The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Security chiefs continue to boycott NSC

September 20, 2009

Security chiefsFrom left: Paradzayi Zimondi, (Prisons), Perrence  Shiri (Air Force) Constantine Chiwenga (Defence Forces) and Augustine Chihuri (Police)

By Our Correspondent

HARARE – Army generals are blatantly violating a central provision of the global political agreement that requires the convening of monthly meetings of a new security think-tank, ostensibly because the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is refusing to call for the removal of sanctions on the security chiefs.The new National Security Council (NSC) failed to meet at the end of August as it was supposed to, because army generals boycotted the meeting, the Prime Minister’s spokesman has confirmed.

Since the formation of the inclusive government in February between President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the NSC has held only one meeting, in July 30.

That inaugural NSC meeting only dealt with formal introductions and an explanation of the basic mandate of the organ which is responsible for reviewing national policies on security, defence, law and order and; recommending or directing appropriate action. That meeting, held at Zimbabwe House, emphasised the need for the inclusive government to work together and was touted as a major step forward in the hitherto stalled implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). But that momentum has since been lost, as no other meeting has taken place.

The NSC Act, establishing the new security body, explicitly stipulates that the NSC should meet once a month.

The refusal by the security chiefs to attend the NSC meetings represents both open defiance of the agreement reached last September between the political principals and a determined effort to force Tsvangirai to call for the removal of biting targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his allies including the securocrats.

The security chiefs seem to be also taking a cue from the Zanu-PF Politburo which has said the MDC has failed to influence the removal of western imposed travel restrictions on Zimbabwean politicians accused of rights abuses.

Last week the commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda told officers at 2 Infantry Brigade headquarters in Cranborne that “pirate radio stations” and “sanctions” were being employed by hostile foreign governments that back the MDC to wage “asymmetric warfare” in a plot to overthrow President Mugabe.

Tsvangirai was angry at the open breaches of the GPA when he addressed his party’s 10th anniversary in Bulawayo last Sunday where he expressed public frustration, blasting the securocrats and Zanu-PF’s leaders for failing to compromise in the troubled government of national unity.

Tsvangirai has been trying to coax his rivals in the seven-month old inclusive government to share power equally and chart a new direction for the country. He has tried appeasement of Zanu-PF but it has failed.

The recent SADC summit held in Kinshasa three weeks ago failed to deal with the security situation in Zimbabwe, with the regional bloc referring the matter to the new head of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, Mozambique President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, who is reportedly mooting a Zimbabwe-specific summit.

Tsvangirai, as recently as late last month vowed that there was no going back on the unity government, despite snags in implementing a power-sharing pact with President Mugabe.

But his tone has changed.

“For the past seven months we in the MDC have shown respect, conciliation and understanding to Zanu-PF and what have we got in return? Nothing,” Tsvangirai said in a stiffly worded statement at White City Stadium in Bulawayo Sunday.
Aides close to Tsvangirai said he was running out of patience.

“If this foot-dragging continues, it’s unlikely he’ll stay in the GNU,” said an aide who was not authorized to speak publicly. The Prime Minister was coming under “withering pressure” to walk out of the GNU, the source added.

Under its rules the NSC must meet once a month but can be summoned to meet at any time as and when President Robert Mugabe or the Prime Minister deems fit.

The NSC consists of Mugabe as chairperson, his deputy Joice Mujuru, Tsvangirai and his deputies Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the two Home Affairs ministers Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi.

The service chiefs, who are ex-officio members of the security council, continue to meet Mugabe privately apparently under the purview of the disbanded Joint Operations Command.

The service chiefs who continue to meet with Mugabe are Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Lt Gen Sibanda, Air Marshall Perrence Shiri and Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri.

Commissioner of Prisons Rtd Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Happyton Bonyongwe, are also privately attending the JOC meetings. Provincial JOC meetings were happening weekly, a security source told The Zimbabwe Times.

Tsvangirai said he had done his part to promote reconciliation but there was open defiance from the security chiefs.

“Even after winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe. But don’t misjudge me. You misjudge me at your peril,” he admonished. “We want partners that are sincere. We want partners who are going to commit themselves to good governance principles.”

Tsvangirai said that he won the election and has demanded that his party be respected and take a meaningful role in the government. But the government has been paralyzed by infighting and political maneuvering.

“They continue to act with arrogance, forgetting that it was they who lost the March election and that they are only in this agreement as we formed this government for the wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC leader repeated his calls for national reconciliation after years of political violence masterminded by the security forces, which his party says cost the lives of hundreds of supporters at the hands of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. Tsvangirai himself was brutally assaulted while in police custody in March 2007.

Securocrats are said to be scuttling efforts to set up a special tribunal for the organizers and financiers of the election violence, putting forward a vague pledge to national healing through a special three-day holiday, a justice initiative that has been described as a sham by critics.

Some of the top suspects are high-ranking ministers, army, police officers and Zanu-PF militia who are reluctant to set in motion any process that might put them behind bars. Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations allege the army has maintained structures of violence in the countryside, causing unnecessary panic and a state of siege.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, pooling over 350 civil society organisations, said in a recent report it had information that over 70 senior officers remained deployed in the provinces where they were deployed just after the March 29 poll last year when President Mugabe and Zanu-PF suffered a devastating electoral loss.

Many Zimbabweans are now calling their government of national unity the “government of national impunity”.

Western nations, especially the United States, are losing patience, but at the same time, Zanu- PF leaders seem to be getting annoyed by all the outside advice. A powerful EU delegation that was in the country for first high-level government contact since 2002, urged President Mugabe to fully implement the global political agreement, including constituting the monthly meetings of the NSC as enunciated in the GPA.

The unity government has acted to steer the country back to stability and restore the hyperinflation-ravaged economy and basic services that collapsed under Mugabe’s three decades of rule.

But the government has been plagued by power struggles over key posts and an open contempt for Tsvangirai.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Secret paper sanctions invasion

Written by Rob Rose and Simpiwe Piliso
Sunday, 20 September 2009 05:39
Barely a year into Zimbabwe's government of national unity, Zanu(PF)
is paying lip service to agreements to end the violent land redistribution

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government plans to ratchet up
the land grab on white-owned farms as a terrifying new wave of farm seizures
has erupted in the strife-torn country.

This "recommendation" is contained in a closely guarded government
document prepared by minister of lands Herbert Murerwa and presented
exclusively to Mugabe's cabinet on August 27. It is in the Sunday Times's

It seems to contradict the power-sharing agreement signed last year by
Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, which committed the country to
"ensure security of tenure for all land holders" and said that land should
be given "irrespective of race".

Instead, Murerwa said the "government should continue to acquire land"
from white farmers and the "prosecution of farmers resisting to move off the
acquired land should be expedited".

"The refusal by these former farm owners to vacate gazetted farms has
disadvantaged 251 (beneficiaries of the land grab) who hold offer letters,"
he said.

The document appears to confirm speculation that the new wave of farm
invasions is the result of a directive from the top echelons of Mugabe's

Deon Theron, head of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union, said:
"Things have definitely got worse in the last few days. It seems that
instructions have gone out from the top and we're now being hammered."

The latest developments include:

* Reserve Bank deputy governor Edward Mashiringwani forced South
African farmer Louis Fick off his pig and crocodile farm last week, putting
livestock worth US$255000 at risk;
* Tobacco farmer Murray Pott was savagely assaulted on Tuesday when he
tried to prevent a "war veteran" from taking over his land and charged with
"public violence";
* Cattle farmer Mark Surtees was convicted on Friday for "failing to
vacate" his farm after a court battle that has cost him US$8000 and left him
broke; and
* At least 223 cash-strapped farmers are being prosecuted for "failing
to vacate" their farms and are battling to foot the US$1.5-million legal

In the cabinet document, Murerwa said "no foreigner should be allowed
to own rural agricultural land", which "should be excluded from the
protection afforded by the bilateral investment promotion and protection

South Africa is currently trying to thrash out such a trade agreement
with Zimbabwe, but it has deadlocked over the land issue.

