By Alex Bell
30 March 2011
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is being urged to finally
stand up to Robert Mugabe, and publicly pressure the ageing leader to end
worsening abuses and harassment at the hands of ZANU PF.
The regional bloc’s security organ, the Troika, is meeting in Zambia from
Thursday and the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe is on the agenda of the
talks. The heads of state Summit is being chaired by the Troika’s chief,
Zambian President Rupiah Banda, and will also be attended by South African
President Jacob Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart President Armando
The Summit comes as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has continued with a
diplomatic offensive, briefing African leaders about the situation back
home. On Wednesday he traveled to the DRC for talks with President Joseph
Kabila, a known Mugabe ally. He was also set to meet with Tanzania’s leader
President Jakaya Kikwete, before heading to Zimbabwe for the Troika meeting.
Mugabe and an entourage, including Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, were
also set to head to Zambia on Wednesday for the Summit.
Tsvangirai has also been urging the leaders to ensure that a proper roadmap
towards free and fair elections is established before any poll is allowed to
go ahead in Zimbabwe. He has already met with leaders from Swaziland,
Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, and on Monday met with Namibia’s
President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Pohamba said that the crumbling unity government should stay in place until
proper elections are held in Zimbabwe, saying it would be “sad” if the
SADC leaders are meant to be the guarantors of the unity government, after
drafting the Global Political Agreement (GPA). But to date, the regional
bloc has done nothing to ensure that ZANU PF abides by the agreement or
institutes any meaningful reforms. The bloc has been accused of siding with
Mugabe and allowing him to keep his grip on power, with no regard to the
human rights of Zimbabweans.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday that SADC now needs to stand up
to urgently intervene in the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, and take a
tougher stand with Mugabe and ZANU PF. Senior HRW researcher Tiseke
Kasambala told SW Radio Africa that SADC can no longer “tip toe around the
“We hope that they finally do something, or else we will see a repeat of the
violence and chaos of the 2008 election period in Zimbabwe, or even worse,”
Kasambala added that SADC’s policy of “behind the scenes diplomacy has
allowed the likes of ZANU PF to manipulate the public agenda, and it simply
doesn’t work.” She explained that tougher action, and a public condemnation
of the action of ZANU PF was needed.
“However, if SADC is unable to stand up to Mugabe then the African Union
should step in and the United Nations should step in,” Kasambala said. “They
cannot just sit back and allow a situation like this to unfold.”
The pressure from HRW comes as governments in Europe are again being urged
to penalise SADC countires, over their failure to protect Zimbabweans. A
petition by the London based protest group, The Zimbabwe Vigil, has been
relaunched, calling for financial penalties against SADC. The Vigil has
called on EU governments to suspend direct financial assistance to SADC
governments until SADC meets its obligations over Zimbabwe.
Mar 30, 2011 10:37 AM | By Sapa-AFP
African leaders Thursday will try to defuse escalating tensions in Zimbabwe,
where President Robert Mugabe is accused of cracking down on rivals ahead of
polls expected later this year.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's partner in a rocky unity
government, earlier this month called on the 15-nation Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to lay out a "road map" to new elections.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe are expected to meet with the SADC's security organ,
known as the Troika, during the summit Thursday in the Zambian tourist town
of Livingstone, near the famed Victoria Falls.
The leaders of Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia will all attend
But in the more than two years since Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed their
unlikely unity government, SADC has refused to step into their feuding.
The regional bloc brokered the power-sharing accord meant to halt Zimbabwe's
stunning economic collapse and to end the political violence that erupted
during the 2008 elections.
That deal envisaged a new constitution within 18 months followed within six
months by fresh elections, but the process is running nearly a year behind
schedule, with a constitutional referendum expected no earlier than
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, however, say they are ready to move toward
elections that would end the unity government.
The power-sharing arrangement has stemmed Zimbabwe's economic decline,
largely by abandoning the local currency left worthless after years of
While Tsvangirai's allies run most of the ministries dealing with the
economy, Mugabe retains a firm grip on the mining ministry -- overseeing the
biggest sector of the economy -- and the security forces.
Now Tsvangirai complains that police are being used to arrest and harass his
supporters, from villagers to top ministers, as well as journalists and
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is also trying to squeeze cash out of the mining
ministry by requiring foreign firms to sell majority stakes to locals --and
by exploiting vast diamond reserves despite claims of military abuses
Rather than intervene, regional leaders are more likely to press the two
sides to find a solution domestically, Zambian Foreign Minister Kabinga
Pande told AFP.
"The desire of SADC is to see that there is unity in the government of
Zimbabwe and we are certain that at the end of the summit, the parties will
have resolved the differences," Pande said.
Zambia, which currently chairs the Troika and has been more critical of
Mugabe than most of its neighbours.
Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba is close to Mugabe, while Mozambican
President Armando Guebuza avoids speaking out on Zimbabwe.
South Africa President Jacob Zuma, the bloc's official mediator in Zimbabwe,
is more critical of Mugabe than his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. But Zuma's
personal visits and regular trips by his envoys have yielded few tangible
"SADC does not and can not do anything for Zimbabwe," said Takavafira Zhou,
a political scientist at Masvingo University in Zimbabwe.
"To expect it to take a hardline stance in terms of resolving the
outstanding issues of the (unity accord) or the restoration of rule of law
would be daydreaming."
The Troika is also set to discuss Madagascar, stuck in political limbo since
opposition leader Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana with
the army's backing two years ago.
Chinedu Offor | Washington DC March 30, 2011
Human Rights Watch is calling on the Southern Africa Development Community
[SADC] to press Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on human rights issues.
The group refers to what it calls harassment and arbitrary arrests of civil
society activists and political opponents. This, as SADC prepares to meet in
Zambia tomorrow to consider a report on Zimbabwe.
