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MDC rally cancelled as violence erupts

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Monday, 07 November 2011 08:52

HARARE - What started off as a cool Sunday turned bloody yesterday when
dozens of MDC activists were seriously injured at Chibuku Stadium in
Chitungwiza when suspected Zanu PF thugs descended on them.

Using catapults, iron bars, machetes and stones, the thugs stormed the venue
in the early hours of yesterday morning and attacked MDC activists who were
preparing for a rally which was due later in the day.

Some of the activists suffered broken bones, head and body injuries, while
some were bleeding heavily and were being treated at different hospitals in

The first group of militias raided the stadium early in the morning
demanding to use the stadium for a soccer match but the MDC activists
reportedly told them the stadium had been booked for a rally.

Witnesses said a misunderstanding ensued, resulting in violence.

The Zanu PF group is said to have initially retreated but returned about two
hours later with reinforcements and armed with different weapons and started
bashing the MDC activists.

A perimeter wall at Chibuku Stadium collapsed during the violence.

According to witnesses, as they were clobbering the MDC activists, they were
singing revolutionary songs and damaged the PA system and stole other

The MDC said  during the more than an hour-long assault, the police were not

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a news conference at Harvest House
yesterday the MDC was regrettably forced to cancel the rally.

“As I am speaking to you right now there are seven of our activists
including director of organising Zebedia Juaba who are in hospital and have
sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of these wanton and mad
assaults by Zanu PF,” Biti said.

“Over and above these seven people, there are literally hundreds of people
that have been beaten up and that have been stoned by Zanu PF.

“They have suffered bruises, tissue injuries and various degrees of
injuries. In addition, we have also had seven motor vehicles which have been
destroyed. Our car for the Chitungwiza province had windscreens shattered
seven motor vehicles have been destroyed in wanton acts of violence by Zanu

When the Daily News crew visited the Avenues Clinic yesterday, lynched
victims nursing various injuries could be seen writhing in pain.

Biti said the “Zanu PF thugs” even stole the PA system that was supposed to
be used by Tsvangirai to address the crowd.

“Over and above this, our own public address system — we are a poor party —
the last two years we bought a public address system, the PM’s PA system,
our president’s address system, which cost us US$7 000, they have destroyed
that public address system,” Biti told reporters.

“They have stolen key components of that public address system including the
mixer and microphones for the PA system. And all this was done by Zanu PF in
the morning. As a result of this we are therefore unable to continue with
our rally.”

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo yesterday denied that his party was behind
the violence.

He claimed that the MDC provoked the violence as it force-marched people to
its rally.

“Well I don’t know much about what happened because I am not in Harare right
now, but from what I have been told, it is the MDC that provoked the
violence,” Gumbo told the Daily News.

“They had a convoy of 20 vehicles and were intimidating people to attend the
rally. Beyond that, I don’t have much information.”

Biti said the MDC was alarmed by the “systematic and continuous acts of
violence by Zanu PF and by other State actors, in particular the police.”

“This particular rally, we gave police an application in terms of Section 12
of the Public Order and Security Act three weeks ago. So the police knew
that we were going to have this rally today. They did not protect us, they
watched as these Zanu PF youths marauding, destroying our property and
assaulting our members.”

Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka rejected the
allegations and said police wanted a peaceful and stable environment.

Asked to respond to MDC allegations that the police were not protecting its
supporters, Mandipaka retorted: “It’s not a question of protecting X or Y,
its acting in accordance with the law.

“What the law requires us to do, we should do and we do. Home Affairs
minister Theresa Makone said she was “disgusted” by the violence flare-up. I
am disgusted but as I have said before and I will continue to say,
violence is the only weapon at the disposal of Zanu PF because they have got
no message for Zimbabweans,” Makone told the Daily News at the Avenues
Clinic where she was visiting the victims.

“They have got nothing to offer Zimbabweans. They cannot talk about hope,
they cannot talk about peace, all they can do now is to disrupt democratic
political activities. They want a reaction from us so that they can turn so
violent that the police and the army will be forced to take over."

“It is very clear that they have got no candidate, they need time to
regroup, and that is why they are brewing this chaos,” said Makone.

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Mugabe supporters stone Zim PM's rally: MDC

Sapa-AFP | 06 November, 2011 18:58

Young supporters of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stoned and beat
backers of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday, blocking a planned
rally of his Movement for Democratic Change party.

"Unfortunately we are unable to do this rally because of incredible acts of
wanton violence, malicious violence that we have suffered at the hands of
ZANU-PF this morning," Tendai Biti, MDC secretary general, told a news

ZANU-PF is Mugabe's political party.

The rally, which Tsvangirai was due to address, was slated to be held in the
sprawling Harare suburb of Chitungwiza, 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast
of the capital.

Biti said seven MDC activists were admitted to hospital, while five party
vehicles were damaged.

"There are literally hundreds of people that have been beaten up, that have
been stoned by ZANU-PF supporters, They have suffered bruises, tissue
injuries, various degrees of injuries", he said.

He said police failed to protect the MDC.

"They watched us as these ZANU-PF youths destroyed our property and
assaulted our members," he said.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Biti, who is also Zimbabwe's finance minister in the power-sharing
government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, accused ZANU-PF of using violence
to provoke fear in the run-up to elections expected to be held as soon as
next year.

"It is self-evident that ZANU-PF is already building up to the next
election. It is quite clear that we are in a chaos scenario where they are
unleashing violence," he said.

"We will remain committed to non-violence despite provocation."

Zimbabwe's unity government has been riven by problems since it was formed
in February 2009, after a bitterly disputed first round 2008 vote where
neither candidate won an absolute majority.

That election sparked a wave of attacks where more than 200 MDC supporters
were killed. Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round against Mugabe to end
the violence.

The power-sharing pact was meant to introduce security sector reforms that
would prevent a repeat of the violence, but Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of
failing to uphold his end of the deal.

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MDC-T statement on Chitungwiza violence

November 7, 2011 3:03 pm

Today, the MDC was once again forced to cancel its rally at Chibuku Stadium
in Chitungwiza after unruly Zanu PF militia led by the notorious Chipangano
attacked the organisers of the rally. For the record, police had been
advised of this rally and they had cleared it yet there was absolutely no
protection from the police when our members were attacked.

Part of the Chipangano gang led by Jimmy Kunaka demonstrate at the Heroes
Acre alongside other ZANU PF youth during the burial of the late army
general Solomon Mujuru.

The Zanu PF youths attacked the MDC staff organising the rally and members
of the public with iron bars, machetes, stones and other crude
weapons.Thirty MDC supporters who were going to the rally were attacked and
suffered tissue and various other injuries. Seven activists have been
hospitalised in Harare, while about 15 others were referred to a Chitungwiza
hospital for treatment.

Five MDC vehicles and the party’s public address system worth US$7 000 were
destroyed with key components of the PA system such as the mixer and
microphones were stolen.  Money meant for paying essential services for the
event was looted resulting in the cancellation of the rally. The rowdy thugs
stole the national and the Party flags and five banners.

The MDC is deeply concerned by these activities, which are clearly designed
to close all the democratic spaces in Zimbabwe and prevent the MDC from
carrying out its lawful activities.There is a clear history of Zanu PF’s
recent disruptions of various MDC public meetings across the country.
Thug in Chief: Jimmy Kunaka reportedly leads the notorious ZANU PF
Chipangano gang

On 17 October, Zanu PF supporters disrupted the Parliamentary hearings on
the Electoral Amendment Bill in Marondera.  Similar disruptions took place
in Mutasa on 18 October, on 19 October in Masvingo, 20 October in Midlands
and 21 October in Bulawayo.

The perpetrators were identified but not arrested. On 23 October, police
denied President Tsvangirai from holding a rally in Nkayi, Matebeleland
North.  Similar disruptions took place in Lupane on 28 October, Lupane
despite the MDC being granted a peace order, in Binga on 29 October and 30
October in Victoria Falls.

There have been further disruptions of the Prime Minister’s government work
programmes especially in Matebeleland North. We are concerned once more that
these attacks are clearly meant to prevent our President and the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai from addressing the people of
Zimbabwe on key issues affecting the country.

Zimbabwe is in chaos.  Zanu PF is harvesting from its harvest of fears it
planted in 2008 and the MDC is seriously concerned by the use of violence as
Zimbabwe cannot have a free and fair election.

