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SA facilitation team faces another ZANU PF snub

By Alex Bell
1 May 2013

The South African facilitation team, meant to be mediating in Zimbabwe’s
political transition, was once again snubbed by ZANU PF after negotiators
from that party skipped a meeting with the group on Tuesday.

The scheduled meeting is part of a series that the political negotiators in
the unity government are involved in, in an attempt to broker some
agreements on the future of the unity government. The main issue on the
table is that of an election date, with the MDC partners in the government
still insisting on reforms promised by the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

ZANU PF has refused to implement these reforms and has repeatedly been
blocking any progress by the SADC appointed mediation team, led by South
African President Jacob Zuma.

Sources quoted by the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa have also
revealed that ZANU PF does not want Zuma playing a central role in Zimbabwe’s
election plans and, as a result, the party has been actively snubbing his
facilitation team.

The newspaper quoted a SADC representative who said the South Africans “had
been told off the record that their presence was unnecessary and tantamount
to interference in the running of government.”

The report goes on to state that repeated attempts to secure a meeting with
Mugabe have been in vain. Last week, Zuma’s team was in Harare to meet
government principals and party political leaders, but only managed to see
MDC-N leader Welshman Ncube. According to the Mail & Guardian, Ncube said
the facilitation team had not been able to meet Mugabe because his office
had indicated he would be unavailable “indefinitely”.

Another government official confirmed that Zuma’s team had been snubbed, and
said there is “growing hostility and tension between Mugabe and Zuma.”
MDC-T director of policy, and political analyst Charles Mangongera, said he
is not surprised by this latest snub because ZANU PF “does not respect Zuma
or his team.”

“These are the machinations of what we have termed the chaos faction in ZANU
PF. ZANU PF is a faction ridden party… and it is the chaos faction
prevailing in decision making,” Mangongera told SW Radio Africa.

He added that the biggest problem with the GPA arrangement is that there are
no ‘sanction’ measures in place to force ZANU PF to capitulate and implement
the agreement.

“All they can do is to try and force Mugabe and his negotiators to come back
to negotiating table,” Mangongera said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai meanwhile has been on a diplomatic
offensive, trying to convince regional and other African leaders to put
pressure on the Mugabe regime to honour the GPA.

Tsvangirai started his trip in South Africa over the weekend and met Zuma
for 40 minutes, during which time Zuma reiterated that his country and SADC
would ensure a peaceful, free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

The Prime Minister then had a brief stopover in Luanda and met with the
Angolan Foreign Minister, Georges Chicoti. After that he travelled to
Tanzania and met President Jakaya Kikwete, who also insisted the region
wants to see credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai is continuing on his African tour this week and is expected back
in Zimbabwe on Sunday.

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ZANU PF politicises Western nation’s re-engagement ‘stampede’

Violet Gonda
1 May 2013

Zimbabwe has received an unprecedented number of visits of delegations from
western countries in recent days, as the international community intensifies
formal discussions with Harare after years of frosty relations.

American civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson is the latest
American to hold talks with President Robert Mugabe, just days after a visit
by a US State Department special envoy Ambassador Andrew Young.

A delegation from the European Parliament’s Development Committee also
arrived in Zimbabwe this week, prompting the state controlled media to
describe the visits by the western nations as ‘stampedes’ and ‘re-engagement

Both Jackson and Young have been quoted in the Herald newspaper calling for
the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, although critics wonder why their
calls are only coming out now since the restrictions have been in place for
over a decade.

ZANU PF says the influx of western powers into the country shows that
Zimbabwe is winning “the war against the illegal sanctions imposed by the
countries” and claims the MDC led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai is losing its
traditional allies, resulting in the PM going on a regional diplomatic
offensive in search of new allies.

However, Joy Mabenge the Director of Programs at the Institute for a
Democratic Alternatives for Zimbabwe said ZANU PF has hijacked Jesse Jackson’s
trip by blocking non-state actors from meeting with the civil rights
campaigner. He said the former ruling party is also deliberately
politicising a normal process, since the issue of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement
with the international community is part of the Global Political Agreement

“The GPA stipulates that Zimbabwe needs to move from being a pariah state
into being part of the community of nations. So there is nothing abnormal
about that,” Mabenge pointed out.

The MDCs’ Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Elton Mangoma, and ZANU PF’s
Patrick Chinamasa, are part of an inter-ministerial committee that has been
driving the process for Zimbabwe’ re-engagement with the international

Mabenge told SW Radio Africa: “What is wrong is for President Mugabe and
ZANU PF to then politicise these visits; monopolize the visit by Jesse
Jackson who was also supposed to meet civil society, and start spinning and
saying it is about the realisation by western countries that ZANU PF is
going to win the next elections therefore they need to re-engage with ZANU

Jackson had held private talks with Tsvangirai in South Africa on Sunday
before visiting Zimbabwe.

Mabenge said the diplomatic community should also be careful not to rush or
prematurely claim the situation is now okay in Zimbabwe, as only an election
will be a true measurement of this. “Things will only be okay after we have
had a free, fair, credible and peaceful election.”

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Police disrupt Workers Day event in Harare

By Alex Bell
1 May 2013

Police in Harare on Wednesday interrupted Workers Day celebrations at
Raylton Sports Club, accusing the organisers of holding the event without

The event was organised by the Concerned Affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions. But not long after the commemorations for the day had
begun, police disrupted proceedings and demanded to speak to the organising

According to Jeremiah Bamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the
police instructed the organisers to call off the event, allegedly because
they did not have permission. When the organisers refused to do so, the
police left and threatened to return with reinforcements. But when they
eventually returned about three hours later, the commemorations were over.

The incident added a level of discord to an already somber Workers Day mood,
with many saying there is little for workers to celebrate in Zimbabwe at the
moment. Unemployment is still estimated to stand at about 90%, numerous key
industries have collapsed or are facing collapse, and most state workers are
still earning a fraction of what would constitute a fair wage.

In Bulawayo, where the day’s commemorations were held at White City Stadium,
workers bemoaned the fact that the once vibrant industrial hub of Zimbabwe
no longer exists, as well as the hardships they continue to face. Union
groupings said they were marking the day, not as a celebration, but as a
chance to air their grievances.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President George Nkiwane, said
in a speech read on his behalf at the Bulawayo event, that there was little
to celebrate. His speech, which he themed ‘Workers Under Siege, Organise,
Unite and Fight On’, highlighted the serious problems still facing workers.

“It is unfortunate that we are meeting at a time when we all thought the
livelihoods of the majority of all Zimbabwean would have improved, but the
opposite is what we are witnessing. Low wages in both the public and private
sector are the order of the day. The situation has not changed much from
last year: the Poverty Datum Line is still close to US$600. Wages average
between US$150 and US$200 and there are widespread disputes over wage
negotiations and workers are resorting to the courts to try to settle
disputes as most employers refuse pay agreed industrial minimums,” Nkiwane’s
speech stated.

SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, joined the White
City Stadium event on Wednesday, saying “the poor attendance at this event
over the years summarises everything about May Day in Zimbabwe.”

“Gone are the days when labour leaders like Morgan Tsvangirai used to fill
up the stadiums on Workers Day. Now just a few hundred people come,”
Saungweme said.

He explained that thousands of people have been left unemployed because of
the deindustrialisation witnessed in Bulawayo, and there is little hope for
the future. He said companies across the city are “being sold and stripped,
even some parastatals.”

He added: “Really there is nothing to celebrate.”

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EU delegation jets in

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 14:10
HARARE - A delegation of the European Parliament Development Committee
arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday as part of the overall EU-Zimbabwe

This is the first delegation from the European Parliament in over 10 years
and the visit comes as the 27-nation bloc has just announced wholesale
easing of sanctions imposed on the country more than a decade ago over
allegations of rights abuses and electoral fraud.

Only 10 officials, including President Robert Mugabe, security chiefs and
his inner cabal, remain on the embargo.

Norbert Neuser, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of the
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group is leading the
three-member delegation, composed also of Filip Kaczmarek, a Polish MEP of
the European People’s Party group and Judith Sargentini, Dutch MEP of the
Greens/European Free Alliance group.

