Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:33pm GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is sliding into a police state and regional
leaders should intervene to save the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said on Friday as police banned a weekend rally he was due to
"It appears to me that the civilian authority is being undermined and we are
fast deteriorating into a police state," Tsvangirai said.
Tensions are rising in the southern African country over policy differences
between Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
These include ZANU-PF's drive to nationalise the country's mines, a move the
MDC has urged caution on as the long-battered economy shows some signs of
Tsvangirai and Mugabe were forced into a coalition two years ago after a
disputed poll in 2008, which led to mass violence, a flood of refugees into
South Africa and a deeper economic crisis in the resource-rich and fertile
The slow pace of pledged democratic reforms is another a source of friction
as the security forces remain staunch Mugabe loyalists, and this has led to
violent clashes between supporters of the two parties.
Tsvangirai told journalists on arrival from a regional trip that he had
warned leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc
that the political violence that gripped the country in the past could flare
He accused security authorities of arbitrary arrests and said Zimbabwe was
again in a "siege mood".
"I impressed on the SADC leaders that it is their responsibility to
intervene to rescue this project (unity government) as they are the
guarantors," he said.
POLICE BAN RALLY
Tsvangirai said only fresh elections would resolve the impasse. But his
party would only take part if there was a SADC-backed "road map"
guaranteeing free and fair elections.
Relations between the coalition rivals worsened last week when police
arrested a cabinet minister from Tsvangirai's party on suspected fraud
charges and the Supreme Court nullified the election of another Tsvangirai
ally as Speaker of Parliament.
Police have also arrested dozens of activists accused of plotting protests
against Mugabe similar to those that toppled long-serving leaders in Egypt
Tsvangirai said the police had banned a rally he planned to address on
Saturday, saying they feared clashes with ZANU-PF supporters planning to
hold a meeting nearby on the same day.
Police have in the last month stopped dozens of meetings organised by MDC
supporters as the party restructures ahead of a five-year congress in May,
"So many excuses have been given to try to prevent this meeting from taking
place. We will do everything to make sure that this meeting continues,"
Police have previously deployed in large numbers and set up road blocks to
stop MDC rallies it would have banned.
By Alex Bell
18 March 2011
A Harare court has upheld a decision taken by the police to bar the MDC from
holding a rally in the capital this week, claiming the venue is too close to
a ZANU PF gathering.
Chief Superintendent Garikai Gwangwava from Harare Central on Thursday
advised MDC-T Secretary-General Tendai Biti that the MDC Peace Rally, set to
take place at Glamis Arena on Saturday, could not be sanctioned because it
coincided with a ZANU PF rally scheduled to take place near by.
“My office regrets to advise you that your intended place of rally’s
proximity and timings coincide with that of ZANU PF which is also holding a
rally on the same date at the open space between the Rainbow Towers and
Interpol Offices, which is less than 500 metres from your intended venue.
Please also take note that the roads that lead to your intended venue are
the same that lead to ZANU PF’s venue and there is a likelihood of clashes
between supporters which might lead to violence,” Gwangwava wrote to Biti.
Harare Magistrate Mercy Chimbodza then upheld this decision on Friday,
dismissing the MDC’s attempt to have the police’s decision overturned.
A previous application by the MDC to hold the rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds
in Highfield was also turned down by the police. The Harare South district
police claimed the venue has been booked by ZANU PF for the rest of the
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Friday that
this is an “organised blockage” of MDC activities, with the police carrying
out a ban they put in place on MDC rallies earlier this month. This ban was
subsequently overturned by Robert Mugabe, in what observers have said was a
deliberate ploy to appear to be playing by the rules. Mugabe apparently took
this decision after a meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who
raised concerns that the MDC was being prevented from holding public
But Makumbe argued on Friday that it now appears that “this ban is coming
back through flimsy excuses like double booking of venues.”
“It is a pity that the courts fail to see these machinations by ZANU PF.
This is where you see the true partisan nature of the judiciary,” Makumbe
A High Court judge meanwhile this week granted an interim relief to the
MDC-T Matabeleland North executive, allowing it to hold rallies in
preparation for the party’s congress at the end of next month. The MDC-T
filed an urgent chamber application last week, asking the court to force the
police to allow them to hold its 12 provincial restructuring meetings. This
was after police in Hwange, where the party’s provincial headquarters are
based, said the party was not allowed to hold meetings in Hwange East, West,
Central and Binga districts.
Harare, March 18, 2011 - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of the
main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) said his banned
star rally will proceed as planned on Saturday because it was not illegal.
Tsvangirai, who also said he was ready to be arrested, said such a move will
end the shaky inclusive government.
“If people who want to arrest me I am here. I do not think I have to run
away,” Tsvangirai said to journalists at his Harare house on arrival from a
tour to Southern African Development Community countries to brief them on
the Zimbabwe crisis.
He said he had heard that the police wanted to arrest him. "We will see how
they proceed but this would be the last nail in this whole delicate and
fragile government. I would be of course waiting on what the charges would
be should they decide to proceed on that.”
Tsvangirai last week described as biased the Supreme Court judges who passed
a ruling revoking the election of party national chairman Lovemore Moyo as
Speaker of parliament.
“There is nothing illegal about that rally. Only last week there was
supposed to be a ban of meetings which affected 73 of our district
elections. It was illegal and no one had been given that authority.
An instruction was sent out that no meeting had been banned. I do not know
where all this is coming from. We will do everything to make sure that the
meeting proceeds as planned. I hope we do not have to make a storm in a tea
cup with these kinds of dramatic actions that are outside the law.”
On his four day regional tour, Tsvangirai said he met Zambian President
Rupiah Banda, who chairs the SADC Troika on Defence and Security, Mozambican
President Armando Guebuza, Swazi king’s Mswathi and Botswana leader Khama to
brief them on the “dire situation in Zimbabwe which rendering the global
political agreement under threat”.
He is set to meet South African President Jacob Zuma, the facilitator of
Zimbabwe’s unity talks this weekend.
Eyewitness News | 3 Hours Ago
Clashes are looming in Zimbabwe after police banned the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) from holding a major rally on Saturday, saying it
was too close to ZANU-PF headquarters.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has issued a plea to the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) region to save the country from “implosion”.
Police say the venue for the MDC rally is only 500 metres away from where
ZANU-PF will be holding another rally for its anti-sanctions campaign.
MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti was furious and vowed the rally would go
The former opposition party said police banned three MDC rallies in March
alone, while ZANU-PF has been holding rallies unhindered across the country.
There is no doubting though that the situation could be extremely volatile
in Harare if both parties go ahead with their plans.
As tensions mount, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has issued a plea to the
SADC region to intervene to save the country from “implosion”.
Tsvangirai said on Friday that civilians are no longer in charge of the
country and that dark and shadowy forces are engaged in a hostile takeover.
by James Mombe Friday 18 March 2011
HARARE -- A group of rogue soldiers raped two women, assaulted and robbed
guests at a Harare lodge two weeks ago, in a disturbing show of riotous
behaviour by Zimbabwe’s soldiers once famed for their discipline.
State prosecutors told the court on Thursday that 22 uniformed soldiers from
Inkomo Barracks, just outside Harare on March 6 stormed the lodge ransacking
rooms, assaulting guests, stealing cash and cellphones and raped the women.
Two of the soldiers Fungai Kashitigu (31) and Kennedy Chitsaka (30 appeared
in court yesterday while 20 of their colleagues are still on the run.
Kashitigu and Chitsaka, who were not formally charged yesterday, are accused
of raping the women, while their colleagues watched. The two, who appeared
before different magistrates, were remanded in custody and ordered to return
to court for trial on May 4 and 5 respectively.
According to prosecutors a 20-year-old woman was sleeping with her boyfriend
when Chitsaka and three other soldiers – all in army uniform -- stormed
their room, dragged the women out of bed and robbed her of her cellphone and
Chitsaka proceeded to rape the helpless woman, whose boyfriend had managed
to flee the scene, while his colleagues looked on.
