ONCE a city of glamour and glitter, Harare could now arguably be said to be among the dirtiest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Report by Christopher Mahove
The once “Sunshine City” has degenerated into a hub for uncollected garbage, flowin
g raw sewage and congested streets.
It is now home to hundreds of street kids and vagabonds. It has become normal for people to walk past heaps of fresh human waste in the central business district (CBD).
They just look aside.
So sorry is the state of Harare that in some high-density suburbs, they have christened some bus stops PaMarara, the shona word for a place of rubbish.
Residents have turned to dumping their garbage at open spaces in their neighbourhoods because the city fathers are failing to collect refuse.
This has been made worse by the proliferation of street vendors both in the CBD and high-density suburbs, as people try to eke out an honest living.
While council has by-laws to regulate the discharge of refuse, the local authority appears to be failing to enforce them.
For several years, council has been fighting running battles with vendors and commuter omnibus drivers and rank marshals.
Harare City council chairperson for the Environmental Management Committee, Stewart Mtizwa, said the council was not to blame because it “inherited the problems”.
He also pointed a finger at several commissions appointed by the Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatious Chombo, as the culprits behind poor service delivery.
“The cause of this rot in the city is simple. There was no service delivery for the past 20 years,” he said. “We inherited a lot of problems from the commission that was there before us. They were not answerable to anyone and were just not doing anything.”
Mtizwa also said service delivery deteriorated during the time the council was outsourcing services such as refuse collection.
“Remember the time when Tony Gara [the late former Harare mayor], was given the tender to collect refuse, there were no checks and balances,” he said.
Mtizwa said, as the planning authority, the commission had not done its homework to ensure city by-laws were adhered to by both individuals and industry.
He added the economic meltdown had also worsened the situation as a huge number of jobless people, including qualified professionals, had resorted to vending for a living.
“Because most of our stalls were situated at bus termini, vendors are now following people to their workplaces and are now selling their wares on pavements and at street corners,” he said.
Council, he said, was in the process of designating ideal places where vendors would be allowed to operate from legally. The places would have adequate litter bins and ablution facilities.
“We have consulted the
vendors, but their wishes are simple, they don’t want to be moved from where
they are. But that is when we come in and say we will not tolerate that kind of
lawlessness,” he said.
Mtizwa, however, believes Harare could still be taken back to its Sunshine status, revealing that the council would this week receive 27 new refuse trucks, to bring the total compactors to 60.
The city requires about 120 trucks to effectively service all the areas.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) communications officer, Charles Mazorodze, said council lacked a clear-cut policy to address the rising demand for services.
“Basically, the population in Harare has been growing over the past 10 years against dwindling service delivery,” said Mazorodze.
“The Harare City Council has no concrete plan to address service delivery and has no strategic direction in terms of refuse collection.”
He said council was actually shortchanging ratepayers, who were paying refuse charges every month yet their refuse was not being collected.
Mazorodze said city fathers were exhibiting high levels of inconsideration by prioritising their salaries at the expense of service delivery.
“Council, in liaison with the private sector and central government, must come up with a comprehensive plan and also channel resources towards the purchase of adequate compactors,” he said.
“It remains the duty of the city council to ensure adequate litter bins are available at convenient places,” he said.
Stakeholders must intervene: Mapako
Environmental Management Ag-ency (EMA) acting education and publicity officer, Rambwayi Mapako, said the problem of litter was a result of lack of innovation among stakeholders.
“The problem is all to do with us, individual households and companies. Normally we are supposed to be recycling because 70% of the waste we produce is bio-degradable,” he said.
Mapako said it was everybody’s role to ensure a clean environment: “There is need for collaboration between and among stakeholders, including the media industry in supporting activities aimed at cleaning up the city.”
ABRAHAM Mapuranga will always rue the day he decided to spend his retrenchment package on a residential stand in the sprawling suburb of Epworth.
Report by Our Staff
After spending an estimated US$10 000 on building his house, Mapuranga is one of the scores of people now living in the open following the demolition of their properties by a local company, which claims ownership of the land.
The 34-year-old father of two said he bought the stand for US$1 000 from a Zanu PF official last year before building a modern nine-roomed house, which left his neighbours green with envy.
“I spent US$9 000 in constructing the nine-roomed house,” said a devastated Mapuranga.
In addition, he drilled a borehole, installed solar panels and painted the house.
His former neighbours said they used to call his house kusabhabha (mansion) because it stood out from its poor surroundings.
“Now I live under the tree and get drenched by the rain,” he said. “I used to park my three cars in my yard for free but now I have to pay US$1 for each car at a local car park.”
Mapuranga said he would
not be able to send back his daughter to boarding school next year following the
demolition of his house.
“I was paying US$500 for my daughter who is at a boarding school, but she will now have to come back home as I do not have any idea on how I will sustain my family after this big loss,” he said.
When Standardcommunity visited the area last week, several residents complained of hunger as their foodstuffs were destroyed as bulldozers crushed their houses. Mothers, huddled their babies with left-overs of their rain-drenched properties by their side, showing signs of desperation as they had nowhere to go.
around the rubble from their former homes, unable to go to school because they
had neither clothes nor food.
The demolitions, which affected 200 families, were carried out by Sunway City, a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ).
The company got a High
Court order indicating the residents were unlawfully settled on land reserved
for light industries.
Epworth Residents Development Association (ERDA) last week said it had engaged a lawyer to ensure compensation for the affected residents.
“Both national and international laws do not allow destruction of people’s houses without providing them with an alternative,” ERDA coordinator Mariot Nyauyanga said. “We have engaged a lawyer with the aim of ensuring that Sunway compensates the victims.”
The Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo has set up a team to go around Harare addressing the issues of stands that have become emotive.
The demolition came a few days after the country commemorated the World Habitat Day celebrated on October 1 to reflect on the state of cities and the right to adequate shelter.
In 2005, the government
embarked on Operation Murambatsvina, which according to United Nations
estimates, affected at least
2,4 million people.
Seven years after the operation, most of the victims are still homeless while others stay in sub-standard accommodation.
Zanu PF still to assist victims
Zanu PF Harare
provincial chairman Amos Midzi last week led a delegation to Epworth but could
not deliver a tangible solution.
Midzi, who described the demolitions as “inhumane and barbaric”, promised to assist the victims.
He said he had asked the Epworth council to give details of their boundaries and urged victims to present their names and identification numbers to the local Zanu PF leadership.
“No one has the right to sell this land to anyone. The local leadership must not abuse the name of President (Robert) Mugabe to sell this land,” said Midzi.
