The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

18 March 2005
Starvation in Zimbabwe

In his infamous Sky News interview in April last year, President Mugabe said, “why foist food on us, do you want us to choke?” Less than a year later, he is now desperately trying to assure the people that no one will starve. For a Head of State to talk about 7 truck loads carrying a paltry 224 tonnes of maize for the whole province of Masvingo shows the systematic use of maize for political gain. As a matter of fact, MDC imported more than 300 tonnes of maize for distribution to one constituency in 2003, which was confiscated by government. We had plans to bring in over 20 000 tonnes but were prevented from doing so.
 People are starving in the following provinces: Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South and Midlands. This government is fully aware of the starving people throughout the country. At MDC rallies, which are always attended by police details, thousands of people complain about starvation. What happened to the 2 400 000+ tones bumper harvest? We have evidence of the rampant politicalisation of food by the regime.
GMB claimed that there was enough maize to take the country to August this year. It is a fact, and they admitted it, that they have been importing maize all along. They have been receiving imports at the rate of 15000 tonnes a month from a purchase from South Africa of 100 000 tons. It is this maize that they are distributing and selling selectively.
We know how the regime successfully stopped all food aid so that they are the only ones with food during the elections. The effect of the current rain shortfall would be later during the year, not now.
 The country has now virtually run out of maize. There will be no food after the elections. If the voters make a mistake and vote Zanu Pf into power, there will be starvation of major proportion in the country. The use of food to buy votes plus intimidation of voters is clear evidence that Zanu Pf has no support whatsoever in the rural areas.
We will defeat Zanu Pf inspite of all the threats and deliberate starving of people and usher in a new beginning for the people of this country.
Shadow Minister for Lands and Agriculture
Renson Gasela   
Back to the Top
Back to Index

SA opposition describes run-up to poll as "alarming"

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 18 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA)
members of the South African parliamentary observer mission to Zimbabwe have
described their initial impressions of the electoral process as "alarming".

DA representatives reported that "there is widespread intimidation of
opposition members and supporters", and members of NGOs were arrested when
they tried to conduct voter education programmes, party leader Tony Leon
wrote in his weekly letter.

The DA observers claimed that many people believed the youth militias of
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party would carry out violent retribution, after
the elections, against voters in areas where the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) had a strong showing, Leon reported.

Responding for the parliamentary team, senior African National Congress
(ANC) official, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, told IRIN: "It is too early to comment on
the situation as we are still in the process of deploying people to the
various provinces. Any information that any member could have would only be
hearsay and any comment they make is not on behalf of the team."

Meanwhile, the Independent Democrats (ID), another South African opposition
party, on Friday decided to withdraw from the parliamentary observer
mission, calling it "a farce and a waste of taxpayers' money". The ID
representative in the mission, Vincent Gore, told IRIN on his return that in
the four days he had spent in Zimbabwe, "it was quite clear that the
upcoming Zimbabwean elections are not going to be free and fair".

Controversy has dogged the observer team since its leader, South African
Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, was reported to have declared the
electoral process in Zimbabwe as free and fair. On Friday he denied making
the statement.

Earlier this month South African President Thabo Mbeki announced that the
elections in Zimbabwe would be above board, telling a news conference in
Cape Town, addressed jointly with Namibia's outgoing President Sam Nujoma:
"I have no reason to think that ... the elections will not be free and

Following the reports on Mdladlana's comments earlier this week, the MDC
announced that it would not engage with the parliamentary observer team.
Mdladlana's "partisan" stance "is an affront to the ideals that guided
liberation struggles across Africa", the MDC said in a statement on

"We are seeking clarity from the minister. Until then, we have put our
interaction with them on hold. We have briefed the SADC [Southern African
Development Community] secretariat team, and will also meet with the ANC
[-led] observer team," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi told IRIN on Friday.

Zimbabwe has invited 32 countries to observe the elections. Regional and
international organisations to which invitations have been extended include
the African Union, SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa,
the Non-Aligned Movement and the UN.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwean Exiles Decry Court Ruling On Voting By  William Eagle
      18 March 2005

Zimbabwe's Supreme court has ruled that Zimbabweans living abroad can not
vote in upcoming parliamentary elections later this month, or in future
polls. The state-run Herald newspaper reports the Supreme Court on has
rejected a petition from Zimbabwean citizens living in Britain. They
challenged laws that prevent an estimated three million Zimbabwean citizens
living abroad from casting their ballots. Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku
is quoted as saying the petition lacked merit. Under Zimbabwean law, only
diplomats and military personnel and their families abroad can vote.
Parliamentary elections, set for March 31st, are expected to come under
intense scrutiny after international observers said the 2002 presidential
elections were not free and fair.

