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

Treason Charges For Gwisai And 44 Other Activists

HRDs Alert

23 February 2011

Police on Wednesday 23 February 2011 charged International Socialist Organisation (ISO) coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and 44 social justice and human rights activists with treason.

Prosecutors sneaked in the charge of treason as defined in Section 20 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] or alternatively contravening Section 22 (2) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, that is attempting to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means. Lawyers for the 45 were only advised of the charges minutes before the court convened.

If found guilty of treason, the activists risk being slapped with a sentence of death or life imprisonment.

State prosecutor Edwin Nyazamba, who was assisted by one Mthombeni accused the activists of convening and attending a meeting in a boardroom at Cross Roads House along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare on Saturday 19 February 2011, where they allegedly organized, strategised to implement the removal of a constitutional government of Zimbabwe by unconstitutional means, in similar fashion to the Egyptian revolution, which resulted in the ousting of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The activists allegedly viewed video footage of the Egyptian protests and made speeches urging other activists in attendance to mobilise a revolt against the government in similar fashion to the protests which were recently staged in Egypt and Tunisia.

Prosecutors said the police who raided and arrested the activists confiscated a video projector, a laptop, and two DVD’s containing the Egyptian and Tunisian revolt recordings.

The State alleged that the police recovered placards with inscriptions which read “Choice is now socialism ISO” and Marxism in the millennium MDC ndizvo”.

Defence lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Marufu Mandevere of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) protested against being ambushed in court as prosecutors only availed the charge sheet to them a few minutes before court proceedings.

Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi adjourned proceedings to Thursday 24 February 2011 to allow the defence lawyers to obtain instructions from the activists as they had not been afforded the opportunity to do so with regards to the new charge of treason which only cropped up when they were in court.

However, the principal prison officer, in contempt of the court, barred defence lawyers from taking instructions from their clients and transferred the activists to Harare Remand Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

The 45 activists are Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Michael Sozinyu, Eddson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto, Phillip Magaya, Prolific Mataruse, Godknows Biya, David Mupatse, Douglas Muzanenhamo, Ganizani Nunu, Reki Jimu, Josphat Chinembiri, Strutton Muhambi, Trevor Chamba, Clarence Mugari, Munyaradzi Maregedze, Willie Hlatswayo, Ian Muteto, Tinashe Muzambi, Tinashe Mutazu, Pride Mukono, Lenard Kamwendo, Tinashe Chisaira, Trust Munyama, Peter Garanewako, Elizabeth Makume, Megline Malunga, Daison Bango, Malvern Hobwana, Tashinga Mudzengi, Ednar Chabalika, Thokozile Mathe, Francisca Thompson, Masline Zvomuya, Nhamo Kute, Annie Chipeta, Tabeth Chideya, Charles Mubwandarikwa, Thomas Chibaya, Fatima Manhando, Blessing Muguzayaya and Robert Muhlaba.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Political Heads To Meet Amid Escalating Violence

23/02/2011 16:12:00

Harare, February 23, 2011 - The Principals to Zimbabwe’s Global Political
Agreement (GPA) will meet on Friday to tackle critical issues ranging from
violence, the proposed roadmap to a free and fair election and the
constitution making process.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met President Robert Mugabe informally on
Monday after he returned from medical check-up in Singapore.

The meeting comes at a time when State-sponsored violence is rocking the
country. Soldiers, police and central intelligence organisation officers and
Zanu (PF) vigilantes are implicated in the violence in the urban townships
and in the villages.

A recent report by pro-democracy civil society organisations said the
political temperature was so high that Zimbabwe risked sliding back into the
dark pre-2008 era. It accused Zanu (PF) of violating the Global Political
Agreement by letting its supporters terrorise villagers and Movement of
Democratic Change supporters.

Government’s failure to depoliticise the security sector was described as a
serious danger to an orderly political transition.

Tsvangirai said last week he had observed that the past few months there had
been a marked deployment of soldiers and armed vigilantes in the countryside
to recreate the terror of June 2008.

Meanwhile residents of Chitungwiza’s Unit O suburb have established Security
Watch Committees to protect themselves against any attacks from Zanu (PF)
youth militias who have been terrorising the suburb.

The security watch committees are made up of youths and elders and the group
elders are aided with a whistle which they blow whenever there are threats
of attacks from the violent Zanu (PF) youths.

Over the past three weeks Zanu (PF) youths had been terrorising the suburb
and had been embarking on a door to door campaign threatening residents and
forcing them to pay US$2 for party cards. They were also being forced to
attend party meetings.

According to the organising secretary for the security watch committees
David Hunda, the residents wanted peace in the suburb as they will continue
to live together well after the elections are over.

“We sat down as elders of the suburb and mapped the way forward since we
have been terrorised by the militias from Zanu (PF) for too long now."

Tatenda Motsi welcomed the idea and said: “This is a wise move since we have
been living in fear and one does not know when they will attack. We need to
protect ourselves from the Zanu (PF) militias. Last week I was forced to pay
US$2 for a membership card. They have not even come back to give us the
cards. They are just criminals and we are ready to defend ourselves.”

The move by the residents of Chitungwiza came at a time when the country has
been hit by a wave of political violence which has fatal in the restive
suburb of Mbare and Epworth.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Militia harass private property owners

Written by Tony Saxon
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 12:20

VUMBA – Zanu (PF) war veterans who were resettled under the infamous Robert
Mugabe (pictured) land grab have, together with youth militia, reportedly
continued to harass MDC supporters and the the few remaining whites here.

As a result of the continuing political violence, some whites who own
private lodges have fled their homes. The war veterans and youth militia led
by a man known as Manhando have set up an illegal base at Glenburn where
they harass, assault and steal livestock belonging to MDC supporters.

The MDC-T councillor in the area, Peter Mukwecheni, said Manhando, with a
group of war veterans and youth militia that underwent national service
training at the nearby Eagles Training Centre, were responsible for the
terror campaign in the area.

White people interviewed said the war veterans were threatening them to push
them out of their private lodges and residence.

“They (war veterans) have come to my place and threatened to push me out of
my private property. They said we do not have a place here as Zimbabwe was a
country that belongs to blacks,” said one resident.

