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Coltart laments Cabinet racial slurs

02/11/2012 00:00:00
by AP

ZIMBABWE’S only white government minister has said racial slurs against
whites at the highest political level continue to show “a gross level of
intolerance” in the country.

Education Minister David Coltart said if he made similar insults about
blacks he would “rightly be branded as a sympathiser of the Nazis and the
Klu Klux Klan.”

Ministerial colleagues sometimes seemed to forget he was in the same room
when they made “shocking” remarks about whites, even at Cabinet meetings, he
said on his Facebook page.

Debate on lingering prejudices in Zimbabwe has raged since allegations of
racism in soccer have reemerged in Europe.
A weekly newspaper run by loyalists of President Robert Mugabe charged
Friday that racism by whites has endured three decades since the end of
colonial-era rule.

The Patriot newspaper said since independence in 1980 Zimbabweans have been
giving each other “plastic smiles” that tried to conceal the deeply-rooted
brutality of past white rule.

It said the tiny white minority of about 30,000 does not want to mix with
blacks or respect the majority population of 12 million people.

It said racial polarisation was shown at a writers’ gathering in Harare last
month addressed by white and black best-selling authors. It said Alexandra
Fuller, author of “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight,” an account of
growing up as a white child in colonial times, dodged questions on “white
assumptions” about black Africans.

Coltart, a lawyer, longtime human rights activist and a politician of the
former opposition now in the coalition government, said white attitudes had
often been hardened by racist hate speech in media controlled by Mugabe
loyalists and “ethnic cleansing” by Mugabe militants since 2000, the start
of an often violent campaign to seize thousands of white-owned commercial
farms and a black empowerment program to take control of 51 percent of white
and foreign-owned businesses. That “entrenched bitterness in the minds of
many whites,” Coltart said.

He said he was glad the “important debate” was now being aired openly.
In 1980, after a guerrilla war swept him to power, Mugabe announced a policy
of reconciliation toward his former white foes and said he would allow the
descendants of British settlers to keep their place in the sun.

Coltart noted no independent truth commission was held in Zimbabwe after
white rule ended and so whites never had to face up to the realities of the
past. In neighboring South Africa, many apartheid era crimes were
investigated and heard by a truth and reconciliation commission.

Coltart said “deeply offensive” generalisations on race were frequently used
by all groups in Zimbabwe.
“As always, it is wrong to paint any race or ethnic group with a single,
broad brush. There are remarkable white people out there who are deeply
committed to the concept of a multiracial, truly democratic Zimbabwe,” he

“Sadly, we all make generalizations which would be unacceptable in all
genuine democracies,” he said.

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Elections by June: Sadc

Friday, 02 November 2012 09:27

HARARE - Zimbabwe must go for fresh elections by June next year, South
Africa’s top foreign chief said yesterday sparking a battle with President
Robert Mugabe who is escalating his push for a March 2013 poll.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's minister of International Relations
and Cooperation, said President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC, have all
reaffirmed to President Jacob Zuma that the coalition government had a June
2013 sunset clause.

Zuma is the mediator in the Zimbabwean political crisis and speaks on behalf

Zimbabwean leaders must proclaim election dates by June next year once
conditions on the ground are ripe for a fair contest.

She spoke as Mugabe reiterated his demand for a March 2013 election
timetable at the opening of the fifth and final session of the seventh
Parliament in Harare on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe's main political parties have disagreed on the poll timetable, with
the two ruling MDCs insisting on a June poll and demanding full
implementation of a road map mediated by regional grouping Sadc.

Sadc, which appointed Zuma as mediator to Zimbabwe’s political negotiations,
is heavily influential in the country’s politics because it brokered and
guaranteed the power sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The internal contradictions at the heart of the coalition, latent from the
start, are now beginning to emerge in full public view as the country
hurtles towards a fresh election.

The rivals turned “unity” government partners, have so far failed to agree
terms under which the election roadmap and GPA can be fully implemented.

The three are under pressure from Sadc, which wants them to hammer out a
final agreement and implement the GPA instruments in time for elections.

"We should start here, we should say that all political parties in Zimbabwe
have agreed that their mandate will end, the one of the Global Political
Agreement that gave birth to this government, the inclusive government, end
by end of June next year," Nkoana-Mashabane told South Africa TV station

"So working backwards, from 30th of June (2013) to where we are sitting
today, they should have gone through a referendum for a new constitution and
they should go through elections.

The details of how they agree on the dates will better be dealt with by the

"South Africa will continue supporting them under the leadership of
President Zuma as a facilitator on behalf of Sadc, Sadc that remains the
guarantor that will take and has always been there to support the processes,
the political processes of the implementation of the GPA from the time that
this government came in, to the end of its mandate in June 2013."

Nkoana-Mashabane's statements puts Zuma on a collision course with the
recalcitrant Zimbabwean leader, who has emphasised that he will not take
foreign dictation on Zimbabwean electoral processes, even though he has
backed down each time a dispute has been referred to the facilitator.

While Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba was not picking up his mobile phone
when we called, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the Daily News: “The
South Africa government does not tell us what to do.

The position of the President stands that elections will be in March. No
outside interference will be tolerated and we do not expect South Africa to
do that.”

Mugabe insists elections will be in March, but an independent election
monitoring group has warned it will be "impossible" for the polls to be free
and fair.

"The main objective remains holding of elections in March next year under a
new constitution," Mugabe told Parliament.

He said a referendum on a draft constitution expected to be a cornerstone of
the effort to correct longstanding imbalances of power and prevent the kind
of upheaval that followed deeply flawed elections in 2008, will be held next

"Should the people express their affirmation of the draft in the referendum,
then Parliament will pass it as the new law of Zimbabwe," Mugabe said.

Independent elections watchdog, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network has
warned in a statement that "logistically it is impossible" to meet this

The ramifications of a chaotic election cannot be overstated, government
officials say.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has warned that a violent election could see
the country losing up to eight percent of the gross domestic product for the
next five years.

The struggling southern African country's mainstay agriculture industry has
suffered badly from the years of turmoil, and foreign companies have been
wary of committing to investment in its abundant mineral reserves.

Mugabe was forced to share power after losing elections in March 2008 amid a
severe economic crisis blamed on his mismanagement. He blames the economic
problems on sanctions imposed by Western countries.

But even as the economy stutters, an increasingly confident Mugabe says the
coalition has become "dysfunctional" and wants to race through a referendum
and general elections while his approval ratings are still high. - Gift

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Tsvangirai, ex-lover’s R2m deal questioned

November 2 2012 at 07:48am
By Peta Thornycroft

Harare -Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has agreed to pay a
former girlfriend about R2 million in an out-of-court settlement after he
wed another woman in September.

