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Zimbabwe braces for daily 9-hour power outages amid winter weather

By Associated Press, Published: May 13

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s state power company says it is implementing
power cuts of at least nine hours a day as the winter season begins in the
southern African nation.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Company says the outages, known as load shedding,
will affect homes, businesses and industries across the nation. Only major
hospitals and strategic facilities will be excluded.

In a statement Sunday, the company said during colder months it can only
supply half the national demand for power. Demand peaks in winter.

It blamed breakdowns, aging equipment and financial problems that prevent
them from importing power from the region.

In years of economic meltdown, Zimbabwe suffered regular poorly managed
power outages of up to 20 hours a day while some areas escaped cuts because
of inefficiency. The state weather office has forecast near freezing lows in
coming weeks.

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No one can hear you, they screamed

For 25 days Mugabe’s thugs tried to break The Sunday Times’s Robin Hammond
Robin Hammond talks about his ordeal in prison

Lucy Fisher – Published: 13 May 2012

AN award-winning Sunday Times photographer was shackled, strip-searched and
given cattle feed during a 25- day ordeal in two of Zimbabwe’s most
notorious prisons.

Robin Hammond, 36, was arrested last month as he photographed refugees
fleeing to neighbouring South Africa. He ended up sharing a cell measuring
15ft by 30ft with 38 other prisoners, each shivering under filthy,
lice-infested blankets, with an open hole in the floor for a lavatory.

He was forced to watch fellow prisoners being beaten as President Robert
Mugabe’s henchmen accused him of being a journalist and tried to force a
confession out of him.

Hammond, who won an Amnesty International award for his pictures of child
soldiers shackled in Sudan, was horrified to find himself in a similar
position. “It was as if I was in one of my own photographs,” he said.

Recovering at home in Paris yesterday with his girlfriend, Aude Barbera, 28,
Hammond was relieved to be free but still shocked by his treatment. “I
started to believe I would never get out,” he said.

Working independently with money from a photojournalism award, Hammond
entered Zimbabwe on April 15 to cover the country’s latest humanitarian

He did not seek accreditation because he feared Zimbabwe’s Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) would detain him if his assignment was

On April 16 Hammond was arrested near the South African border. At a police
station in Beit Bridge, a town that straddles the border, he was told he was
being charged with taking photographs in a restricted area.

That should have led to his immediate deportation but instead police tried
to force him to admit he was operating illegally as a journalist.

Eventually he was consigned to Beit Bridge prison. He was refused access to
a lawyer or a telephone, stripped naked and ordered to jump up and down to
prove he was not concealing weapons. He was then thrown into the cramped

“It’s the moment when your eyes adjust to the darkness that you realise the
hell you are really in,” he said. “The smell was overwhelming; then I saw
limbs entangled everywhere — 38 prisoners in underpants.

“I felt very vulnerable, hopeless, powerless — I was at the mercy of a
system where laws are bent to fit politics and human rights are regularly

He added: “Sharing a cell with so many men cramped together in a small space
was a terrible experience. When we woke up in the morning we would have to
crush the lice from our blankets. They’d been feasting on us all night.”

Although the prison had no web access, he grew worried that his “internet
footprint” would betray him.

“Under interrogation I knew Google would be my worst enemy,” he said. “I managed eventually to sneak a note out and the message was relayed to my friends and girlfriend: make me disappear from the internet.”

His fiancée, a former IT specialist, created a fake website portraying him
as a photography teacher. She also littered the web with references to
teaching credentials. Regardless of her efforts, interrogation went on at
Beit Bridge.

“When they interrogated me they made me squat on the ground. At one point
they beat up a young man in front of me. They beat him so hard the broom
they were using on his back broke in two. All they wanted to do was break
your spirit,” Hammond said.

“They towered over me and screamed that nobody could hear me. During one
really bad interrogation nine men shouted at me at a time. They were trying
to break not just me but everyone in there.”

Hammond feared his position might get even worse. “I was terrified I would
be handed over to the CIO which has a reputation for torture,” he said.

After a further fortnight in Beit Bridge, he was placed in heavy iron
shackles and transferred to Harare central prison.

Mugabe’s regime, which is celebrating 30 years in power, has repeatedly
promised a more open society. Yet the president is accused of imprisoning
opponents of his Zanu PF party.

An independent report on Zimbabwe’s 42 prisons, which was published in 2010,
revealed that they were designed for 14,000 inmates but housed more than

The youngest prisoners seen by Hammond, some of them only 14 years old,
received no visitors and their prospects appeared bleak.

Hammond’s release last week was secured by two charities, People against
Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human

Braam Hanekom, a Passop campaigner, said: “Seeing someone like Robin being
dehumanised and placed in leg shackles and handcuffs is just astonishing.
They were deliberately trying to make it impossible for him and break him
into signing a confession.”

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MDC-T Urges Its Supporters to Desist From Violence

Bulawayo, May 13, 2012-Movement for Democratic Change led by Dr Morgan
Richard Tsvangirai (MDC-T) has urged more than 200 supporters at a rally at
Stanley Hall in Bulawayo to desist from violence as the nation is about to
hold elections.

MDC-T Bulawayo Spokesperson, Mandla Sibanda, accused smaller faction of MDC,
ZAPU, Zanu-PF and Mavambo of splitting the votes in Bulawayo in the coming
In an interview with Radio VOP after the rally, Sibanda urged their
supporters across the country to unite for a purpose in order to vote wisely
and boot out Zanu-PF that is already behaving like an opposition party in
the Inclusive Government.
“Basically there are these three parties based in Bulawayo, they are solely
based in Bulawayo, they assist Zanu-PF in dividing votes in Bulawayo, they
claim to exist to deal with Matabeleland issues.
“We need unity of purpose ahead of elections. It’s not proper to term what
happened during and after congress as violence in my opinion it was an issue
of difference in term s of opinions and it is the reason why we chose
leadership that will represent the party in the next five years,” said
Prior to 2011 MDC-T national congress in Bulawayo, during and after the
congress, cases of violence in MDC-T were noted around the country and
Sibanda denied that there was violence but said that it was an issue of
different views by the party members.
“Such incidences do happen when there is change of power and what happened
during our congress is normal in a democratic country. We are now
concentrating on elections and mobilising our members to go and vote for us
so that we remove Mugabe from power.
“This is time to unite against Zanu-PF and other political parties in the
country for it do not help the party to have a number of councilors, Members
of Parliament and senators when our president is not in control. He must win
the next election with a big margin,” said Sibanda.
He said the split within Zanu-PF will assist his party to garner more votes
and having President Robert Mugabe as a Zanu-PF candidate was a bonus for
his party because he cannot outwit Tsvangirai in the next election if it is
a free and fair election.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khuphe was scheduled to address the
rally in her constituency but she boycotted and went to campaign in Siganda
were it is alleged that she wants to stand and contest as an MP against
Clifford Sibanda of Zanu-PF.

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ZACC go after Chombo, Dinha

Sunday, 13 May 2012 12:06


THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is targeting more bigwigs in
its fight to root out corruption. Information reaching The Standard shows
that Local Government, Rural and Urban Development minister Ignatious Chombo
(pictured), former special interest councillor Charles Nyachowe and
Mashonaland Central governor advocate Martin Dinha, among others, are being

Zacc Chairperson, Denford Chirindo confirmed the investigations.

