International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: March 13, 2008
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's only television station - which is
government-controlled - gave the ruling party campaign more than 20 times
the coverage the opposition got last month, independent media monitors said
Thursday, accusing state controlled media of "flagrant violations" of laws
meant to ensure March 29 general elections are free and fair.
The Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project group said that in February state
television aired 202 minutes on the ruling ZANU PF party's election
preparations compared to nine minutes on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change and 26 minutes on former ruling party loyalist and finance
minister Simba Makoni's presidential challenge and his expulsion from the
"ZBC, the national public broadcaster, now behaves as if it is ZANU PF's own
private radio television station in flagrant violation" of domestic laws and
regional African norms on fair coverage of election campaigning, the group
Henry Muradzikwa, director general of the state broadcaster, said there was
no bias against ruling party opponents but political advertisements had to
be paid for in advance, an arrangement opponents failed to honor while the
ruling party paid fees "up front." He did not elaborate on news coverage.
An independent group of lawyers, meanwhile, protested what it called voter
intimidation by military chiefs. Zimbabwe defense forces commander Gen.
Constantine Chiwenga and the head of the prisons service Maj. Gen. Paradzai
Zimondi were reported to have vowed they would not recognize or salute
anyone but Mugabe as head of state.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said in a statement it was also concerned
by reports members of the armed forces were sent on vacation to their rural
homes to campaign for Mugabe's ruling party.
Chiwenga has described Makoni and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as
"sell outs" who did not fight against colonial era forces ahead of
independence in 1980.
Police commanders also have publicly pledged their allegiance to Mugabe, the
nation's longtime ruler, and warned police against voting for Mugabe's
Such statements created an environment of fear and intimidation ahead of the
polls, the lawyers group said.
Under election law, "it is a criminal offense to intimidate people with the
effect of compelling them or attempting to compel them to vote for a
particular political party or candidate," it said.
In a statement Thursday, the International Bar Association condemned what it
called a series of attacks by Zimbabwe's on the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
citing articles in state-run newspapers accusing the lawyers group of
working with the West to get around a government ban on European election
"These are ominous words in light of the Mugabe regime's record of brutality
against the political opposition and human rights defenders," said Mark
Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association. "The true
objective of this vindictive government campaign is to justify a clampdown
on independent lawyers in the run-up to the election."
The 84-year-old Mugabe faces his biggest poll challenge March 29 in the
campaign of, Makoni, 57, who draws support from ruling party rebels and
disillusioned supporters of the fractured opposition amid an economic
meltdown. A nation once known as the region's breadbasket is experiencing
the world's highest official inflation of 100,500 percent, chronic shortages
of most basic goods and collapsing public services.
Most observers link the political and economic turmoil to the often violent
seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms that began at Mugabe's
orders in 2000. Mugabe blames the crisis on economic curbs imposed by
Britain, the former colonial power, and its Western allies, which accuse him
of violating human and democratic rights.
Posted : Thu, 13 Mar 2008 17:01:11 GMT
Author : DPA
Harare - Fighting for re-election in just over two weeks, Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday handed out 23 buses to villagers in
northern Zimbabwe, state radio said. Mugabe told at a campaign rally in
Mashonaland West province that the 40-seater buses should ease transport
problems in the area. He also reminded voters of the problems they faced
during the colonial era, according to the report.
The 84-year-old president commissioned 300 buses last weekend and
promised an equal number would arrive soon.
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is fighting for his
political survival in the March 29 poll against two strong challengers:
Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
and former finance minister Simba Makoni who has several powerful backers.
Since the launch of his electoral campaign, Mugabe has already handed
out 500 tractors, scores of computers to impoverished ruling schools, a drum
of diesel to each traditional chief and tens of thousands of ox-drawn
His deputy information minister Bright Matonga last week warned voters
in Mhondoro, Mashonaland West province, against "Western-sponsored parties
that are trying to buy votes with money and food," state media reported.
SW Radio Africa (London)
13 March 2008
Posted to the web 13 March 2008
The head of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Happyton Bonyongwe
is said to be embroiled in bitter infighting with his deputy Maynard
Muzariri, over alleged support for Simba Makoni. A report by the ZimOnline
news website says Bonyongwe supports Makoni's rebellion from Zanu PF, while
Muzariri remains loyal to Mugabe.
The friction has created a power struggle that has paralysed the CIO, with
both chiefs spying on each other instead of carrying out their duties. Its
alleged that in January CIO officials based in Harare submitted a report
linking Bonyongwe and retired army general Solomon Mujuru to Makoni's
project, but that State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa who received it
withheld it from Mugabe.
ZimOnline report that Muzariri's camp in the CIO then approached Emerson
Mnangagwa, who leads a faction opposed to Mujuru in the party, and sought to
have the report submitted to Mugabe. Mutasa meanwhile argued the report was
biased and ordered a fresh one to be compiled. 'Mutasa said he wanted
neutrals in the CIO to compile a comprehensive report on alleged Bonyongwe
links to Makoni' said the website, quoting a source. But Mugabe got wind of
the infighting and summoned Bonyongwe to explain allegations that he edited
out vital information from intelligence reports, compiled by his juniors on
the activities of the Makoni group.
It's thought Mugabe will not need to fire Bonyongwe as the CIO's chief's
contract expires in April and all Mugabe has to do is refuse to renew it.
The infighting has however raised expectations amongst opposition activists,
who are hoping Zanu PF will not be able to rig the coming elections. The
argument being raised is that one of the key security arms they rely on to
rig the poll, is now in a state of paralysis because of the infighting. It
is also hoped that even if they attempt to rig, there will be sufficient
moles in the system to alert the opposition.
'Those who have multiple farms ... we will address that after the elections'
Published 2008-03-13 13:45 (KST)
INYATHI, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has warned that
his government will re-possess land from multiple farm owners after the
joint March 29 elections in a bid to right the chaos that hit the farming
sector after the land reform programme.
