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

Tsvangirai: Mugabe will accept his loss

25 Jul 2012 07:44 - AP

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the country's long-time
ruler Robert Mugabe is ready to give up power if he loses the next election.

Tsvangirai made the comments on Wednesday in New Zealand, part of a tour to
ask numerous countries to end limited sanctions against Zimbabwe. He said
he's confident free elections will be held within 12 months, after a new
Constitution was drafted on Friday.

Tsvagirai said Mugabe will accept the result, noting the leader wanted to
protect his legacy and would abide by the result of the scheduled ballot.

"I'm sure he will accept the result," Tsvangirai told reporters during an
official during the trip.

"I do not see any reason why he should plunge the country again into another
dispute ... I think he's committed, for his own legacy and the legacy of the
country, to move forward and he has to accept the result if it is conducted
in a free and fair manner."

But to help the country move on and rebuild its economy, Tsvangirai said the
international community should ease sanctions if Zimbabwe showed a
commitment to staging legitimate elections.

"No country can progress with such measures against it," he said, adding
that sanctions had put a "financial squeeze" on the economy, which has
stabilised in recent years after hyper-inflation followed the 2008 election.

Progressive step
Tsvangirai confirmed he would stand against his arch-rival Mugabe in the
election, which is set to be held under the new Constitution.

He described the draft constitution as a "progressive step" which he hoped
would help Zimbabwe emerge from decades of violence and instability.

"Although we have suffered, there is no way we can bring back our loved
ones," he said.

"We need to open a new chapter. That's why I say revenge should not be on
the agenda. There should be reconciliation, rebuilding and reconstruction.
That should be the future direction."

Support for the new regime
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, who received a briefing on the
situation in Zimbabwe from Tsvangirai, said there was a compelling case to
lift sanctions if elections went ahead.

"If free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe, and therefore a free and
open voice can be given to the people of Zimbabwe, why wouldn't the global
community respond in kind and support that new regime?" he said.

New Zealand imposed sporting and travel sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 over
alleged human rights abuses by the Mugabe government.

Tsvangirai competed against Mugabe in a disputed 2008 election that sparked
violence before the pair agreed to a power-sharing arrangement. – Sapa-AP,

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

PM Tsvangirai meets New Zealand Premier

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday held an hour long meeting with
New Zealand Premier, Mr John Key in Wellington.

The two leaders discussed issues pertaining to political and economic
cooperation between their two nations.

Prime Ministers Tsvangirai and Mr. Key later addressed a joint press
conference where they emphasized the importance of the readmission of
Zimbabwe into the international community.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai said at the press conference that it was important
for Zimbabwe to ride on the Afro optimism currently obtaining in the global
village and take advantage of economic benefits arising as a result of the
renewed focus on Africa.

He reiterated that it was time to review the restrictive measures imposed on
certain members of President Robert Mugabe’s party more than ten years ago.
He said the review of the restrictive measures should be done in response to
the progress made by the parties in Zimbabwe. He however emphasised the
importance of holding credible, free and fair elections next year so that
the country can focus on economic issues.

New Zealand Premier, Mr. Key commended Prime Minister Tsvangirai for his
commitment to democracy and for his efforts to find a solution to Zimbabwe’s
crises through peaceful means.

Mr Key said New Zealand would monitor developments in Zimbabwe and would
consult with Australia and the EU on the review of restrictive measures.

New Zealand has contributed more than $5 million through Unicef to the
Education Trust Fund which helped in the production of more than 17 million
text books for primary and high schools in Zimbabwe.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai attended a Parliamentary session in Wellington and
held high level meetings with other eminent members of the House.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tsvangirai toured New Zealand’s world class wind
energy resource centre. With its narrow islands, New Zealand has a good
exposure to coastal winds. The Premier also held meetings with New Zealand
business community.

The New Zealand leg concludes Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s visit to the Far
East which took him to Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department
Harvest House

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai seeks end to Zimbabwe sanctions

Last updated 05:00 26/07/2012

New Zealand could lift sporting and travel sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe a
decade ago with the promise of a free and fair election.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday held talks with Zimbabwe Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, who is on a whirlwind trip to New Zealand and Australia.

The European Union has removed Zimbabwe from an international blacklist
ahead of an election and resumed direct aid, with the condition that a
credible referendum on a new constitution is held.

"We would like Zimbabwe to be part of the global community once more," Mr
Tsvangirai said in Wellington. The sanctions "are no longer making an
impact" and it was very important they were lifted. "No country can progress
with such measures against it."

Mr Key told reporters that Mr Tsvangirai made a "compelling case" and he
would discuss lifting the sanctions with Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
"If there are free and fair elections held in Zimbabwe . . . why wouldn't
the global community respond in kind and support that new regime?"

He said New Zealand could send election observers.

Human rights abuses by the ruling Zanu PF party led to the sanctions in
2002. They included a travel ban on President Robert Mugabe and those
associated with his regime and restrictions on sporting teams from Zimbabwe.
The following year New Zealand also suspended its visitors' visa waiver.

International media have reported that Mr Mugabe, who is 88, is ready to
give up the power he has held for 32 years if he loses next year's election.

Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said
he was confident this would happen. He was forced into a power-sharing
agreement with Mr Mugabe three years ago after a bloody presidential
election. They agreed to reform and to draft a new constitution ahead of a
new election.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State Workers Stage Protest Over Low Pay

24 July 2012

Thomas Chiripasi and Gibbs Dube | Washington

Hundreds of Zimbabwean civil servants staged a march in the capital, Harare,
Tuesday demanding better remuneration and improved working conditions.

Singing revolutionary songs and waving placards, the government employees
said they were struggling to make ends meet off their low salaries.

They gathered at Harare Gardens and then marched to Finance Minister Tendai
Biti’s offices where they delivered a petition.

From Biti’s offices, they proceeded to parliament to deliver copies of the
petition to the speakers of both the lower and upper houses which were
handed to the clerk of the august house, Austin Zvoma.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore said workers were unhappy that
government was failing to deliver on its promise to increase their salaries.

"Civil servants cannot understand why they continue to be paid salaries
below the poverty datum line," said Chikowore.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Raymond Majongwe
said civil servants are worried that proceeds from Marange diamond field and
other minerals are being pocketed by the elite while the majority of
government workers are earning peanuts.

Public Service Association president Cecelia Alexander warned that civil
servants will soon embark on a full-fledged strike if their demands are not

Parliamentary budget committee member Dorcas Sibanda said it is impossible
for Biti to increase salaries of civil servants due to lack of
accountability in the mining of Marange diamond mines.

The civil servants decided last Thursday to stage the demonstration after
Biti downgraded the national budget from $4 billion to $3.4 billion due to
drying diamond revenues from Marange field.

The diamond revenues were this year expected to boost state coffers by at
least $600 million. Zimbabwe generated $41.6 million from diamond sales
between January and June this year instead of the expected $123 million.

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Airlines KLM has announced that it will resume
flights between Harare and Amsterdam in October, 13 years after it stopped
plying the route following serious economic challenges in the country.

In a statement, KLM said it will have at least 11 weekly flights linking
Zimbabwe with Kenya and the Dutch capital.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Protesting state workers blocked from Biti’s office

24/07/2012 00:00:00
by Phyllis Mbanje

CIVIL service union leaders were left seething Tuesday after they were
blocked from Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s offices where they tried to hand
over a petition demanding the near-doubling of their basic wages.

Scores of government workers joined the protest in the capital after union
leaders urged the 230,000 government workers to take to the streets to press
demands for across-the-board pay rises, including a raise from $286 to $560
a month for the lowest-paid government workers.

But they were blocked from entering Biti's offices at the New Government
Complex along Harare’s Samora Machel Avenue.

“We are not here to be violent but just to air our grievances to the person
who handles the country’s finances. Sadly, the minister is treating us like
terrorists yet we are public servants whom he pretends to represent in
Government," Tendai Chikowore, head of the civil service unions said.

“He has ignored us the way he does when formulating his budgets. It means to
him the issue of workers does not matter. But that is a blatant mistake and
we won't take that lying down and as we map the way forward we are going to
consider his attitude."

Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe added: “It
pains that he does not want to meet us. He does not even want to hear our
input in his budget consultations but one day the chickens will come home to

The protesters, numbering about 150, then marched onto Parliament Building
where the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, accepted the document.

"Parliament cannot make decisions we will merely deliberate on the raised
issues bearing in mind that we always represent the wishes of the masses,”
Zvoma said.
The petition urged parliament to reject Biti's mid-term budget, which ruled
out any increases.

