NEW YORK (CNN) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, in a rare interview
Thursday, depicted himself as an African hero battling imperialism and
foreign attempts to oust him rather than the widespread perception of a
dictator clinging to power at the expense of the welfare of his people and
The 85-year-old Mugabe, the only leader of Zimbabwe since it became
independent from Britain in 1980, rejected repeated assertions by CNN's
Christiane Amanpour that his policies have driven the nation once known as
Africa's breadbasket to virtual economic collapse.
Instead, Mugabe accused Britain and the United States of seeking to oust him
by imposing economic sanctions, the effects of which he said were worsened
by years of drought.
He denied that his country is in economic shambles, saying it grew enough
food last year to feed all its people, and defended policies that have
driven white farmers off their land as properly restoring that land to
"The land reform is the best thing (that) could have ever have happened to
an African country," said Mugabe, a former revolutionary leader who came to
power when white-ruled Rhodesia became black-ruled Zimbabwe. "It has to do
with national sovereignty."
It was Mugabe's first interview with a Western television network in several
years, and he appeared to get frustrated with some of Amanpour's direct
questioning, repeatedly denying widely accepted evidence and reports on his
Mugabe denied that his ZANU-PF party lost elections in 2008 that forced him
to accept a power-sharing agreement with his chief rival, Morgan Tsvangirai,
who now is prime minister. Violence surrounding the disputed election, much
of it against opposition supporters, further damaged Zimbabwe's standing,
but Mugabe rejected any blame on Thursday.
"You don't leave power when imperialists dictate that you leave," he
insisted. "There is regime change. Haven't you heard of (the) regime change
program by Britain and the United States that is aimed at getting not just
Robert Mugabe out of power but get Robert Mugabe and his party out of
He also waved off Amanpour's assertion that the power-sharing arrangement is
not working, and that opposition political figures are continuing to get
harassed and arrested.
Asked about Roy Bennett, a white opposition figure who has yet to be sworn
in as agriculture minister a year after formation of the power-sharing
government, Mugabe stammered before saying Bennett faces charges of
"organizing arms of war" against Zimbabwe. He added that he's heard the
prosecution lacks evidence in the case, but said he won't agree to swearing
in Bennett until after any charges are dropped.
Mugabe also denied any responsibility for harm to the nation from his
economic policies, instead blaming what he called "unjustified" and
"illegal" sanctions that he said were intended to bring regime change.
"The sanctions must be lifted. We should have no interference from outside,"
Mugabe said. "The continued imperialist interference in our affairs is
affecting our country adversely."
When Amanpour challenged him by saying most of the sanctions were directed
at individuals, rather than economic entities, Mugabe said she was wrong.
"The U.S. sanctions are real sanctions, economic sanctions. Have you looked
at them?" he said. "It's because of sanctions, mainly."
Amanpour tried to push the point, saying outside observers blamed his
policies and not sanctions. "Not everybody says so," Mugabe cut her off.
"It's not true."
He also rejected criticism from South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a
Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle, who
has accused Mugabe of turning Zimbabwe into a "basket case" and repressing
his own people.
"It's not a basket case at all," Mugabe said. He later called Tutu's
comments "devilish talk" and added: "He doesn't know what he's talking
about, the little man."
On the takeover of white-owned farms -- a policy blamed for undermining the
agriculture sector -- Mugabe displayed the African nationalist fervor of his
"Zimbabwe belongs to the Zimbabweans, pure and simple," he said, then adding
that white Zimbabweans -- even those born in the country with legal
ownership of their land -- have a debt to pay.
"They occupied the land illegally. They seized the land from our people,"
Mugabe said. When Amanpour pressed him on white farmers being forced off
their land, he shot back, "Not just off their land. Our land."
"They are British settlers," he said, later calling them "citizens by
colonization, seizing land from original people, indigenous people of the
Asked if would run again in elections likely to take place in 2011, Mugabe
refused to answer, but denied he feared defeat and again rejected charges of
past electoral wrongdoing.
"Elections don't go all that smoothly all the time in many countries," he
said, tossing a jab at the United States. "Look what happens elsewhere. They
didn't go smoothly here, look at what happened during the first term of
Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:09am GMT
* Zimbabwe leader defends retaining two allies
* Mugabe, 85, won't say if he'll run again
By Patrick Worsnip
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said
on Wednesday he was giving the U.S. Obama administration time to lift
sanctions its predecessor imposed on his country, saying he did not expect
In an interview with Reuters, the veteran leader also said he would "never"
replace two key officials that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) says he agreed to change under a power-sharing deal in the southern
The Bush administration, which left power in January, slapped sanctions in
2003 on Mugabe and other prominent Zimbabweans accused of undermining
democracy and later extended them. The European Union imposed measures of
The power-sharing pact installed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai as prime
minister in February, but the sanctions remain. An EU delegation that
visited Zimbabwe this month said it was waiting to see that human rights
abuses had ended.
Mugabe, visiting New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly,
said he would tell the world body that the sanctions were unjustified and
should be lifted.
But he added: "We are giving time to the administration of (Barack) Obama to
make their decision. They inherited sanctions, they found them on his desk
and we don't expect him to get rid of them that quickly."
Obama administration officials have given no indication they are considering
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has blamed
sanctions for the economic woes of Zimbabwe, which needs billions of dollars
for recovery. Western countries accuse Mugabe of wrecking the African nation
The Zimbabwean leader strongly defended his decision to retain two allies,
central bank governor Gideon Gono and attorney general Joshua Tomana,
despite what the MDC says is an agreement that they would go.
"I appointed (Gono) long before the (power-sharing) agreement had come into
being ... and the same with the attorney-general. And there's nothing wrong
that they have done," Mugabe said.
"I don't see any reason why they should be discharged and new people found
to replace them. And so I have laid down my foot and said no, they will
never be. You see, I won't let them go."
The MDC has accused Gono of fueling hyperinflation by printing money and
Tomana of presiding over the prosecution of rights and opposition activists.
Mugabe also defended his refusal to swear in Roy Bennett, MDC
treasurer-general, as deputy agriculture minister, saying he faced criminal
charges. If Bennett, who is due to stand trial next month on terrorism
charges, was acquitted, there would be "no objection" to his appointment, he
Despite the disputes with the MDC, Mugabe said he had a working relationship
"We are very good partners in the inclusive government and we understand
each other," he said. "Not that we agree every time, but there is more room
for agreement just now than disagreement and we trust each other... He tells
me the truth, I tell him the truth."
Mugabe, 85, declined to say whether he would run again in the next general
election, expected in 2011.
"That's what I won't say -- if I am going to run or I'm not going to run,"
he said. "It would be bad tactics to say so, political tactics. I don't want
also to divide my (ZANU-PF) party at the moment." (Editing by Paul Simao)
by Own Correspondent Friday 25 September 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday outlined to
ambassadors and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe five key areas government
has prioritised in its quest to turn around the country's fortunes, his
The PM's spokesman, James Maridadi, said Tsvangirai told the diplomats that
despite disagreements over some outstanding issues with President Robert
Mugabe, the inclusive government had made "incremental gains" since its
inception in February.
"He said his strategy was to brig real change to five priority areas which
are economic stabilisation, bringing basic services to the people, restoring
basic freedoms to the people, addressing issues of food security, and bring
finality to land issues and issues of disturbances," Maridadi told
journalists after Tsvangirai's two-hour meeting with the diplomats.
Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the MDC formations led by Tsvangirai and Deputy
Premier Arthur Mutambara signed a power-sharing Global Political Agreement
(GPA) last year leading to the formation of a coalition government to end a
political crisis following an inconclusive presidential election last year.
Maridadi, said the Prime Minister had spoken about the stalled Zim-EU
(European Union) dialogue which he launched when he went to Belgium early
"He said he would like to bring finality to the Zim-EU dialogue. Ever since
he launched the Zim-EU dialogue it appears things have stalled as result of
a number of issues, he says he wants to bring finality to that issue and
Zimbabwe and EU must start talking."
Maridadi also said the Cabinet had also started discussions on the issue of
restrictive measures imposed by Western governments on Mugabe and senior
members of his ZANU PF party as punishment for their failure to uphold the
rule of law, democracy and human rights.
"He said the government has started discussions in Cabinet on the issue of
restrictive measures, some may want to call it sanctions and he says there
is a very robust debate going on that issue and he says it will be tackled.
"He also spoke about the issues of the GPA, he spoke abut toxic issues,
issues of bad faith like state media, hate speech, mis-communication. It
appears there are three governments in one government. He said incremental
gains have been made and those gains must be consolidated," Maridadi told
Zimbabwe's unity government is beset with problems with the MDC accusing
ZANU PF of failing to honour an agreement to reverse the appointments of
political allies to the key posts of central bank governor and attorney
general and saying pro-Mugabe police and state prosecutors have continued to
target the former opposition party's activists and legislators for arrest in
violation of the power-sharing deal.
On the other hand ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the
power-sharing deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to
campaign for lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. -
By Alex Bell
23 September 2009
The commercial farming community is lamenting predictions of yet another
failed agricultural season, as the countrywide wave of farm attacks
The US based Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) has warned that
food stocks will be depleted this month, mainly in western Zimbabwe, where
some two million people are set to face hunger. FEWSNET issued a special
report this month saying the availability of food in Zimbabwe could diminish
sharply from October to December, with only a maximum of 1.4 million metric
tonnes of cereals available during those months, compared with the more than
2 million tonnes needed to meet Zimbabwe's basic food needs.
