The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Anxiety as Mugabe fails to return home from Singapore

By KITSEPILE NYATHI in HararePosted Wednesday, April 11  2012 at  19:42

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe failed to return home Wednesday, fuelling
further speculation about his health.

Government officials on Tuesday had said the veteran ruler would return from
Singapore to chair a Cabinet meeting the following day.

President Mugabe left Zimbabwe on March 31 and his aides said he had gone to
the Asian country to prepare for his daughter, Bona’s further studies.

But his long absence sparked speculation that he was seeking treatment for
prostate cancer and eye problems.

The rumours reached fever pitch at the weekend when a UK-based Zimbabwean
website claimed President Mugabe was fighting for his life at a hospital in

An official in the President’s Office Wednesday evening said Mugabe was now
expected back home on Thursday morning, but did not give reasons for the

He said his flight was expected at the Harare International Airport at 6am
local time.

Senior officials from his Zanu-PF party dismissed reports that the
88-year-old ruler was on his death bed as ‘hogwash'.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Journalists camp at airport waiting for Mugabe arrival

By Lance Guma
11 April 2012

Dozens of journalists camped at the Harare International Airport on
Wednesday waiting for the expected arrival of Robert Mugabe. The 88 year
snuck out of the country for Singapore eleven days ago, sparking days of
frenetic speculation about his health and reports that he was on his

Information Minister Webster Shamu summoned editors and journalists from
both the state and private media and told them to stand by as Mugabe would
be arriving at the airport at 9am in the morning. But by 6pm Mugabe had
still not arrived, with suggestions from other sources that he would now be
arriving in the early hours of the following morning.

Another source in the President’s Office told SW Radio Africa that Mugabe
was expected “some time in the evening”.

We have heard that Mugabe did have an ‘episode’ that was not life
threatening. The suggestion was that he was rushed to Singapore after
suffering some sort of collapse.

A report by The Zimbabwe Mail website claiming that Mugabe was on his
“deathbed” and “undergoing intensive treatment in Singapore” torched off
international headlines that Mugabe was ‘battling for his life’. But ZANU PF
officials denied reports Mugabe was battling for his life at a hospital in

Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the Cabinet, was quoted as saying
that Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting had been moved to Thursday when Mugabe would
be back in the country. MDC-T Ministers who spoke to SW Radio Africa also
said they were told Mugabe would definitely be chairing Thursday’s cabinet

Mugabe left suddenly for Singapore on the 31st March. The official line was
that he was going there to make study arrangements for his daughter Bona.
When he failed to return on time, missing two consecutive Tuesday cabinet
meetings and an important ZANU PF politburo meeting, speculation turned to
his health.

A ZANU PF politburo member, believed to be Jonathan Moyo, is quoted saying
Mugabe was enjoying an Easter break with his family in Asia. “The President
is on his Easter holidays, like everyone else. He returns to his post this
week, at the same time as those who are asking about his whereabouts from
their holiday hideouts.”

Last year the 88 year old travelled to the Far East more than eight times.
According to a leaked 2008 US diplomatic cable, central bank chief Gideon
Gono told then-US ambassador James McGee that Mugabe had prostate cancer and
had been advised by doctors he had less than five years to live.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

President Mugabe Expected Home, Zim Editors Summoned

Harare, April 11, 2012 - Information, Media and Publicity minister Webster
Shamu on Wednesday summoned editors from private newspapers to complain
about incessant reports on President Robert Mugabe’s reported health woes.

Mugabe's lieutenants told Radio VOP on Tuesday that President Mugabe was due
home on Wednesday and several Zanu (PF) members were expected to line up at
the airport to meet him.

His party Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa said: “That is not new
to us, how many times have you heard that the president is very sick? As far
as I know he will be in the country and on Thursday he will be chairing the

Shamu told Radio VOP on Tuesday the President was alive and well.

“Why do you want to be told about your President by those foreign
newspapers? It is not true and absolutely false that he is sick. He is
alive. It is just speculation by those who wish him dead,” Shamu to Radio

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: “These reports are the works of our
detractors. They want to set us up against each other; the President is well
and alive. We are expecting him back in the country tomorrow or the day
after. He will be chairing a cabinet meeting on Thursday so we don’t know
where these people are getting these reports.”

Meanwhile Shamu ordered journalists from NewsDay and the Daily News to his
office at 11 am on Wednesday and gave them a dressing down.

“He was fuming,” said one of the editors who attended the meeting.

“During our presence he called Tafataona Mahoso (chief executive officer of
the Zimbabwe Media Commission) and summoned him to a meeting at 11:30 am.

“He told him it was high time they should start acting on errant

On Tuesday, the international media was awash with stories that Mugabe was
battling for his life at a Singapore hospital.

The story was triggered by a story carried by the UK based Zimbabwe Mail
website, which quoted unnamed Zanu (PF) officials.

The website claimed Mugabe had reached an agreement to transfer power to
Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa.

The mainstream MDC party has complained that Mugabe’s continued absence is
derailing government business. The party has demanded that Mugabe should
come out clean on the status of his health and stop holding the country to

Gumbo hit back saying Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also once missed
cabinet meetings after he got injured while playing golf.
“Why should we always make it a case whenever the president is away, no one
said anything when Tsvangirai was injured from what we hear was a golf
match, please let's not concentrate on trivial issues,” said Gumbo.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Three Whites Lose Farm To Mahofa

Roy Chikara in Masvingo Masvingo, April 11, 2012 - Three white farmers here
have been ordered to vacate their 5 526 hectare conservancy to pave way for
former deputy Minister for Gender and Youth, Shuvai Ben Mahofa.

Magistrate Jabulani Muzinyati last week ordered Terry Andres, John Taylor
and Grant Hudson to surrender the property to Mahofa who should take
occupation until 2033.

Mahofa a former legislator for Gutu south had been in a bruising court
battle for the Savuli Conservancy for the past four years.

She grabbed the conservancy under the controversial land reform programme
when she and former Bikita west Zanu (PF)legislator, Retired Colonel
Claudius Makova got an offer letter in 2007 to occupy the land.

Muzinyathi also dismissed the appeal by the three white farmers with costs.
They were represented by Wadzanai Chirongoma of Chihambakwe, Makonese and
Ncube law firm.

In their appeal, the three white conservatists had argued that an earlier
ruling had been made without taking into account all the submissions that
had been made and that Mahofa had not paid them compensation for the

In his ruling Muzinyati wrote “The respondents, jointly and severally,
including all those who claim occupation of Savuli Conservancy, through
them, be and are hereby ordered to vacate the conservancy upon service of
this order.