Matthew Nyashanu is the communications officer of the Diaspora Vote Action
Group in Birmingham, England. Seven members of the group were behind the
suit demanding the right to vote. Mr. Nyashanu told English to Africa
reporter William Eagle that in his first several years in power, Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe supported the right of exiles to vote. He says that
changed when opposition began to grow to his rule.

Mr. Nyashanu says his group will continue to challenge the government on the
issue, and will ask exiles not to send money home to relatives using
official channels, which had been requested by Zimbabwe's Central Bank. It
has courted Zimbabweans abroad in an effort to prop up the country's failing
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      SAF Parliamentary Mission To Zimbabwe Called Farce And Waste Of Money
      By Joe De Capua
      18 March 2005

There was sharp criticism Friday of the South African parliamentary mission
sent to observe the Zimbabwe elections.  The Independent Democrats Party has
withdrawn from the mission, calling it a farce and a waste of taxpayers'

Vincent Gore represented the Independent Democrats Party on the mission.
English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua reached him by cell phone just after
his plane landed in Johannesburg.  Mr. Gore described the status of the
South African observer mission.

He says, "The parliamentary mission has been plagued by problems right from
the beginning.  It's badly organized.  It's badly planned and badly
executed.  We met with only four organizations in the space of four days.
And on the final day we spent the entire day sitting in our hotel rooms
waiting for a phone call to be deployed."

Mr. Gore disputes statements by some South African government officials that
the Zimbabwe election will be free and fair.   He says, "It is quite clear
that the upcoming Zimbabwean elections are not going to be free and fair."

The MP says the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission was only created in February
and is not prepared to handle the elections, adding, "It has outsourced many
of its functions to government departments."  That he says has created a
conflict of interest.

He says the main opposition party, the MDC, refused to meet with the South
African mission, believing the mission had already made up its mind that the
elections would be free and fair.  As a result, Mr. Gore returned to South
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

      ID pulls out of observer mission to Zimbabwe

      Date: 18-Mar, 2005

      JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Democrats ((ID) has withdrawn from the
South African parliamentary observer mission which will monitor Zimbabwe's
March 31 elections.

      The observer mission "is a farce and a waste of taxpayers' money", ID
MP Vincent Gore claimed on Friday.

      "It is quite clear that the upcoming Zimbabwean elections are not
going to be free and fair, and that the parliamentary observer mission is
being used as a vehicle to rubber stamp statements made by the ruling
Zanu-PF, the African National Congress, and others that the elections will
be free and fair," he said.

      From its arrival in Harare on Monday, the mission had been "plagued by
inefficiency, bad planning, and wasted time".

      Gore complained the mission had so far only met the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the Electoral Supervisory Commission, the Zimbabwe Council of
Churches, and the Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition.

      "To date we have not met with any political parties, nor does there
appear to be plans to do so.

      "Various attempts to meet with Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change have been delayed, and it is now clear that the MDC will not meet
with any South African government observer mission," he said.

      With members of the parliamentary mission being deployed around the
country, it would be almost impossible for the mission, as a group, to meet
with any political party before the elections.

      After the meetings held with the four groups, the ID believed the
elections would not be free and fair, and thus not a reflection of the will
of the Zimbabwean people.

      Despite drops in levels of violence, the "pervasive levels of violence
over the past number of years and the ever present threats of violence as
well as repressive legislation" created an atmosphere preventing opposition
parties from campaigning openly and freely, and voters were not able to
express their will without intimidation and violence.

      In addition, the electoral commission was not prepared to handle the
elections, Gore said. - Sapa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

      Soldiers' role in polls raises great suspicion

      Date: 18-Mar, 2005

      AT the very least, the role of so many soldiers in the conduct of the
31 March parliamentary elections must cast grave doubts on the outcome.

      The armed forces of Zimbabwe are led by war veterans who pronounced
before the 2002 presidential election their opposition to the election of
anyone without the requisite war veteran credentials.

      What they said, in essence, was that they would remove such a
president from power. In other words, they would stage a military coup.

      Zanu PF apologists tried to put an innocuous spin on this naked
declaration against the entire democratic process.

      Others tried to tell the world that President Robert Mugabe himself,
the Zanu PF candidate, had played no part in the drafting of the declaration
by the military chiefs.

      This may or may not be worth speculating on, but anybody who has the
recent political history of Zimbabwe at their fingertips would draw the
proper conclusions.

      Neither Zanu PF nor Mugabe have ever been good losers.

      In fact, when Zanu PF lost the constitutional referendum in 2000, its
reaction was to unleash a wave of violence across the country.

      Many people were killed. This is not opposition propaganda, but a fact
of history.

      What may not be entirely certain this time around is whether the
soldiers will act with as little conscience as some of them did in 2000.

      Among them must be Zimbabweans who see the future of their country
beyond the reign of Zanu PF or Mugabe himself.

