By Tichaona Sibanda
07 June 2012
A COPAC meeting on Wednesday to resolve outstanding issues in the drafting
of a new constitution ended with the same gap that has so far prevented the
completion of a new charter for Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF and the MDC formations remain far apart following the ‘aborted’
meeting in Harare and there will be no further talks between the GPA
partners until the end of next week.
COPAC co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that
ZANU PF tried to bring back their 29-page document that seeks to overhaul
the draft constitution.
He confirmed they failed to end their stalemate on the few contentious
issues still outstanding, including devolution of power and Executive
powers. The meeting in Harare ended unceremoniously when both formations of
the MDC made it clear they were not going to entertain ZANU PF’s old
“They just don’t give up. We have rejected the same document twice before.
Yesterday (Wednesday) the ZANU PF delegation, led by Olivia Muchena walked
out of the meeting when we rejected it again,” Mwonzora said.
He added: “We told our colleagues the revision of the draft will be done
using input gathered during the outreach program…documents that we all
agreed to and signed.”
An indaba to be attended by select and management committee members of COPAC
is set to be held in Nyanga next week to try and resolve the stalemate.
However, this is not the first time the former ruling party has attempted to
force through the document. Last month, following a politburo meeting ZANU
PF presented COPAC with document that was roundly condemned by many in the
country’s Civil Society Organisations.
Observers dismissed the document saying ZANU PF was proposing ‘wholesale
changes’ to the COPAC draft, taking the country back to the ‘Kariba Draft’
rejected by Zimbabweans in 2000.
That 2000 draft was widely seen as a government produced document that did
not adequately reduce the executive powers of the President, as recommended
by the people during the outreach period.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa last month, Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis
Coalition said the ZANU PF response was basically an attempt to replace much
of the text in the new draft with clauses from the Kariba Draft, which he
said was ‘wrong and improper’ because it ignored what the people said they
On the problematic issue of devolution of powers, ZANU PF is proposing what
they called ‘decentralisation,’ which is similar to what was proposed in the
Kariba Draft and different from what COPAC proposed.
ZANU PF is also pushing for a restructuring of controversial powers of the
Attorney General, which had been removed under the new draft and assigned to
a new independent National Prosecuting Authority.
This latest development is bound to cause more delays to the constitution
making process, which is already far behind schedule and must be completed
before a fresh poll is held. Delays in completing a draft mean delays in
holding a referendum and extending the life of the failed coalition
Harare, JUNE 07 - Zanu (PF) has submitted new proposals to the Parliamentary
Constitution Select (COPAC) that the party wants included in the new
constitution, a move that may further derail the constitution-making
The proposals, contained in a 29-page document in Radio VOP's possession,
seeks an overhaul to nearly all the 18 chapters of the draft constitution,
raising fears Zanu (PF) wants to delay the conclusion of the drafting of the
Zanu (PF) insiders told Radio VOP that the strategy would enable President
Mugabe to unilaterally call for fresh polls under the Lancaster House
President Mugabe wants fresh polls to end the acrimonious government of
national unity. However, the just-ended Southern African Development
Community (SADC) summit, which was held in Angola to discuss the political
fall-out in Harare, insisted that elections should be held once all
outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) have been
Regarding the election of the President, Mugabe’s party wants 50 percent
plus one to be a constitutional matter and not statutory.
The issue of the election of the President was covered under the Electoral
Act but now Zanu (PF) wants it enshrined in the new constitution.
Zanu (PF) opposes devolution of power to the provinces, the National
Prosecuting Authority, the Constitutional Court, the Truth and
The party also wants the removal of a clause in the draft barring the
military from dabbling in politics. It further proposes the removal of a
clause, which says the President should first seek parliamentary approval
before declaring war. It proposes that the President should be allowed to
unilaterally declare war without the input of legislators, or unbridled
Presidential powers to declare war. The party advocates for unlimited
ministerial appointments by the President.
In the preamble, the party wants removal and insertion of certain words the
party feels resonates with its ideologies and aspirations. For instance in
paragraph 1 of the preamble, Zanu (PF) wants the “oppression” to be added
after “domination.” In Paragraph 2 it wants the words “and heroes and
heroines” added after the words “men and women.” In paragraph 3 they want
“forebears replaced with “founding fathers and mothers”, among other mundane
“What Zanu (PF) urgently needs is sound, legal advice,” commented a COPAC
official on the new Zanu (PF) demands.
Harare, June 07, 2012 – Zanu (PF) on Wednesday blocked its Goromonzi North
legislator, Paddy Zhanda, from moving a motion in Parliament calling for the
investigation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono.
Zhanda wants Parliament to probe Gono over corruption but he was blocked
during the party's caucus meeting.
In a telephone interview Zhanda said: “I could not move the motion today in
Parliament. As far as I am concerned the motion is still on the Parliament's
order paper and I am proceeding with it."
Legislators, who attended the caucus meeting, told Radio VOP that the party
was also opposed to MPs supporting the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)'s calls to arrest Zanu (PF) legislators, Aqualinah Katsande of Mudzi
West and Newten Kachepa of Mudzi North for masterminding the violence that
led to the death in the area of an MDC activist, Cephas Magura.
The arrest was called by Shurugwi North MP, Anastancia Ndhlovu.
Eye witnesses say on the fateful day the two Zanu (PF) legislators provided
their local party youths with transport to Chimukoko Business Centre where
the violence occurred.
By Lance Guma
07 June 2012
A homeless man was fighting for his life on Wednesday after being run over
by Robert Mugabe’s motorcade the along Harare-Bulawayo highway near
Pamuzinda Hide-Out. According to the Daily News paper this was the first of
two separate accidents involving Mugabe’s motorcade on a single trip to his
Zvimba rural home.
Mugabe was said to be travelling to the funeral of headman Enock Chipuriro
when the speeding bike that leads his motorcade ran over the homeless man
who was in the middle of the road. The rest of the motorcade, one of the
largest in Africa, reportedly zoomed past the accident scene without
stopping to assist the injured.
A witness told the paper: “If that guy is still alive, it is a miracle. The
bike ripped through the man’s legs while the bike rider was thrown off. The
scene was so ghastly and bloody that one would not take a second glance.”
The man and the police rider were later taken to hospital when the
ambulances eventually came.
The drama for Mugabe did not stop there. Moments later near Murombedzi
Growth Point a land cruiser in his motorcade burst a tyre, injuring his
security details. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba confirmed the incident,
telling the Daily News that all the injured security details were rushed to
Meanwhile its not the first time Mugabe’s motorcade has run over a homeless
person. SW Radio Africa understands that in 2005 the ZANU PF leader was
travelling to Banket to campaign for the impending elections at the time,
his motorcade ran over another homeless man who died on the spot.
We also understand the president’s security team immediately searched for
the relatives of the deceased man and forced them to bury the body within 24
Mugabe’s motorcade has been involved in many other accidents. In 2009, one
of his outriders collided with a Mazda 323 in Harare. And in January this
year a police BMW bike, which was part of his entourage collided with a
Toyota Hilux at the intersection of Borrowdale and Whitewell Road in Harare.
By Alex Bell
07 June 2012
One of the 29 MDC-T activists on trial for the murder of a policeman in Glen
View last May was positively identified by a state witness on Thursday, as
the trial against the group continued.
Inspector Petros Mutedza died last year in what some witnesses have said was
a ‘bar fight’. But the police have insisted that Mutedza was sent to the
area to monitor an MDC meeting, and the activists have been accused of
turning on him.
The trial against the group, many of whom have been jailed for more than
eight months, got underway on Monday, with chaotic scenes being witnessed
outside the High Court.
Police were called in to disperse peaceful protestors, who had gathered to
show solidarity with the arrested MDC-T activists and found themselves being
tear-gassed instead. A high security presence continued Tuesday, when a bail
hearing for the group resumed in the Court, with family and friends being
blocked from entering the premises.
The trial meanwhile continued Wednesday with witnesses being called to give
their testimonies. A testimony by state witness Joshua Daka on Wednesday
stated that Mutedza was seen fleeing a bar in Glen View shortly before his
death, corroborating with a statement by the MDC-T that the cop was fatally
assaulted by patrons at Munyaradzi Bar who were discussing football.
On Thursday a police officer was called to the stand and claimed he was sent
along with his late colleague Mutedza to Glen View to investigate the
alleged MDC-T meeting. The officer then went on to positively identify one
of the accused, to the shock of the defense team.
Clifford Hlatywayo, the spokesman for the MDC-T’s Youth Aseembly, whose
chairman Solomon Madzore has been accused with 28 others in the murder case,
told SW Radio Africa that the court proceedings on Thursday were irregular.
“Defense lawyer (Beatrice) Mtetwa immediately challenged the identification
by the witness. They argued it was irregular and un-procedural,” Hlatywayo
The trial continues on Monday.
By Tichaona Sibanda
07 June 2012
Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF delegation were last week left with egg on
their faces when Zambian president Michael Sata kept coming up with
sarcastic lines during the SADC Troika meeting.
Known for openly supporting Mugabe, Sata whenever he referred to the ageing
ZANU PF leader during the meeting called him ‘sekuru Mugabe’ and would often
chant ZANU PF slogans.
