The Zimbabweanlaunches a new campaign today, asking Zimbabweans to describe the kind of Zimbabwe they want.
The video below is a compilation of desires from ordinary Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwean has more on theirYouTube channel.
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 May 2013
A highly placed source has said that Cabinet wants the voter registration
exercise, blighted by numerous problems, be started afresh.
The source told SW Radio Africa that the new exercise should be preceded by
a massive voter awareness and publicity campaign. The current exercise,
launched by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has suffered a crisis
of confidence from political parties and civil society organizations.
Since the exercise was rolled out nationwide three weeks ago, observers
contend that the controversies which the voter registration campaign has
generated are early signs of an impending electoral catastrophe.
This comes after numerous complaints were raised on the unfair distribution
of voter registration centers in the country.
There are also allegations that in perceived ZANU PF strongholds, scores of
MDC-T voters have been turned away for failing to produce documents such as
proof of residency, and in some areas, officials manning the exercise are
charging people $10 for lost ID cards when the Ministry of Home Affairs
stated it was going to be free.
The problems associated with the discredited exercise, are something that
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai witnessed this week when he took his
18-year-old twins to register as first time voters.
It took the Premier 30 minutes to complete a process in which his children
were initially denied registration as voters, ostensibly because they did
not have proof of residence.
This is despite cabinet agreeing to broaden the documents required for proof
of residence to include personal affidavits, any bill with an address or
letter from employer, bank statements, or registration certificate for
mobile phones, or medical bills.
Meanwhile MDC leader Welshman Ncube has refuted reports that he agreed with
President Robert Mugabe to a request by a Harare man, Jealousy Mawarire, to
have his court application for early proclamation of election dates heard on
an urgent basis.
‘Since we had already filed our opposing papers with the court, we
instructed our lawyers to abide with what the court decides, whether to hear
the case as an urgent matter or not.
‘That is not for us to decide but the court, but the correct picture is that
we will oppose the application when it goes to court and this does not
necessarily mean we agree with Mugabe on a date for the proclamation of a
date for election, as implied in the Herald,’ Ncube said.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 16:47
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has admitted that the
on-going voter registration exercise is chaotic, as information emerges that
there is growing consensus in government that Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede is doing a shoddy job and should be fired.
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told church leaders in Harare yesterday that:
“We accept that there are gaps between what we are saying and what is
happening on the ground.”
Another Zec commissioner, Petty Makoni, said she witnessed “sad scenes” in
Mashonaland Central Province.
“When we went out yesterday, we were saddened by what was on the ground but
there was nothing we could do,” said Makoni.
Zec says voter registration is in the hands of Mudede and Zec can do little
to influence the process. Some of the church leaders who attended the
meeting told Zec that their members are failing to register as voters
because of stringent requirements by Mudede’s officers.
This comes as government insiders said a meeting of top Cabinet ministers
this week roundly condemned the on-going voter registration exercise.
Zanu PF ministers who have previously defended Mudede are also outraged
after finding irregularities on the voters’ rolls for their constituencies,
a situation that has made them question Mudede’s competency for the job, the
Daily News was told.
Mudede was not available for comment but he has previously said the country’s
voters’ roll is one of the best in the world.
But chaotic scenes continuing to dog the on-going voter registration
exercise in several parts of the country have left some of his staunchest
Civil society has also slammed the process that has seen thousands of
potential voters being turned away.
The chaos continued this week and in Chitungwiza’s Unit L suburb, irate
residents vowed to lock up officials from the Registrar General’s office who
they accused of dragging their feet.
After waiting in queues for eternity, some for over five hours, and stomachs
rumbling with hunger, tempers flared among residents of the populous town
who had braved the chilly weather.
With a baby hanging precariously on her back and apparently furious at the
winding queue of at least 400 people, Beulah Nduna threatened to take
matters into her own hands on Tuesday.
“Ndinopika kudai, mangwana havamubude umu kana vasina kupedza kutiregister
(I swear, they will not leave this place until they register us). I have
been coming here since the process started but I have not managed to
register,” she fumed.
The chaotic mobile voter registration process began two weeks ago and has
been blighted by several impediments that have sparked an outcry from not
only civil society but from political parties and the general public.
Those anxious to get identity documents and birth certificates were also
frustrated by officials.
“I was here by 2am and it is now almost 1pm,” said Precious Mutake, 21, a
first time voter.
“I need an ID before I can register but I am thinking of going back home
because I am now really hungry. Only a few people have been selected to go
inside, now the line is not moving because some are also just coming from
home straight into the office to get their papers sorted.”
Goodwill Mafuratidze, a Zanu PF councillor, warned on Tuesday that patience
was wearing thin.
“Only tomorrow is left for the thousands of people from the seven wards who
have not registered,” Mafuratidze said.
The mobile stations left the town yesterday.
Mafuratidze continued: “They have lost patience. I have been pulled by these
people demanding answers when I wanted to leave. Why did government commit
to this process if there were not enough resources, not enough labour and
time to cater for the rights of these people?
“The process is slow; the staff is inadequate, rude and arrogant. These
civil servants should stay at home and let interested people do the job.
Regardless of political affiliation or of whether they are going to vote or
not, every citizen has a right to identity particulars and they have a right
to demand them.”
The constituency covers seven wards.
Despite the fact that officials from the Zec — the body in charge of
electoral processes — toured the area, according to Mafuratidze, there was
Amid the meandering queues, some wistfully looked through the windows
admiring colleagues who had passed the first hurdle.
But inside, the queues were sluggish, forcing some people to hold an indaba
on the sidelines pondering their next move.
With dates for the shambolic mobile voter registration process drawing to a
close, civil society groups such as the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(Zesn) and the Elections Resource Centre (ERC) say authorities should
increase the number of voter registration centres otherwise millions will be
A report by election watchdog Zesn paints a sad picture for the country’s
efforts to hold free and fair election.
Zimbabwe is set to hold elections anytime this year but already the process
has been hobbled by the chaotic mobile voter registration exercise, with
Cabinet having concluded that a fresh process should be embarked upon soon
after the new constitution sails through Parliament.
A police blitz has also targeted civil society actors mobilising people to
register as voters and conducting voter education.
Tawanda Chimhini, the director of the ERC, said there is need for a restart
of the process.
“Voter education should begin after proclamation and yet people are being
arrested,” Chimhini said.
“The Zec is not doing voter education and those who are trying to do
something are running into all sorts of trouble. There is no clarity as to
where people would find the mobile stations.”
In a statement assessing the mobile voter registration process, Zesn says
many have been left out of the process.
“Indications from the various parts of the country have shown that there are
a number of challenges regarding personnel, funds and other resources
resulting in some areas not being fully covered by the exercise,” the Zesn
“Zesn notes with concern the failure to publicise the process in the public
media before commencement of the registration exercise.
Therefore, there is lack of adequate information regarding the registration
centres, registration dates and the requirements for registration, which has
seen a considerable number of people being turned away at the point of
registration, while others are not even aware that such an exercise is
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is in an uneasy power-sharing
government with President Robert Mugabe, on Monday, had a first-hand
experience of the hassles first-time voters are faced with when he tried to
register his 18-year-old twins. - Wendy Muperi and Fungi Kwaramba
by Staff Reporter
CHURCHES have raised concern over the chaotic voter registration process
spearheaded by the Registrar General’s office and further demanded sincerity
from the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC).
The ZEC on Wednesday held a one-and-a-half-hour long meeting with
representatives from different churches to brief them on the current voter
registration exercise and to gauge their concerns around the country’s
In their initial address, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and her
deputy Joyce Kazembe said the poor flow of the current registration exercise
was hamstrung by limited funds availed for the process by Finance Minister
Tendai Biti and the strict laws governing the exercise.
Thousands of prospective voters continue being turned away from different
registration centres in the country for apparent failure to produce the
required documents, chiefly proof of residence. This is despite the ZEC
relaxing the system to enable first time voters to cast their ballots in
general elections due this year.
The ZEC rolled out a concurrent mobile voter registration exercise to reach
the remotest parts of the country. The exercise began on April 29 and runs
until May 19 – although normal registration will continue at district
But Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference legal advisor, Father Edward Ndete,
accused the ZEC of being part of the deceptive process.
“In Zimbabwe, we are known to have very, very good laws and documents.
Actually, we have piles of them but we are challenged when it comes to
implementation. Is what you are saying happening? That is really a cause for
concern for churches,” he said.
Reverend Rogers Daylight Korombi of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe
also accused the ZEC of turning to churches when elections were just around
“The voter registration ends on the 19th but you are calling us today. From
an honest point of view, unless if you are calling on us to rubberstamp what
is not happening on the ground, it’s really, really pathetic,” he said in
reference to the mobile registration exercise.
“We are the people on the ground. We are the people with the people.
Zvatononoka hazvichabatsiri. Hazvichabatsiri! If you want this process that
you are talking about to be credible, you are well behind time.”
In her response, Justice Makarau denied the ZEC was inconsistent but
admitted they were not perfect. She said the electoral body had been meeting
various stakeholders and churches were on the tail end of the schedule.
“I think in a way we are almost like you. We preach but we don’t practice,”
said Makarau in a tongue in cheek response.
“To a large extent, we are trying to practice what we are preaching here…
but you should also appreciate that we are in a relationship with the RG. He
is the one who is responsible for registration. We supervise.”
Justice Makarau urged churches not to panic over the slow registration
process as the new constitution makes provision for an additional 30-day
period for the registration process.
Meanwhile, Justice Marakau said faith-based organisations were a key
stakeholder in the electoral process and urged churches to pray for peaceful
elections in Zimbabwe.
“This process that we are embarking on, the selection of our leaders at all
levels, is a sensitive exercise and we need the grace and guidance of God in
this and therefore we ask you to pray for us as ZEC as we go into this
exercise. We will ask you to pray for the nation as we go into this
exercise,” she said.
“We need to continue praying as we go into the elections. We need to pray
for our leaders to continue preaching the gospel of peace because if we don’t
have peaceful elections, we may not have any elections to talk about and the
result may not be the result that we want.
“l will ask you to pray for wisdom on our part as ZEC officials. We are
going to act as a referee in a football game where we have 26 parties all
trying to score. The goal post is one, they all believe they all have got to
get the presidential seat and tempers tend to be paper thin as we go towards
elections and we need wisdom as the people who are referring that sensitive
game. We need to know what to say, who to say it to, when to say it and who
to speak to.”
By Nomalanga Moyo
16 May 2013
Election watchdog the Election Resource Centre (ERC) is the latest
organisation to fall victim to the country’s overzealous police force, after
the group was accused of breaking the country’s electoral laws.
This follows the arrest on Saturday of three ERC staff for conducting the
‘1st Time Voter Generation’ campaign which is aimed at encouraging youths to
register as voters in the forthcoming polls.
Farai Saungweme, Wadzanai Nyaku and Moses Chikura, were released on Monday,
after ERC director Tawanda Chimhini handed himself in to the police.
