The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe parties resume constitution process

(AFP) – 11 hours ago

HARARE — Parties to Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal resumed the constitutional
process Saturday after reaching a compromise on how to analyse views
gathered from the public, an official said.

The process stalled on Wednesday over disagreements between President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) over the weight given to the public submissions.

MDC spokesman Douglass Mwonzora said the parties agreed to resume after
ending the dispute over methods to be used in analyzing data collected
during outreach meetings across the country.

"Everything has been resolved now," Mwonzora told AFP. "It was a compromise
deal, but I must say it's a win-win deal for everyone and people are back at

Under the deal, the constitution committee will apply both quantitative and
qualitative approaches in the data analysis, he said.

The committee had set September for a referendum on the draft constitution,
but the suspension is likely to cause a delay.

Moreover, public consultations on the constitution have been repeatedly
postponed after outbreaks of violence. A Tsvangirai supporter was killed
when militant backers of Mugabe stoned a meeting in September 2010.

Mugabe, in power since 1980, and his long-time rival Tsvangirai formed the
power-sharing government more than two years ago in a bid to stop a conflict
sparked by disputed 2008 elections and to mend a shattered economy.

The agreement included plans for a new constitution and amended media and
election laws to ensure free and fair polls.

Although no dates have been set for fresh polls, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
party have said elections should be held this year with or without a new

Tsvangirai and the MDC want reforms in place before the elections to ensure
a level playing field.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Suspension of Air Zimbabwe

I was sent this Statement by IATA. I have not seen anything of this in the news so have no further information.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim miners appeal to Parliament

by Thulani Munda Saturday 14 May 2011

HARARE -- Zimbabwe’s mining firms have called on Parliament to intervene to
block a government economic empowerment drive that they say has morphed into
a programme to nationalise foreign owned mines rather than an exercise to
empower locals.

The government has given foreign owned mining firms until June 2 to submit
details of how they plan to sell majority stake to local blacks by
September, under a programme that President Robert Mugabe and Indigenisation
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere says is necessary to ensure blacks benefit from
the country’s lucrative mineral resources.

But the Chamber of Mines in a letter to Parliament says the empowerment
programme must be stopped because it is fraught with irregularities, adding
that Kasukuwere had virtually converted the indigenisation programme into an
exercise for the state to seize majority stake in privately owned mines in
contravention of Zimbabwe’s laws and Constitution.

The chamber wrote: “Minister (Kasukuwere), contrary to all expectations and
contrary to the advice given by the sectoral committee on mining and indeed
contrary to the evidence collected from this sector announced in a notice
(in March) a virtual conversion of the indigenous empowerment legislation
for the mining sector to state acquisition of a controlling stake interest
in all non-indigenous mining companies.”

The mining body, which says it will support an indigenisation programme that
seeks to ensure growth and development of the industry and the economy while
achieving broad-based economic empowerment, said the present scheme sought
to impose partners on private investors in violation of “fundamental
principals of justice”.

Both parliamentary Speaker Lovemore Moyo and the House’s clerk, Austin
Zvoma, could not be reached last night to establish how Parliament will
respond to the miners’ plea.

Under the empowerment programme, foreign-owned mining companies have until
September 30 to surrender 51 percent of their local shares to blacks.

Analysts say neither the cash-strapped government nor impoverished blacks
will be able to raise money to buy shares in large foreign-owned mines or

Kasukuwere was quoted last week saying Harare would not pay any money for
the mining stakes but would base any payment negotiations on the state's
ownership of the southern African country's untapped mineral wealth.

Rio Tinto, which owns Murowa diamond mine, Mwana Africa, which owns Bindura
Nickel Mine and Freda Rebecca gold mine and Zimbabwe’s largest gold miner
Metallon Gold Zimbabwe are some of the companies being targeted by the
empowerment drive.

Most mines have adopted a wait and see attitude putting expansion as well as
retooling plans on hold until there is clarity on how the empowerment plan
will be executed.

Firms that fail to disclose their share-transfer plans within the stipulated
period face prosecution, according to the empowerment regulations that have
thrown the lucrative mining sector into turmoil.