“The messenger of court is authorised to use reasonable force against all
respondents if any of them try to resist eviction. The respondents should
pay the applicant’s legal costs and are also ordered not to vandalise any
infrastructure in the conservancy.”

Last year other white farmers Digby Nesbit and Ronnie Sparow from Chiredzi
and Masvingo respectively lost similar properties to Zanu (PF) big wigs in
the province.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

12 Burnt To Death In Road Accident

By Vusisizwe Mkhwananzi West Nicholson, April 10, 2012 – Twelve people
including a pregnant woman and a toddler were burnt beyond recognition at
the 170 km peg along the Bulawayo – Beit Bridge highway when a Volvo haulage
truck collided head on with a South African registered Toyota Hilux on
Monday night.

The accident exposed the unpreparedness of the Civil Protection Unit as the
fire continued blazing by Tuesday afternoon while remains of the deceased
were only retrieved by midday Tuesday.

Gwanda is currently operating without a fire tender while the only trained
fire fighter passed away last week.

Police officers had to endure the agony of watching over the charred remains
overnight until the fire subsided Tuesday morning.

“It is unfortunate that such things happen and the CPU is unprepared,
however we hope they are learning from such mistakes”, said Provincial
Governor Angeline Masuku.

All the deceased were in the Toyota Hilux and were travelling back to South
Africa having been home for the Easter holiday.

“The driver of the Toyota Hilux is suspected to have fallen asleep before
encroaching into the lane of the oncoming haulage truck resulting in a head
on collision with the Toyota Hilux being dragged for almost 30 metres” ,
said Police Spokesperson Sergeant Loveness Mangena.

The accident comes hardly two weeks following the death of fifteen people in
a bus accident in Nyanga.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Vice President Mujuru's Name Used To Swindle Farmers

By Vusisizwe Mkhwananzi Collen Bawn, April 11, 2012 – Seven men and a woman
who purported to be spearheading Vice President Joice Mujuru’s chicken
project conned chicken farmers USD 2000 by selling them day old chicks.

Most of the broiler chicks have since died while those that had survived had
stunted growth.

“We really did not suspect that we were being duped especially after they
told us this was a Presidential project," said Nomathemba Moyo. "But we
realised we had been robbed the next day when the chicks started dying. The
suppliers’ mobile number has been out of reach ever since.”

Under the project farmers would buy chicks and have fowl runs and feed
supplied to them free of charge for four weeks before reselling them to the
supplier at USD 4 each.

The suppliers had provided feed sufficient for a single day and had promised
to return the next day with more feed and movable fowl runs.

While the farmers have reported the matter to the police nothing has been
done with police alleging they had little information to act on.

“None of the farmers got the names of these people or their identification
particulars. All their phone numbers are out of reach and in such a
situation our hands are tight,” said a police officer stationed at Collen

There is a shortage of day old chicks in Zimbabwe, resulting in imports from
South Africa and Mozambique to meet demand.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kasukuwere’s indigenisation damaging Zimbabwe

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 April 2012

Pronouncements by the Minister of Indigenization and Youth Empowerment that
the state now considered it owned 51 percent of mines that have not complied
with local ownership laws ‘are very damaging to the image of the country.’

Economic analyst Luke Zunga said Kasukuwere’s statements confuse and concern
investors: ‘Add to that he’s also calling himself Hitler. Who would surely
want to put their money in a country administered by maniacs calling
themselves Hitler of our time,’ Zunga said.

The analyst was referring to a statement made by Kasukuwere to Newsday in
which he told the independent daily paper he was seeking justice for people
and a restoration of their rights over the country’s resources, adding: ‘If
that is Hitler, let me be a Hitler tenfold.’

Kasukuwere placed a public notice headed by Zimbabwe’s coat of arms, in the
country’s state controlled newspapers on 5th April. It stated that all
mining companies who had not complied with the government’s indigenisation
policies should note that 51% of their shareholding was now owned by the

Just hours later this was described as ‘unlawful’ by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who said it is not government policy to nationalize companies.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka went on to add that the
government had not sanctioned the minister’s actions.

‘The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act does not empower the
Minister to unilaterally nationalise private entities and there is no reason
to create panic among investors by projecting the image of a voracious
government keen to grab compulsorily people’s companies without

According to Bill Watch, which monitors Parliamentary and Legal Affairs, the
Prime Minister’s use of the word unlawful is correct. The Parliamentary
watchdog said Kasukuwere’s pronouncements are ‘ultra vires’ (beyond the
legal power or authority of Kasukuwere) and devoid of legal effect.

‘The Government cannot take over mining businesses without proper legal
authority and there is no such legal authority – either in the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act or in any other Act of
Parliament, or in the Indigenisation Regulations or in General Notice 114 of
201,’ Bill Watch said in a statement.

Zunga warned Kasukuwere to be careful with what he says: ‘He should not take
investors for granted. These people are quick to move their money around
such that by the time he finishes closing his mouth, some money will have
already moved out of the country, whether he likes it or not.’

‘His pronouncements on indigenisation can be likened to a process of
disinvestment. He’s doing so much damage to the country in terms of
attracting investors. What we need now are jobs, foreign currency reserves
from investors, but what we are getting is exactly the opposite.

‘Government should speak with one voice in crucial areas like investment and
indigenisation because at the end of the day, the country suffers a lot from
these bad policies,’ Zunga said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Judge reserves judgement as Glen View murder case drags on

By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 April 2012

Hundreds of MDC-T supporters, friends and family members of the 29 MDC-T
members accused of murdering a Glen View policeman last year, were shocked
as Justice Bhunu reserved judgement on their bail appeal on Wednesday.

The group were seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court for their
bail consideration, which has dragged on without a decision in the lower
courts, with some of the activists now having served a year in remand. But
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu declined, saying he would give a ruling in writing.

The case has been postponed eight times since it started last month and
Defence lawyers wrapped up their submissions before Justice Bhunu two weeks
ago. The state has denied bail for the group claiming that they are flight
risks since their trial is pending.

Among those jailed for the alleged murder of officer Petros Mutedza is the
MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairperson Solomon Madzore, whose supporters crammed
into the court Wednesday.

The angry Youth Assembly spokesperson, Clifford Hlatywayo, immediately
lashed out at the decision. In a statement he said: “It looks like our
courts are operating like marshal courts. This behavior is unexpected,
unprofessional and above all anti people.”

Hlatywayo told SW Radio Africa that both the arrest and detention of the
Glen View activists are political and illegal, because there is no evidence
against any of them. There are also no witnesses linking them to the murder
and no justification for this long incarceration.

