HARARE - Former government information minister and propaganda chief
Jonathan Moyo yesterday hit back at President Robert Mugabe saying he had
saved the Zimbabwean leader when his ruling ZANU PF party was sinking while
his lieutenants had deserted him.
Down but certainly not
mellowed, Moyo accused Mugabe of sacrificing him on the altar of expediency
to please the same lieutenants who were deserting him when ZANU PF was
running aground in 2000.
"I want them to know that I
did not join a ZANU PF gravy train in 2000 but that I jumped onto a sinking
ship that was heading for the ground after its captain was left alone by his
crew," Moyo said in a statement, hours after being dismissed by
Mugabe. "That ship is now floating and those who had deserted it are
all back and are pushing out all those who helped save the ship from
sinking," he added.
Moyo spoke as senior ZANU PF leaders, who
had openly but unsuccessfully called on Mugabe to fire him from the
government, celebrated his departure and accused him of having had a hidden
agenda to split the party.
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira
told ZimOnline last night that Moyo's contribution to both the party and
government since joining in 1999 had been largely negative.
said: "His (Moyo) contribution to the party was largely negative as he was
working with a hidden agenda. So his departure from the party is good for
But Shamuyarira hinted Moyo's departure, the first high
profile victim of a still unresolved and vicious silent struggle over
Mugabe's succession, could dent ZANU PF's performance in a key general
election next month.
"We want a united team but Moyo was not united
with others because of his hidden agenda. But we hope that our people will
have a full understanding of the matter and vote for the party in the March
poll," Shamuyarira said.
Not much of a good team player but
still crude and ruthlessly efficient, Moyo was the mastermind of ZANU PF's
political survival strategy. With ZANU PF and Mugabe under severe pressure
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, Moyo crafted
a crude campaign plan that saw the party and Mugabe controversially win
tough elections in 2000 and 2002.
Moyo researched and wrote the
party's election manifesto in the 2000 parliamentary election and Mugabe's
re-election campaign manifesto in 2002. He followed his success on the
political platform with draconian media laws that smothered the independent
media and other critical voices to ensure that ZANU PF and the government
remained the only voices heard in Zimbabwe.
But ZANU PF
and state first Vice-President Joseph Msika was last night adamant that the
party and the government will not miss Moyo.
He said: "Jonathan
Moyo was never part of us during the days of the liberation struggle and we
will never ever shed tears about his departure, neither shall we beg him
back to the ruling party.
"He should be reminded that ZANU PF has
always been winning elections since 1980 and we shall continue registering
resounding victories (after Moyo's departure)."
Moyo, Mugabe said he had taken the step after Moyo chose to stand as an
independent in the March 31 election. Under ZANU PF's rules, members who
contest elections as independents are automatically expelled from the
But Moyo in his statement said he had opted to stand as an
independent because he was no longer wanted in ZANU PF.
constitutional democracy such as ours, nobody should be expected to remain
within institutions and processes where they are clearly not wanted," Moyo
Moyo was brought into the ZANU PF government by Mugabe after
impressing the Zimbabwean leader during a government exercise to write a new
constitution for Zimbabwe for which Moyo worked as spokesman.
Although the government's draft constitution was rejected by Zimbabweans in
2000, Mugabe however noticed Moyo's immense capabilities and promptly
appointed him to Parliament under a clause allowing him to pick 30 members
to the 150-seat House.
Mugabe also appointed Moyo deputy
information secretary of ZANU PF's inner politburo cabinet as well as
government information minister.
Although Moyo had publicly clashed
with most of Mugabe's old guard, the President had continued to back
The two however bitterly fell out late last year when Moyo
secretly attempted to block the appointment of Joyce Mujuru as second vice
president of ZANU PF and subsequently of Zimbabwe.
openly backed Mujuru for the vice-presidency, a position seen as a key
stepping stone to the top job. - ZimOnline
Government coughs up Z$24m to tortured journalists Mon 21
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government has paid Z$24
million in an out of court settlement to two journalists illegally arrested
and tortured by the army after publishing a story alleging that some senior
military officers had plotted a coup.
