The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Zim Online

Mugabe appoints trusted lieutenants to key ministries

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe last night appointed trusted
lieutenants to the key Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs
in a bloated Cabinet meant to appease rival factions of his ruling ZANU PF

      ZANU PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, who last year
said Mugabe was Zimbabwe's Messiah "sent by the Almighty to lead Zimbabwe .
. . the best thing that has ever happened to the African continent," is now
State Security Minister, a key and influential post in Mugabe's secretive

      Mutasa will be in charge of the feared state spy Central Intelligence
Organisation known for hunting down, victimising and sometimes eliminating
troublesome opposition activists. He will also be in charge of a new
government food task force that oversees importation and distribution of
food in the country, where four million people face starvation.

      Zimbabwe's ambassador to former colonial master Britain, designated
the arch-enemy by Mugabe, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, takes over as Foreign
Affairs Minister from Stan Mudenge who has been demoted to the less
influential Higher and Tertiary Education Ministry.

      Mudenge supported former government propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo in
a plot to block the elevation of Joyce Mujuru to second vice-president of
ZANU PF. His downgrading is in line with demotions of nearly all the key
figures that tried to block the rise of Mujuru whom Mugabe openly preferred
for the vice-presidency, seen as a key post to the top job.

      But Mugabe made sure none of his squabbling followers got away
empty-handed with a new and strange Ministry of Rural Housing and Social
Amenities created to accommodate former parliamentary speaker, Emmerson

      Mnangagwa, long viewed as Mugabe's choice of successor, leads the
other faction of ZANU PF that also included Moyo. He lost the
vice-presidency to Mujuru and his banishment to the obscure Rural Housing
Ministry appears to signal the end of his presidential ambitions.

      Long-time Zimbabwe representative to the United Nations, Tichaona
Jokonya, takes over as government chief spin doctor at the Ministry of
Information and Publicity. The information job is one of the most crucial
posts in a government that must churn out propaganda on a daily basis to
defend and justify its policies, blamed by many for turning one of Africa's
most vibrant economies into a basket case.

      Ever-loyal Sydney Sekeramayi was retained as Defence Minister, so was
Kembo Mohadi at Home Affairs and Herbert Murerwa, acting Finance Minister
since last year takes over at the ministry.

      But Murerwa's ministry, which used to be called the Ministry of
Finance and Economic Development was split up to create another and separate
Ministry of Economic Development and in the process creating a job for
Rugare Gumbo.

      Matabeleland North governor Obert Mpofu makes a return to Cabinet as
Minister of Industry and International Trade replacing Samuel Mumbengegwi.

      Patrick Chinamasa, who led the purging of independent judges from
Zimbabwe's bench, was retained at the Justice Ministry, his sins after
joining Moyo in trying to block Mujuru's rise clearly forgiven.

      Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, who has endlessly bungled since
being first appointed in 2000 was retained in his post.

      Made is infamous among Zimbabweans for falsely claiming in 2002 and
again last year that the country had enough food when millions were and are
facing starvation.

      Also retained are Education Sports and Culture, Aeneas Chigwedere;
Health and Child Welfare, David Parirenyatwa; Local Government and National
Housing, Ignatius Chombo; Transport, Chris Mushowe; Mines and Mining
Development Amos Midzi, Youth Development and Employment Creation, Ambrose
Mutinhiri; State Policy and Implementation, Webster Shamu; Indigenisation
and Employment Creation Josiah Tungamirai and Small and Medium Scale
Enterprise Development Minister, Sithembiso Nyoni.

      Besides Mnangagwa's ministry, three other new ministries were created
with former army general and governor of Manicaland province Mike Nyambuya
appointed new Minister of Energy and Power Development.

      There are various other lesser important ministries of state which
although technically not considered full ministries do still draw huge votes
from the fiscus.

      Although clearly at pains to ensure everyone got a seat on the gravy
train, Mugabe gave all the key posts out of the total 30 ministries to
members or allies of the Zezuru-led faction of powerful former army general
and Mujuru's husband, Solomon. Mugabe himself belongs to the same Zezuru
clan of Zimbabwe's majority Shona tribe. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

Mozambique president snubs Mugabe
Sat 16 April 2005
  JOHANNESBURG - Newly elected Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, has
deliberately side-stepped visiting Zimbabwe, amid allegations that he is not
happy with the manner in which the just ended parliamentary poll was

      Guebuza was elected into office in November last year after trouncing
Alfonso Dhlakama, the leader of Mozambique's main opposition Renamo party.

      Sources within his delegation, which has been visiting Southern
African Development Community (SADC) states, said Guebuza did not want the
international community, which has condemned the Zimbabwe election, to put
him in the same boat with Mugabe who is accused of human rights abuses.

      Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party won 78 seats against the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) 41. Another seat went to an
independent Jonathan Moyo, who is Mugabe's former information minister. The
MDC has refused to accept the election results alleging massive rigging by

      "We have so far visited Angola, Botswana and South Africa. We have
deliberately side-stepped Zimbabwe because it is coming out of a
controversial election," said a senior Mozambican government official in
Johannesburg yesterday, where Guebuza is currently on an official state

      "We will visit Zimbabwe and Namibia sometime, not now because we do
not want to be seen as the first country to endorse the government there by
undertaking an official state visit," added the official.

