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Constitutional process thrown into turmoil

By Staff Writers
Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:24

HARARE - Zimbabwe's constitutional making process was yesterday thrown into
turmoil when Zanu PF tried to manipulate data captured from the people
during outreach programmes, forcing the MDC formations to pull out of the
data uploading process.

The disagreements have stalled the constitutional process and will
ultimately cause delays in elections which are due between 2012 and 2013
although Zanu PF insists that the elections will be held this year.

The circus, saw Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac)
chairpersons, Douglas Mwonzora (MDC) and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (MDC)
trading insults.

This forced the management committee of the process to sit for an emergency
meeting late yesterday to try and find a solution.

Zanu PF was agitating for an uploading process using quantitative methods
while the MDC insisted on a qualitative method which was agreed upon by the
management committee of the constitutional process.

The MDC formations immediately withdrew themselves from the process on
realising that Zanu PF wanted to “rig” the process and bring input which
they forced on villagers during the outreach programmes.

There were reports last night that Zanu PF also wanted to put in information
they smuggled in last year when outreach data went missing for a few days
amid reports that state agents had seized and manipulated data.

The MDC formations were shocked yesterday when previously unknown data
started emerging raising suspicions that the information could have been
tampered with.

For instance, from data collected last year, the land issue did not come out
the way Zanu PF wanted and that was the time when the data collected
temporarily vanished.

Reports indicated that Zanu PF wanted ward based data, where they have more
views after forcing villagers to input their own views basing on the fact
that there are more wards in the rural areas than in towns where they failed
to intimidate the people.

Zanu PF however, insisted that the process had to continue even though the
management committee had made a decision.

The two MDC formations were in solidarity protesting against attempts by
Zanu PF to have views of certain constituencies being side-lined.

Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Edward Mkhosi of the smaller faction of the MDC jointly held a press
briefing where they described the process as ‘fraudulent’ and said it would
rob the urban population of their voice in the uploaded data.

Mangwana said the MDC wanted to frustrate the process because it has
realised that its “Western supposed views” were not expressed during
consultations hence risked losing sponsorship.

“The MDC rejected the Kariba Draft saying they wanted the people’s views, we
have the peoples’ views and now they no longer like them,” said Mangwana.

However Mwonzora denied the accusation saying his party was not rejecting
people’s views but wanted the process to be inclusive to all the views
contributed during outreach meetings.

“He is a liar that one (Mangwana). The truth is that we have some serious
disagreements with Zanu PF because of serious fraud it wants to commit.

“We hope the situation will be addressed soon,” said Mwonzora.

He added that “Mangwana is abusive of other political parties and has a
tendency of trivialising fundamental issues. To the MDC, it is not petty for
views of certain regions in the country to be swallowed in the name of cheap
mathematics,” said Mwonzora.

He said the use of the quantitative method segregated a few people while
giving others unwarranted advantage and added that this was destroying the
aspect of inclusivity to the process.

Mkhosi weighed in and said the attempt by Zanu PF to go alone in the process
was wrong but said they would not succeed.

“Zanu PF cannot go it alone because no party has the mandate to do the
process alone; it will need the blessings of all the three political parties
and the civic organisations,” said Mkhosi.

He said the Zanu PF attempts were tantamount to fraud and was aimed at
robbing the urban population of its importance to the process while giving
the rural people more chances to be heard.

Mwonzora said the rural constituencies had more wards than urban areas and
using the quantitative method would mean some views from certain regions
with a few people would not be heard.

“Treating urban people less is an injustice and will give the rural people a
more voice while leaving some important things, “said Mwonzora.

According to an extract of the management committee meeting it was agreed by
the superior decision making body that qualitative method shall be used
during the data uploading.

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Zanu PF politburo insists on 2011 polls

12/05/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party appeared determined to put itself on
a collision course with its ruling coalition partners and regional countries
after reaffirming its determination to force general elections this year.

Zanu PF’s top decision-making body, the politburo, met on Wednesday to
consider a report by its chief negotiator in power sharing talks with the
two rival MDC factions.

Patrick Chinamasa, who said last week that his personal view was that an
election was not possible this year, briefed the party’s top hierarchy on
last week’s talks in South Africa aimed at drawing an election “road map”.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo emerged from the politburo meeting to
declare: “There is no change to the position taken by the party [at the
Conference last year]. We have realigned the position with what Cde
Chinamasa has and what he has said is now water under the bridge.

"We want to speed these processes and there is no reason why they can take
three years (to complete making the constitution) yet we have agreed on two

President Robert Mugabe has committed himself to a new constitution before
any elections are held, but he insists that this must be in place by

On Wednesday, the constitution drafting process faced new delays after sharp
differences between Zanu PF and the MDC party led by Morgan Tsvangirai over
the process of analysing data gathered from thousands of public meetings
held countrywide over the last year.

Officials from the MDC-T say they are opposed to the “quantitative approach”
preferred by Zanu PF in the analysis of the data, as opposed to
 “qualitative” methods.

The disagreement betrays fears by the MDC-T that since there were more
public meetings in Zanu PF’s rural strongholds than its urban fortress, Zanu
PF themes could win the day in the final draft.

Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF), who co-chairs the Parliamentary Constitutional
Committee in charge of the process said: “We are now at a very critical
stage and we have to move fast and take charge of the situation.”

But Zanu PF says the MDC factions are simply employing delay tactics to
force the postponement of elections, which Tsvangirai says should be held in
2012 at the earliest.

Gumbo said if the MDC-T pulled out of the process, his party would still
forge ahead with the MDC led by Welshman Ncube and civic organisations in
order to ensure an election is held this year.

"They (MDC-T) have no agenda. They are ideologically bankrupt and they have
nothing to offer to the people,” Gumbo taunted. “They say they are a party
of excellence and if they are really a party of excellence why are they
afraid of the masses?”

South African President Jacob Zuma, the Southern African Development
Community’s point-man on Zimbabwe, insists that he is uncomfortable with the
idea of an election this year before broad principles are agreed between the
parties to avoid post-election disputes.

His plans for a road-map appear doomed for now because of irreconcilable
positions between the ruling coalition parties. Zanu PF, for instance,
insists on western sanctions being lifted and wants foreign-based radio
broadcasts into Zimbabwe to cease.

The MDC factions, on the other hand, say they have no control over sanctions
and the “pirate” radio stations based in the United Kingdom and the United
States of America. To compound matters, the MDC factions insist on reforms
to the stridently pro-Zanu PF security forces, which Mugabe’s party is not
prepared to grant.

On Wednesday, Gumbo appeared to shoot down suggestions that Zuma’s advisers
would be granted meetings with army and police chiefs to discuss the reform
"Where on earth have you seen people coming to see security forces of
another country? It is nonsensical," he told the Herald.

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Mugabe’s party tells Zuma to keep off army


Posted  Thursday, May 12 2011 at 19:26

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has declared that South
African President Jacob Zuma will not be allowed to meet the country’s
security forces as a dispute over electoral reform intensifies.

President Zuma who was appointed by the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) in 2009 to mediate in Zimbabwe’s peace talks wanted to get
an assurance from the generals that they would not disrupt preparations for
a credible election. The commanders of the army, police, prison and
intelligence services who are fiercely loyal to President Mugabe are accused
of engineering the violence that disrupted previous elections.

They have insisted that they would not salute Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai if he beats the 87 year old ruler in elections because the former
opposition leader does not have liberation war credentials.

Zimbabwe’s three governing parties had also appeared to be in agreement that
a credible election can only be held next year or in 2013 as major reforms
were yet to be implemented.

But in a move that is set to put President Mugabe and President Zuma on a
collision course, Zanu PF’s top decision making body the politburo did not
only reject the proposed poll time table but also cynically dismissed South
Africa’s proposal to engage the generals.

“Where on earth have you seen people coming to see security forces of
another country? It is nonsensical,” Zanu PF spokesman, Mr Rugare Gumbo told
the state owned Herald today. The politburo also reiterated that Zanu PF
wants elections held this year and would not be stopped by Sadc
intervention. Zanu PF chief negotiator in the talks Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamsa last week had said the parties were agreed that elections can only
be held next year or in 2013.

