Saturday, 10 November 2012 14:29
The Zanu PF pundits are blaming MDC
and Biti for doing badly in terms of agriculture, but the table below shows that
agriculture has contributed more to GDP under the MDC Minister compared to the
period when Zanu Pf was in charge.
The Zanu Pf sanction mantra has become the party’s major excuse for their non performance and the dinosaur party has perpetually sung the song in a bid to cover up for their inadequacies and corrupt activities in the diamond fields of Chiadzwa.
by Staff Reporter
FORMER South Africa President Thabo Mbeki will address the Zimbabwe Diamond
Conference which begins at the Victoria Falls resort Monday in a development
the government hopes will help address international concerns about the
Said Mines Minister Obert Mpofu: “We have invited (former President Thabo)
Mbeki and we are very proud to be associated with him because of his
international resume. He is expected to give the keynote address at the
“He is a renowned international mediator who was responsible for initiating
the talks for our unity government and at one time he was tasked with
mediating in the crisis in Syria.”
Other top global diamond officials expected to attend the meeting include
Kimberly Process chairperson Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, KP monitor
Abbey Chikane and renowned international diamond expert Chaim Even-Zohar.
The Marange diamond find which is said to be one of Africa's largest with
the potential to supply 25% of the world's diamonds has led to increased
international focus on the country amid concerns over transparency, human
rights abuses and alleged corruption.
Rights groups claim that 200 people were killed in 2008 at Marange when the
country’s security services cleared small-scale miners from the area.
Zimbabwe was consequently banned from the Kimberley Process, a watchdog for
the diamond trade. The ban was only lifted when the government said it had
pulled out security forces out of the area.
Still, Finance Minister Tendai Biti Finance, a member of the anti-President
Robert Mugabe MDC-T party, has complained that of the $600m in diamond
revenues expected this year, only $46m has materialised.
He claims a "parallel government" may be raking in much of the cash.
Officials say the conference has been organised "to manage perception of the
Zimbabwean diamond industry and lure more investment to the diamond
industry", according to the ministry of mines.
Said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development Prince Mupazviriho: “The conference will also provide an
opportunity for everyone to see that everything that we are doing in terms
of the diamonds is above board. We have nothing to hide despite the
negative international views that we get regards our diamonds.
“Preparations for the meeting are going on smoothly. Most of the invited
delegates have confirmed their attendance. The main highlight of the
conference is that we are now going beyond just the mining of diamonds.
“We are now focusing on beneficiation to see how best the country can
benefit from the diamonds. That is why we have invited all stakeholders
from different countries to help us develop our own systems to enhance
beneficiation from the diamonds.”
by Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has insisted that the government is not looking to
nationalise the country's economy as he sought to allay international
investor concern over the country’s indigenisation programme.
Mining majors with interests in Zimbabwe, among them Anglo Platinum and
Impala Platinum, have already moved to transfer control of the operations to
locals in line with the country’s economic empowerment legislation.
Under the law, criticised by analysts as unnerving investors at a time the
economy is thirsting for international capital, foreign companies must
transfer ownership and control of at least 51 per cent of their Zimbabwe
operations to locals.
But speaking at the launch of a community share ownership scheme at Bindura
Nickel Corporation (BNC) over the weekend, Mugabe said indigenisation would
not lead to the nationalisation of the economy.
“We have never nationalised anything since independence despite all the
talk about Mugabe being a dictator and all the dirt and filth that has been
said about Mugabe. We are not dirty and filthy,” he said.
“The only dirt and filth has come from sanctions that the west imposed on
us, yet we never reciprocated.”
The veteran leader said international investors must be prepared to work
with locals and understand that capital does not entitle them to ownership
of the country’s resources.
“There has to be the good understanding that Zimbabwe’s resources belong
primarily to Zimbabweans. Those who provide capital should understand that
the master in Zimbabwe is the Zimbabwean,” he said.
“They think the fact that they have capital gives them the right to own our
resources. No! It only gives them the privilege to partner with us.
“We want you to form partnerships with foreign companies at 51 to 49 per
cent . . . even partnerships with our African colleagues; we have no
objection at all with such partnerships provided that they understand our
Mugabe however, said Zimbabweans should be wary and not merely be used as
fronts for foreign interests.
