By Violet Gonda
02 May 2013
MDC-T youth assembly president Solomon Madzore has again been arrested, this
time for allegedly insulting President Robert Mugabe at a party rally in
Mushumbe-Mbire, Mashonaland Central this past weekend.
ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told SW Radio Africa that even though he does
not know what Madzore said exactly, if he insulted the president then “he
deserves to be arrested.”
Madzore was taken to Bindura police station after handing himself in to
Harare Central on Thursday, after being told by the police to do so. He was
charged with undermining the office of the President.
The youth leader is no stranger to arrest. He was released on bail late last
year after being jailed for more than a year on charges of murdering a
policeman. 28 other MDC activists were arrested for killing the officer. All
deny the charge.
Madzore had also spent more than 70 days in jail with MDC-T officials Luke
Tamborinyoka, Ian Makone and others after they were accused of petrol
bombing government properties countrywide in the run up to the 2008
controversial elections. The state later dropped the charges but the MDC-T
members said they were tortured in police custody.
Scores of people have over the years been arrested for ridiculing the 89
year old leader who has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence
Promise Mkwananzi, the secretary general of the MDC-T Youth Assembly
condemned the continued “persecution’ of their leader and described the
police action as “idiotic”.
Mkwananzi said Madzore addressed youths at the rally on Saturday encouraging
them to register to vote and to mobilise their communities to vote for the
MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and to vote against ZANU PF.
“And we believe there is nothing that is criminal about urging people to
vote against ZANU PF and President Mugabe.”
However, the ZANU PF spokesman says his party cannot be blamed for every
arrest the police make and stressed that if Madzore insulted the president
then he “does not deserve any leeway in our society.”
When asked about the people who ridicule and insult the Prime Minister,
especially in the state media, Gumbo responded by saying: “There is a
difference between a Head of State and a Prime Minister.
“If a man like the Prime Minister goes around the region saying please stop
elections and so on, do you think people should not criticise him?”
The secretary general of the MDC youth wing said this latest development
shows nothing else but fear from ZANU PF. “They are afraid of Madzore. They
know that if Madzore remains outside, the more that the youths will be
mobilised against ZANU PF.
“We are going to meet as the youth assembly and we will give ZANU PF 48
hours. By Saturday they must have released the president of the youth
assembly because he has not committed a crime. Failure of which, we will do
Mkwananzi added: “We are going to ensure that there is a clear message to
ZANU PF that they cannot continue to arrest people willy-nilly outside the
confines of the law just because they are controlling the apparatus of the
By Alex Bell
2 May 2013
Aspiring student leaders at the University of Zimbabwe, who were fielded for
the Students representative Council (SRC) presidency by the National
Students Union (ZINASU), have been deliberately sidelined after alleged
interference by ZANU PF.
The polls to choose a new SRC leadership at the UZ were meant to go ahead on
Tuesday, but they were postponed at the last minute, allegedly as part of an
attempt to ‘rig’ the vote.
According to ZINASU Secretary General Tryvine Musokeri, the polls were
postponed by the UZ authorities is an attempt to control the vote and ensure
that a ZANU PF aligned student is ushered in as the SRC leader.
He explained that the last minute decision came in the wake of a meeting the
ZANU PF students union, ZICOSU, had with Robert Mugabe on Monday. The ZICOSU
candidate for the UZ student leadership, Charles Munganasa, told Mugabe that
he was going to ‘liberate’ the UZ and win over students to ZANU PF.
“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,” Munganasa was quoted by the
state media as saying.
That meeting at ZANU PF’s headquarters also saw ZICOSU reportedly being
handed t-shirts, food and beer by the party authorities to use on their
campaign ahead of the SRC election, now expected next week.
ZINASU’s Musokeri told SW Radio Africa that anti-ZINASU sentiments were also
expressed at that meeting, paving the way for the SRC vote to be called off.
“ZANU PF intervened in trying to support their candidate and buy more time
for their candidate. The UZ is led by Mugabe appointed authorities and they
made the decision to cancel the vote. And as if that isn’t enough, the
authorities then introduced new legislation that essentially segregates and
sidelines our candidates, including our presidential candidate.”
The new regulations have seen 15 ZINASU candidates, including their SRC
presidential hopeful Kokerai Murombo, being disqualified from contesting in
the SRC polls. ZINASU has now consulted with their legal team in an attempt
to have the regulations changed, and will appear in the High Court on
“This is all a plot by the state to frustrate ZINASU and to impose their
blue eyed boys to the students of Zimbabwe,” Musokeri said.
Meanwhile, according to the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a group of female
UZ students campaigning for the SRC poll, have reported being harassed by
university security details. At least three of the young women were searched
last week and had their campaign posters ripped up by security officials.
One of the women was arrested last week and detained over the weekend at
Avondale Police Station, all because she tried to photograph the harassment
the women have been subjected to.
By Nomalanga Moyo
02 May 2013
The mobile voter registration exercise entered its fourth day Thursday, with
people in the rural areas expressing concern over the slow pace of the
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) officially launched a nationwide
voter registration campaign Monday, for elections due to be held this year.
The campaign is supposed to cover national identity registration, voter
registration and inspection of the voters’ roll, and is scheduled to run for
However, reports emanating from the rural areas indicate that the exercise
was off to a sluggish pace, with people in some areas informing SW Radio
Africa that they had not seen any of the teams from the Registrar-General’s
One Magunje resident said the mobile registration team had spent only two
days in his area and by the time word reached most villagers, the team had
left for another ward. He said as a result, a lot of people had either been
deprived of a chance to apply for identity particulars or could not verify
whether or not they were on the voters’ roll.
Another villager from Lupane, going by the name of Tshuma, told us that like
many others in the constituency he was in the dark about when the teams
would visit the area. He said with schools closed, it was difficult for
information to reach villagers, who mainly rely on school children to spread
Aspiring parliamentarian Ezra Sibanda said the process was very slow, even
in peri-urban areas such as Lower Gweru, which is about 40km from Gweru.
“I do not know how they hope to finish this exercise in 20 days. People here
at Maboleni were told that the process will start Monday, but it’s only
today (Thursday) that we have seen them.
“To make matters worse, there is only one mobile registration unit for an
area with 11 wards, and there was an information black-out before the
exercise kicked off. Right now, the unit is stationed 20 km from here and
they have said they will go to only four of those.
“I have had to come to this funeral in order to inform people of the team’s
presence. So to even say they are a mobile team is wrong because their
mobility seems to be limited.
Sibanda said that if the RG’s office did not send out more teams to try and
expedite the registration, he feared that a lot of rural folk will be
deprived of their right to vote.
He also revealed that contrary to what had been indicated, so-called aliens
were not being registered: “I spoke to a 60-year old woman of Malawian
origin and she told me that she had been turned away.
When Sibanda asked the registration team for an explanation, he was told
that “it wasn’t allowed to register aliens” and they refused to give him any
The exercise has been riddled with controversy right from the onset, with
reports of irregularities and concerns over possible fraudulent activities.
Staff Reporter 11 hours 53 minutes ago
THE MDC-T has called for the immediate resignation of Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri from his post, alleging that the
country’s top cop is increasingly becoming a security risk by openly
dabbling in partisan politics.
The call comes in the wake of statements by Chihuri indirectly referring to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a “malcontent” for calling for security
sector reforms. In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, MDC-T spokesperson
Douglas Mwonzora said Chihuri must resign as he was openly dabbling in
“As MDC, Chihuri’s utterances come as a huge disappointment and they justify
our repeated calls for security sector reforms as prescribed in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA),” he said.
“We demand Chihuri to immediately resign, as he is a security risk. Chihuri
has embarrassed Zimbabweans in that he could be the only police commissioner
in the whole of Africa who hurls insults at political leadership with
Mwonzora said Chihuri and the police force had no business in prescribing
who Zimbabweans should vote for. The MDC-T spokesman said the Premier could
take the issue up with President Robert Mugabe when the leaders meet next
He said Chihuri had poisoned the police force with his unprofessional
conduct. “In 2008, Chihuri single-handedly called on the entire police force
to be partisan and they turned to be that, we still await him to withdraw
that statement which has poisoned the whole force,” Mwonzora added.
Tsvangirai has been vocal in calling for security sector reforms, but he has
faced stiff resistance from Zanu PF. On Wednesday, Chihuri refuted reports
that the Premier had initiated talks with security chiefs, saying they “were
too busy to engage confused malcontents” who do not know their identity and
had “a propensity to destroy what others, dead and alive, fought for”.