"We are united in our conviction that we deserve better," Majongwe, said.
"We are saying to Biti, 'get money from diamonds, chrome, platinum and other
resources and pay the workers'," he said, accusing Zimbabwe's unity
government of "total neglect."

Biti, who was forced to cut his 2012 budget after revenue projections went
out of whack, has however, ruled out giving in to the workers’ demands
insisting the government does not have the resources.

Addressing legislators Tuesday the treasury chief insisted: “Politics is 80
percent of the disease we have in this country and another disease is the
assumption that money grows on trees.

“Everyone else says it’s on the Ministry of Finance, but nobody has ever
stopped to ask themselves where does this money come from?

“Is there anywhere that money grows at Block B at the New Government
Building? Do we have a cow where we milk money from at our offices?”

Biti was last revised downwards his 2012 budget from US$4 billion to $3,6
billion, blaming under-performing diamond revenues. The budget had
anticipated US$600 million from sales of Marange diamonds but the finance
minister said this would, now, not be realised.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZNA Recruits Despite Biti's Freeze

Bulawayo, July 25, 2012 - The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has embarked on
another round exercise of recruiting soldiers countrywide despite a freeze
on new employments in the public service.

However, informed sources told Radio VOP that on Tuesday and Wednesday last
week, the ZNA was however recruiting aspiring soldiers.

Recruiting ZNA officers were in Tsholotsho and Umguza on Tuesday and
Wednesday respectively.

ZNA spokesperson, Major Alphios Makotore confirmed that the army has
embarked on another recruitment exercise countrywide when contacted for

“Yes, we are recruiting. It’s a national exercise,” Major Makotore said
without stating how many aspiring soldiers will be recruited under the
ongoing exercise.

Last month, the Finance Minister condemned as unlawful the recruitments of
soldiers and police officers in light of the government freeze on
recruitments, stating that the Treasury was not in a position to pay the new

The ZNA and Home Affairs Ministry have recruited 4600 soldiers and 1600
police officers as of May.

Biti last week extended a freeze on public sector recruitments, stating that
“the employment costs have become an elephant in the living room when viewed
against overall expenditures.”

Biti said illegal recruitments were creating ‘budget dislocations’ and
stating that the wage bill will eventually top 57% of the total budget.

The latest recruitments come barely a few weeks after Defence Minister
Emmerson Mngangawa’s request for an additional US$2.5 million to bankroll
salaries of the 4600 new recruits was shot down.

Mnangagwa recently told Parliament that the army was recruiting privates
with substandard entry qualifications because “we unfortunately find it
difficult sometimes to secure enrolment in some parts of the country because
most of the young persons with qualifications have gone out of the country.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Charles Ray Scorns "Naive" Zimbabweans Politicians Over Wiki leaks

Harare, July 25, 2012 - Outgoing US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has
scorned local politicians for volunteering sensitive information to American
diplomats in what was later released through American diplomatic cables
widely known as the Wiki leaks.

Ambassador Charles Ray was speaking to journalists at a round table meeting
in Harare on Tuesday.

“Anyone who talks to a diplomat and thinks it’s a private conversation is
about as nave as anyone who talks to a reporter and thinks that it’s a
private conversation,” said Ambassador Ray, in his last official address to
the local press.

He was quick to deny the Wiki leaks revelations permanently damaged his
country and his own relations with Zimbabwean politicians.

The US diplomat also said the US was prepared to accept President Mugabe as
Zimbabwe’s new leader in next year’s elections if he wins a free and fair

“Our policy is and has always been a credible election outcome is what we
seek ...we would like to see who ever the people of Zimbabwe select in a
credible electoral process we would accept,” he said.

Ambassador Ray was quick to add that the Zimbabwean leader must first ensure
free and fair elections before he can ask the west to remove sanctions on
his government.

The US envoy said the worst moments he had in Zimbabwe during the three
years he has represented his country were when he witnessed innocent
citizens being brutalised along political lines.

Ambassador Ray’s three year long posting to Zimbabwe marks the end of his 30
year career as a diplomat.

Ray, who once served in his county’s military, is now retiring from 50 years
of service to his government.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

State withdraws summons against Chikomo

THE State on Wednesday 25 July 2012 withdrew summons issued against Abel
Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum to
stand trial on charges of running an “unregistered” organisation.

Chikomo was served with summons on 3 July 2012 by two police officers only
identified as Sergeant Ndawana and Detective Chipwanya to stand trial at the
Harare Magistrates Court on Wednesday 25 July 2012.

But the trial could not commence after State prosecutor Innocent Chingarande
withdrew summons issued against Chikomo after he advised that the State was
not ready to proceed with the matter.

It was agreed that should the State intend to proceed with the matter they
would have to serve fresh summons on Chikomo to initiate the case.

Chikomo, who was represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights board
member Selby Hwacha and Jeremiah Bamu is charged with running an
“unregistered” organisation. The charge, which he denies, came after the
Forum conducted a survey on transitional justice in Harare’s Highfield
suburb. The State says this was illegal since the organisation is not
registered as a Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO). The State claims that
he unlawfully instructed two of his employees to commence or carry out the
activities of house to house survey in Canaan, Highfield, Harare with the
intention to obtain people’s recommendations on the preferred transitional
justice mechanism for Zimbabwe, without his organization Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum registering with the Social Welfare Department under the
Private Voluntary Organisation Act.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt abandons construction of WTO Centre

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:03

Paul Nyakazeya
THE Convention Centre which government wanted to built ahead of the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in August next year has been
shelved due to lack of money and limited time to build the facility,
officials have indicated.

Zimbabwe won the bid to co-host the 20th Session of 2013 UNWTO General
Assembly in Victoria Falls together with Zambia in a move Finance Minister
Tendai Biti said bore testimony to the aggressive marketing campaigns being
conducted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
But Treasury has been singled out as the biggest drawback to an aggressive
campaign to put up a monumental structure meant to accommodate guests during
the UNWTO session.
Speaking before a Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Tourism
recently, Ministry of Transport and Communicat-ion's Permanent Secretary,
Munesushe Munodawafa, said a temporary solution was now needed since it was
now a reality that the planned Convention Centre, which would accommodate
about 4 000 guests, would not be complete by August next year.
"Cabinet approved the construction of a permanent structure (the convention
centre) but looking at the time left (before the UNWTO begin), and the
situation on the ground, we believe it is no longer possible," he said.
"We are now looking at Plan B which will be a semi-permanent solution,"
Munodawafa said.
The Convention Centre was expected to be built near Masuwi and Air Port
Speaking before the same committee, Engineer George Mlilo said after
realising and accepting that the convention centre would not be completed
before the UNWTO begin, a temporary structure which could be used for the
next 20 years, would be constructed.
"The time remaining is not adequate to come up with a permanent structure
that can house as much as 3 000 people. We will however erect a tent made up
of Alminuim glass fabrication that can last between 15-20 years. The
structure will be put near the Chogum Park North of Spray View Hotel," Mlilo
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Sylvester Maunganidze,
said progress on most of the projects associated with the hosting of the
UNWTO were behind schedule at a time when officials from UNWTO were expected
to visit the country next month.
"When we visited Madrid with Minister (Walter) Mzembi last month, we were
told to expect 4 000, not the 3 000 (people) we were working with in mind.
This means we need more money and work hard," said Maunganizdze.
He said major projects such as the Convention Centre would be an uphill task
if it was to be completed before August next year as promised funds were
still unavailable..
"While it is commendable that the Ministry of Finance allocated us a US$1
million fund for preparations of the general assembly, the amount remains
largely on paper. It has been so frustrating to access such funds," he said.
Maunganidze said they were not getting the requisite financial support from
treasury when they hosted UNWTO inspectors or had to undertake programs to
market UNWTO.
But Biti said last week: "In preparation for the hosting of the 20th Session
of the UNWTO, government is prioritising support for implementation of a
number of projects such as the upgrading of the Victoria Falls District
hospital, Victoria Falls airport, roads and sewer projects. (These) projects
will define our overall state of preparedness for August 2013."
He did not mention the Convention Centre.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare ZANU PF ordered to rein in Chipangano gang

By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 July 2012

A senior official within ZANU PF has called for the party’s Harare province
to rein in the Chipangano gang that has terrorised the capital, admitting
the youths aligned to their party are now jeopardizing their electoral

The gang is based in the Mbare high-density suburb where they control most
commuter bus ranks, flea markets and council-owned flats, depriving the
Harare Council of much needed funds. They operate with impunity in exchange
for carrying out the party’s dirty work in Harare, which includes forcing
people to attend rallies and intimidating MDC supporters.

