by Own Correspondent Thursday 13 May 2010
HARARE - The European Union (EU) and South Africa on Wednesday appealed to
Zimbabwe's political leaders to fully implement the 2008 power-sharing
agreement that established the Harare coalition administration and end
squabbles holding back democratic reform in the southern African country.
President Robert Mugabe, his long term rival Morgan Tsvangirai and another
opposition leader Arthur Mutambara in 2008 signed a power-sharing
agreement - also known as the global political agreement (GPA) - leading to
formation of a power-sharing government last year to end a political
stalemate after inconclusive elections in 2008.
The unity government has stabilised the country's economy to improve the
lives of ordinary citizens. But a dispute between Tsvangirai and Mugabe over
how to share executive power, senior appointments and security sector
reforms is holding back the administration and threatening to render it
In a joint communique released yesterday after an EU-South Africa
ministerial political dialogue meeting held in Brussels the two parties said
they had exchanged views on the latest political developments in Zimbabwe
and noted some progress towards opening up the democratic space by the
"In this regard, they noted progress made regarding the appointment of the
commissioners for the Media, Human Rights and Electoral Commissions," the
"However, they expressed concern over the slow pace in the full
implementation of the global political agreement and urged the members of
the inclusive government to move forward rapidly."
South African President Jacob Zuma and his team facilitation dialogue
between Muagbe's ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai's MDC were also commended for
their efforts and the 14-nation Southern African Development Community
(SADC) was encouraged to remain seized with the process.
"The parties also noted and encouraged the ongoing EU-Zimbabwe political
dialogue based on Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement. They also recognised
the complementality of South Africa's facilitation efforts and the
EU-Zimbabwe political dialogue aiming at promoting and supporting the
implementation of the global political agreement."
The unity government has undertaken to end the country's international
isolation and repair ties with Western countries including the EU, the
Commonwealth grouping of former British colonies, International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank for possible resumption of financial support.
Western nations - that continue to give humanitarian aid - have stressed
they can only avail financial support to the Harare administration if Mugabe
implements comprehensive political and economic reforms that show that he is
firmly on the route to restore democracy, rule of law and respect of human
rights, a process that has been hampered by hardliners in the 86-year-old
Mugabe has refused to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his top
allies as attorney general and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, while the
veteran President has also refused to appoint members of Tsvangirai and
Mutambara's MDC formations as provincial governors.
The Zimbabwe leader has also blocked reform or restructuring of the armed
forces that have backed his three-decade rule.
The GPA commits the coalition government to reform the security services
among a host of other key reforms and measures meant to democratise Zimbabwe's
politics. It also requires that Mugabe consults Tsvangirai before making
appointments to senior public posts.
Mugabe insists he will not fully implement the GPA until Tsvangirai calls on
Western governments to lift visa and financial sanctions against him and top
officials of his ZANU PF party. - ZimOnline
by Caroline Mvundura Thursday 13 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's unity government has begun surveys to gather vital
information and statistics to guide state bureaucrats plotting the economy's
recovery from a decade of acute recession and hyperinflation.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told journalists in Harare that some key
surveys had last been carried out five years ago, while the unprecedented
economic meltdown that saw inflation hitting a trillion percent by some
accounts had distorted previous data baselines to leave planners without
credible statistics they need to make vital decisions.
"Questionnaires are being dispatched starting from this week," Biti said,
adding that the Central Statistical Board that is now known as the Zimbabwe
National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) will carry out surveys in the
manufacturing, mining, electricity supply and construction sectors to
establish production and employment levels.
The ZIMSTAT earlier this week announced that it had begun preparations for a
population census that will be carried out in 2012.
The ZIMSTAT will also conduct surveys in the agricultural sector where
production has shrunk by more than 60 percent because of President Robert
Mugabe's chaotic and often violent programme to seize white-owned commercial
farms for re-distribution to blacks.
Biti said the African Development Bank had provided funds to pay for the
data capturing exercise. - ZimOnline
By Gerald Chateta
Published: May 12, 2010
Harare - The Commercial Farmers' Union has written a comprehensive
document to 50 Embassies, the World Bank, Southern African Development
Community and the Zimbabwean Government seeking a way forward for resolving
conflict arising from the land reform program.
