18 MAY 2013 14:42 - AFP
A lecturer at a university in Zimbabwe has been jailed for three months for
calling President Robert Mugabe "a rotten old donkey," say lawyers.
Chenjerai Pamhiri (38), a lecturer at Great Zimbabwe State University in
Masvingo city, was convicted and jailed on Friday by a magistrate, Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights said on Saturday.
Prosecutors alleged that Pamhiri, while doing his shopping at a local
supermarket last week, shouted that Mugabe was "dirt which should be
discarded, a rotten old donkey". He is also said to have urged people not to
vote for him in elections expected sometime this year.
Police arrested him as he left the supermarket.
"We received the shocking news of the conviction and sentencing of Pamhiri
and we have promptly moved in to assist him," Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesperson
for the human rights lawyers, told Agence France-Presse.
"Our lawyers will file an appeal against the conviction and sentence, and
make a separate application for bail pending appeal."
Sixty such cases since 2010
Arrests for slandering Zimbabwe's long-time president and breaching the
strict public order law are common and those found guilty usually get away
with light sentences, fines or are ordered to do community service.
Mafunda said rights lawyers have recorded over 60 such cases since 2010.
Former amaBhungane intern Owen Gagare and his editor Dumisani Muleya were
released on May 8 following their arrest by the Zimbabwean police.
Gagare, and his Zimbabwe Independent editor Muleya, were released but the
charges against them remain, and, if convicted, they face prison sentences
of up to 20 years in jail for allegedly "publishing statements prejudicial
to the state" in terms of Zimbabwe's Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Gagare was the author of a story, published in the Zimbabwe Independent in
April, which alleged that Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had
met with security chiefs ahead of the country's elections.
Tsvangirai, also the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change,
reportedly wanted the military and police's assurance that transition of
government would be without incident, in the event that the party wins the
election. Gagare and Muleya's arrests were widely condemned.
AmaBhungane, the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, called for the
charges against them to be dropped. In a statement on May 7, the centre
said, "Arresting journalists for doing their work is in flagrant violation
of press freedom, the public's right to know and fundamentally undermines
the rule of law." – AFP
Saturday, 18 May 2013 01:06
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said yesterday that it will start a new
voter registration exercise once President Mugabe assents to then ew
constitution, but says funding for the process has to be released now.
Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said after meeting with fellow
commissioners to plan for the new voter registration and to exchange
experiences on the on-going exercise that ends tomorrow, the new exercise
would be provided for in the new constitution.
“We were drawing lessons in order to structure the next exercise,” she said.
“The new exercise should commence after publication of the new constitution.
We presume that would be very soon because both houses have passed the
Constitutional Amendment Bill.”
Justice Makarau said preparations for the new 30-day exercise had begun with
at least US$21 million required.
She said under the new exercise, voter registration would take place in
every ward and voter educators would be deployed ahead of the registration
For the harmonised elections expected next month, Zec requires US$106
Zec commissioners would meet Registrar General of Voters Mr Tobaiwa Mudede
on Monday to plan the new exercise.
Prospective voters yesterday called upon Zec to improve on its service
delivery for the mobile voter registration which ends tomorrow.
A survey by The Herald showed that long queues continue to characterise most
of the voter registration centres in Harare as people rushed to beat the
At Magamba Hall in Warren Park, residents from the suburb, Westlea and
Dzivaresekwa said there was a need for more registration centres.
Mrs Gladys Matanhire of Warren Park said despite the challenges she would
not stop trying to get registered.
“I am determined to ensure that I register because it is only through this
process that I can concretely have a say in the affairs of this country,”
Zec officials this week said they realised that the mobile voter
registration was slow and could not capture all those interested in voting
in the harmonised elections.
WASHINGTON — A Zanu-PF probe team led by chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is now in
the volatile Masvingo Province to try and address factionalism that might
prove costly for the party in the forthcoming election.
Sources in Masvingo told VOA that some Provincial Cordinating Committee
(PCC) members met last weekend and vowed to resist any attempts to dissolve
the provincial leadership as has happened in Manicaland and Bulawayo.
Following the eruption of fresh clashes in Bulawayo and Manicaland, the
Zanu-PF politburo appointed a team comprising Khaya Moyo, national commissar
Webster Shamu, national secretary for security, Sydney Sekeramayi, and
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa to investigate the latest
incidents of infighting and compile a report.
