Tue Oct 21, 9:23 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The head of South Africa's ruling party and favorite to
win the 2009 presidential election, Jacob Zuma, has called for Zimbabwe's
rival leaders to implement a power-sharing package for the sake of the
Speaking after discussing the crisis in Zimbabwe Tuesday with US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, Zuma said: "I think we share the same views that
a quicker solution in Zimbabwe is desirable for the sake of the Zimbabwean
people and the country."
"We also agreed that the Zimbabwean leaders should be urged to complete the
package which is already on the table so that it is implemented for the sake
of the Zimbawean people."
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai on
September 15 agreed on a power-sharing accord that divides the government
ministries among them and would keep 84-year-old Mugabe as president and
make Tsvangirai the prime minister.
However, negotiations to break a five-week deadlock to form a unity
government were postponed on Monday after Tsvangirai refused to go to
Swaziland for a meeting with Mugabe and four other regional leaders, saying
he did not believe Mugabe's side was negotiating in good faith.
Washington has threatened new sanctions against Zimbabwe if Mugabe does not
respect the September 15 agreement.
Tsvangirai has not been granted a full passport for nearly a year and is
only allowed to travel on emergency travel documents valid for a single
By Kent Klein
21 October 2008
The leader of South Africa's ruling party says Zimbabwe's government is
holding up negotiations on a power-sharing agreement with the opposition.
African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma is calling on other African
countries to increase pressure on both sides to implement the deal. VOA's
Kent Klein reports from Washington.
Zuma is urging Zimbabwean politicians to try harder to break the impasse in
talks on sharing power.
Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, refused Monday to attend a
regional summit on the Zimbabwe crisis in Swaziland, complaining that the
government had refused to renew his passport.
In a speech in Washington Tuesday, Zuma said Zimbabwe's government is
hindering the talks. "Now you cannot have this kind of a situation when you
are dealing with such an important matter. One of the very key figures
cannot attend because he does not have a passport. I think that sounds
weird," he said.
A spokesman for Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said
Tuesday the MDC might boycott another regional summit geared toward saving
the power-sharing agreement, set for next Monday in Harare.
In Washington, Zuma said the accord can be implemented if the two sides want
to do so. "If we have a package that has been agreed upon, hailed by the
world, why should we have difficulty implementing it? After all, this is not
a permanent arrangement. We are talking about an interim arrangement. Why
should it be so difficult?," he said.
Zuma is expected to be elected South African president next year.
He met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier Tuesday, and
they agreed on the need to put more pressure on both sides in Zimbabwe to
finalize the power-sharing agreement.
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe reached an accord on a coalition
government last month. But talks on implementing the agreement have broken
down over which party will control major government ministries.
In his speech in Washington, the ANC's Jacob Zuma downplayed plans by former
South African defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota to break away from the African
National Congress and start a new party. Zuma called it the "essence of
democracy," and said "Everything is fine in South Africa."
Zuma defended the AIDS policy of South African President Thabo Mbeki, saying
it has been recognized by the World Health Organization as "one of the
best." He said there is a difference between Mbeki's opinions about AIDS and
the official government policy.
And in the likely event that Jacob Zuma is elected president in 2009, he
said he will accept a two-term limit, which he called "an established fact
in South Africa."
Washington needs ANC chief in dealings with Zimbabwe, writes the Tribune's
By Bay Fang Washington Bureau
October 22, 2008
WASHINGTON - In his first official visit since being elected head of South
Africa's ruling party, African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma met
Tuesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser
Stephen Hadley and even President George W. Bush, who had an unexpected
meet-and-greet with Zuma during his stop at the White House.
The State Department canceled a photo-op with Rice at the last minute, but
as a member of Zuma's delegation explained with a shrug, "We can't control
One can understand why Rice may have been hesitant to pose next to Zuma. The
man widely expected to become the next president of South Africa is nothing
if not controversial.
Over the past several years, the populist Zuma has been acquitted of
corruption, racketeering, money-laundering and rape charges. Once head of
South Africa's national commission on AIDS, he drew ridicule for testifying
during the rape trial that he had unprotected sex with his HIV-positive
accuser but took a shower afterward to prevent infection.
Overcoming the legal troubles earned Zuma, 66, a reputation as a political
comeback kid, and he and his supporters say the prosecutions had political
motives. But his visit to Washington no doubt posed a sensitive dilemma for
the Bush administration.
While cooperation with South Africa is important for U.S. policy in many
ways, Washington's most immediate need is the country's help with Zimbabwe,
which has been mired in violence and is at a political impasse.
Earlier this week, the Bush administration threatened new sanctions against
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his supporters if he backs out of a
Sept. 15 power-sharing agreement with Morgan Tsvangirai, whose opposition
party won a majority in parliamentary elections earlier this year. But
Washington needs South Africa-the largest economy and main mediator in the
region - to use its leverage to persuade Mugabe to cooperate.
"The U.S. is interested in South Africa because it's the key state in the
continent," said John Blaney, a former U.S. charge d'affaires in South
Africa. "It was good for Zuma to visit the States, and to keep both [U.S.
presidential] candidates' transition teams aware that there is an Africa
Advisers for the campaigns of both Barack Obama and John McCain were spotted
at Zuma's appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.
At the meeting, Zuma pronounced reports that the Mugabe government did not
grant Tsvangirai a passport to attend talks in Swaziland "weird" and assured
the audience that he did not want the parties "to waste a moment" sealing
the political deal.
But even as his country attempts to play mediator in Zimbabwe, Zuma has his
own party turmoil to worry about. Although the ANC is the party of Nelson
Mandela and has ruled South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994, it has
faced infighting and allegations of corruption over the past decade.
In his remarks to the council, Zuma said all was calm in South Africa and
that he did not plan any radical policy changes.
Another challenge for Zuma are questions back home about why he did not
cancel his trip to Washington, even though just before he left, a political
rival, former Defense Minister Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota, announced he was
breaking with the ANC to form a new party.
Zuma's last meeting in Washington, on Thursday, is with the FBI to talk
about crime in South Africa.
by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 22 October 2008
HARARE - The South African government has set aside a whooping R300 million
to assist Zimbabwe's crippled agricultural sector, finance minister Trevor
Manuel said on Tuesday.
According to the adjusted estimates of national expenditure presented to
South Africa's Parliament by Manuel, the money will be used to procure
inputs to try to revive Zimbabwe's collapsed farming sector.
"An estimated amount of R300 million has been allocated for the
recapitalisation of the African Renaissance and International Co-operation
Fund for agricultural inputs for Zimbabwe," the document states.
Manuel told the legislature that the cash, initially promised Zimbabwe's
broke government by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, would
"assist in meeting Zimbabwe's short-term food requirements".
However this was "subject to acceptance of an appropriate role for
international food relief agencies by a recognised multi-party government",
The aid is listed as an "unforeseeable/unavoidable" international transfer
under the foreign affairs budget vote.
Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe is in the grip of severe food
shortages that Mugabe blames on poor weather and Western sanctions he says
have hampered importation of fertilizers, seed, and other farming inputs.
However critics blame Zimbabwe's troubles on repression and wrong polices by
the veteran leader such as land reforms that displaced established white
commercial farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately
funded black farmers resulting in the country facing acute food shortages. -
By Staff Reporter
Posted to the web: 22/10/2008 01:32:07
JACOB Zuma has criticised as "weird" the Zimbabwe government's decision not
to give Morgan Tsvangirai a passport - an omission which scuppered efforts
by regional leaders to secure final agreement on aspects of a power sharing
deal on Monday.
Zuma, the leader of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC),
made his criticism of President Robert Mugabe's government in Washington on
Tuesday - a day after a summit of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) was postponed to next week when Tsvangirai refused to travel to
Swaziland on an emergency travel document.
His passport expired last year and the government has refused to issue him a
It had been hoped that Zimbabwe's three main parties would hammer out a
final deal on the composition of a cabinet for a power-sharing government
which has been in the works since September 15.
Zuma said: "Now you cannot have this kind of a situation when you are
dealing with such an important matter. One of the very key figures cannot
attend because he does not have a passport. I think that sounds weird."
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it may boycott the
new summit which has been scheduled for Harare next Monday, accusing Mugabe's
Zanu PF party of negotiating in bad faith.
Zuma, displaying a growing impatience, said: "If we have a package that has
been agreed upon, hailed by the world, why should we have difficulty
implementing it? After all, this is not a permanent arrangement. We are
talking about an interim arrangement. Why should it be so difficult?"
Zuma -- likely to be elected as president of South Africa in elections next
year -- met US government officials, including Secretary of State
Rice said the US would consider new sanctions against Mugabe's government if
the power sharing deal failed.
Zuma said he and Rice agreed that the parties need to complete a deal for
the sake of the Zimbabwean people. Although the United States broached the
idea of new sanctions against Mugabe and his close associates, the ANC
leader said Rice told him that existing sanctions should remain until there
is an agreement brokered by SADC.
"The Secretary just said the current sanctions will be maintained until
there is a resolution of the problem. That's a point she made. And, of
course, SADC is dealing with the matter. They're actually concretely and
practically dealing with the situation. As you know, they met in Swaziland,
in Mbabane," said Zuma.
"I think we support them as they endeavour to insure that that is concluded.
That's what we can do."
Zuma said the ANC is engaging both Zanu PF party and the MDC in pursuit of
an agreement and that he makes personal interventions with Zimbabwean
politicians when he can.
At the same time, he dismissed as speculation published reports that, if he
becomes president, he would take a harder line with Mugabe than former South
African President Thabo Mbeki, who leads Zimbabwe mediation efforts.
By Peter Clottey
22 October 2008
Supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe are urgently calling on the
ruling party to constitute a government with or without the opposition. The
ultimatum reportedly comes after opposition demands for fresh elections if
the power-sharing impasse is not promptly resolved. Partisans of the ruling
ZANU-PF party blame the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for
the impasse after the MDC accused President Mugabe of awarding top
ministerial positions to his ruling party.