The organization sent its latest petition to SADC after a similar protest
was ignored in the past.
“We see it yet as another opportunity to highlight our concerns with what’s
happening in Zimbabwe and our concerns of the possibility of escalation of
violence in the country, which is something the SADC cannot afford to
ignore,” says Tiseke Kasambala, senior researcher at the African Division of
Human Rights Watch.
In the past several international, regional and local groups have
unsuccessfully pressed President Mugabe to call his supporters to order and
stop attacks on his opponents by Zimbabwe’s security agencies.
“The reason why Mugabe has the opportunity to ignore some of these calls is
because SADC has simply not been strong enough in calling him to account,”
She says President Mugabe is bound by an agreement he signed with the
Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] to rein in his supporters and form an
“When you look at the Global Political Agreement, which paved the way for
this inclusive government, it highlighted several points which talked about
ending political violence and restoring rule of law,” she says.
Sources said state officials told the IMF team in various meetings that
Zimbabwe is broke as revenues declined by almost 35 percent in the first
quarter of 2011 due to diminished production in various sectors and lack of
significant foreign direct investment
Gibbs Dube | Washington 29 March 2011
As the International Monetary Fund’s consultation mission in Zimbabwe
prepared to wind down its business Wednesday, government officials revealed
the country had no money to pay off its arrears to international lending
Sources said state officials told the IMF team in various meetings that
Harare was broke as revenues declined by almost 35 percent in the first
quarter of 2011 due to diminished production in various sectors and lack of
significant foreign direct investment.
The sources said Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe made it clear
that the country cannot meet its own financial needs as revenue collection
fell from US$350 to US$150 million a month.
The government has even suspended some capital projects due to lack of
funds. As a result, no money has been set aside to pay off part of the
country’s US$7 billion external debt.
Economist Eric Bloch said failure by the government to pay part of its
international financial commitments is disastrous for a nation failing to
attract foreign investors.
“Zimbabwe needs to modify its economic policies radically, turn empowerment
laws into constructive ones, streamline government spending by reducing the
size of the civil service and negotiate with the international community for
debt redemption through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative,” said
By Alex Bell
30 March 2011
Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Wednesday hosted another conference trying
to encourage investment in Zimbabwe, despite the recent moves by ZANU PF to
take over foreign owned companies.
The ‘Buy Zimbabwe Conference and Exhibition’ got underway in Harare on
Wednesday, and was hosted by the Finance Ministry. The conference was set to
focus on the promotion of the production and consumption of local goods and
“The conference is a first of its kind focusing on growing Zimbabwe’s local
base while taking into consideration the various trade agreements that
Zimbabwe is signatory to,” organisers said in a statement.
“The conference is a platform for different economic sectors driving
Zimbabwe to shift towards practical implementation of solutions that will
help create value to local companies struggling to meet consumer demand due
to a challenging economic environment.”
The conference comes as foreign mining companies have been given a six month
deadline to hand over a majority stake in shares to local ‘investors’, as
part of ZANU PF’s controversial indiginisation law. Affected firms, with the
exemption of Chinese owned companies, have until May 9th to submit their
‘indiginisation’ plans to the government and until September 25th to
finalise the handover.
This planned offensive against mining companies is feared to be the start of
a wider ZANU PF takeover, reminiscent of the destructive land grab scheme of
the past decade. Robert Mugabe over the weekend stated that, “We are taking
back our country” and analysts have warned that this sentiment is driving
potential investment away from the country.
Commentators have argued that this is bad timing for yet another investment
conference, as there is no confidence that any foreign businesses will be
given a chance to succeed in Zimbabwe. Earlier this year, the government
hosted a Euromoney investment conference, trying to persuade investors that
Zimbabwe is a safe investment zone. That conference was widely viewed as a
‘damp squib’, because all efforts to encourage investment are being
undermined by ZANU PF’s ‘indiginisation’ plans.
From: The Australian
March 31, 2011 12:00AM
THE gruesome talk is of human remains being carried to the surface from a
disused mine shaft - more than 1000 bodies buried in a mass grave at the
Monkey William Mine in Bembera village near Mount Darwin, 150km north of
For weeks, state-controlled television and newspapers in the country,
slavishly subservient to President Robert Mugabe, have focused on little
else, providing saturation coverage of every detail of the exhumations and
the cause celebre they have become for his ZANU-PF party.
And in this lies evidence of the latest Machiavellian manoeuvre by the
87-year-old dictator even as he suffers from prostate cancer that is
reported to have cost the Zimbabwean exchequer $12 million over four months
for him to be treated by doctors in Singapore and Malaysia.
Mugabe, with the junta of military, police and security officials that
surrounds him, is determined to bring about the collapse of the
power-sharing arrangement concluded two years ago with opposition leader
He wants to force an early election on his own corrupt terms - an election
that, he reckons, he will be able to rig through violence and intimidation
and thereby ensure victory.
He wants the election held within months, before the drafting of a new
constitution, a key element in the power-sharing arrangement which, if it
went ahead and free and fair elections were held, would spell the demise of
his odious regime.
In terms of the power-sharing arrangement - forced on a reluctant Mugabe -
elections are not due until 2013. The only way he can hold them sooner is by
forcing Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change to walk away from
the arrangement, a farce that now exists in little more than name.
With an eye to the fate of North African despots, including his close friend
and ally Muammar Gaddafi, Mugabe is cracking down hard on the opposition.
Even senior MDC ministers in the power-sharing cabinet have been arrested.
