanted to be united under one MDC. 'When we formed the MDC it didn't
have surnames, prefixes or suffixes,' he said.

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Britain "wants Zimbabwean government to succeed"

June 9 2009

By (AIM)

Maputo - Britain "wants to give Zimbabwe's inclusive government a chance of
success", the British Minister for Africa, Mark Malloch-Brown, told a Maputo
press conference on Tuesday - but he made clear that British development aid
is dependent on improvements in the human rights situation and the
restoration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

(Pictured: Mark Malloch-Brown......the British Minister for Africa)

"We are engaged, but it is a cautious engagement", he said. "We're not yet
convinced that (President Robert) Mugabe and those around him are committed
to a democratic transition".

He pointed out that Britain remains the second largest bilateral aid donor
to Zimbabwe - this is mainly humanitarian aid, to cope with the disastrous
food security and health situation.

Malloch-Brown stressed that Britain wanted to see an end to political
violence and to farm seizures, and advances in constitutional reforms and in
preparation of fresh elections. "We want to continue providing aid - but on
condition that the government implement its own agreement, the GPA (Global
Political Agreement - the document signed in September 2008 between Mugabe's
ZANU-PF and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change, which is
the basis for the current coalition government)".

But Malloch-Brown warned that British aid would halt "if there is a
reversal, if there are attacks on opposition supporters or other violence".

Asked about the attendance of an indicted war criminal, Sudanese president
Omar al-Bashir, at the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa) summit held in Harare at the weekend, Malloch-Brown doubted whether
Bashir would be able to make such an appearance in a couple of years time.
He noted that the Sudanese dictator had been unable to attend the
inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma.

Since Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the treaty setting up the International
Criminal Court (ICC), Malloch-Brown though it was difficult to argue that
Zimbabwe had broken international law in this instance.

Nonetheless, international law was beginning to thrive in Africa. The ICC
statute has been ratified by 30 African countries, and it has received cases
referred to it by Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central
African Republic. Furthermore, the ICC successfully ruled on the disputed
Bakassi peninsula, and the settlement reached has subsequently been accepted
by both parties to the dispute, Nigeria and Cameroon.

Malloch-Brown believed the ICC "has a pivotal role in justice in Africa".

Asked about the refusal of Mugabe's regime to respect the ruling from the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) tribunal that struck down as
unlawful much of the Zimbabwean land reform, and demanded that the
government cease its harassment of white commercial farmers, Malloch-Brown
though it was Mugabe's violation of Zimbabwe's commitments under the SADC
treaty that had spurred SADC into its marathon diplomatic endeavour that had
led to the current "inclusive" government.

He did not echo the criticisms that have frequently been made of SADC's
"quiet diplomacy". Indeed Malloch-Brown thought "there are not many other
ways of bringing a government to comply with regional and court rulings".

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African leaders offer support to war criminal

Gerry Jackson
9 June, 2009

Africa's biggest trade bloc has come out in full support of a leader wanted
for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The just ended Comesa Summit at Victoria Falls issued a communiqué on
Monday, in which nineteen regional leaders called for the suspension of the
arrest warrant against the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan al- Bashir. The
warrant was issued in March by the International Criminal Court and was the
first ever issued against a sitting head of state. Comesa leaders called on
the United Nations to press for the cancellation of the indictment.
The African member states of the International Criminal Court are also
considering a mass withdrawal, to protest the war crimes indictment against
Sudan's President. Observers say a complete pullout is unlikely, but many
are demanding a one-year suspension of the indictment.

 African heads of state originally condemned the indictment at their last
summit, which also ordered member states to consider a mass withdrawal,
unless African views were taken into account.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's Youth Forum issued a statement in support of the
initiative by four journalists to challenge the legality of Media and
Information Commission. They said that they 'condemn the denial of access of
these journalists to the just ended COMESA Summit at Victoria Falls, which
was generally described as a gathering of dictators and criminals'.
The statement added: 'Al-Beshir the president of Sudan under International
Criminal Court warrant of arrest, felt at home in the midst of fellow

Their statement indicated great concern about the coverage of the Summit,
and how the ongoing media control in Zimbabwe helps to protect the dictators
who attend such gatherings.

For the tens of thousands, and some say hundreds of thousands, who have died
in Sudan's Darfur conflict, the African leaders support for a mass murderer
will be one more disappointment that they have to bear.

