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‘Police on crusade to disrupt MDC rallies’

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:35


MASVINGO — MDC-T has accused the police of embarking on a crusade to disrupt
its rallies ahead of an election to be held later this year or in 2013.

The accusation comes after the police disrupted several rallies countrywide
organised by the former opposition party in the past few weeks.
In some cases, MDC-T supporters have been arrested.

Yesterday, heavily armed police disrupted a rally organised by the party at
Matizha Business Centre in Gutu West, claiming that the venue had also been
booked by Chief Serima.

MDC-T provincial secretary, Tongai Matutu, said two truckloads of armed
police from Gutu Mpandawana growth point and Chatsworth police station,
stormed the venue in the morning and dispersed party supporters, thereby
blocking the scheduled rally.

The MDC-T provincial executive was billed to address the people at the
rally, which the police had sanctioned.

The incident comes barely a week after police disrupted another MDC-T rally
in Harare’s Kambuzuma suburb.

“This action clearly shows that the police have embarked on a crusade aimed
at disrupting peaceful MDC rallies across the country. The police and Zanu
PF want to systematically isolate the MDC from its millions of supporters,”
said the MDC-T in a statement.

However, provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake professed
ignorance over the disruption in Masvingo, saying he was out of office. He
promised to call back but never did.

In Kambuzuma, police later arrested two MDC-T activists accusing them of
assaulting police officers. The MDC-T said it found it strange that the
police had not arrested “known Zanu PF thugs and miscreants”, who waged a
reign of terror against MDC members in Harare’s Highfield suburb two weeks
ago, but targeted innocent party activists.

Efforts to get a comment from police spokesperson senior assistant
commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena, were fruitless yesterday.

MDC-T officials claim nasty history with chief Serima

MDC-T provincial spokesperson, Harrison Mudzuri, said the police had earlier
on approved the rally in Gutu but told them at the last minute that the
venue had been double-booked.

Chief Serima, born Vengesai Rushwaya, could not be reached for a comment.

The MDC-T has in the past, clashed with the chief at the same venue.

Matutu, who is also the Deputy Youth, Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment minister, was last year fined US$100 or 25 days in prison by a
senior Masvingo magistrate for assaulting Chief Serima.

The party accuses Serima of being an appendage of Zanu PF.

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Zhuwao wins case against farm workers

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:34

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, has won his case against
115 workers at Gwebi Junction Estate near Norton, who last week forced him
to flee his farm using the back exit following a labour dispute.
According to the determination reached yesterday, the workers should resume
work immediately, as their protest was illegal.

Last week, the workers went on strike and demonstrated at his farm, blocking
the exit at the farmhouse, forcing Zhuwao to flee.

Zhuwao, who is MP for Zvimba East, had last week applied to the Chinhoyi
Provincial Labour Office, requesting the strike to be declared illegal.

The law provides that the employees should give 14 days notice of their
intention to strike or demonstrate.

The two parties agreed that work should resume at the farm while payment
modalities were being sorted out at the earliest possible time.

“Although it was agreed by both parties that workers should go back to work,
it is unfortunate that they have not showed up at the workplace today
(yesterday),” said Zhuwao.

But the workers who felt hard-done by the judgment, have vowed not go back
to work unless and until they were given their four months wages in arrears.

“We will not go to work unless we are given our dues. It is very clear that
Zhuwao does not want to pay us. he has been selling cattle on a daily basis,
but he never showed efforts to pay us,” said one worker who requested
anonymity. “There are now only 90 cattle from the 2 000 he had in 2008.
Zhuwao is on hard times.”

Zhuwao was last week held hostage for hours by workers after failing to pay
them their wages.

The workers sang revolutionary songs and beat drums before sealing off the
farmhouse exit, demanding their money.

Sensing danger, a frightened Zhuwao scaled the fence and eventually escaped
using a back exit, much to the chagrin of the irate workers.

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Zanu PF orders fresh Mat North poll

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:27

BULAWAYO — The Zanu PF politburo has ordered the party’s squabbling
Matabeleland North provincial chapter to elect a substantive chairperson, as
factionalism continues to rock the former ruling party.
The politburo resolved that the province should set a date for the election
as soon as possible.

Zanu PF Matabeleland North acting chairperson, Sithokozile Mathuthu last
week said the province was still to set a date for the election because they
were waiting for guidance from the party’s commissariat.

“We have not set the date,” she said, “We will be guided by the

Asked if the elections would be held anytime soon, Mathuthu said: “They will
happen, but we haven’t been given the roadmap yet.”

The politburo also cleared suspended Zwelitsha Masuku, who was once acting
provincial chairperson to contest the election, a development largely seen
as a victory for Umguza legislator, Obert Mpofu, against his alleged rival,
Zanu PF national chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo.

Mpofu and Moyo are said to be fighting for the political control of the
Matabeleland region to fill in the void left by the death of Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo.

Masuku, who is widely considered an ally of Mpofu, was suspended in November
last year, reportedly at the behest of Moyo, on allegations of defying the

Masuku however, did not face any disciplinary action, resulting in growing
speculation that Moyo was fighting Mpofu for control of the party’s
Matabeleland structures.

In March this year, Moyo wrote to Masuku barring him from any party

The letter was written just days before the province was scheduled to hold
elections for a substantive chairperson.

The elections failed to take place, but the province met and appointed
Sithokozile Mathuthu as acting chairperson, in place of Headman Moyo, who
had initially replaced Masuku.

Mpofu and Moyo recently clashed in front of President Robert Mugabe at a
politburo meeting over the suspension of Masuku.
Efforts to get a comment from both Mpofu and Moyo were fruitless last week.

Matabeleland war: Mpofu attacks Moyo

In the last Matabeleland North provincial meeting, where national party
commissar, Webster Shamu was guest of honour, Mpofu indirectly attacked Moyo
over Masuku’s suspension, accusing the party chairperson of derailing their

Mpofu also attacked some party members he accused of secretly campaigning
for the chairperson’s position at the expense of Masuku.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that party provincial spokesperson, Jonathan
Mathuthu and secretary for administration, Clifford Sibanda, are interested
in the post.

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Dual citizenship stalemate spills into Parliament

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:26

BULAWAYO — A parliamentary select committee leading the constitution-making
process, has failed to find common ground on the issue of dual citizenship
and has referred the matter to Parliament.
Copac co-chairpersons for the two MDC formations, Edward Mkhosi and Douglas
Mwonzora, said after several months of haggling over the dual citizenship
matter, the committee finally agreed to refer the issue to Parliament, so
that it could be dealt with, through an Act.
Zanu-PF is opposed to dual citizenship.