“Ngatichenjerei . . . kana Satan akati ngatidye tese, itai zi-spoon rinobva
kuno nekoko yokumba share yako (You need a long spoon to eat supper with the
devil),” he said.
By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Sunday, 11 November 2012 14:52
Emmerson Mnangagwa (left) and Didymus Mutasa
HARARE - For most struggling Zimbabweans, it is an unimaginable expense:
$6,5 million on a conference centre for Zanu PF's 13th national people's
It gets worse when reports suggest the party is being funded by Marange
diamonds, which citizens are praying could be used to turn the country’s
The construction of the imposing convention hall, 15km along the Gweru-Mvuma
Road, deep in the countryside of Midlands Province, has included offices for
the presidium, a giant stage, a 5 000-seater convention hall,
state-of-the-art public address system and other gizmos and amenities to
carry the party’s “very, very important visitors” into the five-day
conference which opens on December 4.
But while Zanu PF maintains the convention hall is a legacy project
bankrolled by well-wishers, this has failed to quell Zimbabweans outrage
over the high cost of the project, along with reports that millions more
dollars whose sourcing remains a secret will be spent on accommodating the
thousands of delegates.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC is pushing for a parliamentary probe
on the “election monster.”
The legislature could be asked during the fifth session of Parliament to
probe funding for the convention centre, MDC officials say.
Asked about the $6.5 million convention centre, Zanu PF administration
secretary Didymus Mutasa did not attempt to deny the cost of the convention
Instead, he talked vaguely about “exaggerations” and denied it was a sign of
“People are not struggling because of the hall; people are suffering because
Tsvangirai brought sanctions to this country,” Mutasa told the Daily News on
“He is still calling for sanctions without any embarrassment, if anyone
should be ashamed it is Tsvangirai.
“There is absolutely no connection between the hall and the lack of service
in the country. That hall is in fact about the comfort of the people who
come to the conference.”
Mutasa, who is also the minister of State in the President’s office, said
Zanu PF had rich friends.
“Money does not rain from the skies, mari inotsvagwa muminda, mumaindustry
uye kubva kumadzisahwira (we get our money from agriculture, industries and
also friends),” said Mutasa.
Zanu PF, founded in 1963, has an official headquarters in Harare, in
addition to several conference facilities at its disposal countrywide.
Housing and Social Amenities minister Giles Mutsekwa, the Defence secretary
in Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC, called the expenditure on the Zanu PF
conference centre not only morally wrong and unjustifiable given the country’s
social needs, but also possibly illegal.
“When I heard about the construction of the hall in Gweru I was shocked,”
“Zanu PF is our partner in government and they claim that they represent the
people (but) for them to splash such an amount on a hall is embarrassing. I
am struggling to give people houses because the government is broke. I do
not know where they are getting money to buy such a structure.
“If I had been given that money, I could have built houses for more than 300
people, the Willowvale flats I built cost $8 million,” added Mutsekwa.
Zimbabwe remains one of the world’s most unequal countries, with millions
living in poverty and post-independence frustrations regularly boiling over
into street protests, especially by women’s groups such as Woza.
Critics of Zanu PF say the party and its wealthy leaders have lost touch
with ordinary Zimbabweans and the imposing Gweru structure is one such
example of a leadership at tangent with the populace.
The majority of households are struggling with lack of access to basic
services such as water while millions remain on the housing waiting list.
The UN says 1,6 million are in dire need of food assistance and are not
David Coltart, minister of Education, Arts, Sports and Culture and a member
of Welshman Ncube’s MDC, whose ministry is surviving on the goodwill of
donors to bankroll its programmes, said Mugabe’s party has warped
“We have a warped system in Zimbabwe, a history of misplaced priorities;
this hall in Gweru and the military college in Mazowe constructed to the
tune of $100 million,” he said.
“If that money had been channelled towards the rehabilitation of schools,
then we would have improved the learning institutions.”
Government in 2010 signed an agreement with China to use Marange diamonds to
pay off the $100 million for the Zimbabwe Defence College, which was
completed well ahead of schedule.
Schools around the country are in a state of disrepair with children having
to learn seated on hard floors or perched on stumps under the cover of
Coltart, whose ministry received only $8 million for this year, said he has
engaged the ministry of Finance over lack of funding.