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Increased vulnerability of the poorest calls for immediate action

The ICRC has been working in Zimbabwe for almost 30 years, but since the beginning of 2009 there has been a clear shift towards emergency operations. Thomas Merkelbach is the head of the ICRC regional delegation in Harare. He explains the organization's priorities.

The ICRC has shifted its priorities in Zimbabwe, helping the authorities to cope with the cholera outbreak and alleviating food shortages in prisons. Why?

Years of economic hardship have affected many Zimbabweans' access to health care, food and water. Recent months have seen a certain increase in regional and international support, but long-term investment will be needed to rebuild the country's public services. The needs are huge, many people live in great poverty, and food production is unlikely to rise in the near future.

At the end of 2008, the ICRC and its partners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement started to help the authorities deal with the cholera outbreak in the country, the worst epidemic to hit the country in 14 years.

The ICRC has been supporting eight clinics in Harare's densely populated suburbs since mid-2008 and 13 other health facilities in rural areas for number of years.

Since April 2009, the ICRC has also been providing food for 6,300 detainees. Working with the prison authorities, the ICRC has set up therapeutic feeding programmes and has begun improving cooking facilities and water systems in prisons. Once the food situation has stabilized, the ICRC will continue to assess conditions of detention, refurbish kitchen and sanitation facilities and upgrade water supply systems. In addition, we will work to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases and will ensure that detainees receive the treatment they require in the event of any outbreak of disease such as cholera. The ICRC has given blankets and soap to 5,000 detainees and will continue to distribute these items, along with clothing and cooking utensils. We will work with the authorities to ensure that improvements achieved in the prison food situation are maintained.

What are ICRC prison visits?

All over the world, the ICRC visits people deprived of their freedom to assess whether they are being treated according to the international standards of humanitarian law and human rights law. Regular visits by its delegates enable the ICRC to track prisoners' whereabouts and make recommendations to the authorities about any improvements to conditions that may be necessary.

In Zimbabwe, the ICRC is helping the authorities to meet the basic needs of the detainees by providing additional food and by improving the water supply and health services.

What else are you doing in the countries you cover?

The ICRC is supporting other vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe, including those affected by violence in 2008. In the provinces of Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East, 63,500 people living in extreme poverty, including those returning home, will receive agricultural items and training to help them rebuild their livelihoods.

More resources are needed for health facilities, in particular to provide transport allowances for medical staff and to begin supporting four additional polyclinics in Harare. The ICRC is improving access to water and sanitation for rural communities and is exploring the possibility of helping the Harare water board renovate Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant. Our support would consist of providing technical expertise and donating equipment to improve the quality and quantity of the water the plant supplies to Harare and its outskirts, in coordination with other humanitarian organizations.

The regional delegation in Harare also oversees the ICRC's activities in Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Zambia. In each of those countries, and in Zimbabwe, the ICRC is supporting the national Red Cross Societies and promoting international humanitarian law and human rights law among government authorities, the armed forces (especially the growing regional peacekeeping brigade of the Southern African Development Community), police, universities, civil society, young people and children.

All our activities are coordinated with partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other humanitarian organizations.

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An account of a rural political meeting in Mudzi, Zimbabwe

This was sent to us by email by a member of the MDC-T party.

On Sunday we travelled to Mudzi, Mashonaland East for a meeting/rally. It
was actually a few of the successful councillors who wanted to have a small
celebration and thank their supporters. The venue was about 50kms from
Nyamapanda border.. talk about a remote area! Also keep in mind that this
area was one of the worst hit by political violence last year, and the
nearby Chimukoko area.

Bumping down a track, which could barely be called a road, we saw an MDC
'zambia' hanging in a tree. Standing nearby were a few men and two women.
They excitedly ran ahead of us to show us the way down a path to the venue.
We passed some jatropha plants which is the joke of the area: "We were told
to plant these for fuel. They [Zanu PF] are mad! We want to plant crops we
can eat".