“I am told there are people who are abusing the name of the President and the party coming here putting on Zanu PF regalia and demanding money for accessing stands for people,” he said.
Residents fear an outbreak of diseases
There are fears of an outbreak of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, especially during this rainy season. Most of the victims of demolitions now relieve themselves in the bush, raising chances of diseases outbreak.
Some toilets were opened up during the demolition exercise, raising risks of human waste inflows into the wells from which the victims continue to fetch water.
“We used to have a toilet in our yard but now we share one toilet with the rest of the victims,” 29-year-old Yulita Kambeni said.
“Some just squat in the open and this may soon bring us cholera and I fear for my little baby and young children.”
October 21, 2012 in Politics
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has tightened his grip on power ahead of the
watershed election next year by assigning some crucial Acts directly under
the purview of his office.
Report by Ndamu Sandu
He did this without consulting his coalition partners Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube.
The country is set to go to the polls next year to bring to an end the shaky
inclusive government that has run its course despite bringing a modicum of
In a Statutory Instrument gazetted on Friday, Mugabe put nine pieces of
legislation under the Office of the President and Cabinet without the
knowledge of coalition partners. Mugabe’s political adversaries yesterday
said the move was designed to tighten the 88-year-old leader’s grip on
The Acts now directly under Mugabe are the Commission of Inquiry Act,
Emergency Powers Act, Honours and Awards Act, Interception of Communication
Act, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Procurement Act,
Radiation Protection Act, Research Act and the Zimbabwe National Security
The notice reads: “It is hereby notified that His Excellency and the
President, in terms of section 31D (1) (a) of the Constitution as read with
section 37 (2) of the Interpretation Act has assigned to the Office of
President and Cabinet — (a) the administration of the Acts set out in the
schedule and (b) the functions conferred or imposed on the Office of the
President and Cabinet, save to the extent that those functions have not been
assigned to some other minister.”
The notice said the assignment and functions published in a Statutory
Instrument of 2010 had been repealed.
MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti, told The Standard yesterday that the
move was proof that Mugabe was consolidating his grip on Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and furthering his power retention agenda
ahead of elections.
He said placing the Interception of Communication Act in the President’s
Office would enable Mugabe to eavesdrop on the activities of his political
foes at will.
“Interception of Communication was never in the Office of President. The
Procurement Act was traditionally under the ministry of finance and this is
a power retention agenda,” Biti said.
Biti said the MDC-T would meet tomorrow to discuss on the latest assignment
of functions and make appropriate decisions.
Ncube, told The Standard yesterday that while it was the prerogative of
President Mugabe to assign functions, “If you are working in an inclusive
government, powers are exercised in consultation with others”.
He said the existence of these Acts in the Office of the President was
calculated to give Mugabe electoral advantage ahead of next year’s
“One can see the intention as we go towards elections that they want to
gather in one office for the purpose of electoral advantage. They want to
misuse the Acts, in particular, the Interception of Communication Act,”
The Zimbabwe National Security Act oversees the National Security Council
(NSC) that is mandated to discuss key security issues.
The NSC is chaired by Mugabe and has never met since May this year amid
revelations that security chiefs are holding meetings behind the back of
premier, Morgan Tsvangirai.
The NSC Act stipulates that the body should meet every month to receive
reports and discuss key security issues.
Mugabe chairs the council that has Tsvangirai and the two vice-presidents —
Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo.
The two deputy premiers, Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe, ministers
responsible for Finance, Defence and Police, service chiefs and one minister
nominated by each of the three political parties in the inclusive government
are part of the NSC.
How Mugabe has used presidential powers before
Mugabe has in the past used Emergency Powers to his advantage.
In 2008, President Mugabe used the powers to reverse changes made by the
Electoral Laws Amendment Act that would have removed police from polling
The amendments had been agreed by the three parties and signed into law by
The changes that Mugabe made via a Statutory Instrument, allowed the police
access to polling stations to assist the “infirm and illiterate voters”.
October 14, 2012 in Politics
PARLIAMENTARY and Constitutional Affairs minister, Eric Matinenga, has
defied GPA principals, saying he will not be part to any arrangement that
jeopardises the constitutional draft.
Report by Report by Nqaba Matshazi
This follows a directive by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai that he takes over the administration of Copac ahead of
the second all-stakeholders’ conference.
The move could have resulted in the executive taking over from Parliament
the process of drafting a new charter for the country.
“The process remains a parliamentary process and I am not going to interfere
with the process,” said Matinenga. “I am not going to be part of that
[taking over Copac].”
The minister was last week called by Mugabe and Tsvangirai and asked to take
over administration of the Copac processes, together with Justice minister,
Patrick Chinamasa, a request he shot down.
Matinenga insisted that when it came to Copac, he was guided by Article 6 of
the GPA, which states that parliament should drive constitutional reform.
Matinenga said Copac should be allowed to “run its course” and not be
usurped by the executive.
Zanu PF has been calling for amendments to the Copac draft, claiming it did
not reflect the views of the people.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai reportedly want to have a final say on what the final
draft would read, and had Matinenga acceded to their demands, they would
have had their wish.
“I will not be part of a process that will jeopardise acceptance of the
draft at referendum stage,” he declared. “We do not want a repeat of the
In 2000, a referendum rejected a constitutional draft after Zanu PF and the
government campaigned for it vociferously.
Matinenga explained that the All-Stakeholders’ Conference was not meant to
edit the draft and that seemed to generate misunderstandings that the draft
could be amended.
Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba refused to comment on Matinenga’s
stance. Instead, he referred questions back to Matinenga.
Chinamasa and Tsvangirai’s spokes-person, Luke Tamborinyoka, could not be
reached for comment last week.
Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of the Copac management committee, which was
due to be held last Thursday, will now be held tomorrow.
An official at Copac confirmed that an emergency meeting had been called to
deal with the chaos bedeviling the constitution-writing exercise.
However, Copac co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said it was not an
emergency meeting, but rather a scheduled gathering.
“We were supposed to have the meeting [Thursday], but [Zanu PF
co-chairperson] Paul Mangwana, is not around,” he said.
“Tomorrow (Friday) I will be attending a funeral, so the meeting will now be
held on Monday.”
The second all stakeholders conference is set for Monday next week at the
Harare International Conference Centre.
October 21, 2012 in Local
CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) last week petitioned the Sadc facilitator
to Zimbabwe crisis, South Africa President Jacob Zuma over their limited
participation at the Copac Second all-Stakeholders’ conference which starts
Report by Jennifer Dube
The CSOs accused Copac of sidelining them and only inviting organisations
aligned to political parties in the unity government.