In an interview CFU President Deon Theron said they were not opposed to the
controversial land reform but were trying to find ways to eradicate
"This is not a secret document we have presented it to the donor community,
the Zimbabwean government, World Bank , the Democratic Alliance, ANC of
South Africa local Banks and several other stake holders. We are trying to
find a way forward among the three major players, being the farmers,
Government and the donor and international community ,which we can not do
without their assistance. We have discovered that there are individuals who
are trying to derail development and continue to cause conflict which does
no good to anyone, apart from themselves and we want to get away from that.
"Government is in charge and it needs to engage us (farmers) and the donor
community not what is happening right now. We need to stop this bickering
over petty issues and start moving forward, "said Theron.
The Zimbabwean government is at loggerheads with commercial white farmers
over the land issue since the government embarked on the land reform program
in 2000, which it said was meant to balance pre-colonial land ownership.
Before the controversial land reform in 2000 there were over 4500 white
commercial farmers who were in the country and out that number 4000 have
been chased away.
Since then the country's agricultural production has been declining and the
estimated tonnage of the staple maize crop for the 2009/10 season was just
500 000 metric tones, down from more than two million tones at the beginning
of Mugabe's controversial land reform program in 2000.
In February 78 disgruntled former white commercial farmers successfully sued
the Zimbabwean government in the SADC Tribunal Court in South Africa where
they were given the green light to attach Zimbabwean properties in South
Africa for them to recover their farm developments investments since they
were forced to vacate without any compensation by the Zimbabwean government.
Harare, May 12, 2010 - The passport belonging to deputy Agriculture
Minister-Designate and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
treasurer-general, Roy Bennett has gone missing.
Bennett, who was acquitted of terror related charges, discovered that his
passport had vanished when he traveled to Mutare on Tuesday intending to
collect his passport from the Mutare Magistrates Court, where he surrendered
it last year.
Bennett deposited his passport together with his title deeds as part of his
bail conditions when he was granted bail by the Supreme Court last year. The
former Chimanimani legislator also paid US$5 000 in bail money.
But Bennett, who traveled to Mutare on Tuesday, a day after his acquittal
could not secure his travel document and his bail money. He was only
returned Title Dees for his Mutare house.
Bennett's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, told Radio VOP that the MDC
treasurer-general was informed that his passport had been signed out of the
court by Michael Mugabe, a law officer in the AG's Office, on 29 March 2010
for unknown reasons.
"The removal of his passport is illegal as only the court or an acquittal
can lead to the release of a passport from the clerk of court. These guys
(law officers) are a law unto themselves," said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa said she will file an urgent court application seeking the release of
Bennett, who was facing charges of being illegally in possession of weapons
with the intention to commit insurgency, sabotage, terrorism and banditry,
which carried a death sentence, was freed by High Court Judge Justice
Chinembiri Bhunu. Bhunu ruled that the State's prosecution team, led by
Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana, had failed to establish a prima facie
case against the former Chimanimani Member of Parliament.
Justice Bhunu ruled that there was no nexus between Bennett and the
commission of the offences which he was alleged to have committed. He also
ruled as inadmissible emails, which were produced as evidence in court by
the State during Bennett's prosecution. The High Court Judge said the depth
of ignorance exhibited by Perekai Mutsetse (the State's witness who claimed
to be an IT expert) during cross examination by defence lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa was "amazing".
Mtetwa said Bennett's acquittal once again vindicated claims that his
arrest, prolonged arbitrary detention, and protracted trial were tools of
persecution rather than prosecution.
Meanwhile Attorney General Johannes Tomana on Wednesday filed a Supreme
Court appeal against Bennett's acquittal.
Chris Mutangadura, a law officer in the Attorney General's office, said the
judge should have taken a "holistic assessment of all evidence gathered in
totality" arguing this would have helped the court establish a prima facie
case against the accused.
"The learned trial erred at law when it found the testimony of Mutsetse
appalling only because he acknowledged lack of knowledge as to the existence
of computer criminals known as hackers without any tested evidence to the
effect that the persons who discovered the emails on the person of
Hitschmann are criminals known as hackers," said Mutangadura.
"By doing so, the learned judge contradicted his earlier finding of fact
that the mere fact that emails can be faked does not mean that the emails
before the court as exhibit 13 are also fake. "The ultimate finding that the
emails are not admissible on the basis that they are capable of being faked
was consequently outrageous in its defiance of logic."