Locardia Karimatsenga, 40, said Tsvangirai, 60, married her in a customary
ceremony last year. She demanded maintenance of R130 000 a month to maintain
the lifestyle to which she said she had become accustomed.

Her lawyer, Evason Samkange, said he could not disclose details of the
settlement, but confirmed the maintenance case had been withdrawn. Other
sources said Tsvangirai had agreed to pay Karimatsenga about R2m.

The settlement shocked Tsvangirai’s aides, who said the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader had no income other than his salary of about
R30 000 a month and no assets as he had been a poor trade unionist before he
went into politics 13 years ago.

Several top members of the MDC said they were worried that Tsvangirai was
compromising himself through his lifestyle, evidence of which included his
recent lavish wedding to mother-of-three Elizabeth Macheka, 35.

Macheka is the daughter of a prominent Zanu-PF leader and was a widow. Her
first husband, a member of the Zimbabwe National Air Force, died several
years ago.

Tsvangirais former partner, Locardia Karimatsenga, is to be paid about R2
million in an out-of-court settlement.
One MDC official said he expected President Robert Mugabe’s officials would
try to take advantage of Tsvangirai's money problems by bringing charges of
financial impropriety charges against him before next year’s elections.

He was charged with treason weeks before the 2002 presidential elections in
an implausible plot executed by the Central Intelligence Organisation. It
took more than two years before he was acquitted.

Senior MDC officials said they were mystified by Tsvangirai’s dropping his
guard and behaving “inappropriately”, knowing that Zanu-PF was “watching and
waiting” for anything that could be used against him.

“We are also embarrassed,” said another MDC official.

“Of course Zanu-PF will try to find out where he got the money. This is
inappropriate behaviour when we look at our supporters’ poverty.”

The official was referring to suggestions that foreign donors must be giving
Tsvangirai the money he was spending on women.

It is illegal in Zimbabwe for political parties and politicians to receive
foreign funding.

Zanu-PF has long accused the MDC of being funded by Western governments.

It introduced the law against foreign funding just before the 2002
presidential election.

Zanu-PF itself had been supported financially by Western businessmen,
including then-Lonrho boss Tiny Rowland, and then-Libyan president Muammar
Gaddafi, who was killed last year.

Zanu-PF senior officials have long been involved in illicit gold and diamond
trading, which has funded the party’s activities. any major companies have
been forced for decades to contribute to the party.

Tsvangirai’s wife of 31 years, Susan, died in a car crash in 2009, three
weeks after the politician had been sworn in as prime minister in the
power-sharing government.

A year later Tsvangirai’s love life made headlines after a 23-year-old woman
bore his child and he refused to support the baby until she threatened to
take him to court


Calls to Tsvangirai’s spokesman went unanswered on Thursday.

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Probe Tsvangirai over ex-lover payoff: Dongo

02/11/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FORMER opposition leader, Margaret Dongo, has demanded an investigation into
the source of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s alleged six figure pay off
to a former lover as he scrambled to end their damaging public spat.

Dongo said the MDC-T leader has only been in government for less than four
years and must explain the source of the reported $280,000 to US$300,000 he
paid Locardia Karimatsenga to end their relationship.

“As a concerned citizen, I am calling upon the inclusive government to
investigate where the Prime Minister is getting the money which he is using
to pay lobola and damages to his women,” Dongo said in an interview VOA

“If the money is coming from donors, then it’s a pity. Unfortunately for
Africa, for Zimbabwe, the international community takes the view that as
long as one is fighting (President Robert) Mugabe they deserve to be
supported, even if they are corrupt. It’s very unfair.”

Tsvangirai has not commented on reports he paid Karimatsenga the six figure
sum after she slapped him with a US$15,000 spousal maintenance claim.
Karimatsenga also successfully blocked, in the courts, his bid to marry
Elizabeth Macheka, forcing the MDC-T leader to resort to a traditional

However, Karimatsenga’s lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, who insisted he does not
come cheap, billing at US$1,000 per hour, has helped stoke speculation over
the size of the settlement after saying that his client was “very, very
happy” with the deal.

“It was quite substantial, I can’t disclose the figure. I can’t tell you the
figure but my client is very happy. My client and myself are very happy,
especially me,” Samkange told VOA’s Violet Gonda.

But Dongo said the amounts suggested were simply staggering at a time most
Zimbabweans, including supporters of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party, were
unemployed and struggling to put food on the table.

“The Prime Minister does not earn that much from government and I am
surprised he can afford the sums being mentioned when the country’s economy
is struggling,” she said.

“I wonder if he ever imagines how many jobs he could have created with that
money for the many unemployed people in this country, including cadres from
his own MDC-T party.”

Dongo said Tsvangirai’s position as Prime Minister and MDC-T leader was now
untenable following the damaging revelations about his private life and, in
particular, his treatment of women.

“I think the MDC-T should ask Tsvangirai to step down because he has been an
embarrassment not only to the party but to the country as a whole. There are
many brilliant leaders in the MDC-T who can do the job better.” She said.

“His claim that other political leaders also have multiple relationships is
not acceptable. We expect him to be different. And he cannot blame his
rivals for this mess because Zanu PF did not ask him to sleep with these

“In actual fact, the Prime Minister has become a prostitute as far as I am
concerned because it is not just one woman we are talking about. He is now
married to two women under customary law … and there are many others who
were also abused and abandoned, even after falling pregnant.”

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MDC-T Treasurer speaks about violent Kadoma attack

By Tererai Karimakwenda
02 November 2012

The brutal assault on an MDC-T official and his wife, which happened
Wednesday night in Kadoma, has fuelled anger among Zimbabweans and sparked
fears that political violence is intensifying ahead of elections due next

The attack has also focused attention on Robert Mugabe, who on several
occasions recently said publicly that he wants peace and tolerance between
party supporters. Critics are now questioning the ZANU PF leader’s
sincerity, saying he must order police to arrest all known perpetrators and
investigate incidents that are reported.

The MDC-T Treasurer for Midlands North, John Kinnaird and his wife Jackie,
were assaulted by a group of four ZANU PF thugs who broke into their home in
Kadoma Wednesday night and escaped with $2,000 and two cell phones.