An anonymous white resident of Vumba Heights said: “They came to my place
and said we should share everything that I have got. They accused all the
whites in this area of being MDC supporters and they said they would deal
with us if we continued supporting MDC-T. I was forced to attend all Zanu
(PF) meetings and rallies. We are not protected at all. The police and the
neighbourhood watch committee are partisan.”

The MDC-T said all political parties should stick to the requirements of the
Memorandum Of Understanding to take positive and visible action against
those who instigate and perpetrate politically motivated violence within
their rank and file.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Climate of fear hovers over Buhera again
Written by Tony Saxon
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 08:10
zanu_youth_militiaPresence of military, harassment intensifies
BUHERA - The petrol bombing of MDC supporters Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya in April 2000 as a result of the political contest between Zanu (PF) and the emergent Movement for Democratic Change brings sombre memories to villagers here.

Named and Shamed
Petros Jiri and Morris Mabiza – abducted and tortured locals at Marenga Business Centre in 2008

Since then, the political duel in Buhera - where President Robert Mugabe’s strongest challenger in his political history comes from - has claimed lives of many MDC supporters, displaced them and destroyed their property worth millions of dollars.

Now villagers have complained that Zanu (PF) is re-establishing militia bases in the area, saying they live in constant fear of harassment and beatings by thugs aligned to the former ruling party, just like they experienced in the sham June 2008 election. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from the race citing massive violence against his supporters.

Mugabe went ahead with the one-man race that saw him “winning” the run off “election”.

Titus Mapenzauswa, a villager, said there was a high presence of armed military in the area, moving around with Zanu (PF) youths, terrorizing perceived enemies of the former ruling party.

“The military and other state security agents are terrorising villagers. Definitely a climate of fear has enveloped the whole Buhera district,” said Mapenzauswa.

According to a Zimbabwe Peace Project report (Views report of May 2008), Buhera South was the most affected by political violence during the period leading to the election runoff.

The violence in Buhera was mainly attributed to self-styled war veterans and serving army officers.

Margaret Sauti, a woman whose 20-year-old son was severely burnt on the legs by the youth militia in June 2008, still carries the memories and fears that this might come again with the news that elections might be held in August this year.

“Known youths and ‘war vets’ led by Petros Jiri and Morris Mabiza, among others, used a house at Marenga business centre as an abduction and torture base for many kidnapped apolitical residents and supporters of Tsvangirai. The place was in effect a ‘loot kraal’ for animals seized from MDC-T supporters,” said a tearful Sauti.

“Now we are seeing a new crop of young militias moving around our villages telling us not to repeat what we did in 2008 - supporting Tsvangirai,” said the elderly woman in a voice full of fear.

During the run up to the presidential elections of 2008, scores of residents and MDC supporters were abducted, tortured and victimised in dark rooms in Marenga and Gaza business centres of Buhera by President Robert Mugabe’s thugs.

Hebert Makoni a political analyst said: “The violence in Murambinda and other areas of Buhera is a slap in the face of the inclusive government’s efforts to stabilize the country.”

Even traditional leaders have complained of overzealous Zanu (PF) youth militia forcing villagers to surrender their political party allegiances.

A headman who cannot be named said: “A lot of violence and intimidation is going on in communities without being reported – particularly in Murambinda, Gaza and Marenga.”

The headman said he had seen enough death as a result of political violence.

“I have witnessed about five deaths of MDC supporters in my area in the last election and I do not want to see further deaths because of this violence. Zanu (PF) and MDC should work closely in trying to solve the problem of violence,” he said.

A human rights group, Heal Zimbabwe, said recently that the silence of the Organ on National Healing had become a cause for concern.

“As long as the Organ on National Healing cannot make meaningful inroads in communities torn apart by polarisation for so long a time then the call or talk for new elections which is transparent and fair will remain a pipe dream,” said the organisation in a statement.

“We call upon the GPA principals to come to their senses and have people’s lives at heart by postponing an election until a conducive environment is created – where people will not lose their lives simply because they hold a different political view from others,” it added.

Heal Zimbabwe contented that as long as the issue of political violence was not properly addressed and communities have not yet been de-militarized, it would be a sheer waste of resources to undergo an election whose outcome will definitely be questioned due to the unlevel playing field.

The Human Rights group said the Principals to the Global Political Agreement should be concentrating on reforming key strategic institutions that would ensure fair and free elections which are not contested but taken as a true reflection of people’s wishes.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chaos As Zanu (PF) Turns Hall Into A Campaign Base

23/02/2011 10:48:00

Nyamandolovu, February 23,2011- Chaos reigned here after Zanu (PF)
supporters took charge of the farmers' council hall and turned it into a
campaign base blocking the Movement Democratic Change from holding their

Nyamandlovu is under Zanu (PF) legislator and Mines Minister Obert Mpofu’s
Umguza constituency.

A group Zanu (PF) supporters, led by the party councillor David Moyo and a
war veterans’ leader Judge Ncube, led the take-over of the Nyamandlovu
Farmers' Council.

This was despite the fact that the Morgan Tsvangirai led MDC-T had booked
the hall for a party meeting.
Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu told Radio VOP that his MDC-T party was stopped
from proceeding with the meeting on Tuesday by Zanu (PF) militias.

“They have taken over farmers' council hall and have barred us from using
it, telling us that from now on its owned by Zanu (PF). “We had booked the
hall on Tuesday for our party meeting but Judge with the help of Zanu (PF)
councillor Moyo and some youths threatened us before chasing us away,” said

Ndlovu said they would take the matter up with the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (JOMIC). He accused Zanu (PF) of trying to bring
violence to Matabeleland North province which he described as one of the
most peaceful province in the country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim Magistrates Issue 14 Day Ultimatum

23/02/2011 10:48:00

Harare, February 23, 2011 - Zimbabwe’s poorly paid magistrates have given
government a 14 day ultimatum to look into their salary grievances before
they embark on the next course of action to take.

The resolution passed by the Magistrates Association of Zimbabwe during a
crisis meeting at the weekend gives government up to March 07 to act or face
the risk of a strike.

