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Authorities blocking youth voter registration

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 May 2013

Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s efforts to get first times voters to register
are being undermined by a concerted effort from the authorities, who are
cracking down on individuals and groups seen mobilizing youths to register.

On Saturday, police arrested three volunteers from the Election Resource
Centre (ERC) for carrying out activities under the group’s popular 1st Time
Voter Generation campaign.

The campaign encourages young people to register as voters. The ERC named
its volunteers as Farai Saungweme, Wadzanai Nyaku and Moses Chikura.

On Monday ERC director Tawanda Chimhini handed himself in to the police in a
bid to secure the release of the three volunteers. He was immediately
charged under section 40 of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act, which forbids
individuals from conducting voter education without seeking permission from

On Sunday, six members of the Youth Agenda Trust were arrested in Glen View
for mobilizing other youths to register as voters. They were picked up from
Glen View 6 primary school and taken to Glen View police station where they
were detained for 12 hours.

Police charged them with criminal nuisance and they were released after
paying $10 fines each. The Youth Agenda Trust named its members as Anesu
Tevera, Yemukai Singwere, Sanisai Masimo, Siria Sete , Arnold Svotwa and
Russel Mutyambizi.

In an effort to encourage youths to vote the Prime Minister on Monday took
his 18 year-old twins, Vincent and Millicent, to the Mount Pleasant district
offices of the registrar-general where the duo registered as first time

The Premier, who was accompanied by hordes of local and international
journalists, said he got his kids to register as a way of encouraging other
young people to do the same.

The MDC leader, who was asked to write a letter of confirmation of residence
for Vincent and Millicent, admitted on his Facebook page that the
registration process is cumbersome and he wants to ensure that no one is

He told journalists that his party will continue to push for the removal of
the stringent voter registration requirements, adding that there will be
another month of voter registration and inspection after the new
constitution becomes law.

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Youth arrested for mobilizing peers

Written by Francis rwodzi
Monday, 13 May 2013 11:24

Six Youth Agenda Trust youth were yesterday (12 May 2013) arrested in Glen
View for mobilizing other youth to register as voters. The youth were
arrested at Glen View 6 primary school at taken to Glen View police station
where they were detained from 10am until 10PM. They were charged for
criminal nuisance and were only released after YAT paid $10 each for the

The youth who included 7 month old Dylan Mwasha are,  Anesu Tevera(25),
Yemukai Singwere (23), Sanisai Masimo (19), Siria Sete (23), Arnold Svotwa
(22) and Russel Mutyambizi were all dragged to the police station where they
were all quizzed for mobilizing their peers. They were arrested by Sergeant
Kahiya also of Glen View police.

The youth, who all expressed dismay over the conduct of the police, called
for principals in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to immediately reign
in the security sector and order them to respect the democratic rights of
all Zimbabweans.

Youth Agenda Trust last year trained youth from 6 provinces to effectively
mobilize their peers to participate in elections and has since been
conducting electoral indabas, road shows and sports tournaments aimed at
improving the qualitative participation of the youth in the electoral
process. The efforts of the six, are a culmination of this broader civic
education that YAT has been carrying out.

Youth Agenda Trust views the arrests as a deliberate ploy by the police to
distract the voter registration process as they knew that the youth were not
guilty of any offence and were detained until the registration process was
closed. YAT feels that the latest act by the law enforcement agents is the
clearest sign yet that as we move towards elections, there is high
likelihood that youth will be intimidated from participating in the
electoral process.

Calls for security sector reform are growing louder as general elections
reaches home stretch, and police actions like these reinforces such calls.
YAT reiterates that all reforms guaranteed by the GPA including the security
sector should be implemented before elections to ensure that the polls are
free and fair.

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Press statement on the arrest of three Election Resource Centre personnel


by ERC Information

The police in Harare yesterday (11th of May) arrested three Election
Resource Centre personnel in Borrowdale on allegations of conducting voter
education. The three, Moses Chikora (32 years), Farai Saungweme (23 years)
and Wadzanai Nyakudya (23) were part of the X1G Mobile Caravan Campaign
which is aimed at raising awareness on the need for young people to register
as voters and take part in the actual voting process. The state holds that
the trio acted against the law by distributing X1G brand

The arrest come barely after two separate incidences of harassment and
intimidation of some X1G officials were recorded in Masvingo and Gweru
respectively. On both occasions, (May 9, 2013) officials from X1G Campaign
were briefly detained and questioned by individuals who identified
themselves as state security agencies. The Masvingo incident witnessed
eleven X1G officials and volunteers being stripped of their branded X1G
t-Shirts at Great Zimbabwe University in full view of passersby as the
officials claimed that there was no authority sought to conduct the
campaign. The security details further confiscated all the branded T-shirts
and paraphernalia which the X1G team was in possession of.

The X1G Campaign is a nationwide campaign which was launched publicly in
June 2012 and the campaign is run through both print and electronic media,
at times complemented by outreach activities that reach out to communities
at grassroots level. The X1G campaign has also been utilizing mainstream
radio stations, in the form of radio programs whose main import is to raise
awareness amongst the young people on the need to register as voters. It is
instructive to note that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has also
been part of these programs, wherein the commission has participated in
collaboration with the Election Resource Centre

Various initiatives have been used and will continue to be used to amplify
the call for young people to register to vote especially in the wake of the
mobile voter registration process. The campaign has worked firstly as an
information bridge that was meant to service the needs of young people in
Zimbabwe. Secondly the campaign targets to compliment the work done by
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on mobilizing first time voters to register to

Meanwhile, the Election Resource Centre shall continue to engage the
relevant stakeholders who include Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and The
Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure a speedy resolution to the matter of the
of the detained trio.

In conclusion, the Election Resource Centre commits to continue with it
efforts towards encouraging young Zimbabweans to participate in electoral
process in Zimbabwe.

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Hatcliffe crew granted bail after spending three weeks in custody

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 may 2013

A Harare High court Judge on Monday granted bail to 19 MDC-T activists
arrested in Hatcliffe three weeks ago while on a door-to-door voter
registration campaign.

Police charged the 19 activists with impersonation, after claiming that they
misrepresented themselves as officials from the Registrar General’s office.

Lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa the 19 activists were granted
$50 bail each and ordered not to interfere with state witnesses. The group
will be back in court on Tuesday for their routine remand hearing.

The bail hearing failed to take off twice last week when the
Attorney-General’s office didn’t provide a prosecutor to deal with the High
Court bail application.

On the day they were arrested most of the activists were wearing T-shirts
from the Home Affairs Ministry and had three copies of the voters’ roll. But
the MP for Harare North constituency and co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa
Makone, said she’s the one who supplied the group with the T-shirts and
copies of the voters roll.

