Oct 6, 12:05 PM EDT
By GILLIAN GOTORA
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's president said Thursday that he can't
force a poll he wants next year to end a troubled coalition government,
saying he was "not in control" of elections in a country he's ruled for
Regional mediators say elections can't be held until constitutional and
democratic reforms are in place, but President Robert Mugabe has pushed for
polls and maintains the country is ready. On Thursday during a two-hour
speech to members of his ZANU-PF party, he for the first time showed signs
of conceding to mediators' calls.
"We were looking forward to holding elections soon but I'm not in control of
the mechanism that would lay the road to elections this year," Mugabe said.
He said he wanted elections "soon" but did not specify.
But he also accused Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, with whom he has been
forced to share power, of "telling lies" by saying that the southern African
country is not ready for elections.
Mugabe was forced by regional leaders to join a coalition with former
opposition leader Tsvangirai in 2009 after violent and disputed presidential
elections in 2008. Mugabe has cited strained relations among coalition
members as a reason to hold elections soon to get a new government in place.
Mugabe recently echoed his calls for a 2012 poll, and said it should be in
He blamed members of his party for the coalition government, which he said
was a "series of negatives."
"This is a heavy price we are paying for the incompatible marriage. We voted
for it because we voted against ourselves," Mugabe said.
Mugabe accused ministers from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change of
enjoying power and not wanting to let go.
"Those who are riding the chariots of its (coalition) creation are
enjoying," he said. "They don't want the pleasure to go. The coalition is
too sweet to be abandoned."
He said progress in the constitution-making process to allow for early
elections was "moving at a tortoise pace," a deliberate ploy by Tsvangirai's
party to delay elections.
Right groups have said there is always an escalation of violence, arbitrary
arrests of Mugabe's opponents when there are calls for elections. But Mugabe
says these are "lies" Tsvangirai's party is peddling.
"They are saying there is violence, where there is none; fighting, when
there is peace and dictatorship, when we are ruling together," Mugabe said.
An independent rights group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, said last month that 20
cases of assault, intimidation and torture happen in Zimbabwe everyday,
mostly perpetrated by Mugabe's supporters.
He said the coalition government has failed to agree on policies supporting
farmers, many whom are beneficiaries of the often-violent land seizures of
"That's why we would want to have this creature called the inclusive
government away from the horizon," Mugabe said.
(AFP) – 9 hours ago
HARARE — Zimbabwe will import a new batch of its adopted currency the United
States dollar to replace soiled bills and ease problems of coin shortages, a
state daily reported Thursday.
"Government through the BAZ (Bankers Association of Zimbabwe), has
negotiated with certain institutions in America that I will not name at the
moment to bring not only new notes but also coins," The Herald newspaper
quoted Finance Minister Tendai Biti as saying.
"The problem we are having now is of transport from Walvis Bay (Namibia) to
Zimbabwe because they weigh tonnes and tonnes but it is a problem that we
have to attend to."
Zimbabwe adopted the use of the US dollar and other regional currencies
after the formation of a unity government in February 2009.
It ditched the local dollar after hyperinflation, which peaked at multiple
billion percent, rendered it worthless and prices went up several times a
The switch to foreign currencies brought its own headaches as shops
struggled to get change and resorted to giving customers sweets, change
vouchers or anything close to the value of their change.
Some shops also refuse to accept soiled or torn notes.
The southern African country mainly uses the US dollar and the South African
By Alex Bell
06 October 2011
A supply of new banknotes and coins for Zimbabwe is stuck in Namibia, with
the government still working out the logistics of transporting the multi-ton
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told Parliament on Wednesday that the shipment
of cash, the product of a deal with unnamed US financial institutions,
weighs “tons and tons.”
“The problem we are having now is of transport from Walvis Bay (Namibia) to
Zimbabwe, but it is a problem that we have attended to,” Biti said, without
giving more detail.
The Minister was responding to a question by an MDC-T legislator for
Magwegwe, Magalela Sibanda, on what the government was doing about retailers
and banks that were refusing to accept soiled notes.
The US dollar notes that have been in circulation since Zimbabwe abandoned
the local dollar in 2009, have mostly become unusable. Many retailers have
stopped accepting them, while some banks were reportedly charging a fee to
change the notes. At the same time, a serious shortage of coins has seen
people being forced to accept small items such as sweets, chocolates and
pens as changes. In some cases, shoppers were given ‘credit notes’ to be
redeemed at a later stage.
But according to Minister Biti the government has made plans to inject new
bank notes and coins into the banking system. He told Parliament that the
government, through the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, “has negotiated
with certain institutions in America that I will not name at the moment that
will bring not only new notes but also coins.” He did not detail when the
money will arrive in Zimbabwe.
Economist John Robertson welcomed this announcement, explaining that the
state of the money in circulation was dire. He added that, although the
details of the arrangement Biti has referred to, have not been public it was
likely something that involved a “straight swap” of cash.
“Zimbabwe doesn’t have the money to buy new notes, so I think this would
most likely have been an agreement based on a swap of the old notes for the
new ones. The expense would have been in the shipment, and the Bankers
Association would have incurred this cost,” Robertson said.
(AFP) – 1 hour ago
HARARE — Zimbabwe lawmakers on Thursday called on the police to release the
outcome of a probe into the death of former army chief Solomon Mujuru who
was killed in a mysterious inferno nearly two months ago.
"Those investigating the general's death must know that Zimbabweans are
waiting eagerly to hear their findings," MP Trevor Jones Saruwaka from Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party said in parliament.
"The longer they take the more suspicious the nation and people of Zimbabwe
Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, a member from ZANU PF, lamented the death of "a great
freedom fighter" and "giant of all giants" saying "the truth shall come out
of the cause of his death".
Mujuru, a commander of Zimbabwe's liberation war fighters and first
post-independence army chief, was killed in a fire at his farmhouse and his
burial ceremony was attended by around 40,000 people across political
The cause of the fire remains unexplained and his wife, Vice-President Joice
Mujuru, has said her family was troubled by the strange circumstances of her
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga said how Mujuru died had
left many questions unanswered and the investigators should make public even
scant findings they may have made so far to avoid wild speculation.
"We are concerned about what we read in the papers about the manner in which
the scene of this unfortunate occurrence was managed or mismanaged,"
"Although the final investigations are still to be completed, the persons
charged with these investigations should take the people of this country in
their confidence no matter how little information they are able to give us
because if they don't make this information available then speculation will
ZANU-PF lawmaker Paddy Zhanda said Mujuru was a tolerant politician accepted
by all political parties.
"Comrade Mujuru was above party politics and would interact with anybody,"
Zhanda said. "He was a person who used to tolerate different views."
Deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara described Mujuru as the man who made
Mugabe when he accepted him as the leader of the liberation fighters for the
1970s war for independence.
"Mujuru created Robert Mugabe single-handedly," Mutambara said.
"Comrade Mujuru was a man of impeccable war credentials."
MDC lawmaker Tangwara Matimba said: "I am a bit worried that General Mujuru
had to die in the cirumstances in which he died."
Eddie Cross, another MDC legislator, said it was a "tragedy that he died in
this particular manner".
Police say they will make their findings public at an appropriate time.
By Lance Guma
06 October 2011
Starting next week Thursday SW Radio Africa will once again be exposing some
of the operations of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
We have received a full list of the addresses and phone numbers for every
single CIO office and building in the country. Some of the buildings have
been used to interrogate and torture abducted opposition activists.
In July this year SW Radio Africa exclusively published a list that exposed
by name CIO agents working in and outside Zimbabwe. The document was dated
2001 and listed ‘operatives’ working for the organisation at the time. For 6
weeks we serialised over 480 names of agents, some of whom were involved in
gross human rights violations including abductions, torture, rape and
This newer document, dated 2008, contains around 759 telephone extensions
and 76 different offices and buildings from which the notorious spy agency
works. Not only does the CIO have a presence in all the major cities but it
has offices in smaller towns and remote areas like Rutenga, Nyika, Mt
Darwin, Mataga, Makuti, Lupane, Jerera, Kezi, Chivhu, Guruve, Esigodini,
Chirundu, Tsholotsho and Binga.
As our series will prove, hundreds of opposition activists have been and
continue to be abducted by CIO agents and taken to these offices to be
tortured. Our list will also show surprising deployments of state security
agents in furniture shops and at the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre (SIRDC) in Harare.
The Central Intelligence Organisation is not used to protect national
security and to safeguard Zimbabweans. Along with the military and the
police it is used by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF to hold on to power, using
brute force and intimidation. Experts say the CIO is the most powerful arm
of ZANU PF’s security apparatus, the ‘brains behind the regime.’
A 2007 Human Rights Watch report confirmed that “police forces, agents of
the Central Intelligence Organization and groups of "youth militia" are the
main perpetrators of serious human rights abuses.” Civil society and
opposition activists also say CIO agents and "youth militia" are often
present at police stations around the country and are routinely involved in
the beating of activists in custody.
