By Violet Gonda
19 October 2009
The Roy Bennett case reached new heights of political interference on
Monday, when the Attorney General Johannes Tomana personally appeared in a
Mutare court to prosecute in the case of MDC Treasurer General. He was
flanked by other senior officials, including the Director of Public
Prosecutions Florence Ziyambi and two law officers Michael Mugabe and Chris
Mutangadura. Tomana told the court that he was handling the case because he
wanted the matter to be dealt with as expeditiously as possible, because the
matter has 'generated much national interest to the extent that it is
threatening to divide the unity government."
Political tensions between the MDC and ZANU PF escalated last week following
the arrest of the MDC Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate on Wednesday.
This resulted in MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai announcing his party's
'disengagement' from ZANU PF, until all outstanding issues troubling the
shaky new government have been resolved.
Bennett was subsequently granted bail on Friday and was supposed to appear
in court Monday for the purpose of trial, which did not kick off because the
Attorney General conceded that the MDC official had not been given adequate
statutory notice for him to appear in court, as required by law.
One of the Defence Lawyers, Trust Maanda, said it is highly unusual for a
whole team of senior officials in the AG's office to leave Harare to go to a
province, to argue a case that could have been left in the hands of junior
officers. Maanda said this is a sign showing there is much political
interest in the matter: "We think that his coming down to Mutare spells out
that there could be some pressure from somewhere else. And he (AG) actually
indicated in court that there is pressure from somewhere else and he tried
to produce a document from JOMIC which he said pushes him to act on this
The Attorney General said he wanted Bennett's trial to start as soon as
possible in the interest of the coalition government, and wanted the case to
be heard on 27th October. But the defence team, led by Beatrice Mtetwa,
disagreed with the proposed date because Mtetwa was going to be unavailable
and the defence also wanted time to fully prepare. They also wanted the
State to furnish them with the remainder of the indictment papers. It was
then agreed that the MDC official will go on trial on terrorism charges on
November 9th. Bennett denies all the charges.
Maanda says the personal involvement of the Attorney General means the case
has been highly politicised. "In our view he didn't come to concede but to
actually draw out the daggers," he said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Arnold Tsunga believes Tomana is raising the political
pressure on the bench, to send a very clear message that the Executive has a
serious interest in the matter. However Tsunga said: "Taking it seriously
does not mean that the Attorney General has a good case and it shows some
degree of reckless overzealousness and a direct impression that he is acting
on executive instructions."
The lawyer said this also gives credibility to the general outcry that the
role of the prosecutor needs to be separated from the government legal
adviser role, so that the prosecutor's office is independent and insulated
from political manipulation by the Executive.
He also said the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions must be an
independent institution and have its relationship with the office of the AG
clearly spelt out, in order to protect its independence.
Bennett's trial will now be heard in the High Court in Harare.
Reuters Published: 2009/10/19 11:45:21 AM
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), addresses a news conference at his
party's office in the capital Harare, October 16, 2009. The MDC said it
would boycott the country's power-sharing government until sticking points
have been resolved and a political deal is reached, sparking the biggest
crisis since the administration was formed nine months ago. REUTERS/
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will this week meet regional
leaders to pressure coalition partner President Robert Mugabe to resolve
disputes in the country's unity government, a senior aide said on Monday.
Tsvangirai announced on Friday that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party would disengage from Mugabe's
"dishonest and unreliable" ZANU-PF party in the country's unity cabinet set
up in February.
Analysts say the MDC's decision may not mean the end of the power-sharing
government but it will put pressure on the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), the regional body under whose auspices former South
African President Thabo Mbeki brokered a settlement in Zimbabwe last year.
The MDC boycott has sparked the country's biggest political crisis since the
formation of the new administration in February this year, but Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba said on Sunday Mugabe would chair a cabinet
meeting on Tuesday without the MDC.
An aide told Reuters that Tsvangirai would on Tuesday meet Mozambican
President Armando Guebuza, who chairs the SADC's political panel on defence
and security, in Maputo.
Tsvangirai would also this week travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo
for a meeting with President Joseph Kabila, current SADC chairman, to urge
the body to force Mugabe to honour the power-sharing agreement signed last
"He (Tsvangirai) will be meeting SADC leaders, including Jacob Zuma (South
Africa) and Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola)," the aide said, refusing to be
"We are doing all this to explain to the region the problems affecting the
unity government. They (SADC) are the guarantors of this agreement."
Tsvangirai may travel to South Africa later on Monday, although spokesman
James Maridadi was not immediately available for comment.
The aide said there were no immediate plans for a meeting of the SADC troika
on defence and security involving Mugabe and Tsvangirai to resolve the
The MDC accuses Mugabe of failing to implement the terms of last year's
political agreement, such as the appointment of senior government officials,
including a new central bank governor and the attorney general, and the
swearing-in of Tsvangirai's nominee for the post of deputy agriculture
minister, Roy Bennett.
Bennett is facing charges of illegal possession of arms for purposes of
committing terrorism and banditry and was last week detained in prison after
he was indicted to face trial. He was later released on bail.
Mugabe has refused to swear him in until he is acquitted but Bennett, who
denies the charges that carry a maximum death sentence upon conviction, says
he has been targeted as part of a wider political campaign against the MDC.
The formation of the fragile unity government had raised hopes among
Zimbabweans of an end to a devastating economic crisis and political
tensions that fanned electoral violence.
Western donors have been sceptical about Mugabe's commitment to genuinely
share power with Tsvangirai and continue to hold on to badly needed aid to
rebuild collapsed schools, hospitals and public infrastructure.
afrol News, 19 October - The chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security Cooperation, Armando Emilio Guebuza, is scheduled to
meet Zimbabwe's Prime Minister tomorrow following reports of a possible
collapse of the unity government in Harare.
The SADC secretariat confirmed in a statement today that the president of
Mozambique has accepted a request to meet the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe,
Morgan Tsvangirai, as he had requested an audience.
The meeting will be held in Chimoio, in the Manica province of Mozambique,
the statement said.
Mr Tsvangirai announced on Friday that his party was backing-off from
participation in cabinet and other government activities following continued
intimidation and lack of cooperation on the part of the sharing partners,
the ZANU-PF of Robert Mugabe.
The frustrated Zimbabwean prime minister also called on the regional block
The Zimbabwe unity government was brokered by the SADC together with other
international players, following months of unfruitful talks while the
Zimbabwean political, economic and humanitarian crisis was worsening.
Since the formation of the compromise marriage of convenience in February,
the opposition led by Mr Tsvangirai has complained of outstanding issues
that needed to be worked out for the smooth running of the unity government.
Zimbabwe has been holed into crisis after another since President Mugabe
refused to step down and accept loss when his part lost majority in the 2008
elections, decising to go on a one man contest in what was called the
presidential run-off to decide the winner.
Violence, intimidation and frequent harrassment and arrests of the
opposition became the order while the country's economy went a record
deepest end ever, scoring a hyper-inflation ever recorded.
By staff writer
Written by MDC Pressroom
Monday, 19 October 2009 15:21
President Morgan Tsvangirai led a team of MDC leaders at the weekend
in the on-going feed-back and consultative rallies that were held across the
country briefing party supporters on why the party had suspended cooperation
with Zanu PF. (Pictured: President Tsvangirai)
Addressing over 15 000 people at Checheche Business Centre in Chipinge
South, Manicaland province, on Saturday, President Tsvangirai said the MDC
was disengaging from Zanu PF until that party stopped violating the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and implemented all the clauses it had been
"We are not pulling out of the inclusive government. If we disagree
with other principals in the inclusive government, we will consult the
people on the way forward because they have the mandate to make us stay or
pull out. Mugabe and Zanu PF should not however fool themselves and
misjudge our tolerance for ignorance," he said.
At the rally, attended by thousands of people including chiefs,
headmen, the old and the infirm, President Tsvangirai said the MDC was
disengaging from Zanu PF because the MDC was the party with the people's
mandate and would only withdraw from the inclusive government if Zimbabweans
"We want to deliver real change to the people of Zimbabwe. What we
have been able to achieve in the past seven months is just but a drop in the
ocean. We can do more and that's what we are going to do. As a party and as
a leadership we have a genuine commitment to deliver real change to the
people of Zimbabwe," he said. He encouraged the people to be strong and not
to listen to rumours that the MDC would be 'swallowed by Zanu PF'.
"There is no majority party (MDC) that can be swallowed by a minority
party (Zanu PF). The MDC is a majority party. It moved from being an
opposition party to a ruling party. It is the people who delivered victory
to the MDC as a party in the March 2008 elections," he said. He also
reminded the people that the new Constitution would give the country truly
On Sunday, President Tsvangirai was at Muzokomba Business Centre in
Buhera also in Manicaland province, where he said one of the major aims of
the inclusive government was for the country to join the community of
nations. "We must end the isolation. Zimbabwe must be back in the family of
nations," said President Tsvangirai while addressing another mammoth crowd
He also said there was need for the people to evaluate the progress
that had been made in the inclusive government since its formation in
February. "As we meet today, we should evaluate the progress or lack of it
of the inclusive government as a nation. Because of the unfaithfulness of
our partners in the inclusive government, we are disengaging from working
with Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party in the coalition government."
In Bulawayo, Vice President, Hon. Thokozani Khupe held a meeting with
MDC district structures to explain why the party had disengaged from Zanu
PF. "Unless and until the outstanding issues are resolved, we are
disengaging from Zanu PF and not from government because this government is
ours and we can not walk out of it until the people say so. We are not going
to Cabinet because that is where we meet Zanu PF, we want to reach
destination Zimbabwe and with a new constitution we are certain to get
there," she told over 2 000 MDC officials gathered at the Small City Hall in
Addressing the same meeting, the MDC national chairman, Hon. Lovemore
Moyo, who addressed another consultative meeting in Matobo on Sunday, said
although the party had taken the position to disengage from Zanu PF,
consultations would continue to establish the people's position on the MDC's
continued participation in government. "We are disengaging and not pulling
out because we have not achieved real change for Zimbabwe and its people.
"We will not take the people for granted. We want to serve the people
and therefore we are saying we will work with the people to get guidance. On
Sunday, the MDC secretary-general, Hon. Tendai Biti addressed two rallies at
Gokwe Mapfungautsi and Gokwe Sesame that were attended by thousands of
people. Hon. Biti said the changes that had taken place in Zimbabwe since
the formation of the inclusive government had shown that the MDC could
democratically govern the country.
"The MDC can govern this country as we have seen many changes and
great development within the seven months we engaged in the transitional
government," he said. However, he lamented the lack of development in Gokwe
district and said it was sad to note that the people were still drinking
water from unprotected wells. He said the MDC was working hard to ensure
that the next elections were free and fair and that the people would never
again be abused like what happened last year when over 500 MDC supporters
were killed by Zanu PF and State security agents.
However, he castigated the lack of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. "We
are being arrested on trumped-up charges in this transitional government,
our MPs are being persecuted, they are delaying swearing in Senator Roy
Bennett and our own provincial governors have not been appointed. "That is
why we issued a yellow card to Zanu PF last Friday," he said.
