The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Fat cat generals fear loss of assets

October 19, 2012 in Politics

FOLLOWING controversial remarks by senior Zanu PF officials, Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa and party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, that the
military would not accept an MDC-T victory in the next elections, it has
become increasingly clear security service chiefs are geared to defend their
massive wealth accumulated during extended periods of looting of public
resources by President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Report by Staff writers

Chinamasa and Gumbo’s remarks –– which follow similar threats by three
senior army commanders Major-Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba, Martin Chedondo
and Trust Mugoba –– have further thrust the military into the spotlight,
showing they are prepared to fight to defend not just Mugabe and Zanu PF,
but their riches.

Zimbabwe’s military is already on the ground campaigning for Mugabe and his

Senior army commanders, mainly deployed in Manicaland, have warned they
would fight to preserve the status quo.

What the military is not saying publicly is that its commanders fear losing
their assets and privileges if Mugabe and his party are defeated.

Local military chiefs, who have become fat cats, are some of the richest in
the region. They own businesses, farms, safaris, huge houses and big cars,
among other assets, courtesy of Zanu PF’s patronage network.

They have also been deployed in various state institutions where they are
drawing huge salaries and allowances.

The military is also playing a pivotal role in money-spinning companies in
which the government has a stake such as Mbada Diamonds and Anjin
Investments, which are exploiting diamonds in Chiadzwa under shady
circumstances amid concerns of looting.

Police and intelligence services were also involved in diamonds mining.

Insiders say top army bosses, particularly Zimbabwe Defence Forces
Constantine Chiwenga commander, have become extremely rich and own several
farms, houses and luxury vehicles.

Some of the generals’ wealth can be traced back to the Democratic Republic
of Congo war where they creamed off that country’s mineral wealth through
military companies at the height of the campaign to prop the late Laurent
Kabila’s regime.

Insiders say Chiwenga, for instance, is by all measures now a rich man as he
controls a diverse portfolio of companies, properties, including upmarket
houses and commercial assets, among other investments.

Chiwenga reportedly owns luxury vehicles, among them a Toyota Land Cruiser
V8, Land Rover Discovery, Prado, Jeep and two Mercedes Benz.
The country’s top general also has several posh houses in such areas as
Borrowdale Brooke, Greystone Park and Glen Lorne, among other plush suburbs.

Sources said Chiwenga also had interests in several companies, among them
Brimstone Investments, Lighthouse Investments, Ventilux (Pvt) Ltd, Hidecote
Investments, Albacore Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Moorhead Investments (Pvt)

Chiwenga also owns Kazungula Wildlife Safaris.

In all, sources say Chiwenga owns over 20 properties and assets, making him
one of the richest public servants.

“The reason why the military is threatening to defy the people’s will after
the next elections has less to do with their involvement in the liberation
struggle but more to do with their current material condition and
privilege,” a senior military source said.
“Zimbabwe’s army commanders are some of the richest, if not the richest, in
the region. For that reason, mainly, they will fight to keep Mugabe and Zanu
PF in power.”

Currently a number of serving and retired military officers, including
Major- General Engelbert Rugeje, Retired Brigadier-General Gibson
Mashingaidze and Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka are scrambling for
safaris at the world’s biggest private wildlife park, Save Conservancy in

Virtually all military commanders were allocated some of the best farms
during the chaotic land reform programme before benefiting from the
agricultural mechanisation programme in which they received state-of-the-art
equipment such as combine harvesters, planters and tractors practically for
free and now the wildlife-based indigenisation process.

Although the senior army officers, like other top government officials
including ministers, earn low salaries, they have big perks and allowances
which have made it easy for them to accumulate wealth, hence their loyalty
to Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies (ISS) says Zimbabwe’s
military commanders – whose lifestyle are out of sync with the economic
trends in the country – are even wealthier than their counterparts in South
Africa, the continent’s largest economy by far.

“No one, at least in the uniformed forces in the region, South Africa
included, has what Zimbabwe’s generals have appropriated for themselves over
the years,” said Dr Gwinyai Dzinesa, a senior researcher at ISS.

“We cannot compare the wealth of the army chiefs in Zimbabwe to any other
uniformed forces personnel in the region. Zimbabwe boasts some of the
richest army commanders and the source of their wealth remains a mystery.”

To protect their positions and wealth, the military has over the years
played a key role in campaigning for Mugabe and Zanu PF. In the June 2008
presidential election runoff, the army embarked on a bloody reign of terror
to rescue Mugabe who had lost the first round of elections to Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Top military commanders, including Nyikayaramba, Mugoba and Chedondo have
come out in the open declaring their allegiance to Zanu PF, in what was seen
as a clear indication the army was not ready to relinquish the political
role it has been playing to protect its interests.

The Zanu PF commissariat department is also now militarised after former Air
Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena and ex-Central Intelligence Organisation
director- internal Sydney Nyanhongo took over the running of the department.
Many retired members of the security forces want to contest the next
elections to get into parliament on Zanu PF tickets.

High-ranking military officers are currently campaigning for Zanu PF in
Manicaland and Masvingo provinces which the party views at the battleground
regions in the next do-or-die elections.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Second stakeholders’ indaba potentially chaotic, explosive

October 19, 2012 in News

Swords are drawn for the potentially-explosive Second All Stakeholders’
Conference on the Copac constitution which kicks off on Monday, where Zanu
PF is expected to push for the incorporation of its 266 amendments to the
draft, while the two MDC formations would resist its bid.

Report by Brian Chitemba

Some of the controversial provisions deal with restoration of executive
powers, running-mates for presidential candidates in similar fashion to the
US, and devolution.

Zanu PF insists it will only support a draft that has incorporated its
controversial amendments but the MDC parties are opposing that, setting the
stage for a bruising fight.

Chaos engulfed the first all stakeholders conference in 2010, with senior
Zanu PF officials including Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwawo accused
of leading the disturbances.

According to the conference programme, principals – President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube – will
address the indaba, after which delegates will break into 18 thematic

It is in these groups that Zanu PF is going to push for the adoption of its
amendments, which it maintains were raised by the people during Copac’s
outreach programme, but were allegedly dropped by Copac. Delegates will be
provided with the Copac draft, the outreach data, and views from the
diaspora and the disabled.

The groups will go through the documents clause by clause before reporting
back to the plenary conference chaired by Dr Hope Sadza and Professor
Phineas Makhurane, who are the two civil society representatives on the
Copac steering committee.

The plenary will receive recommendations which will be incorporated into the
conference report after which Copac will consider them for adoption.
However, there are strong indications that the principals will later appoint
a cabinet committee that will take-over the constitution-making process,
effectively hijacking it. Of the 1 100 delegates expected to attend, about
280 will be MPs, 246 from political parties, while 574 will come from civil
society organisations. Delegates from countries with embassies in Zimbabwe
and Sadc will also attend the conference.

Accreditation of delegates and journalists started on Monday to ensure only
those invited attend the meeting, to be held at the Harare International
Conference Centre.

The conference will be held against the background of a High Court
application by Harare businessman Danny Musukuma who is seeking to block the
indaba, demanding the release of the national statistical report. Zanu PF
activist Goodson Nguni has also approached the courts demanding the same.
This is widely seen as an attempt by Zanu PF to manipulate and influence the
outcome of the conference.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF succession plays out in Copac

October 19, 2012 in Politics

ZANU PF’s smouldering succession battles are now threatening to sink the
troubled constitution-making process amid latest disclosures which show the
fight to succeed President Robert Mugabe, which has been playing on the
select committee of parliament on the new constitution (Copac), spilled into
the central committee meeting last week.

Report by Faith Zaba

The outbursts at the central committee also showed realignments in Zanu PF’s
factional dynamics between the two camps led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru
and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Insiders say Zanu PF structures in Copac, including the parliamentary
committee itself, the management committee, the party’s technical committee
on the constitution-making process and the politburo taskforce supervising
the exercise, were all divided along factional lines, leading to the current
bid by senior officials to intervene to save Mugabe from being weakened and
rendered vulnerable through curtailing of his sweeping executive powers
before crucial elections.

Fresh information obtained this week indicates Copac co-chairperson
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has actually been fighting in Mujuru’s corner,
contrary to earlier reports he was working with the Mnangagwa faction to
oust Mugabe using the constitution-making process.

Mangwana, who hails from Chivi in Masvingo province, one of the Mnangagwa
faction strongholds, initially supported that camp, but later shifted to the
Mujuru group which he is working with now.

As if to confirm Mangwana was in her camp, Mujuru at last week’s central
committee meeting at the party headquarters jumped to his defence after
Mandy Chimene, a vocal member of the party’s decision-making body in-between
congresses from Manicaland, proposed Mangwana be expelled from the party for
supposedly working with MDC formations in trying to oust Mugabe and deal
with his succession through the constitution.

Mangwana has been under fire for allegedly collaborating with MDC party
officials to include presidential terms and age limits in the initial draft
designed to bar Mugabe from seeking re-election next year. He was also
blamed for pushing for the controversial running-mates provision which
seemed calculated to resolve Mugabe’s succession in favour of Mujuru.

Senior Zanu PF officials, particularly influential politburo member Jonathan
Moyo, have fiercely attacked Mangwana in public and Copac itself as
wrangling within the party over the constitution reached boiling point.
Although Moyo was aligned to the Mnangagwa faction, he is now reportedly
rooting for Mugabe to stay on.

However, Mangwana has denied plotting against Mugabe, blaming negotiators
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche for some of the Copac problems now
affecting Zanu PF.

After Chimene proposed the expulsion of Mangwana last Friday, Mujuru quickly
leapt to his defence, interrupting and accusing her of trying to further
divide the party and being disruptive.

A central committee member said yesterday they were surprised when Mujuru
spoke strongly in Mangwana’s defence.

“Chimene proposed that we fire Mangwana, but as she was still speaking, Mai
Mujuru interjected and told her to make constructive contributions and not
come up with divisive comments and proposals,” the member said.

