TEXT only 20 August 2013

US won’t lift sanctions by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via U.S. says Zimbabwe vote flawed, won’t lift sanctions | Reuters (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Christopher Wilson) (Reuters) – The United States believes Zimbabwe’s recent election was flawed and it doesn’t plan to loosen sanctions against President Robert Mugabe’s government until there are signs of change in the country, the State Department said on Monday, despite an endorsement of the vote by Southern African leaders. Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, is set to be sworn in as president as early as this week, extending his 33-year rule of the country after winning the July 31 election. The 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which helped broker a power-sharing deal after disputed elections in Zimbabwe in 2008, backed Mugabe’s re-election on Sunday. “The United States stands by our assessment that these elections, while relatively peaceful, did not represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people due to serious flaws throughout the electoral process,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. “We have made clear to the government of Zimbabwe and the region that a change in U.S. sanctions policy will occur only in the context of credible, transparent and peaceful reforms that reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people.” The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, on Friday dropped its court challenge to Mugabe’s landslide win, saying it doubted it would get a fair hearing. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said registration flaws may have disenfranchised up to a million people out of 6.4 million registered voters. The United States imposed sanctions on Mugabe in 2003. The sanctions, which ban more than 250 Zimbabwean individuals and companies from doing business with the United States, were extended in 2009. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980 and is Africa’s oldest leader. Psaki said it was “feasible” that the U.S. could review sanctions toward Zimbabwe if conditions in the country improved, but for now they would remain. Soon after his nomination as Secretary of State, John Kerry wrote to Mugabe outlining the U.S. position on elections and the opportunities it provided for the country. The U.S. had said it was willing to roll back sanctions and expand trade and investment if elections were conducted in a free and credible environment.

Khama in Zimbabwe Poll U-Turn by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Khama in Zimbabwe Poll U-Turn; Ready to Work With Mugabe by Martin Ngwenya Botswana President Ian Khama has made a U-turn on Zimbabwe’s elections telling reporters on return from the weekend Southern African Development Community summit in Malawi that he is ready to work with President Robert Mugabe, whose election Gaborone had castigated saying the polls that saw him re-elected were a ‘circus’. Soon after the July 31 election Botswana called for an independent audit of Zimbabwe’s disputed vote saying the elections could not be considered acceptably free and fair in the regional southern African community. But after attending the SADC Heads of States and Governments Summit in Lilongwe where President Robert Mugabe received a standing ovation from regional leaders, who also endorsed his re-election, Khama was singing a different tune. The Botswana president, who held a closed door meeting with Mr. Mugabe Sunday said his government is ready to work with Harare and build strong relations with its neighbor. Gaborone and Harare appeared on a collision course when Botswana demanded the audit of last month’s polls, calling them a ‘circus’. Speaking during the campaign trail, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai told supporters President Khama was his friend, adding he had given Mr. Mugabe a torrid time at another SADC summit in Maputo over the crisis in Zimbabwe telling the veteran leader the colonial era was long gone and that the two MDC formations were not enemies of Zimbabwe. “Zimbabwe is our neighbor and they now have a government in place for the next five years and we have to continue to cooperate and improve cooperation between us and them and we shall be doing so,” said Khama. He, however, said Botswana has submitted its dossier on the Zimbabwe elections to SADC. “On the elections, we have now deposited the dossier with SADC so now it’s in their hands – the SADC organ’s hands – but I must go on to say that be that as it may, we have done what we needed to do,” said Khama. His comments come days after Gaborone was seen to be backtracking and disowning statements made by Khama’s former vice president, Mompati Merafhe, who headed Botswana’s observer mission for the Zimbabwe elections. Merafhe called the Zimbabwe elections a ‘circus’, adding SADC was ‘sick and tired’ of the country’s political troubles. Botswana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Phandu Skelemani then called for an audit of the election as the MDC-T maintained the polls were rigged in favour of Zanu PF.  Gaborone was expected to lobby other SADC countries at the summit over the issue, but has instead, now endorsed Mr. Mugabe’s re-election. Khama is expected to attend Mugabe’s inauguration scheduled for Thursday.

Zuma’s bad judgement by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Marikana and the African National Congress: Bad judgment day | The Economist PERHAPS it was petulance. Perhaps it was the desire to avoid a hostile crowd. Either way it was an awful misreading of the mood in South Africa. Just hours before an event on August 16th to mark the first anniversary of the fatal shooting by police of 34 striking miners at Marikana, in the country’s platinum region, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) decided it would not attend. It said the organisers of the commemoration were “illegitimate” (ie, they were not political allies of the ANC). So the dozen or so chairs on the platform reserved for government bigwigs remained empty. Thus South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, failed once again to rise to an important occasion. He had a more pressing engagement in Malawi. There he joined leaders of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) in endorsing the re-election of 89-year-old Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president, in a victory that is hotly disputed. Mr Zuma’s rush to congratulate Mr Mugabe was another misreading of public opinion. Two-thirds of South Africans think he was wrong do so, according to a recent poll. Just 7% of his countrymen believe the election result was a true one. It fell to a Zimbabwean to personally offer an apology to the bereaved at Marikana. Ben Magara was only recently appointed as chief executive of Lonmin, the London-listed company which had employed the striking miners. But he had the courage to turn up and tell the thousands who had assembled at the site of the shooting: “We will never replace your loved ones and I say we are truly sorry for that.” He also said he was prepared to discuss demands heard from previous speakers for higher wages and for jobs for relatives of those killed last year. Joseph Mathunjwa, the boss of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (ACMU), praised the mining boss for turning up and doing what no government official had done. Mr Magara might have received a more hostile reception had Lonmin not recently concluded a union-recognition deal with ACMU at the expense of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The NUM is an affiliate of the ANC and its snub of the commemoration was in part a churlish response to AMCU’s victory. Yet NUM officials had been criticised at Marikana for being cosy with politicians and mine bosses and remote from the concerns of its members. It was now the ANC’s turn to be accused of being hopelessly out of touch. .