At another room, a 21-year old woman heard a knock on the door and upon
opening she was overpowered by Kashitigu and three other soldiers.
The soldiers ransacked her room, beat her up and left, only for Kashitigu to
return moments later and raped the woman.
According to prosecutors after raping Kashitigu left, but returned and this
time accompanied by another soldier he claimed was his boss.
The ‘boss’ asked the woman to explain what had happened but as she began
narrating her ordeal he slapped her and tried to rape her. The woman managed
to free herself from the man and ran away.
The regular police, military police and the Central Intelligence
Organisation are said to have launched a manhunt from the 20 soldiers who
remain at large, while it was not clear whether the bandit soldiers, or some
of them, were armed or not.
Zimbabwe’s soldiers are well known for committing political violence and
human rights abuses against President Robert Mugabe’s political opponents.
But the last few years have witnessed a disturbing and growing trend of
common banditry among troops, suggesting declining levels of discipline or
rising discontent especially in the lower ranks.
A group of rowdy soldiers in January 2009 went on the rampage at Makoni
shopping centre in Chitungwiza city assaulting informal traders and stealing
The previous year, soldiers rioted in central Harare, attacking street
moneychangers, vandalising and looting shops.
Police called in to quell the riot had to fire shots in the air and use
teargas to disperse the soldiers. At least 12 of the rioting soldiers were
arrested for the looting.
Army commanders blame increasing indiscipline among soldiers on poor pay.
But analysts say a military coup against Mugabe remains highly unlikely –
despite poor pay and working conditions in the army – because all top and
most middle ranking commanders are still relatively comfortable. --
Mar 18, 2011 11:20 AM | By Sapa
A popular daily banned by Zimbabwean authorities nearly eight years ago
returned to the streets on Friday after getting a new licence to operate.
"We unapologetically declare that we will take a critical stand against bad
governance and expose it for the entire nation to see," the privately-owned
Daily News said in its editorial.
"We won't stand by while rampant corruption and crass materialism disable
both government and private sector. We will shout at the top of our voices
when we detect abuse of power and political intolerance."
Its headline story titled "Is this Zim's future?" raised concerns about
veteran President Robert Mugabe's health and whether "President Mugabe, aged
and plagued by health problems, can viably continue to contest for power --
has become a burning issue among Zimbabweans."
The paper renowned for its anti-government stance was banned in September
2003 for refusing to register with a government-appointed media commission.
It had previously survived bombings of its premises and arrests of its
The paper was given a licence in May last year by the new Zimbabwe Media
The commission has to date licensed 15 publications including several
newspapers and news agencies, but none have started operations.
The appointment of the new commission was part of the power-sharing pact
between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
Tsvangirai has vowed to abolish the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act which has been invoked to ban foreign journalists from working
permanently in the country.
By Reagan Mashavave
Friday, 18 March 2011 18:49
HARARE-With general elections looming in Zimbabwe, the question of who will
lead the country for the next five years – and whether President Robert
Mugabe, aged and plagued by health problems, can viably continue to contest
for power – has become a burning issue among Zimbabweans.
The field of aspirant leaders in that ballot is indeed wide and varied: from
the long-ruling Mugabe, to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, to the likes of Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa, Job
Sikhala, et al.
Speaking to the Daily News this week, in the wake of Zanu PF’s nomination of
Mugabe as the party’s choice of national leader for the elections, medical
experts said at his advanced age of 87, and with health concerns around him
mounting, it was advisable that Mugabe stepped down now.
Political analysts also raised the same sentiment, expressing fears that
Mugabe was now being manipulated by hardliners in Zanu PF, who were now
perceived to be effectively running the country.
Speculation around Mugabe’s state of health has intensified recently after
Mugabe criss-crossed the Indian Ocean, to Singapore, three times in the past
month, for what his spokesperson George Charamba said was for “a minor
However, diplomats, doctors and Zanu PF insiders said that it appeared
certain that Mugabe had more serious health problems – which was normal for
people of Mugabe’s age.
Mugabe himself admitted at his televised birthday bash two weeks ago that
his body was now spent, although his mind remained sharp.
The medical experts who spoke to the Daily News said cataract operations
were simple procedures which did not require one to travel all the way to
Singapore for reviews, adding that if Mugabe was indeed suffering from a
more serious health condition then it was advisable for him to take it easy
One of Zimbabwe’s leading eye surgeons, Dr Solomon Guramatunhu, recently
told the international media that after a cataract operation, it took a few
hours before one could be able to use the affected eye again.
A local doctor, who understandably preferred anonymity, said that anyone
aged 87 would be prone to different kinds of afflictions such as prostate
cancer. He added that common diseases which were normally easy to treat in
people who were younger became difficult to treat in 87-year-olds.
“Dementia and amnesia are also very common at this age,” the doctor said.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer and political analyst, John Makumbe, it was
common cause that the country was now being run by the military under the
Joint Operations Command (JOC). Mugabe was now merely there to rubber-stamp
and implement their decisions.
“He (Mugabe) is now a liability to the nation. He is no longer in charge. He
is now like a wall flower. JOC is the one which is in charge. Mugabe is no
longer capable of running the country. He is not in good health, so it is
left with others to run the country” Makumbe said.
“Zanu PF can endorse Mugabe to be a candidate all they like, but he will
lose as he did in 2008 (March elections). He will still lose any coming
election. Zanu PF is free to endorse him again but they must know that he
will lose to Morgan Tsvangirai and it will be left again to the securocrats
to decide whether to hand over power or retain it like they did in 2008.”
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe
should have retired two decades ago, adding that the normal retirement age
was 65 years.
“There is no doubt that at 87 years he should retire. It is clear. There is
no question about that. The person at that age must rest. It is not about me
saying that. It is the nature of people when they are created by God, they
get old and should rest,” Madhuku said.
“In Zimbabwe 65 years is the normal retirement age and for the judges it is
70 years. Even if the judge is sharp or bright, at 70 the law says they
should retire. You cannot have 17 years above the maximum retirement age and
still run the country.”
However, Zanu spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the decision by the party to
endorse Mugabe for another term, despite his advanced age, was reached by
Zanu PF and no-one could change that.
“First of all the decision that he (Mugabe) runs for another term is decided
by the party. The party saw it fit that he runs as a presidential candidate.
The issue of who determines who runs is done by the party and not by
outsiders, full stop,” Gumbo said.
“The succession issue is also for the party to decide. It does not have to
be decided by outsiders.”
In the meantime, it has been suggested repeatedly that Mugabe’s ill health
and advanced age have intensified the battle for succession in Zanu PF –
with camps linked to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and that of retired
army general Solomon Mujuru – fighting to take control of the party.
By Chris Goko,Oscar Nkala and Regan Mashavave
Friday, 18 March 2011 18:52
HARARE-President Robert Mugabe is under pressure to order the exhumation of
thousands of innocent civilians murdered and buried in abandoned mines
during the Gukurahundi massacres in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions.
This follows this week’s gross politicisation by Mugabe’s Zanu PF of the
exhumation and reburial of the remains of Zimbabwe’s liberation war
victims – which has invoked bitter memories of the 1970s conflict, as well
as the Gukurahundi massacres.
Analysts told the Daily News this week that Mugabe’s party had made a huge
play on the pre-1980 massacres to garner sympathy from the people ahead of
expected presidential and general elections later this year.
At least 20 000 people are believed to have been murdered by members of the
North Korea-trained Fifth Brigade, with Mugabe’s government claiming at the
time that they wanted to crush a rebellion by supposed dissidents in the
Human rights organisations and victims of the Gukurahundi massacres have
been demanding for the past three decades the exhumation of bodies believed
to have been buried in mass graves around the Matabeleland regions and the
On his part, Mugabe has steadfastly refused to both compensate and apologise
for what has since been described as a genocide – arguing that he was doing
this in the interest of national unity and the country.