Top Zanu PF sources in Copac told the Zimbabwe Independent this week
factionalism has poisoned the party structures dealing with the
constitution-making process. The sources blamed infighting for the mess Zanu
PF now finds itself in with regards to the constitution-making effort, which
resulted in the party making wholesale amendments in June and July to the
draft in six politburo meetings lasting close to 50 hours.

Zanu PF hardliners, working with securocrats, have thwarted moves by a group
in Copac to remove Mugabe using the constitution-making process. Mugabe
survived manoeuvres to oust him during the 1999/2000 constitutional
commission process by a group led by the late party maverick Eddison Zvobgo.

After the term and age limits designed to block Mugabe were removed, a
clause draft was introduced in the final draft stipulating that presidential
election candidates must select running-mates who automatically become
vice-presidents if the principal candidate wins.

Insiders say the provision was meant to close the succession debate, as
Mujuru would have automatically become the first running-mate.
“People have been getting it all wrong that Mnangagwa was working with
Mangwana to deal with the succession issue. Instead, Mangwana has been
working with Mai Mujuru’s faction,” said a Copac insider.

“The issue of running-mates was done to help Mujuru, not Mnangagwa.
Seriously, why would Mnangagwa be part of a process that was geared to
ensure Mai Mujuru’s ascendancy? Mai Mujuru would have automatically become
the first running mate and there was no way Mnangagwa would have jumped to
that position for the elections next year.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Masvingo Mayor blames land reform

October 19, 2012 in News

MASVINGO mayor Femias Chakabuda has blamed the demise of the country’s
oldest town on the chaotic fast track land reform programme which destroyed
a once thriving cattle ranching industry that was the backbone of the city’s

Report by Staff Writer

Masvingo was home to the largest Cold Storage Company’s abattoir,
slaughtering around 450 cattle daily. The abattoir, which was shut down,
supported the town’s transport and engineering companies as its downstream
industries, but these have since closed leaving over 3 000 workers jobless.

Chakabuda told the on-going parliamentary finance, budget and investment
committee’s 2013 national budget consultations in Masvingo on Wednesday that
the resettlement programme’s “excitement” overshadowed the future of the

“The land reform programme killed Masvingo industry when peasants were
resettled in the once thriving cattle ranches that supported the
city’s industries like CSC and transport companies like AJ Capple, Railway
Motor Services and Mkondo Transport,” said Chakabuda.

Chakabuda said it was foolhardy to try and commercially farm in areas such
as Zaka and Bikita because the weather was hostile.
He said government could still remedy the situation by assisting resettled
farmers venture into the lucrative cattle ranching sector thus helping
revive the town’s fortunes

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Collapsing industry: Mutare residents demand action

October 19, 2012 in News

MUTARE residents have demanded that government sets aside US$10 million in
the 2013 national budget to save the city’s collapsing industries which have
forced thousands of workers onto the streets despite the city being the
diamond hub of the country.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

The calls were made at a pre-budget consultation process on Wednesday.

Mutare’s two largest industries, Mutare Board and Paper Mills and Karina
Textiles shut shop this year leaving about 2 000 workers jobless. Mutare
Board and Paper Mills was liquidated while Karina Textiles is under
provisional liquidation.

Mutare Board and Paper Mills was the largest paper-making company in the
country, strategically located in the city to tap into the abundant forestry
plantations of Manicaland.

Karina Textiles is one of the largest textiles companies in the country and
specialises in producing garments and carpets for the local and export

War Veterans leader Alfred Mbengo told the meeting that Finance minister
Tendai Biti should immediately release US$10 million to save the city’s
flagging industry or Mutare would descend into chaos as workers continue to
lose jobs.

Biti will be in Mutare today.

“We are worried that our big industries continue to close and make people
jobless because the government cannot inject US$10 million to save the
ailing industries. We cannot continue to harp on about indigenising the
economy when we are failing to save existing industries,” said Mbengo.

Residents asked government to prioritise investment in irrigation
infrastructure so that farmers can produce throughout the year.

They also demanded Marange diamonds revenue be transparently accounted for
and a huge chunk of the proceeds be rechanneled back to the province to
improve infrastructure and build sustainable industries to create jobs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF steps up poll campaigns

October 19, 2012 in Politics

ZANU PF is stepping up efforts for massive campaigns ahead of do-or-die
elections next year which might mark the end of President Robert Mugabe’s 33
years in power.

Report by Elias Mambo

Informed sources say the party has begun rolling out its election machinery
and strategies by buying campaign materials that include vehicles, motor
bikes, T-shirts, posters and putting in place other necessary logistics for
the make-or-break polls.

Insiders say Zanu PF has a multi-pronged strategy for the elections centred
around a carrot-and-stick approach, which includes vote-buying methods such
as community share ownership schemes, splashing on community projects using
its war chest built through Marange diamond proceeds and using coercive
measures, including the deployment of security forces in the countryside.

In terms of logistics, the party has already acquired 550 vehicles at a cost
of US$14 million and motor bikes for 68 districts to ensure that its
campaign managers and their foot soldiers reach all areas, including remote
districts, to mobilise voters. Zanu PF has bought an assortment of single
and double cab 4X4 vehicles including Toyota Hilux, Nissan NP300, Ford
Ranger and Mazda BT50s.

“The party is stepping up preparations for elections. The idea is to reach
every ward the country. As a result of the land reform some areas are not
accessible, but with motorbikes we can now reach them.

Three motorbikes and two cars shall be distributed to each district. Our
commissars shall be using the motorbikes to mobilise support in areas not
accessible by road,” a source said.

Sources said Zanu PF, boosted by favourable opinion polls, wants to launch
one of its massive campaigns since Independence in 1980 in a bid to hang
onto power.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed the acquisition of the vehicles
but declined to disclose the source of funding, only saying his party was
extensively preparing for the crucial set for the first half of next year.

“There is nothing unusual about buying cars as we prepare for elections,”
said Gumbo. “Any serious party that wants to win elections is bound to get
ready, so we are just beefing up our fleet as we prepare for elections.”

However, Gumbo could not confirm the actual number of vehicles being given
to districts although he indicated that all members of the party’s
provincial executives were allocated vehicles.

Mugabe and his party are still reeling from their defeat by MDC-T and its
leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008. Zanu PF was edged by the
MDC-T, losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years,
while Mugabe was thrashed by Tsvangirai the first rounding of voting before
launching a brutal comeback in a bloody run-off.

Institute for Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe manager Jabusile Shumba
said Zanu PF’s unusual acquisition of vehicles showed the party was heavily
investing in the elections, raising fears of a possible bloodbath if it

“The vehicles and motorbikes will be used to maximise violence as there is a
sudden resurgence of terror bases that were used prior to the 2008
controversial polls,” Shumba said.

Army commanders and senior Zanu PF officials, including politburo member
Patrick Chinamasa and Gumbo, have warned of military intervention of Mugabe
and Zanu PF lose.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Party principals clash

October 19, 2012 in Politics

SQUABBLES continue to rock the inclusive government as party principals this
week clashed over the formation of a cabinet committee to drive the
controversial constitution-making process after the Second All-Stakeholders’

Report by Wongai Zhangazha/ Brian Chitemba

The formation of the cabinet committee would effectively wrest control of
the much-delayed constitution-making exercise from political parties to
become a government-driven process, rendering Copac defunct in violation of
the Global Political Agreement(GPA).

High-level sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that President Robert
Mugabe met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday over the issue despite
an agreement earlier this month that principals would only meet after the
Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference slated for Monday.

Mugabe, who has long been plotting to hijack the constitution-making process
from Copac, roped in Tsvangirai in his grand plan to establish a cabinet
committee to take over the writing of the governance charter in his quest to
have greater control as he chairs cabinet.

The two agreed to appoint a cabinet committee to “speed up” the finalisation
of the new constitution under the guise of implementing the Sadc Maputo

Sources said Mugabe and Tsvangirai had also agreed that Sadc representatives
be seconded to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee

But there was drama after Mugabe sent Tsvangirai to talk to MDC leader
Welshman Ncube over the decision to establish a cabinet committee to take
over the finalisation of the constitution-making process since Ncube was not
invited to the Monday meeting.

Ncube, the sources said, told Tsvangirai at a tense meeting on Tuesday after
cabinet that he would not endorse the formation of a cabinet committee
because he was not part of the deal.

Tsvangirai is said to have tried in vain to convince Ncube, who dismissed
the premier demanding that all issues they had clandestinely agreed to be
revisited in his presence.

Squabbles among political party principals were triggered when Mugabe
somersaulted on his promise to engage Ncube on issues related to the GPA
constitution, politics and Jomic.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sadc fails to deal with Zimbabwe

October 19, 2012 in Politics

SADC has failed to effectively deal with the Zimbabwe political logjam
because the bloc’s conflict resolution mechanism depends on heads of state
and government and ministerial committees which are perpetually committed to
their own domestic issues.

Report by Brian Chitemba

According to the International Crisis Group (ICG) report titled Implementing
Peace and Security Architecture (II) Southern Africa, the regional bloc’s
intervention in Zimbabwe’s political crisis exposed its limited capacity to
enforce agreements it helps broker.

Sadc brokered the September 15 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) to end
Zimbabwe’s political and economic turmoil which had rocked the country since

“Sadc has limited capacity to monitor, evaluate and ensure implementation of
agreements that it helps broker, and has no sanction mechanism for violation
of the deals,” reads the report.

Sadc’s mediation efforts in the Zimbabwe and Madagascar conflicts, the ICG
said, reveal the complexities of dealing with unconstitutional changes in
government, contested elections and violations of the region’s electoral

The ICG criticised Sadc’s mediation processes, saying they lack resources
and relies on the means and actions of mediators, rather than on a regional
autonomous capacity while the regional body’s response to conflict
situations remains slow.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s mediation role in the Zimbabwe crisis
has failed to address risks posed by the security sector given the evolving
role the defence forces play in local politics.

The ICG said despite slow progress around the drafting of the much-delayed
constitution, security concerns are exacerbated by destabilising political
statements from senior army officials and widespread impunity for past and
current violations.

