Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:08pm BST
By Mike Saburi
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said on Saturday he was committed to a genuine power-sharing pact with
President Robert Mugabe but would not be bullied into a government in which
he would have little authority.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai signed a broad power-sharing deal brokered by South
Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki on September 15 but the agreement has
since stalled over who should run which ministries.
Tsvangirai, who is set to become prime minister if the power-sharing
government takes off, also said Zimbabwe badly needed a political settlement
to address a dire economic crisis that had given left millions of people
"We want to see a finality to this issue," he said, adding that nobody would
force him into joining an administration in which the government would have
responsibilities but no power.
"We are committed to the agreement that we signed on September 15 but it is
not some unconditional commitment," he said in an address delivered both in
English and the local Shona language.
Tsvangirai says Mugabe is trying to seize important ministries and sideline
his opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told a rally on
Saturday he hoped a regional summit on the issue in Harare on Monday would
solve the problem.
"Our commitment is to an equitable power-sharing arrangement otherwise we
are not going to be part to it and we may as well look for alternative
political options," he said, adding:
"When it comes to negotiations, no one is to bully us."
Tsvangirai boycotted a mini summit of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) in Swaziland last Monday, citing Harare's refusal to give
him a new passport instead of the emergency travel document he got for the
On Saturday, the MDC leader said his party had high respect for SADC and the
African Union, and wanted the Zimbabwe crisis to be solved by Africans.
"We have very serious respect for SADC and the AU but they must reciprocate
that respect. We don't want the (Zimbabwe) issue to go outside Africa," he
said, hardly a week after his party suggested the United Nations should
But Tsvangirai warned against Mbeki's quiet mediation style.
"We respect Mbeki but quiet diplomacy has its limits if it leads to quiet
approval of wrong things," he said.
Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe needs to reach a deal quickly to turn its attention
to food shortages and an inflation that had soared to over 230 million
"People are starving around the country, scrounging. Some are competing with
baboons for wild fruits," he said of food shortages.
(Writing by Cris Chinaka; Editing by Sami Aboudi)
4 hours ago
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe (AP) - Justice must be done following widespread
political attacks blamed on President Robert Mugabe's police, soldiers and
party militants, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader said Saturday before
cheering crowds in a northern area believed to have seen some of the worst
of the violence.
The violence prompted Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from a June presidential
runoff after winning the March first round of voting. Mugabe claimed victory
in the runoff, but it was widely denounced as a sham and last month Mugabe
had to sign a power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai.
The deal, though, has not been implemented because of disputes over who will
control which Cabinet posts.
"Justice must not only be seen to be done, but it should be done,"
Tsvangirai told about 12,000 people in a stadium in Marondera, in a rural
northern region known as Mashonaland. International human rights groups have
said Mashonaland suffered high levels of political violence because voters
there turned to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, angering Mugabe
supporters who had seen it as their stronghold.
Tsvangirai did not elaborate Saturday on how justice should be done. In the
past, he has called for truth and reconciliation hearings he believes would
lead to healing, rather than trials that could lead to jail terms for human
Tsvangirai has said trials could distract from the work of rebuilding
Zimbabwe. There are also concerns Mugabe and his top cronies are stalling
implementation of the power-sharing deal because they fear they could be
tried for human rights violations.
Leaders of Zimbabwe's neighboring countries are due in Harare Monday to try
to persuade Tsvangirai and Mugabe to conclude their power-sharing deal.
Tsvangirai has agreed to attend the meeting, though his party has questioned
Mugabe's willingness to surrender key Cabinet posts and called for a full
regional summit to pressure Mugabe. Monday's meeting is not a full summit,
but a meeting of an important committee of the Southern African Development
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who brokered the stalled
power-sharing agreement, was also to attend Monday's meeting. Tsvangirai has
repeated accused Mbeki of bias toward Mugabe, saying the South African's
refusal to publicly criticize either side amounts to appeasement of Mugabe.
"Quiet diplomacy does not mean quiet approval," Tsvangirai said in his
Tsvangirai also said leaders needed to conclude the deal and turn their
attention to Zimbabwe's mounting economic crisis. Zimbabweans are struggling
with the world's highest inflation rate and scarcity of food, fuel and most
other basic goods. The U.N. predicts half the population will need food aid
by next year.
6 minutes ago
MARONDERA, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
warned Saturday that he would not sign a deal with President Robert Mugabe
at any price simply to please other African leaders.
"We have very high respect for SADC (Southern African Development
Community), very high respect for every African institution," he said at a
meeting at Marondera, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the capital Harare.
"We don't want our issues to go outside Africa," he added.
"When they (the regional leaders) come on Monday we shall respect them."
But, he said, if the diplomatic moves of the South African mediator Thabo
Mbeki, were misdirected, there would be no deal.
He said his party had one message for Mbeki: "Quiet diplomacy has its
limits, we give him all the respect (but) we may end up abandoning quiet
diplomacy when we realise quiet diplomacy is being led for wrong approval."
Three SADC heads of state and a minister will back Mbeki Monday in his
efforts to get Tsvangarai and Mugabe to reach a deal on the composition of a
new unity government.
On September 15 the two men signed a power-sharing deal to resolve the
crisis created by the defeat of the government in the general election in
"We are committing to a suitable power sharing-agreement... (but) no-one
should ever take us for granted," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with the deal, the problem is now its
implementation... the problem is that Mugabe wants all the key ministries...
I will not enter into this government when I know there is no sincerity...
How can I sign this deal when I am not given the tools to perform?".
Tsvangarai and Mugabe have held lengthy negotiations chaired by Mbeki but
have failed to agree on the distribution of major ministries, in particular
the interior and defence portfolios.
October 24, 2008
By Junior Sibanda
JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress leader, Jacob Zuma, favourite to
take over as President following South Africa's general elections next year,
has expressed confidence that a lasting solution can be found in neighboring
The popular liberation struggle hero said many opportunities lay ahead for
investors seeking to explore investment opportunities in Zimbabwe pending
the reconstruction of the country, which has been deadlocked over the
allocation of some key cabinet posts.
Zuma, who mentioned Zimbabwe in the same breath as other political hotspots
as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said this on Friday when he
addressed a luncheon held for investors in New York, United States, where he
is on a visit.
"Peace and stability in the continent are some of the objectives that the
ANC government pursues with vigour, seeking solutions in flashpoints, from
Zimbabwe to Darfur, the DRC to Burundi," the ANC leader said.
His comments come hot on the heels of Southern African Development Community's
failure to solve an impasse that has been caused by Mugabe's stubborn
insistence to hold on the country's key ministries except Finance, which he
has ceded to the Morgan Tsvangirayi led MDC.
The SADC meeting aimed at breaking the deadlock hit a snag in Swaziland on
Monday when Prime Minister designate Tsvangirayi could not attend after the
government failed to issue a new passport to him.
Zuma however said he remained confident that a solution could be found.
"We remain convinced that lasting solutions will be found in these sister
countries," he said.
He added that there were many investment opportunities in Zimbabwe if its
economy was reconstructed.
"We trust that the investor community is already exploring opportunities
that will arise during the reconstruction of the Zimbabwean economy," Zuma
told the investors.
A weeks-long deadlock threatens to derail a monumental power-sharing deal
that Zuma's predecessor Thabo Mbeki brokered among Zimbabwe's main political
parties in September.