Political commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa that
publication of the addresses of the offices and buildings used by the CIO
would help relatives and friends of those abducted in the future. “At least
they will know where to begin looking, if their loved ones are abducted.”
Mhlanga also said the CIO did not protect national interests but was just a
wing of ZANU PF.
By Frank Phiri
BLANTYRE | Thu Oct 6, 2011 10:32am EDT
(Reuters) - The Archbishop Bishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wants to
meet Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe during his visit to Africa and call
on him to end a violent suppression of the Anglican Church and its priests
in the country.
Williams, who Thursday began a tour of southern Africa in Malawi, will
arrive in Zimbabwe at the weekend. Mugabe's officials would not confirm if a
meeting had been set with England's most senior cleric.
"This is a pastoral visit at the invitation of my bishop brothers, but of
course I shall be raising with President Mugabe the issue about the
harassment and persecution of our church in Zimbabwe," Williams told
reporters at Blantyre's airport.
"What difference that will make is in God's hands, but I want to put that on
the table," he said.
Williams plans to meet Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika, who has been
criticized by global powers for igniting a diplomatic flap with Britain and
using his forces to crush anti-government rallies in July where 20
protesters were killed.
Malawi has advanced laws to punish homosexuality, with Williams saying the
Anglican Church condemns any persecution or violence against homosexuals.
The archbishop, however commended Mutharika for overturning the conviction
and punishment of a gay couple in Malawi sentenced to 14 years in jail for
their relationship. The case was a global sensation about two years ago.
In Zimbabwe, the Anglican church has gone to court to stop a rebel bishop
from seizing church assets, amid escalating tensions ahead of the Williams
The church is appealing against an August 4 ruling that gave Nolbert
Kunonga, an avowed Mugabe supporter who leads a break-away faction of the
church, custody of the Anglican church's Zimbabwean properties.
Kunonga is a former head of the Anglican church in the country but resigned
in 2007 claiming a dispute over homosexuality and the church's stance on
Mugabe's policies such as the highly criticized seizures of white-owned
In a statement, the top Anglican bishop in Zimbabwe, Chad Gandiya, accused
Kunonga of intensifying attacks on priests aligned to the mainstream church
and seizing church properties including schools and orphanages.
"Clergy and members of the laity belonging to the Anglican Diocese of
Harare...have been receiving threats, constant harassment and lately severe
beatings from Kunonga's hooligans, masquerading as clergy," Gandiya said in
Kunonga was not immediately available to comment, but he recently told the
state-controlled Herald newspaper that the court ruling entitled him to all
the church's assets.
In February, Williams wrote an open letter urging Mugabe to stop the abuse
of Anglican parishioners and priests by the police and Kunonga's supporters.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
06 October, 2011
The ex-communicated Anglican Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, has struck another
blow at the Church Province of Central Africa (CPCA), by serving eviction
notices on all the teachers at St Mark’s in Mhondoro, where hundreds of
students are due to take exams next week.
Reverend Sydney Chirombe told SW Radio Africa that they have been given 48
hours to vacate the premises, or face the embarrassment of forced evictions.
“We are in a dilemma right now and do not know where to put our belongings,”
Reverend Chirombe said. About 900 students will be affected.
The eviction notices were delivered by a messenger for the deputy sheriff,
Kadoma, and signed by Job Zabaya of Chikumbirike Associates. Chirombe said
the reason given is that members of the CPCA should not teach in schools
belonging to the Church Province of Zimbabwe (CPZ).
Kunonga split from the CPCA in 2007and formed the CPZ, but has failed to
gain support from parishioners. He has used a controversial recent court
ruling granting him custody of church properties to evict nurses, teachers
and clergy from the CPCA, without considering the children and parishioners
they serve. Kunonga also has support from Robert Mugabe and the police.
The renegade bishop is also allegedly planning to protest a visit by the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is due in Zimbabwe this
weekend as part of his tour of Central Africa. He has requested a meeting
with Robert Mugabe. Reports say the Archbishop plans to hold a service in
the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Sunday, because Kunonga’s followers
would not allow him to use the main Cathedral or other buildings.
The CPCA Harare Diocese is headed by Bishop Chad Gandiya, whose home was
targetted by thugs last month in a robbery that was described as
“suspicious”. The thieves got away with the family’s laptops and mobile
Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, David
Coltart, told SW Radio Africa the evictions were disturbing but he could not
intervene because no formal complaints had been received from the affected
Minister Coltart confirmed that he had ordered a detailed investigation into
the children and teachers who were evicted by Kunonga’s thugs from church
buildings he seized in Murehwa district.
Oct 6, 2011, 16:50 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe Thursday said the Arab Spring
could have been avoided if the countries' leaders had 'read' the situation
'We have had good relations with those Arab countries in trouble today. We
have sympathy with them because they did not read warnings that they should
have read. That things were changing because of the wishes of their people,
and because of machinations of the imperialists,' the president said.
'The pattern has been the same ... Protests against some political measure
or system or wanting change. It ends up being a demand for the entire
government to go,' said Mugabe addressing senior members of his Zanu-PF
Mugabe said Zimbabwe must be watchful of what has happened in Tunisia,
Egypt, Syria and Libya where Western powers 'pretend to be following the
grievances of the protestors' when in fact they are after resources of the
Last month Mugabe said African leaders would not recognise the interim
government in Libya until it has negotiated with the fugitive leader Moammar
On Wednesday Mugabe warned that 'imperialists' could target Zimbabwe. 'We
must remain prepared to defend our country and sovereignty,' the 87 year-old
Mugabe also added that he would not give in to demands by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to stop a law that forces foreign-owned companies to
surrender their majority stake to black Zimbabweans.
'Zimbabwe is for a Zimbabweans. There shall never be a time when we will
give away our resources. Never. Never. Let them come as partners in return
for what we do not have say technology. Yes, bring it, but not by more than
50 percent,' said Mugabe.
'We are saying resources to the people. It is not racism.'
The law was passed in 2007, before Zanu-PF formed a coalition with
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party.
Tsvangirai has since voiced concerns that the law could scare away
badly-needed foreign investors. It is seen by some as a controversial
extension of Zimbabwe's policy to seize white-owned farms.
The law's critics argue that most Zimbabweans are too poor to own stakes in
companies that might require injections of capital. They fear that the
equity will end up in the hands of wealthy officials.
06 October, 2011 14:23
Zimbabwe's economy, currently battling against a heavy saddle of rampant
price distortions and surging inflation, is expected to slow down in 2012
despite strong growth projections for the current year, Finance Minister,
Tendai Biti has said.
Despite signs of revival, Zimbabwe's economy has of late given up to the
specter of inflation, with the August year-on-year inflation rate surging to
3.5%, up from the July rate of 3.3% and as largely expected, an increase in
transport costs and electricity tariffs were the major drivers of the
inflationary spike. The September inflation rate is also nominally projected
And with investors still a bit skeptical at the moment over the
indigenisation law and over the re-emergence of farm invasions, the
government has been called to create a conducive investment climate and
respect property rights to attract foreign direct investments, crucial for
the revival of the economy.
The local economy has also had to contend with a fresh wave of strikes over
wage increases by employees at some government parastatals and institutions,
as evidenced by the strike by public prosecutors.
However, Biti is still optimistic that Zimbabwe will attain its 9.3%
projected 2011 economic growth target. Yet some economists have warned that
the government, especially Biti's finance ministry, needs to keep an eye on
"The 9.3% growth projection is modest and not yet beyond reach but one
begins to worry once the inflation rate begins to continue rising," said an
economist with a local finance institution. He added: "At the moment growth
projections for 2012 are difficult to assess but as Biti has said, there is
likely to be a slow-down."
Biti was quoted on Wednesday saying Zimbabwe is projected to register an
economic growth of between 7.8% and 9%, a growth trajectory which is at most
slightly below the current year's economic growth projection of 9.3%. Biti's
projections are based on expected growth from the mining and agriculture
He has also predicted an average yearly inflation rate of between 3.7% and
5% for the period up to the end of next year. This despite surfacing doubts
among economists and commentators who believe Zimbabwe's inflation is
expected to be at 4.5% for the current year.
However, the Finance Minister, who also doubles up as secretary general of
the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) fronted by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, is also expecting further growth from the tourism,
manufacturing and transport and communications sectors.
The communications sector has been particularly buoyant this year, with
major players in the sector embarking on various infrastructure and service
development programmes to enhance their position in the market. The
dollarisation of Zimbabwe's economy has also resulted in increased average
calls per capita.
"Agriculture and mining will remain the major contributors to overall
growth, with other sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, transport and
communication also increasing their share," Biti said.
He also said Zimbabwe was likely to collect $3.4 billion in revenue in 2012,
up on the current year's revenue collection projection of $2.7 billion,
while foreign capital injections and aid facilities are expected to total
$500 million, a figure below this year's $593.7 million.