After recording a statement from Chimhini, the police decided to charge the
organisation rather than the three staffers who will now appear as state
The ERC is accused of conducting voter education without the permission of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), breaking the Zimbabwe Electoral
Chimhini said the arrests came as a surprise since their campaign is a
“first-time voter mobilisation exercise which has been running since last
year June, and not a voter education programme” as charged.
Chimhini denied that the ERC was conducting a subversive exercise and said
in the 10 years that this organisation has been involved in voter awareness
programmes, it has never sought to take the place of ZEC.
He told SW Radio Africa Thursday: “We believe our work is critical to the
electoral process, especially as there is limited information on the mobile
registration process now
“While we strive to cooperate with the police and the electoral commission,
we will also continue to engage young people so that they are aware of the
process and that they also register as voters.”
Chimhini revealed that since the Saturday arrests, discussions have been
held with ZEC on how civic organisations can work with the Commission and
help to ease the capacity challenges that the electoral body has reported.
He said: “In this country elections are always a sensitive issue, but we
believe that the responsibility to ensure credible, free and fair election
does not lie only with ZEC but also with all the groups and individuals who
are interested in the electoral process.
“If the process is to reflect the will of the people, then there has to be
active engagement with those people. So far, ZEC has not comprehensively
done that,” he added.
Chimhini added his voice to growing calls for the extension of the mobile
voter registration exercise which ends on Sunday, saying it had “clearly
failed to meet the demand”.
ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau on Monday indicated that the exercise will be
extended by another 30 days, as provided for in the new constitution, soon
to become the country’s supreme law. Makarau’s statements came in the wake
of chaotic scenes she encountered during a tour of some registration centres
Meanwhile three MDC-T youths who were arrested in Bulawayo Wednesday for
allegedly trying to ‘usurp’ the powers of the Registrar General’s office,
were questioned and released without charge.
Cabangani Tshuma, Willard Nsingo and Masiza Ndlovu, who were also involved
in voter mobilisation, were picked up at Mahlathini Primary School in
Cowdray Park. It is understood that the three were targeted because they had
copies of registration receipts of 23 people, whom they had encouraged to
According to their lawyer, the three had received donations from
well-wishers to go and register, so they were going to show their sponsors
the receipts as proof.
SW Radio Africa’s correspondent Lionel Saungweme said it seems that the
police are under instruction to disrupt all voter awareness programmes
carried out by any organisation other than ZEC.
Since the beginning of the year, Zimbabwe’s security agents have been on a
warpath against NGOs, accusing them of promoting a regime change agenda.
WASHINGTON — Pretoria is piling pressure on President Robert Mugabe and
Zanu-PF to institute more democratic reforms ahead of elections expected to
be called this year.
South African president Jacob Zuma is the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) appointed mediator in Zimbabwe. Mr. Mugabe has vowed that
he will proclaim election dates this week despite protests from his
coalition partner, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and SADC.
But in an interview with News24 on Tuesday, South African Deputy Foreign
Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, appearing to support Mr. Mugabe's rivals called
for further reforms ahead of the elections.
"I think the opposition has a legitimate argument to say there should be
proper progression for the election," he said.
"There have to be certain reforms that need to be speeded up. If Zanu PF
says they [polls] should be held in June or July, that is probably playing
politics. All parties should agree that the time is ripe for an election."
Zanu-PF strategist and politburo member Jonathan Moyo dismissed as
“outrageous and offensive” Ibrahim’s remarks saying they risked undermining
President Zuma's personal role as the facilitator of SADC's engagement in
Ibrahim also said South Africa was willing to assist Harare with funds to
run this year’s elections.
Citing previous electoral violence in Zimbabwe, Ebrahim said a regional
election monitoring group should be deployed ahead of the polls. Zimbabwe's
presidential election run off was aborted in 2008 after more than 150
opposition supporters were allegedly murdered in election related violence.
Mr. Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, also told VOA that
the South African president wants Zimbabwe’s six negoatiators to come up
with a revised election roadmap dealing with outstanding global political
agreement issues. The six are drawn from the three partys in the coalition
Sources in Harare said the negotiators will meet Thursday to discuss the
Zanu-PF insists there won’t be any futher reforms but the two MDC formations
want media and security sector reforms, among others.
Political analyst Briggs Bomba of Trust Africa told VOA that the SADC region
will not accept a flawed election in Zimbabwe.
By Alex Bell
16 May 2013
Zimbabwe’s state media has lashed out at a South African government
minister, who said his country would provide financial support for its
neighbour ahead of elections this year, depending on key reforms.
South Africa’s International Relations Deputy Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim,
described ZANU PF’s call for June elections as politicking, insisting that
Zimbabwe should first implement key reforms before going ahead with polls.
“There have to be certain reforms that need to be speeded up,” Ebrahim told
the South African Press Agency (Sapa), adding: “If ZANU PF says they (polls)
should be held in June or July that is probably playing politics. All
parties should agree that the time is ripe for an election.”
He said the other partners in the unity government, the two MDC formations,
have a “legitimate argument,” in terms of seeing key security sector and
media reforms before the election is held.
Ebrahim also said his country was willing to help fund the elections if
Zimbabwe made an appeal.
The ZANU PF mouthpiece Herald newspaper however slammed Ebrahim for
“meddling in Zim issues,” saying he “torched a storm after echoing the MDC-T
agenda of pressing for the security sector reform as a condition for the
party to contest the harmonised elections scheduled for this year.”
The Herald turned to notorious ZANU PF apologist Jonathan Moyo to back their
criticism of Ebrahim, quoting the MP as saying that the elections in
Zimbabwe are “none of his (Ebrahim’s) business.”
“He is not a facilitator and he is overstepping into other people’s mandate.
We want to believe it is his position, not the position of the South African
Government,” Moyo was quoted as saying.
“If it is the official South African position, then they are complicating
their position on Zimbabwe. It’s megaphone diplomacy to create a crisis
where there is none,” he said.
by Nelson Sibanda
Zanu (PF) has set itself on a collision course with the Southern African
Development Community by defying its calls for reforms before elections.
Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told The Zimbabwean this week that the
SADC facilitation team’s continued efforts to help usher in a new democratic
dispensation were outdated. He dismissed the regional group’s calls for
reforms before polls as “undermining Zimbabwe’s sovereignty” and said “We
are going ahead with the election despite SADC and other political parties
calling for so-called reforms.
Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which runs its own affairs the Zimbabwean
way.” He added: “We will conduct elections according to our new
constitution which will come into being soon. What SADC is saying about
outstanding reforms is mere talk because we are through with all necessary
reforms and there is nothing outstanding,” said Gumbo.
Gumbo said the call for reforms before elections has been overtaken by the
new constitution, which he said would lay the ground for free and fair
polls. He said this made SADC calls for reforms “irrelevant”. There have
been repeated calls for all political parties to honour all agreements in
the GPA signed by Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations in late 2008
following a disputed presidential run-off.
The regional bloc is on record insisting that the implementation of reforms
agreed to in the GPA is critical in order for free, fair, transparent and
peaceful elections to take place. The two MDCs still insist there is need
for security sector, media and electoral reforms.
The Chairperson of the South Africa-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, Gabriel
Shumba, described the Zanu (PF) attitude towards SADC as “suicidal”, adding
that the bloc had a written mandate, respected internationally, to oversee
electoral processes in Zimbabwe and the region.
“There is still need for oversight by SADC. Remember, SADC has an agreed
mandate to ensure credible elections and that will not go away because Zanu
(PF) wishes it. In fact, even if MDC-T were to win the next election, there
would still be need for SADC,” said Shumba.
The constitution did not bring guarantees of free and fair elections, he
said. “There is no guarantee that Zanu (PF) will respect the new
constitution and in the event that the securocrats subvert undermine
election results during the transitional post-election period, SADC has to
Zapu spokesperson Mjobisa Noko said Zanu (PF’s) position was misguided.
“Zanu (PF’s) talk of proclaiming election dates is mere talk as they have no
mandate to do that. Mugabe and Zanu (PF) simply want to divert people’s
attention from real issues. Zapu will not be party to elections without
reforms” said Noko.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said Zanu (PF’s) insistence on elections
before reforms were implemented would have negative repercussions for the
party and the country on the regional and international scene.
“Zanu (PF) is aware of the centrality of SADC in Zimbabwe’s political case.
The party will need an endorsement by SADC in order to be accepted as a
legitimate authority in running the Zimbabwe government. Without that, every
other institution and body including the AU, UN, and the broader
international community will take a cue from SADC – which holds the mantle
in ensuring legitimacy of any Zimbabwean government,” said Maisiri.
Another analyst, Dewa Mavhinga, said: “It will be useless to go for
elections without meeting the SADC poll guidelines because the outcome will
produce an illegitimate government. There must be sufficient reforms if we
are to have a legitimate outcome.
“However it will not be sufficient for SADC alone to push for these reforms.
Pressure should come from Zimbabwean citizens and other pressure groups.
Pressure from internal democratic forces will be supported by SADC, the AU
and the international community,” said Mavhinga.
President Robert Mugabe this month told a Zanu (PF) pre-election Central
Committee meeting that the party’s 29 June date for elections stands and is
in accordance with the law as Parliament would have ceased to exist by then.
The declaration by Mugabe leaves no room for implementation of reforms.
Gumbo allayed fears of diplomatic isolation in the event of Zanu (PF) going
ahead with its election plan in defiance of SADC’s calls for reforms first.
“There will not be any negative consequences if we hold elections in our own
way. What SADC will say about the outcome is not important to us,” he said,
adding that his party was currently making efforts to ensure a non-violent
election so there was no need for SADC and other political parties to panic
about the possibility of violence.
Senior Zanu (PF) officials like Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa and
State Security Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi are on record saying the issue of
security sector re-alignment is a non-starter, while Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa has in the past accused SADC of overestimating its powers
and forgetting that its role was one of mere facilitation.
This provoked a war of words between the party and the SADC facilitation
team led by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, whose spokesperson of the
facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, said last month that the role of SADC was
to make sure that all agreed reforms were implemented first and declared
that nothing in the GPA was a closed chapter.
The MDC-T is on record saying it will not take part in elections without
reforms. On Monday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said October was the
most ideal date for elections as the constitution guarantees four months of
executive authority after the dissolution of Parliament.
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 May 2013
The arrest of staffers in the Prime Minister’s office in March this year may
have been as a result of intelligence passed on by an insider, a leading
Harare based lawyer claimed on Thursday.
Alec Muchadehama is the defence lawyer for the four staffers facing charges
of breaching the official secrets act and impersonating the police. He said
the way police swooped on his clients suggests they knew what they were
looking for in advance and where the documents were kept.
Muchadehama told SW Radio Africa that his observations stem from the fact
that the police had prior knowledge of which houses to search and precisely
which documents they were looking for.