The Chamber of Mines has proposed trimming the indigenisation quota to a
minimum of 26 percent with the balance of 25 percent made up of credits
arising from corporate social investments such as roads, schools, dams and
hospitals that most major mining firms have over the years built for local
The government has not indicated it will consider the chamber’s proposals
made nearly a month ago. -- ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

RBZ Equipment Goes Under The Hammer In Bulawayo

14/05/2011 17:58:00

BULAWAYO, May 14, 2011- Farming equipment worth more than US$3 Million
belonging to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) went under the hammer in the
city on Friday despite a last minute bid by some Zanu (PF) officials to
block the auction.

Most of the equipment were sold for as low as US$5.On Wednesday the High
Court stopped the auctioning of the equipment after the central bank lawyer
Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga made an urgent court application seeking an
interdict barring the auctioning of its assets by creditors.
The farming equipment that went under the hammer on Friday included
tractors, cultivators, scotchcarts and ploughs was sourced by the central
bank but during
those days, critics alleged that Zanu (PF) leaders wanted to use the farming
implements as a political campaign tool.Among companies that are owed money
by RBZ are Seedco Limited, Art Holdings Limited, Lawrence and Farmtec Spares
and Implements (Pvt) Ltd. The companies obtained writs against the RBZ in
2009 after the central bank failed to pay its debts.

Most of the farming equipment especially harrows and cultivators were being
sold for as low as US$5 and US$6 respectively. While Knapsack sprayers were
being sold for US$3 each.

“ We had no option but to sale these items at such low prices because
they were rotting but still they had to be sold, ” said an official
from Ruby Auction. The farming equipment had been lying idle at the National
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) grounds for four years.

On Thursday Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Ndou dismissed the
RBZ urgent application to block the sale. “ The application by RBZ is
dismissed and therefore the auction should go ahead with immediate effect. I
see no urgency in this matter, ” Justice Ndou ruled

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mnangagwa Says Unity Govt Is Working Well

14/05/2011 17:55:00

JOHANNESBURG, May 14, 2011- Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday
met Angolan vice-president Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos in Luanda and
briefed him about the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa also delivered a letter from President Robert Mugabe to his
Angolan counterpart Jose Edardo dos Santos.Mnangagwa spoke to the media
about how his country had successfully managed to recover from a near
economic collapse before the formation of the unity government in 2008.

According to a statement released by the Angolan government after meeting
with vice-president dos Santos Mnangagwa described the political situation
in the country as stable, based on an environment produced by the formation
of the unity government between Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations.

Mnangagwa said Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan were enjoying a good working
environment.The Defence minister also said Zimbabwe is working on drafting a
new Constitution that will be put before a referendum later this year.The
referendum will pave way for elections.Mnangagwa also expressed the wish of
the Zimbabwean authorities to have sanctions imposed by western countries

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amnesty tracks increased human rights abuses