Observers and commentators have said that the biggest challenge to any
growth prospects for Zimbabwe's economy lie largely on political
developments likely to take center stage in 2012. With President Mugabe and
his Zanu PF party's bid to force elections this year having faltered, it is
widely expected that Mugabe will push for early elections in 2012.
"We can't talk of sustained growth in 2012 when elections and a new
constitution are expected to chew much of the country's budget amid
constrained revenue space," said economist Jeffrey Kasirori. He also said
any political developments could disturb the current pace of economic
Zimbabwe also has a bloated civil service wage bill that - according to
Biti - is chewing up more than half of the government's budget and revenue.
The country is still a net importer of goods and commodities from the
majority of its neighboring countries such as SA and Botswana and, according
to experts, the export/import disparity is a major worry.
Biti said export earnings should increase slightly to $4.6 billion next year
from $4.1 billion in 2012, largely driven by mining commodities.
06/10/2011 16:58:00 By Thelma Chikwanha and Chris Goko
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is beginning to lose patience with the
truancy of serial political flip flopper Jonathan Moyo, Zanu PF insiders
The well-placed sources said Moyo was “overplaying his hand” through his
public pronouncements – thereby compromising Mugabe who has been under
pressure from senior party colleagues, including politburo and presidium
members, who want the erratic former junior information minister reined in.
One of the impeccable sources said last night that Moyo, who was “very
unpopular” in the party had seemingly begun to take Mugabe for granted “in
the mistaken belief” that the octogenarian deemed him indispensable.
“Jonathan is definitely overplaying his hand in the party. From where I
sit, it is now a matter of time before Mugabe puts him in his place because
he is getting on everyone’s nerves with his reckless pronouncements.
“Senior party members are asking the president why Jonathan is acting like a
law unto himself and seemingly getting away with it. They are all wondering
where he derives his power and why he continues to humiliate the president
and the party the way he is doing,” he said.
Another source said Moyo’s utterances at a Sapes Trust discussion forum
demonstrated that he did not “care a hoot” about the fact that he “actually
sold out to the Americans”.
“Most people have now come to truly believe that Moyo is out to destroy both
President Mugabe and Zanu PF and hence the anxiety within the presidium to
begin to make moves to stop this unguided missile.
“Please don’t mistake the president’s slow action on the matter for a lack
of will or courage. From what I know, he is beginning to lose patience with
this man,” he said.
These sentiments are in line with those carried in the Daily News’s sister
newspaper, the Daily News on Sunday, which reported a fortnight ago that the
time may be up for Zanu PF officials such as Moyo — who was described by the
Americans as a “useful messenger” — for secretly holding meetings with US
officials and advocating for Mugabe’s ouster.
The weekly said some party heavyweights were ratcheting up the pressure on
Mugabe to take severe action against these “sellouts”, including expulsion
from the party or even having treason charges preferred against them.
The “sellouts”, described by one senior politburo member as “CIA (Central
Intelligence Agency) spies out to destroy our president and party” recently
ran out of luck when they were shamefully exposed by whistle blower website
Among them were presidium, politburo members and others considered to be
senior in the party and very close to Mugabe.
“Many of us are sick to our stomachs knowing that the very comrades that we
sit and dine with everyday are busy plotting the demise of our party and the
ouster of our president. It’s terrible.
“Take the case of Jonathan Moyo. This is the Mafikizolo who would have the
world believe that he is prepared to die for Mugabe and Zanu PF. It is one
thing to flip flop politically, but to actually work, in effect, as an
American spy is completely unforgivable and unacceptable.
“If these comrades are lucky they must be expelled from the party, otherwise
the most suitable punishment they should get is to face treason charges,”
the politburo member said.
The sensational US diplomatic cables revealed the double standards of the
former ruling party’s members who by day swear allegiance to Mugabe, but
plot to oust him by night.
Mugabe was so distraught that he has even allegedly confided in his arch
nemesis and coalition government partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
about his anguish, and pain emanating from this betrayal.
Other party sources said Mugabe had decided to postpone dealing with the
matter so that he could further weigh the issue and also avoid tearing the
party apart altogether.
“Mugabe is in a tight situation. If he endorses a WikiLeaks probe, he risks
amputating his party fatally. On the other hand, if he ignores it, he will
be seen as a coward who has resigned himself to his fate — his inevitable
“One thing for sure is that at the moment, he is an angry man and people are
scared of even approaching him. At the same time, the sell-outs are reeling
as the stress of not knowing what Mugabe will do to them is eating them."
“They do not know what Mugabe is thinking and that is not comforting at all.
Some of them believe that he will deal with them one by one,” another
highly-placed politburo member said.
In an earlier interview, the party’s secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa said the “sell outs” would be punished because they had collaborated
with the US, which Mugabe and his party regard as their number one enemy.
Mutasa said those found plotting with the Americans should face the music
regardless of their positions in the party.
“I am not the one who wrote the Zanu PF constitution. If one has breached
it, he must be brought before a disciplinary committee. This is democracy. I
believe in democracy and let’s discuss this issue. I addressed this issue in
Mutare last week at our party meeting and our supporters agreed with it,’’
“Those implicated should go through normal disciplinary procedures of the
party and if anyone is found guilty of having sold out, he must be punished
accordingly,’’ Mutasa said.
“If some party members were punished in the past for selling-out, the same
should happen to those implicated in the WikiLeaks,” he added.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said yesterday that Moyo was behaving
like a loose cannon because there was a serious limitation in terms of
intellectual capacity within Zanu PF.
“He also seems to possess confrontational prowess which the party needs and
he has realised that there is no serious intellectual depth within the
party. They will find it difficult to rein him in because nobody has the
capacity to do so,” Mangongera said. - Daily News
By Alex Bell
06 October 2011
International human rights leaders have slammed the ongoing harassment and
intimidation of pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), in a joint
protest directed at Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
A group of seventeen leading human rights groups from around the world have
co-signed a protest letter over the imprisonment and intimidation of WOZA’s
leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu. The pair was this week
finally released from Mlondolozi Prison on bail, 13 days after their arrest
and detention on ‘kidnapping’ and ‘theft’ charges. The two deny the
allegations, which WOZA has called ‘malicious’ and ‘spurious’.
In a public letter to Chinamasa this week, the seventeen international
groups stated that they are “greatly distressed” about the treatment of the
WOZA women. The letter urges the government to guarantee the safety of
Williams and Mahlangu and to grant them a speedy and fair trial. It further
calls for the protection of all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, “who
continue to press the government to adhere to international human rights
standards, provide access to basic services, and improve living conditions.”
The organisations are the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human
Rights, Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Human Rights Watch,
TransAfrica Forum, Human Rights First, National Endowment for Democracy,
Physicians for Human Rights, Institute for Policy Studies, Africa Action,
Global Rights, Calling All Crows, Dispatch and State Radio, Schooner Fund,
Just Associates and Elias Fund.
You can read the letter here:
05 October 2011
Madzore was picked up on Tuesday at his home in the Waterfalls section of
Harare by Law and Order Section detectives and was being held at Rhodesville
Police Station in the capital
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington
Zimbabwean police on Wednesday brought a charge of murder against Solomon
Madzore, head of the youth assembly of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the May killing of police
inspector Petros Mutedza.
Madzore was picked up at his home in Waterfalls, Harare, by Law and Order
Section detectives and was being held at Rhodesville Police Station in the
His arrest brought to 27 the number of MDC members charged in the death of
Mutedza in an incident at a Glen View bar. Eight members continued to be
held by police after High Court judge Justice Tendai Uchena dismissed their
The original 26 defendants were have been remanded to October 19 in
Lawyer Gift Mtisi, representing Madzore, told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
he hopes that his client will be arraigned in court on Thursday.
By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 08:50
HARARE - South African president, Jacob Zuma is to set to meet the country’s
three political party leaders in the next two weeks to discuss outstanding
issues to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Zuma’s meeting comes as President Robert Mugabe added confusion to the
Zimbabwe crisis by once again announcing that elections will be held next
year although the other party leaders — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Welshman Ncube — and Sadc want elections after the electoral roadmap is
The meeting, which will be held either in Harare or Pretoria will be in line
with Zuma’s latest stance taken at the last Sadc summit in Angola where he
indicated that he will be dealing directly with the political party leaders
to expedite the implementation of the agreement.
Lindiwe Zulu, who is Zuma’s special adviser on International Affairs and a
member of his facilitation team, told the Daily News yesterday that the
scheduled meeting is part of a wider plan by Zuma to pressure the country’s
political leaders to implement the GPA in full as directed by the regional
The full implementation of the agreement is seen as the only answer to the
political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The current Sadc chairperson, Angolan strongman Eduardo Dos Santos, insisted
at the last summit that the political agreement should be implemented in
full before elections can be held.
“As soon as we have discussed with the concerned parties in this whole
issue, things such as dates and other modalities, the President (Zuma) shall
be communicating what happens as the way forward,” Zulu said.
