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Mugabe, Tsvangirai neck and neck

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

WITH only five days to go before Zimbabwe’s watershed general elections,
public opinion surveys and party campaigns show that President Robert Mugabe
and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are going head-to-head as they enter
the homestretch in a race which is a dead heat.

Faith Zaba

Crowds thronging Zanu PF and MDC-T rallies against a backdrop of recent
surveys by Freedom House and Afrobarometer show that next week’s elections
would be a close call between the two parties.

Judging by rallies held so far, Zanu PF still maintains a stranglehold on
the three Mashonaland provinces, while MDC-T controls most towns and cities
like Harare and Bulawayo, and provinces like Manicaland and Matabeleland.

According to an analysis of the voting trends in the March 2008 polls by
Zimbabwe Independent, indications are that the voting patterns are not going
to dramatically shift.

For the first time since Independence in 1980, Zanu PF lost presidential
elections and its parliament majority to the MDC-T in March 2008.

Tsvangirai won the presidential poll with 1 195 562 votes against Mugabe’s 1
079 730 votes — a huge gap of 115 832 votes.

Mugabe won in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central,
Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland South, while Tsvangirai got Harare,
Bulawayo, Manicaland and Matabeleland North provinces.

Mugabe went on to win the discredited June presidential run-off poll — one
of the most violent poll in Zimbabwe’s history — in which he contested alone
after Tsvangirai pulled out citing political violence and intimidation
against his supporters.

Although Zanu PF lost its parliamentary majority, it won the popular vote in
parliamentary elections with 1 111 625 voting for the party compared to 1
038 617 for MDC-T in an election which Mugabe faced bhora musango (internal
electoral sabotage) from disgruntled party members.

MDC-T won 100 seats, Zanu PF won 99, MDC 10 and one went to an independent.

The former liberation movement now faces the fight of its life against MDC-T
on July 31.

Based on the election results gaps of 1 500 votes or less, the Independent
found that this could be one of the most tightly contested elections in
Zimbabwe’s history.

Although Mugabe’s star rallies have attracted huge crowds, he is unlikely to
dislodge Tsvangirai’s dominance in Harare, Manicaland and most of the
Matabeleland provinces.

In Harare, MDC-T won 25 of the 26 parliamentary seats while Zanu PF secured
only one seat. Tsvangirai received 49 657 votes and Mugabe 11 118 in the
presidential polls.

Using the 1 500 vote difference between the winning and losing candidate in
the 2008 elections, Epworth and Mbare can go either way.
Zanu PF lost by 1 462 votes in Epworth and 1 399 in Mbare.

This trend is likely to continue in this election but both parties face
problems of double candidates in at least 34 parliamentary constituencies.

There are 28 MDC-T candidates who rejected the party’s directive to withdraw
and will contest as independents in Bulawayo (5), Matabelelend North (4),
Manicaland (4), Matabeleland South (3), Midland (3), Mashonaland West (3),
Harare (2) and Masvingo and Mashonaland East with one each.

Zanu PF has four disgruntled candidates, Jonathan Samkange (Mudzi South),
Daniel Garwe (Murehwa North) and Marian Chombo (Zvimba North) running as
independents while Munyaradzi Kereke (Bikita West) filed on a Zanu PF ticket
together with the party’s endorsed candidate Elias Musakwa.

In Bulawayo, MDC-T has three safe seats, while it can lose the other 10 to
Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC.

In Manicaland, MDC-T seems to be safe in 10 constituencies From L1
with Zanu PF guaranteed of just two while 14 out of the 26 seats likely to
be tightly contested.

Mashonaland Central is likely to remain in Zanu PF’s control, as it looks
safe in 15 of the 18 seats, while the other three are up for grabs between
MDC-T and Zanu PF.

The battle in Mashonaland East will be fiercely fought between Zanu PF and
MDC-T in at least 10 constituencies. Zanu PF looks safe in 13 and MDC-T in

Zanu PF’s dominance should continue in Mashonaland West where eight
constituencies would be up for grabs. Zanu PF is safe in 12 of the 21, while
MDC-T can bag Chinhoyi, which flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa is
fighting to close the gap of about 3 400 votes. Zanu PF lost the seat by in

Masvingo will provide a fierce battleground given that Zanu PF looks only
safe in nine constituencies and MDC-T six. The two parties should be
battling it out in 12 constituencies.

Mugabe still has a grip on the Midlands province, in which Zanu PF is
guaranteed of grabbing about 14 seats, while MDC-T has five safe seats. The
two parties will be fighting for dominance in eight constituencies.

Zanu PF is likely to win in six constituencies in Matabeleland North and
Matabeleland South provinces, while MDC-T is safe in four and MDC in four.
Twelve of the 26 in the two provinces can go to either of the three parties.

According to Afrobarometer, 32% of 2 400 Zimbabweans sampled said if an
election had been called last year, they were going to vote for Mugabe while
31% would support Tsvangirai.

Ncube had 1% of the vote, although his party won most seats in Matabeleland
South and its presidential candidate Simba Makoni got about 8% beating
Mugabe and Tsvangirai in the province.

Ncube has gained some traction and could emerge as the kingmaker.

“Any future election in Zimbabwe remains too close a call,” Afrobarometer
said. “No political party in Zimbabwe can afford to be complacent about an
easy electoral victory.”

Afrobarometer also said Mugabe and Tsvangirai may not win the presidential
election outright in the first round, suggesting a run-off again although
all of them would want an outright win to avoid another possible coalition

The Freedom House survey titled Change and New Politics in Zimbabwe
concluded “that in terms of the declared survey-based support, it appears
the MDC-T has been suffering a decline in support, falling from 38% to 20%
in the parliamentary vote from 2010 to 2012, in a period of approximately 18
months between the 2010 and 2012 surveys”.

In 2008, the MDC-T won all the seats in Bulawayo, 96,55% of the seats in
Harare and 76,92% in Manicaland.

In Masvingo, it managed to win 53,85% of the seats and in Matabeleland North

However, MDC-T fared poorly in Mashonaland Central (11,11%), Matabeleland
South (16,67%), Mashonaland East (17,39%), Midlands (25,93%) and Mashonaland
West (27,27%).

Zanu PF won 88,89% of the seats in Mashonaland Central, 82,61% in
Mashonaland East, 74,07% in Midlands and 72,73% in Mashonaland West.
In Masvingo, it won 46,15% of the seats and 30,77% in Matabeleland North.
The party made a poor showing in Bulawayo where it did not win a single
seat, 3,45% in Harare, 23,08% in Manicaland and 25% in Matabeleland South.

MDC only won seats in Matabeleland South (58,33%) and Matabeleland North

The tables on the right show the some of the swing constituencies and the
parties’ battle to take control of them.

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Election credibility at risk: Tsvangirai

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai said the forthcoming election will not be
credible regardless of the peaceful environment in the build up to the
crucial polls.

Elias Mambo

Speaking to journalists on Friday morning Tsvangirai said the election is
not going to be credible because of the reports of intimidation and attempts
to rig the polls.

“What we have seen on the ground so far is clear evidence that the
credibility of this election is at serious risk. There is clear evidence of
manipulation and a desperate attempt to subvert the people’s will,”
Tsvangirai said.

Tsvangirai also said “We have received reports that ballots are being
printed at Police Headquarters which would be flouting the laws regarding
tender procedures. Zec itself has refused or ignored our requests to give us
this information which we say is a direct violation of the Constitution.”

He also said that his party is going into this election “with a heavy heart
because the reforms we have agreed under the auspices of Sadc have not been
implemented while the regional body’s resolutions meant to create an
environment for a credible election has been completely ignored.”

The MDC-T leader also dismissed reports made by the African Union
Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma that in her meeting with opposition
parties they never mentioned issues of violence and allegations of rigging.

Dlamini Zuma told journalist at the AU observer mission pre-election
statement press briefing that all the candidates were happy with the build
up to the elections and that no one raised the issues of violence and

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AU speaks on Zim elections

July 26, 2013 in Entertainment, News, Politics

THE African Union Election Observer Mission (AU LTO) to the harmonised
elections in Zimbabwe said the country is ready for peaceful elections amid
claims of irregularities involving voter registration, special voting chaos
and media polarisation.

Elias Mambo

In a press briefing on the pre-election observation report in Harare, AU
Commissioner of Political affairs Aisha Abdullahi said Zimbabwe is currently
experiencing a peaceful environment ahead of crucial polls next week.

“In general, the AU LTOs observed a largely peaceful and calm political
environment,” she said.

However the team has also noted the chaos surrounding the voter
registration, special voting and media polarisation ahead of the polls.

“From the Mission’s observation of the special vote, it has been generally
noted that the process was characterised by logistical and management
challenges, which denied several thousands applicants the opportunity to
cast their ballots on the allotted days,” reads the statement.

The mission also said the voter registration denied thousands to register to

“While acknowledging the increased number of registered voters from 5.2
million to 6.4 million, the mission noted that thousands more were unable to
register due to the limited timeframe.”

Addressing the same media briefing the AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
said all candidates are happy as the nation prepares for elections.

“We held meetings with all the candidates who said they are happy with the
environment towards elections,” she said.

“We also had meetings with Zec who gave us a blow by blow account of what
transpired during the special voting,” she said.

AU also said it is confident that Zec will be able to run a credible
election and urged the nation to remain peaceful.

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Sadc fails to keep up reforms momentum

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

AFTER last Saturday’s Sadc troika on politics, defence and security meeting
in Pretoria, South Africa, to deliberate on Zimbabwe’s elections, the bloc’s
communiqué merely acknowledged “problems” during special voting by the
uniformed forces but remained mum on the coalition government partners’
failure to fully implement Sadc-brokered elections roadmap before next week’s

Herbert Moyo

Sadc said it was pleased all political parties were committed to a peaceful
environment during the elections and even the bungling Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) was commended for “taking these (problems) as challenges to
be overcome on July 31”, while political parties were urged “to co-operate
as fully as possible with Zec in order to ensure that it is able to meet
these challenges.”

“The summit encouraged the government, all political parties and leaders to
continue with these commendable efforts which will help realise credible
elections,” the communiqué said.

Analysts say there is an anti-climax in the regional body’s latest
pronouncements, given that in all its summits starting with Kinshasa,
Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 to Maputo, Mozambique in June 2013,
Sadc has been steadfast in insisting on the elections roadmap and reforms
before credible elections can be held.

A cursory examination of Sadc summits and troika resolutions from 2009 to
last month in Maputo is enough to show the regional body has consistently
demanded the full implementation of reforms before elections.

However, analysts say the country is nowhere near fulfilling those reforms
which begs the question: How will Sadc pronounce on the outcome of next week’s

At the first summit in Kinshasa in 2009, Zimbabwe leaders were urged to
fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and this push was
repeated at the Maputo summit in January 2010.

An exasperated Sadc upped the ante in Livingstone in March 2011 where it
resolved to appoint additional officials to work on the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) to monitor, evaluate and implement the GPA.

The regional bloc also resolved to assist Zimbabwe to formulate guidelines
that would assist in holding a peaceful, free and fair election in
accordance with the Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic

At the Sandton summit in South Africa in June 2011, Sadc resolved to assist
Jomic and urged the troika to “remain seized with the implementation of the
GPA” while in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in December 2012, the bloc expressed
disappointment and “impatience in the delay of the implementation of the

It also urged the coalition government to deal with the resurgence of
violence, arrests, hate speech and intimidation.

Just last month in Maputo, Sadc “endorsed recommendations which include,
among others, media reform, upholding the rule of law, the role of Jomic,
general elections date, validity of electoral regulations and deployment of
Sadc observers”.

There is no doubt Sadc has been consistent in demanding full reforms and,
therefore, this apparent about-turn in Pretoria suggests the regional body
may have buckled under President Robert Mugabe’s pressure to endorse the
processes leading up to the elections.

Mugabe has said that by establishing a peaceful environment, the country had
fulfilled the only pre-condition for elections.

South African newspaper BusinessDay took the view Sadc’s hand has been
forced by Mugabe, saying “Sadc has folded time and again whenever
confrontation has loomed, which for Mugabe is whenever he does not get his

But Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya defended Sadc
saying it had done all that is possible by insisting on a peaceful
environment although it cannot force the implementation of all reforms as
“there has never been any transitional regime which fully implements

“Sadc was forced to step in after shocking levels of political violence and
economic catastrophe during the 2008 elections,” said Ruhanya.

Given this scenario, Ruhanya said barring a spectacular upsurge of violence
or something as blatant as Zec failing to announce election results on time,
Sadc and the African Union (AU) will endorse the elections because the
prevailing climate is generally peaceful.

Political commentator Blessing Vava said Sadc and other international
organisations should not have any problem endorsing the polls as the
prevailing conditions are just the same as those that characterised the
March constitutional referendum.

