Harare, March 11 - Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe on Friday indicted Energy
and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma for trial at the High Court on
charges of criminal abuse of office.
Mangoma will stand trial at the High Court on 28 March. He was taken to
Harare Remand Prison on Friday.
Mangoma was arrested on Thursday at his offices and detained initially at
Harare Central Police Station and later transferred to Braeside Police
Guvamombe said Mangoma will have to apply for bail at the High Court because
he has no jurisdiction to preside over the matter.
Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General’s Office
served the indictment papers in court.
Mangoma is accused of contravening section 174 (1) (a) as read with Section
174 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
Chapter 9:23 or alternatively contravening Section 30 of the Procurement Act
as read with Section 5 (4) (a) (iii) and Section 35 of the Procurement
Regulations (statutory instrument 171 of 2002).
The State has lined up six witnesses to testify against the Energy and Power
Development Minister during his trial including his permanent secretary
By Tichaona Sibanda
11 March 2011
A High Court Judge on Friday granted bail to MDC-T MP for Nyanga North,
Douglas Mwonzora, plus 24 other activists, following their arrests a month
ago for allegedly instigating violence.
The COPAC co-chairperson was released after spending 25 days in custody
while the other activists were held for 27 days. Defence lawyer David
Tandire told SW Radio Africa that the MP and the activists were granted $50
‘What it means is that the judge has dismissed the state’s appeal to keep
Mwonzora and the other 24 activists in custody. They are free now but they
will have to report once a week at police stations to be designated by the
state,’ Tandire said.
They are being accused of allegedly instigating violence during a
constituency feedback meeting, which Mwonzora was addressing. He has instead
accused his ZANU PF opponent, Hurbert Nyanhongo, of sending his militia to
storm his meeting.
During his initial remand hearing on the 21 February, Mwonzora and the
activists were granted bail by a Nyanga magistrate, but their freedom was
immediately suspended by state prosecutors using Section 121 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act.
Also on Friday Energy Minister Elton Mangoma was told he will face trial,
beginning 28 March, to answer charges of criminal abuse of office, after he
was arrested on Thursday.
During a brief court appearance Mangoma was remanded in custody to Monday
for a bail application hearing.
Also appearing in court Friday was the MDC-T MP for Mazowe Central, Shepherd
Mushonga, who was arrested on Thursday in Chiweshe. After being detained for
a night at Chombira Police Station, the MP appeared before a Bindura
magistrate and was granted $50 bail.
He is facing charges of digging and allegedly stealing quarry stones worth
$700 from nearby mountains in Chiweshe. The MP is reportedly building houses
for nurses and teachers in the constituency.
Apart from Mangoma the MDC-T has two other legislators languishing in police
cells. The MP for Gokwe Kabuyuni, Costin Muguti, was arrested on Thursday
night in Gokwe on allegations of committing violence in Kadoma. He is
detained at Gokwe Centre Police Station.
Another MP behind bars is Zhombe legislator Rodgers Tazviona, whose bail
application, together with four other MDC members, has been set for 23 March
at the High Court. Tazviona was arrested in February on trumped-up charges
of threatening a chief.
In Harare the High court postponed to next week Wednesday a bail application
by six activists charged with treason for discussing the mass protests in
Egypt that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.
The six, include Munyaradzi Gwisai a university lecturer and former lawmaker
from the MDC-T; gender activist Antonater Choto; Zimbabwe National Students
Union leaders Welcome Zimuto and Eddson Chakuma; labor activist Tatenda
Mombeyarara; anti-debt campaigner Hopewell Gumbo. They are being held in
solitary confinement in Chikurubi.
They were arrested on February 19 along with 40 other members of the
audience and some passers-by, at a meeting to discuss the mass protests in
Egypt. The 40 were freed by a magistrate's court last week for lack of
by Edward Jones Friday 11 March 2011
HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said yesterday the cabinet had not
yet decided the minimum local ownership levels for foreign companies under
the government’s indigenisation plans, in a sharp rebuke of a minister who
said a day earlier a sovereign wealth fund would be set up to take 51
percent shares in mines.
The contrast in policy statements highlighted the deep fissures within the
unity government, which Tsvangirai formed with President Robert Mugabe in
2009, but which has been wobbled by differences over policy and how to share
The tug of war comes just a day after an investor conference ended in Harare
and analysts say this will reinforce foreign investor skepticism that
Zimbabwe was not open to outside investment and would not protect private
Tsvangirai told company executives at a meeting hosted by the weekly
Zimbabwe Independent newspaper that cabinet had not even drawn up detailed
plans on a proposed sovereign fund to purchase shares in mining companies.
"As far as I am concerned, cabinet has not adopted minimum thresholds for
companies and for sectors," Tsvangirai said.
“Until such time that he (Youth and Indigenisation Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere) comes to cabinet with minimum thresholds for sectors it is
against the law. I don’t know how Kasukuwere is going to enforce taking over
51 percent because he doesn't have that legal position,” Tsvangirai said.
Kasukuwere, whom Mugabe has given the task of identifying foreign companies
for takeover, including mines and banks, said on Wednesday that Zimbabwe
would in fact nationalize the mining sector by setting up a sovereign fund
to own 51 percent shares of mines.
That position was accepted by ZANU-PF’s politburo this week and analysts
said Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would be powerless if
Mugabe’s allies moved ahead to expropriate foreign companies.
Kasukuwere said the regulations on the mining sector would be gazetted
This has cast a cloud on investors who see opportunities in the resource
rich country, which has the second largest platinum reserves and large
deposits of coal, iron ore, gold and chrome among other minerals but worry
about their investments.
“It is only the politburo decisions that matter to Mugabe, forget about what
they talk about in cabinet,” said John Makumbe, a senior political science
lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe and strong Mugabe critic.
The MDC party is at odds with ZANU-PF over the indigenisation drive, arguing
that if the process is rushed it would reverse economic recovery. The
labour-backed party instead prefers gradual empowerment over a long period.
Tsvangirai said he was frustrated with conflicting statements from the unity
government and suggested that ZANU-PF ministers were taking their orders
outside cabinet, the sole organ that makes government decisions.
A special cabinet session would be held next week to deal with problems in
the unity government, Tsvangirai said.
“There are policy inconsistencies and it worries we when there are
conflicting statements coming from the same government which then undermines
confidence,” the Zimbabwean prime minister said.
As if to illustrate the disharmony within the fragile coalition, Tsvangirai
was informed that his Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma
had just been arrested by police, a move which will renew tensions in
The Supreme Court also yesterday nullified the election as Speaker of
Parliament in 2008 of MDC’s Lovemore Moyo, after the MDC ended ZANU-PF’s
majority in Parliament for the first time since independence in 1980.
The court ruling could pit ZANU-PF and MDC in a bitter fight as the two
parties seek to have their candidates as Speaker but analysts warn that a
prolonged stalemate would deal a blow to key electoral reforms which are
expected to be debated in parliament this year.
In a sign of frustration Tsvangirai said the MDC would not recognise the
ruling and branded the Supreme Court judges as “ZANU-PF politicians
masquerading as judges” in comments that may earn him contempt of court
charges in future.
The unity government has been tenuous since its formation since 2009 with
sharp differences on the issue of sanctions, indigenisation, timing of
elections and political and economic reforms.
Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF’s indigenisation drive was political rhetoric as the
former ruling party pushes to hold presidential and parliamentary elections
this year, which the MDC fears could lead to bloodshed and economic chaos.
"You probably need six months to eight months (after a referendum on new
constitution), which makes elections this side of the year almost
impossible," Tsvangirai said. “I am trying to be frank with you, it makes
2011 not possible to have an election.” -- ZimOnline
Harare, March 11, 2011 - The British government has described the arrest of
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Deputy Secretary General, Elton Mangoma
and the reversal by the Supreme Court the election of its chairman,
Livermore Mangoma as Speaker of Parliament as a “sinister” move by President
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party aimed at intimidating its political
opponents ahead of a possible election.
“These are both highly sinister developments, marking a significant increase
in pressures. The Government are urgently seeking further clarification, and
we will have no hesitation at all in voicing our concerns with the
appropriate interlocutors, and in every way we can,” said Lord Howell of
Guildford, the UK State Minister responsible for Commonwealth Affairs while
answering questions in the House of Lords on Thursday.
The House of Lords spent three hours debating the political situation in
Zimbabwe highlighting the increased politically motivated violence,
pilferage of diamonds and a general instability in the unity government.
Members of the house raised concern over the arrest of Mangoma and 46 others
on trumped up charges.
“These are clear evidence of a development that we do not like, which might
herald the start of pre-election intimidation campaigns, although there is
no certainty yet about the date of elections,” said Howell.
Howell suggested that the impending elections be postponed until all the
necessary reforms agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are
“Obviously, a longer timeframe would permit more of the building blocks for
free and fair elections to be put in place, instead of all these
counter-pressures. If the elections take place later this year, which is one
suggestion, those attempts to build conditions for free and fair elections
will be curtailed. So our aim is to do whatever we can to help prevent a
repeat of the violence that marred the elections back in 2008,” said Howell.
“It is in SADC’s interests to have a neighbour that is politically stable
and economically thriving, and it has a regional mandate to take concrete
action when the UK or EU does not. We are encouraged by the recent increased
diplomatic activity in working to create an environment conducive to holding
free and fair elections, and fully support it in its continuing efforts,” he
There was a general consensus that an election will be the only way to bring
an end to the long drawn political squabbles in Zimbabwe.
However there was a significant measure of emphasis on making sure that the
election will only be held in a conducive environment.
Furthermore Howell encouraged the diamond monitor Kimberly Process to be
stricter on Zimbabwe and plug the pilferage of diamonds by Zanu (PF)
Written by Chief Reporter
Friday, 11 March 2011 06:18
HARARE - The UK Parliament is concerned about the deteriorating security
situation in Zimbabwe, and could stay the resumption of enforced returns of
Zimbabweans with no legal right to be in the UK. The UK Home Office had
broken a four-year moratorium last year saying the situation had improved.
The courts stopped deportations to Zimbabwe in 2006 when judges ruled that
the country wasn't safe. That legal bar was lifted two years later, but the
Home Office did not resume enforced returns immediately. The debate in the
House of Lords comes as the UK Border Agency was organising the first
flights after ruling that the situation in Zimbabwe had improved since 2009
and the UK court's view that not all Zimbabweans are in need of
But Lord Griffiths of Burry Port said in a debate in the House of Lords on
Thursday: "We need to be conscious that the security situation in Zimbabwe
has not improved greatly and that refugees and asylum seekers should
therefore not be pressurised to return home prematurely. Perhaps we can put
a little bit of muscle behind the coaxing—if it can be done with muscle—of
the UK Border Agency and other authorities towards that end." Some 13,000
Zimbabweans have sought asylum in the UK over the past five years. About a
third of them have been granted asylum after saying they faced persecution
for opposing President Mugabe.
In practice 4,000 more were given some form of legal right to remain after
the courts declared the country unsafe.
Lord Griffiths said the good work of agencies in the UK in preparing and
training Zimbabweans to go home when things are settled and to take their
rightful places in rebuilding their country should be continued and
expanded. "Zimbabwe has slipped down the news agenda," he said. "It has gone
on for so long that thresholds of patience, tolerance and interest have been
exhausted but the situation there is important. The people there need our
best attention and any efforts that this Parliament can put behind making
things better for them."
The full text of the debate follows: UK Parliament
Thursday 10 March 2011
House of Lords
Moved By Lord Avebury
To call attention to the situation in Zimbabwe; and to move for Papers.
Lord Avebury: My Lords, the last time we had a full-scale debate on Zimbabwe
was in June 2010 at the instigation of the noble Lord, Lord St John of
Bletso, who I am glad to see in his place. I am looking forward very much to
hearing what he has to say. The debate before that was two years ago, just
before the global political agreement was signed, and yet the global
political agreement is still very largely unimplemented, and progress
towards its most essential objectives has been painfully slow. The
Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee has told President Zuma, the
SADC facilitator, that it aims to have a draft of the constitution ready for
approval by 30 September, but at the same time it complained that lack of
resources has been hampering its work. The chairman of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission—ZEC—says that it cannot begin to work on the electoral
register until it is provided with US$20 million needed to carry out the
operation. He estimates that another US$200 million is required for the
referendum on the new constitution and that the same amount is required for
the national elections to be conducted on the cleaned-up register.
The backdrop to the looming election is the crescendo of political violence
by ZANU-PF and the security forces against the opposition coupled with total
impunity for the perpetrators, as detailed in a hard-hitting report from
Human Rights Watch that was published earlier this week. Here, the coalition
Government have announced that we are increasing our aid to Zimbabwe to £100
million a year to encourage fair elections and other reforms. The EU is
spending €90 million on humanitarian aid in support of the key reforms of
the GPA to promote an environment conducive to a general election.
Presumably, the depoliticisation of the ZEC secretariat and staff must
precede the collection of names for the electoral roll, but is that built in
to the rules for the disbursement of aid? Will my noble friend say what we
in the European Union are doing to combat the false allegation by the
Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, that sanctions are to blame for the
underfunding of the electoral commission? This is being echoed in newspaper
advertisements in Zimbabwe carrying ZANU-PF and government logos that claim:
“Sanctions are an attack on our health, on the education of our children, on
our social services and our infrastructure”.
This message gets picked up elsewhere in Africa. Have our embassies been
instructed to explain to their host countries the truth that humanitarian
aid is not affected by sanctions and that they bite on only 163 individuals
and 31 businesses that are involved in human rights abuses and
On 15 February, the second anniversary of the GPA, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai listed, not for the first time, his requirements for free and
fair elections. He wants a new biometric voters’ roll, a stable and secure
environment, a credible electoral body with a non-partisan secretariat, a
non-partisan public media, security sector reform and a new constitution
approved by a referendum. The need for a new list of electors was underlined
just now by the ZEC finding that 27 per cent of the names on the existing
list are of dead people.
There cannot be a free and fair election before these key milestones are
achieved, the Prime Minister said, because, under the GPA, ZANU-PF has no
power to hold an election without the consent of the other political
parties. Obviously, they will agree only when the provisions of the GPA have
been implemented. That position has been reiterated just now by SADC. They
will also not allow elections to be held under the conditions that exist at
the moment and without the substantial reforms that we expect from the GPA.
The three party leaders have just reiterated their commitment to the 24
principles of the GPA but that was exactly what they did last August, with
ZANU-PF insisting that implementation should be concurrent with the lifting
of sanctions. Is that still the position and what has been done to try and
persuade ZANU-PF to lift that condition so that we can get on with the
implementation of the entire GPA? Will my noble friend confirm that the US,
EU and UK have no intention of lifting sanctions until substantial progress
has been made towards full implementation? Will he also say that none of our
$100 million-worth of aid will be dispersed until the sections of the
agreement that were due in the first month are set in motion?
The Prime Minister wants a timetable based on the attainment of specific
objectives with no dates attached. That seems to be the view of President
Zuma, the SADC facilitator. Mr Zuma’s immediate concern is for an end to the
politically motivated violence, as he demanded on a visit to Harare last
month. The response since then has been more arrests, the torture of
detainees and the denial of access to more than 50 political activists in
custody by their lawyers and doctors. Nine of them, including MDC MP
Munyaradzi Gwisai, face trumped-up charges of treason, which of course
attracts the death penalty. Their lawyer reports that they have been
severely tortured and are held incommunicado on charges of watching a video
of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Only yesterday, police
disrupted a human rights workshop being held in a church and arrested the
two co-chairs of the session. This morning, Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy
Treasurer-General and Minister of Energy and Power Development, was picked
up by three plainclothes police officers at his government offices, the
Chaminuka building. Is SADC keeping a record of these events and reporting
them to the African Union? Mr Mangoma is a member of the MDC negotiating
team on the GPA and also co-chairman of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee for the GPA, so this could be a particularly
Remembering the extreme violence at the 2008 election run-off, which led to
the withdrawal of the MDC after they had been solidly ahead on the first
round, do President Zuma and SADC have a fallback plan if their warnings
about the urgent need to curb the ZANU-PF armed gangs and security forces
are ignored? Without security sector reform, there is no chance that they
would refrain from manipulating the electoral register and intimidating
opposition candidates and voters. Has SADC considered enlisting the AU,
their co-guarantors of the GPA, to bring extra pressure on ZANU-PF on this
In our previous debate, there was some discussion about how the Commonwealth
might be enlisted. Even though Zimbabwe is no longer a member of the
Commonwealth, there might be an agreement to welcome it back into the fold
if it performs on the GPA. Would my noble friend consider whether the
Commonwealth might have that important role, of course with the consent of
Mugabe and his party want a polling day this summer, no doubt fearful that
at any moment his failing health will mean that he has to step aside. In
between visits to Singapore for surgery, he finally met the other party
leaders on 25 February and agreed to start implementing the GPA in
accordance with the implementation matrix they had already adopted in August
2010. Have we any reason to assume that that agreement will go ahead this
time when the August one was in fact a dead letter?
I turn now to the prodigiously lucrative Marange diamond fields, said to be
the largest in the world and of which some 97 per cent are under the direct
control of the military. The remaining 3 per cent was assigned to two
companies granted their concessions without a tender process, both closely
associated with ZANU-PF and military commanders. Senior executives of one of
the companies, Canadile, are being prosecuted for obtaining their concession
by fraud and smuggling $100 million-worth of diamonds into Mozambique so
that they were not taxed. The frontier with Mozambique is still wide open to
illegal exports sponsored by the military, as people at Global Witness told
me when I spoke to them last week. We have some leverage with Mozambique, a
major recipient of aid. Could we help it put an end to this traffic?
