chiefs will never meet or engage MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to
discuss the so-called security sector reforms and those who are peddling
false information that they will meet over the issue face arrest. Responding
to media reports that Mr Tsvangirai
met with security chiefs to
initiate post-election discussions to secure their positions, Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri today said the security forces would
never meet "malcontents".
He was speaking during the official opening of
the Commissioner-General of Police sports gala in Harare.
saying too much, I wish to take this opportunity to warn liars and peddlers
of falsehoods who dream talking to us, to this general and to that general,
in their sleep that the law will visit them harshly," he said.
us have no business talking to individuals of no substance whose sole
purpose and agenda is to create confusion within the rank and file of the
defence and security forces.
"We are too busy to engage confused
malcontents who do not know their identity and have a propensity to destroy
what others, dead and alive, fought for. They must stop abusing the freedom
and democracy that so many Zimbabweans died for. I advise the journalists to
stop being used in this regard."
Comm General Chihuri described calls
by the MDC formations to press for the so-called security sector reforms as
a "non issue" that sought to create confusion within the country's defence
"This is a hollow political gimmick in a futile attempt to try
and bring on board the so-called security sector reform, a non-issue in
terms of the current constitutional amendment number 19 that legalised the
Global Political Agreement."
Last week, a local weekly claimed that
Mr Tsvangirai had initiated discussions with the security chiefs through Mr
Giles Mutsekwa, who is MDC-T defence and security secretary and a former
major in the Rhodesian army.
According to the weekly, MDC-T claimed that
Mr Mutsekwa met the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander, General Constantine
Chiwenga, Comm-Gen Chihuri; Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff (general
staff) Major-General Martin Chedondo and Chief of Staff (Quartermaster)
Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba.
But Comm General Chihuri said the
force's binding and guiding philosophy was team work.
"It is team
work that generates unity of purpose Indeed, it is equally true that as
Zimbabweans we need unity of purpose in the fight against crime and in
upholding and protecting the peace which has been synonymous with our
country," he said.
State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi last
week warned that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces security chiefs were not in
office by favour, but competence and any party that wins this year’s polls
should not tamper with the structure.
The MDC-T plans to revamp the
sector if it, by any chance, wins the crucial harmonised elections this
Minister Sekeramayi said the MDC formations were being sponsored by
the country’s former coloniser, Britain, to press for security sector
reforms as part of an array of election conditions.
nonsense. Our security sector, comprising the Zimbabwe National Army, the
Air Force of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, to some extent the
Zimbabwe Prison Services and the intelligence services, are professional
bodies whose performance is acknowledged even outside Zimbabwe,” said Cde
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said that the
so-called security sector reforms were not part of the Global Political
Agreement and parties pushing the agenda were driven by the illegal regime
change motive as they sought to weaken the country’s security
Minister Mnangagwa said the major outstanding matters in the
GPA were the removal of the illegal economic sanctions and dismantling of
the pirate radio stations broadcasting hate messages into Zimbabwe from
But Mr Tsvangirai claimed recently while addressing
his supporters in Chiredzi that his party was ready for the polls as long as
there were "fundamental" reforms among them the security sector and media
The voter registration exercise that began on
Monday amid complaints about shoddy preparation by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC), entered its second day on Tuesday.
complaints kept trickling in over the campaign, which has yet to be rolled
out to all the wards in nationwide. Reports suggest many of the areas facing
problems are believed to be MDC-T strongholds.
Analysts fear this could
be a deliberate plot by the Registrar-General’s office to register as few
people as possible from MDC-T strongholds, while in ZANU PF areas the system
has been engineered to allow a rapid voter registration for a large number
The date of the poll has not been announced yet, for an
election seen as a crucial test to both President Robert Mugabe and his main
challenger, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Our correspondents in
Harare and Bulawayo told us officials from the Registrar-General’s office
told them registration is facing teething problems in the early stages of a
massive 20-day operation to enfranchise the country’s millions of
The major complaint about the registration exercise nationwide
has been lack of publicity and information on the whereabouts of the centers
where people can go and register.
In Manicaland the MDC-T provincial
chairman, Julius Magarangoma, said there have been reports that some centres
for registration have not opened at all.
In the Midlands South province,
many people have failed to register after being asked by officials from the
RG’s office to pay $10 to replace identification documents.
asking people to pay $10 when co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone said
it was going to be free of charge. Those without birth certificates are
being asked to travel long distances to acquire them, something that is in
contrast with the mobile registration exercise,’ Lillian Timvious, the MDC-T
provincial chair said.
Simon Muchemwa in Harare told us registration has
been slow in the capital and many people seem to be unaware the exercise has
‘There is little information on the exercise being disseminated
by the state media. The Ministry of Home Affairs held a press conference
last week at which they announced the removal of bottlenecks to allow the
exercise to sail smoothly.
‘But it appears that directive has not
been transmitted to staff in (Registrar-General) Tobaiwa Mudede’s office as
they appear to be charging people for lost ID’s and making it extremely
impossible for new voters to register,’ Muchemwa said.
Lionel Saungweme said there is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise some
people for political reasons. He said while the RG’s office was more than
happy to register members of the armed forces and ZANU PF supporters without
any problems, it is proving difficult for those from the MDC-T to do the
‘Some would-be voters were reported to have given up waiting for
the chance to register because they were being asked to produce documents
that are difficult to get. Some residents in Bulawayo are accusing ZEC for
poor planning or poor organization,’ Saungweme added.
initial challenges, the MDC-T hopes many people will heed their calls to
visit the centres and register. Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s foreign policy
advisor, Jameson Timba, took to Facebook to urge people to
‘No army can stop an idea whose time has come. The winds of
change are blowing with increased ferocity in Zimbabwe. Register and vote
for change in 2013,’ said Timba on his Facebook page.
HARARE — The mobile voter registration exercise
entered its second day Tuesday with officials from the Registrar General’s
Office and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) failing to turn up at
several centers in most parts of Mashonaland East province.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai says this is a deliberate ploy to block supporters in its
strongholds from registering as voters.
Several residents of
Marondera East said they have not been able to register or inspect the
voters’ roll because officers from the RG’s Office and the ZEC were not
present all day at most designated centers.
One of those affected is
former Zanu PF Deputy Minister of Labor Tracy Mutinhiri, who now wants to
contest for a parliamentary seat in Marondera East under the MDC formation
of Mr. Tsvangirai.
Mutinhiri suspects there is politicking in the
on-going mobile voter registration exercise.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas
Mwonzora maintains Zanu-PF has a plan to disenfranchise his party’s
supporters ahead of elections expected to be called sometime this
Meanwhile, 19 MDC-T supporters, arrested last week while on
a door-to-door voter education campaign in Hatcliffe, Harare, were Tuesday
denied bail by a Harare magistrate, Donald Ndirowei.
Halimani said the magistrate erred in his ruling, adding an appeal will be
launched Thursday in the High Court.
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean state election officials are
dramatically inflating the numbers of electors on new voters' lists months
ahead of crucial polls, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party alleged
It said lists in some voting districts swelled by more than 10
000 names in a 48-hour period, or the addition of about 150 voters a
“This is just impossible,” said party official Douglas Mwonzora.
He said a copy of one Harare district list was obtained on a Monday earlier
this month. Two days later, a revised copy showed an additional 11 890
voters on the list.
In other districts the names of active party
members were missing or misspelled, making them ineligible to vote, raising
fears of voting fraud being planned by officials loyal to President Robert
Mugabe's party, he said.
The official voters' registry has denied
tampering with the lists and insists it is just collating data in
A new drive to register voters began Monday, following weeks of
campaigning by all political groups for eligible voters not yet listed to
have their details added to the nationwide roll containing 5.7 million names
in a population of 13 million, slightly less than half of whom are under the
voting age of 18.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party,
in a shaky coalition with Mugabe brokered by regional leaders after the last
violent and disputed elections in 2008, said even Theresa Makone, its
co-minister of Home Affairs in charge of voter registration, saw her name
was missing in her area.