There is talk of new moves against Tsvangirai, who last weekend hurried to
see South African President Jacob Zuma ahead of a crucial meeting of the
South African Development Community, due in a few days to discuss the crisis
Echoing the pleas from within the opposition for help against Mugabe's
brutal crackdown, one local newspaper, referring to the force being used
against Gaddafi, has pleaded for international intervention against the
Zimbabwean dictator. "In Zimbabwe detainees tell stories of horrific torture
while in police detention and of partisan sections of the security forces
being used to do the bidding of a regime bent on retaining political power
at any cost," the newspaper wrote. "Zimbabwe presents a perfect opportunity
for the African Union to demonstrate its respect for human rights and for
the UN Security Council to show that, even where there is no oil, gross
human rights abuses are enough to trigger international intervention."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has joined the clamour. In a
scarcely veiled reference to Mugabe, he has warned that repressive regimes
in Africa could be targeted. "The action we have taken in Libya shows the
international community does take gross violations of human rights extremely
seriously," he has said. "In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's security forces
continue to act with impunity, ramping up intimidation in order to instil
fear into their opponents."
Mugabe, however, even in his dotage, appears unmoved. Hence the cynical use
of the human remains being exhumed from Monkey William Mine and his attempts
to stir the pot against Tsvangirai and the opposition.
The bodies, Mugabe's henchmen insist, are those of men, women and children
killed by Ian Smith's white Rhodesian regime during the chimurenga (war of
independence) 32 years ago, their bodies thrown down the mineshaft.
The aim is clear: first, it is to again stir up sentiment against the former
white regime, then it is to link Tsvangirai and the MDC, which have close
links to foreign governments and business interests, to the white regime and
remnants loyal to the old Rhodesia.
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo says he is not surprised that despite the
huge importance being accorded the exhumations in the national psyche, the
MDC has stayed away from the mine. "It's not surprising, considering their
association with the Rhodesians and the West."
So blatant is the regime's attempt to shamelessly use the exhumations as a
way of stirring up emotions against the opposition and forcing a rigged
election that some wonder about the circumstances surrounding the discovery.
While the regime insists the bodies are those of freedom fighters, others
suggest they are more recent - possibly victims of pro-Mugabe thugs who
wrought violence and havoc during the 2008 election, or from among the
20,000 people massacred earlier in Matabeleland by his North Korean-trained
5th Brigade during the Gukurahundi genocide against his political opponents.
The reality is that such is the endless litany of human rights abuses and
outrages in Zimbabwe that without proper forensic testing it is going to be
difficult to properly establish the facts. By seeking to exploit the
exhumations in the way he is, however, Mugabe is again demonstrating the
brutality of his regime as it seeks to perpetuate his murderous rule.
Written by Zwanai Sithole
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 09:11
HARARE - The ZIPRA Veterans Trust has called on the government to order an
audit to establish the identities of human skeletons which were recently
discovered at a disused mine shaft in Mt Darwin.
The ZIPRA Veterans Trust chairperson, Retired Colonel Ray Ncube, said it was
dangerous to assume that the human remains discovered in a disused mine
shaft were liberation war fighters supposedly buried in the shaft by the
Rhodesian Army during the liberation struggle.
"While it is a fact that a lot of our comrades were killed by the Rhodesian
forces in the Mt Darwin and Rushinga areas during the liberation struggle,
it is also a fact that a lot of ZIPRA and ZANLA cadres died in the area
during the integration period in 1980 following internal clashes after the
formation of the first battalion 2.1 infantry battalion. It is also no
secret that a lot of MDC supporters went missing during the run up to the
2008 harmonised elections" said Ncube who operated in the area under the
Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army during the war.
Ncube said that the organ for National Healing and Recollection, together
with the Joint Operations and Monitoring Campaign (JOMIC) should take charge
of the exhumation programme. "As a former freedom fighter I am really hurt
by what is happening. Where is the organ for National Healing and JOMIC?
This is an abuse of all the people who fight for democracy in this country.
The true identities of these people should be revealed, otherwise the nation
will remain with a lot of questions than answers," he said.
Ncube's sentiments were shared by Mbuso Fuzwayo of Ibhetshu Likazulu. "To
start with, we are not sure who exactly those bones belong to. It might be
Patrick Nabanyama, the MDC 's activist who disappeared in 2000.The problem
is that Zanu (PF) has got selective memory" said Fuzwayo.
Written by Chris Ncube
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:30
JOHANNESBURG - International human rights group, Amnesty International, this
week called for police to refrain from violating the rights of women in
Zimbabwe. This followed revelations, at the time of going to print, that two
leaders of the social justice movement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Jenni
Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, were being sought by police. They were at
risk of arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment following the organisation’s
ninth annual Valentine's Day peaceful protest in Bulawayo last month.
Officers have also contacted a human rights lawyer, demanding he bring the
two WOZA leaders to Bulawayo Central Police station. The officer reportedly
stated that the two 'must prepare themselves for a long detention'. However,
police have given no indication of the reasons why they are searching for
the two WOZA leaders, causing fears that the two could be arbitrarily
arrested and detained.
Following the reports Mahlangu and Williams were on the police’s ‘wanted
list’, Amnesty is leading a campaign to petition Deputy Commissioner-General
Innocent Matibiri, and the Member in Charge of Bulawayo Central Police
Station. Amnesty urged Zimbabweans to petition the senior officials urging
them to ensure that the in their conduct, officers are mindful of and
respect the ruling by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.
by Edward Jones Wednesday 30 March 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwean church leaders have condemned the escalation in
political violence ahead of possible elections this year amid rising tension
between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party, which threatens their tenuous power-sharing
Political analysts warn that Zimbabwe risks sliding back into crisis with
Mugabe’s election plans.
In a pastoral statement, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops Conference and Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe urged political
leaders to "reflect deeply" and work to resolve outstanding political
agreements before holding elections.
“Churches are concerned about reports of politically motivated violence in
the provinces of Mashonaland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare caused by the
revival of the structures that perpetrated violence in the run-up to the
2008 Presidential elections,” the church groups said.
Mugabe is fighting to have elections this year, which ZANU-PF is confident
it will win after the party’s loss to the MDC in 2008.
