By VOA News
07 June 2008
A Zimbabwe court has overturned a police decision that barred opposition
candidate Morgan Tsvangirai from holding campaign rallies ahead of a
presidential runoff election against President Robert Mugabe.
A lawyer for the opposition party Movement of Democratic Change says the
court Saturday ordered that the MDC be allowed to hold rallies without
interruption by police.
Mr. Tsvangirai was twice arrested and released while campaigning in the last
week. Police ordered Mr. Tsvangirai to stop campaign activities after his
latest release on Friday.
Zimbabwean police Saturday detained another opposition lawmaker as the
government continues to crackdown on political activity ahead of the runoff
Eric Matinenga of the Movement of Democratic Change was arrested again,
after being cleared on charges of inciting violence earlier in the week.
Members of the MDC say Mr. Mugabe's supporters have killed dozens of
opposition members and attacked hundreds of others in a bid to intimidate
supporters of Mr. Tsvangirai, who is trying to unseat President Mugabe after
On Thursday, police and government supporters detained American and British
diplomatic officials for several hours, prompting protests from both
Mr. Tsvangirai defeated Mr. Mugabe in the first round of presidential
voting. But the government's official election results, which were released
weeks after the vote, said Mr. Tsvangirai did not receive enough votes to
avoid a runoff with President Mugabe.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
21 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - A Zimbabwe opposition lawmaker was arrested on Saturday for
the second time in recent days on accusations of incitement to public
violence, police said, amid a crackdown ahead of a presidential run-off.
"He has been arrested. It's the same case," said police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena, referring to the case on which Eric Matinenga was cleared two
days ago. "He has been charged with incitement to public violence."
An opposition spokesman said three officers picked him up at his home on
"Our member of parliament for Buhera west, Advocate Eric Matinenga, was
taken away this morning by three men who claimed to be policemen," Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa told AFP.
"No reason was given, but the men said they were taking him first to the
fraud squad, then to Buhera," he said, adding: "This harassment and
intimidation have reached unacceptable and alarming levels."
The incident came a day after police detained MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
for the second time in a week, as he campaigns to ahead of the June 27
run-off against President Robert Mugabe.
Matinenga had been released Thursday, five days after he was arrested when
he went to visit opposition MDC activists in his consistuency who had been
detained on suspicion of public violence.
Police suspected him of paying opposition activists who had gone around the
constituency attacking supporters and activists of president Mugabe's
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said Saturday that 28 MDC and eight
ZANU-PF supporters were arrested in Buhera after police recovered an
assortment of weapons including machete, clubs, knives and iron rods.
"We have arrested these suspects and confiscated the weapons which will be
used as exhibits" during judicial proceedings, it quoted police spokesman
Oliver Mandipaka as saying.
By VOA News
07 June 2008
Zimbabwe's state-run media says foreign newspapers will have to pay an
import duty after concerns by the government that "hostile foreign
newspapers are coming into Zimbabwe."
The state-controlled newspaper The Herald says foreign publications will now
be classified as luxury goods and will have to pay an import duty of at
least 40 percent of the total cost per kilogram. The new regulation applies
to foreign newspapers, journals, magazines and periodicals.
Zimbabwe's secretary of information and publicity, George Charamba, is
quoted as saying the government is trying "to protect and defend the
national media space."
Charamba also said Zimbabwe media should do more national reporting ahead of
a June 27 presidential runoff election between President Mugabe and
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Charamba warned the government may take further action and said he hoped no
one would be hurt in the process.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
In his first interview with a British newspaper since returning to Zimbabwe two weeks ago, Mr Tsvangirai said he would defy intimidation and go on campaigning for the June 27 election.
"My party is compiling names of those perpetrating the violence and is sending them to the attorney general's office," he said. "Any chances of prosecuting are slim under the current circumstances, but those are some of the issues we will look at in our new government."
He was speaking after his arrest by the police, who have worked with the ruling Zanu-PF party to prop up President Robert Mugabe since the first round in March. The authorities have also confiscated Mr Tsvangirai's bulletproof BMW X5 car, which he fears could be the prelude to an attempt on his life.
"Help us President Tsvangirai," shouted a woman in her eighties. "We are hungry, we are tired of being beaten. You are our only salvation."
Nearer the capital, at Umzingwane village in Matabeleland, the regime's hand was more visible: the candidate was led away by police after briefly meeting supporters.
"We were afraid of even coming to meet Tsvangirai as we were warned by war veterans we will be killed," said a man too frightened to give his name. "Some people were beaten just this morning."
Over the past week, the opposition leader has twice been arrested, once spending nine hours in detention.
He has called on the UN to send peacekeepers, and urged the Southern African Development Community, which monitored the first round of polling, to put observers in place as soon as possible.
"We were made to believe that the observers would be on the ground by June 8," he said.The regime appears determined to make sure nobody monitors the run-up to the poll and has stopped foreign charities working in the country.
"They're doing a Burma," said a senior diplomat in Harare. "By excluding external witnesses you have a free hand to do what you like on the political violence front."
Soon after the government denied access to foreign
aid agencies, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network,
an American government agency, said the crop of maize – Zimbabwe's staple food source – could feed only a quarter of the population. This would be the worst harvest on record.
Murehwa, a farming district about 50 miles north of Harare, was thought to be an electoral stronghold for President Mugabe, but humiliated him by voting instead for the MDC. Local Zanu-PF militiamen went on the warpath, kidnapping, torturing and killing peasant farmers suspected of voting the wrong way.
Mapanzure, a local village headman, led the way to the scene of a burnt village. In the chill of night, the ruins resembled a graveyard. He said the extended family that lived in the hamlet – along with their goats, cattle and chickens – had fallen victim to the violence.
"They were abducted by youths of Zanu-PF and they melted into darkness," he said. "I hope they are alive but only God knows what has happened to them. This has happened to many families."
He has advised his people to bow to the regime's demands. "It is better for Mugabe to rule – even if we are tired of his misrule – than for people to lose their limbs or their lives."
Mapanzure said 15 houses belonging to his people had been burnt and he had seen militiamen attacking women and children – killing several. But he said that while the elderly listened to his advice, younger people disagreed.
About 15 miles east of his village, vegetable seller Christine Mare, 33, said the only way to free Zimbabwe was to vote out Mr Mugabe. "I have witnessed two friends die in this struggle," said the mother of two. "But we people of Murehwa have resolved that this man must go even if he kills many more. We will vote on June 27 to be a free nation on June 28."
Additional reporting by Stephen Bevan and Peta Thornycroft
Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 7:13PM BST 07/06/2008
Hours after Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe told foreign charities to
stop distributing food, the United States warned that Zimbabwe faced its
worst ever harvest.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network, an American government agency,
said the crop of maize - the country's main staple - was the smallest on
record, 60 per cent lower than normal.
Mr Mugabe has told aid organisations to abandon their work in the country,
which includes emergency distribution of food and medicines such as HIV
anti-retrovirals. Aid agencies warn the move will imperil thousands of
"Unless imports and international assistance are made available, households
in urban areas and the more deficit rural districts in the south and west
will face severe food access problems beginning in June," said the network.
The alert is the first the network has put out during Zimbabwe's
May-September harvest season thoughout the country's entire eight-year
June should be the height of the harvest, but this winter it is a time of
despair. In urban areas no maize meal is available in supermarkets.
