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Zimbabwe Monitors: March Polls 'Impossible'

Sep 30, 9:42 AM EDT


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- A Zimbabwean independent monitoring group says it
will be impossible to hold free and fair elections in March when President
Robert Mugabe wants the polls.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said Sunday the call by Mugabe for
full elections in the last week of March doesn't allow enough time to
establish conditions for a free vote.

The group said it is "adamant that logistically it is impossible" to meet
Mugabe's timetable and complete constitutional and electoral reforms
demanded by regional leaders.

It cited disputes in finalizing a new constitution, continuing political
intimidation and gross inaccuracies in voters' lists that still name "ghost"
electors who have long been dead.

Rushed voting couldn't be held on "a fair playing field" and the outcome
would be unacceptable by democratic standards, the group said.

Mugabe has also called for a referendum on the 150-page draft constitution
in November, but a parliamentary panel in charge of compiling the draft says
it must be put to a stakeholders' conference first. That conference of
political parties and civic and interest groups has already been postponed
to late October.

The election monitoring group said in a statement Sunday the electoral
commission responsible for running any poll has not yet received adequate
funding, the draft constitution has not been widely publicized and laws
governing the referendum itself are out of date and need revision.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader in a fragile
power-sharing coalition with Mugabe that was formed by regional mediators
after the last violent and disputed polls in 2008, has called on his
supporters to back the reformed constitution with a `Yes' vote in the

The regional leaders, led by the chief mediator on Zimbabwe, South African
President Jacob Zuma, have proposed June as a more realistic time for fresh
elections to end the coalition.

The poll monitoring group said an audit it carried out of voters'
registration lists last year showed 27 percent of entries were dead voters
and 47 percent of some 5 million voters no longer lived at the residential
addresses given, opening the way for abuse and rigging.

It said sweeping security laws and media curbs favoring Mugabe have not been
repealed, "hate speech" against opponents of Mugabe, 88, carried by his
loyalist state media has persisted and Tsvangirai's party has been denied
fair access to the state broadcaster, the sole source of information for
most rural Zimbabweans.

Tsvangirai, 60, has been mauled in Mugabe's media over reports he had
several love affairs after his wife of 30 years died in a car crash in 2009.

The state Sunday Mail newspaper reported that Tsvangirai made what it called
"a stunning climbdown" at the 13th anniversary of the foundation of his
party on Saturday when he apologized to "a coterie of women he
inconvenienced by his escapades."

"I would like to apologize to anyone who was hurt because it was not my
intention, it was a genuine search for a new wife," the paper quoted
Tsvangirai saying at anniversary celebrations in the second city of

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PM Warns Mugabe Against Rigging Elections

Sebastian Mhofu
September 29, 2012

HARARE — Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Saturday said his party
will not allow President Robert Mugabe to rig another election. The
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader made the comment a few
days after President Mugabe announced that Zimbabwe would hold elections to
end the country’s coalition government next March. made his remarks as
recent surveys show his party losing ground.

Addressing members of his MDC party supporters in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s
second-largest city, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said he would win next year’s
elections set for March. He dismissed recent surveys suggesting that
support for his party is waning. “The MDC has never lost support. We must
be strategic. ZANU-PF cannot steal another election and get away with it,"
he said.

ZANU-PF is the party of President Robert Mugabe, with whom Tsvangirai formed
a coalition government in 2009 after the disputed 2008 election.

The unity government has stabilized Zimbabwe’s economy but both men have
disagreed on a number of issues. Last week, the justice minister said a
general election would be held next year. Tsvangirai says he will help move
the economy forward.

“If you vote for us, our vision is to create a Zimbabwe that is able to
respect people of Zimbabwe and make them prosperous. No longer are we going
to have a culture of one-man rule who happens to be Robert Mugabe. We do
not want to replace ZANU-PF with Tsvangirai. We want to replace Mugabe with
a democratic MDC. Another pillar (if MDC wins election) is: we cannot talk
of an economy which does not create jobs. Our economy must be once again a
vibrant economy," he said.

MDC party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the election dates proposed by
President Mugabe are not feasible. He also said his party would prove wrong
surveys predicting that the MDC will lose. “Regarding surveys, yes, we take
note of some of the things that were said in the survey. But what we know
is that the people of Zimbabwe support the MDC. Today we have seen
thousands and thousands of people that have come to White City Stadium... to
listen to President Tsvangirai," he said.

Tsvangirai addressed his supporters for close to an hour in Bulawayo.

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Zimbabwe PM urges support for draft charter

Posted Sunday, September 30 2012 at 00:44

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday urged support for a
draft charter to pave the way for new elections to succeed the country's
shaky coalition government.

"There are key progressive steps being proposed in that constitution,"
Tsvangirai said at a rally with about 20,000 supporters to mark the 13th
anniversary of his Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) party.

The draft charter -- created by a committee of lawmakers from the two main
parties -- curtails the president's powers and reduces his tenure and
provides for a human rights commission and independent prosecutor.

Tsvangirai said veteran President Robert Mugabe, whose party has vowed to
reject the draft if it ignores changes they propose, had indicated in
private talks that the draft charter was better than the current

"If Mugabe supports it, who are you to reject it," Tsvangirai challenged
those who have vowed to oppose the draft charter.

Tsvangirai formed a coalition government with Mugabe in 2009 to avoid a
plunge into conflict in the aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off
election in 2008.

"A coalition cannot determine the country's destiny," the prime minister
said. "All the parties do is pull in opposite direction. (Mugabe's) ZANU-PF
does not want it anymore. We don't want it. It's a marriage of convenience."