Under the coalition agreement, Tsvangirai's
party shares control of that ministry that is also responsible for the
nation's police dominated by Mugabe loyalists. Makone has had little
influence over police commanders and senior government officials who have
repeatedly vowed their allegiance to Mugabe.
Makone has told her
district supporters that irregularities in their voters' list were “a tip of
the iceberg” in what she suspected was happening countrywide to skew voting.
Past elections since 2000 have been marred by allegations of vote
Tsvangirai on Sunday began a diplomatic offensive to garner the
backing of regional leaders to ensure fair conditions are in place for
elections planned between July and September that include large scale
corrections to the voters' lists. Last month, the state Electoral Commission
said in a continuing clean-up exercise it had removed the names of 350,000
dead voters who had appeared on previous lists.
also accuses Mugabe of resisting reforms to sweeping media sweeping media
and security laws demanded by regional mediators in the run-up to
It says “hate speech” against Tsvangirai and his colleagues in
the former opposition by the state broadcast monopoly and the main
newspapers loyal to Mugabe has not been reined in and the party has been
denied fair access to the state broadcaster, the only source of information
to many impoverished, rural voters.
Tsvangirai met with South African
President Jacob Zuma, the chief Zimbabwe mediator, on Sunday before heading
to Tanzania to meet with President Jakaya Kikwete, current chair of a three
nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) “troika” on regional
Tsvangirai's office said he has called for an urgent regional
summit on long delayed democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangairia that SADC and the continent-wide African Union organization
“will do everything in their power to ensure a free and fair poll in
Zimbabwe,” said Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesman. - Sapa-AP
Nineteen MDC-T activists, who were arrested in Hatcliffe last
week while on a door-to-door voter registration campaign, were on Tuesday
denied bail and remanded in custody to May 14th.
The state appeared
not ready to proceed with the case after the police indicated to the
magistrate that they were still hunting down one of the activists who they
claim was instrumental in organising the campaign team.
The decision by
the magistrate to deny the activists bail was roundly condemned by the MDC-T
Harare province, who described it as ‘distressing.’
Spokesman for the
province and the MDC-T deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu used the social
media site Facebook to vent his anger towards the justice system in the
He explained that the activists did nothing wrong and the
criminal charges they are facing are ‘spurious, vexatious and
‘Once again, the MDC Harare Province would like to thoroughly
and expressly condemn the notorious and neo-fascist actions of the
absolutely discredited Zimbabwe Republic Police which is now effectively
operating as an armed militia of the moribund and terminally ill political
grouping, ZANU PF,’ Gutu said.
He said the province called for the
immediate and unconditional release of their cadres who are being persecuted
instead of being prosecuted, ‘by a Stalinist and brutal dictatorship which
is facing a humiliating and crushing electoral annihilation at the
forthcoming harmonized elections.’
Last week co-Home Affairs Minister
Theresa Makone, the MP for Harare North, launched a blistering attack on the
police after they arrested the group branding the actions as ‘stupid and
HARARE - South
African leader Jacob Zuma is due in Harare after meeting Zimbabwean Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday night, where the latter pushed for the
convening of a mini-regional summit to speed up all outstanding reforms
ahead of a crucial election.
Tsvangirai has embarked on a fresh
diplomatic offensive in southern Africa to drum up support for his party’s
Sadc, the regional political and trading bloc, is the architect
and guarantor of the power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA), which
committed long-time rivals Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe to
implement reforms ahead of a free poll and to equitably share
On Sunday evening, Tsvangirai met Zuma in Pretoria before
proceeding to the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam to meet Sadc Troika chair,
president Jakaya Kikwete last night.
The leaders of the Sadc Troika
on politics, defence and security co-operation — Zuma, Hifikepunye Pohamba
of Namibia, Armando Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique and Kikwete — have been
leading efforts to nudge Zimbabwe’s leaders to try and iron out their
“The PM is keen on convening a Troika summit and a full Sadc
summit to discuss the conditions under which the next elections must be
held,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a
The statement said Sunday’s 40-minute meeting with Zuma
deliberated on the environment in Zimbabwe ahead of the next
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government in 2009 to end
a stalemate over disputed elections, which has managed to stabilise the
economy after a decade of economic meltdown.
But constant bickering
within the fragile alliance over policy and the slow pace of reforms have
held back progress, and have also stood in the way of fresh
Zuma, appointed to mediate in the crisis by regional grouping
Sadc, met Tsvangirai, and was heading to Harare to hold a joint meeting
later to discuss problems between the rival parties — Mugabe’s Zanu PF and
Tsvangirai’s MDC ahead of the key polls.
“President Zuma is expected
in the country soon to engage with the principals of the GPA,” Tamborinyoka
Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s international advisor, could not immediately
confirm Zuma’s trip to Zimbabwe, saying she has not been briefed as she was
not in Pretoria yesterday. But Tamborinyoka said Zuma urged all political
leaders to stick to a power-sharing agreement meant to prepare for a fresh
poll and haul the country back from the brink of collapse.
Zuma told Tsvangirai Sadc and the AU (African Union), as the guarantors of
the GPA, will do everything in their power to ensure a free and fair poll in
Zimbabwe,” Tamborinyoka said.
Tsvangirai’s MDC is demanding security and
media reforms which have been stonewalled by Mugabe’s Zanu PF, escalating a
dispute over the implementation of the deal.
“The meeting with
President Zuma was the first during the premier’s regional tour, as well as
other countries in Africa, to sensitise heads of State on developments in
Zimbabwe where the guarantors, Sadc and the African Union, should ensure the
environment is conducive to the holding of a free and fair election,”
“In particular the need to implement all outstanding
reforms under the GPA, chief among which are public media reforms, security
sector realignment, a clean and credible voters’ roll and the alignment of
laws to the new constitution.”
The party is particularly unhappy
about issues the principals had agreed on but which Zanu PF continues to
refuse to implement, including the reform of ZBC and State-controlled
The principals have agreed to allow entry of private
broadcasters, restrain ZBC from churning out Zanu PF propaganda bordering on
hate language, pointedly jingles, and blacking out of MDC
George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the ministry of
Media, Information and Publicity has told the Media, Information and
Communication Technology parliamentary portfolio committee that government
has no intention of issuing broadcasting licences to private players ahead
Article 19.1(e) of the GPA stipulates that the public and
private media should refrain from using abusive language that may incite
political intolerance or that unfairly undermines political parties and
other organisations, and the GPA advocates that the public media should
provide balanced and fair coverage to all political parties for their
legitimate political activities.
Tsvangirai claims Zanu PF is trying
to prop-up its declining grip through the airwaves ahead of
Despite an agreement on security sector reforms, Tsvangirai
fears Mugabe is banking on security commanders to fight the forthcoming
elections and is demanding wide sweeping reforms.
The heads of the
army and security forces, the vital cog in an elaborate strategy that has
kept Mugabe, 89, in power after Tsvangirai, 60, handed the former guerrilla
leader his biggest defeat five years ago, have been assured their services
will not be terminated if Tsvangirai wins, and the change in the regime will
only be in the State’s superstructure not the bureaucracy and the
securocracy, according to the MDC.
Tsvangirai has reiterated that there
was no reason for the security commanders to fear change in guard at
Munhumutapa Building, the citadel of executive power in
Mugabe enjoys and commands enough respect and loyalty to be
able to count on the security commanders, who have been staunchly resisting
security sector reforms citing sovereignty arguments.
minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Justice and
Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare
Gumbo have all vowed there will be no security sector reforms, even though
Zuma said in his report to the Sadc Troika meeting held in Pretoria on March
9, that “security sector realignment” will have to be done before the
“Security sector realignment cannot be postponed any longer,”
Zuma said in his report to the Troika. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
Zimbabwe’s politicians will
soon be able to grasp some understanding of how the public really view their
performance, with the launch of a simple, online, people driven project that
seeks to promote accountability.
The ‘We are
Zimbabwe’ project, launched by the activism group Sokwanele,
encourages members of the public to rate the performance of Zimbabwe’s leaders,
including politicians and public servants.