The appeal is contrary to statements by Tomana soon after Bennett's
acquittal on Monday. Tomana said the state was going to respect Bhunu's
President Robert Mugabe has adamantly refused to swear in the former coffee
farmer saying his strong beliefs against his government's chaotic land
reform programme made him unsuitable to run an agriculture ministry. Mugabe
has further argued Bennett should first clear his name with the courts
before he can accept him in government.
Government sources said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has agreed
to sell at least 300 megawatts of electricity to Eskom during the World Cup
Gibbs Dube | Washington 12 May 2010
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and Eskom of South Africa are said
to be close to a deal under which the cash-strapped Zimbabwean utility would
share generating capacity during the June-July World Cup period.
Government sources said ZESA has agreed to sell at least 300 megawatts of
electricity to Eskom though it has been incapable of meeting domestic power
requirements for years with blackouts endemic.
Sources said the deal will help raise cash to pay down debts including
millions ZESA owes Eskom.
VOA was unable to reach electric power utility managers on either side of
the border for comment.
But Zimbabean member of Parliament Moses Mare, a member of the House
Committee on Mines and Energy, said ZESA has no excess capacity to sell to
any Southern African country, adding that if the parastatal provides any
electricity to Eskom, many Zimbabweans will be left in total darkness.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association spokesman Roderick Fayayo said
residents of the Matabeleland capital are likely to miss most of the World
Cup matches on television if ZESA exports power.
Harare, May 13, 2010 - Three Red Cross of Zimbabwe senior officers were sent
live bullets by unkown people in what is suspected to be an intimidation to
stop an investigation into serious fraud unearthed by internal and external
auditors at the organisation.
This follows reports in the state owned media claiming the society's
secretary general Emma Kundishona and human resources and administration
manager Nestai Chizema were arrested for "criminal abuse of duty."
The society's president, Lemon Shumba, said Kundishora, Chizema and
programmes coordinator Calvine Matsinde received live bullets at their
Braeside, Houghton Park and Westlea homes respectively.
"The bullets were in envelopes and this was meant to scuttle their attempts
at seeing to it that justice is done regarding the matter," Shumba said in a
Kundishona and Chizema were said to be facing corruption charges after they
allegedly fiddled with the relief organisation's tender system to dispose of
Shumba said there could be wider problems haunting the relief organisation
following the uncovering of the fraud.
He said Kundishona and Chizema were arrested on trumped up charges brought
up by employees who were trying to cover up for fraud in its Mashonaland
Central programmes that was detected by an internal and external audit.
The ZRCS boss said the two were "kidnapped" and detained at Harare Central
Police station after indications that a Mashonaland provincial programmes
officer implicated in the fraud would be hauled before a disciplinary
The case had also been handed over to the police for further investigations.
"The kidnap was obviously planned and targeted management as reflected by
the release of the assistant logistic officer in town while secretary
general and human resources and administration manager were detained," he
said in his statement.
"It was also well calculated to coincide with the arrival of the head of
Africa zone of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
"No charge was preferred against Chizema and Kundishora or was there any
statement recorded by the police. The two were just looked up in the cells
without clear explanation."
Shumba said the arresting officers were now facing a disciplinary hearing
but police's Criminal Investigations Department spokesperson Augustine
Zimbili could not immediately confirm the developments.
Former ZRCS deputy president Fanuel Machiya, who is said to have lodged a
complaint that led to Kundishora and Chizema's arrest, is also accused by
Shumba of stirring up the problems now dogging the society.
Masvingo, May 12, 2010 - Infuriated Masvingo journalists have written a
strongly worded letter to the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)
complaining over its executive member's hidden hand in the arrest of
Masvingo Mirror editor, Golden Maunganidze.
Journalists from Masvingo said on Wednesday they had been shocked to learn
that an executive member of ZUJ (name supplied) was allegedly sent to spy on
Maunganidze by Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi. Mzembi filed criminal
defamation charges against Maunganidze over a story he wrote concerning the
theft of hundreds of tonnes of sugar donated to President Robert Mugabe at
his 86th birthday celebrations in February.
Mzembi is said to have sent the ZUJ executive member to Masvingo on an
all-expenses paid spy mission to establish who Maunganidze's sources were.
While in Masvingo, the ZUJ member, who was booked at Chevron Hotel, sent
Maunganidze text messages on his mobile enquiring how he would destroy
Mzembi. He said he wanted sources from Mzembi's enemies in Zanu (PF) who
could give him stories.