According to documents
shown to ZimOnline last night, the money was paid out on a state cheque
number 0370305. Of the total sum, $4 166 730 was paid to the estate of the
late Mark Chavunduka who was editor of The Standard weekly newspaper which
published the story in its 10-16 January 1999 issue.
paper's then chief writer, Ray Choto, who wrote the coup story, received $3
The remaining $16 626 540 is the equivalent of 1 558.29
pounds converted at an exchange rate of $10 765 per pound as at January 10,
2005. The money was paid to cover medical expenses incurred by the two
journalists when they went for treatment mostly in Britain for injuries
suffered during torture sessions.
A Ministry of Defence senior
official K. K Chivinge wrote to the civil division of the Attorney General's
office on February 7 this year advising the office of the payment to the
journalists who had filed for damages against the state for torture by its
Chivinge did not give reasons why the Defence Ministry,
which has maintained that the two journalists were never tortured, was
opting for an out of court settlement.
But sources said the
state was unwilling to have the matter argued in an open court for fear more
information potentially compromising to state security could be revealed in
such a court.
"The state was not willing to have the publicity that
may characterise the court session," said one government official, who did
not want to be named for fear of victimisation.
In the story
titled "Senior army officers arrested", The Standard claimed that 23 senior
officers of the Zimbabwe National Army had been arrested for plotting to
topple President Robert Mugabe and his government.
The paper, which
quoted unnamed military sources, said the army officers had wanted to
overthrow the government because they were unhappy with the mismanagement of
Zimbabwe's economy and Mugabe's 1998 decision to send the army to fight in
the Democratic of the Congo in support of that country's government against
an armed rebellion.
Chavunduka was arrested by army details on 12
January 1999 and kept in the army's custody until 21 January, despite
several court orders to release him. Under the law, Zimbabwe's army does not
arrest or detain civilians. Torture is also outlawed in
Choto handed himself over to the police on 19 January but
was promptly handed over to the army which also detained him against court
The two journalists, who had to receive special treatment
after being tortured by the army, were later charged by the state with
breaching Section 50 (2) (a) of the old Law and Order (Maintenance)
Under the law, inherited from white supremacist Ian Smith's
repressive Rhodesian (Zimbabwe's name before independence) government, it
was an offence to publish false information that could cause public fear,
alarm or despondency. Offenders could be jailed for up to seven
But the then Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and
his bench threw out the state's case in September 2000 saying the
legislation under which the journalists were being charged contravened
Section 20 of Zimbabwe's Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression. -
Tsvangirai pledges to end ZANU PF 'tyranny' Mon 21 February
MASVINGO - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday launched his party's election
campaign in Masvingo town, vowing to restore the rule of law and end ZANU PF
A buoyant Tsvangirai told about 20 000 supporters who
thronged Mucheke stadium in Masvingo, 300 km south of Harare, that the
ruling ZANU PF party had run out of ideas and it was time people elected an
MDC government to end the country's political and economic
"The current administration is badly positioned to turn
around the damage it has caused. We are tired of a regime that blames
imaginary foreign enemies for its mistakes. Whether the regime looks in any
direction, it no longer has the capacity and respect to stop the rot,"
Tsvangirai said to thunderous applause from the delegates.
President Robert Mugabe launched ZANU PF's campaign for the crunch March 31
poll two weeks ago.
Tsvangirai said it was now time to start afresh
and rebuild the country under an MDC government.
"The time has
come for us to declare that enough is enough. The time has come for us to
start afresh. We pledge to make that possible. We swear to honour our
promise to the people and to deliver a new Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai
The MDC leader also took the occasion to introduce the
party's 120 candidates for next month's election.
said the key issues for the MDC were the restoration of the rule of law in
the country, better health and education delivery systems, a new
Constitution, national healing, food security and job creation.
said an MDC government will repeal all repressive legislation such as the
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which the party says have been used by
Mugabe to shrink democratic space in the country.