ZANU PF negotiators Emmerson Mnangagwa and Patrick Chinamasa could be seen
cringing whenever Sata signaled his intention to speak. Apparently Sata is
the only president in the SADC region who supports Mugabe and his bid to
seek re-election with or without a new constitution.
Instead of using the more dignified and often used diplomatic language, Sata
kept calling Mugabe sekuru (grandfather). Although guidelines exist, proper
forms of address vary greatly from culture to culture.
The spirit of formality among Heads of State usually means not addressing
others by their first names. Presidents are addressed as Your Excellency or
Mr. President. Only by special invitation or long friendship should one
address a Head of State by first name and then only when not in the public
There were more surprises to come for Mugabe when Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai gave a blow-by-blow account of the dire situation in Zimbabwe.
This seemed to attract Sata’s attention.
As soon as Tsvangirai finished briefing the Troika, Sata blurted out: “Aah
sekuru Mugabe must retire and let Muzukuru (nephew) Tsvangirai take over.”
This statement left Mugabe and his delegation seething with rage, according
to sources that were in the meeting.
It was at the same meeting that Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
surprisingly suggested that SADC should consider the policy of intervening
in the affairs of Zimbabwe.
It was a double-blow inflicted by Mugabe’s allies. First it was Sata calling
on him to retire and then came the news that Dos Santos was advocating SADC
take a more hands on approach on Zimbabwe.
The Angolan leader has been one of the most trusted and oldest allies of the
ZANU PF, but his support for the regional bloc to stop Mugabe from
unilaterally calling for elections might have turned a new page in Zimbabwe’s
Political commentator, Bekithemba Mpofu told SW Radio Africa the outcome of
the summit last week demonstrated that South Africa President Jacob Zuma is
keen to get his mediation job done properly. Zuma is the regionally
appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s crisis.
“I think his influence within SADC has been underestimated by ZANU PF. At
this moment, Zuma seems to be immune from cheap politicking particularly
that non-ZANU PF parties are puppets of the West,” Mpofu said.
Harare, June 07, 2012 - Zambian President, Michael Sata, who has been
threatened with protests by Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom during a visit
this week, has defended his partisan support for President Robert Mugabe.
Sata reportedly chanted Zanu (PF) slogans during last Friday’s Southern
African Development Community (SADC) summit that tackled the political
situation in Zimbabwe.
He chided Mugabe’s inclusive government partners for not taking part in the
liberation war much to the chagrin of democracy activists in Zimbabwe.
The activists argue that Sata cannot be an honest broker in the political
dispute given his admiration for the ageing Zimbabwean leader.
But Zambian Foreign Affairs and Tourism minister, Given Lubinda, on
Wednesday said the former opposition leader remained committed to resolving
the problems in Zimbabwe.
He told the Times of Zambia that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora “wishing to see
an end to the problems in their country to go back home and participate in
various processes aimed at bringing harmony.”
“He said the problem was not in London or Lusaka and advised Zimbabweans to
go back home to participate in the constitution making process,” the paper
“The minister said the people planning the protests were better informed
that Zambia contributed to the liberation of Zimbabwe.”
Lubinda said Zambia did not have the luxury to choose its neighbours.
“Our being Siamese twins means we cannot wish away Zimbabwe just like that,”
he said. “Zambians died not for their own sake but to liberate Zimbabweans.
If Zimbabweans are despondent with Zanu (PF) that despondency should be
redressed from within Zimbabwe.”
Sata is in London to address the Commonwealth Economic Forum.
In April he angered Mugabe’s opponents when he chanted Zanu (PF) slogans
during the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in
His predecessors, the late Levy Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda, became popular
with Zimbabweans for their insistence that Mugabe must reform.
By Alex Bell
07 June 2012
Differences that have sometimes led to flaring tempers among government
members of the international diamond trade watchdog the Kimberley Process
(KP) are now expected to deepen, over pressure on the group to reform.
KP members were gathered in Washington this week for a four day meeting,
tabling some of the issues set to be dealt with at a later session in
November. Chief among these issues is the need for the KP to reform, and
broaden its monitoring mandate to encompass human rights abuses.
Currently, the KP’s certification scheme acts as a guarantee that diamonds
are not funding civil war or rebel movements, as was seen in Sierra Leone
before the body was formed in 2003. But, as has since been seen in Zimbabwe,
this definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ does not take into account the human
rights abuses committed by a ‘legitimate’ government in control of mining
Following international condemnation and criticism over its failure to
adequately deal with human rights abuses, particularly at the Chiadzwa
diamond fields, the KP is now under pressure to reform.
KP Chair, the US’s Gillian Milovanovic said earlier this week that this was
critical for the KP’s future, a sentiment then echoed by a US State
Department Official. Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor said the KP “is now at a critical
“For it to succeed going forward, it will need to take bold steps to meet
the expectations of member governments, industry, civil society and
consumers, on whose purchases the diamond industry depends…Updating the
definition will make the KP more credible, relevant, and effective and able
to anticipate the challenges of the future,” Posner said.
But the now traditional rift between Western states and others has again
been seen, with the US backed call for reform reportedly being rejected by
some governments present at the KP meeting. It has been reported that
African and Asian states sided together to block this call, during a closed
door session at the Washington meeting.
By Staff Reporter 22 hours 31 minutes ago
WASHINGTON DC, USA - Renowned human rights activist and former United States
of America Congressman, Rtd. Reverend Jesse Jackson says equitable
distribution of resources is fundamental in addressing poverty in Zimbabwe
and he criticised Zimbabwean leaders for perpetrating violence on innocent
Reverend Jackson also commended Zimbabweans for working towards peace.
The famous civil rights leader said this during an impromptu meeting with
Zimbabwe’s head of delegation to the on-going 2012 KP Intercessional meeting
in Washington DC, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu.
Sources said Mpofu is promising lobbyists some lucrative diamond deals in
exchange for support for Zanu-PF and President Mugabe.
Rev Jackson spoke highly of the coalition government and criticised violence
in the country.
Mpofu, who extended an invitation to Rev. Jackson to come to Zimbabwe, said
sanctions by the US have had a negative impact on the investment drive.
Prior to the meeting, Mpofu together with Attorney-General Johannes Tomana
had an opportunity to visit Rayburn House Office building around Washington’s
Capitol Hill where they met Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior.
Mines Minister Mpofu is reported to be one of the richest men in Zimbabwe.
He owns a bank and sources said he nows a private jet.
A four days intensive deliberation on mining and trading of conflict-free
rough diamonds is on the way at the Department of States Harry S. Truman
Building on 2201 C St. NW building in Washington DC.
The United States which holds the Kimberley Process Chairmanship 2012, is
hosting more than three hundred Mineral Resources Ministers, Geologists,
Statisticians, Administrators and Diamond experts from different parts of
the globe including United States, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa
from June 4-8.
“This year’s Kimberley Process Intersessional meeting will see attendees
discussing a range of topics(Monitoring, Statistics, Artisanal/Small scale,
Alluvial production, Trading and Manufacturing, Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, Extractive Industries Technology Initiative and
International Conference of the Great Lakes Region) relating to Mining and
Trading of conflict-free rough diamonds.” Said United States Assistant
Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez. Adding, this
year’s focus is on enforcement and development.
“In each category, three to four invitees will be asked to join in a panel
discussion. For law enforcement institutions, the panelists will begin by
describing their institutions in general and then identifying means through
which the organization could assist the Kimberly Process (KP) and/or benefit
from improved cooperation, both at an international level and for individual
participants for purposes of improved domestic KPCS implementation,
including investigations of fake certificates, targeting money laundering,
For natural resource governance initiatives, panelists will also describe
their initiative in general, identify means through which both the KP and
the respective initiative could benefit from improved cooperation, and
finally describe how that initiative mandates domestic (or company)
KP participants and observers will then divide up according to their primary
role in the rough diamond supply chain, which informs how they implement the
KPCS, namely large-scale mining, artisanal/small-scale mining, and
trading/manufacturing (participants with multiple roles can either choose
their primary role or attend multiple sessions).
These sessions will have facilitated discussions designed to elicit from KP
participants and observers suggestions of how domestic implementation in
their sector could be improved based on what was presented during the
Each session will be asked to develop potential recommendations (or issues
that require further study) that will be discussed between Intersessional
and Plenary with a view to enhancing existing Administrative Decisions
and/or other KP documents to provide greater guidance on best practices for
These initial issues and recommendations will be presented during the
closing day of Intersessional, and the Chair will identify the appropriate
means for continuation of these efforts through Plenary.
In addition to Assistant Secretary Fernandez’s opening remarks, Chairman
Ambassador Milovanovic of USA ; Honorable Minister Susan Shabangu of South
Africa; Eli Izakoff, president of the World Diamond Council; and a
representative of the Civil Society Coalition thanked the United States for
being very supportive to the Kimberly process and spoke about progress made
Ambassador Milovanovic said “Kimberly process has been unknown to, or poorly
understood by many, rightly or wrongly, have felt inadequately informed.