Zimbabwe’s military and police commanders have openly declared their
allegiance to Zanu PF — going as far as saying they would not accept any
other person outside Zanu PF to lead this country even if they were to win
elections.Sadc has insisted that the GPA should be fully implemented before
Zimbabwe holds polls, as the regional bloc would not allow the country to go
for elections when conditions are not conducive.
However, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said security sector
reforms were not part of the GPA. Chihuri described calls by the MDC
formations for security sector reforms as a non-issue that sought to create
The MDC formations are wary that polls without reforms would maintain an
uneven electoral field, heavily tilted in Zanu PF’s favour, raising the
possibility of another disputed election. source newsday
Thursday, 02 May 2013 11:06
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told Tanzanian President
Jakaya Kikwete that Zanu PF was hoodwinking the regional bloc and
surreptitiously planning a peaceful but rigged election.
Tsvangirai met Kikwete in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday night. Kikwete is also
the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ
Troika on politics, defence and security.
Tsvangirai later had a brief stopover in the Angolan capital Luanda where he
met the Foreign minister, Georges Chicoti.
Earlier on Sunday evening, Tsvangirai met South African leader Jacob Zuma in
Pretoria before proceeding to the Tanzanian capital to meet the Sadc Troika
The meetings are part of Tsvangirai’s regional diplomatic offensive to drum
up support for his party’s position.
Sadc, the regional political and trading bloc, is the architect and
guarantor of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which committed long-time
rivals Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe to implement reforms ahead of
a free poll which is due after June 29 when Parliament expires.
Commenting after his meeting with the Sadc Troika chair, Tsvangirai said
“the calls for peace by 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,” Tsvangirai said.
Kikwete, after receiving a briefing from Tsvangirai, said: “As Sadc, we are
very much interested in an election that is credible, free and fair. We want
Zimbabweans to exercise their unfettered right to choose a leader of their
The Sadc Troika on politics, defence and security co-operation together
with facilitator Zuma have been leading efforts to ensure Zimbabwe avoids a
repeat of the violence witnessed in the 2008 vote that claimed over 200
lives and displaced another 200 000, according to human rights groups.
Tsvangirai on Sunday night told Zuma that he wanted a mini-regional summit
convened to speed up all outstanding reforms ahead of a crucial election,
chief among which are public media reforms, security sector realignment, a
clean and credible voters’ roll and the alignment of laws to the new
Zuma told Tsvangirai that Sadc and the African Union, as the guarantors of
the GPA, will do everything in their power to ensure a free and fair poll in
Zimbabwe, and advised that he was heading to Harare for meetings with
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told Kikwete that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
should ensure that everyone eligible to vote is registered on the voters
Tsvangirai said his party wanted a clean and transparent voters’ roll,
adding that his party would soon expose 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.
The PM said: “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, may have to convene a summit to ensure
implementation of reforms and to set the ground rules for the next
Tamborinyoka said the PM is set to continue his trip around Africa to
sensitise the guarantors of the GPA on the delicate situation in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai is expected back home on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Zuma’s facilitation team yesterday spoke about the failure by
Zanu PF negotiators to meet them on Tuesday.
“Representatives of the two MDC parties attended the meeting but Zanu PF
representatives stayed away,” said a statement from convenor of the
facilitation team Charles Nqakula.
“We did not hear from Zanu PF. Our effort at raising ministers Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche failed.”
“The MDC parties we met yesterday (Tuesday) conveyed to us what they believe
are the real reasons why Zanu PF did not attend the meeting of the
negotiators,” Nqakula said.
“On our part we believe Zanu PF representatives must have had a plausible
reason for staying away.
“We don’t believe their action was in any way an act of bad faith. We are
returning soon to Zimbabwe and believe all concerned will cooperate as we
all search for the best instruments to ensure that the entire Zimbabwean
population gets leaders who shall have emerged from a credible process,
which shall be underpinned by a free and fair election,” reads part of the
statement. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:22
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has accused President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party of scuttling electoral reforms to buy time
ahead of elections.
Speaking at a public debate on elections organised by the Media Centre in
Harare on Tuesday, MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said
there are malcontents in Zanu PF who are pushing for elections without
Chamisa, however, said elections were only possible in September after
“necessary reforms because by operation of the law the executive will have
four months within which to complete reforms after the June 29 dissolution
“Zanu PF is in tatters as evidenced by their failure to come up with
guidelines for primary elections,” Chamisa said. “They are not ready for
free and fair elections given their situation hence they want to rush
“There are malcontents in Zanu PF that want a nicodemus and nocturnal
election in which they will kidnap, rape and surrender you where you don’t
want to be.
“It should, however, be known that Mugabe is not pushing for a June 29 poll
because he knows it is not possible, so it is those who follow blindly and
want to protect their interests who want a June 29 poll.
“Moreover, June as a month is associated with political harakiri — a very
dark chapter in the history of the country. There is a cockpit disconnect in
The MDC’s message has been drowned by our colleagues. Our idea was to
stabilise the economy, to make sure reforms are completed and the
constitution is just but one of a plethora of reforms among them security,
media reforms that should lead to free, fair and credible elections.”
MDC99 president Job Sikhala said Mugabe wants elections after the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation conference to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe
and Zambia in August this year.
“Mugabe doesn’t want elections in June because he wants to grandstand and
hog the limelight along another despot that has emerged in Zambia in the
person of Michael Sata (Zambian president),” Sikhala said.
“He wants the global limelight on him then when everybody has left, he will
declare war on Zimbabweans on the eve of elections.”
Zanu PF deputy director of information Psychology Maziwisa maintained
elections will be held on or before June 29.
“The president will soon declare election dates and he will demand that all
other processes (reforms) run concurrently so that we have elections on 29
June,” said Maziwisa.
Maddock Chivasa, spokesperson for National Constitutional Assembly — a
pressure group that campaigned for a No vote in the March 16 referendum and
lost — said Tsvangirai’s calls for reforms before elections were hollow
because he said a new constitution would be the panacea to the country’s
“Elections should be held on 29 June because we have been told by the MDCs
that once we have a new constitution everything would be fine,” Chivasa
“If we are to believe them, there is no reason why we can’t have free and
fair elections now.”
Chamisa, who is also minister of Information Communication Technology in the
shaky coalition government, attacked the way government’s indigenisation
policy was being implemented by the Zanu PF side.
“As an idea indigenisation is very good but it is the implementation that
concerns us,” he said.
“The issue has been hijacked by a parasitic elite who have benefited at the
expense of the generality of the populace.” - Mugove Tafirenyika and Richard
HARARE — Zimbabwean journalists today renewed their calls for the government
to repeal draconian media laws such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act ahead of crucial elections expected sometime this
The scribes had gathered at a public lecture in memory of the late veteran
journalist, Bornwell Chakaodza, who succumbed to cancer last year.
Guest speaker Settlement Chikwinya, chairman of the parliamentary portfolio
committee on media, bemoaned the lack of media reforms in the country, which
the unity government has failed to implement since they came into office
some four years ago.
Mr. Chikwinya blamed politicians for flouting even the draconian pieces of
legislation they put in place for their own selfish benefits.
Zimbabwe Media Council commissioner and lawyer, Chris Mhike, said some of
the issues journalists have been complaining about have been dealt with in
the new constitution.
Media organizations represented at the event agreed more still needs to be
done to rid the country of repressive media laws or at least repeal some of
them so journalists are free to do their work without fear.
Journalists said they are concerned the political environment is becoming
more volatile as the country heads for elections.
The event was organized by the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe and the Voluntary
Media Council of Zimbabwe under the theme ‘Safe to speak: Securing freedom
of expression in all media’.
By Nomalanga Moyo
02 May 2013
The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Professor
Lovemore Madhuku Wednesday revealed that plans by his group to launch a new
party were at an advanced stage.
Madhuku was speaking at a Workers Day event organised by the Concerned
Affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, where he was guest of
Press reports say Madhuku told the gathered workers the NCA had wanted to
launch the party after elections but if the two MDCs insisted on a post-June
poll date, his organisation will go ahead with the launch.
In his speech the professor also expressed his disenchantment with the MDC-T
party, which he says has deviated from the principles it was founded on in
The NCA chairman said the MDC had forgotten its roots in the labour
movement, and joined ZANU PF in the plunder of state resources.
Asked by SW Radio Africa when Zimbabweans should expect the new party, and
why the NCA was making this announcement so close to the elections, the
group’s spokesman Madock Chivasa said initially they were happy to wait, on
the assumption that elections will be held in June.
He told SW Radio Africa: “Our position is now that the country has a new
constitution, there is no longer any need for the NCA in its current form.
We are therefore transforming the organisation into a political party.
“We were hoping for a post-election launch but with the MDCs pushing for a
delay, we have to reconsider our position. That was the message the chairman
conveyed to the workers on May Day.”
