Misfortunes appear to be pouring for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Faced with the greatest opposition to his 28-year-old grip on power, Mr Mugabe now faces a new challenge: his fast shrinking friends base.
Following recent changes in the governments of Botswana and South Africa, Mr Mugabe has watched helplessly as nations whose leaders once supported his failed policies have spoken out and publicly criticised him.
Former Botswana and South African leaders, Mr Festus Mogae and Mr Thabo Mbeki, respectively, favoured a soft stance on or as it got to be known, quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe.
Their successors, Mr Seretse Ian Khama and Mr Kgalema Motlanthe have hardened their stance on Zimbabwe and are increasingly becoming critical of the ageing leader’s failed policies.
Since his assumption of office, Mr Khama has been the most vocal southern African leader against Mr Mugabe.
After the June 27 presidential election run off, Mr Khama led calls for the non-recognition of Mr Mugabe’s controversial re-election.
Recently, he has also been leading calls for Zimbabwe to hold fresh polls; after it became unlikely a power-sharing deal signed in September would be implemented.
“It should be unacceptable for ruling parties to seek to manipulate election outcomes to extend their stay in power, as this is bad for democracy on our continent,” Mr Khama said.
Mr Mugabe’s administration however dismissed Mr Khama’s calls, saying they were “extremely provocative”.
Meanwhile, Southern African leaders opened a regional summit on Zimbabwe in South Africa today, hoping to break a deadlock over the allocation of cabinet posts which has prevented formation of a power-sharing government.
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting is trying to end the impasse between President Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and put into effect a power-sharing deal reached in September.
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said in opening remarks that the agreement signed by Zimbabwe’s political rivals was the only hope for the country to revive its collapsed economy.
“The historical agreement signed on the 15th of September is the only vehicle to help Zimbabweans (with) their economic challenges,” Motlanthe told the summit.
Mr Mugabe and Tsvangirai were both attending the summit.
Mr Motlanthe said there was some disappointment that the Zimbabwean parties had not agreed how to allocate cabinet posts. “We hope the parties will show political maturity by putting the interest of the people of Zimbabwe first,” he said.
Past meetings of regional heads of state have failed to produce a breakthrough and there were new signs that the parties may face another round of difficult negotiations.
By Peta Thornycroft
09 November 2008
Southern African leaders are meeting in Johannesburg Sunday in an effort to
rescue Zimbabwe's two month old power sharing agreement which is close to a
collapse. Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA that the key to a resolution is
agreement on which cabinet posts will be held by President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party, and which by Prime-Minister Designate Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr. Tsvangirai is expected to tell the leaders of the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) that the division of cabinet portfolios, as
envisioned by Mr. Mugabe in a power-sharing government, carries
responsibilities but little power for his Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr. Mugabe is likely to tell SADC leaders that Mr. Tsvangirai is training
insurgents in Botswana using British instructors. Both the Botswana
government and Mr. Tsvangirai have dismissed the allegations as nonsense.
Even so, Mr. Mugabe contends that he therefore must control key cabinet
portfolios, including home affairs which controls the police and immigration
and maintains the list of voters which has often been at the center of
election challenges. Home affairs, under ZANU-PF, has refused Mr. Tsvangirai
a passport for nearly six months.
Mr. Mugabe also wants to retain control of all security and justice
Mr. Tsvangirai is expected to devote much of his presentation to the ever
deepening humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and the fact that the Zimbabwe
dollar has, to all intents and purposes, lost any meaningful value.
Most of the population cannot access foreign currency and as of Friday,
inflation was at a world breaking figure trading at up to Z$2.3 billion to
US$1. Riot police were deployed at Harare banks Saturday as crowds gathered
to withdraw salaries.
Mr. Tsvangirai will also tell the summit that school children have lost a
full year of education and that humanitarian agencies are struggling to get
out and feed millions of people because of state imposed obstacles. And, he
will report that most of the main hospitals are not accepting patients for
treatment. Scores of people have died of cholera in recent weeks.
In addition to an equitable allocation of ministries, the MDC says it also
wants fair distribution of the 10 governor positions, all already claimed by
Mr. Mugabe, and a fair share of diplomatic postings and top civil service
jobs, all currently staffed by members of ZANU-PF.
The MDC has a narrow majority in parliament and Mr. Tsvangirai proved, in
the March 29 presidential election, that he is significantly more popular
than Mr. Mugabe, who at nearly 85 has been in power since independence in
The smaller MDC faction headed by Arthur Mutambara, who is the third
signatory to the September 15 agreement to establish a power sharing
government, is backing Mr. Tsvangirai for sole control of home affairs.
At last month's failed talks Mr. Mutambara, in an attempt to unlock an
impasse, tabled a proposal that the portfolio be rotated between ZANU-PF and
MDC, but insisted that Mr. Tsvangirai lead the ministry for the first six
A political source close to the negotiations, who did not want to be
identified, said he believed SADC would strive for consensus at Sunday's
meeting. South Africa, which chairs SADC, has said this week that time is
running out in the face of Zimbabwe's deteriorating humanitarian situation.
South Africa has earmarked US$30 million to help jump start food production,
if an inclusive government is formed. Agriculturalists in Zimbabwe say it is
already too late to purchase farming inputs for summer crops.
Botswana, the strongest regional critic of ZANU-PF, has called for fresh,
internationally supervised presidential elections if the summit does not
find a deal.
Regional leaders will also turn their minds to the war in the east of the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
Eight years ago two SADC member states, a then much richer Zimbabwe and
Angola were among five African countries which had armies participating in
By Rebecca Harrison and Phumza Macanda 16 mins ago
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
asked a summit of southern African leaders on Sunday to set a deadline for
an agreement on forming a cabinet to end a deadlock threatening a
In a speech to regional heads of state, Tsvangirai suggested his Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) would only accept a comprehensive agreement that
gives his party a fair share of powerful ministries.
"Only a genuine power-sharing arrangement will allow the MDC to join a new
government because that is our mandate from the people of Zimbabwe and we
cannot and will not betray their hopes and dreams for a better future," he
said in the speech, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
One of Tsvangirai's demands to the summit was "imposing a deadline on the
agreement" for formation of a new cabinet.
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe have been deadlocked over allocation
of important cabinet positions since the September 15 deal, which
Zimbabweans hoped would produce a united leadership to revive the ruined
economy in the country where inflation is the world's highest and
The 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), meeting in
Johannesburg, is trying to end the impasse.