“We failed to find common ground on the issue and transferred the
responsibility to an act of parliament. Parliament will deal with it,” said
Mkhosi, who represents the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.

Mwonzora, who represents the MDC-T added: “The non-inclusion of dual
citizenship in the latest draft constitution is because of the prolonged
debates on the issue. If there is need to prohibit it, then a law may be
brought into parliament prohibiting it and the parliament of the time will
deal with it.”
Civic society organisations and the MDC formations have said that
criminalising dual citizenship disadvantaged Zimbabweans based abroad, who
were forced to leave at the height of the country’s economic and political

Most exiled Zimbabweans have over the years been denied the right to
participate in national elections in the country, having acquired
citizenship in their countries of exile.

The Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative (CRAI), an organisation
dedicated to ending statelessness and the arbitrary denial of citizenship in
Africa, is lobbying African governments to adopt a treaty that eliminates
loss of citizenship on the continent.

The current Constitution provides that an act of Parliament may provide for
the prohibition of dual citizenship or the procedures for the renunciation
of citizenship, as well as the circumstances in which persons qualify for or
lose their citizenship by descent or registration.

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Women rights activists blast Mujuru

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:20


WOMEN rights activists have said Vice- President Joice Mujuru’s advice to
women to be docile to promiscuous husbands must be taken with caution, as
aggrieved people tend to speak with a broken heart and not necessarily mean
what they say.

Speaking at the memorial service of her late husband, Retired General
Solomon Mujuru, at Ruzambu Farm in Beatrice recently, Mujuru urged women to
be subservient to their husbands and be good to them, no matter how late
they come home.

She said she used to prepare the late general water for bathing and gave him
food anytime he came home and warned women against fighting with their
husbands’ girlfriends.

The VP said for 10 years, the late general set-up State security agents to
spy on her movements, thinking that she was cheating on him.
She however said, Mujuru drank a lot of beer and sometimes did not sleep at

But women rights activists said Mujuru’s message was out of touch with
modernity and the campaign for women’s rights.

“I think that (the message) takes the women’s movement 500 years backwards,”
said journalist Grace Mutandwa.

“It is her prerogative to give such advice and it is up to women to take it
or leave it, but I believe marriage should be a partnership and not a master
and servant arrangement.”

Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender programme officer, Nakai Nengomasha,
said the way people viewed marriage was in line with how they were

He said he would encourage pro-empowerment messages, especially considering
that women have been living under abuse for too long.

“It will be unfair for us to urge such things because we would have
unleashed the men and allowed them to be irresponsible,” Nengomasha said.

“Leadership comes with responsibility and we have always said men are
leaders, so we also expect them to be responsible and accountable.”

He added: “At Padare, we say men of quality are not afraid of equality and
real men do not abuse women and children. They are always available to their
families, they are loving and caring, they are responsible, they are willing
listeners to women’s issues and rectify women’s plight, they are willing to
be transformed from patriarchal tendencies and they are agents of gender

Mujuru prisoner of political experiences: Makoni

Girl Child Network founder and chief executive, Betty Makoni, said the
younger generation viewed the issue of women’s right differently from older
people like Mujuru.

She said women rights activists must not attack her, but engage her as she
was a prisoner of her background and political experiences. Mujuru joined
the war of liberation, which was dominated by men, as a young girl.

“To be frank, I sympathise with the VP. Many times we overlook that anyone
can be a victim,” she said.

Makoni said Mujuru’s statement was in tandem with the norms which rights
groups were discouraging young boys from embracing. She added that the
statement reversed everything that had been done to empower women and girls
in the country.

MDC-T MP supports VP

MDC-T legislator, Thabitha Khumalo, said she supported Mujuru, that women
should not fight their husbands’ girlfriends, saying this could reduce the
spread of infections.

She urged wives to establish a good rapport with their husbands’ “small
houses”, as that way, they would always know the whereabouts of their
husbands. She said fighting them would push them to other women, exposing
the wife to infections and re-infections.

“That is brilliant advice. Under normal circumstances, he is expected to be
yours alone, but I am sorry to say in reality, these men engage with other
women and thus you have zero chances of having him all to yourself,” said

“Befriend the small house, understand the woman your man is with and
safeguard your health and his.”

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US$1,3m Mbare fuel project in dire state

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:18

DENSE tufts of overgrown foliage envelopes a once-promising business venture
landscape. A variety of religious groups, popularly known as Vapositori,
donning white robes, regularly gather at the premises to conduct their
The partially constructed buildings now risk dilapidating into a morass of
concrete and bricks. Such has become the fate of the proposed service
station and food court near Matapi Police Station in Mbare, that Mashwede
Diesel Services had begun constructing earlier this year.

The company, owned by local businessman, Alex Mashamhanda, had already sunk
about half a million dollars into the US$1,2 million project before a
shadowy Zanu PF-aligned youth militia, Chipangano, ordered that the project
be stopped.

Zanu PF Harare province youth chairman, Jim Kunaka, earlier this year told
The Standard that he would mobilise youths to cut short the construction
project, arguing that local residents were not consulted.

True to his word, over 100 youths armed with weapons attacked workers at the
site, destroying property and injuring Mashamhanda along with nine workers.

Mashamhanda last week confirmed that he had stopped construction after
getting orders from the Harare City Council.

“We are presently unable to resume construction because we received a letter
from the City (council) of Harare instructing us to stop construction
although no specific reasons were given,” said Mashamhanda.

Mashamhanda said the stoppage had seriously affected him, as he was supposed
to repay a loan he had borrowed from a local financial institution.
“We had planned to have completed the project by the end of March this year,
but although we have some personnel guarding the site and property, it’s all
costing us money, which should have gone towards construction,” he said.

Council will assist Mashwede : Mayor

Harare City Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, explained that the council has an
obligation to follow through on the resolution authorising Mashwede Diesel
services to go ahead with the development.

“We as council, from a policy perspective will make sure Mashamhanda gets
all the assistance he needs. That development will ultimately benefit
stakeholders in that locality and change the landscape of Mbare positively,”
he said, adding that the law enforcement agents, including the ZRP and
council police, would have to be roped in, should vigilante groups seek to
stall the council-authorised project.

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Case exposes Chipangano’s rowdy behaviour

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:17

BY our staff
THE Mbare-based Zanu PF shadowy group, Chipa-ngano, has taken a keen
interest in the case involving a human rights activist who has business
interests in the suburb.
Sten Zvorwadza was arrested and assaulted at Mbare police station where he
had gone to report a case against Chipangano members who had disrupted him
while installing paraffin tanks in the area in January.

