HARARE (AFP) - Lawmakers from Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and main opposition
parties on Thursday unanimously adopted legislation paving the way for joint
presidential and legislative elections next year.
The decision came two days after the two factions of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), in a surprise move, reached an agreement with
the government on the adoption of the bill.
Senior MDC members on Tuesday said they would not try to block legislation
to amend the constitution under which the electoral boundaries will be
changed, the number of MPs increased and parliamentary elections brought
forward by two years.
All lawmakers present at Thursday's sitting voted to amend the constitution,
said Kumbirai Kangai, the deputy speaker of parliament.
"The result is that 111 members have voted in favour of the bill and none
has voted against," he said.
The MDC had previously denounced the proposed changes to the constitution as
an attempt by veteran President Robert Mugabe, 83, and his party to
effectively fix the result of next year's ballot.
SW Radio Africa (London)
20 September 2007
Posted to the web 20 September 2007
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai faces one of his greatest leadership tests
on Friday when he faces his party's national executive to explain the
decision by MDC MP's to reach an agreement with Zanu-PF on constitutional
amendments, to facilitate joint presidential and parliamentary elections
The deal has provoked an angry response from some party activists and civil
society. The National Constitutional Assembly urged all Zimbabweans to
reject the constitutional amendment, agreed to by the warring parties. They
argue that only a people-driven process will guarantee a constitution that
will survive beyond the self interests of the political parties involved.
Dubbed the 'the great betrayal' by some sections of the media based outside
the country the agreement has caused various civil groups to round on both
the Mutambara and Tsvangirai led factions of the MDC. The NCA said 'they
have been poisoned with the Zanu-PF chalice and drugged into bulldozing the
stupid constitutional amendment number 18.'
Sam Siphepha Nkomo, the MDC secretary for Home Affairs, said it was very
easy for people to comment about the errors of others, when they are not in
the field of play. He added that the national executive of the MDC will get
a full briefing on the mediation talks and the deal that was struck on
'I cannot say the MDC has sold out and I would disagree with anyone who says
it has. First of all who ever says that has no details about what has
happened. They have no idea of what has been negotiated,' Nkomo said.
He reiterated that the MDC cannot and will not sell out about anything. But
NCA chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku begged to differ saying it was
'nonsense' for the MDC to suggest it had not sold out, when they had done
'These people have gone to bed with Zanu-PF and should forget about next
year's elections. Nothing will change without a new people driven
constitution. Mugabe will win and people will continue to suffer, but if
they want to redeem themselves they should stop all this nonsense and come
back to the people for advice,' Madhuku said.
Madhuku warned the MDC to be extra careful about the mediation talks, as he
believed President Thabo Mbeki was leading them towards joining a government
of national unity.
NCA's Response to the Zanu PF/ MDC Agreement on the Proposed Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill
From its publication in the Government Gazette of July 18 2007, Constitution
of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill was condemned unreservedly by the NCA.
It stands condemned.
In various public fora, countless grassroots meetings held across the
country and in the published statements, the NCA has maintained its key
demand for a new, democratic and people-driven constitution as a foundation
for good governance and economic prosperity. The NCA stands for the
principle that constitutions must be made by, and for, the people.
As a matter of principle, the NCA rejects piece-meal amendments to the
current constitution. This approach is shared by a broad section of civic
society. It is on the basis of this principle that the NCA together with key
stakeholders in our society, opposed the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No. 17) Bill in 2005. On the same basis, it rejects the Constitution of
Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill.
The MDC is a member of the NCA and has been a member since 1999. The NCA was
founded in 1997, some two years before the formation of the MDC. For a long
time, the NCA has been working with the MDC in the crusade for a new
people-driven constitution. Thus in February 2000, the NCA teamed with its
members including the MDC and mobilized Zimbabweans to vote NO in the
February 2000 referendum. The reason for the NO vote was to protest against
the process. The NO vote was in fact, about the principle of a people-driven
constitution and a demand for a people-driven process. In this respect, the
MDC's decision to abandon the principle of a people-driven constitution and
opting for a process driven by political parties in Parliament is an act of
The fact that the two 'formations' of the MDC have been able to agree on
such a fundamental issue of principle in relation to constitution-making
makes the NCA wonder why the party split over the senate, itself a product
of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17). Both formations seem to be
out of touch with the aspirations of ordinary Zimbabweans who are clamouring
for an open and genuine process of democratization. Accordingly, the claims
by one of the MDC formations that it is 'closer' to the people must be
dismissed as hollow. Only a genuine and people driven-driven process will
bring the much-needed transformation of our society.
Notwithstanding its endorsement by the MDC and the so-called amendments
coming out of the dialogue process, Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.
18) Bill remains in essence, what it was on 18 July 2007 when it was
published UNILATERALLY by Zanu PF. The NCA wishes to repeat here that
Amendment (No. 18) does not, in any way, advance the interests of the people
of Zimbabwe. For instance, it provides for the following:
· Zimbabweans will not be able to elect a president of their choice
whenever the office of the president falls vacant in between parliamentary
elections. Parliament will now elect a president who can serve a term beyond
four years. In other words, Amendment 18 now creates a situation where a
person who has not been elected by the people can govern Zimbabwe for four
years (but less than five years). The MDC agrees to this.
· The size of Parliament has been increased beyond the capacity and
requirements of the country. The House of Assembly increases from 150 to 210
members, while the Senate balloons to 93 members from 66. The MDC agrees to
· It provides for a Human Rights Commission when the Bill of Rights
has not been improved. The MDC agrees to this.
· It does not provide Zimbabweans in the Diaspora the right to vote.
The MDC agrees to this.
· It does not change the manner of appointment of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC), yet it entrusts ZEC with more sensitive roles
such as the delimitation of constituencies. The MDC agrees to this.
The inescapable conclusion is that the so-called agreement on the Amendment
18 is nothing but a power-game. It must therefore be rejected. What is
required for our country is a secure basis upon which we are governed. This
secure basis comes from a new, democratic and people-driven constitution.
Accordingly, the NCA urges all Zimbabweans to reject piecemeal amendments to
the constitution and in the process reject the proposed Amendment Number 18.
The NCA encourages Zimbabweans to intensify the push for a new, democratic,
We will vote in 2008 under a new constitution!!
Inserted by the NCA Taskforce
Civil Society representatives met with the South African mediation team on
18 September 2007 and impressed upon it that the civil society in Zimbabwe,
in the face of the on-going talks between Zanu-PF and MDC, remains committed
to the values and principles that underline their operations.
The Civil Society emphasized that it remains committed to:
-Advocating for participatory and people-driven democratic processes in the
governance of the country.
-Lobbying for the security of citizens, their enjoyment of freedoms of
movement, assembly and association.
-Working for the establishment of a political and social environment that is
conducive to holding free and fair elections.
-Enhancing confidence and capacity among citizens, to ensure they
participate in governance issues in an empowered and informed manner.
-Monitoring any political processes and developments for the purposes of
enforcing checks and balances.
The representatives who met the mediation team were drawn from different
civic organisations which included, inter alia, the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU), Women's Coalition, National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Law Society of Zimbabwe, Christian
Alliance, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza), Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Crisis Coalition.
Thursday September 20, 2007 6:48 PM
Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatened tougher sanctions against Zimbabwe,
after saying he would boycott an EU summit if President Robert Mugabe was
Mr Brown said the UK would table proposals to the EU "in the next few days"
to extend travel and financial sanctions against leading members of Mr
He had already declared he would not attend the Europe-Africa summit in
Lisbon in December if the Zimbabwean President was present.
EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel backed Mr Brown, demanding a ban on
Mr Mugabe from the summit. He told the EU politix website: "I fully
understand and sympathise with those who are saying Mugabe should not attend
the summit. I too share their concerns and, yes, I too would prefer it if
Mugabe was not there."
Mr Brown's spokesman said the Prime Minister had had discussions with other
EU leaders before publicly threatening his boycott in protest at the plight
of Zimbabwe, and in the face of continuing European travel sanctions imposed
on Mr Mugabe and 131 members of his Zanu-PF regime.