      Mozambique's ruling Frelimo party observed last month's polls but the
party is yet to pronounce its verdict on the polls. But regional powerhouse
South Africa, and the SADC election observers have all said the poll
reflected the will of the Zimbabwean people. - ZimOnline

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Zim Online

FEATURE: Independence hype fails to inspire Bulawayo residents
Sat 16 April 2005
  BULAWAYO - The official hype around Zimbabwe's 25th Independence
anniversary appears to have eluded the country's largest city of Bulawayo.

      President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party, fresh from
securing an overwhelming two-thirds parliamentary majority in last month's
disputed election, have gone all out to create interest in the holiday with
a variety of "Silver Jubilee" features in both the government-run print and
electronic media.

      For example, news readers at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, the
country's sole radio and television broadcaster, now preface each news
bulletin with a count down to Monday, April 18, the date when Zimbabwe was
born out of the ashes of the British colony of Rhodesia.

      But with just a few days to go to the "big day", residents in the
country's second biggest city seem indifferent to the public holiday as they
channel their energies to looking for food and fuel which are all in short

      "Really there's nothing to celebrate on Independence Day. It means
nothing to me because I cannot afford anything, I cannot afford to further
my studies privately and I can't have one decent meal a day," said Nobuhle
Dube from Bulawayo's rich suburb of Famona.

      But Dube, as with most residents here will not readily admit that her
lack of interest in the "Silver Jubilee" has as much to do with the poverty
and severe hardship that is the reality of independent Zimbabwe as it has to
do with disputed results of last month's parliamentary election massively
won by ZANU PF.

      The majority of residents in this city, which is a key stronghold of
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, are still
trying to accept their party's defeat in last month's parliamentary

      The fact that the government is alleged to have fiddled with the
numbers to secure victory in the March 31 poll makes it even more proper for
many here not to get involved with an independence anniversary ceremony
hosted by the same government.

      Farai Sibanda, a factory worker in Bulawayo's Belmont industrial
section, said Mugabe's habit of using state occasions to heap scorn on the
MDC was another reason he will not take party in the 25th independence
anniversary celebrations.

      He said: "I will not be going to the celebrations because there's no
political tolerance. I can't go to the celebrations wearing my MDC T-shirt.
And, I will not want to hear my party being scolded and ridiculed. I would
rather stay at home."

      Besides, said the 32-year old Sibanda, he has little to celebrate
given as he might be jobless in the next few weeks as his company is on the
verge of collapse due to shortages of foreign currency to import raw
materials and machine spares.

      The six-year long foreign currency shortage crisis is just one in a
long list of shortages of vital commodities and services Zimbabweans have
had to endure.

      Public hospitals have become in the words of one opposition
politician, "places where people merely go to die," because of a shortage of
medicines and equipment. Public schools are also collapsing because there
are no books while teachers are routinely on strike for more pay and better
working conditions.

      Food, electricity, fuel are all in short supply in Zimbabwe since 1999
when the International Monetary Fund cut balance-of-payments support to
Harare sending the economy on a tailspin. Chaotic and often violent land
reforms undertaken by the government in 2000 destabilised the key
agricultural sector to send the economy deeper into the mire.

      Under the circumstances, Diana Sithole, a widow from the poor suburb
of Pumula says she has neither cause nor time to celebrate.

      "Day and night, I am thinking of where to get food, clothes and school
fees for my family. On Independence Day, I will be at home fasting and
asking God to intervene to end our suffering as a country. We are
 suffering," said Sithole.

      But Maxwell Mkandla, who fought in Zimbabwe's 1970s war of
independence feels Zimbabweans should just be grateful that they are still
alive despite the poverty and hardship and political polarisation.

      "We should spend Independence Day thanking our Creator that we are
managing to stay alive despite all the problems of hunger, disease and
political persecution," said Mkandla, a distinctive tone of resignation so
common among many Zimbabweans today noticeable in his voice. - ZimOnline
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Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2005 3:52 PM
Subject: Warming the same seat

Dear Family and Friends,
On lamp posts, telephone poles, street signs, walls and trees in Marondera
town, the tattered remnants of Zimbabwe's election have not been cleared
away a fortnight after the event. Ninety nine percent of the posters
advertise the ruling party and say: "We are proud to be Zimbabweans on our
land" but to the hundreds of unemployed young men who sit on walls and
pavements around the town, the words offer no comfort.

For two days this week large parts of Marondera town have had no water or
just an explosive air lock followed by a rusty trickle and it has become
common to see women walking with 20 litre plastic drums on their heads
going to find water so that they can cook food, wash clothes and keep
their children clean. I am sure that these women draw little comfort from
the incessant propaganda about "our land". Urban women, living in towns
like Marondera with a population of almost a million people, suddenly find
themselves having to revert to practices common to their mothers and
grandmothers who lived in remote rural areas of the country. It is a sad
indictment of a country which celebrates 25 years of independence this

A fortnight after the election there is no maize meal, sugar, salt or eggs
in Marondera's shops so there can't be many mums and housewives getting
solace from the posters about "our land." For a brief moment there was a
little buzz of interest this week at the opening of parliament. That
excitement didn't last long though because the House opened and even
though some of the Zanu PF MP's had lost their constituencies in the
election, they regained their places when they were appointed by the
President using his 30 reserved parliamentary seats. The House opened, the
MP's were sworn in and then, with one swift "The Ayes have it", Parliament
was adjourned to the 28th of June - a long two months away. President
Mugabe announced his new Cabinet this week and that too has almost no
changes, offers no inspiration and promises yet more of the same. Even the
Minister of Agriculture who hasn't been able to secure food for the people
for the last four years is still warming the same seat in Zimbabwe's sixth

Perhaps the only thing that really caused a stir this week was the news
that six new fighter jets have arrived in the country - in defence of "our
land" no doubt. Until next time, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle
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ABC, Australia

This is a transcript from Correspondents Report. The program is broadcast
around Australia on Sundays at 08:00 on ABC Radio National.