"Those who have multiple farms, those quarrelling over a farm, we will
address that after the elections as well as giving out leases to regularize
what we have given out. We will do some cleaning up," Mugabe told a
gathering of cheering supporters at a campaign rally in Inyathi yesterday.
The ruling Zanu-PF's campaign rally was at Sobomvu Secondary School in
Inyathi, Matabeleland North province of southern Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe holds
harmonized presidential, senate, ward and house of assembly elections on
President Mugabe will fight for his post against opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni, an
erstwhile member of the ruling Zanu-PF.
Both Tsvangirai and Makoni in their campaign messages have said once
elected into power, they will address land disputes and multiple farm
Mugabe's statements follow last week reports where former white
commercial farmers were said to be mulling to file a joint application later
this month challenging the seizure of their farms by the Zanu-PF led
government at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal.
The farmers are represented by the Justice for Agriculture (JAG), a
grouping of former white commercial farmers.
Top government ministers and ruling Zanu-PF officials grabbed multiple
farms at the height of the chaotic land reform programme in 2000 that saw
white commercial farmers being forced off their land by landless blacks.
Agricultural production plummeted to low levels since then, resulting
in the country battling yearly food crisis as the new farmers failed to
produce adequate food for the nation due to either lack of farming expertise
or farming inputs.
International food monitoring agencies have said that thousands of
Zimbabweans this year face food shortages following indications that the
country will again fail to meet its targeted harvest estimates.
But Mugabe told the cheering supporters at the campaign rally in
Inyathi yesterday that no-one will starve. "No one will starve. The
government has imported maize from Malawi, South Africa and Zambia," said
The country has since the turn of the millennium after food shortages
set in relied on food imports from neighbouring countries to avert food
shortages and boost national reserves.
However, the maize imports by the government always seem to be failing
to satisfy demand a situation mirrored by constant mealie-meal shortages,
the country's staple food.
by Fanuel Jongwe
HARARE (AFP) - Gilbert Mhangwa shakes his head dejectedly as he walks away
after turning up for a service at Harare's Anglican Cathedral, only to find
the entrance blocked by a gang of youths.
A few metres away, riot police brandishing batons disperse disgruntled
parishioners who later stage an impromptu prayer session outside the
imposing granite-block building.
"We are not enjoying our full rights as Zimbabweans," complains the Right
Reverend Sebastian Bakare, the new bishop of Harare.
The cathedral in downtown Harare, normally associated with soothing Sunday
morning hymns, is at the centre of a power struggle between a clique led by
former bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the rest of the church.
Bakare's investiture late January, which would have normally taken place in
the cathedral, was moved to a sports arena on the outskirts of the city
after gangs aligned to his predecessor Kunonga barricaded the cathedral
A close ally of President Robert Mugabe who has often showered praise on
Zimbabwe's veteran leader, Kunonga has refused to vacate the church and
surrender church property to his successor despite two court orders.
Kunonga, who was once referred to as "my spiritual father" by Mugabe and
officiated at the president's swearing-in in 2002, was stripped of his title
last after he attempted to pull his Harare diocese out of the Anglican
Church's Province of Central Africa over its stance on homosexuality.
He then formed the self-styled Anglican Church of Zimbabwe in January, while
insisting he was still the legitimate head of the diocese.
Analysts say Mugabe, who has himself called gays "worse than dogs and pigs",
is protecting Kunonga, one of his few supporters in the church.
"It's typical of ZANU-PF," said Bill Saidi, deputy editor of the Zimbabwe
Independent. "Wherever it thinks it can get support it shoves its nose. But
the people will not be fooled by religious charlatans like Kunonga."
Mugabe, a Catholic, has often come under criticism from other church leaders
over his government's human rights record tainted by events like the killing
of thousands by a crack army unit in the Matabeleland province in the early
1980s and the demolition of slums which left tens of thousands without homes
But despite being embarrassed by such criticism, Mugabe has nevertheless
treated the church with a degree of respect and meets with religious leaders
despite refusing to do so with opposition parties.
"We can't do without each other, the church and the state," he acknowledged
at a prayer rally two years ago.
"Mugabe knows the church has a moral voice," Jonah Gokovah, of the Zimbabwe
National Pastors' Network, told AFP.
"When the church speaks it's listened to -- that is why the government is
trying to use certain individuals like Kunonga to influence the church to
sing its song."
Mugabe last year warned bishops they had chosen "a dangerous path" after
they published a pastoral letter critical of his government's policies and
deploring the mismanagement of the economy.
"When the church leaders start being political, we regard them as political
creatures and we are vicious in that area," Mugabe said.
One of his most outspoken critics, Pius Ncube, was shortly afterwards forced
to step down as archbishop of Bulawayo in September after state media
published photographs of him in bed with a married woman.
Ncube was a constant thorn in the side of Mugabe's government, calling for
people to rise up against his rule and once declaring his readiness to "go
in front of blazing guns".
But despite Ncube's downfall, church groups such as the Christian Alliance
of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference and the Zimbabwe
Catholic Bishops Conference have remained critical of Mugabe's government.
The church groups have been countered in recent years by organisations such
as the Destiny for Africa Network which have sprouted in recent years to
rebut Mugabe's critics and castigate his opponents.
Exhorting Zimbabweans to vote Mugabe and his ruling party in general polls
next month, the Reverend Obadiah Msindo, a leader of the Destiny for Africa
Network, likened the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic
Front (ZANU-PF) party to the biblical Moses.
"ZANU-PF is a revolutionary party that has a special message to deliver
Zimbabweans into a land of milk and honey," Msindo said in message broadcast
on national television.
"We are inspired by his excellency's vision for total black empowerment."
Bakare criticised such church leaders saying they were departing from from
their mission by aligning themselves with political parties.
"If you are a leader in church and you have no mission or you don't
understand your mission, you are likely to be co-opted even by political
parties and they can make use of you," he told AFP.
Mail and Guardian
David Cronin | Brussels, Belgium
13 March 2008 09:00
Zimbabwe's crackdown on political dissent may need to be
discussed by the United Nations Security Council, a prominent Southern
African human rights activist declared this week.