“Four days away from this important national process, the over 150
organisations gathered at our Indaba are concerned that despite having
played a critical role in supporting the constitution- making process, their
participation in their own right remains limited,” said the CSOs in a
statement to Zuma.
The organisations said throughout the entire constitution-making process,
there had been minimum effort to ensure that the process was truly inclusive
The CSOs said they submitted a list of 402 names as part of meeting a 571
delegates quota they had been promised by Copac.
They told Zuma that they had received no official response from Copac, save
for phone calls suggesting only 90 of their delegates had been invited as
representatives of political parties.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Thabani Nyoni yesterday
said they had not yet received a response from Zuma’s office.
“Copac came to engage us at our conference yesterday [Friday] and assured us
that a special arrangement will be made for our delegates who will go to the
conference to be registered and participate,” Nyoni said.
“They also said we can audit their list of participants to assess if they
adhered to the commitment that 70% of the delegates will be civil society
representatives and 30% will be political representatives.”
But Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) said the constitution
committee would not play to the whims of the disgruntled CSOs.
“We cannot do what they want,” Mangwana said. “It is a lie that we promised
to give them our list. I do not agree with that because they are not our
managers. We do not report to them.
“Nango and Crisis Coalition are not CSO managers as they constitute only 2%
of civic society in Zimbabwe.”
Mangwana said Copac had been generous enough to agree to accredit 150
representatives from the disgruntled CSOs.
October 21, 2012 in Local
THE MDC president Welshman Ncube has predicted tension and chaos at the
two-day Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference which starts tomorrow citing the
high polarisation among the delegates from different political
parties.Report Khanyile Mlotshwa
Addressing journalists at his party’s Bulawayo provincial headquarters on
Friday, Ncube said the principals must discourage their supporters from
engaging in rowdy behaviour to avoid chaos.
“Clearly, the environment is polarised,” he said.
“There are fundamental differences in terms of approach by the three
political parties. Clearly, there will be tension at the stakeholders’
conference, no doubt about that.”
There was chaos during the First All-Stakeholders’ Conference in 2009, after
Zanu PF supporters disturbed the proceedings.
The conference was characterised by intense bickering between Zanu PF and
the two MDCs over the Copac draft constitution and there are fears this
would be repeated at tomorrow’s indaba.
Ncube said it was important for principals to talk to their supporters about
the need for tolerance and respect for other delegates’ views during the
opening of the meeting.
“It will be important for them to ask their members to respect and tolerate
the views of other people,” he said. “That is why we have the first
However, Copac co-chairpersons Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Paul Mangwana
assu- red the nation that measures had been taken to secure the conference,
including compelling de-legates to sign a code of conduct.
October 21, 2012 in Local
ZANU PF officials met for the whole day on Saturday to prepare the party’s
delegates for Monday’s Copac Second All-Stakeholders Conference.
Report by Our Staff
The meeting at Zanu PF headquarters started in the morning at around 8am and
was still on-going by 7pm.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo last night said the meeting was
progressing on well, indicating that it was not clear when it would end.
“We are preparing our delegates for the conference so that they can
articulate the party position well,” he said.
Sources said delegates were being coached on what to say during plenary and
“Delegates from Zanu PF have been told to bombard the conference with our
party positions to ensure that this is captured during the plenary and
thematic sessions,” said a senior Zanu PF official.
“They told us that everything that will be captured during the conference
will have to be discussed by Copac and later on considered by the three GPA
principals at a later date.”
Zanu PF Copac co-chairperson, Paul Mangwana on Friday told The Standard that
judging by the history of his party, there was no way that its proposed
amendments would not see the light of the day.
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku dismissed
the indaba as a non-event.
“It’s not about writing a new constitution, but just making comment which
will be included in the constitution at a later date.”
October 21, 2012 in Local
POLITICAL parties in the coalition government are using Copac’s Second
All-Stakeholders’ Conference to advance partisan agendas instead of national
interests, analysts have said.
Report by Patrice Makova
The two-day conference starts on Monday.
The parties are going for the conference deeply divided with Zanu PF pushing
for the wholesale amendment of the Copac draft constitution while the two
MDC formations, have refused to budge on the agreed charter.
Zanu PF said its proposed amendments were meant to safeguard the interests
of the majority and reflect the true values of the people of Zimbabwe.
The party, which has successfully pushed for the Copac national statistical
report to be tabled before the conference, wants to retain President Robert
Mugabe’s imperial powers and delete provisions to do with devolution of
power, dual citizenship and security sector reforms.
The MDCs, on the other hand, are adamant the draft is final, as all three
parties appended their signatures to the document. They argue that the draft
enshrines elements of democracy such as respect for the rule of law and
human rights, popular participation and free and fair elections.
But analysts said it was clear that none of the political parties was
fighting for the genuine interest of the nation.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa said
it was certain that the constitution-making process was a mere political
He said there had been protracted negotiations since the first
All-Stakeholders’ Conference in July 2009, as Zanu PF and the MDCs struggled
to advance and protect their positions.
“While Zanu PF is claiming to be fighting for the empowerment of the
majority, the reality is that the party is pushing for provisions which
ensure that it retains control over natural resources,” Hamauswa said.
“The MDC on the other hand believes the current constitution is a stumbling
block and is therefore fighting for an environment that makes its quest for
Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, Professor Lovemore Madhuku
said national interests could only be protected through a truly “people”
“It is extremely rare for political parties to fight for interests of the
nation,” he said. There are no national interests involved when the parties
are fighting for particular individuals to govern the country. Zanu PF wants
to remain in power, while the MDCs want to get into power.”
Analysts said even the 1996 South African constitution, regarded as one of
the best in the world, and which Copac is said to have largely “copy and
pasted” from, was increasingly coming under scrutiny as many blacks there
now felt it was not in their best interests.
The likes of expelled African National Congress (ANC) youth leader, Julius
Malema firmly believes that although blacks won the political struggle, the
negotiated constitution protected the interests of whites.
Malema has been calling for the nationalisation of mines and the passing of
legislation to expropriate private property in the interests of the people.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai will have final say —Mambipiri
Political analyst, Gift Mambipiri said the phrase “in the interest of the
people” was being “shamelessly” thrown into this process to mask the agenda
of the three Global Political Agreement principals, Mugabe of Zanu PF, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T and leader of the smaller MDC formation,
“The MDCs want to put in place, through this constitution, structures and
systems that answer the question of how they can get state power,” said
“Zanu PF, is trying to use the constitution process to promote their party
political agenda, the very agenda that was refused by the people on March 29
2008. This is why what the people said, like the endorsement of devolution
by six out of 10 provinces, is not acceptable to them because it runs
counter to their party political position.”