Khaya Moyo’s team is meeting the PCC, which comprises the party’s politburo,
central committee, national consultative assembly, provincial and district
executive members and representatives from the War Veterans Association.
The probe team’s visit follows a leaked letter allegedly authored by
provincial political commissar, Tranos Huruva, who is also a member of
parliament, calling for the disbandment of the provincial executive for
allegedly refusing to take orders from Vvice President Joice Mujuru.
The executive is said to be sympathetic to Defense Minister Emmerson
Mrs. Mujuru and Mr. Mnangagwa are allegedly leading two factions battling to
succeed the ageing President Mobert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe turned 89 in
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that the team is expected to finish
its mission in two days.
Xinhua, May 17, 2013
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang will pay an official visit to Zimbabwe and
attend a special summit of the African Union from May 21 to 25.
Wang will attend a special summit of the African Union to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of the establishment of the Organization for African Unity, the
predecessor to the African Union. He will attend the event, to be held in
the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, as President Xi Jinping's special
The AU is headquartered in Addis Ababa.
The vice premier will make the visit at the invitation of Vice President of
Zimbabwe Joyce Mujuru, Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn, who
is also rotating chairman of the African Union, and African Union Commission
Chairman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei
by Staff Reporter
MORE than half the initial enrolment of 165 for an officer cadet course at
Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in Gweru quit the programme while four died
due to the rigorous nature of the programme, it has been revealed.
Some 165 officer cadets enrolled for the course which started in August 2011
but only 73 made it to the pass-out parade officiated by President Robert
Mugabe on Friday while four trainees were said to have died.
According to the Herald, Blessings Doba, Desire Mapedze, Tafadzwa Manhobo
and Thamsanqa Hakatani died in the early stages of the programme.
“Today’s graduation ceremony demonstrates yet again the ZMA’s resolve,
commitment and strides made in fulfilling its mandate and mission of
identifying and moulding young men and women of our country into competent
and professional junior officers in the ZDF,” Mugabe said.
“I am indeed gratified to note that since the attainment of our independence
and sovereignty in 1980, this is the 29th commissioning parade of the
regular officer cadet course to take place at this institution of military
Meanwhile, the graduates also included five officers from Namibia with
members of the Mozambican Armed Forces expected to start another course in
August this year as the ZMA expands its operations into the region.
“To our Namibian friends, you came, you saw and emerged victorious. Today
you are officers in your own right. You return to Namibia as our ambassadors
since you now have a better understanding of the ZMA, the ZDF and indeed
Zimbabwe as a whole,” said Mugabe.
“It is most pleasing to note that the ZMA continues to carry out its mandate
and responsibility of educating and training junior officers in order to
provide the nation with future military leaders of exemplary character and
“This is despite the economic challenges facing our country which have
resulted in reduced funding for many Government programmes. I am aware that
these challenges also affected the Academy, but due to the commitment by the
Academy’s staff, you have soldiered on.”
He also urged the ZMA, which is already working with the Midlands State
University (MSU), to move towards offering under-graduate qualifications.
“I urge both institutions to continue their close collaboration and come up
with a degree programme for the officer cadets in the not too distant
future,” he said.
WASHINGTON DC — A high-powered delegation of business executives and top
government officials has arrived in Washington DC to link Zimbabweans in the
diaspora with captains of industry and commerce in an effort to revive the
Esau Mavindidze of the Zimbabwe Business Network International, which is
hosting the delegation with Zimbabwe Expo Business Consortium, said the
executives are drawn from the Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce and Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries.
The 12-member delegation is led by Higher Education Secretary, Washington
Mbidzo, whose ministry has crafted the Zimbabwe Human Capital Project,
designed to engage the diaspora community in initiating economic development
Mavindidze told VOA the delegation will hold various meetings with
Zimbabweans in Washington DC, Atlanta-Georgia and Dallas, Texas, within the
next four days.
on May 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm
By Lance Guma
An NGO suing President Robert Mugabe in an attempt to force early elections
in Zimbabwe is actually a bogus outfit being funded by the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) using money from the secretive ‘Operation
This month the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa (CEDSA)
led by Jealousy Mawarire, filed an urgent Supreme Court application seeking
an order compelling Mugabe to immediately proclaim election dates.