The venue was underneath a large baobab tree. Stuck on the tree was a poster
of Morgan Tsvangirai and next to it a small one of our late Mother Susan
Tsvangirai. Approx 500 people attended, some of whom must have walked for
many many miles. There was much singing, dancing followed by serious
speeches. After the speeches, it was question and discussion time and most
people focused on the following issues:

* there are still some people who were injured in last years political
violence who have not yet had medical treatment
* they need assistance to start projects, especially to keep their youth
* they were very grateful for the seed they received last year through
Helping Hands project, but requested that any future seed donations were
small grains such as mhunga and sorghum, rather than maize
* health and education problems loomed large as ever for them

At 3 pm lunch was provided for every man, woman and child. Good rough ground
sadza, chicken and matumbo's. It was delicious, and very humbling to see a
poor community like that produce buckets of muriwo and tins of sadza for
everyone present.

So what was most positive about the visit? Well Mjudzi is a very Zanu PF
area where, in the past, the MDC would not have been able (or been too
afraid) to hold a rally. The gathering, attended by an MP and a member of
the Executive, gave them confidence to move into other areas nearby and hold
similar celebration rallies.

When one sits in a city, one forgets the vulnerability of people living in
such remote areas and the distances they have to travel, mostly on foot or
by scotch cart, to the nearest town ie Kotwa. The hardships they have to
face on a daily basis, day in and day out. I am proud to be a member of the
MDC and to be a part of the change taking place. Most of all being
priviledged to share times like we did yesterday with the amazing people of
Mudzi, the grass roots people of Zimbabwe.

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

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CHRA, NRACF roles out public advocacy for democratization and constitutionalisation of local governance programme

09 June 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) in partnership with the National Residents Association Consultative Forum (NRACF) is rolling out a programme aimed at enabling the residents across the country to advocate for the democratization and constitutionalisation of Zimbabwe’s local governance framework. At the General Council meeting held on Saturday the 6th of June 2009; the leadership of the movement unanimously agreed that CHRA shall participate actively in the constitution making process; and ensure that its input on local governance and other constitutional issues is taken aboard. To that effect public meetings have been lined up in the different wards of Harare; where the Association’s leadership and the Secretariat will be conducting civic education on the nature of the constitution making process, how the residents can participate and what (from a local governance and municipal service provision perspective) they are expected to contribute. These meetings will be organized by the CHRA ward leadership assisted by the councilors. CHRA has well functioning structures established in each of the 46 administrative wards of Harare.


CHRA has also identified key reforms that the residents will be pushing for adoption in the new constitution. Similar public meetings are being conducted in other Towns, Cities and Districts; notably in Masvingo, Chitungwiza and Goromonzi; as part of the same programme. These activities are being conducted through the partnerships that CHRA has established with fellow Residents Associations within the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum. In 2008 CHRA convened two conferences of Residents Associations in Zimbabwe; and the conferences constituted the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum; whose mandate is to coordinate the efforts of the Associations in lobbying for democratization of the local governance framework. The Secretariat of the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is, in the mean time, servicing the programmes of the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum.


CHRA has also begun the process of engaging with the Prime Minister’s Office; making known to the Premier the concerns of the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum with respect to the need to reform the local governance framework. To begin with, the country’s local governance framework is provided for by statutory law and is non existent in the current constitution. This means that the whole framework is vulnerable to partisan political manipulation as statutes can be amended by a simple Parliamentary majority provided the President assents to the bill. A good example is the 2008 Local Government Laws Amendment Act which stripped the Mayors of Executive powers to give the Minister of Local Government (Dr. Ignatius Chombo) more powers and allow him more room to control and direct the operations of the Local Authorities. As such, there has been a lot of political manipulation and interference with the business of Local Authorities by the central government; thereby frustrating development initiatives by the councilors. The city of Harare is the worst affected by Minister Chombo’s interference as evidenced by his decision to fire the entire Engineer Elias Mudzuri led council in 2005 and replace it with the corrupt ridden and ineffective Sekesai Makwavarara and later on Mahachi Commissions. As a result of the mismanagement, extravagance and corruption by these Commissions, Harare has suffered an almost permanent collapse of municipal service delivery manifesting itself in the chronic water shortages, the cholera crisis, and collapse of the sewer reticulation system. Until now the City is battling with the maladies caused by the administration of these Commissions. A survey conducted by CHRA reveals that no maintenance work on the sewer reticulation system for the entire city has been conducted for the past 20 years; and the damage that has been done on the water production and supply system requires several millions of US Dollars to resuscitate. For decades, the city of Harare has been turned into and functioning as “a cash cow for a certain political party and certain key individuals in that particular political party” hence the desire for political manipulation and interference. Such are the effects of our local governance system which;





