TEXT only 18 August 2013


ZANU-PF makes history by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via ZANU-PF makes history. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has made history by becoming the first liberation party in Southern Africa to bounce back to power after being defeated by the opposition. ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority in 2008 when the opposition walked away with 110 seats out of 210 and President Robert Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential elections only to bounce back in the re-run after Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out because of violence. ZANU-PF entered the 2013 elections as an underdog which could only win through rigging but even critics now argue that even with rigging the ZANU-PF victory was just too overwhelming. As ZANU-PF leader Mugabe said at the launch of his campaign, this was a do or die election for the party because if it had lost it would have been confined to history like its counterparts in Zambia and Malawi. The ZANU-PF victory has now been confirmed by the withdrawal of the court challenge by MDC leader Tsvangirai yesterday. The United National Independence Party which led Zambia to independence under Kenneth Kaunda has never recovered following its defeat by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy led by Frederick Chiluba. Similar fate befell the Malawi Congress Party which led to Malawi’s independence under Hastings Kamuzu Banda but was defeated by Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front. Liberation parties in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique are yet to lose elections though they have changed leadership.

‘I’m not going anywhere’ – Tsvangirai by Shelley – 08-17-2013
via The Zimbabwe Mail – ‘I’m not going anywhere’ – Tsvangirai HARARE – There have been many questions on why we withdrew the presidential election court challenge. Our National Executive met on Friday and we were given a report by our lawyers stating that there were two problems confronting the court challenge. One was that our application to get necessary information from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had been deferred without any conclusion so that heavily prejudiced our ability to present our case. The second was that the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had narrowed down the petition to one based on affidavits. We had hoped that it would be an open court with witnesses being called in to testify. Because of those two roadblocks placed our way it was futile to proceed with the case. It became very clear to us that this case was being predetermined. Many of you have been made to believe that this marks the end of the road for us, that by withdrawing the court case, we have conceded defeat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The struggle has not ended. It is just starting. This was just the legal route. The struggle continues in the political arena. We have never closed our avenue to continue with the political struggle. This is a political crisis and it requires a political solution. I still enjoy the mandate of my party as well as the support of millions of people who voted for change on July 31. Using that mandate, I will continue serving the people until we achieve the desired results.