Last week Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa hinted that the military would
stage a coup if MDC-T leader and coalition government partner Morgan
Tsvangirai wins the polls.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo has warned of a bloodbath if Tsvangirai wins.
The military is currently campaigning for Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Queen Elizabeth’ enters political fray

October 19, 2012 in Politics

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has found a new broom to clean up his
office while sidelining the dominant Makone family which has been deeply
influential in the MDC-T party as well as his personal life.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Within a month of marrying Tsvangirai in a customary union in Harare,
Elizabeth Macheka has flexed her muscles by pushing for the realignment of
the PM’s office, and relegating her husband’s long-time confidants Ian
Makone and his wife Theresa for their involvement with Tsvangirai’s
estranged lover Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo.

Macheka’s influence has seen Tsvangirai reshuffle senior officials in his
office with chief secretary Ian Makone’s wings clipped together with chief
of protocol James Maridadi, while trusted adviser Gandhi Mudzingwa and
principal director for policy implementation Lazarus Muriritirwa were

MDC-T insiders say Macheka is largely responsible for the changes because of
bad blood between her and the Makones over their involvement in Tsvangirai’s
ill-fated marriage to Tembo.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka denied Macheka’s role in the
shake-up, saying the changes are realignments “intended to strengthen the PM’s
constitutional responsibilities in the areas of planning, policy formulation
and supervision of government ministries, management of the Government Works
Programme and implementation of approved legislation”.

There are mixed feelings over the changes with some saying the weakening of
the “kitchen cabinet” would strengthen Tsvangirai while others felt it would
cost him, considering the Makones’ financial muscle and role at Harvest
House — the party’s headquarters.

Macheka has also not wasted time in making her presence felt in the public
arena.MDC-T insiders say thrusting Macheka into the public limelight was
aimed at ensuring her visibility after the distressing and dramatic events
leading up to her marriage to Tsvangirai last month. This was also aimed at
preparing her for a major political role in MDC-T structures, insiders

Just two days after her marriage to Tsvangirai, Macheka made a surprise
appearance at a High Court bail hearing accompanied by National Healing
co-minister Sekai Holland and MDC-T national organising secretary Nelson
Chamisa to show her solidarity with 29 Glen View party activists charged
with murder.

Her visit to Chikurubi and Harare Remand Prisons was not all rosy as she
endured a two-hour ordeal at the hands of guards.

Not only did Macheka manage to boost the morale of the prisoners, but she
got sympathy from the public for her defiance of the system. This was
followed by an appearance at the MDC-T’s well-attended 13th anniversary
celebrations in Bulawayo where she received a standing ovation.

Prior to that, Macheka donated an assortment of goodies to the King George
IV Memorial School for the disabled where she was the guest of honour at a
ceremony at which the Japanese government handed over more than US$124 000
worth of donations.

She was pictured playing marimba with the school’s junior band which even
Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa commended when giving his vote of thanks.

Party officials said Macheka would soon be rubbing shoulders with a
high-profile Japanese delegation expected in the country for a flower
arrangement event at the end of the month. This was revealed at a dinner
hosted for editors by Japanese diplomats in Harare last week.

Japanese officials confirmed the event but could not confirm Elizabeth’s
Elizabeth also graced commemorations at the International Day of the Girl
Child Network in her hometown of Chitungwiza where she strongly condemned
girl child abuse.

However, Macheka has not been spared attacks on social media networks which
have been awash with negative comments about her past private life and her
close links to Zanu PF, issues which may result in her being dragged through
the mud as she wades deeper into politics in months ahead.

Team of elderly women appointed to groom Tsvangirai’s new wife

A TEAM comprising Public Service minister Lucia Matibenga and Sekai Holland
has been assigned by MDC-T to “groom” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
wife Elizabeth Macheka in a move seen as elbowing out his longtime allies
Ian and Theresa Makone.

Over the years Ian and his wife Theresa have played an increasingly
influential role in Tsvangirai’s political and personal life, particularly
after the death of his wife Susan in 2009.

But the Makones have come under fire from party supporters for their role in
Tsvangirai’s embarrassing love life.

Tsvangirai has been linked to a string of women and party officials accuse
the Makones of playing matchmakers in a long list of failed love affairs
which they say tarnished the party’s image.

The “grooming” team was set up at the same time Tsvangirai announced
structural changes to his office seen as designed to sideline the Makones
from his “kitchen cabinet”.

The Makones are also accused of paying legal fees for Tsvangirai’s estranged
lover Locardia Karimatsenga-Tembo who successfully managed to stop the
premier’s wedding to Macheka at the 11th hour last month.

Since their recent botched wedding, Macheka has been playing an increasingly
influential political role in the MDC-T under the watch of her groomers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Struggle for religious vote intensifies

October 19, 2012 in Politics

AS election fever gradually but surely grips Zimbabwe, parties across the
political divide are jockeying for the support of local churches which draw
thousands of followers to their worship services.

Report by Elias Mambo

Most local churches have been infiltrated by politicians who have turned
places of worship into political rallies as the struggle for the religious
vote takes centre stage.

The church, seen as an important constituency in the power matrix, is now
infiltrated and used in what Zimbabwe has become well known for: political
theatre to woo voters shunning rallies which are increasingly turning
tiresome and violent.

Due to the economic meltdown, starvation and social problems that saw Zanu
PF losing its political grip in the 2008 elections, most Zimbabweans have
turned to religion in their thousands for salvation. Churches are
mushrooming all over the place.

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s election loss to the MDC-T and its
leader Morgan Tsvngirai shook them to their foundation. As a result Mugabe
and Zanu PF are pulling out all the stops to mobolise voters. Churches are
mushrooming around the country’s open-air spaces and sports arenas where
thousands gather to seek divine intervention for different problems they

Political parties are particularly battling to entice the United Family
International Church, led by Emmanuel Makandiwa who draws up to 60 000 to
his Sunday services. For politicians, these numbers if harnessed are a

Makandiwa drew about 100 000 people at his Easter rally dubbed “Judgment
Night” in which politicians such as Zanu PF political commissar Webster
Shamu joined Mahendere Brothers on stage at the National Sports Stadium in a
bid to identify and belong. No one has ever attracted such a crowd there.

Although Makandiwa has tried to steer clear of politics, he, like many other
men of the collar, finds himself surrounded by politicians who have no
interest in the word of God but like a chameleon stretching its tongue to
catch a fly want to woo the voters to win elections.

Mugabe and senior Zanu PF leaders have been trying hard to endear themselves
to churches.

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has also joined the fray
and has been on a religious crusade attending a series of “prayer for peace”
rallies, mass prayer meetings mainly organised by the Zimbabwe National
Pastors’ Conference, a grouping of mostly Pentecostal church leaders.

An increasingly religious Tsvangirai, who has previously visited Nigerian
famed pastor and prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua — popularly known as TB
Joshua — has been on a national campaign to promote peace in the country.

Extensively quoting from the Bible, the MDC-T leader is exhorting
Zimbabweans who shun political violence, to stand for what is right and be
ready for change because “it was within God’s plan to bring leadership
change in the country”.

The battle for the church vote intensified in 2010 after Tsvangirai was
forced to cancel his scheduled visit to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC)
Mbungo Shrine in Defe, Gokwe, after state security agents reportedly
threatened and intimidated the church with unspecified action.

While Tsvangirai’s meeting was scuttled, Mugabe went on to address the
Johanne Marange Apostolic church at Mafararikwa in Marange to mark the sect’s
annual passover.

Completely clad in white robes, Mugabe appeared at an open-air mass
gathering of the populous Apostolic sect, holding a stuff that is the
trademark of the group worshippers in a desperate attempt to win the hearts
of close to its two million members.

Earlier this year Vice-President Joice Mujuru retraced Mugabe’s footpaths to
Mafararikwa for the church’s ceremony where she addressed more than 300 000

Mujuru however did not come back empty-handed as she was assured of more
than a million votes. Whether this will materialise or not remains to be

Since then Mujuru, who is a member of the Salvation Army, has been
crisscrossing the country addressing several indigenous church gatherings
like the ZCC and the Vapostori sect.

However, Zanu PF’s involvement in the Anglican Church has returned to haunt
the party as the church’s pews at its main cathedral in central Harare stand
largely empty most Sundays because of the ongoing political battle for its

Typical of the Zanu PF behaviour, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga refuses to hand
back the Harare Cathedral, offices, buildings, schools, church bank accounts
and vehicles he seized with the protection of police loyal to the Mugabe

Controversial and self-styled clergymen such as Obadiah Msindo have also
used the church platform to spearhead Zanu PF campaigns.

Msindo, who uses his Destiny of Afrika Network to mobilise voters for Zanu
PF, recently handed over 1 200 residential stands to party supporters in
Mutare in an attempt to entice electorates ahead of elections.

Not too long ago, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa publicly declared that
he had become a born again christian.

Police Commissioner-General Augstine Chihuri has also done the same while
many politicians have mastered the art of lacing their statements with
Biblical quotes to appeal to multitudes of churchgoers attending different
houses of worship.

However, it remains to be seen whether worshippers would prove to be swing
voters in the next elections which are expected in March 2013.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bulawayo wants CDF increased

October 19, 2012 in News

BULAWAYO residents have urged government to increase the Constituency
Development Fund (CDF) in the 2013 national budget, saying it is critical in
alleviating the plight of the poor in most constituencies.

Report by Nqobile Bhebhe

The call was made at a pre-budget consultation meeting held by the
parliamentary committee on budget, finance and investment promotion in the

Residents said despite reports of gross corruption, the fund should not be
scrapped but increased to enable legislators to initiate meaningful
developmental projects.

They say the current US$50 000 was inadequate and should be increased to
US$70 000 noting development it brought in some constituencies far outweigh
reports of the fund’s abuse.

Four legislators, Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T Pumula), Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T
St Mary’s), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba) and Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu-PF
Magunje), were earlier this year arraigned before the courts on allegations
of misappropriating the CDF.

Charges against Ndambakuwa and Mhlanga were withdrawn before plea while the
cases against Machacha and Khumalo are still pending.

The committee chairperson Paddy Zhanda told participants that not all
contributions would be incorporated into the final document as they are too
financially handicapped to reach all parts of the country.