In Mwenezi East, Masvingo province, the MP for Sunningdale in Harare,
Hon. Margret Matienga and Masvingo Central, MP, Hon. Tongai Matutu addressed
a rally at Ward 2, Rata. Hon. Matutu said the people of Mwenezi had been
hoodwinked by Zanu PF for nearly 30 years and it was now time for the
electorate to show Zanu PF the exit door.
"Mugabe and his cronies are busy glorifying themselves about the
achievements of the past forgetting that the hands of time are spinning.
"There are more pressing issues that have to be tackled instead of
being told of the glory of the past. Youths are jobless and villagers are
poverty stricken. These are the matters that have to be resolved immediately
but Zanu PF is ignoring them. This is why we need a people-driven
Constitution to address the concerns of the people," said Hon. Matutu. A
total of 37 MDC feedback and consultative rallies were held across the
country at the weekend.
Harare, October 19, 2009 - The Minister of Youth Development and
Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, has said his ministry is working on
re-introducing the infamous national youth service centres.
"The process is underway. We are just sorting out a few outstanding
issues before we open them," said Kasukuwere.
Under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed between the two MDC
parties and Zanu PF, it was agreed that all youths regardless of race,
ethnicity, gender, religion and political affiliation are eligible to
participate in national youth training programmes.The parties also agreed
that the youth programme must be run in a non-partisan manner and shall not
include partisan political material advancing the cause of any political
The national youth training programme has over the years been turned
into some kind of a youth brigade for Zanu PF party. Several youths, from
the programme, infamously known as the Green Bombers, were in the past
deployed in several towns and cities in a campaign of terror against Zanu PF
Under a new proposed framework, the government purports that the
training programmes will seek to inculcate a sense of patriotism, skills
development and a commitment to fighting HIV and AIDS.
Previously one would not get employment or enrol for studies at some
government tertiary institutions without a national youth service
By Lance Guma
19 October 2009
A squad of ZANU PF militants, who were behind last year's election violence,
is moving around the Mudzi district forcibly recruiting innocent youths to
join the notorious 'green bomber' militia. Our correspondent Lionel
Saungweme reports that between the 12th and 14th of October dozens of
villagers below the age of 35 were rounded up in the Chinake, Chatima,
Murenyi and Denga areas of Mudzi. They were taken to Nyamapanda near the
border with Mozambique and told they would undergo 'unspecified' training.
Although a unity agreement signed between ZANU PF and the two MDC parties
agreed on the need for a national youth training programme, a key condition
was that it had to be apolitical and accommodate all youths, regardless of
race, ethnicity, gender and religion. But Saungweme reports that 'Youth
Officers' employed by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenization and
Empowerment are using ZANU PF trucks to go around picking up the reluctant
youths. In all cases threats are being used to recruit.
The local ZANU PF MP for Mudzi North, Newten Kachepa, is also said to be
playing a leading role in the recruitment. Kachepa has been implicated in
various cases of election related violence and murder but has never once
been arrested or prosecuted. Several press reports are also quoting Youth
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere saying his ministry was working on
re-introducing bases for youth training service. 'The process is underway.
We are just sorting out a few outstanding issues before we open them," he
Meanwhile in the Muchinjike area of Murehwa district dozens of villagers
were duped into attending a ZANU PF meeting after being told there was a
local meeting to discuss seed and fertilizer for them. Members of the ZANU
PF district coordinating committee tried to get the villagers to do
anti-Tsvangirai slogans, but they refused. Three quarters of those at the
meeting stood up to leave, but not before a ZANU PF member known as Kashesha
warned them 'last time we were only chopping off their hands, this time we
will chop off their heads.'
After Mugabe told his party to prepare for elections in 2011 a gradual
deployment of his machinery of violence began to unfold. Over 200 senior
army officers who coordinated the violent and murderous campaign against the
opposition are still deployed in the provinces, despite an 8 month
power-sharing government in place.
Brussels, 16 October 2009
In light of recent developments in Zimbabwe, European Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian Aid, Karel De Gucht, has once again outlined
the absolute necessity for all parties to implement the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) without further delay.
He notes with concern Prime Minister Tsvangirai's statement of today that,
seven months after the formation of the inclusive government,
sticking-points remain over the issues of the appointments of provincial
governors, the Reserve Bank governor and the Attorney-General. In addition,
the review of ministerial positions and the GPA remain outstanding.
Moreover, there is a lack of movement on the democratisation of the media,
the constitutional process, the land audit and rule of law issues.
European Commissioner Karel De Gucht was very clear during his joint visit
to Zimbabwe in September with the Swedish EU Presidency that the EU stands
ready to make progress toward lifting EU targeted measures but that such
developments would be clearly linked to progress 'on the ground' within
Zimbabwe in dealing with the outstanding elements of he GPA. At the same
time he underlined the European Commission's continued support to the
Government of National Unity in implementing its political and economic
The European Commission encourages key regional bodies, such as the African
Union and in particular the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
which played a vital role in the elaboration of the GPA, to do all that they
can to assist the different parties to the GPA to resolve their differences
for the benefit of the Zimbabwean people.
By Peter Clottey
19 October 2009
Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is displeased with a
statement suggesting that President Robert Mugabe is "too busy" to resolve
deep rifts within the unity government.
President Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told the state run newspaper
Sunday Mail that Mugabe is too busy with students and soccer to address the
crisis in the unity government.
The comments follows Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's announcement Friday
that the MDC is withdrawing from the coalition government until several
disputes with ZANU-PF are resolved.
But Charamba said that a cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday would go
ahead as planned despite the MDC's threat.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said that his party is disappointed in
"Clearly they are busy with soccer. It explains why we are in this crisis,
because there seems to be a preoccupation with things that are not quite
important and that are not a priority," Chamisa said.
He said his party has deep concerns about the unity government.
"It's clear that the current government is not working .Possibly, we have
the wrong men in office doing the wrong thing, and this is why when
confronted with such an important issue to deal with the outstanding issues
pertaining to the Global Political Agreement, they will give you the sort of
responses that are not only lost but also mischievous," he said.
Chamisa dismissed what he said is ZANU-PF's lip service.
"That is obviously propaganda, and you know that propaganda does not work on
facts. It works on fiction. It is clear that it is ZANU-PF that has reneged
on the fundamental outstanding issues around governance (and) around
ambassadors," Chamisa said.
He said the ZANU-PF has not shared the MDC's sincerity towards the unity
"There is a litany, a catalogue of a manifestation of a deficit of sincerity
on the part of the ZANU-PF, and that is beyond contestation. We have given
our best in terms of sincerity in terms of commitment we want to make sure
that the outstanding issues are resolved," he said.
Chamisa said there is need for international intervention over the ongoing
disagreement in the unity government.
"We want to make sure that these issues are taken to SADC (Southern African
Development Community) and the AU (African Union) as the guarantors of the
Global Political Agreement so that they adjudicate on these outstanding
issues," Chamisa said.
He said the MDC is not to blame for internationally imposed sanctions.
"Restricted measures were never caused. by the MDC, and it was clearly as a
matter of the rupture and breakdown of relations between ZANU-PF and those
who imposed the sanctions," he said.
Chamisa said his party would only help if the ZANU-PF shows commitment
towards the unity government.
"We are able to help ZANU-PF if ZANU-PF (is) willing to speak with one voice
on matters of the rule of law (and) on democratization. We need to make sure
that we correct them within our borders. Once we have done that, we will
then be able to try and convince those who imposed those restrictions,"
Meanwhile, U.S State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Friday that
Washington understands "the frustration" of Tsvangirai's MDC party, and
calls on President Mugabe to make the power-sharing agreement work.
by Own Correspondent Monday 19 October 2009
HARARE - The European Union (EU) presidency Sweden has taken a swipe at
Zimbabwe's human rights record, saying politically motivated abuse still
exists in the southern African country.
The EU presidency, in a statement at the weekend, also expressed deep
concern about last week's indictment and subsequent detention of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's top ally Roy Bennett.
The 52-year-old Bennett is the MDC nominee for the post of deputy
agriculture minister in Zimbabwe's power-sharing government formed last
February between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.
The MDC top politician, who was granted bail at the High Court on Friday
after his detention in Mutare on Wednesday, is accused of possessing weapons
for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism. He denies
"The presidency regrets that politically motivated abuse persists in the
country," the EU said, adding that the detention of Bennett, "together with
reports during the last few months of unsubstantiated legal measures taken
against several MDC Members of Parliament, is cause for serious concern".
"The presidency calls for an end to politically motivated persecution in
Zimbabwe," said the statement.
The trial of Bennett, who was indicted to the High Court on Wednesday, was
supposed to begin today at the High Court in the eastern border city of
Mutare, but will now start at a later date because the state had not given
the defence enough time to prepare.
Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett, a former white farmer, to his
ministerial post citing the charges against him.
The MDC has reacted angrily to Bennett's detention, demanding a resolution
of all outstanding issues to last year's Global Political Agreement (GPA)
that gave birth to the unity government.
The former opposition party, which says the charges against Bennett are
political, says Mugabe's prosecution of Bennett is a further breach of the
GPA under which Mugabe undertook to halt all political prosecutions.
The EU said it stood "ready to assist the inclusive government in
implementing the much-needed reforms included in the GPA in the areas of
democracy, respect for human rights and restoration of the rule of law".
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and another MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara signed
the GPA in September last year following inconclusive elections.
"The parties to the GPA agreed last year to build a society free of
violence, fear, intimidation and hatred. This commitment should be honoured
without delay," said the EU.
Under the GPA Harare is supposed to stabilise the southern African country's
economy that has been in decline for the past decade, liberalise the media
and democratise key state institutions that have been under the control of
Mugabe's ZANU PF party since independence in 1980.
The unity government should also write a new constitution for the country
after which free and democratic elections should be held. - ZimOnline
Thulani Mpofu, Foreign Correspondent
Secondary school exams can cost as much as US$80, more than half the average monthly wage in Zimbabwe. AP
PLUMTREE, ZIMBABWE // Ruth Nleya prepared for four
years to take her final school exams, but her efforts went to waste because her
parents were unable to raise the examination fees.
Ruth, 17, the daughter of rural farmers, expected to sit her examinations this December at Bambadzi Secondary School in western Zimbabwe. She now hopes to do so next year, provided her parents manage to pay.
“The examination fees were too high,” she said. “My parents failed to pay the US$80 [Dh294] I needed for eight subjects. So we decided that I don’t write this December but try next year.”
In fact, none of the 58 pupils at her school who were
due to take their final examinations this year have been able to afford the exam
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), a professional body of teachers, recently conducted a survey that revealed that about 225,000 pupils – or 75 per cent of the average number of students who sit public examinations countrywide annually – will not take the tests for lack of money.
The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council, a
government arm that runs local examinations, charges $10 per subject for
Ordinary Level tests, while pupils taking Advanced Level pay $20 per subject. O
level and A level certificates, obtainable after writing public tests run by the
council, allow their holders to seek jobs or places at professional training
colleges or universities.
Announcing the fee structure in August, the council set a deadline of September 11, but extended it to September 25 as it became apparent that few children had registered. It further extended it to last Saturday, just before a children’s support organisation sued David Coltart, the education minister, after the group alleged he had failed to give pupils enough time to mobilise examination fees.
