HARARE (Reuters) - Tichaona Jokonya, Zimbabwe's Information Minister and
former permanent representative to the United Nations, was found dead in a
Harare hotel room on Saturday, a senior official said.
A government spokesman, George Charamba, said the cause of death was under
investigation and local media said Jokonya had been unwell for some time.
Government ministers generally live in Harare but it is not unusual for them
to stay in hotels prior to early meetings.
Jokonya, 67, served at the United Nations during the period of controversial
land reforms by President Robert Mugabe's government. Those reforms were
condemned by the West and blamed for ruining the farming sector.
Mugabe said in a statement: "He stood for this country at the most
challenging times of our land reform programme. He took all these challenges
in his stride, all the time convinced his country was right, (and) the cause
he defended just."
By Carole Gombakomba
23 June 2006
Leaders of the Christian Alliance of churches said Friday they will boycott
the National Day of Prayer event Sunday in Harare at which President Mugabe
is to speak.
Christian Alliance members, who came together in 2005 to help those
displaced by the slum-clearance drive the government called Operation
Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out Rubbish,"have disassociated themselves from the
clerics who invited Mr. Mugabe to speak at the Glamis Stadium, Harare,
event. The sponsors said they were trying to promote dialogue, but their
critics say they are pandering to Mr. Mugabe.
Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked Pastor
Patson Neta of the Alliance why it decided to boycott the Prayer Day
Meanwhile, a Methodist bishop aligned with the Christian Alliance said he
had gone into hiding after he received threats from from persons he believed
to be members of the Central Intelligence Organization based in the office
of the president.
Bishop Levy Kadenge said he started receiving threatening phone calls after
attending a meeting of Christian Alliance leaders in Harare on Thursday.
Political analyst Farai Maguwu said the clerics organizing the prayer event
had played into the hands of the ruling ZANU-PF party's divide-and-rule
By a Correspondent
The current political and economic crisis bedevilling Zimbabwe behoves
the region and the international community to launch a humanitarian and
human rights intervention before the situation explodes, says a prominent
Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer.
Addressing a conference in Bristol organised by the Bristol Zimbabwe
Association to celebrate Refugee Week Gabriel Shumba a human rights lawyer
specialising in international criminal law and Executive Director of
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, a South African based NGO said: "Internationally
supervised elections that are free and fair, culminating in a popular
constitution are the only route to the restoration of normalcy in the
He also calls upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to
investigate and prosecute at the instigation of the United Nation Security
Council those alleged to have perpetrated "serious and gross human rights
violations in Zimbabwe to date." Commenting on the need for ICC involvement,
Shumba observed that; "The judicial environment in Zimbabwe is such that
victims cannot expect redress and justice. For as long as the Mugabe regime
remains in power, it is next to impossible to have culprits brought to be
book. The alternative therefore is either a political solution or regional
and international mechanisms to take place. "
Responding to questions from the floor regarding South African
President Thabo Mbeki's approach to the Zimbabwe crisis, Shumba who is a
victim of gruesome torture at the hands of the Mugabe regime said "Although
South Africa is crucial in any resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis, President
Thabo Mbeki has hugely compromised his credibility by seemingly condoning
the excesses and atrocities being committed by Mugabe's illegitimate regime.
His duplicity and double standards when it comes to mediating in the
political crisis should not only be a cause of concern for the Zimbabwean
populace suffering the brunt of human rights abuses, but should also be
worrying signal to the region and the international community as a whole."
Besides speaking at the Thursday conference, Shumba also signed a
petition collected by the Bristol Zimbabwe Vigil campaign calling for the
United Nations to intervene as a matter of urgency in Zimbabwe. Among other
things, the petition also calls upon the United Nations Security Council to
mandate the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to launch an
investigation along the lines of that which was initiated in Sudan with a
view to preventing impunity for perpetrators of serious human rights
violations that are taking place in Zimbabwe. Over 300 people signed the
petition, and many more are expected to be signing it in the next few weeks.
Before leaving for South Africa on Tuesday, Shumba is expected to meet
with UK based Zimbabweans at a vigil on Monday, as well as members of the
House of Commons and the House of Lords to update them on among other
issues, the general situation of human rights in Zimbabwe. Shumba is in the
United Kingdom at the invitation of the Bristol Zimbabwe Association and
Exiled Journalists Network.
By Oscar Nkala
Last updated: 06/24/2006 10:13:55
MANY journalists in Zimbabwe, by virtue of being close to the politicians,
can tell when any minister, given their long stay in power, comes to a press
conference or rally drunk.
There is the famous case of one Vice-President who is an addict to London
Dry Gin, so much that when he began calling non-ZANU PF supporting
Zimbabweans 'imigodoyi' in 2000, the fraternity maintained its silence.
In the process, it swallowed the knowledge that such daring insults were the
audible effects of London Dry Gin much more than the frothing of an angry
revolutionary who wonders why everyone, except himself, has gone haywire.
But the latest drunken rant could have been more surprising than a
pangolin for sale at Makokoba People's Market if it had not come from
Patrick Chinamasa, an unwilling prisoner in the iron cage which many years
of dictatorship and rule by murdering the people and gang-raping the
constitution has firmly locked ZANU PF leaders into. Strange statements,
which are infact the diametric opposite of what is happening in Zimbabwe
were made to an audience which seemingly dared not ask the speaker to
justify his content.
It could have been their continuing complicity in selling our souls on their
part, but it could also be because ZANU PF is getting more and more
customers of its propaganda in Europe, if recent talk of building bridges,
even when Zimbabweans do not see the rivers needing to be crossed, is
anything to go by. The strange statement goes thus:
"Allow me, Mr Chairman, to conclude my address by giving the new council (UN
Council on Human Rights) the assurance of my country to respect human rights
without regard to sex, religion, race., as provided for in UN charter and
I have no doubt that the esteemed gentlemen and ladies who sat and listened
to such rantings, which could not come from any other place except a
non-existent Zimbabwe where only Chinamasa and other imaginary creatures can
exist, did not argue because they did not see the merits of arguing with a
pepped-up pathological liar. The fact that they know him as the legal face
of a regime that lives on the blood of its citizens at home and
money-laundered from its own refugees abroad is most obvious, unless they
came from a neighbouring planet to the strange one where ZANU PF and its
It should have been worse than unfortunate therefore that earlier in
the same statement Chinamasa had ranted at length about how this democratic
government wanted the UN to help in protecting it from its own people by
preventing funding to organizations that preach human rights in the country.
These organizations preach regime change, the minister said, as if there is
a school in this world where people need to be taught to hate dictatorships
that can't even feed them.
