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Zimbabwe campaign starts amid concern over electoral reforms

July 9, 2013 4:53 pm

By Tony Hawkins in Harare and Andrew England in Johannesburg

After weeks of wrangling over the date of Zimbabwe’s presidential elections,
parties have finally started to campaign amid lingering concern over ghost
voters, electoral reforms and how the country will finance the polls.

“We are faced with an election without reforms and against a leopard that
has remained faithful to its spots,” said Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister
and leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, as he launched his
campaign on Sunday. His criticism was aimed at Robert Mugabe, the veteran
president and his Zanu-PF party, both of whom have been in power since
independence in 1980.

The July 31 election is seen as an important test of whether the country can
move forward on a more stable path, and in doing so attract desperately
needed investment, or whether it will return to the violence and chaos that
has characterised other polls over the past decade.

At Sunday’s launch, Mr Tsvangirai said he was going into the election – his
third against Mr Mugabe – with a “heavy heart” after he failed in his
attempts to get the election date put back until further reforms were
Mr Mugabe, 89, who still garners support from many Zanu-PF supporters
because of his credentials as a veteran liberation fighter and his longevity
at the helm, used his presidential powers to bypass parliament last month
and set the poll date for the end of this month.

Opposition parties, as well as the Southern African Development Community, a
regional body, argued that more time was needed to prepare logistically for
the vote and ensure reforms were implemented to enable a fairer election to
take place.
But the Constitutional Court stuck to the date, setting the scene for
another election whose credibility is being questioned before the first
ballot is cast. “What we have witnessed in the past few weeks is a concerted
effort designed to rob the election of legitimacy,” Mr Tsvangirai said,
while also championing his party’s chance of victory.

The Research and Advocacy Unit, a non-government agency, said that, as of
June 1, 5.87m voters were registered, of whom “well over one million” were
either dead or had left the country, which has a population of about 14
million. It also estimated that almost 2m potential voters under 30 years
had not registered.

The figures are deemed important because Mr Tsvangirai is seen as more
likely to appeal to younger voters, while Zanu-PF has been widely accused of
vote rigging at previous elections and some are concerned that it will seek
to take advantage of “ghost voters”. Voter registration is set to close on
Wednesday. “The ground is not level,” said Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst
with the International Crisis Group. The extent of voter manipulation makes
an MDC victory implausible, he said.

The last election in 2008 was characterised by violence and allegations of
rigging and intimidation against Zanu-PF. Mr Mugabe lost the first round of
that presidential poll, garnering 43 per cent of the vote to Mr Tsvangirai’s
48 per cent. But a run-off was aborted primarily because of election-related
violence blamed on Zanu-PF.

A measure of stability was restored after the MDC agreed to join Zanu-PF in
a unity government in February 2009. The economy, which had been in a state
of collapse for almost a decade, was also boosted when Zimbabwe adopted the
US dollar as its currency.

But the unity government has largely been dysfunctional with Mr Mugabe
continuing to dominate the political stage, while the MDC has been
criticised for not using its position in the administration to effect more

A new constitution was adopted earlier this year, but other reforms related
to the elections have not been pushed through. And while the economy
initially rebounded from a perilously low base, its recovery has been
fragile and the government has remained strapped for cash.

The administration needs $132m to fund the vote and, on Monday, Tendai Biti,
the finance minister and a senior member of the MDC, said he had “frozen”
government spending to pay for the process. “We are not paying ministers, we
are not paying service providers . . . we can only afford to pay salaries,”
he said.

Mr Mugabe, meanwhile, has given conflicting comments on whether Zimbabwe
will retain the US dollar as its currency. Its introduction was important in
countering hyperinflation as the economy fell into chaos after Zanu-PF
implemented a land reform programme and the country became a pariah.

In recent days, he has twice gone off message, calling on Friday for a
return to the Zimbabwean dollar. He backtracked 24 hours later, saying this
would not happen immediately and adding that the next local currency would
be backed by the country’s “huge” gold deposits. This suggestion was
dismissed as “undiluted rubbish” by Mr Biti, finance minister.

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ZEC wraps up voter registration

By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
9 July 2013

Zimbabweans have come out in large numbers in the past few days to register
to vote before the registration period closes at the end of business
Tuesday, ahead of the crucial elections in three weeks’ time.

Last week Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said more than 400,000 new voters
had registered for the elections since the mobile registration exercise
kicked off on June 10th.

The new registrants brought to about 6.1 million the total number of
registered voters, and the figure is set to increase once the RG adds up the
number of voters who registered in the last week.

The mandatory 30-day registration was however marred by Mudede’s decision to
cut down the number of ward level voter registration days from 30 to 3,
citing financial constraints. Existing voters also used the exercise to
inspect the voters’ roll to verify if they are still registered in their

Abel Chikomo, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum,
told SW Radio Africa that a number of people have been disenfranchised by
Mudede’s unilateral initiative to cut down the number of days for the

Observers and other political parties have accused Mudede’s office of poor
planning and poor organization for the shambolic way the voter registration
exercise was carried out.

‘Very many people have come to register in their wards, but have been hugely
disappointed because of the long queues and the slow process of the
exercise,’ said Chikomo.

As such, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is now under pressure to extend
the registration deadline by a few more days.

‘We have thousands of people who have tried to utilise the remaining period
to be registered as voters but have failed. ZEC is aware of this and it is
in their interest now as an independent body to make the right call,’
Chikomo added.
A journalist with The Mirror in Masvingo, Leopold Munhende, was arrested by
police on Tuesday while taking photographs of the voter registration process
at the Registrar General’s offices in the town.

The arrest comes at a time when thousands of people are making a last minute
dash to register before the lapse of the deadline. MISA Zimbabwe, a media
watchdog, said Munhende was arrested in the morning and taken to the central
police station where he was allegedly charged with being a public nuisance.

Meanwhile, in Bulawayo, thousands more failed to register on the last day,
blaming officials manning the centres for their predicaments. Our
correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us many new and young voters complained
that they couldn’t register and that would mean they would not be able to
vote for the people they want as their next leaders.

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Zimbabweans Cry Foul as Mobile Voter Registration Ends

Blessing  Zulu

WASHINGTON DC — Zimbabwe’s constitutionally mandated 30-day mobile voter
registration exercise ended Tuesday amid complaints by voters in Harare and
other cities of a deliberate ploy by officials from the Registrar General’s
Office of frustrating and forcing many to abandon the registration.

Officials from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Registrar
General’s Office were dispatched to the country’s 1,958 wards to register
eligible voters on the June 10 ahead of the July 31 election.