The Sunday Times visited a number of once-thriving farms this week
that have been taken over by Zanu(PF) officials. These farms now lie fallow
and swamped in weeds, and infrastructure such as electricity towers and
irrigation pipes have been stripped of steel and iron.

Doug Taylor-Freeme, who farms tobacco and barley, said: "The world
believes things got better for farmers after the government of national
unity was created last year. But, in fact, it has just got worse."

Taylor-Freeme has already lost 3000ha in farm grabs to the government
and is now fighting a claim on his last remaining 750ha. In a bizarre twist,
the local magistrate who seeks to grab his farm will adjudicate on
Taylor-Freeme's prosecution for "failing to vacate" the land.

The cabinet document says Zimbabwe must continue "acquiring" land
because "stopping the programme now will be construed as a reversal of the
land reform programme, (which) can ignite further and more violent protests,
disturbing (the) peace and tranquility currently prevailing in the country".

This revelation comes after Mugabe implored investors to plough cash
into the country at this week's mining indaba, saying "the sanctity of
property rights and the rule of law in all its dimensions are fully

During a closed-door meeting with about 20 investors, Mugabe related
how he had "negotiated" to get land from the Oppenheimer family, saying:
"We're not that rough and racist as some people regard us."

But the latest farm invasions threaten to derail the much trumpeted
economic recovery in Zimbabwe, where the average salary is US$150 a month.
The catalyst seems to have been Mugabe's speech to the Zanu(PF) Youth
Congress last week in which he spoke of the "bloody whites", told farmers
"please don't resist" and threatened "I'm saying 'please, please' but that
will stop".

The farmers union believes with too few farmers and a Southern African
drought imminent, Zimbabwe is at risk of starving next year.

Sunday Times (SA)

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Land grab by numbers

Written by Sunday Times (SA)
Sunday, 20 September 2009 06:16
Special Report : Mugabe's new land grab

According to the cabinet document seen by the Sunday Times, citizens
from 14 countries have had their farms grabbed.

This includes 19 farms owned by South Africans, 61 owned by
Mauritians, 43 by Germans, 41 by the Dutch, 28 by Swiss citizens, 26 by
Italians, and five by Americans.

The document confirms that since 2000, 6214 farms of a total of
10.8-million hectares have been seized by the state - 70% of the
15.5-million hectares of large commercial farmland that existed in 1980.
Most of these farms were "awarded" to Mugabe's family and comrades, many of
whom now "own" multiple farms.

Once the pride of sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe's farming sector has
shrunk alarmingly while rampant inflation that peaked at 500-billion percent
a year ago forced the government to abandon Zimbabwe's currency in favour of
the US dollar in February.

In 2000 Zimbabwe produced two million tons of maize, but this was down
to 450 000 tons last year.

Tobacco production has plummeted from 244000 tons to 40 000 tons.

This is partly because the number of commercial farmers has shrunk
radically from 4 500 in 2000 to 400.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

PM declares war on corruption

Friday, 18 September 2009 15:41
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has declared zero tolerance
for corruption in the civil service, vowing to dismantle a patronage system
that has been abused by government officials and other people with links to
the old regime of President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai told businesspeople in Victoria Falls last week that he has
set a target of ridding the government of mismanagement and corruption which
had become endemic in the civil service.
"This is a fight that must be fought and won," he said during the
annual congress of the Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ).
He urged business to play its part by not encouraging corrupt
practices and to report any graft cases to his office.
"For too long, too many businesses have been forced to rely on
patronage to survive. My government is committed to establishing an
environment determined by strong market principles that encourages both
independence and innovation," the premier said.
Tsvangirai said the coalition government was slowly dismantling the
systems of privilege, entitlement and impunity which sheltered and protected
those involved in the systematic looting of the country's resources.
Mugabe has since 2000 relied on the system of political patronage to
reward loyalty among members of his Zanu (PF) party.
Hoards of his supporters - including Zanu (PF) cabinet ministers -
have blindly approved his controversial policies in order to curry favours
from the Zimbabwean strongman.
Corruption had also taken root in the civil service until this year,
with government officials known to demand payment or kickbacks in order to
process documents ordinarily offered for free.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Israeli firm eyes Zimbabwe's power stations  2009-09-20 20:06:03

    HARARE, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- A power company of Israel was
courting Zimbabwe's power giant Zesa Holdings for a possible takeover of
operations of its small power stations, local newspaper The Sunday Mail

    Information to hand reveals that the development came after Zesa
chief executive officer Engineer Ben Rafemoyo announced that the parastatal
is considering leasing its idle power stations to private players.

    Efforts were also being made to complete the refurbishment of
Hwange Power Station (HPS). Sources privy to the ongoing negotiations said
the Israeli delegation jetted into the country two weeks ago for
consultative purposes and were keen on investing in the power stations.

    Proposals were also being made to transfer the management of
Harare Thermal Power Station back to the Harare City Council. The thermal
power plant was transferred to Zesa in 1986 as the government endeavored to
centralize power generation.

    Most of the equipment at the power station has outlived its life
span, resulting in constant breakdowns that have caused serious power
outages across the country.

    Experts believed that Zimbabwe has the potential to generate
sufficient power to meet domestic supplies and also export to the region
through its vast renewable resource endorsements such as coal and gas.

    Some of the projects that have the potential to increase the
country's power generation capacity include the methane gas project and
proposed thermal power stations.

    Upon the completion of works at the thermal power generating
stations across the country, the power utility will be able to raise current
national power output by an additional 700 megawatts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chinamasa's decision not binding, PM

September 20, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said Zimbabwe will not be
bound by a decision made by one man to pull the country out of the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC) Tribunal.Tsvangirai said the decision by
the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa to write to the tribunal to
withdraw Zimbabwe from participation in tribunal matters was null and void.

"The decision to pull out of the SADC Tribunal was a comment by an
individual minister and the country can not be bound by that. The issue has
not yet been discussed in cabinet and we cannot, therefore, be bound by the
decision of a single minister," said Tsvangirai while addressing a mining
conference which ended in Harare yesterday.

Chinamasa wrote a letter in August to the SADC Tribunal clerk advising him
that the country was withdrawing from all tribunal proceedings. His argument
was that the Tribunal's establishment was yet to be ratified by at least two
thirds of the bloc as required by the treaty which set it up.

Chinamasa even told the media that Zimbabwe was going to recall a judge the
government seconded to the Windhoek based regional court.

Former Harare High Court Justice Antoinette Guvava was seconded to the
Tribunal in 2005 by the government.

The Tribunal last November dealt a heavy body blow to President Robert
Mugabe's controversial programme to seize white-owned farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks when it ruled that the chaotic and often
violent programme was discriminatory, racist and illegal under the SADC

The regional court ordered Harare not to evict the 78 farmers and that it
pays full compensation to those it had already forced off farms.

Mugabe publicly dismissed the ruling by the Namibia-based Tribunal, while
his followers in the military and in his Zanu-PF party defied the court
order by continuing to seize more land from the few white farmers remaining
in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the mining indaba Tsvangirai also said the human rights abuses
that were committed by security forces in the Chiadzwa diamond fields must
be investigated.

"It is a sad fact that in recent history the local communities have been
prevented from enjoying the fruits of our natural resources and particularly
in the east of the country where they have been persecuted for their
proximity to enormous natural wealth," said Tsvangirai.

"The tragedies that took place in Chiadzwa and other places cannot be
repeated. We must as a government investigate in an open and transparent
manner any human rights abuses that took place so that the innocent victims
receive justice to ensure that the protection of our people is paramount in
this new Zimbabwe."

He said the government was working with the Kimberley Process to develop a
diamond mining strategy for the country.