“As a committee, we would like to spread our consultative meetings
countrywide, but due to budgetary constraints we are not able to do so,”
said Zhanda.

“Our task is to gather views, consolidate them and forward them to the
ministry of finance for consideration.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Why the ZAMPS Internet usage survey results are inadequate

October 18, 2012 in News

The results in the recently released Zimbabwe All Media & Products Survey
(ZAMPS) are strange. The internet part at least.

Report by Techzim

Last month, when the report came out, our opinion, after reading about it in
the Herald, was that the internet data just didn’t make sense. To be fair on
ZAMPS, this was just the Herald’s own interpretation of the data. After
going through the ZAMPS report ourselves, however, we still find that most
of the data remains quite strange.

Like last year, the release of the survey results had some media houses
questioning the integrity of the results and others (like the Herald)
celebrating the integrity and taking full advantage with story headlines
declaring “the Herald most complete, balanced newspaper”. The Research
Bureau International (RBI) itself, the organisation behind the survey,
defended the integrity of its findings, and about the internet data

please note ZAMPS measures internet penetration and not how many times an
individual visits a site as done by Google Analytics.

There is the problem.

ZAMPS’ stated objective for the survey is:

to provide comprehensive information to the marketers on the audience for
all media, including all the radio stations, TV channels, newspapers and the
Internet etc..

Measuring internet penetration and usage through a questionnaire is just not
effective. Internet penetration is generally understood to be the percentage
of the total population of a given country or region that uses the Internet.
While finding this number is not a stroll in the park, instead of asking
users in a survey, a good start would be to ask the providers of internet
services. They sign users up for the service. They surely can provide the
data, or at least they can find out!

The internet makes the “Readership vs Circulation” argument that the RBI and
AMH have been having irrelevant. Except for the purposes of determining
specific demographic data, the RBI doesn’t need go out into the field to
gather data about the readership on the internet. Everything is recorded
already, and the RBI just needs to develop ways to access this data from the
service provider and publishers.

From the number of visits publishers get to the unique & return visitors,
the number of pages viewed, the time of the visits, the time spent on the
site, the clicks (or touches) made on adverts, the physical location of the
‘readers’, the types of devices used and, in the case of Facebook at least,
the demographic profile of the users. The data doesn’t lie.

To meet their objective of providing comprehensive information to the
marketers on the audience for all media, this is the information the RBI
should be compiling about internet usage in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Whites took their land, then the mines did the same

October 17, 2012 in News

Under Le Balelo, the highest of the seven koppies that surround the green,
flat plains of Kalkfontein near Steelpoort in southeastern Limpopo, Andries
Masha’s eyes grow distant.

Report By Niren Tolsi

Gesturing towards the land, he said: “I walked all over here. There is no
place that my foot hasn’t touched – even that mountain.”

Masha (69) is still nimble as he takes the Mail & Guardian around to a
gnarled old mohlopi tree that reaches out with its branches to dominate the
expanse of grass and acacia around it.

Under it, he said: “This tree is holding our history. When the government
was trying to remove the community [in 1949] the people were holding their
meetings here … It is where the Masha people have been meeting since the
1700s and even when the soldiers tried to bulldoze it they couldn’t.”

The army moved into the area in 1949 to remove the Bakone ba Masha ba
Mokopele community to make way for white farmers after the racial rezoning
of the area.

Then a young boy, Masha had, together with his family, been dumped “in the
middle of nowhere with nothing”. He had returned when his father started
working as a labourer for the farmer who had occupied the land a few years

For Masha, there is magic in the Kalkfontein valley and its surrounding
koppies. He talks of a bird that arrived to inhabit the imbizo tree the day
the soldiers did. It stayed until the 1970s and talked in Sesotho “to
protect the land”, singing a warning whenever strangers arrived in the area.
Masha also remembers heavy rain causing a large boulder to roll down the
hill towards the homes of locals, only to be deflected from destruction by
“a tiny pebble in its path”.

Subsistence existence
“The old magic, it’s already disappearing … it’s going with the old people,”
he said, sighing.

At the family gravesite, the birth dates of the dead go back centuries. The
oldest, Lengai Masha, Masha’s great-grandfather who was born in the 1700s
(the exact date having faded with time), was buried on the land in 1812.

He says 60 or 70 graves will have to be removed to make way for Kameni’s
offices, but he has a guarantee that his family’s gravesite, which is part
of the Masha royal family, will remain.

A few kilometres away on the neighbouring portion of land known as
Buffelshoek, Molemane Maimela is the fourth generation of his family to live
on the farm.

His father, Madikadike Mpedi Maimela, was born and bred on the farm and died
at the age of 115. His grandfather, Morwa Phaga Maimela, died at the age of

His family’s subsistence existence at Buffelshoek was also disrupted when
the area was given away to white farmers in the 1940s by the apartheid
government. The Maimelas had stayed on as tenant labourers and, in an
affidavit submitted to the Johannesburg high court to successfully stave off
a 1995 eviction attempt, Molemane Maimela paints a disturbing picture of
random violence, harassment and the constant threat of forced removal from
the land that his ­family had lived on for “approximately 400 years”.

According to the affidavit, in 1994 a “certain Mr JPG Botha” had taken over
the management of the farm and told Maimela to pay a monthly rental of R5
for each cow he owned.

“One afternoon, Mr JPG Botha came to my house with a firearm and started
shooting randomly and thereby causing the children to run for shelter,”
Maimela states in his affidavit.

In February 1994, the farm manager locked the entrance to the farm and “only
reopened it during the second week of January 1995 with the instructions
that we should use it to vacate the farm”.

There were other events of violence and attempted evictions, but Maimela,
his wife Maria, their children and grandchildren remain on the farm.

There are about 30 families living on Buffelshoek, but the Maimelas are one
of three families who are considered part of the Tau and Maimela communities
that the land claims commission has settled with as the rightful owners.

The majority of the other claimants from these communities live across a
steel bridge in a township that forms part of the Greater Tubatse

Impala Platinum has been prospecting in the area, but according to the
86-year-old Maimela “all of a sudden they introduced us to Kameni. They
promised us good things, but we are frustrated because they don’t give us
any details [about the mining deal].”

Philemon Maimela, Molemane Maimela’s nephew, who also has a farm at
Buffelshoek, said “we don’t have a geological report from Kameni. There has
been no disclosure of the potential for the mine, [which] is critical. The
other issue is the lease agreement. We have not agreed on anything yet.”

Molemane Maimela says the community – divided between those who live at
Buffelshoek and those who live in the township – “are not breathing with one
nose. We live here and will be directly affected. So we want more
information, but the majority of the community wants the mining to happen
quickly so that there are jobs and money from the mining.”

There is intensive mining by other companies on lands around Kalkfontein and
Buffelshoek and, according to the locals, the top groundwater has dried up.
The mines are pumping water from underground and, according to the elderly
Maimela, Impala Platinum “have checked the healthiness of the [surface]
water around here. It is not healthy. It is being contaminated by those
above us near the springs. Already our cattle are affected. The rest of the
community does not realise things like this.”

Lease agreement
The Masha community are as divided. Part of the community has sided with the
Communal Property Association – of which Andries Masha is the chairperson –
that has signed a lease agreement with Kameni to receive just more than R16
000 a month for the community.

He says the agreement was signed because people are impatient for the mining
to start because they are desperate for jobs.

Another faction, led by traditional leader Kgoshi Lengwane Masha, is
contesting Andries Masha’s validity as chairperson of the association and
the deal he struck with Kameni. It is alleged that there are other
agreements with other mining companies in the pipeline for use of the land.

Although Andries Masha is ­nostalgic for a time “when we were living here
very nicely; we didn’t struggle and never went hungry because we had our
crops and livestock”, he is realistic about the fact that “you can’t run
away from the mining”.

“The [white] farmers came here and took this rich place from us, the mines
have come and they take the minerals and they do nothing for us while the
government sits back … They told us there is number one platinum here … but
we suffer here, and we will continue to suffer here like people who have
nothing on their lands.” -Mail&Guardian

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA keen to invest in Zimbabwe

October 19, 2012 in Business

SOUTH African Trade and Industry deputy minister Elizabeth Thabethe
(pictured) (ET) is in Zimbabwe, leading a trade and investment delegation of
33 companies.

Report by Faith Zaba

Zimbabwe Independent News Editor Faith Zaba (FZ) spoke to her on Wednesday
on several issues including trade, investment, indigenisation and
intra-Africa trade.

FZ: Investors have expressed concern over Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy.
Is this an issue among South African investors?
ET: They (the business delegations) want to seek clarity on how it is going
to work and how it is going to be implemented. That is what people are
asking. Overall people are positive. They are keen to contribute to the
recovery of the Zimbabwe economy.

FZ: The balance-of-trade between the two countries is one sided. How can
this be redressed?
ET: As you know it is skewed in our favour. So if we were another country,
we would sit and relax) we have nothing to lose. But we don’t believe in
that. We believe in working together and dealing with the imbalances. We
have businesspeople coming in so that they can end up investing here.

FZ: How sustainable is this skewed trade balance in the long term?
ET: We live in a global village and you can’t work as an island. It (trade
imbalance) will take time to be balanced. We believe in doing these trade
missions (since) it is then that we try and deal with the trade imbalance.

FZ: Bippa agreements have often been disregarded. What is South Africa doing
to deal with such issues?
ET: They should go to the embassy which is able to deal with them. It’s not
like they are not getting any help. The ambassador must be vocal in
assisting and supporting some of the moves here to make sure that we can
have a fair trade.

FZ: But when such cases happen, doesn’t that put off investors in Zimbabwe?
ET: The people who are doing business from South Africa are increasing, not
decreasing. If there were bigger problems, we wouldn’t find South African
people investing here. We still have a lot of companies that are operating
here. So in essence, when problems arise, they are tackled.

FZ: Do the impending elections have an impact on investment and trade?
ET: We believe that every country has its own systems of democratic
processes and elections come and go. The country can’t stop just because
there are elections. Elections are going to come and we hope that they will
be free and fair. Governments come and go (and) some are re-elected, but
people-to-people relations stay.