The worrying assessment comes as commercials farmers themselves have warned
that a failed farming season is on the cards, as a direct result of the
renewed offensive to drive farmers from their land. Since the formation of
the unity government in February there has been an intensified wave of
attacks on commercial land owners, by thugs working for top ZANU PF
loyalists, all in the name of land 'reform'. Farmers and their workers have
been physically and brutally attacked, valuable produce and equipment has
been stolen, and the fast-track prosecution of farmers in the country's
courts has been encouraged. This year alone, more than 80 farms have been
seized, at least 200 farmers have faced prosecution and thousands of farm
workers have lost their jobs.
Deon Theron, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW
Radio Africa that the country is "on a knife edge and facing a very
difficult failed season of crops." He voiced his frustration that commercial
farming is being deliberately halted, despite the desperate need for food in
a country that has been rated as the most food-aid dependent country in the
world. At the same time, Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth, who has endured some of
the worst violence and intimidation on his land, told SWRA that the country
is heading for "the very worst agricultural season ever."
All in all more than 6 000 farms, totalling 10.8-million hectares, have been
seized by the state since the land 'reform' programme got underway in 2000.
Most of these farms were 'awarded' to Robert 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. In 2000 Zimbabwe produced
two million tons of maize, but this was down to 450 000 tons last year.
Tobacco production has plummeted from 244 000 tons to 40 000 tons. The
number of commercial farmers has shrunk radically from 4 500 in 2000 to 400.
But despite these numbers that provide proof of Zimbabwe's economic
destruction, by way of land 'reform', the land grab campaign has
intensified, to satisfy what even the MDC has called the 'greed' of ZANU PF
'bigwigs'. SWRA Correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who this week toured farms to
see for himself the extent of the fresh wave of farm attacks, said on
Thursday the situation resembled a 'disaster'.
"There is an obvious intensified effort by ZANU PF youths and ZANU PF
officials and the police to grab what productive land they can," Muchemwa
said, explaining the use of fake offer letters has become rampant,
particularly in Mashonaland. He explained further that the majority of farms
he visited are lying untended and barren.
"Farmers are predicting a huge agricultural loss, because when the rains
come, the land won't be ready," Muchmwa said. "Their (the farmers) attitude
is to wait and see what will happen during the rains."
By Tichaona Sibanda
24 September 2009
Twenty-eight applicants out of 143 have been shortlisted for interviews to
sit on the newly constituted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, (ZEC).
The interviews will be conducted in Parliament on Monday and members of the
interview panel are the same as for the media commission. The team is led by
Senator Obert Gutu, a lawyer from the MDC-T. It includes Tabitha Khumalo MP
MDC-T, Edward Mkhosi MP MDC-M, Mabel Chinomona ZANU PF and Senator Chief
Fortune Charumbira ZANU PF.
Among the notable absentees from the list is the current chairperson of ZEC,
retired army brigadier Justice George Chiweshe. Three applicants though
belong to the current ZEC. These are deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe,
Vivian Ncube and Theophilus Gambe, all women. From the list of 28,
Parliament will send 12 names to Mugabe who will appoint 8 commissioners
from that list. The chairperson is supposed to be appointed after
consultation between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara and the judicial
Outspoken former MDC MP Job Sikhala said while he's has been told that the
list contains applicants considered moderates, he warned that as long as
Mugabe had a final say, that alone will not make the new commission truly
'The buck stops with Mugabe and people like George Chiweshe will bounce,
will be re-appointed as a thank you for keeping him in power. Soldiers like
Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba will have something to do in the new ZEC as
long as Mugabe is there,' Sikhala said.
He added; 'Although we have ZEC by name, we all know it had been militarized
and its functions taken over by the service chiefs and Tobaiwa Mudede, the
Registrar-General. It had become an extra-legal or nominal body.'
Sikhala said Mugabe will bulldoze his way past Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, and appoint any military men that he wants in the new commission.
'Look, once in place, the new commssion is expected to recruit its own
secretariat, headed by a chief elections officer charged with the day-to-day
running of the commission. Nothing will stop Mugabe with his vast powers to
re-appoint the current chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi, a long
time ZANU PF functionary. He can stuff all his military men in this
secretariat,' the former MP for St Mary's said.
By Violet Gonda
24 September 2009
The specification of Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited took a new twist on
Thursday when riot police blocked the company's shareholders from meeting to
decide on the future of the group's CEO Nigel Chanakira. The shareholders
arrived at the Meikles Hotel at 10am but found the doors of the conference
room locked and guarded by riot police.
The Chairman of the company John Moxon, told SW Radio Africa that Chanakira's
wife delivered a court order, on behalf of her husband, barring the members
from meeting. He said Chanakira is in hospital in South Africa.
Moxon, speaking from South Africa, said the shareholders had called for a
meeting to remove Chanakira and his close associates, Callistus Chikonye and
Busi Bango. He said the board had resolved they were to be removed from any
of the subsidiary boards of the company. "They were to be removed because
the board felt that they were obstructing the process of de-merging the
(Kingdom) Bank from the rest of Meikles."
Moxon said that when the company executives assembled they were told there
was a court order organised by Chanakira and the government, to postpone the
meeting for two weeks.
The Chairman said: "Mr Chanakira is in Johannesburg, he is allegedly ill,
which was one of the reasons given for the court order. In other words they
were suggesting that for compassionate reasons the meeting should be
postponed. How ill he is I don't know, but we do know from people who spoke
to him yesterday that he managed to conduct his business quite
satisfactorily from wherever he was in hospital. So he can't be that ill."
According to Moxon, Chanakira is in the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg and
is believed to be suffering from 'flu'.
The government recently specified Kingdom Meikles, one of the country's
largest companies, for allegedly externalising foreign currency. The
authorisation for the seizure was made by the two Ministers of Home Affairs,
Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi. Mutsekwa told SW Radio Africa last week
that he authorised this because Moxon had committed a serious crime by
externalising US$21million from Zimbabwe.
But Moxon denies externalising the funds and says his lawyers will be taking
action against the Minister. He said: "Money was invested outside the
country with the approval of the Reserve Bank and the money went through the
Reserve Bank into the banking system and then out of the country."
The embattled businessman said he has written evidence about this, although
the approval was done years ago. He said: "These approvals are currently in
the hands of the Zimbabwe state President and I am not sure what he is doing
about them in terms of advising his people that the approvals were proper."
"As far as the co-Minister is concerned, his comments or his accusations are
defamatory and I have handed that over to my lawyer and I imagine they will
be taking action against him."
from the farm on its way to the capital Harare
President Robert Mugabe launched the fast-track land reform programme in 2000 to redistribute white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks. It also heralded the country's steep economic decline, widespread food shortages and political violence, while allegations that the redistribution process served as a smokescreen for land grabs by members of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF elite were rampant.
The audit formed part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed on 15 September 2008 by Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and an MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
The agreement led to the establishment of the unity government in February 2009, but major donors have held back billions of dollars in aid, adopting a wait-and-see attitude to gauge Mugabe's commitment to democracy.
"While differing on the methodology of acquisition and redistribution, the parties acknowledge that compulsory acquisition and redistribution of land has taken place under a land reform programme undertaken since 2000," the GPA noted.
"The parties hereby agree to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and nonpartisan land audit during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownership."
Three land audits were undertaken by the ZANU-PF administration but the findings have yet to be made public. Herbert Murerwa, the current Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, said his ministry required US$31.2 million to perform the audit, which could take up to nine months to complete, rather than the anticipated three months or so.
"The 100 days given for the exercise is inadequate and, without resources, implementation of the programme is very difficult. We are also seeking to establish an independent land committee - an inter-ministerial [body] to be made up of permanent secretaries and other senior government officials. The committee will also be replicated at provincial and district levels," Murerwa said.
However, Justice for Agriculture (JAG), an organization advocating the rights of the more than 4,000 white farmers forced from their land, was pessimistic about the proposed audit.
Farming activities have been
disturbed by senior government officials, who get on to a farm and strip all the
assets before moving to a new farm
"I don't think there will be a comprehensive audit anytime soon because senior [ZANU-PF] government officials, judges and the military have taken over many farms - we have cases where individuals own as many as two or three farms," he said.
"Farming activities have been disturbed by senior government officials, who get on to a farm and strip all the assets before moving to a new farm." There has also been renewed violence on commercial farms in recent weeks.
Moreover, Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa announced that Zimbabwe would withdraw from participating in the Tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) after it ruled in favour of 78 former commercial farmers, describing their evictions as racist, discriminatory and illegal under the SADC treaty. The SADC was responsible for negotiating the GPA.
The Zimbabwean government also intends recalling a judge seconded to the SADC Tribunal in 2005, although Tsvangirai said the country would not pull out as there had been no consultation on the matter.
"The decision to pull out of the SADC Tribunal was a comment by an individual minister and the country cannot be bound by that. The issue has not been discussed in cabinet and we cannot therefore be bound by the decision of a single minister."
Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, told IRIN that the government would try to raise the necessary finance to conduct the audit, even if it meant conducting it in phases. He said offers of funding had been made and it was envisaged that the audit would also involve local and international land experts.
He blamed the renewed farm disturbances on "residual elements" wanting to frustrate the GPA. "As the government, we are yet to establish the source of those problems, but what is clear is that some of them are political motivated, while others are driven by corruption and criminal tendencies," Moyo said.
"The government, in its entirety, is convinced that a comprehensive land audit is important to, among other things, address multiple farm ownership, productivity, security of tenure and transparency."
Written by STAFF REPORTER
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:32
Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, in
a recent address, expressed disappointment over President Robert Mugabe's
failure to honour the Global Political Agreement, but remained committed to
working for the good of Zimbabwe's future.