According to Mbare MP Piniel Denga, ZANU PF’s national Secretary for
Administration, Didymus Mutasa, appeared on state run television on Tuesday
night addressing the party structures in Harare over recent district
elections that were marred with violence and chaotic infighting.

Denga told SW Radio Africa that Mutasa warned the Harare province chairman
Amos Midzi to make sure that all the violence in Harare is stopped and the
unruly youths are brought under control. Mutasa is also said to have
admitted that the violent gang is now losing votes for the party.

“They have realised that violence does not pay and it will always damage the
image of the party. They also admitted their youth are doing things to
residents that are wrong and we hope to see meaningful changes,” Denga said.

He explained that Mutasa’s comments on a television news channel run by ZANU
PF came as a surprise, because Chipangano had been used by party officials
to mobilize residents in Harare to attend important events. Mbare is
currently a no-go area for supporters of the MDC formations due to the gang’s

Chipangano has been operating in Mbare for nearly ten years without any
interference from the police, many of whom are alleged to be fearful of the
violent youths.

Mutasa’s call for control of the gang came just days after it was reported
that the youths who control Harare’s lucrative minibus ranks were now
fighting each other over profits.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF plans ‘drastic measures’ to deal with factionalism

By Alex Bell
25 July 2012

ZANU PF’s top decision making body was set to take drastic measures
Wednesday to put a stop to worsening infighting in the party.

The Politburo has come under pressure to ‘axe’ what have been called
‘trouble makers’ who stand accused of worsening already fragile relations in
the ZANU PF hierarchy.

Didymus Mutasa, the party’s secretary for administration, was expected to
present a ‘damning’ report of who is behind the infighting. He warned Monday
that party members faced the ‘axe’ and the party would get rid of any
officials linked to the infighting, adding that there would be no “sacred

“The party has not taken a decision, but Mutasa was simply warning those
wayward leaders who are taking a position that is not in line with party

The politburo will decide what to do with those who fan factionalism in the
party,” party spokesman Rugare Gumbo was quoted as saying earlier this week.

ZANU PF factionalism reached boiling point earlier this month when Robert
Mugabe disbanded the party’s District Coordinating Committees (DCCs). This
followed almost two months of intense squabbling over the result DCC
elections, which have again exposed how ZANU PF loyalty is split between the
Joice Mujuru faction and the one led by Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe dissolved the grassroots structures arguing they were serving a
“divisive role”.

There were no details about the results of the politburo meeting by the end
of Wednesday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZAPU’s Dabengwa claims Makoni was a ZANU PF election plot

By Tererai Karimakwenda
25 July 2012

A sinister ZANU PF plot to split votes and ensure that the 2008 Presidential
election had no outright winner has been alleged by ZAPU leader Dumiso
Dabengwa, who was once a cabinet minister and politburo member.

Dabengwa said he walked away from ZANU PF in 2008, along with several other
ZAPU officials, because they did not approve of the violence and murders
that followed Robert Mugabe’s loss to MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

But critics have said that Dabengwa left ZANU PF because of ‘sour grapes’
and having no political future in the party.

Regarding the elections, Dabengwa claimed that Simba Makoni’s party,
Mavambo-Kusile Dawn (MKD), was started by individuals in ZANU PF in a plot
to prevent Tsvangirai, as well as Mugabe, from getting an outright victory.

The ZAPU leader alleged that the plot was arranged after Mugabe refused to
stand aside and allow a younger candidate to take over, insisting on running
for another term. He said other ZANU PF chefs, including the late Army
General Solomon Mujuru, were involved in the plot.

Dabengwa is quoted as saying: “Our idea was to make sure there was no winner
and we succeeded in doing that. Our thinking at that time was if there is no
winner, at the facilitation stage people would come together to an indaba
and be able to discuss what is the way”.

SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saumgweme said the consensus
on the ground in Matabeleland is that Makoni was indeed a ZANU PF creation
that was meant to split votes. But at the time many people believed he was
sincerely opposed to Robert Mugabe.

“During the campaign Makoni came here to White City stadium and I remember
he told people that Mugabe was an old octogenarian leader who needed to be
replaced. People trusted him and thought he was genuine but he was a project
of the ZANU PF politburo,” Saungweme explained.

He added that the trust in Makoni at the time was reflected in the fact that
he won in some constituencies in Bulawayo and other regions of Matabeleland.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe court loss ‘not a return to the rule of law’

By Alex Bell
25 July 2012

A human rights activist in Zimbabwe has warned that it is too early to
celebrate the country’s return to the rule of law, after Robert Mugabe lost
another court challenge this week.

On Tuesday Mugabe lost a Supreme Court appeal against Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s legal bid over the unilateral appointment of governors that
Mugabe made without consulting his fellow government leader.

Tsvangirai took Mugabe to the High Court for unilaterally appointing the
country’s 10 provincial governors in 2009 without any consultation, despite
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) clearly stating that he is meant to.

The High Court ruled in Tsvangirai favour, but this decision was appealed by
Mugabe’s legal team, an appeal that has now been dismissed.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the Supreme Court has dismissed
an appeal by Mugabe. Earlier this month the Court ordered Mugabe to call for
by- elections, dismissing his appeal against a High Court order to do the

But Phillip Pasirayi from the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe
(CCDZ) told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that it is too early to call these
developments a sign that the historically partisan judicial system is

“It is too early to celebrate that we are seeing a country returning to the
rule of law. Just look at the continued impunity that we have seen, the
ongoing partisan nature of the courts and the security sector. We are still
a long way to achieving that state of affairs,” Pasirayi said.

He said that security sector reform and an overhaul of the judicial system
will be needed before the country can start celebrating a return to respect
for the rule of law.

“There is a serious need for improvements in laws and institutions. For one,
people on judicial positions are political appointees to the point that the
courts are compromised,” Pasirayi said.

He pointed to the ongoing detention of 29 MDC-T members accused of murdering
a policeman in Glen View last year. The MDC-T has said the case is clear

“Until we see these key changes that ensure real justice and fair trials for
all, then we cannot say we have returned to the rule of law,” Pasirayi said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe frees man held for bony Mugabe cartoons

Sapa-AFP | 25 July, 2012 11:53

A Zimbabwean man was freed after being detained since April for having
cartoons on his cell phone that showed a bony-looking Robert Mugabe in the
nude, his lawyers said Wednesday.

Benias Gwenhamo Madhakasi, who works as a street vendor in South Africa, was
arrested at the Beit Bridge border post on April 29 on charges of insulting
or undermining the authority of the president.

He was denied bail and held in custody until Tuesday, when a magistrate
tossed out the case, said Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which
represented Madhakasi.

"Prosecutors claimed that Madhakasi was found in possession of skeletal nude
pictures portraying President Mugabe in his mobile phone handset," the
lawyers said in a statement.

One of the pictures had a caption which read, "Happy 87th birthday Robert
Mugabe," the prosecutors said.

Mugabe, who turned 88 in February, is Africa's oldest ruler.

Beit Bridge magistrate Auxillia Chiumburu dismissed the case as "a fishing
expedition", after police changed the charges to immigration violations.

There are regular reports of arrests for slandering Zimbabwe's long-time
president and breaching the strict Public Order and Security Act.

Usually those found guilty receive light jail sentences, fines or are
ordered to do community service.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Journalist arrested over voters roll

POLICE on Monday 23 July 2012 arrested Thomas Madhuku, a freelance
journalist and detained him at Harare Central Police Station.
by The Zimbabwean Harare

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of
Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys, who is representing Madhuku, is currently
attending at the Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station,
where a warned and cautioned statement is likely to be recorded from the
freelance journalist and from where details of the charges that he faces
will emerge.

According to Bhatasara, the police allege that Madhuku tempered with the
country’s voters roll and practised journalism with an expired accreditation

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's Party Set for High-Stakes Politburo Meeting Amid Divisions

24 July 2012

Blessing Zulu | Washington

The supreme decision-making body of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's Zanu
PF party will convene a crucial meeting in Harare Wednesday amid rising
tensions in the party.

Top on the Politburo's agenda is the disbanding of the District Coordinating
Committees and the party’s position on the draft charter that has now been
handed over to Parliament by the Select Committee.

The two issues have become the latest lightning rod in the party. In what
party insiders are calling a shocking development, Midlands province has
rejected the dismantling of the district committees.

The province has also gone as further as calling on the party’s presidium to
be disbanded. Midlands is home to presidential aspirant, Defense Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, among other party stalwarts including spokesman Rugare

Senior party officials are also publicly trading barbs on the constitution.
Some hardliners led by Tsolotsho lawmaker Jonathan Moyo want the party to
reject the draft. But the party’s chairman in COPAC, Munyaradzi Paul
Mangwana is defending the draft.

