by Tafadzwa Mutasa Thursday 22 October 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's power-sharing government could be headed for paralysis,
threatening to slide the country back into crisis if no quick solution is
found to end Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC's boycott of coalition
partner ZANU PF, analysts said.
The unity government last week suffered its biggest crisis yet when the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party boycotted all cooperation with
President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, blaming the veteran leader's
obstinacy for failing to fulfil last year's political agreement and the slow
pace of democratic reforms.
Tsvangirai is drumming up support among regional leaders to try to exert
pressure on the 85-year-old Mugabe to replace Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes Tomana and appoint new
provincial governors as well as swear-in Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture
But political analysts said Mugabe was likely to dig in for now, prolonging
the impasse which could ultimately paralyse government operations and erode
any little progress the country had made towards economic recovery.
"If this situation persists, we will be moving into a parallel government
situation because we would have a gridlock as it were," said John Makumbe, a
University of Zimbabwe analyst sympathetic to the MDC.
"You can get governmental paralysis because you have different institutions
that will be are pulling in different directions," Makumbe said.
Analysts said state institutions like parastatals could fall victim to the
current impasse, with both ZANU PF and the MDC which have at least a Cabinet
minister or deputy in each ministry seeking to influence entities under
But the big test for the unity government could be the fate of the 2010
national budget, which is scheduled to be presented by Finance Minister
Tendai Biti, the MDC secretary general next month.
Zimbabwe's budget formulation process starts with the Finance Minister
receiving requests from all government ministries and he and his lieutenants
in the ministry would come up with a draft that is discussed by the Cabinet
committee on finance.
After crafting a final draft, the budget is taken to Mugabe, and to
Tsvangirai following the formation of the unity government, after which it
would be tabled before Parliament for debate.
But legal experts say there is no law that requires Biti to take the budget
to the Head of State.
If the MDC continues its disengagement, Biti could proceed to craft his own
budget but it could be shot down in Parliament by ZANU PF but if it sails in
the Lower House of Assembly, it could be blocked in the Senate where ZANU PF
is guaranteed the support of chiefs.
"But then Zimbabweans will blame ZANU PF if the budget fails to pass because
of their actions, it is so eagerly awaited by the country," Makumbe said.
The analysts said if Biti failed to present the budget, ZANU PF would be
quick to blame the MDC for holding the country hostage and undermining the
The 2010 budget will be followed keenly in the country, especially by
farmers and civil servants and abroad by key donors who have been pressing
Zimbabwe to quickly implement economic reforms that are crucial to
Analysts warned that if the MDC's move did not yield any pressure from SADC,
it could prove a costly gamble and the party could lose any leverage over
Mugabe could in future make unilateral decisions to frustrate Tsvangirai and
drive the former opposition party from government.
"If this situation prolongs then when push comes to shove we will see who
has got more leverage over the other," Eldred Masunungure, a leading
Zimbabwe political commentator said.
"But I see a situation where SADC will be forced to somehow act and try to
broker a compromise between Mugabe and Tsvangirai to put the unity
government back on track and I do not see the administration in imminent
danger of collapse." - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Thursday 22 October 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe and South Africa are expected to sign by end of this month
a long-delayed bilateral investment protection agreement (BIPA), after
Harare finally approved the draft, Zimbabwean industry minister Welshman
Ncube said on Wednesday.
Signing of the agreement between the countries that are each other's biggest
trading partner on the continent in addition to being strong political
allies has on several occasions been postponed on the eleventh hour,
apparently after Harare objected to a clause in the accord referring to land
"Cabinet has approved the singing of the BIPA agreement with South Africa,"
Ncube said at the launch of a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
manufacturing report yesterday.
"I spoke to (South African Trade) Minister (Rob) Davis in South Africa and
he confirmed having received the documents, he said the documents will be
forwarded from the solicitor general to the presidency (Jacob Zuma) as they
are now ready for signing. On our part we are ready to sign, we would have
to sign before month end which is next week."
Ncube did not say whether Zimbabwe had accepted the demand by the South
Africans to have protection of land and related property rights included in
President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent programme to seize
white-owned farm land for redistribution to landless blacks also saw several
farms owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral trade agreements
between Zimbabwe and other countries seized without compensation.
The seizure of private land has raised questions about Zimbabwe's commitment
to uphold property rights as well as agreements entered with other
Meanwhile Ncube also expressed concern over delays on the aid regional
countries pledged to Zimbabwe to assist the unity government revive the
country's shattered economy.
"The pledges and the commitments from neighbours on the flow of funds they
had pledged earlier has been slow," he said.
"We are concerned on the bureaucratic delays, we hope that this will be
expedited so that we can have access to the money to use in manufacturing
sector which is critical."
Harare says it requires US$10 billion to revive the economy and restore
basic services such as health, education and provision of clean water in
cities but has to date raised nearly US$2 billion in credit lines from
African financial institutions and countries.
Rich Western nations, traditionally the providers of the most aid to
Zimbabwe, have maintained humanitarian support but insist Harare must
implement more political reforms, act to uphold human rights, media freedom
and the rule of law among others before they can provide development and
other assistance. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Thursday 22 October 2009
HARARE - A Zimbabwean black empowerment pressure group on Wednesday said
international milk processor Nestle should be forced to sell its Harare
subsidiary to local blacks if the firm refuses to buy milk from a farm owned
by President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace.
The Affirmative Action Group (AGG) - whose members are closely linked to
Mugabe's ZANU PF party - said Nestle's refusal to buy milk from Grace's
Gushungo farm was part of a "foreign regime change agenda" and said the firm
should not be allowed to continue embarrassing the President's family.
Mugabe often accuses Western powers of seeking to oust him as punishment for
his controversial land reform programme which saw the government seizing
white-owned farmland for redistribution to blacks.
Grace was allocated Gushongo under her husband's land reforms that also saw
senior members of ZANU PF, their friends and allies - including many members
of the AAG - handed some of the best farms seized from whites.
"This is unacceptable (Nestle's refusal to buy milk from Gushungo)," AGG
secretary general Tafadzwa Musarara told journalists in Harare.
He added: "We are going to make sure that Nestle buys Gushungo milk. It is
clear that Nestle is perpetuating a foreign regime change agenda. We are
demanding that with immediate effect Nestle must be indigenised."
There was no immediate reaction from Nestle to the AAG statement.
Nestle this month stopped buying milk from Gushungo farm following an
international media outcry over the firm's business dealings with the
Mugabes and threats by consumer watchdogs to call for a boycott of the
The firm's bank accounts were temporarily frozen by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe which said the action was part of a routine check meant to sniff
out financial irregularities. But observers saw the move as a warning to
Nestle that Harare was unhappy with the decision to stop buying milk from
About a week ago ZANU PF youths drove a milk tanker to Nestle's Harare
factory and tried to force company officials to buy the milk but they
However the involvement of the AAG that has over the years led harassment of
private firms perceived as anti-Mugabe could mean more trouble for Nestle.
