POLICE yesterday arrested
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party secretary-general
Welshman Ncube on fresh treason charges as party leader Morgan Tsvangirai was
further remanded in custody pending the outcome of his bail application at
the High Court today.
Ncube’s arrest came as High Court Judge
President Paddington Garwe dismissed an application by the State to alter
bail conditions for Tsvangirai in another treason case already before the
In the first treason charge, Tsvangirai, Ncube and MDC
legislator Renson Gasela are charged with plotting to murder President Robert
Mugabe ahead of last year’s presidential election.
Ncube is the
second key MDC figure to face two treason charges in the last five days as
the government intensifies a crackdown on the opposition party following mass
protests organised by the party that shut down Zimbabwe last
Tsvangirai was last week slapped with second treason charges
over allegations that he called for Mugabe’s unconstitutional removal
Treason carries the death penalty under Zimbabwe’s
A police spokesman told the State-controlled Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation that Ncube had been arrested for treason because he
allegedly incited Zimbabweans to revolt against the government during the
mass protests last week.
The police could not be reached by the
time of going to print last night to give specific details pertaining to the
latest treason charges against Ncube.
MDC director of
information Nkanyiso Maqeda last night told The Daily News that Ncube had
told him that he was being held overnight and that he was facing same
allegations as those pressed against Tsvangirai.
Maqeda said: “He
(Ncube) has indicated to me that he would be detained overnight. He is facing
similar charges to those of the president (Tsvangirai).”
was picked up by the police outside the High Court after attending the
morning session in the ongoing treason trial in which he and his two MDC
colleagues are accused of planning to assassinate Mugabe.
He gave a
warned and cautioned statement at Harare Central Police Station before
returning to court for the afternoon hearing. Ncube was hauled back to Harare
Central after the court session for further questioning and, according to MDC
officials, overnight detention.
Mugabe, the target of the
MDC-marshalled protest last week, vowed to fight it out with the increasing
band of his opponents, telling South African public television last weekend
that he still had punching power.
The charges against Tsvangirai,
Ncube and Gasela in the ongoing treason trial at the High Court stem from
allegations that the trio engaged Canadian political consultancy firm Dickens
& Madson to assassinate Mugabe ahead of last year’s presidential election
controversially won by Mugabe. The three opposition leaders deny the
Garwe yesterday dismissed an application by the State to
bar Tsvangirai from addressing rallies or allegedly making statements likely
to incite violence and revolt by the public against the government until
his treason hearing was concluded at the courts.
“It’s clear that the activities giving rise to the current application are
not part of the charges being faced by the three accused.
are activities that could give rise to separate criminal allegations against
the accused. No formal charges had been preferred against the accused at the
time of the application and in these circumstances, I am not persuaded that
the procedure adopted by the State is the correct one nor am I persuaded to
take up charges that can make up separate criminal charges.”
Public prosecution director Joseph Musakwa had in his application against
Tsvangirai told the court told that the opposition leader should be gagged
because he was “making inflammatory statements amounting to treason which he
is currently being tried for”.
South African advocate George Bizos,
who is leading the defence team, argued that the latest allegations levelled
by Musakwa against Tsvangirai were part of a ploy by the State to interfere
with the ongoing treason trial.
Bizos intended to submit an
affidavit which he said would show the connection between threats made by
some ruling ZANU PF political leaders and Tsvangirai’s arrest on what the
lawyer said were “spurious charges to keep him in custody and deprive him of
his fundamental rights as an individual and as a leader of the
“We will urge Your Lordship to keep control of the
court proceedings,” Bizos said. “We submit that Your Lordship should not be
unduly influenced by the utterances of politicians on who should be in
custody and who should not be in custody during the course of the
The defence said it was not challenging Tsvangirai’s
remand, but said it would instead this morning apply to the High Court for
his release on bail.
There was confusion at the magistrates’
court yesterday where hundreds of MDC supporters had converged as early as 8
in the morning only to be told that their leader would not be appearing
because he was attending trial at the High Court.
officials, including magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, were by 5pm still waiting
for Tsvangirai to come to court for initial remand on his second treason
charge only to be told he was no longer coming.
police bolstered by water cannons kept guard at the courts all day.