According to Sokwanele, the
project is so titled “because it is true: WE are Zimbabwe – we the people, all
of us – not those who drive the fancy cars and live in the mansions and wield
disproportionate amounts of power. Not those who promise us the world then make
our lives utterly miserable. Not those who make us fear that our children will
have to leave the country if they are ever to have a decent
The group says they hope the
project, “will encourage good governance and remind those in power of where the
power really lies: in our votes and our right to choose our own leaders. And we
hope it will remind them that they were elected to do a specific job, and that
if they don’t deliver, that we notice their bad work and may withdraw our
The project is in the form of
an interactive website, which allows disgruntled Zimbabweans to anonymously
submit examples of their frustrations and anger with any facet of Zim life,
including injustice, corruption, malpractice and more. These examples are logged
online as polls that fellow Zimbabweans can vote on, whether they agree with
your frustrations or not. From this data, graphs and charts are formed by
Sokwanele to provide a visual representation of how the government, public
servants and others are performing.
This ‘name and shame’ process
is completely anonymous, and is aimed at trying to help Zimbabweans reclaim
their right to hold their leaders to account. Sokwanele also encourages the
individuals named in the polls to respond, using either Facebook or Twitter, to
set the record straight if needs be.
Phillip Pasirayi, the head of
the Centre for Community Development, said such projects are an important tool,
because public accountability mechanism are critically lacking in Zimbabwe at
“Public officials in Zimbabwe
by and large serve their personal interests, above the public interest and they
are never held accountable to this,” Pasirayi told SW Radio
He said that this was not the
fault of the public, saying “they have been denied a voice for so
He added: “What we need in
Zimbabwe now is a proper mechanism to hold our leaders and public servants to
account. In advanced democracies, if people do not perform their publicly
granted mandate they are removed from their positions. We need this in
The trial of former Bulilima West legislator Norman
Mpofu failed to take place again Tuesday, as there was no magistrate
available to preside over the case.
Mpofu was scheduled to appear at
the Plumtree Magistrates’ Court facing ‘hate speech’ charges brought against
him by ZANU PF activists, but the court postponed the case to May
Mpofu’s lawyer, Nontokozo Dube-Tachiona, said the trial could not
proceed because the magistrate, who was recently assigned to the Plumtree
courts, will only officially begin hearing cases Monday.
This was the
second time the case could not be heard in one week, following an April 23rd
postponement on the same grounds.
Mpofu was arrested in November last
year, accused of calling ZANU PF supporters thieves and murderers during a
speech at Sindile Napa’s funeral wake in Thekwane, in Matebeleland South, on
His accusers claimed that Mpofu (a member of the MDC-T and
contestant in the party’s primaries) distributed party regalia, chanted
MDC-T slogans, and denounced the country’s secret service at the
The main complainant, Walter Moyo, however withdrew the charges
in November, but Mpofu was shocked to be summoned to appear in court on
April 23th, after the charges were re-instated.
The state claims
Mpofu’s utterances contravened the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act, and constituted ‘disorderly conduct in a public place’.
former legislator, who is denying the charges, said his funeral speech was
taken out of context, and that his opponents latched on to incidents he was
using as examples to craft charges against him.
Mpofu told SW Radio
Africa: “At the funeral I simply outlined some outstanding things that
Sindile had done: including his fight for democracy, bravery and his
“I mentioned his displeasure at the manner in which people
in Matebeleland tend to be push-overs, sometimes being forced to do things
they are not happy about.
“I gave an example of the bullying of
Dingumuzi teachers where central intelligence operatives forced the school
authorities to sing the national anthem in front of pupils in a bid to
humiliate them,” Mpofu explained.
The former MP said he suspects that the
accusations are part of ZANU PF’s machinations to cow political opponents in
He explained that the case was revived to coincide with
another case in which he was challenging President Robert Mugabe to call for
by-elections in three constituencies that fell vacant when he and two others
were fired from the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
Mpofu, Njabuliso Mguni
and Abednigo Bhebhe, former MPs for Bulilima, Lupane and Nkayi, are engaged
in a Supreme Court tussle over by-elections which Mugabe argues will be a
waste of resources given the time left before harmonised elections are
According to Mpofu, the postponements were simply aimed at
frustrating his preparations for the MDC-T’s primary elections, which are
expected to commence May 3rd.
“This is all about persecution and
trying to push ZANU PF’s agenda using the court system,” Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe’s steel industry has been dealt a
serious blow after the closure of 17 companies in the last year, with the
worsening investment climate said to be further straining the
According to Engineering Iron and Steel Association President,
Callisto Jokonya, companies are forced to import steel from neighbouring
countries. He was quoted by the Sunday Mail as saying that “conditions are
very difficult as 17 companies have closed shop, which is a cause for
concern, but government has failed to give attention.”
operating at below 10 percent capacity and more companies are likely to
close operations in the next few months,” he said.
also urged the government to explain the current state of the ZISCO/Essar
deal, which is yet to be finalised.
“The failure to resuscitate ZISCO has
negatively impacted the sector considering that it used to employ 50,000
workers who are currently out of employment and government continues to
dilly-dally with the lives of citizens,” he said.
A failure to
promote new investment in the industry is also being blamed for the
situation, which has added to Zimbabwe’s estimated 90% unemployment
The investment climate meanwhile continues to suffer as a
result of the indigenisation drive, which is blamed for driving potential
investors away. The campaign requires foreign-owned companies to cede 51% of
their shareholding to Zimbabweans, and it is likely they will not be
compensated for this if the Empowerment Ministry successfully changes the
New figures supplied by the Zimbabwe Investment
Authority unsurprisingly show that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has
dropped by more than 70% this year, compared to the same period in
This drop, from more than US$130 million to just US$33milion, also
comes as the government continues to target some firms in the form of plans
to seize their land. Last Friday the government restated its intention to
seize almost half the land owned by mining firm Zimplats, despite that group
filing an objection to plans.
The government is also planning to
seize over 1,000 hectares of land that belongs to the CFI Holdings owned
Crest Breeders International chicken group, which will be acquired for
“urban development.” The government earlier this year has also successfully
seized almost 1,600 hectares of land from the Mazoe Citrus Estate, owned by
the agro-producer Interfresh.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW
Radio Africa said these developments means investors are running scared of
Zimbabwe “because there is no guarantee that their investments will secure.”
Zimbabwe’s swimming sensation and Olympic Gold medalist Kirsty
Coventry was the victim of a robbery in Harare that has left her taking
anti-retroviral drugs as a precaution after she was hurt during the
The swimmer said she had arrived back at Harare airport after a
trip and got into a vehicle to go home. But about five men smashed the back
window of the vehicle she was travelling in with her fiancé, her sister,
brother-in-law and her young niece and nephew.
Narrating her ordeal
on her Facebook page, the 29 year old former world record holder said: “My
sister and I were sitting behind my fiancé and her husband who was driving.
My sister grabbed my two year old niece and five year old nephew and I threw
myself into the back of the vehicle to try hold onto our bags. Whilst
wrestling with one of the men over our suitcases, I cut myself on the
shattered glass. Unfortunately, so did one of the thieves.
“I now have to
take antiretroviral medication. The ARVs may be unnecessary, but HIV is a
serious problem in Africa and you can never be too careful. I understand how
desperate these men must be to do this, but that does not make it
One of the thieves was caught after Coventry’s fiancé and
brother-in-law chased after the robbers. She said the others got away with
Coventry said the experience was “scary” but is thankful that
she and her family members survived the robbery. She received hundreds of
messages of support on her Facebook page.
The swimmer said: “So many
people are struggling in their daily lives and instead of stealing from each
other and creating terror for others, we should be working together to
create jobs and helping each other.”
One of her fans wrote:” People who
are employed also steal, so creating jobs won’t solve crime. We should
unleash heavy and painful sentences for those convicted of crime…they will
definitely think twice before they snatch a bag.”
and popular cartoonist Tony Namate said what happened to Coventry is
worrying, but sadly there are many other victims in Zimbabwe who are
attacked on a regular basis and are not fortunate enough to have immediate
access to ARVs as a preventative measure.
