by Own correspondent Tuesday 08 September 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have named top
military commanders accused of masterminding a ruthless campaign to keep
President Robert Mugabe in power in a second round presidential election in
June last year that left scores of villagers dead and thousands others
displaced from their homes.
In a report released as regional leaders gathered in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (DRC) to among other issues review political progress in
Zimbabwe, the NGOs said the Harare power-sharing government had neither
acted against those responsible for violence nor dismantled the militarised
structures of violence.
The NGOs grouped under the umbrella Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) named
77 senior military and police commanders it said spearheaded terror across
the country's 10 provinces.
Some of the more prominent officers named in the report are: Air Vice
Marshal Henry Muchena, Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai, Air Vice Marshal Abu
Basutu, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Retired Major General Gibson
Mashingaidze, Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba as well as some several
senior operatives of the dreaded state-spy Central Intelligence Organisation
Zimbabwe's army and police are credited with keeping Mugabe in power after
waging a ruthless campaign of violence last year to force Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai from a second round presidential poll that analysts had
strongly tipped the then main opposition leader to win.
Tsvangirai had beaten Mugabe in the first round ballot held† March 29 last
year but failed to achieve outright victory to avoid the second round
The former foes eventually bowed to pressure from Southern African
Development Community (SADC) community leaders to agree to form a government
of national unity that analysts say offers Zimbabwe the best opportunity in
a decade to end its multi-faceted crisis.
But the CZC report entitled, "Can apples be reaped from a thorn tree -
Zimbabwe's road to transition", said the unity government has paid little
regard to the need for justice for victims of political violence and human
In addition, the coalition said there was no evidence that the power-sharing
government has dismantled the structures of violence or recalled soldiers
and youth militia from villages they were deployed last year to commit and
said it had received fresh reports of new torture basis being set up in some
parts of the country.
The report that was released at the weekend as SADC leaders travelled to the
DRC for their annual summit said: "The media environment, legislative
environment, the militarisation of the villages, state and its critical
institutions created during the sham (June) election seem to remain intact,
seven months after the formation of the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe.
"There is no clear evidence that the soldiers who were deployed to different
communities during the violent poll have returned to the barracks."
The CZC also criticised the selective application of the law that had
continued under the unity government with several legislators and activists
of Tsvangirai's MDC party arrested and charged on trumped-up charges.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was not immediately available to comment
on issues raised in the NGO report.
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 doubts remain about the administration's long-term effectiveness,
fuelled by unending squabbles between Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the MDC as
well as by the unity government's inability to secure direct financial
support from rich Western nations.
Outgoing SADC chairman and President of South Africa President Jacob Zuma on
Monday appealed to Zimbabwe's political parties to "remove obstacles" so as
to fully implement last year's Global Political Agreement (GPA) that gave
birth to Harare coalition government. - ZimOnline
By Tichaona Sibanda
8 September 2009
At the SADC Heads of State and Government meeting in Kinshasa, the DRC, a
surprise u-turn has been made over the special summit on Zimbabwe to review
progress of the inclusive government.
During deliberations on day one of the summit on Monday, the regional
leaders had been due to discuss the months-long political and economic
crisis in Harare, but the issue was pulled from the agenda. A special summit
was mooted to deal solely with the remaining issues in the Global Political
There were indications the special summit would be held in Maputo,
Mozambique, before the end of this month. As of last night the SADC summit
had not fully committed itself to holding this special summit, despite
assurances from several member states it would be held in three weeks' time.
The leaders said a review of the progress in the unity government will now
be handled by the regional bloc's less influential body, the Troika on
Politics, Defence and Security.
This organ is responsible for promoting peace and security in the region. It
reports to the SADC summit and consists of a chairperson, incoming
chairperson and outgoing chairperson. In this case, South Africa will sit on
the Troika as outgoing chairperson, the DRC as chairperson and Zambia as the
next incoming chairperson.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference in Kinshasa, the MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai called on the regional bloc to closely monitor the
progress of his power-sharing deal with Robert Mugabe.
He said SADC 'remains seized with the enormous responsibility of ensuring
that the parties signatory' to the February agreement 'move rapidly towards
its full implementation.'
'Now that the SADC troika is specifically vested with the matter of
Zimbabwe, it is my hope and belief that it will deal with all outstanding
issues as a matter of urgency,' he said
A source in Kinshasa told us that intense late night manoeuvres by Mugabe
could have resulted in the SADC leaders changing their minds. Of course the
decision not to have a special summit could also have been helped along by
the fact that Joseph Kabila is the incoming chair of SADC and a key ally of
A senior aide in Tsvangirai's office told us the u-turn was a setback,
although they expected, it because of Mugabe's very close links with Kabila.
He said the handing over of the chair to Kabila has been one of the key
concerns of the MDC.
'The question now to be asked is what can the Troika achieve that countless
extraordinary summits have failed. Are they bringing in a fresh approach to
the crisis? the MDC-T aide asked.
He added; 'It is no secret that there has been no sufficient progress in the
GPA. The principals have been unable to move in the last six months, so as
the MDC we have internationalized the crisis and refocused on our strategy,
hence the move by ZANU PF to frustrate our efforts.'
There are concerns by ZANU PF that implementing the GPA fully will spell the
end of their party. Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told us Mugabe wants
to stall the process in order to manage internal problems that have
increased with the death of Joseph Msika, the vice-president. Military
chiefs are also reportedly unhappy with more reforms, because that would
threaten their power.
'Mugabe needs time to rejuvenate his party, and the dynamics of his survival
is to stall the process and not let it collapse. The sudden failure of the
GNU will mean demise for his party, because there would be fresh elections.
The success of the GNU will mean victory for the MDC, so the realization
within ZANU PF is to drag the process until order is restored in their
party,' Mavhinga said.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, programmes manager for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in
Harare, said despite Kabila taking over the SADC chair, Zuma's voice will
still carry the day in future SADC meetings.
'In terms of international relations, South Africa is the economic
powerhouse of the region and it's the country the international community
will listen to. Even if Kabila were to shout from a mountain top in support
of Mugabe, no one will support it unless it has the backing of Zuma, which
is unlikely in the foreseeable future,' Ruhanya said.
KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO Sep 08 2009 15:53
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday called on Southern
Africa's political bloc to closely monitor the progress of his power-sharing
deal with President Robert Mugabe.
He said the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) "remains
seized with the enormous responsibility of ensuring that the parties
signatory" to the February agreement "move rapidly towards its full
Tsvangirai was speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of a SADC
summit in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, Kinshasa, adding that he
was attending the summit in his capacity as leader of the former opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC).
"Now that the SADC troika is specifically vested with the matter of
Zimbabwe, it is my hope and belief that it will deal with all outstanding
issues as a matter of urgency," he said
Tsvangirai's MDC and long-time rival President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
signed a deal to form a unity government in February, but the parties have
clashed openly over the appointment of a central bank chief and chief
On Monday, South African President Jacob Zuma said Zimbabwe has made
significant progress towards ending its political crisis as its once feuding
leaders learn to bury their differences.
Speaking at the summit in Kinshasa, Zuma also said Southern Africa had to
remain on hand to help Zimbabwe push on after the establishment of the unity
"Significant progress has been made under the auspices of the Inclusive
Government," said Zuma, who is standing down as head of SADC after South
Africa's 12-month stint in the chair.
"We are all encouraged by how the three parties put their differences
Zimbabwe was plunged into political crisis in March 2008 after veteran
leader Robert Mugabe was beaten into second place in a presidential election
by Morgan Tsvangirai, his long-time rival.