It is clear that Zanu PF and its junta are terribly frightened of free and
fair elections and are engaging in these activities as a way to delay the
elections.  Zanu PF is showing all signs of desperation.  Its actions are
the acts of a regime that is in the late summer of its life.

What has happened over the past two weeks, bring to the fore the need to
address all the outstanding issues on the roadmap to a free and fair
election.These include the total eradication of all state sponsored
violence; the return to the rule of law; security sector reforms and
realignment; democratisation and opening up of the media space.

Once again, the MDC remains committed to non-violence and will not engage in
any form of violence in its struggle for a better Zimbabwe.  We remain
committed to non-violent democratic ways of achieving change.  Nothing will
swerve us from this path. The MDC is ready for elections anytime once all
the guarantees for a free and fair election are put in place.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe, Tsvangirai to meet after weekend of violence

Nov 7, 2011, 11:43 GMT

Harare - President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are to
meet Monday after Mugabe supporters attacked a pro-Tsvangirai rally on
Sunday, local media reported.

Tsvangirai attempted to meet loyalists in Chitungwiza, just south of Harare,
but his group was driven away by Mugabe ZANU-PF party youth members.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change, told local media there was 'absolutely no protection from police.'

Local police rejected this, saying they would crack down 'ruthlessly'
against violence. An official added however that no arrests were made in
Sunday's skirmish, which resulted in some 30 injuries.

A week earlier, police thwarted a similar pro-Tsvangirai rally that had been
given the go-ahead by a court.

The power-sharing government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been
struggling for 30 months to draw up a democratic constitution ahead of
upcoming elections, expected to be held within the next two years.

In an attempt to quell tensions, Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to meet

'The prime minister is meeting the president today to update him on the
violence ... and to forge a common position to deal with violence,'
Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said in a press statement.

Southern African leaders had been attempting to broker an end to 11 years of
sporadic violence, but their talks broke down over the weekend.

Peace negotiators tried to forge a compromise between Tsvangirai, and an
ailing Mugabe tightening his 31-year grip on power in the face of
competitive candidates, Western diplomats said.

The 87-year-old is rumoured to be gravely ill. It is unclear who will
succeed him.

Mugabe made his eighth trip this year to Singapore for what diplomats say
were prostate cancer operations.

Questions had been raised regarding travel expenses for those medical
trips - as well as for trips taken by Tsvangirai.

The men have spent a combined 29 million dollars on travel so far this year.

Tsvangirai defended the outlays for his rival Mugabe's medical trips abroad.

'The responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick, he should be attended to,' Tsvangirai said last week.

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"No hope of free and fair elections if violence continues" - Tsvangira


by 1 hour ago

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai warned Monday that
elections expected within two years would be 'a sham' if violence being
perpetrated around the country by security forces and thugs loyal to
President Robert Mugabe was not stopped.

He was speaking at a press conference following a 90-minute meeting with
Mugabe, his partner in the country's volatile nearly three-year-old
coalition, at which they discussed two successive weekends of violence that
forced Tsvangirai to cancel scheduled rallies.

'If the current situation prevails, then the election will be a sham,'
Tsvangirai said. 'We have to create conditions for free and fair elections
that are universally accepted. There is no other alternative.'

Up to 30 people were injured on Sunday when supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF
party armed with stones, iron bars and machetes drove away Tsvangirai's
supporters from a rally in the town of Chitungwiza just south of Harare,
according to the premier's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

There was 'absolutely no protection from police,' Tendai Biti, MDC secretary
general said.

Local police rejected this, saying they would crack down 'ruthlessly'
against violence.

The previous Sunday police refused to allow Tsvangirai to address rallies in
two towns in Zimbabwe, despite court orders instructing them not to
interfere with the meetings.

Monday's meeting was an attempt to quell tensions.

Tsvangirai said he had also given Mugabe detailed documents, photographs and
the names of perpetrators of violent incidents, including in the case of a
white farmer and his wife who were severely assaulted by Mugabe supporters
trying to seize their farm last week.

The power-sharing government between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been
struggling for 30 months to draw up a democratic constitution ahead of
elections expected to be held within the next two years.

Southern African leaders have been attempting to broker an end to 11 years
of sporadic violence, but their talks broke down over the weekend.

Peace negotiators tried to forge a compromise between Tsvangirai, and an
ailing Mugabe, tightening his 31-year grip on power in the face of
competitive candidates, Western diplomats said.

The 87-year-old president is rumoured to be gravely ill. It is unclear who
will succeed him.

Mugabe made his eighth trip this year to Singapore for what diplomats say
were prostate cancer operations.

Questions had been raised regarding travel expenses for those medical
trips - as well as for trips taken by Tsvangirai.

The men have spent a combined 29 million dollars on travel so far this year.

Tsvangirai defended the outlays for his rival Mugabe's medical trips abroad.

'The responsibility of the state is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick, he should be attended to,' Tsvangirai said last week.

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MDC-T: ‘Disruption of Tsvangirai rally was well planned’

The state owned Herald posted this picture of Zanu PF youths carrying sticks, stones and machetes moving towards the venue of the MDC-T rally in Chitungwiza. Within hours the picture was removed.

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 November 2011

The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is publicly blaming ZANU PF for the violence that rocked Chitungwiza on Sunday that forced the party to cancel its rally at Chibuku stadium.

The violence, which was reportedly orchestrated, targeted and well planned by ZANU PF, was sparked when its militia led by the notorious Chipangano attacked the organisers of the rally from the

There is strong suspicion the violence had been well financed as scores of ZANU PF reinforcements were bussed in to Chibuku stadium armed with iron bars, machetes, and stones.

A statement from the MDC said five party vehicles and their public address system worth US$7,000 were destroyed and that key components of the PA system, such as the mixer and microphones, were stolen, in full view of the police.

‘Money meant for paying essential services for the event was looted resulting in the cancellation of the rally. The rowdy thugs stole the national and the Party flags and five banners,’ the statement added.

But on Monday police in the dormitory town arrested two MDC-T youths, Julius Marambakutongwa and Kuda Muchemwa, on allegations that they were behind the disturbances. The two are detained at St Mary’s Police Station.

Tendai Biti, the MDC-T Secretary-General told journalists on Sunday that around 50 of their supporters suffered varying degrees of injuries. He said seven activists had been hospitalised in Harare, while about 15 others were rushed to a Chitungwiza hospital for treatment.

A seething Tsvangirai met Robert Mugabe for one and half hours and discussed the Chitungwiza violence at length at their weekly Monday meeting. The MDC-T leader reportedly told Mugabe not to allow perpetrators of the violence that has erupted in the past month to go scot free as has been the practice with other incidences in the past.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare that his meeting with Mugabe was tense and that before the two met, police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri had briefed Mugabe on what transpired in Chitungwiza.

‘The Prime Minister said Mugabe was given wrong information by Chihuri, most of which were lies and baseless accusations against the MDC-T.’

During his media briefing at his Strathaven home, Tsvangirai laid the blame on Sunday’s disturbances on ZANU PF Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Chitungwiza councillor Tichaona Chapfika.

It is also believed the MDC-T has in its possession, a dossier of culprits who have incited, mobilised, transported or funded the militia or Chipangano to attack party activists. The list contains cabinet ministers, several MPs and councillors, serving and retired military officers and even church leaders.


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ZBC REPORTER part of Chipangano

By Tinashe Murambanaye

Published: November 7, 2011

Harare - A Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) reporter has been named
among the Chipangano violence strategists at last Sunday’s aborted MDC-T
rally in Chitungwiza.

The overzealous ZBC news reporter Tafara Chikumira according to the MDC was
coordinating operations with one of the leaders of the violent Zanu (PF)
terror group Jim Kunaka.

“A reporter with ZBC, Tafara Chikumira was part of the team coordinating
Zanu PF’s Chipangano terror group. He was heard communicating constantly
with Jim Kunaka on what Zanu PF was doing,” said the MDC in statement.

Chikumira has also been spoted on several occasions in the local pubs
bullying MDC supporters and others opposed the Zanu (PF). He has very close
links to the Youth Minister Saviour kasukuwere’s young brother Tonderai who
was also part of the terror campaign group which caused mayhem at the MDC
rally on Sunday.