Opponents of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
Zanu-PF party have reported large-scale harassment and intimidation in the
tense period leading to elections due later this month.
With little prospect of the poll being conducted in a free
and fair manner, political activists are calling on international bodies to
explore new ways of applying pressure on Mugabe, the octogenarian who has
led Zimbabwe ever since winning independence from Britain in 1980.
John Stewart, vice-chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum, urged the European Union on Tuesday to consider invoking a
clause relating to democratic principles in the Cotonou agreement, which
underpins the bloc's relations with Africa.
The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the EU and the
group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP countries). It was
signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin in West Africa, by
79 ACP countries and the then 15 EU member states.
In 2002, the EU decided to impose sanctions on Mugabe and
his inner circle -- such as freezing their assets and banning them from
travelling to Europe -- after initiating a "political dialogue" under
article 8 of that accord.
But Stewart argues that the EU should also study the
possibility of invoking article 9 of Cotonou. This states that democracy
should be built "on the basis of universally recognised principles" and that
signatories, including Zimbabwe, should ensure respect for human rights and
the rule of law.
According to Stewart, the level of state-approved violence
in Zimbabwe is now so serious that the EU's military officials should be
"I am not advocating sending a Belgian platoon to
Mozambique's border with Zimbabwe," he said later in the week. "But this is
an issue of peace and security. It needs to be talked about."
Stewart, who was visiting Brussels, added that an analysis
of the EU on Zimbabwe may lead to the country's situation being discussed by
the UN Security Council.
A day earlier, the EU's foreign ministers issued a
statement expressing concern that Zimbabwe's presidential and parliamentary
elections scheduled for March 29 were at risk of being unfair. The EU had
received no invitation to monitor the poll's conduct, the ministers
Although Stewart said he was "glad" that Zimbabwe remained
on the EU's agenda, he argued that the ministers' statement "misses the
point". It is futile, he suggested, for the EU to call for free and fair
elections "when there is no question this is going to happen".
Those wishing to observe the election have been told they
need special permits from the government. Wilbert Mandine, a former
magistrate now working for the Zimbabwean branch of the Media Institute for
Southern Africa, noted that only one organisation has so far been permitted
to monitor the poll.
Unless more permits are granted, nearly all of the 11 000
polling stations in the country are not likely to face any scrutiny, he
And although Zimbabwe has a law stating that the media
should cover election campaigns fairly and impartially, Mandine alleged that
television coverage is "tilted in favour of the ruling party".
At the end of February, the launch of Zanu-PF's manifesto
could be seen live on the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation. Yet the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change did not receive the same treatment
when it formally began its campaign a day later.
Takavafina Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe, was arrested and tortured when he took part in a "Save
our Education" protest in Harare last month.
Labelling Mugabe a "crocodile liberator" and a "grasping
kleptocrat", he said: "We were promised paradise in 1980. What we have
managed to get is a bullet in the head and a diet of starvation."
Zhou accused the regime of operating a policy of
"systematic torture" against teachers for about eight years. As a result,
the number of teachers has shrunk from 150 000 to 70 000.
"Just last year, we lost 25 000 teachers and this year we
have lost 8 000," he said. "Of those that remain, they are 100% mentally
resigned, although they physically remain in the classroom. That is a
dangerous situation for any profession."
While Zimbabwe used to be known as the breadbasket of
Africa, its economy has declined dramatically over the past decade.
Inflation has rocketed, unemployment has reached 80% of the workforce and
45% of the population is undernourished because of food shortages.
Maureen Kademaunga, a gender and human rights officer with
the Zimbabwe National Students' Union, said demonstrations by students have
been brutally attacked. In one instance last month, a woman who was nine
months pregnant was beaten up.
All universities in the country are now closed and are not
due to reopen until after the elections. In effect, this has disenfranchised
students, particularly those from rural areas who have returned to their
families. Zimbabwe only allows people to vote in areas where they are
registered, but Kademaunga said that poverty means students often cannot
afford to travel.
Dewa Mavhinga, a human rights lawyer, argued that food
aid, on which four million Zimbabweans (in a population of 12,5-million) are
dependent, is being used as a political weapon. In rural areas, Zanu-PF has
taken charge of food delivery and has been accused of denying vital supplies
to those it views as opponents.
A spokesperson for Zimbabwe's embassy in Brussels said he
had taken note of the EU's statement this week, but refused to comment
further. -- IPS
13 March 2008
THE government yesterday tried to reassure the domestic business sector
likely to be affected by Zimbabwe's Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
It said it would talk to its Zimbabwean counterparts to find an amicable way
to avert possible negative effects on operations.
At a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz
Pahad said there was still a long way to go before the bill was passed by
Zimbabwe's two houses and implemented.
The government would, however, meet business leaders in SA to see how the
country's interests in Zimbabwe could be protected in light of the proposed
new law giving Zimbabweans a controlling share in businesses.
President Robert Mugabe approved the bill last week. It requires locals to
own a 51% stake in all Zimbabwean companies.
The law has raised fears among foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe that the
government seeks to nationalise or take control of their business, in a
manner reminiscent of the repossession and distribution of farm land a few
"We are studying this bill more carefully and then we will initiate
discussions with the South African business community, to get an
understanding of how they interpret the bill and how we work together to
protect, in the broad sense, South African interests in Zimbabwe," Pahad
By Brian Latham
March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe's central bank raised the gold price paid
to producers sevenfold, the state-controlled Herald said, citing the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe.
Miners will get 700 million Zimbabwe dollars a kilogram (2.2 pounds), the
Harare-based newspaper said on its Web site.
The central bank has raised the price three times this year in an attempt to
keep mines open. The Zimbabwe dollar trades at 40 million to the U.S dollar
on the black market compared with an official rate of 30,000 Zimbabwe
dollars per U.S. dollar.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham via the Johannesburg
bureau on email@example.com
March 13 2008 at 09:18AM
Millions of Zimbabweans, living in South Africa or seeking asylum
here, are being called on to return home to vote in that country's upcoming
As part of a pro-democracy campaign in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the
Western Cape, hundreds of Zimbabwean election education volunteers have been
hitting the streets to persuade their fellow citizens to vote.