The delegation, which is in Zimbabwe until Friday, will be updated on
existing EU development assistance programmes, the development needs of the
country and the priorities of the Government of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe stands to benefit from direct budgetary support from the EU’s
European Development Fund which has been suspended since 2002 and the
visiting members of Parliament will play a role in determining the aid
envelope to the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

The Western countries have given Zimbabwe $2, 6 billion in transitional
development support since 2009.

The EU delegation in Zimbabwe said in a statement visiting members have a
particular interest in food security, health, agriculture and sustainable

“The visit is important in view of the programming and preparation for
future EU cooperation with Zimbabwe in the framework of the 11th European
Development Fund (2014 to 2020),” the EU delegation statement said.

The visiting team is meeting representatives of key ministries for EU
development assistance, such as the ministry of Finance, the ministry of
Education, Sport, Arts, and Culture, the ministry of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, the ministry of Energy and Power
Development, and the ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and
Cooperative Development.

The delegation will also meet with the Speaker of the Zimbabwean Parliament
Lovemore Moyo and the president of the Senate Ednah Madzongwe, and visit
ongoing development assistance programmes.

The EU has been keen to promote Zimbabwe’s unity government since Morgan
Tsvangirai agreed to become premier of a power-sharing government with
President Mugabe following disputed presidential elections in March 2008.

The EU has continued to send humanitarian aid to the country, which amounts
to roughly euro 90 million ($131 million) a year. - Gift Phiri, Political

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Madhuku: NCA to Launch Political Party

Irwin Chifera

HARARE — National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman, Lovemore Madhuku,
today used Workers Day commemorations in the capital to announce that the
NCA will transform itself into a political party following fresh elections
expected to be held sometime this year.

Mr. Madhuku, who was guest of honour at the event organized by the concerned
affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at Raylton Sports Club,
said his party will represent the interest of workers.

The University of Zimbabwe professor said despite the Movement for
Democratic Change’s labour background, it has totally forgotten the
struggling workers and joined the Zanu PF gravy train in allegedly looting
state resources.

He urged workers to mobilise and advance their interests saying  former
trade union leaders, now in the MDC leadership, have taught Zimbabwean
workers a lesson not to trust in political parties.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe told workers at
commemorations organized by the ZCTU at Gwanzura Stadium that working
conditions are set to improve in four months when his party takes charge of
government following this year’s elections.

She said the MDC government will create policies that will attract
investment into the country and in the process create the much-needed jobs.

MDC 99 president Job Sikhala, representatives from the MDC formation led by
Welshaman Ncube and Mavambo Kusile Dawn, civil society orgainsations
attended the Raylton commemorations which were held under the theme
“Fighting for poverty datum line, workers safety and empowerment.

At Gwanzura Stadium, the theme was “Workers under siege, organize unite and
fight on”.

Police unsuccessfully tried to disrupt the commemorations at Raylton but
organizers refused to back down saying at law trade unions did not require
police permission to commemorate international workers day.

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Generals won't meet MDC-T 'malcontents'

30/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S generals are “too busy to engage confused malcontents”, police
chief Augustine Chihuri said on Tuesday as he denied a newspaper report that
they had met envoys of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai “to discuss their
current and future roles in the security services and packages if he wins”
forthcoming elections.

“I wish to warn liars and peddlers of falsehoods who dream talking to us, to
this general and to that general, in their sleep that the law will visit
them harshly," Chihuri said during the official opening of the Commissioner
General of Police’s sports gala in Harare.

He went on: "Some of us have no business talking to individuals of no
substance whose sole purpose and agenda is to create confusion within the
rank and file of the defence and security forces.

"We are too busy to engage confused malcontents who do not know their
identity and have a propensity to destroy what others, dead and alive,
fought for. They must stop abusing the freedom and democracy that so many
Zimbabweans died for. I advise the journalists to stop being used in this

The Zimbabwe Independent, citing “military sources”, claimed last Friday
that the MDC-T’s secretary for defence Giles Mutsekwa – a former army
major – had recently met Chihuri, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General
Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff Major General
Martin Chedondo and Chief of Staff (Quartermaster) Major General Douglas

State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi - responding to MDC-T demands to
axe some of the generals for being "partisan" - said the country’s security
chiefs were in office by merit, and any party that wins this year’s polls
would be advised not to tamper with the structure.

The MDC-T accuses the police and military chiefs of dabbling in politics and
helping prop-up Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
The party says it wants a commitment by the security chiefs that “they will
be professional, impartial, and non-partisan and desist from overtly making
partisan political statements and abusing State resources to further their
narrow partisan interests.”

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Mugabe wades into students war

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 14:26

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has come under attack from
university students who claim it wants to rig the University of Zimbabwe
students’ representative council (SRC) presidential elections.

Amalgamated Students Association of Zimbabwe (Asaz) and the Zimbabwe
National Students Union (Zinasu) have made claims that Zanu PF was splashing
cash on one candidate and had forced a postponement of the elections to
“activate Zanu PF’s rigging machinery”.

The UZ presidential elections were due yesterday but were postponed in
mysterious circumstances raising the ire of students.

A seething Asaz president Francis Mufambi said: “We are shocked that Mugabe,
as the country’s leader and chancellor of UZ, has the guts to endorse a
particular candidate because his teetering party is desperate for votes.”

“As students, we will fight this with nothing but pen and paper. We will
fight Mugabe’s machinery, his Central Intelligence Organisation and proxy in
the form of Charles Munganasa.”

Munganasa is one of four candidates vying for the presidency of the SRC.

Mufambi alleged Zanu PF was abusing State resources.

“Zanu PF and Mugabe have splashed out $20 000 to fund Munganasa’s campaign
at a time the country is raising fuel prices to fund democratic processes.

“There is no water at the university, the department of Social Work does not
have even a single computer yet he finds it necessary to stoop so low to
fight students’ politics,” Mufambi said.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) president Pride Mukono said Mugabe’s
actions have effectively made him a contestant in the students’ poll.

“That is very true, Mugabe is meddling in student politics. As I speak to
you, 15 of our candidates including the presidential candidate Kokerai
Murombo have been stopped from contesting on flimsy grounds.

“Elections were supposed to be held today but have been moved to allow Zanu
PF to field its candidates. Zanu PF has put in 4 000 T-shirts and $20 000.
“Mugabe is now a presidential candidate in the SRC elections but we will
defeat him. It is a fact and he should be ashamed of himself,” Mukono said.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was unreachable yesterday and messages
sent to his mobile were not replied.

However, Munganasa yesterday denied he had received any funding from Mugabe.

“We did not get that amount. I am not in a position to comment,” Munganasa
told the Daily News before hanging up his mobile phone.

On Monday, Munganasa and his Zimbabwe Congress of Students Unions (Zicosu)
met Mugabe, as the fight for student leadership as the citadel of higher
education in Zimbabwe reaches fever pitch.

Munganasa told Mugabe at the Zanu PF headquarters on Monday that he was
going to liberate the UZ and win over students to Zanu PF.

“We want to guarantee you that as Zicosu we are ready to liberate the
University of Zimbabwe. We believe it is still colonised,” Munganasa told
Mugabe in comments published in the State media.

“There are elements within the opposition who are trying to undermine the
benefits of our struggle. As students, we are ready to partner Zanu PF to
work in the name of patriotism and nationalism.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was unreachable for comment as his mobile
went unanswered.

Mufambi, Justice Mukoyi and Raymond Sango, who are also fighting for posts
in the SRC executive, urged students to reject what he said was Mugabe’s
attempt to impose a candidate.

“As students, we will fight these underhand manoeuvres with all our might,”
a tough-talking Mufambi vowed. “There is no student who would vote for a
party that has failed the nation for 33 years. Nobody in their right mind
will walk into a polling booth and vote for an 89-year-old.

“Mugabe has the temerity to call on students not to fail him when he has
failed us. By involving himself with our kind, Mugabe deserves a snub by the
students and we will mobilise students to vote against him in the
presidential elections.”

Zinasu spokesperson Zacharia Mushawatu said Mugabe should not have taken

“We believe that no political party should be involved. As chancellor of the
institution, Mugabe should not take sides. There are rumours of money being
thrown around and all I can confirm for now is that Zicosu has lots of money
and we are not sure where it is coming from. We do not have the resources to
match the country’s leader. It makes everything unfair,” Mushawatu said.

