Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 21:45 GMT
How loyal is Zimbabwe's army?
The defence chief 'will not accept' Mugabe's main
By Michael Quintana, editor of the Africa Defence
President Robert Mugabe came to power following a long and bitter guerrilla
war, and 22 years later he is relying on the military to keep the keys to State
House and power.
Mr Mugabe would be wise not to rely too heavily on the army
to keep him in power if Zimbabweżs voters want him to go
The commander of Zimbabwe's defence forces, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, said
on Wednesday that the military will only obey a political leader who
participated in the 1970s war of independence.
"We will... not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different
agenda," he said, flanked by the commanders of the army, air force, prisons and
the much-feared Central Intelligence Organisation chief, all former
comrades-in-arms of Mr Mugabe.
The statement was significant because Mr Mugabe's main challenger in March's
presidential election is Morgan Tsvangirai, a trade-union leader with broad
political support, especially among urban Zimbabweans, but a man who used his
free time when younger to further his studies rather than join the liberation
But while the military top brass are Mugabe loyalists, he cannot necessarily
count on the support of the rank-and-file.
The Zimbabwe National Army was formed at independence in 1980 by fusing the
army of white-ruled Rhodesia with the two liberation movements - Joshua Nkomo's
Zipra and Robert Mugabe's Zanla.
Mr Mugabe's policy of awarding the best jobs in the new army to favoured
Zanla personnel meant that discontent has always simmered among former members
of Zipra and the former-Rhodesian army.
Before a proper integration process had even begun, Mr Nkomo's troops
rebelled and marched on Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, in an
Luckily, a few hundred black and white former Rhodesian soldiers stood in
their way and, together with the air force, managed to defeat the 5,000-strong
rebellion and prevent the new state from plunging into open civil war.
Unsure of his grip on power, Mr Mugabe privately commissioned the creation of
the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, under the command of Perence Shiri.
In the early 1980s, they became notorious for their cruelty when they were
deployed in the largely ethnic Ndebele areas of the country, to put down a
suspected Ndebele and Zipra insurrection against Mr Mugabe.
Within two years these "political warriors" had laid bare an area
representing one-third of the country with scorched-earth policies, where
thousands were killed, crops destroyed and homesteads burned.
More recently, as living standards have plummeted, urban areas have erupted
into occasional bouts of anti-government violence.
The army has been used on several occasions to stamp out
the unrest and has been accused of using excessive force.
The army's corruption in DR Congo was
In 1998, the army was sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo in support of
Mr Mugabe's close ally, the then President Laurent Kabila.
In the DR Congo, the graft, corruption, mismanagement and ill-discipline
among Zimbabwe's soldiers was exposed by their involvement in diamond deals and
lucrative joint ventures.
There have also been many reported discipline problems among the soldiers,
with secret court-martials for those unhappy at being sent to the DR Congo.
Since 1993, pay and living arrangements have deteriorated, with up to 40% of
personnel having to live outside barracks because of a lack of proper
accommodation and funds to feed them.
Pay of all security forces was doubled from the start of this year, though
some soldiers may see through this attempt to buy their loyalty ahead of
If the military commanders did order their troops to move against a political
leader who they did not approve of, many of those soldiers without decent
accommodation, or who still bear a grudge from the divisions of the war of
independence, would be reluctant to obey.
Equally, if Mr Mugabe tried to rig the election results, this would quite
likely lead to widespread unrest in the urban areas, where support for his
opponent, Mr Tsvangirai is overwhelming.
Mr Mugabe would be wise not to rely too heavily on the army to keep him in
power if Zimbabwe's voters want him to go.
I will not run away from Zimbabwe yet
AM (GMT +2)
By Chimurenga Dzimbahwe
I am sick and tired of
President Mugabe and his cronies, but I am not giving
I have the strength and confidence to help secure
I will not succumb to the Zanu PF terror tactics in the name of
freedom and the people.
Deep in my heart, I know that the hyenas
in sheep's clothing will pay for
their manipulation, suppression and
repression of the people.
If not by men, then by God. No evil lasts
Transgression only breeds its own deathbed.Corrupt power sows
the seeds of
its own demise.
Real power is shared, not imposed. Real
power lies in the hands of the
people, and if truth be told, the people will
overcome the madness that has
been sown in the soul of the
Unlike Zanu PF, the people know that freedom has to be
and fought for.
Freedom is never a static
phenomenon. Stagnant freedom brings suffering to
people will not fall prey to violence sweetened by false generosity
pretentious claims of black emancipation.