The group is arguing that the delay in proclaiming an election date was
“disenfranchising the electorate and causing unnecessary confusion when it
was a legal fact that Parliament would be dissolved on June 29”.
On Friday Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled that Mawarire’s court
application can be heard on an urgent basis. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube have already filed opposing papers to the
principal case set for next week while Mugabe obviously wants the
application to succeed.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, exiled MDC-T Treasurer General Roy
Bennett claimed his sources had confirmed to him that Mawarire’s CEDSA is
sponsored by the CIO using funds from ‘Operation Spiderweb’.
In June 2012, a report from the international campaign group Global Witness
alleged that mysterious Chinese businessman Sam Pa, based in Hong Kong, was
quietly providing money to Mugabe’s regime in return for access to diamond
mines and opportunities in cotton and property development.
It was alleged that Pa provided private donations to the CIO to fund covert
activities against the opposition. From these funds the CIO set aside US$100
million for the secret operation codenamed ‘Spiderweb’.
Not only is the money being used to run operations that tarnish the image of
members of the opposition but it is financing operations to retain power for
President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, including a push for early elections
without any reforms having taken effect.
The Global Witness report reveals that Mr Pa has ploughed money into buying
vehicles for the CIO, providing the intelligence service with 200 Nissan
pickup trucks to boost its operational capability against the regime’s
Several bogus NGO’s are said to be receiving funding from ‘Operation
Spiderweb’ as Mugabe looks for legal and political methods to engineer an
early election. SADC we are told remains his biggest stumbling block.
Political commentator Makusha Mugabe told Nehanda Radio “They (Zanu PF) are
holding on to any straw they can. I would not be surprised if they hold a
gun to the judge’s head for something that forces an early election, but
still they are stuffed because SADC won’t go along.”
In a December 2012 article entitled ‘Investigate Mugabe Plans To Steal Next
Election‘ Roy Bennett warned about the unfolding scheme saying;
“Dictatorship comes in many forms, but its objectives are always the same:
to suppress the will of the people. I call on Zimbabweans and the
international community to be aware of a strategy that Zanu PF are planning
to use to the full in the forthcoming election.
“Firstly, they are using a compromised and partisan judiciary to silence
voices of dissent. Secondly, they are filling the space with NGOs,
newspapers and radio stations that are owned and operated by the CIO. In the
process, they are also hoping to enrich themselves.
“These strategies are being used because Zanu PF is afraid of the
international repercussions of open violence of the type used by them in
2008. They want to make the violence more secret and they also want to use
other means to ‘win’,” Bennett wrote at the time.
by Roman Moyo
ZIMPLATS Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere has been elected unopposed as
new president of the Chamber of Mines unopposed at the organisation’s annual
general meeting in Nyanga. He takes over from Mimosa’s CEO Winston Chitando.
The 74th annual general conference is being held at a time when
consultations on the country’s draft mining policy are underway throughout
the country while significant progress has also been made in implementing
the indigenisation programme in the sector.
Most miners are however struggling with viability problems that include
unavailability of working capital, old equipment and low investments.
Outgoing president Chitando said the Chamber may soon engage government over
compulsory acquisition of excess mining ground by the State amid concerns
that the new “use-it-or-lose-it policy” could affect mineral output.
He said the chamber is currently preparing a paper that will soon be
presented to government as it seeks clarity on the mining policy.
“The issue of excess land is an input we are putting in the mineral
development policy. The chamber wants to understand the definition of excess
land and how it should be handled when deemed to be in excess,” said
The call comes after the government announced plans to repossess over 27,000
hectares of land from platinum miner Zimplats. The land to be acquired
represents about 50 percent of the mining claims owned by Zimplats.
Chitando said the Chamber was also in the process of drafting a
comprehensive document to be submitted to the ministry by early next week
which will seek clarity on issues such as mining charges, beneficiation,
land administration and definition of excess land.
On the sector’s compliance with the indigenisation laws, Chitando said
companies were at various stages of discussions with the ministry of Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment.
Chitando, who is also the managing director of Mimosa Platinum, said
discussions were underway between his company and the ministry on how the
producer would be indigenisation-compliant.