But the AAG threats against Nestle will also dampen investor interest in
Zimbabwe especially coming at a moment the country's coalition government
appears in deep trouble following Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai his MDC
party's decision to boycott ZANU PF.
The southern African country's economy, which has been on a free-fall for
the past decade, badly needs foreign investment to recover. - ZimOnline
by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 22 October 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's former finance minister and now leader of an
opposition party Simba Makoni on Wednesday blasted Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party for cutting all contact with President Robert
Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, saying the move had "nothing to do with
delivering real change to the people" of the country.
In a statement, Makoni who is the interim president of
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) said the MDC-T and ZANU PF should "stop playing
with the people of Zimbabwe over petty positions and power".
"On careful examination, it emerges that the reasons for the MDC -T
disengagement from ZANU PF have nothing to do with delivering real change to
the people of Zimbabwe. The fight is about the MDC-T being allowed a bigger
share of public sector jobs, motor cars, travel allowances and good living,"
"We urge both Mugabe and Tsvangirai to show genuine concern for the
suffering people of Zimbabwe, to apply themselves diligently to resolving
their power disputes. We further urge Mugabe, especially, to show that he is
committed to genuine partnership and power-sharing with the MDC-T, a party
that defeated him in the March 2008 elections."
Makoni said this would enable the inclusive government to formulate
and implement the policies required to create jobs, stimulate economic
growth that benefits the people and bring Zimbabwe back into the 21st
The MKD leader said the MDC-T's of "disengagement from ZANU PF" was
confusing the people as it was difficult to understand what it entailed.
"The MDC-T can not have their cake and eat it. They say they have
"disengaged from ZANU PF" and from Cabinet and yet they are still in the
inclusive government, they are still reporting for work and they are still
executing their duties as Cabinet ministers?
"So, what exactly is the meaning of their action as announced last
Friday, 16 October 2009? Can the Prime Minister clearly spell out to a
concerned and confused nation the practical meaning and effect of this
action because the people can not see its significance?" said Makoni.
The ex-finance minister said the struggle between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai was more to do with power.
"We note with concern that the issues over which the MDC are
disengaging from ZANU PF are issues of "jobs for the boys and girls" and not
policies that can deliver real change for Zimbabweans," Makoni said.
"The people want stable and permanent jobs, economic development,
repair of dilapidated infrastructure, food, functioning health and education
systems and social support networks. The people want their dignity and
He said since the MDC-T entered the inclusive government in February
it has not put forward policy initiatives aimed at pulling the country out
of its economic crisis.
"The modest improvements that have occurred in people's lives over the
past year are the result of the default dollarisation which commenced in
early 2008 and was formalised by ZANU PF before the inclusive government,"
Tsvangirai's MDC party, which formed a unity government with Mugabe's
ZANU PF party, last week announced a partial boycott of the eight-month-old
coalition administration because of differences over implementation of the
power-sharing pact. - ZimOnline
Written by Natasha Hove
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 13:32
BULAWAYO - Zimbabweans should reject the Kariba Draft as it is similar
to the Lancaster House Constitution that bestows unlimited powers to
President Robert Mugabe, officials of ZAPU said on Sunday.
The officials also noted that the revived party was pushing for a
clause in the constitution that says the President should be elected by
legislators and not through a popular vote.
Zimbabwe is governed by a 1979 Lancaster House Constitution that has
been amended a record 19 times. "The Kariba Draft is similar in nature to
the Lancaster House Constitution. As Zapu, we want a people-driven
constitution, a constitution that will make fundamental changes in the
administration of the country," Paul Siwela, a ZAPU official, told the party's
supporters at a rally held at Nketa Hall.
"ZAPU is for proportional representation of a system that is all
inclusive. As for the president, we believe he or she should not be elected
by popular vote but by members of parliament," said Dr Themba Dlodlo, a
member of ZAPU's national executive. Under a power sharing deal signed last
year, the country is supposed to have a new constitution in the next two
years to pave way for new elections.
The process to make the country's first post independence constitution
has been derailed by quarrelling over which route to take in the making of a
Zanu (PF) favours a Kariba Draft to be used as a reference point
whilst the MDC wants a people driven constitution.
Written by Natasha Hove
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 10:46
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economy has vast potential to rank among five of
the biggest in the continent within the next 10 years according to economic
analyst, Eric Bloch .
This would only be achievable if a conducive and investment
environment was created. "There is need for restoring genuine law and order,
human rights and property rights. We have potential in minerals and tourism.
Near Lupane there is methane gas, there is so much opportunity. We have
advanced minerals in the country which are underutilised and if these are
tapped into, the economy will recover to match the strongest economies in
the region," said Bloch.
At a mining indaba held in September, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
said the government in conjunction with the mining industry could attract
investment worth between US$6 million and US$16million. He said that would
be possible by 2018.
"With investments there will be massive growth but conflicting
statements from people in government make potential investors take their
investment elsewhere," said Bloch. Bloch also stressed the need for
restoration of property and human rights.
Darlington Mutengwende, a Harare based independent economic analyst,
said there was a need to identify and rectify challenges that led to the
collapse of the two sectors. "Zimbabwe used to be one of the best in terms
of tourism and mining in the region before political instability started
affecting the country," Mutengwende said. "If the issue of political
instability is not addressed, being among the biggest economies will remain
a dream. We need total stability on the political front, we need to see real
events happening so as to boost investor confidence."
Oct 21, 4:09 PM EDT
By DONNA BRYSON
Associated Press Writer
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Aid workers said Wednesday the disarray of the
government of Zimbabwe is putting its most vulnerable citizens at risk as
hunger and disease threatens to sweep the country.
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced last week he was
withdrawing indefinitely from a unity government that has been troubled from
the moment its ministers were sworn in in February.
Tsvangirai cited "the fiction of the credibility and integrity" of his
partnership with longtime President Robert Mugabe - a description likely to
undermine his own efforts to persuade donors to help Zimbabwe recover from
Charles Abani, head of Oxfam-UK's operations in southern Africa, say
Zimbabwe needs coordinated, "robust leadership" to avert a repeat of the
cholera epidemic and widespread hunger it faced last year.
"We are obviously concerned that the government of national unity continues
to work," Abani said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Peter Salama, head of the U.N. children's agency office in Zimbabwe, called
on Zimbabwe's leaders to overcome their political differences and "rally
around the issues facing Zimbabwe's children today, and that is access to
basic services" like schools and clinics, which have been devastated by the
country's economic collapse.