The Zanu PF political
hyenas will not stay in sheep's clothing forever.
After all, Mugabe is
He is just a human being like all of us, but the
difference is he is a very
paranoid mortal who has hijacked the unfulfilled
black cause to suit his
selfish political ends.
Of course, he has
surrounded himself with razor wires and greyhounds, but
his downfall is just
around the corner.
In fact, he has secured himself a place in the dustbin
of history. And for
that I will not leave Zimbabwe.
I will not leave
Zimbabwe in this darkness because that will be a dishonour
to the ancestors,
the newly born and all the future generations.
My New Year resolution is
that I am sticking around Zimbabwe until all hell
breaks loose because
Zimbabwe is the only home I have.
I will stay around here until good old
sense prevails, once again. Only then
will I make a conscious decision to go
and survey the world.
I was born and raised in this country. I have a
right to this place as much
as anybody else who claims to
I will not run away because of a bunch of mad
thugs-cum-leaders who think
they are destined to live and lead the people
Zimbabwe is not anyone's monopoly. It is for all the sons and
Zanu PF may be armed with shotguns, teargas
canisters, shields and batons,
but they will not destroy the spirit of the
The spirit of the people will not bow down to man-made weapons
I will not leave Zimbabwe because I believe in the
power of the people.
The people's power is slowly awakening to the
predicament that lies ahead of
our beloved nation.
The power of the
people will triumph over the madness that is keeping this
nation under lock
We will fight to the last sane man or woman in Zimbabwe until
Zanu PF idiocy
becomes a thing of the past.
We will fight until we
uncover the man-made darkness that has descended on
We will fight until we are freed of the strife that is surrounding
I am not afraid of anything, not even death. The human body is only a
that shelters the spirit.
They can kill my body, but they will
not destroy my spirit.
My spirit will stay here. It will find space in new
I realise that the current system is one that thrives on
into the hearts of the people.
If we succumb to their
strategy of instilling fear in our hearts, then we
are doing a great
disservice to the future generations.
The time has come for good
Zimbabweans to exhibit courage in the face of
As they say evil
festers in the absence of good. We have to prepare our
hearts for the good
fight of making Zimbabwe the proud nation that it once
It is our
duty. In spite of all the international solidarity that is being
towards us, the penultimate solution lies with the citizens of this
We cannot afford to continue running away, otherwise we will find
Ordinary citizens who continuously and
persistently demand what is just and
right found nations; not cowards who run
away or have perfected the art to
None but ourselves is
going to emancipate us from the bondage that surrounds
us like a septic
I will stick around because the fight in Zimbabwe has now assumed
God and His people - and not Zanu PF - will have
the last say and laugh too.
I will stick around to experience the last
kicks of dying tyranny. The
struggle for Zimbabwe continues.
people's power shall prevail. The people's ability to think, to want,
know will not be surfeited by old, haggard power-mongers.
power is divine, and shall conquer.
God will not tolerate this "organised
disorder" for much longer.
Let it all change. We need a new dream because
the dream that Zanu PF is
promising Zimbabwe is festered like a
Former US Official Says SA Will Lose If It Does Not Tackle
Business Day (Johannesburg)
January 11, 2002
the web January 11, 2002
A FORMER US
state department official who held the most senior post dealing
affairs during the 1980s has said SA has an enormous amount to
lose if it
does not come to grips with the situation in Zimbabwe.
said: "The time has come to start planning for life after
President Robert) Mugabe.
"If SA ducks the challenge on Zimbabwe, there
will enormous costs," he said.
"Knowing how deeply the SA president cares
about the African renaissance,"
something had to be done.
said: "African leaders have been playing the game that he is one of
has to be protected."
He said an exit strategy that could be offered to
Mugabe needed to be found
to ease the transition. "The current status quo
cannot continue. The
elections are a farce, if one cannot have observers,"
He said Mugabe's legitimacy was now the issue and it was a
matter for the
promotion of the African renaissance that pressure be brought
to bear on
Crocker, who held the post of US assistant
secretary for African affairs
between 1981 and 1989, said the issue of
Zimbabwe was by far the most
important foreign policy challenge SA
Developments in Zimbabwe had "the capacity to change the region
and do grave
damage to (it)", he said in an interview.
Crocker was the
architect of the policy of "constructive engagement" toward
SA during the
1980s. The contentious policy was aimed at bringing about the
Cuban forces from Angola, and Namibian independence, by
Crocker is now a professor at Georgetown University in
Washington and also
chairman of the board of the US Institute of Peace,
which, among its other
activities, promotes research into mediation of
"Engagement is not an act of charity it is to pursue interests
Crocker said that it was not a matter of whether
SA should engage in "quiet
diplomacy" or strident criticism as a great deal
could be done in private.
