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Grace Mugabe sues Zimbabwe newspaper over Wikileaks diamond story

First lady files $15m lawsuit against paper for reporting embassy cables alleging links to illegal diamond trade

Grace Mugabe
Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe made 'tremendous' profits from the country's diamond mines, according claims released by Wikileaks. Photograph: Nasser Nasser/AP

Grace Mugabe is suing a Zimbabwean newspaper for $15m (£9.5m) for reporting allegations released by Wikileaks that she had made "tremendous" profits in the illicit diamond trade, according to state media.

The first lady launched a defamation suit against the Standard newspaper in the high court in Harare yesterday. The offending article quoted extensively from a US embassy cable that alleged Mrs Mugabe was among a group of elite Zimbabweans making "several hundred thousand dollars a month" from the sale of illegal stones mined in the Marange district – scene of a frenzied diamond rush in recent years.

The state-owned Herald newspaper said the claims made against the wife of President Robert Mugabe were "false, scandalous, malicious and bent on damaging her reputation". Court papers said the first lady, who is known for her enthusiastic shopping trips abroad, was "well regarded internationally".

"Further, she is the wife of his excellency the president of Zimbabwe. The imputation of such conduct on a person of such high standing, the mother of the nation, is to lower the respect with which she is held by all right-thinking persons, to a point of disappearance."

In the cable released by Wikileaks, US ambassador James McGee described a meeting between one of his political officers and the representative of a mining company that had its Chiadzwa diamond claim in the Marange district of eastern Zimbabwe revoked by the government. The mining company official was reported to have said that "well-connected elites are generating millions of dollars in personal income by hiring teams of diggers to hand-extract diamonds" from Chiadzwa, before reselling the stones to shady foreign buyers.

From 2006, thousands of illegal miners swarmed to the diamond fields, among the world's richest finds in recent times, and initially sold their stones to the government. The military soon moved in, forcing people to work for them and later firing at groups of diggers from helicopter gunships in an effort to control the mining. There were also numerous reports of people close to the Mugabe government profiting greatly from the trade at the expense of the state, which was suffering grave foreign currency shortages at the time.

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International court names six Kenyans as suspects in 2007 post-election violence

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 15, 2010; 11:28 PM

NAIROBI - The International Criminal Court on Wednesday named six prominent
Kenyans, including the East African country's deputy prime minister, as
suspects in the ethnically fueled violence that left more than 1,000 people
dead after a disputed 2007 presidential election.

The accusations come as other recent elections across Africa, including
those in Guinea, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, have been tainted by violence,
disputes and allegations of vote rigging and other fraud. Ivory Coast, once
one of the continent's most stable nations, has been mired in turmoil since
both its presidential candidates declared victory after an election two
weeks ago.

The court's announcement Wednesday appeared to send a signal that such
electoral violations would not be tolerated and could incur broader
international consequences.

"The post-election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods
of the nation's history," Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's chief prosecutor,
told reporters in The Hague, referring to Kenya. "These were not just crimes
against innocent Kenyans. They were crimes against humanity as a whole."

Moreno-Ocampo has requested that the court summon the men to face charges
including murder, rape and torture. The six are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru
Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's first president; former minister for higher
education William Ruto; Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey; cabinet
secretary Francis Muthaura; former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali; and
Joshua Arap Sang, a radio personality.

"These are the names of the people we think should face justice. They are
still innocent; we are just presenting the prosecutor's evidence,"
Moreno-Ocampo said.

The court would decide by next year whether to bring formal charges.

Moreno-Ocampo alleged that Ruto, working with Kosgey and Sang, plotted
killings and forced evictions in Kenya's Rift Valley against allies of
President Mwai Kibaki a year before the election.

In a separate case, he accused Kenyatta, Muthaura and Ali of murder,
deportations, rape and other inhumane acts against supporters of Kibaki's
chief rival, Raila Odinga.

In statements or at news conferences, all - with the exception of Ali, who
could not be reached for comment - said they were innocent.

"My conscience is clear, has been clear and will always be clear," Kenyatta
said in a statement. "I have committed no crime. . . . I expect the
International Criminal Court process to be free and fair. I welcome the
chance to present my case, prove my innocence and end the unnecessary
speculation and innuendo that has been peddled over the last year."

Muthaura told reporters: "The suggestion that I have done anything to
warrant criminal investigation is manifest nonsense. It amounts to an
unwarranted slur on my reputation and is both unfair and unjustified."

Ruto said he was "absolutely certain in my mind that I neither participated,
organized, financed or had anything to do with the post-election violence at

Kibaki, the president, issued a statement urging caution.

"The people who have been mentioned have not yet been fully investigated, as
the pre-trial process in The Hague has only but begun," he said. "They
therefore cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the

Kibaki added that security has been intensified around the country as a
precautionary measure and that the government would establish a local
tribunal to address the post-election violence.

President Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said Wednesday that the country
had made "tremendous progress" since the "dark days" of post-election
violence and was moving "from impunity and divisionism toward an era of
accountability and equal opportunity."

"The path ahead is not easy, but I believe that the Kenyan people have the
courage and resolve to reject those who would drag the country back into the
past and rob Kenyans of the singular opportunity that is before them to
realize the country's vast potential," he said in a statement.

The post-election clashes erupted along tribal and ethnic lines after
Kibaki, a Kikuyu, was declared the winner amid allegations of vote rigging.
The violence ended only after former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan
brokered a peace pact that led to the creation of a coalition government in
which Odinga became prime minister. The violence stained Kenya's reputation
as a pillar of stability on a continent gripped by war and constant turmoil.

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Mugabe admits his cronies have abandoned invaded farms

15 December, 2010 10:52:00    -

ROBERT Mugabe has slammed his cronies for leasing land to white former
commercial far-mers saying such disturbing behaviour was tantamount to
reversing what he called "the historic land reform programme".

Mugabe made the remarks following recent revelations that several farmers in
his own backyard, Mashonaland West Province were leasing their fa-rms to
white former farmers. Sources said Mugab's message was directed towards his
local government Minister Igantious Chombo and Webster Shamu.

Addressing the 83rd Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Central Committee on the
eve of his party’s 11th National People’s Conference that gets under-way
today in Mutare, Mugabe whinnged that some of his party faithful were not
putting land to maximum use.