"We shall be on
the roll. We shall see the change we desire and Robert Mugabe will have
limited choices. He has to negotiate a way out," Tsvangirai
"We shall bring to the people a government accountable to
Parliament, an independent judiciary and equality for all," said
The opposition party, which had threatened to boycott
the March poll, says it is taking part in the election under protest as
Mugabe had failed to implement reforms to level the electoral playing field
in line with regional election standards. - ZimOnline
Minister seeks regional endorsement of poll Mon 21 February
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe Special Affairs Minister John Nkomo is
touring key African capitals to seek endorsement of the country's election
next month and also to canvass support for former finance minister, Simba
Makoni's, bid for the African Development Bank (ADB)
Nkomo, who is the chairman of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF
party, has so far been to Namibia and Botswana on a mission that will take
him to all Southern African Development Community countries.
Windhoek, Nkomo met senior government officials while in Gaborone, he held
talks with President Festus Mogae both to explain progress on implementing
SADC guidelines for democratic elections as well as soliciting support for
Makoni's candidature for the ADB top job.
Nkomo could not be
reached on his mobile phone at the weekend while an official at his office
said she was not clear when he will be returning from his tour.
Makoni told ZimOnline that Nkomo's lobby tour was one of several initiatives
by Harare to garner support for him for the ADB post that becomes vacant in
"I can confirm that this is one of the strategies which we are
using to lobby. A number of people have gone out into the continent lobbying
for my support," said Makoni.
SADC states have put forward
Makoni, a former chief executive of the regional body's Gaborone-based
secretariat, as their nominee for the ADB job.
in Zimbabwe both in the political and corporate spheres, Makoni resigned
from President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet in 2002 after differing with the
Zimbabwean leader on the direction of the economy.
Analysts say his
chances of clinching the bank job could however be undermined by controversy
associated with Mugabe's government which is sponsoring him. - ZimOnline
Mugabe asks old allies for help before national
poll From Jonathan Clayton in
PRESIDENT MUGABE has begun a diplomatic
offensive to persuade neighbouring African states to allow him to bend the
rules during parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe next month.
Mr Mugabe is also erecting more obstacles to outside scrutiny of those
elections and is clamping down on any sign of internal
On Saturday he dismissed Jonathan Moyo, his
controversial Information Minister, who is the architect of the country's
repressive media laws, after he defected from the ruling Zanu (PF) party to
run as an independent.
Mr Mugabe, who celebrates his 81st
birthday today, has sent envoys to Namibia and Botswana, key members of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), to seek their acquiescence in
his failure to follow SADC's own rules governing elections in the
Zimbabwe has refused to allow a legal delegation into
the country to inspect electoral reforms, so it would not be possible for
the SADC to have election monitors in the country.
Diplomats said that to avoid a backlash Mr Mugabe has sent two of his most
loyal followers - Didymus Mutasa, the Anti-Corruption Minister, and John
Nkomo, the Social Affairs Minister - to meet President Nujoma of Namibia and
President Mogae of Botswana, old allies from his "freedom struggle" days and
sympathetic to his argument that he is a victim of racist
A diplomat said: "He is calling in old
favours again, he wants their approval in advance of the result." The
diplomat added that Mr Mugabe would probably invite monitors from those
countries to come in an individual capacity. "That will emasculate any
potential SADC threat."
Zimbabwe has excluded already
election observers from the European Union and the United States. Stan
Mudenge, the Foreign Minister, said that they had not been invited because
they had a "preconceived negative perception" of how Zimbabwe's elections
would be conducted.
Last week, three of the last foreign
correspondents in the country - including Jan Raath, of The Times - fled the
country after tip-offs that they would be arrested.
Zimbabwean police also arrested leading opposition figures for convening or
attending an alleged illegal meeting called to demand a free
George Charamba, the official government spokesman,
said that Mr Moyo, once dubbed the most-hated man in Zimbabwe, had been
stripped of party membership, legislative seat and Cabinet
Mr Moyo fell out with Mr Mugabe initially after
refusing to support his appointment of Joyce Mujuru, a veteran ally from the
independence movement, as Vice-President.
retaliated by ensuring that he was not reselected by his constituency party.
Mr Moyo said yesterday that as an independent election candidate he was no
longer "hostage to the whims and caprices of the politics of patronage". He
said that the move had come as no surprise.
He added: "I had
come to accept that it was sunset . . . I had also come to understand and
appreciate that it is far better to be with the people and to work for
Veteran nationalists formerly close to Mugabe recall how it
all went wrong for a man once seen as a saviour of Zimbabwe.