"The Prime Minister is saying that the assumption is that Robert Mugabe will
attend, and on that basis he (Mr Brown) would not attend," said the
Asked if the Prime Minister would attend the summit if another member of the
Mugabe regime represented Zimbabwe, the spokesman said: "That would be a
"The issue in relation to Robert Mugabe is that what we do not want to do is
to do anything that diverts attention from the important issues that the EU
Africa summit needs to address."
Robert Mugabe's presence would be seen, in itself, as a diversion, the
While moving to isolate Zimbabwe's government, Downing Street confirmed
Britain is to give more British aid money for the country. Already
Zimbabwe's second biggest donor, the UK will provide an additional £8
million to be delivered through the World Food Programme.
Thu 20 Sep 2007, 7:58 GMT
BRUSSELS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - EU President Portugal said on Thursday no
decision had been taken on whether to invite Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to a
December EU-Africa summit after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
threatened a boycott.
Brown wrote in a newspaper article he would not attend the summit set for
Lisbon in December if the Zimbabwean president was present, accusing him of
having left his people in an "appalling and tragic situation".
The December summit would be the first between the EU and Africa in seven
years. Summit plans have been on hold since 2003 because Britain and several
other EU states have refused to attend if Mugabe did.
South Africa and other African states are expected to insist that Mugabe be
allowed to attend.
Asked if it could envisage the summit going ahead without Mugabe, an EU
Presidency source said:
"The question of invitations has not yet been decided. The focus of our work
now is on the substance of the summit. The meeting is not until December."
The source, who requested anonymity, added that Lisbon wanted the strongest
possible turnout for a summit it hopes will launch deeper ties between the
27-member bloc and Africa.
"We want everyone to be there. ... Of course we'd like the British prime
minister to attend."
Brown wrote in Thursday's edition of the Independent newspaper that Mugabe's
presence risked "diverting attention from the important issues that need to
be resolved. In those circumstances, my attendance would not be
Mugabe blames Western powers, especially former colonial power Britain, for
the economic crisis and accuses them of plotting with the opposition to oust
Critics say Mugabe has presided over the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy, now
marked by the world's highest inflation rate of about 6,600 percent and
joblessness of about 80 percent.
He is subject to a European Union travel ban but that could be suspended to
allow him to attend the December meeting in Lisbon.
EU commissioner Louis Michel has backed growing calls for Robert Mugabe to
be banned from the upcoming EU-Africa summit.
But he refused to be drawn on whether the December summit should still go
ahead if Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, attends.
"I fully understand and sympathise with those who are saying Mugabe should
not attend the summit," Michel, commissioner for development and
humanitarian aid, told this website.
"I too share their concerns and, yes, I too would prefer it if Mugabe was
Michel added, "However, would his presence at the summit be sufficient
reason for not holding this very important event? The main objective, let's
remember, is the summit itself and not the participants, whoever they might
The Belgian commissioner was speaking on Wednesday after attending a Friends
of Europe conference on Africa in Brussels.
His comments come as UK premier Gordon Brown said he would not attend the
summit if Mugabe was present.
Brown's announcement on Wednesday follows growing pressure to act over
Zimbabwe, particularly from the South African cleric Desmond Tutu.
Zimbabwe is currently in the grip of an economic and humanitarian
catastrophe and several MEPs, spearheaded by British members Geoffrey van
Orden and Glenys Kinnock, have also called for Mugabe to be banned from the
summit, due to take place in Lisbon.
By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:41pm BST 20/09/2007
A summit between African and European leaders must go ahead regardless
of Gordon Brown's threat to boycott the gathering if President Robert Mugabe
attends, the European Commission has said.
Louis Michel, the aid and development commissioner, said: "We think
that a single individual case cannot take as hostage the relations between
Mr Mugabe was banned from visiting EU member states in February 2002.
But Mr Michel said this restriction, which also applies to all Zimbabwean
cabinet ministers and senior figures in the ruling Zanu-PF party, did not
stop them from coming to international meetings.
In principle, he said this measure would not prevent Mr Mugabe from
joining the summit in Lisbon in December.
"I expect it is possible to have a compromise, but if there is no
compromise, what can you do? The only option I cannot accept is suppressing
the summit," Mr Michel said.
He denied that he was criticising Mr Brown and said that he shared the
Prime Minister's view of "how Mugabe is leading his country". But Mr Michel
said that Britain should attend nonetheless.
Privately, EU officials believe that Mr Brown's stance leaves room for
The Zimbabwean leader could be invited to attend the summit on the
understanding that he declines and sends his foreign minister instead.
Mr Brown, who was thoroughly briefed on Zimbabwe's crisis last month,
has not ruled out attending the gathering under these circumstances.
A Foreign Office briefing note reads: "We believe Zimbabwe should be
represented and are open to solutions that allow for someone other than
President Mugabe to be present."
The Foreign Office pointed to the precedent of a summit held last year
with Asian countries. Burma's regime, which is subjected to the same
restrictions as Zimbabwe's leadership, sent its foreign minister.
But Mr Mugabe's foreign minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, appears as
number 78 on a list of 125 Zimbabweans subjected to restrictions. In theory,
any assets these individuals hold in European banks should also be frozen.
A British official contradicted Mr Michel's interpretation of the EU
travel ban, saying that it did prevent anyone on the list from attending
international summits. It was a "bit of a stretch" to say that an exemption
could be used in these circumstances. "For us the key thing is not having
someone who is on that list," he said.
If Britain sticks to this position, compromise will be unlikely. But
the Foreign Office briefing suggests that London will yield and allow Mr
Mumbengegwi to attend.
20 September 2007
Prime Minister thank you for talking to us today. The evidence is clear, isn't it? I was in there myself last week, you have seen the reports this week, are you shocked by what you are seeing now in Zimbabwe?
What you have revealed is a tragedy at work. 4 million people have left the country, you have shown just how much suffering there is, 4 million people on food aid because of famine by Christmas, 80% unemployment, life expectancy at 37. No freedom of association, no freedom of the press, no freedom for the people of Zimbabwe. This is a tragedy that requires the whole of the world to speak up and also to act. And that is why next week at the Security Council we will be asking for a UN envoy to look at humanitarian assistance, that is why we want a European Union envoy to look and report on the situation, that is why we are stepping up humanitarian aid today in response to what you have shown and what we have now seen. And at the same time, for the day that democracy returns in Zimbabwe, we want to work with South Africa which is trying very hard under President Mbeki to resolve this situation, and with the rest of the African countries to design a programme of economic reconstruction for Zimbabwe. And we want to play our part with the African Union and with others in making it possible for people to restore and to build some prosperity in the future in a free country with a democracy.
Prime Minister you also say you are going to boycott a meeting with Robert Mugabe. In all honesty is that, and more aid, and more UN monitoring, is that enough? Isn't the time now for decisive urgent action on Zimbabwe?
Well the world is speaking up, at the UN next week, at the European Union, the aid that we are going to give, but I want the African Union/European Union summit to go ahead. I applaud the Prime Minister of Portugal for what he is trying to do to build stronger relations between Europe and Africa. This is a summit that is necessary for Africa's sake, but of course it would be totally inappropriate for me to be there if President Mugabe, and because President Mugabe intends to come.
But isn't the key to confront Mugabe, it is all about one man isn't it? You would be seeking regime change, wouldn't you, you want Mugabe to go don't you?
I think everybody wants democracy in Zimbabwe. We are making an offer about reconstruction after democracy is restored, but I am not getting into the business of talking about regime change here. We want elections, democracy, freedom for the people of Zimbabwe and we want to work with the rest of the African Union in particular. And as I said, I applaud the efforts of President Mbeki to move things forward. In this humanitarian tragedy all of us must play our part and I think the African Union/European Union Summit is an important event, but of course in circumstances where we have made our position clear on President Mugabe for many, many years, it would be inappropriate for me to be there.
