The security arm of the regional SADC grouping,
the Troika, is expected to hold a summit on Zimbabwe this weekend ahead of
the elections due in less than two weeks time.
According to sources,
the summit could be held in Pretoria, South Africa on Saturday. It is
understood that South African President Jacob Zuma has been in discussion
with his Troika partners, amid concern that the coming elections will not be
Calls to Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu,
went unanswered on Thursday. But SW Radio Africa understands that meetings
have been happening behind the scenes of Zimbabwe’s election process, with
pressure building on SADC to ensure that the election is free and
The MDC-T said last week that it had written to SADC urging it to
meet and review the situation in Zimbabwe and whether it will result in a
credible poll. MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti said during a press
conference that his party has had no choice but to return to SADC, because
of ZANU PF’s ongoing refusal to implement the key changes that would ensure
the July 31st poll is credible.
Civil society groups and
international human rights groups have also been pressuring SADC over
Zimbabwe’s polls. Also last week Amnesty International wrote to SADC and the
African Union (AU) warning that the credibility of the July 31st poll is in
doubt. The group released a new report detailing an intensified campaign of
harassment and intimidation, aimed at members of the Zimbabwe civil society
The report, ‘Walk the Talk’ details how the police have conducted
systematic raids on different groups’ offices, arbitrarily arrested human
rights defenders and seized equipment to intimidate and disrupt the work of
“The clampdown on the work of human rights
defenders is a worrying indicator that government agencies remain actively
hostile to civil society,” said Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s Africa
Deputy Programme Director.
Kututwa told SW Radio Africa that the groups
being targeted have been carrying out election related human rights work,
and with less than two weeks until the election, this trend threatens the
credibility of the poll.
Amnesty International this week went on to
petition South Africa and Tanzania, as the key members of the SADC regional
grouping and members of the SADC Troika, to ensure a violence-free, credible
election in Zimbabwe.
A group of Amnesty campaigners on Thursday
presented 7,000 ‘action cards’ to the South African High Commission and an
11,000 strong petition to the Tanzanian High Commission in London, urging
the countries to intervene.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is being
urged to lead the way in seeking an extension of the elections due in less
than two weeks time, because of the controversy, turmoil and chaos the
process is already marred by.
An independent election monitoring
group, the Election Resource Centre (ERC), said this week that “the
processes leading to the date have been mired in controversy and turmoil,
threatening the credibility of the next poll.” The group called on ZEC “to
take the lead in demanding and requesting for the postponement of the
In a statement, the ERC listed the main issues that will
ultimately lead to more chaos, if the elections are held as planned on July
31st. This includes an “incomprehensive voter registration exercise
compounded by a contested voters’ roll which remains shrouded in secrecy.”
The group also said that the special voting period that ended this week was
“fraught with irregularities,” and warned that Zimbabwe faced “further shame
and embarrassment” over the full poll just two weeks away.
goes ahead to press for a July 31st election, when all signs point to the
fact that it is ill‐prepared to conduct a credible election, there is a
likelihood that the agitation and chaos during the special voting process,
where police details almost turned riotous, will be replicated on a bigger
scale on the actual polling day as eligible voters will not accept being
denied the right the vote. On its own, ZEC’s lack of preparedness is a
security threat that can spawn instability in the country and reverse all
the gains that Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the conduct of a free and
fair election,” the ERC said.
McDonald Lewanika, the Director of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, agreed with the ERC position, telling SW Radio
Africa that calls for a postponement must be supported.
evidence they (the ERC) has put on the table, there is a legitimate case for
calling on postponement of the polls,” Lewanika said.
He explained that
ZEC “clearly is not ready for elections,” warning that the conditions are
not conducive for a credible result.
“This election is one in which we
are being marshalled towards because of judgments by the Constitutional
Court, not because the country is ready. We have always argued that the
elections are not supposed to be a matter a time, but a matter of process.
Right now, not enough has been done in terms of processes, so expecting a
credible election is like expecting a rose to grow out of concrete,” he
Lewanika added that ZEC should be urged to approach the
Constitutional Court, arguing that the government, as the main authority of
when the elections will be held, cannot be trusted.
“I think it is a
waste of time to exert pressure on government… cabinet meetings have been
postponed indefinitely, so there is no platform for a decision to be made,”
He added: “Constitutionally they (ZEC) have a responsibly to
deliver free and fair elections. They can go to the Constitutional Court and
say: ‘Under prevailing conditions, we do not feel we can carry out our
mandate effectively and deliver free and fair elections’.”
Pretoria - A top
South African diplomat said on Thursday that preparations for an election in
Zimbabwe at the end of the month were "not looking good", unusually strong
criticism of President Robert Mugabe from his powerful
Lindiwe Zulu, President Jacob Zuma's special adviser on
Zimbabwe, said Zuma had called Mugabe to tell him he was not pleased with
the run-up to the poll on 31 July, a date fixed by Mugabe after a
Constitutional Court ruling.
It had been criticised by Mugabe's opponents
and South Africa's government as too soon.
"We are concerned because
things on the ground are not looking good," said Zulu.
is supposed to end five years of fractious unity government under a deal
brokered by South Africa following violent and disputed polls in 2008. With
the credibility of the poll already called into question, those hopes are
South Africa wants to avoid a repeat of the 2008 violence,
which brought a flood of refugees into the country and added a further
burden on stretched state finances.
Zulu's comments are likely to
infuriate the 89-year-old Mugabe, who labelled Zulu "stupid and idiotic" at
a campaign rally this month after she repeated South Africa's call to delay
the polling date by a few weeks to ensure the process runs as smoothly as
Two days of advance voting for 70 000 police officers and
soldiers on Sunday and Monday suggested the fears of a chaotic election will
be borne out, raising the prospect of a disputed result and civil unrest in
a country with a history of election violence.
the special voting, long lines formed at polling stations and some people
were unable to vote because ballot papers did not turn up at all - one of
several logistical challenges acknowledged by the Election Commission. In
addition to smooth logistics, South Africa wants cast-iron guarantees that
the army and police will end their open support of Mugabe's ZANU-PF
The South African government's verdict as to the quality of
the vote has added significance because election observers from the European
Union and United States are barred from entering Zimbabwe.
been no formal opinion polls but most analysts see ZANU-PF as the favourite
given its monopoly of state media and the problems with voter registration
encountered by many young, urban Zimbabweans - the support base of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe's main challenger.
The United States
said on Tuesday it was deeply concerned by a lack of transparency in the
run-up to the vote, suggesting Washington was in no mood to ease sanctions
against a victorious Mugabe and his inner circle even if he wins without
An independent Zimbabwe election monitoring group said many of
the nation's 6.2 million voters will not be likely to cast their ballots if
elections are not delayed.
Less than 2% of police and officials
eligible for a special vote ahead of crucial national polls managed to cast
their ballots in early polling "fraught with irregularities," the Election
Resource Centre said. About 80000 police, soldiers and officials will be on
duty during the July 31 vote.
The state commission said in a
statement it apologised to the uniformed forces, state officials "and to
political parties and the nation at large" and acknowledged ''substantial
numbers" of voters were turned away during the special voting on Sunday and
Monday that spilled into Tuesday.
"All persons who were deprived of the
opportunity to vote will be able to vote on July 31 when the rest of the
electorate votes," it said.
Voting papers and equipment were not
delivered in time at most of the 210 voting posts, and the resource centre
blamed delays in printing the materials.
Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said the special voting exposed
the commission's inability to hold a credible election.
group in Zimbabwe was yesterday gagged by the registrar-general from making
public its findings on errors contained in the voters' roll for the July 31
elections. A preliminary report made available by the Research and Advocacy
Unit early this month revealed there was an "over-registration" of voters
amounting to more than a million people, most of whom are dead.
HARARE - A Zimbabwe government decision to bar a technical mission
of two experts from the European Union (EU) might backfire, as the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec) needs their input.
Aldo Dell’Ariccia, head
of the EU delegation, said if the duo is not allowed to enter Zimbabwe for a
technical mission, the 27-member bloc might withdraw their technical support
“If this mission is not allowed to the country, it will not be
possible for the EU to provide some of our support to Zec in particular for
what refers to the equipment necessary for a proper electoral
"I have personally informed Zec chairperson of this situation,”
He said the two experts are supposed to complement
the current five Europeans from the diplomatic mission allowed by Zec to
observe the election.
Dell’Ariccia said the EU was ready to provide
support that would enable a credible electoral process.
“We have only
one objective for these elections; that the people of Zimbabwe should be
free to elect the government of their choice in peaceful and transparent
elections, that their choice should be respected, and that all parties
accept the result. That would be a credible election.”
Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe’s Foreign minister, this week told the Daily News that
he had not invited the EU observer mission because they have imposed
sanctions and that their impartiality was compromised.
Dell’Ariccia said the EU made no plans to send an observer mission since the
bloc had not been invited. He however, emphasised that it was important for
the two technical experts to be allowed entry into Zimbabwe for the benefit
He said the EU was happy with the missions that were observing
the July 31 elections.
“On a general note, independent monitoring of
elections is a measure that strengthens confidence and trust in the
process,” Dell’Ariccia said.
“In that respect, EU welcomes the deployment
of the Sadc, AU, and other regional election Observation Missions.”
Constitutional Court Judge George Chiweshe will
Friday deliver judgment in the case in which the MDC-T want the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission to provide the party with a list of all those who voted
in the just-ended special vote.
Harrison Nkomo the lawyer for the
MDC-T, and its deputy chairperson of elections Morgan Komichi, told SW Radio
Africa that both sides presented their cases before Justice Chiweshe after
ZEC reneged on an earlier agreement to supply the MDC-T with the
Last week the MDC-T and Komichi filed an application at the
ConCourt challenging the holding of the special vote, citing disparities in
the number of police officers that applied to take part.
wanted the exercise to be delayed while ZEC “verified and authenticated the
findings on the almost 70,000 applications” from the force, which ordinarily
has about 44,000 names on its payroll.
The MDC-T also wanted a copy of
the voters’ roll for the special ballot, which ZEC said it could not supply.
The Commission then agreed to make available a list with all the names and
addresses of the applicants.
But when the two parties met Wednesday,
ZEC’s legal team from the Attorney-General’s Office indicated that they had
changed their minds, and were going to contest the MDC-T’s request for the
list, leading to Thursday’s hearing.
The MDC-T application came amid
widespread concerns about possible ballot stuffing after it emerged that
force numbers were being issued to retired officers and ZANU PF youths, to
facilitate their participation in the special vote held on 14th-16th
The three-day exercise was marred by chaos and delays, with reports
that ballot papers were delivered very late at some stations. As a result
ZEC had extended the polling from two, to three days, a move slammed as
unconstitutional by the MDC-T.
Around 35,000 people are said to have
voted, according to MDC-T official Komichi, who was manning the party’s
election command centre at ZEC.
HARARE — Attorney General Johannes Tomana on
Thursday furnished the court with the exact number of police officers in
Zimbabwe after he was directed to do so by a Harare High Court judge
Wednesday following complaints by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that the number of officers
that applied to vote early was inflated.