Zimbabwe – Revolution eats its children by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Zimbabwe: Revolution eats its children by Lenox Mhlanga PEOPLE like me tend to wear our political sentiments on our sleeves so to speak. It shouldn’t surprise anyone since we are the product of an education system that honed our skills in having a critical eye on everything around us. At the University of Zimbabwe, in the mid 80’s, we used to chant the slogan forward ever, backward never! We were textbook revolutionaries, heavily schooled in Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara, certainly not Mao. It did not take long for us to realise that that the ‘revolution,’ had indeed lost its way. The student demos of that time were against corruption and conspicuous consumption. We felt we had a duty to speak for our parents in Tsholotsho, Muzarabani, Gokwe, Matshetsheni, Dema, Gutu, Marange and many other places. Parents who had sold bags of maize, groundnuts and cotton to send us to university. We had to speak out for they could not see the avarice that was unfolding in the city. The people they had elected were doing them a great disservice, abusing the taxes by lining their pockets and those of their cronies. We were fed up by what we saw. Mansions springing up in the elite suburbs just a stone’s throw away from campus, and shiny Mercedes Benz that zipped past us while we walked to and from college in the blistering sun. And yet throughout the countryside our parents and relatives wallowed in poverty and they still do to this day. Made to feed on empty political slogans each time an election loomed on the horizon yet back to business unusual when the promises and threats had died down. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Initially the student demos were pro-government. We still had faith in the system, that it would somehow correct itself. But that soon became a pipe dream as impunity reigned supreme. The mantra of a one-party state rang louder and soon it became apparent that the revolution was in danger of regression. Student politics are by nature a function of the prevailing environment. Students, by their nature verbose in discourse and energetic in deeds. Some of us, with the gift of the poison pen took our struggle to the manuscripts. Focus Magazine became a platform from where in-depth analysis and the somewhat acidic censure of the system took root. It was no wonder it was proscribed by the university authorities, not once but several times. Its financial sources were blocked and distribution channels chocked. Yes, the writings of Tinoziva Bere, Moetsabi Titus Moetsabi, Laxton Tendai Biti, Lawrence Tshuma, Trevor Ncube, Tawana Kupe, and the cartoons of Lenox Mhlanga among others had become a threat to the establishment. I was reduced to pasting my caricatures on the door of my room in New Complex One. A name more appropriate for a factory than an academic residence. In fact they were, factories that unwittingly manufactured dissent. Student activism had taken a turn for the worst. The state panicked, and unleashed its machinery onto campus. The entry of the riot police onto what we considered to be the hallowed ground of academic freedom was a signal that intolerance would be the default setting of the system from then on. The taunts the paramilitary endured about their level of education was just a contract of the frustrations that had been pent up over a long time. The cops took it personally and they became willing tools of the kind of brutality that has become so synonymous with anything resembling crowd control. The revolution was eating its own children. That a political movement would emerge from this was just a matter of time. Generations of student leaders had been put through the paces on campus, sharpening skills of debate, speech, negotiation and evading tear gas and rubber truncheons. The bitterness was palpable and the bravery sometimes bordered on suicidal. There was bound to be a spill-over. The student leaders graduated and entered society at large. Still full of pent up emotions and lofty ideals. Some became unemployable because of their ‘dangerous and poisonous’ ideals. I was labelled rebellious at my first port of employment and promptly transferred to a frustratingly boring backwater. I am sure there are many who suffered the same fate. It only served to add fuel to the fire burning inside us. The result was more dissent in various forms, some of which resulted the foundation of present day opposition politics. It was an outlet and an attempt at a lasting solution to a revolution that had convoluted its founding ideals. We have indeed come a long way, and the journey to a brighter future seems longer still.

Freedom in this life time by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Freedom in this life time | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe It is inevitable that a nation whose freedom and liberties have been constrained or arrested for any reason and for a protracted time must, at some stage, seek the means to liberate itself from that repression. It must choose to free itself at some point; this has been the pattern in man’s history; the human spirit has always overcome the artificial confines of man’s imagination. Although at times, during this struggle, all hope may be lost, this does not mean that an outside or a better alternative to those confines we find ourselves in does not exist. This, I think is the message that we must hold close to our hearts as we face uncertainty with regard to our future here in Zimbabwe. We must find that outside. We must always remember that fear is a mental construct based mainly on our imagination. We can only find this out once we break through it. Only once we deny its power over us can we then realize that indeed, fear is only an imagined boundary. We will find out that there is an outside richer and more fulfilling that we can imagine. We must therefore first deliberately conquer that fear within us and only then can we truly become who we are meant to be. On the other side of fear, we have hope. Hope is a fantasy that things will get better by themselves. It is a false expectation that things cannot get any worse. In such instances, hope becomes a prison. It becomes a prison or a mental comfort zone where we expect the best without actually making any effort to actively attain it. We can hope all we want, but unless we take action to realize our expectations, we will continue to make excuses and rely on powers outside us as a means to escape our responsibility to act. We construct our own prison. We dis-empower ourselves and leave the responsibility of changing our circumstances to others or to an outside force beyond our control. We become complicit in creating our unhappiness and ask God to intervene. Zimbabweans find themselves imprisoned by fear on the one side and hope on the other. The values of our society have been irreparably injured by the recent elections and the way they were conducted. Although ZANU (PF) can now claim “success” and gloat as happened recently, the damage done is cancerous. This is simply because we have sent a clear message to Africans and the world at large, that you can indeed cheat and get away with it. You can abuse national resources for personal political gain and it’s acceptable. That “wining” at all costs is the most important thing, even where citizens are excluded from the process and those not on your side are demonized as “enemies”. Ethics and honor do not matter at all. In order for us to break this cycle, we must realize that we cannot continue to act and do the same things and expect different results. Zimbabweans in general must release themselves from their own limitations. I have never seen a nation that chooses to arrange itself around its problems as opposed to dealing with the problems directly. We tend to accept the worst and then plan our lives around it. For me the choice we are all making through our silence is to legitimize a flawed election. We are once more giving ZANU (PF) carte blanch to carry and do as they please with our lives; we shall of course bear the brunt and complain once more. If anything, these are the times that should really shape who we truly are and yet I sense a reluctant acceptance already; an acceptance of mediocrity, poverty and suffering to come. Will freedom in this life time ever be possible? Yes it is and we dare not give up now. Vince Musewe is an economic analyst based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