“Consequently with very generous support from the Antwerp World Diamond
Center, we renovated and redesigned the Kimberly Process website with a
public site and a password –protected section for Kimberly Process
participants and observers.
Participants were encouraged to share knowledge, exchange ideas, concerns,
proposed solutions, and focus on their wealth of experience and expertise to
address the challenges of keeping the Kimberly strong and making it better
than ever by members.
Sierra Leone was ably represented by Minister of Mines and Mineral resources
Hon. Minkailu Mansaray, Permanent Secretary Mrs. Fatmata Mustapha, Director
of Mines Mr. Jonathan Sharkah, Director of Government Gold and Diamond
Offices (GGDO) Mr. Jina Ibrahim, Senior Geologist Mrs. Mariatu Flee, GGDO
Statistician Mr. Mohamed Bah and Mr. Paul Melvin Kamara Financial attaché
Sierra Leone Embassy Washington DC.
06 June 2012
Blessing Zulu | Washington
Zimbabwe continues to be the lightning rod in the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme as the gulf between Western members of the group and
African and Asian countries continues to widen.
Current Kimberley chair, the United States, is hosting a four-day
intersessional meeting in Washington to discuss the mining and trading of
conflict diamonds ahead of the diamond watchdog’s November plenary.
Western members of the group say rights abuses by Zimbabwean security forces
are continuing in Marange, and that lack of regulation and oversight mean a
lot of the diamonds are being looted and smuggled instead of benefiting the
African and other non-Western countries suspect Zimbabwe is being unfairly
singled out for political issues that have little to do with the immediate
issue of diamonds with Harare claiming no other African country mines and
sells its diamonds as transparently as it does.
The Working Group on Monitoring is demanding that sales from diamonds
benefit the nation and that there be clarity in the operations of Anjin, a
joint venture between the Chinese and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
Last month Finance Minister Tendai Biti blasted Anjin Investments for not
contributing anything to the fiscus and questioned the firm’s shareholding
Kimberley’s Zimbabwe monitor Marc Van Bockstael presented his report on
Harare and the country also came up for discussion in the Working Group on
reform, which is pushing for the redefinition of the conflict diamond to
encompass rights abuses not only by rebels but also sitting governments.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper is claiming that discussion on the
controversial re-definition of the term has been shot down. But Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu told VOA that the issue it is still up for discussion.
Allan Martin of Africa Partnership Canada says Zimbabwe needs to institute
key reforms so diamond proceeds can help the nation and not a few
by CZ 21 hours 39 minutes ago
Both Zanu (PF) spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, and Presidential spokesman, George
Charamba, are deliberately misinforming the public about the dates when the
present Parliament expires.
It is not March 2013, but June 2013, and even when it expires in June the
current constitution allows for four months for the holding of elections and
swearing in of a new Parliament, which takes the ultimate deadline for
elections to November.
The 5-year Parliamentary life-span is calculated from the date President
Mugabe was sworn in, 29th June 2008, not from the date of the last
Parliamentary election, which was in March 2008. The relevant
constitutional provisions are:
Gumbo and Charamba lying for Zanu (PF)
section 63(4) – which states that, unless earlier dissolved by Presidential
proclamation, Parliament “shall last for five years, which period shall be
deemed to commence on the day the person elected as President enters office”
section 28(5) – which states that the President enters office on the date he
is sworn in
The ultimate deadline for the next elections is therefore November 2013, but
if reforms are completed earlier, there is no reason and election cannot be
held earlier, even this year, though this may be unrealistic.
Some to the reforms that MDC President Morgran Tsvangirai mentioned to SADC,
which led to the resolution that President Jacob Zuma should go to Zimbabwe
and supervise the implementation, were as follows:
In May 2011 the parties to the GPA had negotiated and agreed on a roadmap
with timelines. This roadmap is a chart and a path towards uncontested,
legitimate and credible elections as a precondition to a sustainable
Zimbabwe. The roadmap entailed the following;
1. completion of the new Constitution
2. the holding of a referendum on it
3. preparation of a new voters roll
4. delimitation of constituencies based on the new voters roll
5. capacitation of the Zimbabwe Elections Commission and other
constitutional commissions namely; the Zimbabwe Media Commission, The
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
6. completing electoral and media reforms including enacting the electoral
amendment bill that is already before Parliament
7. realigning our security sector to a multi-party democracy and ensuring
that both the police and the army remain non-partisan
8. alignment of any laws that will be in conflict with the new Constitution
9. campaign period
Under the present Constitution, Presidential, Parliamentary and local
authority elections must be held within four months after the dissolution of
Parliament. If Parliament only expires on 28th June, the ultimate deadline
for polling in the next harmonised elections – Presidential, Parliamentary
and local government – will therefore be 28th October 2013.
When will the President go out of office? Section 29(1) states that the
President’s term of office is a period of five years concurrent with the
life of Parliament referred to in section 63(4) subject to the proviso that
the President will continue in office until the swearing-in of whoever is
elected President in the next Presidential election.
So in theory President Mugabe’s present term could extend until the winner
of an October 2013, or earlier, election Presidential election is declared
and sworn in.
In fact the two officials, Gumbo and Charamba are simply behaving like all
other Zanu (PF) officials;everything they lay their hands on,
malfunctions. - Changezimbabwe
by Staff Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara has insisted that elections
could still be held this year, ending the shaky inclusive government which
has run the country since 2009.
President Robert Mugabe is pushing for fresh polls before year-end saying
the coalition arrangement is no longer workable because of policy and other
differences between the parties.
But his rivals, the MDC-T in particular, has insisted that the polls should
be held after political reforms have been implemented to ensure the election
outcome cannot be disputed.
A meeting of the SADC Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation
in Luanda, Angola last week said new elections should be held within the
next 12 months.
However, responding to a question in Parliament Wednesday, Mutambara said
the country could hold elections this year.
Mutambara explained that SADC had outlined that there was need to agree on
outstanding issues stalling the drafting of the new constitution.
"It is possible to have elections this year according to SADC," he said,
"Our GPA allows us that if we reach a deadlock and its no longer workable
then we have no choice we can have elections without a new constitution and
the reforms. It is very likely.
“The other scenario is that we can actually do an analysis of what needs to
be done and maybe agree that it will take us 13 months, which will take us
to June 2013, which is when this Parliament expires because that is when the
President was sworn in, the ultimate deadline is June 30, 2013."
Mutambara however, said it would be ideal for the country to hold elections
with a new Constitution adding there was need for COPAC to "get their act
"Copac Select Committee must get its act together, the Management Committee
must get their act together," he said.
“If we want reforms before the elections, we have to stop this dilly
dallying. This House should also pass Bills, the Human Rights and the
Electoral Amendment Bills, so we should get those done if we want reforms."
He said with the current delays in producing the draft Constitution the term
of the current Parliament might expire without the new supreme law in place.
Mutambara also underscored the need to refrain from political violence as
the nation edges towards the next polls.
"As you are now all aware there is now talk of elections but it does not
make sense for us to envisage having a free and fair election when our
people are violent to each other.
"You cannot legislate values and culture. These things must be built into
the people to make sure that they are not violent," said Mutambara.
ZIMBABWE's Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, is a "punch bag", says
prominent labour consultant, George Makings.
by Ngoni Chanakira Harare
"Our Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, is a punch bag," Makings said in
Harare addressing business people gathered for the monthly Express
This meeting is sponsored by the British Council and is attended by
prominent business people especially those that were trained in the United
"He cannot do anything right now because his hands are tied.
"What he says and does is all controlled by the government which as you know
is broke and so there is really nothing that he can do to solve the economic
"We really cannot blame Tendai Biti because he is just a punch bag in the
The statement comes at a time when Zimbabwe is expecting a high level
delegation from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) in
The delegation is coming to Zimbabwe to investigate and try to find out the
nation's economic recovery progress.
"The IMF are coming next month (June) to see how we are faring," Anthony
Hawkins Head of the University of Zimbabwe's Business School, said in an
exclusive interview last month.
He said:"There is nothing really new about this but I think this time around
they will ask where our diamond cash is going to and how it is being used.
"As you probably know the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, has said we
could earn about $600 million from diamonds but the Minister of Mines and
Mining Development, Obert Mpofu, on the other hand, says this might not be
the case and so this will have to be clarified to the delegation."
Hawkins said he did not know whether Zimbabwe has paid anything yet to the
"I cannot comment on our repayment schedule because I have not heard about
any repayments yet," he said.
"However, they will be worried about our diamond cash just like they were
worried about the oil cash in Angola and how that was used before they could
come in and help that country."
Hawkins said as long as the country did not repay its outstanding debts, the
IMF would not "budge a finger" to help the economic recovery programme.
Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears to the IMF have now reached $140 million at a
time when the country owes the Washington-based group $550 million, Biti,
the Minister of Finance, has already confirmed.
He said Zimbabwe's outstanding arrears under the Fund's Extended Credit
Facility (ECF) now amount to $140 million.
The ECF replaced the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
"Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to pay off the IMF's arrears from its
own resources," Biti said in Harare.
"In this regard, the country will need to request cooperating partners for a
concessional bridging loan or grant to settle arrears to the IMF."