CHRA and the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum assert that the solution to the current municipal service delivery maladies is found in democratization and constitutionalisation of the country’s local governance framework. Residents are therefore encouraged to participate in these public meetings and be empowered. The following bullets summarize the key issues to be addressed in reforming Zimbabwe’s local governance framework;



Besides the public meetings, CHRA will also conduct a meeting with members of the select committee on Constitution making, members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Governance. The movement will also conduct a media conference with journalists on the need to amplify the residents’ voice for the reform of the framework, while councilors across the country will be approached for support in this initiative. Meanwhile the entire council for the City of Harare has thrown its mighty weight behind the Residents’ initiative to lobby for the democratization of local governance in Zimbabwe. As such the activities in Harare and other towns and districts (Public meetings included) will be organized with the assistance of the councilors. CHRA remains resolute in pursuit of its mission to lobby for the democratization of local governance and the provision of quality and affordable municipal services. 


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and





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Tsvangirai is not Mugabe's errand boy

Recent reports in both the local State-controlled print and electronic media have deliberately distorted the main thrust and purpose of Prime Minister Tsvangirai's official trip overseas.A false and clearly malicious impression is being created to form the opinion that PM Tsvangirai has been mandated by Robert Mugabe to travel to Europe and the United States of America to specifically call for the lifting of '' sanctions'' that the MDC had purportedly called for in the first instance.The rabid and pathetic propaganda doesnot end there.A desperate and wicked attempt is made to denigrate both the person and the office of the Prime Minister.It is this type of dangerous and myopic approach to news dissemination that will ultimately prove to be the most lethal poison to the institution that we call the inclusive government in Zimbabwe.In its front page story on Tuesday, June 9, 2009,The Herald newspaper reports that PM Tsvangirai was in the Netherlands on a brief from Mugabe and Cabinet to call for the lifting of economic sanctions.Whilst I am not a cabinet minister and I am therefore not privy to the deliberations of Cabinet,I have every reason to challenge the allegation that Mugabe and Cabinet have mandated PM Tsvangirai to travel abroad to call for the lifting of ''sanctions''.I have conversed with a number of Cabinet ministers and none of them was able to give legitimacy and credibility to The Herald story that I am referring to herein.In short,therefore,The Herald story is deliberately distorting the main purpose of the PM's current visit overseas.
I am not surprised by the die-hard attitude that still prevails in certain quarters of the State-controlled media.Most of those people who had made it a career to be ZANU(PF) praise-singers are still in control at both Zimpapers and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.With the greatest of respect to some of these people; they lack basic intelligence and foresight.They are still wearing their parochial blinkers and they seem not to be aware that wherever you go in Zimbabwe today,things are in change mode.These unfortunate people,for some pathetically sad reason,seem to still think that Mugabe is solely in charge and that Tsvangirai is just an errant boy.These delusional characters still believe that somehow, both Mugabe and ZANU(PF) will manage to re-invent themselves and make themselves popular again amongst the majority of Zimbabweans; both within the country and in the Diaspora.They can dream on.I have stated it before and I will repeat it here and now; Mugabe and ZANU(PF) are yesterday's people ; they cannot  and will never win any genuinely free and fair election in Zimbabwe now and in the future.The MDC, ably led by Morgan Tsvangirai,buried ZANU(PF) at the polls during the harmonised elections that were held in Zimbabwe on March 29,2008.From then onwards,ZANU(PF) is mortally and fatally wounded.This is a party that is hopelessly faction-ridden to such an extent that the centre can clearly no longer hold.I sometimes wonder how many parties are within ZANU(PF)! The several factions in ZANU(PF) make it very difficult to imagine how this party can live to successfully contest another election against a formidable party such as the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.Put in its proper context,therefore,the desperate attempt by the ZANU(PF) spin doctors at the State-controlled media to paint PM Tsvangirai as a weak appendage of the inclusive government clearly has got no takers.The global political agreement(GPA) marked the beginning of the end of Mugabe's imperial Presidency.Section 20.1.1 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No) 19 states that '' The Executive Authority of the Inclusive Government shall vest in,and be shared among the President,the Prime Minister and the Cabinet,as provided for in this Constitution and legislation.'' Surely,for any right-thinking person to therefore think that PM Tsvangirai is Mugabe's errant boy clearly boggles the mind!
That there is a crying and urgent need for a serious paradigm shift within the State-controlled media cannot be over-emphasised.Infact,Zimbabwe doesnot need a State-controlled media.What we need,urgently,is a responsible and professional public media that will truly articulate and tell the true Zimbabwe story without fear or favour.A partisan,corrupt,inefficient and lazy State-controlled media is a dangerous and lethal poison to the institution of the inclusive government.Going forward,it may be necessary to wean off some these propagandists from the State-controlled media since they are working at a tangent to the project to rebuild and re-brand Zimbabwe.I am not advocating retribution.I do not believe in the primitive notion of an eye for an eye since that will obviuosly leave all of us blind.All I am stating is that if certain individuals at the State-controlled media cannot embrace the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe then they should do the honourable thing and proceed to resign.I am a member of the Parliament of Zimbabwe's Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) and I am very pleased to note that we are moving at supersonic speed to ensure that the new Zimbabwe Media Commission is set up as a matter of urgency.At our last meeting held in Harare on Monday, June 1, 2009 I was quite pleased when Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara forcefully argued that the first constitutional commission to be set up should be the Zimbabwe Media Commission.He argued that even the present constitution-making process can be thrown into serious jeopardy if we fail to urgently appoint the Zimbabwe Media Commission.I totally associate myself with DPM Mutambara's sentiments on this issue.Surely,Zimbabwe needs a new media regime if we are to move forward as a nation.The days of media hangmen such as those located in the now defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC) led by one Tafataona Mahoso should be placed in the dustbin of history because that is precisely where they belong.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission,according to Section 100P of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,has five(5) main functions and these are:
-to uphold and develop freedom of the press;and
-to promote and enforce good practice and ethics in the press,print and electronic media,and broadcasting;and
-to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe have equitable and wide access to information; and
-to ensure the equitable use and development of all indigenous languages spoken in Zimbabwe; and
-to exercise any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on the Commission by or under an Act of Parliament.
Thus,the important role of the Zimbabwe Media Commission in the democratisation agenda cannot be over-emphasised.As long as both the mainstream and privately-owned media remain polarised Zimbabwe will remain stuck in stagnation.It doesnt make any sense to have only one local television station( that is State-controlled) almost three decades after independence.This makes us a laughing stock both in Africa and globally.For now,both Zimpapers and ZBH should simply accept that like him or hate him,PM Tsvangirai is the prime mover and shacker in Zimbabwe's present political discourse.He is the man of the moment.He is presently overseas not as Mugabe's errant boy but as the legitimate and hugely popular Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe.This is the cold hard fact that the propagandists at both Zimpapers and ZBH should quickly learn to live with.
By  Senator Obert Gutu

