By Alex Bell
19 May 2011
Zimbabwe will not feature on the agenda of this weekend’s summit of Southern
African Development Community (SADC) leaders, after South African officials
finally confirmed that President Jacob Zuma would not be attending the
The Summit officially gets underway in Namibia on Friday, and the Zimbabwe
crisis was meant to be high on the agenda of talks. But Zuma’s absence,
because of ‘conflicting commitments’, means the matter cannot be properly
dealt with, as he is the regional mediator in the ongoing political crisis.
This is the official stance taken by SADC.
But observers have expressed concern that the regional bloc is delaying
dealing with a matter that holds such importance for the credibility of the
region. SADC has repeatedly put off dealing with the Zim crisis, despite
being the guarantor of the unity deal that ZANU PF has refused to implement.
The regional bloc is now facing intense pressure to finally prove its
commitment to democracy by endorsing a plan for Zimbabwe that includes a
roadmap towards free, fair and credible elections.
The roadmap was listed as crucial for ending the current political impasse,
by a SADC Troika summit in March. That Summit also clearly stated that the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) was not being implemented, in a veiled and
surprise criticism of ZANU PF. It was hoped that this strong criticism and
apparent new, tough stance on Zimbabwe, would be endorsed by the Summit of
leaders this weekend.
The matter is now only set to be dealt with at a special meeting in June,
although the date is yet to be confirmed. There is speculation that meeting
could be put off to as late as 20th June.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Thursday
that this delay is very “unfortunate,” because Zimbabweans desperately want
some kind of direction or confirmation about when elections will be.
“The Zimbabwe situation has always been largely trivialised and given a low
priority,” Makumbe said, adding: “It is unfortunate that the region is once
again back to its old format of viewing the Zimbabwe crisis as not being a
But Makumbe said the delay, if anything, will give the MDC time to put the
record straight with SADC, on the back of a regional offensive launched by
ZANU PF. Mugabe’s party has sent envoys across the region, trying to drum up
support for elections this year. Presidential spokesman George Charamba
meanwhile said this regional offensive was to ‘correct’ the misinformation
supplied by the MDC, about the current situation in Zimbabwe.
“This delay is a godsend for the MDC, because they now have the time to do a
serious job of correcting what ZANU PF will have been saying to SADC. They
can put together proper dossiers of the situation, and clearly show that
elections cannot be held this year,” Makumbe said.
19/05/2011 13:56:00††† Political Reporter
HARARE - SADC mediator and facilitator on the Zimbabwean crisis, South
African President Jacob Zuma, has indicated that he will not attend the
Namibian Heads of State Summit; dealing a devastating blow to Robert Mugabe
and his party Zanu PF’s plans for for a snap election this year, The
Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.
A South African embassy official in the Harare said Zuma will be overseeing
the local government elections in his country and SADC has seen it fit that
the Zimbabwe crisis problems cannot be discussed without the facilitator.
This has left Robert Mugabe clutching at straws because he and his party
faithful wanted the summit more than the MDC formations.
Yesterday, Zanu PF even went a step further flying bands of hired party mobs
and thugs to Namibia to sing and chant at the Summit venue in demand for
elections this year and parade banners in support of its beleaguered
Early this week, the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said in a
statement, "As far as the MDC is concerned, what must be discussed at the
Extra-ordinary summit is the progress that has been made by the negotiators
in resolving the outstanding GPA issues. At the very least we want to see a
clear roadmap to the holding of free and fair elections in the country.† New
security sector reforms must also be put in place before the holding of free
and fair elections," the MDC said in a statement on the SADC summit.
Sources said President Mugabe and his party Zanu PF were planning to use the
summit to revisit the terms of reference of the SADC-South Africa mediation
role in the context of the aftermath of the fall-out at the last SADC Troika
summit in Zambia and the latest setback will surely cause havoc in the party
ravaged by bitter internal infighting.
In the last two weeks Mugabe and his party have been burning airline fuel
travelling across the region in a desperate bid to rally and bully regional
leaders ahead of what they dubbed make-or-break special regional summit
scheduled for tomorrow Friday in Namibia.
The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal that the Zanu PF regional lobbying has not gone
down well with South African Presidency who feels that there has been an
effort to undermine its position as mediator and usurp the powers of the
Troika, a SADC body which deals with political problems in the region.
The SADC troika, consisting of Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, and the
South African and Namibian Presidents, Jacob Zuma and Hifikepunye Pohamba,
has already issued a strong statement which specifically stated that the GPA
is not being implemented, and so far that is the regional position and
unless there is a dramatic shift, there won't be a summit on Zimbabwe until
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF seek to abide by the full GPA agreement.
President Mugabe’s Spokesman George Charamba was even quoted by the state
media this week saying the government would set the record straight at the
summit specifically on the political situation in Zimbabwe.
He said dossiers on the complicity of the MDC-T in political motivated
violence would be presented to the SADC leadership allegedly to prove
Tsvangirai’s party lied in his report he presented at the last Troika
meeting held in Livingstone, Zambia.
Charamba’s outbursts shows that Zanu PF has been burning candles working
night and day planning hard to mug SADC leaders with propaganda material
prepared with the assistance of the partisan Zimbabwe Republic Police to
lynch the MDC on Congress violence, but as it turns out this is now another
yawn for the embattled former ruling party as South Africa pulls off the rug
and all the work goes under the drain.
Mugabe is becoming increasingly isolated within the region. The 87-year-old
leader first got a taste of the changing realities within SADC at the
Livingstone troika summit, where the octogenarian received a stinging rebuke
from his peers for his failure to implement the GPA in full and for the
continuing violence and arbitrary arrests in the country.
At the Namibia summit Mugabe wanted the Heads of States to endorse his plan
to force a snap election in Zimbabwe this year, but South Africa is having
none of it and is insisting on full political reforms.
Zanu (PF) has been saying that elections will go ahead this year without any
reforms and that they will not allow SADC to resolve the security sector
reforms. The MDC has said the security sector must be reformed as a matter
of urgency and that the party will only participate in an election roadmap
approved by SADC and an election that is free and fair.
Mugabe has sent emissaries to the region, including his Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa who turned up in Luanda, Angola. Angolan President
Eduardo Dos Santos refused to meet him and referred him to Vice President,
Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos instead and Minister of State Security
Sydney Sekeramayi ambushed Mozambican President Armando Guebuza while on his
State duties in a small town of Mocuba, both were trying and persuade them
on elections and stop the security reforms.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono was also dispatched to meet
with Malawian president† Bingu wa Mutharika in Malawi, with the same message
This is despite the fact that his party openly vilified the regional
grouping and its leaders on several occasions over the past two months.
In the bid to beg Sadc for support, the Zanu PF ploy aimed to divide the
region so that it would foist forward-leaning resolutions in favour of
Zanu-PF which Mugabe would seek to use as fresh terms of reference altering
the original GPA.
Mugabe and his party were looking forward to persuade a few regional leaders
to fight in their corner to ensure that they come out of the Namibia summit
without being battered any further and leave President Zuma isolated.
The SADC, led by Global Political Agreement (GPA) facilitator, President
Jacob Zuma of South Africa, is set to adopt a roadmap towards the country’s
next elections but this has been put on hold on condition that all agreed
political reforms have been met. South Africa has said in private, they don’t
seek to surrender this role to a SADC Heads of State Summit where Mugabe
would rough shod his peers like he used to do with the compliance of former
South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The executive secretary of the SADC Secretariat, Tomaz Salom‚o, said the
Council of Ministers that meets today has to make some decision on the
Zimbabwean political reforms.
The Madagascan mediator, Mozambique’s former President Joaquim Chissano,
will be in attendance.
But, said Salom‚o, the Zimbabwe and Madagascan issues are not on the agenda,
pending the ministers’ decision today which will be chaired by Zambia’s
President Rupiah Banda.
The Zambian President has the full support of South African President Jacob
Zuma. Banda has been one of the few outspoken regional leaders and he has
already given Robert Mugabe a bitter stinging rebuke, amid reports that he
told him to shut up during the last Troika summit.
The SADC Troika at the end of March at Livingstone, Zambia, proposed that
the Summit receive an update on the two issues.
But all else is set for the summit, said Salom‚o. “We are ready to start the
proceedings,” he said.
The two items that will be tackled, in accordance with the SADC Summit in
August 2010, also in Windhoek, are a report on the impact of the global
economic crisis on the region, and the assessment of the recommendations of
the proposed review of the SADC Tribunal.
Salom‚o said it is up to the Summit to make a final ruling on the SADC
Tribunal. Another issue foisted by Zanu PF.
SADC countries that will not be in attendance are Madagascar, which was
suspended after the December 2009 coup d’etat, and Seychelles, which is
currently holding elections.
Salom‚o said Swaziland has not yet indicated if it will attend the regional
Preparations are also underway for SADC, Comesa, and the East African
Community to meet in South Africa to discuss a free-trade agreement on June
In view of that, said Salom‚o, the Summit will receive an update on regional
19/05/2011 19:34:00††† Staff Reporter
HARARE - The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zanu PF First Secretary and Patron of War Veterans
Association and Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, President Robert
Mugabe has arrived in Windhoek, Namibia for the SADC Summit.
Mugabe, who left Harare this Thursday afternoon, was received at the
Windhoek Airport by the Namibian Foreign Affairs Minister, Utoni Nujoma
instead of the country's President, ahead of the summit which is expected to
discuss other issues and not the Zimbabwean crisis.
