October 12, 2008
Jan Raath in Harare
Zimbabwe's opposition leader has threatened day to pull out of the national
unity Government after learning that Robert Mugabe had awarded all top
Cabinet posts to members of his own party.
"An idiot wouldn't accept that," an angry Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said. "That's not power sharing,
it's power grabbing."
Thabo Mbeki, the former South African President, who mediated the
power-sharing deal between the MDC and President Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party
last month, was due to fly to Harare today to salvage the agreement, which
was meant to break the country's long political impasse.
At the weekend Mr Mugabe gave Zanu (PF) every important ministry, including
defence, home affairs - which controls the police - justice, foreign affairs
and local government, but said that he was prepared to discuss the finance
Mr Tsvangirai, whose party won the parliamentary elections earlier this year
and the most votes in the first round of the presidential ballot, hit back.
It was "not negotiable" that the ministry of home affairs should be taken
out of the MDC's hands, he declared.
When Mr Mbeki arrived today, he said: "We shall negotiate until agreement is
reached. But that doesn't mean we will compromise. If we don't have the
instruments of change in this agreement, then it is stillborn. That will be
the end of it. We will go our different ways."
Mr Tsvangirai was speaking at a rally of 15,000 supporters in a township
football stadium, surrounded by piles of uncollected rubbish and suffused by
the stench of sewage from burst drains. It was the first large gathering
that he had been able to address without disruption in seven months.
"No, Robert Mugabe, stop that," Mr Tsvangirai said. "We are not going to be
part of such an arrangement."
Mr Mugabe can now be expected to drive his unilateral Cabinet through as a
fait accompli. MDC officials said that they would not be surprised if Mr
Mbeki, who has been accused of siding with Mr Mugabe, endorses the selection
The MDC's last hope after that is that the Southern African Development
Community, the 14-nation regional political alliance that convened the
talks, will reject what observers describe as a coup. Although Mr Mugabe's
support in the grouping has dwindled, it is seen as unlikely that they would
all turn against him.
Mr Mugabe may only be delaying the inevitable, as Zimbabwe faces a famine,
economic collapse and the demise of the health and education systems.
"Zimbabwe is closer to the tipping point than ever before," said a Western
diplomat. "The legendary stoicism of the Zimbabwean people has never been
tested like this. Mugabe may have overplayed his hand."
Oct 12, 2008, 16:23 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's pro-democracy leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Sunday
a troubled power-sharing agreement with President Robert Mugabe would be
'stillborn' if Mugabe fails to yield at least control of the key Ministry of
Home Affairs to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Tsvangirai's remarks put the agreement on even shakier ground than it had
been Saturday after 84-year-old Mugabe, the autocratic head of the Zanu-PF
party, declared Saturday that he had allocated to his party nearly all key
ministries, including those responsible for the army, police and the secret
police. Sponsored Links:
Under the power-sharing agreement, those were meant to be shared between the
parties of Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, head of a small faction
of the MDC.
Tsvangirai told about 15,000 ebullient supporters at a Harare rally Sunday
that Mugabe 'has been allocating himself ministries, but we haven't agreed.
'Don't take any notice of it. Power sharing is non-negotiable. If Zanu-PF
takes (the ministry of) defence, we take home affairs (which includes the
police). That is non-negotiable.'
Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara are due to meet in Harare Monday with
former South African president Thabo Mbeki, the mediator in negotiations
that led to an agreement signed September 15 for an 'inclusive' interim
government meant to lift the country out economic, humanitarian and
Tsvangirai said Sunday that 'as long as there is an opportunity, we will
continue to negotiate until we reach an agreement.' But he also warned that
the MDC would withdraw from talks on political power-sharing if mediation
failed to break a month-long deadlock.
The implementation of the agreement has been stalled for nearly a month over
the allocation of cabinet posts, with Mugabe demanding all the government's
The MDC has insisted on running the home affairs ministry so it can reduce
Mugabe's control of the country's security forces. It also wants to run the
finance ministry, although it has agreed to let Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
retain the defence ministry.
Mugabe's allocation of the ministries - officially proclaimed on Friday, 'is
not power-sharing, but power grabbing,' Tsvangirai said. 'Not even an idiot
would accept that.'
Mbeki was due in Harare on Monday to help resolve the impasse, Tsvangirai
said. 'We will try by all means to stick to this agreement. We shall
negotiate until agreement is reached. But we will not compromise. If that
fails, then we will say that this marriage failed to consummate (sic).
'If we don't have the instruments affecting change in this agreement, then
it is stillborn. That will be the end of it. We will try different ways,' he
said, accusing Mugabe of 'destroying the agreement.'
Mugabe was 'not concerned about people's problems, but with retention of
power,' Tsvangirai continued. Zanu-PF does not want the MDC to run the
police because 'they are afraid' of being investigated for corruption and
theft of state property. 'We have no plan to arrest,' he went on. 'Zanu-PF
must understand we have no intention of embarking on a retributive agenda.'
The rally was the first Tsvangirai has been able to hold without
interruption by police for the last seven months. Authorities continue to
refuse to issue a passport to him.
Zanu-PF suffered its first defeat in parliamentary elections and the
presidential vote in March at the MDC's hands. But Tsvangirai failed to win
an outright majority in the presidential ballot, necessitating a second
Mugabe launched a bloody offensive of violent intimidation that saw about
130 MDC supporters murdered and thousands severely injured and made
homeless. Mugabe was declared the winner, but the result was condemned by
the rest of the world.
October 12 2008 at 12:35PM
By Peta Thornycroft
In a pre-emptive strike ahead of former president Thabo Mbeki's
attempt to unblock the deadlocked Zimbabwe power-sharing agreement,
President Robert Mugabe has unilaterally allocated cabinet posts to his
Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change parties.
For more than a week, in repeated negotiating sessions, prime minister
designate Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara refused
to agree that Zanu-PF could have the home affairs ministry.
Zanu-PF had already insisted it would keep state security and the
defence portfolios, and the MDC seemed to accept this.
When talks broke down finally on Friday between the three signatories
to the September 15 power-sharing agreement, with Tsvangirai and Mutambara
blocking Mugabe, he finally relented and said Mbeki should return to Harare.
Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga confirmed on Saturday that
Mbeki would be going to Harare on Monday to try to break the deadlock.
Asked if Zanu-PF's apparent pre-emptive strike by gazetting a cabinet
unilaterally would change Mbeki's plans, Ratshitanga said: "We are going to
Harare to discuss all matters that bear on the current dispute".
Sometime after 5pm on Friday, a gazette was allegedly produced at the
government printer, allocating the 31 ministries to the three parties,
claiming this had been agreed during negotiations.
The only ministry outstanding, according to the state-controlled
Herald newspaper, was the ministry of finance, a portfolio Zanu-PF can never
control if it wants Western aid for Zimbabwe - probably the only reason
Mugabe has agreed to share power with the MDC.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said: "The Herald-published list of
ministries is a product of unilateral, contemptuous and outrageous
machinations by Zanu-PF. In fact, it is a giant act of madness which puts
the whole deal into jeopardy. Zanu-PF cannot nocturnally allocate ministries
barely hours after the three principals agreed to disagree by referring the
matter to the mediator after a logjam over all key ministries.
"Zanu-PF's ploy is to pre-empt the visit of the mediator and any
attempt by SADC to try and help Zimbabweans locate exit points to the
current impasse. The MDC believes that Mr Mugabe, who lost the election on
29 March, cannot arrogate upon himself the right to unilaterally allocate
ministries outside the framework of the dialogue process".
Chamisa issued a list of portfolios which differed significantly from
that apparently gazetted.
Mbeki could find himself trying to facilitate agreement and even
naming of the 31 ministries and deputies provided for in the agreement, as
well as the 10 powerful provincial governors, which Mugabe has claimed and
already announced appointments.
No work has yet been done on a constitutional amendment to allow the
new government to begin to govern. When the amendment is agreed, it has to
be put to parliament a month before it can be confirmed with a two-thirds
On his return to Harare, Mbeki will find that things have taken a turn
for the worst, with the government admitting it cannot even manage to run
end-of-year school examinations which were due to begin on Monday and half
of the population on brink of starvation.