He said the real constitution would come out of next week’s Monday “teas”
[meeting] of the principals, away from the noise of the Second
October 21, 2012 in Local
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has been in office for the
past 12 months, but there is little on the ground to show that the body is
effectively discharging its mandate as corruption continues to take root in
Complaints have been made by a cross-section of society that Zacc suffered a
still-birth. The Standard Political Editor, Patrice Makova (PM), had a
wide-ranging interview with Zacc chairperson, Denford Chirindo (DC), on
operations of the commission, including allegations that it is powerless,
hamstrung by political interference and has all but ignored cases
implicating influential people in fraud and corruption, while concentrating
on small cases.
PM: What is the mandate of Zacc?
DC: The mandate of Zacc is to combat corruption, theft, abuse of power,
misappropriation and other improprieties in Zimbabwe, through public
education, prevention and through investigations leading to prosecution.
PM: Zacc is accused of being a toothless bulldog, which has failed to
deliver on that mandate you have just mentioned. What is your response?
DC: The public’s expectations from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission
are very high. I am happy that the public knows that corruption is a crime
against social justice. It hurts everybody without discrimination and
irrespective of one’s status or position in society. The fight against
corruption is therefore not a preserve of Zacc alone, but rather requires a
multi-disciplinary approach. it is the responsibility of every Zimbabwean to
work together with honesty, sincerity, dedication and unquestionable loyalty
in the battle to fight, prevent corrupt practices and educate the public on
the dangerous effects of corruption.
The public is also aware of the dire need to capacitate Zacc to enable it to
discharge its mandate in a more visible way. The commission is happy that
the co-ministers of Home Affairs [Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone] are very
supportive and are doing their best to capacitate the commission. I am
confident that once their efforts to capacitate the commission come to
fruition, the public will see the commission discharging its mandate in a
more visible way. The commission is up to its job in the prevailing
PM: But can you tell us some of the cases which you can confidently say you
have successfully handled?
DC: You are asking me a very pre-emptive question. You know that Zacc
reports to Parliament through the co-ministers. I appeal for your patience
until the co-ministers table our annual report in Parliament.
PM: And you are satisfied that you are doing a good job?
DC: I am satisfied that the commission is doing its best under the
prevailing resource challenges.
PM: What of the perception that you are only targeting the small fish,
leaving out powerful people including Cabinet ministers who have been
implicated in corruption and fraud?
DC: In rolling out its mandate, Zacc is not guided by the perception of big
fish or small fish. We go after grand corruption and grand corruption is not
the preserve of a specific class of people in society. The seriousness of a
corruption case is not determined by a big name.
PM: Some months ago you confirmed to The Standard that Zacc is investigating
several prominent people, among them, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, on
allegations of double-dipping from RBZ and Treasury when he bought his
Highlands mansion. You also confirmed to having received dossiers
implicating Local Government minister, Ignatious Chombo, in fraudulent land
deals in Harare, while RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono, was accused of corruption,
theft and fraud by his former advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke. What happened to
the investigations and why is it taking ages to conclude these cases?
DC: Zacc needs to distinguish itself in carrying out its mandate. What we
don’t want is people getting arrested on the basis of evidence which is not
clear and on the basis of facts which have not been thoroughly investigated.
Zacc investigates allegations of corruption thoroughly before arresting
individuals. This is to ensure that by the time a case of corruption has
been made and is taken to court, there is no doubt as to the law violated,
the crime committed and the identity of the individual alleged to have
committed the crime.
Rushing to build unsubstantiated cases does not do us any good at all. If
anything, it harms our integrity, professionalism, credibility and
Complex investigations necessarily take a bit of time and need not be
rushed. Experience in crime intelligence has proved beyond a reasonable
doubt that in handling complex investigations, thoroughness in
investigations takes precedence over speed on a balance of equities and
PM: What other high-profile cases are you handling?
DC: It is very un-investigative to disclose current investigations as it is
self-defeating and akin to shooting oneself in the head.
PM: But are you able to truly operate independently with no interference
from government, including your parent ministry, Home Affairs?
DC: Our operations are our complete exclusive domain. We are totally
independent in carrying out our mandate. For clarity, let me reiterate that
no one tells the Commission what to investigate, who to investigate, who not
to investigate or how to investigate and in this, we are indeed
PM: What happened to the cases of MPs who you arrested for abusing the
Constituency Development Fund?
DC: You will recall that our last word was that none of the suspect
MPs was removed from the hook. The ministry of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs have not come back to the commission with a
comprehensive and complete list of suspect MPs.
PM: The MDC-T recently wrote to Zacc requesting you to investigate
councillors who the party fired, accusing them of being corrupt. Have you
done something on this?
DC: Again, we don’t disclose current investigations for the simple reason
that it is un-investigative and fatally detrimental to our investigations.
PM: What other challenges are you facing and as a commission, are you
optimistic that you will effectively deal with corruption in the country?
DC: Funding of the Zacc is a major challenge and I am more than optimistic
that with the necessary resources, delivery on our mandate is a child’s play
as the commission will be able to effectively deal with all corruption
cases. Lest people forget, Zacc’s vision is a corruption-free Zimbabwe.
‘Zacc working like well-oiled machine’
PM: There are reports that there is serious infighting within Zacc, with
commissioners divided along partisan lines. This has resulted in failure to
investigate a number of prominent cases. Why are the commissioners at each
DC: That’s news to me. I am hearing it from you Patrice. We are working very
well, like a well-oiled machine. Our relations are cordial and professional.
PM: And there are also reports that you are facing serious financial
problems, virtually crippling your operations. How far true is this?
DC: Like I said, we are like any other government institution in the
country. We also face resource challenges. But our co-ministers are doing
something to capacitate the commission to enable it to discharge its mandate
in a more visible manner.
PM: How is your working relationship with the Attorney-General and the
DC: Very cordial and professional to the level expected of intelligence-led
policing law enforcement agencies. These are the key stakeholders in the
discharge of our mandate.
October 21, 2012 in News, Politics
THE MDC-T has called for the arrest of Justice and Legal Affairs minister,
Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, accusing the two
of plotting to subvert the will of the people in the forthcoming elections.