Tsvangirai subsequently pulled out of a run-off election after scores of his
supporters were killed, but he eventually agreed to join a unity government
in February this year as prime minister, along with another opposition
"These achievements signalled to the people of Zimbabwe, the region and the
world, that the Zimbabwean political leadership was ready to collectively
tackle the political and the socio-economic challenges facing that country,"
added Zuma. -- AFP
Written by MISA-Zimbabwe
Tuesday, 08 September 2009 16:50
The launch of the daily newspaper H-Metro (Harare Metro) by the
state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) on 7 September 2009
with the sanction of the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity is
reflective of the skewed and undemocratic media environment in the country.
While MISA-Zimbabwe recognises the need for media pluralism and diversity
and commends any efforts towards enhancing such diversity, the licensing of
any new media houses or publications should be transparent and in terms of
It is, however, apparent in this instance that the government, through
the responsible Ministry has chosen to use its political prerogative to
expand state funded newspapers in the country to the distinct disadvantage
of other media players awaiting licensing in terms of Constitutional
Amendment Number 19 which establishes the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
This particular move by the government can only be considered as
arbitrary and distinctly against the spirit and letter of pursuing wholesale
and non-discriminatory media reforms that enhance freedom of expression and
access to information.† This is even more glaring at a time when publishing
companies such as the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), Zimind
Publishers and Financial Gazette,† among others, have been instructed by the
responsible Ministry to await establishment of the ZMC for them to be
permitted to publish their own dailies.
It is MISA- Zimbabwe's view that the government is exhibiting
particular bias towards its own stable, Zimpapers. This bias can only be
construed to portray and project the Ministry of Media, Information and
Publicity as representing a government that is acting to pre-empt other
competitors in a manner that is outside the very laws that it is asking
other stakeholders to uphold.† It is therefore of the utmost urgency for the
government, through the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, to
explain to the media fraternity as well as the Zimbabwean public as to
whether the state controlled print media is above the law as well as cite
the precise constitutional and regulatory provisions that allowed H-Metro to
In raising these concerns, MISA-Zimbabwe remains guided by Section 5
of the resolutions of the Media All-Stakeholders Conference held in December
of 2008 to which members of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe are signatory: 5.
Print Media: We hold that the print media remains a key component of
Zimbabwe's media diversity, and should be allowed to operate independently
without undue influence from the state or government of the day.† We also
hold that the state and any government of the day should not have any direct
stake or interest in the ownership or management of the print media as this
compromises the sector's diversity and independence.† Where the state has
had direct control in the media, we recommend that it disinvests in these
print media houses and allow for independent control of the same.
September 8, 2009
By Webster Shamu
The following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Minister of
Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, on the occasion of the
launch of H-Metro, a new title in the Zimbabwe Newspapers stable on
September 4, 2009:
I am delighted to be part of this happy gathering marking the launch of yet
another product in the Zimpapers stable, Harare Metro/ H-Metro and of course
the celebration of the fifth Anniversary of the Southern Times, itself a
product of a joint venture company, NAMZIM, combining the vision of two
sister Republics of Namibia and Zimbabwe in the information field.
Both events mark real growth in the information sector at a time of great
challenges both for the sector and for our Southern African region.
We thus meet to celebrate defiant growth, one shaping itself under harsh
circumstances and with little outside goodwill. Needless to say growth
managed under harsh conditions hardens a plant for all weather and for all
times. We expect no less from these two developments.
I have had occasion to look at dummies of H-Metro. From the editorial focus
and the quality of journalism which the dummies promise, I have no doubt in
my mind that H-Metro will be a winner. Zimpapers has identified a niche
which this popular tabloid is set to occupy and, I am sure, set to dominate
when competition eventually comes. It is a niche to do with the popular in
our townships, encompassing the full gamut of popular activities (politics,
social and cultural issues, sport, etc, etc), all treated for easy and light
reading but from a position of hard facts, honesty and human sympathy.
The great temptation with this niche in the publishing industry is to push
for sensation at the expense of truth, accuracy, fairness and balance.
Always remember that beneath the sleaze and sensation is a human being
susceptible to hurt, injury and suffering. Yes, always remember that beneath
those circulation statistics and healthy sales are lives that are either
edified or ruined. Journalism cannot be about any sales, any stories, any
slant, and still claim the status of a whole Fourth Estate counterbalancing
the three other Estates which have to do with the way our society is
organised and run.
Journalism - when all is said and done - is about serving our societies with
vital information and values necessary to save and improve them. It cannot
be a vehicle for profitable decadence and ruination of personalities. This
is the balance which Zimpapers is now being called upon to establish and
maintain, particularly given the niche it is now about to enter.
Elsewhere on the continent, newspaper enterprises in which governments have
a stake have not done well. Not so in Zimbabwe where Zimpapers continues to
rule the roost. As the minister responsible, I am very happy that this is
so. I hope Zimpapers maintains its market leadership founded on commercial
soundness and the need to serve all with information while defending the
My predecessors, starting with the founding Minister of Information of
Independent Zimbabwe, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira, wisely kept Zimbabwe Newspapers
a public company quoted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Through the dominant shareholding in a public quoted company whose core
business is printing and publishing, Government sought the rigour of the
market as a funding formulae. I stress this point because there is quite a
disturbing misconception - politically self-serving in some respect - to
suggest Zimpapers gets money from Government. It does not. It has never got
money from Government since its transfer from the South African Argus Group
following a take-over donation from the Federal Republic of Nigeria at
Quite the contrary, Zimpapers has given money to the State or its agencies
by way of a dividend when the going is good. Let it be pronounced here that
Zimpapers is not a State enterprise.
Let it be proclaimed here and now that Zimpapers is governed by rules of the
Stock Exchange, never by checking institutions of government such as
committees of Parliament. There is a whole Chinese Wall between Zimpapers
and wholly State-owned media companies like Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation, New Ziana, etc, etc/which run on public funds. While Government
is the major shareholder, Zimpapers has an equally compelling obligation to
many other shareholders.
This habit of relating to it as if it's a parastatal, or as if it is a
Government department whose behaviour must meet with popular approval is not
just mistaken and unlawful, but seems measured to incapacitate and hurt
Zimpapers ahead of competition we see gathering on the horizon. Let
Zimpapers fail in the market through fair competition. Let it not be failed
through unprofessional interference done in the name of legislative
That the State has a largest shareholding in Zimpapers does not justify
undue pressure to it. What is more, why is it that the pressure is only
concentrated on the publishing arm of Zimpapers, never in its other areas of
activity, if the interest is sincere and balanced?
And why is that interest in the editorial side not extending to many other
publishers in the country whose conduct should meet expectations of the
Global Political Agreement? Are public hearings set for these publishers as
well? Why this appearance of selective treatment? I hope those concerned
will avoid such mistakes in future, if mistakes there have been. Equally, I
hope arms of Parliament are also clear that their entry into Ministries is
not through the backdoor or by stealth.
Often invitations to organs that are under given ministries are done behind
ministry leadership who then only get informed either just before or well
after the event. This does not make for a healthy working relationship.
Committees of Parliament are not instruments for inquisitions or witch-hunt.
Rather, they are mechanisms for improving management of public affairs and
There is a way of doing this in a procedural way, without appearing to be
encouraging insubordination, conflict, or confusion in Ministries and
Since the launch of the Inclusive Government, I, as minister in charge of
Media, Information and Publicity have been concerned at an incipient media
outlook which appears to be solidifying in certain sections of the Inclusive
There is an attempt to encourage a perception that the GPA is for the
"public'' media only, whatever is meant by that. To begin with, all media,
regardless of ownership, are public. Publishing is one industry whose
products are public by definition, and hence the tradition of placing the
media under laws or values/ethics which come under public scrutiny.