HARARE - If the United States and Zimbabwe can find a way of working
together, a substantial difference will be made to the living conditions of
those on the ground, Johnnie Carson said. As well as expressing his country's
respect for SADC and its mediation efforts in Zimbabwe, Carson clarified the
US position on sanctions.
"We differ (from SADC) on when and how to lift sanctions. I want to
stress that the sanctions that the United States has in place are primarily
directed at individuals, some - approximately 220 of them, of the most
senior officials in the government, and also at entities that they possess
or may own. We reserve the right to lift those sanctions when we want to do
so and when we see progress," he said.
Carson also reiterated his country's unfaltering commitment to
alleviating the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. "While we have sanctions
on Zimbabwe, the United States has been a strong contributor to ongoing
humanitarian assistance for that country in providing food aid, medical
assistance to help in the recent cholera outbreak, health assistance and
fighting HIV/AIDS and supporting child survival. And following Morgan
Tsvangirai's visit to Washington, President Obama and Secretary Clinton
requested that we also increase or at least provide some support to
education and agriculture as long as it did not go through government
Avoiding Mugabe's exploitation
Despite his words of encouragement, Carson expressed concern over the
lack of economic and political progress that hampered the US' willingess to
lift sanctions on Zimbabwe's leaders. "We think it is important not to let
the economic advantages that Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti bring to the
case to be exploited and used by Robert Mugabe and others to secure their
further control on government," he said.
In terms of President Barack Obama's position on Africa, Carson stated
that his government believed in Africa's "potential and its promise". "The
president has made it clear that despite the very serious and well-known
challenges that confront Africa today, we remain optimistic and hopeful
about the continent. And we will be strong partners with African people and
He went on to say that the world could no longer ignore the role
Africa and its people must play in the international community. "We believe
that African countries and their people must take the lead, must look to a
brighter future and must examine themselves frankly to allow us to be honest
and open partners together."
Carson congratulated the considerable progress that he said had been
achieved in many parts of the continent, but acknowledged that Africa was
poor and its people were disadvantaged by poor governments, poor
infrastructure, natural and manmade disasters, as well as a harshness of
life that was often daunting.
The big five
"I believe firmly that we will focus on five areas of critical
importance for Africa that reflect America's core values and interests, as
well as issues of significance and importance to Africa."
The first area Carson noted was working in partnership with African
governments and civil society to strengthen democratic institutions and to
protect the gains that have been made in many places in Africa in the area
of democracy and governance. "This includes rule of law, constitutional
norms, democratic principles and privileges and the creation of greater
opportunities and the ability to peacefully change governments."
Secondly, Carson said they would work for sustained economic
development and growth across the continent. "We have numerous programs
and institutions to undertake this particular challenge. And I believe we
will use every tool at our disposal and hope to encourage some
non-traditional ones to become more engaged and involved with fostering a
more prosperous African continent."
The third area that Carson looked at was maintaining a historical
focus on health issues with a particular emphasis on public health and the
strengthening of African delivery systems.
"We view this as a basic building block to achieving our other
objectives. We hope to work intensively with our global partners and
institutions to ensure that this sector remains a very high priority."
Fourthly, he reiterated America's commitment to work with the international
community and African states and leaders to prevent, mitigate and also to
resolve interstate conflicts and disputes.
Lastly, Carson talked about the global issues that were affecting the
continent, namely narco-trafficking, climate change, illegal exploitation of
Africa's maritime resources, pandemic diseases and energy security. "We
intend to address these issues with the same seriousness that we have
addressed them in our own country and elsewhere. We have learned that these
are global challenges, transnational challenges, and that we cannot afford
to ignore them wherever they are."
US' level of engagement
When asked by Reed Kramer from AllAfrica Global Media, what America's
level of engagement would be in Zimbabwe considering President Obama would
soon be with President Jacob Zuma and the G-20 summit, Carson expressed
disappointment over President Mugabe's failure to honour the Global
Political Agreement. "We would like to see a reaffirmation of the
commitment to implement the Global Political Agreement as swiftly as
possible and a strong support for moving towards a new constitution and new
elections," he said.
Carson said that he was committed to working with the members of the
agreement "on behalf of democracy, on behalf of the Zimbabwean people and on
behalf of the fairness that is required and which has - in its absence,
deprived the MDC of leadership".
Written by STAFF REPORTER
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 16:55
Instead of setting policies on law and order in the National Security
Council, security chiefs are said to be holding private meetings with Robert
Mugabe - a situation analysts say is the worst violation of the global
political agreement by Zanu (PF).
The NSC is responsible for reviewing national policies on security,
law and order, and for recommending or directing action of the security
forces. But, it has met only once.
That meeting at the end of July merely dealt with formal introductions
and set up the basic responsibilities of the group.
The NSC then missed its August date because army generals boycotted
it, the Prime Minister's spokesman confirmed.
Under its rules, the NSC must meet once a month but can be summoned to
meet at any time, whenever President Robert Mugabe or the Prime Minister
The NSC consists of Mugabe as chair, 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 also members of the security council,
continue to meet Mugabe privately, seemingly under the disbanded Joint
The chiefs are Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine
Chiwenga, Lieutenant-General Sibanda, Air Marshall Perrence Shiri and
Commissioner-General of Police Augustine Chihuri. Commissioner of Prisons
retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and the director-general of the
Central Intelligence Organisation, Happyton Bonyongwe, are also reported to
be attending the JOC meetings.
Tsvangirai said he had done his part to promote reconciliation but
there was open defiance from the security chiefs.
"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 well-being of the people of Zimbabwe,"
People close to Tsvangirai said he was losing patience.
Security chiefs are said to be wrecking efforts to set up a special
tribunal for those who organised or financed the election violence; instead
offering a special three-day holiday.
Some of the top suspects are said to be high-ranking ministers, army,
police officers and Zanu (PF) militia, who are reluctant to see anything
that might put them behind bars for their part in the violence.
September 24, 2009
By Our Correspondent
MUTARE - Zimbabwean police have arrested a Kenyan environmental activist
accusing him of making undesirable political statements during a workshop
organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).
The Kenyan, identified by other participants at the three-day workshop as
Patrick Ochieng, was being held at the Mutare Central Police Station last
night (as at 6pm). The participants say Ochieng is a director of Ujamaa
Center, an environmental lobbying organisation based in Nairobi.
Although details were sketchy human rights lawyers attending to his case
Trust Maanda and Blessing Nyamaropa confirmed the arrest.
They said had police have not yet preferred any criminal charges against him
as yet but had indicated he has a case to answer.
"The police are holding him for an alleged statement which they say he made
during a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers
Association," Nyamaropa said. "We do not know as yet the statement he is
alleged to have said."
The workshop is being attended by legislators and environmental
conservationists from across the country.
Some of the participants are drawn from African countries. The workshop
started on Monday and was expected to end on Thursday.
Sources at the workshop said Ochieng made a contribution during discussions
on how countries should exploit mineral resources without causing harm to
He is said to have castigated the unorthodox methods being used by the
Zimbabwean government to exploit diamond resources in Chiadzwa.
Zimbabwe has come under international condemnation over the exploitation of
diamonds from Chiadzwa, west of Mutare. Although much of the condemnation
has been over the violation of human rights by security forces and soldiers
manning the diamond fields the government has also been widely criticized
for mining methods being used by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe (MMCZ) which some have described as primitive.
Written by STAFF REPORTER
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 16:51
Shareholders and board members of the beleaguered Kingdom Meikles
group have been threatened with criminal action if they go ahead with a
meeting scheduled for today (Thursday). The government has seized the assets
of the affluent Meikles group under a controversial anti-corruption law - a
move that critics say will lead to the looting of the four companies.
Kingdom Meikles, Tanganda Tea Company, Thomas Meikles Centre and Murlis
Investments have all been listed as "specified" companies, which
allows the government to place them under administration. Lawyers acting for
the board have advised that it is perfectly legal to hold the meeting.
However, investigators from BCA Consulting have warned the chair, Much
Masunda, who is also mayor of Harare, that he and other attendees would face
criminal action if they went ahead with the meeting.
Their letter read: "KML as a specified person has no authority to
convene or assemble its members in accordance with the Notice issued by the
board prior to the specification as our authority as investigators is now
required which authority will not be granted. "Please be advised that should
you or any of the directors or members of KML or any person without lawful
authority choose to defy our position as set out above, there will be
criminal consequences for such contact."
The lawyers, however, are in no doubt that the meeting should be able
to go ahead, saying in their advice: "Even assuming.that the specification
has been validly made, we think this has no bearing on the extraordinary
general meeting, and whether it may go ahead as scheduled. Section 10 of the
Prevention of Corruption Act provides, in Section 10 (1), a list of
activities in which a specified person shall not engage. It seems clear to
us that the conduct of a meeting of shareholders, which has been convened to
determine an issue relating to the dismissal of certain directors, does not
fall within any of the prohibited activities. we advise that the recent
purported specification of your company does not have the legal effect of
preventing the convening of the extraordinary general meeting."
The investigators' reasons for withholding authority include their
allegation that the board had made decisions not in the best interests of
the company. They also make allegations about the handling of company funds.
Before the de-merger, an investigation by BCA concluded that the
Meikles family - led by John Moxon - had established externalisation deals
"indirectly or directly".
Meikles is accused of stashing huge sums of foreign currency in
foreign bank accounts in breach of Zimbabwe's exchange control regulations.