But the Archbishop of York is right, isn't he? This is urgent. I have been in there, I have seen the state of the people. Mugabe needs to go now according to those people who are suffering just across the border here.
The urgency of the situation has led us today to increase aid. That is being processed through humanitarian organisations, through NGOs. At the same time next week at the UN this issue will be raised. The European Union must have its envoy there. All the action that we can take will be taken and I am seized by your reports of course, by the urgency of what is happening when you have so many people suffering, inflation so high, people being forced out of jobs, lack of freedom in the country is clear. I know that in South Africa itself there are more than 3 million people who have left Zimbabwe, now in South Africa, so this is a problem that is spilling over into other countries as well. And I think the important thing is the combination of action that I am recommending today and of course that the African Union is encouraged to do what it can to make sure that conditions improve in Zimbabwe.
Isn't the truth, Prime Minister, that the sanctions as they exist at the moment basically amount to stopping Robert Mugabe and his wife going shopping in Europe. Surely the Archbishop of York is right and much tougher sanctions are needed right now.
We are prepared to consider further sanctions. There are in fact 130 people or so who are subject to these sanctions. I believe that these sanctions could be extended to the families of people, some more people could be under sanctions. The sanctions are an indication of the abhorrence of people in Europe about what is happening in Zimbabwe and the travel ban and of course the commercial sanctions and everything else are very much part of that, but we will be prepared to extend these sanctions and we will do so with proposals to the European Union in the next few days.
All right, what sort of sanctions Prime Minister do you have in mind?
The sanctions that I am talking about are to extend to the families of 130 officials the very same bans that exist for these officials at the moment. I think you have got to understand that Zimbabwe, and what has happened in Zimbabwe, ...
I am sorry to interrupt Prime Minister, but with respect Prime Minister banning officials travelling is not going to do much for the people of Zimbabwe across the border here.
It is the combination of all the measures that we have been talking about, it is the combination of what we want to do through the EU envoy, through the Security Council taking the issue up, through supporting the efforts of President Mbeki. I think you know that there is a great deal of effort being put in by the African Union and by the leaders of the African Union, particularly President Mbeki, to try and resolve this situation, and I think it is the combination of all these things, including stepping up the sanctions and including us making it clear that while we are providing humanitarian aid to the Zimbabwean people to avoid famine, we are denying any support to the Zimbabwean government.
Prime Minister you have made it clear you are passionate about Africa and you have said you will not shirk your responsibility towards the people of Zimbabwe. Is this not the time now for you to make and take a decisive lead?
The lead that we are taking is raising the matter through the UN, working through the European Union, supporting the African Union, supporting President Mbeki in his efforts, stepping up the sanctions where necessary, refusing to participate in events with President Mugabe. All these decisions that we are making are an indication that not only is there an abhorrence in Britain about what is happening, but there is a growing worldwide opinion. And I think it is important to remember that within the African Union there is a growing anger at what President Mugabe has been doing and a growing pressure for the restoration of democracy, a full democracy in Zimbabwe. And it is at that stage that the reconstruction, the help for the Zimbabwean people, the economic recovery plan and these things that we are working on with other members of the African Union and other members of the European Union, these can then come into play. This is a shocking tragedy that you have revealed over these last few days, it is something that you know and I know is getting worse as a result of the failure of President Mugabe to respond to what the world is saying and to the events in his own country, and the numbers of people who have been pushed into poverty and unemployment and into suffering as a result is something that is angering the whole world and it is the combination of measures, there are no easy answers to this question but it is the combination of measures that will in the end bring the results which we want, which is the restoration of full democracy.
Finally Prime Minister it is clear, having been into Zimbabwe, that this is a man-made disaster and everybody in Zimbabwe says that he has to go. That is the truth of it isn't it? Are you going to push and push for him to go?
Well the restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe is what we are talking about. President Mugabe bears responsibility for what is happening in his country which has great opportunities for the future if the problems that now exist in Zimbabwe can be resolved. And as I keep repeating, while there are no easy or simple answers to what is a complex set of problems, the way forward is the combination of the United Nations, the European Union, African Union, the pressure of all countries, including the pressure of Britain, and the statements that we are making today that we will lead in the United Nations, in the European Union. We will refuse to sit down with Mugabe and at the same time we will help with humanitarian aid for the Zimbabwean people as well as plan for the reconstruction with other countries of the country when democracy is restored. I think that is the way forward and to respond to what you have been able to reveal as one of the great tragedies of our time in the reports you have done this week.
Can I just clear up one thing? Do you accept that democracy cannot be restored while Robert Mugabe is in charge?
Well the issue for us in the rest of the world is the restoration of democracy, the issue for us is then the reconstruction of Zimbabwe, the issue is then that the unemployment, the poverty and the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe is then dealt with by measures that can be agreed with support not just from within the African Union but from the rest of the world and I think that is the principles on which we are basing our approach.
By William Wallis in London, Tony Barber in Brussels, Alec Russell in
Johannesburg and Peter Wise in Lisbon
Published: September 20 2007 20:01 | Last updated: September 20 2007 20:01
Gordon Brown, Britain's prime minister, unleashed a flurry of diplomatic
activity in Europe and Africa on Thursday by launching a broadside against
Robert Mugabe and threatening to boycott a European Union Africa summit
should Zimbabwe's president be allowed to attend.
Opponents of Mr Mugabe said that Mr Brown appeared to have misread the mood
both in Zimbabwe and in Africa and had - with his first policy statement on
Zimbabwe since becoming prime minister in June - set himself up for a battle
of wills with the Zimbabwean president.
In recent weeks a diplomatic consensus has begun to emerge that the only
viable policy is to fall behind diplomatic efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe
crisis led by Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa. This week there have
been reports of some progress in talks, hosted by South Africa, between
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition.
Trevor Ncube, Zimbabwean publisher and a critic of Mr Mugabe exiled in South
Africa, said that in attempting to isolate Mr Mugabe at this stage and by
urging the EU to extend arms sanctions and travel bans against Zanu-PF
members, Mr Brown was diverting attention from the real issues behind the
"It's a position that the rest of the world expects from the British but
that is not what those seeking a solution in Zimbabwe are looking for now.
We need pragmatic and bold leadership," he said. "This plays into Mugabe's
hands. He wants to paint the situation as a battle between the British and
A senior member of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said
that while he sympathised with the idea of stopping Mr Mugabe from
"strutting on the international stage", Mr Brown's statement was not "clever
"Ratcheting up the pressure from Britain does very little," he said. "We
advised Britain some time ago that Mugabe should be allowed to attend [the
EU Africa summit in Lisbon] on condition that Zimbabwe would be debated in
open plenary session."
African leaders appeared to be closing ranks. Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia's
president and head of a 14-nation southern African group seeking a solution
to Zimbabwe's crisis, said he and other African leaders would be reluctant
to attend the summit - scheduled for early December - should Mr Mugabe be
barred. "I don't know how many of us will be prepared to go to Portugal
without Mugabe," he said.
EU diplomats were left scrambling to salvage the summit, with a compromise
that would see either Britain or Zimbabwe represented at more junior levels
Monsters and Critics
Sep 20, 2007, 9:05 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's Poverty Datum Line (PDL) has shot up to 12 million
Zimbabwe dollars per month, around three times an average teacher's salary,
the official Central Statistical Office (CSO) reported.
An average family of five needed 12 million dollars in August up from just
over eight million in June if it was not to be classified as poor, the CSO
The figure is way above the average monthly salary for many Zimbabwean
teachers, police constables, soldiers and shop floor workers, who often earn
less than four million Zimbabwe dollars a month.
That salary now barely matches the Food Poverty Line and puts the
wage-earners in the category of very poor, according to the CSO figures.
The August 2007 Food Poverty Line for an average of five persons in Zimbabwe
stood at 4,528,000 dollars, a statement read.
An individual whose total expenditure does not exceed the Food Poverty Line
is deemed to be very poor.