"Kimberly is working with us in developing a plan to make sure that we are a
credible diamond exploiter," said Tsvangirai.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim exodus continues despite GNU

Written by CAJNews.
Friday, 18 September 2009 13:26
JOHANNESBURG - A new power-sharing government has eased Zimbabwe's
economic crisis but migration experts last week said more Zimbabweans were
likely to leave their country over the next five years for South Africa and
other neighbouring countries were chances of getting a job and living
conditions are better. (Pictured: A group of Zimbabwean immigrant seen at
the South African border town of Musina)

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) -- 
which works to promote and defend rights of refugees, asylum seekers and
migrants -- said the tide of Zimbabweans flocking to neighbouring countries
was likely to continue at full flood over the next two-to-five years despite
the Harare coalition government's work to improve economic and living
conditions in Zimbabwe.
CORMSA spokesperson, Sicel'mpilo Shange-Buthane, told CAJ News in an
interview that member-organisations and other observers were still reporting
hundreds of Zimbabweans that were continuing to crossing into South Africa
She said the introduction of the 90-day visa free entry for
Zimbabweans, among other immigration reforms by South African authorities
had also facilitated easier movement for Zimbabwean nationals wishing to
come to South Africa.
"Even though a lot of people acknowledge the changes that are taking
place at a political level in Zimbabwe, the big question is whether that has
had any direct positive influence on ordinary people's lives in the
immediate short-term," said Shange-Buthane.
But Shange-Buthane said Zimbabweans continued to face difficulties in
South Africa despite the new visa arrangement that Pretoria authorities had
hoped could easy the plight of immigrants from their poorer northern
"Without collaborative efforts of the various government departments
to address the plight of refugees, no matter what the department of home
affairs (in South Africa) tries to implement, there will always be
problems," she said.
She called on all stakeholders, government and civic society groups to
address the current refugee situation and plethora of challenges facing some
not only Zimbabwean but also all immigrants in South Africa.
Shange-Buthane applauded former South African home affairs minister
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who introduced a number of positive immigration
policies, shortly before she was re-deployed to a different ministerial
portfolio by President Jacob Zuma.
The new Harare government has called on the estimated three million
Zimbabweans or a quarter of the country's total population living in South
Africa and other countries to return home to help rebuild their once
prosperous nation.
But many exiled Zimbabweans are postponing returning home unsure
whether the unity government of President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will be able to
transform the economy and carryout political reforms necessary to ensure the
freedoms and rights of citizens.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mines closure downgrades hospitals

Saturday, 19 September 2009 10:04
KWEKWE - Zimbabwe's recession-hit mining sector has bequeathed the
nation an unhealthy legacy of closed or downgraded hospitals, leaving
redundant workers and peasants from surrounding communal areas with little
or no access to health care. (Pictured:Due to high transport costs,
relatives are forced to ferry their sick)

A modern hospital formerly owned by the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel
Company (ZISCO) until the parastatal sold it off  "to concentrate on its
core steel making business" is crumbling after it was privatized in 1998 as
a way to cushion the effects of a creeping recession.
Sister Mary Mukuruva, the sole qualified nurse who is holding fort,
said she hardly got any patients.
"Our client base has dried up because Ziscosteel only pays its workers
an allowance. It does not deduct health insurance contribution and opts to
treat its employees in its own clinic," said Mukuruva, who has been with the
hospital in Torwood residential suburb since 1981.
Most of the staff left the institution which still boasts a modern
operating theatre, children, male and female wards, physiotherapy, kitchen
and a mortuary complete with modern machinery when the rot stated settling

Cash injection failed
Run jointly as Ben Medical Services with a complex known as the
Medical Centre in Redcliff town, both are owned by United States-based Dr.
Erikana Chihombori under a US$750 000 project financed by the World Bank.
The modernization project, financed through the Africa Enterprise Fund
(AEF) by the International Finance Corporation arm of the Bank, involved the
expansion of the hospital and the medical centre by adding an outpatient
unit for each to handle an anticipated increase in the number of patients.
The company was expected to install new, modern equipment, an in-house
pharmacy, a laboratory, and a radiology department, and to upgrade operating
theatres and kitchens.
But an enduring recession has left its mark despite the injection of
such a huge sum. The hospital has become an empty casing of unoccupied beds
manned by a nursing sister, a pharmacy technician and less than a dozen
nursing aides and general hands.
Paint is peeling off the walls and some of the electrical fittings
have been ripped out. Most of the curtaining has "disappeared" from the
"We depended on patients with health insurance from the steel making
plant," said Mukuruva.
The Medical Centre in the town heavily relies on private doctors
bringing in their patients, mostly pregnant women for Caesarian operations.
"We get about three patients a week. At most times it is very quite
because people are unable to pay cash for services unless one has relatives
in the Diaspora who sends them money," a nurse at the Medical centre told
The Zimbabwean.

Workers keep their dead
While lack of patients is creating headaches for the two health
institutions in the Midlands town, workers left jobless when Alaska Mine,
about 140km north of the capital Harare closed, have to put up with keeping
their dead for days.
A mortuary on the settlement was shut down when the mine was
decommissioned in 1997.
The next function mortuary is 10km away in Chinhoyi provincial
Residents have formed a fund-raising committee in an effort to revive
the mortuary. "Our major problem is the high costs of transporting those who
die on this settlement to the mortuary," said committee member, Jawet
Baison, 53.
The closure of Dalny mines west of Kadoma operated by Falgold for more
than 45 years has hit thousands of former workers and their dependants
hardest. Before its abrupt closure also in 1997, it employed more than a
thousand workers.
"This settlement is dying. It has collapsed along with the health and
social services the mine provided," said Harriet Banda.
Life has never been the same since the mine was shut down. Before the
closure, the mine owners ran a hospital and a small clinic. Most of the
workers now eke out a living from panning for gold, but that does not
provide for their health needs.
"When someone falls sick they have to hire vehicles at great cost to
the government hospitals in either Kadoma or Chegutu more than 40km away,"
Banda says.
Elsewhere, Kamativi Tin mine north-west of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second
largest city, shut down in 1985.
The government took advantage of the infrastructure, including a
hospital, and turned it into a paramilitary training camp as has Buchwa mine
outside Zvishavane, which has since been converted into a compound and
training camp for the police.

Greatest tragedy
But the most poignant was the shut down and downgrading of a 100-bed
hospital at Gaths Mine asbestos mine run by Shabanie and Mashaba Mines to a
clinic in response to plummeting prices on the world market and an
anti-asbestos lobby.
Thousands of peasants within a 40km radius were left stranded when
company management decided to close the institution because "ninety percent
of bed occupants at any given time were not mine employees," according to
notices distributed to mine workers.
Former owner Mutumwa Mawere opted to ferry the seriously ill almost
100km to a sister mine hospital at Zvishavane and provide transport for
relatives to visit their sick three times a week as a cost-cutting measure.
"When anyone falls sick, we transport them in donkey-drawn carts 20km
to Mashaba, then travel by bus for another 40km to the government provincial
hospital in Masvingo," said Dumbura Moyo, a smallholder farmer in the
Nyaningwe small-scale commercial farming area.
In the past farmers only needed to get sick relatives to the hospital
at Gaths Mine.
"Transport was relatively easy to get but these days buses have
abandoned the route citing viability problems because passengers they used
to carry to the communal lands beyond this area are no longer there," Moyo

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Transcript of SW Radio Africa Hot Seat programme interview with co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa

I made a blunder, says Mutsekwa
September 20, 2009

Transcript of SW Radio Africa Hot Seat programme interview

HOT SEAT: Violet Gonda presents the week's Hot Seat programme where her
guest is co-Home Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa who recently authorised the
seizure of one of the country's largest companies, Kingdom Meikles, for
allegedly externalising foreign currency.