While there is virtually no single family in Zimbabwe that was unaffected by
the bitter war against Ian Smith’s regime pre-1980, Zanu PF has sought to
project itself as the sole structure concerned about the decent reburial of
the country’s fallen heroes.
But Edgar Tekere, a former freedom fighter and Zanu PF secretary general,
has attacked the beleaguered party’s moves to buy political mileage out of
the Mashonaland Central reburial programme – at the same time neglecting the
more recent killings such as the Gukurahundi massacres.
"That issue (Gukurahundi) was swept under the carpet. But it must be an open
issue that our nation must know about. The Catholics did a very
comprehensive report about this and the nation should receive that report.
Others don't want the report to be out because they know they will be
exposed," Tekere told the Daily News this week, referring to the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace report on the mid 1980s disturbances.
He added: "Mass graves must be exhumed when they are discovered. This
(exhumation of mass graves) must not be done for political reasons."
Many other observers, while welcoming the exhumation exercise, took
exception with the fact that Zanu PF leaders knew about the existence of
several mass and shallow graves since independence and yet chose to do
nothing about it until now.
With the former ruling party in full election mode, a predictable
electioneering and propaganda pattern has emerged – in the hope that such
tactics will earn the party votes.
Mthwakazi Liberation Front leader Maxwell Mnkandla said his party was
concerned about Zanu PF plans to exhume and re-bury victims of colonial war
crimes, while ignoring those killed and maimed by Gukurahundi.
"Gukurahundi is the vehicle ZANU PF used to subjugate this region and the
feelings of its people do not matter. I am not surprised that they do not
even acknowledge that Matabeleland has more people who were thrown alive
into mines by the Fifth Brigade, Central Intelligence Organisation, Support
Unit and the ZANU youth brigade… than those killed by Smith,” Mnkandla said,
adding that all they were asking for were dignified burials for the dead.
Methuseli Moyo, spokesman for the revived Zimbabwe African People's Union
(ZAPU), said plans to rebury the dead “were commendable”, but ZAPU was
worried about Mugabe’s failure to acknowledge that there were far more
victims of his own “anti–terror campaigns” lying in unmarked graves all over
the Midlands and Matabeleland.
"Smith's war was bad but Gukurahundi was worse because it was black on black
genocide. While Smith never denied that his troops committed atrocities… we
have a leader and commander-in-chief of an army that killed defenceless
civilians in an act of sheer genocide (and he) does not want to acknowledge
that fact,” he said.
While most of those killed were the late vice president Joshua Nkomo’s
supporters – opposed to Zanu PF's expedient socialism and one-party state
quest – Moyo challenged Mugabe and his government to help national healing
by ensuring that “high-ranking perpetrators of the massacres” were brought
Human rights organisations say the largest concentration of victims lie in
Matobo District’s Bhalagwe area.
Moses Mzila–Ndlovu, a top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-N) official
and Organ on National Healing co–minister, said while he had only heard
about the reburial programme on national television, government was also
missing an opportunity to foster unity by embarking on partisan and
selective commemorations of chosen war victims.
"The national healing process cannot happen because it is being undermined
in many ways by the same parties that are supposed to be contributing to it.
I will not be surprised if the victims of Gukurahundi, who have been denied
everything, from a simple acknowledgement of the genocide to justice, take
this as the worst pinch of salt ever added onto their emotional injuries.
“I hope by doing this the government is signaling that it will not interfere
if we do the same with the victims of Gukurahundi," Mzila-Ndlovu said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo refused to comment on the issue.
"It is their opinion," Gumbo said.
Friday,18 March 2011
For the past four days, I have been meeting fellow SADC leaders to appraise
them on the dire situation in Zimbabwe, which has posed a serious threat to
the GPA and the inclusive government.
In the past week, I have held discussions with President Rupiah Banda of
Zambia, President Armando Guebbuza of Mozambique, King Mswati 111 of
Swaziland and Botswana President Ian Khama about the need for urgent action
on Zimbabwe to ensure the security of persons and a peaceful environment in
the country. I will soon be meeting the facilitator, President Jacob Zuma,
over the situation in the country.
I have told these fellow leaders that the time for SADC to act and deliver
is now. And we are all agreed that Zimbabwe should not be allowed to
decelerate into an implosion. I have told the SADC leaders of the renewed
siege mood in Zimbabwe, the arbitrary arrests, the crackdown on democratic
forces in the country and the culture of impunity that is seriously
threatening the health and the life of the inclusive government.
I have told my fellow colleagues in the region that this country risks
sliding back to the chaos of 2008; the chaos which the same regional leaders
mitigated by nudging all the political players to form an inclusive
government in the national interest. But today, the violence machinery has
once again been unrolled in the countryside, the culture of impunity has
worsened and the past eight weeks have seen an intensification of the
crackdown on the democratic forces in the country.
While I was away in the last four days, it appears the civilian authority is
no longer in charge and dark and sinister forces have engaged in a hostile
take-over of running the affairs of the country, with or without the
blessing of some leaders of the civilian authority. Together with civic
society and other democratic forces, we had planned to hold a major peace
rally in Harare tomorrow to pray for peace in the country.
We had duly notified the police as required by law. I was told yesterday
that the police have refused to allow that peaceful rally to proceed,
against the provisions of the law and the letter and spirit of the GPA.
There has been an instruction from the Police Commissioner-General to
effectively ban meetings when there is a Cabinet decision that no meetings
should be banned.
The MDC notes that unless the region nips this tension in the bud, we could
easily slide back to the dark days of 2008, a development that is not
welcome to any Zimbabwean across the political divide.
SADC, as the guarantors of this agreement, has to play a critical role in
ensuring that we all respect the signatures that we appended to the GPA. We
have to implement all the agreed issues and usher in political, economic and
media reforms as stipulated in the GPA in order to enable the country to
transit peacefully to a credible and legitimate government whilst SADC
should monitor every step of this process.
We are all agreed that the tenure of this inclusive government will have to
lapse at some point and an election is inevitable. But it has to be a free
and fair election devoid of the violence that has characterized electoral
processes in the country for the past 31 years.
The SADC troika summit due to take place soon has to seriously address the
issue of the roadmap so that all political players are bound by time-bound
milestones and rules ahead of the next election. It is my sincere and
fervent hope that the SADC region will not stand back and allow this
impunity to graduate into full-fledged chaos.
The people want a guarantee that they will be allowed to vote for parties
and leaders of their choice in a free environment.
They hope that the guarantors of this agreement will ensure that their vote
counts and that their vote will be protected.
Finally, I appeal to all peace-loving people and leaders of SADC, the
African Union and the broader international community to HELP ZIMBABWE BY
STOPPING THE VIOLENCE.
I thank you
MDC Information & Publicity Department
By Alex Bell
18 March 2011
ZANU PF’s Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made, has denied barring
international aid agencies and other NGOs from participating in food
assessment surveys in Zimbabwe, claming he was “misquoted.”
The IRIN humanitarian news service quoted Made this week as telling them
that United Nations (UN) groups in particular, “are not welcome” in
Zimbabwe. He called the food and crop assessments “a national security
matter that should be treated with the utmost caution and exclusivity.”
“Hence our decision as government to exclude outsiders from the surveys. UN
agencies in particular are not welcome because they send out negative
information about the country. We don’t want to have politics in food
issues,” Made is quoted as saying.