The 87-year-old leader was forced into a unity government with Tsvangirai
after a flawed run-off vote but two years down the line ZANU-PF says it now
wants to go it alone. The MDC has warned that a rushed election will lead to
The churches said they had witnessed a lack of impartiality by police and
security forces countrywide and reported a surge in threats and intimidation
and a revival of the deployment of militias and other groups that
perpetrated the 2008 violence.
On Saturday police beat up MDC members who had gathered at the party
headquarters for elections to restructure the party ahead of its May
congress. The MDC says Mugabe continued to use state security agents to
cling to power.
Police have banned three consecutive rallies which Tsvangirai planned to
address, saying the venues had been booked by ZANU-PF, although Harare city
council officials say Mugabe’s party had not booked the venues.
The churches are worried by the slow pace of national healing that was meant
to end the trauma of past political violence and said political leaders
needed to do more than the occasional of violence.
“The church is concerned about lack of a clear national framework on the
healing and reconciliation process which is a critical component of this
transitional period,” the churches said in statement signed by their
As political tensions rise, the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation has stepped up its attacks on the Tsvangirai and the MDC, in
what the former opposition party says is a propaganda drive by the state
The churches said inflammatory language reported in the state media had also
contributed to violence and undermined efforts on national healing.
Leaders of the Southern African Development community should do more to
resolve outstanding disputes over power-sharing before the next election,
the churches said.
The churches however said they would hold prayer vigils for peace and
proposed the eventual formation of an independent truth, justice and
reconciliation commission to deal with "truth telling, acknowledgement of
past wrongs and restorative and transitional justice issues". -- ZimOnline
Written by Zwanai Sithole
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 18:11
BULAWAYO - Zanu (PF) has deployed heavily armed soldiers in the three
southern provinces of Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces in a
desperate bid to force locals to support the party.
Highly placed sources in Nkayi and Lupane told The Zimbabwean that Zimbabwe
National Army soldiers (ZNA) have now taken over party business in the
areas. In Nkayi the soldiers are stationed at Panke lodge while in Lupane
they are staying in tents pitched near Lupane State University.
"There are heavily armed soldiers who are staying at Panke lodge in Nkayi.
Everyday in the early hours of the morning, they march along the
Nkayi/Kwekwe road singing and chanting ant-MDC slogans. Villagers are really
afraid of a repeat of the Gukurahundi era," said a Zimbabwean informant.
He said the soldiers were sometimes seen at the Zanu (PF) district offices.
"Each ward in Nkayi has been assigned two soldiers who are being assisted by
party youths to harass and force villagers to join the party's structures.
The local youths are the ones who are proving the soldiers with the list of
the names of key MDC supporters in the area,” said a local who refused to be
The MDC Senator for the area, Robert Makhula, said he recently met soldiers
travelling in a convoy of five pick-up trucks near Tohwe, about 30
kilometres north of Nkayi. "I spoke to them and they said they are going out
to revamp Zanu (PF) structures and deal with people who were in Zanu (PF)
but joined the opposition. This sounds like a general intimidation pattern
which soldiers will use to harass anyone who does not support Zanu (PF),"
Today, 30.3.11, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum ('the Forum'), Mr Abel Chikomo, has been formally charged under
Section 6 (3) as read with subsection 1 of the Private Voluntary
Organisations (PVO) Act. Mr Chikomo has been allowed to go home today but is
required to report tomorrow morning at the Law and Order section of Harare
Central police station.
The investigation and interrogation of Mr Chikomo has been going on since
the beginning of February 2011. The police are alleging that Mr Chikomo has
been managing and controlling the operations of an illegal PVO. The police
further allege that the Forum is required to register as a PVO before it can
commence any of its activities as stipulated in its constitution. By
directing the activities and instructing the staff of the Forum to perform
such activities as well as raising resources for the Forum, the police
allege that Mr Chikomo is knowingly acting in contravention of the PVO Act.
Mr Chikomo has denied all the charges and allegations by the police. He
states in his warned and cautioned statement that the Forum is not a PVO and
is not required either by the PVO Act or any other law, to register as a
PVO. To the contrary, the PVO Act exempts organisations like the Forum from
such registration. To the contrary, section 2 (1) (v) of the PVO Act exempts
organisations like the Forum from registering under the Act.
Mr Chikomo states that the The Forum is a Common Law Universitas recognised
by Section 89 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He further states that the
legal status of the Forum is beyond question as demonstrated by the
recognition of the legal existence and work of the Forum by the Courts of
Zimbabwe, including the Supreme Court. The courts would not entertain legal
suits lodged by the Forum if the Forum was not legally constituted. In
addition, the Forum works and collaborates with different Government
departments including the Ministry of Justice and the Ministerial Organ on
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration.
The Forum is also recognised by the Parliament of Zimbabwe and on several
occasions, the Forum has appeared before various committees of Parliament
including the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, briefing the committee,
on, among other things, the role of human rights NGO's and the promotion and
protection of human rights. All these bodies would certainly not collaborate
with an illegal entity.
International Liaison Office
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 March, 2011
Officials from the MDC-T in Manicaland report that they have approached the
Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) to intervene after
more displaced villagers turned up at their head office in Mutare, seeking
shelter from violent ZANU PF supporters. MDC-T provincial spokesperson,
Pishai Muchauraya, said a team from JOMIC has agreed to meet with the
victims on Sunday and hear their stories.
More assaults on innocent villagers started last week after a ZANU PF
anti-sanctions rally. Many were accused of not attending the rally and were
hunted down door-to-door and severely assaulted. Over 200 reportedly fled
and some from Cashel Valley crossed into Mozambique.