“There shouldn’t be a problem now when Sadc, EU (European Union) and
Zimbabwe’s own political parties endorsed the referendum. The conditions are
the same as those under which the referendum was held,” said Vava.

There is general peace in the country, except for a few cases of violence.
Even Mugabe’s nemesis, the EU, seems to be readying itself to endorse the
polls, after EU Council president Herman van Rompuy confirmed during a visit
to South Africa last week that it would accept Sadc recommendations.

This is not surprising as the EU began efforts to normalise relations with
Zimbabwe through the “Friends of Zimbabwe” initiative in March.

The EU even lifted targeted measures imposed on some Zanu PF officials and
allowed a delegation of ministers led by Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa to
visit Europe for re-engagement talks.

The United States has also been making rapprochement moves towards Harare.

As it is, it seems Sadc, the AU and others may well endorse the polls
although it is up to Zimbabweans to legitimise whoever wins the election.

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Mugabe hurls insults, no new ideas

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

More-of-the-same President Robert Mugabe seems to have lost touch with his
audience during this campaign.

Opinion by Chenjerai Hove

It’s a Thursday afternoon, in a country far from home. My friend, the
Gambian, has a serious matter to discuss with me. It’s a never-ending
discussion about who is the most insulting president on the African
continent. I produce evidence in support of my own president, Mugabe.

My friend also has evidence in support of his president, Yaya Jammeh.

It is election time in Zimbabwe, I tell my friend. My president is not short
of insults as he campaigns for votes.

Although Zimbabweans are thirsty for new ideas from Mugabe, he seems totally
unaware of the needs of his audiences. The recent launch of his party
manifesto was a typical example of a man who has totally lost touch with
what communication is all about. His audience just wanted to hear what he
was going to do differently this time around.

Thirty-three years along the road of power, Mugabe’s election campaign
language has remained mired in vile words: war, battle, conquer, crushing
the enemies and other unmentionables. He seems to know no other language.
Having run out of new ideas, the thrust of Mugabe’s political campaigns has
nothing to do with new national programmes.

Although Zimbabwean law forbids citizens from insulting the president, the
law does not stop him from insulting others. And the line between
criticising and insulting is extremely narrow, judging by the
over-enthusiasm of those employed to get angry on his behalf: police and
secret agents.

So, dozens of civilians have been arrested and dragged before the courts for
the mildest rebukes of the president’s behaviour? The insults range from
joking about His Excellency who is not so excellent to serious critical
remarks about the president’s responsibility in ruining the country’s
economy and its socio-cultural fabric.

Mugabe can easily be rated as one of the most foul-mouthed presidents in the
world. My Gambian friend thinks no one can be more vulgar than Jamer. The
military man is reputed to give hour-long broadcasts of pure venom and
vulgarity on national days. Regardless of my friend’s arguments, I believe
Mugabe still tops the list.

Dirty corner
As an elderly man, one would expect from him a certain restraint that
signifies the wisdom that comes with age and experience.
When Mugabe is cornered politically, he does not argue his case rationally.
He verbally abuses those he suspects of having put him in that dirty corner.

Sadly, he is completely oblivious to the fact that many times he is the one
who puts himself in such unenviable positions.

His reserves of vile vocabulary never seem to run dry.

In recent weeks, he called South African diplomat Lindiwe Zulu an ordinary,
stupid and idiotic street woman for insisting that Mugabe should respect and
honour what was agreed upon with the opposition.
As the supreme leader of the nation, he believes he is above even his own

It angered him to be on the receiving end of instructions on how to behave
from a woman, and a young one at that. So, he insulted her while the issues
she addressed remain unattended.
Child-producing machine

He is like a man who wastes all his arrows shooting crows while guinea fowls
are just behind the hill, as the Shona say.
A “street woman” in Shona actually means a prostitute. Mugabe definitely
knows this insinuation.

He is thoroughly averse to engaging with women on an equal basis. As the
eternal patriarch, he seems to think a woman’s task is simply to be a wife
and a child-producing machine. He has threatened lesbians with jail if they
don’t impregnate each other.

All Mugabe knows about love relationships is that they should be aimed at
producing children with urgency. By this logic, it would seem couples who
are past child-bearing or who are not gifted with children should just

Without addressing the issue of homosexuality as an African socio-historical
reality, he goes off at a tangent to call it a European import. Show me a
society without homosexuality. Every society sometimes chooses to hide
behind masks with the illusion of being invisible.

Such warped attitudes towards women are clearly observable in Mugabe’s party
structures and activities. The women’s wing has the sole purpose of
entertaining the main wing, which is dominated by powerful men. Women are
for the leisure of men. They dress up in fabrics decorated with Mugabe’s
image at the front and back.
Senior men wear imported European suits to party congresses without any
sense of guilt for dressing some women so shamefully.

Historical responsibility
There is a pattern to Mugabe’s aversion to women diplomats. Only a few years
ago he called United States assistant secretary of state Jendayi Fraser a
prostitute. Fraser had expressed deep displeasure and sadness at Mugabe’s
human rights record.

Diplomacy has never been one of Mugabe’s attributes. Condoleezza Rice, the
former US secretary of state, the country’s highest-ranking diplomat, also
received her share of Mugabe’s vulgarity. He boldly called her “that slave
girl”, meaning she sheepishly and obediently serves her white master without

It is the most painfully vulgar insult one can inflict on a black American.
It evokes floods of the sadness of historical pain inflicted on the former
slaves by both black African rulers and white slave traders.

I have met African Americans who actually hate the Africans who remained on
the continent, including me. We sold them, they curse, and rightly so
because we have a historical responsibility for the crimes of our ancestors.

Mugabe’s statements show a total lack of awareness of the wrongs of history
as well as the present responsibilities on African leaders. His statement
denigrates all blacks who have suffered the history of slavery. His
insensitivity will astound even an infant of the history of black people.

It is worse when “first shopper” Grace Mugabe joins the fray, as she did
last week with crudities such as calling Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
“ugly”, as if the elections were a beauty contest.
While the boulders of poverty crush the people, the president is busy
inventing new insults. In this crucial election we want new ideas and
proposals to take the country forward.

Hove is a Zimbabwean writer in the diaspora.

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Diasporans anxiously await July 31 elections results

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

AS Zimbabweans brace for crucial general elections next Wednesday, they will
be joined by more than three million of their compatriots living abroad in
the hope of a free and fair vote given that their futures are intrinsically
tied to the outcome of the polls.


The last 13 years have seen a mass exodus of Zimbabweans to countries such
as South Africa, the United Kingdom (UK), Australia and United States as
economic and political refugees after the country’s political and economic
crisis deteriorated at an alarming rate.

However, the hope is that a credible, free and fair elections may see a
reversal of this migration. Ezra Sibanda, a former popular disc jockey on
Radio 2 and an aspiring MDC-T MP for Vungu in the Midlands who was resident
in the UK for more than a decade, said the desire among the diaspora to
return is strong. “Everyone wants to come home,” said Sibanda.

“It’s not going to be about feeling pressure or being forced to return. The
desire is there. Some are doctors, lawyers and politicians who want nothing
more than to bring the experience they got overseas home,” he said.

Sibanda said this is different from a few years ago, especially 2009 when
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai embarked on a world tour pleading with
Zimbabweans to return home and help rebuild the country but was met with
open hostility in the UK.

“That was then” Sibanda said. “The attitude among Zimbabweans abroad has
changed. In 2009 there was no new constitution and things were looking
bleak. The way things are now; Zimbabweans are free to return.” However,
some remain unconvinced. Ephraim Tapa, the founder and president of
Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), a UK-based rights
organisation, said from what he has seen and experienced is that Zimbabweans
do not want to come home, at least under current circumstances.

“The general feeling here is that elections so far have never been free and
fair,” said Tapa.

“We have almost resigned ourselves to that fact (that elections will not be
free and fair). Without the promised reforms, how can they be?”

Tapa said the decision to return is not about desire and a longing for home,
but about opportunities.

“What are the programmes put in place to attract people in the diaspora?
These are the things a new government would have to implement to rebuild
Zimbabwe. For now, the situation as it stands is not conducive to that kind
of confidence,” said Tapa.

With unemployment at around 85% and the economy still limping from the
decade-long meltdown, both Sibanda and Tapa are agreed that the return of
Zimbabwe’s exiles hinges on peaceful, free and fair elections.

“If the elections aren’t free and fair no one would risk coming back. It all
depends on that,” Sibanda said.

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Politicians in vote-buying spree

July 26, 2013 in Entertainment, News, Politics

POLITICIANS from across the political divide have been jostling to outdo
each other in vote-buying by doling out food, sanitary ware, medical
assistance, potable water, blankets, clothing and even cash to small
community projects as the race to next Wednesday’s general elections hots

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo shocked even his Zanu PF
colleagues when he directed all local authorities to cancel all individual
ratepayers’ debts accrued between February 2009 and June 30, 2013 to
“cushion individual ratepayers from the severe effects of the economic
challenges experienced during the period in question”.

The MDC-T dismissed Chombo’s directive as electioneering, saying it would
cripple the day-to-day running of councils if implemented.

The wives of the leading presidential poll candidates President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Grace and Elizabeth
respectively, have also entered the fray to play Santa Claus in support of
their husbands.

First Lady Grace made a grand entry into the political arena a fortnight ago
when she addressed her first major political rally alongside her husband and
thereafter donated foodstuffs to Chiweshe villagers in Mashonaland Central.

She made similar donations at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera and at rallies in
Lupane, Matabeleland North and Gwanda in Matabeleland South.

Not to be outdone by the First Lady, Elizabeth handed out sanitary ware to
women in Matabeleland North province when Tsvangirai was campaigning in

Other prominent candidates dishing out election-related goodies are Mines
minister Obert Mpofu, Ray Kaukonde, Godwills Masimirembwa, Paul Chimedza,
Dexter Nduna and Munyaradzi Kereke of Zanu PF.

Mpofu has been donating food and money across the Matabeleland provinces,
while Nduna dishes out money in Chegutu and also reportedly pays for people
to watch Chegutu Pirates Football Club for free.

Masimirembwa has been sending water bowsers to provide clean drinking water
to Mabvuku and Tafara residents, while Kereke has donated an ambulance to
Bikita West in addition to other election related donations and projects he
has been sponsoring in the constituency.
Chimedza and his doctor friends introduced free medical treatment for
villagers in the Gutu South constituency he is eyeing.

MDC-T Women’s Assembly chief Theresa Makone has also been busy and recently
donated a classroom block, 90 desks and 90 chairs to Hatcliffe High School.
She has also been distributing blankets to the elderly in the Harare North

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Magaisa: MDC-T forced into elections

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s political advisor Alex Magaisa says the
MDC-T’s participation in next Wednesday’s crucial general elections was
foisted on the party by its supporters against the leadership’s better

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Magaisa last week told a Sapes Trust public meeting discussing the
possibility of Zimbabwe holding credible polls in the absence of critical
reforms that the MDC-T is contesting with a heavy heart and reserves its
right to seek redress from the courts if results are disputed.

“We listened to our supporters against our better judgment,” said Magaisa.
“However, we reserve our right to petition the courts for redress if the
poll is held in an irregular manner.”

The MDC-T has unsuccessfully petitioned the courts three times in the last
month trying to force the postponement of elections citing allegations of
voter registration irregularities and more recently the legitimacy of the 63
268 people comprising Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) officials, police
officers, soldiers and prison wardens who were granted special voting
privileges on July 14 and 15.

The July 31 elections would be the first polls under the new constitution
gazetted on May 22 after four years of haggling by the coalition government

The constitution introduces an enlarged parliament and also creates eight
provincial councils and two metropolitan councils.

It states that some MPs should be elected through proportional
representation but the process may be unfair, according to analysts,
considering that there was no new constituency delimitation exercise.

Research Advocacy Unit (Rau) senior researcher Anthony Reeler said his
organisation’s audit of the voters’ roll showed that there was a great need
for a delimitation exercise in relation to the new uneven voter populations
across the country.

“There are 41 constituencies that violate the constitutional provision on
delimitation,” said Reeler.

“According to the constitution, a constituency should on average have 27 000
voters but accepts a 20% variation which means a constituency cannot have
more than 33 000 voters and not less than 22 000,” Reeler said.

However, some constituencies, such as Mbare in Harare and Uzumba in
Mashonaland East, now have more than 40 000 registered voters.

All political parties have scaled up their campaigns as they enter the home-
stretch with Zanu PF and MDC-T scheduled to hold their final rallies in
Harare on Sunday and Monday respectively.

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GNU saved Zanu PF from the brink

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

IN five days’ time, Zimbabwe will go for crucial elections to end the
Sadc-brokered Global Political Agreement (GPA) which gave birth to the
coalition government after the disputed 2008 elections.