      These soldiers must be aware that history is littered with the
political corpses of dictators and dictatorial parties which believed they
would rule forever.

      Zimbabwe cannot escape that history. If the people are determined to
change their leadership, nothing can stop them, not armed soldiers, not
rabble-rousing politicians, not marauding gangs of youths high on mbanje or
other drugs.

      All it takes is the conviction among the people that what they want to
achieve is of such importance that they are prepared to lay down their lives
for it.

      Among the soldiers themselves may be Zimbabweans with enough
conscience and love for their country not to be duped into selling it out by
plotting a Zanu PF victory which could be a huge fraud.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Police shield Mugabe from verbal attacks
Sat 19 March 2005
      MUTARE - Police in Manicaland province have ordered opposition
election candidates in the province not to denounce President Robert Mugabe
during campaigning or they will be arrested.

      Senior assistant police commissioner Ronald Muderedzwa, in charge of
the law enforcement agency in Manicaland, told seven Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party candidates at a meeting here in Mutare, the provincial
administrative centre, that they will be arrested for denouncing Mugabe.

      The meeting, held earlier this week at Mutare's Queens Hall as Mugabe
began a blitz for votes in the province, was also attended by two ruling
ZANU PF party candidates Shadreck Beta and Samuel Undenge and Daniel Tuso of
the smaller Zanu Ndonga opposition party. "Let me warn political parties
that it is illegal to verbally attack the person of the President at your
rallies . . . anyone found violating this law, will be brought to book,"
Muderedzwa is said to have told the candidates.

      But MDC spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi accused the police of behaving
like the "ZANU PF youth league" for attempting to bar attacks against or
criticism of Mugabe.

      Themba-Nyathi said it was impossible for Mugabe to escape criticism
when he was leader of a political party contesting the election. The
opposition spokesman also accused Mugabe of being guilty himself of making
personal attacks against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. He said: "The
unfortunate thing is that the police have turned into a ZANU PF youth
league. That is why the police are willing to be used in that manner. Mugabe
has made it a habit to attack Tsvangirai at public rallies. He has made
personal remarks about Tsvangirai.

      "Mugabe cannot escape personal criticism as a leader of a party that
is violent, that has destroyed the country and does not observe the rule of

      Muderedzwa could not be reached for comment on the matter. ZANU PF
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was also unreachable last night.

      But Beta, who is a former chairman of ZANU PF in Manicaland and is
representing the party in Mutare Central constituency said the police order
barring the opposition from denouncing Mugabe was long overdue.

      Beta told ZimOnline: "They (the MDC) should not engage in destructive
politics. They should campaign in a civilised manner and not to attack the
person of the president. The police should arrest anyone who infringes the
laws of the country and attacks the person of the president."

      Under the government's Public Order and Security Act, it is an offence
for Zimbabweans to make denigrating or derogatory comments against Mugabe or
even making gestures at his motorcade when it drives by.

      Several Zimbabweans have been heavily fined and jailed after being
caught by ZANU PF activists or state secret service agents denigrating
Mugabe whose polices many blame for plunging the country into an economic
and political crisis.

      But Mugabe himself has on many occasions used intemperate and
defamatory language against his opponents, calling Tsvangirai a dimwit and a
witch at campaign rallies. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

COSATU back at border post
Sat 19 March 2005
  MUSINA - About 200 members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) yesterday picketed at the Beitbridge border post against human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe and the uneven electoral playing field ahead of
this month-end election.

      The picket, is the second at the border post following last Friday's
protests. The union, which is part of South Africa's ruling tripartite
alliance together with the African National Congress and the South African
Communist Party, has been vocal in its criticism of the Harare authorities.

      Similar protests also took place at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria
yesterday as the union steps up pressure against Harare.

      Zimbabwe's envoy to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo last week scorned at
the COSATU protests saying they had failed to achieve anything.

      COSATU says it is planning more protests in solidarity with the
suffering workers in Zimbabwe ahead of the March 31 election. It also plans
a night vigil at the border post on the eve of the election.

      The South African government, which is pursuing a policy of quiet
diplomacy against Harare, has however warned COSATU not to go ahead with the
blockade. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

ZANU PF, MDC rejects to form party
Sat 19 March 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - A loose coalition of independent candidates, discarded by
the two main political parties in the country, says it will transform into a
political party after the March 31 election.

      The group, which is believed to be headed by dismissed government
information minister and propaganda tsar Jonathan Moyo, included disgruntled
senior ZANU PF party and main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) members who lost internal elections to represent their parties in the
month-end election.

      A spokesman for the group, Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni told ZimOnline yesterday
that the group will transform into a political party after the month-end
election to target the 2008 presidential election.