He said there were many things SA could be
doing through a policy of
engagement behind the scenes. Pretoria, Crocker
said, was well-placed to
pile pressure on and offer incentives to Harare to
change its ways.
Crocker said that SA should start talking behind the
scenes "to a range of
voices" in Harare to "test the waters" to see how
people viewed things "to
express interest and concern" about the
This, he said, would signal that "the free ride" for Mugabe
Minister Deploys Youth Brigade to Evict Farm Rival
January 11, 2002
Posted to the web January 11,
YOUTH Development, Gender and Employment
Creation deputy minister Shuvai
Mahofa tightened her grip on Lothian Farm in
the rich Roy farming area of
Gutu South this week, using National Youth
Service trainees to assault and
evict a local war veterans leader from the
The war veterans leader, Maseva, who moved onto the farm last month
defiance of Mahofa's expressed interest in the property, was on
seriously assaulted by the youths and was this week fighting for his
Ndanga General Hospital. He had been living in the
Staffers at the hospital's male surgical ward confirmed that
treating Maseva for multi-fractural injuries.
injuries all over his body which shows that he was brutally
War veterans' secretary-general Endy Mhlanga confirmed the
attack and was
quick to condemn it.
"I received the information from
the leadership in Masvingo province whom we
have asked to compile a report on
the attack," said Mhlanga.
"As war veterans we are going to stamp our
authority on whoever instigates
violence on any of our members. We have
written a circular to all provinces
that if people are involved in any
violent activities, the law will take its
course," he said.
the constituency said the row between Mahofa and the local war
back to July when police violently evicted invaders from the
the fact the farm was listed.
"Local war veterans had indicated that they
would challenge Mahofa's moves
to occupy the farm and they had done so with
Maseva moving in to occupy the
farm," a source said.
War veterans in
Gutu South said they were challenging Mahofa's interest in
because she had other farms in the province and could not be
occupy more before land-hungry people.
At Lothian Farm invaders were
continuously raided and violently evicted with
police burning down the
structures the settlers had built.
Zimbabwe journalists say will defy new media
HARARE, Jan. 11 — Media organisations in Zimbabwe said on Friday
defy a bill due to be pushed through parliament next week that
will severely restrict press freedoms ahead of a presidential
The five news groups said they would challenge the
Information and Privacy Bill in the courts once, as expected, it is
by parliament and signed into law.
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party is expected to put the
bill to a vote in
parliament, where it has a voting majority, on Tuesday.
The media bill
will ban foreign journalists from operating during
March 9-10 elections at
which 77-year-old Mugabe faces the biggest challenge
to his power since
leading the country to independence from Britain in 1980.
patently illegal and designed to deprive the media of its
right to freedom of expression,'' the Zimbabwe Union of
Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Independent
the Foreign Correspondents' Association (FCA) and
the Federation of African
Media Women-Zimbabwe said in a joint statement.
''In the meantime, the
unions agreed that journalists must continue
with their work and ignore the
The statement comes a day after the government succeeded in
new measures through parliament which give sweeping security powers
government, including laws that criminalise criticism of
The new bills, once signed into law by Mugabe, will ban
election monitors and deny voting rights to millions of
The proposed media bill sets up a state-appointed
with powers to license, investigate and restrict
journalists in Zimbabwe.
The five organisations said they would urge
journalists not to register with
They face harsh
fines or imprisonment if they are found guilty of
offences that range from
causing ''disaffection against the president'' or
spreading ''alarm and
Government officials have accused journalists of
fanning a deliberate
campaign of misinformation and propaganda in their
coverage of the country's
political and economic crisis.
journalists have been expelled from the country.
Zim Independent - Comment
Zvinavashe conducts coup against
IN a disgraceful betrayal of his constitutional
Vitalis Zvinavashe declared on Wednesday the armed
forces will only support
leaders who fought in the liberation war. In other
words they will refuse to
support the verdict of the Zimbabwean people if it
goes against President
Mugabe in the March poll.
By stating that the
armed forces will not "support or salute anyone with a
different agenda that
threatens the very existence of our sovereignty, our
country and our people",
Zvinavashe has in effect carried out a coup against
the democratic process,
subscribing to the facile pretence that the Movement
for Democratic Change is
somehow a threat to national sovereignty.