Fireworks are expected when Mangwana officially unveils the draft for
discussion at the Politburo meeting. Another thorny issue is the "terror
group" Chipangano that has divided Zanu PF in Harare.

Some officials say the militant group is not only tarnishing the party's
image but also targeting opponents within the party.

The group, which operates with impunity has been extorting money from
residents and openly campaigning for Zanu PF in elections.

Party Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa ordered the party's Harare
province chairman Amos Midzi to disband the notorious group.

Midzi refused to comment on the directive. But Zanu PF Youth Chairman Jim
Kunaka, alleged to be the leader of the group, told VOA that Chipangano does
not exist.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe, who’s aligned
to the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
says factionalism is tearing Zanu PF apart.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare Labor Court Issues Order Against Striking ZESA Workers

24 July 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

A Labor Court in Harare Monday issued a show cause order mandating the
suspended Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority workers to explain why the
court should not take action against them.

ZESA made a court application seeking relief against 132 workers it
suspended indefinitely without pay and benefits after they threatened to go
on strike over a salary dispute.

Early this year the employees, who are demanding an entry salary of $275.00
per month, won a salary increase argument in a voluntary arbitration process
but the power utility company has refused to affect an increment insisting
it does not have the money to do so.

Labor Minister Paurina Mpariwa Gwanyanya recommended that the two parties
seek an out of court settlement.

ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira said his company respects the country labor
laws, adding disciplinary action would be taken against the suspended

Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union organizing secretary Joseph Charlie said
employees were demanding that ZESA should unconditionally lift the
suspensions before they can officially engage with management.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Airport road scandal: PM summons Chombo

by Christopher Mahove & Tawanda Majoni 3 hours 44 minutes ago

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has summoned Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo to answer allegations of corruption in the scandal-ridden
Harare Airport Road and Borrowdale Mall projects.

Click here to read FULL REPORT in PDF:

Sources in the PM’s office say he called on Chombo to discuss the
controversial deals before his visit to Japan last week, amid revelations
that the cash-strapped council paid 800% more than it should have for the
20km stretch of road.

The Harare City Council Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, and the director of
urban planning services, Psychology Chiwanga, are members of the board of
directors of Augur Investments. In June 2008 a caretaker council appointed
by Chombo signed an agreement with the company to upgrade the road. The
project was valued at $80 million, with 10% of the money being paid in cash
and the remainder in land. Chombo endorsed the agreement and signed as a

The Comptroller General, in his report on the Government Financial year
ended December 2010, revealed that the construction of a road should cost at
most $500,000 per km – meaning the airport road should not have cost more
than $10 million.

Documents in our possession reveal that the wetland along Borrowdale Road,
where Augur plans to construct a $100 million shopping mall, was transferred
to the company as part payment for the road deal - despite a council
resolution against the change of land use.

“On 30 November 2009, Harare City Council passed a resolution not to accede
to the change of land use of the Millennium Park from a public open space to
a multi-purpose park. This resolution remains unchanged to this date,” say
the documents.

The land was transferred to seven companies linked to Augur, namely Yellow
Seat, Home Villa Properties, Doosex Properties, Express Properties, Homeday
Properties, Ice Class Properties and Electro Properties.

Our investigations also reveal that the land was undervalued. Residential
land is sold at an average of $15 per square meter, but Augur got the
commercial land, which should cost more, at only $3,50. This means that the
total prejudice suffered by the council on the deal could be well above $200

Chombo has also reportedly issued a preliminary planning permit to Augur to
begin construction of the mall, despite a recommendation that the
Environmental Management Agency should first do an impact assessment in
accordance with the law.

EMA has not approved the project and some councilors now stand accused of
having been bribed with pieces of land in Vainona from a named senior
government official to back it.

Sources in the PM’s office said Tsvangirai had ordered Chombo to make sure
all the necessary legal procedures were followed before construction began.
As leader of the Government Work Programme, Tsvangirai was wary about the
deal, which was likely to come under public scrutiny as Borrowdale residents
intended to take the matter to the Administrative Court.

“If this matter goes to court, the whole airport deal will come under public
scrutiny. If the Prime Minister endorses the project without ensuring that
all legal processes have been adhered to, he risks being associated with
these irregularities,” said the source.

Ken Sharpe, the South African Director of Augur, which was hastily set up in
May 2008 and won the tender without prior experience in road construction,
recently attempted to gag the media from reporting on his projects. The
other directors are Oleksandr Sheremet (Ukraine) and Michael John Van Blek.
The financial director, Alistair Gibson, left in 2010.

Chombo distanced himself from both the road and mall projects, saying they
were purely commercial deals between Augur and HCC.

‘‘I am tired of being dragged into matters that don’t concern me. All the
time these so-called scandals emerge, the media finds a scapegoat in me and
I don’t know what crime I have committed,’’ Chombo told The Zimbabwean.

‘‘My ministry has no file at all concerning the projects in question and all
the facts lie with Augur and the Council. As a ministry, we only facilitate
the allocation of land where parties need it and I am prepared to give them
more if approached. The technical details are outside my sphere,’’ he added.

Last year councillors reported Chiwanga to the police for allegedly
transferring land in Glen Lorne belonging to the city to Harvest Nest
Enterprises, a company owned by Chombo, prejudicing the council of $1
million. The police have not taken any action to date.

Councilors want to know why Augur is now shifting attention to the Mall
project when the road that formed the core of the deal has not been

Recently, the HCC approved a project by Chinese Company, Anjin Investments,
also linked to diamond mining in Manicaland, to construct a multi-million
dollar hotel on wetlands next to the National Sports Stadium. Construction
of the hotel is continuing despite EMA insisting that it should be suspended
until an environmental impact assessment has been carried out. Powerful
officials are accused of accepting bribes.

Dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge Road has also taken years to take off,
with senior government officials accused of trying to wrestle the project
from ZimHighways, a consortium of local and international business people,
and demanding kickbacks of at least 10% of the $1 billion project.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Activists forced into hiding

A number of Gokwe activists have fled their homes fearing for their lives
following threats by state security agents and political thugs for
organising a peace building meeting last week.
by Blessed Moyo

Coordinated by the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe, the meeting
was disrupted by suspected Central Intelligence Organisation operatives and
Zanu (PF) activists, who have threatened people with death.

“The headmaster and teachers at Nyamhara Primary School are also under fire
for allowing the meeting to take place there,” George Makoni, the CCDZ
Information Officer, told The Zimbabwean.

The aborted meeting was part of an ongoing initiative to promote peace and
political tolerance in areas previously known as ‘‘no-go areas’’ for those
opposed to Zanu (PF).

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court orders Cape Town to process asylum applications

JOHANNESBURG, 25 July 2012 (IRIN) - Refugee rights organizations in Cape
Town are breathing a sigh of relief following a high court judgement that
will force the Department of Home Affairs to reverse a policy of not
accepting new asylum-seeker applications at the region’s only Refugee
Reception Office (RRO).

Since the beginning of July, when the Maitland RRO in Cape Town moved to new
premises, newly-arrived refugees trying to apply for asylum have been turned
away and only those wanting to renew asylum seeker permits have been
assisted. Maitland was the third RRO to be closed by Home Affairs in two
years, leaving just three offices in Durban, Pretoria and Musina near the
Zimbabwean border, where refugees can apply for asylum.

On entering the country, asylum seekers are given 14 days to report to an
RRO and apply for an asylum seeker permit after which they are considered
undocumented migrants and subject to arrest, detention and deportation.

Refugee rights activists complain that the closure of the RRO in
Johannesburg in May 2011 and another in Port Elizabeth in November 2011
followed by the Cape Town office were part of a broader strategy by the
government to restrict migration and reduce the country’s caseload of asylum
seekers which is one of the world’s largest.

Over the past year, the Home Affairs Department has repeatedly stated its
intention to move all refugee reception services to the country’s borders,
most recently in a discussion document published by the ruling ANC party
ahead of its national elective conference to be held in December. However,
no such facilities have yet been built at the borders and the pressure on
the remaining RROs has meant that asylum seekers and refugees are regularly
turned away without accessing services.

“It seems all decisions are being made based on a policy [to move all RROs
to the borders] that hasn’t been approved yet,” commented Miranda Madikane,
director of the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, a refugee rights
organization that filed the urgent high court application to force the
Western Cape Home Affairs Department to resume services for newly-arrived
asylum seekers. “The move to the border could be logical but it needs to be
done in such a way that it’s supported by infrastructure.”