He urged unity in his party to ensure victory at new elections to succeed
the compromise government whose tenure has been characterised by haggling
over positions and counter-accusations of violence.

"Next year we will be celebrating 14 years in different circumstances with
an MDC government,"he said

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Struggle reaching ‘fruition’ — PM

Sunday, 30 September 2012 13:45

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
HARARE - PrimeMinister Morgan Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe’s “struggle for
change has reached a point of no return”, although military generals remain
a threat.

He told a bumper crowd estimated at more than 20 000 in Bulawayo yesterday
that President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party would fall in a few

Smarting from damaging personal love scandals and reports of his MDC party
being rocked by internal fighting, corruption and declining support,
Tsvangirai appeared buoyant at the MDC’s 13th anniversary celebrations

“Despite these setbacks, I must say I am proud of what we have achieved so
far. I stated upon entering into this transition that the MDC was far from
retreating and abandoning the struggle; instead we were advancing in another
direction,” Tsvangirai said.

“We are a few months from our destination, despite our daily humiliation and
public vilification. Our struggle has reached a point of no return,” he

The former trade unionist however, admitted that threats from a heavily
politicised security sector — the real power behind Mugabe — remained real.

“Our officials, including Cabinet ministers and senior party leaders, were
routinely victimised by a hopelessly partisan cabal inside the security
sector. To complicate an already muddied situation, pockets of lawlessness
still roam the countryside,” he said.

Tsvangirai reminded supporters how the MDC forced Mugabe to enter
negotiations despite the former guerilla leader previously stating he would
never negotiate with “puppets”.

The MDC in a roadmap adopted in 2006 stated that forcing Mugabe into a
transitional government would be the final step in ousting the 88-year-old
career politician.

Tsvangirai said the roadmap was on course.

“As a reminder and in particular, our 2006 contract with the people,
demanded a clear roadmap to political legitimacy and to a new Zimbabwe.

“Through that covenant, we publicly pronounced our plan to push Zanu PF and
Robert Mugabe to talk to us; and to form a transitional arrangement in order
to soft-land the national crisis,” said Tsvangirai, promising a government
that would treat economic development, good governance infrastructural
development and food security as top priorities.

“Unlike our detractors and opponents, the MDC pledges never to burn down
Zimbabwe, for political survival, with millions of its citizens still
trapped inside,” he said.

Tsvangirai said the MDC’s vision was constrained by discord in the coalition

“The transformation we want will not come through a coalition government
because a coalition by its nature can never define a path for national
prosperity,” he said.

Tsvangirai promised to reverse the industrial decay facing Bulawayo, which
he blamed on years of a deliberate policy to marginalise and disenfranchise
people of Matabeleland by the previous Zanu PF government.

His MDC party has controlled the Bulawayo council for a decade though. -
Staff Writers

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MDC supporters ambushed, attacked

Scores of MDC-T supporters who were travelling to the party’s 13th
anniversary in Bulawayo were injured when their mini-buses were stoned by a
group of suspected Zanu (PF) supporters who ambushed them in Shangani.

by Zwanai Sithole

Three of the supporters were seriously injured and rushed to Mpilo Hospital
in Bulawayo.

Some of the kombis damaged in the attack belong to Timothy Mukahlela, a
Midlands representative on the party’s National Executive Council.

“We had just passed Shangani business centre when people started throwing
stones and other objects at our kombi .The attackers blocked the road with
boulders and laid an ambush in a nearby bush,” said an MDC supporter, Milton
Nyoni, who was travelling in one of the buses.

The Zanu (PF) youths believed to be taking orders from the local Zanu

In recent months, Langa’s constituency has seen an upsurge in political

Last month, the homestead of Pretty Phiri, the MDC Ward 22 Chairperson was
burnt to ashes by Zanu (PF) supporters led by Edith Gumbo.

When contacted for a comment, MDC –T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora was
locked in a meeting but an aid who answered his mobile phone confirmed the
Shangani attack.

“It is true that MDC supporters were attacked by Zanu (PF),”said the aid.

Thousands of people attended the MDC-T celebrations at which party
President, Morgan Tsvangirai urged his supporters to remain resolute in
their fight for democracy and acknowledged that they had experienced a
mixture of success and failures since the formation of the party in late

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Uniformed forces: New rank marshals in town

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Sunday, 30 September 2012 14:09
HARARE - Brutal force employed by security forces to nab the rag-tag Zanu
PF-sponsored militia at bus termini in the capital has seen an uneasy calm
returning in most parts of Harare where police officers and soldiers are now
the new “rank marshals”.

But is the tranquillity going to last at a time when the city fathers are
failing to step in and take control of their properties?

Uniformed forces that helped bring order have taken charge of some of the
termini and residents’ groups say the termini have become a feeding trough
for the men and women in uniform.

Under the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15) and the Regional, Town and
Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) Harare is supposed to plan and regulate
traffic, markets and housing but has failed in its duty to monitor and
implement its own regulations and systems dealing with not only kombis but
also vendors.

Emmanuel Chiroto, Harare deputy mayor said the council which has in the past
been at the mercy of Zanu PF shock-troopers, is going to swiftly fill the
void before Mandimbandimba return.

“We do not want any further delays. So we have asked management to ensure
that we take over the ranks before the touts begin. These people were making
a lot of money that has to be stopped. We will thus continue working with
the police so as to ensure that touts do not come back,” said Chiroto.