So democratic is this country that it has drafted a bill which will
ensure that the state reads the e-mails of everyone, regardless of whether
it is about how badly Joseph Msika is farring in his preferred South African
hospital, or to announce the death of a cousin from common flu in
Matshetsheni because the ambulance had no fuel and the local clinic had no
Without trampling on the rights of its people, the rights-fearing government
has also asked the mostly patriotic internet service providers (ISP) if they
can the bills for tapping internet. They ISPs have willingly said yes, as
they can see that the State indeed has more pressing commitments such as
buying Humvees for senators and Korandos for heroic army officers who are
dealing with George Bush's racist attempts to re-colonize the country.
After all, is it not the sovereignty (whatever that word now means after
being abused by ZANU PF) of the country and the comfort of our uneducated
chiefs, who earn more than UZ graduates, that matters? The delegates should
have felt insulted that a man who, in one statement, asks them to help the
State in activities of repression, deprivation and denial of rights, goes on
to assure them of a commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
There is no need to go to lengths in describing the nature of ZANU PF's
barbarism from 1980 to today. Mugabe knows it better than Chinamasa, which
is not strange considering that the minister is a political mafikizolo, who
just had the misfortune of being thrown into the deep end of a boiling
I will not mention the Gukurahundi killings, which Mugabe asked all of us to
believe happened in a moment of madness. By mere calculation, acts committed
by people as mentally deranged, as who-ever was Zimbabwe's leader at that
time cannot be prosecuted until many psychiatrists and magicians confirm
that their minds are in a state of disrepair. Therefore, Mugabe wants us to
believe that the people who lovingly upheld human rights by embarking on
Gukurahundi cannot be prosecuted because they were mad at that time.
As such, Gukurahundi commander Perence Shiri, who preferred to be called
Black Jesus because he could take life, was mad. So were one Robert Mugabe
and a certain Emmerson Mnangagwa. Many say Enos Nkala was just as mad as
Sydney Sekeramayi or the editors of the papers that helped the State
criminalise, isolate and and annihilate a whole tribe, but judging by his
sound mental state now, I am sure he is a very good actor.
So those who believe in forgiving murderers simply because they plead
madness must think again because this is yet another ZANU PF piece of
propaganda. It is only meant to say that this people-loving government would
not have raped, killed and maimed Matabeleland if it had not collectively
lost its senses.
By inference, Zimbabwe's security forces and government are still made up of
dangerous psychopaths who can still convince the world of their commitment
to human rights when, by the Mugabe's own admission, they bay for blood when
their moments of madness come, which can take up to eight years considering
that they were mad every day between 18 April 1980 and 21 December 1987.
The same psychopaths and paedophiles, which today claim so much fitness and
effectiveness in countering a new colonization order, were in 1997 awarded
government compensation for as much 100 per cent disabilities ratings for
injuries allegedly sustained during the liberation war. It was also part of
the human rights culture of this country that the citizens were taxed to the
marrow to pay for the sacrifices of dagga-smokers and school drop-outs
called war veterans, as if Zimbabweans ever hired mercenaries to liberate
I am sure even world-acclaimed coup specialist and mercenary Bob Denard
would have charged less than what our governing cripples paid themselves for
liberating us. Denard charged much less for dirtier jobs that even got
botched-up in the Comoros Islands, the badly battered economy was shaken but
did not collapse like ours.
While Bob Denard ended up face to face with the music, our psycho-paths are
still being allowed to go around the world misrepresenting the country and
twisting its puerile human rights record into a shining mirror of
achievements. Surprisingly, UN commissioners, whom we expect to know better
about the dangers of psychopaths in power, still clap, ululate, pledge
unending cooperation and mumble over coffee about cordial relations that
have never existed.
It is now that the world, apart from blaming Zimbabweans from failing to
dislodge the ZANU PF monster, should also play its part by refusing to be
lied to about us. I do not believe that the whole essence of democratic
discourse and diplomatic respect has the net effect of forcing everyone to
listen to long speeches founded on nothing but mere fiction that even lacks
imagination. If the people present at Chinamasa's presentation can tell the
difference between white and red, then they should have known better that
the assurance of human rights respect was coming from the wrong mouth and
from a very strange direction.
Unlike many others in cabinet, Chinamasa does not suffer from
intellectual malnutrition, so we can safely assume that he sat down,
concocted the lies and even rehearsed how he would present them. Maybe CIO
had also provided accurate intelligence on just how gullible the audience
would be, but as Zimbabweans we should be able to stand up and tell the
world not to tolerate what we cannot tolerate in our country. The Zimbabwean
record of human rights abuses, notably the devilish nature of the people who
make up both cabinet and parliament, is as clear as muddy water.
It certainly speaks for itself because every other country that matters in
this world is playing host to Zimbabwean asylum seekers and refugees.
The exiles are the people who should tell the world about Zimbabwe's hatred
of human rights other than those of the Zezurus in ZANU PF, the Gushungo
family and their touts. The language used by Chinamasa should leave the
ever-doubting Thomases at UN in no doubt that the government of Zimbabwe
intends to do more of trampling than upholding the rights of its citizens.
ZANU PF's pre-occupation with power should tell the world that whatever the
government does is not for the good of the people, but the security of a
deeply unpopular regime which fears prosecution for human rights abuses much
more than the fragmented opposition. Somebody said that sovereignty and
patriotism alone cannot feed the country and I agree. The narrow and badly
bastardized meaning of sovereignty as it refers to ZANU PF is not good for
the hungry man in Gwanda or Murambinda.
It is high time that the whole world started refusing to accept statements
like the land being the economy, sovereignty and patriotism. Zimbabweans
have already sacrificied everything except their children. It therefore
makes no sense for Mugabe to keep saying they should sacrifice for the
sovereignty of the country. Sacrifice what for what? Why is the sovereignty
issue so confined to stinking ZANU PF corridors if the whole country has the
right to bask in its preservation?
The diet of patriotism we are being fed on is thoroughly nauseating
diarrhoea, which should also bring the world's attention to our acute
shortage of medicines. These are the very issues around which ZANU PF has
built a not-so intricate web of lies that is luckily full of self-inflicted
holes. These issues have become the very altar on which the rights of
Zimbabweans have been sacrificed since 1980.
Chinamasa also needs to know that ZANU PF does not enjoy a complete monopoly
in terms of access and dissemination of information. There are more eyes
looking at Zimbabwe's than the blind ones in ZANU PF.
Government can decide what gets published in its mouthpieces or tell its
megaphones at Newsnet how to beam the day's biggest lies as headlines.
However, the illusion of a monopoly is a monumental blunder which ZANU PF
and those who believe in it should be made to pay for. But that will still
depend on whether as Zimbabweans, we refuse to be lied to and lied about.