Sources told The Standard last week that Nyachowe was being investigated for
allegedly  sub-dividing and selling stands without authority at a peri-urban
farm around the Snake World area which he was allocated in 2008.

Dinha allegedly bought a Bindura town council house for US$0,48 cents.

Chombo and Bindura town clerk, Japhet Kabanga, are being jointly
investigated with Dinha for allegedly conniving to unlawfully pass ownership
of the house to the governor when he was till executive mayor.

Both Nyachowe and Dinha last week denied the allegations.

“We have a policy that we don’t rush to arrest people before doing thorough
investigations,” Chirindo said.

Zacc sources said on July 28 2008, Nyachowe allegedly forged an offer letter
which he then presented to the owners of the then Ingwerati farm a few days

The farm had not yet been gazetted and Nyachowe allegedly sold stands from
the farm earmarked for agricultural purposes before a change of land use was
Nyachowe denied that he had sub-divided and sold stands at his allocated
farm. He said he was still waiting for a response from government to his
application to sub-divide the farm for residential purposes.

“I want to start a low-cost housing scheme to benefit over 3 000 people.
Beneficiaries will only pay for the servicing of the land and I don’t see
this as corruption,” he said.

Dinha allegedly bought a council house for US$0,48 cents when he was still
the Mayor of Bindura without a council resolution or without advertising in
terms of section 152 of the Urban Councils Act.

Dinha last week said his purchase of the concerned property was above board
as it was part of the packages approved by the ministry of local government
for all the executive mayors in the country.

He said other mayors in cities such as Gweru and Kariba were given their
mayoral Mercedes Benz vehicles, houses and stands, while he only benefited
from the house which he paid for.

Dinha said government experts in 2008 evaluated the house before he paid
ZW$1,2 million for the property, an amount equivalent to about US$48 000

“Unfortunately, the transfer of the property into my name was delayed and
when this was eventually done, the central bank had knocked off 15 zeros
from our local currency,” he said. “For the purpose of transferring
ownership, the deeds office then decided to use the value of $0,48 cents.

“There was nothing amiss because all the other properties which were being
transferred were being given similar value during this time when the US
dollar was not yet a legal tender.”

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‘Mugabe, Mujuru didn’t see eye to eye’

Sunday, 13 May 2012 12:13


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and the late Retired General Solomon did not see
eye-to-eye in the period leading to the March 2008 harmonised elections with
Zanu PF insiders saying the two’s “estrangement was permanent”.

Mujuru died in a mysterious fire at his farmhouse at his Ruzambu Farm near
Beatrice, some 60km south of the capital, Harare.

Recently at a memorial service for the late general, Mugabe said he was
still puzzled by how Mujuru had died in the inferno considering his military
training and his alertness. He said Mujuru had survived other fires before.

But in a US cable leaked recently by whistleblower website WikiLeaks,
sources within Zanu PF told then US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee,
that although 15 days before the March 2008 election Mujuru failed to come
out publicly to oppose Mugabe, “their estrangement was permanent”.

The sources said Mujuru believed Mugabe would lose the election and, in not
voicing his opposition openly, was hedging his bets in case Mugabe survived
the election, in which case the general would actively oppose Mugabe from

The WikiLeaks cable also says Mujuru pledged to support Movement for
Democratic Change presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai if Mugabe tried
to steal the 2008 elections.

In the same cable released in August last year, Tsvangirai told McGee that
he had spoken to Mujuru who had since realised that support for Simba Makoni
was thin and it was better to support Tsvangirai as an alternative to

Makoni — then a Zanu PF politburo member and former Finance minister — had
just formed the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn movement to stand against his erstwhile
boss Mugabe and Tsvangirai in the 2008 presidential election. It was widely
speculated that Mavambo was a Mujuru project to end Mugabe’s political

Mujuru still insisted that it was time for Mugabe to go and as soon as
possible, the sources told the US envoy.

The sources said opposition to Mugabe was “as strong as it has ever been”.
They said most notable was the strong opposition from within the party and
from erstwhile comrades-in-arms such as Mujuru. They said the election and
post-election period “could play out in ways that are not now obvious”.

Recent reports in the media said a Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu had told another US envoy that Mugabe “feared” Mujuru because he was
the only one who could stand up to him and ask him when he would retire.

Ndlovu was quoted by WikiLeaks as telling a US diplomat in Harare, Joseph
Sullivan: “Mugabe respects and fears Mujuru. Mujuru is also now
independently wealthy, which gives him freedom for manoeuvre that those
whose livelihoods depend on the ruling party do not have.”

What McGee wired to Washington DC

McGee said in the cable, “An associate of Solomon Mujuru told us he spoke
for Mujuru and most members of the party’s Central Committee and Politburo
when he said it was time for Mugabe to go — as soon as possible. Mujuru
realised that Makoni’s support was thin; he would support Tsvangirai as an
alternative to Mugabe.”

He said Tsvangirai enjoyed continued and growing support throughout the
country. “In the rural areas, many people who previously voted for Zanu PF
are fed up; most of these will vote for Tsvangirai. Equally important is
strong antipathy toward Mugabe from within the ruling party.”

As it turned out, Tsvangirai won the presidential election, but with
insufficient numbers to take up power. The subsequent run-off was marred by
unprecedented violence spearheaded by the military. Tsvangirai says 200 of
his supporters were murdered.

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MDC-T leaders have no appreciation of Diaspora efforts - Bennett

By Staff Reporter 22 hours 40 minutes ago

HARARE - Self-exiled MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett has hit out at some
of the party’s senior officials, describing them as “Zanufied” and accusing
them of abandoning “the people” for the comfort of Zanu PF’s “gravy train”.

Bennett, who is believed to be in Britain, said there was a growing tendency
among the democratic forces in Zimbabwe to “disparage the Diaspora” as if
those inside the country were making all the sacrifices while those outside
should “shut up and put up”.

Writing on his Facebook wall, Bennett posted: “Is our thinking becoming
Zanufied? Maybe there is more to all this than meets the eye. Perhaps there
are some at home who are trying to make themselves heroes and legends
because they have something to hide? Some of those throwing stones at our
Diaspora are on the gravy train at home. Far from being heroes of the
struggle, they are making love to Zanu PF and living like kings. We are
neither blind nor stupid.”

But MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa yesterday downplayed
Bennett’s attack, describing his utterances as “a statement of warning”
rather than a “vote of no confidence” in the party leadership.

Coincidentally, Bennett’s attack came amid reports MDC-T was battling to
contain factional fights and intra-party clashes in most of its structures

Bennett said some of the party leaders had turned arrogant and “absorbed the
Zanu PF (amafikizolo) mentality by implying that those who left the country
long ago must be quiet and do not have a role to play”.

“Some of these people are living like kings while pretending to be heroes.
The fundamental problem is that some leaders are not respecting the people
on the ground — both people at home and people abroad. Some have developed
big heads and are not listening to the people.

“What I want to see is ordinary Zimbabweans taking control of our party and
our country. The people inside and outside Zimbabwe must choose who they
want and not put up with politicians who are out of order and who think they
have a God-given right to their positions,” Bennett said.