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ZANU-PF oiling its violence machinery, targets churches in propaganda drive
Zimbabwe Briefing
Crisis Coalition
Wednesday 11 May

ZANU-PF is readying itself for the next Zimbabwe elections by intimidating citizens, infiltrating churches and actually leading a wave of politically-motivated violence. All this is happening at the behest of some its most senior members, notably Members of Parliament.

Zimbabwe Briefing can today confirm that Muzarabani South MP, Edward Raradza has been intimidating residents of his area and other surrounding areas to vote for ZANU-PF or else risk being victimised. While elections remain impossible this year – at least not before all the necessary conditions are in place – the sequence is mostly likely to begin with a referendum in the aftermath of the constitution-making process followed by general elections. Muzarabani South MP, Edward Raradza claims that Robert Gabriel Mugabe is "really" the Angel Gabriel

On February 29 this year, Raradza told a crowd in Muzarabani that going into referendum was no laughing matter and that ZANU-PF could still do what it wants since nothing could stop it. He then warned the crowd that the party had war veterans and youth militia stand ready to pounce on anyone who would go against the grain and show support for opposition parties, mainly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“We will protect this party [ZANU-PF] and if we hear any talk of MDC there will be no forgiveness. We have previously forgiven you [for sup-porting the MDC] but if you continue on this path, we have no option but to take necessary measures,” he said. Raradza went on to threaten the headman of the village in which the meeting was taking place.

“If we hear that the headman has allowed the MDC to hold a meeting in this place, there will be consequences,” he said. The MP, who some reports have been placed at Chaona in Mazowe North on May 5, 2008, the day many people were attacked, also told the crowd that ZANU PF was willing to bring them food and projects as it had done previously. The party has a consistent record of using food and promises of life-changing projects as campaign tools to lure voters. He also said such – food and projects – ought to be used to lure opposition supporters to ZANU PF so that they could be able to vote and that was the only way they could benefit.

“Go and tell those MDC supporters who are not here that this is what MP Raradza has said.” The MP then made a comment on the violence that was flaring in Harare, especially in the high-density suburb of Mbare.

“These days if you read the newspapers, they say “Harare is on Fire”. It’s true, some houses are on fire,” he said putting to rest any doubts that ZANU-PF was behind that violence in Harare.
But it is how religion is being increasingly used by ZANU-PF that is telling of how the party desires to use religion, Christianity especially, to legitimise violence. At the same meeting, Rarardza invoked religion to help his audience understand better. “Even with God, when some people wanted to usurp power that did not belong to them, He told them to repent but when they eventually thought of doing so, it was too late and they were swallowed by the ground on which they stood on and were buried alive,” he said.

And added: “Jesus, too, beat up people in the temple so we are not the first to beat up people.”
Some of the Vadzidzi VaJehovah (Followers of Jehovah) African apostolic sect is one that has also swallowed the ZANU-PF strategy to use religion for political ends hook, line and sinker.
Own investigations by Zimbabwe Briefing on three sects in late 2010 and early 2011 reveal that they are using President Robert Gabriel Mugabe to represent the Angel Gabriel. Songs have even been composed which speak to this.

One such song goes: Gabriel will rule all over Africa/Gabriel will rule all over Africa. And a typical sermon – also heard went as follows: “Gabriel is supreme and is the carrier of the blood of Jesus [Christ] so we can’t abandon him. In this gathering we always say “Forward with R.G Mubabe and you also agree that it so, right?” said the minister and the congregation agrees with him.
He goes on: “Who really is Gabriel? Is he not the president?” Again, the congregation agreed that it was indeed so.

Then: “For him [Mugabe] to be named Gabriel, were there no other names to give him? He is the anointed one. He was even ordained by Mbuya Nehanda (spirit medium and protagonist of the first uprising against colonial rule in the 1890s) as somebody who was fit to govern Zimbabwe and not those we are being given today.”

In Epworth, near Harare the minister was heard saying the church with largest number of ZANU-PF Chairpersons was his.

“As we are gathered here, the leaders [in ZANU-PF] know that we all belong to the party and that even anything to do with sport such as football was also a part of the party. Forward with ZANU-PF! Forward with our land! Down with those who do not support this,” he says and the congregation agrees with him.

In Mudzi North, the preacher was heard saying: “We are sorry for some of our black colleagues who meet and work with white people. It’s now time to decide whether we let the country go [to sell-outs] or we guard it.” The congregation then breaks out in song saying Gabriel will rule all over Africa.
It is highly unlikely that Zimbabwe will go to elections soon but an upcoming SADC extra-ordinary summit on Zimbabwe should shed more light on how the body feels about Zimbabwe’s state of preparedness to go to the polls. Meanwhile, ZANU PF is in election mode and is continuing its campaign across Zimbabwe.


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Zanu PF digs-in on elections, blasts South African government

11/05/2011 21:30:00    Staff Reporter

HARARE - The deeply divided ZANU PF Politburo is again sending conflicting
signals on the country's elections and the faction led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa says there is no going back on the country to hold
elections this year amid reports of escalating hostilities within the former
ruling party.

Zanu (PF)’s escalating internal wrangling over the election timetable
spilled into the public domain this week – fuelled by President Robert
Mugabe's waning health.

On Wednesday, speaking to journalist soon after emerging from the ZANU PF
Politburo meeting held in Harare, the party’s Secretary for Information and
Publicity, Rugare Gumbo who is aligned to the Mnangagwa's faction said the
revolutionary party has unanimously resolved to hold elections this year,
dismissing claims by the party's Secretary for Legal Affairs, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

The tussle between the party’s chief negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, and its
spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, was evident in conflicting statements.

Sources said Chinamasa has switched sides and he has dumped the Mnangagwa
faction, joining the Mujuru faction a background well explained by the
Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs transferring the administration of
exiled businessman Mutumwa Mawere's Shabani Mashava Mines Holdings (SMM)
over to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development which is marshalled by
Obert Mpofu, a strong Mnangagwa's ally.

Chinamasa emerged from the weekend talks in Cape Town to declare that
elections this year were out, to be openly challenged by Gumbo, who asserts
the resolution of the party conference in December that elections would be
held this year still stands.

He said some of the conditions may not be met until 2013 at the earliest.

"It is my own opinion that it is not possible to hold elections this year.
We need to start talking about elections next year or 2013, assuming that
the [constitution] referendum is completed in September as we have been
advised by COPAC [Constitutional Parliamentary Committee]," Chinamasa told
the state-run Herald newspaper.

Chinamasa said Zanu PF negotiators and those from the two MDC factions led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube had
agreed an "election roadmap to identify sign posts to be traversed ahead of
elections in Zimbabwe" – including media reforms, amendments to the
Electoral Act and the lifting of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Last night, at the press conference in Harare, Gumbo also dismissed claims
by SADC facilitation team spokesperson, Lindiwe Zulu, that elections should
be held next year and that the facilitation team will meet the Service
Chiefs to discuss security reforms as baseless, citing that no external
country has the mandate to interfere in the internal security affairs of a
sovereign country.

The ZANU PF Spokesperson also said the party does not take seriously MDC-T
withdrawal from the constitution making process, adding that in the event of
a permanent pull out, ZANU PF and other stakeholders will continue with the
process and also inform SADC of the progress in line with the Global
Political Agreement.

The pulling out by the MDC-T from the constitutional process comes as no
surprise to the politburo as it is now well know that the British Sponsored
Party has run out of steam to win the elections," said Cde Gumbo.

Official sources say hardliners in the party and party hawks in the
Mnangagwa faction are agitating for a snap election while Mugabe is still
capable, while Zanu (PF) doves, mainly in the Mujru faction, wants polls
delayed until 2013 when the party has worked out its succession conundrum.

Meanwhile SADC's pointman on Zimbabwe, SA president, Jacob Zuma, stepped up
pressure on Mugabe to stick to the election roadmap. Special envoy Mac
Maharaj was hastily dispatched to Harare, to ensure implementation of the

The three main issues are the partisanship of the security chiefs, ridding
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of Zanu (PF) cronies and an end to

Rumours of Mugabe's imminent demise are swirling with tropical-storm force
and fuelling infighting in Zanu (PF). There have been secret meetings
between the protagonists in the Mnangagwa faction, which reportedly wants a
fresh election in 2011, and the Mujuru faction, which to all intents and
purposes now seems to be the heir apparent.

