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

ZESA to increase tariffs by nearly 50%

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 November, 2011

A shocking 47 percent increase in electricity charges is being planned by
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), after already raising
tariffs by 31 percent earlier this year. The troubled parastatal said they
needed an estimated $2.5 billion for construction and rehabilitation of the
Kariba and Hwange power stations, due to years of neglect.

ZESA chief executive Josh Chifamba reportedly said that production costs
were much higher than the current electricity tariffs. And according to The
Daily News newspaper, repairs and expansion of the two stations would take
place over a five-year period, and increase power output to 2 220 megawatts,
from the current 1320 megawatts, leaving a shortfall of 900 megawatts.

The local Zim press reported the news Wednesday morning, just as power
outages hit the capital and most parts of the country, due to a “severe
shock” that is believed to have originated in Mozambique.

Residents and businesses have warned that the new tariffs would be too high
for most ordinary Zimbabweans, who are already struggling to pay for
electricity at the current rates. Regular, disruptive power cuts are badly
affecting industry and a chaotic billing system has also made the situation

Harare based journalist Jan Raath blamed ZANU PF for the current mess that
ZESA is in. He explained that for the last 20 years ZESA has been forced to
charge “artificially suppressed” prices for power, depriving the power
company of much needed extra revenue for repairs, maintenance, expansion and
equipment upgrades.

Explaining why the party would force the power company to charge
unreasonable prices, Raath said: “ZANU PF is a people’s party and they
believe if you give people what they want they think people will keep
supporting them, and this is tragically short-sighted.”

Raath said what ZESA needs are loans from the IMF and World Bank to finance
the critical repairs and upgrades, but Zimbabwe is “hugely” in debt and does
not qualify for any loans until the current balances are settled.

Private investment from foreign companies is also an option Raath said, but
ZANU PF’s so-called “indigenous empowerment” policy, which requires foreign
owned companies to give up a majority of their shares to locals, has scared
off potential investors. “They completely shot themselves in the foot,”
Raath added.

Like all parastatals in Zimbabwe, ZESA has been plagued by corruption and
mismanagement for years. The unity government has focused mostly on
resolving the political crisis gripping the country, while the country’s
economy and infrastructure continue to suffer. Sadly, it is the ordinary
people who continue to pay the price.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sudden power shut down at Kariba, Hwange

Posted by admin on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in ZESA, Zimbabwe politics

A statement from Richard Maasdorp, chairman of the Zimbabwe Power Company,
has said that there was s sudden “shut down” of both of Zimbabwe’s major
sources of generation at 0625 hours Wednesday 9th November (Kariba and

The statement said: This was caused by a major system disturbance on the
transmission network. Early indications are this disturbance originated from
the transmission line from Mozambique. It would appear that this was a
severe shock as it also impacted on the Kariba North Bank station (Zambia).

The statement went on to say that it was hoped that Kariba could be brought
back over the next 24 hours, but Hwange could take days.

Initial reports said all of Harare was without power for some hours, but by
late morning it had come back on.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Plans Six Hydroelectric Generators, Newsday Reports

By Brian Latham - Nov 9, 2011 4:37 PM GMT+1000

Zimbabwe will need $30 million to build six hydroelectricity generators to
ease power shortages in the country, Newsday said, citing Deputy Energy
Minister Hubert Nyanhongo.

The hydropower generators will produce between 1 and 5megawatts of
electricity each, Harare-based Newsday said on its website. Closely held
South African power producer NuPlanet (Pty) Ltd. has a license to build a
$12 million, five-megawatt generator at Lake Mutirikwi near the southern
city of Masvingo, Newsday added.

Zimbabwe submitted a $40 million bid to exploit methane gas in Lupane, where
a $470 million power plant will be developed once deposits have been
quantified, Newsday reported. The southern African nation has about 27
trillion cubic feet of untapped methane-gas reserves, it said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government pledges diamond-fuelled bonus for civil servants

By Alex Bell
09 November 2011

The leaders in the troubled coalition government have pledged to pay bonuses
to the country’s civil service, using money from diamond sales.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told reporters soon after a meeting with
Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara this week that the
principals had agreed government had an obligation to pay bonuses.

“On the question of the forthcoming bonuses, you are aware that Zimbabwe
will be selling diamonds…We hope to raise US$300 million in November for the
bonuses. This is a matter that is ongoing and I hope the Minister of Mines
and Mining Development Obert Mpofu will give a report to Cabinet on the sale
of diamonds,” he said.

Asked what would happen if the diamond money failed to materialise,
Tsvangirai said: “We have an obligation to pay bonuses . . . We will have to
look for money elsewhere if the money does not come.”

Zimbabwe has been given the green light to start selling diamonds from the
controversial Chiadzwa alluvial fields, despite ongoing concerns about human
rights abuses and smuggling there. The decision by the international trade
watchdog the Kimberley Process (KP) has been slammed by civil society
groups, who have raised concerns that human rights are being sidelined.

The groups have also raised concern about the lack of critical oversight
mechanisms to ensure that the sales are conducted transparently, in order to
benefit Zimbabwe directly. To date, millions of dollars in diamond profits
have not been accounted for and there is still no legislation in place to
prevent profits from lining the pockets of a well connected few.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday
that there are so many unanswered questions about the country’s murky
diamond industry, which urgently need answering.

“There is no clarity on diamond sales, and who is benefiting and where
profits are going. The commitment to use the profits to pay bonuses could be
a way of applying pressure on the Mines Ministry, but it does not answer any
of these questions,” Makumbe said.

Makumbe meanwhile said that the bonus pledge was also likely linked to
upcoming elections, saying politicians “are all trying to appease the civil
service for their own political benefits.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War Vets Languish In Prison Over Land Dispute

Masvingo, November 09, 2011-- 33 war veterans were yesterday arrested by
police for allegedly defying a court order to vacate Chikore farm involving
a land dispute with Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Stan Mudenge,
despite having appealed against the court order.

The war veterans are representing more than 60 families Mudenge is fighting
to evict from the farm formerly owned by whiter commercial farmer, Peter
Buchan who was evicted at the height of the chaotic land invasions of 2000.

The war veterans who are represented by Martin Mureri of Matutu, Kwirira and
Associates are allegedly unlawfully detained in custody at Masvingo remand
prison by Magistrate Dorothy Mwanyisa.

But their lawyer Mureri said the detention was unlawful and political as
Mudenge is allegedly forcing the Judiciary to detain them.

“It is surprising that my clients were arrested and detained unlawfully by
the police and the state after I had filed an appeal against judgement to
evict them long back just after the order was given. They should not be
arrested until the case is heard in the High court, this is now politics
taking centre stage,” he said.

The war veterans say they were the first to invade the farm from the Buchan,
the former owner but Mudenge was using his political muscle to push them out
and vowed to fight him to the highest court of the country.

