The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe not ready for peaceful, credible election: EU official

Sapa-dpa | 29 May, 2013 09:25

Zimbabwe still has much work ahead of it if the country is to hold a fair
election this year, a top European Union official told journalists in

"I think there is still a lot to be done if elections are to be peaceful and
credible," EU Managing Director for Africa Nicholas Westcott said during a
visit to the southern African nation.

The country recently passed a new constitution in a national referendum.

This paved the way for general elections later this year which should end a
fragile coalition government between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
and the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change, headed by Morgan

In light of the new constitutional path Zimbabwe has taken, the EU recently
removed some sanctions which targeted Mugabe's inner circle.

A fair election could push the EU to remove further punitive measures.

Zimbabwe is also in need of cash to hold the election, as the treasury says
the state cannot foot the bill. The country entered into a prolonged period
of economic collapse more than a decade ago, owing to Mugabe's policies
which included the seizure of white-owned farms.

There has been an economic rebound in recent years, but the recovery is slow
and unsteady.

"Our criterion for funding the elections is that we are confident that we
are contributing to elections that will not be skewed," said Westcott.

"I have been looking if we can get assurances that the money will be well
spent towards goodwill objectives," he added.

Zimbabwe's last election in 2008 was rife with fraud, intimidation and
violence targeting the opposition, media and civil society groups.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African Commission urges Zimbabwe to reform

May 29, 2013

    The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has found
the Zimbabwean government guilty of human rights violations after the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum lodged a complaint over the death of four
Zimbabweans at the hands of security agents.
African Commission on Human and People’s Rights

The Commission urged Zimbabwe to reform its laws.

The decision which obligates Zimbabwe to pay compensation “to the legal
heirs and next of kin of the four deceased persons” was passed during the
Commission’s 51st Session in April 2012 in Banjul, Gambia. The same decision
was later on endorsed at the AU Heads of State Summit in January 2013.

The ruling was communicated to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in March
2013. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum lodged the complaint in 2004 on
behalf of the bereaved families.

“The decision by the Commission confirms and vindicates the concerns by the
Forum and other civil society groups over the years on the excesses by state
security agencies and their wanton disregard to the sacredness of human
life,” the NGO Forum said.

It added: “The Forum applauds the Commission on these findings, and urges
the government of Zimbabwe to honor its obligations under the African
Charter and provide due and adequate compensation to the families of the

The murdered – in separate cases – were two former University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) students, Batanai Hadzisi, 21, and Lameck Chemvura,23, as well as a
Motor mechanic Munyaradzi Never Chitsenga, 17, and Beavan Tatenda
Kazingachire, 6.

“In all the cases, the bereaved families did not receive adequate support
from the state , no bereavement compensation was paid to the deceased’s
estates and no prosecutions have been made so far save for Chemvura and
Batanai’s cases where the responsible officers were arrested and charged
with murder.

“However, there are no updates as to the progress of the prosecution,” NGO
Forum said.

Zimbabwe as a State party this year lost another case before the same
Commission to an exiled human rights lawyer, Gabriel Shumba where the ACHPR
ruled that he should receive compensation for torture which was perpetrated
by State Security Agents in 2003.

Another case involving Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu who claim to
have been arrested over 50 times and are represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, was filed with the ACHPR this year.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesperson and Bulawayo Agenda Director, Mr
Thabani Nyoni said that the mounting of cases against the Government of
Zimbabwe highlighted the unequivocal levels of incessant human rights abuses
taking place in Zimbabwe.

“The filing of cases by Zimbabweans seeking redress at the ACHPR may be a
sign that Zimbabweans have lost confidence in local remedies. But this is an
albatross on the government of Zimbabwe which must be dealt with urgently,
if Zimbabwe is to hold credible, peaceful, free and fair elections”, said

In the recent decision the ACHPR recommended that the Government of Zimbabwe
“undertake law reform to bring domestic laws on compensation in cases of
wrongful killings into conformity with the African Charter and other
international standards, especially in respect to effective and satisfactory

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC: Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe, Zanu PF

BY DUMISANI SIBANDA 11 hours 42 minutes ago

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent regional diplomatic offensive has
paid-off following a resolution by the Southern African Development
Community (Sadc) to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe ahead of the
make-or-break elections later this year.

The summit, whose date is yet to be set, will review the implementation of
outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) — that ushered in
the inclusive government — the election roadmap and election funding.

Tsvangirai last month took a diplomatic tour to sensitise Sadc leaders to
press President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement outstanding
issues of the GPA and urged the regional bloc to convene a special summit on
Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections.

The state media – The Herald and ZBC – however — dismissed his tour as an
exercise in futility.

But in an interview yesterday, Sadc facilitator, South African president
Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said Zimbabwe was
discussed at a Sadc meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit
golden jubilee celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.

“It was agreed that a summit of the Sadc Heads of State be held where the
issue of Zimbabwe will be discussed. That summit will receive a progress
report on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement following the
constitutional process,” Zulu said.

“It will clear the way for elections. The three political parties in
government will have to agree on the roadmap to elections. They have to
agree on what has to happen prior to the elections, during the elections and
post elections. The date of the summit has not been set, but the meeting
will be held soon.”

This flies in Mugabe and Zanu PF’s claims that Sadc — as the guarantor of
the GPA — had given Zimbabwe “the nod” to hold the elections and that the
planned extra-ordinary summit was merely to raise funds for holding the

Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters on his return at Harare International Airport
on Monday that Sadc had resolved to hold the summit to solely raise funds
for the elections following the successful completion of the new

But Zulu said: “There is no way the issue of funding elections can be looked
into in isolation. The funding will come from Zimbabwe itself. Zimbabweans
will say if they need funding assistance.”

Zanu PF had all along insisted that the harmonised elections would be held
on June 29 this year when the life of the current Parliament expires, while
the MDC parties insist on the fulfillment of outstanding issues such as
security sector and media reforms first.

Tsvangirai yesterday welcomed Sadc decision on Zimbabwe.

“It’s a welcome development. The Prime Minister welcomes any summit on
Zimbabwe. But definitely the summit will not just be about discussing the
funding of the elections. It will obviously look at issues around the
hygiene issues . . . the environment for holding the elections,” his
spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

“It will obviously look at issues to do with the implementation of the
reforms required under the GPA before the holding of free and fair
elections. Remember Sadc are the guarantors of the GPA and from the outset
their mandate was to help Zimbabwe have free and fair polls.”

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said they were happy
with the development.

“You remember that our President Welshman Ncube wrote to Sadc detailing all
the issues that are outstanding, but necessary for the holding of free and
fair elections and that is what we want the special summit to attend to,” he

On March 28 this year Ncube wrote to the Sadc Troika chairman Tanzanian
president Jakaya Kikwete saying his party was being excluded from the
process of drawing up the roadmap to the elections and the need for full
implementation of the GPA as a pre-condition for holding free and fair

The Livingstone Sadc summit in 2011 recognised Ncube as a principal in the
coalition government, but he has complained that he is being sidelined by
partners in the inclusive government, Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe needs at least $253 million to hold the harmonised elections. The
country, which has suffered years of economic hemorrhaging, does not have
the money and has taken out its begging bowl to South Africa and Angola. -

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Political violence leaves dozens injured in Harare South

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

The area surrounding Crest Breeders on the outskirts of Harare turned into a
combat zone on Tuesday as ZANU PF supporters indiscriminately attacked a
group of MDC activists.