SADC asks West to lift Zimbabwe sanctions by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via PressTV – SADC asks West to lift Zimbabwe sanctions  by GJH/HN Southern African leaders have called on the West to lift all forms of sanctions leveled against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, individuals and firms. The leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) made the demand on Sunday in the Malawian capital Lilongwe during the final day of annual SADC summit. The leaders of the 15-nation bloc called for “the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe”. “I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough,” said Malawian President Joyce Banda, the new head of the SADC. The SADC also praised Mugabe for “holding free and peaceful elections”, and congratulated him and his ZANU-PF party for their landslide victory in the July 31 elections. In addition, the SADC appointed the octogenarian Zimbabwean leader the deputy chairman of the group and voted that Zimbabwe will host the next SADC summit in July 2014. Earlier this month, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced that Mugabe beat Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai with 61 percent of the votes against his rival’s 34 percent. On August 9, the MDC, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, filed a legal challenge to Mugabe’s victory in the July 31 presidential election. Tsvangirai said on Friday that he had withdrawn the legal motion to the elections. On August 2, the African Union (AU) praised Zimbabwe for holding peaceful elections, and dismissed the accusations of rigging made by the MDC. Olusegun Obasanjo, the head of the AU observer mission, said that the elections in the southern African country were “free, honest and credible”. Mugabe has become Africa’s oldest leader at 89, having ruled Zimbabwe since its independence in 1980. Mugabe and Tsvangirai have been sharing power since 2009, following a deal brokered by a regional bloc to end the unrest sparked after a disputed poll in 2008. Violence broke out in the last presidential election in 2008, forcing Tsvangirai out of the race despite a first round win after 200 of his supporters were killed in the unrest.

Mugabe’s mystifying hold on Africa by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Sen. Flake: African monitors must call out Zimbabwe elections – The Washington Post by Jeff Flake, Published: August 18 Jeff Flake, a U.S. senator from Arizona, spent time in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. He is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on Africa. When I was a graduate student and Senate intern in the late 1980s, I wrote a master’s thesis that proved to be a rather shallow attempt to explain Robert Mugabe’s hold on the Zimbabwean electorate nearly a decade removed from independence. Twenty-five years later, that hold on the electorate has long since been exposed as brute force and chicanery. What is left to explain is Mugabe’s mystifying hold on the rest of Africa. Western media and election observers were notably — and forcibly — absent during Zimbabwe’s July 31 contest, but there was a robust presence of election observers from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Nevertheless, despite clear, abundant and still-mounting evidence of a deeply flawed election process, the AU and SADC seem eager to give a pass to Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party (ZANU-PF). While final reports have yet to be issued, SADC has already declared the Zimbabwe election “free and peaceful,” and the AU has affirmed the vote as “credible.”Note the absence of the word “fair.” But why quibble? “The whole of Africa is sending us messages of congratulations to say ‘Well done,’ ” was Mugabe’s interpretation. And who can blame him? That Zimbabwe would have another deeply flawed election is not news to anyone who has followed Mugabe’s ham-handed rule over the past 33 years. But to those who hope that Africa is indeed turning the corner in terms of politics and governance, such a response in the wake of the election is deeply concerning.There is much to commend in the founding charters and principles of both the AU and SADC. Cooperation and coordination through these institutions has strengthened individual economies and provided a useful tool to address cross-border and regional security and governance issues. The potential for future collaboration is even greater. Which is why it is so puzzling that the AU and SADC would so willingly jettison their principles when it comes to elections in Zimbabwe. This is not an example of the West holding nascent democracies to unreasonably high electoral standards. It is simply a matter of asking SADC and the AU to abide by their own standards and live up to their charters. The SADC “Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections” provide for its observer role during member-state elections to ensure “full participation of the citizens in the political process” by certifying, among other things, “the existence of [an] updated and accessible voters roll.” Such rolls were neither updated nor accessible during Zimbabwe’s recent elections. Likewise, the AU’s guidelines for electoral observations call for “competent accountable electoral institutions” to “take all necessary measures” to ensure such essentials as “equitable access to public media” by competing parties. There was not even a pretense of equitable access to state media during Zimbabwe’s election season. In the founding document of the “New Partnership for Africa’s Development,” African heads of state hailed the emergence of democratic regimes and committed African leaders taking responsibility for “promoting human rights . . . by developing clear standards of accountability, transparency and participatory governance.” In the context of observing the Zimbabwe elections, only Botswana has been willing to take such responsibility. Botswana decried Zimbabwe’s elections as “not free and fair” and warned that SADC “should never create the undesirable precedent of permitting exceptions to its own rules.” Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s course seems set for the near future. By the time official reports on the election are issued, ZANU-PF will have formed a new government. Zimbabwean courts are unlikely to intervene, and Mugabe will go on making empty speeches about liberation while Zimbabwe, unable to feed itself and having lost its own currency, erodes its independence by the day. The final reports issued by the AU and SADC won’t tell us anything we don’t already know about Zimbabwe, but they will say a great deal about the direction in which southern Africa as a region, and Africa as a whole, is headed. Will African leaders be true to their own undertakings and stand for the principles they have espoused, or will they bow to a desperate old man determined to keep himself in power no matter the cost to the citizens he claims to represent?

ConCourt to rule on MDC-T petition 20 August 2013 by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via ConCourt to rule on MDC-T petition tomorrow | The Zimbabwean by Edgar Gweshe Last week, the MDC-T withdrew its election petition on the grounds that they were not likely to get a fair hearing after High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, reserved judgement in a case in which the MDC-T was seeking a court order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release election materials to allow them to adequately prepare their challenge. The MDC-T was seeking to have the presidential election results declared null and void. However, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku last week summoned Tsvangirai’s lawyers to today’s hearing despite the party having withdrawn. Chidyausiku said that according to Section 93 of the Constitution,a case such as a presidential election petition should be brought to finality even if there is a withdrawal from some of the concerned parties. Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Deepak Mehta, told the court today that he had no submissions to make as he had not been instructed to do so by his clients. Addressing journalists after today’s hearing, MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said: “We just came here because of our respect for the courts but our position is that we have withdrawn from this issue.”