However, the staffers, Thabani Mpofu, Warship Dumba, Felix Matsinde and
Mehluli Tshuma do not work from the same offices as the Prime Minister. They
work from the Premier’s private communications and information offices along
Bath Road in Avondale.
‘During the raids, the police knew which documents were kept at the offices
and which ones were kept at home. Not that any of the documents recovered
were incriminating but the fact that you work in an environment where one of
you is perhaps indiscreetly working as an informer is very worrying,’
The trial of the four, which was supposed to start on Thursday, was
postponed to June 3rd after the state once again refused to provide certain
papers pertaining to the case. It was postponed at the request of the
Muchadehama said they are baffled why the state is not forthcoming with the
paperwork, which they need to prepare for their defence.
‘In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been writing to the Attorney-General’s
office every two days for the papers to be sent to us. Nothing has been
done, and I think this is a deliberate attempt to ambush us with information
that we are not privy to,’ he said.
The trial failed to kick-off last week after the presiding magistrate made a
‘no show.’ 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.
By Violet Gonda
16 May 2013
Prominent Zimbabwe human rights lawyer and women and children’s activist,
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, is reported to be among six women nominated for the
position of Executive Director of UN Women. The position is vacant after
former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet resigned recently to stand for
re-election in her country’s presidential polls.
At present Gumbonzvanda is the general secretary of the World Young Women’s
Christian Association, a leading international network of women that
advocates for peace, justice, human rights worldwide.
Gumbonzvanda told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that she is humbled and
honored to be a candidate for UN Women.
UN Women is an organization that was established by the United Nations
General Assembly in 2010 to advance the empowerment of women and gender
equality, and also to support efforts of governments in partnering with
civil society organizations.
If given the chance Gumbonzvanda said she hopes to continue to support the
efforts of governments to deliver on their commitments for gender equality
and protecting the rights of women.
“UN Women is also a knowledge base facilitator and adviser within the United
Nations system itself, and within this role the Executive Director has to
lead a team that develops relationships and mobilizes resources to address
the issue of women,” said the World YWCA General Secretary.
Gumbonzvanda is facing stiff competition from a selection of women that is
said to include Kim Campbell, the former and first female Prime Minister of
Canada, Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland and Rebeca Grynspan the
former Vice President of Costa Rica .
“I recognize my colleagues and respect my colleagues who have put in their
own candidature because it means the world has a number of women who are
competent, capable and committed to advancing the rights of women,” said
She said issues of economic and social rights and violence against women
will be important for her if she is appointed to this top UN position.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to announce the appointment in
By Alex Bell
16 May 2013
The government is facing criticism for a number of ‘secretive’ mining deals
across Zimbabwe, which are being made without any consultation with
communities and other stakeholders.
This includes an as of yet unconfirmed deal with a Chinese firm to exploit
the uranium resources in the Kanyemba area. Zim media reports, quoting
different sources, have said that the extraction of uranium is set to begin
soon, after the Chinese were granted ‘special rights’ by the Mines Ministry.
China Uranium Corporation (CUC), already registered in Zimbabwe, is said to
be partnering with Zimbabwe’s Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) on the
project. It is understood that this same firm was granted a special
explorative licence in 2009 and they are ready to begin full scale
The uranium site in Kanyemba has in recent years been the source of
controversy, after Zimbabwe and Iran looked set to seal a deal on extracting
the resource. In 2011 Zimbabwe earned the ire of Western nations, who
accused the African country of supporting Iran’s nuclear programme, after a
leaked UN report said Iran was to be granted exclusive access to Zimbabwe
uranium in return for fuel.
The deal did not come to fruition, but the Chinese appear to have muscled in
Efforts to contact the Mines Ministry for clarification were fruitless on
Thursday. However, Farai Maguwu from the Centre for Natural Resource
Governance said there are many “secretive, opaque deals taking place.”
“Obviously if there are activities taking place I don’t think the government
is keen to make people aware, because that will create a crisis of
expectation where people will start demanding where the revenues are going,”
Maguwu told SW Radio Africa.
He explained that there is “lots is happening in the extractive sector,
whereby licenses are issued without consulting the communities and the
“We only start to react to the negative effects of extraction, after the
fact. The companies involved and the government are not willing to consult
with relevant stakeholders because there is no interest in being transparent
and accountable to the people,” Maguwu said.
He said the lack of transparency was a widespread problem, not only
affecting the mining sector in Zimbabwe.
“It is a microcosm of the bigger political crisis Zimbabweans are
experiencing, where government has neglected its responsibly to the people.
Mining deals are being negotiated for the benefit of those who are
negotiating, and not the people. If the negotiation process was secretive
and clandestine, you can’t expect transparency to start occurring at
business level,” Maguwu said.
He added: “Zimbabweans are losing out on resources worth billions of dollars
due to these secretive, opaque mining deals.”
By Godfrey Marawanyika - May 16, 2013 11:27 PM GMT+1000
Zimbabwe is trying to reach an agreement to distribute its stones directly
to China, Dubai and Israel without violating rules against the sale of gems
from the Marange fields, Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the state-owned
Mineral Marketing Corporation Ltd., said.
The U.S. may also get involved in discussions, Mutsvangwa said on the
sidelines of a Chamber of Mines annual meeting in Nyanga today. The proposal
wouldn’t violate rules because Zimbabwe outside of Marange was certified
compliant in 2010.
Zimbabwe, which produced 8 million carats of diamonds in 2012 worth $865
million, is the world’s seventh largest diamond producer. Its output this
year is estimated at 16 million carats, according to Mines Minister Obert
Diamond mining in Zimbabwe was mostly confined to central and southern parts
of the country and expanded to the eastern district of Marange after the
discovery of alluvial diamonds, boosting production since 2006.
Diamonds from Marange can’t be exported legally from Zimbabwe because the
field hasn’t yet met an international certification standard showing that
proceeds from sales aren’t used to finance conflict.
HARARE — President Robert Mugabe today launched Zimbabwe’s food and
nutrition security policy calling on the international community to help
fund the country’s agricultural sector to improve the food situation in the
Officiating at the launch of the country’s food and nutrition security plan
in Harare, President Mugabe urged international development partners to
support Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector to improve productivity and promote
Mr. Mugabe blamed climate change and sanctions imposed on him, some senior
Zanu PF officials and companies by the West in 2002 for the food shortages
being experienced in the country.
Several parts of the country currently do not have access to adequate food
resulting in the Zambian government promising to help with 150,000 tonnes of
The president said about a third of the country’s children are malnourished
as a result of lack of nutritious food.
Deputy Health Minister Douglas Mombeshora said improving the food situation
in the country will help save the lives of several women and children who
are dying because of poor nutrition.
Vice President Joice Mujuru, who spearheaded the policy, said the 1995
drought, also had a debilitating effect on the country’s foodstocks.
But some critics blame the poor food situation on chaotic land reforms
embarked on by the then Zanu PF government in 2000 that displaced hundreds
of white commercial farmers and their laborers.
The policy launched today prioritizes a multi-sectoral approach to the food
situation, including research, resource mobilization and the growing of
indigenous crops to boost food reserves.
JOHANNESBURG — The 2008 violent xenophobic attacks that took place in South
Africa were a traumatic experience many foreign nationals will not want to
Sixty people were killed and tens of thousands displaced during the attacks
that were largely directed at foreign nationals from other African
A recent roundtable discussion between government, labour and
non-governmental organisations has revealed that xenophobic violence still
continues in South Africa with an estimated 140 foreign nationals allegedly
killed in 2012, under circumstances related to xenophobia.
The South African government claims that it is doing all it can to bring the
attacks to an end.
The African Centre for Migration and Society at the Witwatersrand University
in Johannesburg, revealed that the situation is scaring foreign nationals
living in the country.
The Centre director Loren Landau, says urgent action should be taken to
bring the xenophobic attacks under control.
Other non-governmental organisations also confirm that attacks continue with
shops owned by foreigners being looted and burnt down resulting in injury or
loss of lives.
Sicelimpilo Shange-Buthane, director at the Consortium for Refugees
and Migrants in South Africa urges stakeholders to come together and tackle
on May 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm
By Mutumwa Mawere
In 1980, President Robert Mugabe was alive to the link between national
unity, peace and progress and his words at independence sought to provide a
guide as to what was to be expected. As we look back, we are compelled to
review the progress made during the last 33 years.
Mugabe said: “Let us rejoice over our independence and recognise in it the
need to dedicate ourselves to national unity, peace and progress.”
It is ironic that the forthcoming elections will be fought on the basis of
which party can deliver the promise of shared prosperity when in 1980 this
was the primary objective.
Notwithstanding, debate on indigenisation still rages on, but the divergent
views on how best to approach the financial sector exposes the glaring lack
of leadership on this key and fundamental public policy issue.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has expressed
unhappiness about what he describes as the “one-size-fits-all” approach to
indigenisation and economic empowerment.
In an article entitled ‘Reckless indigenisation disruptive to economy’, Gono
seeks to advance his position that the approach to indigenisation that has
so far been pursued by Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is
reckless and disruptive to the economy.
Gono has a record that speaks volumes about what he believes in and it is
important that the opportunity that he has opened by joining the battle of
ideas on what matters to the future of Zimbabwe is taken advantage of.
Gono makes the point that he has some valuable experiences that inform his
worldview why the financial sector ought to be treated with caution and why
Kasukuwere’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to indigenisation of the financial
sector is considered by him to be inappropriate, disruptive and dangerous.
It is significant that Kasukuwere is a member of Mugabe’s Cabinet and
although Gono and he were both appointed by Mugabe, it would appear that
Gono’s statement above, if taken to its logical conclusion, would seem to
suggest that it is aimed at Mugabe who has failed to rein in Kasukuwere.
Although Mugabe to whom the attack by Gono seems to be aimed at, has not yet
weighed in fully on his vision regarding the kind of reforms that need to be
undertaken in the financial sector in order to advance the cause, what is
now clear is that after 33 years in office, clarity on what needs to happen
remains elusive at the top of the political chain.
Gono’s argument in support of indigenisation of a different kind in the
financial sector is betrayed by an acceptance that the need for
indigenisation is long-overdue and desirable.
If this is the starting point of his worldview, then it cannot be argued
that there should be any “sacred cows” for doing so would easily permit
confusion. Surely, if ownership is an important variable in asserting the
inclusive agenda, then one cannot then advance the argument of sector
One must accept that each enterprise is unique and, therefore, must be
understood and if shareholding restructuring purely to address perceived
historical commercial injuries is bad for the financial sector, it cannot be
good, for instance, in the mining or any other sector.
It is evident that the arguments that Gono seems to be advancing are
premised on the belief that while indigenisation is good, it is disruptive
only where he is involved in.
He makes the point that: “Any deals that foreign banks in this market
voluntarily or involuntarily enter into and sign-off without prior approval
will remain ‘deals on paper’ — basically null and void” as if to suggest
that the buck stops at him which would place him as a de-facto President of
the financial sector.