Residents in most cities who spoke to VOA Studio 7 and also took to Facebook
have raised an outcry at the slow pace with which the ZEC and officials in
the RG’s Office were carrying out the registration process.

Most registration centers in Harare were conspicuous by the long queues of
frustrated residents who spent close to eight hours waiting to be served.

ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau said the general voter registration exercise
ends Wednesday and those who fail to register by the end of the day will not
be allowed to participate in this year’s election.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network director Rindai Chipfunde Vava said lack
of funds and publicity must have hampered the registration process.

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Zimbabwe minister: $85M short of funds, preparations for vote 3 weeks away a ‘nightmare’

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, July 10, 1:24 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s finance ministry said it needs to resolve a
shortfall of about $85 million needed for crucial national elections just
three weeks away, as a month-long chaotic voter registration effort drew to
a close Tuesday.

Tendai Biti, the outspoken finance minister, described preparations for the
July 31 polls as “a nightmare.”

“We don’t have money for these elections, and everyone knows it. It’s a
horror movie except that you are not watching the movie, you are part of
 it,” Biti said late Monday.

The elections are the first to be held since the violent 2008 polls forced
President Robert Mugabe to join into a coalition government with longtime
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, a bitter political nemesis. Mugabe has
ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

On Tuesday, Mugabe’s office said it was cancelling cabinet meetings until
the vote so that ministers can campaign for the election.

Tsvangirai, 61, began intense campaigning in the remote northeast Tuesday.
Mugabe, 89, has not announced his own campaign schedule but his Vice
President Joice Mujuru, 58, has begun a series of rallies for their ZANU-PF

Mugabe’s opponents maintained he had acted alone without consulting
coalition leaders in a ploy to favor his party. Mugabe said he was following
the instructions of a Constitutional Court ruling earlier this month.

Tsvangirai had argued that the July 31 date did not allow enough time for
the needed democratic reforms to take place, and that the rushed election
did not provide the conditions necessary for a free and fair vote. He later
said he was accepting the date with sadness and reluctance but was confident
of a victory over Mugabe.

National elections in Zimbabwe are routinely held over two days with ballots
cast at up to 9,000 polling stations across the country, slightly larger
than Germany. The commission says tens of thousands of voters who have since
died have been removed from the lists.

The U.S.-based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights said in
its latest report on Zimbabwe the close approach of the vote has ramped up
political tensions in the country. It said opponents of Mugabe are facing
“an atmosphere of intimidation,” curbs on free expression and political
activities and the suppression of easily accessible voter registration and
voter education.

“This behavior is unacceptable and represents clear breaches of domestic and
international law,” said Santiago Canton, head of the center’s rights group.

Leaders of the 15-nation regional bloc known as the Southern African
Development Community, or SADC, had also called on Mugabe and the judiciary
he controls to delay the crucial elections.

Mugabe, launching his party’s manifesto on Friday, had also threatened to
withdraw from SADC, the regional bloc he helped found, saying its chief
mediator on Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, and his colleagues
had pushed for delaying the polls.

Biti, the finance minister, said he has had to “freeze” payments to
government departments and only meet public service salaries to try to find
the money for this month’s vote.

“The whole thing is an absolute, undiluted dog’s breakfast,” Biti said.

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MDC youth leader challenges Mugabe insult law in Constitutional Court

By Violet Gonda
SW Radio Africa
9 July 2013

MDC-T Youth Chairman Solomon Madzore filed an urgent application in the
Constitutional Court on Monday to have the notorious insult law – Section 33
of the Criminal Code – struck off as unconstitutional, in a landmark case
that will determine whether or not an individual has a right to say whatever
they want about the presidency.

Scores of Zimbabweans have been arrested under this provision that makes it
a crime to say anything that would cause the President to be ‘hated or

Madzore recently spent two weeks in detention in May after he was arrested
for allegedly calling 89 year old President Robert Mugabe a “limping donkey”
who should be put out to pasture.

He claims that the insult law violates three constitutional rights – the
right to campaign, the right to hold and communicate opinions, and freedom
of expression.

Arrests always increase during electoral periods and the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights say they have attended to at least 63 criminal prosecutions
since 2010 for insulting Mugabe.

Some of those arrested in the last three years include lawyers. There are
many more individuals who have not been represented by the group and have
been arrested and charged using this controversial insult law.

Madzore, who is the MDC-T candidate for Dzivarasekwa, says the section stops
him from campaigning properly and wants the ConCourt to make a determination
before general elections set for July 31st.

His lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwarara, told SW Radio Africa that his client is
approaching the courts to vindicate his constitutionally entrenched rights.

“As it stands Madzore cannot campaign freely and say exactly what he wants
to say or his views upon the president, because of this unusual old and
archaic provision within our criminal code.”

“The provision that has motivated this application has no place in a
constitutional democracy. It is couched in such wide and indiscriminate
terms that it clearly cannot stand constitutional scrutiny. Clearly this
case is important and requires the Constitutional Court’s urgent attention.”
Zhuwarara added.

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ZANU PF ‘friends’ among foreign observers invited ahead of elections

By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
9 July 2013

Over 50 foreign observer missions have been invited to monitor Zimbabwe’s
July 31st elections, including known ZANU PF allies and friends who endorsed
the flawed run-off election in 2008.

The Foreign Affairs ministry, headed by ZANU PF’s Simbarashe Mumbengegwi,
has selected which foreign observer teams are welcome in Zimbabwe during the
coming polls. According to a list of from the Ministry, those invited
include regional and sub-regional groups like COMESA, SADC and the African
Union (AU).

Individual countries from the SADC region and other African countries have
also been invited, including Algeria, Kenya and Uganda. South Africa will
also be monitoring, sending 120 observers as part of the SADC mission.

From Asia, the countries invited include China, India, Indonesia, Iran, and
Malaysia, while from the Americas, invitations have gone out to Brazil,
Jamaica, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Britain, the European Union (EU) and the United States are among the
countries excluded, as was the case during the 2008 elections. From Europe,
some individual countries have been invited, and those are Russia, Belarus
and Serbia.

Mumbengegwi has previously insisted that any country that still maintains
targeted, restrictive ‘sanctions’ against the Mugabe regime will not be
allowed to monitor the vote.

The ZANU PF minister has also extended an invite to the USA based ‘December
12 Movement’, an African-American organisation that openly endorsed the 2008
run-off poll as an “expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.” This
was despite the sham poll having a single candidate, Mugabe, and the serious
violence that preceded that vote which saw Morgan Tsvangirai withdraw from
the contest.