This article was originally published on page 15 of Sunday Argus on
October 12, 2008
12 hours ago
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - President Robert Mugabe's allocation of key ministries
to his party will be discussed when former South African president Thabo
Mbeki meets Monday with Zimbabwe's political leaders, Mbeki's spokesman
"Mr Mbeki is travelling to Zimbabwe tomorrow (Monday). The allocation of the
ministries and all other issues will be discussed in Harare when he meets
that country's political leaders," Mukoni Ratshitanga told AFP Sunday.
Spokesman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Nelson Chamisa, on Sunday made a passionate appeal to Mbeki and regional
bloc SADC to help resolve the power-sharing crisis.
"Mr Mbeki, please help Zimbabwe. We need your help. We also need the help of
and support of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) in
Zimbabwe," Chamisa said in an interview on SA FM radio.
He described Mugabe's decision to grab the key ministries for his party as
"arrogant, unilateral and unacceptable."
"It kills the talks completely. This (action) flies in the face of the
dialogue and an attempt by the SADC to help us out of this crisis. Clearly,
it is an act in bad faith," said Chamisa.
A government notice carried by the state-run Herald newspaper said Saturday
the veteran leader had given his ZANU-PF party 14 ministries, including the
defence, home, foreign affairs, justice, local government and media
Furthermore Mugabe -- in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from
Britain -- would retain control of the army, police and other state security
apparatus, the notice said.
Mbeki is SADC-mandated mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis.
October 12, 2008 | By Gerald Harper
A senior ZANU PF official has professed ignorance about a 'ministries
allocation' released to the state media on Friday fuelling speculation that
the move could have been a propaganda offensive by Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba before Mbeki arrives for mediation tomorrow(Monday).
A few hours earlier Mugabe had met with Morgan Tsvangirai and the two
decided to call in a mediator to break the impasse over allocation of
defence, information,home affairs and finance ministries.
"The three leaders agreed to call in the facilitator to assist in resolving
the outstanding issues. An appeal will be made to the facilitator for him to
travel to Zimbabwe," said ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa.
However a senior ZANU PF official who requested that his identity be
withheld told Metro that the list was ZANU PF 's negotiating position and
nothing has been agreed on.
"That is our negotiating position,and it was foolish by who ever did it to
reveal it,nothing has been concluded yet. "
It is still not clear why the list was realised but pundits said initial
observations indicate whatever the strategy was it backfired.
Newspapers were quick to point out the imbalance and headlines screamed on
"Mugabe claims all key ministries"-Mail and Guardian,South Africa
"Power deal crisis as top jobs seized by Mugabe" -Mail and Guardian,UK
"Mugabe hands key ministries to ZANU-PF"-AFP
"Mugabe grabs key ministries, angers opposition"- SABC,South Africa
"Mugabe claims key ministries"-The Sunday Times,South Africa
"Probably ZANU PF wanted to portray the MDC as being unreasonable,but you
cannot grab all security ministries and try to portray that as a genuine
power-sharing agreement," noted Asher Tarivona-Mutsengi, a Canada based
social commentator who also hastened to point out that the newly created
Ministry of Prisons and Correctional Services was missing from the ZANU PF
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said Mugabe's
action was designed to pre-empt Mbeki's mediation effort."It's a pre-emptive
move to Mbeki to say this is what we want. Mugabe has taken the lion's share
and gave a mouse to MDC," said Masunungure. "What Mugabe has done breeds
ill-wish and it deepens distrust between the parties."
Last week Mugabe's spokesman claimed that only the Finance ministry was
outstanding but that statement was quickly dismissed by the MDC.
Mbeki, who clinched the Zimbabwe power-sharing deal days before he was
forced to give up South Africa's presidency by his ruling ANC party, has
agreed to continue his mediation role and will travel to Harare on Monday.
In August this year a reporter with The Herald revealed that the Mugabe's
spokesman who also controls the state media George Charamba gave the state
paper the highly sensitive talks documents to publish before any agreements
'We were surprised when Charamba gave us the documents way before the talks
were concluded on Tuesday afternoon,and specifically told the headline
should read ' New dawn:Deal sealed', we published some of the document
contents the following day. At first we thought indeed a deal has been
reached,but Charamba called us back with specific instructions on what the
story should say', the source revealed.
There was no deal reached then but the state media went on to publish the
story saying MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara and ZANU PF had signed a
deal,the story backfired heavily. In the same story the paper went on to
repeat the mantra that Tsvangirai is a western puppet,despite a MOU clause
warning against hateful language.
The MDC warned that irresponsible reporting under the direction of Mugabe's
spokesman Charamba on the talks will effectively destroy the talks between
it and ZANU PF.
The MDC warned; 'This report will fundamentally undermine and kill the
dialogue. ..these are the actions of a desperate and cornered regime, which
we find corrosive. We urge Zanu PF to desist from executing this sly,
nicodimus and foolish process but to navigate Zimbabwe out of the current
Charamba belongs to the Mnagagwa faction in ZANU PF which has long been
accused of trying to sabotage the talks and was key player in the ill-fated
Ndiyane plot on December 2004 which was meant to catapult Mnagagwa to the
vice presidency, Charamba drafted a speech for Mnangagwa for the event and
hired a plane for the meeting. The plot backfired.
October 11, 2008
By Eddie Cross
YESTERDAY the World Food Programme issued an alarming statement on the food
crisis in Zimbabwe. They appealed for an additional US$140 million to cover
the shortfall in basic food aid for the next six months. What they did not
say was that this still leaves a shortfall in overall cereal and oilseed
supplies of 800 000 tonnes for the next six months.
It also failed to highlight that we are now weeks away from the start of the
rains and there is very little land preparation, virtually no seed and
fertilizer. It is too late to import supplies in any quantity and even if we
did we would have to distribute by air, as local transport capacity is
almost non-existent. They also did not tell the world that the funds they
had paid to the NGO's doing food distribution had been taken by the Reserve
Bank and the organisations could not pay their transporters for transport
services or buy fuel.
The gold producers have sold gold to the Reserve Bank over the past nine
months and have not been paid - they are now unable to operate and are
closingtheir mines down allowing them to flood and in some cases they will
not be able to reopen them. It is not only the NGO's who have had their FCA's
looted - virtually every business that I know has had their FCA cleaned out
and they have been unable to access them to pay suppliers.
These funds - legally property of the account holders, have been taken by
the Bank and then sold to Zanu-PF leaders at the "official" exchange rate -
this is technically legal but is clearly theft. The official rate is a small
fraction of one cent per US dollar. In fact it is 0,000000003 local dollars
per US dollar. This means that US$10 000 would cost a Zanu PF heavy
Z$0,003 - not even one cent in the new local currency.
The physical evidence of this theft of resources is everywhere. Reports of
people arriving at homes for sale and paying cash in foreign exchange -
without trying to negotiate the price. New cars without number plates (we
have run out of number plate materials) are all over Harare. The reports of
the Governor handing out expensive vehicles as if they were his own - one
report that the Pastor who buried the governor's younger brother being given
a new twin cab as a thank you for a few hours work and kind words.
I would hazard a guess that in the past few months no less than US$500
million has been pilfered from the State and private coffers in this way.
That is enough money to feed the entire population for 7 months. No wonder
they do not want to wrap up this agreement and swear in a new government.
They must be terrified of anyone getting into the vaults and records at the
While they fiddle and prevaricate, the country burns. Lawlessness is
rampant; gangs of thugs are seizing private property on farms with no fear
of intervention by the police. This seems to be even encouraged by rouge
elements in Zanu-PF who want the negotiated deal to fail and at the same
time are lashing out at the defenseless in an orgy of thuggery and theft.
Since our priority is to feed people the needs of our animals are being put
on the back burner. I get reports of dairy cows dying of starvation. The
largest pig producer in the country is about to slaughter their entire
commercial breeding stock - 33 000 pigs. Poultry producers have cut back
their activities to the minimum. Once this is carried out reestablishing
this productive capacity will be a long process.