Highlighting growing regional impatience, South African President Kgalema
Motlanthe said the deal offered the only hope for Zimbabwe to ease the
Past SADC meetings have failed to produce a breakthrough.
Although some leaders have taken a tough line on Mugabe, political analysts
say the SADC did not have the resolve to impose tough measures, such as
sanctions, to force an agreement.
"The people of Zimbabwe are suffering and they need immediate salvation.
Frustration and anger is setting in and I hope and trust that the leadership
in this room will be equal to the task that history has imposed on you,"
Tsvangirai said in the speech.
Tsvangirai was grim-faced and refused to talk to reporters.
Asked if he expected a deal at the summit, with Mugabe and Tsvangirai in
attendance, opposition MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti shook his head in
disappointment and told Reuters: "Does someone do this if he agrees?"
Zimbabwean state media reported earlier that Mugabe's government would not
change its stance on key cabinet positions and the opposition should accept
joint control of the interior ministry.
ZIMBABWE'S ONLY HOPE
"We hope the parties will show political maturity by putting the interest of
the people of Zimbabwe first," Motlanthe, whose country is the current SADC
chair, said in his opening remarks.
Biti dismissed a media report that said Mugabe had agreed to give the Home
Affairs Ministry, which controls the police, to the MDC. "It's absolute
rubbish," he said.
Talks adjourned and the SADC was considering presentations made by each
party, he said.
Tsvangirai's MDC said last week that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party had put a "full
stop" to negotiations on forming a government by engaging in what it said
was widespread violence.
Tsvangirai, who would become prime minister under the power-sharing deal,
has accused ZANU-PF of trying to seize the lion's share of important
ministries and relegating the MDC to the role of junior partner.
South Africa's government has said it will take a tough stand at the
summit -- a sharp change from the style of former President Thabo Mbeki, the
official mediator whose policy of quiet diplomacy was criticized as
Zimbabwe's economic crisis has forced millions of its citizens to flee the
country, an estimated three million of them moving to neighboring South
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Marius Bosch and Michael Roddy)
November 09, 2008, 16:00
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe is optimistic that the region's
leaders will be able to break the political stalemate in Zimbabwe and find a
solution to the recent outbreak of violence in the DRC. The region's leaders
are locked in talks in Johannesburg.
During his opening speech, Motlanthe expressed disappointment at the failure
by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the opposition MDC to agree on key
Motlanthe has also called for an immediate ceasefire in the Democratic
Republic of Congo to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to
thousands of displaced people. He says peace and stability in the region is
a pre-requisite for development.
NOVEMBER 8, 2008, 9:06 P.M. ET
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- President Robert Mugabe's peers are losing
patience, the top negotiator for the Zimbabwe opposition said on the eve of
an extraordinary regional summit called to deal with the southern African
nation's power-sharing deadlock.
Tendai Biti, who has been trying to form a unity government between Mugabe's
ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, said on
Saturday that Mugabe's Zimbabwe was increasingly surrounded by a new,
democratic breed of leader. Mr. Biti singled out Botswana's President
Seretse Ian Khama, who has condemned state-sponsored political violence in
Zimbabwe and called for internationally supervised elections to resolve its
Mr. Mugabe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party responded by accusing its neighbor
Botswana of training militants to overthrow him, charges that Mr. Khama and
Mr. Biti dismissed. Mr. Biti said the accusations were the sort of
"grandstanding" and "nonsense" Mr. Mugabe's neighbors were no longer
prepared to accept.
"With Mugabe, you're dealing with a very arrogant, very experienced
dictator," Mr. Biti said. "You've got to deal with Mugabe, first, with
courage. Second, you've got to have a game plan."
Increasingly, Mr. Biti said, African leaders were bravely saying to Mr.
Mugabe: "You're wrong, wake up."
As for a game plan, Mr. Biti said he expected leaders at Sunday's Southern
African Development Community summit in Johannesburg to press for what the
opposition sees as a fair division of Cabinet posts in a proposed unity
government. The opposition in particular wants the ministries that control
police and finance posts Mr. Mugabe has tried to claim unilaterally for
Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai agreed in September to share power, with Mr.
Mugabe as president and Mr. Tsvangirai as prime minister. But the deal has
not moved from paper to reality because of the Cabinet dispute, leaving
Zimbabweans without leadership as their economy collapses. Inflation is the
highest in the world; health, education and public utility infrastructure is
crumbling; and the U.N. predicts half the population will need food aid by
Mr. Biti said Zimbabweans needed an urgent solution, but that they could not
expect a dramatic breakthrough at Sunday's one-day summit. That did not mean
the opposition was ready to abandon the regional bloc's mediation effort,
which has been under way for a year.
"You make progress in small steps," Mr. Biti said.
Earlier Saturday, Human Rights Watch recommended that the leaders meeting
Sunday seek more help from the U.N. and the African Union. Human Rights
Watch has long questioned the strategy of the regional bloc's mediator,
former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Mr. Mbeki says confronting
Mugabe would be counterproductive. But critics say Mr. Mbeki's quiet
diplomacy amounts to appeasing a brutal dictator.
Nov 9, 2008, 12:07 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's political leaders were meeting with their southern
African counterparts in Johannesburg Sunday for talks aimed at pulling the
country's historic power-sharing agreement back from the brink of collapse.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader Morgan Tsvangirai are attending the extraordinary summit of the
15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was called to
pressure the two men into forming a unity government.
Opening the summit South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said it was
'disappointing' that, two months after agreeing to share power, Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party and the MDC could still not agree on its make-up and called on
the leaders to show 'political maturity.'
The conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is also on the
agenda of the meeting, which five heads of state, including Congolese
President Joseph Kabila, and senior officials from other SADC members are
Motlanthe, whose country holds the rotating SADC chair, backed calls for an
immediate ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance to
refugees displaced by the fighting and urged the parties to the conflict to
pursue a political solution.
Motlanthe also lamented the limited powers of the overstretched UN
peacekeeping force in Congo, MONUC.
'Their current mandate limits their ability to be real peacemakers,' he
Sunday's summit is seen as the last chance to save Zimbabwe's September 15
power-sharing agreement from collapse.
According to the terms of the deal, Mugabe remains president and Tsvangirai
becomes prime minister of a unity government of 31 ministries but the two
disagree on which party should get which portfolio.
A mini-SADC summit in Harare last month failed to end the deadlock.
South Africa had warned it would take a 'tough stance' this weekend, amid
signs of growing Zimbabwe fatigue among SADC members.