"It is Zanu-PF that seeks to legitimise itself by creating dividing lines
between those who 'liberated' Zimbabwe and those who didn't. Are we now
being told the same lies again - and by those who are meant to be delivering
democracy to the people? God forbid. A Zimbabwean is a Zimbabwean. Black or
white, at home or abroad, it is the people who must set the agenda."

"The idea that those at home are the heroes is also based on a lie. Are
those outside not suffering? Is it not true that our brothers and sisters
outside are there because of Zanu-PF? It is not true that they are there
because they have been brutalised and lost their jobs? Aren't our people in
the diaspora living in poor housing and working themselves to the bone for
their loved ones at home?

"It would be stupid for them to come home. To what? Unemployment and
persecution. They are not so foolish. Their families would starve and some
would end up like Solomon Madzore, in detention or worse. Maybe there is
more to all this than meets the eye."

"Perhaps there are some at home who are trying to make themselves heroes and
legends because they have something to hide? Some of those throwing stones
at our diaspora are on the gravy train at home. Far from being heroes of the
struggle, they are making love to Zanu-PF and living like kings. We are
neither blind nor stupid," Bennet said.

Chamisa however said: “It’s (Bennett’s comments) a reflection of our
direction, that it (the party) should be owned by the people, as it is, and
not the elites. It’s a statement of warning and a statement of advice.

“I speak to Bennett everyday and we share the same views. Nobody in the MDC
is happy with the marriage of convenience (government of national unity). It
is a strategic necessity rather than an earned luxury.

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South Africa sued over Zimbabwe permit renewals

13/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A UNION for migrant workers is taking the South African government to court
to force ministers to reveal what they intend to do with 300,000 Zimbabweans
granted work permits when they expire in 2015.

The Migrant Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) says officials from
the Department of Home Affairs have privately stated that the permits will
not be renewed, but there has been no public statement by the government.
MWASA has engaged law firm MGM Law Assist to force the government into a

In September 2010, South Africa began a process of issuing Zimbabweans with
relevant South African permits for business, study and work under a special
dispensation known as the Zimbabwe Documentation Programme.

But Austin Moyo, the secretary general of MWASA says Zimbabweans who
benefitted from the programme are anxious to know what will happen when the
permits expire.

Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said Friday that only those
meeting legal requirements for work, study and business permits renewal will
be granted extensions.

MGM Law Assist Director Godfrey Machimane says the Home Affairs’ position is
the reason why the permit holders are launching a court action.

“If the permit holders are now required to meet legal requirements for
renewing permits that were given under special circumstances, it simply
means the majority will not qualify,” he said.
MWASA’s national organiser Butholezwe Nyathi is urging all permit holders to
urgently register for the court action.

Nyathi is also urging other Zimbabweans holding asylum, refugees and other
forms of permits to join MWASA for representation in all their work related

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In Zimbabwe's Media, It's All About Robert Mugabe
May 14, 2012

Audio for this story from All Things Considered will be available at approx. 7:00 p.m. ET

    Zimbabwe's government has exercised control over most of the media. Here, workers sort out copies of The Daily News, one of the few independent newspapers. It was allowed to reopen in March 2011 after being shut down for years because it was critical of the government.
    Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

    Zimbabwe's government has exercised control over most of the media. Here, workers sort out copies of The Daily News, one of the few independent newspapers. It was allowed to reopen in March 2011 after being shut down for years because it was critical of the government.

    text size A A A
    May 13, 2012

    When you turn on the morning news in Zimbabwe — or the afternoon news, or the evening news — there's a virtual guarantee you'll hear about President Robert Mugabe, or even his actual voice.

    Even when there's a song by the Zimbabwean group Born Free Crew, it features a voice-over of none other than Mugabe, who's been leader since independence in 1980.

    In the song, he talks about Zimbabwe's colonization by the British, and how his ZANU PF party led the country to freedom. The jingle airs constantly on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, a station run by the Ministry of Information. In fact, it's the only television station in Zimbabwe.

    "It's actually not journalism, it's propaganda. I mean, it's straightforward propaganda," says Andy Moyse, the director of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, a private group based in Harare.

    Under a 2009 agreement, Zimbabwe is now supposed to be opening the airwaves and implementing media reforms. But that hasn't happened.

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is the focus of attention in the state-run media. He is shown here in February in Mutare, speaking at a rally marking his 88th birthday.
    Enlarge Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is the focus of attention in the state-run media. He is shown here in February in Mutare, speaking at a rally marking his 88th birthday.

    Moyse says almost nothing has changed. The government hasn't granted any new broadcast licenses to radio or television stations, and only a handful of nongovernment print publications have sprung up.

    An Editor Is Prosecuted

    Across town, printing presses churn out copies of NewsDay, Zimbabwe's largest independent newspaper. It's one of the few publications to have appeared since 2009.

    NewsDay's editor, Constantine Chimakure, says they aim to be the country's most objective paper.

    "We are not pro-government, we are not anti-government. We try to maintain a balance, to give real facts without spinning them," he says.

    NewsDay's circulation numbers are not made public. Chimakure says that from a financial standpoint, things are going relatively well. But he acknowledges that advertising revenue is thin in Zimbabwe, and it's hard to get people to spend a dollar on a newspaper when so many are struggling to survive.

    "With a dollar, you can buy two loaves of bread," he says.

    Now, with elections on the horizon, Chimakure says the government has begun cracking down on journalists.

    He was recently charged with undermining the authority of the president for publishing a story about Mugabe's health, and is awaiting trial. Many fellow journalists are facing similar charges, and Chimakure expects the situation to worsen.

    It's actually not journalism, it's propaganda. I mean, it's straightforward propaganda.

    "They will be assaulted, they will be harassed when they try to go and do their professional job in the rural areas," he says.

    Listening To Foreign Broadcasts

    In Seke, a rural community 40 miles outside Harare, James Chidakwa and his father eat roasted nuts and cornmeal inside a small brick hut. They're farmers who rely heavily on maize and chickens to survive. James Chidakwa says that like many, his family refuses to listen to government TV or radio broadcasts.

    "They always lie to the people," he says. "Everything they say is a lie."

    So at 6 p.m. most evenings, they turn on a battery-powered, short-wave radio and tune in to a "pirate radio station." Chidakwa says Shortwave Radio Africa and Voice of America are their favorites.

    "If you want to hear the truth, wait for the end of the day to listen to Shortwave Radio Africa, to listen to VOA," he says.

    The stations, which are based in the U.K. and the U.S., send their signals through radio towers in countries that border Zimbabwe. That means Zimbabwean officials — who claim these broadcasts are illegal — have little recourse. In the past, they've confiscated short-wave radios. Chidakwa says that forces some people to listen undercover.

    "Some of them, they will take the radios into their bedrooms and, low volume, they listen to the news. But the truth is, there is fear in them," he says.

    But for Chidakwa and his father, it's a risk they are prepared to take.

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    Zimbabwe Seeks to Add Value to Diamonds Locally

    13.05.12, 10:21

    The government of Zimbabwe is committed to creating incentives for citizens
    of the country to open new businesses that would carry out other operations
    related to the diamond industry, in addition to simply mining the gems,
    Mining Weekly reported.

    Zimbabwe Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu announced in a
    speech read on his behalf that he hopes to see local industries engage in
    platinum and chrome refining and diamond cutting and polishing. Mpofu said
    that he also wished to see smelting plants constructed on Zimbabwean soil,
    but confessed that he did not anticipate that it would occur anytime soon,
    due to the high costs involved in setting up such an operation.

