• MDC to consult public on whether to
stay in cabinet
• We want partners who are sincere, PM tells president
Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:54pm GMT
* Tsvangirai highlights tensions in unity government
* EU says new phase of ties with Zimbabwe
* Calls for implementation of power-sharing deal
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said
on Sunday he would not tolerate persecution of members of parliament or
violation of the law by President Robert Mugabe, after an EU delegation
called for implementation of power sharing.
Swedish International Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson said targeted
sanctions against Zimbabwe would not be lifted until human rights abuses
ended in a country with a ruined economy that needs billions of dollars for
Speaking at a rally to mark the 10th anniversary of the formation of his MDC
party, Tsvangirai said he would not stand by as Mugabe's ZANU-PF "continues
to violate the law, persecutes our members of parliament, spreads the
language of hate, invades our productive farms ... ignores our international
The visit by EU Aid and Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht and the
Swedish EU presidency is the first since the EU began targeted sanctions in
2002 against members of Mugabe's government for what it said were human
The EU delegation said relations with Zimbabwe were entering a "new phase"
but full cooperation hinged on the implementation of power-sharing.
"Now we're entering a new phase (of relations). The political agreement was
an important step forward, but much needs to be done. The key to
re-engagement is the full implementation of the political agreement," said
On Saturday, Mugabe welcomed the EU delegation with "open arms", as he put
it; a change in tone which may suggest he is more willing to cooperate with
Western countries he has blamed for Zimbabwe's economic decline.
TENSIONS IN GOVERNMENT
But Tsvangirai highlighted tensions in the unity government, which had
raised hopes that the old foes could work together and rebuild the economy.
"I have done my part to promote reconciliation in this country. Even after
winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe. But
please, don't misjudge me. You misjudge me at your own peril," he said.
The deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has been beset with problems as their
parties accuse each other of stalling the process by not fully implementing
Zimbabwe says it needs $10 billion in foreign reconstruction aid. Western
nations are reluctant to release cash without further political and economic
reform promised as part of the power-sharing pact, called the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).
"The restrictive measures were there because of (human rights) violations.
We cannot fully re-engage until we see the Global Political Agreement is
being implemented fully. There's more that needs to be done here," Carlsson
told a news conference when asked about the possibility of lifting
"We had reasons to raise very serious concerns, for example on media freedom
and constitutional reforms. We still have a lot of reports of human rights
violations, which are unacceptable."
The EU remains the main overall donor to Zimbabwe, having provided 572
million euros ($829 million) in humanitarian aid to the country since 2002,
despite the targeted sanctions.
To date, 203 people and 40 companies linked to the Mugabe government face
travel and some financial restrictions within the 27-nation bloc.
Mugabe has long held his Western foes responsible for Zimbabwe's steep
economic decline, saying sanctions were imposed as retaliation for the
seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to blacks.
(Additional reporting by Mike Saburi in Bulawayo and Phakamisa Ndzamela in
Johannesburg; Writing by Michael Georgy)
• MDC to consult public on whether to
stay in cabinet Morgan
Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, took a new tough
stance against President Robert Mugabe
yesterday, warning: "You misjudge me at your peril." Tsvangirai said he would
consult the public on whether the fraught unity government was still
tenable. His hard line came as the first European Union delegation to visit
Zimbabwe since 2002 said that targeted sanctions would not be lifted until the
political rivals had resolved their differences. Tsvangirai, addressing a rally to mark the 10th anniversary of his party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, insisted that he would no longer tolerate
violations of the power sharing agreement by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. "I am not going to stand by while Zanu-PF continue to violate the law,
persecute our members of parliament, spread the language of hate, invade our
productive farms … ignore our international treaties," the prime minister told
thousands of supporters in Bulawayo. "I am not going to stand by and let this
happen." In a tone that seemed to hover between defiance and exhaustion, Tsvangirai
said: "I have done my part to promote reconciliation in this country. Even after
winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe. But don't
misjudge me. You misjudge me at your peril." He added: "We want partners that are sincere. We want partners who are going
to commit themselves to good governance principles. We cannot have partners of
looters." The MDC was formed on 11 September 1999 when a coalition of civil rights
groups and churches launched a party to challenge Mugabe, who has been in power
since 1980. It joined a unity government in February in an attempt to end the
political unrest that erupted after last year's failed elections. But the party
says its supporters still suffer political attacks. Tsvangirai, who has been criticised by some supporters for being too
compliant, announced an initiative to consult the public on the future of the
unity government during the next month. "We are coming to you. Is this
government sustainable? It is you, the people, who shall give us direction." Mugabe welcomed the EU delegation on Saturday with what he described as "open
arms". Zimbabwe is seeking billions of dollars in aid to rebuild its ruined
economy. The EU delegation flew out of Harare today saying it would continue to give
an average of €90m (£79m) a year in humanitarian assistance, along with a new
injection of €7.5m for an education sponsorship fund. But it said sanctions on
Zimbabwean individuals and firms would not be lifted until the power-sharing
agreement had been fully implemented. Speaking in Johannesburg today, Gunilla Carlsson, the international
development minister of Sweden, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said:
"Much more needs to be done. It's a mixed picture and this is only the start of
a long journey. My first impression is that there is a basic agreement with
Mugabe and Tsvangirai that the GPA [global political agreement] is the way to go
and there is no alternative. There is common ground, but it's a small
island." Carlsson highlighted agricultural production, the rule of law, conditions for
foreign investment and the overall legal framework as ongoing obstacles to
recovery. On the issue of sanctions, she said: "The key for re-engagement is the
full implementation of the GPA. We are not there yet. It needs to be seen how
deep the will is." Asked if she thought the MDC might run out of patience with its coalition
partner, Carlsson added: "I can understand it's tricky to come from such
different views in a government. However, they have decided to do it, and the
prime minister asked us to stay on message with the government of national
unity. It will depend on how the situation develops." Karel De Gucht, the EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid,
said Mugabe and Tsvangirai were still deeply divided: "They do not have the same
reading of the same document. They have a different reading on how this should
be done and at what speed … Mugabe has a legalistic approach. Tsvangirai has a
teleological approach, which means you work towards a
• We want partners who are sincere, PM tells president
• MDC to consult public on whether to
stay in cabinet
Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, took a new tough stance against President Robert Mugabe yesterday, warning: "You misjudge me at your peril." Tsvangirai said he would consult the public on whether the fraught unity government was still tenable.
His hard line came as the first European Union delegation to visit Zimbabwe since 2002 said that targeted sanctions would not be lifted until the political rivals had resolved their differences.
Tsvangirai, addressing a rally to mark the 10th anniversary of his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, insisted that he would no longer tolerate violations of the power sharing agreement by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
"I am not going to stand by while Zanu-PF continue to violate the law, persecute our members of parliament, spread the language of hate, invade our productive farms … ignore our international treaties," the prime minister told thousands of supporters in Bulawayo. "I am not going to stand by and let this happen."
In a tone that seemed to hover between defiance and exhaustion, Tsvangirai said: "I have done my part to promote reconciliation in this country. Even after winning the election, I have compromised for the sake of Zimbabwe. But don't misjudge me. You misjudge me at your peril."
He added: "We want partners that are sincere. We want partners who are going to commit themselves to good governance principles. We cannot have partners of looters."
The MDC was formed on 11 September 1999 when a coalition of civil rights groups and churches launched a party to challenge Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980. It joined a unity government in February in an attempt to end the political unrest that erupted after last year's failed elections. But the party says its supporters still suffer political attacks.
Tsvangirai, who has been criticised by some supporters for being too compliant, announced an initiative to consult the public on the future of the unity government during the next month. "We are coming to you. Is this government sustainable? It is you, the people, who shall give us direction."
Mugabe welcomed the EU delegation on Saturday with what he described as "open arms". Zimbabwe is seeking billions of dollars in aid to rebuild its ruined economy.