THE Masvingo City Council has no money to run the August
urban council elections and is battling to raise $12 million required for the
Masvingo executive mayor Alois Chaimiti said the local
authority was battling to raise the money to run the polls in the city’s 10
wards. Chaimiti said although the elections were budgeted for, the money
was inadequate because of budgetary constraints.
“We have to raise the money because elections have to be held. We hope by the
time the polls would be conducted, we would have raised the required amount
of money.” Local authorities have been directed to meet all expenses of the
elections. The money will be used to pay election officials and other
expenses needed during the voting exercise. The Masvingo City Council is
facing financial problems due to inflation, prompting the local authority to
reduce its operations by about 50 percent.
Demand to see corpses before selling fuel
6/10/2003 8:07:03 AM (GMT +2)
Precious Shumba Staff Reporter
FUNERAL parlours in Harare have
condemned demands by many service stations in Harare to see dead bodies in
coffins before they can sell them fuel.
The funeral parlours
have called on the government to intervene urgently to protect them against
the unbecoming practice.
Most service stations visited yesterday
had no fuel and the attendants would not comment on the issue.
Amos Midzi, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, said government
policy was that essential service providers like funeral parlours and
ambulance services should get enough fuel for their business.
said: “That’s all administrative and that can be solved easily. Funeral
services are such essential services that they must receive due attention.
This is a critical area which government cannot afford to ignore. They can
put their issues in writing so that it’s resolved immediately.”
Mizeki Kazinge, the manager at Foundation Funeral Services, told The Daily
News on Saturday that his company was finding it difficult to get fuel to
take their clients’ bodies for burial due to the inhumane demands by
some service stations.
“Service stations have been making
strange demands before they can supply us with fuel,” he said.
“They initially demanded burial orders from us. They later demanded that we
bring them the coffins. We are not getting the fuel for free but paying for
the commodity like everyone else. What we need is preferential treatment so
that the dead are not subjected to this harassment at
Kazinge said now the service stations have
requested that the funeral parlours actually bring the body to them before
they can give them fuel.
“A police officer who usually accompanies
us when we have the bodies would open the coffin to show the body,” he said.
“Even if they might have their suspicions about our business, that’s unheard
of for service stations to force us to open coffins every time we need fuel
for our hearses.”
He questioned the motive behind the demand by the
service stations, saying funeral service providers should be the last to
suffer from the fuel crisis bedevilling the nation, because death was natural
Service stations have resorted to endorsing the
back of each burial order, indicating the hearse’s registration numbers, the
name of the drivers and the dates of buying the fuel.
parlours have urged the government to make provisions for funeral service
providers to get fuel at designated service stations as it did for commuter
omnibus operators and taxis.
At one of the leading funeral
parlours, undertakers took four bodies to a service station but they were
told that only one of their vehicles could be re-fuelled. Sources at the
parlour said they were forced to take the other three bodies back into their
Funeral service providers that have suffered this
set-back as a result of the demands at service stations for them to bring
bodies include Kuwadzana Funeral Services, Perpro, Last Respect, Life Care,
Geora and Talkshire Funeral Services.
There was no immediate
comment from Moonlight Funeral services.
Police officers investigating the kidnapping and murder of Bulawayo war
veteran Cain Nkala beat up a suspect while his hands were handcuffed behind
his back, the High Court in Harare heard yesterday.
Superintendent Martin Matira, defence lawyer Advocate Deepak Mehta told
Justice Sandra Mungwira that on the evening of 12 November 2001 the police
officers, led by Matira who was then a detective inspector, had beaten Sazini
Mpofu in his house.
Mehta said the beating had temporarily stopped
after a Detective Inspector Ncube intervened.
He said: “This was
the only time that he was allowed to dress up before he was handcuffed, hands
behind back. He was then assaulted by you, Matira.”
Mehta said a
Detective Constable Ndlovu held Mpofu’s arms to prevent any reaction while
Matira had an “open season” on Mpofu’s stomach.