"Regrettably, this feeling of inadequacy and du-plicity in some of our
people threatens even the very programmes that Zanu-PF put together for
their economic empowerment. Some abuses of the resettlement exercise stand
as testimony to this short-sightedness," he said.

Added the 86 year old dictator: "Where some people have accessed the means
of production, a certain paralysis afflicts them and leads them into
underhand deals with the same white man who, yesterday, refused to share a
resource that should be enjoyed by all the country’s citizens.

It is grossly disturbing to learn of the extent to which some of our people
have gone towards literally giving back the land to white farmers, all for a
pittance of the farm profits at the end of the season."

Mugabe warned such behaviour should end forthwith.

"Why not work towards reaping the entire profits for one’s family?

When will this slavish regard, slavish mentality of hero worshipping the
white man, our coloniser just yesterday, end, in order to allow our people
to exercise and realise their full potential? That slavish mentality should
end," he said.

Mugabe said it was Zanu-PF’s wish to empower people through ownership of the
country’s vast resources.

He challenged Zimbabweans to explore areas of economic empowerment.

"Not too long ago, on a Tuesday after our weekly Cabinet meetings, I decided
to look through applications for exclusive prospecting orders that had
recently been brought for my consideration by the Minister of Mines and
Mining Development (Obert Mpofu).

True to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's claim that Mugabe lacks private
sector knowledge, the aging dictator said, "I decided to meet the
applicants, if only to understand their mentality and the resources they
would commit to their chosen field.

There were whites who had just returned from the cold climates of European
countries, whites who told me about the differences in geology of Tuli,
Lupane, Bubi, Chimanimani and other places. I wondered why they wanted to go
into coal, that dark, dusty mineral, until they indicated — without
hesitation — that for the next 10 years coal is where all the money will be.
I asked myself how many of our own people have this knowledge?

"Indeed, how many of our indigenous entrepreneurs are willing to venture
into such enterprises?" Mugabe said.

He said Zanu-PF wanted indigenous Zimbabweans to possess such knowledge and
to be ready to make a positive difference in the country’s economy.

"It is neither possible nor desirable for Government to keep spoon feeding
you on the areas you should direct your economic endeavours," Mugabe said.

He challenged Zimbabweans to pronounce without fear or hesitation ownership
of their God-given resources in line with the theme of this year’s National
People’s Conference – "Total Control of Our Resources through Indigenisation
and Empowerment."

"The resources are ours. Geology, history and the liberation struggle made
it a reality that these resources are ours. But are we ourselves? Resources
may be ours but do you believe in yourself truly as you should be?" he said.

Mugabe said people who still believed in the white man’s supremacy were not
truly independent within themselves.

On the inclusive Government, he said it was necessary for Zanu-PF to review
its participation in the Sadc brokered political arrangement.

"What is galling is the discovery or perhaps, confirmation, that the people
we thought were our partners in running the country, were most of the time,
serving other masters who are not the people of this country.

"This is why even as we tried to call for a united and uncompromising stance
against sanctions, we could not get the level of commitment we hoped for,"
he said.

President Mugabe, however, noted that the life span of the inclusive
Government was fast ending and urged Zanu-PF to vigorously prepare for

"This is where we want to find the party ready for campaigns, ready for
elections, so that we can, once more, show that Zanu-PF is here to stay," he

He said attempts by the enemy to destroy Zanu-PF were so blatant to such an
extent that even Western ambassadors were organising against the party and
openly supporting the opposition in full violation of the United Nations
Charter on non interference in the domestic affairs of another country.

"Even those who dabble in the business of leaking information find it
difficult to remove or disconnect Zanu-PF from the masses, the brave and
valiant masses who carried us through the liberation struggle, supported us
in the establishment of our new country and have since stood by us on every
building-block of the country," Mugabe said.

On WikiLeaks he said: "For those who take time to learn, it is our hope that
the WikiLeaks exposures will by now have shown them the evil and dangerous
nature of the policies being followed by our former colonisers and their

Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the Politburo examined the Central
Committee report and reviewed the party’s activities in the last 12 months.
He said Mugabe donated 10 laptops to the party’s information and publicity

Gumbo added his voice to calls that Prime Minister Tsvangirai should resign
after he was exposed by WikiLeaks, that he worked with imperialists to
effect an illegal regime change.

"If he is a man of integrity he has to resign. I am surprised and baffled
that the Prime Minister says he is not concerned when every body is
concerned," said Gumbo.

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe to seek party conference backing for election date

Dec 16, 2010, 12:52 GMT

Harare - The Zanu-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will open
its annual congress on Friday - with Mugabe widely expected to receive
backing to hold a general election in mid-2011.

The 5,000 delegates are to meet behind closed doors in the eastern city of
Mutare throughout the weekend.

Mugabe last week said he felt 'awkward' the September 2008 coalition
agreement that brought him together with former opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in a unity government.

He has called for elections by June.

Tsvangirai, now prime minister, on Wednesday said it would not be possible
to hold elections in June, since reforms and the completion of the
constitutional review is needed first.

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PM Tsvangirai wants only presidential vote in 2011

1 hour 34 mins ago

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Thursday that only a
presidential vote was needed next year to resolve the power-sharing dispute
in his unity government with President Robert Mugabe. Skip related content

The two were pressured into the coalition by regional leaders after Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party lost its parliamentary majority to Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) for the first time in a March 2008 election and
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the parallel presidential vote.

Tsvangirai was unable to take power because election authorities held onto
results for five weeks and then announced that he had not won by enough
votes to avoid a run-off, which he boycotted accusing Mugabe's supporters of

Zimbabwe's next presidential and parliamentary elections would normally be
held in 2013, but Tsvangirai said earlier this month that parliamentary
elections could not be held until there had been a referendum on a new
constitution and an election commission had been set up.

"The next election should be solely for the disputed presidential election
of 2008," Tsvangirai told reporters after a meeting of his party's top
decision-making national council.

"So there is no need to go for harmonised elections when we have not
resolved the disputed presidential election first."

Tsvangirai spoke as ZANU-PF prepared for its annual congress in the eastern
city of Mutare that will endorse Mugabe, 86, as its candidate in the
election he wants to be held by mid-year.