Elias Mambo

Senior research mentor at the University of the Western Cape, Brian
Raftopoulos, wrote that the outcome of the GPA has been fiercely contested
and marked by severe ebbs and flows in his book The Hard Road to Reform.

When the MDC-T signed the GPA, they hoped to weaken Zanu PF from within and
elbow it out of power eventually, but they soon realised that Mugabe had
other ideas.

He wanted a respite to reorganise and fight again. But Mugabe and Zanu PF
have benefitted more from the GPA compared to the MDC formations.

MDC-T president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has admitted that he
signed the GPA to work with Mugabe to allow him to address the mistakes of
the past and help him “rebuild his legacy”.
“I was prepared to work with Mugabe to allow him to address the mistakes of
the past, and to help him to rebuild his legacy,” Tsvangirai said.

“This is why, despite the challenges that I have faced in working with him,
I have repeatedly said that while our relationship was not perfect, it was
workable. This was meant to encourage Mugabe to right the wrongs of the

As the GPA nears its end, Mugabe has emerged as the major beneficiary as he
cunningly used the coalition government tenure to reorganise and revive his
waning support base.

Far from genuinely committing to reforms to usher in a democratic
dispensation in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has used the GPA to regroup and recover
from an all-time low which saw Mugabe losing the presidential poll first
round to Tsvangirai in March 2008. Raftopoulos said Zanu PF had benefitted
immensely from the coalition government, disunity between the MDC formations
as well as allegations of corruption levelled against MDC officials.

“Their biggest challenge was that they failed to work together from the
beginning and even allowed themselves to be divided by Zanu PF, especially
on the (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara issue,” said Raftopoulos.

“Their lack of co-ordination weakened them. On the whole, Zanu PF has
benefitted the most because, having lost the 2008 elections, they got a
second chance to regroup, rebuild and start trying to deal with issues of
their legitimacy.”

Prior to the formation of the coalition government, Mugabe’s rule was on the
brink of collapse as the economy was at an all time low with hyper-inflation
shattering world records. Soldiers had started rioting in Harare in 2008
after failing to withdraw money from banks which ran out of cash.

Zimbabwe’s official annual rate of inflation skyrocketed to 231 million
percent, although independent economists put it in the billions.

The joining of the coalition government by the MDCs helped halt the runaway
inflation rate. They also played a critical role in the introduction of the
multicurrency system which replaced the valueless Zimbabwe dollar. Jabusile
Shumba, a political analyst, said although Tsvangirai can be seen as the
ultimate loser in the GPA, it was necessary to be part of it after failing
to take over power in 2008.

“The GPA came as a product of a terrible political fraud in which Tsvangirai
trounced Mugabe in 2008 but was not allowed by those who had a monopoly of
the means of violence to ascend to power,” said Shumba.

“But Mugabe lacked legitimacy. And something had to be done to return
Zimbabwe to some level of normalcy.”

Shumba also said while the MDCs sleep-walked into the GPA, they were always
sceptical about Mugabe and Zanu PF but something had to be done to break the
political stalemate.

“Zanu PF entered (the GPA) in order to buy time and rescue itself from
political death,” said Shumba. “The MDCs have tried to level the political
field but Zanu PF has remained adamant that conceding to the MDCs’ demands
was tantamount to losing power.”

Mugabe and Zanu PF are now riding on the gains they made during the
inclusive government by even claiming ownership of policies introduced by
the MDCs.

Tsvangirai has conceded more and left his erstwhile opponent stealing the
narrative ahead of the high-stakes elections.As elections near, Tsvangirai
and his MDC-T party have failed to claim credit for pushing for the
introduction of the current multiple currency system which helped curb
inflation and saw food returning to shops which had been echoing with

Instead, Mugabe now claims that Zanu PF’s indigenisation has helped
resuscitate the economy which had been battered by decades of targeted
sanctions imposed on him and his Zanu PF cronies at the instigation of the

Tsvangirai did not protest when Mugabe picked Zanu PF loyalists to serve in
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and even defended appointments of
other crucial commissions such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights and Zimbabwe
Media Commission.

It was only after the pronouncement of an elections date that Tsvangirai
started crying foul saying a raft of reforms meant to pave way for free and
fair elections had not been implemented.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said although they could have tried
harder to have reforms implemented, the MDCs were forced into the agreement
in the first place.

“The MDCs were under pressure both at home and abroad, and this drove them
into the GPA,” said Rusero. “However, credit must be given to them for
internationalising the Zimbabwe crisis which came about as a result of Zanu
PF’s poor policies.” Rusero said.

Raftopoulos said Zanu PF only agreed to form a coalition government with the
intention of regrouping and consolidating after plunging to the nadir of
legitimacy following its 2008 electoral defeat.

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‘Mugabe eyeing life presidency’

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is likely to hold onto power if he wins the
presidential election contrary to belief that he would retire, while for
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the polls would be a do-or-die affair as
he is likely to be nudged off the helm of MDC-T if he loses again, analysts

Owen Gagare

There has been speculation that Mugabe (89) wants to secure victory for Zanu
PF and retire, leaving his party in power while others believe he may take a
back seat and assume a ceremonial role with his preferred successor
exercising the main executive functions.

Effie Ncube, a political analyst and chairperson of the National Association
of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango), said Mugabe was most probably
eyeing the life presidency.

“The most likely scenario is that Mugabe would prefer to die in office,”
said Ncube. “He is unlikely to leave power in the hands of any of his
subordinates such as (Vice-President Joice) Mujuru or (Defence minister
Emmerson) Mnangagwa because he does not trust anyone.
“As long as he is physically able to function, we won’t see him
relinquishing power unless he becomes incapacitated. He would probably want
to use his term to salvage some of his legacy by introducing some democratic
reforms and so on.”

Professor Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University
of Zimbabwe, also believes Mugabe would exercise his full executive
functions for his whole term, barring incapacitation or death.

“He may be compelled by his fragile health and age to retreat from State
House to his private residence, but he would not pass on the baton to
anyone,” said Masunungure.

“His health may force him to shed some of his executive functions but, even
then, he would retain the position of executive president and pull strings
on strategic policy matters. He would want to complete his term unless some
dramatic circumstances occur to stop him from achieving that goal.”

Masunungure said dating back to the days of the liberation struggle, Mugabe
has learnt to be wary of those around him.
“Right now because of internal power politics in Zanu PF, he cannot trust
the political gladiators around him. For that reason he will not resign,” he

He said in the event of losing the election, it was likely that Mugabe would
not be persecuted but would be given a good package and be honoured for the
role he played in liberating the country.

Both Masunungure and Ncube said the election was crucial for Tsvangirai as a
loss would result in questions being asked about his ability to dislodge
Zanu PF from power.

“After being at the helm of the party since September 1999, surely if he
loses, he must consider dropping the hat for someone else. This will also
define his legacy as a democrat because if he attempts to hold onto power,
he may be seen as a selfish and power-hungry person.

This will be a do-or-die election for him,” said Masunungure.
Ncube said if Tsvangirai loses the polls and Sadc and African Union (AU)
observers declare them free and fair, he would face an uphill task to retain
the MDC-T presidency.

“If Tsvangirai doesn’t win this ‘peacefully rigged election’ and if it is
declared free and fair by Sadc and AU, it will be difficult for him to hold
onto power. He will be challenged from within and would most likely lose
international sympathy after failing to dislodge Mugabe for so long,” said

“He will only be able to survive if the election is violently rigged and the
international community says the elections were not free and fair.”

Analysts say there may be a run-off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai but MDC
leader Welshman Ncube may be a deciding factor.

Effie Ncube said Welshman Ncube needs just 10 parliamentary seats for his
party to remain relevant while Masunungure said if he backs Tsvangirai in
the run-off, which he believes is likely, he would remain relevant in the
next government.

Masunungure also believes Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara may be
given a role to play either as an advisor or in diplomatic missions by both
Mugabe and Tsvangirai, depending on who wins.

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President will win — Muchena

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

AHEAD of crucial general elections next week, Alpha Media Holdings Group
Planning Editor Brian Mangwende (BM) interviewed former Air Force of
Zimbabwe Vice-Air Marshal Henry Muchena (HM), who is now principal director
in the Zanu PF commissariat, on President Robert Mugabe and his party’s
chances of winning the polls.

Find below the excerpts:

BM: When you retired from the Air Force in June 2010, you later joined Zanu
PF’s commissariat department. What is your role and title there?
HM: My title is principal director for the commissariat. I form part of the
commissariat department that is responsible for organising the party
structures. I joined Zanu PF in January 2011.

BM: Are you involved in the on-going election campaigns?
HM: Of course, I am. That is part of my role in the party.

BM: How have the campaigns been going on so far, vis-a-vis those of 2008
which Mugabe says he does not want a repeat of?
HM: In our view, the present campaign has gone on very well. It has not been
marred by violence and we believe whoever had an interest in campaigning,
has had a fair chance to do so.

BM: Do you think Mugabe and Zanu PF will win these elections and why?
HM: I don’t think President Mugabe and Zanu PF will win, I know President
Mugabe and Zanu PF will win!

BM: There has been a lot of controversy and mixed takings over the role of
both active and retired army commanders and security personnel in politics
and electoral processes. Do you think your role is justified?
HM: It is definitely justified. When people join the military, they serve
the country and the state, but when they retire, they are free to join any
political party of their persuasion. And this is not only within Zanu PF, it
is also quite prevalent in the MDC parties and most political parties in

For example, retired Major Giles Mutsekwa joined MDC-T and retired Colonel
Ray Ncube is with his newly-formed Zapu party; so, I don’t believe they
should be exceptions when it comes to Zanu PF. As for serving members, they
are guided by professional ethics which dictate that they remain apolitical
in their activities, but it doesn’t make them stooges who cannot have
political persuasions of their own and it is their constitutional right as
citizens of the country to do that.

BM: There have been heightened reports that the military has been deployed
in various parts of the country to vigorously campaign for Mugabe and Zanu
PF. What do you know about that?
HM: Those reports are fabrications and imaginations of people who are scared
of losing elections. Why are we not complaining about those former service
personnel campaigning for other political parties? As far as I know, serving
personnel are not involved in campaigns for Zanu PF, but retired personnel
and war veterans who are in the structures of the party. They have every
right to campaign for the party and even stand in constituencies as
candidates for the party.

BM: If that’s the case, what do you make of public statements by senior army
commanders who say they support Mugabe and Zanu PF while rejecting any
possible victory for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai?
HM: Let me put their statements into context. When those statements were
made, the service chiefs said they will not salute a commander-in-chief who
does not respect the values of the liberation struggle, therefore, they did
not say Tsvangiari or anybody else. It is important to note that the ballot
we talk about today came as substitution to the bullet that was used during
the liberation struggle and so any Zimbabwean worth his or her salt has to
respect the values of the liberation struggle and the principles for which
thousands of Zimbabweans died for.

BM: Zanu PF primaries were characterised by chaos. Were you involved and why
is it several security people participated in the process?
HM: There were no security people in the process of the Zanu PF primaries,
but as I mentioned earlier, former security personnel who were interested in
contesting primaries for Zanu PF were free to do so.

BM: On a scale of one to 10, how do you rate the way the primaries were
HM: I would give Zanu PF primaries a seven.

BM: If Tsvangirai were to win elections next week, what would be your
response and what do you think will be the reaction of senior army
HM: First, he is not going to win, but if the unthinkable happens and the
people of Zimbabwe decide to use the ballot to be recolonised, it would be
the people’s decision.

BM: After Mugabe lost the first round of the 2008 presidential poll, the
army is said to have intervened to save the situation. Where you in any way
HM: First of all, President Mugabe did not lose the election, but there was
no clear winner and hence a run-off. As security personnel, we did our best
to maintain peace in the country, while political parties intensified their
campaigns for the final election.

BM: As part of commissariat, what was your role in the dissolution of Zanu
PF’s district co-ordinating committees (DCCs)?
HM: I had no role in the dissolution of DCCs. It was a recommendation from
the politburo to the central committee and that dissolution was endorsed by
the central committee.

BM: There have been numerous reports of factionalism within Zanu PF and you
have been linked to a faction reportedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru
against one allegedly led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. What’s
your comment?
HM: I know of no factions in Zanu PF and therefore I have no reason to
belong to what I believe does not exist. In my view, the factions spoken
about are perceptions of people outside Zanu PF like yourselves who are
trying to ferment divisions within the party.

BM: Lastly, can you please tell us who Henry Muchena is?
HM: First of all, I am an ex-combatant. After Independence, I joined the
Zimbabwe National Army and later transferred to the Air Force of Zimbabwe
and served until my retirement. That’s all I have to say about myself.

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Deliberately disenfranchised

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

HOME Affairs co-Minister Theresa Makone has raised fears that some people
who registered under the mobile and the 30-day voter registration exercise
may not find themselves on the voters’ roll, especially in the MDC

Staff Writer

Makone said there appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Registrar
General’s office to disenfranchise people, hence the calculated ploy not to
release the final voters’ roll on time.