“After this assault
you then strangled him with your bare hands around his neck. After this
strangulation he was escorted out while being assaulted,” he
Matira denied the allegations.
He said: “I never
assaulted the accused, neither did I witness him being assaulted by
Mehta said Mpofu was still handcuffed when he was put in
the police vehicle and further assaulted. He said the assaults continued
as investigations were carried out in various places.
the handcuffed Mpofu was taken to Nkulumane Police Station early the next
morning and was assaulted by three police officers.
Matira had threatened Mpofu that his home would be burnt down and his
brothers and sisters would be “dealt with”. Matira said he had not
witnessed Mpofu being assaulted.
He said: “On that morning the
accused was taken by a different team for indications. I never witnessed him
being assaulted by any police officer during those proceedings.”
Nkala was allegedly abducted from his home in Bulawayo on 5 November 2001.
His body was exhumed from a grave on a farm near Solusi University a week
The others on trial for his murder are Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube, the MP for Lobengula-Magwegwe (Movement for Democratic Change),
Sonny Masera, the opposition party’s director of security, and party
activists Army Zulu, Kethani Sibanda and Remember Moyo.
WAR veterans in Rusape have clashed with ruling ZANU PF
councillors in the town over the pending August urban council elections after
it emerged that the former freedom fighters were campaigning to oust the
sitting councillors, accusing them of incompetence and
On Saturday, the differences between the two sides
came to a head when Mike Madiro, the ZANU PF provincial chairman for
Manicaland, convened a meeting at Vengere Hall which was boycotted by most
Residents, however, accuse the war veterans of
engaging in illegal deals involving the sale of sugar on the black market and
denouncing sitting councillors.
The war veterans have already
started campaigning against the sitting councillors whom they accuse of
inefficiency, corruption and mismanagement.
A senior member of the
ZANU PF women’s league told The Daily News at the weekend that war veterans
in Rusape did not deserve the support of the town’s residents.
“The meeting was convened because we had raised grievances against the war
veterans,” the official said. “People were particularly angered by
the monopoly of the war veterans in the buying and distribution of
Didymus Mutasa, the ZANU PF secretary for external affairs
in the party’s politburo and MP for Makoni North, who also attended
Saturday’s meeting, yesterday confirmed that the Vengere residents,
particularly women, criticised the manner in which sugar was being
He said: “We had a meeting on Saturday attended by all
residents. The problems raised by women in Vengere was the corruption
involved in the sugar sales. The militant group was saying we are refusing to
give them sugar. This election will be a sugar election.”
said he met four of the sitting and aspiring councillors but denied there was
any wrangle between the war veterans and councillors.
”It’s the war
veterans who are actually exposing these corrupt practices in the
“In Rusape, I don’t think there will be anyone to contest
against ZANU PF. There is no MDC to talk of here,” said Mutasa.
A war veteran, Tymon Tandi, the headmaster of Shangwe Primary School, a
senior ZANU PF activist in Makoni district and happy Mafuratidze,
another party activist, are jockeying for the Mabvazuva Ward seat left vacant
by Richard Nyasango, who has stepped down.
Retired Major James
Kaunye, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman
for Makoni District, has allegedly set up structures that are spearheading
his election campaign to unseat Councillor Jethro Kuwana.
Another war veteran, Gilbert Mutasa, will battle it out with Andrew Nyahwata
in the VE section in the party’s primary elections whose date is yet to be
Didymus Mutasa confirmed that Gilbert Mutasa, Kaunye and
two other war veterans would contest in the August elections.
said there was a document circulating in Rusape written by the residents’
association led by Bernard Dipura which alleged that sitting councillors were
The document highlighted several cases of mismanagement in
Didymus Mutasa said one of the sitting councillors
in Vengere had been awarded a contract to build a primary school in Mabvazuva
township without going to tender and the building was
One of the sitting councillors, who spoke on
condition he was not named, said the conflict between the two sides emerged
after residents sought their intervention in the alleged corrupt sugar deals
in which war veterans were heavily involved.