Products of publishers fall under the domain of 'mass communication'', which
is essentially a public role with clear public consequences. This is the
basic understanding of media laws and regulations the whole world over.
In its search for settlement, harmony and stability, GPA addressed the areas
of public communication to the extent that this area makes or breaks public
political processes. It is very even-handed in its demands and expectations
which apply to all media focusing in and on Zimbabwe.
The notion that the burden of meeting the expectations of GPA reside in that
part of the media sector which falls under Government influence, is clearly
mistaken if genuine, or mischievous if politically motivated. The
requirement to refrain from hate language is a standard requirement for all
media, for all publishers regardless of who owns them.
The requirement to respect facts is inherent to ethics of journalism;
regardless of in whose favour an editorial policy is weighted. Yes, the call
to support a nascent and fragile political experiment which is what the
Inclusive Government is, is a call to all regardless of ownership.
But it is not an insurance against legitimate criticisms. It is not an
invitation to abandon the defence of the National Interest which must be
uppermost in every newsroom. Times shall come - assuming they have not
already - when best support and defence of the Inclusive Government is not a
supine posture, is not by being a chorister in a mindless hymn of
unconditional praise of anything in the name of the Inclusive Government.
Support for the Inclusive Government does not mean condonation of all done
under it or in its name. I hate to think that my role as Minister of Media,
Information and Publicity is to beat back editors and journalists from
obvious facts, and even more obvious questions, all in the name of
fulfilling the GPA and protecting the Inclusive Government.
What is worse, I cannot be associated with a push to create space for the
BBC and CNN here while at the same time denying the same to the Herald, the
Independent, the Financial Gazette, The Standard etc, etc. The Zimbabwe
story must be witnessed, written and reported on by Zimbabweans. That is our
duty which we give to no other media. This habit of defending abridgement of
media freedom in the name of GPA must stop.
Equally, what must also stop is the continuing situation where some parties
in the GPA continue to aid and abet illegal, extraterritorial pirate
broadcasts which violate our sovereignty in the name of media freedoms. The
GPA the often quoted GPA - disallows this as gross external interference in
the affairs of our country.
These stations - all of them sited in countries that have slapped Zimbabwe
with sanctions - are a violation of the GPA.
To the extent that they persist well into the Inclusive Government, they
amount to an outstanding matter which must be addressed by those who needed
them, indeed created and legitimised them in the name of struggling for
their own brand of democracy here.
That struggle has now been accommodated in the Inclusive Government, so why
not do the right thing by stopping this horrible interference? To then make
a case for a liberalisation of the airwaves under conditions of persistent
and even enlarging challenge to Zimbabwe's sovereignty, is to be grossly
insincere. Let us examine our obligations squarely and fairly.
Last month the ministry, as part of its ongoing programme of reviewing media
laws, practices and structures, cleared the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) of any legal impediments for eventual registration.
That action which derived from a Special Committee created by my predecessor
at the behest of a High Court Ruling, does not amount to registration of ANZ
so it resumes publishing within the law. That will have to be done
My ministry does not register publishers. Equally, my ministry will not
condone the breaking of the law. This same position we have communicated to
ZimInd, another publisher intent on joining the industry. We are for the
growth of this vital sub-sector. We hope the current problems and issues of
a legal nature deriving from an interim court judgment, will be resolved so
the industry can grow.
We have in our midst guests from Namibia. I want to welcome them in a very
special way. Not long ago, I was in Namibia and had wonderful discussions
with my counterpart and his deputy. NAMZIM and its child, the Southern
Times, expresses a determination by our two Governments to deepen and expand
relations beyond historical and political foundations. The two sister
countries are one on many matters. We need to validate this oneness in our
But NAMZIM and the Southern Times is a correct reading of the world
situation. In terms of the global management and flow of information, we in
the South are information underdogs. We are the reported on, the objects of
global news whose voices shall never be heard, shall never shape news and
This is why the story is always told at our expense, indeed at the expense
of our nations. But there is a way out of this editorial entrapment, which
is itself a manifestation of greater and wider political entrapment. The way
out is through combinations. We must pool resources and efforts to found
platforms from which to speak and proclaim our own stories, values and
Thank God, technology now makes publishing placeless. We should exploit that
technological reality to create formidable multinational, pan-African
multimedia response which allows us to strike back at detractors. NAMZIM is
only the beginning. The ultimate goal is to grow this small seed into a
Southern African media project that balances information on the region.
We dare not fail in this project whose time has come. As co-operating
ministers, we have undertaken to realise this dream by taking the project to
other SADC members. We are determined. All of you who are on the NAMZIM
board and management must thus realise our two nations have reposed in you
this hallowed vision.
Do not betray it.
It now gives me singular pleasure to launch this double barrelled
celebration marking the launch of H-Metro and the fifth anniversary of the
I thank you.
UMP, September 08, 2009 - War veterans and soldiers in Maramba Pfungwe
have given Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in the area until
October to denounce their membership to the party and surrender party
regalia or risk the consequences.
According to MDC Information Secretary† for the area, Silas Gweshe,
"The place is just so bad that some people are now living in fear, several
MDC supporters have already been forced to surrender themselves to Zanu PF."
Zanu PF is using the area headmen to identify MDC supporters. MDC
District Chairman of the area Chengetanai Chimunhu has formally written to
the party leadership to intervene.
†"Zanu PF thugs are still abusing MDC supporters, I ran away from the
area after I was intimidated. Help us please," read part of the Maramba
Pfungwe Constituency report addressed to MDC Information Department Harvest
†Several Non Governmental Organisations have intervened in the area to
assist victims of last year violence with food aid but Zanu PF thugs have
vowed to destroy everything that will be put up by NGOs.
"They are well wishers who have come into the area to help people
whose properties were destroyed last year, but people are now afraid of
receiving aid because of intimidation," said Chimunhu. "There are using
soldiers Claude Mashoko and PfidzeMaramba to instill fear into the people."
who is called 'Junta' that are stationed at
Meanwhile Zanu Pf militia-acting in cahoots with a traditional chief-
barred MDC supporters from† attending† victory celebrations last weekend
threatening them expulsions from the area, Radio VOP can reveal.
Masvingo West legislator Tichaona Mharadze, who was hosting the
celebrations at Bhani shopping centre, under Chief Charumbira area, about 25
kilometres out of town, however said the celebrations went ahead despite the
Villagers told Radio VOP that a Zanu Pf youth leader William Shangwa
and other party militia moved house by house the night before strongly
threatening known MDC-T supporters with expulsion from the area, under Chief
Charumbira's area, if they attended the function.
Chief Fortune Charumbira, president of The Zimbabwe Chief's Council,
is an ardent loyalist of President Robert Mugabe.
"We were told at night that the Chief had said anybody who dares
attend would be expelled from the area, so most of us did not attend. They
moved door to door, numbering about fifty. A few brave ones among us
attended," said a villager.
Mharadze blamed the threats for the poor turnout at the function.
However, Chief Fortune Charumbira denied the allegations.
"If people went around using my name, how would I know? As far as I am
concerned, that is news to me. I do not send my aides for such duties,"
Charumbira said, before hanging his phone.
But MDC-T provincial chairman, Wilstusff Sitemere, who was also at the
victory celebrations, also confirmed the allegations.
"Our youths on the ground said the chief had sent some ZANU PF hit men
to bar our supporters from attending. Some villagers also told us the
same. We were actually surprised why people did not come at first.
They were told they would lose their plots," Sitemere said.
ZANU PF provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke professed ignorance over
the matter, but promised to issue a probe. Matuke
elements want to put the reputation of the party into disrepute,
considering the current political set-up.