Murombo said he had been mysteriously disqualified over alleged disciplinary
and academic issues.

“I have been disqualified by the nomination court. They are saying I did not
get an average 2.2 grade last semester along with 11 other candidates for
various posts. It is unconstitutional because it is a criterion that has
never been used.

“The other reason given for me in particular was that I was once convicted
over disciplinary grounds. It has also never been used before. It is also
not constitutional for the university to use a college official as presiding
officer in this case, the Dean of Students Munyaradzi Madambi. The students
Representative Assembly is supposed to constitute the nomination court,”
Murombo claimed.

Mugabe on Monday told Munganasa and his team that “you are the brave lot.”

“You are the courageous lot,” Mugabe said. “You are the front runners and do
not fail us. If you fail us, you fail the nation because you are the young
people we look forward to.

“I have said our sun is setting, yours is just rising; do not allow it to
set at 12.30 in the afternoon. Follow the footsteps that we will have left
behind. If you divert midzimu inokurovai (the ancestors will beat you).”

The students alleged Zanu PF had provided Munganasa and his group with
thousands of T-shirts, food and beer for campaign purposes ahead of the SRC
presidential election which has been postponed by a week.

“This is not what we want,” Sango said. “This is probably our diamond money
that all citizens have been demanding that it be used to fund not only
education but pensions and other social issues.

“We will stop recognising him as the university’s Chancellor. Leaders do not
take sides when it comes to student issues. The student cadetship has failed
to get off the ground. Millions of would-be students are roaming the streets
and Zanu PF throws $20 000 to a group of individuals. That is the height of
political lunacy and we will fight it,” Sango added.

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Gutu defends demands for Security Sector Reform

By Tichaona Sibanda
1 May 2013

The MDC-T’s deputy Justice Minister, Obert Gutu, on Wednesday defended his
party’s demands for security sector reform before the next general

He also came down heavily on statements made by senior ZANU PF ministers
that the security sector reforms were not part of the GPA.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and State Security Minister Sydney
Sekeramayi have both recently claimed that parties pushing for reform are
driven by regime change motives as they seek to weaken the country’s
security services.

But the deputy minister told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that
statements by ZANU PF officials demonizing the MDC-T’s demands exceeded the
bounds of decency.

‘Article 13 of the GPA clearly states that the security services must be
apolitical, professional and impartial…we are not seeking to reinvent the
wheel. We are not asking for additional provisions to be inserted in the
GPA, all we are saying is the three parties that are in the coalition
government must honour the agreement, nothing else.

‘So anyone who thinks there should be no security sector reforms when
Article 13 is there in black and white is obviously overdue for a
psychiatric examination,’ Gutu said.

He said the way ZANU PF was reading the GPA showed a lack of coherent
political vision and sincerity.

ZANU PF has insisted security reforms are meant to weaken the armed forces
and claim it is a western sponsored project to change the leadership of the
country’s security services.

Responding to this Gutu said: ‘Those statements are a pack of lies and
fallacies, unmitigated hogwash as well as a deliberate distortion of facts.”

Gutu, a lawyer by profession, deplored the persistence of service chiefs in
making hostile statements, which he said have become the core mantra of the
state media campaign against the MDC-T.

The deputy minister described some of the statements as compelling evidence
of ZANU PF’s instigation and support of violence in Zimbabwe.

He said this is in relation to a statement Tuesday by the
Commissioner-General of the police, Augustine Chihuri, who said the security
chiefs will neither meet nor engage with Prime Minister Tsvangirai. Chihuri
went on to describe Tsvangirai and the MDC-T as ‘malcontents.’

Gutu said: ‘In our demands for security sector reforms, we are not saying
the service chiefs should be fired or dismissed. The GPA does not say that.
All we are asking for is for the role of the security sector to be clearly
defined because these are constitutional bodies that should not meddle in

‘You cannot wear a uniform as a police commissioner and at the same time
chant political statements. Any police officer or soldier who wears their
regalia and goes on a podium and start addressing issues politically, openly
declaring their political allegiance and openly vilifying and maligning
other political parties in the country, needs to be fired on the spot,’ he

Dewa Mavhinga, a senior Africa researcher with Human Rights Watch in London,
agreed that the GPA’s article 13 provides that state organs (including the
security sector) and institutions do not belong to any political party and
should be impartial and non-partisan in the discharge of their duties.

He told us that parties to the GPA agreed that for the purpose of ensuring
that all state organs and institutions perform their duties ethically and
professionally, they must be trained on subjects like human rights,
international humanitarian law and statute law.

‘This is for the members of the armed forces to understand and fully
appreciate their roles and duties in a multi-party democratic system and
ensure that all state organs and institutions strictly observe the
principles of the rule of law and remain non-partisan and impartial,’
Mavhinga said.

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No bail for MDC-T 'impersonators'

01/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Charles Laiton I NewsDay

THE 19 suspected MDC-T activists who were arrested in Hatcliffe suburb over
allegations of impersonating public officials were denied bail on Tuesday
after a court ruled they would interfere with police investigations.

Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei remanded them to May 18.
Lawyer, Denford Halimani, who was representing the 19, criticised the police
for arresting his clients arguing they were patriotic Zimbabweans
encouraging other citizens to register as voters.

“It is amazing for people to be charged for encouraging others to register
as voters. Is it not being patriotic if one invites others to register as
voters? The State has created fictitious outstanding accused persons in a
bid to oppose bail for my clients,” Halimani said.

The activists were charged with violating Section 179 (1) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which criminalises impersonating public

The State alleges that between April 18 and 25, the accused persons, who are
not employees of any government department, descended on Hatcliffe
purporting to be conducting a voter registration and verification exercise.

It is further alleged they were wearing golf T-shirts inscribed “Ministry of
Home Affairs” and caps with a government logo and had copies of the voters’

Prosecutor Gift Zumbika opposed bail on the basis that there were
outstanding accused persons who had disappeared with other voter
registration rolls, an assertion challenged by Halimani.

The lawyer accused the police of being malicious in opposing bail arguing
the offence which they were charged for was not serious and attracted the
option of a fine if one was convicted.

“This is not an offence for which they are likely to be incarcerated and
they will not be tempted to run away. For such petty offences the court
would be persuaded to consider an option of a fine and/or a term of
imprisonment not exceeding 12 months for which community service would be
considered,” Halimani said.

In a statement on Monday, the MDC-T appeared to suggest the activists were
working for Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone who was alarmed by an
unusual spike in registered voters in her Harare North constituency. The
activists were on a "verification exercise", the party said.

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Zimbabwe voter list inflated by state officials: opposition

Sapa-AP | 01 May, 2013 12:15

Zimbabwean state election officials are dramatically inflating the numbers
of electors on new voters' lists months ahead of crucial polls, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party alleged.

It said lists in some voting districts swelled by more than 10 000 names in
a 48-hour period, or the addition of about 150 voters a second.

"This is just impossible," said party official Douglas Mwonzora. He said a
copy of one Harare district list was obtained on a Monday earlier this
month. Two days later, a revised copy showed an additional 11 890 voters on
the list.

In other districts the names of active party members were missing or
misspelled, making them ineligible to vote, raising fears of voting fraud
being planned by officials loyal to President Robert Mugabe's party, he

The official voters' registry has denied tampering with the lists and
insists it is just collating data in batches.

A new drive to register voters began Monday, following weeks of campaigning
by all political groups for eligible voters not yet listed to have their
details added to the nationwide roll containing 5.7 million names in a
population of 13 million, slightly less than half of whom are under the
voting age of 18.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party, in a shaky coalition with
Mugabe brokered by regional leaders after the last violent and disputed
elections in 2008, said even Theresa Makone, its co-minister of Home Affairs
in charge of voter registration, saw her name was missing in her area.

Under the coalition agreement, Tsvangirai's party shares control of that
ministry that is also responsible for the nation's police dominated by
Mugabe loyalists. Makone has had little influence over police commanders and
senior government officials who have repeatedly vowed their allegiance to

Makone has told her district supporters that irregularities in their voters'
list were "a tip of the iceberg" in what she suspected was happening
countrywide to skew voting. Past elections since 2000 have been marred by
allegations of vote rigging.

