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Turmoil in ZANU PF over ‘coup’ pronouncements

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 October 2012

Civil war has broken out in the former ruling ZANU PF over interviews given
by senior party figures saying that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will
not be allowed to take over power should he win next year’s presidential

Recent statements by party heavyweights Patrick Chinamasa and Rugare Gumbo,
that the army will stage a coup in the event of an MDC-T victory, have
sharply exposed the deep splits within the party.

Not only was Chinamasa summoned to party headquarters to explain himself,
but party apologist Tafataona Mahoso described him as a traitor working in
cahoots with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the two MDC
parties, to sabotage the forthcoming elections.

Chinamasa and Gumbo’s utterances this month, during interviews with the BBC
and South Africa’s ETV respectively, have provided an insight into what
analysts believe are clear signs that ZANU PF is not confident of retaining
power in the next election.

US based political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba said the statements attributed
to Chinamasa and Gumbo will prove to be counterproductive within and outside
the country.

‘What we are witnessing is an endgame to ZANU PF’s revolutionary project.
All good things come to an end and what Robert Mugabe and the other
nationalists started decades ago is unfortunately coming to an end.

‘They liberated the country and forgot about the people they set free. While
people from ZANU PF have amassed wealth, the general population of Zimbabwe
has remained poor and unemployed,’ Shumba said.

Shumba added that after 32 years in power ZANU PF had run short of ideas:
‘Fixing the economy and dealing with the high unemployment rate is one of
the few possible game changers left for ZANU PF, but otherwise in a free and
fair election they face punishment from voters for the way they’ve ruined
the country in 30 years,’ Shumba.

To make things worse Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for
administration, on Wednesday described party supporters as ‘mad’ for daring
to demonstrate against the leadership.

In trying to contain the situation Mutasa inflamed matters by insinuating
the party activists were ‘mad people for demonstrating against nothing. In
fact they are offending us and we are going to deal with them,’ Mutasa said.

The party supporters had gathered at the provincial headquarters in Harare
along Fourth Street, to stage a demonstration against the demolition of
houses in Epworth that belonged mainly to ZANU PF members.

ZANU PF called in the anti-riot police to deal with the mutinous supporters,
according to a report in Newsday. The paper said on Thursday the move by
police to set camp at ZANU PF offices was prompted by violent scenes that
erupted on Tuesday when supporters of bitter provincial leaders Amos Midzi
and Hubert Nyanhongo descended on the premises, demanding that party leaders
explain why houses were demolished in Epworth.

Over 200 families have been left homeless after police, acting on the
instructions of the State-controlled company Sunway City, razed homes to the
ground in Epworth on the outskirts of Harare.

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'Knives out for Zanu-PF's Chinamasa'

2012-10-25 13:04

Cape Town - Zimbabwe's justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has reportedly
been summoned by his party for allegedly misfiring when he conceded that
Zanu-PF was headed for defeat in the country’s next elections, a report said
on Thursday.

Chinamasa who is also Zanu-PF's negotiator in the Global Political Agreement
suggested in a recent interview with the BBC that the military would stage a
coup in the event of a win by Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan

He claimed the army would not allow Tsvangirai to assume the presidency
because he would reverse the land reform programme.

According to a NewsDay online report, party sources said Chinamasa had been
summoned to explain himself.

The sources said Chinamasa's statements could destroy the reputation of
military chiefs, some of whom were already in the spotlight over their
negative remarks on Tsvangirai.

Damage control strategy

"The president’s office is very angry over the utterances. The thinking is
that this would isolate President Mugabe [Robert Mugabe]," a source said.

The military, equally irked by the utterances, has reportedly ordered
presidential spokesperson George Charamba to spearhead a media blitz against

"This is already in motion. An opinion piece by Tafataona Mahoso in the
local state-run Sunday Mail is a damage control strategy emanating from the
blitz," the source added.

Mahoso, in his article, described Chinamasa as a traitor working in cahoots
with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) and the MDC to sabotage
the forthcoming elections and block the holding of general elections.

But Chinamasa has since claimed he was misquoted in the interview, saying he
only suggested the military would intervene if the winner sought to reverse
the land reform programme.

- News24

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The five lies Chinamasa told the BBC

October 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm

By Tawanda Majoni

Patrick Chinamasa is living a big lie. When he recently fielded questions
from the BBC’s Andrew Harding, he made several remarks regarding the
likelihood of Morgan Tsvangirai ruling Zimbabwe, all of them utter rubbish.

He unashamedly told the world that Tsvangirai could not win the impeding
elections. That was the first lie. Second, he said Tsvangirai had been
campaigning and mobilizing us against our interests.

Third, he wanted us to believe that the generals were opposed to Tsvangirai
because the MDC leader represented a reversal of the gains of the liberation
struggle during which they made sacrifices.

Fourth, he assumed that he had the mandate to speak on behalf of the
military, instead of his party. Finally, he claimed that the military could
stop Tsvangirai, or any other candidate they might not like, from ruling.

It is stubborn defiance of truth, reality and history to say Tsvangirai has
no capacity to win elections. He won the 2008 presidential first round.
Surely nobody is still blind to the fact that ZEC, when it withheld the
March 2008 presidential poll results, was in fact playing around with the
“margin of error”?

What other explanation is there? The error—also read “mistake”—in typical
Zanu (PF) fashion, is Tsvangirai and MDC ruling Zimbabwe. That margin, as we
all know now, was whittled down to a runoff match between President Robert
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, and the rest is history.

Has Tsvangirai been mobilizing against our interests as Zimbabweans?
Chinamasa surely should have seen the insult in that utterance. Which
section of the population does he conceptualize as “Zimbabweans”? To be
Zimbabwean is different from being a Zanu (PF) hardliner.

The fact that I think differently from the likes of Chinamasa, Nicholas
Goche, Rugare Gumbo and Mugabe does not make me any less Zimbabwean.
Further, why does Chinamasa think that we will so easily succumb to the
so-called mobilization by Tsvangirai?

For crying out aloud, Zimbabweans can think independently and Tsvangirai is
not some kind of deity whom people follow blindly. Where people think he has
messed up, we say it. We have openly done that regarding his messy love
life, and so on, and are unlikely to stop doing so any time soon.

Chinamasa never bothered to tell us what express interests of the
Zimbabweans Tsvangirai was mobilizing the people against. It is also plain
foolery to want to sell us the line that the generals would oppose a
Tsvangirai government because they are concerned that he will reverse the
gains of the liberation struggle.

These generals are not at all worried about genuine gains of independence,
at least not where the general population is concerned.

It is now common cause that, for the securocrats, the so-called gains
translate to a fleet of cars in the backyard, a fat offshore bank account
built on ill-gotten money from local or DRC diamonds, three or four arms
grabbed from commercial farmers, and a chain of upmarket properties.

