by Tendai Maronga Wednesday 07 October 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that new boards
announced last week to supervise state-owned newspapers and oversee the
airwaves would have to be revised, in what could mark the start of a fresh
tug of war with President Robert Mugabe over senior appointments.
Information Minister Webster Shamu last week named several boards -- packed
with former military men and allies of Mugabe's ZANU PF party -- to
companies that run the government's vast newspaper empire and the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings, formerly known as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
that is the country's sole radio and television broadcaster.
Shamu -- who insiders say would not have announced the new boards without
express permission from Mugabe -- also announced a new Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to oversee the airwaves, despite a power-sharing
agreement that gave birth to Zimbabwe's unity government requiring that the
authority is appointed after full consultation between Mugabe his coalition
Tsvangirai told journalists the appointments especially of the BAZ were
irregular and must be revised.
"That issue is being revisited and appointments of board members of BAZ is
the business of the President and the Prime Minister," said Tsvangirai, who
is locked up in another dispute with Mugabe over appointments after the
latter unilaterally named two of his top allies to head the central bank and
the Attorney General (AG)'s office.
Mugabe has adamantly refused to reverse the appointments of Gideon Gono as
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and Johannes Tomana as AG.
"The names are submitted to us (Mugabe and Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara), we consider and we select. That has not been
done. Therefore it is quiet irregular for the minister or anybody to
announce those names," added Tsvangirai, who spoke to journalists at Harare
International airport on his way to Spain.
It was not clear from Tsvangirai's statement whether Mugabe had in fact
agreed to scrap the new media boards that are dominated by his allies and
supporters to allow for consultations with his coalition partners as should
happen under their political agreement.
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba, who is also permanent secretary of the
Information Ministry and played a key role in making the controversial board
appointments, was not immediately available for comment on the matter.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai said that he and his coalition partners had agreed on
who should sit on the Zimbabwe Media Commission that will spearhead media
reforms but said there was "one legal point that President Mugabe wants
addressed" before the commission is announced.
He did not elaborate on the legal point that Mugabe wants addressed.
Tsvangirai also said Zimbabwe's principal leaders were scheduled to meet
next Monday to discuss appointment of a new Independent Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to take charge of elections in the country.
The media and electoral commissions are part of several commissions to be
formed by Zimbabwe's power-sharing government as part of a raft of reforms
meant to re-shape and democratise the country's politics that has been
characterised by violence and gross human rights violations almost from
independence from Britain in 1980.
The other commissions provided for under Constitutional Amendment Number 19
that established the power-sharing government are Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption
Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
Once the commissions and a new constitution are in place the government will
call fresh elections with the whole process that began in February expected
to last between 18 to 24 months.
Rich Western nations have refused to back the Harare government or lift visa
and financial sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle seven years
ago, saying they were not happy with the slow pace of the political
reforms. - ZimOnline
by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 07 October 2009
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's decision to pack boards of state media
companies with trusted loyalists ensures he has enough manpower to undercut
whatever reforms his unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
is looking to implement in the media sector, analysts told ZimOnline on
Mugabe, who has previously imposed tough controls on the media, agreed to
media reforms under last year's power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai that
gave birth to Zimbabwe's seven-month old coalition government.
The veteran leader is soon expected to announce a new Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) to spearhead media reforms that are part of a raft of
political and legal changes meant to re-shape and democratise the southern
African country's politics before the holding of fresh elections by end of
2010 or early 2011.
But University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political scientist Eldred Masungure said
last week's appointment of former military men and loyalists of Mugabe's
ZANU PF party to boards of state newspapers and the Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe (BAZ) showed that the veteran President was "not yet ready to
embrace far-reaching media reforms".
"The appointments bring doubts on the commitment of the ZANU PF half of the
government to genuine media reforms," said Masunungure.
Tsvangirai's MDC party is challenging the appointments that were announced
last week by Information Minister and ZANU PF stalwart Webster Shamu and
which sources say were approved by Mugabe.
The Prime Minister told reporters Tuesday that Shamu's decision to appoint
the BAZ was irregular because the minister did not have powers to appoint
"That issue is being revisited and appointments of board members of BAZ is
the business of the President and the Prime Minister just like what we did
on the appointment of the Zimbabwe media commissioners," Tsvangirai said.
It remains to be seen whether Tsvangirai and his party will this time round
be able to force Mugabe to backtrack on the crucial media appointments after
having so far failed to force the 85-year old President to reverse his
appointment of allies to head the central bank and the Attorney General's
But analysts were unanimous that if left unchanged the new media boards
announced by Shamu would seriously undermine the ZMC's work and all effort
to turn government-owned media into a truly public media.
They said this was because the ZMC that should spearhead such reforms has
greater influence only at national media policy level while Shamu's boards
will have effective control on what gets to be printed in government-owned
newspapers that dominate the newspaper industry in the country.