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GNU Watch May 2009

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).

Click here to read the document

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Poachers wiping out Zimbabwe's rhinos as demand surges

• Animals' horns sold on lucrative Chinese market
• Gangs taking advantage

Female rhinoceros and her calf standing

Government vets have de-horned Rhinoceroses to deter poaching. About 120 animals have been killed recently, say conservationists. Photograph: William F Campbell/Time & Life/Getty Images

Zimbabwe's rhinos are being wiped out amid a surge in poaching driven by Chinese demand for the animals' horns, a wildlife conservation group warned today.

Around 120 rhinos have been killed since last March to feed the lucrative Chinese black market, said Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.

Since last year economic collapse and the breakdown of law and order have contributed to a rapid escalation in poaching by organised gangs. "In the past 15 months we've lost 120 rhinos, and we're still losing two to four per month," Rodrigues said. "We used to have 1,000 in this country."

The exact size of Zimbabwe's current rhino population is debated. Save the Rhino, a British-based charity, puts the total at above 700. Rodrigues says it is about 400. Both agree the situation represents a crisis.

Rodrigues said that Zimbabwe's trade links with China, where the rhino horn is highly prized as medicinal, are a driving factor. "We're now down to about 400 rhinos, black and white, since the opening of the Chinese market. Normally the first thing the Chinese ask when they come here is, 'Have you got rhino? Have you got rhino?'"

He added: "It's all linked to the top. All those corrupt ministers are trying to cream off as much as possible before the next election. But if the carnage continues over the next two years we'll have nothing left. The devastation taking place is not sustainable."

A rhino horn can sell for thousands of pounds on the black market. Along with Chinese medicine, the horns are used for ornamental dagger handles in some Middle Eastern countries.