The news has prompted allegations that ZANU PF is deliberately hiding the
truth of Zimbabwe’s food situation, in order to once again use food as a
political weapon during the forthcoming elections. The Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU) told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that they believe the decision
to exclude the UN and other groups is all related to ZANU PF’s political
strategy and election campaign. The party has traditionally used food to
either garner support or punish the opposition, by controlling food
Economic analyst John Robertson meanwhile is also quoted by IRIN as saying
that the exclusion of the international groups was to hide the truth that
Robert Mugabe’s land reform scheme has been a disaster for the country. ZANU
PF insists that Western targeted sanctions are to blame for all of the
country’s problems, including the devastation of the once prosperous
Robertson told IRIN that excluding the UN groups from food assessments is an
attempt “to cast Mugabe’s fast-track land-reform programme in a positive
“President Mugabe’s side of the government, to which agriculture minister
Made belongs, wants to make the statement that land reform in Zimbabwe is
succeeding. In this case, they are likely to inflate figures of yields and
also seek to blame only the weather for poor yields,” Robertson said.
It is no surprise that Made has now backtracked on what he told the IRIN,
saying the group ‘misquoted’ him. He told Voice of America news that he
“would work with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations as long as
they stay out of Zimbabwean politics.”
By Tererai Karimakwenda
18 March, 2011
The drama over the role of the removed parliamentary speaker, Lovemore Moyo,
continued this week after Attorney General Johannes Tomana said the former
speaker can retain his position as a member of parliament.
Tomana made the comments after the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, asked
for his opinion when the Supreme Court shockingly ruled to remove Moyo as
The case to remove the MDC-T legislator as speaker had been brought by ZANU
PF’s Jonathan Moyo, on the grounds that there were ‘irregularities’ leading
to his election in August 2008.
The Attorney General’s decision to retain Moyo as an MP means he would be
allowed to vote for a new speaker, and a battle for majority votes is
already in full swing.
But some observers have said ZANU PF is playing games as always. They
believe Tomana’s decision is a ploy to “legitimize” their illegal removal of
the parliamentary speaker, who was voted in according to Zimbabwean law.
The Supreme Court decision came while parliament was adjourned. The legal
and parliamentary affairs monitor Veritas said a vote for a new speaker
should be held on March 22nd, when parliament resumes, as no business can
take place without a speaker.
By Lance Guma
18 March 2011
Former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, plus 5 other activists facing dubious
treason charges, walked free from remand prison on Thursday, a day after
High Court Judge Samuel Kudya had granted them bail.
The six were granted US$2,000 bail each but lawyers were unable to secure
the funds before the Clerk of Court closed his office Wednesday. A total of
US$12 000 had to be raised, even though the judge said he saw “no iota of
evidence that any Zimbabwean ever contemplated any Tunisian or Egyptian
The group was arrested for watching video footage of protests in Egypt and
Tunisia and later having an academic debate. Police raided the venue of the
meeting and arrested over 54 people. Treason charges were later filed, with
prosecutors claiming the activists were plotting to overthrow Mugabe’s
Meanwhile on Thursday the same judge who freed Gwisai and the 5 activists
also freed on bail MDC-T Zhombe MP Rodger Tazviona, and the six other men
charged with threatening to harm Chief Samambwa. They were each granted
Tazviona was arrested on the 14th February along with Lazarus Kaswera,
Crispen Tazvivinga, Idea Makota, Simbarashe Mtengo, Taurai Chinembiri and
Albert Mudzingwa, for allegedly making violent threats to Chief Samambwa.
Justice Kudya ruled that the Kwekwe magistrate who denied the six bail had
With elections for a new Speaker of Parliament pending it’s speculated that
ZANU PF is trying to use the arrest of the MP’s to trim the MDC-T voting
numbers. A total of seven MP’s have been arrested so far and of that number,
6 have been released, but not before long spells in police custody.
The seven MDC-T MPs who now have pending court cases include Costin Muguti
(Gokwe-Kabuyuni), Roger Tazviona (Zhombe), Jani Varandeni (Bikita South),
Settlement Chikwinya (Mbizo), Shepherd Mushonga (Mazowe Central), and Energy
Minister Elton Mangoma who is the MP for Makoni North.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said all of them are “innocent victims of a
barbaric and senseless dictatorship.” Several other MP’s are receiving
summons to either appear in court or police stations and more arrests are
On Thursday the MDC-T reported how Sanyati District Women’s Assembly vice
Chairperson Blessing Rukovo, and vice Organising Secretary Tendai Gambe, are
being treated for injuries sustained after being assaulted by the local ZANU
PF MP Fungai Chaderopa, her son Kennedy and over 10 ZANU PF thugs who were
trying to evict them from their shops. Some money and goods were looted.
Rukovo and Gambe are said to be receiving treatment for head injuries at
Sanyati Baptist Hospital, before being transferred for further treatment in
Meanwhile we understand war vets in Sakubva, Mutare visited Sakubva High 1
and Sakubva High 2 and forced all students in Form 4 to 6 and the teachers
to attend a lecture on ZANU PF policies.
“They ordered them not to support the MDC. After waiting for more than four
hours in the heat, singing ZANU PF songs, they were later forced to sign the
ZANU PF anti-sanctions petition and to give their names, addresses and ID
numbers,” an MDC statement said.
Diplomatic sources say Southern African regional leaders agree and want an
election to be held, possibly next year, but with a clear road-map setting
out milestones and benchmarks
Blessing Zulu & Thomas Chiripasi | Washington 17 March 2011
The Southern African Development Community is expected to hold a
long-delayed mini-summit on Zimbabwe at the end of this month, one result of
an ongoing regional diplomatic initiative by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, sources said Thursday.
President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, chairman of the troika, will host the
Mr. Tsvangirai was in Botswana on Thursday for a discussion with President
Simon Khama, following meetings with leaders in Zambia, Mozambique and
His next stop was to be South Africa for a meeting with President Jacob
Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on behalf of SADC. Mr. Tsvangirai is voicing his
concern at the mounting crackdown on his Movement for Democratic Change
formation and civic organizations, allegedly by elements loyal to President
Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.
Mr. Tsvangirai told reporters late Wednesday in Maputo, Mozambique, that
problems are developing in terms of cohesion in Harare's government of
"We are hoping the troika, which President [Armando] Guebuza is leading,
should be fully briefed," Mr. Tsvangirai said. He said the regional body
should be closely involved in laying out a road-map leading to the next
elections in Zimbabwe.
Diplomatic sources say regional leaders agree and want an election to be
held, possibly next year, but with a clear road-map setting out milestones
Lindiwe Zulu, a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Zuma, told VOA reporter
Blessing Zulu that Pretoria has been informed by SADC about the troika
“We do not organize such meetings as it is the prerogative of the SADC
secretariat,” Zulu noted. “But we have received communication from SADC that
there is a meeting at the end of the month."
A troika mini-summit was called off at the last minute last November after
President Banda and Mr. Guebuza failed to arrive in Gaborone, Botswana.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said the escalation of tensions in Zimbabwe
might make it difficult for regional leaders to unravel the political knot
Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Mr.
Tsvangirai has asked the High Court for an order clearing the way for it to
hold a major rally over the coming weekend at the Glamis Arena in Harare.
VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare that,
pending relief in court, MDC officials defiantly said the rally would go
ahead as planned.
Sources said President Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, has asked his uncle to
issue a new Telecel license to his group, the Zimbabwe Wealth Creation and
Gibbs Dube | Washington 17 March 2011
A Zimbabwean black empowerment group which seeks a controlling stake in
Telecel, the nation’s second-ranked mobile provider, has asked President
Robert Mugabe to tip the balance in a corporate battle between Egyptian
investors and local players.
Sources said President Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe, has approached the
president and asked him to issue a new Telecel license to his group, the
Zimbabwe Wealth Creation and Empowerment Council. That’s an umbrella for the
Affirmative Action Group, the Indigenous Business Women’s Organization, the
National Miners Association, the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association and
several other organizations.