Muchauraya told SW Radio Africa that about 50 are now being cared for at the
Mutare office and the number continues to grow. “There has been no response
from the police in terms of arrests even though we provided some names,”
He accused ZANU PF’s councilor Elijah Mugebe, Major Muresherwa and
traditional leader Tichaona Undenge, of organizing the attacks against MDC
supporters using armed youth militia and war vets.
Muchauraya said the JOMIC team has also asked to meet some of the
perpetrators of the violence, which they say is necessary to ‘start a
Muchauraya said; “But of course the perpetrators will not show up on Sunday
because they do not want to be exposed or arrested.”
The police have continued with their usual partisan approach to political
violence around the country, arresting only MDC supporters. ZANU PF thugs
operate with impunity and at times with police assistance. This led to
statements by the JOMIC co-chairperson, Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga, who
last week said a “smart coup” had taken place in Zimbabwe.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 March, 2011
The scores of youths who were picked up by armed police officers early
Monday morning in Bulawayo Central are reported to be in detention at
Saucertown police station. The MDC-T confirmed on Wednesday that the youths
are party members who had gone missing after police abducted them from the
Trenance and Richmond areas.
The MDC said approximately 30 youths are in custody facing a variety of
charges, including violence and cattle rustling. SW Radio Africa
correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the arrests are related to squabbles
between ZANU PF and MDC youths in the Trenance area.
According to Saungweme, ZANU PF member Himan Tshuma defected to the MDC and
caused many other defections after he was elected branch chairperson. This
angered ZANU PF youths and led to Tshuma being assaulted by 2 army officers
on March 12th at Mvutshwa camp.
The story became public after MDC youths reported it to the police and spoke
to the local press. “The arrests are a warning to MDC youths to be quiet
next time and not report any political attacks,” said our correspondent.
The police have made no statements regarding this case and it is not clear
when the remaining MDC youths will be released or brought to court.
Meanwhile the trial of Energy and Power Development Minister, Elton Mangoma,
resumed at the High Court Wednesday with the State witness, Justin
Mupamhanga, being cross examined by the defence. Mupamhanga is the Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Energy.
The MDC say Mangoma is facing ‘fake’ charges of abusing his public office as
a minister by authorising a fuel purchase from South Africa earlier this
year. The trial failed to kick of Tuesday after prison officials said the
minister could not be brought to court, as they did not have fuel.
The trial will continue on Thursday.
by Naume Muza Wednesday 30 March 2011
KAROI – President Robert Mugabe’s supporters have drafted hundreds of
schoolchildren from Mashonaland West province to sign a petition demanding
scrapping of Western sanctions against the veteran leader and his top
Mugabe’s ZANU PF party hopes to collect at least two million signatures for
the petition that shall be handed to ambassadors of Western countries that
imposed the sanctions for onward transmission to their capitals.
High schoolteachers and children here yesterday told ZimOnline that ZANU PF
activists have in recent weeks disrupted learning at several schools where
they have visited ordering both teachers and senior pupils to sign the
“When the youths came at the school, we thought they wanted only the
teachers to sign the petition but they later asked to address students in
their classes,” said a senior teacher at Chikangwe High School in Karoi,
about 204 kilometres north-west of Harare.
“All children with identity cards were told to sign the petition,” said the
teacher who declined to be named for fear of possible reprisal.
Education Minister David Coltart was not immediately available for comment
on the matter. Authorities at Chikangwe and several other schools visited by
ZimOnline refused to discuss the matter, referring our reporters to
Mashonaland West provincial education officer Sylvester Mashayamombe. He
refused to discuss the matter.
But the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) criticised ZANU PF for
disrupting learning at schools and accused Mugabe’s party of turning some
schools into centres for signing the petition.
“We denounce the abuse of school facilities by ZANU PF where some senior
education officers throughout the county are forcing teachers to sign the
petition and also turning schools into petition signing centres,”|said PTUZ
president Takavafira Zhou.
Mashonaland West ZANU PF chairman Robert Sikanyika said schoolchildren must
sign the petition because they are also affected by sanctions. But he denied
that party activists were disrupting lessons at schools to collect
signatures from teachers and learners.
“There is nothing sinister to have students signing the petition as they are
affected by the sanction imposed by the West. We want to surpass the two
million target’’ said Sikanyika.
The European Union, United States, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand,
imposed targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his top officials about nine
years ago as punishment for allegedly stealing elections, human rights
violations and failure to uphold the rule of law.
Mugabe, who denies violating human rights or stealing elections, says the
sanctions have had a wider impact beyond the targeted individuals to damage
Zimbabwe’s once vibrant economy. -- ZimOnline
Harare, March 30, 2011 - The Zanu (PF) politburo met in Harare on Wednesday
still smarting from its embarrassing defeat in which its national chairman
Simon Khaya Moyo was walloped by Lovemore Moyo from the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) T.
Insiders claimed the politburo – the Zanu (PF) supreme decision-making
body-met to deliberate on the defeat with a possibility to launch a witch
hunt on members of parliament that voted for a rival candidate.
There were 203 MPs eligible to vote but 199 turned up for poll. Of these, 96
each belonged to Zanu (PF) and MDC-T and seven to Welshman Ncube MDC. Four
MPs – two each from Zanu (PF) and MDC-T – were absent for various reasons.
With 96 MDT legislators in parliament, Lovemore gained eleven votes, raising
strong suspicions that at least two Zanu (PF) MPs voted for a rival
“We are meeting this morning as the politburo, the issue might be raised,”
said Zanu (PF) spokesman Rugare Gumbo.
The voting pattern in Tuesday night’s election is said to have devastated
Zanu (PF) which desperately wants to re-gain its lost glory against Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC T.
The MDC-T candidate, Lovemore Moyo won 105 votes against 94 for Zanu (PF's)
representative who is the current party's chair, Simon Khaya Moyo.