    The Chamber of Mines, the body that represents the mainly foreign-owned
    mining operations, responded to Mpofu's announcement in an encouraging
    manner, saying that the group would not oppose these proposals, but urged
    the government to confer with its members in order to implement
    beneficiation schemes in practice.

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    Army plots Zanu's election offensive

    JAMA MAJOLA | 13 May, 2012 00:13

    Zanu-PF is running a paramilitary campaign ahead of the next elections to
    ensure that President Robert Mugabe is re-elected for another five-year
    term, whatever it takes.

    Security forces, coordinated by the Joint Operations Command (JOC) - which
    brings together army, police and intelligence chiefs - are running covert
    operations and campaigning underground for Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

    Mugabe, who has won disputed elections since 2000 through military support,
    has threatened to unilaterally call for elections this month if the
    constitution-making process is not concluded quickly.

    In terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the basis of the current
    unity government, Mugabe is expected to consult Prime Minister Morgan
    Tsvangirai before proclaiming election dates. The constitution, as well as
    the GPA, prevent the security forces from getting involved in politics.

    However, security sources say the military has now taken over Zanu-PF
    structures and are campaigning for Mugabe. Serving and retired members are
    even lining up to become Zanu-PF candidates in the next polls. The party has
    appointed into its commissariat retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena and
    former CIO director (internal) Sydney Nyanhongo to strengthen its structures
    and spearhead its campaign.

    Insiders say Muchena and Nyanhongo have been holding meetings with party
    structures nationally to reorganise the party and gear up for elections. A
    group of army commanders is also said to be moving around the country laying
    the ground for Mugabe and Zanu-PF's official campaigns.

    "A lot is currently happening. Zanu-PF is quietly running a paramilitary
    campaign. Army commanders, working under the auspices of JOC, are laying the
    groundwork for Mugabe and his party," one source said.

    "Recently there were secret meetings attended by senior army commanders in
    Nyamapanda (in Mashonaland East province) to discuss the situation in
    Zanu-PF and the elections. The military has taken over Zanu-PF."

    About 50 top army and police officers - ranking from colonel to
    major-general - were in Mutare two weeks ago for a meeting on elections with
    the Zanu-PF's provincial coordinating committee at Mary Mount Teachers

    Those present included Major-General Martin Chedondo, Air Vice-Marshal
    Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General Herbert Chingono,
    Brigadier-General Mike Sango, Three Brigade commander Brigadier-General
    Eliah Bandama and provincial JOC members. Police Deputy Commissioner-General
    Godwin Matanga was also present.

    Chedondo, a Mugabe die-hard, this week said he supported Zanu-PF, in remarks
    which seemed to confirm what the security forces are doing. Addressing 3000
    troops from Two Brigade undergoing a battlefield training exercise in Mutoko
    on Tuesday, Chedondo said soldiers should be allowed to be involved in
    partisan party politics and to support Zanu-PF.

    "By virtue of this, the defence force automatically becomes a political
    animal. Soldiers cannot be blind or blinkered to what they are protecting.
    We have to be alert and know where we came from and where we are going ...

    "As soldiers, we will never be apologetic for supporting Zanu-PF because it
    is the only political party that has the national interests at heart," he

    "The answer that I am giving those politicians who always ask if it is right
    for soldiers to be partisan is that the defence force must exhibit the
    national outlook.

    "As soldiers we must never apologise when we are discharging our noble role
    of protecting the integrity of our nation, hard-won independence and our
    precious resources.

    "We cannot be seen supporting a political party that is going against the
    ideals of a nation which came about as a result of a liberation struggle,
    which saw many of the country's sons and daughters losing their lives.

    "As soldiers we must support ideologies that we subscribe to, I for one will
    not be apologetic for supporting Zanu-PF because I was part of the
    liberation struggle."

    Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga and other
    senior army commanders have previously said the same. They have even
    threatened a coup if Mugabe loses the elections.

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    Mugabe to act on factions with new politburo

    JAMA MAJOLA | 13 May, 2012 00:12

    President Robert Mugabe is expected to appoint new members to Zanu-PF's
    decision-making politburo in an attempt to rejuvenate a party weakened and
    cracked by factionalism and infighting - mainly over who will replace him.

    Senior Zanu-PF officials say they have been informed Mugabe was set to
    appoint a new team to lead the party to the next elections which will almost
    certainly be the last in his political career of 52 years.

    "I have it on good authority that the president will soon appoint 55 new
    politburo members. He was supposed to do so at the Zanu-PF Bulawayo
    conference in December, but it was postponed," a senior party official said.
    "Later we were told he was going to do that after his annual holiday in

    "The current position is that he is likely to do so any time now. We were
    told last week he was going to make the appointments after General Solomon
    Mujuru's memorial service last Saturday. We still are anxiously waiting."

    Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo was not immediately available for comment.

    However, another senior official said the appointments "were coming", given
    renewed factionalism and infighting in Zanu-PF. The infighting has angered
    Mugabe, who last week uncharacteristically lambasted senior members,
    accusing them of destroying the party through greed and fanning divisions.

    "The appointments are long overdue and can be done any time now. It is
    important for him [Mugabe] to do that because the party is divided. It is
    most likely that the appointments would follow after the next extraordinary
    politburo meeting, expected this coming week," the official said.

    The politburo, which Mugabe uses to control the party, is to hold the
    meeting to tackle some of the burning issues Mugabe had raised at the
    funeral of national hero Edson Ncub last week.

    The politburo acts as an administrative organ of Zanu-PF's central
    committee, which makes decisions in between congresses.

    The politburo implements all decisions, directives, rules and regulations of
    the party's central committee.

    Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central provincial governor Martin Dinha, who is a close
    ally of Mugabe, half-heartedly confirmed that the new politburo appointments
    were looming, by saying there was "speculation" to that effect.

    Senior Zanu-PF politburo members in Mashonaland Central, including
    Vice-President Joyce Mujuru, Nicholas Goche and Saviour Kasukuwere, are
    fighting Dinha - whom they believe would be appointed to the politburo and
    become too powerful within their back yard.

    A member of the Zanu-PF Youth League said the problem was, even if the
    appointments were made, they would not help to renew the party leadership,
    as the same old people are "just reshuffled".

    "New appointments might be coming but what does that mean for the party, and
    us as the youth? We don't think there is much to look forward to because the
    same old comrades, some of whom are now dead wood, are just recycled," he
    said. "Youths are shunned and that's why the party hierarchy is dominated by
    old people, some of whom no longer have the energy to campaign and combat
    the MDC parties, which are driven by relatively young people."

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    'Ready to rule' talk sparks outrage

    JAMA MAJOLA | 13 May, 2012 00:13

    Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, widely seen as leading the pack to
    succeed President Robert Mugabe, has provoked a storm within Zanu-PF after
    he was quoted in a local weekly on Friday as saying he was "ready to rule".

    He dropped the bomb ahead of an extraordinary Zanu-PF politburo meeting to
    discuss factionalism and infighting due to be held this week.

    Mnangagwa, a long-serving minister and former personal assistant to Mugabe,
    reportedly said at Heroes Acre at the burial of politburo official Edson
    Ncube last week he was ready to govern, if given the opportunity.