But the opposition contends that only fresh elections would resolve a
dispute over who controls key cabinet posts. The ministerial appointments
are widely viewed as a make-or-break issue under a power-sharing pact signed
with President Mugabe. The political impasse is reportedly raising fears
that last month's power-sharing deal may collapse and worsen Zimbabwe's
Sydney Masamvu is a Zimbabwe analyst with the International Crisis Group in
South Africa. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Pretoria
that the ruling party is showing arrogance in the face of economic and
"This is a statement coming from the hardliners within the ZANU-PF who from
the onset wanted to see this deal collapse. After the 27th of June, when
Mugabe claimed that he had won a landslide victory, he did not proceed to
form a government, even though he claimed that he had won a landslide
election victory for the simple reason that he knew that his so-called
landslide victory was a sham," Masamvu said.
He said the ruling party's claim of an overwhelming election run-off win was
"And there was no way he was going to form a government alone which would be
recognized by the rest of the world, and as such, I think this statement is
actually meant to perpetuate their self interest. But they are disconnected
from the reality on the ground, which actually cries out for a political
settlement in Zimbabwe to turn around the fortunes of the country," he
Masamvu said there was need for the opposition to match the ruling ZANU-PF
party strategically in the stalled negotiations.
"I think the issue of Morgan Tsvangirai participating or not participating
in next Mondays' peace negotiations is actually an issue of power game to
leverage his bargaining position. But it is actually important to know that
if this agreement fails to take off, then the only option is to go back
again to another election which would be internationally supervised in free
and fair conditions, which should yield a government chosen by Zimbabweans
with a full mandate to put the country on a path to economic and political
recovery," Masamvu pointed out.
He said it would be difficult for the ruling party to refuse to accept
international supervision of an election if it comes down to it.
"Their choices are fairly limited. They can go it alone and continue to be
isolated and have sanctions reinforced. They can compromise. But still what
you can see is that events of the past weeks have shown that even if a deal
is worked out between ZANU-PF and the MDC and an inclusive government is
formed, it is a matter of time before it crumbles, because you can see that
there is a lot of mistrust. There seems to be no appetite, and there is no
chemistry for the ZANU-PF to work with the MDC in a corporative government.
The appetite is really not there, and as such, you can actually see that
this deal is actually dead before it even started," he said.
Masamvu said there seems to be too much suspicion from both the ruling party
and the opposition MDC which has led to the political impasse.
"What is lacking is actually goodwill from the ruling ZANU-PF, which is
scuttling this deal. As much as there is optimism from people who are
putting the suffering of the people in the negotiations, they have the
optimism and the willingness to make this deal work," Masamvu noted.
October 21, 2008
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - Twenty provincial executive members of the Arthur Mutambara-led
MDC in Bulawayo have quit the faction saying the party has lost direction.
The former provincial executive members denounced Mutambara at a rally
addressed by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the mainstream MDC, in the city on
A representative of the group told over 20 000 supporters of the MDC-led
Tsvangirai at the White City Stadium that they had turned their back on the
Mutambara's MDC faction to rejoin Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC.
The defectors were paraded before the crowd. They spokesman was Abel
Mlotshwa, a former trade unionist member who worked with Tsvangirai in the
Zimbabwe Congress Trade Union (ZCTU) before the formation of the MDC in
Mlotshwa said he and his colleagues were disgruntled with the leadership of
breakaway faction, especially following widespread allegations that
Mutambara aligned himself with President Mugabe during the inter-party
"Everybody is not happy with Mutambara and Welshman Ncube's kind of
leadership," he said. "We can't have people who are claiming to fight for
our liberation from Mugabe's oppression sleeping with the same man."
Amid cheers from the crowd, Mlotshwa added: "All these people you see here
are in the provincial leadership and are frustrated by Mutambara and Ncube's
kind of leadership and therefore today we have decided to quit the MDC
Mutambara faction and come back home.
"Towards the March 29 elections Mutambara told us to campaign in support of
Simba Makoni but after Makoni lost, they went on side with Mugabe, both
during the Speaker of Parliament election and during the negotiations. So
today we are saying, "Enough is enough; we can't have such kind of leaders.'"
In the early days of the power-sharing talks, there were reports that
Mutambara was ingratiating himself with Mugabe, who later described him as
an "astute professor" at the Heroes Day commemoration ceremony at Heroes
The Mutambara MDC struck a deal with Mugabe's Zanu-PF during election of the
Speaker of Parliament. The faction fielded Paul Themba-Nyathi as its
However, the move backfired when the faction's MPs defied the leadership and
voted for MDC Tsvangirai's candidate, Lovemore Moyo, instead.
Mutambara, however, denies reports that he ever sided with Mugabe.
The faction lost its grip on power in Bulawayo - its supposed stronghold -
during the March 29 elections when all their parliamentary candidates lost
to the mainstream MDC. Only David Coltart secured a seat in the Senate.
In August, seven MPs in the Mutambara faction threatened to quit the faction
after the faction was rumoured to have secretly signed a power-sharing deal
with Mugabe in Tsvangirai's absence. However, it turned out no such deal had
been signed between him and Mugabe.
Two days after his faction's executives turned their back on him Mutambara
announced in Johannesburg, where he was en route to Mbabane, Swaziland,
venue of a proposed round of power-sharing negotiations, that he would not
attend the talks in the absence of Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai had announced he would not travel to the Swaziland capital on an
emergency travel document, after he was denied a passport.
Published:Oct 22, 2008
MUCH has been written and said about the feasibility of the unity government
agreement of September 15 2008, signed between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF,
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC and the splinter party of the MDC, led by one Arthur
Mutambara.- Psychology Maziwisa, by e-mail
It would be naive to suppose that such an agreement envisages a unity
government . The parties have been, and continue to be, at bitter odds with
each other. It becomes difficult to imagine any deviation from the mistrust
that is deeply rooted in years of rivalry.
The agreement is merely a document that is so cunningly drafted it will take
more radicalism to rid a country, once the bread basket of Africa, of a sick
Mugabe's unilateral appointment of ministers to select cabinet posts is at
cross purposes with the agreement, and serves only to enable Zimbabweans to
see him for what he really is: selfish, ridiculous, bitter and oblivious to
the ever worsening economic, social and political situation in his own
But Morgan Tsvangirai has repeatedly explained, for the sake of progress,
that his is not to seek revenge but to take Zimbabwe forward.
Even this does not seem to be good enough an assurance . So the negotiations
keep going back and forth. What is worse, Thabo Mbeki has lost the
credibility he commanded just over a month ago.
From a political point of view, the deal is the most subtle, pre-determined
and insincere one since the 1987 u nity accord. Mbeki has just returned home
with nothing to show for his effort. Mugabe described the talks as having
"gone the wrong way". Question is, how wrong is the wrong way for Mugabe?
Your guess is as good as mine.
The deal could work if Tsvangirai stopped worrying about getting too much
power too soon.
If what matters to him is whether the millions of displaced Zimbabweans can
have reason to see the September 15 agreement as a historic one that can be
sustained, he would take the agreement in his stride.
So here is what Morgan Tsvangirai ought to do going forward: the finance
ministry must be put in place to ensure transparent and relevant
distribution of aid that will start filtering through. The donor community
will undoubtedly need this assurance.
A democratic constitution must then be the main clause making provision for
the establishment of a constitutional court.
It is obvious that the Zimbabwean justice system needs an urgent overhaul.
A constitutional court would be an ideal institution to help sustain
Having done this, the next step would be to encourage multiparty democracy
in order to achieve sustainable democracy.
Zimbabweans know only too well the ramifications of a one- party state . A
multiparty democracy would render Zanu-PF spineless in no time.
But while the problem in Zimbabwe is a direct result of the misguided
reasoning of Mugabe, it has been exacerbated by a number of other factors.
One is that the SADC, AU and the UN did very little in their rhetoric to
condemn Mugabe's atrocious leadership.
Mugabe's defence against criticism from these institutions was that Zimbabwe
is a sovereign country, and is therefore entitled to govern its own people
free of any external intervention. But at what stage does the UN say now is
the time to pierce the political veil and say enough?
Clearly there must be room for exceptional circumstances to exist to warrant
external intervention. If such were to exist, intervention in Zimbabwe -
diplomatic or otherwise - is long overdue.
It is important that the principle of sovereignty be revisited if
institutions such as the UN are not to be rendered toothless bulldogs that
are unable to rise properly to the occasion in circumstances so compelling
that they should.
By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg
Published: October 21 2008 02:48 | Last updated: October 21 2008 02:48
Zimbabwe's neighbours must "knock some sense" into Robert Mugabe, the
opposition said on Monday, after Morgan Tsvangirai, its leader, boycotted
talks on forming a power-sharing government.
Mr Tsvangirai refused to travel to Swaziland for a meeting with four
regional leaders and the Zimbabwe president after he was denied a passport.
The temporary document he was granted would have obliged the prime
minister-designate to spend the night sleeping rough at Johannesburg airport
in South Africa.
"The denial of a passport is a symptom of the real problem," Tendai Biti,
chief opposition negotiator, said. "There is no recognition by the party of
Robert Mugabe ... that the people spoke against the dark and evil past for a
The talks were postponed on Monday night for a week and relocated to Harare,
Zimbabwe's capital. But the incident underlined a lack of trust in the
Political paralysis has gripped Zimbabwe since Mr Tsvangirai won a victory
over Mr Mugabe in March's first-round election. Central to the deadlock was
the struggle for the home affairs ministry portfolio, people familiar with
the talks said. That ministry would run the police - accused by
the opposition of being the regime's main instrument of repression.
Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change also insists that Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party relinquish the finance ministry, which has overseen the
economy's collapse. Some 5m people are on the brink of starvation, according
to the United Nations.