“There is a small
group of war veterans which is fighting us,” he said.
group got angry with us after one of the war veterans, a council employee,
was suspended by the secretary, Obert Muzawazi, for negligence
The war veteran was last week suspended by the council
after he absented himself from work for several months.
THE Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), which has a
constitutional responsibility to monitor and supervise Zimbabwe’s elections,
yesterday said it would not respond through the media to allegations by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that it was using State
security agents to prepare for the August urban councils
On 23 February 2003 Remus Makuwaza, the opposition
party’s director of elections, wrote a letter to the ESC chairman, Sobusa
Gula-Ndebele, demanding that the body investigate allegations that war
veterans, ZANU PF officials and members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) were involved in supervising the inspections of the
voters’ rolls for the local government elections.
Bvuma, the ESC spokesman, yesterday said it was not their practice to answer
requests made by political parties through the media.
“We do not conduct our business through the media. Were you asked by Makuwaza
to seek that response?’’
However, Makuwaza yesterday said nothing
had changed since that letter was written to the ESC. “The ESC has not
responded yet and as we speak the situation remains the same. The security
agents are supervising the process, ’’ he said.
He said that the
administration of elections in the country should not be done secretly and
that there was no need for the ESC not to respond to Press inquiries about
In his letter Makuwaza wrote: “The MDC is
distressed over the manner in which the current voter registration and
inspection exercise for the August 2003 urban council elections are being
conducted with reports that most centres are being administered by members of
the security agencies.
“There are indications that members of the
CIO and war veterans whose loyalty to ZANU PF has been assumed to be solid
were selected and deployed at various inspection centres, thereby creating
and ensuring an atmosphere of fear which will result in psychological torture
The opposition leader said in Hwange’s ward six,
a named war veteran and CIO operative were supervising the
The MDC has cited the ESC as a respondent in its High
Court election petition in which it seeks to have last year’s presidential
election, controversially won by President Robert Mugabe nullified over
allegations of massive vote rigging and intimidation.
that the ESC used members of the Zimbabwe National Army to supervise the poll
contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
In August, ZANU PF
and the MDC will fight it out for the mayoral positions of Gweru, Mutare and
In the past two years, ZANU PF lost to the MDC in mayoral
elections in Harare, Bulawayo, Chegutu and Masvingo.
government’s harsh crackdown on opposition protests last week could
ironically signal President Robert Mugabe’s readiness to open dialogue on
Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis with his chief political foe,
Strange as it might seem, Mugabe’s chequered
political history shows that he always prefers to bludgeon his opponents into
submission before sitting down with them to “talk peace”.
who have followed Mugabe’s ascendancy in the leadership of the independence
war will know only too well how he ruthlessly crushed “rebellions” by former
colleagues who sought to challenge him. Typically, these dissidents were
later rehabilitated, but then only on Mugabe’s terms.
independence, Mugabe violently suppressed an armed uprising by Joshua Nkomo’s
then opposition ZAPU party, Mugabe’s former ally in the umbrella Patriotic
Front, forcing Nkomo to flee the country for the United Kingdom.
The crackdown on ZAPU did not relent until Nkomo
returned home to
agree to an unequal unity pact with Mugabe’s governing ZANU PF party, which
subordinated the veteran nationalist to Mugabe.
Edgar Tekere, a
leader of the independence war and once a rising star within ZANU PF, saw his
political fortunes nosedive in the post-independence era after he showed
signs of threatening Mugabe’s hold on power.
spared a jail term for the shooting-to-death of a white commercial farmer,
was subsequently thrown out of ZANU PF and sent packing into the harsh
political wilderness, where he languishes up to today.
and principled man, Tekere preferred to tough it out than to bow to the Big
Man’s whims, a cardinal sin for which ZANU PF’s former secretary-general is
still paying dearly.
Make no mistake, Tekere would have been
re-admitted into the ranks of the governing party had he come full circle to
talk Mugabe’s talk and walk his walk.