Earlier this week, former Namibian president and Mugabe confidant Sam Nujoma
met with the elderly leader in Harare to try to convince him to relax his
hardline stance in the talks, diplomatic and MDC sources said. It was not
possible to verify the outcome of the meeting.
The MDC has accused Mugabe and his party of trying to hold onto all the
important ministries. Home affairs, which controls police and the electoral
process, is particularly important to the opposition.
The MDC has agreed to let Zanu-PF retain defence in return for home affairs,
but Zanu-PF has been insisting on retaining it.
The MDC is also demanding control of the justice, foreign affairs and local
government ministries. The party is said to have won finance.
In the run-up to Sunday's summit, the two parties continued blaming each
other for the impasse and making noises about pulling out of the deal.
Observers say a power-sharing government is the only way of ending
Zimbabwe's nearly decade-long economic slide, which has intensified sharply
in recent months.
'The political leadership of Zimbabwe owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and
the region to show political maturity by putting the interest of Zimbabwe
first,' Motlanthe said.
Some 3 million people in the once model African economy now require food aid
and inflation is running over 200 million per cent.
by Godfrey Marawanyika Godfrey Marawanyika - Sun Nov 9, 7:57 am ET
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South African President Kgalema Motlanthe urged
Zimbabwe's political leaders to show "maturity" as they entered crunch talks
on Sunday aimed at saving their troubled power-sharing deal.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
signed a unity accord on September 15, but disputes over which party will
control the most powerful ministries now threatens to sink the deal.
The emergency summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is
seen as a make-or-break effort to salvage the accord and end the turmoil
that erupted after Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in presidential elections in
"The political leadership in Zimbabwe owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and
the region to show political maturity," Motlanthe said at the opening of the
summit in Johannesburg.
"The historic power-sharing agreement remains the only vehicle to help
extricate Zimbabwe from her socio-economic challenges," Motlanthe said.
"It is however disappointing. It is two months since the signing of the
agreement and parties have still been unable to conclude the discussions on
the formation of an inclusive government," he added.
Under the agreement, 84-year-old Mugabe would remain as president while
Tsvangirai becomes prime minister.
But the two have failed to agree on forming a cabinet, and the entire deal
threatens to collapse over who will take the home affairs ministry, which
controls the police.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses the regime of
orchestrating attacks against his supporters following the election in
March, when he failed to secure an outright majority and was forced into a
The opposition leader pulled out of the runoff because of the violence,
which Amnesty International says has left 180 dead and 9,000 injured since
Tsvangirai argues that his party should oversee the police to reassure his
supporters against the threat of new violence. Mugabe has already claimed
the defence ministry for his ZANU-PF party.
Both sides have taken a tough line ahead of the summit, with the MDC
accusing the regime of stepping up its repression, and ZANU-PF blaming the
opposition for its failure to agree to joint control of home affairs.
The deal brokered by former South African president Thabo Mbeki had been
hailed as an end to the political turmoil and a step toward hauling Zimbabwe
back from ruin: its economy has been shattered, with inflation estimated at
231 million percent.
Days after the accord was signed, South Africa's ruling party forced Mbeki
to resign over an entirely separate issue, but he remains SADC's official
mediator in Zimbabwe.
South Africa's new leadership has taken a much tougher line on Zimbabwe, in
a sharp contrast to Mbeki's so-called "quiet diplomacy," which avoided overt
criticism of Mugabe -- an approach that Tsvangirai criticised on several
The government spokesman for Pretoria warned last week that Zimbabwe's
crisis was becoming a threat to regional stability, while the ruling party
boss Jacob Zuma insisted that the summit would force the rivals into a deal.
Leaders from five of SADC's 15 members showed up for the summit. Aside from
Mugabe and Motlanthe, the presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Mozambique and Namibia were seen at the opening ceremony.
The other 10 countries sent representatives to the talks.
The summit was also set to discuss the conflict in Congo, where the
government is battling rebels in the eastern part of the country.
Motlanthe backed calls for a ceasefire in Congo, made at a separate summit
Friday in Nairobi.
"We call for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian assistance to the
displaced people. We firmly believe that there is no military solution to
the problem," he said.
11 hours ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's ruling party said it had considered sharing
control of the powerful home affairs ministry, but that the opposition
leader balked at the proposal, state media reported Sunday.
Leaders from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) are
holding a summit Sunday in Johannesburg to salvage a power-sharing deal in
Zimbabwe that has stalled over bickering about control of home affairs,
which runs the police.
Patrick Chinamasa, lead negotiator for the ruling ZANU-PF party, told the
Herald newspaper that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had raised the
possibility of sharing the home affairs post, but accused him of backing out
of the compromise.
"We want to make it clear that this proposal, which ZANU-PF accepted as a
compromise, was originated by Tsvangirai himself," Chinamasa said.
"He has since abandoned his own proposal," Chinamasa said. "The proposals
are on the table and the ball is in Tsvangirai's court."
Chinamasa repeated President Robert Mugabe's long-standing accusation that
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is backed by western
powers, and warned that he could not predict a successful outcome for the
"The problem with predicting any outcome is that we now know that Tsvangirai
is not his own man," Chinamasa said in the paper.
"He has no respect for SADC leaders or the organisation because he feels
that his source of power, which is Western countries, is superior to that of
the region," he added.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal on September 15 but have
so far failed to agree on how to form a unity government.
Regional leaders hope to press the rivals into a deal, with powerhouse South
Africa taking a tough line on Zimbabwe, warning last week that the political
impasse is becoming a threat to regional security.
09 November 2008
Remarks by the South African President November 9 2008
WELCOME REMARKS OF THE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA, HIS EXCELLENCY KGALEMA
MOTLANTHE, ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE SADC EXTRA-
ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE ORGAN, SANDTON CONVENTION CENTRE, SOUTH AFRICA,
NOVEMBER 9 2008.
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Leaders of Delegations
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
SADC Executive Secretary,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Senior Government Officials
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media
I am honoured to welcome you to our country and this august meeting of the
SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.
This Summit will be seized with the challenges of the instability and
humanitarian catastrophe in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of
Congo as well as the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe.
The progress our region has made demonstrates that peace and stability is a
precondition to development. Any slide into conflict and war will reverse
the hard-won gains of the people of our region.