A South African embassy official in the Harare said on Thursday President
Jacob Zuma will be overseeing the local government elections in his country
and SADC has seen it fit that the Zimbabwe crisis problems cannot be
discussed without the facilitator.
The executive secretary of the SADC Secretariat, Tomaz Salom‚o has already
said the Zimbabwe and Madagascan issues are not on the agenda.
This has left Robert Mugabe clutching at straws because he and his party
want the summit to deliberate on Zimbabwe more than the MDC formations.
Zimbabwe State insists that the summit is expected to get first hand
information on the situation in Zimbabwe following what it called "a
misrepresentation of facts by the MDC-T that there had been a silent coup by
the military in Zimbabwe and that there was a resurgence of violence."
Mugabe and Zanu PF insists that the summit is expected to examine the
progress that has been made by the political parties in the inclusive
government in implementing the GPA and the roadmap to the holding of
elections in the country.
Reports however say the GPA Facilitator, President Jacob Zuma of south
Africa is unable to attend the summit as he is committed to the current
local government elections in his country, casting doubt whether Zimbabwe
will be on the agenda.
The mandate and jurisdiction of the SADC Tribunal will also be discussed, in
view of some rulings that contradict some national laws, in some member
Mugabe is accompanied by his trusted sidekick Defence Minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa; Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development
Minister, Nicholas Goche.
Zanu PF National Chairman, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, the Permanent
Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, George
Charamba and several Zanu PF officials, are also part of the delegation to
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs
Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi travelled ahead of the summit and are
already in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.
During his departure, Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International
Airport by Vice President John Nkomo; Lands and Resettlement Minister,
Herbert Murerwa; State Security Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi; service chiefs
and senior government officials.
Meanwhile, John Nkomo has been left in charge as the Acting President.
Official sources said a special summit to discuss problems in Zimbabwe’s
power sharing government and the road to elections has been tentatively
scheduled for June 11 in South Africa - but might be held June 20
Ntungamili Nkomo & Sandra Nyaira | Washington† 18 May 2011
Zimbabwe has been removed from the agenda of the Southern African
Development Community summit opening on Friday in Namibia at the request of
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, SADC mediator in Harare, who excused
himself from the meeting.
Official sources said a special summit to discuss problems in Zimbabwe’s
power sharing government and the road map to elections has been tentatively
scheduled for June 11 in South Africa. But the sources added, it could
alternatively be held on June 20.
Sources said President Zuma informed the SADC secretariat this week that he
was preoccupied with the local government elections held on Wednesday in
South Africa so that he would not be able to brief heads of state at the
summit on Zimbabwe.
The summit was expected to examine a proposed road map to Zimbabwe's next
elections among other issues including the rise in political violence this
year, farm seizures and the unfulfilled provisions of the 2008 Global
Political Agreement for power sharing.
The SADC troika on politics, defense and security in April effectively
rebuked President Robert Mugabe, urging him to curtail political violence
and urgently institute democratic reforms called for under the GPA. The GPA
laid the foundation for the unity government involving his ZANU-PF and the
two Movement for Democratic Change formations.
SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo
that the complex of Zimbabwean political issues must await a SADC session
when Mr. Zuma can be present. "Despite the removal of Zimbabwe from the
agenda, the summit will still take place Friday and Mr. Mugabe has indicated
he will attend," Salomao said.
He added that focus will be on regional trade and the so-called SADC
Tribunal, which was harshly criticized by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party after
it ruled that farm seizures in Zimbabwe were illegal and discriminatory
against white farmers. SADC suspended the Namibian-based tribunal in late
2010 pending a review of its functions.
Commenting, Zimbabwe Liberators Platform founder and trustee Wilfred Mhanda
said that when SADC heads of state meet next month to discuss Zimbabwe, they
should increase pressure on President Mugabe to implement the GPA in full.
(AFP) – 11 hours ago
HARARE — President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe should have fresh elections
this year, once the country holds a referendum to adopt a new constitution,
a state daily reported Thursday.
"We should not delay the process any further than is necessary," The Herald
newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying in an interview.
"Once you have gone to the people and asked their views and if they support
that constitution why should we wait any further," he said. "Then we proceed
to hold elections because that is the mission of the global political
"We have now said to ourselves let's establish timelines... and see whether
the timelines required cannot all be fitted into 2011," he added.
Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing
government two years ago to avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict in
the aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off election.
As part of the pact the parties agreed to a raft of reforms including
amendments to the media and electoral laws and drafting a new constitution
before new elections.
But public consultations on a new constitution have been repeatedly
postponed after outbreaks of violence, mainly blamed on the supporters of
Since its formation, the unity government has been marred by disagreements
and boycotts, with Mugabe last year suggesting that elections be held to
dissolve the deal.
Tsvangirai has said that elections were not possible before reforms were in
Last month a senior member from Mugabe's party said the country could see
polls at least in 2013, but others in his party continue to insist on polls
later this year, in an unusually public show of dissent within the ranks.
Local business leaders and central bank chief Gideon Gono have voiced
concern saying the country is not ready for polls.
by James Mombe†††† Thursday 19 May 2011
JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe’s civil society groups have called for the
demilitarisation of the country’s electoral institutions and processes,
while also suggesting polls should be deferred until democratic reforms have
been implemented and taken root.
“We call for the demilitarisation of the political and electoral processes
before the holding of any elections. The security sector (military, police
and the state intelligence) must refrain from engaging and interfering with
the electoral processes,” the groups said, speaking ahead of a summit of
SADC leaders in Namibia tomorrow.
The SADC is a guarantor of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement known as the
global political agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the coalition government
of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Under the pact Zimbabwe must adopt a new constitution and implement
wide-ranging electoral reforms before holding new polls.
But the reforms are lagging behind amid incessant bickering between Mugabe’s
ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC, with each accusing the other of blocking
full implementation of the GPA.
The former foes have also differed over when elections should be held with
Mugabe, who at 87 plans to run for president one more time, insisting they
should be held this year once a new constitution is in place.
Tsvangirai – the favourite to win the next presidential vote but with no
guarantee Mugabe’s allies in the military will allow him to takeover power –
has said polls should not be held this year even after adoption of a new
The former opposition chief says a new constitution and several proposed
electoral reforms would need to be given time to take root to ensure any
future vote is free and fair – a position echoed by the non-government
organisations (NGOs) in their statement.
“Zimbabwe is a fragile state; serious consideration must be given to the
timing of the next elections,” the NGOs said. “As it is, the country’s
institutional and legal infrastructure as well as the psychology of the
people is not ready for what will certainly be a critical and hotly
The NGOs that include Zimbabwe’s biggest labour union, pro-democracy groups,
women’s rights groups and the student movement called on the SADC to appoint
a team to ensure and monitor implementation of the GPA and the democratic
reforms envisaged under the political pact.
The rights groups also called for an end to political violence resurgent in
many parts of Zimbabwe and said the Harare coalition must act to uphold
citizens’ basic rights and freedoms including the freedom of the press.
But tomorrow's summit of SADC leaders is not going to discuss Zimbabwe
because South African President Jacob Zuma is not going to attend the
conference because of other pressing commitments.
Zuma is the SADC’s chief mediator in Zimbabwe and was due to present a
report to regional leaders about the political and security situation in
Zuma, who replaced former South African President Thabo Mbeki as SADC’s
Zimbabwe mediator, appeared to take a tougher approach towards Mugabe when
he mobilised the regional bloc’s special organ on politics and security to
issue a statement that strongly criticised political violence in Zimbabwe.
While the organ that met in Zambia earlier this month did not directly
criticise Mugabe it raised most of the concerns voiced by Tsvangirai, who
says veteran President’s allies in the security forces have intensified a
crackdown on his MDC party in recent months.
Zimbabwe’s elections have been characterised by political violence and gross
human rights abuses with the last vote in June 2008 ending inconclusively
after the military-led a campaign of violence and murder that forced
Tsvangirai to withdraw from a second round presidential ballot
Tsvangirai had been tipped to win the second round election after beating
Mugabe in the first round ballot but without the percentage of votes
required to avoid the run-off poll. The former foes eventually bowed to
pressure from southern African leaders to agree to form a government of
national unity. -- ZimOnline
Harare, May 19, 2011 - President Robert Mugabe is insisting on elections
this year despite resistance from the Zimbabwe civic society organisations
and the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change
A group of nongovernmental organisations agreed on a position paper that
said the Southern Africa Development Community must allow a permanent
powerful implementing authority to be stationed in the country so that all
agreed Global Political Agreement issues are implemented without fail. They
said the security sector must be reformed without failure.
The position was adopted by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, National
Association of non-Governmental Organisations, National Constitutional
Assembly, Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade unions,
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the
Zimbabwe National Students Union. The civic organisations discussed their
position on Tuesday.
"We call for the establishment of a SADC monitoring team in Zimbabwe with
full investigative powers...and ensure full implementation of the provisions
of the GPA. We demand an end to all forms of violence, intimidation and hate
speech by all parties in Zimbabwe. Parties must publicly commit themselves
to non-violent methods. All structures of violence must be dismantled with
immediate effect and all perpetrators of violence must be made to account,"
the civic organisations said.
"We call on the demilitarisation of the political and electoral processes
before the holding of any election elections. The security sector (military,
police, and state intelligence) must refrain from engaging and interfering
with the electoral processes."