Few countries moved to isolate Mugabe as an illegitimate President, and even
SADC attempted to gloss over the illegality of the process by drafting a
unity deal between ZANU PF and the MDC.

The invited observer missions still need to receive accreditation from the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

According to civil society groups ZEC is heavily influenced by ZANU PF and
this could likely cause a problem when accrediting groups.

Thabani Nyoni, the spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said
the process of inviting observers is all about control, with ZANU PF wanting
to “screen and influence ZEC’s decision on who observes and who doesn’t.”

“It’s not a birthday party where you invite your friends; it is a process
where you bring in all those so you have a proper assessment of your
processes. But you must realise there is an attempt to manage perceptions by
courting favours and cherry picking,” Nyoni said.

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Independent candidates allowed to use MDC-T logo

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
9 July 2013

In a move that is set to confuse voters, individuals who lost their bid to
stand as MDC-T candidates in the July 31st elections have been given the
go-ahead to use the party’s logo, with slight modifications.

The MDC-T party last week lodged an appeal at the Electoral Court after
disgruntled contestants who failed to make it past the primary elections
opted to stand as independents, citing irregularities during the internal
selection process.

Through the appeal, the MDC-T had hoped to stop all those vying for the
House of Assembly and local authority seats from using the logo that, the
party argues, is a duplication of its own.

The difference between the disputed logo and that of the party (pictured
above) is said to be that the face of the independent candidate will be
positioned inside a slightly slanting open palm. Everything else is similar,
with some even using MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s face on their campaign

MDC-T officials have said those who have refused to withdraw from standing
either as independents or have misrepresented themselves as the party’s
choice, have expelled themselves from the party.

This follows allegations that nine former Chitungwiza councillors
successfully filed their papers at the Nomination Court after forging a
senior official’s signature.

But the Independents, who have since formed an interim structure to direct
their operations under the banner of Independent Candidates Coalition, said
they were not perturbed by press reports that they had been fired from the

Speaking to SW Radio Africa just after their meeting held in Gweru Tuesday,
former Magwegwe MP, Felix Mafa, said talk about their “so-called dismissal
was illegal.”

“We are still members of the MDC-T. No-one has communicated with us
officially about that or summoned us to any hearing. So we are forging ahead
with our preparations for elections and to campaign for our party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who hasn’t indicated that he doesn’t need our vote,” Mafa

Mafa said they were still waiting for Tsvangirai to address their grievances
“so that those who were imposed can step aside to enable the rightful
winners to represent the party.

“At today’s meeting, we were mapping out a strategy to direct our operations
as independents. Our common grievance is that the so-called primaries were
pre-determined and a circus,” he said.

Asked about the modified logo, Mafa said no-one had a monopoly on the
symbol: “The MDC logo just like the name is part of the people’s project. In
the past we have had ZAPU PF, PF ZAPU, ZANU PF, and ZANU NDONGA so there is
nothing new there.”

Mafa dismissed fears that their use of MDC-T logo would cause confusion on
polling day and lead to vote splitting, with party supporters mistakenly
casting their votes for the independents.

“But why would people be confused by that, when the presence of MDC-T,
MDC-M, MDC, MDC-99 hasn’t caused any confusion? The MDC is a revolutionary
people’s project which can’t be owned by anyone. A 10% difference in the
logos or names is still a difference.

“If people are worried about any confusion arising, they should educate
their supporters. In any case there is a symbol, a picture and a name and
how can that possibly be confusing, Mafa added.

The Gweru meeting was attended by 20 prospective MPs and 10 local government
hopefuls, with Aaron Chinhara elected as chairperson of the group, Prince
Dube secretary, Tedius Chimombe organising secretary and Hope Zuda

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Mawere backs Tsvangirai for President

09/07/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

SOUTH Africa-based businessman, Mutumwa Mawere, has announced that he is
backing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai for the presidency in elections
scheduled for the end of this month.

In a statement Tuesday, Mawere said: “Like many voters, I have watched the
performance of the inclusive government and if there was any doubt about who
is the problem, the proclamation of the nomination and election dates has
fortified my belief that Zimbabwe needs a new face to inspire hope.

“The promise of hope and change needs real flesh and brand ambassadors and
although President Mugabe is an honest, principled and courageous man, it
cannot be said that his re-election will bring the kind of change that the
people of Zimbabwe need and deserve.”

The announcement comes as a new boost for the MDC-T leader after he
confirmed an alliance with Simba Makoni’s Mavambo Kusile party as well as
Zanu Ndonga.

Mawere recently regained his Zimbabwean citizenship after successfully
challenging, at the Constitutional Court, registrar general (RG) Tobaiwa
Mudede’s insistence that dual citizenship remained illegal even under the
country’s new constitution.

The RG had told Mawere to first renounce his South African citizenship
before he could apply for Zimbabwean national registration documents.

Said Mawere: “What I know today is that were it not for the determination
and courage of people like Tsvangirai, I would not be a beneficiary of dual
citizenship for the prohibition of dual citizenship was sanctioned by Zanu
PF and continues to be enforced even after the enactment of amendment number
20 of the Constitution.

“Tsvangirai has met challenge after challenge, and there is no doubt that he
has grown as a leader (who) should be equal to the myriad of challenges that
the economy faces.

“I have chosen a different lens to consider my choice on 31 July 2013 not as
a member of any party but as a new citizen informed by what the country
needs at this critical juncture in its history and development.

Zimbabweans will vote on July 31 to choose a successor to the coalition
government between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe which came into
office after violent but disputed polls in 2008.

Mawere said the country needed a new beginning and dismissed Mugabe and his
Zanu PF party as people hamstrung by a worldview mired in the past.

“Although President Mugabe is an honest, principled and courageous man, it
cannot be said that his re-election will bring the kind of change that the
people of Zimbabwe need and deserve,” he said.

“Zanu PF has retreated to gutter politics, running a campaign on partisan
division, racial warfare, and class antagonism (and) President Mugabe’s
policies and worldview are deeply mired in the past.

“Zimbabwe is economically battered and continues to drift without a defined
flight path and destination and President Mugabe cannot escape culpability
notwithstanding the fact that it will be wrong to attribute all the failure
solely to him.”

Mawere, whose SMM Holdings was expropriated by the government over
allegations the group was indebted to various state entities, said he
expects nothing in return from Tsvangirai for his endorsement.