Tsvangirai on Sunday began a diplomatic offensive to garner the backing of
regional leaders to ensure fair conditions are in place for elections
planned between July and September that include large scale corrections to
the voters' lists. Last month, the state Electoral Commission said in a
continuing clean-up exercise it had removed the names of 350,000 dead voters
who had appeared on previous lists.

Tsvangirai's party also accuses Mugabe of resisting reforms to sweeping
media sweeping media and security laws demanded by regional mediators in the
run-up to polling.

It says "hate speech" against Tsvangirai and his colleagues in the former
opposition by the state broadcast monopoly and the main newspapers loyal to
Mugabe has not been reined in and the party has been denied fair access to
the state broadcaster, the only source of information to many impoverished,
rural voters.

Tsvangirai met with South African President Jacob Zuma, the chief Zimbabwe
mediator, on Sunday before heading to Tanzania to meet with President Jakaya
Kikwete, current chair of a three nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC) "troika" on regional disputes.

Tsvangirai's office said he has called for an urgent regional summit on long
delayed democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.

Zuma told Tsvangairia that SADC and the continent-wide African Union
organization "will do everything in their power to ensure a free and fair
poll in Zimbabwe," said Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai's spokesman.

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ZESA cuts CSC off


by Pamenus Tuso

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority last week switched off the
cash-strapped Cold Storage Company’s abattoir.

The move has adversely affected the cattle slaughter joint venture with
Botswana. Zimbabwe is sourcing beef cattle from Botswana that are
slaughtered at the CSC abattoir before the meat is sold locally.

The two countries signed the cattle slaughter deal in 2011 where it was
agreed Botswana Meat Commission would supply 20 000 cattle to the CSC.
Exports were stopped when CSC reportedly failed to pay BMC more than P2
million for cattle supplied.

However, following a fresh deal, cattle in areas affected by foot-and-mouth
disease in Botswana have been prepared for export to Zimbabwe. The latest
developments are likely to put the deal on ice.

Workers at the company told The Zimbabwean this week that CSC had been
struggling to honour its power bill for some time, a development which had
resulted in ZESA cutting off its electricity.

“The electricity was disconnected last week by Zesa. Some of the workers
have been sent home and told to come back when the electricity is available.
We do not know when the company will raise the money,” said a worker at the

The workers said the Bulawayo City Council recently cut water supplies at
the company, prompting workers to use buckets for their ablution facilities.

Fearing the possibility of being shut down by health officials, the company
paid part of the money owed to the local authority which led to the water
being reconnected.

“Officials from the city health’s department nearly closed the abattoir last
week because of the serious health problems associated with water cuts. From
the way debtors are pouncing on the company, it seems we are going nowhere,”
said another worker.

When reached for comment, CSC Chief Executive Officer, Ngoni Chinogaramombe,
confirmed the electricity disconnections.

“It’s true we do not have electricity. Right now I do not have the actual
figures of how much we owe Zesa but the accounts people have that
information,” said Chinogaramombe.

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HIFA off to an impressive start

By Nomalanga Moyo
01 May 2013

The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) kicked off Tuesday,
with the organisers expressing satisfaction at the turnout and the quality
of the entertainment.

This year’s theme is “What’s Next” and the organisers of the annual showcase
said the theme ‘reflects our feeling in HIFA of positive progress this year.’

“We are moving in all new directions and are excited by the possibilities
ahead of us as a Festival, as a team, as a city, as a country. The theme
echoes also the feeling we want our audiences to have at the Festival of
what’s the next show, the next dance, the next concert they are going to

Festival spokesman Tafadzwa Simba told SW Radio Africa that 25 nationalities
from across the world are represented, with at least 10 coming from the
European Union.

In an unprecedented move the opening night was covered live by state
broadcaster ZTV, and Simba said that the closing night will also be beamed
live to the nation.

Asked whether the latest development, which has raised eyebrows within some
circles, indicated a cosy relationship between HIFA and the state media,
Simba said it is a culmination of negotiations carried out over a number of
years, and denied that there was anything amiss with the arrangement.

Simba said overall, the festival had set off on a high, and “the things we
are seeing here are setting the tone for the future: for the nation and for
the country, in terms of collaboration, unity, creativity and harnessing all
the potential that we have in order to ensure that the country takes its
place on the global stage.”

Although there have been a number of complaints about what some have
described as a lukewarm overpriced first night, HIFA officials said such
views were in line with the spirit of art. “All art is bound to evoke
different opinions and the same applies to this showcase,” Simba said.

With Workers Day falling in the middle of the Festival, and in a country
with 90% unemployment, HIFA’s theme of progress and optimism could be
regarded as being a little far-fetched.

However, Simba said the arts indaba simply tried to capture the aspirations
of the people, in an apolitical way, as well as to stimulate debate and

The renowned Albert Nyathi performed in the opening night’s play, which was
an adaptation of Shimmer Chinodya’s novel the “Harvest of Thorns”. He said
so far the event had been ‘brilliant’.

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Egypt Air revives Harare route after 9 years

01/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Business Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN air passengers will now get a service linking them to east and
north Africa.

Egypt Air will re-launch flight services to Zimbabwe after a nine year
absence from the route.

The tourism ministry said the timing is strategic ahead of the UN World
Tourism Organisation to be held in August.

The airline will begin the flights in June. They will run four flights
between Harare and Cairo, via Dar es Salaam.
Egypt Air currently serves 19 destinations on the continent and it said the
new route is part of its plans to enhance its presence.

Egypt Air country manager Hamdy Elghaffar said: “With the operation of four
weekly flights between Harare and Cairo starting on June 1, 2013, Egypt Air
will increase its points in Africa to 19 destinations in addition to five
more destinations via its code-share agreements.

“Egypt Air customers in Harare will be able to connect to the world’s top
destination in Middle East , Europe, Far East and North, Mid and South

Transport Secretary Munesu Munodawafa added: “Naturally, the return of Egypt
Air comes at the right time, which signifies the improvement of the country’s

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Elections: Tsvangirai says peace not enough

30/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that peace alone is not a
sufficient condition for credible elections after meeting Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete and Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chicoti.

The Prime Minister noted President Robert Mugabe’s repeated calls for peace,
but suggested the Zanu PF leader had a “hidden strategy” to rig the election
by manipulating the voters’ roll.

The last elections in June 2008 were marred by violence targeting
Tsvangirai's supporters, forcing the MDC-T leader to opt out of a run off.
But political analysts say Zanu PF is unlikely to employ a similar strategy
with opinion polls suggesting it is in pole position to win.

Tsvangirai met South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday as he tries to
secure the support of regional leaders to stop Mugabe calling an early
election before what the MDC-T says are its “minimum conditions” are met.

Kikwete, currently holding the chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence
and security, said regional countries were “very much interested in an
election that is credible, free and fair”, adding: “We want Zimbabweans to
exercise their unfettered right to choose a leader of their choice.”

Zanu PF – which has been in a coalition with Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and the
splinter MDC led by Welshman Ncube for the last four years – is demanding
elections at the end of June when the current parliament’s five-year term

But Tsvangirai and Ncube say there is not enough time to implement
long-standing media, security and electoral reforms which have been
postponed repeatedly due to squabbles in the coalition.

Tsvangirai is concerned that Mugabe, who will issue a proclamation on the
election date, could be ready to do so as early as next week when the new
constitution – a key piece of the reforms agreed by the parties – is sent to
him for assent.

Luke Tamborinyoka, the Prime Minister spokesman, said: “He believes the Zanu
PF leadership and their actions on the ground, in particular with reference
to the voters’ roll, is increasingly pointing to a hidden strategy of
hoodwinking the region, the international community and the Zimbabwean
electorate that they are committed to a peaceful, free and fair election,
when in fact they are committed to, and are planning for, a peaceful but
rigged election.

“Peace, although necessary, is not a sufficient condition for a credible and
legitimate election.”
Officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Authority and Registrar General’s
Office began a mobile voter registration exercise on Monday to recruit new
voters, and Tsvangirai is demanding that “everyone eligible to vote must be
registered on the voters' roll”.