      Zimbabwe Union of Democrats president Margaret Dongo, former MDC
legislators Silas Mangono and Peter Nyoni are also part of the loose
coalition. Llody Siyoka, Leonard Nkala, Charles Mpofu and Stars Mathe, all
from ZANU PF, are part of the plans behind the new political force.

      Moyo, who is said to be the brains behind the group, fell out with
Mugabe late last year after trying to block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru
to the vice-presidency, a key stepping stone to the top job. Mugabe is set
to retire in 2008. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

President lambasts Smith

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-19

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday lambasted ailing former Rhodesian leader
Ian Douglas Smith over crimes he committed against humanity during his rule.
Addressing thousands of ruling party supporters that thronged Tafara 1 High
School where he donated 50 computers to five schools President Mugabe said:
"Smith is still alive. We did not punish him although we could have done so
had we wanted. Tingadai takakadimbura musoro (We could have decapitated
The sole Zimbabwean leader who has been at the helm of the nation since 1980
went on: "We did not take his farms -of the two farms that he had, we only
took one. Takamusiyira pokufira (we left him with one farm where he would be
laid to rest." In the same breath, President Mugabe-the object of western
vitriol- also took a swipe at British leader, Tony Blair for his push for
regime change and attacked the opposition MDC for working hand-in-glove with
the former colonial master.
He said the MDC was the only opposition party on the continent still seeking
assistance from Europe to gain political mileage.
"Today we hear that they are some who want to give the British power. To
give power to Blair, a young man that no one ever taught about our history.
Britain has already stated that it is working with the MDC and there is no
opposition party in Africa that is still rushing to Europe for it to win
elections other than the MDC," President Mugabe said.
He advised MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to court the electorate instead of
"Organise your party so that it meets the people - that is where your power
should come from not from Blair. We will resist any efforts from Britain
aimed at changing government."
The President touched on the poor state of roads in the country's cities and
towns and indicated that his government, through the ministry of transport,
will soon assist municipalities in reconstructing the infrastructure.
"Migwagwa yakabva yanyanya kusakara pakapinda MDC, yavakutinyadzisa (our
roads are now in a bad state since the MDC won in cities and towns). We have
said the ministry of transport will soon go into urban areas and assist
councils in the re-construction of the roads," he said.
The secondary schools that received computers yesterday were Tafara1 High,
Mabvuku, Hatfield Girls High, Epworth and Domboramwari.
President Mugabe urged party supporters to vote for Pamela Tungamirirai in
Mabvuku-Tafara constituency saying her history dates back to the days of the
liberation struggle.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

NCA defends expulsion of parties

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-19

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly's Political Parties Liaison Committee
chairperson, Wurayayi Zembe, yesterday defended the expulsion of three of
the five parties from the NCA on Tuesday.
Zembe said the decision to dismiss the affected parties was based on the
argument that by taking part in the nomination exercise the parties had
actually declared support for this month end's general elections despite
fielding no candidates at all.
The NCA sub-committee expelled the MDC, National Alliance for Good
Governance (NAGG), ZAPU-FP, Zanu and the Multiracial Open Party-Christian
Democrats (MOP-CD) for agreeing to participate in the eagerly awaited polls
slated for March 31 2005.
The NCA has made its position regarding the forthcoming elections very
clear. The civic rights body has publicly    opposed having elections
conducted under the current constitution they complain is undemocratic and
heavily tilted in favour of the ruling Zanu PF.
Zembe was responding to accusations by NAGG, Zapu-FP and MOP-CD, that their
dismissal was illegal since they had fielded no candidates for the elections
on February 18, which was the final day of nomination.
NAGG president Lloyd Chihambakwe has since dismissed their expulsion as
illegal for they did not field a candidate at all.
"If he had his homework he should have known that Nagg has no candidates
standing in the March elections. His actions are therefore illegal,"
Chihambakwe said.
MOP-CD president Gerald Mubayira also echoed Chihambakwe's concerns, and
warned that Zembe's actions would negatively affect the fight for
constitutional reform in Zimbabwe.
"The parties participated in the process of nomination which we had refused
to accept in the first place. The parties had also been consistent publicly
in pronouncing their participation in the elections.
Chihambakwe (Nagg President) was quoted on several occasions stating they
will only contest in urban areas due to violence by the ruling Zanu Pf
supporters," Zembe said.
He added that Zapu-FP even went to the High Court seeking an order to
postpone the nomination exercise arguing that the nomination fee was
The fee was pegged at $2million this year up from the $100 000 charged
Zembe denied that the constitutional fight would be affected by the
dismissal of the parties saying their actions had proved that they did not
abide by their principles.
"They failed to field candidates because of failing to raise the required
money or not having enough people to second their nomination. This means
they lost the polls on the nomination stage of elections.
The matter was not just on those who fielded candidates but those who took
part in the election process. It shows that they are opportunists and not
capable of standing to the principles."
The NCA taskforce is yet to seat to determine the continued membership of
the defiant political parties in the civic group.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Star (SA), 18 March