Harare magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, who is secretary general of the
magistrates association said: "I do not want to call it an ultimatum as
such. It’s just a request that they look into our grievances then our
members would decide what course of action to take.”

They association is requesting monthly salaries of US$600 for trainee
magistrates, US$1000 for junior magistrates, US$1500 for senior magistrates,
US$1700 for provincial magistrates and US$2000 for senior provincial
magistrates. They also want a monthly US$2 500 for regional magistrates,
US$3000 for senior regional magistrates and deputy chief magistrates and
US$3300 for a chief magistrate.

Sources accused Finance Minister Tendai Biti of blocking the approval of the
salary hikes despite that the Acting Secretary for Judicial Services
Commission (JSC) Rita Makarau has written to him over the issue several

“There was a strong feeling Biti was blocking our salary increase despite
having been approved by our employer within the budget allocated to the
commission. People are so agitated by this. They actually wanted to go on
strike on Monday but felt that we should give our employer 14 days to
rectify this as is directed by labour laws,”
said a source.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA mediators arrive in Zimbabwe for talks

Harare, Zimbabwe (PANA) - A team of South African mediators arrived in
Zimbabwe on Wednesday for talks with the leaders of the country's coalition
government to ease tensions ahead of an expected poll.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed South Africa
mediator in Zimbabwe after the country fell into a prolonged political
crisis, pitting the government and the opposition.

As a compromise, President Robert Mugabe was in 2009 forced to co-opt the
opposition into government over a two-year period which expired early this

Fresh elections now loom in the country, and political tensions have been
rising again ahead of the poll which Mugabe says he wants held before June.

The opposition, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, opposes the
election plans, insisting on electoral reforms to be put in place first.

There has been renewed inter-party fighting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai
supporters in the last three weeks, including petrol bombings.

SADC has expressed deep concerns over the renewed fighting, forcing South
African President Jacob Zuma to send in his aides to talk to the Zimbabwean

Officials said the mediators would meet both Mugabe and Tsvangirai, and
urged restraint. The tensions have been whipped up by Tsvangirai's comments
that Zimbabwe was ripe for Egyptian- and Tunisian-style uprisings to force
Mugabe, who has been in power for 31 years, out of office.
-0- PANA RS/VAO 23Feb2011

23 february 2011 13:22:28

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mwonzora’s arrest stalls progress in COPAC

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 February 2011

The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North, Douglas Mwonzora, is ‘in high spirits’ at
Mutare remand prison, amid reports that his incarceration is a deliberate
attempt by ZANU PF to stall progress on a new constitution.

‘Mwonzora and the rest of the 24 activists arrested in Nyanga last week are
in high spirits, strong and in good health. We see them twice a day when we
bring them food and they tell us the struggle must continue despite their
ordeal,’ Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman for Manicaland said.

Mwonzora is the co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC)
that is spearheading the drafting of a new constitution in Zimbabwe. His
absence from COPAC duties means no major decisions have been made since his
arrest eight days ago, according to our correspondent in Harare, Simon

He was arrested in Harare last week following allegations he instigated
violence against ZANU PF supporters in his constituency. He denies the
charges and has instead accused his ZANU PF opponent Hurbert Nyanhongo of
sending his militia to storm his rally.

Following a standoff between ZANU PF militia and MDC activists, 24 villagers
from the constituency were picked up from their homes by ZANU youths and
handed over to the police.

Asked to comment on reports that Mwonzora’s arrest is linked to a plot by
ZANU PF to delay the new constitution and give Mugabe an excuse to call an
election under the old constitution, Muchauraya said that was possible.

‘Anything is possible with ZANU PF but the masses will reject such attempts
to subvert people’s will. Mugabe did so in 2008 and was resoundingly
defeated and if he dare tries it again he will be humiliated,’ Muchauraya

A new constitution is part of the power-sharing agreement between Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party. The two parties,
including the MDC now led by Welshman Ncube, were brought together in a
unity government in February 2009. It was meant to end months of
confrontation after the violent elections in 2008.

The constitution-making process, already far behind schedule, has stalled
several times due to political haggling between ZANU PF and the two
formations of the MDC. But it is a key aspect of an election roadmap,
currently being drafted by SADC appointed facilitator President Jacob Zuma
of South Africa. A referendum for a new constitution is expected end of
September this year and this may lead to fresh elections, perhaps during the
first half of 2012.

Meanwhile the state continues to crackdown on MDC supporters countrywide as
evidenced by the high number of court appearances in recent days. In
Bulawayo, three MDC Youth Assembly youths, Gift Mlala, Mpumelelo Donga and
Kelvin Ncube from Nkulumane were on Wednesday granted $50 bail each by a
magistrate after facing charges of undermining the authority of the

The MDC said the three were arrested on Sunday on false charges of being in
possession of a cartoon bearing the face Robert Mugabe. They deny the
charges. Duduzile Sibanda, another MDC district member for Bulawayo Central,
was on Wednesday remanded out of custody, again, to 3rd March as state
witnesses in her case have travelled to Harare to attend Mugabe’s 87th
birthday party this Saturday. Sibanda, 58, was arrested in March 2008 on
allegations of defacing a ZANU PF campaign poster. She has been appearing
before the Bulawayo courts for remand hearings since 2009.

In Penhalonga Manicaland province, another three MDC supporters were
released Monday, having been on remand for a week. This followed allegations
of singing a song that undermined the authority of the Robert Mugabe.

‘Patrick Chikoti, Faith Mudiwa and Phillip Dowera were granted bail on 7th
February by Magistrate Eniya Ndiraya but the State invoked the notorious
Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that suspends the
bail order for seven more days,’ a statement from the MDC said.

In Mutare the MDC said Jane Mahichani, and 11 others who are facing charges
of extortion for demanding their property that was looted by ZANU PF thugs
during the 2008 post election violence, were on Wednesday further remanded
out of custody to 6th April for a ruling when they appeared before a Mutare
Magistrate. Mahichani and her co-accused persons have been appearing in
court since 2008.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Smaller MDC Faction Appeals For GPA Amendment

23/02/2011 21:30:00

Harare, February 23, 2011 – Welshman Ncube’s smaller faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) has asked South African president Jacob Zuma who
is the Zimbabwe mediator, to amend the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Ncube's political grouping wants the amendment to the GPA to show that
controversial Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is not representing the
interest of the MDC but that of President Robert Mugabe and
Zanu (PF).