James McGee, the US ambassador to Harare, said Mr Mugabe's party was trying
to cling to ministries to prevent "potential prosecutions of Zanu-PF
officials for corruption".
Mr Mugabe's spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Mr Biti urged the Southern African Development Community, the 15-member
regional bloc, to convene a summit. "Someone has to knock some sense in [to]
Robert Mugabe," he said.
Regional dynamics have changed with the ousting as South African president
of Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the power-sharing deal.
October 22, 2008 |
Former Botswana president Festus Mogae has said he asked Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe to retire and if he and other southern African leaders had
their way, Mugabe should have retired 10 years ago.
"If we had our way, president Mugabe would have retired 10 yeas ago, and
would have retired a hero, but unfortunately he chose the other way," Mr
Mogae told journalists in Gaborone after winning the 2008 Mo Ibrahim Prize
for Achievement in African Leadership on Monday. He said he has been
frustrated with Mr Mugabe's long stay in power, which has resulted in
economic and political collapse in Zimbabwe.
Under Mr Mogae, Botswana was criticised for adopting the discredited
see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to the Zimbabwe issue in what has been
described as silent diplomacy. The ex-Botswana president retired last April
after exhausting his constitutional two-term limit to give way to
Vice-President Ian Khama.
After winning the Mo Ibrahim Prize, Mr Mogae called on African leaders to
embrace transparency and accountability in governance. He urged the leaders
to follow sound macro-economic planning and prudent financial management. He
told the leaders to respect the rule of law and the independence of the
He said that democracies must allow for multiparty systems and free and fair
He appealed to African leaders to listen to the their peers and citizens. He
said Botswana as one of the oldest democracies in Africa, has committed
itself to democratic principles though it cannot impose its views on others.
By David Gollust
21 October 2008
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the situation in Zimbabwe
Tuesday with Jacob Zuma, leader of South Africa's ruling African National
Congress party, the ANC. Zuma says he and Rice agreed on the need to press
both sides in Zimbabwe power-sharing talks to finalize an agreement. VOA's
David Gollust reports from the State Department.
The Bush administration has been critical of the South African leadership
for failing to use all of its leverage to press Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe on reforms.
But emerging from his meeting with Secretary Rice, ANC leader Zuma,who is
considered likely to become South Africa's next president in 2009, said he
and Rice share the same view on the need for an early deal on Zimbabwe
President Mugabe and Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai reached a
basic accord on a coalition government last month.
But talks on implementing the deal have stalled over the division of cabinet
seats, including Mr. Mugabe's insistence on continued control of the
country's security forces and foreign affairs.
Zuma said he and Rice agreed that the parties need to complete a deal for
the sake of the Zimbabwean people. Although the United States broached the
idea of new sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and his close associates, the ANC
leader said Rice told him that existing sanctions should remain until there
is an agreement brokered by the Southern African Development Community, or
"The Secretary just said the current sanctions will be maintained until
there is a resolution of the problem. That's a point she made. And, of
course, SADC is dealing with the matter. They're actually concretely and
practically dealing with the situation. As you know, they met in Swaziland,
in Mabane," said Zuma. "I think we support them as they endeavor to insure
that that is concluded. That's what we can do."
Zuma said the ANC is engaging both Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Mr.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change in pursuit of an agreement and
that he makes personal interventions with Zimbabwean politicians when he
At the same time, he dismissed as speculation published reports that, if he
becomes president, he would take a harder line with Mr. Mugabe than former
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who leads Zimbabwe mediation efforts.
Zuma similarly described as speculative the notion of a possible split in
ANC ranks before next year's general elections, amid reports that former
Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota might launch a breakaway faction.
The ANC chief said the political situation in South Africa was an issue in
his discussion with Secretary Rice, along with the global economic crisis.
by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 22 October 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition MDC party said on Tuesday that it was under
pressure from supporters to quit a power-sharing deal with President Robert
Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party and call for fresh elections to decide the
Spokesman for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party Nelson Chamisa said its
decision-making national executive was due to meet before Friday to decide
on the way forward, adding there was "growing consensus" for the party to
abandon the deal.
According to Chamisa, the call for a new election pitting Mugabe and
Tsvangirai was prompted by last week's stalemate in the allocation of
ministries with ZANU PF insisting on retaining the ministries of defence and
home affairs. The MDC wants to have home affairs if ZANU PF is to get
He said: "Our structures are now calling for a fresh presidential election.
They accused ZANU PF of negotiating in bad faith and they were of the
opinion that a fresh election is the way forward.
"Our national executive committee will meet before Friday to decide on the
way forward, although I must hasten to say there is growing consensus for us
to withdraw from the September 15 deal."
The MDC, ZANU PF and a breakaway faction of the opposition led by Arthur
Mutambara agreed to form a unity government headed by Mugabe as president
while Tsvangirai becomes prime minister. Mutambara will be appointed deputy
However the rival political parties cannot agree on who should control the
most powerful ministerial posts in the unity government.
A summit of the regional SADC grouping's security Troika in Swaziland to
discuss the deadlocked power-sharing agreement was postponed on Monday after
Tsvangirai declined to travel to Mbabane insisting the government should
grant him a passport.
The opposition leader even refused an offer to travel in Swazi King Mswati's
The Zimbabwe authorities gave him an emergency travel document, which the
MDC said was an "insult".
The SADC, which has shown signs of frustration with Mugabe, has scheduled a
fresh summit on October 27 in Harare to discuss the deadlocked power-sharing
deal. But Chamisa said in statement to the press that the meeting "may be in
vain" unless Tsvangirai is issued with a new passport.
He said: "While the MDC thanks the SADC and the African Union for continuing
to focus on the Zimbabwe crisis and for rescheduling their meeting from
yesterday in Swaziland to next week in Harare, this may be in vain if ZANU
PF continues to display such a blatant lack of trust (by refusing to release
In an earlier interview with the BBC, Chamisa said the talks were in a "very
precarious position," warning the MDC was reaching breaking point with
"We have our elasticity limits and our breaking-point and it's a matter of
days before we actually reach that breaking-point. People are suffering,
people are desperate," Chamisa was quoted as saying.
"We would think that the only way forward is for Zimbabweans, as the
ultimate arbiter, to be involved in determining who the leadership should
be," he added.
In a sign of growing frustration among regional neighbours over Zimbabwe's
unending crisis, Botswana called on Monday for a fresh presidential election
between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Botswana wrote to SADC chairman, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe,
proposing a new election to decide who should lead Zimbabwe.
Gaborone, which has been openly critical of Mugabe, accused the Zimbabwean
leader of negotiating in "bad faith" in power-sharing talks in the letter
that was copied to AU chairman and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as
well as to United Nations Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon.
The Botswana government said it was of the view that "the only viable option
to the political impasse is for the people of Zimbabwe, as enshrined in a
truly democratic dispensation, to be the ones to decide who their true
leaders should be.
"In this regard, the only way forward is a re-run of the presidential
election under international supervision in order to avoid a repetition of
the violence and political intimidation that characterised the failed June
27, 2008 presidential run-off election."
Meanwhile, ZANU PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said they
would wait for a formal communication from the MDC on withdrawing from the
deal before commenting fully on the matter.
"There is no formal communication from the MDC to us, the mediator or SADC,"
Chinamasa said. "Let us wait and see what they will do next. On our part we
remain committed to the deal."
But the government-owned Herald newspaper that often reflects official
thinking, on Monday ran an editorial urging Mugabe to appoint a Cabinet
despite protestations from the MDC. It said Mugabe had the mandate to form a
government and should do so immediately.
Unconfirmed reports suggested Mugabe's press secretary, George Charamba, who
is known to frequently contribute to the state paper under a pseudonym might
have authored the editorial. - ZimOnline
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Wednesday 22 October 2008
FEATURE: At Dongamuzi village, Lupane, in Zimbabwe's arid Matabeleland North
province, Gogo MaNgwenya despairs: "No one will survive. If it continues
like this we will all die, there is no food in the shops and nothing is
coming from the government."
Gogo (local Ndebele language for granny) MaNgwenya says her village got word
several weeks ago that some international relief agencies or, as she likes
to call them, "donors" would soon be delivering food aid in the area.
"But we haven't seen anything yet, all we can do is just wait," the 60-year
old lady said, her ashen and gaunt features no doubt a result of age as much
as they are a product of many days surviving on very little food or nothing
To visit Dongamuzi village, 150km north-east of Zimbabwe's second largest
city of Bulawayo, is to come face to face with a humanitarian disaster that
is steadily unfolding in Zimbabwe's hunger-stricken villages as the country's
political leaders continue to bicker over how to share power in a unity
Analysts see a government of national unity proposed under last month's
power-sharing agreement as the first step to ending decade-long food
shortages and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
Fresh efforts to end a deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai over control of key posts in the unity government flopped on
Monday because the MDC leader could not travel to a regional summit in
Swaziland to discuss the matter after the government refused him a passport.
A new summit has been scheduled for October 27 to try to save the
power-sharing deal from collapse.
Back at Dongamuzi, the desperation visibly etched on the face of a neighbour
as he/she begs for food from another, who is lucky to have a little to spare
from supplies sent from abroad, is hard to miss.
Many young Zimbabweans have responded to their country's crisis by fleeing
abroad where conditions of living are better. The exiles have become a vital
lifeline for family and relatives back home by regularly sending food packs
and cash to those left behind.
But very few families here at Dongamuzi have had the luck to have a child
living and working abroad.
With no food in the shops and nothing coming from the government's bankrupt
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) or from international relief agencies - as yet -
the majority of villagers are simply surviving on wild fruits and whatever
little else they can lay their hands on.
Umkhuna, a yellowish-brown fruit indigenous to the area has become a staple
for many families.
Some villagers pound the fruit, squeeze out the juice and mix it with a bit
of mealie-meal to make porridge. The sweet juice is a good substitute for
sugar, which, like every other basic survival commodity, is in short supply
in the country.