Yesterday the president of the MDC and now the new Prime Minister, held a
press conference in Harare. In that meeting he stated that no progress had
been made in the past 24 days since the SADC agreement was signed in
September. He went on to say that he was suspending any further contact with
Zanu-PF until the regional mediation team was present to arbitrate those
In addition to this he made the extraordinary disclosure that the agreement
signed and subsequently published, did not include the full details that had
been negotiated and signed during the process. He requested that the
mediators remedy this by publishing a new version of the agreement in full.
He also said that Zanu-PF - in complete violation of the agreement, was
refusing to review the appointment of 10 governors to the provinces and to
then reallocate these posts on the basis of the majority representation in
each Province. The Governors play an important role in local politics and
the administration and Zanu is insisting that the 10 people appointed - in
clear violation of the SADC process, should remain. If the reallocation of
Governors based on the party majorities in each Province were carried out
MDC (T) would get five, Zanu PF four and MDC (M) one.
Clearly the SADC process can only proceed if this impasse in the allocation
of powerful political posts is resolved. Zanu-PF is reluctant to let go
because of the consequences to themselves and the loss of privilege and
protection. But that is of little concern to the region and should not be a
factor. They never sought or obtained an amnesty for what they have done in
the past and must face the consequences of their actions.
The delay in the consummation of this deal is now having very critical
consequences. Every day lost is a serious matter. Inflation at 1,4 trillion
percent in September is destroying all forms of economic activity. The
collapse in the economy and in all social services is driving tens of
thousands of Zimbabweans, skilled and unskilled out of the country. We are
now into new territory in this saga - one from where it will be very tough
to claw ourselves back.
The new President of South Africa said yesterday that he would back Mr Mbeki's
mediation with the resources and the influence that was needed. If the SADC
mediation team does not engage very shortly, they will put the country and
the region into jeopardy.
Zimbabwe Deadlock: Early Signs of a Doomed Marriage
Published 2008-10-12 09:05 (KST)
The mass of hope that cascaded across Zimbabwe on the ides of September when
an historic power-sharing deal was sealed between President Mugabe's Zanu PF
and the MDC is now sadly fracturing into smithereens of despair and
frustration for millions of Zimbabweans, thanks to Mugabe's refusal to share
key ministries with his rivals.
Matter-of-factly, both formations of the MDC now find themselves caught
between the devil and the deep blue sea. The million dollar dilemma that
faces them is whether to pull out of the skewed agreement, as some sections
seem to encourage, or fight on.
While pulling out might sound so fashionable, it might not be the best
choice for a party disreputed for lacking strategy and contingency when
tackling difficult situations such as this.
If they do, the consequences may be too ghastly to contemplate. The
declaration Thursday by Prime Minister-designate, Morgan Tsvangirai of a
deadlock in the negotiations came as no surprise, and his disclosure that
his movement had since sounded up mediator, Thabo Mbeki to fly in and help
break the impasse only made sense.
But the MDC must have realised from the outset that the marriage they were
committing themselves to with Zanu PF would not be as easy an affair as pie.
And the refusal by Mugabe and his lieutenants to cede some of the primary
ministries, out of real or imagined fear, can only be seen as a microcosm of
more trouble that lies ahead. These are early signs of a doomed marriage
between a saint and a prostitute.
The dispute over key portfolios such as Finance, Home Affairs, Foreign
Affairs, Local Government, etc, has its roots deep in the flawed document
the three parties signed on Sept. 15.
The document is generously, but ridiculously open-ended. It has no definite
deadlines for the implementation of the unity government agreement, and it
maintains a deafening silence on which portfolios should be parceled to
which political party. And yet, this must have formed the core of the whole
negotiation process. The unity government paper is so flawed one would think
it was drafted by a team of Zanu PF lawyers paired against a bunch of
clueless layman representing the MDC.
By defying common sense and refusing to let go any of the key ministries,
Zanu PF is simply exploiting a cocktail of glaring loopholes in the
I am mindful of the fact that it took a little lot compromise for the
concerned parties to sign up for a unity government, but I strongly feel
that there was oversight, on the part of the MDC negotiating teams who
failed to recognize such loopholes and remedy them before the deal was
signed. Had lawyers who led the MDC teams applied their legal brains with
ingenuity and insisted on a document that clearly defined power-sharing
terms, I doubt we would be having the problems we are currently having with
Zanu PF as a nation today.
MDC-T spokesman, Nelson Chamisa admitted as much this week. It was an
admission I found honorable in my elementary judgment because not so many
politicians make mistakes and admit wrongdoing when things really get ugly.
Judging from their not-so-fancy history, it appears the MDC resemble a
predator which has made forays into a new jungle and still battling to adapt
and learn tricks of an unfamiliar prey.
They just seem to be failing dismally in their collective wisdom to outsmart
Zanu PF in any respect, intellectually and otherwise.
Instead of Tsvangirai comfortably relying on the limited wisdom of his
"kitchen cabinet" on formations to employ when tackling Zanu PF, I think he
needs a new team of astute brainsmiths who will breathe a new life in his
advisory board. On his part, Arthur Mutambara needs to put his foot down and
take charge of his camp. It's a fact that he has totally lost control.
Reasons vary, and can be too laborious to elucidate here.
But that aside, at this critical juncture when the nation is faced with the
ugly reality of a retrogressive and belligerent Zanu PF repudiating every
key aspect of the power-sharing agreement, I think Mutambara and Tsvangirai
should temporarily put their differences aside and fight as a single
formidable force. This, they must do publicly. Yes, they lead two diametric
formations, but I feel this is a serious time which begs them to join hands.
As signatories to the unity agreement fighting a common monster, they should
speak with one voice and confront Zanu PF as one force.
They should also cast their vision beyond the divvying up of cabinet posts.
Their focus and scrutiny should center on the finest details of the
agreement they signed. While I remain optimistic a solution will soon be
found, with the intervention of the AU, Sadc and its point man, Mbeki, I
hope the current logjam provided some rude lessons to the MDC and its
Perennial wisdom has it that a wise farmer does not engage a wolf to look
after their sheep and then go on a honeymoon. That's just more than
They should start contemplating problems that might arise again with Zanu PF
in the constitution-making process and other power-sharing processes and
proffer contingency measures they will take. It's obvious the writing of the
new constitution will not be an easy task. The process will certainly be
grueling due to squabbling, arrogance and self-serving agendas, mainly on
the part of Zanu PF. The MDC should beware.
Zanu PF will employ every dirty trick in its book to throw spanners into the
whole unity government process. It is mind-boggling why leaders of this
mafia group masquerading as a pan-African political organisation agreed to
power-sharing when they knew they were not committed at all.
I think it's high time the AU and Sadc took off their kids' gloves and deal
decisively with Mugabe and his junta.
Mugabe has killed enough of our people and should be stopped forthwith
before he exterminates the whole population. By dragging his feet while the
nation burns, the geriatric leader and his imbecilic associates are waging a
brutal war similar to the Gukurahundi which is silently consuming hundreds
of thousands of Zimbabweans who are succumbing to starvation and disease
For God's sake, if I may ask; do those in Zanu PF honestly think it's in the
best interest of the nation for them to retain the Finance ministry? Will
they be able to turn around the economy they have so spectacularly wrecked
in the past 28 years? How miraculous will that be!
Do they heartily believe that the MDC will run rampage, in the spirit of
vengeance, and throw all of them in jail when it takes over the police
What are they scared off? If they have never butchered, maimed, robbed and
raped, why are they curling into a bunch of nerves at the mention of the
Home Affairs falling into the hands of the MDC?
I believe Zanu PF are a dying horse unleashing devastating kicks, but their
demise is as certain as dawn.
They may dill-dally and play monkey tricks for now, but one day they will
have to swallow their intransigence and surrender, just like they did when
they were dragged to the negotiating table. The only problem is that it may
be too late when they come to reckoning. It is therefore, the duty of the
Sadc and the AU to make sure no further time is wasted in dealing with the
Cabinet issue. As Tsvangirai has requested, they should come in, and come in
On their part, the MDC formations should ready themselves for nasty nights
with the harlot they declared, "yes we do" to on Sept. 15.