Leakage of revenue also seems to occur at ministerial level. Finance
Minister Tendai Biti said a month ago that more than $100 million generated
from recent diamond sales had not been accounted for. His ministry had been
given a schedule from the office of President Mugabe listing a total of $170
million said to have been transferred to the Treasury by the Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, but in fact they received only $64
million. Mr Biti said he had asked the Accountant-General to investigate the
destination of the missing millions, to which the Minister for Mines
immediately said that he had no right or power to hold such an inquiry. If
there has to be an alternative, one obvious choice would have been the KP
monitor, Mr Abbey Chikane, but his betrayal of confidential discussions with
Farai Maguwu, head of the Centre for Research and Development, the most
effective human rights campaigner in Marange, ruled him out. Ironically, Mr
Maguwu has now been chosen by the civil society organisations to head the
technical team of the local focal point for the Kimberley process. Could
SADC be asked to suggest an independent accountant to resolve the difference
between Mines Minister Mpofu and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, and to
recommend measures that will fully identify the amounts of money received
and by whom they are now held?
This Kimberley process mechanism is responsible for overseeing the
certification of rough diamonds as produced in an area free from conflict or
human rights abuses. Even though the military are now firmly in control of
the region, ITN reports that extrajudicial killings and major human rights
abuses are continuing. That is confirmed by the recent Human Rights Watch
report that I have already mentioned. There is an even greater likelihood
that money from the three auctions held last year was siphoned off by the
generals. Two of the auctions were held under the supervision of the
Kimberley process but a third was not. It came to light only when Mugabe
announced that $250 million from that sale would be used to pay the arrears
of civil servants’ salaries. Last week, Mr Tsvangirai said that diamond
sales had generated $300 million revenue so far and that the money would be
used to reduce foreign debt. As Mr Biti said, there is no accountability for
the moneys being generated by these operations. Zimbabweans are not allowed
to know what sums were raised in each of the three auctions. Does the lack
of transparency not make it easier for the crooks in government to dip not
just their fingers but their whole arms in the till?
The EU still occupies the chair of the Kimberley process Working Group on
Monitoring, which is supposed to assess the effectiveness of monitoring. Yet
when the KP plenary in November 2010 broke up without reaching agreement on
what to do about the Marange diamonds, the KP monitor, Abbey Chikane, made a
quick dash to Zimbabwe where he certified the whole stockpile of 3.9 million
carats, worth some $160 million.
The KP chair issued a notice to members not to trade in Marange diamonds
pending consultations on how Zimbabwe could bring its operations into
compliance with KP rules. But amendments were agreed that would make it
harder to secure investigation of human rights in the area, and it was to be
no longer required that individual parcels of diamonds be certified. Even
with those concessions, the Mines Minister said last Friday that Zimbabwe
had not agreed to the light-touch KP guidelines that would allow Marange
diamonds to be sold on the world market. The Mines Minister defiantly told
Voice of America that the Government objected to any reference to human
rights and that they would continue to sell diamonds regardless of whether
the sales were authorised by the KP. It is as if they had decided to
withdraw altogether from the KP, to avoid oversight that would reveal
official theft of the proceeds that belong to the people. What does that
mean for Zimbabwe diamond sales? Will lower prices have to be accepted
because the sales will not be KP-authorised?
This is a make or break moment for the people of Zimbabwe. SADC and the AU,
as guarantors of the GPA, could “do the right thing”, as Mr Tsvangirai puts
it, and tell Mugabe that if elections are held without any of the reforms
that were agreed two years ago, they would not be endorsed as free and fair,
and any Government who came into office through such a process would not be
accepted as the legitimate voice of the people. If on the other hand the
elections are postponed until after the promised reforms are implemented,
there will be a brilliant future ahead for Zimbabwe and its people. Like the
Prime Minister, we have confidence in President Zuma and his team, and the
EU should stand by to offer them any help we can provide.
Lord Griffiths of Burry Port: My Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord,
Lord Avebury, for bringing this matter to our attention and giving us this
opportunity today. For more years than I remember, and probably more years
than he cares to remember, he has brought such matters to the attention of
your Lordships’ House and making sure that we debate these things properly.
I come to this debate as a person concerned for the well-being of all
Zimbabweans, those living in their own country and those scattered around
the world and here in the UK because they have had to flee their own country
in fear of what might happen to them and their families. I come to this
debate also as a Methodist minister. Methodism has had a long relationship
with Zimbabwe and with Rhodesia before that. The earliest missionaries from
the British church followed the 1891 pioneer column and, by the end of that
year, bases for outreach had already begun in Salisbury and in Epworth—named
for the place where John Wesley was born, of course, and now a high-density
suburb of Harare. Later Methodists from the American church came to the
country and focused their efforts especially on its eastern fringe. The
relationship between Methodists in Britain and Methodists in Zimbabwe has
weathered many difficulties, the creation and subsequent break-up of the
Central African Federation, UDI and the war for black majority rule. The
Methodists in Zimbabwe now form an autonomous and vibrant church with which
we still have close ties. Indeed, where I work, my colleague is herself
British Methodism’s special envoy to the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, and
we have contacts all over the land with whom we are in regular touch.
Zimbabwe is a country with great resources, wonderful landscapes, and above
all a diligent, hard-working, resilient and extremely hospitable people. As
with others we long for the day when the country can once again hold its
head high in the community of nations. As the noble Lord, Lord Avebury,
reminded us, the current situation in Zimbabwe gives us very little cause
for hope. The global political agreement signed in 2008 between ZANU-PF and
the two parts of the MDC—one of which is itself terribly fragmented—which
led to the formation of an “inclusive Government”, has for the most part not
been implemented. Indeed, 24 articles have never been implemented,
especially those that relate to security and the media. Technically, the
lifespan of the GPA was over on 11th February 2011, so it ought to be behind
us. Renegotiating it seems necessary, with seeking the implementation of all
its articles as part of that negotiation.
According to our sources, the economic situation has seen some improvement
with a reduction in inflation, largely the result of an abandonment of the
Zimbabwe dollar in favour of the US dollar and other currencies. The
relationship between the parties in the inclusive Government is largely
characterised by mistrust, and ZANU-PF still controls the vital ministries
dealing with security, the police and the media. Prime Minister Tsvangirai
has still not been able to do something as basic as moving into the official
prime ministerial residence.
At its last party conference at the end of last year, ZANU-PF chose Robert
Mugabe—aged 87 years—once again as its presidential candidate, and is eager
to have elections as soon as possible. I wonder why. June this year would be
its favoured time. Its hope is to gain an outright election victory and
dispense with the GPA altogether. We have already heard eloquent arguments
as to why such elections or proposals for elections should be held off until
all the things mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, are in place.
Elections this year and in the current circumstances could certainly not
achieve a free and fair election acceptable to the majority of Zimbabweans
and it is my strong conviction that Her Majesty’s Government should do all
in their power to support and encourage those groups in Zimbabwe, in the
region and in international organisations working for a postponement of
elections until proper procedures and safeguards can be put in place. I hope
that the Minister can give us some assurance on that when he winds up.
South Africa and the countries of the southern African region are crucial in
working on a road map towards elections, and it is in that area that we in
Britain might best offer our support and, if requested, technical expertise.
A new constitution, mentioned again by the noble Lord, was an essential
pillar of the global political agreement, but has still not been achieved
despite some half-hearted attempts at consultation. That needs to be in
place before any election. More pressure needs to be exerted to bring about
a full implementation of all the other articles of the GPA. A new electoral
register needs to be produced, as was again mentioned by the noble Lord. I
do not apologise for repeating matters mentioned in a previous speech,
something that I normally find offensive, because the more we say this
thing, the better. There needs to be an open media that will give coverage
to all shades of political opinion. Contacts across Zimbabwe inform us that
there is already a great deal of violence and intimidation around the
country because people, by virtue of the last conference of ZANU-PF, are on
election alert already. Therefore, the population is already, once again, in
a state of fear. It is important that SADC and African Union missions be in
place now and in the run-up to elections, and not leave their presence or
activity too long.
It is perhaps an irony that President Zuma of South Africa should have come
out so clearly in favour of removing President Mubarak from one country in
Africa when his country has played relatively little role in seeking the
removal of President Mugabe from Zimbabwe. Messages coming from Zimbabwe
indicate that the MDC is being banned by the police from holding meetings in
the run-up to its own party congress, let alone any election that might be
in the offing. Church people—Anglican bishops and the general secretary of
the Council of Churches—have had death threats issued against them, as no
doubt have others from civic organisations who are working for cases of
harassment and violence to be investigated and for the individuals
responsible to be brought before the courts. We can highlight the plight of
these people; perhaps we ought to. These are real things, happening right
now. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, mentioned other instances of violence
against people and the creation of a climate of fear. We should keep
mentioning that to keep it before the public eye, then perhaps our
Government can put pressure in the appropriate places to get assurances and
action that will minimise these instances.
I shall finish here at home, with a word that may need to be said. We need
to be conscious that the security situation in Zimbabwe has not improved
greatly and that refugees and asylum seekers should therefore not be
pressurised to return home prematurely. Perhaps we can put a little bit of
muscle behind the coaxing—if it can be done with muscle—of the UK Border
Agency and other authorities towards that end. Instead, the good work of
agencies in this country in preparing and training Zimbabweans to go home
when things are settled and to take their rightful places in rebuilding
their country should be continued and expanded. Zimbabwe has slipped down
the news agenda. It has gone on for so long that thresholds of patience,
tolerance and interest have been exhausted but the situation there is
important. The people there need our best attention and any efforts that
this Parliament can put behind making things better for them.
Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury: My Lords, I, too, congratulate my noble
friend Lord Avebury on securing this debate. He is a man I am proud to sit
alongside on these Benches for all that he does for oppressed people. This
is a time when the process of political reform in Zimbabwe is under serious
threat. Dozens of people have been arrested in the past couple of weeks in a
co-ordinated crackdown on political dissent. There is a renewed assault on
freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. The build-up of intimidation and
the recent deployment of military units on the streets of major cities are
aimed at reinforcing a menacing sense of fear in Zimbabwe.
Ironically, while people have been, as my noble friend Lord Avebury
mentioned, charged with treason simply for watching films about what is
going on in Tunisia and Egypt, it is President Mugabe who makes inflammatory
speeches that really threaten the future safety and economic well-being of
the people of Zimbabwe. It is clear that he, together with the military high
command and secret police, is determined to prevent any further progress
along the road to democracy. They still have control of all the really
important levers of power in Zimbabwe, which they plan to use to veto any
further concessions to liberalisation.
I shall concentrate particularly on one area that is bearing the brunt of
this crackdown: the independent media. I shall address some particular
issues relating to freedom of the press and of broadcasting. Control of the
mass media has long been a weapon in the armoury of those imposing
repressive rule in Zimbabwe and it remains a key element in the old-guard
strategy for undermining those working for reform. Free speech, free
association and open access to the broadcast media would all give vital
space in which to challenge the system of repression, but the tight system
of control and regulation prevents that happening. That system was largely
inherited by ZANU-PF from the minority regime of Ian Smith.
It is not just editors and journalists who face danger every day. I pay
tribute to the people who are the unsung heroes of trying to disseminate
free media: the newsvendors. They are attacked by Mugabe’s mobs simply for
selling newspapers, such as the Zimbabwean, that favour reform. Their stock
is destroyed and they put their limbs as well as their livelihood at risk.
Meanwhile, vitriolic comment and denunciation of Morgan Tsvangirai and other
MDC Ministers is a regular part of the diet of propaganda and distortion
peddled by the state-controlled media in Zimbabwe. There is no BBC News, no
ITV, no Channel 4 and no Sky. The television and radio stations of the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which has a near monopoly on
broadcasting, are under state control, and despite the existence of the
“inclusive” Government, in this context “the state” still means ZANU-PF
loyalists. They also control the major daily newspapers: the Herald ,
published from Harare, and the Chronicle , published from Bulawayo.
Two major tools of control are the AIPPA, a positively Orwellian piece of
legislation that stands for the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act—true “doublethink”, given the way it is used—and POSA, the
Public Order and Security Act. Those two Acts need to be repealed or
radically reformed as a high priority. The international community has
entrusted oversight of reform in Zimbabwe to the region. I hope the Minister
will be able to tell the House that this issue is raised with South Africa
and other SADC members in diplomatic and ministerial contact with the
region. As major providers of aid to Zimbabwe and to its neighbours, the
people of the United Kingdom—and, indeed the EU as a whole—have a right to
expect serious engagement on these issues.
I also urge Her Majesty’s Government, bilaterally and through the EU and the
Commonwealth, to make every effort to ensure that adequate support is given
to independent media operators. That means help to fund professional
training and help with legal resources and technical assistance to ensure
that robust and independent media operations flourish in Zimbabwe. It is
very important that this should encompass support for investigative
reporting on economic and social issues as well as politics. In an
environment in which the media has largely been used as a tool for spreading
propaganda, there is a real danger that the skills of journalism are lost.
Corruption and malpractice in commerce as well as in central and local
government have an easy ride if there are no vibrant and well-trained
independent media professionals.
One of the most important ways in which we can support reform in Zimbabwe is
by backing a free and fearless media sector on which an accountable,
democratic tradition can be built. I am very pleased that the first group of
Commonwealth professional fellows have just arrived in the UK from Zimbabwe
and that part of their programme involves media training. However, I am also
concerned that a fifth fellow, Tafadzwa Choto, is not here, as she is one of
the six people still being held on charges of treason for watching
television coverage of events in Tunisia and Egypt, as was mentioned before.
I encourage both the FCO and DfID to continue to explore ways of supporting
the independent media sector in Zimbabwe. I hope the Minister will reassure
the House on that and add his voice to those who are calling for the
immediate release of those who are being held on treason charges for
watching the news.
Another important way in which our aid programme to Zimbabwe can help is by
supporting the specially appointed statutory bodies such as the media
commission and the electoral commission. They need assistance in the form of
finance and technical expertise. I have a particular interest in the media
commission, but the electoral commission is also vital. Unless these
commissions are adequately resourced, their work is hampered and they become
ineffective in their role. In dealing with the composition of these
commissions, attention needs to be paid to the staffing of their
secretariats. There is no point in carefully selecting the representative
commissioners who oversee their bodies if their work is then compromised or
undermined by staff whose loyalties lie with the old regime. Although these
issues might appear to be primarily the responsibility of DfID, they have a
huge impact on the political and diplomatic areas for which the FCO is
responsible, so I hope the Minister will be able to comment on these areas.
Finally, I have an observation—here, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord
Griffiths. Restrictions imposed on the British media, which had included
banning the BBC, were lifted a couple of years ago, but this does not seem
to have resulted in adequate coverage in our own media of this very
important story. I am glad to say that on this point and in this country, I
do not expect the Minister to have any influence.
Baroness Boothroyd: My Lords, I, too, express my appreciation to the noble
Lord, Lord Avebury, for his initiative in securing this very timely debate.
I pay tribute to the thousands of brave Zimbabweans who remain committed and
in the front line of the struggle for democracy and human rights. I have had
the honour of meeting some of them when they have visited us here at
Westminster. There are countless others in towns and villages across that
country whose dedication compels them to risk imprisonment, torture and even
death in order to bring freedom to their people. Many of them are women. I
think particularly of the courageous trade union leaders: Lucia Matibenga,
General Secretary of the Commercial Workers Union; Gertrude Hambira of the
General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union, who is now forced into
hiding and exile in fear of her life for exposing the way that members of
her union were persecuted by Mugabe's regime; and Thoko Khupe of the
Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Union, now Deputy Prime Minister.
It is heart-warming to see the solidarity with these heroes shown by the
international trade union movement. The Confederation of South African Trade
Unions has been staunch in its support, and in this country individual
unions have mobilised support for their affiliated unions in Zimbabwe—the
CWU with the Communications and Allied Services Workers Union, and the NUJ
with the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. Practical support such as this
directly aimed at those working with people at the grass roots is enormously
helpful, and I hope that more such links will be promoted.
Not long ago I had the pleasure of giving tea in this House to a member of
the rather small union that I used to belong to, the Speaker of the
Zimbabwean House of Assembly, Mr Lovemore Moyo. As well as being pleased to
meet Speaker Moyo, I was delighted that the assistant accompanying him, Mr
Zitha, has spent time studying at the University of Leeds, close to my home
town. That reinforced for me the relationship between Zimbabwe, which has
been spoken about earlier in this debate, and the United Kingdom. There are
many deep and personal links at all levels of society between our two
countries, so this debate and the many occasions when we can raise issues
regarding Zimbabwe are most valuable.
At my meeting with Speaker Moyo I discussed some of the important protocols
that protect Parliament. They have to be fiercely guarded if
parliamentarians are to be free to conduct thoroughly and without hindrance
the tasks entrusted to them by the electorate. I gave Speaker Moyo copies of
our sessional orders, which I used as Speaker and which were agreed at the
beginning of each new Session of Parliament. They protect Members of
Parliament from obstruction or interference in the conduct of their
parliamentary duties. These rights are vital to parliamentary democracy, by
whatever mechanism they are enacted and however they are enshrined, and I am
very disappointed by recent reports from Zimbabwe that show that they are
not being upheld.
I make no apology for deviating for a moment. Only a few minutes ago, I had
a note handed to me that comes from a very reliable source. It tells me that
a court ruling in Zimbabwe today says that the conduct of the secret ballot
by which Speaker Moyo was elected was improper. This is a very worrying
development and a serious situation. It is another example of the way in
which the judiciary is often used to undermine democracy. A re-election
could of course be used as a shoo-in for a new Speaker sympathetic to the
Mugabe regime. That could be the case if enough of the MDC MPs are kept
locked up in jail. Although there is not much longer to go in this debate, I
hope that the Minister will have something to tell us about that devastating
news when he winds up.