The thugs wore ZANU PF regalia and dropped a ZANU PF bandana during the
attack. John Kinnaird said they kept asking for money, appearing to be
robbers after some cash. But he believes the assault was politically

Kinnaird spoke to SW Radio Africa on Friday, just as his wife was coming out
of surgery to treat the broken arm she sustained during the attack. He said:
“I don’t believe for a minute that it was a simple robbery. I just believe
strongly that there was a political motive.”

Kinnaird explained that there were two laptops next to the money taken by
the thugs and his wife’s jewellery was on a dressing table next to that as
well. He added that his legs were tied and his wife was incapacitated by the
time the thugs left, but they did not take any other valuables.

“I think the fact that I am becoming increasingly popular here in Kadoma and
Eiffel Flats is the reason that I was targeted. They were trying to bully me
into giving up my political activism. I’ve been an activist since 1999 and I
will not bow down to any bullies,” Kinnaird stressed.

There has also been criticism of the MDC-T, for continuing to do business as
usual while their innocent supporters are being victimised by ZANU PF and
agents of the state, including the police and soldiers.
According to medical reports 56-year old John Kinnaird sustained multiple
head wounds and required 14 stitches. He also suffered a fractured right arm
and deep puncture wounds on his legs and just below his throat. These were
the result of repeated blows with a metal wheel spanner.

His wife Jackie got a bruised throat where she was almost strangled by the
ZANU PF youth. She also has a compound fracture on her left arm, which was
operated on Friday afternoon.

Kinnaird explained that whenever Robert Mugabe speaks publicly of peace and
non-violence, it seems the opposite situation prevails and violence flares
up soon after that.

“My experience in my political life is that when Mugabe starts talking about
peace, what happens on the ground is diametrically opposite. There are now
targeted acts of intimidation and violence against known MDC-T supporters
like myself,” Kinnaird explained.

He said the police told him on Friday that they have no leads and no clues
that they can investigate. Yet they took a weapon that was left in his house
by one of the assailants. According to Kinnaird, the police just seemed

This attack is just the latest in the ongoing violence against anyone
perceived to support the opposition.

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Howard Hospital violence case postponed again

By Alex Bell
02 November 2012

The trial over a violent protest in Chiweshe in August continues to limp
forward, with the case being postponed once again.

20 people, including eight nurses from the Salvation Army run Howard
Hospital, were originally being tried in connection with the protest,
organised by angry residents over the dismissal of the hospital’s chief

Almost three months later the case is still before the courts. 16 members of
the accused group were acquitted last month because of a lack of evidence.
But four individuals still remain on remand, with the case now only set to
resume next week.

Meanwhile there is ongoing speculation about what the future holds for the
hospital, which local residents have told SW Radio Africa has not returned
to its usual standards since Dr. Paul Thistle was dismissed.

The doctor’s removal caused outcry, because of the work he had done to turn
the Howard mission into a highly respected medical facility. He was also
considered a valued member of the community, after living there for more
than 16 years.

His dismissal, which the Salvation Army has insisted is a standard
‘reassignment’, is understood to be linked to concerns he raised about
financial mismanagement at the Zimbabwe chapter of the church group. An
investigation was launched after Dr. Thistle was forced out of the hospital,
but the Salvation Army insists nothing irregular was found during this

These results have not been made public. But questions have since been asked
about what was really discovered, following the subsequent ‘reassignment’ of
the Zim Salvation Army chief Vinece Chigariro. She has been reassigned to

Dr. Thistle remains in Zimbabwe, but has not been allowed to return to the
hospital. It is not clear what his future holds either, but SW Radio Africa
has learned he plans to return to his native Canada with his family over

A source in Chiweshe said on Friday that there is widespread speculation
that Dr. Thistle will return to Zimbabwe after Christmas to head another
medical facility.

The Salvation Army is yet to make any further comment about the situation.

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Millions set aside to turn ZEC digital

By Alex Bell
02 November 2012

The cost of Zimbabwe’s journey to real democratic change is continuing to
climb, with US$20 million needed to ensure the next poll results are
distributed electronically.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said this week it is in the process
of linking its national command centre with all district offices nationwide,
in order to transmit election results electronically. The ZEC said this will
prevent the results being tampered with.

Acting ZEC chairperson Joyce Kazembe said in Kadoma that the software would
be in place by January next year.

“We are currently putting in place software that will be used to transmit
the election results and we hope the cable linking all the districts with
the command centre (in Harare) will be in place by January,” she said.

Kazembe said a budget had been presented to the United Nations Development
Programme, which has been providing technical and financial assistance to
the ZEC. This latest budget includes the US$20 million needed to digitally
link all the offices in time for the elections expected in March next year

“A consultant has done a study and I will soon be receiving the documents.
What I know right now is we have reached a stage of buying the equipment
including computers and other accessories needed, of course after going
through a tender process,” Kazembe said.

Phillip Pasirayi, an activist with Centre for Community Development, told SW
Radio Africa on Friday that “going digital is a good idea in principal.” He
said that in terms of the country joining the modern world, “digitalisation
is a good endeavour.”

But Pasirayi expressed concern that Zimbabwe’s priorities are misplaced,
saying: “We are not, as a country, at the stage where digitalisation is a
priority.” He said that issues around electoral malpractice and the general
culture of violence and intolerance in Zimbabwe should be tackled first.

“The only way we can deepen our democracy is to exercise tolerance and stop
criminalising people for exercising their rights to support and vote for
different political parties. This and the culture of violence in our country
should be tackled above digitalising the election,” Pasirayi said.

The US$20 million needed for this process is part of the growing democracy
budget that is being funded by the donor community, to help Zimbabwe hold
free and fair elections. This has included the ongoing constitutional reform
exercise to produce a new charter ahead of a fresh presidential poll.

The estimated total expenditure for the whole constitutional making process
is believed to anywhere between US$45 million and US$100 million. This has
included the costs of the drafting exercise and the All Stakeholders
Conference that was held last month. All the funds were provided by the
donor community.

The ZEC meanwhile requires a staggering US$300 million for both the
referendum and election. The referendum alone will cost over US$100 million,
with the remainder going to the harmonized elections due early next year.

These costs again are set to be met by donors, with Finance Minister Tendai
Biti insisting the government has no money to pay this election bill. Biti
revealed during a 2013 Budget consultative meeting in Bulawayo last month
that he will be depending on Western countries and world bodies for funds to
bankroll the referendum and the elections.

“Countries such as the United Kingdom, Norway, and China and the United
Nations have an obligation to fund the elections, inasmuch as they fund our
education and health sectors. We will soon approach them for assistance,” he

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Diamond monitor criticised for ‘misleading’ comments on Chiadzwa

By Alex Bell
02 November 2012

Comments by an international diamond trade monitor, who said operations at
Chiadzwa have reached international standards, have been dismissed as

Abbey Chikane, the monitor from the Kimberley Process (KP), made the
comments this week, ahead of an international diamond conference being held
in Zimbabwe later this month.