We are confident that with our collective strength, capacity and commitment
solutions will be found, however, daunting the challenges may appear. Let me
emphasise that the objective of this Summit will be to resolve the issues
Your presence here bears testimony to our collective efforts for rebirth of
our continent through the relentless pursuit for African solutions to
African problems. It is indeed a firm expression that we are ready to
tackle the scourge of conflict in our region and to promote peace and
stability amongst our people.
This Summit will examine concretely what contributions SADC can make towards
a speedy resolution to the situation in the east of the Democratic Republic
of Congo. The war to end all wars has not been found. Therefore, a lasting
solution must be political and found through frank dialogue. The situation
has continued to deteriorate, in particular, I am referring to the
humanitarian situation. This places an obligation on us to act
This Summit follows two double troika Summits of SADC and of the Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security, which were tasked to deal with three
critical areas in our Region, namely;
I would like to highlight that, with respect to the issues in the east of
the DRC, we call for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian assistance
to the displaced people. Let me repeat: We firmly believe that there is no
military solution to the problem. We call for full implementation of both
Nairobi communiqué and Goma agreement as well as the Amani processes. These
processes are a basis for a sustainable solution to the problems of the
eastern part of the DRC.
We are encouraged by the diplomatic interaction between the DRC and Rwanda.
We therefore encourage MONUC to continue to provide protection to the
civilians. We also feel that their current mandate limits their ability to
become real peace-makers and provide for a lasting solution.
We welcome the initiative of the Great Lakes Region in holding the
international conference on the situation and also are encouraged by the
involvement of the United Nations in this matter.
The involvement of all role players including SADC in the DRC is central,
which means we should continue to play a prominent role, hence the need to
deliberate on our strategic intervention.
The second issue on the agenda of the SADC Summit, is the inconclusive
discussions on the formation of an inclusive government in Zimbabwe. The
historic power sharing agreement signed on 15 September remains the only
vehicle to help extricate Zimbabwe from her socio economic challenges. It
is however disappointing that it is two months since the signing of the
agreement and the parties have not yet been able to conclude the discussions
on the formation of an inclusive government.
The political leadership in Zimbabwe owe it to the people of Zimbabwe and
the region to show political maturity, by putting the interest of Zimbabwe
first. Therefore, we urge the three parties to build on the achievement
made thus far and reach an agreement on the outstanding issues including the
Ministry of Home Affairs.
We note the beginning of the rainy season, thus further adding to the
challenges in providing and lending our support to Zimbabweans to ensure
that they are able to contribute to their food security.
As a region we remain ready to assist the peoples of the DRC and Zimbabwe to
achieve lasting peace which will then allow them to tackle the much needed
economic reconstruction and development.
Your Excellencies, it is indeed my pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to
you, and everyone who will contribute towards the success of this Summit. I
trust that you will find the arrangements put at your disposal conducive to
I thank you.
Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs November 9 2008
Friday, 07 November 2008
One of Robert Mugabe's henchmen and former Justice Minister, Patrick
Chinamasa, has lashed out at Botswana President Ian Khama, accusing him of
meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa, a lawyer and Mugabe's chief negotiator at the government of
national unity talks, is now accused of doctoring the agreement signed by
Mugabe's ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. The
paragraphs Chinamasa removed and those he inserted have caused the demise of
the agreement and the prolonged stand-off in Zimbabwe.
It is a shame that there are still people in this world who cling to the
senseless Charter of the dead Organisation of African Union.
In this "global village", whatever happens in one country affects what
happens in the next and so Khama's statement is within his obligations.
Khama is the president of a country that continues to suffer because of the
chicanery and downright irresponsibility caused by the likes of Chinamasa
and yet ZANU-PF rules Khama out of order.
But this is to be expected from Mugabe and his cronies; a robber accustomed
to enjoying life from proceeds of theft does not think much of getting a
Presidents are there to serve the people not to rape the nation as Chinamasa
and Mugabe continue to do. They have the audacity to ask other leaders to
bless their murderous and plundering behaviour.
Hopefully, President Khama will maintain his position since it is the best
way to protect his nation and also to help Zimbabweans rid themselves of
political vermin that continues to afflict Zimbabwe 28 years on.
Speaking of presidents, I watched the great spectacle of Americans choosing
a president and rather than enjoy this free entertainment, which holds so
many lessons, I found myself thinking about Robert Mugabe.
While other leaders serve their nations better by voluntarily standing aside
for others with better or newer ideas, we have this old political rogue who
has caused so much suffering to people he is supposed to be protecting.
The election of an American president is outrageously expensive but the most
important thing I envy about it is that every president has to renew their
mandate with the people every four years but can only do so once.
Four years, let alone 28, is long enough a time for anyone to build or
destroy a nation and I have enjoyed watching American presidents winning a
further term or getting booted out after four years in power.
Yet in Zimbabwe, we have Mugabe still blaming the colonialists who we
dislodged thirty years ago. After 28 years in office, we still have Mugabe
presiding over the killings and disappearances of fellow citizens; we still
have Mugabe deliberately withholding food from innocent starving compatriots
because he suspects them of supporting an "opposition party".
We still have a president who regards the Ministry of Finance as his private
pantry where he stashes his personal money.
While I appreciate that Zimbabwe is one of the countries whose HIV/AIDS
infection rate has gone down, it is by no means something to gloat about
because such trends are not permanent and might, in fact, work against us in
the sense that they will make us believe that we can manage this serious
The fact that Mugabe and his ministers and party add to the suffering of the
citizens has never been more clearer than it is today.
When Jonathan Moyo turned against the nation and became Robert Mugabe's
rabid minister, supposedly responsible for information, he, with Mugabe's
knowledge, raided the coffers of the National AIDS Council and used the
money to stage a useless beauty pageant at Victoria Falls. Moyo argued that
the pageant was being staged to market Zimbabwe.
But how insensitive could one get more than taking money meant for ARV drugs
for our afflicted compatriots and, ironically, use that money to stage a
worthless beauty pageant with half-naked lasses prancing around on the stage
while cabinet ministers drooled at these young women?
Now Mugabe is at it again, this time with Zimbabwe Reserve bank governor
Gideon Gono's assistance.
With the situation as it is and with countries all over the world under
attack from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other fatal diseases, a group of men just
takes donated money and share it among themselves while people die.
Even if it were their own money, they, as leaders, would still be under the
obligation to put citizens first. But it was not their money; someone else
somewhere wanted to save the lives of Zimbabweans and our own leaders took
that money to buy hats, shoes and sunglasses for their wives.
Many years ago, people laughed when the late Ian Smith called Mugabe and
ZANU-PF gangsters. They said that those were the words of a defeated racist
who was jealous of a new black government.