Oscar Nkala is a Zimbabwean journalist and writes from Johannesburg. He can
be contacted at: email@example.com
New Zimbabwe.com columnist Dr Alex Tawanda Magaisa delivered the inaugural
annual Basker Vashee (read more about him) Memorial Lecture on the
Zimbabwean situation in Amsterdam. Here is the full lecture:
By Dr Alex Magaisa
Last updated: 06/24/2006 10:14:00
A Nation in Dire Straits: Law, Politics and the Crisis in Zimbabwe
The Inaugural Annual Basker Vashee Memorial Lecture, 8 June 2006, 20h00 -
22h00, De Balie, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam
1. Zvakapressa in Zimbabwe
When Zimbabweans say "Zvakapressa" they are describing the terrible state of
their circumstances but at the same time this Shonglish1 word reveals a
certain creative quality about the people, which helps them to cope during
hard times. It symbolises from a linguistic perspective, how people manage
to make use of and balance both the local and the foreign.
Having been brought up in Zimbabwean society, I am familiar with the way in
which we sometimes make fun of our own hardships, how we create jokes about
things in ways that elsewhere might be considered rude and disrespectful. I
profess no expertise in psychology or sociology but I sometimes think that
this capacity to laugh and even smile about our tough circumstances helps us
cope with the difficulties. I suppose it also explains how we tend to have
such durable stress and hardship absorbers so that when in any other society
people would have revolted we are still taking more.
Zvakapressa in Zimbabwe - things are very difficult. Looking at the
political and socio-economic landscape, it is easy to appreciate why a whole
generation will grow having known only conditions of poverty. What appeared
to be a blip at the bridge between this and the last millennium has become a
permanent scar that will define the character and behaviour of generations
2. In the Footsteps of Basker Vashee
Before I proceed, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the
organisers of this event for inviting me to present this Inaugural Lecture,
to honour a great man who dedicated his life to scholarship and the welfare
of mankind. As a young generation Zimbabwean who tasted freedom because of
the efforts of men and women such as Basker Vashee, I feel honoured to be
here, presenting this lecture in his honour. When I received the invitation,
it was totally unexpected but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. It was said
that they had seen in my work a new generation of Zimbabwean intellectuals,
keen to chart a progressive way and new kind of politics. There are so many
dedicated Zimbabweans out there, wishing to be heard and I was happy to take
this opportunity. We in Zimbabwe are very keen to tell our story and we are
also dedicated to generating ideas to shape the future of our country.
I have learnt of Basker Vashee's work and contributions towards Zimbabwe
during his days in ZAPU during the struggle for independence and I am proud
to share the same origins with a great intellectual and activist. I was only
two years old in 1977 when he became Director at this Institute - I am sure
he would be proud to know that a younger generation of Zimbabweans has taken
the torch and will carry on from where he left. Let me now turn to the
substance of my lecture, which is dedicated to the memory of Basker Vashee.
3. Purpose and Perspectives of the lecture: Principles and Values
The purpose of the lecture is not to demonise the ruling ZANU PF party and
government or to laud the opposition forces such as the MDC and Civil
Society Organisations but to present what I consider to be an objective
assessment of the current political situation, highlighting the key
challenges that the project for democratization faces and offer views on the
construction of a vision on how to extricate Zimbabwe from the current
I am under no illusions that I have perfect answers to the problems we
Zimbabweans face as a nation. I have written and spoken in different forums
and each time I have been preoccupied by the desire to participate in
mapping a better future for my country2. In looking at the situation I am
not swayed by the political actors but by the desire to promote individual
freedom in all respects. I am wary of backing any specific individuals
because rightly or wrongly I am very sceptical of politicians as a tribe.
The trouble with politicians is that you can back one today and tomorrow he
will perform a spectacular somersault and you are left bare and looking
Rather, I prefer to stand on my permanent interests: points of principle and
values. That is also why one of my principal arguments has always been that
true change lies at the core of society - that is, at the individual level;
the ordinary men and women that make up society more than at the level of
political leadership. The political leadership comes in different forms and
appearances and unless members of society accept the demands of change in
the way they conduct their affairs at the basic level the type of change
that everyone seeks will remain a distant dream. Political leaders come and
go, each time making their promises - but society remains. I place the real
obligation for change at the doorstep of each individual member of society.
That, for me, is how they take ownership of the process of change - by
4. From Where I Stand: Insider-Looking-In
I speak and comment about Zimbabwe from the vantage position of both an
insider and outsider - an insider because I have spent much of life in
Zimbabwe and an outsider because I have spent the last few years of my
professional life outside Zimbabwe. I am familiar with the way we see
ourselves internally and also with the way in which we see ourselves from
the outside. I am also aware of how the world looks at us. So in essence my
views are shaped by this position of being an Insider-Looking-In. I have
been looked at as a Zimbabwean and I have looked at fellow Zimbabweans from
a distance. I like to think that such a position, far from being confusing,
gives one a chance to develop a balanced opinion of the subject under
I am particularly impressed by this opportunity because many Zimbabweans and
myself often express reservations about everyone but Zimbabweans writing and
speaking about ourselves as if we have no capacity to communicate our
feelings, thoughts and positions on the issues that affect us. It is not
because we are incapable - very often it is because we never get the
opportunities to do so.
5. A Battered and Tired Economy
It is common knowledge that Zimbabwe is a country in deep crisis and I do
not want to spent much time and space repeating a lot of what is already in
the public domain. Zimbabwe has a very tired economy. The statistics are
staggering. Hyperinflation is running at more than 1000 per cent.
Unemployment is more than 80 per cent and according to the World Bank GDP
has contracted by about 40 per cent in the last 6 years alone. There is
shortage of food and about 90 per cent of the people are living below the
poverty datum line. Life expectancy stands at around 35 years. I will
recount a personal testimony to illustrate the lived experience of the fall
of a nation.
I graduated from the University of Zimbabwe in 1997 and landed a beautiful
job in a large Harare law firm. It was all that I had dreamt of when I
decided I would become a lawyer. To be sure, I had never contemplated doing
anything else or going somewhere other than to become a top Harare lawyer. I
remember my great friend Tapiwa Muzvondiwa boasting while still in law
school, that in a few years time people would refer to him as a "Harare
lawyer and businessman". We had high hopes and dreams. Tapiwa is now in
London practising his trade. From time to time we talk about what could have
been. But hope has not dissipated yet.
A lifelong student of history, I always carry a small suitcase that bears
important episodes of my life - letters, photographs, old books - anything
that might remind me of the past, because I love memories. I was going
through my case recently when I discovered an old pay-slip from 1998. It
showed I was earning a 9 000ZWD per month, which by all accounts was an
excellent salary for a first professional job. That salary liberated me to
live on my own in a new apartment. It enabled me to live a relatively
comfortable lifestyle befitting a bachelor. I was even able to relieve my
parents of the burden of paying school fees for my siblings. And yes, the
clan in the village could expect a few dollars as well. Today however, 9 000
ZWD is not enough to buy a loaf of bread which costs ten times that amount.