Members of the deadly Chipangano group were responsible for the violence
include “Jim Kunaka, the Zanu PF Harare province youth chairperson, Zanu PF’s
Chitungwiza district coordinating committee (DCC) chairperson, Wilfred
Gwekwete, Luke Luke of Ward 25, Chitungwiza North and Godknows Muzenda, a
Zanu PF Harare youth provincial member.

Others are; Nyasha Dziva, Chitungwiza DCC secretary, Dennis Fisher, Lloyd
Bhunu, Tichaona Chapfika and Tonderai Kasukuwere.”

The MDC has experienced a number of skirmishes with political rivals Zanu
(PF) where its members have turned out to be the victims at the hands of the
police despite having been attacked and injured.

The MDC has since taken the issue of violence to the SADC and other regional
and international stakeholders

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Zimbabwe Slides Back Into 2008 Violent Era: ZESN

Harare, November 07, 2011 -The country’ political environment has gone back
to where it was in 2008 with some no go areas being created by Zanu-PF
making it impossible for other political parties to have political freedom,
the country’s independent election watchdog has said.

Prior to the  holding of the discredited Presidential run-off election in
June 2008,Zanu-PF disrupted political rallies organised by mainstream
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), beat up people perceived to be MDC
supporters and created some no go areas in the country for any other
political party other than Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF also used state security agents to clamp down on opposition members.

This is exactly what has emerged in the country over the past week where the
police once again barred MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s rallies in
Matebeleland North.

Last Sunday, Tsvangirai was also forced to abandon his star rally set for
Chitungwiza’s Chibuku stadium after violent Zanu-PF youths bulldozed the
stadium, destroyed two MDC-T party vehicles, some party equipment and
injured seven people.

In an exclusive interview with Radio VOP Monday in Harare, Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN) National Director Rindai Chipfunde Vava  said another
bloody election is looming adding that some political parties are wielding
knives and spears.

“Early warning signs we are observing at the moment are that there are
certain political parties which are wield their knives and spears they are
instead sharpening them. They are preparing themselves for yet another
battle when election time comes.

“As ZESN we are saying and have been always saying those perpetrating
violence should stop for the sake of peace and reconciliation. Violence
should stop for the sake of national development. If violence persists we
are not going to have a peaceful election. It does not help anyone to have a
violent election which will get us back again to where the country has
 been,” she said.

“In terms of democratic reforms, Zimbabwe is moving like tortoise .We have
gone nowhere, I do not know, maybe it’s because some people are afraid that
too much democratisation of the political space gets them out of power or
makes them loose political grip,” lamented Chipfunde Vava.

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Health fears rise as typhoid hits Harare

By Alex Bell
07 November 2011

Health concerns in Harare have continued to rise as scores of residents are
now being monitored in the wake of a typhoid outbreak in the city.

At least 50 people are under observation and 21 have been hospitalised
following the confirmation of typhoid in two cases. The bacterial disease
causes fever and diarrhea and the public are being urged to use good hygiene
to prevent the situation from worsening.

The typhoid fears come as residents are already on high alert for a
potential return of cholera, which is similar to typhoid in that it is
spread most easily through dirty water.

The city and surrounding areas have been struck by severe water shortages,
with some areas not being supplied with clean water for many weeks. The
shortages have resulted in residents fighting each other while trying to
access water from the limited number of boreholes across the city.

The boreholes were sunk back in 2008 when an outbreak of cholera swept
through the city. The worst affected areas were Glen Norah, Budiriro and
Glen View, and once again these areas are facing serious water shortages.
To make matters worse, temperatures have reached record highs recently, with
36 degrees Celsius recorded in the capital last month.

Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) told
SW Radio Africa on Monday that the water shortages and intermittent water
supply is still leaving many areas in “permanent crisis.”

“The council has admitted that the problem is beyond their control. But we
think it is shocking that we as residents are receiving such shoddy
 service,” Moyo said.

He also explained that, while boreholes had helped prevent the water
shortages from plunging the entire city into crisis, these are only
available in some areas.

“Other residents don’t have access to boreholes so they are getting water
from other places, and this means that the risk of drinking dirty water is
very high. So we are on constant watch for diseases like cholera and
typhoid,” Moyo said.

He added: “Right now we are mobilising our members and talking about
possible action against the council.”

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Police bias irks Zapu

By Pindai Dube
Monday, 07 November 2011 16:38

BULAWAYO - The opposition Zapu has threatened to hold its future public
meetings without clearance after police in Umzingwane District, Matabeleland
South province on Saturday banned the party’s road show claiming they did
not have enough manpower.

In a statement on Saturday after the banning of the road show, Methuseli
Moyo the Zapu information director, said the party is losing patience on
dictatorship and will go ahead with future meetings without police

He said they believe the police were acting on instructions from Zanu-PF not
to allow Zapu to campaign.

“We call on the co-ministers of Home Affairs and the rest of the inclusive
government to prevail on the Zanu PF establishment to allow Zimbabweans to
freely conduct political activities.

“Zapu is fast losing patience with the dictatorship. If the situation
remains unchanged, our party will in future go ahead with its activities,”
Moyo said.

Moyo said the Zapu road show was scheduled for areas around Mbalabala,
Nswazi and Mawabeni in Umzingwane before police banned it.

“Zapu initially planned holding the event on Wednesday November 2, but the
police advised us to give them more time to prepare and suggested Saturday,
which we agreed to. We were surprised when Esigodini police called on Friday
and told us we could not go ahead with the event."

“The police claimed that they did not have enough manpower and resources to
cover all the areas we wanted to visit,” he said.

The ban on Zapu road show comes just a week after police in Victoria Falls
and Lupane in Matabeleland North province blocked Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MDC party from holding rallies despite court orders which
gave them permission.

Hundreds of villagers had gathered at St Pauls Mission in Lupane last
weekend for an address by Tsvangirai but riot police chased them away before
the MDC leader’s arrival.

The police, who have been accused of selective application of the law in the
past, also prevented the Premier from holding a rally at Chinotimba Stadium
in Victoria Falls.

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MDC youths arrested for ZANU violence

Police in Chitungwiza have arrested two MDC youths, Julius Marambakutongwa
and Kuda Muchemwa on allegations that they were behind the disturbances that
rocked the town yesterday.
by MDC Information & Publicity Department

The two are detained at St Mary’s Police Station. Zanu PF youths yesterday
disrupted, attacked and looted from the organisers of the rally scheduled to
be addressed by President Tsvangirai at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza.

The rally had to be cancelled after the disturbances, which happened in full
view of the police. At least 50 MDC members had to seek medical treatment at
various health institutions.

However, what is shocking is that the police have decided to arrest MDC
youths in connection with the disturbances, which were perpetrated by known
Zanu PF youths.

When MDC officials tried to make a report on the riots, a police officer at
Makoni Police Station, Constable Mudambiwa refused to open a police docket.

Instead, the police are now targeting and arresting known MDC youths in
Chitungwiza who were attacked while preparing for the cleared rally by
overzealous thugs from Zanu PF.

The MDC identified some of the perpetrators of yesterday’s violence as; Jim
Kunaka, the Zanu PF Harare province youth chairperson, Zanu PF’s Chitungwiza
district coordinating committee (DCC) chairperson, Wilfred Gwekwete, Luke
Luke of Ward 25, Chitungwiza North and Godknows Muzenda, a Zanu PF Harare
youth provincial member.

Others are; Nyasha Dziva, Chitungwiza DCC secretary, Dennis Fisher, Lloyd
Bhunu, Tichaona Chapfika and Tonderai Kasukuwere. Kasukuwere is a young
brother to Zanu PF Politburo member Saviour Kasukuwere.

A reporter with ZBC, Tafara Chikumira was part of the team coordinating Zanu
PF’s Chipangano terror group. He was heard communicating constantly with Jim
Kunaka on what Zanu PF was doing.

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Chipangano cost Mbare residents new houses

By Lance Guma
07 November 2011

A US$5 million dollar housing scheme that would have seen new housing units
being built for the poor in Mbare has now been moved to Dzivarasekwa, after
the notorious ZANU PF Chipangano gang demanded 51 percent of the houses.