“There are many options that are available for pursuit. The President was
thinking it would be good to have the three principals coming over for a
meeting so that these issues around the implementation of the GPA are dealt
“There is also an available option that could see the president travelling
down to Zimbabwe to meet with the three principals in Zimbabwe.
“That is a pursuable option if the one where the Zimbabwean principals are
invited to come over to South Africa fails to materialise,” she added.
Zulu said what stood out clearly from a Sadc perspective as well as that of
the facilitation team was the urgent need for meetings between the South
African President and the Zimbabwean political party leaders.
“One thing that stands out is the imperative that the President (Zuma) needs
to meet with Zimbabwe’s principals and that meeting should be held sooner
rather than later. It is very clear that there are some issues that the GPA’s
negotiators in Zimbabwe have failed to agree on and these have been elevated
to the principals’ level."
Even at that level, there appears to be challenges in addressing these
“This is why the President has said that he feels it is important for him to
be fully involved in meetings with the principals because this is the only
way these outstanding issues can be addressed,” Zulu added.
As a precursor to Zuma’s meeting, Zulu said the facilitation team would
travel to Harare either this week or next week to meet with negotiators of
“We will be coming to Zimbabwe either this week or next week to hold our
regular meetings with the negotiators. This is a meeting that will then
prepare us for the meeting of President Zuma and the Zimbabwean principals."
“Our hope is that we will get the maximum co-operation from all stakeholders
in Zimbabwe as we try to ensure that the GPA is fully implemented as
prescribed by Sadc,” Zulu said.
06/10/2011 12:44:00 By Fortune Tazvida
Robert Mugabe’s deteriorating health is a serious ‘election’ issue and this
explains why his Zanu PF party is trying desperately to shield their 87 year
old leader from intense speculation surrounding his numerous trips to Asia
for medical treatment.
This week Mugabe and his lieutenants denied reports that he had gone to
Singapore for a 7th time this year while seeking medical treatment.
Previously his office has admitted he has travelled to have cataract
operations although recently leaked US diplomatic cables suggest he is
suffering from prostate cancer.
Speaking to London based independent SW Radio Africa, political analyst
Pedzisai Ruhanya said “Mugabe is Zanu PF’s election candidate and if they
are to admit that Mugabe is so sick that for the past 10 months he has been
to Asia to look for medical attention it casts aspersions on his suitability
as an election candidate.”
“People will doubt him on the basis that how can someone who is always in
hospital be an election candidate. So it has dire consequences for Mugabe’s
candidacy. Mugabe is already unpopular, will not win an election and this
(health) will just worsen his candidature.”
“In 2012 Mugabe will be 88. Surely before Mugabe says anything about what he
has to offer or what he doesn’t have to offer, his age and his face are an
election issue. He is no longer appealing to the people and his age is not
an age where people can invest their future in an 88 year old who is always
in and out of hospital,” Ruhanya said.
Commenting on preparations for elections next year Ruhanya said it was
important that Registra General Tobaiwa Mudede (Mugabe’s relative) must be
kept away from playing any role in the process. “Mudede must not be allowed
anywhere near elections because he is a habitual election thief and there is
evidence to prove that.” Nehanda Radio.com
By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Thursday, 06 October 2011 18:59
HARARE - Sparks will fly when Zanu PF convenes its conference in Bulawayo
in early December, where President Robert Mugabe will have to deal with many
pertinent issues which have caused major divisions within the former ruling
The conference, which Mugabe says will effectively be a congress because of
the serious decisions it will have to take, such as choosing the party's
presidential candidate for next year's do-or-die elections, comes at a most
inopportune time as the party is staring bankruptcy in the face and is also
reeling from the devastating effects of Wiki-Gate.
In addition, it is having to try and deal with serious divisions across its
various structures — right up to presidium level.
As if to confirm the seemingly intractable difficulties that the party is
facing, spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was at pains to say last night why Mugabe
had deemed the December 6 gathering more of a congress than a conference.
“What the president says are his views and we shall leave it at that,” Gumbo
This confusion notwithstanding, the party's members will be arriving at the
meeting with bated breath to see how the party of liberation deals with all
the myriad crises it is facing — particularly following the untimely and as
yet not fully explainedFROM P1
death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru.
Sources within the party said last night that they expected the conference
to be a “very stormy affair” — particularly because of the suspicions that
still lingered over Mujuru’s death.
“Members loyal to the late general (who was perceived to be a key leader in
one of the factions within Zanu PF) are demanding answers to the cause of
his death,” one of them said.
Indeed, Mujuru’s wife, Vice President Joice Mujuru, told journalists soon
after her husband’s death that she could not understand how a military man
like him had failed to get out of the family farmhouse that was gutted by
fire in July. She said this was especially so given that the windows in the
house were very low.
The Mujuru family has since expressed interest in engaging external forensic
experts to get to the bottom of the matter.
“Members from the Mujuru faction are closely monitoring the situation to see
how the party will handle the matter as it is very clear that someone wanted
him (Mujuru) dead,” the source said.
Another source said Zanu PF, which has been in power since the country
attained independence in 1980, will also have to deal with the contentious
issue of leadership renewal.
“The president realises that he can no longer afford to push the matter to
the periphery. He now knows that even members of his inner circle want him
to go, thanks to the sensational WikiLeaks revelations,” the source said.
The Daily News has previously reported that so staggered was Mugabe by the
betrayal that has been exposed by the cables, that it is believed that he
even confided in his arch nemesis, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai about
“Mugabe is in a tight spot. He is very hurt and very angry. The dilemma for
him is that confronting the WikiLeaks culprits might collapse the party.
“At the same time, keeping quiet will be viewed as a sign of weakness. For
the first time, Mugabe does not know which bullet to fire,” another senior
party member said.
The congress, which will attract at least 6 000 people, will be the first
big occasion where the “sell-outs” will come face to face with the rest of
their colleagues as a group.
Wiki-Gate has exposed the scandalous fact that senior party officials,
including vice presidents Mujuru and John Nkomo, met with US officials and
called for the 87-year-old’s ouster.
Luck however, ran out on all of them when details of their meetings with the
US envoys were leaked by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, analysts say Mugabe, who has put off the succession issue for
quite some time, will have no choice but to deal with it because of his
failing health and advanced age.
The octogenarian leader has blown millions of dollars travelling to
the Far East in the past few months, where he is said to be receiving
treatment for cancer.
Nationalist and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said while leadership renewal
in the party was necessary, the current Zanu PF would not survive without
“It’s a huge dilemma. The Zanu PF we knew died a long time ago, and
this current one will die with him, but the question that begs answer is who
is there among this crop to revive the real Zanu PF we knew,” Mandaza said.
Another analyst, Lovemore Madhuku, said it would be fairly easy for Zanu PF
to replace Mugabe because he had lowered the standards.
“Mugabe has become such a liability and the easiest thing that can ever
happen is to replace him. He has lowered the standards so much that everyone
can see he is no longer competent and we all know that when you see a dirty
house the first thing you do is remove the dirt so that the house can be
clean. No one can be worse than Mugabe,” Madhuku said.
Interview broadcast 28 September 2011
Lance Guma: Veteran MDC activist and campaigner for women’s rights, Grace Kwinjeh, was this month (September) honoured by her party for coming up with the name ‘Movement for Democratic Change’ at its formation. With the party recently turned 12 years, Kwinjeh joins Question Time to reflect on the political journey. We asked SW Radio Africa listeners to send in their questions for Grace via Face Book, Twitter, email and text messages. Ms Kwinjeh thank you so much for joining us on the programme.
Grace Kwinjeh: Thank you Lance.
Guma: Not many people knew you had suggested the name – Movement for Democratic Change, MDC in short – take us back to 1999 and how everything unfolded.
Kwinjeh: Well basically Lance if you remember the mood then in 1999 was that Zimbabweans were really getting fed up with the status quo and if you remember that is the time I think we had the most successful actions against the government in the form of the stay-aways that were being called by the then secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and the president Mr Gibson Sibanda so I think the process leading to the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change was really one by Zimbabweans especially through the workers’ movement expressing their really, really, really dissatisfaction with what was going on in the country at the time.
Guma: But in terms of the inspiration towards the name, why that? Why Movement for Democratic Change? Why not Workers Party or something like that? Labour Party since it was predominantly driven by a lot of people who were in the trade union movements?
Kwinjeh: Well basically I think, yes while the workers’ movement played what I can call a significant part but you have those who were also in the civic organizations who played a tremendous role. You have unsung heroes to the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change; people who came from all kinds of backgrounds – you have people like Mr Roy Bennett who were coming from the farming community, you had people like Mr Tawanda Mutasa who were coming from the civic organizations, you had others who, the MDC was not just formed in a day.
You have people like Mrs Sekai Holland who were coming from the women’s movement, then you’ve got others like Dr Godfrey Kanyenze you know there were so many people who were representing different sectors of society so the idea of a Movement was really to represent all those voices, all those aspirations into some kind of people’s movement that would be geared towards change through democratic means.