The EU delegation flew out of Harare today saying it would continue to give an average of €90m (£79m) a year in humanitarian assistance, along with a new injection of €7.5m for an education sponsorship fund. But it said sanctions on Zimbabwean individuals and firms would not be lifted until the power-sharing agreement had been fully implemented.
Speaking in Johannesburg today, Gunilla Carlsson, the international development minister of Sweden, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said: "Much more needs to be done. It's a mixed picture and this is only the start of a long journey. My first impression is that there is a basic agreement with Mugabe and Tsvangirai that the GPA [global political agreement] is the way to go and there is no alternative. There is common ground, but it's a small island."
Carlsson highlighted agricultural production, the rule of law, conditions for foreign investment and the overall legal framework as ongoing obstacles to recovery. On the issue of sanctions, she said: "The key for re-engagement is the full implementation of the GPA. We are not there yet. It needs to be seen how deep the will is."
Asked if she thought the MDC might run out of patience with its coalition partner, Carlsson added: "I can understand it's tricky to come from such different views in a government. However, they have decided to do it, and the prime minister asked us to stay on message with the government of national unity. It will depend on how the situation develops."
Karel De Gucht, the EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said Mugabe and Tsvangirai were still deeply divided: "They do not have the same reading of the same document. They have a different reading on how this should be done and at what speed … Mugabe has a legalistic approach. Tsvangirai has a teleological approach, which means you work towards a purpose."
By Ish Mafundikwa
13 September 2009
The first European Union delegation to visit Zimbabwe in seven years ended
its two-day visit to Harare, saying meetings with President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were good. But more needs to be done
before the relationship between the European Union and Zimbabwe can be
An end to human-rights abuses, freedom of the media and full implementation
of the of the deal that brought about the unity government, the so-called
Global Political Agreement are just some of the benchmarks the European
Union needs to see met before a relations are normalized with Harare.
Speaking to the media on the last day of the EU delegation's visit, the
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Karel de Gucht
said the European Union supports the efforts of the unity government
partners to reach an agreement.
"We also think we can come to completion if both sides agree on benchmarks;
on a road map, also how to come to on the one hand full completion of the
GPA and on the other hand normalization of the relations between Zimbabwe
and the European Union. But we are doing this in good spirits," he said.
De Gucht added Mr. Mugabe told the delegation he is committed to the GPA.
The delegation once again insisted the sanctions that President Mugabe says
were imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 for alleged human-rights abuses are nothing
more than restrictive measures on the president and ranking members of his
party and government. The delegation said the European Union never stopped
providing humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambabra who leads a breakaway faction of the MDC signed the GPA a
year ago. But there have been delays in fully implementing the deal.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai blames Mr. Mugabe for not sticking to the terms of
the agreement. The president says Mr. Tsvangirai has not done enough to have
the sanctions lifted.
Swedish Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson said the former opposition
leader and his party have nothing to do with the imposition of the measures.
"The restrictive measures are decided in the European Union," said Carlsson.
"It is not up to the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to take them away.
That is a European Union responsibility."
Carlsson added the EU delegation was not in Harare to discuss the sanctions,
though Mr. Mugabe brought up the issue. But she said the measures are not
'here forever'. She described the visit as the beginning of a new phase,
which would hopefully lead to the normalization of relations.
The delegation also met with Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara before leaving
September 13, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has no special obligation
and capacity to force the lifting of so-called sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe
by the West, visiting Swedish International Development Cooperation Minister
Gunilla Carlsson said Sunday.
Carlsson says the imposition of the "restrictive measures" were the sole
prerogative of the European Union (EU) in 2002 in response to alleged human
rights violations by President Robert Mugabe's government.
"The restrictive measures were imposed (by the EU) because we could not
accept what we saw (in Zimbabwe ). That was one way for us to react,"
Carlsson told journalists Sunday.
"It is not up to the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to take them away.
That is a European Union responsibility.
"What we can do now is to see with our instruments, and thus it is now the
political agreement that we came here for that will deal with these kinds of
questions and discuss it."
The response by Carlsson contradicts repeated assertions by President Mugabe's
Zanu-PF that the MDC could campaign for the lifting of the sanctions without
any changes to the political climate in Zimbabwe .
A power-sharing agreement entered between the former rivals has been plagued
with continued bickering over the failure by mostly Zanu-PF to fully commit
themselves to the September 15, 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Zanu-PF is adamant the sanctions were invited by the MDC which should
naturally take the burden of forcing their removal.
The MDC says Mugabe is deliberately frustrating efforts to bring about
democratic reforms in the country while Zanu-PF says it can only play ball
if the MDC makes a stronger commitment to forcing the lifting of the
sanctions, which it says are hurting the majority.
The EU slapped the Zimbabwean government with sanctions in 2002 after
President Mugabe had barred a delegation from the wealthy block to come and
observe the violent presidential elections won by the veteran leader.
The sanctions were in the form of travel bans and asset freezes on Mugabe
and 202 other members of his inner circle and party.
Carlsson said the "restrictive measures" could only be lifted if the current
inclusive government led by Mugabe starts fully implementing the political
She said no amount of lobbying by any party in the inclusive government
could force their removal if the political parties in Zimbabwe had not
followed through on their agreements as per GPA.
Carlsson is part of an EU delegation that has come to Zimbabwe to try and
help readmit the troubled country with the wealthier EU body.
The visit is the first top level delegation from the EU since the diplomatic
fallout in seven years ago.
EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid Karel de Gucht and a
representative from Spain, which takes over the EU presidency next year from
Sweden, are also part of the strong delegation.
The process of trying to reengage Zimbabwe with the broader world was
started by the inclusive government in June this year, four months after its
formation when a Zimbabwean delegation led by Tsvangirai went on a
three-week visit of the United States of America and Europe.
Carlsson, whose delegation has since met with President Mugabe and Prime
Minister Tsvangirai, also dismissed claims the sanctions were hurting
She was adamant the EU will only continue with humanitarian assistance to
Zimbabwe until there was full commitment by Harare to see to the
implementation of the GPA.
During their one-and-half hour long meeting with President Mugabe on
Saturday, she said, the Zimbabwean leader talked passionately about the
lifting of sanctions.
She said the visit by her delegation was not to "come to negotiate the
restrictive measures or humanitarian aid" but to assess the implementation
of the GPA.
She described the EU delegation's meeting with Mugabe as "open, frank and
She added, "We had frank discussions with President Mugabe because he is
talking a lot about those sanctions but really they are not affecting the
economy in the way that it is described.
"It is more to see that we have something to quarrel about. There are so
many things now that need to be done here and the European Union can be able
to do things.
"We need to see that the media situation is improving here; we need to see
that the work on the constitutional reform is done in a way that is
indicated in the Global Political Agreement.
"We still have a lot of reports on human rights violations. That is
unacceptable and not in the spirit of the people of (helping) the Zimbabwe
and also according to the Global Political Agreement.
"The restrictive measures are not here for ever and also our freezing of
development assistance was also due to the political developments in
Zimbabwe some years ago now."
(AFP) - 6 hours ago
HARARE - The European Union said Sunday ties with Zimbabwe would only
normalise once a unity accord is properly implemented, but reaffirmed its
yearly assistance of 90 millions euros in aid.
"The European Union has never stopped helping Zimbabwe," said EU aid
commissioner Karel de Gucht at the end of a two-day visit to Zimbabwe for
the bloc's first talks with Harare in seven years.
"Between 2002 and 2009 roughly 600 million euros has gone to humanitarian
aid and we are switching to more structural aid, what we call transitional
aid for education. In 2009 alone we will invest 90 million euros in
The EU delegation, which held talks with President Robert Mugabe and his
former political rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, slammed reports of
human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
"We still have a lot of reports on human rights violations. That is
unacceptable and not the spirit" of the power-sharing agreement, said
Swedish Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson, whose country holds the
rotating EU presidency.
"The EU has a clear line that the key to re-engagement is the full
implementation of the global political agreement," she said.