FZ: What are your views on a single regional currency?
ET: That can only come after thorough negotiations. Just look at the euro
zone; there are problems now. Remember we are developing countries (and) a
developing continent. The needs and priorities are much more. We can come to
that at a later stage. To me, it is too early to talk about a single

FZ: How would you describe the two countries’ relations?
ET: Without the political will, you won’t have the economic relations with
other countries. You first have to have the political relationship. You need
the political will and the political relationship so that the government to
government economic relationship is also informed in what you do. So far,
the relationship between our two heads of state seems OK.
It has paved the way for some of the things that are happening now.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

…as investors fret on indigenisation

October 19, 2012 in Business

SOUTH African businesspeople in Zimbabwe on a trade and investment mission
have expressed apprehension over the country’s Indigenisation Act, saying it
exposed policy inconsistencies and contradictions within the coalition

Report by Faith Zaba

The businesspeople, part of the delegation of 33 companies led by their
Trade and Industry deputy minister Elizabeth Thabethe, said they are worried
that parties in the inclusive government are not speaking with one voice on
the empowerment drive.

Zanu PF has vowed to force all foreign-owned companies to hand over 51% of
their shareholdings to locals while the two MDC formations have opposed the
legislation charging it is retrogressive.

The businesspeople said the implementation of the policy was ill-timed as it
scared away investors.

Kagiso Jansen, chief executive officer of Mission Point, a hydraulics
company based in Bloemfontein in the Free State province, said they were
concerned local partners would not have money to pay for a 51% stake.

“So the main concern is that we need to find a way of working around the
capitalisation of their shareholding,” said Jansen. “The general concern is
that most of these guys want to do business and they are willing to partner,
but capitalising their shareholding portion is one thing to look at, but I
am sure there is a way.

“It’s beyond our control, but you cannot just come with a project and give
shares for free. If maybe, for example, we can say to the guys this is your
shareholding but you will pay for it with your dividends and we agree on a
timeframe,” said Jansen.

He said they would determine the monetary value of the shares and every time
there is a dividend, their portion of the dividend would be paid back like
an internal loan.

Jansen said investors should take up political risk insurance to protect
their investments.His views are shared by many investors. `

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbada Diamonds combats hunger in Marange

October 19, 2012 in Business

MARANGE is situated roughly 90km south west of Mutare, in Manicaland
province. The area is generally arid with crops perennially failing.

Most families in this area are exposed to hunger as they are not privileged
with good rains experienced in other areas of Manicaland such as Honde

A survey conducted by Mbada Diamonds Safety and Health department in
Chiadzwa and Mukwada villages revealed most families were going for days
without food, while the rate of children dropping out of school was

Children were the most affected as they suffered from malnutrition related

It is against this backdrop that Mbada Diamonds injects more than US$600 000
quarterly to feed more than 7 000 families in Chiadzwa under its Corporate
Social Investment.

Every family receives foodstuffs comprising 50kg of mealie-meal, 10kg of
kapenta, 10kg of beans, 10 litres of cooking oil, 10kg of sugar and one kg
of salt, which help their livelihoods quarterly.

Mbada Diamonds also feeds children from various schools in Chiadzwa under
the supplementary feeding scheme. The mining company injected more than
US$360 000 towards this initiative.

The scheme to feed children is a response to reports that malnutrition kills
six million children annually world-wide.

Research shows that 57% of the current world population of about 6,5 billion
are malnourished.

Malnutrition is not only the direct cause of death for six million children
each year, but also renders millions of people much more susceptible to
deadly health problems such as acute respiratory infections, malaria and a
host of other life-threatening diseases, according to the report.

So important has the Mbada Diamonds food distribution and supplementary
feeding scheme become in Chiadzwa that some families now keep the event on
their calendars.

Living up to its mantra “Harnessing diamonds for the people”, Mbada Diamonds
has managed to avert hunger in the area it is operating in.
Worldwide, hunger remains the principal cause of death, surpassing HIV/Aids
and cancer.

There are 820 million chronically hungry people in the world.
Ten million people die every year of chronic hunger and hunger-related
diseases. Only 8% are the victims of hunger caused by high-profile
earthquakes, floods, droughts and wars.

The gesture by Mbada Diamonds is seen as a major milestone towards combating
hunger in Marange and Zimbabwe at large.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Political upstarts sprout as crucial elections loom

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

THE political silly season is now upon us again. More presidential
candidates, including those from the lunatic fringe, are surfacing out of
the blue with murky and dubious agendas.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Only last Thursday Mark Baard, claiming to be the leader of the until-then
unknown Zimbabwe Republican Front party, threw his hat into the presidential
ring announcing he would slug it out for the presidency in polls expected
next year.

The presidency is a vision from God, Baard said, crediting his decision to
contest on a prophecy by one Cindy Jacobs in the United States.

The 53 year-old Baard joins Kisinoti Mukwazhe, president of another
virtually unknown outfit calling itself the Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP)
and Raymond Chamba, in a growing list of political upstarts who sprout
during election time with all sorts of agendas, including suspicious ones,
only to disappear after the vote.

However, United States-based Chamba (41) does not really see himself as the
next president of Zimbabwe, but says he wants to give his ideas to
Zimbabweans so that they can make a choice to gradually move away from the
current politics which he said “border on pettiness”. Chamba surprisingly
expresses admiration for President Robert Mugabe, saying he remains Zanu PF
inside, but castigated factionalism within the party.

In a verbose if cryptic statement Chamba was quoted as saying: “The coddling
of mediocrity and denigration of excellence has desecrated the hopes of our
forefathers and dreamers thereafter. Let’s stop normalising the abnormal,
the grotesque political freak-show that is the GNU (Government of National
Unity) as presently constructed. Political pimps, old ringmasters, petty
egoists and narrow ethno-centrists need to be put to pasture.”

Mukwazhe, a colourful dresser who is garrulous but gives the distinct
impression of trying to project a dignified demeanour in keeping with his
stated presidential ambitions, says his party must not be taken for granted.

He released a statement, which contains lunatic suggestions, to the Zimbabwe
Independent in person two weeks ago announcing a “super callup cabinet” in
which he named a 93-member cabinet he would form if he assumes power.
Surprisingly it comprises most of those in the current cabinet!

While the glaring grammatical mistakes littering Mukwazhe’s seven-page
statement and his eccentric proposals may provide some comic relief, the
question is there some method behind the madness of the likes of Baard,
Mukwazhe, Chamba and others who suddenly appear towards elections?

What is their agenda and who bankrolls them? Are they not state projects to
create a semblance of democracy and confuse voters?
Political analyst and law lecturer Alex Magaisa says these candidates are
attention-seekers who view election time as an opportunity to grab a few
headlines and enjoy some publicity –– never mind how fleetingly.

“They are not in it to win, but for the thrill of being a candidate. They
get their 15 minutes of fame and they are pleased with that,” Magaisa said.

Theatrics aside, the proliferation of presidential aspirants is seen as
working against democracy as the parties split the opposition vote –– a
scenario that suits the incumbent, Mugabe perfectly well. That is why many
suspect some of these candidates are state-sponsored, one way or another.

Analyst Blessing Vava said although having many candidates and opposition
parties is a normal aspect of democracy, a divided opposition is “an
advantage to Mugabe and Zanu PF”.

Vava cited the 2008 elections when former finance minister and Zanu PF
politburo member Simba Makoni suddenly joined the fray, grabbing at least 8%
of the vote which possibly “robbed” MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai of votes
needed to attain the 51% required to sweep into power.

Vava said those who voted for Makoni were clearly registering their
discontent with Mugabe and could have given Tsvangirai an outright victory
had they voted for him.

“They may have preferred Makoni to Tsvangirai but they collectively
represented votes against Mugabe and if given the choice between one
opposition leader and Mugabe, it is fair to imagine that they, or at least
the majority, would have voted for the opposition leader, Tsvangirai in this
case,” said Vava.

“So from that point of view, one could say that the Makoni votes benefited
Mugabe in the final analysis.”

Although Zimbabwe lacked an opposition powerful enough to challenge Mugabe
before Tsvangirai during the 2002 elections, the contestants served another
useful function of giving Mugabe and Zimbabwe the veneer of being a
democratic country where polls are held timeously with everyone free to
challenge the incumbent.

Besides Tsvangirai, Mugabe has contested polls against the likes of the late
nationalist Edgar Tekere, Wilson Khumbula, Shakespeare Maya, Paul Siwela,
Langton Towungana and Simba Makoni..
Instead of perennial candidates, Zimbabwe mainly has fly-by-night

But if he loses the next elections, Tsvangirai, ironically still the most
popular politician in Zimbabwe despite his current woes, might end up as a
perennial candidate, one who runs for public office with a record of success
that is infrequent, if existent at all.

Perennial candidates are often either members of non-major political parties
or have political opinions that are not mainstream. Although Tsvangirai’s
party is the biggest now and his views are mainstream, he has lost due to
political violence and intimidation, as well as electoral theft.

However, if he loses the next polls, the MDC-T leader might eventually end
up like Afonso Dhlakama of Mozambique who contested and lost four times in
1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

Or Moumouni Adamou Djermakoye of Niger, Philippe Boulle and Wavel Ramkalawan
of Seychelles, Ghana’s Edward Mahama, Ibrahim Lipumba of Tanzania and Zambia’s
Godfrey Miyanda.

Most of the fly-by-night candidates often run without any serious hope of
winning, but to promote their views or themselves instead. In Zimbabwe’s
case, they also do it as fronts for sinister forces.
Some, like Siwela in 2002, may however overestimate their chances of winning
out of delusions of grandeur when they have little by way of campaigning
skill or voter appeal.

Apparently, Zimbabweans have dismally failed to learn from Kenya where a
multiplicity of presidential candidates played into the hands of former
president Daniel Arap Moi before he was defeated by Mwai Kibaki in 2002
after 24 years in power.

In a country where ethnicity is a crucial factor in politics, Moi who hailed
from the minority Kalenjin tribe, was able to win the Kenyan presidency not
so much because he was popular, but due to the array of opposition
candidates who always split the opposition vote.
After learning its lesson in 2002, the opposition formed a strong coalition
led by Kibaki, eventually ousting Moi.