The Ncube grouping fired Mutambara from the party after he refused to resign
the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, which Ncube wanted to
occupy after ousting him as president of the party last month.

However, President Mugabe has refused to swear in Ncube as the new
principal, insisting that he can only do so if Mutambara voluntarily

The MDC wrote to Zuma, President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai
advising the facilitator and the two principals on the party’s demands for
amendments to the GPA.

“We write to formally request that the Global political Agreement be amended
in Article 20.1.6 (4) so that the relevant clause should read: “There shall
be two deputy Prime Ministers one from MDC-T and the other from Zanu (PF),
the one from Zanu (PF) shall be occupied by Arthur Mutambara”, said
Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, the party’s secretary general, in a letter
to President Zuma.

“The amendment will resolve the current predicament where an individual who
is no longer a member of our party is holding a DPM position reserved for
our party. It would also address Mutambara’s expressed desire to continue in
government whilst working outside political party idiosyncrasies.

“We hope, therefore, that this amendment will be speedily effected top allow
us all to concentrate on government programmes that will ensure free and
fair election,” she added.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: Editor arrested

MISA-Zimbabwe Alert
23 February 2011

Golden Maunganidze an editor with the privately owned The Masvingo Mirror
was on 23 February 2011 arrested in the southern town of Masvingo on
allegations of criminally defaming a senior Zanu PF politician.

Police in Masvingo questioned and detained Maunganidze for about two hours
before releasing him. They asked him to return to the police station on 24
February 2011 in the company of his lawyers and indicated that they were
likely to charge him for criminal defamation.

The article was published in the weekly’s edition of 18 February 2011.

He was reportedly arrested at the instigation of the politician following
publication of the satirical article written under the weekly’s Hot on the
Heels column. MISA-Zimbabwe reliably understands that the article in
question did not mention any names.

Maunganidze’s arrest comes hard on the heels of the arrest in Mutare of
freelance journalist Sydney Saize on 21 February 2011. Saize was released
the same day after paying a fine of US$10 dollars for being a criminal

He was arrested by members of the Zimbabwe Prison Service on 21 February
2011 while taking pictures of three armed robbers who allegedly tried to
escape from lawful custody at Mutare Magistrates Court.

His lawyer David Tandiri said he was fined for taking the pictures without
the permission of the prison officers.


For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Senior Programmes Officer

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu governor summons NGOs

Written by Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 10:16

MUTARE - Manicaland Governor and President Robert Mugabe’s close ally, Chris
Mushohwe last week summoned all Non Governmental Organisations (NGO)’s
operating in the province to a meeting where he instructed them to sideline
elected councillors in favour of working with local chiefs.

Some of the NGOs that attended the briefing included Red Cross Society,
Rescue International, Plan Zimbabwe. Chiefs in the country are known for
supporting President Mugabe and Zanu (PF).

Before meeting with NGOs, Mushohwe secretly met with traditional leaders and
rural council chief executive officers at his offices at the government
complex where they discussed plans to hijack the operations of NGOs.

During the secret meeting, Mushohwe reportedly blamed NGOs for contributing
to Zanu (PF) `s dismal performance during the 2008 harmonised elections.

During the meeting with NGOs, Mushohwe told NGO officials that councillors
were politicians who had interest in their respective wards and therefore
chiefs were suitable people to work with. He also said chiefs were the
custodians of the people and instructed that no programmes be implemented
without their blessing.

"We were told to work with partisan chiefs in our programmes. This is
interference with our work because we work with elected people who have the
mandate of the people to spearhead developmental and humanitarian projects.
Most of the traditional leaders in the country are partisan because they
force villagers to attend Zanu (PF) political meetings. We are there to
serve people regardless of their political affiliation," said an official
from a local NGO who declined to be named.

NGOs vowed not to heed to Mushohwe’s call, saying they will continue to
operate within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe. – Staff reporter

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Biti Pressured by ZANU-PF Over Civil Servant Salaries

Sources said President Mugabe, his two vice presidents, the ZANU-PF
politburo and central committee and some top military officers want Biti to
prepare a supplementary budget to increase civil servant salaries

Gibbs Dube | Washington 22 February 2011

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugab'e's ZANU-PF party is said to be putting
pressure on Finance Minister Tendai Biti to prepare a supplementary budget
to fund increased salaries for civil servants though Biti has said and most
economists agree that the country simply does not have the means to boost
admittedly low public wages.

Representatives of teachers and other categories of civil servants say
revenues from the sale of diamonds mined in the rich Marange alluvial field
of eastern Zimbabwe should be sufficient to increase state salaries. But
Biti and others say revenues from that source have fallen far short of hopes
amid suspicions diamond process have been diverted.

Sources in ZANU-PF said the campaign to pressure Biti to increase public
salaries is backed by President Mugabe, his two vice presidents, the party
politburo and central committee and some senior armed forces officials. They
said Biti will be forced to prepare a supplementary budget though he has
said recources remain scarce.

They said ZANU-PF believes Zimbabwe has sufficient resources to boost pay
for state workers. Biti, who could not be reached for comment, has said
Zimbabwe should not bank on diamond revenues as large portions of revenues
cannot be accounted for.

Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire said diamond revenues could not cover
such a supplementary budget. "Money generated from diamond sales needs to be
properly accounted for before we start thinking of tapping funds from this
industry,” he said.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association Chief Executive Sifiso Ndlovu said the
government must earmark funds from the sale of mineral resources to pay
civil servants.