The non-political, pro-democracy organisation, the Peace and Democracy
Project (PDP), on Wednesday launched its Pretoria campaign outside the home
affairs department offices in Marabastad. PDP aims to persuade all
Zimbabweans living in South Africa to return home to vote.
It estimates that while there are more than 3.5 million Zimbabweans in
the country legally, millions more are here illegally.
To the sounds of blaring Zimbabwean musicians encouraging their
countrymen to vote, PDP volunteer Dianna Basiria said: "It is vital for
democracy in our country that all Zimbabweans vote, regardless of who they
"We don't support any political party. We just want Zimbabweans to go
home and take action and vote.
"We have set up outside the home affairs department office because we
want to encourage those Zimbabweans who are seeking refugee status in South
Africa to go home to vote.
"Our country needs all our citizens to go home to vote so that we can
again become a great African nation.
"We need to show the world that democracy and peace exist in
Zimbabwe," she said. Basiria said the PDP had stationary as well as mobile
voter education stands across Gauteng and several other provinces.
"We are travelling across South Africa to ensure that all Zimbabweans
hear the message about how important it is to vote in this election.
"We are offering those who want to return home to vote free transport
as an incentive.
"Those who don't want to vote are being encouraged to get their
relatives who are still living in Zimbabwe to vote," she said.
Basiria appealed to those Zimbabweans living in Pretoria who wanted to
vote in the elections to visit the voter education stand on the corner of DF
Malan Drive and Struben Street. - Graeme Hosken
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on
March 13, 2008
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/13/2008 12:07:46
ZIMBABWE'S opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Wednesday
filed an urgent court application to compel the country's electoral body to
increase the number of polling stations, a lawyer confirmed.
"We are, among other issues, seeking an increase in the number of polling
stations and the stationing of opposition members in the National Command
Centre," a lawyer for the MDC at Harare law firm Coghlan & Welsh, said.
The MDC moved after an independent election monitoring group warned that
thousands of voters in Zimbabwe's cities - strongholds of the opposition -
may not have time to cast ballots in the March 29 elections because too few
polling stations have been provided.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said it feared a repeat of the
2002 presidential elections when tens of thousands of voters were turned
away across the country after polls closed.
A list of polling stations released by the Electoral Commission, whose
members are appointed by President Robert Mugabe, showed "a significant
discrepancy" that favoured the ruling party in its rural strongholds, the
The ZESN group said Harare has 379 polling centres for about 760,000
registered voters, leaving an average number of 2,022 voting at each station
over 12 hours. If there is maximum turnout, that gives each citizen an
average of 22 seconds to vote.
In one city district, it came down to nine seconds if all 4,600 registered
voters showed up.
In contrast, most rural polling stations would handle only about 600 voters
each, the network said.
The MDC wants at least 12 polling stations in each ward. In areas like
Chitungwiza, some wards have just two polling stations. The party also wants
to be informed and be present throughout the postal voting process by
members of the armed forces, lawyers said.
Over four million Zimbabweans living outside the country are barred from
voting in the elections. Postal voting is restricted only to serving members
of the armed forces in foreign postings and embassy staff.
President Robert Mugabe has also barred election observers from western
countries, accusing them of pre-determining the election as not free and
fair in their pursuit of a "regime change" agenda.
The United States reacted to its exclusion by expressing "strong regret".
The US government said in a statement: "The U.S. shares the concerns of many
Zimbabweans and international observers about the pre-election environment,
reports of inadequate elections preparations, evidence of irregularities
associated with registration and inspection of the voters' rolls, and
concerns that the violence and human rights abuses of the past year will
affect the campaign and election-day voting."
At a press conference in Harare Wednesday, SADC executive secretary Tomaz
Salamao, said he was hopeful that the poll would be free and fair.
"Zimbabwe has built in us, SADC citizens, a habit of peaceful Zimbabwe,
tolerant Zimbabwe, and a welcoming Zimbabwe," Salamao said.
" As we come and observe elections in Zimbabwe, we do so with confidence
that the tradition of peace encapsulated in the unquestionable political
maturity and tolerance shall once again, guide Zimbabweans as they go to the
President Mugabe -- presiding over a decaying economy with 100 000 percent
inflation -- faces a challenge from his former finance minister Simba
Makoni, standing as an independent, and opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the polls.
SW Radio Africa (London)
13 March 2008
Posted to the web 13 March 2008
Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has said Robert Mugabe is a disgrace
to the African continent and that, 'time has really come for him to try to
move on and let other people govern.'
In a recent interview with the Mail and Guardian newspaper Odinga said he
had little regard for Mugabe despite the fact the Zanu PF leader was once
his hero. 'We parted ways once he began to use a big stick to deal with his
political adversaries,' Odinga explained. 'I don't think its right for
someone to hold a country hostage for generations. I think it is not right
The Orange Democratic Movement led by Odinga, recently signed a deal with
President Mwai Kibaki's party to end months of ethnic violence that killed
over 1500 people. Allegations that elections held in late December last year
were rigged in favour of Kibaki created the tensions that led to the
bloodbath. Although Zimbabwe is thought to be an unlikely ground for such
ethnic fighting, concern remains over how the population would react to
another stolen election.
SW Radio Africa (London)
13 March 2008
Posted to the web 13 March 2008
The MDC MP for Redcliff in the Midlands province, Abedenico Malinga, has
died. The legislator from the Mutambara faction died Thursday after he was
involved in a car crash along the Gweru to Kwekwe highway.
Malinga becomes the third parliamentary candidate and the second sitting MP
from the faction to die in the space of three weeks. The Mutambara MDC first
lost its candidate for Gwanda, Glory Makwatu a week after the nomination
court, then a few days later their MP for Mpopoma, Milton Gwetu, died of a
suspected heart failure.