Running With Mother – a child’s tale of Gukurahundi killings by Shelley – 08-17-2013
via – The Guardian – Running With Mother – a child’s tale of Gukurahundi killings Christopher Mlalazi’s novel spares no detail of the 1980s atrocities, making it a particularly poignant read after recent elections in Zimbabwe Fungai Machirori for HerZimbabwe, part of the Guardian Africa Network I’ve been promising myself that I will read the novel Running With Mother by Zimbabwean writer and playwright Christopher Mlalazi. And finally I did. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the harrowing narrative that Mlalazi vividly presents, allowing the reader to live – and in some instances, relive – the atrocities of the genocidal Gukurahundi killings of the 1980s. Christopher Mlalazi Running With Mother tells the story of 14-year-old Rudo whose schoolgirl life is irrevocably altered by the arrival of forces to her community to exterminate villagers who are said to be Ndebele dissidents – in effect, anyone and everyone who is Ndebele. But Rudo has one “saving grace”. Her mother is Shona. The story takes us through the terror that she experiences in fleeing her home with her mother amid the confusion and severe torture of family and friends. At the same time, it brings to the fore a conversation that is often difficult, and painful, to initiate; that of tribe and tribal relationships in Zimbabwe. I spoke to Mlalazi, who is currently Guest Writer Of The City Of Hanover, in Germany, to learn more about the journey to Running With Mother. What inspired you to write about such a deeply sensitive issue such as Gukurahundi? Conflict can never escape the cross hairs of a writer, or artists in other genres, for stories deal with conflict at any level, social, political, religious etc, and so Gukurahundi happens to fall within that bracket. As a period in national history that has been poorly documented and recorded, where and how did you find background information to support the narrative? Gukurahundi is not poorly documented, there is in-depth literature about it if you know where to look, and some of it so shocking – hard copy documents like the Catholic Commission For Justice and Peace, Youtube documentaries, and a whole lot of other papers that can be found online if you just search Gukurahundi. Growing up in Matebeleland in the 1980s, but in the city, I also saw the Fifth Brigade when they moved into the city and what they did there. I also have relatives who were in the hot zones of Tsholotsho, Kezi, Plumtree; they are still telling the stories of the horrors they witnessed. Recently, even Mugabe in the Dali Tambo interview acknowledged that Gukurahundi happened too. So yes, it happened and people talk about it. Are the main characters based on real people or are they purely ‘fictitious’? Of course, nothing like pure fiction really exists to begin with. Of course the characters are fictitious, but they are inspired by real people, of Shona women who were married to Ndebele men at that time and were living out there in the rural areas in Matebeleland and who were also at the receiving end of this backlash. What has been the feedback to the book so far? Is it available in Zimbabwean bookstores? Feedback on the book is good. It is actually selling well in Harare. In the beginning, the publisher could not find anybody in Bulawayo willing to sell it, but now it is being sold there too. It is also available online from Amazon and all other online bookshops affiliated to Amazon. Nothing within the marketing synopsis of the book intimates that the book will discuss such a heavy subject. Was that intentional? A blurb for a book is not supposed to tell the story, it must just hint. And so I guess we hinted. What was the experience like for you, recounting such a harrowing tale in gory detail? The experience was horrifying I must say, and we can never guess how it was for the victims during the actual blitz. I guess artists at some point must treat nightmares like these, because the intention is to lance a boil that is suppurating in the national psyche. In order for us to seek closure for situations like these, and ultimately reconciliation, an attempt has to be made to debate over them in the open, and not behind closed doors for fear something untoward might happen to you, for there are people out there still searching for answers to what happened to their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and children. You write in the first person voice of 14-year-old Rudo. Nothing about her life, at face value, seems congruent with yours. How did you get into the character and find her voice? I think I wanted to find a voice that is simple and can be clearly heard, a voice that does not come with preconceived judgments of events and ideas, a voice that will give us a perspective that will give us questions like; What is that? Why is it happening? Who is that? And so forth. A child’s voice and perspective fits that perfectly in any story. Some say it’s time to put the pain of Gukurahundi behind us. Some say that it has not been adequately addressed. What do you say? And what do you hope that your novel achieves within this discourse? It is very easy for a perpetrator in any situation to say “let’s forget about that”, but it is not that easy for the victim to do the same, especially if the perpetrator is not forthcoming and sometimes tries to dismiss the whole issue as a none event. For the victim there is always the fear – that if the perpetrator is not forthcoming or apologetic, what can stop him or her from doing it all over again? Read an extract of Running With Mother onWarscapes and a review from The Zimbabwean

MDC Youths Stage Protests in Harare, Demand Election Re-run by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via MDC Youths Stage Protests in Harare, Demand Election Re-run by Thomas Chiripasi 17.08.2013 HARARE — Suspected MDC supporters today staged protests in some Harare high density suburbs expressing dismay over the outcome of the July 31 elections. The protesters claimed that the polls were rigged by President Robert and his Zanu PF party. Scores of people suspected to be Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s supporters staged peaceful protests in Harare’s Highfield and Mufakose high density suburbs demanding a re-run of the July 31 national elections. One of the unidentified demonstrators, who addressed his fellow protestors, said they will not allow President Robert Mugabe to remain in power following the recent presidential election he won with a wide margin. President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party won with a landslide victory against Mr. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change although the prime minister remains adamant that the polls were fundamentally flawed. The unidentified protester said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should release all material used in the July 31 elections to allow Zimbabweans to scrutinize it.

