Mon 27 February 2006
BULAWAYO - Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests, and the
generality of the people of Zimbabwe, it is with a heavy heart that I
accept the presidency of our great democratic movement. This is because
there are many of our soldiers and fighters in this struggle who are not
We are not the only democratic force in the country. Morgan Tsvangirai
deserves a place of honour in the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe. He is a
Zimbabwean hero. All the democratic forces in Zimbabwe need to engage each
other. We need to unite. A reunification framework and strategy must be
established immediately. Here is my personal pledge for unity:
If as part of the reunification framework, a new leadership has to be
elected, I am prepared to step down as President of this great party, and
allow for fresh elections.
However, to demonstrate the seriousness and respect with which I take
the responsibility and honour that you have bestowed upon me today, I will
be prepared to contest against anybody who is nominated to stand for the
presidency of the new united political formation. If I lose in such an
election I will submit to the will of the people, and work vigorously under
the new leadership.
So, what is the news headline tomorrow my friends in the media?
"Mutambara becomes the President of the Pro-Senate MDC faction." Are you
sure about that description? How many of you here actually know my position
on that divisive Senate debate in October 2005.
Yes I had views, very strong ones indeed. My position was that the MDC
should have boycotted those Senate elections. Not only that, I was for the
total withdrawal from Parliament and all the other election based
institutions. This to me would have constituted a consistent and effective
regime de-legitimization strategy. I guess then that makes me the
Anti-Senate leader of the Pro-Senate MDC faction! How ridiculous can we get?
That debate is now in the past, let us move on and unite our people.
In any event, if I was a member of the MDC National Council on October 12
2005, I would have fought tooth, nail and claw to win in the battle of
ideas; to convince my colleagues of the correctness of my position (total
regime de-legitimization strategy). In the event of a defeat I would have
submitted to the collective decision, and then vigorously campaign for this
position against my own.
People of Zimbabwe I am here at this Congress because I cherish
democratic principles and values. I am here because of the need for unity.
I am here because I am pro-Zimbabwe. I am here because my heart aches when I
see the economic meltdown in our country.
I am here because the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe who are here
agreed with my terms of reference that I outlined on the 20th of February
2006. Are there any other Zimbabweans who share that framework? Come along,
let us work together and reclaim our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we came here to do a job. In order to understand
the nature of that task, we must ask ourselves the following questions: Who
are we as a political party? What are our values and principles? What is our
vision for Zimbabwe? What is our strategy to achieve our vision?
Liberation War Legacy
We are a Zimbabwean and an African political party. We are freedom
fighters. We are soldiers for social justice and democracy. We come in the
tradition of the liberation war. We stand on the shoulders of the founding
fathers of this nation; such as Nikita Mangena, Josiah Tongogara, Herbert
Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, Joshua Nkomo, and Robert Mugabe.
Oh yes, the pre-1980 Robert Mugabe is part of the revolutionary
tradition that defines us. We cherish and celebrate the heroic work of
Zipra and Zanla forces. We salute and revere Mbuya Nehanda and King
Lobengula. We are a patriotic opposition party that cherishes and defends
our national sovereignty. We are better defenders of the liberation war
legacy than the current Zanu PF party, whose activities are a negation of
the principles and values of that great struggle. But if we appear
combative, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is because of love of our country!
Our critique of the chaotic Zanu PF land reform program is predicated
upon our belief that there was need for a land revolution in Zimbabwe. Land
was the basis of our armed struggle. We believe that going back to the
pre-February 2000 status quo is not desirable.
We believe that our views on land reform in Zimbabwe are different
from those of Western governments. Our approach is not driven by the
interests of white farmers, but those of all Zimbabweans, white and black.
While we put the failure of the land reform program squarely on the Zanu PF
government, we also acknowledge the complicity of some Western governments
which reneged on agreements, and the inertia of white farmers in seeking
We propose a democratic and participatory framework that seeks to
achieve equitable, transparent, just, and economically efficient
distribution and use of land. This must have emphasis on productivity, food
security, self-sufficiency, and collateral value of land.