A year into an intensive and highly invasive 'investigation', no allegation
of any wrongdoing on the part of Moxon or his executives has been
According to Moxon: "The matters raised in the investigators' letter
bear no relation to the EGM agenda and are pure speculation on what may or
may not happen in the future, in their opinion.
"It should be noted that the document has been copied to the two
ministers of home affairs, and it will be interesting to see, over the next
two days, if one or both of them are complicit with the investigators in
denying shareholders their democratic rights."
September 24, 2009
MASVINGO Urban MP Tongai Matutu's 'threat' that the MDC must walk out of the
GNU displays a very ignorant view of the consequences of such an infantile
step and is totally devoid of strategy.
Taken to its logical conclusion, it constitutes rank madness and should be
The reason why Matutu makes no sense is not that Mugabe is justified in
failing deliberately to honor promises made in the GNU. Rather, it is the
consequences of imagining the future of the MDC outside the GNU to begin
Is Matutu failing to see that the GNU was always going to be a quid pro quo,
whereby Zanu-PF wanted to use the MDC as a key to unlock the door to the
West? In exchange, Mugabe would then 'tolerate', but not accede full powers
to, the MDC?
In our assessments as pundits, we worked with the worst case scenario,
whereby, once the MDC failed in its purpose (to Zanu-PF) to have the
sanctions on fat cats, their wives and 'small houses', and their children
removed, the party would have outlived its usefulness and would be ignored?
This is happening, at least if one sees the Prime Minister as someone in
power but without power.
Power is when one is able to exercise those duties and powers that the
constitution says one must exercise. As French philosopher Michel Foucault
defined it, power is when one has "power over" something, in this case, over
institutions of state that are constitutionally mandated to obey his office.
Power is not when government officers defer to a parallel stream of
authority, and defer to the Prime Minister or MDC ministers as a matter of
courtesy, or when it serves to advance their purposes, or when it knows the
actions can have blowback.
Such an arrangement transforms the GNU into something that mirrors two
earlier GNUs in the history of Zimbabwe. The first was the Muzorewa-Smith
Internal Settlement and government, in which Muzorewa was installed as Prime
Minister while Smith was minister without portfolio.
In theory, and according to the constitution, Muzorewa was
commander-in-chief and head of government. In practice, however, Ian Smith
was in charge. The generals listened only to Smith, who ordered the
firebombing of guerrilla bases and the mass extermination of civilians in
and outside the country, in the name of the Prime Minister, Bishop Abel
In the second GNU signed on 22 December 1987, like the first and the
present, Zapu enjoyed symbolic power, but not real power. It was not even a
junior partner; it was swallowed.
Like the biblical Jonah, people like Dumiso Dabengwa travelled across the
sea in the stomach of the whale, before ejecting to revive ZAPU. In the
underbelly of the whale, the late Joseph Msika wielded no power, even to the
point of being openly challenged by 'mafikizolos' like Philip Chiyangwa and
militants calling themselves 'war veterans', who were barely boys when the
war ended in 1980.
Only when the mockery and humiliation of the octogenarian got too much did
Mugabe intervene, if only as a good PR investment on ZAPU loyalties that
Point? GNUs Zimbabwe-style are such that the opposition comes in as a junior
partner, and exercises power at the pleasure of Robert Mugabe, fullstop. He
controls the army, the police, the CIO, and the prisons to lock opponents up
on trumped-up charges. All the leverages of power are in his hands, overtly
through his ministers, more ominously through his confirmed loyalists who
command the boots on the ground.
For a very long time, pundits-all readers are pundits in the age of the
internet-tried to push Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC to focus on their core
mandate in the GNU: a new democratic constitution. Instead, Tsvangirai went
all over the place campaigning for the lifting of sanctions on Zanu-PF.
People pointed out that while it was crucial to get food in the shops, pots
and plates, the mandate of cleaning up the mess Zanu-PF had caused should
not snare the MDC away from taking its eye off the ball: the Constitution.
One year has passed since the MDC signed a nocturnal power agreement,
hideously as if it were the ritual of some secret society.
Where the hell is our Constitution?
So now Tongai Matutu says his party is gearing for fresh elections and is
already campaigning. Mugabe is insistent that his party will only accept the
Kariba Draft, which was Nicodemusly crafted in the moonlight, while the owls
perched on the thatched roof, somewhere in a resort town.
Matutu is adamant: "We cannot continue to beg from Mugabe and his party over
outstanding issues.. Because of Mugabe and his party's failure to resolve
the outstanding issues we have no option but to pull out".
Help me out here for I am ignorant. Here I come to you in search of thy
Under which constitution is the MDC going to participate in an election?
Why is the MDC always fond of making empty threats which it has never
carried through? Assuming it finally follows the crazy ideas of this man, is
it not self-serving that the bone of contention is actually a struggle for
power and office for specific party-political individuals, but not because
of the stalled constitution rewriting process?
Matutu says the MDC must pull out because Roy Bennett must be in office
while Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana should not. He wants his friends to
'eat cake too', but Mugabe is not wanting to share the governorship slices
Distribution of power within a GNU which, by the way, is supposed to be a
temporary measure to facilitate the redrafting of the constitution, a
constitution upon which a dispute-free election will be based.
As long as the MDC talks about ITSELF (power-sharing among the elites) and
not about issues that concern THE PEOPLE (Where is our people-driven
Constitution?), it will be baited by Zanu-PF into an argument that is
entirely driven by party selfishness, a tit-for-tat.
By contrast, if the MDC was to talk about the Constitution, it would
successfully elevate itself above party-politics, to the production of
neutral civic document designed to clip the wings not just of Zanu-PF but
itself, and deposit 'power over' governance in the hands of the people.
In which case, the MDC would ascend above partisanship, and build an even
stronger momentum to what is, after all, the common cause even among
moderates in Zanu-PF who clearly see Mugabe's 30-year rule as a betrayal of
what was, at core, a revolutionary struggle for freedom.
What then does it help to pull out because of those specific reasons, when
the MDC itself has proven to be the biggest obstacle to a people-driven
constitution? How do those MDC officials like Matutu know that pulling out
for those specific reasons is not what Zanu-PF wants?
It may not be the best situation that the MDC is in power but without power,
but losing the symbolic power that comes with 'being in government' gives
some sort of visibility and moral restraint if Mugabe went into an election
and used violence against the MDC, is even far worse. At the very least that
visibility of 'being in power' would protect the MDC 'chefs', even while the
'wretched of the earth' will be trodden into the ground.
The MDC must have known about the advice of the Chinese general, Sun-tzu ,
writing some time around 400 BC, when he said: "Keep your enemies close, and
your friends even closer".
It is probably why Zanu-PF agreed to the first GNU (1987) and this one
(2008), and why Smith did that too in 1979.
Of course, there is no reason why Sun-tzu's dictum cannot be double-edged
sword, not as an instrument with which to commit suicide, as Matutu thinks
in one example of the failure of the political imagination, but to deliver
the death-blow to a tottering regime.
(CNN) -- Zimbabwe appears to be showing signs of recovery, but it is starting back from a very low base.
Food is on store shelves, most teachers have returned to work, long lines at banks and gas stations have dissipated, and the worthless currency has been replaced by multiple foreign bills.
But school supplies are scarce, parents pay for education with livestock, hunger is widespread, and the United Nations says Zimbabwe has similar problems to a war zone.
Just a year after the longtime ruling party Zanu-PF agreed a power sharing deal with Movement for Democratic Change, there is still a long way to go.
On Friday President Robert Mugabe speaks to the U.N. General Assembly. On Thursday, he will sit down for an exclusive interview with CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
The interview will be Mugabe's first with a major Western media organization in years, and it comes just weeks after a ban on CNN entering Zimbabwe was lifted.
Since the power-sharing deal, scores of MDC MPs have been arrested in what many believe is an attempt to undermine the party's parliamentary dominance.
One of them was Roy Bennett, who spent a month in prison and is the MDC's pick to be deputy agriculture minister.
Bennett is a longtime enemy of Mugabe, and the president now says he can be sworn into office only if he is cleared of the sabotage charges he faces
MDC leader and Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said, "The delay which is taking place for his swearing in is deliberate -- to frustrate him, to frustrate our constituency, to send a message: 'look, we can do this; we can do this unilaterally' -- and that is what we are trying to oppose."
The MDC has also rejected as unilateral the reappointments of the governor of the reserve bank and the attorney general.
According to the political agreement, Mugabe was to consult Tsvangirai before filling these key posts.
But the minister of state for presidential affairs, Didymus Mutasa, insists that the two appointments are not covered by the deal because they were made before the unity government was formed.
"Mr. Tsvangirai's concern is no concern at all, because these people were appointed before Mr. Tsvangirai was appointed, and how could our president consult a person who was not there?" Mutasa asked.
Since Zimbabwe got rid of its worthless currency, the Zim dollar, in February -- opting to use multiple foreign bills like the South African rand, the U.S. dollar and the euro -- food and other basic goods are back on the country's once empty store shelves.
But Zimbabweans without access to foreign currency can't shop. For those who don't get paid in U.S. dollars or don't have relatives abroad to send them money, livestock can be an alternative currency.
In rural Zimbabwe, chickens are valued at just under U.S. $4 each, and some parents use them to buy education -- U.S. $24 a year but still beyond the means of many -- for their children.
School headmaster Nonkulilelo Ndlovu said, "When the parents bring a chicken to sell or to offer as school levy, teachers sometimes buy it, so if they agree on the price, the teacher would get the item, pay the fees, and then if there is any change, he would give the parent the change."
The unity government has managed to get some striking teachers back into classrooms by offering them an improved salary of U.S. $150 a month, but it's hardly a living wage.