Zim elections were rigged: SACBC by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Zim elections were rigged: SACBC | The Zimbabwean from Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference. Regional church leaders this week distanced themselves from a recent statement attributed to them on last month’s Zimbabwean elections, believed to have been rigged by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party. The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, which has for years advocated for democracy in Zimbabwe, went to condemn the manner in which the Zimbabwean poll was conducted, joining voices of widespread concern that the election was held below democratic methods. This came just days after the SACBC was quoted as having given its thumbs-up to the process that gave way to Zanu (PF)’s two-thirds majority in Parliament, but said this week it was not party to that. “The voting at Zimbabwe’s election was free fair and peaceful though there are allegations that the registration and the voters’ roll were tampered with,” read a statement that had been attributed to the SACBC’s delegation that had been sent to monitor Zimbabwe’s elections. This team was led by Bishop Joe Sandri MCCJ and the director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute, Father Sean O’Leary. However, the SACBC distanced itself from the statement this week. “The SACBC has made no report nor statement on the elections in Zimbabwe. The article was based on the report of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) compiled by Fr Sean O’ Leary,” said the organisation in a statement, before it condemned the recently-held poll. “The DHPI believes that elections are not just an event but a process consisting in registration, voters’ roll, voting and counting,” said the SACBC in its assessment of the elections. “According to the DHPI report, the voting was free, fair and peaceful, but there were serious flaws on registration and the voters’ roll was rigged.” The SACBC is a coalition of clergyman from Southern Africa, comprising Catholic Bishops from Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland.

SADC endorses Zimbabwe’s elections by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via SADC endorses Zimbabwe’s elections | News24  2013-08-17 17:23 Lilongwe – Southern African leaders opened an annual summit on Saturday endorsing disputed elections in Zimbabwe that extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule by another five years. “Congratulations to comrade Robert Mugabe for conducting peaceful elections,” said the incoming head of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), President Joyce Banda of Malawi. “We wish to offer you continued support as a member of the family,” Banda said, to wild cheers from the audience at the start of the 15-nation summit. A smiling Mugabe acknowledged the endorsement with his traditional clenched-fist salute. MDC withdraws challengeZimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party said on Friday he had withdrawn a legal challenge to the elections, claiming the courts would not be fair. This removed the last hurdle to 89-year-old leader Mugabe’s inauguration for a seventh term. The SADC observer mission for the 31 July elections judged the vote was free, but have not yet commented on its fairness. The SADC will publish its report on Zimbabwe’s polls during this weekend’s summit, according to President Jacob Zuma. Banda took over the rotational one-year chairmanship of the SADC from Mozambican leader Armando Guebuza, becoming the first woman to head the bloc since its inception 33 years ago. Summit The two-day summit is expected to be dominated by the political stand-off in Madagascar and the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a Malawian official. Madagascar has been suspended from the regional grouping since strongman Andry Rajoelina toppled Marc Ravalomanana in 2009. The SADC has been pushing the rivals to follow through on a roadmap meant to steer the island nation toward elections, which Banda hinted could be due this year. The vote has repeatedly been put on hold amid controversy over the candidacies of the three front-runners, including Rajoelina. Regional mediators have called for Rajoelina, Ravalomanana’s wife Lalao and former leader Didier Ratsiraka to stand aside, but all three have refused. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a quarter-million people have fled their homes since last year when a rebel group calling itself the M23 took up arms against government troops in the mineral-rich but chronically unstable east.

Mozambique President Demands Zimbabwe Election Debate by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via SADC Summit: Mozambique President Demands Zimbabwe Election Debate | ZimEye By Desmond Matanga Mozambique’s President and outgoing SADC chairperson, Armando Guebuza has demanded that Zimbabwe’s elections dispute be tabled for discussions during the current SADC summit in Lilongwe. This emerged amid denials in the local media reports which claimed that the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation said the Zimbabwe issue is not at all on the summit’s agenda. President Jacob Zuma who has carried a SADC mandate to oversee political processes in Zimbabwe revealed Zimbabwe would be discussed at the summit which begins Saturday morning. He stated this as he arrived at Kamuzu International Airport in the Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, I don’t know yet the issues to be discussed so I can’t say anything now. But am sure there are several issues to be discussed it’s not only Zimbabwe,” said Jacob Zuma following reports by two Lilongwe based sources close to the summit. But in a separate interview Zuma had also revealed he and other leaders had been expecting the elections to be merely free and peaceful. “South Africa was appointed by SADC to facilitate in Zimbabwe starting from the previous elections. We were working for the election to be peaceful, to be free and I think that has happened but of course we will be receiving the report from those we had sent as SADC to monitor the election and I am sure they will give us the report,” Zuma said. The SADC leaders’ meeting is expected to discuss and communicate on a wide range of regional issues including the appointment of a new leadership for the regional bloc’s secretariat. MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed the election results after which he obtained backing from Botswana President Ian Khama who has demanded SADC to order a forensic audit of the electoral process. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has withdrawn its legal challenge of the elections. Spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora says they didn’t expect fair treatment from the Constitutional Court on an appeal over elections that the electoral commission said President Robert Mugabe won by a large margin.