Maunganidze allegedly advised him to seek someone from a rival faction in
Zanu (PF). However, Maunganidze was shocked when police in Harare, where he
had been summoned, showing him the text messages he had exhanged with the
ZUJ member. The police claimed they had received the text messages from the
said ZUJ member.
"I was really shocked to see the correspondence that I made with the ZUJ
member at the police station. Luckily I did not mention any names," said
Maunganidze's lawyer, Arthur Marara, of Matsikidze and Musheche law firm,
said his client was questioned by chief superintendent Ngirishi from the Law
and Order Section and three other police details who, allegedly acting on
the orders of Mzembi, who wanted to know where the story came from.
"My client refused to divulge his sources after being questioned for about
seven hours, " said Marara.
He however questioned why the matter was being handled in Harare when it
happened in Masvingo, from where Mzembi also hails from.
Mzembi is the Masvingo South legislator.
In a letter to the ZUJ national executive leadership, journalists in
Masvingo, demanded an immediate expulsion of this member from the union for
misconduct and unprofessionalism.
"That was a great act of misconduct and unethical behavior displayed by one
person whom we think should represent and protect the interests of
journalists in the country. We were so shocked that a person, whom we so
entrust with that responsibility is a sellout who betray his fellow
comrades, despite the dangers that may befall such comrades.
"We hereby demand an immediate suspension pending expulsion of this member
while the union undertakes investigations over the issue," read part of the
latter, signed by over 15 journalists, based in the province.
This is not the first time that journalists have been used to spy for
government officials for payment. A few years back, another ZUJ executive
member and former political reporter of the Zimbabwe Independent, was
expelled from the union after it was discovered that he was spying stories
from his publication to the dreaded CIO agents.
Contacted for comment, the ZUJ executive member said: "I cannot talk about
that, if you have a problem with Mzembi do not involve me."
ZUJ president Dumisani Sibanda said he was out of office and had not
received a copy of the letter. "I am out of office on assignment, I have not
yet recieved the letter."
Political sources say some ZANU-PF officials believe a Conservative
government will be more receptive than its Labor predecessor to the
argument, long advanced by President Mugabe, that Britain reneged on a
pledge to support land reform
Gibbs Dube | Washington 12 May 2010
Some top officials of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party
believe the arrival of U.K. Conservative David Cameron at No. 10 Downing
Street presents an opportunity for bilateral re-engagement.
Political sources say some ZANU-PF officials believe a Conservative
government will be more receptive than its Labor predecessor to the argument
often advanced by Mr. Mugabe that the British government failed to keep a
pledge made during the pre-independence 1979 Lancaster House talks to
provide financial support for land reform.
But political commentator George Mkhwanazi said ZANU-PF should not start
celebrating the Conservative takeover in London as the Tories are unlikely
to a sharp turn where Britain's Zimbabwe policy is concerned.
There have been many conflicting reports as to a secret deal sealed between
Mr. Mugabe's liberation movement and others and the Conservative government
then led by Margaret Thatcher as to support for land reform.
In March, members of Britain's All-Party Parliamentary Group released a
report concluding that contrary to claims by ZANU-PF, the British government
never entered any such secret agreements on land reform.
Between 1980 and 1989, Britain provided 47 million pounds sterling to fund
land reform program under which the new government in Harare was given first
priority to purchase all farms sold by commercial farmers.
But Britain pulled the plug on the program charging misuse of funds by
Zimbabwean officials. President Mugabe has long charged that Britain reneged
on its commitments, and targeted Harare for aggressively pursuing land
May 11, 2010
Five new ambassadors from the two MDC formations in the unity government
were appointed to serve in different countries. In this 5 part series on
Behind the Headlines SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma speaks to
Ambassadors Hebson Makuvise (Germany), Hilda Suka-Mafudze (Sudan), Trudy
Stevenson (Senegal), Jacqueline Zvambila (Australia) and Mabed Nkumbulani
(Nigeria). How have they handled the transition from opposition politics to
being an ambassador? What are the issues that they deal with on a day to day
basis? This week he starts with Ambassador Stevenson in Senegal.
Interview broadcast 06 May 2010
Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Behind the Headlines. Five new
ambassadors from the two MDC formations in the inclusive government were
appointed to serve in different countries. In this five part series on the
programme we speak to Ambassadors Hebson Makuvise from Germany, Hilda
Suka-Mafudze from Sudan, Trudy Stevenson - Senegal, Jacqueline Zvambila -
Australia and Mabed Nkumbulani in Nigeria. This week we start with
Trudy Stevenson: My pleasure.