The civic groups said elections must not be held for the sake of holding
them. They said an unfair election will be disputed like the 2008 elections
which later formed the coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that has been failing to resolve sticking
"Zimbabwe is a fragile state; serious consideration must be given to the
timing of the next elections. Elections must not be held for their own sake,
but must be meaningful, where each vote counts and given voluntarily. As it
is, the country's institutional and legal infrastructure as well as the
psychology of the people is not ready for what will certainly be a critical
and hotly contested election. Elections in the absence of the above
mentioned conditions will not yield the desired result, rather it will lead
to another inconclusive and disputed election," the organisations said.
Mugabe in an interview with a newspaper owned by the Namibian and Zimbabwe
government said elections are going ahead this year. He said; "We should not
delay the process any further than necessary. We have now said to ourselves
let's establish timelines...and we see whether the timelines required cannot
be fitted into 2011. If they can be fitted in 2011 then we go ahead."
Zimbabwe was pushed off the agenda of the regional SADC summit set for
tomorrow in Windhoek, Namibia as facilitator of the country's talks; South
African President Jacob Zuma will not be attending the meeting. Zuma was to
present a report on the status of the talks.
RW JOHNSON: Zimbabwe
Published: 2011/05/19 07:03:52 AM
DESPITE clear and binding international agreements to the contrary, evidence
now available shows that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) is again
planning to steal the next elections in Zimbabwe with the help of a grossly
rigged electoral register.
After the 2008 elections, in which the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) won a parliamentary majority but in which the MDC leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, was forced to withdraw from the ensuing presidential
election due to the overwhelming level of government-orchestrated violence,
Zimbabwe’s neighbours in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
stitched together a deal, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which saw
Mugabe remain as president with Tsvangirai as prime minister and a
commitment to a new constitution with free and fair elections.
In terms of the GPA, the constitution has to be passed by a popular
referendum before elections can take place, probably around June next year.
But, of course, the new register is thus fundamental to both the referendum
and the elections — for parliament and president.
In all previous elections, the electoral register has been a major source of
controversy. Drawn up by Tobaiwa Mudede, an outspoken Zanu (PF) supporter,
it was notoriously full of dead and fictional voters — who always voted Zanu
(PF). Mudede regarded the register as a state secret and defied all court
orders to make it available to the press or opposition parties. When a
nongovernmental organisation did finally procure a copy in 2002, it was
found to contain at least twice as many voters as was plausible. Despite
that, the supposedly independent Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) — in
fact stuffed with government supporters — never upheld any complaints about
With this unhappy history in mind, the Sadc insisted that a wholly new
voters’ roll be drawn up and that all the personnel of the ZEC be changed to
allow a properly independent commission to be constituted. These changes
were then confirmed by the Zimbabwean parliament. In fact, all this has been
illegally set aside by the ZEC. Mudede, though 70 and way past retirement
age, has been retained as registrar-general — clearly for political reasons.
Similarly, several of the old ZEC members have, despite the stipulations of
the GPA, been re-appointed to the new ZEC. Under their guidance, the ZEC has
agreed not to do as the Sadc and parliament determined but simply to keep
the old, discredited register and add new names to it.
The results are grotesque. Although the new roll is a closely guarded secret
I have managed to gain sight of a copy.
The first notable fact is that an impossible 5727902 voters were registered
on the 2008 register. Given that more than 4- million Zimbabweans have fled
Mugabe’s rule, most analysts now believe Zimbabwe’s population is between
8-million and 10-million. Even if the 10-million figure is preferred, 60% of
the population is aged under 18 and all previous surveys show a maximum 80%
voter registration rate. So the maximum possible number on the voters’ roll
should be 3,2-million. So the 2008 register had at least 2,5-million too
many voters on it — more than enough to settle any election. Thus the
(illegal) decision to retain the old 2008 register as a baseline has fatal
consequences. However, Mudede has now added 366550 new voters — a remarkable
figure given that Zimbabwe’s population is shrinking. Moreover, these are
not all young voters coming of age. Although Zimbabwe’s average life
expectancy is now down to 44,8 years, an astonishing 33206 of these new
voters are aged 50-70, and another 16649 are older than 70. Even more
remarkable, 1418 are older than 100, although everyone knows that the
famines and hardships of recent years have carried off most of the old.
Oddly, although it is legally required for all voters to give a valid
address, quite a few names on the roll lack one. There are also hundreds of
underage people registered, some of them as young as two or three years old.
It is also striking that these anomalies are by no means evenly distributed
across all constituencies. Instead, they are concentrated in seats where
Zanu (PF) feels under threat. Thus, in Mount Darwin East, one finds 118
voters older than 100, the majority of them all born on the same day,
January 1 1901. Another nine 96-year-olds are all born on January 1 1905 and
a further 25 91-year-olds are all born on January 1 1910.
Once one looks at the new register as a whole, one finds there are no fewer
than 16828 voters all born on the same day, January 1 1901. Such a
concentration of 110-year- olds with identical birthdays is no doubt a
Even more remarkable, though, 1101 of these are concentrated in Mugabe’s
birthplace, Zvimba, which, no doubt, will help to guarantee a pleasing
election result there.
All told, the register includes 41119 voters older than 100. Yet in Britain,
with a population more than five times the size of Zimbabwe and with an
enormously higher life expectancy, there are only 10000 people older than
It seems clear that Mudede has arrived at such absurd figures only by
systematically failing to remove dead voters from the roll. What is clear
enough of Zimbabwe’s 41119 centenarians is that if they ever really existed,
they doubtless died long ago.
It is also interesting to note that 18525 voters are listed merely as being
attached to "housing co-operative" associations without any proper address.
Such phantom voters vote early and often in Zimbabwe. There is a notable
concentration of such address-less voters in Harare North, which helped Zanu
(PF) evict MDC MP Trudy Stevenson from the seat in 2008.
I will publish a full report on the voters’ roll under the auspices of the
South African Institute of Race Relations, together with supporting
President Jacob Zuma has acted well on this matter so far, insisting that
Mugabe be held to the terms of the GPA , to Mugabe’s vocal irritation.
However, these new data on the voters’ roll make it crystal clear that
Mugabe intends to subvert the GPA and cheat his way back to power again.
If Zuma and his Sadc colleagues are serious, they can prevent this. The
agreement to free and fair elections with a new voters’ roll was part of the
GPA, which Mugabe personally signed.
The Sadc is due to meet to consider the situation tomorrow in Windhoek,
• Johnson is a writer, journalist and academic.
May 19, 2011 2:46 PM | By Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe's 87-year-old president scoffed at speculation over his health as
"misplaced" and said Thursday he and his wife are fitness enthusiasts.
President Robert Mugabe also dismissed recent reports that his wife Grace,
his former secretary who is half his age, was also ill. He told state media
they were both in "sound health."
In excerpts of an interview published Thursday by the state Herald
newspaper, he said he exercised regularly and recently only had an eye
cataract operation in Singapore. His wife was undergoing physiotherapy in
China for a dislocated hip which may have been made worse by exercise, he
South Africa's ruling party reported Tuesday that health problems facing
Mugabe could jeopardize efforts to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe is seen to be increasingly frail and at a recent regional summit he
was transported around the convention centre in an electric golf cart.
Visitors to his offices have also reported him suffering from fatigue.
Interviewed also by Southern Times, a regional weekly that is under the
Herald stable and distributed by loyalists, Mugabe said his wife was in
China studying for a degree in language and cultural studies. He said
doctors there told her to stop fitness exercises.
"It is not an ailment. It is a physical dislocation," he said in excerpts of
the interview Thursday. The full version is expected to be published Friday.
He told the newspaper he did not use gym equipment but used common exercises
he began in a colonial-era jail cell.
"I fall sick if I don't exercise. For now I am as good as my age says I must
be," he said, adding that he also takes a calcium supplement to help
strengthen his bones.
"I am not old. I am 87 but my body says the counting doesn't end at 87, at
least you must get to 100," he told the newspaper.
Mugabe's office has denied he is suffering from prostate cancer treated in
Singapore and suggested his five trips there since December were to meet
with his wife and daughter Bona, 21, who is studying in Hong Kong.
Mugabe is scheduled to attend a regional summit Friday in the Namibian
capital of Windhoek but discussions on Zimbabwe have been postponed,
possibly to June 11 and 12 on the sidelines of an African economic summit in
South African President Jacob Zuma, the region's chief mediator on Zimbabwe,
is not expected in Windhoek. At the last regional summit in Zambia in March,
Mugabe and his party received a stern rebuke over the slow pace of reforms
in Zimbabwe and continuing political violence.
Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has
repeatedly said despite his age, he is fit to govern. He has called for
elections this year, but regional mediators say that would be too early for
free and fair polling.
Presidency and Mail & Guardian back in court over whether government should
release report on the Zimbabwean elections in 2002
Published: 2011/05/19 06:50:01 AM
THE Presidency and the Mail & Guardian newspaper were at the Constitutional
Court on Tuesday over whether President Jacob Zuma should release a report
compiled by justices Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe for former president
Thabo Mbeki in the run-up to the hotly disputed Zimbabwean election in 2002.
The report has been kept under wraps for nine years, despite the Mail &
Guardian’s attempts, since 2008, to gain access to it using the Promotion of
Access to Information Act. The Constitutional Court is the last stop for the
Presidency in its bid to keep the report secret. It failed in the North
Gauteng High Court and in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The Mail & Guardian says the report about legal and constitutional issues in
the run-up to the disputed election, "remains a matter of great public
In its court papers, the newspaper said new elections were expected in
Zimbabwe this year. "Whether the incumbent president continues to hold
office by virtue of illegalities and irregularities stretching back at least
to 2002 is clearly a matter of public interest," said Jeremy Gauntlett SC
for the Mail & Guardian .