She explained that they were not doing anything illegal by going around
Hatcliffe asking other residents to check and confirm if their names were on
the voters roll and advising them to register to vote if their names were

Meanwhile the state’s case against MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore will
be heard in the High court on Tuesday in Harare. Madzore has been locked up
in Bindura since last week when the state invoked a section of the Criminal
Procedure’s Act to keep him in jail, despite bail being granted. He will
know his fate after Tuesday’s submissions by the state. He is charged with
insulting President Mugabe.

The prosecution team, led by Munyaradzi Mataranyika, invoked Section 121 of
the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act after Bindura magistrate Elisha
Chingano had granted $100 bail.

The state accuses Madzore of calling President Robert Mugabe a ‘limping
donkey’ at a recent election rally in Mashonaland Central. Madzore denies
the charge.

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MDC-T to unveil policy document Friday

by Violet Gonda
13 May 2013

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party will unveil its policy documents
and agenda for action at its 8th Annual Policy Conference in Harare this

Tsvangirai is expected to deliver a keynote address that will set the tone
for the basis of his presidential campaign and programme for the next
government, in the event that his party wins in elections this year.

The former opposition party said the theme for this year’s three day event
that starts Friday is: “Towards Real Transformation, a theme that will
include job creation, infrastructure development and social service

“As a pro-poor and pro-people movement, President Tsvangirai’s speech will
touch on contentious issues of poverty, an enclave economy, unemployment,
collapsed social delivery service and infrastructure development.

“He is also expected to touch on among other issues, the country’s debt,
land and agriculture, institutional reform, the Constitution and
Constitutional institutions,” the party said in a statement.

The MDC-T’s director of policy and research, Charles Mangongera, told SW
Radio Africa that this will be a platform for the party to explain to the
people and “our friends in the region” the details of the party’s governance

“This is an opportunity for us to reflect as a party, say what we stand for
and what we are proposing for Zimbabwe,” Mangongera said.

He said ZANU PF are only talking about indigenization and land “because they
think that those are populist issues that are going to be drawing voters.
But we are not just doing that. We have major issues that we think are key.”

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Mugabe laments urban voters’ stomach politics

12/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has blamed his party’s poor electoral showing the
country's towns and cities on urban voters’ concern with bread and butter
issues, but said Sunday that freedom was more important than food.

Zanu PF has, over the last decade, struggled to win urban areas with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T capitalising on what is seen as a protest
vote against tough economic conditions charaterised by high unemployment
rates, poor salaries for those lucky enough to be working and high costs of

Speaking in Bulawayo at a memorial service for Vice President John Nkomo who
succumbed to cancer in January this year, Mugabe urged urban voters to be
more “principled” as the country heads for fresh elections.

“We have noted that the urban people think of their food first. To them it
doesn’t matter whether you have Smith or neo-colonists in control; that is
how you people from Bulawayo and Harare have become. The urban people only
think food,” he said.

“We are going towards elections and yesterday you might have voted for food
but now remember we brought your independence.
“We brought independence, we suffered for it. The settler regime was
absolutely ruthless and some of our comrades were kidnapped and we don’t
know their graves up to today.”

Zimbabwe is due to hold fresh elections later this year to choose a
substantive government, replacing the fractious coalition between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai which came into office after violent but inconclusive polls in

The two leaders are yet to reach a deal over the precise timing of the vote
with Mugabe preferring an early poll just before the end of the current
Parliament next month while Tsvangirai is pressing for a delay so that more
reforms can be implemented.

Meanwhile, Mugabe said he last week concluded a deal to import 150,000
tonnes of maize from Zambia to help alleviate local shortages with the World
Food Programme (WFP) estimating that some 1.6 million will need food aid
this year following a poor harvest.

“I want to say we have been afflicted this year by hunger but it should not
become famine. Government is doing all it can to import grain from Zambia.
Three days ago I was talking to (Zambia President Michael) Sata; he is
willing to sell us the amount we require which is 150,000,” he said.

“I wanted to discuss price with him but he said pricing can come later after
people get food. He sent his vice president and three ministers to discuss
mechanisms on how the grain will be delivered and it is a question of time
before grain comes.”

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Magistrate in ‘no show’ for trial of staffers in Tsvangirai’s office

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 may 2013

The trial of four staffers in the Prime Minister’s office, arrested in March
this year together with leading human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, was
postponed after the magistrate failed to pitch up for the case.

Lawyer Alec Muchadehama confirmed that the magistrate made a ‘no show’ and
the case was postponed to Thursday this week. Thabani Mpofu, Warship Dumba,
Felix Matsinde and Mehluli Tshuma were arrested on March 16th, the same day
the country held a referendum on the new Constitution.

They are facing charges of breaching the official secrets act, impersonating
the police and illegal possession of documents for criminal use. All four
deny the charges.

The state alleges that they were preparing criminal and corruption cases
against police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, the attorney general
and other senior government officials.

Mpofu is facing additional charges of failing to renew a firearm’s licence
and not keeping the weapon in a secure place.

Mtetwa, who was trying to represent the four during searches of their
offices and homes, was arrested and charged with obstructing justice. She
will next appear in court on May 27th for trial.

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Mugabe determined to sideline PM on poll dates

By Nomalanga Moyo
13th May 2013

President Robert Mugabe vowed Friday to sideline Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai when it comes to announcing election dates, according to media

Online newspaper reported that Mugabe told traditional
leaders and local government officials in Mutare that Chinamasa was now in
charge of drawing up the election road map, apparently ditching a Cabinet
committee he established with Tsvangirai, which had been tasked with the

Mugabe told the traditional leaders that Chinamasa was “now the person in
charge, and not the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs.”

Mugabe is adamant that the harmonised elections should immediately follow
the end of the current Parliament on June 29th, while the MDC formations
insist on a delay to allow implementation of further reforms, as agreed
under the Global Political Agreement.

Last week MDC-T President Tsvangirai told reporters in South Africa, where
he was attending the World Economic Forum on Africa, that a June election
was not possible and insisted that media and security reforms must be
implemented first.

But Mugabe said the election dates would become clearer this week, after the
Senate has completed its deliberations on the new Constitution.

“We will see from next week what the date can be. We now await the decision
of the Senate. Only when it is passed shall we be able to have a roadmap for
elections,” Mugabe said Friday.

A defiant Mugabe also ruled out extending the life of the current
parliament, and said MPs will lose their legislative power come June 29th.

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MDC takes war to Zanu PF

Monday, 13 May 2013 11:16

MDC leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
HARARE - Fireworks are expected at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting as the Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC takes the electoral war to President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF over a voter registration programme mired in
controversy and renewed crackdown on pro-democracy groups.

Matters have come to a head in the “unity” government after the police,
accused by critics of being pro-Zanu PF, continued arresting members of
civil society undertaking voter registration campaigns on charges of
breaking the country’s electoral laws.

Although Cabinet has ordered a fresh mobile voter registration blitz,
problems continue to dog the whole electoral process.

The Daily News was swamped with reports of irregularities, registration
officers closing out the public and aliens being turned away at voter
registration centres countrywide.