Guma: Let me start off by saying, how is Senegal?
Stevenson: Ah it's lovely, so far I have to say, it's very welcoming, it's
very African so I feel at home. It's exciting, there's lots of culture going
on, lots of business, it's a sort of positive country so I'm very happy
Guma: There was quite a delay from the time you were nominated for the post
by your party and the time President Mugabe finally confirmed your
deployment. Did you ever think at one point this was never going to happen?
Stevenson: Well it did start to seem like that when it got to the beginning
of February and we still hadn't had our meeting with the president. I think
I wasn't the only one to think that actually this thing just was not going
to happen because you know all of us, we were appointed in August, myself a
couple of weeks after the others, because we were earning no salary or
anything since August and you know it is difficult to go for one month
without a salary, let alone for six months, so we were becoming a little
despondent but anyway, there we are, it worked out in the end.
Guma: How has the transition from opposition politics to being an Ambassador
for the country - how has that been for you?
Stevenson: Well of course I've had time to get used to it because as you
know we were appointed, we were nominated anyway, in August, so I've had a
few months to get used to it before I came here. Generally it's been a
fairly smooth transition, I think also for me partly because having been in
parliament, I was already used to being on good, friendly speaking terms
with members of ZANU PF and therefore with ministers of government and so
on, so I already had quite good communication with government before the
government of national unity so I think it's probably been easier for me
than for those who were not in parliament. Yah, obviously there is still a,
there's still a learning curve and its still possible that I may step out of
line here and there but it is an inclusive government of course and we're
all trying to assist the economy and so on, so I think it's gone quite well
Guma: Now what kind of issues do you deal with as an Ambassador? I'm sure
our listeners would be very curious to know what does Ambassador Stevenson
do on a day-to-day basis?
Stevenson: Well my case is different from my other colleagues because this
Embassy has just been reopened, we have reopened our Embassy, so what we are
doing is very practical things like buying furniture and fixing things that
break, the electricity at my house had a surge last Friday and because I don't
know where to go to get things repaired, I don't have the telephone numbers
of the telephone company and all this kind of thing it takes me, us all a
lot longer than it does where there has been an established embassy and they
have all their network of contacts and so on, so I think these last two
months have really been establishing the place, both the Embassy itself and
my residence and we're still doing that.
I'm also unusual in that after only one month here, I had a visit from
President Mugabe and that is a very major event for any Embassy because of
course you host the president and his entourage so it was quite a major
exercise and I'd only been here four weeks and I'd never been an Ambassador
before or in fact a diplomat at all so I was a little bit nervous about that
but in fact in the end it went well despite not having very much in the way
of crockery or anything for a tea and so on. Those are the practical issues
that I was talking about so it kind of came to a head a bit during his
visit, but anyway, we managed.
Guma: And any Embassy obviously has staff members, how has that gone on in
terms of gelling different members from different political parties?
Stevenson: Well again I'm lucky here because this is a new Mission or
reopen, so it's completely new, the team is new, it's only myself and three
others and we've all come here new although my other colleagues are from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they've all served in other Embassies before
but so far I can only say we've been working very well together as a team,
there's been no problem whatsoever, they're extremely supportive of my
little silly questions which obviously I have not having ever been in this
position before, lots of things that I don't know but they always help me,
they are nothing but supportive so I have been extremely pleasantly
Guma: Now Zimbabweans will know in general that we have Embassies in most
countries but from what you've picked up so far, can you give us an insiders
view what is an Embassy supposed to do?
Stevenson: Well we have two main mandates: one is to look after our
citizens, our citizens who are in those countries, to look after their
interests and provide them with whatever it is that they may need from a
bureaucratic point of view from the government in Zimbabwe and also
obviously provide, assist travellers from the countries where we are to get
their visas and so on to visit Zimbabwe and then secondly it's to promote
the interests of our country, to protect and promote the interests of our
country and in our case now, particularly in the inclusive government, its
really, we're looking at rebuilding the economy, so looking for trade links,
trade opportunities, export possibilities.