Zimbabwe’s relatively simple age and citizenship requirements for
presidential candidates have fed the proliferation of presidential aspirants
which some analysts say promotes democratic rights of political
participation and representation.

Apart from being a Zimbabwean citizen aged at least 40, one must be
nominated by at least 10 people in each of the country’s 10 provinces to
qualify as a presidential candidate.

While Zimbabwe’s next elections are a make-or-break affair for the main
political parties, more unknown presidential aspirants could spring up,
spicing up the polls with more comedy, although their ultimate agendas may
be tragic.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T democracy: Chip off the old block

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

THE MDC-T, whose catchphrase is “change”, has since its formation promised
it would embrace a different political culture and open the democratic space
in the country to ensure power is not concentrated in the hands of the
executive, but is distributed to other arms of the estate — parliament and
the judiciary.

Report by Brian Chitemba

A new democratic dispensation would be introduced once the MDC-T came to
power, people were repeatedly told. Ordinary people would strongly influence
government policies in a refreshingly different bottom-up approach to

This would mark a departure from the top-down Zanu PF style in which leaders
had arrogated themselves unfettered powers and latitude to decide what was
good for the electorate.

However, after a few years in the trenches before tasting the trappings of
power following the formation of the unity government in February 2009 the
MDC-T appears to be backtracking on its promises and committing aberrations
in moves that smack of betrayal of its founding principles and values. The
party seems to be abandoning its core ideology and philosophy as it drifts
away from founding doctrines.

In a series of actions which have raised eyebrows among its supporters, the
party has removed term limits for its leader; is now moving to discard
primaries; and is fast embracing the personality cult around its leader
Morgan Tsvangirai besides joining the Zanu PF gravy train of corruption and

Although the MDC-T remains a major political force capable of winning the
next elections, it is fast abandoning its democratic framework and promises.

The latest example of this deviation is its plans to circumvent open primary
elections which are normal party procedure, to ring-fence incumbent MPs and
senior party leaders, mainly ministers, facing challenges from aspiring

In democratic systems, candidates for parliamentary elections are elected
freely and openly by party members, and secure the party ticket to be the

However, indications are that the MDC-T is now willing to ride roughshod
over its own principles by abandoning the popular and transparent primaries
in favour of imposition of candidates, a recurring theme within Zanu PF
where it has caused ructions and deep divisions.

While Zanu PF openly imposes candidates much to the detriment of popularity,
the MDC-T is now trying to do the same although it seeks to camouflage such
a move by couching it as a “confirmation” process for sitting MPs.
Tellingly, the party has so far failed to explain how the confirmations
would be conducted.

Tsvangirai was initially supposed to serve two five-year terms, but the
party shredded its constitution, arguing he would only step down after
unseating Mugabe.

Tsvangirai was also accused of refusing to contest the 2006 senatorial
elections although senior party officials voted in favour of participating
in the polls, resulting in the late Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube
pulling out of the party in protest over his “dictatorial tendencies”.

In 2008, the MDC-T fielded two candidates in some constituencies after
junior officials were barred from standing against senior leaders, a
development which split the vote and divided votes especially in the
Midlands Province, robbing the party of a clear victory.
Political pundits have urged the MDC-T to uphold its principles and values
if it is to remain a genuine and viable alternative.

Political commentator Blessing Vava said the strange methods adopted by the
MDC-T were a clear indication the party’s in-house democracy was shaky.

“The MDC-T leadership does not practise what it preaches,” said Vava. “They
are denying other people their democratic right to participate in primary
elections through self-serving rules and guidelines. It’s totally against
what they ought to stand for, it’s undemocratic.”

He added: “Forcing the electorate to rally behind the incumbent legislators
is a bad move because most of them have failed voters and their
constituencies,” said Vava. “Some MPs have not done much since 2008 and this
may adversely impact on the MDC-T’s performance in the forthcoming polls.”

Another political analyst Chamu Mutasa said the removal of the MDC-T
presidential term limits, Tsvangirai’s unilateral decision over senatorial
elections and the abandoning of primaries show the MDC-T might be a cut from
the Zanu PF cloth.

“What’s the difference between Zanu PF and MDC-T?” asked Mutasa. “The
parties don’t value democratic principles as they claim. It’s more
disappointing for MDC-T supporters because their party is borrowing Zanu PF

However, Bulawayo-based political commentator Effie Ncube said there is a
world of difference between Zanu PF and the MDC-T. He said the confirmation
process, instead of primaries, was designed to prevent internal rifts which
could worsen during primary elections that tend to be acrimonious.

Ncube said it was easier for sitting MPs to continue mobilising support than
to choose new representatives.

“The idea is to minimise infighting and achieve unity ahead of elections,”
said Ncube. “It’s a strategy to keep the MPs in touch with their supporters
and win elections.”
With elections fast approaching, the MDC-T could pay dearly for adopting
some Zanu PF’s methods while abandoning its founding principles and values.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Broadcasting licence demons refuse to die

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

I HAVE been monitoring the various statements the founder and owner of new
radio station, ZiFM, who is journalist-cum-businessman Supa Mandiwanzira,
has been making in public fora with an ambivalent mixture of foiled optimism
and sadness.

Tabani Moyo, Commentator

Foiled optimism at his arrogance and mild appreciation or deliberate
disregard for the facts surrounding evolution of the broadcasting reforms
agenda in Zimbabwe, and sadness at his expectation that the nation will
accept his legitimacy-seeking statements.

Unfortunately for Mandiwanzira, the struggle for the liberalisation of the
airwaves is mightier than his narrow interests. There are two critical
statements pertaining to this debate:

When you (Mandiwanzira) join national debate such as the controversy
surrounding the constitution of the current Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (Baz) and the subsequent licensing of two commercial radio stations
(ZiFM and Star FM) it doesn’t become a Mandiwanzira debate, but remains a
crucial national discussion and;

The campaign for broadcasting reforms started long ago with people being
arrested, declared persona non grata in Zimbabwe and called many unprintable
names. As a beneficiary of such rigorous campaigns by institutions,
individuals and regional pressure from Sadc and the AU, Mandiwanzira should
be grateful for these efforts as they helped secure his licence.

The broadcasting sector, like telecommunications, remains under tight
government control. Until recently the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation,
predecessor to the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation, had monopoly of the

This triggered concerned Zimbabweans, independently or organised by civil
society, to challenge the glaring anomaly with implications over how we as a
people relate and communicate.

There was a milestone in 2000 when Capitol Radio successfully challenged the
legality of ZBC’s monopoly. The Supreme Court ruled ZBC‘s monopoly was in
violation of the constitutional provision of freedom of expression. However
government moved in swiftly to overturn Capitol Radio’s triumph by invoking
the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act and crafted the nefarious
Broadcasting Services Act in 2001.

Given these developments media stakeholders under the Media Alliance of
Zimbabwe took a lead in calling for extensive amendments or repeal of the
draconian media laws, to be replaced by a more transparent, accountable and
democratic regulatory framework.

This is where the current Baz comes under the spotlight in that its
composition and constitution did not follow the basic tenets of
transparency, fairness, representativeness; nor is it accountable to the
people. This was confirmed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

It therefore saddens me to hear Mandiwanzira, in what can only be described
as rent-seeking behaviour, asking the nation to stop the debate over Baz
because he is a beneficiary of its highly disputed process. Mandiwanzira
spews venom on anyone who speaks against the process that led to ZiFM’s
licensing. I hope he will start appreciating criticism, for it is aimed at
informing debate rather than attacking his person.

It must be equally noted that during the sustained broadcasting reform
campaign Mandiwanzira was never quoted calling for the opening up of the
airwaves alongside reform campaigners. We would have had no problems with
him had the energy he is showing in defence of the Tafataona Mahoso-led
licensing regime been also demonstrated in campaigning for the
liberalisation of the broadcasting sector.

In a public discussion over the licensing issue media academic Ernest
Mudzengi warned Mandiwanzira: “The demons of the licensing process will
continue to haunt the new radio stations”.

I will go a step further and borrow a Nigerian idiom that says “when you
have flies in your hands, don’t be surprised when lizards visit you”. I do
not have an axe to grind with Mandiwanzira and his business empire, but
dream of seeing the broadcasting sector genuinely transformed and opened up.
Pressure groups in Zimbabwe must continue to pressure government to grant
more licences so that the country is bequeathed with a wider pool of
information for making informed decisions.

The broadcasting debate would not be complete without touching on
broadcasting laws.

Mandiwanzira must join media stakeholders in calling upon government to
amend extensively or, better still, repeal laws that hinder access to
information and media freedom. These include the Broadcasting Services Act,
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Interception of
Communications Act, the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act and the
Official Secrets Act.

There must be a holistic overhaul of the broadcasting sector that includes,
but not limited, to the following:

Urgent reconstitution of Baz to replace it in the long run with the
Independent Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe which would be answerable to
Repeal of restrictive and undemocratic laws.

Government must swiftly embrace digitalisation and comply with regional and
international deadlines of 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Government must transform ZBC into a genuine public service broadcaster.

Government must facilitate a three-tier broadcasting system that comprises
commercial, public and community broadcasting

Mandiwanzira must help the nation in taking a lead in articulating these
pressing issues, instead of spending time futilely trying to defuse national
debate on the quest for total broadcasting reforms.

Moyo is based in Harare and writes in his personal capacity. He can be
contacted at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chaos could follow Mugabe demise

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

To complement the objectives of the extraordinary congress of 2007 as
discussed last week (the main purpose of the congress was to affirm Mugabe
as the party presidential candidate for 2008), the previously disgraced (and
still apparently suspended) War veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda organised a
“Million Man March” in support of President Mugabe ahead of the congress.

Derek Matyszak, Constitutional expert and researcher

Although ostensibly a demonstration to show support for Mugabe, despite
“Western powers opposition to his rule”, the real audience was obviously
intended to be those within Zanu PF opposed to Mugabe’s candidacy.