That is what the generals cherish as independence, and nothing more. And
that is why they are so scared of regime change. For the securocrats, most
of whom are unemployable elsewhere, Tsvangirai represents a threat to their
stolen largesse.

While the MDC might have been inconsistent in its policy articulation,
particularly in the early days, I am not sure if it will take away the farms
from resettled locals. I thought the party said it was opposed to the manner
in which land redistribution took place.

Chinamasa is not helping matters for his party in any way. By speaking on
behalf of the generals, he further exposed what we already know: that there
is no difference between Zanu (PF) and the securocrats.

Yes, we have heard the generals speak openly about this, from as way back as
2002, on the eve of that year’s presidential election, when Vitalis
Zvinavashe et al spoke of a straight jacket. The more they repeat it, the
better for advocates of democracy for history shall judge Zanu (PF) on that

Regarding the fifth lie, may someone tell Chinamasa and his counterparts in
Zanu (PF), including the military on whose behalf he spoke in his interview
with the BBC, that things have changed.

What Chinamasa should have told us—the real Zimbabweans, not his imagined
citizenry—is that Mugabe was forced into a coalition government by the fact
that his leadership had become discredited in the eyes of the international

A coup d’état discredits any subsequent regime, and I don’t see that
changing just because we have a red-eyed military junta in Zimbabwe.

Tawanda Majoni can be reached on

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Doctors warn of ‘public health crisis’ as typhoid reported in Chegutu

By Alex Bell
25 October 2012

A doctors’ group in Zimbabwe has warned of a potentially devastating public
health crisis in the form of a nationwide typhoid epidemic, with more cases
of the disease being reported this week.

13 fresh cases of typhoid have been reported in Chegutu where the local
authority has been slammed for failing for provide fresh water. The disease
is spread through contaminated water and, like its bacterial cousin cholera,
can be deadly.

Typhoid cases have been reported in different parts of Zimbabwe since last
year, with the worst affected areas being the densely populated suburbs
around Harare’s centre, including Kuwadzana and Mufakose. That initial
outbreak was then followed by more cases that were confirmed in Bindura,
Mashonaland Central and Norton and Zvimba in Mashonaland West. More
incidents have also been reported in Chitungwiza and Kadoma.

So far there have been two confirmed deaths from the almost 5,000 suspected
cases registered across the country.

But with the onset of the rainy season there are serious warnings that the
disease will continue to spread.

In February this year the Health Ministry admitted it was not on top of the
situation, with a critical lack of medicine and clean water hampering
treatment and prevention efforts. Many local councils too have been unable
to provide proper sanitation to their residents, blaming broken down
sewerage systems and water pipes for this failure.

Dr. Rutendo Bonde, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights,
told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the ongoing spread of typhoid is a
strong indictment of local and national government, because the basic human
right of access to water is being denied.

“There needs to be a plan for permanent solution of water access and
sanitation or these diseases will continue to be a threat. The local
authorities should not be going for good case management when diseases
strike, they should be focused on prevention,” Dr. Bonde said.

She also criticised the authorities for not “learning its lesson,” since the
deadly cholera outbreak that started in 2008. That outbreak, which was only
brought under control about two years later, resulted in the deaths of an
estimated 4,000 people countrywide.

“How much more of a wake up call do the local authorities need? They should
have learned from the cholera outbreak that something needed to be done
about access to clean water,” Dr. Bonde said.

She meanwhile said that the rains will likely drive the situation to a
crisis, with the disease spreading faster. She recommended that the basic
practice of hand washing was the first best defence against the disease.

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Kwekwe youth leader becomes first victim of POSA

By Tererai Karimakwenda
24 October 2012

A youth leader from Kwekwe has become the first victim of Zimbabwe’s Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), after a magistrate convicted him for
organizing a civic education workshop last year, without “permission” from
the police.

Nkosilathi Moyo, director of the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth in Politics
(ZOYP), says he notified Kwekwe police in writing and was ignored. So they
went ahead with the event in November, 2011.

Police disrupted the workshop and arrested Nkosilathi, along with Maureen
Gombakomba and Beloved Chiweshe from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. The
Crisis officials were cleared and released the same day but Moyo was
detained and charged under POSA.

“Since its enactment in 2002 this legislation has not been used to convict
anyone. Most cases ended up being acquitted, or the police decided to
proceed by way of summons. It was a blow and very shocking to be convicted
like that,” Moyo told SW Radio Africa.

The youth activist was found guilty by a Kwekwe magistrate on Tuesday and
given a 12-month jail sentence. Six months were suspended with a $500 fine,
on condition that he not commit the same crime again for the next five
Moyo dismissed the fine and conditions imposed on him, saying it was an
attempt to block him from his civic duties for many years. He said: “They
wanted me to go to jail that’s why they imposed such a big fine. My
colleagues and sister organizations had to run around raising the money. It
is a lot for a person my age.”

Moyo vowed to continue conducting civic education and developmental
workshops in Kwekwe. He insisted that he does not engage in any political
activity during the sessions and police were welcome to attend.

“I cannot stop organizing meetings. That’s my job. If I stop it is like
depriving the community of a service that I am supposed to provide them. It
is like trying to ban me,” Moyo said.

He added: “They are trying to instill fear in the people of Zimbabwe and
block freedom of association and free political activity in this country.
They are trying to censor everything so that people live in fear.”

The law says organizers must simply notify the police of any public events.
But the police have abused this to ban rallies, meetings and demonstrations
by the MDC formations and civic groups perceived to be enemies of ZANU PF.

POSA was introduced in 2002 to help the Mugabe regime crack down on the MDC,
as the opposition parties popularity increased. It gives extensive powers to
the police and the chief architects of the legislation were Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa and Jonathan Moyo.

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Commotion at Zanu PF offices

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Thursday, 25 October 2012 09:58

HARARE - A deadly cocktail of factionalism, disgruntlement over loss of
lucrative termini business and the cruel demolition of houses in Epworth is
threatening to rip apart President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Party supporters yesterday staged a demonstration at the provincial
headquarters in Harare along Fourth Street, prompting the party to call in
anti-riot police to deal with the mutinous supporters.

Baton-wielding police in full riot gear descended on the Zanu PF provincial
headquarters in anticipation of mayhem, and barricaded the provincial head

Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF secretary for administration and minister of State
in President Mugabe’s office, told the Daily News that demonstrators were

“They are mad people, how can they demonstrate against nothing? In fact they
are offending us and we are going to deal with them," said Mutasa.

Insiders said the move by police to set camp at Zanu PF’s backyard was
prompted by violent scenes that erupted at the provincial headquarters on
Tuesday when supporters of Harare province chairperson Amos Midzi’s bitter
rival Hubert Nyanhongo descended on the premises demanding that party
leaders explain why houses were demolished in Epworth.