On Tuesday counsel for the Presidency, Marumo Moerane SC, agreed that it was
up to the Presidency to justify its refusal to hand over the report.
The Presidency had said the report contained confidential information from
Zimbabwean government officials. The report was also compiled for the
purpose of formulating policy. Both of these are bases upon which the state
can validly refuse to give access to information .
The Supreme Court of Appeal found that there was simply not enough evidence,
from the Presidency’s side, to show that the report did contain confidential
information and that its purpose was to allow Mr Mbeki to make policy.
Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo said the question the court needed to decide
was what the "standard" was to determine whether the Presidency had
discharged the burden to justify its refusal.
Mr Gauntlett said that, under a constitutional dispensation, with a "culture
of justification" it was not enough for the "refuser" to merely repeat what
the act says, with nothing further.
He reminded the court there had been no affidavit from Mr Mbeki or the
justices. The only affidavit was from the Reverend Frank Chikane, then
director-general in the Presidency. But he gave no proof — such as evidence
of meetings, e-mails or correspondence — to show that the reasons for
refusal were indeed true.
Justice Ngcobo said he would be "troubled" by the argument that access to
information could be refused on the "ipse dixit", or mere say so, of the
But Mr Moerane said there was more that a mere ipse dixit before the court ,
and the evidence, especially that of Mr Chikane, was enough to justify
refusal. Responding to a question from Justice Zak Yacoob, he said there was
no reason "at all" to doubt Mr Chikane’s word.
Justice Yacoob suggested it could be presumed that Mr Mbeki was not sending
the judges "on a frolic of his own". Justice Ngcobo added there must have
been a reason and what other reason could there be than to formulate policy?
But why was it left to the court to "join the dots?" the chief justice
Judgment was reserved.
May 19th, 2011
On the eve of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State in Namibia (20/21 May), a dispossessed black commercial farmer from Zimbabwe who ran a successful agricultural enterprise is selling packets of sugar to feed his family.
Luke Tembani (74), one of the first black commercial farmers after Zimbabwean independence in 1980, lost title to his farm in November 2000 when it was unilaterally auctioned by the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (ABZ), to cover a loan.
Despite Tembani’s proposal to sell off a viable section of the farm to cover the debt, his entire property was sold to a third party at a fraction of the value estimated by an independent valuator.
Tembani took his case to the High Court of Zimbabwe, which eventually ruled in his favour, but the ABZ appealed to the Supreme Court whose members – apart from one judge – were recipients of “redistributed” farms, and in November 2007 the execution of the sale was upheld.
With no recourse to justice in Zimbabwe, Tembani took his case to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia, where it was heard on 5 June 2009. He won the case and the Zimbabwe government was told to take all the necessary measures not to evict him from the property and to stop interfering with his use and occupation of the farm.
Despite the protection of the SADC Tribunal, in October 2009 Tembani and his family were evicted from the farmhouse where they’d been living and struggling to survive. They were not allowed to remove any of their farm equipment, are now virtually destitute and want justice.
Tembani’s first job in 1954 was working in the garden of a private home. Subsequently he took up an apprenticeship, but his objective was to become a commercial farmer. Three years later, he enrolled at Chibero Agricultural College in Norton. On completion of the course, he became a farm manager on a dairy farm in the Nyazura district, where he worked for 18 years.
Three years after independence, Tembani was ready to farm for himself and acquired a five-year lease of a farm called Minverwag, a 1,265ha property in Nyazura, with an option to buy. The farmer, Helgard Muller, gave him a free lease to help him get established.
The Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), subsequently renamed the Agriculture Bank of Zimbabwe (ABF), provided a loan and in 1985 Tembani became the registered owner.
He was appointed onto the Rural District Council and served as Provincial Chairman for the Indigenous Commercial Farmers’ Union.
Tembani built up Minverwag into a highly profitable enterprise comprising up to 100 hectares of tobacco, 80ha of maize, 5ha of marigolds, 10ha of paprika and 40ha of wheat/soya rotation. He also invested time and resources to improve the farm’s irrigation system.
Over the years his beef herd was increased to 600 animals and he also developed a pig unit with 16 sows and an ostrich project with up to 89 breeding birds.
In 1986 Tembani decided to build a school and provide education for the children of farm workers from the area, but neither the Ministry of Education nor the Rural Council were able to assist.
He went ahead, using his own money generated from the farm, and the following year opened Chimwanda Primary School with four classrooms and free schooling for 321 pupils between grades 1 and 7, an office and accommodation for eight teachers.
He also sunk a borehole, improved his employees’ housing and built a church hall.
During the 1990s, when interest rates escalated sharply and there two were serious national droughts (1992 and 1994), many commercial farmers ran into financial difficulties.
Tembani, who had invested substantially in his school, was among them, so he met with the planning department of the AFC and arranged to sell off a viable 418 hectare section of the farm as a subdivision in 1996.
The AFC agreed that this would cover his debt and buyers were found while they waited for the title deeds to be issued.
Subsequently the renamed ABZ failed to verify the exact value of Tembani’s debt and reneged on the arrangement, auctioning the entire, undivided property in November 2000 for a mere Z$6 million although an independent valuator valued the property at Z$15 million.
“Only two buyers were present and the farm was sold to Takawira Zembe, a businessman who only paid 10 percent at the auction and who is believed to have as many as 18 farming enterprises in the country gained in this way,” said Tembani.
When Zembe took over Minverwag, he petitioned the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe to undertake the running of the school.
After Tembani’s eviction in 2009, Zembe refused to let his twins attend the school their father built, unless Tembani ceded total ownership of the farm to Zembe and withdrew his appeal against the eviction.
“Zembe is not operating Minverwag as a commercial farming enterprise but has cut it into plots for peasant farmers who are paying him for the use of the land,” Tembani said.
At the beginning of April 2011, Tembani joined commercial farmer Mike Campbell in signing papers to take the SADC Heads of State to the Tribunal for initiating its suspension.
In calling for the review, the SADC Heads of State denied Tembani access to the Tribunal to claim damages against the Zimbabwe government for refusing to comply with his SADC judgment.
Campbell died a few days after signing from injuries sustained during his abduction and brutal beating after the contentious Presidential run-off election in June 2008, but Tembani remains resolute. “The Tribunal must continue to function in all respects as established by the SADC Treaty,” he said.
Tembani, his wife and their two children now live in basic rented accommodation and are without an income. They cannot afford the school fees of US$300 per term for their daughter, Mildred (15), or for their son, Luke (10) who requires US$70 per term.
Their other daughter, Terrylee, who was Luke’s twin sister, was killed tragically in March this year when she was electrocuted due to poor wiring in their rented accommodation.
“As I speak to you, at the age of 74, I’m sitting on an old stool with nothing, despite all the years of hard work,” said Tembani. “We live hand-to-mouth selling little bags of sugar and other basics in a difficult and competitive environment, instead of contributing to food security.”
“When the hungry season comes, the food situation is going to be serious in Zimbabwe,” Tembani warned. “There has been a major drought and between 75 and 80 percent of the people have been affected. The irrigation systems are not functioning and the land is lying idle.”
“My wife and I want our farm back but right now it’s too political,” Thembani said regretfully. “If we had the money to open a small shop and stock it with tools, hardware and other more profitable goods it would be easier to survive. We had a lot of money in the bank before the Zimbabwe dollar crashed. But when it collapsed and was replaced by the US dollar, we were left with nothing.”
See the previous blogs about Luke Tembani and his family:
Luke Tembani’s children
forced out of the school their father built – 27th October
Luke Tembani’s property sold – 4 November 2009
Written by MISA-Zimbabwe
Thursday, 19 May 2011 09:07
CNN journalist Robyn Curnow and her cameraperson Shevan Rayson were detained
in Harare on 18 May 2011 after police stopped them from filming in the
The CNN crew had all the relevant accreditation documents issued by the
statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission in terms of the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The news team was, however,† later
Written by VMCZ
Thursday, 19 May 2011 13:15
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) condemns in the strongest
terms the arrest and detention of CNN journalist, Robyn Currow and her
cameraperson, Shevan Rayson by the police. Currow and Rayson were detained
by police in Harare on 18 May 2011 after police stopped them from filming in
the capital city. Regardless of the fact that the two were later released,
it is an issue of serious concern that the police would interfere with
journalists who are only undertaking their professional duties be they from
international or local media houses.
The ZRP† unfortunately has a† history of threatening and arresting (local
and foreign) journalists doing their work and VMCZ urges the police to
desist from harassing the media.† Instead, the ZRP must serve to† protect
all journalists and media practitioners from any harm while they are
executing their duties.
The VMCZ is also of the strong view that the ZRP needs to revisit its
understanding of Section 20 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution, which guarantees
freedom of expression and access to information. It is this section that
makes the right of the Zimbabwean public and all media professionals to
receive and impart information a fundamental human right and not a
Where the ZRP has a problem with a media story as is published by media
practitioners and received by members of the public, the VMCZ has a Media
Complaints Commitee and a Media Code of Conduct that all police officers can
access and utilise for amicable resolution of complaints about media
19 May 2011
A key opponent of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe has been forced to flee to
London after he received death threats, the Standard can reveal.
Roy Bennett, 54, moved his family to central London after they were targeted
by thugs thought to have been employed by the dictator.
The white former coffee farmer is popular with black Zimbabweans and is seen
by some as capable of healing the country's racial divides.