The power-sharing agreement and the subsequent formation of a government of
national unity "was an important step forward for normalising the situation
The visit by the EU delegation came as regional leaders demanded the bloc
drop its targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his close
The EU however is calling for further reforms such as guarantees of
political and media freedom.
Regional heavyweight South Africa on Friday met the EU for talks after
urging that sanctions be dropped so that the deal signed in February between
Mugabe and Tsvangirai can proceed unhindered.
"This cannot be a pre-condition for the political dialogue and we made it
very clear," said de Gucht.
13 September 2009
While President Robert Mugabe welcomed senior European Union officials to Zimbabwe “with great expectations” and hoped their talks would be “fruitful with a positive outcome”, the havoc wrought by senior Zanu PF officials in the commercial farming sector continues to escalate.
At Friedawil farm near Chinhoyi, about 100 kilometres north of Harare, Edward Mashiringwani, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, has once again moved onto the farm with about 15 guards who beat up one of the resident guards.
“They arrived mid morning Friday and began targeting our senior staff, issuing threats and chasing them away,” said Louis Fick, who is struggling to maintain farming operations due to continuous harassment.
Mashiringwani’s employees have also locked the gates leading to the pigsties and crocodile enclosures and are refusing to allow food and water to be taken to the animals.
“This has gone on for two days now and the situation is desperate,” said Fick.
“We have about 1 000 pigs at this stage and ten sows are in maternity. There are also about 100 piglets, some just a few days old, the rest under three weeks. It’s essential for them to get food and water,” he stressed. “Pigs in maternity need about 40 litres of water a day.”
The worst part for Fick is that there is no one for him to turn to.
“I can’t begin to describe what I feel,” he said. “Eventually the police came out after a long struggle but any members who tried to assist were reprimanded. The animals should be beyond politics but they are used as pawns in the game.”
The situation is a virtual replay of April 2008 when Mashiringwani attempted to take over the farm, forcing Fick’s workers to leave and refusing to allow his livestock to be fed and watered.
At that point Fick had more than 4 000 pigs, 15 000 crocodiles and several hundred beef cattle.
In desperation he called in the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who were inundated with distress calls, but when they tried to enter the farm, they were prevented from doing so by Mashiringwani’s men.
As a result 30 sows died due to dehydration and some became so crazed they ate their own little piglets.
According to neighbours, the sounds emanating from the farm on that occasion were horrifying and Fick and his workers were severely traumatised.
Friedawil is one of more than 70 Zimbabwean commercial farms protected by the landmark Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ruling of 28 November 2008 – Fick is the 7th applicant on the list.
Fick and his wife Lisette are the main shareholders of the company farming Friedawil and the livestock belongs to the company.
Fick is a South African citizen but has had no assistance from the South African government, although he has kept the South African embassy in Zimbabwe fully informed of the ongoing property rights and human rights violations.
On August 1, 2008, a Pretoria judge took the South African government to task for not protecting the rights of a citizen whose farms had been nationalised in Zimbabwe.
Free State farmer Crawford von Abo won his court battle against the then President, Thabo Mbeki, the Foreign Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mpahlwa, to get compensation from the South African government
Judge Bill Prinsloo noted that the government’s excuses for lack of action over the previous six years had been “feeble” and pointed out that Germany, France and Denmark had intervened successfully of behalf of their citizens who owned agricultural land in Zimbabwe.
Independent analysts are concerned that the South African government’s failure to protect its citizens’ rights in Zimbabwe will impact on the confidence levels of potential overseas investors.
On Friday, South Africa and the European Union signed an amended trade, development and co-operation agreement and pledged to bridge the outstanding gaps in the negotiations. It is important for South Africa to maintain credibility.
In Zimbabwe, the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA) with South Africa has become a contentious issue as a result of delays in signing the agreement. This has led to millions of dollars of potential credit to Zimbabwe being frozen.
Zimbabwe’s Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said recently that his government was prepared to sign BIPPAs with South Africa - or any other country - as long as they did not result in the reversal of “land reform”.
Claims by President Mugabe and his Zanu PF ministers that the land reform programme benefits landless black people are not borne out by the long list of beneficiaries of stolen commercial farms.
The so-called ‘chefs’ involved in the ongoing and violent land grab are an elite of ministers (and in some cases also their wives and girlfriends), senior security force officers, Politburo members, their family members and even judges.
The vast majority have no knowledge of, or interest in farming and many are fully employed in lucrative jobs, hence their being dubbed “cell phone farmers”.
Their main activities have been to asset strip the farms and to sell crops that were planted by the farmers to help feed and sustain the nation. As a result, many once productive farms are now lying derelict, and with homesteads, worker villages, factories and sheds – such as those of Mike Campbell, who initiated the landmark SADC Tribunal court case with his son-in-law, Ben Freeth - burnt to the ground.
For further information:
Cell: +263 11 216 062
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Cell: +263 11 800 582
Manager for Mr Mashiringwani
Cell: +263 912 967 386
By KING SHANGO
Published on: 13th September, 2009
CHEGUTU - Two large explosions were heard on Mount Carmel farm in the
Chegutu district of Zimbabwe yesterday, less than a week after Mike Campbell's
homestead was burnt to the ground.
Farm workers who heard the explosions saw dust billowing into the air above
the trees shrouding the ruined house and observed army personnel in the
Earlier in the week, a reporter was told by a group of the thugs who had
previously forced Mike Campbell (74) and his wife Angela (67) from their
home that an arms cache had been discovered and that Campbell would be
"The situation is absurd," said Ben Freeth, Campbell's son-in-law, who also
farms on Mount Carmel.
"The injuries Mike sustained following our abduction in June last year were
so severe that he has become quite frail. His only objective is to return to
the farm and help restore the country to food security."
Claims by Zanu PF that arms caches have been discovered are not new. In 2006
for example, three Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials were
arrested after police said they had found an arms cache in the eastern city
Zanu PF's modus operandi has been to arrange for caches to be planted on
targeted properties and then to arrest those they wish to silence, claiming
they are planning to overthrow the government.
Two police guards are currently stationed at the remains of Mike Campbell's
house, precluding access to the area.
Freeth's own home, a few hundred metres away, was destroyed in a raging
inferno on Sunday September 6.
Since the tractors and fire-fighting equipment had been commandeered by the
invaders, there was no way of stopping the blaze.
Three workers' cottages and Laura Freeth's linen factory, which employed 60
women from the farm, were also destroyed.
"It's impossible for us to get anywhere close to Mike's house to establish
the current situation," said Freeth. "When there were similar circumstances
on the Etheredges' farm and they tried to investigate, they were shot at by
Freeth said the Chegutu police continued to thwart investigations of arson
and the theft of property from Campbell's home.
"Lorry loads of fertilizer were also stolen from our sheds but there has
been no move by the police to follow up with these reports," he said.
Suggestions by the invaders that the Campbell homestead fire was caused by
an electrical fault as opposed to arson are premature.
"We went to ZESA (the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority) to report the
fire but to date there has been no investigation into its cause," said
"However, Chief Inspector Manika from Chegutu Police Station has also
claimed prematurely that it was an electrical fault."
Police at Chegutu have also failed to follow up a litany of previous reports
submitted by Freeth and other beleaguered farmers in the district.
These include reports of farm workers being beaten up, resulting in such
serious injuries as fractured skulls, house breaking, looting and the theft
of tractors and equipment as well as all of Mount Carmel's crops for the
Current rumours in the district suggest that Nathan Shamuyarira, Zanu PF'
elderly secretary for information, who claims to have been allocated the
previously prosperous farm, has offered one of the stolen tractors to his
lawyer for outstanding legal fees.
Shamuyarira, who is well into his eighties, has no previous farming
experience. Most of the commercial farms taken over by senior Zanu PF
officials and cronies have been asset stripped and their crops stolen.
In Campbell's case, the Chegutu police have consistently failed to assist
the deputy sheriff to evict the invaders who have reaped or destroyed his
mango, orange, sunflower and maize crops.