Six years ago yesterday, on 9 March 2005, I raised the case of the Member of
Parliament Roy Bennett. My concern then was the imprisonment of Mr Bennett
as a result of an altercation in Parliament. The penalty imposed was out of
all proportion to the misdemeanour for which he had unreservedly apologised.
Mr Bennett was sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour in the most inhuman
conditions. Six years on, Mr Bennett is in exile but continues to devote
himself to fighting for the rights and dignity of his fellow citizens.
The arrest of any Member of Parliament is a serious matter. A few weeks ago
I learnt of the arrest of Mr Douglas Mwonzora. Mr Mwonzora is co-chairman of
the parliamentary constitutional select committee, as was mentioned earlier,
and is jointly overseeing the process of consultation on a new constitution
for Zimbabwe. He simply lodged a complaint with the police about the violent
disruption by Zanu-PF militia of a meeting that he was holding in his
constituency. In what seems an utterly bizarre turn of events but sadly is
not at all unusual, Mr Mwonzora himself was subsequently arrested by the
police outside Parliament in Harare.
As the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has mentioned, we got the news that Elton
Mangoma, MDC Minister for Development and a member of the MDC negotiating
team on the global political agreement, was picked up from his government
office by police. The reasons for the arrest are unknown to me. Perhaps the
Minister will have some news of this latest arrest in his wind-up.
Politically motivated arrests affect other citizens too. Vexation charges
are brought but time and money that can ill be afforded are then needed to
mount a defence. Court proceedings are deliberately delayed, leading to
protracted uncertainty. There seems to be a calculated process by which key
people like Mr Mangoma and Mr Mwonzora are diverted from their duties and
important responsibilities, and it inevitably means that the vital reforms
so desperately needed in Zimbabwe are delayed or derailed altogether.
Arrests of this nature have become far too commonplace. It is what that
brave lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has called “rule by law rather than rule of
I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us when next there might be an
opportunity for the Foreign Secretary or the Minister for Africa to discuss
these matters with the South African authorities. After all, the current
political dispensation in Zimbabwe was imposed by South Africa. Robert
Mugabe was able to engineer his so-called “victory” in the presidential
elections only because he manipulated the figures in the first round and
managed to deny Morgan Tsvangirai an outright win. In the second round,
Mugabe unleashed such a wave of violence that Morgan Tsvangirai felt
compelled to withdraw from the race to prevent further bloodshed. As we
know, the former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa then used his
powerful position within the region to manoeuvre for a settlement that
propped up Mugabe and allowed him to remain in office. It was not a good
development for democracy. It never is when the will of the people,
democratically expressed, is denied, subverted or overridden. The way in
which deals have been brokered allowing presidents to remain in office, just
because they want to stay put despite losing an election, is to me a very
We have to deal with the world as it is today. We have heard much about the
global political agreement signed in 2008 by Mugabe and Tsvangirai. It is
supposed to be guaranteed by South Africa as well as by the AU and SADC.
Furthermore, it has been incorporated into the constitution of Zimbabwe.
What is shameful is the continuing contempt with which Mugabe treats the
obligations to which he solemnly signed his name. He has continued to take
unilateral action on key appointments, and has threatened to call elections
unilaterally without consultation with Prime Minister Tsvangirai and without
waiting for the approval and implementation of the new constitution.
Surely the Minister would agree that such action is in contravention of the
global political agreement. I feel very strongly that these issues need to
be raised with Ministers from SADC countries. But I ask whether they are
raised. Perhaps the Minister will be able to tell us.
Surely we can negotiate with SADC countries. I do not need to remind your
Lordships that we grant substantial sums of aid to them in our budget. We
have good relations with them and most are members of the Commonwealth. Can
we not use that leverage for the benefit of Zimbabwe? I hope the Minister
will agree, after all, that political progress in Zimbabwe will help the
progress of the whole region.
The government statement on priorities for UK overseas aid made it clear
that we want to see value for money. I agree with that. Surely an important
aspect of this, in the context of Zimbabwe, is that we need to deal with the
causes of the crisis and not simply with the symptoms. The causes are
political and the symptoms affect the whole of southern Africa. In footing
the bill, should we not make it clear that we need the partnership of the
region to overcome the political obstacles that are holding back development
of SADC as a whole?
Last week I was encouraged to read the comments on these issues made by
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, we are quite tight on time.
Baroness Boothroyd: I am so sorry; I will bring my remarks to an end—as
important and fascinating as they are. As a former Speaker I must do that.
I look forward to hearing from the Minister what steps the Government will
take to impress upon members of the AU and SADC the gravity of the
commitments they have made. I particularly look forward to his comments on
the possible Speakership in Zimbabwe that I spoke about in my comments.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, the role of a Whip is a painful one
during debates. We are very tight on time. It would be very helpful if noble
Lords could manage to bring their remarks to a close before “10” appears on
The Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells : My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord,
Lord Avebury, for this timely debate. I rise to speak in it because of an
association with Zimbabwe over some 20 years. I have had the privilege of
both employing and training some of the Bishops who now lead the Anglican
Church in Zimbabwe, and I attended most recently the consecration of the
present Bishop of Harare, the Reverend Chad Gandiya.
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is undergoing a sustained and brutal
persecution with its origins in a dispute over church properties and the non
re-election of Dr. Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare and someone widely
regarded as a plant of the Mugabe regime. When Kunonga lost the election in
2007, instead of stepping down he went on to form a rival faction. The
police have consistently failed to protect Anglican congregations and
clergy. This is something that I have witnessed, all too painfully, for
myself in a number of places.
Police claim to be acting on orders from above. This persecution is evident
across the country, most evidently in Masvingo and Matabeleland. Members of
your Lordships' House will recall that in the 1980s, shortly after
independence, the Mugabe Government recruited the North Korean Fifth Brigade
with the specific intention of subjugating Matabeleland through a series of
well documented atrocities, amounting to what has been described since as
The noble Lord, Lord Griffiths mentioned the current death threats which
have been made against the Bishops of Harare and Manicaland, and both men
have recently escaped through warnings from friends when attackers have been
on the way. All the congregations in Harare and Manicaland are prevented
from entering their churches, or being within 200 metres of them, each
Sunday, and this has been the situation since 2008. Policing this situation
requires the use of hundreds of officers every Sunday. There are weekly
arrests of clergy without charge.
Most recently, an 89 year-old woman, Mrs Jessica Mendeya, was killed
defending the church. The Bishop of Harare described the circumstances
surrounding her death, and I warn your Lordships that the description is
shocking. Gandiya said:
“People came on Friday night. They raped her, they cut her mouth and
genitals and pierced various parts of her body”.
Those who did this said it was something to do with the fact that she
belonged to the Anglican Church. Following this killing, Gandiya said that
he hoped that the police would step in this time to offer them help. He
“My hope is that they will do their work in terms of protecting all the
citizens of Zimbabwe without singling us out as people not to be protected”.
The Bishop has also spoken of the resilience of the people, again something
I have personally witnessed on a number of occasions. Reporting on a meeting
a week or so ago, Gandiya spoke of another elderly woman beaten by Kunonga's
supporters who had lost the use of one of her arms. She said:
“They can come and beat me and render my other arm useless but I will never
give up my faith”.
Your Lordships cannot fail to notice how both the murder and the attack that
I have reported signal a move to targeting the old and defenceless,
indicating new levels of violence and human rights abuses.
The Anglican tradition is strong in Zimbabwe. The church has been active in
peacemaking and reconciliation. Bishop Gandiya in his enthronement sermon in
Harare Cathedral, an occasion itself marked by the locking and barring of
the cathedral, offered an olive branch to those who supported Dr Kunonga.
Bishop Gandiya is a valued member of the Archbishops international visitor
programme, which I have the privilege of chairing, a body which seeks to
keep conversations going across the divisions of the communion.
The oppression of the Anglican Church must be seen in the context of the
wider oppression of civil society in Zimbabwe, of those perceived to be, or
in fact in, opposition to ZANU-PF. Freedom of association has long been
strictly limited in Zimbabwe and this has extended into restrictions on
freedom of worship for many Pentecostal and Methodist groups, as well as
other Anglican groups. As other noble Lords have mentioned, human rights
groups—most particularly Amnesty International, of which I am a member—and
Human Rights Watch, have recorded the extent of those abuses over the past
few years and are due to present these at the international human rights
review of Zimbabwe, which will happen in November. But November is a long
time away, and things are pressing.
The prerequisites for new elections outlined in the global peace agreement
have not been met, as we have heard. We also know that ZANU-PF is gearing up
for a brutal election campaign of propaganda, intimidation and violence
which will be funded through misused government funds, illegal diamond sales
and sympathetic foreign regimes.
The persecution of Anglican Christians in Zimbabwe involves one of the most
serious and sustained violations of human rights and religious freedom and
demands international advocacy. The most reverend Primates the Archbishops
of Canterbury and York, together with the head of the All Africa Council of
Churches and the Archbishop of Cape Town, have supported the need to develop
a regional advocacy strategy. The international human rights review will not
take place until November, as I have said, but discussion needs to take
place. As the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, has said, there is an
opportunity surely for the representatives of SADC to enable something of
this kind to happen in the meanwhile. The support of your Lordships' House
in this regard would send a strong signal to all those who are seeking an
end to violence and intimidation. I hope that this debate will contribute to
a better and more peaceful outcome in the beautiful country of Zimbabwe.
Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for
securing this debate. The recent developments in Zimbabwe do not reflect the
aims stipulated in the historic global political agreement. Progress has
been painfully slow with fears of a return to the old regime. There is
speculation that Mr Mugabe has sent serving and retired Zimbabwean military
personnel to Libya in support of Colonel Gaddafi. The 46 people who were
arrested in Zimbabwe for watching footage of the uprising in north Africa
are to be charged with treason—an offence that carries the death penalty in
Zimbabwe. The former MP and Labour activist, Mr Gwisai, is among those to be
charged. A magistrate in Harare has since halted the proceedings against
these individuals and ordered that they undergo examination for torture.
Most worrying is the revelation that among the 46 arrested is a woman who
has had three operations for a brain tumour yet was assaulted by prison
guards and refused treatment.
These actions have resulted in widespread condemnation, with the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressing concerns about civil
society in Zimbabwe. The situation in Zimbabwe is such that there is hunger,
poverty and unemployment among the majority of citizens but wealth is
enjoyed by a select few. The combination of low incomes and a shortage of
food have exposed Zimbabwe, among other nations, to fluctuating market
prices. The average citizen spends a large portion of his wages on food
supplies. A meteoric rise in the cost of provisions has the potential to
trigger protests in Zimbabwe as seen in north Africa. The decision by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to increase tariffs by 30 per cent
puts further pressure on the cost of living, especially for citizens on the
lowest incomes. Although economic activity has increased over the past two
years, Zimbabwe’s headline rate of inflation was still high for January
despite the monetary policy statement of the Bank of Zimbabwe warning
against the effects of rising inflation on the economy. Zimbabwe caught the
world’s attention at the end of 2007 with hyperinflation which led to price
increases of more than 60,000 per cent.
The rise in political violence is a cause for concern. Amnesty International
has reported that supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change Party
have been targeted by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF for a campaign of prolonged violence
and intimidation. It has been just over two years since the historic
power-sharing agreement was signed by the two parties. Shopkeepers who stock
and sell independent newspapers are being harassed and intimidated by people
suspected of being members of ZANU-PF. A new organisation, Wealth to the
Youth, which is linked to ZANU-PF, has been looting shops owned by
foreigners. I support the decision of the European Union and the United
States to extend sanctions on Zimbabwe until February 2012. This is the
correct approach to dealing with a nation that does not reflect and does not
respect its citizen’s human rights, democracy or the rule of law. These
requirements were stipulated under the global political agreement but have
not been implemented.
Britain is one of the largest donors to the Zimbabwean state and last year
gave the biggest aid package to date. The Government have pledged to
increase aid to Zimbabwe over the next four years provided that it holds
free and fair elections and successfully implements reforms. I am in favour
of this decision as Britain’s development aid reaches the people of Zimbabwe
through the United Nations and non-governmental organisations.
I welcome the Southern African Development Community’s efforts to encourage
the political parties in Zimbabwe to work towards achieving social and
political reforms. The SADC is also playing an important role by investing
in projects aimed at improving the infrastructure in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe
has accused Barclays and Standard Chartered Bank of profiting to the
detriment of Zimbabwe’s economy and has threatened to bring them under state
control. I should be grateful if the Minister could inform your Lordships’
House as to the steps Her Majesty's Government will take in response to this
During a recent visit, the Chinese Foreign Minister called for the
withdrawal of sanctions on Zimbabwe. China has signed a deal to provide
Zimbabwe with a grant of $7.6 million. It is important to remember that in
2008 China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that sought
sanctions against Zimbabwe for violating human rights. Having an ally with
the economic prowess of China provides the Zimbabwean Government with
limited incentives to implement reforms.
It is not only irresponsible but incorrect for Robert Mugabe to blame the
sanctions placed on his country for Zimbabwe’s ailing economy. It is more
accurate to place a significant part of the responsibility for the nation’s
suffering on the violent land-distribution programme that has almost
destroyed the agriculture industry. The way that the white farmers have been
treated by Robert Mugabe reminds me of how the assets of my family and other
Asians were seized by General Amin when we were expelled from Uganda.
The concerns of foreign investors in Zimbabwe are compounded by Mugabe’s
Economic Empowerment Act that states that black Zimbabweans should own 51
per cent of companies worth more than £307 million. Any form of
discrimination is wholly unwelcome. It does not serve the best interests of
Zimbabwe’s economy or society to implement such a blatantly odious piece of
legislation that gives rise to racism. I should be grateful if my noble
friend could provide up-to-date details of British companies and individuals
affected by this law.
The recent direction taken by the President of Zimbabwe is hugely
disappointing in the light of notable successes. The nation appears to have
made progress, given its participation in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The
Carlyle Group intends to launch a fund for investment in Africa, with a
presence in three African countries, including Zimbabwe. The power-sharing
agreement brought a great deal of optimism to Zimbabweans. However, it
appears that ZANU-PF is still behaving in a manner that was rejected by the
electorate two years ago.
Mugabe’s continued defiance of pressure from the international community is
a constant concern. We have an historic duty to engage with partners in the
region to work towards achieving the social and political reforms that the
people of Zimbabwe greatly deserve.
Finally, I am a great believer in the Commonwealth and would like to see its
countries, particularly the African states, do more to resolve the problems
in Zimbabwe. I have spoken previously in your Lordships’ House on the
Commonwealth. It should do more on conflict resolution and promoting trade
among its various countries.
Lord Dannatt: My Lords, the great privilege of being invited to join your
Lordships' House has been exceeded in the past six weeks by the kindness and
courtesy that everyone within this House has extended to me since 24
January, when I took my seat. My only sorrow is that my long-time friend and
colleague, Lieutenant General Sir Freddie Viggers, was not able to lead me
into your Lordships’ Chamber. I know that your Lordships have paid generous
tributes to him for his time as Black Rod, which was curtailed only by his
wretched illness. While I was the Chief of the General Staff, General
Freddie was my No. 2 as the Adjutant General. Nothing would have given both
of us greater pleasure than serving our nation together in your Lordships’
House; but it was not to be.
However, I thank my two, or really three, supporters who guided me in my
early days, and I hope they will continue to do so, given that map-reading
is not my strong suit. I am most grateful to my senior supporter, the noble
and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall. He was the undoubted father of the modern
British Army and I could have turned to no one else than he to stand beside
me. Field-Marshal Dwin had won a Military Cross in battle five years before
I was born. The noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, has been a friend for many
years. We share a common background in our military antecedents. As a
Christian on the one hand and a Zoroastrian Parsi on the other, we share a
common desire to do the very best for and with those around us. My third
supporter, who was unavoidably detained elsewhere on the day of my
introduction, was my former commanding officer and mentor, the noble and
gallant Lord, Lord Inge. Having been his adjutant and principal staff
officer many years ago, I am delighted to be standing by his side in your
Lordships’ House today.
Before entering your Lordships' House, it was my privilege to serve for 40
years in the Regular Army—40 years that naturally divide into four decades,
each with very different characteristics. Those decades resonate soundly
with this afternoon's timely and important debate secured by the noble Lord,
Lord Avebury, whom I thank for providing this opportunity. Perhaps noble
Lords will permit me to reflect briefly on those decades to make the
association with today’s debate.
For me, the 1970s were characterised by service in Northern Ireland; 1977
was the only year in that decade when I did not serve in the Province. The
1980s was the final decade of the Cold War, and of course included the
Falklands conflict. The two are connected, because I believe it was not lost
on the Kremlin that a democracy such as ours was prepared to send a task
force 8,000 miles to fight for a principle. My third decade was that of the
so-called new world order, when Francis Fukuyama announced the end of
history—but we discovered the Balkans, East Timor and Sierra Leone, not to
mention the deserts of Kuwait and southern Iraq in the first Gulf War. Then
9/11 ushered in my final decade as a soldier, propelling the Army, which it
was my privilege to lead for three years from 2006 to 2009, back into
Afghanistan and Iraq—countries well known to our grandfathers and great
uncles, and those of previous generations.
The conflicts that I took part in, or which formed the backdrop to my
professional career, were all about people: their rights, their hopes and
their future. That is all that the people of Zimbabwe are asking for. Like
the people of Northern Ireland in the 1970s, the Falklands in the 1980s, the
Balkans in the 1990s and Iraq and Afghanistan in this decade, all they want
is to live free from intimidation in a secure environment that is conducive
to freedom and prosperity. Is that too much to aspire to after the first
decade of the 21st century?