Well-placed political sources say Mr Mugabe's decision to bar foreign aid
agencies was taken to help him fight the June 27 presidential election
run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic
Political donors have given Mr Mugabe's party the Zanu PF maize to splurge
on voters in the run up to the poll as a crude form of bribery.
"There will be masses of food in the next three weeks and for the month
after the election which will be distributed by the Zanu PF government,"
said a former government member.
"They don't want the aid agencies doing it. They want to be the
On Thursday, aid agencies received a note from welfare minister Nicholas
Goche ordering them to stop "field work" and accusing them of supporting the
The Zanu PF has often used food distribution as a political weapon in the
past, handing out supplies only to its own voters.
The worst hit areas will be in south and east Zimbabwe, where most voters
support Mr Tsvangirai and no maize meal has been on sale for weeks.
Aid agencies such as Care and Oxfam - both now banned from distributing
food - had planned to restart their emergency feeding programmes early
because of the crop failure.
HIV sufferers will be first - and worst - hit.
"Immediately, the worst of this ban will be for so many thousands of people
on anti retrovirals, which we will no longer be able to distribute," said
the company director of a western aid agency who asked not to be quoted.
"That combined with a food shortage is catastrophe."
He said he hoped that the ban was temporary and that his and other
organisations would be allowed back into the field after the June 27 run
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have said the decision to bar the
agencies constituted a "legal nullity", citing a constitutional court ruling
in favour of aid agencies 11 years ago.
They also complained that the order was not made through the official
gazette and said the ministers responsible had lost their legal powers to
make such a decision after March's parliamentary election.
"People in the lowveld (south east Zimbabwe) are so thin it is hard to look
at them," said a Harare man who regularly travels to that dry area of the
"People are standing on the side of the road hoping someone will stop and
give them food."
Concerns are also growing for the safety of 13 women from a protest group
who were detained after a peace rally. The Mugabe regime has conducted a
reign of terror targetting opposition supporters in the run-up to the
The women, from the protest group Women of Zimbabwe Arise, were detained
after a peace rally in Harare 10 days ago and are now being held at the
Chikurubi maximum security prison on the outskirts of the capital.
The prison service does not feed prisoners and expects their friends and
families to bring in provisions.
"The prison has not allowed them to receive food, " said one of the women's
colleagues today. "We are very worried about their health."
The women are accused of holding an illegal gathering.
Just after dawn this morning, police arrested Eric Matinenga, a recently
elected member of parliament for the MDC and the chancellor of the
Zimbabwe's Anglican Church.
Mr Matinenga, 56, had only been released on Thursday from another period in
detention, after he was accused of "inciting violence."
"They picked him up again this morning" said a Zimbabwe lawyer who does not
want to be identified.
Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare, is a loyal supporter of Mr
He closed the only cathedral to all worshippers except for a small group
loyal to him and the Zanu PF. He has sometimes called out the riot police to
disrupt and sometimes beat other Anglicans worshipping in the capital's many
Lawyers are investigating whether Mr Kunonga is connected with Mr
He did not answer his telephone yesterday.
Saturday, 07 June 2008 07:00
JOHANNESBURG - Andrew Makoni, one of Zimbabwe's most prominent human
rights lawyers, has fled to South Africa after receiving several credible
threats that Zimbabwean security officials have been instructed to kill him,
according to the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). Several other
high-profile human rights lawyers also said to be targeted.
Makoni's sources indicate that the strategy is to eliminate a
prominent human rights lawyer to deter others from defending victims of the
escalating political violence. He received information that a special team
of security agents had been assigned to the police station nearest his home
in order to execute the assassination.
This is not the first time that Zimbabwean human rights lawyers are
the target of these types of threats. In March 2007, Makoni and his law
partner, Alec Muchadehama, acting for political activists tortured in
detention, were themselves unlawfully detained. Several of the lawyers,
including Beatrice Mtetwa, who protested against this unlawful detention
were forced into police vehicles and driven to a secluded area where they
were beaten. In 2006, lawyers at ZLHR, including its then head, Arnold
subject to death threats.
The threats are cause for concern considering the orchestrated
violence in the wake of the March elections and specifically the murders in
the past two weeks of at least four of Mr Makoni's clients: Better
Chokururama, Godfrey Kauzani, Cain Nyere and Shepherd Jani.
"When the most prominent, the most active and the most courageous
human rights lawyers are targeted and forced to flee, you know that you're
dealing with the most grotesque forms of impunity. South African and
regional leaders need to put human rights monitors on the ground now because
the Zimbabwean authorities who refuse to relinquish power can not be trusted
to secure the lives, let alone the interests, of their
citizens," SALC Director, Nicole Fritz said.
US calls for observers for run-off
WASHINGTON - With less than one month before Zimbabwe's presidential
run-off election, the United States is calling on neighbouring states to use
their influence to exercise "the maximum amount of leverage" on Robert
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said last week that Morgan
Tsvangirai, detained by government forces in Lupane, "should be released
immediately unharmed, [and] untouched," describing the detention as "deeply
disturbing." The MDC has seen four other party leaders arrested ahead of the
run-off vote and 58 killed since the March 29 presidential and parliamentary
McCormack said the United States had imposed sanctions, targeted "in a
way that would not affect the Zimbabwean people in a negative way."
However, they are "simply up against ... the hard facts of international
politics" regarding the situation in Zimbabwe "States like South Africa, for
example, need to use the leverage that they have," because Pretoria is
"uniquely positioned" to encourage a change in behaviour.
The US wants to see election observers in place for the June 27
run-off vote, as well as a "truly independent" election commission and
provision by the military of "a secure atmosphere where everybody can vote."
The official called for international financial assistance for the
election observers, saying there was likely to be a good supply of
individuals in the region and the international community, but they may need
additional resources to help them do their jobs.
Press secretary Dana Perino said Zimbabwe's decision to ban CARE
International, Save the Children and Adventist Development and Relief Agency
(ADRA) showed the government's "callous indifference" to its people, which
could lead to "government-induced starvation in Zimbabwe." The aid
organizations had been accused of campaigning for the opposition, a charge
the agencies have denied.
BY TRACY SHOKO
Zimbabwe soldiers have been pampered with over $130 billion salaries from
below $10billion to buy their loyalty ahead of the presidential run-off
The latest salary increases double the salary rise offered to teachers (from
$5billion to over $60 billion a month).
No comment could be obtained from the army.
Soldiers have played a decisive role in ensuring Mugabe wins the vote in the
past two elections through establishing "bases" in rural areas where they
have led party militia as coercing agents to intimidate and harass the rural
Soldiers were deployed to the rural areas after the March 29 general
election and have been accused by the opposition MDC of leading an orgy of
violence against its supporters to intimidate them into voting for Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's security forces are credited with keeping President Mugabe in
power by constantly crushing any dissent to his rule. President Mugabe has,
in return, given them inviting incentives such as farms and top of the range
Saturday, 07 June 2008 14:59
BY STAFF REPORTERS
Despite the ratcheting up of the terror and violence campaign against
the people of Zimbabwe by the military junta, millions are determined to
vote Robert Mugabe out of power once and for all at the June 27 presidential
In a desperate attempt to win the run-off presidential election, the
military junta running Zimbabwe has virtually sealed off the entire
countryside - making it impossible for presidential contender Morgan
Tsvangirai to campaign at all.