Mutsekwa admits he made a serious blunder by only listening to CEO Nigel
Chanakira, when he co-authorised the specification order. The minister
discloses that there are plans to reverse the seizure order, after company
Chairman John Moxon agreed to pay back the externalized funds. Mutsekwa also
talks about the challenges he is facing to bring back law and order in the
country, and the difficulties of working with a 'police force that is
combative and is offended if Zanu-PF is offended.'

(Broadcast: 18 September 2009)

Violet Gonda: Using a controversial anti-corruption law a recently published
government gazette effectively seized the assets of one of the country's
largest companies, Kingdom Meikles, which is listed on stock exchanges in
both Harare and London. The group of companies comprising Kingdom Meikles,
Tanganda Tea, Thomas Meikles Centre and Murlis Investments were all listed
as 'specified,' allowing the government to place them under administration.
The Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa authorised the
seizure. Mr Mutsekwa is my guest on the programme Hot Seat and I asked him
first to explain his thinking in helping the government take over control of
the companies.

Giles Mutsekwa: Firstly, let me say Violet that in my opinion it is a very
sad development in that I do appreciate the repercussions where this big
company, which is on the stock market, is specified. But I think it is also
important for our nationals to understand that a serious crime has been
committed where extensive sums of money have been externalised from Zimbabwe
by the gentleman known as Mr John Moxon. And unfortunately this has been an
issue that has been longstanding and was actually under investigation even
before I joined the ministry.

However, I want to state, and state emphatically, that it is not the
intention of this minister whatsoever to aid and abet ulterior motives of
other political parties in what I would have termed a noble cause. I have
since had various visits from people concerned who have come to me and who
have explained to me the other side of the story. Apparently what has been
taking place is that we have been listening to only one person who is an
aggrieved character and we took it for granted, being a Christian, everybody
thought he was up to his word. But however as I am saying, ever since the
gazetting of that instrument the other side has also approached me and we
have held various high level meetings and I now understand that it was not
all that I was being told by the first side that is correct and I appreciate
the issue much better.

Gonda: What do you really appreciate? Who is this person that had given you
the one side? You had said he is a Christian, can you explain to our
listeners who you are talking about and what does it really say when you
make such a huge decision like this based on the reports of just one group
and not actually investigating or seeking the response from the other
aggrieved side?

Mutsekwa: You see apparently the second person or the second character is
not resident in Zimbabwe and it was not easy to make contact with him,
therefore it was everybody's assumption that because he is outside of
Zimbabwe it was his intention to stay outside of Zimbabwe and therefore
evading these issues that are being investigated. But as to who is this
first character I was referring to and I termed him a Christian, I think it
is only proper at the moment that we treat names aside but however it is
suffice for you to understand that this wrangle is between two major
characters and that is John Moxon and Nigel Chanakira. I think I need not be
clearer than that. I'm sure that if anybody reads from between the lines
they would know whom I'm referring to. But suffice to say those are the
major characters at play and as I said it was unfortunate that the other
player (Moxon) is stationed outside the country. However what has since
happened is that he has sent his emissaries to myself to explain the
situation, but most importantly, his willingness to ensure that whatever the
country has been deprived of is going to be reimbursed as soon as possible.
So I'm happy as the minister that everything is on course and I am advised
if people concerned take certain procedures so we rectify the issue.

Gonda: What exactly are you saying? Are you saying now that you have heard
from the other player this means that the decision to specify this company
may now be reversed?

Mutsekwa: Well I'm saying precisely that, precisely that.  And as I said,
the happiest news from the second player is that he recognises how serious
the issue is. He also recognises that he is indebted to Zimbabwe and during
my discussions with his emissaries there was an indication, a genuine
indication that whatever Zimbabwe was prejudiced of would be made good.

Gonda: How much money was actually externalised?

Mutsekwa: It was to the tune of US$21 million.

Gonda: Couldn't you just slap the company with a fine as a confidence
building measure because there has been such an outcry about this kind of
action and many people feel that this sends the wrong signals to potential

Mutsekwa: Well as I said to you earlier on Violet, I do appreciate, I
appreciate the bad impression that will be sent across the whole world about
this particular issue. It will never be my intention to discourage potential
investors for Zimbabwe and that is why I am in this inclusive government

Gonda: Who did you consult when you made this decision?

Mutsekwa: Look Violet a ministry is composed of so many people within the
bureaucracy but that's besides the point and various people, who were worth
consulting, were consulted before that decision was taken.

Gonda: But your party has issued a statement criticising this move, in fact
condemning what they described as a grab of Meikles assets and even your
minister in the Economic Planning and Investment Promotion ministry Elton
Mangoma said that there was a lack of consultation across the various
ministries and he said that the decision to specify the companies was rash
and done without consultation making his job difficult and basically he said
he was still awaiting a full briefing on the matter before he could issue a
substantive comment. What can you say about that?

Mutsekwa: Well look Violet, minister Mangoma runs a ministry just as I run a
ministry and there's definitely no reason why I should make him my reference
point. But all I'm saying is, that a decision was taken after several
consultations, I appreciate the position if my party is not happy with my
decision, I do appreciate that but you must also accept the fact that on a
day-to-day issue a minister is appointed to run a ministry and you don't
have to run backwards and forwards consulting your party. But I do
appreciate, and as I said earlier on, it is true and I've also realised it
after consultation that maybe something else could have been done and done
smarter and I am saying that I am putting everything in place.

Gonda: Is the reason why you are now entertaining the idea of reversing this
drastic decision as a result of the reaction, the negative reaction you have
received from your own party because even a statement that was issued by the
party said that you have more pressing issues to attend to than seizing the
assets of private companies. So were you put under pressure from your party
to reverse this decision?

Mutsekwa: Look Violet, my personal, my personal attitude is that if you want
to make a good leader you listen to everybody and unless you are capable of
listening then you are no different from the dictatorship that Zimbabweans
have experienced from Zanu-PF. And all I'm saying is that I have some
representations to me, my party included but that is not the only area where
these representations came from. What is very important in this particular
issue is that the people affected themselves have also realised the gravity
of this issue and have said - they put on the table what arrangements they
are going to make to ensure that this money is going to be brought back into
the fiscus and I'm happy with that. But all I'm saying is pressure must be
brought to bear to any leader, and any leader worth his salt is supposed to
listen to pressure, that's what democracy is all about.

Gonda: But Mr Mutsekwa, I come back to the same issue about the comment that
was made by one of your colleagues Mr Mangoma that this was a rash decision.
The Meikles group of company.

Mutsekwa: I'm not privy to the comment that was made by one of my

Gonda: But I've just explained it to you that he said that this was a rash
decision. Do you not think that thorough investigations should be followed
before you make such decisions?

Mutsekwa: Yes but Violet, I think I have said it times without number that
necessary investigations and consultations were made and I said to you in
the first instance that the only blunder which I think I made was that I did
not listen to the second player because he is stationed outside of Zimbabwe.
That's all I'm saying to you.

Gonda: But still, that admission there, didn't that worry you before you
made that decision?

Mutsekwa: No as I said to you Violet, this other person was not in contact
with Zimbabwe and therefore had been stationed outside and was not willing
at that particular time to be in touch with Zimbabwe, so I'm not so sure
what else we could have done. But I think what is most important is that the
affected person also realises that he had to exchange notes and he was the
first person, after the publication of that instrument, to get in touch with
me and I appreciate that now we realise that it is important for people to
talk over issues.

Gonda: One of your colleagues, Ghandi Mudzingwa has accused you of failing
to address the issues of the rule of law, the issues of unwarranted arrests;
doesn't this worry you that some of your colleagues or some of your own
members now see you as someone who is parroting the Zanu-PF line?

Mutsekwa: Firstly let me respond to the first issue about my colleague
Ghandi Mudzingwa. You would want to realise that when he made that statement
he was in jail, he was under detention. I also want to reveal to you and to
the listeners that the same Ghandi Mudzingwa has since apologised for that
reckless statement. He has apologised and you can get in touch with him, he
has personally apologised to me. So that's the first issue.