Although four million dollars equates to around 133 US dollars at the
government-set rate of exchange, it represents only 13 US dollars on the
widely-used parallel market for hard currency, where the value of the
Zimbabwean dollar has recently plummeted.
Life is getting harder for many Zimbabweans who struggle to survive amid a
dire cocktail of food, power, water and drug shortages.
Long-time leader President Robert Mugabe alleges that his country's
worst-ever economic crisis is caused by Western sanctions and sabotage by
But his critics point to a catalogue of controversial political decisions,
including a seven-year programme of white land seizures that has slashed
agricultural production as well as foreign investment and tourist
To make matters worse, many food items have disappeared from shop shelves
following a state-ordered price slash in late June. Some items like bread
and margarine have reappeared on the black market at prices six or seven
times above those set by the government.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
By Henry Makiwa
20 September 2007
The Zimbabwe government has been accused of holding back water supplies from
Bulawayo, after revelations that a nearby dam would have enough reserves to
serve the city for 18 months, if plans were made to access the water.
It was learnt Thursday that Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo had
assured Bulawayo city elders at a meeting in August, that construction of a
pipeline to draw water from Mtshabezi dam to Bulawayo was in progress.
However a team of clergymen currently assisting the Bulawayo city council,
together with the donor community and non-governmental organisations, found
little evidence of work when they visited the dam site last week.
The developments follow alerts raised by the Bulawayo city council in the
state-controlled Chronicle newspaper Thursday, advising residents in the
country's second biggest city to "brace themselves for the worst ". The
paper reported that Inyankuni Dam, one of the two dams left supplying
Bulawayo with water, was running dry.
Pastor Promise Manceda, who leads a Christian alliance that is has been at
the forefront of assisting Bulawayo residence with water, alleges government
has reneged on its promise.
Manceda said: "The government has shown little effort and care to resolve
the water crisis here. The minister's promise has yielded nothing because
there's no trace of work whatsoever at Mtshabezi and yet the people are
going through the worst water crisis in the history of this city.
"There's an outbreak of diarrhoeal diseases and in this situation there's
danger of cholera and dysentery looming. We as the church, with the
assistance of other donor organisations such as the Tear Fund, are doing as
much as we can to supply the people of the western suburbs with 25 000 litre
tanks of water," Manceda said.
If Inyankuni dam, now understood to be only 7 percent full, dries up
Bulawayo will have only one supply dam, Insiza. According to official
information Bulawayo normally consumes 150 000 cubic metres of water daily,
but is now receiving only 69 000 cubic metres from the two dams.
The city council has drilled boreholes in some parts of the city and
provided bowsers in other areas. The crisis has created a thriving black
market as some residents corruptly acquire water from unscrupulous city
council employees at the cost of Z$10 000 for 20 litres.
Three of Bulawayo's supply dams - Lower Ncema, Upper Ncema and Umzingwane -
have already been decommissioned after drying up.
Speaking with the Chronicle, a Bulawayo City Council spokesman, Pathisa
Nyathi said residents, most of whom are receiving water supplies for a few
hours three times a week, should expect an even tougher water rationing
schedule owing to the depleted supplies.
Nyathi said: "Residents should expect the situation to get worse. The levels
in Inyankuni Dam are now very low and we are expecting the dam to be
decommissioned next month although it could even be decommissioned before
the end of this month because the temperatures are extremely high.
"Our salvation, as things stand now, will only come through the rains," he
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Originally Aired: September 19, 2007
Zimbabwe government programs and private businesses are suffering from a
severe increase in the country's inflation. Independent Television News
reports on the effects on the population.
GWEN IFILL: Now, a report on the struggle to survive in Zimbabwe. Under the
authoritarian rule of President Robert Mugabe, this African country has been
hit by sky-high inflation, and government and private services are breaking
down. Some of the faces in this piece are obscured to protect the
interviewees from possible government reprisals. From Harare, the capital of
Zimbabwe, we have a report from Mark Austin of Independent Television News.
MARK AUSTIN, ITV News Correspondent: Dawn in Harare, and the few lucky
enough to have jobs begin the daily commute. It is on foot, often for
several miles. There's no affordable petrol, so no transport.
In the townships they have left behind, they are also walking for miles. The
search is on for water, any water to keep their families alive. Zimbabwe is
running out of almost everything; now it's running out of the most precious
commodity on Earth.
In some places, wells are dug close to raw sewage seeping from cracked
pipes. This is a broken country of broken people.
Sixty-six-year-old Agnes Mapango doesn't have much to sing about. She's had
no running water for three weeks now. This is a grandmother who deals family
death certificates like playing cards.
ZIMBABWEAN GRANDMOTHER: One, two, three...
Impacts on food, water
MARK AUSTIN: Her four sons all died before they were 30, and so did their
wives. So all nine of her orphaned grandchildren are her responsibility, and
it isn't easy.
ZIMBABWEAN GRANDMOTHER: No water. Three weeks, no water, nothing at all. No
money for school.
ZIMBABWE RESIDENT: Do you know what they're cooking here?
MARK AUSTIN: A neighbor trying to support them says they have nowhere near
enough food, either.
ZIMBABWE RESIDENT: This is not enough. It pains me. It pains me. It pains
me, every day, every second, every second, every second left to us it is
okay -- but for the kids. I cry for the kids.
MARK AUSTIN: And what does the future hold for them, do you think?
ZIMBABWE RESIDENT: I really don't know. I really don't know. I think it's
dark. It's dark.
MARK AUSTIN: Dark, a dark future?
ZIMBABWE RESIDENT: Oh, yes.
MARK AUSTIN: And the sad thing is, what we've witnessed here is not unusual
for Zimbabwe, where the water shortages, the food shortages, and the AIDS
crisis have come together to create what amounts to a humanitarian
Under cover of darkness, we enter another township on the outskirts of
Harare, where the power is off more than it's on, where what food the people
can muster is cooked outside on firewood, and where homework is by
MARK AUSTIN: Harrison, hi.
ZIMBABWEAN TEACHER: Hi, Mark.
MARK AUSTIN: Thanks very much for seeing me.
I've come to meet a teacher anxious to tell me how bad things really are
ZIMBABWEAN TEACHER: I can say from now onwards, we are just a few steps away
from a total collapse. Everyone thinks that it will be better if there's a
change of government.
MARK AUSTIN: He knows by talking to me he's risking his life, but he feels
he must speak out.
ZIMBABWEAN TEACHER: They are targeting you or they abduct you and beat you.
You are tortured.
MARK AUSTIN: So are you scared talking to me now? Are you frightened talking
to me now?
ZIMBABWEAN TEACHER: Yes, I'm afraid, because if I'm found talking to you,
they -- I will be attacked. But if we are to keep quiet, then we are closing
our problems. The world won't know.
MARK AUSTIN: Though there are only small signs of it so far, he predicts a
spontaneous explosion of anger in Zimbabwe. The food queues we filmed with a
hidden camera are growing longer by the day. Virtually empty supermarkets
symbols of Robert Mugabe's disastrous economic management.
Before we left Agnes Mapango, we handed her a bag of maize meal, the staple
food here. In today's Zimbabwe, they're grateful even for the smallest of
20 September 2007
Meet the black diamonds who would love to propose a toast to Trevor Manuel.
They believe that there's no better time to make loads of money than during
this time of crisis
As Zimbabwe rushes headlong into the Apocalypse, he sat there, cool as a
cucumber, sipping margaritas without a care in the world.
The young Zimbabwean man I met at the Monomutapa Crowne Plaza in Harare
recently and who gave his name only as Sam, is a typical Zimbabwean black
His designer wrist watch, linen shirt and high-gloss boots would have had a
combined value that could feed an average Zimbabwean family for the whole
On the other side of town, I met Mavis - not her real name - having
sundowners in the Harare Holiday Inn.
She had brown suede Prada slip-ons and her two-piece jean suit smelled of
money - lots of it.
As the drinks brought down the barriers , she took me into her confidence.
She was waiting for a "business associate" whom she had to pay for a job he
did for her.