Chiroto said he had no problem with continued police presence at termini as
long as they do not charge a fee.

But the country’s cops mistrusted by the public because of corruption and
their heavy-handed methods are said to be receiving cash from desperate and
scared transporters.

Precious Shumba, chairperson of Harare Residents Trust (HRT), said
government, through the ministry of Home Affairs should give municipal
police arresting powers to enable them to deal with daring touts who have
hitherto defied them.

“The Anti Corruption Commission should deploy its officials to all the ranks
and see what police officers are doing, demanding $5 from each commuter
omnibus in bribes,” alleges Shumba.

To last or not to, the hiatus brought by a military intervention following
the beating of a soldier by some rowdy touts popularly known as
mandimbandimba is a welcome delusion for residents blighted by the noise
pollution vented by hustlers who reap from kombis and also citizens.

Investigations by the Daily News on Sunday revealed that touts make at least
$30 000-a-day and also determine bus fares.

Around 5pm at Charge Office during the peak hour, the cacophony of touts
blaring destinations that ironically are known by their target market are

In their place are unpredictable police officers who have reduced the
usually boisterous kombi crews to mutes.

“We are happy that we are no longer paying unnecessary money to the touts
and we hope that the police will maintain their presence and ensure that
order is observed at ranks,” said one kombi driver.

But still there is no love lost between police and kombi drivers not only on
bus termini where they are accused of coaxing bribes and also beating up
misfits but also on roads where they are still creaming kombis dry.

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Illegal settlers pose environmental threat in Vumba

on September 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm
19 2 0 21

By Tendai Ruombwa

MUTARE — People claiming to be veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation took
advantage of the land reform programme launched by the government in 2000 to
settle around the Vumba Mountains for farming purposes.

They are also indiscriminately cutting down trees, cultivating on river beds
and illegally killing game for the pot. The settlers camped in the mountains
in 2004 and have resisted all efforts to evict them. One of the farmers
Zvenyika Chigodora vowed to stay put saying only President Mugabe can move

“As you can see we are preparing more land for the next season. We fought
the liberation struggle so we could farm on these fertile lands. The
President gave us a chance to be land owners during the land reform program.

He accused the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) which has been
trying to evict them of being imperialists working with the West to reverse
the gains of the liberation struggle. “Mugabe is the only person who will
tell us what to do”, he said whilst clearing land for cultivation.

Hectares of land have been cleared for farming and the settlers have erected
small huts. The settlers are farming on riverbeds causing siltation and
gullies in the low lying areas. When this reporter visited the area the
settlers were at ease contrary to reports from the EMA that they are
preparing to vacate the area at the end of June.

Villagers in the area say the illegal farmers are being protected by Zanu PF
and have been used to terrorise other villagers in an effort to retain the
Mutare South constituency during general elections expected late this year
or early next year.

Onismo Maengahama who operates an indigenous tree sanctuary said the
destruction of natural environment had been worsened by people who invaded
the area that was not suitable for habitation but are left alone for
political gains.

Headman Amos Nyamakari whose area was invaded by the more than 30 families
said all farming infrastructure like irrigation pipes in the area are being
destroyed and if the invaders are not moved the area could soon be turned
into a desert.

“Before these people came the forests were dense and we harnessed irrigation
water for our horticultural produce from the Nyamakari and Nyamataka rivers.
Now they are cutting down trees, farming on mountain slopes and along
riverbeds, this is causing land degradation and is also worsening siltation
of the rivers whose water is the source of livelihood for the whole

He added that rivers now run dry before the rainy season and this is
affecting irrigation farming by horticulturalists that have relied upon the
rivers for many years.

Kingston Chitotombe the Manicaland Provincial Environmental Officer with the
EMA concurred with Headman Nyamakari. He said attempts to move the farmers
over the past three years have failed. He however said his organisation is
not giving up and will take action.

“The settlers have caused untold harm to the environment. We gave them a
deadline to vacate the area but they pleaded with us to let them harvest
their crops. If they do not move after that we shall move them forcibly. We
are working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Tourism and the

Asked why it has taken close to eight years to relocate the farmers
Chitotombe said the issue was delicate and hence there was need to address
it in an amicable manner, “We have held a number of meetings with the
farmers concerned and other stakeholders but the problem is where to move
them and who will build new homes for them. As EMA we have no capacity to
build them houses.”

An official from the Manicaland Provincial Administration office who spoke
on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said though some
officials from Zanu PF like Fred Kanzama the local Member of Parliament are
advocating for the removal of the farmers they are conniving with them to
stay put as moving them will cost his party support.

Vumba in Mutare South is one of the six constituencies won by Zanu PF in
Manicaland in the last general elections. Fred Kanzama narrowly won the
seat. He distanced himself from the illegal farmers saying;

“I am not aware of any illegal farming taking place I have only heard it
through the grape-vine, my hands are clean and the law should take its
course. As ZANU PF we are a law abiding party and no one should be allowed
to drag the party into disrepute for their selfish gain”

However Mutare Rural district information officer Josphat Manzini said the
illegal settlers were landless people and proper steps should be taken to
resettle them.

“We are aware of the damage they are causing to the environment but we
cannot treat them as animals. We are making the necessary arrangements to
relocate them and we are still working on the modalities. It will be naive
to say they are political activists because the land reform program is a
government initiative and not a Zanu PF program- any Zimbabwean who wants a
piece of land benefit.”

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Zimbabwe ambassador to Australia now a student

on September 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm
69 1 0 70

By Phillip Thomson

Sitting in a lecture theatre at Australian National University, it would be
strange to think one of the students studying international relations is a
woman close to the centre of a country’s historic transformation.

Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Australia, Jacqueline Zwambila at the Zimbabwe
Embassy in O’Malley. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Jacqueline Zwambila, Zimbabwe’s top envoy to Australia, not only holds the
title of ambassador but also of pupil. She says, ”My fellow students do not
know who I am.”

The grandmother, former public relations entrepreneur and political activist
is two years into her first diplomatic posting – and is expected to return
to her part-time evening classes in 2013 after an enforced gap year prompted
by a heavy bout of diplomatic work.

Australia is a challenging post for a first-time head of mission. It is more
important to Zimbabwe than ever. From 2005-06 to 2007-08, Zimbabwe received
$5.6 million of Australian aid, according to AusAID. Since the start of 2009
it has received $177 million.

”Zimbabwe was a dirty word when I came here [in 2010],” Zwambila says.
Australia now sends more aid to Zimbabwe than any other African nation.

Zwambila sits in her office inside her country’s embassy in O’Malley, a
modest building not far from the Iraqi embassy or the diplomatic base from
which the Syrians were recently kicked out by the Australian government.

Looking down on us is a portrait of President Robert Mugabe. It is
interesting because it was Zwambila’s opposition to Mugabe that essentially
brought her to Canberra.

As part of the Movement for Democratic Change, she supported Morgan
Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is now the Prime Minister in a unity government
formed in 2009 after Mugabe led a political campaign laced with vote-rigging
and violence in 2008, actions which prompted international indignation.

Today there is a three-part coalition made up of Mugabe’s party, Tsvangirai’s
party and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s own Movement for
Democratic Change faction.

Zimbabwe is a country made up of tenuous political agreements. There are two
Vice-Presidents, both from Mugabe’s African National Union Patriotic Front
party. There are two Deputy Prime Ministers, one from each of the Movement
for Democratic Change groups.

As these power deals were struck it was Zwambila, a Tsvangirai supporter,
who was chosen for the Australian posting.

When an allegation surfaced that in late 2010 Zwambila had stripped naked in
her Canberra office while admonishing members of her staff, it was reported
that Mugabe supporters had perpetrated the smear. Zwambila fought back
publicly by suing for defamation.

She says she has reached an out-of-court settlement with Nationwide News,
which reproduced the original story from a Zimbabwean publication, and she
is still pursuing one journalist who wrote the story in an African paper. If
someone is looking to needle Zwambila, it won’t be easy.

Her father was an entrepreneur who started as a bookkeeper and ended up
building supermarkets and cocktail bars. It was a time when the highest an
African could rise in society was to sell groceries, or become a teacher.

Growing up, Zwambila attended an elite multinational school, a school with
white kids. A place where Africans such as her were excluded from sports
such as netball.

It was a lonely time. There was no protection from racist teachers while at
the same time she did not have the option of running away. Zwambila had to
stay to receive an education her parents were working hard to pay for.

”I’ve had to fight the whole system,” she says. ”I’m a fighter.”

That same aggressive spirit to survive and achieve can be seen, she says, in
mothers who run households in Zimbabwe. Homes which somehow save the money
to send children to expensive university courses in Australia. The
ambassador doesn’t believe being a diplomat is any more of a challenge
because she is female. Once you have the position, she explains, it is up to
you how you use it. And besides, she has encountered a lifetime of
challenges to get here.

Zimbabwe at the moment is drafting a constitution, which could be voted on
in a referendum as early as the end of this year, and the country also faces
another election process next year, which may be held as early as March. It
will be an attempt by the country to move beyond the tenuous power-sharing
deal under way at the moment.

Australia assists Zimbabwe with institutional strengthening, such as helping
the revenue office collect taxes. While Australians rank number two on the
list of tourists visiting Zimbabwe, Zwambila wants to see more Australian
investors move on from their ”wait and see attitude” toward her country.

”We have the second-largest platinum and diamond deposits in the world,” she

In early 2011, however, it was reported that Rio Tinto agreed to give up a
51 per cent stake of its diamond mining operation, a situation enforced by
so-called indigenisation laws to bring ownership into local hands. The law
is controversial, even within the government, and has delayed expansion by
Rio Tinto, but she insists that Zimbabwe wants to engage with the world.

If Zwambila could take some sort of distinctly Canberra influence back to
policy-makers in her home country, it would be the capital’s use of open

”The peace and quiet of Canberra is actually quite beautiful,” she says.

”We tend to cut down the trees and build high-rises.” CanberraTimes

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MDC to unveil new party symbol

Sunday, 30 September 2012 13:22
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC will unveil a new party
symbol at its 13th anniversary that opens today at White City Stadium in

The party is moving to clear confusion among voters and controversy over the
open palm symbol which it shares with the smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube.

“We want to distinguish ourselves from others that want to copy our symbol
for electoral expediency,” Mwonzora told journalists on the side-lines of a
debate on the draft constitution organised by Bulawayo Agenda.

“Although we will continue to use the open palm, the only difference is that
we will use a symbol of a small child to represent the future, love,
likeability and innocence.”

Thousands of supporters are expected to throng White City Stadium for the
13th anniversary whose significance rests on being the last one before the
much anticipated general elections.

An upbeat Mwonzora said his party was prepared to go for the plebiscite
provided free and fair polls are guaranteed.

“Mugabe can have his polls any time he likes provided they are free and
fair,” Mwonzora said.

On Monday, the party’s Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo told
journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club that the celebration will be the
biggest that the party has ever hosted.

