Harare officials give Guardian executives 24 hours to get
Owen Bowcott Saturday May 10, 2003 The
Two Guardian executives, who had flown to Harare to make
representations on behalf of the newspaper's Zimbabwe correspondent, Andrew
Meldrum, were yesterday ordered to leave within 24 hours. Shaun Williams,
director of corporate affairs, and Siobhain Butterworth, head of legal
affairs, were told by immigration officials that their 30-day visas had been
revoked because they had not sought prior permission from the home minister
before entering the country to discuss a sensitive issue. They were also told
that they had filled in their visa applications incorrectly.
followed discussions earlier in the day at which the chief immigration
officer, Elasto Mugwadi, agreed to meet Meldrum's lawyers on Monday.
Government officials say Meldrum is "wanted for questioning".
Guardian executives flew to Zimbabwe because they suspect the authorities are
attempting to deport Meldrum. They had been told they could attend the Monday
meeting. It was not clear if the immigration officials were aware of the
On Wednesday, after dark, a column of four cars of
immigration officers arrived unannounced at Meldrum's home. He was not
Beatrice Mtetwa, his lawyer, said such night-time approaches
"invariably led to arrest, detention and deportation". Letters have been sent
to the immigration service confirming Meldrum's willingness to be interviewed
in working hours at its Harare offices, once he is told what the questioning
Yesterday Meldrum, 51, an American citizen and one of the
last international journalists in Zimbabwe, attended a party at the EU
ambassador's residence in Harare. He has reported from Zimbabwe for 22
Last year he was one of the first journalists prosecuted under new
media laws; a Harare magistrate acquitted him of allegations that he
published false information about Zimbabwe. The law has been criticised by
civil rights groups as an attempt to stifle criticism of President Robert
Meldrum said yesterday: "The government thinks
that, by trying to intimidate or deport me, or prevent me from working, they
will also prevent other journalists who are doing great work."
Williams said last night that he and Ms Butterworth had filled in their visa
applications correctly and declared the purpose of their
Zimbabwe A LITTLE POINT
OF DEEP DIVISION With insiders claiming that President Robert Mugabe's early
retirement was not even discussed at Monday's meeting between three African
presidents and Zimbabwean leaders, it appears that little progress was made
at the talks. Though Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo sought to put the
best possible gloss on the discussions, saying that both Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
were "very anxious" to resume talks, he had to admit that there was "a
little" point that remained to be resolved.
That little point is
Mugabe's precondition that the MDC must first recognise his election victory
of March 2002 and drop the court case challenging the result. Tsvangirai said
the MDC was ready for "unconditional negotiation", but in allowing Mugabe his
precondition, Obasanjo, President Thabo Mbeki and Malawi's President Bakili
Muluzi left the stalemate in place.
Those who heard Obasanjo's comments
can be forgiven for believing that he has lost the plot. His "little point"
is fundamental, the MDC says, because if the opposition recognises Mugabe's
victory in the rigged election victory it can no longer demand fresh
elections under international supervision. A senior MDC negotiator insists
that there is no question of it withdrawing its court challenge. Indeed, on
Tuesday Tsvangirai called a meeting of Harare-based diplomats to tell them
that this was simply not on the agenda.
To withdraw would play into the
government's hands, allowing it to continue to claim that the crisis is not
about the breakdown of law and order, or economic collapse, but a bilateral
squabble between Harare and London over who should pay for land reform. As
recently as last week, Tsvangirai said he would abandon the court case
challenging the election result only if and when Mugabe announced a firm date
for his retirement. In any event, the MDC believes it has a strong legal
case. Even if it were to lose, the volume of evidence of vote-rigging brought
before the court would seriously undermine Mugabe's position regionally and
internationally. Even if Obasanjo's little point could be resolved, the
divide separating the two sides is too great for dialogue to be useful.
Zanu-PF wants the MDC to join it in telling the rest of the world that land
reform is working smoothly; that the IMF and World Bank should immediately
resume lending; that bilateral aid programmes should restart; that Britain
should compensate farmers who have lost their land; and that Zimbabwe's
suspension from the Commonwealth should be lifted.
