TEXT only 5 September 2013

  • The politics of possession in Zimbabwe
  • SOMR – revisionism, omission and cover-ups
  • China-backed firm plans 600 MW Zimbabwe electricity plant
  • NoViolet Bulawayo tells of heartbreak of homecoming
  • Mpofu breaks down
  • Men take House of Assembly: ZEC
  • NANGO: fighting for the vulnerable
  • Political interference: Teacher’s Union
  • Fears over water table
  • Whose turn to eat?
  • Zim poised for regression and sterility
  • Daily News Zim’s most credible newspaper: MMPZ
  • Tsvangirai blasts Sadc
  • Media Alliance Conference Discusses Future of Zimbabwe Media
  • Banks limit withdrawals amid reports of cash shortages
  • MDC still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship
  • Nyamandhlovu farmer faces eviction for being MDC-T
  • SADC accused of lowering electoral standards to suit Mugabe
  • Human Rights Agenda for the next Administration
  • Human Rights Watch calls on Mugabe to prioritise ‘fundamental freedoms’
  • COURT WATCH 13/2013
  • Zimbabwe’s democrats: A luta perdido – e reinício
  • How cold is it out there, cde Jonathan Moyo?
  • Zesa warns of more load shedding
  • Govt geared to tackle unemployment, create jobs
  • Parliamentarians geared for challenges
  • Zim elections: Lessons to be learnt for Africa


The politics of possession in Zimbabwe by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via The politics of possession in Zimbabwe — Nehanda Radio by Vince Musewe The foundations upon which we must build our future cannot be based on the gratification of our voracity. I have come to understand who we are as Zimbabweans; we are a society so caught up in material possessions to the extent that what we possess, defines who we are and how important we are perceived to be in society. Because of this, what we can acquire or take from others and not what we can give has become our sole purpose in life. This demeans who we are. Our ideals as a society have become so infatuated with power, not to exercise it to the benefit of society, but as a means to an end; a means to merely own, to control, to have, to take, to be feared and therefore, to feel important. In the event that we are unable to do that, we use any means possible as long as we get what we want. Because, if we can’t have it, we perceive ourselves or are perceived by others as “nobodies”. Unfortunately, this incessant fixation with material gain has permeated all sectors of our society, be it in politics or business or even personal relationships or religion. It is always “What can I get out of this?” and not “How can I add value and be of service to others?”“Who is he or she” they ask? “What does she have?” The implications to us, are that we may not be able to achieve our full developmental aspirations as a nation and improve the quality of life of ordinary Zimbabweans simply because our priorities are in the wrong place. How can we do that when our leadership’s primary concern is their stomachs? We have seen this in our agricultural sector, for example, where the ownership and possession of multiple farms is more important than food production. Where our mineral resources are taken and controlled by a cabal whose only concern is the size of cars they drive?Zimbabweans in general now mimic their political masters and this has resulted not only in the misallocation of scarce resources, but a sheer waste of the country’s resources that could be otherwise deployed to ameliorate our socio economic conditions. Position, power, control has become the opium of the people. My idea of a new Zimbabwe is based on us first ensuring that we have new leadership values in politics. We must see a completely new narrative about who we are, what is important and who we can become. This narrative will not arise from the blue, or from chanting party slogans, but can only be as a result of the emergence of that new leadership in Zimbabwe. We need a deliberate social transformation agenda that looks beyond ownership of assets or indigenization as the panacea to all our problems. That is where I differ; I do not think that our society can develop to its full potential if they possess assets, own that or this without a new value system underpinned by dignity and the realisation that material wealth can never define who we truly are. The foundations upon which we must build our future cannot be based on the gratification of our voracity. We are more than we can ever imagine and our focus on material things and the gratification of egos demeans our value as a society. When we spend our energy focusing in acquiring, on taking and selfishness, we somehow lose our true humanity. The politics of possession can never take us where we ought to be as a country. I am much afraid of our politicians and the political deals which I hear are being made. These accomodations are mainly geared to satisfy egos, to satisfy taking, owning, possessing, position and not those things that matter to ordinary Zimbabweans. How wretched we are. I pray that God continues to release his wisdom upon us so that we, as a country with unimaginable potential, can redefine what is truly important. Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. You can contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

SOMR – revisionism, omission and cover-ups by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Crisis comment on Final SADC Observer Mission Report : Exercise in revisionism, omission and cover-ups THE SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM)’s final verdict on Zimbabwe’s July 31 2013 election IS revisionist, and smacks of a Cover-up. The final statement of the Observer mission as presented by Honorable Bernard Membe, shows evidence of the Observer mission having downplayed and or omitted some serious concerns around state media bias, fake voter registration slips, high numbers of assisted and turned away voters and the unavailability of the voters’ roll for inspection by parties and voters as recorded in the SEOM preliminary report of August 2.

It seems clear from what has thus far been presented, that the Observer mission had since resolved to stick to its initial endorsement, as there is no evidence in their latest position of a consolidation or finer grained analysis of its own observer reports in an objective fashion. If anything, a number of the contentious issues raised in their preliminary report have since been relegated to insignificance, not even warranting a mention in the summary of the final report. While we await the final copy of the SADC Observer Missions report, the statement by Hon., Membe, has ample evidence that SADC itself has no respect for, let alone adherence to, their own Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. This lack of respect has the very negative impact of setting the bar very lowly, for countries in the region where the credibility of electoral processes, their freeness and fairness as well as ability to be reflective of the will of the people is concerned. This final position is an unfortunate green light to other countries in the SADC region and the continent of Africa, to lessen efforts at adherence to set standards where democratic elections are concerned. The SEOM, which largely okayed the July 31 poll as “ free, peaceful and generally reflective of the will of the people”, has set the tone for credibility with qualifiers where elections in the region is concerned. What makes it worse is the fact that although several glaring irregularities were identified and noted, and although SADC could not declare the elections as having been fair – it still lent its credibility to the process through affirming it. WE noted the acceptance by SADC of the unfairness facilitated by the conduct of the state media, but can see politics at play from the attempt by the SEOM to water this concern down through an unwarranted focus on so called “ pirate radio stations” which the mission fell over itself to demand be closed. The Zimbabwean constitution and electoral law are clear on the responsibility of the state media around fair and equal coverage of political voices during elections. This is deliberate, because of the parentage of state media, which is supposed to be the people of Zimbabwe, in their different political, social and economic complexions, through their tax dollars. While we agree that all media houses and broadcasters need to be professional, the standard bearer needs to be the State owned media houses, who have a constitutional directive to do so. The reach of these different media actors, State and Private, is also different, and the damage done by partisan, unprofessional and unbalanced coverage is also different. To put them on the same pedestal as SADC did, is stretching the point, and is an attempt at misdirection and dishonesty on the Zimbabwean constitutional dictates on the matter. The recommendation for reform is however noted and welcome. While the statement presented by Hon. Membe acknowledges the issue of the voters roll as a serious matter impacting on the fairness of the process, his attempts in plenary to diminish the importance of the voters roll and the impact it had on the credibility of the electoral process are regrettable. It would seem, that while the region is supposed to observe elections and develop not just ‘best practice’, but also the ‘next practice’, the dismissal of questions around the issue of an analyzable soft copy of the voters roll, does not auger well for this intent. The explanation given, that nowhere else has the issue of an electronic voters roll been an issue, is not sufficient to deal with this matter, and exposes either a deliberate turning of a blind eye to the Zimbabwean context or a lack of understanding on the same by Minister Membe and or the Observer mission. Although the summary of the final report pointed to two irregularities – media bias and non-availability of the voters’ roll – that were mentioned in the preliminary report in August, it noticeably left out other hot issues which had an import on any final verdict by any objective observation party to the elections. The statement references the 2008 elections as a standard and seems to insinuate that anything better than June 2008 run-Off standard will be acceptable. This comparison is misplaced, as it justifies a bad election on the strength that there has been a worse one. SADC would be best advised to understand that a relatively peaceful, fairly free and generally credible election is not the same as a peaceful, free, fair and credible election – which is the standard that SADC had set in previous statements of intent on Zimbabwe. The qualified verdict on the elections and the insertion of adjectives to credibility by SADC, not only sets a bad precedence, but it deliberately encourages other governments to be errant in the conduct of their own elections, knowing that the bar has been set so low, that it is harder not to clear it, than to clear it.

China-backed firm plans 600 MW Zimbabwe electricity plant by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via China-backed firm plans 600 MW Zimbabwe electricity plant – Times LIVE Chinese-backed China Africa Sunlight Energy said it will begin work early next year on a 600 MW coal-fired electricity plant in western Zimbabwe, part of $2 billion of energy projects in the power-starved southern African country. The company, a 50-50 joint venture between China’s Shandong Taishan Sunlight and locally owned Old Stone Investments, has concluded coal exploration in Gwayi, near Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, and mining will start in November. Charles Mugari, general manager of China Africa Sunlight Energy, told Reuters on Wednesday the company had discovered 4 billion tonnes of coal reserves after exploration and would mine at a rate of 2.5 million tonnes a year. “Early next year we will start the construction of the 600 megawatt power station and hope that by mid-2015 the first plant of 300 megawatt will be running,” Mugari said, adding the final 300 MW plant would be commissioned at the end of 2015. Zimbabwe has a peak electricity demand of 2 100 MW but is able to produce only 1 200 MW, with another 300 MW coming from imports, mainly from neighbouring Mozambique. The country’s state power company ZESA warned consumers on Wednesday that electricity cuts would deepen as imports will fall to 50 MW from next week, when Mozambique’s Hydro Cahorra Bassa plant starts annual maintenance. ZESA will also start maintenance of its local generating plants next week, worsening the electricity shortages. China is speeding ahead with projects worth tens of billions of dollars to electrify Africa. Mugari said his company was also exploring for methane gas in Gwayi, which it would use for domestic consumption and electricity generation.