Police recommence onslaught against journalists by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Police recommence onslaught against journalists | The Zimbabwean ZIMBABWEAN police have resumed their onslaught against journalists by devoting two days to interrogate Jan Raath, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Times, a British newspaper over the publication of a story alleging that the government had stitched up a secret deal to export uranium raw materials to Iran for the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Four officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Wednesday 14 August 2013 pitched up at Raath’s residence in Harare’s Meyrick Park suburb at around 17:00 hours, where they took him to Harare Central Police Station for interrogation over his contribution to the alleged uranium deal story, which he allegedly co-authored with other journalists Jerome Starkey, Michael Evans and Hugh Tomlinson and was published in the British newspaper on Saturday 10 August 2013. Detective Chief Inspector Run’anga led the interrogation in which the police expressed concern over what they claimed to be “publication or communication of false statements prejudicial to the State.” The questioning by the police lasted two hours before Raath, who was accompanied to the police station by his lawyer Harrison Nkomo, of Mtetwa&Nyambirai Legal Practitioners and a member lawyer of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was released. On Thursday 15 August 2013, the veteran journalist returned to Harare Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section, where he appended his signature to an affidavit detailing his contribution to the newspaper article after interrogations which lasted for an hour. The police advised Raath to “go and relax at home and continue with his duties” after the grilling sessions.

Furious Gono denies indigenisation U-turn by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Furious Gono denies indigenisation U-turn CENTRAL bank governor Gideon Gono on Saturday accused the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) of carrying out a hatchet job on him, following a TV report on Friday night claiming that he had performed a U-turn on his opposition to the indigenisation of banks. Gono said the ZBC had removed his comments from their context and selectively omitted certain qualifications to his statements before the Bulawayo business community “for reasons best known to themselves”. The RBZ chief, who is due to present his Mid-Term Monetary Policy statement later this month, said it was also curious that the ZBC had waited a whole week before running their report. “The ZBC decided to select certain speech bites from both my statement and that of Dr Eric Bloc, with whom I shared a platform in Bulawayo on Wednesday, August 7,” Gono said in a statement. “What ZBC did to both of us is akin to running with a portion of a statement while leaving out a very important condition to that statement. It’s like telling people that the Highway Code says ‘do not drink’ or ‘do not drive’, when the full sentence says ‘do not drink and drive’! That’s what the ZBC did to us.” Gono has been vocal in his opposition of a “one size fits all” approach to the indigenisation of banks, to bring them in line with Zimbabwean law which requires foreign companies to hand-over a controlling stake to locals. London-based Standard Chartered and Barclays are among the banks that would be targeted for indigenisation – a policy being vigorously pursued by the Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. Gono said: “Let me reiterate for the umpteenth time and state that there can never be a U-turn by the central bank or by the governor or board on this matter. We will not allow untrained hands to play with gun-powder to the detriment of this whole economy, depositors or the wishes of my principal, President Robert Mugabe, who is very clear with regards to the sensitivity and critical importance of the financial sector.” The RBZ chief, who has already filed a complaint with Tarzen Mandizvidza, the ZBC General Manager, said he told his audience in Bulawayo that “we’re not opposed to indigenisation in the banking sector, but we insist that it be done in an orderly manner”. “I want to assure all stakeholders that there will not be the kind of forced, unstructured, chaotic or illegal interventions in the banking sector along the lines that some quarters have been calling for. That will not happen, nor will that ever be allowed under my watch,” he said. .