We believe in a national interest driven foreign policy, grounded in
regional integration, and informed by Pan-Africanist ideals. We embrace the
AU and Nepad frameworks, and believe in the solidarity of marginalized
nations globally. We are anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist.
In this vein, we would like to put our European and US strategic
partners on notice. In the event of US or European aggression against
smaller nations, we will publicly and unequivocally condemn such conduct.
We stand opposed to any form of imperialism, violation of state rights and
unilateralism. We will not accept assistance at the expense of our dignity,
values and sovereignty. We make a clear distinction between strategic
partners and political allies.
It is our considered view that double standards in international
relations mitigate against our cause against the Zanu PF regime. For
example, the treatment of Pakistan where a leader acquires power through a
coup d'etat, and Zimbabwe where it is through a fraudulent election should
The results of free and fair elections must be respected and
celebrated even if democracy produces the "wrong" results, as was the case
recently in Palestine. These double standards expose the self-interest
behind Western motives, thus weakening the impact of their arguments in
supporting us against the regime in Harare.
The Democratic Imperative
It is essential to build and grow democratic institutions, values and
principles within political parties and the wider Zimbabwean nation. There
must be free and competitive elections for all party positions and open
primaries for all national elections (presidency, parliament, senate, and
Civil society and civic organizations must be internally democratic,
and respectful of their own laws. A new, people driven democratic national
constitution is a pre-requisite. Term limits should be strictly adhered to
in both political party and national constitutions. There is need to restore
political freedoms, rule of law, personal security, and political legitimacy
It should be understood that the Zimbabwean political culture has
been defined by Zanu PF for the past 26 years. We are all cut from that same
cloth, hence the tendency to replicate Zanu PF undemocratic practices in
all our organisations. We need to acknowledge this and consciously create a
new democratic value system.
The levels of gender based inequalities and violence in our country is
unacceptable. Through active involvement of all stakeholders, we should
develop gender justice strategies to empower Zimbabwean women. Our female
fighters should not be used as political pawns.
We seek genuine emancipation and empowerment of women in all sectors
of the economy and society. In most developing economies, remittances from,
and economic involvement of the Diaspora have become key strategic
We will seek to ensure that our fellow citizens in the Diaspora have a
meaningful role to play in the development of their country by leveraging
their remittances, expertise and networks. However, there is no taxation
without representation. We must allow people in the Diaspora to vote in all
The Zimbabwean Economic Crisis: Solutions Now
There is urgency and distress in the nation. The people of Zimbabwe
are suffering and their plight demands attention: Unaffordable basic
commodities, school fees, property rates, and agricultural inputs, the
crippling fuel crisis and lack of housing. Inflation has soared to record
levels, above 600%.
Unemployment is above 80%. Industries have either closed or are
operating below capacity. Our terms of trade as reflected by our Balance of
Payments, are worsening every day. There is acute foreign currency
shortage. Investment spending has also collapsed, thus depressing aggregate
Our budget deficits, arising from the regime's insatiable appetite to
spend, have been monetized thus increasing money supply and hence
inflation. What is so unique about the economic meltdown is that it is
human-made by the misrule of Zanu PF.
It is for this reason that we get very offended when people talk of
turning around this economy. You turn around something going in a certain
direction, and our economy is not going anywhere. This economy is in the
intensive care, and does not need to be turned around.
It should be healed and recovered. A holistic approach that takes into
account all factors must be the basis of a multi-variable economic model
that seeks to derive solutions. We therefore believe that in order to get
out of this quagmire, we need to do the following:
Honest assessment of our current predicament and taking ownership of
our challenges (The regime is in self-denial and does not appreciate the
extent of the problem.)
Development of a holistic and comprehensive economic recovery program
with the involvement of all stakeholders. Development of an economic
stimulus package to jump-start this economy, through the re-engagement of
the international community (Our problems are so protracted that we can not
go it alone.)
Development of a medium term economic stabilization strategy which
will focus on fiscal discipline, poverty alleviation, viable social
security programs such as housing, healthcare, education, job creation,
rehabilitation of our infrastructure and capacity building of local
Development of a comprehensive plan to reorganize and refinance
agriculture in order to increase productivity.