It turned out the business associate was a transport man with a tanker who,
twice a week, runs errands for Mavis by slipping into Botswana to purchase
"Is business good?" I enquired.
"Better than good," she said without modesty.
Mavis is one of those people who believe that there's no better time to make
loads of money than during times of crisis.
As the economy of her country crumbles and price controls bite and the pumps
run dry, this is where Mavis and her fellow flotsam and jetsam come in.
"I buy a tanker-full of fuel in Botswana and sit tight on it until Harare
runs dry and the prices go up," said the fuel merchant of Harare, kicking
one expensively shod leg over the other.
Sam is a mystery. Badly paid hotel staff fight over themselves to be at his
beck and call and Harare's beautiful young things made a beeline to our
But he never spoke about himself. He leaves the talking to his conspicuous
wealth. And the language is vulgar. On our first encounter, he drove me to
my hotel in the most luxurious German sedan I have had the fortune of
On the other side of the scale of Zim's wheelers and dealers are
black-market racketeers .
Robyn Dixon of the Los Angeles Times wrote lyrically about the exploits of
one Kuda Shumba: "Kuda Shumba spends his days on a motorbike sniffing out
items such as sugar, cooking oil, bread, margarine or cellphone SIM cards,
risking years in a dank prison if caught."
Shumba was said to boast: "You can only afford those things if you're a
Then I met Daniel, who calls himself a tobacconist.
He's one of the big boys who flood South Africa with poisonous Zimbabwean
"Every time your government hikes cigarette prices, my market expands
tenfold," he told me.
"I love your Minister of Finance. May he continue with his sin tax."
With that he raised a glass and toasted Trevor Manuel.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has claimed that the first day
of the stay-away was a success with many of those workers left in formal
employment not going to work. However, the national action has been plagued
by state intimidation. Suspected state agents raided the house of ZCTU
president Matombo, but he was not home. They later went on to arrest Matombo's
brother and a security guard, whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said: "There has been a lot of
intimidation and harassment of our members. Despite this we will go ahead
with our scheduled strike. The ZCTU remains committed to serving the
interests of workers who are heavily taxed and poorly paid." Chibebe told
ACTSA and the British TUC are taking to the streets today in support and
solidarity of the struggle of Zimbabwean workers. The demonstration takes
place outside the Zimbabwean Embassy between 12-2pm.
Workers in Zimbabwe are being intimidates by riot police to try and prevent
the success of the ZCTU stay-away. We must all show our support for the ZCTU
and also our disgust for these intimidation tactics by demonstrating outside
the Zimbabwean Embassy. We have the right to protest without fear of
intimidation and I hope that as many of you as possible exercise that right
and stand with us as we stand with the workers of Zimbabwe.
Action for Southern Africa - Peace, Justice, Solidarity
Sent by ACTSA 231 Vauxhall Bridge Road London SW1V 1EH
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 3263 2001
GENEVA, Sept 20 (AFP)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made an "intelligent move" in
threatening to boycott a summit of European and African leaders if
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe attends, a human rights lawyer said on
Zimbabwean lawyer and human rights activist Tafadzwa Ralph Mugabe said on
the fringes of the United Nations Human Rights Council that Brown's stance
would help to underline a consistent British policy on Zimbabwe.
"I would say that in the case of Mr. Brown, that is an intelligent move,"
the lawyer told journalists.
Brown wrote in a newspaper article on Thursday that the Zimbabwean leader's
presence at the Lisbon summit in December would flout an EU travel ban on
him and his entourage.
Brown said that it would undermine the summit and added: "In those
circumstances, my attendance would not be appropriate."
The Zimbabwean authorities regularly denounce any criticism of their regime
by former colonial power Britain as imperialist in nature. President Mugabe
has especially targeted former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The lawyer said that by taking a similar line to Blair, Brown can show that
British criticism is not dictated by the whim of his predecessor but
motivated by genuine concerns for the population.
"Mr. Brown's position becomes intelligent because he was not expected to
pursue this policy, or at least that's what Harare thought. The fact that he
does shows you that it was not, I suppose, a personal policy of Mr. Tony
Blair," he added.
President Mugabe once told Blair to "keep his pink nose" out of the troubled
southern African nation's internal politics and accused him of trying to
topple his government.
Mugabe, who is seeking a seventh term in office, has ruled the former
Rhodesia since independence from Britain in 1980.
He has blamed the country's economic woes on limited sanctions imposed by
the EU and United States over claims that he rigged his 2002 re-election.
Vigil supporters joined a trade union demonstration outside Zimbabwe's
London Embassy in support of a two day stayaway called by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions. The Vigil was happy to support the demonstration,
jointly organised by ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa, the successor to the
Anti-Apartheid Movement). The two hour demonstration was attended by about
70 people or more, including many leading trade unionists. The General
Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, was there and said
'Zimbabwe's people are suffering from Mugabe's appalling economic
mismanagement, corruption and brutal repression. They are standing up for
their rights, and we must stand with them.' He told the Zimbabwe Vigil that
he wanted to send a message of hope to the people of Zimbabwe who had been
so brutally treated. He said the workers of Britiain were fully behind
them. Trade unionists brought along a variety of placards, among them:
'Honour the EU Zimbabwe ban', 'Drop charges against trade unionists in
Zimbabwe', 'Respect freedom of association in Zimbabwe' and 'Respect human
rights in Zimbabwe'. The TUC and ACTSA were glad that so many Vigil
supporters attended to add colour and vibrancy to the demonstration. Our
reporter there says several known CIO people could be seen peeping out of
the Embassy but otherwise nothing seemed to be going on in the building. It
was as if they had joined the strike themselves.
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 by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Thu 20 Sep 2007, 11:11 GMT
LUSAKA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa announced on
Thursday he would boycott an EU-Africa summit in Portugal if Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe was not invited and said other African leaders could
do so as well.
"I will not go to Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed. I don't know how many
of us (African leaders) will be prepared to go to Portugal without Mugabe,"
Mwanawasa told journalists in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
The Zambian leader's warning came hours after it was reported that British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown would stay away from the Lisbon summit in
December if the 83-year-old Mugabe was present.
In an article published in Britain's Independent newspaper on Thursday,
Brown said it would be inappropriate for him to attend if Mugabe was present
because the Zimbabwean leader would divert attention from important summit
The British leader also accused Mugabe of leaving his people in an
"appalling and tragic situation".
Mwanawasa, the head of a 14-nation southern African grouping that is trying
to end a political and economic crisis that has prompted millions of
Zimbabweans to flee the once prosperous former British colony, said Brown's
statement was "unfortunate".
by Silas Nkala
Gaborone- While Zimbabwe is currently hit by critical shortages of food, a
survey done by this reporter in Botswana's food retail outlets established
that Dairibord Zimbabwe's products are flooding the shelves in shops as the
company desperately tries to rake in foriegn currency there by starving its
The survey established that Dairibord products such as fresh milk brands,
various brands of drinks, ice creams, powdered miks, sour milk, and yogurt
brands are in large abundance in Botswana's major supermarkets such as, Spur
stores, Chopper's, OK, Supa Saver, and many others. Although demand is very
high for the products in Botswana but supermarkets here never run short of
the Dairibord products indicating that the company make constantly supplies
Sources privy to the Dairbord management told this reporter that since some
of their product shave ingredients they import from other countries, they
have to export their products to generate foriegn currency that will enable
them to purchase the raw materials if they are to remain vaible. They also
revealed that they intend to open new markets not only in Africa but world
wide not just for their good, but also for the good of the nation at large.
While consumers in Zimbabwe say they currently hardly get Dairibord products
from the shops especially milk, Botswana consumers make choice of which
products from the company they could buy. Although reports Dairibord posted
a decline in the exports, but revellations on the ground here portray that
the company make a lot of exports than local supplies deducing form the fact
that Zimbabwe is currently in critical shortage of every foods stuffs.