Many of those opposed to Mugabe’s candidacy expressed their views through
the ballot box in March 2008. In what was called Operation Bhora Musango
(which basically means sabotage), many Zanu PF MPs were said to have
encouraged their constituents to vote for the party in the parliamentary
elections, but to withhold their vote from Mugabe in the presidential race.
Mugabe blamed these “divisions” in the party for his defeat.

These fissures and dynamics were all apparent in the Zanu PF congress of
December 2009,preceded once again by the death of vice-president Joseph
Msika in August of that year.

Mugabe and the politburo initially sought to control the succession process
by directing that only the three Matabeleland provinces should submit
nominations for the vacant position of “Zapu” vice-president. While this
may have satisfied the Ndebele sector within Zanu PF still smarting at the
imposition of the Zapu (but Zezuru) Msika, the division around the
contentious issue of reserving two posts in the presidium for Zapu members
emerged once more.

Violence broke out during the nomination process at some provincial
coordinating committees (PCCs). Of the three, only the recently “purged”
Bulawayo province agreed to nominate Mugabe’s preferred candidate, John
Nkomo (Ndebele), for the post. The politburo was compelled to open up the
process to all 10 provinces. This allowed the divisions that had
characterised the Tsholotsho saga to re-emerge.

Midlands and Masvingo declined to immediately endorse the presidium
preferred by the politburo, with Mugabe and vice-president Joice Mujuru
(both Zezuru) retaining their posts and Nkomo and Simon Khaya Moyo (a
Ndebele of Kalanga origin)) as vice-president and national chairman (to
replace the elevated Nkomo), respectively.

Masvingo once again showed further recalcitrance by proposing that Oppah
Muchinguri (a Manyika) replace Mujuru as a vice-president, but accepting the
nomination of Nkomo and Kembo Mohadi (from Matabeleland South and a Venda
with Sotho-Tswana roots under the broad Ndebele umbrella) as national
chairman. The Manicaland and Mashonaland Central PCCs also defied the
politburo by advancing Didymus Mutasa (a Manyika) as national chairman.

On account of these disputes and nervous of possible attempts to nominate
alternate candidates from the floor, Mugabe summoned all PCC chairmen to
Harare in an attempt to “whip them into line” before the congress. Masvingo
and Mashonaland Central bowed to the political pressure and altered their
nominations to reflect those of the other provinces. Manicaland stood its
ground, refusing to rescind the nomination of Mutasa for the post of
national chairman.

The recent disbanding of DCCs may also be viewed as part of the Tsholotsho
leitmotif. Several analysts have suggested the dissolution was at the
instigation of the Mujuru faction, which once again used the ruse of a
constitutional amendment to undermine the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction whose
supporters had won the majority of places on these committees.

Nominations to the Zanu PF presidium have to date been determined, in the
face of considerable resistance, by a process of “guided democracy” on
instructions issued by a politburo controlled by Mugabe. The question thus
arises as to what will happen when the post to be filled is that of the
“guide” — Mugabe himself.

Several scenarios suggest themselves.The first is that the democratic
processes set out in the Zanu PF constitution and sidelined by Mugabe, will
be reinvigorated and activated.

However, as noted above, these very processes have been altered
significantly by Mugabe, who facilitated the constitutional amendment to
change the provincial electoral colleges from the 44 member provincial
executive committee to the 100-plus PCCS. Since these later committees are
made up of several other elective bodies, those structures will need to be
in place before a PCC can be said to be properly convened.

The costs and logistical difficulties of bringing such a large number of
delegates together on short notice, and the legal complexities around the
disbandment of the DCCs, may well present grounds for procedural objections,
already as noted, a weak spot of this electoral process.

In view of these difficulties, a second scenario may arise where the central
committee exercises its power to amend the Zanu PF constitution and
establishes an expedited method of nomination.

Thirdly, the politburo may continue to arrogate to itself powers it does not
have, as it has done under Mugabe, and direct the nomination procedure. In
these latter two instances, none of these bodies is likely to speak with one
voice and the process may be susceptible to legal challenge, or worse, extra
juridical conflict.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dependency on SA bad for economy

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

IT cannot be gainsaid that South Africa is a special friend and a critically
important trading partner of Zimbabwe.

Eric Bloch Column

Not only is it Zimbabwe’s foremost and biggest neighbour with concomitant
common interests and interactions, but it has also been a major source of
investment into Zimbabwe over many years.

South Africa –– the biggest economy on the continent –– has engaged in more
trade with Zimbabwe than any other country, and it has become the home
(permanent or transitional) to more than two million Zimbabweans.

Although Zimbabwe has responded well to courtship from China and other Far
East nations, in many respects it has continued to perceive South Africa as
its closest friend, albeit with some reservations because of the country’s
leading role in Sadc’s interventions in Zimbabwe.

Indeed Zimbabwe should cultivate and preserve its special friendship with
South Africa. However, over-dependence on a single country can be dangerous
and prejudicial. We must vigorously strive to develop many such strong
relationships with other countries.

Government will contend that it has done so, citing its “Look East” policy
as evidence that this has achieved positive results. The fact that the
resultant so-called alliances have benefited these nations to a markedly
greater extent than they have Zimbabwe is conveniently ignored.

One of the first major instances where Zimbabwe’s excessive dependency on
South Africa backfired severely was in 1992. For many years, South Africa
was the main destination for Zimbabwe’s textile and clothing industries.
Although the manufacturers supplied the domestic market with all its needs,
local demand did not suffice to assure viability as well as future growth of
textile and clothing production.

Therefore manufacturers sought to export. South Africa became the key
destination for the exports, its department stores, wholesalers and
retailers being purchasers of substantial quantities of products from local

Then, without warning, South Africa terminated its Preferential Trade
Agreement with Zimbabwe, resulting in Zimbabwean textiles and clothing being
subject to crippling South African import duties. That severely eroded the
price competitiveness of local goods, resulting in the near-collapse of many
of the manufacturers’ operations.

Had the manufacturers sought to develop diverse export markets instead of
only focusing on South Africa, their future would not have been jeopardised
as it was, thereby negatively impacting upon many other sectors of the

In the last few years the perilous dependency upon South Africa, and a few
other regional countries, has been further apparent. Instead of a
forward-thinking and constructive approach, government sought ever-greater
volumes of electricity from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the
Democratic Republic of Congo, with a considerable portion of the energy
imports being sourced from South Africa’s Eskom.

With time the supplier countries required more of their energy-generation
capacity for themselves, and increasingly reduced their supplies to
Zimbabwe. Moreover, as Zimbabwe became more impoverished it could not pay
the energy-supplier countries on time, further impacting negatively upon our
ability to meet our power needs. Government should have had the foresight
not to place undue reliance on our neighbours, and timeously focused on
enhancing our power-generation resources to meet future needs.

After the demonetisation of the local currency in February 2009, most people
were opposed to the use of the United States dollar as the base currency for
our economy. Many vociferously suggested the use of the South African rand
instead. This was because rands were already in circulation in the economy,
repatriated by millions of Zimbabweans who had relocated to South Africa. It
also came from the illegal and informal cross-border trading which had
become a prominent element of the Zimbabwean economy.

Fortuitously, government recognised the potential grievous economic
consequences of yielding to public pressure, and resolutely resisted it.
Since 2009, the rand has weakened considerably, save for a period of time in
2011 and early 2012 when the weakening of the US dollar, and a strengthened
gold price, strengthened the rand, but recently it has again weakened. Had
the rand been the foundation of Zimbabwe’s monetary system, that weakening
would have even seriously impacted upon the economy, albeit that it has had
some negative and inflationary repercussions on the economy –– but not as
great as would have been if the rand was Zimbabwe’s principal currency.

In the last few weeks it has again been evident that over-dependancy on
neighbouring nations can have negative consequences. South Africa has been
rocked by severe labour unrest in its transport sector which has crippled
road movement of goods, with concomitant violence, including the
petrol-bombing and over-turning of vehicles. So destructive have been the
strikes that most factories have barred access to their premises, even by
privately-owned vehicles.

This industrial action is having severely negative repercussions upon
Zimbabwe, for 70% of Zimbabwe’s external trade is with South Africa.
Manufacturers are not receiving delivery of essential inputs, critically
impairing operations.

Other Zimbabwean importers are similarly not benefitting from timeous
receipt of goods they ordered for onward sale to retailers, resulting in
many order cancellations. In Matabeleland availability of fuel is declining
rapidly. Zimbabwe’s already very fragile economy is being further

Without in any way decreasing its close ties with South Africa, Zimbabwe
must progressively minimise its over-dependence on South Africa, and should
strive to develop wide-ranging economic interactions throughout Southern
Africa, and further afield.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Appeasing generals fuels impunity

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

FROM the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials after World War II, the International
Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission hearings in South Africa, to the International Criminal Tribunal
on Rwanda, human rights trials have been the major policy innovation for
more than half a century designed to halt massive rights violations.

Report by Pedzisai Ruhanya, Director, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also MDC-T leader, has for some
time now without elucidation, been saying that if he assumes power he would
pardon military generals accused of human rights transgressions.

What has been missing from his pronouncements though is the public policy
guidelines on how that will be executed. In other words, the MDC-T policy on
transitional justice seems opaque or non-existent. In the absence of that
policy blueprint it becomes difficult to appreciate what informs his remarks
on such important policy issues.

Assuming his pronouncements on the need to pardon the brutal military
generals who dabble in politics and in the process violate the constitution
and laws of the land amount to his party’s policy position, then it is
really unfortunate given the levels of impunity associated with the state
security apparatus.

Given the massive human rights violations associated with President Robert
Mugabe’s three-decade authoritarian rule, Zimbabwe needs human rights trials
in order to deter future violations.

The main justification for such trials is that punishment is necessary to
prevent human rights violations as the country grapples with a violent past
and the urgent need to change and transit to a democratic dispensation.

Given successful human rights trials in post-war Germany and Europe in
general, Yugoslavia, Rwanda and South Africa, human rights prosecutions
during and after the transition can lead to improvements in rights

The justification for human rights trials is rarely merely retributive as
some might argue. The purpose is not only to punish perpetrators, but to use
the penalty to deter future violations.