But economist Eric Bloch said Zimbabwe simply doesn't have the money.“The
only option Biti has is to raise taxes but this will completely ruin the
country’s economic growth and erode disposable incomes for suffering
Zimbabweans,” Bloch said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cops corrupt, not trusted – survey

Written by MDC Real Change Times
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 14:16

HARARE – Public confidence in the police has hit an all-time low as members
of the force continue to display a partisan approach to its Constitutional
So serious is the negative attitude that it makes police work impossible in
a democratic society.
As a result, most human rights abuses go unreported, says the MDC. Many
people have been arrested after going to the police to report victimisation
and intimidation at the hands of Zanu (PF) hooligans.
The victims have been jailed – but no convictions have ever been recorded.
A recent survey identified the police as the most corrupt public officials
in the
country. MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and officials in his office were
listed as
clean while President Robert Mugabe’s office and employees, together with
MPs, judges, magistrates and traditional leaders were found to be corrupt.
The survey was carried out in October last year and the results released
this week by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) on behalf of Afro
Barometer. The survey reveals that 42 percent of Zimbabweans agreed that
most police officers were corrupt.
In second position were government officials, while 30 percent mentioned
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials.
More than half of those interviewed (56%) said the inclusive government
should continue because it was performing well.
Another survey will be held next month to find out if Zimbabweans are ready
for elections this year.
Conduction of the survey had to be abandoned in Shamva, Mashonaland Central
province after the researchers encountered hostilities from Zanu (PF) mobs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African Bishops appeal to SADC over Zim elections

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 February, 2011

Catholic bishops from eight African countries have appealed to political
leaders in the SADC region to oversee the development of a roadmap for
peaceful elections in Zimbabwe, stressing that “elections at this stage
would be dangerously premature”.

In a statement addressed to SADC, the bishops said they “strongly believe”
that conditions in the country are “emphatically not conducive to elections
in 2011. They applauded the GPA and unity government it created but
expressed great concern that two years later, few aspects of the agreement
had been fulfilled.

The appeal was drafted in Pretoria, where the bishops had gathered for the
9th plenary session of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern
Africa (IMBISA). They explained that the appeal came out of a deep concern
for the “suffering people of Zimbabwe”, and at a critical time in “the life
of the Zimbabwean Nation”.

Regarding elections, the bishops said conditions are not conducive because
the GPA was not fulfilled, the constitutional reform process was incomplete,
the voters roll is not updated, there is no freedom of association and media
is “severely restricted”. “The nation is in the grip of extreme fear;
polarization is still evident; there are increasing signs of intimidation
and/or violence as the election campaign builds up.”

Father Oskar Wermter who helps needy people in Mbare, told SW Radio Africa
on Wednesday that the atmosphere is tense and the so-called “ruling party”
has not changed its tactics of violence and intimidation.

He said although Robert Mugabe has shown no respect for the church in the
past, the IMBISA statement was important because it shows the church is in
touch with people on the ground and bishops are well informed about life in
both the rural and urban areas. “Our bishop came here to Mbare to see what
is going on and he can then inform the conference,” said Father Wermter.

He described an incident when ZANU PF thugs attacked a soup kitchen being
run by the Catholic Church, for people displaced by the recent violence in
Mbare. “They have no morals. They just walked in and started beating up
volunteer workers there. Some were taken to hospitals with injuries.”

The bishops’ statement said there had been some progress in the country, but
ordinary people continued to suffer from “extreme poverty, high levels of
unemployment, inadequate health and education services and lack of
investment and confidence in the economy of the country.”

The appeal was signed by bishops from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia,
Mozambique, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa & Zimbabwe, who appealed to
SADC to be “the agent that brings about this urgently needed recovery of

The bishops explained that if those in power choose to hold elections in
2011, then they “assert emphatically” that two things be considered as
preconditions - a roadmap leading up to the elections be put in place and
that the elections be conducted according to SADC’s guidelines for

Father Wermter agreed and stressed that violence was a key issue: “People
are nervous. The constant threat of violence is hanging over them and they
are afraid to go out after dark. As long as that continues there should be
no elections in Zimbabwe”.
The facilitation team for South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who is SADC’s
chief negotiator on Zimbabwe, is expected in Harare this week to work on a
roadmap with the three major political parties.

Unfortunately SADC does not have a good record of supervising elections in
Zimbabwe and has failed to pressure Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF into
implementing what they agreed to in the SADC-brokered GPA.

There has been a general consensus among civic groups that the U.N. and the
international community should also be allowed to monitor elections in

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZEC’s mission made possible

Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 12:09

HARARE - Justice and Legal Affairs minister, Patrick Chinamasa on Monday
said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)'s need for US$20 million to
come up with a broadly acceptable voters roll will be met.

Chinamasa was speaking at the launch of a five year strategic plan for the
electoral body, which has said cleaning the voters roll will cost US$20
million, a key step in the roadmap to a free and fair poll.

"I think ZEC's immediate needs will be met sooner rather than later,"
Chinamasa said.

The commission is working on cleaning up the voters' roll, but first the
electoral body must hold a referendum on a new Constitution. Chinamasa said
ZEC commissioners could expect to start receiving their remuneration after
approval of their packages by the President.

"Finally the condition of service has been approved by the President and
details will be sent to you in the formal way," he said.

He blamed targeted Western measures for stymieing the country's ability to
bankroll elections. In reality there are no sanctions and Zanu (PF)’s
continued use of the phrase is a red herring to detract attention from its
thievocracy which has plundered state resources and reduced the economy to a
basket case.

Chinamasa did not say when elections would be held.

ZEC also unveiled its new website that would help in updating the voters’
registry. The Electoral Commission headed by Simpson Mutambanengwe, a former
Zimbabwean Supreme Court judge who was serving as acting Chief Justice in
the Namibian Supreme Court, has promised a fair vote.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu milks traders

Written by Fungi Kwaramba
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:50

HARARE - Suspected Zanu (PF) supporters have been milking villagers at Mbare
Musika by forcing them to pay US$4 to trade at the biggest vegetable market
in Zimbabwe, and by fining for bringing cooked food.

Mbare Musika is a popular spot for farmers country wide to sell their
produce, however, Zanu (PF) supporters have been using intimidation to force
people into purchasing boxes from them.

According to the Harare Residents Trust (HRT), the worst affected are people
from Honde Valley.