“By now the final voters’ roll should be out and people should have been
accorded an opportunity to check if their names appear. I am therefore
urging those who registered to keep your slips because you may need them
when you find your names not on the voters roll on Wednesday,” she said.

Makone, who is the MDC-T candidate for Harare North, also said there was
evidence to suggest the country had more than one voters’ roll as evidenced
by two registers she got for her constituency on April 15 and 17. The first
voters roll had 13 000 people but the number had shot up to 27 000 two days

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President attacks journalists

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe accused the country’s independent media of
supporting what he described as the MDC formations’ misguided attempts to
block the holding of general elections next week.

Staff Writer

Mugabe said the media was supporting the MDCs, who despite their pretentions
to democracy, opposed elections because they want to continue enjoying the
trappings of power in an inclusive government even though some of them were
never elected into office.

The journalists support these errors. What is the conscience of the
journalists,” Mugabe asked. “The journalists must have a conscience; a sense
of truth and sense of honesty.”

Meanwhile, the First Lady Grace Mugabe revealed that Mugabe was behind the
controversial decision by Local government minister Ignatius Chombo to
write-off ratepayers’ debts accumulated from 2009.

She denied that it was an election gimmick but insisted it was testimony of
Mugabe’s caring and fatherly disposition.

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Simba Makoni still confident

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

MAVAMBO/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader Simba Makoni, with five days to go to
polls, remains confident of winning the Makoni Central seat with claims of
support from MDC-T structures despite top provincial members openly
protesting against his candidacy.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Some MDC-T provincial executive members have vowed to block Makoni as they
argue that his candidacy was imposed from the top despite the party having
democratically elected Patrick Sagandira as its candidate.

This development forced MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to hold a rally in
Rusape at Vhengere Stadium endorsing Makoni as the party candidate in
accordance with a coalition agreement he signed with the MKD leader and
Reketayi Semwayo of Zanu Ndonga.

The coalition agreement saw MKD and Zanu Ndonga backing Tsvangirai as their
presidential candidate.

Despite the consequent ructions in MDC-T, Makoni remains optimistic that he
will win the seat and the coalition partners will keep their end of the

“The MDC-T national and constituency leadership is working with me and
advising their followers that they should vote for me,” Makoni said. “At the
moment, my campaigns are progressing well.”

MDC-T Makoni Central chairperson Albert Muzhingi confirmed that the
constituency leadership was working with Makoni as instructed by the
national leadership.

“We are campaigning for Makoni on the ground and everyone is clear about
that after Tsvangirai came here and clarified the issue in the context of
the coalition arrangement reached with the other parties last month,”
Muzhingi said.

However, Manicaland provincial executive remains adamant that the national
executive should not impose candidates. As a result, the provincial
executive is supporting Sagandira in Makoni Central and Arnold Tsunga in
Dangamvura/Chikanga against the national leadership directive.

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Ncube vows to shock Zanu PF, MDC-T

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

THE MDC led by outgoing Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube has
vowed to shock Zanu PF and the MDC-T in next week’s polls saying have taken
the party for granted over the years.

Brian Chitemba

The MDC was part of an uneasy four-year coalition government with MDC-T and
Zanu PF, but the two main parties played big brother role underestimating
the influence of Ncube and his followers.

Campaigning under the theme “Devolution is the new revolution”, the MDC says
it is the game-changer in next week’s elections because it will garner more
votes than in 2008 where the party won 10 House of Assembly seats, and six
senatorial seats.

Party spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday
that the campaign trail was going on smoothly with the presidential team led
by Ncube covering two rallies per district per day, while aspiring MPs were
on an aggressive door-to-door campaign.

Prospective councillors are concentrating on their wards. The MDC, he said,
was not moved by the huge crowds thronging Zanu PF and MDC-T rallies, saying
from their party’s assessment the majority of Zimbabweans were likely to
rally behind his party because of the importance of devolution which they
fought to be provided for in the new constitution.

“We started campaigning in January 2011 after our congress and we have only
intensified the campaigns in the run-up to the July 31 elections,” he said.

“People have taken us for granted, but our party is the game-changer. We
took advantage of the uncontested space and planted our strong support base.
Those who were writing us off were just sounding their own death knell.”

If elected to form a new government, Dube said, the MDC would concentrate on
creating a stable economy which will create more jobs.

The party would focus on devolution as a way of exploiting local resources
for the benefit of grassroots to develop provinces and districts.

Dube added that devolution would help decongest Harare, which has millions
of unemployed youths while others are roaming the streets.

“Come July 31, the people will choose between the good and the bad; and we
know that devolution is good for the development of Zimbabwe.

That makes our party the first choice,” he said.

On the grand coalition with the MDC-T, Dube dismissed claims by the MDC-T
they were offered a document suggesting a pact to help unseat President
Robert Mugabe, who has been clinging onto power for the past 33 years.

He said MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was misleading Zimbabweans by
portraying Ncube as a bad leader who blocked an electoral pact against

“The MDC-T never suggested a coalition; they are speaking at us through the
newspapers. Tsvangirai is grandstanding and lying that Ncube refused a
coalition so that he decampaigns our leader. We can only afford to work with
those we share the same ideas with,” said Dube.

The MDC formed a pact with Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa although political
pundits argue that the coalition could have been stronger if Ncube had
joined hands with Tsvangirai.

Dube was also adamant that should there be a presidential run-off, it would
be any other candidate against Ncube whom he claimed was assured of securing
enough votes to upset both Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

But observers say the presidential race would be between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai while Ncube could get about 8% which voted for
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni in 2008. Ncube and Dabengwa
supported Makoni’s candidature in 2008 and that 8% of the vote could swing
in Ncube’s favour.

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Mugabe lashes out at Kereke

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe launched a fierce attack on former Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) senior official and businessman Munyaradzi Kereke for
imposing himself as the Zanu PF candidate in Bikita West in next week’s
general elections.

Hebert Moyo

In a fit of rage at a rally in Masvingo yesterday, Mugabe lashed out at
Kereke for refusing to withdraw his candidature after being ordered by the
politburo to step aside for his former colleague Elias Musakwa.

“We heard that there are three or so people who think they are greater than
the party. Even the president is not greater than the party,” Mugabe said,
in a thinly veiled attack on Kereke, Marian Chombo and Jonathan Samkange who
defied the politburo directive to withdraw.

Last week Mugabe also lambasted Marian Chombo at a rally over the same
issue. Mugabe accused Kereke of flouting party regulations and vowed that no
amount of money or popular following would ever convince the party
leadership to accept him and others back.

In an apparent reference to Kereke, Mugabe described him as “irresponsible,
disobedient, non-compliant and disrespectful.”
“If we don’t approve of you; you can’t impose yourself on the people.

We will never accept you even if you have money. We want people who follow
party rules and those of the country. I have spoken in parables so those who
have ears let them hear,” said Mugabe.

The Kereke issue has divided Masvingo province as Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s faction is reportedly rooting for RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s
former advisor, while the one aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru backs

Mugabe’s remarks follow similar attacks on Kereke he reportedly made in a
politburo meeting. The Kereke issue dominated the politburo debate earlier
this month amid factional clashes on whether he should be allowed to contest
as a “parallel candidate” or be expelled from the party.

As first reported in the Zimbabwe Independent recently, Mugabe reportedly
told the politburo he is prepared to lose Bikita West or votes from there
over the Kereke issue.

Politburo members aligned to Mujuru demanded that Kereke withdraw or be
expelled but he was fiercely defended by members of the Mnangagwa faction.

The Mujuru camp argued Kereke must be dismissed because he was
insubordinate, while the Mnangagwa faction pushed that he be allowed to run
as a parallel candidate since he was popular on the ground.

The politburo resolved to expel him from the party. Mugabe yesterday vowed
Kereke, Marian Chombo and Samkange would not be re-admitted into the party.

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I will beat Mugabe: Tsvangirai

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he is ready for the
battle royale and insists he will beat President Robert Mugabe in next
Wednesday’s presidential election despite his strong protests about chaotic
poll preparations.

In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday,
Tsvangirai said he plans to knock out Mugabe in the first round of polling.
“I have no doubt that Mugabe will be beaten in the first round. You can
judge by the mood and popular demands for change,” he said. “We don’t need a
second round.

With the momentum on the ground, to budget for the second round is not an
option.” Independent reporter Elias Mambo (EM) interviewed Tsvangirai (MT)
on Wednesday in Harare ahead of the do-or-die elections. Find below excerpts
of the interview:

EM: You have been on the campaign trail and with a week to go before
elections are you happy?
MT: I am very happy with the way our campaigns rolled out. I have been
involved and we have been so effective on the ground. We are happy with the
momentum that has been built and we are now ready for elections.

EM: From trends you have observed, what do you foresee as the outcome of the
polls ?
MT: There is an overwhelming feeling on the ground for change. People want
change of governance; people want change of ideas. There has been despair,
poverty and fear, now people are ready for something new.

EM: Will the MDC beat Zanu PF like it did in 2008?
MT: Anything short of MDC victory will not only be a subversion of the
people’s will and mandate. It will set this country backward. I defeated
Mugabe in 2008 in the first round. The second round was manipulated so the
results did not reflect the will of the people.

EM: And will this election be decided in the first round?
MT: I have no doubt Mugabe will be beaten in the first round. You can judge
by the mood and demand for change. We don’t need a second round. With the
momentum on the ground, to budget for the second round is unnecessary. It is
not an option.

EM: You have been complaining about poor electoral preparations. Do you
think the elections will be free and fair?
MT: It was our hope Zec would behave differently election unfortunately as
it has come out we now believe there is a third hand trying to manipulate
Zec’s integrity to subvert the will and mandate of the people. Look at the
chaos around the special vote fiasco. Zec failed to handle only 70 000
people; what about the day when six million people will come to vote? Harare’s
polling stations have been reduced yet the voters have increased. There is a
problem with accreditation of international observers and the media. We are
also worried about the printing of more ballot papers than the number of
voters. All these issues raise suspicions.

EM: If elections are disputed where to for Zimbabwe?
MT: Zimbabwe will be worse off. That is why we want to restore legitimacy
and allow our country to fully recover. We don’t want another flawed and
disputed election.

EM: If you win, how will you treat Mugabe and his loyalists?
MT: We have no intention of retribution. We know what we have gone through,
but the old man needs a dignified exit. This applies across the board, even
to those who defended Zanu PF will be forgiven, but those who must account
for plunder of national resources would be brought to book.

EM: If you win, what will you do to change the state of the nation?
MT: We have a clear plan on the turnaround of the economy. We have a
manifesto which outlines how we are going to turn around the economy. But
firstly, governance issues will be a very important focus. We will change
the political culture. People should not be ruled by fear. We will attract
new investments to grow the economy. There is need to create new wealth. We
also need to transform our relations with the international community. The
world has become a global village and we want to be part of that.

EM: Given that the political field is uneven and Mugabe has ignored issues
agreed on in the Global Political Agreement, election roadmap and Sadc
resolutions, are you going to accept the results if Mugabe wins?
MT: This election is already disputed even before the results are announced.
It does not matter who wins but we want a credible, free and fair elections.
Anything short of the MDC victory will be the subversion of the will and
mandate of the people.

EM: Efforts to form a grand coalition failed in the run-up to elections.
Will that affect the outcome of the polls?
MT: It will not affect the outcome. It was not wrong to have a grand
coalition and that was our wish but others thought otherwise.

EM: With hindsight do you think you should have been involved in the
inclusive government since it appears to have revived Mugabe?
MT: The GNU (government of national unity) did not revive Mugabe. People
know how the MDCs have brought changes in this country, mainly on the
economy. The best judges are the people.

EM: Have you ever thought about the fact that you may end up failing to be
president of Zimbabwe even if millions support you?
MT: Failing to be president because people have not supported you is
different from failing because the people’s will has been subverted. If the
elections are free and fair, no one with the support of the people can fail
to be president.

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Mugabe’s last stand

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will next Wednesday make his last stand as he seeks
re-election in what is almost certainly going to be the last electoral
battle of his long political career spanning over 50 years, signifying a
possible end to an era.

Faith Zaba/Owen Gagare

In a bid to ensure political survival, Mugabe, who is 89 and frail, has gone
for broke and thrown everything into the campaign –– including his wife
Grace –– to avoid a humiliating defeat in the sunset of his political

However, if next week’s elections were really free and fair, Mugabe would
most likely be packed off to his luxurious Borrowdale retirement mansion in
Harare, but he seems determined to stay put by fair means or foul. After 33
years in power, Mugabe is labouring on the campaign trail with effects of
old age and frailty now subtly starting to show.