Guma: Well I suppose since the split in 2005 a lot has changed in terms of name configurations and for election purposes, the party has had to use the MDC-T acronym – you being the person that initially suggested the name, any new ideas on how to handle the current split in terms of a name for the party?
Kwinjeh: I think that’s not about an individual, it’s not about me because the suggestion was a collective one, it was through a collective debate among many people and through consensus so I think it’s up to the party as a whole to, well for instance now they’ve agreed to move with the acronym MDC-T, then you have MDC-N, and you have the other MDC but I think that is something for public debate, public discussion and I think it’s part of the renewal after 12 years, people have to get back to basics and say okay we are moving forward how do we rebrand, how do we renew ourselves to take on the next phase of the struggle.
Guma: Well you say it was a movement and it drew on people from diverse backgrounds, it’s 12 years since that movement was formed, do you think as a party you have been able to maintain all your alliances and partners? The party had the backing of students, workers, academics and many in business, obviously it’s not easy to keep everyone happy.
Kwinjeh: Yes it’s not easy to keep everyone happy but I’m totally convinced that the MDC remains very broad based and its support remains very broad based and I think that even when you look at the 12th anniversary celebrations, the participation of civic groups, key civic groups such as even the National Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and so on shows you that it remains a partner of civic society and it is the only party in Zimbabwe at the moment that is truly representative of the aspirations of those different organizations.
So yes, the relationship is tough at times; there’s tough love and I think that’s part of democracy. It is part of democracy, I mean you can’t expect everything to be rosy and smooth all the way so civic organizations will have one or two issues to pick with the way the party is doing things but they remain partners and I think that is part and parcel of a healthy relationship.
Guma: The one incident that has defined your determination and resolve took place of the 11 th of March 2007 when more than five baton-stick wielding riot policemen beat you up at Machipisa police station in Harare – let’s go back to that and talk us through what happened.
Kwinjeh: Well basically because the situation in 2007 was getting even more, we were really confronted with a dire political and economic situation in our country, I think our church leaders decided to intervene through the Save Zimbabwe campaign where they organized a national day of prayer so they invited us all to a morning prayer on Sunday morning and while we were preparing to go for that prayer, of course things did not turn out the way we had anticipated, that is when we were brutally tortured at Machipisa police station.
Guma: Dewa Mavhinga one civic society leader, he works for the Crisis Coalition, he says congratulations dear comrade sister on the honour by the MDC and on fighting on through trials and tribulations that included a vicious attack by state security agents. He says what is your source of inspiration and how would you advise young democrats growing impatient to see a new Zimbabwe?
Kwinjeh: Well my source of inspiration is actually people like Dewa himself. Being in exile is not so easy but you can’t help but be inspired by those at home who continue every day even when situations get tough, who continue to stand up and actually continue to fight against the brutality of the Robert Mugabe regime.
So I’m inspired by them and I draw my inspiration from them so inasmuch as at times I feel like licking my own wounds, I feel bad and I feel tired, battle weary, but you know the fact that, even when you look at the Anniversary celebrations, that thousands of Zimbabweans came out under the most difficult circumstances, that would inspire anyone in any part of the world so I would like to really give the honour to Zimbabweans and their resilience and I think that is what keeps most of the leaders going, that is what keeps most of us out here in exile going.
Guma: In various capacities you have represented the MDC in Europe; you were at one time the deputy secretary for International Relations. Currently you are the Global Advocacy Campaign representative in the EU; what does your role involve?
Kwinjeh: Well basically the Global Advocacy Campaign is there to just reinvigorate international interest in what is going on in Zimbabwe and in one area for instance we’re focusing on is peace because we believe that a peaceful election is possible in Zimbabwe and right now we’ve just had the experience in Zambia where there’s been a very, very peaceful handover of power from the incumbent to the opposition so we believe that in Zimbabwe peace is possible and we are focusing on issues to do with peace; we are focusing on getting the Diaspora involved in campaigns related to the peace initiative and we are saying another Zimbabwe is possible and that’s to get the international community having a consensus, having one voice on the situation in Zimbabwe, not just a European voice or American voice or African voice but we believe that all the leaders of the international community, all those who are interested in democracy, can unite in actually saying a new Zimbabwe is possible and that not one person should die for it again.
Guma: Being part of a coalition government has brought its fair share of complications; some accuse the MDC of giving Mugabe and Zanu PF a lifeline in 2008 – what is your take on what happened?
Kwinjeh: Well basically I’m one of those who were never for us joining the government of national unity or signing the Global Political Agreement but when you really look at the end of the day what makes sense at that time, you find that the options were very limited for our leaders and actually I think that they’ve just proved a point of the kind of society that Zanu PF is in the sense that no amount of goodwill even in its own favour can it actually reciprocate with the same amount of goodwill towards the citizens of Zimbabwe.
So if you remember the whole issue of government of national unity was going on and on, the whole idea was being pushed from different circles, others were pushing a third way option and so on and I think when the prime minister and the leadership of the MDC finally agreed and went into the government, they really, they went in sincerely, hoping that this option would give some kind of reprieve to Zimbabweans and I think there has been temporary reprieve.
If you look at the economic indicators for instance, you find that our economy really is doing better than it was doing back then in 2008. If you look at some of the political indicators you find that things are not where they were before so while it’s not the most perfect deal, while we are not in the most perfect situation, but I think that we can claim victory in a number of areas and the GNU, you have to talk, you have to, everywhere around the world where there are warring parties, they have to get down and talk.
You have South Africa – they had to talk and come up with some kind of agreement so even if we at the next election, there’s a dispute, they will have to talk again and come up, I think Dr John Makumbe has made that point very clear. So we can’t run away from talking to Zanu PF, we have to talk to them especially more so that they are controlling the security apparatus and so on but I think that is of course a very unfair framework which gives legitimacy to an otherwise very unpopular political party.
I think it’s really unfair that Zanu PF should use the state machinery to force people to its own vile agendas and so on but really I think that we need to weigh and say how many options were there? I watched Morgan Tsvangirai almost being killed; actually by the time I went to the cells on the 11 th of March 2007, I thought he was dead and everybody else thought he was dead, so you can look at this man and really think that, after that what is there?
Look at the violence in 2008 – so there are certain decisions that leaders make. At times they are not so popular, at times they raise a lot of emotions but you look at the options and say okay so what would could have been done?
Guma: On Twitter comes a question from Donald. Donald wants to find out from you in terms of your assessment – what are the prospects for a free and fair election possibly next year?
Kwinjeh: I think if we can get some, I’m quite happy with the way that SADC is moving especially that that is one of the main victories we have scored in the recent months, the fact that SADC has changed its tone and its rhetoric. SADC is accepting that there is an issue in Zimbabwe and the issue is one Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF party and that the issue is still to do with violence and the role of the security sector.
So I think that if we resolve the issues to do with the role of the security, to do with security sector reforms for instance, to do with some of the reforms with media freedom and so on, the prospects of a free and fair election are very, very high and I think that right now what has happened in Zambia only shows us that whatever has been happening in Zimbabwe and that whatever the Robert Mugabe regime might be planning it’s very, very un-African and that elections, free and fair elections are very possible in Africa, in particular in Zimbabwe because we are more advanced than Zambia.
In many respects we are more advanced, we might not have had the kind of leadership renewal that they have had, much to their own credit but I think that institutionally, in terms of institutions that can deliver democracy, Zimbabwe really, really is a country that is way ahead of many countries, not just in the SADC region but in Africa as a whole. So I think that it’s time that SADC leaders in particular should really put their foot on the ground and see these elections have been the final elections that resolve the issue, the crisis in Zimbabwe once and for all.
Guma: Now you spent several years working in Rwanda Grace; Lindiwe in Harare is rather curious to know what you’ve been doing all those years in Rwanda?
Kwinjeh: Yah okay it was, I went to Rwanda as a journalist, actually first as a training manager then as a managing editor. You know after the genocide in 1994, you had journalists who were either involved in the killing of journalists or who themselves were killed so there has been a very thin base in terms of journalists on the ground, in the media and they have had a lot of programmes on the ground to actually start rebuilding the media, both print and electronic media and I actually enjoyed my stay in Rwanda because I learnt a lot of things.
Not only was I really privy to the kind of horrors that went on in 1994 in terms of the brutality of the killing, in terms of the role that the media can play in inciting such killings, in terms of hate-speech and so on but I also found that it is possible to actually stand up for the leadership, to stand up and to start rebuilding a nation and I think they are doing great things even now when it’s only about 15 or 16 years after the genocide but they are doing tremendous things in terms of developing their nation better than other African countries that have never suffered the magnitude of violence that they suffered.
Guma: You talked of course about the polarized environment in Rwanda at that time; Zimbabwe has a similar polarized environment. Should democracy, or real democracy come to Zimbabwe, what do you think needs to be done to get rid of that whole polarized environment where you have journalists from the state media on one side and the independent journalists on the other?