Written by KJW
Friday, 13 May 2011 17:39

LONDON - Human rights activists continued to be arrested, tortured and
intimidated in Zimbabwe last year according to an Amnesty International
The damning annual report, released on Friday, highlights a number of
horrific incidents of state sponsored violence - with police cracking down
on peaceful campaigners, trade union members and representatives of human
rights organisations.
Amnesty International spokesman, Simeon Mawanza, said activists continued to
bear the brunt of human rights abuses and there had been an increase in the
levels of state-sponsored violence since the announcement in 2010 of an
election this year.
“After the setting up of the unity government in 2009 we saw increased
freedom of expression in the country. But since a possible election in 2011
was announced in 2010 we have seen increased intimidation, arrest and
torture of Human Rights defenders,” he said. According to the Amnesty report
, least 186 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise and Men of Zimbabwe Arise
were arrested in 2010 during peaceful marches and protests.
In January 2010, 22 people were arrested in Bulawayo and beaten with batons
before being released without charge.
Later on that year, activists were arrested in Harare during a peaceful
demonstration and detained overnight in filthy conditions before being
released. The WOZA national co-ordinator was arrested on the same day after
trying to see which of the arrested activists needed medical attention.
In June, ZZZICOMP monitors Paul Nechishanu, Artwel Katandika and Shingairayi
Garira were taken by Zanu (PF) supporters to a farm in Makonde where they
were beaten with logs sustaining severe injuries. A trade union
representative was forced to go into hiding and then flee the country after
she was threatened with imprisonment by senior police officers.
Gertrude Hambira, Secretary General of the General Agricultural and
Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), was threatened with others
about a video they made highlighting the plight of farm workers and violence
on farms. Artists also came under fire. Owen Maseko, based in Bulawayo, was
arrested after mounting an exhibition which depicted atrocities in the
Matabeleland region in western Zimbabwe during the 1980s. He was charged
with “undermining the authority of the President”, “inciting public
violence” and “causing offence to people of a particular tribe, race,
religion”, under POSA.
And Okay Machisa, National Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights), temporarily fled the country after being detained by police for
his role in a photo exhibition about the 2008 political violence. Lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender people continued to face persecution and the
Operation Murambatsvina victims were found to be living in squalor six years
after the forced eviction from their homes.
The report also highlighted a forced eviction of 250 people living at an
informal settlement in Harare’s affluent Gunhill suburb. Police are reported
to have given them 10 minutes to gather their possessions before setting
them on fire. They arrested 55 people, including children, who were held at
Harare central police station for several hours before lawyers intervened to
get them released.
Mawanza criticised political parties in Zimbabwe for not upholding people’s
human rights, agreed in the Global Political Agreement with birthed the
unity government in 2009. He said: “One of the critical things that needs to
be happening at a SADC level is political leaders putting pressure on all
the political parties in Zimbabwe to adhere to what was agreed on in GPA.
The Human Rights Commission needs to be allowed to operate. Regional and
global leaders need to give strong support to the people on the frontline in
Zimbabwe who are championing human rights.”
There was some movement forward with loosening of restrictions on the media
and Parliament debated a bill to reform the repressive Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) but Mawanza pointed out that journalists continued to
face intimidation. A warrant for the arrest of Wilf Mbanga, Editor of The
Zimbabwean, issued late last year has still not been withdrawn – despite the
fact that it has been proved that the newspaper never carried the story
alleging that Mugabe had met with senior officials to plot the murder of a
ZEC official in 2008 that it is accused to have done. The police are aware
of which publication actually wrote the article – but have taken no action
to correct their mistake.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zesa fails to pay workers

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Friday, 13 May 2011 17:16

MASVINGO - The struggling power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) has failed to pay contract workers for almost three months.
The irate workers told The Zimbabwean that they have not received any
payment since they were hired in January. Some of the workers said they
signed their contracts for five months but these were then prematurely
terminated in April without any salary being paid.
‘We have engaged the management on the issue but nothing tangible has come
of the discussion. They are just telling us that the company did not have
enough funds,’ one of the affected workers said. The workers said they have
since taken the matter to the Ministry of Labour but Zesa officials are
reported to have failed to turn up to the hearing scheduled for last month.
‘We are struggling because we need money to fend for our families. The
officials are dragging their feet. They are always
shifting the goal posts and we will take action soon if the matter is not
addressed,’ said another worker, who was evicted
from his lodgings due to unpaid rent. Zesa’s Masvingo Human Resources
Manager, only identified as Chikwezvere, refused to comment and referred all
the correspondence to the headquarters in Harare.
An official from Harare, who declined to be named, confirmed that the
company had not paid contract workers around the country due to its
bureaucratic payment process. ‘All contract workers sign their claim forms
which are then sent here
for processing. The process is so long and there is need to change the
format so that they are paid at their respective stations,’ the official

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Villagers reject ZBC

Written by Lovejoy Sakala
Thursday, 12 May 2011 14:18

BEITBRIDGE - Villagers who have not had access to local television and radio
for years said the commissioning of transmitters in their areas by the
government was pathetic and served only to further the interests of aging
Zanu (PF) leader President Robert Mugabe.
Recently, Information, Media and Publicity minister Webster Shamu visited
the border town to commission the transmitters, 31 years after independence.
But locals said they would rather listen to foreign stations as local
content was ‘pathetic and atrocious’.
‘We celebrated that we were now watching local content, but after a few days
we discovered that the programmes were not worth it because it was just Zanu
(PF) propaganda. I tuned back in to foreign programmes because they are more
informative than the local television,’ said Rendani Ndou, a local villager.

Others said they would stick to listening to quality programming from South
African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Botswana TV, which are accessed
via free-to-air satellite decoders.