It was as a schoolboy in 1965 that I heard that the then Prime Minister of
Rhodesia, Ian Smith, had unilaterally declared independence from the United
Kingdom. To a teenager at the time, it seemed preposterous that this should
have happened, and therefore it was with some relief that one heard in 1979
that, after a vicious and bloody civil war, there was the prospect of peace,
perhaps reconciliation, and a better future for Zimbabwe. In the years that
followed, I visited Zimbabwe several times, noting with a degree of
professional pride the staff college that the British Army had established
in Harare to underpin the professional development of the post-UDI army. I
often reflect that there must be a generation of Zimbabwean army officers
who were trained by us in the 1980s and who know that there is a better way
than that of the repressive dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Will they, I
wonder, find the moral courage to stand up and do the right thing? They know
what that is; we taught them.
On my third day in your Lordships' House, we had a debate on the military
covenant. I was too much of a new boy to take part, but the debate
highlighted what is really at the heart of the people issue that I am
talking about today. In general terms, the covenant touches on the unwritten
contract, or bond, between those who govern and those who are governed. In
specific terms, it sets out the relationship between an elected Government,
who decide what military operations are to be carried out, and those of
their citizens in uniform, and their families, who are to carry out those
operations. When the covenant is in balance, much can be achieved: when it
is out of balance, the sparks fly. In a mature democracy such as ours we can
debate these things, imbalances can be rectified and the scales brought into
equilibrium: but in a brutish and nasty society such as Zimbabwe’s today,
the imbalances are perpetuated, injustices go unchallenged and the poor get
poorer while the rich get what passes in Zimbabwe for richer. It is
therefore no surprise that decent people around the world say that enough is
enough and that the regime of Robert Mugabe has more than had its day.
In closing, I pay tribute to those who, despite the repression and
opposition, have continued to try to do what is right for the people of
Zimbabwe. I declare an interest as a periodic contributor to the Daily
Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph for choosing the charity ZANE—or, to give it
its full name, Zimbabwe A National Emergency—as one of the charities for its
2010 national Christmas appeal. The £350,000 raised will go a long way to
making the lives of former service and civilian pensioners just that little
bit more bearable. However, in a country such as Zimbabwe, rich with
agricultural and mineral potential, it should not be like this. The people
of Zimbabwe deserve a chance, just as the people of Northern Ireland, the
Falklands, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan have deserved a chance—a chance
given to them, or a chance being given to them, by our nation, as I have
witnessed over the 40 years of my military service, but there is more to do.
I am grateful to have been given the chance to continue to serve people here
in your Lordships’ House.
The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, it is a great privilege to be the first to
congratulate my noble friend Lord Dannatt on his interesting and compelling
maiden speech. We have all followed his recent career both as a soldier and,
for a time, as a party politician, and I hope and expect that it is with
great relief that he has arrived on the Cross Benches, where he will feel
among friends both gallant and otherwise. As my noble friend told us, he
completed 40 years’ service in the Army. He held many prominent positions,
including Commander, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, 2003-05,
Commander-in-Chief Land Command, 2005-06, and Chief of the General Staff,
2006-09. He also told us very movingly of his personal experience of and
service to Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans. I reassure him that his map-reading in
the House can only improve. In the mean time, we will greatly look forward
to his contributions to our debates.
We are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for securing this
debate at a time when we need to be more watchful than ever of events in
Zimbabwe, which, again, are taking an unpleasant turn. It seems that the
violence that we saw three years ago leading up to the elections is
returning in a similar form. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury—as he does so
well—and others have given us details of this rise in violence and human
rights abuse. Inevitably, the MDC is being targeted, as are the churches,
the trade unions and civil society—in fact, anyone, for whatever trivial
reason, who falls foul of the authorities. The most ludicrous example was
the video of the news the other day, and most recently there have been
gruesome attacks on those attending International Women’s Day and other
events in Bulawayo.
There is a new determination by ZANU-PF to block constitutional change,
remove or intimidate the opposition, and threaten more violence in
preparation for possible elections later this year, no doubt assisted by the
diamond money which is being pocketed by officials. I strongly support those
who call for a firmer intervention from SADC and the African Union. They
could be selecting observers and getting ready for these elections now. What
can the Minister tell us about the UK’s contribution, including technical
support for the Electoral Commission, the need for voter education and
making better use of civil society organisations, churches and trade unions
in spreading awareness? Some of us have direct experience of the elections
in South Africa, where this was so effective. It seems that history is
repeating itself. It may therefore help to look back at what happened after
the 2008 elections and to examine the EU’s and the UK’s diplomatic role at
During the summer, when Mr Mugabe had clearly lost all legitimacy and
credibility in the June 2008 elections, could the UK and other EU members
have played a cleverer game? In retrospect, we now see that, three months
later, he got ahead of us by entering this agreement which led to a
coalition the following spring. Surely we can now admit that the coalition,
which left the opposition with almost only the junior portfolios, was a
considerable coup for the president and a major deception for the rest of
us, as my noble friend Lady Boothroyd said. It simply became a prop to
perpetuate Mr Mugabe’s regime.
Secondly, I wonder whether the sanctions, strengthened in February 2009 and
relaxed since then, have really had any effect on Mr Mugabe, or whether in
some perverse way they have actually boosted his morale. If we look at the
Ivory Coast, we see President Gbagbo grandstanding against the French
colonial power in order to boost his post-election position, echoing Mr
Mugabe's performance three years earlier. Colonel Gaddafi in Libya is
playing a similar game of one-upmanship by baiting foreigners. Clearly, the
Zimbabwe dictator has attracted other African leaders, or should I say
gangsters, to his master class. Interestingly, Jeune Afrique magazine left
him out of its list of contemporary political arch criminals from Salazar to
Saddam last week. Is it possible that we in the UK have exaggerated the
importance of Mr Mugabe and, thereby, contributed to his platform?
Having recently spent two weeks in Africa, I am certain that in both African
and European Union eyes we in the UK still seem to feel over-responsible for
Zimbabwe and are still his outstanding critics. I am not sure that that is a
good thing. Is it perhaps time for us to lower our profile and join forces
with the European Union in reaching a more convincing EU foreign policy? I
recognise that that is controversial, but in a sense the process is
inexorable and it might be a more effective and pragmatic diplomatic policy.
We already have positive examples of close EU co-operation. At the time of
the coalition—the Minister may confirm this—some EU members were
understandably reluctant to work with the ministries held by ZANU-PF but
since then there has been a more general engagement with the Government as a
whole which has undoubtedly been a more productive way of working.
Another example has been the success of the EU’s partnership with the NGOs,
which kept many families out of poverty during the harsh times of inflation
and the collapse of social services. We can be very proud of the EU aid
programme, and our own, and of the work of UK aid agencies over the past 10
years, also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh. With the restoration
of most services, NGOs, rather than being purely service providers, are
beginning to adapt to a more traditional development role, albeit under a
humanitarian banner. I strongly agree with the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths,
about the need to support skilled Zimbabweans in the UK and the
organisations which are behind them.
With the positive changes in the economy, thanks largely to the excellent
Finance Minister, there is a new investment climate. There has also been an
improvement in food supply and health performance mainly in urban areas and
a decline in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, but some of the figures for
maternal mortality, as my noble friend Lord Crisp will probably say, are
still among the worst in Africa. I could speak of the conditions of farm
workers, but I have spoken about them in these debates before.
In conclusion, I am not suggesting that sanctions should be further relaxed,
but I feel that we are stuck where we are and that we should press much
harder for the rule of law, fairer elections, constitutional change and a
great deal more commitment from SADC, the African Union and Zimbabwe’s
Lord Chidgey: It is always a privilege to follow the noble Earl, Lord
Sandwich, in his contributions to this House. I say for the record how much
I enjoyed his company and his wisdom in Sudan a couple of weeks ago. I
congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, on in his first speech to the
House. I am sure that the definitive words that he gave us will be the first
of many such contributions, to which we look forward. I also thank my noble
friend Lord Avebury for bringing the debate to us today. His contributions
over many years have always stimulated this House into making its views
known on important issues of the day.
The debate comes at a time when there are developments inside Zimbabwe that
give us some cause for pessimism, as many speakers have said. However, they
are balanced by encouraging signs of more robust engagement within the
region, which gives us slight cause for optimism, to which I shall come
Let me deal first with the threat to regional investment in Zimbabwe. The
political and economic sabre-rattling by Mugabe will do nothing to encourage
re-engagement by the international community. Conferences and initiatives to
encourage investment in Zimbabwe, such as those in Harare in the past week
or so, take place against a backdrop of a renewed threat by Mugabe, as set
out in his recent birthday speech, to seize foreign businesses in the
country. He was not talking only about EU or American investments in
Zimbabwe. As Newsday, an independent newspaper in Zimbabwe, commented:
“Hardly a week after the ministerial statement on the Bippa with Botswana,
birthday-boy President Robert Mugabe drove horses and chariots through the
positive development on the signing of the Bippa … He also made threatening
noises against South African-owned platinum miner Zimplats, accusing the
giant mining firm of squirrelling profits across the Limpopo. He said
Zimplats had ‘never given us any substantial money’”.
It is against that background that we can see that patience with Mugabe
within the SADC region is wearing somewhat thin.
As for South Africa’s approach, Mugabe’s claim that he could call snap
elections and bring an end to the power-sharing inclusive Government was
countered by Deputy President Motlanthe of South Africa. He said that, when
elections eventually take place, there will need to be international
monitoring on the same scale as happened at the end of the liberation war
when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. He said:
“There would be a need for an international presence of the same scale, to
ensure a bridge with the past”.
He said that the next elections were viewed by all parties as watershed
elections and therefore they had to prepare for them thoroughly to ensure
that there would not be any more violence and intimidation during the course
of the election campaign. As the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, mentioned, there
is now a real window of opportunity. The European Union, the Commonwealth
and UN institutions need to set in train the plans, preparations and funding
arrangements for election monitoring. To be effective, that monitoring would
need to be longer term than the normal election observer missions—both
before polling and afterwards. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell
us what we in the UK are doing to make sure that plans for such monitoring
are put in hand. What budgetary planning is there for such an intensive
programme? It will be expensive, but it will be money well spent. The recent
announcement of a 15 per cent increase in the UK aid programme to Zimbabwe,
which several noble Lords have mentioned, from £70 million to £80 million in
the next financial year, is good news and I welcome it, but what resources
are specifically set aside to ensure that a countrywide network of
international monitors can be adequately resourced in staff and
On the contributions from the AU and SADC, President Khama of Botswana has
consistently adopted a closely engaged and constructive stance on supporting
political and economic progress in Zimbabwe. It is good that others from the
region, such as Georges Chikoti, the Angolan Foreign Minister, are
demonstrating support for the democratic aspirations of the people of
I hope that this debate will help the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for
Africa to demonstrate the support that there is at Westminster and among the
people of the United Kingdom for the people of Zimbabwe. The DfID aid budget
has shown that over many years and, as I and others have said, it is still
rising. The fact that we have a large Zimbabwean diaspora living in towns
and cities throughout the UK also strengthens our ties with their families
and friends in towns and villages across Zimbabwe. I hope that Ministers
stress that financial commitment and those close personal ties when engaging
with the AU and SADC on Zimbabwe.
In mid-February, the EU announced the rollover of restrictive measures on
Zimbabwe for a further 12 months, with the arms embargo, the travel ban and
the asset freeze remaining in place, as noble Lords have mentioned. At the
time, the Foreign Secretary said:
“This rollover … reflects the fact that the economic progress that has been
made since 2008 has not been matched by progress in key political areas such
as the rule of law, democratic reforms and the creation of an environment
conducive to free and fair elections”.
I am particularly concerned that the upsurge of political violence and
intimidation that we are seeing now suggests that a pre-election
intimidation campaign is gathering momentum. Can the Minister confirm that
the United Kingdom remains committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe?
Last year, the UK gave its largest ever aid package to that country. With
free and fair elections and a reforming Government in place, is it the case
that the UK would significantly increase its aid to Zimbabwe over the next
When we here at Westminster call for a greater sense of urgency from the AU
and SADC in implementing the reforms set out in the global political
agreement, it is because we want to see no delay in efforts to improve the
lives of the millions of Zimbabweans who suffer hardship and poverty as a
result of corruption and political repression.
In this context, it is important that the vexed question of security sector
reform is tackled. It is quite possible to conceive a well run election with
a proper voters roll taking place only for the process of transition to be
thwarted by an intransigent military high command. All the indications are
that support for ZANU-PF has fallen to a very low level right across the
country, probably below 20 per cent. This poses a serious threat to senior
officers in the army, the air force, the police and the intelligence
services, who have vowed never to recognise Morgan Tsvangirai as President
of Zimbabwe even if he wins elections. According to recent reports on
ZimOnline, more than 80,000 youth militia, war veterans and soldiers will be
deployed across the country in an army-led drive to ensure victory for
Robert Mugabe in the next elections, which, according to the investigations,
look set to be the bloodiest ever witnessed in Zimbabwe.
The investigations, which include interviews with Cabinet Ministers, senior
military officers and ZANU-PF functionaries, revealed a desperate
determination by the hard-line generals to thwart Tsvangirai even if he
should somehow triumph against the planned violence. They plan to continue
to wield a de facto veto over the country’s troubled transformation process.
Serious thought, planning and financial resources must be put into reform of
these sectors. It is not an easy area to tackle, but it is futile to plough
resources into the development of Zimbabwe while the military continues to
believe that it can thwart the democratic will of the people. A military
veto of the transfer of power would not only be disastrous for Zimbabwe but
have a serious impact on future development across the whole region.
The Joint Operations Command in Zimbabwe is made up of the top military
commanders in that country. With the introduction of the inclusive
Government, the JOC was supposed to be disbanded and replaced by the
National Security Council. In fact, the JOC continues to operate as a
political high command. Unless security sector reform is tackled urgently,
the JOC poses a real threat to further progress towards reform and
democratic government in Zimbabwe. I hope that in this, as in other areas,
the Minister will be able to reassure not only this House but the people of
Zimbabwe and the region that the UK stands ready as a friend and ally to
support the aspirations of the people for political and economic progress.
Lord Crisp: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, on his
powerful introduction to this debate, which sparked many other powerful
speeches, including the remarkable maiden speech of my noble friend Lord
Dannatt. I want to speak briefly about health in Zimbabwe. Our main
discussion today is naturally about the political situation, rights and the
rule of law, but I know that noble Lords will well understand the
relationship of health in the short term and, perhaps more importantly, in
the long term to the condition of the country. The reduction in health
status that we have seen in recent years is as significant a deficit in the
country as any other problem.
A healthy population is strongly connected to the economy, to well-being, to
civil society and eventually to the rehabilitation and rebuilding of a
healthy society. There have been some improvements over the past two years,
but they follow a desperate decade of deterioration. Everywhere we can see
chronic shortages in the supply of drugs and of staff, many people having
fled the country, some of them coming here but a significant number going to
their neighbours, poor morale and—that indicator of difficulties in the
future—a reduction of and other problems in the education and training of
The result, as my noble friend Lord Sandwich said, is predictably awful.
Over the past 18 years, maternal mortality has more than doubled, from 380
deaths per 100,000 births in 1990 to 810 per 100,000 in 2008. Translated
into terms that are easier to understand, it means that one mother dies in
every 120 births. The equivalent would be a mother dying every week in St
Thomas’s Hospital across the river. These are awful figures. Over the past
15 years, life expectancy has dropped from the mid-60s to 44 years. The
health status of the country has deteriorated very quickly.
As I said, there has been some improvement over the past two years, which
can be linked to economic improvements in the country, but there is more to
do. What I want to draw attention to in my remarks is the work and role of
diaspora organisations and the many links that we have between the UK and
Zimbabwe. From time to time, I am approached by groups of Zimbabweans who
ask how civil society, as much as government, can help to support the
rehabilitation and improvement of health in the country both now and,
crucially, in the longer term.
Let me talk about one such group, Zimbabwe Health Training Support. Founded
in 2006, the group comprises health professionals who are almost all from
Zimbabwe, the others having strong links with the country although they come
from the UK. Its role is to leverage the talent of the diaspora and to
create sustainable links between this country and people in Zimbabwean
organisations in order to support improvements in health.
Currently the group is supporting 10 Zimbabwean institutions across all
parts of the country, regardless of politics, and working with organisations
such as the Zimbabwe Association of Church-related Hospitals. Zimbabwe
Health Training Support responds to need. Over the past four years it has
trained 100 midwives with partners in the UK, including the Royal College of
Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and by drawing strongly on British talent
has trained 16 people in emergency obstetrics The organisation is grateful
for the support that it gets from the UK, recognising that some element of
DfID money allocated to the country is going towards maternal and child
health, as well as towards water and sanitation improvements. The group
recognises that at the moment it can receive only a small grant from DfID to
support its work but urges the department to pay more attention to helping
it to support the training and education of future health workers in
Zimbabwe, because that is what will be vital in the years to come.
I conclude my brief remarks with two questions. First, thinking forward and
at the right time, do the Government plan to provide specific support for
rebuilding and revitalising the health sector in Zimbabwe? Secondly, in the
short term, what support will they give to diaspora organisations, such as
the one that I have talked about, which are working in the healthcare
Lord St John of Bletso: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord
Avebury, for giving us an opportunity to debate this extremely important
subject. It is vital that Zimbabwe is kept high on the political agenda. I
am also delighted that my noble friend Lord Dannatt was able to make his
maiden speech. He did not mention it, but he and his son have been very
involved in the charitable sector, particularly the protection of street
children in Sierra Leone.