20 September 2007
Harare North MDC-Mutambara formation official, Fungai Bafana was arrested
yesterday in Mount Pleasant for being in possession of a few copies of the
party newspaper, "The Freedom News." He was held overnight and is still
detained at Marlbourgh police station. Police intend to take him to Law and
Order at Harare Central today, and doubtless the plan is to keep him in
detention over the entire weekend.
For more information please call Brighton Chiwola, the National Youth
Information and Publicity Secretary on +263 4 304289 or c/o 0912 247 141 -
or the Hon MP, Trudy Stevenson on 0912 247 141 or 304492
MDC Information and Publicity Department
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 09/21/2007 00:46:54
ZANU PF MPs on Wednesday dodged a crucial meeting that would have resulted
in the passing of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 18 Bill.
Slightly less that 90 MPs were in parliament for the passing of the Bill
that requires a two-thirds majority to sail through.
Zanu PF ordered all its MPs to attend Thursday's session without fail.
The bill was eventually passed.
In a statement Wednesday, Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said: "All Zanu PF
members of the House of Assembly are kindly requested to attend parliament
tomorrow Thursday, September 20, at 2pm without fail.
"I kindly request all members who might have made prior appointments to
reschedule them to enable them to attend parliament."
Earlier in the House of Assembly, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said
the Bill would be put to vote Thursday.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lacked the votes to
block the amendment package, but party officials said they decided not to
put up even a token fight as a gesture of good will because of progress in
the South Africa-mediated talks.
Both factions of the MDC have backed the amendment.
Makokoba MP Thokozane Khupe, who is vice president in the MDC faction led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, said they backed the proposals "as a confidence building
"We remain committed to the principle of a new people driven constitution
and a transparent and open process. Our friends and constituencies out there
must know that we will never betray this principle; however we are alive to
the ongoing discussions and the progress that has been made so far," said
"History will judge our actions one day, but l am confident that we as MDC
will be able to look history in the face and say we were right."
Some of Mugabe's critics are particularly concerned about a provision in the
amendment legislation that would enlarge parliament's upper house, the
Senate, from 66 to 84 members and the lower chamber, the House of Assembly,
from 150 to 210 seats. They say that could allow Mugabe to put more of his
supporters in parliament.
Another provision would allow parliament to nominate a successor for
president in the event Mugabe, the only ruler since independence in 1980,
died in office or left because of ill health or retirement. Despite that, he
is expected to run next year.
The amendments also would for the first time harmonise presidential and
parliamentary elections which will now be held on the same day on a date in
March 2008, effectively reducing Mugabe's current term from six to five
THE following is the full text of a speech made by Thokozani Khupe, the
deputy leader of a faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, in
parliament on Tuesday as Zanu PF and the MDC struck a deal on Constitutional
Last updated: 09/19/2007 20:05:35
HONOURABLE speaker Sir, it is with a heavy heart and a weighted soul that I
rise to make this contribution to the second reading debate on
constitutional Amendment No 18.
Mr. Speaker, l am fully alive to the weight of responsibility that has been
placed on the shoulders of our generation and in particular those of our
Mr. Speaker Sir, as l speak now our country is in a serious economic and
It is an economy that has sustained ten years of negative growth rates, a
phenomenon unknown to countries that have not gone through a physical war.
It is an economy that has seen millions of fellow Zimbabweans flee the
border to unwelcoming, xenophobic, cruel diaspora where our people are
subjected to degrading living conditions.
It is an economy that has seen the reduction of our life expectancy to 37
for men and 34 years for women and has resulted in an unsustainable and
below par lifestyle of our people.
The economic difficulties have been interpreted differently by our people.
On one hand are those such as myself and the party l belong to, who believe
that at the core of our current crisis lies the unfinished business of our
national liberation struggle.
Whilst independence removed a settler colonial minority regime, it did not
deal with three key issues.
Firstly it did not extend freedom to the majority in line with the ideals of
our liberation struggle.
Secondly it did not deal with structural economic issues therefore failing
to provide for its people.
Thirdly and quite critically it did not deal with the issue of land,
agrarian reform and land redistribution.
The post colonial Zimbabwean state regrettably failed to address these
issues significantly in the first decade of independence.
At the same time contradictions began to emerge and a gap was established
between the ideals of national liberation and the post colonial rulers.
In our view, nationalism simply became exhausted, creating the condition for
the inevitable emergence of a genuine opposition political party, the MDC.
Thus the MDC emerged purely and simply out of the resultant crisis of
On the other hand there are those who believe that our problems are not
internal but external.
They believe that our problems were created by some grand imperialistic
countries whose agenda is to reverse the gains of our independence.
Our failure to accept our diverse views, the need for coexistence and
tolerance has created a polarised, vicious, and intolerant society.
Families are heavily divided between Zanu PF and the MDC, between Zanu PF
and Zanu PF, and between the MDC and the MDC.
Families are at war with each other. Violence, corruption, vindictiveness,
mistrust, greed, patronage, jealousy, and rumor mongering has become the
mainstay of our nation.
It is in this context that we welcomed the SADC heads of state resolution in
Dar Salaam of the 29th of March 2007, as being important and revolutionary.
That resolution acknowledged the fact that there was a missing link in
Zimbabwe, and this was dialogue of its own people and a mutual recognition
of each others presence and legitimacy.
That Zanu PF among other formations exists as a legitimate entity that
played a critical role in liberating our country cannot and should not be
put in issue.
Equally that the MDC exist as a genuine social liberation movement with the
legitimacy and blessing of millions of Zimbabweans cannot and should not be
put in issue.
More importantly it cannot and should not be put in issue that none of these
formations is a sellout or is more Zimbabwean than the other.
We are both stakeholders and citizens of this lovely and beautiful land
With this in mind, the dialogue that has taken place and is still taking
place has gone a long way toward deconstructing the matrix of intolerance
and attrition in our society and hopefully this process is irreversible. Our
party is committed to this process.
At the core of that dialogue, in our view, is the need to deal with the
issue of legitimacy in our society. In our view, that can only come through
the introduction of a people driven constitution and free and fair elections
Of course the issues of repressive legislation such as POSA and AIPPA are
critical, so too are the issues of the militarized state and the opaque
management of the electoral process.
These are all issues covered in the agenda agreed to by the negotiators on
the 19th of June 2007.
We remain committed to the principle of a new people driven constitution and
a transparent and open process.
Our friends and constituencies out there must know that we will never betray
this principle; however we are alive to the ongoing discussions and the
progress that has been made so far.
It is in this regard, that as a confidence building measure we take the bold
decision of not standing in the way of constitution amendment number 18 as
amended by the negotiating teams.
In making this decision we are in no way abandoning any of our principles or
are we betraying any cause, all we are saying is that at this point in our
history the country is crying out for bold and decisive leadership and not
We are assured negotiations are still ongoing and that they will deliberate
on the many issues that are still outstanding in this proposed
For this reason and subject to the inclusion of the agreed positions on the
. a comprehensive Bill of Rights,
. an all inclusive citizenship provision,
. limits to presidential terms of office,· an independent electoral
commission reporting to parliament, and above all an irrevocable commitment
to the overhaul of security, media, and electoral laws, we are not standing
in the way of the tabling of the 18th Amendment.
We emphasise that our position is predicated on our view that this should be
regarded as the first step towards a holistic resolution of the national
Honorable speaker sir, we are aware that a commitment has been made to a
public process of making a constitution by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans -- a
process that we fully endorse.
Our people out there need food, jobs, hospitals, and therefore we as
politicians cannot decimate those aspirations.
Mr. Speaker Sir, history will judge our actions one day, but l am confident
that we as MDC will be able to look history in the face and say we were
Hon Thokozani Khupe is the deputy leader of a faction of the MDC led by
THE following is the full text of a speech made by Gibson Sibanda, the
deputy leader of a faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, in parliament
on Tuesday, September 18, as Zanu PF and the MDC struck a deal on
Constitutional Amendment Number 18:
Last updated: 09/20/2007 21:59:22
I STAND to add my voice to the debate on the Constitutional Amendment Number
18 which is before this House.