Mujuru 1, Mnangagwa 0 by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Mujuru 1, Mnangagwa 0 – DailyNews Live  by GIFT PHIRI AND TENDAI KAMHUNGIRA HARARE – Vice President Joice Mujuru has thrown the first punch in the delicate battle to succeed president-elect Robert Mugabe in both Zanu PF and the country. Although her weekend remarks that she was “ready to serve if elected” have reportedly torched a storm in Zanu PF — through misrepresentations by rivals — sources said battle lines have been drawn between her and outgoing Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. “Zanu PF will never die because president Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party,” she told the Daily News on Sunday on the sidelines of her late husband Solomon Mujuru’s second memorial service. She added: “If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.” Analysts and other party insiders insisted yesterday that there was nothing entirely new and odd about Mujuru’s remarks, if not desire, that the party follows its tradition of keeping to hierarchies in choosing its leaders. Among those who have strenuously — and routinely — emphasised that Zanu PF would follow that path is party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa. Mujuru said the purpose of the party was to ensure that there is continuity of Zimbabwe’s socialist system beyond its founding generation of leaders including its 89-year-old president. While speculation has increased about Mugabe’s intentions and plan — following his disputed win in the July 31 harmonised elections — the 58-year-old mother of four has found herself in a duel of sorts with an array of ambitious men, including Mnangagwa and other fringe players. In the Saturday interview, Mujuru, however insisted she was no faction leader, had been duly elected as Zanu PF’s second secretary by the people and saw Mugabe as a father figure, and mentor. The sober views have, nonetheless, not shielded her from constant attacks by rivals and that she was also involved in a leadership contest to succeed Mugabe. And in the event that she is handed the baton, she faces a daunting task in rallying support at both country and party level. Although Mujuru lacks the personality that made Mugabe a one-man political phenomenon in Zimbabwe, she has the advantage of being Mugabe’s hand-picked successor and is considered a moderate. After her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?” — a suggestion that Mujuru, could be the next Zanu PF leader after Mugabe steps down. A former girl guerrilla leader, Mujuru has won Mugabe’s trust as a loyalist who echoed the president’s stances. How Mujuru will lead in the event Mugabe is no longer there remains to be seen, although she is widely known as both a dove in a party of hawks and a leader who views upholding her mentor’s legacy as her personal crusade and responsibility. Analysts have speculated that differences are widening between factions led by Mujuru and Mnangagwa, the influential Defence minister who is thought to wield power within the military. But thus far, both have denied such divisions and vowed to remain united. After Mugabe’s July 31 victory, Mujuru has stepped up her public appearances, throwing down the gauntlet and declaring her ambitions, calling for unity among allies and lambasting the opposition. Mujuru’s unflinching loyalty makes her a logical choice, political observers said. After the death of her husband, Mujuru is now seen as the most serious contender to replace Mugabe, while on the other hand Mnangagwa touts himself as the president’s preferred heir. Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank, said Mujuru’s declaration that she was ready to take over was a reaction to the potent threat posed by Mnangagwa. “Many people have said that Mnangagwa is seen as one of the brains behind Zanu PF’s recent election victory,” Maisiri said. “This seems to have created the notion that Mnangagwa’s fortunes have risen and is therefore, seen as the more favourable to succeed president-(elect) Mugabe. “I think Mai Mujuru’s comments are a natural reaction to what she sees as a ‘Mnangagwa-run-away’ with the succession mantle. She is basically reminding Zanu PF members that she is still in the race and ably so.” He predicted that Mujuru’s statements might heighten the succession battle. The tiff between the two contenders has been fomented by attempts by both camps to strategically position candidates in powerful ministerial positions ahead of the inauguration of a new government. However, some analysts have ruled out any prospect of Mugabe handing over power to either Mujuru or Mnangagwa before the expiry of his fresh term. Mugabe told reporters just before casting his vote in Highfield, Harare on July 31 that he will not relinquish power and will finish his full five-year term. “Don’t you want me to serve my whole term, what am I elected for? Why should I offer myself as a candidate if it is to cheat the people into resigning after?” Mugabe questioned. Maisiri said Mugabe might use the festering divisions to remain in power. The cunning political veteran has said if he leaves prematurely, the party would be ripped apart. “In that case, I think Zanu PF will work on the succession issue for the next four or so years,” Maisiri said. “This will therefore, mean that president-(elect) Mugabe will likely serve his full five-year term. I also think president-(elect) Mugabe wants to use the next five years to re-create, re-brand and consolidate his legacy. I don’t think he is going to allow someone else do that for him, so he will hang out the whole term and only pass on the baton for someone to run in the 2018 elections.” Charity Manyeruke, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist, said Mujuru had demonstrated exceptional courage to put her cards on the table and take up the leadership challenge. She said it was “normal and healthy” for a political party to have “small groups.” “Mai Mujuru’s statement is not talking of factions; she is talking of leadership which should go beyond any divisions,” Manyeruke said. “When she talks about taking over leadership, she will be talking about rising above divisions.” Manyeruke said it was up to Mugabe to relinquish power or to continue serving as president, since he was given the mandate by the people on July 31. “Any decision is really about him,” Manyeruke said. “He got the mandate of the people to run this country. They will be very disappointed if he decides to leave.”

SADC criticised as Mugabe chosen for regional Chairmanship by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via SADC criticised as Mugabe chosen for regional Chairmanship | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell The regional SADC bloc is facing serious criticism for appointing Robert Mugabe as the next chairman of the grouping, despite the highly contested elections in Zimbabwe last month and his legacy of human rights abuses and violence. Mugabe will assume the SADC chairmanship in 2014 after being appointed to the Vice Chair position during the just ended regional summit in Malawi. The ZANU PF leader will take over from Malawi’s President Joyce Banda, during the next SADC Heads of State and Government Summit that will take place in Zimbabwe next year. The decision followed the SADC leadership’s endorsement Mugabe and his contested election win, despite the widespread reports of irregularities and alleged vote rigging that secured ZANU PF’s ‘landslide’ victory. The SADC decision also does not take into account other unresolved issues Mugabe presided over in Zimbabwe, like the Gukurahundi genocide of the 1980s and the 2008 campaign of violence that followed the elections that year. These incidents have fuelled calls by international pressure groups for Mugabe to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Critics say the decision has again demonstrated that the SADC bloc is more committed to protecting its leaders, rather than the rights of its citizens. Some observers have told SW Radio Africa that this outcome is not surprising, “because SADC always protects their own.” Political analyst Professor David Moore said Monday that the SADC decision shows that democracy is not the respected ideal it once was. “It shows that even on a global level that the enthusiasm for pure democracy is diminishing, and people are lowering their expectations about what democracy is,” Moore said. Meanwhile, SADC leaders said in a statement after the weekend summit that “all forms of sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted following the holding of “free and peaceful” elections.