Top MDC Officials Seek Election Game Changer at SADC Summit by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Top MDC Officials Seek Election Game Changer at SADC Summit by Blessing  Zulu (Voice of America – Zimbabwe) The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dispatched Deputy Prime Minister Thokozane Khupe and Mr. Tsvangirai’s top aide to lobby regional leaders to discuss the Zimbabwe election crisis at the Southern African Development Community summit in Lilongwe, Malawi. Regional leaders converge in Lilongwe Saturday. Director of the SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security, Lieutenant Colonel Tankie Mothae, has indicated that the recently held polls in Zimbabwe are not part of the agenda for this year’s SADC summit. Mothae told VOA that Zimbabwe will be discussed briefly alongside other regional hot spots such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho. MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 that Khupe and Minister of State in Mr. Tsvangira’is office, Jameson Timba, will submit a dossier on how elections were allegedly rigged by Zanu PF. Zimbabwe civil society groups and their regional counterparts have also resolved to submit a petition at the summit to pressure the regional grouping into assessing what transpired at the recent elections won by Zanu PF. The Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation of Malawi, in collaboration with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, made the resolution at a civil society and media feedback meeting held in Lilongwe Thursday. Regional coordinator, Joy Mabenge of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said SADC must tackle Harare head on.

Harare City cancels debts by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Harare City cancels debts | The Herald Zvifadzo Lubombo Herald Reporter HARARE City Council has assured residents that it is in the process of writing off their debts for rates accrued between February 2009 and June this year and the development will be reflected on their bills for this month. Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said in a statement yesterday that the bills for this month would reflect charges for July and August only. “City of Harare would like to advise all ratepayers that in compliance with the ministerial directive to write off debts, the city is currently reversing all arrears on rates, rentals, refuse, sewerage and other charges owed by individual ratepayers,” he said. “The arrears being reversed are for the period February 2009 to 30th June 2013. Against the above background, you are therefore advised to pay current charges in full and to ensure that bill settlement remains up to date to avoid inconveniences.” The writing off of the debts would exclude corporates, industrial, commercial and any other business, Dr Mahachi said. The move follows a directive from Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo that all councils write off the debts. Minister Chombo said the debts had become a burden on citizens who were being weighed down by economic hardships brought about by Western-imposed sanctions. Apart from the sanctions, Minister Chombo said it had become clear that the debts were non-collectable and that the councils were spending more in an attempt to recover them. Residents’ associations also raised complaints over the arrears caused by unjustified increases in rates and bills by MDC-T led councils, especially in urban areas. The debts to be written off by the Harare City Council will amount to US$330 million. Local Government, Rural and Urban Development permanent secretary Mr Killian Mpingo said that many councils were complying with the Government directive. “So far we do not have figures of the councils that implemented but the reports that we are getting show that many of them are complying,” he said. Some of the councils that have so far complied with the directive are Mutare municipality, Masvingo municipality and Masvingo Rural District Council.

UK still concerned about reported irregularities during Zimbabwe elections by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via UK still concerned about reported irregularities during Zimbabwe elections – Press releases – GOV.UK.  Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa hopes Southern African Development Community Summit will tackle reported irregularities during Zimbabwe elections. Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds said: Ahead of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit this weekend in Malawi, the UK Government continues to be concerned about Zimbabwe’s disputed elections. I hope that SADC will look carefully at the electoral irregularities and continue to call for Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release information, particularly the voters’ roll. These irregularities seriously call into question the credibility of the elections. We are disappointed and concerned that some political parties have felt it necessary to withdraw legal applications due to concerns about the independence of the process. We believe it is essential that all allegations of electoral violations are thoroughly and independently investigated if a process is to be credible. I hope SADC’s leaders will use their summit this weekend to address this issue. We will continue to support Zimbabwe and its people in their aspirations for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future. Further information Follow Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds on twitter @MarkJSimmonds Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+