The deterrence hypothesis says increases in the probability or likelihood of
punishment should diminish repression if there are trials against human
rights violators.
Studies in Europe, South America and parts of Africa such as Rwanda and
South Africa show that in countries going through transition, where human
rights trials took place, there is less repression than countries without

Consistent with the deterrence argument, it has also been proven countries
with more accumulated years of trials after transition are less repressive
with fewer accumulated years of trials.

In addition, studies have shown countries surrounded by more neighbours with
transitional trials are less repressive, which suggests a deterrence impact
across borders. It is also argued truth commissions are associated with
improvements in human rights practices.

These postulations suggest both normative pressures and material punishment
are at work in transitional justice, and that the combination of the two, as
in the case of human rights trials or hearings combined with truth
commissions, is more effective than either pure punishment or pure normative

However, realist scholars argue human rights trials do not deter future
violations and that in some circumstances they actually lead to an increase
in repression. The threat of prosecution could cause powerful dictators or
insurgents to entrench themselves in power rather than negotiate a
transition from authoritarianism.

For instance, in the mid-1980s, scholars of transitions to democracy also
generally concluded that trials for past human rights violations would
undermine new democracies, and thus not have a deterrent effect on future
human rights violations.

However, human rights trials are required in Zimbabwe because violators,
including security forces, war veterans and militias, believe they are
immune from legal responsibility for their actions. They are fortified in
this belief by amnesties granted to them by the government, in particular an
amnesty granted in October 2000 which pardoned all politically-motivated
crimes committed in the run-up to that year’s elections, except crimes of
murder, rape and fraud.

This was a retrogressive policy by Mugabe’s government because it encourages
impunity and denies justice to the victims of human rights violations.
Tsvangirai should not send signals which encourage further human rights
violations as the country prepares for elections.
Impunity is failure in law and practice to hold perpetrators of human rights
violations accountable mainly through the justice system. Zimbabwe has been
a victim of both de facto and de jure impunity which has led to egregious
abuses from the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres in the 1980s, the 1985
retributions by Zanu PF supporters against Zapu followers after general
elections, the 1990 elections abuses to the infringements since 2000,
particularly the 2008 election atrocities.

Perpetrators of all these outrages have largely not been prosecuted.
Resultantly, this has led to citizens losing faith in government, security
forces and criminal justice system. It is therefore a matter of serious
public interest for the MDC-T to clearly state its public policy on
transitional justice.

Perpetrators of past human rights crimes enjoyed de facto immunity from
prosecution since, more often than not, the police turn a blind eye to their
activities. This type of impunity takes place when the state, through its
security apparatus and justice system, fails to prosecute individuals who
violate human rights as a result of lack of capacity, but in the Zimbabwean
case its due to lack of political will.

The situation in Zimbabwe is worsened by de jure impunity where laws or
regulations allowing people to get away with committing crimes strengthen
the impact of de facto immunity by making it difficult or impossible to
bring to the justice system perpetrators of human rights violations.

The perpetrators’ belief in their immunity is encouraged and re-enforced by
political leaders’ words and deeds.

International human rights treaties, to which Zimbabwe is party, impose on
the country the obligation to stop and prevent gross human rights
violations, investigate, prosecute and remedy injustices and abuse. Victims
of human rights violations have a right to justice and reparations from the

That is what Tsvangirai and others must always remember when they talk about
human rights violations and transitional justice.

The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights places obligations on
states to ensure protection of the rights enunciated in the charter and for
individuals to have human rights violations against them presided over by
competent national institutions such as the courts.

Equally, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),
to which Zimbabwe is party, requires states to adopt measures including the
legal route to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. The UN Human
Rights Committee, an independent body made up of experts whose role is to
monitor compliance with the ICCPR, has observed that a state’s failure to
investigate and bring perpetrators to justice especially with respect to
crimes such as killings, torture and ill-treatment, is considered a
violation of international law.

Zimbabwe has violated its state obligations under international human rights
and humanitarian laws. As such perpetrators of human rights abuses must be
held to account.

Ruhanya is a PhD candidate and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF running Zim aground more apt

October 19, 2012 in Opinion

Zanu PF appears to think that playing host to populist demagogues from South
Africa will endear Zimbabweans to the derelict party.

Report by The MuckRacker

Last week they smuggled the disgraced Julius Malema into the country to
attend a Youth League wedding. Given this platform, he declared Zimbabwe was
“an inspiration to Africa”.

“Don’t listen to imperialist newspapers,” Malema declared, “you have
achieved a lot. You are running your own country, you have been managing
your own affairs and you are not controlled by foreigners.”
However, when millions of Zimbabweans in economic exile are attacked in
South Africa, Malema goes silent. Why?

Despite touting himself as an “unemployed fellow”, Malema was still able to
proffer a supposedly humble US$6 000 wedding gift.Malema is under
investigation in Limpopo for corrupt tenders that could have benefited him
personally. He lives well beyond his means and sports Breitling watches and
similar such bling.

Malema also seems to prefer his Sandton townhouse to residing in dusty

Then he comes here to lecture us on social equality! Luckily the newspapers
he tells us to ignore carry details of his hypocrisy (which of course is why
he wants us to ignore them).

SA bashing
The bond between Malema and demagogues like Jim Kunaka of Chipangano was
illustrated a few weeks ago when in an interview with the Financial Gazette
Kunaka claimed that unlike former South African president Nelson Mandela,
President Mugabe was a genuine African leader.

“That story that he (Mandela) was in jail for 27 years,” he told the
newspaper, “was not true. He was not in jail. He was kept in luxury eating
nice food. That’s when he sold South Africa.”

This was probably a reference to Mandela’s spell in Pollsmore. That came
right at the end of his incarceration. But Kunaka can’t be expected to
understand these distinctions.

He belongs to a party which trades on ignorance. And its anti-South African
credentials are becoming more obvious by the day.

Zim run aground
We liked the bit in Malema’s speech at the Harare wedding on Zanu PF
“running your own country”.

Running it into the ground would be more apt! Much can be said of Zanu PF’s
stewardship that is increasingly emulated by South Africa.
The similarity is evident to anybody following the South African Airways
saga or the comings and goings on the SABC board.

Then there is the saga of Menzi Simelane and Richard Mdluli, among several
other dubious appointments of presidential cronies. The recently unearthed
Nkandlagate shows South Africa is now catching the Zanu PF virus.

Chef on the run!
Zimbabwe is indeed an inspiration to the rest of Africa.
It is a good example of how a parasitic post-liberation elite eats the
country in the way locusts do.

And then, like Patrick Chinamasa they sit back and declare who can govern
and who can’t.

There would be “trouble” if anybody sought to reverse land reform, he
declared to the BBC.

“And if those countries impose for him (Tsvangirai) to win,” Chinamasa said,
“that result will not be acceptable.”

So here is a minister and negotiator, who also happens to be unelected,
attempting to thwart the will of the people.

Zanu PF mandarins will determine who can rule irrespective of the electoral
outcome. Does that sound like a confident and successful leader? It sounds
more like a chef on the run!

Bubble bursts
Zanu PF’s delinquency was laid bare this week as its land-grab spree
backfired on hapless Epworth residents who had settled on a piece of land
owned by private developer Sunway City.

The residents were allocated the stands by local party leaders only
identified as Kembo and Chisango, NewsDay reports, apparently without
authority to do so from the owners of the land.

Unfortunately the bubble burst for the members of the so-called Chinamano
housing co-operative on Sunday when they woke up to find a bulldozer
demolishing their homes. This followed a High Court order issued recently
indicating that the residents were unlawfully settled on land reserved for
light industries. Sunway City general manager Kwaku Dzvukamanja said his
company had tried in vain to make the settlers leave voluntarily since
September 2011.

If the hapless and now homeless residents thought they would get any comfort
from their benefactor, Zanu PF, they had another think coming.

Asked by NewsDay if Zanu PF was responsible for issuing the illegal stands,
Zanu PF Harare Province chairman Amos Midzi disowned the action by their
functionaries in Epworth, saying the party did not have a policy to
illegally seize land.

No kind words
The evictees had no kind words for Zanu PF for allocating them stands
illegally and lying to them that they would never be removed.

“Zanu PF told us to come and occupy this area last year and we were told we
were not going to be affected by any demolitions or evictions because land
belonged to the people,” said one of the affected people.

“Zanu PF leaders, one known as Kembo and another known as Chisango,
collected money from each family as assurance that we would never be
evicted, and at one time we paid US$50 each. Only last week we were made to
pay another US$5 per family as contribution towards legal fees so that we
would not be evicted,” another said.

Limited scope
Miss Global Zimbabwe Mutsa Mutare has denied that she was summoned to a
Jamaican radio station while in that country to explain President Mugabe’s
“alleged comments” on Jamaican men.

“I could not comment because that was something outside my scope,” she

This illustrates just how controlled Zimbabweans are both at home and

What’s Mutsa’s scope? Is she not able to express a view about the president’s
remarks? How can they be “beyond her scope”?

Was this not an issue that affected perceptions of Zimbabwe as a tourist
destination? And what is “alleged” about Mugabe’s remarks? Did he make them
or not?

‘Look in the mirror’
We can expect a torrent of vitriol from state mandarins following good
governance advocate Mo Ibrahim’s sentiments that Zimbabwe should be a
powerhouse in Africa but its stagnant political leadership under President
Robert Mugabe is holding it back.

Ibrahim’s Index of African Governance foundation announced that for the
third time in four years it would not award its Prize for Achievement in
African Leadership as no suitable candidates were found.

“Zimbabwe should have been a success story. It is a wonderful country with
wonderful resources but unfortunately is at a political impasse,” he said.

“The past generation, most African leaders came from freedom-fighting,
liberation movements. A good fighter is not necessarily a good governor. It
takes different skills to run a country,” Ibrahim said.

“If you look in a mirror and see an ugly face, maybe you are really ugly. It’s
not the fault of the mirror. We need to be a little bit more brutal in order
to move forward. We need more honesty to say the tough things.”

Brace for a backlash from Zanu PF’s angry attack dogs.

Back to the Top
Back to Index