As the parties remain deadlocked, the current economic crisis has worsened
by the day. The country is grappling with its severest economic crisis with
a runaway inflation, now officially pegged at 231 million percent, rampant
poverty and employment, estimated at more than 80 percent.
Destructive and partisan economic policies that the Mugabe administration
embarked on, such as the land reform programme, a violent seizure of farms
by supporters of Mugabe and so-called war veterans, has led to a dire
shortage of food that has left about 5 million Zimbabweans in need of food
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Revolutionary Youth Movement president, Simon Mudekwa
joined the chorus of those calling for Zuma to intervene in Zimbabwe saying
his outspokenness over Mugabe would put him in stead to bring the veteran
leader under control.
On Tuesday, the organisation handed over a petition to the ANC in
Johannesburg where they appealed to Zuma to intervene in Zimbabwe.
"We note that President Zuma has acknowledged that in Africa we have some
political leaders who refuse to bow out and try to change the constitution
in order to accommodate them, as in neighbouring Zimbabwe. We salute
President (Zuma) for stating in June that the situation is out of control
and for calling for urgent intervention by the United Nations and SADC,"
Saturday, 25 October 2008 11:54 UK
Peter Biles reflects on his trip to Zimbabwe, where one of the country's worst harvests, spiralling inflation and political deadlock mean prospects for change seem to be disappearing.
The lilac-flowered jacarandas are in full bloom. So too are the purple bougainvillea and the red flamboyants.
The tree-lined avenues are a riot of colour. There is no finer sight anywhere in southern Africa right now.
It all seems idyllic. The suburbs laid out by the British more than half a century ago are spacious.
On the well-watered playing fields of the city's private schools, young boys play games of cricket, while the nearby golf course is also beautifully maintained, and here, too, the sprinklers are turning.
But it is all rather incongruous because as I drive around Harare, probing the city's facade, I can see the decay and degradation.
Some houses have not had water for many months.
In the matchbox homes of the high-density suburbs - the traditional townships - life is worse, a great deal worse. There are no private schools and boreholes here.
The political optimism of the Harare Spring that we savoured in mid-September is fast being eroded.
The historic power-sharing deal - when Robert Mugabe and his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, agreed to form a coalition government - has come to naught so far.
A cartoon in a South African paper this week summed up the situation.
It showed three men: "the Broker" - Thabo Mbeki who has been facilitating the talks, "the Breaker" - Robert Mugabe and "the Broke" - the penniless Zimbabwean who symbolises the plight of so many.
And there is suffering aplenty in Zimbabwe.
Millions of people are now facing the threat of hunger, with food and money in short supply.
The daily limit that can be withdrawn is miniscule, little more than it costs to make the bus journey into town, or buy a loaf of bread. It seems rather pointless, but this is a hand-to-mouth existence.
I wandered into a local supermarket to see what I could buy.
I had seen the television pictures of empty shelves some months ago, but the situation gets more and more desperate.
The store looked as though it was closing down. It was a depressing sight. There were a few packs of frozen meat in the freezer and a few unappetising vegetables.
But no mielie meal, the staple diet. No dairy products and no household goods. It soon became apparent to me that this was not the place to find essential supplies.
Of course, if you have access to foreign currency, life is a lot easier. But few Zimbabweans have US dollars or South African rand, and most do not earn enough to buy what little food is on sale, especially if it has been imported.
A question I am often asked is how the country keeps going. Why has it not fallen victim to this staggering economic decline and collapsed completely?
Millions of Zimbabweans living abroad - many of them in neighbouring South Africa - regularly send money home. Without this, many more lives would be in ruins.
In the meantime, Zimbabwe's inflation has become legendary.
Annual inflation in July was officially 230,000,000%. Ten zeroes were knocked off the currency a little while ago.
It has made no difference. The Zimbabwe dollar is worthless.
The figures change by the day. No-one knows what the inflation rate is any more. It could be as much as 1,000,000,000% by the end of this month.
It is generally illegal to trade in US dollars, but it is the only option now.
I spoke to one keen observer of the Zimbabwean scene.
He likened Robert Mugabe to Cambodia's Pol Pot, and said that President Mugabe seemed hell-bent on political survival.
"If that means reverting to a peasant society, and bringing the country down in the process, then so be it," he said.
The other unusual feature of life here is the patience which ordinary Zimbabweans display.
Voices were raised in the queue outside the bank, but there was no pushing and shoving, and certainly no sign of open rebellion. And people continue to express themselves with a dignified eloquence.
When I was in Harare to witness the signing of the power-sharing agreement last month, I saw a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition supporter on the street outside, voicing a simple - yet poignant - remark as he wandered among the crowd:
"More jobs, more food on the table," he said. Make no mistake, food is what Zimbabweans need now, and time is running out.
Parliament adjourned until ...
After only seating for less than two weeks, Zimbabwe's parliament has been
forced to adjourn until November 11 as it has run out of money to sustain
Saturday 25 October 2008, by Bruce Sibanda
The suspension of parliament was announced on Thursday night by the acting
Leader of the House, Emmerson Mnangagwa. He said: "Because of the
constraints relating to the non-existence of the inclusive government, the
House will not be sitting for a while.
"In the event measures are put in place, we may be able to call for the
sitting of the House at a much earlier date."
The move came as legislators from both Zanu PF and rival MDC factions
rallied together in a rare moment of unity to support a motion to declare
the food shortages in the country a national disaster.
Parliamentarians were told that the government had run out of money to pay
for their accommodation and allowances during their sessions.
Compared to other law makers in the region, Zimbabwean legislators are
poorly paid, with their monthly salaries averaging less than US$5.
They also complain that they had been informed that the government currently
had no money to buy vehicles for the 210 House of Assembly members and 96
Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis and the threat of a major food crisis
has injected urgency to the process of establishing a new government.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has indicated that he will attend the
Monday summit meant to rescue a stalled power-sharing.
The MDC says Mugabe is trying to seize important ministries and sideline the
opposition and Chamisa cited a "litany" of Zanu-PF actions he said went
against the spirit of a power-sharing deal signed more than a month ago.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Smuggling of diamonds is costing Zimbabwe more than
US$1.2 billion a month, the country's central bank chief, Governor Gideon
Gono, told the state-run Herald newspaper on Saturday.
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono, blamed the
diamond smuggling on more than 5,000 "syndicates of foreigners" and some
senior government officials who were illegally dealing in the precious stone
in Manicaland province which borders Mozambique.
"A reliable estimate shows that US$1.2 billion per month would be realized
from diamond sales in the country, enough to solve the economic challenges
the country is currently facing," he was quoted by the state-run paper as
He said Zimbabwe required at least US$100 million a month to resuscitate its
economy and overcome current shortages of fuel, food and electricity.
Illegal diamond activities have been rife since the government allowed
people to mine the precious stone on a claim previously owned by an
The area in Manicaland's Marange district was later cordoned off by the army
and police but the illegal mining continued.
Governor Gono is also quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper as saying
that gold deliveries had dropped from 27 tonnes to a paltry five tonnes
during the past four years.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
By Peter Matambanadzo in Harare
Zimbabwe can emulate Brazil and combat the current economic challenges
facing the country as well as shrink the spiraling inflation, Brazil's
Ambassador to Zimbabwe Raul de Taunay has said.
In an interview, the South American envoy said his country faced similar
severe economic challenges between 1964 and 1994, which saw the country's
inflation rate reaching one quadrillion percent.