Zanu PF demonstrators were also baying for Midzi’s head, accusing the
provincial chairperson of abandoning them.

Over 200 families have been left homeless after police, acting on the
instructions of a State-controlled company Sunway City razed homes to the
ground in the dirt-poor suburb of Epworth on the outskirts of Harare.

The demolitions happened at the peak of rains, worsening their plight even,
and now Zanu PF supporters want Midzi sacked, sources said.

Angry party supporters slammed Midzi, accusing him of betraying them and
failing to protect them.

Zanu PF Harare province spokesman Claudius Mutero disowned the

“I have heard that some people are demonstrating at our headquarters. These
are people who are not in the structures who include war veterans and
mahwindis (touts),” Mutero told the Daily News.

“These people are causing problems. The issue is that these people want to
go back to bus ranks but that situation was not lawful and that is why the
police have stepped in. We do agree that some of the rank marshals were our
members but not all of them.”

Mutero however, distanced his party from the demolition of homes in Epworth.

He denied that the latest fracas was a result of the festering succession
crisis in Zanu PF.

Mugabe’s party is rocked by factionalism at national level and observers say
the latest standoff between bitter rivals Nyanhongo and incumbent Harare
chairperson Midzi mirrors the larger picture.

Currently in Zanu PF, no one has mustered enough courage to stand up against
Mugabe (88), but camps have emerged looking beyond Mugabe, with Vice
President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emerson Mnangagwa heading the
biggest factions cascading to district levels.

Apart from the factionalism which Mugabe admits is a cancer gnawing at his
party’s core, Zanu PF youths are also disgruntled with failure by its
leadership to provide much-needed jobs. Zimbabwe is currently reeling from
unemployment rates of over 80 percent.

Mugabe recently admitted that youth unemployment poses a serious threat to
the country’s peace and stability.

Under the banner of black empowerment, Zanu PF youths have been milking
16-seater minibuses at rank termini before the police, with assistance from
the military, stepped in and pushed them out.

However, the loss of the profitable bus termini business has heightened
tensions, with the youths popularly known as mandimbandimba, fuming over the
move by Zanu PF to “abandon them”.

However, the silver lining is that sanity has returned to bus ranks in the
city after Harare city council, which was in the past been cowed by Zanu PF
bouncers, engaged police who are now in charge of rank termini in Harare’s
busy central business district.

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Bennett likely to contest in elections

The Zanu (PF) party here is losing sleep following the message that Roy
Bennett is likely going to contest the Chimanimani East constituency in the
next elections.

by Tony Saxon

Bennett, who is the MDC-T Minister of Agriculture, is very popular in the
Chimanimani district. He is known by the name “Pachedu”, literally
translated as “friendship”, and often helps villagers in his district. His
vibrant Charleswood Farm offered employment to many local people. However,
Zanu (PF) war veterans invaded his farm in 2000 and many youths have been
rendered unemployed.

Losing Chimanimani West Member of Parliament and former Zanu (PF) Minister
Munacho Mutezo and Jennifer Knight from the Zanu (PF) women’s league are
reportedly leading a campaign of terror in the area, threatening MDC
supporters not to support Bennett. Mutezo, a close ally of President Robert
Mugabe, and Knight are reportedly working with Zanu (PF) war veterans to
lead a campaign of violence and intimidation in the constituency.

The soldiers are allegedly using threats and physical violence against MDC-T
supporters. The MDC-T Manicaland Province spokesperson, Pishai Muchauraya,
confirmed the reports.

“I have received the reports of violence. The violence is being unleashed in
an effort to suppress the peoples’ vote.”

MDC-T supporters interviewed by The Zimbabwean last week said Mutezo was
also accusing the Zanu (PF) supporters of ditching him during the March 2008
harmonized elections. Mutezo heavily lost to Lynnette Karenyi of MDC-T.

“He (Mutezo) openly told MDC-T supporters that it was his time for revenge
because we did not vote for him during the March 2008 harmonised elections.
He is commanding the war veterans and soldiers to harass MDC-T supporters.
He is leading numerous meetings with villagers where we are being forced to
attend. He is also threatening MDC-T supporters with death if Mugabe loses
again,” said an MDC-T supporter who declined to be named.

“He is telling the people not to respect Morgan Tsvangirai as the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe. He said the GPA is a non-event. He openly told people
at a recent meeting that Zanu (PF) is in control and that Tsvangirai will
never rule this country,” said an MDC-T supporter.

There are reports that police have mounted roadblocks to make sure Bennett
cannot enter the Chimanimani district. Sources last week told The Zimbabwean
that measures were being crafted to make sure that Bennett never set foot in
Chimanimani again. However, last week supporters vowed to rally behind

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Zanu PF’s Mliswa’s unbecoming behaviour at Copac deplorable

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The MDC strongly condemns the unbecoming and barbaric behaviour of self
styled Zanu PF protégé Themba Mliswa who on Tuesday grabbed a Copac video
camera and ran away with it to “God knows where” during the Second All
Stakeholders’ Conference held in Harare.

That Mliswa acted in such a barbaric manner in the presence of police
officers is mind boggling given that the police are a State arm responsible
for ensuring peace and order at all times.

It then makes the police as much guilty of the committed offence as Mliswa
and deals a blow to the credibility of the national force in protecting and
maintaining order.

This showing by the police in circumstances as these vindicates the much
held fears that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is indeed an appendage of
Zanu PF and therefore perpetrates violence at the sponsorship of the State.

The fact that Mliswa has not yet been apprehended and charged for bringing
the august conference into disrepute puts doubt in the minds of the people
of Zimbabwe in the ability of the police force to deal with violence in the
next coming elections in 2013.

The MDC takes great exception at Mliswa’s unbecoming behaviour and
unreservedly condemns police’s connivance in such actions. The culture of
impunity that the Zanu PF party intends to perpetuate should not be

The MDC therefore calls for all peace loving Zimbabweans and the
international community to condemn any acts covertly or overtly expressed by
any member or party which is bent on creating mayhem and disturbing peace as
the nation prepares for the referendum and elections next year.

As a Party of Excellence, the MDC is ready to participate in an election
where conditions are conducive for a free and fair election as we navigate
the last mile towards real transformation.

My Voice is in: My Vote is YES!!!

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Stakeholders Conference dismissed as “pointless”

By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 October 2012

Despite positive reports in the state run media and local press, praising
the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference for being “peaceful” and ending “on a
high note”, some observers, legal experts and ordinary Zimbabweans have
criticized the event and the whole constitutional exercise as a waste of
time and resources.

Much of the criticism has focused on the fact that Robert Mugabe announced
at the beginning of the conference that the principals in the unity
government will have the final say on what changes are to be made to the
draft produced by parliament. This makes the entire reform exercise
pointless, some observers said.