"Everyone is plotting the future," said a Zanu (PF) Consultative Assembly
member. "I think everyone realises the end is nigh. There is nothing we can
do now against the pulling power of time." The 87-year-old Mugabe, ailing
from an undisclosed illness, is reportedly being pumped with "adrenalin",
according to a well-placed Zanu (PF) source, to appear at state functions
and to maintain the facade that the revolution movement is alive and well.

Hardliners in Zanu (PF), including the service chiefs, have reportedly vowed
to turn down demands by the MDC to make a public declaration that they will
accept any other leader except Mugabe. They want elections this year no
matter what.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC said his party will boycott any
election held this year. "We will not be party to that sham," he told The
Zimbabwe Mail. "We don’t want another 2008," he said of an election widely
condemned as rigged.

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Fireworks at politburo meeting as Chinamasa & Goche ejected

By Lance Guma
12 May 2011

There were fireworks at Wednesday’s ZANU PF politburo meeting as a war of
words broke out between rival factions, resulting in GPA negotiators Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche being asked to temporarily leave the room.

SW Radio Africa understands members of a faction led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa attacked chief negotiator Chinamasa for making
“disastrous concessions,” in their talks with the two MDC formations.

Journalist Lifa Khumalo who runs the ZimScribes blog told us, “the war of
words started when Chinamasa finished making his presentation on the ongoing
negotiations between them and the two MDC formations and the election
roadmap agreed to by all the three parties.”

So-called hardliners in the Mnangagwa faction, who are pushing for an early
election, accused Chinamasa and Goche of not consulting the party in their
negotiations. In front of Mugabe they told Chinamasa his report was “rubbish
and treacherous to the party” and was “littered with many stupid

One of the issues dividing the party is the date for the next elections.
Last week Chinamasa said it was not possible to hold elections this year. He
said next year or 2013 would be more likely, to allow for the work of
drawing up a new constitution. But this week ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo
contradicted him saying the party position was very clear - “elections are
on this year.”

Both Chinamasa and Goche were listed as ‘item number 3’ for discussion
during the meeting. The mistrust was apparently so intense they were asked
to leave the room. This allowed Mnangagwa and Vice President John Nkomo to
seek clarifications during their absence. It was at this point that
Mnangagwa asked Mugabe whether or not they should be replaced as negotiators
by ‘tough guys’.

“The president refused, arguing that they are too clued up with the goings
on and replacing them will cost the party,” Khumalo’s source said.
We are told that Mnangagwa and Gumbo were particularly vocal in their
attacks on the two negotiators.

We previously reported that the other ZANU PF faction led by retired army
general Solomon Mujuru want a delayed poll and are happy with Chinamasa’s
statements. Khumalo told us that on Wednesday, “Mujuru did not say a word in
the meeting but seemed to be scribbling some notes in a pad.”

Mujuru’s general demeanor suggested he was perfectly happy with the work of
the negotiators. Khumalo told us the Mujuru faction want a delay in
elections to allow it time to build up its base. He said it’s also
speculated that the faction is hoping that the longer it takes to get to an
election, the more likely the alleged divisions in the MDC-T will cause the
party to split and weaken its support base.

Emerging from the heated Politburo meeting Gumbo apparently tried to portray
the image of a united party. He dismissed as ‘nonsensical’ reports that
South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team wanted to meet
security chiefs as part of moves towards reforming the security sector and
he said the politburo had agreed on the holding of elections this year and
that Chinamasa would be following the party line on this issue.

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Elections debate invites villagers ire

As the nation braces for another round of elections and the media awash with
debate on their possibility, Chimbengende villagers are singing a different
tune. Just a mention of the word elections itself is enough to invite their
anger. Their experience with elections especially the 2008 Presidential
election runoff was so bad that any elections talk would be depicted as
going back to sleep in mountains and rivers. At a public meeting organized
by Platform for Youth Development (PYD) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
(CZC) Chimbengende villagers cited high level of violence and intimidation
as chief reasons why they are reluctant to participate in any future polls.

Chimbengende village in Birchenough Bridge area, Chipinge west constituency
is dominated by Zanu PF functionaries who react even to the smallest hint of
an MDC activity. The meeting in place reached their ears and the whole night
they could not sleep running from place to place threatening to beat, kill
and burn houses for those who would attend it. In Chimbengende village Zanu
PF youths are so much in control that villagers need their approval to
attend any meetings organized by civil society. Even during the COPAC
outreach programme only selected and coached people participated in raising
issues for inclusion in the constitution.

Villagers noted that there has not been much change from the kind of life
they lived during the last elections as the same people who burnt their
houses and tortured them are still roaming around the village posing so much
fear in their hearts. “Tinototya teivaona veihamba munharaunda munomu
ngekuti kukazi maelections tinozviziya kuti vanotangahe kutitaka” (we fear
so much when we see them in the area because if there are elections we know
they will start beating again) one villager said.

In the 2008 elections villagers resorted to sleeping in the nearby Nyunga
Mountain and Save River as Zanu PF youths patrolled around the village all
night harassing purported MDC supporters. Some of the villagers alleged that
their houses and shops were burnt down, husbands and parents murdered and
they are now reluctant to participate in political activities. Their future
participation in elections is premised on the condition that SADC and
international observers will be present at their polling station as this
will guarantee security of their votes. Participants indicated that they
have not fully recovered from the trauma they experienced at the hands of
Zanu PF thugs while others said they have not managed to get decent
accommodation since their houses were burnt down.

After the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Information and Communications
Officer, Maria Mache read the Civil society dossier on the minimal
conditions for elections, the villagers welcomed it and charged PYD and
likeminded organizations to work hard in ensuring that the conditions are
realized before the next round of polls. Maria promised radios to the
community on behalf of Crisis Coalition.
The meeting was attended by Headman Goko and his four kraal heads with more
than 80 people from Chimbengende community. Chimbengende village experienced
monumental violence that resulted in the death of Headman Maunganidze after
sustaining serious injuries from the beatings and up to 40 households burnt
down with over 100 villagers dispersed.

PYD meetings at Rimbi, Chisumbanje, Mariya and Maparadze confirmed that no
one is interested in elections neither this year nor two years to come. PYD
remains worried with at which Rugare Gumbo (Zanu PF spokesperson) is
articulating his party position disregarding the provisions of the GNU on
the holding of elections.

Inserted by:
PYD Information Department


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The constitution: Political parties holding the nation to ransom

The constitutional reform process: Political parties holding the nation to

Recent events occurring within the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac) though not surprising are a yet another clear sign that politicians
and their political parties cannot be trusted to lead critical national
processes such as the constitution-making or national healing process. The
Youth Forum was reliably informed by its sources during the late hours of
Wednesday (May 11) that serious disagreements had emerged at the thematic
committee drafting meetings where political party representatives under the
banner of Copac were analyzing data gathered during the consultative
outreach meetings.

The major disagreement is over whether Copac should use a qualitative or
quantitative approach in considering data for the draft. Using a
quantitative analysis implies going according to what the majority of people
who attended and spoke at the outreach meetings had to say. On the other
hand, the qualitative approach also takes into account what the minority
said during the outreach meetings, with a balance being struck between the
majority and minority. According to Copac Co-chair Douglas Mwonzora, the
management committee had agreed and recommended that the drafters use the
qualitative approach. However in a sensational about-turn on this agreement,
Zanu PF is suddenly advocating for the quantitative method.

The Youth Forum views this latest bickering as another show of insincerity
on the part of political parties in resolving the political impasse that has
stalled general progress in the country. It also further exposes the real
machinations behind the Copac project which has clearly become a
money-making project for some, at the expense of genuine constitutional
reform to take the country forward.
The implications of the latest impasse point to serious flaws in the Copac
process and puts paid to assertions by the NCA, ZCTU, students and other
right-thinking Zimbabweans that the writing of the country’s supreme law
should be led by an independent body and not political parties. While they
(political parties) should also contribute to the process, they should not
lead it. The reason is simple enough – political parties have got narrow
political interests to protect and they will go to great lengths to protect
their interests – even if this implies negating the interests of the general
citizenry as is clearly happening with Zanu PF now.