    His remarks were taken to mean he was confirming his ambition to succeed
    Mugabe. "I am ready to rule, if selected to do so," Mnangagwa was quoted as
    saying. "Zanu-PF is about observing the will of the people ... and I will
    respect the people's wishes if they choose me."

    His remarks were received with alarm within Zanu-PF's inner circle, because
    they came at a time when Mugabe was denouncing divisions and internal power
    struggles in the party. Senior Zanu-PF officials on Friday reacted with
    anger to the remarks attributed to Mnangagwa, with some vowing to raise the
    issue at the politburo meeting .

    "Some of us were shocked, while others are alarmed and angered by what he
    reportedly said," a senior official said. "We can't believe it, because his
    remarks contradict the president, who is worried about faction leaders and
    power struggles destroying the party."

    Another official said: "If it is true he said it, we are going to table this
    issue for discussion because that's what is fanning divisions in the party."

    Cadres close to Mnangagwa said on Friday he was likely to deny the reports
    and set his lawyers on the media to clear his name ahead of the
    extraordinary politburo meeting.

    "I've been talking to party officials, including Mnangagwa. It looks like
    this issue has angered many people. So he might refute the reports and
    demand a retraction or take legal action," one said. "From what I hear, I
    think he will deny it and demand an apology to cover his back."

    Zanu-PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, who is number five in the
    hierarchy, and spokesman Rugare Gumbo, ranked number 10 in the pecking
    order, dismissed Mnangagwa's remarks. Mutasa said he would not want to waste
    time commenting on Mnangagwa's ambitions as they were "individual wishes".

    Gumbo said: "Zanu-PF has a hierarchy we have to adhere to when there is a
    need for promotion."

    Mnangagwa is ranked 12th in Zanu-PF, and Mutasa said Mnangagwa was too way
    down the line to succeed Mugabe. "Mujuru and other seniors are better
    placed," he said.

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    'We will take SA's Hawks to The Hague'

    GRAEME HOSKEN | 13 May, 2012 00:13

    Zimbabwean activists have threatened to refer several members of South
    Africa's Hawks to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes
    against humanity if they are not brought to justice in SA.

    The threat from the Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Exile Forum (ZEF) was made a
    day after SA Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told parliament that an
    investigation into several Hawks officers was nearing completion.

    Damning allegations emerged in October that South African officials were
    cooperating with the Zimbabwean authorities in abducting Zimbabweans in SA,
    including former Movement for Democratic Change organiser Gift Nhadzi and
    his wife, who were tortured after he was repatriated.

    Also said to have been sent back to Zimbabwe against his will was Witness
    Ndeya, who was alleged to have killed police officers in Zimbabwe. He was
    returned to Zimbabwe along with two others and killed.

    Mthethwa's announcement this week was made a day after the Pretoria (North
    Gauteng) High Court ruled the South African authorities were obliged to
    arrest Zimbabwean officials linked to torture when they visited SA.

    ZEF chairman Gabriel Shumba said of the renditions: "This is a crime against
    humanity and includes assaults in which people have had parts of their
    bodies doused in diesel before being set alight. Despite complaints, nothing
    has been done.

    "This is the first time we are hearing of this probe and we are afraid the
    allegations will be covered up. SA has ratified and domesticated the Rome
    Statute of the International Criminal Court and if investigations establish
    that South African police are involved they must be prosecuted," Shumba

    He warned that failure to prosecute would lead to the forum taking the Hawks
    to The Hague for crimes against humanity . Shumba said the forum had
    interviewed six Zimbabweans who had escaped from army or police bases in
    this country after being abducted and smuggled across the border and
    tortured. He and a senior source within the Hawks alleged that such
    "renditions" were continuing unabated.

    Shumba, who called for an independent commission of inquiry comprising
    Zimbabwean and South African civic organisations, said there was an increase
    in the number of reports of intimidation by Zanu-PF supporters and police
    agents operating in SA. This has led to the forum receiving requests from
    Zimbabweans for help in leaving SA. Shumba said the forum was processing 20
    such requests and had already assisted two Zimbabweans to leave for the US
    and Canada.

    "I have personally witnessed uniformed Zimbabwean police, alongside South
    African officers, searching and beating Zimbabweans in Musina. These
    assaults are widespread and flout international humanitarian law.

    "The widespread allegations of disappearances, torture, beatings, killings
    and assistance provided to Zimbabwean law enforcers coming to this country
    to kidnap Zimbabweans is repugnant."

    The Hawks source confirmed that a team of eight of the unit's members was
    still taking part in such operations. "They are above the law. Completely
    untouchable. For their work, several have been promoted. They have links
    right to the top, including politicians and senior officers. Several, who
    are from the Hawks Tactical Operational Management Services, are known to be
    linked to the murders of at least six Zimbabweans abducted from across
    Gauteng, and others have been linked to the murders of South Africans,
    including fellow officers," he said.

    Mthethwa told parliament's police portfolio committee that the allegations
    had been referred to Hawks boss Anwa Dramat. "The Civilian Secretariat for
    Police is almost through with a preliminary report on the allegations, which
    suggests further action is required."

    When asked about the arrests, Mthethwa's spokes-man, Zweli Mnisi, said he
    did not want to pre-empt the inquiry's outcome. "We will keep the public
    informed once the final investigation has been completed."

    Mnisi confirmed that the South African authorities were working with their
    Zimbabwe counterparts and the justice cluster of state departments. Justice
    Department spokesman Tlali Tlali declined to comment, saying it was a police

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    SA court ruling blow to Mugabe

    MARK SCOFIELD | 13 May, 2012 00:13

    Zanu-PF was dealt a blow this week when a high court ruled South Africa was
    obliged to investigate the instigators of human rights violations in

    The North Gauteng High Court ruling - which deals with the torture of 15
    Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists netted in a police raid at
    the MDC headquarters in Harvest House, Harare, in 2007 - has cast the
    spotlight on wider human rights violations that have taken place in

    Allan Wallis, a lawyer at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC),
    which brought the case before the court, said: "This case relates to the
    raid at the MDC's Harvest House and we put up the case by having doctors
    check the victims and corroborate their claims of torture.

    "It highlights the systematic use of violence by the state, and is
    indicative of widespread human rights violations that have taken place with
    impunity in Zimbabwe".

    In the past decade, Zanu-PF and military officers have been fingered by
    human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watchfor the bulk
    of human rights violations.

    The ruling by Judge Hans Fabricius paves the way for officials linked to the
    abuses to be arrested and tried upon entry into South Africa.

    "The NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and SAPS [SA Police Service] had
    acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully in not taking forward the original
    investigation," Fabricius said. However, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
    Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa came out guns blazing . He shot down the
    ruling, describ ing it as "irrelevant".

    "The ruling brings the SA justice system into disrepute. No specifics have
    been identified. They should have given a blow-by-blow account of what
    crimes have been committed.

    "That the court made a ruling based on a generalised opinion, is a sad
    moment for the justice system in South Africa," Chinamasa said.

    Attorney-General Johannes Tomana said it was unheard of for Zimbabwean cases
    to be tried in a foreign court, when Zimbabwe had a "viable justice system".