ZANU-PF and MDC legislators are against elections that will cut short their
five-year term for a second time. The previous term ended prematurely in
2008 following a 2005 vote.

The next election will be the eighth major vote in Zimbabwe since 2000 and
critics say rushed polls without political reforms, including a new
constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would favour Mugabe and ZANU-PF, who
have held power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Tsvangirai also accused Mugabe of deploying members of the security forces
in the countryside before the vote to intimidate villagers. The MDC made
major gains in ZANU-PF's traditional rural strongholds in the last

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ZAPU leader removed from US targeted sanctions list

By Alex Bell
16 December 2010

The current leader of the revived ZAPU party, Dumiso Dabengwa, has
officially been removed from the US targeted sanctions list.

Dabengwa and fellow former ZANU PF politburo member, Thenjiwe Lesabe, were
among a group of 17 people removed from US sanctions lists around the globe.
Dabwenga’s daughter, Ijeoma, was also removed from the Zimbabwe list.

Dabengwa, a former Home Affairs Minister in Mugabe’s ZANU PF administration,
left the party in 2008 when he threw his weight behind Simba Makoni’s
presidential bid. He later parted ways with Makoni to revive ZAPU. Lesabe
meanwhile used to be ZANU PF Women’s Affairs Minister and the party’s Women’s
League chairperson. She is now chairperson of the ZAPU council of elders.

Lesabe held several posts within ZANU PF and the Mugabe led government after
the Unity Accord with ZAPU in 1987. But she fell out with Mugabe after a
group in ZANU PF, linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa, lobbied for her to replace
the late Vice President Joseph Msika in 2004. The group’s plot, now known as
the Tsholotsho Declaration, was described by Mugabe as a coup attempt.
Lesabe was however spared being dragged before a disciplinary hearing, which
saw six provincial chairpersons expelled from ZANU PF.

The US said on Tuesday that it had dropped Dabengwa and Lesabe as
“circumstances related to these individuals no longer warrant their
inclusion on the US sanctions list.” The removal of the three Zimbabweans,
and the 14 other individuals from the US lists, is part of the US government’s
commitment, “to continue its review of the targeted sanctions list to ensure
it remains current and addresses the threat for which it was created.”

US Embassy spokesperson Sharon Hudson Dean is quoted as saying that
circumstances no longer warrant having Dabengwa, his daughter or Lesabe on
the list, because Dabengwa and Lesabe are no longer members of ZANU PF.”
Hudson Dean said: “Both individuals left ZANU PF to re-launch the ZAPU
party, which publicly supports constitutional reform and multiparty

The targeted, restrictive sanctions remain ZANU PF’s favoured weapon against
the West, with the measures being blamed for the country’s destruction.
Mugabe has also refused to abide by the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
which formed the basis of the unity government, saying he refuses to make
‘concessions’, until the targeted measures are dropped.

The US and European Union (EU) have both insisted that their targeted
measures will remain in place until there is meaningful change in Zimbabwe,
change that still has not happened. But concern is high that both Western
superpowers are beginning to relax their attitude towards ZANU PF.

But political analyst John Makumbe disagreed with this assessment on
Thursday, telling SW Radio Africa that the amendments “indicate very clearly
that, even when reviewed, the bulk of the sanctions will remain in place.”

“This shows that ZANU PF screaming for the sanctions to be removed is going
in one ear and out the other, and rightly so,” Makumbe said.

The analyst continued by saying that it is likely that the US and EU will
use the next elections, pegged for 2011, as the yard-stick to measure what
change, or lack thereof, ZANU PF is responsible for. Makumbe said that the
obvious lack of change means “the sanctions won’t be lifted, at least not in
the near future.”

He added that ZANU PF will be “foaming at the mouth” over this latest
amendment to the sanctions list, “especially because it comes right as they
are due to start their congress.”

“I think there will be a lot of anger and fury because its means that the
people still on the list can’t go shopping in 2011,” Makumbe said.

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Chinamasa snubs parliament committee for third time

By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 December, 2010

On Wednesday Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa snubbed the parliamentary
portfolio committee on Mines and Energy again, failing to turn up for
cross-examination for the third time in less than a month. Chinamasa is
wanted to give evidence in the case involving the government’s illegal
takeover of businessman Mutumwa Mawere’s Shabanie and Mashava mines.

Instead of a strong reprimand or punitive action, the committee chairperson,
Edward Chindori-Chininga, said the committee had resolved that a letter will
be written to the Minister advising him that the committee ‘did not
appreciate the fact that there was no confirmation in writing that he would
not make it’.

He explained that the committee had agreed to give Chinamasa a ‘final date
of appearance’ on January 10th 2011. "If he fails to appear after three
requests, then the committee will take the necessary measures to ensure the
Minister is forced to appear before the portfolio committee,"
Chindori-Chininga said. But he did not specify what these measures would be
or how they would force Chinamasa to do anything.

The Mines and Energy committee is trying to determine whether Chinamasa
breached any anti-corruption and reconstruction laws and whether all the
administration issues were dealt with, according to the law. They also want
to know why Shabanie and Mashava mines closed, even though money had been
provided by the state to support them.

We contacted Mutumwa Mawere but he said he could not comment until the
committee had completed its investigation. But exiled Zimbabwean businessman
Gilbert Mponda, who fled after the government took over his CFX Bank, said
this case is bigger than Chinamasa, because it involves the country’s global
reputation for dealing with investors.

Mponda explained that the government should speed up the case and let Mawere
have his company back because investors would then trust Zimbabwe’s business
environment. “The town of Zvishavane has become a ghost town and people are
turning to illegal activities like prostitution and gold panning,” said
Mponda, referring to the area where Mawere’s Shabanie Mashava Mine is

Mponda said the case should be handled by the Ministry of Home Affairs and
the Finance Ministry, because they administer the anti-corruption and
reconstruction laws.

Businessman Mutumwa Mawere has already appeared in front of the committee
and given testimony that is damaging to the Justice Minister. He said that
his company, SMM Holdings Zimbabwe, was taken over by the government after
Chinamasa misled the nation about the facts.

Chinamasa failed to appear for questioning by the committee on December 6,
13 and 15, each time giving unconvincing excuses. This time it was reported
that he telephoned the House of Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo and
parliament’s Deputy Clerk Kennedy Chokuda, saying that he needed more time
to prepare for the cross-examination.

