By Tichaona Sibanda
1 September 2009
The international advocacy group, Human Rights Watch, has urged the
international community to maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset
freezes against ZANU PF and its leadership.
Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher, Tiseke Kasambala, told us from
Johannesburg on Tuesday that the West should only consider lifting the
sanctions if there are concrete commitments from Mugabe to implement fully
the Global Political Agreement.
'We believe that ZANU PF and Mugabe are the main obstacles to progress in
terms of reforms. Unless there are clear cut reforms in human rights and
other contentious areas, there should be no lifting of any targeted
sanctions against individuals in ZANU PF,' Kasambala said.
HRW released a report on Monday titled 'False Dawn', that highlights
numerous failures by the inclusive government to implement the GPA, almost a
year after Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara signed the
deal on 15th September 2008.
With the anniversary of the GPA coming up in two weeks' time Tsvangirai on
Tuesday accused Mugabe of failing to honour an agreement to reverse the
appointments of the Central Bank Governor, and the Attorney General, while
at the same time not going ahead with the appointment of provincial
governors. Briefing journalists in Harare Tsvangirai also accused Mugabe of
undermining the GPA through the arrest of several MDC lawmakers.
"Firstly, it is regrettable that the government has not been fully
consummated to the extent that not all ministerial holders have been sworn
in,' he said in reference to Roy Bennett, the deputy Agriculture Minister
designate, who has not been sworn in since he was nominated by the MDC to
The Prime Minister said the issue of the RBZ Governor and Attorney General
and the failure to appoint provincial governors was 'impacting negatively on
the credibility and legitimacy' of the inclusive government, and should be
Current SADC chairman, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, last week
called on the coalition partners to fulfill the benchmarks set by donors, to
ensure financial assistance to Zimbabwe. The benchmarks include complete
implementation of the agreement.
So far, the inclusive government has failed to repeal or amend all national
legislation that is incompatible with international and regional human
rights law and standards, including the Criminal Law Codification and Reform
Act; the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
South Africa's foreign ministry said on Monday the power-sharing government
will top the agenda at a regional summit next week in Kinshasa.
The 15-nation SADC bloc will hold its annual summit on September 7th and 8th
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where South Africa will hand over the
chairmanship to the Joseph Kabila of the DRC. Kabila is a close allay of
Mugabe and seen as too friendly to reign in the 85 year-old leader.
'This will be a very important summit,' South African foreign ministry's
director general Ayanda Ntsaluba said. Zuma is expected to brief the leaders
about his visit to Zimbabwe last week, where he reportedly pressured the
leaders of the inclusive government to overcome their differences.
September 1, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said his party can quit the unity government if
it fails to work to its satisfaction.
"We are not tied up by anything other than the fact that we volunteered to
be in this government and what will stop us from leaving?" said Tsvangirai
while addressing journalists at his party's Harvest House offices in Harare.
"We have an option of getting out if we think that it's not working. But
what we want to emphasize is that when we say its irreversible we are not
saying things will not change, we just say this is the only option that
gives direction to the people of Zimbabwe and on that we are very
Tsvangirai said he was disappointed by the failure by Zimbabwe's new
coalition government to solve the outstanding political issues.
"As a party we remain concerned and disappointed with the deliberate
frustration associated with the implementation of key outstanding issues of
the GPA, including the failure to implement the SADC resolutions of the 27th
of January 2009," said Tsvangirai.
"It s regrettable that the government has not been fully consummated to the
extent that not all ministerial office holders have been sworn in. The case
of Roy Bennett remains a blatant indicator of poor faith in implementing the
The MDC said in a statement that Tsvangirai called Tuesday's press
conference to mark the first anniversary of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA). The leaders of the three main political parties in Zimbabwe, Zanu-PF
and the two MDCs signed the GPA on September 15, 2008.
During his address, Tsvangirai berated the State media for alleged bias and
for undermining the GPA.
"The political climate in Zimbabwe continues to be marred by unfortunate and
vicious propaganda that emanates from the State media," he said.
"It appears that the State media continues to see the three political
parties in the inclusive government through its historic perspective of
hatred and acrimony, blatantly advancing the interests of a single political
"The distortion of the political reality by the State media presents a real
and credible threat to this government and its ability to impact positively
on the lives of all Zimbabweans."