“Hundreds of banana traders travelling from as far as Honde Valley in Mutasa
district and other parts of the country to sell heir fruit in Mbare have
found themselves at the mercy of political opportunists constantly coercing
them to buy packaging boxes and food from them if they want to be allowed to
continue doing their business,” said HRT co-ordinator, Precious Shumba.

He added that because of the skewed interpretation of the law, the traders
are now afraid of making reports and just put up with the abuse.

“(Traders) are now afraid of making any reports to the City of Harare
because the people who receive their reports relay the information back to
the same people who are forcing them to part with their money,” said Shumba.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Journalists resolve to drop hate language

By Maxwell Sibanda
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 11:58

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has resolved to refrain from
using hate language as the country approaches a potentially explosive
election later this year.

The ZUJ members , who met over the weekend also appealed to the inclusive
government, political parties, traditional leaders, churches, media
organisations and other organised groups to declare their support for the
guarantee of the safety and protection of journalists during their work.

Foster Dongozi, the ZUJ secretary general said journalists were recalling
Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement, GPA, signed on 15 September
2008 by the three main political parties which called on the public and
private media to refrain from using abusive language.

“Media houses and journalists should affirm the need to avoid hate speech,
taking into account continued attempts by politicians to control journalists
and media workers through patronage. We would like to remind all citizens
that as professional journalists, we pledge to conduct ourselves
professionally,” said Dongozi.

Dongozi said journalists would soon be operating in a politically volatile
environment ahead of a referendum and elections.

“We declare zero tolerance against attacks on journalists and media workers
conducting their work professionally and ethically during the upcoming
referendum and elections,” Dongozi said.

“We strongly condemn any arrest, detention and attacks of journalists in
pursuit of their work. We also express concern on the arrests and detention
of media workers such as newspaper vendors, associated personnel and media
organisations as happened recently.”

The ZUJ secretary-general said his organisation further noted the
vulnerability of female journalists and media workers during volatile
situations such as elections and called for unity among journalists across
the media devide.

ZUJ President Dumisani Sibanda said journalists should revisit the old
basics of writing. “Today’s journalists should learn from veteran
journalists who used to follow the basics of good journalism,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda said media employers were usually responsible for editorial policies
and as such were responsible for whatever the journalists wrote.

“I hope we will reach a time when a journalist will say No to an editor who
wants him to write something he or she feels is out of principal or biased,”
the ZUJ President said.

An editor with a state daily said the impending elections will see further
polarisation within the media as politicians jostle for coverage during
campaign periods.

“It will become worse as we approach the election.”

A freelance journalist said it was only proper for newspapers to declare
their political allegiance as we move towards the elections.

“We have had such situations in the USA where for instance the New York
Times can declare that it supports Barack Obama.”

A journalist from the state media said it was very clear to the reader which
political party one supported.

“They know who we are and people understand us and usually sympathise with
us. Some are even brave enough to tell us in the face about our blatant

Another journalist with the state media narrated how his editor was fired
for publishing a story that predicted a Morgan Tsvangirai victory.

“It was a warning to all of us in the newsroom that such stories cannot be
written,” said the journalist.

A journalist from the electronic media said it was usually the newsrooms
that transformed journalists to write in the way they did.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe’s ‘despotic’ behaviour worries DA

Written by Timothy Chirova
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 13:48

CAPE TOWN – President Jacob Zuma and his foreign ministers should be made
accountable of how the political situation in Zimbabwe unfolds, as this has
a direct impact on the Southern African region, says the Democratic Alliance
(DA). (Pictured: Athol Trollip)
“The DA has grown increasingly concerned with both the ANC government and
SADC’s refusal to challenge President Mugabe’s despotic behaviour. This will
impact on the fortunes of South Africa and Southern Africa more broadly,”
said DA Parliamentary leader, Athol Trollip,
Zuma is also accused by political commentators for doing nothing as Mugabe
makes unilateral decisions over government policy issues – a direct
infringement of the GPA which states that the President should consult the
Prime Minister before taking key decisions.
Trollip said the DA was worried that an increasingly volatile political
situation would result in more Zimbabweans seeking refuge in South Africa ,
with several socio-economic impacts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bulgaria Will Waive $6.3 Million of Zimbabwe’s State Debt

By Elizabeth Konstantinova - Feb 24, 2011 12:30 AM GMT+1000

Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided to waive $6.3 million, or 77 percent, of
Soviet-era Zimbabwean debt and transform it into development aid.

According to a draft agreement between the two countries to be signed later
this year, Zimbabwe would repay $1.886 million in four instalments, the
Sofia-based government said in an e- mail today, after approving the draft.

Zimbabwe’s $8.2 million debt, not serviced in the past 20 years, was
accumulated before the collapse of the communist regime in Bulgaria in 1990,
in return for arms, construction of roads and factories and technical aid.
The southern African nation’s total external debt was $6.9 billion at the
end of last year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Students Find Government Assistance Program Unreliable

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is blaming the Ministry of
Finance for underfunding the cadetship program, which some students charge
is run along politically partisan lines

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington 22 February 2011

Hundreds of Zimbabwean students at polytechnic institutions in Bulawayo,
Mutare and Masvingo studying under a state-funded "cadetship" program have
been unable to access exam results because their tuitions for 2010 have not
been paid.

Bulawayo Polytechnic told some students they had to pay 2010 tuition fees in
full to access their exam results. Student fees run from US$200 to US$300 a
term, obliging the students to come up wiht $600 to get exam results and
continue their studies.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is blaming the Ministry of
Finance for underfunding the cadetship program - which some students say has
been run along politically partisan lines - by diverting monies to a
grants-and-loans scheme.

Reports said Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge argued that US$13
million should be made available to cover the cadet scheme under which
students are subsequently obliged to fulfill national service such as
teaching in rural areas.

Zimbabwe National Student Union spokesperson Kudakwashe Chababva said the
cadet program has not had adequate funding since 2008.

Chababva told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the Finance Ministry has
agreed to provide funds for students under the cadet program, but
institutions have been reluctant to provide information on students in need
of assistance.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Goodbye, Qaddafi: Why these sorts of dictators are done

Editor's Blog

Flamboyant dictators like Col. Qaddafi are a vanishing breed in a world
where even their own citizens can now see how abnormal they are.