The deputy president and spokesperson of the Restoration of Human Rights
Zimbabwe, was instead incarcerated and charged with threatening to murder
Clifford Mazarura and another activist, Clever Ntabende.

Senior members of Chipangano are always seen at Zvorwadza’s court
appearances at the Mbare magistrates’ court, where they arrive driving
top-of-the-range vehicles and clad in designer suits, yet they claim to
represent a constituency of poor and disadvantaged people.

Chipangano is accused of unleashing terror, mainly in Mbare, and members of
the group were not even afraid to show their intimidation tactics and rowdy
behaviour during Zvorwadza’s several court appearances.

Mazarura, who is alleged to be a senior member of the group and one of the
complainants against Zvorwadza, at one time blocked the human rights
activist right by the gate of the police station. Police officers manning
the gates stood by while Zvorwadza was being harassed for at least five
minutes, as he was trying to drive to town.

The group comprises one menacing-looking character, who seems to be a
bouncer for Chipangano. His role is construed to be that of protecting the
seemingly unintimidating figure of Mazarura.

During one of the court appearances, Mazarura, donning a black suit, walked
with a sense of invincibility surrounded by about 10 youths dressed in
clothes typically befitting their role as the rabble rousers. One could not
mistake the strong stench of beer and cigarette smoke.

Mazarura claimed he did not take orders from Zanu PF Harare youth chairman
and the alleged leader of Chipangano, Jim Kunaka. Upon enquiry, this
reporter was told that party structures of Zanu PF made Kunaka his junior.
Mazarura claimed he wielded more power.

Reached for a comment, Kunaka denied leadership of Chipangano saying he did
not know what the name meant. “Can you explain to me what Chipangano means
because I don’t know what it means? And we as the youth use the party
structures and no such thing as Chipangano exists in our party structures,”
said Kunaka.

As for the case involving Zvorwadza, Kunaka said the human rights activist
had a dispute with the residents, hence their interest in the matter.

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General Mujuru was a unifier: Analysts

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:10

DESPITE his known weaknesses which included alleged drunkenness and
philandering, the late retired General Solomon Mujuru was a unifier who
managed to bring together friends and foes even after his death in a
mysterious inferno at his farm in August last year, analysts have said.
They said it was such qualities that were lacking in the current crop of
leaders aspiring to succeed  President Robert Mugabe.

Mujuru was able to interact with leaders from different political parties
including the likes of Simba Makoni of Mavambo/Kusile, Dumiso Dabengwa of
Zapu and officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, as well as
Western diplomats, some of whom were much despised by his Zanu PF party.

The late general spoke his mind and whistle-blower website, WikiLeaks quoted
leaked American cables as saying the former army commander confronted Mugabe
two weeks before the March 2008 harmonised elections telling him to step
down to avoid humiliation at the hands of Tsvangirai.

Over a week ago, thousands of people from across the political divide
attended Mujuru’s memorial service which was organised with a difference in
order to accommodate the different groups and individuals who thronged
Ruzambu farm.

Even Tsvangirai, whose eldest son Edwin was getting  married  on the same
day, attended the memorial service for about two hours before dashing back
to Harare for the wedding.

Mugabe, cabinet ministers in the Government of National Unity (GNU),
captains of industry and commerce, diplomats, the military, religious
leaders and ordinary people from different political parties were also
present at the event.

Various denominations participated in the memorial service, reflecting
Mujuru’s tolerance of different religious persuasions.  Father Fidelis
Mukonori of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the house where Mujuru died,
while Salvation Army’s Zimbabwe territorial commander, Commissioner Venice
Chigariro and Bishop Johannes Ndanga of the Apostolic Christian Council
played different roles during the memorial.

Performing groups, including the Masvingo-based Zion Christian Church (ZCC)
Mbungo Stars and the  Salvation Army territorial band travelled from
different parts of the country to honour and celebrate the life of Mujuru.

Speakers, including Mu-gabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, State Security
minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Air Marshal
Perence Shiri, all described Mujuru as a unifying figure from the days of
the liberation struggle to the time he died.

VP Mujuru said Zimbabweans from different political affiliations and
churches stood by the family during the time of bereavement proving that he
was a unifier of people.

He was ‘a man of the people’

Political analyst Dr Ibbo Mandaza said Mujuru was a true national figure who
was able to unite people from different social and political backgrounds.
“He was a man of the people,” he said. “Mujuru was not a typical leader. He
was a humble person and would drive himself and travel to rural areas, Mbare
and Highfields and other places where he would socialise with people of
different backgrounds. This is why people respected him a lot.”

Another political analyst, Ernest Mudzengi agreed with Mandaza, that Mujuru
was “a man of the people” who appealed to people across the political

“It is difficult to find someone who appeals to so many people, especially
in Zanu PF which is ridden with factionalism. This makes it difficult to
find a person who can be a national leader with the ability to unite the
people,” he said.

...but others thought he was divisive

Political commentator Blessing Vava does not believe Mujuru was a unifier.
He said thousands of people attended both his burial and memorial service
just to show sympathy because of the circumstances leading to his death.

“It’s  a known fact that the general  was the face of a faction in Zanu PF
known as the Mujuru faction that is rival to the so-called Emmerson
Mnangagwa faction, so on that score alone he was not a unifier.”

Vava said there were people in Zanu PF who were capable of leading both the
party and even the country but because of fear, no one could really come out
in the open to boldly declare his or her own ambitions as long as Mugabe was
still there.

Although Mujuru was much revered as a unifier, he had his own weaknesses
including allegations of using his political muscle to grab shares in some
key companies.

VP Mujuru revealed during the memorial service that her husband was an
excessive drinker, who sometimes did not sleep at home and that there were
children who were claiming that they were fathered by him. The late general
also hired CIO agents to stalk her for 10 years suspecting that she was
cheating on him.

Mujuru died in a mysterious fire at his farm last year, but coroner Walter
Chikwanha concluded that there was no foul play and that the cause of death
was “carbonisation”.

The general’s family has however insisted that his death can only be brought
to finality by exhuming his body and conducting a fresh autopsy.

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Towards zero new HIV infections

Saturday, 12 May 2012 19:04

By Thokozani Khupe
“Getting to Zero” stands for the hope that we have for eliminating HIV. We
can get to zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero
Aids-related deaths, but the challenge is how to get there and how to hold
on to the gains made so as not to roll backwards.