Namate said what is needed in
Zimbabwe right now is the political will to deal with the escalating levels
In other news, a notorious cattle rustler was this week
sentenced to 52 years in prison for stealing seven cows in Mashonaland East.
The state broadcaster said Elson Chimutunga Mutamba, who was arrested last
month following a spate of stock-theft cases in the Chihota communal areas,
was convicted of stealing the cattle from different people since December
The Financial Gazette also reported recently that a 22
year old Mbare man received four strokes of a cane for raping and
impregnating a 14 year old deaf and mute girl, while in Mvuma four men got
community service for gang raping a 12 year old girl.
seen many similar cases where rapists are given lenient sentences while
cattle rustlers are given lengthy jail terms.
Namate told SW Radio Africa
that this is why people don’t have faith in the justice system in Zimbabwe,
which seems to value cows more than victims of violent attacks.
said it’s very painful to see that authorities continue to put so much value
on animals. Namate added: “Cattle are easily replaced but it is very
difficult to replace the life of a 12 year old who has been raped. It does
not make sense.”
HARARE - A
former soldier who spent the last two years fighting false accusations of
calling President Robert Mugabe a foreigner and a thief has walked free in a
case that appears to expose that the system seems to fabricate charges to
fix human rights defenders.
Magistrate Sekesai Chiundura acquitted Naison
Chivandire last week after the State, whose witnesses were inconsistent in
court, failed to prove a prima facie case.
Crucially, the case
exposed disturbing conduct as well as the lengths to which the system can go
to concoct charges in order to fix members of the public who stand up for
All witnesses against Chivandire were police
One of them ended up being declared hostile by the State after
he deviated from his statement to the police and told the court that what he
termed was “the truth” was that the ex-military man never insulted
Instead, a fellow police officer instructed him to copy a
statement nailing Chivandire.
After the conclusion of the State case,
Chivandire’s lawyer Peggy Tavagadza-Mapfumo expressed concern that police
officers would go as far as concocting statements grossly abusive of Mugabe
and attribute them to accused persons.
In Chivandire’s case, the
insult crafted by the police would make Mugabe or those who support him
quiver with anger.
Some of the alleged insulting words are unprintable in
a respected newsletter such as The Legal Monitor.
But, below we quote
part of the police officers’ statements which they concocted in a bid to
“I am a former soldier in the ZNA (Zimbabwe National
Army) and I resigned because of injustices caused by Mugabe. You have been
sent by Mugabe who is a thief, he lost the 2008 elections. Mugabe ...
(unprintable words), muforeigner akabva kuMalawi tichamuuraya (and a
foreigner who comes from Malawi. We will kill him).
“Mugabe is a…
(unprintable words) and he spoiled you, he is an… (unprintable words) and he
uses you, the police,” police alleged Chivandire to have said.
the acquittal and the confession by one of the witnesses that Chivandire
never uttered such words, questions now remain on what was the motive of the
police officers when they crafted such insult charges.
“This is the
extent to which police officers can go just to fix an accused person whose
only crime was to question the manner in which they were effecting an arrest
which was inhumane and degrading,” said Tavagadza-Mapfumo of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights.
Police arrested the 30-year-old Chivandire in
April 2011 at one of Mutare’s premier nightclubs, Sports Café.
subsequently charged for allegedly contravening Section 33 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act for insulting and undermining the
authority of Mugabe.
Chivandire said he never uttered such words but
police were out to fix him after he tried to protect a woman suffering human
rights abuses at the hands of the same officers.
As a former member
of the ZNA trained in human rights, Chivandire advised the police, who were
assaulting a lady accused of loitering, that they were violating her
Said Tavagadza-Mapfumo: “He was arrested so as to fix him and was
surprised as to why the police would go to the extent of alleging that he
insulted Mugabe so as to fix him.
Chivandire is a human rights
defender who was arrested for challenging police officer’s treatment of a
suspect.” — The Legal Monitor
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:13 HARARE
- Lawyers for the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board
(Nieeb) plan to launch a $10 million defamation claim against the Daily
News, alleging that the organisation has been falsely accused of using
gun-wielding security personnel to stop the Anti-Corruption Commission from
probing the body.
Investigators from Zimbabwe’s anti-corruption
watchdog claimed two months agothat they were barred by gun-toting men from
entering the Nieeb head office in central Harare, to investigate dodgy
Armed with a search warrant from the High Court,
the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officers said on three
occasions they were denied entry by armed men into the Nieeb offices at the
high-rise National Social Security Centre.
representatives Titan Law Chambers wrote to the Daily News, Zimbabwe’s
leading paper yesterday confirming they were in the process of preparing
statements of claim against the paper if it did not retract the claims
contained in its March 13 and March 14 reports titled ‘Nieebgate probe team
flees gunmen’ and ‘All eyes on High Court’, respectively.
The Daily News
yesterday said it would defend the action.
The suit comes more than one
and half months after publication of the articles, and a few days after the
Daily News singled out the Nieebgate scandal as the story of the year in its
2nd anniversary supplement published last Thursday.
publications were scandalous, wrongful, fictitious and highly defamatory of
Nieeb as they were intended and understood by the readers of the newspaper
that Nieeb is a violent, corrupt body which conducts its mandate unlawfully
in a ‘mafia style’ to the extent of using gun men to protect the alleged
unethical businesses,” said the statement.
Nieeb claimed it had been
unfairly portrayed and said the impression created by the articles “severely
tarnished the image of Nieeb by diminishing its standing in the eyes of the
general public thereby jeopardising its national mandate to spearhead the
indigenisation and empowerment objectives of government.”
regard, we are instructed to demand a retraction of these malicious articles
by the publication of an unconditional apology in the Daily News,” Nieeb’s
“The retraction should be on the front page of the paper
under a prominent headline.
“Should a retraction not be published in
the above manner by the 7th of May, 2013, we have instructions to
immediately and without further notice to you, take the necessary civil
action to sue for defamation damages to the tune of $10 million.
will also become liable for all legal costs accrued as a result.”
Daily News reported that Zacc officers were barred entry by gun-toting men
despite being in possession of a search warrant to seize documents at the
Nieeb offices that were meant to assist them in their
Zacc had reasonable grounds to suspect there was abuse of
duty by public officers who handled the indigenisation transactions in
contravention of Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act, Chapter 9:23.
Particularly, the probe team wanted a register of all
mining companies that have complied with the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act, copies of all agreements entered into between the mining
companies and the government of Zimbabwe and communities.
anti-corruption watchdog also wanted contract documents concerning the
engagement of Top Harvest, the first private equity investment firm that
stitched the first Zimplats indigenisation deal before Brainworks Capital
(Private) Limited was engaged.
The Zacc officers also wanted contract
documents concerning the engagement of Brainworks to render consultancy
services on indigenisation to the government.
From the Zimplats deal
alone, Brianworks stood to pocket up to $45 million after successfully
completing the deal, with an initial payout of $17 million in consultancy
fees. Zimplats has refused to pick that tab, meaning taxpayers will probably
be forced to fork out millions to George Manyere’s Brainworks.
anti-corruption officials were also looking for Community Ownership Trust
documents concerning Zimplats, Unki Mine, Mimosa Mine, and Murowa Diamonds,
but say they were barred from accessing the offices by the gunmen. - Gift
Phiri, Political Editor
WASHINGTON DC — In 2010, the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) launched the Zimbabwe Agricultural Income
and Employment Development programme (ZIM-AIED) aimed at increasing the
incomes of rural households in Zimbabwe through commercialization of
The program was also designed to generate new
employment in agriculture and increasing the production of both food and
Three years later, more than 90,000 rural households have so
far benefited under the five-year program which ends in 2015. In this first
edition of a three-part series, VOA Studio 7’s Gibbs Dube highlights the
achievements and challenges of the program.