He said clearance pf ECF arrears would unlock new financing arrangements
from the IMF, within the context of a Fund supported financial arrangement,
which would then be used to repay the bridging loan obtained from the
"Zimbabwe will, however, need a track record of implementing sound
macro-economic policies and assurances that arrears to other official
creditors are programmed to be cleared," Biti said.
Biti has already confirmed that Zimbabwe owes multilateral institutions a
grand total of $2,504 billion, of which the World Bank is owed $1,126
billion, the IMF, $550 million, the African Development Bank (AfDB) $529
million, and the European Investment Bank (EIB), $221 million.
President Robert Mugabe has said there is an urgent need for Zimbabwe to
achieve external debt sustainability through a comprehensive debt relief and
arrears clearance programme.
"This must be strongly supported by my government and all the development
partners and creditors," President Mugabe said.
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, has also said it is "clear that Zimbabwe
cannot rehabilitate its infrastructure and move forward with its
socio-economic transformation reforms if the debt overhang challenge is not
Mutare, June 07, 2012 - Emmerson Mnangagwa’s grip on Zanu (PF) politics in
Manicaland appear to be loosening after his camp lost a re-organised
election in Makoni amid indications it will surrender other districts it had
Last month the camp supporting Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed President Robert
Mugabe seized control of the province after it swept all the party’s
district coordinating committees in elections that were later nullified by
Webster Shamu, the Zanu (PF) secretary for the commissariat.
Shamu alleged the electoral process was marred by irregularities.
However, insiders said the nullification of the election results was
calculated at weakening Mnangagwa’s camp in the on-going tussle to
succession, threatening to tear apart Zanu (PF).
Shamu is linked to the camp supporting Vice President Joice Mujuru’s
The sources said the loss of Albert Nyakuedzwa to Nathaniel Mhiripiri in a
re-organised district coordinating committee election in Makoni was a clear
sign Mnangagwa’s fortunes were being reversed in the province.
District elections in other areas are expected to be held soon but sources
said the process has now been manipulated to ensure candidates sympathetic
to Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions were sidelined.
Mhiripiri, infamous for spearheading violence against MDC supporters since
2000, beat Nyakuedzwa to land the post of district chairperson.
Nyakuedzwa also gained infamy after he led violent campaigns against
supporters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in elections held since 2000.
David Guy Mutasa, a relative of Didymus Mutasa, the Minister responsible for
Presidential Affairs, was voted in as vice-chairman with Joseph Mujati
coming in as the new secretary for administration.
All these individuals are said to be anti- Mnangagwa. The defence minister's
camp had taken control of Chimanimani, Nyanga, Zimunya- Marange, Makoni and
Chipinge but the results were nullified by Shamu after a sequel of
demonstrations by supporters of VP Mujuru.
The sources said what was complicating the political situation in the
province was that, Mutasa, the provincial Godfather, was also keen on
by Staff Reporter
THE Catering Industry Pension Fund (CIPF) has begun court action to evict
Zanu PF from its Midlands provincial HQ in Gweru over an unpaid rental bill.
Zanu PF has neglected paying rentals since August 2010, although officials
said they were taking steps to settle the US$5,667 bill to stave off
Jason Machaya, the Zanu PF chairman in the province, admitted they were
behind in their rentals, describing it as an “oversight”.
“It was just an oversight on the part of our finance department, but we are
in the process of settling the arrears,” said Machaya, who is also governor
for Midlands province.
A senior CIPF official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the party
had ignored several warnings to bring its rentals up to date at Development
He said: “We have applied to the High Court to have the lease agreement
signed with Zanu PF cancelled. Perhaps the court action is the only thing
that can get them to settle their arrears.”
Posted: 06/07/2012 10:56 am
Brussels correspondent for TIME magazine
One of the world's last dictators, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is seen by the
Europe and America as a global pariah. But inside the country, his former
foes are now flocking to his side. Education Minister David Coltart, a
longtime opponent and human rights activist, tells Leo Cendrowicz that as
Mugabe wanes, it no longer makes sense to isolate Zimbabwe.
David Coltart knows what is said about him. He is seen as a collaborator, a
dupe, and a sucker. He was turned, bamboozled. He betrayed his principles
and his people when he joined the government of Zimbabwe's eternal dictator,
Robert Mugabe. "I've been accused of all sorts of things: that I've been
charmed by Mugabe, that I've lost it," he says.
But as Zimbabwe's Minister for Education, Sport, Arts and Culture for the
past three years, he still believes he is doing the right thing. And he has,
after all, a long record of moral integrity and conscientious objection.
Coltart, 54, first set up a legal aid clinic in Bulawayo in 1983, and as a
lawyer handed human rights cases relating to the Gukurahundi genocide in the
1980s, and the people who the regime had 'disappeared.' He was first elected
to parliament for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
in 2000, and has regularly faced harassment and intimidation. Worth adding
that Coltart is white, and given Zimbabwe's tortured racial history and its
recent resettlement programme, his involvement in modern day politics is all
the more striking.
Coltart is not alone amongst Mugabe's foes in joining a power-sharing
coalition with the President's Zanu PF party. Notably, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has been Prime Minister since 2009, despite being arrested and
beaten by Mugabe loyalists. Coltart is now going further. Having once led
the calls for global sanctions against Mugabe's regime, he is now travelling
the world to seek their rollback. Why?
Coltart takes a deep breath before explaining himself. He knows how perverse
it sometimes feels to be sleeping with someone globally seen as odious, as
Mugabe is, and he has only slightly tempered his language about his
president since joining the government. "Mugabe has done some pretty
horrendous things, including to me personally," he says. "My understanding
of his culpability has not changed. But if we are to take the country
forward, prevent hundreds of thousands of people leaving or dying, we need
to work with him. I understand your skepticism. But there is no viable
For more than a decade, the West has issued howls of outrage at Mugabe's
flagrant disregard for basic principles of democracy and human rights. But
there is not a snowball's chance in Harare of any Libyan-style intervention
in Zimbabwe. "Mugabe is not just going to hand over power," Coltart says.
What opponents can do, he argues, is plan for the post-Mugabe era. With the
old tyrant now aged 88, this could begin soon.
Coltart draws in historical comparisons to show why it might prove
worthwhile to hold his nose and shake the hands of his former nemesis. An
obvious example is South Africa, where Nelson Mandela and the ANC negotiated
with the National Party, eventually securing a full and peaceful transfer of
power. "It was a painstaking process that lasted four years, but it
succeeded," he says. And he looks further back to the Second World War, to
show another unlikely alliance forged for the greater good. "The bottom line
is that Churchill and Roosevelt had to negotiate with Stalin to bring a war
to an end," he says. Even today, a similar delicate dance is being conducted
with the unpalatable Burmese regime: Washington has re-established ties in
step with the generals as they open up the country to limited democracy.
While sanctions once shamed the country, they are now counterproductive,
Coltart says. "Sanctions have got beyond their sell by date," he says. "They
have always been more symbolic. The reality is that Zimbabwe had already
been suspended from the World Bank because of their arrears. Even if these
sanctions are lifted, it won't change the arrears." The travel bans on
Mugabe and his cronies have also been circumvented; as Coltart notes, Mugabe
often comes to New York. "And so much notice was given on the asset freezes
that they had time to move them out," he adds.
The point of the sanctions, Coltart says, was to stigmatize those involved
in gross human rights abuses. "It was why I supported them, as they were
acting with impunity," he says. "And if they are lifted, the stigma will not
go away. So the sanctions have achieved their purpose."
Ironically, Coltart says, the sanctions are now serving the hardliners
around Mugabe, who use them as an excuse to explain why their policies have
created turmoil. "If you remove the sanctions, you remove the excuses," he
says. "It won't change much on the ground. And it will move the process
There is also real change in Zimbabwe, Coltart says, which deserves support.
"The international community forgets how bad we were in 2008," he says. Back
then, Zimbabwe was on the brink of implosion with hyperinflation, mass
emigration, and a cholera epidemic. Now inflation is down to 4%, the country
has reopened hospitals and clinics, beaten the cholera, and brought clean
water to people in cities. When Coltart took over as Education Minister, the
schooling system was facing total collapse, with just 26 teaching days in
2008, but he has re-established the teaching year.
"The country would have become a failed state like Liberia and Somalia," he
says. "We know there is not going to be a deep rooted change while he is
there. But that assumes there has not been any improvement on the ground. By
every objective indicator, thing have improved since 2008."
Even if he does not get a change in policy on sanctions, Coltart hopes he
will at least get a change in engagement and support of education. He notes
that Germany has put $18 million into Zimbabwe's education transition fund,
Finland $10 million, the UK £38 million, but only $1 million from the US.