Crest Breeders falls under Harare South, the only parliamentary constituency
held by ZANU PF in the Harare metropolitan area. The incumbent MP, Hubert
Nyanhongo is ZANU PF’s deputy Minister of Energy and Power development.

The retired army officer has abandoned the constituency and has now set his
sights on the Nyanga North seat held by the MDC-T spokesman Douglas

Jacob Mafume, the newly elected MDC-T parliamentary candidate for Harare
South, told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program that the unprovoked
attack left a number of party activists injured, three of them seriously.

The lawyer-cum politician deplored the attacks and urged leaders in ZANU PF
to act immediately to address the political violence and intimidation that
their supporters still use against the MDC.

Mafume, currently a legal advisor in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
office, said it is clear many of ZANU PF’s leaders use political violence to
prevail in elections. He explained that such struggles for political office
are often waged in the streets by criminal gangs, recruited by politicians
to help them hold on to power.

‘Our supporters were attacked on the pretext that Harare South is a ZANU PF
stronghold and no one should dare wear anything other than ZANU PF regalia.

‘But the margin of victory in the 2008 elections is not that wide to suggest
it’s a ZANU PF territory. What we have is an orchestrated campaign by known
people intending to butcher their way to victory in Harare,’ Mafume added.

He stressed that the attackers are well known figures in the area, but have
not been arrested because of their political connections.

‘The problem we have in this country is people speak in forked tongues on
electoral violence. The more people in ZANU PF preach peace, the more their
supporters prepare arms of violence,’ said Mafume.

The level of violence has reached a point where party principals in the GPA
urgently need to restrain their supporters. President Mugabe has lately been
saying that elections should be peaceful, but the ZANU PF leader has made
similar pronouncements before, but they have never been followed through by
any action.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Arson’ attack heightens tensions at Chisumbanje

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

A fire that destroyed over 500 hectares of sugar cane owned by the
Chisumbanje ethanol project has heightened tensions there, where relations
between the company running the project and locals are already seriously

10 people have been arrested for suspected arson after the fire on Tuesday,
which destroyed sugar cane worth about US$5 million. There has been no
official confirmation from the police if formal charges have been brought
against the arrested group.

The ZANU PF mouthpiece Herald newspaper quoted sources who described the
fire as an “act of sabotage” to stop operations at the controversial plant,
allegedly because success there would “raise the ZANU PF trajectory in

MP Meke Makuyana, the MDC-T representative for Chipinge South, spoke to
affected villagers and they denied any involvement in the fire. He told SW
Radio Africa that it is widely thought that employees at the ethanol plant
were responsible for starting a fire that “went out of control.”

“The problem is there is still bad blood between the company and the
community. The most recent problem has been with the community trying to get
a shortcut (through Green Fuel property) to their crops, which the company
has been resisting,” Makuyana said.

The ethanol project, run by the Billy Rautenbach backed Green Fuel group,
remains a source of confusion and anger, especially for locals who have been
directly affect by the development of the plant. For over 15 months, the
project has sat idle amid worsening tensions between the community and the
plant’s investors. The community has lost land, livestock and income as a
result of the plant, while some people have faced violence and intimidation.

The MDC-T has said that about 187 families have relocated to Mozambique
after the company took over communal plots of land and damaged their crops.
Green Fuel has denied this is the case.

The project has also been the source of much politicking, with all sides in
government blaming each other for the failure of the plant to become fully
operational. Most recently Vice President Joice Mujuru said in March that
the plant was ready to be reopened, in a move that saw her being criticised
for currying favour ahead of elections. That directive has still not been
followed up with action.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZimRights officials in court, as ZESN offices raided

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

The trial of officials from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights), which started in Harare on Monday, continued Wednesday with the
state witnesses giving evidence.

Six ZimRights officials, including director Okay Machisa, are facing
allegations that they were involved in ‘illegal voter registration’ and
forging voter registration certificates “to tarnish the name of the
Registrar General”.

One of the lawyers representing the accused, Trust Maanda, told SW Radio
Africa that so far the state has been trying to prove that his clients “
conspired to commit an act of fraud or that they all forged voter
registration certificates.”

Maanda said the state is expected to call its last witness Thursday before
closing its case: “But all I can say for now is that the witnesses have so
far testified that they have no evidence against Leo Chamahwinya, Okay
Machisa or ZimRights as an entity. They did not find anything in their

“In relation to the other accused, the witnesses have said they are not too
sure about what was found in whose possession, and at the end of the day the
witnesses have categorically exonerated ZimRights and its officials.

The other ZimRights officials are Dorcas Shereni, Farai Bhani, Tatenda
Chinaka and Nunurayi Jena. All the accused deny the charges.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) on Wednesday
condemned the arrest and seizure of the group’s property by the police.

The elections monitoring group made the remarks in a statement issued after
ZESN officials were on Tuesday summoned by Hwange police to answer charges
of allegedly conducting voter education in the Matebeleland North province.

ZESN said the summons was issued over the phone and was followed by a visit
by two police details to the offices of the Legal Resources Foundation (a
ZESN affiliate organisation) where posters and flyers meant to encourage
Zimbabweans to register as voters were seized.

“The materials were confiscated following unsubstantiated and false
allegations that ZESN had conducted voter education from May 13th-17th
without accreditation from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),” the
statement said.

The organisation denied the allegations, and said “the continued arrest and
criminalisation of civic society organisations for allegedly conducting
“voter education” without ZEC permission was disturbing.

ZESN called on the relevant authorities to clarify the distinction between
voter education and voter information and civic education, and argued that
“attempts to stem civic education by labelling it ‘voter education’, is

“The heavy-handed actions of the law enforcement authorities are a
contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as they arbitrarily impede on
fundamental rights and freedoms of access to information, assembly and
information, amongst others,” the statement further stated.

A ZESN official told SW Radio Africa that the organisation’s representatives
will travel to Hwange on Thursday, accompanied by lawyers.

A fresh voter registration exercise is expected to begin next week in each
of the country’s 1,958 wards after government secured the $25 million
requested by ZEC.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police in Hwange summon ZESN and confiscate civic education material



Yesterday, police in Hwange summoned ZESN officials to answer charges of
allegedly conducting voter education in the province. The telephone call was
made by Sergeant Dzvimbu who spoke to the ZESN Director.