After fighting political
skirmishes with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which
nearly toppled Mugabe but for strong-arm tactics used by the government in
the 2000 and 2002 elections, Mugabe now knows full well that the opposition
leader commands the high moral ground and the support of the majority of the
Mugabe knows that he cannot, on his own, resolve the
heightening political and economic crisis which he has dug himself into and
that he desperately needs Tsvangirai’s help.
shutdowns of the entire nation at the instigation of a mere opposition party
have driven this point more than anything else.
But instead of
throwing in the towel, Mugabe an ever calculating political survivor used his
very last trump card, the security forces, to bring the point home that there
could be no political settlement without him.
The jury and
history are still out to judge the wisdom of this latest act of Mugabe’s
But even if the crackdown eventually led to “peace talks”
between the MDC and ZANU PF, what sort of peace would this be?
Many would say that this would be the peace of the dead, which is
not particularly different to the 1987 merger of ZAPU and ZANU PF under terms
of virtual surrender by the former.
Reports this week that
senior government officials had visited the imprisoned MDC leader tend to
lend credence to the theory that Mugabe may indeed want talks, but on his own
Mugabe’s strategy is simple enough: a weakened and
imprisoned Tsvangirai’s first concern is to get out of prison and then only
talk about the future of Zimbabwe.
Even then, the terms of the
talks are likely to be set by the victor, whose demands are known to include
guarantees on his and his family’s personal safety and that he is not
prosecuted for any political crimes of the past.
Zimbabweans be about to see history repeat itself?
Or, are we
seeing a determined Mugabe who wants to go down with the country,
THE private sector, which was asked by the government to
help import fuel, has indicated that it can only do so at a price of nearly
$700 a litre amid strong rumours that the government might this week
officially announce a new fuel price regime.
This is despite
denials by Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi, who told State
television on Monday that Zimbabwe was not reviewing its fuel
But fuel industry sources told The Business Daily that new
fuel prices would be announced later this week.
The sources said
Midzi was supposed to officially sanction the $700-per-litre fuel price last
Thursday, but this was put on hold because of the mass stayaway called by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
“An announcement on the
issue is expected later this week,” an industry executive said
The sources indicated that the $700 per litre price
would be based on an effective exchange rate of $1 700 per one United States
There has been a trickle of liquid fuels into the country
of late, with industry sources saying most of the commodity was coming
from beleaguered National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) because it was
being pumped at the current fee structure of $450 a litre.
Zimbabwe, needing US$40 million (Z$32,96 billion) monthly for 67 megalitres
of fuel, has been in the throes of a fuel crisis for the past three years
because of foreign currency shortages precipitated by a decline in
And in its quest to find a lasting solution to the
problem, the government is considering a number of realistic scenarios based
on the actual cost of the exchange and other procurement
The government has offered an exchange rate of $3 000
against the US dollar, which would push the price of fuel to averages of $1
200 per litre.
The government has also drawn up a list of exchange
rates ranging from $1 400 to the highest possible, meaning its official $824
exchange to the US dollar is not workable.
It also proposes
monthly reviews in line with exchange rate escalations.
meetings with oil procurers, bankers, exporters and other relevant parties on
2 June, the government embraced a two-tier pricing regime, where the NOCZIM
price would benefit “special customers” such as agriculture, essential
services, government institutions, the public transport sector and other
Documents seen by this paper and restating a
29 May resolution show that the stakeholders deliberated four key elements,
including availability of foreign exchange, pricing build-up structure and
chiefly transaction exchange rate.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
meeting, previously addressed by Special Presidential Affairs Minister John
Nkomo, his finance and energy counterparts Herbert Murerwa and Midzi
respectively, heard that while exporters had not ruled on an exchange rate,
oil consortiums had worked out a $1 700 per US dollar rate.
would effectively kick the price of petrol to $690, 24 per litre and $651,95
“While exporters could not immediately provide the
expected price for their foreign exchange, given the need to consult other
exporters, the oil importers consortium indicated an exchange rate of $1
700/1US$,” read the documents.
“This, according to their price
build-up structure, would result in petrol pump prices of $690,24 per litre
and diesel at $651, 95 per litre,” it added.
Exporters had all
along been represented by Godfrey Gomwe, Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe
chief executive and whose company has bailed out the embattled government
with a US$30 million fuel financial injection.