Development of a blueprint that ensures that Zimbabweans have
equitable access to affordable health, education, housing and other social
services essential for economic development.
Developing a long term strategy, with sector specific programs, that
ensures that Zimbabwe emerges as an industrialised, technology driven,
competitive nation, fully integrated into the global economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, every country has a life, lessons and
expectations. Every generation has its mandate. Does the generation that
Zanu PF represents know what we want? Our generational mandate is the
economy, and economic empowerment. Our generation demands the fruits of
They want to become commercial farmers, innovative entrepreneurs,
productive workers, and creative managers. They want to be global players.
They want to be globally competitive. We are the future of this country.
Every generation of Zimbabweans will define what it means to be Zimbabwean.
Our time has come. We demand that you, the Zanu PF regime, step aside
and let our generation play its role. We want our freedom now. We demand
our human rights now. We want solutions to the economic crisis now.
There will be no compromise, retreat, nor surrender. Defeat is not on
the agenda. The struggle continues unabated.
Arthur G.O. Mutambara
Mon 27 February 2006
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday
welcomed calls for unity by the newly-elected leader of a rival faction of
his splintered Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, saying his door
was open to anyone wishing to help dislodge President Robert Mugabe from
Tsvangirai, who founded the MDC six years ago, was left controlling
only a faction of Zimbabwe's largest opposition party after his deputy
Gibson Sibanda, secretary general Welshman Ncube and other senior leaders
last year broke ranks with him following disagreements on how to unseat
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party.
The Sibanda/Ncube faction at the weekend elected popular former
student leader Arthur Mutambara as its president. Mutambara, a professor of
robotics, immediately called on all pro-democracy groups to unite, although
political analysts say his election to head the MDC faction will cement
division in the party rather than unite it.
The spokesman of Tsvangirai's faction of the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said
the trade unionist-turned-opposition politician welcomed his rival's calls
for unity, adding that Tsvangirai regarded Mutambara as "an enthusiastic and
patriotic Zimbabwean who wants to see the termination of dictatorship in
Chamisa told ZimOnline: "The president of the MDC, Mr Tsvangirai has
been very clear that unity is fundamental in our efforts to dislodge ZANU PF
"Professor Mutambara's comments are quiet welcome and in sync with the
aspirations of Mr Tsvangirai of bringing a new dispensation to the struggle
for democracy. Mr Tsvangirai has an open door policy which is often
misconstrued by others for weakness."
But in a clear hint that the peace overtures between Tsvangirai and
Mutambara may not mean cessation of hostilities on the ground, Chamisa
insisted that there was only one leader of the MDC who was Tsvangirai.
"We are not aware of any other president other than Mr Tsvangirai,"
Mutambara's faction insists it is the only legitimate MDC and claims
Tsvangirai was expelled from the party for flouting the constitution,
although the High Court last year refused to uphold Tsvangirai's suspension.
Tsvangirai's faction will hold its congress next month which will complete
the disintegration of the MDC into two rival parties.
A protracted and damaging battle in the courts is expected between the
two parties over ownership of assets but most importantly the name MDC and
the party's open palm symbol.
Analysts are unanimous that Mugabe and ZANU PF will use the
opportunity of a divided and wrangling opposition to strengthen their grip
on power that until the MDC split had appeared under a dangerous threat from
the opposition party.
The differences over strategy among the MDC top leaders boiled over
last year when Tsvangirai could not agree with Ncube, Sibanda and other
senior officials over whether to contest last November's controversial
Tsvangirai opposed participation saying there was no point in doing so
because the poll was going to be rigged by Mugabe. The MDC president also
argued that the senate election was a waste of money when more than a
quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans were starving.
But Ncube and others insisted that the MDC should contest the election
because its national council had voted to do so and accused Tsvangirai of
being dictatorial by refusing to abide by the council vote.