Mr Bennett, who is a leading member of the opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change, was acquitted last year of plotting to overthrow
The case against Mr Bennett hinged on the evidence of Peter Hitschmann, a
former policeman and arms dealer. Prosecutors produced emails which they
said proved the former farmer had conspired to buy weapons.
But during the trial Mr Hitschmann disowned the emails and said he had been
Despite clearing his name, Mr Bennett was forced to flee Zimbabwe after his
family received "constant" death threats.
A spokesman told the Standard: "Roy is in London to help finish the job
Zimbabwe's people started in the last democratic election - won by the MDC
and stolen by Mugabe.
"With its historic links, Britain and indeed London, is the best place for
Roy to do this as he can no longer live in his beloved Zimbabwe."
Mr Bennett has been a persistent irritant for Mugabe since his farm was
seized by government-backed militias in 2000. He claims that many of his
employees were killed and the stress of the attack caused his wife to
Mr Bennett is perhaps best known for losing his temper with Justice Minister
and Mugabe ally Patrick Chinamasa in 2004 in a row over the land
redistribution programme, which saw most of the country's 4,000 white
farmers lose their land.
Mr Chinamasa called Mr Bennett's forefathers "thieves and murderers" and
claimed that he deserved to lose his farm after benefiting from a British
colonial system that robbed black Zimbabweans of their land.
In the heat of the argument, Mr Bennett pushed the minister to the ground
and was sentenced to 15 months in prison - an experience he described as a
Shortly after he returned from two years' exile in South Africa, he was
arrested again on suspicion of treason in February 2009 - just as he was
about to become a minister in the fragile coalition government between the
MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
Gwanda, May 19 2011 - Zimbabwe Intelligence Corps alongside the military
police are involved in a massive track down operation targeting hundreds of
men and women who deserted the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) at the height of
political and economical turmoil a decade ago.
Reliable sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said captured soldiers
were being subjected to torture which at times leads to death.
The operation reportedly comes amid fears that deserters could be working
with some political parties to topple Robert Mugabe.
“There are fears that they may use their experience in the army to the
advantage of the MDC hence an operation to recapture these soldiers, those
caught are being subjected to severe interrogation and torture which at
times leads to death”, said a soldier at Mbalabala Army Barracks who
requested not to be named.
In December last year Christmas shoppers in Gwanda had to scurry for cover
after a member of the Intelligence Corps pulled out a gun while pursuing
Butholezwe Khumalo who had left the army without procedure.
Khumalo was a week later shot down in a suspicious armed robbery at a night
club after he had escaped from torture.
Witnesses concurred the shot had been fired by an expert someone who had
probably undergone military training.
The formation of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front which has threatened a
violent takeover of power has also sent panic among security chiefs who fear
deserters are involved in the country’s politics.
MDC T youths have also threatened to fight back should ZANU PF make a repeat
of the bloody June 2008 elections.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 May, 2011
The testimony of a former intelligence agent from Zimbabwe, who has been
granted protection in the UK, has exposed ruthless acts of torture, rape and
murder committed against MDC supporters in Zimbabwe. Last week the ex-CIO
agent told the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in Wales how he victimized
MDC supporters from 1999 to 2000, confessing to brutal acts with details
“too gruesome” to reveal in court.
The court protected his identity but numerous media reports on Thursday
named the agent as Phillip Machemedze and despite his shocking confessions
he was granted protection under the European Human Rights Convention.
Justice David Archer said his life would be in danger if sent back to
Machemedze’s wife, who claimed to be an active member of the MDC and the
rights group ROHR, was granted asylum as a refugee. Both were originally
denied asylum by the Home Office and had appealed. Surprisingly the Home
Office is not challenging the decision to protect the admitted murderer.
Rights activists have expressed deep concern that the former ZANU PF agent
may never be made to account for the vicious crimes he committed against
innocent civilians. It is feared that this lack of accountability will
deprive his victims of any sense of justice and help bring closure to their
Machemedze told the court he had joined the CIO in 1996. He admitted that he
once smashed the jaw of an MDC supporter and pulled out his teeth using
pliers. He also said that in 2000 he tortured a white farmer named Thornhill
by electrocuting and beating him until he was unconscious. The farmer had
been “rumored” to be financially supporting the MDC. He also admitted to the
kidnapping and torture of dozens of MDC supporters. "Some were killed slowly
and their bodies disposed of.”
According to the Daily News newspaper; “Machemedze worked as a bodyguard to
Enos Chikowore, after completing his training by the Chinese and war
veterans in 1996.”
Sanderson Makombe, who was himself assaulted by ZANU PF thugs in Zimbabwe,
said he was saddened by the fact that nothing is being done to prosecute the
former operative. He said; “If there is to be justice, people have to take
responsibility for what they did. Accountability is the cornerstone of
Makombe added that he sees a contradiction between a country’s duty to
protect victims under the Human Rights Charter and the responsibility to
prosecute criminals under the U.N. Convention against Torture. “The UK is
signatory to the Convention against Torture and it would not be difficult to
bring criminal charges against this guy,” Makombe said.
Machemedze’s confessions confirm that that the security sector in Zimbabwe
is deeply engaged in political activity and has been involved in assaults
against opposition party officials and members. ZANU PF has always denied
Reform of the security sector is one of the key issues being called for by
the MDC-T and civic groups ahead of any elections in the country.
Press statement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Six WOZA women arrested for wanting power for the poor
SIX members, all women, were arrested along Khami Road in Bulawayo and
detained at Western Commonage police station between 8 and 9pm Wednesday.
The women are from Iminyela and Pelandaba suburbs. The members were arrested
by police officers who accused them of painting messages on the road. The
messages read- 'power to poor people' ; 'no lengthy load shedding' ;
'prepaid meters now!'; focus on the electricity crisis in Zimbabwe.
WOZA fear torture of members, 14 members were tortured while in custody in
March 2011. This morning, food brought by relatives and lawyers access was
denied by Assistant Inspector Purazeni, the officer-in-charge at Western
Commonage police station whose officers arrested the six, he is said to have
indicated that the orders came from above.
WOZA, a women's movement identify electricity supply as directly targeting
the role of a woman in the home. As a result WOZA have lobbied the Zimbabwe
Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for close on 5
years to provide an affordable and regular service. A multi faceted protest
strategy is used peacefully targeting local and city based company
These arrests follow a 10th May protest to the Bulawayo electricity power
station to launched a 6 week 'Power to Poor People' Campaign to 'discipline'
the ZETDC for its daylight robbery to consumers. Members are also continuing
to engage suburban office of the power company with consumer deputations to
deliver 'yellow cards' with their demands. The campaign demands are:
1. Stop cheating fixed meter consumers, we demand prepaid meters.
2. Please provide cheaper firewood, candles and matches, we do not want to
destroy our environment by cutting down trees.
3. We are tired of 18 hour power cuts -provide proper timetables of load
4. Urgently put in place a proper and transparent billing system. Stop
sending metered consumer's estimates, send ACTUAL bills.
5. Create a smoother process of customer's claims for compensation.
6. Review recruitment policy and bring salaries to decent levels with our
current economic record. Professionalise staff performance and honesty. No
more luxury cars we need transformers.
7. We will record the exact hours we receive electricity for the last 2
weeks of May while we get petition signatures which we will take to
Parliament and demand they review your monopoly and poor service. You have
cheated us for long enough, after we submit our demand to parliament we will
organise a RED card Campaign. Be warned POWER TO THE POOR - ZERO service
ZERO bill. HOKOYO!!
The campaign includes obtaining signatures to a petition dubbed the 'Anti
Abuse of Power' Petition; completing of a time sheet of power cuts and the
delivering of a 'yellow card' to the company. WOZA has campaigned for
affordable and available electricity since 2006 with its 'power to the
people' campaigns. In response to a campaign demand the company have just
advertise power cut schedules but have indicated that there will be longer
cuts as this is winter in Zimbabwe.
Please help save our activists from torture by calling +263 9 403996 up to 8
speak to Assistant Inspector Purazeni, the officer-in-charge at Western
Commonage police station or call the Law and Order Dept on +263 9 72515.
Please remind them to conform to international standards of detention and
ask them to allow WOZA members to lobby for and power for all to enjoy.
Sources said the aviation authority declared the three planes a public
danger having reached the limit of 34,000 cycles or trips - a claim that was
said to have infuriated the manufacturer which demanded an explanation
Gibbs Dube | Washington† 18 May 2011
Air Zimbabwe on Wednesday canceled all domestic and regional flights after
the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe declared the national carrier's
three Boeing 737 aircraft too old to continue in service, leaving hundreds
of travelers stranded.
Sources said the aviation authority declared the three planes a public
danger having reached the limit of 34,000 cycles or trips - a claim that was
said to have infuriated the manufacturer which was demanding an explanation
from the aviation authority.
Air Zimbabwe’s sole functional Chinese-made MA60 also failed to take off
Wednesday to service the Harare-Victoria Falls route, sources said. Two
other MA60 planes have been grounded for more than a year - one was badly
damaged when it struck warthogs on the Harare runway and has been stripped
for parts, the other was declared unusable.
Elsewhere, the International Air Transport Association was demanding a
surety bond of US$1.7 million from Air Zimbabwe to allow it to resume air
ticket booking operations. Air Zimbabwe owes the association US$280,000 said
to have been run up during an April strike by pilots and air crew which
obliged extensive re-ticketing.
Air Zimbabwe has also lost the Boeing 737-500 it leased from Air Zambezi
after failing to pay monthly installments on the lease.