Later in the day yesterday, two police details visited the Hwange offices of
a ZESN member organisation, Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) offices and
arbitrarily confiscated hundreds of ZESN posters and flyers meant for
distribution in the province. The materials were confiscated following
unsubstantiated and false allegations that ZESN had conducted voter
education from the 13th to the 17th of May 2013 without the approval and
accreditation from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The materials that were confiscated include posters and flyers meant to
encourage Zimbabweans to register to vote in the impending harmonised

According to Mr Settie Ncube, the ZESN taskforce Chairperson for
Matabeleland North, the two police officers who were in plain clothes
demanded to know the persons responsible for distributing the materials
before confiscating the posters and flyers. The police officers did not have
a search warrant.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have deployed lawyers to handle
the case. Meanwhile, ZESN representatives will travel to Hwange in the
company of the ZLHR lawyers. ZESN is denying and will vigorously defend the
charges in their totality.

ZESN reiterates that the continued arrest and criminalization of civic
society organisations for allegedly conducting “voter education” without
seeking permission from ZEC is disturbing. The heavy-handed actions of the
law enforcement authorities are a contravention of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe as they arbitrarily impede on fundamental rights and freedoms of
access to information, assembly and information, amongst others. The
attempts to stem civic education by labelling it “voter education” is
disingenuous and is testimony to the need for ZEC and other policy makers to
clarify the distinction between voter information, voter education, and
civic education, as such actions have the potential to irreparably harm the
positive work of ZEC and provide a basis for claims that the environment is
not suitable for the holding of a credible election.

ZESN will provide further details as the case unfolds.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

CSOs wary of Zanu (PF) machinations ahead of polls


by Edgar Gweshe

Civic Society Organisations in the country are wary of a plot by Zanu (PF)
to disrupt their work ahead of elections.

This follows comments by Bulawayo Governor and Resident Minister, Cain
Mathema, on Monday that CSOs operating in the province are being funded by
the British and Americans as part of the regime change agenda.

Mathema finger pointed CSs such as the Bulawayo Agenda, Radio Dialogue and
the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace (CCJP) which he labeled as "spy
organisations" that work against the people.

He accused the CSOs of causing divisions and promoting tribalism.

In a statement released yesterday, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, said: "What Cde Mathema has said is not a new
accusation, neither is the advocacy for banning NGOs new in Zanu

(PF) circles. I know that the millions of communities we serve and work with
on a daily basis know who we are and what we are about."

The Secretary General of National Association of Non-governmental
Organisations, Michael Mabwe, said Mathema's accusations could be part of a
well calculated plan to descend on CSOs in the country's ten provinces.

"First it was Governor Titus Maluleke of Masvingo who wanted to ban NGOs
from operating in the province, now it is Cain Mathema. Very soon, we will
see a stampede of governors seeking to outdo each other in banning
legitimate activities of our members within the NGO fraternity in different

"They will all accuse NGOs of one thing or the other, on top of which will
be that our members are working for a regime change agenda. For the record,
regime change in a constitutional democracy is a legitimate exercise if not
a legitimate expectation," said Mabwe.

In February 2012, Masvingo Governor, Titus Maluleke banned 29
Non-Governmental Organisations in the province.

In March this year, Maluleke summoned 45 NGs to his offices where he imposed
wide-ranging restrictions on their work.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Globe-trotting Mugabe flies out of the country, again

Staff Reporter 23 hours 51 minutes ago

HARARE - Barely less that 24 hours after his arrival from Ethiopia last
night, Zimbabwe's ageing tyrant Robert Mugabe has left the country for Japan
to attend what his officials was the fifth Tokyo International Conference on
African Development (TICAD).

Mugabe who only arrived from Ethiopia last night will join other leaders
from Africa, Japan, Asia and representatives of development partners.

The conference is being co-hosted by the government of Japan, the African
Union Commission, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the
World Bank.

Mugabe is accompanied by his wife Grace, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi and other senior government officials.

He was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Joice
Mujuru, cabinet ministers, service chiefs and other senior government

Meanwhile, Joyce Mujuru is the Acting President.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Treasury releases US$25m for voter registration

28/05/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

TREASURY has released US$25 million for a new blitz of voter registration as
the country prepares for fresh elections this year.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed the release of the funds on Tuesday
adding the 30-day registration exercise would begin next week.

“We looked for funding during the (Constitutional) referendum, and we have
done so for voter registration exercise and we now have the funds,” he said.

“I can tell you that what has been agreed is that there will be a mobile
voter registration unit in every ward of Zimbabwe’s 1900 wards. We also
agreed that schools will have the 2008 voters roll so that persons can
inspect the voters’ roll.

“(So) my massage is that take all your goats, your sheep, those who practice
witch craft take your snakes and go register to vote.”

The cash-strapped government has admitted it does not have the US$130
million needed to finance the elections which will replace the fractious
coalition administration.

Biti however, insisted Tuesday that the voter registration funds had not
been borrowed.
"We have not borrowed from anyone, we have not harmed any economy. We have
as I said before a vast array of measures and all we have done is we have
collected what was due to us,” he said.

“We expect the UN to assist (with funding elections) and we have written to
SADC and to individual countries such as South Africa and Angola for
financial assistance.

“We have no doubt that we will be able to secure the funds. People want to
assist Zimbabwe as we have shown what we can do during the referendum and
voter registration exercise.”

The treasury chief expressed concern over the performance of diamond
revenues from mining activities at Marange.
He said he had not received a penny from Marange since January.
“There are no receipts on diamonds since January.  The revenue from the
diamonds could have gone a long way in sponsoring the elections,” he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Peter Ndlovu denies plans to contest in polls under ZANU PF

By Lionel Saungweme
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

Peter Ndlovu, the Zimbabwe national football team assistant coach, has
denied plans to contest in the forthcoming general elections on a ZANU PF
ticket, as had been widely reported.

The social media has been awash with reports claiming that Ndlovu is
planning to contest in Bulawayo, sparking condemnation from some of his
supporters who say this will tarnish his legendary football status if he
enters politics.

It is alleged that Ndlovu, who has also played for Highlanders Football
club, is under pressure from Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu to stand on a
ZANU PF ticket in Makokoba. Mpofu is a known Highlanders supporter.

Newsday also reported Wednesday that ZANU PF is courting the popular former
Zimbabwe captain and Coventry City winger.

SW Radio Africa spoke to Ndlovu on Wednesday after he had just returned to
Zimbabwe from Malawi on National team business.

He said: “The story is a creation of the media. Lami ngikuzwe ephepheni (I
also heard it in the newspaper). I am not happy with some sections of the
media who only wants to cover politics. What about Peter’s recovery? Is that
not a story? Have you ever come here asking about my health?”
Ndlovu was involved in a car crash that killed his brother Adam late last

Another of his brothers, Marko, also denied the reports.
Marko said: “As far as I know there is nothing like this. And even this
mention of Obert Mpofu, I last heard of him at Adam’s funeral when he helped
the family with burial arrangements.

Some reports claim that Mpofu, who is believed to be in the ZANU PF faction
led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, wants Ndlovu to be the candidate
for Makokoba in order to sideline Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube.

But Marko said: “This thing has taken us by surprise. There is nothing like
that. This is just a rumour.”