As we head into the fourth decade of the Aids challenge, we are now in a
position to truly see an end to the epidemic. This is the time to act and
not to be complacent. This is the time to break the yolk of silence, stigma
and discrimination that can undo all the work that has gone into responding
to the epidemic. It is the time to make smart investments in prevention,
treatment and care.

Since 1997 the number of new HIV infections has fallen by more than 20%
globally mainly due to changes in behaviour, but also increased access to
treatment. Last year alone, 700 000 lives were saved across the world. Some
6,6 million people, nearly half of those who need treatment in low- and
middle-income countries, are now receiving it.

These achievements are cause for celebration; however, we have equally a
cause for concern and the need to stay focused. Today, in Africa, the
vulnerability of women and girls to HIV remains extremely high; with 59% of
all people living with HIV being women. Of the total number of young people
aged between 15-24, seven out of 10 are women. Young women bear the brunt of
new infections, and in some parts of Africa they are up to six times more
likely to acquire HIV than their male peers. While 22% of all new infections
globally occur among girls and young women aged 15- 24, in Africa this
amounts to 31%.

Women also bear most of the burden of care for sick partners, relatives and
sick children. UNAids estimates that of all newly infected children in 2009,
at least 76% of the infections occurred in Africa. According to WHO data,
more than half of all maternal deaths occur in Africa, with an average
maternal mortality ratio of 620 per 100 000 live births.

There is a correlation between the high adolescent fertility rate which in
Africa stands at 117 per 1 000 of the girls aged 15-19 years and the
underutilisation of educational and economic opportunities for girls and
young women.

The prevailing gender inequalities and gender-based-violence are chief among
other factors that increase women and girls’ risk to HIV infection, further
hindering the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Who will attend the meeting?

The GlobalPOWER®Women Network Africa meeting will bring together women
parliamentarians, heads of state, leading African women entrepreneurs, civil
society leaders and development partners, to agree on priorities to
accelerate action. The high-level meeting is expected to serve as a
strategic political platform for a paradigm shift to positively impact on
the lives of women and girls in Africa.

The meeting also seeks to generate responses that will align the HIV and the
Sexual and Reproductive Health Agenda to action for women empowerment and
the human rights of women and girls.

Global POWER seeks to address women, girls vulnerability

The 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and Aids, and the UNAids call for
“Getting to Zero” to halt the spread of HIV and mitigate the impact of the
epidemic on women and girls, recognises that progress on HIV and sexual and
reproductive health and rights are intertwined and mutually reinforcing.

HIV being one of the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age
in Africa, the achievement of sexual and reproductive health and rights
agenda is key to achieving the goals set in the Political Declaration in
Africa. Particularly important are the reduction of new HIV infections by
half; access to antiretroviral treatment for 15 million people by 2015; and
elimination of vertical transmission of HIV and substantial reduction in
Aids-related maternal deaths by 2015.

Behind each data line there is a human face, which is a sober reminder that
HIV is still very much with us, and it requires each of us to work together,
and with an intention and intensity that we are yet to see. Changed
attitudes and behaviours must become the norm and the culture.

This cannot be addressed by better project design only, it is critically
driven by leadership vision and commitment to achieving such change at all
levels, where a people’s courage and determination to do away with this
epidemic prevails.

It is for this reason the Global Partnership of Women Representatives
(GlobalPOWER®) was established in 2010.

In less than two years, since its establishment, the GlobalPOWER®Women
Network Africa in collaboration with the African Union and UNAids will
convene a high-level meeting between May 24-25 2012 in Harare.

It is my sincere hope that this meeting will be able to identify a set of
replicable innovative actions for women and girls, including optimal
community engagement. It goes without saying that agreed actions for
enhanced resource mobilisation, financing sustainability and accountability
for the cause of women, girls, gender equality and HIV, is also critical
component for the success of the GlobalPOWER’s initiative.

Thokozani Khupe is Deputy Prime Minister in the Inclusive Government of the
Republic of Zimbabwe and President of the Global Partnership of Women
Elected and Appointed Representatives (GlobalPOWER) Women Africa Network.

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Gandiya faction constructs own Anglican churches

Saturday, 12 May 2012 18:01

THE Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) has started
buying land to build new churches as the property wrangle with
ex-communicated Bishop Nolbert Kunonga continues.
Reverend Samuel Sifelani of the Marlborough parish said parishioners from
his church would soon start building new structures because the Kunonga
faction was preventing them from using the building they had shared before
their acrimonious split.

“We have already bought a piece of land for building a new church,” said

Parishioners in Kuwadzana high-density suburb said they bought a stand in
the area while parishioners in Kuwadzana Extension were leasing another
piece of land where they conduct their prayers.

When The Standard news crew visited Kuwadzana Extension last week, the
church’s Mothers’ Union was having its weekly meeting under a shade which
has been put up on the piece of land they bought.

“We are happy to be able to convene and pray in peace, without being
attacked and arrested,” one parishioner said. “But we are not completely at
peace because our properties were taken away from us.”

The parishioner said: “We hope the courts will soon rule in our favour
because our children are getting married and we are bringing them here in
the open yet we have decent buildings they can use. Again, we are worried
that should we die before regaining our properties, the church services will
be conducted at our houses yet we built churches for that purpose.”

A feud between Chad Gandiya and Kunonga factions has been raging since the
latter’s excommunication from the CPCA in 2007 after he unilaterally pulled
the Harare Diocese out of the province accusing his rivals of supporting

The feud, largely centred on ownership of properties and characterised by
violent clashes especially targeted at CPCA members, has resulted in
numerous court cases and political interventions to no avail.

‘Wrangle a blessing in disguise’

CPCA press officer, Precious Shumba, said the wrangle had been a blessing in
disguise inasfar as the expansion of the church was concerned.

“The persecution we have faced has created an opportunity for expansion,”
Shumba said. “Our bishop (Chad Gandiya) has said we need not despair but
secure land to build new churches so that when we finally regain our
properties which were expropriated, our territory would have grown from
where it was before the persecution.”

He said the church also got three hectares of land in Ruwa where the Mothers’
Union intended to build a training centre and a conference centre.
The church’s Glenview parish has also purchased a piece of land while the
Warren Park parish recently held a fundraising dinner for securing a piece
of land to build a church.

Shumba said more land had been secured in Norton and other parishes across
the diocese.

Kunonga, a self-confessed Zanu PF supporter, last week said he does not care
if CPCA builds new churches as long as they do not use his name.
“Assist them by telling them that they should not build in the name of the
Harare diocese and Anglican because they would have built for me as the law
gave me custody of the church and all its properties,” he said.

“They do not know what they are doing but they have to be wary or else when
I arrive at the properties they will start saying the law is unfair yet it
is them who would have shown lack of intelligence.