“On average an Ordinary Level student writes eight
subjects and at Advanced Level they normally write three,” said Raymond
Majongwe, president of the PTUZ.
“Multiply $10 by eight, you get $80, which is a lot of money for most parents. Add the tuition fees and the price of books and uniforms you will find that the average family will not [be able to] afford” the cost of the exams.
Zimbabwe is emerging from a decade-long economic meltdown with workers earning on average $154 a month and has an unemployment rate of 94 per cent, according to the latest UN figures.
Mr Majongwe said high fees are worsening an already
bad situation in the education sector, which has been affected by a lack of
funding and a shortage of teachers, most of whom are leaving the profession in
protest against poor salaries and working conditions.
“We seem to be going back to the pre-colonial era, when education was a privilege of the rich elite. The poor are slowly being edged out,” Mr Majongwe said.
In August and September, teachers staged a nationwide
strike for higher salaries. They called it off only after the nine-month-old
unity government appealed to them to appreciate that it does not have money to
increase their monthly salaries from the current $155.
In Bambadzi, a remote village about 100km west of here, Vonolia Ndlovu, deputy chairman of Bambadzi School Development Association, said the majority of people in her community are impoverished farmers.
“There is widespread food insecurity because of
frequent droughts,” she said. “So people decided whether to starve and have
their children write examinations or just spend the little money they have on
food and postpone paying fees to next year.”
The government recognises the enormity of the crisis, Lazarus Dokora, the deputy education minister, told local media recently.
“We are aware of the multiple challenges the parents are facing, but it is a real Catch-22 situation. If we waive the examination fees, the exam body will not be in a position to mark the exams, let alone run them,” he said.
The government says it needs $1 billion to stabilise
the education sector, and more to restore it to pre-2000 levels, the year
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis started.
Tendai Chikowore, president of the Zimbabwe Teachers Union, said in a speech delivered for World Teachers’ Day on October 9: “Children who fail to sit for their final examinations are denied life opportunities.”
October 19, 2009
BULAWAYO - The interim leader of the revived Zimbabwe African People's Union
(ZAPU) and former Zanu-PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa has scoffed at
accusations that his party is a tribal organisation.
Dabengwa, who abandoned President Robert Mugabe's unified Zanu-PF party and
defected to former Finance Minister, Dr Simba Makoni's Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn
party ahead of last year's parliamentary and presidential elections, said
those who accused ZAPU of being a tribal party ignored the fact that the
party had structures countrywide.
After a short stint with Mavambo/Kusile Dabengwa and other politicians
decided to revive ZAPU, a party which under the leadership of is founding
leader Dr Joshua Nkomo joined Zanu-PF following a unity agreement signed
between the two parties in December 1987.
"Zanu-PF is led by a Shona, the two MDC formations are led by Shonas, and
Mavambo/Kusile is led by a Shona. No one has accused these parties of being
tribal parties. Why should ZAPU be labelled as a tribal party just because
it is led by a Ndebele?" Dabengwa said in response to questions submitted to
him by the Zimbabwe Times last week.
Since former ZAPU members endorsed their withdrawal from the Unity Accord at
the party's inaugural congress held in March this year there has been
criticism that reviving ZAPU would create tribal divisions among
Lobengula MP and Water Resources and Development minister, Sam Sipepa Nkomo
incurred the wrath of many in Matabeleland when he told a mainstream MDC
rally that those who wanted to revive ZAPU should exhume the remains of its
founder president Dr Joshua Nkomo from his grave.
Mugabe has also criticized Dabengwa and his followers for reviving ZAPU and
labelled the decision an "act of madness".
Mugabe has always invoked Joshua Nkomo's name at rallies held in
Matabeleland in a bid to arouse nationalistic sentiments among people in a
region which has rejected his party since the Gukurahundi massacres which
were unleashed on the people of Mashonaland by Five Brigade troops loyal to
Mugabe starting in 1982, soon after independence.
Top ZAPU nationalists, among them Dabengwa and the late Lookout Masuku were
detained on charges of treason and plotting to topple Mugabe's government.
Dabengwa was acquitted and later became Home Affairs Minister in the Mugabe
government following the Unity Accord.
Dabengwa said his party was a people's party.
"We don't waste our time criticizing other parties and would rather
concentrate on mobilizing people towards our cause," Dabengwa said. "Our
membership is not limited to Matabeleland only as critics would want the
electorate to believe."
October 19, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A group of marauding Zanu-PF youths on Friday tried to force
Nestle-Zimbabwe to buy milk from the Gushungo Dairy Estate but the bid
failed after management stood its ground and insisted that the company no
longer doing business with President Mugabe and the First Lady, Grace
The group of Zanu-PF youths allegedly led by Youth Minister and Zanu-PF
politburo member Savior Kasukuwere's young brother, Tongai, tried in vain to
force Nestle Zimbabwe employees to offload 22 000 litres of milk from
Gushungo Dairy Estate.
The tanker carrying the milk remained parked at the Nestlé's Southerton
depot in Harare for more than four hours as intense negotiations took place.
Sources at the depot said the Zanu-PF youths threatened the management with
company seizure of the company.
"There was a heated debate at the company premises and the youths said if
Nestle still wants to operate in Zimbabwe they should just buy the milk,"
said one source.
"They said the company should not get political."
Harare lawyer Selby Hwacha who is representing Nestle confirmed the incident
on Saturday. He said the Gushungo Dairy tanker had been turned away on
Friday despite the protests of the group of the Zanu-PF youths.
"It's true that a tanker from Gushungo Dairy Estate that was turned away,"
said Hwacha. "The company (Nestle) has made it clear that it will no longer
buy milk from the said suppliers."
When he was contacted by The Zimbabwe Times, Tongai Kasukuwere declined to
comment about Friday's incident.
Nestle-Zimbabwe stopped buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estates, a farm
which was seized by the First Lady during the controversial land reforms,
following an international campaign calling for a boycott of all Nestle
"In light of the recent controversy surrounding our relationship with the
Gushungo Dairy Estate, we believe that this announcement reflects our
long-term commitment to Zimbabwe, while acknowledging the specific
circumstances around these events," Nestle said in a statement
Nestle said its Zimbabwean unit had started buying the milk on a temporary
basis in February because Dairibord Zimbabwe, a local which dominated the
milk industry was unable to make purchases due to the economic crisis.
"This helped prevent a further deterioration in food supplies in Zimbabwe at
that time," said the company of its decision to purchase milk from eight
farms, including the one owned by Mugabe's wife.
Nestle said Gushungo Dairy Estates accounted for between 10 percent and 15
percent of the company's milk intake.
Nestle has operated in Zimbabwe for 50 years, working with the population of
Zimbabwe and striving to maintain a long-term viable operation often in
"We operate in Zimbabwe, as we do in every country, through good times and
bad. We work for the long term, in a way which has positive impact on our
consumers, employees and suppliers."
Underscoring sensitivities about land reforms, Zimbabwe's state-run The
Herald newspaper two weeks ago carried a story accusing the Western media of
applying pressure Nestle to pull out of Zimbabwe.
SW RADIO AFRICA TRANSCRIPT
HOT SEAT: Violet Gonda brings you the second part of the Hot Seat interview with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, focusing on the major problems in the unity government, including the re-arrest of the MDC-T’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture Roy Bennett. We also find out where Professor Mutambara stands as he appears to flip flop from being Mugabe's biggest supporter and then the next minute his harshest critic.
BROADCAST: 16 October 2009
VIOLET GONDA: This is the 2nd of a two-part Hot Seat interview with Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. Since the interview there have been major problems in the progress of the unity government, with the re-arrest of the MDC-T’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett. So before playing you the second part of the discussion, here is a recent chat I had with Professor Mutambara, about this current crisis in the coalition government.
ARTHUR MUTAMBARA: This is quite a sad development. The charges against Roy Bennett have no basis at all. They are politically motivated and the refusal by Mugabe to appoint Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture is unacceptable. Why – because every Zimbabwean is innocent unless you’re proven guilty. When I was appointed Deputy Prime Minister myself, I was in the Court system. I’m still in the Court system; I’m in the Supreme Court right now. When the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti was appointed minister he was in the Court system being charged with treason. The Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was charged and convicted but was never removed from his position as Minister, so there’s no precedence in the country where you refuse to appoint a minister because of charges being preferred against them. But more importantly, there’s no basis whatsoever for the charges against Roy Bennett. Now what is even more upsetting is the fact that they now indict him and lock him up just to spite all of us.
So we are very angry, we are very disappointed and tomorrow morning we are going to have a meeting between myself, Tsvangirai and Mugabe to try and address these matters. These are the issues I’ve been referring to in my conversation with you and at every point we have to negotiate and at every point we are fighting and this is one of the reasons why I say that we are now in conflict and we are fighting, but we are going to be able to resolve it, hopefully amicably and effectively.
GONDA: Some sources in the MDC-Tsvangirai, in fact in the Prime Minister’s Office said that the MDC will disengage from contact and deliberation with Zanu-PF in the inclusive government until all outstanding issues plaguing the coalition government are resolved and the catalyst was the arrest of Roy Bennett. It is understood that the MDC is not going to pull out of this government and will continue to run its ministries but will disengage from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers and suspend any forums with Zanu-PF. Is this something your party will support?
MUTAMBARA: But I think this is early days; I was in a meeting with the Prime Minister this afternoon, we had consultations and discussions. This is work in progress and I think we haven’t finished our consultations so it’s premature for us to announce our decision. Even Prime Minister Tsvangirai hasn’t announced his position. As I indicated, we are going to have a crisis meeting tomorrow, the President, the Prime Minister and myself are going to sit down and talk about this subject, so I think for now let us wait and see the outcome of our consultations and our discussions. But we are very angry, we are very disappointed but we also want to do considered action where we analyse the effectiveness of our actions. So it’s premature for me to outline our response.
GONDA: The Prime Minister’s spokesperson, James Maridadi is quoted in the media saying that Mr Tsvangirai had requested an emergency meeting with Robert Mugabe and the Justice minister but all lines of communication were shut and Mugabe was refusing. Do you know anything about this?
MUTAMBARA: This is why I am now intervening, this is why I am now involved and I’m organising, I’m setting up a meeting of the three leaders for tomorrow so this is work in progress but our position is that we must meet as the signatories to the GPA and be able to sit down and discuss this matter before we take our different positions. So this is work in progress and I hope that the three of us will be able to meet tomorrow to consider these actions.
GONDA: Surely, if this impasse continues, how mature are we as people if the country is being held to ransom on the basis of disputes over issues like Gideon Gono, Johannes Tomana and Roy Bennett.
MUTAMBARA: Yes but remember we had a discussion about this and we said that Zimbabweans must realise that they must think about national interest, they must be mature as you are saying, they must reach out to each other, they must think deeper and realise that any of these shenanigans are undermining the progress of our country. We are destroying our own nationhood; we are destroying our own credibility and destroying people’s confidence in us. So I hope that we will be able to be mature enough across the board, stop any grandstanding, sit down as mature Zimbabweans and craft a way forward. This is national interest time and Zimbabweans must work together and realise that they will sink or swim together.