Meanwhile Education Minister David Coltart also took to Facebook to comment
on these unfolding events. He wrote: “I see that Football icon Peter Ndlovu
has denied that he is going to stand on a Zanu PF ticket in the next
elections. There has been so much hype regarding this story and I hope it
will end now.

“Peter Ndlovu remains a Zimbabwean sporting hero whose reputation transcends
partisan politics.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-N denies moves to fire Misihairabwi-Mushonga

By Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

The MDC-N has denied news reports stating the party wants to fire Secretary
General Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, as factionalism rears its head in
the party.

The MDC-N, like its two partners in the coalition government, has been
rocked by allegations of infighting as the political parties prepare for
general elections expected this year.

The Zimbabwe Mail website reported Wednesday that MDC-N “insiders say the
party might be headed for a split with several senior members mulling a vote
of no confidence motion in Misihairabwi-Mushonga.” The website claims
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, who is also the Minister of Regional Integration and
International Cooperation, has “stirred controversy” to such an extent that
party’s president Welshman Ncube is also calling for her dismissal.

But MDC-N spokesman Nhlanhla Dube denied his party wanted to suspend their
Secretary General, and that the reports are aimed at spreading
misinformation .

“All we can say is that this can only come from the idle minds of those that
have tonnes of times on their hands and nothing to do with it. A pure and
undiluted infantile attempt at slander,” Dube comment on Facebook.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Australia sanctions removal criticised

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

The Australian government has moved to further relax it’s targeted sanctions
against the ZANU PF regime, to reward what it has called ‘progress’ in

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said this week that sanctions against 65
individuals, including politicians, government officials and military
personnel, as well as measure against three entities, will be lifted. Carr
said Australia’s decision was aimed at encouraging further democratic

“Zimbabwe’s next step must be the holding of free, fair and credible
elections by the end of 2013,” he said.

Carr added that the Australian government remained concerned about the
fragile political situation in Zim, and that sanctions “will be re-imposed
should political reforms be derailed.”

This move followed last week’s gazetting of the new constitution, which
Western nations have been lauding as a sign of real political progress in
Zimbabwe. Australia already started easing its measures earlier this year,
in what is being described as a ‘carrot and stick’ form of encouraging

In February this year the EU also moved to ‘reward’ Zimbabwe for its
progress, by easing its targeted measures against 21 individuals linked to
the Mugabe regime. This includes the self styled Masvingo ‘war vet’ Shuvai
Mahofa who is dubbed the ‘iron lady’ of the province, and who is linked to
the illegal seizure of land in the Save Valley Conservancy. Also de-listed
was ‘war vet’ Gilbert Moyo, who led campaigns of violence and terror in
Chegutu for many years.

Human rights activist Phillip Pasirayi said the lifting of the measures was
not well timed, because the so called ‘progress’ achieved by the unity
government has not resulted in any meaningful reforms for Zimbabweans.

“If you look at the institutions we still have in place, they are not
supportive of democracy in Zimbabwe. So we as civil society and civil
society leaders believe it is wrong to ease the measures,” Pasirayi said.

He added: “There is a lot of power politicking at play which has formed this
decision, and the people that are suffering are the ordinary Zimbabweans.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shock at MDC-T parliamentary candidate’s death

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

The MDC-T has expressed ‘deep shock’ at the sudden death of Jabulani Dube,
who two days ago was elected the party’s parliamentary candidate for Insiza
South in Matabeleland South province.

Watchy Sibanda, the provincial chairman for the MDC-T, said Dube collapsed
at his home in Insiza on Wednesday morning. He was rushed to Gwanda hospital
where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Sibanda told SW Radio Africa that the entire party had received the news
with much pain and disbelief as he had worked tirelessly over the years to
bring progress and better the lives of the people of the constituency.

Others in the MDC-T said Dube will be remembered as a quiet, hard-working
party cadre who may have shunned the limelight but his views were deeply

The party leadership in Mat South asked its members and supporters not to
let his passing on demoralize them but rather urged them to work hard to win
the Insiza seat in the upcoming general elections.

‘That would be the greatest tribute they could pay to his memory,’ Sibanda

Meanwhile three sitting MPs from Matabeleland North province were confirmed
in the ongoing party primaries. Those confirmed include the Minister of
Public Works Joel Gabhuza (Binga South), Brian Tshuma (Hwange Central) and
Wesley Sansole (Hwange East)

Two legislators, Gift Mabhena (Hwange West) and Patrick Sibanda (Binga
North), were not confirmed and will go for primary elections on 1st June.
Primaries in Tsholotsho South, Nkayi South, Lupane East and Lupane West were

Four candidates elected to represent the party in the forthcoming elections
are Mark Ncube (Bubi), Lilindo Masuku (Umguza) Roselyn Nkomo (Tsholotsho
North) and Lameck Ndlovu (Nkayi North).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court hears hate speech case against former MP Norman Mpofu

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
29 May 2013

Former legislator Norman Mpofu has appeared in court to answer charges of
uttering hate speech during the funeral wake for MDC-T party activist
Sindile Napa.

The trial faced several postponements before finally going ahead Tuesday,
with the state calling its first witness Walter Malume. The trial will
resume on June 5th, with the state calling more witnesses.

Mpofu was arrested in November last year on allegations that he called ZANU
PF supporters thieves and murderers during Napa’s burial in Thekwane,
Matebeleland South, on October 20th.

His accusers also claimed that Mpofu, an aspiring MDC-T parliamentary
candidate, distributed party regalia, chanted slogans, and denounced the
intelligence service. The former MP denies the charges.

According to SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who followed
the court proceedings, Malume indicated that he did not see Mpofu
distributing MDC-T material, although he maintained that the former MP’s
actions and funeral speech had the potential to provoke violence.

Meanwhile, a Bulawayo magistrate postponed to June 6th a court hearing in
which 20-year-old Bulawayo woman Shantel Rusike is accused of insulting

Rusike is facing criminal charges arising from a lighthearted picture of a
‘naked’ Robert Mugabe which she sent to a colleague through her mobile

The colleague reported the picture to the police and Rusike was subsequently
arrested and charged with ‘undermining the authority of or insulting the

The picture, which shows Mugabe’s face on a naked body, has been in
circulation on networking sites since his 87th birthday in 2011.

Over the past year there has been a rise in the number of people being
arrested for ‘insulting’ Mugabe. So far at least five cases have been
recorded, including university lecturer Chenjerai Pamhiri who is currently
serving a 3-month jail term.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Secures $140 Million to Curb Harare Water Woes

Thomas Chiripasi

HARARE — Treasury says it has secured enough resources to finance the
refurbishment of old and burst water pipes in Harare in a bid to end the
water problems affecting the city’s residents.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told reporters in Harare that Treasury has
secured $140 million which will be handed over to Harare City Council next
week for replacing old and burst water pipes throughout the city.

The minister said water shortages currently being experienced in the capital
are a result of leakages of purified water as it is channeled from the
treatment center located at Morton Jaffray Water Works to end users
throughout the city.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda but
caught up with the Movement for Democratic Change local authority chief
whip, Victor Chifodya.