The education department estimates that it could take 10 years to get Zimbabwe's education system to where it was in the early 1990s.
Until recently, the country's banks would on a daily basis be packed with people lining up to withdraw money as inflation soared to above 200 million percent. Prices would go up by the hour, but now they have stabilized.
And now a debate is raging around when Zimbabwe will have its own currency again.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has threatened to resign if the Zim dollar is returned prematurely. He wants the economy to recover first.
The reserve bank governor, on the other hand, wants the Zim dollar back in circulation for the sake of sovereignty.
The United Nations Development Programme says the humanitarian needs in this country are similar to those in war zones.
Spokesman Agostinho Zacarias said, "At the moment, I think it is one in every 14 people, we can consider them malnourished."
He added that the global economic crisis has resulted in Zimbabwe receiving only 40 percent of the funds it needs for food aid.
Donor countries are waiting for real change in Zimbabwe before they release financial assistance for the country's economic recovery. Meanwhile, ordinary Zimbabweans continue to struggle.
Written by Staff reporter
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:05
Is Zimbabwe ready to be recognised as a top tourism destination? This
was the question that the Executive Director of Kuoni's Destination
Management Unit, Frank Glettenberg, asked on a recent trip to the country.
HARARE - Zimbabwe has, over the years, attracted many travellers. But,
as the political and economic situation worsened, the tourism industry all
but dried up. "We at Kuoni have continued to feature Victoria Falls as a
short add-on to trips in the region, but promoting the entire nation as a
destination in itself has not been on the Cards," said Glettenberg.
He listed inflation, lack of resources and the unpopular government as
reasons for this. With the formation of the government of national unity and
the dollarisation of the economy, Gletternberg decided to re-evaluate the
tourism potential of the country.
"How had the tourism infrastructure survived its dormancy? Were there
still animals aplenty in the national parks? Would people be happy to see
tourists? And most importantly, would I feel safe?" were questions he asked.
So, in July and August 2008 he travelled 1600km around Zimbabwe. These were
some of his observations.
Zimbabwe is back
"I found the main roads tarred and in a better condition than some of
those I've experienced in the UK. International car-hire companies are well
represented and offer a solid network - the selection, however, is
understandably limited. Roadblocks are frequent, which adds a bit of
travelling time, but police are courteous and anything but intimidating.
Once they realised that we were on holiday the officers all wished us a safe
journey, asking us to spread the news at home that Zimbabwe is back."
"Forgotten are the days of empty supermarkets and a lack of petrol and
diesel. The dollarisation in April 2009 has ensured the shops' shelves are
filled with everyday and luxury goods, and every fuel station is well
stocked. A common expression of waiters during this trip was, ". and I'm
proud to say that everything is available on the menu tonight!" Some South
African chain stores have already opened their doors, and Visa credit cards
are again being accepted as payment. Besides US currency, the South African
rand is also widely circulated - the Zim dollar has been suspended."
In terms of accommodation, Glettenberg found that the majority of
lodges and hotels needed some refurbishment, but all met international
standards and had excellent customer service.
"The hospitality industry offers a wide range of products: from 3-Star
hotels geared towards the tour market to intimate lodges in the wild for the
upmarket independent traveller. International hotel chains are already
investing in their properties again to bring them back to their former
Glettenberg was surprised to find the game reserves stocked with
animals and well managed. "While the damages to Zimbabwe's wildlife from
poaching have been considerable, I was able to see an abundance of animals."
"Overall Zimbabwe today presents itself as a stunningly diverse destination
for escorted groups, escorted independent travellers and self-drive
visitors. While the Zimbabweans are rebuilding their country and their
tourism industry, the only ingredient now missing is the international
traveller. We hope to change this soon with some exciting offers from
Written by Staff reporter
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 16:14
HARARE - Citizens from 14 different countries have had their farms
grabbed and given to President Robert Mugabe's cronies according to a
cabinet document obtained by The South African Sunday Times.
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. This is 70 per cent 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 at an alarming rate. In 2000 Zimbabwe produced two million tons of
maize, a figure that decrease to 450 000 tons last year. Tobacco production
has plummeted from 244 000 tons to 40 000 tons. This is partly because the
number of commercial farmers has shrunk radically from 4500 in 2000 to 400.
Written by The Editor
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 11:32
By its constant whinging about so-called sanctions, Zanu (PF) is, in
effect, admitting that it is a complete failure. Ian Smith's minority,
illegal, regime was under proper, UN-mandated sanctions for more than a
decade. And yet Rhodesia prospered.
The economy President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) inherited from the
Rhodesians was diverse, robust and stable - as a direct result of sanctions!
Admittedly, it catered only for the minority - but the fact remains
that the majority enjoyed a very high employment rate and a better quality,
and much longer, life than is currently the case.
Under UN sanctions, the Rhodesians were forbidden to trade with
anybody except South Africa. And yet they managed to penetrate world markets
and sustain a thriving economy.
The Mugabe lot persist in lying about non-existent economic sanctions
and blaming them for all Zimbabwe's woes. What they call sanctions are, in
effect, targeted travel and financial restrictions against some 220 members
of Zanu (PF).
Zimbabwe as a country can trade openly with any nation in the world.
Many agricultural products are even accorded preferential tariffs when
entering the European market.
It seems therefore that Mugabe is admitting that Smith's lot were
brighter than his lot? A lot brighter, in fact! The Rhodesians never
received a cent from the World Bank or the IMF. Zanu (PF) has received
oodles of money from these institutions - but they are still unable to pay
While unable to trade openly, the Rhodesians started assembling
vehicles locally. They found a way to bring in a range of components, and
set up industries to maximise import substitution.
Today there are no constraints on sourcing components on world
markets - yet Willowvale and Mutare assembly plants continue to operate far
Despite real sanctions, the Rhodesians managed to export massive
amounts of top-quality tobacco. It was sought after on world markets. Zanu
(PF)'s "new", weekend farmers have virtually destroyed the industry.
And now, at the height of the ICT age, Zanu (PF) has just announced it
will not license any more internet service providers. ICT is the future.
India has computerised so thoroughly and trained its people so well that its
IT sector is driving massive economic growth.
Zimbabwe could do the same. The time zones would work in our favour to
compete for outsourcing services.
But Zanu (PF) suffers from a closing down mentality. They never start
anything new. All they know how to do is to kill, steal and destroy.
After spending several months working tirelessly in the shadows as a Zanu PF operative, Jonathan Moyo finally declared publicly that after all, he was on Zanu PF’s payroll championing Mugabe’s cause. His latest charges and scattered accusations about MDC running a parallel government and working in cahoots with the World Bank to effect regime change undermine efforts of rebuilding Zimbabwe, whose ruin he aided.
In a recent confusing article enmeshed and distorted with the usual sovereignty and imperialism demagoguery, Jonathan Moyo accused the MDC of running a parallel government “in the hope of effecting yet another Final Push and regime change”. Other than the ‘regime change’ he invented and promoted by Jonathan Moyo himself, MDC remains unwaveringly committed to the principles of democracy and rule of law.
In an attempt to leverage his recent desperate application for rehabilitation and re-admission into Zanu PF, and with the help of the state media, Moyo found it necessary to use patently false information. Without any evidence to support his claims, Moyo further alleged that the Prime Minister is paying directors in his office salaries in the region of $7000 per month clandestinely funded by the World Bank.
The alleged US$7000 is an unconvincing fictitious figure being used by Jonathan Moyo as a smokescreen designed to sow seeds of discontent in order to incite mistrust and to undermine confidence in the Prime Minister. For the sake of responsible journalism, Jonathan Moyo and the rest of the state media must be challenged to prove the claims as no government officer affiliated to the Prime Minister’s office is being paid that kind of money. After all the World Bank is also a phone call away for verification. But again reporting objectively does not further their causes.
Contrary to the malicious rumours treated as fact by Jonathan and State Media, the PM’s office is staffed by twelve professionals who have satisfactorily driven policy implementation. There is an obvious sense that these eleven people have performed mightily in an environment of very limited resources where some of them are barely paid. Of the twelve officers, the Mighty Dozen in the Prime Minister’s office, only three have been confirmed by the Public Service Commission this far.
According to readily available information, it must also be noted that there is a staff compliment of 500 directors in the Office of the President and Cabinet and elsewhere in public service. If over the years, those hundreds of directors had performed or were allowed to perform just as professionally, efficiently and effectively as the twelve in the Prime Minister’s office, Zimbabwe would be a success story today.
While we understand Moyo’s frantic efforts to regain favour with Mugabe, this latest stunt is laughable. Never mind the fact that there is already deep-seated mistrust of Moyo wherever he goes and whatever he does especially by Mugabe himself. Mugabe once described him as state enemy “number one” as he precipitously fired him from Zanu PF in 2005 Moyo was fired under the most humiliating circumstances that came complete with immediate eviction from his residence provided by state.
By engaging in this latest form of mischief and inspired by his delusions of grandeur, Moyo proves once again that he is still dangerous. Zimbabwe cannot afford to have this man on the loose again. For whatever reason, if Zanu PF immediately rehires and parachutes him to his former job as Mugabe’s chief propagandist and spinmeister extraordinaire, in the minds of many Zimbabweans, Jonathan Moyo is still on political probation. His is a special purgatory for someone who still personifies yesteryear’s violence against independent press and freedom of expression.
The people of Zimbabwe know better to give any credence to Jonathan Moyo’s recent scaremongering and hallucinatory predictions of his newfound version of a political apocalypse being brought about by the MDC. As demonstrated by a new lease of life it has already ushered, to Zimbabweans, MDC does not have any other agenda except serving the people of Zimbabwe, with their interests as priority.