Indeed today is the beginning of a historic moment in this House. The
speakers who have spoken before me on this debate have stated very clearly,
the Leader of the House Hon. Chinamasa has already spelt out how the SADC
resolution led to the dialogue that has come to a phase where we begin to
resolve the issue before this House.
We have seen the Berlin Wall fall, the Cold War between the West and the
East come to an end, and indeed we have seen 27 years of one man imprisoned
on an island becoming a Head of State after 27 years, because there was the
will and the commitment.
I find today that, between the two parties who are represented here in this
august House, we can find the solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. The
Amendment is a landmark in that it has started to put in place solutions to
some of the issues that have bedeviled our nation of Zimbabwe.
We are in the process of making history and finding a solution to our
crisis. Despite the divisions that occur between the parties, I think
maturity has come to be realised in this House.
It is my honour that I support and add my voice to the smooth passage and
the continued dialogue between Zanu PF and MDC.
Yes, as the Professor and Hon Khupe have stated, we are one formation when
it comes to resolving the issues that are facing this country, and indeed we
are united as Zimbabweans who are sitting here, who have been elected from
all the constituencies here represented, and it is a duty upon us as elected
representatives to find the solutions to the political, economic, and social
crisis we are facing.
Indeed, I support the smooth passage of this Amendment 18 to the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.
THE following is the full text of a speech made by Professor Welshman Ncube,
the secretary general of a faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, in
parliament on Tuesday as Zanu PF and the MDC struck a deal on Constitutional
Amendment Number 18:
Last updated: 09/20/2007 21:59:21
I RISE to make a contribution to the debate on the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment No. 18 Bill. I begin by fully and unconditionally endorsing the
remarks of my colleague Hon Khupe and wish to add the following.
I confirm what the Minister of Justice, Leal and Parliamentary Affairs, has
said in his statement in respect of the process and content of the
negotiations which are taking place between the government of Zimbabwe and
Zanu PF on one hand and the MDC in its collective sense - (Laughter!).
For the avoidance of doubt, particularly for those in the media fraternity
who keep speaking the language of MDC negotiating as two formations - that
is not the case. At the negotiating table there is one MDC.
For those of our compatriots who love our beautiful country, some might be
alarmed and say those of us in the MDC might appear on the face of it to be
abandoning the principles we have fully enunciated over the last 8 years on
how we believe a new Constitution for Zimbabwe must be made.
Let me take the opportunity to explain and enunciate those principles and
how they fit in with what we are trying to do in order to resolve the
I can speak authoritatively on these principles because I can say I was
there at the beginning of the NCA and the crafting of its principles. For
those who are not aware, the very first meeting which conceptualised and
began the process of constituting the NCA took place in Belgravia, and was
convened by Tawanda Mutasah, attended by Brian Kagoro, Everjoice Win,
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and myself. Thereafter, the NCA as we know
it was constituted and formed.
In the process of its birth and in trying to define its mission and its
guiding principles, it hired as a consultant and retained the services of
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo, who was not a judge then, to come and document the
same - the foundation of the NCA issues. In the interest of time, that
document was then debated and adopted by the task force of the NCA.
At that time I was the spokesperson of the NCA and President Tsvangirai was
the chairperson. The NCA agreed that we needed a new constitution for
Zimbabwe which would be crafted or written in an open, transparent and
In that regard, we as members of the NCA were there to oppose two things.
One: the piecemeal amendments to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Two: the
unilateral manner of setting such piecemeal amendments.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to understand those two principles. Let me say
that these two principles were conceptualised, conceived and adopted, not to
be verses in a bible. They were strategic and tactical principles which were
intended to forge the making of a people-driven constitution.
I despair today when I read and hear the attempt to transform these
principles into some fundamentalist decrees which, we are told, are to be
regarded as completely sacrosanct. As far as we understood them, they were
supposed to be means to an end.
Zimbabwe today, as Hon. Khupe has said, is faced with a national crisis
which all of us acknowledge. We might differ as to the causes and sources of
that crisis, but I think we all, across the political divide, agree that we
are in a crisis. Consequently those of us who love this country are saying
that somewhere along the line as a people we lost each other.
Notwithstanding the intolerance Hon. Khupe talked about, notwithstanding the
anger and emotion, if we are to move forward, Mr. Speaker, we need to find
each other. (Mr Zwizwai: Murima imomo) Laughter- What we are attempting to
sow within the dialogue that we are engaged in is to find each other.
Our contribution to supporting the Amendment Number 18, as to be amended at
the Committee Stage as explained by the hon. Minister, is our attempt to say
"let us reach out to each other, let us find each other, let us give
confidence among ourselves."
If what it takes to find each other is for us to support these amendments,
we are prepared and we are supporting these amendments in that context, with
the hope that as negotiating teams move on with the rest of the agenda of
the dialogue, which the Minister has explained includes the question of a
new constitution for Zimbabwe - how to come up with that new constitution;
the question of a new Electoral Act - how to come up with it (Mr Mutasa: and
the question of sanctions) - the question of how to deal with contentious
provisions in POSA and AIPPA, and indeed the question of sanctions. They are
on the agenda and we will deal with them. We hope that we will find each
other around all these issues.
When we come back to this house, we will come back with a package which
includes resolutions of all the issues which have divided us over the last
eight or so years. That is our hope, Mr. Speaker, and it is in that context
that we stand before this august house today, taking that step into the
I had the privilege, Mr. Speaker, to spend the whole of Saturday in a
meeting discussing these issues with President Mutambara and President
Tsvangirai - (Laughter) - Mr. Speaker, I was impressed by their commitment
to the dialogue process. I was impressed by their deep concern for the
suffering of ordinary people of this country (Hon Members: Hear, hear!).
As President Tsvangirai said at that meeting: "There is no such thing as a
risk-free political decision", and therefore when we take this decision, we
are fully cognizant of the political risk inherent in it. But we take it
with our eyes open in the hope of serving our people. We believe that we
cannot continue to conduct politics for the sake of politics. We believe
that we must begin to conduct our politics in the service of the people,
otherwise it is meaningless.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to comment very briefly on the aspect relating
to the composition of the Senate which has worried some of my colleagues, in
terms of what they perceive to be the disproportionate number of unelected
people in the Senate. Unelected in the sense of direct election, in that you
have 18 chiefs elected by other chiefs, you have 10 governors or is it 8
governors plus 5 appointed by the President.
Let me just explain, Mr. Speaker, that when elections were not synchronised,
these numbers would have been very problematic, but when you have
synchronised elections, you elect your councillor, you elect your MP, you
elect your president.
The person who wins the presidential race then has the right to constitute
the government of the day from the day of his or her election. Whereas when
the elections were not synchronised, you could have a scenario where one
political party could win a Parliamentary election whilst the presidency is
in the hands of another party.
So the potential of subverting the government will not happen in the
proposal before you. Whoever has been elected President has a mandate for
the next 5 years to form a government. So it becomes irrelevant as to
whether or not you have these disproportionate numbers of unelected people.
I thought I should end by making that explanation.
From The Cape Times (SA), 20 September
Pretoria - The SA government has welcomed the agreement between Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
on constitutional amendments to make the country's political system more
democratic. The agreement between the two political foes is the result of
their negotiations mediated by President Mbeki. Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz
Pahad said yesterday he welcomed the support from both parties for the 18th
amendment to the constitution, tabled in parliament this week. "Slowly but
surely, the political climate is being created for free and fair elections
that all Zimbabwe will accept as such. The international community will
also, therefore, accept it as free and fair," he said. Pahad explained that
the amendment would synchronise presidential, parliamentary and local
elections on one day from next year and would do away with the 30 seats in
parliament, which Mugabe presently appoints directly. All seats in the
assembly would be directly elected by voters if the amendment is passed.