‘We did not know that our fellow citizens were being fed with such rubbish
propaganda. Honestly speaking how we can pay for such pathetic programmes?
We will not pay any licenses and they should leave us watching foreign
programming because local is trash,’ Mike Gwede said. He added that ZBC was
doing a disservice to the majority of Zimbabweans as a public broadcaster by
furthering the interest of one political party in the inclusive government.

A local political analyst, Themba Chauke, said commissioning of
transmissions in Plumtree and Beitbridge was just an extension of ZBC’s

He said there was need for broader reforms such as licensing of private
players to allow local viewers and listeners to have a choice, although he
commented that this would not be enough action.

Since Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai joined hands with his long time foe
President Robert Mugabe to form a fragile coalition government, Zanu (PF)
has been manipulating ZBC and public media to attack its opponents in the
establishment. Political observers said there is a lack of political will on
the Zanu (PF) side to free the airwaves to other players in the industry.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Japanese government provides food aid

Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, 13 May 2011 17:05

MARANGE - School children who abandoned classes last term because of hunger
are now back in school after the Japanese government came to their rescue.
Students were forced to leave school due to malnutrition after their parents
failed to harvest enough food during a long dry spell which hit the
province. Netsai Mutsago, mother of two, confirmed that her two children had
dropped out of school because of hunger but they had since returned due to
food aid received.
Local food aid workers told The Zimbabwean that most students could not walk
long distances to school because their bodies were weak and worn out.
However, the Japanese government has channelled $1, 4 million through the
Red Cross Society to prevent starvation in the diamond rich area.
Hunger in Marange has reached alarming levels with relief agencies calling
for provision of emergency food supplies. The area has been affected by a
series of droughts and villagers have not been able to reap a harvest from
their fields for several consecutive farming seasons. Zimbabwe Red Cross
Society (ZRCS) general secretary, Emma Kundishora revealed that her
organisation has started food distribution to starving villagers.
She said the programme was a joint venture between the International
Federation of Red Cross, Red Crescent Society and Japanese Government. ‘The
programme will also assist other people groups across the country. The
assistance we are receiving from our international partners will go a long
way towards alleviating hunger from suffering villagers and children,’
Kundishora stated.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Business sector believes in Tsvangirai

Written by TONI SAXON
Friday, 13 May 2011 17:19

MUTARE – Business people have said they are operating under unfriendly and
difficult conditions and have appealed to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
to engage the international community to unlock resources.
This was revealed at the Manicaland Business Forum held here last week. The
businessmen said they believed that Tsvangirai’s office was widely viewed as
the only hope to salvage Zimbabwe from the political and economic doldrums.
‘The international community has seen the office of the Prime Minister as
the solution to Zimbabwe’s difficulties. He is the only man who can take
Zimbabwe forward,’ said Zimbabwe Investment Promotion Centre chairman,
Hebert Mutudza.
‘We want the help of the World Bank and the European Union among others so
that we can deal with our economy. We definitely need their help. We need to
have credit lines unlocked. As business people we need loans and credit
facilities so that our companies start operating to full capacity. This can
only be done with the help of the Prime Minister,’ he said.
Tapiwa Masara, a Mutare businessman, said the business people wanted Zanu
(PF) to embrace the Global Political Agreement (GPA) because it was the only
way that they could save Zimbabwe, but President Robert Mugabe had reneged
on the implementation of many of the terms.
‘We only have ourselves to blame. Some people are putting up a wall so that
the GPA cannot go forward. They are participating in some issues that are
not congruent to the GPA. The international community is saying how can we
save Zimbabwe when you yourselves are failing to implement the terms of the
GPA,’ Masara said.
The national president of The Zimbabwe Trade Development Centre, Ramson
Chikasha, said, ‘As business people we had welcomed the inclusive
government. This new government had given us hope. We had confidence in the
new dispensation. The office of the Prime Minister has got the light. We can
see the light coming. We acknowledge the economic liberalisation and the
Chikasha added that Tsvangirai was keen to solve the ongoing issues in the
GPA, but there were some Zanu (PF) elements throwing spanners in the works.
‘It is our hope that the Prime Minister will solve the outstanding issues in
the GPA as this is discouraging potential investors. As business people we
want to be part of the new inclusive government. We want to play a part in
the building of the nation,’ Chikasha said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Notorious bank robber arrested

13/05/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN man named as one of South Africa's four most wanted criminals
is behind bars.