Documents presented by MDC-T
deputy chairman Morgan Komichi’s lawyers in court obtained from the finance
ministry show that the country has a force of not more than
But police chief Augustine Chihuri applied for 70,000 forms of
which only a 1,000 were not returned to the Zimbabwe Electoral
Attorney Lewis Uriri, representing Komichi, told reporters
that the number of officers in the country will not be made
The MDC-T says it thinks inflating the number of police officers
who voted in the special vote conducted this week was one of the many ways
that Zanu PF intended to use to rig the July 31 polls.
president George Chiweshe reserved his ruling to Friday.
President Robert Mugabe told his party’s supporters in Chinhoyi Thursday
that the MDC should not concentrate on looking for problems in the electoral
process but should just subject itself to elections saying power is derived
from polls and not the courts.
Mr. Mugabe said he will not accept the
foreign election observers from countries in the European Union because the
bloc is still maintaining sanctions on him and other senior Zanu PF
His wife, Grace, encouraged her party’s supporters, especially
the youth, to desist from violence as the country gears for this year’s
Politically-motivated violence claimed at least 200
supporters of Mr. Tsvangirai prompting him to pull out of the 2008
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has
issued a public apology over Sunday and Monday’s chaotic special voting
which saw thousands of police officers and other civil servants fail to
The special vote, organised to allow members of the security forces
and other civil servants who will be on duty during the July 31 general
elections to cast their ballots early, has been criticised as flawed by the
On Wednesday, the ZEC publicly apologised for the
fiasco with a pledge that all those who failed to vote can still do so on
“The ZEC sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to
members of the disciplined forces... to political parties and to the nation
at large,” ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said in a
“The ZEC will therefore ensure that all persons who were
deprived of the opportunity to vote between July 14 and 15, 2013, will be
able to vote on July 31, 2013, when the rest of the electorate
“To this end, only the names of those who actually cast ballots
during the special vote will be deleted from the ward voters’ rolls that
will be used for polling on July 31, 2013.Lists of those officers who voted
on July 14 and 15, and those who failed to cast their ballots, will open for
public inspection at the offices of the Chief Elections Officer on Friday,
The ZEC blamed court challenges by the MDC parties by
candidates disqualified by the Nomination Court on June 28 for the problems
The elections body said the court challenges, most of
which were finalised on Friday, July 12, had ensured that the printing of
ballot papers was delayed. Subsequently, the ZEC failed to get the ballot
papers to polling stations countrywide on time.
Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party wants the special ballot to be nullified, and
insists that the number of police officers who applied to vote was
According to then ZEC, 69,322 police officers applied for
the special ballot but Finance Minister Tendai Biti – who is also the MDC-T
secretary general – says they only have 44,113 police officers on the pay
The MDC-T has asked a court to nullify the special vote and call a
Just when you thought the Special Voting
couldn’t get more confusing – it does.
News agency AFP reported
Thursday that security personnel, who had been unable to cast their vote
during the chaotic Special Voting, would get another chance and be allowed
to vote on 31st July.
AFP quoted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissions chief
Rita Makarau, assuring them that they “will be able to vote” with the rest
of the country.
As this early voting is specifically for administrators,
police and soldiers who will be on duty on voting day, it is unclear how
this would be facilitated.
But the complete opposite of the AFP news
report was the headline in Newsday on Thursday – Cops, soldiers won’t vote
on July 31.
The paper reports that the thousands of civil servants and
uniformed forces who had not managed to vote will not be able to do so on
July 31st as “the law does not give them that alternative.”
Section 81B:2 of the Electoral Act the paper says: “A voter who has been
authorised to cast a special vote shall not be entitled to vote in any other
manner than by casting a special vote in terms of this Part.”
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is mandated to abide by the electoral laws, so
their assurances that voting will go ahead is unlawful.
legal expert Chris Mhike who said: “At law, it is not permissible for the
people who were supposed to cast their votes through the special ballot to
vote again on July 31. If they were allowed to do so, it would make room for
manipulation of votes either by way of a voter voting twice or fidgeting
with the figures because the system is not properly
Tawanda Zhuwarara from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
confirmed this to Newsday: “I am not sure which section of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Act Zec is relying on. According to the Electoral Act, once a
person has been approved for the special vote, he is automatically struck
off the voters’ roll. In terms of the law, once an individual has been
issued authorisation to cast a special vote, that person, by operation of
Section 81D subsection 3 of the Electoral Act, has to have his name removed
from the voters’ roll and his name will have a line drawn across it and it
will be inscribed SV (special vote).”
“Every individual authorised to
vote under the special vote has his name struck off the voters’ roll with a
line that goes through it. They will then inscribe SV on the name. That
means that person cannot vote under the normal voting procedure and this is
done to avoid double voting.”
It didn’t get any easier for Newsday in
following up this story with ZEC. The paper contacted ZEC’s public relations
director, Shupikai Mashereni, asking for clarification. Mashereni asked for
questions in writing, which were sent.
Mashereni then said he had
sent the questions to ZEC’s chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi,
and that there would be a response in an hour.
At the end of that hour
Mashereni told the Newsday reporter to call ZEC’s deputy PR officer Tendai
Pamire. But Pamire denied having received the questions from Mashereni and
asked for the questions to be resent.
NewsDay then called Mashereni and
told him Pamire denied receiving the questions.
Mashereni said the
questions had indeed been received, but they needed a lot of
So, the Special Voting chaos continues and every day it
becomes clear that Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission is not up to the task of
running the election on July 31st.
A human rights activist has blamed the culture of
impunity within ZANU PF for the resurgence of politically motivated violence
directed at MDC supporters.
The comments were made by Rashid Mahiya
of peace group Heal Zimbabwe Trust, following reports that an MDC-T campaign
team was attacked by ZANU PF supporters in Chitungwiza on
The team of seven, led by MDC-T parliamentary candidate for
the Chitungwiza South Canisio Makururu, was attacked as they pinned up
posters in an area designated as a ‘no-go’ zone by ZANU PF
Makururu told SW Radio Africa that the youths, who numbered
around 70, used whistles to mobilise each other “and in a short space of
time, there was a large crowd of them”.
“We offered to leave the
area, locally know as Chigumba, but they still went on to attack us,
injuring several members of my campaign team,” Makururu added.
injured included Verina Muchegu, Sherry Nyika, Laiza Mapepa, Edmore Maviza,
Lloyd Goredema, Martin Mandizadza and another female activist whose name
could not be established.
The attack came a day after ZANU PF youths
forced residents in the town to attend a rally addressed by President Robert
Mugabe at Chibuku Stadium on Tuesday.
Although the MDC-T team knew
that the area had been declared out of bounds for non-ZANU PF members,
Makururu said they “moved in on the strength of calls by President Mugabe
for peaceful campaigns”.
In his campaign speeches, Mugabe has been
chanting the ‘peace begins with you, with me, with all of us’
However, many Zimbabweans remain skeptical about the seriousness
of these peace calls by the president, with people across the country living
in fear of his party’s supporters.
A map of tension hotspots by peace
campaigners HealZim shows that violence and intimidation have been flaring
up in areas where Mugabe has addressed rallies.
Mahiya said the attacks on non-ZANU PF members demonstrates deep seated
intolerance by the party’s supporters.
“Mugabe preaching peace is one
thing, and practicing it yet another. If youths are allowed by their
leadership to use violence and intimidation to mobilise attendance at these
rallies and they get away with it, nothing can stop them from beating up
their opponents at any other time.
“The violence we are experiencing now
is a product of long standing impunity for ZANU PF supporters, where known
perpetrators are either not arrested, or are pardoned and not prosecuted
because of their political affiliation,” Mahiya said.
Mugabe’s calls for peace would only be meaningful if they were combined with
solid steps aimed at ensuring the police did their work
“Right now the police do not know how to deal with
politically motivated violence: they do not know whether to act
professionally or politically, even when people are assaulted in front of
Mahiya said ZANU PF is yet to demonstrate its
commitment to peace and cited the party’s announcement that it was quitting
the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), an organisation
aimed at addressing rights abuses.
“It is unsettling that the party
is leaving JOMIC at this moment. We may be about to see a sharp rise in
violence and so ZANU PF does not want to be part of any mechanism that will
hold it accountable,” Mahiya added.
He said the withdrawal from JOMIC, as
well as ZANU PF’s intransigence on security sector reforms, suggests that
the party continues to see violence as a strategic tool.
there were indications that Chitungwiza was still tense, with Philip
Pasirayi posting on Facebook: “A rowdy ZANU PF group clad in party regalia
is toyi-toying in Unit L singing revolutionary songs and chanting
“I was forced to detour because the group is threatening
violence and forcing motorists to blow horns in solidarity with their
party’s cause!” Pasirayi wrote.
On July 10th, another MDC-T campaign
team led by deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire, was attacked by ZANU PF
youths in Mbare who also accused them of encroaching on ‘their area’.
The Youth Agenda Trust of Zimbabwe (YAT)
reported Thursday that one of their sports tournaments was disrupted by a
ZANU PF youth militia group.
In a statement they said that a retired
soldier, Chishaka, led the group in a door to door campaign in Mvurwi on
Monday, warning villagers against attending the sports event, or face
unspecified action. YAT says the militia receives logistical support from
aspiring ZANU PF MP Edgar Chidavaenzi and that after terrorising the
villagers they went on to Pembichase farm in Ward 26 of Mazoe North
Constituency. They ordered the youths to leave the venue and stop the ‘Play
Your Vote’ sports tournament. YAT also said that police supported the
militia and warned the youths against defying the order. Despite trying to
negotiate with the militia the group became violent and started pushing the
YAT coordinator Tonderai Samhu was taken for questioning
and threatened with death if he dared organize a similar event.
youth group went on to appeal to voters to be ‘resilient’ and turn out in
large numbers to vote, for what they called progressive politicians.
Release from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 18th July
Police open fire at
Police in Harare
fired shots in the air to disperse human rights activists gathered outside the
Home Affairs Ministry on Wednesday to deliver a petition demanding the right to
vote in free and fair elections.
It was the second
demonstration in Harare in a week by members of Restoration of Human Rights in
The activists were
joined by passers-by as they marched on the Ministry carrying banners. They were
confronted by a big contingent of plain clothes police who tried to seize the
banners and ordered people to disperse. When the activists refused to co-operate
the shots were fired as a warning causing people to scatter.
President of ROHR, said the protest campaign would continue in the run-up to the
elections. ‘People are determined to carry on’, he said.
information, contact: Ephraim Tapa 07940 793 090 or Dennis Benton 07932 193
The Vigil, outside
the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00
to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The
Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until
internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
HARARE — The Women’s Coalition and the Youth Forum
on Thursday criticised political parties in the country for failing to keep
their word on implementing policies that will ensure equal representation in
all political offices by men and women.
Women’s Coalition chairperson
Virginia Muwanigwa told a meeting organised by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute
for local groups to strategise for a go and vote campaign, that all
political parties participating in this year’s harmonised elections are
guilty of failing to implement their won so-called 50/50 quota
She said while most of the parties had said they would reserve 30
to 50 percent seats for women candidates in council and parliamentary
elections, women candidates for these elections stand at only 13
She said women can only take the parties seriously if they
respect their own policies and the national constitution.
that the coalition is now focusing on increasing women participation in the
Youth Forum chairperson Sally Dura said it is important
for women and youths to understand internal selection processes of their
political parties so they can stand a chance of getting
Despite their disappointment, Muwanigwa and Dura said their
organisations are now concentrating on urging Zimbabweans to go out and vote
in huge numbers because they should have a say on how they are
The new constitution reserves 60 seats in the house of assembly
for women while they have to compete for the other 201 constituencies.