Councillor Chifodya said the Treasury disbursement will help in ensuring
that ratepayers have access to water within the shortest possible time.

The council official said town house is failing to provide adequate water to
ratepayers partly because government has not been paying what it owes

A statement released by the finance ministry Tuesday indicated that
government owes its local service providers including local authorities $350

Investigations by Studio 7 indicate that suburbs such as Mabvuku, Tafara,
Greendale and Ashdown Park have gone more than a week now without water.

Meanwhile, health experts are warning that outbreaks of water-borne diseases
such as cholera and typhoid could soon resurface in the city if water
shortages persist.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliament Approves Ratification of UN Convention on Disabled Persons

Irwin Chifera

HARARE — For years, people with disabilities have complained about lack of
access to buildings in the country, public transport and general lack of
government support.

The situation is about to change now following the House of Assembly’s
approval of Zimbabwe’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of People with Disabilities. Representatives of disabled people now
want the process speeded up so that changes that can improve their lives are
implemented soon.

Farai Mukuta, director of the National Association of Societies for the Care
of the Handicapped (NASCOH), says people with disabilities are overwhelmed
but want the Senate to follow suit.

NASCOH is a coalition of more than 70 organizations representing people with
disabilities in the country.

Masimba Kuchera, director of the Center for Disability and Development, says
though long over due, the move by the House of Assembly is important,
particularly for people with disabilities who will benefit a lot.

Pushing for ratification of the convention, Labour and Social Welfare
Minister, Paurina Mparaiwa, said there is need to include people with
disabilities in all stages of implementation.

Zimbabwe was the first country in Africa to have disability legislation in
Africa in 1992 and the second in the world after the United States but it
was never implemented.

People with disabilities believe the ratification of the UN Convention will
make it easy to rationalise the legislation.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

EU will work with a Zimbabwe government chosen by the people: Westcott


by Nelson Sibanda

The European Union will work with a Zimbabwe government chosen by the people
through free and credible elections, says EU Managing Director for Africa,
Nicholas Westcott.

Addressing journalists at a Press Conference held at the EU offices in
Harare today (Tuesday 28 May 2013), Westcott said the EU will respect the
will of the people of Zimbabwe, since the people’s choice should be given
priority over petty interests.

He said the EU has no regime change agenda but was supportive of democratic
processes in Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

“The Zimbabwe electoral process should be peaceful, transparent, free of
intimidation, credible in context and process among other democratic
requirements,” said Westcott who was on a one and a half day visit to

His visit the second in two years, was aimed at normalising relations and
build trust between the EU and the Zimbabwe Government.

Westcott said the EU was ready to provide assistance towards the Zimbabwe
electoral process through the UN if requested to do so.

He was quick to point out that the assistance would be forthcoming only if
there is reason to believe that the election will be free and credible.

The EU said it will remove remaining targeted sanctions against some Zanu
(PF) officials if the outcome of coming elections is accepted by Zimbabweans
and participating political parties.

SADC was given tribute for its continued efforts towards ensuring that
Zimbabwe conducts its elections in an environment conducive for all parties.

The EU expressed hope that all GNU parties were sincere in their
contributions towards holding of free and fair elections.

“Zimbabwe has made good progress towards democratisation of the electoral
process and all parties involved should be commended for that,” said

He congratulated Zimbabweans in general and the GNU in particular for
signing the constitutional Bill into Law.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Minister Biti concerned over missing diamond revenue

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 17:40

The Marange diamond mining companies have not remitted any revenue to
Treasury in the first four months of the country, a situation which the
Minister of Finance, Hon. Tendai Biti has said is unacceptable.

Presenting his State of the Economy Report for April at his government
offices , Minister Biti said revenue from the diamond mining companies would
have been channelled towards financing the voter registration exercise and
the coming elections.

“There are no receipts on diamonds since January.  The revenue from the
diamonds could have gone a long way in sponsoring the elections,” said
Minister Biti.

He said at least US$113 million was needed for the elections. However,
despite the non-remittance of revenue from the country’s resources to the
Treasury, the minister was confident that money for the elections would be

“We expect the UN to assist and we have written to SADC and to individual
countries such as South Africa and Angola for financial assistance.  We have
no doubt that we will be able to secure the funds. People want to assist
Zimbabwe as we have shown what we can do during the referendum and voter
registration exercise,” Minister Biti said.

He said Treasury had managed to secure US$25 million for the voter
registration exercise following the signing of the new Constitution into law
last week.

“Government is going to publish how the process is going to pan out.  Every
ward will have a mobile voter registration centre and every school should
have the voters’ roll for inspection. This funding will cover voter
education, information and publicity under the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC), police work in ensuring peace and stability and the actual work of
voter registration.  What we are now left with is to secure the remaining
funds to cover elections,” Minister Biti said.

He called for the urgent implementation of all the outstanding reforms to
ensure the holding of free and fair elections. “There is need for clarity on
reforms and dates,” he said.

Minister Biti said clarity on election dates would give confidence to the
economy, which the minister said was shrinking.

YES – Together we can complete the change!!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

8 die in Gokwe accident


by Brenna Matendere

A commuter omnibus plying the Kadoma Gokwe-Nembudziya route yesterday burst
its left rear tyre before overturning several times- leaving eight people
dead and 11 in critical conditions. The incident happened at the 46 Km peg
along the Nembudziya- Sanyati road at 7pm.

One surviving passenger who spoke to The Zimbabwean in a telephone interview
said the driver lost control of the vehicle when the rear tyre burst due to
the bad state of the road.

“The driver might have tried to avoid potholes on the road in trying to
control the vehicle to a safe parking place soon after the tyre had burst.
However, in the process he lost control of the vehicle which then hit a tree
before overturning,” said the passenger who requested not to be named.

Midlands police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko also confirmed the

“The commuter omnibus of a Nissan Caravan make was being driven by one Frank
Lupiya of Pfupajena surbub of Chegutu,” he said.

“Preliminary investigations show that the driver was travelling above the
recommended speed limits,” added Mahoko.

The police spokesperson also revealed that four people perished on the spot
and two on their way to Sanyati Hospital. The other two were pronounced dead
upon arrival at kadoma General Hospital.

Mahoko refused to disclose names of the deceased saying their next of kin
would have to be the first to have the details before they could be released
to the media.

A fortnight ago, a Zanu (PF) provincial executive member, Maxwell Madarani,
also died in a road accident along a road connecting to Gokwe. The incident
happened at the 22Km peg along the Gokwe-Kwekwe.

All roads that connect with Gokwe are characterised by heavy presence of
haulage trucks transporting cotton from the town and as result have become
deplorable due to non-maintenance. The worst affected route is the
Gokwe-Nembudziya road whose maintenance was last done ahead of the 2 000
elections when the constituency MP, Flora Bhuka (Zanu PF) was campaigning
for her first term in parliament. However, though she still represents the
people of Nembudziya, she has not pushed for completion of the project.