On Saturday, police arrested three members of the Election Resource Centre
(ERC), while on the same day, five members of the MDC were arrested in
Harare East Constituency.

In both cases, the arrested activists were charged with impersonating public

Tendai Biti, secretary-general of Tsvangirai’s MDC, said the arrest of
scores of MDC supporters on “trumped-up” charges signals a “desperate action
by a desperate regime”.

“The arrest of our supporters and civic rights members is absolute rubbish.
This is a desperate action by a desperate regime devoid of any ideas.

“This is an issue that will spill into Cabinet and we will also take it to
the (power-sharing talks) facilitator and the (Sadc) region. We would like
them to know that Zanu PF does not own Zimbabwe. We are all stakeholders,”
an angry Biti said.

With Sadc brokering a unity government in 2008 and at the behest of the
African Union, Zimbabwe is being ruled by a coalition formed after 2008’s
inconclusive poll and which was characterised by violence.
However, both Mugabe and Tsvangirai want out of the coalition, as they hope
that an upcoming election will secure them an outright win.

In the process, Zanu PF and its MDC partners are tussling over key issues
such as the voter registration exercise — a vital process in fulfilling the
electoral roadmap and as the parties seek to get their supporters out in
numbers to register as voters.

They are also haggling over the implementation of the power-sharing Global
Political Agreement (GPA).

With elections likely to be held in the next few months, time is running out
for the full implementation of the GPA and Zanu PF is adamant that envisaged
security sector reforms demanded by the MDC will not be implemented.

A stalemate over the election roadmap which includes security sector and
media reforms has caused consternation within the MDC, which is especially
riled by latest statements from army generals that they will not accept
Tsvangirai’s rule.

Recently, army commander general Constantine Chiwenga described Tsvangirai
as a “psychiatric patient” and this issue is also likely to take centre
stage at a closed door Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

In addition, Information minister Webster Shamu’s statement that the country
cannot be “sold” through the ballot since it was won by the gun are also
likely to provide sparks that will touch a storm in tomorrow’s Cabinet
meeting, according to Biti.

On Tuesday, Tsvangirai is also expected to take the fight to the
octogenarian leader over his unilateral declaration that Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa was now solely in charge of determining the framework for
forthcoming elections — billed as one of the most important since
independence from Britain in 1980.

Under an election roadmap agreed to by both parties, Chinamasa is supposed
to work with Eric Matinenga, the country’s Constitutional Affairs minister,
in preparing for the general election.

Recently, Tsvangirai went on a whirlwind tour of the continent drumming up
support to force Mugabe into fully implementing the GPA.

Setting the stage for a potentially explosive Cabinet meeting, Biti said we
will do “everything in our power” to ensure that a new voter registration
exercise is rolled out even if Zanu PF does not want to reform.

“This is a calculated crackdown. The election hasn’t even started but the
merchants of violence are bent on having an unsustainable election period,”
Biti told the Daily News.

The eight people who were arrested at the weekend join a growing list of
individuals who have been arrested for breaching the country’s laws
pertaining to voter education.

In Hatcliffe, 19 MDC officials were arrested recently and are being charged
for breaching section 179 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

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'Bullet mightier than ballot'

Monday, 13 May 2013 11:16

HARARE - Information minister and Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu
says the country cannot be taken through a pen — in remarks that could set
the tone for potentially-violent polls.

The Chegutu East MP made the chilling remarks as he addressed hundreds of
bishops drawn from the Apostolic Church at the party’s headquarters on

Apart from the remarks, which echo President Robert Mugabe’s 2008 election
statements that the bullet was mightier than the pen, Shamu proceeded to
shower praise on security chiefs.

Security sector chiefs have been warning against an MDC electoral win,
saying they will not respect a party led by a person without liberation war
credentials, a reference to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai has described such remarks as a coup plot.

On Friday, Shamu chose a meeting with church leaders to send shock waves
ahead of elections which many say could be Mugabe’s toughest. At 89, the
election could also be his last, hence a spirited campaign of carrot and

The church leaders, who had come from across the country to lend their
support to Zanu PF, cheered as Shamu repeated the mantra that Zimbabwe could
not be “sold” at the stroke of a pen.

“I want to repeat that this country came about through the barrel of the
gun. It cannot be taken by a pen, never, never, you can forget,” Shamu said
to a thunderous applause from the supposed men of cloth.

Observers say this flies in the face of Zanu PF’s supposed election theme:
“My Vote is My Voice and My Voice is My Vote.”

In 2008, after a first round defeat to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is
now the country’s prime minister under a shaky coalition government, Mugabe
insinuated that he would not allow the MDC, a party he branded as puppets of
Britain, to rule this country even if they won an election.

Mugabe vowed ahead of June 2008 presidential election run-off : “We fought
for this country and a lot of blood was shed. We are not going to give up
our country because of a mere X. How can a ballpoint fight with a gun?”

Tsvangirai subsequently pulled out of the run-off saying “we will not be
part of that war”. This was as pro-Mugabe militias chanted “Win or war!”

While Mugabe has in the recent past tried to redeem his image with repeated
public pleas for a peaceful election, Shamu’s statements and those of some
army generals have cast doubt that credible polls and smooth transfer of
power are possible in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga last week described
Tsvangirai as a “psychiatric patient”.

A few days later, Zimbabwe Prison Services boss Paradzai Zimondi and Police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri have also made it clear where their
allegiances lie.

Shamu on Friday praised them for their stance.

“We would like to thank the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Constantine Chiwenga, commissioner of prisons Paradzai Zimondi and police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri for making clear their position that
they will not work with anyone who is out to auction this country,” said

MDC officials trashed statements undermining the power of the vote.

Speaking at a rally in Harare’s Southerton area, Clifford Hlatshwayo, the
MDC youth secretary for information said the ballot remains the only tool to
install or remove political leaders.

“Liberators fought for one man, one vote but the black government was borne
through the ballot. The same ballot that voted Mugabe into presidency is the
same vote that will put Tsvangirai into power this coming election,” said

Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure reminded Zanu PF to refer to history.

“We hear them saying a pen cannot bring regime change, the country was
liberated through the barrel of a gun.

“Here in Southerton, there was once a Zanu PF MP but what removed him? It
was the pen. They are joking. The pen installs and removes people from
power,” said Madzimure. - Mugove Tafirenyika, Fungi Kwaramba and Wendy

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ZEC relaxes proof of residency requirement for voters

By Nomalanga Moyo
13 May 2013

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced Friday that it had
suspended voter registration requirements for those without documentary
proof of residency, less than a week before the campaign winds down.

The voter registration programme, which has been beset with financial and
logistical difficulties, kicked off on May 3rd and is expected to end on the

Since the exercise started there has been an outcry, particularly from
Zimbabweans in the rural areas and those in urban areas who do not own a
residential home, because they were being turned away from registration
centres for failing to prove their residence status.