By Lance Guma
30 March 2011
For the first time since the MDC split in October 2005 the two resulting
formations of the party on Tuesday temporarily buried their differences and
united in re-electing the MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party endured weeks of sustained
harassment as over 7 MP’s were arrested on a variety of trumped-up charges.
The ZANU PF strategy was to arrest enough MDC-T MP’s to whittle down their
majority in parliament and be assured that ZANU PF candidate Simon Khaya
The crackdown however backfired, as the smaller faction of the MDC announced
on Monday they would not sit by and watch while ZANU PF tried to rig the
vote. Secretary General Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga said they had
decided to urge their MPs to vote for the MDC-T candidate because of their
belief in the fundamental values of justice, freedom and democracy.
Various commentators pointed to the fact that a united front by the two MDC
formations had helped deliver a humiliating blow to ZANU PF’s political
thuggery. The two parties were urged to build on Tuesday’s show of unity and
create a much more formidable alliance for the next general election.
Lovemore Moyo, a guest on our Question Time programme, was cautious about
the chances of a unity deal. He told us they were not sure whether the
cooperation from their colleagues was a ‘one off’ or would continue. He said
the gesture from their former colleagues had helped boost prospects of a
much sought after unity deal and he had made it a point to thank them on
Moyo’s victory will also come in handy as a morale booster for the MDC-T,
given the party has had to endure outright provocation by ZANU PF during the
run-up to the speaker election.
Energy Minister and MDC-T MP Elton Mangoma, had been slapped with dubious
corruption charges and was for brought to court in leg irons, just to
humiliate him and his party. Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone went
into hiding also fearing arrest.
Little wonder MDC-T supporters broke into wild celebrations across Zimbabwe
as news spread that Lovemore Moyo had won. The symbolism of the victory was
not lost on the state broadcaster ZBC, as it ignored the victory on the 8pm
main news bulletin.
For all ZANU PF’s use of harassment, abductions, arrests and violence, on
Tuesday the party was shown once again as being unable to win an election.
The fact that two of their MP’s are said to have voted for the MDC-T
candidate highlighted the factional fighting within their ranks.
Lovemore Moyo polled 105 votes to 93 that went to ZANU PF’s Simon Khaya
Moyo. A total of 203 MPs were eligible to vote, however owing to the ZANU PF
instigated crackdown, several MDC-T MP’s were in police custody and a total
of 199 MP’s were present in Parliament. One vote was spoiled and not
Written by Mxolisi Ncube
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:51
JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe will be sending representatives to the 2011 World
Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) Presidents' meeting, scheduled for
April 11-13 in Dubai.
While a detailed program of the three-day meeting is yet to be released,
exports from Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange fields are expected to be high
on the agenda, following accusations that the Kimberly Process Certification
Scheme did not follow consensus in lifting a brief ban.
Peter Meeus, who chairs the Dubai Diamond Exchange (DDE), said this week
that his organisation will, together with the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre
(DMCC), organise the "WFDB African Summit," with the participation of a
number of mining ministers from leading African diamond producing countries,
Among countries to be represented at the summit are Zimbabwe, South Africa,
DRC and Angola. "We're pleased that we have been able to integrate this
special summit into a prestigious event such as the WFDB Presidents'
Meeting," said Meeus. "The events and developments in the leading African
diamond producing countries are fast-paced and this summit will enable all
participants to receive a snapshot of the current developments in Africa's
diamond producing centres."
Ministers expected to attend the first summit are Zimbabwe’s Minister of
Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu, his counterparts - Martin
Kabwelulu Labilo of the DRC, South Africa’s Susan Shabangu and Joaquim
Duarte da Costa David of Angola, who will be accompanied by Rui Jorge
Carneiro Mangueira, Angola’s Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs for
Also in attendance as guests of honour at the WFDB Presidents’ meeting will
be former South African President, Thabo Mbeki and the DRC’s Mathieu Yamba -
the KPCS Chair who recently quoted the ire of human rights groups and the
international community with his decision to allow exports to resume from
the Marange diamonds fields. "Our organisation exists to protect and guard
the ethical standards on which our industry is founded,” said WFDB President
Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 06:33
HARARE – Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC-N president Welshman
Ncube look headed for collision at today’s SADC Troika summit, to which
both have been invited.
The two are embroiled in an increasingly acrimonious dispute over who leads
the MDC. "Yes we have been invited," Ncube told The Zimbabwean. "We have no
right to tell SADC who it should or should not invite to its meetings. All
we know is that he (Mutambara) can not attend as the MDC President, even if
invited as such, because he is interdicted by a court order from attending
as MDC President because he is not.”
Ncube obtained an interdict from Justice Nicholas Ndou that stopped
Mutambara from claiming he was still party president. Mutambara alleges Ndou
worked in cahoots with Ncube in granting the order. Ncube had also wanted
the High Court to stop Mutambara representing the party at the Troika
meeting, at which President Jacob Zuma will present his report on the
outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA.
Ndou did not grant that relief, but ruled that Mutambara was no longer MDC
president because he had stepped down at congress and handed the baton to
Written by Jane Makoni
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:32
HWEDZA - Thomas Zhuwawo (60) of Magwaza village, Hwedza, like other
villagers across the country, is both confused and disappointed about
suspicious police ban on MDC booked rallies. He invested so much trust in
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party
that any frustration of the party’s activities makes him sick. Looking
forward to hearing Tsvangirai addressing party followers at Glamis Arena in
Harare on March 20, he sold his only goat to cover transport costs to the
long-awaited party gathering. He narrated to The Zimbabwean how his heart
was broken after realizing the rally would never take place, as armed police
and rogue Zanu (PF) youths had cordoned off the venue.