Trevor Grundy in London (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 08,
Robert Gabriel Mugabe turns 81 on February 21 and if, as
almost universally predicted, his party wins Zimbabwe's parliamentary
elections at the end of March, he will still be president at 86 - by which
time he will have held power for 30 years.
Whether the octogenarian
will then want to continue the onerous task of running a country in economic
free-fall and international isolation is a matter of conjecture. But one of
the President's closest associates, anti-corruption minister Didymus Mutasa,
has said, "In our culture kings are only replaced when they die, and Mugabe
is our king."
Mugabe himself has threatened that the country's only
significant opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, will
never enjoy power while he lives. Issuing a "declaration of war" at a public
rally, he said, "The MDC will never form the government of this country,
never ever, not in my lifetime or even after I die."
He then broke
into his indigenous Shona to warn: "Ndinya kupikirei ndinomu lachidhoma [I
swear my ghost will come after you]."
And yet Mugabe, who nowadays
habitually indulges in the brutal political rhetoric of an archetypal
dictator, boasting "I have degrees in violence," was some two decades ago
given an honorary knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth and strongly
tipped to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Readers of the London-based magazine
New African voted him the most popular African leader of the
Somewhere it all went wrong. Exactly where is hard to pinpoint.
Lawrence Vambe, the distinguished Zimbabwean historian and journalist now
lives in self-imposed exile in Britain with 400,000 of his countrymen. He
has known Mugabe since the 1930s, when they were educated together at Kutama
Roman Catholic mission, where Robert was born on February, 21,
"Robert was a terrible loner," said Vambe from his home in the
English Midlands. "He was a brilliant student and his dear mother, Abuya
Bona Mugabe, desperately wanted her son to become a priest."
Robert was ten, his Gabriel left Kutama to seek work in Bulawayo. He never
returned, deserting his wife and six children for another woman, with whom
he had three children. "Mugabe never forgave him for that," said James
Chikerema, now aged 80, also educated at Kutama, who is Mugabe's nephew and
a veteran nationalist who founded the guerrilla wing of the Zimbabwe African
Mugabe greatly admired Kutama's Irish Jesuit
supervisor, Father Jerome O'Hea, who was a strong believer in education as
the key to emancipation and who was frequently attacked by the then
Rhodesia's British administrators for "educating the natives above their
To this day Mugabe lucidly recalls a conversation in 1933
between Father O'Hea and the British governor, Cecil Rodwell. When O'Hea
pleaded for funds to build a hospital at Kutama, Rodwell retorted, "Why do
you worry about a hospital? After all, there are too many natives in the
country already." Mugabe never forgot nor forgave Rodwell's
Mugabe trained as a teacher at Fort Hare University in South
Africa. He taught at schools in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and then at
Takoradi Teacher Training College in Ghana, the first black African colony
to gain independence, under its socialist leader Kwame Nkrumah. There he met
and became enamoured with fellow teacher Sally Heyfron, an intelligent and
cultured woman who injected tenderness into the life of the reserved and
austere Mugabe. They married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in
"Sally Heyfron was the best thing that ever happened to Robert,"
said Chikerema from his home in Harare. "She was warm and cared about
people. It rubbed off on Robert who could often be as cold as
At independence in 1980, hundreds of thousands of people flocked
into football stadiums around the country to celebrate the man Sally had
encouraged to become a revolutionary and who was now the leader of free
Zimbabwe. "Yes, he was worshipped," remembered Vambe. "We all felt in those
days that he was some sort of saviour."
Vambe wept tears of joy at
the independence ceremonies as his fellow schoolboy from Kutama became the
first black prime minister of Zimbabwe. "I believed then that Robert was a
storehouse of all that was best in our culture," he said.
and most of Zimbabwe's whites, agreed. David Smith, born in Scotland, became
finance minister. And when Mugabe appointed Englishman Denis Norman as his
first agriculture minister, Jim Sinclair, president of the 4,500-strong
Commercial Farmers' Union, said, "He's the best leader we've ever
The farmers, whose produce was the bedrock of the Zimbabwe economy,
chorused, "Good old Bob."
"However," said Vambe, "first, power went
to his head. Secondly, the whites he thought he could trust turned on him
and started funding opposition parties."