“I have talked to Finance minister Tendai Biti over budget allocation to the
education sector and I should say he was very sympathetic.
“Unfortunately he has little room to manoeuvre. We need a complete change in
our priorities” said Coltart.
Coltart spoke as Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairperson
Godwills Masimirembwa admitted this week that a paltry $150 million out of a
projected $600 million from Marange diamonds was going to be remitted to
Treasury by year-end, raising questions about the flow of diamond money.
Opposition Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa, an ex-Zanu PF politburo member, said
one day the truth will haunt his former party as questions on the source of
the money to bankroll such a huge project rise.
“It remains a question of where is Zanu PF getting this money,” Dabengwa
said. “One day the truth will come out to haunt Zanu PF. Whoever the donors
are will be known and that will be embarrassing.”
The fallout over the $6,5 million conference centre comes at a politically
sensitive time for Zanu PF, which is seeking re-election in forthcoming
Dewa Mavhinga, a civil rights campaigner and political analyst, said Zanu PF
should do some soul searching.
“The first question for Zanu PF is: where is the money coming from?”
Mavhinga asked. “But a more important question that calls for Zanu PF
leaders to do deep soul-searching is: why throw such lavish and obscene sums
towards the construction of a hall when the people of Zimbabwe have numerous
urgent and pressing needs including the resuscitation of a collapsed health
sector; provision of clean water in the cities; or general support to an
“This flamboyance and extravagance points to a party out of touch with the
people; a party living in cloud cuckoo land,” added Mavhinga.
Sunday, 11 November 2012 13:42
BULAWAYO - As the country edges towards an election likely to be held next
year, political parties have descended on Matabeleland North province,
turning the region into a battlefield characterised by hyper-political
The province, which is the other half of Matabeleland and located in the
southern region of the country, has courted the attention of at least four
political parties who are vying to get the bigger chunk of the cake come
Leading the pack is minister of Mines Obert Mpofu, who holds rallies every
weekend where he doles out maize to villagers who have been ravished by
Mpofu, who holds a seat in Umguza district in Matabeleland North, has
sacrificed his personal resources to campaign on behalf of his party Zanu
PF, which has struggled in the Matabeleland region. The minister — who
declares himself king of Matabeleland and a super minister at his weekly
rallies —has routinely proclaimed that the entire region will become one of
Zanu PF’s strongholds.
“People are underestimating us and come election time, they will be
This time we are taking the province from those who have failed to serve the
people. I have given you maize and if someone comes and gives you more maize
than me, inform me and I will triple the maize that the person would have
brought,” Mpofu said at one of the rallies.
On average, Mpofu donates 60 tonnes of maize whenever he holds a rally. Zanu
PF has several parliamentary seats in the area, although the MDC dominates
the entire Matabeleland region.
Apart from Mpofu in Umguza constituency, Bubi is under Clifford Sibanda,
Nkayi North with Sithembiso Nyoni, Lupane West with Martin Khumalo and the
senator for Bubi-Umguza is Lot Mbambo, all Zanu PF members.
The smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube won Nkayi South with Abednigo Bhebhe,
who was later to defect to the mainstream MDC.
It also won Lupane East with Njabuliso Mguni, who like Bhebhe, defected to
the mainstream MDC and the senatorial seats for Nkayi and Lupane are under
Rabson Makhula and Dalumuzi Khumalo of Ncube’s party.
The party also won Tsholotsho South with Maxwell Dube and the senatorial
seat with Believe Gaule.
Tsholotsho North was won by serial political flip flopper Jonathan Moyo,
then an indepedent candidate before rejoining Zanu PF.
The mainstream MDC won all the seats in Binga and Hwange constituencies. “I
want to say if MDC wants the Umguza seat they should send Tsvangirai
(Morgan) and if the other MDC wants to contest they should send Ncube
(Welshman) because there is absolutely no-one who can be able to take that
seat away from me,” Mpofu boisterously says.