GONDA: Coming back to the issue of Roy Bennett, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think it was proper, given the sensitivities around the issue of land for Roy Bennett to be picked as Deputy Agricultural Minister for the MDC?
MUTAMBARA: That is Tsvangirai’s prerogative. No one has that prerogative. Mugabe, Mutambara have no business deciding who becomes Deputy Minister of Agriculture. In the Agreement, every leader has the right to suggest whoever they want so there is no space for Mugabe or Mutambara to have a view on who Tsvangirai appoints. That’s his prerogative.
GONDA: But Mugabe insists that he will not swear in … (interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: Because he is wrong, that’s what I say, his understanding is mistaken, and he is wrong by putting this nonsense about charges. At law you are innocent unless proven guilty. There are ministers who were charged and convicted and were never fired. I am in government and yet I’m in the Courts, Biti was appointed when he had treason charges against him. There’s no precedence for this action that says be cleared before I appoint you. It’s baseless.
GONDA: So when you are with Robert Mugabe, what do you tell him and what does he say when you tell him these issues?
MUTAMBARA: Yeh but we had that discussion last time and I explained to you that we are very clear in explaining that every leader in this government is a product of the GPA. He is President of the country because of the GPA. Without the GPA, without the inclusive government he is not President of Zimbabwe. If he understands that, that defines our bargaining power.
GONDA: But it appears that he is not understanding that because he continues to… (interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: So why don’t we talk about that a bit later, after we’ve had our conversation tomorrow. It’s said that we continue to have these problems, these shenanigans on the side of Zanu. We wish Zanu could understand sooner than later that they need this inclusive government as much as we do. I hope sooner than later all Zimbabweans will understand the efficacy and importance of this inclusive government insofar as it’s a platform to create conditions for free and fair elections so that next time around our elections can produce a government, not this arranged marriage, this dysfunctional and undemocratic government we have in Zimbabwe.
GONDA: A day after the interview was conducted, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced his party’s ‘disengagement’ from ZANU PF,
who he described as dishonest, unreliable and unrepentant. The Prime Minister
said while the MDC will remain in government, they are going to disengage from
Zanu PF, and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers, until
there is the full resolution of all outstanding issues and the complete
implementation of the GPA. Is this the end of the inclusive government as we
know it? We will bring you more on this particular issue next week.
MUTAMBARA: Ah, I’m surprised you picked that one. Let’s start with the whole Mutambara position on sanctions. The starting point on sanctions is that charity begins at home. Why were sanctions imposed in the first place? We must answer that question as Zimbabweans. Secondly, are there things that we are doing in our country which we control, which are tantamount to imposing sanctions on ourselves? Let us address these sanctions we are imposing upon ourselves. What are those sanctions? The failure to implement the GPA – that is a sanction against Zimbabwe. The material we are seeing in the media, the problems we are finding in the media, the issues on our farms, the issues in our courts – that is a type of sanction against the people of Zimbabwe. The biggest imposer of sanctions on Zimbabweans are the people of Zimbabwe, in particular their own government of which I’m Deputy Prime Minister. So I am saying the first port of call on sanctions is the removal of the internal sanctions we are imposing upon our people.
Part two – the external sanctions – when you talk about removing the external sanctions you must make sure you are credible. How credible are you when you say remove sanctions on Zimbabwe when you yourself are imposing sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe. That is my discourse. So after I have said I’m guilty as charged, as Mutambara I’m imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, I’m going to work on removing the sanctions I’m imposing upon my people then I’m now qualified to say as I try to do the right thing please help me help myself. Please give me a fighting chance.
It is only within this context that I then say to America, to Britain, to Europe please help Zimbabwe help itself by removing the sanctions you’ve imposed upon companies and organisations in the country, by removing the targeted sanctions you have imposed on individuals. But remember it is only after we have accepted our own culpability in terms of the creation of conditions leading to sanctions and secondly, accepted our responsibility in terms of imposing sanctions today. We are imposing sanctions today. So if we own up and are prepared to remove our own sanctions then we have the capability and legitimacy to ask others to remove their sanctions.
Now let me talk about the element you have raised. What I’m saying is that after we have done the right thing or are trying to do the right thing, let us understand the meaning of these sanctions. We are trying to fix the economy, we are trying to help our people, and the sanctions were put in place to support Morgan Tsvangirai. They were put in place to support Mutambara. They were put in place to support the democratic forces. The democratic forces are now in government. Biti is trying to fix the economy, we are trying to run the country so the sanctions are now working against us as the drivers of economic recovery in our country, as the drivers of change in our country. Another analogy: the Zanu-PF ministers are now members of Team Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai is Prime Minister of the entire government including Zanu-PF ministers - so when you put impediments and sanctions on those individual members effectively you are putting those measures against the captain of the team. It doesn’t make sense if you love the captain.
GONDA: But Professor…
MUTAMBARA: Let me finish this, give me a second, I’m finishing now. If you love the captain, if you want the captain to succeed you can’t justify putting sanctions against his players. But remember please, this discourse, this argument by Mutambara to say America and Europe must remove sanctions is different from Mugabe’s position. I am completely different from Mugabe because I accept that we are imposing sanctions on our own people. I say the first thing to do, the first port of call is home, charity begins at home, and if you do not address the sanctions you are imposing upon yourself, you have no credibility whatsoever when you say sanctions must go. So the Mutambara position is very different from the Mugabe position.
GONDA: OK, but I just wanted to go back to two points that you made, one about the sanctions on the individuals and then also the sanctions that you want the western countries to remove, the sanctions that are imposed on the people of Zimbabwe the country. I spoke to one of your colleagues, Gorden Moyo and he says there are no sanctions that affect the country.
MUTAMBARA: Yah, that talk must stop and this is what damages our standing as well. We must be credible people. Look at ZEDERA, read ZEDERA, you can read it on your own time – those are sanctions against companies in our country, those are sanctions against organisations in our country, those are sanctions that are affecting the lives of our people. So I think we must be honourable in the opposition as well, this notion of restrictive measures huh? That’s a nonsensical phrase. Sanctions are sanctions are sanctions! And we must be credible people and be able to own up and say there are sanctions imposed upon our people, they are hurting our people, there are sanctions imposed upon individuals but now they don’t make sense because those individuals are now team mates, they are now colleagues.
GONDA: How did those…
MUTAMBARA: Let me emphasise this argument. You can’t be half pregnant Violet. Either you are pregnant or you are not pregnant. Either you work with Mugabe or you are not. Once we got into this government Violet, we got pregnant, not half pregnant.
GONDA: But still Professor, how do those sanctions actually hurt the economy? And also on the individuals, you say the west must remove sanctions on Zanu-PF individuals, should these individuals who are responsible for the murder of scores of people and the displacement of tens of thousands be forgiven just like that?
MUTAMBARA: No you see it is a tricky one, should De Klerk have been forgiven by Mandela? The white South Africans did more damage on South Africa than Mugabe has done on the country. We have forgiven the Brits for slavery and colonialism. If Zanu and Mugabe do the right thing by the country we can work with them. Huh? And we can find a way if you now talk about it, restorative justice, he’s now talking about victim based justice, we can discuss all those things but don’t raise the bar to an extent that Mugabe can’t be forgiven when you can forgive De Klerk. Huh?
GONDA: But surely Professor, surely this new Zimbabwe will not work if there’s not some kind of repentance?
MUTAMBARA: That’s why I emphasise the issue of restorative justice, victim based justice, we can discuss the content of our healing programme…
GONDA: Yes but are these people in Zanu-PF repentant? Have they shown any sorrow, remorse since the formation of the unity government?
MUTAMBARA: I think this is work in progress, this is work in progress. What I was emphasising was a very practical thing. If your reservations are that strong, then we should not be in this government. If we are saying President Mugabe, Minister Mnangagwa, Minister Chinamasa, these are now colleagues, we are in the same government. It’s put up or shut up. If you feel that these people are unrepentant, they must go to The Hague, get out of this government, there is no point in being in this government. I am saying that by signing that Agreement, by going in this Agreement, it was a major compromise. We became fully pregnant, not half pregnant which means you give up on something so we’ve got to work together but however I share your concern about whether there is repentance and whether there is progress. That is why I was emphasising the internal dimension, but let’s not overplay the Mugabe dimension as if Zimbabweans can’t forgive each other and work together, they can do that. We just need to work harder on it and make sure that we work. But let me just emphasise that I’m not on the same page with Mugabe on these sanctions. My view is very different. I start by attacking myself, I start by saying my government is imposing sanctions on my people, I must do something about that. Only after I have done that am I credible in asking for others to help me help myself and give me a fighting chance.
GONDA: Now Professor…
MUTAMBARA: But when you talk about sanctions, when you have ZEDERA, when you have targeted sanctions against individuals, it also affects your ability to borrow money, it damages the brand of the country so the economic activities in the country are affected by this whole image of sanctions. And there are companies, Zimbabwean companies that are listed in ZEDERA. ZEDERA is about sanctions, yah? Let us, as the opposition, let us stop this child’s play of saying restrictive measures, there are no sanctions. When we do that we lose our credibility, we become as bad as the other side.
GONDA: Now let’s talk about you for a minute here.
GONDA: You’ve confused many Zimbabweans especially since joining the unity government because one minute you are seen as being Robert Mugabe’s biggest supporter and then the next minute his harshest critic. Where do you really stand?
MUTAMBARA: Yah, I think because our people are slow thinkers, they don’t apply their minds. I’ve been very consistent, I’ve been very clear from the beginning about what I stand for. My struggle in Zimbabwe is about 22 years old. I don’t know many people who were fighting Mugabe 22 years ago, yah? Twenty years ago this time I was actually in prison, huh? This is 1989, October, October 8 I was inside Mugabe’s jails. I don’t know how many Zimbabweans were in jail in 1989, yah? So my record of opposing what is wrong in our country is very clear. Morgan Tsvangirai when he was arrested for the first time, go and check your records, he was arrested because he wrote a letter to the Herald defending me and Munyaradzi Gwisai. That is Morgan Tsvangirai’s first arrest, yah? Go and check your records - arrested on the 6th of October 1989 - that is Mutambara. I’m the foundation of this struggle. I’ve been in this fight before many people were but I don’t use that against anyone.
So consistency has been my second name. What you need to do is that I am not beholden to Tsvangirai, I am not beholden to Mugabe, I am beholden to Zimbabwe and I’m beholden to what makes sense in our country. I’m beholden to the national interest. And this, if you look through my work for the past 22 years, you’ll see that consistency in pursuit of the national interest. Right now I am working very well with the Prime Minister, no problems, we are working very well, I’m his Deputy and we are building the country but I also reserve the right to take positions that are in the national interest and where there have been disagreements, we do, you know, explain them. We are working very well with the Prime Minister, we are working very well to try to make sure that we deliver the change that Zimbabweans are looking for. It’s a hard struggle, it was never going to be easy, it was never going to be a walk in the park. The struggle continues.
GONDA: Can you respond to Dr Simba Makoni’s stab…
MUTAMBARA: Who is Simba Makoni?
GONDA: Can I finish? Can you respond to his stab at your party calling you MDC-PF?