But Vambe, like many
Zimbabwean analysts, points to the death of Sally in 1992, after kidney
failure, as the point where something in Robert snapped and Zimbabwe began a
precipitous decline towards bankruptcy, threatened by total economic
collapse and catastrophic food shortages.
"He turned away from all his
old friends and embraced a collection of crooks and conmen who have brought
to its knees a country the late [Tanzanian president] Julius Nyerere called
The Jewel of Africa," he said.
However, Mugabe's ruthless and murderous
streak had already made itself apparent much earlier, when in 1983 he asked
North Korean military instructors to train a special Fifth Army Brigade,
made up entirely of his fellow ethnic Shonas and directly answerable to
He believed that ZAPU, the old rival to his ZANU PF in the
liberation struggle, still had weapons secretly buried around Bulawayo, the
country's second city, which could be used in an uprising against his
government. Numerous massacres occurred and as many as 35,000 people, mainly
peasants from the minority Ndebele tribe, were murdered by the Fifth
The scale of the violence was far worse than anything that had
occurred during the independence war. Most whites looked the other way.
"Better he turns on his own than on us," said a leader of the powerful
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, who had been a general in the old Rhodesian
In 1993, white farmers and businessmen helped finance a new,
anti-Mugabe party called The Forum. Led by Enoch Dumbutshena, Zimbabwe's
first black chief justice, the party enjoyed support from the black urban
"Mugabe was livid," said Chikerema, who joined The Forum.
"Blacks had announced their opposition to Mugabe's economic policies. But
when Mugabe threatened their white backers, black support drained away and
those of us who stuck with The Forum were left stranded."
The MDC was
launched in 1999, with similar financing but a much bigger support base and
with Morgan Tsvangirai, the popular secretary-general of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions, as its leader.
Mugabe's response, starting on
February 26, 2000, was to launch a carefully coordinated invasion of
white-owned farms across the country by government-supported gangs armed
with axes and pangas. Government and army trucks were used to transport them
to the farms and to keep them supplied with rations.
They were dubbed
'veterans', but the majority were too young to have participated in the war
of liberation 20 years earlier. The land invasions had a devastating impact
on the white farming community.
By the beginning of this year white
commercial agriculture had been destroyed, but so had the country's economy.
Hardly noticed, black critics of Mugabe also lost their land, including
Chikerema, whose 800 acre farm was taken from him by his uncle
"It is tragic," said Vambe, "that the world looked the other way
when Mugabe's Fifth Brigade killed anything between 25,000 and 30,000 black
men, women and children in Matabeleland, but went wild with anger when
white-owned farms were invaded by Robert's hooligans, leading to the death
of 13 farmers. This was British and white man's hypocrisy at its very
Looking back on it all, Vambe said, "Robert Mugabe wanted love
and affection from his people and still believes he has given them what they
most wanted, the return of the land taken by the whites in the
"But in that process he has destroyed the economy; alienated all
the best people and made enemies of the young who are pawing the ground
waiting for change or leaving Zimbabwe for countries that offer them some
Asked to pinpoint the key moment of change from Mugabe the
liberator to Mugabe the oppressor, 88-year-old Vambe replied, "Not one, but
two. The first was when the whites took sides against him after he offered
the hand of reconciliation in 1980.
"The second was the death of
Sally. Something closed down in him. He returned to being a lonely isolated
little boy in an old man's body. I no longer recognise the man I once knew
well and greatly admired. He has disgraced the name of Zimbabwe and I, for
one, will not be celebrating his 81st birthday."
Trevor Grundy worked
as a foreign correspondent in Zimbabwe for Time magazine, Deutsche Welle
Radio and The Scotsman from 1976 to 1996.
SADC 'must take stand on Zim' 20/02/2005 21:17 -
Johannesburg - The Southern African Development Community (SADC)
should say whether Zimbabwe is complying with its protocol on democratic
elections, the South African Communist Party said on Sunday.
should as soon as possible, and transparently, indicate the extent to which
its own protocol on free, fair and democratic elections is being observed
and implemented in Zimbabwe," spokesperson Mazibuko Kanyiso Jara
Jara said the SACP had discussed Zimbabwe's elections,
scheduled for March 31, at a central committee meeting in Johannesburg on
Friday and Saturday.