Over 100 MDC-T candidates to file court petitions by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Over 100 MDC-T candidates to file court petitions | SW Radio Africa  by Tichaona Sibanda Over 100 losing parliamentary candidates for the MDC-T will file petitions challenging electoral results in their constituencies, a senior party member said on Monday. Nelson Chamisa, the party’s national organizing secretary confirmed that some of their candidates have already filed their petitions while others will be following suit in due course. One of the candidates, Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda told SW Radio Africa that there are a lot of people from the Vungu constituency who are prepared to ‘spill the beans’ in court. “We have people from the constituency who are prepared to testify in court and explain exactly how they were used by ZANU PF to rig the election,” Sibanda said. He added: “We know the odds are stacked against us but we want to prove a point and show the world that this election was rigged and that poor peasants were used as part of the election rigging machinery by ZANU PF.” Political commentator Itai Dzamara said it is wise for the MDC-T to go ahead with the court challenges despite their leader withdrawing his Presidential result challenge at the Constitutional Court. “I think morally it is correct for the MDC-T to challenge the fraudulent results otherwise if they don’t ZANU PF will simply declare that they won freely and fairly,” Dzamara said. He said it is likely the candidates will face the same hurdles as the outgoing premier Morgan Tsvangirai, who has failed to access the voting materials. Since the election on July 31st the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Registrar-General’s office have flatly refused to avail any documents for the MDC-T to audit and inspect.

MDC-T under attack in Mugabe’s home district by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via MDC-T under attack in Mugabe’s home district | SW Radio Africa  by Tererai Karimakwenda on Monday, August 19, 2013 MDC-T officials who stood as polling agents and local council candidates in the July 31st election are living in fear, as threats of violence and eviction by ZANU PF agents continue. One disturbing case has been reported in Robert Mugabe’s home constituency of Zvimba, where a traditional leader is using resettled farmers to intimidate and harass MDC-T supporters. Jairos Hofisi, who ran for councilor in Zvimba East Ward 20, had his house broken into just days after ZANU PF announced a landslide victory over the MDC-T. Most of his household goods were destroyed and some valuable items were stolen by ZANU PF thugs under the direction of the local Sabhuku, Roy Chimanikire. According to Hofisi, Chimanikire wears ZANU PF regalia and frequently goes door-to-door ordering suspected MDC-T supporters to renounce their party membership and return their t-shirts to local party officials. Hofisi said the campaign has seen several party members turn in their shirts and leave the party out of fear. Hofisi himself was targeted again last week, when Chimanikire’s wife and her family invaded the MDC-T candidate’s homestead. Hofisi said they were banging drums, chanting ZANU PF slogans and singing liberation war songs. They also threatened to hang him or evict him from the area. Hofisi said he stayed away from his home for several days fearing for his safety. He added that life as an MDC-T official in Zvimba district means dealing with consistent threats and intimidation and the possibility of losing his life. To understand the situation he is living under, Hofisi said the area is where most large-scale commercial farms once owned by white farmers are located. Many people were settled there as part of the so-called land ‘resettlement’ programme, but the large farms are all owned by ZANU PF chefs. Post-election retribution by ZANU PF has seen many who served as MDC-T polling agents and aspiring candidates evicted from their homes countrywide. SW Radio Africa has received such reports from Mt. Darwin, Mberengwa, Zaka, Muzarabani, Chegutu, Chimanimani and Mbare high-density suburb of Harare.

Zimbabwe’s 2013 election results marred by fraud by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via http://www.sokwanele.com/not-credible-zimbabwes-2013-election-results-marred-fraud/19082013 by SOKWANELE

Zimbabwe has been praised for holding ‘peaceful’ elections on the 31 July this year, and it is true that the polls were calm in comparison to the terrible violence seen in 2008. But it hides an ugly truth that intimidation prevailed, impacting on the right of citizens to vote freely for a party of their choice, along with a calculated strategy to skew the result to the advantage of the Zanu PF party. Mugabe and Zanu PF can only be celebrated as true credible winners – therefore justifiable leaders of Zimbabwe – if their victory was determined by free and fair elections. We don’t know what the result of a free and fair election would be in Zimbabwe, because we have not seen one. We believe that the results declared by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) cannot be viewed as either credible or legitimate for a variety of reasons. We have built a page on our website outlining these many reasons in detail, based on information collated from a variety of sources, because we believe it is important that the truth is told regardless of the outcome, and we believe that it is important that a formal record of fraud exists. This record stands as a criticism of Zanu PF theft and lies, but it also potentially indicts a region and a continent if it once again wilfully turns a blind-eye to abuses against the freedoms that African people are entitled to, and allows democracy to be stolen from the people of Zimbabwe. We encourage everyone to visit this page to fully understand the scale of the fraud, and we ask that you share the link widely with everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Share it on your social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc) and forward this email to people you know. The resource page can be viewed at this link: http://www.sokwanele.com/zimbabwe-elections/evidence-of-fraud In summary, when you vist the page you will see the following: Testimony from ordinary Zimbabweans Video: Ordinary Zimbabweans are ignored. We have collated video footage where Zimbabweans narrate their experiences of harrassment, threats and intimidation at the hands of Zanu PF. We include the now famous footage of bussed in voters arriving to vote for Zanu PF at the Mt Pleasant constituency. Crowdsourced data: We have built an interactive table of crowdsourced information from Zimbabweans contributed in the lead-up to the elections, and on election day itself. The nearly 1000 entries are collated from three different sources and reveal widespread fraud communicated in Zimbabwean people’s own words. Please continue to submit information by visiting this link:https://zimbabweelections.crowdmap.com/reports/submit. We will keep adding information to the page. Mapped information: The crowdsourced information is viewable on a map, by locationMissing voters’ roll at the heart of the fraud We explain why the continued absence of an electronic version of the voters’ roll is at the heart of the fraud. We have images showing how big a printed version of the document is which reveals how absurd (we believe, calculatedly obstructive) it is for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to expect parties and candidates to work with the hard-copy instead of a “slim CD” of data. The absence of the voters roll is a violation of our rule of law and it has provided a vehicle for fraud, and it continues to undermine justice because, without the information it contains, political parties cannot exercise their right to challenge the results in court. Failure to comply with SADC electoral guidelines We have links to our Zimbabwe Election Watch project where we monitor political compliance with SADC electoral guidelines. We provide highlighted examples that clearly show consistent non-compliance with the guidelines by the Zanu PF party. Of the 2000 breaches logged in the intense time before the elections, Zanu PF is responsible for about 80% of them. It is a question we have for SADC: why have guidelines at all if there is no genuine expectation that state signatories to them are expected to uphold the principles they are intended to protect? Why bother producing a document, and then demonstrate by actions that nations have the freedom to ignore them at will. The role of NIKUV We outline the role of Nikuv International Projects, an Israeli firm, in the fraud. We have drawn an infogram (click here to view a full copy online) summarising the ‘election rigging blueprint’ that includes Nikuv as a key part of the strategy, and we have provided information circulated by the MDC-T summarising $10,000 in payments to Nikuv by the Registrar-General since February 2013. Tobaiwa Mudede refuses to discuss the work done by Nikuv or the payments made to the company. All of this information is scattered in the public domain: you will also find links to media reports on the role of Nikuv.Violations of Zimbabwe’s constitution and rule of law We have included accessible information on how the law and our constitution has been violated to allow the fraud to take place. There are examples of seven important laws which have been flagrantly broken by ZEC and Zanu PF:

  1. Illegal proclamation of the Election itself
  2. Illegal use of the Presidential Powers Act and regulations to amend the Electoral Act
  3. Breach of Section 6 (3) of the 6th Schedule as read with section 155 (2) (a) of the Constitution (voter registration exercise)
  4. Breach of Section 61 (4) (b) and (c) of the Constitution (freedom of expression and the media)
  5. Biased application of Section 152 of the Electoral Act (defacing or removing billboards, placards or posters)
  6. Breach of Section 21 (6) and (7) of the Electoral Act by the ZEC (supply an electronic version of voters roll to parties and candidates in reasonable time)
  7. Presence of Police during the count in breach of Section 62 of the Electoral Act

It is not surprising the MDC-T has withdrawn its challenge in court: not only is it unable to mount a case because it is being unlawfully denied the information it needs, the persistent violation of the above laws suggests that our courts exist only to rubberstamp decisions that suit the Zanu PF party. Our justice system has effectviely become null and void in the hands of Zanu PF, used to provide a cloak of respectibility masking lawlessness. Partisan security sector We call attention to how a partisan security sector is an impediment to democracy and free and fair elections. We use the example of Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, whose name recurred on our transparancy and good governance project ‘We are Zimbabwe’ in the run-up to the elections. His open allegiance to Zanu PF is a violation of the Police Act, and it leads to biased application of the law. For example, police officers present in polling stations is illegal – they are not polling agents – and this is something that can only happen if the person in charge of the police is using the force for personal partisan objectives. We provide links to examples where Chihuri has used his position to support his partisan objectives. We have over 4000 public votes on Chihuri’s performance in the lead-up to the elections, amounting to a negative performance rating of -93 (-100 is the worst possible score achievable). The public do not believe he is doing a good job but, in the scheme of politics, his key role seems to be to ensure Zanu PF prevails; he does a very good job when it comes to subverting justice towards that objective. Inplausable results We provide links to results, and highlight the the fact that they are completely implausible. We encourage you to coinsider these in relation to the results from 2008, and to view them by margin of victory as well. Take the ‘victory’ of a 2/3 majority in parliament and set it aside: is it really plausable for Zanu PF to secure most of its seats with a more than 40% margin of victory? But discussing who the winners and losers in this election is almost irrelevant because, unless the election was peaceful, free and fair, we do not genuinely know who the winners and losers are, and by how much. This is why the result is not credible. In the absence of certainty, which can only be underpinned by absolute adherence to the law and regional principles, all we are left with is doubt and deep misgivings.Laughing stock of the world Finally, we highlight how the fraud is obvious to all around the world, communicated effectively through the eyes and words of international cartoonists who see Zanu PF, Robert Mugabe, SADC and the AU as targets for jokes and mockery. The sad truth is that while the cartoonists lampoon the ‘victors’, Zimbabweans are left at the mercy of fraudsters whose only effective election strategy seems to have been to amass resources and planning towards stealing the elections. As people are regularly commenting on Twitter, Zimbabwe is not a democracy, it has become a rigocracy. If reading these points angers you then it should. What has just taken place is an outrage against justice and freedom. But it it is important that those who have carried out this outrage, and those who permit it to stand in place, are left in no doubt that the people of Zimbabwe know the truth. This is why we ask you to visit the resource, read the information, and share it widely on Facebook and Twitter, by email and word of mouth, with everyone you know. Zanu PF may have ‘credibility’ from weak leaders who chose to ignore multiple crimes against democracy, but he and his party will never have what Robert Mugabe perhaps craves the most: legitimacy bestowed upon him freely and respectfully by the people of Zimbabwe.

MDCs bemoan Mugabe elevation at SADC summit by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via MDCs bemoan Mugabe elevation at SADC summit | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza The two Movement for Democratic Change formations have expressed surprise that the Southern African Development Community decided to appoint Zimbabwe to the post of Deputy Chair before the country’s electoral dispute is settled and final poll observation results are out. The SADC summit held in Malawi over the weekend elected Malawian President, Joyce Banda as the Chair of the regional bloc. Mugabe will become the chair of the bloc next year at the end of Malawi’s one year term and Harare will also host the next SADC Heads of State and Government summit in 2014. As Deputy Chair, Zimbabwe will become part of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. MDC-T, which is disputing Mugabe’s victory at the elections and is in the process of presenting its case before the regional body, expressed its doubts over the wisdom to give Zimbabwe the post under the present circumstances. The party’s spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean in an interview that MDC did not believe it was a good move on the part of SADC. “It is not a very good move to take a country that still has got such an important dispute and give it such a position,” he said. Mwonzora, however, was of the opinion that his party’s case before SADC would not be affected. “I don’t think it will affect our efforts. SADC acts as a body, not as individual members. Anyway the heads of states of the countries are still the same,” he said. Kurauone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesman of the other MDC led by Welshman Ncube told The Zimbabwean that the elevation was a sad development for the country. “It is unfortunate that SADC has taken this move. The regional body seems not to be hearing our concerns. They are closing doors on us, they are not listening. They are closing their eyes and ears to what transpired during the elections. Unfortunately they have decided to endorse Mugabe’s victory,” Chihwayi said. SADC, in its preliminary report on the elections, said the poll had been free and peaceful but refused to address questions on fairness and credibility. “They said the elections were free and peaceful and we agree with that. They should have addressed the issue of credibility and fairness before taking this decision. The election did not give equal access and opportunities to all parties,” Chihwayi said. He said SADC was rubber stamping Mugabe’s victory against the wishes of Zimbabweans who were “robbed during the elections”.