Report by Patrice Makova
Chinamasa, who is Zanu PF’s chief negotiator under the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) talks, recently told the BBC that his party and the military
would not accept Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s electoral victory in the
Gumbo on the other hand, reportedly warned that it would be “messy” if
Tsvangirai won the elections, telling South Africa’s e-News Channel Africa
that hardliners would find it difficult to hand over power to the PM.
Addressing hundreds of party supporters in St Mary’s suburb in Chitungwiza
yesterday, MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti, said Chinamasa’s statement
was tantamount to inciting a coup in Zimbabwe.
“Chinamasa’s statement is treasonous, more so, coming from a so-called
minister of Justice, who knows very well that the constitution stipulates
that whenever the country goes for elections, the will of the people has to
be respected,” he said.
“If there was justice and the rule of law in the country, Chinamasa and
Gumbo would be in Chikurubi prison by now.”
He said although his party was non-violent, it would not allow the military
and Zanu PF to reverse a Tsvangirai and MDC-T electoral victory.
“We will not allow next year’s elections to be stolen,” Biti vowed.
“We will defend the vote and the result.”
The MDC-T secretary-general said securocrats would not be allowed to
“It’s day-dreaming to say securocrats will not salute Tsvangirai if he wins
the Presidential elections. The constitution is clear, that they are
subordinate to a civilian government,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and MDC-T vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, also said
the military was powerless to prevent an MDC-T victory.
“Who are they to stop the will of the people?” she asked.
“This time around this is not going to happen.”
Khupe said next year’s elections have to be free and fair and be a
reflection of the will of the people if they are to be considered legitimate
by Zimbabweans and the international community.
Respect the democratic process: Gumbo
Gumbo yesterday denied ever saying there would be a bloodbath, insisting
that he respected the democratic process.
“I don’t know about what Chinamasa said, but all I said was that it would be
messy if Tsvangirai wins because there are so many forces,” he said.
Contacted for comment last night, Chinamasa said he was in a meeting and
promised to call back The Standard.
Political analysts also said threats attributed to Chinamasa and Gumbo were
tantamount to tearing up the Constitution.
October 21, 2012 in Politics
THE organ on national healing, reconciliation and integration has embarked
on research to establish if Zimbabweans are “naturally or culturally
violent” following cases of political violence in the past elections.
Report by Nqobani Ndlovu
Bayathi Ngwenya, the organ’s national director said they would come up with
recommendations on what should be done to end a cycle of violence that
bedevilled the country before and after independence.
“We are conducting this project to find out the country’s history regarding
the issue of violence; mainly on where and how violence came to this
“The main question about this project is to find out if Zimbabweans are a
violent society. The project seeks to find out if violence emanates from our
cultural and traditional background,” said Ngwenya. “We hope the results of
the project will help the organ come up with recommendations on what should
be done to prevent this cycle of violence.”
Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe, the Midlands State University (MSU) vice-chancellor
heads the research project.
The MDC welcomed the organ’s initiative, saying the project would assist in
creating an adequate tool kit for addressing, limiting and ultimately
exterminating political violence in the country.
Nhlanhla Dube, the MDC spokesperson on Wednesday said: “We need to come to
terms with our past and realise that we cannot continue to resort to
violence every time we are confronted by different and sometimes difficult
views, political or social.
He added: “It is imperative to create an ethos that understands that
differences in themselves are good and create creativity in society. We
cannot allow ourselves to always gravitate towards violence with the ease of
an established guitar player at a musical gala as if violence is our genetic
default mode when faced with challenges.”
The MDC-T claimed that 200 of its supporters were killed by Zanu PF militia
and state security agents during the 2008 elections.
Effie Ncube, a Bulawayo-based analyst said he hoped that the findings would
not be suppressed just like the Dumbutshena and Chihambakwe Commissions.
“There has to be an undertaking on the part of the organ that this will not
be another Chihambakwe Commission whose findings were never made public,”
“This is an initiative that should be welcomed by everyone interested in the
pursuit of accountability, open governance, justice and a lasting solution
to our violent past.”
The Dumbutshena Report contained the findings of a Commission of Inquiry
into the disturbances at Entumbane and other demobilisation camps following
clashes between Zipra and Zanla guerillas in 1981 while the Chihambakwe
Report contains findings of a Commission of Inquiry investigating the
It is estimated that 20 000 civilians were murdered by the North-Korean
trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces during the
The two commissions reported to then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe but their
reports were never made public. The government argued that the reports were
“specified” for use by the government only.
October 21, 2012 in Health & Fitness, Local
PARIRENYATWA Group of Hospitals will soon start training eye specialists at
its Sekuru Kaguvi eye unit, a senior health official said last week.
This follows an agreement between the country’s leading medical aid society,
Cimas and the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences, to fund
the setting up of a unit to enable the training of optometrists at the
Presently, all the optometrists operating in the country are being trained
abroad, resulting in their services being expensive and mainly accessed at
private healthcare centres.
Speaking at a Cimas Health Expo last week, deputy dean at the College of
Health Sciences, Professor Rangarirayi Masanganise said that government and
mission hospitals had no capacity to offer optometry services.
He said the setting up of the training unit would enable optometrists to be
deployed throughout the country so that all health centres could offer eye
care specialist services.
“This will enable the majority of our population to access affordable
optical appliances,” said Masanganise.
He said at least 75% of the adult population in the country would at one
point require the use of glasses. The establishment of the unit would enable
early detection and treatment of eyesight problems.
Cimas group chief executive officer Macloud Chaora said the society would
continue working with College of Health Sciences to identify gaps within
specialist medical skills in the country.
The society is also sponsoring the training of haematology pathologists,
which would enable the country to carry out specialist bone marrow
transplants, management and treatment of acute leukaemia, bleeding disorders
and blood infections. — BY OUR STAFF
October 21, 2012 in Local
MOST farmers still have no capacity to buy their own inputs this
agricultural season, over a decade after the land reform programme
Report by Caiphas Chimhete
Such a scenairo has raised fears that the country could be hit by another
food crisis next year.
A snap survey by The Standard in the past two weeks revealed that most of
the farmers did not have enough inputs such as seed, fertilisers and
chemicals, despite the fact that the farming season had already begun.
Although the inputs are readily available in shops, the majority of the
farmers cannot afford to buy them. “If government does not avail subsdised
inputs and increase the price of maize, most of us will grow maize just for
our families,” said a Shamva farmer, Tonderai Mukonori.
“The country will experience another food crisis.”
Another farmer, Archibold Rugotwi of Banket, said he was reluctant to grow
maize this season because it fetched very low prices on the market.
“With the little resources I have, I would rather grow crops that would give
me enough money to send my children to school. It’s no use growing maize
these days,” he said.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has been buying maize for US$285 per tonne,
a figure the farmers said was too low.