MUTAMBARA: (laughs) Well you know, I’m a national leader, I’m above petty talk so I’ll let him speak that language but I respect Dr Makoni, he was a great Finance Minister, a Secretary to SADC, you know I backed him in the last elections and so he is a Zimbabwean patriot. I rise above the fray, I’m a soldier for justice and as a national leader I don’t involve myself in petty squabbles.
GONDA: But why do you think there is this misconception out there that you support Mugabe?
MUTAMBARA: Why don’t you review what I’ve said tonight. Do I support Mugabe?
GONDA: Well I’m asking…(interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: I rest my case, thank you very much, I rest my case.
GONDA: But Professor, observers doubt your credibility… (interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: Observers who are dull and incoherent.
GONDA: I hadn’t finished, because observers doubt your credibility as a leader especially since you were not elected by the people so how will you ever become the people’s choice?
MUTAMBARA: Well just watch this space, just watch this space. By the way, there’s no leader who was elected to their position in the government. The President is a product of the GPA, the Prime Minister is a product of the GPA, and the Deputy Prime Minister is a product of the GPA. We are all creatures of negotiations. That is not democracy Violet. What we want to do is to make sure next time around we go to an election, those that win the election are able to form an elected legitimate government. That’s why we are very keen to create conditions in the country for free and fair elections. But however… (interrupted)
GONDA: But I’m not understanding when you say that someone like Morgan Tsvangirai was not elected. Wasn’t he elected by his people and then also in the elections last year… (interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: No, no, no you are getting technical here. There were no elections for Prime Minister. And by the way… (interrupted)
GONDA: No, no but there were elections, there were Presidential elections last year and he actually won the first round of that election and that’s why… (interrupted)
MUTAMBARA: Let me go on, you must remember that there are three political parties in this arrangement and there were negotiations and the negotiations decided that Mr Mugabe would be the President, and that Mr Tsvangirai would be the Prime Minister and yours truly would be Deputy Prime Minister. I did not impose myself. So go and ask the negotiators, go and ask vaTsvangirai, go and ask vaMugabe how I came around to become Deputy Prime Minister. But let me emphasise this, we are working together in the national interest and we are playing our role and if you are informed by the way, you will realise that there will be no Agreement between Zanu-PF and MDC-T if my party wasn’t involved. We are the critical players in bringing MDC-T and Zanu together. We are the critical glue that fashioned that Agreement. Without Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, there would be no Agreement in Zimbabwe. Right now in Cabinet we are critical players as ministers in this government. So you underestimate our role at your own peril and also as a function of your ignorance. We are the creators of the GPA in Zimbabwe. My party is the creator of that GPA. Go and check with Mbeki, and go and check with the negotiators.
GONDA: So do you still think that Morgan Tsvangirai is a political midget?
MUTAMBARA: (laughs) This is politics now. I don’t know where that is coming from. He is the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, we are working together very well, I have no complaints and so we are determined to work together in the national interest. So I will not dignify discussions about things that tend to divide us, we will not dignify discussions around the differences. We want to amplify areas of agreement. There are many areas of agreement and we are working very well together, thank you very much.
GONDA: Yes but Professor, you made that comment that’s why I was asking. You said…
MUTAMBARA: Yah and I’m saying that those are the things that divide us, right? And why is that of interest to you? Why don’t you just marvel that Tsvangirai and Mutambara are working together in the inclusive government and are driving the Zimbabwe agenda effectively. That should be your song. Go and celebrate that and forget about the other stuff that is divisive.
GONDA: No, but that’s why we need to clear the air because these are some of the things you have said before and it will be nice to know if you still believe in those things…
MUTAMBARA: (laughs)There’s no…
GONDA: …that’s why I was asking.
MUTAMBARA: There’s no air to be cleared Violet. We are working very well with the Prime Minister. We are working under very difficult circumstances but we are trying our best and we hope that we shall overcome. It’s not easy and by the way, all the questions you are asking us are very critical and very valid but we knew that going into this government is going to be tough but working together as three political parties we will be able to save our country.
GONDA: And of course, one of your members, Job Sikhala said your party has lost direction under your leadership. What’s your response to that?
MUTAMBARA: (chuckles) Again, I think, why don’t you stay on course and concentrate on the national agenda? We’ve nothing against Sikhala, I’m sure he, we wish him well in his political career but I have no interest in discussing irrelevant matters, I’m on the national agenda and the national interest but I think we are democrats. We are also believers in discipline, we are also believers in team spirit, we are also a believer in collective and shared values and so we respect the differences with Sikhala. We wish him well and we don’t have anything against him.
GONDA: And what is the latest on your VP, your Vice President Gibson Sibanda’s position as Minister as by law he should not be a Minister.
MUTAMBARA: Yah, the three political parties and three principals in particular are working out an arrangement to resolve that matter so his work continues without any problems but we will regularise his appointment so that it is within the constitutional framework of our country. But he is doing splendid work with Sekai Holland and John Nkomo so what is important is the content of the agenda, what is important is the content of the work and Sibanda is on top of his work and is being productive. That’s what we care about for now.
GONDA: How do you respond to people who say how can the Vice President of the party not have a Cabinet position, a secured Cabinet position while juniors have been given Cabinet positions?
MUTAMBARA: I think that’s a discussion for the party, that’s a discussion for the leadership of the party and when they make decisions they don’t have to explain their decisions to non-members. So members of the party are clear on how we made our decisions and Mr Sibanda himself is very clear on how we made our decisions and so we have no problems, we are marching forward.
GONDA: And a final word.
MUTAMBARA: I’m appealing to the Zimbabwean in Mugabe, I’m appealing to the Zimbabwean in Tsvangirai, I’m appealing to the Zimbabwean in Mutambara and the Zimbabwean in all of us to say let us work together in the short run, let us suspend partisan interest in the short run and make sure that we do the right thing for our country. In particular let us work together to create conditions for free and fair elections, so that come next election, elected people are able to form a legitimate government, not this arrangement which is undemocratic which is running Zimbabwe. The future belongs to a proper democracy where an election is able to deliver a government.
GONDA: Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara speaking to us on the programme Hot Seat. Thank you very much.
MUTAMBARA: Thank you very much for this opportunity to share with your listeners.
Feedback can be sent to violet@swradioafrica.
Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett has vowed not to give up
politics despite his continued ‘persecution and harassment.’ “I am here for as long as I can serve my country, my people and my party to
the best of my ability. Basically, I am here until we achieve the aspirations of
the people of Zimbabwe,” said Bennett in an interview on Saturday, quashing any
likelihood that he would leave politics soon. He added: “I have often thought of it (quitting) and it is an easiest thing
to do, by the way. But if you have a constituency you have stood in front of and
together you have suffered, there is no easy walking away from that
constituency. So basically I am there until we return democracy and freedoms to
Zimbabwe.” Bennett, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurergeneral, was speaking
after the State represented by Chris Mutangadura had consented before Justice
Lavender Makoni at the High Court in Harare to postponing his trial to allow the
defence time to prepare for the trial. The trial was supposed to resume this
Monday in Mutare at the High Court in Circuit. His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) said the defence wanted time to prepare for the trial. “The High Court rules are very clear that there must be at least 10 working
days of notice before the trial commences,” said Mtetwa. “We really want him
tried, but we want everything to be done in terms of the law.” “We consented because we did not give the defence the mandatory period of 10
days,” State lawyer, Mutangadura, told journalists outside the High Court. Bennett is facing charges of being illegally in possession of weapons with
the intention to commit insurgency, sabotage, terrorism and banditry which
carries death sentence and another charge of inciting to committing insurgency,
sabotage, terrorism and banditry which carries a life imprisonment sentence. A High Court Judge in Mutare will on Monday decide Bennett’s trial date
following these developments. But Bennett says the charges are trumped up and he
will be acquitted. He accused Zanu PF of being behind the plot of fabricating
charges. He added: “Evidence is there. We know we are dealing with selective justice
system and selective rule of law. It is part of the struggle and standing up for
what is right. I have to be annoying someone so much for that persecution to
continue. I have to say it must be President Robert Mugabe, himself. “He has serious issues with me and has serious racial problems. The fact that
I have a constituency and that I have a following annoys him immensely he would
want to discredit me and get me out of the way.” Bennett was arrested in
February and was granted a US$5 000 bail by the Supreme Court in March. He was ordered to surrender his passport and titles deeds of one of his
properties and not to interfere with witnesses. His trial was supposed to start
last week on Tuesday at the Magistrate Court, only to be told on the day that
the State was applying to indict him to the High Court. The application was
granted the following day by Magistrate Lucy Mungwira and he was committed to
prison. On Friday, Justice Charles Hungwe reinstated his bail granted by the Supreme
Court in March, resulting in his release. “It is good to be out again, it is not
a nice place (prison) to be. There are a lot of lice,” said Bennett. He said he
had hoped that with the transitional government in existence he would not
continue to be ‘persecuted and harassed”. Asked why that was still happening, Bennett said: “Only ZANU PF can answer
that. I have no idea. One would think that with the coming of the transitional
government all this persecution and victimization would stop, but it would
appear that they continue. The best for this is to get a trial and eventually
for the matter to get over and done with.” On prison conditions, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture- Designate said: “I
noticed a marked improvement in prison, since I was last there, thanks to
organizations like Doctors Without Borders (France) which provided blankets,
food and medical supplies to the inmates. “There are now ARVs for inmates who are HIV positive. There are three meals
now, thanks to the humanitarian assistance which has come since the formation of
the coalition government. One of the reasons, we in the MDC went into the
transitional government was to bring humanitarian aid to the suffering people
and eventually change that is tangible.” He said : “Part of the persecution against me is not against me personally
but it is against the MDC because I stand for the party in everything I do. I am
happy to step aside the moment the people say I am the problem.” “I am only there to deliver change to my comrades and my people. I am a small
cog where there are many outstanding issues where ZANU PF and President Mugabe
have treated us as a junior partner, given us absolutely no respect. At some
point, we had to stand up,” he added.
Embattled Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett has vowed not to give up politics despite his continued ‘persecution and harassment.’
“I am here for as long as I can serve my country, my people and my party to the best of my ability. Basically, I am here until we achieve the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Bennett in an interview on Saturday, quashing any likelihood that he would leave politics soon.
He added: “I have often thought of it (quitting) and it is an easiest thing to do, by the way. But if you have a constituency you have stood in front of and together you have suffered, there is no easy walking away from that constituency. So basically I am there until we return democracy and freedoms to Zimbabwe.”
Bennett, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurergeneral, was speaking after the State represented by Chris Mutangadura had consented before Justice Lavender Makoni at the High Court in Harare to postponing his trial to allow the defence time to prepare for the trial. The trial was supposed to resume this Monday in Mutare at the High Court in Circuit.
His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the defence wanted time to prepare for the trial.
“The High Court rules are very clear that there must be at least 10 working days of notice before the trial commences,” said Mtetwa. “We really want him tried, but we want everything to be done in terms of the law.”
“We consented because we did not give the defence the mandatory period of 10 days,” State lawyer, Mutangadura, told journalists outside the High Court.