Asked why they were targeted, Hlatywayo said it was ZANU PF’s “election
strategy” to destroy the MDC-T ahead of polls expected in the country.
“People know this is an election strategy to decapitate us by arresting and
intimidating our supporters. They want to divert our focus to visiting
people in jail and in court rather than the real issue,” Hlatywayo

He said the group of 29 included party officials and members from Glen View,
Mufakose, Budiriro and Chitungwiza. The state insists the MDC members
murdered officer Petros Mutedza in a Glen View pub last year. But the MDC-T
say the cop was killed during a fight with drunken revelers.

The officials facing false murder and public violence charges are the MDC
Youth Assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, MDC-T National Executive
Committee member Last Maengahama, Budiriro Councillor Oddrey Sydney Chirombe
and Glen View Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere.

The MDC-T activists are Abina Rutsito, Augustine Tengenyika, Cynthia
Manjoro, Dube Zwelibanzi, Edwin Muingiri, Francis Vambai, Gabriel Shumba,
Gapara Nyamadzawo, Jefias Moyo, Kerina Dewa, Lazarus Maengahama, Linda
Muradzikwa, Lloyd Chitanda, Lovemore Taruvinga Magaya, Memory Ncube, Paul
Nganeropa Rukanda, Phineas Nhatarikwa, Rebecca Mafikeni, Simon Mapanzure,
Simon Mudimu, Stanford Maengahama, Stanford Mangwiro, Stephen Takaedzwa,
Tafadzwa Billiard, Yvonne Musarurwa.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

More delays as COPAC committee fails to resolve contentious issues

By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 April 2012

The three parties in the inclusive government were on Tuesday deadlocked on
the outstanding issues in the constitution-making process, presenting yet
another setback in preparations for fresh elections.

According to reports the MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said the
six-member COPAC Management Committee failed to agree on the devolution of
power, the Executive structure and dual citizenship at the crucial Tuesday

Biti reportedly explained that they had also differed on the number of vice
presidents the country should have and on the ways an individual could lose
their citizenship. Unresolved issues mean a delay in presenting a draft of
the constitution to the three principals.

The problematic issues must now be referred to the principals who need to
reach agreement on these contentious issues, before the Management Committee
meets again. The committee members from the three parties are Biti and Elton
Mangoma of the MDC-T, ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche and
MDC-N’s Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Madock Chivasa from the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) criticized
the methods used in the constitutional process and the committees
responsible for it, saying it is “contrary” to what the NCA advocates.

“We believe that it cannot be the duty of those in power to try and lead the
process to come up with the laws that are used by those in power,” Chivasa
explained, adding that the current process is being led by members of
parliament and senators, who have their own political agendas.

“We believe an independent commission comprised of different groups
representing different views should be tasked with asking people what they
really want in the constitution,” Chivasa said.

The activist explained that the proper method to draft a “people’s
constitution” is to include all the views expressed in the outreach stages,
then allow the majority view to stand out through a referendum.

“We are shocked when they say that they are deadlocked. The assumption is
that they know what all the other groups want, what the women want, and what
youth groups want,” the NCA spokesperson said.

Chivasa told SW Radio Africa that the NCA will embark on “a massive
 campaign” to discourage Zimbabweans from voting in the referendum, whenever
the COPAC draft is completed.

With ZANU PF pushing for elections this year, with or without a new
constitution, only time will tell whether the MDC formations will be forced
to give in and join them or boycott these early elections.

The constitutional process is already nearly two years behind schedule.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War of Words Intensifies Over Zimbabwe's New Constitution

10 April 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

The war of words between Zimbabwe's former information minister Jonathan
Moyo and the select committee responsible for writing the country's new
charter intensified Tuesday with co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora revealing his
committee wants the acerbic Moyo tried for contempt of parliament for
continuously attacking the constitution-making process.

Mwonzora of the Morgan Tsvangirai Movement for Democratic Change formation
told the VOA Moyo, a ZANU-PF politburo member, has gone too far and needs to
have his wings clipped.

Writing in the state-controlled Sunday Mail this week, Moyo attacked the
constitution making process and the select committee saying it has been
hijacked by the “mafia that has become desperate and is now resorting to
fallacies, to secure its floundering regime change or succession interests.”

Moyo, a lawmaker, has been critical of the parliamentary committee tasked to
write the new charter and his critics say he's one of the hawks in President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party pushing for elections this year even in the
absence of reforms or a new constitution.

Moyo is also being criticized by colleagues in his own party who think he's
overstepping his mark. Select committee co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana
of ZANU-PF was quoted by the independent Daily News Tuesday saying he's
confused as to what Moyo’s real motives are.

Mangwana said Moyo was “behaving worse than National Constitution Assembly
chairman Lovemore Madhuku” whose organization has openly denounced the
process. The NCA has long criticized the current constitutional writing
process saying it will not produce a document driven by politicians and not
the ordinary people.

Madhuku told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri the select committee, however
disgusted it can be by Moyo’s criticism, has no power to have the lawmaker
tried by parliament.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Deputy Transport Minister Mudzingwa Dies

Harare, April 11, 2012 - Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure
Development and former secretary of defence in Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, Tichaona Mudzingwa has died,
the party announced Wednesday.

"The MDC has learnt with shock and sadness over the death of Senator
Tichaona Mudzingwa, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural
Development. He was 69," the MDC said in a statement.

Dr Mudzingwa, who was born on December 23, 1942 died at the privately owned
Avenues Clinic last night after a short illness.

Mudzingwa, Zimbabwe’s first specialist war surgeon was in March 2009
nominated by Tsvangirai to be a non-consistency senator and in the same
month was appointed the Deputy Minister for Transport and Infrastructural

"He started his political career in January 1960 when he joined the National
Democratic Party’s Youth Wing, while learning at Fletcher High in Gweru. He
is a former member of Zanu (PF) and ZAPU and underwent military training as
a guerrilla fighter in Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia," the MDC said.

"Senator Mudzingwa is a war veteran and during the liberation war was a
member of the Military High Command from 1975 to 1980. He is the first
medical doctor to receive full military training and to be deployed to the
military front in Zambia and Mozambique from 1975 to 1980 when Zimbabwe
attained its independence."

Dr Mudzingwa served in the Zimbabwe National Army, he was retired army
Colonel, and he served in the army from 1980 to 1994. He was commander of
the Zimbabwe Medical Corps and was awarded several medals for his service in
the army, the MDC said.

He was a founding member of the MDC.  From 2000 to 2006, he was the MDC’s
Secretary for Health and Security. In 2005, he was the MDC candidate for
Buhera North constituency in the Parliamentary election.