GMB is also struggling to pay for grain delivered, meaning that farmers
would not have the money to buy inputs.
Although the government resorted to paying farmers using inputs last year,
the process was high-jacked by senior government officials.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president, Wonder Chabikwa, last
week urged farmers to link up with companies that have contract farming
programmes to enable them to access inputs.
“The major challenge is that farmers have no money to buy inputs,” he said.
“We encourage contract farming so that they can access inputs. But we
encourage more companies to come on board [support contract farming] so that
we can grow as much as our potential can allow,” said Chabikwa.
Among the companies that had contract farming programmes in the past farming
season are Pioneer Seeds, Delta Corporations and Windmill (Pvt) Limited. But
some are now reluctant to continue offering the service because of the high
rate of default on repayments by the farmers. This year, they will only
support seed growers and farmers who settled their debts.
Agricultural sector lacks funding: Taffs
Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) president, Charles Taffs, predicted another
serious food crisis next year because banks, fertiliser and seed houses were
not adequately funding agriculture.
He said the absence of security of tenure on land was discouraging financial
institutions from supporting agriculture, which was seriously affected by
the land invasions which began in 2000.
“We are worst prepared than most years,” said Taffs. “We are just in a
disaster. The relevant ministries need to take this seriously. We need the
correct agriculture policy, not one based on race.”
CFU estimated that Zimbabwe would produce between 600 000 and 700 000 tonnes
of maize next season against an annual national food requirement of 1,8
Taffs said Zimbabwe’s food crisis was going to be compounded by the fact
that Zambia, where the country used to import maize, had run out of surplus.
Apart from that, the whole southern African region has a maize deficit of
five million tonnes.
Of the 54 African countries, 39 are facing food deficits, said Taffs,
meaning Zimbabwe would have to compete with all those countries to import
“Coupled with that, America is experiencing the worst drought in 100 years,
meaning Zimbabwe is going to face a real crisis,” he said. “We need to
re-strategise as a country.”
At least 1,7 million people in the country require food aid this year
following massive crop failure in the past season, according to the latest
2012 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) report.
Farmers must not rely on banks alone: Chabikwa
The worst affected areas are the provinces of Masvingo, Matabeleland North
and South, and parts of Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland.
But Chabikwa has not lost all hope.
He said ZCFU expected that two million hectares would be put under maize
this farming season up from 1 689 786 hectares last agriculture season.
“We could even do more if we had enough resources such as inputs and
machinery,” said Chabikwa.
“Farmers cannot rely on banks because they are facing challenges, as they
are relying on depositors’ funds and cannot finance long-term projects.”
Banks are reluctant to provide loans to farmers as they do not have the
collateral in the form of title deeds. Banks have in the past said
government should use the 99-year leases given to farmers as security.
Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Joseph
Made, could not be reached for comment.
But seed companies last week assured President Robert Mugabe that they had
enough seed for this farming season.
Chabikwa said despite the recent rains the farming season had not fully
“For those without irrigation, we urge them to start planting in the first
week of November. In the meantime, they can speed up land preparations,” he
October 21, 2012 in Local
BULAWAYO — At least 48% of people living in rural areas in Zimbabwe defecate
in the bush, exposing themselves to diarrhoeal diseases, a cabinet minister
said last week.
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Minister of Water Resources Development and Management
blamed the increasing outbreaks of water-borne diseases in rural areas to
the use of the bush system by villagers.
“Ministers were laughing at me when I told them that our assessments show
that 48% of Zimbabweans in rural areas use bush toilets,” said Sipepa-Nkomo.
“They could not believe me. Our studies show that this is true. I told my
colleagues in Cabinet that some of them could not fit into some of the
toilets that villagers use.”
He added: “Most homes in the country especially in rural areas have no
toilets. I was in Mtshabezi on Wednesday [last week] and nine out of 10
households there did not have toilets.”
Sipepa-Nkomo was speaking to journalists after touring Water, Sanitation and
Hygiene (Wash) projects in Bulilima and Mangwe district in Plumtree last
The minister emphasised the need to educate villagers on the importance of
having toilets, especially the older generations.
“I think first of all, most villagers do not appreciate the need to have and
use toilets. Most of them grew up in an era where it was unthinkable to use
toilets,” said Sipepa-Nkomo. “When I was growing up, there was nothing like
The Wash project is managed by Unicef but funded by the United Kingdom’s
Department for International and Development (DFID).
Unicef Zimbabwe representative, Gianni Murzi also confirmed the statistics.
Murzi said 35% of rural households in the country did not have access to
“There is a further discrepancy in the provision of adequate sanitation as
69% of rural households do not have improved toilet facilities and of these
households, 35% practice open defecation,” Murzi said in a speech read on
his behalf by Unicef chief of Wash Section, Kikwe Sebunya. — By Nqobani
October 21, 2012 in Opinion
Zimbabwe is currently in the historic process of writing a new constitution,
but this operation has turned out to be even more overwhelming and trickier
Report by Youth Forum
The process is being carried out as one of the major deliverables of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA), which was signed on September 15 2008.
The current constitution is widely regarded as inadequate and has many
shortcomings that need to be addressed, despite it having been amended a
record 19 times.
The contest to control Zimbabwe’s drafting of a new constitution has heated
up as the draft produced by the constitutional parliamentary committee
(Copac) is taken to the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.
Tomorrow, the draft will be debated by more than 1 000 delegates, presumably
businesspeople, representatives from churches, non-governmental
organisations and representatives of political parties. After the
conference, the draft will be taken to Parliament, where, after approval by
legislators, it will then be gazetted and put to a referendum.
But what is it that they will be discussing? The majority of the Zimbabweans
are not aware of what is stated in this draft constitution and what it means
for them. This is a shortcoming on the part of Copac. In that regard, the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) recently launched a summarised
constitution analysis guidebook , which has an overview of each chapter of
the draft constitution, pointing out what is progressive and what remains
problematic. As expected, there is an overwhelming amount of problematic
issues that still need to be addressed. The ZLHR chairperson, Andrew Makoni
explained that the booklet is a simplified constitutional awareness tool
ahead of the conference.
Another major issue that has evolved ever since the constitution-drafting
process began, is the fact that the process has been hijacked by the country’s
political parties. The two MDCs have so far resisted efforts by President
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to include nearly 266 amendments to the draft, while
Zanu PF also has objected to a number of proposals in the draft.