I will leave the rest to your imagination, if you can bear it.
But what has caused such a dramatic downfall of one of the most beautiful
African countries, which before the demise was one of the leading economies
on the continent?
2. Demands of the Neo-Liberal Policies and Pressures of Social Justice
1. Short-Term Triggers and Deep-Seated Roots
A lot has been said of the problems bedevilling Zimbabwe but the current
crisis has both immediate triggers and deep-seated roots3. However, the
immediate triggers often receive the most attention. These include the farm
invasions since the year 2000, which resulted in the forcible eviction of
commercial farmers and consequently a breakdown in the agricultural sector.
They also include the general hostile human rights and security situation,
which has driven away potential investment, tourists and caused Zimbabwe to
have an unfavourable international profile. There is also corruption and
cronyism within the government and ruling party. Overall, there have been
poor economic policies and mismanagement - incompetence to put it starkly.
There have undoubtedly been a plethora of factors that have triggered the
economic meltdown most of which centre on mismanagement of the political
situation by the government.
A balanced assessment of the Zimbabwe situation cannot however discount the
long-term problems whose genesis precedes the current crisis. I characterize
these problems as emanating from a struggle between the demands of market
reforms and the pressure to promote social justice. A failure to balance
these demands over the years by the ZANU PF led to massive difficulties,
which gave birth to the current crisis. As I will elaborate later, this
central problem is a continuing one, which will require the attention of any
new government. I shall endeavour to explain this phenomenon.
2. Primitive Accumulation and the Culture of Impunity
When Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, it enjoyed a relatively strong
economy. Years of sanctions during the latter stages of colonialism had
given rise to growth in innovation and vibrant import-substitution
industries. However, the legacy of colonialism always meant that the balance
was tilted in favour of the minority white community. It is within that
context that we must also understand the imbalance in the land ownership
system. Most of those that had been marginalized expected to have a share of
the economic cake. The government led by the then Prime Minister Robert
Mugabe publicly espoused the ideals of socialism but privately pursued
capitalist dictates. One suspects that while keen to put up a show of
solidarity with the general citizens, the ministers were also secretly
admiring and coveting the white community privileges.
There was, one could say, ideological confusion but from that period we also
see the leadership beginning to engage in the process of primitive
accumulation. The ruling ZANU PF party abandoned its Leadership Code, a set
of principles by which they sought to govern the conduct of the leadership4.
Needless to say, it was hardly followed, as each leader sought to gain the
best advantage. True to Franz Fanon's predictions, the pre-occupation was to
step into the shoes of the former white masters and not really to change
anything for the generality of the people5.
It must also be recalled that the crushing of political dissent has its
roots in this period - characterized by what are today referred to as the
Matabeleland Massacres but to which most people and countries around the
world were happy at the time to turn a blind eye. When one considers the
blatant use of violence at the time, and the silence of the majority in the
face of such calamities, it becomes easier to appreciate how the culture of
violence and impunity has grown to be part of the political culture in
Zimbabwe. People have grown up knowing that opponents are supposed to be
silenced and one easy way to do so is to inflict pain. The silence of the
majority encouraged impunity - something we see again today and more
worryingly even in opposition politics. The abnormal, as the late Professor
Masipula Sithole would put it, became normalised.
3. Lancaster and the Land Issue: A Lost Opportunity
I am also critical of the constitutional arrangements that were made at the
Lancaster House Constitutional Conference in 19796 especially in relation to
the arrangements over land ownership. Perhaps it is easier to say this with
the benefit of hindsight removed from the contextual circumstances of the
time, but in my view the arrangements over land simply postponed a problem
rather than seeking to solve it. The problem was inequality in land
ownership and instead of putting in place clear mechanisms and processes to
resolve it (other than the "willing buyer willing seller" basis, a free
market idea which frankly was never going to completely resolve the
problem), Lancaster postponed it by simply entrenching in the Bill of Rights
a provision protecting the right to private property7.
Given the primacy and political sensitivity of the land question, it is not
surprising that Section 168 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe became one of
the most bitterly contested clauses in the Bill of Rights - not only in the
courts of law but also in parliament and in extra-legal forms such as the
land invasions that took place with the consent of the government.
What is worse in my view is that the failure to put closure to this issue
and consequently the perpetuation of land inequality provided the present
government with a perfect and convenient platform to launch their campaign
based on the rhetoric of Pan-African agenda and social justice, thereby
gaining an ear and the sympathy of fellow African governments and people
around the world who are also sympathetic to the cause of social justice9.
What these supporters do not appreciate is that given the manner in which
the land acquisition has been done, it has been a convenient pretext for the
leadership's pursuit of primitive accumulation and therefore that there is
no real social justice for the generality of the citizens10. If Lancaster
had dealt with the land problem more conclusively, the current government
would not have had a claim on the ground of land imbalances.
4. Structural Adjustment Programme and Social Collapse
Having said that, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the
USSR in the early 1990s caused changes on the global political landscape and
in the case of Zimbabwe, changed the way in which the government of Zimbabwe
government had played its game during the Cold War. Also, the global powers
began to change their tactics in the post-Cold War era. Faced with problems
of economic stagnation characterised by rising unemployment and lack of
investment after the first decade of independence the socialist rhetoric had
to give way to the Western ideas of free-market capitalism. Consequently,
the government accepted the IMF-WB led economic reform programme known more
commonly in Zimbabwe by the acronym "ESAP" - economic structural adjustment
This package came complete on the foundation of the ideals of
liberalization, deregulation and open markets. Indeed, it also included
prescriptions for cuts in social spending, privatization, retrenchments and
other cost-cutting measures. However, the demands of the free market
economic agenda did not feed into the agenda of social justice. Indeed life
for most ordinary people began to deteriorate in the 1990s as a result of
these economic policies, to which the government, with an eye of maintaining
its popularity through the rhetoric of social justice, paid only
Also notable is that attempts to redistribute land after the expiry of the
ten year period of the entrenchment of the right to private property in the
Bill of Rights were thwarted through legal process. In my view what they saw
as legal impediments must have caused some frustration on the part of the
State11. Indeed, while most people tend to focus on the recent hostility
against judges, as early as the 1990s politicians began to make hostile
statements critical of the judiciary, whom they saw as protecting the
existing economic order through the interpretation of property rights in
ways that appeared to maintain the status quo12. It appears to me that the
government began to see the law as an impediment but it also saw it as a
means for justifying and legitimising its agenda. The law is relevant to the
government only when it facilitates the deployment of its power and not when
it limits its powers. That is why despite its actions in the last 6 years,
the government has always tried to change the law as justification.