In October 2007, following attempts by the Mugabe regime to acquire Mount
Carmel farm, Campbell took the unprecedented step of challenging the
government in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s human
Seventy-seven other commercial farmers joined the case.
On June 29, 2008, the day Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president following
the fraudulent, violence-ridden elections, Mike and Angela Campbell and Ben
Freeth were abducted. They were viciously beaten for hours and then forced
at gunpoint to sign a piece of paper stating they would withdraw their case
from the SADC Tribunal.
In a landmark judgement on November 28, the Tribunal ruled that the farmers
had a legal right to remain on their land.
The Government of Zimbabwe was ordered to protect the farmers against future
invasions and to allow them to continue farming operations.
However, despite the SADC ruling, Campbell, Freeth and their 500 workers
have suffered continuous victimisation and violence.
Campbell also has two Zimbabwean High Court orders against the invaders. On
April 20, 2009 the High Court gave a provisional order evicting the
invaders. This was served on them the next day but the situation became very
hostile as most were armed with guns.
A week later, a second provisional order was gained in the High Court,
reinforcing the first, but still nothing was done by the police.
During May, "Landmine", the leader of the invaders, arrived at the Freeths'
house and threatened "blood shed" while waving a gun at the back door.
On June 5, the SADC Tribunal ruled that the Government of Zimbabwe was in
contempt of court and referred the government to the SADC Summit (September
2-8) for appropriate action.
This latest outrage on Mount Carmel farm comes just two days after the SADC
Summit in Kinshasa, which failed to address the ongoing Zimbabwean crisis.
"In this situation, where the rule of law has totally broken down, we cannot
understand the wall of silence from SADC, who set up the region's
internationally respected Tribunal," concluded Freeth.
Harare, September 13, 2009 - ZANU PF national youth league has elected
its new leadership amid chaos and allegations of rigging as the factionalism
within the former ruling party came to the fore.
Delegates from the Harare province were locked out of the conference
venue during election time after the province failed to elect its leaders in
time of the conference.
Harare delegates who were accredited as observers sang derogatory
songs as they tried to get their way into the City Sports Centre but Zanu PF
chairman John Nkomo would not have any of that.
Didymus Mutasa had to come out of the conference and tried to silence
the angry youth but to no avail. They were only allowed into the venue after
the elections but a few seats were reserved for them.
Zanu PF factionalism came to the fore during the elections as the
Emmerson Mnangagwa led faction fought and won the most powerful posts in the
youth league against the candidates from the Mujuru camp.
Edison Chakanyuka from the Midlands province was eventually voted the
deputy secretary for youth against Anastancia NdhlovuShurugwi South who is
suspected to be a from the Mujuru camp and was relegated to the post of
secretary for land reform.
Delegates from Midlands accepted to take the post of the deputy
secretary but rejected Ndhlovu as their candidate.
Chakanyuka automatically becomes the member of the Zanu PF politburo
following his election.
From the first list of the elected candidates Ndhlovu's name was not
there and she had to rush to the podium and spoke to Emmerson Mnangagwa in
order for her to get a position in the youth league.
The Mujuru camp however got two powerful position in Obert Mutasa from
Mashonaland Central who was elected the secretary for finance and and
Mike Gava from Mashonaland West who got the post of secretary for
All the candidates from Mnangagwa's faction from Masvingo,
Matabeleland South and North, Midlands and Manicaland managed to get posts
in the new youth leadership.
Other members in the new team are John Mushai, Lesley Ncube,
Khumbulani Mlilo, Bekezela Sibanda, Kudzani Chipanga, Clopas Magwizi and
Joshua Sacco became the first white man in the Zanu PF youth league
after he was elected a deputy secretary for production. Outgoing deputy
secretary Saviour Kasukuwere's younger brother Tongai was elected deputy
secretary for external affairs.
President Robert Mugabe later addressed the conference and told the
youths about his earlier meeting with the visiting European Union (EU)
"Instead of talking about sanctions, they (EU delegation) were talking
about Gono and Tomana. They said this was in the spirit of the GPA and I
told them to go and listen to our brothers from SADC," said Mugabe.
He said he told the EU delegation that because of sanctions Zimbabwe
cannot get lines of credit.
September 13, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Zanu-PF youths who attended a party conference held over the
weekend in Harare sang in harmony from the same hymn book as their party's
The youths accused the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of violating the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) by failing to call for the removal of international sanctions.
"As youths we note with concern violations of the GPA by the MDC. We note
the continuous running of illegal pirate radio stations established in
neighbouring countries at their request," said the youths in their
communiqué read at the end of the conference.
The Zanu-PF youths said they were also concerned at attempts by both MDC
parties to depart from the agreed Kariba Constitutional draft to which the
three parties appended their signatures and which they pledged to campaign
They also accused MDC of running a parallel government through the World
"The operation of clandestine financial facilities for the benefit of their
side of the inclusive government is equally disturbing," said the youths.
Zanu-PF has alleged that some workers in the Prime Minister's Office are
getting their salaries from the World Bank. It alleged that some of the
workers in the Prime Minister's office were earning as much as US$ 7000 a
month while MDC MPs are said to be getting allowances of US$ 2000 a month.
"We demand that the World Bank state its position with regards to the issue
of salaries. We also call upon the Bretton Woods institutions to
unconditionally release the funds channelled for Zimbabwe," said the youths.
The Zanu-PF youths had earlier in the day elected its new leadership amid
chaos and allegations of rigging as factionalism within the former ruling
party came to the fore.
Delegates from the Harare province were locked out of the conference venue
during polling after the province failed to elect its leaders in time of the
Harare delegates who were accredited as observers sang derogatory songs as
they tried to force their way into the City Sports Centre.
Minister of State in the President's office, Didymus Mutasa, emerged from
the conference and tried to silence the angry youths but to no avail. They
were only allowed into the venue after the elections had been conducted but
a few seats were reserved for them.
Zanu-PF's legendary factionalism became quite apparent during the elections
as the faction of wealthy Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa fought and won
the most powerful posts in the youth league against the candidates
representing the camp loyal to wealthy former army commander Solomon Mujuru.
President Robert Mugabe later addressed the conference and told the youths
about his earlier meeting with the visiting European Union (EU) delegation.
"Instead of talking about sanctions, they were talking about Gono and
Tomana. They said this was in the spirit of the GPA and I told them to go
and listen to our brothers from SADC," said Mugabe.
by Clara Smith Monday 14 September 2009
HARARE - Eleven political and human rights activists abducted by state
security agents during last year's post election turmoil have asked for the
return of property seized during and after their abduction.
Lawyers for the abductees have petitioned the head of litigation in the
Attorney General's office, Tawanda Zvekare, to facilitate the release of
property confiscated during the state sanctioned enforced disappearances..
"Kindly make the above property available to our clients for collection and
advise us as soon as possible when our clients can collect their property,"
read part of the letter written to Zvekare.
Zvekare, who was not immediately available for comment on the matter, has
not responded nor acknowledged receipt of the letter.
Property taken from the abductees' homes during searches by state agents
includes cars, computers, cameras and cash.
The 11 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and human rights
activists are part of a group of 17 people abducted and held incommunicado
in various secret locations between October and December last year.
Most of the abductees say they were tortured and forced into confessing
involvement in alleged acts of terrorism and banditry. The state is charging
them with sabotage, banditry, terrorism and plotting to unseat the previous
government led by President Robert Mugabe.
Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
now the director of infrastructure development in the coalition government
said he lost a truck, US$310, a cell phone handset and shoes.
Kisimusi Dhlamini, the MDC director of information who says he was forced
into confessing involvement in alleged terrorist activities lost US$2 000, a
Nokia N95 handset and two sim cards. Chinoto Zulu lost his Ford Bantam
vehicle, US$2 010, a mobile handset and a sim card.