Ncube, who leads the smaller faction of the MDC and is one of the
politicians scrambling for seats in the province, hit back at Mpofu at a
rally in the mines minister’s home town of Jambesi in Hwange a fortnight
Ncube, who is also Industry minister in the fragile coalition government
said Mpofu “is a small boy” and he would rather challenge his party superior
President Robert Mugabe. The MDC led by Ncube has also criss-crossed the
province staging rallies from Hwange to Lupane, where they have dished out
bicycles in party green colours. So intense has been Ncube and Mpofu’s
canvassing that one villager remarked that “this year we are going to be
rich in maize and bicycles”.
The mainstream MDC has not been left out in the scramble for Matabeleland
and Bhebhe, now the party national deputy organising secretary, has been
holding rallies in some of the province’s rural districts.
Recently they paraded one Moyo who claimed that he was top campaigner of
Mpofu and had defected to the MDC because of unfulfilled promises by Zanu
However, this did not go down well with Mpofu, who distanced himself from
Moyo and said this was cheap politics by MDC to undermine him. Whatever the
case maybe, it can only be an intriguing and unpredictable election
battle. - Lloyd Mbiba
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
A CROP of relatively young business executives and professionals are set to
represent Zanu PF in Parliamentary elections next year as the party explores
ways of connecting with the youth demographic ahead of the key ballot.
Zanu PF has largely resisted pressure for leadership change and renewal with
President Robert Mugabe – at the helm of the country since Independence in
1980 - set to run for another term in office next March when he will be 88.
The party’s youth leader, Absolom Sikhosana, is in his 60s.
Still, the party appears to recognise that the so-called born free
generation – young people born just before and after Independence – now
constitute a key part of the voting population.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo confirmed Sunday that a crop of young
executives and professionals were being targeted to help re-invigorate the
“The issue of these so-called new Turks is an interesting and important
dimension for the party and we would like to put it on record that we
welcome all these young and enterprising people who are coming from the
corporate world to invigorate the party,” Gumbo told the Sunday Mail.
“All the young guns have to do is to show commitment, loyalty and support
the policies of the party. They must demonstrate that their allegiance is
not a fly-by-night attraction but that it has deep foundations guided by the
principles and values of the party.”
The privately-owned Independent newspaper claimed Friday that provincial
party leaders were warned during a recent trip to China that Zanu PF needs
to be prepared to implement leadership renewal.
“We were warned of the need to constantly renew our party leadership so that
we remain relevant and adopt as a priority economic development strategies
that boost the economy and empower the masses,” a party official told the
But Zanu PF has, over the years, notoriously resisted any attempts at
leadership change. A number of senior officials were slapped with five-year
suspensions after attending a meeting in Tsholotsho in 2004 where a
re-gigging of the top positions was allegedly discussed.
Former Cabinet Ministers and Politburo members Simba Makoni and Dumiso
Dabengwa also quit ahead of the 2008 elections, frustrated by the party’s
refusal to entertain any change in its top echelons.
Said Makoni in a recent interview: “There has been, going back to the mid-’90s,
a discussion within Zanu-PF about the need for change. We started about
change of direction, change of policy and, much later, change of personnel.
“I was fully committed to participate in the making of change from within.
We came through a number of landmark events. The Goromonzi (Zanu-PF) annual
conference of 2006 was quite a watershed.
“The extraordinary congress of December 2007. Expectation and probably even
anticipation of change was crescendoing from Goromonzi to Harare. And when
no change took place, at the extraordinary congress of 2007, that's when I
convinced myself that making change from within was not feasible.”
Even so, the party has come up with a number of measures aimed at connecting
with the youth demographic and the decision to embrace young professionals
and business executives appears to be part of the strategy.
Those said to be eying Parliamentary seats include journalist Supa
Mandiwanzira, business executive Chamu Chiwanza, top Harare lawyer,
Jonathan Samkange, miller Tafadzwa Musarara, Zimpapers chairman, Paul
Chimedza and former RBZ advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke.
Gumbo however, insisted that the inclusion of the “young turks” would not
divide the party.
“We have made it clear that there is not going to be any imposition of
candidates in the forthcoming elections, so everyone will be on an equal
footing when the primary elections come,” he said.
The party has also deliberately targeted its economic empowerment programme
at the youth with about US$1 million recently made available to each of the
country’s 10 provinces for businesses run by young entrepreneurs under its
“Zanu PF goes for the real thing. Your wealth is the basis of your
prosperity. If you control wealth, the future of the youth is assured,” said
party strategist Chris Mutsvangwa.