"I am not aware of that, but I will institute investigations into the
As a party that is a signatory to the inclusive government, we are
saying this is the time to rebuild our nation, a time to mend our bridges.
But the grassroots might not have embraced that philosophy. They bring the
name of the party into disrepute," said Matuke.
MDC leader and Morgan Tsvangirai has asked the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to quickly intervene in solving the political
crisis in Zimbabwe. SADC , which has been meeting in Kinshasa, DRC this
week, said it will hold an extra-ordinary meeting on Zimbabwe to try and
resolve outstanding issues affecting the inclusive government.† said if
Article By: Micel Schnehage
Tue, 08 Sep 2009 09:47
Another Movement for Democratic Change activist has been beaten to death
allegedly by Zanu-PF soldiers.
The MDC claims Godknows Dzoro Mtshakazi was attacked for playing a popular
MDC song while drinking beer in a bar.
His friends were also attacked after soldiers accused them of fanning hatred
in the community.
The MDC insisted Mtshakazi was tortured by the soldiers who burnt him with
plastic before cutting off and burning his dreadlocks.
One MDC official in Harare said Zanu-PF aligned military personnel were
regrouping in Zimbabwe's rural areas while a rights campaigner said there
was a genuine threat of large scale violence flaring again - calling on the
Southern African Development Community to intervene.
"The best that South Africa and the region can do is to prevent what is
Last year a wave of violence, mainly against MDC supporters, caused an
by Andrew Moyo Tuesday 08 September 2009
HARARE - The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) sees Zimbabwe's tourism sector
regaining its position as one of the best in Africa in five years, buoyed by
a new optimism in the country following formation of a unity government by
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The WTO's assistant secretary general, Geoffrey Lipman, said the World Cup
tournament in neighbouring South Africa next year will also help lift
Zimbabwe's tourism sector but warned the fragile Harare coalition government
that revival of tourism largely depended on the administration's actions.
Lipman spoke as a new Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 ranked
Zimbabwe's tourism sector among the least competitive in the world at number
121 out of 133 countries surveyed.
But the WTO official, who was in Zimbabwe to help tourism authorities cobble
up a recovery plan, was adamant that the local industry would rebound
despite a 10-year decline that saw arrivals dropping 22 percent in 2008 to
1.9 million from 2.5 million arrivals recorded in 2007.
Lipman said: "Within the next five years I think Zimbabwe will improve from
121 to around number 30 (most competitive tourism destination)."
He said Zimbabwe had the human resources, infrastructure as well as natural
resources to sustain recovery of tourism but said he told government leaders
"to remember that whatever they do can make or break tourism".
Tourism was one of Zimbabwe's fastest growing sectors before political
violence that has accompanied elections in the country since 2000, violent
farm invasions and a host of other problems derailed the industry.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai's power-sharing government that remains beset by
serious problems and differences between the two former foes has raised
hopes that Zimbabwe's political crisis will dissipate and allow the economy
to pick up again and with it the tourism sector. - ZimOnline
by Lizwe Sebatha Tuesday 08 September 2009
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe university and college students will tomorrow begin
boycotting classes to pressure education authorities to slash high tuition
fees charged at tertiary institutions, in another setback to government
efforts to restore order in the country's education sector.
"We have been at all state colleges and universities countrywide, drumming
up support from the students ahead of the nationwide demonstrations that
start on Wednesday," Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) president
Clever Bere said on Monday.
"As ZINASU, we are saying a big no to the privatisation of education, we are
saying we can't have our colleagues being forced to drop studies because of
lack of fees," he added, noting that the protests will be held under the
banner - National Campaign Against the Privatisation of Education in
The class boycotts will further pile pressure on the government that is
battling to convince teachers to call off a strike action over pay that has
entered its second week.
A number of university and college students have been forced to drop studies
due to high tuition fees ranging from anything between US$450 to US$1 200,
depending on the diploma or degree programme.
Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge could not be reached for comment.
However, Bere added: "The class boycotts will not end until the government
revises downwards the exorbitant and extortionist fees regime in the
Tuition fees levied at universities and colleges have been criticised in
light of the meagre salaries earned by the majority of Zimbabwe's workforce.
The country's largest employer - the Public Service Commission which
employees all civil servants - pays its workers between US$155 and US$200
depending on grade.
Government has defended the fee structure saying it was necessary to lift
education standards - once hailed as one of the best in sub-Saharan Africa -
that had been on a free-fall over the past decade.
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and President Robert Mugabe has promised to revive the economy and restore
basic services such as health and education that had virtually collapsed
after years of recession.
While schools and hospitals have reopened, the failure by the unity
government - which says it requires a total US$10 billion to get Zimbabwe on
its feet again - to convince rich Western nations to release grants and soft
loans has hampered its ability to sustain the recovery effort.
Teachers began a crippling nationwide strike last week to press the
government to increase salaries and improve working conditions while public
doctors only called off a two-week strike for more pay last week, responding
to a call by Tsvangirai to return to work while the government scrounges
around for funds to meet their demands.
Western governments insist they will not provide support until they see
evidence President Robert Mugabe is committed to genuinely sharing power
with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.† - ZimOnline
September 7, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change led by Arthur Mutambara- says it
is ready to fight to retain its previously held three seats parliamentary
seats representing constituencies in Matabeleland.
The seats fell vacant following the expulsion of incumbent Members of
Parliament last month.
MDC-M said it had nothing to fear as "there are no proven political
competitors" to hand them stiff competition once by-elections are called.
MDC-M spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the party was confident of retaining
the seats but with minor competition from the newly formed ZAPU.
"We beat both MDC-T and Zanu PF in the last elections and the situation has
not changed much as we are still popular," Ndlovu said. "However, ZAPU could
provide some competition but their strength is not known as they have never
participated in any national election since the revival of the party."
Zapu has indicated that it would participate in the by-elections. Ndlovu
said the party had already was already scouting for potential candidates for
they are yet to be announced by-elections in the three affected
constituencies of Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima.
He said, as a party that held the seats it was prudent that they start
preparing early despite the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's announcement
that it does not have money to conduct by-elections.
"We don't want to be caught unawares so the constituencies have begun the
process of selecting candidates," he said.
The three former legislators Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni
(Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu representing Bulilima East were expelled from
the strife-torn party on charges of disrespecting its leadership. Their
urgent High Court application to bar Parliament from expelling them was
Ndlovu said the three expelled MPs would not be a threat if they stood as
independent candidates. Last week the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said it
did not have money to conduct parliamentary elections in constituencies that
have for various reasons fallen vacant across the country in recent months.
At least eight House of Assembly and four Senate constituencies have fallen
vacant, either because the incumbent died or they have been expelled from
Parliament. There is a possibility of more seats falling vacant as a number
of legislators are facing criminal charges in the law-courts and they could
be ejected from Parliament if convicted.
Several legislators mostly from MDC-M have already been convicted on petty
issues and more vacancies will arise should their appeals be unsuccessful in
the higher courts.
By-elections are due in Gokwe South, Chiredzi, Chegutu, Gokwe-Chirumhanzu,
Matobo North, Bindura North, Mutare North, Guruve North, and
Emakhandeni-Entumbane while the remaining three vacancies were created after
the expulsion of legislators from the MDC-M formation for misconduct.
Written by STAFF REPORTER
Monday, 07 September 2009 14:24
KWEKWE - A New York-based Zimbabwean employee of the United Nations
has been accused by a Zimbabwean farmer of invading his farm in 2007 and
breaking and entering his farmhouse on Wednesday last week. "Okay Mabhena,
his wife and two sons unlawfully broke and entered into my farmhouse in the
presence of a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and a government Lands
Officer on September 2," Mike Jansen, the registered owner of Xanthippe Farm
near KweKwe, told The Zimbabwean at the weekend.