But Mugabe –– who has promised an election “fight for our lives” –– is still
fighting dirty as if he a character in a Kung Fu movie even though he has
renounced violence, intimidation and para-military tactics as campaign

Further evidence he is pulling out all the stops to win mounted this week as
it emerged his loyalists are now using the police to serialise ballots,
adding to several already exposed election preparation scandals, in a move
that is likely to spark outrage just a few days before polling day.

Police were also reportedly printing ballots. Senior government officials
told the Zimbabwe Independent this week police’s controversial involvement
in ballot printing and inserting of serial numbers may well be
unconstitutional and unlawful.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is legally in charge of the whole
electoral process even if the Registrar General’s office registers voters
under its supervision. The involvement of the police and Israeli
intelligence firm, Nikuv International Projects in election preparations has
raised eyebrows.

Alarmed by the chaos engulfing electoral preparations, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai will this morning hold a press conference to brief journalists
and tackle the situation. Although Tsvangirai told the Independent in an
exclusive interview this week he is confident of winning, he also expressed
concern about the chaotic arrangements.

Senior police officers told the Independent this week that after companies
contracted to print ballot papers, Fidelity Printers and Printflow, failed
to deliver during the chaotic special voting process, Zec hired the Zimbabwe
Republic Police’s printing unit to assist.

This followed a letter of complaint from Police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri after thousands of police officers failed to vote on July
14 and 15 due to the unavailability of ballot papers.

Members of the uniformed forces and election officials who failed to cast
their votes during special vote may cast their ballots on Wednesday if the
Constitutional Court rules in favour of Zec today.

According to Zec, only 37 108 managed to while 26 160 others failed.
Although some sources said police were involved in the printing of ballots,
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau yesterday said they were only subcontracted by
Printflow to put serial numbers on the ballot papers.

Makarau said Printflow printed ballot papers for the presidential, National
Assembly and local government elections before hiring police to insert
serial numbers. “After printing, Printflow subcontracted the numbering
(putting of serial numbers) of the ballot papers to the police and that’s
what they did,” said Makarau. “We have to bear in mind that it was a
cumbersome task as we are talking about 1 958 wards in 210 constituencies.
All the ballot papers were returned to Printflow after numbering.”

There are 6,4 million registered voters in Zimbabwe although Zec says it
will print eight million ballots. Tsvangirai and other candidates say this
is “suspicious”.

Makarau, however, refused to deal with the controversial Nikuv issue,
referring all questions Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede and the Home
Affairs ministry as Zec had not played a role in the hiring of the shadowy

“I would want to believe that Nikuv was hired before the commission came in
place. We have therefore referred the queries to the Registrar-General (RG)’s
office and the Ministry of Home Affairs because they are the ones who
engaged them,” Makarau said.

Mugabe’s arsenal for the election includes deployment of the military, rigid
control of the RG’s office and Zec –– the cogs in the electoral machinery ––
as well as a grip on the judiciary and state media. Judges are key in
determining the outcome as their interventions are decisive.

Funding for the Mugabe campaign has been linked to cash injections from
China, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which Harare
claims owes it US$1 billion accrued during its war a decade ago, and local
diamond mining sources.

Security forces, whose commanders are fiercely loyal to Mugabe and have
vowed to back him to the hilt, are playing a critical.

However, the campaign is not all the smooth for Mugabe. Age is clearly
catching up with him as shown by memory lapses and growing amnesia. He
sometimes draws a total blank while speaking. His trademark walkabout has
been dropped in favour of a wave to supporters from the back of van and as
he addresses rallies, haranguing and lampooning his opponents, his elbows
will be firmly leaning heavily on a podium for support.

This stands in contrast to a man who a few years ago used to climbed several
steps rushing onto a flight with confidence and ease. Although Mugabe on the
surface appears vibrant and puffed up on his campaign posters –– sometimes
his party now uses his pictures when he was relatively young to counter
Tsvangirai’s persistent punch line that Mugabe is too old and wants to
retire ––his slow step and sluggishness in speech tell a different story.

This all combine to fuel speculation that his shuttles to Singapore were
indeed driven by health problems. Reports say he is suffering from prostate
cancer which has metastasised even though he claims the problem is eye

After running down the country and fuelling a groundswell of discontent,
Mugabe has been surviving election defeats since 2000 when Zanu PF narrowly
survived by winning 62 seats to MDC-T’s 57. Zanu Ndonga won the remaining

In 2002, Mugabe faced what looked like sure defeat when Tsvangirai rode on a
wave of popular support amid economic collapse and runaway inflation but he
again survived despite that the result was hotly contested.

His victory accelerated economic decline and by 2008 Zimbabwe was on the
brink as the political and economic meltdown –– characterised by
immeasurable hyperinflation –– ravaged the country. As a result, Mugabe for
the first time ever lost the first round of the March 2008 presidential
election before resorting to a campaign of brutality to storm back to power.

Tsvangirai had defeated Mugabe by a huge margin of 115 832 votes after the
MDC-T leader got 1 195 562 votes and the Zanu PF supremo secured 1 079 730.
This was despite Mugabe winning in six of the 10 provinces. Tsvangirai had
won by wide margins in his strongholds.

However, Mugabe’s June 2008 presidential election runoff win was a pyrrhic
victory as he was later forced into negotiations with the MDC parties,
leading to the formation of the coalition government which effectively ends
next week paving way for a decisive battle in which Mugabe has state and
electoral institutions –– including the security forces, mainly the army ––
behind him. Tsvangirai seems to have the people.

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Manicaland: Where discontent simmers

July 26, 2013 in News, Politics

The elections fever that has gripped the whole country seems absent in the
Eastern Highlands giving an impression of the ordinary with five days to go
before Zimbabweans vote in crucial general elections on Wednesday.

Faith Zaba

People in Manicaland, which has the second highest number of registered
voters with 807 300 after Harare’s 1,2 million, seems to be going about
their normal business and campaign posters bearing House of Assembly and
presidential party candidates are few and far between.

It is easy to count political party posters in Mutare Central and they get
even fewer in high-density suburbs like Sakubva, Chikanga, Dangamvura and

In Makoni, Mutasa, Buhera, Headlands and Rusape, Mugabe’s posters seem to
dominate public space, but are relatively few compared to the three
Mashonaland provinces, Midlands and Harare.

During the two days the Zimbabwe Independent visited the province last
Sunday and Monday, very few people could be seen donning party regalia —
with the green and yellow wraps and matching T-shirts with Mugabe’s portrait
dominating other provinces — hardly visible.

There was no indication that Mugabe would be addressing a star rally in
Mutare on Tuesday, except for the green haulage truck bearing Mugabe’s huge
portrait and the bhora mugedhi (vote for Mugabe) message inscribed across
it, which drove around the city, as well as the presence of soldiers from
the presidential guard.

But this serene and calm atmosphere should not be mistaken for complacency,
as the Independent crew discovered. Beneath the veneer of tranquillity lies
deep-seated anger and disappointment over how this region has been governed.

The discontent which has been simmering over the years is likely to come to
the boil next Wednesday when Zimbabweans vote for a new government.

Certainly, Zanu PF has lost some sleep over Manicaland. Out of the 26
constituencies in that province, the MDC-T grabbed 20 in the 2008 general

The province also rejected Mugabe by overwhelmingly voting for Tsvangirai,
who got 212 029 votes compared to the Zanu PF leader’s 141 592.

The Manyikas, who constitute 15% of the Shona population, have always stood
up to Mugabe and Zanu PF, leading to the rise of opposition leaders like
Morgan Tsvangirai, Simba Makoni, Arthur Mutambara, the late Ndabaningi
Sithole, Abel Muzorewa and Edgar Tekere.

Tensions between the Zezurus, to which Mugabe and Vice-President Joice
Mujuru belong, and the Karangas and Manyikas can be traced back to the
liberation war when the Karangas and Manyikas provided the bulk of fighters,
military commanders and top leadership of the Zanu movement.

Since power fell into the hands of Mugabe — a ruthless Zezuru intellectual
who led the Zanu movement, but did no fight himself — many Karangas and
Manyikas feel he has ignored their contribution, sidelined their leaders and
promoted people from his own clan.

Indeed, since Zanu PF’s last electoral congress in 2009, none of the
presidium posts have been occupied by Manyikas or Karangas, but are
dominated by the Zezurus and Ndebeles.

Mugabe has failed to appease the Manyika people over the mysterious 1975
assassination in exile of former Zanu leader and national hero Herbert
Chitepo. The death of Chitepo, which drove Mugabe to leave the country to
Mozambique, continues to incite conflict and controversy in Zimbabwe’s
national politics.

Zanu PF’s headaches ahead of elections next week are mounting as it tries to
wrest back seats lost in the last elections.

In addition to Mugabe sidelining the Manyikas, people interviewed by the
Independent are bitter about the continued marginalisation of the region,
despite it being a diamond-rich province.

Mutare is Zimbabwe’s fourth largest city sitting at the heart of rich
diamond fields, gold and timber. The people of Manicaland are crying for
change and do not see what more Zanu PF and Mugabe can offer them which they
have failed to do in 33 years.

Maria Saungweme of Sakubva said: “People here are very bitter about the
level of poverty in the area and the fact that there are no jobs for
university graduates.

“Mugabe and Zanu PF have failed us big time. We have diamonds in Marange,
which are just plundered by people from outside the province. Mutare has not
changed a single bit; we have the same buildings, no expansion or
development of the city. It’s Mugabe’s people benefiting.”

John Makoni from Mutasa South said he is tired of the false promises given
election after election from Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“We will attend Zanu PF rallies and fill the stadiums and we also attend
MDC-T rallies in huge numbers, but we know who we are going to vote for,”
said Makoni.

“The violence of 2008 is still lingering in our minds, so we keep our vote
close to our chests. We have better things to do like fending for our
families, instead of running up and down campaigning, singing party songs or
toy-toying, but come July 31, you will see us coming out in huge numbers to
vote for change. Zanu PF had its chance and it’s now time to try others.”

Andrew Chingawawa from Nyazura said Zanu PF has been in power since 1980,
but service delivery is very poor and unemployment levels are among the
highest in the world.

“We now believe that MDC-T is our way out,” said Chingawawa. “If Zanu PF
gets more than three seats, it will be very lucky. The problem is that we
might end up losing Makoni Central because our leader wants to impose Simba
Makoni (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader). This has created a lot of confusion
which might work to (Zanu PF candidate) Patrick Chinamasa’s
advantage.Tsvangirai is shooting himself in the foot.”

Tsvangirai endorsed Makoni as the House of Assembly candidate for Makoni
Central ahead of his party’s Patrick Sagandira on the basis of a coalition
for change agreement he signed with Makoni and Reketayi Semwayo of Zanu

The Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency is another seat under threat after
Tsvangirai also imposed Housing Development minister Giles Mutsekwa over the
favoured candidate, prominent lawyer Arnold Tsunga.

Even top Zanu PF sources in Manicaland conceded that Tsunga would win over
Mutsekwa, but were hoping that the vote would be split to give its candidate
Duru Reketai Milcah a chance.

Mathias Muvirimi of Makoni South credited MDC-T for the improved economic
situation in the country after the formation of the coalition government in

“There are now groceries on the shop shelves and there has been a remarkable
improvement in terms of the economy — thanks to MDC-T,” said Muvirimi. “We
no longer want lies preached to us. Just watch — Manicaland is going to
decide the election for Zimbabwe.

The liberation war started here and it will be this province that is going
to bring change to Zimbabwe. We are saying no to being sidelined and

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Treasury has enough money for polls — Biti

July 25, 2013 in News, Politics

FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has said US$96 million out of the US$132,5
million needed for elections has so far been disbursed while the remaining
US$36 million would be released by this weekend.

Fidelity Mhlanga

“The actual money to hold elections is now there,” said Biti. “We want to
say to the people of Zimbabwe we are ready for elections. The remaining
US$36 million is largely for allowances and per diems. We have done
according to our constitution to mobilise funds,” he said.

Biti said it was frustrating that his ministry was left alone to mobilise
funds internally after efforts to get assistance from the international
community hit a snag after disagreements with the ministry of justice.

He said there was no external funding from Sadc, the United Nations (UN) or
other donor organisations after Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa blocked a
UN assessment team from jetting into the country for negotiations.

Biti also said although no money came from diamond mining firms, Treasury
had to comply with the constitution to mobilise funds without crippling the

“We have not caused corrosive taxes though we had been given approval by
cabinet to do so. There is life after August 1. People have to eat and
hospitals have to function,” Biti said.

Biti said he had taken steps to cushion the economy from further limping
adding that the occurrence of a run-off would be precarious to the economy
by squeezing the country of another US$132 million.

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Zanu PF supporters threaten repeat of 2008 violence

July 25, 2013 in News, Politics

AS general elections fast approach, Zanu PF is now employing various
intimidation tactics in Manicaland province, where known perpetrators of the
2008 poll violence are threatening to beat up or even kill those who will
not vote for President Robert Mugabe in Wednesday general polls.