Tsvangirai said the continued selective application of the rule of law,
including the persecution and prosecution of MDC MPs, by forces aligned to
Zanu-PF continued to "inflame political tensions" in Zimbabwe
He accused Zanu-PF of deliberately stalling progress of the coalition
government by refusing to implement the GPA.
"It is also regrettable that we have not resolved or implemented agreed
positions on provincial governors despite the negotiators agreeing on a
formula for their fair allocation," said Tsvangirai.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai are deadlocked over several outstanding issues, among
them Mugabe's arbitrary appointment of two top allies to head the central
bank and attorney general's office in violation of the power-sharing
agreement that says such appointments should be by consensus.
Other issues include delays in swearing in of provincial governors and Roy
Bennett - Tsvangirai's appointee as deputy minister of Agriculture - as well
as a police crackdown on legislators from Tsvangirai's MDC party.
Tsvangirai said his party will next week ask SADC leaders at a summit to be
held in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to take a serious
look at the Zimbabwean issue.
"We urge SADC to place the issue of Zimbabwe for specific consideration
during the forthcoming summit in Kinshasa," said Tsvangirai.
Turning onto the recent visit by South African President Jacob Zuma,
Tsvangirai said the current SADC Chairperson had not come to Harare to solve
the outstanding issues but to understand the dispute in order for him to go
to next week's SADC summit with a full briefing.
"His purpose was not to resolve but to familiarize himself with whatever
perceived disputes of the differences in complying with the agreement, he
needed to conceptualize the dispute. And I am sure at the end of our
briefing he has fully grasped the issues that he is going to brief to SADC,"
Zanu-PF has accused Tsvangirai's MDC of failing to meet its part of the
political bargain by failing to call for an end to sanctions.
Zimbabwe's unity government has done well to stabilise the economy and end
inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the height
of the country's economic meltdown last year.
But analysts remain doubtful about the administration's long-term
effectiveness, citing unending squabbles between Zanu-PF and MDC as well as
by the coalition government's inability to secure direct financial support
from rich Western nations.
Tue Sep 1, 12:30 pm ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that
disputes with his former rival President Robert Mugabe over the central bank
chief and other posts were undermining the unity government.
"The outstanding issue of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and the
attorney general, which ought to have been resolved a long time ago, are
impacting negatively on the credibility and legitimacy of the inclusive
government," Tsvangirai told reporters.
The former opposition leader spoke as regional leaders prepare to meet next
week in Kinshasa, where the 15-nation Southern African Development Community
(SADC) is expected to discuss the unity government's performance.
"The Southern African Development Community accepted that these were genuine
issues and that the appointments should not have been," he said.
Mugabe made both appointments and has refused to backtrack on them, though
he bowed to forming the unity government with Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) also says its members are
still being harassed by the police, despite guarantees of political freedoms
in the unity accord.
"To make matters worse, the selective application of the rule of law,
including the persecution and prosecution of MDC members of parliament,
continues to inflame political tensions," Tsvangirai said.
"Equally problematic is the deliberately slow pace of progress on the
implementation of key issues connected to human rights and the rule of law."
The premier also complained that key MDC members have yet to be sworn in as
provincial governors and cabinet officials, despite an agreement that they
would be installed by the end of August.
Roy Bennett, a former white farmer tapped by MDC to become deputy
agriculture minister, was arrested on terror charges before his swearing in.
Tsvangirai also accused Mugabe's supporters of using state media to advocate
only for the interests of their party.
"This distortion of the political reality by the state media presents a real
and credible threat to the inclusive government and its ability to impact
positively on the lives of all Zimbabweans," he said.
In the run-up to the summit, rights groups have also denounced Mugabe's
refusal to commit to greater political openess, with Human Rights Watch on
Tuesday urging regional leaders to set specific benchmarks for the unity
Sep 1, 2009, 11:05 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwe's government is demanding 50 per cent of all investments
in the country's diamond wealth, local media reported Tuesday.