CHINHOYI, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe branded the United States "absolutely
insane" on Thursday for voicing concerns about a July 31 election, although
neighboring South Africa joined Washington in criticizing chaotic
preparations for the vote.
Speaking to thousands of supporters in
Chinhoyi, 115 km (70 miles) northwest of Harare, the 89-year-old also
rejected calls for reform of partisan security forces, saying his main
rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, could make changes if he
"In America they are saying Zimbabwe has gone for an early election
without reforms. Americans must be mad and absolutely insane," Mugabe said
in an address that last more than 2-1/2 hours, confounding speculation his
health is failing.
The vote is meant to end five years of fractious
unity government under a deal brokered by regional power South Africa
following violent and disputed polls in 2008 but with its credibility
already being questioned, those hopes are waning.
The United States
said this week it was deeply concerned by a lack of transparency, suggesting
Washington was in no mood to ease sanctions against a victorious Mugabe even
if he wins without violence.
Tellingly, it is not just Mugabe's long-time
foes in the West rounding on the continent's oldest head of state, who has
run the southern African nation since independence from Britain in
In unusually strong criticism, South African President Jacob Zuma's
top Zimbabwe expert, Lindiwe Zulu, said Zuma had telephoned Mugabe to tell
him he was "not pleased" with the run-up to the poll.
concerned because things on the ground are not looking good," Zulu told
South Africa wants to avoid a repeat of the 2008 violence, which
brought a flood of refugees into the country and added a further burden on
stretched state finances.
Mugabe called the election
on July 31 in compliance with a Constitutional Court order but the move was
criticized by his opponents and Pretoria as too soon to allow proper
Zulu's comments are likely to infuriate Mugabe, who labeled
her "stupid and idiotic" at a rally this month after she called for a delay
of a few weeks to ensure the process runs as smoothly as
Advance voting for 70,000 police officers and soldiers on
Sunday and Monday compounded fears of a chaotic poll, raising the prospect
of a disputed result and civil unrest in a country with a history of
In the special voting, long lines formed at polling
stations and some people were unable to vote because ballot papers did not
turn up at all - one of several logistical challenges acknowledged by the
Pretoria's verdict on the quality of the vote has
added significance because election observers from the European Union and
United States are barred from entering Zimbabwe.
There have been no
formal opinion polls but most analysts see Mugabe's ZANU-PF as the favorite
given its monopoly of state media and the problems with voter registration
encountered by many young, urban Zimbabweans - Tsvangirai's support
Britain has also said its misgivings about the election justified
maintaining European Union sanctions imposed more than a decade ago for
suspected vote-rigging and human rights abuses.
"We are concerned
that a number of important electoral and other important democratic reforms
have not been completed," a Foreign Office spokesman said.
sanctions remain in place, Zimbabwe has no chance of rescheduling billions
of dollars of defaulted World Bank and IMF debt, leaving it unable to access
the multilateral credit needed to rebuild its economy.
Africa minister, Peter Hain, said Mugabe's methods had changed from 2008,
when at least 200 people, almost all of them Tsvangirai supporters, were
killed, but that the entrenched president's disdain for a free and fair vote
"In the past, he's relied more on brute force and violence. This
time it's all sorts of double-deeds," Hain told Reuters. "It will be very
hard for sanctions to be lifted if the outcome is as it looks to be - namely
an election by bribery and constitutional chicanery."
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has offered President Robert Mugabe an
olive branch, telling the 89-year-old that there will be no witch hunt if he
delivers a free election and leaves peacefully.
Addressing thousands of
supporters at Gokwe Centre in the Midlands Province yesterday, Tsvangirai
said Mugabe was too old to face retribution for anything he might have done
in the three decades he has been in office.
“Mugabe’s age has become a
serious national issue. We can’t elect an 89-year-old to run this country
for another five years. That will be suicidal,” said Tsvangirai, who is
addressing more than 10 rallies in Midlands alone.
Mugabe, who was in
Singapore recently seeking medical help ostensibly for an eye ailment, is
addressing 10 rallies countrywide.
“It’s time to give Mugabe a dignified
exit. But I was reading in the newspaper that he is afraid of being treated
like Gaddafi,” Tsvangirai said.
The Daily News reported on Wednesday that
Mugabe had told supporters at a rally in Chitungwiza he fears that he might
share the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, killed after capture, or
Saddam Hussein, the toppled Iraqi president sentenced to death by
“Mugabe should not be afraid of a Gaddafi scenario but the
condition is that ‘make sure this election is free and fair. You lose and
you go to retirement peacefully. No one will touch you’. With the work at
hand to rebuild Zimbabwe, why should we spend valuable time chasing after
the old man?” said Tsvangirai.
“In 2008, Mugabe rigged and still lost
the election but refused to leave. That will not happen again. Sadc has told
Mugabe that ‘look munhu wemukuru haasiye bhachi padare. Zvowotoita kubatana
nemwana uyu mogadzirisa nyika mozoenda kumaelections. We have given Mugabe a
chance to cleanse himself so that he can have a dignified exit. He should
not squander this opportunity.”
Tsvangirai said did not doubt Mugabe’s
liberation war record.
“But we argue with his record in government,”
Tsvangirai said. “He has taken the country down the poverty lane. Tsvangirai
is not the enemy. The enemy is poverty and underdevelopment in the country.
The record is there.
“Zanu PF will come to you begging for another
chance. Ask them a simple question: What is it that you intend to achieve
now which you failed to do in 33 years?
“Zanu PF’s record is clear.
They destroyed the economy, destroyed a vibrant economy and they have no
hint on how to create a bright future for our kids in
Throughout the speech, Tsvangirai was interrupted by a handful
Zanu PF supporters who made rounds at the venue in two trucks chanting their
In a sign that even Zanu PF grassroots supporters no
longer trust Mugabe to win the next election, a group of party supporters
who wanted to disrupt Tsvangirai’s rally sang: “Zvikaramba pamaelections
But many have warned that top commanders who are
living large and threatening coup do not enjoy the support of suffering rank
and file in the unformed forces.
Thousands were denied their right to
vote earlier this week after it was discovered the majority of them would
not vote for Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai said some elements in Zec were working
with Zanu PF to frustrate the uniformed forces.
Pretoria - Forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe should be peaceful
and transparent, European Council president Herman van Rompuy said in
Pretoria on Thursday.
He was addressing a joint media briefing with
President Jacob Zuma and EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at the
Sefakgo Makgatho presidential guesthouse.
“The European Union and
South Africa have similar views on a broad range of issues, this is true for
instance (on) Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The EU notes the efforts of the
political parties in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Southern African
Development Community in ensuring the forthcoming elections are peaceful,
transparent and credible. Our joint objective is contributing to a peaceful
and stable Zimbabwe.”
He said the EU supported the mediatory efforts of
Zuma to forge agreement between the squabbling political
“The EU will respond to the outcome of the elections (set for
July 31) on the basis of all the evidence of peaceful, transparent elections
with results accepted by all.
“We look forward to a full
normalisation of relations and a deepening of our partnership with
Zimbabwe,” he said.
The summit also touched on troubled areas including
Syria, Madagascar, Egypt and the Great Lakes region.
On trade, a
joint communiqué released after the summit said the parties agreed that
employment creation was the greatest problem facing all partners.
will continue high level discussions on addressing the shared challenges of
youth unemployment, as well as the way in which skills training can
contribute to South Africa’s infrastructure expansion.
EU-financed development programme, approximately R650,000,000/ Euro
50,000,000 remains available to support job creation initiatives,” said the
Zuma said South Africa sought mutually beneficial trade
relations in a bid to improve the lives of millions of South Africans
struggling to make ends meet.
“South Africa is still faced with the
inherited challenges of unequal work and resources distribution, inequality,
unemployment and deeply entrenched poverty,” he said.
“We are of the
firm view that given this reality, the EU should continue with its
development programmes in South Africa, complementing the work of
The next EU-SA summit will be held next year. - Sapa
WASHINGTON DC —
Presidential aspirant and Zapu leader Dumiso “Black Russian” Dabengwa, who
recently forged an alliance with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, has ruled out dropping
out of the presidential race to boost the vote numbers of his coalition
Dabengwa told VOA’s Studio 7 in an exclusive interview that it
is too late to consider fielding one candidate though there are “quite a
number of areas we can co-operate as Zapu such as fielding only a few
Dabengwa also shot down forming a grand alliance with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to topple incumbent president Robert
“The issue as far as we are concerned in Zapu is not about
removing Mugabe from government. It is about coming up with issues which
people will make it possible for them to support us as parties and after the
"I do not believe anyone will have an outright majority … After
the election we will be in a position to look at the results and at that
stage we can take a position to say fine, can we form a coalition
Mr. Dabengwa claims that he pulled out of President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to revive Zapu because of widespread violence in the
run-up and aftermath of the 2008 elections which left several thousands
homeless and hundreds dead, maimed and missing.
Dabengwa is a former
Zanu PF Politburo heavyweight who served in that role following the December
1987 unity accord signed by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the late
Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu.
He served as head of the ZIPRA intelligence
during the liberation war. In 1982, the Mugabe regime charged Dabengwa, with
the late former Zipra forces commander Lookout Masuku and four others, of
They were acquitted due to lack of evidence in 1983. On release,
they were redetained under emergency regulations.
From 1992 to 2000,
he served in the government as minister of home affairs, and in 1991 he was
appointed chairman of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
MAXWELL SIBANDA AND FUNGI
KWARAMBA • 18 JULY 2013 7:08AM
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was not consulted when President Robert Mugabe
“unilaterally” appointed six new judges on Monday.
minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office told the Daily News
yesterday that Mugabe, who shares executive authority with Tsvangirai,
breached the global political agreement (GPA) by making the unilateral
“To the best of my knowledge the prime minister was never
consulted as is required by law in the appointment to the bench of judges
who were sworn-in on July 15,” Timba said.
“It is unheard of the
world over that a lame duck GPA president makes key appointments to key
national institutions two weeks before the end of the lifespan of
Asked if the PM believed the new judges were equal to the
challenge, Timba said: “I am not qualified to comment on the competency of
the appointments however, one is left with a sour taste in the mouth as to
the impact and intention of such an 11th- hour appointment.”
Monday, Mugabe appointed Loice Matanda-Moyo, Erica Ndewere, Nokuthula Moyo,
Owen Tagu, Emmy Tsanga, and Esther Muremba at a brief ceremony held at State
Justice Antonia Guvava was elevated from the High Court to the
Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa
said the elevation of the judges was to fulfill constitutional
“We elevated judges to the Supreme Court to make up the
Constitutional Court,” Chinamasa said. “That created a gap in the High Court
that made it necessary to fill through the appointment of the six judges we
have sworn in today.
“The issue was complicated by the fact that
currently we have the Electoral Court that had to receive complaints and
disputes from the electoral process. That means a lot of judges are busy
leaving the normal work of the High Court unattended.”
Mukundu, a media expert, said while it is the prerogative of the president
to appoint judges as per the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, the
recent appointments were somewhat unique as they came ahead of elections and
at a time that neither Cabinet nor Parliament were functioning.
cannot rule a motive to stuffing the judiciary with like-minded individuals
who will play a role in the case of disputes, more so those related to
elections,” Mukundu said.