Chikane, who will be a guest speaker at that conference in Victoria Falls,
was quoted by the state run Herald newspaper as saying that “all diamond
mines in Zimbabwe have reached international standards and stand as a model
for many diamond-producing countries.”

But according to the international pressure group Global Witness, Chikane’s
comments give legitimacy to a sector that is likely propping up the Mugabe

Global Witness campaigner, Mike Davis told SW Radio Africa on Friday that
Chikane’s comments reflect the fact that the KP’s narrow mandate only
focuses on technical issues. He said this does not take into account the
concerns that the profits at the Chiadzwa mines are not being accounted for,
and are believed to be financing ZANU PF ahead of elections.

“So it depends what he (Chikane) means by model. If he means model for
relatively high spec, technologically advanced diamond mining operations,
then he’d be correct. If he also meant a kleptocratic system for exploiting
diamonds, which puts the profits in the hands of violence security forces
with a track record of violence against civilians, then he’d also be right,”
Davis said.

He said the Chiadzwa diamond money trail should of real concern to anyone
involved in the diamond industry, because of the fears that the profits will
be used by ZANU PF. He said the party “face a situation where they can’t win
an election fairly,” and in order to “beat and cheat their way through the
next polls,” they need a source of revenue.

“Diamond profits are the source at hand, because ZANU PF can’t access
international funding because of sanctions, and they’ve lost control of the
finance ministry. Diamonds are a godsend to them,” Davis said.

Davis meanwhile said that Chikane’s comments are a further indictment of the
KP and its narrow monitoring mandate, because it “doesn’t address the
important question of the political ramifications of diamond profits.”

“In that sense, the KP is providing fig leaf of legitimacy for a diamond
mining industry dominated by individuals who don’t deserve this kind of
recognition. Chikane’s comments are misleading and deeply unhelpful,” Davis

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Education Minister: Allow Students to Write Exams

Violet Gonda, Tatenda Gumbo, Sithandikele Mhlanga

Education Minister David Coltart has warned schools not to turn away pupils
from writing Ordinary and Advanced Level exams over non-payment of
examination fees.

“Our policy is very clear,” said Coltart adding that “we’ve said that all
children that are eligible to write O and A level exams should be allowed to
do so.”

The minister spoke after parents stormed St. Peters Kubatana High School in
Highfield on Tuesday and allegedly manhandled the deputy headmaster
Simbarashe Mavetera for preventing some pupils from writing the O Level
Shona paper.

Coltart said this is not the first time that he has heard that headmasters
are preventing pupils from writing exams because of non-payment of fees,
warning that school authorities caught doing this will be in breach of
government policy and will face disciplinary action.

However, he also said parents should not take matters into their own hands.

Zimbabwe’s education minister has faced criticism following a number of
problems ranging from disputes between the Zimbabwe Schools Examination
Council (ZIMSEC), teachers, parents and pupils.

Recent woes at ZIMSEC include 13 lost exam papers in Matabeleland North
Province after an acting headmaster reportedly misplaced them after picking
them up in Bulawayo.

It has cost the ministry at least $850,000 to reset the exams.

Also ethical issues over cheating, have raised questions on the role and
competency of staff at the examination authority.

VOA spoke with Takavafira Zhou, president of the Progressive Teachers Union
Zimbabwe, and Felix Magalela Sibanda, a lawmaker and member of the
parliamentary committee on education.

Sibanda said the ministry of education is to blame for the failing education
system. “I respect Honorable Coltart but he is a novice in the education

Meanwhile, the ministry has ordered teachers from Ndangababi Primary School
in Dete, Matabeleland North, to return to work Friday after traditional
leaders reported that they have conducted traditional rituals to cleanse the
school of “goblins” that have been terrorizing teachers and pupils.

Matabeleland North deputy provincial education director Jabulani Mpofu said
his ministry asked traditional leaders in Dete Village to cleanse the school
after receiving complaints from the teachers, who fled the school last week,
leaving 600 students stranded, at a time when schools are preparing for end
of year examinations.

PTUZ Matabeland North coordinator Never Nyahunzvi said the education
ministry should close the school indefinitely because teachers are not
convinced the problem has been solved.

Ministry officials said they believed the traditional leaders have solved
the problem.

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Harare’s 2013 budget likely to fail — Residents

Friday, 02 November 2012 09:13
HARARE - Harare City Council’s 2013 proposed budget will fail due to lack of
input from key stakeholders, residents’ groups have said.

Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) and Harare Residents Trust
(HRT) have all predicted doom, saying city fathers failed to prioritise
service delivery in their financial plan.

Simbarashe Moyo, the Chra chairperson, said the fact that the bulk of
council revenue will go towards salaries showed that capital development
would fall behind.

“Council has no developmental attitude. It wants to spend more on salaries
and less on service delivery and that is unacceptable,” said Moyo.

He said the local authority should have prioritised capital expenditure as
well as widened its revenue base.

“Council seems to be depending more on ratepayers. This shows that
councillors and management lack creativity. We need a council that has an
eye for other revenue-generating mechanisms. Harare has a lot of resources
that include properties. They should utilise those properties and not depend
on ratepayers only,” Moyo said.

Council’s $291 million budget has no room for tariff increases, a
development which resident groups commended.

The budget, which will mainly be funded from water tariffs and property tax,
was presented by the chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee,
Friday Muleya.

“Your worship, it is council’s intention to raise the projected income of
$272 million required to finance the 2012 annual expenditure without
increasing tariffs charges and fees,” said Muleya.

Council clinic fees as well as maternity fees will not increase.

HRT director Precious Shumba said the budget’s success depends on political
will of both management and councillors.

“But most importantly, this will be dependent on the capacity of the senior
management of the council to transform itself into a performing team that
has the willpower and the drive to achieve set objectives,” said Shumba. He
further said corruption was affecting service delivery.

“The City of Harare needs to deal decisively with corruption, giving value
to all the money generated through various council departments, and
realigning their staff complement, because currently, the City of Harare has
wrong people assigned to carry out tasks beyond their capacities and

Shumba said too many people are holding influential positions yet they have
increasingly become unproductive, adding the billing system should be
revamped to instil confidence. - Xolisani Ncube

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Anti-graft body targets ministers, MPs

01/11/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

SEVERAL Cabinet ministers and legislators are under investigation for
suspected corruption, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZNCC) has
revealed adding those found guilty would be prosecuted.