Professor Welshman Ncube said they were in 'total shock' over Malinga's
'This is very, very painful. It's a sad experience and I'm completely at a
loss of words to describe this tragic moment. We are all numb with shock,'
Several other people, including the MDC MP for Mkoba in Gweru, Amos Chibaya,
where in the same vehicle with Malinga when it veered off the road and hit a
tree just as they were approaching KweKwe. Chibaya is believed to have
sustained serious head injuries. He was admitted to a hospital in KweKwe.
According to police Malinga, who was driving, tried to avoid a head-on
collision and seemed to have lost control as the vehicle veered off the road
and smashed into a tree.
The MP survived the initial impact. He was rushed to hospital with multiple
injuries but died an hour after being admitted. Ncube said Malinga's death
has traumatised so many of their members that they still cannot believe he
'The man was a hardworking, charming, disciplined and principled MP. As with
the other two deaths we expect the Redcliff election to be postponed to a
later date,' Ncube said.
13th Mar 2008 09:10 GMT
By Phil Matibe
ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe told villagers at a campaign rally in
Mahusekwa district that Zambian officials were delaying delivery of more
than 300 000 tonnes of maize purchased by his government.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo, "ZANU (PF) has
dispatched youths from the ruling ZANU PF party to Zambia to help load maize
it badly needs to placate a hungry electorate ahead of elections in two
What happened to the Mother of all Harvests, Operation Maguta, Vision 160,
and the RBZ - 21 trillion dollar Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility?
Most white farmers who were unceremoniously stripped of their birthright and
expelled from their homes sought refuge in the neighbouring SADC country of
Zambia. The government of Levy Mwanawasa gave them fifty-year leases and
these ex-Zimbabwean farmers immediately embarked on an agrarian revolution
that permitted Zambia to become a net exporter of grain for the first time
in thirty years.
The same displaced white Zimbabwean farmers are now growing maize in Zambia,
which is then bought by ZANU (PF) using Chinese and Iranian loans, to be
distributed to potential rural voters in Zimbabwe. In return the famished
voters are coerced to vote for Mugabe and retain him as President for
another five years.
"Do not escape a flood by holding on a hyena's tail"
ZANU (PF)'s insidious plan is hypocritical and deserves to be condemned by
all rational Africans who were hoodwinked into believing that the Mugabe's
land reform programme was a necessary act of redressing a colonial wrong.
Zambia and Malawi receive the same rainfall pattern as Zimbabwe, influenced
by the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Our neighbours produced more
maize in the same year that ZANU (PF) blamed everything from imaginary
Western sanctions to sabotage by monkeys of the country's sole fertiliser
Zimbabwe has harvested 30 000 tonnes of wheat instead of 400 000 tonnes, 600
000 tonnes of maize instead of 1.8 million tonnes and 60 million kilogrammes
of tobacco, instead of 200 million kilogrammes, the worst agricultural
season since 1980. Ninety percent of all agricultural land is now in the
hands of ZANU (PF) members.
The farmers that Mugabe ridiculed, robbed, and abused, are now the saviours
of his political fortunes by growing and supplying the proverbial African
currency for vote buying - maize.
It certainly does not rain mealies.
Phil Matibe can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
13th Mar 2008 09:26 GMT
By Phil Matibe
IN 2002, the then Commander of the Defence Forces (CDF), General Vitalis
Zvinavashe, warned that the army would not salute opposition candidate,
Tsvangirai, should he win the presidential poll as he had no liberation war
credentials. This undemocratic, ill-fated assertion is tantamount to a coup
On March 5, 2008, the current CDF General Constantine Chiwenga said that the
army would not recognize a government led by President Mugabe's challenger,
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, should he win the presidential
elections because the Movement for Democratic Change is agents of the West.
On March 3, 2008, the Commissioner of Prisons (Para-Military Force)
Major -General Paradzayi Zimhondi said, "If the opposition wins the
election, I will be the first one to resign from my job and go back to
defend my piece of land. I will not let it go. We are going to the elections
and you should vote for President Mugabe." General Zimhondi must resign
immediately. His primordial viewpoint is dangerous and forms the embryonic
stage of a military coup.
ZDF generals not only subvert the constitution but persistently violate the
provisions of the Defence Act. Such a brazen assault on our fundamental
values and contempt of Zimbabwean laws, provide credence to the supposition
that the general's unambiguous warnings of not being prepared to salute a
president without liberation war credentials, are counterpart to a
pre-emptive military mutiny. This saber rattling by diabetic 60 year old
army generals should cease forthwith. These generals agitate for wars that
they are not going to fight.
The ZANU (PF) Commander-in-Chief is now 84 years old, his youngest foot
soldiers (war veterans) are now 55 years old. What kind of insurgency are
these generals proposing should ZANU (PF) and Mugabe lose the elections? Who
are they going to fight? "Ndiwo anonzi manatsa mukanwa echembere, kurota
ZDF generals, their ZNA and AFZ subordinates now present a sufficient threat
to the outcome of the forthcoming presidential elections. Their collective
inflammatory statements are an act of self preservation designed to outflank
the forces of democratic change. We must jointly counter attack with our
The President of Zimbabwe is the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces
and it is therefore an unconditional imperative that he depoliticises the
military, firmly adheres to the canons of constitution, respects the
covenants of the Defence Act and repudiates his commanders for inciting
On February 26, 2008, the Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri, issued
a veiled threat to the public which literally amounted to a "shoot to kill
policy." All members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police have been given the
green light to shoot unarmed, peaceful protesters should the elections be
deemed flawed. This directive is designed to instill fear in the hearts of
Twenty-eight years ago the ZANLA high command took power in Zimbabwe and
morphed into a quasi-civilian administration by absorbing ZANU(PF)
technocrats and academia, ultimately forming the present day government of
Zimbabwe . ZANU (PF) is a Para-military organisation. ZDF generals have
tasted absolute power, are now addicted to it. They have become embedded in
the well orchestrated orgy of looting and pillaging which has manifested and
devoured our once vibrant economy. ZANU (PF) retained its private army and
is willing to use it to buttress its unpopular regime.