While much has been achieved on the economic front since I initiated a
similar debate on Zimbabwe in June last year, sadly that cannot be matched
by developments on the political front. Rather than repeat the many
achievements of the coalition Government since the signing of the GPA, I
shall address some of my concerns about current developments in that
It is well recognised that the country has enormous potential, boasting a
comparatively highly educated workforce, a reasonable infrastructure and
huge potential for agriculture, mining and other industries. The country
also has minimal debt, with GDP growth expected to be in excess of 9 per
cent this year. However, the country will be unable to achieve its full
potential until and unless there is a clearer political road map and the
brain drain of Zimbabweans to all parts of the world can be reversed.
In the past 10 years, more than $100 billion of trade has flowed into
sub-Saharan Africa. That is 10 times the amount of trade in the previous
decade. However, trade flows into Zimbabwe have reduced by 40 per cent from
10 years ago. For Zimbabwe to achieve its much needed foreign direct
investment for infrastructure, mining and other key areas, so as to create
much needed jobs and to reduce poverty, not only does there need to be much
more political certainty but issues arising from the Indigenization and
Empowerment Act, for example, need to be resolved. The promulgation without
any consultation of the MDC of that Act, which aims to give 51 per cent of
all businesses to locals, is farcical and a major deterrent to international
inward investment into that country.
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, raised the prickly issues of Marange diamonds,
human rights violations and allegations of gross corruption. I warmly
welcome the recent demand by the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, for a
formal audit inquiry by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority into the diamond
proceeds from that area. Not surprisingly, there has been fierce resistance
to the audit from the ZMDC and others involved in Marange. I am also pleased
that an amendment has been made to the Kimberley process agreement,
insisting on more monitoring and transparency of the operations in Marange.
There have been many varying reports on exactly how much money is
unaccounted for, but I understand that it could be as much as $300 million.
Many believe that the fortunes of ZANU-PF have been revived by the proceeds
of Marange diamonds.
Time prevents me addressing today the sensitive issue of land reform and the
Lancaster House agreement. It is clear that it needs to be addressed. Sadly,
there are continuing reports of farm invasions, which have a massively
destabilising effect on the revival of the agricultural sector.
There has also been a lot of speculation about the timing of the next
election. President Zuma of South Africa as well as the SADC countries have
made it clear that they will not support an election until and unless all
the electoral conditions and the constitution have been agreed and
implemented. This will be the only chance for free and fair elections. At
the very earliest, it could be achieved by the last quarter of this year or
early next year.
There has also been a lot of speculation about the health of President
Mugabe and how long he will be able to continue in his current role. If he
dies in office, one of the Vice-Presidents is obliged by the constitution to
take over. There is growing support for Vice-President Joyce Mujuru to
succeed him. If she were to do so, she would need to call elections within
three months unless there is an agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC, as
well as Jacob Zuma, to maintain the unity Government until 2013, which is
the very last date by which elections can be held.
I am pleased that the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, raised her
concerns about the need for more freedom of speech and more freedom for the
press and the media. While Jacob Zuma managed last year to negotiate for the
establishment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Human Rights
Commission and the Zimbabwe Media Commission, these commissions appear to
have been established in name but without any muscle. Can the Minister give
an update on the envisaged powers and independence of these commissions?
Clearly the people’s revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have resulted in a
mood of paranoia in the senior hierarchy of ZANU-PF and, as many noble Lords
have mentioned, it is farcical and outrageous that 46 citizens were arrested
and charged with treason for watching a programme on the uprising in Egypt.
The coalition Government of ZANU-PF and the MDC could never be an effective
Government of national unity while the military and the police force are
controlled by ZANU-PF.
Robert Mugabe has, on several occasions, indicated his desire to engage in
more proactive negotiations with the British Government, and particularly
with the Conservative Government. Apart from the assistance of DfID, can the
Minister elaborate on what plans there are to engage with the Zimbabwe
Government of agreeing a road map for the future of the country?
Finally, can the Minister also outline the Government’s policy on the future
of sanctions in Zimbabwe? While I have always supported sanctions if they
can be seen to be effective, I am of the view that our sanctions policy
against Zimbabwe has been singularly ineffective. It has been used as a
weapon to bolster support against the West and for the poor performance of
certain parts of the economy. The likes of Emerson Mnangagwa have been
egging for an early election and supporting the anti-sanctions rallies and
the indigenisation campaign, blaming the MDC as being puppets of the West. I
am of the opinion that President Mugabe is keen for Zimbabwe to rejoin the
Commonwealth and that this incentive is more powerful than the current
sanctions policy against the country.
I know that the likelihood of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe is a pipe
dream. We live in hope.
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord
Avebury, for instigating this debate and for his continuing insights,
determination and commitment to fighting against injustice wherever and
whenever it occurs. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, on his
excellent maiden speech.
There has been a great deal of discussion today around all the issues of
concern. I contend that the best way forward for us would be to exert our
influence and raise our concerns through stronger collaboration with fellow
member states of the European Union. As Members of the House have said, we
have seen a serious escalation of violence in recent weeks and it should
alert us to the need for insisting on a radical improvement in human rights
before any election can be contemplated or take place. We need clarity in
order to oppose Mugabe’s manoeuvring to ensure that the election takes place
as early as possible for him.
The EU would want to assist with the preparation for and organisation of an
election, but of course the circumstances and the context—which includes
freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as well as other issues—need to be
right before any election observation would be worthwhile or appropriate. Of
course neither the European Union nor the Carter Center nor anyone else will
go to such an election unless they receive an invitation, which they would
also require. I think it highly unlikely that the European Union or any
international observers will receive an invitation from Mugabe, were he to
have total responsibility for it. As in 2008, we could see a very complex
situation in which only those who have no neutrality or independent thoughts
on this matter are “observing” the election.
As other noble Lords said, the security situation is likely to continue to
be deeply concerning. We have seen serious disturbances which have been
proven to have been instigated by pro-Mugabe militias trucked in for that
purpose. In addition, the police force remains partisan, and the MDC will
take the brunt of the violence that occurs. Politically motivated violence
and the lack of accountability for abuses remain serious problems. All that
we see and hear poses questions about the likelihood that anything like a
credible election will occur.
Under Article 96 of the Cotonou partnership agreement, which was agreed
between 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union,
appropriate measures have been applied to Zimbabwe to prohibit any
government-to-government co-operation. I am sure that noble Lords will agree
that any such co-operation would be totally inappropriate at this time.
Zimbabwe is also subject to other measures, including an arms embargo, a
visa ban and asset-freezing for targeted individuals and institutions.
Despite what Mugabe says, the EU remains one of the biggest donors, and the
measures in place do not affect humanitarian aid. All programmes and
projects to support public health, education, micro-projects, decentralised
co-operation, democratisation, support for human rights and the promotion of
the rule of law are still in place and funded by the European Union. A
package of €635 million is in place to assist the people of Zimbabwe. The
sum of €130 million has been allocated under the EU’s development envelope,
but funds from this envelope will be available only if progress is made on
the political dialogue instigated in 2009.
As noble Lords will be aware, the EU has removed 36 names from the visa ban
list. In the current circumstances, I trust that no further concessions will
be considered. Although there is some scepticism about sanctions, it would
seem an endorsement of Mugabe’s position to do anything else at this stage.
We should not be seen to be bending to the blackmail on sanctions which he
is endeavouring to exert on the European Union. There has to be measurable
progress on justice, human rights, violence and corruption, and very serious
efforts to address the issues of accountability and impunity.
Mugabe and ZANU-PF are pushing and pressing for elections before reforms
because Mugabe knows that reforms will improve the MDC’s election prospects.
He does not want reform because he knows that that election outcome would be
a direct effect of reform implementation. As other noble Lords said, we can
assume that it is unlikely that South Africa and SADC, the key arbiters of
the GPA, will endorse early polls. I certainly hope that that is the case.
Although there are huge tensions within the power-sharing Government, these
tensions have not received much mention this afternoon, and they are
increasing. Tendai Biti has made progress in stabilising the economy but the
economy remains fragile. This progress will not be enough without the
necessary constitutional reform and a credible election process. Twenty-four
items of dispute have been identified between the two parties, and these
items remain largely unresolved. An electoral commission and human rights
commission have been appointed but they lack adequate financing and continue
to argue about their respective remits. Critically, there is little
confidence that bodies aligned with ZANU-PF, notably the security forces,
will in any case respect anything that those commissions do. I trust that
the EU will monitor the constitutional reform process and make it clear that
such a process must be in place before any election is contemplated.
Just last week, I think, Finance Minister Tendai Biti predicted that
Zimbabwe risks experiencing a repeat of the 2008 election, in which 253
people were killed. He said:
“So yes to an election”—
not a boycott—
“but no to a bloodbath ... It’s an African challenge. What has happened in
Ivory Coast, what has happened in Kenya … is unacceptable”.
He knows that more than 80,000 militia, war veterans and soldiers are
already being deployed across Zimbabwe in order to ensure victory for
President Mugabe. This week, we have seen the response to the peaceful
International Women’s Day demonstrations. In both Bulawayo and Harare, women
were arrested, imprisoned and report being tortured. Efforts to intimidate
and silence political opponents and stifle open debate are evidenced
everywhere you look at this time—efforts which are consistently backed by
politically motivated violence. Women have memories of terrible sexual
violence in the last election and actually fear another election taking
place because of how vulnerable they will be.
Meanwhile, as reports of instability and violence continue, I was surprised
to read that at the African Union summit in Addis in January, Zimbabwe did
not feature in the discussions on crisis countries. The focus was entirely
on Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia and Tunisia. Incredibly, the AU’s commissioner
responsible for democracy and human rights said that the view was that the
situation in Zimbabwe had improved and therefore Zimbabwe was not on the AU
radar at this time. Has anyone told the African Union about the widespread
state-sponsored violence that exists in that country? Two years after the
power-sharing agreements meant to end human rights violations and restore
the rule of law in Zimbabwe, we see, sadly and tragically, that the terrible
suffering and misery goes on.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, we all owe a debt of thanks to my noble
friend Lord Avebury for returning to this issue, which the House has debated
many times in great depth and with great concern. He is right to bring our
thoughts back to it when so many other turbulent events are occurring round
the world. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, on his
excellent maiden speech. He brought his immense military experience to bear
and applied it both to this issue and to the many issues round the world
that we have to face. We all listened with the greatest interest to what he
said and look forward to hearing much more of his vast supply—his
hinterland—of expertise applied to the many issues of international affairs
which we have to deal with in the House.
I am also grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, for a number of
things that she said. I shall come back to some of them in a moment. She hit
the nail very much on the head in pointing out that the sanctions measures
that the EU are taking do not affect humanitarian aid. All the propaganda
that has been put to the contrary is of course propaganda and no more than
that. That cannot be said too strongly, and I will come back to that point a
little more in a moment.
This debate has brought out one matter that gives the Government growing
concern: the marked recent increase in politically motivated intimidation
and violence after a period of relative stability. This point was made by my
noble friend Lord Avebury, the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, and the noble
Lord, Lord Griffiths, and was amplified when the noble Baroness, Lady
Bonham-Carter, focused on the media restrictions that are also closing down
parts of Zimbabwean life instead of opening it up. There is no doubt that
the whole pattern is one of ratcheting up the pressures on the reformers and
generally closing down Zimbabwe’s society.
The particular issue to which the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, drew
attention is a very telling indicator of particular issues. First, there was
the arrest of Minister Mangoma, to which my noble friend Lord Avebury also
drew our attention. Then there was the declaration that the election of
Lovemore Moyo as Speaker is to be declared null and void. These are both
highly sinister developments, marking a significant increase in pressures.
The Government are urgently seeking further clarification, and we will have
no hesitation at all in voicing our concerns with the appropriate
interlocutors, and in every way we can. These are clear evidence of a
development that we do not like, which might herald the start of
pre-election intimidation campaigns, although there is no certainty yet
about the date of elections. Obviously, a longer timeframe would permit more
of the building blocks for free and fair elections to be put in place,
instead of all these counterpressures. If the elections take place later
this year, which is one suggestion, those attempts to build conditions for
free and fair elections will be curtailed. So our aim is to do whatever we
can to help prevent a repeat of the violence that marred the elections back
in 2008. That must be the right way forward.
We continue to work closely with our international partners in support of
the work being undertaken by SADC and the South Africans on developing a
road map towards credible and properly monitored elections. The role of SADC
as guarantors of the global political agreement will be key to the future of
Zimbabwe—a point that my noble friends Lord Sheikh and Lord Chidgey made
graphically. It is in SADC’s interests to have a neighbour that is
politically stable and economically thriving, and it has a regional mandate
to take concrete action when the UK or EU does not. We are encouraged by the
recent increased diplomatic activity in working to create an environment
conducive to holding free and fair elections, and fully support it in its
In our view, an election is the only route by which Zimbabwe will be able to
move forward sustainably. The key determinants for a credible election are
political will in Zimbabwe and the SADC region, but development assistance
can provide much needed technical expertise and funding for checks and
balances to help level the playing field. We will assess carefully any
requests made by the inclusive Government for support to a credible election
process, taking into account the changing political context and,
particularly, the anticipated South African-sponsored road map to elections
that we want to see.
Noble Lords will be aware that we have recently engaged in extensive
discussion with our EU partners over the future of our restrictive and
appropriate measures in Zimbabwe. The noble Baroness, Lady Kinnock, asked
about this point. The outcome, as stated by my right honourable friend the
Foreign Secretary in his written ministerial Statement of 16 February, a
month ago, was the right one. We have acknowledged the continuing economic
progress in Zimbabwe, but we have noted our strong concern at the lack of
equivalent political and democratic progress by keeping the measures in
place for a further 12 months. The noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso,
addressed that point. We have removed a modest number of individuals from
the target list and have left the door open by announcing our willingness to
revisit the measures in a year in response to concrete developments on the
ground, in particular in relation to creating the right environment for free
and fair elections. I hope that that meets the point that a number of your
Perhaps I might come to some specific, additional points that were raised
before I develop one or two broader themes. The important issue of diamonds
was again raised by my noble friend Lord Avebury. We call on Zimbabwe to
maintain a firm commitment to the Kimberley process and to continue to take
action to bring all mining operations in the Marange diamond fields into
compliance with the KP requirements. In that way, diamonds can contribute to
Zimbabwe’s economic development instead of distorting it in the way that
some of the proceeds appear to be doing now.
The UK remains fully committed to the Kimberley process, which is of course
an EU matter. The EU is the body representing the UK in the process. We play
an active role in and through the EU in pushing for Zimbabwean compliance
with KP minimum standards. We have persistently called for a robust EU
response to Zimbabwe's failure to comply with the aspects of the joint work
plan agreed at the 2009 Kimberley process plenary. That plan clearly sets
out the improvements that Zimbabwe needs to make to ensure compliance with
the Kimberley process minimum standards, so that is the position and the
stand we have taken. Exports of diamonds cannot take place from Marange
until resolution of the KP negotiations with Zimbabwe and we will go on
fighting for a robust solution on that matter.
I wanted a word on the interesting theme that my noble friend Lord Sheikh
touched upon: the role of the Chinese. Their role throughout Africa, and
indeed throughout the Indian Ocean area, is a matter of great interest. Some
people have mixed feelings on the involvement of China—even in north Africa,
as we have seen in recent days—but we think China has an important role to
play in the growth and development of Africa. There has been progress where
there has been infrastructure development as a result of China’s financing.
That can only be for the good.
However, we think it vital that donors such as China are open about their
investments and make it clear what they are spending and what the results
will be. That empowers people to hold Governments to account and ensures
that donors can co-ordinate their work effectively and avoid building up
contingent liabilities, which may be difficult for future Governments to
meet. We have no evidence that China is willing to commit, as one report
suggested, $10 billion to development in Zimbabwe. That was a press report
which we cannot confirm, but it could be that Chinese authorities will come
to understand that a stance of saying, “We’re involved commercially but have
no interest in political developments”, is not possible. They, as they have
perhaps found out in Libya, find themselves drawn into the political process
as well. That is an interesting and important theme to which this House will
no doubt return its attention.
My noble friend Lord Sheikh also mentioned the Commonwealth. I am one of the
strong believers—hopers is perhaps the word—that the Commonwealth can, in
due course and at the right stage, play a valuable and leading part along
with SADC in the recovery of that great country, Zimbabwe. I hope so. I do
not think we are yet at that point but we want to get there and, when it
comes, there can be a very constructive role for Commonwealth leaders. I
hope that this will be discussed at the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, at the end of October.
The noble Lord, Lord Crisp, made an interesting contribution on health
aspects. Our observation is that the whole health service structure in
Zimbabwe is close to collapse. DfID has provided critical health sector
support to tackle the staffing crisis, provide essential medicines and
address HIV/AIDS. We will continue to support this in future with a
particular focus on reducing maternal mortality rates, which I think the
noble Lord specifically referred to.
I am advised that DfID has funding mechanisms to support civil society and
diaspora groups in Africa, and I invite Zimbabwe Health Training Support to
contact DfID to see whether it would be eligible to access these mechanisms.
I shall say a further word about the European Union, to which the noble
Baroness, Lady Kinnock, made several references. I have already said that
our rollover to the package of measures as a whole recognises the huge
shortfalls in matching progress with political reform. There has been some
progress, particularly on the economic side, but on the political side there
is a long way to go. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said
in his Written Ministerial Statement the other day that we, along with the
EU, have emphasised that we are willing to revisit the measures should there
be concrete developments on the ground. I think that that covers a number of
the specific questions. If I have not covered them all, I will write to
noble Lords about them.