Salama told AP it would be "tragic" if the political impasse leads the
international community to decide Zimbabwe is too risky to continue to
The European Union on Wednesday asked Zimbabwe's neighbors to help resolve
the country's political problems and expressed concern over "continued
politically motivated harassment of" members of Tsvangirai's party. Last
month, the first visit by a high-level EU delegation since 2002 ended with a
declaration that Europe would not resume development aid until more is done
to implement the power-sharing agreement and restore human rights.
Before the unity government was formed, foreign governments hesitated to
send aid and development money to Zimbabwe. The funds they did send were
channeled through independent agencies, making coordination difficult. At
one point, relations with the outside world deteriorated so much, ZANU-PF
accused independent groups of supporting opposition activists and barred
them from distributing aid for three months. The ban was lifted in late
Aid workers now have been called in to help even in prisons. In recent
months, the international health agency Medecins Sans Frontieres has been
providing food, clean water and medical care to inmates in 15 prisons, said
Wim Fransen, an MSF mission head in Zimbabwe.
"What is important to know is that the crisis is still here and there is
still a need for donors to fund organizations," Fransen said.
What's known as the hungry season, when food from the year's harvest begins
to run out, is expected to hit in December of January. Last year, more than
5 million people needed food aid. Oxfam's Abani said it was likely to be
less than 3 million this year, still significant in a population of about 8
Reports of cholera have already emerged this year in Zimbabwe. Rains
expected in the coming months will overflow sewers, worsening the risk of
the waterborne disease's spread. A cholera outbreak that started in August
2008 and took months to bring under control killed some 4,000 people.
The rainy season is also the breeding season for the mosquitoes that carry
malaria. The U.N.'s Roll Back Malaria Partnership warned in January of a
possible surge in malaria cases and deaths in Zimbabwe. Since then, said
spokesman Herve Verhoosel, it has been able to work with the new government
to ensure insecticide was distributed before the rains.
The next step, Verhoosel said, will be getting a new generation of malaria
medication into hospitals and clinics across Zimbabwe before the rains. But
the new medication is more expensive and Verhoosel said Roll Back Malaria is
concerned that donations to buy the drugs could drop.
"Such a political crisis," Verhoosel said, "could have an implication on the
October 22, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) party says it wants the
national organ on national healing to include the Gukurahundi massacres in
their investigations and reconciliation programmes.
The party's leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, told The Zimbabwe Times yesterday that
his party waits to see whether any light will be shed on that dark period of
Zimbabwe's history by the organ on national healing.
"The national healing organ should cover issues that happened since 1980,
including the Gukurahundi," said Dabengwa.
He said the organ had already visited some parts of Matebeleland where they
met traditional chiefs who made it clear that the era described by President
Mugabe as a "moment of madness" should be discussed as part of the healing
"They have already visited the chiefs in Matebeleland and have been told
that they should include the Gukurahundi chapter. We also believe they
should do that but since they are still consulting we wait to hear their
response to whether it is part of their terms of reference," said Dabengwa.
The organ on national healing, an idea mooted by the inclusive government to
solve the problems brought about by the internecine violence that
characterised last year's elections is led by representatives of the country's
three main political parties.
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is represented by its chairman, John
Nkomo, while Prime Minister Tsvangirai's MDC party is represented by Sekai
Holland, herself a victim of political violence and Mutambara's MDC has
Gibson Sibanda as its representative.
Sibanda has however been stripped of his ministerial credentials after he
failed to secure a seat in Parliament as required by law. He is now
operating as a consultant.
The organ has started its mandate on a wrong footing with Holland telling a
meeting in Matebeleland that the Ndebele stole cattle from the Shona in the
Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:04
HARARE - MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett (Pictured), who continues
to be harassed by the application of selective justice, says President
Robert Mugabe has serious racial problems with him.
"He has serious problems with me - racial problems. The fact is that I
have a constituency and that I have a following annoys him immensely. He
wants to discredit me and get me out of the way," said Bennett, one of the
two white people in the senate, who commands much respect among
Zimbabweans - particularly in the rural areas.
"Part of the persecution is not against me personally. It is against
the MDC, because I stand for the party in everything I do. I am happy to
step aside the moment the people say I am the problem," said Bennett.
Bennett maintains he is innocent of the charges of being illegally in
possession of weapons with the intention of commit insurgency, sabotage,
terrorism and banditry - which carry the death sentence.
Written by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 14:41
BULAWAYO-Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), one of the country's most
active civic groups, has said it will continue with regular street protests
to press for speedy democratic reforms despite the continued harassment of
the organisation's members through the courts.
In a statement, WOZA said many of its members, including leaders Jenni
Williams and Magadonga Mahlangu are going through court cases for exercising
their right to peaceful protest.
Last week, the Bulawayo Magistrates Court further postponed a court
hearing for Mahlangu and Williams to 7 December. Mahlangu and Williams were
arrested in October last year for
leading demonstrations calling on the government to provide food to
starving citizens. The pair, together with hundreds of their members, has
been repeatedly arrested for street protests
targeting draconian government policies.
Woza said the continued postponement of Mahlangu and Williams' case
showed that the State did not have evidence against the activists, but was
abusing the court system to intimidate and restrict rights campaigners.
"This ongoing demonstration of State harassment and intimidation
against the human rights defenders is further proof of how little has
changed for pro-democracy activists in Zimbabwe," said the organisation,
whose brave membership has continued with demonstrations despite constant
violent reaction from the police.
Mahlangu, in her personal capacity and WOZA will next month receive
this year's Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights Award for her "courageous
and selfless struggle to defend human dignity".
Written by John Makumbe
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:28
The outgoing President, Mr Robert Mugabe (pictured), recently urged
traditional chiefs to actively participate in politics and in governance and
policy making. He was speaking at the installation of Mr. Stanley Urayai
Mhondoro as Chief Zvimba. Mugabe further claimed that traditional chiefs
should not be politically neutral, which essentially means that they should
engage in partisan politics.
This is, obviously consistent with Zanu (PF)'s normal practice of
abusing traditional leaders to further that party's waning political support
among the grassroots in rural Zimbabwe. In the past, we have witnessed how
traditional leaders have been treated as Zanu (PF) functionaries, especially
in relation to the distribution of drought relief food and agricultural
Traditional leaders that are known to support the MDC, for example,
have many times been harassed and harangued by the state's coercive
apparatus such as the dreaded Central Intelligence Officers (CIO), the
police and the army. Some traditional leaders have openly been threatened
with dismissal from office because they were accused of supporting such
progressive political parties as the MDC.