The MDC agenda could
hardly be more different. It calls for a return to the rule of law, including
an end to the use of the police and army to break up public demonstrations
and strikes; the disarming of the war veterans and the disbanding of the
government's "youth militia"; an end to the eviction of farmers from their
land and the appointment of a land commission to tackle the issue; and the
early establishment of a transitional administration leading to
internationally supervised elections within nine months.
apparently failed to extract meaningful concessions from Mugabe, the three
presidents may well decide that their best bet is to put the squeeze on the
MDC. But they have little leverage there - only last week
Tsvangirai complained that Mbeki and Obasanjo were not "honest brokers". The
most positive aspect of the whole exercise, say opposition sources, is that
at least two of the visitors - Mbeki and Muluzi - went away with a much
firmer grasp of the real situation in Zimbabwe. The focus will now shift
to Gaborone, where US assistant secretary of state for Africa Walter
Kansteiner and British foreign secretary Jack Straw will seek to move the
dialogue forward. The MDC hopes the Anglo-American and regional initiatives
will "dovetail" to force Mugabe to the bargaining table. Ultimately, the key
will be the economy. "It's not really clear what was accomplished at
the meeting," says SA Institute of International Affairs deputy
chairman Moeletsi Mbeki. "What we can say, though, is that neither the
Southern African Development Community nor the African Union has any real
standing when it comes to Zimbabwe." He says the Commonwealth is the
only organisation that has emerged as a legitimate mediator in the
Zimbabwe crisis. Observers believe Mbeki and Obasanjo will be hard-pressed to
explain the deepening Zimbabwean crisis at the G8 meeting in Evian, France,
next month, where they will be looking for tangible support for the
New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Distributed by Financial Times Information Limited - Asia
Africa Intelligence Wire
THE police's Criminal
Investigation Department (CID) Fraud Squad is believed to be investigating
allegations that Trust Bank Corporation externalised at least £500 000 (about
$1 billion at parallel market rates) to off-shore accounts in Europe, The
Daily News has established.
documents made available to this newspaper, Trust entered into an arrangement
with Bract Investments Limited, a company registered in the United KIngdom,
which deposited and transferred funds from its account with HSBC Bank PLC in
the United Kingdom to the local financial institution' s accounts in Germany
and the UK.
Funds were deposited into
Trust Bank's account with Commerz Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, numbered
40088182300, and to the financial institution's UK account with National
Westminster Bank, numbered 04594185.
transactions, amounting to £500 000, took place between June last year and
An official with an agency
representing Bract in Zimbabwe said the deal between the UK company and Trust
was supposed to enable Zimbabweans living abroad to send money to their
relatives back home.
The money would be
deposited by Bract into Trust Bank's off-shore accounts in Germany and the
UK, and the local financial institution would then convert that money into
Zimbabwean dollars at parallel market rates and transfer it to the Bract
agent in Zimbabwe.
"Trust Bank Corporation
was paying the transferred amounts in Zimbabwean dollars at rates varying
from $1 800 to $2 400 for each pound," according to a letter written to
the CID Fraud Squad by Chibune and Associates,
legal representatives for Bract Investments
The Zimbabwean dollar: British
pound rate was fixed at $1 300 in February when the government devalued the
It was not clear why Bract
had decided to bring the transaction to the attention of the Zimbabwean
police, but in their letter, dated 9 April 2003, the UK company's lawyers
said they believed that the transactions contravened sections of the
country's exchange control regulations.
"We are of the view that the above transactions contravened
various provisions of Part II and IV of the Exchange Control Regulations SI
109 of 1996 as well as some provisions of SI 110 of 1996 as apparently there
was externalisation of funds and dealing on the parallel market by Trust,"
the lawyers said.
"Our client is
willing to avail themselves in Zimbabwe," the
letter added. The lawyers also provided
documents detailing dates of transactions, bank branch codes from which the
funds were transferred and the
sources this week said the Fraud Squad had approached Trust about the
transactions, the head of the Fraud Squad in Harare, who identified himself
only as Assistant Commissioner Nyakochwe, yesterday refused to
He referred all questions to
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, who too declined to
Steve Chibune of Chibune and
Associates also would not discuss the issue, saying he could only do so after
receiving instructions from his client.