The carrier's two Boeing 767s servicing its Harare-China and Harare-London
routes are also grounded because Air Zimbabwe has been unable to meet the
cost of fuel.
Commercial aviation expert Guy Leitch of South Africa’s Fly Magazine said
the grounding of the three Boeing 737-200 planes sounded questionable,
stating that "there are many Boeing 737s with a lot more than 34 000 cycles"
Economic commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said it is time Harare privatized Air
Zimbabwe. “This is the only way of saving Air Zimbabwe from total collapse,”
German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze said the parliamentary
delegation in meetings with officials and activists stressed that Harare
must closely follow the road map to elections now being drawn up
Studio 7 Reporters | Washington/Harare† 18 May 2011
German parliamentarians visiting Zimbabwe said Wednesday that the Southern
African Development Community must maintain pressure on President Robert
Mugabe until the Global Political Agreement for power sharing has been fully
Concluding a two-day visit to Zimbabwe, Stefan Liebich, head of the
delegation of the Southern African-German Friendship Group said South
African President and regional mediator President Jacob Zuma must keep
pressure on Mr. Mugabe to implement the GPA as a subset of regional leaders
did at a mini-summit in Zambia in April.
Liebich said it was clear from meetings his group held with the co-governing
Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and human rights activists that Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party is the primary
source of political violence.
He said his group disagrees with the ZANU-PF proposal to hold elections this
Liebich’s delegation also held a meeting with ZANU-PF Chairman Simon Khaya
Moyo and told reporters that the party chief complained about Western
sanctions and so-called pirate radio stations such as VOA's Studio 7
broadcasting to Zimbabwe from abroad.
Liebich said his group told Moyo that sanctions do not target ordinary
Zimbabweans but only those considered to be derailing the democratic process
in the country.
German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Albrecht Conze added that the delegation
returned to Zimbabwe with renewed interest in the country’s political and
Conze said that the delegation in meetings with officials and civic
activists stressed that Harare must closely follow the road map to elections
now being drawn up.
The ambassador told reporter Tatenda Gumbo that issues having to do with the
removal of European sanction will not addressed until reforms are fully
Meanwhile, following the conclusion of ZANU-PF's anti-sanctions petition
drive, which organizers say collected more than 2.5 million signatures, the
party says it is launching a massive lobbying campaign against the
restrictions imposed on President Mugabe and some 200 other senior officials
of the former ruling party by Western nations.
Organizers said they will take the anti-sanctions petition to the Southern
African Development Community, the African Union, the International Monetary
Fund, the World Bank and the International Court of Justice, among other
ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the aim is to lobby such organizations
to issue resolutions against the sanctions, which the party says hurts all
Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, head of the smaller MDC formation in
government, told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that although sanctions have
a negative impact on the Zimbabwean economy, ZANU-PF may not succeed in its
mission because it is not working with the other co-governing political
parties on the issue as agreed.
Elsewhere, a high court judge today said state prosecutors in the corruption
case against Energy Minister Elton Mangoma could again question their key
witness on points that arose during his cross-examination by Mangoma’s
Mangoma is accused of improperly awarding a US$5 million fuel contract to a
company in South Africa. The MDC says the charges against him are
Thu May 19, 2011 1:43pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation was at 2.7 percent
year-on-year in April, unchanged from March, the Zimbabwe National
Statistical Agency said on Thursday.
On a month-on-month basis, inflation stood at 0.1 percent from 0.8 percent
in March, Zimstats said.
Written by Student Solidarity Trust
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 07:47
A cocktail of court cases and disciplinary hearings have ensured that
students are always on the back foot as college authorities try to flush out
those they deem undesirable, writes the STUDENT SOLIDARITY TRUST.
HARARE - Upon Zimbabwe’s attainment of independence in 1980, infrastructure
and facilities for students were limited. The nation rapidly increased the
number of schools, universities and vocational training institutions. This
was remarkable and commendable for a government whose primary aim was
education for all.
As student populations grew and more Zimbabweans got educated, the country
was looking to a bright and prosperous future. However, the story of
Zimbabwe’s students took a mind-boggling turn with the appointment of poor
custodians of our colleges and universities. This has been atrocious and has
sold students short. Those given the responsibility have long relinquished
it, opting to be Zanu (PF) functionaries and favouring that party’s
On July 9 2007, the vice chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, Professor
Levi Nyagura ordered the closure of halls of residence in 30 minutes -
rendering the estimated 4500 student population homeless. This was two weeks
before crucial end of year examinations and during a pretty cold winter
The official reason was that there had been demonstrations. But instead of
looking for and punishing the culprits, unsuspecting residents suffered
collateral damage as the professor sort to exorcise the University of any
Living Soul. Four years down the line, the halls of residents are still
closed amid all sorts of excuses – ranging from the unavailability of water
In a politically polarized country such a Zimbabwe, a concentration of
students at the oldest university is the last thing authorities would want
to deal with. In Nyagura, a willing servant has been found to ensure that
students continue to suffer, living in squalid conditions and dropping out
of college due to lack of accommodation. This has seen unscrupulous
landlords mushrooming and charging exorbitant tariffs for substandard
accommodation. Infrastructure is seriously run down and some of the
facilities, such the students union building, are no longer functional.
Wanton persecution of students continues - with arrests, suspensions and
expulsions being part of the administrators’ toolkit to frustrate student
activism and stifle dissent. A cocktail of court cases and disciplinary
hearings have ensured that students are always on the back foot as college
authorities try to flush out those they deem undesirable.
Students continue to long for the day when professionalism returns to
colleges. Indeed, the current crop of college administrators continue to do
Zanu (PF)’s bidding at the expense of students nationwide. They are
condemning the country to a future where all educated minds will have to be
imported. The culture of getting instructions from a political office must
cease in order to enable full recovery of the education system.
By Tichaona Sibanda
19 May 2011
Elias Mudzuri, the former MDC-T national organising secretary, has bounced
back into the party national executive and is likely to be appointed the new
secretary for elections.
A long-standing member of the MDC-T, Mudzuri lost his position as organizing
secretary to Nelson Chamisa, but has returned, thanks to heavy lobbying from
his supporters in the party.
Following a meeting of the national council in Harare on Thursday, the MDC-T
announced new members of the national executive, who include Jameson Timba
and Luta Shaba.
Timba, a political scientist graduate and Minister of State in the Prime
Minister’s office, is tipped to become the next secretary for International
Relations. Shaba is a lawyer, policy analyst and respected women’s rights
campaigner. It is believed she might be appointed secretary for women and
Also back in the limelight is Abednico Bhebhe, the newly elected
vice-Chairman of the Matebeleland North province. Bhebhe was expelled by the
MDC led by Welshman Ncube for backing Lovemore Moyo’s initial election as
Speaker of Parliament. He was the MP for Nkayi but when he was booted out
from the then MDC-M, he also lost his parliamentary seat.
Some of those brought back in to the new look national council lost
elections at the recently held congress in Bulawayo. The 39 member executive
now includes Lucia Matibenga, who lost her bid to unseat national party
chairman Lovemore Moyo and Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, who challenged
Secretary-General Tendai Biti and lost by a wide margin.
SW Radio Africa is reliably informed there was opposition from other senior
party members about some of these appointments. But party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai reportedly remained resolute that bringing some of the long
standing members back into the executive would keep the party united.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa that even though some
of the members lost elections at the Bulawayo congress, they were still
nominated by their respective provinces to sit in the national executive.
‘I will give you an example of Dr Henry Madzorera. He has been nominated by
his Midlands North province and since he’s the only medical practitioner in
the top bodies of the MDC-T, he will certainly be appointed the Secretary
National executive members are:
- Morgan Tsvangirai
- Thokozani Khupe
- Lovemore Moyo
- Morgen Komichi
- Tendai Biti
- Tapiwa Mashakada
- Nelson Chamisa
- Abednico Bhebhe
- Roy Bennett
- Elton Mangoma
- Douglas Mwonzora
- Theresa Makone
- Solomon Madzore
- Emma Muzondiwa
- Evelyn Masaiti
- Jessie Majome
- Editor Matamisa
- Agnes Mloyi
- Last Maengahama
- Sitembile Mlotshwa
- Settlement Chikwinya
- Seiso Moyo
- Giles Mutsekwa
- Jameson Timba
- Gubbuza Joel Gabuza
- Lucia Matibenga
- Thabita Khumalo
- Kerry Kay
- Paurina Mpariwa
- Concilia Chinanzvavana
- Luta Shaba
- Spiwe Ncube
- Henry Madzorera
- Eddie Cross
- Sesel Zvidzai
- Thamsanqa Mahlangu
- Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
- Elias Mudzuri
- Amos Chibaya
Written by Bradshaw Muzanenhamo
Thursday, 19 May 2011 06:26
...as Mnangagwa backs ZMC
HARARE- The battle for turf control between the government appointed
Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, over the
formation of† a media council to regulate the activities of journalists
intensified on Wednesday as alliance members boycotted the ZMC launch press
The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe is made of media organisations such as the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, MISA,† Zimbabwe National Editors Forum,
Zinef,† and the Federation of African Media† Women of Zimbabwe, FAMWZ who
say allowing the ZMC to constitute a Zimbabwe Media Council would perpetuate
media oppression. They are advocating for the continued existence of the
Voluntary Media Complaints of Zimbabwe, VMCZ which they set up in 2007.
The ZMC commissioners are nominees from the three political parties in the
Government of National Unity and are insisting that for now, a statutory
complaints council is the way forward while the alliance has said it will
boycott attempts to force a statutory council on media practitioners.
Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA,
stakeholder organisations are supposed to second officials to the statutory
council. Following the boycott by the stake holders, ZMC chairperson,
Godfrey Majonga told the press conference that they would engage stake
holder organisations to come up with nominees to the council. “If for any
reason, any association fails or refuses to submit nominations, the
commission is lining up a number of consultative meetings with the concerned
associations for the purpose of nominating representatives to the media
council. We hope to have concluded these meetings by mid June.”
Majonga told the press conference that they hoped stakeholders would embrace
the process so that “ ...we have, at the end of the day, a media council
reflective of the diverse representation of stakeholders as per the
objectives of the legislature, for the development of a free press.” Majonga
said it was possible to achieve press freedom under the existing draconian
“If we work together, we could make more progress in that regard, and in
bringing about legislative, structural and other desired reforms.” As the
press conference was being held, it emerged that Defence Minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa had lodged a formal complaint with the Zimbabwe Media Commission
over a story published in The Standard in which services chiefs were said to
have held a teleconference with President Robert Mugabe, urging him to find
a ‘sellable’ Zanu PF candidate ahead of the next elections.
Mnangagwa wants a ‘prompt and unconditional† apology and retraction as soon
as possible’. He said the retraction should be given similar prominence as
the original story,† failure of which he would use draconian defamation laws
against the publication.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
19 May, 2011
Ray Kaukonde, the ZANU PF chairman for Mashonaland East province, is
reported to have made comments that implicate him in the burning of a chief’s
home in 2008. The report quotes sources who said Kaukonde also threatened to
bring soldiers to Chikomba district to strengthen ZANU PF structures, with
the aim of replacing the local MDC-T council.
According to the NewsDay newspaper, Chief Mtekedzi got angry after Kaukonde
commented that “he would burn the home of the local MP for Chikomba East,
Edgar Mbwembwe”, in the same way the chief’s house was burnt in 2008. The
report alleged that Mbwembwe is a ZANU PF official suspected of sympathizing
with the MDC-T.
NewsDay said the incident took place last week at Sadza Growth Point in
Chikomba District, where Kaukonde was addressing ZANU PF supporters about
strengthening their party structures ahead of the next elections.
Kaukonde “allegedly accused the local district coordinating committee of
failing to take over the council from the MDC-T” and said if necessary he
would “invite soldiers” to set up ZANU PF structures in the area.
NewsDay said Kaukonde refused to comment and threatened to sue the paper if
the story was published. Chief Mtekedzi who, according to Newsday, “has been
accused of being an MDC-T activist”, also refused comment to the paper. His
homestead was burned down by suspected ZANU PF thugs during the 2008
Karoi, May 19, 2011 - Residents here have for the past five days snubbed a
Zanu (PF)'s audit and verification exercise that kicked off at the weekend.
Party insiders here said no-one had showed up at the venue.
"We are always told to postpone audit meetings here as no one seem to be
interested to attend. Even top army officers spearheading the exercise are
giving up," party insiders told Radio VOP.
Zanu (PF) provincial political commissar Phillip Muguti confirmed that the
party is still yet to audit three districts namely Kubatana, Chitepo and
Tongogara in town due to failure by supporters to attend audit meetings.
''Very few people came in Karoi urban but will wind up as we revisit other
rural outskirts, maybe its due to poor communication," said Muguti.
However some residents interviewed by a Radio VOP reporter said they had no
reason to attend the meetings. "Most people have never been party members
but had their names forcibly slotted in the Zanu (PF) structures. I do not
have time to attend the audit" said a woman who preferred to be called Mai
Theresa for fear of victimisation.
Confusion has gripped the party that is insisting that elections be held
In Tengwe, local Zanu (PF) MP Sarah Mahoka is accused of defying the audit
team that saw them coming back empty handed on Monday. Top military
personnel had been deployed to conduct a restructuring exercise of the party
that is facing internal divisions ahead of possible elections.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)
is against elections this year pending a Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) election roadmap to guarantee free and fair elections and
avoid a repeat of the 2008 political violence. The political violence
resulted in more than 200 people mostly MDC supporters killed with thousands
others displaced from their homes.
By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Thursday, 19 May 2011 17:08
HARARE - A South African man at the centre of a fraud storm involving the
First Lady will be unable to visit his dying wife after the High Court
denied him permission to travel to Johannesburg.
Cassimjee Bilal, a truck driver arrested for allegedly defrauding Grace
Mugabe of US$1 million in a botched deal to import six trucks from South
Africa, will remain in Zimbabwe until his case goes to trial next month.
Meanwhile, his wife Nazmeera Ebrahim who had delayed a crucial heart
transplant by two months because of her man’s arrest remains in the
intensive care and desperate to be with her man at a Johannesburg hospital,
according to† Bilal’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa.
Bilal had petitioned the High Court last month to have his passport back on
humanitarian grounds to allow him to attend to his wife.
Mtetwa said Justice Andrew Mutema had turned down the application last week.
“The judge said the court affidavit that had been filed by his wife’s
doctors was defective and dismissed his application,” said Mtetwa.
“Nazmeeira remains sick and would have wanted to be close to her husband.”
Bilal and three other South African drivers are out of custody on bail.
Police are holding the men’s passports as part of the bail conditions.
Bilal, Henry Radebe, Samuel Baloyi and Sydney Sekgobela ran into trouble
after being hired by Chinese businessman and Grace’s former associate Ping
Sung Hsieh to deliver three trucks to a children’s home run by the First
Lady, through an aide Police Commissioner Olga Bungu.
Grace, through Bungu had ordered six trucks from Ping in 2008, but felt
cheated when the drivers delivered only three in February this year.
††† by Guy Taylor
IT HAS been many years now since Robert Mugabe and his cronies entered the
halls of leadership in Zimbabwe.
With Zanu PF’s ascendancy to power was born the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), whose techniques are a cross between Hitler's Gestapo
and Russia's former KGB.
It is a known fact throughout Zimbabwe, in both the security sector and the
public sector, that the CIO agents are well-trained and well-resourced. They
spread terror and are no service to the people or the security of Zimbabwe,
they are solely there to keep those in power in power, to whatever end.
They are not the only ones who do this. The Zimbabwe National Army, the
Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prison Service have dedicated
their services to the political and legal preservation of Robert Mugabe and
his Zanu PF party.
Mugabe, for many years now, has been a sworn enemy of Britain, despite the
fact that the former colonial power put him where he is today. While Mugabe
has been accusing Britain of recruiting Zimbabweans into the British armed
forces to recolonise Zimbabwe, he has been conversely deploying his agents
into Britain, deceitfully, yet, cleverly.
Often, these agents pose as asylum seekers, completely fooling the UK Border
Agency and judges of the immigration tribunals. They are then granted
asylum, giving them full access to jobs, health care and other benefits, yet
85% of the time these people will be paid by the Zimbabwean authorities for
their duties to “King and Country”.
A curious case of one such “former” CIO agent came before the First Tier
Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber earlier this month. Phillip
Machemedze was granted asylum despite a judge finding that he was “deeply
involved in savage acts of extreme violence”.
He is just one case that we know about, how many more have sneaked in under
the radar of the MI5 after passing themselves off as MDC supporters and
Typically, diplomatic missions are allowed four intelligence attaches, which
means basically the Zimbabwe High Commission in London must maintain that
number of agents, and the same applies to other embassies.
But it’s everyone’s guess how many more CIO agents are operating within
Zimbabwean communities around the UK, in breach of Britain’s territorial
integrity and international law.
These operatives are well trained and well equipped. They don’t stand out –
they have ticked all the boxes of “integrating” into British society.
It will not surprise me if there has been an infiltration by CIO agents into
the British armed forces and the police.
This is a very serious problem for genuine Zimbabwean asylum seekers who
will no doubt feel they are not adequately protected from Mugabe’s goons.
We can only wonder what is going on in the halls of British security. Are
they really on the ball?
Guy Taylor is a former Zimbabwean police officer now living in Britain
HOW often is it possible for Zimbabwe to take a turn for the worse?
Published: 2011/05/19 07:10:30 AM
HOW often is it possible for Zimbabwe to take a turn for the worse? You
would expect that at some point, a social disaster of the scale that has
afflicted Zimbabwe would reach its nadir. However, as sad as it is to say
so, Zimbabwe has taken a turn for the worse.
In an illuminating study, the Brenthurst Foundation has tracked Zimbabwe’s
decline, up to suggestions in recent times of improvement, including
economic growth for the first time in a decade. Sadly, according to this
study, these green shoots appear to be flattering to deceive, and more
Despite a level of development second in the region only to SA in the early
1990 s, Zimbabwe registered 12 years of economic shrinkage associated with
hyperinflation until forced dollarisation in 2009. At its peak in 2008,
inflation was estimated at 6,5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent — or 65
followed by 107 zeros. The Global Political Agreement signed between Zanu
(PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its smaller
offshoot in 2008 suggested a possible partial way out and led to the
government of national unity . At last, economic growth reappeared, although
today most of the civil service is still being paid less than the minimum
wage in SA.
New problems are threatening even this min uscule economic resurgence. The
politics of Zimbabwe is still deeply flawed, and investor confidence is low,
with the government’s apparent determination to nationalise much of the
remaining private sector, to say nothing of the growing corruption and
cronyism, the report states.
One of the biggest problems is that Zanu (PF) has used the comparative
improvement in the economy and access to income to step up intimidation
around the country, to the extent that only half of the population feel they
would be free to vote for whatever party they choose, according to surveys.