      Growing evidence of electoral fraud in Zimbabwe
      Correspondents Report - Sunday, 17 April , 2005
      Reporter: Rochelle Mutton
      HAMISH ROBERTSON: There's growing evidence that last month's elections
in Zimbabwe, in which President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF Government swept
back to power, involved massive electoral fraud.

      ZANU-PF says it won 78 seats, with an extra 30 seats elected
personally by the President.

      But the result is being fiercely disputed, with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change claiming the total number of votes cast in 45
seats was later artificially inflated to favour the ruling party.

      Rochelle Mutton compiled this report in Zimbabwe's second city,

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: In the months leading up to the Zimbabwe election,
human rights groups, civil society, unions, and charities all said the poll
would not be free or fair.

      Yet in the last days, opposition optimism swept the country.

      MDC ADVERTISEMENT (singing): Vote MDC, vote for a better life.

      Vote MDC, vote for a better life.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: Slick campaigning was in, violence was out. There was
momentous support for the opposition MDC. It was promising food, jobs, and
hospitals, and suddenly people believed the MDC would win.

      (sound of crowd cheering)

      The opposition MDC candidate, David Coltart, is due to show up at this
rally any minute now. There's about 600 people in this hall, with people
peering in through the windows trying to get a view of what's going on. The
spirit is quite electrifying in these 2005 elections.

      MDC SUPPORTER: For five years or so we've hardly had any people come
to meetings like this, because they've been very scared.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: The Government's notorious secret police, the CIO,
hadn't gone away. One agent at David Coltart's rally was taken head on.

      DAVID COLTART: Understand that your murder, your rape, your arson,
your detention, your threats have failed.

      (sound of cheering)

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: But on the eve of the elections the MDC optimism was
shattered. Worrying reports came flooding in.

      (to Docozane Koupe) What's this latest news that you've heard about
attempted bribery, it sounds?

      DOCOZANE KOUPE: One of my polling agents who was approached by ZANU-PF
members who were trying to bribe her.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: Docozane Koupe is an MDC MP.

      DOCOZANE KOUPE: They said to her they wanted to bring their own ballot
papers. Using the backdoor they wanted to switch over boxes.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: After I heard this I went into a nearby township with
an MDC member who secretly used my voice recorder to find out more about the
bribe, worth a few thousand dollars, offered earlier that day.

      (sound of woman speaking)

      This ruling party official has just returned from the last ZANU-PF
meeting before the election, she acknowledges she made a cash deal, but
says, "Now we're not doing it that way."

      (sound of woman speaking)

      "I'll sort you out with some land," the ZANU-PF official offers in
return for complicity.

      That same night before the election, ZANU-PF announced new rules for
the opposition so difficult to follow many of the MDC's 24,000 observers
were banished from polling stations.

      Counting was systematically delayed, results were illegally withheld.

      In many of the rural areas, the new rules ensured only ZANU-PF agents
oversaw the election processes. It was from these seats that President
Robert Mugabe's regime achieved a majority.

      David Coltart was one of 41 MDC members to win his seat, less than
half the seats, he says, MDC would win in a fair count.

      DAVID COLTART: In the vast majority of polling stations the count only
began, at the earliest, at 11pm. That was, in our view, to give them time,
to amend the results, to stuff ballots, and that, as well, is the reason why
there were great pains to ensure that our election agents were not present
at the count.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: My investigation into the bribery attempt indicated
the ruling party official wanted to bring false ballot papers in the

      This week, the MDC provided evidence that a quarter of a million votes
were added onto the Government's own polling figures in the 48 hours
following the election night.

      The MDC feels its hands are tied. It says the courts are biased;
Southern Africa observer teams endorsed Mugabe's victory.

      MDC ADVERTISEMENT: Vote MDC. New Zimbabwe, new beginning.

      ROCHELLE MUTTON: The optimism of the opposition's campaign is a fast
fading memory.

      (sound of MDC rally)

      While it can take heart from its broad support that survived
Government oppression, for now, there is no new beginning.

      HAMISH ROBERTSON: That report compiled in Bulawayo by Rochelle Mutton.
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Mugabe sets task of economic revival
Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:14 PM BST

By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - President Robert Mugabe's new cabinet faces an uphill
task reviving Zimbabwe's economy, with analysts saying any recovery will be
hard and slow due to Western sanctions imposed over his controversial rule.

In a reshuffle announced late on Friday following last month's disputed
parliamentary election, Mugabe brought in a couple of new faces to key posts
but kept most of the old guard.

Critics accuse Mugabe of ruining one of Africa's most promising economies
through policies such as seizing white-owned farms for black citizens -- a
charge he denies.

Mugabe, 81, who marks 25 years in power on Monday, said the new ministerial
line-up would focus on driving the economy out of five years of recession.

Leading economic consultant John Robertson said the mission was a tough one
as Zimbabwe had lost vital development aid and loan facilities from Western
donors who have imposed sanctions over charges of vote rigging, rights
abuses and land seizures.