He said his party, which alleged on Sunday that it had uncovered
irregularities with voter registration in Harare North, would soon make
public "evidence of the connivance between some operatives of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, the Registrar-General’s Office, Zanu PF and the
ZEC secretariat in manipulating the voter’s roll.”

He added: “We urge the region to remain vigilant about the situation in
Zimbabwe. Given the reluctance by our partners to implement agreed reforms,
SADC, as the guarantors of the GPA (power sharing pact), may have to convene
a summit to ensure implementation of reforms and to set the ground rules for
the next plebiscite.”

Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai would “continue his trip around Africa to
sensitise the guarantors on the delicate situation in Zimbabwe.”

He is expected back home on Sunday.

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Proportional representation: Legal expert warns of 'blood on floor'

30/04/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

A LEGAL expert has warned that there will be “blood on the floor” over
proportional representation which is the centrepiece of electoral reforms
contained in the new constitution.

Derek Matyszak of the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) says
proportional representation remains an “unknown unknown” and could spark new
differences among the three ruling coalition parties.

But the divisions will also inevitably spread internally, he warns.
“I expect to see a lot more blood on the floor if you consider that you
might have candidates within each party who are uncertain of winning their
constituencies; they might decide that they want to take the safer route of
being on top of the proportional representation list,” Matyszak said.

“I don’t know if the parties have even agreed if a person can stand both as
a constituency member and also be on the proportional representation list,
either as a woman representative or as a member of the Senate.

“If you are not a Member of Parliament then your chances of becoming a
minister are severely reduced because I think only five people can be
appointed ministers from outside parliament. So there is going to be very
stiff competition to get high up on those proportional representation lists
and I expect some serious infighting as a result.”

The new constitution approved in a referendum on March 16 says that 60 of
the 80 members of the Senate – six from each province – will be seconded by
parties on a proportional representation basis.

In the House of Assembly, 60 of the 270 seats will be reserved for women,
who would also be picked from political party lists based on the parties’
share of the vote in a particular province.

The same system will also be used in the election of the newly-established
Provincial Councils which will have 10 officials each.

Matyszak said besides dividing the parties internally, there was a high
likelihood that Zanu PF and its MDC ruling coalition partners could fail to
agree on certain aspects of proportional representation when amendments are
made to three pieces of legislation to give meaning to the new provisions in
the constitution.

He explained: “The broad idea is this: suppose, merely by way of
illustration, that of the total votes cast for the House of Assembly seats
in the constituencies lying in Masvingo Province, MDC-T garners
three-sixths, Zanu PF two sixths and MDC one-sixth.


“The top three persons on the MDC-T list of candidates for the Senate will
gain seats, and the top two on the Zanu PF list for the Senate and the top
candidate on the MDC list for the Senate will also gain seats.

“A similar process would be adopted for the Provincial Councils and the
House of Assembly seats reserved for women – though in the latter instance,
how the candidates are to be determined is left open in the absence of any
mention of party lists [in the constitution].”

But Matyszak says trouble could arise when the elections produce ratios like
2.7 seats to MDC-T; 2.3 seats to Zanu PF; 0.67 seats to MDC and 0.33 seats
to ZAPU.

“What is to be done with the fractions? One could round MDC-T’s ratio up to
the nearest integer and give it three seats and round Zanu PF’s down and
give them two. What of the minor party votes?

“The proposed constitution blithely provides that an Act of Parliament shall
provide ‘a system of proportional representation’. Which system is selected
may be of vital importance. Some systems favour small parties; some favour
large parties with a slight numerical advantage; and some favour large
parties with a slight numerical disadvantage.

“Once the parties have crunched the numbers from the last elections and made
their prognoses for the next, there may be some hard bargaining and
negotiating to be done over the choice of proportional representation

But given the pace at which past negotiations have taken place between the
main political parties since the formation of the coalition government in
2009, Matyszak suggested that “each party’s respective mathematicians and
statisticians get number crunching now and the talks on this issue commence
immediately thereafter”.

Parliament will stand automatically dissolved on June 29 “by which time this
issue will need to be resolved so that the legislation is in place in time
for the election, which as legalities now have it, ought to be on roughly
the same date,” he added.

Matyszak insists there is no need to extend the life of parliament beyond
June 29 as suggested by the MDC parties.
“While it’s important to have key reforms in place before elections, there
are only three crucial pieces of legislation that certainly need amendment
before elections. The most important is the Electoral Act, because that
needs to be amended to take into account the provisions relating to
proportional representation and then you need to tweak the Local Government
Act and probably the Provincial Councils Act.

“So those are the only three pieces of legislation that absolutely must be
changed before the elections, and I would have thought that parliament would
have been able to do that by June 29.”

Matyszak says there are strong arguments for proportional representation in
a deeply-divided country like Zimbabwe.
He told SW Radio Africa: “If you think about the first-past-the-post system,
the party that for example gets 49 percent can end up with absolutely no
representation in Parliament because every constituency was won by 51
percent by the other side.

“So it’s a winner-takes-all system which is very dangerous and destabilising
in an already deeply divided society.”
Apart from the electoral legislation amendments, MDC-T leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has laid out other conditions he wants met before elections are
called, but Zanu PF is pressing on with its demands that elections should be
held by June 29.

Matyszak suggests Tsvangirai’s stance will likely come to grief given Zanu
PF’s past obduracy.
“If Zanu PF hasn’t agreed to these reforms in the many years of the unity
government, they are not likely to do so in the few months remaining before
elections,” Matyszak said.

“That is why I say it is not strictly necessary to extend the life of
parliament because you will be extending it for reforms that are unlikely to
take place in any event.”

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Zimbabwe Wall of Shame: Chief Kasekete
on May 1, 2013 at 2:30 am
By Lance Guma

MUZARABANI – Last year in June, Chief Changara Kasekete of Muzarabani, was officially given an electrified three bedroomed (six roomed) house which was built by United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa.

Chief Kasekete’s brother Mr Wilson Mutinhima shows Acting President Joice Mujuru the house Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa built for the chief in Muzarabani yesterday. Looking on is the chief and other guests

June 2012: Chief Kasekete’s brother Mr Wilson Mutinhima shows then Acting President Joice Mujuru the house Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa built for the chief in Muzarabani. Looking on is Chief Kasekete and other guests

The house built in just 26 days has a spacious lounge, a dining room, a kitchen and a garage. The house was also furnished with a plasma television, sofas, luxury beds and dressing tables and a kitchen unit at a cost of over US$25 000.

Makandiwa grew up in the area and his parents live at Vhudzijena Village in Muzarabani.

He claims he built the house to honour Chief Kasekete but many people in the area expressed outrage at how ‘a man of God’ could honour such a ruthless violence monger.

Chief Kasekete, whose full name is Faxwell Mutinhima, led a brutal campaign of political violence that resulted in the death of more than 22 MDC-T officials and supporters in 2008.

Kasekete’s sudden change of character puzzled many in the area. He was initially a very popular and promising leader, instrumental in attracting developmental projects. Little did villagers know they were celebrating the installation of a ‘monster’, a witness said.

At all the gatherings held in the run up to the bloody presidential run-off in June 2008, Kasekete declared his undying loyalty for Mugabe and ZANU PF. He declared that the MDC-T would not be allowed to have a presence or even campaign in Muzarabani. Violence was to be the key tool he used to ensure this.

Kasekete teamed up with local MP Edward Raradza, Luke Mushore (MP), Jenia Manyeruke (Senator), Kamusengezi (soldier), Yahwe (CIO agent), Chief Chiweshe, Proud Pfotso, Godfrey Katsiru, Chibau (ZANU PF district chairman) and Avozhi Chibedebede.

A dossier in our possession says MDC-T supporters were “butchered, maimed, tortured and displaced in Muzarabani” by this group. In June last year SW Radio Africa posted a shocking video footage online exposing MP Raradza, who was part of Kasekete’s team in 2008.

In the video Raradza could be seen and heard threatening villagers with violence if they support the MDC-T. He warned people at the meeting that those who support the MDC-T will be beaten by war vets and youth militias, or denied food as punishment.