He died still practising as a medical doctor. Burial arrangements will be
announced in due course.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Media Commission Seeks Gov't Assistance to Ban Foreign Publications

10 April 2012

Tatenda Gumbo & Violet Gonda | Washington

The Zimbabwe Media Commission has approached the information ministry and
other government departments to help facilitate the banning of foreign
publications it says have failed to register to continue operating in the

Information secretary George Charamba told the state-controlled Herald
newspaper the ZMC had notified his office of its decision to have the
publications, among them the United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean, and South
African newspapers The Sunday Times and the Mail and Guardian, banned for
failing to regularize their operations in Zimbabwe

He said the commission sought his ministry's advice since it can only
enforce the law through the assistance of relevant government ministries.

The commission is also seeking support from the finance and home affairs
ministries to help stop the papers from circulating in the country, accusing
the foreign newspapers for continuing to sell in the country without
following a 2010 directive to register with the commission.

Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, all foreign
publications must set up local bureaux for distribution purposes.

Said Charamba: “The Zimbabwe Media Commission Board chairman has since
written a letter to the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster
Shamu to fully advise him on their resolution to stop the circulation of
foreign publications who were failing to comply with the law."

“We expect this to be implemented any time soon since the ZMC board is
constitutionally formulated.These foreign publications are being extremely
irresponsible as corporate citizens."

Exiled publisher Wilf Mbanga told VOA that due to pressure to remain
circulating his Zimbabwean newspaper in the country, he has applied for a
publishing license.

“We have now set up a Trust inside Zimbabwe and we have applied to publish
from Zimbabwean soil and print from Harare,” said Mbanga. “We didn’t have a
choice. They were either going to close us down because we hadn’t applied or
we could apply and continue to exist. So we really didn’t have an option.”

But Mbanga said he was not going to Zimbabwe because “there is still a
warrant for my arrest and until that is sorted I won’t even consider going

Andrew Moyse director of the Media Monitoring Project said the move is meant
to stifle the foreign press in the country.

"The law had not envisaged this situation arising and they are having
trouble trying to find the clause that will allow them to shut down these
newspapers," said Moyse "It's not that they must comply with the law, I
don't think the law is there."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe 'in dire need' amid Mugabe rumours

The World Today

Posted April 11, 2012 16:36:51

As Zimbabwean officials furiously deny reports president Robert Mugabe is
gravely ill, an Australian aid worker says most of the infrastructure in the
country has collapsed.

Reports circulated yesterday that 88-year-old Mr Mugabe was in hospital in
Singapore and had agreed to hand over power to his defence minister Emmerson

The reports follow WikiLeaks' claims last year that Mr Mugabe had prostate
cancer and had only years to live, but the Zimbabwean government says it is
all a load of "hogwash".

UNICEF Australia's chief executive Norman Gillespie has just returned from
Zimbabwe and says rumours surrounding Mr Mugabe's health are nothing new.

"There's been a great deal of uncertainty over the last 2.5 years and many
suggestions that Mugabe is on his last legs. So we take this with the usual
pinch of salt. It may well be he's very ill; it may well be he's not," he

"But I think our role is to look beyond that as to whoever is in charge
there, how do we get this country back on its feet?

"It was once the bread basket of Africa, it had the greatest education
system, good health; all of that totally collapsed, the country is in dire
need of assistance."

The United Nations says 1.5 million Zimbabweans need food aid.

Dr Gillespie says UNICEF and Aus-Aid have a $33 million partnership in
Zimbabwe to improve water, sanitation, agriculture and education.

"Australian aid programs and working with NGOs (Non-Governmental
Organisations) like UNICEF are making an enormous difference," he said.

"They're taking a very smart approach to this to help start building from
the ground up those services which have been decimated. The water doesn't
work, the electricity goes off."

He says water and agriculture are the biggest problem areas.

"The crops have been decimated, there's very little left to export; there's
some tobacco, there's some cotton. Really that's got to be built from the
bottom up as well. But I do come back to the basic infrastructure is what is
missing," he said.

"If there is no water system, there is no way of actually getting that back
on its feet."

Dr Gillespie says Mr Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has been more open to working
with aid groups and NGOs but more needs to be done.

"This country will come back, Zimbabwe will come back to a great economy
because their people are so resilient," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WOZA teams up with key Egypt activist for seminar

By Alex Bell
11 April 2012

Zimbabwe pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) on Wednesday teamed
up with a key Egyptian activist in the UK for a seminar on human rights and
the power of the public.

Jenni Williams, the WOZA coordinator, was set to address the seminar in
Coventry alongside Sherif Joseph Rizk, whose work helped lay the foundations
of the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt last year. Rizk was due to talk about
his part in the occupation of Tahir Square in Cairo.

Williams meanwhile was set to talk about her campaign to improve social and
political rights for women in Zimbabwe.

Williams recently scooped the coveted Ginetta Sagan Amnesty International
USA award in recognition of her efforts to protect the liberty and lives of
women and children. She is the second Zimbabwean woman to receive the award
in four years, after Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni won it in 2008.

Since 2003 Williams has led peaceful protests involving thousands of women
and men, who have all endured harassment, arrests and violence for demanding
social and political reforms in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

WOZA also encourages women and men to speak out about issues they may be too
fearful to raise alone, including domestic violence and rape.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliament urged to do more to protect Zim conservancies

By Alex Bell
11 April 2012

Zimbabwe’s parliament has been urged to step in and prevent the continued
destruction of the country’s conservation areas, which have been targeted by
illegal settlers.

The Chiredzi River Conservancy and the Save Valley Conservancy have been
worst hit, with thousands of people moving in and attempting to clear land
for crops. The result has been the killing of thousands of animals meant to
be under protection in the areas, including hundreds of elephant and rhino.

A recent report by the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources,
Environment and Tourism identified Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge
and several top military and political figures as the individuals behind the
destruction of Save Valley Conservancy.

The report says the forced seizure of the conservancy by top political and
military figures with “no interest (or) experience in wildlife conservation”
had resulted in massive destruction of the conservancy.

“Save Valley conservancy had ceased to exist in its original form: there is
extensive habitat destruction, large scale fence destruction and rampant
poaching of animals, especially the rhino whose numbers were said to be fast
dwindling,” the report said.

The committee also said that under the country’s land reforms, conservancies
were supposed to be restricted to indigenous ‘investors’ with demonstrable
“interest and experience in wildlife conservation (as well as the) capacity
for business development and ability to contribute to the asset base.”

But Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
(ZCTF), explained that these ‘investors’ know nothing about conservation and
the destruction has therefore been allowed to continue unchecked.

The parliamentary report said that, “the allocation of indigenous
beneficiaries that include General Engelbert Rugeje, Hon. Sithole, Hon.
Senator Hungwe, Mr. Ndava, Hon. Minister S. Mudenge, Hon. Governor T.
Maluleke, Mr. Cladman Chibemene, Rtd. Lt. Col. D. Moyo, Mrs Mahofa and Mr.
A. Baloyi according to the list submitted to the committee was not based on
business principles.”