Chris Goromonzi, Trust Bank's executive director, confirmed that there was a
dispute involving his bank's off-shore
accounts, but would not
However, a prominent
lawyer in the banking sector, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said if
Trust Bank was found guilty of contravening exchange controls, it could be
suspended or fined to enable the country to recover the money it had been
He said the bank, one of
Zimbabwe's fastest growing financial institutions, could also lose its
licence for contravening sections of the Banking
Zimbabwe is facing a severe foreign
currency crisis and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has taken a tough stance
against companies externalising hard cash. The central bank has warned banks
against illegal foreign currency trading, saying they could be fined or have
their licenses suspended or withdrawn.
SENTENCE on Eddie Cross,
convicted under the Insolvency Act for failing to attend meetings with his
creditors, was yesterday postponed yet again to 4
Harare magistrate Garikayi Churu
postponed the case for a possible record eleventh time because the magistrate
who presided over the matter, Stanley Ncube, was not
Cross, the Movement for
Democratic Change economic advisor, was convicted in January last
He was supposed to have been
sentenced on 18 January last year but, ever since that time, the matter has
been postponed for different reasons. Cross
was declared insolvent in June 1997 after failing to repay $5,7 million he
owed mostly to banks.
He initially faced a
second count of failing to submit financial statements for August to December
2000 to his estate's trustees but this was dropped because there was no
evidence to convict him.
The MDC yesterday warned that it
would bring business to a halt in Harare if Elias Mudzuri, the suspended
executive mayor, was not allowed to resume work on
Gabriel Chaibva, the MDC shadow
minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, told
journalists at a Press briefing that he had instructed the mayor to report
for duty as usual on Monday morning. Mudzuri has been on sick leave since
Chaibva said: "Let them bring
the riot police to Town House. We will bring business in Harare to a complete
halt. We are not making a mere threat. This is for
Chaibva said the party was not
worried about the economic repercussions of disruption of business in the
country as it had the capacity to resuscitate the economy in a "post-Mugabe
On Thursday night the council held a
special meeting and resolved to advise the police that the ban they imposed
on consultative meetings with residents at Town House "is unreasonable as it
is the council's duty to consult with residents, ratepayers and stakeholders
on civic matters". The police on Wednesday banned further meetings after
residents at the weekly meeting advocated demonstrations in support of
Chaibva alleged that Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo was trying to protect the financial
interests of several companies and officials the council is investigating for
alleged theft and corruption.
"The cow has been stopped from giving milk."
Chaibva said Chombo was sitting on a report on theft and corruption that was
unravelled in the Chegutu Municipality by his own officials and was instead
concentrating on Harare.
yesterday filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking to
bar Mudzuri from performing his duties, and the council from working with
Chombo said the matter is urgent
because Mudzuri's "behaviour greatly embarrasses myself, the government and
all the law-abiding citizens of Zimbabwe".
THE strike by the Zimbabwe
Teachers' Association (Zimta) to demand better salaries started off on a low
note in most parts of the country on Thursday and
Some teachers reported for duty
but did not conduct lessons in most parts of the
Zimta officials said teachers
received the information and were joining the strike action, which they said
would continue until their demands were
"The decision to go on strike was
communicated during the school holiday and that explains why teachers have
slowly responded," said Dennis Sinyolo, Zimta's
The teachers want the
government-initiated job evaluation exercise which would see teachers getting
better salaries to be implemented. The regrading exercise was expected to
have been completed by April after the government conceded that teachers'
salaries were lower than those of others in the public service
Most schools in Harare opened but
students were milling around with no lessons in progress at Allan Wilson,
Louis Mountbatten, David Livingstone, Harare and Oriel Boys'
As the strike entered its second
day yesterday, morning sessions were disrupted at most schools in Glen Norah,
Glen View, Dzivaresekwa and Kuwadzana as the strike
spread. Erison Huruba, the Zimta national
president, said the strike call was slowly spreading
"We hope that the strike will catch on
in other areas," Huruba said. "The strike is now on full scale in Harare
though there are pockets where teachers were
working." In Mutare, a few schools conducted
normal lessons while at some schools pupils were turned away because teachers
did not report for work.
At some schools
in Dangamvura such as Sheni and Chirovakamwe, there was no single teacher at
work. In Gweru, the strike received mixed
reactions after most teachers reported for duty while others immediately went
on a go-slow.