“As Mimosa we received the term-sheet as of last year in December and since
then there are discussions on the way forward. As expected, the term sheet
was to lay the basis of the final agreement which is a matter of discussion,
but we are talking,” he said.
Last year Mimosa, a joint venture between Implats, Acquarius and indigenous
partners signed agreements that would allow indigenous partners to acquire
51 percent of the platinum producer in a transaction valued at US$550
ZIMBABWE may fall short of its gold production target this year as prices
for the precious metal decline and energy shortages strain operations, the
Chamber of Mines has said.
Output may fall below an earlier projection of 17,000 kilograms (37,479
pounds), the Chamber, whose members account for 90 percent of all mineral
production, said in a report published Friday. In 2012, gold production was
14,743 kilograms, earning the country $1.9 billion.
The projection “may be difficult to achieve as commodity prices have not
recovered much while systematic factors such as energy and sub-optimal cost
structure remain prevalent,” according to the report.
Gold slid 18 percent this year, falling into a bear market last month, as
some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value and equities
rallied on mounting confidence the U.S. economy is improving.
Zimbabwe has the world’s second-largest deposits of platinum and ferrochrome
after neighboring South Africa and also has reserves of diamonds, nickel,
copper and coal. Miners operating in the country include Impala Platinum
Holdings Ltd. (IMP) and Rio Tinto Group.
Platinum output is expected to rise to 12,500 kilograms compared with 10,524
kilograms last year, while production of nickel may jump to 10,000 metric
tons from 7,899 tons. Diamond output is forecast to reach 16.9 million
carats from 12 million carats, according to the country’s Ministry of Mines.
Inadequate infrastructure, political uncertainty surrounding expected
elections and sluggish export demand are also hindering mining operations,
the Chamber said.
The industry is affected by various taxes that “weigh down on the viability
and competitiveness of the sector,” according to the report.
Gold for immediate delivery declined for a seventh straight day, falling 0.6
percent to $1,377.15 an ounce by 10:33 a.m. in London.
May 18, 2013, 10:27 am
Dear Family and Friends,
After a few days away, the item on the top of my shopping list was a can of
Coke; not because I wanted to buy a tin but because I wanted to see what all
the fuss was about. Flicking through the headlines of things that had
happened in Zimbabwe in the last week, one article amongst the same old
political squabbling, contradictions and finger pointing caught my eye.
Apparently a new range of Coke tins had arrived in Zimbabwe and aside from
being on the internationally recognized, red-coloured tins, they came with a
new slogan. ‘Crazy for Good,’ is the name of the new Coke promotion aimed at
encouraging people to do good deeds. Some of the tins apparently show a
waving hand and say ‘share your smile today,’ while others say ‘high five
everybody.’ The government controlled Herald newspaper decided that the Coke
promotion was actually a covert regime change advert and that Coca-Cola were
supporting the MDC whose colour is red and symbol is an open hand.
SW Radio Africa’s Violet Gonda did what she does so well and invited Zanu
PF and the MDC to have an on-air discussion about the Coke advert. The MDC
said the accusation against Coca-Cola supporting their political party was
paranoia, asking if chickens would be next to be blamed for promoting the
MDC because their feet could well look like the MDC’s open hand symbol too.
The Zanu PF spokesman said his party were taking the Coke advert ‘very
seriously,’ saying this was a case that was “likely to cause diplomatic
problems” between Zimbabwe and South Africa where the tins had been imported
from. (Along with over 80% of everything else we eat and drink in Zim.)
Suffice to say that there’s nothing quite like bad publicity to make people
want to buy something and of course there wasn’t a tin of Crazy- Good Cokes
to be found anywhere in my home town and so I turned my gaze to the voter
registration debacle. There were an easy three or four hundred people
crowded outside the diamond mesh fence that surrounds the local government
offices trying to get in and register to vote. The word that best describes
the scene is chaos. For some unknown reason the gate in the fence was locked
at 9.00 in the morning, an hour after normal opening time. The frustrated
buzz from the hundreds of people clamouring outside the fence increased to
an angry roar whenever the guard on the gate unclipped the padlock to let
the odd person in. It was obvious to everyone that money or political
patronage was enabling entry and desperate Zimbabweans, so long
disenfranchised for a host of obscure reasons, stood helplessly by, watching
their right to vote slip away in front of their very eyes.