NoViolet Bulawayo tells of heartbreak of homecoming by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via NoViolet Bulawayo tells of heartbreak of homecoming in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe  theguardian.com by David Smith in Johannesburg ‘I went there in search of the Zimbabwe I knew and it was a shock: power cuts, water cuts … and 80% of the population not working,’ says author NoViolet Bulawayo. Photograph: Jordi Matas A striking pen name certainly never did an author any harm on a crowded bookshelf. NoViolet Bulawayo passes with flying colours. NoViolet means “with Violet”, in memory of her mother who died when she was 18 months old. Bulawayo is her yearned-for home city in Zimbabwe. “I come from a place of colourful names and identity’s a big part of my creative process,” the 31-year-old, whose passport still says Elizabeth Tshele, explained during a book tour of neighbouring South Africa. “I needed a meaningful identity that could carry the weight of whatever I’m doing. Just being without my biological mother shaped the person I am, the way I see the world.” Bulawayo’s debut novel, not entitled We Need New Names by accident, is the first by a Zimbabwean to be longlisted for the 44-year-old Man Booker Prize and is also in contention for the Guardian first book award. It has announced her as one of Africa’s most luminous literary talents and, it was evident in an interview this week, a eloquent voice among a new generation of Zimbabweans unafraid and trenchant in their criticism of president Robert Mugabe. Bulawayo was born after Mugabe came to power at Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. She emigrated at 18, joining her aunt in America, and returned from exile for the first time in April this year. In just 13 turbulent years, she discovered, the Eden that she ached for had turned into a place she hardly recognised. “It was a strange country,” Bulawayo told the Guardian. “I went there in search of the Zimbabwe I knew and it was a shock: power cuts, water cuts, just driving down the streets the potholes were amazing, and 80% of the population not working. Just seeing the desperation, wherever you went, people were struggling. That was a picture of the country that I never knew. “I knew from news and stories that things were hard, but being there and seeing it for myself was just heartbreaking. Even now knowing that there are no answers, and it’s not going to get better any time soon, is crushing.” The homecoming was a bittersweet experience for the writer, currently based at Stanford University in California. “On one hand I was happy to be home and seeing my father- he’s 74 and his health was acting up at that time – and my siblings, but at the same time I couldn’t relate to anything, I couldn’t understand anything, I felt like the country had changed the people and culture and I just felt like an outsider in my home. So I would be having conversations and I’d just tune out, and yet people didn’t realise what was happening, that I was home but I was also lost.” During her absence Zimbabwe endured chaotic farm seizures, economic meltdown, hyperinflation and elections scarred by political violence and, in July this year, allegations of ballot rigging on an industrial scale. She respects Mugabe’s part in the liberation struggle but believes the 89-year-old must now bear responsibility for her paradise lost. “There was a time when he was good for the country but I feel like that time is gone. The last election spoke to it all, obviously. I think a balanced person would be hard pressed to just stand and say this guy is a good guy, with all the facts on the table. It’s quite sad that a country with so much promise is forced on its knees because of the ruling party. I just hope that culture changes. “I feel like we need a new breed of leadership, not just a presidential figure but a new gang. For me the answer lies with the young people because I feel the current generation is old, it’s outdated and it has failed the people. “The government has been in power since just before I was born and I think it’s time to give the ball to better players. I feel like Zimbabweans are capable enough and the reality is they don’t have a voice or the space.” Following his disputed election win, Mugabe received a standing ovationfrom the presidents of his southern African neighbours and was elected the next leader of their regional bloc. But Bulawayo has no truck with attempts to rehabilitate the legacy of a man accused of ethnic cleansing, orchestrating political violence and serial cheating at the polls. “If you haven’t directly suffered, if you haven’t directly felt the brunt of the cost of his person and his rule, it’s easy to have that perspective from a distance. In the States, people actually hail him as one of Africa’s leading statesmen, but the reality is the people on the ground have a different story and that’s part of why I wrote the book. “My generation is known as the born free generation: we really don’t buy this stance against the west because we are aware of our problems, and our problems are really specifically home grown. I feel like it’s a distraction, it’s time people faced up to who and what is our problem. “The election wasn’t stolen by the west, the violence of 2008 wasn’t carried out by the west. It’s time to deal with facts as they affect us.” Bulawayo’s father Noel, a retired police officer, had hoped she would become a lawyer in the US, and it was only after she won the 2011 Caine prize for African writing that she confessed her literary calling. Drawing on her own experience, We Need New Names tells the story of a girl who loses her home in Zimbabwe and emigrates to America, where she is shocked by the grim weather and feels the tug of childhood nostalgia. Bulawayo mused: “For me, life outside the homeland is a story of perpetual mourning for what is gone. It’s amazing how the simplest things can trigger that melancholy, from walking down the street and hearing on the car radio a song from home, to the smell of food, to a face that looks like somebody’s face.” Should she win the Booker, it is not inconceivable that Mugabe will seek to congratulate her in person, as he once did a runnerup in the African version of television’s Big Brother. He will be disappointed. “Out of principle I wouldn’t,” Bulawayo said firmly. “I don’t think we’ll be seeing ourselves shaking hands any time soon.”

Mpofu breaks down by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Mpofu breaks down | The Zimbabwe Independent by Paidamoyo Muzulu UMGUZA MP and outgoing Mines minister Obert Mpofu on Tuesday broke down in parliament while giving an emotional congratulatory message in his native Ndebele language to his friend Jacob Mudenda, who was elected speaker of the eighth parliament. Mudenda, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairman, was elected unopposed by newly sworn in Zanu PF MPs after MDC MPS walked out before the nomination process. Mpofu choked on his words and tears streamed down his cheeks when he reminded Mudenda not to forget the backwardness of Hwange and Binga now that he was now in high office. “Let us not forget the backwardness of our home areas, Hwange and Binga now that we are in high offices. Think of chiefs in Hwange and Binga as you settle in this new office,” Mpofu said. “Let’s us not forget where we came from in those years when we used to eat ‘amasonja’ (an edible worm) when we were young,” Mpofu said before his emotional breakdown. Matabeleland North is one of the most underdeveloped communities in Zimbabwe despite being home to the Hwange National Park, Zambezi National Park and the majestic Victoria Falls which rake in millions in tourism annually. Mpofu earlier had spoken eloquently about Mudenda’s history and achievements in both the public and private life, particularly in the early years of independence in Matabeleland province. Mudenda, a lawyer by profession, is a former teacher, district administrator, provincial administrator, governor and senator. “Mudenda is a man of firsts. He has been the first in many things in the past, particularly in our rural homes of Hwange and Binga. I am glad that the speaker’s chair has come back to its rightful owner,” Mpofu said. Vice President Joice Mujuru also spoke strongly against MPs who forget about championing development, especially in rural areas from where Zanu PF has the majority of its support. “While we debate about roads and railway line connecting Harare and Chitungwiza, we should not forget to talk of areas like Kanyemba and Binga that are in the back of the beyond. We should also put roads that connect them to other areas,” Mujuru said. “For the next five years we should constantly ask ourselves in everything we do whether we are doing these things for ourselves or the country?” Mujuru said.

Men take House of Assembly: ZEC by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Men take House of Assembly: ZEC | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe While senior female politicians fought it out for senatorial seats, the men secured a greater presence in the House of Assembly, according to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau. Speaking at a women’s conference organised by Women in Politics Support Unit and Self Help Development Foundation, Makarau said the introduction of the zebra system for senatorial seats created a platform for manipulation by male politicians. WIPSU reported that the number of elected women candidates in the election dropped although the percentage of women in parliament increased from 19 to 34 percent. The figures In 2008, 14 percent of females parliamentarians were elected for the national house of assembly seats and the number rose to 32 percent in the 2013 polls. However, this number translates to 12 percent, taking into account the quota system in the new constitution, reserving 60 seats for women. During the 2008 elections, 919 female candidates contested for political posts at different levels and 105 female contestants ran for the national house of assembly seats, compared to 575 males. Adverse effects In the recent polls, only 90 women contested for the national house of assembly seats compared to 603 male contestants. “Women politicians may have resisted less when their counterparts were relegated to the party lists for the senate rather than being given space to contest for the national assembly seats,” said Makarau. She hinted that the increase of women representatives could have discouraged effective female politicians from participating as constituent candidates. “The legislated additional party list for women may also have had adverse effects on the participation of women. Political parties could have seen that the additional list was adequate and there was no need to field female candidates as constituent candidates,” she said. The outgoing Deputy Minister in the women’s ministry, Jessie Majome, said women participate effectively in politics considering that the new constitution is gender sensitive. Support women “The risk is that women are going to concentrate on the quota system and contest against each other for the reserved seats. The focus should be on how to contest all the other seats because the additional 60 seats are already ours,” said Majome. ZEC Vice Chairperson, Joyce Kazembe, urged women’s organisations and government ministries to capacitate aspiring female politicians. “Economic issues are not the only barrier to effective participation of women in politics. Organisations should ensure women are supported with the knowledge and expertise on how they can be effective candidates,” said Kazembe. “Take part in community activities and interact with the electorate at a grassroots level because you cannot just wake up asking for the people to vote for you. It is a process,” she said. The conference, which drew participants from the 10 provinces, government departments and several women’s organisations, was held under the theme: “Broadening Women’s Participation, Time for Women- Time for Africa”

NANGO: fighting for the vulnerable by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via NANGO: fighting for the vulnerable | The Zimbabwean The National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations is a non-political, non-profit making and non-denominational umbrella body of NGOs. Founded in 1962 as the Southern Rhodesia Council of Social Services, mostly catering for social welfare organizations, it was renamed ‘The Voluntary Organization in Community Enterprise’ in 1980. In 1992 it assumed the name NANGO under the Private Voluntary Organization Act as a welfare organization (W.O.221/68), a name that continues to this day. The organization has over 1,000 registered members segmented into 10 different sectors – Arts and Culture, Children, Disability, Economic, Land and Environment, Health, Humanitarian, Human Rights, Women and Youth. The association has actively coordinated and facilitated collaboration between and among NGOs and other stakeholders, including public and private sectors towards the attainment of national development goals. For five decades, NANGO has fought for the interests of the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable by advocating for a positive and enabling operating environment to facilitate a vibrant, pro-active and creative responsive to the social, economic and political development needs of all Zimbabweans. It has five regional administrative offices: Northern Region (Harare Metropolitan and all Mashonaland provinces), Southern Region (Masvingo), Midlands Region, Western Region (Matabeleland North and South and Bulawayo Metropolitan) and Eastern Region (Manicaland). The National Executive Board consists of five regional representatives and 10 NGO sector representatives. A board member is allowed to stand for elections for two consecutive terms of three years.

Political interference: Teacher’s Union by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Political interference: PTUZ | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe Political appointments have compromised standards in the country’s civil service, fuelled corruption and opened the way for the abuse of public office by appointees, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe has said. PTUZ Information and Research Officer, Fanuel Mabhugu, made the revelations during a workshop on corruption reporting organised by lobby group, Coalition Against Corruption. The workshop sought to find ways for journalists to play an active role in reporting corruption in the country. Mabhugu said that the issue of political appointments had seen some appointees overstepping their mandates and dabbling in politics. “There are politicians being appointed to the civil service as Permanent Secretaries and, in some cases, District Administrators. Although the law is clear on their roles, some of these appointees invariably dabble in politics. Some senior civil servants do not see themselves as servants of the people,” said Mabhugu. He warned that corruption was going undetected in the civil service. “There are issues which are no longer seen as corruption. There are cases were senior civil servants report for work late and leave early. There are civil servants who are doing nothing to earn their salaries,” said Mabhugu. He warned that people had lost faith in the country’s public institutions. “If we get rid of this corruption, people will have faith in the institutions of the State. The challenge is to move from rhetoric to action,” said Mabhugu. Economic analyst, John Robertson, added that political appointments had a negative impact on the civil service. “Some of the people at the top are very good at what they do because they use their skills well. But some people use their authority and influence to get what they want instead of using management skills,” said Robertson.

Fears over water table by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Fears over water table | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza Harare’s water table has sunk further as construction and property developments on wetlands take their toll, a former city councillor has said. Warship Dumba, MDC-T Secretary for Local Government for Harare Province, said the assault on the city’s wetlands was significantly affecting Harare’s water table. “The water table has gone from a depth of 20 metres to between 30 and 40 metres,” he told a residents meeting, urging the people to block any new projects on wetlands. Construction projects on wetlands are contributing to increased surface water pollution. Environmentalists and scientists have said the city’s water supply is dependent on the future of the wetlands. Wetlands have been turned into residential stands, shopping malls and industrial sites. Harare now depends largely on recycled water.