Freelance photo-journalist Andrison Manyere, abducted and charged with
sabotage and banditry lost US$4 500, a laptop, three Nokia handsets, a
digital camera, his passport and other items.
Fidelis Chiramba, who at 72 was the oldest of the abductees and whose
torture sessions included being locked in a freezer lost three cameras,
shoes, and a belt while Mapfumo Garutsa lost a mobile handset and a sim
Broderick Takawira, a human rights activist with the Zimbabwe Peace Project
(ZPP) lost a mobile handset, two sim cards, car keys and US$295, while
Audrey Zimbudzana lost a mobile handset.
Manuel Chinanzvavana and his wife Concilia who were abducted from their
Banket home last October lost a desktop computer, printer, clothes, mobile
handsets, several sim cards and children's passports. Tawanda Bvumo lost
US$135, a mobile handset and a sim card.
Lawyers for the abductees said they were also compiling the missing property
for the other abductees who suffered the same fate as the eleven.
Several of the rights and political activists have also filed lawsuits with
the High Court demanding US$1.2 million each in damages for abduction and
torture. - ZimOnline
September 13, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A prominent South African businessman has alleged that staff in
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office and MDC ministers are earning
additional salaries of up to US$7 000 per month from Western capitals apart
from their government remuneration.This claim has been immediately angrily
denied by the Prime Minister's office.
Udo Froese, a Namibian national and prominent newspaper columnist and
socio-economic analyst, said the West was interfering in Zimbabwe's internal
affairs and dashing hopes of an economic recovery through their alleged
"skewed engagement" with the three principals in government.
Froese, who is also spokesperson for anti-apartheid icon, Winnie
Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, made the
startling claims on Zimbabwe State TV.
"So what capacity therefore does a country like Zimbabwe have to lift its
economy when there are so many forces working against it?" he said.
"For example, when some of your MDC ministers are alleged to receive
salaries in addition to the salaries that they receive from the government,
when they receive salaries from outside to the margin of US$7 000 per month,
so who are those minister really serving? Are they serving the government
and the people of Zimbabwe or those who pay them? I know there is a saying
that he who pays the piper pays the tune. And that makes it very difficult."
The State media has also claimed that staff in the Prime Minister's Office
was getting US$7 000 from the World Bank.
James Maridadi, the spokesman for Tsvangirai said: "I will not give credence
to rubbish by responding to it. The Prime Minister's office and indeed all
ministers are getting only a government salary and no other income from the
West as mischievously claimed by Mr Froese."
While Finance Minister Tendai Biti was not immediately available for
comment, he recently said ministers were on a homogenous salary and said
President Robert Mugabe was actually earning only US$300.
Froese said the West wanted to give the MDC an unfair advantage in the GNU
and did not want to remove sanctions because they had a grand plan to cause
regime change and install an exclusive MDC government.
"The international West, who are their paymasters, remain in control,"
Froese said. "They wanted from the onset a government of regime change not a
government of national unity. And that is what makes it very difficult for
"For example, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the US Secretary of State came to
visit Africa on her Africa safari, she also visited South Africa's President
Jacob Zuma, who is a newcomer to this whole project, and seemed to be
leaning on him that he must lean on Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to
finalise the regime change otherwise sanctions would not be lifted. So what
the international West enjoys I suppose is to forget that agreements are
signed agreements and cannot be broken."
Froese spoke as a European Union team of government ministers and senior
officials led by the Swedish and Spanish development ministers and the
European Commission's top aid official, Karel De Gucht, travelled to
Zimbabwe this weekend to meet President Robert Mugabe. EU diplomats in
Harare however stressed that it was too early to talk of lifting sanctions.
Southern African leaders meeting in the DRC capital, Kinshasa last week,
argued that the power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe could not be properly
implemented until sanctions were lifted while the Europeans say they cannot
be lifted until the pact is properly observed.
Feuding between the rival constituent parties in Zimbabwe's inclusive
government continues to undermine the February pact and hold up chronically
needed foreign aid in a country whose economy was reduced to complete
collapse by the economic mismanagement of the Mugabe government.
OPINION: There have been some 208 African heads of state since 1960 but one would be hard pressed to name just 15 good leaders. Take this challenge yourself and see if you can name me just 15 good leaders since independence. Even if you can name me 20 good leaders that would mean the overwhelming majority – over 90 percent – were utter failures.
Said the Nigerian student, Akira Suni, "Almost without exception, they (African leaders) are a big disgrace to humankind. Apart from indulging in their usual foolish rhetoric, what have they done to satisfy even the most basic needs of our people" (BBC News Talking Point, April 16, 2001).
In an unusual editorial, The Independent newspaper in Ghana wrote: "Most of the leaders in Africa are power-loving politicians, who in uniform or out of uniform, represent no good for the welfare of our people. These are harsh words to use on men and women who may mean well but lack the necessary vision and direction to uplift the status of their people (The Independent, Ghana, July 20, 2000; p.2).
The slate of post-colonial leadership in Africa has been a disgusting assortment of military fufu-heads, “Swiss bank socialists,” crocodile liberators, quack revolutionaries, briefcase bandits and vampire elites.
They amassed power to do only three things: To loot the treasury, to squash all dissent and to perpetuate themselves in office. The exceptions are shamefully few.
Monumental leadership failure
The crisis Africa faces is one of monumental leadership failure. Ideology is not particularly relevant. Both pro-West and pro-East leaders have failed their people. Collectively, these leaders have been responsible for the deaths of more than 18 million Africans since independence. This total is more than what Africa lost through the slave trade – from both the West and East African coasts.
According to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, corrupt African leaders have stolen at least $140 billion from their people in the decades since independence (London Independent, June 14, 2002. Web posted at www. independent.co.uk).
This type of leadership is a far cry from that which Africans have known in their own traditional systems for centuries. Name one African chief who looted the treasury for deposit in a foreign bank.
“Despotism does not inhere in the African tradition,” said the famed and late British economist, Lord Peter Bauer. Yet, they have become commonplace in post-colonial Africa. As of today, of the 54 African countries, only 16 are democratic: Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde Islands, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa and Zambia.
Even then, a strict definition of democracy would eliminate some of them. Thus, political tyranny is still the order of the day for the vast majority of Africans.
Despots have proliferated in post-colonial Africa – not so much because of their ingenuity but because of the nature and character of the opposition forces arrayed against them. To be sure, African despots are crafty evil geniuses with a lot of firepower at their disposal.
They are brutally efficient at intimidation, terrorism and mass slaughter. Using bribery, they easily co-opt their enemies with government positions and ministerial appointments. They are also very adept at the diplomatic game.
However, according to Newton’s Law of Physics, for every force in nature there is a counter-force. A force dominates either because a counterforce is non-existent or weak. African despots have prevailed for decades because the forces of opposition against them are weak or no-existent. These forces are in the main three:
1. The Intellectual/Professional class – professors, lecturers, lawyers, doctors, soldiers, students, etc.
2. Opposition politicians,
3. Civil society groups – editors, journalists, church groups, etc.
These groups, collectively referred to as the chattering class, are often weak, underfunded and argumentative. It is exceedingly difficult to unite them for a common cause.
During the struggle against colonialism, it was easy to unite them against white colonialists but not against today’s black neo-colonialists, who are no different – or even worse – in their brutal suppression of popular aspirations for freedom.
The result is a conundrum faced by many African countries: A failed leadership that adamantly refuses to reform its abominable political and economic systems to provide more freedom. And an array of opposition forces that is too weak to push for change or reform.
But without reform, the country will implode and descend into the vortex of violence, chaos, and destruction: Somalia, Rwanda, Zaire, Liberia, etc.
Virtually all of Africa’s failed states would have been saved had their leaders been willing to relinquish, share political power or implement real political reform.
Of the forces arrayed against African despots, the most stunningly disappointing have been Africa’s academics, professors, scholars and intellectuals. What is most amazing is that, there are professors with strings of PhDs, including Agricometriology (the application of nuclear technology to the cultivation of cassava), who can’t even define “democracy” – let alone explain such concepts as “rule of law,” “accountability,” or “transparency.”