But it was already known to the committee that the Minister was on his way
to a ZANU PF central committee meeting, which takes place ahead of the party’s
national congress, which opens in Manicaland Friday. The parliamentary
committee had gathered and was waiting for him, when the message arrived
that he would not be coming.

Mponda said Chinamasa will never be prosecuted and the whole case is just a


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MDC in South Africa ‘disappointed’ with Zim government

By Alex Bell
16 September 2010

The MDC in South Africa on Wednesday said it was disappointed in the
Zimbabwean government for failing to help its exiles, amid growing anger
over the Zim documentation project.

The deadline for Zimbabweans to apply for relevant work or study permits to
remain in South Africa has still not been extended, despite acknowledgments
by South African Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that there is
a massive backlog. Getting the permits depends entirely on having the right
identification, but Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs department has only been able to
process less than ten thousand passports in recent weeks.

Well more than a million Zimbabweans are believed to be without proper
documentation and there is anger that Zimbabwe’s government has done nothing
to ensure its nationals are assisted in South Africa. Minister Dlamini-Zuma
this week blamed her Zimbabwean counterparts for not issuing enough
passports in time, saying this has led to the massive backlog on South
Africa’s side. She said one of the main problems facing Zimbabweans was that
their own government was incapable of producing more than 500 passports a
The MDC in South Africa has also added its voice to the growing anger,
saying they are “deeply disappointed in our own government for not being
able to meet the South African government halfway.” MDC SA chairperson,
Faustine Moyo, said at a press briefing in Johannesburg that the delay was
“sabotage and deliberate” on the part of the Zimbabwean government.

Moyo called on all Zimbabweans in South Africa to use the remaining two
weeks of the deadline to apply for their papers, to ensure their stay in the
country becomes legal.

“Dlamini-Zuma assured us that deportations will not immediately resume after
December 31, so I urge all Zimbabweans to go and sort out all their
documents,” Moyo said.

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SA waives requirements for Zimbabweans

By Guthrie Munyuki
Thursday, 16 December 2010 09:47

HARARE - The South African government has waived some registration
requirements for Zimbabweans seeking to work and reside there in a bid to
accelerate their applications and has said it will not deport illegal
immigrants before it has completed its documentation exercise which closes
on New Year’s Eve.

A meeting between the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), the South African Home
Affairs minister Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma and Director General of Home
Affairs Mkuseli Alpeni, was held in Johannesburg Tuesday to try and
accelerate the processing of documents for “illegal” immigrants living in
South Africa.

The South African government has said it won’t move its December 31 deadline
which it has set for Zimbabweans who have been living there without proper
documents as the cut off date for regularising their documents.

“In order to deal with the issue of congestion, the Ministry of Home Affairs
has graciously decided to waive the requirement to have fingerprints taken
and applications can now be submitted from the queues as forms have now been
given to ZEF and others to distribute so that prospective applicants can
fill them in before they go to Home Affairs,” ZEF executive director Gabriel
Shumba said from Johannesburg.

“It is critical to note that ZEF and other organisations were able to obtain
major concessions from the South African Home Affairs Department. Chief
among these is that having regard to the difficulties of obtaining the
Zimbabwean passport and other documents, starting from today the 15th of
December 2010, all Zimbabweans who are in possession of receipts indicating
that they have applied for a birth certificate, Identity Card or Passport
will now be able to use the receipts to submit applications for permits.

“All those who will be in the system by the end of the deadline will be
served. In addition, no deportations will commence whilst the process has
not been finalized. Mobile stations that will make it easier for farm
workers to submit applications from the farms will also begin operations
this week.”

Shumba said the meeting was held to try and understand the delays in
documentation and proposed for the extension of the deadline which the civic
group says is justifiable given the monumental challenges that have beset
the process since its commencement in September.

Since the process commenced on September 20, the South African government
has received 116 000 applications of which 37 000 were vetted resulting an
approval of 27 000 and rejection of 10 000 applicants.

Those pending determination stand at about 79 000.

Zimbabwe has received 46 000 applications for passports and has a backlog of
about 36 000, casting a big doubt on the country’s ability to help desperate
people anxiously waiting for their fate in South Africa.

The Zimbabwe inclusive government fears it cannot cope with a flood of its
nationals who are expected to be flushed out of South Africa once the
deadline has passed.

Desperate Zimbabweans fled the country between 2005 and 2008 during the
political and economic turmoil which pervaded the entire once vibrant
southern African nation.

It is estimated that 4, 5 million Zimbabweans are domiciled in the diaspora;
the largest chunk is housed by South Africa.

Shumba applauded Nkosazana Dhlamini and her team for their transparency
during the engagement process which he hoped could result the extension of
the deadline.

He said: “ZEF therefore calls for all Zimbabweans to take advantage of this
opportunity before the expiration of the deadline.

The organisation also assures employers that they will not be subjected to
prosecution as the amnesty extended to those illegally staying in SA has
also been extended to them.

“The organisation also wants to express its deep disappointment with the
Zimbabwean Home Affairs Ministry for its failure to take advantage of the
offer made by South Africa to ensure that Zimbabweans obtain documentation
on time.”

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Long, wet wait for Zimbabweans


iol news pic Zimbabean dec16


Zimbabweans stand outside the Wynberg Home Affairs office in Cape Town waiting to apply for the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project. Photo: Sam Clark


A steady rain made the wait particularly miserable for Zimbabwean immigrants crowded outside a South African immigration office, trying to legalise their status before a feared wave of deportations.

As many as 3 million Zimbabweans are believed to be living and working in South Africa after fleeing entwined economic collapse and a political crisis in their homeland. South African authorities, who had allowed many to stay without even passports, announced the crackdown in September, saying that those who did not apply for legal status before December 31 would have to go home.

That has led to crowds at immigration offices across South Africa on Wednesday, with some Zimbabweans lining up for several days before even getting in the door to apply for work or study permits. Human rights groups complained that four months was insufficient and that bureaucrats in Zimbabwe and South Africa were unprepared for the large numbers of applicants.

“Just being legal, it would change my life. I would be more comfortable,” said Frank Nkathazo, a 37-year-old gardener who was waiting to submit his application Wednesday with little hope of reaching the doors before they closed at 4 p.m.