Are we prepared to be ruled by the same corrupt clique for perpetuity
because they fought for our liberation? Was it not their own patriotic
desires and sacrifices that compelled them to fight for our freedom? We have
been brutalized, reduced to a beggar-nation, and have already repaid these
so-called liberators through war veteran's compensation funds, housing
funds, land allocations, scholarships, and various other state funded
handouts. Enough is enough.
Zimbabwe does not belong to ZANU (PF), ZANLA veterans, or ZDF officers who
have now literally eaten their legacy. Real heroes died fighting the
Rhodesians, while most cowards, thieves, and fraudsters, survived only to
form the present day government which is raiding and pilfering our national
Generals Mujuru, Zvinavashe, Chiwenga, and Air Marshals Tungamirai and
Shiri, whilst still serving as active members of the armed forces, and in
violation of the Defence Act, were and still are politburo and central
committee members of ZANU (PF). At a time when Zanu (PF) embarked on
barbaric acts of brutality against the people of Matabeleland, these
generals were enthusiastic participants and contributed to crafting the
template for violent repression that continues to be in use by the
government and ZANU (PF) today.
Army generals and all uniformed forces officers are ultimately subordinate
to the constitution. Court-marshal offences for insubordination should be
leveled against all army officers who continue to utter and issue divisive
statements that are meant to incite sedition.
In the name of political fair play and in harmony with the philosophy of
human decency Zimbabweans hereby appeal to the communal conscience of our
generals and ask for restraint. Furthermore the nation demands a retraction
of these inflammable statements and shall seek to censure any army generals
and officers whose utterances encourage insolence. Let us rely on reason
Zimbabwe cannot be held ransom by a group of individuals whose time for
retirement is long overdue. March 29, 2008 shall mark both the end of an
error and the end of an era. "Handifi ndakabata kumeso kunge mwana wegudo"
Asesabi lutho - Chatinotya Hapana
Phil Matibe can be contacted on email@example.com
13th Mar 2008 10:25 GMT
By a Correspondent
HARARE - Retired General Solomon Mujuru has finally spoken. According to
President Robert Mugabe, the witty Mujuru visited him Monday and disowned
Simba Makoni, the former government minister and Zanu PF politburo member,
now running for president against Mugabe and MDC's founding President,
Speaking to the state media after a rally in Chirumhanzu, Mugabe said
Mujuru, long said to be Makoni's Godfather, had said he had refused to join
Makoni because this would divide Zanu PF and render his wife, Joice's
career, untenable. Joice Mujuru is one of Mugabe's deputies.
Mugabe said Mujuru, who is related to Makoni because their children married
each other, had made it absolutely clear that he had nothing to do with the
Said Mugabe: "One who is talked about (as supporting Makoni) is General
Mujuru. He came to me on Monday and said that when Makoni first came to him,
he had in mind the formation of a new party, but he discouraged him and told
him doing that would divide Zanu-PF.
"He wanted to make it clear to me that he did not support Makoni at all. He
said if he supported Makoni, imagine what the position of 'my wife', who is
Mai Mujuru, would be? It would be untenable, so he said no. He said Makoni
had an idea to form a new party, and he said: 'If you form a new party you
would be dividing the party, you would be dividing Zanu-PF.' That's what he
Makoni, upon launching his bid to become Zimbabwe's next president, had said
that he was supported by heavyweights in Zanu PF. He did not give names but
speculation was rife that Mujuru, the Zanu PF kingmaker, was the brains
behind the project to get rid of Mugabe after having failed at the Goromonzi
Zanu PF congress to stop Mugabe from remaining at the helm of government and
party some two years ago.
The only heavyweight who has come out in the open to align with Makoni is
Dumiso Dabengwa, who has been attacked by Mugabe as aone betraying the
liberation struggle by siding with Makoni, whom he says never went to join
the liberation struggle like Tsvangirai. Nathaniel Manheru, though to be
Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba, wrote on Saturday that Dabengwa was
never a soldier on the front anyway during the liberation struggle but only
an intelligence person trained by the Russians.
In trying to belittle Dabengwa, Manheru also ropped in Mujuru, whom he
attacked toungue-in-cheek for not being senior in Zanu PF at all, saying
Ambrose Mutinhiri and others had started asking questions since they went to
join the war in 1964 while Mujuru went for training in 1968/9.
Mugabe said Dabengwa had decided his fate by joining Makoni.
"He has already decided his fate, he has decided his fate, he is gone, he is
The Zanu PF politburo meets Wednesday to discuss the Dabengwa defection and
Makoni issues, among others.
13th Mar 2008 08:48 GMT
By Hativagone Mushonga
HARARE - Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe now trusts no-one and is
sidelining his top army and intelligence officers whom he suspects of
involvement in Simba Makoni's bid to oust him in the presidential election
later this month, say senior ZANU-PF sources.
The sources say that Mugabe is relying on junior officers or brigadiers to
report to him instead of to army chiefs. Director-general of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, CIO, Happyton Bonyongwe, and his deputies have
not been spared, either. Their junior intelligence officers are now said to
be reporting directly to Mugabe.
Bonyongwe might face the axe because Mugabe is no longer sure where his
allegiance lies, given his close links to former army commander General
Solomon Mujuru, believed to be the chief architect of the Makoni project,
say the sources. CIO director Elias Kanengoni - convicted of the attempted
murder of political activist Patrick Kombayi in 1990 - is tipped to take
over from Bonyongwe.
Kanengoni and his accomplice Kizito Chivamba were sentenced to seven years
behind bars for shooting and injuring Kombayi, then the national organising
secretary of the now-defunct Zimbabwe Unity Movement, ZUM. However, the pair
never spent a minute behind bars as Mugabe immediately pardoned them.
Mugabe's close security unit has now been tasked with attending public
meetings and press discussions organised by Makoni, who shocked the ruling
ZANU-PF party when he announced on February 5 his intention to challenge
Mugabe in the March 29 election to the presidency, parliament and local
government. This unit reports directly to Mugabe and not to the CIO
director-general and his deputies.