The project which would have seen the Harare City Council rehabilitating the
dilapidated Matapi Flats in Mbare was made possible via a donation from the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Microsoft founder and his wife are
also sponsoring similar projects in Malawi and Angola.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda recently admitted they had to move the
project to Dzivaresekwa because they risked losing out on the funding if
they gave in to Chipangano’s outrageous demands.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Monday, the Director of the Combined Harare
Residents Association (CHRA), Mfundo Mlilo, said they have previously warned
of the “progressive militarisation and zanuisation of public facilities
spearheaded by Chipangano.” He said the youths were hiding under the ZANU PF
‘empowerment’ agenda and ‘accessing resources illegally.’

Mlilo said they estimate Chipangano are raking in over US$30,000 per day by
charging ‘ranking fees’ at bus terminuses in central Harare and other parts
of the city. The mobs have also taken over several council markets like
Siyaso and Mupedzanhamo, charging vendors extortionate amounts in fees.
Chipangano have also taken over a council building, Carter House, in Mbare,
and the council has been threatened into silence over the matter. SW Radio
Africa understands the building has now been turned into a terror base for
the group.

Underlying their impunity, the youths earlier this year rampaged through
Town House, in full view of police officers, and beat up council employees.
The same mob invaded Parliament, beating up MP’s and journalists, but no
arrests were made.

The youths are making a lot of money from their illegal activities and are
repaying ZANU PF for their protection by beating up MDC-T supporters.

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Mujuru Frustrated By Police Investigations Over Husband Death

Harare, November 07, 2011 - Vice President Joyce Mujuru says she is still in
the dark on the cause of the death of former Retired General Solomon Mujuru
who died at his farm in Beatrice last August.

The police are making a second round of probe to try and establish the cause
of Mujuru’s death.

Addressing sugarcane farmers at Mkwasine Estates in Masvingo last Friday
Mujuru said  “I am still in the dark about how exactly my husband died and
the Mujuru family is still waiting for an explanation on how he died. I am
still in the dark like all of you who also want to know what exactly
happened to him’’ she is quoted in The Herald as saying.

She further says Zimbabweans did not expect the late freedom fighter to die
that way.

“I do not think that you expected him to go that way. We are now waiting for
an explanation so that we can be free’’ she said.

Mujuru said she was humbled by people who are paying respect for the late
retired general whose suspicious death united Zimbabweans in mourning him
when he was buried at the national shrine.

However, her remarks come as media reports at the weekend indicated that
police have launched a second round of investigations into the late Mujuru
death with strong suspicion that he could have died before the fire gutted
his farmhouse.

Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri said a report was compiled and
submitted to the courts for an inquest.

Media reports at the weekend claim that police are now making another round
of investigations amid suspicion that former army general could have died
before the fire started hence implicitly suggesting there was  ‘’human hand

It is further suggested that there were conflicting statements from the 23
witnesses interviewed among them farm workers, police officers manning his
farm and other security details.

The late Mujuru was burnt beyond recognition at his Beatrice farm in August
which raised eyebrows.

Mujuru’s death is reported to have further divided Zanu-PF as some
unconfirmed reports link his death to the succession battle.

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MPs want exemption from ZESA bills

06/11/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MPs are pushing for exemption from paying Zesa bills claiming they cannot
afford to pay for electricity on their present salaries.

Speaking at a pre-budget meeting in Victoria Falls Mberengwa East MP,
Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu-PF) urged the utility to consider a full or
partial exemption for the legislators.

“Can MPs have an exemption, even a partial exemption from paying (for)
electricity? If that is not done, most of them might suffer the
embarrassment of having their power disconnected,” Hlongwane said, drawing
applause from fellow legislators.

But Zesa Holdings chief executive, Josh Chifamba, who also attended the
meeting, shot down the proposal and told the MPs to seek relief from

“We do not have that dispensation. Tariffs should be cost reflective. When
we make that exemption, there have to be transparent otherwise the poor
people in high density suburbs might end up subsiding the rich in
Borrowdale,” he said.

The legislators claim they are poorly paid and owed millions by the
government in unpaid sitting and other allowances going back to 2009.

They have also been fighting treasury over car loans with many of them
refusing to acknowledge their debts arguing whatever they owe government for
the vehicles has been off-set by the unpaid allowances.

The MPs are entitled to a US$75 sitting allowance and fuel proportional to
distance travelled to Harare from their constituencies. Those living in
Harare get an allowance of US$50, while those from other parts of the
country have their accommodation paid for directly by Parliament.

Meanwhile energy and power development deputy minister, Hubert Nyanhongo
said there was nothing ZESA could do to help farmers who paid in advance for
their electricity using Zimbabwe dollars but did not have their accounts
credited when the country switched to foreign currencies.

“I want to say tough luck. We don’t have replacement in terms of those who
had deposited their Zim dollar in advance,” Nyanhongo said.
“When we dollarised we lost out everything in Zim-dollar, so tough luck for
those people.”

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Zim Finance Minister To Revise Budget Upwards To Include Marange Diamond Revenues

07 November 2011

Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said on record that the
government's initial budget projections for 2012 will now have to be revised
to take into account proceeds from diamond sales following last week's
Kimberly Process (KP) Plenary agreement approving the  immediate resumption
of rough diamond exports from Marange.

"Our budget is worth US$3.4 billion. We have based this on the anticipated
revenue. We had not factored in the diamond revenue that will increase
following the decision by the KP," reports New Zimbabwe, quoting Biti from
Harare last week. "I will engage with the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development because I am seriously considering increasing the Budget to
factor in the KP decision," Biti added, as quoted by the news source.

According to Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe
will earn over US$2 billion from renewed diamond sales. Sources estimate
that there are 4.5 million Marange diamonds stockpiled.

"Our current diamond production is estimated by volume, to be in excess of
25% of the world production, and going by the values realised to date per
carat, Zimbabwe is set to earn in excess of USD$2 billion annually in gross
revenues," Minister Mpofu told journalists after the KP Plenary, as cited by
Radio VOP.

"The ministry has the pleasure that it is ready to lead and champion the
economic recovery of this country through a robust, dynamic and aggressive
policy to grow mining sector in Zimbabwe whose growth is currently bullish
and set to contribute in excess of 50% of our GDP," Mpofu added, according
to the news source.

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MPs face prosecution for fraud

05/11/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

AT least 12 legislators are facing possible prosecution for fraud after
allegedly misappropriating up to US$50 000 allocated to constituents by the
government through the Constituency Development Fund.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Eric Matinenga is
expected to present a report before parliament, possibly leading to the
prosecution of the suspects whose names have been withheld pending the
completion of investigations.

An audit by the ministry found that the 12 legislators – drawn from both
Zanu PF and the MDC-T – used the funds to issue personal loans while others
spent it on undisclosed ‘goodies’.

Acting permanent secretary for the ministry, Virginia Mabiza said
preliminary investigations suggested the MPs had embarked on “a
self-enrichment spree”.

“Our audit team is still finalising the report. It is, however, clear that
several legislators abused the facility,” she told The Sunday Mail.

“It appears the concerned members went on a self-enrichment spree, obviously
spending lavishly and spoiling themselves on goodies.”

Mabiza added that after the ministry received returns for 173 out of 210
constituencies at the end of October, it was clear more lawmakers were
involved in conduct “bordering on fraud, improper use and dishonesty”.

“While we wait for the affected MPs to respond, our position remains that a
crime has been committed and, soon, the law must take its course,” she said.

“Of course, such cases of suspected fraud have come up. However, some
members have done well. The projects our teams have seen show that the money
was put to good use.”

Another 37 MPs were presently receiving expert assistance after failing to
submit returns before the October 21 deadline claiming they were not
conversant with the procedures.

"Some of the MPs have said they cannot compile returns on their own. That is
the reason why we have availed our team of experts to assist them," Mabiza

Finance Minister, Tendai Biti allocated the CDF some US$8 million in his
budget last year with each constituency getting US$50000.

The fund is supposed to be administered by committees comprising the local
legislator, two councillors and district administrators and used to finance
development projects in their respective constituencies.

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US sees positive growth in Zimbabwe

THE United States (US) has testified that Zimbabwe is a country with great
local and regional potential, identifying notable achievements the Southern
African country has carried out for the sake of its people.
by Staff Reporter

This comes at a time when America is at loggerheads with Zimbabwe on a
number of issues such as huma rights violations and electoral reforms.