Presently Brazil has the biggest economy in Latin American and is among the
10 major economies in the world. Brazil is experiencing an economic rebirth
with its economy growing at a rate of more than five percent per annum.
The country has also managed to double its exports since 2003.
"Brazil suffered immense economic problems and managed to overcome them with
the Real Plan. Brazil and Zimbabwe can co-operate and address inflation and
financial challenges," Taunay said.
He said the Brazilian government used various economic measures to curb the
spiraling inflation, which included legal reforms, opening of the economy
and monetary reforms.
Zimbabwe with the help of Brazil could develop similar strategies such as
the Real Plan, which was introduced in 1993 and saw the South American
country defeating inflation, he said.
"The plan was founded on three key elements, a fiscal strategy entered on
the approval of the Constitutional Amendment creating the Social Emergency
Fund, which comprised of a few taxes," he said.
Taunay said other measures such as monetary reform processes were effected
and Zimbabwe can also implement such policies. "Other reform processes were
enacted through a prolonged period of time and a monetary reform process to
take place during a few months of voluntary adoption of a new unit account
later to become the national currency," he said.
He said a big bang approach towards opening the economy with aggressive
trade liberalisation and a new foreign exchange policy was taken to address
the South American country's economy.
Taunay said sound economic policies were implemented under President's
Ferenando Henrique Cardoso two terms in office and contributed to the
turnaround of Brazil's economy.
The Real Plan, he said, was also supported by academics and several other
stakeholders and eventually defeated inflation. In the first moths of the
plan, he said, international investors saw advantages and poured in massive
amounts of capital in Brazil.
"In consequence the Real gained value against the American dollar which
helped importers and harmed exporters," he said. "This free market and free
trade even at the cost of some companies failing and some flourishing
resulting in people finding better jobs. So for some time Brazil lived with
an overhauled currency which despite all collateral problems including
explosion of internal debt, and closing of several industrial sectors among
others. This helped increase competition and keep inflation down," he said.
Previously, Taunay said Brazil tried using several measures to fight
inflation including those in economic books like price and salary freezing,
and crackdown of businesses increasing prices but failed to work.
"The plans worked for fine for a few months but eventually natural sequels
soon appeared: forbidden from changing prices, the producers either refused
to sell creating a black market for several products or just re-launched new
products with a new higher price," he said.
Other measures introduced included the Plano Cruzado, the Bresser Plan among
other heterodox plans deployed by Brazil to battle inflation. Taunay said
Brazilian authorities would do their best in supporting Zimbabwe to overcome
"I'm a sure if called to come in Brazilian authorities will do their best to
fulfil the needs and requirements of Zimbabwe," he said.
He said Brazil was a giant country but with no imperial behaviour. He noted
that there was need for the speedy establishment of the Zim-Brazil Joint
Commission to enhance economic co-operation between the two countries as
well as exploring new areas of co-operation. Already Zimbabwe and Brazil
have signed co-operation agreements since 1980, which cover areas such as
education, culture, agriculture and renewable energy.
By Blessing Zulu
24 October 2008
The vexed question of Morgan Tsvangirai's passport - or his lack of one for
reasons that are disputed - could top the agenda on Monday when Southern
African Development Community leaders will try break the deadlock in
Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing process.
A government spokesman told VOA on Friday that Tsvangirai would be entitled
to a diplomatic passport if he signs off on an allocation of ministries in
the proposed national unity government - but added that barring such a deal
he must wait in line like any other Zimbabwean.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for
Democratic Change said the government's failure to provide Tsvangirai with a
passport despite his status as prime minister-designate is evidence of bad
faith on the part of the long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert
Mugabe, against whom Tsvangirai is pitted in the deadlock.
MDC and government officials differ over the reason why Tsvangirai failed to
make it Monday to a meeting of the SADC troika or committee on politics in
Mbabane, Swaziland, Harare saying it issued the necessary emergency travel
document, the MDC saying that was insufficient.
SADC officials subsequently shifted the venue to Harare, making a passport
unnecessary, but Tsvangirai's lack of one has come to symbolize his
situation as prime minister-in-waiting with no real powers in a national
unity government that some doubt will ever come into being.
Government officials say Harare lacks special paper for passports - but
ordinary Zimbabweans can get a passport in 24 hours if they pay Z$5
million - or for even faster service, US$250.
But VOA sources say there is also a list of people who will be refused a
passport at any price.
ZANU-PF insiders told VOA that party hardliners have given the bureaucracy
instructions not to issue a passport from Tsvangirai so as to frustrate him.
The MDC says this makes Tsvangirai a prisoner in effect, unable to travel
freely to lobby for support in the Southern African region and beyond, as he
did extensively and effectively in the turbulent period following March
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told reporter Blessing Zulu of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai cannot receive special treatment
as he is still an ordinary citizen.
But political analyst Peter Kagwanja, head of the Africa Policy Institute in
Pretoria, said Harare's denial of a passport to Tsvangirai is an inexcusable
breach of civil rights.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Zimbabwean government and the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) launched a campaign on Friday to raise awareness
about cholera prevention following an outbreak that has claimed at least 120
lives this year.
The campaign was jointly sponsored by UNICEF and Zimbabwe's Ministry of
Health and targeted cellphone users who were received text messages
extolling the virtues of cleanliness during current water shortages.
Zimbabweans were encouraged to wash their hands with soap or ash after
helping sick persons, using the toilet and before handling food.
The cholera alert came as a group of Zimbabwean doctors announced Friday
that an estimated 120 people had died since the beginning of 2008 due to
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights blamed the cholera
outbreak on irregular water supply, burst sewage pipes and uncollected
refuse in most urban areas.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority requires more than US$23 billion to
repair broken infrastructure and restore supplies to cities and towns which
have gone for several months without water.
By Patience Rusere
24 October 2008
The Zimbabwean power-sharing process launched in July and enshrined in
September with a formal agreement has deadlocked and could reach a critical
juncture Monday when a subgroup of leaders of the Southern African
Development Community will try to push the feuding signatories into an
overdue national unity government.
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change
party founded by prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai have traded
recriminations as to who is to blame for the impasse. Since Monday, when
Tsvangirai failed to attend a SADC session in Swaziland, debate has focused
on Tsvangirai's passport - or lack of one.
For perspective on the process and the passport controversy, reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with two London-based
Zimbabwean political analysts: George Shire and Bekhithemba Mhlanga.
Mhlanga said the power-sharing talks were flawed from the outset.
October 25, 2008
By Our Correspondent
THE body of a Zimbabwe Election Commission official who disappeared on June 17 after he attempted to stop postal ballot rigging ahead of the June 27 presidential election was discovered in a hospital mortuary in Norton on Friday, October 17.
The Zimbabwe Times revealed last week that the partially-burnt body of Ignatius Mushangwe, the ZEC’s director of training and development, who was kidnapped by unknown gunmen two weeks before the second round of the violence-ridden presidential elections in June, had been found dumped in the bush the previous day and brought to the mortuary.
The police say they found the semi-decomposed body of Mushangwe Thursday and brought it to the morgue. Mushangwe is said to have been kidnapped allegedly by State security agents. The police in Norton said at the time that they were pursing several leads.
Lance Guma of SW Radio Africa speaks to Liberty Mupakati, a former civil servant who worked with and knew Mushangwe personally and who is well-versed in the personnel and affairs of the ZEC.