Oil importers are
mainly indigenous and multinational oil firms.
WHEN young Charles Majange was sworn in and
finally took his seat as the ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Chivi South, I
was admittedly pleased.
I did not care much about which faction he
belonged to, although it was unfortunate that Vice-President Simon Muzenda,
in frustration at the small crowd his own presence had attracted, urged
people to even vote for baboons if ZANU PF offered any as
I am quite sure Majange did not appreciate this being
said at his campaign rally!
Anyway, what pleased me about
Majange ascending to MP and even flirting with a Cabinet post is that the
young man simply got what he deserved. Those who were in the UK in the 70s
will bear witness to the amount of work and time Majange put in as a student
and ZANU PF activist.
He deserved it. I consider it a just reward
for the loyalty and hard work he contributed. It was commendable for ZANU PF
in general to acknowledge the work performed on its behalf by a dedicated
Meanwhile, those of us who were in the United States at
that same time can also vouch that one other person who worked harder on
party issues than most was July Moyo, now Minister of Labour, Manpower and
I still remember the meetings we held in
Massachusetts. Moyo, with his trademark broken clipboard, would always attend
and avail himself even though he had to travel all the way from the southern
His naturally tired-looking demeanour belied the energy and
zest he threw into party politics. He enjoyed what he was doing because he
believed in ZANU PF. At that time, it was a party that was easy to like and
subscribe to; it had beautiful promissory rhetoric that was being churned out
by highly educated academics who were dedicated believers in the
But then this ZANU PF of today is not the same ZANU PF we
supported and were so euphoric about. So, is it just a job or has his view of
ZANU PF not changed?
Recently, when President Mugabe was asked
if this is the Zimbabwe he envisaged 23 years ago, he replied “Yes”. Of
course, it’s not. Editorials in issues of the Zimbabwe News from the late 70s
can easily confirm that.
But today can my colleague Moyo employ
some honesty, look me in the eye and pronounce that this is the same party we
belonged to with such effervescent enthusiasm way back then? As a leader then
and now, does he remember the flowery, promissory and uncompromising rhetoric
which has now become the reverse of the actions?
But I do
concede that he, like Majange, deserved to be honoured by ZANU PF. What I
fail to understand is why he has not changed when ZANU PF itself has. ZANU PF
no longer has any doctrine; it badly needs a complete overhaul, starting with
its melodramatic president and first secretary, who has shamelessly destroyed
this once vibrant party.
One person who puzzles me is the avuncular
Claude Mararike of the infamous National Ethos television programme. We
worked together at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in the early
80s. The man is intelligent and is very well-informed. It is clear to me that
the ZBC was too confined a work environment for him and that he
would not be able to utilise his knowledge and foresight if he remained
When l journeyed across China with him and the late Godwin
Mbofana, l learned to listen because my two senior colleagues had so much
history, tradition and politics between them and l had them all to
So l was really glad when l learned he had joined the
Social Studies faculty at the University of Zimbabwe. l do not know what
happened next but there he was, anchoring an unintelligent programme called
Nhaka Yedu on TV. The delivery was vintage Mararike, but the content truly
Mararike is a democrat, a bit on the conservative and
traditional side, but still a democrat.
l know him personally,
that is why l felt betrayed. He must have sensed my confusion and so, to
remove all doubt, he doubled his appearances and bonked my head again, this
time with National Ethos.
l do not know how he feels about his two
programmes, but l need to find excuses for him.
l hope he is
being used. l hope it is not his idea. What l find difficult is to accept
that his contributions on these programmes are as a result of honest
I still admire the man for his knowledge. Even his
eloquence betrays his intelligence. Unlike Mahoso, Mararike is an intelligent
man, if only he could exorcise ZANU PF from himself.
man who presents me with a moral conundrum is musician Dick Chingaira (aka
Comrade Chinx). Chinx is nowhere near the mean man who sings about devils
with tails of barbed wire.