Contrary to State media reports, MDC does not have a parallel government. The Prime Minister is the head of government under whose jurisdiction supervision of all ministries lie (see GPA Article 20.1.4 to 20.1.6). Just as Zanu PF has violated many terms of the GPA, this latest effort is an attempt at redrawing new ‘terms’ of the GPA. Zanu PF and its top brass are the ones running a parallel government.
What better way to prove the existence of a parallel government than with Chinamasa’s recent misconduct of withdrawing the country from the SADC tribunal without cabinet approval. The SADC Tribunal which recently ruled Zimbabwe’s state sanctioned land invasions as illegal apparently infuriated Chinamasa, a multiple farm owner himself (according to Chiwewe), just like many of his colleagues in Zanu PF. Who then is behind the continuing farm invasions? It is the parallel government of Mugabe!
The glaring intransigence of the ultra-partisan security chiefs who constitute the National Security Council came under scrutiny again recently when they refused to meet with Prime Minister as stipulated under the terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The last time we checked, all the security chiefs report directly to the Commander of the Defence Forces- non other than Robert Mugabe himself.
More progress has been recorded in the past seven months since MDC joined government than an entire decade of extreme suffering and record hyperinflation brought about by ”Mugabe’s unwanted rule’, as accurately stated by Jonathan Moyo. It comes as a disappointment to Zanu PF that MDC has not betrayed the people of Zimbabwe. They are desperate to find an excuse to derail the unity government as MDC stands with its head high given the overwhelming approval by people of Zimbabwe.
Moyo’s application to rejoin the ‘reshuffled and recycled deadwood in Zanu PF”, as he recently described them; he has done so much for Mugabe and the Zanu PF establishment. The people of Zimbabwe will never forget his aiding and abetting violent farm invasions. The Zimbabwe Times of July 18, 2008 confirmed that it was Jonathan Moyo who engineered the stolen election of 2002 as well as acting recently as chief adviser to the Joint Operations Command chaired by his long-time ally and co-conspirator of the Tsholotsho failed ‘coup’, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zanu PF is in disarray and it comes as no surprise that it is using these allegations against MDC as a scapegoat. The targeted sanctions they are clamouring about were not imposed by MDC and as such it is up to the imposers of the sanctions to remove them. But again how do they remove those sanctions when underlying conditions for imposing them have not been met. Farm invasions are still being ordered by Zanu PF top brass. Lawlessness and human rights abuses are still rampant. Zanu PF does not want to see a new constitution in place. For targeted sanctions to be removed the message is quite simple, it starts and ends with restoring the people’s freedoms and rights (individual and property rights).
In a short space of time since the inception of inclusive government, Zimbabwe has already been transformed. People are reclaiming the future once again. As a result schools and hospitals have reopened while more opportunities abound. As the Prime Minister recently stated, the new political dispensation “brought life into our economy and hope to the people”
In the face of MDC’s opposition -, Zanu PF, this is tantamount to political victory which must be stopped at all costs. Fortunately the people of Zimbabwe know where the credit belongs –to them, for having elected new and trustworthy leadership.
Jonathan Moyo must remember that it was his hate language that caused violent farm seizures. It was hate language against the West and international lending institutions that also contributed to Zimbabwe being a pariah state. Like Mugabe, Moyo continues to tread in that path of vicious verbal assaults and hate language on the very international community whose help we desperately need.
By his own admission and when it was convenient Moyo wrote: “But most compelling reasons for Mugabe to resign now have to with his own fallen standing in and outside the country. That Mugabe must go now is thus no longer an dismissible opposition slogan but a strategic necessity… One does not need to be a malcontent to see that, after 25 years of controversial rule the economy has melted down as a direct result of that rule.
“Mugabe’s continued stay in office has become such an excessive burden to the welfare of the state and such a fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora that each day that goes by with him in office leaves the nation’s survival at great risk while seriously compromising national sovereignty.”
Contrary to misinformation published in State media that the disbursement of the IMF’s recent loan to Zimbabwe signifies the international community’s confidence in Dr Gono’s as a competent and credible Reserve Bank Governor, it is in actual fact the confidence expressed in Minister Tendai Biti who is in charge of the public purse.
As central bank governor, Gono continues to be a stumbling block to the smooth running of inclusive government and reform. It is therefore absurd to accolade someone who has not yet been absolved (and will not be absolved) from his culpability in the gross mismanagement and collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy. Alongside with Attorney General Johannes Tomana, Mugabe’s team of meddlers is complete. Zanu PF finds it very difficult that all of a sudden there is need for accountability having spent the past 29 years plundering national resources unchecked.
In his article entitled “Reject Mugabe’s ploy to rule forever” available on his website www.prof-jonathan-moyo.com, and also published by the Zimbabwe Independent as recent as February 9, 2007 Jonathan Moyo boldly and eloquently called for regime change. Calling Mugabe ’stupid’ Jonathan Moyo further states, “Zimbabwe urgently needs a new competent government with national and international goodwill under a new leader, not a reshuffled cabinet led by a failed and discredited sunset president who wants to cling onto power through mendacious means when he should be leaving office.”
“The mind of the electorate is now so fixed against Mugabe that if he were to contest against a donkey in the run-off, the donkey would win by a landslide not because anyone would vote for it but simply because people would vote against Mugabe and thus benefit the donkey” wrote Moyo on June3, 2008
The new leader which Jonathan Moyo prophetically wrote about finally came into existence, democratically chosen by people of Zimbabwe. Even though the very partners to the new government short-changed him by stealing an election which was otherwise a landslide victory, by joining the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai chose the path of national interest so as to afford Zimbabweans a new a beginning.
On May 3 2008 two months after the stolen election, Moyo warned that“the mind of the electorate is now so fixed against Mugabe that if he were to contest against a donkey in the run-off, the donkey would win by a landslide” adding that “there is no doubt that Tsvangirai would win the run”
From a political standpoint, Jonathan Moyo is going to be a monstrous liability to those who are going to rescue him from political oblivion. As reported in the Daily Mirror of January 15 2005, Zanu PF National Chairman John Nkomo stated: "He is not just silly, confused, but stupid." After all he still has some unfinished business given the Tsholotsho debacle. For someone getting ready to exploit Mugabe’s advanced age and Zanu PF’s internal fissures, the timing of Moyo’s application is impeccable. But Mugabe must be very afraid.
At a time the MDC is successfully restoring prosperity and deeply engaged in rebuilding burnt bridges with the international community especially lending institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, Moyo’s attacks are not only counterproductive but selfish, primitive and economically suicidal. To all progressive Zimbabweans, it is an insult for a fringe politician like Moyo to devise such dangerous, hateful and divisive tricks in this day and age. Jonathan Moyo is officially the Great Satan!
Dr Paul Mutuzu
+1 972 201 5554
Harare, September 24, 2009: An American media expert says Zimbabwe can learn from the experience of the U.S. to provide a platform for under-represented and specialist communities through community broadcasting.
“It took nearly 30 years before both the government and the American population discovered that there was an unheard voice, an unheard community, a niche not being filled and reported about and community radio was going to help cover those communities,” said Stephen Coon, Emeritus Associate Professor at Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University.
Coon was in Zimbabwe on a Visiting Speaker Program sponsored by the U. S. Embassy in Harare. The Visiting Speaker Program allows U.S. experts and personalities to meet directly with foreign publics through lectures, workshops and seminars to discuss American policies, society and culture.
The U.S. government granted its first commercial radio license in 1920, but it was in 1949 that the first community broadcasting station went on air.
Coon said the impetus for community broadcasting in the U.S. was assisted by enabling legislation noting that the U.S. government set aside a specific portion of the FM band frequency ‘exclusively and specifically’ for non-commercial radio stations.
“What we are doing with community radio in the U.S. is trying to meet the needs of specific groups and communities. Since 2000, the U.S. government has…encouraged individuals to apply for low power FM stations. The coverage is really small compared with commercial radio stations but it reaches the targeted audience,” Coon told participants at a discussion forum organized by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA- Zim) Harare Advocacy Committee at the Book Café’ last week.
Zimbabweans expect community radio stations to start operating following the liberalization of the broadcasting sector in 2000 which culminated in the promulgation of the Broadcasting Services Act. The law was revised in 2007 and in August this year Parliament submitted a list of names to the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity for consideration into the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. The BAZ is expected to invite and consider licenses from broadcasters, as well as allocate frequencies. The delays have been criticized by civic media groups.
“Although Zimbabwe got its independence in 1980, its constitutional claims of being a democracy have been dented by government’s failure to facilitate the licensing of private players including community radios,” said Kumbirai Mafunda, chairperson of MISA Zimbabwe Harare Advocacy Committee. MISA Zimbabwe has for the past several years been lobbying the government to relax restrictive provisions of media laws to allow alternative broadcasters in the media sector.
Coon chronicled the specific challenges facing community radio broadcasting, chief among which are sustainability, competition and professionalism.
“Sustainability of these media remains a key challenge throughout the world,” said Coon. In the U.S., said Coon, community radio stations receive financial support from an independent federal agency- the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - but these funds are limited due to increasing demand. As a result, a number of community broadcasters have devised a variety of fundraising initiatives to sustain their operations.
In addition to funding challenges, community radio often do not have as high of professional standards as those found in commercial broadcasting, said Coon.