Addressing political parties on Friday, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau
said following discussions with political and other interested parties ZEC
had agreed to relax the stringent requirements so that those without proof
of residence documents would just fill in an affidavit form.

She said the affidavit will be available at registration centres with
immediate effect, as an additional document to prove residence: “The
affidavit is the fall-back position for all applicants and, therefore, no
citizen should be turned away for want of documentation. The affidavit will
be gazetted soon, to form part of the law.”

According to the state-run Herald newspaper, the affidavit form was agreed
upon by ZEC and the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, who was also part of
the meeting.

Welcoming the waiver, MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, who
attended the Friday meeting, said the decision should make it “easier for
all individuals who want to register to be able to do so”.

However, he said that the MDC-T was also aware that gazetting the affidavit
into law was one thing, making it operational was another.

“That remains our area of discomfort and dissatisfaction because we feel
that there is no attention being paid to the spirit of the law by the
Registrar-General to move with speed to implement that which we have agreed

“That is an issue we are raising with the ZEC, RG’s office, the Ministry of
Home Affairs, as well as the Justice Ministry that deals with the issue in
question, Chamisa said.

Questions remain as to how the information about the relaxation of the proof
of residency will reach mobile teams and also how the affidavit forms will
be delivered to the registration points. We could not establish Monday
whether the affidavits had been delivered to all registration points.

Chamisa indicated to SW Radio Africa that while they were concerned about
the matter, they could only rely on the RG’s office to ensure that every
Zimbabwean was afforded their democratic right of ‘one-man one-vote’.

SW Radio Africa listeners have been complaining about the lack of publicity
regarding the registration teams and how many people have failed to
register, as they were not aware of the full list of requirements.

Speaking on Monday’s Callback programme Sipambi, from Masvingo, said his
brother was last week turned away after failing to produce a letter from the
headman and, by the time he returned with the letter the team, which was
stationed 7km away from his Ward, had moved away.

Responding to these concerns Minister Chamisa, who reportedly raised concern
at the Friday meeting over the skewed distribution of voter registration
centres, added that the principle of mobile registration teams “was to have
the officials going  closer to the people, ward by ward, rather than the
current situation where teams are skipping a lot of wards.”

Chamisa said given the concerns, it was necessary for ZEC to extend the
voter registration exercise. Last week, Makarau told a press conference that
ZEC was monitoring the situation and would consider an extension if

On Friday, Makarau said ZEC envisaged another 30-day registration period
will come into effect as part of the new Constitution.

So far about 37,000 new people have registered to vote, 13,345 transferred
their names to other constituencies, and 55,654 obtained national identity

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Mugabe lures Bulawayo vote

Monday, 13 May 2013 11:16

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday evoked history in order to lure
the elusive Bulawayo vote ahead of crunch watershed elections expected later
on this year.

He was addressing a memorial service held in Bulawayo for the late Vice
President John Nkomo, who died in January this year after succumbing to

Zanu PF has struggled to win a single parliamentary seat in Bulawayo since

This has caused sleepless nights for the party’s top leadership who recently
dispatched a high-powered delegation led by chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to
this political hotbed with a mandate to urge party members to put aside
their differences and unite for the task ahead.

“Never ever forget. Those who come along the way and say, a-ah, forget about
everything else ... then you begin to think of food, you have forgotten your
land, your independence and you say a-ah, you give your back to John Landa
Nkomo and the rest of us,” whined Mugabe.

“The urban people always think of their food first. It doesn’t matter
whether you have Ian Smith in government or the British clandestinely as
neo-colonialists ways of control, no, no, no. Be principled, be principled
says John Landa Nkomo,” said Mugabe.

The urban vote has remained elusive for Mugabe’s party since the inception
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999.

“We are going to go to elections soon. okay, yesterday you might have voted
for food and you kept on suffering. We brought independence, we suffered for
independence. UJohn, John, John!” Mugabe cried out.

“I have not narrated here the number of prisons he went to, the number of
detention centres he went to. You would be shocked to hear that a person
would still be alive after being treated that way,” Mugabe said.

He pleaded with the people of Matabeleland to vote for Zanu PF in the
forthcoming elections and restore the former ruling party’s glory.

“The people are voting for those who yesterday were opposing the struggle.
It is disenchanting and it diminishes even what you sing as the national

“So, although we are not mourning him, we are celebrating. The celebration
must not be superficial, and it must be felt in your heart and in soul when
you say yes, I am really giving this song or this prayer to you John. Also I
will prove that I am a true follower of you when I pass my vote,” said
Mugabe. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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Infiltration delaying primaries: MDC

Monday, 13 May 2013 10:55
BULAWAYO - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s says delays in conducting
primary elections are due to infiltration by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu

A senior MDC official claimed Zanu PF had infiltrated the party and was
causing confusion.

Speaking at a Bulawayo Agenda “Election Talk Show” held at the Large City
Hall at the weekend, MDC deputy national organising secretary Abedinico
Bhebhe said he had evidence that Zanu PF infiltrated his party therefore
causing a delay in the primaries.

“This party (Zanu PF) is known for infiltration. Even during the liberation
struggle they were good at that,” said Bhebhe.

“I have evidence as the deputy national organising secretary of the MDC that
whenever there are fights between our members there is Zanu PF’s hand.

“So what we are doing right now is to chop this hand first and clean our
party before we hold the primaries,” said Bhebhe.

Responding to Bhebhe’s claims, Zanu PF representative at the event Gabriel
Chaibva dismissed the allegations. He said it had become a culture in the
MDC to blame Zanu PF for its failures.

“I am disappointed that Bhebhe wants to talk as if we don’t know the kind of
politics that goes on in the MDC.

“I was in that party before, and we are fully aware of the antics within the

“They always find blame with others, when in fact the matter is purely and
squarely your organisational inefficiency and your ideological bankruptcy,
which is why you find everyone shooting in all directions in that party.
They have no direction,” said Chaibva.

“In Harare there was violence recently between their members and they blamed
Zanu PF. In Chipinge and Mutare there was also violence and they blamed Zanu
PF. They are unable to take responsibility for their shortcomings,” said

Zimbabwe is expected to hold watershed elections later this year to end the
Sadc initiated government of “national unity” which has been running the
country for the past four years.

The three political parties in government have started preparing to hold
primary elections to choose candidates who will stand in the parliamentary,
senatorial and council elections. - Pindai Dube

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Biti: Theft in Home Affairs Ministry is costing Zimbabwe

by Violet Gonda
13th May 2013

Massive corruption and looting in departments under the Home Affairs
Ministry, including the police force, is robbing Zimbabwe of many millions
of dollars every month, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has revealed.

Biti, who is also MDC-T secretary general, was quoted in a newsletter from
the Prime Minister’s office saying the Ministry of Home Affairs and
everything that is below it are not remitting to Treasury, as there are
“people with degrees of looting and stealing.”

“For instance, the Passport office collects an average of $1.5 million a
week although they claim its $800,000. It is not coming to us.