They have arrested him and held him for nine hours, impounded his
armour-plated South African registered vehicle, disrupted his rallies by
sealing off the venues - all the while continuing to subject his supporters
to beatings, burnings, petrol bombings and forced conversion to Zanu (PF).
But political observers say this brutal strategy will backfire in
spectacular fashion as the majority of people will vote for the party that
has been consistently preaching peace - the MDC - despite being at the
receiving end of Zanu (PF)'s far-reaching terror campaign.
On Thursday, a number of NGO's were forced to suspend their
operations, raising real fears of mass starvation in the run-up period at a
time when most Zimbabweans are now totally dependent on food aid.
The military junta's countrywide dragnet also caught a convoy of
British and US diplomatic staff investigating reports of election violence
north of the capital were
stopped by a police roadblock at Bindura, 80km from Harare, where the
tyres of their vehicles were slashed and a Zimbabwean driver was hauled from
one of the diplomatic cars and beaten by a motley group of police, CIO,
army and "war veterans".
Every major road has a heavy presence of roadblocks, making it
difficult for Zimbabweans to travel in their own country - even to get to
hospital those injured in the Zanu (PF)-sponsored violence that is taking
place throughout the rural areas.
The brutality of the current wave of political violence is said by
many to be even worse than that experienced during the liberation war.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the local state-owned media
that the roadblocks were necessary to stop guns being moved around the
country in the current "volatile environment". But, despite that, the
assorted Zanu (PF) forces are able to move about unhindered, many of them
bearing new AK-47 assault rifles.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said his party had confirmed the killings
of 60 supporters since the March ballot, but this was "a conservative
figure", as ZANU (PF) had established "no-go" areas where people were "being
killed, buried and
forgotten". No arrests have been made in connection with these crimes.
The only people who have been arrested have been MDC activists such as
newly-elected MDC MP Eric Matinenga, a human rights lawyer. Bvudzijena said
in a statement on 2 June that Matinenga was arrested for incitement in rural
Buhera, in Manicaland Province. Matinenga has instituted court action to bar
the deployment of soldiers in his constituency, on the grounds that they
were spearheading a terror campaign.
With the elections only two weeks ago, Chamisa said the promise of a
heavier presence by the few election observer missions approved by the
government had not led to an increase in their "visibility". The majority of
them appear to be ensconced in 5-star hotels in Harare.
A looter continua
BY TERERAI KARIMAKWENDA
HARARE - Members of the youth militia, recruited by ZANU (PF) to
intimidate and assault opposition officials and activists in rural areas,
are now using the vehicles and weapons they were provided with to commit
crimes in the urban areas, reports SW Radio Africa's Harare correspondent,
Crimes such as house robberies and looting have increased in the last
two weeks. Some of the young thugs were caught wearing the police uniforms
that they used to gain easy entry into people's houses. The youths are also
reported to be stealing foreign currency and mobile phones from innocent
civilians in broad daylight.
Muchemwa spoke to a junior police officer who said the police had been
arresting these young criminals who are armed, only to be ordered by
their seniors to release them without charge. It is believed that the
salaries that the youths were receiving originally have been reduced or cut off
altogether. ZANU (PF) has a history of using young poor
Zimbabweans, then dumping them with no further rewards. Many are now
in desperate need of money and are taking advantage of the lawlessness in
The youths travel in vehicles that are known to be owned by the ruling
party. Some of the vehicles were used to transport ZANU (PF) candidates and officials
during the election campaign period before March 29. The twin cabs were also
used by the youths to distribute fliers for ZANU (PF) candidates. Since the
March elections, several MDC activists have been abducted by war veterans
and youth militia using twin cabs.
07 June 2008
Statement issued by the Movement for Democratic Change June 7 2008
The MDC wishes to confirm that a letter was sent from President Morgan
Tsvangirai to President Thabo Mbeki. on 13 May 2008.
This letter was intended as a private and confidential correspondence
between the two leaders, and not for public dissemination.
The MDC notes with concern the fact that President Mbeki has stated that he
has not received the letter, and to this effect another copy is being sent
to him via South Africa's embassy in Harare.
Unfortunately, since writing to President Mbeki, the situation in Zimbabwe
has worsened considerably, with the escalation of killings of MDC supporters
and continued violence and intimidation against innocent Zimbabweans.
President Tsvangirai and other leaders of the MDC have been arrested and the
Mugabe regime has forced the suspension of foreign aid activities amongst
numerous other attacks on the freedoms of the Zimbabwean people.
Despite assurances by SADC on 12 April at the Lusaka Extraordinary Summit
that the electoral conditions of the runoff would enable the will of the
people of Zimbabwe to be expressed freely and fairly, the events of the last
few days continue to show that conditions promised at that meeting do not
yet exist. The MDC looks forward to the imminent arrival of SADC observers
which we hope will correct this dire situation.
The MDC remains committed to participate in the 27 June elections in order
not to betray those who have suffered profound indignities and death because
of their desire for democratic change. An inclusive democratic transition
remains MDC's goal. Despite profound hardships we will continue to take this
message to our people.
Statement issued by the Movement for Democratic Change June 7 2008
June 7, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe human rights lawyers say the order issued by the
government for private voluntary and non-government organisations engaged in
humanitarian food assistance to food-short villagers to stop operations
should be ignored.
The lawyers said the ban lacked force because Parliament was currently
dissolved and there was no authority empowered to issue such orders at the
The government on Wednesday ordered NGOs providing food assistance to poor
peasants to desist forthwith from doing so, alleging that the organisations
were in breach of the terms and conditions of their registration and were
politicizing food distribution while campaigning for the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which won the elections on March 29 and became the
majority power in Parliament.
Christian Care and Care International have already withdrawn from the
volatile rural areas where Zanu-PF militia, so-called war veterans and
sections of the military have unleashed an orgy of violence against MDC
supporters and activists ahead of the presidential run-off election.
Mugabe, in power for 27 years, lost the presidential elections to long-time
rival Morgan Tsvangirai, but his opponent did not garner enough votes for an
outright victory, thus necessitating a run off.
In a notice, Nicholas Goche, in his capacity as Public Services and Social
Welfare minister ordered all private voluntary organisations and NGOs to
"suspend all field operations until further notice".
Part of the order reads: "It has come to my attention that a number of NGOs
involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the terms and conditions
of their registration as enshrined in the Private Voluntary Organizations
Act [Chapter 17:05], as well as the provisions of the Code of Procedures for
the Registration and operations of Non Governmental Organizations in
Zimbabwe (General Notice 99 of 2007).
As the Regulatory Authority, before proceeding with the provision of Section
(10), Subsection (c), of the Private Voluntary (sic) Act [Chapter 17:05], I
hereby instruct all PVOs/NGOs to suspend all field operations until further
Irene Petras, the Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
says MP-elect Goche had no powers to take any action as the purported
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
"It is a matter of public record that the pre-29 March 2008 Cabinet was
dissolved and they have not been properly and lawfully re-constituted,"
She cited the argument currently before the Constitutional Court in the
matter where the MP-elect for Tsholotsho is challenging the purported powers
of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
"A similar argument can be raised in respect of the case regarding the order
to suspend activities by voluntary organisations," Petras said.