Faith Zaba

In an interview with Zimbabwe Independent today, MDC-T Manicaland provincial
chairman Julius Magarangoma said Zanu PF supporters were threatening their
members with a repeat of the 2008 election violence, which occurred during
the presidential run-off period, if Mugabe loses or if there is no outright
presidential winner.

He said as the elections draw close, there are increasing levels of
intimidation, particularly in rural areas, whose memories are of the
violence that rocked Zimbabwe in 2008 when hundreds of people were killed as
the military embarked on a violent election campaign to rescue Mugabe after
he lost the first round of polling, are still fresh.

“Intimidation has intensified in the last three days. Zanu PF supporters are
going around threatening people with violence. So far they are using people
who were involved in the 2008 election violence,” Magarangoma said.

“They have deployed the 2008 perpetrators of violence in Buhera and other
parts of Manicaland. These people are known by the locals. All they do is
just walk or drive around the constituencies or just hang around the
shopping centres. Now people are scared that they are there to mete out
violence on the locals.”

He added that: “People were being told that they will beat up people during
the run-off, like they did in 2008, if they don’t vote correctly and ensure
that Mugabe wins in the first round.”

In addition, Magarangoma said MDC-T supporters were being arrested for
engaging in door-to-door campaigns and toy-toying.

“We are not allowed to campaign door-to-door and police are arresting our
members saying it is illegal. This is just part of the intimidation tactics
being employed.”

This is happening as Mugabe, who is desperate for legitimacy if he wins July
31 elections, has been preaching peace at all his rallies.

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Bishop angers flock over Zanu PF campaign

July 25, 2013 in Elections 2013, News

FORMER Anglican Archbishop of Manicaland, Elson Jakazi, who is now leading
another faction, has angered his church members after he openly campaigned
for Zanu PF.

Clayton Masekesa

Jakazi, who was involved in a protracted legal battle for the control of the
Anglican Diocese of Manicaland with the Anglican Church of the Province of
Central Africa (CPCA), established the Evangelical Anglican Church
International in April this year.

The Supreme Court settled the matter early this year by ruling in favour of
the CPCA leaving Jakazi and his followers with no option but to establish
their own splinter church.

Addressing about 20 000 people who attended the Zanu PF star rally at Mutare
Aerodrome on Tuesday, Jakazi said he was blessing Mugabe’s victory when he
squares off with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC’s Welshman Ncube
and Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa on July 31.

Jakazi said: “I want to encourage you to vote for Zanu PF. I am blessing the
victory of Mugabe. I call upon people to choose life and consider the future
when they vote in the forthcoming elections.”

He said God should help Zanu PF to lead the people, adding that Zimbabwe was
endowed with mineral resources, which the people of Manicaland should
benefit from.

“I pray to God to help us benefit from our resources. We are like the
Israelites and we are all yearning to go to Canaan. I want all people to
remember this when they vote.”

However, some of his church members said they could not be influenced on
their individual choice of candidates.

“We are not guided by one’s belief,” said one church member. “While he might
say he is going to vote for Zanu PF, that statement does not necessarily
reflect our views. I will vote for a party of my choice when the time comes.
My vote is my secret.”

“We are very angry about his statements at the rally. The public has to know
that those were his opinions and they were not from the church,” said
another church member.

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Death knell for economy if Mugabe wins

July 26, 2013 in Business

All that could go wrong for the economy will go wrong should President
Robert Mugabe win the coming elections, economic experts have warned.

Chris Muronzi

Many see a gloomy outlook for the economy in the event that Mugabe, 89, wins
the presidential poll slated for July 31.

His critics say Mugabe, who has been in power since Independence from
Britain in 1980, is devoid of fresh economic policies and initiatives to
propel the country into a sustainable economic growth trajectory.

More worryingly, analysts feel that Mugabe’s plans to re-introduce the
Zimbabwe dollar could spell a death knell for the economy.
While the state media later attempted to sanitise Mugabe’s plans to
re-introduce the Zimbabwe dollar once elected into office, many feel that
his intention have been clearly spelt out.
The Zimbabwe dollar was replaced after runaway inflation reduced the local
currency to a worthless piece of paper. By the time, Zimbabwe adopted
multi-currencies in 2009, Zimbabweans would not accept the currency as a
legal tender in many, if not all transactions, a sign economist say is a
show of total lack of confidence in the monetary unit. On the investment
front, economists do not see Mugabe relenting on his indigenisation policy,
which compels foreign investors from owning a controlling stake in
businesses with a net asset value of US$1, pushing investors to countries
with friendlier investor policies.
Judging by Mugabe’s tone at his rallies so far, they say he is likely going
to intensify the dreaded indigenisation policies to the detriment of the
economy. This, they say, will keep the economy at bay. Others say there is
little Mugabe can do to grow the economy if elected into office that he has
not done in the last 33 years in power.
Commenting on Zanu PF plans to seize 51% of shareholding in 1 139 companies
and realise US$7 billion cash for injection into the economy, former
journalist Basildon Peta said : “It’s all very fine and high- sounding to
say every company of a certain value be owned by black Zimbabweans. The only
problem is that the idea is as delusional as it is stupid for it neither
spurs economic growth nor facilitates that indispensable component of
economic prosperity and foreign direct investment.”

As spelt out by Mugabe in his party’s elections Manifesto, the aged leader
is bereft of new ideas to stimulate growth of the economy, critics say.

“In fact, we have all heard this typical Zanu PF nonsense before:
nationalise and seize everything possible and everybody will live happily
ever after. It’s all a dog’s breakfast. The manifesto further promises to
monetise idle assets and make them productive, among many other kaput
proposals. How forced seizures of equities in companies and their
transference to black Zimbabweans, who will mostly be inept Zanu PF cronies,
will generate substantial revenues is not explained,” Peta added in an
opinion published by the NewsDay last week.

“Equally staggering is the belief that a Zanu PF government can raise enough
capital to invest in idle assets and make them viable when Mugabe is doing
all he can to alienate everyone who can help his regime.”

Analysts say Mugabe has reached his sell-by date as a champion for economic
growth and development. In the decade to the formation of the unity
government that has presided over the relatively sober economic growth to
date, GDP tumbled by as much as 60% due to poor economic policies and
general economic mismanagement.

Just last year, Finance minister Tendai Biti was forced to down grade last
year’s economic growth forecast to 5,6% from 9,4% in the prior year.

Economists argue that the growth Zimbabwe has experienced in the past few
years, is relatively higher because the economy was coming off a low base.

Bulawayo-based economist Erich Bloch said whoever is elected into office
come end of July, will have to ensure that there is investment security in
the country.

“The key to a substantive economic upturn is not who wins the presidential
election, but what will be the composition of the next government, and will
that government initiate the right actions to achieve, and maintain, that
economic upturn,” Bloch said.

“Essentially, whosoever comprises that government, and who is president,
will have to restore a sense of investment security in the minds of
potential investors and financiers by substantively modifying the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policies and laws to be constructive
and devoid of alienation of investor security, compliance with Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements, realignment of taxation
legislation to accord substantially with that prevailing elsewhere in the
region, reconciliation with the presently alienated entities within the
international community.”

Bloch added the new president would also have to constrain governmental
expenditure, constructively address settlement of government’s and Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe’s considerable international and national debt ,
effectively restructure parastatals to ensure substantive service delivery
and incentivise exports and eliminate inequitable import competition.

Should Mugabe and Zanu-PF be elected into office, the aged leader and his
party may effect radical policy changes to stay in power, he said.

“The bottom line is that whoever wins the elections, the Zimbabwean populace
in general, business community in particular as well as Foreign Direct
Investors and the international community will adopt a ‘hurry slowly’
approach in assessing the performance and the intentions of the next
government,” Bloch added.

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July 31 poll: The odds in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai

July 26, 2013 in Elections 2013, News, Politics

Having attended and observed the presidential election campaigns between the
main political protagonists, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and taking into account the political environment and
other electoral administrative factors, my interpretation of the July 31
poll is pointing towards a Tsvangirai victory.


There are critical observations of the electoral process that have assisted
my conclusion of a victory for Tsvangirai in this decisive election.
Firstly, the political environment attendant to the holding of the July 31
election is similar if not much better than the March 29 2008 poll in which
the MDC parties won the presidential and parliamentary elections

Sadc and the African Union (AU)’s role in ensuring an environment in which
citizens freely express their civil and political liberties, especially the
absence of major cases of politically-motivated violence in the country, has
helped Tsvangirai and the opposition in general to traverse the breath and
width of the country. In this regard, political rallies by the MDC parties
have largely taken place without interference by the police and vigilante
militia groups, except here and there.

Meetings by Tsvangirai in places such as Rushinga in Mashonaland Central
province and Kotwa in Mashonaland East, two of previously declared no-go
areas for the MDC-T, have broadened his outreach to the electorate. The same
goes for places such as Gokwe and Mataga in the Midlands province where
Tsvangirai attracted huge crowds at his rallies.

This improvement and widening of the democratic space where Tsvangirai was
able to meet ordinary people and explain his party’s policies centred on job
creation, rural transformation, compulsory and free primary education and
addressing maternity mortality in the hinterland, will benefit him hugely at
the polls next week.

Secondly, the impact of the MDC-T’s economic policies and management under
Finance minister Tendai Biti would benefit Tsvangirai and his party hugely,
especially the dollarisation of the economy and macro-economic policies that
addressed spiralling inflation. This could be debatable, but generally,
Zimbabweans credit Biti and his party for the economic order prevailing in
the country.

Throughout the political rallies that I attended in Mutare, Masvingo,
Bulawayo, Marondera and Kwekwe, it was clear that people do not want a
return to the old order of economic chaos, food shortages, diseases and the
collapse of social delivery systems such as education and health. When
Tsvangirai pulled out a huge bundle of worthless Zimbabwe dollars, the
crowds at the rallies would shout that they would never want to return to
that order again.

They associate hyperinflation with Mugabe and Zanu PF’s bad economic
policies. Thirdly, Tsvangirai has managed to have more rallies in the
countryside than Mugabe who is scheduled to have less than 15 rallies
nationally due to old age and failing health. The important thing to note
about Tsvangirai’s rallies is that people attended them freely without any
form of coercion. More so, before Tsvangirai holds a provincial rally, he
would have held several rallies in the districts, growth points and critical
service centres.

It is important to note that in the March 2008 election, Tsvangirai won in
most places that he visited including in places where Zanu PF won
parliamentary seats, but lost the presidential vote. He also won
convincingly in most peri-urban settlements.

I have also noticed Tsvangirai has visited all these places and even more
during his impromptu visits. In contradistinction to Mugabe, my observation
of Tsvangirai rallies are that people are not bused to them. The huge
rallies by Mugabe are rather misleading.

They are provincial rallies where most of the districts bus their supporters
because the president is only addressing a single rally in the province.
This mainly explains the huge numbers at his rallies. In some cases, like
one situation I witnessed in Chitungwiza, people were forced to close their
businesses, especially informal traders, to attend Mugabe’s rallies.

Businesses and traders are threatened with closure if they refuse to comply.
Most of the people who attended the rallies to protect their businesses not
for the love of the party. Others also attended the rallies to get free
regalia that the party has purchased in millions.

The fourth reason why Tsvangirai could win this election, bar technical
electoral manipulation, is the Matabeleland factor. It has been argued and
postulated that the failure by Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube to
form an electoral coalition ahead of the poll could hurt Tsvangirai’s
chances of victory. While this could still be a possibility, indications at
least from the rally Tsvangirai addressed in White City Stadium on July 20
where thousands of people attended, especially workers in the industrial
areas, indicate that people could have learnt from the divisions that cost
the opposition the presidency in 2008.

So, whereas the political leaders and the elites could make their
permutations on the basis of their alleged strengths in the region, the
Bulawayo rally indicated people have made a choice to give Tsvangirai a
chance. This is important because about 400 metres from the stadium, Dumiso
Dabengwa was addressing a very poorly attended rally.

The majority of people went to listen to Tsvangirai. If this rally can be
used to measure people’s commitment, then it is possible to suggest that
people want to vote for a person who has a realistic chance of defeating
Mugabe My postulation is that the people in this region have critical agency
and could be more rational than the elites and academics who postulate on
possible divisions without empirical data to guide them on how people are
likely to vote.

If what happened in Bulawayo is replicated in the other two Matabeleland
provinces, then Tsvangirai is likely to improve from how he performed in
2008. This means a possible majority vote for him in the region. If that
happens, Tsvangirai stands to win with a better margin than he did in 2008.
The fifth factor that aides a possible Tsvangirai victory is the nature of
the media landscape in the country during this election.