“It will be a big show, of Olympian standard, vibrant, a tsunami indeed. It
will also be the last one before we get into power,” Moyo said.

“Zanu PF has been stealing elections, but this time around the people of
Zimbabwe will punish them. Zanu PF is behaving like Herod who wanted to kill
Jesus in Biblical times, but after 13 years MDC has survived years of Zanu
PF ‘dominance’,” Moyo said.

Today’s event will reflect on past human right violations such as
Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina and the deadly 2008 election violence.

MDC officials also say they will pay tribute to all those who died and were
injured in the fight for democracy, discuss unemployment and bread and
butter issues. - Own Correspondent

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Vigil reply to MDC – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th September 2012

The Vigil is not allied to any political party although most of our supporters are MDC members. Indeed, we have happily worked with the MDC in the UK, most recently during last week’s demonstrations of encouragement outside the Tanzania and Botswana High Commissions in London.

After reading our last diary, a leading MDC figure in the UK, while thanking us for our help over the demonstrations, complained that we were again criticizing the MDC. Here is our reply:

‘We would like to assure you that we are not against the MDC. But we feel an obligation to be critical when the leadership is failing the party’s members. To do otherwise would be following the example of Zanu PF.

If you were thinking of our criticism in the diary of Tsvangirai’s romances, we would point out that many people have expressed disappointment at his judgment – not least because of the Zanu PF connections of some of the ladies in question.

If you were thinking of our comments about the Youth Assembly’s infantile toadying up to Tsvangirai (see:, we feel strongly that this reflects a type of ‘big man’ politics which surely has no place in a modern democracy.

We readily acknowledge that we have criticized the party’s leadership over a range of issues: principally for their failure to see that the four-year-old GPA has been implemented and the alacrity with which some have jumped on the gravy train (see: – Politics a stepping stone to gravy train).

The Vigil believes that our leaders must be held to account and if they are found wanting they must be replaced. This is a common experience in the UK: we think most recently of Tony Blair and before that of Margaret Thatcher – both very successful politicians who were dumped by their parties.

Despite all this, the Vigil applauds the many MDC members working bravely and unselfishly for change. Without the support of these members the party would not exist. They and you have every right, if not a duty, to criticize the leadership when it fails.

Yours in solidarity – Vigil Co-ordinators’

Despite our comments about the Youth Assembly, the Vigil would like to express our admiration for its imprisoned Chair, Solomon Madzore, who writes: ‘The Zanu PF machinery can only imprison our bodies and never our spirits. We are free inside ourselves. They are the ones shackled in a perpetual prison of fear, guilt and shame. Sizafika Nomakhanjani!!!’ (see: – Solomon Madzore Message from Chikurubi Prison).

The Vigil wishes it could share brave Solomon’s confidence that Tsvangirai will lead Zimbabwe to a better future.

Other points

Vigil supporters were entertained by the analysis of Mugabe’s UN speech by UK-based lawyer Alex Magaisa (see: – Mugabe’s alternative UN General Assembly speech).

Today saw the relaunch of ROHR’s Cambridge branch. ROHR has been steadily recapturing ground lost when subversive elements claimed ownership of the organization.

We were happy to be joined by Patson Muzuwa from Leicester. Patson was a vibrant founder member of the Vigil after he fled Zimbabwe following torture for his support of the MDC. It was wonderful to hear his distinctive voice singing again after his health problems.

Patson brought with him a traumatised young woman who had just arrived in the UK after being raped by members of a Zimbabwean youth militia.

This the last week you can see ‘The Rain that Washes’, which has had excellent reviews. See ‘Events and Notices’ for details.

For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 48 signed the register.


The Rain that Washes showing at the Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, until Saturday 6th October at 7 pm. Check: or phone the booking line: 08448733433 for specific dates and to book tickets, ‘Instantly plunged into a young man’s compelling story of growing up in turbulent Zimbabwe, we live and breathe his extraordinary journey from innocence to escape, finally returning to his homeland to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . . Inspired by a series of interviews between Zimbabwean Christopher Maphosa and writer Dave Carey, The Rain That Washes is a true story that is poignant, political and most of all, personal’.

10th Anniversary of the Zimbabwe Vigil / Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 13th October from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn. Future special ZAF meeting: Saturday 10th November when our special guest will be Ben Freeth. This meeting will take the place of the regular ZAF meeting in November at 6.30 pm at Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see above.

Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

Vigil Facebook page:

Vigil Myspace page:

To sponsor the Mike Campbell Foundation expedition ‘Sailing across the Makgadikgadi Pans’ which will raise money for the work of the Foundation, go to

Useful websites: which reports on Zanu PF abuses and where people can report corruption in Zimbabwe.

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Too many looters in Zimbabwe Government

on September 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm
21 2 0 27

By Senator Obert Gutu

I am exactly two years and three months old as a deputy minister in this

My experience as a minister in this apparently unique type of government
will be fully disclosed when I write my memoirs. Suffice to state that it
has been a roller coaster experience of frustration, provocation, anxiety
and the occasional spasm of sheer ecstasy and enjoyment of one’s job as a
poorly paid public servant.

The way the inclusive government operates has taught me one fundamental
lesson. And this is to know and appreciate that one should never be too
trusting and take everyone you interact with as an honest, patriotic and
well-meaning government operative.

For, quite unfortunately, this government has, amongst its ranks, sharks and
looters who do not care one iota whether or not the ordinary citizen can
afford at least one square meal a day.