He added: “Impress upon them that they should change the name so they do not
get disadvantaged. They can come up with a new name and re-register or else
their efforts will amount to nothing but a waste of time because the law is
clear that they have no church.”


INTERMITTENT supply of water is forcing residents of Harare’s Kuwadzana
high-density suburb to fetch drinking water from unprotected sources
exposing them to waterborne diseases which are increasingly becoming
prevalent in Harare.

A Standard news crew touring the area last week found residents in Kuwadzana
Extension fetching drinking water from a manhole while those in Kuwadzana 1
and 2 were getting the precious liquid from unprotected wells.

“We sometimes go for days without water and resort to fetching from the
manhole,” said one of the residents. “Council workers usually close the
manhole but we have no alternative but to remove the lid and fetch water
when the taps are dry.”

The residents complained that there was only one borehole in the area,
forcing them to queue for long hours for water such that they found it
better to get water from the manhole.

They said they only used the water for cleaning toilets, watering vegetables
and laundry, while  drinking and cooking water was from the borehole.
However, The Standard was told others drink the water from the manhole.

Residents who live near the manhole expressed concern that the grassy area
surrounding the manhole was always damp and had turned into a breeding
ground for mosquitoes.

The Standard crew found some of the residents busy watering vegetable
gardens around the manhole.

The residents said they feared for their health given reports from the
Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) that there were still scattered
cases of diarrhoeal diseases being reported in Kuwadzana and other
high-density areas in Harare.

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Residents fetch water from unprotected sources

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:59

INTERMITTENT supply of water is forcing residents of Harare’s Kuwadzana
high-density suburb to fetch drinking water from unprotected sources
exposing them to waterborne diseases which are increasingly becoming
prevalent in Harare.
A Standard news crew touring the area last week found residents in Kuwadzana
Extension fetching drinking water from a manhole while those in Kuwadzana 1
and 2 were getting the precious liquid from unprotected wells.

“We sometimes go for days without water and resort to fetching from the
manhole,” said one of the residents. “Council workers usually close the
manhole but we have no alternative but to remove the lid and fetch water
when the taps are dry.”

The residents complained that there was only one borehole in the area,
forcing them to queue for long hours for water such that they found it
better to get water from the manhole.

They said they only used the water for cleaning toilets, watering vegetables
and laundry, while  drinking and cooking water was from the borehole.
However, The Standard was told others drink the water from the manhole.

Residents who live near the manhole expressed concern that the grassy area
surrounding the manhole was always damp and had turned into a breeding
ground for mosquitoes.

The Standard crew found some of the residents busy watering vegetable
gardens around the manhole.

The residents said they feared for their health given reports from the
Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) that there were still scattered
cases of diarrhoeal diseases being reported in Kuwadzana and other
high-density areas in Harare.

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Parents force school to close in Karoi

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:56

KAROI — Parents with children at Nyamakate Secondary School in Karoi last
week forcibly closed the school demanding the removal of some teachers they
accused of supporting the MDC-T.
The closure of the school left over 1 200 students stranded on opening day.

About 50 guardians locked the school premises demanding the removal of two
teachers, namely Simon Mupfurutsa and Farai Kaitano.

Students at the school only started lessons after the intervention of the
Ministry of Education officials from Harare later in the week.

Parents said the problem at the school started when the then headmaster,
Emmanuel Manokore, was expelled after an investigation by the Ministry of
Education revealed that he had written examinations for some Ordinary Level
students for a fee.

But some parents alleged that the investigations were not done properly as
they had spared Kaitano whose child was also implicated.

However, other parents alleged that the teachers were MDC-T activists and
feared that their children would be taught party propaganda.
Mupfurutsa, who is the Hurungwe North district MDC-T information and
publicity secretary, accused the School Development Association (SDA)
chairman, Enock Western, of initiating his removal from the school.

Western, also known as Chihota, is the Zanu PF chairman in the area.

“Zanu PF is involved as Enock Western is also the chairman of the school
development committee,” said Mupfurutsa.

Efforts to get a comment from Western were fruitless last week.

But the victimisation of teachers aligned to MDC-T has been rife in
Mashonaland West province.

Another teacher at Chikangwe High School in Karoi, Wilson Makanyaire, has
since reported acts of victimisation by district education officers for
being a member of MDC-T.

He has reported the matter to Mashonaland West Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic).
Makanyaire, who is the MDC-T provincial organising secretary, argued that
the Education Act did not bar any teacher from being actively involved in
party politics.

“Teachers have every right to join any political party they want and in the
Education Act there is nothing written to stop teachers from participating
in politics,” said Makanyaire.

Mashonaland West Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture director,
Sylvester Mashayamombe, confirmed that they had dispatched a team to
investigate the closure of the school.

“After we received reports that the school had failed to open because some
parents had grievances with some teachers, we sent our team to go and ensure
that the school reopened,” said Mashayamombe. “What we don’t want is for the
children to suffer because of whatever reasons, be it politics or

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Villagers exchange livestock for food

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:55

LOWER GWERU — Most villagers who do not have a source of income in Midlands
province have resorted to barter trade; exchanging grain and other household
provisions for groceries to survive hardships currently bedevilling most
rural communities in the country.
Nomaqwa Sibindi from Lower Gweru in Midlands province, last week, said most
villagers were “buying” basic commodities using grain.

She, however, complained that the buyers, mostly shop owners, were cashing
in on the desperation of poor villagers by not paying the real value of the
grain. We obtain basic commodities such as cooking oil, soap, sugar and
flour in exchange of grain. The shop-owners are cashing-in on our desperate
plight  since we are unemployed and have no means of generating cash to buy
the goods at a fair value,” said Sibindi.

Villagers who do not have grain, exchange livestock such as goats, chickens
and sheep for groceries.

Sibindi said: “On average a bar of soap costs about US$2 and a bucket of
maize costs US$4. Shop owners undervalue our grain to US$2 which they later
sell at a profit.”

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Pungwe project let down communities

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:53

MUTARE — THE Pungwe River Water Pipeline, which draws water from the river
to Mutare, has failed to benefit the local communities living along the
pipeline as originally promised, a local legislator has said.
MP for Mutasa Central, Trevor Saruwaka, said the water project has failed to
benefit people in areas such as Watsomba growth point, Tsonzo Purchase Area,
New Reserve and Zongoro village.

It was initially agreed that the pipeline would benefit communities through
the establishment of irrigation projects as well as the use of the water for
domestic use.