October 12, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - About 50 families, among them some claiming to be veterans of
Zimbabwe's war of liberation, have been evicted from a farm in Matabeleland
North by a Zanu-PF member who claims to be a brother of Foreign Affairs
Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
The families, now stranded and living out in the open, were evicted on
Friday from Lettersdert Farm which they invaded and from which they evicted
a commercial farmer back in 2000 at the height of the chaotic land seizures
that were sanctioned by President Robert Mugabe.
The families have now been evicted Dr Tinus Mumbengegwi, a Bulawayo
businessmen who is known to be Zanu-PF member. Mumbengegwi is the brother to
the outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi .
He evicted the families with the help of riot police on Friday. He allegedly
declared that Lettersdert Farm would be turned into grazing land for his
cattle. He did not deny this when he was contacted for comment.
"The police evicted us from the farm and dumped us with all our belongings
by the roadside," Rodrick Moyo, one of the evicted war veterans, said at the
roadside on Sunday. "We have been living in the open since our eviction.
Mumbengegwi said the farm was allocated to him in 2003 and that the land is
earmarked for grazing for his cattle."
Asked to comment, Mumbengegwi confirmed the eviction of the 50 families. He
said the families were illegally occupying his land since the farm was
allocated to him in 2003 by the Lands Ministry.
"I was allocated the farm in 2003 by the Lands Resettlement Ministry and as
such the eviction of the families is not illegal as I have the offer
letter," Mumbengegwi confirmed yesterday producing a photocopied land offer
No comment could be obtained from the Lands Ministry to verify the
authenticity of Mumbengegwi's letter.
Mumbengegwi added: "I am transporting a number of cattle to the farm. I am
turning the farm into grazing land for my cattle and the families cannot
share the farm with my cattle as they might steal the cattle."
This eviction incident follows the eviction of another war veteran from a
farm in Nyamandlovu recently by Zanu-PF militias and fellow ex.-combatants
who accused her of refusing to feed them at a base camp which they set up in
April adjacent to her farm as part of the presidential election campaign.
The war veterans looted maize as well as farm machinery and other property
after evicting Rejoice Sibanda-Ncube from Redwood Farm in Nyamandlovu.
Sibanda-Ndlovu occupied the farm after evicting Alex Goosen, the previous
owner of the farm during the violent land invasions in 2000.
The new owners of the farm say Sibanda-Ndlovu should have continued to feed
them long after President Mugabe won the second presidential election for
which they were deployed to campaign.
by ZACRO Monday 13 October 2008
"Human Rights for Prisoners": Paper presented at the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights workshop on October 4 in Bulawayo.
Largely, the Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of
the Offender; (ZACRO) objectives revolve around catering for the welfare of
prisoners and ex-offenders and seeking further penal reforms. The
organisation notes that human rights are;
. Essential to a human being without which one cannot live in dignity as a
. Universal for they are minimum acceptable standards worldwide.
. Inalienable for they can not be separated from existence of a human being
nor are they a gift from another; and
. Interdependent, indivisible and interrelated.
However, it is within the context of human rights of prisoners which are
civil, economic and social natured that this paper seeks for their:
. Respect and
In this light ZACRO focus on the right to - life, liberty, protection from
inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, protection of the law, freedom to
expression, association and assembly regarding those incarcerated and
released from prison. Further analysis of the plight of prisoners reveals
that - economic and social rights including the right to health, education,
shelter, food, adequate clean water and to a family remain crucial and need
to be attended to.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly underlines that prisoners possess
certain fundamental rights which are necessary to preserve their dignity and
humanity. On the contrary these provisions are not closely respected and
protected because the constitution has not been revisited and amended in
view of realizing and protecting the human rights for prisoners. Hence there
is always need for ZACRO to intervene and lobby for penal reforms which suit
protection of human rights for prisoners.
Situational Analysis of Prisons in Zimbabwe
Prisons in Zimbabwe have remained secretive and closed institutions to
majority people yet real experiences in the prisons reveal numerous human
rights issues around plight of inmates which demand intervention by ZACRO.
This comes in the wake that conditions of prisons have deteriorated
drastically over the past few years while political will has not been
responding to the challenges facing Zimbabwe's prisons. Most disturbing is
that the current economic environment has seen plight of inmates plunging
into deeper levels of despondency while economic problems are forcing more
people to commit criminal offences.
In addition, findings reveal that with a capacity around 17 000, the country's
55 prisons including satellites are holding over 35 000 inmates seeing them
marred with numerous issues affecting inmates which need urgent address.
These mainly include:
. Unhygienic conditions,
. Lack of proper food,
. Medical care,
. Spread of diseases and
. Deaths in custody.
Many individuals are imprisoned for long periods under unacceptable
conditions without legal representation. In this context, ZACRO supports
imprisonment for the benefit of society through correctional means with
emphasis placed on rehabilitation, integration, provision of humanitarian
assistance to the inmates and advocacy for penal reform
. This intervention is in line with complementing efforts by Zimbabwe Prison
Service (ZPS) which involve introduction of more professionals like social
workers who are set to rehabilitate inmates while concerned with human
rights for the inmates. This has become clear testimony involving shifting
prisons from mere incarceration centers to correctional and rehabilitative
institutions in the country. On this note - the following are descriptions
of areas where human rights for prisoners which are economically and
socially natured are of major concern in the country's prisons for they are
mostly tampered with.
Plight of Prisoners in Zimbabwe.
(1) Socio-economic rights
Overcrowding in prisons
. Many of the prisons are too small and very old with some having been
converted by government from farm houses into prisons. Examples are Hurungwe
and Tabudirira farm prisons. Other prisons like Mazoe Farm prison and
Chikurubi female prison were made of corrugated metal structures during the
colonial days while to date they need expansion and refurbishment. In these
prisons - inadequate floor space in cells further results in overcrowding.
Only few new prisons complexes built after independence attainment in 1980
like Hwahwa medium depict how a modern standard penal institution is
supposed to be which relatively matches United Nations Standard minimum
rules of treating prisoners.
. Most worrying is that overcrowding has since become one of the
predisposing conditions for the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and
opportunistic diseases like TB, cholera and pellagra which has resulted in
deaths of some inmates in the country's prisons.
Though national statistics could not be availed by time of compilation -
deaths continued to be recorded at Chikurubi Maximum prison and Harare
Central Prisons among other prisons.
Hygiene and sanitation
. Poor hygiene and sanitation have become major concern in the prisons.
Water cuts are frequent, thus seeing sanitation consisting of one bucket in
the corner of a multi-occupied cell, with water for washing and drinking
being provided in another bucket. Most cells in the country's prisons with
toilets are not flashing due to unavailability of water and malfunctions,
thus health hazards were increasing in the prisons. At times some of the ill
inmates with communicable diseases are not separated - a situation likely to
see those affected by opportunistic diseases such as TB affecting others.
Let alone, many of the prisons mainly female ones do not have cleaning
facilities such as detergents, brooms and protective cloths when cleaning
their cells and toilets. Also due to lack of sanitary facilities - inmates
end up tearing their ragged blankets when relieving themselves in the
toilets which have always seen the toilets blocking. Most disturbing is that
some cells do not have a toilet which is most common with female prisons in
the country. Inmates in cells without toilets end up using a bucket for
relieving themselves. The health hazards associated with this practice
remains major worry to the inmates who mostly do not have soap to wash their
hands, bodies or uniforms.
Uniform and bedding needs
. There is great need for adequate bedding and uniform requirements in
the country's prisons. In fact shortage of uniforms is major cause of
concern in prisons. Many times prisoners are seen wearing tattered and torn
uniforms. There have been reports of prisoners going almost naked while they
have the right to proper clothing like other human beings. In fact most
inmates were found to be having one pair of shorts and shirts apparently
tattered and rarely washed due to inadequacy of water and soap. Where there
is severe overcrowding, prisoners may sleep on the floor while blankets are
inadequate. Disadvantaged group of prisoners that include women and their
innocent children in prisons are also severely affected in this regard.