Commission chair Denford Chirindo would not reveal the names of those under
investigation but said corruption allegations had been levelled against
senior public officials including cabinet minister and MPs.

“We are not targeting only the small fish as some people may think,”
Chirindo said.
“There are no sacred cows and all the reports that we have received,
including those of several ministers, senior Government officials and MPs
are under investigation.

“No one is immune to investigation and if there is enough evidence against
the ministers or MPs, we will simply forward the documents to the
Attorney-General’s office for prosecution.”

Chirindo dismissed as “misinformed” claims President Robert Mugabe had
barred the commission from investigating ministers and other senior
government officials.

He said: “People tend to lie about the President. Our President does not
condone corruption. We are an independent body and no one tells us how, who
and what to investigate. No one is immune to investigation.”

But without any significant scalps to its name since it was established in
2004 despite widespread concern over high level corruption and the sudden
wealth of many in government, the commission has been dismissed as a token
gesture by the authorities.

Chirindo however, denies allegations the commission was all bark and no

“It is not that we are toothless as some people perceive, but the major
challenge is there is no witness protection,” he said.
“The laws of this country are clear and it is the AG that can decide to
prosecute or not. Our duty is to investigate, prepare the dockets and
forward them to the AG. If he is happy then he can proceed with prosecution.

“Another issue is that investigations that involve financial issues are
complex and require more time. In some instances, a case cannot move forward
without the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report.”

The commission’s operations have also been undermined by poor funding,
Chirindo added.

“Treasury is not adequately funding us and we cannot discharge our duties
efficiently,” he said.
“If you do not fund the police, the AG’s office and the ZACC, there will be
no movement on some cases because we work together as stakeholders in
fighting corruption.”

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Mthwakazi treason trio seek discharge

01/11/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

BULAWAYO High Court judge Nicholas Ndou has indefinitely reserved judgement
in the application for discharge by the three Mthwakazi Liberation Front
activists who are facing treason charges.

Paul Siwela, 49, Charles Thomas, 44, and John Gazi, 54, deny charges of
soliciting the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe’s government through
unconstitutional means.

The trio were arrested in March last year over allegations they distributed
flyers bearing the logo of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front – a pressure
group-cum-political party – agitating for Egyptian-style uprisings against

On Tuesday their lawyers applied for discharge at the close of the State
case, arguing that prosecutors Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai had failed
to prove a their clients had a case to answer.

Advocate Lucas Nkomo, representing Thomas and Siwela, argued that the court
was obliged to return a "not guilty" verdict since the prosecutors had
failed to present evidence on which a “reasonable court” could convict them.

He said the evidence of State witnesses was only centred on the arrest of
the trio, items recovered during the arrest and messages on some of the
items that were recovered.

Advocate Sabelo Sibanda who is representing Gazi agreed the evidence that
the State was seeking to rely on was manifestly unreliable adding there were
no grounds for putting his client to his defence.

But the prosecutors insisted that the essential elements of the offence had
been proved adding that there was sufficient evidence on which a reasonable
court, acting carefully, might properly convict.

They said the basis of the State case were the minutes of a meeting held by
members of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front at the beginning of March last
year were “an overt act was committed” followed by the distribution of
fliers containing subversive material by Thomas two days later.

Probed by the court on why the State chose to prosecute two people out of
nine that attended the March meeting the prosecutors said they chose to
prosecute Gazi and Siwela because they had been found with the offending
materials while others did not have them.

Justice Ndou indefinitely reserved judgement on the discharge application.

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Police frustrate torture investigation

The results of a probe ordered by Harare Magistrate Jackie Munyonga into
torturer allegations by two MDC-T activists at the hands of Zanu (PF)
militia group Chipangano have been delayed following lack of cooperation
from the police.

by Edgar Gweshe

Petros Makaza and Golden Nhika of Epworth were allegedly handed over to
Chipangano by a soldier with the Presidential Guard, identified as William
Makurumidze, and policeman John Kanyongo who were accusing the duo of having
stolen a beret and cell phone.

The two MDC-T activists were charged with contravening Section 126 of the
Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23 when they appeared at
the Harare Magistrates Court in August.

However, the defence team, led by Tawanda Zhuwarara of the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights, made a request for a referral of the case to the Supreme
Court, arguing that the accused person’s right to protection from inhuman
treatment as enshrined in Section 15(1) of the Constitution was contravened
when the police surrendered them to Chipangano.

They also argued that after the torture no legitimate prosecution could be
conducted without further violating the rights of the accused persons.

Magistrate Munyonga had given the state up to October 15 to complete the
investigations into the torture allegations. However, Zhuwarara told The
Zimbabwean that the results of investigation into the torture allegations
had been delayed as police were reluctant to corporate.

“The police are not willing to corporate in the investigations and up to now
the results of the probe are not yet out. That is why it has taken so long
for the court to respond to our request for the matter to be referred to the
Supreme Court,” said Zhuwarara.

The defense team alleges that in Mbare the activists were severely beaten by
members of the Chipangano youth militia. After several hours of torture,
they were surrendered to Mbare Police Station where a docket was opened and
on August 12, the two activists were referred to Epworth Police Station. On
August 14 they were placed on remand and given $30 bail each.

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Amplats signs Zim indigenisation deal

By Alex Bell
02 November 2012

International mining giant Amplats has signed off on a deal that will see
more than half of their shareholding in their Unki mine being handed over in
Zimbabwe’s indigenisation drive.

In a joint statement this week Amplats and the Zim government said the 51%
stake is valued at close to US$143 million. The plan will see a state fund
taking 21% of the mine while employees, a community trust and unnamed local
investors will take 10% each. According to the statement, the deal will be
funded through dividends due to the new shareholders over the next 10 years.

Amplats is the latest big name foreign company to bow to pressure to hand
over majority shareholding of its Zim enterprises, in the ongoing ZANU PF
drive to take over businesses. The campaign has already seen the South
African Impala Platinum group surrender a 51% stake in its Zimplats unit,
after threats from the Zim Empowerment Ministry.

At the same time, sugar producing company Tongaat Hulett, has until next
week to fall in line with Zimbabwe’s ‘empowerment orders’, after being given
a 14 day deadline last month to submit its indigenisation plans. Tongaat
Hulett’s sugar operations in Zimbabwe comprise the wholly owned Triangle
Sugar operation as well as a 50.3% holding in Hippo Valley Estates.