Coltart says that it is misleading to see Mugabe as a tinpot tyrant in same
vein as Sacha Baron Cohen's recent movie The Dictator. "It is wrong to
compare him to Hilter and Pol Pot," he says, drawing a psychological picture
of the man who led Zimbabwe's independence movement in the 1970s against the
white supremacist rule of its predecessor, Rhodesia. "Although he has been
responsible for crimes against humanity, he has not killed millions. He is a
very complex character, but wrong to paint him as a doddering old sadist. He
is a calculating ideologue, rooted in the battle to defeat Ian Smith and
The country is still in a precarious position, and thugs are still in
authority, Coltart warns. "I'm not naïve person who thinks leopards can
change their spots," he says. For example, he does not expect the next
parliamentary and presidential elections, due next year, to be peaceful,
free, and fair. He also notes that earlier this year, one of his closest
friends, human rights activist Paul Chizuze, disappeared without trace. More
recently, the nuts on Coltart's car wheels were loosened, and the wheel came
off. "It could well have been sabotage," he says. "I come into this debate
with the clear understanding that there are still dark forces utterly
determined to subvert the process, and use the same tactics they have used
for 30 years. But by disengaging, it only benefits the hardliners."
As for Mugabe, "He is 88 years old, he is old and tiring." But, Coltart
notes, whether we like him or not, he is still revered by about a third of
Zimbabweans. "In Africa, he remains a symbol of overthrowing white rule. We
have to grasp the harsh practical reality. We have to accept we need him,"
By Staff Reporter 12 hours 14 minutes ago
THERE is no law to provide compensation to victims of political disturbances
in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa told Parliamentarians yesterday
He was answering Makoni South legislator, Mr Pishai Muchauraya (MDC-T), who
wanted to know if the victims of the disturbances of Gukurahundi will be
Minister Mnangagwa said the only existing statute that deals with
compensation of this nature was the War Victims Compensation Act Chapter
11.16, which falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
He said the particular statute clearly stated that war meant the armed
conflict, which occurred in Zimbabwe and in neighbouring countries between 1
January, 1962 and 29 February 1980 in connection with bringing about of/or
resistance to politics and social change in Zimbabwe.
"Mr Speaker Sir, it is apparent from the above that the issue of
compensation of victims of war, as matters stand now, relates to the period
of the liberation struggle. The Gukurahundi period was 1981 to 1987, it does
not fall within the ambit of the above Act. The reality of the matter is
that there is no policy position or statute pertaining to the Gukurahundi
period," Minister Mnangagwa said.
Under the Global Political Agreement matters relating to victims of conflict
were being handled by the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation. He
said the organ was expected to deal with the Gukurahundi problems as part of
their mandate as enshrined in the GPA.
Meanwhile, Minister Mnangagwa said the army decided to recruit people with
inadequate qualifications to accommodate people from all regions. He said
the arrangement was meant to ensure all regions were represented in the
The minister was responding to Magwegwe MP, Mr Felix Sibanda (MDC-T) who
sought to know why the Ministry had lowered entry requirements for army
Mr Sibanda claimed that he had relatives who were recruited despite the fact
that they failed their Ordinary Level examinations.
"We are conscious of the need that the army should be composed of all
regions but we have a challenge that in some regions the young ones would
have left the country. However, if the honourable member is aggrieved that
his relatives have been recruited without the requiredqualifications then we
can attend to that," said Minister Mnangagwa drawing laughter and applause
The private media and MDC-T are claiming that the recruitment is meant to
accommodate Zanu-PF sympathisers to be used for political violence.
Bulawayo, June 07, 2012 - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youth
assembly chairperson for Matabeleland South province was on Wednesday
arrested for calling President Robert Mugabe a baboon during a rally held on
Morgan Ncube, who is also Beitbridge town councillor, belongs to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.
The rally was held in Gwanda at the homestead of MDC T’s Matabeleland South
organising secretary, Solani Moyo.
Liberty Mcijo from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirmed
Ncube’s arrest, saying the MDC T youth leader is appearing at the Plumtree
Magistrates Court on Friday.
“Ncube has been arrested and he is detained at Plumtree police station on
charges of undermining the authority of Mugabe at our rally at Stanmore on
Sunday. These are just trumped up charges, Zanu (PF) is using police to
victimise our members, because as far as we know Ncube never insulted Mugabe
during that rally,” Clifford Hlatyawayo, the MDC-T national youth assembly
spokesperson, told Radio VOP.
It is an offence under Zimbabwe’s laws to undermine or insult Mugabe who has
ruled since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980.
A number of Zimbabweans have been arrested over the past few years for
insulting Mugabe. Last year Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said
it was worried by the rate at which state security agencies were arresting
citizens on charges of insulting Mugabe, whose cases the organisation had
been receiving every day.
A Zimbabwean vendor based in South Africa Benias Gwenhamo Madhakasi is
currently languishing in Remand Prison on allegations of possessing nude
pictures of President Robert Mugabe.Police claim they found him in
possession of nude pictures portraying President Mugabe’s images and one of
them had an inscription which reads; “Happy 87th birthday (Operation
Matibiri) Robert Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February 2011.”
Three MDC youths, Calvin Ncube, Mpumelelo Donga and Gift Mlala were also
arrested and dragged to court for undermining the authority of Mugabe last
year after they were found in possession of paper cuttings with caricatures
that prosecutors alleged mocked the Zanu (PF) leader, his wife Grace and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jameson Timba, was also
arrested last year for calling Mugabe ‘a liar’.
A Chipinge man Gift Mafuka was also jailed for 12 months for last year for
insulting the President.
A 54 year old Bulwayo woman was recently hauled to court for allegedly
defacing one of President Robert Mugabe’s political campaign posters four
The Danish Development Minister is ”deeply worried” about the situation in
Zimbabwe, it has been revealed.
06.06.1211:02am 0 0
by Rejoice Ndlovu
“We are following developments in Zimbabwe very closely,” Danish Minister
for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach, said this week. “I am
deeply worried about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe with its
politically motivated violence and intimidation. It is vital that the
planned referendum on a new constitution happens before a general election
is called. Together with well-planned democratic processes, this will lessen
the risk of a repeat of the events of 2008.”
Friis Bach insists that Denmark wants to help ensure that politically
motivated violence is stopped once and for all.
“We are working closely together with civil society organisations in
Zimbabwe who monitor and report on developments in this regard. Danish
support for the independent monitoring mechanism, JOMIC, helps guarantee
that politically motivated violence is regularly reported to and processed
by the Zimbabwean Government of National Unity – which means that we are
better informed of developments than in 2008. We are also actively working
towards a continuous regional involvement in Zimbabwe – spearheaded by South
Africa – to make sure that free and fair elections are held without violence
An estimated 151 wild animals, worth $5,294,000, were killed by poachers
between January and April this year, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority has revealed.
by Zwanai Sithole Harare
The authority’s Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya Moyo, told The
Zimbabwean that one white and 10 black rhinos worth$360 000 were killed in
both national and private estates during this period.
Washaya Moyo said during the same period, a total of 71 elephants and seven
buffaloes worth $70,000 were killed in the national parks.Other animals
killed for the pot include one eland, five zebras, seven crocodiles, 24
impalas, six Nyalas, four warthogs and two waterbuck.
Washaya Moyo said despite limited resources, her department had come up with
a number of strategies to ensure the protection of the country’s
wildlife.These include Intensive Protection Zones for the protection of
rhinos, cross-border collaboration, and crime workshops. The Authority is
carrying out aerial surveys as well as ground water hole censuses with
assistance from MIKE-CITES, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Save Australia and
June 7 2012 at 03:18pm
By Alan Wallis
The International Criminal Court that found Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga
guilty. An African criminal court is not a necessity and would be a luxury,
says the writer. Picture: Reuters
It would appear that international criminal justice is on the up. The
International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its first guilty verdict in the
trial of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga; former Liberian President Charles
Taylor met the same fate in the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and, closer
to home, an SA court ordered the National Prosecuting Authority and police
to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.
Last week, however, the AU gathered in Ethiopia to discuss a draft protocol
which, if adopted, would extend the jurisdiction of the African Court to
include criminal prosecutions of international crimes.
An African criminal court, however, risks frustrating rather than furthering
efforts at accountability.
A regional criminal court is not at first glance sinister. The rationale, is
to create a forum in which perpetrators of serious international crimes
committed in Africa are held accountable for their actions.
The protocol is also not limited to the core international crimes of
genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. New crimes are created to
tackle contemporary problems facing the continent, such as corruption and
unconstitutional change of governments.
Conceptually, therefore, this endeavour may perhaps not be without merit.
But this may be more a case of the AU wanting an African criminal court than
actually needing one. Its necessity would presuppose the absence of an
existing mechanism to investigate and prosecute international crimes.
This is not the case. The Rome Statute, which saw the creation of the ICC,
embodies the international community’s commitment to prosecute perpetrators
of serious international crimes.
Endorsed by 121 countries, 33 of which are African, the ICC is a fully
functional, state-created institution with a mandate to prosecute
international crimes in cases where states are unable or unwilling to do it
Why is the AU intent on fast-tracking a process that simply cannot, given
the legal, political and financial implications, be rushed?
Perhaps the answer is the strained relationship between the AU and the ICC.
The AU has more than once called on its member states not to co-operate with
the ICC in arresting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Or is it because the ICC is accused of targeting Africans? Or it could stem
from dissatisfaction that countries such as China and the US, which are not
party to the Rome Statute, but by virtue of their permanent veto-yielding
seats on the UN Security Council have the power to refer non-ICC countries –
Libya and Sudan – to the ICC, but will never be the subject of referrals
This may lead to the conclusion that the motives behind the move to create
an African criminal court are questionable.