Bennett is facing charges of being illegally in possession of weapons with the intention to commit insurgency, sabotage, terrorism and banditry which carries death sentence and another charge of inciting to committing insurgency, sabotage, terrorism and banditry which carries a life imprisonment sentence.
A High Court Judge in Mutare will on Monday decide Bennett’s trial date following these developments. But Bennett says the charges are trumped up and he will be acquitted. He accused Zanu PF of being behind the plot of fabricating charges.
He added: “Evidence is there. We know we are dealing with selective justice system and selective rule of law. It is part of the struggle and standing up for what is right. I have to be annoying someone so much for that persecution to continue. I have to say it must be President Robert Mugabe, himself.
“He has serious issues with me and has serious racial problems. The fact that I have a constituency and that I have a following annoys him immensely he would want to discredit me and get me out of the way.” Bennett was arrested in February and was granted a US$5 000 bail by the Supreme Court in March.
He was ordered to surrender his passport and titles deeds of one of his properties and not to interfere with witnesses. His trial was supposed to start last week on Tuesday at the Magistrate Court, only to be told on the day that the State was applying to indict him to the High Court. The application was granted the following day by Magistrate Lucy Mungwira and he was committed to prison.
On Friday, Justice Charles Hungwe reinstated his bail granted by the Supreme Court in March, resulting in his release. “It is good to be out again, it is not a nice place (prison) to be. There are a lot of lice,” said Bennett. He said he had hoped that with the transitional government in existence he would not continue to be ‘persecuted and harassed”.
Asked why that was still happening, Bennett said: “Only ZANU PF can answer that. I have no idea. One would think that with the coming of the transitional government all this persecution and victimization would stop, but it would appear that they continue. The best for this is to get a trial and eventually for the matter to get over and done with.”
On prison conditions, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture- Designate said: “I noticed a marked improvement in prison, since I was last there, thanks to organizations like Doctors Without Borders (France) which provided blankets, food and medical supplies to the inmates.
“There are now ARVs for inmates who are HIV positive. There are three meals now, thanks to the humanitarian assistance which has come since the formation of the coalition government. One of the reasons, we in the MDC went into the transitional government was to bring humanitarian aid to the suffering people and eventually change that is tangible.”
He said : “Part of the persecution against me is not against me personally but it is against the MDC because I stand for the party in everything I do. I am happy to step aside the moment the people say I am the problem.”
“I am only there to deliver change to my comrades and my people. I am a small cog where there are many outstanding issues where ZANU PF and President Mugabe have treated us as a junior partner, given us absolutely no respect. At some point, we had to stand up,” he added.
19th Oct 2009 14:23 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
THERE are three seasoned politicians: John Nkomo, Sekai Holland and Gibson
Sibanda. They are in the forefront of the healing exercise proposed by the
In general, their task is to try and heal the wounds inflicted on the people
by nearly 30 years of political turmoil.
There may have been a short period of peace since independence. But most of
the time Zimbabweans have been at each others' throats. Thousands have died,
almost always needlessly.
The healing exercise is different from the South African Truth and
Reconciliation Commission. For one thing, this government didn't have the
funds for a comprehensive commission. For another, there were probably
people in Zanu PF who were jittery about their activities being discussed in
In any case, there was no proposal to select someone with the stature of
Desmond Tutu to head the commission. Tutu, the Nobel laureate, gave the SA
commission so much international clout, its report was studied seriously.
What is more, it did bring out the truth and it did achieve a measure of
It's difficult to predict the Zimbabwean version doing the same thing. In
fact, the healing exercise seems to be getting nowhere fast. It seems to be
hurting more than it is healing.
Otherwise, how do you explain the deep crisis we are in at the moment? The
treatment of Roy Bennett by the Zanu PF section of the government was
obviously unexpected. In the spirit of reconciliation, there wasn't supposed
to be this kind of abrupt action against a key member of one of the parties
in the government.
Morgan Tsvangirai was bound to act as he did: suspend the MDC-T
participation in key activities of the unity government. If he hadn't, he
knew his colleagues would have thought him utterly spineless - and they
would have been right.
Zanu PF probably expected him to ignore the highhanded manner in which Roy
Bennett was treated. To keep the government going, they expected him to make
loud noises - but no more than that.
And when the court decided to release Bennett, it meant that Zanu PF ended
up with a lot of egg on its face. The MDC-T should get ready for some form
of retaliation for that embarrassment.
This is a party which doesn't take defeat gracefully. One example, strangely
enough, was the reaction to Barrack Obama being awarded the Nobel Prize for
Peace. There was a juvenilia suggestion that Thabo Mbeki deserved the price
more than Obama. The rationale was vintage Zanu PF: it bore no relationship
whatsoever to the facts.
Mbeki lost an election that, had he won it, would have boosted his
international stature no end.
Obama and many other people were surprised at his award. But they could
understand why the committee thought he deserved it. He is America 's hope
for the future and also the future of world politics.
Zanu PF can only qualify for a prize if one was offered for political
parties which believe they are invincible. Most Zimbabweans were beginning
to believe that there was a real chance of the two parties - Zanu PF and the
MDC formations - moving forward.
But they reckoned without the lunatic fringe of the party throwing a spanner
in the works.
It now seems clear what is happening: a clique at the top sees its chances
of succeeding in retaining power and the wealth they have accumulated so far
being sacrificed on the altar of true reconciliation.
It's naïve for any commentator to believe that money is playing no part at
all in the consideration of a solution to the political crisis. There are
people in Zanu PF who had enriched themselves enormously during the last 25
or so years.
It would be extremely feeble-minded for anyone to believe that they would be
interested only in giving the country a chance to return to better days.
They want jam on it: for letting the people regain their dignity and control
of their country, they want an assurance that their wealth will be left
What the rest of the world believes is hampering a solution to our problem
might be the difference in political ideologies between Zanu PF and the
MDC-T in particular.
The truth is that Zanu PF wants the MDC formations to let it have its way -
in exchange for something. Some commentators believe this is to allow the
opposition party leaders to have a share of whatever Zanu PF intends to hang
on to in the form of material benefits.
There has been no audit of how much of the wealth of the country has
actually been transformed into Zanu PF assets. All you have to look at is
the relationship between Gono and Tomana, on the one hand, and Zanu PF on
There is no sense in speculating on what is really involved. But the
insistence by Zanu Pf that these two men must be left alone, suggests
something sinister, to say the least.
But to return to the essence of reconciliation: Zimbabwe should have had an
SA-style T and R commission in 1980. Much of the violence which occurred
later would have been avoided. One reason was Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's
assurance that all people would forget the past.
Most people didn't doubt he meant every word of what he said. But the facts
on the ground told us that we had not taken into account the grand plan of
turning the country into a one-party state.
There will be those who don't believe that this programme has been
abandoned. Well, this is one of the reasons the healing process is beginning
to hurt so much. There is so much insincerity on one side of the equation,
we must be prepared for more strife.
The world itself ought to accept that Zimbabwe did not follow South Africa's
example of setting up a genuine T and R commission for a good reason - Zanu
PF is still set on achieving a one-party system.
By LOUISE WATT (AP) - 4 hours ago
LONDON - In a snub to recent ex-presidents and heads of state in Africa,
organizers of a multimillion-dollar annual prize for good governance on the
continent said Monday they had decided not to give out the award this year.
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is awarded only to
democratically elected heads of state who have left office in the past three
years. That requirement limits the pool of contenders, eliminating the
continent's strongmen leaders, some of whom have held onto power for
The committee considered "some credible candidates" but could not select a
winner, said former Botswana President Ketumile Masire, a board member of
the group that awards the prize.
Created in 2007 by Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, the prize awards $5
million over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter to encourage
leadership that improves the prospects of people in the continent.
Ibrahim was asked at a news conference Monday about politicians who meet the
award criteria but were not chosen, including former South African President
Thabo Mbeki, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-Ghanaian
President John Kufuor.
Ibrahim, the founder of the African telecommunications company Celtel
International, said the foundation had "full respect" for those leaders. It
was unclear why the committee, which is independent of the foundation's
board, was unable to choose one for the prize.
Masire said the foundation "noted the progress made with governance in some
African countries, while noting with concern recent setbacks in other
countries." Committee members said they could not discuss their
The move surprised some experts, who say the award should be used as an
encouragement to good governance.
"The way I see it is, it is like the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Obama,"
said Siphamandla Zondi, head of the Africa program at the Institute for
Global Dialogue in South Africa. "It is not necessarily meant to make a
definitive statement about accomplishments. It should be use to encourage
Trying to find the perfect recipient would mean that the award is rarely
handed out, said Stephen Chan, a professor of international relations at the
School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
"I would imagine that they are thinking about raising the bar and having
raised the bar they have found that no one could get over the bar," he said.
"No one expects African governance to be perfect at this time," he said.
Others saw it as a wake-up call.
"We're seeing in places from Senegal to Libya attempts to pass power from
father to son, and it's been a year of coups in places like Madagascar and
Mauritania and Guinea," said Reed Brody, a Brussels-based legal counselor
for Human Rights Watch. "It hasn't been a great year for democracy in
Africa. Maybe that's what they were trying to say."
Zondi said the prize has a certain amount of status in Africa, but is in
danger of not being taken seriously if it is not awarded.
The prize's past recipients are former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano
and Botswana's former president, Festus Gontebanye Mogae.
"I made clear when I started the foundation that there may be years when a
winner is not chosen and this is such a year," Ibrahim said.
Asked if the economic crisis had played a factor this year, Ibrahim said the
prize committee "don't pay attention to my bank statement" and was
independent of the foundation's board.
Mbeki was forced to step down last year and hand over power to an interim
leader after losing the race for his party's leadership. The former South
African leader, who helped broker Zimbabwe's unity government deal, was seen
by some as favoring longtime Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Mbeki also was heavily criticized for questioning the link between HIV and
AIDS and his failure to act on the epidemic that killed about 300,000 South
Africans during his tenure as president.
After serving two terms, Kufuor stepped aside without a fuss, marking
Ghana's second successful hand-over, a milestone not just for the country
but also for Africa as whole. However, the opposition at the time accused
his administration of corruption.
Another favorite for the award was Obasanjo. Under him, Nigeria had eight
tumultuous years of democracy, the longest period since independence from
Britain in 1960. But corruption was rife and most of the country's people
have remained desperately poor despite the nation's oil wealth.
This year's prize committee was chaired by former U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and included Nobel peace laureate Martti Ahtisaari of Finland,
director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed
ElBaradei, and former Irish President Mary Robinson.
Robinson said that if it had been a prize for excellence among European
leaders this year "we wouldn't necessarily have so many getting a big prize.
That's all I have to say."
Associated Press writers Celean Jacobson and Anita Powell in Johannesburg,
South Africa, contributed to this report.
by Lindie Whiz
A FORMER police officer has been sentenced to death by hanging for the
"cold-blooded and beastly murder" of a South African tourist in 2007.
Leo Matibe, 26, was accused -- along with another ex-cop who is on the
run -- of the murder of 69-year-old Martinus Jacobus Oosthuyse whose body
was dumped in farmland in Nyamandlovu, about 60km north-west of Bulawayo.