Giving a testimony about Zimbabwe and her relations with US last Wednesday
in Washington, DC in America, the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African
Affairs, Johnnie Carson, described the country as having great prospects to
reach the top but acknowledged that it still had a few challenges to solve.

“Zimbabwe is a country of enormous economic, agricultural, and regional
potential. While some visible improvements have been made, serious
challenges remain,” he said.

Assistant Secretary Carson recognised that the country was progressing well
despite slight hitches in its inclusive government.

He mentioned some of the successes Zimbabweans were experiencing and said
humanitarian needs had decreased significantly projecting that by January
2012 a million people will require help rather than the seven million in

“Schools and health institutions previously closed due to lack of staff and
supplies have re-opened and are providing vital social services to the
Zimbabwean people.

“A tri-partisan parliamentary committee has sought input for a new draft
constitution from millions of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe’s economy, which
dollarised in 2009, has made a remarkable recovery. The International
Monetary Fund estimated that Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product grew at nine
percent in 2010,” he reflected.

The US official also spoke about politically motivated harassment across all
parties saying it impeded development.

Assistant Secretary Carson said as America it would do what it can to
promote Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and to highlight opportunities for
investment that will benefit both countries’ businesses.

“We will continue to provide guidance to U.S. businesses interested in
taking advantage of opportunities in Zimbabwe about how they can move
forward in a way that complies with U.S. law,” he said.

The US official noted how careless of him it would be not to stress that
Zimbabwe’s importance to the southern region, as it was a critical transport
hub and a country with great economic potential.

He also added that problems affecting Zimbabwe also have a negative effect
on her neighbours.

“Zimbabwe shares borders with South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and
Mozambique. It is a rich resource of talent. The unstable political
situation in Zimbabwe affects all the countries around it. Zimbabwe’s
neighbors are still feeling the effects of the refugee flows and economic
collapse,” he said.

Assistant Secretary Carson said it was imperative that America recognises
progress and change in Zimbabwe in line with other concerns.

He noted Zimbabwe is a young nation with a long colonial legacy to overcome
explaining that: “social, political, and economic advances do not happen
quickly, realising that nor will they necessarily follow an American or
western model.”

Assistant Secretary Carson said he also had faith in the Southern African
Development Community because it took its mediating role seriously in
guiding the inclusive government.

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Fired ZANU PF MP vents anger on Facebook

07 November 2011
By Lance Guma

The ZANU PF MP for Guruve South, Edward Chindori-Chininga, who was expelled
three weeks ago from the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC),
turned to social networking site Facebook on Sunday to vent his anger.

Chindori-Chininga was sacked for allegedly leaking the ZANU PF position
paper on the constitution to the two co-chairpersons from the MDC-T and
MDC-N, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi. But writing on his facebook page
the MP blasted Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for administration for
persecuting him “in public and on national television” for something he
claims he did not do.

Chindori-Chininga claimed his expulsion from COPAC was done without
following ZANU PF’s constitution, disciplinary procedures and parliamentary
rules ‘since COPAC is a parliamentary select committee.” He said: “ZANU PF
is not owned by an individual,” and that he was “a member and shareholder in
it” alongside the people of Guruve and Mashonaland Central who voted for

“These are the people who put me in Parliament for the past 15 years. It is
them who will decide to retain me or drop me depending on my performance in
the elected job they gave me to do,” Chindori-Chininga said.

The former Mines Minister claims he is being ‘punished’ for something else.
“Is this really a COPAC issue or could my work as Chairman on parliamentary
oversight on Mines and Energy be causing me to be punished? In Shona they
say kurova imbwa wakaviga mupini (beating a dog while hiding the stick)
hoping I get the message.” He did not elaborate on why or who might be
punishing him.

There was to be some sarcastic consolation for Chindori Chininga from MDC-T
National Executive member Charlton Hwende, who went onto the MP’s facebook
wall and wrote:

“We will pray for you in the same manner we have prayed for thousands of
victims of ZANU PF’s brutality. It is clear that this issue has nothing to
do with Copac we all know the person who supplied us with the document and
we are actually encouraged by the comments you made encouraging inclusivity
in the copac process. They say joining ZANU PF kukwira bere ukada kuburuka
robva rakudya- joining ZANU PF is like riding a hyena, when you want to get
off it will eat you.”

On Friday both Mwonzora and Mkhosi claimed the document was actually leaked
to them by Paul Mangwana, the ZANU PF co-chair of the constitution making
committee. A heated debate on the matter resulted in a near fist fight
between Mangwana and Chindori-Chininga.

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‘Zim not interested in re-joining Commonwealth’

By Staff Writer
Monday, 07 November 2011 17:20

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says Zimbabwe is not
interested in re-joining the Commonwealth grouping of nations.

The party’s national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo told the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) at the weekend that Zimbabwe does not plan to
re-join the grouping made up of former British colonies save for Rwanda and
Mozambique which applied to join.

Moyo’s comments are however at variance with the position of southern
African countries which lobbied hard for the country’s re-admission at a
meeting of the grouping held at the end of last month in Perth, Australia.

The comments also come as members of the grouping have been indicating that
Zimbabwe will only be re-admitted after making “genuine” political reforms
which will lead to a free and fair election next year.

Moyo said it is surprising that Zimbabwe never expressed its willingness to
re-join the group of nations which he said had become racist.

The remark will be seen as a rebuff to the efforts by the regional
countries, particularly Zambia, whose Vice President Guy Scott led a
campaign for the return of his southern neighbour to the grouping.

Zimbabwe was suspended in 2003 following a largely disputed election the
previous year where observers from Commonwealth and European Union (EU) were
barred from the country. The election which like many previous elections in
the country, was marred by violence was declared a sham by the international

As part of the reasons for the suspension, the grouping is also concerned
about the escalation in human rights abuses. At the time, Mugabe labelled
the grouping a tea party.

Zimbabwe and Fiji, where a military junta is in charge, are the two
countries currently serving suspensions while Sri Lanka, the host of the
nest Chogm is facing various human rights allegations, it however denies.

Several countries, particularly from the West have threatened to boycott the
next Chogm if Sri Lanka does not act on the allegations.

In the past, countries such as Nigeria were suspended when it was still
under military rule.

In a communiqué released after the Commonwealth meeting in Perth, the
grouping said they look forward to the return of Zimbabwe but on condition
that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is implemented “faithfully and

The Commonwealth countries said they continue, “To look forward to the
conditions being created for the return of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth and
continue to encourage the parties to implement the GPA faithfully and

The Zimbabwean issue was not part of the meeting’s original agenda but was
discussed after several African countries insisted that it be looked into.

The countries, particularly those drawn from the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) grouping argued that the country’s suspension
must be reviewed because of the changed political dynamics in the country
brought about by the GPA.

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Shamu waters down feud with Chamisa

By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Monday, 07 November 2011 17:18

HARARE - Information, Media and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu watered
down his feud with his Information Communications Technology (ICT)
counterpart Nelson Chamisa over the visit by a Namibian minister last week.

Namibian ICT minister, Joel Kaapanda, visited the country last week and
ended up being hosted by Shamu instead of Chamisa as is the norm with
ministers with the same portfolios.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday Shamu appeared to be watering down
the dispute saying Kaapanda’s visit had benefited all the information

“I want to emphasise that because of the way our portfolios are structured
in our two countries, Kaapanda had to relate to three ministries in
Zimbabwe, among which the areas of Information Telecommunications and ICT
are shared,” Shamu said.

“Kaapanda and his delegation paid a courtesy call and working visit to the
minister and ministry of Information Communication Technologies.

I am reliably informed that the contact was both warm and fruitful,” he said
thanking his counterparts for warmly receiving Kaapanda.

In a joint communiqué, Shamu and Kaapanda re-iterated the need to meet
bi-annually to ensure successful implementation of the agreed areas of
cooperation in line with the existing Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) on
information between the two countries.

Amongst the discussions in the communiqué was expansion of the existing Mou
on information to encompass postal, telecommunications and ICTs.

Moreover, they also discussed on the progress made in pluralising the
broadcast airwaves and the possibility of extending investment cooperation
in regional broadcasting.

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Women University fails to honour promise

By Kumbirai Mafunda, Own Correspondent
Monday, 07 November 2011 16:57

HARARE - Feisty human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has been robbed of an
honorary degree that had been bestowed on her by the Women’s University in
Africa (Wua) in controversial circumstances.