Amongst us, we have plunderers and greedy and thoroughly corrupt bureaucrats
who have absolutely no shame as they selfishly continue to bleed this
otherwise beautiful country, dry. These are women and men with no shame.

Their fat overseas bank accounts and some other such ill-gotten wealth will
make the likes of Mo Ibrahim, Strive Masiyiwa, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
green with envy. No wonder Zimbabwe’s economy is tottering on the verge of
virtual collapse. The reason is quite simple. It’s not sanctions. Stupid.

Sanctions? What sanctions?

Thirty two years of unprecedented ZanuPF misgovernance, corruption and
looting has contributed to the state of penury that Zimbabwe now finds
herself in. A jewel of Africa at independence in April 1980, years of ZanuPF
misrule have made sure that Zimbabwe is now a complete and shameless basket
case. ” Mauya mauya comrade…..zvamauya tongai Zimbabwe..”….

This is a famous revolutionary song that I heard as a young teenager in
early 1980 when the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerillas were being bussed into various
assembly points dotted throughout the country as the ceasefire was slowly
but surely taking hold.

There was an air of excitement and utter, complete joy as these brave
fighters and sons of the soil were returning to Zimbabwe to rule the nation.
Alas! Little did these gallant warriors know about the exact intentions of
some of their leaders.

Some of these leaders were never genuinely interested in liberating the
people and ensuring that there would be equal opportunities for all. Amongst
the leaders triumphantly returning from Mozambique were some sheep in wolves’

These were fake, fly-by-night revolutionaries who were solely guided by
their voracious appetite for corrupt, selfish and primitive accumulation of
private, personal wealth. These were the hoodlums and low lives amongst
otherwise genuine and well-meaning revolutionaries who had taken up arms of
war to fight the illegal and racist Ian Smith settler regime.

And it is this bunch of fake and latter day revolutionaries that has ensured
that Zimbabwe became the basket case that it is today.

In a country where more that 80% of the people live on less than US$2 per
day, you have these fat cats who have corruptly externalised billions of
dollars to far away places in the Middle East as well as the Far East.

It is these shameless thieves and looters who have degenerated Zimbabwe and
not the so-called sanctions that we always hear about in the ZanuPF
controlled print and electronic media.

Ian Smith was under United Nations sponsored sanctions since his illegal
unilateral declaration of independence in 1965.However, inspite of and
despite these UN sanctions, Ian Smith managed to establish one of the most
sophisticated and industrialised economies this side of the Equator.

Smith designed efffective import substitution policies that made sure that
this country was a very close second to the South African economy. And enter
the comrades from ZanuPF in April 1980! What then happened?

It is a pity that the inclusive government did not divest ZanuPF of its
total control of the levers of State power. If anything, ZanuPF has misused
and abused the inclusive government to resuscitate its waning political

They have effectively set up a parallel government which is very handsomely
funded by the proceeds from the diamonds of Chiadzwa and Marange. My fellow
countymen and women, please lend me your ears. Let me tell you that this
country is being looted day in day out. And for as long as ZanuPF continues
to control and manipulate the levers of State power, Zimbabwe is doomed.
Trust me.

Going forward, all well-meaning and patriotic citizens should take it as
their obligation to make sure that our mighty motherland is saved from
ZanuPF misrule and cleptocracy. I do not even want to imagine the impossible
event happening next year!

Just imagine what will happen to this great country in the very, very
unlikely event of a ZanuPF electoral victory in 2013? That will be total
Amargeddon. Should such an unthinkable event take place, then forget about

For this country will then be permanently forsaken to the ranks of failed
African states such as Somalia. I humbly take this opportunity to appeal to
all patriotic Zimbabweans to take up the challenge and ensure that come the
historic elections in 2013, ZanuPF will be relegated to the political
dustbin where it rightfully belongs. I am not hallucinating. This is
possible. It can and indeed, it should be done if it all we want to save our
motherland from total collapse.

We have to launch a ” Save Zimbabwe” campaign rightaway.T his is a peaceful
and democratic campaign to make sure that ZanuPF get a comprehensive and
thorough electoral bashing at the forthcoming historic polls. The MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai should now up its game.

We have to immediately get into campaign mode. Victory is ours to proclaim.
The enemy is annihilated already. Only a miracle will see ZanuPF win a free
and fair election in Zimbabwe today, tomorrow nor in the foreseable future.
And we all know that miracles don’t easily happen!

When the MDC forms the next government next year ( as will surely and
inevitably happen), we have to embark on a comprehensive paradigm shift in
issues of governance. Corruption should be ruthlessly clamped upon. I have
absolutely no apology to make by disclosing that I am a Maoist.

I am a great admirer of Chairman Mao Zedong; the revolutionary who helped in
establishing modern China. Of course, there is some debate as to whether or
not Chairman Mao was a dictator. I think he was just a strong and effective
leader who ensured that China was removed from a feudal mode of production
into a modern and industrialising nation state.

I agree that some scholars credit Deng Xiaoping with the remarkable economic
progress of China in the past few decades. Whichever way you look at it, in
Zimbabwe we need our own Maos and Xiaopings who will step up and ensure that
it is no longer business as usual.

We need something more than a mere change of government. We need a
comprehensive and fundamental paradigm shift in which transparency,
accountability, efficiency and comptence will be the only benchmarks for
placement of people in positions of authority and/or influence.

Politics of corruption and patronage should be history. Zimbabwe should be
saved from collapse.

I am a patriot

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare. He is also the MDC Harare
provincial spokesperson as well as the Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal
Affairs. He is also the Africa Heritage Society Goodwill Ambassador for
Justice & Messenger of Peace.