In any functioning constitutional democracy, one would expect Gono and
Kasukuwere to have ventilated their strong views in appropriate foras, but
alas it would appear that such platforms no longer exist in Zimbabwe.
The indigenisation law was enacted in 2007 and one would naturally have
expected that prior to its enactment, the direction and approach of the
program ought to have been thought out so that the legislation would have
made the exception that Gono is proposing albeit after the establishment of
a Ministry of the same government that he is serving and a Minister having
been appointed who remains a rising star of the party and a leading advocate
Why would the President choose to remain silent while two bulls in his camp
are fighting for attention?
Gono believes that indigenisation is only poisonous if applied to the
financial sector and that shareholding ought not to be the critical focus
and yet his principal, Mugabe, is clear that ownership is important.
Gono maintains that: “Like any national programme, the indigenisation and
economic empowerment programme must be implemented in a manner that respects
the entire legislative mapping of Zimbabwe as represented by various pieces
of legislation on our books that seek to create checks and balances against
potentially domineering legislative elephants in the living room, so to
speak. The following are some of the critical pieces of legislation and
regulatory frameworks to be respected: Banking Act, Chapter 24:20; Reserve
Bank Act, Chapter 22:15; Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection
Agreements; Competition Act, Chapter 14:28 and Corporate Governance
Framework for Parastatals of which National Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Board is part of.”
Gono’s tenure has been controversial and he is not, therefore, the
appropriate messenger to talk about corporate governance, separation of
powers, transparency, checks and balances, and, more importantly, about
If he understood what he is asking Kasukuwere, then surely his actions at
the helm of the RBZ would have been different. There are too many corporate
corpses that were victims of Gono and he probably set the stage for what he
is now blaming Kasukuwere for.
The RBZ under his control assumed a life of its own and the reach of the
bank was extensive. The RBZ became a state within a state. The concern about
the dangerous role that the RBZ had assumed informed the crafters of the
Global Political Agreement to call for the dismissal of Gono.
It would appear that Gono has now reinvented himself during the tenure of
the inclusive government and his boss, Tendai Biti, is now his best friend.
Gono caused so much pain to indigenous entrepreneurs that must be told lest
history is rewritten while we remain silent. Some of us have personal
experiences that can add value to the debate that Gono now wants to be part
Under Gono, the RBZ became a little police establishment of its own. Former
Police Commissioner Henry Mukurazhizha was recruited by Gono and the wounds
caused are too fresh to be forgotten.
It is instructive that even Biti and the MDC-T are no longer asking for Gono
to be relieved of his duties. Gono did not respect the entire legislative
mapping of Zimbabwe and he was simply not accountable to anyone. The
legislators did not have a clue as to how the RBZ was acting in the name of
the State. The address of the Ministry of Finance had effectively moved to
All ministries were reporting to the big elephant and we now learn that even
the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was part of the value chain.
Perhaps Gono should begin by telling the nation how he managed to ignore the
entire legislative mapping with impunity. What he described as a “casino
economy” was realised under his watch and the abandonment of the local
currency was really an indictment on his actions.
If the approach to indigenisation is faulty, then one has to locate the
genesis of the fault lines. One cannot point a finger at Kasukuwere without
pointing the same finger at Gono and many others who have created their own
states within the State of Zimbabwe.
One can naively assume that Zimbabwe is a unitary state, but in reality each
office bearer operates as if there is no accountability.
Gono would agree that the RBZ is part of the legislative mapping that he now
speaks, but even in his piece it would appear that investors should know
that in the final analysis it is a bigger elephant in the room.
Mugabe, who turned 89 recently, thanked Gono for the gift of 89 cattle. What
we do know is that Gono knows how to manage the political processes to the
extent that accountability is usually the problem.
The participation of Gono in this important debate is welcome and should
allow for an honest assessment of his record with a view to establishing
whether he has played any part in creating corporate violence and disorder.
May 16 2013 at 02:09pm
Harare - Zimbabwean journalists are no strangers to harassment, but as fresh
presidential elections near, there is a gloomy sense the media is being
thrust back into the firing line.
It is an all too familiar sequence of events: A story is printed or
broadcast that is damaging to 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe or his
party, threats and denunciations follow from government and its media
mouthpieces, then come the arrests.
So it was last week for two journalists with the Zimbabwe Independent, who
were charged with publishing “false statements prejudicial to the State.”
Their crime was to print an article suggesting that security personnel close
to Mugabe were in talks with his rivals from Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement
for Democratic Change.
The article quoted a person directly involved in the talks and struck a
They were reportedly discussing how to ensure a smooth transfer of power,
should Tsvangirai defeat Mugabe and end his 33-year rule.
Security chiefs have made no secret of their loyalty to Mugabe and
authorities often react heavy-handedly to any suggestions to the contrary.
Government officials denied the talks took place.
The pair were later released, but the point was made.
“Journalists will be casualties,” said Foster Dongozi, secretary-general of
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists bleakly. “We expect this to continue.”
The union says a total of 13 journalists were arrested on various charges
last year, while several others received threats.
Three have been arrested so far this year, including a reporter from a
privately owned daily NewsDay who was arrested at a police station after
going there to seek protection following threats from a Zanu-PF official.
Many of the prosecutions stem from before the 2002 presidential elections -
when Tsvangirai presented a formidable challenge to Mugabe's rule and the
government passed a new media law which has been invoked to muzzle
Since then several newspapers have been forced to shut down while
journalists and foreign correspondents have been deported and harassed by
“A lot of politicians have a lot of things they are doing behind the
people's back and would want to suppress,” said Dongozi.
The abuse of journalists will not be perpetrated only by state actors but by
political activists, Dongozi warned.
“We have those who want to get into power and those who want to cling to
power and journalists are targeted by both if they are perceived to be a
threat,” said Dongozi.
Andrew Makoni, chairman of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said the
arrests were nothing new, “we always experience an escalation of such cases
whenever there is an election.”
“The aim is to make sure fewer and fewer journalists are willing to take the
risk and cover hot political issues and write articles that will shape the
opinions of the voters.”
Ahead of polls expected as early as June, Tsvangirai is insisting on a slew
of reforms, including changes to how the media and security services are
He has vowed to abolish the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, which bars foreign journalists from working permanently in the country.
Under the law, local journalists are compelled to register annually with a
government media commission and risk prosecution if they write without
accreditation or breach the media law.
But so far progress has proceeded at a glacial pace.
“This could be a precursor of more arrests of journalists in the private
media ahead of harmonised polls expected later this year,” said Brian
Mangwende, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum.
“That is why we want to see progress as soon as possible regarding media
reform so that journalists are not arrested at will.”
While authorities keep an eye on the conventional media, critics of Mugabe's
regime have found a safe haven in social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp
and Twitter as well as blogs.
Dumisani Muleya, one of the arrested Zimbabwe Independent journalists, said
while the authorities can monitor and crack down on newspaper journalists,
social media workers and activists will prove elusive.
“One wonders why authoritarian regimes like the one in Zimbabwe still think
they can successfully suppress the media in this digital and social media
age,” said Muleya. - Sapa-AFP
Violet Gonda brings you a heated discussion with Giles Mutsekwa, the MDC-T secretary for defence, who says his party has no problem working with the army generals they had accused of spearheading a terror campaign against their supporters over the years. Mutsekwa hit the headlines recently over reports claiming he had been holding ‘secret talks’ with military and police hardliners. Zim Independent editor Dumisani Muleya was arrested for publishing this story, but he told SW Radio Africa that he stands by the report and that Mutsekwa gave the newspaper the information. Has the MDC-T made a u-turn regarding the service chiefs and calls for security sector reform?
Broadcast: 09 May 2013
VIOLET GONDA: My guest on the programme Hot Seat is Mr Giles Mutsekwa who is the MDC Secretary for Defence and also the Minister of Housing. Welcome on the programme Mr Mutsekwa.
GILES MUTSEKWA: Thank you.
GONDA: Mr. Mutsekwa first of all can you give us your reaction to the recent arrest of journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent who were arrested after they published a story claiming that your party, the MDC-T, was engaged in sensitive high-level talks with the country’s security chiefs?
MUTSEKWA: What we have done as a party is we have given that responsibility to our party spokesperson who I’m sure has given sufficient response to those arrests you are referring to.
GONDA: Okay, but did you meet with the security bosses though?
MUTSEKWA: As I say we have already issued a statement and we will not be dwelling on that issue anymore.
GONDA: What does the statement say because we haven’t received that it?
MUTSEKWA: I’m sure the party spokesman would be the best person to answer that. We can dwell on the other issues but certainly what we have done as a party is that we’ve agreed that a statement will be issued by the party through the party’s spokesperson and I’m talking about this particular issue of arrests.
GONDA: I spoke to Zimbabwe Independent editor Dumisani Muleya and basically he stands by his newspaper’s story saying that they got the information from you. So I’m asking you if you deny that report and meeting with the generals, and also what do you make of comments made by General Chiwenga and the Police Commissioner denying holding talks with you?
MUTSEKWA: I do not want to make that issue public debate anymore. I think that’s sufficient to say that.
GONDA: I understand that but can you let us know if you did or did not meet with them?
MUTSEKWA: I think the best thing that we can do is to talk about the security sector realignment; that’s a subject that I think we must always dwell on, and as I say for various other reasons, we do not want to revisit that particular story that you are referring to.
GONDA: So what do you mean by security sector realignment?
MUTSEKWA: What we are saying is that for 33 years since Zimbabwe became independent, the security sector in Zimbabwe has been very unfortunate in that it has had a civilian government that has chosen to abuse our security services. Therefore it is only paramount that because there is now a political dispensation and that there is now democracy emerging in Zimbabwe, our security sector, which has been misemployed – and being misemployed is completely different from them being unprofessional. They might have received professional training but for 33 years of being misemployed obviously takes away some of that professional training that you had. So yes there is an urgent necessity for realignment – realigning their actions and thinking so that it dovetails into the new political dispensation that pertains in the country.
GONDA: So what does your party intend to do especially when the security bosses have time after time, accused MDC leaders of being sell-outs, of being puppets of the west and that they will never salute Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai?
MUTSEKWA: Well firstly it is not their choice that the security sector is being realigned. It is an agreement that was also signed four years ago by Zanu PF and we call this agreement the Global Political Agreement. There is a specific chapter or paragraph that is dedicated to this particular issue and that paragraph only came about because both sides, I’m talking about Zanu PF and ourselves, realized that there was a problem. And Zanu PF in particular realized that the problem was caused by themselves because they had misemployed our security forces for the past 33 years. So that knowledge is obviously evidenced by the fact that together with Zanu PF we made that particular paragraph in the GPA so it’s not up to the practitioners in the security forces to decide whether they should undergo a realignment or not because they are supposed to be subservient to the civilian authority. It is what the civilian body decides what they should abide to.
GONDA: So I’m asking what is the MDC doing about this because elections are around the corner, your party has repeatedly accused the military and even members of the police force of siding with Zanu PF and also wreaking havoc in the country ahead of elections. So what is your party’s strategy in terms of dealing with this ‘problem’?