Unlike in 2008 where there were only two government-controlled daily
newspapers, in this election there are two private daily newspapers —
NewsDay and Daily News — providing coverage to all political players and in
some cases exposing and rebutting government propaganda. Thus, the
opposition has platforms to share their ideas and the electorate has an
opportunity to make a choice on the basis of what the parties are offering
them as enunciated in their manifestos.

Since the 2008 election, social media has grown phenomenally and is playing
a critical role as a public sphere that is beyond the realm of state
control. Many people now have cellphones on which they can access the
internet. In this election, it is becoming difficult to censor news and
debates as information is posted on social media without the control of the
state. Citizens use this information to inform their decisions.

This is why the Baba Jukwa phenomenon has rocked the country. The faceless
Facebook character has become so popular because of exposés that ordinarily
the official and old media can’t write or show because of fear of losing
licenses and journalists fear possible harassment and arrests.

The administration of an opaque and authoritarian political system is
associated with Mugabe and his candidature is at the receiving end of such
platforms. While it is difficult to predict the impact of Mugabe’s health
and old age in this election, what is clear is that he is approaching 90
years and voters would ordinarily be uninterested in re-electing an old
man — Tsvangirai could largely benefit from his frailty and some glaring
memory lapses.

Tsvangirai is young and energetic as seen by his several rallies across the
country that Mugabe could hardly do. Over and above these factors, Mugabe’s
message is not clear, it has no hope, it is negative and at times irrelevant
to the plight of the people. That explains why many people leave his rallies
half-way through his speeches. There is deep-seated discontent.

The mood in the country is that of change and moving forward. People are not
interested in political and economic regression. Mugabe seems to represent
the past anchored on repression and authoritarianism. The liberal social
democratic ethos of the Tsvangirai campaign resonates with the majority of
young people and the general public. Ruhanya is the director of Zimbabwe
Democracy Institute.

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Face the beast without fear!

July 26, 2013 in Opinion, Politics

NEXT Wednesday Zimbabweans will have an historic opportunity, a last chance
really, to vote out President Robert Mugabe and stop sweltering in the
unbearable heat of repression and poverty.

There is no sugarcoating here. Mugabe’s radical authoritarian nationalism,
with its fascist leanings, has been corrosive; for he will leave Zimbabwe in
a worse-off situation than he took it in 1980 as poverty and suffering go

Mugabe took over a relatively thriving economy, but today Zimbabwe is a
basket case, courtesy of his leadership and policy failures.
However, next week’s elections will not be about Mugabe per se, but the
future of the nation and people’s destiny.

It will also be about future generations. So far, Mugabe has shown he
belongs to the past. He has dismally failed in 33 years to take the country

His campaigns and messages offer no hope. They are about history, polemics
and other negativities.

Besides, he is evidently reeling from old age and frailty, hence memory
lapses, incoherent rhetoric and valedictory-style speeches.

In short, he is manifestly a hopeless case. So, Zimbabweans must next week
rise to the occasion, face the beast and not fear the face. The power is
within your hands to do so. This is not the time to feel powerless,
frightened or to wallow in self-pity. There is no room for fear or
defeatism. It is time to act, and do so fearlessly and decisively.

We are acutely aware elections under dictators are rigidly controlled
plebiscites to get public endorsement of their regimes. Dictators, who exist
primarily because of unequal internal power relations, are not in the
business of allowing elections that could remove them from power.

Most of the time, polls are just a charade to give the dictator a veneer of
legitimacy, but people must next week seize the opportunity to push the
frontiers and horizons of change.

Although most Zimbabweans have tenaciously fought Mugabe’s ruthless regime,
sustaining serious physical and emotional scars, and even losing their lives
in the process, especially at the height of fierce political repression and
economic meltdown, the battle is still on.

Yes, people have voted in their numbers against Mugabe and Zanu PF in past
elections and results were crudely rigged, while a militarised reaction to
defeat was mounted, but they have not used their critical mass to make
change inescapable.

Mugabe still holds the cards as he controls electoral institutions and the
army, but the ballot can be more powerful than all that — just like an idea
whose time has come. As Victor Hugo said, no army is stronger than an idea
whose time has come.

A day will come when Zimbabwe will be free of Mugabe’s rule. A day will come
when Zimbabwe will be more democratic and free, but that day will only come
if Zimbabweans decide, once and for all, to break the chains of injustice
and tyranny.

Next Wednesday offers such an historic opportunity. It is time to stand up
and be counted. All that is needed for forces of evil to prevail is for good
people to do nothing.

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Zimra recognises economic realities

July 26, 2013 in Opinion

Last week the chairman of the board of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
(Zimra) issued a report on the revenue collections achieved in the first
half-year of 2013.

Column by Eric Bloch

Of significant merit in that report was a realistic assessment given on the
stressed circumstances of the Zimbabwean economy.

In contrast to most arms of government, which recurrently fail to recognise
economic realities, the Zimra report comprehensively recognised actualities
of the key constraints which have hindered attaining economic substance.

At the outset of the report, Zimra chairman Sternford Moyo states: “The
first half of 2013 has seen the Zimbabwean economy being characterised by
liquidity constraints, power shortages, retrenchments, scaling down of
operations and company closures, among many other challenges.”

These factors precluded Zimra attaining its revenue collection targets, and
thus contributed to the impecunious state of the national fiscus (although
irrefutably the greater causes of governmental near bankruptcy have been
excessive expenditures, oft unproductively incurred, and the ongoing
magnitude of corruption within ministries).

Nevertheless, Zimra nearly attained its overall collections target, raising
US$1,66 billion against a target of US$1,67 billion, resulting in a marginal
negative variance of 1%. The greatest source of the revenues raised was
Value Added Tax (Vat), which yielded US$517,2 million for the fiscus.

Second greatest was Pay As You Earn (Paye) revenues of US$347,3 million,
followed by Excise duties of US$235,5 million. Other revenues included
company tax, amounting to US$185,1 million, customs duty of US$172,7
million, mining royalties of US$81,1 million, including withholding taxes on
dividends and interest, capital gains tax, tobacco levy, and carbon tax
whose revenues aggregated to US$118,2 million.

Among meaningful explanations enunciated in the report for collections not
reaching targets, the Zimra chairman stated that Vat collections in the
half-year amounted to US$517,2 million, against a target of US$535,7
million, and that the subdued performance was due to low capacity
utilisation and the general liquidity constraints in the economy.

The report suggests that, in particular, “cost of living adjustments awarded
by employers were not sufficient to spur the anticipated revenues through
Vat”, and that “liquidity constraints also hampered the performance of Vat
on imports, as companies lacked adequate financial resources to import

In like manner, customs duty collections amounted to US$172,7 million, as
against a target of US$180,3 million, representing a negative variance of
4%. Zimra correctly states that the target was not achieved “because
importations were subdued due to liquidity challenges in the economy”.

However, one must authoritatively surmise that a further major contributant
to the collection under-performance was the magnitude of imported goods that
evaded customs duty (and Vat) by virtue of smuggling (much enabled by
bribery of some customs officials), and supplemented by the extent of entry
into Zimbabwe of imported goods through borders not manned.

In addition, it is not credibly refutable that many products manufactured in
the Far East enter Zimbabwe disguised as allegedly manufactured in Sadc, and
therefore exempt from customs duty.

Mining royalties also fell far short of target, amounting to US$81,1
million, as against a target of US$107,8 million, and this “was mainly due
to the softening of international mineral prices, especially gold and

But this was unstated in the report undoubtedly as a consequence of ongoing
extensive smuggling out of the country by numerous small-scale gold panners,
and of diamonds.

To a significant extent, the shortage of the revenue collections is, as
correctly stated by Zimra’s chairperson, due to the fragile state of the
economy, with gross unemployment, low consumption levels, heavily diminished
production in most economic sectors.

However, another contributory factor is that Zimbabwe’s direct and indirect
taxation policies are non-conducive and counter-productive to stimulating
substantial economic growth, and greater revenue inflows to the fiscus.

Among the prime examples of such counterproductive policies is that
government persists in imposing Income Tax on incomes which are below the
Poverty Datum Line.

Over and above the magnitude of the consequential demoralisation of
income-stressed workers occasioned by such taxation, compounding their
inability to fund essential needs, were the taxes applicable only on incomes
above the PDL, the recipients of those incomes would have somewhat greater
spending power.

That would yield increased revenue flows to the fiscus by way of Vat on the
increased volumes of sales made possible by the enhanced levels of net
employment income. Concurrently, such additional sales would yield greater
profits to commercial enterprises, thereby generating further tax revenues.

Moreover, the enhancement of worker-morale would facilitate increased
productivity, which would have downstream revenue flow benefits to the

Many of the economic ills so correctly identified in the Zimra report would
also be progressively eliminated if government were to address
constructively the motivation and generation of foreign investment, instead
of discouraging such investment by constantly intensifying diminution of
investment security.

Practical modification (not repeal!) of Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment legislation, and the implementation thereof, belated
compliance with Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements,
and realignment of taxation policies with those prevailing elsewhere in the
region would be highly conducive to attracting substantial investment, which
would be a stimulant for increased employment, trade volumes (including
exports), and hence for greater taxation inflows (direct and indirect) to
the fiscus.

Government’s rapacious needs for tax revenues would be markedly reduced if
corruption within the corridors of power was vigorously contained, and if
there would be vigorous curtailment of unproductive expenditures by the

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Zulu bashed for stating the obvious

July 26, 2013 in Opinion

President Robert Mugabe’s detachment from the reality on the ground was laid
bare at his rally in Mutare on Tuesday.

By the MuckRaker

Instead of telling the residents of Manicaland about policies his government
would enact to improve their plight, Mugabe excoriated them for voting for
the MDC-T in the last elections. And in typical Mugabe style it was never
Zanu PF’s fault; the people had “lost their way”.

Mugabe’s rather dreary speech failed to liven up even a captive crowd. That’s
how bad it has become these days.

The memory lapses and forgetting people’s names, dates and events is not
helping either. At the launch of Zanu PF’s manifesto in Highfield, Mugabe
mixed up the date the National Democratic Party, which preceded Zapu, was
formed in 1961. He also referred to the late nationalist-cum-medical
practitioner Dr Edward Pswarayi as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The hero of the day for Zanu PF turned out to be master of ceremonies Cde
Supa Mandiwanzira whose waxing lyrical would have made Webster Shamu proud.
At least Mandiwanzira has stopped pretending to be impartial.

Not to be outdone, Didymus Mutasa made an ode to Mugabe at the rally in
which he said ndinokudai chaizvo (I love you with all my heart).
Ironically the love poem came soon after Mugabe had attacked gays!

Yet another chance

Zanu PF is making hay over a poster of Tendai Biti looking at a copy of
their manifesto.

“Our manifesto has excited everyone,” the caption reads.
But look more carefully. Morgan Tsvangirai is having a good laugh over the
naivety of the document.

Of course politicians are inclined to make extravagant claims at election
time. But none quite match President Mugabe’s claim that Zanu PF will
“quickly reverse” the stagnation experienced by Bulawayo during the tenure
of the inclusive government.

“People have suffered enough,” he declared in Lupane. “We want to give them
a government that will correct the wrongs done in the last five years.”

If he is able to correct the wrongs of the past five years, why hasn’t he
done so already?

Was he paralysed during the tenure of the inclusive government, unable to do
anything useful?

Disturbed driver

Mutumwa Mawere recently weighed in on Mugabe’s propensity to blame others
for his government’s failures on the newly-formed 1st TV.
“How can you blame a passenger (Tsvangirai) for an accident unless President
Mugabe can claim he was disturbed from driving the car?” queried Mawere.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF Politburo member Naison Ndlovu urged the electorate to
demonstrate their “gratitude” to President Mugabe in the upcoming general
elections. We are sure voters will have a present for him on July 31.

Sudden concern

Then there was the “specialist treatment” Dr Chimedza was suddenly offering
in Gutu South last weekend.

Chimedza said the “quest to ensure access to health for ordinary people” had
always been his passion.

Since when? As Zimpapers chair, we always thought the quest to ensure the
public media remained partisan had been his passion.

And why are colleagues in the medical sector only now being mobilised to
serve the poor? What has he and his party been doing over the past five

“My main wish is to make sure that ordinary people of Zimbabwe, even in
remote corners of the country, have access to medical facilities and I will
continue to fight to make that a reality one day,” he claimed. But when is
“one day”? Will poor villagers have to wait for another five years before
relief comes?

And how professional is it to get involved in Zanu PF’s election campaign?
Should doctors who have taken the Hippocratic oath lend themselves to
promises of this sort to win votes for a political party?

Zanu PF (mis)rule

Tsvangirai was also making promises although his were not medical. He
promised to roll out a housing programme to improve the welfare of rural

“Most people still live in poor houses reminiscent of those of our ancestors
such as Ambuya Nehanda,” he said.