“Tsvangirai must be rest assured that he does not need to repay me for my
vote.  It is a free vote, albeit, I had to pay lawyers to assert it,” he

“I am eternally grateful to all who voted for the adoption of the new
constitution without which I would not be able to vote.”
He also dismissed as inaccurate reports linking him to a new political party
the United Movement for Democracy (“UMD”) which is said to have tried to
nominate him to run for the presidency.

He urged those behind the move to follow his lead and support Tsvangirai
“Indeed, my name has been linked with a new party, United Movement for
Democracy (“UMD”), creating the perception that my quest for citizenship was
purely motivated by a desire for political relevance and power,” he said.

“The truth is that I am not a member of the party and could not have been
even if I wanted.  I was a non-resident alien in terms of the laws of
Zimbabwe and, therefore, to any rational person it would have been
ridiculous for me to head a party in a country in which I am considered a

“By declaring my choice for the office of the President, I do hope that the
people who purport to support me can take a cue on what to do on the
Election Day.

“Given the limited time available, I intend to meet all the people who have
chosen to join UMD also to be independent that they should follow my

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Soldiers, cops to vote on Sunday

FUNGI KWARAMBA  •  9 JULY 2013 12:11PM

HARARE - Soldiers and police officers — who in 2008 voted under the watchful
eye of their commanders — will on Sunday and Monday exercise their
democratic right to vote freely after electoral authorities removed polling
stations from barracks and police stations.

Rita Makarau, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson said observers
are welcome to monitor the special voting for the uniformed forces which
will take place on July 14 and 15, two weeks before the crunch polls set for
July 31.

As of Monday, Zec, the commission in charge of electoral processes in the
country, had received 87 000 applications from the police, the army and the
Zimbabwe Prison Services.

The Zec boss said 60 000 police officers applied for special voting.

Co-Home Affairs minister Teresa Makone has said the force does not have more
than 40 000 officers.

Appearing before Parliament earlier in February ahead of a referendum,
Innocent Matibiri, police deputy commissioner-general (operations),
disclosed that the force was going to recruit 10 000 officers in order to
complement the 40 000 police officers.

“Our polling stations are not going to be in barracks,” said Makarau. “Some
are at schools or at community halls but no polling station is within a

As the country hurtles towards the crucial elections, Zec has already
established 209 special polling stations. Processing of applications for
special voting is underway.

In the 2008 poll, members of the uniformed forces complained that they were
forced to vote under supervision from their superiors at army camps or
police stations.

Police chief Augustine Chihuri has been at the forefront of resisting the
changes, writing to co-Home Affairs ministers, Kembo Mohadi and Makone on
July 26 last year protesting against the agreed electoral reforms.

But despite fierce resistance, Zec has forged ahead, designing a new voting
system for armed forces that seeks to secure their vote.

The new requirements are in line with amendments made to the Electoral Act,
which have attracted angry denunciations from top commanders.

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Special voting system rig proof — Zec

July 9, 2013 in News

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on Tuesday re-assured political
parties that there would not be rigging through the controversial special
voting system, amidst widespread belief that the ballots would be tampered

Hazel Ndebele/ Carlos Vieira

At a meeting with political parties in Harare, Zec chairperson Justice Rita
Makarau said the electoral body had put in place mechanisms that would
ensure that the ballots after special voting would not be tampered with.

Special voting taking place this weekend on July 14 and July 15 is a system
under which persons, who would be unable to vote on polling day on July 31
because they will be performing other duties, vote in advance.

Political parties raised concerns of vote rigging through that system, but
Makarau assured them they had put in place a system that safeguarded against
ballot tampering.

To safeguard against abuse of the special voting facility, Zec said each
individual wanting to be regarded as a special voter had to produce a
certificate from the chief elections officer or commanding officer of a
disciplined force stating that the applicant will be deployed to carry out
duties on the election day away from the ward in which they are registered
as a voter.

She said the names of those people who vote this weekend would be crossed
out of the ward-based voters roll.

“The ballots are transported from polling stations to the chief elections
officer and thereafter to the ward in tamper-proof envelops that will be
sealed in the presence of election agents who are entitled to sign on the
seal,” she said.

Makarau also said political party agents are entitled to be present when the
tamper-proof envelopes are opened.

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Analysts hail political alliances


BULAWAYO - Political analysts in Bulawayo say a recent spate in forging
alliances amongst political parties was a sign of thriving democracy.

Those who decided so should not be condemned as it was their democratic
right, they said.

Last week the MDC led by Welshman Ncube and Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa
forged an alliance to cement their electoral position in the forthcoming
crunch polls.

This happened after the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai had signed a deal for
an electoral pact with MavaMbo/Dawn/Kusile (MKD) leader Simba Makoni and
Reketai Sengwayo of Zanu Ndonga.

Many people had anticipated a grand coalition where major political parties
could have united to contest Zanu PF’s enduring hegemony spanning 33 years.

But the parties apparently could not agree on a plethora of issues hinged on
principles and ideologies.

With a surprise alliance coming from the country’s southern region where
Zapu and MDC decided to join forces, much has been said labelling the two as
regionalists bent on dividing votes to deny Tsvangirai a possible outright
election victory.

But political analysts defended the new development.

Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo told the Daily News that political
alliances were in fact a positive development in the Zimbabwean political

“Alliances are very important at this stage. It shows that as a nation we
are going somewhere. Of course what has been an ideal situation was to have
a broader political alliance that would face Zanu PF in the forthcoming
elections,” Nkomo said.

“It would however, been unfair to say the new alliance is improper and built
on regional basis. All political parties have a right to choose who to align
with no matter how small. It is basically a win-win scenario which is good
in a democracy.

“There must not be a big brother mentality as to who should be joined and
who should join.

“It is important that now we are going to see a situation whereby in areas
like Matabeleland where Zapu supporters could have voted for Zanu PF, so
this time they have a better option,” he explained.

With regards to Zanu PF’s culture of violence, Nkomo said this time around
the ex-majority party was using “a smarter way whereby they are using the
brain in such places as rigging using voter registration and the voters’
roll among other things.”

Political analyst Dumisani Mpofu described the MDC-Zapu alliance as

“The MDC-Zapu alliance is a critical one especially in Matabeleland where
there is usually serious voter apathy, a situation that has been working
very well for Zanu PF. This alliance is likely to reduce that voter apathy
and increase the appetite for voting hence the panic by Zanu PF.”

Mpofu said while a bigger voter turnout is now anticipated in the region,
the big question remaining is who will they vote for in the face of numerous
political parties.