In 2008 the Kasekete and Raradza led group was in command of a group of over 400 ZANU PF militia and armed soldiers.

They were responsible for the abductions and murder of MDC-T ward officials such as: Tennyson Manyimo, Titus Goho, Canaan Dzamwarira, Clemence Chirozva, Learnmore Chingani, Muzumbe, Taurai Chamboko, Ratidzayi Dzenga , Freddy Macheka and Biggie Zhuwawo.

On the 3rd June 2008, Kasekete addressed a rally at Hoya Primary School and ordered all ZANU PF supporters and militia to burn down all MDC-T supporters’ homes that night.

The militants went on a rampage and “homes went up in flames, men, women and children were ruthlessly assaulted and tortured,” the dossier says. Many victims had broken bones and lacerated wounds.

To make matters worse the militia gangs blocked the roads and victims were not allowed to seek medical help.

“Many suffered in silence and only managed to access help several weeks later, some with their conditions having developed complications due to the delays, others have consequently suffered permanent disabilities,” the document added.

Not only has the chief been involved in violence but he has abused his traditional powers to preside over kangaroo courts.

In May 2010 two MDC-T supporters who were victims of political violence in 2008, approached the perpetrators to get their livestock back. Instead Chief Kasekete had them hauled before his court to face accusations that they were talking politics and insulting a ZANU PF official.

The MDC-T supporters were initially fined US$30 each and then handed over to the police where they were charged with public nuisance and forced to pay an admission of guilt fine of US$5 each.

Worse was to come when Kasekete awarded the ZANU PF official damages in the form of three cows and goats, even though he was the one who had confiscated livestock from the MDC-T supporters.

“The cattle and goats were forcibly taken away from the victims’ homes by Kasekete and handed over to the perpetrator as compensation for the pain caused by the accusation and insults,” the dossier says.

On the 1st April 2008, a ZANU PF militia gang led by Kasekete abducted Biggie Zhuwawo from his home. Zhuwawo was subjected to a heavy and brutal assault and died on the spot.

On the 16th April 2008 Kasekete and his gang abducted Liven Mapfumo, who operated a small general dealers shop in the area. They assaulted him all over the body and destroyed his entire home. Kasekete then ordered Mapfumo to supply groceries for the Independence Day celebrations that year.

On the 26th April 2008 Eric Chinzima reported that a large group of ZANU PF militia led by Kasekete arrived at his home during the day. They accused him of supporting the MDC-T and viciously assaulted him. He lost his upper teeth after being kicked in the mouth with a booted foot.

On the 1st May 2008 the ZANU PF militia apprehended Simbarashe Manzizi on his way home. They accused him of voting for the MDC-T in March and started beating him up as punishment. They then took him to his home where they destroyed all the huts there.

He said that among the group was Chief Kasekete who was giving the orders.

On the 2nd May 2008 the local ZANU PF youths around Hoya school accused Freddie Matonhodze of campaigning for Tsvangirai in the area. Chief Kasekete and his group destroyed Matonhodze’s entire homestead.

His family fled and sought refuge with relatives away from the area. Their clothes, property and utensils were all burnt.

On the same day Chief Kasekete ordered Lucky Mutengwa to be brought before him because he was accused of supporting the MDC-T. Mutengwa was harassed and threatened with death if he continued living in Muzarabani.

Mutengwa eventually deserted his family and property and lived in another district until the June elections were over.

Again on the 1st May 2008 Chief Kasekete, in the command of more that 50 ZANU PF youths and war vets, attacked Christopher Mondera at his home. They heavily assaulted him, looted and destroyed his home.

The violence continued on the same day as the mob caught Wanzirai Magodo at his home. They assaulted him with a variety of weapons and he sustained serious injuries all over the body.

They also destroyed all his property including family clothes and his only tractor which was burnt in the attack. Magodo identified Kasekete, Edward Raradza, Luke Mushore and Avhozhi Chibedebede.

On the same day Chief Kasekete, accompanied by a large group of ZANU PF youths, some of them in army fatigue, assaulted Obert Tayi at his home. They destroyed his huts and took away 9 cattle, 4 sheep and 3 goats.

The following day on the 2nd May 2008 Saymore Gweru was abducted and interrogated by Chief Kasekete. He was accused of refusing to divulge information on where his brother was hiding.

He was assaulted and tortured for a long time before he was released. His abductors confiscated 2 goats from his home for food at their base.

Later on the group attacked Dzikamayi D Gono at his home during the night. Some of the assailants were in military uniform and they destroyed the whole homestead.

Gono identified some of the perpetrators as Raradza, P Pfotso,T Diamond, O Sosono, C Chiringa, CP Mutonga Njiva, B Mazhuwana, P Chashaya and Chief Kasekete himself.

The gang, still in the company of these senior party officials, surrounded  Clemence Chirozva’s homestead near Chaminda Primary school. They ordered him out of his house and started assaulting him with a variety of weapons. Chirozva sustained serious injuries that never healed. He passed away in 2009.

On the 3rd May 2008 the same mob stormed Siiraishe Charunda’s homestead where they interrogated and assaulted him. The gang destroyed his house and property including his bed, radio, food, and clothes.

The same day Luke Mushore, Edward Rraradza, Chief Kasekete and the other members of the ZANU PF gang, burnt down the home of Sunungurai Musengeni. They not only beat him up severely but burnt everything at his homestead. They also took his three cows.

On the 5th May 2008 Prisca Mutizwa was beaten up by local ZANU PF youths who accused her of supporting Morgan Tsvangirai. She reported that after the assault Chief Kasekete took away 2 tonnes of maize and 4 bales of cotton as punishment for her supporting the MDC-T.

On the 6th May 2008 Chief Kasekete led a ZANU PF militia who were wielding axes, iron bars and guns. They surrounded Angelina Ngorima’s homestead during the night. They ordered her out of the hut she was sleeping in and set it on fire. All the structures were demolished and she lost everything.

On the 7th May 2008 Lucky Mutemaunga was told that soldiers were looking for him and that he had been targeted for elimination by the local ZANU PF leadership.  He quickly got out of the area and walked on foot throughout the night.

He boarded a bus the following morning to Harare where he sought refuge for the whole of 2008. Assisting the army was Madhongi, Chief Kasekete, Norman Chizeya, Paramanzi and Kanhutu.

It’s estimated more than 22 people were killed in Muzarabani in 2008 as a result of direct orders from Chief Kasekete. According to the Heal Zimbabwe Trust some 125 people were also displaced.

Kasekete has not been prosecuted and continues to be a prominent ZANU PF mouthpiece and campaigner.

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Zambian vice-president: 'South Africans are backward'

Guy Scott wastes little time on diplomatic language as he lets loose on
Africa's biggest economy, race, Mugabe and gay rights

David Smith in Lusaka, Wednesday 1 May 2013 15.13 BST

Zambian vice-president Guy Scott in Harare, Zimbabwe. He says that
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe wants to quit. Photograph: Tsvangirayi
One of the most colourful men in African politics happens to be white. Guy
Scott is the vice-president of Zambia but his race is probably the least
exceptional thing about him.

On a recent afternoon in the capital, Lusaka, Scott held court with the kind
of candour – and eccentricity – seldom heard from today's media-honed
political class. He dismissed South Africans as "backward", insisted that
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe wants to quit, and discussed Zambia by
way of references to Marlon Brando and the Klingon empire.

The 68-year-old grandfather was just back from Margaret Thatcher's funeral
in London when he took the Guardian on an impromptu tour of an emerald
auction at the InterContinental Lusaka hotel. Discussing similar auctions in
India with a deferential salesman, Scott said: "Jaipur is a terrible dump.
It produces nothing but zinc."

As officials fluttered around him, Scott, wearing a dark suit, blue striped
shirt and blue and red tie, was informed that the Hollywood actor Mila Kunis
recently visited a local mine as an "ambassador" for Zambian emeralds. "How
come I didn't see her?" he pondered morosely.

The son of English and Scottish immigrants – his father Alexander was also
an MP here – Scott then gave an interview that wasted little time on
diplomatic language. Discussing neighbouring Zimbabwe, where Mugabe has
ruled for 33 years, he disclosed: "I think if you asked him he'd say it was
enough. That's what he said to us a few months ago. I said the way forward
in African democracy is the way we do it in Zambia. He said, 'I absolutely
agree, I wish it would happen to me.'"