A bridge at Masererukwe shopping center few kilometres from Mtora Growth
point, was swept away by rains in 2006 and up to now nothing has been done
to replace it.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

HOT SEAT: (Part 2) Tendai Biti says MDC government will target multiple farmers

Finance Minister Tendai Biti

SW Radio Africa’s Violet Gonda brings you the final part of the interview with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, where the MDC-T Secretary General details his party’s land policy. What will happen to multiple farm owners and will the party embark on a land audit? What has the MDC learnt from the experience of power sharing and what are they going to do about the billions of dollars they say have been stolen from the diamond sector? Biti also responds to questions regarding the image of the MDC-T, which some observers say has been damaged by individuals who have been seduced by the trappings of power.

Listen here

See part 1 Interview Tendai Biti on MDC-T policies (Part 1)

Broadcast: 23 May 2013

VIOLET GONDA: Welcome to the final segment of the two-part interview with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, where the MDC-T Secretary General continues to detail his party’s policies ahead of elections, including their land policy. The MDC-T also alleges that billions of dollars have been stolen from the diamond sector. So I started by asking Mr Biti to explain how his party will deal with the powerful individuals who they say continue to siphon off the money from the country’s minerals.


TENDAI BITI: First let’s be very clear, it would be foolhardy for any government, the MDC or any government, to anchor a policy based on vindictiveness and retribution. ART and JUICE are not based on vindictiveness and retribution. So we are not going to set up a ministry to arrest people, prosecute people, it doesn’t work. The first thing you have to do is to make sure that you stop the hemorrhage. If people are stealing diamonds – how and why – and you stop that so that it doesn’t happen again and you offer incentives that people don’t steal.


So pay people decently, have accountability, create incentives so that people can invest in that new society through trust, which is why we are saying the key issues that the MDC will do together with the new constitution is the restoration of the social contracts in Zimbabwe – the building of a new society based on inclusivity and virtual cycles of growth not vicious cycles of predatoriness. That’s number one Violet you want to move forward.


Secondly the thing about with money and so forth, everything to do with an audit trial, they don’t go away, they don’t go away. If you steal you are committing an offence and pachiShona tinoti mhosva haiwori – that’s also true in English – crimes don’t go away. There are laws that are there, the new constitution has created an independent national prosecuting authority. It will be the job and duty of whosoever is the director of prosecutions, the director of the independent prosecuting authority to make sure that justice is done but the focus of government must be to ensure that there is food on the table, there are jobs, industries are working, there’s power in the country, there’re roads in the country, the maternal mortality rate has been brought down, the infant mortality has been brought down. So we want to uplift our people, we want to uplift the generality of Zimbabweans and ART does that, JUICE does that and that’s the future.


GONDA: I’m asking what incentives will you offer to the people currently controlling the diamond sector?


BITI: It’s very easy to do – the law must be respected. If anyone doesn’t respect the law, he must be prosecuted. No-one should be above the law, the constitution is speaking to that. So stop, stop the leakages, stop the hemorrhages, that’s number one, that’s how you control order.


Number two – you as a government must be fair, you must treat everyone equally.


Three – you as a government must consult. That’s why one of the cornerstones of ART is the social dialogue that is codified along the lines of NEDLAC in South Africa. The government must be able to listen to itself.


Number four – the government itself must be very clear on anti corruption which is why one of the things that we are saying in ART is that all public officials must declare their assets every year: Guys I have four underwear. Guys I’ve got four vests. Guys I’ve got four bras – size 46B. That must happen at the beginning of every year. Those are the incentives that we find in every other modern democratic state and we are going to do that.


GONDA: And what exactly is your policy on the security sector?


BITI: A lot of the work has actually been done and is in the new constitution. The new constitution is very clear that security forces are subject to the constitution, the president and to parliament. That is very clear Violet. In other words, security forces must salute whatever president is there, that is a key important.


Number two – the new constitution makes it very clear that in the implementation of their job, in the implementation of their task, the security forces are subject to the constitution, in particular to the Bill of Rights – that’s very important, that’s key.


Number three – is the issue that if the public has got any complaints against the security forces, there’s that Complaints Commission which we have created in the constitution.


Number four – no member of the security forces should be an active member of a political party. Now this is the biggest mischief in Zimbabwe – that a small section of our security forces are an extension of a certain political party. That’s not good but the constitution has outlawed that.


Number five – is the issue, which is so important – that all leaders of the security forces are subject to term limits, that is critical. Then the other things, which you need now are:


One – to make sure that the security forces stay in barracks:


Two – that security forces, their conditions of service are looked after because sometimes what causes some of these things, is bad conditions of services.


Three – is the total demilitarization of Zimbabwe.


So those are some of the few things that are already covered by the constitution which need to be done. The constitution itself also has to make it very clear, and we said it in the GPA, that the syllabus, the curriculum of, the training of our security forces must have a human rights bias and a constitutional knowledge bias. That’s important. So these are some of the things that have to be done under security sector reform.


GONDA: You heard army general Constantine Chiwenga recently said he will not work with puppets of the west, meaning your party, and he’s on record together with several other service chiefs saying that they will not salute Prime Minister Tsvangirai. So what process are you going to use to isolate parties or individuals who do not want this concept of realignment or …. (interrupted)


BITI: … Violet, there is no-one on earth who is higher than the people. If the people of Zimbabwe say they want Morgan Richard Tsvangirai there,  they have spoken. So if you are a functionary when Morgan Tsvangirai is president, you resign, it’s a constitutional right to resign. So for me it is not an issue that I will ever lose sleep over. People will speak and what the people have said, we live in a democracy, what the people have said is a democracy and if you don’t agree with that, then resign and go and farm. What we will not accept is a coup or some other destabilization. Zimbabwe doesn’t need further blood to be spilled in the name of politics.


GONDA: Well some people say that the law has always been there but it would appear that certain elements in society are above the law and even your party said in 2008 that the people spoke and voted for you but that Zanu PF refused to recognize this and that is why you had the GNU. And even the army generals have been consistent since day one saying that they will not recognize what they describe as MDC puppets. So I’m asking what is your party going to do to ensure that there is no repeat of 2008?


BITI: I’ve answered that question very clearly. There is no-one in Zimbabwe, there is no-one anywhere in the world who will be able to reverse what the people have said, there is no-one in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe for Christ’s sake. I don’t think they wanted that, I don’t think they wanted that. Lovemore Moyo is the Speaker of the parliament of Zimbabwe, I don’t think they wanted that. I’m the Finance Minister of Zimbabwe, I don’t think they wanted that. So they couldn’t stop that. So once the people have spoken, they have spoken, no-one will disobey that.


GONDA: And if they do? Because many skeptics are saying it is going to happen again.


BITI: It doesn’t happen and it has never happened anywhere Violet. It doesn’t happen and it has never happened anywhere.


GONDA: But Mr. Biti, you said you won in the last elections but Zanu PF refused to relinquish power so how are you going to ensure that those things don’t happen again?