Whose turn to eat? by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Whose turn to eat? | The Zimbabwean by Robert Gonouya If the recent reports on comments by outgoing MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett are correct, they confirm what has been hiding in the open for some time now: namely concerns that many in the party’s leadership had started to eat, rather than lead, from the front. The word ‘eating’ has been used as a metaphor denoting corrupt activities by those in positions of authority for their own personal gain. As the fallout from the recent election continues, one wonders whether the leaders of the MDC-T, Morgan Tsvangirai in particular, missed an opportunity to signal to long-suffering Zimbabweans that there would be a new culture of leadership, one that would demonstrate that publicly entrusted power would not be used to profit individuals. Perhaps, as charged by Amai Jukwa, Jonathan Moyo and others, it was beyond him and is too much to expect of him? Whatever the truth is, the fact remains that those aspiring to lead a new Zimbabwe will have to grasp the nettle that is leadership greed. A failure to do so runs the real risk of undermining the benefits most people expect in a democracy – especially against the current backdrop of crippling poverty and deadly declines in the general living standards of most Zimbabweans.

Cutting costs

Imagine the serious intent and confidence which would have been generated by an announcement ton the first day of assuming office that no ministers would drive Mercedes Benz’s but instead would be issued with locally assembled cars – with the savings being diverted to resource rural primary schools. Or that water supply problems would be prioritised and tackled using savings from a dramatic reduction in government ministries (Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta reduced his from 44 to only18). Or that all major hospitals would be overhauled within the first 100 days, ensuring that medicines, equipment and personnel were fully resourced, from a major reduction in foreign travel costs and unnecessary conferences. Alas, none of this was said. Would it have been said if Tsvangirai had won? I wonder. The late literary icon, Chua Achebe spoke incessantly and consistently about similar concerns. Refusing one of his country’s highest accolades, that of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he questioned the worth of being a democracy if people are hungry and despondent, and much needed infrastructure is crumbling or non-existent. He lamented the lack of security, the alienation of certain parts of his country and the destructive impact of corruption on the life chances of many of his fellow countrymen. All these resonate with Zimbabwe today.

Our turn to eat

In her absorbing book entitled, It’s Our Turn To Eat, Michaela Wrong,unlike her surname suggests, was far from being off the mark when describing the decadence and gluttony of Kenyan ministers and civil servants and the spirit of greed that still pervades the country’s political elite – despite several successive regimes who had promised to tackle leadership corruption. Many parallels can be drawn between the Kenyan experience and what we have witnessed in Zimbabwe, particularly with the ascendance of the MDC-T into a power sharing position. Although there are a litany of examples indicating the growing contrast between those who actually run the government and those outside, it is the embracing of this destructive ‘eating’ spirit by some MDC–T leaders that is most worrying. Rather than shun the decadence and unnecessary packages of privilege, the majority of the MDC ministers and civil servants have lapped it up and developed a penchant for the finest. Tsvangirai himself has been accused of ‘eating’ and ‘sleeping’, rather than leading from the front. Much has been made of his spending on his children being schooled abroad, lavish wedding and honeymoon and love dispute settlements – allegedly beyond what his salary can provide. Were such indiscipline to be proven beyond doubt, this selfish behaviour must be denounced in the strongest terms. Not doing so buries the hope many had placed in an alternative government – one which should ‘enable the people to eat’, access quality education, quality health services, a free and democratic environment and security of life, to mention but a few.

Mutating corruption

In explaining the Kenyan ‘eating’ case, Michaela has it that: “As Kenya has modernised, so its sleaze has mutated, a new layer of graft shaped to match each layer of economic restructuring and political reconfiguration. In Kenya, corruption doesn’t go away with reform, it just migrates…” It is this multiplication and transfer of corruption with any leadership changes which Zimbabweans should guard against, as its impact destroys hope and the life chances of many. Never again should key institutions such as schools and hospitals be compromised by a new group of leaders who look after only themselves, their friends and relatives – ensuring that their children are educated at the best private schools money can buy or that they are flown out of the country to access the best medical facilities. Future leaders in Zimbabwe should demonstrate confidence in local facilities by seeking treatment in the country and by sending their children to state schools.

Hefty packages

If recent reports of golden handshakes for outgoing ministers across all parties are to be believed, the development marks the crossing of the Rubicon with respect to the levels of gross insensitivity to the suffering majority of Zimbabweans. According to media reports in March: “Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mujuru, Mutambara and Khupe are expected to get hefty packages running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, while ministers would each get $30,000, residential stands in affluent suburbs, three luxury cars including Mercedes Benz and top-of-the-range SUVs”. Whatever the merits of this claim, it provides a useful opportunity to reflect on possible policy alternatives to deal with the real problem of leaders with their ‘snouts in the trough’. In its current guise, the controversial indigenisation policy of increasing ownership or participation by locals in foreign owned companies has been much maligned for appearing to serve as a major source of accumulation and ‘redistribution of wealth’ through networks of power that do not assure the equitable distribution of resources among the population at large. The tragedy is that many of us believe in the principle but have become disillusioned with how the implementation is playing out.

Lack of appetite

The MDC-T’s leadership lack of appetite or unwillingness to outline a bold and realistic plan to address leadership ‘eating’ is indeed of great concern, especially in light of some of their leadership’s track record to date. For example, in 2012, three MDC-T MPs were charged for allegedly abusing their Constituency Development Funds) allocations. They were Marvellous Khumalo (St Mary’s), Albert Mhlanga (Pumula) and Cleopas Machacha (Kariba). In 2009, Zaka North MP, Ernest Mudavanhu was imprisoned for 12 months for allegedly abusing the subsidised farming inputs. Whilst one cannot rule out the works of invisible hands in corruption allegations levelled at the MDC, it is true that owing to such scandals, the party is struggling to engender confidence in its abilities to govern effectively – free from greed and corruption. Perhaps more importantly, they still have their work cut out to convince many that they can deliver on their Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and Environment (JUICE) vision with leaders mired in sleaze. As epitomised by the rather amateurish handling of the elections aftermath, current indications appear to validate the widely held view that many of the ministers and current executive confirm the Peter Principle. This states that the members of an organization will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability – that is, to their level of incompetence. Of course, this too applies to many in Zanu (PF) who have failed to work effectively as ministers upon their promotion.

High profile bungling

The bungling of the high profile Zimplats indigenisation ‘deal’ by Indigenisation Minister, Saviour Kasukuvere is notable. For his incompetence, he was reproached by Mugabe who said: “………they gave us 51% saying that it is a loan that we are giving you, and we are paying for you in advance and then you can pay us back tomorrow. “I think that is where our minister made a mistake. He did not quite understand what was happening, and yet our theory is that the resource is ours and that resource is our share, that is where the 51% comes from.” Questions of impropriety also remain around the commission being charged for such deals by Brainworks, a local consultant company, with suggestions that a motley bunch of the politically connected are looking to ‘eat’ from the attendant transactions. With election of the likes of Comrade Chinotomba as an MP, it will be hard to look for a better candidate who embodies the Peter Principle. –The writer can be contacted at gonouyarobert@hotmail.com


Zim poised for regression and sterility by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Zim poised for regression and sterility by Tendai Biti, MP IF THE election of Jacob Mudenda as Speaker of Parliament is anything to go by, then Zimbabwe is heading for reversal, regression and more sterility. This man has been around for a long time. Now in the late summer of his life like most of them, he has not been known for anything associated with progress and uplift meant of our people. He was Governor for Matabeleland North during Gukurahundi, and those who know him well speak of his complicity and downright co-operation as the forces of evil decimated lives and rearranged destinies, playing God with souls. Since February, he had been controversially appointed chair of the important Human Rights Commission, a body which unless there is a fundamental paradigm shift is all but dead. With such a rich history of nothingness, the man is now the Speaker of Parliament. Heaven forbid! How long is this country going to be tied to the primitive reward system of patronage over competence and ability? An incentive system based on the loyalty of boot-licking as opposed to the loyalty of delivery and performance? A system where meritocracy does not exist but the length of one’s tongue and the reach of the same. I see that Arthur Mutambara has joined this band wagon. At least his side kick, Larry Mavima, had the courage of openly joining the Revolutionary Party and riding into Parliament on the back of some seat in Gokwe. The rocket scientist prefers the rickety but smelly route of using his long tongue. I thought those of our generation would remain true to some modicum of principle, but in these days of immorality, values of chivalry, consistency and ability to stand up to one’s cause have really gone to the dogs. I thought this was the essence of the October 4 generation and values from same. Lovemore Madhuku, Munyaradzi Gwisai, the late Sam Matsangaise and others must be puking somewhere. Our children’s children will desecrate on our graves. Shame. But the shamelessness is not a monopoly of local actors. They do not come as poorly written and as mendacious as the latest report from SADC Election Observer Mission. It is not even clear what the document is. Recall that an interim report was given and therefore the whole world is waiting on a final report of the July 31 election. This is not SADC’s final report but a poorly-written four-page document headed: “Summary Statement of the SADC Election Observation Mission to the Harmonised Elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe Held on 31 July 2013.” The document is not and does not purport to be a summary of the Final Report. In fact all references to factual issues are derived from the Interim Report. Put in simple terms, it is not based on any fresh facts other than those contained in the Interim Report. Without any new facts being proffered, the document is an opinion, an attempt to fill in and twist new conclusions not supported and not made in the Interim Report. What are those conclusions that have to be made even though no new evidence has been supplied and no final Report has been produced? Well the report itself is very open on this, it says: “As you may recall the main message in the preliminary report was that the elections in Zimbabwe were free and peaceful. However, we had reserved the two issues of ‘fairness and credibility’ deliberately waiting for the compilation of the reports from our Observers in the covered constituencies. Therefore, that is what I am going to do today.” You can fool others sometime, sang the late and great Bob Marley, but you cannot fool everyone all the time. As said before, no final report has been produced. Bernard Membe, the Tanzanian Foreign Minister, makes no reference to the Observer reports he alludes to above, other than the Interim Report. Then following a tortuous process of dishonest reasoning, he arrives at the dishonest new conclusion that the election was FREE, PEACEFUL AND GENERALLY CREDIBLE” (my emphasis). What in the world does GENERALLY CREDIBLE mean? It is either credible or not. The point is that credibility pertains to legality, correctness and sustainableness. There is no middle of the road. Credibility is not a subjective concept, it is a legal objective concept. The concept of FREENESS is one that is subjective, flexible and elastic.

The interim report cited so many things that impeached on the credibility of this election. These included:
# the issue of the flawed voter registration exercise
# the failure to provide the voters roll to the parties
# challenges around the special vote
# the media challenges
# challenges with printing of ballot papers
# use of voter registration slips

These are things that cannot be washed away. They are real. Where in the world do parties go to any election without a voters roll? Under what circumstances do you call that credible or generally credible? Why not, Mr Membe, measure these elections against SADC guidelines? The thing is Mr Membe, one plus one, no matter what you do, can never be equal to seven. It can never be “generally seven”. But why are all these shenanigans being done even at this late stage? The point is that of legitimacy. As long as the elections have remained stuck with the suffix of free, fair and credible, legitimacy will always be an issue. The consequences of illegality are that Zimbabweans should be allowed once again to choose a leader of their own choice. The consequences are that no normal, self-respecting country can properly engage with our country at a time when massive capital is required. The consequences are that we will remain mired in the quagmire of predatory, exhausting politics. But legitimacy will not be bestowed from a poorly-written statement from an individual. It is important for SADC to be fair to the people of Zimbabwe. It is important for SADC to respect the people of Zimbabwe and to recognise that Zimbabwe is bigger than the interests of Zanu PF. It is important for SADC not to debase its legitimacy and credibility. More importantly, it is important for us Zimbabweans to resolve our issues amongst ourselves at times, to avoid unsavoury exposures to dubious interests. Do some people genuinely want to see Zimbabwe progress or rather they prefer to see us continue to limp as an outpost of conflict and division, unable to produce goods that can threaten their grip on the region’s export markets?