USAID’s ZIM-AIED program,
which is being implemented by Fintrac, a U.S contractor that offers
agricultural solutions to end hunger and poverty, is expected to increase
incomes and food security for 180,000 rural families by
Thirty-two million dollars has been set aside for the program.
The program works in cooperation with government departments,
non-governmental organizations, private and public companies to increase
Kudakwashe Ndoro, deputy director of
ZIM-AIED, says the program is helping increase the productivity and
profitability of smallholder producers engaged in the production of target
crops and products.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:10 HARARE - The ongoing
dispute between Core Mining and Marange Resources has taken a new twist with
Marange developing “cold feet” in its High Court urgent chamber application
filed to block the commencement of an arbitration process.
Resources and Core Mining were due to appear before retired judge Moses
Chinhengo, who was appointed by the Law Society of Zimbabwe to handle the
matter and ensure an amicable solution that would see both parties’
investments being protected. But Marange rushed to the High Court seeking an
order to stop the mediation process.
Core Mining was hounded out of
Canadile, a joint venture company formed by the two companies, and all its
investment vanished into thin air.
The Lovemore Kurotwi-led company
approached an arbitrator to have its investments protected but Marange
Resources is opposed to that route and rushed to the High Court seeking an
urgent order to trash the arbitration process.
Marange says the
arbitrator has no jurisdiction to deal with the dispute as the deal between
the two companies was “null and void” due to the “termination and collapse
of Canadile Miners”.
Canadile collapsed when its directors, who include
Kurotwi, were arrested on allegations of fraud.
However, when they
appeared before High Court judge Mary Dube yesterday, Marange Resources
requested more time to consult their parent company, Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, before proceeding with their “urgent chamber
application for an interdict”.
Core Mining, represented by Kurotwi,
opposed the application to block the arbitration process saying Marange was
“buying time and seeking to avoid submitting itself before an
“The application is not urgent as the applicant (Marange)
will have this honourable court to believe. I submit that applicant seems to
be suffering from serious misconception,” said Kurotwi in his affidavit
filed with the High Court.
Through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa,
Kurotwi wants an arbitrator who has since been appointed to intervene and
ensure that his interests and investment in mining of Chiadzwa diamonds is
According to the joint venture agreement signed between Core
Mining and Marange resources, any dispute that would have arisen between the
two should be resolved through arbitration.
“Any dispute which may
arise as a result of the interpretation or application of this agreement
which cannot be resolved within a period of (30) thirty days shall be
referred to arbitration.
“The arbitration takes place under the auspices
of the commercial arbitration centre in Harare,” reads the signed agreement.
- Xolisani Ncube
Marawanyika - Apr 29, 2013 6:57 PM GMT+1000
Zimbabwe has no intention
of stopping the acquisition of land from Zimplats Ltd. even as the appeal by
the country’s biggest platinum producer against the plan is discussed, Mines
Secretary Prince Mupazviriho said.
“It’s an issue that’s under
discussion,” he said by phone today. “This is a procedural issue, that’s why
we gazetted the issue to say if anyone has concerns or an objection it can
be raised, but this doesn’t mean we will stop the acquisition of the
The southern African nation’s government on March 1 gave Zimplats
30 days to appeal a decree that the country would seize 27,498 hectares
(67,949 acres) of the company’s land. In the April 26 edition of the
gazette, published today, the government said the nation “intends to acquire
compulsorily” part of the land held by Zimplats, which is 87 percent owned
by Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP), the world’s biggest producer of the
metal after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS)
Zimplats is in talks
with the government, Chief Executive Officer Alex Mhembere said by e-mail
Zimbabwe, which has the world’s biggest platinum reserves after
South Africa, is preparing a law allowing it to seize controlling stakes in
companies without compensation, according to a draft of the legislation
obtained by Bloomberg News.
The law would be an amendment to a 2007
act that compels foreign and white-owned companies such as Rio Tinto Group,
Sinosteel Corp. and Impala to sell or cede 51 percent of their shares to
black nationals or state-approved agencies.
HARARE — Impala Platinum’s unit in
Zimbabwe, Zimplats, may have to claim compensation for the nearly 28,000ha
of land the government intends to take over should its appeal against this
fail, a government gazette published on Friday said.
economist Moses Moyo said the crackdown on Zimplats, and other international
companies, was not surprising.
"We are in an election period and there is
this tendency to advance populist policies, however illogical or radical,
against such companies."
Legal experts in Zimbabwe said Zimplats had
appealed against the decision, saying that if the appeal was unsuccessful,
the next move would be to claim compensation for the land, as spelt out in
the government gazette. "But the government has to be challenged on this;
there is clearly an issue with these sudden policy shifts," one of the
Officials at Zimplats said on Monday the company was in
talks with the government over the issue.
Zimbabwe has the world’s
second-largest platinum reserves after South Africa. Implats is the
second-biggest platinum producer in the world, after Anglo American
Platinum, which owns the Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe.
"In terms of
section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act … any person having an interest or
right in the land who wishes … to claim compensation in terms of part V for
the acquisition of the land, should submit a claim in terms of section 22
with the minister of mines and mining development," reads a part of the
government gazette published on April 26, a copy of which was seen by
It describes the land — which is in Kadoma along the
mineral-rich Great Dyke region — as "owned by the state" and says that the
acquisition will be for the benefit of the public. The government has since
invited interested parties to come and inspect the map of the land at the
mines ministry offices.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu previously said
the platinum claims would be given to new investors. "The president intends
to acquire compulsorily part of the land owned by Zimplats Holdings Limited
under Special Mining Lease Number 1."
Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere said
on March 27 that Zimplats "lodged an objection on 27 March 2013 to the
preliminary notice published in general notice 123 of 2013 in the Zimbabwean
government gazette extraordinary of 1 March 2013 with regard to the
president’s intention to acquire compulsorily 27,948 hectares of land" held
by the company in Zimbabwe.
Miners have been hit with fresh volatility in
Zimbabwe, with officials saying reported amendments to the 2007
Indigenisation Act would be amended to rule out compensation for
foreign-owned mining companies. However, Empowerment Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere has said amendments were still proposals, which are "work in
This latest development is in addition to existing demands by
the government that foreign firms cede 51% to black Zimbabwean groups.
The 14th Harare
International Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe’s biggest cultural event, opens
today promising six days of local, regional and international arts and culture
with an impressive line-up of music, theatre, circus and street performance, as
well as art and photographic exhibitions.
The theme of this
year’s festival is “What’s Next” — capturing the colloquial essence of
Zimbabwean conversation as well as the nation’s anticipation for the future,
according to HIFA executive director Maria Wilson.
“‘What’s next?’ is one of the most common expressions currently
being used by Zimbabweans,” she told News Day. “It addresses our feelings of
excitement, confusion and anxiety over the issues that surround
In an election year,
the festival is looking towards a positive future for Zimbabwe, she said, and
seizing on the opportunity to use the arts to build social and cultural
cohesion. It is a chance to bring disparate social and cultural groups together
to spectate, participate in, and most of all, to celebrate Zimbabwean
The opening show,
“What’s Next: Looking Back/Looking Forward” directed by Asa Jogi, takes a
historic look at Zimbabwean music and aims to conjure up fond childhood
memories for participants as well as dare them to look at what lies
The veteran Bulawayo
Kwela Kings will bring their brand of township jazz reminiscent of the Sixties
and Seventies, providing a fine contrast to the modern, urban efforts of
performers such as Rockford Josphat, or Roki as fans of his choreographed urban
groove and dancehall style know him.
New York’s Songs of
Solomon (SOS) gospel choir will feature in collaboration with a Zimbabwean
ensemble. SOS have worked across the United States with Earth, Wind and Fire,
Carol King, Elton John, Kelly Clarkson and Aretha Franklin. The choir’s 70
singers will be joined by 50 Zimbabwean singers, led by Kundisai Mtero and Billy
St John, for a combined performance on Sunday.