Diet, food and other needs
. Food was available in some prisons with farms. Those without farms were
facing acute shortage of food. At times food provided is not properly
prepared and is mostly of inadequate nutritional value. Just as the whole
country was affected by hyperinflation among economic problems - shortage of
basic needs like cooking oil and sugar has continued to affect operations of
prisons and welfare of inmates. The budgetary allocations to the prisons are
also very low. In fact the general prisoners' requirements prescribed in
statutory instrument 1 of 1996 are falling far short in the prisons.
. Prisoners are supposed to be given bread, tea, margarine or jam, milk,
sugar among basic needs but these are not available. They are taken for
leisure items as one inmate related. Mostly they are given sadza (starch
alone) and vegetables and not much exposed to a full diet. This has seen
some of them suffering from pellagra which has to date contributed to high
death rates in the prisons. Most worrying is that children living with their
incarcerated mothers in prisons are not allocated their own rations and have
to share rations for their jailed mothers. This has seen the children having
inadequate food and likely exposed to diseases like kwashiorkor in the
prisons. This calls for stepping up intervention involving rendering
humanitarian assistance to the prisons.
Medical and drug supplies
. Predisposing conditions like overcrowding, poor sanitation, poor food
preparation and inadequate washing facilities render prisoners extremely
vulnerable to some diseases. Common diseases continuously affecting inmates
include diarrhea, cholera, malaria, TB and HIV / AIDS. However what has been
noted is that medicines and medical equipment are inadequate in most prisons
in Zimbabwe. Prisoners are therefore obliged to buy their own medicines
through their families. But the obvious truth is that only those with money
can afford the much needed drugs.
. On the other hand a high proportion of the general population in the
prisons is affected with HIV/AIDS which calls for the corporate world, civic
organizations including ZACRO to step up interventions towards fight against
HIV/AIDS in prisons. Most appreciated is that - though in Zimbabwe Anti -
Retroviral Tablets (ARVs) are expensive these are available in prisons. The
main problem is that nutritious food is not available which is necessary to
boost immunity of inmates affected by the pandemic. The shortage of food in
most prisons remains a scenario undermining disease mitigation programs in
. ZACRO is involved in channeling educational assistance to inmates which
include sourcing and distributing relevant books to the prison library for
use by inmates as well as paying for their examination and trade tests fees.
This is in line with Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
which states that, "everyone (including prisoners) has the right to
education. Although this universally acknowledged right is supposed to be
enjoyed by everybody regardless of social status, many prisoners are unable
to pursue education in prisons. This is due to break down of social
relations and support hence they lack resources to fully pursue education in
the prisons. This has seen ZACRO intervening towards boosting educational
needs and development for prisoners in the country. On the other hand there
are no check and balances on educational development in the prisons. The ZPS
education department was not doing justice to this cause by not channeling
committed prison officials who are teachers to teach the inmates. In fact
prisoners were teaching themselves.
Treatment of prisoners and work
. Compared to colonial regime days prison management involving Ill-treatment
of prisoners is gradually going away owing to training of prison officials
being orientated to realise and respect prisoners' rights in the country's
penal institutions. However at times work on the prisons farms by the
inmates is compulsory rather than this taken for a rehabilitation exercise.
After all prisoners have always complained that the forced labor is
strenuous. Some of the inmates are found doing work for prison officers even
though this does not tally with prison rules. Many times the prisoners
polish shoes for the prison officers while kneeling down which further
degrades the offender. Reports that some top government officials hire labor
from prisons without paying for labor rendered is something yet to be fully
investigated. This deprives ZPS of its labor benefit which if paid can
cushion some needs in maintenance and up keep of inmates.
(2) Civil liberties
In the light on human rights for prisoners - ZACRO further focus on the
right to -
. protection from inhuman and degrading treatment and torture,
. protection of the law,
. freedom to expression,
. association and assembly.
More attention is placed on plight of political prisoners whose number has
increased over the past years owing to political instability in the country.
ZACRO encourages prison visits by relatives of those incarcerated for at
times relatives may not know that their relative is in prison more so after
one has been imprisoned in a far away penal institution. In fact prisons
visits have proved to be an eye opener to the situation around prisoners
which needs to be valued by relatives of those imprisoned. Information about
arrests and imprisonment of inmates is not communicated to relatives in time
hence some inmates end up having no people visiting them.
Death penalty practice
The death penalty is not rehabilitative exercise. Since 1980 about 78 death
row inmates have been executed and still others are on the death row
awaiting execution. This is despite that capital punishment is dehumanizing,
cruel, tortuous, degrading and inhumane. Most worrying is that one may go
for five years awaiting execution. This period of waiting execution is
dehumanizing, inhumane and psychologically tortuous while hanging which is
Zimbabwe's execution method is just cruel and immoral. Hence ZACRO's
intervention towards total abolition of the death penalty in the country is
of paramount importance and cannot be underestimated.
. ZACRO notes with concern that the majority of prisoners in Zimbabwe are
relatively poor people. These often lack resources or funds to cater for
legal representation. Some of the people send to prison committed minor
crimes but can not be released. This is because they do not have lawyers who
can represent them. Inmates on remand could spend over two years without
Prisons visits and their importance
During the course of our visits ZACRO noted that the legal fraternity ie
lawyers - prosecutors, judges, magistrates are not visiting prisons as
follow up exercises to monitor and assess the offenders.
. It is on this note that ZACRO urges the legal fraternity to avail lawyers
to prisons and cover those in need of assistance. Many need legal
representation - in particular those who are remanded and others seeking
appeal against their cases.
. The same is said of judiciary staff. Magistrates are urged to make follow
ups with prisons and see for themselves - issues affecting those whom they
tried and send to prison. Problems associated with overcrowding can be
resolved if the magistrates have fair view of what affects the inmates.
Where overcrowding is in place magistrates can always consider befitting
non-custodial sentences like community service. Another main problem and
worry involves reports of magistrates being absent in the courts on regular
basis. Offenders facing trial were not tried in time owing to shortage of
magistrates which is a problem that needs urgent redress. Such a stance has
always seen some inmates spending long periods like two years before trial
leading to a backlog of cases not tried by our courts which seeks urgent
redress by the judiciary. In fact all explains why ZACRO is determined to
articulate human rights programming in all its interventions and redress
problems around human rights for prisoners in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline
12 October 2008
It is now close to a month since the
historic signing of the September 15 inter-party Agreement and the residents in
Zimbabweans are currently one of the
world’s poorest people; the majority earns far below the
Mugabe displayed sheer bad faith when he (among other things) unscrupulously appointed the male dominated group of 10 governors from his party ZANU PF before an agreement was reached, thus unfairly getting a majority in the Senate, is seemingly consistent; In the same vein Mugabe has dishonorably gazzetted a wishful list of ministerial allocations in which he exhibits pure selfishness and arrogance. The octogenarian allegedly listed, under ZANU PF, the ministries of; Local Government and Urban Development, Home Affairs, Defence and other key ministries. This act endangers the fragile deal and should be unequivocally rejected and dismissed.
The list is a clear sign of denial and a wishful something to appease his beleaguered party with and to continue with his patronage and tokenism on the former PF ZAPU cadres, in preserving the so called unity which has been far too out of touch with its terms and the masses. The mere mention of the Local Government and Urban Development ministry and the acronym “ZANU PF” successively, sends untold shivers down the residents` spines. It reminds them of Operation Murambatsvina, ZINWA water and sewer management takeover, Cholera outbreaks, potholes, mayoral expulsions and councils` dissolution, Commissions, burst sewage and other horrible daily experiences.
The residents would like to explicitly
remind Mugabe and his protégés that; the Agreement does not seek to accommodate
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
October 12, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - A militant teachers' union has called for street protests against
President Robert Mugabe's surprise move to allocate key ministries to his
party after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had declared a deadlock over
power sharing talks.
The mainstream MDC and Zanu-PF have reached an impasse over the sharing of
cabinet portfolios, which has led to the recalling of mediator and former
South African President Thabo Mbeki.
However, in a government notice published in the state-controlled Herald
newspaper on Saturday, Mugabe unilaterally allocated the contested key
ministries to his own Zanu-PF party.