Chivasa denied that their plan is to supersede the MDC, and said the aim “is
to offer ourselves to the people of Zimbabwe, and it’s not a reaction to
failures by any of the political circles, we are just adding to the options
that Zimbabweans can choose from.”
The NCA spokesman could not be drawn to say how different the new party will
be from existing political entities, but he indicated that there are
on-going discussions about that, and that is why they had not rushed to
“For now, it is only a movement emanating from our ‘No’ vote campaign, and
from our belief that Zimbabwe needs to be run properly based on a
constitution that is emanating from the people themselves,” Chivasa added.
If the NCA goes ahead and launches its political party, that will bring the
number of registered parties to 26, in a country with an estimated 5 million
By Tichaona Sibanda
2 May 2013
The MDC-T will on Friday begin its internal election process to choose
candidates who will represent the party in parliamentary, senatorial and
council elections in the forthcoming poll.
Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the
exercise will start with the verification process of the electoral colleges
in each of the 210 constituencies.
The electoral colleges are made up of members of the MDC-T who are based in
various political wards and districts in every parliamentary constituency
‘Each constituency should be able to verify who will take part in the voting
process to elect the candidate to fly the party flag in the harmonized
elections. So those who finish the verification exercise early should be
able to go straight to the primary selection process,’ Mwonzora said.
The Nyanga North MP, who is not being challenged in the primaries, together
with a host of other party heavyweights, said the number of candidates
cleared by the party to contest the primaries was the highest since the
party was formed in 1999.
‘One thousand candidates will battle it out to represent the party in 210
constituencies, making it an average of five contestants per constituency.
Over 3,000 members applied to stand as councillors for the 1,968 council
seats while only 100 people want to fight for the 60 senatorial seats,’ he
Mwonzora said they’re expecting ‘good natured’ battles in the primaries, an
exercise that usually leaves defeated candidates bruised and ready to stand
The spokesman however explained that new electoral rules adopted by the
three parties to the GPA outlawed any aspiring candidates wishing to stand
as independents, whilst using the party symbol from any of the parties they
‘If anyone from the MDC-T wishes to stand as an independent they’ll have to
use their own symbol for the ballot paper and not our party symbol. This is
something that cost us seats in the last election where we had parallel
candidates running under the party symbol, thereby splitting votes,’
Analysts told us that out of all its sitting parliamentarians and senators
who won in 2008, there are predictions a good number will not make it past
the primaries, as they have failed to deliver.
Political analyst Sanderson Makombe predicted recently that MDC-T supporters
would rather elect their parliamentary candidates on merit, and not their
standing in the party.
‘There is this feeling that the party elected the wrong people during the
last party primaries. They’re allegations some of them paid their way
through to ensure their victories, resulting in the defeat of true,
competent and legitimate candidates,’ Makombe said.
He continued: ‘Some of the current crop of councillors and MP’s are
embroiled in corruption and loss of integrity, so much that they face a huge
task to convince people to re-elect them. There will be shocks certainly as
some senior MPs will definitely lose the right to represent the MDC-T.’
Thursday, 02 May 2013 11:06
HARARE - Opposition Zapu president Dumiso Dabegwa has said the beneficiaries
of President Robert Mugabe’s land seizures will not lose the land if he wins
the forthcoming elections.
Addressing a rally attended by hundreds of people in Jotsholo, 30km from
Lupane along Hwange in Matebeleland North Province on Tuesday, Dabengwa said
there will be no reversal of the land reform if he wins the forthcoming
“Those people who were resettled will not be moved from their newly-acquired
land because everybody in the country participated in the struggle against
the white settlers,” Dabengwa said.
“Boys and girls provided the information about the whereabouts of the
Rhodesian soldiers to the freedom fighters, women prepared food for them and
man provided guidance.
“When the country is free an enquiry will be made into how people were
allocated land as proper farming will be required and farmers will be
assisted in the new government. Zimbabwe did not buy maize from other
Once known as southern Africa’s breadbasket, Zimbabwe now faces acute food
shortages. The UN World Food Programme says at least 2 million Zimbabweans,
more than a fifth of the population, will need emergency food aid in coming
months to avert mass starvation.
Mugabe says the food crisis is the result of successive droughts, while most
analysts blame political violence and disruptions in the agriculture-based
economy during the government’s programme to confiscate thousands of
white-owned commercial farms that now lie virtually idle.
“Zapu is prepared to work with parties who think alike and must consider the
issues to do with devolution of power and human rights,” Dabengwa said.
“Talks are going on about forming a united front, but nothing has been
agreed upon yet. When Zapu pulled out of Zanu PF it mentioned that doors
were open for whoever is willing to be with it as long as they adhere to the
A former Home Affairs minister, Dabengwa and several senior Zanu PF
officials resigned from Zanu PF ahead of the 2008 vote to back Simba Makoni,
a former Zanu PF Politburo member and Finance minister in President Robert
Mugabe’s government and independent candidate, in the presidential
Dabengwa later confessed that the Mavambo project was aimed at preventing
the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai — then an opposition leader,
from beating Mugabe outrightly.
After Makoni came third in the 2008 presidential race, polling 8,3 percent
of the presidential vote, Dabengwa severed ties with the former minister and
revived Zapu with war veterans largely from his Ndebele ethnic group.
“In the upcoming elections Zapu will fight to be in government or become a
part of a coalition in government and if all that is not possible, it will
become the biggest opposition party, the country has ever experienced,”
“When Zapu gets into power, people in the country will determine what
infrastructure to put in their areas of responsibility and not people from
elsewhere deciding for them.”
Zapu’s elections officer retired colonel Khutshwekhaya Nketa urged people in
Jotsholo to go and register to vote in their large numbers.
“Go and check if your name appears in the voters roll so that on the day of
elections you are not caught unaware,” he said. “If you have changed place
of stay, go and have your name put where you would want to cast your vote
from as this year’s elections will be in wards.” - Gift Phiri, Political
by Nelson Sibanda
Operation systems of the Government of National Unity have rendered
Parliament dysfunctional as important issues affecting people are first
negotiated by principals and party negotiators at the expense of
parliamentary debate, MDC-T legislator for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya, has
Chikwinya who was speaking at the Bornwell Chakaodza commemorations held in
Harare today said parliamentary deliberations would only rubber stamp what
party negotiators would have agreed on.
“I am embarrassed to be a symbolic Member of Parliament who adds no value to
real parliamentary business since our role as legislators was diluted and
transferred to GNU negotiators,” Chikwinya told dozens of journalists at the
commemorations in Harare.
Journalists from across media houses in Zimbabwe commemorated the legacy of
veteran journalist Bornwell Chakaodza who passed away at 59 on 1 February
Chakaodza, one of the finest journalists ever to emerge out of the Zimbabwe
media fraternity was described as a brave, factual and harmonising media
guru who fought tirelessly to develop free media space in Zimbabwe.
A trained teacher and journalist, Chakaodza had vast experience, spanning
from the time he worked for the then Rhodesia Herald where he was a
political reporter. He also worked as a Director for Information in the
Ministry of Information, Editor at the Hansard at Parliament, Editor of the
Herald and later The Standard and also worked as a researcher at the
University of Zimbabwe’s Institute of Development Studies. At the time of
his death Chakaodza was a columnist with The Financial Gazette and Vice
Chairperson at the Zimbabwe Voluntary Media Council where he lobbied for a
free and self-regulatory media.
“Chakaodza was unequivocal about need for free speech, a self regulating
media and was prepared to work with any ethical board fighting for free
media space in Zimbabwe,” said Zimbabwe Media Commissioner, Chris Mhike, who
at one time worked with Chakaodza at VMCZ.
Mhike said Chakaodza would boldly call for freedom of expression which he
described as an inseparable element of a true democratic state.
Zimbabwe was described as a pseudo democracy with little willingness on the
part of political leadership running the country to provide for press
Mhike however bemoaned what he described as a lost opportunity by media to
converge media regulatory bodies such as VMCZ, BAZ and POTRAZ among others
under the new constitution set to be passed by into law soon.
The Zimbabwe Independent Editor, Dumisani Muleya, took the opportunity to
call upon the media to keep a close eye on the election ball.
“Media should probe and report political events leading to elections and
highlight shortcomings bedevilling the whole electoral process,”
Muleya urged media to highlight the plight of Zimbabwe third generation
citizens who were ‘criminally and deliberately’
disenfranchised as they were wrongfully classified as aliens.
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:52
HARARE - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has thrown its weight
behind Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC in the forthcoming
make-or-break harmonised elections.