Bongani Moyo, who has been linked to 35 bank robberies and escaped from the
Gauteng province’s Boksburg Prison in March, was arrested at about 11PM on
Thursday shortly after entering South Africa, police spokesman Colonel
Neville Malila said.

“It is clear to us he tried to make a run. We believe he came back to South
Africa for urgent medical attention. Acting on information, police arrested
him near the border post,” Malila said.

“Moyo claimed he fled from South Africa to Zimbabwe about three days ago.
This after he realised that police was hot on his heels and the media was
zooming in on him.”

Police said it was believed Moyo, 29, had fled to his native Zimbabwe, for
three days but tried to return to South Africa for "urgent medical

They would not disclose what was wrong with him, saying this was part of the

Moyo was arrested after police received information on his whereabouts.

"Moyo, the alleged leader of a notorious bank robbery gang was nabbed near
Beitbridge border post in Limpopo shortly before 11pm," Crime Line spokesman
Yusuf Abramjee said.

He has been linked to some 35 bank robberies and police described him as

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros, praised
police officers who worked to ensure that Moyo was back behind bars.

"Well done to the special team of detectives who were tasked to track down
Moyo and his accomplices,” he said.

“They worked around the clock following up on the many leads of the public.
I also congratulate the public for passing on information to Crime Line and
Crime Stop."

Last week, the SAPS and Crime Line jointly released photographs of four of
the country's most wanted suspects

“There is still one more wanted on the run, Victor Baloyi. The hunt for him
is continuing and it's only a question of time before we have him,” added

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Culture Week Celebrations

Written by Own correspondent
Thursday, 12 May 2011 14:21

HARARE - The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) provincial offices are
lining up a programme of activities for the forthcoming Culture Week

Culture Week is organised by the NACZ to commemorate the United Nations
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21 each
year. Zimbabwe joins the rest of the international community in marking this
important day and celebrating the diversity of world cultures. All countries
and communities hold celebratory events.

The NACZ have said that, ‘As Zimbabweans these celebrations enable us to
reflect on our culture and remind ourselves of the need to preserve our rich
cultural heritage. The week is also an opportune time to promote the
uniqueness of our different cultures. Arts and Culture practitioners and
consumers should come together to celebrate and harness our cultural
diversities for economic development.’

This year’s Culture Week celebrations will be launched in the Midlands
Province and run from 14 – 21 May 2011. They will sweep across the width and
breath of the nation under the theme: ‘Culture Week – Towards
Professionalizing the Arts’.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Musical Icon Oliver Mtukudzi Named Tourism Ambassador

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke announced the
honor this week in Durban, South Africa, at the Indaba International Travel
and Tourism Exposition

Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye | Washington 13 May 2011

The Tourism Authority Of Zimbabwe has named internationally famed musician
Oliver Mtukudzi an ambassador for tourism in the country.

Mtukudzi has been cultural ambassador since 2009, but he will now receive a
diplomatic passport, making life on the road considerably easier for him.

Tourism Authority Chief Executive Karikoga Kaseke announced the honor this
week in Durban, South Africa, at the Indaba International Travel and Tourism

"His history does not need any explanation," Kaseke said of Mtukudzi.
"Everyone knows what important role he has played in representing our
country through music."

Mtukudzi manager Sam Mataure told VOA reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
that he hopes other arts and sports figures will be similarly honored.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No to impunity