"I don't see how the economy is going to be put on a sustainable recovery
path without a change of policies, and there is no suggestion that the
government is going to change its policies," Robertson told Reuters on

"Without massive aid and goodwill, without loans, and a few slow-moving
programmes from our so-called new benefactors from the Far East and Asia,
it's going to be long and hard."

Mugabe said on Friday his government would tap into its new "Look East"
policy to boost investment in agriculture, mining and infrastructure to help
revive the economy which has shrunk by more than 30 percent in five years.

He has actively courted trade and investment from countries such as Iran,
China, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Indonesia and Singapore after coming under
sanctions from the European Union and the U.S.

They say Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party rigged parliamentary elections in
2000 and this year and the presidential poll in 2002 to stay in power.

Mugabe denies the allegations. "Let the outside world recognise that we are
independent and sovereign and are prepared to chart our own way to our own
destiny," he said on Friday.


Economic analyst Eric Bloch said while it was good for Mugabe to set his
sights on the economy, his government must work harder to repair strained
relations with Western powers.

"We don't have resources, and we need all the help we can get," he said of
an economy which has severe foreign currency and food shortages and suffers
intermittent fuel problems.

Mugabe kept Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa, who is credited with helping
to slow the economic slide since taking the job last year.

He also named former ambassador to Britain Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as foreign
minister and handed the information ministry to Tichaona Jokonya, a former
ambassador to the United Nations and most recently head of Zimbabwe's state
tourism body.

ZANU-PF swept 78 of 120 seats in the March 31 elections while the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won just 41 seats -- 16 down on 2000.
One seat when to an independent.

The result gave ZANU-PF a two-thirds majority in the 150-member house thanks
to 30 extra seats for presidential appointees and traditional chiefs.

Leading Western governments and the MDC accuse ZANU-PF of rigging the polls,
although most African observer missions gave the election high marks.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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Chiluba ordered to stay on home soil
          April 16 2005 at 12:04PM

      Lusaka - The Zambian government has blocked former president Frederick
Chiluba, who is standing trial on corruption charges, from attending
national day celebrations in neighbouring Zimbabwe, an official said on

      Chiluba was among several African former heads of state invited by
Zimbabwe to attend the country's 25th independence day celebrations.

      "The government refused to release the passport of the former
president to enable him to leave the country to attend the independence
celebrations in Zimbabwe," Chiluba's spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said.

      Chiluba's passport was confiscated after he was arrested for
corruption, theft of public funds and abuse of office after he ruled this
Southern African country from 1991 to 2001.

      Mwamba said initially the government had refused to finance the trip
to Zimbabwe but when Chiluba indicated that he would personally foot the
bill, they declined to give him his passport.

      "We feel the former president is being victimised because they are
denying him his right of movement," Mwamba said.

      This is the third time that Chiluba has been stopped from travelling
by government.

      Last year, the government stopped him from travelling to London for
medical treatment saying he could receive similar treatment in Zambia. He
was later blocked from leaving the capital Lusaka for a holiday in
Livingstone near the border with Zimbabwe.
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Comment from The Pretoria News (SA), 15 April

Observers are welcome - if there's nothing to hide

Disingenuous to suggest it is foreign interference

By Peter Fabricius

Southern African countries know how to run and observe elections "and don't
need outsiders chaperoning" them how to do so, Mineral and Energy Affairs
Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka declared in Harare on the day of Zimbabwe's
parliamentary elections. She was there as the leader of the Southern African
Development Community's election observer team which eventually found that
the elections were fine. The South African government came to the same
conclusion. The Minister was commenting on - and implicitly approving - the
Zimbabwe government's refusal to invite election observers from Western
countries and organisations, like the European Union, because it wished to
avoid foreign interference. The fact that Zimbabwe also failed to invite the
Commonwealth somewhat gave the lie to this justification, suggesting that
Robert Mugabe's government excluded any organisation likely to disapprove
the elections, as the Commonwealth had last time.

Mugabe's ex-information minister Jonathan Moyo was fond of berating
Westerners for insisting on observing African elections but not
reciprocating. The US in particular, he said, did not want observers to come
and see it rigging elections like the presidential poll in Florida in 2000
which won George W Bush the White House. But then the American NGO Fair
Election International did in fact invite international observers -
including several South Africans, among them members of the Independent
Electoral Commission - to observe the 2004 elections. Brigalia Bam, head of
the IEC was part of a team which observed the election preparations. She
said the election officials they met were rather bemused - and at first
rather reluctant - to be observed by foreigners but did not try to obstruct
them. In their report, these observers said the US electoral system was "in
considerable distress". Confidence in and the equity of the system was
"compromised by ambiguities in election standards, partisan oversight and
problematic voting equipment". The report implicitly suggested, though, that
these problems had not changed the overall result. But had the vote count
been closer, the problems "could have thrown the elections into protracted
dispute" - as in 2000.

And now the British government has invited international observers -
including also members of SA's IEC and Department of Foreign Affairs, to
observe the May 5 parliamentary elections. They will be there from May 2 to
May 6, meeting officials, including those of Britain's elections commission
and then splitting into groups closely to observe actual voting on May 5.
British officials stress that this will not be an official election
observation mission - more of a study tour - but that the observers will
nonetheless have "the same access to the election process as anyone else"
and will, of course be free to report on their findings. These missions
rather undermine the arguments of Mlambo-Ngcuka, Jonathan Moyo and others
that Africa does not need foreign chaperones to help it observe
fellow-Africans elections. If the US and Britain tolerate or even welcome
Africans to come and observe their elections, why not vice versa? Inviting
observers does not imply that one is incapable of running or monitoring
one's own election, as Mlambo-Ngcuka and others suggest, either
over-sensitively or perhaps disengenuously. It is merely that if you have
nothing to hide, then why stop anyone observing your elections? And if they
are really free and fair, then the more people who say so, the better.