“At roadblocks, the police are collecting about $2 million a month, the
money is not coming to us. It is a breach of the law as section 103 of the
Constitution stipulates that every cent that is collected in Zimbabwe must
be accounted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is under Parliament
although administered by Ministry of Finance. It is not happening,” Biti

Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makoni said Biti is correct in his assessment
and said none of the ministries have been remitting money directly to the
Treasury. “Most departments are still retaining everything they receive.
They are still taking advantage of the variation which was made during the
Zimbabwe dollar era.”

Responding to the allegations of police corruption, especially at
roadblocks, Makone urged the public to insist on getting receipts from the
police as one of the ways of dealing with corrupt officers.

A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there is
rampant corruption in every government ministry and it applies to every
department in government. Our source said: “All government departments that
deal with money are keeping that money for recurrent expenditure and the
minister will never know how much exactly is being collected, because it is
happening at much lower levels of the departments.”

The source gave an example of the Ministry of Tourism where hunting licenses
are given but there is no transparent accounting system.

Biti, who is battling to find election funding for this year, recently said
Zimbabwe should not be looking for money from outside the country as there
are enough resources internally to pay for the election. But he said there
was also ongoing theft of diamond revenue in Zimbabwe.

“Our diamonds exports last year were $800 million and only $45 million came
to Zimbabwe. Why are those running diamond firms not patriots or
nationalists when they belong to a nationalist party? Predatory and
primitive accumulation is killing this country. The cancer of this economy
is corruption,” Biti said.

Despite this, the government official claimed his ministry has worked hard
to combat corruption with 80% of the laws passed since the formation of the
coalition government in 2009 coming from the Ministry of Finance.

“We are proud of what we have done on the reform agenda. The new Public
Finance Management Act, the amendments to the Reserve Bank Act, the
amendments to the Revenue Act, a new Audit Office Bill, the amendments to
the Security Commissions Bill, amendments to the Banking Act and more are
still to come.”

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Mugabe wades into Chisumbanje dispute

Monday, 13 May 2013 10:21
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has been sucked into the raging Chisumbanje
ethanol project whirlwind, reportedly stalled by factional fights in his
teetering Zanu PF, the Weekend Post can reveal.

Highly-placed insiders told the Weekend Post that an order by Mugabe for
negotiators to conclude a deal by April 30 had not only passed but had
actually been defied.

Energy minister Elton Mangoma confirmed the deadline.

“It was not president Mugabe in his personal capacity but, yes Cabinet had
given us a deadline and we failed to meet it. We are still negotiating and
hope to come up with something, by end of business today,” Mangoma said this

Mangoma is part of an inter-ministerial committee headed by deputy Premier
Arthur Mutambara and mandated with crafting a solution last week.

The Energy minister refused to comment on claims that infighting in Mugabe’s
party is stalling progress on the mega-million project.

“I cannot comment on factionalism in another party. However I can tell you
that Cabinet has a position and there are no differences regarding that
decision that government has taken.

“We are going to be meeting the Green-fuel people to discuss the contents of
a letter they wrote to us regarding the government offer,” said Mangoma.

Insiders said Zanu PF’s uncontrolled succession battle pitting Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice president Joice Mujuru is said to have
raised the stakes following a visit by a party delegation that also included
party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and fronted by Mujuru.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo seemed to trip over the issue.

“My understanding is that Mangoma (Energy Minister) and the opposition are
the problem. They are trying to cause divisions in Manicaland.

“It is a Manicaland problem. Zanu PF wants the project opened and has
nothing to do with the slow progress,” Gumbo said.

Arda chairman Basil Nyabadza while acknowledging there are fissures within
the Cabinet committee, claimed Zanu PF wants the project to go ahead.

“From our side and the community we are working very well. There is
agreement across party lines in the whole of Manicaland that the project
must go on. It is probably at Cabinet level where maybe we have people
coming to the table with different agendas.

“Zanu PF as far as I am aware has never been at variance with government
position but there are maybe individuals who are pushing a different line,”
Nyabadza said.

The agricultural authority represents government in the partnership with
Green Fuel.

As tensions run high, meetings scheduled between coalition principals and a
delegation representing the Chisumbanje community to break the deadlock were
yesterday hanging by a thread.

Pressure group Platform for Youth Development spokesperson Claris Madhuku
confirmed that a delegation was in town to meet the country’s political

“It is true there is a delegation from Chisumbanje that is set to meet the
coalition partners and their respective deputies as well as Industry
minister Welshman Ncube.

“We have been denied access to these people because of politicking in
particular from the Zanu PF side. To them progress is measured on how much
political mileage they get at each stage and this has been hindering
progress,” Madhuku said. —Weekend Post

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South African Justice Minister approves spares gift for Harare choppers

BDLIVE 7 hours 48 minutes ago

SOUTH AFRICA Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, as chairman of the arms control
committee, has in effect approved the donation of helicopter airframes and
spare parts to Zimbabwe, finding that they are not "controlled items" with a
military application.

European Union sanctions are in place against Zimbabwe and the donation of
airframes and spare parts for Alouette III helicopters by South Africa’s
defence force could be in breach of an embargo. Also, the National
Conventional Arms Control Committee Act stipulates that arms transfers
should not take place to unstable countries or contribute to repression.

On Thursday Zimbabwean police raided the office of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s party in the southern district of Gwanda, two days after police
arrested journalists from a popular weekly in the capital Harare.

Earlier this year Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier wrote
to Mr Radebe asking for the arms control committee to investigate the
proposed donation.

This week Mr Radebe wrote to Mr Maynier, saying his committee only considers
applications relating to "controlled items".

" The items to be donated are unserviceable, have no hard points or weapons
mounted to it and the spare parts and components have no features and
characteristics that would transfer it from a civil aircraft to a military
aircraft," he wrote.

Mr Maynier said: "In the end … the end user for the helicopter airframes and
spare parts is the Zimbabwe Defence Force."

Mr Maynier said he would write to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
and ask her to review the decision.

He said the Armscor Act stated that defence material can only be disposed of
in consultation with the original manufacturers.

Mr Maynier would write to French ambassador Elisabeth Barbier to determine
if this consultation had taken place. - BDLIVE

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Minister: Ten women die daily during birth

12/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

AT least ten women are dying everyday from pregnancy-related complications,
Deputy Health and Child Welfare Minister, Douglas Mombeshora has revealed.

Mombeshora said at 960 deaths per 100,000 live births, Zimbabwe’s maternal
mortality was much higher than the sub-Saharan and global averages.

“This is three times higher than the global average of 287 deaths per
100,000 live births and almost double the average for sub-Saharan Africa
which stands at 500 deaths per 100 000 live birth," Mombeshora said.