Although the party supported President Thabo Mbeki's
efforts to bring together Zimbabwe's major political parties (Zanu-PF and
the Movement for Democratic Change) it believed the efforts had been
"... the provisional agreements were never formally
endorsed... Zanu-PF was always a half-hearted participant in the
"The unilateral declaration by the Zanu-PF government of a
March election date, outside of any agreement in the Mbeki-facilitated
process has, effectively, undermined the process for the moment," Jara
The SACP wanted to ensure that the elections would be as democratic
"... the immediate strategic objective of all of our
interventions in the coming weeks must be to encourage, impel and insist
upon an opening up of as much democratic space as possible in
Jara said the democracy achieved in the elections should then
be used to transform the Zimbabwean political situation.
critical that whatever space is conceded remains open as a base upon which
to help to stabilise, normalise and progressively transform the Zimbabwean
reality after March 31."
Jara said this was important as there was too
little time for Zimbabwe to comply with the SADC principles and guidelines
governing democratic elections.
For instance, the Zimbabwean
independent electoral commission did not have offices, the voters' roll was
finalised before the IEC was formed, and police had disrupted meetings of
opposition political parties.
"Even the SADC delegation, which according
to the guidelines and principles should be in the country 90 days before an
election, has yet to be invited.
"It is, therefore, already too late for
an effective and substantive compliance with the SADC protocols.
should also bear in mind that clause 7.1 of that agreement (signed solemnly
by all SADC heads of state, including the Zimbabwean president) commits all
our governments to implement the protocols 'scrupulously'," Jara
Jara said the SACP supported the Congress of SA Trade Unions'
"The SACP agrees with Cosatu that all solidarity actions in
the coming weeks should keep the spot-light firmly focused on the crisis in
The SACP would support solidarity demonstrations against human
rights abuses and anti-democratic measures in Zimbabwe in the coming weeks,
Window on Africa - Mugabe may succeed in pulling the
wool over selected election observers' eyes February 21,
By Peter Fabricius
Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's plan seems to be coming together. As predicted, with just over five
weeks to go to the March 31 parliamentary elections, he is starting to make
concessions to international demands for a fair contest.
enough, he hopes, to win him international approval without really
threatening the outcome.
In January the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) decided to send a legal team to Zimbabwe to
assess, in good time, whether its electoral laws were consistent with the
electoral guidelines SADC leaders adopted last year.
stalled, refusing to invite the team in, while the SADC secretariat in
Gaborone and the SA government - tasked with organising the mission - passed
the buck between each other about why it was not happening. SADC grumbled it
couldn't understand the fuss, as the guidelines weren't legally
Then President Thabo Mbeki told the SABC last week it was
probably now too late for the legal mission. Its aim had been to go in
January to assess whether electoral laws then passing through parliament
were consistent with SADC guidelines. As those laws had now been enacted,
the moment had passed.
Meanwhile Mugabe's government seemed to be
using the time to complete harassing the opposition and clear the decks of
almost the last of the independent journalists. The Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) election manager was jailed for holding a meeting of its
candidates, and spurious legal charges were slapped on three journalists,
forcing them to flee the country.
Mugabe had already, of
course, hounded scores of other independent journalists out and forced the
only independent daily newspaper, the Daily News, to close. He and his thugs
had also already physically and legally beaten, intimidated and harassed the
MDC almost to death.
Then, last week he announced new media
regulations to ostensibly give the opposition increased access to the public
broadcaster - though in practice probably not.
announced this weekend that Zimbabwe was inviting election observers from
SADC, the AU, the UN and individual countries - but not from any country or
organisation critical of past elections.
An enormous responsibility
now rests on the observers who will be allowed in, to avoid legitimising
what may well be an illegitimate election. By denying the SADC legal team
entry, Mugabe has prevented them from exerting influence on his new
electoral laws which are fundamentally flawed. Mainly because he has created
an ostensibly independent electoral commission.
the team going in in January, Mugabe has also forestalled it from passing
critical judgment about the unequal electioneering climate in the
By the time the observers do go in, a few weeks before the
elections, the crime scene will no doubt have been cleaned up, the obvious
evidence of violence, intimidation and manipulation will have been removed
and the election itself may look, to the superficial observer, like a real
And so - as before - the SADC observers and others may
well again declare a "fair fight."