Some of these include the clipping of the president’s executive powers,
security sector reforms, dual citizenship and the devolution of power from
central government. The former ruling party is also keen to retain the death
penalty, which the MDC parties are sweating to have repealed.
There are signs; however, that Zanu PF will not allow the draft to go
unchallenged. The party plans to discredit the draft and show how Copac
“ignored the people’s views” by demanding that the national report, which
details information gathered during the constitutional outreach exercise, be
supplied to delegates alongside the draft.
Civil society groups remain opposed to the process, which they argue has
become a battlefield for the country’s three main political parties. The
concern is that these three parties have once again decided to make this
important process a political party event, while excluding the voice of the
The hope however, for many CSOs was that this second stakeholders conference
would be a space for ordinary people and hence must not be hijacked by
political players who have been active in the constitution-making process
for the past three and half years.
However, events on the ground have proved otherwise.
It is a shame that those parties which we have trusted to lead cannot put
the nation before their political party issues. The constitution is not a
document that should be used to propel one party into power or be used to
score political points. There should be a clear distinction between the
legal issue, which constitution-making is, and party politics.
Genuine public participation is a prerequisite and this means the public
should be guaranteed social inclusion, personal security, civic education
and good channels of communication between all levels of society among other
things in order to facilitate this process.
Some would argue that the Copac constitution-making process was
people-driven, given that a national outreach programme was undertaken and
this culminated in the production of the “National Report” capturing the
views of the people. Nonetheless, arguments and questions will arise as to
whether all that which was gathered from the people has been included or
represented in this report and how it would then be put into what is to be
our supreme law, the constitution. When all the views and opinions are
gathered; when all is said and done, will it not be down to a hand-picked
elite group to decide whether what we as Zimbabweans have made as
contributions, is worth to be in our national constitution?
October 21, 2012 in Opinion
The demolition of houses in Epworth last week showed authorities learnt
nothing from the tragic events of 2005, when government launched a clean-up
operation that left about 700 000 people homeless.
Government launched Operation Murambatsvina in May that year in a bid to rid
cities of slums and vices associated with them.
However, the manner in which the operation was carried out prompted then
United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan to dispatch his envoy Anna
Tibaijuka to investigate widespread reports of human rights violations.
Tibaijuka discovered that the exercise was being carried out with
“disquieting indifference” to human suffering and had left about 2,4 million
people affected in one way or another.
Annan then ordered a halt to the demolitions and also called on those who
orchestrated the policy to be prosecuted.
Seven years later, when all right-thinking people thought Murambatsvina had
taught Zimbabweans a lesson about the need to respect people’s right to
shelter, another demolition exercise was carried out in Epworth last week.
The exercise bore the hallmarks of the infamous Murambatsvina, except that
this time a company, Sunway City, was behind the demolitions.
Sadly, no arrangements were made to house the victims elsewhere in spite of
the fact that Zimbabwe is party to the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural rights. The covenant states that people cannot be
forcibly evicted without alternative plans to house them.
As a result, the actions of Sunway City, just like those of the government
in 2005, need to be condemned in the strongest terms. Though it had a court
order, the company should have prioritised the plight of 200 families who
are now homeless before sending bulldozers to raze their houses. Innocent
children, who watched helplessly as their homes were destroyed, will be
The timing of the destruction of houses also shows Sunway was insensitive to
October marks the beginning of the rainy season, and it therefore means the
homeless people will be at the mercy of the rains.
October 21, 2012 in Opinion
The isssuance of letters of final demand by Harare City Council (HCC)has
been a source of consternation for residents in most high-density areas.
Sunday View: Harare Resisdents Trust
The areas greatly affected by this development include Mabvuku, Tafara,
Highfield, Glen Norah, Warren Park, Dzivaresekwa, Glen View, Budiriro,
Kuwadzana, Kuwadzana Phase 3, and Rugare among other suburbs. This
development comes amid a general political and administrative discord
exhibited by the city fathers at Town House.
There has been a general lack of consensus from the city fathers and
management on how best to provide public services to the citizens.
There have been no deliberate attempts by the city fathers to reach out to
residents and address their problems. It is ironical that the residents who
were issued with letters of final demand are the ones who are worse off in
terms of social status and reside in areas that have experienced erratic
Residents in the mentioned high-density suburbs are subjected to perennial
shortages of water and when it is available, it is unsuitable for human
consumption, uncollected refuse, and poor road network and ineffective and
unaccountable elected leadership, in particular councillors.
Most residents in these areas do not have the financial capacities to settle
the huge debts which the HCC alleges have accrued since 2009.
The final demand notices were issued to residents with debts ranging from
about US$40 to several thousands of dollars.
City fathers are expecting the residents of Harare to pay for services which
they do not provide. In addition, from February 2009 to December 2010, the
HCC charged residents estimated bills and most services like refuse
collection and water were not being provided.
It is improper for the city council to continue to charge interest on
outstanding debt yet the residents have shown commitment to settle despite
their inability to pay.
The Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development has to
immediately intervene to save the masses from an abusive and arrogant elite,
masquerading as senior council management, lacking capacity and the
willpower to guide the policymakers at Town House on this issue.
The general public has experienced high bills, poor service delivery and low
incomes yet senior management continue to pay each other huge salaries, not
matching incomes of the residents and the capacity of council to generate
Councillors are being urged to act responsibly and treat residents’ issues
with the seriousness they deserve; otherwise they have no justification to
remain in office if the people who elected them into office are being
ill-treated by their employees. Whose interest are the councillors serving
within the august house?
The HCC claims in the media that these final demands are merely meant to
frighten residents to pay up their outstanding bills, yet they proceed to
court seeking full payment or attachment of properties, creating unnecessary
medical conditions among the elderly, women and children.
There is a legal process prescribed in terms of Section 279 subsection 1 to
5 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) which outlines the procedures
which are to be followed when recovering rates from the residents.
A local authority is empowered to take several steps in a bid to recover the
outstanding rates. In the same vein, Section 281 Subsection (a) and (b) of
the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) and other legal proceedings for the
recovery of rates which are the due process which the councils follow. They
do this knowing very well that residents are vulnerable and are mostly
ignorant of the legal proceedings.
October 19, 2012 in Politics
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said people living in the
Diaspora would not be allowed to vote in the next elections because of
logistical and financial reasons.
Report by Nqaba Matshazi
This is despite clamours by those living abroad who want to exercise their
ZEC chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramai told an all-party workshop
in Harare on Friday that it was difficult to administer a Diaspora vote.
“Zimbabweans are all over the world, how do we administer elections across
the world? Looking at the economy and what is needed financially, it’s just
not possible,” he said.