Mdladlana scolded over Zim poll remarks

Colleagues distance themselves from controversial statements

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, head of the official SA government
observer mission to the March 31 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections, has been
rebuked even by his own government colleagues for apparently prejudging that
the elections would be free and fair. The separate ANC observer mission and
the SA parliamentary mission have both distanced themselves from
controversial remarks which Mdladlana made on arrival on Monday that he saw
no reason why the elections should not be free and fair. Senior members of
SA's government election observer mission and the head of the SA
parliamentary observers, Mbulelo Goniwe, told Mdladlana not to "jeopardise"
their credibility and impartiality, a source said. His remarks provoked
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, to cut
off all contact with the SA observers. But the MDC resumed contact with the
ANC mission after receiving a letter from it, making it clear that it was
separate from Mdladlana's mission. Priscilla Misihairambwi, MDC spokesperson
on international affairs, said the MDC would now meet the ANC. "It is unfair
that we lump them together with the other SA observer mission," she said,
adding that the MDC appreciated that the ANC mission had not yet made any
statement on the elections. A reliable source said that Goniwe and other
colleagues had told Mdladlana that as a result of his statement, the MDC and
some other stakeholders were now suspicious of every South African
institution. Luphumzo Kebeni, spokesperson for the parliamentary observer
mission, said that Goniwe met with Mdladlana to make it clear that the
mission was separate from Mdladlana's.

But Mdladlana hit back at his critics last night, denying that he had
prejudged the outcome of the Zimbabwean elections. The minister described
the current situation in Zimbabwe as calm and much improved from elections
in 2002. Mdladlana said people who accused him of saying that conditions in
the country were conducive to free and fair elections were lying. "I can
tolerate anything and everything, but not lies," he said. The SA cabinet
also waded into the row yesterday with a statement apparently designed to
extricate itself from the mess Mdladlana had created without openly rebuking
him. Government communications head Joel Netshitenzhe told journalists that
the cabinet believed that Zimbabwe had taken steps so far to create an
environment for free political activity. There had also been a drop in
political violence compared to the last election. But the government had
also noted the concerns raised by the MDC about the issue of the voters'
roll, and their right to hold political gatherings, Netshitenzhe said.
Instead of complaining from now on, the SA government observers would deal
with "concrete" incidents as they arose. Brian Kagoro, co-chair of
Zimbabwe's Crisis Coalition, which represents most human rights and
governance NGOs, threatened to walk out of a briefing with Mdladlana on
Tuesday. The MDC has said it would not engage with the South African
government observer team until the minister was replaced. It said he had
prematurely declared the polls free and fair.
Back to the Top
Back to Index





Today's Herald (Friday 18th March 2005) contains only repeat listings of
section 5 notices and section 8 orders - no new listings, as follows:

- Section 5 notices: Lot 165 with 3 properties;
- Section 8 notices: Lot 22 with 245 properties.

These listings were first published on Friday 11th March 2005 Herald and
sent out on the JAG Legal Communiqué on Monday 14th March 2005.



JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zapu out of election

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/19/2005 07:02:28
THE opposition Zapu has announced it is out of this month's parliamentary
elections after they failed to raise enough cash to field candidates in all
the 120 constituencies.

Paul Siwela the leader of the party told the independent SW Radio Africa
Friday that his party could not raise $240 million required to field
candidates in Zimbabwe's 120 constituencies.

The party's pleas to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to review its fees
met a stone wall.

Each candidate taking part in the March 31 elections was asked to fork out
$2 million. Candidates from Zanu PF and the MDC had their fees paid for by
their parties from funds secured through the Political Parties Finance Bill.

Both parties got over $ 3 billion each and were able to finance their

Siwela said the fee increase was a strategy by the ruling Zanu PF to block
smaller parties from participating because of the fear it would split votes.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Zanu PF and Mugabe beyond reform

By Munyaradzi Manungo
Last updated: 03/18/2005 21:51:04
SOMEONE once remarked way back in 1999 that when Nelson Mandela was busy
planning for the next generation, the ruling elite in Zimbabwe were planning
for the next general election.

These remarks read true today given the importance of an election, any
election, to those in power in Zimbabwe, a positon which derives from
selfish motives rather than from a desire to see the country prosper.

Once again, the election is around the corner and they are at it again. They
are spewing intoxicating rhetoric on the masses in their campaign trails,
concentrating much of their energies to the articulation of the significance
of historical events rather than addressing bread and butter issues, which
obviously are central to the current economic quagmire. It's the future
people are concerned about because naturally people don't live in the past,
they always look ahead and they need to do so with a certain measure of
optimism. In our country this does not hold true today.