Mpofu criticised those who believe MDC and Zapu could have joined Tsvangirai
rather than forming their own separate alliance.

“Of course there are those who think Zapu and MDC should have included
mainstream MDC. In my view, that is unfair. I oppose those who think Zapu
and MDC alliance will not work. If the two parties saw themselves in terms
of programming and future strategic thinking being similar, they did the
right move,” he said.

“Politics is not about promoting one person against another, but it is about
establishing a sustainable democratic future. Democracy without pluralism is
not democracy.”

Mpofu also said both alliances Zapu-MDC and the MDC-Mavambo and Zanu Ndonga
were formed on regional basis.

He said alliances benefited Zimbabwean politics as they are likely to
minimise violence. In the past Zanu PF has unleashed violence on political
opponents to subvert democracy.

“Alliances reduce tension in those areas where they have been formed.

“Zanu PF is known for using tension between so-called opposition political
parties to promote political violence so that in the end the parties bear
the blame for provocation, not Zanu PF. In this case Zanu PF has been thrown
in a tight corner,” said Mpofu.

Plumtree-based political analyst Thomas Sithole believes there is nothing
wrong with political parties forming alliances.

“It only serves to indicate that at least some political parties share
similar principles. You cannot blame them.

“Basically it is everyone’s right to form a party or get into a coalition
which shows how democratic as a country we can be,” Sithole said.

However, he bemoaned lack of unity amongst political parties.

“It is quite sad that Zanu PF has been in power for over three decades and
at a time when political parties could be seen forging a united front we see
lack of interest or rather wider disagreements between political parties.

“I think parties could have learnt from the 2008 scenario where an absence
of a united front gave Zanu PF a life line,” he added.

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Kereke threatens fragile Zanu PF unity

09/07/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

MUNYARADZI Kereke’s open defiance of Zanu PF after refusing to withdraw as
the party’s candidate in Masvingo is threatening to damage the party’s
fragile unity ahead of elections on July 31.

President Robert Mugabe made a plea to his party to unite as he launched his
campaign last Friday.
Firing the slogan ‘Bhora Mugedhi/Ibhola Egedini’, Mugabe warned Zanu PF
against divisive tendencies which could shear votes from his party ahead of
the watershed election.

But several losing Zanu PF candidates, as well as some whose CVs were
rejected, have opted to run as independents while Kereke – who was said not
to have met the party’s five-year membership criteria – filed papers as a
party candidate in Bikita West.

The wealthy businessman, who owns a medical centre in Harare and is a former
adviser to central bank governor Gideon Gono, was rejected by the party but
somehow ended up on the ballot paper and won convincingly in the internal
Zanu PF vote.

He submitted his name during the nomination court sitting on June 28, along
with Zanu PF’s preferred candidate, Elias Musakwa. Both were registered as
the party’s candidates.

Zanu PF subsequently asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to
expunge Kereke’s name, but the request came to grief when ZEC chairperson
Rita Makarau, on July 4, advised the party that this could not be done
without Kereke’s consent – which had been denied.

Zanu PF sources say Kereke is backed by a faction led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who sees the election as an opportunity to outmuscle his
rival Joice Mujuru in the race to succeed Mugabe.

“They [Mnangagwa faction] have advised Kereke to stay put at a great risk to
the party. Kereke also has backing from senior army people in Masvingo
province and the party is walking on egg shells because acting against him
could cause new fissures,” one politburo member told New

Elsewhere, the party also faces challenges of a different kind – party
loyalists who have opted to stand as independents after losing or being
refused a run in the primaries.

The party had 12 candidates who filed their papers as independent candidates
after losing in the primary elections or being barred from contesting
although most of them have since withdrawn their candidature.

Only Jonathan Samukange (Mudzi South), Nokuthula Matsikenyere (Chimanimani
West), Daniel Garwe (Murehwa North) and Marian Chombo (Zvimba North) have
not pulled out.

Samkange, thought to be a Mnangagwa ally, is refusing to stand down in Mudzi
South where he filed papers to stand as an independent against Zanu PF’s
Eric Navaya.

Samkange, who was refused permission to stand in the primaries, says Navaya
played “judge and jury” by rejecting his papers in his role as the party’s
district chairman.

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Poor Facilities, Lack of Books Crippling Zimbabwe Education

Loirdham Moyo

MUTARE — Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa says while
Zimbabwe is highly rated in literacy levels, the country’s education sector
needs to be revamped.

Citing the sorry state of most schools in the province, Mbetsa on Tuesday
said more money needs to be invested in the sector if the country is to
remain at the top of other African nations in terms of education.

Mbetsa said the quality of education in the country is being compromised by
poor infrastructure and the unavailability of relevant text books and
teaching materials.

He said close to 40 schools in Buhera district, Manicaland province, remain
unregistered, adding about a dozen more in Makoni district are in dire need
of assistance.

He said more should be done to channel funds from the education transition
to help poor schools, particularly in the rural areas,

Mbetsa made the comments while handing over a new technology centre at
Sakubva Library in Mutare. He called on local authorities to forge
partnerships with corporate organisations to improve learning centres and
facilities in their areas.

The provincial administrator said communities should also invest in the
education of their children. He said companies and organizations should
emulate Old Mutual Private Limited, which sponsored the construction of the
technology centre.

He said the centre would go a long way towards providing quality education
and access to the internet and new media technologies to the community.

Old Mutual chief executive officer Charles Mangosho promised the company
will continue to plough back into communities in the country to help nurture
future leaders who are knowledgeable, not only about the country, but the
global village that has become the world today.

Simon Mashababe, standing in for town clerk Obert Muzawazi, said the city of
Mutare is grateful to Old Mutual for the technology centre, adding the local
authority will do all it can to ensure it is well maintained and that many
benefit from it.

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Furious Mutasa vows to sue Biti over fire death claims

08/07/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa has vowed to sue MDC-T
secretary general Tendai Biti for allegedly “accusing” him of causing the
fire death of a 12-year old Headlands boy in February this year.

A seething Mutasa vowed Monday to take the MDC-T secretary general and
Finance Minister to the cleaners over public statements linking him to
Christpower Maisiri’s gruesome death.

The boy died after fire gutted a hut in which he was sleeping with his
siblings. Four of the other children escaped the blaze but Christpowers was
burnt to death after the roof caved in.

“I'm going to sue Biti for his reckless statements that I murdered
Christpower Maisiri. I want Biti to tell me where he was when I was
committing the crime. He must tell me all that,” charged Mutasa.