The AU also did not do itself any favours by limiting the flow of
information regarding the protocol’s progress and restricting engagement and
consultations to a select few. The apparent lack of transparency will not
sit well with many.
Motives aside, there are more pressing concerns. Firstly, from a practical
perspective, a regional criminal tribunal is extremely costly and
resource-intensive. An average trial at the ICC, for example, costs about
$20 million (R166m).
This is nearly double the approved budgets for the African Court and the
African Commission combined. Money could be better spent elsewhere.
Secondly, the African Court, the continent’s human rights court, is still
finding its feet and does not have unanimous state support.
Expanding its jurisdiction will probably affect its potential to discharge
its human rights mandate.
The AU should therefore focus instead on strengthening and bolstering
existing institutions instead of burdening them with additional and
And third, the protocol inexplicably makes no mention of the Rome Statute or
the ICC, despite more than half of Africa being party to it. This is a
recipe for an international relations disaster.
The AU must remember that the ICC is a court of last resort and was never
intended to be the primary forum for the investigation and prosecution of
The Rome Statute envisages states themselves taking the lead in the
investigation and prosecution of serious international crimes. If Africa is
serious about international criminal justice, it must take advantage of the
ICC’s complementarity regime and dispense international justice at home.
SA, in this regard, set an example when the high court recently confirmed
that the government was under a duty to investigate and prosecute
Given its implications, an African criminal court is not the solution to the
AU’s concerns. It should look to use the ICC instead of blaming it, bearing
in mind that international criminal justice is not only secured in the
international realm but perhaps most importantly within domestic
l Alan Wallis is the International Justice Project lawyer at the Southern
African Litigation Centre.
Harare, June 7, 2012: Campaigning for preservation of the environment is no easy task in Zimbabwe and it takes individuals connecting with nature for development to be sustainable, a local environment conversation activist said on Tuesday, June 5.
“It’s tough! I have been called into offices many times and told (to keep quiet)…that’s the sad thing -- fighting and making a stand for the environment is not easy in Zimbabwe, and everywhere in the world,” said Charlene Hewat, Executive Director of Environment Africa.
The award winning environment conservation campaigner addressed a Food for Thought session at the U.S. Embassy’s Eastgate auditorium on World Environment Day (June 5).
The United Nations Environment Program’s 2012 theme for World Environment Day is ‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’ Hewat called for public, private and community partnerships within four framework pillars -- social, economic, biodiversity, and policy -- in the sustainable use of the environment.
Unfortunately, it is normal is for public and private sector actors to combine forces for profit at the expense of preserving nature.
“They built a restaurant in the rainforest in Victoria Falls. We, as an organization and the community, managed to block the building for a year and a half. Unfortunately, the politicians stepped in and we had to stand aside. That’s the reality!” recalled Hewat, who won the Junior Chambers International Award for The Most Outstanding Young Person of the World for Environmental Leadership.
“There are some fights that you can take to a certain point, but if you take it further you actually then risk your life and that of your family. This applies anywhere in the world,” said Hewat, whose organization has expanded to three other African countries since her 1987 infamous transcontinental bicycle journey with Julie Edwards.
Dubbed the ´Ride for Rhino,´ Hewat said they embarked on the inter-continental adventure when they saw an increase in the number of black rhinos being poached.
“There are no longer any rhinos left at Mana Pools (Mashonaland West) because of poaching, and this year alone Zimbabwe has lost 20 rhinos to poaching,” said Hewat noting that South Africa has lost over 220 rhinos.
The two cycled through Scandinavia, down through Europe across to Africa, and down the African continent across the mighty Zambezi River at Victoria Falls and into Harare. It covered 22,000 kms over the course of a year.
“It was tough. The toughest parts were when we hit the snow in Germany and the desert in Sudan, but we met a lot of wonderful people along the way, including Phil Collins, the Pope, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and others,” explained the Environment Africa chief. “The Rhino is a symbol of every little thing that could happen to the environment. If we lose the Rhino, we could lose other species including us,” said Hewat.
As well as laying the foundations for Environment Africa, the Rhino Girls (Hewat and Edwards) published a book called Extinction is Forever, which set the tone for the organization’s watchdog and environmental advocacy roles.
She said her organization had ventured into the United States to expand its resource base for campaigns which now reach Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
“We have registered recently in the United States. Our mission is to work together with all sectors of society, raising awareness, encouraging action of the society in many ways, and building a better environment that affects the livelihoods of current and future generations”, she said.
Speaking to this year’s theme of World Environment Day, Hewat encouraged people to “get out there and experience the beauty of the planet.” She bemoaned the failure of today’s youth to connect with nature.
“It’s unfortunate -- especially among the youth today -- they are losing it. They are losing a connection with nature,” noted Hewat. “How many of our children know where milk comes from? We don’t get out. Our kids sit in front of the plug-in drive and sit in front of the computer.”
Environment Africa has several youth groups based in Victoria Falls, who meet weekly for discussions and have undertaken capacity building and awareness programs within and outside the country. The youth have lobbied the local town council for a vote in the budget, she said
She challenged everyone to get out there and touch or feel the earth. “People forget that we need the environment to live. It’s so simple and we don’t have to make it complicated,” she advised before joining her audience in dance to TK Zee’s once famous hit song “Nkalakatha” to “celebrate nature.” - ZimPAS© June 7, 2012
# # #
In picture: Charlene Hewat
ZimPAS is a product of the United States Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be addressed to Sharon Hudson Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
Former ZANU PF Women’s League Political Commissar and Marondera East MP Tracy Mutinhiri is the guest on Question Time. Mutinhiri represented ZANU PF as Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in the shaky coalition government and explains her decision to join the MDC-T after being expelled by her party. She also answers other questions sent in from SW Radio Africa listeners.
Interview broadcast 30 May 2012
Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time. Former ZANU PF Women’s League Political Commissar and Marondera East Member of Parliament Tracy Mutinhiri joined the MDC-T after being expelled last year.
Mutinhiri formerly the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare joins us tonight to talk about her political journey so far and answer questions sent in by SW Radio Africa listeners.
Thank you for joining us Mai Mutinhiri.
Tracy Mutinhiri: Okay, thank you.
Guma: Okay, let’s begin with your problems in Zanu PF – where did they emanate from and who was behind them?
Mutinhiri: Ah my problems from Zanu PF were precisely I think it was all to do with the inclusive government where I just exercised my professionalism and a lot of other guys in Zanu PF were not happy about how I was working with my Minister Paurine Mpariwa that’s precisely where the problems started because they preferred me to be fighting with Mpariwa from time to time, disrupting our government programme.
Guma: You had a lot of friction with the State Security Minister Sidney Sekeramayi and at times you cited him as the source of your problems. How did your relationship with him pan out?
Mutinhiri: Well you know surprisingly we come from the same district, Marondera district, Mahusekwa and once upon a time when I was with my husband, we considered them as family friends because he is a distant relation of my ex-husband, Ambrose.
But along the way he just developed a liking for me and I didn’t take it seriously but along the way when we came back from our diplomatic service, when my ex-husband was now campaigning for a by-election in Marondera, I suspect that’s where all the problems started because that’s when he began to make advances to me and I resisted. But along the way then my marriage was just broken.
Guma: You blame Sekeramayi for that?
Mutinhiri: Yes, he used his guy, unfortunately the guy is late now, a guy called Richard Bvukumbwe was his emissary who was used to break my marriage.
Guma: Now Zanu PF accused you of de-campaigning the party and building a relationship with the MDC-T. Would you say that allegation was true?
Mutinhiri: No that allegation was not true at all. All ministers they eat together, they drink tea and some of them visit each other and that’s exactly what I was doing – I was working well with Paurine Mpariwa and only one government programme that we made with my Minister and which was then later joined by the Prime Minister.
That’s where the whole problem came about because after doing our programmes, then the Prime Minister invited us to his village because it was just close by and then a photo of me and my Minister was taken and it was flighted in the Prime Minister’s newsletter and that’s when hell broke loose and they drew all their own conclusions which were basically untrue, totally untrue.
Guma: Oliver Chinhamo sent us a question via Facebook and he wants to know your honest opinion on Zanu PF. He says please ask Mai Mutinhiri how do you view Zanu PF?
Mutinhiri: Ha… Zanu PF, once upon a time in as far as I’m concerned was a very good party, everybody even those who have moved over to the various parties, once upon a time they all belonged to Zanu PF but because of the in-fights inside Zanu PF some people could not stand it and they moved on.
I’m not the first one who left Zanu PF; well I left by expulsion, but other people have left on their own, other people have been expelled, or other people they are just frustrated and along the way they find themselves joining other parties.
So it was a good party but somewhere along the way when you are beginning to show your skills, when you are beginning to show what you can do, then people resist you. That is the weakness that I saw in Zanu PF; they don’t like professionals, they don’t like people who know what the, who are capable of bringing results. Somewhere along the way it tends to threaten people’s positions.