There is not a shadow of doubt that generations of our people immensely
value the execution of the liberation struggle and its legacy will live with
us until time immemorial. One can also not afford to understate the
achievements of the liberation struggle in as far as incinerating the evil
of imperialism is concerned. The struggle for independence was a collective
effort by Zimbabweans and its success was a national victory which we all
share to this day. We can also not afford to undermine the roles that
certain individuals, organisations and countries played in our struggle, to
do so will be highly irresponsible. If you visited my home today, the first
portait you will set your eyes on is that of General Josiah Magama
Tongogara. I genuinely believe that he is a true hero among many others the
likes of Herbert Chitepo, Nikita Mangena, Joshua Nkomo, George Nyandoro,
Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold Takawira, Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi. It is
a natural phenomenon that in any revolution, academic spheres or life in
general, others excel to levels that merit special recognition and I do
believe Zimbabweans of all walks of life share the same belief.

Here comes a huge problem. In Zimbabwe, over the years we have seen the
establishment of a ruling elite that has personalised both the liberation
struggle and its achievements and are using this as a weapon to monopolise
power. Because of a track record of bad governance and massive corruption,
this ruling elite has sought to remain in power by whatever means necessary
to in order escape the whip of the people for their actions. In so doing,
today at every campaign rally, people are being constantly reminded of the
sacrificies our heroes made and to cherish these by voting for the ruling
party. Our people need not to be reminded about something that is part of
their history, and for almost a quarter of a century this message has been
used to perpetuate Zanu PF hegemony.

The consequences have been protracted hardships for the masses, and
naturally this has ignited a common agenda for change. This is not out of
the norm in any society, but in the Zimbabwean context any opinion which is
at varience with the whims of those in the ruling elite is a societal
abnormality. This obviously defies commonsense, and if this positon is
allowed to flourish, and with the degree of hardships reaching threshold
levels, we can not rule out the invevitable. If the struggle brought
freedom,all people should be allowed to reap the fruits of that freedom, but
if it becomes the preserve of a minority then the system qualifies to be
labelled as oppressive. That qualification alone is enough to equate that
system to the one that it replaced on the 18 th of April 1980. What this
means then is that freedom for the people is yet to be realised.

Today, there are certain indivuals,organisations and nations who still don't
believe the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe. Yes, they will continue to
believe so for as long as they are beneficiaries of the crisis. Those at the
receiving at end of the crisis will continue to suffer until a lasting
solution is at hand. But for this to happen,we need a new culture and a new
political dimension that derives from the realisation by Zimbabweans that
the future of our country is in our hands. It is pathetically naive to
suggest that Tony Blair or George Bush are an integral part of our political
system as evidenced by Zanu-PF declaring the March 31 poll an anti-Blair
election. It is also a serious misconception that the opposition in our
country is the making of neo-colonialist machinisations.

The honest truth is that the opposition represents a constituency of our
people who have legitimate grievances against the current leadership. On the
basis of the 2000 election results with almost a 50-50 position on the
contested seats, to suggest that half of our electorate who voted for the
oppositon are agents of imperialists is nonsensical. It is this high
disregard for political pluralism that is a blot on the liberation movements
in our entire continent, who have a track record of departing from the
revolutionary agenda once they are in power. Tony Blair or George Bush will
never lose sleep over our problems in Zimbabwe, not a single day. They have
their own problems in their countries and whatever interest they might have
in our politics,if they have any, these should not be alowed to overshadow
the need to be truthful to our people and for once apportion blame where it
is rightfully due, that is, to blame ourselves as leaders in positions of

It is very encouraging to note that political violence is not gracing the
headlines. But its the tautology about our history and character
castigations that are the order of the day now. It does not benefit an
ordinary person for Robert Mugabe to assassinate Morgan Tsvangirai's
character or vice-versa. It might benefit the two gentleman and even so for
selfish motives. It is not the number of degrees that Mugabe has or academic
credentials on Tsvangirai's CV, or lack of, that people want to hear about.
It is not even about who did what in the liberation struggle that people
want to be repeatedly reminded of, for this is now common knowledge, neither
do the people want to know about Britain or America. They want genuine
freedom and economic prosperity.

The people of Zimbabwe need sound leadership, and that leadership is not one
that is forced on people by manipulating the electoral process at all costs,
but it is a leadership that articulates a vision for a brighter future for
posterity and practical solutions for the bread and butter issues which are
a thorn in the flesh of the masses. Such a leadership can only come into
existence through a free and fair election, and this is all what Zimbabweans
are asking for. It does not need a rocket scientist to proclaim that the
current mess we find ourselves in, can only come to an end when the
prevailing political environment normalises. Political stability is an
integral component of the social and economic equation, without which all
efforts are worthless. Gideon Gono is very knowledgeable on this fundamental
economic imperative but will deliberately choose to igore it because he is
nothing but an imposter. His so-called home grown economic policies will
never succeed as long as the politics of the country remain unstable.