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Mugabe Pushing Zimbabweans To The Brink?

By Marko Phiri
September 29, 2012

Questions are being asked whether Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is bent
on stirring the country back to the political chaos of 2008 as his party
Zanu PF stalls the constitution making process.

Without a new constitution, elections are unlikely to be held as
constitutional reform is one of the conditions the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008 by the three governing partners set
for the holding of fresh polls.

But as Mugabe’s Zanu PF party digs in, the fear that the party vowed to
instil in the hearts of commercial farmers during the violent farm invasion
at the turn of the century has now been revisited on ordinary folks.

With Mugabe still wielding control over the very repressive state security
apparatus, his jingoism has led to questions about what his aspirations are
for a country recovering from world-record breaking inflation considering
that all pretence to a “popular uprising” have been quashed by the so-called

At the height of the Arab Spring and the subsequent bloody street clashes
between civilians and the uniformed forces in the Maghreb, Zimbabwe’s
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnagagwa and military men were quick to warn that
there was no room for those aspiring to import the mass protests to

The fact that the Defence Minister and his barracks cohorts raised this was
in itself telling: they knew Zimbabweans were in fact agitating for those
street protests that had helped oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a
long-time Mugabe ally.

Indeed Mugabe – not a soldier himself – has come to epitomise that
historical caricature of African strongmen who in their efforts to
perpetuate bad governance, create dystopian nationhoods by unleashing the
terror of the armed forces on civilians.

It has been well documented how virtually all sectors of Zimbabwe’s public
services have been stuffed – literally – with “retired” army generals: from
the body in charge of elections, to railways and even football
administration, the army badge has become ubiquitous.

And it does not come as a surprise then that as the country makes tentative
steps towards polls, the military is at the centre of resistance toward any
reforms that threaten Mugabe’s exit – and by logical extension their own –
be they constitutional, media, electoral – all based on claims that anything
else “countermands” the “sacrifices of the liberation struggle!”

This obsession with all things military and its toys thus became writ large
when it was announced without any hint of cruel irony that Zimbabwe had
bought weapons from South Africa, a sign perhaps that nothing is being left
to chance ahead of the elections, yet the very fact that the same political
opponents the guns are aimed at sit with Mugabe in government smacks of the
futility of efforts to create ideal conditions for “a free and fair”
election, it has been argued.

Finance Minister and MDC secretary general Tendai Biti has previously
resisted pressure to pour millions of dollars into the recruitment of
soldiers, and predictably, his critics within the Zanu PF establishment are
quick to claim Biti has his priorities firmly ensconced in “Western
capitals” as Mugabe claims the West did try a military invasion on

Yet the fate of a whole rogues gallery of African autocrats that includes
the bloody fall of Libyan strongman Muamur Gaddafi who shared the same rabid
pan-Africanist idealisms and stood shoulder-shoulder with Mugabe as they
spit the usual rhetoric against “American imperialism” that was greeted with
glee and fist-pumping in Zimbabwe’s metropolitan streets is too vivid for
Mugabe’s Cheka-like operatives, a veritable throwback to Soviet communists!

Thus it is that many Zimbabweans who openly swarmed streets in the election
euphoria of the year 2000 that shook Mugabe have been reduced to muted
blissless reveries imagining they could well do with localising that kind of
Arab Spring violence.

But Mugabe has always been quick to warn he brooks no street protests
against his 32-year old stranglehold on power. What is interesting about
Zimbabwe is that many would in general conversations extol the toppling of
leaders as happened in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and it was even asked when
Mubarak was toppled if Zimbabwe was ripe for televising its own revolution.

Yet what has become clear is that the warnings President Mugabe issues out
to would-be protestors have been taken to the letter. After all, Mugabe’s
history of violence is well documented.

From as early as independence in 1980, Mugabe has not disguised violence as
a favoured weapon of choice when faced with opposition to his rule. He has
boasted of having “degrees in violence” and has effectively succeeded in
cultivating a fear of not only active participation in politics but even
such mundane things as expressing one’s political preferences.

A recent survey by a local elections watchdog confirms what has always been
known, that Zimbabweans fear anything to do with politics, and it wasn’t
surprising that during the just ended national census enumeration exercise,
some residents refused to be counted, firmly believing that their personal
details were going to be fed into the database of Mugabe’s feared Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO). This spy agency is long accused of hounding
Zanu PF opponents.

It can be argued then that Mugabe has succeeded in instilling unpatriotic
fear among Zimbabweans as a very useful tool to perpetuate what even his
trusted lieutenants revealed in explosive WikiLeaks from the United States
Harare Embassy cables that he had long passed his relevance to local

But this has still not damped his resolve to continue with his project which
over the years has appeared to be a pathological determination to take the
country down with him, wherever it is he is going.

The 88-year ruler is full of ironies and contradictions.

He has insisted that he will retire from active politics as long as “his
people” want him, conveniently forgetting that he has been rejected by the
electorate since 2000. He has also said he will not step down as Zanu PF
leader because there is no one within the party ranks worthy to untie his
sandals, to borrow from Christian allegory.

This itself is seen as scathing indictment on his kind of leadership. It has
thus been asked how he could have failed to groom a successor during his
long reign, betraying the fact that he has always wanted to be in charge
until his expiration.

But as his biographer the late Heidi Holland put it, he still imagines
himself as a young lad and is reliving a lost past. Yet this does not
detract from what appears to be a morbid desire to also revisit the street
protests of 1998 for example where thousands took the police head-on as they
protested against bread prices and a rising cost of living.