Previous boards manned by ZANU PF loyalists have been accused of turning
government newspapers such as The Herald and The Sunday Mail into propaganda
sheets for Mugabe's party.
ZANU PF loyalists appointed to the new board of the ZBH will also be able to
ensure the country's sole radio and television broadcaster remains loyal to
Mugabe's party, according to analysts.
But even more worrying is the move by Shamu to appoint former chairperson of
the government's defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC), Tafataona
Mahoso, as head of the BAZ.
The BAZ is expected to spearhead the opening up of airwaves by allowing
establishment of new broadcasters to rival the ZBH.
Media groups and pro-democracy activists say Mahoso is the wrong man for the
BAZ job after his role at the old MIC where he became known as the "media
hangman" after ordering the closure of four independent newspapers,
including the Daily News, that were critical of Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Masunugure said: "The appointment of Mahoso is a clear sign that ZANU PF
will not in the near future want to see genuine democratisation of the media
space in this country."
Ernest Mudzengi, the national coordinator of the National Constitutional
Assembly political pressure group, questioned the motives of Shamu to
appoint at least one former senior military officer to each of the boards of
government media companies.
"What is the point of having so many military people?" said Mudzengi, who
said the appointment of former brigadiers and other senior ranking army
officer to the media boards was akin to militarising the media.
Among former soldiers appointed by Shamu is retired Brigadier Benjamin
Mabenge who will sit on the ZBH board. Mabenge is accused of shooting and
killing an MDC activist two years ago. He has never been tried for the
A Harare-based political analyst Michael Mhike said Shamu's board
appointments were a clear strategy to ensure Mugabe and ZANU PF retained
control of government newspapers while Mahoso at the BAZ would block entry
of new broadcasters to keep the airwaves solely at the disposal of Zimbabwe'
s long time ruler and his party.
"They want to continue to control the state media and at the same time using
BAZ to block new entry of broadcasters they perceive as enemies of Mugabe
and ZANU PF," Mhike said.
Shamu was not immediately available to take questions on his appointments.
Zimbabwe's unity government has done well to stabilise the economy but it
has faired poorly on media and political reforms that have moved at a snail's
pace, amid quarreling by coalition partners over the extent and form of
Rich Western nations have refused to give financial support to Harare or
lift sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle seven years ago,
saying they were not happy with the slow pace of media and political
reforms. - ZimOnline
by Partricia Mpofu Wednesday 07 October 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's government has selected two foreign firms to mine
diamonds at the controversial Chiadzwa diamond field, President Robert
Mugabe said Tuesday.
Officially opening Zimbabwe's Parliament Mugabe said the foreign investors
he did not name would help "bring progress to Chiadzwa" that is also known
as Marange diamond field.
"The diamond industry has continued to court the attention of inventors. So
far, two serious investors have been selected. The engagement of the
investors will help bring progress to Chiadzwa," said Mugabe, whose
government seized the Chiadzwa claims from UK-based mining firm African
Consolidated Resources Plc (ACR) two years ago.
Harare seized the Marange diamond field from ACR in October 2006 and
allocated the claim to the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
The Zimbabwean government has said it will appeal against a Harare High
Court ruling two weeks ago that confirmed ACR's right of title to claims on
the notorious Chiadzwa diamond field.
The government moved into the controversial diamond field after thousands of
illegal miners descended on Marange, which ACR had held for some time but
apparently without any production.
A team from the Kimberley Process Certification System (KPCS) - the world
diamond industry watchdog group -- that visited Zimbabwe last June called
for a temporary ban on trade in diamonds from Chiadzwa after unearthing
gross human rights violations and other illegal activities at the diamond
field allegedly committed by the army.
Mugabe sent the army to Chiadzwa in 2008 to flush out illegal miners and
dealers from the diamond field. But human rights groups have accused
security forces of using brutal force to take control of the diamond field
and later forcing villagers to illegally mine the diamonds for resale on the
black market for precious minerals.
The army and police have refused to leave Chiadzwa while Harare denies
allegations of human rights abuses and says calls to ban diamonds from the
controversial diamond field were unjustified because Zimbabwe was not
involved in a war or armed conflict.
Meanwhile Mugabe also said that the government would pass a law on the
mining sector soon to address concerns raised by an earlier draft that would
have given locals control of mining operations owned by foreign companies.
"The Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, which should be finalised during
this session, will seek to strengthen the relationship between government
and the mining houses," he said. - ZimOnline
by Chenai Maramba Wednesday 07 October 2009
KAROI - A Karoi magistrate will today hear a bail application by a prison
officer facing charges of unlawful possession of ammunition and violating
the Wildlife Act after he allegedly supplied bullets to a poacher in
Kazangarare, Hurungwe district.
Tobias Chitswanda (27) was arrested last week and initially appeared before
magistrate Elisha Singano last Friday who remanded him in custody to Monday.