In the corporate world, there is a recognition that if an investment is not
profitable to the shareholders, strategies must be put in place to make the
situation favourable. Among the top priorities is a turnaround strategy
which is the need for total change. That change can either be partial or
wholesale, but in most cases the latter is the preference because there is
an assumption that it brings with it fresh ideas and a new impetus. A track
record of failure by management is a recipe for wholesale changes, and it is
in this light that we should view the Zimbabwean crisis.

As shareholders we need a new lease of life in our system of government, new
ideas and strategies about prospects for the future and not about the
difficulties of the past. It's about the future and not about the past. It's
not even about land as many might misconstrue, it's about bad management.
The land issue has been misrepresented on a huge scale. The truth of the
matter is that the process of land restribution was seriously flawed, not
becasuse the whites lost land to the indegeneous blacks, but flawed in the
sense that the economic implications of such a process were disregarded for
political expediency. However, this process is irreversible because it
derives from a paramount objective of the liberation struggle.

Nature also seems to have cursed us, everytime there is an election we have
a serious drought and this has been the pattern since independence. Because
of poor food security planning in our bumper years, this leaves the people
vulnerable to political manipulation by the ruling party who have a monopoly
on food distribution. But sooner rather than later, all forms of political
chicanery will run out because our people are maturing politically. It is a
matter of time and hopefully that time is near enough to put an end to the
unprecedented suffering of the people of Zimbabwe.
Munyaradzi Manungo in a political and social commentator living in the UK
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Election monitoring or election legitimating?

By Bhekinkosi Moyo
Last updated: 03/18/2005 21:51:57
INDEED the question is whether observer missions that have descended on the
capital of Harare are monitors or agents that have been unleashed by their
respective governments to legitimate the already stolen result?

Recent events of the past weeks suggest that the results of parliamentary
elections have been decided. ZANU PF has not only won, but the election has
been free and fair. This comes in the wake of crazy statements and bizarre
activities in and outside Zimbabwe.

First, was the unbelievable statement by President Thabo Mbeki that there
are no reasons to think that Zimbabwean elections will not be free and fair.
This was an arrogant statement by the President. He should have known
better. It is an insult to people of Zimbabwe and his presidential status.
We expect better from the President.

Second was the exclusion of observer bodies such the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Electoral
Institute of Southern Africa (EISA). The reason for excluding these bodies
is that they are bound to be over-critical of the outcome of the election
and as such are biased. The ZCTU for example was excluded on the basis that
it is 'too active and partisan in local politics', and a mouth-piece of the
West, in particular the Labour Party in Britain, claimed Patrick Chinamasa
on Tuesday this week.

Chinamasa's statement reveals the bias that characterises the Zimbabwean
state. The state has already pre-empted the judgement of the union before it
can even conduct the monitoring exercise. The same bias was used against
groups such as EISA and the SADCPF. In other words, only organisations that
will be positive in their monitoring have been invited. It is, therefore,
not surprising that among the 29 local civil society organisations invited
to monitor the election, I did not see names like Crisis Coalition, NCA
among others that are critical of the state of affairs in Zimbabwe.

Thirdly was the bizarre conclusion by South Africa's Labour Minister, M.
Mdladlana that the 'build up to the 31st March' was conducive for a free and
fair election. The minister has already pre-judged the election and so it
will seem that there is no point in observing it. In the words of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the minister has 'sanitized the
election'. This has caused a rift between opposition MPs comprising the
South Africa Parliamentary Observer team. It was reported that some of the
MPs threatened to fly back to South Africa as they could not form part of a
delegation that had already pre-judged the election and concluded on the
result. This emerged after the Zimbabwean government refused to accredit the
Parliamentary Forum, suggesting instead that, the Forum be integrated into
the government team led by Minister Mdladlana.

A number of critical and problematic conclusions can be drawn from these
events. First, the Zimbabwean government is clear that it wants to win the
election by all means available. However it wants to do so in a way that
would suggest that it adhered to the minimum standards required by SADC.
Thus ZANU PF desperately needs observers who would write supportive reports.
A quick look at the observer teams invited shows that the likelihood of any
dissenting voices is very low. There is every indication that the observer
teams will legitimize the election results in favour of the ruling party.
This is expected given the political context in Africa.

Incumbent ruling parties support each other to remain in power no matter
what it takes. Most of the ruling parties in the SADC region share or claim
to share a history of being liberation parties. They also allege that they
are preserving the spirit of nationalism. This view however denies new
talent to contribute to the political and economic development of these
nations. It is in this context that the 31st election in Zimbabwe has been
decided. ZANU PF has won the election; it is waiting for an approval stamp.
This stamp has been designed and is ready to be inserted on ZANU PF's
certificate to 'misrule' for another term. The date for the stamping
ceremony is the 31st March or some days after.