However, in an expanded senate of 93 members, 60 would be directly elected
by voters, five would be appointed by the president, 10 seats would be
reserved for the provincial governors who are appointed by the president,
and 18 seats would be reserved for chiefs. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
would take over the delimitation of house of assembly and senatorial
constituencies and local authority wards. The 18th amendment also provides
for the parliamentary committee on standing rules and orders to be consulted
in the appointment of the public protector, deputy public protector and the
chairperson of the proposed Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. Pahad did not
mention that the amendment would also allow the president to appoint a
successor if he retired before his term expired, rather than having to call
new elections. Pahad said that SA had to be concerned about what happened in
Zimbabwe, as it impacted on the region. In SA, he said, social services were
under stress because of an influx of people, mainly Zimbabweans.
THE Zimbabwe National Students Union(Zinasu) national executive council has
endorsed a national class boycott by the all the country's tertiary
institutions to protest new fees introduced this semester and economic
problems affecting the entire student population
The nationwide strike is expected to kick off in the last weeks of this
month according to the student movement.
The government last month increased tuition fees in tertiary institutions
from $ 60 000 to $ 10 million per semester ahead of the opening of the new
semester in universities and tertiary institutions.
The amount is not inclusive of millions of dollars the students are expected
to pay in accommodation fees per semester.
Clever Bere, National University of Science and Technology (Nust) president,
who is also a national executive council member, said the boycott will be
indefinite and will continue until government addresses the students'
"The boycott has been called to protest the tough economic environment
students are operating in and to force the government to withdraw the new
fees structures,"Bere said.
In a statement released at a press conference to announce the class boycott
yesterday Zinasu said the new fees structures introduced by the government
are satanic and genocidal.
"The new fees for the academic year 2007-2008 can best be described as
satanic and genocidal. Increasing tuition fees from $ 60 000 per semester to
an unbelievable $ 10 million is totally unacceptable.
"This also happening against a background of price and salary freezes, and
we are left wondering where the government expects the students to get money
from,"Zinasu said in the statement.
Pressed to give exact dates on the planned national class boycott, Bere said
the dates will be communicated later in order to protect student leaders who
are organizing the class boycott.
The decision by the Zinasu national executive councilto hold a national
class boycott comes at a time when state security agents have intensified
repression against students.
Just on Tuesday this week the president of the University of Zimbabwe
students union, Lovemore Chinoputsa, and his Secretary General Fortune
Chamba were arrested and severely assaulted during a demonstration on
The university students were demanding a resolution to problems affecting
The students are staying out of the university campus after campus hostels
were shut down last semester following protests at the institution and
health authorities in Harare have declared that the hostels are a health
risk and students should not be allowed to stay in them- CAJ News.
The decision taken by the MDC as a party to co-operate with ZANU PF on the
desperate amendment of the constitution actually shows that the party is
slowly but steadily, learning from history. The MDC's affable position
towards the 18th Amendment Bill was one necessary though not entirely the
Given the gloom situation that our country and people have had to endure for
the last ten years, the 18th Amendment Bill is the slightest step towards
normalcy in our country's precarious situation. I am afraid but it was the
best option in a worst case scenario. If Zimbabweans could have their way,
they would have chosen to emancipate themselves without any slightest
collusion with ZANU PF, because this is the party and government that have
presided over the crisis in the first place.
However, when dealing with issues of national importance and where national
aspirations are at stake, it is always essential to choose the best possible
solution even if it means working with the 'enemy' as ZANU PF is now
un-affectionately known. No ordinary Zimbabwean knows better than the MDC
leadership that ZANU PF is a party that is bent on destroying democracy. But
the calls for Zimbabweans, especially our politicians, to find a solution to
our problem are ones that should be taken seriously. A long journey begins
with that little first step.
When the MDC was formed in 1999, it was roundly accepted by the people of
Zimbabwe. The MDC influence on the Zimbabwean political scene became much
more than that of the government. The new party suddenly became the most
listened to political voice, and its leaders were revered throughout the
country and beyond. ZANU PF became the underdog in a game they thought were
veterans, and in the process the MDC became a little bit carried away with
that status. This made the MDC to start to perceive itself as a government
even before it actually assumed power. Of course it does suffices to say
that there was gross evidence of irregularities especially in the crucial
2002 presidential elections, but the MDC surprisingly failed to adequately
address the issue of ZANU PF electoral treachery.
Because of the over-confidence and false start to politics, the MDC went on
to make a catalogue of miscalculations and missed a number of opportunities
on which it could have taken the ruling ZANU PF to task. Most importantly
the MDC became more of a protest party that was just there to show how bad
ZANU PF was without meaningfully chatting the way forward and clearly
showing the Zimbabwean people how it would do things differently from ZANU
PF. This is why up to now there are still people who do not support either
the MDC or ZANU PF but would prefer to be on the fence because they think
there is no worthwhile reason for them to support either.
The MDC party became the unlikely victim of its own success story and this
was why it would breed among its top brass, some politicians who became
bigger than the party itself. This was what would lead to the party to split
because the sense of purpose and togetherness that had launched the MDC in
style had been completely lost somewhere along the way. These were the same
people who had led the party to a sterling performance in the 2000
parliamentary elections and the near victory of the 2002 presidential
What followed the promising start would be disappointing show characterised
by a spell during which the MDC became a party of some very childish threats
that were directed to the government. The threats varied from boycotting of
elections to unspecified action being meted on ZANU PF in the event of
elections being rigged. This did not help to cultivate the atmosphere of
national consensus between the two main political rivals because ZANU PF
took the threats seriously and would go on to actually mete out specified
rather than unspecified action on the MDC leadership.
This saw a lot of violent murders, repression and tortuous treatment of MDC
politicians to try and neutralise and instil fear in the MDC party. There
was created an atmosphere whereby a very thick wall was constructed between
ZANU PF and the MDC and all that the two respective parties stood for was
like oil and water that would never mix. It's was either you were MDC or
ZANU PF, because there was no middle ground. The losers were the people of
Zimbabwe who lost out the sterling services of a well meaning but
decapitated opposition and were left stuck with the unsolicited continued
disservice from ZANU PF.
This recent chipping off, not exactly demolition, of that kind of Berlin
Wall between ZANU PF and the MDC should be welcomed by all genuinely peace
loving Zimbabweans. ZANU PF is as much a Zimbabwean party as the MDC, and if
the MDC can show ZANU PF the way, that is exactly the way forward. There
should never be any labelling of the MDC leadership as having betrayed
Zimbabweans because they have sacrificed their lives for the same
Zimbabweans. Sometimes it can be quite difficulty for politicians to please
their people especially if so much is expected of them, but this little step
towards some kind of political co-operation between ZANU PF and the MDC
should be welcomed as a very significant development that would need to be
natured into fully fledged national consensus building.
The MDC has no choice but to learn from history and especially to realise
that sometimes bridging political differences can actually build a nation.
Everywhere in the world where countries enjoy real democracy there is always
closer and mutual co-operation between the ruling party and the opposition
political parties. It is only in Zimbabwe, courtesy of decades of ZANU PF
sponsored erosion of democracy that it is taboo and a shame for the
opposition to be seen anywhere near the ruling party, let alone discussing
and resolving issues of national interest together. If Zimbabweans are
really serious about not betraying themselves, then they should back
Tsvangirai and the MDC all the way to the polling booths because that is
where the decision to actually ditch ZANU PF will be made. There is a
realistic chance that ZANU PF can actually be defeated as long as everyone
votes for the MDC.
There is no way that a full constitution can be formulated and adopted now
it time for the elections. Anyone still calling for a full constitutional
overhaul before the elections would be grossly overlooking the essentiality
and complexity of the logistical implications of such a serious process.
What the people of Zimbabwe should now start to impress on the MDC party is
that the constitutional process would have to be kick-started in earnest as
soon as the party assumes power. Failure by the MDC to urgently address the
issue of the constitution especially during its first term of government
would rightfully go down as betrayal of the expectations of the Zimbabwean
Silence Chihuri is a Zimbabwean who writes from Scotland. He can be
contacted on email@example.com