“Deaths related to home births are three times (42%) more  than in the
country’s urban areas (14%).”
Speaking during the handover of 63 ambulances donated by the European Union
through United Nations agency last Friday, Mombeshora blamed the problem on
the shortage of transport and qualified personnel, particularly in rural

“The risk of maternal deaths increases when women deliver outside health
institutions when the delivery requires surgical intervention or is carried
out by non-skilled persons,” he said.

“Tackling the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number 5 provides a
strategic entry point for addressing health systems strengthening and also
has a synergistic impact on the attainment of MDGs 4 and 6.”

UNFPA country representative Basile Tambashe said: “One maternal death is
one too many, especially since most of these deaths are avoidable.

“One of the factors contributing to this avoidable tragedy is the delay by
pregnant women in accessing transportation from home to the hospital and
from hospital to a higher level referral facility.”

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Ariccia added: “The EU will continue to
be a loyal partner of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in the

“Together we have achieved much in very difficult circumstances. Our past
experience working with you convinces me that Zimbabwe has the capacity to
bring maternal and child mortality down in the next years.”

Health is one of the sectors which was worst affected by the country’s
economic crisis over the last decade with budgetary support constrained
while hundreds of nurses and doctors quit over poor working conditions.

But services have improved over the last few years due in part to a Health
Transition Fund set up by the government with the support of international

With a total budget of nearly US$500 million, the Fund was aimed at
improving maternal, new-born and child health by strengthening the country’s
health systems and scaling up the implementation of “high impact maternal,
neonatal and child health (MNCH) interventions”.

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Universities, Polytechnic colleges owed more than US$64m

Monday, 13 May 2013 00:00

Zvamaida Murwira Herald Reporter
STATE Universities and polytechnic colleges are owed more than US$64 million
by Treasury in tuition fees as of December last year, a situation that has
crippled operations in the institutions of higher learning, an official has
said. Director of University Education in

the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry, Mrs Martha Muguti said Finance
Minister Tendai Biti did not consult on the type of funding for students but
only announced them during presentation of his national budget statements.

She said this yesterday while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary
portfolio committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology chaired by
Insiza South MP Mr Siyabonga Ncube (MDC).

"The Ministry of Finance owes us about US$64 million in tuition fees. You
can imagine the devastating effect the non payment of the money has on us.
We are in serious financial distress and to say this is actually an
understatement,” said Mrs Muguti.

“Since January 2013, no single cent has been released for operations. We
remain open but under serious financial distress, the debt continue
ballooning on a yearly basis.”
Some projects in Bindura University of Science Education and Lupane
University, she said, had been stalled after failing to pay contractors and
On funding mode, Mrs Muguti said Minister Biti announce them unilaterally.

“The type of funding has been dictated to us. We do not have the money. We
were only told that they will be loan and grants and we just read it in the
newspapers. We were never consulted,” she said.

She said while learning institutions have partnered some organisations, this
had not brought much changes.
She said it was critical that Government fund learning institutions.

Mrs Mugutu said inadequate funding also impacted on industry which requires
human resources.
“It does not matter how advanced the industry is. Without the human
resources, you still need them to run those computers. This is the
foundation of economic growth. We produce the manpower which this country
needs,” she said.

She said universities had been urged to offer programmes that were
consistent with what the market wanted.
Legislators asked what the ministry was doing to protect female students
from HIV/AIDS, at the hands of unscrupulous people.
Mrs Muguti said proper teaching on such issues should start from homes and
tertiary institutions would merely complement the information.

Director of Finance and Administration in the Ministry, Mr Milton
Chabururuka said Treasury had sought to introduce student loans two years
ago through financial institutions but the deal failed to materialise.

He said Treasury had only released US$750 000 this year from the US$64
million they are owed.
“If we are getting US$750 000 per year on a US$64 million debt, I do not
know how many years it will take to clear that. This excluded the new
requirements,” he said.

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Application Made For New Zimbabwe Diamond Deposits

13.05.13, 11:08     / Mining

Steve Allen |

After weeks of reports of unlicensed exploration activity in an as-yet
undeveloped area of Zimbabwe, a government official has confirmed that a
firm has submitted an application for a license to legally mine the area for
diamonds, All Africa reports.

At a meeting discussing the country's mineral policies, Zimbabwe Deputy
Mines and Mining Development Minister Gift Chimanikire said that a diamond
company called Nan Jiang Africa Resources had requested a concession in
Bikita, which borders the most diamond-rich area in the country, the
Chiadzwa diamond fields.

While Nan Jiang is thought to be composed of both Chinese and Zimbabwean
businesspeople alike, Chimanikire noted that the firm had been informed that
it must comply with Zimbabwe's indigenization and empowerment laws if it is
to be eligible to mine in the country. Those laws establish that native
Zimbabweans must own at least 50% of the shares in any company granted a
mining license in the country, according to All Africa.

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Marange, Core Mining arbitration begins

Monday, 13 May 2013 11:07
HARARE - An urgent chamber application filed by Marange Resources (Marange)
at the High Court to stop an arbitration process initiated by Core Mining
Resources has failed to help as the appointed mediator begun the process
last Friday.

Marange Resources, a government investment arm in the mining of Marange
diamonds, is in dispute with Core Mining after it hounded out of a joint
venture agreement to explore Marange gems in 2010.

The Lovemore Kurotwi-led company took its dispute with Marange to an
arbitrator, but Marange rushed to the High Court seeking an interdict to
stop the process.

However, on Friday, retired judge Moses Chinhengo proceeded with the
arbitration as the urgent chamber application filed by Marange had taken too
long to resolve.

Chinhengo was appointed as an arbitrator by the president of the Law Society
of Zimbabwe in line with an agreement signed by Core Mining and Marange in

According to the joint venture agreement signed by the two companies, any
dispute that would have arisen between them should be resolved through

“Any dispute which may arise as a result of the interpretation or
application of this agreement which cannot be resolved within a period of
(30) thirty days shall be referred to arbitration.

“The arbitration take place under the auspices of the commercial arbitration
centre at Harare,” reads the signed agreement.

Chinhengo proceeded with the matter, albeit in the absence of Marange, who
were locked in High Court judge Mary Dube’s chambers trying to stop the
process already in motion.

Beatrice Mtetwa, the lead lawyer representing Core Mining, had to send her
representatives to the High Court while she appeared before Chinhengo.

“We now await the determination by the arbitrator who will base his findings
on records filed by the two parties,” said Kurotwi.

Marange and Core were in partnership to mine Marange diamonds through a
company called Canadile Miners which collapsed after the  arrest of Kurotwi
and other directors on allegations of fraud. - Xolisani Ncube

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Will indigenisation rescue Mugabe?

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Monday, 13 May 2013 11:16

HARARE - Crusading on an indigenisation programme — the corporate version of
the farm invasions a decade ago — President Robert Mugabe is seeking to
shore up his support ahead of an election which promises not only to be his
last, but bruising as well.

With Zimbabwe set to go for polls this year, the 89-year-old former
guerrilla movement leader is using the indigenisation programme as his trump
card to win the upcoming vote.