The split of the MDC - Zimbabwe's most vibrant opposition party ever -
appears to have rewound the political clock back to the 80's and early 90's
when the country was a virtual one-party state under Mugabe and ZANU PF. -
Mon 27 February 2006
MASVINGO - The government has abandoned a multi-billion dollar project
at Nuanetsi ranch in Masvingo province that officials had said would produce
about 700 000 tonnes of maize per year or nearly half of the country's total
annual requirement of the key staple.
The Nuanetsi Irrigation Project, launched two years ago, was to see
about a 100 000 hectares of land put under irrigation. A Chinese firm,
Chinese Water and Electrical Installation (CWEI), was contracted to clear
the land and subdivide it into smaller plots to produce three maize crops
per annum with expected yields of seven tonnes per hectare.
But a ZimOnline news team that visited Nuanetsi this week found no
farming activity at the former cattle ranch, with a fleet of rusty and
broken down bulldozers abandoned at the site probably the only indicator of
the state of the much vaunted food project.
Contacted for comment, Masvingo provincial governor Willard Chiwewe
said the Nuanetsi project had been pushed to the backburner as the
government concentrates resources to finding food for millions of
Zimbabweans facing starvation.
"As you know the government is currently purchasing food to feed the
people hence some development projects were stopped. The Nuanetsi food
programme has also been affected and we are not aware when it will resume,"
said Chiwewe, adding that the Chinese contractor had since abandoned the
At least a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans require food aid
between now and the next harvest around April or they will starve.
But international food relief agencies expect the number of people
needing food aid to remain high even after the harvests saying Zimbabwe will
still produce far less than the 1.8 million tonnes of maize it requires per
year despite the good rains the country has received of late. They say this
is because severe shortages of seeds, fertilizer and other farm inputs at
the beginning of the season hindered farmers from growing enough food.
Zimbabwe, once a regional bread-basket, is now virtually dependent on
food handouts from international aid agencies after President Robert
Mugabe's controversial farm seizure programme over the last six years
destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector, cutting down food production
by about 60 percent.
An acute foreign currency crisis, also partly because of falling
agricultural exports, has worsened the food crisis as the government battles
to raise enough hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline
Mon 27 February 2006
HARARE - Thirteen-year old Cynthia Moyo, a pupil at a primary school
in the leafy suburb of Emerald Hill in Harare, is in a quandary.
Cynthia's no-nonsense headmaster has assigned her and other pupils at
the school, the unenviable task of reporting to him any teachers they see
selling sweets and home-made cakes to pupils.
"It is like I am being made to spy on my teachers," she says rather
"The majority of teachers are selling things, especially sweets and
scones which they bring from home. But the headmaster says we must report
these teachers to him," says Cynthia.
The teaching profession, once highly regarded in Zimbabwe, has sunk to
low levels after six years of a bitter economic recession critics blame on
President Robert Mugabe's mismanagement of the economy.
Thousands of teachers, complaining of pitiable salaries and poor
conditions of service have also fled the country in droves over the past six
years to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
But for thousands of others who have remained in Zimbabwe, the
struggle for survival is becoming tougher each day forcing them to engage in
petty trade in class, vending sweets and home-baked cakes to their pupils in
order to supplement their salaries.
A primary school teacher at a school in Harare, Patricia Nezungai,
says she is not bothered by the fact that she sells sweets and cookies to
her students. She says until the government improves her salary, she will
continue to seek ways of supplementing her income.
"The government is paying us peanuts, we are trying to make ends meet.
Even government ministers are selling maize cobs from their offices," said
"I bring about 1 000 sweets a week, each selling for $5 000,"
Simple mathematics shows that she rakes in $5 million per week, almost
half of what she earns in a month.
An average teacher in Zimbabwe now earns Z$9 million a month, way
below the Z$21 million the consumer rights body, the Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe says is needed by an average family of six to survive every month.
But an executive member of the School Development Association (SDA)
which helps run the school, said while teachers have a right to be
innovative to stay afloat in these trying times, they must ensure that they
do not compromise the quality of learning in schools.
"Teachers are spending most of the time selling goods instead of
coaching our children. Parents now have the added duty of doing teaching at
home," said the member, who asked not to be named.
The secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) said what was happening in schools clearly vindicated their position
on the need to improve teachers' salaries.