Accounts of similar situations are coming in from towns and cities
everywhere. A new voter in Chitungwiza who needed to get an ID document
before she could register as a voter, arrived at the registry offices at
2am. Eleven hours later, at 1pm, she was on the verge of giving up because
she still hadn’t even got inside the building to start the process. “Only a
few people have been selected to go inside,” she said, adding that the line
wasn’t moving at all and new comers were continually being served first.
She was witnessing the same sickening process that every Zimbabwean has had
first-hand experience of when it comes to anything connected with our Home
Affairs offices. Staff are surly, aggressive and intimidating, serving you
when and if they feel like it, or not bothering to serve you if they’re too
busy chatting on their mobile phones or playing computer games. It’s the
same for registering births and deaths, getting ID’s, passports and any
other official documentation where the unspoken rule is: if you don’t bribe
you don’t move.
Seven words spoken by an official at a busy border post last week sum it up
best: “Give me something and you can proceed.” We assume that ‘something’
doesn’t include a can of ‘Crazy Good’ Coke that dares to be red and show a
waving hand. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
May 18, 2013, 12:59 am
Twenty nine political parties are now due to fight the forthcoming
elections. These new parties have sprouted up like weeds and doubts are
being expressed about where exactly they have sprung from. Are they just
‘fronts’ for the more established parties or are they genuine, new voices?
We won’t know that until we hear their various policy statements; only then
will we see whether they have anything new to offer the electorate.
Zimbabweans could certainly do with some new, fresh ideas judging from the
stale rhetoric we have heard this week from the ‘old timers’ all proclaiming
the same tired old policies and, in their desperation, becoming increasingly
unpleasant and personal in their comments. Take Didymus Mutasa for example;
he defends the army’s participation in party politics on the grounds that
they fought in the Liberation War and that, Mutasa maintains, means that
they automatically belong to Zanu PF. Not content with that rather suspect
claim, Mutasa goes on to abuse Morgan Tsvangirai by saying that the MDC
leader had no right to call for security reform because “he has not done
anything tangible for the country… he never went to war and knows nothing
about the struggle” whereas “Mugabe and the generals were together in the
trenches.” No doubt Mutasa was speaking metaphorically but it does rather
suggest he is living in the past since W.W.1 (1914-18) was the last time
trench warfare was used! The Commander General of the army, Constantine
Chiwenga recently sank to personal abuse when he described Tsvangirai, as “a
psychiatric case” and told the state media that his forces would never
salute the MDC leader.
It’s all pretty childish stuff but perhaps it’s a sign of just how desperate
Mugabe’s party is that all they can do is resort to insult and abuse. It was
the ‘flip-flop’ man, Jonathan Moyo who took the prize this week for
insulting and abusive language. No one does it better than the MP for
Tsholotsho! It seems that South Africa’s deputy Foreign Minister had rather
mildly suggested that the MDC ‘had a point’ in calling for security sector
reforms but South Africa would be prepared to help with election funding if
asked, said the Deputy Foreign Minister. The response from Jonathan Moyo was
an astonishing, over-the-top tirade in which he resorted to the old
anti-colonial stance, suggesting that the South African Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs was no better than “the colonial masters whom we booted out
precisely for that kind of behaviour of dangling dirty carrots in the vain
hope of purchasing our souls, values and freedom for thirty pieces of
silver.” And all this because the South African had dared to suggest that
perhaps the MDC had a point in calling for security reforms; perhaps the
Deputy Minister had hit a raw nerve!
It was Robert Mugabe addressing the congregation at John Nkomo’s memorial
service who really excelled in the use of insulting language. First, he
blamed Harare and Bulawayo for not voting for him in 2008 and then he
accused Zimbabwe’s urban population of putting food before principles, they
don’t care who rules them as long as they have full stomachs he said. That
was an extraordinarily insulting and insensitive thing to say at a time when
1.6 million Zimbabweans are being fed by the UN. There is desperate poverty
and unemployment in the urban areas, yet the president comments dismissively
that, “The urban people think only of food”. Does Robert Mugabe seriously
expect people to vote for him after he insults them with comments like that?
Principles before food may sound very noble when you have a full stomach but
hunger is a painful reality for the poor and unemployed.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.