Kwinjeh: I just think hate-speech is so wrong and you see, if you just compare to Rwanda as at 1992 and compare to Zimbabwe right now, just look at some of the articles, look at how they denigrate the prime minister or the MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai for instance, it’s the same kind of hate-speech culture. It is really wrong the way they incite citizens against fellow citizens and it’s all so wrong and I think that we as media practitioners, I’m talking also as a journalist and yourself Lance, there’s a big job, there’s a big role for us to play in actually transforming our media into a professional media that serves the interests of the people and not the interests of different political parties and political interests.
So many of them have actually been tried at the International Court for, in Arusha, those are the Rwandan journalists and I think when our time for justice comes, you’ll find that journalists are going to stand in the dock, there has to be justice and I think what they are doing is so wrong and I think that they should just learn from history.
It’s not just about journalists in Rwanda who incited the genocide, you even have journalists here in Europe who have been tried for similar crimes to do with hate-speech so they should know when they write all those libelous articles and where they denigrate others and when they incite hate-speech that their days are numbered and that the day of justice is not just about the politicians, they will be made to account too.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s veteran MDC activist and a campaigner for women’s rights Grace Kwinjeh joining us on Question Time and I hope that she has answered some of the questions that you have sent in to the programme. Grace thank you so much for joining us on the programme.
Kwinjeh: Thank you Lance, thank you.
To listen to the programme:
SW Radio Africa – on line 24 hours a day at www.swradioafrica.com and daily broadcasts on 4880 kHz in the 60m band between 7 - 9 pm Zimbabwe time. Twitter : Facebook : RSS feed You can now get SW Radio Africa on the Tunein Radio smart phone app.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman
Thank you for inviting me to be with you tonight. I have been asked to speak
to you on ‘The struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe’—an appropriate title
given that the words ‘democracy’ and ‘Zimbabwe’ have always been
inextricably linked to the realities of suffering and death. Democracy in
Zimbabwe remains a dream and a desire—a dream that has cost the lives of
thousands of brave men and women, and a dream that will, I am sure, cost the
lives of many more. This is a brutal and sobering certainty, but one that
says something of the reasons for the length and intensity of this struggle.
Indeed, we have—and continue—to pay an extraordinarily high price because of
the forces that fight so ruthlessly against us. Without, we are opposed by a
completely immoral and amoral criminal syndicate that masquerades as a
political party—and, within, we fight against traitors, deserters and
personal demons that tear against both body and soul.
I will talk more of these adversaries in a few minutes. But first, some
context. It is often said that the opposition in Zimbabwe is fighting for ‘a
return to democracy’. Yet the truth is that we have never enjoyed or
experienced democracy in any real sense. In the days of white rule, we had
the pretence of democracy—one man, one vote for one small section of the
population. And things have not improved since independence in 1980.
Referring to the African fondness for one party states, one of the
architects of Zimbabwe’s independence, British Foreign Secretary Lord
Carrington, quipped that Mugabe wanted ‘one man, one vote—once’. But we did
not get even that. For many black Zimbabweans, the elections of 1980 were an
exercise in sheer terror. Just as they had been during the war, our nation’s
predominantly rural population was subjected to massive intimidation and
no-holds-barred violence from Mugabe’s military.
At the time, Britain was desperate to wash its hands of responsibility in
Zimbabwe—and they were simultaneously pushed by irresponsible western
leaders such as Australia’s Prime Minister Malcom Fraser, who had a naive
and ignorant view of Mugabe’s character. And so the first elections were
declared by the international community to be an accurate reflection of the
will of the people. This provided Mugabe and his party, Zanu-PF, with the
early political cover they needed to impose an authoritarian system that
combined a twisted African nationalist ideology with instruments of
oppression that had been perfected by the white state.
The closest Zimbabwe got to democracy in the 1980s was the continued
existence of Zapu, Zanu-PF’s main rival since the 1960s and a party that
garnered most of its support from the Ndebele ethnic group in the
south-western provinces of Matabeleland. Influenced by African allies and
sponsors from the communist bloc, Zanu-PF was obsessed with the
establishment of a one party state—and it set-out to impose one by hook and
by crook. First and foremost, this meant the elimination of Zapu and the
subjugation of the Ndebele people. Calling on that well-known bastion of
democracy for military assistance—the Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea—Zanu-PF began a carefully-orchestrated operation in January 1983. But
this was no laughing matter. The North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade of the
army, drawn from Mugabe’s wartime guerrilla forces, slaughtered civilians
indiscriminately—men, women and children. Moreover, it worked in tandem with
the Central Intelligence Organisation, an organ inherited from the whites
and whose stock-in-trade was torture and detention without trial. The young
and old alike were butchered like cattle, battered to death in
blood-spattered cells or held by the hundred like rats in open-air cages.
Death, when it came—and it came often—was the end point of a pummeling with
jackboots and truncheons or as a result of sadistic and deliberately
perverse carnage meted out by the Fifth Brigade in the rural areas.
This was Zimbabwe’s introduction to democracy, Zanu-style. Meanwhile, as
Mugabe strutted the world stage, the vestiges of an independent judiciary,
already severely curtailed by a state of emergency, were systematically
emasculated. Another bloody election in 1985 and a shotgun marriage with
Zapu in 1987 saw the establishment of a dictatorship in all but name. The
people did not need to learn the lesson more than once, but it was,
nevertheless, dished out repeatedly—in Zimbabwe, you could vote for anyone
you liked, as long as it was Zanu-PF.
Having buried any serious political opposition, Mugabe and his cronies
turned their snouts to the trough and set about looting the country good and
proper. These were the years of excess, where the pilfering of the 80s was
replaced by monumental graft and a gravy train that stretched the length of
the country. Doffing its hat to international sentiment and mocking the
electorate, Zanu-PF maintained the facade of democracy and held regular
elections, but there were no credible alternatives to the self-proclaimed
‘mammoth’ party that headed the regime. We were told repeatedly that Zanu-PF
would rule forever and we were not left without bloody reminders of the
price of opposition. Woe betide those who dared to put their name on the
same ballot paper. One such reminder was provided in 1990 when a man named
Patrick Kombayi was riddled with bullet holes in broad daylight three days
before that year’s elections. Kombayi’s sin was to form an insiginficant
breakaway party and challenge the vice president on his home turf. Goons
from Mugabe’s intelligence agency were convicted in court but immediately
received a presidential pardon.
In the 1990s, Zanu-PF was able to repress the people for a time, but the
economic consequences of extravagance were incapable of persuasion.
Patronage, mismanagement and a leakage of skills and capital combined and
reached a critical mass by 1997. Two years later, Mugabe had a second
problem on his hands. The people, silent but not quiescent, had had enough.
The Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC, was formed in September 1999 and
rapidly drew enormous crowds. To see the multitudes thronging to the
stadiums and fields was to know, instantly, that massive forces were at
work—deep-seated anger and hope generated an awe-inspiring organic energy
that sprang, seemingly, from nowhere and threatened to sweep aside
everything in its path. Those were heady days. A democratic revolution was
in the air. And our first victory came quickly. Mugabe had organised a
constitutional referendum for early 2000—and he expected another donkey
vote, in spite of the excitment over MDC. Instead, we delivered him a rude
shock and a stark warning ahead of elections scheduled for later in the
year. The ‘no’ vote won the day.
Seething with fury, Mugabe turned to one of the few sectors that had
remained relatively intact during the feeding frenzy of the 90s. Commercial
agriculture was a legacy of colonial rule and was dominated by white
landowners—but the sector was a major source of employment and foreign
exchange and, not least, it enabled the country to be that rarity in Africa:
a net exporter of food. There had also been many changes since independence
that defied Zanu-PF’s propagandist narrative—one that presented all
commercial farmland as stolen by feudal white land barons. Since
independence, the government had the opportunity to implement a sensible and
equitable land redistribution program, but it had failed dismally because it
did not really care. It complained bitterly of early constitutional
limitations on compulsory acquistion and about the injustice of paying for
land that it said was stolen. But hundreds of millions had been provided by
donors to purchase land until the funding was cut off after aid had been
embezzled and thrown about lackadaisically. It is also a fact that a very
large percentage of white-owned farms were purchased after independence and
after the government had exercised its right to first refusal. Those who
bought these farms were issued with what was known as a ‘certificate of no
present interest’. My farm in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe was one of
The real motive of the anarchic fast-track land reform program begun after
the 2000 referendum—more accurately described as a free-for-all—was to open
the gates to looters and opportunists in the hope of reversing the mood of
rejection that was growing among the people. If nothing else, Zanu-PF have
an understanding of the base instincts of human nature—fear and greed being
high on the list. And there is no doubt that many took the opportunity when
it was presented. When controls are loosed, there are always those for whom
greed outweighs principle. We only have to look at Los Angeles in 1992 or
New Orleans in 2005 to see that.