Addressing the Workers’ Day commemorations at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare
yesterday, ZCTU president George Nkiwane urged workers to vote for the MDC
in the elections saying it was a party that advocates for the rights of the
His speech was politically potent, indicating that the workers had to gear
themselves up for the upcoming elections, declaring that the ZCTU gave birth
to the MDC in 1999.
Tsvangirai was the ZCTU secretary-general before turning to politics. This
year’s Workers’ Day theme was “Workers under siege: Organise, unite and
While MDC legislators came out in full force, conspicuous by their absence
were Zanu PF politicians, as Nkiwane told the gathering that ZCTU had
invited every political party in the country to the event.
American civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was supposed to
address the gathering, did not pitch up amid reports his visit had been
hijacked by government officials.
Meetings also scheduled between Jackson and Zimbabwean civil society groups
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights yesterday
were also aborted.
Nkiwane said the workers had the mandate to end the Government of National
Unity by voting Tsvangirai to be president in the elections where he squares
off with Zanu PF candidate President Robert Mugabe.
“We don’t want another GNU animal and let’s go and vote in huge numbers as
workers and we must choose leaders who have the interest of workers at
heart,” Nkiwane said.
“We know there are political leaders that are preaching political violence
to their supporters. I advise workers that if election campaigning becomes
violent, don’t participate as you only need to participate in a free and
fair environment without violence.
“The government must respect the rights of the workers and rule of law and
governance. When we got our independence in 1980 we thought those who are
ruling us were serving us and we started singing songs in praise of them:
‘‘Mauya, mauya comrade, mauya hamuchadzokera’’. It was a mistake we made as
we let them ride the horse continuously and they ran away with it and we did
not hold the rope to control it and we should not allow that to happen
Deputy prime minister Thokozani Khupe and Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa
both told workers to vote for the MDC in the coming elections.
“Workers must be allowed to participate in politics without fear or favour,”
“As MDC we are accused of selling-out this country to the Western world.
This is a false statement because we are asking investors from the Western
countries to come and invest in this country so that we can create jobs in
the country, open the factories and industries that were closed because of
Zanu PF mismanagement. I don’t care for being called a sell-out because I am
asking the investors to come and invest in the country.”
The celebrations were attended by thousands of workers who were captivated
by musician Leonard Zhakata.
Thursday, 02 May 2013 11:06
HARARE - Zimbabwe will increase mining royalties soon to raise $132 million
to bankroll the forthcoming elections, Finance minister Tendai Biti
(pictured) has said.
In an economy expected to grow by five percent this year, mining and
agriculture are the two major economic drivers and Biti is mulling
introducing new taxes for miners to bankroll the forthcoming elections
instead of borrowing on the debt markets.
The $100 million that had been promised by Pretoria hangs in the balance
after a South Africa Treasury spokesperson said the two governments were
only “engaged in ongoing discussions.”
Fresh from funding a March 16 referendum from Treasury bills floated for
National Social Security Authority (Nssa) and Old Mutual, Biti has said he
will not borrow again from the private sector given the liquidity crunch
that was caused by the $40 million drawn from the two institutions.
Old Mutual and Nssa provide 60 percent of domestic credit to the banking
sector in Zimbabwe, particularly to the smaller banks. The net effect of
borrowing $40 million from the private sector for the referendum caused the
crowding out of the productive sector of the economy which would otherwise
be borrowing this money.
Biti has said it was not possible to continue borrowing money from an
already over-strained private sector that has in fact a huge appetite for
funds to fund working capital for its operational costs, “so we have no
intention as Treasury to do that again.”
“The fact of the matter is Zimbabwe does not have the resources for funding
the election,” Biti said.
Biti raised excise duty on fuel on March 9 but said the raise was
meaningless, “it will raise $50 million by the end of the year, it’s
meaningless because we require the money now.”
“What we did in the referendum cannot be reproduced if we want to maintain a
stable and sustainable economy with growth rates of five percent that we
predicted in the 2013 budget,” Biti said.
“And certainly Treasury, this ministry of Finance and this minister of
Finance have no intentions of emasculating, of assaulting the economy for
this event that will come on one day.
“We are not going to borrow again for this election.”
Biti said he was mulling introducing three or four other taxes, including
some on the mining sector.
However, it is anticipated that further pressure on the mining sector could
deter investment in the country, which has the world’s second largest
reserves of platinum.
Besides mining royalties, Biti also hopes to raise cash from the
international community, diamond revenue, and mobile telecommunication firms’
licence fees. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
By Tichaona Sibanda
2 May 2013
The MDC-T’s deputy national organizing secretary has threatened to sue ZANU
PF’s Mines Minister Obert Mpofu for portraying him as a ‘thief’.
Abednico Bhebhe told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that Mpofu was campaigning
for ZANU PF in Nkayi last week and told people in the constituency that
Bhebe had stolen a tractor and a truck from the government.
Bhebhe also said that Mpofu has become notorious for making hate speeches
whenever he goes on a platform to address political rallies. He accused the
Mines Minister of delivering venomous speeches against the MDC-T and party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
‘Some of what he has been saying cannot be repeated on a respectable radio
station or newspaper. I want to urge the government to warn politicians from
using language that may spew hatred among political opponents,’ Bhebhe said.
He added: ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones like
Obert Mpofu is doing. If he’s calling me a thief, what should we call him?
Bhebhe claimed Mpofu has become so desperate for ZANU PF to win in the
Matabeleland region that he distributed 30 tonnes of maize to buy votes. But
the maize turned out to be rotten.
‘Two weeks ago he was in Matabeleland North province where he distributed 30
tonnes of rotten maize to people. We have all the testimonies on video and
this shows you the amount of desperation to try and salvage a seemingly
impossible task of winning his party votes in this region,’ he said.
CHIREDZI, MASVINGO — Temperatures are rising in Masvingo Province where Zanu
PF supporters with offer letters to own sugarcane plots are calling for the
immediate closure of Tongaat Hullet, the country’s sole sugar producer in
Chiredzi, for failing to allocate them promised pieces of land amid reports
that some senior Zanu PF officials are fighting to take over the South
African sugar milling giant.
At least 200 Zanu PF supporters, who earlier this year were issued with
offer letters to enter into the lucrative sugar production business, are
growing impatient with Tongaat Hullet, which is allegedly backtracking on an
earlier agreement to allocate them pieces of land.
Tongaat Hulett is said to have promised to clear about 4,000 hectares of
land to allocate to the new farmers following threats from some Zanu PF
supporters to take over some of its cane fields.
Speaking on behalf of the new farmers, Albert Matambo told VOA Studio 7 they
are prepared to take the law into their own hands and close the sugar
milling giant if it does not start allocating the cane plots.
Chiredzi East legislator Abraham Sithole, the chairman of the Cane Farmers
Association, has already given the company an ultimatum to honour its
Mr. Sithole wants the government to intervene immediately to avoid action he
said could be regrettable.
It also emerged yesterday that Zanu PF bigwigs are fighting to take over the
sugar company, which according to Indegenisation Minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, has failed to comply with the country’s black empowerment laws.
Two Zanu PF factions, one allegedly led by Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and the other by Vice President Joice Mujuru have been dragged
into the issue.
Tongaat Hullet chief executive officer Sydney Mutsambiwa refused to comment,
preferring to receive written questions in advance.
Experts warn the closure of the company will lead to massive job losses in
addition to serious sugar shortages in the country.
Thursday, 02 May 2013 13:50
By Janet Shoko
Zimbabwean swimming, icon Kirsty Coventry has sparked sharp criticism after
she claimed she was now on anti-retroviral medication as a precautionary
measure following a mugging at Harare International Airport last Saturday.
Coventry was attacked by a group of men as she returned from South Africa
with some family members and she claims that she received a cut, as she
tried to fight off the robbers.
While some social media users have accused her of being racist by suggesting
that her attackers were black and that lead her to rush to take ARVs, others
argue that her stance is promoting the awareness of HIV in the society.
"Whilst wrestling with one of the men over our suitcases, I cut myself on
the shattered glass. Unfortunately, so did one of the thieves," the Olympic
gold medalist said.
"I now have to take antiretroviral medication. The ARVs may be unnecessary,
but HIV is a serious problem in Africa and you can never be too careful."
It is that statement that seems to have touched a raw nerve, as she is now
being accused of stereotyping Africans and of racism.
"I hope you are well Kirsty - and that the ARV is completely unnecessary and
you are simple playing a racist card here," a Facebook fan commented.
"Sorry for the attack but were the men black or white. Your narration
suggests they are black and rushing to take ARVs is being racist, period.
Shame on you!"
Another user said, "White or black robbers, Kirsty was right to go on ARVs.
When you come from sub Saharan Africa blood is blood. I don't care the
colour of the other person. Sorry about your ordeal."