Rodrigues said gangs were now using a Chinese-made version of a tranquillising agent that can be fired noiselessly from a dartgun to avoid drawing attention. The gangs then chop off the horn and leave the unconscious animal for dead. "They don't reverse the tranquilliser, so the rhino overheats and dies," Rodrigues said. "Anyone who then finds it can't eat the meat – you will die if you do.

"The removal of the horn is very harsh. They use an axe and disfigure the rhino's face. The humane thing to do is put a bullet through its head and burn the carcass."

Rodrigues is preparing to hand a dossier to the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, in the hope that the country's unity government will take tougher action.

Government vets have made attempts to de-horn rhinos so they no longer have value for poachers, but the process must be repeated because the horns regrow. The army and police have been called in to conservation areas and national parks to defend the animals, but it is alleged that some soldiers turn poachers themselves.

Poachers have little to fear. Even those who are caught are usually freed on minimum bail because there is often no fuel to bring them to court.

Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Management Authority challenged Rodrigues' claims, but refused to give a figure for the rhino population.

"We definitely have more than 400," said Vitalis Chadenga, director of conservation. "But it's true we're facing an upsurge in the poaching of rhinos. This has taken place mostly on private farms, though parks have also suffered losses.

He insisted: "The government takes it very seriously. We have de-horned some rhinos and relocated some to safer areas where we can afford them maximum protection … if you come here in 10 years' time you will still see the rhino. They are safe but they are under threat. There is not a soft touch in terms of law enforcement."

The Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species has said it will discuss the threat to Zimbabwe's rhinos at its next meeting in July.

The government has said tourism is one of its best opportunities for quick economic revival. But Rodrigues warned: "We were the jewel of Africa, but we've gone back 15 or 20 years. The wildlife has been decimated to such a stage that there'll be nothing left for tourists when they come back to the country."

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Zimbabwe: A nation in need of healing

Bhekinkosi Moyo

The decade-long crisis in Zimbabwe has affected the psyche and social fabric
of the nation. There were senseless and callous murderous acts that today
dominate the news headlines and community talks. From Beitbridge to Victoria
Falls, Gokwe to Zaka, stories abound about rampant killings and general
decay in morality. Not only have these been normalised but it appears as if
there are no reprisals for most of the perpetrators. What kind of a nation
would develop or even heal if it does not build a sound value-laden and
cohesive society?

What I am about to describe is not scientific, nor is it based on academic
research. This is based primarily on my observations in Bulawayo last week.
What I saw and heard struck me to initiate a discussion on the meaning of
human life and the general state of morality in the country. I strongly
believe that the crisis has left moral scars and created traumas in certain
sections of society. How these traumas and scars are dealt with will
determine whether the country will reclaim its soul or not.

Not so long ago we were worried about the political and economic downturn -
Zimbabwe suffered both economic and democratic recessions. What we
underestimated was the social fabric's ability to glue everyone together. A
society without values or glue to hold it together is a society spiralling
towards Armageddon.

The problem with writing a piece like this is that there is a tendency to be
personal. The good thing though is that one attaches oneself emotionally or
otherwise to the script.

As background information to the reader: I have not been to Zimbabwe in at
least two years but am in constant contact with my family and friends.
Although I had a sense of what was happening on the ground, I could not
claim authority on daily events particularly on non-political and economic
matters such as the socio-psychological and cultural practices. I am
referring to issues of social cohesion, co-existence and general respect for
human life. These are matters that one cannot proffer an opinion without

The morning breeze cut across my face as I filled up gas in preparation to
make that long drive to Bulawayo from Johannesburg. The roads were quiet, no
traffic and luckily very few traffic police. I was so thrilled that finally
I was going to Bulawayo, my home town. I missed the pubs, restaurants,
narrow streets, especially their "give way" signs and of course the usual
welcome buzz words "usiphatheleni?" (what did you bring?). I missed going to
the Selbourne bar to meet with friends after work to indulge not just in
drinks but in matters that affected our lives. There you would meet some of
the city's intellectuals - most, self-appointed.

In this reminiscence mood I began my journey to Bulawayo. The aim was to
look for a "helper". I still cannot explain to friends why I drove more than
800km to look for a helper although I can explain it to myself.