The following is the transcript of the interview:
Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to Behind the Headlines. My name is Lance Guma. The body of a senior Zimbabwe Election Commission official who disappeared in June this year, turned up at a hospital mortuary in Norton on Thursday last week.
According to the Zimbabwe Times website the body of Ignatius Mushangwe, the ZEC director of training and development, was found murdered and his partially burnt body dumped in the bush.
Now Mushangwe courted the ire of Mugabe’s regime by leaking information on how the government had printed 9 million ballot papers when there were less than 6 million registered voters. He also exposed how ZEC ordered 600 000 postal ballots to be used by just a few thousand policemen and soldiers. This week on Behind the Headlines we have decided to investigate, who killed Mushangwe and why?
To help us answer some of these questions we have former civil servant, Liberty Mupakati. Thank you for joining us Mr. Mupakati.
Mupakati: Thank…you are welcome.
Guma: Now clearly something happened here which is not right Liberty and first of all who was Mushangwe and apparently you knew him?
Mupakati: I knew him because I actually worked with him for a while in Marondera. I know from the mid-nineties he was the District Registrar for Marondera District. The Registrar Generals’ Department is a department in the Ministry of Home Affairs and he was like responsible for Marondera District there.
Guma: OK and clearly this new position (in ZEC) Director of Training and Development, that was a promotion I take it.
Mupakati: Ya, it was a promotion. After he left Marondera he was actually promoted to go to be the provincial head in Masvingo. And then from Masvingo that’s when he was head-hunted to go to ZEC as a Director of Logistics…..Polling and Logistics.
Guma: Where are these guys gotten from in terms of recruitment? Are they picked up from the army, the prison service or just in general anywhere? Where do these guys get picked up from?
Mupakati: ZEC I think there are only like two people who came from the Registrar General’s department, I think it’s three. Sekeramayi who is the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, he was formerly a deputy to Tobaiwa Mudede. And then you also have the other two. You have Mushangwe and Murenje. They were actually with the Registrar General’s Department.
But the others (Utolile) Silaigwana was in the army, he was a former teacher in the army before his promotion. Then you have Dominic Chidakuza who is the secretary for ZEC. He was a law officer in the Attorney General’s office. And then he was transferred over to ZEC when ZEC was incepted.
And then you also have the others who are soldiers like your (George) Chiweshe formerly a soldier and then later a judge. There should be about two more soldiers in there. Nyikayaramba has since moved on but he is still like part of ZEC, anyway. Most of them are from the army, intelligence services, from the police force and the rank and file civil service.
Guma: Now the Mushangwe scandal if I may call it in terms of the fact that they (allegedly) did kill him, was he the only person targeted. I remember from the pre-interview discussion you mentioned another official.
Mupakati: Obviously, at the height of the problems in ZEC, at the height of the election dispute, soon after the March election when Tsvangirai won and they had to do things, so that he could not get an outright majority.
Obviously there were people within ZEC who were giving out information to other people and my understanding then talking from people within ZEC and other people who worked outside ZEC who had an interest in the outcome of the elections, they thought either Mushangwe or Murenje who is the Director of Training, were out for the taking, which meant one of them could actually be killed for divulging too much information to people who were not necessarily supposed to be knowing what was going on.
Guma: MDC official Morgan Komichi told the Zimbabwe Times that during a Political Parties Liaison Committee meeting, Mushangwe ‘stood his ground in saying that ballot papers should only be issued to police details on duty and not to all and sundry. Is that the reason why you think they lynched him?
Mupakati: Ya obviously it was a culmination of numerous events. As you will recall, soon after the elections, the results were known by, I think it was a Sunday. Just after the results…actually the people who were leaking that information, unfortunately one of them is assumed to be the late Mushangwe.
As you might be aware after the first elections at the end of March, a decision was then taken to get all the soldiers and all the police force and all the prison services staff to actually vote in front of their superiors. The fact that Mushangwe tried to put a spanner in that, tried to actually stand his ground, that obviously what they were planning was illegal, might have, probably, brought his fate much faster than it was planned.
Guma: I see here police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka at the time is said to have complained about Mushangwe. The police then claimed they were looking for him on allegations of ‘failing to distribute postal ballots to the collections centre’ and ‘destroying spoilt ballot papers without authority. Immediately after these threats Mushangwe disappeared. Who can we blame for his death; I mean who would normally carry out such an act, killing a ZEC official?
Mupakati: Ah…I would say there are a number of probabilities. You are looking at maybe people….then Zimbabwe was lawless, all it required was for Mandipaka, probably acting with the blessing of his boss Wayne Bvudzijena to just leak word probably to the Police Internal Security Services (PISI), or probably to Musara Mushana Mabhunda at Law and Order.
If he thought that could be easily traced back to him, he could have leaked word to the war veterans who were by then a force unto themselves. Probably he could have gone through the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) or maybe the army itself. Like I said ZEC is like a collection of who is who from the different agencies who are all capable of killing. I would like to think Mandipaka obviously knows, what, who might actually have killed. I’m thinking he actually ordered the hit after consulting with other powers that be.
Guma: And during this time a lot of things were put on the doorstep of the Joint Operations Command. Do you think they might have run this operation past that particular group?
Mupakati: Like I said, ZEC obviously, ZEC even up to now is just a mere appendage of the all powerful JOC. Obviously for Mandipaka by himself he wouldn’t have authorized such. I think by Zimbabwean standards Mushangwe is quite a fairly senior officer of the state and for him to be killed just like that, required maybe the acquiescence of more senior people. So obviously for Mandipaka or people to decide that maybe they wanted to expend of Mushangwe from the scene, then it would have required the powers that be to sanctify the operation.
Guma: Preliminary post mortem results show that he was strangled before his body was set on fire. Now why would they set his body on fire, what’s the strategy there?
Mupakati: I think probably it could be two-fold. Obviously the body was partially burnt, they didn’t want to burn it completely, because they wanted him to be like, identified. So part of it could be burning as in maybe doing away with evidence, maybe if they wanted DNA traces they wouldn’t do that. So maybe it could have been to wipe off the evidence. And also the burning aspect could be used to instill fear to his other colleagues who still remain in ZEC, that obviously if you cross our line, this is what we are capable of doing, and we can do it with impunity.
Guma: The discovery of the charred body in a public place is the talk of the whole town in Norton. But like I asked you last time when we did this story for news, where was his body? He disappeared some time in June and the body was only discovered now, what could have happened here?
Mupakati: There are a lot of, I wouldn’t say hiding places, but there are a lot places where bodies can actually be kept, so that they are not discovered. If they wanted to like permanently dispose of it, they could have done so without people knowing where he was anyway. I would answer that, maybe the military hospital is one good hiding place, the one close to the airport.
They could have just taken him, put him there and kept him forever and people then won’t say anything, if they are asked to talk. It could be that maybe the body was at the hospital depending on who ordered the hit. And it might actually. It won’t be surprising that maybe in any one of the mortuaries in Harare or maybe in hospitals outside Harare.
All they need, all the people in the mortuaries need, is just the word to say, you aren’t supposed to say anything about this. If you talk we know who obviously works in this hospital, who actually has records of the bodies. So it could have been anywhere. That they decided to dispose of it and dump (it in Norton), obviously it was their way of saying that they wanted his body to be found.