This is of course the ruling
party's creed and Zvinavashe - together with
those officers who lined up with
him - have not only revealed an appalling
ignorance of their public duty to
uphold the constitution and the law, but
have openly sided with Zanu PF in
its brutal campaign to suppress the
country's hard-won freedoms. They have
pledged to defend a corrupt
liberation aristocracy that has impoverished the
country through greed and
abuse of power, ignoring a democratically expressed
need for reform.
Anybody following the election campaign will not have
failed to note the
growing tone of desperation in government
Zvinavashe's remarks came in the same week that parliament
rail-roaded into passing laws that violate constitutional
by subjecting the press and indeed the country at large to
increasingly perverse will.
With regard to the press Bill the
views of the parliamentary portfolio
committee on communications don't appear
to have been taken into account,
nor has the legal committee been given an
opportunity to comment. In the
case of all measures this week, the House of
Assembly's rules of procedure
have been suspended as all semblance of
parliamentary democracy is
Elsewhere in the country,
anybody suspected of being aligned to the
opposition is being bludgeoned by
Zanu PF thugs with impunity.
In the circumstances Glenys Kinnock's appeal for
the Zimbabwe government to
step back from the brink before the patience of
the European Union is
exhausted comes a tad late. Foreign minister Stan
Mudenge will plead for
more time in Brussels today.
He should not be
indulged. He is the representative of a government that has
torn up all its
commitments to regional principles of electoral conduct,
employed violence to
subdue opposition, violated the
constitutionally-enshrined rights of its
citizens, attempted to muzzle the
press, and suborned the armed forces
leadership to endorse its criminal
We note Zvinavashe's
threats against the media. In 1999 the army abducted,
detained and tortured
two journalists from the Standard and have
subsequently blocked a
court-ordered police investigation into that crime.
This is governance as
bad as it gets. Friends of Zimbabwe should stop
dancing around the issue of
sanctions in the naďve hope that a wilful and
increasingly unstable dictator
like Mugabe will suddenly change his mind and
stop terrorising his people. He
is allowing violence to persist because he
knows he has lost the nation's
trust and could never win a free and fair
Partisan statements by
the police commissioner and the refusal of the police
to do their duty have
sadly discredited the force. Now the army cannot be
trusted to honour a
democratic outcome in the March poll.
While it is difficult to measure
degrees of misrule, Zvinavashe's comments
clearly mark another milestone in
the country's descent into tyranny. A
military command that openly tells the
people of Zimbabwe that it will not
honour their democratically-expressed
wishes is one that immediately
forfeits their confidence. It is up to
Zimbabweans to define their "values,
traditions and beliefs" in line with
their democratic rights, not for
military leaders to instruct
This latest example of the prostitution of state power will be a
for Sadc and Zimbabwe's friends abroad. They must not continue to
regime that holds the will of its people in such contempt in the
name of a
revolution it long ago betrayed.
Zvinavashe’s ‘treason’ slammed
ZIMBABWE Defence Forces commander General Vitalis
Zvinavashe yesterday came
under a barrage of fire for his implicit threat of
a coup if the forthcoming
presidential election is won by a candidate other
than President Mugabe.
He said the armed forces would resist a leader who
did not reflect the
values of the liberation war, a clear reference to
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change candidate Morgan
“General Zvinavashe’s unfortunate statement is a serious
threat to the
democratic institutions created by our consitution,” said
a Harare-based lawyer.
“It is a serious breach of
the laws of the country which the general in
taking his oath of office
undertook to uphold. The statement is an indicator
of the grave erosion of
the rule of law Zimbabwe has experienced in the
given Tsvangirai’s background there would not be much point in
presidential election in March if the institutions created for the
defending law and order did not accept the election of a
candidate who holds
“values” different to theirs.
“The defence forces have no right to stand
in the way of the people of
Zimbabwe,” Mugandiwa said. “The people have a
right to chart their own
destiny and the defence forces should be subject to
the will of the people.
Legality and morality demand
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said the army’s threats
reprehensible and hazardous.
“Those threats are clearly
outrageous and unconstitutional,” Madhuku said.
“They are totally
unconstitutional because the army has a legal obligation
to respect the
government of the day.”
According to the Defence Act, the army is obliged
to support the elected
The ZCTU said Zvinavashe’s remarks
were “treasonous and careless”.
“The ZCTU strongly condemns the position
announced by the defence forces who
have issued political statements that are
likely to throw the country into
chaos,” the trade union body said. “The ZCTU
will not hesitate to mobilise
its members to protest against these acts of
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) said Zvinavashe’s
insinuated a coup.