Prosecutor Frank Chirairo told the court that the war veterans defied a
court ruling to leave the farm before 4 October this year and cited that as
the reason why they were detained in custody.

But Mureri said he has since notified the court that he had filed a notice
of appeal and should release his clients.

Some of the war veterans languishing at Masvingo remand prison include,
Peter Mbwanda, Esnath Sigauke, Emily Gandi and Eunice Moyo to mention few,
who are above the age of 70.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe thanks China for support

by Own Corespondent     Wednesday 09 November 2011

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday thanked his Chinese allies for
helping defend his rule against Western countries that he says want to
topple him.

Speaking during a meeting with the visiting vice chairman of the standing
committee of the National People's Congress of China, Zhou Tienong, hailed
the strong bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China that he said was
Harare’s foremost ally and supporter in the international community.

“The imperialist countries of Britain, Europe and the US have continued to
undermine our country. This is because of our resources but we are grateful
to the stance China has always taken in defending our sovereignty," said
Mugabe, who received crucial military and other support from Beijing during
Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.

Zhou, leading a four-member delegation that arrived in Harare on Monday,
called for greater cooperation between Zimbabwe and China, labeling the
southern African country a “trustworthy friend of China”.

"The Chinese people will stand by Zimbabwe as they did in the past," said
Zhou, who also rejected external interference in Zimbabwe’s internal

China has emerged as one of Zimbabwe’s most important political allies and
trading partners since 2000 when Mugabe adopted his ‘Look East’ policy

The policy is premised on the need to find new trading partners and markets
after traditional investors from Western nations turned against Harare in
protest over Mugabe’s human rights abuses, repression against political
opponents and his violent land reform programme.

The “Look East” policy specifically targets investors from Muslim and Asian
nations and in exchange Zimbabwe has promised minerals – including diamonds
and gold – and prime land to the investors, resulting in Harare penning
several investment and cooperation agreements mainly with China, Russia and

Meanwhile Zhou will on Friday leave Harare for South Africa and from the
will visit Ghana, the last leg of his African tour. -- ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sadc steps in

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 08:45

HARARE - A special Sadc organ on regional peace and security will meet “very
soon” to find ways of ending rising tensions in Zimbabwe, where cases of
political violence have spiked in recent months.

Spokesperson for a South African team of facilitators to Zimbabwe’s
political stalemate Lindiwe Zulu confirmed in an interview with the Daily
News last week that the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security
Cooperation will meet to tackle the Zimbabwean crisis.

She said the Troika meeting would then be followed by a full Sadc summit,
with Zimbabwe possibly high on the agenda.

Sadc mediator and South African president Jacob Zuma is expected in Zimbabwe
early soon to deal with the problems affecting President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s 30-months- old coalition government.

Zuma is also the Troika chairman. Other members are Zambia and Tanzania.

“There is going to be a Sadc Troika meeting very soon where our principal is
going to report to the Troika on the developments in Zimbabwe and the
problem areas affecting smooth progress,” said Zulu.

The exact venue and date of the Troika meeting are yet to be determined.

Previous Sadc interventions — apart from successfully negotiating the
formation of the coalition government have yielded little as more violence
and other human rights abuses continue unchecked.

But it does highlight how regional leaders are worried about Zimbabwe
remaining a flashpoint since the turn of the decade.

In the current effort, Sadc has been forced to spring into action following
failure by Mugabe and Tsvangirai to agree on how to implement reforms that
would result in fresh free and fair elections following the violent 2008
presidential election runoff whose results were rejected by the African

Tsvangirai has also alerted Zuma on resurgent violence that has engulfed the
nation and threatens to plunge the country back into the turmoil that
characterised the disputed 2008 presidential election runoff.

Among issues cited by his MDC in its letter to Zuma are breakdown in the
rule of law, selective application of the law, partisan state institutions
and Zanu PF and the army running a parallel government in Zimbabwe that
amounts to what Tsvangirai calls a coup over civilian authority.

Before Zuma’s visit, two meetings are scheduled to be held in Zimbabwe, the
first being that of the coalition government’s negotiators on the 16th of

A week later, Zuma’s facilitation team is expected in the country for a
meeting that will lay the foundation for Zuma’s visit to Zimbabwe.

Zulu highlighted the meetings were crucial in establishing dialogue between
Zimbabwe’s political players whom Sadc views as key to unlocking the
political crisis facing the country.

“We are hoping that by the time the next Troika meeting happens, and more
broadly, the Sadc summit takes place, our principal would have been in
Harare and would have taken enough time to engage with the Zimbabwean
principals collectively to deal with every issue they put up as an issue for

“We need a workshop basically with all the players in Zimbabwe so that we
can iron out those problems that are being encountered,” she said.

Sadc and South Africa, Zulu said, would remain seized with the Zimbabwean
issue until the country held a free and fair election.

“We still have the same energy that we had when we started dealing with the
Zimbabwean problems. If anyone thinks that because the process is facing
hurdles and challenges here and there then we are going to drop the ball, it
is unfortunate because they are fooling themselves."

“We will not drop the ball until we get to a situation where we can say that
we have overseen the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. Until
and unless the people of Zimbabwe have had a chance to choose the leadership
they want, we will remain engaged with the Zimbabwean issue because it is
the interest of Sadc to see to it that Zimbabweans are able to independently
run their affairs,” Zulu said.

Regional sources said the Troika, would once again issue stern warnings to
the forces that have continued to undermine the Global Political Agreement
(GPA), the coalition government’s founding charter.

The Troika, at its last meeting in Livingstone, Zambia in March, issued a
scathing communiqué warning against the use of state institutions to
undermine the coalition government.

Read part of the communiqué: “Summit resolved that there must be an
immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any
other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of GPA, all
stakeholders to the GPA should implement all the provisions of the GPA and
create a conducive environment for peace, security and free political

“The inclusive government in Zimbabwe should complete all the steps
necessary for the holding of the election including the finalisation of the
constitutional amendment and the referendum (and also agreed that) Sadc
should assist Zimbabwe to formulate guidelines that will assist in holding
an election that will be peaceful, free and fair, in accordance with the
Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Youth Gang Forces Harare To Relocate Gates-Funded Housing Project

08 November 2011

Combined Harare Residents Association Chief Executive Mfundo Mlilo says City
Council concessions to the Chipangano gang confirm the breakdown in the rule
of law in the Zimbabwean capital

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

Municipal authorities in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare have been obliged
to relocate a housing rehabilitation project funded by the Bill Gates
foundation away from the high density suburb of Mbare in the face of demands
by the Chipangano youth gang.

Officials said the project had to be shifted to Dzivarasekwa, another Harare
suburb, to avoid losing a US$5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates

The project was intended to rehabilitate the Matapi Flats in Mbare to
provide new housing for the poor in the suburb.