“We will have to airlift people and equipment from here and that is
Sekeramai said in the event that ZEC were to administer an election abroad,
the commission could not go to all the countries but would have to select
some, which could then lead to new controversies.
“If we go to Britain, Zimbabweans in Australia would ask why we did not go
there, so as it is, their voting is a logistical problem,” he said.
The ZEC official gave an example of South Africa, which did not allow people
in the Diaspora to vote and only allowed votes from Britain after a court
Sekeramai explained that if South Africa, a far much larger economy than its
northern neighbour, baulked at the expenses and logistics involved in
allowing the Diasporians to vote, then it was also almost impossible for
Zimbabwe to run such an election.
ZEC commissioner, Geoff Feltoe said legally, those living in the Diaspora
could not vote, as they were not covered by the electoral law.
He said for now, all they could do was lobby for their inclusion.
Feltoe, a University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, explained that Zimbabwe’s
voting system was ward-based and a person should reside in a particular ward
within 12 months of an election.
Most of the people in the Diaspora have been away for much longer than that.
MDC-T deputy organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe told a Zimbabwe Election
Support Network meeting recently that his party and Zanu PF had agreed to
block people in the Diaspora from voting in the next election.
There have been calls by people living outside Zimbabwe that they be allowed
to cast postal ballots but so far the clamours have fallen on deaf ears.
October 21, 2012 in Editorial
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri sounded forthright in
condemning electoral violence last week when de-briefing a contingent of
police officers on their way to United Nations peacekeeping duty in Liberia.
Editor’s desk: Nevanji Madanhire
He said: “Violence will not be tolerated. Those that are bent on causing
mayhem and confusion will be dealt with in the strongest way possible and
they will have no one to blame, but themselves if they are found on the
wrong side of the law.”
Coming from the top policeman on the land, the words are very welcome
especially coming at a time when the country is heading for a make-or-break
harmonised poll next year.
The call for peace is not new: in the recent past, President Robert Mugabe
has been outspoken in his plea for peace between political rivals as the
election approaches. He reiterated the point early this month at the burial
of the late Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge at the
But the public has received with scepticism Mugabe’s call for peace as
incidents of violence seem to proliferate as soon as he utters the word
“peace”. It now seems increasingly evident that the president has no control
over his party’s rank and file who have, most of the time, been fingered in
the incidents of violence despite his pleas.
Many have concluded that Mugabe’s calls for peace are often empty because
there is no concomitant will in the police force to enforce peace. Indeed
Chihuri and his charges have been accused before of selectively applying the
law by punishing one perpetrator while looking away as another commits
wanton acts of violence.
Chihuri has denied this is the case but the nation is still to see a test
case where police have really descended upon Zanu PF perpetrators with the
same “maximum force” it has descended on MDC hooligans.
Chihuri’s latest words against political violence have one weakness however;
they seem to address the signs and symptoms of violence rather than the
Chihuri doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the violence we see is systematic
in that at the core of it are senior politicians in the political parties’
leadership. Those who commit the violence are often simply youths who,
because of a lack of a livelihood, are hired and paid by these senior
politicians to commit the acts of violence.
This is why Chihuri should address the politicians first before targeting
their foot soldiers because doing so will only treat the symptoms and not
Let me digress a little. In 2007 there was electoral violence in Kenya that
left more than 1000 people dead. Naturally the police’s first reaction was
to target the machete-wielding tribesmen who hacked down opponents and
destroyed the livelihoods of anyone whom they deemed to support rival
But later a closer look by civil society and the international community
revealed that at the heart of the violence were senior politicians who,
facing imminent electoral defeat, sought to use violence to intimidate and
cow opponents into voting for them. Uhuru Kenyatta was one of them.
Uhuru, the son of Kenya’s founding father Jomo, was a presidential candidate
for the long-ruling independence party Kanu and has served in different
ministries, meaning, despite his age (he was born in October 1961), he is a
veteran of Kenyan politics.
Another instigator of violence was Francis Kirimi Muthaura (born October 20
1946), a civil servant and close ally of President Mwai Kibaki. He is the
head of Kenyan civil service and secretary to the cabinet. Muthaura has been
named as an instigator of post-election violence in 2007-2008 and was
together with Uhuru named among six suspects to be prosecuted by the
International Criminal Court.
He is accused of leading secret meetings in Kibaki’s office, where revenge
attacks against supporters of Kibaki’s opposition were planned. The ICC
prosecutor claims he authorised the use of excessive force against
protesters by the police.
He was recorded by two people posing as students, who claimed he had
admitted involvement in post-election violence.
Uhuru and all the others including Muthaura have been indicted by the
International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. They are allegedly
criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrators pursuant to article
25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute for the crimes against humanity of murder,
deportation or forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts.
It is important to note that they did not, in person commit these crimes but
instigated them by driving their subordinates to commit them. In other
words, there is a causal relationship between what Uhuru and Muthaura told
their subjects and the violence that the subjects committed.
Similarly, in Zimbabwe there are politicians who are inclined to instigate
political violence by encouraging their supporters to beat up or even kill
their opponents. So, in order to nip political violence in the bud, it is
these politicians who should be targeted by law enforcement agencies. The
old cliché holds: prevention is better than cure.
In recent weeks we have heard lots of inflammatory language coming from
senior Zanu PF politicians. In their language they have sought to create in
the minds of their supporters a mindset that creates an atmosphere conducive
to electoral violence.
Recently Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa has leadingly said that the
military and war veterans will not allow Morgan Tsvangirai to rule if he
wins elections next year. He has thereby psyched the military to revolt in
the eventuality of Tsvangirai winning.
He has also incited the war veterans to rise against any popularly elected
leader who doesn’t come from a certain group. If after the elections next
year violence erupts and people are murdered, raped, displaced and generally
persecuted, Chinamasa will be liable for prosecution for crimes against
Zanu PF national spokesman Rugare Gumbo is also guilty of the same
inflammatory statements which lay the ground for electoral violence by
echoing Chinamasa’s sentiments. Recently a shop was burnt in Mberengwa in an
incident involving a faulty refrigerator and fuel stored in the same room.
Despite that the fire was purely an accident, Gumbo sought to inflame his
supporters to beat up political rivals by alleging the political rivals had
intentionally torched the shop in spite of a police report to the contrary.
Police Commissioner-General Chihuri should deal sternly with politicians of
this ilk as a preventive measure. Fat chance! The Chinamasas and Gumbos of
this world will get away with it while the police practise tokenism by
arresting their agents.