By John Yemma, Editor / February 23, 2011

Muammar Qaddafi is one of a handful of old-school dictators left -- the kind
that combine charisma with paranoia, flowery gestures with pitiless

Saddam Hussein was cut from that cloth. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Kim
Jong-il of North Korea are as well. You can usually tell the type by the
personality cults they encourage, the rambling speeches they deliver, the
elaborate myths romanticizing their revolutionary accomplishments, and the
huge photos and monuments to their greatness erected throughout the country.

In an increasingly interconnected world, even the long-repressed subjects of
these dictators are now able to see how abnormal their ruler is. Even if
Col. Qaddafi succeeds inflicting more violence on his own people in an
attempt to cling to power, he is likely to have lost both the eastern half
of the country, which is now under rebel control, and whatever residual
regard Libyans had for him up to this point.

It is hard to imagine a Qaddafi cult being reestablished after the brutality
he has inflicted on his own people.

Wherever Libya ends up after the dust settles, its next leader -- indeed,
the next generation of leaders throughout the Middle East -- likely will be
low-profile and consensus-oriented rather than flamboyant and egotistical.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabweans not willing to die for change

23/02/2011 00:00:00
by Kudzai Mtero

THE revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have sent shock waves throughout the
world and are being replicated in other nations especially in the Arab world
as ordinary citizens in these countries are protesting for democracy and
good governance.

These uprisings have, however, had indirect and minimal impact on
Sub-Saharan countries though one cannot help but wonder what citizens in
African countries experiencing worse political and socio-economic conditions
than Tunisia and Egypt, for example Zimbabweans, are feeling about their own

Zimbabwe has a staggering unemployment rate of 90% whereas in comparison,
Tunisia has a lesser unemployment rate of 14% with Egypt’s unemployment rate
even less at 9, 4 %.

Over the last ten years, Zimbabwe has experienced one of the highest
inflation rates in history. In fact, in the period before the unity
government was established, the country’s basic services such as education
and health were in a state of disaster and basic foodstuffs was unavailable
on the shelves in shops. The situation has since improved, but is still not

To vent out their anger and frustrations with the political and economic
situation, a majority of Zimbabweans voted for the then opposition party,
the MDC-T, in the March 2008 general elections. However, the people were
still left disappointed and even more frustrated when the MDC was forced
into a controversial coalition government with the former ruling party-Zanu

Zimbabwe has, therefore, been ruled by an autocratic regime for 31 years
whilst Egypt had been led by the Mubarak regime for 30 years whereas Tunisia
had been autocratically ruled by Ben Ali for 23 years. So why haven’t
Zimbabwean people resorted to a popular uprising and demonstrations when in
fact their circumstances are worse than those of the people of Tunisia and

Zimbabwean security forces are infamous for their brutality on innocent
citizens attempting to exercise their right to express themselves. The
soldiers, police and the intelligence officers use excessive force in
squashing any form of protests against the government. They have been known
to use live bullets to silence even peaceful demonstrations.

It doesn’t help that this state security apparatus is biased in nature and
therefore selectively used in silencing anyone with different political
views to those of Zanu PF. Hundreds of political activists have lost their
lives and thousands more have languished in Zimbabwean prisons due to their
tireless efforts to achieve democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe.

It is quite common for political activists to be abducted by the partisan
security forces and then to eventually turn out dead. Even the leader of the
former opposition, now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has in the past
experienced at first hand the brutality of the Zimbabwean police. Such
brutality acts as a deterrent to any form of protest action. Draconian laws
such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) have also made it almost
impossible for ordinary people to organise themselves legally.

In spite of the real threat of violence that exists in Zimbabwe against
those who openly oppose the autocratic system, it is unavoidable to ask the
question of whether Zimbabwean people generally are in fact cowards who are
too scared to stand up and fight for their rights.

For years, the people’s rights have been infringed upon but no resultant
form of serious mass protests have occurred to display public
disgruntlement. The Zimbabweans might have rightly showed their unhappiness
with the political establishment during the 2008 elections when they
overwhelmingly voted for the opposition, but they still did not resort to a
popular uprising when election results were withheld for five weeks and when
their candidate of choice for the presidency was forced into a coalition
government with those who had lost the elections.

Zimbabweans are yet to prove that they have the sort of courage displayed by
the ordinary people of Tunisia and Egypt in fighting for their rights.
However, one is left to think about whether on the other hand the people of
Zimbabwe might have a different strategy of attaining their freedom and may
not want to carry out an Egyptian or Tunisian styled revolution.

Zimbabweans are generally known as peace-loving people who try to resolve
their differences through non-violent means. The country is normally a
peaceful one and only in the period towards, during and in the immediate
post-election space does the nation experience politically motivated

Unlike in the Arab world where suicide bombs and assassinations of people in
oppressive ruling parties are the order of the day, Zimbabweans generally do
not believe in using violence as a means of solving political problems. Most
Zimbabweans believe that only time will sort out their problems, or that
there will be some form of divine intervention which will save them from
their current political and socio-economic circumstances.

Despite its many problems, Zimbabwe boasts of having the highest levels of
education on the African continent. Whilst this is admirable, it may
inadvertently contribute to the unwillingness of many to engage in political
activity which results in the sort of change that many desire. Many
Zimbabweans are not willing to march or riot on the streets against the
system as they fear dying at the hands of the ruthless security forces when
in fact they could have found alternative means of ‘surviving’ using their
academic qualifications and other skills.

There are many Zimbabweans who have migrated to other countries in the
Southern African region and other parts of the world where they have found
good jobs due to their high levels of education. Those Zimbabweans are not
willing to participate in the form of political activities which will bring
about the change that their country of birth requires. They have become
comfortable in their adopted countries and have lost connection to Zimbabwe.