On Monday, Matibe was placed on death row after Justice Maphios Cheda,
sitting at the Bulawayo High Court, found him guilty of murder with
The judge told Matibe: "In your own evidence, you stated that you knew and
appreciated what you were doing. You are a trained police officer.
"This was a cold- blooded beastly murder committed without any conscience
and you went on to dump the body. As a policeman, you had ample time to
report the murder but you went to Harare for three weeks after the offence
and still did not report."
The court heard that Matibe, of Bulawayo's Pumula North suburb, had been in
the company of two friends - serving police officer Collin Tsikidze and
Leonard Dube - when they decided to commit a robbery for money.
Shortly after midnight on September 26, 2007, the men approached Oosthuyse's
car - a Nissan Sentra bearing South African number plates -- which was
parked outside a supermarket along Bulawayo's 8th Avenue. Oosthuyse was
Prosecutor Erick Moyo told the court Tsikidze tapped on the car's window,
showing Oosthuyse his police badge.
Tsikidze advised Oosthuyse that he was under arrest for wrongful parking and
ordered him to drive to the nearby Bulawayo Central Police Station to pay a
Oosthuyse let the men into his car but instead of directing him to the
police station, they told to drive to the corner of Jason Moyo Street and
2nd Avenue. The frightened tourist was then ordered to stop in the middle of
the road, and Tsikidze pulled out a pistol.
Dube, who was the prosecution's star witness, immediately fled the scene.
After Oosthuyse refused to heed Tsikidze's order to get out of the car, he
was shot in the head and his body pushed to the front passenger seat, the
prosecutor told the court.
Tsikidze, now one of Zimbabwe's most wanted men, got behind the wheel and
drove to Nyamandlovu where together with Matibe they dumped the body at the
The two men drove off in Oosthuyse's car which had at the back a small
refridgerator. They also robbed his dead body of a mobile phone and R700.
Oosthuyse's body was found by locals two days later on September 28. His
passport and a wristwatch were also recovered.
A post mortem report into his death was inconclusive as only parts of his
body -- comprising of a fragmented skull, 13 spinal bones, left tibia, right
tibia and both femurs -- were recovered.
Detectives investigating the murder got a lucky break just five days after
the body was recovered when Matibe was arrested while committing a robbery
at Mership House along Main Street. Police recovered a BSAP 170 CZ pistol
which they linked to Oosthuyse's murder.
In his defence, Matibe claimed that he took possession of the pistol from
Tsikidze after the latter left it in a jacket which he gave to his
The judge rejected Matibe's plea to find mitigating circumstances after
claiming that he was drunk during the commission of the murder. During
trial, Dube admitted all three man "had no money" to buy alcohol, and the
judge said it followed they could not have been drunk.
"It is clear that you were actively participating in the commission of the
crime," the judge said.
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 19 October 2009
OPINION: On October 15 2009, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T) party announced that it had severed ties with
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF within the government, which it accused of
acting in bad faith and in contravention of the Global Political Agreement
On the same day, Messrs Nigel Chanakira and John Moxon issued a
joint-statement advising shareholders that agreement had been reached to
resolve the outstanding issues related to the demerger of Kingdom Meikles
Like KML, the government of national unity (GNU) was a product of
negotiations that were facilitated by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to put Zimbabwe first and subordinate whatever partisan
interests might have informed the actions and decisions of the two principal
In the case of KML, two principal parties led by Chanakira and Moxon came to
an agreement that it was in the interests of both organisations they
represented to form one politically, racially, and commercially integrated
KML was formed in 2007 as then the largest domestically controlled listed
company incorporating the former interests of Meikles Africa, KFHL, Tanganda
and Cotton Printers.
Chanakira became the first black CEO of the combined group and it was indeed
a cause for celebration as this transaction represented a market-based
seamless integration of "old" and "new" money and more importantly between
"black" and "white" capital.
It did not take long for boardroom squabbles to erupt between Chanakira and
Moxon over corporate governance, values, beliefs and principles and
significantly on what kind of organisation they wanted to see.
As a result, accusations and counter-accusations spilled into the public
domain. Commercial transactions done in the name of KML were challenged amid
allegations of externalisation, which then led to the specification of Moxon
in January well as his family, and subsequently companies deemed to be
associated with him.
In the face of a relationship problem characterised by lack of trust and
respect, the only avenue open was divorce. The agreement signed on Thursday
last week marks the end of a journey that started with a lot of promise but
ended in acrimony.
What is significant is that an agreement to part ways was reached and now
the job to recreate the pre-merger architecture begins.
On the political front, the GNU is the government of the day. It is not a
partnership in so far as the actors are expected to relate to the state.
Under a unitary government, the head of the state is in that position as an
agent of the universe of Zimbabweans organised in form of a nation state and
once he takes an oath of office he did so as a covenant to serve the state
and not his political constituency.
Equally, the Prime Minister ought to be the head of the Council of Ministers
and his role should be defined.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe has no provision for a "two in one government"
and the same was true for KML.
What is evident is that the relationship between the two principals i.e.
President Mugabe and his Prime Minister Tsvangirai is not a healthy one.
What is the practical effect of the decision by MDC-T to suspend its
engagements with ZANU PF in government? To the extent that all the state
actors are required to take an oath to serve the Republic, it is not clear
how political party affiliation becomes relevant in the matters of state.
For example, Zimbabwe has one Minister of Finance and he is in that position
as a custodian of public resources and not partisan resources.
What seems evident is that there are deep-seated challenges that confront
the GNU as the ones that confronted KML. Clearly there are ideological
issues that are bound to present intractable challenges to any marriage of
the nature of the GNU and KML beyond the interests and personal preferences
of the principal actors.
Mugabe believes he is in charge and equally Chanakira believed that he was
in charge of KML. ZANU PF believes in the justice of its cause and it is
resolute that the land question is closed.
The fact that the treatment of Roy Bennett by the GNU has been offensive to
the spirit of the GNU exposes the fact that Mugabe is not prepared to
appoint him in his government as a deputy minister of a ministry that he
believes to be a sensitive and strategic one.
Although the constitution confers on all citizens the same inalienable
rights, ZANU PF holds the view that the past has a memory and, therefore,
the only way the country can move forward sustainably is to use the state to
redress the historically generated economic distortions and this may
invariably infringe on the rights of people like Bennett but there is simply
no alternative as the current condition was a product of history and
deliberate actions of human beings.
To this end, Bennett is just a pawn in a bigger fight about what kind of
Zimbabwe the actors want to see. Feelings against racial superiority,
neo-colonialism and imperialism are just too strong to ignore.
On the KML, the real fight may ultimately have had little to do with the
principal actors but the conflict between deeply held values, beliefs and
principles that continue to divide people than unite them.
To what extent can "old" and "new" money co-exist or even thrive under a
common control is a question that the KML saga has provided an eloquent
After the unbundling of KML, control still resides where it was in the
pre-merger era suggesting that the framers of the merger were alive to the
risk of blindly assimilating themselves to a new and untested structure.
The GNU is an untested entity and, therefore, it is hardly surprising that
after eight months of pregnancy there is talk of suspending the pregnancy.
How can pregnancy be suspended? What is clear is that ZANU PF and MDC-T
sought to retain the residual right to revert to the pre-GNU era and their
collective commitment to the state may have been compromised from the
ZANU PF remains intact and equally MDC-T remains intact. When problems
between Moxon and Chanakira surfaced, the black directors took a position to
align themselves on racial grounds.
The black directors took the same view to suspend dealing with Moxon but
remained on the board of KML. This is no different to the decision made by
MDC to fight the battle inside the melting pot.
Will the GNU end with an agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai to divorce
amicably? If so, who will be in control of the state? The GNU was a
necessary instrument to deal with legitimacy issues created by the voters
during the 2008 general elections.
All the friends of Zimbabwe including SADC have accepted that an outcome
that will see any of the two bulldogs exclusively controlling the state
would not be legitimate. Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai are acutely conscious of
the consequences of the GNU breaking down.
The only viable solution would be to go back to the shareholders who must
decide on how they want to be governed.
The GNU like KML cannot be expected to advance the interests of all the
stakeholders and, therefore, shareholders must decide as they did in June to
approve the demerger of KML.
What Moxon and Chanakira were then forced to do was to give life to a
decision of shareholders at a general meeting. They had no choice but to
put whatever egos they had aside.
It is obvious that the GNU can never deliver its mandate given the values,
beliefs and principles that inform the actions of the principal actors.
ZANU PF holds the view that there is nothing inconsistent with the principle
of the rule of law and the manner in which not only
Makamba/Kuruneri/Muponda/Tsvangirai/Biti/Mutambara and others were treated
during the pre-GNU period but also Moxon/Mukoko/Bennett and others after the
formation of the inclusive government.
A strong view continues to be held notwithstanding the existence of the GNU
that it is up to the accused to prove their innocence in a court of law.
In the case of Bennett, a view is held that he must be reminded that he is a
The underpinning view is that anyone perceived to be an inheritor of
advantages conferred by an unjust colonial system must not and never be seen
to be enthusiastic about issues like the rule of law, property rights and
justice in post-colonial Zimbabwe.
This dispute is an emotional one but what is now required is for people to
reflect on what Zimbabwe would say if it had the voice to speak.
Would it be satisfied with the call for lifting of sanctions when the state
can and is used as an instrument to intimidate and harass citizens?
If Zimbabwe needs foreign investment from the West, then can a rational
argument be made that white people are not welcome to identify with the
If the rule of law is restored, is it only white people who stand to
benefit? Moxon remains specified, as are his companies.
To remove specification will require not just the efforts of Chanakira but
our collective voice to register our concern that a society in which the
state interferes with commercial disputes invoking legislation that would
not pass the constitutional muster is fundamentally wrong.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the Securities Exchange Commission
(SEC) have to play their part lest the integrity of Zimbabwe's capital
markets is irretrievably undermined.
After the KML saga, who would want to have directors and shareholders who
are politically connected and powerful to rent the state? The state must
focus on doing what all governments should be good at.
The decision to suspend dealing with ZANU PF may be flawed in its
construction and motivation but what is instructive is that no amount of
propaganda can mask the fact that no progress will be forthcoming from a
marriage of convenience where the willpower to change is missing in action.
It is never too late to bite the bullet and accept the inevitable in the
interests of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe needs stability and certainty.
MDC-T and ZANU PF can learn from the KML saga that ultimately hard choices
have to be made. - ZimOnline
145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
……..as Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto assures CHRA of wide consultations
19 October 2009
The City of Harare held a meeting with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) on Friday the 16th of October 2009 over the 2010 City Budget formulation consultation process. The same meeting also deliberated the issues raised by CHRA in its peaceful protest march conducted on the 5th of October 2009. The protest drew the participation of 500 residents from different suburbs of the City.
The meeting sought to find ways by which CHRA and the Council can work together to ensure effective residents’ participation in the 2010 City budget formulation process. This will go a long way in mending the relations between the City of Harare and residents; strained due to the fact that the residents were not able to participate effectively in the formulation and approval of the 2009 budget. In this meeting the Deputy Mayor expressed his desire to ensure thorough consultation of residents in this and other decision making processes. CHRA has urged the council to ensure that the ultimate budget must be reflective of the views of the residents with respect to the tariffs and priority areas. Representatives from CHRA and the City Council are meeting again on Wednesday the 21st of October to conduct a thorough discussion of the petition that CHRA submitted to the Mayor. CHRA and City of Harare are expected to come up with a joint programme of public consultation on the 2010 City budget by the end of this meeting.