Power outages a warning by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Power outages a warning: Residents Report by Victoria Mtomba/Wonai Masvingise Residents yesterday said the ongoing power outages being experienced in most parts of the country are a “warning” by Zesa of the kind of darkness the country could face if debts are cancelled. The residents said the massive power cuts should be viewed as the consequences of recent utterances by Vice-President Joice Mujuru that Zanu PF wants outstanding debts cancelled. Harare Residents Trust director Precious Shumba attributed the increased power outages to Mujuru’s recent utterances that all electricity debts owed by domestic users would be cancelled. “We are attributing these power outages to the comments made by Vice-President Joice Mujuru that electricity bills that had accrued would be cancelled. We do not know as yet the extent of the impact of the Vice-President’s statement, but we suspect that this is linked,” he said. Of late, the country has been experiencing power outages ranging from eight to 15 hours, with some areas going without power for 24 hours. This has raised speculation that the development is connected to the recently held harmonised elections that Zanu PF rivals allege were rigged. “The implication might be that following the utterances by Mai Mujuru, Zesa is trying to send a message of the kind of darkness the country could face if debts are cancelled. This represents just a warning phase by Zesa that if government cuts off debts it could affect electricity imports,” Shumba said. Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma on Tuesday accused politicians pushing for the scrapping of electricity debts of seeking to benefit personally while hiding behind poor citizens. “They can say things at rallies, but sometimes those things must not be taken seriously,” said Mangoma, adding yesterday that he was unaware of what sparked the latest power cuts since he was no longer the responsible minister. A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last year revealed that several government ministers and officials owed thousands of dollars in unpaid electricity bills accrued at their private farms and homes. Zesa is owed more than $400 million by individuals and government departments. Last month, Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo ordered local authorities to scrap water bills and urged Zesa and Zinwa to follow suit. Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Josh Chifamba yesterday, however, said the power cuts were a result of the decline in imports from neighbouring countries and maintenance work at Hwange Power Station. Chifamba said the country had not experienced serious power interruption in the six weeks before the latest outages as it was receiving about 400 megawatts of power from Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB), while Hwange was working at full throttle producing 700 megawatts. “After the elections we experienced problems. We had Hwange playing up and it started to produce 200 megawatts and HCB reduced exports to us as it was carrying out mantainanace at Songo. We expect the mantainanace to be complete today (yesterday). The interruption has nothing to do with elections,” Chifamba said. Sources told NewsDay that the country was receiving as little as 50 megawatts of power from Mozambique. According to the Zesa website, load-shedding status for the country yesterday was classified as moderate and there were no imports. The country’s power generation statistics showed that as of yesterday, only 1 310 megawatts were available against a demand of 2 000 megawatts. Commercial Farmers’ Union president Charles Taffs said the load-shedding had affected winter wheat production although less wheat had been planted this year due to lack of funding for the agricultural sector.

ZESA power cuts worsen after election period by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via ZESA power cuts worsen after election period | SW Radio Africa By Tererai Karimakwenda Zimbabwe’s power authority ZESA, has been accused of manipulating power output during the 31st July election period, by reducing unpopular load shedding during that time. The allegations come as the country returned to extended periods every day without electricity, following several weeks of improved electricity output. These massive power cuts, ranging from 8 to 15 hours daily, are also coming without the usual load shedding warnings to domestic and commercial users. Some areas were going without power for entire days. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) admitted in a statement that it had reduced power output from 700 to 200 megawatts over the past two weeks, due to the loss of four power generating units. ZESA claims the situation is being made worse by ongoing plant maintenance at Cahora Bassa in Mozambique. The power utility also confirmed that it increased power supply and minimized load shedding in the period leading up the elections, by importing additional electricity from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). It claims this was done to ensure the smooth running of elections, but some observers dismissed the claim. One of the critics, Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents Trust (HRT), told SW Radio Africa that residents did not understand why power cuts had suddenly become worse when no other relevant factors had changed. “ZESA officials have not been forthcoming in clarifying this position except for their latest statement which was released yesterday, saying it was because of their arrangement, ZESA needs to come clean with what happened,” Shumba said. He added: “Unfortunately you will find that most Zimbabweans have become used to power shortages, inconsistent water supplies, the corrupt practices of service provides and policy makers and heavily potholed roads, which they see as normal.” The activist also linked the increased load shedding to recent statements made by Vice president Joice Mujuru, suggesting that ZESA should cancel more than $400 million in debt owed to the utility by domestic users and government. Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo had last month also ordered all 92 rural and urban councils to write off debts owed by residents for rates and bills from February 2009 to June 30 this year. According to the Newsday newspaper, the outgoing Energy Minister Elton Mangoma on Tuesday “accused politicians pushing for the scrapping of electricity debts of seeking to benefit personally while hiding behind poor citizens”. Zimbabweans have struggled to live with power cuts and water shortages since independence in 1980, with the situation becoming worse over the years. This is due largely to government neglect of the infrastructure, mismanagement, corruption and the lack of political will. Unfortunately it is the ordinary poor citizens who will continue to suffer the most, while rich ZANU-PF chefs turn to expensive generators and bottled water.