“Many community radio stations operate on limited budgets. Most rely on volunteers and the challenge is to keep volunteers motivated. The quality of the news reporting and production is not as quite competitive as the commercial radio stations. That can be overcome,” said Coon who conducted training sessions for radio production training sessions for aspiring community radio stations in Harare and Bulawayo.
Despite the proliferation of different media including new media, community radio remains popular in the U.S. because “we still have voices, we still have issues, we still have topics that are still being reported on. We have communities that want to say something, have something to say, and have issues and concerns that need to be reported about. The mainstream media in the U.S. are simply not doing that,” said Coon.
# # #
This report was produced and distributed by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and enquiries should be directed to the Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, Tel.+ 263 4 758800-1, Fax: +263 4 758802, E-mail: email@example.com, http://harare.usembassy.gov
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[23rd September 2009]
of Short-listed Applicants for
Monday 28th September
9 am through to 5 pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament
28 applicants have been short-listed out of over 100 who applied for appointment to the Electoral Commission.
Open to Public:
The public will be permitted to attend and to watch and listen but not
participate. As seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend is advised to
check with Parliament’s Public Relations office on
Selection Procedures: Under section 100B of the Constitution it is the President who appoints the chairperson and the eight other members of the Electoral Commission. The procedure for appointment of the chairperson differs from the procedure for the Media Commission where the President chooses the chairperson from the list of nominees for the commission sent to him by Parliament. For the Electoral Commission the chairperson is appointed by the President “after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders” [CSRO] – he or she does not have to be appointed from the list put forward by Parliament. “After consultation” means that President has to discuss his choice with the bodies to be consulted but is free to disregard their views. The President must appoint 8, at least 4 of whom must be women, other members of the Electoral Commission from a list of not fewer than 12 nominees [it can be more than 12], submitted to him by the CSRO [Constitution, section 100B(3)].
Qualifications for Appointment to Electoral Commission
Chairperson: The chairperson must be a judge or former judge or a person qualified to be a judge [i.e., a registered legal practitioner of at least seven year’s standing].
Other members: Section 100B(4) of the Constitution states that persons appointed to the Commission “must be chosen for their integrity and their experience and competence in the conduct of affairs in the public or private sector”.
Interview procedure: The interviews will be conducted by a five-member panel using structured questions drafted by consultants. Another 8 designated members of the CSRO will be putting supplementary questions after the panel has asked its set questions. All other members of the CSRO are expected to attend and observe.
Members of the interview panel are the same as for the Media Commission interviews:
Senator Obert Gutu [MDC-T]
Thabitha Khumalo MP [MDC-T]
Edward Mkhosi MP [MDC-M]
Mabel Chinomona [ZANU-PF]
Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira.
Candidates’ performance on interview will be rated by the consultants advising the CSRO, the interview panel and the 8 other designated members of the CSRO. The scoring of these three groups will be compared and if there is agreement the list will be finalised there and then. If the compared scorings do not produce a clear result, the final decision on which candidates will be put forward to the President will be taken by the full CSRO.
Some of the Candidates [Note: these names were published as short listed candidates in the State press although Parliament has said the list is not being released yet as some candidates have still to be contacted]
Mrs Joyce Kazembe, Deputy Chairperson of the present Commission
Theophilus Gambe, Member of the present Commission, a legal practitioner
Vivian Ncube, Member of the present Commission
Dr Goodwill Shana, Chair, Heads of Christian Denominations
Mrs Bessie Nhandara, an academic
Powers and Functions of the Electoral Commission
The Commission is a vitally important body. Its main functions outlined in the Constitution are:
· to prepare for, conduct and supervise elections at national and local level, and referendums [particularly relevant with a referendum on the draft new Constitution due next year] and to all matters pertaining to elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law;
· to supervise the registration of voters, and to compile and safeguard voters rolls;
· to conduct the delimitation of wards and constituencies in accordance with the Constitution;
· to conduct voter education.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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1. Destruction of private Wildlife - Willy Herbst
2. What is going on in Zimbabwe?- Richard Owen
3. Politicians will be politicians ! - Richard Owen
Here we go. We are running this up the local and international flag pole.
PM and senior Minister informed, diplomatic protests tomorrow and so on.
This is more than a farm invasion and it will hurt the GNU, I am afraid.
Subject: Zimbabwe:Total destruction of private Wildlife Conservancies in
the making / Workshop on Implementation of Wildlife Based Land Reform -
Destruction of the last bastion of teaming wildlife in Zimbabwe after
over 60% of the National Heard of wildlife was eliminated in the last 10
A blatant attempt to expropriate foreign and locally owned properties in
all private Wildlife Conservancies
Issuing 25 year leases to anyone but existing owners is expropriation and
flies in the face of current law and the GPA
High profile International Court cases will not follow
Cabinet Ministers are directly involved in handing out leases to people
other than title holders. Minister Nehma, Mudenge and Governor Maluleke
are orchestrating the "land grab"
Mudenge and Maluleke have both forced themselves into such
`partnerships' with ZIC approved and foreign owned
properties, another leading example of a corrupt Government in disregard
of local law, International Law and ZIC approved investments
Foreign investors will finally have lost faith in the promises of
The President, Prime Minster, deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers making
statements at recent investment conference are made a laughing stock with
total loss of credibility locally and globally
The GNU is seen to have no control over rogue members of Cabinet or
adherence to law and order
"eye witness report":
The meeting started at 10:55am. It was attended by about 40 persons. It
was difficult for me to keep account of who was representing the
Government or who was a "new partner" forced on to the
Conservancies. Few people representation the Conservancies were present
on such short notice.
It was interesting to note that UNDP funded the workshop, their
representative was present but we were unable to confirm his name. These
funds would have been negotiated by Vitalis Chadenga, deputy director of
National Parks. What a gross misuse of overseas Investors' tax
This "workshop" is clearly a Masvingo initiative, planned
over a longer period of time, meant to overwhelm us with extremely short
notice. However, Minister Nhema, Minister Murewha, the two ministries
responsible to central government for the implementation of government
policy in this regard, were absent, although Minister Muzembi who is from
Masvingo and was invited to address the meeting sent a junior
representative to deliver his speech, which focused mainly on the
important roll the tourism industry can have in the recovery of Zimbabwe,
but that it needed to maintain investor confidence.
The meeting followed the usual pattern where each person had to introduce
themselves. As most of them spoke very quietly, it was difficult for me
to establish, who was who.
The Provincial Manager for National Parks, a Mr. Gotosa, Director of
National Parks Vitalis Chidenga, Minister Stan Mudenge, Ministry of
Tourism Mr. Mavavhombu, Provincial Administrator Chikovo, and
Masvingo's Governor Mululeke, sat at the main table.
Chidenga opened the meeting by saying that some people had been given
leases and that this Workshop was to discuss how to run wildlife
businesses between the old and new partners. Wild life needed protection
and understanding and that with no wild life there was nothing to do
Col. Mokova, (new partner, Savuli, southern neighbour to Sango in the
Save Valley Conservancy), wanted to know when they could move on and
start business. Chidenga replied that they must have an agreement with
the present operator first.
Minister Mudenge then opened the meeting. He said that this was the
second meeting of the old and new partners, together they must discuss
conservancies. No mention made of these partners being forced onto
existing owners and the effect this would have on foreign owned
properties (about 70% across the Conservancies). This was part and parcel
of the land reform process, he said. Government did not rush this. New
partners wanted to do this quickly. Government was aware of the delicacy
and complexity, but stated that, we now have a new wild life policy.
Old and New operators would have 25 year leases. They would be
partners in business and would need to provide the Ministry of
Environment with a business plan. New partners should bring something to
the table (referring to paying for their part of the business). Business
principles should be adhered to. Government has learnt from the Land
Reform Program and realize that this type of partnership has the best
chance of working. Zimbabwe is part of the Trans Frontier Conservation
Area, and making these partnerships work would show the rest of the world
that we can work together. Again, no mention was made of the fact that
the Wild Life and Tourism Industry is indigenised well above 80% across
the whole country.
The Tourism representative, Mr. Mavavhombu (his name sounded Mazombu),
read a speech on behalf of the Minister Walter Mazembi. The speech was
positive and he pointed out all the good tourism can do for the country,
the need to protect wildlife, encourage business and investors'
National Parks then gave a brief slide presentation. Issues, concerns
and expectations of Wild Life Management. It covered topics of more
equity, maintaining investors' confidence etc. Their concerns were,
poaching, habitat destruction, gold panning, lack of skills, illegal
settlement, negative publicity, etc. (They have promised to let me have
the presentations by email).
Mr. Chibere, National Parks, then presented a business prospective,
hunting administration, presentation. He pointed out the decline in
hunting revenues over the last few years, that tourism was driven by
consumptive and non consumptive business. He gave an example of the
value of elephant. He then presented a typical hunting concession quota.
He demonstrated the value and then showed the costs pertaining to
running a hunting business, very little profit left yet some costs as to
fence maintenance and anti-poaching control were not even included. His
point came across very well in that new entrants should not expect huge
profits and that there were serious responsibilities to wild life
There was then a lunch break.
The meeting resumed with four questions for discussion.
How do we ensure business viability (it was agreed that this was a
vast/complex topic and would need more time than available to come up
with complete answers)
How to ensure adherence to indigenization and wild life land reform
implementation policy options.
Strategies for seamless entries of new partners and communities into the
wild life business. (What strategies do we adopt to ensure the smooth
introduction of the WLRP.)
What measures to be taken to address settlers on wild life land. I.e. how
do we address the illegal settlement in the conservancies?