Another way in which a very high education can be detrimental to a popular
uprising by the masses is that when people are very educated, they are fully
conscious of the negative effects that an uprising can have on the country’s
infrastructure and economy thus their unwillingness to participate in a

Within Zimbabwe itself, there is something famously known as ‘making a plan’.
This concept involves the creative process of finding strategies to adjust
to different political and socio-economic changes and challenges. When
things go wrong, Zimbabweans always find ways of adapting to their
unfavourable circumstances without any serious attempt to change the
political status quo.

‘Making a plan’ involves different legal and sometimes illegal means of
survival but never includes starting a revolution. It largely appears as if
the people of Zimbabwe are now resigned to accepting dysfunctionality.

Many of the main opposition political parties in Zimbabwe still believe in
the power of the ballot box in bringing about change in spite of the fact
that voting in itself has proven not to change the political status quo in
Zimbabwe. Serious questions have to be asked about how much political change
the electoral process can bring about when not all key political parties
respect the outcome of elections.

As it stands, the main opposition political parties in Zimbabwe, that is the
two MDC formations, still believe in free and fair elections as the only way
out of the country’s challenges, and therefore do not appear to be in
support of a popular uprisings such as those witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt.
It could also be true that the opposition parties are fearful of a genocide
which is highly likely to occur if they mobilise the people to engage in a
popular uprisings.

Another unfortunate factor is that the opposition parties in Zimbabwe appear
weak and clueless as to what to do in order to change the political
situation. The political parties are also not united as they are constantly
squabbling and hardly speak with one voice.

It may be said that most Zimbabweans want democracy and good governance, but
they are not willing to die for it. Only time will determine whether their
non-confrontational approach will deliver the type of change they desire.

For now, it is quite accurate to come to the conclusion that a Tunisian and
Egyptian style revolution will not occur any time soon in Zimbabwe.

Kudzai Mtero can be contacted on e-mail:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Could Zimbabwe’s diamond sales be the ‘smoking gun’?

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 23/02/11

Finance Minister, Tendai Biti appears to have hit a raw nerve when he called
for an audit of Zimbabwe’s diamond sales. Suddenly, Zanu-pf activists appear
caught unawares and with their backs to the wall, they are all baying for
Biti’s blood. As a result, there are growing fears that Zimbabwe’s diamond
sales may be the ‘smoking gun’.

Pandora’s box
After successfully blocking a land audit, it is understandable that Mugabe
allies would not be forced to open Pandora’s box without a fight. It is
however, imperative that there be an urgent and thorough forensic
investigation into Zimbabwe’s diamond sales before the rich deposits get
depleted without benefiting the country. There is so much at stake hence the
secrecy and resistance within Zanu-pf and military hierarchy to any public
scrutiny of the diamond sales that you would be excused for thinking they
are party assets.

The major propaganda offensive launched by Mugabe’s spin-doctors in the
government media against Tendai Biti in particular and the MDC party led by
the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in general, seems to lend credit to the
Shona saying: “Kunzwa chati kwatara, hunge uine katurike. Only the guilty
one is worried about an investigation.” The wave of arrests on trumped up
charges seems to have been activated by Mugabe’s loyalists..

Zanu-pf spin doctor Jonathan Moyo called for Biti’s arrest on Sunday
20/02/11 within four days of yet a bigger threat by the Supreme Leader that
he was going to ask the country’s security chiefs to tackle the MDC

Whatever Jonathan Moyo promised Zanu-pf to be re-admitted following his
erstwhile vitriolic campaign against the geriatric tyrant, it seems he may
have bitten more than he could chew when he embarked on his solitary mission
to resurrect Zanu-pf from its ‘Lazarus Moment’ probably in return for a seat
in the anachronistic politburo.

A can of worms
Some analysts have argued that party leader Robert Mugabe could have opened
a can of worms when he promised government workers would get an increment
after a third diamond auction raked in US$250 million only to make a u-turn
later (Zimbabwe Standard, 13/02/11).

He even bragged that his farm workers were better paid than civil servants,
although in August 2010 workers at the Mugabe family’s Gushungo Dairy Farm
accused their employer of exploitation, claiming working conditions were
hostile as 50 workers were sent on unpaid leave (The Zimbabwean, 18/08/10).

In the wake of the controversial leaked cables alleging smuggling of Marange
diamonds, the hostile response by Zanu-pf activists to calls for an audit
suggests there is something fishy going on. The people of Zimbabwe need to
get the truth sooner rather than later as some dictators elsewhere have
allegedly used their final days in power to loot national treasures before
being removed by regime change revolutions.

Press reports that over US$100 million realized from the auction of the
Marange diamonds last year had allegedly gone missing seem to be just the
tip of the iceberg as Treasury was said to have received only US$64 million
from the sale of alluvial and kimberlite diamonds. It leaves a bad taste in
the mouth especially amidst disclosures of massive smuggling of the

Darkest secret
In ‘Mugabe’s darkest secret: An 800bn blood diamond mine he’s running with
China’s Red Army’, The Daily Mail on 18th September 2010 published a
detailed undercover investigation claimed there is a runway big enough for
huge cargo planes.

‘There is also a sophisticated radar equipment, a fully operational control
tower and comfortable barracks for the Chinese officials overseeing the
entire operation. And twice a week, its wings wobbling on waves of thermals
rising from this scorching corner of the continent, an Antonov An-12 cargo
plane can be heard droning towards the airstrip’ said the report.

The Daily Mail added “The departing flights leave with rough, uncut diamonds
worth millions. No flight plans are filed and there are no records of these

Speaking recently, the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai said: ‘It is
disturbing to note that the people who are supposed to protect our mineral
resources are at the forefront of looting them” (, 17/02/11).

Lost direction
Pius Wakatama once said he was pleasantly surprised at the number of his
Zanu-pf friends who were going to him to apologise for some of the things
they said to him because he criticized their party but they had changed
their minds openly saying: “Musangano warasa gwara. Hauchagadzirika. The
party has lost direction and cannot be redirected.”

Pius Wakatama was prophetic when he observed that: ‘A good number are
outright criminal mafia types who successfully ensconced themselves in the
higher echelons of power. Were he alive today and observing his Zimbabwean
counterparts, Al Capone would be green with envy’ (Zimbabwe Standard,

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London

Back to the Top
Back to Index