There has also been strong criticism of the civil society groups that
participated under the umbrella of political parties, as this comprised
their independence. The wishes of the people that contributed during the
outreach programme have long been forgotten.

Blessing Vava, director at the Committee of the Peoples Charter (CPC), which
lobbies government on constitutional issues, told SW Radio Africa that the
conference was a waste of time because no changes were made to the draft
produced by the parliamentary select committee, COPAC.

Vava explained that opening comments by Robert Mugabe saying that the
principals would have the final say also invalidated the entire exercise.
“It is not surprising that nothing came out of the sessions. The same three
parties simply met at a much bigger venue after they had failed to agree in
their offices, at COPAC level. The process was bad, undemocratic and not
proper,” Vava said.

Vava blasted some of the civic groups that participated, saying many had
been invited to the offices of the MDC-T and were coached on what to say in
the sessions. Their names at the venue also appeared on the MDC-T list.

ZANU PF also met with their delegates ahead of the Conference, provided them
printed materials and coached them on what to say in the thematic groups.

According to the activist, only one group refused to be associated with
political parties and went as observers.

Vava said Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) made it clear
that civics would be invited “at the behest” of COPAC. But the GPA was not
clear as to the purpose of the conference itself.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) dismissed the conference as
illegitimate and a “national tragedy of epic proportions”. In a statement
released Thursday, the group said the process was “undemocratic” and
sessions should have been cancelled after Mugabe told delegates the
principals would have the final say.

The NCA said they strongly urge “all Zimbabweans to reject the national
deception that is COPAC and Article 6 of the GPA by voting ‘No’ to the
Principals draft constitution when the referendum is held”.

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COPAC eyes January referendum

25/10/2012 00:00:00
by NewZiana

ZIMBABWE will hold a referendum on the new Constitution by January next year
if the remaining processes move smoothly, a member of the Parliamentary
Select Committee on the Constitution (COPAC) has revealed.

COPAC co-chairman Paul Mangwana told New Ziana Wednesday that a technical
team was compiling a report on this weeks Second All Stakeholders Conference
to be released next Monday.

"The different views expressed by delegates need to be ironed out before
going to Parliament for debate. That process is what can delay holding of
the referendum," he said.

Mangwana added that if all the remaining procedures moved smoothly, a
referendum would be held in December this year.

"By my own judgment, we can vote for the referendum at the end of December
or early January," he said.
COPAC, which is now left with ensuring that all Zimbabweans know the
contents of the draft Constitution through publicity campaigns, will
scrutinise the thematic reports and incorporate them into the draft.

Where Copac fails to agree, it will refer the issues to the management
committee which would negotiate and where they fail to agree, will refer to
the heads of the political parties in the Zimbabwean coalition government,
who will have the final word.

After compiling input from the Second All Stakeholders Conference, the COPAC
will produce an overall report of the Constitution making process which
includes the draft for debate in Parliament.

After the debate, the draft will be taken for a vote in a referendum to
decide whether it should be adopted as the new Constitution for the land.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission says it needs about US$104 million to hold
the referendum.

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Human Rights Groups: SADC Failing to Tame Mugabe

Blessng Zulu

International and local rights groups have expressed frustration with the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) for failing to reign in
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, warning an election in 2013
may replicate the violent and chaotic June 2008 presidential election

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group and the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition in separate reports say SADC is struggling to help reform Harare’s
volatile political situation.

The ICG report titled, Implementing Peace and Security Architecture (ll)
Southern Africa says the regional bloc’s intervention in Zimbabwe’s
political crisis exposed its limited capacity to enforce agreements it helps

The report says SADC has failed to effectively deal with the Zimbabwe
political gridlock because the bloc’s conflict resolution mechanism depends
on heads of state and government and ministerial committees which are
perpetually committed to their own domestic issues.

The ICG report says: “SADC’s intervention in Madagascar and Zimbabwe has
exposed the region’s limited capacity to enforce agreements it has

The ICG urged SADC to activate a mediation unit led by “elders” or retired
statesmen to help in conflict resolution.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe report titled Zimbabwe Transition Barometer says SADC
has lost focus. “There are indications that SADC’s key interest in Zimbabwe
may now merely be the need to restore political stability, without
necessarily establishing sustainable democracy foundations.”

Political analyst Joy Mabenge, who is the democracy and advocacy manager of
the Institute for A Democratic Alternative Zimbabwe, says Zimbabweans are
their own worst enemies and must not rush to blame SADC.

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Journalists Involved In Asiagate scandal Tainted Profession: Union

Harare, October 25, 2012 - The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists on Wednesday
said journalists involved in the Asiagate scandal have put a stain on the
The union's secretary general, Foster Dongozi, said: "Recent developments in
which three journalists were implicated in the Asiagate soccer match fixing
scandals are indeed a stain on our profession which suffers from other
unfriendly forces such as infiltration, excessive regulation, repressive
laws, poor working conditions and an unsafe working environment."

"On corruption, unprofessional and unethical conduct, the Union’s attitude
is of zero tolerance and as such, we call for the speedy conclusion of the
on-going processes so that those implicated are subjected to fair and just
processes and not private prosecutions."

The state-owned daily Herald senior Sports editor, Robson Sharuko and former
Herald sports desk deputy editor, Hope Chizuzu were banned for life from
reporting or involving themselves in anything to do with the Zimbabwe
Football Association (ZIFA) after they were fingered in the Asiagate report.
A journalist from another state-owned media, the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), sports editor, Josh Muntali was
also fingered in the Asiagate report.

Asiagate was a betting syndicate involving the senior soccer team. Soccer
officials, players and journalists allegedly received bribes for the soccer
national team to lose games to Asia teams. The journalists who accompanied
the teams to the friendly games never wrote news reports exposing the

The scandal resulted in 15 people receiving life bans from involving
themselves in Zimbabwe soccer.

"The developments have come as an opportunity for us as a profession, to do
some soul searching about professional and ethical conduct while on duty.
Allegations have been made of a prevalence of unethical and unprofessional
conduct, including demanding or accepting gifts and money," Dongozi said.

"This should therefore serve as a timely reminder that any form of
unprofessional or unethical conduct is unacceptable."

Former ZIFA chief executive officer, Henrietta Rushwaya, banned for life by
ZIFA and believed to be the mastermind of the Asiagate scandal is facing
charges of sending the national team to Asia without ZIFA's clearance. She
is now being represented by Harare lawyer Charles Chinyama after she
reportedly sidelined Jonathan Samukange and Dumisani Mthombeni. Her trial
continues on November 19.

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Construction of controversial Borrowdale mall expected soon

By Alex Bell
25 October 2012

Construction of the controversial Mall of Zimbabwe is expected to get under
way soon, with the property developers leading the project stating they are
waiting for the nod from the Environmental Management Agency.