MUTSEKWA: It is not the responsibility – I think this is where many people misplace this argument – it is not the responsibility of the MDC party alone to ensure that there is realignment of the security forces. It is an assignment that is assigned to the present GNU government. So it’s not just the MDC. The only reason why we in the MDC speak more about it is because we understand that our partners in government Zanu PF are the same people that have been misusing, abusing the security forces.
But totally and truly it is just not the responsibility of one part of the government alone. It is a responsibility of the entire government. So asking me what the MDC are doing about it – what we are doing obviously firstly is to ensure that our partners in government comply with that requirement. But secondly if we get no joy at all within government itself, you know we have got guarantors to this Agreement; the guarantors are SADC and the AU. So what we are obviously going to do is if this persists to be a problem we then refer the issue to our guarantors.
GONDA: So what can SADC do exactly?
MUTSEKWA: Well it’s up to them but if you have been following SADC’s stance and everything else you will recall that President Zuma, who is the mediator at the moment, actually stressed in one of his meetings that the security sector realignment should not be prolonged any more. What that means is that he is seized with the matter.
GONDA: Yes but we’ve heard this since the formation of the inclusive government and we continue to hear the MDC formations complaining that there needs to be security sector reform and this has not happened. So that’s why I’m saying you keep saying Zanu PF is abusing their authority and controlling the security sector so at the end of the day it is up to you – the people who are complaining – to try and do something about it. So what have you done as the MDC formations in the unity government to ensure that these problems that you keep saying are there are resolved?
MUTSEKWA: Violet, the issue, the subject of security sector realignment is not a complaint of our party only. It is a concern to the entire people of Zimbabwe, Zanu PF included. If these people are not realigned, no party is going to benefit from their behavior. So whilst we seem to be the spokespeople in terms of wanting this alignment to be achieved it does not mean that we are the only beneficiary of this realignment. Nobody is going to benefit from a rogue security sector so obviously it is the whole of Zimbabwe that is anxious to see security forces realigned. So yes we might be leading in wanting security realignment but we are only doing it for Zimbabwe and when we say Zimbabwe, Zanu PF included.
But as to what we are going to do, you must remember also that it’s not just a security sector realignment that is topical at the moment, there is also the media that we also want urgently, urgently realigned as well. So those issues to us, unless they are addressed and addressed properly we do not think that there is going to be a credible election. In actual fact we will as well state that we might not be part and parcel of that election.
GONDA: What are you saying? Are you saying the MDC will boycott the elections if there are no media reforms or security sector reforms?
MUTSEKWA: I am saying that the elections that are fast approaching in Zimbabwe needs, in fact before that election is conducted, these topical issues have got to be addressed.
GONDA: Legal experts like Derek Matyszak say there are only three pieces of legislation that absolutely must be changed before elections and that includes the Electoral Act because that needs to be amended to take into account the provisions relating to proportional representation and then other legislation like the Local Government Act and the Provincial Councils Act. But he said media reforms or security sector reforms are not necessary right now before elections and that if Zanu PF hasn’t agreed to these reforms by now in the many years of the unity government, they are not likely to do so in the few months remaining before elections. What can you say about this?
MUTSEKWA: I want to stress that conditions for having a free and fair election in Zimbabwe include that we undertake all issues that have been raised in the Global Political Agreement. There is no issue that is lesser than the other. So the legal analyst that you refer to could have expressed his particular legal opinion but the position of Zimbabwe, the position of the Movement for Democratic Change is that before we dream of any election, all issues must be addressed remembering that we do not refer to security sector as security sector reform, we actually say security sector realignment, but certainly media reform.
GONDA: So how come you were able to hold a constitutional referendum in March without these issues that you are calling for?
MUTSEKWA: When we held the referendum there was no contestation. We were all agreed on what we want to achieve so there was no contestation and therefore there was nobody or no party that was disadvantaged at all – so that makes a hell of a difference. But the elections that we are talking about are a pure contestation because it’s got to produce a winner and that winner has got to be produced by a result that is not going to be contested by the loser. So this is the difference and this is what we want to avoid. We do not want at all to fall back to a position that came in 2008 because that is not good for anybody; it’s not good even for a person who might declare himself a winner. The result simply must not be contested and for that to happen we just must make sure that we fulfill all the obligations as pronounced in the Global Political Agreement.
GONDA: But many believe that the political parties in the unity government are actually just playing games with people and that what is going to happen after elections is just going to be a repeat of what happened in 2008/2009 where another unity government is formed.
MUTSEKWA: Well that is certainly not the view, that is not the aim and that is not the ambition of Movement for Democratic Change. We are only entering this race, which we call an election because we are very, very sure that we will emerge the winner, as long as the playing field is level.
GONDA: So how are you going to ensure that? I’m sorry to come back to the same question, but when you say security sector realignment, do you want some of these service chiefs to be removed from their positions before going into elections for example?
MUTSEKWA: No, no, no, no, no, no Violet. In actual fact this is the biggest problem that we are facing in Zimbabwe because many people are misinterpreting the meaning of realignment. The business of the Movement for Democratic Change, in actual fact the ambition and aims of the Movement for Democratic Change, has never been to replace anybody on make anybody lose their job at all. What we mean by that – in fact it does not mean replacing anybody by anybody, and I’m pleased you asked that question because there has been some serious misconceptions about our meaning of realignment. Realignment simply means that the security sector has got to realize that they are operating under a democratic dispensation as opposed to the environment that they operated for the last 33 years because during that 33 years there was no demarcation, no difference between government and party according to Zanu PF and security sector probably because they were instruments in that particular government were also forced to sing the same tune. This is our major cry, this is our major complaint. In actual fact the realignment itself is not only going to help Zimbabweans it is going to help the security sector itself because they will begin to realize how they can enjoy their profession without being coerced by a certain political party to follow their political ambitions.
GONDA: Again I ask how will you enforce this? How will you make this happen?
MUTSEKWA: Well what the country intends to do is to draw examples of other countries, how they have done it and that will include people in the present structures themselves. You see the security sector is composed of people who we think, with realignment, will be able to discharge their duties professionally. And as I say we will draw experiences from other countries because various other African countries have gone through the same problem. Tanzania had the same problem … their security sector was completely politicized to the extent that they had also to be realigned. So there are various examples where we can draw from but what it means in brief is that firstly the security sector has got to acknowledge that they serve the constitution not a certain political party, not a certain leader of a political party. I think that is the first important issue that has got to be realized. At the moment it is a mix-up.
GONDA: So the MDC will be willing to work with the service chiefs, the people you accuse of being murderers in other words?
MUTSEKWA: We have no problem at all. In actual fact that is one reason Violet, in our history, that we have never, never, never embarked on training our own army. What that should indicate or point to is that we are going to inherit the present structures lock, stock and barrel but the condition is that there must be a realignment. So yes we are very much prepared to work with the people that we might have accused, you must also remember that we have never accused the security services themselves. We had directly accused the Zanu PF party, which we are saying has misemployed them. So our quarrel has never been with the security forces, our quarrel has been with the party that has been in power for the past 33 years who took the advantage of misemploying the security services so that they prolong their illegal stay in power.
GONDA: Over the years your party has accused the police and the military of brutalizing your supporters so what can you say to your members who are listening to this interview, some of them victims of political violence when you say you have no problems working with people you have accused of human rights violations in the past? Why are you changing your position now?
MUTSEKWA: We have never changed our views. We are very consistent in what we have said from the word go. We have never changed our views, we have never changed our policy, we have stated from the beginning that the situation that obtained before we came into government ourselves, the situation that obtained before elections is not as a result of the behaviour of our security forces, it is and I must stress, as a result of the party that ruled Zimbabwe for the last 33 years. So for our listeners and supporters all I am saying is that we are very consistent with what we have said, we know what has happened before, we know the kind of suffering that they have undergone, we are very aware about that but I think the most important thing is to take Zimbabwe forward after we win the elections.
GONDA: Mr. Mutsekwa you have not been consistent on this issue. For example there have been many calls by the MDC, by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, by yourself and several other party leaders who have called for police commissioner Augustine Chihuri to be removed from his post. Even the Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone has said over and over again that Chihuri is one of the biggest problems in the country. When you were a Minister of Home Affairs you also used to complain about these things and saying that your hands are tied, you can’t change the problems in the police force and that Chihuri must go. So this is why I’m asking what has changed for you now to say you have never had a problem with these people?
MUTSEKWA: You see when you take that view that you are making you are personalizing the issue. We are talking about the security services sector. Chihuri is just an individual within the security sector so I am not being inconsistent; the party has never been inconsistent. We have had problems with Chihuri as a person but that does not mean the entire security sector, Violet. So there must be some difference there. I am not denying that we have issued statements complaining about the behaviour of Chihuri and various other, very few individuals in the security sector but that does not mean that that should mean that we are complaining against the entire security sector. So yes I totally agree with you that I have issued a statement personally; I know also that my boss has done the same, I know also that the current minister of Home Affairs has also issued a statement but we were targeting very few people who were misbehaving. That should be different from the security sector as a whole.
GONDA: Have you been silenced into talking about the talks that you have been having with the army generals as a result of the arrest of the journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent?
MUTSEKWA: Well Violet I think we have got to honour certain pledges that we make. I have said that it is the position of my party that we don’t refer to those issues anymore and there has never been any due pressure from anywhere.
GONDA: But Mr. Mutsekwa I’m not personalizing this issue; I’m just stating what your party has said over the years that these service chiefs have been instrumental in using the military and the police in spearheading all operations against the MDC and the reason that I’m asking this is because you yourself last week, we had an interview with you where you said that you’d met with the security chiefs and I interviewed… (interrupted)
MUTSEKWA: You are only coming back with the same question through the back door. I think that is not fair. I think we have addressed that issue and we have addressed that issue fully. I said if you want a response on that issue the party spokesman would be able to give you one. But I think it is only fair that we conduct this interview as we’ve been doing.
GONDA: The point I wanted to make was that observers are saying sometimes it’s premature to talk about such sensitive issues if negotiations are indeed taking place and I’m wondering if this is the reason you are now not talking or if your latest stance is as a result of recent utterances by General Chiwenga and Commissioner Chihuri?
MUTSEKWA: I hear your explanation but all I am saying is that there has not been, there is never going to be any undue influence. All I am saying is that the party has addressed the issue and a statement has bee issued by our party’s spokesperson.
GONDA: And you said earlier on that you could also bring in SADC to intervene on this issue – what can SADC do – short of an invasion?
MUTSEKWA: No, no there won’t be any reason for an invasion in Zimbabwe. No, no we have never dreamt of that and I don’t think it is ever going to be possible at all. That’s not the way to resolve issues. SADC has got all powers, in actual fact what SADC will do and what I know SADC will do certainly is to ensure that there are no elections conducted in Zimbabwe unless all these issues that we have been referring to have been sorted out.