But on the other issue Violet, let me give you a brief history of how this
ministry functions. You would appreciate Violet that the ministry of Home
Affairs actually was a contentious issue during our discussions before we
formed the inclusive government. And you'll also recall that the Ministry of
Home Affairs is completely different from all these other ministries,
completely different indeed. Firstly by its nature and by its hugeness;

Secondly that it is a ministry that I actually went into when it had all its
complete structures in place - there was a minister already, there was an
entire bureaucracy which was in existence. But more to that, is that this
entire bureaucracy and the minister survived the 2008 period because they
were then deemed to be loyal to Zanu-PF. So I inherited an entire
bureaucracy with its minister who is Zanu-PF who could have made choices of
whether they want to refer to me any issue for decision making or not
because they already have their structures in place. You understand that,

So for me to be able to operate under such circumstances I had to use lots
of tact, and I'm sure I'm best qualified to do that and that is why I got
that appointment. But the other issue also is there is no way that you can
compare the Ministry of Home Affairs with any other ministry because the
difference is - all other MDC ministers assumed ministries which would also
have the same bureaucracies but at least there was one person in charge of
that ministry. It is not the same. If I had not been very strategic I would
not even be able to control and run this ministry by now.

I am also very alive Violet, to the fact that our reason of joining this
inclusive government or rather agreeing to be part and parcel of this
inclusive government is because we are looking ahead to where Zimbabwe shall
have a free and fair election and for that to happen, people who are in
sensitive ministries like myself have got to do more than just shouting and
talking and I'm doing precisely that.

I have managed to get people in the bureaucracy who were completely wild and
un-cooperating now on my side, and I think to me that is a plus. And if we
are strategising because we want to go for elections there is more that I've
got to do as a minister running a security ministry rather than just going
on top of the mountain and shout.

Gonda: But still, some would say that these are just words and doesn't
actually reflect what is going on the ground. Since your appointment, what
have you done that shows that there have been some changes especially in
terms of the rule of law?

Mutsekwa: But Violet I'm telling you and I've just said to you that I
inherited a structure that was 100 percent Zanu-PF because it was designed
to be so before the 2008 elections and I am sure it is very vital that you
appreciate that. Now because of that the first thing anybody could have done
strategically is to ensure that you convert the thinking and actions of the
bureaucracy itself, that's not easy. You would want to remember that
everybody including the entire bureaucracy in that ministry is purely
Zanu-PF because that is how it was tailored to be during the 2008 elections.
So my first task would be, and that was, to ensure that first and foremost I
convert the thinking of the people who operate in the ministry itself. And
you want to remember that before I joined the ministry, everybody from the
minister whom I found there to the ground floor was all Zanu-PF and the
first task naturally is to ensure that you convert the thinking of these
people; I have successfully managed to do that.

As to the issue of the rule of law, look Violet, these are the same
apparatus I have.  We have not recruited anybody new, we have not recruited
new policemen, we have not recruited a new police commissioner, we have not
recruited any of even the middle rank so I am operating with the same
apparatus that were designed to ensure that there is oppression and
suppression in Zimbabwe and that has got to be understood.

Gonda: So in terms of disturbances on farms what are you doing about that?
Yes granted you are facing major challenges but disturbances are continuing,
people are still getting beaten and arrested, farms are still getting burnt.
What are you doing as minister?

Mutsekwa: You see the first task and which I think has been successfully
completed is to convert the thinking of the police force in this country so
that they accept and admit that what they were doing before is wrong. To
overcome that hurdle is no mini task. That has been accomplished by myself
and I think I'm moving in the correct direction. Thereafter it is easier to
give instructions. But as to what specifically we are doing is that we have
condemned, I have actually summoned the senior police officers and asked
them to reverse whatever is taking place at the moment.

But as I said, you are talking about commanding a police force close to 40
000 people and in six months time Violet nobody can tell me, nobody not even
Jesus Christ could tell me that he would have converted the thinking of
these people to be thinking the modern way. So we have a police force that
is still combative, a police force that is offended if Zanu-PF is offended.
We have got that police force still but what we are doing naturally now is
to make sure that we recruit and as we are recruiting we are making sure
that the police force is diluted and I am very very confident, Violet, that
the step that I am taking, come the next elections, then people will know
what Mutsekwa's been doing in this ministry.

Gonda: But Mr Mutsekwa you keep saying that you have converted the thinking
of those in the police force and I keep saying that this is not the reality
on the ground because even if you look.

Mutsekwa: Now look here, Violet, there are 40 000 policemen in this country.

Gonda: But Mr Mutsekwa can I finish .

Mutsekwa: So I am saying.

Gonda: Mr Mutsekwa, just hold on a minute, just last week the police
violently blocked a ZCTU demonstration, where are they getting these
instructions? You are supposed to be in a power, sharing government now, and
you yourself have said that demonstrations are now allowed in Zimbabwe but
they are not allowed in Zimbabwe because the civil society is still not
allowed to demonstrate freely in the country. Last week they violently
blocked a ZCTU demonstration in Harare.

Mutsekwa: Yah, you see what you need to appreciate Violet is that I am not
responsible as minister for the day-to-day operations of the police force. I'm
sure it's paramount for people to appreciate that fact. That is not a
ministerial job to do that.  The police force in this country and elsewhere
have got a constitutional right to design their day-to-day programmes of
operations without necessarily referring to the minister. I am there for
policy and I have said that demonstrations shall be allowed in Zimbabwe. You
are talking about an incident that occurred last week, I picked it up and
what I've done is I've summoned those concerned, I have actually told people
who were barred from demonstrating to make another effort and I'll make sure
that demonstration goes through.

Gonda: And what about the issue that journalists are still getting arrested
while doing their job?

Mutsekwa: I am not responsible for the day-to-day operations of the police
force, besides the constitution of Zimbabwe allows the police commissioner
to report to me, to report to the President and also can get instructions
from the attorney general, that is the constitutional mandate the police
commissioner has been given in Zimbabwe. So it all depends on where that
directive is coming from and I wish people could understand the operations
of the police force or any other force in the world.

Gonda: Your own party says it wants to see perpetrators of violence brought
to book, it wants to see a professional police force that enforces the rule
of law without fear or favour and that they want to see a corrupt-free
police force which professionally discharges its duties and it says these
are the issues that must grab the attention of the (Home Affairs) ministers
rather than the unbridled pursuit of private property. What can you say
about that?

Mutsekwa: Violet even my own party appreciates that our intentions when we
joined this government or rather when we formed this government, our
intentions as the Movement for Democratic Change have not been fulfilled
because there have been violations to what we see as perfect. So yes I
totally agree. It is not my party that is saying that, it is me who is
saying that to my party - that I want a professionalised police force, that
I want a well paid police force, that I want a police force that is
non-partisan, it is me who is saying that and I am striving to get to there.
And surely in six months time nobody would have expected that to happen
given the financial constraint that we in government got.

Gonda: What have you done as the Home Affairs minister, to ensure that
politically motivated criminals have been arrested?

Mutsekwa: There is a lot that is taking place already in the police force.
There is completely a lot that you would probably have noticed if you were
following events - that since I have joined that ministry there have been
public meetings and sessions that are being conducted by the police and they
are busy explaining their charter to the people so that the people know what
the police force should be doing and what they should not be doing. That is
the first thing and to me that is tremendous progress but besides I am also
saying that there have been meetings, and high-level meetings with the
command element of the police so that they accept this need to change. I am
saying and I will say it again that 30 years of oppressive operation cannot
be taken out just by six months and people simply have got to understand
that. But I am also saying that I lead a security ministry and my plans and
tactics are not supposed to be reviewed over the air as we are doing now.

Gonda: But Mr Mutsekwa, my question was what have you done as Home Affairs
minister to ensure that the perpetrators of violence have been brought to
book? Your own party keeps saying that there's this selective application of
the rule of law and that it's only MDC people like legislators who keep
getting arrested and yet there are scores of Zanu-PF people who have
murdered opposition supporters and have never been arrested. What are you
doing about this as Home Affairs minister?