Sources informed on the situation said Leo Mugabe claims that this group has
a right to purchase a majority stake in Telecel Zimbabwe as agreed when the
company was set up. At present, Telecel Globe of Egypt holds a 60 percent
Ousted Telecel Chairwoman Jane Mutasa told Parliament today that Telecel is
operating without a license and many top Telecel officials, including James
Makamba, another former chairman, are based outside Zimbabwe at present.
Telecel Chief Commercial Officer Anwar Soussa said the provider is doing
business as usual despite the wrangle. “I cannot say anything about Telecel
shares but in terms of conducting business, we are operating and exploring
more opportunities,” he said.
Economic commentator Walter Mbongolwane said Leo Mugabe is trying to seize
Telecel from its rightful owners through manipulation of Zimbabwe's
“We are waiting to see what will happen to this company which is being
targeted by indigenous groups that are fully aware of the huge benefits of a
telecommunications entity in the mobile phone sector,” Mbongolwane told
reporter Gibbs Dube.
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
HARARE, March 18, 2011 - THERE was drama here when the Ambassador of Japan
to Zimbabwe, Koichi Morita, openly wept before invited guests gathered to
witness the signing ceremony of a US$5,6 million grant his country was
giving Zimbabwe for various infectious diseases protection for children.
Morita, in tears, told invited guests that because of the recent devastating
earthquake his country had suffered he could, therefore, not sign the US$5
653 000 grant that they had pledged to Zimbabwe because he had not
"communicated" with his "boss, the Minister of Foreign Affairs" back in
Invited guests included the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr
Douglas Mombeshora, the United Nations Educational and Scientific
Organisation (UNESCO) Country Representative, Dr Peter Salama, the Resident
Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tsunehiro
Kawakita, as well as local and international journalists based in Harare.
"I am sorry but we will have to cancel this signing ceremony today," Morita
said in tears.
"We thank all of you for coming here and we will have to reschedule this
important event. I am very touched by the Government of Zimbabwe and all of
you who continue to pray and offer us help."
He said there had been a breakdown of communication between Harare and Tokyo
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to whom he reports had not given the nod
for the project to take off and seeing that there had been an earthquake and
"things might be different tomorrow".
A high ranking official from the Japanese Embassy then told Radio VOP in an
exclusive interview that there was now a new Minister of Foreign Affairs who
had not yet sanctioned the grant project between Japan and Zimbabwe to help
"In Japan officials must be told what to do and what not to do or they risk
many things including being killed by their bosses," he said.
"The Ambassador does not want to take any risks and because he has not been
given the nod to go ahead with this function he simply cannot go ahead and
has decided to cancel it instead."
Japan is known to have a strong working culture and officials sometimes
commit suicide if and when they go against their working ethics.
Leaders such as managers and even Prime Ministers have been found hanged due
to failure to follow instructions from above.
The official said, however, there would not be any "change of heart" between
Japan and Zimbabwe and his country would continue to help the vulnerable
children in the country.
The "unsigned" US$5 653 000 grant provided for the procurement of vaccines
for preventable and often fatal infectious disease among Zimbabwean
The drugs would directly support Zimbabwe's Expanded Programme on
Immunisation (ZEPI), as well as UNICEF's Child Health Days, which include
the provision of Vitamin A supplements.
A spokesman for the project said the its main objective was to strengthen
routine immunisation services, with particular focus on reaching vulnerable
populations and thus prevent and reduce morbidity and mortality attributed
to vaccine preventable diseases among children under five.
He said more specifically the project seeks to ensure that immunised
children are reached and increase immunisation coverage of drugs to at least
95 percent at national level by December 2011.
"It will target more than 372 000 under ones and nearly 509 000 pregnant
women," he said in an interview.
Pretoria, March 18, 2011 - President Jacob Zuma is to send envoys to
represent him in Zimbabwe and Libya missions to find solutions to political
conflicts and stalemates in these two countries.
According to South African government news service, Zuma, who is mediator in
Zimbabwe's power-sharing dispute, will next week send an envoy, led by
political adviser Charles Nqakula, on a mission to that country amid rising
tensions in the unity government.
"President Zuma will next week send his Zimbabwe facilitation team to Harare
to meet with parties to the Global Political Agreement, ahead of the meeting
of the SADC Troika which will take place in Zambia on the 31st of March,"
the Presidency said.
South Africa, it said, will continue to participate actively in efforts of
bringing about peace and stability on the continent.
Recent weeks have seen a surge in violence and arrests targeting loyalist of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. President Robert Mugabe has also
threatened to hold an election soon, discarding undertakings to follow a
road map of democratic reforms.
Zuma is also sending an envoy to Libya at the weekend to take part in an
African Union fact-finding mission aimed at starting talks between the
regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels who are trying to end his
He will be represented by the Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele,
Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim and security
adviser Welile Nhlapo.
They will join other members of the High Level Panel appointed by the AU,
such as Uganda, Mauritania, South Africa, Mali and the Republic of Congo,
tasked with finding a lasting situation in the political crisis in Libya.
Zuma said in the National Assembly on Thursday said South Africa would
coordinate its position on Libya with other members of the AU.
"South Africa supports the position of the African Union with regards to the
Libyan question and will work within the ambit of the AU," Zuma's office
said on Friday.
Zuma last week instructed Treasury to begin freezing Gaddafi's assets in
South Africa in accordance with an earlier UN Security Council resolution.
In February, the UN enforced sanctions resolution on Libyan forces a travel
ban and assets froze Gaddafi, his inner circle and members of the Libyan
On Thursday, the UNSC tightened the rope by imposing a no-fly zone over the
country to stop Gaddafi's attacks on rebels.
By Associated Press, Friday, March 18, 12:32 PM
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Mass demonstrations forced out rulers in Egypt and
Tunisia after decades in office, but in Zimbabwe — whose leader has been in
power for 32 years — even watching video footage of those uprisings can lead
to treason charges punishable by death.
With intimidation and arrests, longtime African rulers like Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe are trying to prevent people’s revolts like the ones
that have roiled North Africa from igniting in their own countries.
So far, they have kept the revolts at bay with tear gas, intimidation,
arrests, censorship and handouts.
State-controlled TV stations in Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda and
Zimbabwe are not allowed to show video footage from North Africa favorable
to the protesters.
In Cameroon, where 77-year-old President Paul Biya has ruled since 1982, the
government ordered cell phone companies to suspend mobile services for
Twitter. This came after people used the social networking site to report
the mass deployment of troops to prevent a “Drive Out Biya” march.
Sub-Saharan Africa shares many of the root causes that have prompted the
uprisings in the north: rising food prices, youth unemployment and
repressive regimes that subvert democracy by rigging elections. Before the
Tunisian uprising, 18 African rulers or their families had held power for
more than 20 years.
Analysts point to the cohesion of people in Egypt and Tunisia, and contrast
it to sub-Saharan Africa’s tribally based politics that leaders use to win
allegiance, divide and rule. It’s a tribalism that helps sustain Libya’s
Moammar Gadhafi and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe.
Still, Na’eem Jeenah, director of the Afro-Middle East Center, said the
revolts in Arab nations have sparked Africans’ belief and hope in the power
of mass action.
People in Swaziland, a tiny mountain kingdom in South Africa’s northeast,
staged a mass protest Friday over freezing civil service wages while King
Mswati III, who has 14 wives, awarded himself a 24 percent increase in his
“There is no doubt that the Swazi people ... have been inspired by the
democracy campaigns in Egypt and elsewhere, and have understood the
importance of mass democratic action to change things for the better,” said
the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
Jeenah, whose center is in Johannesburg, said even if the revolts in North
Africa have not yet caught fire south of the Sahara, governments are
Those concerns have often translated into crackdowns aimed at snuffing out
opposition protests before they flicker into life.
Angola’s ruler of more than 30 years, President Eduardo dos Santos, has used
mass troop deployments and arrests to quash a planned pro-democracy protest.
Opposition politicians and human rights lawyers in Angola, a virtual
one-party state, have been receiving anonymous death threats and the cars of
two lawyers were set ablaze.