BITI: On the 8th of March 2012 we published a document called “The Conditions for Sustainable Elections in Zimbabwe” Violet. That document answers the question you are asking me. When we go to an election, when we go to this election, there are going to be three things guaranteed. Three things and we’re going to make sure they are there through international law, through SADC, through the African Union. Those three things are the integrity of the vote; those three things are the integrity of the voter; the third thing is the security of the people’s will, the people’s will must be respected. And if you look at what we have been doing in SADC, we are doing those things to ensure that the people’s will be respected in this country. So we have answered that question over and over and over and over again. The one thing that I will tell you we will not do – we will not take up arms. We are a peaceful constitutional party, that is what we will not do but the people are there, the people will speak and there is nowhere in history where the people’s will has been subverted, it doesn’t happen Violet.


GONDA: So Zimbabwe is not heading for a second GNU?


BITI: The worst thing that can happen to Zimbabwe is another GNU. The coalition such as the one we have had is painful, is frustrating, is killing because things don’t move but what I can accept, that which must happen is that we must have a national government. Some kind of inclusive government, representative government but what is key is that we must have one leader in respect of whom the buck stops with but another coalition government such as the GNU – ah my friend – it’s not on, it will kill the country.


GONDA: I was actually going to ask you that – what has the MDC learnt from the experience of trying to share power?


BITI: You know a coalition government is like a marriage so if you are in a marriage you have got a faithful partner who loves you and looks after you, it will be a happy coalition which is why, I was just speaking to some European parliamentarians the other day and I was saying coalitions are ugly. They looked shocked because in their countries they’ve got coalitions just because the social contract is there, they can trust each other but that is not the experience, which we have here. We’ve had an unfaithful partner. We’ve had an unfaithful partner in the form of Zanu PF, a dishonest partner in the form of Zanu PF, an abusive partner in the form of Zanu Pf, a wife-bashing partner in the form of Zanu PF. So this marriage has been a nightmare Violet.


GONDA: So why did the MDC go all over the world campaigning for the removal of sanctions if it’s been a nightmare, being in this GNU?


BITI: Ah you see you mix issues. We have gone out in the country to say Zimbabwe must be integrated! Zimbabwe can’t be isolated. That has nothing to do with Zanu PF. It is important because we are looking after the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe matter. The people of Zimbabwe suffer because we are being isolated. It pains me as Minister of Finance that four billion dollars, seven billion dollars of investment is going to Tete and we can’t even get a billion dollars. Integration is important so don’t mix issues.


GONDA: So how do you respond to people who ask you if the sanctions have done much damage to Zimbabwe as the people in Zimbabwe who have stolen diamonds in the country?


BITI: This conversation is about our programme. In ART the MDC want to have, to be fully integrated. Zimbabwe wants to be a full member of the international community, the African Union, SADC, the UN, the African Development Bank, the Commonwealth – we want to be a full member of the international community that is what we say in ART.


GONDA: So since you want Zimbabwe to be a full member of the international community, what about the way the MDC is being viewed by the international community? A lot has also been written about the MDC becoming Zanu PF-like or adopted this culture of chef mentality, with some newspapers, international newspapers such as the Guardian, the UK Guardian or even recently the New York Times wrote an article saying that the MDC seems to be enjoying the trappings of power. What’s your reaction to this?


BITI: We’re a people’s project Violet, we are accountable to the people; this is a party that was formed into, you know, 13 years ago so it can’t suddenly mutate into a sobriquet that was formed more than 40 years ago that is used to predatoriness and violence. So that’s crazy, you can’t compare Zanu PF and us. We are not Zanu PF – that’s why I am having this conversation with you, which you will never have with a Zanu PF person.


GONDA: I’m sure you will have seen the reports… (interrupted)


BITI: I have answered your question! Yes I’ve seen the Guardian, I’ve seen the New York Times, I’ve seen opinion polls, I’ve seen everything.


GONDA: Is the MDC building its entire fortune round the brand which is Morgan Tsvangirai in the same way that Zanu PF did to Mugabe?


BITI: Morgan Tsvangirai is the undisputed leader of the MDC. Morgan Tsvangirai is the face of change in this country. He is a simple man who grew up in a village in Humanikwa. Who had the guts, despite all other Zimbabweans with their degrees, who had the guts of standing up to a dictator. He did not blink. He has been beaten up, tortured, he has lost his wife. So to suddenly say Morgan Tsvangirai this, Morgan is that is ahistorical.  We have got a bridge to cross and we are going to cross it and mark my words, that same Morgan Tsvangirai is going to win this election by 78%. Mark my words.


GONDA: So what about criticisms that Morgan Tsvangirai is morally and organizationally weak? How would you respond as a party?


BITI: I’m, you know, I’m discussing the MDC’s policies and ART and JUICE. Morgan Tsvangirai is the undisputed leader of our party and Morgan Tsvangirai is going to be the next president of Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe will speak, the election is here and very soon the people of Zimbabwe will speak.


He has led us all through these years you know in the deep end against all odds and these things that you are saying are not new. We have been accused in the past of violence, of breaching our constitutions and so forth. Everyone has said all kinds of things against us; we are stupid, we are indecisive, we are disunited. The only thing we haven’t been accused of is incest with our sisters or our mothers. That’s the only thing.


So all these things that you are saying are not new and once again we’ll prove the critics as we did yesterday, we’ll prove them today, we will prove them tomorrow, prove them wrong. This was the people’s project, it was not formed in a hotel. The people’s project owned by the people, accountable to the people with the durability of the fact that it was fueled by the people. So it is lasting and it will last.


GONDA: How do you respond to people who say there is serious infighting or factionalism in the MDC-T?


BITI: They have been saying this for years. They’ve been saying this for years. They said this when we went to our congress – ah the MDC is going to split. They said it at our congress, we remained standing. They said it when we went into government, they won’t last. They said it when we went to our congress in 2006, these people won’t last particularly after Welshman (Ncube) and others had left but we are still there, stronger than ever, united than ever.


GONDA: There are reports saying that there are sharp differences between yourself and Prime Minister Tsvangirai and also sharp differences between you and Nelson Chamisa. Are these just differences amongst friends or is there more to it?


BITI: That’s foolish, that’s foolish. These are things that you’ve been writing for years, for years. We’ve had one leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the deputy Thokozani Khupe. So if you ask me about the issue of succession, we’ve got a number two – Thokozani Khupe. These things are clear and straightforward, read our constitution. Let me state again – this is a people’s project, this is a people’s project and that’s why this we’ll be celebrating our policies, we’ll be celebrating the Agenda for Real Transformation and we’ll be celebrating JUICE. No other party in Zimbabwe has got a single paper of its policies – a single paper, certainly not Zanu PF.


GONDA: I understand that there are at least 29 political parties that are going to participate in the forthcoming elections so as MDC what do you make of this?


BITI: What’s new Violet? Every time we have an election, everyone comes out of the woodwork and says I’m a political party. When we have to go to an election everyone comes out of the woodwork and says we’ve got this party – me and my wife are now this party – so there’s nothing new. I’m actually surprised that there’s 28, I thought there would be 128.