The power-sharing deal was signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, the leader of a breakaway MDC faction on September 15.
Mugabe allocated to Zanu-PF the key ministries of Defence, Home Affairs,
Local Government and Foreign Affairs although discussions on the allocations
had been inconclusive. Mugabe said only the ministry of Finance was still a
subject of dispute.
The MDC has reacted angrily to the move calling it contemptuous and
Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said his union would lead protests on Monday against Mugabe.
He said Mugabe's action betrayed the spirit of the power-sharing deal.
Majongwe was speaking at a public lecture organized by Bulawayo Agenda, a
Bulawayo-based civic organization which promotes public debate and dialogue
on topical issues related to human rights and governance among others.
"I urge all members of civic society and Zimbabweans in general to get onto
the streets, in all cities and towns, in a clear sign to Mugabe that we are
not accepting this," he said. "Zimbabweans should all go out and say this is
"We should demonstrate against Mugabe who grabbed all the key ministries for
his party. Zimbabweans should be militants and protest and say we cannot
continue to let Mugabe hold the country and us to ransom."
The public lecture was attended by more than 500 people, among them various
civic society organizations that were exhibiting at a two-day "Ideas
Festival" organized by Bulawayo Agenda at the Small City Hall .
The opposition MDC has said Mugabe's move jeopardized the power-sharing deal
signed over three weeks ago. The agreement is now seen as teetering on the
brink of collapse, with Tsvangirai threatening to pull out of the deal if
Mugabe refuses to let go of key ministries.
The unity government had been heralded as a panacea to the country's
political crisis, deep economic recession characterised by 231 million
percent inflation and shortages of all basics.
Jenni Williams, the leader of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), addressing the
same gathering also called for popular protests against Mugabe's move to
grab key ministries from the MDC.
"Mugabe should not be allowed to steal away our future," said Williams. "The
deal, despite its shortcomings, is the only sustainable foundation to
rebuild Zimbabwe ."
Mbeki, who brokered the power-sharing talks, is expected in Harare on Monday
to mediate in the dispute.
Harare, Zimbabwe - As inflation spirals out of control in Zimbabwe, the
country's central bank Saturday introduced the ZW$ 50,000 bank note, the
nation's highest currency denomination. A government statistics agency
announced Thursday that annual inflation in the country topped 231 million
per cent in July, an increase of more than 20 times from the 11.2 million
per cent in June.
The central bank said the new note, which goes into circulation only a week
after the ZW$ 10,000 and ZW$ 20,000 bank notes were introduced, was meant to
make transacting by the public convenient.
The bank also increased daily cash withdrawals from banks by the public from
ZW$ 20,000 a day to ZW$ 50,000.
Because of a shortage of bank notes, cash withdrawals from banks is rationed
Harare - 11/10/2008
from times past joined us in brilliant sunshine for the Vigil to launch our
7th year outside the Embassy. Unfortunately Glenys Kinnock MEP was
unable to be with us to receive our petition to the EU so we sending it to
partner organisation Restoration of Human Rights in
the world financial crisis dominating the news, the
a large turnout singing and dancing on the
Letter to the European Union
Zimbabwe Vigil wish to submit a petition calling on European Union countries to
suspend government-to-government aid to
members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because of their
failure to help the suffering people of
Petition to European Union Governments. We
record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to help the desperate people of
you will see, the petition has been signed by thousands of people from all over
the world who have recently passed by our Vigil and share our anxiety about the
crisis in our homeland. The Vigil has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in
The Vigil condemns SADC for recognising Mugabe as President when SADC’s own election observers criticised the polls this year as deeply flawed. Mugabe consequently feels free to disregard a power-sharing deal signed last month -- despite the deepening humanitarian crisis. The UN says that about half the population will need food aid by early next year.
Vigil wants the money saved by our proposal – and it amounts to many hundreds of
millions of pounds a year – to be used to finance refugee camps in
are not, of course, calling for a halt to humanitarian aid to the region ….food,
medicine etc. What we are talking about is balance of payments support which
often goes astray. We believe SADC has
failed to live up to its basic responsibilities and must share the pain of
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. .
FOR THE RECORD: about 300 attended.
FOR YOUR DIARY:
“Yours Abundantly, from
by Tananoka Joseph Whande
12.10.2008 1:36:17 P
I am concerned about the extent to which Zimbabwe, particularly the MDC, has
become heavily reliant on South Africa to solve our problems.
Reliance on South Africa to arbitrate or help to solve the problem in
Zimbabwe has now gone way past the normal mediation functions to something
resembling a preliminary systematic auctioning of our country, and it is
being done with the aid of both the MDC and ZANU-PF.
The MDC's over reliance on South African mediation has now become a cowardly
way of handling negotiations.
The MDC misled both the Zimbabwean people and the international community,
and signed an agreement before the negotiations had been concluded and now
the nation is once again in despair, marooned in the political darkness of
ZANU-PF's double dealing.
While the MDC meant well, Robert Mugabe was toying with people who were
trying to bring some semblance of sanity to our country.
But the MDC's haste also betrayed a complete lack of foresight and a
disturbing absence of alternatives that a leading party ought to have.
Instead of a neutral arbitrator, we got Thabo Mbeki.
Instead of an impartial African eminent person to help bring antagonistic
political players together, we got Mbeki who fanned more chaos within one of
the parties at his negotiating table.
Then, instead of an honest mediator, we got Mbeki again.
He failed and was also immediately fired by his own party and lost the South
African presidency hardly two weeks after engineering a barren and
ridiculous agreement between Zimbabwe's opposing sides. What a missed
But even after losing the support and trust of his own people, South Africa
again chose Mbeki to "continue" with his "mediation" efforts in Zimbabwe.
Mbeki is now clearly lethargic and totally unenthusiastic about this
assignment because he knows that having failed to achieve something of note
while he was a sitting president of South Africa, he won't achieve much as a
He knows his limitations and the damage he caused to himself through his
ill-advised 'quiet diplomacy' which was clearly designed to give one of the
protagonists, Mugabe, an edge in lopsided negotiations.
And now, to strengthen Mbeki's hand in negotiations, the South Africans have
now sent their Intelligence Minister to be involved in the ZANU-PF/MDC
negotiations talks. Intelligence minister, why?
Spies negotiating peace in public as if these particular ones did not play a
role, through deliberate neglect or otherwise, in destroying Zimbabwe? Does
Africa not have enough diplomats to bring warring sides to the table that
Zimbabwe has to be overwhelmed by South Africans who have let this issue
drag on for so long as they attempted to keep an unpopular dictator afloat?
The Zimbabwean stalemate requires another child of Africa to handle it with
firmness, impartiality, fairness and with clout from SADC, the AU and the
UN. The South Africans rested Mbeki and they should also rest him in a case
he has failed to solve for many years. Mbeki might have the time to play
around but Zimbabwe is in dire straits and needs a real solution now. Mbeki
leaves too much room for Mugabe to play around with a nation he has ruined.
However, South Africa's designs go beyond solving the Zimbabwean problem.
South Africa is not necessarily interested in settling the Zimbabwe
quagmire; they are interested in establishing a business foothold that will
effectively make Zimbabwe a province of South Africa.
Only a few weeks ago, South African farmers had loaded their trucks and
"stood willing to assist Zimbabwe at any time".
So too were business and financial institutions who have already put aside
millions and millions to invest in Zimbabwe as they "assist" in reviving
Mbeki's strategy on Zimbabwe, whether intentional or otherwise, clearly
benefited South African business. They watched the country slowly
disintegrating over decades while they prepared precisely for this moment.
Now, because of their proximity, they are at the doorstep "ready to help".
The disappointing collapse of the agreement means further suffering for
Zimbabweans who have not known peace since 2000 and who have experienced
little of it before that.
I applaud Tsvangirai and the MDC for going out of their way to seek a
solution to the problem that confronted the nation. I applaud Tsvangirai for
his patience and honest attempt to change the fortunes of our country. In
that vein, they pushed and shoved to get Mugabe and his ZANU-PF to the
They then went on to make a big mistake and signed an agreement before the
negotiations were complete.