Petras said there was no provision in the Private Voluntary Organizations
Act, which empowers the minister to suspend PVOs or NGOs.
The only provision in the Act which empowers the Minister to suspend was
Section 21, which provided for the suspension of the executive committees of
PVOs registered under the Act in the event that the minister had it on good
authority that the said PVO's actions were ultra vires.
But Section 21 was struck down by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe in
the case of Holland & Ors vs Min of Public Service, Labour & Social Welfare
1997 (1) ZLR 186 (S) as being at odds with section 18 (9) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, which stipulates that everyone is entitled to the
protection of the law.
"To date nothing has been done to reverse the findings of the Constitutional
Court and as such Section 21 in its entirety remains void for that reason,"
"Assuming that Goche is trying to use the said section nonetheless, he still
falls foul of its provisions as the Notice is of a general nature and has
not been directed to the Executive Committee of a named PVO as is required
by the Act.
The notice is further defective as it ought to have been in the form of a
Notice in the Government Gazette as that is the requirement of the law.
June 7, 2008
By Geoffrey Nyarota
MORGAN Tsvangirai defied the odds as well as the might of the ruling Zanu-PF
party to win the landmark March 29 presidential election.
His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) humiliated Zanu-PF by subjecting it
to its first ever electoral defeat since Independence in 1980. This was a
remarkable achievement for both Tsvangirai and his party. Yet he has become
a man on the run, hunted and humiliated relentlessly by the vanquished.
For reasons largely to do with his limited academic achievement Tsvangirai
has become a besieged man, a politician with many adversaries, all of them
occupying influential or powerful positions, but none of them with any
remarkable track record of success in their respective endeavours.
President Robert Mugabe hates the MDC leader with a passion and has vowed
that the former trade union leader will never take over as Head of State.
This sentiment was endorsed most ungraciously by none other than First Lady
Grace Mugabe. She shocked fellow Zimbabweans when she declared publicly that
even if he lost the forthcoming run-off election her husband would not cede
power to Tsvangirai.
This utterance somehow renders the forthcoming election a shameful waste of
time and scarce resources and an outright repudiation of the very democratic
principles which our President claims to treasure.
Tsvangirai, who won the presidential election with 47,9 percent of the
popular vote to Mugabe's 42,3 percent, has effectively become politically
emasculated. By some quirk the losers emerged from the election more
powerful than the winner, who is daily subjected to insults and humiliation,
totally inconsistent with the position he holds in Zimbabwean society. Even
Dr Simba Makoni, who scrapped through with a mere eight percent of the vote,
strangely appears to have gained more political clout than Tsvangirai in
The members of the so-called Joint Operations Command, which now effectively
administers Zimbabwe's affairs of State, are equally contemptuous of
Tsvangirai. Gen Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the armed forces;
Augustine Chihuri, the commissioner general of police, and Paradzai Zimondi,
the commander of the prison service, have been unequivocal in their publicly
stated abhorrence of the MDC leader. They vow they will never salute a
president who did not participate in the war of liberation. Air Force
commander Perrence Shiri, while less vocal, is part of this new power
These powerful security chiefs, who effectively now run Zimbabwe, could
easily render the outcome of the June 27 election a non-event, especially if
Mugabe is subjected to humiliation greater than he suffered in March. That
is a likely outcome, given the brutal violence meted out on voters in many
constituencies in the post March 29 period.
It is unlikely however that their strategy is to allow Mugabe to retain
power for longer than is deemed absolutely necessary, given his advanced age
and his exceedingly low popularity ratings. Watching him perform at the Food
and Agricultural Organisation summit in Rome it was apparent that Mugabe was
making a supreme effort to maintain the torrent of invective that he hurled
with reckless abandon at his many so-called enemies.
The JOC, now increasingly referred to as the junta, must be painfully aware
of the risk of taking over power through a military coup and further
alienating Zimbabwe politically, even from neighbours in the region.
Otherwise they would have taken over at the beginning of April when it
became clear that Mugabe had been trounced in the presidential elections.
Instead it is they who persuaded him to hang on. It appears they want to
take over power, but with a civilian other than Mugabe as front-man. Their
candidate of choice would be Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former security
supremo, who through the years has been touted as Mugabe's successor.
Mnangagwa is, however, not only too controversial; he is quite unpopular. He
lost parliamentary elections consecutively in 2000 and 2005 and only managed
to scrap through to Parliament on March 29 in a rural constituency that was
practically created for him in a delimitation exercise conducted just ahead
of the elections. He is said to be the brains and the power behind the JOC,
a suggestion which he lamely denied two weeks ago.
Another likely candidate to be considered for the top post is Dr Simba
Makoni, the former Minister of Finance who jumped overboard from Zimbabwe's
political Titanic and threw in his lot as a presidential candidate just six
weeks before polling day. While a mere eight percent of the electorate voted
for him, Makoni has incredibly cast his humiliating defeat aside and risen
to present himself once more as a serious challenger for power in this
Because there is no legitimate or constitutional strategy that could grant
Makoni's wish he now clamours for the scrapping of the forthcoming election
and its replacement by a negotiation process leading to a government of
national unity in which he will presumably play a role.
This strategy would ensure that Tsvangirai does not inherit full political
control from Mugabe. It would also ensure that Makoni does not have to wait
five years for the next presidential election in 2013. Just how prominent a
role he plays in the proposed GNU will, of course be determined by the JOC.
As if in anticipation of pending benefit, Makoni who has not denied
allegations or commented on photographic evidence of from the Central
Intelligence Organisation, this week withdrew the support that his group had
earlier pledged for Tsvangirai ahead of the forthcoming election. It is
doubtful that this was a spontaneous decision on his part, out of the blue.
Makoni does not appear to have much respect for Tsvangirai either and has
relentlessly campaigned for the scrapping of the forthcoming presidential
election, strategy which would weaken Tsvangirai's hand in any negotiation
for the GNU.
Between Mnangagwa and Makoni the securocrats would obviously choose the
latter. He has sounder credentials, enjoyed much goodwill and is respected
in the business community as well as on the international stage. The problem
with both candidates is that neither commands popular support among the
people, although Makoni seems unwilling to accept this reality. Their other
problem is that the people fully expect the democratization process over the
past 10 years finally to bear fruit on June 27.
Tsvangirai has other adversaries, not least among them South African
President Thabo Mbeki. In 2007 Mbeki was granted a mandate by SADC to
facilitate unity talks between Zimbabwe's warring parties, Zanu-PF and the
MDC. He is now widely regarded as having become a major stumbling block
through his partisanship in support of Mugabe. It is an open secret that
Mbeki's contempt of Tsvangirai is matched only by that of Mugabe. His
favourite politician in the original MDC leadership before the October 12,
2005 split was Welshman Ncube, the party's then secretary general.
Those in the know cite Ncube's favoured status as one of the factors that
contributed to the split within the MDC. He is also dismissive of
Tsvangirai. In fact the split in the MDC has its roots in attempts by Ncube,
working hand in hand with Mnangagwa back in 2002 to sideline Tsvangirai from
the leadership of the MDC. The truth about Ncube's political credentials was
finally told in Bulawayo on March 29. But he resurfaced this week to make
utterances that are likely to scuttle the unity that his party's president
Arthur Mutambara, negotiated with Tsvangirai in the aftermath of the March
All of a sudden perceived or prospective allies of Tsvangirai in his current
duel with Mugabe seem to be retreating to the sidelines.