Mugabe obviously realizes that his rotting political party is
consistently losing political support among the rural people of this
country, and he is desperate to make better use of traditional leaders to
salvage whatever such support he can for his reeling party. In light of the
struggling constitution writing process currently underway in Zimbabwe, it
is imperative that we quickly debate this issue of the role of traditional
leaders in politics and governance.
My personal view is that traditional chiefs should be free to join any
political party of their choice but they should not actively participate in
partisan politics while they are in office. It is the chiefs' democratic
right to join and support the political party they want, but they must not
be allowed to hold any position in the party while they are in their
In other words chiefs should, indeed, be politically neutral, at least
insofar as partisan politics is concerned. To this end, chiefs may belong to
a political party, but they cannot make use of their traditional office to
further the interests of their party. Neither should they be allowed to make
use of their customary position as chiefs to vote in parliament in support
of the position of their political party.
In fact, I hold the view that traditional chiefs should not be members
of parliament at all. They should be confined to structures of customary law
and excluded from the democratic structures of national governance. At the
provincial level, chiefs should be members of Provincial Assemblies where
they can discuss issues pertaining to customary law and the cultural
practices of their people and advise the government accordingly.
At the national level, chiefs should operate through the Council of
Chiefs to carry out the same functions. Traditional leaders are not elected
but they are appointed by the President on the advice of the Minister of
Local Government. This has tended to make chiefs unduly politically aligned
to Zanu (PF).
This in turn has negated democratic development and governance in this
country and has to be brought to an end. My view is that chiefs should be
appointed by a standing committee of the Council of Chiefs on the advice of
the relevant Provincial Assembly. This may reduce the chief's current
tendency to view themselves as beneficiaries of the Mugabe regime.
In relation to participation in the policy-making process, the role of
traditional leaders should be that of advising the governance structures of
the state from a customary law and cultural standpoint only. In doing so,
the chiefs should ensure that their party political preferences and
allegiances do not interfere. It is doubtful that Mugabe and Zanu (PF) will
ever accept these views. The chiefs are also likely to be reluctant to get
off the Zanu (PF) gravy train at this stage. But the will of the people must
Written by Staff reporter
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 13:11
BULAWAYO - Plumtree police are hunting down some members of the
Zimbabwe National Army for allegedly threatening to kill resident magistrate
Mark Dzira after he remanded three of their colleagues to October 30.
Victor Mugo, Trust Matenda and Tapiwa Chigiji are facing attempted
murder charges and discharging a firearm in public following a shooting
incident with a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Officer Commanding
CID Matabeleland South Chief Superintendent, Abigail Moyo, confirmed that
Dzira had received a death threat. She said investigations were underway.
"Our CID unit is now carrying out investigations to nab the criminals
and we have identified some suspects whom we believe to be soldiers. The
suspects were part of a group of army officers who were involved in a
shooting incident at Dinguzimu Stadium that left a policeman injured. The
letter stated that the suspects were going to 'blow up' Dzira's head on
October 25," said Chief Supt Moyo
Written by MXOLISI NCUBE
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 14:49
JOHANNESBURG - A recent decision by the United Nations Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to "deport" 131 Zimbabweans from
Johannesburg has been met with uproar in South Africa.
The South African province of the mainstream MDC and the Africa
Heritage Human Rights Forum (AHHRF), a Johannesburg-based human rights
organisation, have both condemned the action and vowed to fight what they
termed the abuse of vulnerable Zimbabweans.
According to information made available to The Zimbabwean early this
week, the "deported" refugees are part of a group that was relocated from
Johannesburg's Central Methodist Church to various shelters in
Rosettenville, in northern Johannesburg early this year.
During the relocation, which was carried out against the will of
Bishop Paul Verryn who runs the refugee centre at the church, the United
Nations promised to look after the unemployed refugees until a permanent
solution was found.
UN short-lived promises
Verryn raised concerns that the refugees would be dumped soon after
the leases of the privately-owned shelters expired, but the city of
Johannesburg and the UN promised to take care of the refugees, alleging that
they had created a health hazard in areas around the church.
The Zimbabweans were moved into the shelters in April this year and
lived there for two months, receiving food vouchers from the UN, which also
paid for their accommodation.
However, some of the deported refugees, who have since returned, told
***The Zimbabwean that they only received the rations for two months. "We
did not get anything in June and were told that we would soon be moved from
the shelters, but would not be disengaged from the UN," said Trust Jumo, one
of the affected Zimbabweans.
"The officials told us that they would sponsor us to do some self-help
projects and fund us, but only if we agreed to a voluntary return to
Zimbabwe." Having spent most of their South African life in misery, the
refugees agreed to the voluntary repatriation, which they thought would give
them a new start once they arrived in their home country.
"We were all made to write business proposals, which we handed in to
the UNHCR officials who kept coming to the shelters. "We were promised
equipment worth about R7 000 each, which we were made to believe was already
in Zimbabwe and would be given to us upon our arrival in the country."
On July 5, after the business proposals had been submitted, the UNHCR
organised two buses belonging to the International Organisation for
Migration (IOM), which were used to transport the Zimbabweans to their
"We were told that we would get the equipment and money for our
projects from Christian care in both Bulawayo and Harare," said another
Zimbabwean. "Upon arrival at our nearest towns, we were only given R200 and
told to visit Christian Care offices for the disbursement of our project
Countless fruitless visits
The refugees say that they made countless visits to the Christian Care
offices, which bore nothing as they were told that, not only was there
nothing for them, but the organisation expected nothing to arrive. "I
realised immediately that we had been fooled and, after failing to make ends
meet in Zimbabwe, where everything requires foreign currency, yet I was
unemployed, I sold my phone and came back here," said Jumo, who arrived back
in South Africa on September 29.
The Zimbabweans say that they had tried to talk to the UNHCR officers
who organised their return to Zimbabwe, but no explanation has so far been
given. Edith Tsamba, the AHHRF Director, whose organisation was approached
by the about 10 Zimbabweans who are already back in South Africa, told The
Zimbabwean that her organisation was trying to find out what really
"We are still trying to talk to the UNHCR officers in a bid to
establish the truth about what really happened," said Tsamba early this
week. "Once we get all the facts regarding the issue, we will then see how
we can handle this because it is a very serious matter."
MDC South Africa chairman, Austin Moyo, who has managed to get
audience from a Zimbabwean who was part of the team that assisted in the
"repatriation", condemned the action.
"Before these people left, they were promised several things like
computers which they would purportedly use in their businesses, some of
which were shown to them before they left, but they were told that these
would only be made available to them upon arrival," said Moyo.
Who is to blame?
"I am actually shocked to learn that they were taken for a ride and as
a party concerned about the plight of our people, we will make sure that we
get to the bottom of this matter and find out what happened to both the
money and the equipment that they were shown.