“I am a strong rural MDC-T supporter who put his life on the line for
democracy to prevail in the country. I have never been Zanu (PF) all my life
and joined MDC at its formation 1999 after ceasing to be politically
neutral. “Sacrificing the only family beast for the love of a political
movement is not an everyday decision. MDC runs in my blood and can be felt
as one enters my homestead. I love peace, justice and all other elements of
democracy. “On the eve of the ill-fated Glamis Arena meeting, my family
unanimously agreed to dispose of the goat in order for me to hear Tsvangirai
“Come Saturday, unaware police had banned the rally to save interests of the
so called Zanu (PF) anti-sanctions crusade, I walked the first 20 km of my
journey as the area is not serviced by public transport. Later, I hitchhiked
private transport to Nhekayiro Growth Point before catching a commuter
omnibus to Harare. I could have waited for the cheaper conventional buses to
Harare, but opted for the more costly but faster means of transport as I
wanted to be at the rally venue before everyone else. Being the earliest
bird at the venue would allow me to select the best seat as close as
possible to the speakers, in order not to miss a single word.
“My expectations were rudely shaken as riot police and hired Zanu (PF) thugs
chased and beat up suspected MDC-T supporters destined for the gathering.
What disappointed me most was the sight of state law enforcement agents
casting a blind eye while party militia assaulted innocent people converging
at a legitimate rally. “Since my left leg was broken in a Zanu (PF) attack
June 2008, I could not escape from the thugs’ attack. My clothing was torn
off my body while my belongings including cash were looted by the rowdy
“Looking at the police, who are mandated to protect defenceless citizens in
my situation, I was bitter and disturbed to see them laughing as they
enjoyed observing my plight. Some of them could be heard whistling,
suggesting they were urging the hooligans to step up their criminal acts.
“After what seemed like an eternity, the thugs let me go but without my
personal items. Proceeds from the sale of my goat benefited the thugs who
left me without bus fare for the trip back home.
“Passersby later advised me that the meeting was not sanctioned as Mugabe
and his Zanu (PF) were scheduled to hold an anti-sanctions meeting some 200
metres away. News regarding the ban had eluded me as I have no television or
radio set. I received the shock of my life to learn that the man I voted
President, Morgan Tsvangirai, could be barred from conducting party
activities by the loser, Mugabe.
“Though I was not sure of who called the shots in the GPA, I was completely
sure that Tsvangirai overwhelmingly won March 2008 Presidential elections.
His party won the majority in Parliament. Everybody including state
controlled media confirmed the resounding MDC-T victory at the ballot.
“My son Godfrey, a civil servant in Harare, confirmed that Tsvangirai as
Prime Minister was the Head of Government. He would run the show in
government including the Home Affairs Ministry which controls the police
force. So, how on earth could a mere police force, a subordinate arm of
government ban the Prime Minister from holding a political rally?
“Surely, since my vote and that of the majority of the electorate gave
Tsvangirai the mandate to take overall charge of state affairs, how could he
be bullied about by partisan Mugabe police officers? Does Tsvangirai doubt
the people power behind him? Why can’t he consult people on the best way to
deal with police brutality and tyranny? Honestly, Tsvangirai should learn to
seize opportunities and take dictatorship head on.
“A Good Samaritan offered me money for food and bus fare for the journey
back home. I embarked on the long and painful journey back to Hwedza where
my wife expected words of encouragement and hope from Tsvangirai.
“My wife and my two sons were shocked by my news. They could not say
anything but left the kitchen with sad faces and retired to bed.
“Last week a teacher at the local school advised me that the abandoned rally
was rescheduled for last Sunday, March 28. I pleaded with a local well-to-do
neighbour for a piece job in order for me to raise bus fare for another trip
back to Harare. This time the meeting point would be Zimbabwe Grounds in one
of Harare’s oldest residential suburbs, Highfield.
“I again found my way to the new venue – only to find that the rally had
been banned again, by the same police, who claimed again that Zanu (PF)
would have an event at the venue. How could Mugabe’s party have a function
at Zimbabwe Grounds at the same time its fallen hero, the late Governor for
Harare Metropolitan, David Karimanzira, would be laid to rest at the
National Heroes Acre across town? This sounded like a direct insult to
Tsvangirai. But how could the usually brave Tsvangirai take the challenge
lying down? I found it difficult to accept that he had suddenly turned into
Mugabe’s punching bag. How things could change in such a short space of time
shocked me to the core.
“People demand dismantling of dictatorship and nothing less. It is high time
MDC disrespects provocative police banning of legitimate party gatherings.
Mugabe and the police are taking people for granted. The people’s patience
has been stretched to the limit. If it means losing life at the hands of
dictatorship in the struggle for democracy, let it be. I am prepared to let
my blood water the first seed of the struggle for freedom from tyranny. MDC
must speak to its supporters. Whenever the meeting would be held, I would be
the first to arrive at the venue and position myself where I will not miss a
By Stanley Kwenda
HARARE, Mar 30, 2011 (IPS) - Kindness Paradza has a mission. After he lost
his job as a journalist when the ZANU-PF government closed his newspaper in
2004, he ploughed his life savings into a 2,000 ha farm he received as part
of Zimbabwe’s controversial "land reform programme".
Since then he has been patiently rotating land use between crops such as
tobacco, wheat and maize. He now hopes to build a business enterprise with
profits from his farm.
The launch of the new commodity exchange could have come as a boon for him,
as he now has more room to negotiate better prices. Previously this space
for negotiation did not exist as the state-owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
was the sole buyer of grain.
However, Paradza, like many new farmers, is not celebrating the arrival of
the Commodity Exchange of Zimbabwe (COMEZ).