“The claims by the local people are genuine as there have been several
attempts to engage key stakeholders such as the local authorities ever since
the project was mooted, but the calls have not been taken aboard,” said

He added: “Boreholes which have been sunk are not adequate and strategic
enough to cater for many local villagers who desperately need water while
the rest is channelled to Mutare and its surrounding environs,” he said.

The pipeline stretches for more than 150km to the City of Mutare, where it
is channelled to urban households and industries.

This is what has mostly raised the ire of these local communities.

Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) director Mutuso Dhliwayo
said communities should benefit from water resources just like other people
from diamonds and platinum mining in their areas.

“This water scheme should operate from the confines of the community-based
natural resources management concept, such as the Campfire model where
communities have exploited natural resources for their benefit’” he said.

Zela is a non-governmental organisation advocating for local community
rights in natural resources exploitation.

Joseph Tasosa, the executive director of the Zimbabwe National Environment
Trust, a non-governmental organisation working with communities in Nyanga in
harnessing water in the Nyangani Mountain Range said: “The country still has
a lot of ground to cover to create irrigation based-agriculture.”

President Robert Mugabe recently said dam development and the irrigation
sector have been under-funded since independence leading to perpetual food
shortages especially during droughts.

He acknowledged that the country was sitting on vast water reservoirs which
it was failing to harness for irrigation due to lack of capital.

“Although we created massive water bodies, we failed to secure money for
irrigation schemes with examples like Osborne Dam in Mutare and at the end
of the day, the cities, the communities remain inadequately served,” said
Mugabe, speaking at World Water Day commemorations in Masvingo recently.

Mutare villagers await fulfilment of promises

Rodrick Machiwenyika from Zongoro Village, complained that while the
pipeline was being laid, communities were promised that they would benefit
from it through irrigation and for domestic use.

“Local institutions such as Old Mutare Mission, Africa University and
schools such as Mundenda primary and secondary, Mwoyoweshumba, Zo-ngoro and
Nyakatsapa, have no adequate water and such a situation is not sustainable,”
he said.

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Library trust targets uplifting rural areas

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:51

ONLY 7% of the 8 000 rural primary schools in Zimbabwe have established
libraries, the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust (ZRSLT) has said.

ZRSLT chairman, Matthew Chandavengerwa, said the trust aimed at mobilising
resources for the establishment of libraries in underprivileged rural
schools in the country.

Chandavengerwa was speaking at the launch of an initiative to develop
libraries in rural communities last week in Harare. He said a
Zimbabwean-based in New Zealand, Driden Kunaka, has been mobilising
resources since 2009 and one library has already been established at Matenda
School in rural Zvishavane.

“We also have two big garages full of books in New Zealand and the UK.
arrangements have already been made for those books to be shipped,”
Chandavengerwa said.

“Current statistics show that only 7% of the 8 000 primary schools in rural
areas have some form of library and we want to ensure that we establish at
least 3 000 library facilities by the year 2020, facilities which will
benefit both schoolchildren and other members of their communities.”

Chandavengerwa said research done by the trust showed that Matabeleland
provinces had more libraries than other provinces because of the efforts by
the Zimbabwe Library Development Association which has been channelling
resources to the provinces.

“So a bit of the 7%, in fact 400 primary schools with libraries are in
Matabeleland,” he said.

“But still, you will find that schools in such areas as Binga are among the
worst in terms of library resources.

“But our initiative will assist both primary and secondary schools and we
will be providing ordinary literature books that will help the children
improve their grammar, spellings and general knowledge among other things.”

In a speech read on her behalf by State Enterprises and Parastatals
minister, Gorden Moyo, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe said libraries
play a pivotal role in education.

She urged corporate organisations and other Zimbabweans to support the

Govt to support ZRSLT’s efforts: Chamisa

Information Communication Technology minister, Nelson Chamisa, said his
ministry would introduce technology in rural schools as a way of supporting
the initiative.

“The current rural-urban divide is not good,” Chamisa said.

“Children should not see libraries and computers for the first time at

Following independence in 1980, Zimbabwe achieved a rise in literacy levels
as the new government invested heavily in education. But because of the
economic meltdown, the government stopped supplying in schools.

The UK’s Book Aid International has said lack of access to educational
resources that promote literacy in developing countries like Zimbabwe could
mean the countries miss their Millennium Development Goals, particularly
that of achieving universal primary education.

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Hatcliffe Extension needs upgrading

Saturday, 12 May 2012 17:50

By Ronia Gwaze
HATCLIFFE Extension is a settlement that was formed when people were moved
into the area from Porta Farm and other squatter areas in Harare. Several
cooperatives came in and subdivided the area, allocating stands to the
Most of the residents still live in plastic shacks donated by the Roman
Catholic Church. Some have since built their own homes while others are
still in the process of building homes.

The cooperatives have attempted to service the area, but the roads are run
down after years of wear and tear, or are impassable after the rains and
this requires immediate attention.

The key priority areas for the residents are roads and education.

Roads: The area is inaccessible, so the construction of roads should be a
priority. Residents require one main access road constructed immediately.
Residents need to be serviced with transport leading in and out of the area
e.g. ferrying the sick and the dead to the main road.

Education: There are no formal education facilities in Hatcliffe Extension
except for makeshift schools termed “colleges”, staffed with untrained
teachers. Residents would require formal schools with trained teachers who
are paid by the government.

Colleges/schools in the area are not enjoying benefits from donor
organisations like Unicef who give stationery and textbooks to primary and
secondary schools. The schools do not have decent classrooms to match the
enrolment. The residents are aware that their children are disadvantaged as
they cannot all be accommodated in schools in Hatcliffe 1.

Zesa: Residents feel that Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa)
should come up with a plan that will integrate residents’ plans to have
power as early as possible. They are prepared to make contributions for
speedy electrification in the area.

Water supply: Dirty water is piped to residents. A redress of the situation
is required. Residents used to repair boreholes on their own but now council
requires residents to buy fuel for the vehicle that would transport the
rods/pipes and the council employees who would repair the boreholes.  They
get their drinking water from boreholes.

Refuse collection: Although residents complained of poor refuse removal,
they bought into the idea of putting refuse in a pit and when the pit is
full, they would plant a tree.

Rentals: Residents need clarification on the US$60-120 dollars they pay at
Mukwati Building as they claim that land had been paid for by a donor. After
this payment, they still have to pay rates.

They therefore would like to know what council is doing for them after the
rates have been paid as there is poor refuse removal, sanitation,
accessibility and water supply.