Zimbabweans make up the largest immigrant group in South Africa. Rights groups say legalising Zimbabweans would ensure they pay taxes and that their children go to school so that they can grow up to contribute to the economy of their adopted country, echoing arguments in immigration debates in the United States and Europe.

The decision to document Zimbabweans is “very worthwhile”, said Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh of the Johannesburg offices of Lawyers for Human Rights, but she stressed that the deadline should be extended.

Immigration minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said deportations would not start until all applications are processed, acknowledging that could take some time. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, she said she could not say when deportations would begin.

In early 2009, South Africa announced Zimbabweans could travel here on a free 90-day visitor's permit and apply to do casual work during their stay. It was the end of that “special dispensation” that was announced in September, with South African officials citing improved economic and political conditions in Zimbabwe.

Nkathazo, the gardener from Plumtree in western Zimbabwe, stood under his umbrella outside a handsome concrete and brick office tower on the edge of downtown Johannesburg, clutching a purple plastic folder stuffed with his new passport and a letter from his employer. He even brought a South African ID card he had lied to obtain years ago. South African authorities have said those who obtained South African identity documents illegally will get amnesty if they return them.

Nkathazo had arrived at 6am to find hundreds already there even though the office did not open until 8am. Nkathazo said he would wait all day, and come back earlier the next time if he failed to get in on Wednesday

To qualify, applicants must prove they have been in South Africa since at least May this year. Nkathazo has been here 15 years, and the ease with which he has regularly ferried between his wife and four children in Zimbabwe and his job in South Africa demonstrates how just how porous the border is.

Ahead of Nkathazo a woman sat wrapped in a blanket, huddling under an umbrella on a concrete stump planted at the entrance to the building to keep cars from parking too close. Entrepreneurs sold brightly coloured plastic envelopes to keep precious documents dry. Business was brisk for the envelopes and for umbrellas as rush hour traffic splashed by.

Bryan Khumalo, a 27-year-old computer consultant, said he had lined up for four days to apply in September, and last week received a cell phone text message informing him he had been granted a work permit. He arrived at 4 a.m. Wednesday, but was still 87th in line. Experience had taught him only 50 or 60 people make it inside on any day, and he was resigned to returning.

“Some guys sleep here,” Khumalo said. - Sapa-AP


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Activists call for arrest of Mugabe, JOC

Written by Ndumiso Mlilo
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 07:33

JOHANNESBURG - A South African-based human rights organization is calling
for the arrest of the Zimbabwean President and his cronies. (Pictured:
The Zimbabwe Youth Wing on Monday handed over a petition to the United
Nations Security Council Office in Pretoria. In their demands the Zimbabwe
Youth Wing calls for the arrest of Zimbabwe’s JOC (Joint Military Command).
This comprises of the high ranking officials from the army, the police, the
air force, the prison and the Central Intelligence Organization. The
organization further calls for the arrest of the President Robert Mugabe,
some war veterans and the Zanu (PF) militia for human rights abuses.
The group’s president, Ishmael Kauzai, said: “The Zanu (PF) regime
perpetuates the abduction, torture and killing of Zimbabwe's citizens to
this very day. Those responsible remain unaccountable. We want these people
to be arrested and tried in the International Curt of Justice. They have
been doing this for a long time. They committed human rights abuses during
the Gukurahundi era, land invasion, operation Murambatsvina and when the
Movement for the Democratic Change was formed. They continue to do so. This
will increase next year as we approach the elections.”
The organization accuses Mugabe of militarizing the parastatals.  Former
military personnel aligned to the president have been appointed to head
parastatals like the Grain Marketing Board, National Railways of Zimbabwe,
Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Ishmael said the youth had lost faith in the regional organizations like
Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU). He
accused SADC and AU of inactivity when the Zimbabwean government was
butchering their citizens and called on the UN Security Council to intervene
in the Zimbabwean crisis.

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Robert Mugabe's envoy to South Africa in limbo

16 December, 2010 07:27:00    Xolani Mbanjwa

The new Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko, who was
appointed by Robert Mugabe six months ago, has not yet presented his
credentials to President Jacob Zuma.
The delay continues several months after Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai asked South Africa and EU member countries to ignore the
credentials of ambassadors who had been “unilaterally” appointed by Mugabe.

Mphoko cannot perform any of his official duties until he has presented his
credentials to Zuma.

Mphoko was among a host of ambassadors Mugabe appointed in July. Also
appointed at the time were new envoys for the European Union, Switzerland
and the UN.

These appointments were made apparently without consulting Tsvangirai. EU
countries said at the time they were concerned about the development as they
felt ambassadors should represent the whole government of Zimbabwe and not
just a part of it.

The contentious power-sharing agreement that led to Zimbabwe’s unity
government, which was brokered by the Southern African Development
Community, has remained mired in disagreements.

Speaking from Harare yesterday, Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Tsvangirai’s
Movement for Democratic Change party, said that the “unilateral” appointment
of Mphoko and other ambassadors had set back South Africa’s mediation
efforts in Zimbabwe.

“The appointments of these people have undermined the legitimacy of the
Zimbabwean government and the confidence our people have in us, and defies
the togetherness of the government,” said Chamisa.

However, Zuma’s office downplayed the new Zimbabwean ambassador’s
predicament. Zuma’s communications adviser, Zizi Kodwa, said the delay in
receiving credentials from the Zimbabwean envoy had nothing to do with the
spat over appointments.

He said there had been no time for Mphoko and ambassadors from other
countries to present their letters of appointment to Zuma.

“There are many ambassadors waiting to present their letters of credence to
the president. These are arranged by the Department of International
Relations and Cooperation with the Presidency, based on space in the diary,
and understanding the importance,” said Kodwa.

He said the next session for ambassadors to present their appointment
letters to Zuma would be before the state of the nation address next year.

Zuma has been mediating between Mugabe and Tsvangirai for more than a year
without any real success. Mugabe, 86, who is expected to be named as his
Zanu-PF party’s presidential candidate this weekend, has insisted on fresh
polls next year.

But Chamisa was less than diplomatic about the problem, saying: “We can’t
start to talk about the road map when we have not agreed on the

“We are not reading from the same page as Zanu-PF. We are not even reading
from the same book. Zanu-PF talks white and acts black,” said Chamisa.