He minds his own business, laughs a lot,
is very social and friendly, has time for anyone and is quite a joker. But
then what happened? Again, for me to clearly see which side is up, l need to
find excuses for him so as to patch up my shattered former
ZANU PF is now a destroyer, not a builder. The heart of
the matter is that today, ZANU PF, or what’s left of it, is destroying
well-meaning people, academics and professionals alike. It accepts and
perpetrates malice if the malice somehow benefits the party and the
It destroys its own people and others if that can promote
the party and the leader.
ZANU PF is now more like a supermarket
stocked full of stolen goods, and the goods are free as long as you ignore
the truth and sing false praises to the leader. Once we had a doctrine,
clear-cut codes and our expectations were high.
Today, the only
doctrine that remains is Mugabe. Even the war veterans ’ group led by Patrick
Nyaruwata cannot think for itself any more and declares they will support
whoever Mugabe picks as his successor.
What made Herbert Murerwa,
an academic of repute in his profession, decide to risk slipping on the same
banana twice and continue to humiliate himself?
Simba Makoni has
been badly burned by ZANU PF and its votaries. More than three times, he was
fired from the Cabinet and other government appointments but instead of
taking a public stand, he continues to pace the perimeter, not sure whether
to go back inside or to just hang around.
We hear occasional bursts
of eloquence from Eddison Zvobgo but in the end he declares he is ZANU PF
till the end of his natural life. And young Nicholas Goche? He does not
resemble the man I have known for years. And the academic Nathan
ZANU PF no longer has any credibility of its own and
is only hanging on by cannibalising the integrity of some of its members,
whose reputations are suffering because of their association with the ruling
The people I mentioned here are part of a large crowd whom
I personally know as individuals but whose actions contradict
They are clever and good people in every
sense of the word. But it’s no longer enough nor is it prudent of them to
watch in silence while a party, their party, is being destroyed and is
destroying the country.
Since these people have the courage to
remain in ZANU PF, they must have the courage to save their party. And if
only ZANU PF could go straight, the country would take a first step towards
sanity. Simba Makoni beware, for ZANU PF cannibalises its own
Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based
GOVERNMENT spin doctors are falling over each
other in the battle for public opinion.
The secretary in the
Information Ministry, George Charamba, and head of the Harare Polytechnic’s
Mass Communications Division and Media and Information Commission, Tafataona
Mahoso, are two such who are proving to be great ideologues as opposed to
Their weekly columns in The Sunday Mail provide
interesting academic information, which is unfortunately irrelevant for
Ironically, their editorials are a lethal
weapon against them because they articulate principles and practices that
their government fails to practice or if it does practice them, does so
clandestinely. Based on their philosophical editorials, they would not find
much difficulty in administering the country’s communications portfolio. My
basic reason in justifying my statement is the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which happens to be under Charamba’s
Charamba’s Information Ministry administers the
communications Act, a file it has failed dismally to administer. Mahoso has
been fumbling in issuing operating licences to media houses and
The AIPPA has been amended, some sections repealed or
deemed unconstitutional. While it is normal practice for legislation to be
repealed or amended, what is of concern is the blatantly flawed or malicious
sections included in the legislation that makes it dismal.
Charamba wants us to believe that they are providing competent leadership in
communications, why is it that his ministry is failing to draw up a
communications legislation that does not infringe on the
Constitution? Instead, Charamba and Mahoso are meanwhile spin-doctoring to
convince people that the privately owned and international media are causing
havoc to the interests of Zimbabwe.
Ironically, the majority of
times the media seems to be reflecting the interests and mood of the
Zimbabwean people. The people and not the government officials define the
The people know what they want and government
must serve those interests. However, Charamba and Mahoso seem to be bent on
defining national interests. In defining national interests, Charamba and
Mahoso border on sovereignty.
Yes, undoubtedly sovereignty
underpins our nationhood, but there are also pressing and immediate issues
that need to be solved.