Rodrigues agreed, explaining that the allocation was a “token of
appreciation for supporting the regime.”

Despite this damning report on the situation at Save Valley, there has been
no action from Parliament. Rodrigues said that there needs to be more action
from Parliamentarians to enforce the laws that are in place to protect areas
like Save Valley.

“The problem is that it is the animals that are paying the price and just
this weekend we lost two more rhino in the area. There are a lot of high up
people involved and all the care about is greed. They are stealing from
future generations,” Rodrigues said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutharika: Mugabe's party accuses prophet of conspiracy

By Kitsepile Nyathi

Posted  Wednesday, April 11  2012 at  12:35

A senior official of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF on Wednesday
launched an astonishing attack on Nigerian evangelist Temitope Balogun (TB)
Joshua accusing him of playing a role in the death of Malawian President
Bingu wa Mutharika.

Professor Mutharika succumbed to cardiac arrest last Thursday after the
popular evangelist in February prophesised the death of a southern African

The prophet gave his congregation of the Synagogue Church of All Nations
last Sunday the day and date of the death.
TB Joshua’s prophecy created anxiety in Zimbabwe with a private newspaper
running a series of stories suggesting it was targeted at President Robert

But Professor Jonathan Moyo, an MP and member of President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu PF party’s top decision making body – politburo - told state owned
media Prof Mutharika was killed by his enemies who used TB Joshua.
He claimed the death of the Malawian leader was as a result of an
intelligence operation and TB Joshua was used to divert attention from the

“TB Joshua’s involvement in this tragedy smacks more of a plot than a

“One thing for sure is that there is no prophecy here but just a prediction
if one is to give him a benefit of doubt,” Prof Moyo claimed.

“This leaves open the questions as to what happened because to neutral
people there appears to be more to the saga than meets the eye.

“In some circles there is even spirited speculation that TB Joshua had
privileged intelligence information about a death plot against President wa
Mutharika and the plotters used him as their microphone to divert attention
and let the death appear like it was an act of God when it was an
intelligence operation.”

He said the precise prediction showed that TB Joshua had medical information
and “not from God.”

“It’s possible to medically induce a cardiac arrest no wonder why his death
was first leaked by his doctors.
“If you start seeing people making such prophecies it shows that the world
is coming to an end as said in 2 Timothy 3 verses 1-5 about false prophets.

“I have no doubt in my mind that TB Joshua is a false prophet.”

On Sunday, TB Joshua told a church service that the Malawian leader was
aware the prophecy referred to him.
He claimed Prof Mutharika had written to him about the prediction.

The government controlled Herald newspaper also quoted a church leader with
close links to Zanu PF accusing the private media of dragging President
Mugabe’s name into the prophecy.

“There is nothing wrong with TB Joshua’s prophecy because the intention was
for the church to pray about it so that it could not happen or that there
would be no crisis,” said Reverend Obadiah Musindo.

“It is unfortunate that the private media here hijacked the prophecy to suit
their regime change agenda when they tried to claim it on President Mugabe.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mangoma imperils US$600m ethanol project

11/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Gilbert Nyambabvu

ENERGY Minister, Elton Mangoma has ruled out mandatory blending of petrol
and ethanol in a development that leaves the US$600 million Green Fuels
ethanol project in the lurch and likely imperils some 5000 direct jobs the
company has created.

Green Fuels is holding onto 10 million litres of product and has stopped
ethanol production at its Chisumbanje plant after running of storage space
leaving thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs and adversely
impacting farmers who supply cane to the mill.

But Mangoma said the company was free to export its ethanol if it was
struggling to sell the product locally.
“They are already licensed; they are free to export their product,” Mangoma
told the Herald newspaper.

However, in a statement to, Green Fuels said the “option to
export remains open to us and it’s a route we are exploring” but added that
Mangoma needed to understand that the product would simply be imported back
into Zimbabwe at a higher cost.

“Ethanol is in demand in South Africa (where mandatory blending is in place)
and other regional countries due to the high fuel prices,” the company said.

“However, the morally disturbing fact is that exporting ethanol would be
imported back at a cost to the Zimbabwean consumer. In all likelihood, this
country would re-import ethanol blends from South Africa, as unleaded
petrol, therefore buying back a locally produced product at a premium

Market uptake of the company’s E10 fuel (a 10-90 ethanol and petrol blend)
remains limited with motorists concerned about its pricing and possible
adverse impact on their vehicles while service stations do not have the
infrastructure to store the product.

Green Fuels has been lobbying the government to introduce mandatory blending
with company officials insisting the policy, backed by higher blending
ratios would help lower prices as well as significantly reduce the country’s
fuel import bill.

But Mangoma categorically ruled out the policy, insisting the State could
not be seen to be legislation for an “individual”.
“We cannot have legislation for individuals, because that would set a bad
precedent,” he said.

“We have already licensed them (Green Fuels), they are already on the market
selling their fuel. I have not followed to see the volume which they are
selling. Let’s not create a problem which is not there.”

Green Fuels said it was not correct that mandatory blending would benefit
“one individual” as suggested by Mangoma adding the company was in fact a
joint venture between two private companies and the government through the

“This is a National Project, spearheaded by Zimbabweans for fellow

We believe that if the minister were to visit the project he will be able to
see the benefits it has brought to the community, and potential to benefit
the country,” the company said.

“There are a further two ethanol producers in the country, who are exporting
their entire product because of an unfavourable policy environment and they
have been following our story with hope that a mandatory blending policy
would be something that would be of benefit to them as well.

“That Minister Mangoma can reduce this proposed law to “something
benefiting) one person is a very disturbing development and clearly
indicative of a position based on a lack of appreciation of the massive work
being undertaken by Zimbabweans on the ground.
“We continue to hope that a site visit will rectify Minister’s

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe considers waste-to-energy plants

11 April 2012

The Harare City Council in Zimbabwe is in talks with a local gas company,
considering a joint venture to enable electricity to be generated from waste
collected from nearby sewage works.

About $3 million (€2.28 million) will be needed to fund the project, which
will take a year and a half to build.

One plant, called Firle, is expected to produce 2.5MW whilst the other,
Crowborough, should generate 0.6MW.

However, the Firle sewage works was investigated last month and deemed
unsafe as it was discovered its workers were not wearing adequate clothing
to deal with the waste and were at risk of disease. It was also criticised
for only treating half of all the waste that was sent to the sewage site.

However, if the proposed development does go ahead, anaerobic digesters will
be used to turn the waste into power, and it is thought this is just the
beginning of the council’s plans for a more energy efficient capital.