Council sources said Chipangano, known for violence and extortion, demanded
a 51 percent stake in the new housing as if the project fell under the
Indigenization Law intended to give black Zimbabweans a stake in
foreign-owned companies.

The Chipangano group has also been linked to the take-over of other city
properties including the Mbare Carter House, alleged to have been made into
a Chipangano base. The city council has said it will not seek to reassert
control of the property.

Chipangano members have set up in Mbare Musika and other bus terminuses
around the capital, collecting fees from commuter bus operators and others.

Combined Harare Residents Association Chief Mfundo Mlilo told Tatenda Gumbo
that the council’s concession to the Chipangano gang confirms the rule of
law has broken down.

Youth Agenda Trust Programs Officer Lawrence Mashungu said the Chipangano
group has taken over large sections of Harare, and routinely assaults anyone
perceived to be a member of the former opposition Movement for Democratic

The group is alleged to have close ties to President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gates’ project moves on

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 17:06

HARARE - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it will continue with a
$5 million housing project in Dzivaresekwa despite attempts to scuttle the
scheme by a Zanu PF- aligned militia based in Mbare.

The programme was initially targeted for poor Mbare residents but had to be
moved to Dzivaresekwa after the infamous Chipangano group blocked
construction of the houses.

Chipangano is a Zanu PF militant outfit based in Mbare.

Visiting senior programmes officer for the Gates foundation, Melanie Walker,
said attempts by the infamous Chipangano was not anything that worried the
organisation as it only served as a “lesson” for the future.

The Seattle based organisation said Zimbabwe had missed out on more money
because of the problems posed by Chipangano.

“Things do not go in the way you want but we found that all the stakeholders
are committed. It is a lesson that we have learnt. It is a process and we
are willing to go and support the people,” said Walker.

The project targets at least 500 homeless families.

Walker said the change of the geographical location of the project should
now see progress being made within the next 12 months as the country had a
high chance of benefiting more from one of the largest private foundations

The Gates foundation team met with local government minister Ignatius Chombo
and national housing minister Giles Mutsekwa where she indicated that her
organisation had lined up more programmes for Harare.

Chombo blamed council for moving the project from Mbare to Dzivaresekwa
saying the city fathers did not seek his assistance in dealing with the
youthful militia who are accused by Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda of
violently blocking the project.

“I don’t see why they moved the project from Mbare. I am disappointed that
the city would succumb to any other party which is not the designated
planning authority,” said Chombo.

“You can’t really stop a project because there is a political
misunderstanding,” Chombo said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Doubts over police use of video evidence in Chitungwiza violence

By Lance Guma
09 November 2011

Doubts have arisen over police claims that they will use video footage and
photos to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the violence that caused
the MDC-T to cancel their rally at the Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza on

The notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang armed, with catapults, iron bars,
machetes and stones, stormed the venue in the early hours of the morning and
attacked those preparing the stadium for the rally.

ZANU PF youth leader Jim Kunaka, ZBC reporter Tafara Chikumira and several
other ZANU PF activists, were implicated in coordinating the violence.
Others fingered were Wilfred Gwekwete, Luke Luke, Godknows Muzenda, Nyasha
Dziva, Dennis Fisher, Lloyd Bhunu, Tichaona Chapfika and Tonderai
Kasukuwere, a young brother to Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Police spokesperson, Superintendent Andrew Phiri, has told a local daily
newspaper that they will use video footage to identify and arrest the
perpetrators. Phiri told NewsDay: “We will be flighting the video footage as
well as pictures we captured during the disturbances. We will make use of
both national television and the print media for identification purposes
which should lead to more arrests.”

The announcement has however triggered concerns that the police will simply
use the exercise to edit the video footage and seek to blame the MDC-T for
the violence. Tsvangirai’s party has reason to be concerned, because the
police and the ZANU PF youths behind the disturbances have actually been
working together.

In Hatcliffe for example co-Home Affairs Minister and local MP, Theresa
Makone, had her rally disrupted by ZANU PF youths who were throwing rocks.
When the mob was sent scurrying for cover by angry MDC-T supporters the
police, who initially ignored the MDC-T calls for help for about 2 hours,
only went to the scene when it became clear the ZANU PF youths had been

In Matabeleland North the police, under the instructions of the commanding
officer senior assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai, blocked Tsvangirai’s
rallies in the province. In Lupane three truckloads of police officers
heavily armed with guns, teargas and batons chased away staff and locked up
the gate at St Paul’s clinic to prevent the PM from touring the health
centre. The police later dispersed crowds who had gathered for the rally
Tsvangirai was scheduled to address.

In Victoria Falls, police cordoned off Chinotimba Stadium as early as 6am to
block another Tsvangirai rally from taking place. Similar police disruptions
took place in Binga when over 30 heavily armed police units ordered people
away from the venue of the scheduled rally.

It was little wonder MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said: “If the police
are really genuine, they must provide all the video footage on violence that
took place at Parliament, in Mbare, Chitungwiza and Harvest House. What we
know for a fact is that the video footage they will provide will be edited,
their motive being to portray MDC-T as a violent party and persecute us.”

There have also been queries as to how the police have suddenly acquired
video equipment and the expertise to use it.

SW Radio Africa has meanwhile continued to receive horrific details of the
brutality involved in some of the violence countrywide. In one week alone in
October, over 19 victims of political violence, all from Harare, sought
medical assistance after they had been attacked in separate incidents.

As we reported, attempts by the MDC-T to have a rally in Hatcliffe ended
prematurely when ZANU PF militia attacked people at the venue. SW Radio
Africa understands a truck carrying MDC-T youths was ambushed, resulting in
extensive damage to the vehicle and serious injury to all ten occupants.

Attempts to report the incident to the police before taking the injured to
hospital were in vain, as officers at both Hatcliffe and Borrowdale police
stations refused to record the statement. In a blatant display of impunity
the ZANU PF militia overran the Hatcliffe police post and chased away the
injured MDC-T youths. The police officers on duty also fled the station when
ZANU PF militia fired guns into the air.

ZANU PF militia also attacked MDC-T supporters waiting at the rally venue
and the supporters fought back in self defence, resulting in injury to six
Hatcliffe residents. A police water canon and a lorry full of anti riot
police arrived to quell the violence. Victims reported that the police
convoy was accompanied by two minibuses ferrying ZANU PF Chipangano
militants from Mbare.