In a letter dated October 23rd and addressed to Triangle, the Ministry of
Indigenisation warned that it was losing patience with the sugar company and
“should we not receive a proper compliant plan within the prescribed period,
ministry and government would take it that shareholders of Triangle are not
interested in continuing to do business in the country.”

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Zimbabwe chief disbands team

November 2, 2012

By Associated Press
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's national team was disbanded Friday as a
match-fixing scandal continued to seriously undermine the sport in the
country even after the conclusion of an investigation into widespread

ZIFA president Cuthbert Dube questioned the integrity of the team in its
last match two weeks ago after it let a 3-1 aggregate lead slip against
Angola to miss out on qualification for next year's African Cup of Nations.

Dube said the team -- dogged for more than two years by fixing allegations
and with some players and officials only recently banned for life -- had now
been "discarded."

"The Warriors, if indeed they were Warriors, have been dissolved en masse,"
Dube said, referring to the team by its nickname. "We will rebuild from the
under-20 and the under-23s. These are people who are clean. The team has
been discarded in its entirety."

Dube said only a few current players would be kept after the long-running

Dube also said his body would put in place an appeals process in accordance
with FIFA rules after the 15 players, officials and reporters were banned
for life for helping fix Zimbabwe games on tours to Asia in 2009.

ZIFA would have to appoint an independent three-man committee, Dube said,
because some members of its current appeals committee were "interested
parties." It showed how far match-fixing had seeped into Zimbabwean football
and ravaged the setup.

Dube said those that were banned were able to appeal from Monday.

Among those given life bans this month were former ZIFA chief executive
Henrietta Rushwaya, former national team coach Sunday Chidzambwa, former
captain Method Mwanjali and a reporter, Robson Sharuko.

Chidzambwa has launched an appeal in the courts and has been replaced in his
job as head coach of South African club Black Leopards to allow him time to
fight the sanction.

Rushwaya was said to be the mastermind of the fixing, where matches were
rigged by an Asian betting syndicate linked to Singaporean mastermind Wilson
Raj Perumal, who has been jailed in Finland.

Zimbabwe lost to Jordan 2-0, to Thailand 3-0 and to Syria 6-0 on its Asian
tours, and players told an ethics committee investigation of how
representatives of the betting syndicates were even present in the team's
dressing room at halftime of one match to give instructions on how the game
should go.

Most recently, Zimbabwe lost in Angola 2-0 on Oct. 14, with both goals in
the opening seven minutes to lose on away goals after winning the first leg
3-1. The match is not believed to be under scrutiny for match-fixing.

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The MDC Today - Issue 461

Friday, 02 November 2012

A four hectare farm belonging to Clever Maramba an MDC member in ward 27,
Makoni South was last week illegally occupied by one Muringani, a Zanu PF
activist who masquerades as a war veteran.
The farm was seized on 28 October.

On the day, Muringani went to Maramba’s farm with two oxen yoked to a
plough, where he found Maramba’s children farming and he started ploughing
the other side of the farm. He had previously gone to the same farm five
days before the invasion where he threatened Maramba’s family with death if
they did not stop farming.

Maramba reported the matter to Nyazura police station but the officer in
charge refused to accept the report and referred him to the District
Administrator claiming that the DA was the one responsible for land disputes
and police would only intervene when there is assault.

Before the invasion last week, Maramba was on 18 August shocked when Chief
Makoni fined him for absconding his court when he had not received any
summons that had to appear before the chief.
Chief Makoni subsequently sent his representatives who seized a tractor, a
wardrobe and a bed form Maramba as punishment for defaulting the chief’s

He again reported the case to Nyazura police station and the officer in
charge refused to take action. Maramba is yet to recover his property and
to know what charges he is facing. Hon. Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC
Manicaland Information and Publicity provincial secretary strongly condemned
abuse of human rights and said Zanu PF should desist from invading people’s
properties simply because they do not subscribe to Zanu PF’s scorched earth

Meanwhile, the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development,
Ignatius Chombo has blocked the installation of Tapfumaneyi Mandizvidza as a
headman in Chikomba district because he is an MDC elected councillor.

According to the lineage in Mandizvidza clan, Tapfumanei was supposed to be
throned as the next headman but Chombo blocked the move and installed one
Mhurushomana, a Zanu PF activist. This has not gone down well with the
people of Chikomba as Mhurushomana has turned to be partisan for he is
denying villagers access to the government grain loan scheme claiming that
they are non Zanu PF members.

Councillor Mandizvidza said he lodged a complaint with the district
administrator and Chief Mutekedza but the duo only promised to look into the

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!!!!

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A hectic season in rural Zimbabwe

November 2nd, 2012

The months of August, September and October are an interesting season in
rural Zimbabwe. This period, marked by the end of the cold winter season and
the onset of the hot rainy season, is the time when Zimbabweans conduct the
traditional rituals of ‘kurova guva’ and ‘mutoro’ in the Shona culture.
‘Mutoro’ is also variously referred to as ‘mukwerere’ or in Manyika,

‘Kurova guva’ is a ritual that is conducted at least a year after the
passing on of any adult who is survived by offspring. When a grown person
dies in the Shona culture, it is believed that his spirit wanders about. It
is a homeless spirit. Only until the surviving relatives of the deceased
“welcome back” his or her spirit does it become a legitimate ancestral or
family spirit. The ritual, which varies in detail between different
ethnicities, is also meant to bring back into the home the spirit of the
deceased for the purpose of looking after the spiritual welfare of the
surviving offspring. It generally involves the brewing of traditional beer
and the slaughtering of a goat and, for those who can afford it, a cow.

This season I had the opportunity to attend numerous ‘kurova guva’ rituals
and two ‘mutoro’ rituals. I will share what happened at the ritual that I
attended at the end of September.

The actual ritual is centred on the traditional beer and the goat. The cow,
if slaughtered, will have no relevance to the conduct of the ritual. It will
be slaughtered simply for relish to feed the relatives and friends of the

The ritual commences prior to the brewing of the beer, when a senior blood
relative of the deceased performs a ceremony to dedicate the malt to the
spirit of the deceased. After the beer has been brewed, the most important
aspects of the ritual follow.

First is the sprinkling of water on the goat by blood relatives of the
deceased and the goat is expected to wince as a signal that the deceased has
approved of the ceremony. If the goat doesn’t wince, the turn goes to the
next relative until the goat finally winces. If all the blood relatives take
their turn but still the goat doesn’t wince, that would be a signal of
disapproval by the deceased, and the ceremony has to be aborted.