GONDA: But in the long run how do you force the military to be subservient to a civilian government or to a Tsvangirai-led government based on the utterances that they’ve made in the past that they will never salute the Prime Minister and that he’s a sell-out and a puppet of the west?
MUTSEKWA: You see Violet; there are only a handful of people in the security sector who have issued those statements. Very few indeed and I want to stress a very important point here, that the fact that a few people have issued the statements that you refer to, does not mean that the entire security sector will not salute and be subservient to a civilian government. What you will also be interested to know is that the new constitution that has been adopted by people in Zimbabwe during the referendum also is very specific about where the security sector has got to place themselves in terms of civilian control. So it is clear, it is clearly stated in the constitution, but the most important thing is that there is only a handful of people who have uttered those words about the Prime Minister and that should not, and I must repeat, that should not reflect the opinion and the behaviour of the entire sector.
GONDA: Has there been any training regarding the role of the military or the police in a democracy?
MUTSEKWA: If there was training then we wouldn’t be talking about realignment but this is precisely what we are talking about. I am very sure that once things change, once we are over with elections and a civilian government is put in place, a new civilian government is put in place those things will be looked after.
GONDA: But Mr. Mutsekwa, you have been in government for the last four years and if it’s only a few individuals who are a problem, what has stopped you as government from training people in the security sector?
MUTSEKWA: Ha, ha, ha. I didn’t really know that people would ask us what we have been doing for the last four years. The people in Zimbabwe would be the first people to acknowledge that a lot has happened in Zimbabwe for the last four years, merely because of the fact that MDC is part of government. You know we have done a lot of things, we have revived this economy which was in the intensive care, that’s one, the infrastructure in Zimbabwe is now overhauled and completely changed and etcetera, etcetera. The fact that we have not achieved the realignment of the security sector does not mean that nothing has happened in Zimbabwe.
GONDA: No I was talking specifically about this issue of training. Why have you not been able to do that?
MUTSEKWA: But you are also aware that this government is composed of three political parties with three ideological backgrounds and you need to agree on certain issues that we’ve got to adopt as government in cabinet, so one of the contentious issues in government has been whether we should have realignment of the security forces or not. That is what is happening at the moment in our government. So you ask why has that not been happening? Because we have been battling to convince our colleagues in government that this is a requirement.
GONDA: Okay so between now and elections, do you think it is going to happen?
MUTSEKWA: We have every hope, we have every hope. You must also remember that the dates of an election have not been proclaimed yet. We don’t even know when we are going to have elections in Zimbabwe so when people say there is no time, I don’t know what they are referring to because these processes have got to be achieved before we start talking about an election date.
GONDA: After the interview with Giles Mutsekwa, I caught up with the MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora to find out the party’s position on the so-called MDC-T talks with the service chiefs and first asked him for a reaction on the arrest of the journalists who covered the story.
DOUGLAS MWONZORA: We completely condemn the arrest of the journalists by the police. This is meant to intimidate the journalists from reporting factually. We maintain that there is nothing wrong that was reported by the journalists.
GONDA: So the MDC-T, a team led by Mr Giles Mutsekwa has been meeting with the service chiefs?
MWONZORA: Well we don’t want to discuss that as yet but all I can tell you is that the journalists in question, are just being harassed, they’ve done nothing wrong.
GONDA: Okay so how do you explain to people who want to know why you don’t want to talk about that? Is it a lie or have you been threatened into silence since the army generals have come out criticizing…
MWONZORA: No there has been no intimidation. This is a matter that is before the courts and we don’t want to jeopardize the defence of the journalists but all we can say is that they have done nothing wrong and that there is no basis for their arrest. The arrest is as usual meant to intimidate journalists from investigative journalism.
GONDA: MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora and before that you heard from the MDC-T Secretary for Defence Giles Mutsekwa.
‘We Need New Names,’ by NoViolet Bulawayo
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
Published: May 15, 2013
“When things fall apart, the children of the land scurry and scatter like
birds escaping a burning sky,” NoViolet Bulawayo writes in her deeply felt
and fiercely written debut novel. “They flee their own wretched land so
their hunger may be pacified in foreign lands, their tears wiped away in
strange lands, the wounds of their despair bandaged in faraway lands, their
blistered prayers muttered in the darkness of queer lands.” They leave
behind their mothers and fathers and “the bones of their ancestors in the
earth” — they leave behind “everything that makes them who and what they
are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay.”
The place they are leaving, in this case, is Zimbabwe, that African nation
brutalized by more than 30 years of malignity and neglect under the
autocratic rule of Robert Mugabe — a country reeling, as the journalist
Peter Godwin noted in his powerful 2011 book “The Fear” from unemployment,
hunger, inflation, AIDS and the government’s torture and violent
intimidation of all political opposition. The place many of them are hoping
to flee to is the United States — the destination of the novel’s young
narrator, Darling, who will begin a new life there with her aunt.
Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has
fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical,
unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative. It is the voice, early on,
of a child — observant, skeptical and hardhearted in the way children can
be. She pinches a sick baby she does not want to hold in church so that he
will cry and she can hand him back to his mother, and she is coldly
standoffish when her long-absent father returns home from South Africa,
having become sick with AIDS.
Darling processes the misfortunes of Zimbabwe and its politics through the
eyes of a child — talk of elections and hopes of change are something
grown-ups engage in; she and her friends are more concerned with filling
their empty stomachs with stolen guavas and inventing games to pass the
time. School belongs to the time Before — before the police came and
bulldozed their houses, before they were all forced to move into tin shacks,
before their fathers lost their jobs and life changed.
Using her gift for pictorial language, Ms. Bulawayo gives us snapshots of
Zimbabwe that have the indelible color and intensity of a folk art painting:
“men huddled like sheep and playing draughts under the lone jacaranda,” the
blooming purple flowers almost make them “look beautiful in the shade
without their shirts on,” sitting there, “crouched forward like tigers”; the
women doing their best to look pretty, wearing “a bangle made from rusty,
twisted wire,” a “flower tucked behind an ear,” “earrings made from colorful
seeds,” “bright patches of cloth sewn onto a skirt.”
There is desperation here, however. As it becomes clear that elections have
failed to bring about any kind of change, as men leave home in search of
work and families fracture, young and old alike dream of escape — to America
or Europe, or failing that, South Africa, or maybe Dubai or Botswana,
someplace where “at least life is better” than in this “terrible place of
hunger and things falling apart.”
Thanks to her Aunt Fostalina, who lives in “Destroyedmichygen” (Detroit,
Michigan), Darling does make it to the United States. At first she is
surprised by the astonishing variety and plenitude of food, by the wealth of
everyday choices (“Do you prefer this or that? Are you sure? — as if I have
become a real person”) and by the silent mystery of snow: it’s like “we’re
in the crazy parts of the Bible, there where God is busy punishing people
for their sins and is making them miserable with all the weather.”
Once she is a teenager, she quickly adopts the habits of friends from
school, even if she doesn’t exactly care for them — listening to Rihanna,
trying on armfuls of clothing at the mall (and leaving them in huge messy
piles in the dressing room) and watching pornography online. She acquires an
American accent, gets A’s in school (“because school is so easy in America
even a donkey would pass”) but resists her aunt’s efforts to goad her into
pursuing a career in medicine.
Darling promises her mother that she will come home for a visit soon, even
though she knows she won’t because she doesn’t have the proper paperwork to
return to America again. She misses the friends she grew up with, but at the
same time feels estranged from them. One of them, Chipo, tells her on a
Skype call that she can’t refer to Zimbabwe as her country anymore, since
she treated it as a burning house and ran away from it instead of trying to
put out the flames: “Darling, my dear, you left the house burning and you
have the guts to tell me, in that stupid accent that you were not even born
with, that doesn’t even suit you, that this is your country?”
Ms. Bulawayo gives us a sense of Darling’s new life in staccato takes that
show us both her immersion in and her alienation from American culture. We
come to understand how stranded she often feels, uprooted from all the
traditions and beliefs she grew up with, and at the same time detached from
the hectic life of easy gratification in America. We hear her anger at white
liberals who speak patronizingly about the troubles of “Africa,” lumping
together all the countries on that continent as though they were
interchangeable parts of one big mess. And we come to understand the
bittersweet emotions involved in the choice that many immigrants make to
give their children names that will “make them belong in America.”
At one point, in an effort to make Darling’s experiences broadly
representative, Ms. Bulawayo writes an entire chapter using the plural
pronoun “we” — speaking of the move to America, and the bitterness so many
immigrants feel, as they are forced to take menial jobs or find their hopes
“When we got to America we took our dreams, looked at them tenderly as if
they were newly born children, and put them away; we would not be pursuing
them. We would never be the things we had wanted to be: doctors, lawyers,
teachers, engineers. No school for us, even though our visas were school
visas. We knew we did not have the money for school to begin with, but we
had applied for school visas because that was the only way out.”
Such generalizations are the one misstep in this otherwise stunning novel.
Not only because they try to project one point of view onto the experiences
of a wide and varied group of immigrants, but also because they are not
always true. For instance, the remarkably talented author of this book, the
novel’s jacket tells us, was “born and raised in Zimbabwe,” and moved to the
United States, where she earned an M.F.A. from Cornell and is now a Wallace
Stegner Fellow at Stanford — which sounds very much like a dream achieved.
The Zimbabwean authorities are fighting to protect old farmhouses in order to preserve the country's colonial heritage - something that might come as a surprise given President Robert Mugabe's anti-Western rhetoric and the eviction of most of the country's white farmers.
The discovery certainly came as a shock to Qedindaba Khumalo, a civil engineer who is heading a project to build a housing complex on a previously white-owned farm.
He had intended to make renovations to a 10-room farmhouse on Impala Source Farm in order to modernise it and make it suitable for use as an office.
But he was informed by the country's Heritage Board that no alterations were to be made to the 1920s building, which has large verandas and a corrugated iron roof - like many farmhouses scattered across the country.
He said he was told the house was rich in history and "has to be preserved for future generations".
Located near Shurugwi, about 350km (217 miles) south of the capital Harare, the farm was owned by Garth Pinchen.
The farmer was evicted by militias at the height of President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.
In the last 13 years about 4,000 mostly white farmers have been forced off their land, leaving behind properties with an eclectic mix of designs often rich in Victorian features and the Cape Dutch architecture, which originated in the Cape Colony, South Africa, in the 17th Century.
After the eviction, Impala Source Farm was not handed over to the militias who had seized it but officially given to the nearby platinum mine, Unki.
The mine is now using the land to build houses for about 1,000 mine workers.
A Heritage Board report for the National Museums and Monuments (NMMZ) about the Impala Source Farm and its farmhouse says such buildings should be preserved because they "are a testimony of a new people in a society that had its own culture in architecture".
"The veranda was the recognition by the white man of his tropical environment, the neo-classical facades behind were a means to recreate the world from which he came," it says.'The good life'
However, it is feared that the significance of these houses has escaped many of the 200,000 resettled new farmers who often frown upon anything colonial - and do not want to be reminded of what they see as past injustices.