Another report said: “A 16 year old boy was assaulted by the Chipangano gang
in Mbare. His relatives reported that he was returning from an evening
church prayer when he encountered the gang at around 1900hrs on Friday 28
October. The Chipangano youths assaulted him for missing the regular ZANU PF
night vigil in the same area. The victim sustained severe injuries and is
still in hospital.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday told journalists that the
national executives of all three political parties in the inclusive
government will meet on Friday, to discuss the worsening political violence
in the country. ZANU PF Central Committee members and their counterparts
from the national executive councils of the MDC-T and MDC-N are expected to

But MDC-T National Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa’s
Question Time programme they did not expect to achieve much from the meeting
as it would only be “a shaking of hands between victims and perpetrators.”
He said ZANU PF is so dishonest “even after shaking hands we have to count
our fingers to make sure they are still there.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US Ambassador Says Zimbabwe's Army Must Serve People

November 09, 2011

Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg, South Africa

Zimbabwe needs a professional army that serves the people and not
politicians, says the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray.  Ray's
remarks, at an event at the U.S. embassy Tuesday, come at a time when many
Zimbabweans are calling for reform of the country's security sector ahead of
the next elections.

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party [MDC] accuses the 30,000
strong Zimbabwe National Army of unprofessional behavior. Specifically, the
party says the army and other security services are loyal to President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party rather than to the people of Zimbabwe.

Most top members of the army were involved in the war against white minority
rule during the civil war of the 1970s. President Mugabe says no one but
those who played a role in that liberation struggle should lead Zimbabwe.
Also, several top security officers in the army, police and prisons service
have said they would never take orders from politicians who had not fought
in that war.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is prime minister in the tense, inclusive
MDC - ZANU-PF government, did not take part in the liberation war, although
he says he supported an end to white rule.

U.S. Ambassador Ray is a military veteran who served the U.S. armed forces
in the Vietnam War. He referred to a professional military service when
answering questions at the veterans’ event Tuesday.

“A professional military serves the entire country. Military people as
individuals are entitled to their personal political views. Those personal
political views, though, should never be allowed to impact on the
performance of their duty as a military that belongs to the country,” said

The British army trained Zimbabwe’s new army for 20 years from the date of
independence from white minority rule in 1980. The army was made up of
former guerrilla fighters and some members of the old Rhodesian forces. The
Zimbabwe National Army assisted Mozambique in the 1980’s when it was under
fire from South African-backed rebels. It also went to war in the Democratic
Republic of Congo and ensured the survival of the Kabila administration.

But more recently, in the violence during the 2008 presidential run-off
election, many MDC supporters say members of the army beat them and killed
their relatives.

Ray warned that an unprofessional army is dangerous.

“The role of military is to defend territorial integrity of the country.
When the military becomes associated with a segment of a country then it is
no longer professional military, it is an armed gang,” said Ray.

The MDC says that without reform of the security sector, free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe will not be possible.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Political Situation Uncertain: Ray

Harare, November 08, 2011 -US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray said he has
been shocked by the resurgence of political violence over the past week,
which he said has brought back political uncertainty to the country that is
being ruled by a coalition government.

“The country’s political situation over the past days has been uncertain and
it’s my hope to see it calm down soon,” said Ray.

Ray added that Zimbabwe could progress better if citizens assumed a sense of
community responsibility.

“Basically it is all about the sense of community which has been lost, and I
think that if there were more efforts to build a sense of community of
creating a one Zimbabwe from individuals then we would not have violence

“It seems to me as an outside observer that there is too much focus on
individual power and people have lost sight of the country in the process,
“US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray told Radio VOP in an exclusive
interview Tuesday on the sidelines of his country commemoration of its
Veterans day that is commemorated yearly on the 11 of November.

Political observers have expressed fear that Zimbabwe which enjoyed relative
peace after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) is
sliding back to the pre-inclusive government era where in 2008 more than 200
supporters of the MDC were murdered while thousands more were displaced.

Last week Zanu-PF supporters went on the rampage beating up innocent
civilians a scenario akin to 2008 horror scenes.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert Mugabe of not
being sincere in his calls for an end to violence.

Ambassador Ray has been vocal and consistent on the need for the
democratisation of the country’s political sector and opposed to the country’s
dictatorial tendencies, which stifle democracy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Green Fuel launches ethanol-blended petrol

09/11/2011 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

GREEN Fuel -- a US$600 million bio-energy development in the eastern
Chisumbanje district -- has launched ethanol-blended with petrol on the
local market in a development expected to cut fuel costs for motorists and
help reduce the country’s fuel import bill.

The fuel was available at selected pump stations in Harare beginning Monday,
selling at US$1.36 per litre, marginally cheaper than unblended petrol,
which is currently retailing at around US$1.44 per litre.

The government has since approved a blend ratio of 10 percent
locally-produced ethanol and 90 percent petroleum, a low-level blend called
E-10 in the industry.

“The response has been overwhelming. We are inundated with calls to widen
distribution from just Harare to other provinces and we ironing out
logistics in this direction to register a national presence,” company
spokesperson Lilian Muungani told New on Tuesday.

Green Fuel – a joint venture between private local investors and the
state-owned ARDA – plans to build six processing plants at Chisumbanje, each
with a capacity of up to 300 000 litres per day, enough to meet the country’s
present daily demand of about 2 million litres of petrol.

The project is modelled on the experiences of Brazil – the world’s leading
producer of sugarcane-based ethanol -- where more than half the cars on the
country's roads already have flex-fuel engines, meaning they can run on pure
ethanol or ethanol mixed with petrol, and around 80 percent of new cars sold
are of this type.

But blend is not new to the country. Zimbabwe first developed its ethanol
industry in the low-veld when Ian Smith’s settler-colonial regime tried to
mitigate the impact of international sanctions but the project was hit by
the lack of investment as petroleum prices plummeted in the 1980s.

However the country, along with most of the world, has been looking to
invest in renewable energy sources, alarmed at the current oil price hikes
and security concerns in the main source markets.

Still, blended petrol is not without its critics and Brazil was this year
forced to consider reducing its mandatory blending ratio as ethanol prices
spiked 27 percent owing to cane shortages blamed on poor harvests and the
lack investment in capacity expansion.

Again motorists are concerned about potential damage to their vehicles.

Muungani though insists that Green Fuel's product is safe, adding ethanol
actually helps clean engines over time.

“Green Fuel is producing new generation anhydrous ethanol (with a water
content of less than 0.04%) using the latest technology from Brazil. This
type of ethanol is dry; it contains no water and blends easily with
petroleum,” she said in a statement.
“New generation anhydrous ethanol (also) ensures cooler engine performance
while taking out any residual water from tanks.”

The company says it will also provide support services to help motorists
keen to convert their vehicles so they can run on up to 100 percent ethanol.

Muungani said Green Fuel will produce enough ethanol to meet local demand as
well as exports into the region and other international markets.