And now the nation is once again back to square one after having placed so
much hope in those talks although we suspected that nothing would come out
of the talks because the people and civil society had been sidelined.
Now the MDC admits they made a mistake and the nation is once again
teetering on its weak legs, inviting business vultures already circling near
It is clear now that Mugabe never had any intention to honour any agreement.
It was all a façade to buy time and hoodwink the international community
into believing that an honest effort was being made to resolve the crisis.
Mugabe wanted to use Tsvangirai to have sanctions removed and to have donors
coming with money.
Thankfully, it did not work for him and we, once again, find ourselves
staring into the abyss.
We came close to achieving something and I would have hoped that we could
just pick up the pieces and try again. But Mugabe was never serious so he
brings his broom-boy Simba Makoni back into play again.
It is amazing that at a time when the whole nation is practically on its
knees praying that something positive comes out of the agreement, there are
some people who still dream of forming political parties, especially so soon
after being rejected by the same constituency.
For the second time this year, Simba Makoni announced this week that he is
forming a new political party.
What, may I ask, does Simba Makoni hope to achieve? Who does he want to
replace? Or is he just a power hungry misguided technocrat who is peeved to
see the likes of Mutambara enjoying the unholy camaraderie with Robert
But we know what Makoni is doing. He is trying to move attention from Mugabe's
handling of the agreement. Makoni is shielding Mugabe again.
Who is Makoni opposing? The people? ZANU-PF or the MDC? It can't be the MDC
because the MDC is not in power. It can't be ZANU-PF because ZANU-PF is an
Makoni, just like Welshman Ncube and Arthur Mutambara, comes to muddy the
political landscape by spouting old manure about nationalism and
pan-Africanism. As Tsvangirai and his MDC eat humble pie and admit that
signing the deal was a big mistake, Makoni returns on the scene and welcomes
"the all-inclusive government deal signed on September 15 between Mugabe and
the leaders of the two formations of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Reports that are yet to be confirmed say that Mugabe went ahead on Friday
and allocated ministries to his party (15) and to MDC (13) with the other
faction being allocated three.
He is doing this unilaterally and outside the good faith of the agreement.
The move will, of course, be rejected by the MDC again because, for one,
Mugabe kept for his party the key ministries of Finance, Defence, Home
Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Information and the ministry of Lands,
Agriculture and Resettlement.
Tsvangirai's MDC was reportedly allocated ministries such as Economic
Planning and Investment Promotion, Sports, Arts and Culture, State
Enterprise and Parastatals Energy and Power Development and others.
Zimbabwe needs a better, strong, serious, impartial negotiator not Thabo
Mbeki who actually babysat our problems until they graduated into
full-fledged and deadly mayhem.
* Tanonoka Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean journalist.
October 12, 2008
Mugabe holds hands with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during the
EU-Africa summit in Lisbon.
By Jackson Mukuwisi
THERE is something about President Robert Mugabe's mentality that only the
best psychiatrist could understand. He has such hatred for homosexuals one
tends to suspect that he was perhaps sexually abused either when he was
young or during his long stay in prison or in detention during the colonial
Notice how he has completely discouraged the notion of turning his prison
cell and detention camps into historic places. He has even refused to
revisit them. Yet the likes of Nelson Mandela and other notable freedom
fighters such as the late Jomo Kenyatta encouraged the preservation of such
places for history's sake.
Yet this man will publicly, almost subconsciously, grab another president's
hand and walk hand-in-hand with him. Omar Al-Bashir, the man now being
sought by the ICC for crimes against humanity that he continues to commit in
Darfur, appeared comfortable with his hand in Mugabe's at the Lisbon summit.
Former President Thabo Mbeki is a "constant victim" of this public show of
But while Mr. Mugabe is closer to Al-Bashir in character than he is to Thabo
Mbeki, his on-off mind is a greater psychiatric puzzle than the "Breakfast
with Mugabe" stage play could ever portray. He can be brutal one time,
sending 5 Brigade (correct) into Matabeleland to commit an orgy of
destruction, yet goes down on full knees for Mrs Mwanawasa as if he was
seeking absolution for the difference he had had with her husband.
The world had not seen an African man, least of all a fully-fledged head of
state, kneeling before a woman. Dr. Hastings Kaunjika Kamuzu Banda must have
turned in his grave.
All told, President Mugabe must be a man of many moods. Which mood is
dictating his actions as he negotiates with the MDC formations is hard to
tell. He is all sweet one time, sharing sadza in private with Morgan
Tsvangirai and clearly suggesting he is ready to meet him half way but next
time throwing a real adult tantrum and refusing to take less than 80 per
He has a complex mind but one that is tempered by the vagaries of age. God,
he once said, was the only one that would take him away from the power he is
hanging on to; not the suffering of the people; not the elections and not
even the will of the voters.
It might be an idea for those hanging on to his coat tails to study the
history of Tunisia. Habib Bourguiba was a national hero having led his
people's fight against the French. He was his people's darling. That was
until age took over and the brain refused to stay young. The people around
him understood one thing and one thing alone: if they wanted to stay in
power they had lto ock up the old man in a back room and let him spend the
rest of his days watching his old speech videos.
George Charamba is too small to play this game. This is the Big Boys' League
and it is not without its risks.
Right now, the risk is worth taking. Charamba can always live to be the
cheer leader of the next President in line. Failing that "Zanu yaora"
(Zanu-PF is now rotten) will cease to be just a mere MDC song of insult, but
a reality that will leave some of these politicians with absolutely no
access to free anti-retrovirals.
Oct 12, 2008 04:30 AM
In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
have wrangled for weeks over whose party gets which cabinet posts in a new
government, as their people starve. Things reached a grotesque low on
Friday, with "breakthrough" news that both sides agree "there is indeed
deadlock" and seek more mediation.
Former South African president Thabo Mbeki, a past mediator, may swing into
action later this week, if his schedule permits.
This impasse is madness, and a betrayal of the 5 million Zimbabweans who
face starvation. The United Nations has just appealed for another $140
million in food aid. Bad government, economic collapse, hyperinflation, AIDS
and dismal weather have made Zimbabwe a unique African basket case. People
are lucky to have a single meal of corn meal porridge; many live on wild
Having run Zimbabwe into the ground, Mugabe got himself re-elected in a sham
election in June, then was forced by international pressure to reach a
power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai in September. Mugabe is now trying to
hang onto the key ministries to preserve his 28-year hold on power.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans sink deeper into desperation, and despair.
As always, Mugabe is more interested in power than the fate of his people.
And Africa's leaders won't confront him. As Kenya's Prime Minister Raila
Odinga says, "Many of our national leaders have skeletons rattling loudly in
their cupboards." For Zimbabwe's living skeletons, such fecklessness is a
I feel heartbroken that the world has let this monster do whatever he
wants. We were led to believe, by President Bush, that Saddam Hussein was
the worse person in the world. Think again, Mugabe was and still is number
one. I guess that it was more important to invade Iraq and Afghanistan for
oil and greed. It diverted attention away from Mugabe and the millions of
Zimbabweans who are dying of hunger. It's never too late to do something
Posted by Ivan Highland at 10:01 AM Sunday, October 12 2008
wasn't Mugabe support by a past liberal goverment?
hmmn if so, shows some knowledge eh
Posted by Charles Ugene Farley at 9:34 AM Sunday, October 12 2008
Ten zeroes were lopped off as the zeal for a political deal reached boiling
point. All was in the hope of a better deal, a better life, a better future,
a hope for just a life. The zeroes went and in came the zeal. The zeal
yielded the deal. Weeks after the deal, there is no more deal, no more zeal
to talk about. The zeroes are slowly coming back. We are back to zeroes. The
curse of the zeroes.
After years of zeroes, the plague of zeroes .After years of strife, hunger,
political persecution, joblessness, hunger, malnutrition, economic and
social meltdown, the prospects of a deal brought some smiles on the faces of
many in Zimbabwe. Hope and zeal took centre stage. Even the clueless
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had a clue about the imminent deal;
he lopped off the demonic zeroes. He iced the cake when he introduced new
notes of real money. He got rid of his trademark bearer cheques. He was
anticipating a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe, a new life, a new
dispensation, a new sweet dream. All was hope, hope was everyone could do.