After the goat has winced, it is slaughtered, roasted and eaten without salt
by the close relatives of the deceased. A calabash or clay pot of beer is
set aside specifically for the ritual and as with the malt prior to brewing;
another short ceremony is performed to dedicate the beer to the spirit of
the deceased.

After these important aspects of the ritual, the cow can be slaughtered and
beer is offered to the general public. Drums are beaten and people perform
traditional dances throughout the night. The following morning the final
part of the ritual is performed, in the event of the deceased being a man.
The eldest surviving son, if there is one, is officially given his late
father’s name and he assumes the responsibility of head of family. He is
handed over his late father’s spear and any other tools that symbolize the
assumption of all the responsibilities that go with that name.

At one of the ceremonies that I attended, an elderly uncle whispered to me
something that I did not personally witness. The old man spoke softly into
my ear that the blood relatives of the deceased man had collected a soil
sample from the grave of the deceased and had brought it to the homestead
where the ritual was being conducted. This part of the ritual, according to
my uncle, symbolizes the act of bringing the spirit of the deceased back
from the grave and into the home. But my uncle said this was a version that
was peculiar only to certain clan groups.

The year 2012 appeared to be different from previous years in a number of
ways. There were an unusually high number of rituals this year. I have
already pointed out that the rituals are performed at least a year after the
passing on of somebody who left behind offspring.

But this year rituals were performed for people who passed away many years
ago. There were also an unusually high number of cows that were slaughtered.
The explanation for these phenomena is that there is a high mortality rate
in Zimbabwe, mainly due to HIV and AIDS. Also, the modest improvement in the
general economic wellbeing of the people is the explanation for the high
number of cows slaughtered this year.

The ‘mutoro’ is a ritual that is performed to appease the gods and ask them
to bless the planting season with adequate rains.

It is a fairly simple village-based ritual that is conducted by the
villagers under the direction of the village head. In my area the chief
decreed a two-week period during which all village heads were expected to
perform the rituals.

Villagers contribute grain and elderly women who have reached menopause are
selected to brew the traditional beer. The beer is then taken to a ‘shrine’
in the bush where the rituals are conducted. The shrine is a small enclosure
built with branches under a tree, and the menopaused ladies are the only
people allowed into the enclosure, where they will sit with the beer pots
and serve all the other villagers sitting outside the enclosure.

The village head opens the ceremony by making an offering of beer to the
ancestors, and the day is spent drinking, beating drums and dancing.

Only clay pots and pumpkin-shell calabashes and cups are used. Metal and
plastic containers are prohibited. Shoes are not permitted. All the beer
should be consumed under the tree shrine, and no takeaways are allowed. Any
left-over beer is spilled to the ground just before sunset when the shrine
is abandoned.

Unlike in the case of the ‘kurova guva’ ritual, I did not see any goats
being slaughtered, and neither was there a means of ascertaining approval of
the ancestors.

This entry was posted by MadZimbabwe on Friday, November 2nd, 2012 at 7:26

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Principals have NO final say on the constitution of Zimbabwe

The Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (M.K.D) has said that the three Principals in the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) do not have the final say on the making of
a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

by Tony Saxon

This was said by George Hukuimwe, the Manicaland Province MKD coordinator,
at a public meeting on a post mortem of the second all stakeholders’
conference convened by Zimbabwe Election Support Network in the city today.

In his official opening remarks of the second all stakeholders’ conference
at the Harare International Conference Centre recently PresIDENT Robert
Mugabe said the principals in the Inclusive Government would have the final
say on the draft constitution as they were the ones who conceived the Global
Political Agreement that resulted in the ongoing constitution making

Other Principals to the GPA are Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara (MDC – M).

Hukuimwe said Mugabe’s views run contrary to provisions of Article VI of the
GPA, which stipulates that the parties shall set up a Select Committee of
Parliament, composed of representatives of the parties whose terms of
reference shall hold public hearings and consultations in the process of
public consultation, over the making of a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

“Mugabe and other GPA leaders are not the only people in Zimbabwe. The whole
process of holding the second stakeholders meeting was a waste of time
because the parliamentarians are the ones that are going to make massive
debates in the parliament and they will not consider what was contributed
during the conference. Besides that Mugabe’s utterances are not shared by
Tsvangirai and Mutambara,” he said.

Hukuimwe argued that Mugabe’s utterances were a clear sign of the
unwarranted interference in the activities of the legislature.

“They (Principals) have no mandate whatsoever to finalise the country’s
constitution. Mugabe should not usurp the powers and responsibilities of
both Parliament and the people of Zimbabwe,” he added.

He said Mugabe’s remarks were a clear sign that the people’s views who
contributed during the outreach programmes would not matter at all.

He said Zimbabwe might have the best constitution in the world, but as long
as the constitution or other laws were not respected and obeyed, the
document would count for nothing.

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Robert Mugabe’s divide-and-rule script

Posted On : November 2nd, 2012

DEVOTED Zimbabwe watchers will have noticed a change in events typically
preceding any elections in the country, especially during the past decade.

Report by Mthulisi Mathuthu

Usually, President Robert Mugabe sets the ball rolling with either brazen or
thinly-veiled threats punctuated with jocular jibes at his rivals.

Then as the political tensions rise, the service chiefs generally intervene,
sometimes by issuing statements to heighten pressure and fear before all
hell breaks loose. This has been Mugabe and Zanu PF’s standard script.

This time around, with only a few months before the elections, a new pattern
is readable, but unlike before, the trend is rather unfamiliar. Instead of
Mugabe, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has been sabre-rattling followed
by Rugare Gumbo, both of whom threatened Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
would not rule Zimbabwe even if he wins elections.

This followed separate but similar threats by three senior army commanders
Major-Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo and Trust Mugoba in
recent months. Naturally, public opinion was universally agreed these
threats pointed towards a coup in the event of Tsvangirai winning the next

In a rare sequel, Tsvangirai issued a riposte to the effect that the threats
were nothing but hot air because, as he claimed, he was assured by the
disciplined lot within the military hierarchy that they would not back a

That is on the one hand. On the other, Mugabe did not just remain mum on the
issue, but instead appeared at last week’s Copac constitutional conference
to play a peace-maker as he pleaded for calm.

Tsvangirai’s fearless response was not just a first, but a clever one too.
He read through the strategy: Mugabe, who all along has held Tsvangirai in
contempt and was belligerent, is now genuinely scared which explains the
cataract of threats by his diehards flowing rather awkwardly.

Since Mugabe’s role has all along been to play a civilian camouflaging the
quasi-military state, this time around and in keeping with an unannounced
deal, the subordinates and the army have to reciprocate by projecting their
mutual fear of Tsvangirai.