The second objective of the land invasions was to cut off support for the
MDC among the more than one million black farm workers who lived on white
farms. These were murdered, beaten and driven away from lifelong homes. They
became wanderers and vagabonds—men, women and their little ones—nomads in
their own country. Is it any wonder that at least half of them are believed
to have perished? One more crime against humanity, one more cry for justice
from the silent dead.
Held at the height of mob rule, the 2000 parliamentary elections were hardly
a level playing field. The chaos on white farms was replicated across rural
Zimbabwe and atrocities were committed in nearly every constituency. One
that has come to symbolise that election was the killing of two MDC
activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya, burnt to death in their car
by state agents. One of these agents, Joseph Mwale, went on to terrorise
constituents in the area where I was elected as a member of parliament.
According to the official vote count, we failed to defeat Zanu-PF in that
election, but we fell short by only 6 seats—a remarkable result for a party
less than a year old and with all the odds stacked against it. We later
mounted a legal challenge in view of rigging that had taken place, but this
form of fraud has never been the centrepiece of Zanu-PF strategy. It is
pressure outside of the ballot box that is at the core of its method.
Murder, the threat of retaliation and merciless beatings—both as warnings
and punishments—are the trademark of Mugabe’s rule.
For the leadership of the MDC, all these threats apply—and have been
regularly meted out—but they are augmented by an array of added pressures. A
favourite is the use of what is kindly called the legal system to wage of
war of attrition against us. Almost without exception, key figures in MDC
have been charged with crimes ranging from treason to rape, yet it is not
the substance of the charges that matter. These indictments rarely have any
chance of success, even with Zimbabwe’s deeply compromised judiciary, but
they are intended to grind us down. In court, day in and day out, for months
and sometimes for years, we are put through an emotional and financial mill.
And the attrition is physical too: respondents are often remanded without
bail in jails that are filled to the brim with filth, disease and human
misery. It’s a drill I know all too well, having spent more time than most
in those festering holes. On the most recent occasion, six fellow inmates
died of starvation in the 40 days that I was a guest of government. The old
saying, ‘the wheels of justice turn exceedingly slow, but they grind
exceedingly fine’ have taken on an ironic meaning in Zimbabwe.
Since that first exhilirating and heartbreaking election as a party, the MDC
has continued to bang on the door of democracy at each and every
opportunity—and Zanu-PF has continued to bang us on the head with the
hammers of state power and the booted feet of the mob. The Zimbabwean people
have persevered and have continued to hope in a peaceful model that has as
yet delivered them nothing. They have persevered through presidential
elections of 2002. They have persevered through another round of
parliamentary elections in 2005, after which the homes of 750,000 urban
supporters were bulldozed in a supposed urban renewal program. But the name
gave the game away—it was called Operation Murambatsvina, which means ‘drive
out the trash’. Finally, the Zimbabwean people persevered through the
elections of 2008. For the first time since independence, these elections
combined the presidential and parliamentary votes. It was a climactic
election in which Zanu-PF believed it would bury the MDC one-and-for-all.
Along with many supposed experts, Mugabe and his coterie believed we were a
spent force. We had suffered a messy and disruptive split in 2005, followed
by a further series of internal ructions. We were bankrupt and
internationally isolated. We had also been badly pummelled in 2007 when many
of our leadership were thrashed to within an inch of their lives in Mugabe’s
cells. Some of you may remember footage of party leader Morgan Tsvangirai
arriving at court swollen and dishevelled. He had lost two pints of blood
after being belted with whips, iron bars and rifle butts. Sekai Holland, a
64 year-old grandmother, received more than 80 lashes and a broken arm,
broken leg, shattered knee and fractured ribs. These were two cases among
many. And so we went into the 2008 elections somewhat bruised.
At the time, I was living in exile in South Africa, having fled treason
charges in 2006. I remember telling a colleague that whatever the naysayers
thought, I could sense that the Zimbabwean people were strong, that they
were up to the challenge. And so they were. The MDC won the parliamentary
election and Mugabe was defeated in the first round of the presidiential
election. The Zimbabwean people had announced to their abusers: ‘We have
told you once, and we will tell you again—we don’t want you’. Those expert
analysts were gobsmacked. More to the point, so were Zanu-PF. This was a
rude shock that matched the constitutional referendum of 2000. Rage, fury
and the powers of hell were directed at the people. The second round of the
presidential election was a time to draw blood. Over 200 people were killed
and thousands were thrashed, burnt and maimed for life. Among those of us
who remain, I hear again the voice of the psalmist: ‘How long, O Lord? ...
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and have sorrow in my heart every
day? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord
my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say,
“I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall’.
We do not, however, look forward to a permanent end to the struggle. As I
look forward, I look back. I see a people unaware of their full rights as
citizens. I see a people unaccustomed to a consistent and fearless
insistence that government be a servant and not a master. I see opponents
within, whose hearts and intentions are little different from those we will
replace. I see the brokeness—the pain, the grief, the physical scars—and the
social dysfunctionality—that has been created by a long history of violence.
I see the need and the demand for justice—and a fight with those who will
seek to sweep these inconvenient truths under the carpet.
After a transfer of power, the consolidation of democracy in Zimbabwe will
be another long and hard road. I pray that it will be less bloody and less
bruising. But of its reality, I have no doubt. It is one whose end I may not
live to see. And yet, in this we will perhaps be not so different from you.
The bias in the human heart toward abuse and selfishness means that
democracy is less a destination than an aspiration. What we have must be
defended and protected—and what we lack must be built and fought for. This
side of heaven, complete freedom is more a calling than a reality. May God
give us the strength to be true to that calling. May that be true of this
generation of Zimbabweans.
Thank you for listening to me tonight.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Adrienne Hough-Bekker, step-daughter to the late Keith Alan Nicolson. My mother is Carleen Nicolson who was married to Keith.
Due to misinterpretation of the events leading up to Keith Alan Nicolson’s death, his wife Carleen has requested that the following statement be released. This statement has been written by Tim Morgan who was abducted and present when Keith was killed. I wonder if you would publish this statement / blog on your website.
Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
Below is a factual account of the events leading to the tragic death of Keith Alan Nicolson, as given by Tim Morgan.
Around 2pm on Tuesday
13th September, the staff at Plot 196 Gold Dust were called to the gate by a
group of unknown people in a White Toyota Ipsum. The gang said they were from
Chinhoyi CID investigating the report by Mr Tim Morgan regarding his stolen
laptop. The men then forced entry, assaulted members of the staff and their
families before tying and gagging them inside the main house. The assailants
began searching the house for cash and the location of a safe, keeping to rooms
not visible on entry at the front door.
Mrs Bev Morgan arrived home at approximately 5.30pm, closely followed by Mr Morgan at 5.45pm. Both were handcuffed, hit and questioned about the safe and contents of Mr Morgan's laptop bag. They were taken to the same room as everyone else to be interrogated. By 8pm, everyone had been tied up in separate rooms and the assailants had loaded their car with a number of items of value and cash.
Mr Morgan was then instructed to get in the back of his twin cab as he was being taken to open the Safe at his Garage in Banket. One of the men got in the back next to Mr Morgan holding a pistol against him, another got in to drive and the remaining two men followed in the white Toyota Ipsum. Mr Morgan was threatened that he would be killed if he tried anything.
During the journey towards Banket there was some movement of weapons between the men in both vehicles, with an extra man getting into the front passenger seat of Mr Morgan's twin cab.
In the meantime a member of the staff had managed to get free and race to a neighbour to alert them of the situation. Henry Allen, his son Tony, Keith Nicholson and Randy Du Rand arrived at the house, on ensuring all was ok Henry, Keith and Tony gave chase as no one was able to contact the police. In the meantime, Keith's wife, Carleen Nicolson, had contacted someone else who arranged to get armed police to Mr Morgan's garage.
Henry, Keith and Tony were driving towards the Raffingora Road, when they saw the White Toyota and then the twin cab heading towards Raffingora; therefore assuming the robbery had taken place and fearing Mr Morgan's safety. They decided to follow the twin cab, which was behind the white Toyota, but suddenly it did a U-turn and was facing them.
Henry, Keith and Tony's vehicle stopped in front of the twin cab before it could drive off. The two armed assailants in the front of the twin cab jumped out the car to escape and began instantly shooting at them. Henry leapt out his vehicle and returned fire whilst chasing them towards the White Toyota. Keith and Tony also began to give chase passing Mr Morgan's twin cab.
Mr Morgan and the third assailant were struggling to get out of the back of the twin cab due to central locking. The armed assailant somehow managed to unlock his door when Keith, who had just passed the vehicle heard the door open and turned back towards it. The assailant by this time was outside the vehicle and Keith grabbed him. They were very close together when the shot that killed Keith was fired at point blank range.
The assailant ran off towards Banket whilst being chased by Tony but on hearing gun fire, Tony returned to the twin cab and immediately began administering CPR. By this time Henry had also returned to the twin cab after running out of ammunition.