The council is also in talk with the Infinate Energy Zimbabwe company to
take biogas from the Golden Quarry and Pomona landfills that are situated
close to the capital.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Implats may set up Zimbabwe refinery

10/04/2012 00:00:00
    by Business Day

PLATINUM producer, Zimplats is reported to have agreed to set up a refinery
in Zimbabwe as pressure mounts on platinum producers to beneficiate minerals
inside the country.

Zimplats deputy chairman Muchadeyi Masunda said the company had committed to
setting up a refinery in Zimbabwe. "Despite all that has happened … the
smelter and refinery project is on course."

Current production levels are considered too low to sustain a refinery. The
platinum output of the top platinum producers in Zimbabwe is below 500000oz.

However, Zimplats has revealed that it intends to ramp up its output to
270000oz from 180000oz after the successful implementation of its phase two
expansion project.

Mimosa, jointly run by Implats and Aquarius Platinum, on the other hand, is
planning to double its production to 200000oz a year from 100000oz.

Masunda said Zimplats "initially set aside $500m for the beneficiation
project" and was assessing "the kind of infrastructure required" for the

He said it was necessary for Zimplats to "be assured of adequate stockfeed
going forward".
Zimbabwe’s decision to push the beneficiation of raw materials is based on
job preservation and creation.

However, Amplats CEO Neville Nicolau has previously said platinum miners
could look at setting up an "industry refinery" in Zimbabwe in about five

Zimbabwean analysts emphasised that Zimplats would require about $2bn to set
up the refinery, which "would be difficult under current conditions" that
are fraught with legislative hurdles.
Others said, however, that Zimplats could agree to set up the refinery under
phase three of its expansion project.

This comes as Zimbabwean officials said last week that the government was
looking into complaints by the mining industry that ground rentals, fees and
taxes would curtail production and drastically reduce profitability.

"The ministry is presently reviewing the impact of these fees on the mining
sector," mines ministry permanent secretary Prince Mupazviriho was quoted

Zimbabwe hiked pre-exploration fees for most minerals by as much as 8000% in
January, while registration charges for platinum and diamond claims rose to
$2,5m and $5m, respectively.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA remittances to Zimbabwe among costliest, report finds

The cost of sending remittances from SA to Zimbabwe is among the highest in
the world
Published: 2012/04/11 08:34:20 AM

CAPE TOWN — The cost of sending remittances from SA to Zimbabwe is among the
highest in the world, research by the lobby group People Against Suffering,
Oppression and Poverty (Passop) has found.

The report, due to be officially released today, found that 91% of
Zimbabwean migrants in SA send money home regularly. Given that an estimated
2-million Zimbabweans have emigrated to SA over the past 10 years, the
report estimates that close to R7bn was remitted last year, making
remittances one of the most important sources of foreign currency inflows
for Zimbabwe.

The report established that the average cost of sending money to the country
was between 12% and 15% of the total amount remitted. The costs in
comparable corridors, such as Mexico and the US, are much lower, at between
3% and 5%.

Passop programme co-ordinator David von Burgsdorff said yesterday that the
high cost of sending remittances could be ascribed to a number of factors,
including stringent foreign exchange regulations in SA and the monopoly the
"big banks" had.

"The monopoly that the big banks have mean that they can keep the prices
high. Also the service providers such as MoneyGram have to be linked to
these banks, which will keep the prices high," Mr von Burgsdorff said.

The report also found that roughly three quarters of migrants prefer using
informal channels such as bus drivers and friends to remit money, rather
than the banks and money transfer operators, despite the lack of reliability
and inefficiency of informal channels.

Mr von Burgsdorff also said that it was in the interests of the South
African government to facilitate the formalisation of remittance flows.
"Rather than increasing the volume of flows, the effect would be to make
flows more transparent and to increase the liquidity and efficiency of the
financial sector in SA," Mr von Burgsdorff said.

"Thus, remittances from SA to Zimbabwe represent a huge source of untapped
potential for development on both sides of the border that is currently
being mitigated by high transfer costs and impeded by stringent and
inefficient regulations".

Mr von Burgsdorff said that if the formalisation of remittance flows was
pursued comprehensively, remittances could realise their potential and play
an invaluable role in the reconstruction of the Zimbabwean economy.

"This, in turn, is the only way to address the currently high level of
Zimbabwean migration to SA".

Chief economist at Pan-African Capital, Iraj Abedian said yesterday that the
high cost of remittances was another example of bank charges in SA being
"excessively" high.

"It is a known fact that bank charges in SA are excessive," Mr Abedian said.

"The high cost of remittances hit the poor the hardest," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Imprisoned youths open to abuse
Photo: Micheal Coghlan/Flickr
Zimbabwe is said to be witnessing an increase in juvenile offenders, although official statistics are not available
HARARE, 11 April 2012 (IRIN) - Simon Dube*, 15, has just been released from a Zimbabwean jail after serving a three-month sentence for theft. After his arrest he was detained for two days in a holding cell in Harare, where he alleged police assaulted him to extract a confession that he stole goods from his neighbour’s home.

Dube’s mother, who declined to be identified, told IRIN that after her son’s return from jail he had become withdrawn, has frequent temper tantrums, as well as a persistent cough and symptoms of scurvy.

“He suffers frequent nightmares and often wakes up crying. He doesn’t tell us much about his experiences in jail but it is easy to see that he went through a tough time,” she said.

Dube was remanded in custody for seven weeks prior to his trial.

Dzimbabwe Chimbga, programme manager of local NGO Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said juveniles were jailed for numerous crimes, including armed robbery, theft, fraud, rape and murder, but his organization was “alarmed that the minors are lumped up with hard core criminals in cramped conditions” while awaiting trial, sometimes for six months.

“Zimbabwe has no policy of separating the juveniles, whether they are awaiting trial or have been convicted, and this trend is pervasive throughout the country. It is a fundamental human rights violation as it subjects them to sexual, physical, psychological and emotional abuse, not to mention the fact that the health and food situations are horrible,” he said.

Chimbga said ZLHR had received an acknowledgment from the Justice Ministry that there was a need to establish a detention facility specifically for juvenile offenders.

“Existing infrastructure in our prisons is not conducive for juveniles and female prisoners with children,” said prisons commissioner Paradzai Zimondi during a tour of prisons in 2010.

''It is now generally accepted that young people commit offences due to the harsh socio-economic circumstances that are currently prevailing''
Official figures on juveniles serving jail terms are not available.

Struggling to survive

“While we have not carried out a survey to ascertain the trend of juvenile crime, I would not quarrel with the fact that Zimbabwe is currently grappling with one of the highest unemployment rates, and many families are struggling to generate income, a situation that is driving children to fend for themselves and family members through criminal activities,” said Chimbga.