Ronia Gwaze is HRT community coordinator

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Policy bankruptcy, Zanu PF’s Achilles’ heel

Saturday, 12 May 2012 18:34

There seems to be a growing trend in Zimbabwe where politicians strive to
derail every progressive process seeking to redress national ills while
pretending to be fighting for the equality of all citizens.
Many of the so-called think-tanks, known for their academic prowess, have
for long failed to shed light on how their rhetoric can be transformed into
a useful remedy to the country’s problems. Most of their proposals are void
on aspects that can work to improve the welfare of the toiling citizens
despite being in the forefront to derail the making of the new constitution,
among other political reforms. And their greatest vice is their failure to
discredit a dictatorial regime that has wielded power for over three decades
now. It is a pity the masses have been turned into mere spectators with
nothing to gain from the squabbles of idle politicians.

As aptly put by one renowned African scholar, Claude Ake, concerning the
democratic movement in Africa: “None of the noisy politicians, believe in
policies that liberate the masses from foreign or neo-colonial domination”.
Ake identifies these as disgruntled politicians, sponsored organisations
seeking to accrue money for personal gain and to remain in power. This
description also suits political struggles afflicting Zimbabwe.

Of greater concern are those disgruntled politicians whose agenda is nothing
more than seeking to defy political change. They strive to institutionalise
the unsound and and patently invalid argument that without Zanu PF, the
nation is doomed. Through this hymn, they cast a shadow on prospects that
are supposed to liberate the country from pervasive political
disillusionment. But without doubt, even if they proclaim the opposite in
relation to the country’s state of affairs, they are fully aware that Zanu
PF’s posturing is a ruse to hide its decomposing state.

Without rejuvenating the party, members speak only of past achievements
without giving a hint on what they are prepared to offer in future. Without
pro-people policies, there is no way civil servants will get a pay raise
just as there is no hope of resuscitating the ailing industry and creating
employment. The thugs going around tormenting the masses to curb political
dissent will continue to multiply.

Indeed, the political immorality taking toll in most parts of Africa is a
direct result of this intolerance and failure to accept defeat — both of
which are  deplorable vices in any nation’s quest for democracy.

The same applies to other parties in Zimbabwe’s government of national unity
(GNU) or any other party wishing to contest in future elections. No
candidate should bask in the glory of being imposed into office — fair polls
are the foundation of a stable society, and this has to be complemented by
service delivery and not corruption.

Personal enrichment should certainly not be the way through which the
country is governed. Accumulation of wealth is never a crime but should be
achieved through clear and accountable means. Some bigwigs within political
parties have found it fashionable to suppress the very people who voted them
into power while facilitating token development in preparation for
re-election. This explains why there is unending shuffling of councillors
and MPs, yet service delivery remains  poor.

Of late Zanu PF has been making a lot of noise calling for elections this
year with or without a new constitution — a position it knows would result
in bloodshed and chaos.It is ironic that the same Zanu PF that has failed to
win any election since 2000 is calling for early polls. The motive behind
this must be understood within the context  of its desire to cicumvent the
will of the people. Instigating political instability, whether wilfully or
as a consequence of ill-considered policies, as in other war-torn regions of
the world, only serves to confirm Zimbabwe is enduring a leadership crisis.

For a country whose growth path was on the upward trend, our desire should
be to regain past glory and ensure the wealth dissipated across the country
is consolidated for the benefit of infrastructural development. No amount of
academic talk by professors will translate into an overnight achievement.
There is dire need for enabling policies that must be correctly implemented.

Many of the country’s political ills also emanate from the creation of an
environment that doesn’t permit free circulation of information — a sphere
defined by manipulation and not truth.

The truth is there are some politicians who have ceased to be relevant;
their ideas are anachronistic and static. This is not the time for
choreographed and stage-managed political gatherings that end up yielding no
tangible outcomes. The nation needs to move forward; cheap talk is

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Sunday View: Domestic abuse should never be tolerated, Madam VP

Saturday, 12 May 2012 18:30


That Vice-president Joice Mujuru is a role model cannot be over-emphasised.
She fought alongside male cadres during the war of liberation. She was in
the thick of things when guns were blazing. She has shown women across the
political divide that it’s never too late to attain an education, having
done so while serving in government and raising a family with the late Army
Commander, General Solomon Mujuru. Her crowning moment was her ascendancy to
the presidium. She is the first woman to serve as vice-president in this
country after successfully heading several ministries in the government of
President Robert Mugabe.

Last week on Saturday the Vice-president gave the nation a sneak-peek into
her private life with the late general. The occasion was the memorial
service for Mujuru held at Ruzambu farm in Beatrice. It is those intimate
details about the luminaries’ lives that caught my attention rather than the
celebration of the life of the most decorated soldier. Some experts have
argued that Facebook thrives because people want to know more about other
people’s lives rather than their own, so naturally, that peek-a-boo into
their marriage excited me.

VP Mujuru described herself as a mother and a God-fearing woman who was true
to her husband upto the end. She moralised about the sacredness of the
marriage institution, in the process giving advice to this country’s
daughters-in-law on how to conduct themselves before their husbands and the
extended family.

While she said there was trust between the two of them, she also stated that
he set on her for 10 years the country’s spy agency, the CIO, to establish
whether she was not cheating on him.

She said: “I have always been faithful to him because I am a principled
traditional and God-fearing woman who wanted to be a role model for my

Is subservience the model behaviour for our children?

To have men in dark glasses stalking her was surely an infringement on the
freedom of movement and association as enshrined in the constitution.

Shouldn’t women who are being stalked by jealous spouses do more than just
prove that they are not up to mischief? I found her message about soaping
and massaging an errant husband’s feet at variance with women’s fight for
emancipation and the fight against the Aids scourge.

The marriage institution must not thrive on subservience and intimidation
but on love and trust. Women must not be taught to tolerate all kinds of
abuses, including emotional abuse, just to prove that they are good
daughters-in-law, perfect wives, respectful wives and role-model mothers.

Instead, in today’s world women must be brave enough to drag their errant
husbands/spouses to the New Start Centres for testing to rebuild trust and
to be able to plan for the future and that of children if there are any.

And men in polygamous set ups, especially those seeing their “small houses”
secretly, must respect themselves and their wives enough to come out in the
open instead of subjecting children to DNA tests to prove parentage.

Love is required for any relationship to have a chance. I am tempted to
think she was helpless and that breaks my heart because I look up to her—an
ex-combatant, VP and mother.

If subservience is at the centre of marriage, then it’s not worth it.
Marriage must be premised on mutual respect otherwise women will continue to
be trampled upon and all the efforts to empower and enlighten them will go
down the drain.