"At this moment, I am not sure on who to blame for this because we are
still investigating the matter to find out whether these things were really
what the Zimbabweans were meant to believe they were, or they were just
meant to entice them into returning home.
"If the equipment was really theirs, then whoever could have
misappropriated it should face the music. We cannot allow the already
suffering Zimbabweans to be taken advantage of and exploited in this manner;
they have had enough of these tricks." Efforts to get comment from the UNHCR
proved fruitless at the time of going to print, as the two related officials
said that they were too busy to prepare an immediate answer.
Written by Ellis Ncube
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 11:33
HARARE - Despite fears that there will be shortage of accommodation
for 2010 visitors, Match, the FIFA's appointed hospitality agency insists
that Zimbabwe will not play a part in hosting the soccer fans.
"To date Match has not contracted accommodation in Zimbabwe and are
unlikely to resume the failed talks with the Zimbabwean hospitality
industry," said Tamsyn Logie of Match event services.
Match and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority's discussions to sign up 800
rooms in and around Victoria Falls failed after the parties could not agree
on when Match would confirm bookings and when any unsold rooms would be
released back into the market.
Match was tasked by FIFA to secure 55,000 rooms for the event, but due
to the limited number of available rooms in SA, Match has had to look
elsewhere - signing up rooms as far away as Mauritius, and ignoring
neighbouring Zimbabwe. Match is also in the process of contracting 400 rooms
Published Date: 22 October 2009
By Fred Bridgland in Johannesburg
IN ONE of the biggest land deals in African history, white South African
farmers have acquired access to 40,000 square miles of land along the
northern banks of the Congo River to develop as agricultural land.
The transaction, newly signed and underwritten by the African National
Congress government, will see up to 1,700 farmers acquire land in the
Republic of the Congo - the smaller of the two Congo states, north-west of
the larger Democratic Republic of the Congo - on 30-year leases. There is
no charge for the land. The leases are renewable, and for the first five
years the pioneers will be exempt from taxes and import duties
Andre Botha, spokesman of Agri-SA, the main South African farmers'
organisation, said white agriculturalists would initially begin developing
some 800 square miles of failed and derelict state farms in the
poverty-stricken former French colony, also known as Congo-Brazzaville.
Seventy white farmers have already established operations in
Congo-Brazzaville, but a "few hundred" more will soon follow, said Mr Botha.
Most would not settle permanently in Congo-Brazzaville - the farming
operations there will mainly be extensions of core South African
White farmers in southern Africa are seen as the most technologically
advanced on the continent. Farming elsewhere in Africa is stymied by
out-of-date practices and communal customs that have made it difficult to
acquire land title deeds required by banks before they will advance capital.
The move of white farmers north through Africa was pioneered by Bukola
Saraki, the young and dynamic governor of Nigeria's Kwara state. He gave
scores of white Zimbabwean farmers thrown off their properties by President
Robert Mugabe four square mile parcels of virgin bush each on the banks of
the Niger River to be developed into state-of-the-art farmland. The
Zimbabweans, said Governor Saraki, were Africans with expertise that they
could pass on to people whose farming practices were mired "at the
When the Congo-Brazzaville government first made its move to attract white
farmers in January this year, the largely black ANC government under former
president Thabo Mbeki opposed the initiative. But president Jacob Zuma, who
took office in May, backed the move and opened discussions with
Congo-Brazzaville to give moral and legal support to the farming adventure.
"I think the change of heart came when we explained (to South Africa's
agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson] that it was not because we were
negative about South Africa but positive about Africa," said Theo de Jager,
deputy president of Agri-SA.
Andre Botha said the Congo-Brazzaville invitation does not mean South
African farmers are abandoning their country. "This initiative is not a new
Great Trek for farmers to run away," he said. "Of the seventy farmers
already there, no-one has sold their farm in South Africa."
Botha said farmers had a good working relationship with the current ANC
October 22, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Prominent South Africa clergyman the Very Reverend Dean Rowan Smith
says Zimbabwe still has a long way to go towards fully upholding the basic
freedoms of ordinary citizens, despite the recent formation of the inclusive
government by the country's major political parties.
Smith, who is the Anglican Dean of Cape Town, said Zimbabweans should
continue to hold their government to account and press for the full
enjoyment of their freedoms.
On a scale of one to ten, he placed the country's human rights situation at
The South African clergyman said although the formation of the unity
government by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations
had helped ease political tensions in the country, the government should
start appreciating the roles of both the opposition and the media.
"They should improve on respecting the role of the opposition and the
media," said Smith.
"There has to be an independent media so that people don't feel they always
have to refer anyway to what the State says and criticise from a
constructive point of view."
Smith was talking to The Zimbabwe Times moments after addressing over 500
people gathered at the Harare Gardens on Wednesday to mark the Africa Human
The crowd, which comprised activists from various human rights based
organisations operating in the country, had assembled after staging a street
march around the perimeters of the Harare Gardens.
October 21 is a date on which the African Charter on Human and People's
Rights came into force in 1986.
The charter seeks to combine African values with international norms. It
guarantees civil and political rights, as well as socio-economic rights. It
imposes duties towards the family, community and the state.
Smith was an emissary of Nobel Peace Price laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
of South Africa, who had been invited to the commemorations in Harare.
In terms of the Anglican Church hierarchy, Dean Smith is second to
Archbishop Tutu, a strong critic of President Mugabe's rule.
Smith said he was pleased with the eventual release of human rights
activists who had been abducted by State agents between October and December
last year on allegation that they plotted to oust President Mugabe.
"I was pleased recently to hear that Jestina (Mukoko) had been released," he
"I hope therefore that others who are still being held for what it seems is
their position on some of the issues that are still happening in Zimbabwe
would also be released.
"One hopes that the government will recognise the importance of listening to
the voice of the opposition, particularly those who speak from a sense of
upholding human rights for all the people."
Smith said President Mugabe's continued attacks on Archbishop Tutu were
unwarranted as they centred more on his person than the things he would be
"We must always avoid making things personal and rather speak to the
principle of the person," he said.
"We should disagree with them in their practice and not make it a personal
thing. I think this is what we must try to achieve."
Smith urged the feuding political leaders to bury their differences for the
good of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Speaking at the same occasion, Constitutional Affairs Minister, Advocate
Eric Matinenga slammed his MDC party's partners in government for
cherry-picking rights which were convenient to them while condemning some as
western based concepts.
Matinenga said it was sad that whilst Zimbabwe was a signatory to various
world human rights instruments, it was still paying lip service to the
upholding of those rights.
"It is sad that while we are a signatory, we don't walk the talk," he said.
"It is critical that we do not only sing about rights but we practice those
rights and we accord people the rights that they deserve."