Guma: On Facebook Zwelithini Viki sends his question and says did you join the MDC just to get back at Zanu PF or you have always wanted to join the party? What is it?
Mutinhiri: Well I did not join MDC just to get back at Zanu PF, that is not how I operate. MDC was formed in 1998, at that time I was out on a diplomatic mission in Yugoslavia and that’s when it was started and we only came back August 2000 and along the way I was working for Zanu PF but as we got into the inclusive government that’s the time when I began to see them in another light.
Because there were a lot of propaganda about MDC and I was part of that bandwagon of that propaganda because the party had been started whilst I was abroad. But when I joined the inclusive government and seeing how they were working out, they were functioning, how they would want to reach out to people and to bring bread and butter on people’s tables, I said oh after all this party is not as bad as it was being portrayed and some of their core values I respect them.
Guma: We’ve got a question from Godwin Mutematsaka and his question mirrors that of many others. Godwin sent an email – he says to Tracey we welcome and applaud you for the brave gesture you have shown us and also for at least seeing the light.
It is human nature to treat you with caution because you might be a Zanu PF functionary sent to destroy the MDC-T from within. His question is: why should we trust you and how do you plan to add value to the MDC-T?
Mutinhiri: Yah it is unfortunate, it is a problem that will always be hanging over people who move from one party to the other. In the beginning certainly there will be suspicion but if people were going to value me and follow how I was treated by Zanu PF, how can I come and destroy the party that is going to bring joy and happiness to people when I was expelled?
I was so embarrassed; Zanu PF embarrassed and humiliated me to the core and for me then to move from Zanu PF to disturb MDC programmes as a functionary, no I would not do that. If maybe I had just joined from nowhere, maybe then people would be suspicious but people know how I was humiliated and I’m lucky to be alive.
I would be history now because all the things that I was telling people that I am being followed, people they want to harm me, all those things were very factual and very true so how can I work for the party that wanted to injure me or to destroy my life?
Guma: Talking about that – those threats to you – you have in the past accused Zanu PF of trying to kill you in the same manner you say Zanu PF killed MDC-T supporters.
You specifically pointed to the Central Intelligence Organisation headed by Sekeramayi and said the CIO wanted to kill you and dump your body in the Wenimbe Dam like they did to hundreds of innocent suspected MDC supporters in June 2008. How much of that did you know – the dumping of bodies in the Wenimbe Dam?
Mutinhiri: Well the dumping of bodies in the Wenimbe Dam is general talk in Marondera town. It doesn’t come from me alone; if survey was going to be carried in Marondera town, every other homestead will tell you about their loved one who was dumped in the Wenimbe Dam.
It’s not a created story, I talked about it when then it was real to me, that on a certain day when I had gone to my constituents if I’d used the same road that I’d used coming to my constituents, I would have ended up in the dam.
Guma: How many other people in Zanu PF are aware of these sort of stories and these sort of things happening because it must have been something that a lot of people in Zanu PF knew – the violence in June 2008?
Mutinhiri: Well they will know about it but they will not talk about it because they are afraid because once one person talks about it, they know that they are next target, they will be followed, be trailed so people just keep their mouth shut because they are afraid.
Guma: Before you were expelled by Zanu PF, you were the MP for Marondera East; now that you have joined the MDC under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a lot of listeners are asking will you seek to be re-elected under an MDC ticket in the same constituency?
Mutinhiri: I think if the Marondera, its constituents, if the people in Marondera approach me to represent them once more, why not? I will certainly represent them because I had no problems with the constituents, the electorate, I worked so well with them and at the moment they have no MP and they are so downhearted, they are so angry, nothing is moving for them because they don’t have a representative in parliament at the moment.
Guma: Your farm in Marondera was invaded by war vets and Zanu PF youths allegedly sponsored by the State Security Minister Sidney Sekeramayi; what’s the status of that farm – are you still there or have they moved you out?
Mutinhiri: No I’m still there; maybe I should just consider myself lucky because then the police came to protect me. I want to applaud the police for having protected me at that juncture. The police did not allow the militias to come into my farm and that was one incident that has not re-occurred. I’m carrying on with my farming activities at the farm and so far I haven’t experienced any disturbances.
Guma: You of course will be aware that you and your former husband Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri have in the past been criticised for the manner in which you got the farm in Marondera. Having joined the MDC-T do you think that puts you in a very difficult situation to explain how you got the farm? What’s your reaction?
Mutinhiri: No, it won’t put me in a difficult situation because all we did was, we were given that farm after it had been acquired by government, by the state and when it was acquired by the state we were given an offer letter and we took it, our offer letter we saw Douglas, Guy’s son and we showed him the offer letter and we said that we have been offered this piece of land, can we sit down and negotiate how best we can exchange hands.
That’s how it happened but certainly the Cartwrights resisted like any other person who was resisting and then in the end we then sat down with Guy Cartwright who was then the owner of the farm not Douglas, we sat down, we discussed about the issues, we agreed, we even bought some of his implements.
Guma: The version of events obviously is that a mob led by your husband is the one that seized the property.
Mutinhiri: Well people might talk in that manner but what exactly happened is we had an offer letter and we went and discussed it with the Cartwrights but like any revolution it is resisted and when it was resisted and knowing my ex-husband’s background, he is a soldier and he had to do it the, I don’t know maybe the military way, I don’t know whether it was right or if it was not right but he had to do it through the military but the lucky part is that no life was destroyed.
Guma: You are of course the former wife to the retired army Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri, many people believe if you were still married to him, no-one would have harassed you like they did. Do you agree with that?
Mutinhiri: I want to believe, yah no-one was going to harass me because we still being a family as husband and wife and I would still be maybe doing my politics supporting Ambrose but the moment I came out to do things on my own, certainly then I got attacked but if we were still a couple I don’t think anyone would have attacked me. I would be doing my politics and my ex-husband would be doing his politics but at this juncture I didn’t get any protection.
Guma: But as things stand, did he not offer you any sympathy whatsoever like when the farm was invaded by war vets and others?
Mutinhiri: Ah you know sometimes it is not nice to wash someone’s dirty linen in public but because this my breakage of marriage was instigated by some people, from time to time when people want to attack me or abuse me, they use my ex-husband so that it carries some legitimacy.
I’ll not talk about him having been involved in wanting to be invaded from my farm but he was part of the group. They agreed together with Sekeramayi that day that I should be removed from my farm but he was being used but later on I understand that he later on went to people and said ah you know I shouldn’t have done this.
People are using me to fight my wife, I have children with this woman, and I shouldn’t be doing it because these people who are causing this problem they also have extra-marital relationships and they are not fighting their, what’s the word, mistresses or their wife, their children.
So he saw some light later on that what he was being used to do against me was wrong and it was also affecting my children. It was beginning to affect my children.
Guma: Before you were expelled from Zanu PF, rather there is a theory that your problems actually started when you and fellow Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi West Beatrice Nyamupinga were accused of betraying the party and supporting the MDC-T candidate for Speaker of Parliament, that is Lovemore Moyo. Is that what happened?
Mutinhiri: It is so unfortunate that people continue to talk about it in that light. If also Beatrice Nyamupinga was part of this thing, this unfortunate thing that is being rubbished, why was she not expelled from the party?
That’s the first question people should be asking. If it was based on myself at that time when I was expelled from the party, why was Beatrice left alone and I danced to the music. Who can prove when you have done a secret ballot, who can prove, where is the evidence that I voted for Lovemore instead of Simon Khaya Moyo?
Guma: My sources tell me throughout this whole ordeal that you had that President Mugabe actually expressed a certain fondness for you and that you were one of his favourite people in cabinet. Were you surprised he didn’t offer you as much support as you would have liked?
Mutinhiri: Yah to be honest I took him as a father, I saw him as a father to me but I surprised there was no, there wasn’t much that he could do to protect me. I was really surprised but anyway maybe along the way he might have seen that I faltered in some way but I didn’t.
I’m just an innocent person who was a victim of circumstances so I’m really surprised up to now because my relationship with the first family dates back to Sally Mugabe. I was a daughter of Sally Mugabe.
Guma: Given what you know from within Zanu PF, how many other people in Zanu PF want to join the MDC-T but cannot do so? Do you know any others?
Mutinhiri: (laughs) I don’t know but yah, I know people would want to switch over but people are afraid. You know people are afraid, Zanu PF we know sometimes it will not really forgive somebody who makes a drastic step that I did but I have to do it because I didn’t want my political career finishing, to end with Zanu PF. So I don’t know much but I’m sure there are a lot of people who’d want to join Zanu PF.
Guma: My final question Mai Mutinhiri – so far how has the reaction of MDC-T supporters been to your joining the party? If you were to assess so far, how have you been received? Are you getting negative comments? What are people saying to you?
Mutinhiri: No I’ve been received very warmly. They are all excited that I’ve joined them because they’ve followed my politics ever since I came back from Yugoslavia in 2000 because MDC was formed in 1998 and ever since I came back in 2000 I became active in politics supporting my ex-husband and my politics from that time up to now, I’ve done clean politics. I’ve done clean politics and people who have been following me, that’s why they are so excited and so happy that I’ve joined them.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s the former ZANU PF Women’s League Political Commissar and Marondera East Member of Parliament Tracy Mutinhiri who joined the MDC-T after being expelled last year.