I wonder, I really wonder.

But more importantly it is important for a change to put the country and its people first. The country is suffering. The economy is stagnating, retrenchments are on the increase. The informal sector continues to grow. Above all, let us resolve the albatross of illegitimacy so as to move forward. The clouds are gathering. It will be a long winter of despair. But this is avoidable. If only good sense, wisdom, and genuine selflessness and patriotism can take charge. Even for a second. If only! Tendai Biti is the MDC-T secretary general and MP for Harare East. He was Finance Minister between February 2009 and August 2013

Daily News Zim’s most credible newspaper: MMPZ by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Daily News Zim’s most credible newspaper: MMPZ – DailyNews Live by Brian Gumbo The Daily News is Zimbabwe’s most credible newspaper, according to a survey by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ). Zimbabwe’s leading daily got a 99 percent credibility score in the ‘Media Credibility Index Zimbabwe’ survey conducted by MMPZ betweenbn April and June this year. The independent daily, published by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),  only returned to the news stalls in March 2011 after eight years of unjust closure by government. “The Daily News, with a credibility score of 99 percent, proved a credible source of information among this group (dailies), showing that they were capable of presenting national issues in a professional manner,” reads the report. Out of 81 Daily News stories rated during the survey, only one failed the credibility test. Second-placed NewsDay had 98 percent credibility, with two stories which were considered not credible out of 96 stories. The Herald, Zimbabwe’s oldest daily newspaper, had 86 percent credibility and was censured for carrying stories that fell short of professional journalistic standards. “Only The Herald regularly displayed gross professional incompetence in its coverage of top events,” said Media Credibility Index Zimbabwe. “It ran 19 untrustworthy front-page stories in the three-month period, which translates to 86 percent of the 22 leading stories that fell short of professional journalistic standards.” Daily newspapers had an aggregate credibility standing of 94 percent. State-run Sunday Mail fared worse than all the surveyed media. “Four (80 percent) of the five unreliable top news reports recorded in this media category (weeklies) appeared in the Sunday Mail,” the survey said. “The Sunday Mail had the lowest credibility rating (83 percent) among all the surveyed media followed by The Herald (90 percent) and ZTV (92 percent).” The private media was rated more favourably than their public counterparts. “Combined, the public media had an overall credibility rating of 88 per cent, 11 percent lower the aggregate 99 percent achieved by the private media,” the findings say. “The common weaknesses in the monitored stories mostly arose from bias stemming from misrepresentations, distortions, inaccuracies, lack of balance and fairness; and downright manipulation of facts to further particular interests. The public media were the most frequent offenders,” observed the Media Credibility Index survey.

Tsvangirai blasts Sadc by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Tsvangirai blasts Sadc – DailyNews Live by Xolisani Ncube MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai says the Sadc election observer mission has failed to live up to its set guidelines for free and fair elections. He said the observer team produced a “saddening” report that is “factually wrong”. Tsvangirai told journalists after visiting his incarcerated chief elections agent Morgen Komichi at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison yesterday that the report released by the Bernard Membe-led Sadc election observer team endorsed an election that fell short of the regional bloc’s own minimum standards for a free and fair election. “The final report is not different from the initial endorsement of the elections,” Tsvangirai told reporters outside the prison. “What I fail to read in the report is first and foremost that in Maputo, Sadc was very clear that certain reforms and processes were key if free and fair elections were to be conducted. “And secondly, Sadc has guidelines; they don’t even mention whether our elections passed the test of those benchmarks, they don’t even make that reference.” The former prime minister, who lost the hotly-contested July poll to his bitter rival President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, said he was not happy with the manner the regional body conducted itself in Zimbabwe elections. “I am actually disappointed because certain narratives reflect a Zanu PF narrative,” he said. “For example, how does an observer talk about pirate radio stations? How do you talk about sanctions and that the opposition is campaigning for sanctions that is why they lost the elections? I think there is nothing new, they have endorsed.” Speaking in Harare on Monday at the presentation of the Sadc observer mission’s final report on the July 31 elections, Membe said opposition groups should call for the lifting of sanctions, warning Zanu PF would be difficult to remove if the measures remained in place. “Let me tell you this passionately from my heart, and if there are opposition leaders here and if there are opposition people in this conference you know this question of sanctions must be fought by all parties,” Membe said. “To tell the world to remove the sanctions because if you don’t it’s very difficult for the opposition to win elections. As long as sanctions are there this Zanu PF will prevail for 100 years to come if you hear me.” The  MDC leader said he will continue engaging with the regional bloc even though he does not expect any changes with regards to its endorsement of the polls. He said he was eager to  have facts known. Sadc deployed 600 observers countrywide for the July 31 vote. The Sadc report issued on Monday “endorsed” the outcome of the election, but Tsvangirai said it was expected given that they had already endorsed the result in their preliminary report. He said by referring to the issue of sanctions and pirate radio stations, which had nothing to do with the manner in which the last elections were prepared and conducted; the Sadc observer mission leader “was certainly reading from a Zanu PF script.” He said he would launch a formal complaint with Sadc and the African Union (AU). Tsvangirai said he was aware of the crisis of expectation from the people Zimbabwe, whom he said had their “victory stolen”. He cautioned that dealing with a the current regime required time, patience and resilience, adding that the MDC would continue with the democratic means to bring change in Zimbabwe. He said the biggest mistake Zimbabweans could make was to give up the struggle for political change, adding he would soon consult with the people of Zimbabwe on the way forward. Tsvangirai was visiting Komichi who is incarcerated at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on charges of contravening the electoral law. Senator Komichi was arrested in July after he handed to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) a special vote ballot paper which had been picked from a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) in the last election. Tsvangirai said it was absurd that instead of prosecuting Zec officials for negligence, they were instead incarcerating Komichi for exposing the irregularity. “It is strange that they chose to incarcerate Komichi instead of Zec for its negligence in the election,” said the MDC president. He took opportunity to visit the remaining four Glen View 29 accused Last Maengahama, Yvonne Musarurwa, Simon Mapanzure and Tungamirai Madzokere. He said he was encouraged to see them in good spirit. He said the four including Komichi gave him words of encouragement to continue with the struggle for a new democratic dispensation. “I was quite touched and encouraged to hear them say, ‘president do not give up, let us continue with the fight’,” Tsvangirai said.

Media Alliance Conference Discusses Future of Zimbabwe Media by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Media Alliance Conference Discusses Future of Zimbabwe Media by Jonga Kandemiiri for VOA Zimbabwe The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe on Wednesday held its one day annual conference in Harare where participants discussed various issues including the new constitution, media laws, freedom of expression and the future of the media in Zimbabwe in the next five years under the incoming Zanu PF administration, among other issues. Held under the theme ‘Zimbabwe’s Media: The Next Five Years, Democratisation and Expansion’, the conference was attended by representatives from Zanu PF and the MDC, journalists, and representatives from non-governmental organisations, among others. Media Alliance of Zimbabwe coordinator Patience Zirima said the conference was a success as it tackled issues affecting the media in Zimbabwe. “The conference also came out with really concrete ideas of how the media should be moving forward in the next five years,” Zimbira added.

Banks limit withdrawals amid reports of cash shortages by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Banks limit withdrawals amid reports of cash shortages | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo Zimbabwe stock exchange suffered big losses as the election results were announced Cash shortages are said to be worsening in Harare, with reports that banks are now planning a series of measures to limit withdrawals. An investigation by SW Radio Africa indicated that some companies were even failing to pay workers their wages as they cannot withdraw large sums of money from their corporate accounts. According to Harare-based correspondent Simon Muchemwa, indigenous banks have been the hardest hit. “Since the elections banks have experienced sustained withdrawals as individuals and companies respond to the uncertainty that accompanies a ZANU PF win. “A month after the election result there is still no Cabinet in place and such a situation doesn’t inspire any confidence at all so people are taking out their money and there are few deposits being made,” Muchemwa said. In response, some banks are now limiting withdrawals to amounts ranging from $100 to $500 per day. “Before the election, companies could withdraw as much as $20,000, but that is no longer the case, to the extent that some have been struggling to pay salaries. “A director at one property development firm indicated that since July they have not paid wages in full because they cannot access the money from their bank. “In some instances banks are asking some depositors to bring police clearance if they want to withdraw large sums, as a way of buying time because some of them fear going under if the panic withdrawals persist. “And this makes it very difficult for people with children of school-going age to pay school fees, rent etc, and some parents I spoke to whose children attend boarding schools, said they have not managed to pay tuition fees,” said Muchemwa. Following the announcement of the July 31st poll outcome, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), suffered big losses amid reports that the ZANU PF government was going to re-introduce the Zimdollar. Despite Reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono going around the country to try and reassure investors and depositors that this was not the case, it appears there is still skepticism about what ZANU PF will do next. Muchemwa said: “ZANU PF continues to threaten foreign-owned firms and they have not really ruled out bringing back the much-hated Zimdollar and so as long as there is no clear policy on those issues, this has the potential of degenerating into another cash crisis of the 2003-2005 levels.”

MDC still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via MDC still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda The former MDC-T MP for Mazowe central on Wednesday admitted that his party is still ‘amateurs’ in political gamesmanship and need to ‘up the ante’ to outwit ZANU PF in future elections. Shepherd Mushonga told SW Radio Africa’s weekly program, the Hidden Story, that the ruling party was skilled in manipulating people or events, so as to gain unfair advantage over its opponents. ‘ZANU PF has been in existence for 50 years and we are only 13 years old. The way they rigged the poll was not about legalese, it was a question of intelligence more than the law and politicking,’ Mushonga said. The former legislator, a lawyer by profession, said the results of the elections, which ZANU PF’ won’ by more than a two thirds majority, underscores the limitations his party has in intelligence gathering. ‘ZANU PF’s win took everyone by surprise. But how could we as a party fail to see even a hint of the final result? ZANU PF used the referendum to do a dress rehearsal of how they were going to cheat. ‘We said it as a party, that figures from the referendum were spiced up by 10 percent but out of respect for the new leadership of ZEC, we decided to leave it there. That is where we lost the plot,’ explained Mushonga. He continued: ‘Even when we were campaigning, my leader (Morgan Tsvangirai) was saying the peace prevailing is deliberate because they want to rig in a peaceful manner. But we didn’t interogate ourselves to say how.’ Mushonga said he was not in a position to blame anybody for the defeat but agreed they slept with both eyes shut in the run-up to the poll. ‘When you are dealing with a beast like ZANU PF, never go to sleep with both your eyes shut. Leave one open to see what they’re doing in the dead of the night. But let us be pragmatic as well. ‘We are amateurs in this game and we have to accept that. Our intelligence was non-existent, you need to have somebody highly trained to detect the way they devised their rigging strategy, which was simple,” said Mushonga. He explained that the rigging involved bussing in people from outside their constituencies, allowing 60 percent of the voters to use fake registration slips to cast their ballots, as well as telling rural voters to ask for assistance during the voting. In Mazowe central alone more than 6,000 people were assisted to vote, including a deputy headmistress from Kanukanwe school who said she could not read and write. In 2008 Mushonga garnered over 5,500 votes, beating his ZANU PF rival who got about 3,500. In the July 31st poll, ZANU PF polled over 11,000 with the help of outside voters who were bussed from Matepatepa and Forrester estate in Mvurwi. ‘The million dollar question now is how did we miss all this. Its only coming out now as we are carrying out post mortems in wards and districts. We need to pull up our socks if ever we are going to dethrone ZANU PF from power,’ he added.