Mugabe and “street woman” Zulu bury the hatchet by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Eyewitness News: Mugabe and Zulu bury the hatchet by Lindiwe Mlandu Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has apologised to President Jacob Zuma’s International Relations Adviser Lindiwe Zulu after calling her a “street woman”. Mugabe also told Zuma to make Zulu “shut up” after she questioned that country’s readiness to hold free and fair elections in July. The 89-year-old reportedly apologised for his utterances over the weekend. Zulu told the Midday Report’s Stephen Grootes that she was pleasantly surprised by the apology. “At the SADC [South African Development Community] Summit in Malawi, one of the meetings where I wasn’t in attendance, I was informed that President Mugabe raised the issue and indicated that there were certain things that were said which shouldn’t have been said. “But on the following day of the summit, my president [Zuma] also took me to President Robert Mugabe where, if I may say, we closed that chapter. “I think that in as far as President Mugabe is concerned in this particular instance, honestly he acted like a statesman because there was no pressure whatsoever on him to do that. I was pleasantly surprised because it had been something that had not been sitting very well with me.” Zulu said she was relieved the whole saga was now behind her. “It’s in the interest of South Africa and Zimbabwe that we do not have such things happening. We also do understand that in politics and in our engagements some of these things will happen. It’s important then whoever made a mistake realizes the mistake and is man enough to apologise.”

Constitutional Court decision surprises experts by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via Con-Court decision surprises experts – DailyNews Live by TENDAI KAMHUNGIRA Commentators have expressed surprise at the decision by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to summon to court today all parties involved in outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s election challenge following the withdrawal of his petition on Friday. Tsvangirai had filed a Constitutional Court application seeking nullification of president-elect Robert Mugabe’s win. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announced that Mugabe won by 61,09 percent, while Tsvangirai got 33,94 percent, but the MDC leader said the election was rigged and demanded a re-run within 60 days. But Tsvangirai dropped the legal challenge arguing he will not get a fair trial after the High Court delayed judgement in another case seeking access to full details of the results from the electoral commission. After the withdrawal, Chidyausiku instructed all parties to appear before the Constitutional Court today, amid State-controlled media reports that a determination will be made notwithstanding Tsvangirai’s withdrawal. Some legal experts said Tsvangirai’s withdrawal of the court case should put the case to rest and pave way for Mugabe’s inauguration. The instruction for the parties to appear before the Constitutional Court has left some experts bewildered. McDonald Lewanika of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said, Zanu PF was eager to go through the court process to vindicate its win. “The game now is to ensure that Tsvangirai is not only down but is kept out — through a triple-thronged defeat — electorally (election results), politically (Southern African Development Community endorsement) and legally (legal failure at the Con-Court),” Lewanika said. Kudzayi Kadzere, a Harare lawyer, said by summoning the lawyers, the Chief Justice probably had something to say. “They are the apex court in the country, the final arbiter and so they are empowered with wide powers, but it is curious why they want to hear a withdrawn matter,” Kadzere said. Analysts say in all likelihood, pursuing the election challenge in court would not have resolved the political crisis. “I said it before that the political crisis is too serious, that it is judicially insoluble in the current context,” said leading rights lawyer and MDC MP-elect for Dangamvura-Chikanga, Arnold Tsunga. “Morgan did the right thing and probably the only thing that was left of him and he must be congratulated.” In a statement, Tsvangirai said he withdrew the application after a resolution was reached by his party’s national executive, after his failure to secure evidence to bolster his case from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. He also cites the court’s narrowing down of the petition to one based on affidavits, rather than going to trial, where several witnesses would be called 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,” Tsvangirai said. He added: “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.”

God might take Mugabe soon: Mujuru by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via God might take Mugabe soon: Mujuru. VICE President Joice Mujuru touched off a storm on Sunday after appearing to suggest President Robert Mugabe’s natural life was drawing to a close, and declaring herself his replacement. Mujuru addressed a gathering at her farm in Beatrice to mark the first anniversary of her husband’s death – and then surprised the press pack by seeking out a reporter from the privately-owned Daily News for an exclusive interview. She told the newspaper that the 89-year-old Mugabe, who just won a sixth term in office and is due to be inaugurated this week, had moulded her into the “best leader”. Mujuru told the Daily News that a new constitution signed into law in May allows Zanu PF to appoint Mugabe’s successor to finish his term as President in the event that he dies – and by virtue of being Vice President, she is that successor. She went on: “We know that the president will soon be 90, and God might decide to call him. He has taught us a lot on how to lead the party. “Zanu PF will never die because President Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party.” Hours after the publication of the story, her aides, led by Sylvester Nguni, a minister of state in her office, made feverish calls to journalists claiming the newspaper had overplayed her comments. Elsewhere, senior Zanu PF officials were privately briefing against her for what they saw as her failure to curb her ambitions. “There is anger in the party,” said one senior official. “People are already calling it the ‘Beatrice Betrayal’. You don’t talk about your leader like that, especially when he has just comprehensively won a fresh mandate from the people and has yet to even be inaugurated. “She is trying to play God, being 89 does not mean you’re about to die. For all we know, she might die first.” In his 33 years in power, Mugabe has ruthlessly stifled the succession debate in his party, demoting over-ambitious leaders and isolating their supporters. The Zanu PF leader was due to return from a SADC summit in Malawi on Sunday night, and it is customary for Mujuru to welcome him at the airport – making for an awkward moment for Mujuru as Mugabe would no doubt have been briefed about her comments before getting off the plane. Said another Zanu PF official: “It’s unlikely the President will even mention it to her – and that’s where her punishment is, now knowing what Mugabe makes of it all. Over time, she will feel increasingly isolated, that’s how Mugabe operates. “She may very well have blown her chances of getting the President’s endorsement to be the next leader of Zanu PF.” Analysts say Zanu PF is divided into two main factions – one led by Mujuru and another led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. “Mugabe holds the two factions like glue, he commands their respect, but once he is out of the way, there will be nothing stopping them from taking a mutually destructing course,” according to academic, Brilliant Mhlanga.