The life of the Zimbabwe unity government, which Mugabe has described as
“semi-legal”, ends in February. -TNA The New Age

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Zim firms lay off workers

by Tobias Manyuchi     Thursday 16 December 2010

HARARE -- Zimbabwean firms have continued laying off workers despite an
improved operating environment and an economy showing impressive signs of
recovery, Labour Minister Paurina Mpariwa said on Wednesday.

According to figures released by Mpariwa’s ministry, about 5 000 workers
were retrenched in the first nine months of the year, with the banking
industry shedding the most jobs or 19 percent of its workforce – in a
country where unemployment is estimated at anything above 90 percent.

Mpariwa, who said she expected more retrenchments as firms battle to keep
wage bills and other running costs down, described the fresh wave of job
cuts as worrying to the power-sharing government of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

“As a Ministry responsible for labour we tend to be worried by the magnitude
of retrenchments at a time when we think the economy is starting to grow,”
Mpariwa said.

She added: “It is expected that retrenchments will persist as there is no
significant improvement in industrial capacity utilisation which is reported
to be between 30 percent and 40 percent.”

Inability to secure credit lines has hampered efforts to recapitalise
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector, while in the banking sector deposits remain
low, with banks struggling to regain the public’s trust after a 10-year
economic crisis marked by hyperinflation that discouraged people from
keeping money in banks where it would instantly lose value.

Firms have responded to the resultant cash crunch by cutting jobs, even as
the economy is forecasted to grow by 8.1 percent this year after expanding
by 5.7 percent the previous year.

The mining and agriculture sectors that are seen driving economic growth
have also seen massive job cuts this year contributing 8.6 percent and 3
percent respectively to the total retrenchment figures recorded by the third

The clothing industry has also been hard hit by retrenchments with, for
example, two of the giants in the sector, Edgars and Archer, trimming their
staff base by 600 workers between them as competition ushered in by cheap
imported textile goods cuts deep.

The pulp and paper industry weighed in with 244 employees being chopped with
the majority coming from the country’s sole newsprint maker, Mutare Board
and Paper Mills.

Workers at government parastatals have also not been spared with those at
the Grain Marketing Board, Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe United Passenger
Company being the biggest causalities.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has predicted the mining and agriculture
sectors to accelerate economic growth to more than nine percent next year.

But analysts say Zimbabwe’s long-term growth outlook remains in doubt with
investor fears over Mugabe’s controversial drive to transfer control of all
foreign firms to blacks.

The analysts also say elections expected to take place by mid-next year
could undo the economic gains of the last 22 months, amid fears the vote
could see a return to violence because the unity government has not
implemented required political reforms including restructuring the armed
forces to ensure polls are free and fair. -- ZimOnline

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Amid Anticipation of Elections, Zimbabwe Registrar Updating Voters Roll

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava said the
voters roll update is welcome, but should have been overseen by the recently
reformed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

Studio 7 Reporters | Washington 15 December 2010

Zimbabwe's Office of the Registrar-General office says it has been updating
the national voters role, though Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede says the
exercise is not related to widespread expectations President Robert Mugabe
may call elections in 2011.

Mudede told reporters on Tuesday that teams from his office have been
collecting information since August around the country on voters who have
died. He said some 32,000 cases of expired voters have been identified so

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Director Rindai Chipfunde-Vava told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the list-cleaning exercise is
welcome, but should have been overseen by the recently reformed Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission.

Political commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga told reporter Chris Gande that the
voters roll cleanup will not work if the entire process is not computerized.

Elsewhere, the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minster
Morgan Tsvangirai, which has long demanded reform of the voters roll and the
electoral system, says most of its young rural members lack identity cards
thus are ineligible to vote.

MDC National Youth Assembly Chairman Thamsanqa Mahlangu said this is a
matter of great concern in a country with so many young people.

Mahlangu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the assembly has an
ongoing registration program to help all youths who are unable to sign up to

But he added that an up-to-date and transparent voters roll is critical.

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We are ready to kill - Brigadier Mutinhiri

16 December, 2010 12:17:00    Fungi Kwaramba

MARONDERA WEST - Zanu (PF) MP for Marondera West, Retired Brigadier Ambrose
Mutinhiri, last week sent a chill down the spines of MDC supporters who were
forced to attend saying he was ready to kill people who continued to oppose
the reign of President Robert Mugabe and his party.

Mutinhiri told villagers who had been forced to attend the meeting at
Landasi Shopping Centre, where MDC-T supporters had been forced to surrender
their membership cards, that he was good at killing and was ready to go to

His statement follows that of the feared Minister of Defence Emerson
Mnagagwa who told people in Kwekwe his home town that he was taught to kill.

"We were forced to attend the meeting and at that meeting Mutinhiri told us
that those who supported Tsvangirai were living in the past and that it is
time now when Zanu (PF) takes over. He said that he fought in the liberation
struggle and fighting was in his body," said a former MDC -T senior member
who has since resigned.

Scores of villagers who attended the meeting have already surrendered their
MDC membership cards after the chilling statement from Mutinhiri a former
cabinet minister. MDC-T parliamenatry hopeful Patrick Kunaka this week
surrendered to Zanu (PF) and pledged his vehicle to be used by Zanu (PF)
during mobilisation of resources for the impending congress, scheduled for
next week. (He is the source of the story and is now with Zanu (PF).

"Many people have started buying Zanu (PF) cards in order to protect
themselves. They had to do that after the threats from Mutinhiri or leave
the constituency," said MDC-T Chairman for Marondera West, Eddington
Magwenzi. -The Zimbabwean

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Eight artists represent Zimbabwe at World Black Arts Festival

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe is one of two southern African countries
represented at the ongoing World Black Arts Festival taking place in Dakar,
the country’s ambassador to Senegal, Trudy Stevenson said in a statement
issued here Thursday.

Eight Zimbabwean sculptors and painters are exhibiting various stone
sculptures and paintings at the Zimbabwean embassy in Dakar and at the main
festival venue at the Biscuiterie.

Stevenson said she has presented two lectures on contemporary Zimbabwean art
since the festival started on December 10.

“The embassy held a very successful preview exhibition for the diplomatic
community and media on 1 December,” she said.