The agency has been carrying out an environmental impact assessment on the
project, amid ongoing protest and resistance from conservation groups and
members of the public. The assessment results are now reportedly expected
sometime this week.

The site of the mega shopping complex is the cause of much of the
controversy, because the plans are to build the mall on the Borrowdale
wetlands. The property developers have insisted the site is not a wetlands

This is contrary to the opinion of conservationists as well as a government
gazette from August this year, which moved to protect 26 wetland areas in
and around the capital, including the Borrowdale wetlands. The gazetting
process was reportedly flawed and has been repealed until later in October,
to allow for objections. This will be re-gazetted on November 1st.

The site of the project has caused so much upheaval that even the state run
Herald newspaper has printed a critical opinion piece about the development.
The article says the value of wetlands are being undermined.

But it now appears the project will be going ahead, with the property
developers confidently proposing that the mall will be completed by October
2014. West Properties managing director Mike van Blerk was quoted this week
has saying that they do expect to receive their environmental certification
this week.

The multi million dollar shopping complex, commissioned by Vice President
Joice Mujuru and costing more than US$100 million, is a joint venture
involving Augur Investments, McCormick Property Development and West
Properties. Also linked to the Mall is ZANU PF Minister Ignatius Chombo and
controversial businessman Ken Sharpe.

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London insurer offers cover for Zimbabwean political violence

October 25, 2012 4:56 pm by Irene Madongo

Election talk is heating up in Zimbabwe, with President Robert Mugabe this
week reiterating his demand for polls in five months’ time. Such remarks can
ignite distress in the business sector, because of the likelihood of
political violence and other risks that polls pose for the slowing economy.
But one man’s problem is another’s opportunity and this week Harare-based
insurance firm Champions revealed it had partnered with Lloyd’s of London
broker RK Harrison to provide insurance against politically-motivated
violence, covering material damages and loss of profits following a
politically-related event.
Human rights groups, political observers and victims of violence all point
to the part played by militant supporters of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF. The
turbulent 2008 elections left more than 200 people dead, at a time when the
business sector was reeling from political instability and economic decline.
Despite the formation of a coalition government, political violence
continues. Last year businesses in Harare were looted and attacked by mobs
wearing Zanu PF regalia, and in recent weeks business owners in Kwekwe have
been evicted by a notorious gang linked to Zanu PF.
Champions did not reveal financial details of the new partnership. Asked
what rates would be charged, Champions business development manager
Immaculate Musonza said: “The premium charged is different per risk
determined by the risk exposure, risk mitigation factors implemented by the
client and proximity to the police and army.”
That established British firms such as Lloyd’s of London and RK Harrison
have partnered with a local company offers hope for more foreign investment
in Zimbabwe, which faces capital flight blamed on issues such as the
government’s controversial indigenisation policy.
The offering is also likely to give a boost to the local insurance sector
which, like other industries, is stabilising through dollarisation.
According to the Insurance and Pensions Commission of Zimbabwe, total gross
premiums written by direct short-term insurers increased from $117m in 2010
to $159m in 2011. Prior to the country’s hyper-flation era, Zimbabwe’s
insurance industry, then estimated to be worth $600m, was considered to be
one of the leading players in Africa’s insurance market.
However, despite recent progress, Zimbabwe’s insurance sector still faces
challenges such as liquidity constraints and low disposable incomes. A big
test of Champions’ new scheme will be securing a profitable customer base.
Clients for its scheme, which targets corporates in Zimbabwe, will be sought
from a business sector already constrained by power cuts, poor
infrastructure and a liquidity crunch.
In areas like Bulawayo, where over 80 companies shut down last year,
economic conditions have compelled some firms to view insurance as a luxury
and not a necessity, reducing business opportunities for the sector.
In addition, some of the factors outlined by Champions in determining its
premium rates, such as proximity to the police and army, may need to
reviewed. Zimbabwe’s security forces, headed by Mugabe loyalists, have been
implicated in the murder and torture of those opposed to him, and observers
point that they cannot always be relied upon to aid victims or businesses.

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Youths turned away…

The ongoing practice of turning away youths who want to register as voters
at the Registrar General’s office has been labeled as a ploy by Zanu (PF) to
rig elections.

by Tarisai Jangara

A political analyst, John Makumbe, said the move was frustrating young
people from actively participating in the forthcoming general elections and
he believed that the RG’s office was being manipulated by politicians with
sinister motives.

This comes at a time when Tobaiwa Mudede, the RG, exposed his links to Zanu
(PF) by registering to attend the forthcoming Second All-Stakeholders’
Conference to deliberate on the new constitutional draft.

“The decision to send the youths away is questionable. It feels like the RG’s
office is now being used to sabotage potential voters instead of
facilitating their registration. It’s a ploy by Zanu (PF) to discourage the
youths from participating in the upcoming elections because they know that
the youths will never vote for them. Other political parties should take the
matter to court,” he said.

A youth pressure group, Youth Forum, said that the process was suspicious
because individuals between 18-35 were the majority of potential voters, but
are the least visible on the voter’s list.

“The tendency by officials from the Registrar General’s office to frustrate
potential voters cannot be tolerated. Elections are a fundamental building
block for democracy and an important process in the governance of any
country,” said a Youth Forum representative.

The Zimbabwean spoke to some people who were turned away from the Registrar
General’s Market Square offices.

“Youth Forum encouraged me to register as a voter; I brought my ID and proof
of residence in the form of a water bill and a written statement from my
father that I was a resident at the house. However, when I produced these
documents we were told that they were not enough and they wanted us to
produce more proof in the form of either a hospital bill or an account
statement from one of the large stores like Edgars or Topics,” said a woman
only identified as Nancy.

Another youth said: “ We were turned away for bringing affidavits as proof
of residence which legally speaking are much better than a written letter.”

However, Zanu (PF) spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed the allegations
saying, “We are the winning party and MDC formations will come up with all
sorts of excuses because they will never win these elections”.

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HIV stats shame soldiers

There is a need for soldiers to address their sexual behaviour in order to
reduce the HIV infection rate, a medical consultant has said.

by Tony Saxon

In his keynote address at a workshop on Reducing AIDS Risks Within The Civil
Service organised by Southern African AIDS Support Network here last week,
Dr Munyaradzi Mutero said it was disturbing to note that behavioural change
was slow among soldiers.

“I want to urge all the soldiers to desist from risky sexual behaviour,”
said Mutero. He urged the soldiers to fight the pandemic as a team.

“Soldiers and other civil servants need to know their HIV status if they are
to win the war against HIV and AIDS and live longer,” he said.

Mutero said the Zimbabwe National Army should now realize the importance of
partnerships with other stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic.