Pupils at schools in Mkoba
and Senga suburbs said the teachers had asked them to either read quietly on
their own or play in the sports fields.
several schools visited by The Daily News in Masvingo province on Thursday,
most teachers reported for duty as schools opened for the second term but did
not conduct lessons.
In a statement, Zimta
said the industrial action would go on indefinitely until their demands were
HARARE magistrate Judith Tsamba
yesterday further remanded to 15 May, 108 Glen View residents facing charges
of public violence, after their lawyer, Andrew Makoni, gave notice that he
intended to make a refusal of remand
The group is on $10 000 bail
each. The State alleges that in March, the
accused assembled near Budiriro 1 High School and ordered the headmaster to
close the school.
It is alleged that they
beat up the headmaster, accusing him of failing to heed a call by the
Movement for Democratic Change for a job stayaway in
The two-day stayaway resulted in
the shut-down of most industries. After
assaulting the headmaster, the group is alleged to have stopped a bus passing
by the school gates and beat up its passengers and
Prosecutor Mehluli Tshuma said one
passenger was injured during the attack.
The accused were allegedly later seen by police in the company of several
people who are still at large, throwing stones and other missiles at cars and
passers-by, causing damage and injury
At Budiriro 1 shopping
centre, the same group was allegedly spotted by police constables named as
Charumbira and Makaka, throwing missiles at passing cars and harassing
Tshuma said the group was
arrested in Glen View 3, where Support Unit Juliet Troop caught up with them
as they blocked roads with stones and scrap metal.
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
an organisation fighting for women's rights, said it would go ahead with a
planned walk tomorrow to commemorate the internationally recognised Mother's
Day despite being barred from doing so by Bulawayo
Mother's Day falls on the second
Sunday of every May. Jenni Williams, a
spokesperson for WOZA, said the women will meet at the City Hall car park in
Bulawayo and in Harare at the Africa Unity Square from 10 to 11:30
She said the police had allowed the
march in Harare to proceed but had instructed the organisers to remain in
Africa Unity Square.
"We would like to
recognise the solidarity shown by the ZRP officer commanding Harare, whom we
believe is female, for allowing WOZA to conduct a peaceful procession and we
wish our Harare sisters well.
the insensitivity of the officer commanding Bulawayo district, Chief
Superintendent Matyatya, for denying us to exercise our constitutional right
of assembly," Williams said. "The officer obviously needs to further
appreciate the need for women to lobby for
She said the police were
notified as required by the Public Order and Security Act but refused to
grant the women permission without giving
any reasons. WOZA yesterday said the walk
was intended to honour Zimbabwean mothers facing the brunt of problems caused
by the current economic hardships.
began in churches and has become a day to day tribute to mothers by offering
them gifts to show love and gratitude.
organisation appealed to women to attend the event in large numbers and to
take grass brooms to the venues and sweep the streets they walk, symbolising
that the time has come for them to put their house
AS Zimbabwe limps from one crisis to
another, it has emerged that the country is literally living on the edge,
with South Africa's power utility, Eskom, classifying it as a customer that
can be switched off after a mere 10 minutes'
The announcement of Eskom's
decision, which is being made to the nation several weeks after it was
communicated to the government, comes at a time when Zimbabwe is already
reeling under the impact of a severe
Regional power suppliers
have already reduced electricity to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa) over huge debt arrears, forcing the parastatal to begin
Household consumers as well
as industry and commerce have been hit hard by the power rationing. Some
manufacturers are reported to have cut output by at least 50 percent in the
As if that was not bad enough,
a worsening fuel crisis is haunting motorists, business and workers,
crippling the public transport system as well as production at a large number
Although several businesses
have resorted to the black market for fuel to maintain their operations, this
is at best a short-term solution given the exorbitant prices being charged
for diesel and petrol by the
It won't be long
before more firms are forced to reduce output and retrench staff to protect
themselves against an increasingly harsh
will have to close if the fuel and electricity crises are not resolved,
leading to further job cuts in a country where unemployment is already above
Whether the government has
some strategy for dealing with these very serious and pressing problems is
The unfortunate tendency to
keep matters close to its chest, even matters that have serious national
implications, means that Zimbabweans cannot even be sure whether the
government is attempting to find solutions to the country's energy
But it must have become crystal
clear even to the government that a comprehensive and sustainable solution is
urgently needed if most of industry is not to grind to a halt in the next few
That Zimbabwe's leaders are faced
with an almost insurmountable task is not in
There is no getting away from the
fact that Zimbabwe simply does not have the foreign currency to import either
fuel or electricity.