Keith was rushed to Banket District Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Three of the four assailants have been caught. One was shot in the shoulder and was seeking medical treatment in Mvurwi and another was found dead from a gunshot wound. Two of the assailants are in remand awaiting trial.
The gang have been identified as being responsible for other armed robberies; a home in Banket and a store in Mutorashanga as well as various vehicle thefts
A good news story for a change on Zimbabwe.
In March of this year I submitted an application to the World Monuments Fund in New York, to have the National Monument, Nalatale Ruins in Gweru, made part of the 2012 Watch.
My application and proposal have been accepted and the announcement was made in New York on Wednesday evening.
The Watch is intended to call international attention to the challenges facing cultural heritage sites around the world.
The ruins of Nalatale, in the remote Somabhula Flats in central Zimbabwe, are the remains of the capital of the Butua kingdom’s Torwa dynasty. This group rose to prominence following the decline of Great Zimbabwe, founding Khami in the late fifteenth century and Dhlo Dhlo in the sixteenth before moving their capital to Nalatale in the seventeenth. The Torwa prospered for nearly two centuries before the Rozwi people conquered and settled the land.
The site is an elliptical complex of dressed granite blocks in the building tradition of Great Zimbabwe. The walls reveal elaborate stonework designs, including check, herringbone, and chevron patterns. In the 1800s, Europeans looking for gold and treasures desecrated the site. Declared a national monument in the 1960s, remedial interventions were undertaken to conserve the ruins, but restoration efforts ceased in the 1980s due to a lack of funding. Today, the foundations and walls face serious risk of collapse and require urgent intervention. Furthermore, the political and economic problems that have gripped Zimbabwe severely limit conservation efforts and available resources.
by Tererai Mafukidze
‘Nherera inoguta musi unofa mai vayo,’ is a well-known Shona saying. It
means that an orphaned child faces a bleak future from the day it loses its
This must have been a heart-rending truism for the orphans of Batsirai
Children’s Centre. Anyone who lived in Zimbabwe in 2005 will testify to the
human suffering that was endured by many victims of what was named
‘Operation Murambatsvina’. If the inhuman operation was hard on families,
imagine its impact on orphaned children relying on charity for their
The story of the orphaned children who lived at Batsirai Children’s Care in
Hatcliffe is painful to read. It is worse that their attempt to vindicate
for themselves some legal rights reveals a very sordid story of how the
justice system in Zimbabwe works. It is particularly tragic that the High
Court, which in law is the avowed ‘upper guardian of minor children’, is in
fact guilty of failing them.
In 2005, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights approached the High Court on
an urgent basis seeking to restore the staff and orphans to Batsirai
Children’s Care, which had been destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina. It
also sought to have the despicable Operation declared unlawful; stop the
police and municipal police from ejecting them from the centre or destroying
the property; and allow them to regain possession of the property.
While the matter had been submitted on an urgent basis, it was dealt with as
an ordinary application because by the time the application reached court,
the property had already been destroyed; the children had, according to the
judgment, “already been catered for at Caledonia farm”. The other reason
provided was that the “structure which the applicant sought to re-erect is
(was) not only illegal in that it was never approved by the... [City of
Harare]..., but inhuman in that it is not fit for the intended use as a
children’s home or care center (sic).”
The matter was heard by Justice Ben Hlatshwayo. The application was
dismissed by the judge. The tragedy of this story is not simply the familiar
suffering of victims of this operation. It is that it has taken six years
for a judge of the High Court to deliver this judgment. This judgment was
handed down on September 29, 2011. The judge provides the reason for the
delay in handing down judgment in a footnote as follows:
“This judgment was completed and enrolled for handing down on June 21, 2006.
However, because of the need to scan the photographs forming the last page
of the judgment, there were delays as the High Court does not have the
facilities. When the scanning was finally done, the record was misfiled and
unfortunately forgotten. The follow-up was only made years later.”
This is no apology. Justice Hlatshwayo was a good teacher of tax law and
practice. I am sure he would never have taken an excuse of the quality he
gives from any of his students. Why should we take it from him?
Firstly, after reading the judgment one fails to understand why it was so
vital for the two pictures -- one of children eating outside and the other
of children standing in front of a wooden cabin in a maize field -- to be
attached to the judgment. It is rare for court judgments to contain
pictorial illustrations. They are usually reserved for cases involving
infringements or passing-off of trademarks, where the picture is used to
illustrate similarities or differences.
Judges have always been content to describe the facts as they emerge from
the evidence or their own observation. In fact, the learned judge aptly
describes what he sought to illustrate with two colour pictures in these
words on page 4 of the 6-paged judgment. He states:
“The scanned pictures of the so-called children’s centre are attached at the
end of this judgment. It consists of an open maize field with crops on two
sides and bare ground in the centre and a wooden cabin at one end. The
children sit on the dusty ploughed-up field and consume their rations in
this most unhygienic environment. If they (sic) is anything to restore to
them, it would be this bare, ploughed-up ground and wooden cabin.’”
The fact that the learned judge was able to describe the supposed scene at
the care centre should have concluded the matter. Yet according to the judge
part of the delay in delivering the judgment was caused by the lack of
scanning facilities at the High Court. The fact is it was not necessary to
have pictorial representations for purposes of the judgment.
Secondly, if the High Court does not have facilities to scan, was it in the
circumstances necessary for the judge to insist on providing the two
pictures which are virtually of no aid? Strictly speaking, the photos are
not even part of the judgment as they do not appear inside the text. They
are mere attachments.
Thirdly, assuming for a moment that the pictures were indeed germane to the
issues before him, could another solution have been arrived at seeing that
the matter involved vulnerable minor children who are orphans? Was scanning
the only suitable way of capturing the images even if the High Court did not
have scanning facilities?
Fourth, the disappearance of the file remains to be fully explained. But in
truth, it is unlikely that the mystery goes beyond the judicial chambers.
The judge says that “the record was misfiled and unfortunately forgotten”.
By whom? Surely it has to be asked?
Traditionally, a file in which a judge has prepared his judgment and awaits
handing down must be kept under wraps. This is so because the judgment must
only be publicly available when the judge is ready to hand it down. For the
file to disappear with a “draft judgment” is certainly odd and unacceptable.
Many will recall the vicious attack that was directed towards the Supreme
Court when a draft judgment circulated to fellow judges was reported in the
press. The matter concerned the very emotive case of Dr McGowan. In fact, in
most jurisdictions, including our own, serious secrecy procedures are
followed with regards to draft judgments.
Fifth, as if to spread the blame, the judge states that the “follow-up was
only made years later”. It is not clear who made the follow-up. I presume it
was one of the parties or their representatives. Unfortunately, this does
not wash. A judge cannot say it is partly your fault that you did not bother
me enough! Would this have saved the file from being “misfiled”?
For the record, several lawyers have complained to the Law Society about
unanswered countless letters to judges enquiring about judgments.
Sixth, the child care centre involved has the right of appeal against the
High Court judgment. What purpose would be served now by them appealing
against this judgment to the Supreme Court some six years later? Have the
children affected by this decision been spared the suffering occasioned by
the delay? Can their rights be restored? Can the suffering, psychological,
emotional and physical, be compensated if the Supreme Court were to decide
This bizarrely delayed judgment has just shone some rare light into the dark
corner of judicial poor performance and lack of accountability. We may never
know how deep and dark the dungeon is.
The Supreme Court has also set a poor example, with judgments outstanding
for years in some cases. Lawyers are often reluctant to provide details of
judgments that have been outstanding for inordinate periods for fear of
upsetting our sometimes imperious judges. But complaints enhance rather than
stifle judicial accountability, independence and public confidence.
Records from the few lawyers who have had the courage to share or complain
reflect a shocking level of delays and neglect that would not be tolerated
in any other occupation.
Some countries have had to take a firm view of judicial indolence by setting
strict standards on judgment delivery. In Kenya and Uganda, a maximum of 90
days is allowed. In India, judgment has to be delivered within 30 days and
only in unusual and exceptional circumstances, should it go up to a maximum
60 days. In Guyana, a judge can be constitutionally removed from office for
persistently not writing decisions or for continuously failing to give
decisions and reasons therefor within the time limit set by parliament.
In South Africa, no acting judge will be appointed to a substantive position
if they have been guilty of delaying judgment delivery. Neither will a
sitting judge be promoted if they are guilty of judicial indolence.
The cost to the society of delayed justice is immeasurable. It results in
unnecessary suffering of litigants; poor recollection of evidence and
issues; witnesses, lawyers and judges die; delay in the appeal process; loss
of income in financial matters; loss of value in compensation cases;
disappearance of records and files; deletion of transcription tapes; and a
huge social and economic cost.
Justice delayed is justice denied. It is time for serious action in order to
arrest this cancer of indolence. Fiat justitia ruat caelum- let justice be
done though the heavens may fall!
Tererai Mafukidze is a lawyer. He can be contacted on email@example.com