“Students received with shock such
irresponsible utterances from a person
whom we believe is supposed to execute
his duties in a non-partisan and
professional manner,” Zinasu
MDC spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said: “In the event of an MDC
expect and hope the army, which by all standards is professional,
and defend the constitution.”
Sources said the MDC had
established that Zvinavashe and colleagues were
forced into making the
remarks, which coincided with Zanu PF statements
after a politburo meeting on
Zanu PF extorts millions from firms
ZANU PF has resuscitated its companies extortion programme of last
has been sending agents to firms seeking “donations” for the
Corporates, banks and individuals have all been
targeted. This week, two
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed companies donated $12
million and $5 million
to the party. More were this week lining up to make
payments after it was
suggested it was in their interests to do
Executives who spoke on condition of anonymity said the exercise was
“We see this as protection fees,” one executive
Of concern to executives contacted by the Zimbabwe Independent was that
approaches for “donations” were ensconced in thinly-veiled threats
unspecified reprisals as most were accused of being sympathetic to
Movement for Democratic Change.
“Most companies have been accused
of donating millions to the MDC campaign
and are asked to meet or better
those donations. But most of these
accusations are nothing but lies,” another
This week the Independent learnt of one company which
donated $6 million
only to be informed that this was not sufficient as “it is
known you have
donated $15 million to the MDC”.
thing is that the requests for funding are coming from
all provinces,” said
one leading businessman. “We wonder if all the money we
are parting with is
reaching its desired destination. Somewhere some of this
money is being
Executives said their companies may now face difficulties
shareholders where the money went.
10 000 children denied an
10 000 primary school children will be denied education as a result of
school closures caused by the fast track resettlement scheme which
brought business at commercial farms to a standstill. The
Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said
number of children to be thrown out of schools on farms was bound
increase because of the disturbances.
"Farm invasions have
displaced farm workers and their children, leaving more
than half of farm
schools without adequate numbers of children to open
"In the event of an invaded farm closing down
operations or forced to scale
down, a school is forced to close because the
parents - formerly farm
workers - would be displaced by the invaders or may
not be in a position to
pay the school fees," the union said.
union said about three farm schools in the Mvurwi area might not open
term because teachers did not want to risk their lives
"The political situation on the
farms can also drive away teachers just as
it is driving away farm workers,"
Gapwuz said. "In Mvurwi two schools could
not complete (the syllabus) last
year because teachers had deserted the
"Other factors such
as infrastructure and shelter which were being provided
by the commercial
farmers can also drive away teachers once the farming
activities come to a
standstill and the farmer deserts the farm,"
Commercial farms have more than 200 schools with an
average enrolment of
around 300 pupils each which translates to about 60 000
bishops say they will avoid party politics
Zimbabwe's bishops said
they will stay out of party politics in the weeks
leading to the March
"Our church stands to defend the people's
political right to choose freely
and belong to any party of their choice,
just as it campaigns for the
protection of all their other human rights and
freedoms," the Zimbabwe
bishops' conference said in an early January
Tensions between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change have resulted in killings and other
with Mugabe vowing to crack down on the opposition, labeling
Mugabe has ruled the southern African country of
12.5 million people since
it won independence from Britain in
"We appeal to the political leadership to publicly denounce
replace it with dialogue," the bishops' statement
|Zimbabwe facing international
Zimbabwe is heading for international isolation after parliament passed laws
giving President Robert Mugabe dictatorial powers.
Both the EU and the US have threatened President Mugabe with sanctions if he
continues to dismantle democracy within Zimbabwe.
New Zealand has demanded Zimbabwe be expelled from the Commonwealth.
A high-powered Zimbabwe delegation is expected to be given a rough ride at a
meeting with EU officials in Brussels.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw seems certain to carry out his threat to demand
Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-member Commonwealth.
South Africa says it is "unacceptable" for Zimbabwe's army chiefs to say they
would only accept a Mugabe presidential election victory.
Critics say the two controversial laws are designed to stifle dissent ahead
of the presidential election on March 9-10.
New Zealand foreign minister Phil Goff said the legislation further restricts
the rights and freedom of the press and clearly shows that the election will not
be free or fair.
The case against allowing Zimbabwe to remain in the Commonwealth "is
overwhelming", Mr Goff said.
"There is documented evidence of harassment, arbitrary arrests, assaults,
torture and killing of those who oppose the regime," he added.
Story filed: 10:02 Friday 11th January 2002