Myself also, Senegal being a cultural country and an African cultural
country, I'm exploring cultural links as well because I think that can
assist both countries quite a bit and give us a footing into Francophone
West Africa, where we in Zimbabwe being Anglophone Southern Africa we don't
really have very much link at the moment but we need to because it is a huge
area and so that is one of my priorities as well. Yah literally trade and
culture exchanges and whatever else. So those are the two areas.
Guma: Let's look at issues of promoting economic exchanges, economic
activity, tourism for example, how difficult is it given that the coalition
government back home has not managed to resolve all the outstanding issues?
Is that a major impediment for your work?
Stevenson: Well from the tourism point of view, Senegal itself doesn't yet
have the kind of population that would be looking for tourism very much in
Zimbabwe, it would be rather be their links with the French, continental
France and so on that would possibly get involved in that but for the
economy and looking at industry and exports and so on, it's actually, there
are huge possibilities here but because nobody much has been here from
Zimbabwe, we haven't exploited these possibilities, but Senegal, it was
colonized by the French and their system of colonization was very different
from the British and in the French system, everything was like centered in
France and all the exports and so on went to France and then went off to the
rest of the world and so on and their government leaders were all sent to
France to be educated and brought up as Frenchmen and so on and so on.
Bu that tradition, although they became independent as you know, 50 years
ago, that tradition remains where they are so strongly tied to France in
particular that they import nearly everything from France and I mean things
like tinned tomatoes, I mean flour, I mean even cooking oil and stuff and
they produce a certain amount of this stuff, but even peanuts - if you buy
tinned peanuts or something, you'll find out that they are imported from
France. A cloth to wash your floor, and they grow cotton, it's imported from
France, well we can surely make some inroads in a situation like that, there
are many possibilities, so it's just a question of getting ourselves
organized and getting our feet in here.
The South Africans are already in here; they are exporting things like Ceres
the fruit juice and so on you see in the supermarkets; there's a hardware
store in my suburb which has just been bought by a young South African and
they're going to be doing security gates and surveillance cameras and this
kind of thing so we've got to get here quickly before other countries - as
usual - get in there before us. There are plenty of possibilities.
Guma: I'm sure if you get into any African country the first thing people
will want to have an appreciation of what the problems are from where you
are coming from. Do the Senegalese understand the challenges that our
country faces? What's your assessment so far of what they think of us?
Stevenson: Well that's a very broad question, I mean the Senegalese are a
very broad population and with different levels of education and experience
and so on and interest. Generally speaking they're not terribly concerned on
the whole, just the normal man in the street or woman in the street are not
that really bothered about Zimbabwe. They've heard that there's some
problems there and so on but they're much more concerned about their own
issues and the majority of Senegalese are not well off like the majority of
Zimbabweans and so their issues are very much the bread and butter issues
that they have here and much as they may relate to our own difficulties,
they say well you know we've also got those. We have unemployment, we don't
have water, we don't have electricity, we don't have housing, you know the
same issues so we can relate very well on quite a number of those issues but
the question is how to overcome them.
Obviously people in government, ministers and diplomats and so on are much
more interested in what's actually going on now and how I and we see the
future, how is it going to unravel and so on, they're very, very interested
in that, but I should also point out that in Senegal, Senegal is also now in
election mode virtually so they're very much focused on their own elections
which are coming in 2012 and their President Wade is making all the noises
of standing again which will be a third term and he's no chicken either, he's
84 now and the election is in 2012 so, and it's the third time and the
constitution doesn't actually allow that so there are some issues there that
concern even politicians here much more at home than they are really
concerned about Zimbabwe issues, much as they relate to them.
Guma: Ambassador Stevenson, do you ever find yourself caught between
speaking on behalf of your party and speaking on behalf of the country as an
Stevenson: I haven't yet really I have to say, I haven't yet. I think that
the big question of course where there seems to be a lot of flak is over the
issue of sanctions but I personally have the, hold the inclusive government
view that sanctions have to go and I don't think any of us in the inclusive
government are disagreed over that, so I support that wholeheartedly -
sanctions have just got to go. They have outlived their time and they are no
longer really useful, they are a hindrance, we need to get rid of them and
get on with life in my view, but apart from that, I haven't, I don't think
there's anything else really delicate that I've had to deal with anyway.
Guma: If I may just follow up on that whole sanctions debate, where exactly
in terms of having the sanctions removed do you differ with ZANU PF because
I have spoken to some officials in the MDC-Tsvangirai who have said their
position is that it's a joint responsibility of all the parties who signed
up to the GPA to have it removed, to have the measures removed, whereas from
ZANU PF's view, it seems they are saying the MDC should have that done on
their own. Is that somewhere towards where you differ or.?