The Youth Forum contends to this day that the outreach phase of the Copac
process resembled more of a grueling political campaign at the expense of
genuine debate and discussions for coming up with a constitution. Many
observers and stakeholders, including Copac reported of large-scale
intimidation and violence in the run-up to the outreach meetings. The
majority of those that contributed at these meetings were ‘coached’ on the
political party positions that they were to contribute. The majority of the
neutrals were intimidated into being mere spectators of the process, their
role being only to inflate the numbers in attendance and falsely qualify the
process as ‘people-driven’. The fact that the MDC played second fiddle to
Zanu PF during this grueling ‘campaign for positions’ under the guise of
constitution-making should be a lesson to them that they should not
compromise their principles in future when it comes to critical national
processes. They have only themselves and Zanu PF to blame for the mess that
they have dragged the country into.

We implore the political parties that make up Copac to put aside their
differences and for once work towards the good of the country in resolving
this issue. The political parties should not abuse the goodwill shown by the
donor community in pumping millions of dollars towards a project they are
skeptical of. They should also stop taking the people of Zimbabwe for
granted and not hold the nation to ransom over the petty differences. We
also urge SADC and the AU to continue tightening the screws on the political
parties so that we see an end to what has now become to be known as the
‘Zimbabwe crisis’ once and for all.

The Youth Forum also takes this opportunity to urge the youth and the
generality of Zimbabweans to register as voters so that they are eligible to
vote any time that an election is called in Zimbabwe. Take your national
I.D. (identification document) and your proof of residence to the nearest
Registrar-General’s office.

Register to Vote Today – It’s Your Right Anyway!

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MDC ready for free and fair elections

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The MDC is the only legitimate party in the country, with a genuine mandate to lead the people of Zimbabwe to a new, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. The People’s Party of Excellence dismisses claims made on Wednesday by the Zanu PF Politburo that the MDC is not ready for elections.

For the record the MDC is ever ready for elections anytime, anywhere. However, unlike the unpopular Zanu PF, the MDC, the people of Zimbabwe, SADC and the AU agree that there should be a clear roadmap to holding of free, fair and uncontested elections.

Furthermore, the holding of elections in Zimbabwe has to be determined by the pace and process of fully implementing the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which led to the formation of the inclusive government in 2008.

It is not up to the unpopular and rejected Zanu PF to declare when Zimbabwe can hold its elections without the approval and agreement of the other parties to the GPA, and SADC.

At its Third National Congress in Bulawayo, the MDC acknowledged the strategic importance of the GPA and the transitional government and called for the holding of a credible, legitimate and free election only in terms of a roadmap guaranteed by SADC and the African Union.

The People’s Party of Excellence, the MDC could never renege on the need for an election in Zimbabwe as it is the only way to ensure legitimate people lead the nation but does not approve of violence as a means to garner votes.Zanu PF should not attempt to score cheap political points over issues that are very clear.

The MDC calls upon the people of Zimbabwe not to be anxious about being ambushed with an election that has no pre-conditions and not in line with the dictates of the GPA. The people of Zimbabwe need change; they need a people – centered, real government with credible leaders.

United, winning – the people’s covenant to real change!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Sadc summit hangs in balance

By Reagan Mashavave, Staff Writer
Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:27

HARARE - The extra-ordinary Sadc summit which was initially pencilled for
May 20 in Windhoek, Namibia hangs in the balance as Heads of State are still
consulting each other over the possibility that the meeting goes ahead, a
top official has said.

Zimbabwe’s political problems, which have been on the table for the regional
body for the past two years, have seen the Sadc troika on Politics, Defence
and Security forwarding the differences to a full regional Heads of States

Differences between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC have remained unresolved more than two
years after the formation of the coalition government.

The parties are haggling over sticking Global Political Agreement (GPA)
issues like the appointment of senior government officials, electoral
reforms, media reforms, security sector reforms and removal of targeted
measures against Mugabe and his inner cabal.

GPA negotiators met the South Africa facilitation team in Cape Town, South
Africa last week to deliberate and agree on the election roadmap.

The facilitation team appointed Mac Maharaj to come to the country to ensure
that all the agreed GPA issues are resolved.

Contacted for comment, Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salamao said the dates
for the extra-ordinary summit are yet to be confirmed by the country leaders
in southern Africa.

“The Heads of States are still consulting each other on the possibility of
holding a summit. We will inform you if there is any decision that would
have been taken on that issue,” Salamao said in a telephone interview

Zimbabwe had been placed on the agenda for the anticipated Windhoek meeting.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regional coordinator, Dewa Mavhinga yesterday
said the decisions of the Sadc troika in Livingstone, Zambia must be
implemented to ensure that the country holds a credible election next time.

“One of our key demands to Sadc therefore, is to ensure, not that Zimbabwe
has a referendum before elections, but that it has a new, democratic
constitution, among other reforms, before the next poll,” Mavhinga said.

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To hell with Sadc

By Tonderai Kwenda, Chief Writer
Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:09

HARARE - Disagreements between Sadc and President Robert Mugabe took a turn
for the worse yesterday after Zanu PF thumbed its nose at the region again,
and signaled it was prepared to see this diplomatic tiff break into open

In a fresh and unilateral declaration that a regional diplomat said last
night effectively repudiates, if carried out, both the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) and Sadc’s endeavours to pull Zimbabwe back from the
political abyss, Zanu PF’s politburo vowed that the country’s much
anticipated national elections would be held this year.

“Zanu PF’s declaration runs completely counter to the letter and spirit of
the GPA, as well as the region’s stated wish to defer Zimbabwe’s polls at
least until the country’s much-needed new constitution is in place, and the
roadmap to a legitimate ballot and its aftermath has been agreed to by the
inclusive government.

“The insistence on going it alone also appears blissfully oblivious to the
fact that it is solely through the Sadc-sponsored GPA framework that
President Mugabe has the legitimacy to be called Zimbabwe’s head of state.
If it falls away (the GPA) then there is neither a president nor a prime
minister that would be recognised by the region.

“But to be honest, this is just hot air coming from the former ruling party.
I can’t see them wanting to commit such suicide.  If they do, it will simply
be to their own detriment,” the diplomat said.

In a clear signal that Zanu PF wants to break ranks with the regional body,
which over the last two months has hardened its stance against Mugabe, the
party yesterday described Sadc as mere “helpers” who could only assist but
not preside over the affairs of the country."

“There is no change on the election issue. We will have elections this
 year,” said Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo in a brief to the Daily News
after a long politburo meeting – adding that: “Zimbabwe cannot be ruled by
Sadc. We are a country and Sadc can only help us where it can.

Zanu PF’s latest stunt has deepened perceptions in the country that Mugabe
is no longer in charge of the levers of power.

This view was endorsed by analysts yesterday who said the decision by Zanu
PF – which also sets Harare up for a massive confrontation with South Africa
and chief GPA guarantor President Jacob Zuma – was clearly being forced on
the octogenarian leader by the military and powerful hardliners in the

The Zanu PF meeting and discordant position came a few days after the Sadc
appointed facilitators expressed the clear view that the country could not
hold an election this year as there were a number of GPA benchmarks that
still need to be fulfilled.

The politburo meeting also received a report on the ongoing negotiations on
the roadmap and GPA review from the party’s chief negotiator Patrick

Asked when exactly his party would want elections to be held during the
course of the year, Gumbo said, “We don’t know exactly when. But what we
know is that there will be elections soon after completion of the
constitution making process and the referendum”.

In addition, the meeting had also discussed the stalling of the
constitutional process, with Gumbo adding that Zanu PF would go ahead with
the process with or without the MDC.

Turning to the sensitive but crucial security sector reform issue, Gumbo
said the party resolved that they would not allow outsiders, including Sadc,
to come and assess the country’s security sector.

The role of the security sector in the country’s politics is one of the
points of disagreements among the country’s GPA partners, with the two MDCs
saying the securocrats must have nothing to do with both the running of
elections and government.

Yesterday’s developments happened as it was learnt that one of the
facilitators was in the country to try and resolve sticking GPA issues – top
of which is security sector reforms, ahead of a scheduled special Sadc
summit on Zimbabwe next week.

While Mugabe has in the past declared that elections would be held with or
without a new constitution, he flip-flopped several times on the issue,
creating the impression that that Zanu PF did not have the appetite for a
bruising war on the matter.

The main MDC party responded tersely to the Zanu PF call for ear. In a clear
signal that Zanu PF wants to break ranks with the regional body, which over
the last two months has hardened its stance against Mugabe, the party
yesterday described Sadc as mere “helpers” who could only assist but not
preside over the affairs of the country.