THE government plans to build modern flats in major cities to alleviate the
shortage of accommodation across the country, a cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking after touring Mutare, Minister Giles Mutsekwa said the government
would build six state-of-the-art apartment blocks in the eastern border city
and other urban centres in the country to reduce the housing backlog.
Mutsekwa said construction would begin in January next year.
"We are rolling out a scheme to build flats in the country's biggest cities
to alleviate accommodations challenges. We are targeting Harare, Mutare,
Bulawayo and Gweru," Mutsekwa said.
He said the government had mobilised the resources to build the flats and
was only waiting for the local authorities to make the land available to his
In Mutare, the Ministry intends to build six modern flats which would reduce
the number of people on the municipality housing waiting list.
Acting Mutare Mayor George Jerison welcomed the government plans saying
would reduce the housing waiting list, which currently stands at 50,000.
"Statistics that we have show that about 50 000 people are on our housing
waiting list. Such a programme will solve accommodation problems in Mutare
and probably other cities," he said.
Water Resources and Development Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo accompanied
Nkomo pledged that his Ministry would drill 10 boreholes in the high density
suburb of Dangamvura as well as to resuscitate the irrigation scheme at
Nyanyadzi, about 35 kilometres south of Mutare.
Earlier Nkomo had toured the irrigation scheme where he pledged to write off
US$27,000 which farmers owe the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.
on November 11, 2012 at 12:58 am
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has urged Government to
increase capital expenditure on power generation and water supply in order
to revive the manufacturing sector.
The calls come as the Minister of Finance, Mr Tendai Biti, prepares to
present the 2013 National Budget on Thursday.
Industry experts say the manufacturing sector, facing myriad obstacles
ranging from the cost of raw materials to power outages, requires an
estimated $2 billion to operate at full capacity.
Currently, Zimbabwe is generating 1 329 megawatts (MW), with an additional
100 MW being imported from neighbouring countries, against a national demand
of 2 200 MW to meet both industrial and household use.
In an interview last week, CZI chief economist Mrs Lorraine Chikanya said
Government must invest in key projects that will add value to much-needed
growth in the economy.
“Government must identify key projects which will add instant value to the
economy. Projects on power generation and water supply are very important to
economic recovery. Industry is also concerned on the continued decline of
the proportion of the budget being allocated to capital expenditure,” said
Sunday, 11 November 2012 14:52
HARARE - Veteran broadcaster Tapfuma Machakaire has described political flip
flopper and former minister of Information Jonathan Moyo as the major cause
of the crumbling of once-vibrant state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting
In his new memoir entitled A Nose for News launched at the Bulawayo Press
Club on Friday, Machakaire said Moyo’s reshuffling of staff and his firm
hand on the media led to the demise of the broadcaster.
“Drastic changes at ZBC resulted in unbudgeted costs in terms of relocated
fees and hotel accommodation.
The minister had discouraged advertisers on the main news, claiming that
some banks that were advertising on ZTV were influencing programme content,”
Machakaire, a former senior ZBC employee and now a freelance journalist
“Forced by serious financial challenges, the board decided to retrench 450
workers where each department had to compile a list of persons deemed to be
excess baggage,” he said.
Machakaire, who is one of the finest journalists ever to emerge in Zimbabwe,
said Moyo forced journalists to throw ethics out of the window. “Jonathan
Moyo killed ZBC and he wanted me to bend my principles.
But I urge journalists never to be used by politicians. Journalists should
base their reporting on fairness, balance and truthfulness,” Machakaire
The former Toringepi anchor alleges that his bitter rivalry with the
minister led to his transfer from Montrose Studios in Bulawayo to Harare’s
Pockets Hill in 2001 as a reporter, which according to Machakaire was a
demotion. “It was a way of getting me out of the way,” Machakaire said.
In the memoir, Machakaire makes stunning revelations of his clashes with
Moyo at a Smart Partnership Dialogue Summit in Malaysia in November 2000
when the then minister accused him of ignorance.
As a result of the feud, Moyo used his ministerial powers to file stories to
ZBC in the process disregarding Machakaire’s post as a seasoned journalist
who had travelled with the president for years.