Some came to her defence.
"Kirsty Coventry is a role model to many people worldwide as she is trying
to raise awareness on an issue that is very real.
"This issue has nothing to do with racism. It is just stating fact. The fact
remains that HIV prevalence is the highest in Sub Saharan African
countries," another Facebook friend wrote.
Another said, "Irrespective of the robbers colour Kirsty is taking
preventative measures. The risk of HIV is real and anyone in a similar
situation as Kirsty would have taken the same precaution".
Thursday, 02 May 2013 10:40
HARARE - Harare city’s emergency department has just three ambulances to
service over three million residents.
The city, which is currently struggling with disease outbreaks and a myriad
of accidents, runs 12 polyclinics with a dilapidated fleet of ambulances and
authorities are pleading for assistance.
Council’s chief fire officer Savious Mugavha said the old fleet is
inadequate to attend to the city’s health demands.
“We need 32 ambulances to operate effectively but most of the time we have
just three functional ones while the rest are broken down. The city needs a
new fleet,” said Mugavha, who was speaking at a handover ceremony of an
ambulance refurbished by a local cement manufacturer on Tuesday.
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the emergency department had
approximately 24 ambulances when his council took over but about 20 were
He said the state of the city’s emergency department was everyone’s
“Our council does not get any funding from government, we generate our own
money,” Masunda said. “That has been the arrangement even before
“Ratepayers should pay bills for us to have money. Beyond paying bills we
should take stock of what we are doing to help the city. Service delivery
does not have ‘isms’ attached like Zanu-ism or MDC-ism.”
Lafarge corporate affairs executive Washington Mutasa said his company
refurbished the ambulance at a cost of $10 000 and further pledged to
service the ambulance four times and give 2 400 litres of petrol. - Wendy
by Violet Gonda on May 2, 2013
SW Radio Africa’s Violet Gonda speaks to opposition leader Dr. Simba Makoni on the Hot Seat programme this week. Why does Makoni say Rhodesians did not set upon their own as ZANU PF has done? He responds to people who say his comments are “of a frustrated man who will say anything to revive his fading political career?” Makoni’s critics also say he has leadership qualities but has failed to mobilize support. So what is his support base and is he attracted to the idea of forming an election pact with ZANU PF or the MDC formations? The former finance minister also talks about the state of the economy and why he feels dollarization was not brought about by the GNU.
Broadcast 25 April 2013
VIOLET GONDA: My
guest on the Hot Seat programme is Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn leader Dr. Simba Makoni.
Welcome on the programme Dr. Makoni.
SIMBA MAKONI: Thank you very much indeed, good day to you.
GONDA: There are certain sections in the Zimbabwean society who feel you should be charged with treason for saying that President Mugabe and his party are responsible for the brutalities being suffered by Zimbabweans now than what was experienced by Rhodesians under the Ian Smith regime. Did you say this and if so, what makes you say this when many Zimbabweans are saying that life is a lot better now?
MAKONI: What I said was the Rhodesians did not set upon their own in the manner that we are doing. That was the comparison I made. Then I made another comparison which said in Rhodesia we lived in fear, in Zimbabwe we still live in fear. I even said President Mugabe himself lives in fear of losing his position. The dominant force afflicting people in Rhodesia was fear and in Zimbabwe it’s still fear. But coming to your direct question, I don’t believe there are sections of Zimbabwean society who believe I should be charged for treason. There was one person – I feel pity for her because obviously she doesn’t know what makes treason. As a learned person who is teaching at a high institution of learning, probably she needs to take time to educate herself on what exactly makes treason. Having a different view and even having an opposing opinion, nowhere in the law makes treason.
GONDA: Right and just going back to one of your points where you said that in Rhodesia there were no Rhodesians who set upon their own. Others would argue that there were some white Rhodesians who were victimized because they supported the nationalists.
MAKONI: Well I think we want to establish the facts. I did not dispute – I was at one with some of those white Rhodesians but there were white Rhodesians who formed opposition parties to Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front; they were not arrested, they did not suffer violence, they were not long sleeved, short sleeved – it’s the degree of victimization if you want to call it that. But yes certainly whites who were with the nationalist movement, some of them were sent out of the country, others were put in prison but the degrees are different from what we are talking about. If you look at some of the brutalities that we have meted on our own, there is no comparison.
GONDA: In the state media, your critics say your comments are of a “frustrated man who will do anything to revive his fading political career.” What is your reaction to this?
MAKONI: In politics I accept that people take different views on issues. I wish there had been evidence of why they think I am frustrated. That I’m trying to build my political brand is correct, that’s what this game is all about. I believe Mugabe is also trying to build his political brand so that shouldn’t be an issue should it?
GONDA: So in your eyes, what is the correct situation in Zimbabwe as there are different views depending on who is talking? For example civil society organizations say there are rights abuses and that there’s no conducive climate for free and fair elections and if it’s Zanu PF – there are no problems in Zimbabwe.
MAKONI: Violet I think it’s very important that you make that distinction. The only person who won’t tell you that anything is wrong in the country is Zanu PF and when they concede that something is wrong they say it is because of others, they blame other people not themselves. Everybody else – political parties, civil society, business leaders, faith leaders, everyone else who are not Zanu PF acknowledges that there is a lot that’s wrong in the country, that we have responsibility for correcting it and that’s the point I was making.
Simply Zimbabweans must take primary responsibility for the condition in which we find ourselves in. Either by omission or commission we’ve allowed our country to be destroyed. Secondly Zimbabweans live in fear and I repeat this – Robert Mugabe every day lives in fear of losing his position. That’s why he and his party are doing all that they are doing to the citizens. He even had the arrogance to say to the people you must not repeat the mistake you made in 2008. Why is it a mistake to choose someone that you believe in?
So what is the situation? People live in fear, people live in privation -whether it is of food, of medicines, of clean water, the hospitals can no longer dispense medicines, teachers no longer have chalk with which to instruct their children, everything that we would call normal. Jobs have been lost and are still being lost in business. Tendai Biti described Zimbabwe as the world’s biggest supermarket. We trade other people’s produce and we don’t produce anything. People have been turned into petty traders selling airtime, tomatoes, vegetables and trinkets from China. That’s not the signs of a country, an economy and a society that is improving.
GONDA: But do you admit that the situation has changed significantly since the formation of the coalition government?
MAKONI: Well I don’t know what you are measuring to make that statement. We just had a miserable 18% O’level pass rate announced two months ago. People are still in fear. The only thing that Prime Minister Tsvangirai claims has improved is that there is plentiful supply of goods in the shops, imported goods that are not made here. One question that comes to mind is who and how are we financing these imports? So those who are claiming that things have improved are measuring the stability in the economy which was brought about by dollarization – but I would say to you, dollarization was not brought about by the inclusive government, it was not even brought about by Zanu PF. Dollarization was brought by the people of Zimbabwe.
As late as October 2007 nobody was trading in the Zim dollar anymore; high officials in government and lowly people in the market, we were all using foreign currency in our trade. That’s the only factor that has brought some improvement in terms of price stability & low inflation but every other yardstick that you can use will show a decline.
The only other yardstick that shows growth is growth of imports but when Tendai Biti presents his statements he tells you how terrible it is that our budget deficit and our trade deficit especially is ballooning in sympathy with the growth of imports and the decline of exports.
GONDA: I’m sure you have seen reports saying western countries are changing their stance on Zimbabwe because they believe there has been progress. What can you say about that?
MAKONI: Well first I have always known that western countries have wanted to re-engage with Zimbabwe to restore normal relationships so I’m not surprised that they will find the slimmest pretext and the adoption of a new constitution by them represents progress but I can tell you and you can ask any Zimbabwean whether the adoption of a new constitution has changed anything in their everyday life. I don’t think so. But at the same time it is useful that countries try to engage because with engagement comes influence and hopefully positive influence.
GONDA: As a former Finance Minister in the Zanu PF government what is your understanding of how the funding of elections works and what do you make of the dispute with the UNDP?
MAKONI: Well first of all I must say that I personally and many other self-respecting Zimbabweans that I know are very ashamed that our country is having to beg for money to run our national elections. Elections are financed from the national fiscus; the government budgets for the conduct of elections. This government budgeted $30 million for the conduct of a national referendum and a national election where they estimated at least $200 million was needed. Where did they expect to get the rest of it? So it’s shameful, it’s embarrassing, I wouldn’t go about waving a big sovereignty flag when I cannot even finance basic national imperatives like elections.
GONDA: Well Finance Minister Tendai Biti says that Zimbabwe should not be asking for money from outside as we have enough resources and Professor Welshman Ncube also said that diamonds are being stolen in Zimbabwe. What is happening to the diamonds and if you were Finance Minister what would you have done about this situation?