Already the company has invested up to US$300 million in putting up the
processing plant at Chisumbanje and about 7,000 hectares under sugarcane, in
the process creating some 4,500 new jobs and helping transform a once
impoverished rural settlement into a vast and growing agro-industrial

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kunonga vows to keep doors shut

Excommunicated bishop Nolbert Kunonga says he will continue to close the
church doors to bona fide Anglican members unless they respect his
illegitimate position.
by Fungi Kwaramba

Kunonga says he is now the legitimate leader of the Anglican Church and will
not allow any dissenting voices to use the properties, including church
buildings, houses for the clergy, schools and orphanages.

Kunonga is using a High Court ruling that gave custody of the church to him
and his board of trustees. The church faithful are bracing for the wet
season as they worship in most cases in the open.

The head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, visited Zimbabwe
recently and appealed personally to President Robert Mugabe for his
intervention. But Kunonga, who enjoys the ear of Mugabe, has vowed that
there will never be sharing of church buildings - rains or not.

“Ordinary Anglicans who want to worship in church buildings or shrines are
welcome, provided they acknowledge and respect the legitimate authority of
the Church. Anglican Church is a church of order. There cannot be two
bishops in one diocese at a time.

This brings confusion and chaos. Therefore those who choose to pray under
Rev. Gandiya should do so earnestly, and stop misleading the public that
they are being denied access, when in effect they left the Church of their
own volition,” said Kunonga.

Williams made it clear that Kunonga was no longer part of the church as he
had left of his on volition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Villagers too clever for Zanu (PF)

Villagers here said that since Zanu (PF) believed in forced rally
attendance, they would attend the gatherings in their thousands, but would
vote otherwise come election time.
by Jane Makoni

Remaining pockets of Zanu (PF) thugs continue to practice coercive politics
to cow villagers into supporting the former ruling party.

“Members of the Zanu (PF) Murewa District Coordinating Committee drive
around in their party vehicle, forcing people to attend party meetings and
shun MDC activities. Since rural communities are vulnerable to acts of
political thuggery, they reluctantly attend the forced rallies. This gives
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) a false sense of popularity,” said a villager at

Residents vowed that their vote in upcoming elections would be in favour of
MDC-T and Tsvangirai, whatever the cost.

The Zimbabwean also learnt that rural areas were awash with plain clothes
police officers and other state security agents, who have been assigned to
study the people’s mood in the wake of the demise of Libyan Dictator,
Muammar Gaddafi.

“The Mugabe administration fears the worst. Every state security agent has
been hastily dispatched to his rural or urban home to assess how people have
been processing the uprising in Libya and the death of Gaddafi,” said a
plain clothes police officer at Chigogodza Business Centre.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lawyer Irene Petras honoured for human rights work

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 November, 2011

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) last
weekend honoured the director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), Irene Petras, as the 2011 Director of the Year.

The occasion was marked by a ceremony during the annual gathering of
directors from NGOs, which took place in Kariba this year. The event brings
together NGO directors to share experiences and chart the way forward.

Petras, a respected lawyer who has worked as a human rights campaigner in
Zimbabwe for years, thanked all the lawyers that make up the team at the
ZLHR, saying the award would never have been possible without their
“dedication, energy and enthusiasm”.

Lawyers at ZLHR have defended victims of ZANU PF’s political violence and
persecution under the Mugabe regime, under very difficult circumstances and
at great risk to themselves. Many have been arrested or assaulted, simply
for doing their jobs.

Newsday quoted Petras as saying: “We can take courage from the
acknowledgement which our peers have provided to renew our strength and to
serve our beneficiaries and stakeholders. There may be dark days ahead as we
approach elections, but together I am sure we can continue to make a
difference to the lives of our fellow Zimbabweans and to our country at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF in ‘panic mode’ over electoral defeat

By Tichaona Sibanda
9 November 2011

A senior member of the MDC-T on Wednesday said ZANU PF is in ‘panic mode’
after realising Robert Mugabe is going to suffer an election rout by Morgan

Speaking on the Hidden Story program on SW Radio Africa Morgan Komichi, the
MDC-T deputy national Chairman, voiced deep concern over the recent
resurgence of violence being waged against their supporters and party
officials by ZANU PF.

‘The latest attacks on our supporters and attempts to block Tsvangirai’s
rallies under the watch of the police should tell you Mugabe and his
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri are part of this grand plan.

‘It is part of an orchestrated strategy to destabilise and demoralize the
MDC-T into fear and ensure ZANU PF’s return to governance in the next poll,
by hook or crook.

‘Tsvangirai’s recent meet the people tours must have sent out signals of his
growing popularity and increased chances of becoming Zimbabwe’s next
president. Thus, ZANU PF’s frustration was expressed in the way they know
best; violence,’ Komichi said.

The Senator, himself a victim of torture by Mugabe’s dreaded CIO, said
Zimbabweans value peace and for that reason, they’re going to vote ZANU PF
out of power. He urged SADC and the African Union to send a peacekeeping
team to Zimbabwe, as it was clear the inclusive government had failed to
stop the violence.

The MDC-T this week sent a dossier to SADC mediator President Jacob Zuma,
informing him of the dangers faced by the inclusive government due to the
increased attacks on MDC supporters by ZANU PF’s youth militia and
Chipangano group.

‘With or without violence Zimbabweans have had enough and will go out in
their millions in the next poll to begin the first steps to foster national
peace and reconciliation and usher in multi-party democracy.

‘People will say no to this violent ridden, politically-intolerant corrupt,
nepotic and despotic party. Even if they bring their helicopter gunships and
heavy machine guns, like they’ve done in the past, they’ll still lose the
election,’ Komichi added.

He said Mugabe’s penchant for violence in elections is historical and SADC
leaders were increasingly becoming impatient with him as this does not bode
well for sustainable peace in the region.

‘SADC will once again be destabilized if the spate of violence and level of
political intolerance is not halted. So the region cannot sit back and
ignore the violence. Even the AU and the United Nations should be jolted
into action with what is happening in Zimbabwe now,’ Komichi said.

Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare on Monday, after
his weekly meeting with Mugabe, that they had agreed the inclusive
government had to come to an end and had therefore agreed that an election
was the next step.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who attended Tsvangirai’s press briefing
after his meeting with Mugabe, said all parties in the GPA agreed to wait
until the writing of the new constitution was complete until deciding on an
election date.

‘Tsvangirai said after the referendum, which is expected between March and
May next year, the GPA principals will each receive a constitutional report
after which they will be able to sit down and come up with a date for
elections,’ Muchemwa said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bail application for Glen View activists deferred again

By Alex Bell
09 November 2011

A bail application for seven MDC-T members, who are still being held behind
bars on trumped-up murder charges, has been deferred by the Supreme Court.

Tungamirai Madzokere (the Glen View Ward 32 councillor), Rebecca Mafikeni,
Phenias Nhatarikwa, Lazarus Maengahama, Stanford Maengahama, Yvonne
Musarurwa and Stanford Mangwiro have been in remand prison for six months in
connection with the death of a police officer in Glen View in May. High
Court judge, Justice Tendai Uchena, had turned down their bail application
in July, saying they were a flight risk. The seven then approached the
Supreme Court, appealing the High Court’s bail refusal.