Zesa, for example,
has tried to resolve the hard cash problem by urging exporters to settle
their electricity tariffs in foreign currency so it can pay for more imports
and settle its debt arrears.
But not only
is this a short-term solution, most exporters cannot comply with such a
requirement because Zimbabwe's capacity to generate foreign currency has been
hit by government policies that have destabilised key hard cash earning
It is clearly unreasonable to
expect these sectors to pay for electricity in foreign currency when they are
struggling to conserve resources as they fight for their very
In addition, Zimbabwe has become
a bad debtor because of the hard cash squeeze, which means the government has
very few places left where it can search for fuel and
Neighbours in the region and
traditional allies of the ruling Zanu PF are rightly wary of sticking their
necks out any further on behalf of a government that has shown little, if
any, commitment to solving its problems so that it can stand on its own
But while Zimbabweans fully
appreciate the difficult task facing the government, they are not in the mood
All Zimbabweans want at this
point is for the government to get its act together and ensure that the
country continues to function.
This is an open letter to
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
me, with all due respect, first of all provoke your mind by asking you some
very relevant and fundamental questions.
Can you imagine President Mbeki, a situation where your party, the ANC, does
not hold a single parliamentary seat in Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria, Cape
Town and all the other towns in South
Can you imagine, Comrade Mbeki, a
situation where all the MPs, mayors, councillors in Johannesburg, Durban,
Cape Town, Pretoria, belong to an opposition
Would you then truly from your
heart of hearts, believe that you still have the legitimacy and mandate to
rule South Africa?
Would you still have
the audacity to ignore and keep on calling the leadership of such a political
Given the blatant
vote-buying, and one-sidedness of the police, the State-sponsored brutality,
manipulation of the voters' roll, the results of the recent parliamentary
by-elections in Highfield and Kuwadzana have shown beyond doubt that it's
easier for a camel to march through the eye of a needle than for Zanu PF to
win an election in Harare.
imagine, Comrade Mbeki, a situation where your party, the ANC, finds it
impossible to win a parliamentary seat in Soweto? The very Soweto which was
the cradle of the ANC? The very Soweto where Nelson Mandela hailed from,
where you and your wife are registered to vote? Where you and your wife vote
under the glare of television cameras?
Would that not be a severe jolt to your mandate and legitimacy as the elected
leader of South Africa?
The result of the
recent two by-elections have also blown to smithereens the the so-called
If the land issue was at the
centre of Zimbabwe's socio-economic crisis as Jonathan Moyo and others have
attempted to convince you to believe, then how come the very landless, and
homeless black Zimbabweans in Highfield and Kuwadzana continue to vote
against the Zanu PF government even after the so-called "successful
completion of land redistribution"?
fact, most of the people who voted here are some of the most landless in this
country. Why then should armed soldiers, Zanu PF activists and other State
security agents continue to invade beerhalls, nightclubs and the homes of
poor blacks in Kuwadzana, Highfield, Glen View, Glen Norah, Budiriro,
Chitungwiza? In the name of the land issue, what sin have these poor landless
people committed? These beerhalls, nightclubs and homes in the townships are
not white-owned commercial farms.
black Zimbabweans, are very much aware of the
In the face of relentless and
mind-blowing one-sided propaganda, we have remained steadfast and focused.