Oh for an Alpha Konare or an
Ecowas in Southern Africa! The military powers in the West African country
of Togo flouted the rules of the African Union and the Economic Community of
West African States (Ecowas) by installing the son of the late President
Eyadema as president, instead of calling for new presidential
Both Konare and Ecowas bluntly called this manoeuvre a
military coup and started piling on the pressure, including travel bans,
withdrawal of ambassadors and an arms embargo. Togo's generals starting
backing off, promising elections with 60 days and there are now signs that
Eyadema's son may resign before that.
Our government is always
complaining to critics of its Zimbabwe policy: "But what do you expect us to
do, invade?" No, but look to the AU and Ecowas for some creative but
Mugabe wants peaceful election Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:53 PM
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe says he would like parliamentary elections next month to be a
peaceful victory that will be a lesson for his critics at home and
Mugabe said on Sunday he was hoping for a massive victory over
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that will undercut
criticism from the MDC and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom he says
sponsors the opposition.
Political analysts say, that although
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is almost certain to retain power in the March 31
vote, he faces a credibility problem over the election. Some rivals have
dismissed the upcoming poll as a "total farce" because of electoral rules
which they say are skewed in his favour.
"We are going to win. That's
very obvious because we have the support of the people, but what we are
asking for is that we want it demonstrated through a massive vote," Mugabe
said in an interview on Zimbabwe state television to marking his 81st
birthday on Monday.
"We want to teach Mr Blair a lesson, his puppets will
lose and lose."
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, denies charges by the MDC and many Western powers that he
rigged the 2000 parliamentary polls, and his own re-election in 2002 after a
violent campaign many blamed on his ZANU-PF party.
Zimbabwean leader said he wants this year's elections to be held in
"We are asking for it to be very peaceful. Having acts of violence
doesn't reward anyone. It just sends wrong messages to those outside the
country because it gets blown out of proportion as if there is violence
throughout the country," he added.
In a long-winded 70-minute
interview in which he was not pressed on Zimbabwe's severe political and
economic crisis, Mugabe, who routinely attacks Blair in his public speeches,
denied he was using rhetoric to mask the country's problems.
am not doing that," he said before accusing Britain again of sabotaging
Zimbabwe's economy and mobilising Western sanctions against his government
for seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.
Asked what he
would tell Blair if they were to meet, Mugabe said: "I would tell him he is
a liar. On Zimbabwe he has lied, on Iraq, he has lied."
HARARE - One of Africa's
longest-serving leaders, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, turns 81 today,
having grown more and more defiant of Western powers that have branded him a
Once hailed by foreign leaders as the leader of a peaceful and
prosperous nation, Mugabe has of late vehemently defied criticism of his
rule with stinging attacks on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
As his Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party heads into parliamentary elections on
March 31, Mugabe is hammering away against Blair in a theme designed to
discredit the opposition, accused of being "stooges" of the
Blair has been a target for Mugabe's barbs since Zimbabwe was
suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 after its observers reported
problems with his re-election to a fifth term in office, due to end in
In an interview to be aired on Sunday on Zimbabwe's state
broadcaster ZBC, Mugabe is to again seize the opportunity to show that he is
continuing, 25 years after Zimbabwe won independence, to defend his country
from foreign interference.
In the interview, excerpts of which have
been aired over the weekend, Mugabe says that if he were to come
face-to-face with Blair he would not mince words.
"I would tell him
that he, Tony Blair, is a liar, straightforwardly," he says.
week Mugabe launched a diatribe against Rice, the most prominent African
American in President George W. Bush's administration, saying she was a
"slave" to white masters in Washington for branding Zimbabwe an "outpost of
While he advances into his 80s, Mugabe nevertheless displays
youthful stamina and energy levels as well as sharp mental
He still travels abroad, accompanied by his wife Grace,
despite travel bans slapped on him and his associates by the European Union
and the United States, and can remain standing for several hours at a time
to deliver his fiery speeches.