Whatever new alliances may be formed now, whatever manoeuvres and who ever
the players; they all seem motivated by the one agenda of self-interest or
self-preservation. While some are motivated by the desire to protect their
positions and their ill-gotten wealth after June 27 others seek new
positions of power and influence in the new political dispensation.
The interests and the welfare of the majority of the long-suffering people
of Zimbabwe have now been effectively placed on the back-burner. One of
Zimbabwe's dilemmas is that virtually everyone who is influential, rich or
learned wants to be the next President. Democratic principles and processes
have fallen by the wayside. The people are forgotten. Even Zanu-PF officials
no longer chant one of their favourite mantras at independence - gutsa
ruzhinji - food for all the people.
Yet the task ahead of the people is simple. It is merely to exercise their
democratic right to choose who between Tsvangirai and Mugabe is fit to be
President of Zimbabwe after June. The people spoke eloquently on March 29.
They will speak again on June 27.
The will of the people must be respected if we are to avoid further chaos in
our beautiful nation. President Mugabe and his cronies have had at their
disposal almost three decades in which to cultivate the support of the once
adoring people of Zimbabwe.
They failed dismally. They cannot expect to accomplish that feat in a few
Saturday, 07 June 2008 07:53
The Zimbabwe Prison Service has sent senior prison officers to
provinces throughout the country to oversee the Operation Makavhotera Papi
terror campaign, The Zimbabwean on Sunday can reveal.
According to a source within the Prison Service, the officers, many of
whom are also war veterans, have been using prison resources in a bid to
're-educate' people into voting for Zanu (PF).
He revealed a list of names of high-ranking prison officials along
with the area they had been sent to and the incidents they had directly
One assistant commissioner addressed a meeting in Chikomba district
where he was reported to have beaten a member of the audience himself.
Another picked a prisoner at random at Harare Remand Prison, gathered the
prison officers and said: "l wish to demonstrate how we are dealing with MDC
supporters under Operation Makavhotera Papi." He then beat the prisoner
Others were working in Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.
The source revealed that all promotion within the Service had now been
tied to active participation in Zanu (PF) brutality.
On Monday, Senior Assistant Commissioner Chiobvu is reported to have
taken a register of all officers at Harare Remand Prison, announcing that
they would be voting by post - a process he would personally oversee. Anyone
who wanted to keep their job, said the source, would have to vote for
"Many prison officers are not happy about this plan, hence the urgency
for the plan to be exposed before they are forced to vote," said the source.
Saturday, 07 June 2008 07:31
Zanu (PF) is paying lip-service to calls for an end to violence, says
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), at the same time as perpetrating
"gruesome acts of murder, assault, arson and intimidation".
In a statement, the MDC said that they welcomed a multi-party
committee to deal with issues of violence, but could not issue any joint
public statement against violence until Zanu (PF) disbanded its military
bases throughout the country and brought back its soldiers from villages.
The MDC said police should desist from "being overtly biased towards
the opposition Zanu (PF)", and the media, especially the ZBC and The Herald,
should "stop all hate speech, language and songs against the MDC which is
inciting violence against ruling party supporters".
"Zimbabweans are aware that it is Zanu (PF) thugs who have abducted
and killed over 60 MDC activists," said the statement. "The people of
Zimbabwe know that Zanu (PF) alone has the capacity to stop the on-going
political violence because it is perpetrating it."
Saturday, 07 June 2008 08:12
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has condemned the move by
Zanu (PF) to stop aid organisations from giving out food to the starving in
While more than four million people are now thought to depend on food
handouts in the country, the regime has stopped NGOs from feeding people.
"This heartless decision further confirms that the regime does not
have the interest of the Zimbabwean people at heart," said a statement from
the MDC. "The beast has revealed its true nature and character.
"It is common knowledge that the regime has no capacity to feed the
people. The chaotic land reform programme has only bred hunger and
starvation and the national granaries are virtually empty - meaning there is
need for other players to help feed the people."
The MDC has called on Zanu (PF) to stop using food as a political
"It is ironic that Mugabe's regime would ban NGOs from giving out food
at a time when he is in Italy attending a food summit where he claimed
Zimbabweans were hungry because of sanctions," continued the statement.
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-07 22:35:23
HARARE, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
has spelt procedures involved in the postal ballot system ahead of the June
27 presidential run-off and the three by-elections following concern raised
by some stakeholders.
The processing of the application for postal ballot commenced this
week with political parties and observers being invited to witness the
exercise, according to Saturday's The Herald.
In a statement, ZEC said those eligible for the postal ballot were
members of the armed forces who will be on duty on the polling day, the
election officer and those serving in the diplomatic missions as well as
Applications for the postal ballot are made to the chief elections
officer on the prescribed form and must be signed by the applicant in the
presence of a competent witness. All applications should reach the chief
election officer on or before the 10th day before polling.
Before marking the ballot paper, the voter shall produce before a
competent witness, the ballot paper issued to her/him showing the number,
the declaration of identity and envelope in which the ballot paper was
received. The voter will sign the declaration identity in the presence of
the competent witness who shall, if satisfied to the identity of the voter,
sign the declaration of identity in his or her own handwriting and add the
title in which he or she acts as a competent witness.
The voter will then signify the candidate for whom he or she
wishes to vote by secretly placing on the ballot box a cross and no other
person except the competent witness shall be present and the voter shall not
allow the witness to see how he or she has voted.
Immediately after voting, the voter shall in the presence of the
competent witness but without disclosing how she or he has voted, place the
marked ballot paper in the ballot paper envelope, effectively close the
envelope and its cover. The voter shall then dispatch the covering envelope
by registered post without delay, or hand it to the constituency elections
officer, who shall issue a receipt.
Where the voter is a member of the armed forces and has received
his or ballot through the commanding officer, he or she may transmit the
envelope to the constituency elections officer through such a commanding
officer. The commanding officer shall convey the covering envelope to the
returning officer by the most expeditious means consistent with safety.
At the request in person of a voter who cannot read or who is
incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause from voting, the
competent witness may assist the voter. A competent witness who assists a
voter shall ensure that a written statement of what has transpired and the
reason are enclosed in the covering envelope together with the ballot paper
envelope and the declaration of identity.
ZEC said the sealing of postal ballot boxes would take place on
June 20 at wards collation centres in the presence of contesting candidates
or their election agents and observers.
Some stakeholders had expressed concern over the postal ballot
system, saying it appeared to be shrouded in secrecy.
Zimbabweans go to the polls this month to vote in a presidential
run-off pitting President Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF against MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai. The run-off will be held concurrently with House of
Assembly elections in Gwanda South, Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Redcliff, which
were postponed following the death of duly nominated MDC candidates in the
constituencies before the March 29 polls.
Editor: Yan Liang
By Philip Mangena ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 7, 2008
In a stunning revelation,Metro has established that the Mutambara faction
Secretary General,Welshman Ncube is scuttling the MDC unity pact and
instructed all MPs not join MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai when he visits
It has also emerged that some in the faction had argued that their faction
should not have fielded parliamentary by-election candidates in Gwanda
South, Redcliff and Pelandaba-Mpopoma against those of the MDC-Tsvangirai,
because at least it was their candidates that had died.