For weeks, if not months we waited. The long painful wait. A wait in the
valleys of agony and despair, the masses kept on riding. Riding the slow but
sure wagons of hope and faith. Hoping faithfully that their leaders will
know what is good for the people. We waited.
Then came the news, sweet news, a deal had been reached! We all ululated. We
were happy once again. We had some hope. We could have solid ambitions. We
were just happy our leaders had agreed to save us from the jaws of painful
They told us it was power sharing. Some said it is an all inclusive
government. The learned ones told us it is a transitional caretaker
government. In the euphoria we did not care much. After all we had heard a
lot, a lot of new words that brought nothing on our tables, Diaspora,
homelink, bacossi, the list is endless. This was the deal. The thing all had
prayed and waited for.
15 September is the day. It was a Monday. A sweet Monday. It was an unusual
day; all came to work in a jovial mood. Very few came late. People were
happy. The masses were exuding hope and confidence. We all watched with
smiles and grins tearing across our skinny faces when all the three
principles appended their signatures to the document. The grand document.
The document was worth more than a Doctor's prescription. An invaluable
document we all believed, prayed and hoped.
After the signing ceremony we all waited with zeal. We waited to enjoy the
fruits. We all dreamt an end to hunger, we dreamt of waving a goodbye hand
to chronic queuing. The masses waited to see the demise of inflation, an end
to empty shelves, an end to malnutrition, a goodbye to erratic water
supplies, an end to cholera outbreaks and an end to the dark era of
loadshedding. Day after day we all dreamt. The dreams kept us alive. We
waited, patience tapering away now.
One week, we all agreed to give our dear leaders time. The second week, we
were divided; some saying the deal was collapsing. The majority remained
hopeful. Third week, the zeroes have started coming back, bringing with them
friends from the wilderness. The zeal went away suddenly. We all knew it's
no more. The deal is in tatters. It's no longer ours, it's theirs. They are
holding us to ransom. We face death. We stare a painful death. Starvation is
now a master in our midst.
I went to my rural home in Nyanga. I saw a sorry sight. God save us. The
masses are staring starvation in the face. They are surviving on termites.
They are surviving on anything they can lay their hands on. The children are
sick, they are malnourished. They have not seen a proper meal for months.
There is no hope; this will change in shortest period. The shops are
virtually empty. The few that have something are charging in US Dollar terms
or astronomical local prices. The hope for betterment to this condition is
slowly and ominously slipping away. Only God knows who will be called first.
The old folk beckon to me. They ask if I have brought any good news from
Harare. They wince when I say no, some drop a tear.
They grouse asking if all the leaders were human. They don't think so they
all concur. They advise me to tell the leaders back in Harare to put the
interests of the people first to avert the humanitarian crisis. This I agree
knowing though that the said people are like cursed puppies fighting over a
fifty year old bone.
On my journey back to Harare, I pondered over what the elders had said. I
knew they did not say all that was in their hearts. They thought they should
listen first. Wisdom. I knew they wanted to tell me that the MDC rushed to
agree. A bad deal is not a deal at all. Better no deal than have a bad deal.
The deal left Mugabe and ZANU PF with all the powers. The MDC is only a
tangential party in the deal, a far cry from what we had hoped and waited
for all this time.
Today we are revising the deal. Today we are no longer happy. This day we
feel hopeless. Helpless we feel today. We were cheated. Our dear opposition
leaders were cheated into the deal. Neither was it an all inclusive
government nor a power sharing agreement, they did not agree. The opposition
is yet to be included in any system of the government. Those guys, the same
old people we vehemently rejected in polls in March are wielding all the
power with diabolical gusto. Nothing will stop them, not even the
encroaching humanitarian crisis. They want power. They got it when our
opposition leaders signed them into power on the 15th of September 2008. We
lost. They won.
Today we know this. It's the painful truth that Mugabe and ZANU PF signed
the deal because they wanted legitimacy; they wanted credibility or some
semblance of it. The deal provided just that. Our dear Tsvangirai wanted it
also; he wanted to save his political career. Soon his two terms will come
to an end. He was careful to hedge against the possibility of going before
tasting power! Believe it or not, it's the truth. Mbeki wanted to score a
goal against his detractors, the west. Remember he is the architect behind
the African Renaissance dream. African solutions to African problems. He
scored a great goal, he even invited friends from the region to celebrate,
unfortunately it was an own goal!
That Mutambara is a gullible professor with such unmatched gullibility and
naivety that even his kith and fork are mulling disowning him is an
undeniable fact. An educated fellow who failed to learn. He is a political
whistle. A gadget to make noise for someone's attention. He did just that.
He is the biggest winner. He got what he did not deserve, not anywhere
between Zambezi and Limpopo. The opportunist of the year.
Today exactly 27 days after Mbeki sold us a mannequin; Mugabe has
unilaterally apportioned the ministries, violating the power sharing
agreement. He gave himself the most important and strategic ones. The move
left many dumbfounded and shell shocked. The news left me in tears, I was
perplexed to say the least. It boggles the mind to imagine why he had to
take that root after all the negotiations, the hope and the promises.
This is totally unwelcome and regrettable, but it was expected. We all knew
it was going to happen. The sixth sense told us. We ignored it. We were
wrong. His media street kid Charamba aka Nathaniel Manheru hinted on his
boss's sinister intentions. The military junta is nowhere near putting the
interests of the people ahead of their selfish interest to loot and plunder
resources for the benefit of their families and faceless fat girlfriends.
The gods did not smile to the people of Zimbabwe. They sneered at us when we
watched our leaders sign the deal. We all thought they were smiling in
approval. We were wrong. Our respite in not nigh. We waited after the
zeroes. We had the zeal after them. Then came the deal, we were ecstatic.
Now we are back with the totemless zeroes. The cursed zeroes. From the deal
all the leaders had a one for a score, with Mutambara scoring a whooping
five and the masses GOT A ZERO. The deal, the zeal and the zeroes, it's our
life. We are starving. We are now hopeless. We are dying.
Today the deal is danger. The deal is in intensive care unit. Today the
pessimists will tell us there is no more deal to talk about. Today the
cautious will warn us to prepare for Armageddon. The optimists will today
question the source of their optimism. Surely they will find the source
being the zeal, the zeal that came after the zeroes were given another boot
by self appointed Dr Gono. Truly the hopefuls will tell the nation that they
were misled by too much hope, they hoped too much in a hopeless. Everyone
will be forgiven. Everyone was hoping blindly. Everybody, blind, sick, thin,
tall and fat had hoped the deal will be successful. They had hoped the deal
will bring their lives back again. They were wrong. Very wrong indeed.
The zeal that was a cornerstone in all our daily undertakings is no more.
The zeal has died. It has been replaced by anxiety and grief. From Zambezi
to Limpopo nobody knows what to hope for next. Nobody has a clue anymore on
who will save us. We thought the talks will but alas, we were wrong. Today
we have nothing to look forward to. Last time we thought the devil in Zanu
Pf had transformed, we were wrong again. They are the same old satanic bunch
of murderers and crooks. Now they have put the deal in casket ready for
burial. Whether the deposed despot Thabo Mbeki comes today or tomorrow, the
difference is the same. The deal is no more. Insincerity, greedy and bad
faith are the doctors who pronounced the deal dead sometime ago.
The masses are still waiting. They are waiting for that day when everything
will be fine again. Those days when you can have bread and butter anytime of
the year. The people are waiting for that time again when zeroes are not as
frightening as they are today, the time when an addition of a zero to a
digit on your pay slip won't be a curse. They are waiting for that day when
they will sing together, together as one, together as a people of Zimbabwe,
the day they will sing about the deal, the deal and the zeroes.
As for now we have nothing. Mathematically we are at ZERO. The plague of
Zeroes is with us again.
May God richly bless Zimbabwe.
Gibson Nyambayo can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org