“One would question the urgency of the
appointments at a time president Mugabe and his political opponents are on
the ground campaigning.”
He said despite the fact that normal State
business must continue even at the heat of election time, this was one task
Mugabe could afford to wait-out unless there was a link to a political
strategy of survival.
Tabani Moyo, a civil rights activist campaigner,
said any incumbent would want to present a picture of business as usual to
the public, the region and international community.
“Mugabe wants to
present a “fit” to govern and “business as usual”
approach as if to say
he is not bothered by the impending election hence the showcase of him
doubling up his State duties and political party campaigns with “ease”,”
“The long and short of it all is that he wants to show the
world that the country is not facing a vacuum as Cabinet members are now
focusing on elections.”
Precious Shumba, another civil rights
activist, said Mugabe is readying himself to defend himself against
litigation that might arise from a disputed electoral outcome.
is strong thinking in Zanu PF that they own Zimbabwe and can do whatever
they think is ideal,” Shumba said. “Whatever his motives, they are not
“In my view, he should have waited until a new government is in
place. Even as the nation gears for an election to choose a new president,
new senate, new parliament, and new governance structures, Zanu PF and the
president do not see themselves out of that government, and are simply
sending a message to other political actors and interest groups that they
are going nowhere, whatever the political outcome.”
director of Centre for Community Development of Zimbabwe, said the
appointments were illegal because Mugabe did not consult with PM Tsvangirai
as is required by law.
“The appointment of the new judges of the High and
Supreme Courts is in violation of the provisions of the Global Political
Agreement which state clearly the need for the president to consult and
agree with the premier before making these key appointments,” Pasirayi
“I reiterate that Zanu PF is still living in the past where we have
seen appointments made on partisan grounds for political expediency without
any regard to merit except extending or entrenching the Zanu PF hegemony and
system of patronage.”
Outspoken playwright Cont Mhlanga said Mugabe
and his team are now planning for the post-election era.
understand his motive, you have to stop thinking of it as two weeks before
the election action,” Mhlanga said.
“He is living and thinking and acting
post-election win or lose. That is why this man remains my hero, good or
bad. He leads and they follow, right or wrong.
“The opposition actors
are deep in their campaign wagons talking of him as losing the election
while he is setting up ground for the post-election action.”
MDC-T leader and
out-going premier, Morgan Tsvangirai has insisted that he would not move into
State House if he won elections at the end of this month and vowed to serve for
no more than the constitutional limit of two terms as
Tsvangirai will, at the end
of the month, make his third attempt to topple President Robert Mugabe who has
ruled the country since independence in 1980.
Speaking in an interview
with the UK Telegraph newspaper from his Harare home the MDC-T leader responded
to claims that he had personally profited from his time in power after forming a
coalition government with Mugabe following violent elections in
He denied allegations he
owned plush homes in Harare and Johannesburg, South Africa.
“I’m living in this house
which is a state house, it’s not my personal house,” he
“I don’t have a house in
Johannesburg - I’m renting for my kid, I’m renting a three-bedroom house for my
kids who are going to school in Jo-burg.
Tsvangirai ruled out moving
into any stately home should he win the elections and become the country’s next
president saying: “I’ve got my little house here. It is comfortable enough and I
don’t need to go into any particular stately house in order to prove, to prove
He also pledged to serve no
more than the constitutional limit of two terms as president.
“If I find that I don’t
need to go in for a second term, I’ll give up then,” he
The MDC-T leader said he
would not join another coalition government with Mugabe after the elections
describing the decision in 2009 as a “regressive step”.
“The people of Zimbabwe are
desperate to start on a new plate and actually give proper direction and proper
policy direction to revive this economy, give people hope and actually start all
over again,” he said.
The coalition leaders had
worked “very effectively” together since 2009 but Mugabe broke off cooperation
in the run-up to this year’s presidential poll and went on to announce the
election dates “without other members of the coalition knowing what was taking
Tsvangirai said Mugabe was
“determined to retain power by whatever means”, adding: “It is definitely clear
that the military is the one in charge of this process and that Mugabe’s
government doesn’t believe in a free and fair vote.”
He accused the authorities
of padding out the electoral roll with dead voters in order to create room for
“From our analysis you
have 100,000 people above the age of 100,” he said. “That number is definitely
Meanwhile, only a quarter
of young voters aged between 18 and 25 - who analysts see as more likely to
support Tsvangirai - are understood to have been registered.
“The voters’ roll has
become the centre for the rigging mechanism,” he said.
Mobs loyal to Mugabe
brutalised his opponents in the last two presidential elections in 2002 and
2008. This time, however, there has been little bloodshed.
Instead, Tsvangirai said
that his opponent was relying on rigging to guarantee victory.
“We’ll have a peaceful but
rigged outcome,” he said.
“Although there is
relative peace, the administration of the vote is so chaotic I can only foresee
He also cast doubt on the
fitness of Mugabe, 89, who is fighting his seventh general election after 33
years in power. The president “will go down in the Guinness book of records as
the oldest contestant in any election,” he said.
Tsvangirai however said he
“will not be part of” any effort to bring a case against his opponent before the
International Criminal Court.
“I have no intention of
dragging this country in to another instability,” he said.
“I will not be engaged in
any retribution. We have so much to do to resuscitate and revive this economy
for the sake of the people.
“My forecast is how can we
provide Zimbabwe with hope again. So the question of retribution and revenge is
not even part of our agenda whether it is President Mugabe or the
“It is not going to bring
back our loved ones who have been killed, maimed and
The MDC-T leader was also
adamant that Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms would not be
“I think politically you
cannot reverse the land reform programme even with its mistakes,” he
“We know the torture and
violence that took place with that. What we need to do is to say this is a
political decision because this has already gone so far. For the stability of
the country it’s better that we compensate rather than try to say 'go back to
HARARE, ZIMBABWE — An independent audit of
Zimbabwe's voters roll has found it contains the names of more than a
million people who either are deceased or have left the African country. The
research group that conducted the audit spoke to reporters Wednesday after
the government blocked it from making a presentation to civil society
groups. The findings come less than two weeks before Zimbabwe is due to hold
The Research and Advocacy Unit [RAU] was supposed to
present the findings of its audit of the voters roll on Wednesday to
pro-democracy civic organizations in Harare. But the event was canceled on
government orders, said Kuda Chitsike, who heads the RAU.
Registrar General left an interdict at our offices from the High Court to
stop the event from going ahead," said Chitsike. "The Registrar General’s
interdict is based on a misconception that we wanted to launch the voters’
roll. RAU was going to launch an analysis done on the voters’ roll. The
chairperson of ZEC and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission are aware that RAU
has been working on such an audit.”
Analysis of voters
The electoral commission had asked the Registrar General’s office -
a government department - to compile a voters’ roll for the July 31
elections, which RAU then analyzed.
Besides revealing that the voter
roll has more than a million people who are either deceased or have left
Zimbabwe, RAU said there is a marked registration bias in favor of rural
constituencies, which are mainly strongholds of President Robert Mugabe's
Jeremiah Bamu of the advocacy group Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights is hopeful RAU will be allowed to present the audit, which also
found that 63 constituencies have more registered voters than inhabitants
based on the 2012 census.
“We have communicated with lawyers
representing the Registrar General’s office and alerted them that their
application is based on something that is not correct. We supplied them with
correct information," said Bamu. "What might have influenced the Registrar
General to block this presentation."
"The usual fears that they have that
people have access to the voters roll and can identify some
inconsistencies,” he said.
The lawyer added that the case would spill
into court if the government does not allow RAU to make public its audit of
Zimbabwe voters’ roll.
MDC makes court challenge
Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] party of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai is in court challenging special early voting of Zimbabwe’s police
and security forces.
The voting this week went on three days, one more
than the constitutionally-mandated limit of two.
The MDC also is
arguing that the electoral commission inflated the number of security agents
in order to rig the elections for Mugabe and his party. The case will
continue Thursday at Zimbabwe’s high court where the MDC is seeking to have
these early votes nullified.
Even before this controversy, the elections
appeared beset by trouble. Last week, Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned
that Zimbabwe was about $90 million short in election funding.
elections, if they go through, are expected to end the power-sharing
government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai after the violent and disputed
Buoyed by the success of the referendum on the new
Constitution when millions of Zimbabweans came out and voted “Yes” for the
new Charter, the rural folk for years threatened by the Zanu PF militia not
to attended MDC rallies are coming out in their thousands to MDC 2013
campaign rallies being addressed by President Tsvangirai and the senior
party leadership across the country.
Following the peaceful holding
of the referendum on the new Constitution, the people of Zimbabwe especially
those in the rural areas have realised that it is their autonomous right to
participate freely in the country’s democratic processes such as
For long the people in rural areas have been subjected to
threats, beatings, rape, arrests, abductions and at times even death for
coming out openly and attending and voting for the MDC.
this has changed and the people of Zimbabwe have realised that they cannot
continue to be subjected to threats when they can change their lives through
voting freely for representatives of their choice without being attacked or
threatened by anyone.
At all the rallies in the rural areas that
President Tsvangirai has addressed thousands of people at each event an
indication that the people of Zimbabwe are ready for real change.
Tuesday and Wednesday, President Tsvangirai was in Gokwe where he addressed
five separate rallies in the district. One rally at Chitekete Business
Centre ended at around 8PM when it was already dark and generators had to be
switched on to lighten the venue where President Tsvangirai was
The people of Zimbabwe are determined that since they now
have a new Constitution, they now want a new President with a new Zimbabwe
and they know that the only person who can deliver this is President
Tsvangirai and the MDC.
President Tsvangirai’s message to the rural
community is premised on the need for rural transformation which is very
appealing to the rural community.
In his addresses to the rural
communities, President Tsvangirai says that the MDC acknowledges that the
majority of the Zimbabwean population lives in the rural areas and the
challenges affecting them are poor infrastructure, financial exclusion, lack
of social service, food insecurity, unemployment, lack of markets and
On rural transformation, President Tsvangirai says the MDC
government will agriculture as a business and give all who use the land to
make a living the security of ownership, resuscitate rural infrastructure
such as roads, bridges, schools and ensure the provision of essential
services such as health care, education, electricity, clean water and
This is the message that the people in the rural communities
want to hear as they are tired of 33 years of Zanu PF’s
Meanwhile, President Tsvangirai today continued with his
presidential victory rallies and addressed thousands of party supporters at
Maboleni Business Centre in Vungu, Tongogara Business Centre in Shurugwi and
Mkandapi in Shurugwi all in the Midlands South province.
Maboleli rally, which was attended by scores of war veterans from the area,
President Tsvangirai pledged that the next MDC government will taken care of
in recognition of the role they played to liberate Zimbabwe.
veterans deserve to be taken care of by the government because of their
illustrious role they played during the liberation of Zimbabwe,” President
He said the objective of the next MDC government t
will be to correct good governance through the creation of culture of being
transparent to the people at all times and in improving service
“We will ensure that there is infrastructure development
especially in rural areas through rural transformation and job creation,”
said President Tsvangirai.