Rival ends Zimbabwe election challenge to re-election Mugabe by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Rival ends Zimbabwe election challenge to re-election of Robert Mugabe – CNN.com  By Columbus Mavhunga, for CNN STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Voters went to the polls on July 31 to pick a new president
  • Zimbabwe’s election commission declared that incumbent Mugabe won
  • Challenger Tsvangirai says he is withdrawing a court case on the election
  • He says the election commission has not released material he wanted for the case

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) — Zimbabwe’s prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, said late Friday that “with deep regret and sadness” he has withdrawn a court case challenging President Robert Mugabe’s re-election on July 31. In two-page affidavit filed at Constitutional Court, Tsvangirai said he was not happy that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had not released election material he wanted to use in the court case. “This in my view seriously handicaps my prosecution of the petition and it has rendered in impracticable,” said Tsvangirai, who has since 2000 made three attempts to unseat the now-89-year old Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s only ruler since 1980. ZEC declared that Mugabe had defeated Tsvangirai with 61% of the vote to 34% in the July 31 polls. In the court challenge, Tsvangirai had said ZEC had rigged the election for Mugabe and his Zanu PF party, which won a two-thirds majority in parliament. “I shall endevour to use all democratic means to bring about the successful resolution of this issue,” added Tsvangirai. The issue of Zimbabwe is likely to dominate the meeting of regional South Afridan Development Community leaders in Malawi this weekend. In 2008, African leaders refused to recognize an election in which Mugabe claimed victory over Tsvangirai. They forced the two to form a fragile power-sharing government that ended with the July 31 elections.

Council poll results dismissed as “comical” by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Council poll results dismissed as “comical” | SW Radio Africa By Tererai Karimakwenda Results from the July 31st council elections, that were finally released Thursday, have been dismissed by both MDC formations as a joke, with ZANU-PF claiming landslide victories in a majority of local councils countrywide. According to figures released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), candidates representing Robert Mugabe’s party now dominate the country’s rural and urban councils, having won 1,493 out of a total 1,958 wards. The MDC-T won 442. The numbers translate to a 76% ZANU PF majority in local councils, a greater landslide than the 61% Robert Mugabe claimed in the disputed presidential poll. “ZANU-PF completed its rout of MDC-T”, the state run Herald newspaper announced, boasting of its master’s victory. But both MDC formations were quick to dismiss the figures, insisting the results are a reflection of the wider manipulation of ballots by ZEC and ZANU PF. Abednico Bhebhe, MDC-T deputy National Organising Secretary, said their party dismisses the whole election process as a fraud. He explained that focusing on just the local government would legitimize a process that was fraught with irregularities. “As we have said the party that claims to have won did not win this harmonized election. They are not even celebrating. They stole the votes. We ask the simple question, if you live in a community and know that you all voted for party A, why would the results announced then be different,” Bhebhe told SW Radio Africa. He added that in provinces like Manicaland and Masvingo, the MDC-T won overwhelming majorities in 2008. But 5 years later ZANU PF is claiming a landslide in those areas, when nothing has changed. With ZANU PF now in control of both houses of parliament and local government, many Zimbabweans are extremely concerned about the future.