By limiting the observation of its elections almost exclusively to
fellow-Africans, Zimbabwe only helped to undermine the credibility of those
observers, rather than raise the credibility of its elections. The tentative
efforts by the United States and United Kingdom mentioned above, should
perhaps be expanded, formalised and institutionalised into some form of
standardised international election observation effort. Making election
observation as inclusive as possible, in this way, would be far better than
the sort of suspect, exclusive approach advocated by Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Democracy is a universal value. African democrats are no better qualified
than any others to observe African elections. And they are no worse
qualified than any otherss to observe non-African elections.
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The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Tuesday April 5th - Sunday April 10th 2005
Weekly Media Update 2005-12



1. General comment

THE just-ended parliamentary elections underscored the repressive
legislative environment under which journalists are operating in the
This followed the arrest of two British journalists and the deportation of a
Swedish one, who were all accused of breaching sections of the draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

In its story on the arrest of the British based Sunday Telegraph
journalists, Julian Simmonds and Toby Harnden, The Herald (1/6) reported
that the two were arrested and charged with committing illegal journalism, a
violation under AIPPA, for allegedly taking pictures of voters in Norton
without accreditation. Secretary for Information and Publicity George
Charamba was quoted using the incident as ammunition to reinforce
government's attack on Britain saying the two's arrest showed "the utter
disregard the British have of Zimbabwean laws".
Added Charamba: "We did not accredit them. ... Their presence in the country
is an act of defiance and an act of lawlessness. ... All that goes to show
that the British media borrow its attitude and politics from the British

In another related matter, The Herald and the Chronicle (2/4) reported that
the authorities had deported a Swedish journalist, Fredrick Anders Sperling
for violating AIPPA and the Immigration Act.
According to the two government dailies, Sperling, who was accredited to
cover the elections, had allegedly embarked on "another mission" to
"stage-manage an incident" aimed at undermining "government's land reform
and resettlement exercise". Reportedly, Sperling "teamed up" with a former
Norton farmer, a Mr. Whaley and "stage-managed" interviews with former
farm-workers at Kwayedza Farm.

But it is not only journalists who have borne the brunt of the country's
repressive laws. Scores of individuals, including members of the opposition
have been arrested under the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA),
which unreasonably restricts Zimbabweans' freedom of association and
But it also contains sections curtailing freedom of expression, by - among
other restrictions - creating the crime of denigrating the office of the
President. And this week The Daily Mirror (8/4) reported that a Bulawayo
woman, Vulisizwe Sibindi, who was arrested at Beitbridge border post on
allegations of breaching POSA, had been released after the court threw out
the State case against her. Sibindi, who had been in detention since March
25, was arrested after the police found her in possession of books they
claimed "contained information denigrating President Mugabe".

Similarly, The Herald (6/4) reported that an MDC supporter Artwell
Murungweni appeared in court facing charges of denigrating President Mugabe
after the announcement of the initial election results. Murungweni was also
charged under POSA.
Although the media exposed such cases, they passively reported them without
viewing them as part of the authorities' use of patently undemocratic laws
to unreasonably restrict and control free expression in Zimbabwe.

2. Election aftermath

THE parliamentary election dominated media coverage during the week with
focus mainly on the confusion surrounding the two sets of election figures
released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), follow-up stories on
the observers' reports and incidents of politically motivated retribution.

a) Election Results and observers' reports

The government media continued to celebrate ZANU PF's victory and amplified
the election outcome as a true reflection of the will of the people in 104
Fifty-four of the stories were on ZBH stations (ZTV, Radio Zimbabwe and
Power FM) while the rest appeared in government newspapers.
The MDC's concerns over the possibility of electoral fraud were dismissed
out-of-hand and the party was presented as a sore loser.

For example, ZTV's 28 stories on the conduct of the election only
highlighted endorsement of the poll by observer missions, electoral
authorities, ZANU PF officials and selected members of the public, among
others, without balancing such opinion with a fair assessment of the
allegations of election rigging by the MDC.
This unprofessionalism resulted in the government broadcaster selectively
using MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's campaign speeches to portray him as a
"chameleon" that could not be trusted.
For example, ZTV (5/4 6pm and 8pm) carried two stories contesting that
although Tsvangirai now claimed that the election was rigged, he had
actually assured his supporters "on several occasions" that "people will
speak come March 31". As a result, it added, the opposition leader's claims
that "the outcome of the recent poll doesn't reflect the will of the people
shocked many observers and analysts".
However, neither of the two stories quoted commentators supporting this
assertion nor was Tsvangirai or his party given a right to respond.

Rather, the station (6/4, 6pm and 8pm) carried two more stories in which it
reported analysts telling the MDC to accept the election result since even
Tsvangirai had agreed that government had "created a level political playing
field with no room for rigging..."
Again, Tsvangirai was not accessed for comment. But to support its argument
the station showed file tapes of the MDC leader telling his supporters,
among other issues, at rallies in Chinhoyi and Masvingo that "this time
around the election will not be rigged as the MDC had been tipped on the
tricks of the trade by none other than Professor Jonathan Moyo (former
Information Minister)".
How such comments constituted an admission by Tsvangirai that the elections
would be held under free and fair conditions was not explained.
Radio Zimbabwe's 12 stories on the matter and Power FM's 14 were not
different: they either echoed or amplified the ZTV stories.