He said when the people of Zimbabwe voted
for the Zanu PF and its leader Robert Mugabe out in 2008; it was only
through the grace of SADC that Mugabe was accepted in the inclusive
“The MDC was part of the inclusive government not to save
Mugabe but in order to save the people of Zimbabwe. In 2008 and 2009, life
for many people had become unbearable and people should not forget that era
by voting for Zanu PF. People will be condemning to that
“If any aspiring Zanu PF candidate asks for another mandate,
one should ask what he wants to achieve that he has failed to achieve in 33
years,” said President Tsvangirai adding that he did not hold any grudges
against Mugabe but was against his bad record in government, which has been
marred by corruption, lack of respect for the rule of law and
Tomorrow he will be in Mataga South, Danga North, Chizungu West
and Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
Lawyers petition Mudede to withdraw “voters’ roll” application
5 of 2013 18 July 2013
HUMAN rights lawyers have delivered a formal
notification and warning for Tobaiwa Tonneth Mudede, the Registrar-General
of Voters to withdraw his urgent chamber application filed in the High Court
on Wednesday barring the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) from launching an
audit of the country’s roll of registered voters as it was premised on
erroneous understanding of facts. Mudede on Wednesday 17 July 2013
obtained an interim order interdicting RAU from launching “a full voters’
roll” at Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel in Harare or at any other
place. In a letter written and delivered to Mudede’s lawyers, Thondlanga and
Associates Legal Practitioners, RAU lawyers, Jeremiah Bamu and Tawanda
Zhuwarara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Mudede’s application and
subsequent provisional order, which he obtained from High Court Judge
Justice Joseph Mafusire were based on a factual inaccuracy. The lawyers
stated that Mudede’s lawyers were furnished with the correct facts and a
demand was made for the withdrawal of their matter. The RAU lawyers said in
the event that the matter is not withdrawn by Wednesday, they will file
their opposing papers. The lawyers said Mudede had relied on an erroneous
appreciation of facts which he never bothered to cross check with RAU. Bamu
and Zhuwarara said had Mudede bothered to do so, there would have been no
need for the application to be filed or served. RAU, the lawyers said
intended to launch its second report on an audit of the June 2013 Voters’
Roll, which expands on a previous RAU report and provides a more detailed
analysis of the roll and corrects a number of minor errors. RAU’s first
report was launched and shared with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the
lawful custodians of the voters’ roll who made their comments to the
report. Meanwhile, lawyers from ZLHR have filed ex-parte applications at the
Tredgold Magistrates Court in Bulawayo, seeking to overturn the ban imposed
by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on the holding of election debates in
Midlands, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North. The ZRP blocked six
election debates organised by Bulawayo Agenda in Gweru, Plumtree, Tsholotsho
and Lupane. The meetings, which were supposed to be held beginning early
this week and up to next week, are meant to facilitate interface between
various political party candidates running for parliamentary office from
across the political divide and the public so as to promote citizen
participation in elections. The police told the organisers of the election
debates that they were only allowing political parties to conduct their
campaigns during the three weeks period leading to the harmonised elections
as they do not have enough manpower to ensure public order at civic society
REVIEW: The Hard Road To Reform: The Politics Of Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement
REVIEW: The Hard Road To Reform: The
Politics Of Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement 17 July 2013
Reviewed by Timothy Scarnecchia: Associate Professor of History at Kent
State University and author of The Urban Roots of Democracy and Political
Violence in Zimbabwe: Harare and Highfield, 1940-1964 (University of Rochester
Press, 2008). First published on African Arguments.
As Zimbabwe's first post-GPA harmonised elections fast approach (July 31st),
informed and not so well informed commentators will be giving their views of the
campaigns, the elections, and the results. If the international coverage of the
Kenyan 2013 election is any indication, the room for hyperbolic claims and
dubious background coverage will once again be larger than the square footage of
Robert Mugabe's mansions (and now even Morgan Tsvangirai's home). In order to avoid such
mistakes, I highly recommend a collection edited by Professor Brian Raftopoulos,
who is Director of Research and Advocacy in the Solidarity Peace Trust, an NGO
dealing with human rights issues in Zimbabwe.
For those unfamiliar with the Zimbabwean political landscape, Brian
Raftopoulos is one of the most insightful commentators on the Zimbabwean
political situation. His current writings do not avoid harsh criticisms of the
MDC's performance following the 2008 elections and the formation of the GPA in
February 2009. That is why this book is so valuable. Raftopoulos, along with an
A-list of Zimbabwean scholars (with a healthy preponderance of historians), have
examined the past 4 years through diverse critical lenses. There is no sugar
coating here. If anything, the overall impression is that Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF, while being given a life-line by the GPA brokered by then South African
President Thabo Mbeki, were forced to deal with the two MDCs in a Government of
National Unity and they have done so in characteristically ZANU-PF fashion. The
MDCs, while faced with major obstacles but also some great opportunities, may
have done themselves more harm than good based on their own actions more than
those of ZANU-PF. It is not an assessment that the MDC insiders will like to
hear but the criticisms are to be expected particularly as they come from those
who participated in, or witnessed, the formation of the MDC from the grassroots
constituencies of Zimbabwe labor unions and civic organizations. These
individual chapters help to put into much better focus why Zimbabwe in 2013 is
not the same as it was in 2008. I therefore highly recommend this book to anyone
wanting to know why this is the case. That the book is available electronically for Kindle makes it that much easier to get
Rather than write a formal review, I have included the titles of the
individual chapters and some passages or brief summaries of themes I see as
useful for thinking about the GPA years (2009-2013) with an eye towards the
Chapter 1: Brian Raftopoulos: "An Overview of the GPA: National
Conflict, Regional Agony and International Dilemma"
Here is Raftopoulos' helpful summary of the GPA period:
"The GPA and its many challenges was the product of a convergence of factors,
namely: the unwillingness of a party of liberation to accept electoral defeat;
the inability of the opposition to claim state power due to the militarisation
of the ruling party's response to defeat a clash of different notions of state
sovereignty in which the electoral wishes of the Zimbabwean citizenry were
subordinated to selective nationalist claims of the ruling party; and the role
of SADC in facilitating an agreement that attempted to balance the need for
regional sovereignty against outside interference with the legitimate electoral
demands of the Zimbabwean electorate. The results of this complex mix of
ingredients was a brew that placed a short term halt on the rapid political and
economic decline in the country and opened up some space for new political
arrangements, while also providing an authoritarian regime with opportunities to
regain lost ground. The period of the Inclusive Government generated a new set
of dynamics that made it impossible for ZANU-PF to return to the status quo
ante, while also exposing the strengths and weaknesses of the former opposition
parties as they took part in unequally shared state power."
As Raftopoulos states in the introduction, it is important to focus not only
on the MDCs' ability to maneuver in the GPA years, but also to focus on how
ZANU-PF has managed to use these 4 years to regroup. He writes: "The politics of
ZANU-PF is not only one of destruction and obstruction; it is also constitutive
of the new social and economic forces that have emerged in the last 10-15
years." (xv). While the issue of ZANU-PF political violence is raised in the
introduction and elsewhere in the collection, it is noticeably absent given the
amount of emphasis the Solidarity Peace Trust's Reports have previously given to
this element of Zimbabwean politics. It is perhaps one of the book's strengths,
however, to focus on the shifting political landscape, especially the changing
constituencies and interests represented by ZANU-PF and the opposition, rather
than continue to focus solely on the repressive actions of the past 13
Chapter 2: James Muzondidya, "The opposition dilemma in Zimbabwe: A
Critical Review of the Politics of the Movement for Democratic Change Parties
under the GPA Government Framework, 2009-2012."
Historian James Muzondidya, a research manager at the Zimbabwe Institute, a
think tank well known for its links to the MDC, takes a particularly critical
look at the performance of the MDCs during the GPA, but he first notes the
limits on their actions:
"…the ability of the opposition parties to use their leverage during this
phase has been restricted because ZANU-PF is not interested in any reforms that
would loosen its hold on power. While agreeing to some of the reforms negotiated
in the GPA, ZANU-PF was bent on using them and the new institutions to
legitimise itself and push its own agenda. The Zimbabwe electoral Commission
(ZEC), for instance, appeared to be broadly representative but was, in fact,
still dominated by ZANU-PF through their control of its secretariat and support
staff. In addition, ZEC was starved of both material resources and manpower to
carry out its tasks, and this has ensured that the partisan Registrar General's
office remains in control of the election processes, from voter registration in
the counting of the votes. "
The above observation about the ZEC seems to be playing out at the moment,
the lack of resources available to run this electoin is particularly startling,
and will likely become a major issue in determining the outcome of the
Muzondidya explains just how stacked the GPA has been in ZANU-PF's favor:
‘The ZANU-PF strategy, consistent with its hegemonic political culture, has
been to engage in cosmetic political and economic reforms that will not result
in further democracy or result in a loss of its historic monopoly over power.
…Indeed, over the last four years, ZANU-PF has kept the strategic doors to its
power, such as the security sector and the mining and agricultural industries,
Muzondidya does not hold back, however, in his criticisms of the MDCs'
performance. He gives a valuable analysis of the differences between the
MDC-Tsvangirai and the MDC (formerly the MDC-M for Arthur Mutambara, then the
MDC-N for Welshman Ncube, the current leader, and now simply the "MDC" under
Ncube's leadership). Muzondidya outlines the major differences between the two
MDCs and most importantly describes ethnic factionalism that has developed
between the two MDCs and within the MDC-T. Those familiar with the history of
political parties in Zimbabwe and in the African nationalist parties before
Independence will recognize a depressing pattern of divisions around
personalities, perceived "intelligence" differences within party leadership, and
the ever-present ethnic solidarities that at times seem exaggerated yet over
time become self-fulfilling. This chapter will be very helpful to those new to
Zimbabwean politics wanting to make sense of the divisions between and within
Muzondidya also summarizes the corruption charges against MDC-T urban
councilors that have grown in number over the past few years, showing the
vulnerability of a group of leaders tasting power for the first time. While
subsequently censored by the party, these cases have damaged the MDC-T's image
as a party of "Change". Such cases included:
"the Chitungwiza land scandal which resulted in the party firing all its 23
councilors in 2010; the mismanagement and looting of Council land and resources
by councilors in Bindura; the Kwekwe audit report findings of 2012 which
unearthed serious financial irregularities involving the under-banking of
collected revenue and the Marondera corruption case which resulted in the
suspension of the mayor by his party in March 2012 for receiving kickbacks from
companies and individuals in return for tenders. The corruption among the
party's representatives in local authorities, MDC parliamentarians and
government officials, as the MDC leadership itself has admitted, has the
potential to cost the party dearly during the next elections."