Regional stability fears rise as Zimbabwean ‘exodus’ reported by ZimSitRep – 08-17-2013
via Regional stability fears rise as Zimbabwean ‘exodus’ reported | SW Radio Africa By Alex Bell A reported exodus of Zimbabweans out of the country, in the wake of the disputed July 31st elections, is raising fears for stability in the region. There are increasing reports of an influx of Zimbabweans entering South Africa and Botswana, amid increased tensions and fears that have followed the polls last month. Bishop Paul Verryn from the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, which assists more than 2,000 Zim refugees, has said that there is a definite increase in people seeking help from the Church. He has been quoted as saying that people are running away from threats and violence back home. Gabriel Shumba, who heads the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa, said Friday that they have also witnessed an increase in the numbers of Zimbabweans crossing the border. He told SW Radio Africa that the Diaspora Election Observer Mission, which the Exiles Forum was part of, witnessed the influx in the days after the polls. “They (the observers) noticed that the border was congested and that was not limited to the days after the elections. Even up to today there are thousands of people trying to cross,” Shumba said. He explained the main issue driving people into neighboring countries is the general uncertainty surrounding the election outcome. “There is uncertainty that there might be backlashes, social upheaval, and other things associated with the elections. Secondly, people fear the rumours that SA will impose a visa restriction on Zimbabweans,” Shumba said. He added: “The last reason why people are crossing into South Africa and Botswana in their thousands is things on the ground are already showing signs of deteriorating. Prices are increasing, basics like cooking oil are beginning to disappear, and electricity supply has worsened.” He said that the influx is a serious problem for South Africa and other SADC countries like Botswana and Namibia, where thousands of Zimbabweans have also fled to. “Any insecurity in the region caused by controversial elections is always not a good thing for the region,” Shumba continued. He called on the SADC leaders who will be meeting for an annual Summit in Malawi this weekend to address the Zimbabwe issue, because of the impact it has for the region. “They should unequivocally condemn what has happened in Zimbabwe, which is a clear electoral theft,” Shumba said. .

Tsvangirai drops court challenge to Mugabe’s election win by ZimSitRep – 08-16-2013
via Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai drops court challenge to Mugabe’s election win – Telegraph By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg10:18PM BST Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, has abandoned his Constitutional Court challenge to Robert Mugabe’s landslide victory in last month’s elections, saying he had been denied the polling evidence to prove his case. Mr Tsvangirai said he made the decision with “deep regret and sadness” but explained that Mr Mugabe had deliberately sought to thwart his attempts to get a fair hearing over allegations of widespread vote rigging and intimidation. It means the MDC has little chance now to challenge the result, which saw the 89-year-old incumbent defeat Mr Tsvangirai by 61 per cent to 34, and paves the way for Mr Mugabe to be inaugurated for his seventh presidential term. Mr Tsvangirai can still appeal to the Southern African Development Community, which is meeting in Malawi this weekend. However, Jacob Zuma, the South African president and regional mediator in Zimbabwe, has already offered “profound congratulations” to Mr Mugabe for his victory and urged all parties to accept the result. Mr Tsvangirai said his path to justice was blocked by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) refusal to provide voting material which might prove the MDC’s claims that hundreds of thousands of voters were turned away and the voters’ roll was flawed, containing at least 870,000 duplicated names. Mr Tsvangirai claimed in court papers seen by The Telegraph that the ZEC and Mr Mugabe had been “consistently secretive” in their approach to the case and “taken a position that makes a mockery of the neutral role that they must play in these matters”. He accused Mr Mugabe, with whom he served as prime minister in a fractious coalition government since disputed and bloody elections in 2008, of destroying his chances of a fair trial in his comments made at Monday’s Heroes Day celebrations. Mr Mugabe told the crowds that the MDC was “looking for excuses claiming they were robbed”. “How can a robber claim he was robbed? We will never give thieves the power to rule,” he said. Mr Tsvangirai wrote in his court application: “I am aware that he made certain unsavoury comments in which he criticised my decision to approach this court. “The fact that the chief justice was in attendance on the day and the fact that he is expected to preside over my petition does very little to inspire my confidence in the possibility of my enjoyment of the constitutional right to a fair hearing.” He claimed that state media, namely the Herald newspaper, had been “rubbishing my efforts in pursuing my constitutional rights”. “For these reasons, I consider that I have no other option than to take this grave decision,” he said. “This, sadly, as far as I am concerned, entails that the Zimbabwe situation is far from resolved and on my part as the leader of my political party, I shall endeavour to use all democratic means to bring about the successful resolution of this issue.”