In Djibouti, riot police moved against an estimated 6,000 people at an
opposition political rally on Feb. 18, and opposition politicians said five
people were killed and dozens wounded. A second rally planned for March 4
didn’t happen after security forces filled the streets. Opposition leaders
have been jailed.
“There is no way anybody can win against him,” opposition leader Abdourahman
Boreh said from exile in London, referring to President Ismail Omar Guelleh
. “He uses all the power, all the police, all the government instruments and
resources, and he uses brutality.”
Uganda’s Conservative Party leader John Ken Lukyamuzi said “it is very
possible” the protests will spread to sub-Saharan Africa. In his own
country, police fired tear gas against people protesting alleged rigging in
last month’s presidential vote that saw incumbent Yoweri Museveni, 66, who
has been in power since 1986, win again. He threatened his opponents.
“I will deal with them decisively and they will never rise again,” Museveni
said, promising at one point to “bang them into jails and that would be the
end of the story.”
Some have used the carrot to quell unrest.
Ethiopia’s 22-year government announced a cap on basic food prices within
days of President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali’s flight from Tunisia.
In Zimbabwe, Jeenah said, people are held back from taking to the streets by
fears of the beatings and torture meted out to dissenters, while Mugabe is
sustained by the lack of criticism and even support demonstrated by other
Ivory Coast threatens to slide back toward civil war since Laurent Gbagbo
refused to accept that he lost November elections. As Gbagbo’s intransigence
turns the commercial capital, Abidjan, into a war zone, African leaders have
been hesitant to intervene militarily. Some who side with Gbagbo are
If Gbagbo prevails, he would be the third African leader to refuse to accept
election results, following the lead of Mugabe and Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki.
It’s a dangerous precedent. More than a dozen presidential elections are
scheduled across Africa this year. If winners of free and fair elections are
prevented from taking office, the people’s discontent can only build.
Chegutu, Zimbabwe, March 17, 2011: United States Ambassador Charles A. Ray
says the United States continues to contribute towards the rebuilding of
Zimbabwe’s education system despite claims by individuals facing travel and
economic sanctions that its targeted sanctions are impacting on the country’s
“The U.S. government has provided one million dollars to a joint donor
effort headed by UNICEF to provide textbooks to students in Zimbabwe. We are
proud that as a result of these efforts there will now be a one-to-one ratio
of books to primary school students, which has not occurred in Zimbabwe in a
long time. All of our efforts reflect the fact that the United States
government and its allies are committed to providing a culture of reading
and learning,” said Ambassador Ray as he handed over a set of reference
books worth US$1,000 to Mupfure Self Help College in Chegutu, Mashonaland
West Province Thursday. Former Education Minister Dr. Fay Chung facilitated
the book donation.
Accepting the “heartfelt” donation, acting principal of the college, Edward
Mpandaguta said, “Our training focuses on job creators rather than job
seekers. These entrepreneurial skills are key in our efforts to accord our
students an opportunity to realize the Zimbabwean equivalent of what in your
country is referred to as the American dream.” He said most students at the
school are the children of ex-combatants, ex- refugees and detainees, and
has gone further to recruit youth from foster homes, orphanages and
disadvantaged children’s homes.
The book set, including a full Encyclopedia Americana 29 volume set, as well
as a dictionary, thesaurus and atlas, is one of 72 sets being donated to
select high schools around the country.
“The book sets being donated throughout the country are a first step in this
cooperation and assistance,” said Ambassador Ray.
A handful of placard-waving individuals calling for the lifting of targeted
sanctions were present at the handover ceremony, which was also attended by
students, school authorities, representatives of government from various
ministries, and senior U.S. embassy officials.
Responding to a question by one of the demonstrators, Ambassador Ray said
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) of 2001 has had no
effect on Zimbabwe's economy and is not related to targeted sanctions. The
demonstrator thanked the Ambassador for his response.
Ambassador Ray said the book donation is a result of a 2009 meeting between
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which included
a discussion on how best the United States could assist in rebuilding
Mupfure Self Help College, with a student enrolment of 326 students, was
developed by the Zimbabwe Foundation for Education for Production (ZIMFEP)
to deliver a comprehensive vocational and technical training program aimed
at the disadvantaged. The college is also developing other programs,
including HIV and AIDS prevention, the establishment of a secondary school
for students in surrounding communities, and a clinic for the school and
Ray hailed founding members, ZIMFEP and staff at the college for improving
the lives of war veterans and making a positive impact on all Zimbabweans.
“I am particularly aware of the difficulties that veterans and their
families often face. I know that many of you and your relatives have faced
and overcome many hardships during the years before and after independence
in 1980,” said the U.S. Ambassador.
“Having institutions like ZIMFEP and the Mupfure Self Help College to
provide solid education and training programs is essential to your future
and to the future of Zimbabwe. These programs honor the legacy of those who
fought for Zimbabwe’s independence,” said Ray.
The book sets are funded through United States Agency for International
Development, (USAID) to provide supplementary study materials that are
otherwise nonexistent. ZimPAS© 2011
# # #
ZimPAS is a product of the United States Embassy Public Affairs Section.
Queries and comments should be directed to Sharon Hudson Dean, Public
Affairs Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
18 March, 2011
A lie that has for a long time been peddled in Zimbabwe is that freedom has
eluded the country because rural folk are ardent supporters of ZanuPF.
Nothing can be further from the truth. This misconception has its roots in
the days of the armed struggle against the Rhodesian Front, when the freedom
fighters had easy access to the rural areas, but not to the urban areas. Ian
Smith’s forces had been defeated in the rural areas, which had become a
no-go area for them and had become the playground of the freedom fighters.
They had absolute control of these areas and had all the time they could
wish for to spread their propaganda among the people. The result was that
people in the rural areas were effectively ‘re-educated’ by the comrades,
while those in the cities were not influenced to the same degree.
When the elections were held in 1980, voters in the cities had greater
freedom to exercise their votes, but voters in the rural areas did not enjoy
such freedom as the war veterans swarmed the polling stations, claiming to
be able to see who people were voting for. With intimidation rife in these
areas, it was difficult not to vote for ZanuPF, so the party won many seats
in these areas, and the rural areas subsequently became labelled as ZanuPF’s
strongholds, a label they carry to this day.
What people failed to notice was that gradually, over time, even the rural
folks realized that ZanuPF did not have the interests of the people at
heart, but those in power were only interested in self-enrichment. The power
balance shifted, but the media continued to refer to rural areas as ZanuPF’s
stronghold. Surprisingly, even the independent media continued to make these
assertions, which were passed on to the Zimbabweans, so that even in their
private discussions they spoke of the rural areas as being ZanuPF’s
strongholds. The entire nation therefore believed that ZanuPF had
successfully effected a stranglehold on the rural areas.
Unfortunately by consolidating this erroneous view, the media and everyone
else were playing right into the hands of ZanuPF. When next elections were
held people’s publicly declared views on the strength of ZanuPF in the rural
areas were easily turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy by rigging the
elections in favour of ZanuPF. Everyone had been told that ZanuPF was strong
in the rural areas, and everyone had asserted the same, so when the
elections were rigged and ZanuPF won many rural seats no-one questioned it
because that is what they expected.
The point above explains why Matobo Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa was right in
saying that the only election that ZanuPF ever won was the one held in 1980.
If people’s view of rural voters is not corrected more elections will be
Events in many rural areas have clearly demonstrated that it is not true
that ZanuPF enjoys a monopoly of support in the rural areas. A look at
events almost all the rural areas in Matabeleland and Manicaland exposes the
fallacy of this view. In many other rural areas there is open and fierce
opposition to ZanuPF.
Newspapers should desist from labelling rural areas ZanuPF strongholds. That
is not only insulting to the rural folk, but also gives ZanuPF victory on a
platter by encouraging it to steal votes. Most important of all, it is
simply not true.