For those who built the coalition of trade unions and civics in the late
1990s that eventually created the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the
MDCs, the last four years have more often been a disappointment as the links
between these formative groups and the MDCs has been strained or broken by the
MDCs' participation in government. Muzondidya concludes,
"ZANU-PF has, in fact, been more shrewd in its engagement with the
transitional process than its political opponents, including both political
parties and civics as well as international opponents such as the US and EU
countries. It has been effectively using the transition arrangement to regroup
and reorganise, and is now better organised than it was in 2009. "
Chapter 3: Gerald Mazarire, "ZANU-PF and the Government of National
Historian Gerald Mazarire gives us a helpful contemporary history of the
splits both in the MDC and ZANU-PF that many people outside of Zimbabwe may not
fully understand. He starts by providing a summary of the somewhat questionable
MDC and ZANU-PF versions of the story. Based on Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's own account of it in his autobiography, Mazarire suggests that then
South African President Thabo Mbeki, along with "the support of some Western
embassies in Harare", had been involved in splitting the MDC in favor of
Welshman Ncube's faction and ZANU-PF in favor of Emmerson Mnangagwa. This
strategy ultimately failed in 2004 but it did lead to major conflicts in both
parties. Mazarire explains that Mbeki returned to intervene in Zimbabwean
politics during the violent crisis of 2008, and the resulting Unity Accord was
"hurriedly concluded" by Mbeki so that he could "attend to a crisis at home that
led, in September 2008, to his own ouster from the leadership of the ANC and the
South African presidency."
Mazarire then outlines ZANU-PF's version of the story, based mostly on
Jonathan Moyo's writings, in which the GNU was carried out mostly to stop
‘regime change' orchestrated from Washington and London, as the Security sector
refused to go along with the MDC in declaring a government based on the original
presidential election results. Mazarire then does an excellent job of showing
how and why ZANU-PF managed to continue to dominate the GNU with strategies to
keep the MDC out of key sectors of governance. In reference to ZANU-PF's
"Pursuit of Hard Power", Mazirire writes:
"ZANU-PF's display of power is traceable to its ability to lose an election
and stay in power. Starting with the delays in announcing the outcome of the
March 2008 Presidential Election as opposed to the efficiency and speed with
which the winner of the 27 June Presidential run-off was announced, ZANU was
already at work to make sure that whatever arrangement would obtain thereafter
should find them securely in position. Contrary to the view that ZANU-PF's
arbitrary exercise of power and its assertiveness stem from increased confidence
in the political and economic situation obtaining since the formation of the
GNU, ZANU has always been determined to be a triumphant loser."
Mazarire explores some of the areas where ZANU-PF insiders have excelled at
enriching themselves at the expense of the state, and as an historian he can't
help but point out the hypocrisy of this given ZANU-PF's earlier socialist
rhetoric in a section labeled "ZANU-PF: from Socialism to Capitalism." Mazarire
describes two main areas of this transition, namely the indigenisation and
mining sectors. Pointing out as well that there were a key handful of white
businessmen who have helped ZANU-PF insiders along the way to indigenization, he
ends with respect for ZANU-OPF Minister of Mines, Obert Mpufo, for his "almost
single-handedly" wining the war against the "blood diamonds" charges from the
Kimberley Process system. Mazirire's final advice to readers is worth
contemplating as elections near. "Readers are starkly reminded that with
ZANU-PF, literally anything is possible."
Chapter 4: Bertha Chiroro, "Turning Confrontation into Critical
Engagement: the Challenge of the Inclusive Government to Zimbabwean Civil
This chapter by Betha Chiroro, a research specialist at the African Institute
of South Africa in Pretoria, is essential for understanding the strained
relations that have developed between the MDC parties and the civic
organizations and NGO's that had been so supportive (and instrumental in
forming) the MDCs in the first place. Chiroro is also the only contributor to
address the fundamentally important role of women's organizations in the
continued opposition to ZANU-PF authoritarian rule.
"An equally important sector is the female voice: as expressed by the Women's
Coalition, (a network of women's rights activists with chapters in Bulawayo,
Masvingo, Beitbridge, Gweru, Gwanda, Bindura, Marondera, and Mutare) and WOZA
during the term of the IG. Although some have expressed their frustration that
their participation is no more than ‘tokenism and deception', Zimbabwean women
have continued to strive for a democratic political environment together with
other CSOs [Civil Society Organisations]."
"Zimbabwean civil society's response to the IG [Inclusive Government] has
continued to reveal ideological tensions between its human rights obligations
and its need to deal with broader developmental requirements. Political advocacy
around issues of human rights and violence often takes centre stage at the
expense of developmental issues and issues of social and economic rights, rural
development, poverty and inequality. While public service delivery remained very
poor, with massive water and electricity shortages, poor waste management and
poor sanitation remaining the order of the day, civil society has not made a
clear and concerted effort to ensure that these issues are addressed by the IG."
Chapter 5: Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni, "Politics behind Politics:
African Union, Southern African Development Community and the Global Political
Agreement in Zimbabwe."
Historian Ndlovu-Gatsheni provides a very clear and useful contemporary
history of African Union and SADC attempts to mediate the political crises in
Zimbabwe since 2000. One is simultaneously impressed by the number of these
continental and regional interventions as well as by the lack of substantive
results. There is a lot of value here for understanding the 2013 elections. In
particular, the current head of the AU, South African Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma, has been outspokenly supportive of ZANU-PF's drive for elections in 2013,
while South African President Jacob Zuma's lead SADC negotiator on Zimbabwe,
Lindiwe Zulu, has recently come under heavy criticisms from Mugabe for her own
stance that further reforms are necessary before elections could be held.
Reading Ndlovu-Gatsheni's chapter will help make some of these differences
Ndlovu-Gatsheni's characterization of why GNU negotiations occurred offers a
particularly helpful and succinct view:
"What led the political formations to negotiate were the stark political
realities facing them: despite emerging victorious in the 29 March 2008
elections, the MDC political formations were prevented by ZANU-PF from ascending
to power and its support base was exposed to unprecedented and unbearable
violence. ZANU-PF clung to power by violence but its legitimacy was completely
eroded. Added to this, the Zimbabwean economy continued to degenerate to its
lowest ebb and international, continental, and regional pressure together with
sanctions, contributed to ZANU-PF's decision to accept negotiations as the only
game in town if it was to survive politically."
Ndlovu-Gatsheni concludes his discussion of AU and SADC interventions:
"After 2008, the problem shifted from pushing for credible elections as a
solution to the Zimbabwe problem to a search for a power-sharing arrangement in
a context where there was no legitimate government in Harare. Currently, the
Harare disputants have gone full circle to the issue of elections as a
resolution of the Zimbabwe problem. This push for elections is taking place
within a context in which SADC mediation and facilitation has lost momentum. The
key facilitator is pre-occupied with local problems rocking the ANC, and ZANU-PF
is taking advantage of the situation to push for elections before the completion
of key reforms."
Chapter 6: Munyaradzi Nyakudya. "Sanctioning the Government of
National Unity: A Review of Zimbabwe's Relations with the West in the Framework
of the Global Political Agreement."
Historian Munyaradzi Nyakudya's chapter is an important one, especially as
the Zimbabwe sanctions debate has been so contentious and often full of
inaccuracies. Most importantly, Nyakudya details how ZANU-PF has effectively
used the continuation of Western sanctions to its advantage during the GNU
period. Nyakudya writes:
"The West has grappled with two scenarios: either to engage Mugabe, lift
sanctions, and support the GNU, or to shun him completely and maintain, if not
tighten the sanctions. The latter scenario has largely prevailed. It must be
conceded that the US, EU and their allies' various Sanctions Bills all
stipulated the need for tangible progress in terms of establishing democracy,
respecting human rights and upholding the rule of law before re-engaging. There
has simply been no such progress, with the reform deficit clearly still
outstanding. ZANU-PF has persistently and consistently refused to implement
critical electoral, judicial, media and security sector reforms necessary before
new elections can be held. "
Offering an insight into how determined ZANU-PF is to NOT carry out any
reforms in the security sector, Nyakudya states:
"…on the issue of the security sector, the ZANU-PF Congress of December 2009
passed the following critical resolutions: ‘ZANU (PF) as the party of revolution
and the people's vanguard shall not allow the security forces to be the subject
of any negotiation for a so-called security sector reform,' ostensibly because
the ‘security forces are a product of the liberation struggle'. The party thus
argues that ‘calls for security sector reform violate Zimbabwean sovereignty.'
This simply throws spanners in the GPA implementation process: the MDC
formations have vowed not to accept that general elections be held before
security sector reforms are instituted, maintaining that the latter have been
politicized, as revealed in their proclamations not to accept any leader without
liberation war credentials."
As elections approach and following the Constitutional referendum in March
this year, the EU, Australia, and the US have stepped down from their hardline
on targeted sanctions, removing many from the lists and promising even further
lifting should these elections be peaceful and "credible". On the one hand this
can be seen as assisting the MDCs in terms of letting them take credit for
holding up their promise to work towards the lifting of sanctions. On the other
hand, it also would appear to be a realpolitik hedging that ZANU-PF will win the
elections and that Western powers are preparing for a full rapprochement with
ZANU-PF in order to continue mining for platinum and dealing in diamonds there.
The competition with China, who is fully involved with ZANU-PF on a number of
economic and intelligence fronts, offers an incentive to back off on sanctions
before the elections. Former US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, travelled to
Harare on the invitation of the State Department to visit Mugabe in April this
year, which was a real sign of this hedging by the Americans, and even Reverend
Jesse Jackson was in town on a "private" visit to meet with Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, although he was accompanied by US Ambassador Bruce Wharton when
meeting with Mugabe.
Chapter 7 Shari Eppel, "Repairing a Fractured Nation: Challenges and
Opportunities in Post-GPA Zimbabwe"
Shari Eppel is a leading authority on transitional justice issues in
Zimbabwe, particularly pertaining to the Gukurahundi period (1983-1987) when
thousands of Zimbabweans were killed as part of ZANU's consolidation of power
and the crushing of former rival ZAPU's power. Eppel is therefore highly
qualified to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of truth and reconciliation
efforts during the GPA, and in the future.
Like the other contributors to this volume, Eppel does not refrain from
criticizing the opposition. In this case, she has in mind the difficulty
observers sympathetic to the MDCs have in criticizing inter-party violence, as
well as violence carried out by MDC supporters against ZANU-PF supporters.
"While the existence and extent of political violence by MDC in the last ten
years remains an issue that civics in Zimbabwe is nervous to explore, at some
point in the future it will be necessary to confront this issue if we are to
avoid another cycle of impunity under an MDC government. The MDCs have
undoubtedly had the odds stacked massively against them, with the police, army,
and CIO all arresting, torturing and assaulting MDC supporters with impunity, as
have war veteran groupings, you militia, Chipangano, and other informal arms of
ZANU-PF. But on the ground in some rural villages and urban suburbs, inter-party
violence has become much more evenly matched in recent years, and this is seldom
admitted to by civics on the argument that the ZANU-PF elements of the state
have dishonestly blamed much of their own violence on the MDC, and to produce
forensic proof of some MDC violence would be to add credence to the patently
false ZANU-PF position that most of the violence is by MDC." [234, emphasis in
the original]… "Clearly, there are some people in Zimbabwe who are justified in
seeing MDC supporters as perpetrators. Furthermore, members of the MDC faction
headed by Welshman Ncube would point to internal violence in the MDC as a major
contributor to the split in the party: beatings and torture of MDC's own
activists have taken place in their political headquarters and structures over
the years, as several—largely uncirculated—MDC commissions of inquiry reveal."
Eppel also explores the roles of two new institutions developed by the GPA .