“I appreciate that ZNA is very committed to the government’s national
programme of fighting HIV and AIDS, which it strives to complement. It

is our conviction that together we shall win the fight.” During the
workshop, Hebert Chipfumo from the ZNA testified that he was HIV positive
and encouraged other soldiers to be tested.

“I would like to urge all the fellow soldiers to go and be tested. It does
not mean that if one is HIV positive it is a death sentence. I received some
counseling and I am on antiretroviral drugs. I am looking forward to living
a much longer life. Some fellow workers used to laugh at me saying I am
gone, but look at me I am still alive and kicking. Gentlemen, tikasazvibata
tinopera (If we do not abstain we will all die),” he testified.

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Kereke rape: Girl's lawyer arrested

25/10/2012 00:00:00
by Daily News

CHARLES Warara, the lawyer representing a minor who claims she was raped at
gunpoint by Munyaradzi Kereke, a former advisor to Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono, was briefly arrested on Wednesday.

Warara was called to Harare Central Police Station’s Homicide section where
a statement was recorded on allegations of child abuse.

“A police officer from the Homicide section called my office while I was out
and asked me to get in touch with them. When I returned the call, I was
asked to report to police with the two abused girls," the lawyer said.

“Obviously, I could not provide the girls because they are at school outside

“The police then turned around and grilled me concerning the religious
meeting we held at home with the girls two years ago. These meetings are
arranged by my wife. I explained to the police that I treat these two girls
as my own and would never do anything to harm them."

The lawyer accused the police of harassment.

“This is a ploy to force me to drop the case against Munyaradzi Kereke but
there is no chance of that happening. We will not be deterred. Actually our
resolve has been strengthened," he said.

“We have a strong case and believe Kereke has a prima facie case to answer
and instead of the police taking that case in which a minor was abused to
its logical conclusion they are trying to harass me."

The lawyer wrote to police chief Augustine Chihuri a few months ago
expressing his disappointment at the delay in arresting and prosecuting

Warara said the police’s inept investigation and tardy prosecution by the
Attorney General (AG) accounted for the inability of his client to get

The orphaned girls’ paternal grandparents, through their lawyer James
Makiya, lodged a 14-page complaint with the Law Society of Zimbabwe accusing
Warara of ulterior motives and abusing the children instead.

They allege that Warara also abused the 13-year-old girl.

They claim that between August 18 and 23, 2010, one of the two girls
allegedly went to Warara for a praying camp in Glen Forest.

Apparently the two abused girls were under surveillance as every move they
made was monitored while communication from their mobile phones was bugged.

The children’s paternal grandparents produced the phone records and evidence
that the girls were being trailed.

Warara charges that the grandparents would never have known anything.

“They live in Murehwa and have no idea of how to obtain phone records. We
know where that is coming from,” he said.

Makiya on Wednesday confirmed he had raised the complaint with the LSZ but
on behalf of the children’s paternal grandparents.

“I can confirm that we raised a complaint with the Law Society but the
police action you are talking about was a result of a complaint from the
LSZ. They are the ones who forwarded the information to the AG,” Makiya

However, his version of events was disputed by LSZ’s executive secretary
Edward Mapara.

“The AG has never communicated with LSZ, Makiya should tell you the contents
of our reply. We have not raised a complaint for the investigation of
Warara,” Mapara said.

The case of the rape of the 11-year-old girl (now 13) two years ago received
attention from human rights bodies such as Girl Child Network.

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Biti freezes CDF, risks MPs' ire

24/10/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti last night faced open revolt from MDC-T and
Zanu PF MPs after stopping the disbursement of the $5 million Constituency
Development Fund until after next year’s elections.

Biti, due to announce the 2013 budget on November 15, wants a tough new law
passed to prevent the abuse of the fund before MPs receive the US$50,000 for
each constituency.

Four MPs were arrested earlier this year after shocking details of how they
abused the fund for personal benefit emerged during an audit.

The Finance Minister is determined to stop the abuse and a new Bill
currently being drafted will see MPs who loot the fund jailed for five

Biti is supported by Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, who
says there is less than six months before the current parliament is
dissolved and disbursing the funds now could lead to a spending spree by
some lawmakers who may not retain their seats, making it difficult to
account for how the money was spent.

But Biti’s decision to delay disbursements until the next Parliament –
expected after the March 2013 elections – has put him on a collision course
with legislators.

Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said the move was “retrogressive”.
“The money should not be deposited in personal accounts but should go to a
constituency account that must be properly accounted for by financial rules
put in place,” Gumbo said.

He added: “Does it mean that all the ministries are not going to get their
allocations because it is not certain that the current ministers will return
to their respective ministries after elections?

“I don’t think that is a serious move, it’s retrogressive.”
MDC chief whip Innocent Gonese said: “The beneficiaries of CDF are the
people in the constituencies. We must not punish them because of that issue
[imminent elections].

“As a matter of principle, what should be done is to disburse the money to
the MPs and put in place a mechanism to account for the money if one loses
the elections.

“I think there is still enough time for the MPs to identify areas that need
development in their constituencies and the money should be disbursed to

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Food as political weapon

Published on : 25 October 2012 - 11:51am | By RNW Africa Desk (Thabo

According to starving villagers in southern Zimbabwe, officials of President
Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party are denying them food, because they didn’t
vote for the right party in previous elections.

By Thabo Kunene, Bulawayo

A frail, weak and malnourished 11-year-old boy walks into a mission health
centre in the town of Plumtree in Zimbabwe’s drought-ravaged Matabeleland
South Province. Thabiso Moyo looks older than his age and is walking with
the aid of his mother. For almost a week he has survived on wild fruits.
Hunger has also forced Thabiso and other children in the area to stop
attending school.

At the outpatient section of the health centre, the foreign doctor tells
Thabiso’s mother that her child is suffering from malnutrition and needs a
feeding scheme. The available scheme, however, is for children under the age
of five only. Thabiso’s mother begs the doctor to let her son enter the
programme. Thabiso is then given a bag of beans and some vitamin tablets.

Danger of famine
Sithembile, Thabiso’s mother says the last time they received food from the
government was in March. She took part in the grain loan scheme the
government implemented last year, allowing starving people to buy food on
credit and pay later.

“The government has abandoned us. People are suffering here. We have no food
and organizations that were helping us have been kicked out by Mugabe’s
people,” says Sithembile, referring to party officials of President Robert
Mugabe’s ZANU PF.

Thabiso is one of thousands of hunger victims in Matabeleland South. If food
supplies will not reach the starving population in time, the danger of
famine is imminent. According to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP
Siyabonga Ncube, in September five people died of hunger in the Brunapeg
area, close to the border with Botswana. A Catholic priest claims the number
of dead is 12.