Matinenga said the Zanu-PF side of the inclusive government should learn to
respect property rights and accept the importance of regional tribunals that
find them in violation of those rights.
"Rights are universal," said Matinenga. "They are not particular to a group
of people. They are not specific to a country. There are no human rights
which only apply to the western world or eastern world or Africa.
"It is also important that we do not seek to pick and seek to respect
certain rights because those particular rights are rights which we are
comfortable with," he said.
Matinenga said Zimbabweans should write a constitution that encompasses a
wider array of human rights that include the right to education, health and
rights that affect disadvantaged groups such as the disabled, the young, the
old as well as women.
He said such rights were not enshrined in the current Lancaster House
"As we set out to write our new constitution," said Matinenga, "let's seek
to expand the concept of human rights as they affect children, women, the
youth and the disabled among other disadvantaged groups."
21 October 2009
AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum) and the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) joins the rest of Africa in commemorating the
African Human Rights on 21 October. The day was set aside by the African
Union (Organisation of African Union then) to commemorate the entry into
force of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. This year's
celebrations follow a year of relative calm and peace in Zimbabwe following
the signing of the Global Political Agreement and afford as an opportunity
to assess the commitment of the Inclusive Government to the values and
ideals set out in the African Charter.
On 21 October 1986, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights came
into force as a solemn undertaking by African heads of state to promote and
safeguard freedom, justice, equality and human dignity in Africa. The
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights at its Fifth Ordinary
Session in April 1989, in Benghazi, Libya, recommended the commemoration of
Africa Human Rights Day as an occasion for recommitment to the cause of
human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Continent and to tackle the
human rights problems that are affecting and continue to affect the lives of
millions of men, women and children including the challenges of poverty,
conflicts, HIV/AIDS, gender based discrimination, violence against women.
The context of this year's celebrations is unique in that it follows the
signing of the GPA and the subsequent establishment of Government of
National Unity (GNU) which has brought about relative peace and stability to
Zimbabwe. The GPA has afforded Zimbabweans an opportunity to input into the
drafting of a new constitution (article 6) and the creation of mechanisms
that may achieve national healing, cohesion and unity (article 7).
It is against this backdrop that the Forum together with its member
organisation the ZIMRIGHTS shall be conducting a march to commemorate Africa
Human Rights Day and to encourage the GNU to take positive steps to
inculcate the values enshrined in the African Human Rights system into our
21 Oct 2009
Zimbabwe's senior Catholic bishops have called for a new phase of national
healing and reconciliation, saying both must be a top priority if the
troubled nation is to achieve political, social, cultural and economic
In a pastoral letter currently being distributed across the country - "God
can Heal the Wounds of the Afflicted"- the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops'
Conference calls on the Zimbabwean people to "fully accept each other and
commit.to work[ing] together in solidarity, justice and peace."
"Today, as we struggle with the Global Political Agreement [on power
sharing], national economic recovery, the national constitutional process,
national healing, national visioning.we must acknowledge and recognize the
significance of this historical moment", the letter says.
It continues: "We, as leaders of the Church, are committed to help this
country achieve normalcy. We urge Government to show political willingness
by creating a conducive environment for national healing, reconciliation and
Progressio's Dr Steve Kibble, Advocacy Coordinator for Africa said: "We
welcome the renewed commitment of church leaders in Zimbabwe to respond with
greater unity and purpose to heal the wounds of the nation as well as those
which still exist within and between Zimbabwe's churches."
He continued: "However, many of the key conditions of the GPA have not been
fulfilled as yet and reconciliation is only just beginning. Churches will
need to engage with progress towards free and fair elections and drafting a
new constitution to help Zimbabweans move towards a new and brighter
Zimbabwe still finds itself deep in crisis: unemployment and emigration are
widespread, schools and universities are struggling to function and HIV
transmissions continue at alarming rates.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 13:23
Becoming Zimbabwe: A History from The Pre-Colonial Period to 2008.
Edited by: Brian Raftopoulos and Alois Mlambo EAN/ISBN-13: 978-11-7700-9636
Published by Jacana Media in September, 2009
In 1997, the then-Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), Morgan Tsvangirai, expressed the need for a "more open and
critical process of writing history in Zimbabwe . . . The history of a
nation-in-the-making should not be reduced to a selective heroic tradition,
but should be a tolerant and continuing process of questioning and
re-examination". Becoming Zimbabwe tracks the idea of national belonging and
citizenship and explores the nature of state rule, the changing contours of
the political economy, and the regional and international dimensions of the
In their Introduction, Brian Raftopoulos and Alois Mlambo enlarge on
these themes, and Gerald Mazarire's opening chapter sets the pre-colonial
background. Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni tracks the history up to World War II,
and Alois Mlambo reviews developments in the settler economy and the
emergence of nationalism leading to the Unilateral Declaration of
Independence (UDI) in 1965. The politics and economics of the UDI period,
and the subsequent war of liberation, are covered by Joseph Mtisi,
Munyaradzi Nyakudya and Teresa Barnes.
After independence in 1980, Zimbabwe enjoyed a period of buoyancy and
hope. James Muzondidya's chapter details the transition "from buoyancy to
crisis", and Brian Raftopoulos concludes the book with an analysis of the
decade-long crisis and the global political agreement which followed. "A
profound new history of Zimbabwe that tears apart all of the old
certainties." - David Moore, Associate Professor of Development Studies,
University of Johannesburg.
Brian Raftopoulos was formerly Associate Professor of Development
Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, and is currently the Director of
Research and Advocacy, Solidarity Peace Trust since 2007, based in Cape
Town. He has published extensively on Zimbabwean history, historiography,
politics, and economics. From the late 1990's he was a key civil society
leader in Zimbabwe, serving on the founding executive of the National
Constitutional Assembly from 1998-2000, and the first Chair of the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition 2001-2003. Currently also Research Fellow at UWC and
Research Associate at UCT.
First Prize Zimbabwe International Book Fair in the category
non-fiction for the Brian Raftopoulos and Tsuneo Yoshikuni (Eds), Sites of
Struggle: Essays in Zimbabwe's Urban History, Weaver Press, Harare, 1999
Published: October 21, 2009
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and his party have been trying to blow
up the power-sharing arrangement ever since neighboring states put it
together last year. They are now perilously close to succeeding.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced last week that he and his party,
the Movement for Democratic Change, would boycott cabinet meetings to
protest the arrest and detention of an important party leader, one of a long
series of arrests ordered by Mr. Mugabe to make power-sharing unworkable.
The departure of Mr. Tsvangirai and his allies from government would be a
disaster for Zimbabwe's long-suffering people. The Southern African
Development Community, the 15-member regional organization that brokered the
deal, must demand that Mr. Mugabe finally abide by its terms and spirit. If
he refuses, the community should withdraw recognition from his government
and insist on new, internationally supervised elections.