“I will sue him for a lot of money and if he fails to pay I will attach his
Christpower was son to MDC-T aspiring legislator, Sherperd Maisiri, who is
also the party’s deputy organising secretary for Headlands district.

The boy’s tragic death sparked a huge row between the coalition parties
after the MDC-T claimed Zanu PF was responsible for the arson attack.

The MDC-T singled out Mutasa - the current MP for the area - for blame,
accusing him or ordering an attack on Maisiri’s home.
“We told Didymus Mutasa (Zanu PF minister and local MP) that he is behind
the murder of this boy,” Biti told mourners during the boy’s funeral.

“If he thought we were hiding under the cover of cabinet privilege, we are
now saying it in public - Mutasa you killed this boy! If you think we are
lying take us to court for defamation.”

Zanu PF dismissed the allegations as “baseless, offensive and malicious”.
Police later said the fire was caused by the explosion of tobacco chemicals
and ammonium nitrate fertiliser which was in the house, adding they did not
suspect any foul play.

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12 die in Zimbabwe traffic accidents

MONDAY, 08 JULY 2013 02:45     STAFF REPORTER     NEWS

Twelve people were killed while nine others were seriously injured in two
separate accidents which occurred almost at the same spot along the
Gweru-Mvuma Road on Saturday and Sunday, police confirmed yesterday. Police
spokesperson, for Midlands Province Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said in the
first accident which occurred at the 65km peg, on Saturday at about 11am, an
overloaded Toyota Granvia burst its rear tyre and overturned killing five
people on the spot.

He said three other people in the vehicle which had 13 passengers on board,
were pronounced dead upon arrival at Gweru Provincial Hospital.

"Today (Sunday) at about 7am, an Isuzu KB 300 which was travelling towards
Gweru veered off the road two kilometres away from the Saturday accident
spot and overturned killing four people on the spot.
"The Isuzu truck had eight passengers on board," he said.

Insp Mahoko said four people including the driver in the Isuzu truck were
injured and rushed to Gweru Provincial Hospital.Insp Mahoko said police were
still withholding names of the twelve people killed in the two accidents as
their next of keen were yet to be advised.

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Bredenkamp in $4m fraud


HARARE – Controversial businessman John Arnold Bredenkamp was recently
detained over a $4,2 million fraud and externalisation charge.

The tycoon, who has instituted legal proceedings against the British
government for placing him on a travel and asset ban targeting President
Robert Mugabe’s inner circle, appeared before the Harare Magistrates’ Court
last week after a complaint by local trader Yakub Ibrahim Mohammed.

With the Breco Group owner appearing before Don Ndirowei, Bredenkamp was
released on a $2 000 bail and his High Court trial set for September 9.

For long, considered one of Britain and Europe’s richest men, the
73-year-old Zimbabwean businessman and ex-rugby player was indicted after
allegedly acquiring a loan from Mohammed about 12 years ago, and which he
has failed to repay or make good on.

While Mohammed had provided the foreign cash component of the loan from
proceeds of his Sahawi International (Private) Limited cigarette trading
business in South Africa, Bredenkamp — famous for his helicopter shuttles in
Harare - had promised to pay back the loan after disposing off his
Kababankola Mining Company in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, after selling the controversial diamond mine in 2006 — once
co-owned with another local tycoon Billy Rautenbach — the former Prince
Edward School student failed to pay back the cash.

According to the agreement between the two businessmen, the loan was to
attract a six percent interest per year, capitalised on a monthly

basis and Bredenkamp also stands accused of obtaining this money without the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s exchange control approvals.

In the same court papers, it was said that Mohammed imported cigarettes into
the country under a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority bond at Bak Storage and upon
selling them within the southern African region he got substantial amounts
of forex.

At the time, the country was still using the Zimbabwean dollar.

In the meantime, Bredenkamp has recently filed a lawsuit against the British
government after discovering that the London administration was behind a
decision to blacklist him for allegedly propping up Mugabe’s government.

Although the controversial tycoon had been on a European Union (EU)and
western embargo, he has since been removed from the list following a review
of the smart sanctions in February 2012.

In his anti-sanctions court action, the ex-arms dealer and Rhodesian
sanctions-buster said in 2009 that the EU measures were “devastating for his
personal and professional reputation” and was based on “exceptionally
generalised” evidence.

And he is now challenging the lawfulness of the government’s decision to
freeze his assets and impose a travel ban on him to Europe between2009 and

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Mabika acquitted in Mugabe beasts charge

SYDNEY SAIZE  •  9 JULY 2013 8:33AM

MUTARE – Dorothy Mabika, Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairlady, has been
acquitted of stock theft charges and obstruction or defeating the course of

Mutare magistrate Sekesai Chiundura delivered the ruling with at least four
defence witnesses still to give their evidence on the case.

The magistrate dismissed the case and discharged the former Zanu
PFchairperson of the women’s league and acting chairperson, stressing there
was no case.

This comes after the same court also acquitted Mabika’s co-accused Mike
Madiro over the same charge last month.

Mabika said the legal battle has been costly to her and the family and
immediate relatives and friends.

“I am happy that the case has been thrown away and matter has been put to
rest though it has been a stressing period of my life,” said Mabika.

“I still feel this case should never have been to the court but rather it
would have been proper for our seniors in the party to simply inform me that
certain positions were to be filled by their preferred candidates,” said
Mabika, who still up to now believes the arrest and prosecution was
politically-motivated by senior Zanu PF officials in Manicaland Province.

“There was no need to fight each other in the first place in Zanu PF because
we are one family and we need to fight one common enemy not amongst
ourselves. Up to now, I still feel hurt as we wasted time and money over

“It was not good, fair and necessary to accuse me of a theft that never was
in order to remove me from my position, it was just an inhuman thing to do,”
she said.

Mabika faced one count of stock theft involving six dairy bull calves she
received from Chipinge-based commercial dairy farmer Dawid Jourbert as a
donation to Zanu PF.

The State alleged Mabika converted the calves to her own use by claiming
they had died of lack of supplementary feeding and a shortage of milk.

Mabika was also accused of obstruction or defeating the course of justice.

It is alleged when police investigations commenced, Mabika instructed Zanu
PF employees at the provincial office to make insertions to the effect that
on December14, 2012 the issue of the cattle had been discussed, cover for
the alleged offence.

Tinofara Hove, who represented Mabika in the matter said he was happy with
Monday’s court ruling.

“I am glad that the State made the decision it made and found my client not
guilty and acquitted her and this brings to an end this very, very long
trial,” said Hove.

Christine Nyamaropa appeared for the State.