On Tuesday, another magistrate Archibold Dingane took over the case and said
he will consider Chitswanda's bail application today (Wednesday).
''Bail application will only be considered tomorrow as the court needs to
weigh facts from both the defence and the State,'' ruled Dingane.
It is the state's case that Chitswanda supplied live bullets to a
Kazangarare-based poacher, Langton Madzviti, on September 8 this year with
the intention to unlawfully kill elephants for their tusks.
Madzviti, who had his gun at his rural home, was arrested selling game meat
in Karoi and implicated Chitswanda of supplying the bullets. Police
recovered one FN bullet at Chitswanda's house in Chikangwe suburb in Karoi
Defence lawyer Samuel Muyemeki asked the court to have the charges altered,
saying his client is accused of supplying bullets but not poaching.
''My client is accused of supplying bullets to the other accused who could
have killed elephants or any other animals for the purpose of poaching, but
the onus is for the court to prove it. It's my submission that the charge be
altered for my client when the court considers bail and prefer unlawful
possession of ammunition,'' said Muyemeki.
Prosecutor Benjamin Negato argued that Chitswanda and Madzviti's cases were
inter-linked and altering one charge would weaken the case which the accused
''Poaching is one case that the State is battling to reduce and custodial
sentence is likely and if the accused are given bail, they may abscond,''
Poaching has been rife in Zimbabwe since landless villagers began invading -
with the government's tacit approval - white-owned farms in 2000.
There have also been widespread reports of illegal and uncontrolled trophy
hunting on former white-owned conservancies now controlled by powerful
government and ruling ZANU PF party politicians.
Several endangered animal species such as the black rhino have been found
dead in sanctuaries in the past few years amid reports that senior army and
police officials were behind the illegal hunting activities.
Conservationists say hundreds of elephants have been forced to migrate
across strife-torn Zimbabwe's borders, fleeing poachers and human
encroachment into wildlife areas. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
06 October 2009
The recent decision by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party to
readmit the former information minister Jonathan Moyo has created divisions
within the former ruling party and could increase tensions in the country's
unity government, sources say.
Although ZANU-PF Deputy Spokesman Ephraim Masawi told reporters that the
decision by the ZANU-PF politburo was unanimous, sources in the party say
its chairman, John Nkomo, stayed away from the politburo meeting last
Wednesday when Moyo was rehabilitated. He is said to have clashed with party
Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira over Moyo.
Moyo was drummed out of the party in 2005 for allegedly plotting with a
dissident faction to oppose Mr. Mugabe's plans to elevate party stalwart
Joyce Mujuru to the vice presidency. He was formerly a close advisor to
President Mugabe on media strategies and is the author of some of the
country's most draconian legislation hampering the free press.
Moyo sued Nkomo for defamation early last year alleging that he said Moyo
plotted a coup during a Tsholotsho district party meeting in February 2005.
ZANU-PF sources said Moyo, considered to be aligned with Defense Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, is likely to further divide the party. But others say
Moyo will be a valuable asset for ZANU-PF as it tries to reposition itself
after broad electoral setbacks in 2008.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed Moyo who
said he rejoined ZANU-PF because he shares its ideological values.
Published Date: 07 October 2009
By JANE FIELDS IN ZIMBABWE
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has made an impassioned plea at the opening of
parliament for deeply divided Zimbabweans to build "bridges of amity,
forgiveness, trust and togetherness", while glossing over mounting reports
of rights violations by police and militias loyal to him.
With his wife Grace sitting on an elaborate chair next to him and dressed in
a frothy white turban and royal blue gown, Mr Mugabe, 85, said Zimbabwe was
ready to put old hostilities aside.
"Let us be a Zimbabwe united in body, mind and spirit. Only that way can we
really succeed," he said in comments far- removed from his usual anti-
But prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader who many
believe was the true winner in last year's elections, sat stony-faced on the
benches below the couple, showing the scepticism with which many in his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will view the president's words.
Yesterday's pomp-filled ceremony was the first official opening of
parliament since the power-sharing government was formed in February,
controversially allowing Mr Mugabe to extend his 28-year rule.
Roads in the centre of Harare were cordoned off as he and his wife arrived
outside the low, white, colonial-era parliament building in a vintage black
open Rolls-Royce. Air force jets flew overhead, and judges wearing white
wigs and red gowns trooped into the chamber to hear the president's speech.
Pursuing his new toned-down approach, Mr Mugabe also extended an olive
branch to western nations.
"Our country remains in a positive stance to enter into fresh, friendly and
co-operative relations with all those countries that have been hostile to us
in the past," he said.
Relations between Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai are tense: the former has made
it clear he wants members of his Zanu-PF party who killed up to 200 MDC
supporters in election violence to escape prosecution.