“In the current
socio-economic situation, HIFA has come to be seen as an important symbol of
something positive about Zimbabwe,” said South Africa’s Sunday Independent
Throughout the years
the festival has celebrated positive progress on all levels, whether this be the
expansion of the festival itself, cultural unity in the city of Harare or indeed
The theme ‘What’s Next’
hopes to build on this sense of inclusiveness. It expresses the spectator’s
anticipation in the face of vibrant new shows, and a packed programme, and
equally the anticipation of the entire country looking to what is next
politically after the elections this summer.
Jenni Williams (in white cap) addresses Women of Zimbabwe
Arise members at Zimbabwe’s parliament building in Harare with the police
looking on. The clampdown on civil society spreads far beyond Zimbabwe according
to a recent CIVICUS report. Credit: Misheck
JOHANNESBURG, Apr 29 2013
(IPS)- As Zimbabwe is expected to head to the
polls in a little less than two months, clampdowns on civil society in that
southern African nation have increased, according to Godwin Phiri, western
region chairperson of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
Phiri tells IPS that it
was very difficult to disseminate information to rural communities about their
rights as voters as they were not allowed to hold public
“The battle is in the
rural communities where, according to the Public Order and Security Act, we need
to inform the police four days before if we want to have a meeting. But the
police say that you need to seek their permission, and what we have seen over
time is that they decide what meetings can be held,” Phiri
He adds that as the
elections draw nearer, the police have begun prohibiting meetings by civil
society organisations in rural areas.
“Ahead of the elections
the main thing we are trying to activate is our local structures to use as
points of disseminating voter information. But a lot of communities are living
in a context where there is a lot of violence and their movements are curtailed
by the fear that anything can happen and can be interpreted as anti-government.
So they are afraid to talk about issues,” he says.
AndWomen of Zimbabwe
Arise(WOZA), an all-female social justice
pressure group, has been no exception in the crackdown on civil society
organisations, including arrests, over the past year, strongly believed to be a
measure by the coalition government to thwart dissent.
Jenni Williams, founder
and national coordinator of the group, tells IPS that she and her co-founder
Magodonga Mahlangu have been arrested more than 50 times during the past 10
years that their organisation has been in existence. In April, WOZA laid a
complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) at
the African Union body’s 53rd session.
However, media and
democracy campaigner Pedzisai Ruhanya, who is the director of the Zimbabwe
Democracy Institute, says nothing will come of it as President Robert Mugabe’s
defiant government has ignored other rulings from the ACHPR.
“They have done that
before and they will do it again. Actually there is a precedent; they have done
it and what has happened to them? They are still there. What happened to them
when they…defied other rulings that came from the Banjul court in the Gambia
where the ACHPR is based.
“They will continue to do
business as usual because that court (the ACHPR) has no teeth, it is a toothless
bulldog and cannot enforce its decisions, hence it’s an appendage of the state
parties, including Zimbabwe,” Ruhanya says.
But the experiences
of civil society in Zimbabwe are not unique to that country. A new report
released byCIVICUS, the global civil society
alliance, states that despite the expectation that the Arab Spring, Spain’s
“indignados “and the global Occupy movements could bring radical change, this
has not happened.
The report titled
“The State of Civil
Society 2013”, released on Apr. 29, says the great
people’s movements of 2012 were followed by “a range of negative events that
make the work of civil society even harder.”
diffusion of social media and mobile technology, and the mushrooming of digital
platforms for self-expression, might suggest that never before has civil society
had so many venues to voice its claims and visions,” Mario Lubetkin, director of
Inter Press Service (IPS), says in a chapter of the report co-written with
Citizen Lab fellow Stefania Milan.
Milan and Lubetkin state,
however, that this is not truly the case and note that “the news agenda is today
largely dominated by stories from the global North.
“The mediascape is still
characterised by growing media concentration, the predominance of ‘infotainment’
and ‘sensationalism’ over information and analysis, and the prevalence of
Western voices at the expense of a silenced global South.”
They recommend that
“familiarisation with the journalism world, its needs and practices, is
essential for CSOs (Civil Society Organisations), and even more so for those
people whose task is to reach out to journalists.”
In his introduction to the
report, Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, secretary general and chief executive of
CIVICUS, concurs with Milan and Lubetkin.
“New technologies are
making it easier to access information, connect with other like-minded people,
and mobilise large numbers of people. But restrictions on websites and social
media are increasingly being used as tools to keep citizens in the dark and
prevent them from scrutinising corruption.”
The report notes that a
number of governments have recently introduced or plan to introduce laws that
regulate the formation and operation of CSOs. “Laws in Kenya, Tanzania, and
Uganda, for example, give the state the power to declare a CSO unlawful or
withdraw its registration.”
However, the report states
that CSOs are finding innovating ways of tackling social problems. For example,
in Kyrgyzstan, “Public Watch Councils have increased accountability and
transparency of central governmental agencies. One of the ways in which they
have done so is through several TV discussions and public hearings involving the
participation of state officials, CSOs and private sector
*Additional reporting by
Misheck Rusere in Harare.
THE end is nigh. This is the beginning of the end. Indeed,
this is the endgame.
They had built their own Tower of Babel since
independence in April, 1980. Over the years, they convinced themselves that
only them, and them alone, had the right to rule Zimbabwe and to enjoy the
fruits of our hard won independence.
This is a selfish bunch of men
and women. They are cruel, kleptocratic and corrupt to the core. As long as
they continue to live in a paradise surrounded by a sea of debilitating
poverty, they don’t give a hoot what happens to this great nation when they
meet their Maker.
But of late, they are in panic mode. They are running
scared. They realise that it’s time up and also that brute force, naked
propaganda and overt intimidation will not buy them another tenure in
office. Now they are cannibalising themselves; literally tearing each other
apart in the restive provinces of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland West.
They are in deep trouble.
These cruel and pitiful little men and
women have to be sordidly reminded of some Biblical undertones. Genesis 9
verse 6 states that “whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood
be shed, for God made man in his own image.’’
There will be no
impunity. Thieves will have their ill-gotten wealth re-possessed by the
people. Rapists and murderers will find free state accommodation at our
correctional facilities. The people of Zimbabwe have been long suffering.
They have been systematically trashed and abused by a ruthless neo-fascist
system that has run down an otherwise mighty nation into a hopeless basket
The people never bought the sanctions mantra. It has no takers. We
are not going to be hoodwinked by a political system that has perfected the
art of kleptocracy, Stalinism, thuggery and obscurantism. The regime is
crumbling and the centre can no longer hold. Factionalism now defines the
very existence of the former ruling party. It is now dog eat dog. Really,
this is a sad sight. But then, they should have seen it
Instead of becoming nation builders, our colleagues on the other
side of the political divide, chose to personalise our nationhood. To them,
Zimbabwe became their own little, personal estate where they did whatever
they wanted with reckless abandon. They looted State resources like men
possessed. Most of these comrades, besides decades of looting, having
absolutely nothing behind their names.
The farms that they grabbed
have mostly been turned into deserts with no meaningful commercial
agriculture taking place. This is a hopeless bunch of failures. They cannot
even run a tuck shop. They have absolutely no business acumen. But they are
solely driven by greed and avarice. They have grown fat through naked
personal aggrandisement. They have no conscience. Indeed, they thrive on the
ordinary people’s suffering. They are thieves and plunderers who should
never again be entrusted to run the levers of State power.
independence in April 1980, Zimbabwe was the second largest economy in
Southern Africa; second only to South Africa. We had a very sophisticated
rail infrastructure and our manufacturing sector was exporting clothes to
leading departmental stores such as Harrods of London as well as Marks &
Julie Whyte, a clothing manufacturer in the Graniteside area
of Harare, employed no less than 8,000 full-time employees in 1980.They ran
three shifts daily; simply meaning that they were working 24 hours seven
days a week. This was before the comrades took over. The comrades had an
insatiable appetite for personal aggrandisement. In no time, they were
cutting corrupt deals in order to line their pockets. We are all too
familiar with the corruption saga involving Willowvale Mazda Motor
Industries in the early 1980s. Who doesn’t recall the Samson Bernard Mashata
Paweni scandal involving the importation of grain during the severe drought
The problem with our comrades is that they, somehow, think that
the people have short memories. We know these guys. You can only trust them
at your own peril. To them, corruption, sleaze and graft have become a way
of life. When you decide to settle amongst them, you simply have to join
them in their avaricious lifestyle or else you won’t last. They have no
As we prepare to hold make or break elections, we should tell
ourselves that never again should we give State power to crooks and dealers
masquerading as nationalists and exponents of indigenisation and
empowerment. The people have suffered enough at the hands of these
pretenders. Zimbabwe desperately needs a break. We want a complete
disconnect from the politics of personal aggrandisement, chicanery and
maladministration. We have to draw a line in the sand. Our politics simply
has to be sanitised across the political divide. We should never accommodate
thieves and plunderers in our political trajectory. Men and women who have
proved to be selfish, lazy and corrupt should be shown the exit door; no
matter who they are.