Finish and klaar
In 2008, the government ordered Western aid agencies to pack their backs and
leave the rural areas, accusing them of using food to campaign for the two
MDC factions, one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by Welshman Ncube.
Tsvangirai is currently Prime Minister in a coalition government with ZANU

“In most cases, when we get food from the government or donors, it is
grabbed by councilors from Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, who also do the
distribution. If you are not a member of their party, you don’t get the
maize - finish and klaar! [period!],” says villager Mlondo Mathe.

According to the villagers, when people die of hunger in the area, the cause
of death is not recorded. Sometimes government officials say they died of
AIDS. Andrew Langa, a top ZANU PF official, claims that no one has died of
hunger in Matabeleland. “Those are lies by MDC officials [who] are used by
their Western masters,” says Langa, who, during his visits to villages, is
surrounded by bodyguards and youths.

Low rainfall
Langa does admit that starvation is a major problem in the province, caused
by low rainfall, and that the area suffers from drought every year. He
denies, however, that people have died because of hunger. He also disclaims
his party uses food as a political weapon.

But Siyabonga Ncube of the MDC says people have indeed died of hunger. He
says the situation is worse for HIV patients. “Langa is lying about the food
situation in the province. His party is to blame, because they kicked out
the aid agencies.”

The right party
He confirms that “Mugabe’s people” are stealing food aid. A senior ZANU PF
leader allegedly told the starving villagers that the government will not
feed them because they did not vote for the right party in previous
elections. Matabeleland South is controlled by Welshman Ncube’s MDC.

According to MDC officials, an estimated 200,000 people in the province are
in urgent need of food aid. A delegation from the European Union that
recently visited Matabeleland, promised to look into the food situation in
Matabeleland South.

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The COPAC circus continues

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

By Blessing Vava
The much hyped COPAC 2nd ‘All Stakeholders’ has come and gone with nothing
much coming out, rather the parties maintaining their positions with regards
to the constitution making process which has taken too long to complete
than anticipated. Unlike the 1st Stakeholders conference in 2009, which was
marred by violence and chaos, this one was rather ‘peaceful’ with no
incidence of chaos reported, something commendable in our political
landscape which has been riddled by polarisation and intolerance. The
conference was nothing much to write home about and now that it has gone
just like one of the many money spending ventures, time wasting with no
value added, no progress, to give it a better phrase it was a useless
meeting typical of what the inclusive government has been holding since its

It was not surprising that the meeting yielded nothing, apart from
attempting to fulfil lost timelines and values of the GPA. A closer look at
how the conference was structured would give us a clearer picture of its
irrelevance. Firstly, the GPA is not clear on the purpose of the holding of
the indaba, its rather vague, Section (c) (iv) the draft Constitution shall
be tabled within 3 months of completion of the public consultation process
to a second All Stakeholders Conference.’’ Copac representatives ended up
saying that the meeting is for recommendations and not amendments. One would
ask who will be giving recommendations in this instance? From the onset the
process has been in the hands of the three principals, the draft we have is
a combination of positions from the same to their parties. The delegates to
the conference were also largely drawn from the three formations except a
few from civil society who begged for their inclusion or the other way
round. So it is like setting an examination for yourself and marking it at
the same time. It surely doesn’t work. From its framework Article VI in its
very nature is exclusionary of political parties and other players outside
parliament. Section 6.1says... ‘’The Parties hereby agree: a) that they
shall set up a Select Committee of Parliament composed of representatives of
the Parties whose terms of reference shall be as follows: (i) to set up
such subcommittees chaired by a member of Parliament and composed of members
of Parliament and representatives of Civil Society as may be necessary to
assist the Select Committee in performing its mandate herein; They made it
clear from the start that the role of civil society was to assist at the
behest of COPAC as may be necessary, meaning that the process is for parties
in government and no one else outside those confines have a say. You can
only be invited at their mercy. Pity some civil society organisations still
had faith in such a process were their participation was at the behest of
political parties. Some colleagues of mine from civil society confided that
they were accredited under political parties making their contributions to
this meeting highly compromised. They allege that a day before the
conference all those accredited by MDCT including civic organizations had to
meet at harvest house were accommodation and chapters for thematic
committees were being allocated. They were chanting party slogans and
telling people what to say during the conference, including people from
civic society who were present. When getting into the conference there was a
list were one had to check for his/her name, there was no list for civic
society, all the names of civic society members appeared on the MDC-T list,
the discussions during the thematic sessions ended up being a contest
between the parties in government rather than objective analysis.

It’s very much disturbing when civil society is now showing lack of
principle and consistence employing desperate means forcing themselves on
processes which are clearly in sharp contrast to what they purport to be
advocating for. They begged to be part of a meeting they were not wanted and
political parties cleverly put them under their armpits in the process
swallowing their voices rendering civil society representatives mere party
functionaries and spectators during the conference. Kana washanya pamusha
pewanhu unodya unyerere chero zvikashatasei unongoti zvinonaka. That is
exactly what they did. No need of crying foul now when they failed to
contest Article VI which relegated civil society to ‘mere’ assistance of the
select committee as may be necessary. Instead of begging COPAC to be part of
its process civil society should take a leading role in fighting
mal-practices and fraudulent processes being done by COPAC. Maybe this is
the ‘people driven’ process civil society has been clamouring for in the
past. When the role of civil society becomes compromised on political party
politics and selfish expedience it becomes a cause for concern.

What happened to the principles and ideals of the National Working People’s
Convention? What happened to what civil society agreed in the Zimbabwe
Peoples Charter? These are clear positions which have the capacity to carry
this country forward and this is what civil society should be fighting for
and not to act like a chameleon which changes its colour based on its
surroundings. Whereas COPAC/GNU will be continuing with their anti-people
crusade there are some civic groups who will still be begging to be part of
such processes abandoning their role as civics.

COPAC has been a great betrayal and failure, it is a disgrace, undemocratic
and an illegitimate process that has wasted national and donor resources.
They have personalised constitution making for the whole nation to be their
private project, Zimbabwe does not belong to three principals let alone
political parties, that we should be said loud and clear!!!

To show unscrupulous nature of COPAC - the time allocated to analysing the
draft was rather dubious, how can people analyse 176 paged document written
in legal language, English for that matter in one and half hours? Not all
delegates at the conference passed through the law school, COPAC should
have tabled a simplified version of the draft in all languages if they were
really genuine.

In summation, the process was a charade, it was exclusive to the three
parties and their principals, no other political parties or interest groups
were invited as equal partners to participate can do for their nation is to
dismiss the dining and wining canvassed as an ‘all stakeholders,’ it was
just a meeting of the parties in GNU. Equally, the greatest flaw of it all
is that the principals will have the final say as President Mugabe put it
clearly during the opening of the conference, he is honest unlike the other
leaders in the GNU who keep lying to the whole nation that the process is
people driven.