The Scalabrini Centre and other refugee organizations in Cape Town have been
at a loss how to help newly-arrived asylum seekers in need of documentation
since the Maitland RRO closed. Most were unaware they could not apply for
asylum in Cape Town and lack the resources to travel to Durban, Pretoria or

“Home Affairs promised a communication campaign at the border, but our
partners there haven’t noted one,” said Madikane.

Jacob Matakanye of the Musina Legal Advice Office confirmed that there had
been no campaign to raise awareness about the closure of the Maitland
office. He added that most asylum seekers preferred not to apply for permits
in Musina because of the need to return to the remote border town every time
their permit was due for renewal.

The judgement in Cape Town follows two similar judgements in Johannesburg
and Port Elizabeth, both of which found that the closure of RROs had been
implemented unlawfully and without public consultation. In February, the
Port Elizabeth High Court ordered Home Affairs to reopen a fully functioning
RRO with immediate effect. An attempt to appeal the judgement was rejected
in May, but according to David Stephens of the Eastern Cape Refugee and
Migrant Programme, the RRO in Port Elizabeth is still not serving
newly-arrived asylum seekers.

“We’ve been telling everyone to go to Cape Town, but now Cape Town’s been
closed,” he told IRIN.

Braam Hanekom, director of People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty
(PASSOP), another Cape Town-based refugee rights organization was optimistic
that Home Affairs would implement the judgement relating to Cape Town’s
refugee reception services. “If we’d lost, it would have been disastrous,”
he said.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Heal Zimbabwe news update

Heal Zimbabwe news update

Click the above link to read the Weekly bulletin- An Update on the political
environment in Zimbabwe week ending 22-07-12

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New constitution in Zimbabwe set to “legalize” discrimination and theft

25 July 2012


It is with horror that all of us who believe in democracy, human rights and
the rule of law, read Zimbabwe’s draft constitution that both the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF have
signed off.

The draft constitution seeks to explicitly cancel the right of Zimbabweans
to appeal to a supreme legal body to protect their fundamental rights.

It also aims to deny any compensation from the Zimbabwe Government for land
that has been taken from the rightful owner, stating: “no compensation is
payable in respect of its acquisition.”

Furthermore, it directly prevents anyone applying to a court regarding
compensation for land: “no person may apply to a court for the determination
of any question relating to compensation.”

The draft says that land can be acquired simply by a notice in the gazette
“whereupon the land vests in the state with full title with effect from the
date of the publication of the notice…”

And most alarmingly, it says in section 4.29(3)c that discrimination is
now legal: “the acquisition may not be challenged on the grounds it was

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesman, welcomes the move because take-overs in
the future will now be able to be done “legally”!

To those of us who do believe in democracy, human rights and the rule of
law, this part of the new constitution has to be labeled as retrogressive in
the extreme.

How can anyone who champions human rights not speak out against section
4.29? How can anyone endorse a new constitution that explicitly contradicts
itself by going against other parts of the draft constitution?

The situation is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1945 masterpiece of
totalitarian evolutionary satire, Animal Farm. At the time of liberation,
the Seventh Commandment of the animals said: “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL.” In
reality, all over the world, every constitution has equality as a founding
principle. In Zimbabwe, equality and the freedom from discrimination only
applies to one section of Zimbabwe’s new draft constitution. In section
4.29 of the draft, the rule of equality is dashed.

I wish to expand on what happened in Orwell’s book after the Seventh
Commandment of equality had been written: “Some years later when Clover, the
old horse, looked at the wall on which the commandments were written, she
said, ‘My sight is failing. Even when I was young I could not read what was
written there. But it appears to me that the wall looks different. Are the
Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?’

For once Benjamin [the donkey] consented to break the rule, and he read out
to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a

After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were
supervising the work carried whips in their trotters.”

Orwell described Animal Farm as being a satire of a “violent conspiratorial
revolution, led by unconsciously power-hungry people.”

By endorsing discrimination like the apartheid regime of South Africa before
it, the MDC appears to have cast aside its original principles and joined
the ZANU PF revolution of inequality. Indeed the new constitution of
Zimbabwe goes further than the Apartheid constitution in explicitly
endorsing discrimination and taking away the right to appeal against it.

Section 4.29 also goes against the African Charter on Human and Peoples’
Rights which was adopted at the 18th Ordinary session of the Assembly of
Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on
27 June 1981 in Nairobi and came into force on 21 October 1986. The African
Charter undertakes to “eliminate… all forms of discrimination.”

Section 4.29 goes against the Constitutive Act of the African Union adopted
by the 36th ordinary session of the Assemblies of the Heads of State on the
11 July 2000, in Togo, which came into force on 26 May 2001 and had an
objective to “promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in accordance
with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and other
relevant human rights instruments.”

Section 4.29 goes against the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam and
the Arab Charter on Human Rights regarding discrimination.

It goes against Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations which aims at
“promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental
freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

The new constitution of Zimbabwe, in allowing discrimination, goes against
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, parts of which say:

Article 1 : All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one
another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in
this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall
be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international
status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be
independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of

Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any
discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal
protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and
against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent
national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by
the constitution or by law.
Article 13: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence
within the borders of each state.

Article 17 (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in
association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for
any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform
any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth

Alarmingly, United Nations (UN) conventions like the “Convention Against All
Forms of Racial Discrimination” and the “Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid” will also be brazenly violated.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Treaty will be violated.
It is clear that the ruling of the SADC Tribunal in the Campbell Case on the
issues regarding section 4.29 of the constitution is being deliberately

The SADC Tribunal stated that “the respondent [the Zimbabwe Government]
cannot rely on its national law, its constitution, to avoid an international
law obligation.”

It is apparent that the will of the people is also being disregarded.

Most of all it is evident that God’s blue print, written on the Ten
Commandments, is being smashed to the ground.

Daniel Webster commented that “God grants liberty only to those who love it
and are always ready to guard and defend it.”

If the likes of Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC spokesman, continue to believe
that legality can be founded on precepts that are fundamentally flawed,
Zimbabwe will continue to fail. Investment will not be attracted and
development will not take place. Food security will remain dire and
education and health will continue to suffer. The will of the people will
have been betrayed.

Just as happened in Animal Farm, and throughout the thousands of farms that
were violently stolen without compensation over the last 12 years,
destruction will continue to be the order of the day.


Ben Freeth
SADC Tribunal Rights Watch
Cell: +263 773 929 138

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ben Freeth letter to Coltart,Cross on constitution

Dear David and Eddie,

I accept that you don’t like public letters but I think, for those that are
brave enough to stand for public office, they need to be brave enough to
accept that there must be public criticism. Without public accountability,
transparency and openness, democracy can not work.

David, you and other Christians and the rest of our democrats are about to
agree to a constitution that has draconian measures in it – a constitution
that goes directly against the law of God as drawn up in the 8th commandment
and says implicitly that: “thou can steal” – and nobody has the right to go
to court about the stealing that takes place. Further to that it explicitly
says that discrimination is permissible in the stealing process – “the
acquisition may not be challenged on the grounds it was discriminatory.”

This is a matter of principle and I am afraid that if we do not question it
and those agreeing to it we are not being true to what we believe. If those
agreeing to it are prepared to compromise on principle so far, what
principles are they going to compromise on next? Eddie, you call this new
constitution a “ferry”- and you say you are happy with the rights that the
new constitution gives. I am outraged!

What was wrong with the Lancaster house constitution in allowing free and
fair elections? We are all aware that we have a party in power that
disregards laws and constitutions. Were pungwes constitutional before? Of
course not! Was the burning of houses – sometimes with people inside them –
constitutional before? Of course not! Was the rape of women and the
mutilation of your supporters constitutional before? By no means! So how is
any new constitution going to protect people from lawless and savage acts?
How is the constitution going to be the ferry that gets the police out to do
their job in protecting life and property?

No, the constitution is not the ferry. It is a red herring in the waters.

All along the problem has been “protecting the people.” Would you David, or
you Eddie – or Morgan or Welshman – or anyone else – be prepared to go out
to the all night pungwes before the election to protect people? Has anyone
in the past? Of course not! God knows how we tried to get people out them!
No, it was too dangerous.

So why are those in public office rather not putting together dossiers and
films about the atrocities at the pungwes, so that Morgan, Welshman, the
churches, the civics, and anyone else who cares about the protection of the
people of Zimbabwe, hold hands and, ahead of the next election, go out on an
all out international campaign to SADC, the AU, the EU, the Sates and the UN
to call for peace keepers and the protection of the people? There is enough
evidence of the crimes against humanity the take place before every
election. There are pictures and medical reports and horror stories in their
thousands. If the Christians and the democrats were to hold hands and unite
in this call, and the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister were
calling for it with a united voice, it would carry much more weight than an
opposition leader calling for it – as has been the case in the past.