But on Wednesday Supreme Court judge and the Deputy Chief Justice, Luke
Malaba, referred the matter back to the High Court saying that the seven
have to first notify the High Court of their intention to appeal at the
Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the High Court will hear a fresh bail application filed by the
MDC-T’s Youth Assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, who is also being
detained in connection with the policeman’s death. He was arrested last
month and is being held at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. His
original bail application was turned down by High Court judge, Justice
Hlekani Mwayera last month.

The eight are part of 28 MDC-T members who were arrested in connection with
the death. The others were granted bail in July.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Journalist Faces Arrest Over Leaked Docs

Harare, November 09, 2011 -- Zimbabwe police on Tuesday failed to charge
journalist Nqaba Matshazi, whom they had summoned for investigations after
Reserve Bank advisor Munyaradzi Kereke opened a case against him claiming he
stole documents exposing rot in his company.

A police officer at Harare Central Police station said the docket had been
taken by their superiors for further investigation.

Matshazi, employed by The Standard, was called at midday to appear at Harare
Central Police Station but on arrival, he was informed that the
investigating officer had been ordered to forward the docket to more senior
police officers.

It was not immediately clear what the journalist would be charged with,
though they were indications that he could charged with theft.

Matshazi was called by the police following the publication of a story that
indicated that Kereke’s Green Card, a medical aid company was facing
viability problems, based on leaked documents.

Kereke claims that the leaked documents were stolen from his offices.

Kereke made a report to the police, who said they were keen to interview
Matshazi and The Standard’s editor Nevanji Madanhire.

Kereke is seen as a powerful person and this might be the reason why senior
police officials demanded to have a look at the docket.

He has also demanded $2.5 million dollars from The Standard for defamation
of character, while at the same time he pursues a parallel criminal case
over the alleged stolen documents.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutare councillor arrested

By Own Correspondent
Wednesday, 09 November 2011 18:09

HARARE - Police have arrested a Mutare councillor in a case in which the
city was allegedly fleeced of more than $300 000 in a tender scam.

The councillor Exavia Upare, who is the chairperson of the Mutare city
council’s procurement committee, is in police custody after he was arrested
on Monday on allegations of criminal abuse of office, police sources told
the Daily News.

Mutare lawyer Chris Ndlovu, who is representing Upare, confirmed the
councillor was waiting to appear in court.

“Yes, he is in police custody and we expect the matter to be brought before
the courts anytime. But it seems the police are taking much of their time
and seem happy he stays another night in custody,” complained Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said he was unsure of the charge which his client is facing since
police told him they are still compiling the evidence. Upare is an MDC
councillor for ward 10 in Mutare.

Council sources said Upare is alleged to have been given a kickback by a
Harare businessman to influence his winning of the more than $600 000 tender
to supply the local authority water supply pipes.

The businessman was arrested in mid-October for allegedly defrauding the
cash-strapped Mutare city council of $330 233  which he had received as down
payment for water pipes.

The water pipes were meant to ease the shortage of water in residential
areas through the dualisation of water supply pipes from the Christmas Pass
water reservoir.

The businessman is out of custody on bail.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Rape’ suspects attacked in Gweru

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 18:20

GWERU - Two of the three women accused of ritual sexual attacks on at least
17 hitch-hikers were forced to seek refuge at a police station last Friday
after they were attacked at a busy bus terminus in Gweru.

Cousins Rosemary Chakwizira, 24, and Sophie Nhokwara, 26, out on US$300 bail
each, fled the Kudzanai Bus Terminus in a taxi after being assaulted by a
mob that recognised them from media coverage of their arrest.

The taxi raced to Gweru Central Police Station where the women spent four
nights last month following their arrest.
Police have launched an investigation into the assault.

The women now say they fear for their lives and are scared of walking the

They are charged with 17 counts of indecent assault along with Netsai
Nhokwara, 24, and Thulani Ngwenya, 24, who will answer charges of aiding and
abetting the sex attacks.

Netsai is a resident of Riverside suburb where she lives with her boyfriend.

The women, who were allegedly found in possession of 33 used condoms at an
accident scene — four of them half full with semen — insist that they have
nothing to do with reports of countrywide sex attacks on male hitch-hikers
by women who went on to harvest their semen.

Some people believe that sperms can make someone’s luck improve as it is
associated with new life and regeneration.
Sophie said: “People started whistling and shouting, some saying they would
deal with us just as we were passing the terminus.

“In no time they were on us, poking, pulling and roughing us up. We ran to a
taxi waiting nearby and luckily the driver managed to get away from the
scene as the mob knocked on the doors and windscreen. Our life is really in
danger and we are scared."

“Are we not suspects until proven guilty? It’s as if people have already
made their judgments and found us guilty.”
Speaking exclusively to New, the two women who live together in
an unremarkable house in Mkoba suburb told how their lives had been “flipped
upside down”.

Sophie and Rosemary, who both admit that they are prostitutes, insist that
the condoms were left by “clients” and they had packed them in a plastic bag
with the intention of disposing of them.

The women deny media reports that they lead lavish lifestyles.

They live in a three-bedroom unplastered house which Sophie says was left by
her grandmother.

Orphaned Sophie said a red Chevrolet Aveo involved in the accident as it was
being driven by Ngwenya had been bought using money she “escaped with” from
an unhappy marriage to a Mutare-based diamond dealer in 2009.

Rosemary added: “As you can see, the house still has to be plastered and the
toilet is yet to be fitted with a cistern.

“There is nothing lavish about our lifestyles. We are just simple ghetto
people like everyone else and we struggle on a daily basis to make ends
meet. Electricity has been disconnected and there is a bill for $1 800. We
are using firewood to cook our meals.It’s been hell since we were arrested.”

The duo said well wishers, including friends and relatives, had to chip in
to raise the bail money and legal fees — with each paying an estimated US$1
000 to the lawyer.

Sophie’s elder sister, who spoke on condition of anonymity and also resides
at the Mkoba house, insisted police had the wrong people — despite
prosecutors saying victims had picked them at an identity parade.

Explaining how Sophie and Rosemary lived, she said: “You would find used
condoms strewn all over the room and this had become a problem with other
people who live in the house.

“So I encouraged them to put their things (used condoms) in a plastic bag
and dispose them a distance from the house. That’s why those used condoms
were in the plastic bag.”

Sophie and Rosemary said they hoped the matter would be finalised so that
they could start rebuilding their lives.