Other families just drink the sweet-tasting wild juice, which they say is
refreshing and energising. Umkhuna can also be eaten as dried fruit.
Villagers also survive on the marula and baobab fruits that are common in
But the widowed Gogo MaNgwenya - who is taking care of her four orphaned
grandchildren whose parents succumbed to HIV/Aids - says death is knocking
at the door for many in her village because even the Umkhuna is fast
"What has been saving people from starving to death is the umkhuna, but the
fruit is running out and we are staring death in the face," she said.
Moffat Moyo, a neighbour to Gogo MaNgwenya, said the children and the
elderly who are no longer able to hunt for wild fruits are the worst
affected by hunger. He said he had withdrawn his four children from primary
school after one of them collapsed in class because of hunger.
"It is useless for children to go to school as they collapse at school due
to hunger. They have to walk 10km to school and that is energy sapping,"
Moyo said, adding that several of his neighbours had also stopped their
children going to school.
International food agencies - that are only resuming operations in some
parts of Zimbabwe after Mugabe's government lifted a ban on the relief
groups - say millions of Zimbabweans have already run out of food or are
surviving on just one meal a day.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) about two weeks ago called on
international donors to make available US$140 million in emergency food
supplies in order to prevent Zimbabwe's food shortages from deteriorating
into a disaster.
The WFP expects hunger to worsen around January 2009 when an estimated 5.1
million Zimbabweans or about 45 percent of the country's 12 million
population will require food aid to avoid starvation.
But Njabuliso Mguni, the Member of Parliament for Lupane West constituency
under which Dongamuzi village falls, believes things could get worse in his
constituency well before January unless food aid was urgently made
Mguni, who belongs to the MDC party's breakaway faction led by Arthur
Mutambara, told ZimOnline: "There is no food for the people . . . very soon
people will start succumbing to the hunger."
The parliamentarian urged the government to send out a new appeal for
emergency food aid to the international community.
However, mobilising food aid for Gogo MaNgwenya and her four orphaned
grandchildren may not be exactly what is on the minds of Zimbabwe's
political leaders engaged in a high stakes battle for the spoils of the
September 15 power-sharing deal. - ZimOnline
by Norest Muzvaba Wednesday 22 October 2008
JOHANNESBURG - A top United Nations (UN) official said on Tuesday he was
confident Zimbabwe's deadlocked power-sharing deal will not collapse, saying
both President Robert Mugabe and his opposition rivals realise they have no
alternative to working together in a unity government.
"I am confident that a deal will be reached between the two because both
sides know by now that there is no other way but to sit down and reach an
agreement," UN undersecretary for political affairs Haile Menkerios told
reporters on the sidelines of a joint UN-African Union meeting in Addis
The UN official added: "There have been other groups that have been at war
with each other in the past but ended up finding a solution, so there is
reason to believe that such agreements can work even here."
Mugabe, opposition MDC party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara,
who heads a breakaway faction of the MDC, agreed to form a power-sharing
government to tackle Zimbabwe's long running political and economic crisis.
The September 15 power-sharing deal, brokered by former South African
President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of SADC, retains Mugabe as president while
Tsvangirai will become prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.
But disagreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over sharing of key posts in
the proposed unity government has stalled implementation of the
power-sharing agreement and stoked up fears the pact could even collapse.
A summit of the regional SADC grouping's security Troika in Swaziland to
save the power-sharing deal from collapse was postponed on Monday after
Tsvangirai declined to travel to Mbabane insisting the government should
grant him a passport.
A new summit has been scheduled for October 27 in Harare to try to move the
power-sharing deal forward. But the MDC said on Tuesday that the meeting
"may be in vain" unless Tsvangirai is issued with a new passport.
Analysts say a power-sharing government is the first step to ending Zimbabwe's
unprecedented economic crisis that is highlighted by the world's highest
inflation of 231 million percent, acute shortages of food, fuel,
electricity, hard cash and every basic survival commodity. - ZimOnline
Inflation is somewhere in the millions - or perhaps the billions - and the
economy is the fastest shrinking on Earth. But Zimbabwe is the "best
investment opportunity" in Africa, financiers at a seminar in South Africa
By Sebastien Berger In Johannesburg
Last Updated: 6:26PM BST 21 Oct 2008
In the surreal atmosphere of President Robert Mugabe's domain, this
proposition may have a certain logic.
Throughout the economic meltdown, Zimbabwe's stock market has soared because
hyperinflation means that people must pour their money into shares to
preserve its value.
On Monday, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) industrials index rose by over
241 per cent. During the investment seminar, a live feed of ZSE prices
showed many stocks going up by several hundred per cent, with the leader,
Zimnat, up 1,150 per cent in a day. There were no fallers.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Dollar plummeted, falling to 306.8 million against
its US counterpart in the course of a morning.
But Sean Gammon, managing director of Imara Capital Zimbabwe, believes there
will be immense investment potential when Zimbabwe experiences political
change and currency reforms.
When outside aid begins to flow and hyperinflation is tamed, the Zimbabwe
Dollar will appreciate rapidly. "It's the best opportunity in Africa at the
moment. It's risk and reward but the potential upsides are great," he said.
His firm has sent between $250 and $300 million of foreign investment into
Zimbabwe in the last three years, he said. But the flow has decreased in
recent months as the regime tries to lock funds inside Zimbabwe by making it
more difficult to transfer foreign currency out again.
For some would-be buyers, the potential is huge. Khati Mokhobo, the director
of new business development for Sun International, a hotel chain, said he
was looking to spend $100 million to buy and refurbish a property in
"It was once quite popular with foreign tourists. If the political situation
is resolved it could be restored to its former glory. We would consider
moving in before the political situation is resolved if you could find the
right property. The better option would be buy now and hold, take a view on
the future and wait for things to change," he said.
October 21, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zimbabwe's Electoral Court has thrown out 51 out of the 105
petitions lodged by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC seeking to invalidate results of the March 29 parliamentary
elections in some constituencies.
Zanu-PF and the MDC lodged 53 and 52 petitions respectively with the
Electoral Court in June; citing irregularities they believed had affected
the results of the legislative poll.
The challenges were lodged in the wake of a recount of original results in
23 constituencies which confirmed Zanu-PF's defeat.
Judge President Rita Makarau and Justice November Mtshiya, in their
judgements, stated that the parties' failure to comply with the provisions
of Section 169 of the Electoral Act, which stipulates a time frame under
which one can file a petition, had resulted in almost half the petitions
being thrown out by the court.
The rest of the petitions are likely to face the same fate because of the
precedent set by the former.
Furthermore, Section 69 of the Electoral Act stipulates that all petitions
are required to be served upon the respondent personally or by leaving them
at his or her residence or place of business and this should be done within
10 days of the presentation of the petition.
The Electoral Court has dismissed 51 petitions filed by both parties on the
grounds of failure to comply with this provision of the electoral law.
The Electoral Court was allocated six months to rule on the complaints,
which dispute the results of exactly half of the 210 parliamentary seats
In their judgement, Makarau and Mtshiya, quoted a judgement by the then
Indian Chief Justice Mahajan, who said: "Statutory requirements of any
election law must be strictly observed and that an election contest is not
an action at law or suit in equity, but is purely a statutory proceeding
unknown to common law and that the court possesses no common law power."
Official results from the hard-fought March legislative ballot showed
Zanu-PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time since
independence in 1980, while the mainstream MDC and a breakaway faction
together secured enough seats to control the House of Assembly.
Zanu-PF had hoped the petitions would restore its majority in Zimbabwe's 7th
Parliament while the MDC sought to further increase its majority in the
Meanwhile the Supreme Court has still not set down a date for the hearing of
court challenges by presidential aspirants Dr Daniel Shumba and Justice
Chiota who are seeking an order to nullify results of the March presidential
On August 1, Chiota and. Shumba won their Supreme Court challenge against
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which ruled that the Nomination Court's
refusal to accept the applicants' nomination papers was not in accordance
with the law and therefore null and void.
Chiota and Shumba are now both seeking a Supreme Court order to nullify the
March presidential election results, citing their exclusion from that poll.
Shumba and Chiota have also made a similar application to the SADC Tribunal
in Windhoek, Namibia. Shumba, leader of the little known United People's
Party, contents that he filed his papers on time and, therefore, the
presidential election result should be annulled.
To cope with the large number of election challenges, Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku has increased the number of electoral court judges from three to
When the history books are written about the last ten years of our lives in
there must be a giant chapter devoted to the WOZA WOMEN.
Thousands of WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) have dedicated the last ten
years of their
lives to this beleaguered country, for better or for worse, for richer or
for poorer, they have
made the salvation of Zimbabwe their lives' work.
Beaten, tortured, harassed, deep in undercover Matabeleland, they work
tirelessly for the
deliverance of our land.
They live in simple, frugal homes, squashed in like flies between boxes of
giant photo copiers, between banners and red roses.
They move silently from safe house to safe house, uncomplaining, sometimes
often in great danger, always nervous of the authorities, and of being
raided and detained,
Countless days have been spent in filth and squalor at Police stations and
In May this year the "Chikirubi 14" were incarcerated at Zimbabwe's most
feared jail, for
over five weeks. Chikirubi is on the outskirts of Harare, a maximum security
they were forced to rub shoulders with murderers, rapists and killers.
Why Chikirubi ? Why jail at all ? These brave Women have only ever
undertaken rallies of
peace and protection for their children .... They sit down on the hot tarmac
to show they
are no threat to peace. They sing and chant quiet slogans of love and peace.
They hand out
roses, signs of love and harmony. They hand out pamphlets explaining just
families are starving and suffering.
The "Chikirubi 14" were in jail in the middle of Zimbabwe's fiercely cold
winter and when
they were eventually released they all had hideous chest infections and
They were thin in the flesh but still plump with passion for freeing their
the oppression under which it has found itself for many years now.