The government Press followed suit.
The papers used regional observers' reports to endorse the election outcome
but dismissed Western countries concerns on the matter. For example, The
Herald (7/4) portrayed the US judgment of the election as hypocritical by
presenting its observations as contradictory.
The paper claimed that an initial statement issued by US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice commending Zimbabweans for turning "out in great numbers"
on election day contradicted that country's post-election statement
condemning the poll. The paper claimed Rice's statement showed that the US
would have endorsed the outcome if the MDC had won, but had only changed its
view because the opposition had lost. However, an analysis of the statements
displayed no such contradiction as Rice had only commended the peace that
characterised voting day but criticised the electoral process, as did the
other US' statement.
But The Sunday Mail's pro-government columnist Tafataona Mahoso still
maintained that the US had issued "contradictory statements" on the poll.

Although the government Press' sourcing pattern seemed diverse as Figure 1
below shows, all but the MDC endorsed the election outcome.

Fig 1 Voice distribution in the government Press

Voice Total
MDC 12
Alternative 11
Business 1
Electoral bodies 7
Ordinary people 6
Foreign observers 12
Government 3

Notably, the MDC was only quoted in passing and its concerns on the conduct
of the election were drowned in comments that approved the poll. ZBH's
sourcing pattern, as shown in Fig 2, was no different from its Press

Fig 2 Voice distribution by ZBH

Medium Foreign diplomats Electoral authorities Analysts Povo
Lawyers Journalists ZANU PF MDC
Radio Zimbabwe 4 3 4 1 0 0 0 0

Power FM 5 4 1 4 0 0 1 1

ZTV 7 5 2 11 2 6 9 3

None of the voices, even those of the MDC, were critical of the conduct of
the poll. Notably, the three MDC voices, all by Tsvangirai, were merely
cited in the context of the opposition party leader encouraging party
supporters to vote in the poll.

The government media's unwillingness to fairly discuss the irregularities
that marred the electoral process was further exemplified by the way it
suffocated open debate on the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC)'s unclear
explanations on the discrepancies in the initial figures of the total votes
cast the commission announced in 72 of the 120 constituencies and the final
Although ZBH reported on the matter, it subordinated the discrepancies
debate to ZEC's certification of the poll as having been conducted "properly
and in peace", ZTV (7/4, 6pm).

The government Press, which gave the issue more coverage, did not report it
any better. For instance, The Herald and Chronicle (8/4) passively quoted
ZEC chairman George Chiweshe saying the initial voting figures were
"preliminary results" adding that only the final figures should be
considered as "no other figures...come to play". The papers tried to lend
credibility to the figures by reporting an "unnamed" MDC official as having
agreed that ZEC's final figures were correct.
To protect the ZEC's credibility, The Sunday Mail carried a puff interview
with Chiweshe allowing him to repeat his claim that the figures his
commission initially issued after the close of polling were "not official"
but meant to inform the public on the "voting trends" and "that at such and
such a time we estimate that in a certain constituency or province so many
people would have gone to the polls".
The paper, like its sister publications, failed to ask Chiweshe why his
commission had not categorically stated this when it announced the initial
Neither would it ask Chiweshe why his commission had not released
'estimates' for the remaining 48 constituencies, which were not given after
the announcement was stopped abruptly, or why ZEC had not publicised results
of each polling station, if indeed the whole process was as transparent as
he claimed.

Instead, the government papers carried 15 opinion pieces endorsing the poll
result and vilifying the MDC. However, they were not alone in their slavish
endorsement of the elections.
The Mirror stable also carried five stories and four opinion pieces that
endorsed the election outcome while being dismissive of the MDC's concerns.
They too reported passively on Chiweshe's attempts to clarify the cause of
the two different sets of election figures released.

Other private media were more probing.
For example, in one of 14 stories Studio 7 (7/14) carried on the topic it
reported that two opposition parties in South Africa, the Democratic
Alliance and Freedom Party, had criticised the declaration by the SADC
observer mission "that Zimbabwe's polls were 'peaceful, transparent and
credible' before verifying allegations of fraud" raised by the MDC. It also
publicised in three stories the concerns on the fairness of the election by
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the National Constitutional Assembly and
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

In addition, Studio 7 carried six stories related to the irregularities
surrounding the poll, four of which were on the MDC's evidence of the
alleged rigging and its subsequent threats to boycott Parliament. The rest
were based on ZANU- PF's response to the MDC's threat of a parliamentary
boycott and the ZEC's dismissal of the opposition party's rigging claims.
Despite its denial of poll rigging, however, the ZEC was unable to furnish
Studio 7 (7/4) with the total number of people who had voted in the poll,
with Chiweshe only reported as saying: "He did not know as the figures would
be provided in due course."