Some are even being rewarded: an army general accused of orchestrating
opposition "purges" has just been appointed to the board of the state
broadcaster, a move that "sends wrong and dangerous signals", the MDC
On the other side of the coin, MDC MPs are being prosecuted for minor
offences. A girlfriend of deputy youth minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu told a
court on Monday that police had threatened to pour boiling liquid on her
genitals if she refused to implicate him in the recent theft of a mobile
phone from a prominent war veterans' leader.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF militias deny food to hungry villagers in the rural
Midlands province or force them to denounce the MDC before giving them
handouts, rights groups say.
Nearly nine months after being sworn in, the prime minister still hasn't
been able to move into his official residence in Harare, apparently after
resistance from Mr Mugabe.
MDC supporters are to decide later this month whether Mr Tsvangirai should
stay in the power-sharing government.
By MIKE MAKOMO
Published: October 7, 2009
HARARE - The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany has written to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding that the grab of white farmer Charles
Lock's farm by Brigadier Mujaji stops, The Zimbabwe Telegraph has obtained
The German embassy warned that the grab of the property, Karori farm was
illegal as the property was protected under government-to-government
"The Embassy wishes to express its dismay, and strongly protests against the
criminal behaviour of Brigadier Mujaji," said the letter, dated September
29. "It expects the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all authorities
concerned to take immediate action to restore law and order at Mr Lock's
premises, and to ensure full compliance with the Republic of Zimbabwe's
obligations under international law."
Mujaji is trying to seize the property, which is protected a
German-Zimbabwean Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement. As of late,
assets at the farm have been unlawfully acquired by Brigadier Mujaji, a
senior member of the Zimbabwean armed forces.
The Brigadier is currently occupying Karori Farm, property of Lock, and
considerably indebted to the besieged German investor.
Having been continuously harassed by the Brigadier and the men under his
command for several months, Lock, on September 24, obtained a High Court
order, not withstanding an appeal, to remove his crops and equipment from
Karori farm. The value of his belongings exceeds US$1,5 million.
He arrived the morning after with the Messenger of Court and was given three
police officers by the officer commanding disctrict, or Dispol in police
The court order specified that the police were to ensure that the order was
enacted. Upon arriving at the farm the Messenger attempted to serve the
papers on the soldiers under Brigadier Mujaji.
But the furious soldiers warned that they had been instructed by Mujaji to
shoot any one who attempted to take anything off the farm.
The two lorries Lock had sent to his farm to collect his produce returned to
Harare with nothing. Lock returned to the Dispol in Rusape, and the
Messenger requested more police officers to enforce the order.
The Dispol told the Messenger to take his order back to Harare as the police
would not support it. That message was conveyed in Lock's presence to
Superintendant Mahla by Assistant Commissioner Crime Khumalo at Police
General Headquarters, PGHQ. He had to turn back without obtaining a result,
and the Messenger filed his return papers citing gross contempt of court by
the soldiers and police.
brigaier Mujaji has systematically stipped assets at the farm despite the
High Court orders. On September 27, Brigadier Mujaji and his soldiers stole
diesel from the farm. Using Lock's tractors, they then evicted all the
senior staff from the farm and drove off all the workers who were trying to
guard the maize and tobacco that Lock had harvested. The workers were dumped
at Halfway House. Lock's cattle have been driven off the farm.
"According to the latest information this Embassy has received, the
Brigadier has stolen over 300 tons of maize," said the letter to Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, "and 150 tons of tobacco, and all the farm equipment inspite of
High Court Orders issued by Judge Patel. Mr Lock is not even allowed in his
home as the soldiers have threatened to shoot him."
The letter has been copied to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, minister of
Finance Tendai Biti, minister of Planning and Investment, minister for Lands
and minister of State for Agriculture.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
06 October 2009
Some parents and teachers have welcomed the government's extension of the
deadline for registering for school exams, but said extending loans to
students who can't afford to take the tests and limiting them to six
subjects falls short of a solution to the crisis.
The government last week put off the deadline for exams registration to
October 16, and said it would allow students and families to pay the cost of
exams over three months.
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association said the government steps were positive,
but added that people taking out the exam loans needed to fully understand
More than 70% of students nationwide did not register for the November
examinations due to the cost, unions representing teachers said. At US$10
per exam, full set of eight ordinary-level exams would cost US$80, rising to
US$160 for the same number of advanced exams.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe National Coordinator Oswald Madziwa
told Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the government has not acted in
students' best interest.
5:56am UK, Wednesday October 07, 2009
Emma Hurd, Africa correspondent
Zimbabwe's prime minister has told Sky News he is frustrated by the slow
pace of change in his country.
Eight months into his power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe,
Morgan Tsvangirai said some members of the old regime are still trying to
"I think my party, the MDC, have fulfilled our part of the bargain, it's the
others, Zanu PF, who are still reluctant to go all the way," he said.