Mutsekwa: Violet, I am not the Justice Minister.

Gonda: But you are in control, you are in charge of the police force.

Mutsekwa: All people who have perpetrated violence in Zimbabwe have been
accounted for and when I say all, I could be exaggerating but I can tell
you, 75 percent of people who perpetrated violence in Zimbabwe have been
accounted for and that's where the police force ends. The rest is with the
Justice Ministry. So it is up to them, if they give them bail conditions, it
is up to them. But for anybody to say, to ask me a question yekuti (about) -
what have you done to ensure that perpetrators of violence are brought to
book, I say everything has been done and they have been brought to book.

Gonda: Like who? Can you give an example of some perpetrators of violence,
especially from Zanu-PF, who have been brought to book? Is Joseph Mwale, has
Joseph Mwale been arrested? I don't understand when you say that 75 percent
of the perpetrators have been brought to book. Can you explain to our
listeners what you mean by that?

Mutsekwa: You know Violet that question is very unfair. There are a lot of
things that happened in Zimbabwe that are both brutal and unconstitutional
and most of those have completely nothing to do with law and order. They are
still outstanding and I can give you several examples, the fulfilment of the
GPA itself has been a critical issue here in Zimbabwe and to just isolate a
police force or a ministry for is completely unfair. There are a lot of
things that have not been fulfilled which have got nothing to do with law
and order but unfortunately we are saying some of us have got long-term
plans of how we must achieve the support and eventually take over the reins
of this country. So in short what I'm saying is that people plan
differently, there are some who are very good at short sprints, there are
some who are long distance runners but I can tell you that it depends on the
ministry that you are heading.

And I must say I need to get one cabinet minister from the Movement for
Democratic Change who will stand up and say that all his ambitions have been
fulfilled since we formed this government and you will find none.

Gonda: Let's move on to other issues. Private radio stations have been under
attack from Zanu-PF and lately from the military, the army commander,
Lieutenant General Philip Sibanda recently warned his soldiers to guard
against foreign based radio stations who he accuses of being at war with the
State. Now as a former military person yourself and since you meet with the
Joint Operations Command or JOC, how do you view these threats?

Mutsekwa: Violet, firstly that is not under my ministry but you have raised
a very interesting question and its especially where army generals are
commenting on political issues. I'm against that. I raised that issue in our
weekly meetings in JOC. I am against that, I don't like the army; I don't
like civil servants participating in political issues. So, yes those
statements have been made. They are careless statements, they are
unfortunate and they undermine the spirit of the inclusive government.

But let me tell you one thing we have my ministry and the ministry of
Information headed by Honourable Shamu and we are making various
consultations of what we must do about foreign journalists like yourself
because I think our end dream is that everybody must come and operate from
within Zimbabwe. And let me tell you one thing we have done a research, and
before we did the research everybody used to believe that foreign
journalists like yourself and various many others are not operating in
Zimbabwe because of my ministry.

It has been established that my ministry has got completely nothing to do
with that today and even before. It was the Ministry of Information and we
have put that challenge squarely on their shoulders and I'm happy to tell
you that we have asked the minister to confirm that something positive is
being worked on. We want everybody to operate from this country, we want
everybody to come back, and we want everybody to participate in the
reconstruction of this country but more so to get alternative voices.

Gonda: We hope to get the Minister of Information Mr Webster Shamu on this
programme some time, but before we go, do you have a final word?

Mutsekwa: Thank you, Violet, yes, I have a final word and the final word
Violet is, that changing the mindset of the security forces, the police
included, in Zimbabwe is a process, it is not an event and therefore it
needs a very tactical approach and I'm best trained for that. The other
thing is because I am heading a security ministry I shall not be going on
top of mountains every day to pronounce each and every step that I am
taking. But the most important thing also Violet is that I want to assure
Zimbabweans, especially those that have been affected by the gazetting of
this specification, that everything possible is being done to ensure that
things are normalised and again, that it is not the intention of me as the
minister, neither is it the intention of my party, the Movement for
Democratic Change to discourage investment in Zimbabwe.

Gonda: So how long is it going to take to finalise this situation - I mean
to reverse the seizure order?

Mutsekwa: Well I can tell you as I said before the process is already
ongoing, it has started with consultations between those affected and myself
and I have advised them of the correct procedures to take and thereafter it
depends on the speed that they apply themselves. I think most of it would
rather remain between myself and the affected people but I think it is
suffice to say that moves are being taken.

Gonda: Right, and finally Mr Mutsekwa how do you respond to people who say
that it appears that you may have quietly crossed the floor and become part
of Zanu-PF indirectly?

Mutsekwa: Look Violet these things happen once you are in leadership, you
are in the spotlight, and democratically I think people are entitled to
their own views. But let me assure you one thing, that number one, I am the
founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change, number two, I was
under incarceration when most people decided that they will run away from
this country. I stayed put in this country, went through all trials and
tribulations, I was jailed, I was everything, I was tortured. I will be the
last person and I will repeat I will be the last person ever to associate
myself with Zanu-PF. In fact it is also prudent for me to mention that
within the Movement for Democratic Change I am the only senior official who
has never been, throughout my entire life, been a member of Zanu-PF, I can't
start now.

Gonda: OK, thank you very much Mr Giles Mutsekwa for talking to us on the
programme Hot Seat.

Mutsekwa: It is a pleasure.

Feedback can be sent to

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 19th September 2009

Supporters at a warm and exuberant Vigil expressed scepticism at Morgan Tsvangirai’s announcement that he is to consult the grass roots on whether to withdraw from the Mugabe government.


People at the Vigil were asked for their opinion by Ephraim Tapa of the Vigil management team. He is also head of Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR). Ephraim made clear his own view: “Tsvangirai didn’t consult the people when he shook hands with Mugabe.  Why now?”


Ephraim maintained that the MDC had made a big mistake by joining Mugabe’s government. “Zanu PF were down and out at the end of 2008 but have been given recovery time by the MDC.”  He said Zanu PF was now gaining in confidence and the next election would be bloodier than ever before to make sure that Zanu PF won. 


Ephraim said that the MDC had failed to take a principled position on Zanu PF abuses such as land invasions and the seizure this week of Meikles. This showed that nothing had changed: Mugabe was still in charge and there was no rule of rule.  The country was in the hands of a mafia which had conscripted the MDC.


Ephraim’s analysis was supported by people at the Vigil and borne out by reports we have received from our loved ones at home. For instance, family in Bulawayo quote pastors as saying people are still dying like flies.


But, although the situation at home is closely followed by the Vigil, not all discussion is about politics.  Luka Phiri and Dumi Tutani, members of the Vigil management team, spoke about their ambitious plan to walk 55 miles next Saturday to raise funds to help a Zimbabwean girl with a severe facial tumour come to the UK for urgent medical treatment. They plan to walk from Brighton on the south coast all the way to the Vigil, leaving at 5 am.


The Zimbabwean girl, Taremeredzwa Nomatter Mapungwana, is supported by the Zimbabwean charity Girl Child Network ( founded by Betty Makoni in 1998. There are plans for Tare to have an operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and Luka and Dumi are raising money to help meet her expenses in the UK. Bank account details for donations can be found on the Girl Child Network website.


One of the walkers, Vigil co-ordinator Dumi, celebrated his 40th birthday with us today. We bought him a cake to build up his strength for next week. We were pleased to see Adrian Smale from Salisbury. He is co-ordinating a Zimbabwean service at his church.  See ‘Events and Notices’ for more details.  We were also pleased to be joined again by Frank Johnson, an American IT specialist, who has worked in Africa and has a special interest in Zimbabwe.


London was very crowded today and loads of passers-by stopped to watch our singing and dancing on a very hot day.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD: 172 signed the register.