Now we agree and we are not laughing anymore.
Now people can understand why the MDC is adamant on having the Finance
ministry; who in their right minds would give Mugabe, or any of his proxies,
money meant for the sick and disadvantaged?
It appears the honorary doctorate degree Mugabe threw at Gono is costing the
nation of Zimbabwe money, lives and its well being.
It is not an exaggeration that the agreement signed by ZANU-PF and the MDC,
with all its faults, had given people genuine hope of resolving the impasse
in our country. People are hungry, tired and eager to rebuild their lives;
eager to see their children back in school; eager to access medical
attention, clean water, food and a decent life.
Welshman Ncube, the lawyer Secretary General of the splinter group from the
MDC and Chinamasa's co-negotiator at the unity talks, recently admitted that
his group participated in the alteration of a document that was supposed to
set the stage for the easing of hardships for our people.
Ncube fingered Chinamasa as the one who doctored the document.
However, the fact that Ncube denies his personal involvement does not
He is a lawyer and he and his team knew of the alteration of a document that
was going to be the basis of national revival and he said nothing until it
was found out. He is as guilty of this as Mugabe, Mutambara and Chinamasa
are because they are the ones who stood to benefit from the treachery.
And this is the man who says Khama is out of order!
The situation in Zimbabwe is a great, sad pity. It looks like our ambition
to resuscitate our nation is not going to be realised any time soon.
I don't know why people don't realise that stealing from other people may
yield short term gains, but in the end the purse that is stolen becomes
empty and there is no means of refilling it except to steal again.
And we have been watching this looting since independence. And it's getting
I am so sad to see a nation that I once knew was dignified, gracious,
peaceful and moral descending to this level.
Today, because of these people, my country is aggressive, fearful and
This is a legacy which will not soon be overcome. Our children and
grandchildren will hold us responsible for letting a bunch of thieves
destroy this nation while we stood by and watched.
It is all so sad.
HARARE, Nov 9 (AFP)
About 300 people staged a prayer vigil in the Zimbabwean capital to urge
political leaders to end their dispute on forming a unity government under a
power-sharing deal signed nearly two months ago.
The group sat down to pray in a parking lot near a hotel on the edge of
downtown Harare, as regional leaders met in South Africa to press Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai into a deal.
"People are dying daily at hospitals because of a delivery system that is
now inadequate," organiser Bishop Tudor Bismark of the New Life Covenant
Church told the interdenominational gathering.
Political leaders, he said, should "set aside their personal or partisan
interests and conclude the formation of an appropriate government, a
government that is so appropriate as to obtain the goodwill of our
neighbours and command confidence both internally and externally."
A dozen riot police stood watch over the vigil, circling the crowd in a
truck, but they did not interfere with the service.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing agreement on September 15 to
form a government to tackle the country's political and economc crisis. But
disputes over control of key ministries have delayed formation of a unity
The impasse has deepened the suffering of Zimbabweans as they battle with
food shortages, the world's highest inflation at 231 million percent, and
critical shortages of drugs and staff at hospitals.
At least 17 people have died of cholera over the past week following an
outbreak in a Harare suburb, according to health officials.
November 8, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A deployment of the military police on Saturday battled fellow
soldiers who were causing havoc in bank queues in central Harare as a cash
crisis driven by soaring commodity prices as inflation continues to rise
Baton-wielding contingents of military policemen pounced on soldiers in
uniform who have habitually disrupted orderly lines and jumped mammoth
queues at most commercial banks and building societies in the city and
elsewhere as frustrated depositors attempt to withdraw money from the banks.
At Coal House in central Harare where two building societies are located
opposite each other military police whacked fellow soldiers with batons on
the orders of their superiors, amid fears that the perennial queues of
frustrated customers that meander along pavements blocks could become
A number of soldiers were bundled into military vehicles and taken to the
barracks where they were expected to be detained.
Chaotic queues have become the order of the day at banks and building
societies since the Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono placed a maximum on
the amount that an individual can withdrawal. The maximum has however been
quickly overtaken by prices which continue to soar due to a cash shortage
fuelled by a shortage of the special paper used to print bank notes.
The central bank increased the daily withdrawal limit tenfold from $50 000
on Monday with the introduction of higher denominations on the same day, but
the decision has failed to deal with the cash crunch.
Members of the public cheered as the military police turned on fellow
soldiers who have become a law unto themselves and a public nuisance to
Uniformed forces have become accustomed to disregarding queues even though
the ZNA has made special arrangements with the central bank for soldiers to
get preferential treatment. Soldiers can withdraw money at their barracks
through a facility designed by the central bank.
Meanwhile, when cash runs out at the banks members of the public are forced
to spend the night in queues at automatic teller machines, while awaiting
delivery the following day.
Ironically, the streets of Harare have become a haven for illegal money
changers whose piles of local currency stand at street corners where they
ply their trade in full view of the police.
November 9, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is anxious that ex-Zanu-PF politburo
member, Dumiso Dabengwa, returns to the fold of the party, fearful that
maneuvres by discontented party officials from the southern region to break
away and revive PF-Zapu under Dabengwa could result in the total
disintegration of his once powerful party.
Authoritative sources say Mugabe has extended an olive branch to Dabengwa to
come back to Zanu-PF, fearing a breakaway by Matabeleland Zanu-PF officials
could result in a collapse of the 1987 Unity Accord with PF-Zapu, resulting
in the disintegration of his beleaguered party, in power since 1980.
The 1987 Accord has been shaken by threats made by Matabeleland officials to
leave Zanu-PF after they alleged that they were being sidelined in the
ongoing inter-party power-sharing negotiations, which have now been referred
to a one-day SADC summit today.
They also allege that they are generally not treated as equals by their
".There are concerns over the lack of adherence to the spirit of the 1987
Unity Accord where upon some members of Zapu are not being given due and
fair recognition," the minutes of a meeting held by disgruntled Zanu-PF
officials in Matabeleland on September 13 state.
The Zimbabwe Times was told by authoritative sources that Mugabe, fearful of
the threat to his power should ex-PF-Zapu officials leave Zanu-PF to join
Dabengwa, has since assigned Angeline Masuku, the Matabeleland South
governor to spearhead an initiative to convince Dabengwa to return to
Dabengwa left Zanu-PF in March to back ex-Zanu-PF politburo member and
former Finance Minister, Simba Makoni.