The artists whose works are being exhibited are Lazarus Takawira, Taylor
Nkomo, Thakor Patel, Lovemore Kambudzi, Virginia Chihota, Victor Fire,
Gideon Gomo and Tapfuma Gutsa

Zimbabwe’s Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart is being represented by a
senior official from his ministry while the exhibitions are being
coordinated by Harare’s National Gallery and the Ministry of Foreign

South Africa is the other southern African country participating at the
festival which ends on December 31.


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President Morgan Tsvangirai’s  address to the media

Thursday, 16 December 2010   

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this press conference which comes after day-long deliberations by the national executive committee and the national   council of the MDC. Let me say at the outset that the MDC is a people-centred party and the people are always at the core of our business and deliberations. We are the true repository of the people’s aspirations and we have a duty to make a public announcement when we take far-reaching decisions in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe.

We have remained resolute, in the full knowledge that we are the true people’s representatives because of the clear mandate given to us in a legitimate election. Today’s meeting of the national council is the last meeting of the year; a tumultuous year in which we have experienced both progress and frustrations  in our quest to bring about real change to the people of Zimbabwe.

It is a year in which evidence abounds that our participation in government has added value and improved the lives of the people. But it is also a year in which we have recorded frustrations as a result of stagnation in the resolution of the outstanding issues of the GPA and President Robert Mugabe’s unilateral and unconstitutional acts.

These frustrations have slowed the pace of democratic reforms, which are the core business of the inclusive government if we are to prepare conditions conductive for a free and fair election as spelt out in the GPA. However, these frustrations have not dampened our spirits, but have instead spurred us to continue with our collective journey of hope towards a new Zimbabwe and a new beginning.

The MDC National Council met today and among other things, the Council debated the following;
Having so debated the above issues, Council resolved as follows;

a.    Council noted the provisions of Article 5.2.2 of the Party’s Constitution with regards to the holding of a Congress and therefore directs that the Party Congress shall be held by the 30th of May 2011.

b.    Council further waives strict compliance with the time limits provided in the Constitution.

a.    Council notes the problems of legitimacy, violence and infringement and assault of the constitution-making process.
b.    The party further notes the derailment of the peoples’ will in this process.
c.    Be that as it may, Council directs that the current constitution making process must be concluded and a referendum must be held.

a.    Council notes the existence of the following outstanding issues;
b.    Pursuant to the aborted Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the SADC Organ Troika of the 20th of November 2010, Council calls on SADC to immediately reconvene the aborted meeting to discuss the following
c.    Council expresses its regret at the failure to execute the 24 agreed issues and now calls on the Principals of the parties to take measures to implement and execute the agreed positions as reflected in the Negotiators report dated the 3rd of April 2010 and more importantly, to enforce and uphold the Implementation Matrix as agreed by the Principals on the 8th of June 2010.


a.    Council notes and restates the position that an election in Zimbabwe should be held to deal with the question of illegitimacy associated with the farcial Presidential run-off election of June 2008.

b.    For the avoidance of doubt, Council resolves that the next election should be solely for the disputed Presidential election of 2008 with a harmonised election to be held in 2013 as prescribed in the Constitution.

c.    Further, Council restates that Zanu PF nor its President do not have the right of unilaterally calling for the aforesaid Presidential election and that Article 23.1.b of the GPA and the 8th Schedule of the Constitution which requires agreement, should be respected.

d.    Further, Council notes that the SADC Roadmap on elections dealing with
i. Council therefore applauds and supports the Government decision that all alluvial diamonds should be owned and mined by the State, and
ii. Urges the immediate crafting of the Diamond Act that will legalise the above issue and create the National Sovereign Fund.

d.    Civil Service Audit
i.  Council notes the existence of thousands of ghost workers in government who are affecting government capacity to remunerate the genuine civil servant.
ii.  Council therefore urges the immediate publication and execution of the long awaited public service audit.

  • Council notes attempts to divide the party and cause division in the Party by Zanu PF and state agencies.
  • Council also notes the continuation of this agenda through various channels including diplomatic leaks now known as WikiLeaks.
  • Council therefore condemns the aforesaid attempts to divide us and indeed the reports in the aforesaid WikiLeaks.
  • Council restates the strength of the party and reaffirms that the party cannot be divided or de-branded by the loony actions of a dying Zanu PF empire.
I thank you

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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An address to the Zanu-pf National Conference by a Zimbabwean Patriot

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 15/12/10

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Mr Chairman,

It gives me great pleasure and honour to address this august assembly on the
occasion of your party’s national conference being held in Mutare from
16-18th December 2010. Although I am not a member of any party, I believe
that as a Zimbabwean national, I have every right to lobby your members for
the good of our country. Rather than ask what Zimbabwe should do for us, I
think we should ask what we can do for our country. The urgency in finding a
lasting and viable solution to Zimbabwe’s problems cannot be
over-emphasised, neither should it be left to partisanship while our country
is the only one with a coalition government in the sub-region.

In the Declaration of Dar-es-Salaam, the former President of Tanzania, the
late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere said:

‘Man can only liberate himself or develop himself. He cannot be liberated or
developed by another. For Man makes himself. It is his ability to act
deliberately, for a self-determined purpose, which distinguishes him from
the other animals. The expansion of his own consciousness, and therefore of
his power over himself, his environment, and his society, must therefore
ultimately be what we mean by development” (, accessed 15/12/10).

Some may ask, “What are you talking about? Are we not already liberated?
Liberate ourselves from what?” The obvious answer is liberate ourselves from
under-development. It’s no longer colonialism or even the rhetorical
neo-colonialism. An empirical frame of reference is Zimbabwe’s profile on
the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) showing trends from 1980 to present
( accessed 15/12/10). Human development denotes both the
process of widening people’s choices and improving their well-being.
According to the UNDP, the most critical dimensions of human development
are: a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Additional concerns include ‘social and political freedoms’ (Ibid).

While Zimbabwe’s HDR 2010 Report was poorly received in some circles, it
frankly shows that between 1980 and 2010 Zimbabwe’s HDI declined by -1.8%
annually from 0.241 to 0.140 today which gives the country a rank of 169 out
of 169 countries with comparable data. Another point of concern is that the
HDI of Sub-Saharan Africa as a region increased from 0.293 in 1980 to 0.389
today, placing Zimbabwe below the regional average. The UN contends that the
HDI trends tell an important story both at the national and regional level
and highlight the very large gaps in well-being and life chances that
continue to divide our interconnected world.