Caleb Mutandwa, programmes director of the local NGO Justice for Children Trust (JCT), told IRIN: “There has been an increase in juvenile crimes as seen by the number of cases we receive. It is now generally accepted that young people commit offences due to the harsh socio-economic circumstances that are currently prevailing.”

Mutandwa said his organization was piloting a programme called the “pre-trial diversion programme”, to assist in the rehabilitation of young offenders, but it was currently only available to youths who had not committed serious offences.

The aim, he said, was to “provide offenders with the opportunity to re-think their lives without going through the stigmatizing and unnerving criminal justice system.” The programme included counselling, voluntary compensation for their victims and meetings with them, as well as cautions by the police and influential community members.

*Not his real name


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Blood Diamonds on the British High Street, New Visualisation Launched to Raise Awareness

Press Release

11 Apr 2012 WDM Group PR Network

LONDON, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Ingle and Rhode, London jewellers with a commitment to ethical
diamond-sourcing, have launched a new infographic to communicate with
consumers why a diamond certified through the Kimberley Process does not
guarantee it is conflict-free.

The infographic draws attention to the fact that while the Kimberley
agreement aims to guarantee the diamonds certified under the process do not
help finance rebel armies, it does however allow the funding of oppressive
governments which use diamond wealth to tyrannise their own people.

Tim Ingle from Ingle and Rhode explains, "The Kimberley Process only
addresses diamonds produced in areas controlled by rebel militias. It
doesn't take into consideration violence committed by government forces.

"It is important that consumers are aware that the Kimberley Process does
not guarantee that a diamond is conflict-free. In order to know whether a
diamond has been ethically produced you need to be able to trace it back to
its source."

The graphic focuses on diamond production in Zimbabwe, the seventh largest
producer of diamonds in the world.  The graphic details the human rights
abuses in the area and the amount of money that is suspected of bypassing
the national purse, going straight to the president's allies. Since this
conflict does not involve warring rebel militias, the KPCS considers
Zimbabwe diamonds to be conflict-free.

To build this graphic, Ingle & Rhode presented data about the increase in
diamond production in Zimbabwe and looked at some of the political
ramifications of the increase in state revenue. Almost 60 million US dollars
worth of diamond revenue is suspected of bypassing the national treasury
completely, going straight to president Robert Mugabe's personal and
political allies.  It is feared much of the funds will contribute to the
continued repression of free-speech, state sponsored violence and
intimidation of political opponents of Mugabe's party, Zanu PF.

The infographic illustrating these key facts can be found here:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The MDC Today – Issue No. 333

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The MDC Chief of Staff, Abisha Nyanguwo was yesterday arrested and detained
at Gweru Central Police Station on false charges of malicious damage to

Allegations by the police against Nyanguwo are that, his vehicle was last
year in December, seen in Mvuma collecting explosives before going to Gweru
where he planted the explosives at the Zanu PF offices resulting in the
offices blowing up.

He is expected to appear at the Gweru Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow.

On 22 March 2012 heavily armed police officers raided Nyanguwo’s residence
in Harare, claiming to search for weapons of war and mass destruction before
they impounded his Isuzu double cab truck alleging that it was used to bomb
the Zanu PF offices.

Early this year, police in Gweru arrested three MDC members, Shepherd
Marange, Douglas Tsuro and Silas Mutendeudzwa on charges of bombing the Zanu
PF offices but were released later.

It has become obvious that whenever a crime is committed, the police are
quick to arrest MDC supporters without evidence that they committed the

The Party is worried by the partisan manner police are conducting their
duties and condemns the actions in the strongest terms.

The People’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dust to dust: who’s next?

There was fear, expectation and trepidation throughout Zimbabwe when the
famous Nigerian prophet, TB Joshua, indicated that an aged and ailing
African head of state would die within 60 days. Zambians thought that this
would be the end of Michael Sata.
by John Makumbe

Malawians thought the reference was to their detested dictator, Bingu wa
Mutharika. Zimbabweans wished it would be the Commander-in-Chief of the
Defence Forces, Robert Mugabe. Angolans thought that this would be the end
of their unpopular socialist leader, Eduardo dos Santos. Well, now we know
that the poor old man referred to was none other than Bingu wa Mutharika of

Millions of Zimbabweans both inside and outside the country were sorely
disappointed, not because they loved wa Mutharika even a little bit, but
because they so detest their own dictator that they wished it had been him.

The passing of wa Mutharika and the events following his demise contain
numerous lessons for all of us. First, we now realise the significance of
having a clear line of succession which is agreed and acceptable to the
people. The Malawian Constitution provides that should the President be
incapacitated in any way, the Vice President should take over the reins of
power. Wa Mutharika had, two years before he died, expelled Ms Joyce Banda
from the party, but he had not replaced her as Vice President.

Some members of Mutharika’s party tried to prevent her from taking up the
mantle arguing that she no longer was a member of the departed President’s
party. Fortunately for her, good sense and constitutionalism prevailed, and
she was sworn in as Malawi’s President. Malawians must be congratulated for
being the first southern African country to be led by a female President.
Let us hope that the trend will continue and that Africa will finally regard
women as equally capable of leading their countries as men are.

We have two Vice Presidents, but it is not clear which of them will take
over when Mugabe vacates office unceremoniously for any reason. Should John
Nkomo take over, it is likely to be argued that Zimbabweans accepted him
because he is a man. Should Joice Mujuru take over it is likely to be viewed
as aimed at sidelining the Ndebele people in favour of the Zezuru or Shona

It is therefore important that our next constitution, now in the making,
should clearly spell out the succession line to avoid political instability
when sudden death or other forms of incapacitation occur. We hear that wa
Mutharika was grooming his own brother to take over from him, but his sudden
death scuttled the whole sordid plan.

The third lesson we need to learn from events in Malawi is that there is no
one who is invincible. Death can visit anyone, whether President or common
citizen, at any time, and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent their
death if God’s time has arrived.

Those who pray that they should live until they are 100 have now been
adequately warned that they might even struggle to reach 90. It is therefore
time to set the house in order, lest your legacy is trampled upon long
before you are interred.

Perhaps the last lesson we should learn from our neighbouring president’s
death is that excessive polarisation of the populace can easily lead to
serious levels of political destabilisation. Throughout Zimbabwe, there was
a lot of fear of what would happen to all of us should sudden death visit
our dear leader.