"President Mugabe has told me that his heart is bleeding because Dabengwa is
no longer in Zanu-PF. He has asked me to get people who can convince
Dabengwa to come back to Zanu-PF. I am now asking you the leadership of the
Bulawayo province to approach him and win him back," Masuku is said to have
told 35 Bulawayo Zanu-PF members, most of them central committee members, at
a meeting held on October 19 at her farm along Plumtree Road on the
outskirts of Bulawayo.
"Masuku said Mugabe fears Zanu-PF will collapse if disgruntled members from
the region leave him to revive PF-Zapu when his party is at its lowest
point," an authoritative source told The Zimbabwe Times.
The source said Masuku had been given a cold shoulder when she approached
Dabengwa recently. Approaches by other central committee members have also
failed to convince the ex-ZIPRA intelligence chief to return to Zanu-PF.
Dabengwa confirmed to The Zimbabwe Times that he was being approached by
Bulawayo Zanu-PF officials keen to woo him back to the party.
"Masuku approached me recently with a request from Mugabe to re-join Zanu-PF
and I told her that I would never re-join that party," Dabengwa said in an
interview. "I told her that my time with Zanu-PF ended when I left it. It's
not Masuku alone who has approached me.
"When I left to support Makoni in March I was told that I had expelled
myself from Zanu-PF and so why would I go back when I was expelled. I am now
where I belong."
Masuku could not be reached for comment on her mobile phone.
Dabengwa, 69, was the intelligence supremo of Zipra, one of Zimbabwe's two
liberation war guerrilla movements which took up arms to fight white
settlers. In 1982, two years after Zimbabwe 's independence, he was arrested
together with the late Lookout Masuku and others and charged with treason.
They were acquitted a year later but on their release, Mugabe ordered them
detained again under emergency regulations.
Popularly known as the "Black Russian" during the bush war against white
minority rule because of his Russian training, Dabengwa was released four
years later, at which time the government had concluded the Gukurahundi
military campaign in rural Matabeleland and the Midlands. The ruthless
campaign by the infamous Five Brigade targeted supporters of Dr Joshua
Nkomo, the then PF-Zapu leader
Dabengwa accepted an appointment in Mugabe's government as Home Affairs
Minister in 1992. But, now associated with an increasingly unpopular
Zanu-PF, Dabengwa lost his job in 2000 after his parliamentary seat in
Nkulumane fell to the opposition MDC's Gibson Sibanda.
As I predicted, Obama won, and won by a large margin. I have made no secret
of the fact that he was my personal choice for the leadership of the USA. My
choice was based on what I saw of the man on TV, the way he handled himself
and ran his campaign and his simple dignity as an individual. He also has a
good family life, no scandal and a wife who was just as capable and seemed
Now that he has landed the job, he will quickly discover that being number
one is very different to being a Senator or a number two. As President he
has to accept that he takes responsibility, not just for himself but also
for all that are associated with him. That is a tough call and history can
be a harsh judge.
Here in southern Africa we are about to see another test of African
leadership. The SADC Presidents will gather in South Africa on Sunday to
discuss two major issues the Zimbabwe crisis and the situation in the
Congo. Both countries have been a problem for the regional leadership for at
least 50 years. Both represent failures of leadership, both local and
regional and to some extent international.
In the Congo, the colonial power hardly did anything to prepare the country
and its leadership for self government. At its so called independence it had
few educated and experienced people and with its wealth and ethnic make up,
was ripe for trouble. The outbreak of post independence violence was not
long in coming and has lasted right through to today. Corruption, greed and
poor leadership make a fatal cocktail for failure and they are all there in
In Zimbabwe the situation is less understandable or forgivable. While my
forefathers were by no means saints, they did not do a bad job of running
and developing the country. In fact at one stage I think the Rhodesian
government could have been held up in any forum as a good example of a
developing country administration that was reasonably honest, capable and
efficient. Certainly they prepared the country for the eventual transition
to majority rule better that many other States in Africa.
In the mid 80¹s I had several discussions with the then leader of the new
State of Mozambique, Samora Machel, in Maputo. During one of those meetings
he said to me that if any country had a choice as to who would be their
colonizer, the Portuguese would have to be low down on the list and the
Rhodesians fairly high up the list.
The Mugabe regime is in fact one of the best educated in Africa altogether
I once counted 17 PhD Graduates in the Cabinet many of them taken from
well known Universities such as Princeton in the United States. Mugabe
himself has six University degrees including law and economics and is by all
accounts a very sharp intellect. But it made no difference we still ended
up almost in the same place as the Congo, a bankrupt, corrupt State with a
failed infrastructure and deeply affected people where millions are dying
early of a myriad of ills, many man made.
But we did not resort to violence to defend our rights or to gain power.
This is interpreted by many as a weakness; I think it represents strength
and wisdom as well as courage. It also represents leadership. The MDC had
the choice of violence as a means to secure change.
For many this was the logical choice as the regime we were up against was
using violence against the opposition. We had experience of violence the
struggle for majority rule was partially secured through violence and most
Zimbabweans had participated. We know how to use a gun and we understand the
power it wields.
But we chose to seek change the hard way by peaceful, democratic, legal
means. Since we are up against a tyrannical regime that has not hesitated to
use force against all who oppose them and has access to the full resources
of the State when seeking to defend their hold on power, this was never
going to be easy.
Friends in South Africa pointed to the UDF and the efforts of young South
Africans in the struggle against apartheid. They said we would never get
what we were seeking if we did not use such means ourselves. We pointed out
that with no independent media available inside Zimbabwe and facing a regime
that would not hesitate to use maximum force against us, demonstrations were
of limited value.
We stuck to our guns and despite going through 4 national elections during
which we were faced with blatant manipulation and rigging of the electoral
process, we finally were able, even under completely skewed conditions, to
defeat Zanu PF in March 2008. No matter what they have done since then, they
have not been able to throw off the mantle of change that that singular
event threw over Zimbabwe.
Now we face what may be another seminal moment in the process of transition
and change. All 14 heads of State will gather in Johannesburg on Sunday to
decide what will happen in Zimbabwe.
The indications are hopeful. Ian Khama, the new President of Botswana has
said that new elections should be held in Zimbabwe and that Africa cannot go
on trying to justify frustrating electoral outcomes just because they
involve regime change. The new South African leadership are impatient with
the continued prevarication and want closure. Even elements in Zanu PF are
saying we have to see finality. The one thing that the Sunday meeting is,
without question, is another test of African leadership.