“There is no change on the election issue. We will have elections this
 year,” said Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo in a brief to the Daily News
after a long politburo meeting – adding that: “Zimbabwe cannot be ruled by
Sadc. We are a country and Sadc can only help us where it can”.

Zanu PF’s latest stunt has deepened perceptions in the country that Mugabe
is no longer in charge of the levers of power.

This view was endorsed by analysts yesterday who said the decision by Zanu
PF – which also sets Harare up for a massive confrontation with South Africa
and chief GPA guarantor President Jacob Zuma – was clearly being forced on
the octogenarian leader by the military and powerful hardliners in the

The Zanu PF meeting and discordant position came a few days after the
Sadc-appointed facilitators expressed the clear view that the country could
not hold an election this year as there were a number of GPA benchmarks that
still needed to be fulfilled.

The politburo meeting also received a report on the ongoing negotiations on
the roadmap and GPA review from the party’s chief negotiator Patrick

Asked when exactly his party would want elections to be held during the
course of the year, Gumbo said, “We don’t know exactly when. But what we
know is that there will be elections soon after completion of the
constitution making process and the referendum”.  In addition, the meeting
also discussed the stalling of the constitutional process, with Gumbo adding
that Zanu PF would go ahead with the process with or without the MDC.

Turning to the sensitive but crucial security sector reform issue, Gumbo
said the party resolved that they would not allow outsiders, including Sadc,
to come and assess the country’s security sector.

The role of the security sector in the country’s politics is one of the
points of disagreements among the country’s GPA partners, with the two MDCs
saying the securocrats must have nothing to do with both the running of
elections and government.

Yesterday’s developments happened as it was learnt that one of the
facilitators was in the country to try and resolve sticking GPA issues – top
of which is security sector reforms, ahead of a scheduled special Sadc
summit on Zimbabwe next week.

While Mugabe has in the past declared that elections would be held with or
without a new constitution, he flip-flopped several times on the issue,
creating the impression that Zanu PF did not have the appetite for a
bruising war on the matter.

The main MDC party responded tersely to the Zanu PF call for early elections
saying this was “totally over ambitious”.

“The next election should be free and fair and the outcome must never create
any doubt regarding the preference of the people of Zimbabwe. They must
follow religiously the roadmap set up in the GPA,” said the party spokesman
Douglas Mwonzora.

Zanu PF declares war on Sadcly elections saying this was “totally over

“The next election should be free and fair and the outcome must never create
any doubt regarding the preference of the people of Zimbabwe.

They must follow religiously the roadmap set up in the GPA,” said the party
spokesman Douglas Mwonzora.

“The constitution alone is not enough. We must give it time to take root and
establish the necessary bodies that will allow for the running of a credible
election,” he said.

For its part the smaller MDC formation said it was impossible to have
elections this year.

“Elections cannot be held this year. There must be a roadmap and the GPA has
to be implemented in full and its reforms be allowed to take root. We also
don’t expect Zanu PF to unilaterally call for elections because we are
partners in this,” said the party’s spokesman Kurauwone Chihwayi.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer John Makumbe said Zanu PF was merely testing
the waters.

“It (Sadc) is likely to respond by saying there will be no election until
all the necessary reforms mentioned in the GPA are implemented. Zanu PF
might say we are a sovereign state and call for elections hoping it will get
away with it and without reforming the security structures and this way
allow the party to do what they did in 2008 and beat everybody into
submission and ensure a victory for Zanu PF,” he said.

“I however doubt that Mugabe is willing to alienate himself from Sadc. If
that happens then we know for sure that he is no longer in charge.”

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Zim Constituitional Dispute Referred To GPA Superiors

12/05/2011 08:25:00

Harare, May 12, 2011 - Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Parliamentary Select
Committee (COPAC) on Wednesday resolved to refer the issue of methodology to
be used in analysing data collected from the people for the new constitution
of Zimbabwe to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) superiors.

COPAC co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora is accusing Zanu (PF) of trying to
convert the process into a quantitative one rather than the agreed
qualitative. He said as the MDC-T they have six reasons why they are against
the use of a quantitative process.

“We can not continue perpetuating a fraud. They (Zanu PF) want to insist on
the issue of frequencies...that is how many times an issue was raised during
the outreach meetings which will distort the whole process,” said Mwonzora.

He said the matter was discussed at a management committee meeting that sat
on April 11, 2011 where it was resolved that the process “must never be made
into a quantitative one”.

“Zanu (PF) can never be allowed to go against that decision of the
management committee,” he said adding that all the parties in the inclusive
government were represented during the management committee meeting.

Mwonzora said there were more meetings in the rural areas compared to the
urban areas which will make the issue of counting frequencies heavily skewed
in favour of Zanu (PF).

“We also know that there were different numbers in attendance at different
meetings which will make the quantitative approach very difficult to use,”
said Mwonzora.

He also said that during the constitutional outreach meetings the approach
was never quantitative but qualitative.
Another Co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi concurred with Mwonzora and said they
met as a party in the morning (Wednesday) and resolved that the process be
suspended until there is an agreement.

"No party has got a mandate to go it alone in the GPA and succeed. Whoever
thinks he may go it alone is engaging in a futile exercise," said Mkhosi.

However another co-chairperson Paul Mangwana told journalists that the
Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, had
pulled out of the process and accused the party of attempting to derail the
constitution making process.

“We had agreed that we were going to use a hybrid approach to the issue.
Initially we would do a quantitative process and then move to a qualitative
one. This process will help us to know what the people said during the
outreach process,” said Mangwana.

He said the MDC-T has now realised that their issues were not raised during
the outreach process and “they want to derail the whole exercise”.

“We have told our members to continue working but the MDC-T has advised its
members to stop. We know their agenda is being driven by their Western
funders who want issues to do with homosexuality included in our
constitution,” said Mangwana.

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COPAC management locked in meetings to resolve impasse

By Tichaona Sibanda
12 May 2011

The stalemate that has thrown the constitutional making process into
disarray could be resolved in the next three days, a co-chairman of COPAC
said on Thursday.

Douglas Mwonzora, the co-chair representing the MDC-T, told SW Radio Africa
that they have now initiated a move to get the impasse created by ZANU PF
resolved as early as possible.

‘We are meeting with the COPAC management committee to try and resolve this
issue and there is every hope that this can be achieved in the next three
days. Meanwhile no work is being done at the thematic committees until this
stalemate is resolved,’ Mwonzora said.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that both the MDC formations and ZANU
PF might end up agreeing to use both the qualitative and quantitative
processes to analyse data gathered through the outreach programme.
Qualitative is to do with the importance of issues raised at the outreach
meetings while quantitative looks at the number of times an issue was

Although COPAC’s management committee resolved at their meeting on 11th
April to use the qualitative process, ZANU PF made a u-turn on Monday and
insisted on a quantitative route.

ZANU PF is in favour of the quantitative process because more people in
rural areas contributed to the outreach program than in urban areas and most
villagers in rural areas were forced to give ZANU PF views.

‘The main impasse emanates from the desire by ZANU PF to convert this
process into a quantitative process instead of a qualitative one. To that
end they want to determine the views of the majority based on the frequency
with which an issue was said,’ Mwonzora said.

The Nyanga North MP emphasized that when they designed the methodology they
agreed that there would be three meetings per rural ward and one meeting in
an urban ward.

‘Now if we use the quantitative method that means therefore we’re going to
have more say in rural areas and less contribution from people in the urban
areas. That was never the intention of the outreach,’ Mwonzora said.

Turning to accusations by ZANU PF that the MDC-T is deliberately delaying
the constitution process in the hope elections will not be held this year,
Mwonzora said he wanted to make it categorically clear that ZANU PF was
day-dreaming on the issue.

‘It is not the prerogative of ZANU PF, Robert Mugabe or the politburo to
determine the date of elections. The GPA is clear on that, as it sets a
clear roadmap for elections and the procedure includes the conclusion of a
constitution, the security sector reform and the freeing of the airwaves.

‘The deadline for a referendum (September) will obviously be affected by
this impasse because of ZANU PF’s intransigency. That party is continuously
changing goal posts and they keep introducing things that are fundamentally
flawed,’ he said.
The MP added; ‘We blame ZANU PF for any consequential delay but this is to
be expected when you are dealing with a dishonest partner like ZANU PF.