Just recently MOZA was formed - Men of Zimbabwe Arise ... and the ranks of
determined are swelling day by day. As hunger crushes the spirit of most
the mission of WOZA and MOZA is to continue to initiate a non-violent
"Our aim is to mobilise Zimbabweans to demand social justice from their
leaders. The time
has come to put the past behind us and start building a better tomorrow. We
existing leaders accountable and mobilise people to the movement to demand
who will deliver all aspects of social justice and a genuinely people-driven
Watching a WOZA march come together, is an extraordinarily moving
On a given day, at a given time, at a given signal, hundreds of men and
flood the streets of Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru, Masvingo or even Zambia,
wherever there is
a chance of their cause being seen and heard.
On the surface, the city seems to be very normal, maybe a preponderance of
wearing a touch of red ?
The air is tense and expectant, anxious faces scour the streets for any
Suddenly the familiar shrill striking whistle blows, "Woza" , a stentorian
voice calls, "Arise
Brave Women of Zimbabwe"
"CHI" a great cry arises as women miraculously materialise from shops,
alleys, streets, cars
It is the most spine chilling sound, ethereal, incredible, unbelievable....
a sound I will hear
always hold dear to my heart, where I also hold the clear images of our
women who will never give up, who are prepared to endure another possible
thumping .... again.... and again .... and again.
God Bless and keep you safe - Our Own Brave Women of Zimbabwe.
police were called after the woman yelled at Air Zimbabwe flight staff: “I am
gonna hit you.” The woman was
led away from the plane by Malawian police together with a young man who joined
her in the 30-minute carnage which had the pilot threatening to scrap the
flight. The incident,
which happened on October 12, was confirmed by Air Zimbabwe on
Tuesday. A passenger
who was on the flight said: “She first went to the back of the plane where the
air hostesses were and told them she was hungry. The air hostesses said they
could not serve food while the plane was on the runway because of regulations
which say the passage-way should be kept clear. They promised to serve food as
soon as the plane was back in the air. “But she just
exploded… she got up, trying to instigate everyone to rise up and demand food.
She said because of Air Zimbabwe’s delays she was owed three meals and she
specifically wanted to be served sadza. It was carnage.” The co-pilot
stepped in and tried to calm the crazed woman, described as in her 50s, but
without success. Our source
added: “Shortly after the co-pilot returned to the cockpit, the captain
announced that as long as the noise continued, we could not take off. He then
asked everyone to take their seats as police were entering the
plane.” The woman, and
another man who said he was her son, were led away by the police as the shouting
continued. In a parting
shot, the woman yelled at air hostesses that she would hit them, our source
said. David Mwenga,
Air Zimbabwe’s manager for Europe, confirmed the incident last night: “Our
captain did indicate to the passengers that he was entrusted with many lives,
and if ever he felt that lives were threatened, and it was unsafe to fly the
plane in those circumstances, he would abort. “Other
passengers clearly understood that and went quiet, but sadly we had to leave two
passengers who would not cooperate. Offloading people in middle of a journey is
not an easy decision for any pilot, but this got to a level where he feared it
endangered the safety of other passengers.”
CARNAGE: An Air Zimbabwe pilot called Malawian police to escort two passengers causing trouble on a London-bound flight
Posted to the web: 21/10/2008 23:30:21
A CRAZED passenger on a London-bound Air Zimbabwe flight threatened to beat up air hostesses during a refuelling stop-over in Lilongwe after demanding to be served SADZA, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal.
THREATENED: Crazed passenger threatened to hit air hostesses on the flight
Malawian police were called after the woman yelled at Air Zimbabwe flight staff: “I am gonna hit you.”
The woman was led away from the plane by Malawian police together with a young man who joined her in the 30-minute carnage which had the pilot threatening to scrap the flight.
The incident, which happened on October 12, was confirmed by Air Zimbabwe on Tuesday.
A passenger who was on the flight said: “She first went to the back of the plane where the air hostesses were and told them she was hungry. The air hostesses said they could not serve food while the plane was on the runway because of regulations which say the passage-way should be kept clear. They promised to serve food as soon as the plane was back in the air.
“But she just exploded… she got up, trying to instigate everyone to rise up and demand food. She said because of Air Zimbabwe’s delays she was owed three meals and she specifically wanted to be served sadza. It was carnage.”
The co-pilot stepped in and tried to calm the crazed woman, described as in her 50s, but without success.
Our source added: “Shortly after the co-pilot returned to the cockpit, the captain announced that as long as the noise continued, we could not take off. He then asked everyone to take their seats as police were entering the plane.”
The woman, and another man who said he was her son, were led away by the police as the shouting continued.
In a parting shot, the woman yelled at air hostesses that she would hit them, our source said.
David Mwenga, Air Zimbabwe’s manager for Europe, confirmed the incident last night: “Our captain did indicate to the passengers that he was entrusted with many lives, and if ever he felt that lives were threatened, and it was unsafe to fly the plane in those circumstances, he would abort.
“Other passengers clearly understood that and went quiet, but sadly we had to leave two passengers who would not cooperate. Offloading people in middle of a journey is not an easy decision for any pilot, but this got to a level where he feared it endangered the safety of other passengers.”
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 12:01
THE deadlock over allocation of ministries between the country's
political parties has been described as a "sad and tragic development" for
Zimbabwe, with ordinary people bearing the brunt of "political selfishness".
On Friday, the three principals - President Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara - failed to reach final agreement
on the allocation of ministries.
Politicians, analysts, activists and ordinary people yesterday roundly
condemned the deadlock - which has since been referred to the Sadc troika -
saying the politicians were now "pursuing selfish ends" ahead of voters'
While there was widespread condemnation of the collapse of the
power-sharing deal over government ministries, one of the principals blasted
his two colleagues for not putting the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans
Zimbabweans who spoke to The Standard said they were dismayed and felt
betrayed that the leaders were arguing a "whole week while Zimbabwe was
They blasted the leaders saying they were holding Zimbabweans to
ransom over "petty party ambitions".
"You would have thought that each of them would be aware of the
suffering of the people," said one Zimbabwean from the United Kingdom.
"Everyone thought we were marking a new beginning.
"But what pains me is that while the whole world is facing a financial
meltdown, we want to have 31 government ministries. How are we going to
"If the rest of the world gives us money they are inclined to believe
it will go to finance these ministries."
Losing presidential candidate, Simba Makoni yesterday said the
deadlock was a "tragedy".
"It is sad and tragic for our people that these leaders' commitment
to their pursuit of power is overriding the welfare of the people," Makoni
said. "For them to be in power is more important than to serve the people of
One of the strongest critics of the power-sharing deal, National
Constitutional Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, said the deadlock was a
clear indication that the few leaders negotiating do not care about the
plight of the people.
"These politicians never take anyone seriously," Madhuku said. "They
think they are the best thing ever to happen in Zimbabwe."
Madhuku also lambasted Zimbabweans for "entrusting their destiny into
the hands of a few individuals".
"Zimbabweans are reaping the results of allowing them (politicians) to
do what they want. We are the ones who have always been cheering them. Some
even slaughtered beasts and held celebrations after the signing of the
agreement. Zimbabwe is suffering because of allowing politicians to be
signing documents everyday."
Despite what appears to be hard-line stances taken by Zanu PF and the
MDC, Madhuku said the parties "would eventually agree".
Others looked at everyday issues, saying the effect of the failed
formation of an all-inclusive government had sent prices spiralling out of
Highlighting the sad realities of the situation on the ground, Marble
Sikhosana, a female activist from Masvingo said two councillors in Bikita
had informed them that 13 villagers had died of hunger.
"People want food. People are dying out there," said Sikhosana at a
feminists' conference last week. "Children are not going to school; there
are no teachers in the schools. Education has been devalued in Zimbabwe,
what with children writing examinations when they did not attend any
Most systems in the country are currently at a standstill, awaiting
the resolution of the impasse. State universities suspended opening,
awaiting the constitution of the inclusive government. There is still
uncertainty over school examinations. The Standard understands that staff
involved in the preparation of examination material is on strike.
As the nation pondered the impact of the failed talks, Mutambara of
the smaller MDC formation turned against President Mugabe and MDC-T's
Tsvangirai, saying they had failed to appreciate what an all-inclusive
government entailed "because we will be operating as one government".
Instead of focusing on the agenda and vision of the new government,
the leaders had spent "four days haggling over positions", Mutambara said,
describing it as "a sign of leadership failure".
He said the focus of their discussions should have been on addressing
the pressing humanitarian crisis in the country; a people-driven
constitution, facilitating a democratic government; a national healing
programme, where Zimbabweans can begin to be viewed a citizens with rights;
economic recovery and stabilisation; and economic transformation.
Mutambara said Tsvangirai had secured the Ministry of Finance and the
hurdle remained on the Ministry of Home Affairs, where it was agreed it
should be rotated every six months between Zanu PF and MDC. Tsvangirai, he
said, then asked that the MDC should be first. Zanu PF refused but on
Friday, it appeared prepared to let the MDC take the portfolio for the first
six months. But Mutambara said, something happened and Tsvangirai changed
his mind and said "it was no longer sufficient".
Mutambara, who expressed frustration, blamed Mugabe and Tsvangirai for
the failure, said: "Zimbabweans must continue to suffer more because Robert
Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai cannot agree."
He said he would condemn and campaign for international isolation if
there was an attempt to go it alone by his two co-principals.
Today Tsvangirai, Mutambara and Mugabe are expected to travel to
Mbabane for a meeting of the Sadc troika of King Mswati of Swaziland,
President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and President Eduardo dos Santos of
Angola, amid international condemnation after collapse of the talks. Former
SA president, Thabo Mbeki has said an agreement on forming an all-inclusive
government is still possible.
While Mugabe said the talks had gone "very well in the wrong
direction", Tsvangirai is believed to have asked for the "reference
group" - the African Union and the United Nations - to come in and influence
the direction of the talks.