The first is the Organ of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration
(ONHRI) and the second is the GPA Joint Monitoring Committee (JOMIC), which is
made up of representatives of all three political parties, and tasked with
"investigating violent incidents together". (238) Eppel analyzes the potential
value of the ONHRI while exploring some of the fundamental difficulties facing
any institution in Zimbabwe wanting to seriously deal with issues of
transitional justice. The ability of the JOMIC to not only monitor but prevent
future political violence is questioned, and although all three political
parties have been sanguine about JOMIC's abilities to make these upcoming
elections "violence free", questions remain over how a JOMIC without enforceable
powers will be able to act beyond making public pronouncements.
The above is a cursory examination of an excellent book. One I recommend
highly to all those who will now turn their gaze toward Zimbabwe in the upcoming
weeks. The Zimbabwean online media is often difficult to decipher given such
strong polarization of views, as will be Western media portrayals given usual
editorial decisions to cut out the background information. For those who want to
make sense of the political landscape leading up to the 2013 elections,
Raftopoulos et al's The Hard Road to Reform is a great place to start. I would
also recommend Western journalists turn to these Zimbabwean scholars for
analysis and quotes, rather than turning to the usual pundits in London or
Washington DC. Their affiliations are listed in the book.
For further information, please contact Selvan Chetty - Deputy
Director, Solidarity Peace Trust
Tel: +27 (39) 682 5869 Fax: +27 (39) 682
Suite 4 3rd Floor MB Centre 49 Aiken Street Port Shepstone
4240 Kwazulu-Natal South Coast
Zimbabwe’s general election is less than two weeks away and,
already, Morgan Tsvangirai is crying foul. In his interview with The Daily
Telegraph, he declares that Robert Mugabe is “determined to retain power by
whatever means”. No surprises there. I used to live in Zimbabwe and I’ve
learnt from bitter experience that the country’s politics are mind-numbingly
repetitive. Let me suggest the following iron laws:
1) Mugabe will
always behave outrageously
This time, he announced the date of the
election without consulting anyone and failed to carry out a series of
agreed reforms designed to make the process fairer. In other words, one
candidate in this election has already rigged the contest in his
2) Tsvangirai will always contest the election anyway
obvious answer for a political leader invited to fight a blatantly unfair
election is to boycott the whole contest. If Tsvangirai ever did this, he
would deny Mugabe the spurious legitimacy that comes from being the winner
of a contested election. But Tsvangirai never does. Before every election,
stretching right back to the parliamentary polls of 2000, he always
threatens to boycott. But he always goes ahead and contests anyway.
Mugabe will use violence if – but only if – it’s necessary
There has been
little bloodshed so far because Mugabe thinks he’ll win this election
anyway. Partly, that’s because he has rigged the rules in his favour.
Partly, it’s down to the fact that both Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, the
leader of the rival wing of the Movement for Democratic Change, are both
standing against him, which obligingly splits the anti-Mugabe vote. In
addition, both Tsvangirai and Ncube have been discredited by their enjoyment
of office in the outgoing coalition. So Mugabe hopes he’ll win the first
round on July 31 with over 50 per cent. If, however, he doesn’t, then he
will let slip the dogs of war, allowing the army and Zanu-PF’s militias to
organise a national terror campaign to guarantee that he will win the second
round. The lesson is that Mugabe is ruthless, but he’s not a sadist. He uses
violence if he needs to – but only if he needs to.
The pattern has been
clear ever since the MDC first emerged to challenge Zanu-PF in 1999. The
referendum on a new constitution in February 2000 was peaceful because
Mugabe thought he would win. The trouble was that he lost. He then unleashed
mayhem in order to guarantee victory in the parliamentary elections of June
2000. Even so, the MDC did well, winning 57 out of 120 elected seats. So
Mugabe felt that he had to sustain the violence in order to clear the hurdle
of the next presidential poll in 2002.
When the parliamentary elections
in 2005 came along, the MDC had split into two rival factions. There was
little violence that time because Mugabe knew that his party would win
He was still confident when it came the last presidential
election in 2008. All was calm and peaceful in the first round. But then
Tsvangirai managed to beat him into second place. So Mugabe promptly let his
thugs off the leash, starting a wave of violence that claimed hundreds of
lives and secured him victory in the second round. The implication is clear:
if Mugabe fails to win outright on July 31, then the killing will
4) The opposition will always accept Mugabe’s
Tsvangirai has cried foul after every election, presidential or
parliamentary, for the last 13 years. But that’s about all he does. In the
past, the MDC mounted legal challenges against Mugabe’s election victories.
But these never led anywhere; today, the Supreme Court is packed with
Mugabe’s appointees and there is no chance of any challenge succeeding. Even
if the courts were to order a presidential election to be rerun, Mugabe
would just ignore them. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has neither the will nor the
means to bring people onto the streets in protest. So, in the end, he will
always lie down and accept Mugabe’s victories.
If those are the four
iron laws, what is the most likely scenario? Mugabe will probably win
outright in the first round. For the sake of the peace of Zimbabwe, it would
probably be better if he does. Jacob Zuma and other African leaders will
then ask him to be magnanimous and keep the coalition and invite Tsvangirai
to stay on as prime minister. Mugabe might tell them to get lost. Or he
might decide to pose as the father of the nation and ask Tsvangirai to stick
around. If he does, Tsvangirai will inevitably say “yes”. He insisted in his
interview with the Telegraph that he would never work with Mugabe again. But
there is little relationship between what Tsvangirai says and what he does.
That might serve as the fifth iron law of Zimbabwean politics.
Vince Musewe says Zimbabwe
has a culture of hiding the facts in order to please our
ZANU(PF) is not serious
Our ideas and aspirations can
no longer be shaped by the gun, propaganda or the threat of violence or even
I never cease to be amazed by the tomfoolery we are witnessing!
Last week Friday evening, the day before the ZANU (PF) event, I arrived in
Highfield and there were no potholes in the road leading to the Zimbabwe
grounds! There had been there in the morning. The grass on the road sides
had been cut and municipal workers were busy hiding the waste that has been
there for a couple of months. I laughed out loud but realised that one of
our fundamental problems in Zimbabwe is the City Council. Their whole idea
here was to create an illusion to the "chefs" that they are doing their job
and all is well, which is definitely not the case.
This has happened
before, mind you, during the botched township tourism fiasco, where we saw
roads being patched up and buildings painted because the "chefs" were coming
to visit. The one day event has resulted in zero results. But that seems
normal in Zimbabwe.
We now have a culture of hiding the facts in order to
please our politicians. This has been happening for such a long time at has
become "normal". We even describe our economic conditions, not as they
really are, but as we think our "chefs" want to hear; that it's the British
and sanctions. The ZBC is very good at that and so is the Herald including
those analysts and columnist who write for it. I actually feel sorry for
them because they are caught in a spider's web of manufactured lies and
innuendo in order to make living. I pray that our forgiving God has mercy on
We are a nation of fools who fear the truth, and will do anything
to hide it.
Listening at the ZANU (PF) narrative of what needs to
happen in Zimbabwe, it really worries me that there is no realisation or
acknowledgement that their ideas on Zimbabwe have not worked and will not
work. I liken their problem to that of an alcoholic who knows he or she is
one, but continually denies accepting the fact and claims that they are
Pulling out of the SADC does not solve our issues; the SADC is not
the problem we are. Pushing indigenization does not create new value nor
does it grow the economy or create jobs. Touting the black and white racist
narrative is old tired news. Calling some of us sell outs because we want
the best for Zimbabwe is sheer stupidity dressed up in designer suits and
Our ideas and aspirations can no longer be shaped by the gun,
propaganda or the threat of violence or even death. We are new people and
must hurry to create a new system that resonates with our aspirations. We
CAN shape our future and must fulfil that responsibility on the 31st of
I have found the first Psalm instructive in these times we
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate
day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like
the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore, the ungodly shall not
stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For
the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall
Vote rigging and frustrating new voters from registering might
work but "victory" shall be temporary because it is against the principles
of our mighty God. I therefore urge all progressive Zimbabweans to do the
right thing so that we can all enjoy a peaceful and prosperous country. More
important, we must defend our vote after voting. So don't relax after you
vote, we must be out there in our thousands in the streets waiting for the
Dear people of Zimbabwe it is time to
take back your power.
You have the right to a free and fair election.
You can be part of making that happen.
Before you go to vote click on the website: www. Simukai find
the Identity Number for the polling station where you will be
After you have voted remain at the polling station until voting is
complete. Once the results are posted outside the station, as is legally
required, you can claim your power by SMS the results of the presidential
election in the following format to one of the numbers below
00 27 713563219
00 27 71 3562087
Type in the ID number for your polling
station , then the number of votes won by Morgan Tvangirai and the number of
votes won by Robert Mugabe:
I D _ _ _ _ M T _ _ _ _ R M _ _ _ _
Make sure you do not have any spaces and there must be 18
Court Watch 10/2013 of 17th July 2013 [State v Solomon Madzore:Charge - Insulting the President]
State v MDC-T Youth Leader
Charged with Undermining the
Authority of or Insulting the President
Leader Solomon Madzore was arrested on Thursday 2nd May 2013 for allegedly
undermining the authority of or insulting the President contrary to
section 33(2)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act ["Criminal Law Code"].The allegation was that during a pre-election rally in Mbire, Mashonaland
Central province, he called the President a “limping old donkey” who is blocking
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from doing his work in the inclusive
government.He denies the
allegation.Mr Madzore, as well as being
the party’s youth leader, is the MDC-T candidate for Dzivaresekwa National
Assembly seat in the coming election.Following his arrest, Mr Madzore was transferred to the Bindura
Central Police Station where he was held for four days before he was brought to
court on Monday 6 May 2013.
Mr Madzore had
previously spent over 400 days in custody, having
been charged, along with 28 other MDC activists, with killing a police officer
[all deny the charge]: their trial is still ongoing; see Court Watch 9/2013 of
10th July.Mr Madzore also spent over
70 days in custody in 2007 on petrol bombing attack charges: these charges were
later dropped.Mr Madzore and others
said they were tortured in custody during this time.
Magistrate’s bail order
blocked by prosecutor
On Monday 6 May 2013, legal
representative Charles Kwaramba applied for Mr Madzore to be released on bail at
Bindura Magistrates Court.Magistrate
Elisha Chingono allowed the application and granted bail of US$100. Prosecutor Munyaradzi
Mataranyika immediately invoked section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act however, which allows suspects to be held for up to a further seven
days pending the State lodging a High Court appeal against the grant of
bail.Mr Madzore was accordingly held in
custody pending the outcome of the State’s appeal.
Section 121(3) says:“A decision by a
judge or magistrate to admit a person to bail shall be suspended if, immediately
after the decision, the judge or magistrate is notified that the
Attorney-General or his representative wishes to appeal against the decision,
and the decision shall thereupon be suspended and the person shall remain in
custody.”The prosecutor does not
have to justify invoking section 121(3) by showing that there is merit in a
State appeal or establishing a risk of the accused’s absconding; his or her
statement of the wish to appeal is enough.If a State appeal is lodged within 7 days, the person is held in
detention until the outcome of the appeal is determined.If before the 7 days is up, the State
the judge or magistrate that they do not intend to appeal, the accused must be
released immediately.If there is no
such notification and the 7-day period runs out without a State appeal being
lodged, the accused must be released immediately.