GONDA: Some observers say you should form a political pact or an election pact with some of the smaller political parties. What’s your reaction to this?


BITI: We are very clear – all democrats must work together. It’s important, we don’t dismiss that.


GONDA: Is there any movement towards that?


BITI: Ahhh I know that there are various levels of dialogue taking place, remember there are so many political parties – Dumiso Dabengwa and so forth. I know that the parties are talking to each other. I know that. Whether they are talking to each other in terms of a concrete agenda, I’m not sure about that. But the bottom line is that the principals of the parties talking to each other and working with each other on a broad popular front, no-one can (inaudible) that.


GONDA: Land is one of the issues that many people have been talking about and they want to know what the MDC policy is on this.


BITI: Yes. Look we are the ones who said in April 2000 – and I’m the one who actually wrote that policy, that we want to take eight million hectares of land from the 15 million hectares of land being held by members of the Commercial Farmers Union. Five million will be used to resettle agricultural people, three million will be used to deal with urban houses. Zanu, from 1980 to 1990, over 20 years, they’d only taken 3.2million hectares. So they only latched onto the land because they were defeated in the referendum and then they pretended to be revolutionaries when they were not revolutionaries.


Incidentally I was reading minutes of the Lancaster House constitution, not on a single day do you see them raising the issue of land at Lancaster and so it’s shocking. So this issue about Zanu being a party of the land is nonsensical.


But anyway to answer your question specifically, this is what we propose to do with the land question – the first thing – the acquisitions of land that took place between 2000 and now, no-one can reverse them, they are irreversible.


But number two – you need to democratize that and you will democratize that by the following: a) de-racialise land ownership so every Zimbabwean, black, blue, white, green and yellow must have the right to own land in Zimbabwe. Fortunately Chapter 16 of the constitution, which we have signed, does that.


Number three – give, give title, give title to everyone who owns land right now. Give title, Zanu PF is refusing to give title even long leases because it is using land as a political field. Once you have left and you belong to another party, they will take away that land. So we are saying everyone who is on land must have security of tenure.


Number four – restore the market for land. There is no market in Zimbabwe for land at the present moment. Land is a dead asset just with use value but with non-exchange value. Let land be hypothecated. Let land be used as security in the banks. By 1999 74% of bank lending went into agriculture, went into farms. Now it is not there, 19% of bank lending is going into flat-screened televisions and other things like that. We need to restore land market in Zimbabwe, that’s so critical, that’s very, very critical.


And number five – let us have security of tenure. Any person who is on land must be secure. People are not secure right now – look at what is happening in the Save Conservancy and so forth. Number six – let us have adequate compensation for the former landowners. At the present moment Zanu is saying we pay them for improvements; the MDC’s policy is that there must be full compensation including even where there is arable land that is not being used by anyone. If a former white farmer says; Look, I know you are not using this land, give me as compensation, there’s nothing wrong with that. So let’s have full and adequate compensation.


Number six – land that was covered by BIPPAs should not have been subject of the land reform programme, the issue of BIPPAs. So that’s only land as the political question.


Then I want to come to agriculture. On agriculture there are a number of things that we must do. The first one is yield management. This current situation where the average yield in the communal lands for maize is now 77 kilograms when it used to be four tons per hectare, seven tons per hectare is not on. So let’s have yield management so that we can have yields of something like 12 to 15 tons of maize per hectare.


Number two is the research and technology. We are being affected by global warming but there are no monies that are being put into research and technology. Zanu PF is not interested in research and technology; Zanu PF is not interested in GMOs for instance – everyone is feeding on GMOs. We need new breeds of seeds for instance. When I grew up planting seeds started in October, now it’s not the case so let’s have research, research, research.


Number three is extension services. Our extension services have become dilapidated so let’s deal with the issue of extension services.


Number four is the issue of financing. This government is too small to adequately finance agriculture. So what can substantially finance agriculture is the commercial sector, is banks. So let’s be clear on that. Agriculture is a business. So let’s have a business model in our farming not this issue of seeing that even twenty years after the land reform programme people are still called new farmers and they look to government for subsidies. It’s not on.


Number seven – let’s define clearly the government subsidy policy. It’s important for the poor and vulnerable sectors – are we subsidizing at input level or are we subsidizing at market level, that must be made clear. So let’s have a clear subsidy policy.


Number eight is marketing. This issue that we have GMB as the buyer of first resort is not on. Let’s have commodity exchanges where a person will know that I’m going to sell my potatoes, my mbambaira – it’s very critical.


Nine is value addition. It pains me that we are exporting out our tobacco, we’re exporting out our cotton. I live along Enterprise Road and I see women from Mutoko everyday carrying tomatoes and vegetables – they are poor. Let’s have a Budya Factory that will make tomato ketchup in Mutoko. Value addition is very important.


Number ten – let’s have dams, let’s make agriculture a 365 business. This business of agriculture that is seasonal, that depends on the rains alone is not sustainable. So let’s have a 365, so let the infrastructure of agriculture must be revolutionized. Electricity, roads because they facilitate access to markets, those things are clear.


Then let’s have a fertilizer policy, let’s have a fertilizer policy.


GONDA: What happens to multiple farm owners?


BITI: Oh no, no, no, no. The MDC policy is very clear. There should be number maximum sizes of farms per region and one farm for every household. That is very clear and part of that is that the MDC will introduce a land tax, which will discourage people from hoarding land. We’re very clear on that.


GONDA: So you will take away the farms from people who took multiple farms?


BITI: That’s very clear. We said that as way back as 2004 when we launched our Restart, that land must be distributed on the basis of need and ability. Do you need the land and can you farm it – and not the current situation where it’s accumulation for the sake of accumulating and some people that I know have got four farms and they are not using them.


I went to Kariba on Sunday and all the way to Kariba I hardly saw any meaningful farming activity on any farm. That’s not on, that’s not on. So it’s from need to ability – it’s very clear. Even the new constitution speaks to the issue of one household for one farm and the issue of maximum sizes of land per region, that’s key.


GONDA: And what about on the issue of land audit – is the MDC going to embark on a land audit?


BITI: That is clear. Even the new constitution speaks of that. Even the GPA speaks of on the issue of an audit. You need an audit to rationalize as how else are you going to know who is a multiple owner other than through an audit? How else are you going to know how many women own land because genderising land is also important unless through an audit? So an audit is inevitable as inevitable as it is desirable.


GONDA: Because the Lands Minister Herbert Murerwa recently told a committee in the senate that the government will not conduct a comprehensive land audit but that there will now be a land use audit.


BITI: That’s a different view of Zanu PF and MDC. Zanu PF want to protect the chefs who are holding onto land, which they are not using. I know of one particular chef with eight farms, some in Mashonaland Central, some in Mashonaland West so it’s not on.


GONDA: That was the MDC-T Secretary General and Finance Minister Tendai Biti. Thank you very much for speaking to us on the programme Hot Seat.


BITI: Alright, thank you.

Back to the Top
Back to Index