Although the army chiefs' tenures were extended, they are still being linked
to the Makoni election challenge, which claims to have the backing of at
least 90 per cent of ZANU-PF's politburo members and senior army and top
central intelligence officers who want to oust the 84-year-old leader.
It is not clear why Air Marshal Perence Shiri's term of office, which
expires in April, was not extended together with those of other service
chiefs but he is believed to be a close ally of Mujuru. Both hail from the
same rural area in Chikomba in Mashonaland East.
The tenures of General Constantine Chiwenga, chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, and Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Zimbabwe National
Army commander, were extended to 2013.
A politburo member requesting anonymity told IWPR that if Makoni did not
have the backing of Mugabe's top intelligence officers, his announcement
would not have shocked Mugabe and ZANU-PF the way that it did.
"Where was Mugabe's intelligence when the idea was mooted to front Makoni?
Several meetings were held over a very long period with most of Mugabe's
trusted comrades. What angers the old man is that he was being surrounded by
people who were plotting to get rid of him.
"I don't think many can truly stand up now and deny that they were never
involved at one stage or the other. When Makoni's people are talking about
having the backing of senior army and intelligence officers, this is not a
figment of their imagination.
"Truthfully, I don't think the old man trusts anybody. People know that now
and that is why they are all rushing to denounce Makoni and distance
themselves from him. I know that the ones doing so and making the most noise
are the guilty ones and they feel the need to exonerate themselves fast
before President Mugabe turns on each one of them."
At a recent rally in Bulawayo, former home affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa
came out in support of Makoni. He is the biggest heavyweight yet to have
openly backed him.
Press reports have linked the following to the Makoni project - Mashonaland
East governor Ray Kaukonde, former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis
Zvinavashe, and former Masvingo provincial chairman Dzikamai Mavhaire.
Women's League head Oppah Muchinguri has distanced herself from Makoni and
is said to be part of Mugabe's new inner circle. Despite reports that they
were backing Makoni, ZANU-PF chairperson John Nkomo and Vice-President
Joseph Msika have distanced themselves from him.
Zvinavashe, who retired a few years ago and is a successful businessman and
a member of the ZANU-PF politburo, has always made public his feelings on
the need for new leadership. "When we went to war we did not fight for a
single person but for all of us. But what the president is doing now defeats
the whole purpose of our having gone to war," he told a Zimbabwean news site
"By clinging to power Mugabe is betraying the essence of the liberation
struggle. I may also want to be president one day, but if one clings on to
power for too long, how do you expect youngsters to be leaders of tomorrow?
The president has played his part and should go immediately, to give a
chance to others whom we feel have the guts to shape a good Zimbabwe."
Mugabe launched his ZANU-PF election manifesto in Harare on February 29,
questioning the loyalty of some parliamentary candidates representing the
ruling party. The veteran Zimbabwean leader who is seeking a new five-year
term at the polls at the end of the month, described those of Makoni's
backers who were still in ZANU-PF as "two-faced".
At the launch, Mugabe also accused former colonial power Britain of using
Makoni to sponsor a rebellion against him in the ruling party.
"You who are with us here, I hope we can trust you," Mugabe told the crowd
of about 4 000, including ZANU-PF candidates, at the Harare International
"The traitors and sell outs, the political witches and political
prostitutes, political charlatans and the two-headed political creatures
must be confined to the dustbins of history."
In giving a vote of thanks at the launch, Vice-President Msika distanced
himself and a few other ZANU-PF heavyweights, including Dabengwa, from
Makoni. But Dabengwa defected to the Makoni camp a day later.
Makoni has repeatedly stressed that he is working with people in ZANU-PF to
bring political change to Zimbabwe. Speaking at the rally in Bulawayo on
March 1, Dabengwa confirmed that Makoni did indeed have the backing of some
of top ZANU-PF officials.
"We gave him our support and we found that there was no way out but to take
this step," he said.
Dabengwa became the first ruling party heavyweight to come out in support of
Makoni. "Our condition today arises primarily from the failure of national
leadership," he said.
Dabengwa, who is 69, said that for a long time he had tried to work with
fellow politburo members to facilitate a "smooth transition" after realising
that the ZANU-PF leadership "was getting old".
He said one such discussion took place in Cape Town, South Africa, where he
met Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Makoni and they agreed that it had become urgent to replace the aging
leadership. Chinamasa's heart must have skipped a beat when he heard his
name - he was always believed to be one of the few remaining staunch
supporters of Mugabe in the politburo.
IWPR's source in the politburo member said Mugabe feared being dumped at the
last minute by his comrades, which might be the Makoni's camp strategy for
getting rid of the president.
Hativagone Mushonga is the pseudonym of an IWPR journalist in Zimbabwe.
Africa News, Netherlands
Posted on Thursday 13 March 2008 - 09:10
Zimbabwe - Some political commentators predict that ZANU-PF will have a
serious drubbing in the general elections slated for 29 March, marking the
beginning of the end for the reign of the mighty ZANU-PF party in Zimbabwe.
"The split in the ruling ZANU-PF party, which has seen former finance
minister and politburo member Dr. Simba Makoni entering the presidential
ring as an independent candidate against his former party boss President
Robert Mugabe, a move which triggered many defections of former ZANU-PF
stalwarts rallying behind Dr Makoni bodes ill for the ruling party, for a
house divided against itself cannot stand." Said one Midlands State
University Professor who preferred anonymity for fear of political reprisal.
This split should be seen as a culmination of a protracted succession battle
in ZANU-PF. The emergence of the Yellow Movement as Simba Makoni's political
formation is popularly known, is a clear indication of ZANU-PF's failure to
manage internal divisions rocking the party which, Dumiso Dabengwa, a senior
member of the party blamed on the party's lack of a clear policy on
succession and leadership renewal in a statement at a campaign rally in
Bulawayo to drum up support for Simba's bid for the presidency. Even Simba
Makoni himself maintains that he hopes to draw his largest support from
within ZANU-PF a party he has served for years stretching back to the period
of the liberation struggle..