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube the faction’s treasurer refused to release funds for
the Run-off, MPs and senators told him they would use their personal
resources to campaign for Tsvangirai and accused the leadership of
attempting to derailing Tsvangirai. Dulini Ncube lost his Magwegwe seat to
MDC’s Provincial Spokesman,Felix Sibanda Mafa.
“There are a few senior individuals in the party who are pushing a Zanu-PF
agenda and it is now clear who those are,” one of the legislators said.
“They are doing everything in their powers to destroy Tsvangirai. It is not
our fault that they have differences with him, but we just want Mugabe out
The legislators said it emerged this week that there were members of the
Mutambara executive who were against the party’s resolution to support and
campaign for Tsvangirai against Mugabe in the run-off.
Another MPs alleged that the party leaders in particular Welshman Ncube and
Paul Themba Nyathi were bitter after losing the March 29 parliamentary
election to the MDC-Tsvangirai candidates.
“There are some former legislators who are still bitter and just last
weekend Welshman Ncube addressed a provincial assembly meeting and said he
will cause by-elections to take place in areas where the MPs and senators
are campaigning for Tsvangirai,” another lawmaker said. “We are saying we do
not care if he calls for the by-elections. We will campaign for Tsvangirai
Last Friday, the Mutambara faction leadership scheduled a meeting at the
same time as Tsvangirai’s address to elected MDC parliamentarians,However
some legislators boycotted the meeting and instead travelled to Harare to
attend the event at HICC.
However MDC National Chairman Lovemore Moyo,MDC-Matobo South.,played down
the riff,telling Metro,
“We have been working together as you know that,we have an agreement in
place,a coalition agreement between ourselves and our erstwhile
colleagues,and we are therefore involved in joint campaigns with them we
have been working with them, since we started our Matebeland presidential
campaign trail,as I speak today we went with colleagues from the other
Contact the writer of this story,Philip at email@example.com
Saturday 8the June 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
A new schedule of minimum wages for some categories of employment was
released by a government department last week. One of the lowest in the
schedule is a yard or garden worker whose minimum wage has been set at 3.2
billion dollars a month. To outsiders this may sound like a massive amount
of money but in reality it is a death sentence. As I write this letter a 1
kg packet of plain hard biscuits is 9.2 billion dollars, a 2 kg packet of
potatoes is 3.6 billion dollars, a 400 gram tin of baked beans is 1.8
billion dollars. By the time you read this letter all of these prices will
have increased; it is likely they will have doubled within a week. On a full
month's pay a yard or garden worker cannot even feed himself for a few days;
worse still, he cannot provide any food for his family, he cannot buy any
clothes or shoes and cannot pay his children's school fees. God help him if
he gets sick. Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that this government
stipulated minimum wage is currently worth just ten US cents a day.
After almost a decade of political turmoil and economic collapse, the vast
majority of Zimbabweans are unable to cope on their own and are surviving on
charity of some type or other. It may be from families in the Diaspora
sending hard currency home every month, relations abroad paying school fees
and medical needs or friends, churches and other well wishers sending
parcels of food, toiletries, medicines and other essentials. On a much
larger scale help has come from the international aid organisations who this
winter were set to feed 4 million Zimbabweans - over a third of the
This week all aid organizations operating in Zimbabwe were ordered to
immediately stop all their field operations and to re-apply for new
licences. It seems none are spared from the ruling issued by the Social
Welfare Minister. All are affected from school children surviving on one
charitable meal a day to rural households receiving grain and food relief to
people with HIV/Aids receiving life sustaining anti-retroviral drugs.
The timing of the ban on charitable assistance could not have come at a
worse moment for Zimbabweans. It is winter, market gardening is minimal and
vegetable growth very slow. Supermarket shelves remain largely empty. All
basic goods continue to be unavailable including maize meal, flour, rice,
sugar, cereals, beans, oil and many more.
This week, while Mr Mugabe, his wife and their delegation were in Rome
attending a UN Food Security conference, dire news was released about
Zimbabwe's daily bread which should be growing this winter. The state
sponsored Herald newspaper reported that only 8 963 hectares of wheat have
been planted this winter amounting to just 13% of the government target of
70 000 hectares. Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo was quoted as saying: "We
have missed the target, with challenges being shortages of fertilisers and
fuel as well as frequent breakdowns of tillage facilities."
Zimbabwe was often in the international news this week for diplomatic
incidents at road blocks, for food insecurity, for ongoing political
violence, for widespread arrests of MDC officials, activists and MP's and
for the prevention of MDC election campaign rallies. For the ordinary and
very long suffering people of Zimbabwe, we are counting down the days to
round 2 of the Presidential election. It cannot come soon enough and the
reasons for which candidate to choose become more obvious each day.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Saturday, 07 June 2008 08:44
The story I wrote about Tiny Farm and Tienie Martin has attracted a
spectrum of attention with some quarters denouncing the report as a
mean-spirited attempt to spoil a new Springbok's moment of glory.
I need to explain. Two weeks ago when the Stormers were in the throes
of their final Super 1V game I received a call from my friend Roy Bennett
who was in good cheer and pleased to tell me that 'my team' were not going
to make it to the semi-finals. We laughed. Then he told me that Brian Mujati
was "the son of the bloke who took your mate Tienie Martin's farm." Somewhat
taken aback I questioned Roy a bit more closely but he was adamant. I phoned
Tienie the next day and he confirmed it.
Now I need to explain a little more. When I was a boy, I, like many of
my generation hero-worshipped Tienie Martin. Rugby was such a big part of
all our lives and he was something like the George Clooney of rugby.
Brilliant and brave on the field he was both a gentleman and a self-effacing
joker off it. And then he was cursed. By nobody other than me. Because our
families were close I, a squirt 10 years younger, struggling with asthma,
had access to him and refused to let go. I shadowed him on the farm, the
rugby-field and the beaches and bars of Beira and only remember warmth and
kindness when I should have got a slap and been told to get lost.
'Tiny Farm' was part of the Odzi/Inyazura farming area and here
democracy did not grab much attention. Martiens Martin was the quiet power
in the land. A big handsome man with a ready smile, gravitas came naturally
to him and without asking he simply became the patriarch commanding respect
and reverence across the racial divide. What I remember of 'Miemps', Tienie's
mother, was the welcoming smile before the long walk through the garden with
my mother. Much of the floral-engendered excitement of the time was lost on
me but now I wish I had appreciated it more when I had the chance. The farm
pumped with productivity, everyone worked hard and on the weekends they
played. It was a happy place. This was a microcosm of the country.
But no more. Joseph Mujati, in flagrant violation of a High Court
order, has pillaged Tiny Farm and like his colleagues in ZANU PF who have
engaged in the same exercise he has had his woeful way; sold the stolen
equipment and left the land to die. Like his partners in crime he believes
he is above the law and sadly he is right. A collaborator in a monstrous
kleptocracy he can brutalise, steal and destroy with impunity. He and his
ilk have destroyed commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe and in the same stroke
the entire economy which has reduced millions of people to a life of
deprived misery amidst a reign of terror.