The excessive use of section
121(3) by prosecutors
was highlighted in Court Watch
8/2012 of 25th April 2012, which referred to the statistics compiled by Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights showing the State lodged appeals in less than 25% of
section 121(3) cases.Of these only one
case was successful – and even that only in partially altered bail
conditions.In all but one of the cases,
therefore, the accused persons had been kept locked up for up to seven extra
days for no good reason.This record has
attracted condemnation from the legal profession, human rights defenders and on
at least one occasion from a High Court judge when rejecting a State appeal
against the granting of bail by a magistrate.Supreme Court applications for section 121(3) to be struck down as
unconstitutional have failed to reach the stage of a court hearing.
Section 121(3) is unlikely to survive for long now that the new Constitution’s
Declaration of Rights is in force.Section 80 of the new Declaration of Rights, which lists the rights of
arrested and detained persons in more detail than the former Declaration,
provides that a person who is arrested “must be released unconditionally or on
reasonable conditions, pending a charge or trial unless there are compelling
reasons justifying their continued detention”.Section 121(3), which requires no justification at all from the State, is
obviously inconsistent with that.
Madzore’s bail confirmed by
On Tuesday 14th May, Mr
Madzore appeared in the Magistrates Court in Bindura for a remand hearing and
was remanded in custody until 28th May. Also due on the 14th May was
the High Court hearing of the State’s appeal against the magistrate’s decision
granting Mr Madzore bail, but this was postponed till 15th May.On that day Justice Chatukuta dismissed
the State’s appeal and ordered his release on bail as granted by the
Trial set down for 18th
trial has now been set down for 18th July at Bindura Magistrates Court.It remains to be seen whether the trial will
proceed or be deferred pending the hearing and determination of a constitutional
application challenging the validity of the provision under which Mr Madzore has
On 8th July 2013, an
application was lodged with the Constitutional Court on Mr Madzore’s behalf by
his representative Tawanda Zhuwarara for the offence provided for under section
33(2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act to be struck down on the
basis that it violates Mr Madzore’s constitutional rights under the new
Constitution, including:his right to
campaign freely and peacefully for a political party or cause [section
67(2)(b)]; his freedom of opinion and freedom to propagate and give expression
to that opinion [section 60(1)(a) and (b)]; and his freedom to communicate his
ideas and other information [section 61(1)(a)].
Section 33 of the Criminal
Law Code sets out the offence of “undermining the authority of or insulting
President” as follows:
“(2)Any person who publicly, unlawfully and
(a)makes any statement about or concerning the
President or an acting President with the knowledge or realising that there is a
real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it may—
(i)engender feelings of hostility towards;
(ii)cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of;
the President or an acting
President, whether in person or in respect of the President’s office;or
(b)makes any abusive, indecent or obscene
statement about or concerning the President or an acting President, whether in
respect of the President personally or the President’s office;
shall be guilty of
undermining the authority of or insulting the President and liable to a fine not
exceeding level six or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights have reported a dramatic increase in the number of people being
arbitrarily charged under this provision, having attended to at least 65 such
cases since 2010.Due to continued
delays in the justice delivery system, most of these cases are still pending,
with only two having been finalized, both resulting in acquittals.In other instances, clients have been removed
from remand due to failure by the State to prosecute timeously.
First Challenge to
Constitutionality of this Offence under New
The constitutionality of this
provision has been raised in court challenges on several previous occasions, but
none of these challenges has yet resulted in a determination by the Supreme [now
Constitutional] Court.Douglas Mwonzora
and Pishai Muchauraya’s applications to the court on this issue were stayed and returned
to the lower courts for clarification of the factual circumstances behind their
application is the first challenge to this provision brought to the
Constitutional Court in terms of the new Constitution.
The fundamental right in
question is freedom of expression, now protected by section 61 of the new
Constitution, and previously enshrined in section 20 of the former
Constitution.The essential complaint is
that freedom of expression is infringed because the Criminal Law Code’s
provision is excessively widely framed, leaving members of the public uncertain
about what can and cannot safely be said about the President, and therefore
subject to arbitrary arrest by police officers placing their own interpretation
on the provision.This uncertainty has a
chilling effect on legitimate political discourse in a country where the
President, who is both the active head of a political party and also the Head of
State and Government, enjoys freedom to castigate his political opponents in
strong terms and does not hesitate to do so.
every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal
responsibility for information supplied
Bill Watch 30/2013 of 18th July [Countdown to Elections]
[18th July 2013]
are 13 days to go to polling day on Wednesday 31st July
July a Public Holiday
day, 31st July, is a public holiday [Electoral Act, section 38(2): “... polling
day shall be deemed to be a public holiday for the purposes of the Public
Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act”].In addition, employers must allow employees who are at work on polling
day to have the morning or afternoon off “to afford them an opportunity to vote
in the election”, without deducting pay [Electoral Act, section
9th July – special mobile voter registration exercise
July was the 30th and last day of the special and intensive voter mobile
registration and voters roll inspection exercise mounted in accordance with
paragraph 6(3) of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution. The Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission [ZEC] directed the mobile registration and inspection
centres to remain open until midnight, to deal with those still queuing at the
usual closing time of 7 pm.There has
been widespread criticism that the exercise was inadequate and left many
would-be voters still unregistered.
10th July – last day to register for the elections at ordinary registration
voters who did not take advantage of the mobile registration exercise could
still register for the coming elections until close of business on the 10th
July, but only at the permanent registration offices operated by the
Office around the country.Anyone
registering after that will not be on the rolls to be used in polling stations
on 31st July – section
26A of the Electoral Act, as amended by SI 85/2013, provides for the closure of
voters rolls twelve days after the nomination day [which was 28th June].
Comment:The queues at mobile centres, particularly in
urban areas, were so long that the mobile exercise did not come near catering
for all those wanting to register – in spite of the officials being told to deal
with everyone queuing before shutting the office.And the exercise was not women-friendly, as
most women have to get back home some time to see to their children.In many wards the three-day [or sometimes
shorter] visit by the mobile team was not long enough to cope with the
demand.It is no wonder that there have
been calls for the registration exercise to be extended, but an amendment to the
section 26A of the Electoral Act would be needed to allow people registered
after 10th July to vote in these elections – and it is pointless to think of
amending section 26A now, because section 157(5) of the new Constitution, which
is already in force, provides that “After an election has been called, no change
to the Electoral Law or to any other law relating to elections has effect for
the purpose of that election.”
former aliens had in getting registered as voters
formerly regarded as aliens, but now classified as citizens under the new
Constitution and therefore wishing to register as voters, experienced special
difficulty during the registration exercise.Despite claims by political parties that all those previously classified
as “aliens” had to do was swap their old IDs for new ones, to register as voters
they were first required to establish their claim to citizenship – and for many
this proved too difficult in practice.Those able to prove by their citizenship by production of their “long”
[full, detailed] birth certificates and proof of residence could exchange their
“alien” IDs for new “citizen” ID papers, and there were special queues for
them.These queues were particularly
long and slow-moving, and many were not able to get their new ID papers and
register as voters at the mobile centres.Voter education was also sadly lacking, so many did not have the
necessary documentation and found themselves referred to distant district
offices or to the even more distant central registry in Harare, and did not have
either the time or the means to pursue their claims further.There were also reports – some of which came
by phone call to Veritas – that even people who did have the correct documents
were being referred to Harare.It is
difficult for Veritas to estimate how many would-be voters simply abandoned
their quest, frustrated by uncooperative officials and the slow pace at which
applicants were processed, but from press and observer reports it was
considerable and many of the potential new voters under the new Constitution did
not get registered
of Parliamentary and Provincial Council candidates
5th July contained notices gazetted by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission [ZEC] following the nomination court sittings on 28th June,
Assembly constituency candidates [GN 362/2013***]All 210 seats will be
contested.[This GN includes party
list details for National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Councils; this turned
out to be a ZEC error, and the party lists were subsequently gazetted separately
in GN 364/2013.]
list candidates [First Schedule – Senate; Second Schedule – National Assembly;
Third Schedule – Provincial Councils] [GN 364/2013***]
The list of National Assembly constituency candidates has already been affected
by candidates withdrawing [11 constituencies affected] and by successful appeals
to the Electoral Court by candidates whose nominations had been rejected by
nomination courts [3 constituencies affected].[See
have been no withdrawals from the Presidential election contest.
mostly by Independent candidates, have however resulted in changes to the
gazetted lists of candidates for 11 National Assembly constituency seats [GN
366/2013***dated 12th July].The constituencies affected [with names of
the withdrawn candidates in brackets] are
[C.P. Chingosho, Ind]
South [L. Dube, Ind]
Urban [P. Mabukwa, Ind]
North [M. Madiro, Ind]
North [A. Matibiri, MDC]
West [N. Matsikenyere, Ind]
West [R. Mavunga, Ind]
East [R. Muhlwa, ZAPU]
Central [R, Mujuru, Ind]
South [N. Ntandokayiphikiswa, MDC-T]
South [S. Uyoyo, Ind].
Appeals to Electoral Court
Electoral Act requires appeals against nomination court decisions to be lodged
within four days and dealt with swiftly in judges’ chambers.There is no further appeal [Electoral Act, section
45E(13)(c)].Electoral Court judges
are High Court judges appointed by the Chief Justice to double as Electoral
court decisions on 28th June prompted 47 appeals to the Electoral Court over
National Assembly and council nominations.All the appeals were dealt with last week by judges sitting in Bulawayo
[3 judges] and Harare [16 judges].Hearings started on 5th July in Harare and three days later in
Bulawayo.The last few cases were
completed on Thursday 11th July.
the 47 appeals, 17 succeeded, all by aspiring candidates whose nomination papers
had been rejected or regarded as void by the nomination courts.The remaining appeals were either dismissed
 or withdrawn by the appellants .Appeals by the MDC-T as aparty,
claiming misuse of its party logo, were dismissed on the ground that the
relevant provision of the Electoral Act [section 46] only allows an appeal by a
rejected aspiring candidate.[Note: The Electoral Court does not have
general jurisdiction at this stage to consider appeals falling outside the
strict limits of section 46.]Other
appeals were dismissed because they were filed too late or because the appeal
documents were defective.One appellant
wanting to stand for a council failed because, being under 21, he was too young
to be elected.
of Successful Appeals – Additional Candidates
appeals to the Electoral Court, by candidates rejected by nomination courts,
have resulted in additions to the gazetted lists of candidates whose
names will appear on ballot papers.The
additions have affected:
National Assembly constituency elections [additional candidate’s name and party
Central [Langton Mugudubi, MDC]
West [Tongai Kwanda, MDC]
West [Locardia Mupambwa, MDC]
larger number of local authority council elections[see
elections officers gazetted
has also gazetted names and addresses of constituency elections officers for all
210 National Assembly constituencies [GN 363/2013].***
Authority Elections: Lists of Candidates Published in
papers for 12th July contained lengthy supplements listing:
to local authority councils [note that
gazetting is not required – Electoral Act, section
in which candidates were declared elected unopposed.
have been subsequent changes to both lists, as a result of appeals to the
Electoral Court against nomination court decisions and of candidates withdrawing
from the elections.These have also been
notified in the newspapers.[In
all, 36 ward lists in 16 local authorities, are affected.7 of the additional candidates are from
2 from ZANU-PF,
26 from MDC, 1 from UMD, 2 are Independents and there are 2 others.]Presumably new lists will be published in the
Documents Available on Website:veritaszim.net