I’m ready to take over: Mujuru by ZimSitRep – 08-19-2013
via http://www.dailynews.co.zw/articles/2013/08/18/im-ready-to-take-over-mujuru by XOLISANI NCUBE

Vice President Joice Mujuru says she is ready to lead Zanu PF and Zimbabwe in the event that president-elect Robert Mugabe is gone, but will only do so if given the mandate by the people. Mujuru told the Daily News on Sunday in a no-holds-barred exclusive interview at her Ruzambo Farm in Beatrice yesterday that according to provisions of the new Constitution gazetted on May 22, she is best-placed to succeed Mugabe if he departs whether by natural wastage or voluntary retirement. “We know that the president will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him, he has taught us a lot and how to lead the party,” she said, adding: “Zanu PF will never die because president Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party.” Mujuru said she has been hand-held by the former guerrilla leader since the days of the liberation struggle, hailing the 89-year-old leader for moulding her to be the “best leader”. “I take President Mugabe to be a father figure,” she said. “Since the days of the liberation struggle, he has always encouraged me to behave in a manner that makes me a leader. He has always told me that he wanted to make me a better person; that’s why I owe what I am today to him.” Mujuru joined Mugabe’s first post-independence Cabinet in 1980 at 25, and was one of the longest-serving government ministers before her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004. She was speaking to the Daily News on Sunday on the sidelines of a memorial service for her late husband retired general Solomon Mujuru whose remains were found after a mysterious fire on the 3 500-acre Ruzambo Farm, formerly Alamein, about 60km south of Harare. A Zimbabwean magistrate ruled out foul play in the August 2011 death of the decorated retired army general. Mujuru is now seen as the most serious contender to replace Mugabe, who won re-election in a hotly-contested July 31 presidential vote. “He (Mugabe) has contributed to what I am today, even to the position I hold in the party,” Mujuru said. After her elevation to the vice presidency in 2004, Mugabe said, “When you choose her as a vice president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?” — a suggestion that Mujuru, could be the next Zanu PF leader after Mugabe steps down or is eliminated through natural wastage, or death. As dramatic as her rise has been is also the rising star of her arch-rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, who touts himself as the president’s preferred heir-apparent, and according to his close associates he occasionally refers to himself as Mugabe’s “jinda guru” (top aide). Despite the posturing by the outgoing minister of Defence, Mujuru said she had walked a long road with Mugabe. During the liberation struggle, even before I met Solomon, VaMugabe always trained me for leadership and to take life seriously,” Mujuru said. “He has taught me to be a responsible person and I thank him for that.” Born into a peasant family in Mount Darwin, Mujuru dropped out of school and was 18 when she joined the liberation struggle. She rose through the guerrilla ranks to become a commander. Her star rose after she single-handedly shot down a Rhodesian army helicopter. The youngest ever Cabinet minister in the post-colonial era, she told the Daily News on Sunday that she was ready to take over from Mugabe “if the people chose me”. “I did not impose myself to be the party’s vice president; I was elected by the people,” she said. “In Zanu PF, we have a constitution and regulations that we follow. I deputise president Mugabe and I do so with the full blessing of the people and the party leadership. “If the people ask me to lead them, I will definitely do so, but I will never impose myself to them because I know the consequences of doing so. If you blunder as a leader, you will regret as to why you imposed yourself on the people.” Under the new Constitution, if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the first vice president takes an oath within 48 hours after, becoming president. The first vice-president assumes office as president until the expiry of the former president’s term and the second vice-president then takes over as first vice-president. That dynamic has fuelled the succession race pitting Mujuru and Mnangagwa, with the two factions seeking to strategically position their cronies ahead of the inauguration of a new government. But the widow of the first black army commander at independence said she does not lead any faction. “Anyone saying I lead a faction within Zanu PF does not know how the party works,” she said. “I belong to the faction of the  president and I support him as the deputy. I don’t fight to topple him  but I am there to assist him as his deputy. “I don’t know any faction in Zanu PF, because the only leader we have is president Mugabe and anyone who has a faction, is just ambitious. “Kana munhu achiti ane faction, he is just over-ambitious and hiding behind a finger to say there are factions in Zanu PF. “People have to wait for their time and follow the party’s constitution. In Zanu PF, such people with ambitious attitude are labelled as vapanduki, kunonzi kupanduka ikoko  (Sellouts). “If you hear anyone saying I belong to this faction, tell them that vapunduki and they are just ambitious. “Anyone from Zanu PF who claims that he or she belongs to Mujuru faction of any other faction, is against president Mugabe and that person is not one of us.” Reacting to the party’s landslide “victory” in the recent polls, Mujuru had no kind words for opposition leaders who have challenged the party’s victory. She described them as “unprincipled and inconsistent in their policies.” “VaMugabe has taught us to be honest, principled and consistent,” she said. “Any leader should be as such. What we have seen in some opposition leaders is very worrying. They have failed to be role models.” “Look here I am a widow; I can’t decide to get married at my age because I have children who are looking up to me for guidance. I am a leader whose life is no longer private but public, there are so many youths looking up to me as their example, but some of the opposition leaders have failed to live exemplary.” Several newly-elected Zanu PF legislators drawn from across the three Mashonaland provinces attended Mujuru’s anniversary together with military generals and hundreds of party supporters. A soccer match pitting the Mighty Warriors and Amai Mujuru with her grandchildren entertained the crowd, which also comprised business executives. Clad in a brown work suit, Mujuru scored one of the goals which left the crowd amused.