CHRA remains committed to advocating for democratic and good local governance in Zimbabwe.
I had an interesting chat on Skype with a good friend who is also very interested in the situation in Zimbabwe.
Friend: Is Mugabe going to do a go-it-alone?
Me: Looks like it - so no change there
Friend: And arrest the MDC leadership and take everything back
Me: There's not much to take back!
Me: It is a complete and utter mistake! How can MDC be in government without engagement?
Friend: Parliament. You run your ministries and we'll run ours
Me: Yes - and Home Affairs which is jointly run?
Friend: Well, according to what I am told, MDC are not included at all anyway so my view is that you run what you can run and mock them at the same time
Me: Yes - very little has changed - except that Zuma and SADC are paying lip service whilst ZANU PF continue with what they have done for 30 years
Friend: That's right. So what do you think Mugabe is going to do about this?
Friend: Not like him to be quiet. He's going to do something
Me: Very little. He will tell those who will listen (and those who won't) that the MDC has pulled out of the GNU and that is that. The fact that ZANU PF lost the general election is beside the point...
Friend: You think he's going do nothing or very little?
Me: He is already doing it - the assaults continue and the land grab will be 'completed'...
Friend: There is plenty more he can do
Me: He has no plans to hand any power over...
Friend: The land grab is almost completed
Friend: No white farmers will be left by Xmas - we know that already
Me: He will now gun for more than just Roy Bennett, he will go after Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti and anyone else caught in the net - probably declare martial law and a one party state and sit back and watch how the world reacts. The silence will be deafening...
Friend: Ahhhh now you are talking. So why not write something on those lines?
Friend: Mugabe's next move
Me: I intend to - just been busy with other things today
Friend: Look the war vets have been saying "you ain't seen nothing yet"
Me: Yes - and the vast majority of people calling themselves vets are not
Friend: I know that but this is the message they are telling people at the growth points and milling points
Me: And there are more landless blacks than ever because ZANU PF chucked everyone off their newly occupied land... the land was only meant to be for chefs anyway
Me: Yes - I need to write an editorial today - perhaps I should get on it, huh?
Friend: You only have to look at what happened in Russia to know what they are going to do
Me: Yes - and then in Rwanda/Burundi...
With that, my friend went off line - not because he disagreed with me, but because he lost his connection.
But the idea that Zimbabwe may turn into another Rwanda/Burundi - or another Darfur - is a very scary but real prospect.
Whilst Mugabe sits back and laughs at the current state of affairs in Zimbabwe, he is working feverishly in dark streets and behind closed doors to ensure that there will be no come back for the MDC.
He has the military might to squash them like happened in Rwanda and Burundi.
It is sad to say, but Mugabe is not going without a fight and he has bodies aplenty to use as canon fodder before he is forced to either fight to the end or give up (which is something I doubt very much).
Mugabe’s next move is going to be very interesting.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man
BILL WATCH 34/2009
[19th October 2009]
Both Houses resume on Tuesday 20th October
MDC-T Statement that it Will Stay in Government but Disengage from ZANU-PF: Implications
Mr Tsvangirai’s announcement on Friday has caused confusion about the implications of MDC-T staying in the inclusive government while at the same time disengaging from ZANU-PF. The crucial passage in his statement is: “…whilst being government, we shall forthwith disengage from ZANU-PF and in particular from Cabinet and the Council of Ministers until such time as confidence and respect is restored among us”. [For the full text of the statement see Bill Watch Special of 16th October.]
To clarify what this means:
Parliament: MDC-T MPs will continue to sit in Parliament and attend to their other Parliamentary work.
The Prime Minister’s functions as
Leader of Government Business in Parliament: These
will be carried out as usual. In that capacity the Prime Minister is in a
position to direct proceedings in Parliament. All four Bills presently in the
Parliamentary pipeline are due to be presented by Minister of Finance
Ministerial Functions: The Prime Minister and Ministers and Deputy Ministers will continue to attend at their offices and carry out their functions.
Council of Ministers: Mr Tsvangirai specified in his statement that his party would disengage from the Council of Ministers. In his role as the Prime Minister he is the chairperson of this body, so disengagement will mean that the Council of Ministers will not be able to meet until such time as he summons it. The Council of Ministers’ executive powers under the GPA, are vague, so its suspension will probably have little direct impact. The GPA describes its functions as: “To ensure that the Prime Minister properly discharges his responsibility to oversee the implementation of the work of government, there shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of all the Cabinet Ministers, chaired by the Prime Minister, whose functions shall be: (a) to assess the implementation of Cabinet decisions; (b) to assist the Prime Minister to attend to matters of coordination in the government; (c) to enable the Prime Minister to receive briefings from the Cabinet Committees; (d) to make progress reports to Cabinet on matters of implementation of Cabinet decisions; (e) to receive and consider reports from the Committee responsible for the periodic review mechanism; and
(f) to make progress reports to Cabinet on matters related to the periodic review mechanism.”
Cabinet: the Prime Minister will not attend Cabinet meetings nor will MDC-T Ministers. There is nothing in the GPA or in the Constitution requiring the presence of all members – or even of a specified quorum – for Cabinet meetings to go ahead. So the President, who chairs Cabinet, could continue to call and preside over Cabinet meetings if he chooses to do so. Under the GPA it is in Cabinet that the real power of the government lies – e.g. “adoption of government policies and programmes”, “allocation of financial resources”, etc. The implications of this could be serious – as Article 20.1.2(f) of the GPA provides that the Cabinet “shall take decisions by consensus”. It is possible, therefore, that Cabinet decisions will be reached in the absence of MDC-T Cabinet members – unless MDC-M Ministers attend and block consensus.
Constitution-making process: the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs has said he does not foresee the disengagement within the Executive causing any disruption in the constitution-making process.
Reaction to the Announcement
Reaction from ZANU-PF: ZANU-PF deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi said his party “would not lose sleep” over the disengagement.
Reaction from MDC-M: MDC-M spokesman Mr Edwin Mushoriwa said his party would ignore the MDC-T disengagement and continue working in the inclusive government and engage with both the other partners to save it from collapse. [Note: Mr Chaibva, an MDC-M MP and introduced as representing MDC-M on ZTV, said that MDC-T should get out altogether and it would be “good riddance to bad rubbish” – it is hoped that MDC-T will clarify that this does not in fact represent their views].
From the region: there has been no official response, and Mr Tsvangirai will be visiting regional leaders next week to update them on the situation.
Will SADC Respond to the MDC-T’s “Disengagement”?
Mr Tsvangirai’s statement referred to the fact that “despite numerous correspondence and trips to SADC and SADC leaders and despite a SADC summit, the above issues remain outstanding.” He also stated that “should this Constitutional crisis escalate, then the self-evident solution would be the holding of a free and fair election to be conducted by SADC and the AU and under UN supervision.” It would seem incredible under these circumstances if SADC does not respond promptly to this.
The MDC-T were hoping
that their outstanding issues would be dealt with at the last SADC Summit but
President Ian Khama has been declared President for a new five-year term after his BDP party won the general elections, garnering 45 of the 57 constituencies with the remaining seats divided between the three opposition parties and one independent. Just before his win he had stated that if the GNU were to collapse he would not recognise Mr Mugabe as President. Last year’s presidential elections were so controversial the result was not endorsed by SADC, and it is the GNU which has given him legitimacy as President.
Update on Parliament
Agenda for sittings on Tuesday 20th October
For both Houses the
only item on their agenda is the customary motion expressing loyalty to
House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees
Committee membership will continue as for the First Session for the time being, as announced by the Speaker and the President of the Senate in the brief sittings that followed the opening of Parliament on the 6th October. The committees have started meeting and have been considering their work plans. So far no public hearings have been scheduled. The House of Assembly's Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion portfolio committee is meeting on Monday 19th October and will decide whether or not to hold public hearings on the Ministry of Finance’s three major Bills [see further under Legislation Update].
MPs in court
Senator and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Designate Roy Bennett found himself back in Mutare remand prison for two nights when the Attorney-General’s Office, instead of starting his trial in the magistrates court on 13th October, announced its decision to indict him for trial in the High Court on 20th October and insisted on the revocation of the bail previously granted by the Supreme Court. Bail waJs restored by Justice Hungwe on Friday afternoon and Mr Bennett was freed that evening. His trial will not now start on Monday as the Attorney-General’s office conceded yesterday that it failed to give him the 10 days’ notice required by law, and suggested the 27th October instead. The defence will be seeking a later trial date when Mr. Bennett appears before the High Court in Mutare on Monday.
Deputy Minister Tamsanqa Mahlangu’s trial on a charge of theft of a cell phone continued with the hearing of the defence case, which included testimony from Mr Mahlangu and was concluded on Wednesday 14th October. The magistrate will give his verdict on the 2nd November.
of African Governance
High Court Decision on Chiadzwa/Marange Diamond Fields
The full text of Justice Hungwe’s judgment in the Chiadzwa diamond mining rights case has been released. [Electronic version available on request.] [Reminder: The judge ruled against the government and restored to African Consolidated Resources mining rights cancelled by the Government in 2006. The Government has appealed to the Supreme Court.]
Bill passed by Parliament but not yet gazetted as Act
The Appropriation (Additional) (2008) Bill was passed in early April but has not yet been sent to the President’s Office for the President’s assent. [See Bill Watch 32 for a note on the Bill.]
Public Finance Management Bill [HB 9, 2009] – gazetted Friday 16th October. The purpose of this wide-ranging Bill is to enhance efficient and responsible economic and financial management by the Government. The Bill covers the ground presently covered by the Audit and Exchequer Act and the State Loans and Guarantees Act, so it provides for the repeal of those Acts. Detailed provision is made to improve the accountability of “public entities”, a term embracing statutory bodies, companies controlled by the State, local authorities and partnerships and joint ventures between the State and the private sector. To be introduced by the Minister of Finance. [Electronic version available on request.]
Audit Office Bill [HB 10, 2009] – gazetted on 2nd October. The purpose of the Bill is to establish an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General outside the Public Service, with its own Audit Office Commission to fix conditions of service for the staff of the office and to be responsible for appointing and disciplining that staff. Also covered are the powers, functions and responsibilities of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, amplifying what is already in the Constitution. To be introduced by the Minister of Finance. [Electronic version available on request.]
Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009] – gazetted on 25th September. This is a short routine Bill providing for condonation of overspending by several Ministries during the 2006 financial year. To be introduced by the Minister of Finance. [Electronic version available on request.]
Reserve Bank Amendment Bill [HB 7, 2009]– gazetted on 14th August. To be introduced by the Minister of Finance. [for a full discussion of the Bill see Bill Watch Special of 8th October, which notes that a clause in the Bill may be inconsistent with the Declaration of Rights].
SI 162/2009 notifies new customs duty suspensions [gazetted 9th October].
No statutory instruments were gazetted on 16th October.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.