It is at this juncture Brian Mujati stands poised to don the Green and
Gold and some are of the opinion that this unfolding tragedy should not be
allowed to blight his moment of glory. I empathise with Brian and wish him
well but I feel his plight is rendered inconsequential compared to that of
his countrymen who suffer as a result of the unbridled greed and unspeakable
venality of his father.
'Tienie' Martin was ambivalent about letting this story out. "I don't
want to mess the youngster's (Brian's) career up," he said. "What happened
to me," he explained, "was not the son's fault." Then he went on to make a
telling point: "But hell his dad didn't give my children too much thought
when he threw them out of their houses." I listened and encouraged him to do
it because I thought it was a story that needed to be told in the interests
of a bigger cause and only when convinced that this might help others did he
agree. Today he was phoned and threatened twice by Joseph Mujati and has
taken his wife and daughters into hiding. The Odzi Sports Club not far from
Tiny Farm which once provided the hub of the community's social activities
is now a torture-centre run by a ZANU PF militia.
Traditionally Springbok rugby players are hard men who give no quarter
on the field of sporting battle but off they are gentlemen and this is what
has given the game and the people who play it a special place in sport.
Before he runs on the field tomorrow maybe Brian can start acting like a
Springbok and ask his father to leave Tienie, Charlotte and the girls in
Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:44
The Customers, Clearing and Freight Forwarding Association said the
recent move by the monetary authority to deregulate the foreign exchange
market has seen goods piling up at several border posts as duty is now
indexed to the prevailing inter-bank rate.
Shipping and freight forwarders association chairperson Juren Mtemeli
says despite these effects the situation was expected and will normalize in
Turning to the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, COMESA 2008
customs union area resolution, Mr. Mtemeli said while stakeholders in the
import and export of goods have been active, there is need for the
government to carry out aggressive awareness programmes on the benefits of
The opening up of the COMESA region is expected to help in improving
the movement of goods particularly transit goods, and enhance economic
inter-dependency as well as stimulate regional growth through trade and
The post deregulation period of the foreign exchange market has
brought with it many challenges of adaptation particularly from importers
who had until now been accustomed to low import cost.
Saturday, 07 June 2008 06:42
BY LAST MOYO
IF President Mugabe's patriotism and commitment to his country was as
good as his unrivalled and well known obsession with international trips to
the West and his love for media glare and attention on the podiums of global
platforms, then the political and economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe today
could have been solved a long time ago.
It is disheartening for all disenfranchised and suffering Zimbabweans
at home and away, to see how the president is always more than ready to
embark on trips to Europe, yet just over a month ago he snubbed an
invitation to the SADC Special summit that gave Zimbabwe an opportunity to
resolve its political impasse through a regional framework which Zimbabwe
does not only belong to, but also represents the very African solution which
Mugabe himself always waxes lyrical about.
Perhaps time has come for Mugabe to be reminded that his obligation
is, first and foremost, to the citizens and the nation, before his
pretentious concerns with issues of global concern such as the summit
currently going on in Rome. It certainly defies logic how a president with a
country that has a sky piercing inflation of over a million % and a colossal
unemployment rate of 80%, all occasioned by his policies, can be in the
corridors of FAO partaking in discussions about the bio-fuel induced global
surge in food prices, when the country is going through an unprecedented
period of hunger, malnutrition and deprivation caused by bad political and
Zimbabwe faces a peculiar self-inflicted problem which is not about
food affordability, but about lack of food availability due to the
politically-motivated land reform that lacked any economic planning,
foresight and rational.
Mugabe is now seen by the entire world as a leader who has completely
lost the plot and has turned against his own people by violating every one
of their inalienable human rights. This is why his presence at the world
summit has been likened by many to inviting Pol Pot to a human rights
conference or the devil to a Christian fellowship.
However, it is not a question of whether Mugabe must have attended the
world summit or not, but a question of him being seen to act in support of
the principles of hunger and poverty alleviation in his country first where
millions of people are starving and several children malnourished while 80%
live on less than US$1 a day.
While the UN has an obligation to invite him as the head of state,
one is forced to ask what moral justification does Mugabe have and what
useful policy inputs can he make when his own national food and agriculture
policies have been a disastrous economic nightmare for his citizens?
Although his speech painted a positive picture of a successful land reform,
the grim reality on the ground is that commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe
has collapsed and his government was responsible for its feudalisation
through its visionless agrarian reform. The 300,000 so-called proud farmers
referred to by Mugabe in his speech are no more that peasant farmers who
have no skills, no equipment, no capital and no capacity for crop yields
that can meet the nation's food requirements.
But the question is why does Mugabe attend these international summits
when he knows that world opinion is increasingly seeing him in negative
light as a leader who has turned one of the best economies in Africa into a
nation of beggars and food handouts? His love of international summits goes
no further than enjoying the media spotlight and being pedantic with his
oratory skills to those who care to listen.
For all the degrees he has, his speeches have always exposed him to be
somewhat of a novice in the field of diplomacy and international relations -
rather than a statesman who has the interests of the welfare of his people
and the nation at heart, because all they have done is occasion more
alienation for the country and more suffering for the people.
The tragic events and painful experiences of the last eight years to
his people, his country, the land, and the national economy provide
undeniable evidence that Mugabe's old politics of the seventies of
belligerent confrontations with the West is not only now irrelevant and
anachronistic, but also counterproductive as it stands against the much
needed opportunities for the resolution of the crisis through dialogue and
negotiation. As he did yesterday, whenever the President opens his mouth in
these platforms, he criticises all and sundry except himself and his
government if they are infallible. Yet the irony is that the very ideals of
global equity and distributive justice he purports to be fighting for at
global level are flouted by his regime on a daily basis in Zimbabwe where
citizens have to carry ruling party cards in order to get food or a piece of
By Charles Pemhenayi ⋅ zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 7, 2008
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the ZANU-PF secretary for legal affairs, recently said
that a Government of National Unity (GNU) was “unavoidable” given the
make-up of the country’s politics, while MDC’s secretary-general Tendai Biti
told a Kenyan journalist that the run-off would not solve the crisis in the
country adding that there was still room for negotiations to come up with a
“unity government of national healing”.
ZANU-PF and the MDC — the two apparent protagonists in the Zimbabwe crisis —
are converging on the need for a GNU, which requires facilitation from both
local and regional actors. A GNU requires commitment from both sides of the
political divide in coming up with workable mechanics for an effective modus
operandi to bring this noble idea to fruition.
In my view, there is a strong moral and business argument for a GNU, which
to all intents and purposes, is the only cost-effective route for both
ZANU-PF and the MDC that can bring about the much-awaited political and
The last couple of weeks after the harmonised March 29 elections have been
intriguing, dramatic and marked by an unfortunate spate of violence blamed
on both parties, across the whole country.
The results of the presidential election that failed to produce a clear
winner have brought an air of uncertainty. It confirmed the polarised nature
of the country’s politics, constituted on one hand by ZANU-PF (a liberation
party in power for more than 28 years) and on the other hand the MDC (a
movement that brought together people of varying interests, mostly the
disgruntled working class).
There has been serious jockeying for influence over the electorate during
the past 10 years leading to the historic March 29 elections. In that
period, elections for either, council, parliamentary, senate and the
presidency have cumulatively been held more than five times.