Opinion polls are not ZanuPF’s cup of tea, for which reason anyone seen
either conducting them or giving information to them is harassed by party
officials and their acolytes. The few opinion polls that are conducted
invariably report that people in the rural areas mostly decline to
participate for fear of reprisal. If it were not for this fact, they would
no doubt show how unpopular ZanuPF is in the rural areas.
One rural resident, reacting to the claim that rural folk are guilty of
propping up Mugabe’s regime, is on record for saying, ‘Musatinakurira nyoka
mhenyu iyi vedu we-e. Musatinakurira Dhiyabhorosi nyoka.’ (Do not scoop this
live snake with a stick and toss it in our direction please. Do not toss
Diabolus the serpent in our direction.) Please let us understand the cry of
the rural folk and not accuse them of this grave offence.
ZanuPF’s Paranoia Increases
ZanuPF’s behaviour is becoming increasingly baffling. It is behaving like a
madman who runs away when nobody is chasing him. Explaining its preposterous
behaviour demonstrated lately is as challenging as cutting the Gordian knot.
Take for example the case of Vikas Mavhudzi, who was thrown into prison for
simply posting an innocent message on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page.
How that simple exercise of one of the most basic of human rights can
constitute an offence warranting the attention of self-respecting members of
the police force is a mystery that is beyond the comprehension of even the
most respected of the sages. The problem is that ZanuPF believes it can
explain away anything, no matter how laughable the explanation is. Job
Sikhala is reportedly facing a similarly groundless accusation.
ZanuPF has a strange way of dealing with offences. The normal way is to
consider the crime and crime scene after a crime has been committed, and
then looking for evidence leading to the criminal. ZanuPF does the opposite.
It begins by deciding that someone is a criminal and even decide the
sentence before fabricating ridiculous evidence to nail the individual, who
was long identified as ZanuPF’s foe. Sadly, because they control the
judiciary, once they set their sights on you they almost certainly succeed
in convicting you of either a crime you did not commit, or of a false crime
that does not really constitute a crime.
Lovemore Madhuku has been facing trial for a crime allegedly committed five
years ago in 2006. It is the timing of the litigation that raises serious
concerns. The decision to suddenly charge him for the alleged crime after
such a great time lapse not only causes a great mystery, but also confirms
what everyone now knows, that ZanuPF has become so confused as not to know
how to handle crimes. Its view of things has become so warped that it is
difficult to rationalise its kind of logic. It has become so drunk with
illusions of its invincibleness that it believes it can pursue its every
whim and caprice, trashing people’s rights at will, believing that it will
never be held accountable for its abuse of power. The accusation has been so
groundless that the magistrate had no option but to dismiss the case with
the contempt it deserves.
Arrogance has always been known to be one of Mugabe’s most recognisable
qualities, a quality that he has passed down the entire structure of his
party, so that it has become a strong streak that runs through the party,
and by which it is characterised. That is what emboldens the rank and file
members to commit the most heinous atrocities with impunity, thinking
nothing of it. They only take after their leader.
As for the current blitz on anyone who is perceived to be contemplating any
form of uprising, that is only sabre rattling by a party attempting to nip
such trouble in the bud in view of the parlous political state to the north
which, it is feared, may spread to Zimbabwe as well. It is a brutal scheme
for bullying people into subjection. These are warning shots fired by a
nervous party that is fully aware that things could well go out of hand and
turn nasty, and yet the impression of being fully in control must be given,
to send an unambiguously ominous message. It knows that its provocation
naturally engenders a defensive reaction by the public, yet at the same time
it wants to deny them that logical reaction.
The purpose of these actions is to drive fear into people’s hearts and
derail any plans that the party believes to be afoot to change the unpopular
regime. ZanuPF knows very well that that it is a hated party and that people
have tried everything they can to retire the oppressive regime, but it is
determined that they will not succeed. It has successfully kept trouble at
bay by using intimidation, and that is what it will continue to do, and
perfect that art for that matter. To that end the party, according to recent
media reports, is constructing a secret electronic eavesdropping complex
just outside Harare to further limit people’s freedom of expression by
listening to their telephone conversations, accessing their e-mails, and
generally monitoring their online activities.
All these are perfectly legitimate activities which a genuinely elected
government need not fear, but ZanuPF, knowing the skeletons that it has in
its wardrobe, is fully aware of the repercussions of its actions that it
deserves, and is attempting to prevent them by threatening tough action
against anyone who dares challenge it.
The people of Zimbabwe should refuse to cede their rights to a party that
has long lost its legitimacy to rule and should stand by those who are being
targeted because no-one knows who the next target will be. The political
climate in the country is characterised by tension on a knife’s edge as
ZanuPF’s vote stealing rampage goes into overdrive. A slew of charges
against the opposition have been unleashed and more are still on the drawing
board, including one against the man of the people himself, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai. Zimbabweans must beware.
ZanuPF decided ages ago that they must eliminate Tsvangirai. To do that they
have accused him of plotting to assassinate Mugabe. Their arguments did not
cut much ice and in the end they were compelled to abandon that harebrained
plan. Not content with the way matter ended, they have decided to renew
their efforts to eliminate the man. Again they have decided that Tsvangirai
must be found guilty. The crime will be treason, arising from the Wiki leaks
accusations, and the sentence will be the death penalty. A team of five
cherry-picked practising lawyers, all of whom are obviously ZanuPF loyalists
with instructions to conclude that Tsvangirai’s alleged behaviour is
tantamount to treason, have been appointed to do the groundwork that will
inevitably lead to the Prime Minister’s conviction.
A torrent of charges against innocent Zimbabweans is being unleashed by a
party that has clearly run out of ideas but is bent on clinging to power at
all costs. The people of Zimbabwe must stand together and face the challenge
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 18/03/11
Tension is definitely mounting in Zimbabwe over the reported banning of the
MDC-T’s star rally at Glamis Stadium due on Saturday. The opposing sides
seem to be growing further apart by the day.
Some internet forums have already started to say that the Zimbabwe moment
may have finally arrived. It remains to be seen. But could it be a trap by
the regime to find an opportunity to arrest the MDC leadership and lock them
away then bulldoze a snap election with people being frog-marched to polling
booths under military guard?
What is suspicious is the communication of the ban by police too close to
the date of the event probably as a deliberate way to forestall an Egypt or
Tunisia at Mugabe’s doorstep.
“Please note that the roads that lead to your intended venue are the same as
that lead to the Zanu’pf rally venue and there is likelihood of clashes
between supporters which would then lead to violence” said Chief
Superintendent G Gandana of ZRP in a letter to MDC-T organisers of Saturday’s
President’s Star rally.
Surely, ZRP must have known very well that it would be too late for the
MDC-T to mobilize the whole country for solidarity rallies in protest
against the ban or attempt to transform the whole thing into a Jasmine
Revolution! This leaves the MDC-T vulnerable to provocation.
There are very few options. One is getting angry and losing it and in the
process risking the full force of ZRP. Another option would be calling off
the rally and risk upsetting supporters and losing face.
While yet another option would be finding an alternative safer venue away
from Glamis Stadium that is said to be 500 metres from a ‘planned’ Zanu-pf
rally on the same day.
Such an option places MDC-T in awkward or Catch 22 situation whereby they
will need prior police permission as provided for under the notorious POSA
law which was crafted by Jonathan Moyo but there would be little or no time.
The stakes are very high for a possible confrontation between Mugabe’s
supporters backed by the Joint Operations Command i.e. police, the army,
CIO, militia, war veterans and some Zanu-pf MPs and Senators on one side and
the MDC-T supporters and the whole country on the other side!!
And the MDC’s response was swift and non-compromising:
“With or without police clearance our position is that we are going to go on
as planned and our secretary general, Tendai Biti had even said so. Zanu-pf
can have it’s own rally and this can be possible and our rally is a peace
campaign,” said MDC Organising Secretary, Elias Mudzuri.