"As a union, we have petitioned the government to cushion teachers
from the current economic crisis by allowing those with school-going
children not to pay fees. Teachers can't even buy decent clothing because of
poor salaries," said Majongwe.
The teachers' union last year unsuccessfully lobbied the government
for a massive 834 percent salary hike only to receive a 231 percent
But for Cynthia, each day to school is becoming test of endurance as
the headmaster grills the pupils to reveal names of "offending" teachers who
are defying the school rule not to sell sweets and other goodies to
pupils. - ZimOnline
Mon 27 February 2006
JOHANNESBURG - The University of Massachusetts is to consider revoking
an honorary degree awarded to Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe in 1986.
This was said on Wednesday by university president, Dr Jack Wilson,
who was in Johannesburg conferring a similar honorary doctorate on former
South African president, Nelson Mandela.
Dr Wilson said that he would initiate the inquiry personally on his
return to the campus.
"It was done well before my time," he said, "but I think Mr Mugabe's
degree is something we certainly need to look at."
Dr Wilson paid tribute to President Mandela's "lifelong commitment to
freedom," saying he had come to South Africa to honour one of his personal
"Nelson Mandela is a hero to all people who value freedom, dignity and
justice," he said before handing over the scroll. "President Mandela's
principled opposition to tyranny and injustice inspires us today and will
inspire our sons and daughters for generations to come."
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison under South Africa's former
apartheid regime, but, after his release in 1991, he worked to build a free
and multiracial society and served as the country's first democratically
Dr Wilson said that Mandela's commitment to freedom and human rights
had made "the world we share a far better place".
By contrast, in neighbouring Zimbabwe, human rights groups have
accused Mugabe of widespread torture and abuse. Mugabe, who has ruled the
country since 1980, is accused of rigging elections and violating human
More that three million Zimbabwean have fled to South Africa and a
recent academic study suggested that 90 percent of all university graduates
had left the country.
Asked whether he would be directly involved in the possible revocation
of Mugabe's degree, Dr Wilson said: "I certainly will. I am the president.
I handle those sort of things. It's not always easy, but it's what I intend
The university would not be the first institution to consider such
action. Last year, the academic assembly of Michigan State University
passed a resolution calling for the removal of an honorary doctorate of
laws conferred on Mugabe in 1990. The Michigan resolution argued that Mugabe
having the university's honorary degree was "morally and ethically
University of Massachuttess chairman, Dr James Karam, who was
travelling with Dr Wilson refused to be drawn on whether the school should
revoke Mugabe's honour.
"I wasn't there in 1986, it was well before my time and I'm not
prepared to comment on the matter," he said. - ZimOnline
From The Saturday Argus (SA), 25 February
By Basildon Peta
Taking a leaf from South Africa's controversial electoral legislation,
President Robert Mugabe's government is now considering introducing a
floor-crossing law as it seeks to obliterate the already split main
opposition, officials said. Under the current legislation governing
parliamentary operations, by-elections are called to fill the seats of any
Zimbabwean member of parliament who is fired by his party or resigns
voluntarily. Under the proposed changes, elected MPs would be allowed to
retain their seats and cross the floor to another party if they were either
dismissed or resigned from their parties. They could even form their own
political parties and retain their seats, the highly placed officials said.