Moyo’s time at the information ministry resulted in the use of harsh media
and security laws to arrest journalists and close down newspapers. ZBC has
been in shambles since Moyo’s time.
Recently, the National Social Security Authority moved to confiscate ZBC’s
vehicles over $700 000 which the state broadcaster owes the workers’ social
protection institution in employees’ pension contributions since 2009.
It is also apparent that ZBC is in serious problems as it was ordered to pay
Zimbabwe Music Rights Association $600 000 for musicians’ royalties dating
back to 2009. Machakaire’s memoir was produced as part of a programme by the
Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter called Journalists in
Residence which gives veteran journalists the chance to chronicle their
experiences in the journalism fraternity. - Nyasha Chingono
SUNDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2012
FIFA has informed the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) that ordinary
courts are not to be approached to intervene in the life bans slammed on the
15 players and officials implicated in the Asiagate scandal.
The world’s football mother body said there are statutes that prohibit
affected parties to approach the ordinary courts.
“In this respect we would like to draw your attention to article 64
paragraph II of the Fifa Statutes which stipulates that ‘recourse to
ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the
Fifa regulation,’ as well as to paragraph III of the said provision, which
underlines that member associations shall ensure that this stipulation is
rigorously implemented within the respective association and further
provides that ‘the associations shall impose sanctions on any party that
fails to respect this obligation( . . .)”’ reads part of the letter to Zifa.
This follows a letter written by former Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s
Chidzambwa wrote to Fifa, saying he had lodged an application to the
Zimbabwe High Court against the decision they were rendered by Zifa.
According to the letter, Fifa called for the implementation of the statutes
at national level.
“In the view of the above and considering that associations shall ensure
that this stipulation is implemented at national level and, if need be,
impose sanctions on any party that fails to respect the obligations
previously mentioned (article 64 paragraph III of the Fifa statutes), we
respectfully ask you to keep us informed of any claim lodged with an
ordinary court by players and/or officials involved in the above mentioned
matter that comes to your attention and in that event of the appropriate
action the Zimbabwe Football Association will take action against
aforementioned officials in order to guarantee the respect of the Fifa
Fifa called for Zifa’s immediate co-operation to resolve the issue.
Zifa chief executive officer Mr Jonathan Mashingaidze yesterday confirmed
receiving the letter and warned those who have approached the courts.
“We are bound by the statutes of Zifa and Fifa in terms of our conduct, we
were left with no choice, but to crack the whip on any individual who wants
to go to court,” he said.
Mr Mashingaidze said Zifa will make sure that the country’s football is
clean and it will enforce the statutes governing football in the country.
Last month, Zifa banned 15 individuals from participating in football
related matters after they were found guilty of match fixing and betting in
Asia. Other sentences are being released in batches.
Zifa has since set up a Special Appeals Committee to deal with appeals set
to be lodged by the affected individuals.
Deep foreboding about the future of Zimbabwe was evident in London this week. As the clock ticks down to the next elections, fears were expressed that Zimbabwe is facing a trial of enormous consequence.
This view emerged most forcefully from the exiled MDC-T Treasurer General Roy Bennett, who spoke at a crowded meeting in one of the main committee rooms in Parliament. Among those attending was the Archbishop of York, the Ugandan-born Dr John Sentamu, who famously refuses to wear a clerical collar until Mugabe goes.
‘My message is a simple one’, Roy said. ‘There needs to be a clean break with the past in Zimbabwe – and very soon – or else the country will be a permanent basket case akin to the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Central African Republic, or any of the other forgotten and forsaken backwaters in Africa, distinguished only by occasional atrocities and marked by the utter, grinding poverty of their inhabitants.’
Roy dismissed as a pipe dream the idea that Zimbabwe would gradually evolve towards democracy and prosperity by co-operating with a ‘reformed’ Zanu PF. He warned that if the MDC and civil society did not drive Zanu PF from office and ‘complete the return to democratic normality’ in the next three years or so it might be too late. ‘Zimbabwe will degenerate into a Somalia. It will just be another perennial slum in Africa, a shantytown, a bantustan where the dream of the citizens extends no further than emigration. The privileged few will gorge themselves on the scraps.’ For full text of Roy’s speech, see: http://nehandaradio.com/2012/11/09/zimbabwe-could-degenerate-into-a-somalia-bennett/.