As things stand right now, there is very likely to be considerable
disagreement within Zanu (PF)regarding who should take over. This is likely
to manifest itself by way of assassinations, arrests, disappearances and
other evils. We should all work towards living with each other in harmony
regardless of our political allegiances. We do not really know who is next,
do we? What we know is that there will be many other prophecies, and they
will be accurate again.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Let's not be too quick to mourn the passing of Mugabe

Archie Bland

Wednesday 11 April 2012

It's always a little unbelievable when the possibility of the death of
someone like Robert Mugabe is raised. So long has he been around, and so
brutally has he dominated Zimbabwe's political life, that even though we
might like to, it's hard to imagine the world without him.

Nor is this seeming indestructibility confined to the bad guys. Nelson
Mandela is very frail, and even though a series of rumours have given us the
opportunity to get used to the idea of his passing, it doesn't quite seem
like it will ever be real. I fully expect to be drawing my pension and find
our own dear Queen is still sitting on the throne, with perennial Prince
Charles still looking peevish in the background.

Normal people never seem so permanent. Perhaps it's because they don't have
the magic, indestructible dust of grand institutions and historical events
rubbing off on them in the same way – or perhaps it's because they don't get
such expensive healthcare.

As the Mugabe rumours continue to fly, it occurs to me that the totemic
importance that such endings assume – their status as markers of new eras –
is actually terribly dangerous, whether we like the ailing statesman in
question or not.

Mugabe is a case in point. His death would be warmly greeted in many
quarters. But those who imagine a new era of peace and prosperity under
Morgan Tsvangirai should consider the fearsome rise of Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the Zanu-PF defence minister said to be Mugabe's preferred successor.
Mnangagwa, the man who masterminded the violence that opposition MDC
supporters faced during the last election, is very far from the beacon of
hope that the most appealing narrative of Mugabe's death would suggest
should come next.

Something similar is true in South Africa; Mandela might remain the
definitive reminder of how South Africa's changed, but it's silly to imagine
that his death will have more than a symbolic significance to the future of
the country. Even in this country, I suspect there are those who imagine
that the next royal succession will trigger some kind of rebirth for the
monarchy. It won't. Things will simply trundle on.

Any theory of history that relies on the idea of decisive moments is bound
to be dangerous (see the invasion of Iraq, among other examples, a nightmare
of unintended consequences and unending engagement). Mugabe's death might be
an impending reality, or it might be an optimistic invention.

But even if it is real, those who expect it to be transformative will still
be in the realms of fantasy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Can Mugabe order elections like a take-away?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 11 April 2012.

By pushing for ‘elections without reforms now’ President Robert Mugabe may
have realised his mistake of leaving the succession issue up to the last

Despite the regime’s diversionary tactic of playing victim over the fallout
from Mugabe’s latest expensive visit to Singapore, the reasons for hurried
polls deserve a thorough interrogation. As the President, his actions are
open to public scrutiny.

Other than ageing and health woes, Mugabe’s agitation for quick polls is
arguably influenced by fear - the fear of a new constitution which is likely
to trim presidential powers; the fear of losing a free and fair election and
the fear of recriminations for the sins of the past. But elections are not
like ‘Singapore noodles’ which can be made to order.

Constitutional experts have pointed out that under the present heavily
amended constitution which Mugabe now prefers for elections, the Executive
headed by the President has too much power that impinges on the lives of
ordinary people.

Although, the situation has changed slightly since the GPA brought about the
principle of consultation, Mugabe still gets his way.

The Executive has power:

a.    over the Legislature e.g. the President has power to appoint members
of the Senate who include Provincial Governors and so summon, adjourn and
dissolve Parliament
b.    over the Security Forces e.g. the President is the Commander in Chief
of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
c.    over the Judiciary – the President appoints judges
d.    to appoint Cabinet Ministers and Permanent Secretaries
e.    to appoint Ambassadors and members of constitutional commissions
f.    to declare war and make peace – the President can do that
g.    to exercise the prerogative of mercy – the Presidential amnesty
h.    to confer honours and precedence e.g. to declare hero status

The most notorious piece of legislation is the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act (PPTM Act) which allows the President to make
regulations on virtually any subject, if he thinks urgent action is needed
in the general public interest.

The controversial act was authored by the late justice minister, Eddison
Zvobgo in 1986 when the late Canaan Banana was a ceremonial President as a
‘stop-gap measure’ in urgent cases and for 6 months (e.g. when Parliament
was in recess).

However, since Mugabe became an executive president, the Act has courted
controversy especially ahead of elections. For example, in 1995, Mugabe used
presidential powers to create positions of executive mayors because Zanu-pf
was losing political support in urban areas.

In 1997, he used the same powers to ban industrial action after a spate of
strikes. In December 2003, government altered land regulations to allow the
State to compulsorily acquire farm machinery and equipment from farms
previously owned by white land owners (see The Zimbabwe Standard, “Mugabe
accused of abusing presidential powers,” 24/02/04).

In 2008 Presidential Powers Statutory Instrument no.46 of 2008 (Amendment of
the Electoral Act) was criticised for allowing police officers back into
polling stations but most importantly made incapacitated voters to vote in
the presence of police officers.

To critics, the 27 June 2008 presidential election was heavily militarised
and the resultant ballot was ‘more a barometer of people’s fears than of
people’s choices.'  Presidential powers were criticised too. Little had
changed from previous polls.

To borrow from Professor Booysen, “The Zanu-pf government of Zimbabwe in the
period 1999-2002 used a complex combination of constitutional-legal and
paralegal-supralegal measures in conducting elections and reclaiming
liberation movement zeal” (Susan Booysen, ‘The Dualities of Contemporary
Zimbabwean Politics,’ African Studies Quarterly,,htm).

The implications for democracy are overwhelming considering what happened
prior to and during 2008 - with all the violence, the emergence of a culture
of impunity, corruption, greed, looting, the selective application of the
rule of law, perverted justice and the violation of human rights.

Based on experience and given the possibility of Mugabe using or abusing the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act in a partisan manner in a
future election, it makes a lot of sense to control the powers of the
Executive especially the President (whoever gets elected), through key
reforms including:-

a.    the amendment to the Electoral Act;
b.    getting rid of alleged CIO operatives within the Zimbabwe Electoral
c.    amendment of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act;
d.    the restoration of the Diaspora Vote also called dual citizenship for
millions in exile;
e.    cleaning-up of the voters’ roll said to have an estimated 2 million
ghost voters;
f.    adoption of a new democratic constitution in a peaceful referendum;
g.    reforming the security sector by doing away with political
partisanship (should emulate the Malawi Defence Forces for example);
h.    enactment of a Human Rights Commission Act with powers to investigate
pre-2008 abuses;
i.    restoration of public confidence in the judiciary e.g. being

Any sham elections in Zimbabwe will definitely destabilise the country and
the region more than the 2008 presidential run-off did, therefore people
should reject them.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

Back to the Top
Back to Index