The United States has said it will consider new sanctions against
President Mugabe's government if a power-sharing deal collapses.
Jendayi Frazer, the top US diplomat for Africa, said she was not
optimistic after talks remained deadlocked between Mugabe and his main rival
"If it doesn't work then we are going to continue the pressure that we've
put on the government. We will look at new sanctions against President
Mugabe and his regime," Frazer told a group of reporters in Tokyo.
"Right now we're not so optimistic. It doesn't look very good for
power-sharing," she said.
European Union foreign ministers at a meeting on Monday in Luxembourg
also warned of fresh sanctions unless Mugabe respected the power-sharing
"The actions of President Mugabe are not consistent with any notion of
power-sharing," Frazer said. "We will have to see whether former president
Mbeki will be able to get President Mugabe to agree to what he had agreed
to, which was to truly share power."
France's new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Laurent Contini, who presented
his credentials to Mugabe on Thursday expressed France's "deep concern" over
delay in implementing the political agreement of September 15.
"As recently reminded b y the European Union, France remains highly
concerned by the deterioration of humanitarian situation. This situation has
led the Commission to release a further 10 million euros in aid," Contini
said. "Because of Zimbabwe's considerable needs in this area. We remind the
Zimbabwean authorities of the necessity to ensure unrestricted access for
By Vusumuzi Sifile, Jennifer Dube and Davison Maruziva
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:58
THE water crisis has transformed urban areas into rustic habitats.
Driving along the Kambuzuma-Mufakose road next to the rail-road
crossing in Harare, one would be forgiven for thinking they are in the
middle of a rural village.
At one end there are women washing clothes. At the other, young boys
and girls who would have accompanied their mothers to the "well" can be seen
naked, bathing themselves in plastic dishes. Others can be seen playing near
the common "water hole" oblivious of the dangers of playing next to a
rail-road crossing and the busy Kambuzuma-Mufakose road.
After two weeks without water, residents of Kambuzuma high-density
area have been converging at this spot from as early as 5am queuing with
buckets, dishes, and metal containers to fetch water for various household
The water comes from a burst water pipe that has gone unrepaired for
months. This site is just one of the many points people in the area have
come to rely on since suffering water cuts by the Zimbabwe National Water
Further down towards Mufakose, opposite the police station, another
community "well" has emerged. It is a burst water pipe that residents of
Mufakose have been relying on since Zinwa also cut water supplies.
As the water crisis worsened throughout Harare, many desperate
residents in areas such as Mufakose and Kambuzuma, Budiriro, Glen View,
Highfield, Kuwadzana, Glen Norah and Warren Park could be seen looking for
water from open wells and burst water pipe points, sparking fears of a
disease outbreak. In Glen Norah residents rely on water from a dam between
Glen Norah A and B.
On October 11 Zinwa warned residents of a possible disruption to water
supplies - almost a week after the water supplies had been cut. Zinwa said
the crisis would last, at the most, for four days because of a breakdown at
Morton Jaffray Waterworks - Harare's main water treatment plant. The four
days have turned to weeks. In some areas supplies were restored last week
for a day or two, only to disappear again, drawing the ire of many
Residents who spoke to The Standard last week expressed anger with
government for lack of commitment to resolving the problems at Zinwa.
Elizabeth Mufuri, from Mhishi in Mufakose, said she was disheartened by the
selfishness of those in power.
Mufuri and many others in that part of Mufakose are travelling about
5km to Crowborough North, near Kuwadzana to fetch water. For toilet and
bathing purposes residents draw water for bathing and flushing their toilets
from the Mukuvisi river, where they risk drowning.
"We have suffered enough. I wish the government could just realise
this. We have no rest in this country. If it's not electricity cuts, it is
water cuts," Mufuri said. "We never have a break because of problems created
by Zanu PF."
Eight days ago, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development
(Zimcodd) petitioned Zinwa saying it feared a disease outbreak in the
high-density areas because of the high numbers of the population densities.
The petition was also directed to the ministries of Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development, and Local Government and Public Works and Urban
In the petition Zimcodd - a coalition of civic groups and individuals
focused on socio-economic justice - is seeking the reversal of Zinwa's
takeover of water distribution, administration and sewer reticulation in
local authorities across the country.
Information and Communications Officer of Zimcodd, Simbiso
Marimbe-Marasha, said the water management problems at Zinwa threatened the
country's urban development.
"The spectre of water-borne diseases now threatens the country's urban
population of approximately 4,5 million, where it is now widely reported
that some municipalities are releasing raw sewerage into rivers and dams,"
Adding its voice to the prevailing water crisis, Combined Harare
Resident's Association (CHRA)'s chief executive officer, Barnabas Mangodza,
said Zinwa's takeover of water from the City of Harare was ill- advised.
Mangodza said the incompetence of Zinwa would cause more deaths if allowed
"(Zinwa) has failed to provide enough clean water to Harare and
Chitungwiza. Zinwa is also reported to be failing to procure enough water
treatment chemicals needed to purify water before it is pumped into homes,"
said Mangodza. "This has led to the suspicion that Zinwa is pumping
untreated or partially treated water to residents. We continue to receive
disturbing reports of cholera and diarrhoea related illnesses and deaths
from different parts in and around the city of Harare."
The death toll for the Chitungwiza cholera outbreak, which was
triggered by water cuts, continues to rise, with fears that if normal
service is not restored, many more people will die.
By Bertha Shoko
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:49
All Zimpapers editors were this year put under surveillance to
establish if they subscribed to the Zanu PF government's policies, the
newspaper group's chief executive officer, Justin Mutasa has said.
Testifying during an internal disciplinary hearing for Bhekinkosi
Ncube, the suspended editor of the Bulawayo-based vernacular tabloid,
Umthunywa, Mutasa admitted that he authorised the hacking of the editors'
Last week, this paper obtained minutes of the hearing held on October
7 in Harare, where the under-fire CEO made shocking revelations about how
government made direct appointments of editors in the group and that
Zimpapers' editorial policy was set to suit individual Ministers of
The Zimpapers' titles in the past have denied accusations that they
operate more like a propaganda tool of the ruling Zanu PF and government and
not as public media.
"The complainant (Mutasa) told the hearing that editorial standards
are not set by the group chief executive but by the Minister of
Information," read the minutes. "Every incoming minister calls all the
editors and expounds to them what he expects from them. Editors must
Ncube is accused of insulting President Robert Mugabe and the
government in private emails he exchanged with friends over the political
situation in the country.
His lawyers argue that the way the evidence being used in the case was
obtained violated the Interception of Communications Act, as Zimpapers
accessed a private and secure email address without the owner's consent or a
"The complainant (Mutasa) explained that this investigation was not
only centered on Umthunywa but all Zimpapers editors," according to the
minutes. "As the CEO of Zimpapers, he has a right to know what his
subordinates are doing.
"He emphasised the fact that his investigation team had not broken
into the accused's home searching for information but the information had
been stored in a Zimpapers' computer."
But he was reminded by Ncube's lawyer, Matshobana Ncube that the
information in question was not stored in the computer but on the internet.
Tom Ndovi, a Zimpapers' information technology manager told the
hearing that he accessed all the group editors' private emails using
software called password cracker and presented all the findings to Mutasa.
He was instructed to look at the editors' mail boxes for a period
between August 3 and 15 this year.
Mutasa also claims that when the Minister of Information and
Publicity, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu complained about Umthunywa's editorial slant,
he asked him to "discuss his dissatisfaction with the editor at the Quill
Club in Bulawayo."
The Quill Club is a club for journalists in Harare. He also
strenuously denied accusations that his complaints against Ncube were
motivated by tribalism because he wanted to close down the IsiNdebele
"Asked if there is an editorial policy at Zimpapers, the complainant
reiterated that this is a standard which the Minister of Information, who
comes in calls all the editors and gives them the editorial thrust," the
The paper had not been published for two weeks because of financial
problems but the group was working on resuscitating it, the minutes show.
Zimpapers' board member and prominent lawyer, Sindiso Mazibisa chaired the
hearing and the ruling, which was set for last Thursday was still not out by
By Kholwani Nyathi
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:47
A self-styled Zanu PF militia commander will languish in jail for the
next 20 years after he was convicted of raping an MDC activist's wife in
Zaka during the run-up to the violence-marred June 27 presidential election
Masvingo magistrate Esther Muremba slapped Kufa Ringeringe (29), with
a 20-year jail term after she found him guilty of raping a 29-year-old
married woman twice during the violent campaign.
In passing the sentence, Muremba said Ringeringe had no right to take
advantage of the situation to rape the vulnerable woman, who had no one to
defend her. Her husband had fled political violence.
Elson Chabarika for the state told the court that on June 24 this year
Ringeringe, who was commanding a militia of more than 10 Zanu PF youths,
pounced on the victim's homestead in Munjanja village under Chief Bota in
Zaka. He was looking for the victim's husband, a well-known MDC activist.
It is alleged that the militia commander and his troop took the
victim captive after they failed to find her husband who fled his homestead
after receiving a tip-off.
The court heard that they told her that they wanted to take her
husband to their base at Munjanja Secondary School but since he was nowhere
to be found they force-marched the complainant to the base, in the process
Testifying in the court the victim said before they arrived at the
base Ringeringe ordered her to stop and told her that if taken into the
base, she would lose her life. He then asked her if she could do something
"to save her life".
But before she could answer, Ringeringe started to fondle her breasts
and private parts. She told the court that he did this for "a long time" in
full view of his troop.
Ringeringe and his troop are said to have returned three days later
looking for the woman. This time she hid in one of the huts. The state heard
that after a search the others left but Ringeringe remained behind and
continued to search until he found her. He ordered her to get out.