But no. There is this sham idea that MDC can out negotiate ZANU! There is
this feeling that ZANU will negotiate itself out of power! It is utter
naivety and nonsense. No! ZANU is regrouping. ZANU was on the ropes but it
is now becoming financially secure. It is buying cars. It is training
militia. It is stopping prosecutions of the perpetrators of the “last
round.” It is arresting anyone who is a threat. It has prevented MDC from
even visiting the police stations and carrying out any reform amongst those
that allow the terror. ZANU is getting ready. It knows what works. It has
used it time and time again. Fear has to be inculcated. Fear levels continue
to run very high.

How is calling for the lifting of targeted sanctions and sanitizing all that
has happened going to stop ZANU from employing its tried and tested formula?
It works! It has worked time and time again! This policy of appeasement is
horrifying. “Everything is OK in Zimbabwe now!” I weep as I write this! Who
are we trying to fool? Why are we hiding the truth! Why, after 4 years of
you being in public office is there not an open all out bid being made to
get the people protected ahead of the next election?

In tears of concern of what is to come,


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New York Times Report painting Robert Mugabe as hero plows over the victims

By Steven Edwards 3 hours 8 minutes ago

Mussolini got the trains running on time, cynics say in an insensitive
dismissal of fascism’s horrors.

In a similar vein, The New York Times applauds the success in Zimbabwe of a
few tens of thousands of Robert Mugabe supporters who benefited from the
African strongman’s violent evictions of white farmers and their workers in

The so-called reform left hundreds dead, thousands beaten, tortured or
raped, and helped cause widespread misery by accelerating Zimbabwe’s
economic collapse.

Yet in a recent Times front-page story, reporter Lydia Polgreen writes that
“amid that pain … new farmers overcame early struggles to fare pretty well.”

These “new farmers” were Mugabe thugs, cronies and supporters.

“Why should one white man have all this?” she cites new farmer Stuart Mhavei
as saying. “This is Zimbabwe. Black people must come first.”

The report’s focus would have surely been different had she been in, say,
the United States, and one of her interview subjects had said: “This is
America. White people must come first.”

The report is about tobacco production by Mugabe’s favored few. Its cheerful
headline – In Zimbabwe Land Takeover, a Golden Lining – plays off the color
of the cash crop's dried leaves.

It describes a 1990’s auction house launched by Roger Boka of Harare, and
says a “handful of white farmers” would wait there for their “big checks to
be cut.”

Today at the same location, “every single one of them was black,” Polgreen
eagerly reports.

Boka’s daughter Rudo, who now runs the auction house, welcomes the change.

“Now it is for everybody. It is a beautiful sight,” Polgreen quotes her as

Polgreen fails to challenge Boka’s use of the word “everybody.” It excludes
not only whites, but blacks opposing Mugabe. Throughout the 2008 national
elections, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change says pro-Mugabe
militia killed at least 86 of its supporters, and forced 200,000 others from
their homes.

At a human rights conference in New York last fall, self-exiled Zimbabwean
political activist Grace Kwinjeh said Mugabe’s ZANU-PF systematically raped
to intimidate MDC female members and supporters.

“Patterns that emerge from survivors show that history in Zimbabwe is
repeating itself,” she told the “We Have a Dream” gathering staged by UN
Watch and others.

Polgreen says 60,000 almost exclusively black farmers now grow tobacco in
Zimbabwe, most on small plots, compared to the less than 2,000 mostly white
farmers operating larger estates before 2000.

Fine, but the United Nations Development Program said in a 2008 report that
the farm invasions caused 1 million people – the vast majority of them black
workers and their families – to lose their livelihoods as commercial farming
jobs disappeared.

No matter, Polgreen reports the farm invaders and their beneficiaries “made
a go of it” and more than tripled tobacco yields from 105 million pounds in
2008 to more than 330 million pounds this year.

She acknowledges there was “hyperinflation, joblessness and hunger” in the
wake of the farm invasions.

But it’s only toward the end of the article that she quotes a farmers’ union
chief as saying reform could have been achieved without hundreds and
thousands of Zimbabweans losing their jobs and without huge economic losses
to the country.

It’s also toward the end that she says the personal cost to whites was
"immense," highlighting a farmer whose family bought their property after
Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain. In other words, not all the
dispossessed farmers had benefited from colonial-era preference.

Polgreen’s final paragraphs return to offering statements that help mitigate
the illegitimacy of Mugabe’s land grab. To explain how tobacco yields remain
well below the peak of 522 million pounds in 2000, she turns to tobacco
farming researcher Tendai Murisa, who offers a somewhat Obama-esque theory.

“No one ever argued that this is a more productive form of farming,”
Polgreen quotes the researcher as saying. “But does it share wealth more
equitably? Does it give people a sense of dignity and ownership? Those
things have value, too.”

Isn’t that the gist of what we’re increasingly hearing from the U.S.

The report serves to legitimize the Mugabe land confiscations, the
accompanying violence, and the subsequent economic catastrophe.

It risks being just as offensive to Mugabe’s victims as the refrain that
Mussolini’s alleged train schedule success shows totalitarianism has its
good side.

Polgreen says in a blog she will take questions on the issues raised in her
report, and pledged to post her responses. She should begin with an apology
to the victims of the farm invasions.

Steven Edwards is a United Nations-based writer on international issues.
Follow him on Twitter: @stevenmedwards - Foxnews

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Lifting of Zim Sanctions and the Shape of Politics to Come

By Greg Nicolson, 25 July 2012


South Africa's Navi Pillay prepared the stage for the removal of sanctions
on her visit to Zimbabwe a month ago. "There seems little doubt that the
existence of the sanctions regimes has, at the very least, acted as a
serious disincentive to overseas banks and investors," said the United
Nations high commissioner for human rights.

"It is also likely that the stigma of sanctions has limited certain imports
and exports. Taken together, these and other unintended side effects will in
turn inevitably have had a negative impact on the economy at large, with
possibly quite serious ramifications for the country's poorest and most
vulnerable populations," she said.

Discussing the sanctions on Monday, the European Commission inadvertently
acknowledged that aid sanctions hurt Zimbabwe's population and resolved to
put a carrot in front of a fair vote. Under the trade agreements with its
former colonial subjects, the EU resolved to resume sending aid to Harare in
2014, scrapping the limit to only give aid to NGOs.

The real incentive, however, comes from the constitution. More than three
years since the formation of the government of national unity, the draft
constitution was handed to parliament on Monday. If Zimbabwe holds a
"credible" referendum on the draft, said the EU, it will remove travel bans
and asset freezes against Mugabe's top brass.

"The EU agrees that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would
represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections
that would justify a suspension of the majority of all EU targeted
restrictive measures against individuals and entities," read a statement
from the EU's foreign ministers.

The MDC, which has publicly lobbied against the sanctions, welcomed the EU's
move. "My preference remains for a full lifting of the measures in keeping
with the agreement between the parties in Zimbabwe and resolutions of SADC,"
said Prime Minister and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Linking the suspension to the successful implementation of the constitution
referendum is evidence that the EU is willing to respond to progress in
reform of the democratic process in Zimbabwe."

The Australian government, which had issued sanctions along with the EU and
US over the last decade, is also considering lifting sanctions, it said, as
Tsvangirai held discussions with Canberra on Monday.

"We will be listening to advice from Prime Minister Tsvangirai about the
issue of sanctions," said trade minister Craig Emerson.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF, however, used the opportunity to criticise the EU. "We are
happy on one hand that our case is being validated, but we are unhappy on
the other that they are retaining some of the illegal, immoral and
unjustified sanctions which are based on falsehoods," said spokesman Rugare
Gumbo. "We want all these sanctions removed because they are illegal, but we
will never allow anyone to interfere with our domestic affairs."

Gumbo said Zimbabwe "never depended on the EU" and all sanctions should be
lifted. "It's all nonsense We depend on ourselves so their decisions on
sanctions make no difference."

Zimbabwe's unemployment figures make South Africa's burden look like child's
play and the lifting of sanctions should encourage the nation, but Zanu-PF
have reason to be upset by their possible removal.

Mugabe and his cronies have constantly blamed the country's failures on
Western sanctions and neo-colonialism. Using state media outlets, he has
deflected criticism for the failure to provide jobs and basic services by
positioning himself as a crusader against the imperial forces out to rape
the country.

If sanctions are removed, Mugabe would have lost a massive excuse (should he
indeed continue being alive and kicking) for the shortages of food, health
and crumbled infrastructure. The EU has stated it won't end sanctions
against the octogenarian leader, regardless of the referendum outcome, so he
still has some ammunition in his propaganda machine.