Written by The Editor
Friday, 13 May 2011 16:57

Nothing better illustrates why Zimbabweans should never grant the leading
political party or parties of the day the sole right to determine the future
of our country than the misleadingly entitled Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission Bill. We are told this has been approved by Cabinet, the final
step before gazetting and tabling in Parliament. Apart from exposing the
extent to which the Zanu (PF) side of the unity government is prepared to go
to cover up for past crimes, the Bill is a testimony to the shocking
contempt with which Zimbabwe’s political leaders regard us all.
Otherwise how could the government propose setting up a Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission and with the same piece of legislation prohibit it from
investigating Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina and the many other acts
of violence and abuse committed against innocent citizens of this country?
The Bill that - as history shows - parliamentarians will grumble about but
will still vote for on the orders of their parties, seeks to empower the
commission to investigate people in their individual capacities, as well as
state and corporate institutions accused of rights violations. But the
proposed law, according to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, prohibits the
commission from investigating acts of violence or rights abuses committed
before February 2009.
What an insult to the thousands of victims of the 5th Brigade buried in the
depths of disused mineshafts and the many unmarked mass graves across the
Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. What an insult to the thousands made
homeless by Operation Murambatsvina! What an insult to Zimbabweans
terrorized before, during and after the 2008 elections!
Messrs Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube (or is it Arthur
Mutambara) why give us this toothless bulldog?
Some among us have argued that the commission is a step in the right
direction and must be encouraged, that change to a better Zimbabwe is going
to be incremental and not a one-day wonder, that raising the Gukurahundi
atrocities now could scuttle the democratic project.
But what kind of democracy is this, that we can only build by avoiding the
truth? And for how long are we going to cover up for Gukurahundi as having
been a “moment of madness” and yet doing nothing to ensure justice for the
victims of the 5th Brigade’s killer squads?
The point that those behind the human rights commission must come to terms
with is that Zimbabwe can never be a true democracy, nor will it ever know
true peace and reconciliation, when those who committed Gukurahundi,
Murambatsvina and the political violence of the last decade have not been
brought to book.
As a matter of principle, we do not subscribe to the primitive notion of
retribution as a way to settle scores. We are for nation building and
reconciliation. But shame upon this generation of Zimbabweans should we
allow politicians to write impunity into our national law as the government
proposes to do with its human rights commission Bill.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe is just grandstanding, take no notice

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 14/05 11

Robert Mugabe’s insistence on harmonised elections in 2011 should be
dismissed as grandstanding and not worth taking note of. It is unfortunate
that the divided party has all of a sudden suspended proper diplomatic
decorum for media stunts in communicating with the SADC mediator.

Judging from the tone of statements from Harare, it is now as if Zimbabwe
has withdrawn its ambassador from South Africa and the Herald has taken
over. Similarly, recent pronouncements by Zanu-pf spokesperson Rugare Gumbo
that the party would not allow anybody (SADC) to come and meet with the
country’s security chiefs is just hypocrisy.

We haven’t forgotten that in 2002 the South African government commissioned
a probe into the role of the military in Zimbabwe’s bloody presidential
elections and the ‘explosive’ report is being withheld by President Jacob
Zuma despite several court orders to release it to the Mail and Guardian
newspaper. Did they not meet with the security chiefs in Harare? After all
in March last year, President Zuma in his capacity as mediator met with RBZ
Governor Gono and the A-G, J. Tomana as well as MDC’s Roy Bennett.

It is becoming more evident that all is not well in the former liberation
movement and that Zanu-pf is coming to terms with two facts of life. One is
its realisation that the ballot is mightier than the gun or bullet in order
to gain genuine international recognition since Zimbabwe won independence in
1980. The party is now aware that even with the backing of narcissus in
uniform there is no alternative to true legitimacy in international

The only problem with Zanu-pf’s interpretation of elections is in reducing
them to a bloody ritual of legitimising its leader/s rather than a serious
contest of credible candidates trying to win public support for their
alternative policies or political party programmes.

Another important fact of life which Zanu-pf has finally come to terms with
is the inevitability of ageing and consequently the imperative of succession
planning. The party has finally realised that failure to plan is a
guaranteed way to planning to fail. For years, succession planning was
omitted or deleted from the party’s agenda. Now chickens have come home to

The succession of Robert Mugabe as the leader of Zanu-pf was regarded as
sacred and sacrosanct subject out of fear of upsetting the Supreme Leader.
However, day-by-day, the party is finally coming to terms with the fact that
leaders should come and go in any social movement or organisation, failing
which, health will have the final say.

There are two possible explanations about Zanu-pf’s lack of succession
planning. One was the mistaken belief in a one-party-state whereby some
thought the party and its Supreme Leader would rule for life until all
Zimbabweans including those in the Diaspora then rejected the draft
constitution in 2000. Another possible explanation is what could be
described as narcissistic tendencies of the party’s leadership.