Ringeringe started to assault the woman and force-marched her to the
base. She said he stopped her again before reaching the base and he raped
her once. After this she was taken to the base where he raped her a second
Last week Zanu PF's Mashonaland Central governor, Advocate Martin
Dinha called for the prosecution of all perpetrators of political violence,
while MDC Chief Whip, Innocent Gonese also raised a motion in Parliament to
bring them to book.
By Godfrey Mutimba
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:45
MARAUDING self-styled war veterans and police officers recently barred
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from distributing food
to starving orphans in Manicaland province saying the assistance was not
sanctioned by the government.
They also accused the party of "wanting to gain political mileage" out
of the desperation of starving villagers.
MDC Manicaland provincial social welfare officer, Lloyd Mahute, said
his party was barred from distributing food to vulnerable households at
Ruwangwe Business Centre in Nyanga by police and self-styled war veterans.
The so-called war veterans, who wore Zanu PF T-shirts, ordered the
hungry villagers to disperse promptly or risk being arrested. "They accused
us of wanting to gain political mileage out of the misery of people. We,
together with the villagers, tried to resist but the war veterans were
vicious and we dispersed on empty stomachs," he said.
Police Spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not received
information concerning the incident. "No, I have not received that report. I
will try to verify that myself."
Mahute said they had sourced the food from charitable organisations
for distribution to about 500 vulnerable households, mostly child-headed
The food included maize-meal, cooking oil, salt, sugar beans and
The party, Mahute said, started assisting vulnerable families in the
province after noticing that most families were going for days without
proper meals. "To be honest, people here are surviving on wild fruits. They
are surviving on hacha and masekesa," he said. "(President Robert) Mugabe
and his party are playing with lives of people."
Efforts by the opposition party to assist starving Zimbabweans
followed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's recent tour of the countryside to
assess food requirements in the country.
It was widely hoped that the signing of the power-sharing deal on
September 15 by Zanu PF and MDC and an earlier government lifting of a ban
on NGOs would improve the working conditions of NGOs. However, most NGOs
have not started operating, as the government has tightened its grip on
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently urged donors to make
available US$140 million in emergency food aid for Zimbabwe where nearly
half of the country's 12 million people face hunger in the coming months.
According to a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation/WFP crop
and food supply assessment mission, more than two million people were
already in need of assistance and this number would rise to 5.1 million by
early next year.
Humanitarian organisations have implored the government to declare the
current situation in the country - particularly in the two Matabeleland
regions - a national disaster to speed up the allocation of food to needy
A fortnight ago, the French Embassy in Harare said France has decided
to release food aid worth 2 million euros "to provide immediate support to
the most vulnerable people of Zimbabwe as well as to support medium- and
long-term policies aimed at promoting food security".
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:41
A wave of land invasions has struck the Eastern Highlands, leaving in
its wake 10 000 hectares of torched plantations that will see heavy job
losses and a shortage of timber products next year.
The country's thriving timber industry will suffer a major setback
after illegal settlers set fire to vast tracks of timber plantations in the
Eastern Highlands recently, destroying timber that could have earned the
country billions in foreign currency.
Thousands of hectares of mostly pine trees were burnt to ashes within
hours on once productive estates. One person, believed to be a commercial
farmer, died during the conflagration. There was no immediate confirmation
of his identity.
Most affected were two of the country's leading timber producers -
Border Timbers Ltd (BTL) and Allied Timbers - which recorded a combined loss
of close to 10 000 ha.
Other companies also recorded significant losses although these could
not be immediately quantified.
The Standard last week visited BTL's largest pine plantation, Charter
Estate in Chimanimani, where close to 5 000 hectares of timber went up in
smoke in two fires that emanated from Kushinga and Nyaruwa villages, on
September 9 and 25, respectively. This is the biggest loss on the company's
plantations since 2002, when fires became prevalent in the wake of the
chaotic land invasions.
The settlers, mostly from the Nyaruwa and Chinyai clans, resettled
themselves on the timber plantation at the height of the land invasions,
arguing that the plantation was situated on land that used to belong to
their ancestors. Repeated attempts - including a High Court order - to have
the estimated 500 families evicted have been in vain.
Officials at BTL warned that starting next year, there would be a
significant decline in timber exports due to reduced harvests. It would take
many years for the company to revert back to their normal forestry
activities, a move that could result in an uneven estate, causing serious
damage to the environment.
"We have had to change our plans because of the problem which will see
us taking out volumes worth several years of production," said Tonderayi
Kachale, Forestry Manager for BTL.
"The challenge now is to harvest quickly before the timber
deteriorates in quality. We now need to change in order to salvage more
timber. We have up to six months to do this."
Kachale oversees operations at the company's five estates - Charter,
Tilbury and Sawerombi in Chimanimani, and Imbeza and Sheba in Penhalonga.
"It is going to be a problem for us to get the capacity to harvest. We
will need to purchase more equipment to handle such volumes," said Kachale.
A reasonable fraction of the trees is now being felled to waste as they had
not attained the required diameter to be commercially used.
The illegal settlers allegedly set the plantations on fire in order to
clear the land for subsistence farming. Others, it was said, were clearing
the forests in search of mice and other small animals to avert pervasive
"Just a few days after the first fire, we were surprised to find that
the settlers had already partitioned a portion of the estate among
themselves," said Norman Mandikiyana, the manager of Charter Estate.
When The Standard visited his home at a valley in Charter Estate, head
of the Nyaruwa clan, Happy Nyaruwa, first denied that his subjects were
responsible for the fires.
Instead, he said the fires had been caused by BTL employees. He later
admitted his subjects "could have been responsible" and stressed the need
for co-operation with BTL.
"There is no way I can allow people to burn the forest when even our
lives would be in danger. My own hut was almost destroyed by the fire," said
Nyaruwa, in Shona. "We put out that fire all night, but the following
morning, we were surprised to see there was another fire. This thing can
only end if we complement each other in fighting these fires."
Ironically, some of the illegal settlements were also destroyed in the
fire. A number of settlers could be seen preparing food in the open, while
others were reconstructing their shacks - using timber from the plantations'
burnt pine trees.
Kachale said repeated engagements with the authorities on the settlers
had only ended in unfulfilled promises.
"We have engaged the authorities on various occasions and at various
levels, but it has all been promises and no action," Kachale said. "We have
spoken to the police, the district administrator and traditional leaders. We
have also followed the legal route to have the settlers evicted."
Environment Minister, Francis Nhema on Friday said he was attending a
meeting at the Sanganai Tourism Fair in Bulawayo. Attempts to call him later
The Standard was told telephone lines to Chimanimani police station
were also destroyed in the fire.
Police national spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena on Friday said he would
consult his colleagues in Mutare and then comment.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:51
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) employees are diverting the little grain
reaching the southern parts of the country to the black market, where they
are trading in foreign currency and livestock, investigations have revealed.
The massive shortage of maize throughout the region has pushed the
price of a 50kg bag of the scarce commodity from R100 a month ago to around
R250 on the parallel market.
Aid agencies apportion blame partly on the worsening food shortages,
described as worse than those encountered during the 1992 drought, on
government's skewed grain distribution programme.
Three syndicates involving GMB employees that diverted tonnes of maize
meant for distribution to starving villagers and urban dwellers have been
busted in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South in the past month but
sources said this was only a tip of the iceberg.
The latest case involves the manager of the GMB's Esigodini depot,
Bhekani Ncube and Thembinkosi Sibanda, a clerk, who allegedly acquired
several cars and livestock after selling maize in foreign currency.
The two appeared before the magistrates' court in Esigodini last
Wednesday facing charges of criminal abuse of office after they were
arrested for stealing more than a tonne of maize.
Matshobana Ncube, who represented Sibanda, said they were remanded in
custody to October 29 as police said they needed at least a week to wind up
"Police said they were still following leads that they had cars in
Zvishavane and Bulawayo that were connected to the case," he said. "There
were also allegations that they also exchanged cattle for more than a tonne
of maize in Maphisa."
The scandal was unearthed after villagers from Umzingwane district
laid siege to the depot, demanding a stop to the "clandestine" distribution
In another case the Bulawayo, city council was drawn into the scandal
after GMB employees bought more than seven tonnes of maize on the pretext
that it was meant for Thorngrove Hospital.
"These purchases were made between April and July 2008," read a
council report. "The council's department of Health confirmed that the last
requisition to the GMB was made in November 2007 and delivery had been taken
Several GMB employees are also awaiting trial in Matabeleland North
after they were caught selling maize in foreign currency.
A number of Zanu PF and government officials have been accused of
using their links to corruptly acquire maize for resale on the black market.
The GMB is reportedly selling a tonne of maize for $800 000 but
deliveries to Matabeleland have been inadequate since the beginning of the
year. This has left those with connections within the country's sole grain
buyer and seller able to buy grain for resale.
Reports say villagers in the country's remote area are surviving on
wild fruits and vegetables, while those in Binga depend on fish only as they
cannot get maize from the GMB.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:39
Controversial Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive
officer, Karikoga Kaseke last week tried to bar the independent media from
covering the country's premier tourism and travel fair that was snubbed by
buyers from the traditional source markets in the West.
The five-day Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair
held in Bulawayo's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds, which
closes today attracted over 750 exhibitors mainly from Asia and Africa.
The first two days of the fair that opened on Wednesday were strictly
Kaseke had allegedly instructed the ZITF staff helping with logistics
not to accredit journalists from The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent.
"Salome Chari, the ZTA public relations officer called us to say
Kaseke said we must not accredit journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent
and The Standard," said a ZITF official who requested anonymity since she
was not authorized to speak to the media. "But he wanted those from the
state-owned media to be accredited."
However, Kaseke backed down after the intervention of the Zimind Group
chief executive officer, Raphael Khumalo. All the journalists who wanted to
cover the fair were then accredited.
The recently amended Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) allows all journalists to cover government functions as long as
they have accreditation from the Media and Information Commission (MIC).