It seems the proposed legislation is aimed at weakening opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) president, Morgan Tsvangirai, whose party has
split in two over arguments on whether or not to participate in senate
elections held last December. The Zimbabwe government has already taken
sides in the MDC split by giving Z$18 billion in annual state funding to a
faction of the MDC led by secretary-general Welshman Ncube and MDC deputy
president Gibson Sibanda. The money is distributed to political parties in
accordance with their representation in parliament in terms of the Political
Parties Finance Act.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa justified giving the money to the Ncube
faction, saying he was not aware of a split in the MDC even though it had
been the main news in the state media. Zanu PF is known to favour working
with Ncube - whom they consider a moderate - over Tsvangirai who refuses to
work with Mugabe and advocates confrontation. Mugabe regularly mocks
Tsvangirai for being "uneducated". About half of the 41 MDC MPs in
parliament support Ncube. If the MDC differences resulted in two distinct
political parties, it is understood that the Zimbabwe government would want
MPs to easily cross the floor and move to Ncube's side without the rigours
of facing by-elections which they might lose to Tsvangirai as he still
commands grassroots support. Tsvangirai and Ncube's split is set to be
finalised starting this weekend when the two convene separate congresses to
elect new leaders of their factions. Officials privy to the floor-crossing
legislation said Zanu PF is also banking on having some MDC MPs cross over
to its side and enabling it to have representation in urban areas. Most Zanu
PF MPs, if not all, are in rural constituencies. "As disillusionment grows
in the MDC, it is hoped some opposition MPs can be enticed to cross the
floor to Zanu-PF although it all seems too ambitious," said one party
official, who asked not to be named. Chinamasa could not be reached for
comment. It is unclear when the proposed floor-crossing changes would be
brought into parliament for discussion and adoption.
February 26, 2006, 10 hours, 26 minutes and 6 seconds ago.
By Oscar Nkala www.andnetwork.com
Diamonds stolen from River Ranch, a disputed mine in the southern
district of Beitbridge are being trafficked to world markets by a
'well-connected ring' through South Africa, A. N. D can reveal.
According to sources at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Criminal
Investigations Department (CID) (Precious Minerals Section), the ring runs
around powerful figures in government and top ranking serving and retired
military personnel who also occupy various positions of influence in the
ruling ZANU PF party.
The sources told A.N.D that a retired army commander and powerful
persons in the ministry of defence were coordinating the mining of the
diamonds from River Ranch mine while the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) is believed to be responsible for coordinating the shipment of the
diamonds across the border where some white dealers take over and supervise
its distribution to customers in the Middle East, China and some countries
The continued exploitation and smuggling of the River Ranch diamond
comes at a time when the ownership of the mine is the subject of a court
case involving the government of Zimbabwe and Bubye Minerals, the former
Late last year, government ejected Bubye Minerals claiming it had
acquired the property unprocedurally, a claim the former owners rejected,
leading to the ongoing legal tussle over ownership. The source said the
powerful group of individuals being mentioned in connection with the deal
could be doing the business on behalf of the government.
"The group of persons behind the ring is the politically untochable,
the mighty and the well connected. It is a known fact that such activities
have been going on since late November last year but any investiagting
officer who tries to pursue it backs out the moment he starts meeting the
real faces behind it," said the source, an officer attached to one precious
stones smuggling outfit at the border town.
The ring is alleged to involve serving ministers, a retired army
commander with vast business and political power and several junior officers
physically running the ring. The sources said the smuggling ring could not
be the work of just a few individuals given the massive role the state
security agency CIO is believed to be playing.
"The ring has all the hallmarks of a government operation. State
security is heavily involved, in all its faces. From River Ranch, the
diamond simply disappears across the border and resurfaces somewhere near
Polokwane where some white dealers, whom we understand are a well
established Afrikaner family with vast connections in the illegal diamond
market, take over and sell on behalf of the owners.
"We understand most of it goes to Dubai in the Middle East. The rest
of the market is believed to be in China and some countries in the Far
East," said the source.
He said they had information that the couriers or smugglers of the
diamond preferred to join swim across the Limpopo River and proceed to a
pre-arranged meeting place with the South African dealers.
"The Limpopo River can be crossed at literally every point. The
smugglers use ordinary border jumping points and can very easily pass off as
some of them if arrested. So they are acting like ordinary border jumpers
and even join some of the hordes as they cross the river. But the couriers
disappear once they reach the South African side so that they can meet their
contacts in total secrecy," said the source.
Police in Matabeleland South refused to comment on the matter and
referred all questions to police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena, who could not be found.
In contesting the operations of what it called state agents at the
mine, Bubye Minerals said the country risked being sanctioned by the
international diamond trade because the forced acquisition and continued
exploitation of the mineral contravened sections of the Kimberley Accord
which prohibits forced acquisitions and the sale of disputed diamonds.
A. N. D Africa