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EU pledges over $200m for Zim health, agriculture

STAFF WRITER  •  9 JULY 2013 8:28AM

HARARE – The European Union (EU) has pledged over $200 million to Zimbabwe
for health, agricultural-based economic development, governance and
institutional building.

The fund was formally launched on Monday under the second phase of the
programming exercise for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) following
the identification of sectors of cooperation between the EU and Zimbabwe.

An indicative allocation between 187 and 234 million Euros (equivalent to
$243 and $304 million) will be dedicated to programmes in these identified

“Within the framework of EU re-engagement with all parties in the Government
of National Unity (GNU), the EU Council decided on 23 July2012 to suspend
the measures that did not permit to cooperate with the Government of
Zimbabwe,” said EU ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia.

“This has allowed the EU to work directly with the GNU to develop new
assistance programmes. We have already agreed with the Government the
sectors on which EU’s development cooperation should focus. We are now
starting to discuss which should be the priorities within each of these

The launching event was co-chaired by the national authorising officer,
Willard L. Manungo, who is also the secretary for Finance, and by Dell’Ariccia.

The programming process will result in formulation of a National Indicative
Plan (NIP) jointly agreed by the EU and the government of Zimbabwe by the
October 30, which will contain the main programmes to be implemented under
the 11th EDF.

“The government of Zimbabwe acknowledges and appreciates the support that
the EU continues to provide towards the achievement of the objectives of
poverty eradication and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. We are
committed to the programming exercise of the 11thEuropean Development Fund
(EDF),” Manungo said.

“The 11th EDF is informed by the national development priorities.”

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Next episode - Nyoka and Kunyepa - Don't Say that Word

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Statement from Twala Trust re Bally Vaughan

It has not been our wish to publicise the distressing situation that has
been ongoing at bally Vaughan for the last three months but we have been
forced to respond to the statement put out by Gordon and Deborah Putterill.

On the 1st July 2013 several animals were due to be translocated from Bally
Vaughan to the Twala trust with valid NP movement permits, veterinary
permits and officials including a senior ZNSPCA inspector and a parks ranger
(NP Scout).
The animals being moved had been rescued during our tenancy at Bally Vaughan
and we hold all the necessary permits for these animals.
The movement of the animals had been set for Monday, 1st July 2013 as the
vets who were moving the animals would not be available for the next two
It is important to note that the police presence was requested by us and
facilitated by the ZNSPCA.
Sarah, Vin, members of staff, several vets, members of the public (including
foreign tourists) were locked into the sanctuary and the entrance barricaded
by Deborah and Gordon Putterill.
A ZNSPCA representative was locked out of the sanctuary by the Putterills
and ZNSPCA has since put out a statement to this effect.
Chief Chikwaka was invited by us to see the lions being moved to their new
home. He has been instrumental in coordinating our free mobile veterinary
clinics, and supports our conservation work.
Deborah Putterill performed a search of two vehicles belonging to members of
the public without their permission, the small animals ready for
translocation in cages were in these vehicles and traumatised by the ensuing
Deborah Putterill threatened to have both Sarah and a member of the public,
Di Fynn, arrested for theft.
3 serval cats had already been tranquilised prior to being moved.
The animals were eventually returned to their enclosures after being in
translocation cages for several hours while the Putterills vacillated as to
whether or not the animals could go.
It is necessary to ask the question that if: a) the Putterills only concern
is for the welfare of the animals and: b) if the animals being moved were
covered by a court order preventing their movement, why did Gordon Putterill
then offer to sell four of our rescue lions to us which he said would
facilitate immediate translocation of the animals.
These lions do not belong to the Putterills and they are certainly not for
sale. We consider them to be a part of our animal family and do not regard
them as bargaining chips.
These four lions were rescued last year in such an appalling state of
neglect that it was doubtful that they would survive. With dedicated care
and overwhelming public support, these lions have been successfully
rehabilitated.  It is impossible to comprehend why the Putterills would
believe they can lay claim to these lions or to any other animal rescued by
ourselves. (For example if you lease a space to store your goods you are not
obliged to leave your goods behind when your lease expires and certainly not
before your lease expires.)
Sadly a marmoset that was waiting for translocation has since died, the body
has been taken to the Wildlife Unit for a post mortem.
With regard to ownership of the animals we were operating a sanctuary on the
land owner’s property not operating their sanctuary (otherwise why would we
be paying rent?) and further, no animals being taken to Twala were on the
property before we leased it. Nor have the Putterills contributed to the
cost of rescues and the Putterills have not been involved in the rescue and
rehabilitation of any animal during our tenancy. This makes their claim on
Monday that they own all the animals on the property incorrect.
Our lease expires in October 2014. We had hoped to remain at BV until then,
whilst making the necessary arrangements to move our rescue and
rehabilitation project to the Twala Trust. In the meantime we are still
paying rent.
The Putterills have filed an eviction order against us despite our current
lease and the Judgment will be handed out tomorrow, Friday 5th July 2013 in
Murehwa court. If the Putterills bid to evict us is successful, we will have
48hrs to evacuate the property without our animals.
We are moving because the owner, Kathy McIntosh attempted to double our rent
within a 48hour notice, a move that we opposed. We were then informed that
our lease would not be renewed again. The owner and her relatives can
therefore hardly claim to be surprised that we are relocating.
We would like to point out that Mwanga lodge, run by the Putterills has
benefitted from our hard work and dedication to the animals that we have
rescued. Their clients visit the sanctuary for a nominal fee of $2 per head
to view animals rescued, rehabilitated and cared for at our expense, and the
children on Mwanga Lodge school outings pay 50c. Even this nominal amount
has not been paid to us for several months.
It is very sad that our time at BV is ending on this note. We hope that the
relevant authorities will allow us to move our animals to the Twala trust so
that we can continue our welfare work and continue to give the quality of
life to the animals that they so deserve.
The rescue and rehabilitation of so many animals over the 8 years that we
have been at Bally Vaughan has been made possible by the wonderful support
of our friends and sponsors. We would like to thank you all and we look
forward to seeing you at Twala.

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ZANU PF’s self-indulgent deceit

It all started with primary elections when some candidates garnered more votes than voters. Cardboard boxes and bond paper replaced ballots. In the process, votes multiplied as if they were roosters laying eggs. This self-indulgent deceit continued all the way to the “grand launch”.


Taking this deception a notch up, was state media. They told us “hundreds of thousands” of supporters attended ZANU PF election launch. Such bizarre exaggeration is not only desperate but stupid. Not long ago, we were a nation of trillions and quintillions. We know our numbers very well.