I shall summarise how we see the situation. This debate has been enormously
valuable in reminding the wider world—I hope that it will get noticed
outside—that human rights abuses, cruelties and brutalities continue. This
is not a country that is quietly improving; a vicious regime is still at
work and anti-freedom and anti-democracy measures are growing, as is
personal brutality of the kind so vividly described by the right reverend
Prelate the Bishop of Bath and Wells. That is an unpleasant and worrying
We note, as the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, rightly noted, the
remarkable economic progress since the formation of the inclusive
Government, and we will continue to support those who are driving that
reform. I repeat, however, that we share the strong concern at the lack of
real inclusivity in that Government when we consider the lack of progress on
the real sharing of power. There has been a bit of opening up regarding the
written media, although I was struck by what the noble Baroness, Lady
Bonham-Carter, had to say, and the constitutional review process has helped
a little to open up the democratic space. However, that window, which we
hoped would open wider, now appears to be closing in anticipation of the
right of people to give their verdict on the Government’s progress.
Your Lordships have rightly focused in this debate on the need for the next
elections in Zimbabwe to be freer and fairer than those of 2008, and have
stressed the need for effective observation and monitoring, including by the
UK, the EU and, as I have suggested, the Commonwealth. In fact, I think that
the Commonwealth can play a significant part in that aspect too. That is
what we want to see, but it is not within our gift. Observers have to be
invited by the host Government, and it is not inconceivable that objections
might be raised on the grounds of perceived political bias. That is why the
role of SADC is key; it has the mandate for ensuring full implementation of
the global political agreement, and we will continue to give it our full
support as it works to create an environment conducive to credible
This afternoon we have heard expressed, again and again, concern about human
rights abuses. I have said that we share that fully, and we urge the
Government and police in Zimbabwe to act impartially in punishing
perpetrators. Whether our urgings are heard is in question, of course, given
the pattern of events. We urge the Government and the authorities to respect
the rule of law, whether it applies to the freedom to express political
views or to freely enjoy property rights, whether to a farm or to a
business. Respect for the rule of law will be the crucial condition if
Zimbabwe hopes to attract concrete investment from many businesses now
expressing an interest in the country. The potential is there, as the noble
Lord, Lord St John, reminded us, and investment is ready to go into Africa.
The recovery of Africa and its advance into the pattern of emerging powers
and nations is one of the heartening trends of our time, but it does not
apply in Zimbabwe yet.
In this context, Mugabe’s recent threats to nationalise British companies
are utterly irresponsible and counterproductive. We are in contact with
British companies, and have offered those who might be affected whatever
support we can. In a similar vein, we also urge the Government of Zimbabwe
to maintain a firm commitment to the Kimberley process, which I and my noble
friend Lord Avebury mentioned, and to bring all mining operations in the
Marange fields into compliance so that diamonds may benefit the people of
Zimbabwe rather than just a small, corrupt clique.
In the mean time, we will continue our support to the ordinary people of
Zimbabwe. As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for
International Development, Andrew Mitchell, recently announced in another
place, we are prepared to increase our aid substantially over the next four
years in response—and this is important; it is the condition—to credible
elections and the creation of a reforming government in Zimbabwe.
I am grateful to all those who have spoken for their lively and informed
contributions to this debate. It is important that we have these debates,
and I am particularly grateful to my noble friend Lord Avebury, as I said.
The Government share the goal expressed by your Lordships of a better, more
prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. There is sadly a long way to go on the
political side, but I believe—as we all do—that it is a brilliant country, a
potentially prosperous and admirable country that could rise again from its
dark period and escape the grip of a once trusted man who has sadly been
transmogrified into a twisted tyrant. That day, for Zimbabwe, will come.
Lord Avebury: My Lords, it only remains for me to congratulate, as all your
Lordships have done, the noble Lord, Lord Dannatt, on his brilliant maiden
speech based on 40 years of experience, much of which was concerned with the
rights of people and how they obtain them. He gave several examples from
Northern Ireland and more came from East Timor where, ultimately, the people
were successful. The same can happen in Zimbabwe. We hope to hear from the
noble Lord again, not only on this subject but on the many other conflicts
that plague the world.
I also thank my noble friend the Minister for giving his usual thorough and
careful reply to the many speeches that your Lordships have made. I endorse
the picture that has been presented almost unanimously of a state of affairs
where there is an increasing degree of violence, which stems from the top.
It comes from ZANU-PF, and not only from the militias but from the security
forces of the state which they control. If one message comes out from this
debate, it is that we must insist on security sector reform as one of the
earliest things that you do before you get to the rest of the conditions
that are laid down in the GPA, such as the rights to freedom of expression
and assembly mentioned by my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter.
It is horrifying to think—as my noble friend Lord Chidgey and the noble
Baroness, Lady Kinnock, said—that they are already deploying tens of
thousands of militia all over the country in preparation for attacks on the
MDC and disruption of the preparations that the opposition are making for
the election. Once this process is on site and working, we can never expect
people to be able to cast their vote in a free and fair election. I, too,
join the Minister in hoping that what your Lordships have said this
afternoon will gain a wider audience.
I make the more general point that we as a country need to ensure that the
people of Zimbabwe know that we are definitely committed to a much higher
level of aid over the years—the Minister mentioned this—which is conditional
on the performance of the undertakings which the parties have already
agreed. All they have to do is to go forward on that basis and large amounts
of help will come, certainly from Britain, and from the European Union and
the United States. Zimbabwe can look forward to a rosy future not only with
the aid that she will get from the rest of the world but with the
regularisation of the sale of Marange diamonds. I am not so sure that I
share my noble friend’s optimism on this because the Minister of Mines has
ruled out any commitment by Zimbabwe to taking part in the KP. That is a
separate issue which will have to be tackled very seriously by those who are
in charge, including the EU chair of the monitoring process.
However, faint signs of hope have been identified. The parties have agreed
to enter the timed programme for implementation of the GPA. We shall know in
a few weeks whether it is possible for progress to be made that will enable
the European Union and other friends of Zimbabwe to play a much larger role
in promoting and arriving at the democratic elections that they all want to
see. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 March, 2011
It has been understood for some time that Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) and the military intelligence are running Robert Mugabe’s
election campaign. The campaign is headed by Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena.
According to the Zimbabwean newspaper, Muchena has now resigned from the
airforce, to be involved full time in the campaign. He will be helped by
former intelligence director Sydney Nyanhongo.
The paper quotes ‘authoritative official sources’ who confirmed the
existence of an “election command team” that is directing Mugabe’s bid for
re-election. They said the team gets daily briefings from intelligence
squads and has hundreds of military officers spread around the country.
A source told the paper there were “sharp differences” within ZANU PF,
regarding a strategy for Mugabe’s re-election bid. The source is quoted as
saying: "The party is simply implementing the strategy drafted by the
command team. The process is moving swiftly".
No other officials running the command team were named. The Zimbabwean said
the majority of them, including politburo member and former information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, are deliberately keeping a low profile.
By Alex Bell
11 March 2011
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has admitted that the unity government is
not working, referring to it as a marriage that has reached “irreconcilable
The MDC called a news conference in Harare on Thursday, after the arrest of
party MP and Cabinet Minister Elton Mangoma. Tsvangirai spoke about the
recent arrests and intimidation at the hands of ZANU PF and said: “We have
reached a moment where we are saying, let's agree that this is not working,
it's dysfunctional.” He added: “What has rendered this government impotent
is the actions of the other party; violence, arrests, the total disregard of
the provisions of Global Political Agreement.”
“If people find that a marriage has reached irreconcilable differences, they
agree to a divorce,” Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai said all the parties in the coalition government should agree
that elections must be held, according to the roadmap set out by regional
facilitator, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma. He said this was the only way to
find “a legitimate and credible conclusion to this confusion.”
Analysts have warned that the MDC should not pull out of the government
until elections are held, because this could be exactly what ZANU PF would
like. ZANU PF has made it clear it has no interest in being equal partners
in the government and appears to be doing everything it can to push the MDC
out of the unity arrangement. Political analyst Clifford Mashiri said on
Friday that “the collapse of Zimbabwe’s government of national unity would
be a resounding victory for ZANU PF as the vacuum will be replaced by chaos
“Although the Prime Minister’s threat of a ‘divorce’ between MDC and ZANU PF
is understandable, it’s not in the country’s national interest for the
coalition government to collapse,” Mashiri said.
He added: “Mugabe will definitely call a snap election if the government
collapses. The MDC needs to ride this out now and ensure that elections
under a proper roadmap are held.”
But he added that a regional roadmap as proposed by South Africa’s President
Zuma was not the way forward, because he and the rest of the Southern
African region have failed to facilitate meaningful change in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe’s civil society should approach the United Nations for an
alternative mediator and a viable roadmap for free and fair elections.
Similarly, the United Nations must be involved in peacekeeping and
monitoring of the elections, if Zimbabwean political parties are serious
about free and fair elections,” Mashiri said.
Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:39pm GMT
* Mines comfortable selling 26 pct stakes to locals
* Unity government divided over mine ownership plans
* Gold production seen up 45 percent in 2011
By Alfonce Mbizwo
HARARE, March 11 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's mining companies would be
comfortable with selling stakes of 26 percent to local owners under a
government plan that aims to eventually transfer majority control, the head
of the mining chamber said on Friday.
A minister from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said on Wednesday
that Zimbabwe would set up a sovereign fund to own 51 percent of mines, but
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said a day later cabinet had not adopted
The government has established committees to come up with ownership levels
for different sectors.
"The sector committee on indigenisation in mining recommended a threshold of
26 percent, which is what the chamber is comfortable with," Victor Gapare,
the Chamber of Mines president, told Reuters on Friday.
Analysts said impoverished Zimbabwe does not have the money to buy
controlling stakes through the sovereign wealth fund but is likely to use
the threat to force global mining giants to the table so the country with
the world's second-largest platinum reserves can receive more money from its
Youth and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said this week
guidelines on local mine ownership would be published on Friday and take
effect within a week. [ID:nLDE7280NL]
The move is likely to discourage foreign investment and could hit foreign
miners including Anglo Platinum (AMSJ.J: Quote) and Impala Platinum (IMPJ.J:
Quote), the world's largest and second-largest platinum producers, and Rio
Tinto (RIO.L: Quote) (RIO.AX: Quote), which runs a diamond mine in the
The empowerment drive has split the unity government formed by Mugabe and
Tsvangirai in 2009, as Mugabe's ZANU-PF vigorously pursues a take-over
foreign companies while Tsvangirai's MDC is urging restrain, fearing this
could cause economic chaos.
"Government must stop flip-flopping on this issue and come clean once and
for all," Gapare said.
Gapare also said increased funding for gold mining companies would help
increase production to 14 tonnes this year, up from 9.6 tonnes in 2010. He
said the mining industry would need $7 billion in investment to fully
recover in the next three years.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 March, 2011
The ZANU PF crackdown against the MDC and political activists in Zimbabwe
intensified this week, leading to a statement of concern from foreign envoys
in the country. On Friday ambassadors from eight nations appealed to the
unity government and the political parties to “respect the spirit and the
letter of the GPA”.
The envoys said they were “concerned by increasing evidence in recent weeks
of what appears to be politically motivated intimidation and violence”. They
“encouraged” the government to use mechanisms such as the Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) to deter violence.
The envoys appealed to the security forces, the Attorney General and the
judiciary, in their role as protectors of fundamental freedoms, to
“contribute to a positive environment and to discharge their duties in an
impartial and non-political way”.
The appeal was signed by envoys from Canada, Denmark, Australia, Germany,
France, Austria, the Czech Republic and the European Union. As usual they
stopped short of naming ZANU PF or Robert Mugabe directly.
Professor Ken Mufuka, a Zimbabwean activist in America, told SW Radio Africa
that the envoys’ appeal had significance because it puts international
pressure on the authorities in Harare. But he said they should have named
Mugabe and ZANU PF as the perpetrators, because the history of abuses has
gone on too long.
The envoys called on the government to “engage decisively” with the SADC
region and their appointed facilitator, President Zuma of South Africa, to
agree on a roadmap that can ensure credible and democratic elections, in
line with SADC Principles and Guidelines.
Professor Mufuka agreed with that strategy and added: “We know that South
Africa supports the current government in Zimbabwe. But the E.U. and U.S.
also have a duty to pressure President Zuma and SADC to take action against
ZANU PF. Dictators do not listen to subtleties and innuendos.”
The MDC has also been criticized by some observers, who said they are not
confronting ZANU PF and the guarantors of the GPA, SADC, in a forceful
Bulawayo, March 11,2011- Bulawayo Regional Magistrate John Masimba on Friday
dismissed refusal of remand application by the Mthwakazi Liberation Front
(MLF) leaders saying they have a case to answer.
MLF senior executive members Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Gumbo were
arrested last week Friday and are facing treason charges after they were
found distributing party pamphlets.
However a refusal remand hearing kicked off on Tuesday before Magistrate
Masimba and on Friday he dismissed the application by the three leaders
saying they had a case to answer.
“After I have gone through the evidence submitted by both the state and
the defence, I have no doubt that the accused are senior members of MLF
and were found in possession of pamphlets carrying messages which incite
members of the public to rise against the government.
“The accused have a case to answer therefore I dismiss the application for
refusal of remand by the defence,”said Masimba.
Speaking to Radio VOP after the ruling MLF leaders’ lawyer Advocate Lucas
Nkomo said he would challenge the magistrate ‘s ruling in the High Court.
"We differ with the magistrate’s findings ,the issue here is not about
the pamphlets but about the meeting which the state said my clients
held on 1 March. Anywhere we are going to the High Court,” said Nkomo.
The three MLF leaders who were clad in prison garb were remanded in custody
to 25 March and sent back to Khami Maximum Remand prison.
The militant and radical MLF was launched in January this year and is
advocating for the independence of the Matabeleland region located in the
southern part of Zimbabwe saying the Ndebele speaking people of have been
marginalised by the government for too long and also face discrimination
every day at work places and tertiary institutions.
The call for Matabeleland secession from Zimbabwe appeared to have been
encouraged by events in South Sudan where people there voted overwhelmingly
to break away from mainland Sudan in a referendum.
Mwenezi, March 11, 2011 - About five families in Neshuro lost their homes on
Wednesday after they were set alight by rowdy Zanu (PF) youths and
boisterous war veterans who accused them of snubbing an anti-sanction
petition meeting held over the weekend, as political violence surge in
Some of the victims told Radio VOP that their lives had been ruined and they
had no idea where to go since the youths had been given a go ahead by
traditional leaders to evict them.
“About 50 Zanu (PF) youths and war veterans thronged my homestead at around
3am singing revolutionary songs and woke me up together with my family,"
said Elliot Chauke. "When I got out I was ordered to sit down and got beaten
briefly while they accused me of snubbing a meeting to teach villagers about
the importance of the anti-sanctions petition.’’
He added that they then told him that the punishment for his offense was to
get his huts torched. The war vets he said did not allow him to remove his
property and other important documents in the houses that were eventually
reduced to ashes.
Another victim, Lucia Matshilela, said she lost property over US$20 000 she
had just bought after auctioning part of her herd as she was into a cattle
“I had just bought new furniture for my family, clothes and other things
after selling some beasts from my cattle ranching programme that I have been
doing over the past few years. They accused me of being a sell out because I
didn’t attend a meeting that was held at Neshuro growth point where
villagers were told about the sanctions petition. I was not aware of the
meeting,” she said.
The victims said they had reported the matter to the police but no arrests
has been made.
Police spokesperson, Tinaye Matake said: “I can’t comment on that because I
have not received anything from Mwenezi.”
By Lance Guma
11 March 2011
On Thursday the 10th March Prime Minister Tsvangirai was meant to be
celebrating his 59th birthday. Unknown to him Mugabe left the day before for
a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council, but not before
laying several political and legal landmines to explode on Tsvangirai’s
It started with three low ranking police constables arresting Energy
Minister Elton Mangoma on dubious corruption charges. Mangoma is an MDC-T MP
who was one of the chief negotiators to the power sharing deal.
Instead of taking time off to celebrate his birthday Tsvangirai had to
convene a press conference where he blasted the arrest of his key ally and
the many other arrests. “Mangoma, just like Mwonzora, (MDC-T MP) Munyaradzi
Gwisai and Rodgers Tazviona (MDC-T MP) are all innocent victims of a
barbaric and senseless dictatorship,’ he said.
At the Supreme Court, a few buildings away from the MDC-T headquarters where
Tsvangirai’s press conference was held, Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku and his bench of Mugabe sympathizers, were to strike another
hammer blow for the MDC-T. They nullified the August 2008 election of the
MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament.
That same Supreme Court managed to confuse everybody by also announcing that
the MDC-T Treasurer General Roy Bennett had been fully acquitted of
terrorism and banditry charges, throwing out an appeal by the state
challenging Bennett’s acquittal by the High Court.
Analysts say Bennett’s acquittal was meant to divert attention from the
evident bias of a Supreme Court packed with judges who have received farms
and other bribes. The only judge on the bench who refused to take a farm is
Justice Wilson Sandura and it was no coincidence he is the only one who
opposed the decision to strike down the election of the speaker of
The arrest and detention of at least 5 MDC-T MP’s has given credence to
speculation that ZANU PF wants another election for speaker of parliament,
with MDC-T numbers reduced. Although two of them, Douglas Mwonzora (Nyanga
North) and Shepherd Mushonga (Mazowe Central), have been released three
still remain in police custody.
Another two MDC-T MP’s are said to be suspended from parliament, having
received court convictions on trumped up charges. There are several MP’s
from all three political parties who have also passed away.
Written by Tony Saxon
Friday, 11 March 2011 17:51
HARARE - The Zanu (PF) wing of the government announced that it is going to
start another fast track implementation of the so-called Wildlife-Based Land
According to the state controlled Herald newspaper, 59 people are set to
benefit from the fast track exercise or share with previous white owners.
Areas where the reforms are set to take place are Masvingo where 21 people
have been allocated leases, and the Midlands and Matebeleland regions.