Wua Vice-Chancellor Professor Hope Sadza had advised Mtetwa on October 21
that the university would on October 28 confer a Master’s of Development
Studies degree on the human rights lawyer for her “outstanding and
noticeable contribution in areas associated with arts, education,
agriculture, sociology, management, gender and the community over a long

The university, which claims that its quest is to enhance women’s capacity
through the provision of education had also listed prominent entrepreneurs
Grace Muradzikwa and Divine Ndlukula as beneficiaries of the honorary

“The official conferment will be conducted at the Wua 2011 graduation
ceremony to be held on Friday October 28, 2011 at the Celebration Centre in

“You are cordially invited to attend this special occasion…….I would like to
congratulate you on this honour bestowed on you by Wua,” reads part of Sadza’s
letter to Mtetwa which was seen by the Daily News.

But on October 28 Mtetwa was surprisingly scratched among those honoured by
Wua at a ceremony held at Celebration Centre in Harare after she was advised
on the eve of the graduation ceremony by Sadza that the university’s
selection committee on honorary degrees had reconsidered the honour.

Sources told the Daily News that Wua only bestowed the honorary degrees to
Muradzikwa who obtained a Master’s in Business Administration and Ndlukula
who was conferred with a Masters in Development Studies and skipped Mtetwa’s
name during the graduation ceremony even though her picture was beamed on
screens as being among the graduands.

Wua’s honorary degree selection committee includes Sadza, Professor Francis
Gudyanga, Dr John Saungweme, Lyn Mukonoweshuro and Professor Fred Zindi.

Sadza told the Daily News after the graduation ceremony that her university
could not fulfill its honour to Mtetwa in the nick of time because of some
anomalies which she could not spell out.

“The process hadn’t been done properly. It goes through certain stages. It
will have to be done again next year if she is nominated again,” Sadza said.

When reached for comment, Mtetwa said; “I have no comment. As far as I am
concerned I respect the university and people who run it. There is no need
to attach controversy to an institution which is to the benefit of women who
have been marginalised.”

Mtetwa, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), has
successfully represented President Robert Mugabe’s opponents among them MDC
treasurer Roy Bennett, the party’s deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma and
crusading human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko who had been under
persecution for allegedly plotting to unseat the octogenarian leader’s

She has also represented journalists who have been continually hounded by
the regime.

Renowned educationist and the country’s former Education Minister Fay Chung,
who is also the university’s chairperson of the board of trustees bestowed
more than 400 graduates with degrees.

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Thousands of girls forced out of education

HARARE, 7 November 2011 (IRIN) - Poverty, abuse and cultural practices are
preventing a third of Zimbabwean girls from attending primary school and 67
percent from attending secondary school, denying them a basic education,
according to a recent study which found alarming dropout rates for girls.

''Sexual harassment and abuse by even school teachers and parents, cultural
issues, lack of school fees, early marriage, parental commitments and early
pregnancies are some of the contributing factors to the dropout by the girl
child,'' said the authors of "Because I am a Girl" by Plan International, a
nonprofit organisation that works to alleviate child poverty.

Maira Gwati's education ended two years ago, at the age of 14, when her
family in rural Guruve, some 160km northeast of Harare, the capital, forced
her to marry a 60-year-old man.

''My grandfather killed a woman who had refused to be married to him many
years ago and her family wanted a virgin as compensation to appease her
spirit. I was chosen and given to an old man in marriage, but he often beat
me up and even though I fell pregnant I could not stand the abuse,'' Gwati
told IRIN.

She fled to Harare where she found refuge at a shelter for pregnant girls
until her daughter was born, but the child died after only six months.

Gwati said she was not a particularly gifted student but was an aspiring
athlete who had dreamed of completing her secondary education and becoming
the next Marion Jones (a record breaking African-American sprinter). She has
no plans to return to school, bur has joined a small athletics club in the

''Many girls out there are victims of the kind of abuse that has made me
suffer so much. Most of the girls at the shelter end up as prostitutes, and
they do all the bad things you can imagine to earn a dollar. Our future does
not promise much, but for me the lack of a source of income will not keep me
from becoming a popular runner,'' she said.

Makaitei Tevedza, matron of the home that gave Gwati shelter, told IRIN: ''I
have been helping poor and abandoned pregnant girls for more than 10 years,
and it seems the number of victims seeking our support is increasing all the
time. Most of the girls say they were impregnated by relatives, teachers or
lovers, who then chased them away.''

According to the Plan International report, the long distances that children
in rural areas have to travel to reach school, and the burden that girl
children face because they often have to assume the responsibilities of
being head of the household after the death of their parents, are other
factors contributing to the high dropout rate for girls.

Forced removals

A 2005 government programme of forced evictions, known as Operation
Murambatsvina (Drive out Trash), which uprooted some 700,000 people from
urban areas across the country, compounded the difficulties of accessing
education for girls from affected households.

Amnesty International, in its report ''Left Behind: The Impact of Zimbabwe's
Forced Evictions on the Right to Education'' released in October 2011,
documents the ways in which the evictions disrupted the primary and
secondary education of an estimated 222,000 children.

During Murambatsvina many households were forcibly removed to rural areas
and transit camps without educational facilities, and in some areas school
buildings were demolished. Thousands of livelihoods were destroyed, making
school fees an expense that families could no longer afford.

Joyce Rusike's single mother, then a vegetable vendor, was struggling to
support her family when she was ejected from her rented room. ''We were
resettled at Hopley [a squatter settlement] because we didn't have anywhere
else to go. My mother got so affected that she immediately fell ill, and my
brothers and I had to stop going to school because we could not afford the
fees and bus fare to our old school,'' she told IRIN.

Rusike now sells cigarettes at a nearby long-distance bus terminus during
the day and is a commercial sex worker at night, while her siblings spend
their days hunting birds or helping passengers with their luggage at the bus

The Amnesty International report notes that many girls at Hopley became sex
workers, entered relationships with older men, or married at a young age
after eviction from their homes, and the government's failure to support
them to re-enrol in school.

''Operation Murambatsvina inflicted a severe blow to the right to education
for the affected population, who were already amongst the poorest and most
disadvantaged in Zimbabwe," wrote the authors.

Zimbabwe's education system, once considered a model for other African
countries, has been steadily declining over the last decade due to the
economic crisis. Many schools lack text books and other supplies.

A Situational Analysis on the Status of Women's and Children's Rights in
Zimbabwe: 2005-2010, carried out by the government and the UN, found that
almost half of the children did not proceed from primary to secondary

The government, in partnership with the international donor community and UN
agencies, launched the Education Transition Fund in 2009, with the aim of
addressing the shortage of learning materials in schools.

A second phase of the programme was launched this month. According to a
statement by UNICEF Representative Dr Peter Salama, this phase "will focus
on equity and access to quality education for all children, in particular
responding to the gender disparity of students in secondary schools, and
giving children not in school an opportunity for a second chance for

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Transcript of Rugare Gumbo on Question Time

ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo is the guest on Question Time and speaks to journalist Lance Guma while answering questions from SW Radio Africa listeners. He responds to speculation on Mugabe’s health; how ZANU PF will deal with the WikiLeaks saga; why they are instructing police to block MDC-T rallies; why does ZANU PF rely on political violence instead of selling its manifesto among other questions.

Lance Guma speaks to ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo

Interview broadcast 02 November 2011

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on this edition of Question Time. My guest is the ZANU PF national spokesman Rugare Gumbo who joins us to answer questions from you the people of Zimbabwe. Mr. Gumbo, thank you so much for your time.

Rugare Gumbo: It’s a pleasure.

Lance: Now like I’ve already explained the format of the programme is, we get questions from listeners and a lot of speculation in recent months has centred on the health of President Robert Mugabe, your party leader, predictably we have a lot of questions from our listeners on this subject. Mugabe has been to the Far East for more than eight times in ten months, according to speculation and the question on everyone’s lips is – is he still up for the job?

Gumbo: No look here, I never discuss my president’s health and so on. He has his physician; he has his spokesman so they are the ones that can answer that position. I deal with party issues only.

Lance: But I suppose the issue we have and most of our listeners are asking this, that some say the standard retirement age in most countries is 65 and your party leader is 87 years old, so are you not as Zanu PF guilty of keeping someone in a job who really medically and politically should be resting after 31 years in power?