Simba's critics have charged that his manifesto promises no radical change
from policy directions being followed by the present government. He intends
only to reform the system not change it. This may attract those in ZANU-PF
who are moderate reform inclined but believe a complete changeover to be
detrimental to their own interests. This then means that Simba is most
likely to draw most of his supporters from ZANU-PF elites who have a stake
in the old order and only a few disillusioned members of the opposition
party within the MDC splinter group lead by Athur Mutambara, that is if they
have any significant followership as they claim. The majority pro-change
supporters of the Tsvangirayi lead faction of the MDC are less likely to
find Makoni appealing, and thus are likely to remain solidly behind
Tsvangirayi and to continue growing in numbers as the change sentiment
filters into the rural areas.
If the above argument holds true, then Simba's entry onto Zimbabwe's
political market poses a threat for Mugabe more than it does for opposition
presidential aspirant Tsvangirayi. "In fact ZANU has never been at its
weakest," one student of history at MSU argued. "The situation of Zimbabwe's
ruling party today is reminiscent of the state of disintegration that had
set in the Mwenemutapa Kingdom when hordes of Matebele Impis under their
warrior king Muzilikazi invaded and subdued that once great Mwenemutapa
Empire in the 18th century.
Tyanai Masiya a lecturer in the Faculty of Social sciences at the same
university however, held a different view. He commented that the coming in
of Simba represents an evil omen for change in Zimbabwe. He said Simba is
bound to draw most of his votes from the urban constituency, which
traditionally belongs to the opposition thereby further weakening MDC's
chances of winning this election. "Simba is virtually a nonentity in the
traditional ZANU-PF stronghold - the rural constituency which accounts for
more than 60% of Zimbabwe's registered voters. This therefore means come
March 30, ZANU-PF wins." He said.
|13 March 2008, 13:59 GMT
Makoni Hijacking Struggle
The changing scenarios of Elections 2008
IBA Condemns Pre-Election Attack on Law Society
More food shortages anticipated
SADC in Zimbabwe to observe, not run polls
From The Star (SA), 13 March
Zimbabwe Quick to Add Higher Denominations
Collectors of notes that involve multiple zeros will be glad to know that hyperinflation is alive and well - and thriving - in Zimbabwe.
Your reporter is hard-pressed to keep pace with the ever-increasing denominations flowing from this economic basket-case. I strongly suspect that the editors of Volume 3 of Standard Catalog of World Paper Money may be equally pushed for at least the next couple of editions.
Back in May 2007 Bank Note Reporter presented a summary of the recent history of the Zimbabwe dollar (ZW$) and of the efforts being made to curb the country's hyperinflationary trends through Operation Sunrise. The upshot was that in July 2006 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe revalued the Zimbabwean dollar at the rate of 1,000-to-1 in the hope of establishing some macroeconomic stability through reverting from four-digit to mere double-digit inflation. The following month the government devalued the new Zimbabwean dollar, or ZWN$, by 60 percent against the U.S. dollar. The old dollar had been rated at ZW$100,000 to US$1. The new dollar was valued at ZWN$250 to each US$1. In the past 12 months or so things have gotten much, much worse and the Zimbabwe dollar, be it old or new, continues to be least-valued currency in the world. At the beginning of 2007 inflation was running at over 1,700 percent with no end in sight. By March 2007 the new Zimbabwean dollar was valued at ZWN$30,000 to US$1.
By mid-June 2007 the inflation rate was estimated at 3,700 percent, the highest in the world. Come late November, a conservative estimate put it at 8,000 percent and rising by the hour. In January 2008, one South African paper was discussing the probability that real annual inflation was at least 25,000 percent and possibly in excess of 50,000 percent. All of this was reflected in the denominations of bearer checks spewing from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in a vain attempt to plug a desperate cash shortage. Lines form each and every day outside banks throughout the country as people seek to withdraw their savings before they become valueless. There is simply never enough cash on hand to fulfill the need.
In December 2007 the central bank issued new notes in denominations of ZWN$250,000, ZWN$500,000 and ZWN$750,000. At the same time the governor of the bank, Gideon Gono, announced that ZWN$200,000 bills were to be phased out. These notes had been released at the end of July when they bought the equivalent of a couple of pounds of sugar. They had become a common denomination. The final date for exchange of this old note for the new denominations was set as Dec. 31. Immediately chaos reigned!
Shops promptly stopped accepting the ZWN$200,000 notes rather than risk being caught with a bundle of them at the end of the month. New lines formed at the city banks as people tried to exchange ZWN$200,000 notes they had received only the day before for the new currency. Out in the countryside it was worse. Villagers struggled to cross flooded rivers to get to where the cash-swap teams were based. Carpetbaggers swooped in, swapping old notes for new at a premium of up to 50 percent.
Then, at 8.30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued yet another statement to the effect the ZWN$200,000 note would not be decommissioned after all. No explanation was given. Never mind the people who had lost savings, risked flooded rivers and spent Christmas in bank lines. And never mind that shop-keepers won't touch them with a 40-foot barge pole just in case the "Reverse" Bank changes its mind again!
It had been my intention to write this story early in the new year. However, a bout of ill-health kept me from my keyboard for a week in early January. When I returned to the fray a few days later, the newswires were reporting that Zimbabwe's central bank had issued yet more new bank notes, in denominations of up to ZWN$10 million. At the time of the mid-December issue, economists had predicted that the central bank would need to dramatically upscale its note values, and so it had come to pass and in just four short weeks.
Even this infusion of large-denomination notes has failed to have any immediate impact on the country's cash crisis. Long lines remain in place at banks nationwide and Gov. Gono is publicly speaking of cash hoarding among the government's power brokers. He is quoted as stating, "Of the Z$67 trillion which has been printed, we can only account for Z$2 trillion in the formal banking system."
The new bearer checks drawn on the central bank come in denominations of ZWN$1 million, ZWN$5 million and ZWN$10 million, the latter being equivalent - at the time of writing - to US$3.90, but falling by the minute!
Anyone wish to run an office pool on when a ZWN$100,000,000 bearer check will appear?