Many of these African scholars and professors acted like intellectual prostitutes, selling off their integrity, conscience and principles to hop into bed with barbarous regimes. Then after being used and defiled, they were tossed aside or worse.
On a continent with nearly 900 million people, one would be hard-pressed to name just 15 world-renowned African scholars, thinkers or intellectuals who are in the forefront pushing for change or freedom in Africa.
A few come to mind: Professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Chinua Achebe of Nigeria, Professor Ali Mazrui of Kenya, Nobel Laureates Nelson Mandela, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Professor Wangari Maathai.
Why so few? It is because of intellectual prostitution and collaboration. In Zimbabwe, examples of such intellectual prostitutes are legion – Gideon Gono, Professor Jonathan Moyo, to name a few.
Civil society groups have been hamstrung by repressive laws and restriction on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and press rubs. Such groups must be licenced by the government and their licences can be revoked if they are too critical of the government.
Even then, they must seek police permits before then can gather or hold a public rally. Such a restriction may apply to political parties and prevent them from holding political rallies.
In Uganda, for example, a political party can legally be registered but it is illegal to hold a political rally of more than 6 people. Imagine.
Suppressed and traumatised
However, the group that has been most brutally suppressed and traumatised in Zimbabwe has been the journalists and editors of the independent media.
Shortly after independence in 1980, the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust was set up to buy out the country's five main newspapers. Mugabe argued that the newspapers were owned by the South African Argus newspaper group and that the news was racially biased. Nathan Shamuyarira, the Minister of Information, declared that the purchase was motivated with a "view to getting the right news through to the consumer". Naturally.
In 2007, 27 years later, the suppression of the media had intensified under strict media laws crafted by Professor Jonathan Moyo. In 2007, the licence of the Weekly Times, an independent publication, was revoked.
The media commission's chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, said the newspaper had produced coverage whose "core values, convictions and overall thrust were narrowly political, clearly partisan and even separatist, in contrast to what had been pledged," according to an article announcing the paper's closing on the front page of the state-controlled Herald newspaper in Harare, the capital.
But editor Diggs Dube called the closure of his paper "politically motivated" and said it was intended to stifle debate in advance of the March elections. "There's absolutely no freedom of the press" in Zimbabwe, Dube said (The Washington Post, Feb 27, 2007; p.A24).
Zimbabwean journalists have been beaten, tortured, killed and have had their offices bombed. Many have fled into exile. The Mugabe government controls all television and radio stations.
The Opposition Parties
Quite frankly, the state of opposition parties in Africa leaves much to be desired. In many places in Africa, they are hopelessly fragmented, disorganised and prone to squabbling.
In addition, many opposition party leaders lack vision and are driven more by personal ambition and lust for power than the cause for freedom. Even worse, their choice of tactics is often extremely poor.
It is extremely difficult and painful to criticise opposition leaders because of brutalities and the threats to their lives which they have endured. Many paid the ultimate price in their quest for freedom for their people.
We all saw the puffed face of Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 after he was pummeled by ZANU PF thugs. At least four attempts were made on his life. Earlier this year he lost his wife, Susan, in what I don’t for a moment believe was a “road accident.”
Nonetheless, the opposition in Zimbabwe has been hobbled by a slew of problems which also beset other opposition forces elsewhere in Africa. The MDC would be loathe to admit it but it has made some serious tactical errors and miscalculations. They are mainly three:
1. The split into two factions
2. Poor choice of tactics
1. The split within the opposition camp
Nothing delights a tyrant more than to see that the forces arrayed against him are divided. It enables him to play one faction against the other, thereby strengthening his grip on power.
Squabbling within the MDC erupted into violence at the party’s Harvest House headquarters in May, 2005. It subsequently led to a split of the MDC into two factions: MDC-T (led by Tsvangirai) and MDC-M (led by Professor Arthur Mutambara). This split spelt doom for opposition politics in Zimbabwe which will take a log time to recover. Exactly the same folly occurred in Kenya in 2007.
The Orange democratic Movement (ODM) was formed out of a grassroots people's movement to push the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum. It was poised to challenge the corrupt and despotic rule of President Mwai Kibaki in the December 2007 presidential elections. But in August 2007 – just four months before the vote – ODM split into two: ODM-Odinga and ODM-Kenya. Imagine.
The elections were held and stolen. Kibaki was sworn in barely two hours after the fraudulent results were announced. Violence erupted in the streets. Over 1 000 people were killed and more than 250 000 rendered homeless.
The same spectacle was witnessed in Zimbabwe after the March 29, 2008 elections in which the opposition presented a divided field.
This folly was repeated in Gabon’s September 1, 2009 presidential election. The process was rigged to ensure that the son of the late Omar Bongo, who had ruled Gabon for 41 years succeeded his father. The son, Ali Ben Bongo, "won" with 41 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Andre Mba Obame, a former interior minister, won 26 percent) votes and the third candidate, Pierre Mamboundou won 25 percent.
Obviously, if the two opposition candidates had formed an alliance they would have defeated the Bongo dynasty.
No one single individual or party can defeat an entrenched despot. It takes a coalition or an alliance of opposition forces. Here is the mathematics of it.
The despotic incumbent always has some support, no matter how terrible his rule has been because of ethnic loyalty and patronage. Assume that the incumbent has only 30 percent popular support. This means that if you field 10 opposition candidates, they will DIVIDE the opposition vote and none of them will have enough to defeat the incumbent.
In the case of Gabon, Ali Ben won with 41 percent of the vote, meaning if the two opposition candidates had fielded one candidate, the alliance candidate would have defeated him. I can tick off similar follies elsewhere in Africa:
· In Kenya's 1992 election, for example. President Daniel arap Moi won with only 37 percent of the vote over a divided field. The second place candidate won 32 percent of the total. "President Daniel arap Moi's Kenya National African Union won 1.5 million votes in 1992, compared with a combined 3.5 million for the opposition" (The Washington Times, June 22, 1995; p.A18). They repeated this same folly in the December 1997 elections. Kenya's opposition parties numbered 26, which fielded 13 presidential candidates to challenge Moi. Imagine.
· In Benin's 1990 election (only a second runoff election defeated Mathieu Kerekou) and in the Ivory Coast where 42 opposition parties were registered in 1994, although there was some election rigging.
· In Tanzania, 12 opposition parties were formed to challenge the ruling CCM's monopoly lock on power in 1994.
· In Zambia's Dec 27, 2001, presidential elections, the ruling party's (MMD's) presidential candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, won with just 29 percent of the vote. "The 70 percent of voters who opposed Mr Mwanawasa split their loyalty between 10 power-hungry rivals. The withdrawal of one or two of them would have helped Mr Anderson Mazoka to victory" (The Economist, Jan 5, 2002 ; p.38).
Beside playing into the hands of the despot, an MDC split also confuses voters and exacts a heavy public relations toll. Well-wishers, supporters and sympathisers outside Zimbabwe – both foreign and African – become baffled: Which split to support?
To be sure, Mugabe is a monster but how can the MDC be taken seriously when it itself is split? And if the MDC can’t resolve its own differences, how can it resolve those with ZANU PF?
2. Poor choice of tactics
The first rule in any war is to “know the enemy”. One must know the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy and devise one’s strategy accordingly. One does not fight an enemy on the turf on which he is strongest. One exploits his weaknesses.
For example, Africa’s despots concentrate their security forces in their capital cities. Therefore, one does not call for mass protests in the capital cities where the security forces are ensconced. A smart strategy is that which stretches them geographically. Note that all rebel insurgencies start from the countryside where security forces are thinly spread.
Second, one goes to battle PREPARED. Too often, opposition parties scramble to take part in elections without an ounce of preparation. This requires ensuring that the playing field is level; the electoral commission is independent, all parties have access to the state media, an access to polling stations are open and free, etc.