The EU's announcement heralds a large change: the sanctions, despite their
intent, have hurt the average Zimbabweans while protecting Mugabe's allies,
who have the connections to evade their limitations.

Zimbabwe's draft constitution will lead to a referendum. Depending on its
result, that will lead to an election. SADC has recommended Zimbabwe go to
the polls by June 2013.

Each step towards another election provides hope for a democratic Zimbabwe,
free of the poverty Zanu-PF is happy to enforce on its rivals.

But what should worry Zimbabweans and all of us living in the South African
Development Community is that, except for Mugabe's deteriorating health,
little seems to have changed since the 2008 elections.

This time, the EU's holding a lucrative carrot out for the country to avoid
a repeat of the violence. Zimbabwe may be on the cusp of change these days
and the EU's move might help. Then again, we hoped it may happen many times
in the past, with ever-increasing poverty and desperation the only result.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe needs fair elections


From: The Australian
July 25, 2012 12:00AM

WITH his estimable record as a fighter for democracy, Zimbabwean Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's appeal in Australia to suspend sanctions
imposed on the Mugabe regime carries great weight.

Britain and the EU have responded positively to a similar appeal. Mr
Tsvangirai speaks optimistically of sufficient reform having taken place to
warrant a reward that will encourage further progress. Yet there is no
escaping the reality that Robert Mugabe and many of the henchmen who have
for 32 years plundered Zimbabwe's wealth, wreaking violence and oppression
on their opponents, remain in power, unwilling to cede their privileges to a
new democratic order. While Mr Tsvangirai is pinning his hopes on next
year's scheduled presidential election, Mugabe has been doing everything
possible to undermine him by trying to bring the poll forward. The President
believes that by doing so his Zanu-PF Party would obliterate the Prime
Minister's Movement for Democratic Change and end the power-sharing
arrangement. Britain and the EU will lift most sanctions if Mugabe holds a
credible referendum later this year on a new draft constitution. That is a
yardstick Australia could follow, but there is a need for caution. It is
conceivable that to entrench his regime Mugabe, 88, will hold a passable
referendum, garner the benefits from being sanctions-free, then violently
rig next year's election in the way he has all others for decades. Mugabe
clearly is determined to hang on as long as possible, seeking to ensure that
when he finally goes his odious regime continues. Sanctions have done much
to help achieve what progress there has been in Zimbabwe. But it is
imperative to reward progress in a way that will not help Mugabe and his
henchmen steal next year's all-important poll. Making the lifting of
sanctions contingent on holding a free and fair election would be a better

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Statement by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe on the EU Council decisions on Zimbabwe

24 July 2012

I welcome the EU announcement made in Brussels yesterday to suspend restrictive measures on Zimbabwe. My preference remains for a full lifting of the measures in keeping with the agreement between the GPA parties in Zimbabwe and resolutions of SADC.

However, linking a suspension to the successful conclusion of the Constitution referendum is evidence that the EU is willing to respond to progress in reform of the democratic process in Zimbabwe.

I remain hopeful that we will in due course fully normalize our relationship with the EU and urge all parties to remain engaged. In particular, I urge the GPA parties in Zimbabwe to redouble their efforts in implementing the commitments that we made to fully and honestly implement the global political agreement and the roadmap to a free, fair, legitimate and credible election whose results are not contested.

Morgan Tsvangirai

Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe

MDC Information & Publicity Department
Harvest House
44 Nelson Mandela Ave
Tel: 00263 4 770 708

Together, united, winning, ready for a real change

The Real Change Times is the official mouthpiece of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Remarks by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the Right Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai, to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Canberra, 24 July 2012

“Zimbabwe: The challenge of transition”

The Executive Director of ASPI, Mr Peter Jennings

Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to be invited to speak before such an esteemed audience.

Today, I am here to share with you the challenges to a democratic transition that delayed the fulfilment of the people’s dream in Zimbabwe’s historic election in 2008.

Four years ago on 29 March 2008, Zimbabwe went to an election in which the people largely enjoyed some semblance of freedom to elect a leader and a party of their choice.

My party and I won that election.

Even the announcement of the results five weeks after people had cast their vote failed to douse the people’s exuberance after 28 years of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The results published by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission after one-and-half months indicated that even though I had won the election, I had just fallen short of garnering 50 percent of the votes and we had to go for a run-off.

We had our misgivings about that contrived result but while we prepared for the run-off, there was so much State-sponsored violence by the army and other security agencies against the people.

My party and I had no option but to pull out of the run-off.
We were simply not prepared to walk our way into office stepping on dead bodies and graves.

Mr Mugabe contested against himself in an one-man election that was dismissed by SADC, the African Union and the broader international community as illegitimate.

Negotiations brokered by SADC led to the formation of a coalition government in which I am Prime Minister and Mr Mugabe is President, despite the fact that I had won the credible election of 29 March 2008.
In short, I won the election but there was no transfer of power.

A people’s transition to full democracy was therefore thwarted by a few individuals at the helm of national security institutions who felt their privileges were under threat.

What torpedoed the people’s will as expressed in an election were individuals who abused national institutions because they felt it was necessary to mete out violence for their own personal ends.

I want to stress from the outset that our problem was never the rank and file of the army, the police or the Central Intelligence officers, most of whom I know are committed to upholding the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

It was individuals who felt their personal interests were threatened, whatever those interests are.

Our experience in the past four years has been a mixture of progress and impediments.

We have managed to stabilize the economy, tamed hyperinflation and given people the reason to hope again.

But we have largely failed to implement the reforms that we agreed to under the supervision of SADC; reforms that we agreed would create a conducive environment for the holding of free and fair elections that should end this coalition.

These include media reforms, a new voters’ roll and most importantly; security sector re-alignment. This was meant to realign our security sector to a democratic culture, respect for multi-partyism and respecting the people’s will.

The media, particularly the public media, have failed to reflect the new spirit of inclusivity.

They have become the new arsenal to malign and to vilify me and my party. The public media have become purveyors of hate speech and sowed divisions, disunity and disharmony in our society.

The electoral reforms that have gone through Parliament should go further so as to guarantee the security of the person, the security of the vote and the security of the people’s will.

Nothing should ever be allowed to stand in the way of the people’s will and now that we have become a global village, the world should not stand by while gun-toting musketeers instil fear among innocent civilians wishing to elect leaders and political parties of their choice.

Some of the individuals in the security sector have already publicly stated that they will not accept the results of the next election unless President Mugabe wins.

It is largely this intransigent attitude of some in the security forces, violence and non-movement in some reforms that largely threatens the prospect of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.

In other words, we face the possibility of yet another challenge to our democratic transition in the next election.

But I am an optimist.

I was giving a lecture in Japan on Friday and I told the gathering that we have moved from Afro-pessimism to Afro-optimism, underpinned by a brave progression towards democratic governance.

Our negative history as a continent and as individual countries has not blighted us to new opportunities and the prospect of a new era for our people.

I am convinced that our resilience and our record as a revolutionary people will ensure that we overcome the current threats to a peaceful transition.

SADC and Africa continue to nudge us towards a peaceful election. There is a concerted effort in SADC and Africa to ensure that democracy returns to Zimbabwe.
SADC, Africa and the world must keep their eye on Zimbabwe where an ordinary people are waging an extra-ordinary struggle for a democratic transition to take root.

The new Constitution, which is part of the agreed roadmap and which has now been agreed between the parties, is expected to mitigate against the excesses of the security forces.

Section 11 of the new Constitution, handed over to the Principals last week, demands that the police, the intelligence services, the army and the correctional services must act in a non-partisan manner. No serving member of the security sector can serve in a political party.

The Constitution, which will be subjected to a referendum in the near future, demands that members of the security forces must subordinate themselves to the civilian authority of the country.

Moreover, the service chiefs must now serve for a maximum of two five-year terms, which is a major improvement from the current Constitution where they had no term limits and where some serving members were active members of Zanu PF.

While the new Constitution may not cure the ills, we believe it is a major starting point to a new democratic culture of accountability, transparency and non-partisan service to the people.

The people of Zimbabwe have come far and I am convinced that we are in an unstoppable transition; a transition which is both political and generational.

I wish to conclude by making a plea to all of you to be global warriors for peace and non-violence.

Spare a thought for the people of Zimbabwe and join the global movement for a peaceful election where the people will be free to elect leaders of their choice in a free and fair election.

Pray for the exorcism of the demon of violence so that the people’s vote will count and that no one stands between the people and their legitimate expression.