MAKONI: Well I don’t know what is happening in diamonds because nothing is done in a transparent manner but if Finance Minister Tendai Biti says what he says, he should know better; all I know is Biti two months ago said his purse contained only $217. It’s pathetic that a nation can reduce itself to such pauperism. What would I do if I were Finance Minister? Obviously I would marshal all the resources available to the country openly, transparently – that’s what I tried to do when I was Minister of Finance then and I wouldn’t acquiesce to people robbing the nation. I wouldn’t continue to associate with people who are robbing the nation in broad daylight. If I didn’t manage to turn them round then I would disengage. So it is mind boggling, it is puzzling that people who claim to be partners, to be working together can be at such loggerheads with each other on a very simple thing like please bring what belongs to the nation to the national purse.
GONDA: Let’s talk a bit about the elections, the forthcoming elections – are you going to contest?
MAKONI: Well if elections are called under conditions that provide for credible free and fair outcomes, we will participate. The parties to the Global Political Agreement defined very clearly in the GPA and in the road map to free and fair elections what make free and fair elections. It’s a removal or what I call demobilization of the agents of fear and violence, it’s enabling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to have the competence and the capacity to run free and fair elections without political interference and without political bias, it’s resourcing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the other institutions of state to manage elections in a manner that allows every citizen who enters a polling booth to put his X in the box that he or she wants not he or she is forced to.
GONDA: Do you see this happening realistically?
MAKONI: It can happen if we have the will and the commitment to do it. Currently the will doesn’t exist so I don’t see it happening in the near future.
GONDA: And I’ve heard quite a lot of people say they would like to vote for you in the elections but they are worried that you have no followers. What is your reaction to this?
MAKONI: Well I don’t know how they can say that before we have measured the following. The simple method of measuring what following one has is either in a survey or in an election. Neither of that has been done. But I would say that I am striving to generate more following than I have at the moment and I’m sure that come the day we vote in a free and fair election those who are suggesting I have no following will be surprised.
GONDA: So how many people do you have at the moment?
MAKONI: Oh I can’t count them. Too many to count.
GONDA: You can’t give us numbers?
MAKONI: There are different categories of following; there are card carrying members of the party, there are supporters and sympathizers of the party and there are people who support the platform, the ideas that we give and they are different numbers in all those. Members of our party are currently measured in tens of thousands but I know that supporters who believe what we stand for is what the country needs are in their millions.
GONDA: I recently spoke to the International Crisis Group’s analyst for Southern Africa Trevor Maisiri and he had this to say about you and I quote. “I think Simba Makoni stands out as a good technocrat, with leadership qualities that seem to be well placed but again the issue is of grassroots mobilization. I would put Simba Makoni in the same realm as Welshman Ncube in terms of being good as individuals but failure to mobilize on the ground.” What’s your reaction to this?
MAKONI: Look it depends on timeframe. We are building a party, we are a very young party and I would say if he’s talking about grassroots following at this point in time, yes we are not a dominant party, I wouldn’t deny that. But does the size of our membership equate to the following that we have? The people who find our ideas, our values, our principles attractive, that is where we make the distinction. Trevor would be right if he’s reading how many people carry an MKD card in their pocket but if we are reading how many people resonate with our values and principles, I would say in the millions.
GONDA: So what are your values and principles and what achievements can you point to that should make people want to vote for you if you are to participate in the next election?
MAKONI: Let’s take the latter part – achievement in terms of service to the people – none at the moment because we are not in a position to serve the people. But our principle value proposition is service and servant leadership. We are not looking for power and control, we are looking to serve, to participate, to contribute. Other politicians are looking for power, command and control – that’s a big distinction. We are looking for integrity and honesty. The key character of our country at the moment; two key characteristics of our country are fear and corruption and our leaders are not only participating in but are aiding and abetting corruption, victimization of citizens, disempowerment of citizens. We are about genuine empowerment where citizens can do things for themselves without impediment. We are for inclusion, unity and participation. We don’t want to split the nation into little groups; this party, this religion, this group, this region – we want togetherness.
GONDA: So why do you think Zimbabweans are not seeing that?
MAKONI: Well first of all I don’t know that I would agree with you that Zimbabweans don’t see that. I don’t know what yardstick you are using to make that statement. I believe that Zimbabweans see all this. I don’t want to sound like blowing my own trumpet but I know that what Trevor Maisiri reflected to you is reflected to many people including to myself by others who say ‘if you have the opportunity to lead us, we know that you would lead a clean government, a competent government, it would not be corrupt, it would not be cruel, it would not set citizen upon citizen’. Zimbabweans say this every day so I believe they see it. I would not allow under my leadership the cruelty that we have seen, that a leader will feather their nest when the rest of the nation is groveling and wallowing in abject poverty. I would not do that.
GONDA: And of course you have heard many Zimbabweans are calling for opposition forces to form a pact against Zanu PF in the next elections. Are you attracted by this idea?
MAKONI: I am attracted by citizens working together to bring positive change. I am not attracted by notions of pacts against or opposition. Opposition in what form? I know that there are people in Zanu PF who are yearning for change just like there are people in MDC. I know that there are many people in Zimbabwe who are not in either Zanu PF or MDC who are yearning for real change. So my positioning is, and I put it out on January 23, we would like to work and are currently working for a grand coalition for change. We are driven by positives not negatives, and so all those Zimbabweans who want to see the demobilization of the machinery of violence and intimidation, and I know there are many in Zanu PF who want that, I know there are also many in MDC. All those Zimbabweans who want to uplift the country out of poverty, who want to remove the shame of joblessness, the shame of lack of clean water, we would like to work with all of them without putting labels on them. So the underlying foundation is Zimbabweans for change not Zimbabweans against so and so.
GONDA: So have you been in talks with any of these parties?
MAKONI: We are not talking to parties, we are talking to individual citizens and some of them are in those parties. We are willing to be in coalition with those citizens who want to work for genuine change, they could be in MDC, and they could be in Zanu PF. If we are going to work as entities, as this party and that party we must first construct the platform on which we are going to work and that is what the discussions I am talking about I’m engaged in. It’s not just to say because there is MDC, let’s join them to oppose Zanu PF, and because there’s Zanu PF let them stand away from us – because in the end it’s the personality of citizens, individually and collectively that make the personality of the nation.
And I would like to say for the long term, Zimbabweans should resist being paddocked in little circles that are given characteristics of pro-this and anti-that, especially anti-that because that is what has taken us down the tube for all these years because we are being forced to make a choice of who we are against rather than what we stand for. I am saying to my compatriots – if real change doesn’t come even in my lifetime, let us agree that we lay the foundation for our children and our grandchildren not to live in fear, not to live in hunger, not to yearn for good education, not to miss aspirins at their central hospital. That is our long range vision that we want to mobilize and energize the whole of Zimbabwe behind.
GONDA: Why can’t you mobilize them to be part of the Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn party?
MAKONI: Violet you want to make a distinction between supporting, believing in and subscribing to a vision and being in an organization. We would like Zimbabweans to believe in the vision and values that we are advancing whether they hold our party card in their pocket or not because that is important. Your value system is important before you are labeled by any name and that is our first prime. Let Zimbabweans accept this value proposition then we can work for the attainment of those values in whatever formation we find ourselves in. Over time we will converge into united formations on the strength of our belief and our value conviction. Let’s not start by putting people into an MKD paddock before they are converted to the faith.
GONDA: It seems there are a lot of new platforms and organizations; don’t you think people are tired of these organizations and different groupings and that all they want is to see change?
MAKONI: Violet I would remind those people that we came from a de facto one party state and we didn’t make progress. Secondly I would remind them that choice, variety are the essence of democracy. You couldn’t really have full democracy if there was no choice. But I don’t think that our problems are caused by too many organizations; our problems are caused by a leadership in one organization, in two, three organizations who are not committed to the mission of serving the people but who are committed to self-service. That’s why we have done all these horrible things to each other. Whether you are talking about the brutalities, whether you are talking about the impoverishment, the disempowerment, even the victimization that led people to leave the country – numbers of up to three million Zimbabweans – and last week I had the pain of visiting the Methodist Centre in central Johannesburg, I was pained, that we can’t be doing this to ourselves. All those things have a reason because of lack of democracy and lack of choice.
GONDA: Some people were actually shocked to find out that in Zimbabwe there are about 18 political parties and this came out when political parties met with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last week. Who are these political parties and what have they been doing?