‘Let me take this opportunity to advise the nation that the MDC is ready for
a free and fair election and the MDC will win a free and fair election. And
let me say specifically that Mugabe will lose to Morgan Tsvangirai and there
is no question about that,’ Mwonzora added.

He said what ZANU PF was calling for was a ‘war election where they would
probably shoot their way to power by butchering people into voting them back
into power’.
Meanwhile, COPAC has granted permission to the Zimbabwe Independent
Constitution Monitoring Project (a coalition of civic groups) to
independently monitor the thematic committee phase of the exercise.

Reports from Harare said the group, which also monitored last year’s
outreach meetings, will have 8 observers to shadow the 17 thematic

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Police refuse to investigate Chombo land corruption

By Tererai Karimakwenda
12 May, 2011

The Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe (ECAZ) has revealed that the
police in Harare are refusing to open criminal dockets in the land
corruption case against local government Minister Ignatius Chombo and
several ZANU PF officials. Dockets in other land cases have disappeared from
police files.

Councillor Worship Dumba told SW Radio Africa that they approached the
police on Tuesday with “documentary evidence” of the fraudulent land deals,
but no docket has been opened.

Chombo and senior officials in ZANU PF have acquired large tracts of land
around Harare for very little money and they’ve used various illegal means
to get the land. Chombo himself is considered one of the wealthiest property
owners in Zimbabwe but suspicion was raised when a list of his assets was
made public during a nasty divorce case last year.

Harare councillors who investigated the minister’s land deals, including
Dumba, were illegally fired by Chombo, leading to the formation of ECAZ. The
group want an investigation and prosecution of Chombo and the others who
awarded themselves land fraudulently. But the police refuse to cooperate.

“The police told us the land is not ours and we have no legal standing to
order the investigation,” Councillor Dumba said, adding that as
representatives of all elected councillors in Zimbabwe they do have that
authority. Dumba said ECAZ had also written to the Attorney General’s
office, informing them of the police refusal to investigate. But there has
been no answer or action taken so far.

The Elected Councillors, along with the Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA), last week filed a complaint against the city’s director
of urban planning, Psychology Chiwanga, whom they accused of assisting
Minister Chombo with the illegal purchase of land in Glen Lorne. But on
Tuesday police at Harare Central station said the docket could not be found.

Councillor Dumba conceded there was not much more the group can do because
the police have been applying the law selectively, arresting only MDC
officials and supporters.

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Chihuri case: Lawyer denied court papers

By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:29

HARARE - Police are refusing to release court records of three police
officers convicted of failing to guard commissioner general, Augustine
Chihuri’s house in Borrowdale resulting in the theft of property at his

Lucky Mauwa, the lawyer of the police officers who were convicted by the
police’s internal court said he was denied access to the court record as he
wants to read the document to enable him to appeal to the High court against
the judgment.

The police officers Sergeant Maedzenga, Sergeant Chipato, and Sergeant
Dzingirai who were last week, convicted by the police disciplinary committee
are currently serving a 14 day sentence at the Chikurubi Police Detention

Thieves broke into the Chihuri residence and stole a Plasma Television and
some household items. Chihuri reported the theft to Borrowdale Police

Chihuri then instructed the police to institute an internal discipline
tribunal which was held last week at Southerton Police Station where the
officers were found guilty of abuse of duty.

“I am having difficulties in having sight of the court record to understand
the judgement delivered by the police court,” said  Mauwa.

“During the trial at the Southerton Police station, Chihuri did not come to
give evidence of the theft and the court proceeded to convict my clients,
without enough evidence. I want to lodge an appeal to the High Court but I
am not able to do that because I don’t have the legal records as yet.”

Mauwa expressed disappointment with the development.

He said employees at his office spent the whole day shuttling between
Chikurubi prison and Police General Headquarters trying to access the court
records without any success.

“I want to put it on record that I have prepared this appeal without access
to the proper court record because the police were not being co-operative,”
said Mauwa.

“Our grounds of appeal is that Chihuri did not give evidence of the property
stolen and the officers were convicted on a hearsay evidence which is not
admissible in a court of law.”

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Court blocks RBZ property auction

12/05/2011 00:00:00
    by Business Reporter

THE Bulawayo High Court has blocked an attempt to auction farm implements
owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) over a US$6 million debt the
central bank owes several companies.

The money is owed to several companies, among them Seedco Limited, Art
Holdings Limited, Lawrence and Farmtec Spares and Implements (Pvt) Ltd. The
companies obtained writs against the RBZ in 2009 after the central bank
failed to pay for the equipment.

However, Justice Nicholas Ndou, sitting in his chambers on Tuesday, stopped
the auction pending the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by
the RBZ.

The RBZ wants to auction stopped to facilitate passing of the General Laws
Amendment Bill (HB 8A) of 2010 into law by Parliament.

The farm implements were purchased by the RBZ as part of its farm
mechanisation programme under the much-criticised quasi-fiscal operations.

The equipment which was supposed to go under the hammer included 20 945
harrows, 54 planters, 1 639 cultivators, 1 516 scotch carts, 1 277 knapsack
sprays, two ox-drawn ploughs and 537 scotch cart boxes.

An earlier attempt to auction the equipment was stopped in June last year
following a directive from government.

Officials argue that selling the equipment which has been lying idle in
Bulawayo over the last four years would undermine the country’s land

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Police detains 21 peaceful protesters

Written by ROHR Information Department
Thursday, 12 May 2011 07:42

ROHR Mashonaland Central treasurer, Peter Mabika and 20 others members were
arrested today in Bindura following a peaceful protest organized by ROHR
Mashonaland Central province. The 21 activist were detained by the police
for three hours and released with no charge after they were picked at
Bindura magistrate courts.

The protest comes as a result of the continued agitation by the Bindura
residents on the continued undermining of the equality of all citizens
before the law for political precedence. Protesters expressed disapproval on
the failure by the security forces to enforce state security for all
citizens in the face of growing harassment and intimidation springing from
political violence.

ROHR director Tichanzii Gandanga, condemned the arrest and pledged that
there is no going back on peaceful protest until the voices of the people
were heard. ‘’It is regrettable that there are still some political parties
refusing to accept that Zimbabwe has since moved from being a one party
state to a multi democracy’’ said Gandanga.

Among the demands put forward for the Bindura protest were the upholding of
The Rule of Law, an end to impunity, an end to selective application of the
law, reforming of the security sector to meet the provisions stated in the
GPA for a multi party democracy and a stop to the arbitrary arrest of

ROHR Information Department
For Peace, Justice and Freedom

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Zimbabwe program would give farmland to Chinese investors

White farmers in Zimbabwe continue to have land seized while a proposed
government program, aimed at helping new black farmers, would give away land
to Chinese investors.

News DeskMay 12, 2011 05:23

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — While white farmers in Zimbabwe have had their
land violently seized, the government will be giving away farmland to
Chinese investors under a proposed program aimed at helping new black

The “twinning” program, reported by Zimbabwe state media on Wednesday, would
pair new black farmers in Mashonaland East province, one of the country’s
most fertile areas, with investors from China’s Hubei province. The farmers
will give part of their land to the Chinese, and in return will get funding
and the Chinese will buy their produce.

President Robert Mugabe’s government began brutal seizures of white-owned
farms in 2000, giving them out to friends of the regime, many of whom had
little interest or experience in farming. Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based
economy, once the envy of Africa, has since collapsed and the country now
regularly faces acute food shortages.

Zimbabwe's government mouthpiece, The Herald, reports that the program will
see new farmers giving the Chinese investors part of their land, while the
investors will in turn fund farming operations, including developing new
infrastructure on the farms.

Mashonaland East Governor Aeneas Chigwedere said that the province has
drafted a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese, yet to be signed,
that would see farmers enter into a 25-year renewable contract with the
Chinese, with a six-month notice required for cancellation.

"Our thrust at the moment is to increase agricultural productivity and we
are starting next season with tobacco then we will proceed to horticulture,
poultry, pig and cattle production,” Chigwedere told The Herald.

A controversial new law in Zimbabwe requires businesses to be majority-owned
by "indigenous" Zimbabwean citizens. However, some Chinese businesses have
been exempted from complying with the new regulation, which requires
foreign-owned companies to be 51 percent owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.