The occasion for Roy’s comments was a meeting in memory of Mike Campbell, a farmer who, with his son-in-law Ben Freeth, took Mugabe to the SADC Tribunal after their violent eviction from their farm. They won the case but SADC then suspended the Tribunal. During the course of the case they were abducted, beaten and tortured. Mike Campbell subsequently died of his injuries. Mr Freeth told the meeting that preparations were being made to steal the elections planned for next year.
Ben came to join us at the Vigil today and urged us to keep up the struggle. ‘We are encouraged because every week we see you are still there.’
After the Vigil he attended the monthly meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum held at the India Club down the road from the Vigil. He recalled how his own house had been burnt down along with that of Mr Campbell. ‘Zimbabwe continues to burn yet we are four years into the new government. The country has not really moved forward. Huge problems continue and no real reforms are taking place.'
The Joint Operations Command was still in place, the election machinery was exactly the same as in the last elections with the same people in charge who had declared those elections free and fair despite the violence. The elections supremo Mudede claimed the voters’ roll was perfect, although a third of those on it were dead or absent.
‘We expect violence’ he said, ‘forced meetings, Zimbabweans leaving home, crimes against humanity and the plight of the Zimbabwean people being disregarded.’ Ben said he looked to the Vigil for help in creating pressure and said our partner organization Restoration of Human Rights was part of the answer. He was applauded when he told the gathering that he did not think the solution was in violence. He went on to lead us in prayer for courage and wisdom.
· One disturbing reminder of how difficult things were becoming in Zimbabwe was from a supporter at the forum who said her parents in Zimbabwe had appealed to her not to go to the Vigil because they had been threatened. People agreed that we must nevertheless focus on getting our message to relatives in Zimbabwe. They must realise how much the diaspora, with regular remittances, is helping to keep the country going.
· Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani expressed anger at reports that Morgan Tsvangirai was staying in a luxury hotel nearby, the Savoy, which charges a minimum of £400 a night. He asked why Mr Tsvangirai had not contacted the diaspora, who would have liked to have asked him why the MDC was denying them the vote. Dumi suggested that the Vigil should make the UK an uncomfortable place for anyone from the Government of National Unity. After the meeting he and several others headed off to protest at the Savoy.
· We have received an invitation to attend a special service on 22nd November at Southwark Cathedral to mark the 50th anniversary for the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund. There will be music by a Zimbabwean choir and readings by distinguished patrons of the fund including the Reverend Dr Nicholas Sagovsky who has visited the Vigil. See ‘Events and Notices’ for details.
· Our article for the Independent which we put in last week’s diary can be seen on their blog on this link: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/11/06/the-zimbabwe-vigils-10th-anniversary-is-no-cause-for-celebration/
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.
FOR THE RECORD: 64 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 17th November from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.
· Relaunch of ROHR Liverpool Branch. Saturday 17th November from 12 noon – 4 pm. Venue: Sally Eccleston Centre, Moss Lane, Litherland, L21 7NJ. ROHR Zimbabwe continues with its renewal campaign. The Liverpool branch relaunch follows hard on the heels of other successful launches over the last 6 weeks: Central London Branch, Birmingham and Cambridge. Members of ROHR, human rights activists and friends of Zimbabwe are all invited. Discussions will focus on the Zimbabwe crisis and the strategies going forward. A new branch executive will also be elected and the ROHR UK National Executive will be in attendance.
· 50th anniversary service for the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund. Thursday 22nd November at 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral, Montague Close, London SE1 9DA. The service will be an interesting mix of readings by PoC patrons including Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Zoė Wanamaker CBE and Reverend Dr. Nicholas Sagovsky, music by a Zimbabwean choir and personal stories from prisoners of conscience who have been helped by the charity. See: http://www.prisonersofconscience.org/about_poc/events/default.aspx
· Election of Substantive ROHR UK Executive. Saturday 8th December. Further details as they become available.
· Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.
· The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.
· ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.
· The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.
· Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.
· Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.
· To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to www.justgiving.com/Mike-Campbell-Foundation.
· Useful websites: www.zanupfcrime.com which reports on Zanu PF abuses and www.ipaidabribe.org.zw where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.