The four suspects will reappear in court on November 29 for trial.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Government to Distribute Planting Vouchers to Vulnerable Farmers

08 November 2011

Each Zimbabwean farmer considered to be vulnerable will receive 10 kilograms
of maize seed, one 50-kilogram bag of compound D and one 50 kilogram bag of
ammonium nitrate fertilizer

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

The Zimbabwean government says it is printing more than one million vouchers
to be distributed to farmers through offices of the Agricultural, Technical
and Extension Services to provide access to vulnerable growers to Grain
Marketing Board planting inputs.

Agritex Principal Director Joseph Gondo said the vouchers, with special
security features, should be available for distribution by his office by the
end of the week.

Under the US$45 million agricultural inputs subsidy scheme, each farmer
considered to be vulnerable is to receive 10 kilograms of maize seed, one
50-kilogram bag of compound D and one 50 kilogram bag of ammonium nitrate

Agronomist Thomas Nherera told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that this is a
welcome move as the small farmers being targeted produce most of the
country's staple maize.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AG appeals High Court by-election ruling

The Attorney General has appealed in the Supreme Court against a High Court
ruling directing President Robert Mugabe to call by-elections in three
Matabeleland constituencies.
by Chief Reporter

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi handed down the landmark judgement in October on
behalf of Justice Nicholas Ndou, who was tied up elsewhere.

“I hereby order President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe Electoral Commissions
to announce elections dates in Lupane East, Nkayi South and Bulilima East in
a period within 14 days,” says Mathonsi’s ruling.

The A-G, Johannes Tomana, has now lodged an appeal saying the President
cannot be compelled by the court, which he claims has misdirected itself.

Former MPs for Nkayi South, Abednico Bhebhe, Lupane East Njabuliso Mguni and
Bulilima East Norman Mpofu lodged papers in the Bulawayo High Court last
year seeking a declaratory order compelling ZEC to conduct by-elections in
their constituencies, where they intend to stand as independent candidates.

The officials were fired from the MDC together with Alex Goosen, a member of
the national executive council, for undermining the party’s authority.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa in an affidavit filed
on Mugabe’s behalf opposed the application saying there were vacancies in
seven Senate constituencies, 19 House of Assembly constituencies and 50
local authority wards and that government did not have $38 291 919 needed
for the by-elections.

The three legislators say they will oppose the appeal.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New SA banking regs cause panic

The latest move by South Africa to combat rampant crime has sent some
Zimbabwean nationals here panicking and closing the bank accounts they
improperly opened.
by Chris Ncube

This week, the South African government and financial firms launched an
Online Verification System, which would make it impossible to make a
transaction without providing a fingerprint. This will have a far-reaching
impact on some Zimbabwean nationals who improperly opened their accounts.

Some banks do not accept foreign documents such as passport or an asylum
permit. This forced people to pay locals or fellow countrymen who hold
fraudulently acquired local documents to open accounts on their behalf. They
then operate the account using the bank card. But this will now be

“I have withdrawn all the money in my account as the new system would make
it impossible to get my money in future. The account I have been using was
opened by a neighbour to whom I paid R100 for the service,” said Stella

Regis Moyo said he had also withdrawn all his money and notified his
employer not to deposit any cash in the account he has been using for the
past six years.

The new regulations are aimed at fostering co-operation between Home Affairs
and the banking industry in combating bank-related identity fraud and

The system will see cooperation between Home Affairs and the banks in the
identification of people and verification of their particulars.

“Thousands of foreign nationals have been using the accounts that locals
opened for them. These will no longer be doing any transactions with the
banks – who will lose out on revenue as a result,” said a Johannesburg-based

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New short story competition launched

The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards has announced a new writing award. Instead of
nominating for the best writer, as in other categories, ZAA has set up a
writing competition to encourage, inspire and celebrate the best literary
talent in Zimbabwe. There is a $1,000 cash fund for the winners plus
publication in a volume of shortlisted and highly commended entries.
by Staff Reporter

Apart from the NAMAs and the Yvonne Vera Award presented at the annual
Intwasa festival, there isn’t much other recognition for Zimbabwean writers.
But literature continues to flourish, despite a contracted publishing scene.
The announcement of NoViolet Bulawayo as the winner of the 2011 Caine Prize
shows the immense potential of Zimbabwe to conquer the world. “We want to
unearth more of this talent,” say the organisers.

While the competition is aimed at encouraging Zimbabwean writers who write
inside the country under severe conditions and with few resources and
opportunities, it will also be open to all Zimbabweans regardless of their

An anthology of new writings selected from the best submissions received for
will be published in the New Year. The shortlist will be revealed at the end
of December and the eventual winner at the April 2012 ZAA event. The
competition will become an annual fixture on the literary calendar and
hopefully become an incentive to positively encourage young and emerging

Entries should be no more than 5,000 words and submissions will be by
electronic mail only and must be forwarded to The
deadline line is 20 December 2011. For more information visit

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe today: ‘a mockery of liberation’

Resistance (to colonialism) finally assumed the form of a full-fledged
national liberation war in the 1970s. Its purpose was articulated as a
struggle for self-determination, democracy, freedom, social justice, human
dignity and peace and encapsulated the hopes and aspirations of the
indigenous African people of Zimbabwe.
by Wilfred Mhanda

Zimbabweans are arguably in much a worse position socially, materially and
economically than they were before Independence. Zimbabweans are arguably in
much a worse position socially, materially and economically than they were
before Independence.

The attainment of political power was to be the springboard for the
transformation of political power itself and state institutions to serve the
interests of the majority to ensure the realisation of popular aspirations.
In essence, political power was to serve as the tool for the political,
economic, social and cultural liberation and empowerment of the black
majority. Power had to be democratised.

Today Zimbabwe is a far cry from the expectations of all those who took up
arms for liberation; it is also a mockery of the term ‘liberation’.
Zimbabweans are arguably in much a worse position socially, materially and
economically than they were before independence. Despite the Global
Political Agreement and the formation of the inclusive government,
education, healthcare and service delivery continue their downward spiral.
Politically, the people’s democratic rights are equally constrained, with
freedoms of expression, association and assembly seriously curtailed by
draconian statutes and partisan law enforcement agencies.

Zanu (PF) has retained its political hegemony and dominance through its
control of the state and its repression of the people of Zimbabwe. Control
of state power gives the party the initiative and freedom of action. The
defining feature of the inclusive government is that the two other parties
to the GPA have no access to state power, limiting their room for manoeuvre
to achieve their political objectives.

Sad scenario

In more ways than one, this sad scenario has transported the country back in
time, back to the situation before independence that prompted the
nationalist movement to take up arms. Then, the overwhelming majority of
Zimbabweans rendered unflinching support to the struggle for liberation
across party loyalties. It was the unity of purpose and clarity of vision,
succinct articulation of the objectives of the struggle, fearless sacrifices
and principled and committed leadership that helped the heroic people of
Zimbabwe navigate the treacherous terrain of struggle against racist
minority rule and imperialist machinations and persevere till independence
in 1980.