Because when he disappeared obviously part of the state machinery actually leaked that he had fled the country because of what he had done. He was involved in ‘election fraud’. So obviously if they wanted to pursue that line, if they wanted people to believe that line, they could still have maintained that, but someone somewhere thought maybe lets bring closure to the family and get them to know that their loved one is dead. That’s why they dumped their body in Norton.
Guma: It is kind of tragic that with a case like this, after all is said and done, it is kind of obvious who killed him, isn’t it?
Mupakati: Ya, it is, obviously. I think everyone knows he was killed at the behest of the state anyway, Zanu-PF to be honest, I think we can narrow that down and hold Mandipaka (allegedly) responsible. And I think if there was any sort of justice, if the justice system was anything to go by in Zimbabwe then Mandipaka would be the prime suspect obviously because of the heated argument they had in the past and also his statements after they knew they had killed the guy. He was seen then trying to give out these statements that there was a warrant of arrest, when they knew that the guy was dead.
Guma: Now obviously the guys in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission know a lot. They know too much in fact. How does the state deal with them. How do they know they will not get another Mushangwe who will leak information?
Mupakati: I would think maybe probably the way they have handled this case maybe in terms of how they disposed of his body is actually meant to instill fear in the officers who are still there, that maybe if they decide to go against what they are told, then maybe they might suffer the Mushangwe fate.
At the same time there is the (other) side where these people are actually pampered, as it were. They are given, all them have got like three or four cars and I know from what I hear from the people who are working there that they drive, like, the latest 4×4’s. And even people who are cleaners in ZEC have access to these cars. So it’s a way of buying their loyalty, but if that doesn’t work, then they can go to the other extreme which is like kill. They can kill you and maybe bury your body like what they did with Ignatius’ body and just dump it without anything happening to them.
October 25, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A Magistrate in Harare warned two men who forged $20 000 bank notes
that she would send them to jail if they ever appeared before her in
connection with the same offence again.
She found them guilty of an offence under the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act
and sentenced them to four months of community service. This is the first
case involving the forgery of banknotes introduced by the Reserve Bank last
month amid public outrage at the prospect of its vulnerability to
Webster Vambe and Walter Mambo were arrested at a shopping centre in
Highlands this week after they tried to make a purchase in a shop by
tendering a wad of counterfeit Z$20,000.
The two men tried to hide the notes from police after they were confronted.
They had successfully sent a young boy repeatedly to buy various items using
the fake bills at the shopping centre.
The magistrate noted that the two were first time offenders. Sentencing them
at the Rotten Row Magistrates Court Friday, magistrate Gloria Takundwa said:
"It's very serious indeed. I do not want you to find yourselves in the same
position again. If it happens again, we will impose a custodial sentence."
The two were sentenced to four month months of community service.
Takundwa said: "I just want you to understand how serious this is. You have
been very fortunate on this occasion."
The fake banknotes amounting to Z$2 million were ordered destroyed.
Until last week Monday, the highest-denomination bill in print was the
Z$20,000 note. Last week Monday the central bank introduced a Z$50,000 note.
Neither of the new denominations is printed on the regular banknote paper.
The Reserve Bank does not have the money to import the paper, following the
suspension of supplies of banknote paper from the German suppliers. Bank
notes are now printed on ordinary low-quality paper, with no security
features, thus creating a haven for forgers.
Meanwhile, efforts by the Zimbabwe government to legalize trade in foreign
currency are not benefitting ordinary consumers but helping the elite and
dealers on the black-market, a leading economist has said.
The government last month licensed almost 600 shops to sell goods in foreign
currency to help ease shortages of basic goods. Central Bank governor,
Gideon Gono said retailers and wholesalers had been allowed to sell in
foreign money, while motorists were allowed to buy fuel in foreign currency.
Caryn Abrahams, a doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh said in
a discussion paper this week that the supposed aim of the currency reforms
was for the benefit to urban consumers.
"But the truth is that only a certain kind of shielded elites benefit,"
Abrahams said. "Who are the residents who have the means and choice to buy
in US dollars or travel to South Africa to shop? It's certainly not the
ordinary urban resident in Harare.
"There is no doubt that the winners are those who can access forex, the
supermarkets and the barons of the underground market. What emerges is an
interesting convergence of formal economic spaces, legitimate trade, elitist
consumption, and extreme economic stability - a climate perfect for
racketeers and extortionists."
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a political crisis and an economic meltdown.
Basic goods are scarce and the central bank has repeatedly re-denominated
the Zimbabwe dollar to try to keep up with inflation.
Threatening to proceed without MDC, Zanu PF is continuing to engage in
counterfeit ultra-nationalistic rhetoric to disguise an authoritarian agenda
of seizing power at all costs and perpetuating economic inequality. The
usual tricks of pandering to the vague notion of national sovereignty and
popular fears of neocolonialism, antiquated and tasteless as the may be, did
not stop. Last week MDC survived another appeasement attempt. The question
is, will MDC stay unappeasable as the political stalemate continues?
Events surrounding Morgan Tsvangirai's boycott of last week's aborted SADC
summit in Swaziland in protest of the Zimbabwean government's failure to
issue his passport culminated in politics par excellence. The summit was
intended to help broker a deal for Zimbabwe's warring political parties
entangled in a vicious power struggle over the allocation of cabinet
positions. In protest, the MDC leader refused to attend the meeting using a
hastily arranged travel document. It was such a political masterpiece
coupled with prior week's diplomatic offensive that saw the opposition
leader addressing massive rallies to prove that he has the people's mandate.
We need to see more of that. MDC needs to stay on the offensive tactically,
strategically and intellectually.
The people of Zimbabwe have high expectations of an MDC-'engaged'
government. The underlying assumption is that the party will stand up for
the people's interests. It is imperative that MDC puts in place a mechanism
of progressive response to political challenges (even as the negotiations
continue) in order to inspire confidence in the nation. In MDC we want to
see a more planned evolution of events than a haphazard and reactionary
When the details of the GNU finally came in stating that the belligerent
parties had agreed to have among themselves 31 cabinet ministries and 5
kings (President, Prime Minister, Vice President 1, Vice President 2, Deputy
Prime Minister1, Deputy Prime Minister 2), that signified failing the
Surprisingly there was no public opposition to this green light to daylight
robbery. Where are the pragmatists? Such a cabinet is self-serving,
implicitly pointing to a lack of seriousness in dealing with ongoing
macroeconomic instability that has brought the country to its knees. The
structure of the proposed cabinet pays lip service to economic issues. MDC
needs to be sober about the kind of policies that will extricate Zimbabwe
out of the Mugabe-created mess and convince critics that MDC's rise to power
is not a product of a protest vote (just a mere vote against Mugabe).
It is all about exercising our citizens' right to demand honesty and
transparency from our politicians because we are the very taxpayers
responsible for footing that bill. We should therefore remain unimpressed
that MDC nodded to a bloated government, for a bankrupt and diminished
economy like Zimbabwe. In reality the following cabinet posts should suffice
as opposed to the 30+ that are being forced down our throats :
1.. Finance and Economic Development
2.. Agriculture and Water.
4.. Defence and Security
5.. Foreign Affairs
6.. Interior/Home Affairs
7.. Education , Sports and Culture
8.. Industry and Commerce
10.. Labour, Public and Social Services
11.. Local Government
12.. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
13.. Transport, Energy and Communication
14.. Environment, Tourism and Natural Resources
15.. If Appeasement is really necessary!
Certainly, this covers all ministries eliminating waste and duplication.
Zimbabwe needs economic and business technocrats not a whole bunch of
politicians to swell the useless bureaucracy. Both parties are silent about
their grand plans to resuscitate the economy.
Settling for inferior cabinet positions is entirely MDC's choice much to the
betrayal of the people of Zimbabwe who have lived in abject fear, tremendous
poverty and increasing political violence under Mugabe's autocracy. If Zanu
PF is left in charge of the Home Affairs, Defence and Finance portfolios,
the deal will be best described as a mere political apparition that was
meant to bribe the opposition into silence, the same way ZAPU was baited,
infiltrated and obliterated from the face of Zimbabwean politics.
Morgan Tsvangirai needs to calm down and resist strongly all the temptations
that Mugabe throws at him, fully cognizant of the fact that while Mugabe's
time is up his time has come. Mugabe is arm-twisting the MDC. It is not that
Mugabe does not feel the pressure, all he expects is total compliance from
the MDC for the deals he is 'cutting'. In the meantime there is need to
continuously mobilize the civil society through grassroots operations in
case the deal collapses.
It is the same tactic that Mugabe has used to keep Zanu PF machinery oiled
for loyalty purposes for the past 28 years. No wonder it is not uncommon to
find the same Minister having been recycled several times presiding over
different ministries regardless of qualifications. Some were temporarily put
in purgatory by occasionally throwing them off the gravy train until they
got back on patronage track.
By his own admission, Mugabe contended that his last cabinet was the worst
in history. Surprisingly, you can be guaranteed that the same politicians
will make up the 'new' and expanded government without the injection of any
new blood. Retaining the two incompetent Vice Presidents as announced by
Mugabe last week is an insult to all Zimbabweans. It is clear that they have
been chosen out of political consideration even though they are unqualified
to help resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy. Literally Mugabe is rewarding his
'comrades' for criminal acts of economic mismanagement that has left
Zimbabweans in this present calamity.
That leaves the people's hopes in the hands of MDC alone. The quality of
Morgan Tsvangiari's picks for cabinet ministers (though shrouded in
secrecy), will reflect a lot about his leadership and his dedication to move
the country forward. There is already an apparent gap that many in the
diaspora lament. It is a fact that some of Zimbabwe's best and brightest
minds slipped into the diaspora fleeing economic hardships joining the
millions (3-4 million as estimated) already there. Such an 'exile'
population far exceeds the population of Botswana. While South Africa,
Botswana, Namibia, Canada, UK, Australia and the US (among others) are
bleeding with Zimbabwean talent, there is mention of their role in the 'new
In other words there is a whole nation displaced by Mugabe out here. It is
the same diaspora that has helped Zimbabwe stay afloat as exiles send
regularly their remittances back home to help loved ones. One would assume
that if the politicians in Harare are serious about reconstruction, they may
very well allocate at least one of the 31 stupid ministries to Diaspora
Initiative to mobilize resources - human and financial. Zimbabwe's
politicians need a strategy that zeroes in heavily on home-grown solutions
in conjunction with international assistance
The anticipated avalanche of donors who were lined up to help Zimbabwe once
the impasse was fairly resolved will not happen as the global economic
crisis continues to take a toll on the economies of developed countries. The
world's developed nations are facing the toughest economic challenges since
the 1930's Great Depression.
From time immemorial, politicians have proved that they will forever remain
profoundly treacherous as their priorities are deeply entrenched in gaining
more political power than serving their nations. More often than not, they
become the enemies of the very citizens they swear to serve honorably. Last
week I wrote an article entitled "Why civil disobedience will save Zimbabwe,
Africa and the US" (http://nationalvision.wordpress.com). It details a
compelling case for citizens to get involved in issues affecting their own
destiny by rejecting failed leadership.
Throughout its existence, Zanu PF has never been this vulnerable. There are
so many sources of that vulnerability which include an imploding Zanu PF
whose power struggles and divisions can no longer be contained , 'the
economy stupid', Mbeki's ouster, an angry citizenry, a restless SADC, an
energized South Africa and a fast aging dictator called Robert Mugabe. You
can call it serendipity but for Morgan Tsvangirai, history and opportunity
are colluding, adding insult to Zanu PF's woes. Zanu PF is an organization
that failed to reform, a victim of its own greed and malice. All these are
reasons for MDC to be unrelenting by hanging in there with renewed
steadfastness. They party is on the right side of history!
It is the same thing that happened to Barack Obama. Add his intellectual
prowess to unsettling events such as US economic crisis, botched Iraq war
which he strongly denounced, and an increasingly irrelevant Republican Party
that endorsed George Bush's failed policies, we have a winner here! God
forbid, 'Force majeure' such as sniper fire can only stop Obama's White
House bid come November the fourth. Don't say it can't happen because four
US presidents were assassinated before (including notables such as the
president who freed slaves, Abraham Lincoln as well as JF Kennedy, the
president who declared "we will go to the moon." (I think they did!)
I can understand why the Republicans and Zanu PF'ers are squirming in anger
and convulsing in desperation. It is because of the power privileges they
have enjoyed for decades which are now evaporating. These two parties are
finished for now even though the 'comrades' in charge are putting up brave
faces. For a long time these political parties embraced scorched earth
politics, treading on phony ideological platforms. For instance the
Republicans depended on cowboy diplomacy, attacks on patriotism, influencing
politics by religion, voodoo economics and militarism which have succeeded
in causing the largest bankruptcy in US history. Even George Bush stated
that his invasion of Iraq was a mission from God. John McCain's campaign
slogan is "Country first" which can be interpreted to mean that Obama's
campaign is all about "Country last".
After unsuccessfully soiling him as a terrorist (some Republican supporters
even chanting 'Kill the Terrorist' at McCain rallies) and portraying him as
un-American, the McCain campaign now calls Obama a socialist. It is almost
as if Obama is the one who created the Wall Street mess and designed the
bailout plan, even though the US$700 billion bail-out was a bi-partisan
product championed by the White House Republicans led by George Bush. For a
protracted period of time after the stolen 2002 election in Zimbabwe, Morgan
Tsvangirai went on trial for concocted terrorism charges that he had plotted
to kill Mugabe. Eventuallythey were dropped with the contempt they deserved.
We all know that the Republicans' voodoo economics (based on trickle-down
economics) and deregulation that cultivated Wall Street greed were the major
drivers of the collapse.
Regrettably the Republicans forgot to embrace minorities who by 2042 will be
the majority in the US. The Republican Party is the main loser in this US
demographic revolution. In other words they did not embrace future
majorities. Likewise Zanu PF catered for political elites and relegated the
maority out of political and economic mainstream. Both are paying a heavy
Again, the emergence of more political parties is important if Zimbabwe is
to have a healthy democracy going forward. It is unclear whether Simba
Makoni will be able to create a formidable opposition party given his dismal
performance during the last presidential election. Whoever was advising him
needs to have his/her head examined for letting him grope in political
darkness without any trace of political strategy. Many Zimbabweans still
think it was another Mugabe Project like the one led by Arthur Mutambara, an
overrated clown who usurped powers from MDC by leading a breakaway faction
winding up as deputy Prime Minister-designate. MDC almost collapsed as a
result of Mutambara chicaneries. For now, Mutambara and Makoni constitute
MDC-2 and a Zanu PF -2 respectively.
In case he forgets, Morgan Tsvangirai has to be reminded that he is the
legitimate President of Zimbabwe therefore he must act like one. There is no
doubt that the election was indeed stolen. A tactical boycott to force his
opponent to accede is a smart move. However complete withdrawal will be a
strategic blunder. As pointed out above, the situation on the ground shows
that Mugabe cannot win this issue any longer but Tsvangirai can lose it if
his makes silly moves. The 'economy stupid' has dislodged Zanu PF already.
It is no secret that the military backed by war veterans, want Mugabe to
withdraw from the talks. Sadly, if MDC withdraws, it plays to their game
plan. Zimbabwe will retreat into a dangerous pariah state fraught with
increased repression and torture, the magnitude of what is happening in
Sudan. It might very well happen, the viciousness of Mugabe and his men is
on record. Zimbabwe already got a 'sneak preview' of mass murder during the
Gukurahundi (about 20 000 people were murdered) in the early 1980's and as
recently as 2008 when calculated political violence claimed the lies of
Zanu PF is in the midst of a heavy political upheaval. Mugabe has cut a safe
exit strategy for himself by negotiatinganother form of 'life-presidency'.
At 84, and starting a new term, it is possible that Mugabe might not
complete his term either through serious incapacitation or meeting the
This is not a laughing matter but a frightening one. The grandpa is finished
in spite of all the posturing and choreographed climbing of stairs into and
out of the scary Air Zimbabwe. Now, that leaves the rest of his hangmen in
the cold with nightmares of having to stand before 'the Hague' one day.
Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy rewarded Mugabe handsomely even though the
right diplomacy should have resulted in the 'very' old man successfully
being persuaded by Mbeki to step aside and let the winner(Morgan Tsvangrai)
prevail, in honor of the principles of democracy and for the good of Africa.
The fears of Mugabe's hangmen's are not unfounded. Zimbabweans need justice
and they will not rest until the truth is told about who did what, when,
why, how and under whose instructions (among other things). No one will
brush that aside. Any deals cut for the hangmen will only be a short term
expedient. We still have murderers and rapists on the loose out there in the
country. Simply put, the issue is bigger than MDC or Zanu PF.
Over 600 Zimbabweans were murdered during the run-up to the 2002
presidential election while over 150 people were murdered this year alone.
Most of these died in the name of MDC with a conviction that they were going
to live long enough to see their country freed from tyranny. A lot of people
are quick to avoid this subject yet tremendous sacrifices were made and the
nations knows that they did not die in vain. This is a true story about
innocent civilians murdered by heartless politicians.
It is imperative that MDC puts in place a mechanism of progressive response
to political challenges (even as the negotiations continue) in order to
inspire confidence in the people. This might sound simplistic but it is a
necessary sine quanon. The economy needs to have the confidence of the
people if progress is to be made. As an illustration, the US passed a
bail-out plan of $700 billion to save financial institutions from going
under and to breathe some life into the economy. At face value, by any
measure, that is a tonne of money enough to solve the nation's crisis. The
reason Wall Street continues to crumble and the economy continues to teeter
is that the people have no confidence in the politicians and the economy
anymore. The people of Zimbabwe need to hear incessantly the message of
hope, political renewal and change, prospects of peace and prosperity as
well as justice and equality.
In the final analysis, MDC needs to redeem itself from the threat of
insignificance. In spite of all the sympathy and goodwill that are behind
the MDC brand, there is still an urgent need to craft a coherent long term
strategy and contingency planning well in advance because hope alone is not
a strategy especially when Zanu PF's plot is thickening. MDC must convince
the people that it is capable of delivering victory. As people continue to
face life-threatening problems everyday, MDC has to demonstrate that it has
the capacity to deal with the crisis.
Dr Paul Mutuzu is the CEO of the National Vision Institute: An independent
economic and political strategy think tank focusing on Zimbabwe and the
Southern Africa Region. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit his blog on
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
24 October 2008
Posted to the web 24 October 2008
WITHOUT a doubt President Robert Mugabe has not been amply cooperative with
the MDC since the signing of the power-sharing agreement last month. He was
bound to act like that once he had recovered from the March 29 shock defeat
and there was a let-up on pressure at home and abroad.
Off the hook, at least for now, Mugabe has predictably become somewhat
obstreperous and hard-nosed. That is his unwholesome trademark. He was like
that even during the Lancaster House talks. Mugabe was only forced to accept
a compromise agreement by Lord Carrington's ruthless bargaining strategy and
irresistible pressure from Julius Nyerere, Samora Machel and Kenneth Kaunda.
He was also uncompromising during the 1987 Unity Accord talks. Taking
advantage of the situation, characterised by grisly massacres in the western
region, he arm-twisted Zapu into a hopeless agreement which only served to
destroy a viable opposition party and put the country on a fast track to a
one-party state and eventual near-destruction.
Joshua Nkomo, after surviving an assassination attempt and fleeing the
country, capitulated to stop genocide and ensure peace and stability.
Compared to Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, Nkomo had no room to
manoeuvre and that resultantly ensured Mugabe secured almost everything he
wanted: the dissolution of Zapu and elimination of serious opposition, a de
facto one-party state and near-absolute power.
At Lancaster House he was forced into a compromise because he had no serious
However, in the current negotiations Mugabe's leverage has diminished but is
still substantial and that's why he acts intransigently.
In the process he has got negotiations stuck fast in pointless haggling and
trivialities. Every rational person, except his unrepentant and unreformed
apologists and hangers-on of the obsequious variety, can clearly see his
formula of distributing ministries is simply illogical.
By endorsing Mugabe's unilateral allocation of ministries Thabo Mbeki has
proved he is not an honest broker. How can Mugabe seize all important
ministries and the mediator endorse that?
For someone who to all intents and purposes was defeated in the
substantially free and fair March election, albeit inconclusively, before he
unleashed a vicious campaign of violence and intimidation, to act as if he
won a credible and legitimate election is asking for too much.
Mugabe and his party have always won elections, except when not under
serious threat, through violence and fear. Violence and intimidation were
the decisive factors in 1980, 1985, 1990, 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2008.
That is why it is a partisan and unhelpful falsification of history to claim
Mugabe was a good leader in the first 10 or 20 years of Independence. That's
Admittedly, he did well in many areas, especially during the first decade of
self-rule but overall his record is dismal. The killings, brutalities and
disappearances that have continued since the 1980s, the crackdown on
opposition parties, civil society and media, trampling on the constitution,
breakdown of the rule of law, the impunity, the lashing out at everyone and
everything suspected of dissent, and the scandalous ruining of the economy
all ensure Mugabe's place in the hall of tyrants is secure.
Mugabe's biography by David Smith and Colin Simpson reveals in detail how
Zanu PF won in 1980. Even though it was very popular, Zanu PF won largely
through intimidation. Mugabe and his party were uncertain they would win,
his biographers say, but they turned the tide in their favour and secured
victory through "violence and intimidation".
The last Rhodesian governor Lord Soames told Mugabe at Government House just
before the 1980 election that "you will win, but I will never forget that's
through a campaign of violence and intimidation".
Soames said whereas other parties like Zapu and the UANC ran political
campaigns, "you are running a para-military campaign". Mugabe used the same
method before June 27.
So what's new under the sun?
Against this backdrop, how can Mugabe expect to retain almost exclusive
executive power as he has done and all important ministries as well when
everybody -- including himself --- knows only too well that he lost the
first round of the election and only managed to stage a comeback in the
second round via a wave of terror?
How does Mugabe and Zanu PF expect the people and the international
community to buy into this obvious deception?
If Mugabe is allowed to get away with it again, then there would be no deal
to talk about. Already this deal preserves Mugabe's rule and the status quo
even though it offers an opportunity for the MDC, particularly in such a
state of flux and shifting field of struggle.
Why would the MDC, even if some of its power-hungry officials can't wait to
get into their plush offices and Mercs and join the gravy train, accept such
a raw deal?
The agreement, bad as it is, may be the only viable option on the table but
it must not be used to perpetuate failed policies, repression and poverty by
the authors of this national tragedy.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The feckless failure of Zimbabwe's neighbors in Southern Africa to stop
Robert Mugabe's illegitimate seizure of power was on full display this week
when he denied the legitimate president of his country a passport to attend
the latest session of "power-sharing" talks on Zimbabwe's future.
Morgan Tsvangirai, who by all accounts won the March presidential election,
was prevented from attending a meeting scheduled for this week in Swaziland.
Attendees were to discuss the latest twists and turns in the effort by the
Southern African Development Community to resolve the constitutional crisis
created when Mr. Mugabe used the police and army to openly steal a run-off
election required under Zimbabwean law.
The meeting was rescheduled to take place in the Zimbabwean capital of
Harare on Monday so that Mr. Tsvangirai, still without a passport, can
The sad truth is that the power-sharing deal worked out under the guidance
of Mr. Mugabe's neighbor, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, leaves Mr.
Tsvangirai without weapons, and the new talks are unlikely to change that
Mr. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe by force since he was first elected in the
early 1980s, and the current deal gives him continuing control of the army
and police. Without those portfolios, Mr. Tsvangirai has no power, whatever
the pretense that the agreement "shares" the powers of the government
between the two men.
Mr. Mugabe's power play in denying his rival a passport only serves to
underline the hollowness of the deal sponsored by President Mbeki. Under the
circumstances, it is astonishing that some African leaders were promoting
Mr. Mbeki for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
Unless regional leaders find some backbone and tell Mr. Mugabe and his
generals that their time is over, the tyrant appears set to rule for life.
And the turmoil and further emigration that will result will not only
complete the destruction of Zimbabwe's already collapsed economy, it will
spread disorder throughout Southern Africa. When that happens, Zimbabwe's
neighbors will have only themselves, and particularly Thabo Mbeki, to thank.
October 25, 2008 | By Patrick Huni
Most Zimbabweans are saddened by the protracted, drawn out negotiations that
are obviously leading nowhere. As an occasional marriage counsellor, I am
inclined to advise young lovers to avoid taking the step if they see their
conflicts are too many, too heated and leave them regretting how they ever
came to know each other.
Some are under the false impression that things will improve after marriage,
but the truth is new conflicts await them as they adjust to each other's
character and personality.
Chemistry is therefore that platonic bond that makes lovers overcome odds
that arise later as these adjustments are taking place.
African culture, however, encourages accommodation between partners even
where there are deep-rooted incompatibilities 'for the sake of the children'.
In fact, in African culture 'love' is not a concept strong enough in itself,
one cannot walk away from a relationship because they have lost their 'love'
for the other party.
But this advice is for those already committed to a relationship, which over
time has produced 'children', the parties only realising their
incompatibilities at a later date. Usually, incompatibilities arise
because of either party's failure to defer and submit to the other.
For that reason, a marriage relationship has a defined power structure, the
defined head being the husband. It does happen that you get reversed roles
where a husband submits to his wife for all intents and purposes, all as a
dynamic for the marriage to work.
The power sharing agreement in Zimbabwe is supposed to be a marriage of
equals. Zanu PF went into the agreement assuming they are to be head in the
marriage; the remarks of Chinamasa that a wife cannot go calling mediators
at the first sign of a fight are instructive to the regime's thinking. The
'wife' is none other than MDC in both its formations.
Mbeki as mediator is of the same conviction as Zanu PF's thinking. How else
can you explain his mediation position which is mostly aimed at persuading
MDC to accept what is on offer with the hope of consolidating on their gains
with time? Mbeki's facilitation position in the last round of talks leaked
to the press has dispelled all suspicion that he is indeed a spoiler, a fly
in the soup of a genuine power-sharing deal.
In his proposal, he deliberately avoids Ministries MDC has already kind of
'ceded' as not too critical in their quest to revive Zimbabwe, but are all
the same very key power ministries. Typically, he ignores the fact that
Defence, Information & Publicity and Foreign Affairs are also ministries in
dispute which MDC may be prepared to forgo if they got finance and home
affairs, among others. Mbeki proposes the sharing of the ministry home
affairs, ignoring the fact that Defence is already with Zanu PF.
My own insight is that the MDC may have deliberately opted out of the
discussions in Swaziland hiding behind the passport façade because they
believed the Troika and SA would gang up on them to accept Mbeki's lame
proposals, threatening them with isolation and pledging support to Mugabe
if MDC refused to comply and got dumped in formation of a new government.
That would explain Biti's call for a full SADC summit instead of a
determination at this dubiously comprised Troika.
For the same reason, they may wish to boycott the October 27 Troika meeting
in Harare on the 'spurious' issue of the passport; but like in any marriage,
it is the small issues that reflect the true heart of the other party. It is
such straws that ultimately break the proverbial camel's back.
The question to answer then is can a marriage of equals work? Some would
argue yes, with enough pre-nuptial contracts in place, particularly if the
marriage is for a short, defined time. Such a relationship would be purely
professional, almost like legitimised prostitution; therefore the benefits
must be categorically identified upfront before consummation of the same.
Others will argue that equals need a winner takes all contest. I like a
football cup final because you can bet your last dime that come end of the
game, one set of players will be riding high with joy while others will be
reduced to tears, as their defeat will be sinking in. Does anyone remember
John Terry's tears after this year's UEFA Champions League final? He was
If SADC and AU leaders believe this marriage can work, they should take the
bull, read as RG Mugabe, by the horns and explain to him what they meant by
a 50-50 power sharing arrangement. They should then help the two leaders do
a clean divide of the security ministries, the natural resources ministries,
the industry & finance ministries and the rest of the ministries.
There can be a moratorium on political prosecutions for the duration of the
marriage, the next government after that can decide what to do. A lot will
also depend on the goodwill displayed during the inclusive partnership.
If SADC and AU leaders know that power sharing will not work, they must
organise a rematch for these political foes in a "winner takes all" contest
that they also referee and supervise. Mugabe must be given these options, a
fair inclusive Government or new internationally supervised elections? We
need strong leadership in Africa.
The fact is that were it not for Samora Machel who took a hardliner stance
on the Patriotic Front, they had refused the Lancaster House Agreement.
Machel told them plainly he was not going to support their war a day longer
if they snubbed the 'good' deal. Who today can read the riot act to
our wayward leaders? If Zimbabwe cannot get decisive guidance at this
juncture, prospects of a peaceful settlement are dwindling.
While African, Zanu PF and MDC leaders are bickering, they ought to remember
that people still reserve the right to take up matters into their own hands
when they feel that "enough is enough". I see another Mbuya Nehanda arising.
Editor's Note: Patrick Huni is a political commentator based in
Johannesburg, South Africa.