But why has nobody said anything about the victims of Murambatsvina? Instead
we hear of populist measures designed to win urban votes.
So first Zanu PF boots out urban residents, then it tells those that remain
they needn’t pay rates any more. Exactly how do you run a city along these

Telling it like it is

What a breath of fresh air Lindiwe Zulu has been. She tells it like it is
and there is not much chance of President Mugabe silencing her.
She is the sort of person we need right now. One of ZTV’s talking heads, Dr
Charity Manyeruke, says Zulu is a mafikizolo who needs to be schooled in

So who’s the mafikizolo here? How many Zimbabweans know Zulu was an Umkhonto
weSizwe cadre in the 1970s? What contribution did Manyeruke make to the
struggle for independence, or any of that gang of stooges who advertise
their foolishness on television on a daily basis?
The Herald says her language would make a truck driver green with envy. What
language is that? Who goes around calling their critics a street-woman?

The private media should hang their heads in shame, the Herald’s editor
pontificates. What nonsense! Zulu is fighting for a democratic Zimbabwe, the
same as most people in this country. Who does the lickspittle Herald stand

A cabal of redundant nationalists clinging to power with nothing to offer
the electorate except more of the same? Their message is “We promise to do
what we haven’t done in 33 years.” And of course they have been doing their
best to avoid democratic change and progress.

Blame the messenger

If Lindiwe Zulu reminds Mugabe and his henchmen of what they pledged to do
in 2008 then that is precisely what she should be doing.
Don’t we all know things are not looking good on the ground? Shouldn’t she
have stated the obvious?

Zulu need not worry. She enjoys the confidence of all progressive
Zimbabweans who want change.

And as a trusted confidante of President Zuma she has little to fear from
Mugabe’s tirades. We are sure the president knows the aphorism about stones
and glass houses!

Our Mother Theresa

Meanwhile, we note with interest that Grace Mugabe is referring to herself
as “mother of the nation”.

“I pledge to provide regularly so that you do not starve,” she told an
audience in Gwanda.

“Matabeleland South should not starve when I, the mother of the nation, am

“I have brought food for you,” she announced.
Is it permitted for candidates to court voters with promises of food? Isn’t
this covered by Section 136 of the Electoral Act? And should Grace be
calling herself “mother of the nation”?
It is surely up to the people to confer such affection upon the president’s
wife. Not for her to confer it upon herself.

Waiting for Godot

Yet another “man of God” has emerged from the woodwork claiming President
Mugabe is a “God chosen leader for Zimbabwe”.

Following in the ignoble footsteps of Obadiah Msindo and Johannes Ndanga,
Reverend Sam Malunga said “prophetic utterances” and “spiritual revelation”
showed him Mugabe had been chosen by God. Mugabe’s leadership is not limited
by time, Malunga claimed, but is a “calling from God”.

Malunga’s Tehillar Christian Network sounds suspiciously similar to another
Zanu PF “church”, Destiny for Afrika Network. Clearly there are no limits to
Zanu PF duplicity before elections.

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Social media: An elections game changer

July 26, 2013 in Opinion

ZIMBABWE has been an unpredictable country over the past 13 years, but in a
checkered history that has kept lurching from crisis to crisis, one event
has kept coming back with certainty –– elections.

Candid Comment with Dingilizwe Ntuli

Past elections have been marred by violence and intimidation coupled with
the state-controlled media’s relentless demonising of Zanu PF’s opponents.

However, since the last elections in 2008, a social media revolution has
transformed the political and journalistic landscape in Zimbabwe and indeed
the world.

The development of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp
has drastically changed the way we interact with each other and dramatically
altered how the public consumes information and news. Social media has also
increased the speed information is gathered and disseminated.

Gone are the days of previous elections when people solely depended on the
polarised media for news and information.

While Facebook states on its homepage that it “helps you connect and share
with the people in your life”, it also provides a relatively safe forum to
debate political issues without fear because of the cover of anonymity it
provides, particularly in our restrictive media environment.

On August 28, 2009 mobile service provider Econet launched the country’s
first mobile broadband enabling cellphone users to access the internet via
their smartphones.

This helped surge internet connectivity in Zimbabwe to the current levels of
4,5 million.

According to polling organisation Gallup International, Zimbabwe has about
1,5 million Facebook users, but the figures could be higher considering the
mobile phone penetration of 97%.

As US President Barack Obama proved in his 2008 election campaign, social
media has proved to be a useful organising tool.

It provides a means for news to travel in smaller, more digestible forms and
has also become increasingly important in keeping constituents tuned in to
political news and happenings as well as providing a means of cheap and
efficient communication not bound by geographical limitations.

Our political leadership has proved time and again to be out of touch with
reality and to distort the truth. Social media has come in to address some
of these challenges.

The Arab Spring, which saw a series of protests and demonstrations in
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen that began in December 2010, is widely
credited to have been organised, publicised and updated via social networks.

A Social media phenomenon like Baba Jukwa has effectively used Facebook to
push the boundaries of media freedom and the free flow of information by
exposing some dark state secrets.

Baba Jukwa has become a social media sensation in Zimbabwe with about 280
000 Facebook likes compared to the pages of President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who have about 100 000 likes each.

Next week’s elections provide Zimbabweans with the perfect opportunity to
make use of social media to take election coverage to new levels by sending
live updates in their respective locations, given the lack of transparency
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Registrar-General’s Office.

Zimbabweans must make use social media to increase capacity for open
discussion of political matters.

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Rough ride after polls

July 26, 2013 in Opinion

WHATEVER the outcome of Wednesday’s general elections, this was a formidable
mission for President Robert Mugabe’s opponents who were up against a
ruthless and experienced political machine.

The Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Firstly, we had Tobaiwa Mudede with his masterful impression of how to
mismanage the electoral roll. His dexterity saw a number of Rhodesian Front
ministers resuscitated, while more recent politicians were denied access to
the electronic version of the roll.

Meanwhile, the military were giving us the benefit of their one-dimensional
political views while the party they sought to promote declined to introduce
the reforms envisaged in the elections roadmap.

Indeed, Zanu PF saw the constitution-making exercise as designed to block
reforms of any significance. The result was a fudge instead of a fanfare.

On that basis, next Wednesday’s elections will be flawed from the outset. It
is already disputed. Much that needed to be done has not been done, while
many things that didn’t need to be done have been done.

If Mugabe wins, indigenisation which has done so much damage to the economy
will be pursued with a vengeance, scaring off any possible investors. The
proceeds of the forthcoming raid on the banks will be used to fund land

The president has even spoken of seizing wildlife conservancies to provide
more available land. The consequences will be too ghastly to contemplate as
events in the Save Conservancy show.

But more generally we will witness a further downturn in the economy if Zanu
PF wins with a landslide. There could indeed be a landslide but maybe Mugabe
will lie beneath it.

If he wins the current economic stability will be jeopardised. Instead there
will be decline with the old guard back to inflict more damage.

Zanu PF is already proposing populist measures such as cancellation of
municipal rates arrears and the consequences will come back to haunt us.
This is misrule writ large, typical of Mugabe.

The public media, which was supposed to provide different parties a platform
to air their views and explain their manifestos, has been turned into a Zanu
PF propaganda mouthpiece in defence of a cabal of politicians with an
alarming record of failure.

Economists have said the scale of the likely decline will take us back to
the era before 1997. The situation is made worse by the incompetence of the
MDC-T and their weak response to the challenge facing us. Morgan Tsvangirai
woke up very late to the threat and has been trying to make up for lost

We need dynamic leadership but are unlikely to get it whoever wins. No
matter what his shortcomings, Tsvangirai will at least take Zimbabwe forward
one way or another.

The last thing Zimbabwe needs are failed rulers who don’t understand the
need to get out of the way so a younger generation can take charge. Mugabe
is a one-man disaster whose populist demagoguery has inflicted untold damage
as we shall soon see if he wins.

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Polls and monkey-master story

July 26, 2013 in Opinion

A 14th century Chinese parable by Liu-Ji outlines a derelict understanding
of political power quite well.

Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Muleya

In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his
service. The people of Chu called him “Jugong” (monkey master).
Each morning the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard and
order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruit.

Each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. Those
who failed to do so would be ruthlessly whipped. All the monkeys suffered
bitterly but dared not complain.

This story, originally titled Rule by Tricks is from Yu-li-zi by Liu Ji and
has been translated by Sidney Tai.

Yu-li-zi is also the pseudonym of Liu Ji. The translation was originally
published in Nonviolent Sanctions: News from the Albert Einstein

One day a small monkey asked the other primates: “Did the old man plant all
the fruit trees and bushes?”

The other monkeys anxiously replied: “No, they grew naturally.” The small
monkey further asked: “Can’t we take the fruits without the old man’s
permission?” The others responded: “Yes, we all can!”
The small monkey continued: “Then, why should we depend on the old man; why
must we all serve him?”

Before the small monkey was able to finish, all the monkeys suddenly became
enlightened and woke up to the reality of the miserable conditions and
existential threats.

On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys
tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined,
and destroyed the enclosure entirely. They also took the fruits the old man
had in storage to the woods and never returned.

The old man finally died of starvation. Yu-li-zi says, “Some men in the
world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren’t
they just like the monkey master?”

The moral of the story is contrary to popular opinion, leaders including
rulers like President Robert Mugabe, are dependent on the population and
societies they rule for survival. While some people think Zimbabweans owe
Mugabe and Zanu PF a living, the reality is they owe their rule to the

Although rulers exert influence over the people through power and coercion,
in reality people are masters of their countries and boss to their
governments because they can change them as and when they want if they are
get an opportunity and are determined enough.

That’s why we talk of “government of the people, by the people, for the
people”, as the US declaration of independence put it. Leaders and
governments come and go, but people remain.

When Zimbabwe’s liberation movements, of which Mugabe and others were part,
swept across the region and the country their objective was to restore the
status of people as masters, not slaves of their governments. It is sad to
realise that 33 years after independence, Zimbabweans are treated as
servants and Mugabe as their king.

We are always told we must be grateful to Mugabe and his cabal for
liberating us. The people’s role in the struggle is conveniently forgotten.

This sort of thinking not only reflects the arrogance of politicians, but
also indifference of the people themselves.

It is the root cause of failure in many African countries. So next week
Zimbabweans must behave like the monkeys who brought down walls of
repression and broke chains of tyranny after realising they are the masters
of their own destiny and Jugong ––the monkey master –– could not survive
without their support.

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Free & Fair Zimbabwe Election update

The latest Zimbabwe election news straight to your inbox!
Welcome to our daily Free & Fair Zimbabwe Election update Today's edition highlights election funds and economic sanctions, the AU observers, and accusations of election rigging.

Also included are links to today's tops stories and a featured story about Zanu-PF's struggle with homophobia. 

As usual if you have any news please drop us a line -
News of the day:
Although the Zimbabwean economy is expected to slow further this year, we can report that the cash for the election is in the account -  Zimbabwe has secured $85 million for elections.  While the arrival of election funds is a relief to the treasury, the finance minister is quick to point out that the financial security of the nation is riding on this election.

The outcome of the election will have an impact on not only the level of foreign investment the country is able to attract but also it could have serious effects on USeconomic sanctions against the country, with the possibility of further tightening if the vote is rigged.

These outside financial pressures may be, in part, responsible for the sudden change in attitude by Mugabe toward AU observers – something he had previously been suspicious of.

Most interestingly, both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have verbally committed to accept the results of the election whatever their end. 

“From what they told us, they are willing to accept the results, provided the process was fine. No one said they are not going to accept the results if the process is fine,” Ms Dhlamini-Zuma said after separate meetings with Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai.

However saying this the MDC have already highlighted they are not happy with the process, highlighting incidents of ZANU-PF actively attempting to rig the election

There is a lot of speculation over what Mugabe is thinking in relation to the election, including attempting to create a one party state.  Others think he simply can’t relinquish power while he is alive.  Others think he is now the puppet and the party is plotting to replace him after the election. 

1Tsvangirai faces party revolt, Biti aligned faction gives him headaches
2COMMENT: Mugabe's party plots for successor
3Mugabe can't win: Analysts
4Tsvangirai yet to approach us: Ncube
5FFZE: Mugabe in About-Turn on Head of AU Observer Mission
FEATURE STORY: ‘Evil’ gays are no closer to freedom in Zimbabwe
This election cycle, Mugabe has been relentless in his attack against the gay community and has gone as far as to address homosexuality in the party’s manifesto.  In the 108-page pre-election document, Zanu-PF brags that it managed to block the evils of homosexuality by criminalising same-sex marriage in the new Constitution: “The party was vigilant throughout the constitution-making exercise to guard against treachery and to protect the process from being hijacked by foreign or regime change interests. More importantly … the constitution enshrines provisions … that not only guarantee that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again but which also protect the values and dignity of the people against evils such as homosexuality.”
Copyright © 2013 Free & Fair Zimbabwe Election, All rights reserved.

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