Nyamandhlovu farmer faces eviction for being MDC-T by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Nyamandhlovu farmer faces eviction for being MDC-T | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo A Nyamandhlovu farmer is living in fear, after ZANU PF activists entered his property and told him to wind up operations and leave. Thembinkosi Sibindi, who is also the MDC-T Mat North organising secretary, was not present when the group of eight ZANU PF members, led by Ward 4 Councillor David Moyo, arrived. Sibindi said the group told his terrified workers that the farm was ZANU PF property and MDC supporters had no claim on the land. “They arrived on August 29th, and told the manager that the farm belonged to ZANU PF and not MDC people. “When they were told that I was not around, they left instructions with the manager to tell me to wind up business on the farm as they were coming to evict me,” Sibindi said. Although a report was made to the police and the people are known in the area, Sibindi said no arrests have been made. Instead, the police asked Sibindi to present them with proof of ownership if he does not want to be evicted from the farm. Sibindi said he also telephoned the ZANU PF Nyamandhlovu MP, Obert Mpofu, asking why members of the opposition were no longer allowed to be on the land and whether he had sent the group. The leader of the group, Moyo, is said to have close links with Mpofu, who is also the outgoing Mines Minister. “Mpofu denied any knowledge of the planned eviction. But this is not the first time this has happened. In 2005, the same ZANU PF group evicted me. Luckily this time the police intervened and evicted the invaders,” Sibindi said. Sibindi added: “We are now living in fear for our lives as we don’t know what these people are planning to do next. They are going around saying they want to remove all traces of the MDC-T in the constituency by the next election. “I have suffered on-going harassment from these people. They take down the fence whenever it suits them and they never get arrested. The same thing is happening to MDC-T supporters in Tsholotsho. “It seems if you are a member of the MDC you are not considered Zimbabwean,” he said. Since the outcome of the contested July 31st election was announced, there has been widespread victimisation of MDC supporters in the country. Similar incidents have been reported in the Mashonaland provinces. Last month Headman John Chikware from Matumbu village in Chimanimani, was evicted by ZANU PF war vets who accused him of campaigning for the MDC-T. Other hotspots include Mberengwa, Zaka, and some parts of Nyanga North. At least 25 families were ejected from their homes in Mt Darwin by ZANU PF activists.

SADC accused of lowering electoral standards to suit Mugabe by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via SADC accused of lowering electoral standards to suit Mugabe | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) continues to face a backlash from Zimbabwean civil society, after endorsing the highly disputed elections there as “generally credible.” The July 31st polls were marred by widespread reports of voter fraud and other serious irregularities, which all signaled another heavily manipulated electoral process. The result was a ‘landslide’ ZANU PF victory that has since seen Robert Mugabe sworn in for another term as President. Leaders of the regional SADC bloc immediately extended their congratulations to Mugabe and ZANU PF, urging the opposition MDC parties to accept the result. This was despite the problems reported by many observer teams deployed in Zimbabwe during the poll, and the absence of a final SADC verdict based on its own observer mission. On Monday that final verdict was unveiled, with SADC congratulating Zimbabwe on a peaceful process and fully endorsing the polls. Tanzanian Foreign Minister, Bernard Membe, summed up the SADC position by calling the elections “generally credible,” adding that “it is difficult to say it was fair.” Membe was addressing a press conference on Monday and conceded that “the credibility of the election process” has been met with negative evaluations. He however insisted that the verdict on Zimbabwe recognised that “there were so many other elements that when put together elevated the election to a credible status,” particularly when measured against the 2008 elections. Concern and dismay is now being expressed, with analysts saying the absence of violence alone should not be the yardstick against which election credibility should be measured. The SADC bloc is facing accusations of lowering its own standards of elections, putting its credibility in jeopardy. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regional coordinator Joy Mabenge told SW Radio Africa that SADC is setting a very bad precedent for the rest of the region, where other critical elections are due in the coming months. “They set standards that other countries must fully comply with, and for a country to comply only partially and SADC endorses it as a true reflection of the will of the people, is absurd,” Mabenge said. Tawanda Chimhini, the director of Election Resource Centre (ERC), said electoral standards in Zimbabwe had been lowered “unfortunately not by Zimbabweans but by the region itself” adding that it “is a tragedy not only for Zimbabwe”, but the entire region, considering that seven SADC countries are holding elections by 2014. “The fact that the regional body has not fully explored the absence of fairness in this poll, but are still prepared to accept it, suggests that standards for elections in Zimbabwe have been lowered. Had SADC remained faithful to the established SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing the Conduct of Democratic Elections in making their assessment of the harmonized elections, the regional body could have found it difficult to accept the July 31st 2013 polls as credible, let alone being a reflection of the will of Zimbabweans,” Chimhini said.

Human Rights Agenda for the next Administration by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Zimbabwe: Human Rights Agenda for the next Administration | Human Rights Watch President Robert Gabriel Mugabe Munhumutapa Building Corner Samora Machel Avenue and Sam Nujoma Street, Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe Fax Number: +263 -4- 708211 Re:  Human Rights Agenda for the next Administration Your Excellency, We at Human Rights Watch, an independent organization that monitors and reports on human rights in more than 80 countries, write to you to express our concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and to request that you give priority to improving human rights during your presidency. We urge you and the incoming administration to take clear, decisive measures to honor the country’s human rights obligations and ensure the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. Human Rights Watch believes that this is an important opportunity for your government to help nurture and develop a culture of respect for human rights in Zimbabwe that should not be missed. Zimbabwe’s new constitution, signed into law on May 22, 2013, enshrines the country’s domestic human rights obligations. The preamble to the constitution recognizes “the need to entrench democracy, good, transparent and accountable governance and the rule of law,” and reaffirms, “commitment to upholding and defending fundamental human rights and freedoms.” Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations are derived from the many international human rights conventions to which Zimbabwe is party including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as customary international law. Human Rights Watch calls on your administration to place the promotion and protection of human rights at the top of its agenda and recommends the following five priority areas for the new government’s human rights plan: Reaffirm Rights Provisions in New Constitution Under a power-sharing government with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from February 2009 to July 2013, a number of human rights reforms were initiated, including enactment of the new constitution with a much broader bill of rights than its Lancaster House predecessor. To put Zimbabwe on a democratic and rights-respecting path leading to genuinely credible, free and fair elections, and to a durable human-rights environment, the new administration should reaffirm and ensure the realization of the rights provisions contained in the new constitution. Human Rights Watch urges the new administration to immediately amend or substantially repeal a number of laws to bring them in line with the provisions of the new constitution. For instance, article 208 of the new constitution states that members of the security services – the Defence Forces, the Police, the Central Intelligence Organization, and the Prison Service – must be non-partisan. Implementation of this provision requires legislative amendments to the Police Act, Defence Act, Prisons Act, and enactment of legislation to govern operations of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO).  The new administration should also take necessary measures to ensure that appointments, training and conduct of members of the army, police and CIO conform to the requirements of strict political neutrality in the discharge of their duties. The incoming administration should work to improve respect for human rights by government officials at all levels and seek international assistance to provide appropriate training and education to members of the police and other state agencies on human rights. Additionally, the government of Zimbabwe should repeal or substantially amend repressive legislation including the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the Interception of Communications Act (ICA), the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA), and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to bring them in line with Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations. Ensure accountability for past human rights abuses The incoming government of Zimbabwe should ensure accountability for the perpetrators of past human rights violations, including by investigating cases of serious abuses and prosecuting those found responsible, and press for appropriate remedies to victims of abuses, including those from the 2008 elections. In the lead up to the June 2008 presidential runoff elections, Human Rights Watch investigations found that the Joint Operations Command (JOC), was responsible for orchestrating widespread political violence throughout the country against the MDC. This violence resulted in the killings of hundreds of perceived MDC activists and supporters and the beating, torture and forced displacement of thousands more. To address these serious human rights abuses, the new administration should promptly investigate and prosecute, in accordance with national law and international standards, members of the security forces against whom there is evidence of criminal responsibility for serious human rights abuses including arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment. Going forward, the new government should establish an independent civilian authority charged with receiving complaints and investigating allegations of crimes committed by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, military and armed forces. Uphold Rights of Civil Society and Human Rights Defenders Since December 2012 under the coalition government administration, the police have carried out a campaign of politically motivated abuses against civil society activists and organizations, including the harassment and eight-day detention of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa despite a High Court order for her release. In the lead up to the July 2013 elections, police charged a number of civil society leaders including Jestina Mukoko, director of Zimbabwe Peace Project, Okay Machisa, director of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, and Abel Chikomo, director of Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, with various alleged offenses under what appears to be politically motivated attempts to curtail the human rights work by civil society organizations. We urge you to send a clear public message to civil society that your new administration will honor its human rights obligations and not interfere with the rights of civil society organizations to freely operate across the country and without fear of harassment or intimidation.  The ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), should categorically revoke a resolution approved at the December 2012 ZANU-PF annual conferenceto “instruct the party to ensure that government enforces the de-registration of errant [organizations] deviating from their mandate.” Regulations approved by the ZANU-PF minister for youth and indigenization, Saviour Kasukuwere, in January 2013, requiring all youth organizations to be registered with the Zimbabwe Youth Council or to be banned, should also be revoked. Under these regulations, no youth organization may receive funding without authorization from the youth council and all members or affiliates of registered youth organizations are required to pay exorbitant annual levies to the youth council. These regulations, if left to stand, may cripple the operations of youth organizations throughout the country.Protect Media Freedoms Human Rights Watch urges the new administration to carry out policies that encourage, not prohibit, freedom of the press. The government of Zimbabwe should work in a manner that guarantees the full implementation and realization of the rights to freedom of association and assembly and the promotion of freedom of expression and communication. Government action to promote and protect media freedoms includes making changes to repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act, and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. These laws have been used to severely curtail basic rights through vague defamation clauses and draconian penalties. Provisions dealing with criminal defamation and undermining the authority of or insulting the president, should be repealed, as they have been routinely been used against journalists and political activists. Strengthen the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission The new constitution reaffirms the establishment of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), whose functions are: (a)  to promote awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society; (b)  to promote the development of human rights and freedoms; (c)   to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in Zimbabwe; (d)  to recommend to parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms; (e)  to investigate the conduct of any authority or person, where it is alleged that any of the rights in the constitution’s declaration of rights has been violated by that authority or person; and (f)    to use subpoena powers to compel any authority or person to appear before the commission and to produce any document or record relevant to any investigation by the commission. The potential impact of the ZHRC on the human rights environment, particularly curtailing impunity for serious abuses, is undermined by the commission’s limited mandate and jurisdiction—it can only investigate and address human rights abuses committed since February 2009, and not the numerous serious abuses committed before February 2009, including the widespread electoral violence of 2008.  The ZHRC has frequently complained that it is not fully operational to address human rights complaints or carry out its core mandate due to lack of funds. The ZHRC, established under the previous coalition government administration, still does not have technical staff. In December 2012, its founding chairperson, Professor Reginald Austin, resigned citing inhibiting laws and lack of resources that compromise the ZHRC’s independence and capacity to carry out its mandate. Human Rights Watch calls on the new administration to take immediate steps to ensure that the legislation establishing the ZHRC is fully compliant with the Paris Principles on national human rights institutions and includes guarantees for independence in order for the commission to seek accreditation with the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. The administration should ensure that the ZHRC is adequately resourced, and has competent, independent and non-partisan secretariat staff. For greater effectiveness, the ZHRC should be empowered with a mandate allowing it to investigate human rights abuses that occurred before February 2009, including the 2008 abuses. The government of Zimbabwe has important legal obligations under African amd international human rights treaties that require it to respect the rights to life, bodily integrity, and liberty and security of the person, as well as freedoms of expression, association, and assembly. Human Rights Watch urges you to publicly express your personal commitments to these legal obligations, press for measures that would see to their implementation, and to instruct your officials to conduct themselves accordingly. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with your government and to the prospect of the advancement of human rights in Zimbabwe. Sincerely, Daniel Bekele Executive Director- Africa Division