Ominously, Dr Casino, the architect of infinite numbers, better known as Gonomics, received some accolades at the poorly attended launch. Sensing gross embarrassment, Webster Shamu had to re-jig the program several times while trying to bus and kombi more people into the venue so that Gushungo would not find more empty places than human beings. Nevertheless, even those who constantly need the services of Asian-based eye specialists saw that something was terribly wrong.


Despite Shamu’s concerted effort, by the time the master arrived, the venue still did not have any number comparable to what was seen on January 27 1980 when liberators were welcomed home. Not even 10,000. A far cry from what MDC pulled just a few weeks ago, in the very same venue. Then came the mix-up of dates and names by the key speaker. Quite understandable given that elders, at such an advanced age, often confuse names even of their own children. It won’t be surprising if Chatunga and Tsvangirai were sometimes used interchangeably in the first family. What more of Tsvarai! It is just one product of advanced age never to be laughed at.


Elevating sycophancy and numerical lunacy to another level, the same journalists reported that the MDC launch was held in a 5,000 seater venue, referring to Rudhaka stadium. There was no further qualification of the statement. In their shallow minds, they think Zimbabweans are so gullible as to blindly conclude that ZANU PF attracted hundreds of thousands while MDC only managed a paltry 5,000 or less. Unfortunately for them, everybody knows that Marondera was painted red on Sunday.


Gone are the days when state media was the sole source of information (or is it disinformation). One can’t help but feel sorry for the few journalists who still have a semblance of conscience but have to endure the pain of writing untruths everyday. They couldn’t even show any photo from Rudhaka.


By way of simple extrapolation; if a stadium seats 5,000 people, the same stadium gets filled to capacity with thousands sitting on the pitch while multitudes follow the proceedings on their feet with several perched on trees, poles and on top of buses, what figure might this be? Pleasing the master with blue lies is not only disrespectful but malicious. Ooops, I almost said treasonous!


Dichotomy of agenda is now a lot clearer from the two manifestos. MDC-T lucidly articulated their vision for the future, broken down into long and short-term strategies. A 100-day plan anchored by a five-year strategy demonstrates a party ready to govern. Rural transformation and employment creation as well as institutional transformation are at the epicentre of the program.


Conversely, ZANU PF proved that they are indeed a party of the past when they remained stuck in the rhetoric of land reform as if they are oblivious to the fact that land is a finite resource. If anything, most of the ordinary beneficiaries were dumped onto non-arable land only fit for game with “chefs” taking the best lots. Probably their vision is to turn us into a nation of hunters! Instead of the master using the launch to swing votes, he squandered the opportunity attacking Sadc and “an ordinary street woman” – another typical example of old age.


Meanwhile, Arthur Mutambara is advised that Nyagura has prepared the contract. Tich Masaya is ready with induction and onboarding material. Start date is 1st August 2013. Dzinonzi “Poltiks” – RIP Dr Mzee.


Moses Chamboko writes in his personal capacity. He can be contacted at


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Ten Point Guide to Reading Zimbabwean Political Party Manifestos in 2013

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

By Takura Zhangazha*

The two main political parties in Zimbabwe have launched their manifestos
for the harmonized elections scheduled for July 31 2013. Other parties will
most certainly do the same, though with less pomp and ceremony. Given that
there will be a lot of insistence on which manifesto is better, please see
below some brief pointers as to some criteria on how to read these much
vaunted documents.

1. Incumbency: All of our major parties have the fault/strength of having
served in the outgoing inclusive government. One of them for more years than
others but all the same, their manifestos cannot be read as though they are
all completely new to government. In essence the manifestos must be read on
the basis of all incumbent parties' performance in the outgoing government,
acknowledgements (if any) of their mistakes and a realistic assessment of
what they claim to have been their successes.

2.       A complete/holistic reading: Party manifestos, much like a
constitution cannot make good sense in isolated parts. They must be
sequential and each part must reflect the stated ideological framework that
the party in question espouses. Nitpicking sections that affect ones social
or class grouping may provide a feel good moment but either way the
manifesto will be meaningless without its wholesome parts.

3.       Realistic vs Ridiculous Propositions: In election periods most
parties vying for office make the most ridiculous of proposals. Assess them
against the political and economic realities that you know to be faced by
the country and its citizens. As the perennial election joke goes, some
parties may promise to build bridges where there are no rivers.

4.       Devil in the detail: Party manifestos tend to gloss over the
details of what they identify as the problem or how they quantify the
solution (eg unemployment figures and projected solution timeframes). If you
have time, cross check the figures and qualitative assertions in the
manifestos. If you don’t have time, take it all with a tablespoon of salt.

5.       Cross-check local government proposals: Most parties talk big in
their manifestos and this normally means they concentrate on central or
national power. They tend to skim over local government. A party’s
democratic ethos is generally shown by how seriously it takes lower levels
of government that have an immediate impact on people’s lives (water,
health, education, transport et al). If a manifesto does not talk to these
issues with relative seriousness, think about it.

6.       Cross check proposed policy on media and freedom of expression:
Most party manifestos will talk about their commitment to the rule of law,
human rights and the separation of powers. They will however be muted on
committing to freedom of expression, access to information and media
freedom. Their approach tends to want to retain control of the media and
leave what they say about the latter as ambiguous as possible. The more
ambiguous the proposals the more likely they intend to curtail freedom of

7.       Watch out for tokenism and mimicry: Party manifestos tend to be
characterised by a lot of tokenism and 'copying and pasting'. Paying lip
service to much quoted phrases without substantiating them on paper. E.g.
The ‘market re-capitalization’,  ‘public-private partnerships’, ‘foreign
direct investment’ ‘job creation’ ‘gender equality’  ‘youth empowerment’.
These are normally written out of context and as though they have been
copied out of a World Bank handbook.

8.       Mark out immediate deliverables: Each party tends to promise  quick
deliverables upon assuming power. Mark these out and hold them to account on
their first day in office. Even if you did not vote for them.

9.       Be time conscious: Whichever party’s manifesto best impresses you,
be mindful of the fact that it will potentially be in charge of Zimbabwe for
the next five years. So if you have doubts, think about the impact of those
doubts on the country. The elections are both about 31 July 2013 and also
about 31 July 2018.

10.   Take note of all that was omitted: It is also not always whats in the
manifesto that is important. What might be missing/omitted will perhaps be
the most significant indicator of the party’s intentions.
Good luck in reading the manifestos (if you have time)
Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity

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