Zanu PF never had the political will and intention of providing land to the
many landless and homeless people of this
In fact, land redistribution and
the provision of homes to the homeless has been one of Robert Mugabe's major
failures among many others. From 1980 up to the late Nineties, the land
redistribution exercise had been shelved and completely forgotten
The little land that had been
acquired was grabbed by the rich and political
It is on record that in the
late Eighties, just before the visit by the Queen of England, Mugabe's
government brutally evicted landless, homeless squatters from all over Harare
and dumped them at Porta Farm.
clearly demonstrated the insensitivity and lack of compassion that Zanu PF
has always harboured for the landless and homeless. The squatters were viewed
as a shameful eyesore that must be hidden very far away from the sight of the
majestic Queen of England. I, therefore, ask: Where was the intention to
provide land to the landless then?
in the early Nineties the Zanu PF government viciously evicted the Svosve
clan people who had invaded a white-owned farm in the Marondera area. I still
remember very clearly that it was none other than Vice-President Simon
Muzenda who led those evictions.
ask, where was the intention to provide land to the landless masses of
The two political events that
have led Zimbabwe into this sorry state of affairs must now be brought into
Two events triggered off the
madness, lawlessness, State-sponsored murders and the general mayhem we all
now know as the "land issue
Firstly, the eruption of
the political volcano called the MDC on the Zimbabwean political landscape,
which Zanu PF completely failed to contain, then the rejection of the
government-sponsored draft constitution in the February 2000
The referendum which was
resoundingly lost by the Zanu PF government was never about the land
I repeat: the referendum was never
about the land issue! The land issue became a convenient addendum to the
referendum immediately after the earth-shaking result of the "No" vote was
This became the platform upon
which the brutal war against the defenceless people of this country was
declared by Mugabe and his henchmen.
said this was "the Third Chimurenga". This war was clearly targeted upon the
black people of this country and the very few whites who were seen to have
anything to do with the MDC.
Chimurenga had nothing to do with land. It was, therefore, primarily targeted
at punishing anybody, black or white, who had anything to do with
It must be emphasised here that the
landless black people of this country have suffered more brutality, torture
and murder at the hands of Mugabe's ruthless fight against the
The Third Chimurenga is, therefore, a
war being waged against us, the landless, poor blacks of this country by this
The 2000 referendum
was about the creation of pillars of a democratic society in this country.
The people spoke out very clearly that they wanted their basic freedoms and
rights to be recognised and enshrined as the fundamental cornerstone of this
When the people
found out that their wishes had been tampered with and removed from the draft
constitution that the government was now asking them to accept as the new
constitution they rejected it and thunderously
What followed thereafter is
what now the world knows as the "land issue" or the Third
EXCHANGE rates on Zimbabwe's
parallel market for foreign currency plunged to eight-month lows of $1 700
against the United States dollar because of increased demand for hard cash,
according to forex dealers.
said the rates had been stable at between $1 200 and $1 300 against the
American greenback since November, when the government announced tough new
exchange control measures.
rates depreciated this week against increased demand from the country's
energy utilities, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority.
parastatals jointly require more than US$240 million (Z$198 billion) to
urgently finance fuel and electricity
Analysts said the Zimbabwe dollar
could slip further because of continuing foreign currency shortages, which
have not improved despite the opening of the tobacco auction floors at the
end of April.
Tobacco output has fallen
because of drought, input shortages and instability in the agricultural
sector caused by a controversial government land reform
Farmers have delivered few
bales of tobacco to the auction floors because of the acute shortage of
Others are still grading their crop
after planting late.
dealers said confidence in the local currency had also been knocked by the
failure of Zimbabwe's main political parties, the ruling Zanu PF and Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to commit themselves to dialogue on the country's
political and economic crises.
regional leaders to facilitate the resumption of talks between the two
parties failed, with neither seeming to be willing to climb down from the
tough public stance they have adopted.
"There is nothing on the group suggesting the local currency could pick up.
All we are seeing and getting are negative signals that can't help anything,"
a Harare analyst said.
chairman of the association that represents bureaux de change associations
that were banned by the government in November, said the closure of the
bureaux had worsened hard cash shortages.
He said forex dealers were no longer able to tap into other sources
of foreign currency, such as cross-border traders and the diplomatic
Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa banned bureaux de change in November, accusing them of contributing
to foreign currency leakages.
Articles carried by some
newspapers on the recent visit by the three African leaders to Zimbabwe were
particularly interesting and varied.
articles dwelt on dialogue between Zanu PF and the MDC. The dialogue is
essetially between two political parties - one that is in "government" and
the other in waiting.