Mudenge was quick to say that we (his side of the political arena) should
not enter in to areas where angels fear to tread and told the Governor
and the attending MP's to sort out. Therefore, this sensitive issue
was not his mandate but he placed it on the governor's desk. We see
a cynical strategy here in that this is going to be left for the incoming
governor to deal with. It will put this emotional land issue squarely on
the shoulders of the new MDC governor, which could be a strategy to build
an alliance with the 50 or 60 new partners and the 10,000 illegal
settlers to challenge the GNU.
These questions caused much discussion. Your email had been read by some
members from the floor and MP Ndava. (New partner Bedford Block) wanted
to know what rights foreign investors had to tell Zimbabwe what to do,
they impose sanctions and want to be protected, etc. ? Minister Mudenge
told him that a way had to be found, that the Government was committed to
the land reform and that leases had been issued (at this point the
provincial administrator put a pile of envelopes on the table).
The meeting also recognized that the new partners/operators needed
Government assistance to empower them. Mudenge discussed them receiving
animals, buffalo or elephant to pay for partnerships irrespective of the
fact that National Parks have lost most of their animals through
mismanagement and Conservancies having an overabundance of elephants and
planes game. Again, reality was not the topic of the day.
Closing remarks were then given by Governor Mulaleke. He said that today
was a land mark meeting of old and new safari operators. This, the
second meeting, now made formal the wild life business with new partners.
All land was now State Property. Existing partners must now recognize
new partners. New partners must now be prepared to invest before
generating income. He was happy with the Government donating wild life
to business. Government wants viability and profitability. He had been
working towards this for a long time.
Most new partners are keen to proceed with haste and although a little
disappointed from the viability presented by Chipere from National Parks,
they are relaxed due to the fact that they believe Government will assist
in their cost of buy in. This will give them a seat on the board so they
can understand how the industry works, and may get something out in the
process, if government puts up all the equity, what is there to lose.
The new partners were then told to step forward to collect and sign for
their new leases.
I was not able to get a list of who these leases were given to, or to see
a lease. One of the new partners confirmed on my questioning that the
lease was from the Ministry of Environment, signed by Minister Nhema.
We have spoken to Chadenga on the need for a small technical group to
meet as soon as possible to discuss the technical aspects of, and, the
international implications of this move. Such as, companies have
"sanctioned" partners, BIPA and ZIA agreements, the
conservancy's indigenization plan, which has not been commented on,
etc. Chadenga did not appear very concerned about these issues.
The tone of the meeting was very friendly and cordial. None of the
previous underlying threats were felt. Everybody seemed very confident
with governments' ability to make the process happen. It is
difficult to pick up the tone of a meeting from somebody else's
minutes, but Chadenga, Minister Mudenge, the Governor, were all almost
jovial and any negative comments coming from the floor were quickly
commented on and brushed aside. They know exactly what they are doing
and will not be deterred.
Government is very aware that the farm disruptions have made
international news and also more importantly have been a complete
failure. This new type of "friendly" "land-grab"
is their mark 2 version of land reform. This appeases the party
faithful, who need the extra properties to add to their portfolio of
business and from a distance looks reasonable to the uninformed. They
feel that it is their right to indigenize the business and this way of
doing it will supposedly keep tourism working and make them wealthy
Our feeling is that no reasonable discussion, sanctions lists, diplomatic
intervention, etc. will persuade them not to do this. They already
clearly know that this is against the agreement made for the Government
of National Unity, but that very Government is seen powerless to stop
them. Minister Nhema signing these leases means that he is confident in
the support which he has, so although this has not been discussed in
parliament, he understands that he is protected and has the backing
2. What is going on in Zimbabwe?- Richard Owen
An interesting perspective is to analyse the Zimbabwe Government of
National Unity from the perspective of Zanu PF. The first question is:
Does Zanu PF support the GNU? The answer is an unqualified NO. During the
presidential election in 2008, Zanu PF was prepared to openly use extreme
barbaric and murderous tactics to avoid an opposition victory.
Their militia even beat up the SADC observer mission while the police
stood by and watched! It was a "win at all costs" strategy.
The result of the parliamentary poll is that the MDC won a majority of
the votes and seats in parliament. Even 5 weeks of
"recounting" by "honest" Tobiawa Mudede could not
overturn this majority. The MDC election victory, the economic collapse
and Zanu PF's de facto military coup, all forced SADC to embrace
the idea of a Government of National Unity (GNU).
Although neither party really wants to be part of the GNU, they have very
different attitudes to their participation. The MDC wants to GNU to be a
success, because this will reflect well on them, show them to be
competent and capable of running the country and simultaneously reflect
badly on Zanu PF, by contrasting MDC success with Zanu PF failure. Zanu
PF for the same reasons wants the GNU to do badly, because they will then
be able to say that the MDC is incompetent and not capable of running the
So what does Zanu PF do? It invades white owned commercial farms. These
present farm invasions are political and unrelated to land reform, just
as the earlier 2000 / 2002 farm invasions which were designed to destroy
the farm worker voting block. These present GNU farm invasions are
designed to undermine any possibility for the MDC to revive the economy
and to make a success of the GNU. The GNU farm invasions call into
question the rule of law, the security of property rights (now add the
Meikles Africa confiscation to really make the point), the whole
political transformation, the professionalism of the police / army, the
possibility of improving relations with the donor community and the
revival of bilateral aid (the real sanctions), as well as a whole host of
issues around democracy and human rights. They also clearly show that
Zanu PF is calling the shots and still has the muscle to do what they
want. MDC are thereby made to look weak and helpless, and hence their
initial desire not to get involved in the farm invasions issue.
As an inevitable fruit of apartheid, it is politically impossible for an
ANC government to support white farmers in a race based land dispute in
southern Africa, regardless of the circumstances. As a result the
Kinshasa summit and other SADC summits on Zimbabwe are a foregone
conclusion. Mugabe knows that his SADC allies cannot dump him because he
has convinced the regional population that he is redressing the
inequalities between the races in southern Africa. This is ironic but not
entirely without a smidgen of justice. Nevertheless within Zimbabwe
itself, amongst a population desperate for employment and economic
growth, the farm invasion policy is becoming increasingly unpopular.
So Zanu PF wants the GNU to do badly and the MDC want it to do well; and
Zanu PF is calling the shots. But do the MDC have any alternatives to
What about the collapse of the GNU? Zanu PF may want to GNU to do badly,
but they fear its collapse. If the GNU collapses, Zanu PF will inevitably
have to take over the government of Zimbabwe as their sole
responsibility. But they will be in a very difficult corner. Any of the
few green shoots of aid will dry up immediately. Schools and hospitals
will probably be closed again. There may be a very unwelcome return of
the Zimbabwe dollar and hyperinflation, generating unrest across the
country probably including the army and police. SADC would be very
offended, because they have invested so much political capital in the
GNU, and they know that they will never be able to sell a Zanu PF
government to the international community. The whole Zimbabwe crisis will
be reset to square one, and it will be all in Zanu PF's lap. Zanu
PF wants the GNU alive but sick.
The MDC position is not quite so clear. As shown, they can clearly more
easily afford the collapse of the GNU. It gets them out of an impossible
situation of trying to revive Zimbabwe in the face of outright sabotage
by Zanu PF. They will also not take the blame for the collapse, because
it is already obvious that Zanu PF is undermining the GNU on a daily
basis. On the negative side, MDC will be out of government and away from
the few levers of power that it now controls. It will keenly feel this
loss, but MDC would certainly be less disadvantaged than Zanu PF by the
collapse of the GNU. They should use this leverage to better effect with
Are there any other alternatives? Populist politics is always an option,
but MDC have shown the dangers in this. Zanu PF will remobilize their
militia and the whole violent cycle will be replayed, clearly not an
Mr Mugabe stands for re-election as Zanu PF president for life in
December, and his addiction to total power is his own Achilles heel. The
replacement of the Zimdollar with US$ has substantially reduced Mr
Mugabe's capacity for patronage and his ability to distribute
largesse in exchange for "loyalty", which means that there
are a growing number of Zanu PF loyalists who are beginning to appreciate
the need for economic revival, and are therefore interested to see the
They understand that Mr Mugabe addiction to power means that he is not
prepared to make any concessions to his partners in the GNU and that his
complete intransigence may precipitate its collapse. Mr Mugabe standing
for re-election may therefore alienate those in Zanu PF who actually want
to see a return to economic prosperity.
None of this is easy or simple, and no-one has ever succeeded by
underestimating Mr Mugabe, but he is the grit blocking the mechanism of
movement in Zimbabwe, and as long as he stays in power, Zimbabwe can
never begin to recover.
3. Politicians will be politicians ! - Richard Owen
Last month Eddie Cross was all about how the GNU and GPA were working
well and all the progress that MDC had made and how vital and essential
it was to persist despite provocations.... and the GNU was the future.
This month, the GPA & GNU are now clearly no longer being honoured by
Zanu PF, and the MDC will no longer be pushed around by Zanu PF and might
withdraw from the GNU etc... well at least the scales have fallen from
his eyes. Reality is reality and Eddie should avoid putting too much spin
on events to suit the MDC's political decision making process.
Everything is not working out wonderfully well according to the MDC plans
and the MDC strategists (are there any?) should be at least as cynical
about the GNU as the Zanu PF strategists. Cover your backs and make at
least as many alliances and agreed policy options for different scenarios
with all sorts of players - internal, regional and international - as
Mugabe tells lies.. It's a tough struggle but realpolitik is on
MDC's side and if they can strategize effectively they should succeed...
But the constant claims by Eddie that all is going according to plan are
a bit much, propaganda value notwithstanding.
Remember all the SADC decisions!