5. War Veterans - Threat and Opportunity
As more people descended into poverty while the government lacked any
solutions for its difficulties, those who could constitute themselves into
social and political groups began to seek attention from the government. The
largest and most vocal of those was the veterans of the liberation struggle
who began to demand a share of the spoils of independence. This was in part
because the generality of the veterans perceived that only those in
government positions among their comrades had actually reaped benefits while
they had gained very little. Their vociferous demands represented a threat
to the position of government but in that threat the ruling party also saw
an opportunity. The government gave in to their demands paying a massive 50
000 ZWD to each veteran plus other monthly benefits (all of which was
unbudgeted) but also gained a loyal constituency, to which they would turn
when it came to the challenge of clinging on to power in the year 2000. Add
to this the Congo Misadventure13, which gobbled funds in a war that we could
hardly afford. Unsurprisingly, from the end of 1998, with these massive
expenditures, the currency began to fall dramatically14. The rest of the
story of the farm invasions led by the veterans and agricultural decline is
now common knowledge.
Suffice to state in a nutshell that the government was faced with the
challenge of promoting economic progress and simultaneously having to
promote social justice. Through a combination of incompetence, corruption
and poor judgment it failed both tasks. In trying to promote market reforms
in the 1990s it paid lip service to social justice and I also think that the
sponsors of these policies - the IMF and WB also take a measure of the blame
for the failure of ESAP and its effects on the condition of the people. Much
has already been written elsewhere about the poor application by the
Bretton-Woods institutions of ill-suited neo-liberal policies in developing
and emerging economies. It is easy to blame Mugabe and his government for
everything that is wrong about Zimbabwe but I also think that if we must
find solutions to problems our diagnosis must reveal all the agents
responsible for the general ailment15. In trying to talk the language of
social justice post-2000 the government ignored the demands of economic
progress, throwing out of the window all known tools of economic management.
In any event, a combination of corruption and poor management has meant that
there is really no social justice as the leadership retains most of the
productive land, although without using it productively16
6. Destruction of the Commercial Agricultural Architecture
The biggest failure of the land redistribution is that due to the chaotic
implementation, it destroyed the whole legal, financial and technical
architecture upon which commercial agriculture was built. The government had
not planned any replacement and whatever it has tried to do through the
Reserve Bank for example has been ad hoc and prone to corruption17.
Therefore the privileged few who have got the best land have failed to use
it to full capacity. A country that was self-sufficient and exported food
has become a land of the destitute. Instead of promoting social justice, the
policies have caused greater social injustice - with the poor getting poorer
and the privileged few getting richer through corruption and taking
advantage of the situation. They say outside South Africa, no other country
in Africa has the biggest fleet of the latest models of Mercedes Benz - and
this in a country where 90 % of the population cannot afford three square
meals a day.
7. MDC, Social Justice and Neo-Liberal Forces
The MDC holds itself out as a social democratic party and claims to be a
party for the poor people, implying therefore that the agenda of social
justice is at the core of its programme. However, we have also seen signals
that the MDC needs to build cosy relationships with the likes of the IMF and
World Bank implying that it may not escape the force of neo-liberal policies
at the heart of the Washington Consensus.
They talk the language of liberal economic policies - seeking the ear of
capital. In my opinion, the MDC is therefore likely to face the same
conundrum - having to meet the demands of free market economics, which is
largely pro-Corporate power and at the same time having to meet the demands
of social justice, especially for people who have suffered so much and are
expecting a lot. The question then is whether the opposition understands and
appreciates the complexities of this problem of balancing neo-liberal
policies on the one hand and social justice on the other hand. One thing for
sure is that the opposition must be aware of these dynamics and must
therefore have a clear plan for balancing the twin demands if real change is
to emerge in Zimbabwe. The jury is still out on that point.
3. The Current State Political and Non-Political Actors in Zimbabwe
I now turn to the current circumstances obtaining in the country, focusing
specifically on the main political and civil society actors. I wish to
highlight the challenges facing these actors and their place in the process
of democratisation in Zimbabwe. I will concentrate on three main
constituents - the ruling ZANU PF, the main opposition MDC and the Civil
1. ZANU PF
ZANU PF is the governing party whose history goes back to the liberation
struggle in the 1960s and 70s. Today it is an amalgamation of two parties -
ZANU PF of Mugabe and PF ZAPU of Dr Joshua Nkomo, the two main parties of
the liberation war era18. ZANU PF has been in power for the last 26 years.
And President Mugabe has been the sole leader during the whole period19.
1. Crisis of Legitimacy
Over the last six years ZANU PF has been faced with a crisis of legitimacy
emanating mainly from the disputed parliamentary and Presidential elections
that have taken place during that period. It has been declared the winner of
most relevant elections but its victories have been vigorously contested
both internally and externally on the basis of fraud and violence. This has
led to the country being ostracized in the country in the international
community consequently cutting its credibility and lines of economic
support, which every country needs for survival in the increasingly
globalizing world. The main problem is that as indicated earlier, ZANU PF
has failed to find solutions to the country's economic problems. It has also
failed to accept that solutions lie in resolving the political crisis that
has engulfed the country in the last six years. Its response to challenges
from other actors has been largely to use both legal and extra-legal means
to remain in a dominant position. The main charge has been its failure to
uphold democratic principles and its tendency to thwart human rights and
basic freedoms when faced with challenges.
2. Struggle for Succession and Factionalism
While the party presents a picture of unity under the current conditions, it
has become common knowledge that it is facing internal contradictions and
challenges centring mainly on the thorny question of succession of President
Mugabe's leadership. While President Mugabe is under pressure, the party is
clearly having problems in finding a way towards his successor. Even at this
late stage (Presidential elections are due in 2008, unless the party changes
the country's constitution again t extend President Mugabe's tenure to 2010,
which is no an impossibility), there is no obvious candidate. ZANU PF needs
to maintain its grip on power in order to secure post-retirement immunity
and protection for its leadership. The former minister of information,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, now an independent MP has given us an insight into
the nature of the succession problem in ZANU PF20. The most prominent
manifestation of the battles within ZANU PF was the so-called Tsholotsho
Declaration in which Moyo was implicated. The Tsholotsho Declaration has
become the metonym for the internal struggles for succession within ZANU
PF - pitting those seeking to change the form of leadership and those intent
on maintaining the status quo or extending it in some way.