Speaking in his Harare office, under a portrait of Mr Mugabe, he stopped
short of singling out his old rival for blame.
"I would not have stayed with him if I thought he was there to cheat and
undermine the progress we're making," he said.
But, unlike the president, Mr Tsvangirai is not yet calling for immediate
lifting of international sanctions against Zimbabwe, talking instead of "a
process of dialogue".
It is a clear sign of the prime minister's distrust of his partners in the
national unity government.
"One can understand the fear of losing control, losing the monopoly of
power, and sometimes I think that influences their decisions," Mr Tsvangirai
Despite the slow pace, change is happening in Zimbabwe.
The once-empty supermarket shelves are now stacked with imported products.
Even bread, so long an unobtainable luxury, is widely available again.
The rate of inflation has dropped from 500bn% to just 5% since the
disastrous, worthless Zimbabwean dollar was abandoned.
Instead of clutching piles of $100trn notes, shoppers now pay in a
combination of US dollars and South African rand.
The health and education systems in the country are also starting to
Mr Tsvangirai is keen to show that the power-sharing deal is working by
overseeing projects that will restore water to communities that have been
cut off for years.
But his main focus is on drawing up a new constitution that will ultimately
lead to the first free elections, perhaps as early as 2011.
"I hope we can remove the fear, the intimidation and the violence that have
characterised our elections for the past ten years," he said.
Asked whether he was planning for a time when he ruled Zimbabwe alone, he
"Well, you don't form political parties to join coalitions," he said.
Harare, October 6, 2009 - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on
Tuesday that the appointment of former Media and Information Commission
chairperson Tafataona Mahoso's to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) board is irregular.
Media hangman Mohoso performed dismally in the Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) interviews held in July but was awarded last week with the
post of BAZ board chairperson by the Minister of Media and Information
Publicity Webster Shamhu.
"That issue is being revisited and appointment of board members of BAZ
is the business of the President and the Prime Minister just like what we
did on the appointment of the Zimbabwe Media Commissioners. It starts off
with the SROC, the names are submitted to us, we consider and we select.
That has not been done. Therefore it is quiet irregular for the minister or
anybody to announce those names," said Tsvangirai just before he left for
Spain where he is scheduled to receive an International Bar Association
(IBA) award for the respect of the rule of law and an award from the Cris
Minister Shamhu last week unilaterally announced board members to
public entities that directly fall under his ministry. He said Mahoso will
now head the board of BAZ with Zimbabwe Open University Vice Chancellor Dr
Primrose Kurasha as his deputy. He also announced the BAZ board along with
appointments to various parastatals and other organisations under his
ministry. All the boards he announced included retired military men. These
include Brigadier-General Epmarcus Kanhanga (Zimpapers), Brig-Gen Elasto
Madzingira (BAZ), Brig-Gen Benjamin Mabenge, Major-General Gibson
Mashingaidze (both ZBH), Brig-Gen Livingstone Chineka (Transmedia) Brig-Gen
Collin Moyo (Kingstons) and Col Claudius Makova (New Ziana).
Tsvangirai however said the appointments by Shamhu were meant to
undermine the authority and credibility of the ZMC and the BAZ before they
are even constituted.
"What is very unfortunate is that resurrecting people from the dead
does not inspire confidence in the whole process. As principals we have
agreed on the names for the chairperson and deputy of the Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC). There is one legal point that has to be addressed before
the names of the commissioners are made public. That is what President
(Robert) Mugabe said he wants addressed," said Tsvangirai.
He said the appointment of the Zimpapers board members was also
irregular as the company is a publicly quoted company on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE) and the appointment members should be done through an Annual
"What we are supposed to do as government is appoint members to the
Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust, who are supposed to go into the AGM and submit
who want to be on the board of directors of Zimpapers, so again its very
irregular," he said.
Tsvangirai, also acknowledged that there have been challenges in the
inclusive government in terms of the full implementation of the GPA but
maintained they, would be over come.
"What we have done is that while we all appreciate that there has been
some progress, there are some areas where we have not fulfilled the global
political agreement. So we have now put in place a mechanism to do an
interim evaluation of the GPA..." said Tsvangirai.
By Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan for AM
Posted 2 hours 11 minutes ago
Australia's sanctions on Zimbabwe have been singled out as a main reason why
Zimbabweans are continuing to suffer.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai maintains that life is improving in his
country, even though President Robert Mugabe is still in power.
But Mr Mugabe's party insists that Zimbabweans are continuing to suffer
because of international sanctions.
Mr Tsvangirai has been telling Zimbabweans that now he shares government
with Mr Mugabe, life is changing for the better.
"Let those who stand in the way of this progress know that we will not
suffer another 10 years," he said.
"The situation for the average Zimbabwean is much better because there's
food, they can afford basic goods.