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general, Vitalis Chadenga,
said: "Implementation of Wildlife-Based Land Reform remained one of the
unfinished businesses of the country's land reform programme. The policy has
been on our shelves for more than five years and for a variety of reasons,
its implementation had remained elusive”.
There are genuine fears that grabbing conservancies which are already under
siege from poachers would further cripple the sector that was one of the
major tourist attractions in the country. – Tony Saxon
By Rob Sharp and Daniel Howden
Friday, 11 March 2011
Every year, the Venice Biennale announces a raft of new countries due to
exhibit at the event, the most famous artistic showcase in the world.
Previous years have seen the Vatican, the United Arab Emirates, and even
Peckham, make their debuts. Today’s announcement of unlikely debutantes
beats them all. It represents an unprecedented detente between two countries
whose governments have seldom seen eye to eye.
Zimbabwe, in partnership with the British Council, along with artistic
institutions in France and Monaco, is set to exhibit work by four Zimbabwean
artists at the biennale from June. It is the first time a sub-Saharan nation
has been exhibited, and a rare appearance for an African nation. It is a
dramatic coup for the beleaguered nation, where those exhibiting work
critical of Robert Mugabe’s regime face extended prison terms.
“We are going to be part of the biennale like any other country,” said the
Zimbabwean National Gallery’s Raphael Chikukwa, who will curate the
exhibition. “Previously the whole of Africa has been boxed together in a
single pavilion. But why isn’t there a European pavilion? Individual
European countries are represented. So we have the chance to finally
showcase Zimbabwe as a sovereign nation.”
The pavilion will be headlined “Seeing Ourselves” and will occupy part of
the Church of Santa Maria Della Pieta in central Venice.
Artists to be represented will be video artist Berry Bickle, sculptor
Tapfuma Gutsa, photographer Calvin Dondo and painter Misheck Masamvu. They
plan to explore issues such as Zimbabwean emigration, Zimbabwe’s role in the
Second World War, and farming rights in Venice. None of their work is
critical of the current Zimbabwean government.
Their treatment contrasts starkly with that of artists back home. In
Zimbabwe, another artist, Owen Maseko, is facing 20 years in prison for
exhibiting paintings critical of Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, last
Maseko’s paintings examined government-led massacres in western Zimbabwe
during the 1980s. It was closed by government officials after one day.
Afterwards, Maseko was taken to prison in leg irons and held for four days,
during which time he was interrogated in 12-hour stretches.
"There are many contradictions in today's Zimbabwe and this is one of them,"
Zimbabwe's Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart told
The Independent. "There is certainly not clear freedom of expression in
Zimbabwe but as I understand that the artists going to Venice are genuine
independent artists. We have to use every means we can of interacting with
the international community."
Maseko said he had no objection to the other artists going to Venice but
warned that self censorship was holding back Zimbabweans who were living in
fear after his arrest.
"Right now the political situation in Zimbabwe is unstable and that would be
used artists' work. But self censorship is an issue. My arrest put a lot of
fear into our artists, they are scared."
Maseko's exhibition in Bulawayo is still closed and treated as a crime
scene. If he should lose his court battle with authorities he said he faces
up to 20 years in prison.
Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, 11 March 2011 18:44
HARARE - Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has called for an
investigation into the suitability of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana to
remain in office, in addition to having him prosecuted where it is shown
that he has abused his powers.
Tomana is no stranger to controversy - as his appointment was mired in
acrimony with two of the three parties to the Government of National Unity
contending that they were not consulted.
In the past, he has been accused of being partisan in the manner in which he
discharges his duties. But the TIZ report examines his conduct in cases that
are not political per se.
It says the evidence demonstrates clearly that Tomana has violated and even
abused the terms of his office to assist certain individuals, some of whom
are his acquaintances, to escape criminal liability.
The TIZ report says that the four individuals whose cases it has studied
were accused of engaging in actions that caused financial prejudice either
directly to the Government or to parastatals. In the case of one, the court
papers filed by the State during her prosecution alleged that her corruption
had resulted in the loss of life.
The cases analysed in the report are not exhaustive but have been chosen as
samples for no other reason than that they are in the public domain and
therefore easy to access. Anecdotal evidence noted in the report from the
police and prosecutors points to rampant abuse of power by the AG’s Office
on numerous other cases, a large number of which are not in the public
“The abuse is not limited to stopping prosecutions where the facts and the
law demand that there be a prosecution, but includes the prosecution of
persons where the facts and the law do not justify a prosecution. A public
inquiry would help unearth even those cases that are covered up before they
are made public,” says TIZ.
Good evening Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of my wife, Heather, my party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
and indeed the people of Zimbabwe, I thank you for the opportunity of
talking to you this evening.
The continuing trials and tribulations of Zimbabwe, I am sure, feel far
away, and utterly disconnected from this beautiful city of Cape Town, and
from your conference deliberations. I trust that you have enjoyed your visit
and that the conference has been successful.
I hope my short address will help reinforce the inescapable reality that
when citizens are abused, ignored and downtrodden by despotic regimes, they
will ultimately seize centre stage in their quest for justice and meaningful
participation in Government. This is a universal phenomenon. It is a
phenomenon that is playing out dramatically in Libya, but is underway in
dozens of countries.
I doubt whether the idealistic and incredible entrepreneurial founders of
Apple, and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter,
could have believed that their company creations and respective technologies
would become some of the best weapons available for the defeat of tyrants!
But we must not digress along this train of thought. Instead, I ask you all
to bear with me as I briefly explain how I— a simple White African
farmer—have become the target that I am for Mugabe’s racist ZANU-PF.
I am biased, no doubt, but Charleswood Estate is probably the most beautiful
farm I have ever seen. Buried deep in the Chimanimani Mountains in Eastern
Manicaland, its splendour and impact on me has been as profound as the
rolling hills of Ixopo in Kwa-Zulu Natal were upon the late Alan Paton in
his memorable novel, ‘Cry the Beloved Country’. Charleswood was a coffee
estate, belonging to Lonrho. It was out on a limb, run down and in
disrepair. Having been so struck with its magnificence—and the commercial
opportunities it offered—I faced a crossroads, a turning point in my family’s
life. A comfortable life of tobacco farming in northern Zimbabwe had to be
exchanged for a new journey into the remote Chimanimani Mountains.
I am a son of Zimbabwe. I speak Shona fluently. I am continually and deeply
humbled by the spontaneous generosity and innate decency of most ordinary
Zimbabweans. Before moving to Charleswood, and out of respect for local
culture and community hierarchy, I met with the region’s tribal leaders to
discuss my plans for the rejuvenation of Charleswood. Charleswood is divided
by the Zhunguniu River. To the north lies the Chikukwa Communal Lands and to
the south the Ngorma Communal Lands. It is with the two chiefs of these
areas that I met and, in a traditional way, made representation that I would
like to purchase Charleswood. Ancestrally, the land was theirs and I could
only have it once I had their endorsement, acceptance and approval. I needed
to follow certain cultural and traditional practices: the respective Chiefs
came to Charleswood and carried out ceremonies on three separate
occasions—traditional beer was brewed, livestock was slaughtered, and for
three days at a time ancestors were consulted until approval, endorsement
and acceptance was conveyed to me.
I fervently wished to kick-start a vertically integrated coffee industry,
and in so doing act as the catalyst for a commercially sustainable agro
industry—one that would be good for me and for a desperately poor community.
My life, Heather’s life, and those of our two children, have been completely
turned on their heads by the whole-hearted acceptance and steadfast
affection of the Chimanimani people. What an incredibly brave, principled
community. I was privileged to represent them in Parliament on behalf of the
MDC, before being jailed and expelled from the House of Assembly.
You see, ladies and gentleman, once our farming enterprise gathered
momentum—with the community participating on the basis of an agreement we
negotiated during our initial discussions— the people of Chimanimani
subsequently took deep offence to ZANU-PF rejecting me as their local
candidate in the 2000 parliamentary elections. (Not that I asked to embark
on a career as a politician. I can think of nothing worse, let me tell you!)
However, the Chimanimani tribal elders, after being rebuffed by ZANU-PF,
dragged me to Harare to meet Morgan Tsvangirai, the recently elected leader
of the newly-formed MDC. While offended by ZANU’s arrogance, the elders were
not surprised—they had expected me to be rejected and had made contingency
plans. Morgan welcomed me and the people of Chimanimani into the arms of the
party. To say that my family’s life has been a roller coaster ride since
then is obviously one hell of an understatement! But the people of
Chimanimani, Manicaland and Zimbabwe are my daily inspiration.
The racist refusal by ZANU-PF to permit my nomination,followed by that party’s
rejection by the voters of Chimanimani and by the people of Manicaland, was
ground breaking in Zimbabwean politics. It’s like the ANC facing defeat in
the Eastern Cape, or Labour losing Scotland to the Tories!
Nearly a decade later, in 2008, MDC again won another skewed election—we won
it by a wide margin. Don’t for one minute believe the results presented by
MUGABE’S fraudulent polling officers, more than one month after the event .
The MDC won twenty-two of the twenty-eight seats in Manicaland. Indeed,
since 2000, my life has been enriched in one sense, knowing that the rural
people of Manicaland have stayed strong, solidly supporting MDC through
thick and thin. For its part, ZANU-PF knows it has lost all credibility in
Manicaland and across the nation. Our party’s urban support base is now
replicated in rural areas the length and breadth of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe’s
recent pathetic appeal to the people of Manicaland, to return to the arms of
ZANU-PF, gave me great comfort and satisfaction. People power, symbolised
and embodied by the people of remote Chimanimani, will win through, however
long it takes. In my own round-about way, I feel I am getting us back to
Libya, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Egypt, which is where I began my address.
Recent developments in these countries have highlighted and stripped bare
the duplicity and hypocrisy of many of our Western friends, as individual
countries and companies are shown to have abandoned principle and decency
for relative short-term gain. That they now claim to be on the side of the
people is grossly and glaringly cynical. The lessons for us all, and for
those businesses you invest in, is that widespread social community
acceptance is the fundamental prerequisite for sustainable long-term
investment in Africa—be it in Egypt, South Africa, Zambia or Zimbabwe—or,
for that matter, anywhere in the world.
Zimbabwe offers some of Africa’s most promising natural resources investment
opportunities. Impala Platinum, Anglo American and Rio Tinto, and a host of
other companies, are currently reviewing and expanding their investment
portfolios there. Against this positive scenario are Mugabe’s threats and
bluster relating to so-called ‘indigenisation’. These threats amount to no
more than the ZANU-PF equivalent of a 1920’s-style Chicago Mob shakedown.
This destructive and counterproductive strategy is a blatant ploy to enrich
a politically corrupt elite—an elite rejected by the people. It goes without
saying that any process of enriching individuals or companies connected to
this infamous criminal syndicate WILL be nullified once the MDC are in
power. And those who think they can hedge their bets by building bridges
with certain corrupt opportunists who have attached themselves to MDC are
seriously underestimating the determination and anger of the majority.
Zimbabwe’s wonderful investment opportunities favour the brave. Ethical
Investments made through Zimbabwe’s Inclusive Government—and which meet the
requirements of legality and transparency—need not fall foul of political
skulduggery in the long term. Such investments can stand the test of time
and will be restored by an MDC government if they are violated in the
A word of advice, though. Why is it that local communities—not only in
Zimbabwe, but also in South Africa, Congo, Zambia and so on—communities
which are adjacent to mining developments, are not properly incorporated
into structured entities as ‘indigenous partners’? There are such obvious
long term advantages to be derived from local community acceptance. In South
Africa, the Royal Bafokeng example, goes some way to address this issue
However, my personal relationship with the people of Chimanimani on our
collective social agricultural experiment provides powerful evidence of the
strength and value of community loyalty; it shows clearly the benefit of
genuine local participation.
We in the MDC wish to see transparent, simple community funding as an anchor
and pillar of natural resources exploitation. We do not wish to see a
replication of the South African example as a model for our empowerment
requirements—one where, in nearly every case, the enrichment of ruling party
members has occurred at the expense of poor communities. Rio Tinto and
Impala Platinum are embarking on new investments in Zimbabwe. Shareholders
in these companies must now insist that they reflect the demands of this
rapidly evolving new world order; they must incorporate genuinely
broad-based community equity participation. It is simply unacceptable for
politicians, whether ZANU-PF or MDC, to throw their hats into the ring and
emerge with significant stakes in companies in the midst of such poverty.
The anger of the people of Egypt directed at all the symbols of enrichment
by Mubarak’s family and cronies should be heeded by us in Southern Africa.
In the Zimbabwean context, there is a need for reflection by major mining
houses. Some of these institutions must come to terms with their
unacceptable complicity in Mugabe’s blackmail. This is a story that cannot
be left untold. There is no excuse for Impala Platinum, in an effort to
placate ZANU-PF and Mugabe, to again offer the state mining rights in
ZIMPLATS, a subsidiary it already owns and controls. These assets belong to
Impala Shareholders! There is no excuse for Anglo Platinum to have ceded a
huge chunk of its ground just before the 2008 elections—ground that was
quickly sold on by a desperate and cash-poor ZANU (PF) at a $100 million
profit. Shareholders need to demand from management that these rights be
properly valued and retained—and not surrendered for the benefit of a
blood-thirsty coterie of gangsters. Face the regime down or force them into
open and into outright theft. Please don’t legitimise extortion at the
expense of the people. Better to lose what you have and regain it later than
to sleep with a serial rapist and killer. If you do so, remember that he
will not only beat and murder the neighbours, he will turn on YOU in due
course and you will be pitied by no-one. You cannot squeal if you have been
When it comes to engagement, management in companies like Impala Platinum
need to initiate a structure for local community participation and for the
national benefit which is endorsed by all stakeholders, including the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. As far as I know, ZCTU have not been
invited in to invest in any shape or form. We in the MDC view the success of
investment companies in South Africa aligned to trade unions as an
entrenchment of democracy in the workplace.
You are a very influential gathering of asset managers, investment
companies, private equity and venture capitalists. If you so choose, you can
insist that your investments in Southern African natural resources are
always directed toward companies where social responsibility principles,
which most of us share, are at the heart of empowerment initiatives. The
unscrupulous will tell us ‘Business is Business’. For them, the pursuit of
profit seems to outweigh the human rights and benefits which ordinary
citizens should enjoy.
To illustrate my criticism of the pursuit of ill-advised opportunism, we
need to look no further than the sad and seedy role of Old Mutual in the
illicit diamond mining that is occurring in the Marange diamond fields of
Manicaland. These fields are controlled by the military junta and were
attained over the dead bodies of hundreds of impoverished Zimbabweans. This
unacceptable example of corporate greed and willful negligence cannot be
swept under the carpet any longer. For a respected London-listed financial
services company to continue its investment and shareholding in a joint
venture with a disreputable scrap metal merchant and—wait for this—an
infamous confidante of Robert and Grace Mugabe is simply unbelievable! It is
brazen. It is reprehensible and obscene. The company has said (and I quote):
“Old Mutual would like to point out that [its] ... engagement post-dated any
reported wrongdoing in the mining area. As a result, Old Mutual is most
certainly not associated with activities which contravenes the human rights
of citizens.” This is cant and obfuscation, a blowing of smoke and hot air.
As MDC, we have urged Old Mutual—quietly behind closed doors—to quit their
blood-stained investment. The company has not listened, so we now air our
greivences publicly. Old Mutual and its partners have benefited from the
daylight robbery of mining rights and from massacres by the army and air
force of Zimbabwe. In a well-documented orgy of violence, helicopter
gunships mowed down civilians in cold blood, ‘clearing the decks’ for the
junta’s illegal mining activities.
The opportunity exists for us to use international celebrities from
Hollywood and members of the media to mount a Zimbabwean blood diamonds
campaign. We warned Old Mutual of the danger of substantial contagion to
their share price should this campaign get underway.
The shame for Old Mutual is compounded by the fact that the proceeds from
the sales of these Blood Diamonds are being used by ZANU-PF to unleash
another bout of political violence on ordinary Zimbabweans. The
International Red Cross are currently feeding starving residents from
Marange Communal Lands, an area adjacent to the diamond mines, while a
shameless, ruthless and predatory elite plunder the resources of the
Zimbabwean people and use the proceeds to inflict violence on them! The
Kimberley Process is in complete disarray. Within the Inclusive Government,
the MDC cannot exercise the control needed to ensure these activities are
properly subject to credible scrutiny, so it is incumbent on responsible
corporates to heed our advice. This kind of corporate misbehaviour,
deliberately myopic, provocatively arrogant and conspicuously inconsistent
with the interests of the Zimbabwean people, is indicative of a looter’s
mentality and it will boomerang on the perpetrators.
But I am not finished with Old Mutual quite yet. As if blood diamonds were
not enough, this company has maintained a significant share in Zimpapers,
the publisher of the government-controlled Herald, among others. If ever
there was a practitioner of hate-speech and an apostle of vice and violence,
this is it. This dirty little rag plays a very real part in the butchery and
battery of our people. If this were 1994, I might well urge Old Mutual to go
ahead and invest in that mouthpiece of the Hutu extremists, RTLM. The
fundamental differences between Hutu and ZANU propaganda are scant. In a
lame defence, Old Mutual has said “we do not influence or involve ourselves
in the operational policy or practice of Zimpapers”. But in the same
statement it goes on to say: “While we remain mindful of and sensitive to
the social and political climate in Zimbabwe, these investments are ...
meant to meet needs and expectations in terms of returns for our Zimbabwean
customers.” There’s no need to continue. We have heard you loud and clear.
Profit before principle—and the Zimbabwean people be damned.