The Congo and the Zimbabwe crisis are an African problem. They require an
African solution. Outsiders cannot really do much apart from help implement
to a solution once it is found and agreed on. The only way regimes such as
the quasi-military junta in Harare are going to give up power is if they are
confronted with irresistible force. That can come from a major power through
the use of military power, but that is unlikely to happen and, as Iraq has
shown, might create more problems that it solves.
It is best for that pressure to come from the region in the form of
leadership. It is quite clear what is required in Zimbabwe (the Congo is
more complex) and all that is needed is for the SADC leadership to agree on
the way forward in Zimbabwe. I have always said the one country Zimbabwe
cannot say no to is South Africa. If SADC makes a clear-cut decision and
informs the Parties in the Zimbabwe conflict of that decision, backed by all
regional leaders, the decision will be adopted and implemented.
Then the test of leadership will pass to the Zimbabweans. Just as Obama must
now deliver through leadership, so must Tsvangirai and Mugabe plus the team
they chose next week to take over from the Junta. We are on the edge of a
momentous occasion just like the Obama election in the States, an African
conflict that has not descended into mindless violence and has been resolved
by democratic means supported by dialogue. It could never happen without
Bulawayo, 6th November 2008
HARARE, November 9 2008 - The ruling Zanu PF party has reportedly
crafted a new strategy to discredit the MDC at the SADC summit on Sunday,
and will use the campaign to justify its rigidity on the allocation of the
Ministry of Home Affairs.
Impeccable sources confirmed to RadioVOP that Zanu PF, through police
officers from the Law and Order section, had masterminded the arrest of more
than a dozen MDC activists in Mashonaland West. The activists, mostly from
Banket and Chinhoyi, were initially taken to police stations in Harare,
before being moved to unknown destinations.
It is understood that the activists will be forced to confess that
they were hired by the MDC to train as bandits in Botswana. Zanu PF will
then use the confessions as the basis for it's uncompromising position on
the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) last week filed an urgent
chamber application to have the alleged 'bandits' released. They also want
the police to confirm the whereabouts of the activists, so that they can
have access to their lawyers and relatives.
Zanu PF's plan, it is understood, is to convince regional leaders
meeting in Sandton, South Africa Sunday that Zanu PF should retain the Home
Affairs ministry in order to thwart the MDC's banditry.
The MDC has refuted the "ridiculous" claims, describing them as the
latest of Zanu PF's "tactics and antics" to smear the opposition party's
The party said it would resist heavily any attempts by Zanu PF to push
through those unfounded claims.
According to papers filed at the High Court last week, those arrested
include: Terry Musona, Fanny Tembo, Fidelis Chiramba, Pieta Kaseke, a Mr
Manyemwe, one Agrippa, Ernest Mudimu, Larry Gaka, Collen Mutemagau, Emmanuel
and Concillia Chinanzwavana. Unknown people who claimed to be from the
Police's Law and Order
section, travelling in a convoy of six vehicles, rounded them up.
After detaining them at various police stations in Harare, the police
later moved the activists to unknown locations.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the party was "very worried"
about Zanu PF's latest machinations.
We have a serious problem with our health delivery system in Zimbabwe. It
has stopped delivering health. It has been delivering death. Between
February 08 and August 08, 120 people have died as a result of cholera.
Everyone acknowledges that this is a direct result of the breakdown in the
system. The latest evidence of the breakdown is that most major hospitals
have stopped admitting patients. This is because of a combined shortage of
medicines, other medical supplies and staff to administer these. This
disaster has been presided over by David Parirenyatwa. He is a medical
doctor. I am strong proponent of people taking responsibility for their
actions or omissions. I have been doing some digging in relation to the
ethical responsibilities of doctors. I would guess that most if not all of
them take some form of oath when starting their practice. My assumption is
that David Parirenyatwa at some point in his life took an oath pledging the
following or at least a variation of the following:
a.. To consecrate his life in the service of humanity
a.. To practice his profession with conscience and dignity, with the
health of his patient being his first consideration
a.. To maintain by all means his power, the honor and noble traditions of
the medical profession
a.. Not to permit considerations of religion, nationality, race, party
politics or social standing to intervene between his duty and his patient
a.. To maintain the utmost respect for human life from time of conception,
even under threat
The Minister of Health has been at the helm of the Ministry for a number of
years now. During this time, the health system has declined to the point
where today, hospitals are turning away patients or have become dens of
death. To make it worse we now hear allegations that some US$7.3 million
from the Global Fund meant for HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and
other communicable diseases has been misappropriated by the Reserve Bank. I
know definitely that presiding over a crumbling health delivery system is
not in the service of humanity.
The oath exhorts medical doctors not to permit considerations of religion,
nationality, race, party politics or social standing to intervene between
his duty and his patient. Has the Minister not violated all that? Health in
Zimbabwe is now a preserve of the rich. That is permitting social standing
to come between the doctor and his patient. ZANU PF and its faithful have
worked to amass wealth and power at the expense of the sick. Their direct
policies and actions have led to the collapse of the system and the flight
enmasse of doctors, nurses and lab scientists. During the recent elections,
those wounded and requiring medical attention were denied it on the grounds
of suspected party affiliation. Now has the good doctor not allowed party
politics to come between him and his patients?
Now given that he has been in ZANU PF for a while, l find l cannot say what
his conscience is telling him about the state of hospitals and the many
deaths recorded and unrecorded in this country as a result of the collapse
of the health system. I am not sure what his conscience has been telling him
about the misappropriation of Global Fund money meant for the vulnerable of
this country. I'm sure if he had been practicing his profession in good
conscience and with dignity, he would have resigned from office before now.
The honour and noble traditions of his profession demand no less.
Just for interest sake, is the Minister a member of the World Medical
Association? Their website tells me that "Active members or employees of
organisations and organisations which undermine the basic human rights with
their intentions or in their practical activity cannot be members of the
WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION"
This entry was posted on November 9th, 2008 at 6:58 pm by Catherine Makoni
MASVINGO, November 9 2008 - Zimbabwe Brodacasting Corporation's bureau
chief Lillian Muungani on Friday fraudulently acquired 500 kilograms of the
maize meal from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) on a media ticket and sold
it on the black market, angry scribes told RadioVOP.