Human Rights Watch calls on Mugabe to prioritise ‘fundamental freedoms’ by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Human Rights Watch calls on Mugabe to prioritise ‘fundamental freedoms’ | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell A leading international human rights organisation has written to Robert Mugabe, urging the 89 year old to “correct the mistakes of the past” and prioritise the fundamental freedoms of the nation. Human Rights Watch also called on the incoming administration to take “concrete steps to fulfill the country’s human rights obligations.” The international group identified key human rights priorities in its letter to Mugabe. This includes the need to reaffirm the rights provisions in the new constitution, ensure justice and accountability for past abuses, uphold activists’ rights to organize and operate freely without government harassment, and strengthen the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. “President Mugabe should publicly express his personal commitment to meeting Zimbabwe’s human rights obligations,” said Tiseke Kasambala, Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch. Kasambala added: “He should take responsibility for ensuring that rights are protected and that his officials uphold the law. The new administration needs to embrace a new, positive rights-respecting approach to governing.” Human Rights Watch said that the new government has important legal obligations under African and international human rights treaties “that require it to respect the rights to life, bodily integrity, and liberty and security of the person, as well as freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.” The group said it hoped these fundamental rights and freedoms are prioritised by the new administration. Kasambala meanwhile acknowledged that despite the hotly disputed elections that have ushered in a new ZANU PF government, there is a growing acceptance of the result. She said that this is now an opportunity to put human rights protection high on the agenda. “Mugabe as you know is not young anymore and we would like to hope that he plans to leave a legacy that is not marred by the over ten years of crisis we have seen in Zimbabwe and that he’d like to go out on top. We hope that he takes this opportunity to rights the wrongs of the past,” Kasambala told SW Radio Africa. Human Rights Watch urged Mugabe and his administration to take the following steps: • Reaffirm rights provisions in new constitution Reaffirm the rights provisions in the new constitution, immediately amend or repeal laws as necessary to bring them in line with the new constitution, and ensure that government officials respect and protect these rights. • Ensure accountability for past human rights abuses Investigate cases of serious abuses, including during the 2008 elections, and prosecute those responsible in accordance with international standards. Those prosecuted should include members of the security forces implicated in killings, arbitrary detention, and torture and other ill-treatment. Provide appropriate redress to victims of government abuses. • Uphold Rights of interested Zimbabweans and Human Rights Defenders to organize and work in civic affairs Send a clear public message to Zimbabwe’s people that the new administration will honor its human rights obligations and not interfere with the rights of nongovernmental organizations to freely operate across the country and without fear of harassment, intimidation or arbitrary arrest. • Protect Media Freedom Carry out policies that encourage, not weaken, freedom of the press. Ensure that the rights to freedom of association and assembly are fully realized, and promote free expression and communication. Amend or repeal repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act, and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. • Strengthen the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Take immediate steps to ensure that the legislation establishing the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission complies fully with international standards. Ensure that the commission has adequate resources and has competent, independent and non-partisan secretariat staff. Expand the commission’s mandate to allow it to investigate human rights abuses in 2008.

COURT WATCH 13/2013 by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013

[4th September 2013]

Pre-Referendum and Pre-Election Challenges Dismissed by the Courts

Part III: Nomination Court Cases + Case on Political Party Funding

Part I [Court Watch 11/2013 of 15th August] of this series covered the dismissal by the courts of cases challenging the short notice and handling of the Constitutional Referendum of 16th March Part  II [Court Watch 12/2013 of 3rd September] covered Constitutional Court cases applying for an extension of the election date. This bulletin, Part III, covers more pre-election cases complaining about the nomination process for the harmonised elections and one case raising the issue of State funding for political parties not represented in Parliament.  All these cases were dismissed by the Constitutional Court. Note: Unless otherwise indicated, references to the Constitution are to the new Constitution, the relevant provisions of which came into operation on 22nd May, as explained in Constitution Watch 29/2013 of 22nd May.

Complaints Relating to Nomination Day taken to the Constitutional Court

Early Nomination Date Challenged

Gadzamoyo Dewah


The President, Ministers of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and of Justice, ZEC Chairperson and the Prime Minister

Note: In his proclamation of 13th June calling the harmonized elections, President Mugabe fixed 28th June as nomination day – the day on which nomination courts would sit to receive nominations of candidates – and 31st July as polling day.  That timing allowed would-be candidates the bare minimum fourteen days allowed by the Electoral Act in which to organize their nomination papers and have them accepted by the nomination courts.  Good People’s Movement Party president Dr Gadzamoyo Dewah, who is also Secretary of the Zimbabwe Opposition Political Parties Council [ZOPPC], lodged an application at the Constitutional Court seeking the postponement of nomination day for two weeks.  His main argument was that because all candidates must be registered voters, it was unconstitutional to have the nomination courts sitting before the completion on 9th July of the special 30-day intensive voter registration exercise required by the Constitution in paragraph 6 of its Sixth Schedule.  DrDewah, representing himself, also argued that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] was not ready for the nomination process because it lacked nomination forms and stationery.  He further argued that the prescribed nomination process was too cumbersome.  Finally, he challenged the constitutionality of the Political Parties (Finance) Act, arguing that small political parties not party to the Global Political Agreement did not have access to funding from foreign sources or the Treasury.  He argued that his rights under sections 3(1)(a) to (f), 3(2)(a), (d), (f), 67(1)(b), 67(2)(a) to (c) and 67(4) of the Constitution were violated as a result. [Note: Section 3 of the Constitution lists Zimbabwe’s “founding values and principles,” including a multi-party democratic political system and respect for the rights of political parties, and section 67 lists the political rights of Zimbabwean citizens, including the right to stand for election.  Section 3 did not come into operation on 22nd May, although section 67 did.] Application Dismissed The application was heard and dismissed by the Constitutional Court on 28th JuneWritten judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released.

ZEC’s Alleged Failure to Publicise Nomination Process

Ignatius Masamba


Minister of Justice and ZEC

The applicant complained that the Minister and ZEC, in violation of his rights, had failed to provide would-be candidates with information on nomination fees and sufficient notice of the date on which nomination papers were to be filed.  Note: The election proclamation, specifying the nomination date as well as the polling date, was gazetted on 13th June in SI 86/2013.   Nomination fees and nomination forms for these elections were specified on the same day, with the gazetting of the Electoral (Nomination of Candidates) Regulations [SI 88/2013].  This meant would-be candidates had the bare minimum period permitted by the Electoral Act to finalise their nomination papers.  It is frequently difficult for members of the public to access official texts of statutory instruments, and the short timeframe meant ZEC did very little education around the elections.  Application dismissed The application was heard on 18th July, and the Constitutional Court dismissed it on the same day on the basis that there was no cause of action, meaning that the applicant had not shown that ZEC breached any duty imposed on it by the Constitution.  Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released.

Appeal against Nomination Rejection 

Pushe-Bar Bere


ZEC and ZEC Chairperson

Ms Bere was an aspiring candidate for election as a local authority councillor.  She asked for an extension of time within which to file her nomination papers after having, she said, through no fault of her own, failed to file them within the prescribed time.  She claimed to have filed all her documents with the presiding officer in Ward 19, Makonde, in good time on nomination day.  Later in the day the presiding officer phoned her to tell her that her photograph was missing from those documents.  The applicant therefore decided to have another photograph taken to replace the missing one.  She arrived at the nomination court at 5.15 pm, but was informed that as the nomination court sitting had ended at 4 pm, as required by the Electoral Act, she could no longer submit any documents. Application dismissed  The application was heard on 18th July 2013. The Court dismissed the application, ruling that the matter should have been directed to the Electoral Court within four days of the sitting of the Nomination Court.  It was now, therefore, too late for any remedy. Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released.

Complaint about a Rejected Nomination

Gibbs Paul Gotora


ZEC, Rita Makarau and Another

Mr Gotora is president of the Zimbabwe Organised Open Political Party.  On 15th July he lodged an application at the Constitutional Court requesting the reinstatement of his nomination papers for the Presidential election.  He claimed that he had been unfairly prevented from challenging the nomination court’s rejection of his papers.  He was rejected on the grounds that he had insufficient valid nominators.  [Note: Section 104 of the Electoral Act requires a Presidential candidate to be nominated by at least one hundred registered voters, at least ten from each of the country’s ten provinces.]  He claimed that, in rejecting his papers, the nomination court had not properly explained to him the reasons for rejection.  ZEC had told him that it was too late to bring up any grievances about the nomination court.  The applicant claimed that ZEC’s denying him the opportunity to contest the rejection by the nomination court was a breach of the Electoral Act. Matter dealt with by Registrar On 17th July 2013, the Registrar of the Constitutional Court wrote to the applicant to advise him that as he had not raised any constitutional issues in his application, he should direct it to the Electoral Court.

Absence of State Funding for Small Political Parties

Zimbabwe Development Party


Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs and Three Others

This application was filed on 12th June 2013, when the election date was already known although not yet proclaimed.  The applicant claimed that the Constitution requires that an Act of Parliament must provide for funding for political parties.  It accordingly asked the Constitutional Court to order the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and ZEC to direct the Minister of Finance to release funds to the applicant for the purposes of preparing for the elections.  Section 3(3) of the Political Parties (Finance) Act provides that every political party whose candidates received at least 5% of the total number of votes cast in the most recent general election is entitled to funding that is proportionate to the number of votes cast for its candidates in relation to all the votes cast for all the political parties that qualify to be funded.  Because it had failed to achieve the required percentage in the previous election, the applicant party was not entitled to funding from the State under the Act.  The applicant argued that this disentitlement to funding infringed its political rights in terms of section 67(2) of the Constitution [section 67(2) enshrines the rights of Zimbabwean citizens to form, join and participate in the activities of a political party].   Application Dismissed

On 4th July 2013 the Constitutional Court dismissed the application.

Written judgment Reasons for judgment have not yet been released. Gadzamoyo Dewah’s early nomination date challenge [see above] also included a challenge to the constitutionality of the Political Parties (Finance) Act, arguing that small political parties not party to the Global Political Agreement did not have access to funding from foreign sources or the Treasury.  His whole case was dismissed, again with no written judgment to date. See Part II of this [Court Watch 12/2013 of 3rd September] for comments on lack of written judgments and the Judicial Code of Ethics.