Gumbo: No we don’t have to apologise for our leader’s age. If he feels he is strong, what is wrong with that? If the people of Zimbabwe said they want him as their leader, what is wrong with that?

Lance: There’s a general sense though that Zanu PF is very protective about his health, I mean he is human just like the rest of us but it seems the party cannot fathom the fact that people are calling into doubt his fitness to lead the country. Would that be something you understand as fellow human beings, that people will be bound to speculate on someone that age?

Gumbo: Well look, as a party there is a formula for selection of leadership, for choosing leaders. If the people of Zimbabwe are happy, what is wrong with that? As far as we are concerned, it is the people of Zimbabwe who decide on the leaders of the party.

The biggest problem we have is that the people who are concerned about his health are not Zimbabweans. If they are Zimbabwean they are opposed to his leadership. The people who tend to oppose, tend to talk about his health are outsiders, foreigners, who have nothing to do with what is happening in Zimbabwe.

Lance: But is it correct to assume that anyone who asks about his health and his age is necessarily in the negative camp? Cannot the people of Zimbabwe speculate about the person leading the country? Why does it have to be necessarily negative?

Gumbo: Well I don’t know why it should be negative but the point is that the man is leading and there is no harm in him leading. There are all sorts of connotations which are brought in about his health, his age. You know as far as we are concerned, as far as Zanu PF is concerned, we are quite happy with what is happening.

Lance: Manguba Njibatshiba on Face Book sent us a question for you – he says what is the purpose of the Zanu PF Congress next month when the party has already said Mugabe is the candidate?

Gumbo: No there are quite a number of issues which we are going to deal with, conference congress is not just about electing a leader. We have to discuss the forthcoming general elections, the constitution making process, all sorts of things, there are so many things that we need to do, indigenization for instance empowerment – are we doing the right thing, are we, determining what we are doing. All sorts of things that we will be discussing at the conference.

Lance: Recent revelations by the whistle-blowing web site WikiLeaks have shown that senior Zanu PF politicians were leaking confidential information about the party and its leaders to US diplomats. A case in point is Jonathan Moyo who allegedly colluded to topple Mugabe with a British tycoon. How comfortable are you as a party working with such allegedly two-faced individuals?

Gumbo: Well we have said that we are studying the documents, we are studying the WikiLeaks, we are studying, we want to see the original version in the WikiLeaks because there is a tendency for some of our journalists to exaggerate, to comment about these things, so until we conclude our study we are not going to say much about what will be done to people who have done that or not.

Lance: So do you actually have in place a formal process that is doing this?

Gumbo: Well we are looking at it, we are studying it and when we conclude our study, we will come out with a position.

Lance: Okay I suppose that answers Gerald’s question, he sent us an email from Harare wanting to know from you how is Zanu PF going to be dealing with the so-called WikiLeaks traitors?

Gumbo: Hm hm…..

Lance: Should you complete the investigations, do you see yourself expelling people from the party?

Gumbo: No no no I don’t want to cross the bridge, until I get to it.

Lance: From Bulawayo comes a question from Miriam who says in the space of two weeks, the police acting on the instructions from senior Zanu PF politicians have blocked over four rallies that were meant to be addressed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Lupane, Victoria Falls and other areas. Her question is – “is it not a bit embarrassing for your party to be resorting to these sorts of tactics?”

Gumbo: Where on earth have you seen a party instructing police people to carry out those kind of activities. It’s a figment of the imagination of the people, we don’t control the police. There is a police spokesman, why don’t you ask him those questions?

Zanu PF is like any other political parties and we abide by the procedure, the rules and the regulations of the police when we want to hold meetings, where to hold meetings what procedure to follow when we want to have a meeting.

Lance: Well let me give you a solid example – in Matabeleland North, the Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai has made it clear he will not be tolerating any MDC activities in that province, so clearly that’s a party cadre who holds a senior position in the police force making such statements so you cannot seriously be disassociating Zanu PF from people who are openly saying things like that.

Gumbo: Look, Edmore Veterai is a policeman; talk to the Bvudzijena the police spokesman, talk to the Commissioner General on these statements. You can’t ask me those questions because I’m not a police officer, I’m only a party spokesman.

Lance: Okay let me quote for you – co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone had a rally disrupted by Zanu PF youths this time with the help of the police in Hatcliffe. Makone said she will be presenting a petition to cabinet because it seems the police are waging a war against her party. Now she will also ask them to explain why they are only disrupting MDC meetings and not Zanu PF gatherings. Are you not worried then in terms of perception, that when people see MDC rallies being disrupted, they will obviously blame Zanu PF?

Gumbo: Look the issue of Theresa Makone’s alleged disrupted rally, it’s really a fake if I may use that word. She is not being honest. They wanted to address a meeting at Hatcliffe, there were no people there, Makoni, Mwonzora, the other leaders got there, there was nobody there, there were just a few people.

They had to bus people from Chitungwiza, from other districts to come and disrupt the meeting which Zanu PF was holding in terms of auditing party structures and they were verifying party structures and they were hundreds of metres away from where the rally was supposed to be carried out but they were surprised that Theresa Makone would do that sort of thing, they know for a fact that they didn’t have enough people, they wanted to bus people from outside to go to Hatcliffe. That’s the report that we get from our people and even the pictures which we have displayed, it was clear that Zanu PF was conducting its meeting in a peaceful manner.

Lance: Now we have just spoken with Theresa Makone coincidentally and she says she left a church service and she was meant to be addressing that rally at 2pm and Zanu PF mobs were there trying to disrupt and when they tried to disrupt the MDC supporters forced them to retreat and it was only then that the police intervened because the Zanu PF people had been overpowered. That’s the other version of events.

Gumbo: Well what do you expect from Theresa Makone? She says she’s a co-Home Minister who is responsible for police. She has no control over those police. She talks of retaliation or retribution and you are a minister in government, inclusive government and you make that, those kind of ridiculous statements.

I really don’t understand what her role is. They are supposed to be the ones to come in, and the violence, the motions that are there but no, she decides she wants to retaliate to fight against Zanu PF. Incredible.

Lance: Let’s give an example – in Lupane armed riot police attempted to stop Tsvangirai’s tour of St Paul’s Hospital and later dispersed crowds who had gathered for the rally he was to address, the police barricaded the entrance to the hospital with chains to prevent the tour from taking place;

In Victoria Falls police cordoned off Chinotimba Stadium as early as 6am on Sunday morning to block another Tsvangirai rally. It does sound unbelievable though that grown-up people are actually planning such things and blocking a tour of a hospital. Are you not worried about the political consequences of the perception that you have a hand in this as a party?

Gumbo: Ah well I was not in Lupane, I was not in Victoria Falls so I really can’t comment about it. As I said before, if it is that the problem lies with the police, find out the information from the police. From what it transpired out there, from what we hear, the, Chamisa, the organizing secretary of the MDC was asked whether this thing was done by Zanu PF or by police.

He said categorically it was done by the police, Zanu PF had no input in the whole thing so the way I understand, you know what I’m saying? So as a party, my only comment is look we don’t know anything about what happened in Victoria Falls, we have not been briefed. What we have been briefed is that the police out there had reasons for, whatever reasons for doing what they did and it is up to the police so if you talk to the police I’m sure they’ll give you an answer.

Lance: But a growing number of incidents showing police bias for Zanu PF and police bias against the MDC – that’s the question – are you not worried about the perception because it’s quite clear they are taking instructions from Zanu PF.

Gumbo: What is this perception? Whose perception are you talking about? You with your Facebook, radio?

Lance: It’s probably common sense if people are seeing MDC rallies being disrupted, it will be common sense who is behind that. Why would the police be disrupting MDC rallies?

Gumbo: I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the police?

Lance: Okay we will do that, we will do that. When Zanu PF is holding rallies, do you need, because here is a question from some of our listeners, they were saying why should Tsvangirai or the MDC need police permission to address a rally, the Public Order and Security Act, POSA says nothing about requiring police permission. It clearly states that you only need to inform the police. Does Zanu PF need police permission for rallies?