·    ROHR (Anniversary) National Fundraising Party. Saturday 26th September from 12 noon to late. Venue: The Portland Pavilion, 241 Portland Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8LS. Admission: £10. Contacts: V J Mujeye 07534 034 594, Abigail Nzimba 07838 073 111, Diane Mutendereki 07502 478 591. For information on directions: 0121 434 5130. ROHR is looking for male and female models with their own African clothing for a fashion show at this fundraiser.  All ages and sizes welcome. Those interested please contact: Pamela Dunduru 07553253639, Diana Mtendereki 07502478591, Pauline Makuwere 07533332306, Martha Jiya 07727016098, Abigail Nzimba 07838073111 or Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323-07932216070. For poster advertising the event, check:

·    Zimbabwe Worship Service. Sunday 27th September from 10.30 – 12.00 followed by Zimbabwean food from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Elim Christian Centre, Dews Road, Salisbury SP2 7SN. Zimbabwean speaker. Contact: Adrian Smale, 01722 770024,,

·    ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873, Gift Pfupa 07909831158 or Sekai Mujeyi 07765244138 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070

·    ROHR Surrey & Hants general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 10 Elmdene Court, Constitution Hill, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7SA. Contact: Isacc Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thoko Hlokama 07886203113, Thandi Mabodoko 01483600201, 01483826764 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Feed back from the Chair's meeting held in Coventry 

·    Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

·    ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607

·    Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·    From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000.

·    Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: or contact:


Vigil Co-ordinators


The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.



Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitutional Matters - For the good of the people

Written by The Zimbabwean
Thursday, 17 September 2009 10:10
If people are at the centre of our economic life, how come 80 % are
out of work, young people never enter the world of work, most young families
are without housing and people die because of poverty?, asks FR OSKAR
WERMTER SJ in a study of the pre-conditions necessary for a democratic

The people of Zimbabwe want to write a new democratic constitution
that will do away with autocracy and tyranny by a few. But words on paper
will not be enough.
We had a democratic constitution before.
The much maligned "Lancaster House Constitution" though a foreign
product was not so bad. If properly applied it could have given us good
But it was not respected. Instead it was changed beyond recognition
when in 1987 the Executive Presidency was introduced concentrating all power
into the hands of one person.
What was the root cause of the failure of those constitutions of 1980
and 1987?
One can quote material causes, for instance the socio-economic
structures of the country at the time.
When poor people get much power, they will use that power to become
prosperous, even rich.
If you are poor, losing power is a catastrophe. You lose not only
power, but access to wealth as well.
Democracy will not function if the people elected into office refuse
to leave office once they are voted out of power again.
Parliamentary democracy works best, experience shows, where there is a
secure middle class. Such people do not enter politics to become prosperous
and economically secure. They are that already. They do not gain from being
in government - they could earn more being in business. And they do not lose
if they are voted out of government -  they remain well off.
Democracy, it is said, does not work in developing countries because
the ruling elite sees power
as a means towards self-enrichment. They break the most basic
democratic rule: they refuse to step down when the popular vote goes against
them. Once in power they remain in power.
They equate loss of power with loss of wealth, economic ruin and
poverty. That frightens them and they panic.
This is quite a clever argument, and there may well be some truth in
it. But it does not explain everything. Even the most cleverly designed
constitution will remain mere paper if it is not backed up by a set of moral
and spiritual values held by all.
Most constitutional lawyers would point to the Preamble of most
constitutions containing the Bill of (Human and Peoples') Rights fulfilling
this need. Good and necessary as such a Bill of Rights is, it is no
guarantee for successful constitutional government either.
What if the Bill of Rights is just beautiful rhetoric no one is really
committed to?
What if the most fundamental value people believe in (though they may
not say so) is economic prosperity and nothing else?
What if the only thing that motivates people in their social and
political life is greed?
We have inherited a communitarian culture. A person is a person by
being in relationship. Basic values are "ukama" (family relationship) and
"unhu" ('ubuntu'; humanity, humane behaviour, mutual respect). We could
relate these Shona concepts which are found also in other Bantu languages to
the key concepts of Christian social doctrine, the Common Good and
Solidarity. In our constitutional process we must of course transcend the
narrow confines of family and clan and extend them to society as a whole.
This will be a most decisive step to take because there is much
communitarian or group egotism and a lack of solidarity with the poor, the
alien and those outside clan or ethnic group. However, even nationalism
('national sovereignty') is not enough. The hour demands that we transcend
the nation and think in terms of the region, the continent, even global
Some writers on African development reject these inherited values as
stumbling blocks to progress. They ask: if communal sharing is a top value,
who will produce what is to be shared? Does it not encourage
irresponsibility and laziness if the collective (extended family, state)
provides anyhow?
Indeed, the communitarian values must be complemented by values of
personal responsibility. Personal initiative and creativity must be
rewarded. The productive person must not be punished by being burdened with
the care for a lot of loafers. Every able-bodied member must produce for the
community so that the community has the resources to take care of the
genuinely disabled, old and feeble. We must strike a delicate balance
between a proper community spirit and a sense of personal responsibility.
You mature as a person by being responsible for the community, finding
fulfillment in self-giving. This is not very far from the paradoxical Gospel
saying, 'Anyone who tries to preserve his life, will lose it; anyone who
loses his life will keep it safe' (Luke 17: 33).
If our previous constitution(s) proved a failure, it is also an
indication that we as citizens failed
morally and spiritually. We did not support the developing economic,
social and political life of the nation with the Spirit of justice, love and
We did not give punch and power to the basic principle of our social
teaching which says, "The human person is the source, the focus and the end
of all economic and social life" (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes, 63).
If people are at the centre of our economic life, how come 80 % are
out of work, young people never enter the world of work, most young families
are without housing and people die because of poverty?
If politics is to serve people, not people to be sacrificed to
politics, how come political killings continue? The state and its
constitution and laws are there for the benefit of the people. Laws must be
applied with the good of the people in mind. They must never be used
viciously, with evil intent, against the people.
We do not want another "Murambatsvina".
We need responsible government. That means the Head of Government will
be answerable to Parliament and cannot overrule it or rule past it.
Parliament cannot make laws that the Supreme Court, acting as Constitutional
Court, declares to contradict basic rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The judges are not appointed by the head of state alone, but by a body
representing a wide range of views and interests. All authorities are
answerable to the public in general which is informed about their conduct
through a free media. The people, if wronged by the media, must be able to
sue the media in courts of law or be able to complain on the basis of its
professional code of conduct.
The Constitution must limit power so that people are protected from
abuse. The good of the people, not the presidency, must be paramount.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Looking in vain for aid from SA

Written by Sunday Times (SA)
Sunday, 20 September 2009 06:04
Special Report: Mugabe's new land grab

Barely 150km from Harare in Chinhoyi, South African farmer Louis Fick
was booted off his pig and crocodile farm by deputy Reserve Bank governor
Edward Mashiringwani last week.

The Sunday Times visited Fick's farm this week, but was prevented from
entering by thugs hired by Mashiringwani to ensure Fick doesn't return to
the land.

Speaking outside his locked gates, Fick said: "The South African
government needs to assist us. If a Zimbabwean opens a shop in South Africa
and people come in and start breaking things, they'd be arrested. Why can't
we get that here?"

South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mlungisi Makalima, confirmed
this week that he had been asked by a number of South African farmers in
Zimbabwe to intervene to protect them.

"We are assisting the South African farmers by using the diplomatic
instruments available to us," he said, adding that this process "hasn't
delivered anything yet".

A former accountant with Sasol and chairman of the group South African
Nationals Farming in Zimbabwe, 43-year-old Fick came to the country in 1993.
He has been fighting with Mashiringwani since 2007, when the deputy governor
took part of the farm.

"Since then, he has basically taken about 95% of my 400ha farm. His
guards won't let me even get food into the farm for the animals, so at one
stage last year I was forced to feed the small pigs to the crocodiles just
to keep them alive," he said.