Stevenson: Well you see from my perspective it's actually neither MDC nor
ZANU PF which imposed those sanctions, those sanctions were imposed by other
countries and they are sovereign countries, like I'm talking about the
European countries, America - those countries are the ones who made those,
who put those sanctions in place and those sanctions were put in place by a
democratic process of those countries' institutions and the people in those
countries would have to agree then to remove the sanctions, it's really not
up to the MDC to remove sanctions because they never put them there in the
Guma: Final question for you Ambassador Stevenson, you've got quite a
history in activism, tracing all the way back to your days in Harare,
Combined Harare Residents Association, civic issues, through to the MDC and
now Ambassador. Summarize for us how you feel about that whole journey and
did you ever think you would end up where you are or it's just one hell of a
Stevenson: Well I think it was rather what you say - one hell of a ride. It
never really occurred to me, certainly not in the old days when I was really
very involved in the local government thing, took Harare City Council on,
that I would ever be sitting in Dakar as the Zimbabwean Ambassador. It never
occurred to me for a minute but on the other hand I suppose I'm not
completely surprised because I do, I did work before I went into parliament.
I worked as you may or may not know, for the French in Harare for 12 years
in their research centre and it was attached to the Embassy so I've got a
certain diplomatic background and so it's not completely extraordinary to me
to be sitting now as a diplomat because I've had a certain grounding
especially in French diplomacy and of course that stood me in extremely good
stead because my French is pretty well fluent and so I've been able to use
that so it's surprising in one way and not surprising in another.
Guma: So I suppose we may close the programme with Ambassador Stevenson
saying bye-bye to Zimbabweans in French? Can we have that?
Stevenson: Indeed. Au revoir mes amis (inaudible)
Guma: OK and what does that mean?
Stevenson: It means goodbye my dear compatriots, citizens and see you soon I
Guma: That's Ambassador Stevenson joining us on Behind the Headlines all the
way from Senegal. Ambassador thank you so much for your time.
Stevenson: My pleasure.
by Psychology Maziwisa
THERE is a perception both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere that the only way out
of our misery is through a fresh election. Nothing could be more misguided.
If we learned anything from the bloody 2008 election it is that Zimbabwe
still has a long way to go before any free, fair and credible election can
be held. To suggest that such an election is possible in 2011 is at best out
of touch and at worst downright misleading.
The blunt truth is that the culture of violence within Zanu PF has become so
entrenched in the way that politics is done in Zimbabwe that it will require
more than just a good constitution and superficial political reforms for it
Zanu PF's culture presently has neither political nor moral inhibitions
about intimidating, torturing and murdering vulnerable, innocent
Every election this country has held since 2002 attests to this fact. The
very existence of that culture now enjoins all of us to do whatever it
takes, for as long as it takes, to bring about a sustainable end to the
politics of violence and murder.
If today we believe that a new constitution (whose crafting is already 10
months behind schedule), the swearing in of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, the Human Rights Commission and all the other so-called
independent commissions can and will guarantee our democracy, then we are
not just fooling ourselves, we are also fooling our children and maybe a few
more generations yet to come.
Mugabe has yet to be convinced of the efficacy of a free, fair and credible
election -- so much so that in contemporary Zimbabwe not even the world's
most perfect constitution would guarantee a free poll.
If we are going to cut corners, as if a new constitution was all that we
need, we run the terrible risk of missing a great opportunity, perhaps the
only one since 1980, to fully democratise our beautiful nation.
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed amid understandable
reservations and widespread condemnation. In hindsight, however, it has
turned out to be a blessing in disguise - a blessing we could do well to
embrace a little while longer.
Whereas previously our condemnation of Mugabe's excesses was confined to
distant, impotent opposition, today Tsvangirai and the MDC, as partners in
the unity government, can closely monitor and influence what is happening.
Whereas previously our supermarket shelves were empty, today they are fully
stocked with a variety of basics from which to choose.
Whereas previously our economy looked to be irretrievably in decline, today
it is growing again - albeit painstakingly slowly.
And whereas violence, abductions and extra-judicial killings were rampant
across our nation, today there is hope because there are fewer of them.