As in lose an election? "Yes, and a smooth handover. I think he meant it, or
he was toying with the idea of meaning it. He wanted to hear how it sounded,
maybe. Or something."

Scott went on to describe 89-year-old Mugabe's persona. "He's a funny chap.
He seems to doze off and then he suddenly laughs at a joke while in the
middle of dozing. And very articulate, without a note, without a scrap of

"He's an anglophone. He loves to give lectures on the English language,
English weighing systems, English this or that. He was a teacher and so he
taught himself all that."

Zambian president Michael Sata – whom Scott refers to as "the boss" – is
known to be on friendly terms with Mugabe, who used to work as a teacher in
Zambia. "I'm sure any good African nationalist admires Mugabe," the
vice-president added. "Racism in Zimbabwe is a serious issue. I  was sent to
school down there and it was like being in the Hitler Youth: the theories
about black inferiority and this kind of stuff.

"It was a whites-only school; they tried to introduce an Indian and he was
hounded out at the instigation of the parents of the boys. I think Mugabe is
a product of having to contend with that."

But Scott has far less time for South Africa, the continent's biggest
economy. "The South Africans are very backward in terms of historical
development," he said. "I hate South Africans. That's not a fair thing to
say because I like a lot of South Africans but they really think they're the
bees' knees and actually they've been the cause of so much trouble in this
part of the world.

"I have a suspicion the blacks model themselves on the whites now that
they're in power. 'Don't you know who we are, man?'"

Scott scoffed at the inclusion of South Africa in the Brics grouping of
emerging economies. "They think in Brics that the 's' actually stands for
South Africa whereas it stands for Africa. Nobody would want to go in for a
partnership with Brazil, China, India and South Africa for Christ's sake.

"I dislike South Africa for the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the
United States, I think. It's just too big and too unsubtle."

Warming to his theme, Scott let rip at South African President Jacob Zuma,
comparing him with the last apartheid leader, FW de Klerk. "He's very like
De Klerk. He tells us, 'You just leave Zimbabwe to me.' Excuse me, who the
hell liberated you anyway, was it not us? I mean, I quite like him, he seems
a rather genial character but I pity him his advisers."

Fewer than 40,000 of Zambia's 13 million-strong population are white. Scott,
a wildly popular MP for Lusaka, notes that the country has more than 80
tribes and several major language groups. "That doesn't add up to a bipolar
formula for the scrap" along racial lines.

He became vice-president in 2011 but his presence baffles some African
leaders at high-level meetings. "I think they regard me as a sort of mascot,
a good luck charm for African politics. Michael's very clever, he knows
people tend to regard him as a racist because he talks rough.

"He's usually tried it out on me already. He says things like, 'What would
you be if you weren't white?' I said, 'The president?' That shut him up."

But opposition parties have accused the Sata-Scott leadership of
orchestrating violence, banning rallies, throwing dissenters in jail and
dragging Zambia towards authoritarianism. Scott sarcastically predicted that
opponents would complain to the Commonwealth, then the UN and, if still
unsuccessful, the Klingon empire.

"It's a wheeze, it's an attempt I suppose based on some of the stuff that
took place in Russia to denounce a government rather than eject it," he
said. "But I really am very hard-pressed to find a corner I can sit in and
believe that we're looking at a one-party state again."

He added: "It doesn't help that people don't know where Zambia is and they
don't know what Zambia is like. If you were to write a story about America
getting out of hand and going to a one-party state, everybody knows so much
about the United States that they won't believe you.

"If you say, 'Somewhere over there in the African hinterland, not far from
where Marlon Brando had a house surrounded by stakes with heads of his
enemies on, not far from the Congo, there's a place where there's a
one-party state …' Well, there probably is, probably several. And so it's a
lot easier for that because there's no built-in balance."

One recent incident in which Zambia's civil liberties credentials took a
battering, however, was the arrest of a human rights activist who had
appeared on live TV calling for homosexuality to be decriminalised.

Scott admitted: "The problem with this guy going on television was that we
had to do something because if we had done absolutely nothing we would have
got a bollocking from all these evangelical churches plus damn idiots. On
the other hand, we didn't want to give him a particularly hard ride."

As newspapers and TV shows whipped up homophobia, Scott set out priorities
that offer little consolation to anyone who is gay. "I think you've got so
much cleaning up to do of killings and defilements and this and that, it's
almost self-indulgent to think, 'Well, why don't we sit here and talk about
gay rights?'

"It's indulgent politics that assumes yes, we don't actually have 7 million
unemployed people. Realistically, I think even an average gay, if you gave
him a list of all the concerns Zambia had, would not necessarily put gay
rights on top."

He went on: "There's tonnes of gay joints in this town. Well, not tonnes but
they're there, well known. It's entirely the same phenonemon you get
anywhere else. It's live and let live. Stirring up and making it worse, that
is the biggest danger. Let sleeping dogs lie is an easier policy."

If Sata were to die in office, Scott would make history as the first
democratic white leader in Africa, albeit as a three-month caretaker until
an election was held. Seeking the presidency full-time would be "a bridge
too far" for qualifying rules because his parents were born outside the

Scott, whose wife is from Greenwich, south-east London, has health worries
of his own, including a right hand that trembles slightly. "It's possibly
Parkinson's, I haven't had it diagnosed yet." He is also concerned about
possible cancer under one eye. "In my age group, there is on average six
things wrong with you at any one time."

Scott departed, stepping into a lift and flanked by security guards, making
a quip about how many emeralds he could conceal in his hand.

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Giving Women in Zimbabwe’s Informal Sector Rights

By Jeffrey Moyo

HARARE, May 1 2013 (IPS) - Mollin Siyanda, 46, a single mother of three from
Harare’s low-income suburb of Hatcliffe, is scared of being arrested by the
council police as she sells fruit, vegetables and second-hand clothes on the
pavement of the city centre without a permit.

“I take the (fruit and clothes) to the city centre to resell on the street
pavements during evenings at peak hours as people are rushing back home,”
she says of the goods she purchases every day at Mbare Musika, a major
market in Harare.

“But I’m always operating under constant fear of council cops who often
accuse me of being an illegal vendor,” Siyanda tells IPS.

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Selling goods without a licence from the Harare council authorities is
illegal here.

But a licence costs 20 dollars, which is a large sum to the many working in
the informal economy who earn on average between two to five dollars a day.

According to Philip Bohwasi, chairperson of the Council of Social Workers in
Zimbabwe, the country’s unemployment rate is 84 percent. As a result, a
great majority of people currently work in the informal sector, and hundred
of vendors have set up their stands at undesignated points across the city.

Siyanda’s story is one example of the situation that a number of Zimbabwe’s
working women constantly face.

According to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), over 60 percent
of Zimbabwean women working in both the formal and informal sector are now
the breadwinners in their families, as their husbands have succumbed to
HIV/AIDS or were retrenched from their jobs.

“It’s true that women have become breadwinners. Some women have been widowed
or their husbands left for greener pastures or were retrenched, leaving
their wives to venture into the informal sector,” says Fiona Magaya, gender
coordinator for ZCTU.

Ahead of May 1, International Workers’ Day, women trade unionists in this
Southern African nation have called for government leaders to recognise
informally-employed women.

Magaya tells IPS that the trade union has asked the Zimbabwe Chamber of the
Informal Economy Association to persuade local authorities to allow
informally-employed women to “to carry out their jobs without being nagged
by police.”

“There is need for proper recognition of the informal sector and the role it
is playing in the country’s economy, and government should move swiftly to
regulate the informal economy, which employs the bulk of women,” Magaya

Hillary Yuba, from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, echoes Magaya’s

“Women clung to their small jobs even after dollarisation came, but scores
of men lost theirs. Hence we now find women turning into breadwinners,” Yuba
tells IPS. In 2009, Zimbabwe introduced a multi-currency regime, where
transactions are now carried out in the United States dollar, South African
rand and Botswana pula, to beat hyperinflation under the Zimbabwean dollar.

“Government is certainly not looking into these problems,” she says.