Mr. Tsvangirai clearly won the first round of Zimbabwe's 2008 presidential
vote. Then Mr. Mugabe let loose the army and thugs from his party, ZANU-PF,
who made it impossible for Mr. Tsvangirai to continue campaigning for the
decisive second round. Mr. Mugabe claimed re-election by default, but few
recognized his rule as legitimate. The United States and the European Union
applied constructive pressure by tightening financial sanctions against Mr.
Mugabe's close associates.
At that point other African leaders should have pressed Mr. Mugabe to
organize new elections or step aside. Instead, they devised a deeply flawed
"power-sharing" deal. It provided for Mr. Mugabe to continue as president
and Mr. Tsvangirai to be named prime minister. Cabinet jobs were
apportioned. But Mr. Mugabe's loyalists kept control of the army, police and
the courts and used that power to arrest and intimidate opposition leaders,
including members of the new government.
The new cabinet put honest and competent opposition leaders in charge of
education, health, housing and child welfare. Their efforts, along with the
help they enlisted from international relief agencies, turned back a deadly
cholera epidemic and famine, slowed the crippling exodus of teachers and
made it possible for Zimbabwe's next generation to imagine a better future.
If power-sharing can be saved, those ministries need to stay in qualified
hands. ZANU-PF's grip on the army and courts must be loosened and a
nonpolitical expert should be named to run the central bank. If Mr. Mugabe
won't agree to those terms, new elections must be scheduled, with active
international supervision, so that democracy, not intimidation, determines
Written by The Editor
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:33
Having taken the bold step of disengaging from Zanu (PF), the MDC must
ensure that it is not coerced into returning before all the outstanding
issues are resolved. We urge them to learn well the lessons of the past 12
months. They cannot trust Zanu (PF).
They must not be taken in again by promises of sorting everything out
once they have returned to the fold. They must ensure that all outstanding
issues are completely resolved before they agree to return. If they do not,
they will simply find themselves haggling for the next 12 months, being
distracted from the real work of running the country properly. There should
be no grey areas left unresolved. Everything must be clearly spelt out in
minute detail. As deputy prime minister, Arthur Mutambara, correctly points
out, the outstanding issues also include those points contained in the SADC
communiqué of January 29, issued as an addendum to the Global Political
Agreement. If Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are not prepared to implement all the
terms of these agreements in full, MDC must stand firm. If Mugabe thinks he
can govern by himself, then let him.
We would not be at all surprised if Mugabe thinks he can go it alone.
That is what he has wanted all along. Everyone knows he just used MDC to
regain his credibility following the sham June presidential run-off
election. He will probably appoint acting ministers to fill the posts of the
MDC ministers who are boycotting his cabinet, claiming that as they are not
in their offices he has a responsibility as president to appoint other
ministers so that so government can continue to function. If this is the
case, a diplomatic offensive must be mounted to further tighten the travel
and international financial restrictions on Zanu (PF) individuals by western
We applaud Ian Khama, president of Botswana, for his principled
stance: he will not recognise Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe if the GPA
collapses. South Africa should follow his lead in this. Of course, most of
the other members of SADC are in Mugabe's pocket and therefore we cannot
hope for much from them. But Zanu (PF) should be reminded that the collapse
of the GPA will inevitably lead to a return to the economic meltdown with
further suffering and a reversal of the gains of the past eight months.
Those gains were largely effected by Minister of Finance Tendai Biti's
diligent control of the fiscus and the removal from Gideon Gono of his
ability to print money willy nilly.
Written by GABRIEL GIDI
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 15:33
The decision by the MDC to stop cooperating with Zanu (PF) at cabinet
and council of ministers level has met with mixed reactions. There are those
who think that the MDC has made a tactical error by backing themselves into
a corner. They argue that if nothing happens then the MDC will be forced to
go back into the Unity Government with its tail between its legs. On the
other hand are those who feel that the MDC did the right thing by taking
action and making a clear statement that things are not working. Those on
this side feel that the time has come to stop hoping that things will get
better and to start taking concrete steps.
What is clear is that both those who disagree with the decision and
those who agree are all agreed that walking away from the GNU will be
catastrophic. Everyone seems to realise that this deal offers more hope for
our nation than a situation where Mugabe and his lieutenants take over the
running of the country again.
I am not privy to Zanu (PF) thinking so I do not know what they think
about the total collapse of this deal. Many in that party, including Robert
Mugabe, believe that they have divine right to rule Zimbabwe - even after
losing the elections. This explains why Mugabe is not doing anything, even
where issues have been resolved and agreed. The issue of provincial
governors is a case in point. One senses that they are trying to push the
MDC into walking away so that they can go back to the policies that made
them rich while the rest of the population starved.
Soon the land audit will start asking some uncomfortable questions.
These may not result in people giving back land (Zanu does not do giving
back) but it will expose the greed and corruption at the heart of the whole
land reform programme. It is, therefore, in the interests of Zanu (PF) that
this unity government collapses because then they can go back to blaming
others for the problems bedevilling our nation.
Given this scenario it is imperative that the MDCs (Mutambara
included) define a clear course of action. Some uncomfortable questions
should be asked - such as when pulling out of the GNU will become an option
as well as how much time they are going to give Zanu (PF) before escalating
the crisis. There have to be some bench marks to determine when continued
participation is no longer possible.
The MDC does not have to make these public but it does need to start
planning for two outcomes - the possibility of the contentious issues being
resolved and the GNU continuing and the possibility that things will come to
a head and the GNU collapse. I am of the opinion that we need to keep this
government going for as long as we can but that when it becomes unworkable
then we should disengage fully.
Those in the relationship are better placed to make this judgement
call. What we on the outside can only say is that when the time comes there
must be widespread consultation to ensure that the decision has the support
of ordinary people as well as those in the leadership of the party.
I do not subscribe to the school of thought that says that the MDC
will be the main loser if the GNU fails. Zanu (PF) will still be the
government but only in name because there won't be a country to rule over.
If anything, it may end up being the tipping point for Zanu (PF) as the
people's anger may boil over.
Zanu (PF) would do well to think of the possible consequences before
sounding the death knell on the GNU. The people are now aware that Zanu (PF)
was given a lifeline by the MDC. If they choose to squander it then they
will face the consequences.
The GNU, with all its shortcomings, allows the MDC some measure of
influence and control with regard to the destiny of our nation. For example
it has made it impossible for Gideon Gono to unilaterally dispense of the
World Bank funds. It has given them access to government information as well
as an opportunity to show the people that they can be a government. Everyone
is talking about how the MDC has brought change to people's lives. Everyone
is also aware that the pace of change is being slowed down by Zanu (PF).