Zimbabwe's privately owned commercial farms were on the most fertile land, which began to be taken over by colonial farmers after 1890.
Black communities were moved to less productive areas on communal land.
Poor race relations before independence in 1980 and the slow pace of land reform afterwards also caused resentment.
Joseph Chinotimba, a veteran of the war of independence who spearheaded the farm evictions and now lives on a farm in Concession, about 55km north of Harare, says there is nothing sacred about the old farmhouses and they should not be celebrated.
"They remind us of the bad things the white farmers did to us. They evicted our ancestors from those lands, and built their own houses," he told the BBC.
"They lived [the] good life, while our ancestors lived in poor grass thatched houses. It doesn't remind me of anything nice - in fact, those houses should be destroyed."
New farmers were welcome to live in the old farmhouses if they chose, but as they were symbols of "white supremacy" "nice new houses" were preferable, he said.
"I didn't need a white man's house; I built my own house," he added.
For Mr Chinotimba, the only architecture from the colonial past worth saving are impressive feats of engineering such as Birchenough Bridge in Manicaland, Kariba Dam and the Victoria Falls Bridge, which were constructed "on the back of [black] African labour".'Important historical reality'
Hendricks Olivier, the director of the mainly white Commercial Farmers' Union, says it is evident that much of the "rich Victorian architecture" on reallocated farms is not being respected.
"Roofs have disappeared; window frames have disappeared [and] doorframes; people are making fires inside the houses," Mr Olivier says.
"The houses across the country are breaking down."
Godfrey Mahachi, director of the NMMZ - which comes under the home affairs ministry, admits the protection of the houses, which he sees as an "important historical reality for Zimbabwe", is not going to be easy.
Many houses may already have been altered or destroyed in the farm invasions which were sometimes violent.
The main problem lies in carrying out an audit of the farms with a view to identifying the farmhouses worth preserving.
"It's a very difficult exercise because of the nature of the whole farming operations. The farms are literally everywhere, and some of the houses have not been brought to our attention," Mr Mahachi told the BBC.
"We really rely on information being brought to us by people who would have an interest that the heritage be protected."
After his initial scepticism, Mr Khumalo, who began work on the mine housing development in March, is now a convert to preserving old farmhouses.
"The design, the typical Victorian and Cape Colony architecture is worthwhile to have," he says.
"In the colonial era, these houses were for the masters, the white farmers who because of weather patterns preferred to have these large verandas where they could sit outside and enjoy summer that the climate of this country affords them," he said.
"In modern houses we don't see these anymore."
He says children should not be denied the knowledge of their country's past.
"Obviously without the past, you cannot go into the future with wisdom," he says.
The Zimbabweanlaunches a new campaign today, asking Zimbabweans to describe the kind of Zimbabwe they want.
The video below is a compilation of desires from ordinary Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwean has more on theirYouTube channel.
Self-appointed ZANU PF strategist and spokesperson, Jonathan Moyo, together with a good number of ZANU PF MPS and ministers, are likely to be actively looking for a job by Christmas if they don’t intend to go into full-time subsistence farming or small-scale mining. Former Finance Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, who is now an ordinary lecturer at Great Zimbabwe University (if he hasn’t been sent home yet), may advise some of his erstwhile colleagues on how to construct a marketable resume’.
Paranoia and desperation have reached such a crescendo within ZANU PF circles to the extent that they are now seriously decampaigning and destroying themselves, wittingly or unwittingly.
The latest episode saw Jonathan Moyo directing his traditional diatribe at the South African Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ebrahim Ebrahim. The deputy minister’s only “crime” was his correct postulation that the MDC had a “legitimate argument” with regards to demanding reforms before elections, in line with the GPA. If anything, Ebrahim only repeated what Sadc and the generality of Zimbabweans have been saying for the past four years. Abusing him, thereby indirectly attacking his country and government, will not help ZANU PF in any way but further alienate it from key partners in the region. Thabo Mbeki crafted the GPA, not Ebrahim, not Zuma. This is a classic own goal by Jonathan Moyo, central defender of a team heading for relegation.
The senseless incarceration of Solomon Madzore was another legendary case of self-destruction. Can’t ZANU PF see that by making him a perennial political prisoner, they are actually turning this young man into some kind of a super hero? Madzore won’t need to waste scarce resources campaigning for a parliamentary seat. ZANU PF has already dished him one on a silver platter through a sea of sympathy votes that he is likely to receive. Zimbabweans can be merciless when they get into the polling booth! Ask Abel Muzorewa or Ian Smith if you have any doubts.
Simon Khaya Moyo, once believed to be a rising star, displayed the highest level of naivety (if not inanity) when he recently urged some compromised and unholy church leaders to vote overwhelmingly for ZANU PF together with their flock. It was incredible to hear the ZANU PF chairman saying “don’t vote for thieves”. Indeed, Zimbabweans are not going to vote for thieves Mr Khaya Moyo, and they know very well where to find them!
The latest Coca-Cola advert was another fuss which confirmed that ZANU PF’s paranoia has crept to unprecedented heights. The Herald, occupying the void left by the defunct People’s Voice, was quick to say that Coca-Cola’s red label was a clear indication that the company was propping up the MDC. A manager with the company correctly reminded ZANU PF that the business has been using this brand for 125 years. Subsequently, one commentator on social media warned “if you happen to have nose-bleeding during this election season, make sure that the blood is green or some other colour but not red lest you are persecuted for being an MDC supporter”. I can’t comment further.
Confirming that the house of shame is indeed crumpling or at the very least in serious disorder, an article in The Herald of May 14th titled “Baba Jukwa – Legion of Malicious Engagement”, left readers wondering if ZANU PF will be intact by election time. The writer threatened unnamed ZANU PF officials believed to be disguising themselves as Baba Jukwa with unspecified action. Reading this curious article, one could easily conclude that things are falling apart in the former ruling party. Speculation and theories around Baba Jukwa’s identity have now been put to bed for it is evident that the prolific social commentator is not only a reliable source of information, but also pivotal to the disintegration of the former revolutionary party.
“It is saddening to note that as we move closer towards the watershed elections, we see the rise of some misguided elements in ZANU PF party working to destroy the revolutionary party from within by engaging in malicious and unholy alliances with the MDC-T party”, mourned the writer.
“They are people who were appointed by the ZANU-PF government to influential positions erroneously with the hope that they were mature, basing on academic and professional credentials they have”. Curiously, the writer was very quick to vindicate Jonathan Moyo.
When a wolf wants to eat her puppies, she will accuse them of smelling like sheep. We wait to see who will be the sacrificial lamb as elections get closer. Let us reserve the most entertaining Manicaland episode of Dorothy Mabika versus Didymus Mutasa for another day and trail the factional tsunami currently gravitating towards Masvingo.
Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity – email@example.com
BILL WATCH 14/2013
[15th May 2013]
SADC Endorsed Election Roadmap a Precondition of Elections – Part I
The constitution-making process is almost complete. BUT SADC has again and again reiterated in all its recent summits that before elections are held in Zimbabwe not only the new Constitution has to be in place, but also there must be full implementation of the rest of the GPA. The SADC Facilitation team are still wanting a progress report on the Elections Roadmap agreed some time ago by all three parties to the GPA and endorsed by SADC. This roadmap was designed to encapsulate what still had to be done to fully implement the provisions agreed to in the GPA.
This past weekend the Organ On Politics, Defence And Security Cooperation Troika Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) was held in Cape Town, South Africa on 10th May 2013. The communiqué from this Summit had the following to say on Zimbabwe:
· Summit also commended the people of Zimbabwe for holding a credible, free and fair constitutional referendum on 16 March 2013.
· Summit urged the parties to finalise the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA and preparations for holding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. [Text of communiqué available from firstname.lastname@example.org] c
Background to the Elections Road Map
The GPA, which was signed in September 2008, stipulated a great deal of work to be done during the existence of the inclusive government to prepare Zimbabwe for free and fair elections which SADC could endorse. [SADC would not endorse the 2008 Presidential elections as free and fair, which led to negotiations for the GPA.] The inclusive government was sworn in in mid-February 2009, and soon thereafter there was a start to the constitution-making process, although it took four years rather than the anticipated 18 months to complete. But as very few of the other intended reforms in the GPA were being implemented, the SADC Heads of State, at the Windhoek Summit of August 2010, demanded that the inclusive Government and the Zimbabwean political parties "find an uninterrupted path to free and fair elections and the removal of all impediments to the same". The three parties to the GPA responded to this SADC pressure by assigning their negotiators to draw up a roadmap defining “milestones and signposts” that must be executed and implemented before the next election.
This work proceeded very slowly and at an Extraordinary Summit of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Livingstone at the end of March 2011, SADC took a very strong stance on the lack of progress and called for a report back to the next SADC Summit. [Text of Summit communiqué available from email@example.com]. On 22nd April 2011 the negotiators agreed on a “Roadmap to Zimbabwe’s Elections”, although there were no timeframes and some were gaps left where the parties had failed to reach agreement. This Roadmap was considered at the SADC Summit at Sandton, South Africa, in June 2011, and the Summit resolved that the parties should “as a matter of urgency” draw up timelines for the Roadmap. Negotiators signed the “Zimbabwe Elections Roadmap with Timelines” on 6th July 2011 – they had they reached agreement on most of the timelines although a few of the actions were still “parked” for further negotiations. [Full text of this Roadmap with timelines available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
Continuing Pressure from SADC
Since the June 2011 Sandton Summit every SADC Summit and Troika meeting, e.g. the Maputo Summit of August 2012, the Organ Troika Summit of 9th March 2013 in Pretoria, and again the recent one in Cape Town, has urged not only the completion of the constitution, but also the implementation of the GPA as drawn up in the Roadmap to Elections, as necessary conditions to be fulfilled before free and fair elections can be held in Zimbabwe. Recently, SADC Executive Secretary Salomao expressed SADC’s dissatisfaction with JOMIC’s performance of its responsibilities for ensuring GPA implementation; and the SADC Facilitator’s spokesperson, Lindiwe Zulu, stressed the “many other issues in the GPA that are outstanding”, and said “we need more robust action as we head towards elections”.
The SADC Endorsed GPA Election Roadmap
The Roadmap is made up of a brief Introduction and a table divided into eight parts to cover the following eight issues:
C. Media Reform
D. Electoral Reform
E. Rule of Law
F. Freedom of Association and Assembly
G. Legislative Agenda and Commitments
H. Actual Election.
What of the GPA Election Roadmap has been Achieved
This part of the Roadmap calls for:
(i) reactivation of the Inclusive Government’s Re-Engagement Committee [Done]
(ii) lobbying for the removal of sanctions by the Re-Engagement Committee [Done]
(iii) implementation by SADC of its resolutions on sanctions [These resolutions called for the lifting of “Western sanctions” on Zimbabwe and for SADC leaders to engage the international community on the sanctions issue.] [Done]
Comment: Neither the Roadmap, nor the corresponding article of the GPA, targets the actual lifting of sanctions, obviously in recognition of the fact that neither the Inclusive Government nor SADC can compel foreign sovereign states to lift them. [Although ZANU-PF has always described the sanctions as “illegal” because not imposed by the United Nations, those applying sanctions insist that they do so in the exercise of their sovereign rights to regulate foreign trade and entry into their territory – and the EU states that its decisions have been taken in terms of the Lomé Agreement, to which Zimbabwe is a party.]