The father of three does not however
hide the fact that he is looking forward to retirement, and a tumultuous
party congress in December set the stage for what is widely expected to be
his exit from the presidency in three years.
With the backing of his
party, Mugabe installed Joyce Mujuru, 49, the wife of a former army
commander and prominent veteran of the independence struggle Solomon Mujuru,
as vice president while a faction of his party pushed for a rival
Mugabe, a former teacher who joined the struggle for
independence in the 1960s, swept to power in elections in 1980, initially
holding the post of prime minister which was later changed to executive
president in 1987.
The octogenarian is the fifth longest-serving African
leader after Omar Bongo of Gabon, in power since 1967, Moamer Kadhafi of
Libya, who has ruled since 1969, and Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang
Nguema and Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in office since
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born in Kutama Mission, 80 kilometres (50
miles) northwest of Harare, and was educated in Catholic missionary schools,
qualifying as a teacher at the age of 17.
He took his first steps in
politics when he enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, where he
met many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders.
then moved to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Ghana before returning home
to what was then Southern Rhodesia in 1960.
As a member of various
nationalist parties which were banned by the white-minority government, he
was detained with other nationalist leaders in 1964 and spent the next 10
years in prison camps or jail.
He used those years to consolidate his
position in the Zimbabwe African National Union and emerged from prison
in November 1974 as Zanu leader.
He then left for Mozambique, from
where his banned party was launching guerrilla attacks on
The former guerrilla leader announced a policy of
reconciliation with the country's white minority at independence, a policy
which Mugabe says has been spurned by many whites.
In his early years
Mugabe was widely credited with improving health and education for the black
majority. But social services later declined, and the AIDS epidemic, drug
shortages and a severe brain drain have shattered gains in health
The economy has continued to deteriorate, with 70% unemployment.
Around 80% of the country's 11.6 million people live in
Canada bans Sekeramayi's son from medical practise
Mduduzi Mathuthu Last updated: 02/21/2005 02:33:10 THE disgraced son of
Zimbabwe's Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi has been banned from
practising medicine in Canada following a string of sexual assault
allegations involving nursing staff at a Canadian hospital.
Sekeramayi, 34, has also been told his visa will not be renewed when it
expires later this year, despite the collapse of his trial on six charges of
"groping" nursing staff at the Royal Columbian Hospital between July and
The British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
which agreed to a request by police to back-off its investigation pending
the court case against Dr Sekeramayi revived its probe after the collapse of
Dr. Morris Van Andel the college registrar said based on their
own evidence, Dr Sekeramayi was unsuitable to practise.
Sergeant Casey Dehaas of the British Columbia Police told New Zimbabwe.com
last week that Dr Sekeramayi's trial collapsed after his alleged victims
declined to testify.
However, the authorities were convinced that the
orthopaedic fellow who arrived in Canada in 1999 under an education visa had
committed the crimes, prompting the College of Physicians and Surgeons to
ban him from practising medicine.
Dehaas said: "Our Crown Counsel has
entered a "Stay of Proceedings" into all the charges against Dr Sekeramayi.
It appears that the victims in this case where not ready nor willing to give
evidence against Dr Sekeramayi.
"Dr Sekeramayi has been banned from
practicing medicine here in British Columbia due to these and other
complaints received by the College of Physicians &
Dehaas said the rogue doctor's family had already returned to
Dr Sekeramayi's friends from his high school days at St
Ignatius College have described a "quiet boy" who never used his father's
lofty position in President Robert Mugabe's administration to make his
"He also got very involved with student activism at the
University of Zimbabwe where he graduated in 1995. He really doesn't approve
of the way the country is run at the moment," one of his friends told The
Dr Sekeramayi, the minister's son from his first marriage,
was placed on indefinite paid leave by the hospital after an initial three
hospital employees, including a nurse with nearly 20 years' experience,
alleged that Sekeramayi had "groped" their breasts at work.
more nurses came forward to say they were also Dr Sekeremayi's victims.
Police later said the sexual assaults involved "fondling, touching and
groping". The Canadian ban on Dr Sekeramayi from medical practise effectively
ensures he will probably never practise medicine in any of the Western
countries, although he may still be allowed to practise in Zimbabwe.