Last week, a delegation from Hubei province in China reportedly toured farms
in Zimbabwe owned by individuals and government institutions including
Grasslands Research Station, Mashonaland East Police Farm and the Prison
Farm, the paper reports.

These farms will reportedly “identify excess land and give it to their Hubei

A representative from Hubei said that the Chinese became interested in the
“twinning” program after realizing that new farmers in Zimbabwe lacked the
capability to make full use of their land.

"The program can even bring more business to Mashonaland East other than
agricultural. We will in due course organize exchange visits in which
farmers from either country will visit each other to exchange notes," Li
Song, chairwoman of the Hubei Business Council, told The Herald.

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Early drug therapy curbs HIV transmission: study

By Kerry Sheridan (AFP) – 3 hours ago

WASHINGTON — People with HIV who take antiretroviral drugs before their
health declines have a 96 percent lower risk of transmitting the virus to a
partner, a breakthrough global study released Thursday said.

The large study that covered mainly heterosexual couples in Africa, India
and the Americas was hailed by AIDS experts as a game-changer that will
transform how the incurable disease is managed.

Until now, antiretroviral therapy was known to improve the health of
HIV-infected patients, but this is the first study of its kind to show a
solid impact on preventing transmission to an HIV-negative partner.

"This is excellent news," said Myron Cohen, lead investigator on the study
and director of the Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The randomized clinical trial began in 2005 and included 1,763 couples -- 97
percent of whom were heterosexual -- and was carried out at 13 sites in
countries including Brazil, Thailand, Zimbabwe, India and South Africa.

The randomization phase was halted early once researchers realized that the
drug regimen was having such a significant blocking effect on the risk of
spreading the infection, which afflicts 33 million people worldwide.

"The study was designed to evaluate the benefit to the sexual partner as
well as the benefit to the HIV-infected person," said Cohen.

"This is the first randomized clinical trial to definitively indicate that
an HIV-infected individual can reduce sexual transmission of HIV to an
uninfected partner by beginning antiretroviral therapy sooner."

Under the randomized trial, some couples were placed into a delayed group in
which the infected partner began taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) only
when a type of T-cell known as CD4 dipped below 250 cells per millimeter
cubed, or if he or she developed an AIDS-related illness.

The other group began taking ART immediately. In that group, just one case
of HIV transmission was observed.

There were 27 HIV transmissions in the delayed group that could be traced
directly to the infected partner, a difference the study described as
"highly statistically significant."

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Anthony Fauci
hailed the findings.

"Previous data about the potential value of antiretrovirals in making
HIV-infected individuals less infectious to their sexual partners came
largely from observational and epidemiological studies," said Fauci.

"This new finding convincingly demonstrates that treating the infected
individual -- and doing so sooner rather than later -- can have a major
impact on reducing HIV transmission."

According to Wafaa el-Sadr, a member of the executive committee of the HIV
Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), the group that did this study, the
findings took time to produce but should have a major impact on treatment

"I think HPTN 052 will always be recognized as a landmark study that truly
may transform treatment as well as prevention of HIV globally," she told

Sadr, who is also a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia
University in New York, said the couples in the study would continue to be

"Everybody who was not offered immediate treatment is now being offered
immediate treatment, now that we know what we know," she said.

The study was initially set to continue until 2015 but the independent
safety and monitoring board halted the randomization phase early "because of
the very clear and remarkable benefits that were shown," she said.

"They determined that these findings were so profoundly important that they
had to be shared immediately," she said.

Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe, described the study as "a serious game changer"
that "will drive the prevention revolution forward."

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More Than 100 000 Zimbabweans Failing To Access HIV treatment

12/05/2011 15:02:00

Harare, May 12, 2011 - Only 350 000 Zimbabweans out of a about 503 000 in
need of HIV treatment are getting anti-retroviral drugs, a National Aids
Council senior official revealed to Radio VOP.

“Currently we have slightly above 350 000 people accessing ARVs. We have
about 503 000 people who are supposed to be accessing treatment, National
AIDS Council’s monitoring and Evaluation Director Amon Mpofu told Radio VOP
in an interview in Harare on Wednesday.

The country attributes lack of access to Anti-Retroviral Drugs to a shortage
of CD4 count machines which qualifies an HIV positive patient to go on

Zimbabwe also suffered a big blow last year when it failed to qualify for
the round 10 of the Global Fund. Under round 10 of the Global Fund the
country had applied for US$170 million for HIV and US$50 million for

As a result the Zimbabwe has to rely on AIDS levy for HIV and AIDS
programmes. Despite inadequate HIV and AIDS resources the country’s HIV
prevalence continue to decline, from over 27% in five years ago to less than
15% now.

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Critical shortage of midwives
Photo: UNICEF/Kun Li
Concerns for maternal health
HARARE, 12 May 2011 (IRIN) - Tafadzwa Kazingizi, a 19-year-old mother from Chitungwiza, about 30km south of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has been haemorrhaging since she gave birth four months ago. She did not visit a prenatal clinic during her pregnancy.

"When I got to the hospital, the only midwife on duty told me that I was supposed to be monitored for blood pressure and possible heart problems, but it turned out that their machine was not working well and as I waited for it to be fixed, I started experiencing labour pains," Kazingizi told IRIN.

"The midwife was attending to another woman in the labour ward and there was another one ahead of me, so I had to wait. Unfortunately, she took too long and I gave birth with the help of three student nurses," she said. The student nurses did not appear to have experience in midwifery.

"I was discharged about six hours after delivery and no one cared to monitor my condition after giving birth,” the teenage mother said. “My child is constantly coughing and wheezing, and it could be because there was no one skilled enough to help me deliver." She thought the bleeding was probably a result of poor sanitary precautions.

She has since returned to the family home, but her parents were not supportive. "Our health [hers and the baby’s] will continue to deteriorate if no one comes to my help".

Deteriorating maternal health

A recent report on Zimbabwe’s progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, complied by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), said about 80 percent of the posts for midwives were vacant in the public sector.

"The shortage of skilled and competent midwives can avert 80 to 90 percent of maternal deaths. The shortage of skilled and competent midwives can result in women and their newborns dying from the complications that could be prevented by a health worker with the right skills, the right equipment and the right support," the report pointed out.

''There is a serious shortage of midwives at this hospital, just like at the other government health institutions''
The lack of midwives has severely hindered Zimbabwe's chances of meeting Millennium Development Goal Five, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015 while also improving the ratio of pregnancies attended by skilled health professionals.

A midwife at Harare Central Hospital, which provides healthcare to low-income communities in an area about six kilometres southwest of Harare, told IRIN that it was not unusual for pregnant women to die during delivery.

"There is a serious shortage of midwives at this hospital, just like at the other government health institutions,” said the senior midwife, who has worked at the hospital for the past 15 years.

“On a daily basis, we have more than 30 women needing the services of midwives but we hardly cope. The skeleton staff that is here struggles, and we are sometimes forced to be on duty for 24 hours, with little time for rest," she told IRIN.

Skills shortage

"Not many nurses are willing to train as midwives because the job is too demanding. The government has advertised for posts on numerous occasions but student midwives are not forthcoming," said the senior midwife, who declined to be identified.

She attributed the critical shortage of midwives to better salaries and working conditions in neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana, or further afield in Europe.

"Salaries are poor, working hours are long, we risk contracting diseases because of poor sanitary conditions, and the wards are poorly equipped," she said.

Zimbabwe has been locked in an economic recession for more than decade, resulting in a large-scale exodus of doctors, nurses, teachers and other skilled professionals.

Health facilities for maternal care in the rural areas are also scarce. Jennifer Masara, 28, from Guruve, made a 200km journey to the capital in the lasts stages of her pregnancy after the local clinic’s only midwife was retrenched.

"I was told a few days before I was due to deliver that the nurse [midwife] had suddenly left her job,” Masara told IRIN. “Officials from the ministry of health wanted to fire her after a mother died during delivery at the hospital."


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

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Uganda's Museveni sworn in for new five-year term

May 12, 2011, 11:13 GMT

Kampala - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was on Thursday sworn in for
another five-year term - in a ceremony boycotted by the official opposition.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by several African heads of state
including Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan and the
Democratic Republic of Congo leader, Joseph Kabila.