"Let me say that if you were to measure what has happened since February,
before the inclusive government, there was fear pervading the whole society,
but now it is gone."
But if you believe Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, Zimbabweans are continuing to
suffer because of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
Didymus Mutasa, minister of state for presidential affairs, is one of Mr
Mugabe's closest confidants. He blames Zimbabwe's plight on international
"They have not accepted to call for the removal of sanctions which they
originally asked for," he said.
"One chief cause [of Zimbabwe's economic collapse] has been the sanctions
that were imposed against us by your country, Australia, and I can't
Despite those sanctions only being targeted specifically at individuals in
the government, Mr Mutasa says they are "illegal" and affect all
"They will not give us any more the aid that they give us through
government, any aid that comes from Australia comes through the NGOs that
support the MDC in order to achieve what they refer to as change," he said.
Australia is one of many donor countries that are reluctant to give the
Zimbabwean government any direct assistance until it shows signs of real
But Mr Mutasa would have us believe that it's all Australia's fault.
"The people of Australia are the people who are making us flop, they are the
people who are causing all these ills that they prefer to be happening in
Zimbabwe, and that annoys us," he said.
By Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan
Posted 7 hours 3 minutes ago
My sixth trip into Zimbabwe was perhaps my most nerve-racking, and that's
despite being in the country legally for the very first time.
At the border I openly declared that I was a journalist. In the past such an
admission would have led to my arrest and deportation. But, as the
immigration official behind the counter sighed, this is the new Zimbabwe.
With no official media accreditation process in place, my ticket into the
country was a letter from the office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. It
was an invitation for me to interview him.
The young man at the immigration desk looked at the letter sceptically and
after a discussion involving four officials he eventually stamped my
passport and sent me on my way.
Driving into Harare I was surprised at the vibrancy of the city.
Well-dressed businessmen were striding purposefully down the street.
Most of the shops were open and what's more, they seemed to be full of
customers with money to spend. Just a few months after the formation of the
unity government, Zimbabwe appeared to be undergoing a recovery.
My last visit to Harare was at the height of the cholera epidemic. I was
keen to see if the root causes of the outbreak had been tackled, and the
signs were promising.
In a scene that people have not witnessed for years, workers were repairing
the city's water pipes.
Once my cameraman and I had found a hotel to stay at we made our way to the
ministry of information. (It seems to me if a government deems it necessary
to have a department set up strictly for the dissemination of information,
then it obviously wants control of what's being said.)
I've dealt with information ministries across Africa and the majority have
been obstructive, so my expectations weren't high. My contact at the
ministry was a very pleasant man by the name of Dr Gurira, a Zanu-PF
His response to my request for an interview with one of President Robert
Mugabe's mates was predictable: "We'll see what we can do."
Zimbabwe may have a power sharing government, but in reality there are two
parallel governments. One is run by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the other by Mr
Tsvangirai's MDC. Rather than working with each other, they seem to be doing
their best to work against one another.
The nature of the unity government means political enemies share the same
building. Mr Tsvangirai sits directly above the information ministry
When I sat down to interview him I cast my eye around the room, wondering if
the people below had bugged the room. While the flowers in the vase looked
fake they appeared to be bug-free.
Once I'd finished my interview, I walked downstairs, where Dr Gurira
confirmed that he'd organised an interview with Zanu-PF veteran, Didymus
Wearing a shirt emblazoned with images of Mr Mugabe, the honourable minister
shook my hand vigorously. "Hello" he said, "you are Australian? You look
Mildly affronted I confirmed that I was an Aussie. "What do you imagine an
Australian to look like? Perhaps if I were Aboriginal?"
His eyes lit up. "Ah, yes my friend, now that is Australian."
Mr Mutasa told me he'd visited Australia in the 1980s, but he was no longer
welcome. Sanctions imposed by the Australian Government on the Mugabe regime
meant that he was refused entry. "Your Government's illegal sanctions!"
Mr Mutasa made it clear that we were welcome to work in his country and the
ministry of information had given us a letter to that effect. But that
didn't stop us from being hassled by the notorious agents from the central
While filming at Harare's bus terminal two young men dressed in shiny new
track suits pounced on us. They grabbed our camera gear and marched us off
to see their superior.
We produced our ID and handed them the letter from the information ministry,
our 'Get out of jail free card'. An hour later they let us go. It wouldn't
be the only time we'd be manhandled and questioned.
It will take more than promises of change from Mr Tsvangirai for Zimbabwe's
culture of fear and suspicion to disappear.
While the foreign media can go about its business with relative freedom the
same can't be said for the majority of Zimbabweans. But, at least their
country has stopped its slide into oblivion.
Written by PHIL MATIBE Oct 7, 2009
If an investor had a vibrant and profitable company, which of the ministers
in the GNU would they entrust with their business and employ as the CEO?