But analysts say history shows that banking on populist policies alone has
failed to rescue Mugabe in the past.

An often violent land reform programme which benefited close to half a
million landless blacks has failed to deliver him a commanding popular

Instead, his Zanu PF party’s support has been on a slide since 2000 until it
was forced in a coalition government with hated figure Morgan Tsvangirai
being prime minister whom Mugabe has to consult for every major government

Analysts doubt the elitist economic empowerment programme would achieve what
Mugabe’s chaotic land largesse failed to deliver.

Doubters of the economic empowerment programme include Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono, who has on several occasions clashed with Indigenisation
minister Saviour Kasukuwere over the methodology of the programme.

Other Zanu PF activists such as Themba Mliswa, who is eyeing a party ticket
for the parliamentary elections, say the programme in its current form could
hurt Zanu PF.

Addressing war veterans, war collaborators and Zanu PF supporters in Mutare
recently, Mliswa forecasted doom for Zanu PF if it does not empower the
youths who constitute 60 percent of the country’s population.

“We have not benefitted from the empowerment programme except for a few
people and this is an indication to me that things will not be rosy in the

“These policies and implementation schemes that Kasukuwere has stitched and
the community trusts with companies are not true to the spirit of
indigenisation,” said Mliswa.

Under the controversial indigenisation law crafted in 2008 but only being
vigorously implemented now, foreign- owned companies, particularly those
mining, have been ceding 31 percent shareholding to a government agency and
another 20 percent to community and employee trusts.

Analysts and party insiders such as Mliswa think this is benefitting only a
few and this could cost Zanu PF on election day.

A scandal involving government empowerment agency, the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) in mining firm
Zimplats’ indigenisation deal further poked doubt into the programme.

The Daily News has exposed apparent flaws in the $971 million Zimplats deal.

Touted as the biggest empowerment deal since independence in 1980, the deal
was shown to be benefitting only a few politically-connected.

Other indigenisation deals for top-earning companies have also since been
questioned, planting seeds of doubt to many including Zanu PF legislators.

A drive back into time to the land reform programme when about 4 000 white
commercial farmers who were occupying prime land were driven off by war
veterans and landless villagers, shows a different picture.

Contrary to the popularly held view that Mugabe rolled out the land reform
programme, disgruntled war veterans were the movers and ultimately shakers
of a Zanu PF regime that was getting carried away with the trappings of
power, analysts say.

They say Mugabe nonetheless hijacked the programme, polished it and made it
his campaigning machine but his support continued to plummet.

Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst and human rights advocate, says Mugabe
and Zanu PF have misread the mood among Zimbabweans hence the failure to
recapture the level of support they enjoyed soon after independence.

“They think parcelling out riches will do the trick but the problem is that
only a few benefit so at the end, programmes such as indigenisation will
have a counter effect.

“More people will be angry at Zanu PF that it is enriching a few,” said

He added: “At the same time, they are dealing with a population angered by
decades of human rights abuses.

“It is unlikely that people who suffered Gukurahundi massacres, the 2000
land and election-related violence, Operation Murambatsvina and the 2008
election orgy have forgiven Zanu PF no matter how indigenisation sounds.”

Mugabe’s partners in the shaky coalition government say the indigenisation
programme is a feeding trough for Mugabe’s cronies who are also widely
reported to be multiple farm owners.

“The risk is that unbridled greed will lead not only to economic stagnation
but will also fuel asset-stripping as those in favourable positions pursue a
‘crash and burn’ mentality,” said Tsvangirai.

“One such contradiction is Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy. We believe this
is no more than an elitist project which invariably benefits the few in
privileged positions, but it is being executed under the guise of empowering
communities,” said Tsvangirai.

Tendai Biti, the Finance minister, says the indigenisation programme is
being poorly implemented and will serve only a few individuals as
Zimbabweans are generally cash-strapped to buy shares in major companies.

“You cannot craft an act basing on a transformation programme that demands
that whatever black Zimbabweans have to own, they must buy the shares.

“That is a disaster because which black person has that money in Zimbabwe?
The other disaster is the manner in which it is being implemented. It is
being implemented in an opaque, nocturnal and illegal manner."

“These community trusts, you don’t find them anywhere in the Act and once
again we are back to the matrix of predatory and extractive accumulation. It
is not transparent because the deals are neither reported to Parliament nor
Cabinet,” said Biti.

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Engaging Citizens and the State on Governance: Case of Zimbabwe

on May 13, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Speaking Notes for Blessing Vava’s Presentation at the Zambia’s Civil
Society Symposium on Good Governance at Mika Hotel, Lusaka Zambia-10 May

Engaging Citizens and the State on Governance: Case of Zimbabwe

‘An informed and engaged community is a vital component of a healthy and
resilient democracy’ anonymous

Blessing Vava
This presentation uses the concept of citizenship to understand the
objectives of self-organisation among civic society players and grass roots

It is based on experiences and research conducted by the National
Constitutional Assembly in Zimbabwe and addresses issues relating to the
governance system, as well as the individual and collective empowerment of

In this presentation I sustain and conclude that, not only do such groups
have a role to play in ensuring that individual rights and opinions are
respected and embraced, but also enable people to play a role in enhancing
meaningful citizen participation and horizontal accountability by political

Central to this paper is the idea that social movements and civics should
strive to develop citizens’ ability to actively and meaningful participate
in democratic processes, and that the state must ensure qualitative dialogue
with citizens on national developmental programmes.


Zimbabwe is currently governed by a power sharing deal between the country’s
3 major political formations owing to a disputed and inconclusive election
of 29 March 2008. The current Government of National Unity is premised on
the idea of reform for democracy and respect of citizen rights and choices.

It is an outcome of over a decade of people’s struggles for a more open
society and democratic dialogue in national issues.

However, in this presentation I put it to you that the current political
dispensation has seen a perpetuation of dictatorial norms and practises with
silenced citizen voices which in my view is a classic case of citizen
demobilisation and engraved apathy.

I look at the different sectors of governance and processes that
characterise Zimbabwean Society:

State and ZANU PF

There is inseparability of state and the ruling party in which national
policy and decisions are decided by the political party rendering the
parliamentary process irrelevant e.g.

o Decision on who is buried at the national shrine

o Joint Operation Command

o State funding ZANU PF processes

o Recruitment into state bodies and institutions

o Appointment of public officials-the prerogative of the president

State of the Media

• One-sided and polarised, it compromises citizens’ access to unbiased
information. The state media has become biased towards ZANU PF whereas the
privately owned (media) is somehow biased towards the opposition.

• Repressive media laws Access to Information Protection and Privacy Act
(AIPPA), POSA, Official Secrecy ACT- are systematically used to suppress
independent or opposing voices e.g. arrests of journalists, especially those
from the privately owned media houses, community radios are illegal and are
viewed as regime change proponents.