Zimbabwe needs a strategic national paradigm shift
where politicians, first and foremost, are supposed to serve the people
before serving themselves. Indeed, politics should not be considered as a
source of living as is the case currently. Politics should not be treated as
Our public media should also adopt a broad-based
nation-building agenda. This hate language that is daily churned out on
national television and radio stations is not good for anyone. We should
strive to build tolerance instead of fanning hatred and division amongst the
The public broadcaster should immediately assume the role of a
nation builder. And these self-serving so-called political “analysts” who
routinely appear on national television spreading hate, alarm and
despondency should not be allowed anywhere near a television camera and/or
radio studio. We know these fake analysts even by their totems. Most if not
all of them are hopeless failures in their personal, professional and
business lives. They are desperate little men and women who are singing for
their supper. They don’t believe in what they say and they also never say
what they believe in.
Opportunists and later day “revolutionaries” should
not be allowed to sabotage the people’s agenda. This is not about
personalities. No. It’s not. We would like to build strong institutions and
not strong personalities. The tragedy in our politics has always been to
focus on personalities rather than on issues and institutions. We should
empower and strengthen our national institutions that enhance the people’s
freedoms such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission.
If our politicians have no skeletons in
their cupboards, then they simply shouldn’t be scared of strong national
institutions. We should also sanitise and reform our security sector. The
security sector should be there to serve the people first and foremost.
Thus, their primary allegiance should be to the people of Zimbabwe as a
whole and not to a particular political party. And of course, the national
Police force should not conduct itself as if it is an appendage of a
particular political party. Serving officers in our security services
should not be allowed to actively participate in politics.
Zimbabwe does not deserve to have a sloganeering top policeman! No matter
who wins the elections, there are certain ethos that have to be preserved
and protected. We will continue to honour the role of our genuine freedom
fighters who fought the brutal colonial system until we won our independence
in 1980. Our traditional leaders should not be active political players. We
respect them but then, we certainly do not fear them. Should they continue
to be used as political condoms, we will condemn them without fear or
In the same vein, we should strive to flush out the fake war
veterans in our midst. These pretenders make a lot of unnecessary noises and
some of us doubt whether these miserable pretenders can even fire a
A New Zimbabwe is beckoning. A New President is also beckoning.
We want to have a fresh start. We are sick and tired of sterile hate-filled
propaganda. We want a New Beginning. We want to be free. The days of a
personality cult will soon be over. Trust me, change is inevitable and
change is coming.
Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare and
he is also the MDC Harare provincial spokesperson. He is also the Deputy
Minister of Justice & Legal Affairs
If there is a continent
that is on the rise, it is Africa, according to Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister
“If you look at how we have managed our economies, how we
have discovered the joy, the pleasure of macro-economic stability, since
2000, and how those economies have grown, it has been a wonderful story,”
he said in a speech in London.
With average annual economic growth of
5 per cent, Africa generally, and Zimbabwe specifically, were gradually
shaking off the legacy of lost decades in the years immediately after
independence. Zimbabwe celebrated 33 years of independence on April 18,
still with deep financial problems but in the knowledge that the worse was
now behind it, he said.
Mr Biti was in London last week, on his way back
to Zimbabwe after attending the spring meetings in Washington of
international finance institutions including the IMF and the World Bank. In
a presentation to think tank Chatham House, he outlined his vision for the
financial services industry, in the context of the problems it has faced in
the 33 years since Zimbabwe gained independence.
“The first decades
of independence were a total waste because for those who liberated us — and
we’re very grateful for that, the struggle for decolonisation was a very
important thing — there was a fundamental thing, the misunderstanding of
growing economies, of sustainable development, of freeing up economics. And
a lot of our leaders spent a lot of time, seeking the “political kingdom”.
But since 2000 we suddenly discovered the importance and centrality of
“Since then the continent has been growing at an
average of 5 per cent, which is only exceeded by the Asian Tigers, by
Southeast Asia. By 2020, the population with disposable incomes on the
African continent will be 128 million, up from 90 million. That’s people
with per capita income of $2,000 and above, those who can afford to buy
flat-screen televisions, send their children to private schools, take their
families on holiday in Durban, Mauritius. Fantastic figures that speak to
the rise of the middle class.”
In that environment, he said, the
potential of Zimbabwe’s financial services sector to become a key driver of
growth was “immeasurable”.
“When we dollarised in 2009, our dollarisation
was not proper dollarisation in the technical sense, where the new currency
buys the old currency. What we did was a kind of appropriation — thank God
no one took us to court; I’m a lawyer so I can say this now the three years
of prescription has expired. People just woke up one morning and found their
Zimbabwe dollar balances valueless. This was not dollarisation in the
“The financial services sector, in February 2009 when we
dollarised, had assets of US$359 million. That essentially means that the
assets that they had were just the computers, software, the buildings, their
vehicles and other physical assets. But they built their reserves on their
own, so that by the end of 2009, the banking sector had assets worth $1.2
billion. Now the money in circulation, broad money supply, or M3 as
economists call it, is $4 billion.
“At any given time the amount of
money sitting in the bank in closing balances is anywhere between $700
million and $1 billion. So this is a fantastic sector, which is why some of
us say it’s a sector we can’t touch. It’s a sector that has played a great
role in Zimbabwe.
“The current account is widening, so with the balance
of payments crisis back, our ratio of exports to imports is 1:3, closer to
1:4. In 2012, we had imports of around $7 billion, exports of around $3
billion. In the first quarter of the year, January to March 2013, we had
total imports of $1.7 billion, a 14 percent increase from this time last
“Exports are around $600 million, a 10 percent drop from this time
last year. So imports are on the increase, by 14 per cent; exports are on
the decrease by 10 percent — that’s the extent of the current account
deficit. And with little investment, the capital account situation is also
in a disastrous situation.
“The question is — who has been financing
this gap of $7 billion to $3 billion. Fine, there have been diaspora
remittances. But the key financier of our current account has been our
banking sector — the banking sector has been the epicentre of the stability
that we have seen in recent years. I see that with many instruments — equity
capital, hedge funds, growth of the stock exchange – I see the growth of the
financial sector as a major driver of the growth of the
“Another challenge — another key thing we have to deal with,
which I’m dealing with right now, is Zimbabwe’s sovereign debt. We have got
an unverified balance of $10.7 billion right now. In the Ministry of Finance
we have established Zimbabwe’s Debt and Management Office, run by a very
competent man called Andrew Bvumbe. So we are at 96 percent in terms of
actual of verification of what we owe, including talking with the
“I have constructed a home-grown debt resolution programme
called Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS). And the reason why
I’ve called it ‘development’ is that it’s really not about our debt, because
we defaulted as far back as 1999. But as far as we have this debt overhang,
and the arrears with the IMF and the World Bank, number one, we can liberate
Zimbabwe’s balance sheet. It’s a huge balance sheet, but it’s clouded by
“Number two — the risk profile remains very, very high.
Those who have rated us, we are on D-minus Even with our friends, the
Chinese, the rating is D-minus. The net effect is that we cannot go on the
international markets to borrow money.