They say love is blind but blind love surely does kill. Any decent man must
earn the respect of his wife and children.

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Raw deal for public transport users

The dogfight between public transport operators and the police took another
ugly twist last week with the former hiking fares by more than 100%. Minibus
crews attribute the hike to police extortion which they say has become a
major cost to their operations while the police say only rogue operators
find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Minibus crews accuse the police of setting up unreasonably numerous
roadblocks where they demand money for small defects and also as bribes.
They allege they encounter as many as four to five such roadblocks in short
distances such as the 30 km stretch from Chitungwiza to Harare. They say
they hand over up to US$40 a day to the police — about as much as they make
a day. It becomes necessary, they say,  for them to pass on the cost to
Police say operators with valid documents have no complaints against the
police and do not have to pay any fines or bribes.

The victims of this fight are the commuting public who have to pay, through
the nose, large amounts of money so as to get to and from work. At times
they spend long hours waiting for the few buses that charge the correct
amounts, thereby  getting to work late and home to their families late at
The people are caught between errant groups that never tell the truth. It is
true many of the minibus crews are simply pirates who take advantage of the
lack of an organised transport system and often use defective vehicles to do

But the police are also being dishonest in claiming that only such crews are
punished by them through hefty fines. They fail to explain why their
roadblocks are so close together and why a defective vehicle is allowed to
proceed to the next such roadblock, if the aim is not to derive maximum
benefit from what clearly appears to be a fund-raising scheme.

There doesn’t seem to be a police strategy to bring finality to the madness
in our public transport system; and this suggests they are benefiting from it.

It’s time someone intervened.

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Editor's Desk: Soldiers in politics, a threat to national security


In the face of leadership failure, it is the most garrulous and most
divisive elements that come to the fore. We have seen this truth prove
itself in the recent past.

But first, what defines this leadership failure?

It is true that Zimbabwe is in the grip of a protracted political crisis
which we can say became clearly defined at the turn of the millennium. The
fact that a dozen years later the nation doesn’t know whether it  is coming
or going is a great measure of the inadequacy of our leadership. That is the
bigger picture; in the smaller picture, this indictment of our leadership is
seen in the fragmentation, without exception, of the political parties that
are supposed to move the country forward.

The fragmentation in Zanu PF has become so acrimonious  that it has become a
threat to national security; this is not an overstatement. In the MDCs, the
divisions, although still mostly simmering under the surface, have taken the
steam out of the democratic movement because lots of people who had thrown
their lot behind it, are beginning to have and express doubt at the unity of
purpose of the leadership.

Three years ago the country heaved a sigh of relief when the leaders of the
political parties which had, for the better part of the last decade, been
tearing at each other’s throats, leaving in the wake of the violence
hundreds of people dead, entered a marriage that mitigated the violence.

Indeed, it ended the ugliest forms of violence that had reduced the country
into a state of war. Good leadership would have seen the opportunity this
brought. Although it was and remains an uneasy truce, the government of
national unity gave the country the opportunity to reflect and work out a
way to move the country forward.

But instead of seizing this opportunity for the betterment of the country,
the warring parties saw it as a chance to regroup and position themselves
for more fighting rather than for creating an environment that would lift
our country out of the devastation wrought by the political divisions.

The chance to move forward offered by the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
has been laid to waste because the Zanu PF leadership is fighting for
self-preservation while that of the MDCs is battling to entrench itself in
the playground of national politics.

This inward looking leadership outlook in all parties in government has
created a vacuum in the area where national guidance is needed most — at the
top. The parties are focused primarily on infighting rather that national

This is how the divisive element, especially in Zanu PF, has come to the
fore. A furtive glance at the constitution-making process shows how the
vacuum has sucked in the most undesirable element. First, the writing of the
new constitution is a national project supposed to be led by the three
parties in the GNU. The process seemed to be progressing well, with the
parliamentary committee tasked to lead it producing a draft, although late,
under very difficult conditions.

Instead of following through the process by taking the draft, as directed in
the GPA, to a second all-stakeholders conference, where it would be
scrutinised and panel-beaten, the divisive — and garrulous — element in Zanu
PF wants the process stopped altogether. Its motive is driven by a survival
instinct rather than reason — self-preservation rather than the necessity of
a new political order.

What is most alarming is that this divisive element is double-edged — it has
a sly political leadership and a hammer-and-anvil-like military backup.
Its crafty political leadership argues that the constitution-making process
has, as its singular purpose, the ousting of the regime of President
Mugabe — what it calls the “regime-change agenda”. But this is untrue since
the charter is being written for posterity; for the post-Mugabe era, when he
has exited the political stage through natural means considering his age.

The new law does not forbid him to stand in the next presidential election
which he himself wants this year. But this faction in his party wants to lie
to the gullible public that this is what it sets out to do. If President
Mugabe is as popular as this faction says he is, then it has nothing to
fear, for he will win the next election. The faction wants to disguise the
fact that they are not sure of their party’s state of electoral preparedness
considering its dismal performance in March 2008. This faction knows that if
Mugabe loses, which is very likely, it will be thrown into the political

To make its bid for survival have a fighting chance it has roped in the
military, which is making a lot of noise and threatening to leave the
barracks and join the political fray.

The military dresses its thinking in high-sounding pronouncements that extol
abstract ideals that have no relation whatever with its core business of
protecting the people. Its thinking is defined as follows by Major-General
Martin Chedondo:

“A national defence force the world over is there to protect the national
politics, national integrity, the executive and other systems that form part
of the government. By virtue of this, defence forces automatically become a
political animal.”

It talks of the “defence of our independence and national sovereignty”, and
not once does it mention the defence of the people. This thinking has been
problematic in the past where in “defence of independence and sovereignty”
the civilian population has found itself at the mercy of the armed forces.
In what President Mugabe termed “a moment of madness”, thousands of
civilians perished in the 1980s at the hands of the military in the campaign
now notoriously called Gukurahundi; in 2005 again in “defence of our
independence and sovereignty” 700 000 families lost their homes and
livelihoods in the madness of Murambatsvina, creating a huge population of
internally displaced people. Hundreds died because they were moved far away
from medical facilities. Again, the uniformed forces were involved in this.

In the run-up to the presidential election run-off of June 2008, again the
“disciplined” forces where at the forefront of the violence that saw
hundreds of people die, all in defence of “the executive and other systems
that form part of the government”.

The unholy alliance between the military and political misfits has now
become a threat to national security and the political leadership must come
out of its cocoon and undo it. The military should remain in the barracks
while all politicians should face the people in an election under the
appropriate laws as spelt out by a new national constitution.

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