I know that our daily frustrations as a people will not blind us to a bright future that beckons in the horizon.

The resilient people of Zimbabwe are ready for nothing but a free and fair election where violence, rigging, intimidation and coercion have no place; where our soldiers, our intelligence services and security organs remain impartial actors that respect and uphold the Constitution.

A false impression has been created that some of us are against our security institutions.

We have nothing against these institutions as long as they stick to their mandate of protecting, and not harming, the people of Zimbabwe.

Unarmed citizens can never be a threat to national security.

So we simply yearn for a free and fair election where losers hand over power and the winners begin urgently to transact the people’s business and to usher in new policies that will guarantee peace, prosperity and progress for the future generations of Zimbabwe.

We must, as a continent, embrace democracy and create and nurture those institutions that promote and protect the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens.

Any professional security institution must respect the Constitution and protect the people. Any subversion of civilian authority undermines democracy.

That challenge for us as the new crop of African leaders is to shun repression and misgovernance and to create a new society with new values.

We are a new generation which must focus on building strong economies, creating jobs and developing a qualitative and affordable social delivery system especially in the fields of health and education.

We must embrace ICTs and become part of the global village. ICTs will enable us to realise our full potential and bring all citizens to the same level in terms of economic development and access to information.

That is our vision as a country, to bring stability, security, unity, peace and development to the people of Zimbabwe.
I won the last election but there was no transfer of power because President Mugabe had the guns while I had the people. We cannot allow guns and bullets to be superior to the people’s sovereign will.

As a country and as a people, we derive our hope from the experiences of our African brothers in Senegal, Zambia and Malawi that it is possible to turn over a new leaf through a peaceful transition despite a tortuous and painful past.

I believe that with the support of SADC, the AU, the broader international community and our own efforts as a country to find each other, we will be able to lay the basis for a new Zimbabwe.

Like I always say, a new Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime.

I Thank You

MDC Information & Publicity Department
Harvest House
44 Nelson Mandela Ave
Tel: 00263 4 770 708

Together, united, winning, ready for a real change

The Real Change Times is the official mouthpiece of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

What value is education to Zimbabwe and her people?

July 25th, 2012

Dominic's homeAccording to the latest information released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa, 92.2% of adults and 99.0% of youth are literate.

In the small country of about 13 million people passing five subjects, including mathematics and English Language, at the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) is the threshold for admittance to any institution for tertiary education.

Gardeners and maids are ordinarily required to have at least three subjects at ‘O’ Level to enhance their chances of finding and keeping a job in a country where the job market is believed to have shrunken by between 60% and 75% between 1998 and 2008, depending on who one chooses to listen to.

A bit of statistics on the performance of Zimbabwe’s education system… let us look at information gleaned from the Education For All (EFA) 2000 Assessment Country Reports.

During the first 9 years of independence (1980 to 1989) the number of primary schools in Zimbabwe increased from 3161 to 4504, a staggering 42.48% increase. The number of secondary schools increased from 197 to 1502, an incredible 662% rise.

School enrolments increased by over 200% across the entire education sector (primary, secondary and tertiary levels). In the year before independence primary school enrolment in the 3161 schools was 820 000 pupils, and this had swelled to 2.08 million by 1990, a 154% increase. The number of teachers increased from 18 483 in 1979 to 60 886 by 1989, a 229% increase.

From only one university in 1980, the country now boasts a total of 13 universities, including a virtual university to provide for the needs of the working professional who cannot afford to attend classes on a fulltime or part time basis.

More than 25 000 students graduate with bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees from these universities every year.

For the multitudes who fail to enroll in the universities, there is the option to enroll in the five polytechnic colleges that offer certificate, diploma and degree courses in areas ranging from administration to engineering.

Thousands of school leavers also go through apprenticeship training with the few companies still operating profitably in the current challenging environment.

There is no doubt that this is a great achievement. But does this achievement translate into a better life for Zimbabwe’s citizens? The answer can be discerned from the picture above.

The picture was shot just before dusk on Tuesday 29 May 2012. The gentleman in the picture is a graduate of one of the five polytechnic colleges in Zimbabwe, and the structures in the background are what he calls home.

Dominic went to one of Zimbabwe’s mission schools that are renowned for their high pass rates, and upon completion of high school he enrolled at one of the polytechnic colleges where he studied diesel plant fitting for 3 years.

In addition to the polytechnic diploma, he sat for trade tests with the Industrial Training and Manpower Development and was awarded the coveted Journeyman Class 1 card.

With these sought after qualifications Dominic cherry-picked jobs, moving from one blue chip corporation to another. He worked for Gulliver, Border Timbers, Zisco Steel and Shabanie and Mashaba Mines, among other blue chip firms.

The companies paid well, and he bought a residential stand in the city of Gweru and built a middle income house. He married a nursing sister and together they started a family.

With a good education and skills training, as well as jobs that paid decent salaries, Dominic and his wife were archetypal middle class Zimbabweans. They ate well, sent their kids to good schools, subscribed to middle class sports clubs and afforded medical aid for their kids and elderly parents in the communal areas.

Life started to change in 1998. As a result of unbudgeted payouts to war veterans starting September 1997, inflation began to rise sharply and food prices spiked. This marked the beginning of the economic freefall that only ended with the formation of the unity government in 2009.

A lot of nasty things happened in Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2009. The political violence, economic collapse, displacement of the population and dislocation of families are well documented.

The companies that Dominic worked for were not spared by the crisis. Zisco Steel collapsed, Gulliver collapsed, Mashaba and Shabanie Mines collapsed and Border Timbers is on the brink of collapse after its plantations were invaded and settled by so-called new farmers.

By 2004 so many companies had closed down, and the job market had emaciated so much Dominic could not find a job. His wife’s salary had depleted so much it was not enough to buy basic provisions for them and their two children. They had left their elderly parents to their own devices.

As the rate of inflation reached a million percent and the country almost imploded, insurance companies terminated all life and endowment policies, except for those with premiums paid in foreign currency. The same happened to medical aid policies.

Dominic and his wife became so desperate, that desperation they made the most unwise decision of their lives. In mid-2005 they sold their house and invested the money in a small auto spares business. But inflation had spiraled to close to a billion percent by 2007 and pricing had become such a tricky business. A majority of businesses went under during that period, and Dominic’s spares business also closed down.

Dominic left for South Africa in November 2007 where he earned money loading Harare-bound buses at Park Station in Johannesburg. His wife quit her nursing job in July 2008 and after distributing their household effects with friends for safekeeping, she and the kids followed Dominic in Johannesburg. There she worked as a hairdresser on a street corner in Hilbrow to supplement her husband’s takings at Park Station.

Life in Johannesburg was not rosy at all. The two earned hardly enough money to pay for accommodation, food and school fees for their children. They accrued no savings, and they remitted nothing to their parents back in Zimbabwe.

In October 2011 Dominic and his family reviewed their situation in Johannesburg and came to the inescapable conclusion that they were wasting their time. They took the decision to return to Zimbabwe. They left their children, now young adults, in Johannesburg to fend for themselves.

Back in Zimbabwe and with nothing to their names, they also found most of their belongings either lost or damaged.

They found a place to rent in Gweru, but Dominic couldn’t find a job. His wife tried to return to the nursing service but was told that the government had frozen all vacant positions in the civil service, meaning that there would be no new recruitments until such time that the economy has improved sufficiently to allow the government to provision for better salaries. But the signs of any improvement are well pronounced by their absence.

They tried everything possible to make money in the city, but they found it impossible. Life in town became increasingly difficult, and eventually in March 2012 they resolved to go to their communal area in Masvingo where the village head allocated them a hectare of land on which to build their new home and prepare for the farming season that commences November.

In the picture the smaller hut is the kitchen where Dominic’s wife prepares meals…very rudimentary meals that are deficient in nutrients. The larger hut is the bedroom which he built with the help of his wife.

He dreads to think of the coming of the planting season…he has no cattle to plough and he has no seed or fertilizer. He will have to use hand-held hoes to dig, and maybe work in other people’s fields to raise money for seed. But he doesn’t believe he can afford fertilizer, without which he cannot dream of a decent harvest.

Dominic is not alone in this kind of situation. Thousands of well educated and highly skilled Zimbabweans cannot find jobs. Even the entrepreneurial ones cannot do much…banks do not give loans to start ups and those with no collateral. Also, there isn’t much money circulating in the economy, therefore buying and selling isn’t as good a business as it used to be before the collapse of the economy.

Unemployment is estimated to be between 80% and 95%, and there is no improvement in sight.

So what value is education to Zimbabwe and her people?

Names and places changed to protect the author.

Back to the Top
Back to Index