A lot has changed since the last time I was in Bulawayo. Although the
infrastructure is still somewhat intact, fault-lines and cracks are easily
detectable. The roads in particular are in a bad condition. A noticeable
change was the lack of queues, either for fuel, food or at the banks. To
some this is a sign of the normalisation of the economic situation. There is
food on the shelves, fuel in most filling stations and generally a feeling
that the political situation is stabilising. However I am one of those who
are still sceptical of the machinations of the current administration.

I still doubt that it is structured to bring about a lasting and sustainable
solution to Zimbabwe's multifaceted challenges. It was crafted on the basis
of political power distribution. True there is a move towards normalizing
the political environment and economic performance but let's not be fooled,
we are far from where we were in 1999 or 2000. In that sense we cannot say
we have made strides because we are still in the negative. Until we reach
the level of performance we were in 1999 or so when things went into
overdrive, we cannot begin celebrating.

Now, the main reason for writing this piece is that I encountered very
disappointing moments in Bulawayo. The first concerned a young man I used to
know very well. The very day I arrived, I was told he was about to be laid
to rest. Apparently he was last seen in the company of some men who were
dragging him amid serious beatings. No one stopped to help, life continued
as always, each worrying about his or her own condition. The young man was
one of the poorest in the city, which I can testify. So robbery cannot be
the main motive for his murder. There were other motives and I hope the
police's investigation will bring closure to this case.

The second moment concerns a story I was told at this young man's funeral.
Listening to an account of how this young man's life was taken away there
was a sudden shift to another gruelling story. The deceased's neighbour had
just skipped the country to South Africa that morning. The reason: he had
caught an old woman stealing his sweet potatoes in the fields the previous
week. The man decided to take the law into his own hands - or those of his
family. He took the woman to his house, beat her up for several hours, she
died a few days later. My reaction: can someone be killed for stealing sweet
potatoes? Has a sweet potato suddenly become more valuable than human life?

I talked to a few folks in Zimbabwe about this and their response was that
this is normal now. People just kill each other for petty things. This
shocked me because this is not the character of Zimbabweans I used to know.
People were killed but the law would take its course and as far back as I
can remember no one was killed in the manner described above and for such
reasons. In addition to the law of the land there were other communal
mechanisms meant to deal with cases such as theft.

This got me thinking. The political crisis and its concomitant consequences
on the economy and general decay of the social fabric have changed
fundamentally the psyche and morals, including the morale of most people.
With the new set-up, we are likely to underestimate the impact the crisis
has had on the social fabric. The attention is likely to be given primarily
to the economic and political situation at the expense of the need to heal
the nation.

I'm glad that the new administration has recognised the need to address this
by appointing three ministers to the Organ on National Healing and
Reconciliation. According to the Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism, these
ministers, except for John Nkomo from Zanu-PF, have at least consulted with
civil society and their various formations on the way forward regarding
national healing.

This is a positive step but more needs to be done. The same attention given
to the political and economic spheres should be extended to issues of social
cohesion and national healing. Until the society is united under common
values and aspirations the efforts towards integration and economic
development will be foundationless. This means we need to pay particular
attention to issues of transitional justice, equality, return to a human
rights culture, training the security sector in ethics, morality and human
rights among other social building programmes.

We cannot have a society that tolerates and normalises the killing of other
human beings on the basis of stealing things like sweet potatoes. What
happened to the rule of law and the general respect accorded to human life.
It can't be that easy to take someone's life.

Something fundamentally wrong has happened and we need to reclaim the soul
and dignity of Zimbabweans. This is a tall order but it can be done -
starting with building a cohesive society underpinned by respect for human
life, sound values and glued together by a common destiny.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

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CHRA goes on air over service delivery and Zim local governance reform

09 June 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is participating in a television debate titled “Melting Pot” that includes the Public Relations Director for the City of Harare. The debate will focus on the state of municipal service delivery in Harare, the service charges and rates as well as explore the way forward out of this quagmire. The debate will be broadcasted on the Zimbabwe Television today the 9th of June 2009 between 1830hrs and 1930hrs Zimbabwe time. CHRA appreciates the efforts made by the ZTV team in keeping the voice of the residents alive during these trying times in terms of local governance and service delivery in Harare and across the entire country. CHRA remains a creative and resolute movement in its lobby for a democratic and transparent local governance as well as advocacy for the provision of quality and affordable municipal (and other) services on a non partisan basis.  


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and



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