We cannot harp on that forever. Even if we
are sovereign to make our choices, are the people of Zimbabwe being afforded
the chance to make their own choices? Or have they ever been given the
opportunity at any point in our history?
concentrating on academic debates, I suggest that Mahoso and Charamba, in
their respective official capacities, open up the broadcasting sector for
potential investors. They have to grant potential investors broadcasting
licences and build tough policies that enable broadcasters to undertake
broadcasting in the best interests of the country.
policies need not infringe on the constitutional rights of the potential
broadcasters, as has been the case in other areas of communications. In a
short time, these investments would contribute significantly to the shrunken
government tax base and provide employment.
It is these
institutions that would also help keep the government accountable to the
people. If our government is governing well while the media is not fulfilling
its role in a responsible manner, then the government can deal with the
transgressors under the laws of the country with the support of the
But if the government is disregarding the laws of the
country willy nilly or applying them clandestinely, then dealing with
transgression among the media would be difficult. It is partly for this
reason that transgressions by several media practitioners have gone
insignificantly noticed by the Zimbabweans because they do not identify with
the government nor rally around it.
In fact, Zimbabweans
celebrate prejudice to the government.
I would like to challenge
Charamba to apply those principles he advocates in his weekly columns to the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, for instance, or any other media for that
matter. Then in the spirit of national interest, the public broadcaster would
be allowed to ask various issues as a means of government accountability. For
instance, enquire what happened to the civil servants housing scheme or the
draft constitution the people of Zimbabwe indicated they wanted
That would be a classical case of the media serving
the interests of the nation. Would they be prepared to go that far? So
instead of Charamba demonising the media, they should undertake
The problem with the government is that it is
averse to criticism. Unfortunately, the government has to appreciate the
presence of the media in the political spectrum and they have to contend with
it. Part of the media’s functions is to scrutinise the
Apparently, Charamba and Mahoso want the media to focus
solely on ideological issues like sovereignty, nation-building and national
interests. Yes, these are crucial and indeed one of the main functions of the
media, but let us not pick and choose which among the range of functions the
media shall undertake.
The media should extend its function
beyond those areas that the government feels comfortable with. They must hold
the government to account and champion the interests of the
To do less would be tantamount to abrogation of duty.
Charamba and Mahoso would probably agree with me, but practically they would
not provide an environment for this principle to flourish.
in the police force and left in 2001 basically because I did not want to be
used by President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF to beat
I refused to be used against my own people who
were/are suffering under the rogue regime.
I left because I did
not want my illustrious 20 years of service tarnished by a political leader
who wants to cling to power by intimidating the very people he liberated.
Mind you, I am a former liberator.
I left the police because I did
not want to be dragged before the courts once the process of change is
finalised. Look at what is happening in Iraq and Yugoslavia. Remember that
the crimes against humanity will haunt you to your grave. Remember that you
will not plead compliance to instructions, because it is each man for himself
when it comes to facing the law.
Remember your bosses are
protecting the fortunes they have accumulated corruptly and they know
Mugabe’s demise is their demise too.
Remember some of your bosses
were involved in the Matabeleland massacres and they face possible criminal
charges when Mugabe is removed from power.
Mugabe himself is
fighting for his own personal survival and it’s not about you and me but
himself and a few of his close associates.
Are you prepared to
fight their war and do you think they will worry about you when eventually
they are removed from power?
Do you think Mugabe has you and me in
his heart when he has been protecting your corrupt bosses?
you proud of yourself and can you walk down First Street in Harare or
Lobengula Street in Bulawayo and feel you are wanted as a policeman, soldier,
or Central Intelligence Organisation operative?
Don’t you long for
a day when you can mingle with the public and have a sense of belonging? You
and me want the best for Zimbabwe and our children, but that will not be
possible if we fight a Mugabe war.
Let’s put Zimbabwe first and by
so saying I mean Mugabe, Augustine Chihuri, Perence Shiri, Constantine
Chiwenga, Vitalis Zvinavashe and the rest are not Zimbabwe but mere citizens
who are using you to protect their personal interests.
using public institutions to protect their interests.
There is a
better life after Mugabe and remember that when some of us were fighting, we
did not fight for Mugabe or Joshua Nkomo but for your freedom as a people, so
I urge all of you to realise that we all have one enemy, that of hunger and
suffering and that enemy can only be tackled if we stand united.