Jansen said this was only the most recent act of lawlessness committed
by Mabhena and his family since their unlawful and illegal occupation of his
farm in December 2007. "Needless to say, the forced occupation of my
property is totally illegal. It has not complied in any way with the
requirements and provisions of the Zimbabwe Land Acquisition Act," said
Jansen. "Mabhena is in possession of a rather questionable 'offer letter'
which he says makes him "the rightful owner of my home and farm". In fact
both Mabhena and the Kwe Kwe Lands Officer, Mr Mandaza, have advised me on
numerous occasions that the provisions of the act - ie: notice of
acquisition, section 8 and lawful eviction by a competent court are
irrelevant and can be ignored by them," Jansen explained.
"The tragedy of the matter is that law enforcement agencies seem to
agree with this .I have been arrested but the local magistrates court was
unable to prosecute as the procedures as laid out in the act have not been
adhered to," he added. Since December 2008 the interference in Jansen's
farming activities and threats of forced illegal eviction have escalated on
a continuing basis. He said Mandaza had illegally "without following the
provisions of the act" settled one Counselor Moyo on the property on 24
In May last year, Jansen wrote to Augustinho Zacarias, the UNDP
representative in Harare, advising him of Mabhena's activities on his farm,
but had never received a reply. At the time of going to press, we had not
managed to make contact with Zacarias. Mabhena becomes the second
high-profile Zimbabwean based in the United States to be accused of invading
a commercial farm in Zimbabwe, following the much-publicised case of
Zimbabwean-born American citizen Dr Arikana Chihombori who invaded a farm in
Chegutu, maintaining that "like every other Zimbabwean" she was entitled to
a piece of land.
††††September 08 2009 at 07:45AM
Zimbabwe's accumulated debt to Mozambican power utility Cahora Bassa
has now been reduced to US6-million, the state-controlled daily newspaper
Noticias said on Tuesday.
Chief executive officer of Electricidade de √, Mozambique (EDM),
Manuel Cuambe told the paper that his institution's priority next year would
be to make sure defaulters like the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa) paid their debts on time.
Zesa had over the past decade encountered problems in paying it's
accumulated debts mainly due to Zimbabwe's economic turmoil which resulted
in record inflation.
However, Mozambican energy minister Salvador Namburete said in recent
media reports that Zimbabwe would not be cut off from power supply because
it "needed our help to recover from its economic problem." - Sapa
Tue Sep 8, 2009 12:26pm GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is in talks with six foreign companies over
buying its shares in the country's sole iron and steel works, where it
expects steel output to reach one million tonnes a year, a government
minister said on Tuesday.
The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel), a major foreign-currency
earner before independence in 1980, stopped operations last year at the
height of an economic crisis, plagued by a lack of capital to re-quip its
The government holds about 70 percent in Ziscosteel -- once the largest
integrated steelworks in the region -- and had previously not been keen to
sell its shareholding.
However the country's new coalition government, in power since February,
sees the sell-off of state entities as part of necessary economic reforms.
Gabuza Joel Gabbuza, minister of state enterprises and parastatals, said six
foreign steel producers had been identified by the government to bid for the
shareholding, and had all completed due diligence on Ziscosteel.
A final bidder could be chosen by the end of this month.
"These are global players whom we identified to bid for Ziscosteel and our
technical team is conducting due diligence on the companies from which we
will choose a winner to take over government shareholding," Gabbuza said in
"We are expecting the process to be concluded very soon, even by the end of
this month. The companies are from South Africa and as far as India, with
some locals also teaming up with foreigners," he said without giving
Gabuzza refused to give a possible value on the government's stake.
The minister said work to reline two blast furnaces and other repairs at
Ziscosteel was underway, with two-thirds of the required equipment already
at the plant.
The two furnaces have capacity to produce between 750,000 and 1 million
tonnes of steel
In 2006 Zimbabwe clinched a $400 million management deal with Indian steel
maker Global Steel, raising hopes it was moving towards disposing of
loss-making firms, but the deal collapsed within two months.
"I think because of our economic status it will not be good to renege on
contracts for the sake of future investment," Gabbuza said.
Critics say most of Zimbabwe's parastatals, or government-controlled
companies, have been run down through mismanagement by political appointees,
while President Robert Mugabe's previous governments had been reluctant to
sell loss-making companies.
Gabbuza said 16 companies had now been identified for privatisation,
including the generation unit of state power utility Zesa, which has been
struggling to produce enough electricity for the country.
Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, formed a
coalition government in February this year after years of political and
economic crisis, but the new administration is struggling to raise money, up
to $10 billion, needed for full recovery.
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1. Situation on Karori Farm
2. Devonia Farm
1. Situation on Karori Farm got a whole lot worse.† Mujaji and his wife
have seized all our tobacco seedbeds and planting equipment including
4 tractors and started planting in the lands we prepared and fertilized.
They broke into the office and stole two shotguns and all our security
equipment.† All the workers are locked out now for two weeks and they
have tried to evict them over the weekend but failed.
Police just take reports but no action.† We still cannot move 400 tons of
maize and 150 tons of tobacco locked up in main premises.† Mujaji says I
can take my crops if I sign over the farm no problem but not my
equipment.† Court orders are irrelevant. Any suggestions on what to do
2. Here Could not be worse !!!!!
Shumba smashed the lock on the Gate to our house last night Sat at 7 pm.
We have had no Power as he switched off and no Water for the last two
weeks! Our Dogs here with the Hunters.
Am being charged with sect 41b for asking safeguard Security to get the
address for serving civil court papers on him!!
Now this charge changed to 45 Intimidation?? The most incredible case
ever..... He is intimidating me with all his actions that the Police turn
a blind eye to.
Have Lawyer Godfrey Mamvura to represent me tomorrow [Mon ]
He is running the water and a lot of waste is occurring as they are not
reacting to the power cuts.† We are helpless with the pump houses both
under his Lock & key!
He is busy fencing where HE thinks the boundary should be?
We do not know what to do on the farming side? Three months of this
harassment and uncertainty, we have endured.
Contrary to some critics of the Commercial farmers of this country that
nothing has been done by the CFU to help Government with Land Reform, I
describe one instance that I personally was involved with.† However, it
is just one that over many years the Commercial Farmers Union has made in
a number of attempts at assisting the Government of Zimbabwe over the
politically sensitive question of "Land Reform".
One attempt was in 1993 when the then Council of the Commercial Farmers
Union formulated a plan which, if it had been put in to practice, there
would have been no need for the current organised chaos and starvation of
the people and destruction of the agro-industrial companies of the
The CFU plan was that, initially, as a pilot scheme, one farm in each
province of the country would be used, and if successful, the number of
farms involved would double up every year thereafter. The land would be
purchased by the Government of Zimbabwe using funds provided by the IMF
and World Bank on a "willing seller, willing buyer' basis at
the market price of the day. Both local representatives of these
financial institutions were consulted and agreed that they could lend the
Zimbabwe Government long term, low interest loans for the purchase of the
farms. This of course became unacceptable to Government later as it was
discovered that it is easier to steal farms rather than pay for them.
The CFU found the farms required in each province, in fact the Karoi
Farmers Association offered an initial five farms for the scheme.
The New Zealand Government was prepared to send surveyors to Zimbabwe (as
the Ministry of Lands did not have sufficient qualified personnel ) to
properly survey the farms and divide them into smaller but commercially
The Scandinavian countries were prepared to build and provide schools and
The British and Americans were willing to assist in constructing
communications, roads and other necessary infrastructure such as water
The European Union Delegation was also keen to assist in many ways.