    But Wallis said: "Whether Zimbabwe cooperates with the judgment is
    immaterial. What this judgment has served to do is to highlight SA's
    position in honouring its obligations in international law. Whether the
    Zimbabwe government likes it or not, it sets a warning to other rights
    violators that they will not be accommodated in SA".

    SALC executive director Nicole Fritz agreed: "It's not just about Zim, it
    sets a broad precedent by ruling that SA authorities have a duty to
    investigate international crimes wherever they take place. It is a step
    forward for international criminal justice".

    Analysts are warning that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF - both opposed
    to South African President Jacob Zuma's mediation in Zimbabwe's political
    crisis - may use the ruling to force a diplomatic stand-off and pull out of
    the negotiations.

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    The voice of the voiceless

    Simplicius Chirinda | 13 May, 2012 00:13

    Simplicius Chirinda caught up with Didier Awadi last week during his visit
    to Harare for the annual Harare International Festival of the Arts

    For Didier Awadi, art is a full-time job. He sees himself as self-employed -
    yet responsible for millions of Senegalese who have suffered under
    successive governments in his country.

    The rapper and hip-hop artist hopes to use his art to try to make his
    country a better place for all. He also wants to spread his influence to the
    rest of Africa and beyond.

    He has been asking hard questions since 1989 about social, economic and
    political ills plaguing the continent, with the help of his musical outfit
    Positive Black Soul and his Dakar-based music label and studio Sankara.

    Awadi offers music with revolutionary messages, and is inspired by the
    Burkinabe revolutionary Thomas Sankara and his message "Let's dare invest
    into our future."

    Chirinda: What is your music all about?

    Awadi: I try to use my music to deal with various issues, social issues,
    political issues and the political questions in my country, my society, my

    I am very passionate about pan-Africanism, real independence in Africa,
    neo-colonialism because this is not a question of the past.

    When I look at the war in Cote d'Ivoire, the war in Libya, the new war in
    Mali, it's not all about political problems but about the new control of
    oil, uranium.

    And it's not about the Tuareg fighting the government, it's about the
    control of the continent . Once we know that, we need to unite and fight
    against the superpowers who are trying to divide us to rule our oil,
    diamonds and so on.

    Chirinda: What role do you think artists can play in building real democracy
    in Africa?

    Awadi: When the politics fail, we need to see who can have the impact and
    the artist is someone whom people can trust and he is the one who can tell
    the people the truth and say, this is how I feel about this problem and this
    is how I think we can solve it.

    People trust artists rather than politicians because politicians tell too
    many lies.

    Since independence came in most African countries, there has been too many
    promises and none of the promises have been fulfilled, so we need someone
    who can be trusted, someone who eats what we eat, who understand us, someone
    who is just like us - and this person is an artist.

    Once you are aware that you have people looking up to you, you must be
    conscious of this responsibility that you have in society.

    Chirinda: How should artists relate to the state?

    Awadi: You are the voice of the voiceless. People usually don't have a voice
    because of police brutality. You need your art to come and provide some
    solutions. You can build a relationship of confidence between your people
    and yourself - either be their voice or organise them.

    As artists we should try and question our governments, our systems, our
    habits, and not accept that someone just comes and says, this is how you do
    it. Always ask why and how, another Africa is possible, another world is

    Chirindai: What sort of activism should artists engage in and how have you
    been doing it in Senegal?

    Awadi: We started by seeking to address problems in the education sector.
    Education was a big problem in the 80s and we started the group Positive
    Black Soul in 1989. From the beginning of our career it was a clash between
    ourselves and the system (government) until 2000. We did a lot of things
    with our rap until there was a change of government.

    Abdoulaye Wade (ex-Senegalese president) promised the youth a lot of things,
    but we saw that when he took power all these promises were not serious, so
    we started again, doing the same job against him, the job that we did
    against the former president Leopold Senghor and his hand-picked successor,
    Abdou Diouf, asking for a change.

    Democracy is about change, what we want is a change of the system, we want a
    revolution. But we know that people are afraid of a revolution so we must
    start by a change and then we can bring some ideas of a revolution. The
    rappers in Senegal know that we have a social role, a political role and the
    people trust us, so we must respect the contract of confidence with the

    Chirindai: What would be your message to Zimbabweans?

    Awadi: There is a philosopher from Martinique, Franz Fanon, who said every
    generation must find their mission and accomplish it or betray it. So every
    generation must find their mission, accomplish it or betray it.

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    What Vigil friends is this? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th May 2012

    Highlight of the week was a visit by Vigil supporters to the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames for a performance in Shona of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona (translated as Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe). It was part of a festival to mark the Queen’s jubilee during which Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays are being performed in thirty-seven languages.


    We at the Vigil were invited to attend free as ‘groundlings’ – standing as in Shakespeare’s time in the ‘yard’ open to the skies – and open also to the rain which duly came. Fortunately we had a supply of bush hats from Tropical Head Gear of Bulawayo to protect us from the worst. Someone commented that we looked like a bunch of ‘old Rhodies’!


    The production was described as ‘a two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog’.


    It certainly lived up to this description. Here are comments from some Vigil people:

    ·        It was hilarious. Laughed throughout the entire show. Was very proud to be Zimbabwean. Reminded me of home. Denton and Tonderai were fantastic. What a day. Will remember this as long as I live! – Fungayi Mabhunu.

    ·        A two-man cast who superbly played all the characters in the play. I really enjoyed it – Louisa Musaerenge.

    ·        What a good performance! Switching to different characters by change of a glove, scarf, hat, and massive suitcase. It was good fun with the Vigil group joining in to some of the music we know – Josephine Zhuga.

    ·        The cast was brilliant. The play itself reflects natural social events, and the people who came from the Vigil to support were marvelous. I am sure that everyone enjoyed themselves – Bernard Hukwa.

    ·        It was a masterpiece which was well delivered by Denton and Tonderai. Very exciting. Shona at its best – Edward Mutamiswa.

    ·        What I can only say is we had a wonderful time. It was worthy. I really enjoyed ‘Dai varume vakatendeka’. We did learn a lot and were greatly privileged to meet the cast – Nancy Makaza (who is related to Denton).


    Also from the Vigil and enjoying the show with us were Mary Muteyerwa, Wendy Ziyambi, Peter Lakatika and David Phezulani.


    We were thrilled to be invited to meet Denton and Tonderai in the theatre’s staff bar after the show. To our surprise Denton’s first words to Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton were ‘Hello Rose you are still doing the Vigil!’ We realised then that he was a Vigil supporter from some time back. His co-star Tonderai had also been to the Vigil.


    They say that Shakespeare speaks to all people and he certainly spoke to us in his play about love, exile, betrayal . . . and reconciliation.


    Other Points

    ·        The theatrical aspect continued when we had the annual visit of the Westminster Morris Men. These traditional English male dancers perform around the Borough of Westminster every year on the second Saturday in May. The groups that danced next to us were: East Surrey Morris Men, Jockey Morris Men, Ravensbourne Morris Men, Moulton Morris Men, Woodside Morris Men and Yateley Morris Men. It’s always wonderful to see them especially since they embrace us so warmly. They grabbed hold of Vigil supporter Francisca Toft, danced round her and at the end of their performance lifted her aloft and then announced that they had just performed a fertility dance . . . The predominantly elderly dancers kissed her on the cheek in turn at the end.