MAKONI: Well I was also surprised; actually the number I heard was 33 not just 18; I think 18 are the ones that attended the event organized by ZEC last week but I would agree with you that even with my passion for choice and variety, 33 or 18 is too much. But I also would say that it’s really not an issue because like you asked – who are they? Where are they? Who takes them seriously? So I think that’s not an issue; let 33 names be on that ballot paper and I can tell you that not more than five, six will be the significant one.
GONDA: As you were once a senior Zanu PF official what do make of reports of serious infighting in the party and how significant is this?
MAKONI: It’s nearly five years since I left Zanu PF so I don’t know the goings on inside that party, I don’t know the goings on inside the other parties as well. I’m sure they don’t know the goings on inside my party. But as a Zimbabwean I am saddened by that because that underlines the key characteristic I made at the beginning of our conversation – the fear, the violence, the victimization. If members of one party cannot resolve contradictions peacefully, is it any wonder that between different parties we do long sleeves and short sleeves. So I don’t know the extent of it, I don’t know the factuality of it but I read about it just like you and all I can say is it’s sad that this is happening because what we need is amity and togetherness. Even where we disagree in our ideas, in our views, our approaches to issues, we shouldn’t be enemies to that extent.
GONDA: Some commentators say that with what is going on in the coalition government it is possible that we will have a second GNU. Do you see this?
MAKONI: As I see things at the moment, it is not likely that any one political party will win an outright majority in the next election if the elections are conducted under free and fair conditions of choice, in which case then we would be committed to another coalition. I doubt that the composition of that coalition will be the same as the one that we have now.
GONDA: There are others who say it is unlikely there will be another coalition government since there is no provision of a prime minister in the new constitution. Is that a correct reading of the constitution?
MAKONI: No not necessarily. I don’t think that would be a correct reading of the constitution. My own understanding, and I’m not a constitutional lawyer or any lawyer for that matter, is that the position of prime minister is that of a minister and that ministers are appointed by the president because our constitution has provided for an executive president who is head of state and government. He will appoint ministers and he is at liberty or she is at liberty to appoint a prime minister which means a minister above other ministers. So I don’t believe that the fact that there isn’t a stipulation of a prime minister in the constitution necessarily means that the country may not, could not and should not have a prime minister.
GONDA: Finally Dr Makoni, what did you make of recent surveys by the Freedom House Institute saying the MDC-T had lost a significant number of voters and that Zanu PF is likely to win in the next elections?
MAKONI: There are a number of points to make about that: the first one is that the significant finding in all those surveys, not just Freedom House, Afro Barometer, Mass Public Opinion Institute, is that the larger majority of Zimbabweans, bigger than those who will vote for Zanu PF and MDC, are people who would not say they would vote for Zanu PF or MDC. Now that is very significant because it means that any party or parties that will win the support of that section of voters who will not vote for either MDC or Zanu PF – but they will be the dominant party.
Another significant finding is that the majority of those uncommitted are the younger scale 18 to 35 and that is the segment of our voter that my party is particularly concerned about because they represent the future, where we are going, not where we are coming from. But let me also say that one issue that will bear on this is whether people actually turn out to vote on the day and vote for who they said in the survey they will vote for. One of our biggest problems going back to I think 1995 is that fewer and fewer people turn out to vote at each election and this voter apathy, this low turnout of voters could change those number dramatically on the day of voting.
GONDA: Okay we’ve come to the end of our programme; thank you very much Dr Simba Makoni for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.
MAKONI: It’s my pleasure.
To contact this reporter email email@example.com or follow on Twitter
Hot Seat is broadcast on SW Radio Africa every Thursday and repeated Sunday from 7:30pm to 8pm Zimbabwe Time. SW RADIO AFRICA is online at www.swradioafrica.com and daily broadcasts on shortwave 4880 kHz in the 60m band between 7 – 9 pm Zimbabwe time.
Tuesday 02 May 2013
The MDC once again joins journalists, the people of Zimbabwe and the world
at large in commemorating this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
This year’s commemorations which are being held under the theme; “Safe to
speak: Securing freedom of expression in all media” come at a time when
Zimbabwe urgently needs media reforms before the holding of free and fair
Zimbabwe needs urgent media reforms as the country’s public media continues
to churn hate speech and the media industry, especially the private media,
is facing serious repressive laws affecting the free flow of information.
However, the MDC applauds the people of Zimbabwe for endorsing the new
Constitution in the referendum and the role played by the media in
supporting the draft Constitution.
The new Constitution carries fundamental freedoms and an expanded Bill of
Rights that will go a long way in assisting the media in their day to day
Some of the rights in the new Constitution are; freedom of expression and
freedom of the media, access to information and the establishment of the
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
The ZMC will among other functions uphold, promote, develop freedom of the
media and monitor broadcasting in the public interest to ensure fairness and
diversity of views broadly representing Zimbabwean society.
With these new chapters that are enshrined in the new Constitution, the
existence of draconian media laws that has seen the arrest of scores of
journalists for years will be a thing of the past.
Indeed,it is possible to bring genuine transformation to the nation once the
media has been transformed. As a Party of Excellence, we believe that
citizens should be given an opportunity to talk and deal with developmental
issues without getting patronized on political grounds.
The MDC reaffirms its position on the promotion of a media environment which
supports the reconstruction of Zimbabwe and ultimately leading to the
genuine transformation of the lives of Zimbabweans.
Yes - Together we can complete the change!!
3 May 2013
ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY, ZLHR URGES GOVT TO ADVANCE MEDIA REFORM PACKAGE
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights joins all supporters of media freedom in
the global observance of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2013 under the
theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”.
World Press Freedom Day gives us a chance to pay tribute to media
professionals within Zimbabwe and beyond who risk their lives and that of
their families in their line of duty. It is an opportune time to celebrate
the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press
freedom in our country and throughout the world and defend the media from
attacks on their independence.
This year’s theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All
Media” puts the spotlight in particular, on the issues of safety of
journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression,
and securing a free and open internet as the precondition for online safety.
ZLHR believes that a free and independent media is essential to the
development and sustainability of a vibrant democracy, and integral to
realising the public’s right to diverse information and views.
Since ZLHR is deeply committed to freedom of expression and access to
information, ZLHR salutes the brave journalists and media houses that have
in the past year committed to exposing human rights violations, executive
excesses, corruption and other ills in both the public and private sphere.
It is saddening to note that Zimbabwe is still saddled with an arsenal of
repressive media and criminal laws that are either too broad or vague
despite committing itself to international, continental and sub regional
standards and principles that urge state to promote media freedom.
Almost five years after the formation of the Inclusive Government (IG) and
the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) those in authority have
failed to implement the key media reforms agreed during the embryonic stage
of what we considered to be a transition to democracy.
Five years of inclusive governing have failed to roll back the regime of
censorship and secrecy that were the hallmarks of the previous repressive
The GPA clearly stipulates that laws impacting negatively on fundamental
rights and freedoms of expression, assembly, association and movement were
to be amended to ensure a conducive legislative environment. These
undertakings have been ignored, if not violated, with impunity.
Obnoxious laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act, the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act among others continue to stifle media freedoms and have
resulted in the subsequent arrest of journalists, citizen journalists and
several citizens. This has been a clear indication that legislative and
institutional reform is not a priority for the IG and such repressive laws
will continue to be used selectively by unreformed state institutions and
actors to prevent constitutional freedoms from being exercised due to lack
of political will and failure to censure heavy-handed action whenever it
The publicly-owned but state-controlled media (both print and electronic)
continues to do a disservice to the nation by failing to provide programming
and content that enlighten people in a comprehensive and educative manner.
Inequality of access to such media by representatives offering dissenting
views remains a challenge.
ZLHR has been monitoring, with increasing concern, recent reportage in the
state-controlled and other partisan media which, when read in its entirety,
constitutes a professional and personal attack on a well-respected judge of
the High Court of Zimbabwe (Justice Charles Hungwe), as well as a broader
and more disturbing assault on the independence and integrity of the
judiciary and legal profession in Zimbabwe. What is of the greatest concern
is that such hate speech and false reporting has not only been tolerated,
but has in fact been encouraged to continue with complete impunity.
Reform of the public broadcaster and state-controlled media remains
outstanding despite its urgency and the GPA requirement that this be
prioritized by the IG.
Other repressive laws continue to be abused and selectively applied against
targeted civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders
(HRDs). It is disturbing to note an increase in the criminalization of free
speech through the abuse of insult laws, wherein ZLHR has recorded 60 cases
in which section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act has
been arbitrarily applied on individuals and charged with allegedly
“insulting or undermining the authority of the President” since 2010.
The Broadcasting Services Act has also been used to stifle lawfully
operational alternative media and voices. In relation to the latter, the
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has, since the beginning of the year,
arbitrarily sought to “ban” alternative sources of media – namely short-wave
radios. This has been followed by the confiscation of radios from CSOs and
communities that have been searched or found in possession of such gadgets.