To prevent playing
the high stakes game, this dialogue should start off between two parties not
the "government" and the MDC.
for the dialogue is to end the impasse created by the parliamentary and
presidential elections of 2000 and 2002
The MDC filed petitions,
some of which were heard before the High Court last
A number of seats won by Zanu PF
were declared null and void. The affected Zanu PF candidates filed appeals
with the Supreme Court.
meant that the MPs could stay put in parliament until their cases were heard
before the Supreme Court!
that was led pointed to unprecedented violence, intimidation and other
Surprisingly, Zanu PF did
not complain - in the form of suits filed in the courts except the Seke rural
seat! - about losing due to violence at the instigation of the
I am not making an inferences from
this, although the temptation
Zanu PF did not draw
any lessons from the High Court cases it lost to the MDC. Instead, it refined
its waywardness during the
There were no
clear answers from the Electoral Supervisory Commission on why the number of
polling stations was reduced in Harare during the presidential elections
compared to the previous parliamentary
One would have expected more
polling stations since the election process was confused and confusing in
Harare and Chitungwiza, where mayoral elections had been thrown in, making
the already murky waters murkier.
the MDC raised many issues about the previous parliamentary elections, why
did the Zanu PF government fail to reform?
They responded by amending electoral laws.
It is against this background of extreme and unmitigated unfairness on the
part of the Zanu PF government's handling of the elections - through
the Registrar-General's Office - that the MDC finds it difficult to
recognise Mugabe as the elected State
For those who queued for ten
hours or more waiting to vote the reasons why the MDC does not recognise
Mugabe as an elected president are understandable and
What are Mugabe's reasons for
wanting the MDC to recognise him? If in his heart he honestly believes and is
convinced that everything was "free and fair" before, during and after the
elections why is he so concerned about this recognition? If Zanu-PF won an
overwhelming majority why are they finding it difficult to make the situation
in Zimbabwe better? Why are people listening to the MDC if it has no case?
There is a smoking gun!
Zanu PF has blamed
every other person for the problems we have except itself. Not a day passes
without Tony Blair being blamed for our
How ironic that Blair is blamed
day in, day out whilst he plays host to thousands of legal and illegal
The time is now - I
mean right now - for Zanu PF to admit that they have messed up and are
prepared to talk.
You cannot start off by
fixing something that is not broken or messed up - you can only improve on
it. The Zimbabwe we are in today needs the same sacrifice that made a lot of
selfless sons and daughters go to fight against Ian
I find it outrageous that Mugabe is
trivialising the whole issue by demanding recognition first before dialogue.
The recognition that is accorded Mugabe as the first secretary of Zanu PF is
sufficient in circumstances like these.
Does Mugabe not have enough recognition?
Why can Mugabe not enter into the talks first? If he is so keen to
be recognised, the issue can be raised during
This condition remotely serves
the purpose of bargaining for it is an admission that there are good reasons
why he failed to get recognition soon after
You do not refuse to talk
because you are not sure of who you are. Is it not better to end up being
recognised and knowing who you really are (is it?) than failing to get
Why is Mugabe so
worried about entering the talks without this recognition? Is there more to
this recognition than meets the eye?
badly needs recognition but he does not want to talk to the people whom he
wants the recognition from - how
I am sure Mugabe will not
lose much more than he has lost already by entering the talks as Mugabe, the
president of Zanu PF, rather than
He will be starting from a
point where there is no president of such a ruined
This sounds like a good,
unconditional starting point and you need not have been a former
On the other hand, the MDC has
stated that it will meet Mugabe unconditionally - meaning both sides do not
If the solution to
Zimbabwe's problems lies in talks between the MDC and Zanu PF then let's get
them talking. As a citizen of Zimbabwe, I am looking forward to these talks,
regardless of whether one party is "recognised", illegitimate, or
We want food on our tables
now, not later. Zanu PF should stop putting individuals ahead of the whole
Mugabe should go to the table and
talk about his recognition as part of the entire package. What would be the
point of talks if recognising Mugabe as President is the main
The idea of talks is to find out
what the other side has to offer in return not being offered all -
ndikokuvhima nemunyu muhomweka uku (that is putting the cart before the
horse). Kutaurirana hakuuraye vaMugabe, makanganwa rwendo rwenyu
rwekuLancaster House here? (Talking doesn't kill, Mr Mugabe. Have you
forgotten the long road to the Lancaster House