What followed has been something of an anti-climax. The majority of the
populace still struggle to make ends meet in a country that is richly
endowed with natural and human resources and once had an infrastructure that
many envied. What accounts for this tragedy is that Zanu (PF) rule has been
politically reactionary and degenerate, morally decadent and ideologically
bankrupt. It will take another arduous struggle to turn the country’s
fortunes around and propel its development along a positive trajectory.

It is quite clear that the original ideals and objectives of the liberation
struggle can only be realised through a radical change of course, a complete
overhaul of the body politic, which is in essence revolution. However, this
does not necessarily entail any violent struggle or overthrow. A complete
change of course could be achieved through peaceful and democratic means
such as the parliamentary process, when the conditions are conducive. These
are popular resistance and the rejection of dictatorship, the inability of
the ruling elite to continue to assert their authority without repression
and the emergence of divisions within the ranks of the ruling elite.

In the case of stiff resistance to popular aspirations, political defiance
can be a viable alternative to armed struggle, but it does require
considerable organisational skills and a high grasp of the tactics and
strategy of struggle that matches that of a military endeavour. The argument
for political defiance is that it has of necessity a pronounced popular
character, unlike that of military or armed struggle. Political defiance is
premised on thorough and extensive mobilisation of the populace and popular
participation. The defiance struggle has a democratic character in contrast
to an armed struggle that is spearheaded by an armed nucleus divorced from
the people.

Defiance trains the power of the people against the forces of reaction in
contrast to an armed force in the case of an armed revolution. The trouble
with armed revolutionary struggles is that they perfect the control of the
instruments of coercion that will evolve into new state machinery not
necessarily accountable to the people. A popular revolution is undertaken by
the people themselves.

Popular revolution

In addition to a dedicated, selfless and committed leadership thoroughly
schooled in the art of struggle against dictatorship, the prerequisites for
a successful popular revolution are: the existence of an organisation to
spearhead the struggle and craft a compelling vision of hope and then
articulate a unifying national agenda derived from scientific social
analysis; a revolutionary programme with clear objectives and perspectives
of struggle that correspond to the objective conditions; and the thorough
and extensive mobilisation and organisation of the people around the
programme and its objectives that give expression to popular aspirations.

Most of the political parties and civil society organisations that emerged
after independence are themselves in the mould of Zanu (PF). Organisations
that are founded on a political culture that mirrors Zanu (PF) stand no
chance of presenting a better alternative for the country. What is required
is a new value system that negates that political culture. The values of
selfless sacrifice of the freedom fighters that laid a sustainable basis for
the successful prosecution of the liberation war were discarded and
abandoned after the demise of ZIPA and supplanted by the unbridled pursuit
of power, greed and self-preservation.


Whilst a human rights discourse is a potent mobilisation tool, on its own it
cannot galvanise people into action. It is the people’s material conditions
in the form of the fulfilment of their socio-economic rights and their
livelihoods that should become the focal point for mobilisation. The
rhetoric of socio-economic rights peddled by Zanu (PF) is merely form devoid
of content - a fig leaf for entitlement and for the elite to grab and
monopolise resources.

This strategy should be matched by a sustained call for equitable
redistribution of the country’s resources for the benefit of all the people,
the elimination of the grinding poverty afflicting the overwhelming majority
of the populace and the restoration of basic services that facilitate a
dignified existence for everyone.

Democracy is not a commodity that is free; it has to be won and it often
comes at a price. For instance, women only gained their right to vote and
become politicians in Europe and the United States of America as a result of
struggle in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The women
suffragettes in Britain and the US spearheaded this struggle.

As a victim of the internal struggles within ZANU before liberation, my
experiences show that progressive forces should have the courage to stand up
for what they believe in, irrespective of their position in the
organisational pecking order.


The abdication of principled positions in deference to the views of the
leadership, no matter how erroneous or misguided, undermines the development
of internal democracy within organisations.

Progressive elements should not be timid and avoid engaging in a principled
struggle of ideas, even in the face of threats. They should propagate their
ideas and standpoints and mobilize support for them among the rank and file
if democracy is to thrive. Since the suppression of ZIPA and the former Dare
leaders within ZANU in the latter half of the seventies, there have been no
further principled struggles within ZANU, save for ethnic and power
struggles resulting in the entrenchment of an authoritarian grip over the
party to the detriment of the development of internal democracy and
democratic practice in post-independence Zimbabwe.

However, most tragically, the Zimbabwean state that emerged in 1980 did not
become an organ for popular rule. Rather, it continued to serve the
interests of those who had succeeded the racist white minority rulers – the
Zanu (PF) elite. It became an organ for the suppression of those perceived
to be threats to their political dominance.

Accordingly, expecting the rule of law to be enforced in present day
Zimbabwe is wishful thinking that runs against the grain of common sense.
The same goes for expecting the security sector and state institutional
transformation to be citizen-friendly rather than serving the narrow
interests of ZANU (PF). Public pressure

It is only logical that the latter should resist any attempt to change the
status quo. It is naive to expect their willing co-operation in any policy
that will lead to the erosion of their power. It is my personal view that
only coercive Public pressure would make them relinquish their tight grip on
the state.

The struggle for democracy is inseparable from the struggle for
socio-economic justice. There can be no freedom in poverty, and political
power determines the redistribution of wealth and resources in society.
Where political power serves the interests of the majority, all efforts will
be made to facilitate equitable distribution of wealth and resources through
state intervention. It is the absence of genuine democracy that fosters
poverty and inequitable distribution.

Making government accountable is a prerequisite for genuine democracy and
the delivery of social justice. Inherent in this continuous political
dynamic lies a perpetual functional conflict between government and civil
society. It is this dialectical relationship that ensures a healthy
democracy and keeps the abuse of power in check.

Civil society

This can be best achieved through involvement of civil society in
decision-making and the involvement of the people in all matters that affect
their livelihoods, security and welfare. It is, in other words, through the
democratisation and socialisation of power and government that genuine
democracy and socio-economic justice can flourish. Zimbabwe’s war of
liberation was waged to achieve these very principles of freedom, democracy,
social justice and respect for human dignity. Sadly, they fell victim to the
pursuit of power, narrow partisan interests, greed and an insatiable
appetite for wealth.

These noble ideals, for which many sacrificed their lives, have to all
intents and purpose been divested of their progressive content. They survive
only as a rhetorical or demagogical platform for grandstanding on national
occasions, for raising the political temperature and whipping up partisan
sentiments prior to elections.

It was the abandonment of the norms, ethos and the value system that
sustained the liberation war that has yielded fertile ground for ethnicity,
intolerance, partisanship, unbridled greed, corruption, lack of
accountability, mismanagement, patronage and the tolerance of incompetence
as a virtue that have all combined to bring the country to its knees.

Back to the Top
Back to Index