Similarly, the Zimbabwe Independent (8/4), in one of the 23 stories the
private Press carried on elections, noted that Chiweshe's statements were
unconvincing because he had failed to adequately explain the exact
discrepancies in the election figures. It noted, for example, that Chiweshe
failed to explain how his commission compiled its initial figures. Neither
would he confirm whether all polling agents were allowed to witness
counting, particularly at stations located at the homesteads of chiefs.
The paper also revealed that contrary to the impression created by the
government Press that the region had unquestioningly endorsed the results,
SA President Thabo Mbeki was reported to be "investigating" the

In fact, Studio 7 (9/4) and The Standard (10/4) exposed more evidence of
poll irregularities when they reported that Zaka District Administrator
Nyashadzashe Zindove was found with seven ballot boxes and ballot papers at
his home. In addition, The Standard reported that a presiding officer in
Zaka West was also arrested after she allegedly "lost" a ballot box in
unclear circumstances.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted by the privately weekly
confirming the incidents. However, he later claimed in The Herald (12/4)
that he was misquoted saying he never "talked about ballot boxes allegedly
found at the DA's residence" but only on investigations "in which ballot
papers were lost".
However, the Studio 7 report claimed that Masvingo police confirmed
Zindove's arrest, saying the DA was nabbed as a result of "a tip-off
provided by his wife following a domestic dispute".

The Financial Gazette seemed to be a victim of the government Press'
misrepresentation of issues when it reported that the African Union observer
team, "which initially hailed" the elections as "free and fair" had made a
"U-turn" and called for investigations into alleged irregularities.
But nowhere in its statement did the AU say the election was 'free and
fair'. It was only the government media that contrived the continental
body's relatively cautious report to mean that it had unequivocally endorsed
the election. Actually, the AU's recommendation to investigate electoral
irregularities was in the same statement that it issued immediately after
the election.
Although the private media were more critical in their approach, they, like
the government media, failed to extract the elusive truth about the total
number of people who cast their ballots and those who were turned away and
resorted instead to providing percentages of the total number of registered
voters the figures constituted. Neither did they provide the total number of
spoilt ballots nor take to task ZEC's failure to announce credible total
figures of voters per constituency and those who were turned away.

The Daily Mirror (4/4), which came close to covering this aspect, merely
reported that "over half of the electorate did not vote" but did not give
definitive statistics.
The constituency results were published in The Sunday Mail and the Sunday
News (3/4), but incredibly neither paper provided any total number of voters
nationwide in their front-page stories declaring ZANU PF's two-thirds
majority. Nor did they give a breakdown of the number of votes for the two
major contesting parties. They merely confined their stories to the
"inroads" ZANU PF made into MDC territory, citing a selection of the ruling
party's victories. Nor was there a coherent national percentage turn-out
given. In their constituency lists, the papers' figures disagreed in several
cases with those given for the 72 constituencies on ZTV in the early hours
of April 1st and there were some incredible results regarding spoilt papers,
where for example, The Sunday News reported that there wasn't a single
spoilt paper in Mberengwa East.
It is important that the media seek clarity on the issue because the final
election results tabulated by the Press were inconsistent - and the ZEC has
failed in its duty to provide the nation with unequivocal figures that

b) Political Violence and Retribution

ZBH carried 16 reports related to politically motivated violence, four of
which were reported by ZTV and six aired apiece by Radio Zimbabwe and Power
FM. The ZBH stations recorded five incidents of politically motivated
violence perpetrated by alleged MDC supporters against ZANU PF supporters,
members of the public and facilities. Almost all of the cases (ZTV (one) and
two each by Radio Zimbabwe and Power FM) originated from the police. One of
the cases, reported by all three stations, was on the alleged violence
committed by MDC youths during their demonstration in central Harare against
alleged electoral fraud.

However, ZTV (5/4, 6pm and 8pm) only reported the demonstration in
retrospect, basing its story on assurances by police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena that the police would remain on "high alert" in the "face of MDC
threats to unleash a reign of terror" following the police's arrest of 10
MDC activists in Harare in connection with "disturbances" that resulted in
some shops being "looted". ZTV's footage did not show its audiences any
evidence of looting.
Such biased coverage by the government broadcaster was also evident in the
way it (5/4, 7am) reported Bvudzijena's reiteration that winning candidates
in the poll should "celebrate responsibly to avoid provoking others" but
continued to report unquestioningly on the mock burials of losing MDC

For example, in its main bulletin (2/4) ZTV showed footage of ZANU
supporters in Gwanda provocatively celebrating Abdenico Ncube's victory over
MDC candidate Paul Themba Nyathi by carrying a coffin inscribed "P.T. Nyathi
Rest in Peace".
On the other hand, government newspapers and the Mirror stable seemed to
have largely ignored reporting cases of politically motivated violence. The
only incident both covered (The Herald and Daily Mirror 6/4) was on the
assault of MDC candidate for Hurungwe West Biggie Hamadziripi Haurobi by his
polling agents for allegedly failing to pay them.
The Herald's report (5/4) on the MDC demo claimed that "rowdy" MDC
supporters went on a "rampage in Harare... beating up people and stoning
shops in an illegal demonstration".

But besides a dark picture of a section of the Intermarket Bank, which was
allegedly stoned, and a personal account by the paper's reporter, who was
allegedly beaten up, no substantive evidence was provided to back up the
paper's claims that the MDC had "unleashed violence".
Rather, the paper and its sister publications carried nine follow-up reports
on the police warning the MDC to desist from engaging in violence and the
arrests of those suspected to have been involved in the protest including
the party's youth leader Nelson Chamisa.