Notwithstanding these improvements, however, a hell of a lot more needs to
be done if this nation is to enjoy sustainable democracy, peace and economic
First and foremost, Mugabe must honour his commitments in terms of the GPA.
Make no mistake about it, there are a whole host of ways to ensure his
compliance but 'threatening' him with an election that he will feel obliged
to 'win' at any cost is not one of them. To be fair to him, he has honoured
the bulk and, arguably, the most fundamental of them.
The horror of June 27, 2008, compels us all to change the way we do politics
in Zimbabwe. Frankly it is now a question of looking for a transformative
solution to the problem of violence and intimidation.
While it is all well and good to have a Ministry for National Healing and
Reconciliation, actual reconciliation will be achieved only if the GNU
prioritises action and effects it by embarking on a comprehensive,
nationwide tour during which both Mugabe and Tsvangirai personally
discourage violence and promote mutual respect and tolerance.
If Mugabe is young enough to rule this country at age 86, surely he is young
enough to engage in this kind of extended tour.
As a sign of seriousness and commitment to the protection and promotion of
peace and human rights, the unity government must quickly move to declare
June 27, Human Rights Day.
The time has come to entrench widespread, tangible reforms before we can
start to entertain the idea of holding fresh elections.
The office of the Registrar General needs an absolute overhaul. It is, in my
respectful view, one office that should have been included on the infinitely
growing list of 'outstanding issues'.
Because of his sickening propensity to act in common purpose with the usual
suspects, it is ridiculous to have the manipulative Tobaiwa Mudede still
responsible for the registration and compilation of the voters' roll. It
makes a mockery of the entire electoral process.
If ever we are to have the Registrar's function exercised in the true spirit
of democracy, the parties to the unity government must first satisfy
themselves that the incumbent is an honest, honourable, open-minded
individual who is free from any association with either Zanu PF or the MDC.
The fact of the matter is that Mudede fits no such criteria.
Before we can start to entertain the idea of holding fresh elections we need
to ensure that civil society can function free from persecution and
Before we can start to entertain the idea of holding fresh elections we need
to embrace and effect the principles of transparency, accountability and
Accordingly, the Government of National Unity must see to it that the
proceeds from Chiadzwa are used for the sole purpose of benefiting this
country and its people. Experts estimate that the country could generate
US$2 billion per year from Chiadzwa's mining activities alone - an
encouraging revelation that goes to show that with an accountable and
transparent government Zimbabwe can be self-sufficient again.
We are the basket case that we are today largely because of mismanagement
and a failure to account. That must change but that change will not
necessarily coincide with the ushering in of a new constitution. It will
coincide, however, with the change in the way that we do politics in
If we have endured decades of repression under a blatantly indifferent
regime, we certainly can wait a little longer than 48 months to see the
democratisation process through to fruition.
For goodness sake, it took Taiwan and Mexico decades to become democracies.
It took decades too for the United States of America, the world's leading
democracy, to become the flourishing democracy that it is today. Hell, it
took the United Kingdom close to 600 years to become a democracy.
The truism that patience is a virtue applies to every aspect of life,
It would be foolhardy in the extreme if we pursued democracy too quickly in
the spirit of 'get it done yesterday'.
Democracy in the Zimbabwean context should be about much more than just
making sure Mugabe is replaced by Tsvangirai.
It should encompass a strong civil society, independent media, rule of law,
accountability, good governance, tolerance and mutual respect.
Never should we sacrifice these crucial considerations in our haste to get
The only good Zimbabwe is a democratically sustainable Zimbabwe and the
unity government is a perfect platform to achieve it.
Psychology Maziwisa is Interim President of the Union for Sustainable
May 12 2010 at 02:34PM
The number of sexual assaults reported on the Zimbabwean border has
increased by a third, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Wednesday.
"From March 1 to May the number of cases treated was 71," said Mashudu
Nelufulo, a MSF nurse in Mussina.
This means about 20 people were raped a month, an increase from an average
of 15 the previous year.
Of these victims, 45 were female and 26 were male. Fifteen of these were
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Nelufulo.
Those treated by doctors had all indicated that they knew many more victims
who were attacked but did not seek treatment.
MSF said that police were not opening cases of sexual assault because they
claimed the attacks were happening on the Zimbabwean side of the border and
that the victims did not stay in Mussina long enough for follow-up
"It looks like nothing has been done to avert that situation," said MSF
local director Mickaele Paih.
"It's well known but it's not recognised," he said. - Sapa