What we know however is that loyalty is very important in ZANU PF. Loyalty
to the party and the leadership overshadows most other concerns, including
human rights and democracy issues. When it suits the demands of the
leadership, the constitution can be changed and democratic principles can
give way21. This is why despite the internal contradictions there is limited
publicity of these divisions from within ZANU PF itself. I do not know
whether it is good or bad but one thing you have to give them is that from a
leadership perspective there is a version of discipline and loyalty that you
do not find in other political and civil society actors in Zimbabwe. It
could be argued that it is both its strength and weakness because while it
may good for stability, they suspect that it is enforced through fear and
therefore is unsustainable beyond the present leadership.
3. Can ZANU PF Change?
However, despite its endemic problems there are reasons that the opposition
forces can discount ZANU PF at their own peril. Like it or not ZANU PF does
have its core support - people who will do anything to support it despite
its many imperfections and despite their own suffering under the current
difficult climate. It may be difficult to understand why but there are
people who support it. It this is their democratic choice, which all
pro-democracy citizens must respect and tolerate. But there is another
important question that people have been discussing - Can ZANU PF change? It
arises from the view that there are some good, well-meaning and progressive
elements in ZANU PF, who given the chance, could reform the party.
It is difficult to predict whether the party can change in the wake of any
new leadership. I do not think that it can change under the current
framework because its survival in power depends largely on its present
character. However, it is possible that a new kind of leadership might wish
to effect change because its long-term viability - whether as a ruling party
or in opposition depends on its ability to change. Some people have even
argued that a reformed ZANU PF will present a stronger challenge to the
opposition but despite opportunities for change, ZANU PF has resisted
change. The major point of concern is the culture that it has created and
nurtured over a long period of time.
The culture of loyalty enforced by any means including violence, the culture
of intolerance to dissent, the culture of corruption and cronyism - this is
the culture that is ZANU PF's main challenge as an organization and as a
brand in the political and social landscape22. It cannot be resolved by
engaging the best PR consultancy in the world - it can only be solved by
clear and substantive change within its ranks. My personal view is that a
reformed ZANU PF is good for Zimbabwe because even if the opposition gets
into power, the country will benefit greatly from a strong and critical
opposition. Good governance is based on accountability and having a strong
opposition that provides robust and credible critical assessment is useful
for this purpose. So personally, I hope ZANU PF reads the winds of change
and effects changes within its ranks.
1. Post-Independence Resistance in Zimbabwe
While it is often said that the MDC has provided the greatest challenge to
ZANU PF since independence, my personal view is that such a statement
requires some qualification. This is because before the MDC there have had
other parties that have provided great challenges to ZANU PF namely PF ZAPU
prior to its absorption within ZANU PF in 1987. PF ZAPU presented a great
challenge to the ruling party culminating in the notorious massacres in
Matabeleland in the 1980s. That brutal response could only have been made
against a very strong and credible challenge. So when people today talk
about the MDC being the greatest challenge to ZANU PF, they must not
discount the fact that there were others who posed similar challenges long
before the MDC was formed in 1999. For the benefit of those who have been
made to believe otherwise, the story of post-independence resistance in
Zimbabwe did not start with the MDC in 1999. Zimbabweans in different forms
and numbers have always had issues against the ruling establishment and have
expressed on occasions via PF ZAPU, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM), etc.
The likes of Margaret Dongo spent years as lone but vocal opponents in the
ZANU PF dominated parliament23.
The reason I mention this point is to remind those with selective memories
who tend to ignore the gravity of history and trace the history of
resistance to 1999 and thereby conveniently pursue politics of exclusion on
the grounds that if one was not part of the MDC he or she therefore lacks
any claim to any leadership within the struggle for democracy. I also
believe that had the world at the time reacted in the same way as it has
done in response to the current crisis, the process of democratisation might
have begun earlier. I suppose the global politics and economics of the time
did not permit similar international attention. But as with Rwanda in 1994,
the world sat by and ignored the tragedy unfolding in Zimbabwe and worse
still showered the Zimbabwean leadership with praise and adulation.
2. A Party Divided
Notwithstanding the above, the MDC is the current major force in opposition,
alongside civic society organizations. However, at present the MDC stands
divided into two distinct factions - one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the
other by Arthur Mutambara. Brian Raftopolous has given a detailed account of
the split and the circumstances surrounding this episode in the history of
the MDC24. David Coltart a leading MDC MP and member of the old National
Executive made attempts to mediate between the two factions, with a view to
reaching an amicable settlement, including divorce if necessary. The idea
was to avoid confusion of the two parties using a single name and to divide
the resources without having to go through the courts of law, which because
of fears of a compromised Judiciary it was thought that it would give power
to ZANU PF to decide the fate of the strongest opposition party. These
attempts failed indicating the refusal of some leading members of the MDC to
engage in constructive conflict resolution, which is what the majority of
the people seem to prefer25. The split also confirms what some of us had
indicated earlier - that the party represented a lot of conflicting
interests, which is not calibrated, would lead to rupture at some stage26.
Recent events indicate that the faction led by Tsvangirai currently enjoys
greater support on the ground and it is fair to say that Mutambara's faction
faces an uphill task to win space from the Tsvangirai faction. Time, the
magician, will tell. Observers suggest that although Mutambara espouses
important and valuable core principles and values, he demonstrated poor
political judgment in joining a faction rather than pursuing a united front
from the onset. Opponents of Tsvangirai in the MDC have charged that he
exhibited dictatorial tendencies by rejecting the decision of a
collective-decision making process in relation to participation in the 2005
Senate elections. On their part Tsvangirai supporters argue that he did what
was necessary to reflect the will of the majority. What is clear is that
there is lack of a common understanding of the kind of democracy that they
are seeking in the MDC. Also worrying are emerging indications of tribal
divisions, which could harm national cohesion.
3. A ZANU PF culture in the MDC - Continuity and Change
Most people however agree that the MDC is much stronger in unity than it is
as a divided entity. Some commentators have warned that internal cannibalism
will further destroy the MDC27. However there does not seem to be the
sufficient political will among some of the leadership to promote this
unity, which is necessary in order to achieve the greater objective. Egos,
it seems, stand in the way of unity. In my opinion, circumstances show that
the greatest problem is that the pursuit of power appears to have replaced
the greater idea of building a democracy.