The Ambassadors of all these countries were consulted by me, my
Vice-President, Peter MacSporran and CFU staff, and we were assured that
they would do their utmost to be helpful and willing to get their
Governments to put a properly administered scheme into practice.
Importantly, the Commercial Farmers who were to be neighbours of these
newly resettled farms were prepared to assist the new farmers together
with Agritex, with as much technical knowledge that was necessary. e.g.
planting procedures, fertilizer and pesticide application, water storage
and irrigation techniques. marketing - in fact anything that makes
up a modern agricultural business.
I, as the then President of the CFU, discussed these plans with the Late
Gary Magadzire, President of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, and Robinson
Gapare who represented the Small Scale Farmers. Both thought that it
The Land Tenure Commission, chaired by Professor Mandy Rakuni, sitting at
the time,† saw the need and importance of individual tenure and the
protection of those rights in law, and agreed with us that there was a
need for responsible land redistribution.
On the 3rd of November 1993, I, as President of the CFU, met with
President Mugabe at his office at his official residence. After briefing
him on how the Commercial farming industry was pulling itself and
therefore the country out of the problems caused by one of the worst
droughts (!992/3) this country has ever seen, I presented our ideas and
the re-settlement plan to him. His reaction was to say
"Wonderful" and instructed the Minister of Agriculture,
Witness Mangwende, to get together with the CFU and discuss
implementation of the plan. The meeting lasted for about an hour and a
half. Afterwards I declined to make a statement to the Herald as
President Mugabe said he would publicise the issue at an appropriate
In other words the support both locally and internationally seemed to be
overwhelming, as was the massive support given at a Donor Conference
organised in 1998 by the then CFU President Nick Swanepoel which had
One of our farm projects did indeed get off the ground. A tobacco farming
project in the north of Centenary, with help of Peter Richards, President
of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, started well but did not last as it
was soon blighted by inter tribal arguments, internal disputes and the
greed and corruption that highlight the whole of the current so-called
Land Reform program.
Looking back, nothing was ever intended to be done about any
"outside plan" as the "Land Issue" was needed by
the Government to be used as a political tool to appease any of the
greedy and corrupt who might become a challenge to the hierarchy, as the
"war-veterans" soon realised and used so effectively for
their own nefarious needs. In fact at one stage the then Minister of
Agriculture, Kumbirai Kangai, told us that all our plans were
unacceptable to the party and that "white" farmers should
stop getting involved in land matters. However as we predicted then, the
lack of development in the rural areas has now become the cause of famine
†Over six hundred years ago the Poet, William Langford, wrote about
"A fair field of folk
Working and wandering as the world asks of them
Some were putting out to plough and
Had little playtime.
In setting seed and sowing,
Sweated at their labour,
Winning wealth that the worthless
Wasted in gluttony."
†So to the future - I am of the firm belief that as Clem Sumter
puts it, that although we are in a period of unfettered Socialism, that
Socialism is only that period between Capitalism and Capitalism.
by George Ayittey Tuesday 08 September 2009
OPINION: Zimbabwe's economy is in tatters. The statistics are
appalling: unemployment hovers around 80 percent and the economy has shrunk
to a third of what it was at independence in 1980.
Until formation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February, delivery of basic social
services such as health care, sanitation, electricity, clean water and
education has been virtually non-existent.
Over the past decade the economy has been on an unprecedented
free-fall leading to massive suffering among the people, who have become
disenchanted with the catastrophic failure of leadership and disillusioned
with the promise of liberation.
This horrid tale of betrayal is well known to Zimbabweans and does not
need belabouring. The more pertinent issue is how the southern African
country extricates itself from this terrible situation and becomes
Change or reform in any society can come from several sources. The
conventional agents of change are:
1.††† The leader, the government or regime in power,
2.††† The politicians - both ruling party MPs and the opposition MPs.
3.††† The Intellectual class,
4.††† Civil society groups
5.††† The people
There has been a catastrophic failure of leadership in Zimbabwe. Once
hailed as a liberation hero, Mugabe has transformed himself into a murderous
When Nigeria's military dictator, the late General Sani Abacha ("The
Butcher of Abuja") hanged Ken Saro Wiwa, leader of the Ogoni people in the
Niger Delta in December 1995, Mugabe called Nigeria a "disgrace" and worked
assiduously to have Nigeria thrown out of the Commonwealth.
Abacha who died in 1998, brooked no nonsense and crushed any
opposition to his tyrannical rule with merciless abandon.
Disgrace to black people
The irony of this story is that Mugabe, who denounced Abacha as a
"disgrace" has himself become a disgrace to black people. In power for 29
years, he has ruined a once-prosperous economy, crushed the opposition and
sent more than 3 million of his own people into exile.
Yet Mugabe refuses to take responsibility for his own failures,
preferring to blame "greedy Western nations," the World Bank, International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and "snakes" (whites) for his problems. He is totally
and utterly imperious to reason. He is stone deaf and shockingly blind.
Just as a leopard cannot change his spots, Mugabe cannot change his
proclivities. He has always harboured a deep contempt and hatred for the
West and democracy. At independence in 1980, he vowed to transform Zimbabwe
into a Marxist-Leninist state.
But what has Marxism-Leninism got to do with Africa? Even an idiot
could see clearly that Marx and Lenin were not black Africans.
Mugabe's then Defence Minister Enos Nkala - who, intoxicated by the
exercise of power - was often given to vituperative utterances and erratic
behaviour. In November 1980, barely six months after independence, Nkala
told a rally in Bulawayo, that ZANU PF's main task was to crush Joshua
In a series of speeches in September, 1985, Nkala spoke of his
intention to crush ZAPU: "Let me assure the nation that the policy of
reconciliation toward ZAPU has been withdrawn," he told the Senate on 18
September. "Nkomo should take note - in the next few weeks you'll be seeing
fire . . . We want to wipe out the ZAPU leadership. You've only seen the
warning lights. We haven't yet reached full blast. I don't want to hear
pleas of mercy . . . My instinct tells me that when you deal with ruthless
gangsters you have to be ruthless. I have locked up a few honorable members
(of Parliament) and I think they will have a rest for a long time to come
before they reappear to continue their dissident activities."
Mugabe's Fifth Brigade, trained by North Korean military instructors,
was responsible for the Matabeleland massacres in which more than 20 000
Ndebele people were slaughtered.
In the July 1985 elections Mugabe could not conceal his contempt for
the Zimbabwean constitution. He referred to it as "that dirty piece of
The elections took place amid relative calm, but when they were over,
mobs of ZANU PF supporters rampaged through the suburbs of Harare to
brutalise supporters of the opposition. Homes were raided, and furniture and
household possessions were thrown out into the streets. The thugs declared
the houses to be ZANU PF property.
As the violence intensified, victims were beaten and pummelled to the
point of unconsciousness, their belongings stolen, and their houses set on
fire. More than six people were reported killed.
A defeated ZAPU candidate, Simon Chauruka, was gruesomely hacked to
death with axes when a mob of ZANU PF supporters attacked his home in the
Dzivarasekwa suburb. Another ZAPU candidate, Kenneth Mano, who had just been
released from detention, was stabbed three times. More than 200 ZAPU
officials, including members of parliament, were detained without charge
under the emergency powers after the July elections.