If these requirements are not met, ALL – not just one or a few – all opposition parties must boycott the elections. This has never been the case in Zimbabwe, where, since 1985 Mugabe has controlled every aspect of the electoral process.
Somehow the MDC has an inexplicable and abiding faith in the capacity of ZANU PF to reform itself. The MDC seems to believe, despite accumulated evidence to the contrary, that it can reason with the ZANU PF torture machine. One can’t reason with a rogue or a despot. Nor can one play by the book when the other refuses to.
Needless to say, time and again, the MDC finds itself outmaneuvered and snookered. One perfect example is the constitution-making process. The MDC bungled this badly.
In Sept 2007, representatives of the ruling ZANU PF and the two formations of the opposition MDC met in secret at Lake Kariba and drafted a new constitutional proposal, known as the Kariba Draft. It was authored by Zanu PF's Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, MDC-T's Tendai Biti and MDC-M's Welshman Ncube.
The Kariba Draft was referenced in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed on Sept 15, 2008. Article 6 of the agreement establishes a 19-month constitution-making process. All parties agreed to use the Kariba Draft as a reference document or the basis for crafting a new constitution. On July 23, 2009, the Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee or JOMIC reaffirmed this position. Now the process is in tatters.
A huge brouhaha erupted regarding the appropriateness and the adequacy of the Kariba Draft. Signatories to the original document started backpedalling. It split MDC-M. Civil society groups rejected the Kariba Draft for not being “people-driven”.
An attempt to rectify this at an All-Stakeholders Conference on July 13 was disrupted by ZANU PF thugs at the Harare International Conference Centre. Volleys of abuses were hurled at the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and bringing the proceedings into complete chaos.
A hurriedly convened conference on July 14 ended in failure. According to Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma, this was due to delays in confirming the budget by donors, late drafting of programmes, delays in the invitation of principals and confirmation of dates.
Some 4 000 delegates were invited, far exceeding the capacity to accommodate them. Some even allegedly represented organisations that didn’t exist. In any case, the Parliament-driven process is being rejected by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). They convened Constitutional Convention on July 27, 2009.
Meanwhile the Parliament-driven process has ground to a halt because of disagreements, infighting and a lack of funds. Munyaradzi Mangwana, a ZANU PF legislator and co-chairperson of the parliamentary select committee, which is spearheading the process, told the Zimbabwe Independent that the constitution may not be completed until 2013. That means, elections cannot be expected before 2013, which means four more years of suffering and agony for the Zimbabwean people.
3. The GPA/GNU fiasco
To resolve political crises in Africa in recent years, various vehicles or modalities have been tried. ALL these modalities entail some form of negotiations in some kind of a forum. It must be clear who is going to negotiate with whom: Between ZANU PF and the MDC or with the people? Every effort must be made to ensure that the negotiations are not controlled or hijacked by one party. Furthermore, decisions arrived at must be “sovereign” or binding on all parties.
When these requirements are met, then it can be said that the country crafted its own solution to its problems or that the solution is “home-grown”. Did the GPA meet these requirements? The answer is a resounding no!
The first obvious problem was representation. The MDC can claim to be a coalition of some civil society groups but it is not broadly representative of Zimbabwean society. Church groups, students groups, women groups were not represented in designing the GPA.
The GPA has other problems as well. It was crafted outside the country and, as such, can scarcely be called “home-grown”. Further, it is not sovereign; ZANU PF does not regard it as “binding”. Nor does it have enforcement mechanisms. Even worse was the solution it proffered – the government of national unity (GNU).
The experience with power-sharing in Africa in recent times is anything but salutary. Essentially, power-sharing deals are a formula for joint state-sanctioned plunder of the country. A "government of national unity" (GNU) is often proposed to "bring opposition leaders into government". A number of ministerial or government positions are reserved for opposition or rebel leaders. But the formula seldom works.
Bitter squabbles erupt over the distribution of government posts as nobody is satisfied with the eventual distribution. Though a peace accord is an exercise in "give and take," each side feels it is "stronger" and should, therefore, be awarded more ministerial positions.
Resentment inevitably builds over allocation of posts and the composition of the government of national unity or reconciliation. Squabbling over posts may lead to the resumption of hostilities and conflict again – Angola in 1992, Congo in 1999, Sierra Leone in 2000, and Ivory Coast in 2004.
Backtracking on agreements
More importantly, African despots never honour agreements to which they append their signatures. Their promises and signatures are just for show as they lack sincerity or commitment. Even before the ink is dry, they start backtracking on the agreements they have made. They may agree to the creation of a post of prime minister but deprive it of power or a budget to enable him to function. Recent African history abounds with such examples.
Even when a “government of national unity” (GNU) is eventually established, it is short-lived. Angola’s GNU did not last for more than six months in 1992. In South Africa, former president de Klerk pulled out of the GNU after barely one year when apartheid was dismantled in 1994. Congo’s GNU in 2003 created 4 vice-presidents but did not bring peace to eastern Congo, especially the Bunia region. Burundi’s civil war flared up in August 2003 again, despite the establishment of a GNU, brokered by former president Nelson Mandela and Ivory Coast’s GNU established in January 2003 collapsed in less than a year.
Sudan’s GNU, brokered in Kenya in 2005 barely lasted a year. After battling the tyrannical regime of President Omar el Beshir of Sudan, the late John Garang of the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA), decided to join a GNU. The agreement was supposed to foster peace by melding SPLM with the ruling party, the National Congress Party, in a national unity government that would rule Sudan until multiparty elections in 2009. But within nine months, he had perished in a mysterious helicopter crash. Though the mystery was never solved, his widow blamed the Beshir regime.
Six months later, the rebel movement – now called Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) abruptly pulled out of the national unity government on October 12, 2007. The former rebels said “the move was intended to press Sudan’s ruling party to live up to the multifaceted agreement, which has been hobbled by disputes over borders, troop movements and sharing Sudan’s oil profits” (The New York Times, Oct 12, 2007; p.A8).
Following Kenya’s violent December 2007 elections in which 1 300 people perished, a peace deal was reached and GNU created in February 2008. But that deal has been floundering. The tribunal to try those suspected of organising the violence is yet to be created.
Ominously, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has been complaining bitterly that he has been sidelined and excluded from major decision-making. He said President Kibaki has the habit of “embarrassing” him publicly by failing to consult him on important decisions. They made an effort to reconcile in Kilaguni in April, 2009 but the fence mending never got off the ground because the parties couldn’t even agree on an agenda.
The bloated government of 44 ministries and 53 assistant ministers has achieved little in a year. On April 6, 2009, Justice Minister, Martha Karua, one of Kibaki’s staunchest supporters, resigned, claiming that she could not institute reforms.
Against this backdrop, Zimbabwe’s GNU doesn’t stand a chance. First, Mugabe’s ZANU PF shows no interest in living to the letter of the GPA reached on September 15, 2008. There has already been predictable squabbling over the distribution of government positions.
Article 20 of the GPA stipulated 31 ministers and 15 deputy ministers, with 15 coming from ZANU-PF, 13 MDC-T and 3 MDC-M for a total of 46. The most asinine GPA proposition was the joint control of the Home Affairs ministry by ZANU PF and MDC-T.
However, Mugabe’s ZANU PF set out to grab all the key and important ministries. It was originally allocated 15 but seized 22 anyway. A furore erupted and 15 additional ministries were created, bringing the total to 61. Still, Mugabe is still not satisfied and transferred major portfolio powers from Communications Minister Nelson Chamisa of MDC-T to Transport Minister Nicholas Goche of Mugabe's own ZANU PF party.
Confusion reigns over who got what and the GPA is not being adhered to. As soon as Roy Bennett, the deputy Agriculture Minister, returned from exile to take up his post, he was promptly arrested and charged with treason, although he has subsequently been released but has not been sworn in.