According to medical experts, a narcissistic personality is a condition
characterised by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration,
extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with
this disorder are usually arrogantly self-assured and confident. They expect
to be noticed as superior.

Experts say that although many highly successful individuals might be
considered narcissistic, this disorder is only diagnosed when these
behaviours become persistent and very disabling or distressing. It is also
further explained that vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with
this disorder very sensitive to criticism or defeat (

The implications for lack of planning Mugabe’s successor are beginning to be
felt through the infighting within Zanu-pf. This is evident from the
contradictory statements on the roadmap and embarrassing backtracking let
alone attacks on the SADC mediator President Jacob Zuma which are then
disowned as ‘personal opinions’. To make matters worse, even the
pronouncements of the party’s negotiator/s to the GPA are seldom official
until they are endorsed by the politburo.

Accordingly, there are genuine concerns within and outside Zanu-pf that some
hardliners or fundamentalists are trying to cover-up for their mistake of
lack of succession planning by trying to rush the country through a
ritualistic and authoritarian ‘election’ simply to enable Mugabe stand as a
candidate then anoint his successor should he win albeit with help from the

Another frightening prospect of the simmering succession crisis is its
possible deterioration into a tragic war of insurgence directed by warlords
of three factions – after the emergence of the ‘young turks’ or the
architects of rent-seeking politics as the third ‘entity’ in the party.

However, in view of the possible threat of various sanction regimes –
regional (SADC), international or targeted e.g. EU, US, UK, and global (UN)
let alone the prospect of a no-fly-zone in a worse case scenario, it is safe
to say that Mugabe is just grandstanding, take no notice.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst,

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Don't use the lifts

Dear Family and Friends,

Walking out in the early mornings there are two things you can almost guarantee this winter. One is the delicate, rosy-pink glow at sunrise, announced by the voices of scores of roosters all over the neighbourhood. The other is the thin blue spirals of wood smoke that rise from cooking fires in all directions and fill the dawn air.

Yet again winter has bought gruelling power cuts back to Zimbabwe making marathons out of the smallest of chores. It’s always the Mum’s that carry the heaviest burden and you don’t have to go far to see the proof. Looking out of a small prefabricated wooden cabin I caught a glimpse of a young teenage girl and her Mum one morning this week. It was a cold morning and a thick blanket of white mist was lying in the nearby vlei and across the grassland, waiting to be dissolved by the sun. Through the open door of the cabin I could see that the place was full of smoke and Mum was bending into the flames stirring the contents of a pot. The door and walls of the cabin were covered in black soot and the girl emerged from the smoke to pick up a few branches of firewood that were stacked in a pile outside. It was a little after six in the morning but already the girl was dressed for school, a bright green uniform, brown shoes and a thin green jersey. After breakfast, cooked on a smoky little fire eaten in a smoke filled room, she would set out on her walk to school and later, when she got home, she would undoubtedly have to go and help her Mum collect more firewood and carry it home.

Every afternoon lines of women and girls trudge out of the bush with huge piles of sticks and branches on their heads, balanced on a small cloth ring. It’s not from choice they do this but from necessity. From little wooden cabins to big brick houses and blocks of high density flats – all have the same struggle with cooking food and heating water. Visiting a friend in an upmarket Clinic in Harare this week, I noticed a sign stuck onto the silver doors of the lift. “Due to erratic power supply, we advise you not to use the lifts to avoid the risk of getting stuck.”

When a couple of thousand women in Bulawayo tried to protest to electricity supplier ZESA , they were met with a brutal response from riot police. WOZA estimated that 40 women, unarmed and singing, were beaten by riot police when they tried to present a yellow card (a football warning) to ZESA and tell them to improve their services. WOZA were asking for fair load shedding, an end to 18 power cuts, transparent billing and pre-paid meters. ‘ No more luxury cars, we need transformers ‘ they said. Undaunted by the truncheons of police whose wives, mothers and daughters also go out and collect firewood and cook over smoky fires, WOZA have promised to continue their campaign until their demands are met. The main one being: “ZERO service, ZERO bill.” A slogan that could as well apply to any number of other parastatals and municipal councils around the country.

Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.15th May 2011. Copyright Cathy Buckle.

Back to the Top
Back to Index