    ·        We have been outside the Zimbabwe Embassy for 10 years now but we had a first today – free knickers thrown at us. An open top double-decker bus advertising an underwear firm and sporting young people drove past us four times. Each time they threw out quantities of underpants which Vigil supporters and the passing public scrambled to get. Some of our supporter ended up with a lifetime supply!

    ·        We were joined by our friends from the Swaziland Vigil and they briefed us on plans for demonstrations against a visit to London by Mswati III. He has suddenly acquired a £30 million private plane and we are told his people are eating cow dung. He is arriving with his entourage of around 30 on Wednesday 16th May and is booked into the Savoy Hotel conveniently just down the Strand from the Vigil (cheapest rooms are from £400 a night!)  The Swaziland Vigil plans a protest outside the Savoy from 12 noon to 3 pm to greet him.  Mswati has apparently been invited to a champagne lunch for the world’s monarchs at Windsor Castle on Friday 18th May. The Swaziland Vigil has written a letter to the Queen expressing their disquiet at Mswati’s visit: King Mswati is giving a dinner at the Swaziland High Commission on Saturday night. We have been invited by the Swaziland Vigil to join them in protest at the Swaziland High Commission after our Vigil (see Event and Notices for details).

    ·        A supporter advised us that her asylum case had been refused by the Home Office. One of the reasons the Home Office cited was that the Vigil letter written in support of the activism of our protesters could be forged. Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton, who writes these letters, advised supporters that she kept careful records of every letter she has written.  Supporters and their solicitors are welcome to contact her via the email on our website for confirmation that letters are genuine as can Home Office caseworkers.


    For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


    FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.



    ·        ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production.   Until 19th May at 7.30 pm – matinee 19th May at 3.30 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. It is a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” Running time: 60 minutes. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email or book online at Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is  available.

    ·        Swazi protest outside Savoy Hotel. Wednesday 16th May from 12 – 3pm. Venue: outside the Savoy Hotel, Strand, London WC2R 0EU – down the Strand from the Vigil towards Waterloo Bridge. Come and protest at the visit by King Mswati who will be staying here.

    ·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th May from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

    ·        Swazi protest outside the Swaziland High Commission. Saturday 19th May at 6.30 pm. Come and protest while King Mswati holds a dinner in the High Commission.

    ·        ROHR Leicester meeting. Saturday 19th May from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Woodgate Resources Centre, 36 Woodgate, Leicester LE3 5GE. The UK Executive will be in attendance and traditional food will be served as part of  fundraising efforts.

    ·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 2nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

    ·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

    ·        The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

    ·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

    ·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

    ·        Vigil Facebook page:

    ·        Vigil Myspace page:


    Vigil co-ordinators

    The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.


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    What progress has EU’s Catherine Ashton ‘seen’ in Zimbabwe?

    Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 13th May 2012

    It is mind-boggling that the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton
    reportedly said she had “seen” progress in Zimbabwe, which some of us have
    hardly noticed.

    Amid coup threats, a deadlock on the New Constitution, sickening dithering
    on the Diaspora Vote and military dabbling in partisan politics, it was
    incredible to note that the EU’s Catherine Ashton ‘hailed ongoing political
    reforms in Zimbabwe’.

    “The EU recognised progress to date and encouraged the reform process to
    continue in the same positive direction, allowing progress towards
    normalisation of relations,” a statement released by her office was quoted
    as saying.

    Reports said Ashton fell short of pledging a quick easing of targeted
    sanctions on Mugabe and his allies in talks with a delegation from Zimbabwe
    on Thursday leaving many wondering what charm offensive had won her over.

    The questions which quickly raced in one’s mind include: “What progress is
    she talking about? On what basis is the EU high representative making such a
    statement? Where is the irrefutable evidence of that perceived progress? Is
    Ashton talking about Zimbabwe?”

    The fact that a senior EU official speaking on condition of anonymity said
    progress was “fairly slow” suggests that Ashton may have been over generous
    with her comments and probably out of touch with the situation on the

    Ashton was not expected to say what she said in view of current events in
    Zimbabwe. For instance, the open declaration on Tuesday 8 May, of allegiance
    to Zanu-pf by ZDF Chief of Staff Major General Gen Martin Chedondo and his
    encouragement of the military to accept no other party may have been
    deliberately made to spite the Brussels talks.

    Furthermore, Zanu-pf’s sustained attacks on COPAC, the draft constitution
    and the party’s opposition to the Diaspora Vote otherwise being referred to
    as Dual Citizenship is sufficient evidence of lack of progress.

    In any case, not all exiles have become citizens abroad due to practical
    reasons including documentation and their families back home, but remain
    Zimbabwean nationals.

    Obviously Zanu-pf is afraid of being confined to the dustbin of history if
    the estimated 4 million exiled Zimbabweans are allowed to vote in the
    forthcoming referendum and presidential elections like other normal
    countries are going.

    Zanu-pf is therefore more concerned about Mugabe’s future in a new
    dispensation and the prospect of prosecution especially in the wake of the
    ruling by the South African High Court allowing the arrest of Zimbabwean
    perpetrators of human rights abuse. The safest place for Mugabe and his
    allies would be the Western countries once the targeted sanctions are
    removed hence the obsession with their removal at the Brussels talks.

    However Ashton may have overlooked that there was no unanimity in the
    Zimbabwe delegation which met with in Brussels last week. The delegation
    included Zanu-pf’s outspoken justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, MDC-T’s
    energy minister Elton Mangoma and MDC Ncube’s regional integration minister
    Priscilla Misihairambwi.

    Oddly enough energy minister Elton Mangoma could not be described as a free
    person at the time of the visit as he was and probably is still facing
    arrest for alleged perjury after claiming in court that Robert Mugabe had
    authorised appointments to a power regulatory board.

    At the Brussels meeting, Zanu-pf’s Patrick Chinamasa said: "We spoke with
    one voice on the issue of sanctions. We pointed out that the sanctions had
    no justification and should not remain.”

    On the contrary, even the MDC-T later briefed diplomats in Harare
    reiterating the need for full implementation of the GPA before targeted
    sanctions are lifted.

    Meanwhile, the Mugabe regime has capitalised on Ashton’s ‘gaffe’ by writing
    headlines in the state owned media such as “EU satisfied with GPA
    implementation” The Herald, 12 May 2012.

    It appears someone at the EU will have to do some damage control before the
    international body loses credibility on its Zimbabwe foreign policy.

    Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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    Bill Watch 18/2012 of 12th May [Parliamentary Sitting Calendars for 2012]

    BILL WATCH 18/2012

    [12th May 2012]

    Both Houses of Parliament are adjourned until Tuesday 15th May

    Parliamentary Sitting Calendars for 2012

    Before the election in 2008 of the present Parliament, the seventh since Independence, annual sitting calendars were produced at the beginning of every year and by and large followed.  This meant that sittings of the House of Assembly and the Senate were reasonably predictable and Parliamentarians and Parliamentary officials, Government Ministries and departments promoting Bills, could prepare well ahead to ensure fulfilment of Parliamentary commitments, and stakeholders and interested members of the public would know when to do their lobbying and make their submissions on Bills. 