“The President of the African
Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, has been a very good friend of Zimbabwe
and it pains him that he has not been able to have a proper programme with
Zimbabwe. Each time we meet him and we have dinners, I always sit on the top
table with him. So I said to him one day, why do you always seat me on your
right side? And he said to me, ‘Tendai, that’s my way of penance because you
are the only country that I’m not giving money to.’
“It is important
that we deal with debt resolution.”
BULAWAYO , Apr 30 2013 (IPS) - As Zimbabwe’s young
politicians increase their demands to be allowed to play a greater role in
the running of the country, analysts say that this could signal a change in
youth voter apathy in the upcoming elections.
“Young people are
beginning to see politics differently,” Tinaye Juru, a political analyst
working in Bulawayo, told IPS.
“We are seeing a shift from accepting
being called tomorrow’s leaders to (having the youth) ask ‘Why wait till
tomorrow, when we can do this today?’” Juru said.
Elections in this
southern African nation are expected sometime after Jun. 29 when the
parliament’s term ends.
And many feel this election could be an
opportunity for young people to enter active politics as legislators – that
is if their political parties yield to growing demands to include them more
Historically, young politicians here have been confined to
campaigning for senior party officials.
Youth participation in
Zimbabwe’s elections is low, according to the international rights and
democracy NGO Freedom House. A June 2012 report by the organisation, titled
“Change and ‘New’ Politics in Zimbabwe”, noted that there are
“disproportionately low levels of voter registration in the two age
categories of 18 to 25 years and 26 to 35 years old.”
In a country where,
according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, up to 60 percent of
the population is under 35, this is a matter of great concern.
has already been an outcry within the Movement for Democratic Change led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) against senior party officials who
have not performed well. The party’s Youth Assembly, its youth wing, has
demanded that the MDC-T hold its own primary elections to select candidates
to contest seats for parliament in the upcoming elections.
sitting candidates within the party did not face any internal contest for
their seats in the legislature and simply sought re-election. But the MDC-T
Youth Assembly has said that the youth could do a better job for the party
and their country and suggested a youth quota for parliament.
Hlatshwayo, the MDC-T Youth Assembly national secretary for information,
told IPS: “We want seats set aside for youths. This is the only way this
will prepare us (young people) for the future if we are to rule this
The same situation exists within the MDC led by Welshman Ncube,
a breakaway faction of the original MDC. Aspiring candidates in its youth
league ranks are being frustrated by officials who have dismissed them as
“nuisances”, one youth wing member told IPS on the condition of
“We were asked, along with other aspiring candidates, by the
party to submit our nomination papers for the primaries. But, curiously, our
submission papers went missing,” he said.
While on the other hand,
President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front
(Zanu-PF), has been accused of suppressing the younger generation and
preventing them from rising within the party’s ranks.
A senior Zanu-PF
youth league official in Bulawayo, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
told IPS that it was tough to break through the party’s glass ceiling as
those who did not fight in the war of liberation were not highly rated by
the party’s senior members. Between 1964 and 1979 Zimbabweans fought for
independent rule from the then Rhodesian government of Ian
“There are still old people in the party who think that if you
challenge them in the primary elections, you are undermining them,” he
“In the end, we just sit back and do our best to campaign for the
party. Even the younger MPs in the party do not take kindly to criticism and
are quick to claim we are (acting on behalf of) one faction or another (when
we oppose them), and it’s become something that we do not
Philemon Ncube, a priest and political analyst in Bulawayo,
told IPS that political parties needed to do more to ensure that the youth
were able to lead. “No mechanisms have been put in place by all political
parties to encourage leadership renewal and this will make it difficult for
youths to break into the ranks.”
But not all young people have
welcomed the idea of being governed by their peers.
have seen the benefits of public office from parliamentarians who are always
demanding ridiculous perks from the (treasury),” Nathan Molife, a
22-year-old student at the National University of Science and Technology,
“Their motives have become marred by our politics where many
believe no politician should be poor, never mind the level of poverty the
people live in. Maybe I will vote for a younger MP, maybe I won’t. I don’t
know,” Molife said, showing mistrust in politicians in
According to a 2012 survey by Afrobarometer, an African research
organisation, over the years a suspicion for politicians has become the
major reason for voter apathy in Zimbabwe.
According to the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, a mere 18 percent of young people of voting age
have completed the registration process.
And only an estimated 43 percent
of registered young people voted in the disputed March 2008 election.
According to international rights groups, including Human Rights Watch,
Mugabe had perpetrated widespread violence against political opponents in
the run-up to and after the country’s 2008 presidential elections. Mugabe
was declared winner.
Analysts said, however, that if young voters
remained apathetic this year, it could set back attempts to actively engage
the youth in the democratic process as candidates.
“It would be
fairly easy for young people to vote for one of their own, but if these same
people do not register to exercise their (right to vote), it is difficult to
see how the ambitions of creating a new breed of legislators will be
realised,” Juru said.
Tymon Ndlovu of the National Youth Development
Trust, an NGO based in Bulawayo, told IPS that it was of concern that in the
excitement to take up positions as legislators, female faces are
“Local politics remains male-dominated despite all the talk
about equal representation. But I believe these elections would be an
opportunity to see aspiring young female politicians coming out. But it’s
obvious this is not happening,” he said.
*This story was produced in
conjunction with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and appears in their
Back in 2009
when he took the job as Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti had one
of the most challenging jobs in African politics. The country had just
experienced a traumatic and almost certainly fixed election, which
eventually saw the formation of a coalition government between ZANU-PF and
Biti’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change. This was brokered by South
African President Thabo Mbeki and termed the Global Political
2008 was the nadir of Zimbabwe’s fortunes with hyperinflation
running at an eye-watering 6.5 sextillion percent in mid-November 2008. The
Zimbabwean rand became virtually worthless. One of the first things Biti did
when he assumed occupation of the Ministry of Finance was to dollarize the
Biti, a lawyer by profession, is clearly a tough and highly
intelligent character. The former quality he shares with his party leader,
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – somewhat diminished of late
following the MDC’s poor pre-election polling stats and his own personal
‘issues’. Concerning the latter quality, few would argue that he exceeds
Tsvangirai, and must be seen as a credible alternative should the MDC lose
the upcoming election.
In person Biti is bullish about the Zimbabwean
economy. He has just been in Washington at meetings with the IMF and World
Bank. Apparently Africa is ‘on the rise’ and “Zimbabwe can and will be part
of this story”. What the country needs for this to become a reality is,
first, “a legitimate credible election” which ensures both security of the
voter and the vote. Clearing some of the estimated 4 million deceased
‘ghost’ voters off the electoral roll would also help.
election there will be need for a massive agenda of reconstruction. An
estimated $14.5 billion is required for infrastructure alone. $5 billion is
also needed to inject life back in to the country’s manufacturing sector and
$7 billion for the mining industry.
Mining is a sector of the economy
with much potential – Zimbabwe has the largest deposits of iron ore in the
region and platinum is also abundant. According to Biti, keen to attract
investment, platinum can be found nearer the surface than that which is
available in South Africa and made the rock drillers (who went on strike
prior to the Marikana massacre) so important to the process. Biti stated
that by 2018 mining should comprise 35% of the country’s GDP.
biggest achievement to date seems to be the stabilisation of the economy,
rather than its growth. His team at the Ministry have clearly got a handle
on where the economy and public debt stands right now ($10.7 billion). They
are putting in place a “home grown debt resolution programme”, but the risk
profile for Zimbabwean debt remains prohibitively high. This is a serious
problem as it prevents Zimbabwe from being able to start a programme with,
for example, the African Development Bank.
It will be interesting to see
whether the next stage of Zimbabwe’s tentative ‘recovery’ can be realised.
This will, however, inevitably depend a great deal on what happens after the
next election and whether a political settlement can be reached where more
technocratic tough guys like Biti can be brought into
Magnus Taylor is Editor of African Arguments.
Biti was speaking at a Chatham House event on 24th April.