The situation would be quite different if all the other political parties
including MKD, Zapu, the other three MDC’s and so on were to join in the
star rally in solidarity. Will the other three MDC’s join in the
demonstrations or they will chicken out.
In the light of Jonathan Moyo’s recent threats against the MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangiari and Secretary General Tendai Biti, over his comments and the
latter’s calls for a diamonds audit, there is a big possibility that the
party’s top leadership could have been targeted for a systematic removal
from public life into incarceration.
The world will be watching developments in the Southern African country with
trepidation this weekend.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanalysis2009@gmail
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 18/03/11
The unprecedented move by the African Group in supporting the United Nations
Resolution 1973 to impose a no-fly zone and other sanctions on Libya from
Friday 18th March is very significant in view of the recent prevarications
by the African Union.
According to the BBC, ‘the UN resolution is so broad it allows military
action against all threats to civilians – so could even involve bombing Col
Gaddafi’s forces on the ground if deemed necessary’ (Carolyn White, Libya:UK
forces prepare after UN no-fly zone vote, BBC, 18/03/11).
The resolution which defied expectations had the support of the US, Britain,
France, Bosnia and Hezegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal
and South Africa and rules out a foreign occupation force in any part of
Libya. However, five nations – Russia, China, Germany, Italy and India –
abstained (The Sun.co.uk, 18/03/11).
It could be argued that the prospect of air-strikes may have deterred Col
Gaddafi from carrying out his chilling threats of ‘no-mercy’ in Benghazi,
than the watered-down communiqué of the 265th meeting of the African Union’s
Peace and Security Council held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 10 March 2011,
which was attended by his ally Zanu-pf leader Robert Gabriel Mugabe.
AU’s usual remedy
The AU meeting typically rejected ‘any foreign military intervention,
whatever its form’, and prescribed the usual remedy of an inflated ‘AU
ad-hoc High-Level Committee on Libya comprising five Heads of State and
Government …to be supported by a team comprising the Ministers of Foreign
Affairs/External Relations and/or other relevant Ministers of the countries
concerned, as well as the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security.’
Held at a time of media speculation of alleged Zimbabwean mercenaries
backing Gaddafi’s troops, the AU meeting recalled ‘the provisions of the OAU
Convention on the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa; and requested the
Commission to ‘gather information on the reported presence of mercenaries in
Libya and their actions, to enable it, should these reports be confirmed, to
take the required measures in line with the Convention’ (PSC/PR/COMM.2
A praise singer at Zimbabwe’s state owned newspaper The Herald, glorified
the AU’s communiqué and pre-maturely attacked Nato for having ‘the cheek to
discuss the possibility of military intervention or imposing a no-fly zone
over Libyan airspace as if the AU didn’t exist let alone its powerful,
15-member Peace and Security Council…’ (The Herald, 14 March 2011, ‘The day
the African Union came of age’).
When Zanu-pf Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was asked in Parliament by
MDC-T MP and Chief Whip, Innocent Gonese, ‘whether there is any truth in the
recent press reports that many mercenaries assisting Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi are personnel from the ZNA,’ he avoided giving a straightforward
‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer saying:
“That there are mercenaries who are African and are in Libya –I have no
mandate in my duty as Minister of Defence to investigate activities
happening in another African country” (swradioafrica.com 25/02/11). Instead
he advised the legislator to direct his question to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Meanwhile, the world is waiting for an unequivocal answer.
Interestingly, days after a former Libyan diplomat speaking on CNN,
specifically mentioned Zimbabwe as having sent military regulars to Libya
neighbouring Botswana threatened to cut all diplomatic ties with Libya due
to ‘continued heavy repression’(Afroline.com, 24/02/11).
Notwithstanding the weaknesses of the African Union, the African Group at
the UN may have redeemed itself, at least for now, from its alleged
reputation of ‘standing in the way of the more radical action proposed
against human rights violators’ (Korir Sing’Oei, The African Group: Friend
or Foe of Africa’s Aspirations? Pambazuka.org, 02/07/09).
It is hoped that the African Group has finally made a paradigm shift on
Africa’s governance and human rights problems especially after South Africa
vetoed a draft UN resolution to impose sanctions on Robert Mugabe and his
allies in July 2008 despite chilling reports that:
‘Since March (2008), the opposition says 113 of its supporters have been
killed, some 5,000 are missing and more than 200,000 have been forced from
their homes (BBC, Zimbabwe sanctions vetoed at UN, 12/07/08).
Qualified public support
While the UN resolution for a no-fly zone and provision for air-strikes on
Libya has qualified public support, its delicate enforcement would require
avoidance at all costs of embarrassing incidents like the bombing of
civilian targets and loss of lives in the name of collateral damage and
friendly fire, otherwise public support will be withdrawn swiftly.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
Written by Pauline Henson
Friday, 18 March 2011 17:06
Yesterday I watched the You Tube video of the Valentine’s Day demo by Woza
in Bulawayo and I could hardly believe my eyes. There was an enormous crowd
of women and men, all singing and shouting their opposition to the various
injustices heaped on their heads by an uncaring government. Any government
official seeing this huge manifestation of dissatisfaction would surely have
been just a little worried but perhaps they are all so arrogant they just
can’t believe that such demonstrations are any real threat to them?
The women had assembled outside Tredgold Buildings in Bulawayo to voice
their anger at, well, just about everything, as their placards illustrated.
Strangely, there were no police present that I could see though they were
clearly present just about everywhere else doing Augustine Chihuri’s
bidding. The release of various detained activists on bail, including
Minister Elton Mangoma who appeared in court in prison garb and handcuffs,
was simultaneously accompanied by threats and outright attacks on NGOs
clearly directed by the Commissioner of Police who is reported to have
political ambitions. The shocking sight of a highly respected MP and
Minister in the Unity Government in handcuffs and wearing prison garb should
be warning enough that Mugabe will stop at nothing to silence his perceived
enemies, however trumped up the charges. Joseph Made’s decision to bar UN
agencies and NGOs from conducting national food surveys is yet another
indication of Zanu PF’s indifference to the welfare of its own people.
The decision by a British judge to return Zimbabwean asylum seekers to their
country of origin on the grounds that Zimbabwe is now deemed ‘safe’ seems
incomprehensible in the light of what is happening inside the country. The
creation of a so-called Unity Government has it seems created the impression
that all is now well. The truth is very different; the absolute lack of
human decency or compassion shown by the Zanu PF thugs and assorted war
veterans and militia who are harassing and intimidating the population is
one of the saddest aspects of what has happened in Zimbabwe after thirty
years of Mugabe’s dictatorship. Morgan Tsvangirai’s trip to seek regional
support and alert African leaders to the true state of affairs in Zimbabwe
is unlikely to yield any more positive results than it has in the past. With
the whole world’s attention focussed on the tragic developments in Japan and
the ongoing crisis in Libya as Gadaffi hangs onto power, African leaders are
rather more concerned with their own futures, than the fate of ordinary
The UN’s decision to approve a No Fly Zone over Libya is perhaps a sign that
the world is becoming less tolerant of dictators oppressing their own
people. ‘Defending the indefensible’ best describes Robert Mugabe’s defence
of his friend Gadaffi. As usual, Mugabe blamed the west for the whole
debacle which is interesting when you consider that Gadaffi himself blamed
the rebellion on Al Qaida’s influence! There is nothing Mugabe can say which
will convince the world of his own democratic credentials despite his party’s
desperate attempts to garner signatures for their ‘anti-sanctions’ petition.
Schools, soldiers and policemen are all being forced to sign but, like the
Woza women, the general population are only too aware of the real cause of
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH. aka Pauline Henson author of the Dube
books. The latest in the Dube series, Sami’s Story, is available on lulu.com