Blessing ‘Vuvuzela’ Vava is a blogger from Chipinge. He can be contacted on

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Chinamasa should resign

It was reckless and totally irresponsible for Patrick Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, to state categorically that the Zimbabwe military will
stage a coup should Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change
win the forthcoming elections. Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister of this
country. He is therefore the head of government and Chinamasa should report
directly to him in relation to his official duties.

by John Makumbe

What Chinamasa said on the BBC was not sanctioned by Cabinet. It had not
been discussed with either Tsvangirai or President Mugabe. It was therefore
grossly unpatriotic for Chinamasa to publicly instigate the military to
rebel against the authority and the will of the people of this country. A
lawyer by training, Chinamasa should have known better than to make such
inflammatory statements.

We all know that, although both Mugabe and Tsvangirai chided Chinamasa for
his poor judgement and foul mouth, Mugabe did not ask the justice minister
to step down; he did not fire him from his job. This obviously means that
the President approved of what Chinamasa said on the BBC. If he did not
approve of the offending statements then he should have asked the minister
to resign or he should simply dismiss him from the job.

In the past, we have seen the secretary for energy, Mpamhanga, testify
against his minister, Elton Mangoma in a court of law. Fortunately for
Mangoma, the court dismissed the case and the secretary for energy found
himself with egg on his face. Here again, Mugabe did not take any sensible
action against Mpamhanga. He did not even re-assign him to a different

It makes us wonder what kind of working relationship now exists between the
two gentlemen. The truth is that the two now hardly have anything to do with
each other, yet they share one ministry. This goes a long way to demonstrate
that our so-called inclusive government is currently busy doing nothing.

But let us get back to our learned friend, Chinamasa, and his unfortunate
and fictitious utterances. Perhaps the saddest reality of this matter is the
fact that it is far from the truth. The Zimbabwe National Army comprises
mainly professional soldiers who know very well what they are supposed to do
and what is expected by this nation from them. They too are sick and tired
of the manner that Zanu (PF) is ruining this country, and they also would
like to see change.

It is not true that if the MDC and Tsvangirai win the next election the army
will refuse them to govern this country. There are many senior military
officers in the ZNA who are committed to their military responsibilities and
not to politics and the usurpation of civilian authority. These are the
soldiers who will refuse to stage a military coup to overthrow a
legitimately and democratically elected civilian government.

Besides, the military know that should they try to thwart the choice of the
people at the next election, SADC will take such strong exception that this
country will immediately be suspended from the regional organisation. SADC
member states are very likely to close all their borders with Zimbabwe, and
this country will be squeezed to death, literally. They also know that
Mugabe will not sanction any action that will result in this country being
kicked out of either SADC or the African Union.

A military coup following a Zanu (PF) loss at the next elections will
definitely result in Mugabe’s worst embarrassment and fatal damage to his
cherished African legacy. Chinamasa’s attempt to incite the army to revolt
against civilian authority must be treated with the contempt that it
deserves. -

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Fighting over a new rule book
Robert Mugabe rejects a new constitution but faces an election

Constitutions do my head in

A VAST billboard at the airport near Harare, the capital, depicts a motorway in rainbow hues stretching into the distance. This, it says, shows Zimbabwe’s future of peace and democracy under a new constitution. Signing up to such a document was part of a power-sharing deal agreed in 2008 by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Alas, it has yet to happen.

A referendum on the constitution has been repeatedly delayed as negotiations drag on. At a “stakeholder” conference in Harare between October 21st and 23rd, about 1,200 delegates from the main political parties as well as the churches and civil society pondered the latest draft—still without agreement. The MDC says it is happy with the document. Among other things, the president would be limited to two terms. Human rights would be better protected. An independent prosecuting authority would be created along with a new constitutional court, separate from the supreme court, now packed with Mr Mugabe’s allies. Some power would shift from president to parliament.

Zanu-PF rejects this, saying the draft puts too many constraints on the government. It knows that without a referendum on the constitution an election expected next year will have to be held under the old system. That gives Mr Mugabe’s lot a better chance of winning by hook or by crook. The voters’ roll is still crammed with the names of children and the dead. The MDC faces intimidation in rural areas. Activists have little confidence that the electoral commission is independent.

Still, the MDC is hopeful that voting would be less bloody than last time, when at least 200 people died, forcing Mr Tsvangirai to abandon a presidential run-off despite beating Mr Mugabe in the first round. Jameson Timba, an MDC minister, does not rule out the possibility of violence but thinks it will not be on the same scale.

In any event, Zanu-PF has been heartened by a recent poll that suggests it may be clawing back popular support. Research by Freedom House, a campaigning America-based think-tank, and the local Mass Public Opinion Institute, suggests 31% of Zimbabweans would back Zanu-PF in elections, up from just 12% in 2009. Only a fifth said they backed the MDC, down from more than half three years ago. But over 40% refused to say who they would vote for, and two-thirds admitted that fear of violence and intimidation could influence voters.

Another rival poll by Afrobarometer, another independent research body, also showed the MDC to be flagging but put much more weight on the fear factor. According to Afrobarometer’s calculations, if waverers and the cagey don’t-knows were removed, the MDC would still beat Zanu-PF by 58% to 34%

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Some things never change in Zimbabwe…

October 25th, 2012

Harare jacarandas

A radiant purple decorates the concrete and glass towers of Harare. It’s a magnificent, stunning spectacle that crowns the often dirty and bustling streets of Harare. The jacaranda trees are once again blooming in Harare, signifying changing seasons in a country that enjoys more heat than the cold winter which ended recently.

The monotony of repetition is broken by the progress of time as signified in the purple bloom and yet that change is not reflected in the lives of the people who still trudge on with burdens that seem to grow heavier, day by day.

Mothers, with children on their backs, are starting preparations for the impending rain season for in the soils our hopes live and maybe this year will bring good rains to sustain us. There are no jobs and tilling the land, coaxing out even a meagre harvest from the now sterile soils, is one way to keep busy.

Women in Zimbabwe have a saying “munhu haangogare” (a woman cannot just sit idle) and indeed the summer seasons is often the busiest one for anyone lucky enough to have a piece of land passed from generation to generation, as well as the decreasing few to have benefited from the land reform programme.

I, just like these women and all other Zimbabweans, look forward to this great, but hot, season. There is a hint of promise that in the near future there will be a bonus to take home, a festive season to celebrate and a new year to prepare for.

But the sight of the women tilling the barren land, with no guarantees of rains, brings me back to reality, because I know with deep certainty that the land will not give bounty, the nation will see no bonus and the Christmas season no cheer. There will not be the beauty of the fertile blossom that comes from the mocking bloom of the jacaranda trees.

Not until Zimbabwe has a government that is concerned with the welfare of its citizens.

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