We don’t need an outsider to tell us what is holding Zimbabwe back. It’s not
targeted sanctions either, because they are not on the country but
individuals, contrary to deafening propaganda. Reports that Dumiso Dabengwa
and Thenjiwe Lesabe have been de-listed by the United States Government
shows that the travel bans have nothing to do with the country. Some
sanctions targeted certain state corporations like the Zimbabwe Minerals
Marketing Corporation, Zimbabwe Defence Industries and so on which were
allegedly propping up a repressive system. The reinsurance corporation was

There is nothing treasonous in calling for the retention of EU and US
targeted sanctions  because that is the only way of making certain
individuals accountable for their actions which impact on good governance.
Furthermore, Zimbabwe is not at war with the UK, USA or the EU, therefore
there is no question of treason as if one is dealing with an enemy state.
Zimbabwe still has diplomatic relations with the UK, USA and the EU, and it
is legitimate to engage their diplomats where necessary contrary to the
impression given by those who are seeking to get seats on the politburo as
they create the impression that we are at war, therefore whoever talks to
their representatives is a sell-out. Not at all.

Despite relative economic and political stability since the formation of the
coalition government in February 2009, Zimbabwe remains at the mercy of a
politically charged environment that threatens to devour its children if
people dare want to exercise their democratic right to vote. Ironically, we
fought for one man one vote but now people are afraid to vote. The country
is gripped with tension amidst a lot of political posturing and
grandstanding, militarization, intolerance and corruption. This can be
summed up in one phrase ‘a scotched earth policy’- a military or operational
strategy which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the
enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area (
That is not very different from farm and business seizures some of which now
lie idle in the name of indigenisation.

Unimpressed investors have voted with their feet because of uncertainty due
to the indigenisation law albeit suspended and the unresolved Zanu-pf
succession issue. Tourists and donors are taking a wait-and see attitude as
they study the high political temperature prevailing in the country.
Similarly, the economy is witnessing stagnation and capital flight while the
politicians squabble ad infinitum. Meanwhile a massive 95 percent
unemployment rate is feared to be a fertile recruitment ground for ‘coup
plotters or warlords’ apart from prospective border jumpers. Zimbabwe is
sitting on a time bomb.

Mr Chairman, this conference should be a platform to reflect on these
challenges and chart the way forward as a nation and not in isolation or
partisan basis because the barriers which are holding our country back are
of our own making. However, they are not insurmountable as long as we make a
paradigm shift. We need to be honest with ourselves and stop passing the
buck. Our leaders should not be shy to say ‘sorry’ where necessary. This is
the moment of truth as the country awaits constructive dialogue and
resolutions meant from your conference to take Zimbabwe to a peaceful and
prosperous future and not Operation Headless Chicken or all the mayhem being
bandied about.

Mr Chairman, the underlying problems which are holding our country back
which the Zanu-pf national conference should urgently address include: bad
governance, political and security sector reforms, rampant corruption, lack
of a road map for the 2011 elections, human rights abuses, flouting of the
rule of law, denial of basic freedoms e.g. of assembly, expression or the
media and so on. For a start, Zanu-pf should abolish the notorious AIPPA and
POSA laws which have resulted in human rights abuses.

It has been a long time since Zimbabweans experienced the 8 characteristics
of good governance in full, namely: participation, rule of law,
transparency, responsiveness, consensus oriented, equity and inclusiveness,
effectiveness and efficiency as well as accountability as defined by the
United Nations. These principles can be facilitated by political reforms
which are long overdue such as conclusion of the new constitution,
organising and conducting of a referendum on the new or alternative
constitutions, leading to a clear road map to elections 2011. If Kenya did
it, why can’t we do it?

Mr Chairman, the people of Zimbabwe are afraid of elections because of
politically motivated violence by those who view regime change as evil
whereas our constitution provides for change of government through
elections. People would like to be assured that they will be safe before,
during and after the hopefully internationally supervised, free and fair
elections. The whole world also needs assurances that election monitors from
the EU, UN, AU and SADC will soon be invited to ensure a legitimate outcome.

The Zanu-pf 2010 national conference needs also to squarely address the
issue of security sector reform and set the ball rolling. People are
anxiously waiting for the service chiefs to unlock development by bravely
addressing the nation simply saying:

‘We, the members of the Joint Operations Command do hereby express our
deepest regret for the pain and anguish we have caused the country during a
time of madness since Operations Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina, Hakudzokwi,
Makavhotera Papi and others. We are really sorry and ask for forgiveness to
all the people of Zimbabwe regardless of race, colour, creed, gender, tribe,
ability, origin or political affiliation. We are asking to be spared any
retribution whether domestically or internationally for our past mistakes in
return for our recognition of and loyalty to the democratically elected
Government of Zimbabwe of the day regardless of political persuasion. We are
willing to step down and allow for a peaceful transition to a new
dispensation with the assistance of the United Nations and undertake not to
engage in any political or insurgent activities.”

Such a courageous move would electrify the atmosphere in Zimbabwe and
definitely usher in a new democratic and peaceful era characterised by
national healing and genuine reconciliation supported by a truth and
reconciliation commission and state compensation for victims of political
violence. Such a bold statement of regret, apology and loyalty by the
service chiefs should be made in public e.g. televised as an unequivocal
demonstration of sincere contrition and remorse while they will also get
assurances of no retribution. That will also ensure transparency and the
need to move on.

Only then can Zimbabwe witness an anticipated huge injection of donor aid
for reconstruction and development. The economy would also grow
exponentially as soon as an internationally recognised and accountable
government is in office conducting a transparent land audit and ensuring
that the Marange diamonds are clean of any rights abuses. Zimbabwe would
then return to normalcy by reclaiming its membership of the Commonwealth and
attract investment. Exiles would most likely flock home with jubilation.
Even targeted sanctions would become unnecessary.

Mr Chairman, if any of these ideas could influence the outcome of your
conference, it would have delivered a memorable and invaluable Christmas
present to the 12 million Zimbabweans. I hope, I am not the only one who
continues to be inspired by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s wisdom and admission of
errors in nation building and development where necessary.

I wish you successful deliberations.

Thank you.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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