It is in this context that Zanu (PF) has insisted on the indigenisation
policy going ahead. The policy forces foreign companies to sell half their
equity, not only to Zimbabweans, but Zimbabweans specified by the
government. Only in the flat- earth mentality of Zimbabwean economics could
such a move even be considered. The notion that this plan will "retard
investment" is such a radical understatement it hardly bears examination.
One of the disturbing aspects of the programme is that it appears to be
garnering some support from none other than the MDC. At the recent World
Economic Forum, MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said:
"Across the political divide we agree on the principle of citizenship
empowerment ... we have been consistent in the area of indigenisation." This
is despite him saying that indigenisation was "empty rhetoric" earlier this
It seems the unity government is doing what its detractors feared most:
strengthening Zanu (PF)’s position. Zanu (PF) has been provided with a
lifeline, and is using its position in the unity government to consolidate
its hold on power. The consequence is that for once it is actually Zanu (PF)
that is pressing for early elections.
What should regional nations do now? The Brenthurst paper suggests we should
not rely solely on external intervention nor place undue expectations on the
MDC, "whose performance in the unity government has fallen well short on a
number of levels". It calls for a new approach that should comprise several
elements, including renewed international pressure for reform, stronger
regional leadership by SA , and a commitment by the opposition in Zimbabwe
to become a credible, democratic and accountable alternative to Zanu (PF).
This approach seems eminently reasonable, but also very hopeful. If Zimbabwe
insists on what is effectively the theft of South African companies, perhaps
more comprehensive sanctions should be considered. It is extraordinary that
a company like Old Mutual can still be invested in Zanu (PF)’s despotic
media interests . Corporate SA , at the very least, should know better.
Written by John Makumbe
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 07:50
The decision by Zanu (PF) to defy the Sadc and stick to its December 2010
resolution to hold elections this year is a classic example of infantile
radicalism. It is a decision that will cost the beleaguered party very
dearly in terms of political support both nationally and regionally. The
reasons for insisting on conducting the polls this year are now well known
to most Zimbabweans.
The main reason is the declining support that the former liberation
political party is receiving from the masses of this country, given its
violent nature. The Mugabe party cannot hold a political rally that will be
well attended anywhere in this country without having to frog-march people
to the venue. Furthermore, the party’s structures are in a shambles as a
result of factionalism and the lack of organization.
The aged political party has run out of ideas for mobilizing the people and
has to resort to brutality and the political culture of fear. It was,
however, very sad that the man who is actively sponsoring violence and
intimidation in the Nyanga North area lost his own daughter in a traffic
accident two weeks ago. Life has a nasty way of making all of us pay for our
sins in one way or the other. The pain you perpetrate on people may come
visiting you one day. Food for thought.
It remains to be seen whether the Sadc extraordinary summit scheduled for
this week will accept the Zanu (PF) decision to hold elections this year
regardless of the extent to which the Global political Agreement (GPA) will
have been implemented. It will be foolhardy for the outgoing ruling party to
insist on holding elections which will be disputed by the other parties.
This will throw the nation straight back to the illegitimacy of 2008, and
the Sadc is unlikely to be willing to tolerate such madness.
It is also likely that the MDC-T will refuse to participate in sham
elections that cannot result in undisputed results. As in the past, Zanu
(PF) is likely to proceed to elections even without the MDC-T. There are
always the NDA, NDE, NDU parties that will be glad to jump onto the ballot
train, even though they know that they will not win even a single seat in
Zanu (PF) will itself sponsor some of these parties to come out of the
woodwork and participate in order to give some degree of credence to the
electoral farce. The bottom line is, however, that the Sadc and the
international community will refuse to recognize such elections as in any
way legitimate. Without the participation of the MDC-T, there cannot be any
legitimate elections in Zimbabwe.
So, what is the best way forward for this nation and for the Mugabe party?
Zimbabwe will benefit from the full implementation of the GPA as soon as
possible. The nation will also be placed in a much better place if the
security sector is reformed prior to the holding of elections. It is
frivolous for Zanu (PF) to argue that no nation should try and reform this
nation’s security structures. South Africa never said that it wanted to come
and reform our securocrats. The provisions for the reforming of the security
structures are contained in the GPA, which was drawn up by the negotiators -
who are all Zimbabweans.
All the principals who signed the GPA were well aware that these provisions
existed in the document and that they were placed there by the negotiators.
For Zanu (PF) to stubbornly allege that external countries want to reform
our national security structures is clutching at straws.
Written by MOTHER DUCK, Bulawayo
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 07:44
EDITOR - I happened to become enmeshed in the midst of a WOZA march this
morning† outside the ZESA headquarters in Lobengula Street.
Whilst querying my electricity account at the Zimbabwe Electricity power
company, suddenly, as if by magic, I was surrounded by thousands of men and
women waving banners and chanting!
It was an eerily chilling feeling being caught in the wrong place at the
wrong time, but I suppose it is one of the joys of living in a tyrannical
After my initial fear had ebbed† I became enthused by the sheer weight of
numbers and infectious pride of the protestors. It was, I gather, a 'Power
to Poor People' Campaign.
There were hundreds of pamphlets festooning the streets after the protestors
had scattered and I hastily stuffed one in my pocket to read at a more
It was not the hundreds of singing and chanting folk who scared me – but the
sudden appearance of a number of support policemen in riot gear. Safely
under their helmets and behind their visors, batons flailing down on the
women and men, I was shocked and horrified at their brutality. They, the
police, might have been carefully protected against hurt, but the brave WOZA
men and women had little to protect their heads against the merciless
onslaught of the batons.
Women with babies, without protection, young girls and young men, tried
furiously to avoid the onslaught, scattering in all directions whilst the
riot police revelled in their own disgusting behaviour. Faces twisted
lasciviously and maliciously, the police loved every moment of their run in
with the helpless, defenceless populace.
WOZA is a group of peace, they do not resort to violence. They sing and pray
and sit down in the face of repression by the authorities. Their demands are
always simple - peace, prosperity for the common people and love for their
It was a sad day for me as I watched the face of repression portrayed at its
most disgusting and vile.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai respects a free press in Zimbabwe and he sincerely believes that press freedom is an integral part of a democratic society.
The Prime Minister, for long a victim of hate speech and a subservient public media, has largely remained quiet in the wake of vicious and defamatory attacks. He respects the public media, but the same media also have a responsibility to respect him and the public office that he holds.
It is in this context that the Prime Minister made what the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists is calling unpalatable remarks about journalists from the public media. At a recent seminar organized by the SAPES Trust, the Prime Minister berated the public media for irresponsible journalism, adding that judging by the incessant propaganda peddled from those media houses, it was hard to believe that the journalists themselves believed in their own stories.†
Prime Minister Tsvangirai has always been a victim and not a perpetrator of hate speech. He has been a victim of a hostile public media that has consistently and persistently attacked his person and it is regrettable that the ZUJ has not sought to protect him or to censor the responsible journalists and the media houses.
Everyone deserves protection from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Zimbabwe Media Commission; from the public media journalists who are themselves victims of government bureaucrats and politicians, to the hapless Zimbabweans like the Prime Minister who are needlessly vilified every day. The Prime Minister is a staunch disciple of press freedom and that is why he has championed media reforms as a key deliverable if this country is to have conditions for free and fair polls.
Journalists, particularly those in the public media, must be free to do their duties with neither fear nor coercion. They must refuse to be purveyors of one political party and one political leader, but must respect the political diversity that Zimbabwe has become since the consummation of the inclusive government in 2009.
The Prime Minister believes in the role of free expression in economic development. He believes that the fanning of violence and hatred by the media must stop immediately in the national interest. But he also upholds and respects the GPA, which calls for the granting of new broadcasting licenses to private players and calls on the public media to refrain from abusive language and hate speech.
Spokesperson - Office of the Prime Minister Harare
MDC Information & Publicity Department
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE SERIES
Public Hearings on Social Protection Programmes: 20th to 23rd May:
Mashonaland Central, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland
The Senate Thematic Committee on MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] will be holding five public hearings in rural centres round the country from Friday 20th to Monday 23rd May [see below for details of venues and times].†
The committee is enquiring into social protection programmes in Zimbabwe.†
Members of the public are invited to attend these public hearings and to provide the committee with information relating to the objectives of its enquiry, which are:
∑††††††† to establish whether social programmes are accessible to deserving communities in remote parts of the country
∑††††††† to establish whether social programmes are reaching the deserving beneficiaries
∑††††††† to find out whether recipients in formal institutions are accessing social welfare assistance
∑††††††† to assess the effectiveness of social protection programmes in addressing MDG 1 – eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
∑††††††† to recommend action for improved social protection systems in Zimbabwe.
The chairperson of the Thematic Committee is Hon Senator Chief Mtshane.† The committee clerk is Mrs Lucia Nyawo.
Details of the Public Hearings
Friday 20th May: Rushinga
Rushinga District Administrator’s Office: 9.30 am
Saturday 21st May: Bubi
Inyati Council Hall: 2.30 pm
Sunday 22nd May: Masvingo [two hearings]
Mucheke Hall: 10.30 am
Nyika Growth Point (Council Offices): 2.30 pm
Monday 23rd May: Mutasa
Mutasa District Council – District Administrator’s Office: 9 am
For more information please contact the committee clerk, Mrs Lucia Nyawo.† Telephone 04-700181.† Mobile 0772 892 769.† Email email@example.com
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.