In comparison, the private media carried several stories highlighting cases
of political retribution perpetrated by alleged ZANU PF activists against
suspected MDC supporters. The Independent and The Standard carried three
reports on the issue and recorded eight incidents. Six of these appeared in
one story in the Independent and the remainder in The Standard. Three of the
eight incidents were confirmed by the police while the rest were only based
on the MDC and the victims' claims.
The incidents ranged from the assault of MDC supporters, the burning down of
their homes and the denial of food to suspected opposition supporters.

Similarly, Studio 7 carried seven stories on post-election related violence
and rights abuse and recorded four incidents. The crimes were reported as
having been committed by ZANU PF supporters and the police against MDC
supporters. They included torture and beatings.
Only in one case did the private radio station seek police confirmation,
although it tried to balance its stories with comments from both ZANU PF and
the MDC as shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2 Voice distribution on Studio 7

1 2 4 1

In contrast, ZBH heavily depended on police voices for their stories, which
they quoted 14 times against none for the opposition party.

3. Food shortages and price increases

THE government media carried 47 reports on the new wave of commodity price
increases and shortages of basic commodities during the week but failed to
logically explain to their audiences the reasons. Thirty-two of the reports
were aired on ZBH.
In its reports ZBH concocted conspiracy theories alleging that the shortages
were as a result of political machinations by the country's enemies unhappy
with a ZANU victory in the recent general election.

For example, three of the five stories ZTV carried on the subject projected
this idea. Two of the stories quoted selected members of the public
questioning the timing of the shortages and price increases of the basic
commodities while the third attributed the stalemate on tobacco prices
between farmers and buyers to a plot to punish the farmers who were
suspected of having voted for ZANU PF.
The contention by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) that the shortage
of mealie-meal, for example, was due to millers failing to receive "enough
grain" from the Grain Marketing Board was suffocated by ZTV (6/4,8pm).
Radio Zimbabwe (11 stories) and power FM (16 stories)'s carried similarly
unenlightening stories.

Although the government Press tried to steer clear of conspiracy theories,
it simply regurgitated official pronouncements on the price increases and
commodity shortages.
The government papers simply quoted government officials calling on
retailers to revert to old prices without fully discussing the reasons for
the increases. Neither did they discuss the likely effects of government's
price freeze order on the availability of goods and the economy in general.

The Herald (7/4) was more hypocritical. While it carried a report calling on
retailers and manufacturers to "exercise restraint on price hikes", it (9/4)
defended the $1,7 trillion dollar-budget announced by the
government-appointed commission running the Harare Council, which would see
service charges and rates soar 40-fold.
It argued that although the increases were massive for the ordinary
ratepayer, they "do little more than cope with the effects of the high
inflation that the country is experiencing at the moment".

It was left to the private Press to offer a critical and balanced analysis
of the country's economic crisis and commodity shortages in its eight
stories on the topic.
But three of the Daily Mirror's four articles on the matter echoed the
government's media's conspiracies by insinuating that price increases and
commodity shortages were due to attempts by pro-opposition businesses to
trigger food riots.
Studio 7 inexplicably ignored reporting on all these matter in the monitored

The MEDIA UPDATE was produced and circulated by the Media Monitoring Project
Zimbabwe, 15 Duthie Avenue, Alexandra Park, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 703702,
E-mail: <>

Feel free to write to MMPZ. We may not able to respond to everything but we
will look at each message.  For previous MMPZ reports, and more information
about the Project, please visit our website at
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FROM: HUMAN RIGHTS TRUST OF SA, received 13.4.2005

by Noel Kututwa

Dear All,

The following email contains very useful legal advice regarding what to do
with the new wages for domestic workers that have been announced. In terms
of the law, these rates apply and anyone who employs a domestic worker has
to abide by the new wages.


Noel Kututwa
Human Rights Trust Of Southern Africa
12 Ceres Road
P. O. Box CY2448
FAX: 263 4 339818
TEL: 263 4 339819, 333882, 332179


The recent announcement on the issue of wages for Domestic workers has
created near panic in many homes.

The Gazette Notice says that these new wages apply from the 1st of March.
However legal advice is that they cannot be applied retrospectively and we
suggest that you ignore this aspect and simply pay your domestic workers
their normal salaries and allowances for March at the old rates.

As regards the application of the new rates, it is clear that these are
beyond the ability of most people to pay. We suggest that if these new
rates exceed 20 per cent of your take home income after tax, that you write
to the following: -

The Permanent Secretary
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
P Bag 7707

In your letter you should state that your address is as shown on the
letter, you employ the following staff as domestic workers on the following
salaries and allowances. That your take home income after tax is as follows
and you simply cannot afford the salaries listed in the Statutory
Instrument Number 15 of 2005 published on the 25th March 2005.

The actual minimum wage agreed by the Board that deals with these matters
was half the salaries shown above. If you can afford this then you should
state that in your submission. If not you should indicate what you can
afford and state that with effect from the 1st April 2005 you will pay your
staff at this rate.

You should then tell the Secretary that you wish to formally apply for
exemption from the regulations on the grounds that you cannot afford the
wages shown in the Statutory instrument. Written proof of your income after
tax would be essential and should be included as an attachment to the

Inform your staff of what you have done and if you feel comfortable with
this - give them a copy of your letter. Keep a copy of the letter and any

If you are subsequently visited by the Trade Unions do not discuss or
debate this issue with them - simply direct them to the Ministry where your
appeal will eventually be heard.

Please pass this on to your friends who might also be affected.



JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need advice,
                                  please don't hesitate to contact us -
                                  we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines

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