This unlawful confiscation of radios is directly linked to the closing up of
access to diverse information and leads to a situation where people in
communities are not able to get any alternative sources of information as
they cannot afford to buy newspapers, and in most cases there is no
frequency for state controlled broadcasting. This is a blatant violation of
the right to freedom of expression and access to information and must be
The lengths to which State institutions and actors are now going to deny
fundamental rights and freedoms and act outside the law is alarming but is
typical of paranoid State authorities who are contemptuous of any diversity
of opinion and information.
ZLHR calls upon the IG and the Zimbabwe Media Commission to make use of the
World Press Freedom Day commemorations as a golden opportunity to advance
the media reform package which was kick-started by the IG through promises
that remain unfulfilled of implementing comprehensive media reforms before
the next elections.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
6th Floor, Beverley Court
100 Nelson Mandela Avenue
Phone+263 4 764085/705370/708118
Follow us on Twitter@ZLHRLawyers
This year’s World Press Freedom commemorations come at a defining time for
Zimbabwe following the endorsement of the Draft Constitution during the 16
March 2013 constitutional referendum.
Endorsement of the Draft Constitution thus offers immense opportunity for
comprehensive legislative reforms that dovetail with the fundamental
liberties as provided for in the Draft.
As a media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information advocacy
organisation, MISA-Zimbabwe is particularly encouraged by the inclusion in
the Draft of explicit provisions that for the first time explicitly
guarantee media freedom and citizens’ right to access to information.
As the world marks this year’s Press Freedom Day on 3 May under the theme
Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media, MISA-Zimbabwe
calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that democratic media reforms
are pursued as a matter of urgency in order to realign the current media
legislative and regulatory environment with the new constitution.
It is for this reason that while MISA-Zimbabwe recognises the importance of
the global theme for this year’s commemorations, it has sought to give the
event local context through our 2013 theme: Media Reforms Now!
This theme is grounded on the fact that there is no guarantee that by
providing constitutional provisions protecting the media, subsidiary
democratic laws will as of imperative necessity, be crafted in line with the
new charter. The region is not short of examples of such discord and
incongruence between constitutional provisions and prevailing legislation.
Malawi and Mozambique are cases in point.
Although the two countries have explicitly safeguarded press freedom and
access to information in their constitutions, they have either reneged on or
delayed in enacting supporting legislation.
It is therefore imperative that as Zimbabwe joins the league of countries
with democratic constitutional provisions protecting freedoms of expression
and the media, the authorities should ensure that the provisions are
exercised and fully enjoyed by citizens.
It is only through the enactment of supporting legislation that Zimbabwe can
entrench a culture of constitutionalism as well as abide fully with other
regional and international instruments on freedom of expression that
Zimbabwe is signatory to. These include the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Banjul Declaration on
the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, and African Charter on
Viewed in the context of the impending elections, ensuring these reforms are
instituted well in advance will go a long way in complying with the SADC
Guidelines and Principles on the Conduct of Democratic Elections as well as
the region’s asserted position on Zimbabwe’s Election Roadmap.
The New Age Voices
As Zimbabwe joins other countries in marking the 20th anniversary of the
‘Declaration of Windhoek’ also known as World Press Freedom Day, a local
media body has called for the establishment of a genuine broadcasting
commission that discharges its duties in a professional manner.Zimbabwe
Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), an umbrella body of
community radio initiatives in Zimbabwe has called for a visible political
will to create a conducive broadcasting environment in the country.
Since Independence, the Zimbabwean government has refused to register
community radio stations and only recently allowed state aligned Star FM
radio and ZiFM owned by local businessman Supa Mandiwanzira to challenge ZBC’s
3 decade stranglehold on the airwaves. The Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ) is currently chaired by serial media hangman, Dr Tafataona
Mahoso, known for closing down newspapers at the turn of the millennium.
While acknowledging the progress made by the Inclusive government in
licensing new players, the body said that media reforms provided for in the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) and recently the new constitution, must not
be cosmetic but should ensure ‘citizens are exposed to diverse voices’.
ZACRAS deplored the culture of impunity that has engulfed the country which
has seen security forces illegally seizing radio sets from the public.
“We also urge the government to deal decisively with the culture of impunity
which has seen law enforcement agents unilaterally banning citizens from
legitimate use of solar powered radio gadgets to access information,” said
Gift Mambipiri, ZACRAS chairperson.
Mambipiri urged the government to expedite the process of enacting enabling
legislation that ‘complements the media provisions in the new Constitution’.
The body maintained that community radios remain the missing link in the
communication revolution in the country, which it said are an invaluable
asset for communities to develop.
Meanwhile, Youth Agenda Trust Chairperson who is also a media practitioner
Kudzai Kwangwari has deplored the state of the media in Zimbabwe and has
called for the licensing of genuine community radio stations and for the
public broadcaster (ZBC) to stop churning out hate speech. He said that it
is important for ZBC to embrace professional journalistic ethics so that it
becomes a true public broadcaster. “There must be genuine reforms at the
public broadcaster to ensure people feel that they own the station. It is
the only way people can willingly pay radio and television licences,”
Youth Agenda Trust is working in over 20 districts across the country where
it has trained communities on citizen journalism and the use of new media
technologies. Today, community members continue to contribute to the
publication of ‘The New Age Voices’ paper which is distributed across the
districts as well as other local papers which have agreed to partner with
the organization in bringing news to closed communities.
World Press Freedom Day was set aside to celebrate the fundamental
principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout
the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay
tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
ZACRAS STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) notes the
commemoration of the World Press Freedom day which is universally celebrated
every 3rd of May. This is a day on which we all pause, reflect and salute
the efforts of men and women who work tirelessly day and night to assist
global citizens understand one another through the media. The theme for this
year is “Safe to speak- security of freedom of expression in all media”.
In commemorating this day, we give honour to men and women in the media
industry who have contributed in the creation of a better Zimbabwe. We note
with gratitude the efforts made by volunteers of community radio stations in
communities dotted around the country, and urge the government of Zimbabwe
to compliment these efforts by embracing the community radio sector as a
critical tool for development.
ZACRAS remains convinced that community radios are the missing link in the
communication revolution in the country, as they are an invaluable asset for
our communities to develop. Our feeling is that the government has not
accorded this important sector the attention it deserves to enable it to
develop together with other sectors. We say the journey has been long but we
sense the morning dew!
We also salute colleagues in the mainstream print and broadcasting sector
who have been key pillars in our society, relaying and helping in
interpreting the signs of the times. More recently, as Zimbabwe went through
a transition clearly marked by the adoption of a new constitution.
To an extent, ZACRAS acknowledges the efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe
for bringing on board new media players onto our landscape in Zimbabwe.
While noting progress made thus far, we would like to bring to your
attention that more still needs to be done especially in the broadcasting
sector to make sure that citizens are exposed to diverse voices. We also
urge the government to deal decisively with the culture of impunity which
has seen law enforcement agents unilaterally banning citizens from
legitimate use of solar powered radio gadgets to access information. In the
same vein, the government should ensure that there is a properly constituted
independent broadcasting regulatory board.
ZACRAS acknowledges the completion of the Constitution making exercise and
notes the reasonably adequate provisions on the media. We however call for
the enactment of progressive media legislation which complements the media
provisions in the new Constitution .We further call for a visible political
will to create a conducive broadcasting environment and encourage
1. Recognize and licence genuine community radios so that Zimbabwe will have
a three tier broadcasting scenario as provided by the African Charter on
2. Immediately constitute an independent broadcasting commission as espoused
in the draft constitution to deal with the licensing of broadcasting media,
3. Cease the use of the public broadcaster as a hate speech churning tool,
4. Make practical efforts that prepare the nation for the digitalization era
5. Desist from deliberately frustrating efforts to use alternative media for
the promotion of access to information as was the case when the police
banned solar powered- radios with shortwave reception.
1. Community Radio Harare- CORAH -Harare
2. Berina Community Radio Initiative -Kadoma
3. Radio Dialogue -Bulawayo
4. Patsaka Community Radio Initiative -Kariba
5. Getjenge Community Radio Initiative -Plumtree
6. Nkayi Community Radio Initiative -Nkayi
7. Kwekwe Community Radio Initiative -Kwekwe
8. Nkabazwe Community Radio Initiative -Gweru
9. WeZhira Community Radio Initiative -Masvingo
10. Ntepe Community Radio -Gwanda
11. Y- Star FM -Bulawayo
12. Kumakomo Community Radio Initiative -Mutare
13. Hwange Community Radio Initiative -Hwange