What is more important are the implications of this split on the democratic
movement. There is a worrying trend of the replication of ZANU PF culture in
the relationship between the two MDC factions, especially in terms of
intolerance to dissent and diverse views, the use of violence and
intimidation, manipulation of tribal differences and general disregard for
constitutional rules. Especially worrying is the tendency to promote a
dictatorship of the majority and the suppression of minorities - the very
strategies that the MDC was formed to fight against. Democracy has been
reduced to merely a game of numbers - ignoring the other key values and
principles that make up the sustainable culture of democracy. The emergence
of this intolerant culture has caused some people to start reviewing their
position in relation to the MDC. The problem is that alternatives are
limited and there is therefore a core swing vote waiting to be convinced by
whomsoever espouses and practices the ideals and principles that they
support and cherish. People question: Does the MDC have the capacity to
effect real change, beyond the change of personnel in leadership of
Zimbabwe? This question seems to be growing in magnitude with each passing
And there is also a risk that the external supporters of the MDC who have
assisted with financial lifelines during the formative years are also
beginning to review their positions, given the frustrations arising from
recent developments leading to and including the split. Once the external
allies begin to lose confidence in the party, it will increasingly find it
very difficult to organise effectively. A political party with insufficient
funding is doomed, especially when it is in the opposition.
3. Civil Society Organisations
1. A vibrant Civil Society sector
The late 1990s witnessed the emergence of a number of key civil society
organisations concerned mainly with advancing the human rights agenda. One
could say these organisations became the mid-wives at the birth of the
MDC28. Among them were the NCA, which organised the campaign for a new
Constitution, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, the Zimbabwe Women's
Lawyers Association. Prior to the emergence of these organisations, there
had been a few human rights bodies such as ZimRights and a number of
gender-based campaign groups such as Women's Action Group. Later other
umbrella organisations emerged, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum and Crisis in Zimbabwe, among many others.
One observation is that the proliferation of civil society organisations in
the recent past possibly demonstrates raised levels of activity and general
awareness among the citizens. There is no doubt that men and women involved
in civil society organisations have done a great deal to raise the levels of
awareness of civil and political rights and also enable mass participation
in the political processes. A lot of effort has been invested in
humanitarian projects, to alleviate the effects of the economic meltdown and
political violence. Civil society organisations have also been at the
forefront of raising international awareness about the problems faced by
Zimbabweans. It is safe to conclude, that together with the opposition
political parties, civil society organisations have played a crucial role in
the recent history of Zimbabwe.
Nevertheless, there are some serious shortcomings in relation to civil
society organisations at both conceptual and practical levels, which stand
in the way of progress unless they are fully addressed.
2. Civil Society Organisations and Political Space
The first problem is the unnecessary competition for political and
This occurs at two levels:
First, civil society organisations compete for space among themselves. They
have to win the hearts and minds of the citizens and the donor community.
The result is a duplication of activities, each organisation doing the same
as the other but each attempting to demonstrate that it is different and
better. The economies of scale and scope that could arise from coming
together to pursue the same goal have been lost in the process.
Second, civil society organisations are also engaged in competition for
space with political organisations. For strategic reasons, civil society
organisations have tried to present themselves as apolitical notwithstanding
the fact that the issues with which they are concerned are clearly
political. However, one concern is that from an organisational point of
view, the civil society sector has robbed the political sector of great
talent. Being a leader of civil society is a safer and more attractive
option for people who would otherwise have been at the forefront of
participating and organising politically. Because of the uneven political
landscape in Zimbabwe, forming and sustaining a political party is very
difficult. Often they have to resort to external assistance. Because CSOs
also depend on the same external sources for assistance, there is yet more
Worse however, is that while awareness in relation to rights has been raised
general citizens may tend to identify with civil society organisations than
with the political party. To the extent that citizens sometimes have to
choose between political and apolitical organizations, this competition for
space has caused confusion. Personally, I do not think that Zimbabwe can
afford to have the luxury of people who describe themselves as apolitical.
The notion of apolitical organisations tends to draw people away from
politics, whereas in fact battles are won and lost on the political field.
It doesn't matter if a CSO has millions of members if that CSO cannot
present a candidate for elections on the political front. In my view, great
effort has been spent on CSOs but more of the resources should be invested
in the political organisations.
3. "Do as we say, not as we do"
Another problem with CSOs is that they have failed to live by the principles
that they espouse. First, they are prone to the charge of being elitist
because they tend to concentrate their activities in urban areas and even
then, their meetings and conferences are often held at posh hotels and
conference centres, far away from the general citizens. The leadership is
also often drawn from the elite middle class. Part of the problem is that
CSOs have become employers first and servants of the people second. The
wonderful salaries and perks that come with the job attract most leaders
from the professions. It is clear that not everyone in the CSOs is therefore
the cause - but for the wealth opportunities that the positions bring. The
allegations of corruption and lack of accountability have also posed threats
to the credibility of CSOs. The greed and competition for resources has had
a largely negative effect on the nature of CSOs hence the many unnecessary
and wasteful divisions30. It is not uncommon that once a leader loses office
in an NGO he goes on to form another one. Unfortunately donors buy into
their project proposal and consequently Zimbabwe has a lot of organisations
doing the same things. They cannot even mobilise their membership, if they
have any, in order to carry on a united protest.
4. Replicating the Monster
Worse however, is when CSOs begin to replicate the behaviour of the
political organisations that they are fighting to change. This has happened
for example, when constitutions of CSOs are changed on the basis of
following the will of the people, something that ZANU PF and the government
has done in the past. The NCA has recently amended its Constitution amid
controversial circumstances, with allegations flying around that the
amendments were designed to allow Dr Madhuku to remain in power beyond the
stipulated two terms. As a body that has been fighting for a new
Constitution, people have begun t doubt whether it still has the moral
authority to challenge President Mugabe and ZANU PF in the wake of the
controversial amendments. Whatever the merits of the amendments the NCA
ought to have taken into account the current context and refrained from
appearing to replicate ZANU PF's behaviour. Also worrying are the
allegations that Dr Madhuku's supporters used violence and threatened
opponents of the constitutional amendment.
The biggest problem however is that except for the Mutambara led faction of
the MDC, none of the other political and non-political actors preaching the
word of democracy have uttered a word of condemnation against Dr Madhuku and
the NCA31. The Tsvangirai-led MDC, which appears to command a majority at
present, has not commented on the episode. One suspects that the apparent
conspiracy of silence is motivated by political alliances, which mean that
none of the alliance partners has the moral standing or courage to criticise
the other. In 2005 the President of the then united MDC defied a National
Council vote in favour of participating in the Senate election. Violence was
also reportedly used against opponents and perpetrators got away with it -
fuelling impunity. At that time civil society remained largely silent and at
worst took sides in the MDC split, thereby undermining their own
impartiality. It is unsurprising then that now that the NCA has trampled on
its own principles and values, there is by and large unity in silence, bar
the lone voice of the Mutambara MDC, which called for Dr Madhuku to step
down. There is only one word to describe the whole episode: embarrassment.
For the NCA, it is clearly a PR disaster and they have some way to win back
the faith of those that had invested their trust in them as an organisation
dedicated to democracy.