Muungani, whose astronomical rise to become Masvingo bureau head from
Pockets Hill in Harare barely a year after completing college, ruffled
feathers of senior journalists from her stable who were eyeing the same post
A former secondary school teacher, Muungani replaced fugitive
predecessor, Nathaniel Mlambo, who skipped the country facing charges of
raping a schoolgirl.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Masvingo chapter revealed in a
statement that Muungani used a list of all the journalists in Masvingo,
including the late and those who have left the province as well as
fictitious names - to get an allocation from the GMB.
Journalists in Masvingo receive a monthly allocation of mealie- meal
from the GMB - which they share among all the media houses but Muungani,
looted all, leaving fellow scribes to face the harsh realities of
A 50 kg bag costs not less than South African Rand 400 on the
lucrative black market.
GMB officials on Friday confirmed that Muungani had collectd ten 50kg
bags of maize meal on behalf of the media fraternity. They however distanced
themselves from scam.
"All I can say is that Muungani came here, with the company vehicle at
around 1130 in the morning and we gave her ten fifty kg bags of mealie- meal
for all the media institutions as usual, but this time the list was big,"
said a senior GMB official when quizzed by angry journalists Friday
ZUJ condemned Muungani's actions, saying they were confirmation that
the low salaries that scribes are getting from their employers, were driving
them to commit questionable acts.
"While we condemn in the strongest possible terms the fraudulent
actions by Muungani, this should send a clear message to employers that
underpaid scribes are now involved in clandestine means to augment their
paltry salaries, at the expense of other people," reads art of the
ZUJ said Muungani's actions tarnish the image of scribes from
Masvingo, while bringing the name of the Union into disrepute.
"This sends wrong signals to the audience. As societal watchdogs, it
strips us of respect.then how can you cover corruption stories when you are
the number one culprit? It really does not make sense," said ZUJ.
A formal police report was made but police public relations officials,
in a bid to cover up the act, said they were yet to receive the report late
Lillian is no stranger to controversy, recently she was linked to a
sugar racket in Chiredzi where she is conniving with Zanu PF bigwigs who use
their political muscle to loot the commodity from the giant sugar
producers - Triangle and Hippo valley companies and sell it on the black
Muungani who is now a sugar baron, has since employed scores of
vendors around Masvingo.
Harare, November 9 2008 - The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has
accused the government of contravening the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Tribunal interim relief order, by allowing continued
invasion of white-owned farms.
The government last week dismissed the interim relief order as "bogus
and unconstitutional judgment".
The SADC order granted in Namibia forbids further invasion of farms
owned by over 70 white commercial farmers who took their case to the
regional body for arbitration, after exhausting all domestic legal channels.
Last week, the farmers revealed farm invasions on the properties
covered by the interim relief in the past two months are on the increase.
The farmers also allege that they are being denied access to certain
parts of their farms and homesteads rendering meaningful agricultural
"Over the last two months there has been an increase in the number of
beneficiaries appearing on the properties, many of whom have been allocated
the remaining portions of the productive properties including the main
infrastructure, which includes the homesteads," read a document compiled by
The document noted that at least four of the farmers are presently on
trial for allegedly contravening section 3 of the Gazetted Land
(Consequential Provisions) Act while five are on remand for allegedly
breaching the same act.
The farmers indicated that there were a number of cases where the
affected farmers have sought the protection of the courts and have been
granted further Provisional Orders - which are being totally ignored by the
"Examples of this are Senior Assistant Commissioner (Edmore) Veterai
on Farm 30 Hippo Valley Estate, Chiredzi and Major General Dube on Grand
Parade, Karoi," read the farmers' document.
The Minister of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa,
dismissed the claims by the farmers saying the SADC order was set aside
after government appealed to a SADC summit.
He said a committee of justice ministers from the SADC region was
appointed to review the interim relief because it was unconstitutional and
interfered in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.
"We could not accept the order because it was totally
unconstitutional. And, we can not stop our land reform programme because of
a bogus judgment issued by people bought to portray Zimbabwe as a lawless
CFU vice president, Gideon Theron, could not be reached for comment
Since the 2000 farm invasions, spearheaded by war veterans and Zanu PF
militia, Zimbabwe has been experiencing serious food shortages.
The inspiring courage of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu
Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu are free again. For three weeks they
have been held in prison, after being arrested on the streets of Bulawayo.
For most, the treatment they received at the hands of our police and jailers
would be traumatising, Most would learn the lesson. Most would give up their
protests, and keep a low profile from now on. Not Jenni. Not Magodonga.
These two, the co-leaders of the Zimbabwean female organisation Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), have been jailed before, and no doubt will be jailed
again, as long as Mugabe holds sway in this country. They will be beaten,
starved and ill-treated again. They know that.
Their example, their leadership has been inspirational. It has led to the
WOZA membership swelling to more than 60,000 - and even the formation of a
male wing, Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA).
This week I spoke to Jenni on her release. She is a familiar figure in
Zimbabwe, as she is usually the only white face amongst thousands of
marchers. And of course she and Magodonga can always be seen in the front
row of any demonstration.
She told me: "Our protests are non-violent. We sing gospel songs,
distribute messages of hope, and hand out roses to members of the public. We
are women who are full of love, and we know that fighting dictatorship
should not involve violence."
But once again their love of peace and non-violence didn't stop the pair
being beaten on the streets of Bulawayo three weeks ago during a peaceful
demonstration calling for a swift implementation of a national unity
government in the country. They were subsequently arrested, and charged with
"disturbing the peace, security or order of the public."
Attempts to get them freed on bail were thwarted by the usual spurious
objections and trumped-up legal technicalities, and this time their
treatment in the Grey Street and Mlondolozi prisons was harsher than ever.
"We went through horror," Jennie told me. "The prisoners are being
systematically starved, and the hunger is so great that even bits of orange
peel and other scraps are fought over. There is no privacy, male prison
guards are allowed to wander into women's washing facilities, women are
stripped naked for inspection every evening... the cells are grossly
overcrowded, the place is infested with lice, we were denied medication...it
I asked Jenni what gave her and Magodonga the strength to carry on with
their movement in the face of such treatment.
"We spread the message through both the marches and the arrests," she said.
"People learn more about us when we get arrested, and join our struggle for
Jenni, 45, who had a Ndebele materanal grandmother, is fluent in the Ndebele
language, and she attributes her dedication to WOZA to her experiences of
the 1980s massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
"I belong to a generation that suffered a lot during the Gukurahundi era,"
she told me, "and no other suffering could be worse than that."
For the citizens of Zimbabwe the suffering continues. But as long as we have
inspirational women like Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, there will
always be hope.
Posted on Sunday, 09 November 2008 at 19:15