Part IV will cover cases taken to the courts on voting rights and special voting.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

To subscribe or unsubscribe from this mailing list please visit website www.veritaszim.net or email veritas@mango.zw

Zimbabwe’s democrats: A luta perdido – e reinício by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013

Solidarity Peace Trust

Received via email by David Moore.  David Moore’s 1990 York University (Canada) Phd examined the history of Zimbabwe’s liberation war: the contradictions continue still. Now Professor of Development Studies at the University of Johannesburg, while on sabbatical he is Visiting Scholar at UCT’s Centre for African Studies. This is an altered version of an August 9 OpenCanada.org publication. August 1 6:08: from inside a party meeting assessing the damage, the SMS from the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai activist could not have been more different than his “WE HV WON” after Zimbabwe’s March 2008 election. “Bad news” wrote the man who was in seventh heaven at the country’s biggest ever political rally two days before: “We hv bn hit by the unexplainable. Its game over. 5 years with Mugabe again”. The MDC-T’s hopes for a ‘crossover’ peaked at the rally (twenty per cent being registered, opined one senior observer: I trust that the young fellow who pickpocked me was one of the unregistered masses!). The real crossover contrasted starkly to the hopes of the MDC-T, its civil society supporters, and democrats the world over. It marked a fundamental transformation in Zimbabwe’s polity and social order nonetheless. The results were soon in: ZANU-PF’s 62 to 34% victory over Zimbabwe’s main opposition in the presidential race and an over two-thirds parliamentary majority guarantee ‘revolutionary party’ power for the next five years. Many words have been spilled saying that this will be Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s last term as president, but it should not be forgotten that after 2005’s elections he said he’d rule until he was a century old. Constitution makers may have stopped this: two terms, up to 10 years, is the limit. Biology willing, the need to maintain a faction-ridden ZANU-PF could stretch his years in power to 99. Mugabe’s August 22 inauguration completed the text messenger’s disappointment. In the intervening three weeks, the MDC-T’s manoeuvres seemed rote: would the ZANU-PF-packed courts ever have allowed evidence proving the ballot fraudulent, null, and void? Would SADC’s and the AU’s slight hesitations in their reports have ever been acted on? SADC’s consecration at Llongwe preceding the final anointment was the cake’s icing. Lindiwe Zulu, labelled in July a prostitute by Mugabe for trying to keep Zimbabwe’s road-map to democracy on track, was welcomed back to the fold. South African President Jacob Zuma asked Mugabe for her bride-price: thus SADC’s previous efforts to cajole ZANU-PF into line were forgiven, never to resurrect. SADC’s final summary of September 2 closed the debate: ‘free, peaceful and generally credible’ (with an apologetic gesture to the elephant in the room: the missing 1.6 tonne voter’s roll, for which the soft copy was never available while hard copies were only ready a day before the election) was the organisation’s last Milquetoasty testament: with mid-2008 as the benchmark, could one have expected more? Now charged with contempt of court for withdrawing the claims and noting the judge’s bias, Morgan Tsvangirai and his party have to practice the fine art of opposition politics again. Assuming its leaders reject offers to join government (not to confuse sitting in parliament with co-option, as did a number while contemplating a boycott), the opposition party will do what such parties do best. The MDC-T lost the 2013 struggle, but the significant space it and civil society opened during nearly 15 years of intense effort (aside from some seductions with the so-close-but-so-far transitional inclusive government and donor dependency) must be widened. The 2013 phase of the struggle was lost, but it starts again: a luta continua – without turning into continuous looting. Contrary to the disappointed democrat’s SMS, what hit the MDC-T was far from unexplainable, nor surprising. An explanation can help the MDC-T – and all Zimbabwe’s democratic forces – chart a future shadowed by the spectre of the ‘revolutionary party’ torn into factions, and possibly more reprehensible than ever. Niccolo Machiavelli and Antonio Gramsci could have designed ZANU-PF’s campaign. Gramsci’s coercion+consent Centaur merged with Machiavellian trickery – outsourced to Israeli election managers – to outwit the MDC-T. Three prongs of a four-toothed fork won the race for a party that after fifty years has mastered the route to power. Crudity, concurrence and chicanery constituted three-quarters of victory’s equation. The last quarter consisted of a lethal mix of MDC-T flat-footedness and naïve hubris. It relaxed while the Zimbabwean leviathan concentrated single-mindedly to finish nearly fourteen years of containing, then eliminating, its threat. Who sang the lullaby? Was there too much advice from the likes of the International Republican Institute? The intimidation, pre-voting rigging, laggardly registration of candidates and ‘alien’ voters, gift-giving and the missing electronic voters’ roll will be documented eventually: records kept, lessons will be learned. Surely this observer was not alone thinking the July 31st voting queues in Mbare were funereal, contrasting starkly with all elections since 2000. The urbanchipangano militias worked well; similarly rural chiefs lined up their subjects promising repeats of July 2008’s violence were if the vote went wrong. One large question remains. Why did the MDC-T enter this election? The Central Intelligence Organisation’s (with its own diamond mine, reportedly) careful preparatory work was well-known: Zimbabwean intelligence is about sharing more than keeping secrets. Nikuv’s mercenaries (admittedly better than those wielding guns, but quartered with the defence ministry nonetheless) working since 2000, invented sci-fi+John Le Carré pre-ballot ruses carrying the ‘revolutionary party’ to a majority more than even it and western legitimacy packagers such as Andy Young and Jess Jackson expected. But a good proportion of its tricks – from duplicated names to ghosts – were known well in advance of D-Day. Many had been tested in May’s constitutional referendum and July’s special security forces votes. After Zimbabwe’s predictable judges refused SADC’s mid-June request to postpone the election by a mere two weeks, SADC facilitators offered support to the MDC-T if it withdrew pending consolidation of the Global Political Agreement’s electoral conditions. The MDC-T debated the proposition, deciding against. Victory was in sight. The upcoming Victoria Falls tourism conference made post-election violence improbable. Repetition of the 2008 run-off carnage was considered unlikely given its ramifications for ZANU-PF if repeated. If the MDC-T disappeared in Matabeleland wouldn’t ZAPU and/or the splinter MDC have taken the cake? Moreover, there were no guarantees how far SADC’s support – perhaps only offered on the side-lines and thus hard to backup – would go if the plug was pulled. Yet it seems ZANU-PF had no Plan B if the MDC-T had refused to attend the nomination courts. Mugabe’s screaming insults at Lindiwe Zulu could have alerted MDC-T strategists of their advantage. Yet acquiescence emerged – as obsequious as Zuma, who dropped his compatriot like a hot potato. As one perplexed Zimbabwean activist queried; ‘where was the leadership?’ Along with its insistence in 2008 that polling results be posted outside each station, SADC’s quiet offer could have deepened Zimbabwe’s democratic dynamic irretrievably. That chance is foregone: has it foretold democracy’s death? The lesson? Take every opportunity to divert ZANU-PF from its path: artlessness and hubris are no challenge to fifty years of domestic and international cunning. The leadership issue questions Morgan Tsvingirai’s future. With it arises the ‘cold war’ between secretary-general Tendia Biti (surely relieved to be released of the finance ministry’s albotross) and national organiser Nelson Chamisa (who let too much in his communications ministry slip to ZANU-PF’s transport portfolio – eg cell-phone companies paying licenses 15 years in advance – and failed to organise the election well-enough). The prospect of pure opposition rather than hamstrung co-governance may fire Tsvangirai up, but many think that losing all the elections since 2000 – be they by hook or crook – renders him unfit. Will the party survive either his hanging on or his departure? The loss of much of its dead wood is a plus, as is the virtual disappearance of the splinter parties – although in their wake the MDC-T lost many Matabeleland seats as it fell through cracks created by Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU and Welshman Ncube’s other MDC. ZANU-PF may as well have been practising divide-and-rule. Division and control could end, in Matabeleland especially, if early unity buries rusting hatchets On a larger scale, fifteen years of deindustrialisation have decimated trade-union based civil society: it remains to be seen if a new subaltern base made up of striving ‘new peasants’ is irretrievably and organically ZANU-PF. A core of youthful civil society intellectuals disenchanted with the MDC’s move into patron-client politics may see a new party born: ZANU-PF’S intellectuals are already crowing at that new wizard. ZANU-PF’s habit of harsh recrimination to those stymying its right to eternal power will discourage democratic deepening. Yet ZANU-PF may factionalise further. Mugabe’s glue, holding the party together since 1977, is decaying. Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions’ battles will be overlaid with the ‘Group of 40′ and/or ‘Super Zezuru’. Policy swings between populist patriotism and weak technocratic efforts to re-engage the international financial institutions to crack the $11 billion debt will ensue. Will the diamond-lords channel their wealth to the state, not their expanding empires? Will a revised Kimberley Process effect much? If the economy nosedives again – and this surely must be exorcising the European Union’s agonising over sanctions, which were on the way to lifting had the elections been more tolerable – Zimbabweans’ choices will be stark. After a decade and a half a stoic denizenry has become adept at informal work and sending in millions from the diaspora, but this, notwithstanding enclaved diamonds and platinum, is a precarious political economy at the best of times. They may have to choose resistance over resilience. Will the MDC marshall a collectivity of contestation to its cause before it gets out of hand, or will a ZANU-PF style of authoritarian populism win the day?

Rights reserved: Please credit the author, and Solidarity Peace Trust, as the original source for all material republished on other websites unless otherwise specified. Please provide a link back to http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Moore, D. (2013) ‘Zimbabwe’s democrats: A luta perdido – e reinício’, 4 September, Solidarity Peace Trust: http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org/1330/zimbabwes-democrats-a-luta-perdido-e-reinicio/

For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty – Deputy Director, Solidarity Peace TrustEmail: selvan@solidaritypeacetrust.org Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869 Fax: +27 (39) 682 5869 Address: No 38, Mitchell Drive Port Shepstone 4240