'With diamonds, we want 50-50 per cent shareholding in joint ventures with
investors,' Mines Minister Obert Mpofu was quoted by the state-controlled
Herald newspaper as telling a parliamentary committee on mining. 'That's not
Mpofu said the government was drafting legislation to put its stake into
Zimbabwe has three diamond mines, one of which, the Chiadzwa diamond field
in eastern Zimbabwe, is controlled by the state. The military has been
accused of gross human rights abuses against diamond diggers and residents
in Chiadza, prompting calls for Zimbabwe's suspension from the global
After visiting the area in June the Kimberley Process - a global watchdog
that tries to prevent trade in diamonds that fuel conflict - called for the
military be withdrawn and Zimbabwe's diamond sales to be halted for at least
Mpofu on Tuesday again insisted that the troops would only be withdrawn once
'adequate (private) security is in place.'
He also told the committee that the government was planning on revoking all
current privately-held mining claims because they were 'not doing any work'
on the claims.
The government was drafting regulations 'rescinding everything,' he said.
Future claim holders would have to prove they were developing their claims,
His remarks follow his assurances to investors at a conference this year
that the government was preparing an 'investment-friendly' package for
foreign mining companies. Mpofu had hinted then that the government would
scrap proposals for a 51 per cent government stake in investments.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, President Robert Mugabe's partner in the
six-month-old coalition government, had also said government would scale
back its demands.
Industry executives have warned that a 50-per-cent state stake could deter
investors at a time when the cash-strapped government is desperate for
They blame the international recession and uncertainty over governments'
plans for mining for the reduced activity at mining concessions.
The government seized the Chiadzwa field from British-based Africa Resources
Limited in 2007, allowed unlicensed diggers to overrun it and in November
last year, drove them off in a military crackdown and gave it to the
bankrupt, state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Company.
In a year of operations the state had earned only 8.2 million dollars from
the Chiadza fields, Mpofu said.
By Alex Bell
01 September 2009
Many schools across the country are expected to remain shut at the start of
the new term this week, because of a nationwide teachers' strike that is set
to go ahead on Wednesday.
The start of the new school term has been in doubt after the country's
leading teacher's union last week called for a mass strike over pay.
Teachers now earn an average of US$155 per month after deductions, after an
incremental adjustment earlier this year. However, teachers' unions have
rejected the amount, saying the government 'imposed' the salaries on them,
rather than coming to an agreement with the education staff.
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) last week said teachers did not
want to continue to 'live in abject poverty and perpetual debt' caused by
ballooning unpaid domestic utility bills and unaffordable costs of educating
their children. The union said on Friday that teachers had been told not to
report for work until government agrees to pay them US$300 a month and
allowances of US$100. ZIMTA is reportedly also demanding a further US$100
monthly increment to see teachers earning US$500 in December.
A meeting between teachers' union and education officials, which was hoped
to avoid the mass action, reportedly failed to materialise on Monday.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti instead said in an interview that the
government does not have the kind of resources to meet the demands of all
its civil servants. Minister Biti said the government was operating on
limited cash resources with "little fiscus space" to manoeuvre. He appealed
to all civil servants to be patient while the economy grew and tax revenues
"Our main priority is to pay the civil servants and from the time we
announced salaries for the civil service, about 70 percent or two-thirds of
the budget has gone to pay our workers," he said.
The call for patience is not a new one and teachers have previously
withdrawn threats to down tools because of the government's 'empty coffers'
argument. But ZIMTA earlier this year warned that a mass strike would be a
last resort by teachers, saying that the Education Ministry had until the
end of July to produce a 'progressive' salary structure for state teachers.
ZIMTA Acting Chief Executive Sifiso Ndlovu on Tuesday said the Ministry has
not acted in good faith and has failed to draw up a reliable plan to award
"These excuses from the government are 11th hour excuses, and they are not
good enough after months of patiently waiting for our concerns to be
addressed," Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu explained that 'meaningful engagement' with the Ministries of
Education and Finance, in the absence of a long-term payment strategy, would
help end the strike. But he insisted that teachers would not be returning to
their posts until some form of assurance from the government was
Meanwhile, the smaller union, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ), has said it will not be joining the strike, voicing fears over the
recent dismissal of some striking doctors. Doctors, who were on strike for
roughly three weeks, ended their mass action last week, but not before a
number of state doctors were issued with letters of dismissal. PTUZ
Secretary General Raymond Majongwe said in an interview that the union did
not want to expose its members to the same action, adding that it was
'irresponsible' to forgo another school term.
Last year, students only received an estimated 26 days of full learning as a
result of rampant teachers' strikes, and disruption due to last year's
politically motivated violence. Concerns are now high that another lost year
of education will further erode the country's reputation as one of the most
literate countries in Africa.
From The Cape Argus (SA), 31 August
Whites in Zim are still targeted - and SA investment is under threat
Harare - Sophie Hart, an elderly white farmer, has been murdered in central
Zimbabwe. She was evicted from the family farm several years ago and had
been living on a smallholding. The police have not reacted to her murder at
the weekend. Five white people, all of them older than 70, have been
murdered in the past few months, and a husband and wife farmer team, Jenny
and Ian le Roux, were in a Harare hospital last week recovering from
injuries inflicted by a group trying to take over their homestead about 90km
north of Harare. Neighbours believe that the murders are committed by
criminals who apparently think that white people have cash in their homes.
Yet all those murdered or injured recently were "penniless", according to
their families and the Commercial Farmers' Union. In the ongoing violence
against white farmers, a South African agricultural investment is now under
threat. Pannar Seed Co (Pvt) Ltd, one of Zimbabwe's main seed producers, has
been under enormous pressure for the past three weeks, and land it uses was
The man who is claiming the land, Herbert Shumbamhini, says he is a
"reverend" in the Apostolic faith, and a militant Zanu PF supporter. When
land invasions began in 2000, Dennis Lapham, in the Enterprise area about
40km north-east of Harare, lost most of his land, which was gazetted for
acquisition by the state. In 2002, Pannar Seed was granted that confiscated
land and Lapham was allowed to remain in his homestead on a small section of
his original landholding. Now the arrangement is under threat - Shumbamhini
tried to violently evict Lapham from his homestead yesterday. "It is
terrible; we are being threatened with the worst, and the police will not
help," Lapham said. A week ago, Shumbamhini arrived at the Lapham home with
a weapon, and blocked the driveway. "I did not have a gun, I have been given
this property, and Lapham must go," he said later. Lapham's plea for help
was echoed by another white farmer, Ken Bartholomew, in the Chegutu area in
central Zimbabwe. He won a high court case last week to keep farming on the
small piece of land he had left, but his tobacco seed beds were poisoned
with herbicide on Friday. He is constantly harassed by a Zanu PF militant,
and he also says the police won't help him. "Had I been allowed to plant out
these seed beds, the crop would have been worth about US$600 000. It is
madness to stop us producing."
These images are of the Freeth family home burning to the ground - possibly an arson attack. More via SW Radio Africa below. Links to previous blogs about the terrible experiences of the Freeth family are provided at the end of this post.
This article via SW Radio Africa:
A beleaguered commercial farmer in Chegutu, who has faced months of intimidation and attack by land invaders this year, was on Monday night without a home, after his farmhouse was burned down in an apparent arson attack on Sunday.
Ben Freeth has endured some of the worst attacks on Mount Carmel farm since the renewed offensive against the commercial farming community began in earnest this year. His farmhouse, the homes of some of his workers and an on-site factory for the farm produce, were also burned down in the fire, which started while he and his family were at Church. Freeth explained on Monday that because land invaders have stolen all their equipment, including their tractors and irrigation pipes, the family was not able to put out of the fire when they returned home. He described how, with a strong wind, the fire quickly spread, destroying his home and the houses of his staff.
“There was only enough time for me to get my family’s passports and our computer, but that was all,” Freeth explained. “We have literally been left with the clothes on our backs.”
Freeth’s staff have also lost everything, and Freeth said he is determined to rebuild and give his staff a chance to also rebuild their lives. He explained that arson would never be proved, but argued that the fire would not have been so devastating if land invading ‘thugs’ had not stolen their equipment. Freeth added that surrounding farmers would usually rush to help fight a fire, but the renewed attack against Zimbabwe’s farmers means most have fled. Freeth said he, his family and workers were left alone to battle the blaze.
“While we were fighting the fire, some of the thugs were driving around on our tractor with our water pumps and dowsers, but they didn’t come near us,” Ben explained. “They were probably laughing at us.”
The attack came mere days after South African President Jacob Zuma delivered an implied rebuke to Robert Mugabe over the continuing lawlessness on white-owned commercial farms, when he said that the six-month-old coalition government should ensure productivity on all agricultural land. Zuma was in Harare last week to mediate in the unity government dispute and made it clear that he backed Tsvangirai’s insistence that Mugabe had failed to meet his obligations to restore democratic reforms.
Last year, Freeth and his parents in law, Mike and Angela Campbell, were abducted and severely beaten, on the day that Mugabe was announced the winner of the farcical one-man presidential runoff election in June. Freeth, his family and his workers have since endured months of intimidation and harassment by farm invaders, working for ZANU PF top official Nathan Shamuyarira. The intimidation continued, regardless of the formation of the unity government in February. In April some of Freeth’s staff were arrested and severely beaten when they tried to defend the farm against the land invaders. Mike and Angela also fled the farm months ago because of the constant stress of the harassment by the land invaders.
The invaders meanwhile have completely taken over the farm, destroying and looting property and plundering the farm produce for personal gain. All the attacks have been reported to the Chegutu police who have repeatedly refused to aid Freeth and his family.
Freeth has also written urgent letters to Prime Minister Tsvangirai pleading for the unity government’s intervention, but the pleas have apparently fallen on deaf ears.
Despite promises by the unity government to encourage food production on farms, there still has been no effort to stop the attacks that have left the community reeling. The government has instead been at pains to dismiss the farm invasions as isolated ‘disturbances’, which Tsvangirai said were blown out of proportion by the media.
Freeth’s farm is supposed to be protected by a ruling passed down by the human rights court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last year. The SADC Tribunal ruling ordered the government to protect more than 70 farms against future attack in the name of land ‘reform’. But the ruling was ignored and even nullified by Mugabe, who condoned the renewed farm invasions this year. The Tribunal then ruled the government was in contempt for ignoring the earlier ruling, but this has done nothing to prevent the attacks from continuing on the farms.
Meanwhile, the complete breakdown of the rule of law in Zimbabwe continues to take its toll on the farming community’s elderly people, after a farmer’s wife was found murdered in their home this weekend.
75-year-old Sophie Hart was discovered bound and apparently strangled, when her husband returned to their home in Kadoma on Sunday. The house had reportedly been ransacked, but not much was missing, suggesting the intruders were merely after cash. The death brings to three the number of murders of elderly farmers that have taken place in the country since the unity government was formed in February. The Commercial Farmers Union has previously said the attacks show the rule of law no longer exists in Zimbabwe, and that the elderly are soft targets for criminals.
Archived blogs on Mount Carmel Farm
By Violet Gonda
1 September 2009
Serious fissures continue to appear in the MDC party led by Arthur
Mutambara, which has been expelling various senior officials for alleged
indiscipline. The latest casualties to be axed from the party are former St
Mary's legislator Job Sikhala and fellow National Executive member Edwin
Lyson Mlambo, the chairperson of the National Disciplinary Committee, said
the two were not present when the Disciplinary Committee sat on Sunday to
hear the allegations levelled against them. He said they were expelled with
This brings the number of expelled officials to six, including the recent
dismissals of three MPs - Abedinico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni
(Lupine East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East), plus ostrich farmer Alex
In August Sikhala accused his party leadership of siding with ZANU PF and
declared himself the new leader, while Dzambara wrote a letter to the
Speaker of Parliament, which was copied to SADC Chair Jacob Zuma and the
principals in Zimbabwe's power share, saying he was the new Secretary
General of the MDC-M. Dzambara claimed the expulsion of the MPs by party
President Arthur Mutambara and Secretary General Welsh Ncube were
illegitimate and must be reversed.
Reacting to his dismissal, a defiant Sikhala said on Tuesday: "They are dogs
and reptiles who no longer have any weight or support, through their
unprecedented national unpopularity. The truth of the matter is that I have
taken over the control of the party a long time ago and these are people who
no longer have anything to do and people who are only enjoying themselves
with Robert Mugabe."
"I am President of the party. I took over after 75% of the National Council
members passed a vote of no confidence in Mugabe's surrogates, namely Arthur
Mutambara and Welshman Ncube."
Sikhala blasted Mutambara calling him 'a visitor and an illegitimate child
within the family of the progressive forces' of Zimbabwe. He said: "So
basically this is nonsense and rubbish and coming from dogs and reptiles who
are finished politically."
The confrontational politician claimed he has started mobilising party
structures in preparation for elections. When asked what his party was
called, since he was distancing himself from Mutambara, Sikhala said he is
now the leader of the original MDC, not the MDC-T or MDC-M. "I belong to the
original MDC which has no totems or other people's surnames."
But Lyson Mlambo castigated Sikhala, saying he was expelled from the party
'precisely for deviant behaviour.' The chairperson of the MDC-M National
Disciplinary Committee said the party suspects Sikhala is being paid by
those who want to see the demise of the MDC-M. Mlambo added: "A mentally
balanced person wouldn't just simply go to the press and say I have taken
over the party, I am now leader of the party, and I am now Secretary
General. From which Congress and from which constitutional provisions? It's
a clear case of being paid by foreign agents, simple and we had to put a
full stop to that."
Mlambo also dismissed Sikhala's claims that 75% of the National Council
Members passed a vote of no confidence on Mutambara and Ncube. "I don't want
to say that he is lying but he knows fully well that he is lying. Where on
earth do you just conduct yourself in a military style type of a coup? This
is a political party not a military party." The official said it is because
of this 'indiscipline' that led to the party dismissing Sikhala and others.
By Alex Bell
01 September 2009
Harare residents are set for another fight with the council, following
recent reports that it has purchased two more luxury cars for top officials,
not including the Mercedes Benz authorised for the Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda.
Masunda has faced severe criticism for the luxury Mercedes that it's
understood has cost ratepayers more than US$150 000. According to the
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) two more vehicles, to the tune
of US$190 000 have been added to council's expenses for directors, despite
council officials arguing it is too cash-strapped to resume full services in
The lack of services in Harare are clearly evident: Roads are full of pot
holes; street and traffic lights are not working and have not been
maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in
residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded
neighbor in most high density areas.
However, despite the visible failings of the council to restore services,
residents have still been faced with letters of final demand and threats of
legal action. CHRA has now lashed out at the council over the revelations of
the purchases, arguing that the US$353 000 spent on the three cars is enough
to procure water treatment chemicals for Harare for almost six months.
CHRA explained in a statement that water availability in the city is
unreliable and even non-existent, explaining that some areas have not had
water since 2007. At the same time, many areas only receive dirty, untreated
water that is a leading cause of disease. The association has since written
to the Mayor demanding a meeting over this issue by Thursday, warning of a
massive residents' protest and a broad based rates boycott.
1 September 2009
By John Chimunhu
HARARE - If there was any award for badmouthing political opponents and
using hate speech against them, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe would
surely beat them all. According to a report by the Media Monitoring Project,
Mugabe made about 82 utterances classified as 'hate speech' between February
and June last year, declaring in one that he would 'go to war' if Morgan
Tsvangirai took power from him. Mugabe's wife, Grace also got in on the act,
declaring herself to be 'correctly the mother at State House'.
"There is no way Tsvangirai can come and stay there. Tsvangirai is
confused," Grace said. The report is entitled 'The Language of Hate:
Inflammatory, Intimidating and Abusive Comments of Zimbabwe's 2008
Elections". It was distributed during the NGO Expo held at the weekend.
"While we can not tell how such incitement got to be directly translated
into political violence, there is little doubt a strong link exists between
the accusations and insulting language directed at the MDC and its leader by
the three groups mentioned here and the preparation of public opinion for
the violence that occurred in this period," says MMPZ.
Amnesty International put the number of those killed by pro-Mugabe militias
and renegade security forces between the March 29 2008 election and the June
27 runoff at 190. MDC says more than 500 were murdered while diplomats put
the figure as high as 2000.
Also cited in the report as making offensive remarks is police
commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, who is said to have twisted the
facts to present the MDC as the author of political violence thus refusing
to assist victims of state-sponsored attacks.
Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai Zimhondi declared in a speech published in
The Herald on 29 February 2008: "If the opposition wins the election, I will
be the first one to resign from my job and go back to defend my piece of
land. I will not let it go. I am giving you (prison officers) an order to
vote for the president (Mugabe). I will only support the leadership of
President Mugabe. I will not salute them (MDC)."
The speech has come back to haunt the generals as they were recently forced
to publicly salute Tsvangirai, an event that made news headlines around the
world. In one of Mugabe's classics, 10 days before the June 27 'non-election'
he said, "You can vote for Tsvangirai, but if he brings back the whites we'll
go to war."
Mugabe's worst performance, according to the report, came on Independence
Day (18 April 2008) when he made 10 inflammatory and abusive comments in one
speech that was broadcast live on ZBC-TV. All were directed against
Tsvangirai and the British government. The MMPZ report said: "In Zimbabwe,
hate speech has become an endemic and poisonous epidemic that has fractured
and polarized society by promoting extreme levels of political and social
intolerance and hostility towards any group or individual that disagrees
with Zanu PF's perspective on reality."
September 01 2009 at 06:39PM
A Zimbabwean woman described being raped for three days because she
volunteered for the opposition before her country's elections last year,
joining activists on Tuesday in warning new votes may mean new violence.
Memory Shiriinorira told reporters in Johannesburg the three men who
raped her were still free. Even though she reported the assaults, she said,
police in her Harare neighborhood told her they did not handle political
"I don't feel free in my country," she said.
Zimbabwean rights activists said the failure to prosecute abusers not
just last year, but for decades, makes more violence likely.
They accuse President Robert Mugabe, in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, of creating a culture of brutality for which no one is ever
Groups monitoring the 2008 elections reported scores of deaths and
thousands of cases of illegal arrests, assaults and torture. Many of the
perpetrators have been identified, but few prosecuted.
Though violence has subsided since presidential elections and then a
runoff in 2008, "there is a lot of intimidation and regrouping - some sort
of preparation" for coming votes, said Moira Ngaru of the Women's Coalition
of Zimbabwe, who joined Shiriinorira at the Johannesburg news conference.
A new election date has not been set, but one should be held soon to
fill parliament seats left open because of deaths or other reasons since the
last vote. In the coming year, Zimbabweans are expected to vote in a
referendum on a new constitution that will be followed by new national
In a short film shown to reporters Tuesday, Shiriinorira and other
women described being raped and beaten by Mugabe supporters. While
Shiriinorira was identified, the filmmakers obscured the faces of several of
the women in the film, not because of concern they would be stigmatized, but
because the women feared their attackers would strike again to silence them.
"Memory (Shiriinorira) is just one of the brave ones," Ngaru said.
"Most of the women are so intimidated that they can't even come out and tell
The 32-year-old Shiriinorira had been a community health worker,
visiting Aids patients to ensure they were taking their drugs regularly. She
was also an opposition party volunteer in 2008 elections.
She described young supporters of Mugabe snatching her from the clinic
where she worked, and taking her to a camp where she was raped repeatedly
over three days before escaping.
Shiriinorira said she feared being attacked once she returns to
Harare, but still wanted to speak out - in part in hopes it would lead to
her rapists finally being prosecuted.
"I want things to be better in Zimbabwe," she said.
Mugabe's longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai won most of the votes in
March 2008 elections, but not enough to avoid a runoff. He pulled out of the
second round of elections in June because of state-sponsored violence
against opposition supporters. Mugabe claimed victory, but months of
Regional leaders pushed through a coalition government compromise,
with Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister, but the
partnership formed in February has been strained.
Shiriinorira spoke a week before heads of state from across southern
Africa gather at a summit in the Congolese capital at which the political
crisis in Zimbabwe was expected to be a major issue.
Zimbabwean rights activist Kudakwashe Chitsike called on the summit to
"put the issue of women on the agenda." - Sapa-AP
1 September 2009
By MDC Media Release
Statement by the President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, marking the 1st Anniversary of the GPA, Harvest House, Harare,
September 1st , 2009
(Pictured: President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
On the 15th of September 2008, the Principals of the three main political
parties in Zimbabwe signed the Global Political Agreement, (GPA). On the
27th of January 2009, following a SADC Summit in Pretoria, South Africa,
that body issued a Communiqué that among other things directed the three
political parties to the Zimbabwe dialogue to form an inclusive Government
and to resolve the appointments of the Attorney General, the RBZ Governor,
Provincial Governors and to appoint Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
With this undertaking, the inclusive Government was formed and commenced
work on the 25th of February 2009. We in the MDC took a firm decision on the
30th of January 2009 to participate in this government, to give the people
of Zimbabwe hope and an opportunity to retain their dignity and to restart
Despite the enormous problems faced in healing our shattered nation, we have
been able to allow the people to begin the process of rebuilding their
lives. In addition, a degree of peace and stability has begun to take root
and basic foods and services have returned to the country.
However, as a Party we remain concerned and disappointed with the deliberate
frustration associated with the implementation of key outstanding issues of
the GPA, including the failure to implement the SADC resolutions of the 27th
of January 2009.
Firstly, it is regrettable that the government has not been fully
consummated to the extent that not all ministerial office holders have been
sworn-in. The case of Roy Bennett remains a blatant indicator of poor faith
in implementing the GPA.
Secondly, the outstanding issue of the RBZ Governor and the Attorney
General, which ought to have been resolved a long time ago, are impacting
negatively on the credibility and legitimacy of the inclusive Government.
SADC accepted that these were genuine issues and that the appointments
should not have been made as they were in breach of both the MOU, signed in
July 2008, and the GPA. It is imperative that these issues be resolved as a
matter of urgency.
Thirdly, it is also regrettable that we have not resolved or implemented
agreed positions on Provincial Governors despite the negotiators agreeing on
a formula for their fair allocation.
Over and above this, the political climate in Zimbabwe continues to be
marred by unfortunate and vicious propaganda that emanates from the State
media. It appears that the State media continues to see the three political
parties in the inclusive Government through its historic perspective of
hatred and acrimony, blatantly advancing the interests of a single political
This distortion of the political reality by the State media presents a real
and credible threat to this inclusive Government and its ability to impact
positively on the lives of all Zimbabweans
To make matters worse, the selective application of the rule of law,
including the persecution and prosecution of MDC MPs, continues to inflame
political tensions. Equally problematic, is the deliberately slow pace of
progress on the implementation of key issues connected to Human Rights and
the rule of law. This includes the self evident deliberate stalemate on the
Constitutional-reform process, as well as the slow pace of media reform.
As a Government, we cannot expect to be taken seriously by the people, the
region or the international community, if we do not abide by the commitments
we signed up to in the GPA.
This agreement was not the invention or desire of a single political party.
Instead it represented a pledge by the three main political parties to put
aside our differences and to work together to rebuild our nation and to
provide an environment for all Zimbabweans to rebuild their lives.
This pledge was made with the support and backing of SADC and the African
Union (AU) who stand as guarantors of the agreement.
This was evidenced by the recent visit of South African President and
Chairman of SADC, Jacob Zuma. I would like to thank President Zuma for
taking the time to familiarise himself with the issues facing our country
and for echoing the call for the full implementation of the GPA.
In addition to being the guarantors of the agreement, SADC and the AU also
undertook to conduct a six-month review of the inclusive Government and the
allocation of ministerial mandates to the respective parties.
While the exact timing, form and content of such a review has not yet been
finalised, we urge SADC to place the issue of Zimbabwe for specific
consideration during the forthcoming summit in Kinshasa.
As President of the MDC, I remain committed to ensuring that the GPA
provides the foundation upon which we can build a healthy, prosperous and
open society and I shall do everything in my authority that this is the
Zimbabwe that we deliver to the people.
To all our citizens, I express my profound respect and admiration for your
courage, resilience and unwavering belief in the Zimbabwe that we all demand
and deserve. Together we will restore our nation to its proud place in the
region as a beacon of hope, prosperity and freedom.
I thank you,