Many of you are able—and I urge you to do so—to bombard Julian Roberts in
London with the question: ‘HOW, AND HOW AGAIN, COULD OLD MUTUAL INVESTMENT
GROUP, ‘OMIGSA’, ever have invested in such sordid partnerships?’
These are but a couple of examples of the companies that have, and continue,
to walk the halls of shame in Zimbabwe. There is no shortage of them. When
the day of judgement comes, I will not lift a finger to save them from the
consequences of their actions. Quite the contrary. And I am unreservedly
confident that I will have a powerful constituency behind me. If these
companies choose to reap the whirlwind, then so be it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope that my address has not contrasted too sharply
with the positive meetings you have had in this wonderful city. But I cannot
over-emphasise the importance of you insisting that the companies you invest
in are conducting their activities in countries like Zimbabwe with the
blessing and support of the people and—concurrently—with the objective of
advancing the interests of these communities, and NOT the political elite.
Regrettably Western Governments, which should have set an example, have
looked the other way for years. They did it during the Cold War and they are
still doing it. Dictators like Gadaffi—Mugabe’s long-running friend and
supporter—only prosper when governments ‘look the other way’, be they
British, Italian or American. In Libya’s case, the people were mere
spectators in an undignified scramble for oil in which Western companies
divided the spoils with the Gaddafi clique. The turmoil there was a long
In Zimbabwe’s case, a new dawn of hope for economic growth and long-term
prosperity for our people beckons. Our country is richly blessed and endowed
with treasure. Will investors clamber over the bodies of our people in a bid
to get-rich-quick or will they be patient, supporting truly sustainable
development that will bring a win–win for the nation and those who seek a
For this entirely feasible scenario to become a reality we need you to see
that your interests and your bottom line are best served by a mature and
far-sighted vision—and, frankly, by common human decency. On our side, in
the MDC, we see a political transition as our calling. We want and need a
process of electoral reform that will give citizens the right to campaign
and vote peacefully. I can assure you all that, with these building blocks
in place—and with the necessary international observers present and on the
ground well in advance of elections—MDC will win a huge majority.
For me personally, I have no political ambitions. I am a product of my
circumstances, as I explained earlier. Nevertheless, I will continue to
participate and speak out in the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans.
We seek to be free, and for companies to prosper in a society that is
relatively free of corruption like Botswana. In the dark days of Apartheid,
the grand anti-Apartheid alliance was a key component in the deconstruction
of that system. Is the decade-long democratic struggle of the people of
Zimbabwe—one in which we seek to rid ourselves of the stench of ZANU-PF’S
corruption and violence—not deserving of your collective support? Should we
feel guilty asking for South African and international help?
We humbly believe we have earned our right to ask for such support—and we do
so in the knowledge that another dictatorship will tumble in the fullness of
I hope to have touched you with some sense of the plight facing ordinary
Zimbabweans. I thank you all for your indulgence and will endeavour to
answer any questions you may have.
By Alec Russell
Published: March 11 2011 17:04 | Last updated: March 11 2011 17:04
Morgan TsvangiraiOne moment all we can hear are the cicadas, the next the
quiet Harare evening is broken by the sound of a rapidly accelerating
engine. The security guard outside the Zimbabwean prime minister’s residence
turns quickly as a car appears at the end of the road. He peers through the
gloaming and speaks urgently into his phone. Then he relaxes. It is the
prime minister’s spokesman, Luke. Paranoia? Probably. Then again, where else
in the world can you arrive, having flown thousands of miles to speak to a
prime minister, and yet be advised by government insiders that it may be
best not to tell police or immigration the reason for your visit?
Luke is wiry, besuited and angry. He has spent much of the day in court,
where dozens of activists were facing treason charges for having watched
video footage of the Egyptian democracy protests. In Zimbabwe this is a
capital offence. The activists’ lawyer says they have been badly beaten in
prison. It seems clear that if there is one person who definitely won’t be
popping round to join Luke’s boss, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and me
tonight, it is his partner in government since 2009, that veteran African
autocrat, President Robert Mugabe.
I wait in his garden, relishing the cool air after an afternoon rainstorm.
In a continent where political power all too often leads to Croesan wealth,
Tsvangirai’s home in Strathaven, one of Harare’s northern suburbs, has a
modest feel – though I later learn he is having a big new house renovated in
another part of the city. A colonial-style bungalow, it is one of thousands
of unassuming family homes favoured by mid-level civil servants in the days
of white-run Rhodesia. Only a dilapidated sentry post inside the gate
signifies the occupant’s status. Clearly neither the Irish street names nor
the road surfaces have been changed since independence in 1980.
I have come to see Tsvangirai over “sundowners”, that ritual of the African
safari: the serving of drinks at the close of the day. My ambition of dinner
at Meikles, the gloomy old colonial hotel in the centre of town, or maybe
the Harare Club, has had to die. Dinner was at the last minute impossible in
these frenetic times. It is not just that after two years of a relative
truce between Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, whose ruinous three decades in power had
devastated the economy, and Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change,
Mugabe’s thugs are intimidating voters again ahead of a possible mid-year
snap election. Tsvangirai, a dogged battler through a decade in opposition,
is facing increasing questions in the press, and not just the pro-Mugabe
state media, about his private life – and, from some in his own party,
suggestions that he is not up to the job of prime minister.
One of the prime minister’s younger brothers emerges from the tin-roofed
outhouse that is his private office. "He is bearing up," he says. “But he
needs support, spiritual and moral as well as political.”
When I first visited Tsvangirai’s home three years ago, it was at an
electrifying time, just days before the 2008 elections. As leader of the MDC
opposition, the bluff ex-union leader seemed to have Mugabe on the run. We
ate a snatched lunch of sandwiches on the campaign trail – which was
probably all to the good, as if we had opted for a formal Lunch with the FT
I would have needed a satchel of banknotes. Those were the days of 100,000
per cent inflation and billion-dollar notes, when the price of drinks could
and did change between courses.
It is a sign of the times that you no longer need your calculators to go for
lunch in Harare. Just over two years ago, shortly before the coalition
government was sworn into office as part of a regional deal to end months of
impasse, the Zimbabwe dollar was abolished in favour of the greenback. To
the delight of business, the world’s second-worst recorded hyperinflation in
a century is over. (The worst, according to Steve Hanke at the Cato
Institute, was Hungary in July 1946, not Weimar Germany.) After a decade of
freefall, the economy is at last growing. And yet Zimbabwe is far from out
of the abyss.
As I settle back in Tsvangirai’s office, my eye is caught by an old 2008
election poster leaning against the wall. It shows him smiling, relaxed,
exuding vigour and fire. We begin by reminiscing about a barnstorming trip
together to a Zanu-PF heartland when we met a rapturous welcome in a
hitherto no-go zone for the MDC. He relaxes into his seat. On the table in
front of him are an iPad and a copy of Tony Blair’s recent memoir A Journey.
We share our experiences as Apple newcomers and trade impressions on the
lessons of the former British prime minister. “Politics is the same the
world over,” Tsvangirai chuckles. Blair’s relationship with Gordon Brown,
his chancellor of the exchequer and successor as premier, was indeed
poisonous. But they were as blood brothers when compared to Zimbabwe’s
president and PM.
He has spent most of the day at the Tuesday cabinet meeting. There he has to
sit alongside Mugabe, whose supporters have spent a decade trying to crush
the MDC. It must have been difficult, I say. He beams. “It was very good,
very productive ... It’s enlightening that everyone was serious about
addressing the concerns.”
I raise my eyebrows. But are you not old enemies? Tsvangirai beams again.
“If you were to enter the room you would not know who was who, MDC or
Zanu-PF. The seating is Zanu-PF, MDC, Zanu-PF, MDC ... and he [Mugabe] and I
direct. We really do consult when things get out of hand.”
The Zanu-PF lion lying down with the MDC sheep: it is a charming vision of
reconciliation but utterly unconvincing. Mugabe may have celebrated his 87th
birthday a week before my visit but all the talk in Harare is that he is
running rings around his 59-year-old prime minister – just as he
outmanoeuvred other rivals, such as Joshua Nkomo, once they decided to stop
opposing him and instead to share power. So I am all but lost for words at
Tsvangirai’s Milquetoast reference to his and Mugabe’s latest meeting – as,
I have been told, was David Cameron when he was given a similarly
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed account by Tsvangirai at Davos earlier this
I relay instead that I had lunch that day with an MDC-supporting Zimbabwean
businessman who had said gloomily that if there were a free election the MDC
would win 90 per cent of the vote – but that there would never be a free
“No, no, no, that’s rather pessimistic,” Tsvangirai insists. He cites the
role of regional bodies, which will in theory police the next election. I
point out the craven stance of most regional leaders towards Mugabe when he
bullied his and his party’s way to re-election in four elections between
2000 and 2008.
“I know people are sceptical because we have had so many experiences of
violence at elections before,” he says. “But I have never given up hope.
People may want to see instant change, like instant coffee, but we have
chosen the evolutionary path not the revolutionary path and evolution is
sometimes disappointing because it is slow.”
An aide knocks on the door bearing a tray of drinks. The prime minister and
I opt for Coke. Luke has a Sprite. These are clearly the tipples of choice
in the coalition – I was to drink Coke with a Zanu-PF minister the following
night. The days of gin and tonics on the prime ministerial stoep finished 30
years ago, with the end of white rule. We raise our glasses in toast. At a
time of crumbling dynasties elsewhere, I ask, why has there been no
revolution in Zimbabwe? Surely MDC supporters think the coalition government
was a mistake? His answer is clear: Zimbabwe had its war of independence, so
better negotiations than war.
“We said back in 2005 we are going to drag Mugabe to the negotiating table
for a transitional government, a new constitution and an election. That’s
the path we defined and I don’t think we are off it ... In the past two
years it is a miracle what we have achieved.” Then again, he adds: “I can’t
even predict what will happen tomorrow. Suppose people wake tomorrow and say
they don’t want this.”
So what are we to make of the “old man” I ask? Over a decade the boot-boys
of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF have killed hundreds of MDC supporters. Tsvangirai
himself was viciously beaten four years ago, just a day after I had shared
dinner with him. How does he judge Mugabe after seeing him so often at close
“I used to think he is callous and all that,” he says. “But you know what?
He’s human after all. He’s very humane. There is a split personality between
Mugabe the [revolutionary] hero and Mugabe the villain ... ”
I fear I am going to struggle to elicit an insightful word about one of the
world’s more notorious leaders but he allows himself the tiniest bit of
mischief-making at the president’s expense. “If you confront him, he tends
to close his mind and to say ‘I’m not guilty of violence. I’m not guilty of
this. I’m not guilty … ” He and Luke laugh. I am reminded of an account of a
recent meeting when Tsvangirai and his ebullient finance minister, Tendai
Biti, were supposed to have insisted that the cabinet had to discuss the
upsurge in violence. Mugabe nodded sombrely and told them it should be aired
later in the meeting – and then skipped out of the room before it could
come up, pleading tiredness.
So, how is Mugabe’s stamina, I ask – there is endless speculation that he
has advanced prostate cancer. I recall how on meeting the president back in
1994 he answered questions with wit and verve. As for the cut and thrust of
conversation, is he still as sharp as ever?
“Yes, when he’s alert ... not when he’s sleeping ... ”
Does Mugabe sometimes doze off in cabinet? The prime minister clearly feels
he has said enough and leaves my question hanging. We turn to more concrete
matters. Mugabe is promoting a long-mooted law which will force foreign
businesses to give a 51 per cent stake to “indigenous” business people.
Investors are appalled, fearing this is the equivalent of the forced
expropriations of Zimbabwe’s white-owned farms at the turn of the century.
Tsvangirai is clear. Black Zimbabweans must be “empowered” but not in this
way. “We don’t support grabbing people’s property. The 51 per cent figure
was a mistake. Who is going to come [and invest] if we do this?”
He also argues cogently that the international sanctions on Mugabe and his
elite should be removed, on the grounds that the president has seized on
them as his most powerful political argument. As so often in his career, he
has whipped up nationalism and is inflaming rallies with his claim that he
is the victim of persecution by the imperialist west.
“We are in a vicious position. We want the sanctions removed but Zanu-PF is
doing everything to ensure they are retained,” he says. He is less
convincing, however, on the other great political scandal: the apparent
theft by state officials of tens of millions of dollars in taxes from
Zimbabwe’s diamond fields. He pledges an audit and transparency. Fine words,
I think, but who will bring the Zanu-PF culprits to book?
His mobile phone barely stops ringing. When one of his daughters calls, I am
reminded of the reaction of a friend in Britain when she heard I was going
to see Tsvangirai. Her eyes filled with tears and she recalled how his wife
Susan, mother of their six children, was killed in a car crash in March
2009, a month into the new government, and how just weeks later a
three-year-old grandson died in the swimming pool in his garden. Tsvangirai
seems almost surprised that I relay her response. He cannot be accused of
Blairite or Clinton-style emoting. “It had a big impact ... but eventually
you move on,” is all he says.
The sun has long since set. We repair to the washroom, which has the
brightest lighting, for a photograph. The prime minister’s golf clubs lean
against the wall. They have become a leitmotif for his MDC critics, who
mutter he spends more time playing golf than fighting the good fight. Some
party insiders echo the assessment of a former US ambassador, published on
WikiLeaks, that Tsvangirai has “questionable judgment”. Then there is the
speculation about his private life. On the day we meet, one of the local
newspapers has as its front-page headline: “Tsvangirai fathered my child.”
The accusation was at first denied but there has since been an out-of-court
settlement. There have been other allegations but he is talking about
revolutions and tyranny and I don’t interrupt.
In his office is another poster – this one of Nelson Mandela. The great
statesman is smiling beneath the slogan: “There is no easy walk to freedom.”
Tsvangirai is no Mandela. A better analogy is Lech Walesa, the Polish union
leader whose finest days were in opposition and who proved rather better at
rousing rallies than the subtleties of government.
I have over the years had a clandestine breakfast with Tsvangirai, dinner in
a Johannesburg ballroom and now drinks, but still no formal lunch. It would
signal a fairytale ending to his career if that lunch were to occur in the
presidential palace. But he is up against one of the canniest and most
ruthless politicians of our time. The chances of this happening seem as
remote as ever – and may never come.
Alec Russell is the FT’s comment and analysis editor
Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:13am GMT
By Richard Sydenham
BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - It is eight years and two World Cups back
since Zimbabwe's Henry Olonga made his famous black armband protest against
Robert Mugabe's political regime. He remains proud to have made a stand even
though it cost him his career and home.
"There are no regrets," Olonga told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"It was something that changed my life and taught me a lot about myself and
my country. I am incredibly lucky to have done it with a man of the calibre
of Andy Flower, who is a fantastic human being."
Olonga, 34, is aware his actions along with then team-mate and current
England team director Flower, when they wore black armbands to mourn "the
death of democracy" in their homeland at a World Cup match in South Africa,
will dominate his legacy much more than any wickets he claimed as a fast
He is now settled in London with wife Tara and his two-month-old daughter.
Nowadays, Olonga is a singer, public speaker, photographer, art worker,
author and occasional cricketer. Busy but not quite the high-profile life he
once knew as an international sportsman and later, political activist.
Olonga, Zimbabwe's first black cricketer, is unsure of his status now back
home but accepts speculation of treason charges and a possible death
sentence may be true.
He is unsure whether he will ever return but feels content nonetheless.
"When you go out on a limb and put your head above the parapet and there are
consequences. I don't think that is a time for regret," he added.
"It is a time for reflection, to weigh up what you have lost but what you
have gained also.
"I look back on that day with a sense of fulfilment. I did something more
important than just looking after myself. I represented people who didn't
have a voice. So when I look in the mirror I know I stood up for something I
truly believed in."
Olonga rarely sees Flower, despite both living in England, but acknowledged
the special bond they will always share.
"We are not bosom buddies but I like to think we have a huge amount of
respect for each other because of what we did together," he said.
The current Zimbabwe team has struggled at the World Cup, losing three of
four matches so far and only managing a win against the second-tier
Canadians. Their next group game is against Pakistan on Monday.
The team is a shadow of the competitive unit it was when qualifying from the
group stage at the 1999 and 2003 editions, when Olonga played.
With no television coverage of the World Cup in the Olonga household, he has
seen little of the action but has followed news and results from Asia. He is
aware of the team's plight and admitted to being "a quiet fan from a
Cricket board politics played a significant part in its decline.
The most difficult period was in 2004 when 14 predominantly white players
such as former captain Heath Streak left the cricket system citing
mismanagement and racism, Olonga said.
"That put Zimbabwe cricket on a path of self-discovery because we withdrew
from test cricket as we weren't good enough and were left with a young,
predominantly black side that couldn't compete at the highest level. They
had to start rebuilding.
"Zimbabwe was left languishing at the bottom of the test-playing nations,
struggling to make its mark after this crisis.
"They have rebuilt quite nicely and the same goes for the country, but I
would guess that period set our cricket back by five or six years, due to
the shenanigans of the board for getting rid of experienced players."
For Olonga, international cricket is long gone. After his premature
retirement at 26, he does not reflect with any bitterness at missed
opportunities in failing to add to his 68 wickets from 30 tests and his 58
victims from 50 one-day internationals.
He is happy with his lot, and wrote about his journey in an autobiography
"Blood, Sweat and Treason" last year.
"If I had stayed on for another five or six years I might have taken another
100 or so wickets, which would have been nice, but in the big scheme of
things, I think getting the message out was worth the sacrifice," he said.
"I wasn't a great cricketer, I could be erratic, though on my day I was
capable of upsetting the applecart. But preserving my career was not like
Shane Warne saving his. I was never going to set any records.
"The arts is the path I have chosen for the rest of my life. I just hope the
gods will smile on me and I can be successful."