Recently Webster Shamu, Minister of Publicity and Information, named former
senior military officers to the state media statutory boards, sending an
unambiguous signal to the global community that the military, and Robert
Mugabe, remain in charge.
The Army officers listed below, who are now board members of media bodies in
Zimbabwe, constitute a well orchestrated advance party for a pre-emptive
strike against democracy. Their function is to soften the
target -elections - encircle and lay siege to all media outlets, thus
denying any opposition broadcasting space. They shall escalate the "pirate
stations" mantra into open warfare until a few days before the next
Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze, Brigadier-General Benjamin Mabenge,
Brigadier-General Epmarcus Kanhanga, Brigadier-General Elasto Madzingira,
Brigadier General Felix Muchemwa, Brigadier-General Livingstone Chineka,
Brigadier-General Collin Moyo and Colonel Claudius Makova - this ethnically
skewed assemblage of military officers reads like a command structure for a
The line between retirement and active service for Zimbabwe's senior
military officers is blurred by political gibberish and veiled in a
smokescreen of secrecy, thus rendering the distinction between friend and
Some of the officers unilaterally appointed by Shamu have been fingered by
their victims as the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes during last
year presidential elections.
Who is Webster Shamu? He is a man who has never worked outside of ZANU (PF),
or government, since Independence. He is a gravy-train passenger who has
survived and derived his livelihood from parliamentary privilege. He has
spent the last decade wallowing in oblivion as the editor of the ZANU (PF)
tabloid, the People's Voice. He is the loyal errand boy for Mugabe and
performs his boss's tasks with satanic enthusiasm. In return for cowardly
behaviour, he has been rewarded with the post of Minister of Information and
Webster Shamu worked for the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation, African
Service during the greater part of the liberation war. He then joined ZANU
and became the ZANU (PF) liberation war disc jockey. He broadcast propaganda
and other Marxist mantra from the Voice of Zimbabwe radio station in the
comfort of Maputo, Mozambique, away from the war front.
He set up a Maoist style re-education camp in Mashonaland West Province as
the ZANU (PF) provincial chairman. Rape, torture, and murder all became
synonymous with how those camps were operated by the notorious "Top Six" who
were on speed dial with "Matemai" - Shamu's totem affectionately used by his
Shamu, the pseudo-revolutionary, now displays the very contempt for free
press as was once the norm with his erstwhile master P.K. Van Der Byl of
Rhodesia. Shamu recently attacked independent radio stations by saying they
are, "illegal, extraterritorial pirate broadcasts which violate our
sovereignty in the name of media freedoms."
Shamu forgets that it was radio stations like these during the war of
liberation that gave the populace relief, hope, and alternative news to the
draconian Law and Order Maintenance Act of Rhodesia. If Zimbabwean
broadcasting laws today allowed for independent radio stations, these
so-called pirate stations would die a natural death. It is important in 21st
century politics for a vibrant political party to have access to a website,
internet radio station, terrestrial radio station, television station and
other electronic media services. ZANU (PF) utilises and monopolises state
broadcasting facilities for the propagation of its own dogmatic policies.
Shamu is part of the furniture in a burning house-ZANU (PF). He is totally
unpredictable, a pathological liar, ruthless and irrational. However, he
displays an affable public side that confuses the gullible povo around
him-gentleman by day and efficient lord of war by night. He has perfected
the art of murder, rape and political mayhem and proudly boasts of being the
ZANU (PF) franchise holder for brutality.
By performing game changing human culling tactics during the run-up to every
election, from a distance on behalf of Gushungo, Shamu secured his permanent
place as one of Africa's worst leaders in post-colonial history. Whereas
most human beings are averse to inflicting misery and pain, Shamu is in his
element when leading his devotees, who are always inebriated, supplied with
copious amounts of cheap alcohol and smoking ZANU (PF) export grade mbanje
"If they know those Natives have all those shortwave sets, there is nothing
to prevent Moscow from giving them all types of information that we do not
want the Native to hear about." - In 1952, the South African Minister of
Posts and Telegraphs, Albert Hertzog, told Parliament that the cheap radio
set being introduced by the British authorities in their African colonies
It is 2009, and Webster Shamu wishes to return Zimbabwe media to the dark
ages, keeping her citizens unaware and uninformed and denying any freedom of
speech by asking newspapers not to "betray" Zimbabwe, by Zimbabwe Shamu
means Mugabe. Mugabe is not a "god", Mugabe is not Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is not
Mugabe, critising him is every Zimbabwean's patriotic duty. Mugabe is a mere
"elected" public servant, a mortal who like all humans is fallible and
susceptible to flaws. When left unchecked through totalitarian media
censorship Mugabe morphed into a tyrant. Freedom of speech is enshrined in
our constitution and no one, absolutely no one, can take that away from us.