'I Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, swearing in the name of the almighty God, swear
that I will be faithful and bear allegiance to the Republic of Uganda and i
will preserve, protect and defend the constitution, so help me God,' the
69-year old former guerilla leader said before the country's chief justice.

Museveni was re-elected, with 68 per cent of the vote, for the fourth time
in the February, but international observers said the poll was flawed and
the opposition claim the election rigged in Museveni's favour.

Museveni's defeated rival, Kizza Besigye, has been leading a series of
demonstrations over high commodity prices.

After receiving treatment in Kenya on his eyes for injuries received during
protests two weeks ago, Besigye arrived Thursday back in Uganda.

Heavily-armed military and police personnel were deployed in anticipation of
the arrival of Besigye, who was apparently still holed up along the 42
kilometers stretch from the main airport to Kampala, where hundreds of
supporters are waiting for him on the road sides.

Human rights groups have criticized the high-handedness with which the
Ugandan security forces handled previous protests, which have left several
people shot dead, dozens injured and hundreds of others, including party
leaders, detained.

If Museveni serves a full five year term he will have served 30 years,
making him one of Africa's longest-serving heads of state.

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Ugandan police fire teargas

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 16:01

Ugandan police fired teargas to disperse thousands of supporters of
opposition leader Kizza Besigye while Yoweri Museveni was being sworn in for
a fourth term as president today.

Mr Museveni was inaugurated after  securing a comfortable election win in
February which Mr Besigye, the veteran leader's closest opponent, alleges
was rigged.

The ceremony was attended by the leaders of Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and South Sudan.
Mr Besigye and other opposition leaders have refused to recognise Mr
Museveni as president.

Opposition supporters, who walked next to Mr Besigye's car as it moved from
the airport to the capital Kampala after his return from hospital in Kenya,
fled as police also used water cannon to scatter them.

They later regrouped and continued their march to the capital where Mr
Museveni was being inaugurated.

Mr Besigye has been arrested four times in Uganda since protests over high
fuel and food prices began in April. He had gone to the Kenyan capital
Nairobi for medical treatment after being wounded when police detained him
two weeks ago.

Mr Museveni, in power for 25 years, has promised to crush the protests,
blaming the rising food and fuel costs on drought and global increases in
crude oil prices.

Uganda discovered oil along its western border with Congo in 2006 and
commercial production is expected in 2012, bringing a flow of cash that the
president has promised will be used to develop his poverty-stricken country.


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Once again it is winter

May 12th, 2011

A home on the balancing rocks of Epworth

Once again it is winter and the weather is getting cooler. Six years ago, I was a student journalist and witnessed one of the worst events of my life – the destruction of homes by President Robert Mugabe in an operation called Murambatsvina.

It was in the month of May in 2005 when the demolitions that made close to a million people homeless began. Soldiers and the police, under command from Mugabe, destroyed our homes and our lives, as family and friends were devastated. At the time Mugabe’s aide, police commissioner Augustine Chihuri, described the operation as designed to get rid of maggots.

Today, people who once had homes are homeless and are at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather which promises to be freezing this June and July, the coldest months on the country’s calendar.

This woman earns her living by breaking rocks for sale

Victims of Murambatsvina occupy the bottom tier in the social ladder and are often victims of commutable diseases such cholera. Food insecurity is rife among them and Mugabe who destroyed their homes does not even care. Mugabe has never apologised for the madness that saw children dropping out of school and people being displaced from their sources of income, as the President sought to punish the urbanites for voting for the MDC (then an opposition party).

And now that the dust has settled, nothing has been done to the people who gravely abused and trampled on our rights to shelter. Today, people who once had walls and rooves over their heads now live in plastic mansions that rumble with the wind, while Mugabe and his agents of destruction are living in luxurious, modern day houses with all the trappings that I cannot even imagine.

While the summer warms my heart the winter feeds my soul with gloom and sadness. I get angry every winter when I remember the horrors of Murambatsvina six years ago and I am not alone, as thousands of other Zimbabweans lost so much during that unforgettable month.

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ZANU PF election discord confirms worsening fissures

ZANU PF election discord confirms worsening fissures


Widening cracks within the rank and file of ZANU PF are no longer a secret. If  anybody was still wondering whether talk of serious and aggravating fissures within this party were mere speculation or not, the ongoing discord regarding timing of the next elections must have provided the much needed answers.


To further demonstrate that the former revolutionary party is not only cornered but deeply divided, the old axiom “don’t wash you dirty linen in public” has totally deserted some godfathers of a tiny but radical faction. They are now clearly in panic mode having lost much ground in recent days following destructive moves and careless statements spearheaded by the empty twin vessel of Rugare Gumbo and energetic but suspicious attention-seeker, Motor Mouth, as the Nutty Professor is now known in some circles. Because of worsening mistrust, issues that normally would be debated in closed-door meetings such as politburo or central committee are now raised through the media. Cabinet is now a no-go area for such debates because of obvious reasons.


In a deliberate ploy to keep the nation in a perpetual state of election fear, intimidation and violence, the radical cartel, through its self-appointed tireless spokesman, is busy creating the impression that there will be elections this year when all indications are that there will be none. Seemingly rising from the political grave, Chinamasa has put on his thinking cap of late and started sounding like a lawyer when he said elections are certainly off this year because of the amount of work still to be done. Being much closer to the crucial negotiations than those who always enjoy acres of space particularly in state media even when they are saying nothing of substance, Chinamsa certainly knows something that Motor Mouth and others don’t.


These recent comments on elections were unsurprisingly disowned by the notorious coterie as “his personal opinion which does not represent the position of the party”. Here is a man who is being disowned by his own; reminiscent of the manner in which JM himself was recently disgraced through a lengthy presidential spokesman’s statement which reached every corner of the globe. These events are certainly a microcosm of the brewing storm within the troubled and deeply fragmented party.


Basics of management inform that if you need to fast-track any project without compromising quality and scope, you have to deploy more resources to it in order to condense the critical path. This simple technique is called crashing. Within the GPA context, the critical path, otherwise known as the roadmap, has key tasks such as a new constitution, security reform, clean-up of ZEC and the voters roll. Without these tasks, the project will not be complete.


It is known that given the prevailing scarcity of resources, COPAC is only able to deliver a new constitution or referendum by September. We don’t know yet how much time, money and human capital the Registrar-General needs to remove a lot of dead voters from the roll including my own grandmother and enrol all eligible voters including those who have just turned eighteen. The ZEC boss will also be competing for the same resources to put his house in order by ensuring that his office does not become an extension of the CIO or army. Given this reality, sworn advocates of early elections may do the nation a lot of favour by mobilising resources and make them available to the key tasks  and offices mentioned above so as to fast-track this national project. Short of this, as the Sadc facilitator has repeatedly said, there will not be elections in 2011. Period.


Those who think that, through public eloquence and oratory, they will force the nation to go for elections before making adequate preparations need to be reminded of the existence of the three principals who, together with Sadc facilitation team, will sit down and agree on a date to have them. Gone are the days when the politburo or cabinet (which was then just a rubberstamp), would impose their wish on Zimbabwe.  In the past two years, the country has moved miles. What the politburo thinks, dreams or says does not necessarily become government policy anymore. To imagine that anybody will wake up one day and declare elections tomorrow ostensibly to please a few protagonists with ulterior motives or waning political careers, is pipe-dreaming. That era is long gone and gone for good. If anybody struggles to understand that a new constitution is a key component of the package of preconditions for the next election, that’s his personal problem, which does not necessarily translate into a national predicament. As the late Eddison Zvobgo once said “three men can sit under a tree and write whatever they want, the result does not become a national constitution”


If ZANU PF is so passionate about elections to the extent that they can’t wait for due process as prescribed by the GPA, they are free to have an extraordinary mini congress any time anywhere (even in Singapore if convenient) where they can elect their new leadership to replace the current one which is well beyond its sell-by date. This is where they should really be directing all their energies towards. Isn’t it a fallacy and paradox that a party which cannot conduct its own internal elections as evidenced by the Mutare Congress is so keen on national elections? Should they wish to have a free lesson on how to run a congress, they shouldn’t look beyond Barbourfields where their nemesis recently left indelible footprints!


Those desperately clutching at patronage straws shall continue to scream and make the loudest noise until the tsunami of change sweeps them away, never to be seen again.

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