It also shows the problem with an embedded civil society. It is wedded to
the opposition such that when the opposition makes errors, they are hard
pressed to criticise it. This happened in relation to the violence in the
MDC and constitutional violation over the Senate election. Civil society is
only vocal against the government but numb in relation to excesses in the
opposition. How then can they be active participants in the process of
democratisation when they are partial and fail to bring to account the
opposition that seeks to govern the country in future? Small wonder that in
the eyes of a number of critics, CSOs have lost credibility and have become
part of the problem in Zimbabwe. Unless they reform and refocus, they risk
becoming an irrelevant side-show in the current politics and a mere footnote
when the history of Zimbabwe is told in future.
These are worrying times in light of the fact that the disregard of rules is
also part of the problem that has divided the MDC. People ask: what then is
the difference between the CSOs and political organisations whose culture
and practices they have been fighting against. There is also the danger of
citizens losing all confidence in both the political and apolitical process,
resorting instead to extra-legal means to achieve their objectives. Leaders
of CSOs and political organisations must come to terms with the fact that
they cannot be in power forever and that they can still serve society very
well, even after their terms of office have run their course. Donors must
also take an audit of their activities and question whether their funding to
organisations is really causing any change or simply perpetuating
4. The Future: Building Sustainable Democratic Culture
1. Keeping both the government and opposition in check
The primary concern of this paper is to advocate for the cultivation of a
democratic and constitutional culture - embracing the spirit of
constitutionalism, respect for the individual not only by the state but
between individuals. I take the view that fighting tyranny requires not just
criticism of the tyrant but also close scrutiny of those who claim to take
over. I therefore deliberately take a critical approach toward the
opposition forces, not because we oppose them but because we recall that the
mistakes that we have made before in relation to leaders was giving too much
praise without holding them to account. We therefore take the view that the
best way to prepare the opposition for government is to critique their
claims and require them to build a culture of accountability. Democracy is
an attitude, it is behaviour and it is a way of life - you do not just
change into a democrat once you gain office - our argument is that the
culture must begin from the very early stages. On their part we expect the
opposition to be receptive to positive criticism, to accept intellectual
input and to be tolerant to diversity. If they cannot do it while in
opposition, what chances are there that they can change when they are in
power, with the state apparatus at their disposal?
2. Managing Multiple Competing Interests
In mapping a future for Zimbabwe, one must acknowledge the fact that there
are various, often conflicting interests that require attention. Most of
these interests came together in the form of the MDC in 1999 and I have
previously argued that failing to hold these interests together has been one
of the shortcomings of the opposition party32.
The largest group are the poor people in both rural and urban areas. Of
course, the numbers of poor people have skyrocketed in the last few years.
These people need to return to their normal standard of living. They want
employment, access to food and economic stability. They want an affordable
lifestyle comparable to what they were used to prior to the current crisis.
The farmers who lost their land want either the restoration of their
property rights or fair and adequate compensation. The new farmers may also
want to retain the property that they have taken. There are others who feel
they were unfairly deprived of access to land who will also demand their
fair share. But overall, every one wants to see agricultural production
rising to previous levels33. Can the drive towards economic efficiency
co-exist with the demands of social justice? Can wealth creation through
agriculture be done simultaneously with wealth redistribution?
There are thousands of people who suffered severe injuries and lost many
relatives during the Matabeleland atrocities in the 1980s. Along with those
who have also suffered in the current crisis they too demand a healing
process. People in various regions have complained of underdevelopment -
they too demand attention when change comes. Workers will want job security
and adequate legal protection. But companies will also demand more relaxed
operating environment. Foreign companies look at Zimbabwe and see the
untapped but abundant wealth. But they will also demand incentives and legal
exemptions to bring in their investments. Indeed while the local populations
will demand greater protection of human rights, foreign companies will
demand relaxation of laws in order to promote investment.
The truth is that the future of Zimbabwe, like that of so many developing
countries is more complex than appearances often suggest. Those who are
looking for immediate change in their circumstances once Mugabe leaves will
have to re-consider their views and accept that there is going to be a long
way of hard work and sacrifices ahead. Zimbabwe has been set back 20 years.
It will need that and more to recover. Only a leadership that has a good
grasp of these complexities can address the competing interests. The
leadership must have a good understanding of the local, which is hard enough
but they must also be ready to handle the powerful external factors, which
can be more tricky and challenging.
3. Short-Term and Long-Term Approaches
There are at least two discernible lines of approach within the opposition
First, there is what I define as a short-term consequential approach under
which the main point of change is the removal of President Mugabe and his
government. Under this approach, this departure is largely perceived as
opening the gateways to prosperity. The second, long-term comprehensive
approach reflects a more wide-ranging, long-term change and sees the
departure of President Mugabe as a necessary but not only signal of change
in the country. The departure of Mugabe is just part of the process, not of
itself the advent of prosperity. A common theme in both approaches therefore
is that President Mugabe and his party have seen better days and must
The biggest problem with the popular short-term approach however is the idea
that it does not matter what it takes to defeat Mugabe, even if it means
using the dictatorship of the majority with the opposition ranks. This is
the reason why the dominant opposition now exhibits a tendency to silence
minorities, even through use of violence and intimidation. What this
approach fails to take into account however is that in order to build a
stronger democracy for the future, the opposition must of necessity uphold
the principles from the start. It does not take into account the risk that a
change in leadership personnel will not necessarily deliver substantive
The second approach focuses on more comprehensive change, which is likely to
take longer and will extend beyond the change of leadership. This school of
reasoning is not popular because it does not promise immediate change. This
is understandable in a climate in which people are feeling the pain of
deprivation and oppression. However, the reality is that change will take
much longer than most people expect.
4. Legal Rules and the Constitution
Also change is not depicted by mere rule changes as is often promised by
opposition politicians. That the Constitution needs to be changed is not in
doubt but it is erroneous to create the impression that once the
Constitution is changed then everything will fall into place. It is wrong to
promise that the repeal of bad laws is the simple panacea for Zimbabwe's
ills of poor governance and oppression. In this regard I have argued before
that the Constitution in Zimbabwe is not necessarily the main problem but
that what matters is the attitude, behaviour and culture of the individuals
towards each other and institutions in society. It is easy to blame rules,
but rules are only as good as the people who apply them.
I have argued that in fact even in its current form, the Constitution has
served some very useful purposes when interpreted differently especially by
the pre-2000 judiciary34. The problem is when people refuse to change their
behaviour and attitude towards the law, others and institutions. You can
have the best Constitution in the world but if the people charged with
upholding it do not perform their role the piece of paper remains
inconsequential. It is worthless to have a Constitution when the requisite
culture of constitutionalism is non-existent. This is the case in Zimbabwe
at present where the Constitution is regularly amended in order to justify
the use of state power, not to put limits on such powers35. