By Millie Phiri
Harare, October 25, 2009 - The three signatories to Zimbabwe's Global
Political Agreement (GPA), which brought about the inclusive government, are
expected to meet on Monday although it is unclear what will be on the
The meeting follows a request by the leader of the main Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) faction, Morgan Tsvangirai, who recently announced
that his party will not be engaging with Zanu PF on all matters pertaining
to the inclusive government until all outstanding issues are dealt with.
The state-owned Herald said Saturday the three leaders were expected
to meet on Monday on a "routine" meeting. "Earlier this week, Mr Tsvangirai
asked to meet President Mugabe and the request was granted. The three
principals to the GPA are expected to meet on Monday, for their routine
meeting," said the paper.
A Zimbabwe minister also said last Wednesday he was hopeful President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai would meet this week to resolve
disputes that forced the MDC to boycott the unity goverment.
Welshman Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister and secretary general
of a splinter MDC headed by Arthur Mutambara, told industrialists at an
investment conference, that Tsvangirai's decision to disengage from Mugabe
ZANU-PF had shaken renewed investor confidence in the country.
The MDC boycott has sparked the country's biggest political crisis
since the formation of a new administration and while analysts say the
decision may not mean the end of the fragile coalition, it will put pressure
on regional leaders to act.
"I am happy to say that in the last 48 hours the political leadership
of the three political parties have resolved that they need to holistically
look at the issues that have led to the current situation," Ncube said. "We
hope that in the next two to three days there will be a meeting of the three
leaders to discuss those issues."
Ncube's boss and deputy prime minister Mutambara met Mugabe on Monday
over the MDC boycott. Mutambara urged Mugabe to "shape up or ship out",
accusing him of derailing the unity government progress.
'The matters the people are complaining about in the MDC-T are that we
should now voluntarily, from our side, you see, give away aspects of our
authority, we will not do that," said Mugabe commenting on the MDC's
decision for the first time on Saturday. "They can go to any summit, any
part of the world to appeal - that will not happen.''
Tsvangirai last week was on a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) tour to meet leaders and brief them on the party's decision and to
seek their intervention in the Zimbabwe crisis. Media reports said last
week, DRC President Joseph Kabila had agreed to travel to Zimbabwe soon to
mediate in the political crisis.
Mugabe said no party in the inclusive Government could give another an
ultimatum since the Government subsisted by virtue of agreements between the
Despite MDC-T's antics, the President said he was sure the party's
leadership would not leave Government. ''I do not read that they would want
to leave the inclusive Government, I think that they will come back to it
Meanwhile the Sunday Standard said the Ministry of Media, Information
and Publicity had ordered Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and other
state-controlled newspapers to stop covering MDC-T ministers until the party
reverses its decision to suspend contact with Zanu PF.
ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere was said to have told the
state broadcaster's senior editors about the directive on Friday evening.
The paper quoted sources saying all radio stations and ZTV had
dropped all stories where MDC-T ministers are the main sources following
"He said the ministry said the MDC-T ministers cannot speak on behalf
of government following their decision to disengage," said the source. "So
until the party reverses its decision, the ministers will not be covered."
The MDC-T has said it remains part of government but will not attend
cabinet and council of ministers meetings with Zanu PF until outstanding
issues in their power-sharing agreement are resolved.
MDC Secretary-General, Tendai Biti, told a meeting with civic society
on Friday that the decision to disengage had been made after the MDC had
realised that the transitional government had been arrested and there was no
movement in resolving outstanding issues.
"We are disengaging from forums that we interact with Zanu PF at the
executive arm of government, which is the Cabinet and Council of Ministers,"
He added that the MDC felt insulted by the way the party's
Treasurer-General and deputy Agriculture minister designate, Senator Roy
Bennett had been treated by the State following his arrest on trumped-up
charges, the none appointment of MDC provincial governors, the unilateral
appointments by President Robert Mugabe of the Attorney General, the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, the alteration of Ministerial mandates and the
resurgence of violence in most areas across the country, among other issues.
He said other toxic issues included the continued persecution of MDC
MPs and other party functionaries, the disregard of the rule of law, the
slow pace of Constitutional, media and the security sector reforms.
"The National Security Council only met once and it was just
introductions, they have not properly met as is mandated by the GPA," said
He said hate speech in the public media, farm invasions, the
militarisation of the country side and the lack of respect for the MDC as an
equal partner had poisoned the political relationship with Zanu PF.
However, Biti said the party was still carrying out consultations with
the people of Zimbabwe which will end on 31 October 2009.
But Mugabe said:''There is nothing in the GPA that has not been done
by Zanu-PF, nothing at all. We have fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted
us to fulfil; the legal aspects we were very accurate about them. The
swearing in of all those who were supposed to be sworn in, that was done
timeously and in an appropriate manner.The matters that had to do with what,
beyond the legal aspect we had to do, we have done.''
Mugabe said removing sanctions, which he viewed as the MDC's
responsibility, was fundamental, much more than the appointment of
governors. "Anyway that is a matter that is within the prerogative of the
President and that is for me to decide,'' he said.
Written by Zimbabwe mail
Sunday, 25 October 2009 15:46
Armed State agents raided a house belonging to Zimbabwe Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's party claiming they were searching for weapons, a top
party official said on Saturday.
"Last night armed police numbering over 50 raided this residence on
the pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the
army," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary general Tendai Biti
"They ransacked every room and took a bunch of valuable party material
from a room occupied by our organising secretary Morgan Komichi. "They beat
up the wife and sister of the caretaker before they started digging part of
the garden ostensibly in search of weapons. "The decision we took last week
and the efforts we are making in government to protect public funds all have
to do with these acts of frustration."
Party leaders such as Tsvangirai's deputy Thokozani Khupe, chairman
Lovemore Ncube and youth leader Thamsanqa Ncube used to occupy the house
until they were given official state residences, Biti said. Biti said the
raid was the work of members of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and
security forces opposed to the country's power-sharing government.
There were fears the police may have "planted" weapons during the
raid, Biti said.
The raid came days after the MDC said it was suspending contact with
Mugabe's party in the power-sharing government to protest over delays in
resolving outstanding issues stalling the work of the government. "We regard
this as further evidence of lack of a paradigm shift on the part of ZANU-PF
to treat us as an equal partner," Biti said.
"We regard it as serious evidence of a few in ZANU-PF and securocrats
who want us out of the government. "On our part, this is nothing new. They
will continue to plant arms and attempt to kill us but we will look the
dictatorship in the eye
October 25 2009 , 9:45:00
John Nyashanu, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's police spokesperson Wayne Bvindzijena says they will
investigate the raiding of a house belonging to the leader of the country's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai. MDC
Secretary-General Tendai Biti says the police conducted the raid under the
pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the army.
He says they ransacked every room and took a bunch of valuable party
material from a room occupied by organising secretary Morgan Komichi.
Tsvangirai was yesterday accused by President Robert Mugabe of failing to
act in the national interest after withdrawing his support for the country's
fragile unity government.
Tsvangirai's MDC said earlier this month that it would no longer
co-operate with Mugabe's Zanu-PF. The move is in protest at the renewed
detention on terror charges of the Prime Minister's aide, Roy Bennett.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in South Africa has come out
to say a favourable exit strategy for Mugabe is the only way he will
relinquish power. The DA says such a strategy should guarantee him and his
generals immunity from prosecution.
By Griffin Shea (AFP) - 4 hours ago
PLUMTREE, Zimbabwe - Onias was 16 years old when he ran away from his home
in rural Zimbabwe. Schools were shuttered and his village had run out of
food. But after his mother died, leaving him an orphan, he set out on his
So he borrowed some money from a friend and made his way to the border with
Botswana some 250 kilometres (150 miles) away, slipping across unnoticed at
once of the many rural crossing points.
He made it as far as Francistown, Botswana's second city located near the
border, where he spent months doing odd gardening jobs until police stopped
him last month.
"The police stopped me on my way home. They said, 'We need to see your
passport'. But I didn't have a passport," Onias said.
Onias is among the average 110 Zimbabweans deported by Botswana every day, a
small fraction of the 100,000 Zimbabweans believed living illegally in the
country, according a report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Like most of the deportees, he simply can't afford a passport, which costs
143 US dollars, slightly less than Zimbabwe's per capita gross domestic
product last year which was 200 dollars.
The UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) runs a centre just
inside the Zimbabwean border, where Botswana authorities take the deportees
in clean white trucks.
Some have little more than the clothes they're wearing, but others unload an
astonishing cache of plasma televisions, kitchen appliances and overstuffed
sacks of clothing -- whatever the authorities would allow them to pack.
IOM gives them a meal, medical care if needed, a place to spend the night,
and helps them organise transportation to their homes in Zimbabwe. Minors
like Onias are given an escort for their trip home, explained Andrew Gethi,
who manages the centre.
Since Zimbabwe's unity government took office in February, the numbers of
deportees have dropped sharply, down from a peak of 237 a day in January,
Traffic across the border generally has slowed, as Zimbabwe's economy has
stabilised with the abandoning of the local currency, left worthless after
years of hyperinflation.
Shops that were empty last year have re-stocked while import restrictions
have eased, meaning Zimbabweans can again buy food locally.
"The number of cross-border traders has dropped, because goods are locally
available again," Gethi said, adding that tens of thousands of Zimbabweans
still cross the border legally every month.
Botswana's migration problem is small compared to the estimated 1.2 million
Zimbabweans living in South Africa, but has an outsized effect on a nation
with only 1.9 million people.
The exiles are among the at least two million Zimbabweans who have fled
their country's daily hardships, forming a lifeline to their families back
Since Harare abandoned its local currency, remittances from relatives abroad
is one of the only ways rural Zimbabweans can receive the foreign currency
now needed to survive.
For that reason, the overwhelming sentiment among the deportees is the
painful shame that they can no longer provide for their families.
"I left everything in Botswana. I was working as a hair stylist, and now
I've come back empty-handed," said a woman who gave her name only as Molly.
She was arrested in eastern Botswana town of Serowe, but said her family in
Zimbabwe would never learn of her deportation.
"I have to go back to my business," she said.
Botswana spends more than any country in the region except South Africa on
deportations, about 285,000 dollars a month, according to the UNHCR study.
But South Africa this year stopped deporting Zimbabweans after changing its
immigration laws to grant them 90-day, renewable visas that allow them to
Botswana's labour ministry said last month that authorities were also
considering changes to its policy of arresting and deporting illegal
migrants, but no new proposals have been announced.
Meanwhile, many of the deportees say they will just slip across the
800-kilometre (500-mile) border.
"We are going back tonight," said Andrew Patson as he registered to receive
a meal at the IOM centre. "We miss home, but we can't go home empty-handed."
Written by The Zimbabwean
Friday, 23 October 2009 12:44
HARARE - A leading child rights group has urged the Registrar General
(RG)'s office to assist children on farms obtain birth certificates, saying
that most children living in farm communities did not have the birth
registration documents exposing them to abuse including child labour.
The Coalition Against Child Labour Zimbabwe (CACLAZ) said a survey it
carried out recently showed that nearly 90 percent of children on farms do
not have birth certificates and therefore their ages could not be verified,
a situation that some unscrupulous elements were taking advantage of to hire
these children as labour.
The group implored the RG's office to make special provisions such as
setting up mobile registration offices on farms to make it easier for
families to obtain birth certificates for their children.
Group project coordinator Pascal Masocha said: "CACLAZ would like to
implore the Registrar General's office to give special attention to children
and parents in farm communities with a view to help them acquire the
documents at affordable costs, and also to have mobile registration offices
with a special focus on these communities."
The RG's department does not charge Zimbabweans to obtain birth
certificates but most of the department's offices are located in towns and
at rural district administration centres that are in most cases far removed
from farming areas and many families cannot afford the cost of transport to
the registration offices.
RG Tobaiwa Mudede was not immediately available for comment on the
The CACLAZ said in according to size of family. addition to being
conscripted to work as child labourers, many children on farms are unable to
proceed with education because they cannot write public examinations without
The lack of the identity documents also made it difficult for families
to register all their children to receive food and other humanitarian
assistance that is often given
Written by NEVER CHANDA
Friday, 23 October 2009 13:25
HARARE - Diamonds from Zimbabwe's Chiadzwa field are being smuggled as
far as Sierra Leone and Guyana as an international pressure group last week
blasted the industry watchdog of manufacturing "polite fiction" to cover up
for shortcomings by Zimbabwean authorities.
Partnership Africa Canada, an Ottawa-based group fighting for the
eradication of "blood diamonds" around the world, said Zimbabwe exhibited a
wide variety of serious problems ranging from smuggling and illegal seizure
of diamond leases to outright denial of easily verifiable murder and human
rights abuse in its diamond fields.
"In 2009, Zimbabwean industrial diamonds, easily identified by their
size and colour, showed up as far afield as Guyana and Sierra Leone," said
Partnership Africa Canada in a publication titled "Other Facets" released
It accused the Kimberley Process (KP) of turning a blind eye to the
illegal activities taking place in Zimbabwe and other diamond-producing or
"If low-value diamonds like these travel that far and that easily in
search of a laundry, it is clear than high value goods have even greater
range and speed," the group observed.
The group said the KP in particular was not doing anything to stem a
thriving illegal diamond market that has emerged in Mozambique's Manica town
which is supplied with the precious mineral smuggled out of Zimbabwe by army
and government officials.
"Just five miles across the border from Marange in Mozambique a
vibrant trade in smuggled diamonds flourishes for anyone to see. It has
taken the Kimberley Process a full year of internal bickering and public
embarrassment to reach the point where an exemplary decision may (or may
not) be made," PAC said.
The military are now accused of press-ganging local people to mine for
them in return for a pittance.
The crackdown saw widespread arrests, beatings and killings of anyone
suspected of involvement in unsanctioned diamond mining or smuggling.
The KP and human rights groups have accused Mugabe of authorizing
attacks on artisan miners by the army.
Human rights abuses
The KP review team that visited Zimbabwe in July recommended the
country addressed security issues in Chiadzwa by demilitarising the diamond
fields and also take steps to address allegations of human rights abuses by
the security forces.
Pressure groups have accused the KP of not taking decisive action on
the atrocities on Zimbabwe's diamond fields.
"Regardless of whether KP participants agree or not, Zimbabwe has been
covering its diamonds with blood - an example if one was needed of how
quickly a polite fiction can descend into chaos and murder," said PAC.
In June the New York-based pressure group, Human Rights Watch cited
accounts from more than 100 witnesses, miners, police officers, soldiers and
children alleging human rights abuses by troops.
It said its researchers had gathered evidence of mass graves and
accounts of an incident in which military helicopters fired on miners while
armed soldiers on the ground chased villagers away.
Villages and towns deemed too close to the diamond fields were
demolished and their residents forced to move away.
At the height of the mini-boom and before the military crackdown, the
nearby city of Mutare was seen as a "wild west" town with cash-rich miners
flaunting their wealth in new goods, cars and US dollars.
The diamonds would be smuggled out through the nearby Mozambique
border where dealers from Lebanon, Belgium, Iraq, Mauritania and the Balkans
were waiting to buy in cash.
October 25, 2009
VIOLET Gonda of SW Radio Africa's Hot Seat programme got more than what she
had bargained for when one of her two guests, Didymus Mutasa, Minister of
State for Presidential Affairs, hung up the phone up on her in the middle of
a live interview.
Mutasa and Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office,
presented their respective parties' positions with regard to the political
deadlock currently threatening to tear apart the fragile government of
national unity. Before his dramatic exit Mutasa said Zanu-PF was not taking
any notice of the MDC boycott. He said the MDC leaders were behaving like
"little babies". He said the boycott would not take the MDC far or achieve
Meanwhile, Moyo argued that out of 34 important items that were agreed to in
the GPA, only four had been fully implemented, because of stalling by
Zanu-PF. He said the MDC would maintain its boycott until there were
(Broadcast on October 23, 2009)
VIOLET GONDA: My guests on the programme Hot Seat are Didymus Mutasa, the
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Gorden Moyo, the Minister of
State in the Prime Minister's Office. With the political deadlock
threatening to tear apart the fragile coalition government I started by
asking Minister Mutasa for ZANU PF's reaction to the MDC boycott.
DIDYMUS MUTASA: Well, that is what they have decided to do but I do not
think that it will take them far because it is giving them a very bad name.
There's no reason why they should boycott, they should have sat down as they
are hoping to do now, as principals, and talked. But to go on strike like
little babies is not what the Global Political Agreement is all about. So I
think it's a very silly thing that they are doing, and I do not think that
it will achieve them anything.
GONDA: Right, and you say they have gone on strike like little babies but
the MDC have said that there's a stalemate on the issue of outstanding
issues and that is why it is appealing to SADC to intervene. Can you give us
your assessment of . interrupted
MUTASA: That's nonsense, that's nonsense. The outstanding issues are wide -
for us the most important outstanding issue is the question of sanctions not
the issue that Bennett has been arrested and is going through the courts of
justice. That's nonsense. Why aren't they doing something? Why do they not
boycott because the Americans and the European Union are refusing to lift
sanctions, which are a more important issue for this country than the arrest
and trial of Bennett.
GONDA: I'll ask you shortly about the issue of sanctions but what about the
other outstanding issues that they've talked about? For example the
appointment of the Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono and the Attorney
General, Johannes Tomana? What is Zanu-PF's position on this?
MUTASA: For goodness sake, for goodness sake, let me say I wonder why you
are repeating that because that is nonsense! What has that to do with the
Global Agreement? The fact that the President of this country has the right
and power to do so and that he has done so - it's a finished accompli (sic).
And so why are they raising it because they know that our President is not
going to change his mind about that and there's nothing outstanding about
GONDA: But Minister Mutasa, Gono is widely accused by the MDC of being
responsible for the trashing of the economy and the Attorney General is
accused of abusing the legal system, so if your party is interested in
moving the country . interrupted
MUTASA: Are you, are you yourself a member of the MDC?
GONDA: No I'm not but.
MUTASA: .and if you are.
GONDA: .I'm a journalist.
MUTASA: Then you should ask your questions a little better than that.
GONDA: How would you want me to ask them?
GONDA: How would you want me to ask you on the issue of Gideon Gono and
Tomana, because. interrupted
MUTASA: Because you are convinced, you seem to be convinced that Gideon Gono
has done something wrong about the economy of this country and that is
nonsense. There is nothing wrong that Gideon Gono. interrupted
GONDA: I have said. interrupted
MUTASA: Excuse me. There's nothing wrong that Gideon Gono has done about the
economy of this country. He is in fact a man who has done everything to
sustain the economy of this country and I do not understand why you, who is
where you are, are speaking like that and in fact that is what our President
has referred to as information imperialism. You are just repeating what
other people have repeated in the past and that is absolute nonsense.
GONDA: With all due respect minister, I'm asking these questions according
to what the MDC is saying. For example the Finance Minister has said the
Central Bank's operations are illegal, so with that perception that Gono and
someone like Tomana's actions have polluted the current environment, how do
you think this has to be resolved?
MUTASA: Well my dear that is going to go on. Tomana is going to remain the
Attorney General of this country and Gideon Gono is going to be the governor
of our Reserve Bank and that is full stop.
GONDA: But. interrupted
MUTASA: And the less you repeat it the better for everybody.
GONDA: Surely if there is a deadlock over just these two men, they are mere
MUTASA: There is no deadlock my dear, there is no deadlock! Let me repeat
that again. There is no deadlock because our President is not going to do
anything about it!
GONDA: Well there is a deadlock because the MDC right now - the Prime
Minister is touring the region. interrupted
MUTASA: And then they can go on strike and be themselves like little babies
and Zimbabwe is going to go on without them as it has gone on without them
in the past.
GONDA: And you. interrupted
MUTASA: Don't you think, and don't ever think or believe that this country
is going to stop because of the reactions of the MDC. It is simply going to
go on and none of us is going to take any notice of what they are doing
because they are behaving like little babies.
GONDA: OK, hear me out on this one and tell me if it is only the MDC that's
behaving like little babies as you have said. The MDC is complaining that Mr
Mugabe is refusing to swear in Roy Bennett as their MDC Deputy Minister of
Agriculture and then on the other hand you have these individuals from your
party, Gono and Tomana, so surely all these people are individuals, why not
just let them go and all parties agree to appoint new people? Isn't this
what a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe should be about?
MUTASA: A new Zimbabwe with who? A new Zimbabwe with criminals or people who
are charged with criminal offences like Bennett, Roy Bennett? And you say
that is the sort of new Zimbabwe that you are thinking of, or the MDC is
thinking of, my dear it's not the sort of Zimbabwe that we are looking for.
GONDA: But when you say Roy Bennett. interrupted
MUTASA: We do not want a Zimbabwe that is governed by people who are charged
of offences that the court is still in the process of assessing.
GONDA: You know I actually spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara last week and he said it is very interesting that you are
concentrating on Roy Bennett's case and that Robert Mugabe is refusing to
swear him in because he is facing serious charges in the courts but Mr
Mutambara went on to say there are people like himself, like Tendai Biti and
even people like Patrick Chinamasa from your party who was actually
convicted but still he was sworn into the new government. So why is Roy
Bennett different when you have other people - even like the Deputy Prime
Minister who is facing charges in the courts?
MUTASA: My dear I have never heard of those other charges that you are
talking about. If that is what the Deputy Prime Minister told you then he
probably knows where those charges were arising from, and which court
decided on them. I don't know any of that. I don't know that Patrick
Chinamasa is under any charge, I don't know even that the Deputy Prime
Minister himself or Biti have any criminal offences that they are facing.
GONDA: What about you yourself, are you not facing charges of contempt of
court? Didn't a Chinhoyi magistrate just recently. interrupted
MUTASA: where, who told you that? That is absolute rubbish.
GONDA: Did you not.
MUTASA: I have never.
GONDA: Did you not call Magistrate Ngoni Nduna just a few days ago very
MUTASA: Where have you heard that? Where have you heard that from my dear?
There is absolutely nothing like that. I have not appeared before any court
for contempt of court. Contempt of which court?
GONDA: Were you not supposed to appear in a Chinhoyi court to testify in a
case involving a Chinhoyi farmer Robert Mckersie and you were subpoenaed to
give evidence. interrupted
MUTASA: What was the offence? Excuse me - to be subpoenaed is not facing a
GONDA: I did not say you are facing a criminal charge but you were supposed
to have testified in court and you failed to attend.
MUTASA: My dear you are actually talking about something that you don't
understand and I would rather you please stop this interview because you don't
really know what you are talking about.
GONDA: So can you tell us what it is about?
MUTASA: What it is about is simply a subpoena that I should appear and be a
witness against myself and I have never heard of that process of law
anywhere in the world.
GONDA: Why were you going to testify against yourself?
MUTASA: Excuse me. I don't know what it is all about except that some white
man is being required to vacate the farm that he thinks is still his and I
am being required to say why he should leave. He should leave because there
is a land reform programme going on in this country and I have allocated
that land to someone else in terms of the land reform programme and that's
all. So there's really nothing, you know outside the law of this country and
it is all the right thing to be done because of the land reform programme.
It is all done legally and so there is absolutely nothing wrong that is
happening here, but you are talking as if everything that has been done .
and I have as you say I have been before the courts, charged with contempt
of court and all that which is all nonsense.
GONDA: No but there's a warrant of arrest for you Mr Mutasa.
MUTASA: That's not true. You are telling lies. interrupted
GONDA: According to the magistrate there is a warrant of arrest for you.
MUTASA: There is no, first of all there is no warrant of arrest for me. That
is all nonsense and it is a lie. Please madam and I would like to stop this
conversation because you don't know what you are talking about.
GONDA: But Mr Mutasa you can help us understand what is happening.
MUTASA: Please let's stop this interview. interrupted
GONDA: What has been implemented out of the contested issues to do with
MUTASA: hangs up phone.
GONDA: Hello? And that was Minister Didymus Mutasa ending this discussion
in the usual format. Unfortunately after that I was unable to get him back
so I spoke to his counterpart in the MDC, and that is Gorden Moyo, the
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office.
Mr Moyo, I have just spoken to Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State in the
President's office and he said the boycott by your party will not take you
far and he said you are behaving like little babies. What is your reaction
GORDEN MOYO: No Didymus Mutasa is as old as my grandfather therefore I am
not going to respond to such kinds of words from him. My African tradition
tells me that I should not engage in the altercations with my grandfather so
I'm not going to respond to his statement about little babies.
GONDA: But what about the other issue that he is adamant that the only
important outstanding issue is the question of sanctions and not the issue
of people who are facing criminal charges like Roy Bennett and that Robert
Mugabe has the right and power to appoint Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana
and he basically said Mugabe is not going to change his mind on this. So
what are your thoughts on that?
MOYO: It's either Didymus Mutasa he has not read the Global Political
Agreement or he is naïve to be in contempt of that document. The issues of
Tomana and Gono are outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement.
Mugabe appointed Gono and Tomana in breach of both the MOU that was signed
on the 21st of July 2008 by the political parties and also in breach of the
Global Political Agreement signed on the 15th of September 2008. Gono was
appointed on the 26th of November 2008 after the signing of the Global
Political Agreement and after the signing of the MOU - so which means it was
in breach of both. Tomana was appointed on the 17th of December 2008 again
after the signing of the Global Political Agreement and after the signing of
the Memorandum of Understanding between the political parties in the
inclusive government. Now the Global Political Agreement and the MOU both
state unequivocally that the President will only appoint senior government
officials in consultation with the Prime Minister and that was not done.
Therefore Mugabe breached, violated the GPA and violated the MOU so I don't
know what Mutasa is talking about.
GONDA: And you have said you will only suspend the boycott after all the
outstanding issues are resolved so can you briefly clarify these outstanding
issues especially as Minister Mutasa says there is only one outstanding
issue and that is the issue of the sanctions.
MOYO: You see Violet, the inclusive government has celebrated its seventh
month, and we are now into month number eight. Now there are about 34 items,
critical items of the Global Political Agreement. If you make a casual
assessment of them, just a casual assessment, you would realise that out of
the 34 key items of the Global Political Agreement, 17 have not been done
completely, 13 have been partially done and only four have been done. Now
seven months are long, it is a long time for the implementation of the
Global Political Agreement and there are critical issues, critical
challenges into the entire programme of implementing the GPA. Firstly there
are issues that are outstanding from the GPA, and those issues are known and
they are in the public view. These are the issues of the Reserve Bank
governor and the Attorney General. Those are outstanding issues - and they
are deadlock issues in the sense that the principals have not agreed, they've
failed to agree so there is the deadlock. And that is why in August these
issues were taken to the chairperson of the SADC, Zuma and Zuma went with
these issues to Kinshasa in the DRC.
But we've also have issues of implementation where agreement was reached -
for example - the provincial governors. It was agreed between the principals
that come the 1st of September there shall be new provincial governors for
Matabeleland North, for Matabeleland South, for Bulawayo, for Harare, for
Mutare and for Masvingo. The conditions of termination of the current
governors were agreed, termination date was agreed but implementation has
never been effected.
So was the issue of Roy Bennett. It was agreed that he was going to be sworn
in together with the provincial governors - that was not done. Now these are
implementation issues resolved but not implemented.
But we also have issues of non-compliance of the breach of the Global
Political Agreement such as the selective arrest of senior and ordinary
members of the MDC. We know the Members of Parliament that have been
arrested, that are being prosecuted selectively. We know of disruptions
taking place in various farms in Mashonaland West and also disruption in the
conservancies throughout the country. These are breaches that are being
perpetrated by Zanu-PF. And as the inclusive government, as part of the
inclusive government we cannot simply stand and watch the willy-nilly
breaches of the Global Political Agreement.
We have come to a point whereby we have said no we need to engage on what is
called constructive disengagement. Disengaging from participating in those
institutions which legitimise Zanu-PF, for example the Cabinet. Our
continued participation in the Cabinet tells a story to the people in
Zimbabwe, to the people in the region and internationally that things are OK
in Zimbabwe, the Global Political Agreement is being implemented fully. As
long as we participate in the Cabinet meetings we are saying things are OK
but we have to realise that things are not OK and we cannot continue
participating in an inclusive government particularly to Cabinet level
whereby the other players are acting in bad faith. That's why we have
disengaged from Cabinet, that why we have disengaged from the Council of
Ministers - but this does not mean we have pulled out of government.
We have not pulled out of government, we are part of government, we are the
government, and elections were won in March by the MDC at the legislative
level as well as at the Presidential race where the President of the MDC
came first. So in terms of legitimacy of government, MDC is a bone fide
member of that government therefore it cannot disengage from itself, it
cannot pull out of itself but we have disengaged from those institutions
that give Zanu legitimacy.
GONDA: But Mr Moyo what will the MDC do if Zanu-PF does not give in because
just listening to Minister Mutasa, he clearly spells out that Zanu-PF will
not take notice of the boycott and there's this great clarity that Zanu-PF
will not change so what will you do?
MOYO: No the verdict of the people will prevail. We will go back to the
people of Zimbabwe and they will determine the next course of action.
GONDA: What about this criticism though, that you want to stay in this
coalition government because you have tasted the benefits - hence only the
disengagement. As it remains you've still got your comfort cars, the perks.
What do you say about that from people who think you are only doing this
MOYO: Most of us had better cars. I mean it's not the first time to drive a
car. I've had my own cars before. It doesn't make sense for people to say,
or for those people who are criticising us, anyway criticism is the only
gift that mediocrity can give to success. What we are saying is Zanu is
misbehaving, Zanu is not implementing the GPA, Zanu is not acting in good
faith, therefore we have to take a decision as people in government we need
to make decisions and take decisions at the same time. We have taken the
decision that we shall not legitimise Zanu. We shall not continue to lie to
the people of Zimbabwe and say things are happening, there are changes in
the country, and we have reforms taking place in the country, when in actual
fact we have retrogression taking place in the country. So we have taken a
decision, it's a hard decision but we have taken it because Zanu-PF need a
paradigm shift to accept that they signed a political agreement which needs
to be implemented and implemented fully. That's all I would say.
GONDA: But you are also saying you are not pulling out of this government
and Zanu-PF is making it very clear that it is not going to listen to your
demands and Mugabe has continuously made it clear that he will not change.
So why do you think you can work from within and change this attitude?
MOYO: We are not saying we are working from within - within what?
GONDA: With this government because you say you will remain in this
government but Zanu-PF is not taking any notice of your boycott.
MOYO: We are also not brooking any nonsense of what they are doing by
arresting people willy-nilly. We are refusing to participate in their games.
We are saying we cannot be part of a system that is arresting people. We are
part of a reformed government. If those reforms are not taking place we are
not going to continue to be part of that process. By the way, if MDC pulls
out of this government, there shall be no government. I don't know what
Mutasa is thinking about because Mugabe is a President of Zimbabwe in
respect of the GPA. Without the GPA he is not the President of Zimbabwe.
Mutasa is a minister in respect to the GPA, without the GPA he is not a
minister, he is illegitimate. So we all derive our existence in government
from the GPA. So they cannot wish the GPA away out of existence. They can
only derive their existence politically from the GPA. So we have a mutual
fate together there under the GPA. Without the GPA there is an election, it
means there is no government in Zimbabwe, we need to start afresh.
GONDA: Let me go back to the issue of the region. You mentioned that you had
sent a letter to the SADC Chair, the then SADC Chair Jacob Zuma and the
matter was already with SADC so why did you boycott before you had received
any feedback from SADC and right now the Prime Minister is actually touring
the region? What is happening with that?
MOYO: There was a big issue that took place, where the Treasurer General of
the MDC Roy Bennett was selectively put behind bars by the Attorney General
of this country. That became proximate cause and not a fundamental cause, a
proximate cause. We have had fundamental grievances against Zanu-PF since
Day One, they have not been implementing the GPA but the frustrations came
to a level where we could not accept this issue any further and that is why
we said we now need to disengage from Cabinet, we now need the guarantors of
the GPA to come in, we are putting pressure on Zanu-PF to implement the GPA.
We are not asking for something new, we are not asking for fresh
negotiations, we are asking for the full implementation of the GPA. That's
all that we are talking about. So anyone who is against the full
implementation of the GPA is against the GPA.
GONDA: So what is the latest from SADC?
MOYO: The latest is that we are expecting the SADC to act. They're supposed
to act, they're supposed to come together and bring all the parties together
to make sure that the GPA is fully implemented.
GONDA: You know press reports are saying that President Zuma has actually
told the Prime Minister to go back and reengage with Robert Mugabe. Isn't
this another indication that the MDC is stuck and you are not going to get
the necessary support from the region?
MOYO: We are getting the necessary support already. We are looking forward
to the next Troika meeting where these issues shall be tabled and we are
expecting that the SADC Troika is going to work on these issues and there
shall be full implementation of the GPA.
GONDA: But are they not saying go back and reengage with Zanu-PF; something
that you've already done and it has failed to work?
MOYO: I don't know of that. What I know is that we are engaging the heads of
States of the SADC, we are engaging the Troika, we are engaging everybody so
that they can enable us together to implement the GPA. To make sure that
pressure is put on Zanu-PF to implement the GPA. We are not asking for
anything new from SADC or from wherever. We are asking for what has already
GONDA: But what sort of pressure would SADC really put on Zanu-PF?
MOYO: The pressure that we need from them is to, they are the guarantors.
The GPA says, the SADC and the African Union are the guarantors, if we've
got any problems in the implementation of the GPA, they should come in and
facilitate the full implementation of the GPA. So we want them to play their
role to enable us as partners who entered into the inclusive government to
implement the GPA. That's all we are asking from them. What kind of approach
they are going to take is not up to us. We are expecting them to come up
with their approach, we cannot prescribe to them their approach, we cannot
even prematurely say this is what they are going to do. We are expecting
them as the guarantors to come up with an approach, to come up with a
mechanism of making sure that the inclusive government is placed back on the
GONDA: But are you happy with the way they have been handling the matter so
MOYO: I do not want to either criticise them or to pass any judgement now.
We are expecting them, we are talking to them therefore we cannot at the
same time pass judgement before they have actually acted.
GONDA: You know in response to your decision to disengage from Zanu-PF,
South Africa's main political opposition party, the Democratic Alliance,
presented its road map to democracy in Zimbabwe - and this was in the South
AfricanPparliament. They said that Mugabe cannot be part of Zimbabwe's road
to democracy, saying he must be offered an exit strategy if the country is
to ever recover. What is your response to this?
MOYO: We determine our own course of action as Zimbabweans. I think
colleagues all over the world are free to pass opinions, to pass their own
comments, to pass their own plans of action but we as Zimbabweans have the
final say, we shall determine our own course of action that shall not be
influenced by any of the actors outside the boundaries of Zimbabwe.
GONDA: And what is your reaction to statements by some who say that the
signing of the GPA was the biggest blunder that the MDC ever made and that
Zimbabwe has gained very little from this GNU and that the only person who
has benefited is Mugabe as the GNU got him off the hook and has given him
time to regroup?
MOYO: I am not sure about that. What I know is that by the end of last year
inflation was at 500 percent. That inflation has dropped to a single digit
now. The people of Zimbabwe can walk around the streets, they have food now,
and they have a future now. I think it was because of the inclusive
government. But I agree with them to a certain extent to say that this has
given a new lease of life to Zanu-PF because they'd lost elections, they'd
lost elections but because of the inclusive government they are back in
government. To that extent I agree with them but in terms of guaranteeing
stability in the country and avoiding the leadership for being authors of
chaos I think it was important for this inclusive government to be
And what is more important now is the implementation of the GPA. I don't
think the signing of the agreement was wrong but what is wrong is the lack
of implementation of the GPA. It would be seen that Zanu-PF is playing
political games. They are using this GPA just to reorganise themselves, just
to extend their longevity in government and not to reform the government and
not to restore and rehabilitate the economy of the country. So that is the
only problem that we are facing. Otherwise the idea of the Global Political
Agreement and the idea of an inclusive government I think it was a noble one
under the circumstances - realising that Zanu had refused to accept
electoral defeat, they had refused again to have a fair and free election so
the only available game in town was to sign the Global Political Agreement.
Now those that are saying it was a big mistake, if they've got an
alternative, if they can tell us how best we would have handled the
situation or what was the alternative I think it would be appreciated.
GONDA: And a final word Mr Moyo.
MOYO: I want to respond to what Mutasa said about sanctions. I now honestly
believe that Zanu-PF want sanctions, they want these restrictive measures to
remain in place because once they are removed, Zanu-PF has no message at
all. Without sanctions Zanu-PF has no message at all otherwise they would
have accepted by now Zimbabwe being reclassified as a Highly Indebted Poor
Country (HIPC) so that all financial penalties are then dealt with - so that
all our debts and our arrears are cancelled but they do not want that.
It means they want sanctions because they use sanctions to mobilise the
people of Zimbabwe to come up with infrastructural violence, as people who
are working against the imperialists. That's their notion that they have
otherwise they need these sanctions.
GONDA: Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, thank
you very much for participating on the programme Hot Seat.
MOYO: You are welcome.
Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Ray Ndlovu in Bulawayo
25.10.2009 1:07:05 P
Local authorities in the border town of Plumtree have embarked on an
intensive operation to rid the town and surrounding areas of bandits who
waylay travellers along the Zimbabwe-Botswana border.
Confirming these developments, the town council vice-chairperson, councillor
Paulos Hobane, said, "Since these thugs invaded our area, we have seen an
increase in criminal activities and as authorities we could not sit and
watch thugs turn our town into a criminal zone."
Locally known as 'omagumaguma', the bandits are a highly organised crime
syndicate involved in robbing travellers as well as facilitating illegal
entry for border jumpers into neighbouring Botswana. Women have proved to be
an easy target for the bandits with some women being gang-raped in the past.
Reports from Botswana also suggest that these same bandits are inextricably
linked to the spate of livestock theft that has rocked the outlying villages
of Tshesebe, located close to the Zimbabwe border.
Although Hobane refused to say how many of the bandits had been netted since
the beginning of the offensive earlier this month, it is understood that
residents have been actively participating in helping the authorities.
Hobane revealed that the council had embarked on door to door searches of
houses in the border town to ascertain the number of inhabitants living in a
given house. This, he pointed out, was relatively easy to do as the town had
a small population and was easy to keep an eye on suspicious newcomers into
"All the councillors know their residents, so when we get to a house and
find new faces, the owner would be compelled to explain. The other thing
that makes the operation easy to conduct is that 'omagumaguma' are lush
spenders and we take note of such people."
It is hoped that this operation will go a long way into making the border
town safe, as well as quelling the tensions between Plumtree residents and
those in Botswana who have raised concern over the criminal activities
spilling over to their side.
by Sunday Standard Reporter in Bulawayo
25.10.2009 12:35:38 P
A top Zanu PF official, who is also the vice president of a local pressure
group, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), Themba Mliswa, has threatened to
confront and force MDC Ministers of Finance and Economic Development, Tendai
Biti and Elton Mangoma, to release funds to new farmers who benefited from
President Robert Mugabe's land reform in 2000.
He said the two ministers were sabotaging the inclusive government by
refusing to channel $500 million acquired from the IMF towards agriculture.
"The two ministers are sabotaging the successful land reform programme. They
are reluctant to disburse the IMF funds towards agriculture.
We want to warn them that we are not going to let them sabotage the economy
by refusing to give farmers loans, we are definitely going to take action
against them," said Mliswa. "We want these politicians not to politicise the
issue of agriculture because it is a national food issue."
"Farmers do not have anything to give banks as collateral because they have
not been making profits over the past five years because of illegal
The AAG has also warned to take over Nestle Zimbabwe if it continues to
refuse to buy milk from First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
Meanwhile farm equipment distributed last year by controversial Reserve Bank
Governor, Gideon Gono, to members of Police Protection Unit (PPU), is lying
idle at Tomlinson Depot in Harare as the beneficiaries have nowhere to put
PPU is responsible for escorting the Presidential motorcade, guarding
diplomats and Zanu PF ministers and senior party officials.
In a bid to persuade them to remain loyal, last year the Reserve Bank
Governor gave each one of them an ox-drawn scotch-cart, generator, a harrow,
ox-drawn plough and knapsack sprayer. All these are lying idle in the police
According to police officers who benefited from that programme, they were
just given the farm implements without soliciting for them.
"Everyone in the PPU department was given a full set of the equipment. Most
of us sold the implements because we had nowhere to put them. We do not have
farms and the Government bribed us with these irrelevant things," said one
police officer who is left with a scotch cart which has no wheels.
"Last year was a difficult year and we benefited from selling the equipment,
which we traded at give away prices to real farmers who were supposed to
benefit. Scotch cart wheels were sold to car owners, and I am planning to
sell the scotch cart body to the members of the Apostolic Church who are
bothering me," said another police officer, who is part of the presidential
guard at State House.
Written by Gift Phiri
Friday, 23 October 2009 13:01
HARARE - Police last week barred human rights activists from marching
through Harare city centre, ordering the rights campaigners to carry out
their African Human Rights Day march at Harare Gardens, outside the central
business district and away from the crowds. (Pictured: Police escorting
rights activists marching on African Human Rights Day last week)
Harare Gardens on the western boundary of the city central business
district is never a venue for public demonstrations. The park is instead
frequented by lovers, wedding parties and other city residents seeking a
time away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city centre.
Police officials told organisers of last Wednesday's march that they
could not be allowed into the city centre because the police did not have
enough manpower to ensure law and order or public safety during the march as
a huge number of officers was tied up with the ongoing COSAFA soccer
ZimRights and the Zimbabwe NGO Forum officials who were behind the
march were told that it could only take place around Harare Gardens, an
offer that the groups either had to accept or cancel the march altogether.
ZimRights director Okay Machisa told The Zimbabwean on Sunday: "In
terms of us sharing our views and distributing certain messages to the
government of Zimbabwe we managed to score, it was quite successful, but in
terms of us gathering, we still think our right to march and send a signal
to as many people as possible was curtailed."
Africa Human Rights Day is commemorated every year on October 21, the
day when the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights came into force in
The Charter seeks to protect and promote human rights in Africa while
also upholding African values. However, the document has been violated many
times by African leaders including President Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile on a positive note, the police -- who a few months ago would
have wasted no time breaking up such a march - this time round escorted the
marchers, with a police lead vehicle clearing the way, while the police band
marched along with the activists, playing music.
by Sunday Standard Reporter in Bulawayo
25.10.2009 12:34:43 P
State owned rail company National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has stopped
using electric trains due to vandalism and theft of the railway equipment.
NRZ Public Relations manager Fanuel Masikati told a local independent weekly
newspaper that they had suspended the electric locomotives as a result of
extensive vandalism of their equipment.
"There is extensive damage of railway equipment - people are stealing
electric cables. Because of this, we have stopped using all electric
locomotives," said Masikati.
Masikati said that apart from the massive vandalism of the overhead cables,
the thieves were also targeting the poles supporting the wires as well as
the machines, which are used for control.
This is straining NRZ, which is the backbone of the country's transport
sector, as it is the most cost-effective mode when it is fully operational.
"Replacing the vandalised infrastructure would cost an estimated US$10
million," Masikati said.
He said a number of industries, especially those that transport heavy or
voluminous materials, are directly affected by the vandalism of NRZ
Agriculture, for example, relies heavily on railway transport for
transportation of inputs such as seed and fertilisers because road transport
costs three times more.
Profit margins in the agricultural sector are so narrow that farmers would
prefer using rail because it is the cheapest mode of transport, and its
infrastructure needs to be replaced to serve the nation.
However, before the country looks at replacing the vandalised
infrastructure, NRZ and other companies, which have been hit by vandalism
should put in place measures to eliminate cases of cable theft.
"We need to address the issue of theft and vandalism before we replace the
equipment because once someone is used to vandalism, then they would do the
same to the installed wires," Masikati said.
One of the major problems is that there is a ready market for the wires in
Zimbabwe and in the region.
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) says the vandalised equipment
was usually used by the informal sector with "some contraband being targeted
for the export market".
One way of curbing cable theft is to heavily guard the infrastructure; this
could be done by employing either the private security guards or the
security forces. An increase in security could deter cable thieves who have
become daring to the extent of vandalising electrical cables within the
high-density areas of Harare.
The other option is to have deterrent sentences for vandalising, buying or
selling copper cables.
We gathered as news broke of a police raid on an MDC house in Harare – ‘looking for weapons’. We have been there before. Zanu PF was predictably trying to produce a red herring before the SADC Troika meeting in Harare on Thursday. It knows any pretext will work with SADC.
The Vigil remains convinced there will be no solution in Zimbabwe until South Africa acts. There is little evidence that this is on the cards at present. But as the situation worsens and the World Cup approaches perhaps this will change.
A telling confession of deception came from the MDC itself at a news conference addressed by Tendai Biti on Thursday. He admitted that the party had been telling lies about so-called progress made by the coalition government. Read the MDC media release (http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/oct24_2009.html#Z3). One of the most alarming comments in this statement is that ‘there is a resurgence of violence in most areas across the country’.
Vigil stalwart, Josephine Zhuga, shared with us this email message she has just received:
‘I am quite sure that news has reached you that the coalition government is about to collapse and that an orgy of violence might befall us once again. I have had the opportunity to interact with some people within SADC and it seems nothing is going to happen when the Troika on security, politics and defence meets. I understand Morgan was told by President Zuma to go back and work with Zanu PF while SADC deal with the issues. As for us human rights defenders we have been receiving warnings that we need to be cautious with our movements when in Zimbabwe since Zanu PF has begun an active process of re-oiling its violence machinery.
‘I am also worried that if you have any plans in the near future to come back home you might not be met with the historic smiles we used to experience at the airport or in Glen Norah since you might be a target as a result of your active involvement with the Zimvigil and other human rights organisations. I did see your photos. They were
amazing but a recipe for disaster if you decide to visit or return home permanently.
‘Last week an MDC supporter was beaten to death and the WOZA women and other progressive organisations continue to receive the lash from state agents and the case of Roy Bennett is a point in issue since it whittles down any hope that we were beginning to build around the all inclusive government.
‘I am told that Zanu PF and its coterie of thugs is beginning to target human rights activists so as to silence any dissenting voices so that any violations undertaken would be swept under the carpet.
‘I am not trying to frighten you since you are fighting for your country from a different battle front but the truth must be told that things are beginning to lose track and we might find ourselves in another cycle of violence.’
Well, we in the UK have rather more mundane problems to deal with. The Vigil was interested to see that a Zimbabwean asylum seeker has been jailed for 3 years by Leeds Crown Court for his part in a fraud which cost banks about £1 million (see: http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/localbrad/4687845.Asylum_seeker_jailed_over___1m_fraud/). We recognised his name – Sonny Chibuwe – because he wrote an article attacking the Vigil and Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) which was published on the Zimeye website on 21st June (http://www.zimeye.org/?p=6098). On the basis of no evidence whatsoever he blamed us for the booing of Morgan Tsvangirai at Southwark Cathedral when the Prime Minister called on the diaspora to return home because all was now well. The Vigil and ROHR did not orchestrate anything; our presence there was to draw attention to human rights failings in Zimbabwe. In a piece titled ‘The day I was embarrassed to be a Zimbabwean’, Mr Chibuwe said ‘There are some bad elements within our Zimbabwean community’. Quite! (Now expect more poisonous articles attacking the Vigil and ROHR on these trashy websites written by Chibuwe’s pals such as Brilliant Stinko and his like.) The judge in the Chibuwe case said the sentence meant Chibuwe was now liable for deportation. We know recommendations like this sometimes fall by the wayside so we are sending a copy of this piece to the UK Border Agency to book his ticket. After all, in his article, Chibuwe supported enthusiastically the Prime Minister’s call for people to return home to start rebuilding Zimbabwe. He can start with the banks.
All in all we at the Vigil had both good and bad developments. First the bad: the Water Board has taken over most of our space to repair their sewers so Zimbabwe House doesn’t get cholera. Now the good news: despite all threats the rain held off. We were very vulnerable because we couldn’t have put up our tarpaulin. Another good thing was a new placard brought by Francesca Toft quoting the Kenyan Prime Minister Odinga’s comment: ‘In Zimbabwe Mr Mugabe is not part of the solution to the political problem; he himself is the problem’. Francesca’s parents, Sue and Alfred, organised a service for Zimbabwe at St Mary’s, Speldhurst, Kent, borrowing one of the Vigil drums. Sue led the prayers – including one that Mugabe should see the error of his ways.
Thanks to Dumi Tutani, Moses Kandiyawo and Kelvin Kamipura who represented the Vigil at an event celebrating Black History Month at City and Islington College. Their dancing and drumming is always a highlight. Pictures of the event are on the Vigil Flickr website. Thanks also to Jonathan Kariwoh and Tendai Gakanje who stepped in to look after the Vigil back table to replace Vigil management team members who were absent through sickness and other commitments.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 159 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· Southern Africa: Democracy and Development. Saturday 31st October at 2 pm. Venue: Unite, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN. Will Zimbabwe's unity government collapse? When will the world wake up to the situation in Swaziland? ACTSA's Annual Conference will feature leading southern African trade unionists who will discuss key issues from the region, especially on democracy and development in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Confirmed speakers include: Vimbai Mushongera, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and Vincent Dlamini, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions. A British Government minister has also been invited. For more information please visit: http://www.actsa.org/page-1421-Annual_General_Meeting.html
· ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peter’s Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
meeting. Saturday 31st October
from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: Dock Green Inn, Ashley
Road, Leeds LS9 7AB. A well known human rights lawyer
will be present. Contact Leeds interim Chairperson Prosper
Mudamvanji 07897594874, David Munemo 07963708923, Benard Ndlovu 0795076774,
Donna Mugoni, Wakefield & Northern Region Chairperson also UK National
interim Vice Chair on 07533259373 or P Mapfumo UK National Co-ordinator
07915926323 / 07932216070.
ROHR Swansea general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: 9 Pleasant Street, SA6 6HJ, Swansea SA6 6HJ. There is a lot to discuss please come early. Contact Kudzai Ruzwidzo 07908029638 / 07824967317, Phillip Mpukutsa 07999615868 or Phyllis Chibanguza UK Co-ordinator 07908406069.
· ROHR Liverpool general meeting. Saturday 7th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: 80 Aspen Grove, Toxteth, Liverpool, L7 0ST. T-shirts available. NEW MEMBERS ARE VERY WELCOME. Contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.
· ROHR North London launch meeting. Saturday 7th November from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN, Nearest Tube Station: Seven Sisters, then buses towards Tottenham, 3rd Bus Stop from 7 Sisters Station. Routes: 123, 149, 259,279, 349, 476, 341 243. Contact: Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Collin Chitekwe 07957712691, Valerie Chengaose 07956586377, Bekithemba Nyahwa 07534905348, P Mapfumo 07915926323 or Phyllis Chibanguza 07908406069
· Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
· Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: email@example.com.
· Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link: http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
October 25, 2009
By Harriet Chigege
In July 2009 hopes that dictator Robert Mugabe would be retiring were
thwarted after the party's Midlands Province Coordinating Committee made a
resolution that endorsed the 85 year old as ZANU PF's Supreme Leader. Good
enough as far as ZANU PF is concerned but Viomak has refused to be
To show her resentment, on 21 February 2010 in celebration of the Supreme
Leader's 86th birthday, the queen of protest music will release her 6th
protest music album to mark the life president's destructive rule. She will
honour the military Supreme Leader with a highly entertaining album that was
approached in a completely different manner compared to her previous albums.
Armed with a unique form of musical expression freedom spanning a period of
five years the political activist-cum-protest singer continues to grace the
political crisis in Zimbabwe through a unique musical journey that has seen
her remain the only woman protest singer in Zimbabwe who is managing to
tackle the political crisis through music intervention.
"Protest music is a necessity in troubled undemocratic societies and it
deserves to find its way out of the dark corridors and climb into the
limelight since it is a great tool in building democratic societies". Viomak
As she continues to milk her way out of the backyard the banned but
determined singer-songwriter for the first time gives credit to Mugabe for
managing to celebrate a pile of birthdays whilst the life expectancy rate of
Zimbabweans continues to deteriorate. For the first time also Viomak has
named one song on the album Supreme Leader which is also the album title.
Her traditional Mugabe birthday albums never had an album title track.
In respect of the president's newly acquired title the album hosts 8 songs
for the Supreme Leader and a ninth song Chinja maitiro (Change your ways)
,which she added on the album to help her spearhead the campaign to have MDC
GNU leaders declare their personal assets to combat corruption and
unaccountable leadership. The popular MDC slogan Chinja maitiro is this time
used to ask MDC leaders to change their ways. The MDC party uses the slogan
to ask Zimbabweans to change their ways and vote for MDC and Viomak is
saying Zimbabweans have changed the way they vote now it is time for the MDC
to change the Zimbabwean way of leadership which is characterized by
lawlessness, corruption, incompetence and evilness. She asks MDC to lead in
the right way by being accountable and transparent.
One of the most exciting songs on the album is of course Supreme Leader.
Viomak is hoping that since the song endorses Mugabe's newly acquired title
it will be allowed radio airplay in Zimbabwe. As far as I can see maybe the
song was going to be allowed airplay had she not asked God why Zimbabweans
are innocent jail birds under Mugabe's rule. Viomak also reminds Mugabe (who
she refers to as Matibili), that his mavhaivhai (showing off) will come to
pass as she mentions that the disgraced leader is a koronyera (dangerous
crook) and a guruvha (rogue) .This should not put Mugabe and his supporters
off balance since they have a long history of thuggish behaviour. They will
obviously not accept it since such kind of lyrics are degrading to the
Vakadyei (What did you eat?) is another scorcher. The song sarcastically
applauds Mugabe for being a life warrior who keeps going with no signs of
stopping anytime soon. In a celebratory manner Viomak asks Mugabe what he
ate that keeps him strong. The exhaustive and exciting beat adds a
Zimbabwean flavour to the song. If Mugabe chooses to listen to the song with
no unnecessary antagonism I think it is a great complimentary song that he
should appreciate. Even though the song praises the failed ruler for being a
death champion it might never be played on state radio unless Viomak changes
some of the lyrics which sarcastically question if Mugabe had eaten stones
to remain strong, whilst asking the president to give us the stones so we
can also eat and prolong our life spans.
"This is a great time for the Supreme Leader who is managing to dodge death
whilst Zimbabweans are dying of starvation and disease in the hands of an
uncaring and incompetent government." said Viomak.
The instrumental of the song is playing on her websites. By the way she has
two websites running now all because of the viruses that have been invading
her old site.
The song Usiku hwekutambisa (Wasted night) will obviously offend the Supreme
Leader. The verses of the song are something that Mugabe would not love to
hear and the choruses come in to remind the president that he is a wasted
night. Sampling the album I found this track to be extremely danceable with
a deep meaning that will definitely give Viomak's listeners moments of
sadness and laughter.
The lyrics on most of the songs are sweet nothings for the Supreme Leader as
Viomak takes him on a merry go round only to leave him hanging in the middle
of the revolution when her lyrics suddenly turn from sweet to sour. Sour in
the sense that anything that despises the Supreme Leader is sour to the
leader and his supporters. The lyrics are very relaxed and easy going but
they come with a lot of controversy and truth. Her enjoyable mix of
controversial lyrics keeps her music above the norm as her verse to chorus
writing style remains in all the songs. Musically this means Viomak is
managing to reveal the unsung side of the Zimbabwean music industry.
Supreme Leader also sees Viomak continue to embrace her high position on the
protest movement culture in Zimbabwe allowing herself to remain as gate
keeper in the protest music territory where some protest musicians like
Raymond Majongwe are reported to have quit the game preferring to become
The protest singer who says she has no plans to depart from protest music
also finished writing two extra politically charged albums Good Nonsense
Unearthed (GNU) and ZANU DC (ZANU PF + MDC). The albums which are tightly
packed in truth and humour will not be good to MDC-T's ears. Two songs of
great interest on the albums are Nharembozha(Cellphone) and Ndiye akauraya
(He is the one who killed).To those who have been following the news coming
from Zimbabwe your guesses on what she will be singing about on these songs
are most likely right.
"We should free our lips from voice slavery. We can't keep having an
incompetent mess of bad leaders running the country and keep our lips sealed
as if all is good. The spirit of protest music should therefore be preserved
and respected and all bad politicians should be put to shame artistically."
With themes far from the usual there's no doubt this soon to be released
album delivers essential music that is defined by serious political issues.
The music will largely bless protest music lovers and will remain a great
asset to genuine patriots.
The other songs on the album include Uchaisepi, Mbiri, Mhosva, Hapana
mutsvene and Yapidiguka. More about these tracks after the official release.
Will Viomak ever sing music that will not make her a musical criminal
according to Mugabe's unjust laws? She said yes. After meeting Zimbabwean
cartoonist Tony Namate in Norway as they attended the Global Forum on
Freedom of Expression in June 2009, the cartoonist suggested to her that she
produces music that speaks on women issues. She agreed.
"Instead of also singing about the socio-political issues that affect them
many women musicians in Zimbabwe have chosen to concentrate on Godly tunes
only forgetting that there are earthly issues that have to be resolved
before we see heaven. You can't keep singing about God only when the man in
your house is raping your daughter. " She said.
In respect of Namate's request which Viomak took seriously she just finished
writing two more albums which are dedicated to Zimbabwe women and Zimbabwe
girls namely Hello Women and Child Abuse. The albums carry her from a
political to a social activist and not a gender activist. To those who have
listened to her political albums' lyrics just rewind and imagine her type of
lyrics shifted to women and child abuse issues. The song paedophile on the
Child Abuse album is one striking example of a song that will deter some
adults from raping children.
"The two albums will give Zimbabwe women and girls the respect they deserve
and will place them at the top of the roof and not under the door mat where
most of them reside."Said Viomak.
The social consequences are going to be huge .On top of that Viomak is going
to be the first woman musician to tackle women and girls' issues head on
artistically. Her protest music is currently talking and the women albums
will be talking and preaching. More about the albums after the release of
Happy 86th Birthday President R.G Matibili (Supreme Leader).I remain to see
if the singer who has successfully thrived in a spirit of political music
controversy will thrive in a spirit of social music controversy.