• There have been initiatives to provide alternative voices in the
broadcasting field by pirate stations like Studio 7, SW Radio Africa which
have become popular amongst citizens. However the government jammed the
frequencies and its nolonger possible to listen to the stations on normal

This prompted several NGOs in Zimbabwe to distribute some small solar radios
that have better frequency, but the government has now declared them illegal
and several NGOs and homes were raided. Police spokeswoman Charity
(Charamba) has said as elections approach it is not just radios that are the
focus of police investigations, but other equipment distributed by NGOs like
mobile phones.

“On these cell phones you can even put memory sticks to download
information – to download pictures – and some of the gadgets, even like ball
points [pens], which are being used to record people,” the police
spokeswoman said.


Militarisation of the State- state security institutions, the police, army
and intelligence services have been at the fore of suppressing citizen’s
participation in governance issues. Service Chiefs have been declaring that
they will not salute a President with no war credentials, a clear indication
that they will not respect the will of the people if such a presidential
candidate wins an election.

In Zimbabwe there has been a trend of retired military personnel now serving
in most state institutions, ministries etc. State security organs have
instilled too much fear amongst the citizens, the confiscation of radios
distributed by NGOs is a classic example, and it’s now a criminal offence to
own such a radio with short wave frequency.

The Government of National Unity (GNU)

After the disputed March poll, an unelected and undemocratic government was
installed after the SADC initiated negotiations between the political
parties. This government was not elected by the people of Zimbabwe and it
ended up having individuals who lost elections running the affairs of the

Zimbabweans were not given a chance to elect a government of their choice.
The political environment still does not allow for a free and fair election
as violence and intimidation always characterise the electoral period in

The Constitution Making Process

A product of the Global Political Agreement signed by the parties in
September 2008.

The agreement initiated Zimbabwe’s constitution making process, and this is
articulated by Article VI which relegated the citizens in the making of the
country’s supreme law. (NCA challenged Article 6)

Some of the arguments we had:-

The process was driven by politicians, who disguised an outreach phase but
ended up negotiating their positions.

• The COPAC process left out other political parties and civil society
formations, making the product wholly ZANU PF/MDCT affair.

• The state media and some private media houses shut space for the NCA and
other organisations and individuals which are opposing the draft. This is
despite the clear violation of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections which state access to equal media access as a key
yardstick to free and fair electoral processes.

• COPAC played the referee and player role at the same time. After writing
the draft, logic was that they should not have participated in the awareness
campaigns which, instead of educating people about what is in the draft they
ended up picking some supposed-good sections to entice the public to vote
for the draft: a clear case of canvassing for votes.

• Three quarters of the voting population have not received the draft, COPAC
only availed 90 000 with a paltry 20 000 being in vernacular. The courts
reluctantly attend to the NCA urgent application court case seeking an
extension of date to allow Zimbabweans to be given enough the copies and
enough the time to decide on the draft.

• there was no justification in printing 12 million ballot papers with a
country with a voting population of about 7 million

• The state has unleashed the police to harass and intimidate civil society
organisations confiscating radios which they claim were weapons of espionage
and a threat to national security.

• The barring of polling agents of groups campaigning for a no vote, opens
the process to rigging and manipulation•

• The notice period given was inadequate and displayed lack of respect for
the people

• The “Yes” campaign used hate speech. For example the Prime Minister
described the No campaign as being made up of “nhinhi”[Sunningdale] and
those intending to vote “No” as having mamhepo (evil spirits)[Bulawayo].

• The police disrupted many “NO” campaign meetings and the atmosphere was
not conducive to public meetings by the “NO” campaign to the extent that
many voters had no access to the “No” message.

• The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was not independent. For example, it
failed to play its role in terms of electoral law to monitor media coverage.

• The judiciary was not independent. The courts dismissed, on suspicious
grounds, every application meant to make the referendum more democratic.

Also, I note a new political culture of political cultism and the
hero-worshiping of political leaders, which is now characterising our
politics. This culture has destroyed open dialogue straight to the electoral
processes; citizens have allowed politicians to set the agenda for them. It’s
now more of what is Mugabe saying or what is Tsvangirai saying not
necessarily the issues.

It is this culture that has bred dictatorship, and the centralisation of
decision making e.g. Mugabe in ZANU PF and Tsvangirai and his MDCT. Both
political parties are now being identified more with these individuals than
the party itself and its membership.

Way Forward

As for the civil society, there is need for the de-institutionalisation of
civil society and the building and consolidation of social movements.
Zimbabwe’s civil society used to be more vibrant and citizen participation
was high, but due to the encroachment of global capital agenda setting was
transferred to monopoly capital hence the dilemma of institutionalisation.

Volunteerism must be the key principle within our social movements, and the
encouragement of active participation of citizens in governance issues.
There is need for the introduction of self-financing programs to regain
citizen agenda setting.

Thank you!

Blessing Vava

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Changing Times

The huge orange ball sinks lazily into the horizon, casting blue and yellow rays on to dusty streets.  I am haunted by the ghosts of times gone by, silhouettes echoing of my youth, when I played soccer with a home made ball, fashioned out of plastic bags, players’ bodies painted white with dust.

The passing of day into night reminds me of a happier time, adults hurriedly bathing, preparing to clock into night shift at work, for companies that worked 24/7 to meet the demand of their manufacturing sector.   Today’s Zimbabwe is a place where it would seem odd for anyone leaving for work after dark, neighbours would gossip if that were to occur, speculating that the person is either a criminal or engaged in prostitution.  Children of today’s Zimbabwe would find it hard to imagine a nation whose workers are so busy they would have to work the night shift.

The teeming industries are gone, factories now laid idle, lumbering, inert white elephants that have marched off into the sunset.  What we are left with are bands of unemployed youths, sitting on roadsides staring blankly at the sinking sun—gambling, drinking cheap liquor and smoking marijuana.  The inactivity after more than a decade of chaotic misrule by President Robert Mugabe has precipitated an unprecedented economic meltdown, whose knock on effects are still being felt unto this day, despite what politicians are telling us about economic recovery.

I am one of the lucky ones, I have a job, as poorly paid as I am.  Sometimes as I stride home from my job, working overtime but unable to claim the benefit,  as late as 11 pm, the streets are still packed with vendors, desperately coaxing night walkers to buy their goods, anything from cooked maize and tomatoes to cheap Chinese sweets, sold one at a time.

Harare was once dubbed a city that did not sleep, its industries thumping late into the night, its clubs packed with revellers, music and dance reverberating till all hours.  But now the late night in the capital is marked by desperate hungry women whose babies have a tiny turf to crawl around and exercise their limbs,  as they wait for their mothers to take them home and sleep.

Children today have lost their freedom, that right to play games such as street soccer and instead spend time on the streets helping their mothers to eke out a living, some even trading drugs amongst themselves.

This is Zimbabwe today, where jobs are almost impossible to come by and the only option open for us is either to be vendors or leave for foreign lands.

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