ZCTU information officer Khumbulani Ndlovhu says poor remuneration in the
formal economy has forced women to venture into informal businesses.

“Even formally-employed women are in the informal sector, working in casual
jobs to supplement their wages,” Ndlovhu tells IPS.

She says that the government should implement comprehensive economic
empowerment policies that would give women access to the resources needed
and would boost projects that “assist them in attending to bread and butter
issues in their families.”

However, the government says a shortage of funding has hampered its efforts
to economically empower women in both sectors.

“There is a lack of prioritisation of funding of key ministries like the
ministries of women affairs, gender and community development …. and small
and medium enterprise development,” a top government official from the
ministry of women affairs, gender and community development tells IPS on the
condition of anonymity.

A veteran female trade unionist from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists,
Sheila Mahlathi, says: “The fact that women have become major breadwinners
calls for leaders to recognise they should also be given positions of
authority, not through affirmative action, but by realising that, just like
their male counterparts, women can also achieve extraordinary things.

“Authorities should make sure there are designated places for women to work
unhindered as they fend for their families in the informal sector,” Mahlathi
tells IPS.

One successful female entrepreneur in the informal sector, 34-year-old
Ashley Zijena from Harare’s Southertorn middle-income suburb, urges women to
remain resilient in the face of challenges.

Zijena, who operates eight flea market stalls selling imported clothes in
Harare’s Machipisa low-income suburb, tells IPS that on average she makes
between 60 to 80 dollars a day.

“Women should stand up and occupy as many political and economic positions
as possible,” she says.

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Elections in June is wishful thinking

If there is any nation which suffers from amnesia, it is certainly not Zimbabweans. While timing for the next harmonised elections has become a mantra in both private and public media, the fact remains that there won’t be elections for as long as “toxic issues” remain unresolved.


Our collective memory informs us that on 15 September 2008, three principals, with Mbeki playing the devil’s advocate, signed a near-sacrosanct document that became known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The document has 25 articles in total and three are very fresh in our minds. These are Articles 10, 12 and 13 which unequivocally address Free Political Activity, State Organs and Institutions and Freedom of Assembly and Association, respectively.

These articles are not just an aspiration but a serious commitment to be fulfilled by all parties concerned. Those who have been misinforming the nation about security sector reform should revisit Article 13 – State Organs and Institutions and tell us what is it they don’t understand in this article written in very simple terms. Ongoing persecution of MDC supporters does not demonstrate that there is free political activity in Zimbabwe. Only people from certain parties enjoy freedom of assembly and association.

It is this blatant disregard for the GPA that has delayed elections and not the MDC’s fear of electoral defeat as some hoodlums would like us to believe. Had the GPA been consummated as expected, elections would have been history by now. Suggesting otherwise is grossly mischievous if not a demeaning insinuation that Zimbabweans are forgetful morons. Even Thabo Mbeki, the shrewd GPA architect, must now be deeply disappointed if not ashamed.

Over the years, ZANU PF had become used to calling for elections as and when they deemed fit. Somebody needs to remind them that the ball game has changed and changed for good.

We all know that May will not be an election month since there is still much work to be done in terms of the new constitution and voter registration. There will not be elections in June for reasons that are already in the public domain. July is a non-starter given that the nation will be seized with final preparations for the UNWTO General Assembly in Victoria Falls. We don’t have the resources to hold elections and prepare for this great event in the same month. Even if we did, Africa, particularly Sadc, would not allow this to happen as this would cast a dark shadow over the UNWTO Assembly. 

August is another non-starter as it is when the great event will be running. Also, ZANU PF will be redirecting all energy, focus and meagre resources towards their Golden Jubilee to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ndabaningi Sithole-founded party. The fact that they seem to be very quiet about this celebration doesn’t mean they are not planning for it. It will probably be President Mugabe’s last grand event as President of Zimbabwe. ZANU PF will never miss the opportunity of world cameras zooming in Zimbabwe thanks to the tourism event. They would also want to use the anniversary as a launch pad for their campaign.

So, when are these elections? My prognosis is between September and October. The weekend of September 14 &15 sounds most ideal as it coincides with the 5th anniversary of the GPA. Going beyond October would be most surprising for the simple reason that the nation will be seized with the rainy season. Even traditional marriages are taboo during that month. As we welcome this season, we are likely to welcome a new government, a new beginning and a new Zimbabwe.

Therefore, nobody should lose sleep over June elections; it is nothing but wishful thinking unless if ZANU PF is prepared to commit political suicide by disregarding Sadc at this crucial juncture. I doubt if they will.

Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted at


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Zimbabwe Election – Road Trip Day One


On a drive across Zimbabwe, 500 kilometres from Masvingo to Harare, our
correspondent takes in what has and has not changed in the years since his
last visit.

Here are his thoughts on Day One:

It’s my first trip to Zimbabwe in years. The border crossing has never been
nice and takes forever (for as often as SADC meets, can’t they streamline
this?) but somehow the chore of getting across the Limpopo makes arriving
that much sweeter.

The air smells different once you arrive, earthier and warmer and more like
home. And I wonder what the South Africans did to their trees. What happened
to their baobabs?

I love stopping to look at the trees on the highway from Beitbridge. Once
upon a time, the road after the border was filled with black market money
changers. Now the Engen service station takes money in any currency you care
to offer. They quote the price in US dollars, and at the touch of a button,
it’s converted to rands.

Now the street vendors are selling SIM cards, fire extinguishers, traffic
triangles and safety vests. But just a bit farther out, when the donkeys
start appearing on the roadside with their clanging cowbells, the trees get
bigger and more beautiful.

This one is a place for lovers. Over decades, the two trunks have grown into
one, and people try to immortalize their own love by carving names, initials
and hearts in the bark. Baobabs are soft but resilient. They heal themselves
over time, so one day the old initials will get absorbed into the tree while
new ones get carved on top. It’s not a bad system.

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Zimbabwe Election – Road Trip Day Two


On a drive across Zimbabwe, 500 kilometres from Masvingo to Harare, our
correspondent takes in what has and has not changed in the years since his
last visit.

Here are his thoughts on Day Two, from Great Zimbabwe, the ruined 11th
Century city near the Chimanimani Mountains and the border with Mozambique.

I have a confession: I love Great Zimbabwe. My well-travelled friends often
sneer that it’s not as awe-inspiring as Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu. I see
their point. The national parks’ obsession with comparing it to the pyramids
in Egypt doesn’t help, because, let’s be honest, the pyramids it’s not.

What it is, however, is enormous, and mysterious, and graceful. I love that
there are no right angles, that the walls swoop and curve around each other.
I love that the king had secret passages to leave his court or to sneak out
and visit his 200 wives. I love that they had plenty of gold but not so much
iron, so the blast furnace was kept next door to the throne. I love that the
kings were buried in a 24-kilometre-long secret cave that’s been covered up
since 1937, when a team of archaeologists went inside to explore and never
came back out.

In a country as conservative as Zimbabwe is today, I also love that the
residents of Great Zimbabwe were clearly really into sex. The blast furnace
was styled like a woman’s body, with breasts above the flames. That was next
to a tree where men still shave off the roots as an aphrodisiac. The Great
Enclosure had a “marital preparation” area where girls were coached in the
arts of love. A pile of treasure in that area included beads and porcelain
and jewelry imported from India and China and Persia. Found mixed in with
the valuables was a collection of stone dildos, now displayed in the site
museum in the same room as the iconic Zimbabwe birds.

The first time I went to Great Zimbabwe was in 2001, right after tourism
collapsed. For a while in the 1990s, Zimbabwe was the most visited country
in Africa after Egypt. After the failed elections and the land reforms and
the hyperinflation began in 2000, tourists disappeared. On that first visit,
I felt like I had discovered the ruins myself. There was simply no one else
around. Now a modest gathering of cars and a lone tour bus sit in the
parking lot. Guides said they had already done two tours by midday, and that
school groups regularly go through. My guide had a university degree in
history and could speak engagingly about anything and everything there.

I hope this means that tourism is starting to come back, but there are many
hurdles, not the least of which is cost. The guide charged $3. The charming
but not very special hotel next door charged $190 a night. At least the Wifi
was free. Wifi didn’t even exist here my last time around.

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