Gumbo: I think usually. If you listen to me carefully I said as far as Zanu PF is concerned we try and follow the rules and regulations, the procedures of holding meetings. Those are clearly tabled in the police book so we follow that but the MDC tend to defy. They want to be their own thing. If they want to do their own thing, it’s their own fault but they should not cry to us and say Zanu PF is doing this when we are not doing it because we are following…

Lance: Okay you say you are following that. There was a High Court order allowing the rally to go ahead in Matabeleland North. That High Court order was defied by the police so if you are going by the book surely that does not suggest so?

Gumbo: Well I said I don’t know anything that is happening in Matabeleland. The court ruling, we read it in the paper, what happened I don’t know. Find out from the police.

Lance: Okay we have questions on political violence. The issue of political violence refuses to go away. As Zanu PF in the coalition, you control the police, the army and the CIO and most of our listeners are saying if you really wanted to stop political violence you could do so and the question is why are you relying on a strategy that always costs you votes during election time?

Gumbo: Well what violence, what sort of violence are you talking about? We don’t tell the police what to do. Police are under the inclusive government. Why are the people in the inclusive government not dealing with the issue of…

Lance: No we’re not talking about the police now here, we are talking about, let me give you examples – a few months ago, known Zanu PF thugs invaded parliament and beat up MPs and journalists, no-one was arrested; in Mbare the Chipangano group are a law unto themselves extorting money from market traders and beating up perceived opposition supporters – still no arrests so you would have to assume Zimbabweans are blind and cannot see all these things.

Gumbo: Look, even your language, you can tell that you are biased. You talk of Zanu thugs, you talk of, and so on.

Lance: Well I don’t know how to describe people who invade parliament and beat people up. I don’t know, should we call them gentlemen?

Gumbo: You can call them whatever, I’m just saying the use of your language…

Lance: The word thugs? You are objecting to the word thug?

Gumbo: Yah, you are biased.

Lance: No I don’t think so. I think I am just calling a spade a spade. If somebody invades parliament and beats up people, that’s…a thug

Gumbo: Look, look do you want us to have a dialogue as you asked me in the first place to be or you are here to insult me? Because when you talk of Zanu thugs and so on and so on, I mean it doesn’t make sense. There’s no point of us carrying on talking because already you are biased.

Lance: Okay let’s address the Chipangano issue in Mbare.

Gumbo: Those questions, I beg your pardon?

Lance: Chipangano, Chipangano in Mbare. Why has nothing been done about Chipangano?

Gumbo: I don’t know what happened there, it’s up to the police to deal with that kind of thing. We don’t do police crime, crimes are controlled by police. You know so don’t ask you about those kind of things, I deal with policy issues of the party and when you asked me to do this meeting I said yes I’ll do it, I’ll try and contribute but dealing with the party politics not criminal cases or anything of that matter.

Lance: Well it seems from what’s happening that it is a party policy to encourage these sort of things because it’s happening by… let me give you a solid example if you say it’s not a party policy. Jim Kunaka in Mbare who leads your youth wing has clearly been implicated in several incidents of violence. He’s someone you know and nothing has been done about what he’s been involved in so is that not a worry for you?

Gumbo: Why should it be a worry? Jim Kunaka was assaulted, injured badly. Who injured him?

Lance: Well let’s move on to another subject then. There’s still lots of questions from our listeners. Rominic Mhende wants to know how Zanu PF is responding to the case involving the suspicious death of the late retired army general Solomon Mujuru? He says much has been written about it with suggestions that it has the potential to split the party with several members not happy about the police secrecy around their investigations. I don’t know if you would like to answer his question?

Gumbo: Well the police have said that they are going or proposing to have an inquest and the police have not published a report so we can’t comment about that kind of thing. We wait until the police have published the report and as they are having an inquest we wait to hear what the inquest says.

Lance: Well I suppose that secrecy around the report, if the police have completed their investigations, the last we heard was that it had been referred to court, for a court process to carry out an inquest and people are asking all sorts of questions why is the report being kept under wraps?

Gumbo: Well it’s not being kept under wraps. It’s the police who have said that it is with the courts then it is up to the court to decide so it’s now sub judice; we can’t be commenting about something that is in the court.

Lance: A few of your members of parliament have clearly said so in parliament they are not happy with what happened. Some are giving interviews to journalists talking about how unhappy they are with the process. Is there a worry that this is an issue that could divide you?

Gumbo: No I don’t see it dividing us because we tend to follow the law of the country; the police are there to make sure that investigations are done properly, they produce a report, they refer to an inquest, if they refer to the courts for an inquest, we support that. The members of parliament of the party have their views and that’s what we call democracy isn’t it?

Lance: In four months time you are reaching almost three years of this coalition government, how has it been for you as Zanu PF? Lots has been said that you benefitted from this arrangement having lost the elections in March and it’s given you an opportunity to restrategise and regroup. What’s your take on it?

Gumbo: Well what we have always said is that the GPA or the inclusive government has done a good job, the economy has improved, there is a micro economic turnaround. There are certain issues which we obviously are concerned with because in the first place when we had the GPA, you agreed that you are going to remove sanctions and no effort has been made by the partners to the GPA.

So that is our really major concern and also when you come to the implementation of certain policies there are all sorts of delays and there reversals of government position. For instance indigenization – Tsvangirai said in Cape Town it’s a good thing, we must have this thing, then all of a sudden when he’s in London he says no I don’t agree with that.

Then there’s the issue of gays and sometime last year he spoke in Chitungwiza with the president said he does not support the gay movement, then all of a sudden he goes to London, perhaps he confers with prime minister (David) Cameron, then he changes his mind and he says now we protect gay rights.

You know that kind of thing doesn’t help the inclusive government and those are the unfortunate side effects of the inclusive government but we said right from the beginning that we believed that the elections of 2008 were inconclusive and therefore Zimbabweans should work together.

Lance: It’s an interesting word to use, to say inconclusive because you lost your majority in parliament; Tsvangirai polled more votes than Mugabe so when you say inconclusive, what does it mean?

Gumbo: Well he did get the 51% which he…

Lance: Well that is very technical, he still polled more than Mugabe.

Gumbo: No it’s not technical because it’s in the constitution. The problem is that you want to read something which is outside the constitution. The constitution of the country said anyone who wants to be leader or president must get 51%, over 50% and Tsvangirai didn’t get that.

Lance: That was a new amendment. If it had been an election in a previous year for example 2005 or 2002 rather, he (Mugabe) would have lost would he not? So it’s very technical, you had to rely on a constitutional provision to remain in power?

Gumbo: Which was done by who? Wasn’t it done by all the parties? So you pretend, you select what you want to portray to people. The reality of the matter is that someone who is going to be president of the country must get 51%; Tsvangirai did not get that.

Lance: Okay did it mean anything to you the fact that Tsvangirai polled more than Mugabe in the first round? What did that say to you? What message did you pick from that?

Gumbo: It’s true, everyone knows that the MDC got I think 80-something and we got about some other figure but it’s immaterial because he did not get the majority to run the government. Why didn’t he go to the Welshman Ncubes of this world to try and run the government? They couldn’t because they didn’t agree.

Lance: One final issue that we would like to touch during the interview before we let you go – the issue of intolerance. That seems to be a big problem, this is why we have political violence and things like that. We have a question from a listener who says why doesn’t Zanu PF rely simply on selling their policies and what they have to offer the electorate without things like Chipangano, without things like CIO abducting people, without police blocking rallies? You could win an election just by selling your policies without having to rely on all that?

Gumbo: It’s fine to say that kind of thing, the issue of tolerance. I agree there is need for tolerance but tolerance is not a one-way issue. It is a two-way issue. Everyone who is involved in Zimbabwe, every Zimbabwean must tolerate the other person who has different views so it doesn’t necessarily to be a Zanu person who has to be tolerant, everyone must be tolerant.

In any case what we, when someone says Zanu PF has to rely on its programmes, we are the only party which has a programme; MDC has no programme. We talked about the land, we have given land to the people, people may not like it but we have given land to the people. Secondly we are involved in indigenization; we are involved in empowerment of our people. So MDC have nothing, no programmes, not even…

Lance: So why don’t you rely on that? Why did we have this scenario in 2008 where people were killed in election violence, abductions and things like that?

Gumbo: It doesn’t help us just to go back.

Lance: On that note we come to the end of Question Time. Our special guest was the Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo joining us to answer questions from SW Radio Africa listeners.

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