Mutinhiri is also the former the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and joined us tonight to talk about her political journey so far and answer questions sent by you – the SW Radio Africa listeners.
From me Lance Guma, I’d like to thank you Mai Mutinhiri for spending time talking to us, thank you very much.
Mutinhiri: Thank you so much, nice talking to you and hope to talk to you again in the future.
To listen to the programme:
“I don’t know if it was right or if it was not right,” Mrs Tracey Mutinhiri
said in an interview on SW Radio Africa recently. She was referring to the
way she and her then husband Ambrose Mutinhiri took over Waltondale Farm in
Marondera in 2002. That was quite a shocking admission for a woman who is
not only a mother but until last year was also a Member of Parliament and
the deputy Minister of Social Welfare. An inability to determine if a mob
take- over of someone’s home is right or wrong paints a damning picture of
Answering questions put to her by Lance Guma and his listeners, Mrs
Mutinhiri chuckled when she explained that because the owners of the farm
had resisted being evicted from their own home, her husband: “had to do it
in a revolutionary way.” Mrs Mutinhiri excused this ‘revolutionary
behaviour’ by saying that her ex-husband had been a soldier - as if that
made mob rule right. Unfortunately Mrs Mutinhiri was not asked if it was
right or wrong that the Cartwright’s furniture was thrown out of second
floor windows and smashed on the ground below. Nor was Mrs Mutinhiri asked
if she thought it was right or wrong that the owners of the farm never
received a cent of compensation for the state’s compulsory acquisition of
their home. Asked if the fact that she was still living on the seized farm
put her in a difficult position now that she had become a member of the MDC
since her expulsion from Zanu PF, Mrs Mutinhiri said it did not. She said
that because she had been given an ‘offer letter’ by the Zanu PF government
that made it alright. Mrs Mutinhiri has obviously yet to wrestle with her
own conscience about the rights and wrongs of a government giving out ‘offer
letters’ for other people’s private property; or the rights and wrongs of
accepting such an ‘offer letter’ knowing it is for stolen property.
The more the interview went on the more Mrs Mutinhiri exposed herself. Asked
if she knew about the reports of MDC activists, members and supporters being
murdered and their bodies dumped in Marondera’s Wenimbi Dam between the two
elections in 2008, Mrs Mutinhiri admitted that she did and that this was
common knowledge in the district. Mrs Mutinhiri said you could visit any
homestead in the province and hear stories of how people’s loved ones had
disappeared into the depths of the dam. Mrs Mutinhiri did not explain why
she had not spoken out at the time about the mass murders or of bodies being
dumped; murders of people living in her own constituency. Instead she
sidestepped the question saying that she feared for her own life and
suggested she would have also been killed and dumped in the water if she had
used the road going past Wenimbe Dam.
Mrs Mutinhiri said that after she was expelled from Zanu PF she decided to
join the MDC because she “respected the core values” of the party. She did
not explain why she had remained silent during all of the years when murder,
torture and bloodshed have been going on all around her. Mrs Mutinhiri did
not explain why she remained silent and inactive when hundreds of farm
workers in her own constituency were being burned out of their homes and
left unemployed and destitute in the forests and hills around Marondera.
Throughout her interview with Lance Guma, Mrs Mutinhiri offered neither
remorse nor acceptance of guilt, by commission or omission. And the MDC have
This question is usually raised when dealing with a situation where changes
look impossible to effect. This is a situation where the core values and
core components of the subject matter are intrinsically entrenched into its
being. Changing these core components and core values is like trying to
change the DNA of the subject matter. Is ZANU PF capable of changing its
colours? Let’s see.
The murder of Sekuru Cephas Magura by known ZANU PF assailants, with ZANU PF
MPs providing logistics, was carried out when President Mugabe’s statement
against violence was still hot off the press. He told the Faithful and
World, “We used to fight each other, but time has come for us to do our
politics in a much more cultured way.” … “Although our differences are
political, we should not regard them as a source of hatred. No violence, no
violence, no violence.” To the President’s birthday crowd and to the
listening world, these words sound genuine and well meaning but in reality
these words are as hollow as the sky above us. Murderers up and down the
country are making a mockery of the President’s statement. ZANU PF Members
of Parliament who are alleged accessories to these murders are allowed to
sit in Parliament under the protection of ZANU PF and its political police
Those who are not familiar with ZANU PF operational values will find this
double speak very perplexing but those familiar with it will tell you that
it is “business as usual.” Just try and think a little deeper when you read
what the President said, ------”time has come for us to do our politics in a
much cultured way.” So the President is acknowledging that all along we have
been doing culturally wrong things. So, according to him it was uncultured
to murder, it was uncultured for youngsters to beat up old ladies and to
take someone’s possessions by force, but somehow it was justifiable at that
time? Of course the President is right because in Zimbabwe culture killing
an innocent person is taboo. Beating up an elderly person is unheard of.
Imagine a youth knocking sense out of an 88 year old man by breaking his
ribs merely because he supports a different party? You just don’t do it. The
payback would torturously unbearable and very costly. However ZANU PF has
long been trying to normalise this taboo by introducing these invasive
values. These are ZANU PF values not Zimbabwean values. Do you remember
Comrade Mutasa’s inhumane and unpalatable utterances during Murambatsina?
“If it means killing half the population then we will do it.” These are ZANU
PF true colours. This was not a cheap talk by Comrade Mutasa but an
expression of ZANU PF’s dominant sadistic component.
Sadism- getting pleasure in another person’s suffering is a qualifying
factor to be appointed to the Politburo. Just take each politburo member and
list his or her sadistic acts and you will run out of space. Even the
mafikezolos are trying to outdo the old guard. This is what defines ZANU PF.
Take the food aid as an example. If you are not a ZANU PF apologist then you
are not getting any. You could be a child, an elderly citizen, or a single
parent and unemployed – you don’t get any! How callous and how evil could
one be? What makes it even more heartless is that the food being given out
is not from ZANU PF but a donation from the former colonial masters and from
those perceived as clamouring for a regime change. But a regime change is
not necessarily a bad thing especially where it is being demanded by the
oppressed citizens. Denying people the right to live is a human right
breach. Denying people food is an oppressive evil behaviour. But these are
normal ZANU PF traits. To the young reader I would like to let you know that
this is not just about the murder of Sekuru Cephas Magura, you can go back
to early 1980s when Gukurahundi operations in the Midlands and Matabeleland
exposed ZANU PF’s most sadistic and heinous acts imaginable. What happened
to Sekuru Magura would appear like a mercy killing in comparison. Those in
power at the time are even refusing to acknowledge these evil acts let alone
apologise. This is ZANU PF signature my friends. This is how they force
people to “support” them. But remember, the country does not belong to ZANU
PF but to you. You call the shots.
I would put it to you that there is no single episode in ZANU PF’s history
where they sought to attain power through genuine advancement of nation
building policies and strategies. Their approach has been and will always be
sheer naked aggression characterised by brutality, rape, and murder laced
with greed and corruption. I have never witnessed any ZANU PF political
rally where there was a charm offensive on nation building agenda, instead
their rallies have become legitimate platforms from which to threaten the
lives of those who dare oppose them. In ZANU PF’s respiratory system they
prefer to take in greed and corruption ahead of national interests. This is
what keeps them alive and hence a motivator for political survival.
When will a leopard change its colours then? The answer is a resounding
NEVER! It can only camouflage and hope to fool the prey or hide from a
stronger competitor. ZANU PF will always be ZANU PF. To MDC - There is no
such thing as a ZANU PF moderate. Otherwise we will be talking about
moderate murderer, moderate rapist, moderate looter, and moderate dictator
and so on. If you subscribe to ZANU PF you subscribe to these traits. To
those ZANU PF MPs who are camouflaging by urging for the arrest of the MPs
implicated in the murder of Sekuru Cephas Magura, please come clean. ZANU PF
won’t change its colours but you can change by crossing the floor. Many of
you will have no seats in Parliament come next elections. To the President,
the fruits of our independence have been sheer hell and destruction of
lives, destruction of cultural values, dignity taken away and all these have
been instigated by ZANU PF- under your watch. When we where fighting for
independence we never envisaged a situation where there was going be more
senseless killings in an independent Zimbabwe than during the colonial
years. Lest you don’t know Mr President, citizens are being tortured and
killed by those who are meant to protect them and worse still this is done
in your name. Mr President, all you have to do is call in Chihuri, Chiwenga
and Bonyongo in private and tell them enough is enough. Or is it now a case
of the tail wagging the dog? You don’t have to make a fool of yourself by
uttering hollow statements to the world. Even you cannot change ZANU PF Mr
President because you are ZANU PF. You have failed and the mutants are now
all over the country taking innocent lives. The greatest danger is that the
mutants are spreading to the security forces leaving the nation defenceless.
The nation is hurting. Something has to give. But who really cares in
If this article has evoked some emotions and you feel the urge to response
please feel free to write to me at email@example.com
Next week I will be sharing my opinion on the “lobotomy of a nation”