These would-be protestors know only too well the fate that awaits them.

The bruised face of Morgan Tsvangirai when he was beaten by police during a
botched 2007 peace rally, the bare bruised thighs of senior MDC official and
feminist Grace Kwinje, the bandaged head of constitution law professor and
long-time Mugabe critic Lovemore Madhuku, the picture of the then 64-year
old Sekai Holland writhing in pain after police reportedly screamed “hit her
buttocks hard,” the bloodied face of the MDC’s then Information Secretary
Nelson Chamisa, the disappearance of opposition activists since independence
in 1980, and the failed so-called “Final Push” of 2003 remain vividly etched
in people’s minds.

But that is still going too far as we have the brutality of the March 2008
election violence unleashed by Mugabe loyalists and state security agents to
remind Zimbabweans the folly of choosing a political party other than Zanu

What then are the options for millions of Zimbabweans both at home and
abroad faced with Mugabe’s recalcitrance? Not even the United States, long
accused of taking up other people’s fight for democracy seems to have a
A red flag has been raised before that political instability in Zimbabwe
could mean instability in southern Africa, yet all efforts to redirect
Mugabe away from that imminent chaos have fallen on very obdurate ears.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans stand aside and look, but they ask: till when?

Marko Phiri is a journalist/writer based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

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Robert Mugabe: A Master of Irony and Satire

Posted On : September 30th, 2012

By Audrey Charowa

Zimbabwe’s 88year old President used his speech at the 67th Annual Security
Council meeting at the United Nations in New York this week to attack NATO
States as “Warmongers”. Although, they’ve killed far less people than
Zimbabwe’s 5th Brigade. Mugabe claimed they were “inspired by the arrogant
belief that they are the most powerful among us”. The theme chosen for this
session, by recently elected President of the General Assembly, Mr Vuk
Jeremic was “Bringing about Adjustment or Settlement of International
Disputes or Situations by Peaceful Means”

Mugabe who is still incensed by the death of fellow despot and long-time
ally, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya condemned what he termed a “might is now
right” policy and an “insatiable appetite for war”. The Irony of Mugabe’s
speech could not have been lost on his listeners. He attacked NATO countries
for doing much less than he does. The so called “warmongering” in Libya was
just simply an international response to augment the voice of the
marginalised youth of Libya who were clamouring for the rights to make their
own destiny and to be heard by their own government.

Mugabe’s deadpan performance belied his mirth. Watching him you could almost
accept as true that he believed the words that were coming out of his mouth.
In what appeared to be a moment of clarity Mugabe took the UN to task on the
lack representation of Africa in the Security Council. He said “For how
long, Mr President, [Vuk Jeremic ] will the international community continue
to ignore the aspirations of a whole continent of fifty-four countries? …It
is indeed a travesty of justice that the African continent, which accounts
for almost a third of the membership represented in this august Assembly,
has no permanent representation in the Security Council.”

True to form former US President, George W. Bush and former British Prime
Minister, Tony Blair made a cameo appearance in Mugabe’s speech. The former
leaders were jointly accused of an “illegal campaign of aggression against
Iraq” that resulted in a worsening of “the conflict between the Sunnis and
Shi’ites. Clearly the octogenarian had forgotten his own war in the
Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998-2001.

In closing Mugabe said “Allow me to conclude by reaffirming Zimbabwe’s
commitment to the principles that have brought us together in the United
Nations for the last 67 years.” Principles? This coming after blowing a
reported $7million on a trip to Brazil with a delegation of almost 100 then
claiming there was no money for By-Elections and no drinking water in
Zimbabwe’s largest cities. Surely this is another case of the pot calling
the kettle black?

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Zimbabwe Draft Constitution input, September 2012 – ZUPA

September 29th, 2012

Zimbabwe Unemployed Peoples' AssociationVia Press release: ZUPA which represents the interests of millions of economically disadvantaged people acknowledges the expressed intention of the Zimbabwe Government to craft a people driven constitution through COPAC. Having consulted our wide and diverse membership, it is clear that the new constitution for Zimbabwe must preserve the legacy of the liberation struggle, ensure a 50-50 gender balance in all elected offices, facilitate devolution in a single state, allow dual citizenship and Diaspora vote and create a Senate independent of political parties that will be the oversight chamber. All independent commissions must be committees of the independent senate that must not have any member of a political party but independent professionals able to hold politicians to account. There is also a call to raise the quality of elected officials.
We welcomed the public outreach process in good faith hoping that the input of the people would form the content of the new constitution of Zimbabwe. On that note, we welcome the decision to avail the National Statistical Report at the Second All Stakeholders Conference.

We are however concerned that the current draft done in July 2012 by COPAC appears to move away from the expressed views of the Zimbabweans and instead favours a negotiated approach between the parties in the GNU.
We believe the original intention was not another negotiated Kariba Draft but a new Constitution for Zimbabwe informed by the undiluted views of the ordinary Zimbabweans.
We are also concerned that whereas an estimated 4 million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora made contributions in a compiled document submitted and officially received by COPAC, Diaspora views do not appear to have been factored in the National Statistical Report percentages. The Diaspora clearly asked for dual citizenship, devolution of power and Diaspora Vote.

ZUPA is working to seek support from delegates attending the 2nd All Stakeholders conference for the following views from ordinary Zimbabweans including those in the Diaspora to be included in the new constitution of Zimbabwe.

Download the full document here

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