In the process, the country has not only become an elections country but the
frequency of the polls has become a major drain on the fiscus of an already
The targeted sanctions and the cosmetic approach to efforts meant to recover
the economy have worsened the situation.
The half-hearted implementation of the Economic Structural Adjustment
Programme in the 1990s and the subsequent fire-fighting economic measures
after the abandonment of the International Monetary Fund-inspired programme
coupled with the targeted sanctions meant that there was nothing to halt the
With the convergence of the two main parties on the need for a GNU as
highlighted in my preamble, Zimbabwe has been presented with a golden chance
to end the crisis.
As the GNU mutates, it would be prudent that the media refrains from
perpetrating damaging slants and angles that have fueled a mercilessly
Editors, journalists (stringers and moonlighters alike) have a newfound role
to promote this exciting developments in our political history.
It would be an oversight on my part to situate this heavy task in realms of
the media alone. It has to transcend over hordes of other key stakeholders.
The polarisation in our society today has also roped in men of the cloth,
with the clergy menacingly supporting that party while other spiritual
leaders now behave as if they are political commissars for the other party.
With the tacit endorsement of the GNU by the main political parties, I would
suppose these men of the cloth, journalists and many others interested
parties weigh on to these efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis
facing our country.
They should also throw their weight behind “the Zimbabwe we want” agenda.
Without necessarily mentioning names, the time is nigh for pastors to drum
up support for the GNU for the good of the nation. The seemingly rabid
editorials in our publications should also create the hype behind this
philosophy of a GNU.
While the role of setting up editorial policies at newspapers may rest with
the publishers it is time these entrepreneurs rally behind that which allows
them to make money in an exuberant economy. The convergence of minds on a
GNU is one such great opportunity. A few years ago this development would
have been unthinkable.
Our columnists also need to tone down on their rhetoric and begin to
understand that they are Zimbabweans first and foremost. There is a season
for everything and we have just entered a season that compels good men to
speak peace. Elementary journalism calls for a clean conscience and
These GNU expectations have gripped the nation and politicians are certainly
called upon to buttress this initiative. Granted, there may be the so-called
hardliners on either side who may fail to read the reality on the ground.
There is a groundswell for disastrous consequences if our crisis is not
Our country has gone through the good, the bad and the worst. Sovereignty,
liberation and independence were first, stretching our democracy and testing
its intensity. The GNU can only be good for the future generations. One
hopes that literature will be written of these times, for posterity.
It will be an excellent present for posterity if the process of unveiling a
GNU benefits this country and propels its growth and development naturally
sought by all the warring brothers, parties, clergy and Zimbabwean here and
in the diaspora.
The GNU discussion and the results of whatever settlement, however means,
must be premised on the fundamental issue of reconciliation. Incidentally,
Zimbabwe scored a first worldwide when reconciliation was applied at
Independence in 1980 regardless of the thousands of lives that were lost
during the liberation struggle.
The late Ian Douglas Smith and his collaborators, notwithstanding the
Lancaster House Agreement, had committed atrocities that will make a mockery
of the current dispensation, but lived with us all in harmony.
The GNU must of necessity define the route towards reconciling the virtues
of our battered nation. Recent history points to the Chinese revolution and
its economic boom after many years of being seen as a nearly failed nation.
The critical lesson from that experience is the way we should value our
identity and pride as a nation.
Seemingly all developed nations nurture a set of values and virtues that
bind them together as a people. The developments of the past decade should
bind us together so move on with developing a better Zimbabwe.
I dread the task ahead given the general decadence in work ethics over the
last few years from once a nation of hard workers to a nation of beggars,
lazy and unscrupulous dealers all partly induced by the need for survival.
Anyone in Zimbabwe today from a government minister, member of the
opposition, worker and any professional has had to “deal” to survive.
While that situation must be reversed in order to begin the process of
developing the nation, it will come with thick challenges. A lot of us have
made money in very doomsy circumstances difficult to be maintained in a
properly functioning economy. We must prepare to start accepting the pain
that comes with the recovery we so yearn.
Business will have to learn to adjust and reward efforts fairly and not in
an environment of safeguarding profit and the establishment of the much
awaited social contract. Developed nations will be handy to remind us that
there are certainly no short cuts to doing things right first time.
As SADC and the AU navigates our exit from this unenviable position we must
remain resolute, united as a nation and make this country grow. Everyone
should cheer our leaders on as they grapple with the challenges of
negotiating the rough political terrain for the benefit of our livelihood.
The stage has been set, let the play begin as we await the outcome with
If this is a result of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa’s “quite
diplomacy” then his efforts seem to have quietly ushered in a new era in
Zimbabwe’s politics. It is incumbent on Mbeki to maintain this momentum and
see his initiative yield the most desired result.
Thumbs-up to his untiring efforts, under very difficult and conflicting
conditions. The polarisation of the political parties was reaching alarming
heights and President Mbeki’s task was never easy from the start.
It can only be from a social contract involving labour, business and
Government that a workable economic blue print can be derived. The
challenges of ownership of policies have put us where we are today and as
the future government embarks on delivering its mandate it is crucial that
policies are matched and jointly developed with all the stakeholders in
order to achieve the desired results. The human resources base in Zimbabwe
is impressive given the right leadership.
Charles Pemhenayi is ZANU PF Central committee member of, Manicaland
Provincial Spokesman and Mutare North Member of Parliament elect.
June 07 2008 at 11:11AM
By Basildon Peta and Staff Reporter
Grace Mugabe collected US $80 000 from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) for her latest shopping spree in Rome, according to authoritative
The move infuriated some top central bank officials who described it
as "reckless and inhuman".
"It's common cause that we need every penny of forex we can get to buy
food and other basics. We don't have any money for designer clothes," said a
top RBZ official.
Grace's latest cash handout came after she was given another $100 000
of scarce foreign currency by the central bank to finance her holiday with
President Robert Mugabe and their three children in Thailand and Malaysia in
"Every one of their foreign trips is an opportunity to raid the
central bank forex coffers. It's so unfortunate because we simply don't have
the money for her kind of purposes, ." said another RBZ source.
Although one greenback was fetching at least 1.5 billion Zimbabwe
dollars on the parallel market this week, Grace bought her US$80 000 at the
old fixed exchange rate of US$1 to Z$30 000.
The sources said this all effectively meant she got the money for
Zimbabweans now cynically refer to Grace as the "First Shopper" and
not "First Lady".
Although Mugabe, Grace and their top cronies are banned in Europe,
they are still free to travel to UN summits.
They were therefore able to attend this week's UN food summit in Rome,
despite the fact that Mugabe's destructive policies have made his countrymen
desperately short of food back home.
While Mugabe attended summit sessions, sources said Grace remained
ensconced in a R11 000-a-night suite, with a spa bath, at the Ambasciatori
Aware that the world press was keeping an eye on her, she did not make
any public shopping appearances, preferring to shop through her aides or via
prior arrangements with designer shops.
The ability of other top Mugabe cronies to access cheap forex at the
central bank in Harare has enabled them to leave a luxury lifestyle while
the country burns.
Meanwhile, companies that need forex to import machinery and inputs
for production have to either resort to the expensive black market or simply
This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Argus on June