Curiously, I find myself agreeing with the Minister's statement: "Thank God,
technology now makes publishing placeless." I couldn't have said it more
"Tsuro nenungu mumwena mumwecheta abayiwa ngaabude"
Chapter 47 - "The Man Who Tried to Kill Me", Madhinga Bucket Boy by Philemon
Matibe - www.madhingabucket.com
by Iona Viertheiler Wednesday 07 October 2009
OPINION: Supposing you start at zero as a government but want to use all
your country's resources for yourself here is how you should go about it:
The first step is to look for unemployed young men who hang around beer
halls in their rags. Give them a small payment, proper green uniforms and
batons. Also give them some sense of self-importance by telling them that
they are held I high esteem by your party because they are carrying out the
important duty of going around the countryside as representatives of the
state and taking care that obedience and silence prevails among the
Then amend the constitution in your favour.
Let your friends lead the security forces regardless of qualifications
required for the position. More importantly, tell them that they can help
themselves if their normal incomes seem to be not enough for their likes.
Encourage them to produce new ideas in doing so and assure them of immunity
from the law.
Amend the constitution in your favour again.
Take over all parastatals. Suck out all incoming money - be it fees,
payments for electricity bills or loan deductions for pension funds. Never
reinvest. If goods commodities as grain, tobacco or gold, are delivered to
your parastatals never pay for them.
Amend the constitution another time in your favour.
Send your soldiers into neighbouring states where any conflict is looming
and let the side your soldiers are supposed to help pay you privately for
that service through company shares and mining rights. Keep the soldiers'
salaries as low as possible and do not care about them risking their lives
Keep on amending the constitution in your favour.
Sell the rights to exploiting your country's wealth such as fisheries,
minerals, timber, et cetera to foreign states or foreign companies but make
them pay privately to you for those rights.
Take all opportunities to amend the constitution in your favour.
Look for the most viable companies in your country and charge them with
trumped up illegal financial transactions. Then put your friends as
commissars of the companies and run them yourself through those friends. Or
just nationalise those companies to rectify historical wrongs. If you and
your friends are not able to run the companies properly just loot the assets
and sell. It does not matter that you destroy 99 percent of the value if
only you can rake in the 1 percent.
Check constantly if the constitution needs some amendment in your favour.
Print money as much as you want. This is advantageous in two respects: it
causes hyperinflation but you will be the first to convert the weakened
currency into strong foreign currency. Only after you have done your deals
will inflation hit the other players on the market. Next time you print more
money it will work out the same. On the other hand, all your debts are
shrinking very fast, especially the pensions you are supposed to pay will
disappear like snow in the sun. Put a relative of yours at the helm of the
reserve bank and let him steal all foreign currency funds in the banks
especially the funds of the troublesome non-governmental organisations
Again an amendment of the constituency may be necessary.
Make sure that no middle class is coming up by crippling their business
opportunities, by crippling education and healthcare, even food supply. Of
course this cannot go on forever but certainly for a very long period.
Exactly as long as all the assets you are looting hold out.
Amend the constitution so that you can stay in government for your lifetime.
When there are signs of opposition raising its ugly head, search where the
nests of opposition are and wipe them out. Those breeding points can be the
teachers unions, the farmer's labour power or even the communities of big
cities. You ruin their businesses, you make them destitute, you drive them
out of the country; you put them in jails in droves or make them disappear.
The same applies to the press you perceive to be oppositional.
Amend the constitution in your favour whenever you please.
In the case of elections, you have to be careful. Your friends are in charge
of overseeing the elections and of counting the votes - that is not the
problem. They will be there to rig the votes in your favour. If an election
supervisor gets very naughty they will even burn his corpse in the bush. But
the electorate itself may be the problem. And eventually it turns out now
how prudent it was in the beginning to train and brainwash those young rural
men and give them uniforms and batons and something like false dignity. You
just tell them now that nobody deserves to live who wants to vote against
you. You give them drugs and a bit additional money and they will run
berserk on your behalf. They will steel and rob, blackmail and set fire on
huts and homes, drive the inhabitants into the forest, maim and torture,
murder and rape for your good case even if the victims are their own
neighbours and relatives. So even if you would have lost the elections, it
needs only a bit of skilful dodging and you will still be the head of state
and government, and commander-in-chief of the defence forces at the end of
From time to time you will have to prevent that a new constitution is
written as the present one is tailored to suit you almost perfectly.
But all the time you will have to work hard and be very inventive in order
to blame someone else for the mess you have systematically and deliberately
produced. Nobody really understands why but it seems that you feel obliged
to pretend that you are a good-willed morally upright person who is just
prevented to do the right thing by others and bad weather. You will have to
rant a lot of nonsense, inconsistent reasoning and blatant lies and boast
that the country was yours. This will be the hardest task but after all you
will dedicate your best talents to it because your financial benefits are
above all imagination - almost too big for mediocre figures like you. -