Although it has been promoted as a mechanism to minimise exploitation of
farmers by agricultural buyers and usher in orderly trading of commodities,
while creating opportunities for farmers to get better prices, Paradza
"We don’t know it and, surely, how does something that you don’t know help
you?" Paradza asks rhetorically.
COMEZ is a commodities market; commodities markets across the world trade in
agricultural products such as wheat, barley, sugar, maize and cotton, with
contracts based on them.
These contracts can include futures. A simplified example would be: a maize
farmer can sell a futures contract on her maize, which will not be harvested
for several months, and guarantee the price to be paid at the time of
The futures contract is bought with a guarantee that the price will not go
up when it is delivered. This protects the farmer from price drops and the
buyer from price rises. COMEZ will initially trade grains, cereals and oil
According to the ministry of industry and commerce, COMEZ is meant to
"provide fair and open prices" for agricultural produce as reflected on the
The minister of industry and commerce, Welshman Ncube, told IPS at the
launch of COMEZ two months ago that it would serve as a mechanism to break
the state monopoly in the grain trade.
"We should create a transparent, open and accessible commodities market
where both buyers and sellers can participate, knowing the prevailing
prices," Ncube said.
In the last 10 years, the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) determined
the prices of agricultural produce, while GMB was designated as the sole
buyer of grain. AMA is the regulator of grain pricing in Zimbabwe.
Tafadzwa Musarara, president of the Zimbabwe Grain Millers’ Association,
welcomes COMEZ but says it should be organised in line with international
standards for it to work properly.
"It is welcome in the sense that the contracts that farmers will enter into
with grain traders and other buyers will give them bankable papers which
they can use to capitalise their operations, rather than working on a cash
basis as is the case right now," Musarara told IPS.
"Nevertheless, it is important that we come up with structures that are in
line with international practice in order to attract foreign buyers."
Most farmers still do not understand what exactly COMEZ does and why it was
established. They would prefer to see how it practically works before
committing any of their produce.
Paradza complains that, "we know that it is not going to work in our favour
because of the commissions that we will be asked to pay at the warehouse,
auctions and traders -- just like they do at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
The traders will sell on our behalf and it is those traders who will make
Alice Machingauta, a Chihota farmer, told IPS while delivering her tobacco
crop that, "I haven’t heard about it but if there are merchants involved
then I don’t want it because the merchants are only there to reap what they
did not sow".
Grain trader and economist Tinashe Mawarire told IPS that COMEZ suffers from
the fear of the unknown.
"Farmers are used to delivering their produce to GMB and waiting for the
announcement of the price. The advantage with COMEZ is its willing-buyer-
willing-seller arrangement, unlike in the past when everyone was compelled
to sell to GMB only," Mawarire points out.
"If you are not happy with the price, you don’t sell. It’s as easy as that."
Analyst Brains Muchemwa cautions that, "farmers need to be educated on how
COMEZ works and how they can get better prices". (END)
Written by John Makumbe
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:14
The passing on of Dr David Karimanzira (May his soul rest in peace) provides
Robert Mugabe with a golden opportunity to appoint a MDC-T governor for
Harare Metro Province. Unfortunately, this is an opportunity that Mugabe
will obviously miss out since he is determined to frustrate the popular
Tsvangirai party to the bitter end. The dethroning of Lovemore Moyo from the
position of Speaker of Parliament has forced the beleaguered former
liberation party, Zanu (PF) to resort to playing dirty politics in order to
survive. The past few weeks have witnessed the banning of MDC meetings all
over the country for no apparent reason except to show the split party who
is in charge in this country.
The Zanu (PF) Repressive Police (ZRP) is currently hunting down and
arresting MDC-T Members of Parliament (MPs) with a passion, and for trumped
up charges. Tsvangirai is himself threatened with arrest for telling the
truth about the nature of the judiciary in this country. Numerous MDC-T
supporters have ridiculous cases pending before the courts.
Although there appears to be a decline in politically motivated violence in
most urban areas, there is actually a considerable escalation of acts of
violence in some rural areas. People are being frog-marched to venues where
they are forced to append their signatures to the useless anti-sanctions
petition, a Zanu (PF) project of no relevance to this country.
At the time of writing, the MDC-T party has been refused permission to hold
peace rallies in Harare four times by the partisan ZRP. It certainly is time
that the Prime minister’s party should take stock of its strategies to date
and make serious decision ns about the best way forward. It is true that we
are dealing here with murderers and rapists, but it is equally true that
there is a limit to what the people of this country can allow or tolerate
before the chickens come home to roost.
It is quite likely that by the time this contribution is published Simon
Khaya Moyo will be the Speaker of Parliament. But that will not make any
political difference to the reeling Zanu (PF) party, which has long been
rejected by the people of this country as the ruling party.
It is now time for the MDC-T to mobilize its massive support to firmly and
physically resist all of the Zanu (PF) machinations. It is time for outright
confrontation between the two major political parties if this country is to
be saved from the hand of evil people who are looting the resources of this
country with reckless impunity.
The dictatorship of the minority has to be reined in as soon as possible,
and that can only be done through the mobilization of the masses, most of
whom are ready for peaceful demonstrations throughout the country. It is
obvious that the coercive apparatus of the state will firmly resist any such
demonstrations and a lot of people will be arrested and tortured for
participating in them. But that is the price we all have to pay for our
freedom. It is quite senseless to think that the dejected and rejected Zanu
(PF) party will give up political power without a fight. This is a fight
that they will lose big time.
This calls for a strong leadership in the MDC-T, and such a leadership could
emerge at the April congress of that party. This is not the time to elect
weak leaders that are not prepared to stand up and face the monster we call
Zanu (PF). It is time for the courageous leaders to be identified and
elected into appropriate positions so that the current stalemate may be
overcome. Forget about the SADC and AU, they can only respond to whatever
events we generate here within this country. Mira segamba utarise mhandu.