Secondly, it is clear that the South African government has already made up
its mind on the result. This agrees with its presidential policy towards
Zimbabwe; that of 'quiet diplomacy'. The South African President hasn't
publicly agreed that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. He has argued
consistently that conditions of a free and fair election prevail despite
overwhelming evidence compiled by research institutions, NGOs and trade
unions. It should be noted that South Africa's foreign policy towards
Zimbabwe has been characterised by what Tim Hughes calls 'composers,
conductors and players'. In other words, there is no agreement between
players on what the policy should be, hence the presidency always dominates.
A classic example of this was the difference between the Presidency and the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) last week regarding the SADC
Parliamentary Forum.

The Presidency through Ronnie Mamoepa of the DFA argued that the Forum was
not a recognised organ of SADC while the Director General of DFA argued
otherwise. These contradictions are also evident among COSATU, ANC, DFA and
the Presidency. While COSATU has taken a confrontational stance towards
Zimbabwe, parts of the ANC and the Presidency have taken a collegial stance.
The DFA has in most part been the implementer of the policy. Hence Hughes
has argued that South Africa's foreign policy making can be described as
'harmony and discord'. South Africa is therefore using this election result
to justify its policy. It is my suspicion that this election will be used as
a watershed event to shape the rehabilitation and normalization of Zimbabwe.
It will not be surprising that after the elections, Mugabe might be
persuaded to relinquish power and transitional mechanisms put in place,
leading into a government of national unity. The international community
will then be engaged and financial institutions will inject aid into the
country. The reconstruction of Zimbabwe will marinate South Africa's quiet
diplomacy with praise and 'certificates of good negotiation skills'. Mbeki
will have achieved his goal. However he will have done so in shrewd means.

Thirdly it seems to me that the opposition MDC has been weakened and
de-capacitated. It is entering the election under protest. It has put on a
brave face. There is no doubt that the opposition has lost the election. It
lost many years ago. It still remains to be seen whether the MDC will arise
again and be a strong force to reckon with. It seems to me that Zimbabwe
will continue to be ruled by ZANU PF for the next decade. However it is
interesting that Jonathan Moyo, the disposed information minister, has
formed a third force. It will be interesting to watch the political space as
the date towards elections draws near. There is obviously going to be
spectacular performances by Moyo in Tsholotsho. The question however is
whether the ZANU PF government will let Moyo win the constituency? If they
do, what are their plans for him? And if they don't, what are they going to
do? Many of us thought that by now, Moyo would be none-entity-long

The last conclusion one draws from the election madness in Zimbabwe is that
there is something about Zimbabwe which warrants so much attention. There
are elections all over the world but none of them has drawn so much
attention as Zimbabwe. The question is why? Why is everyone drawn towards
Zimbabwe? There is a need to research this. Some have argued that the
interest is because Mugabe needs to go-thus regime change is the reason
always given. Hence in response Mugabe and his cronies have been very
stubborn. They have even found solace and support from other African leaders
who feel that the same can happen to them if they allow it in Zimbabwe.
Others however, have argued that the destabilisation of Zimbabwe equates to
the destabilisation of the region. And an MDC victory is defined as
destabilisation in this context. Definitely the ANC will not allow a
situation which suggests that trade unions can become political parties and
win the election. That would threaten its power base. This argument is also
linked to issues of trade, although due to the crisis, Zimbabwe's position
as South Africa's primary trading partner in the SADC region has been taken
up by Mozambique. The question thus still remains why this madness about
Zimbabwe. Lets watch the space.
Bhekinkosi Moyo is based at the Politics Department at the University of

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Prensa, Cuba

More than 200 Cuban Doctors Working in Zimbabwean Hospitals

Vivian Collazo, Foreign Correspondent

Harare, Mar 18 (Prensa Latina) A new group of 50 Cuban doctors has begun to
work in several hospitals in Zimbabwe in order to strengthen bilateral
collaboration in health.

According to chief of Cuba"s medical mission in Zimbabwe Eligio Fernández
González, 49 physicians from different specialties began serving in eight
provincial health facilities, where they will see more than four million

The group joined another 175 health professionals who have been working here
for the last twelve months, including Pharmacy graduates, X-Ray specialists,
nurses and electromedicine engineers, Fernández González said.

They have treated at least 5 913 469 patients from year 2000 to February,
2005, according to data from the mission register.

A feature of Cuban cooperation in Zimbabwe is that doctors have focused on
the secondary level of attention, but from this year on, they will strive to
step up measures mainly to prevent AIDS.
Back to the Top
Back to Index