Clearly, Mugabe and his loyalists fear an election result that might lead
them to contemplate an open coup. So they must rattle their sabres now to
scare away Tsvangirai.

The fear of staging a coup is real given what happened to Muammar Gaddafi in

So, Tsvangirai’s response, for once in a long time, was a stroke of genius.
But as smart as it is and perhaps unbeknown to Tsvangirai, Mugabe has more
tricks up his sleeves. Rather than simply succumb to his fear or remain
belligerent, Mugabe has also opted for “strategic patience” by deploying a
“hug the enemy” ploy.

Cognisant of the mutual pathological resentment between Tsvangirai and
Welshman Ncube — the leader of the other MDC faction — Mugabe is doing
everything and may even stoke ethnic tensions to fit his usual
divide-and-rule strategy.

He might try to exploit the issue of devolution — Ncube’s trump card. Mugabe’s
strategy is to create the false impression that rather than promote
decentralisation of power and government functions, devolution is about
federalism or secession, a deliberate distortion although there are some
ignorant Zanu PF officials who can’t distinguish these systems.

Mugabe is now busy cajoling Tsvangirai to join his alliance with Arthur
Mutambara to gang up against Ncube. To his credit, Tsvangirai seems to be
resisting amid suspicions of collusion.

If Tsvangirai is to accept Mugabe’s invitation into an alliance with
Mutambara to fight Ncube, he would be undermining himself while falling for
this divide-and-rule approach.

Tsvangirai must never embrace a leader and a party which pursue such brand
of authoritarian politics.

To mask their failed authoritarian project, Mugabe and Zanu PF govern
through an aberration: a calibrated mixture of bigotry, repression and a
smidgen of democracy.

So when Mugabe passionately denounces violence, while his diehards threaten
military intervention if Tsvangirai wins, this must not be seen as a
contradiction but a strategy. Tsvangirai had better understand Mugabe’s
current gestures in that light. His attempt to rope him into his alliance
also falls into that broad strategy.

Astonishingly, Ncube, whom one would expect to be strategic in his thinking,
has fallen headlong into Mugabe’s divide-and-rule politics. Fully aware as
he is that Mugabe seeks to isolate him, Ncube should have known that by
boycotting the constitutional conference last week he was falling into his

Mugabe wanted Ncube to do just that. At least, Tsvangirai sought to distance
himself from Mugabe’s strategy through his speech at the conference.

Ncube must have put aside his petty squabbles with Mutambara and presented
his views on a national platform, but instead he chose to be part of a
sideshow. If anybody was pleased by Ncube’s boycott, it was surely Mugabe.

Clearly, Ncube did not need a stayaway to register his displeasure at
Mutambara’s presence at the conference. He should realise Mutambara is no
longer his but Mugabe’s burden and move on.

Effectively, Ncube has created a problem for himself for he must now swallow
his pride and climb down — one thing a politician must not do during
election time — and attend meetings in Mutambara’s presence as he has been
doing anyway in cabinet. More lethal for Ncube, Mugabe, crafty as he is,
might seize the moment and intensify his plot to commute his temporary
boycott into permanent political ex-communication.

However, what is important now is for Tsvangirai and Ncube to keep their
eyes on the ball in the midst of seemingly contradictory signals from the
politico-military alliance behind Mugabe and not allow this divide-and-rule
strategy to prevail ahead of crucial elections.

Mathuthu is a Zimbabwean journalist based in London.

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The lie to Mugabe’s rosy picture

November 2, 2012, 2:42 pm

Robert Mugabe finally got round to opening the fifth and final session of
parliament this week. For a man who hates the Brits and spews out his hatred
of them and the west on every possible occasion, it is surprising that he
remains so wedded to the quaint old British customs and pageantry that go
with the occasion: the venerable black Rolls Royce to carry himself and his
wife, the escort of mounted policemen and the military band playing martial
music. It is all very reminiscent of a colonial past that we all hoped had
gone forever. Robert Mugabe, however, seems reluctant to let go of these
remnants of colonial splendour.

Having officially opened the session, Mugabe made his Opening of Parliament
speech and it was no surprise to hear him once again castigating the former
colonial power. “As (for) the British, to them the truth is nothing they go
by.” Well, ‘it takes one to know one’ as the old saying goes! The west,
Mugabe added “were the mischievous external hand of Zimbabwe’s detractors –
they lied about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.”

The picture today of the white man (an MDC official) beaten by Zanu PF thugs
gives the lie to Mugabe’s rosy picture of human rights in Zimbabwe. Ordinary
citizens know only too well that Mugabe and his thugs have very little
respect for human rights. The white farmers currently visiting Britain to
appeal for compensation for their lost farms know it; similarly the
villagers in Gokwe know it. They are being terrorised by soldiers
‘persuading’ them to vote for Zanu PF in the next election. Their human
rights mean nothing to Mugabe. His repeated calls for peace may fool the IMF
but the people know the truth; even his own supporters know that they will
pay the price if they defy the party. The MDC politician who commented last
week that Mugabe holds the key to peace is saying no less than the truth. If
he tells his people to stop the violence they will obey” said Elton Mangoma,
but that suggests that Mugabe is in control of the thugs inflicting the
violence. Meanwhile, Mugabe himself says nothing about the blatant
corruption and criminality that is going on within his own party and its
top-ranking supporters, including even his own Vice President who is being
investigated for poaching after game meat was found in her butcher-shop.
Mugabe’s Police Chief, too, is said to be involved in a somewhat ‘dodgy’
burial scheme and his army generals are busy doing diamond deals.

The Finance Minister said this week that he doesn’t know how the country
will pay for the referendum or the election that must follow. That can’t
happen until the new constitution is in place, so it was no wonder that
Mugabe urged the drafters “to move frantically and with haste.” Haste is
sadly not the byword for the postponed trial of the Glenview 29 who are
denied bail and languish in gaol on a charge of murdering a policeman, a
charge which has absolutely no evidence to support it, hence the delay in
bringing the case to court, this time on grounds of the judge’s ill-health.
Was the ill health real or ‘feigned’? On the day the trial was due to resume
the lawyers were summoned to Justice Bunhu’s chambers to hear the cause of
his ill-health. Apart from walking into court and walking out again at the
end of the proceedings, a judge sits in his chair all day. Judge Bunhu,
however, has trouble with his legs as he told the lawyers – especially in
cloudy weather. So, while the judge nurses his sore knees at home, innocent
men and women are once again denied the justice that is their basic human

Yours in the (continuing) struggle Pauline Henson

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