These are the benefits accruing from the MDC's participation in the GNU.
Written by Braam Hanekom
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 11:55
CAPE TOWN - I have to note with disappointment that the decision made
by the MDC to boycott cabinet meetings was made while they still held their
It is confusing and concerning that the party has shown great
inconsistency, they have preached that the government of national unity is
safe to invest in and yet they openly admit that Zanu (PF) has neglected
them and disrespected them. It further disturbs me that the decision to
withdraw was made while still driving in the luxury vehicles that cabinet
ministers have been given, and while still maintaining their positions.
Surely for any government to function, regardless of the political tensions
that exist, a cabinet needs to be coordinated and informed of each other
It seems to me that the decision to remain in their positions lacked
courage and belief in the integrity of certain MDC ministers, who would most
likely defect from MDC and remain in positions because of their new found
power and lifestyles. The withdrawal from meetings defeats the point of
being in cabinet. They are still indulging in lavish lifestyles, but just
not fulfilling the minimum expectations of their jobs. This decision is a
jelly fish one which only creates confusion and more frustration.
Zimbabweans were distressed and confused when the decision to make the huge
"unity government compromise" was made; it was obvious that there would
never be a government with Mugabe and Tsvangirai respecting each other.
Great power, great responsibility
How the MDC can come to this position after, not before, touring the
world and guaranteeing them of the security of Zimbabwe's unity government
really is disturbing. This is just one of the many disappointments that have
kept MDC out of the presidency. Let us not forget that after six months of
its existence the MDC won half the vote, in what it alleged was a rigged
election. Now 10 years later they have still not taken over. That the MDC
has, in that time, divided and the MDC-T constitution has been amended-
allowing for the president of the MDC to remain in power "indefinitely".
This questions the democratic structures of the movement. It must be
remembered that the revolutionary people's frustration and anger has been
silenced by their faith in the MDC. Tsvangirai said himself that they had
been given the people's mandate, but what have they done with this mandate?
There has been a silent genocide with millions dying from avoidable
diseases and starvation while people invest their votes, at great risk, in
the MDC-T. Is it fair to say that in the last 10 years the MDC has remained
with the mandate of the people, has taken on great responsibility and has
achieved very little? In this time millions, in fact as much as a third of
Zimbabwe's population, have migrated, life expectancy has almost halved,
employment levels have reach rock bottom, schools have been shut for months
on end and hospitals ended up without basic medicines. Does the great power
they have not also come with great responsibility?
Written by Obert Gutu
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:42
HARARE - The global political agreement (GPA) that was solemnised in
Harare amidst much pomp and ceremony on September 15, 2008 has been anything
but a happy marriage.
Marriages of convenience are never known for their marital bliss and
harmony. For a young and vibrant political party such as the MDC led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to seek to enter into a marriage of
convenience with a tired and faction-ridden party such as Zanu (PF) was
always going to be a tall order. The two parties are fundamentally and
structurally dissimilar. The MDC is a movement that believes in a genuine
democratic dispensation where the leadership of the party is accountable to
its membership and is never allowed to degenerate into a one -person band;
while Zanu (PF) has a tradition of being a commandeering and top-down
political party where the '' big man'' syndrome is deeply entrenched. It is
an organisation where any form of alternative thinking is ruthlessly clamped
down and denounced as sell-out and/or neo-imperialist machinations.
While the MDC is forward-looking in its ideology and easily encourages
robust debate amongst its membership, but Zanu (PF) is deeply stuck in
history and rather than engage the future and move forward, spends precious
energy and time ''celebrating'' its past glory and eulogizing its former
heroes, both living and dead, regardless of the apparent fact that some of
these ''heroes'' have since mutated into rabid tyrants who viciously clamp
down upon any form of dissent - real or imagined. Zanu (PF) will languish in
a fool's paradise if they think the MDC is just playing mind games. For some
strange reason, none of the 25 articles of the GPA provides for any
dissolution of the agreement. But this does not mean it cannot be dissolved.
Upon good and sufficient cause being shown and proved by any contracting
party, any agreement (and this includes the GPA) can be terminated.
It cannot be allowed to hang around the neck of the MDC like some kind
of the sword of Damocles. As a social democratic party, the MDC is busy
consulting its supporters and Zimbabweans in general to decide whether or
not this unhappy marriage called the inclusive government should be allowed
to continue. The people will decide. Some misguided senior civil servants,
who are still nursing a hangover of the expired Zanu (PF) political
hegemony, have tried to mislead the nation by announcing that it will be
business as usual in the inclusive government. It is this type of denial
that has been the hallmark of Zanu(PF)' s descent into a deeply unpopular
organisation that is loosely held together by bitterly opposed and largely
tribal factions. Without the MDC under the astute leadership of Morgan
Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe cannot be taken any further on the democratisation and
socio-economic development fronts. Zanu (PF) is beyond redemption and
indeed, all right-thinking and genuinely patriotic Zimbabweans locate the
salvation of this great country in the MDC. The MDC's decision to disengage
from Zanu (PF), thought not from the inclusive government, is instructive.
Some of us were not at all surprised by this bold and courageous decision.
We had seen it coming. Mindful of the inherent mistrust typical of all
forced marriages, we appreciated that a battered and habitually abused
spouse in any unhappy marriage will, at some point in time, cry out foul and
seek to assert his/her rights vis-a-vis the abusive partner. The MDC's
tolerance threshold for continued abuse by Zanu (PF) was not going to last
forever. When a husband promises to take his wife out for dinner at a trendy
restaurant and then ends up selfishly cancelling the appointment and
replacing it with a parcel of rotten beef for dinner at home, alarm bells
should start to ring.
The MDC won the March 2008 elections. Morgan Tsvangirai beat Robert
Mugabe hands down during the presidential elections that were held the same
day. I will not dignify the electoral farce that took place on June 27, 2008
by making a substantive comment on it. Suffice to state that even the most
die-hard Zanu (PF) supporters would agree that the June 27, 2008 run-off
election '' result'' cannot be accepted as a genuine and free expression of
the people's will. As expected, some latter-day opportunists and turncoat
political '' analysts'' have wasted no time in condemning the MDC decision.
What these individuals seem not to appreciate is that the MDC has not walked
out of the inclusive government. It has simply given notice to their
hostile and uncooperative partner that unless they start honouring their
obligations honestly and honourably, divorce summons will sure be issued
sooner rather than later. In the practice of law, what the MDC has done is
tantamount to issuing a strongly worded letter of demand. Any lawyer worth
his/her salt will tell you that if a letter of demand is flagrantly ignored
by the person to whom it is sent, appropriate legal action should ensue