The two papers together with the Financial Gazette are the country's
remaining independent papers after the government closed down several
privately owned publications using the draconian AIPPA.
In an interview, Kaseke said the accreditation of journalists from the
two publications was still against his wish because he claimed that the
independent media continued to give the tourism sector bad publicity.
"I do not want any of you guys there," he fumed. "I am still
insisting that you must not attend because both your papers have nothing
positive to say as you have denounced the government for marginalising
"We sponsored journalists from outside Zimbabwe and we are not going
to sponsor you guys," Kaseke said. "But you have our full blessing to
rubbish and denounce us in your paper."
Although the fair, witnessed a huge jump from the 450 exhibitors who
took part in last year to 750, local agents said the absence of buyers from
Europe and the United States dampened their spirits.
Zimbabwe's tourism sector, once among the most vibrant in Africa has
lost its lustre over the years because of political violence and an
By Leslie Nunu
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:24
FOR a man of his age, intellect and experience, it boggles the mind
why President Robert Mugabe does not appear to have learned from the
precedents before him.
For a party of its collective experience, it is difficult to fathom
why Zanu PF has failed to learn from the mistakes of its counterparts across
Because, if there is one discernible feature in the trajectory of
African politics since independence, it is that liberation parties that fail
to adapt are doomed and will often contract terminal illness at the
departure of a long-serving leader.
One day, Mugabe shall depart, yes, even if that has to await God's
will as he suggested a few months ago. At this rate, Zanu PF is unlikely to
survive his departure and the power-sharing deal is no more than a
palliative for an ailing patient - it may reduce the pain but it does not
remove the cause of the pain. The sad spectacle is that it is dragging
Zimbabwe down with it.
Liberation parties are those organisations that orchestrated the
struggle for independence in African countries. It is interesting to observe
the way these parties have handled the challenges of governance in their
respective countries; how and why some have survived and others have failed.
There is a clear line, which is that, in a process akin to natural
selection, the more adaptable have survived whilst the less adaptable have
suffered inevitable demise. It is in this context that it is arguable that
the power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe is an attempt by Zanu PF to cope with the
spectre of extinction but that this, too, is only likely to be temporary
The trajectory of African politics indicates that at independence and
for thirty or so years thereafter, most countries followed the authoritarian
one-party state system. Statistics show that by the end of the 1980s, nearly
50 African states were one-party states or ruled by a military junta. In 32
states, opposition parties were illegal and elections were mere formalities
to confirm the incumbent.
Daniel Arap Moi, then President of Kenya is quoted as having said in
1984: "I would like my ministers, assistant ministers and others to sing
like a parrot after me. That is how we can progress." (Meredith 2006). This
typified the mentality of the leaders at the time, influenced mainly by the
Soviet-style communist paradigm. The result was that liberation parties
claimed all political territory and suppressed, often violently, any
opposition or dissent.
The end of the Cold War, signified most visibly by the collapse of the
Berlin Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union brought
fundamental changes to African politics. The Soviet Union was no longer able
to sustain its large network of client states. Suddenly, the ruling
liberation parties had to conform to a new environment of multi-party
politics, driven mainly by rising internal opposition due to repression and
poverty caused by the authoritarian politics.
It was also fuelled by renewed Western influence in African politics.
The US in particular made the spread of democracy a key part of its foreign
policy. The structural adjustment programmes of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF)/World Bank tied democracy to potential assistance. It is hardly
surprising, therefore, that there was a flurry of elections in most African
states in the early 1990s, as they embraced multi-party politics largely for
convenience rather than in good faith. Accepting the challenge of the
opposition was a new phenomenon which the liberation parties, long used to
dominating all political space, had to cope with.
As a superficial measure of democracy, the election suddenly enabled
the transformation of authoritarian strong-men into "democrats". The ritual
of the election was, rather unfortunately and inaccurately, equated with
democracy. The wider values and institutions, developed through struggle
over long periods of time and, therefore, firmly in place in the Western
political universe where democracy appeared to flourish, were non-existent
or at best, limited, in the African context. For example, where the
judiciary, responsible for resolving conflicts, is emasculated by one of the
contestants, the election process is ineffective since the incentive to be
fair is limited.
It is interesting to observe how, using examples from the South and
East African regions, the liberation parties responded to the challenge of
multi-party politics. I have divided the countries by response into two
sets, the Adaptable and the Non-Adaptable sets, depending on how the
liberation parties have coped with change.
Tanzania: When Mwalimu Julius Nyerere saw that the end was nigh he
departed gracefully in 1985 and was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Mwinyi
who handed over to Benjamin Mkapa. Mkapa passed the baton to the current
President Jakaya Kikwete. All these leaders belong to the liberation party,
Chama Cha Mapinduzi ("CCM") - a clear example of adaptability, even though
it was at the forefront of the one-party system in the 1970s.
Botswana: It is rightly held as Africa's longest multi-party
democracy, having adopted the system at independence in 1966. But in those
42 years, the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party ("BDP") has never
lost power to the opposition. Sir Seretse Khama, the first President was
succeeded by Sir Ketumile Masire who later stepped down for Festus Mogae.
Mogae recently handed over power to Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
Mozambique: The country that got off to a tumultuous start with Samora
Machel at the helm has calmed down lately. When Machel died tragically in
1986, he was succeeded by Joachim Chissano who successfully steered the
country out of the civil war, served his terms and gracefully left power to
the current President Armando Guebuza. As in Tanzania and Botswana, the
liberation party, FRELIMO, has retained power since independence and enabled
internal leadership succession and change, thereby providing a respectable
façade of democracy.
This is the set of countries where the liberation parties failed to
cope with change and have suffered a terrible patch after the leader's
departure. These are:
Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda led Zambia for 27 years since independence in
1964. He lost heavily to Frederick Chiluba in the watershed election in
1991. He became one of the first high profile victims of the new age of
politics and his party, UNIP, was left in the doldrums after his demise. It
has not recovered since.
Kenya: Moi took over the leadership after the death of Jomo Kenyatta
in 1978. By 1982 Kenya was a one-party state and Moi retained power, with an
iron grip, until 2002 when he "retired" before the election which his
party, KANU, lost to the opposition. It, too, has never recovered.
Malawi: Hastings Kamuzu Banda ruled this small country with an
iron-fist from independence in 1964 until he lost power to Bakili Muluzi in
1994, after reluctantly accepting multi-party politics.
So where, then, does Zimbabwe's Zanu PF fit?
It is the liberation party in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has dominated Zanu PF
politics since independence. The subject of succession in Zanu PF is almost
taboo. It has failed to learn from the mixed fortunes of the other
The power-sharing deal may have saved Mugabe from humiliation of
Kaunda and Banda, but the likelihood is that for Zanu PF the relief is only
short-term; a mere painkiller rather than a cure against a terminal disease.
It is odd that the many men and women in Zanu PF watch idly whilst their
party partakes the poison-pill.
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent
and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 11:22
MOST African parliaments ought to be faithful replicas of the former
colonial masters' legislatures.
That most are not is a discrepancy not entirely to be blamed on the
former colonialists, even though they must bear most of the shame.
Almost without exception, they gave up control of the countries,
including their equally abundant natural resources, with massive, often
In one case, they were so furious they took away typewriters from
government offices. What they wanted to leave behind was a country denuded
of all modern and sophisticated equipment.
Did they expect the new governments to rush to their capitals, cap in
hand, for the return of the typewriters?
The African governments, though, were not always courageous enough to
ensure there were vestiges of true parliamentary democracy, even after
incorporating "indigenous" elements.
Such elements included safeguards against what were perceived as
treasonous acts, such as calling the head of state a thief, a crook, a
murderer or an adulterer.
These provisions were insisted upon because the head of state had
risen to that position on the strength of their role in the struggle against
There was never any serious contemplation of the head of state losing
that status as a result of a popular vote.
As in Zimbabwe, the ruling party prided itself on having brought
independence and would not conceive of another party replacing it.
This explains why many of the parliaments were pilloried as "rubber
The ruling parties paid little attention to what parliament did or
said, believing they knew their limits in the peculiar "democratic" scheme
of things: follow orders from above and your longevity is assured. . .
Among the former French colonies, soldiers refused to stomach such
impunity and took matters into their own hands, which carried guns.
How things ought to proceed in a democratic fashion was displayed in
the recent vote on the US$700 billion bailout of the USA economy by
The US political system is by no means perfect. There is far too much
money involved for it not to be polluted by avarice. Yet, once in a while,
it throws up a presidential candidate with little money and built-in
impediments: incredible political innocence or even naiveté, or from a
Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama fall into these categories.
George W Bush heed and hawed for a positive outcome, but was visibly
frustrated when the lawmakers demanded guarantees before agreeing.
Bush looked more haggard and harassed than before, each time he popped
up on television with his begging bowl of appeals, sounding more plaintive.
If he had been an African president facing the same storm, he probably
would have ordered the army to move into the chambers, to remind the members
who was in charge.
Robert Mugabe acted almost similarly, when he lost the March 29
elections. He might have not personally ordered the murderous retribution,
but his moral blameworthiness is immense.
I was intrigued on reading an appeal from the Clerk of Parliament,
Austin Zvoma, for the media to educate the people on what parliament was all
about. He repeated the appeals of others before him: a get-together of the
media and Parliament to exchange ideas, or compare notes.
Although "parliament" describes a legislature based on the
Westminister system of government, modelled after that of the United
Kingdom the word itself is derived from the French, parler (to speak): a
parlement is a talk, a discussion, hence a meeting where people discuss
people's matters and orders.
In Zimbabwe, as in many other African countries, the media is not
rated as The Fourth Estate, after the Executive, the Legislature and the
Most Zanu PF leaders consider the media a pesky bunch of busybodies
with nothing better to do than poke their noses into other people's
To them, the idea of the media existing for the paramount function of
monitoring how the government is discharging its duties to the electors is