The Road Map called for the remaining seven stages of the constitution-making process described in the GPA, which in July 2011 had not been done, to be expedited. Six of these have been implemented, albeit way behind schedule:
(i) Thematic Committees [Done]
(ii) Drafting [Done]
(iii) Second All Stakeholders’ Conference [Done]
(iv) Report back to Parliament [Done]
(v) Referendum [Done]
(vi) Passing of the Bill for the new Constitution by Parliament [Done 15th May]
Only the seventh and final stage remains:
(vii) Presidential assent to the Bill.
Issues About Which Very Little Has Been Done
C. Media Reform
This part of the Roadmap lists eight agreed activities:
(i) appointment of new board for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation [Not done]
Comment: As the government is the only shareholder this should have been straightforward.
(ii) appointment of new board for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe [Not done]
Comment: The existing appointments were irregular – for instance, the necessary Parliamentary preliminaries for appointing some BAZ members were not carried out.
(iii) licensing of new broadcasters [Not effectively done]
Comment: This has been only nominally implemented, by the licensing of two new broadcasters, which are widely regarded as not truly independent. No community radio stations have been licensed.
(iv) appointment of new trustees for the Mass Media Trust [Not done]
Comment: This Trust holds the controlling interest in the company owning the State-controlled newspaper group and is a government appointed body and trustees have been previously changed by the Government, so this could have been done.
Comment on (i), (ii) and (iv) These items were accepted by the negotiators, by Cabinet, and by the GPA principals. Nevertheless the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity has refused to implement these three agreements.
(v) establishment, by October 2011, of the Media Council of Zimbabwe [Done – but set up late and inactive]
Comment: The Media Council was appointed by the Media Commission under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in September 2012, nearly a year after the target date of 1st November 2011. The Council should have drawn up a code of ethics for the media sector [not done] and be investigating alleged breaches of the code – which it obviously cannot do until the code is produced.
(vi) calling on foreign governments to stop hosting/funding external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe [Not effectively done]
Comment: ZANU-PF and its Ministers did so. Other parties in the inclusive Government consider that for this to be done these stations need to be given licences [not done] to broadcast from within the country and that until then they will be hosted elsewhere.
(vii) encouraging the return of Zimbabwean broadcasters running or working for external radio stations [Not done]
Comment: The reforms that might have encouraged these broadcasters to return have been blocked by a ZANU-PF-controlled Ministry.
(viii) “hate speech” in the State media [Not done]
Comment: State media organs, both print and broadcasting, have conspicuously failed to honour this in respect of MDC-T and MDC Ministers.
Continued in Next Bulletin
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied
BILL WATCH 15/2013
[16th May 2013]
SADC Endorsed Election Roadmap a Precondition of Elections - Part II
The Roadmap is made up of a brief Introduction and a table divided into eight parts to cover eight issues, A - H. The first three issues – A. Sanctions; B. Constitution; C Media Reform – were covered in Part I [Bill Watch 14/2013 of 15th May 2013].
This Bulletin covers the remaining issues:
D. Electoral Reform
E. Rule of Law
F. Freedom of Association and Assembly
G. Legislative Agenda and Commitments
H. Actual Election.
Issues About Which Very Little Has Been Done
D. Electoral Reform
This part of the Roadmap lists six activities [five on which all parties agreed and a sixth on which no agreement was reached with ZANU-PF]:
(i) enactment of agreed electoral amendments [Partly done]
Comments: This was achieved, albeit well after the August 2011 deadline, by the enactment of the Electoral Amendment Act of 2012. But this was only a start, because now, as a result of the provisions in the new Constitution for proportional representation, and elected metropolitan and provincial councils, extensive further amendments to the electoral law are essential under Legislative Agenda [see G. below]
(ii) voter education – 30 days duration [Not done]
(iii) mobilisation for voter registration – 60 days duration [Not done]
(iv) preparation of new voters’ roll – 60 days duration [Not done]
(v) inspection of voters’ roll – 45 days duration [Not done]
Comments on (ii) to (v): These agreed and closely related activities required special voter registration efforts. Nothing was done until the current belated and shorter than stipulated mobile voter registration exercise which began on Monday 29th April and is due to run until 19th May.
There is a special provision for voter registration in paragraph 6 of the Sixth Schedule of the new Constitution: “The Registrar-General of Voters, under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, must conduct a special and intensive voter registration and a voters’ roll inspection exercise for at least thirty days after the publication day” [“publication day” is the day the Act for the new Constitution is gazetted, so something over and above the present mobile registration exercise is envisaged].
(vi) staffing of ZEC [Not agreed – not done]
Comment: No agreement was reached on this issue. ZANU-PF negotiators rejected MDC-T’s proposal to have ZEC staff recruited afresh by the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. ZEC key senior staff remain largely as they were for the problematic 2008 elections.
E. Rule of Law
Most a activities in this section did not get the agreement of all three parties and the two that did (i) and (vi), were phrased in vague and general terms, with action to be undertaken by the GPA principals and timeframes to be determined by them:
(i) Attorney-General and security force chiefs [Not done]
Comment: The principals were to meet the officials concerned to ensure “full commitment” by the Attorney-General, Commissioner-General of Police and heads of other security and intelligence institutions “to operate in a non-partisan manner consistent with the GPA”. There have been some efforts on the part of the MDCs but none successful.
(ii) security forces to be told to publicly pledge respect for Constitution, rule of law etc [Not agreed – not done]
(iii) state-sponsored violence to be ended [Not agreed – not done]
(iv) deployment of security personnel for political purposes to be stopped [Not agreed – not done]
(v) special Act for Central Intelligence Organisation to be passed [Not agreed – not done]
(vi) impartiality of State institutions [Not done]
Comment: The principals were to put in place mechanisms to ensure the impartiality and observance of the rule of law by State organs and institutions as required by GPA Article 13 – including special training for the uniformed forces in human rights and objective, impartial performance of their duties. Statements by senior police and military officers, and overall police and military conduct, justify the conclusion that there has been little, if any, serious effort to bring about the changes envisaged by these activities.
F. Freedom of Association and Assembly
This part of the Roadmap covered complaints from the MDC parties about abuse of the Public Order and Security Act [POSA] by the police. Only activity (i) was agreed:
(i) Meetings of the GPA Principals and the GPA negotiators with the Commissioner-General of Police [Not effectively done]
Comment: If any full structured meetings ever took place, they seem to have been ineffective. Complaints have continued from civil society and political parties [except ZANU-PF] about police administration of POSA provisions about meetings and processions, even during the lead-up to the Referendum of 16th March, when “No Vote” campaigners found their activities frustrated by police.
(ii) POSA Amendments [Not agreed – not done]
Comment: MDC-T and MDC proposals for amendments to or review of POSA were rejected by ZANU-PF. And the MDC-T’s Chief Whip’s Private Member’s Bill to amend POSA, introduced in late 2009 and actually passed by the House of Assembly, has been effectively blocked by ZANU-PF manoeuvring in the Senate.
G. Legislative Agenda and Commitments
This part of the Roadmap called for legislation on actions (i) to (vi) and action by the President on (v):
(i) realignment of laws with new Constitution, and addressing of transitional arrangements [Implementation pending]
Comment: This should be well under way by now. The timeline agreed in the Roadmap was “within 60 days from Referendum”. This target date, is today 16th May. As the substantive provisions of the draft constitution have been known since last year, this legislation should be ready. But there is no sign in the pipeline of the necessary Bill for amending the Electoral Act, or of Bills dealing with the new metropolitan and provincial councils and changes to local government laws, or any other transitional issues. [See Constitution Watch 26/2013 of 8th May for an outline of necessary legislative changes.]
(ii) enactment of Human Rights Commission Bill by September 2011. [Done late and unsatisfactorily]
Comment: The Bill was enacted, in 2012, well after the deadline. But the Act that emerged lacked provisions ensuring the independence of the Commission, fell short of international legal best practice for human rights institutions, and financial support to operationalise it was not forthcoming. This led to the resignation of the Commission’s distinguished and experienced chairperson, Professor Reg Austin.
(iii) amendment of section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence [CPE] Act to confine it to specific prescribed offences [Not done]
Comment: This called for agreement by September 2011 on amendments to restrict the application of section 121(3) of the Act, the provision hitherto much abused by prosecutors to block grants of bail by magistrates. But no agreement was reached, and an MDC-T Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) has stalled.
(iv) enactment of agreed amendments to the Electoral Act by September 2011 [Done but late. More changes now necessary]
Comment: this now duplicates activity (i) under E. Electoral Reform [see comment under that head].
(v) appointment of Anti-Corruption Commission by September 2011 [Done]
Comment: There was an existing Anti-Corruption Commission, which was replaced with new commissioners within the deadline.
H. Actual Elections
The framers of the Roadmap left specific timeframes to be decided later.
Agreed activity (i) delimitation of constituencies [is no longer relevant]. Paragraph 5 of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution states that the existing constituencies and wards will apply for the purpose of these forthcoming elections.
Agreed activities (ii) gazetting of the specific polling centres falling within specific constituencies; (iii) Presidential proclamation in consultation with the Prime Minister; (iv) activation of liaison committees particularly at local level; (v) nomination of candidates; (vi) printing of ballot papers; (vii) polling; (viii) announcement of election results [Can only be done after election proclamation]
The three GPA parties did not reach agreement on (ix) monitors:
presence of SADC and other African monitors 6 months prior to and 6 months after
Comment: this proposal was put forward by MDC-T.
implement SADC Organ Troika’s resolutions made in Livingstone on the 31st March
2001 in respect of which three SADC appointed officers are to be deployed in
Zimbabwe to work with JOMIC
Comment: MDC put forward this request. There has now been agreement that three SADC appointees should join JOMIC but they have not yet done so.
observation of elections must only be in accordance with the agreed amendments to the Electoral Act
Comment: ZANU-PF insisted that election observers must function strictly in terms of the Electoral Act; under the Act’s current provisions the observation period is from election proclamation date until the results are announced.
The Election Roadmap was signed at Harare on 6th July 2011 by the six party negotiators and subsequently endorsed by the party principals and SADC.
Delay over Constitution No Excuse for Shelving Reforms
The fact that the constitution-making process took so long, should not be used as an excuse for dropping the other GPA reforms outlined in the Roadmap and which are essential if the elections are to produce a credible, free and fair result.
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