What makes this fresh wave of attacks more alarming is that it comes
despite a ruling in Windhoek last year by a tribunal established under the
Southern African Development Community - of which Zimbabwe is part - which
said the occupation of farms by land-grabbers was illegal.

It said farmers "have been discriminated against on the grounds of
race" and Zimbabwe's government must ensure no evictions took place. But
Mugabe's government now claims the SADC tribunal ruling does not apply to
it - and South Africa has done nothing to bring Mugabe's government to book
for flouting the ruling.

In Chinhoyi, Murray Pott sustained horrific injuries (see video on this week when he was beaten with sticks by 13
land-grabbers representing war veteran Tekler Madhuze, who wants his tobacco
farm. Pott has already surrendered 750ha of his 1000ha farm, but now Madhuze
wants the rest.

"I had a court order stopping them from interfering. But when I asked
them to leave, the mob told me the court has no jurisdiction over them -
they're the law of the land and can do what they want," said Pott.

Pott stood his ground and the invaders are now camping on a
neighbouring farm.

"I'm not about to give up. I'm hoping political sense returns to the
country," he said.

Pott, who exports 120 000kg of tobacco each year, says the increase in
violent land grabs is because "many of the land-grabbers see the new
government and are scared that things will begin to change, so they must act

Even though Pott has seven stitches in his head and bruises all over
his body, he and several of his workers were charged with "public violence"
by police this week.

In Mount Carmel, land-grabbers burnt a house belonging to Ben Freeth
this month in a bid to get him to leave his farm to Zanu(PF) spokesman
Nathan Shamuyarira.

Fick and others are simply shown "offer letters" by the government to
the individual which say the president's office "has the pleasure in
informing you that your application for land ... has been successful".

In another case, farmer Charles Lock was officially allocated a farm
in 2004. But a high-ranking army officer, Brigadier Justin Mujaji, has
invaded his farm with the assistance of 15 army members.

"I can't get back on the farm, despite the fact that I've got a arrest
warrant for this army general. The police refuse to enforce it, saying it's
a political issue," he said.

Mujaji has also seized 400 tons of maize and 150 tons of tobacco which
Lock had farmed.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Pulling out of GNU suicidal for MDC: Analysts

Friday, 18 September 2009 15:48
HARARE - Analysts say Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is caught between a rock and a hard place and may
find it difficult to pull out of a fragile coalition government with
President Robert Mugabe - even if a proposed "referendum" shows that its
members are fed up with Zanu (PF)'s Big Brother tactics.

The MDC national executive resolved during a meeting in Bulawayo last
weekend to conduct a survey of its membership to assess the public's views
on the party's rocky marriage to Zanu (PF) in a compromise unity government
formed in February.

"Council hereby resolves that . . . the party shall consult and engage
its structures and the people of Zimbabwe within a specified period to
ascertain the sustainability and worthiness of the inclusive government as a
vehicle for real change and democracy in Zimbabwe," the MDC executive
decided during the meeting that preceded national commemorations of its 10th
anniversary held in the city on September 13.

Limited options

But analysts said the former opposition party had limited options in
its battle for control of Zimbabwe's political landscape - even if its
supporters decide that the union was not working and call for a withdrawal
from government.

"The MDC finds itself in a catch-22 situation because they cannot pull
out of the inclusive government right now since they stand a better chance
of changing things from within government than from outside," said economist
James Jowah.

Withdrawing from the unity government at present would be suicidal for
the MDC which has fought a bruising 10-year battle to gain recognition by
Mugabe and his colleagues.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe said it was
important for the MDC to stick it out in the unity government for the sake
of balancing the "democratic space".

"It is important for the MDC to remain in government because all the
democratic space they are currently occupying is not in the hands of Zanu
(PF). Withdrawing from government will not be good for democracy and the
country and will be a negation of everything that the people have fought for
since 2000," Makumbe said.

Added an analyst with a stockbroking firm based in Harare: "In fact,
by deciding to pull out of the government the MDC would effectively be
handing the country back to Zanu (PF) and all that the party has come to be
known for during the past decade."

Political patronage

The former ruling party is credited with ruining what was once one of
southern Africa's breadbaskets through its well-oiled political patronage

Mugabe's ruinous land reform programme has since 2000 led to a
free-for-all grab of productive farms by members of his party and the
security forces.

The result has been a collapse of the mainstay agricultural sector and
an attendant unprecedented decline in economic activity.

The analysts said the option of pushing for early elections would only
bear fruits if the polls are preceded by the passing of a new constitution
that clips Zanu (PF) control of the electoral and security institutions.

Early elections

The MDC Masvingo executive last week resolved to push for early
elections, citing frustrations over Zanu (PF) insincerity in the
implementation of the September 2008 Global Political Agreement.

"Calling for early elections is not an option before a new
constitution is in place. Otherwise we will have the June 2008 version of
elections being repeated," Makumbe said.

The MDC and human rights groups accuse Zanu (PF) of unleashing an orgy
of violence against perceived political opponents last year after it became
clear that the former opposition had defeated Mugabe and his party in polls
held in March 2008.

The MDC says at least 200 of its members died while more than 25 000
were displaced in the violence that it says was sponsored by Mugabe's
government in a bid to intimidate Zimbabweans to back him in the June 27
run-off election.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Who needs these publicity stunts?

Written by The Editor
Friday, 18 September 2009 10:57
Just why the government hopes it can fool the world that things have
changed in Zimbabwe by merely staging publicity stunts like last week's
mining investment conference, we wonder.

As President Robert Mugabe pleaded with foreign investors at the
conference to pour money into Zimbabwe's mining sector because the new
government is committed to economic stability, the rule of law and respect
for property rights, thugs from his Zanu (PF) party were busy trying to
evict a foreign investor - South African farmer Louis Fick - from his
Chinhoyi farm.
Four thousand pigs, 14 000 crocodiles and several hundreds of beef
cattle could starve to death unless Mugabe orders his supporters off Fick's
farm where they have been preventing workers from feeding the poor animals.
With this kind of behavior from the President's party who really needs the
"evil West" to demonise Zimbabwe, we ask.
A delegation of senior European Union (EU) officials was in Harare the
other week to try and see if full relations could be restored between
Zimbabwe and the EU-bloc that together with the United States remains our
key provider of humanitarian and other support.
Mugabe himself hailed the visit by the EU officials as heralding the
beginning of a "new era of relations" between Zimbabwe and Europe.
But what happened? The moment the EU officials turned their backs to
return to their Brussels headquarters, Mugabe's trusted ally and Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa launched a blistering attack on the EU, accusing
the organisation of swallowing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's line
"hook, line, and sinker".
This because Sweden's Minister of International Corporation, Gunilla
Carlsson and the EU's Development Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, who led the
delegation had dared tell Mugabe the truth: that he had not done enough to
share power with Tsvangirai.
We bet that after Chinamasa's strange intervention Ms Carlson and Mr
Gucht had to revise whatever report they had planned to submit to Brussels
about the "new era of relations" with Zimbabwe.
But the problem is not only with Mugabe and Zanu (PF). Tsvangirai and
the MDC are equally to blame for bending over backwards to accommodate
Mugabe and his crew's wayward behaviour even as it has become so obvious
that Zanu (PF) is in the unity government only to buy time while it works
out a strategy to reverse the electoral defeat it suffered last year.
Could it be that the MDC has become too complacent or grossly
inefficient or both?
The time has come to put a stop to these endless publicity stunts and
demand real change on the ground. In other words, now is the time for
Tsvangirai to demand that Mugabe delivers on his GPA promises or the unity
government is history.
Either that or Tsvangirai and his MDC party risk a damaging backlash
from Zimbabweans should the current political stalemate cripple economic
recovery. It is a backlash from which they may never recover. We rest our

Back to the Top
Back to Index