How cold is it out there, cde Jonathan Moyo? by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
From ZimbabweSituation Facebook Discouraging and attacking disgruntled ZANU PF candidates standing as independents while singing for his supper with the warped belief that Tsholotsho North was fait accompli, Jonathan Moyo advised his fellow comrades “it is cold out there, I’ve been there before”. Little did the opportunist political chameleon know that the rigging machinery would not be ubiquitous. ZANU PF targeted specific constituencies for manipulation but it would appear that Jonathan Moyo was too busy misdirecting his energies elsewhere, forgetting his own backyard! If he did not overestimate his chances, then something was happening in the background that he was totally unaware of.  If indeed he is a strategist as we often hear, then his was a strategy that went awfully wrong. Inonzi tamba wakachenjera!!! With the two prodigal sons from diametric parts of Zimbabwe, Jonathan Samkange and Munyaradzi Kereke smiling all the way to parliament, what is going on in Jonathan Moyo’s mind? It is time to turn to the master’s benevolence for survival? He has to literally go down on his knees (if he hasn’t done so already) as Chinamasa did after the Dinyane fall-out in order to get any post. Should cabinet be elusive, a diplomatic posting could be an option. In this game, anything is better than nothing. However, if that were to happen, he would probably be one of the worst diplomats of all time. Probably competing for the top prize with one Reward Marufu who was sent packing by Canadians after disregarding all diplomatic etiquette at every turn.  Yes, you have guessed it right. We happily welcomed him home with a reward of one of the best farms and also gave him a generous package from the War Victims Compensation Fund after his obnoxious claim of disability, courtesy of the Polish-trained medic who masqueraded as medical doctor. If I had any say in Jonathan Moyo’s future, I would probably suggest an ambassadorial posting to Somalia or Afghanistan if the no university accepts him back. Indeed, it would be good riddance of bad rubbish!!! Challenging his defeat at the hands of Roseline Nkomo, the former legislator appeared to be reciting a script from the MDC’s Book of Electoral Challenge, word for word, when he cited massive irregularities from voter registration, to polling, all the way to the final count.  From the way he attacked the notorious ZEC mafia, you would be forgiven for thinking that he was an MDC candidate who had lost to ZANU PF. What’s good for the goose must be good for the gander, Mr Nutty Professor! Given our experiences and fresh memory of the past three decades, the “new” cabinet is going to be nothing but simply “more of the same”, to borrow a mantra from Australia’s Tony Abbot. Even deadwood would like to have a piece of the cake as Kumbirai Kangai (or Cde GMB) was destined for. But the living God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac had sealed his serendipity already. Taking a cue from Nathan Shamuyarira, principled, pragmatic, intelligent and diligent men such as Eric Matienga know when to say “I’ve played my part, it is time to move on”. In the house of shame, the looting brigade and vultures will be out in full force to grab whatever they can before sunset. Nobody knows which direction the next leader may wish to take after the grand exit, be that person come from ZANU PF, MDC or Madhuku’s Dreamers Party (MDP). So it is going to be yet another long season of “make hay while the sun shines” Corruption will continue as before if not worse, lawlessness will soon be a norm and misgovernance will develop new dimensions. The new constitution will be patched until it starts looking like an over-decorated Christmas tree. This is the abnormal that is perfectly normal in the world according to the party formed on 8 August 1963 in Enos Nkala’s house. RIP but makatisiira dambudziko!! In all this, the greatest and worst sufferer as well as loser will be patients who will find that hospitals revert to being places to die, children who will soon discover that schools resemble museums, civil servants who shall struggle to put food on the table, let alone afford bus fare to and from work, the economy, which will become more and more informal. I can imagine David Coltart, Henry Madzorera and Tendai Biti wondering if they are having a nightmare or watching a horror movie. Unemployment will skyrocket unabated, supermarkets will look like tuckshops while fuel stations may start advertising “we sell fuel” as if they are designed to sell madora, majuru or harurwa. Ndizvo here zvinodiwa nevanhu? If we were to spare a brief moment as a nation and kneel down or bow our heads and pray, our prayer should be explicit and specific “Lord, grand President Mugabe the wisdom and courage to listen to his innermost voice and do the right thing for Zimbabwe in his last days”. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing, I believe. As for the MDC (all variations), there is no better time to do some serious introspection while making that arduous but necessary journey back to the drawing board guided by a very simple but imperative philosophy;  Re-strategise, Re-align, Re-launch. Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity – chambokom@gmail.com

Zesa warns of more load shedding by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Zesa warns of more load shedding | The Herald by Innocent Ruwende ZESA Holdings has warned Zimbabweans to brace for increased load shedding outside the published schedule as the Hydro Cabora Bassa (HCB) is undertaking maintenance on its plant.In a statement yesterday, Zesa said during this period, a total of about 250MW will be lost to the national grid as imports decrease from 300MW to around 50MW “The Hydro Cahorra Bassa (HCB) is undertaking maintenance on its plant from the 31st of August 2013 to the 9th of September 2013. “Customers are also advised that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) will also be undertaking statutory maintenance this summer from the 9th of September 2013, and this will lead to a decline in local generation output,” read the statement. The authority said efforts were being made to alleviate the situation by way of imports where available. “Customers will be updated of developments as the maintenance progresses, and in the meantime, are urged to use the available electricity very sparingly to minimise the effects and extent of load shedding.” Last year Zesa Holdings paid US$10 million debt to Hydro Cabora Bassa and the Mozambican company agreed to ensure uninterrupted power supply if Zimbabwe reduced its debt to below US$40 million. Zimbabwe requires about 2 200 megawatts daily, but generates only 1 300MW.

Govt geared to tackle unemployment, create jobs by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Govt geared to tackle unemployment, create jobs | The Herald by Peter Matambanadzo GOVERNMENT is geared to tackle unemployment and create jobs for the youth who are expected to play a visible role in the economy, a senior official has said.This comes at a time when unemployment in Zimbabwe is said to be high, with the 2011 Human Development Report indicating a decline in total employment to population ratio from 70,1 percent in 1991 to 64,9 percent in 2010. The figure has been disputed, with the Government saying the unemployment rate is actually very low and many of those working in the informal sector are not accounted for by such statistics. Labour and Social Services permanent secretary Mr Lancaster Museka said in an interview that Government was ready to tackle unemployment as mandated under the Decent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe 2012 to 2015. “We are saying as the Ministry of Labour we are geared to implementing the decent work agenda, which has four main strategic pillars that are to ensure employment for all and this is done through co-ordination with various ministries and stakeholders,” he said. “As you know, traditionally the ministry of Labour has the role to create employment and ensure that there are fair labour standards.” Mr Museka said this was consistent with Zanu-PF’s manifesto, which envisages the creation of 2 265 000 jobs across key sectors of the economy to contribute to export earnings, food security and the fiscus. “Most of these new jobs will directly benefit the youth who are also expected to play a visible role in the economy,” he said. Mr Museka noted that the ministry would also strive to ensure that employers observed labour standards and adhere to the provisions of the Labour Act. He said social protection was a priority area and the ministry would ensure through the National Social Security Authority that retrenchees get paid decent benefits. “This is part of the ministry’s mandate of social security to also ensure social protection of vulnerable groups such as the poor and disabled in line with international conventions,” said Mr Museka. In February, the Government in collaboration with the United Nations and other development partners launched the Decent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe and the “Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development” (SKILLS II) for the period of 2012-2015. At the launch, the ministry underscored that the programme was a framework for promoting decent productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity. It is anchored on four key principles of creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue.

Parliamentarians geared for challenges by ZimSitRep – 09-04-2013
via Parliamentarians exude confidence, geared for challenges | The Herald by Felex Share and Elita Chikwati MEMBERS of the Eighth Parliament are confident they will achieve more than their predecessors because of Zanu-PF’s dominance of both houses.The Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, whose members were sworn in yesterday, becomes the first to operate under the new Constitution. The legislators said Zanu-PF’s dominance would ease their push for progressive laws that consolidate the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme to improve the living standards of people. They said debates would be developmental as most of the lawmakers believe in the same ideologies, unlike in the Seventh Parliament where composition was almost 50-50 and characterised by bickering. Zanu-PF now dominates the National Assembly with 197 seats, to MDC-T’s 70 and MDC’s two. In Senate, Zanu-PF dominates with 37 seats to MDC-T’s 21, while the MDC has two seats. “I feel honoured to be part of the Eighth Parliament, but while we celebrate, we have a difficult task ahead of us,” said Buhera West MP, Cde Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF). “Ordinary people have suffered for long, mainly because of sanctions and it is time we enact legislation that benefits people. All the contributions we make should be about how to improve the lives of the people because those are the ones we are coming here to represent.” Said Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF): “Everyone is looking at how we should improve our economy and for this to be achievable, we must push for laws that are for the empowerment of the majority. “I am happy as a party we have embraced the indigenisation and empowerment concept and it is now time to take that empowerment to every Zimbabwean. We are here to push for such laws that uplift the youths and women.” Mazowe Central MP Cde Tabeth Kanengoni (Zanu-PF) said the significant number of youths who made it into Parliament would push for laws that empower them. “It feels great to be among the lawmakers of the country and being a youth, I will be pushing for youths and gender-related issues. “Youths, women and the elderly should be supported so that they realise that voting for Zanu-PF is voting for empowerment. We are young and we hope to learn from our elders as we grow in politics.” Harare West legislator Ms Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said the incoming Parliament would be a “busy one”. “We are faced with a task of making laws that improve the lives of the people, meaning all our laws should be centred on service delivery,” she said. “We also want laws that enable legislators to have the capacity to reach out to their constituents, unlike in the previous Parliament where there was no institutional support.” Nyanga North legislator Cde Hubert Nyanhongo (Zanu-PF) said: “This must be a progressive one as compared to the previous ones in the last 10 years as we do not expect any quarrels as Zanu-PF dominates both houses. “It is now time to bury political differences and focus on development, hence we welcome those from the opposition parties in working towards the upliftment of our people.” Cde Nyanhongo said infrastructure in most rural constituencies needed improvement. “I will push for everything that benefits the rural people because I know, like where I come from (Nyanga), there is poor road network and that means Government support is needed.” President of the Chiefs’ Council Chief Fortune Charumbira said it was now time for constructive debates that benefit the people. “People need good health facilities, food and jobs and we should desist from attacking each other and focus more on service delivery,” he said. Chief Charumbira said he expected the leaders to continue demonstrating cultural leadership. “We should promote our cultural values, respect chiefs and encourage the use of our cultural languages,” he said. Chief Enos Musarurwa (Chikomba) urged legislators to concentrate on boosting agricultural production which he said was the backbone of the economy. He said farmers should be availed inputs on time, with local financial institutions funding the sector. Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, who was retained, described the Eighth Parliament as “unique” as it was operating under a new Constitution. “It is incumbent upon us to carry our duties diligently for the good governance of our people. The laws and motions that we shall pass and adopt in this house should be for the prosperity of the nation. “We should treat matters that shall come to us for deliberation with the seriousness they deserve. Yes, we do come from different political parties but specifically to serve the nation.” Buhera South Member of Parliament Cde Joseph Chinotimba said he was not going to promise anything to his electorate but was focusing on delivering. “It is bad to promise people. Morgan Tsvangirai promised people several things and ended up marrying wives instead of fulfilling his promises. “Even before the swearing in, I was busy implementing different projects in my constituency. I cannot say I am happy today because this is just a swearing in function. I will only be happy after fulfilling the promises I made to the people who elected me in Buhera South,” he said.

Zim elections: Lessons to be learnt for Africa by ZimSitRep – 09-03-2013
via Zim elections: Lessons to be learnt for Africa – DailyNews Live The uneasy calm that has descended on Zimbabwe after a tense election — and even more tense vote results following allegations of electoral fraud — is to be welcomed. Given the chaos and bloodshed that followed the previous poll, the fact that this one has been relatively peaceful, despite the delays and disputed outcome, is a step in the right direction. The Southern African Development Community observer mission (SEOM) said in a final report yesterday that Zimbabwe’s disputed election on July 31 was “generally credible” but questioned the fairness of the vote. Despite its mealy mouthed response, SEOM made important observations, although it tried to whitewash the poll as “credible.” SEOM noted that the provision of the voters’ roll in time goes to the very heart of fairness in the election process, and that if the voters’ roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question. And we agree with SEOM that voters’ rolls are public documents and it is the duty of electoral commissions to avail it to all contestants if there is nothing to hide. Both President Robert Mugabe and his main challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, have gone out of their way to avoid inflammatory rhetoric. Mugabe’s public utterances have generally been conciliatory, and Tsvangirai has so far stuck to the legal and diplomatic process in his determination to challenge the “tainted” election result, rather than urging his supporters to take to the streets. Mugabe though has at times gone out of line by attacking Tsvangirai especially while delivering speeches at the Heroes Acre. There is no tension and intimidation. It is important that the benefits of going by the book — and negative consequences of resorting to undemocratic ways — are broadcast far and wide. There are lessons to be learnt from Zimbabwe by many other African countries. An overwhelming majority can be whittled down through an election. Restraint is the best way to respond to elections. That is key to our future. As far as Zimbabwe is concerned, disputed results of the presidential poll and the composition of the incoming government make for a difficult period ahead, even if the peace holds. Of course, Mugabe’s position will be complicated whatever happens — both he and his cronies face continuing sanctions for allegedly stealing the vote, which will make governing difficult even if the stark divisions are excluded from the equation.