As early as 1982, corruption scandals were rocking the country. Edgar
Tekere, a maverick and also a nationalist who fought alongside Mugabe for
Zimbabwe's independence, decided to fight against this incipient "Swiss
He declared: "We all came from Mozambique with nothing; not even a
teaspoon. But today, in less than two years, you hear that so-and-so owns so
many farms, a chain of hotels and his father owns a fleet of buses. Where
did all that money come from in such a short period? Isn't it from the very
public funds they are entrusted to administer?" (New African, March 1989; p.
Fast forward to 2009, 29 years of Mugabe's rule and it is the same old
incorrigible autocrat. The old leopard hasn't changed its spots. Change is
unlikely to come from him. It is even doubtful if he is in control. He is
just a "hostage president"; the "securocrats" are in control.
After his resounding defeat in the March 29 elections, Mugabe was
reportedly willing to accept defeat and step down. He is said to have told
his security officials that he had lost the election and was going to step
But the security chiefs stepped in - a "palace coup". Fearful that
they would lose wealth and influence if Mugabe bowed out, Zimbabwe's
military chief, General Constantine Chiwenga, reportedly told Mugabe that
stepping down from power was not a decision he alone should make.
The military would take control of the country and keep him in office
or Mugabe could contest the run-off election, which would be directed in the
field by senior army officers supervising a military-style campaign against
the opposition to ensure that Mugabe wins. Mugabe agreed to the second
option, which was codenamed, CIBD: Coercion, Intimidation, Beating,
At an April 4, 2008 meeting of ZANU PF party, the plan was affirmed.
"The small piece of paper cannot take the country," said Solomon Mujuru, a
former guerrilla commander, who once headed Zimbabwe's military (The
Washington Post, July 5, 2008; p.A10).
A Joint Operations Command (JOC) was set up to direct the election
campaign, intimidating rural voters and assassinating opposition campaign
supporters. Emmerson Mnagagwa chairs the JOC which is made up of these
military generals: Chiwenga, head of defence forces, Perence Shiri, head of
the air force, and Philip Sibanda, head of the national army.
Presidential aspirant Mnangagwa, also known as the "Butcher of
Matabeleland," is known for his uncompromising stance and ruthlessness. He
was the Minister of State Security who orchestrated a systematic and brutal
1981-83 campaign to suppress the Ndebele people and wipe out the main
opposition, ZAPU and its leader, the late Joshua Nkomo.
The hierarchy of ZANU PF has fully been "militarised" or integrated
with the security apparatus.
Dripping in blood
It is fear of reprisals, retribution and paranoia which haunts the
ruling ZANU PF regime. They know they have done bad. Their hands are
dripping in blood and their pockets are full of booty. They are afraid that
all their gory misdeeds will be exposed once they are out of power.
So they must do everything they can to cling to power. They must crush
the opposition and ruthlessly silence any whiff of protest. But in doing so,
they dig deeper graves for themselves because these brutal tactics seldom
Africa has dealt with many brutal despots before. In 1990, Liberian
rebel leader Yormie Johnson finally cornered General Samuel Doe in his
presidential palace. He stripped Doe naked, tied him up and cut off his left
ear. He didn't listen to his people. Doe bled to death. In 2000, Democratic
Republic Of Congo (DRC) President Laurent Kabila was shot dead by his own
African tyrants spend an inordinate amount on an elaborate
security-cum-military structure to protect themselves and suppress their
people. Since they came to power through illegitimate means (a military coup
or stolen election), they are suspicious of everyone and paranoid of any
little event, however innocuous.
Layers of security
So they spend huge resources creating layers upon layers of security -
just in case one level fails - and shower security agents with perks and
amenities. But in the end, they are hoisted by their own petards -
overthrown by their own security apparatus.
In Nigeria, former dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida rewarded "nearly 3
000 of his most loyal military chiefs by giving them new Peugeot sedans.
Most Nigerians will never be able to afford anything like a new Peugeot 505,
which costs the equivalent of US$21 000 in Lagos. A senior university
professor, for example, earns about US$4 000 a year, while a nurse or
mechanic is lucky to bring home more than US$1 000" (The New York Times, Dec
2, 1993; p. A3).
But they can't trust the military completely because some soldier
might get the same idea of staging a coup. So they create a Special Division
Force (like the 64th Battalion Rawlings created in Ghana), and equip it with
better weapons than the ordinary soldiers so that the Special Force can put
down any uprising or coup attempt from the military.
Still, they can't trust the Special Division Force, so they create an
Elite Strike Force (like the commandos), which are directly answerable to
the president. Even then, that is cold comfort. So they create the
Presidential Guard, often drawn from members of their own tribe, and equip
it with the best weapons. To deal with threats that may come from the
people, they create various militias - Janjaweed in Sudan and Green Bombers
Many African military regimes in Africa have elite presidential guard.
As The Washington Post (July 23, 1994) reported:
"The (presidential) guard is a typical feature of undemocratic
sub-Saharan African regimes - a coup deterring force recruited for its
personal loyalty to the commander in chief. A 1 500-man brigade of guards in
Nigeria's inland capital, Abuja, and a similar-sized force in Lagos, the
country's commercial capital, are described by military sources as the
linchpin of Abacha's internal security apparatus.
As in other undemocratic African countries, Abacha's presidential
guard is drawn from his own ethnic group in his home town. The guards often
get the best equipment and the best training" (p.A16).
As Africa's infrastructure and public services disintegrated, African
dictators found the wherewithal to spend more and more on themselves and the
military. Whitaker (1988) noted, "The proportion of African funds going to
equip and pay the military has been steadily rising, reaching for example
over 40 percent in Ethiopia, and 25 and 20 percent respectively in
drought-ravaged Mauritania and Mali" (p. 43).
The problem is, the security system, quite apart from the threat that
can come from within, often fails to provide adequate protection to African
despots. In fact, quite often, it is the very same security apparatus that
overthrows them. The Asante have this proverb: If a bed bug bites you, it is
from your own cloth.
The late Samuel Doe of Liberia, for example, spent so much to keep his
soldiers happy. In addition, he had crack presidential troops, secretly
trained by the Israelis. But they could not protect him from the Charles
Taylor's rag-tag rebels of 1 000. Note that Charles Taylor was not even a
soldier but an ex-civil servant.
Similarly, Ethiopia's Haile Mariam Mengistu spent an enormous amount
to build Africa's largest army with 200 000 under arms. Neither they too
could protect Mengistu from a band of determined Eritrean and Tigray rebels.
The same can be said for Siad Barre of Somalia.
In 1974, Mengistu overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in a military coup.
The ailing emperor was suffocated with a wet pillow, and his body buried in
an unmarked grave. Scores of his relatives were murdered or chained to walls
in the cellars of the imperial palace. Thousands of suspected
counter-revolutionaries were gunned down in the streets. More than 30 000
people were jailed.
When a member of his own junta questioned the wisdom of such terror
tactics, Mengistu shot him in the head. Mengistu created one of Africa's
largest militaries but in 1991, he fled to Zimbabwe after being routed by a
rag-tag army of Eritrean rebels. How safe was he there?
Former Ethiopian dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam panicked and ran
yelling for help when a would-be assassin fired a single shot at one of his
guards last fall, a Zimbabwe court was told. The Eritrean suspect, Solomon
Haile Ghebre Michael, 36, pleaded not guilty Monday in the attack on the
exiled Col Mengistu, given asylum by President Robert Mugabe in 1991 after
he fled Ethiopia (The Washington Times, Thursday July 11, 1996; p.A10).
On July 29, 1975, General Gowon of Nigeria was overthrown in a
bloodless coup, planned and executed by some of his most trusted colleagues,
including the Commander of the Presidential Guard. Interestingly, General
Joe Garba, who announced the overthrow, was Gowon's closest personal staff
in whom he could confide in all matters of security.
Ironically, reasons for the coup against Gowon were: inaccessibility,
insensitivity, indecision and lack of political direction. Strange that his
own closest aide had no access to him.
In Cameroon, Mbia Meka, the senior commissioner of police and the
commandant of the paramilitary Special Operations Squad, as well as Joseph
Owona, and Remy Ze Meka, secretary general at the prime minister's office,
were arrested on Sept 9, 1994 and charged with plotting to overthrow Paul
"The revelations stunned Cameroonians since the alleged coup leaders
were all members of Biya's own Beti ethnic group and, as part of the
powerful Essingan sect, were held in close confidence by the 61-year old
president" (The African Observer, Nov 15-28, 1994; p.14).
In Chad, part of the rebellion against President Idris Deby is led by
his own family members.
In Rwanda, the late president Juvenal Habryimana "fell victim to the
monster he created" (The Washington Post, April 18, 1995; p.A17). His plane
crash was plotted by his own allies in the military, who saw that he was
edging closer to political reforms that would threaten their power.
But the next buffoon doesn't learn. Being a product of that structure,
with intricate knowledge of its inner workings, he repairs the weaknesses
and strengthens the structure. Eventually he too is overthrown by the same
In Niger, General Ibrahim Mainassara, who seized power in a coup in
1996, didn't trust his own military, so he created a Special Presidential
Guard and fortified his palace. It was impregnable but just in case somebody
might have an idea of attacking from the air, he gave his presidential guard
some heavy artillery, including heavy-duty anti-helicopter machine guns.
Sometime in 1999, returning from a trip overseas, his presidential
guard went to the airport to meet him. They opened fire with their
anti-helicopter machine guns. Mainassara's body was shredded into pieces,
littering the tarmac.
The more an African head of state spends on security, the more likely
he will be overthrown by someone from his security forces.
Each year, African governments spend about $12 billion on the
importation of weapons and maintenance of the military. The futility of such
military expenditures was pointed out by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Speaking
in Accra on November 25, 1990, he noted cogently: "Freedom is cheaper than
repression. When you are a leader chosen by the people you don't need
security. All the money spent on weapons doesn't buy one iota of security,"
he said (Christian Messenger, Jan 1991; p. 1).
"I bought jet fighters. I bought MiG-23s. I bought armed helicopters.
And I lost the war. When there's social unrest, it's difficult to win. It's
the same feeling today," said Likulia Bolongo, the defence minister of Zaire's
President Mobutu Sese Seko during the 1996-1997 war (The Washington Post,
Nov 23, 1999; p.A24).
On August 2, 2005, Mauritania's army officers overthrew President
Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya in a bloodless revolt. Speaking after the coup,
Taya said he had been shocked to find out who was behind it. He was toppled
by the former security chief and close colleague, Colonel Ely Ould Mohammed
Vall, who had been the director of national security since 1987 and, after
played a key role in the 1984 coup which brought Taya to power.
"My situation reminds me of the old adage: 'God, save me from my
friends, I'll take care of my enemies'," Taya told Radio France
Internationale from Niger. "I was stunned by the coup d'etat [...] and even
more so when I heard who were the authors," Taya said
The ZANU PF regime, in contemplating its imminent demise, should ask
itself whether more investments in lethal weaponry and brutal repression
will pay off.
Africans are forgiving people but are willing to forgive those who are
willing to admit of their errors and make amends. This African trait can be
found in indigenous African courts. Western law is different from African
African notion of justice
Western jurisprudence focuses on punishment for the guilty whereas the
African notion of justice mandates restitution, forgiveness, reconciliation
to promote social healing and restore social harmony. Africans believe that
when two people fight, the entire village is affected. Therefore, conflict
resolution requires not just a settlement between the two disputants but
also an effort to repair frayed social relationships (social healing).
In Rwanda, after the 1994 genocide which saw the slaughter of more
than 800 000 Tutsis, the government found that the formal (Western) court
system would never be able to try the over 100 000 suspects. It would have
taken at least 200 years. To restore peace, reconciliation, and justice, the
government turned to the traditional courts - gacaca.
According to The Economist (May 17, 2003), "They got off to a flying
start: In Oct 2001, Rwandans elected 258 208 gacaca judges, including 19 for
each of the country's 9 170 cells (tiny administrative united sometimes as
small as 200 people).
The people in each cell are supposed to assemble before these judges
on a patch of grass (gacaca). By hearing testimony from everyone who was
there during the genocide, the judges are supposed to identify the culprits,
and then pass judgment on them" (p.42). Culprits who confessed to lesser
crimes and were willing to make to make amends to their victims, were
South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) established
after the dismantling of apartheid in 1994, was rooted in this African
tradition. If every white person, guilty of apartheid crimes, were to be
punished according to the Western notion of justice, there would be few
whites left in South Africa.
Zimbabwe is not going to be saved if those who have perpetrated
heinous atrocities and crime, stubbornly refuse to admit their errors.
To be continued. - ZimOnline
†Posted by: Sarah Hager, September 7, 2009 at 11:59 PM
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights recently reported that President Mugabe
did NOT sign the Global Political Agreement. Well, he signed half of it. The
entire 36 page document was ratified into law by Parliament as
Constitutional Amendment 19. President Mugabe, however, only signed an 18
page document. The result is potentially unenforceable as "It is impossible,
legally, to have an act in two different versions-one version approved by
Parliament, another by the President." The missing pages included clauses
governing the mandated Constitutional revision and referendum process. This
means that the entire agreement can be declared null and void, or those
pages not signed by the President are not enforceable.
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) is the result of negotiations that
occurred after contested Presidential and Parliamentary elections in March
2008. Although now-Prime Minister Tsvangirai received the majority of votes,
he purportedly did not receive the necessary 50% +1 required to win
outright, forcing a run-off election. Tsvangirai subsequently withdrew from
the run-off over concern for the extreme levels of violence that occurred,
including deaths, disappearances and torture and Mugabe was declared the
winner. The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) stepped in and
negotiated a political settlement that became the GPA and is now the
guarantor of this agreement.
ZANU-PF's commitment to the GPA has been suspect from the beginning
including refusing to cede control of the Attorney General office and
Reserve Bank and chipping away at the Parliamentary majority position Prime
Minister Tsvangirai's party MDC-T secured in the 2008 elections through
pressing criminal charges. Further, while levels of violence have abated,
political violence is an on-going concern including the recent murder of an
The law is meant to define the parameters that regulate behavior and
establish social control. It is not meant to be a blunt weapon of force to
repress, dominate and terrorize citizens. Mugabe's political party, ZANU-PF,
consistently uses the law to manipulate and oppress from laws used to stifle
dissent such as the Public Order and Security Act, to withdrawing from the
SADC Tribunal, to entering the agreement with false intentions by building
in an escape hatch.
ZANU-PF's withdrawal from the SADC Tribunal and the failure to sign all
pages of the GPA are essentially contract disputes and there is no
applicable court to turn where a judge can decide which terms apply and
should be enforced. Instead, the judge is SADC, who must remove the blinders
of reverence towards a one time freedom fighter and see him as the leader of
a party of freedom oppressors. SADC announced today it will convene an
extraordinary summit in three weeks to address the outstanding issues
surrounding the GPA and it MUST force a resolution on both these concerns.
The judge is also the international community, who bears the burden of
standing strong in speaking out against the injustices occurring in Zimbabwe
while still standing in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe by providing
appropriate humanitarian aid to repair the schools, hospitals, water
treatment plants and sewer systems, electrical capacity and agricultural
industry. Finally, the judge is us, who must continue to demand respect for
the rule of law and insist on accountability and an end to impunity for
those who use violence to retain power and control.