    Sitting calendars have not been available for this Parliament since 2008.  For the first  few months Parliamentary business was for all practical purposes out of action pending negotiations for the GPA and the formation thereafter of the Inclusive Government.  Even after the swearing-in of the Inclusive Government in February 2009, no sitting calendar was produced for that year or for the years 2010 and 2011. 

    This year, however, there has been a welcome return to the practice of having sitting calendars.  It is hoped that the calendars’ sitting dates will be observed as far as possible. 

    New Sitting Calendars

    [Note: The calendars do not stipulate when House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees will sit.  These committees meet even in weeks when their parent Houses are not sitting – but not in school holidays.]

    Sittings so Far in 2012

    January       No sittings – school holidays and public holidays

    February and March

    House          28th and 29th February, 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 27th and 28th 29th March

    Senate         28th and 29th February, 1st, 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th and 29th March

    April                No sittings – school holidays and public holidays

    Forthcoming Sittings: May to December


    House          15th, 16th and 17th May [3 days]

    Senate         15th, 16th and 17th May [3 days]


    House          5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st June [9 days]

    Senate         12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st June [6 days]


    House          17th July [Opening of Fifth Session] [1 day]

    Senate         17th July [Opening of Fifth Session] [1 day]


    House          No sittings – school holidays and public holidays

    Senate         No sittings – school holidays and public holidays

    Note: The Liaison and Coordination Committee annual retreat will take place on 29th, 30th and 31st August.  This is a joint committee with members from both Houses.


    House          18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th and 27th September [6 days]

    Senate         18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th and 27th September [6 days]


    House          2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th October [9 days]

    Senate         9th, 10th, 11th, 16th, 17th and 18th October [6 days]

    Note: The Pre-Budget Seminar for all MPs and Senators will take place on 24th, 25th and 26th October.


    House          8th November – Budget Day; then 20th, 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th and 29th November [7 days]

    Senate         8th November – Budget Day; then 20th, 21st, 22nd, 27th, 28th and 29th November [7 days]


    House          No sittings – school holidays and public holidays

    Senate         No sittings – school holidays and public holidays.


    Total Number of Scheduled Sittings for the Year

    House          47

    Senate         41

    But it must be recognised that the calendars are not set in stone.  If  necessary, the House of Assembly and the Senate may adjourn on a date earlier than scheduled if there is insufficient work;  or continue sitting to complete work, even if the calendar calls for adjournment; or, as permitted by Standing Orders, resume sitting during a scheduled adjournment if the public interest calls for an early sitting.

    Who Decides the Number of Sittings?

    The calendars for the House of Assembly and the Senate were drawn up by the Business of the House Committee and the Business of the Senate Committee, respectively.  These are Standing Committees, chaired in each case of the presiding officer concerned [Speaker, Senate President] plus the leader of Government business, the leader of the Opposition [where there is an Opposition] and  the party chief whips or their deputies.

    The formulation of the calendars is guided by a simple basic policy: no sittings are scheduled during school holidays, or in weeks which coincide with a public holiday or national event.  The expense associated with plenary sittings has also to be taken into consideration. 

    Why so Few Sittings?

    There have been relatively few plenary sittings in the current Parliament.   Previous Parliaments often had about 90 plenary sittings in a year.  This Parliament has been criticised not only because it sits for very few days in a year but also for the brevity of some of the sittings.  True, the Inclusive Government has not introduced many Bills, but even if there is not a busy legislative agenda, it would have been expected that more time would be spent on raising and debating issues of national and constituency interest.  There are of course budgetary limitations to the number of sittings.  Like any other State institution Parliament should keep within its approved budget for the financial year [January to December].  But, like any institution in an economically constrained country, Parliament must plan its business to be cost-effective and not have the Houses meeting for just a few minutes, which is wasting taxpayers’ money.


    Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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    Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series - 12th May 2012 [Meetings Open to Public: 14th to 17th May; Privileges Committee]



    [12th May 2012]

    Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 14th to 17th May

    Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committee meetings will continue this coming week, in both open and closed session.  The meetings listed below will be open to the public as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak.  The meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare, entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

    This bulletin is based on the latest information from Parliament.  But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid disappointment by checking with the committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.  If attending, note that IDs must be produced.

    Note: Members of the public, including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, can at any time send written submissions to committees by email addressed to to

    Monday 14th May at 10 am

    Portfolio Committee: Defence and Home Affairs

    Oral evidence from the Ministry of Home Affairs on [1] national traffic activities by Zimbabwe Republic Police and [2] the Anti Corruption Commission

    Committee Room No. 2

    Chairperson: Hon Madzore                       Clerk: Mr Daniel

    Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy

    Oral evidence from the Minister of Mining Development on the ministry's policy regarding the increased mining licence fees and levies as the Statutory Instrument 11/2012

    Senate Chamber

    Chairperson: Hon Chindori-Chininga       Clerk: Mr Manhivi

    Tuesday 15th May at 10 am

    Portfolio Committee: Health and Child Welfare

    Oral evidence from City of Harare on waste management

    Committee Room No. 1

    Chairperson: Hon Parirenyatwa                Clerk: Mrs Khumalo

    Portfolio Committee: Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement 

    Oral evidence from Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, Tobacco Sales Floor, Millennium Auction Floor, Boka Auction Floor, Premier Auction Floor and Mashonaland Tobacco Company on the challenges being faced in the tobacco industry

    Committee Room No. 4

    Chairperson: Hon Jiri                                 Clerk: Mrs Mataruka

    Wednesday 16th May at 9 am

    Thematic Committee: Peace and Security

    Oral evidence from the Minister of Energy and Power Development on the provision of electricity to wheat farmers by ZESA

    Committee Room No. 4

    Chairperson: Hon Mumvuri                       Clerk: Miss Zenda

    Thursday 17th May at 10 am

    Portfolio Committee: Media, Information and Communication Technology

    Oral evidence from the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe on progress made in the opening up of airwaves.

    Committee Room No. 413

    Chairperson: Hon S. Chikwinya                Clerk: Mr Mutyambizi

    Privileges Committee: Gwaradzimba Case

    The third meeting of the Privileges Committee, scheduled for 8th May, was postponed for two days. 

    Procedural snags  At the start of the meeting on 10th May Mr Gwaradzimba’s lawyer, Mr Chihambakwe, lodged a defence objection to committee member Hon Majome questioning his client when she had not been present at the second meeting.  The committee chairman said a ruling would be given later and the meeting continued, with Mr Gwaradzimba starting his evidence.  After only 35 minutes committee member Hon Gumbo had to leave to go to South Africa to attend a meeting of the Pan-African Parliament, prompting an objection from Mr Chihambakwe that his client would be prejudiced if Hon Gumbo were to take part in the committee’s decision after hearing only some of Mr Gwaradzimba’s testimony.  The committee then adjourned to a date to be fixed later. 

    Mr Gwaradzimba’s testimony  Before the adjournment Mr Gwaradzimba had testified that what he said during when interview by newspaper Newsday Veneranda Langa was not faithfully reflected in the subsequent Newsday story; also, that after an earlier disagreement with Newsday he had insisted on an undertaking from Ms Langa to let him see this article before publication, an undertaking that had not been honoured.  Mr Gwaradzimba, the Government-appointed administrator of Shabanie Mashava Mines [SMM], also strongly criticised the report on the SMM situation produced by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, whose complaint prompted the contempt of Parliament proceedings against him.


    Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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