Farm invasions are still continuing, as well as violence, abductions and murders. And it is the police themselves and land officers and senators who are going around illegally invading farms, looting and beating up farm workers and farmers.
The MDC has no real power to stop these crimes; nor the power to effect change. It does not control any of the key institutions of the state – the security forces, the civil service, the media, the judiciary, etc.
Second, a Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee or JOMIC was set up with the mandate to monitor the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and ensure that that Agreement is implemented to the fullest extent possible in letter and spirit. But JOMIC started off without any resources nor funding from the state. It has only skeletal office or secretarial staff. Even then, JOMIC has no power of enforcement; only an authority of persuasion.
Third, it is unlikely the military generals, who vowed they will never accept an MDC electoral victory, would support the unity government. Indeed, hardliners in ZANU PF, Joint Operations Command (JOC), the military and air force have reportedly formed a clandestine group, the Social Revolutionary Council (SRC), which operates from the president’s office with the aim of sabotaging the GPA. Its members include Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and the commanders of the army and air force.
The Social Revolutionary Council is said to be behind the recent wave of invasions of white-owned commercial farms and the continued detention and harassment of officials and activists of MDC-T.
4. The role of SADC
The MDC is aware of these problems and the deficiencies of GPA and GNU but blames them on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered the deal. This lame excuse doesn’t speak well of the MDC. It makes the MDC look bad.
It portrays the MDC as “unimaginative” and “incompetent” – unable to craft its own “Zimbabwean solution” and must depend on SADC. Worse, how in perdition can the MDC depend on such a useless regional organisation? Does SADC understand the “rule of law”? What has it said to condemn the violent farm invasions and flagrant violations of human rights in Zimbabwe the past 10 years?
In the post-colonial period, regional organisations have never intervened in the resolution of political crises in any African country. They are generally regarded as “internal matters”. Regional organisations have only become involved in peacekeeping. Even then, their performance has been fatuously execrable.
On June 2, 1993, Nigeria's military government of General Sani Abacha, leader of the ECOMOG forces dispatched a contingent of 2 000 Nigerian soldiers to Sierra Leone to force the coup leaders to return power to Kabbah. At the titanic battle between "armed buffoons" and coconut-heads, the Nigerian soldiers had the worst of it and 300 of them were taken prisoner! And in 2007, when African Union peacekeeprs came under sustained rebel assault, they fled! And where is the AU in Somalia or Congo DR?
SADC, of course, has no such peacekeeping record; nor does it have experience in political statecraft. Its original mandate is economic – to promote economic integration and development among the southern African states. Its budget is 70 percent aid-funded. It is mystifying why the MDC should invest so much faith in SADC to craft a political solution for Zimbabwe.
OPTIONS FOR THE MDC
It is clear that the current path (GPA/GNU) leads nowhere. The GNU is not working. The intransigent ZANU PF regime won’t yield an inch. Running back to SADC portrays the MDC as a “cry baby”. Though the MDC has brought some relief to the people, it has no power to effect change. If it stays on this course, it will progressively lose credibility and popularity. People cannot wait forever for change. They can be patient and the Zimbabwean people have shown an enormous fount of patience but there are limits to their patience and time is running out.
The other option for the MDC is to level with the Zimbabwean people and pull out of the GNU. It is not working. And both factions of the MDC must pull out of it. You can’t have a situation where one faction pulls out and the other stays. The two factions should make renewed efforts to unite. A joint convention should be held to choose a new leader. This convention should be broadened to include other civil society groups that hithertofore been excluded. A new strategy must be crafted that is “home-grown,” not one dictated by outsiders. All those African countries that made successful transition from autocracy to democracy used their own home-grown solutions. These countries are Benin, Cape Verde Island, Sao Tome & Principe, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia – the latter two being Zimbabwe’s neighbours.
The wise learn from the mistakes of others.
** George B. N. Ayittey is Distinguished Economist in Residence in the Department of Economics at American University in Washington DC. He received his PhD from the University of Manitoba, and he is the author of the books, Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Development, Africa in Chaos, The Blueprint for Ghana’s Economic Recovery, Africa Betrayed, and Indigenous African Institutions. A contributor to numerous scholarly volumes, Professor Ayittey’s articles have been published in numerous journals. – ZimOnline
‘Africa demands western aid for Mugabe to spend at Harrods’. This is the essence of the message from the SADC summit in Kinshasa this week – and the message we will be driving home at the Zimbabwe Vigil in London. To us at the Vigil the SADC outcome came as no surprise; as readers of this diary will know we have never had any faith in this mafia.
Today we relaunched our petition challenging SADC: ‘A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.’
This petition was initiated two years ago and a first tranche of many thousands of signatures was submitted to the EU on our 6th anniversary last year. We suspended it when the ‘unity government’ was established to give SADC an opportunity to meet its obligations to Zimbabwe following the Global Political Agreement; a waste of time, of course.
The Vigil plans to present the petition again with thousands more signatures to an EU representative at the Vigil on 10th October when we will be marking our 7th anniversary of campaigning outside Zimbabwe House for human rights.
On that day we will have Mugabe and ‘first shopper’ Grace (or actors impersonating them) photographed outside Harrods and subsequently taking their newly-bought handbags and heels to the Embassy. SADC High Commissioners in London will be invited to witness the shopping expedition and kiss the shoes and stick their hands into the bags.
On a lovely late summer day, bright and warm, the Vigil gave a thunderous answer to SADC ‘To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go’.
Some other points:
1. The Vigil’s congratulations to Governor Gono on taking occupation of his 112 room Harare mansion with its 3 helipads. Amazing what they pay civil servants in Zimbabwe.
2. Our views on SADC echo those of Cathy Buckle http://www1.zimbabwesituation.com/sep13_2009.html#Z14 and Tanonoka Whande http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/heart100909.htm.
3. We were glad to see Cloudy Muhamba. He had been coming to the Vigil and suddenly disappeared. We later heard he had been imprisoned for working illegally.
4. The Vigil is often asked to support this or that cause. We want to state here again that our mission is to promote human rights in Zimbabwe and we cannot be deflected from this.
5. Following last week’s diary in which we mentioned being given a wad of Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar notes we have had a request from The Zimbabwean newspaper to collect as many as we can for them to use for promotional purposes. So we have stopped selling them and if anyone can give us more the Zimbabwean will use them to good effect.
6. Thanks to Phakama Simozo and Priscilla Kwembeya who were first at the Vigil to set up. They helped throughout and were there at the end to help clear up. The Vigil is dependent on this type of support to keep going.
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/
FOR THE RECORD: 127 signed the register.
EVENTS AND NOTICES:
· ROHR (Anniversary) National Fundraising Party. Saturday 26th September from 12 noon to late. Venue: The Portland Pavilion, 241 Portland Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8LS. Admission: £10. Contacts: V J Mujeye 07534 034 594, Abigail Nzimba 07838 073 111, Diane Mutendereki 07502 478 591. For information on directions: 0121 434 5130. ROHR is looking for male and female models with their own African clothing for a fashion show at this fundraiser. All ages and sizes welcome. Those interested please contact: Pamela Dunduru 07553253639, Diana Mtendereki 07502478591, Pauline Makuwere 07533332306, Martha Jiya 07727016098, Abigail Nzimba 07838073111 or Paradzai Mapfumo 07915926323-07932216070. For poster advertising the event, check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/3907390469/sizes/o/
· Zimbabwe Worship Service. Sunday 27th September from 10.30 – 12.00 followed by Zimbabwean food from 12 – 3 pm. Venue: Elim Christian Centre, Dews Road, Salisbury SP2 7SN. Zimbabwean speaker. Contact: Adrian Smale, 01722 770024, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.elimsalisbury.org.uk.
· Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm. The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date. There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
· ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607
· Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel:jj 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
· From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000. http://www.newafricabooks.co.za/books_detail.asp?ID=499.
· Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: http://www.citizensforsanctuary.org.uk/pages/Strategic.html or contact: email@example.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.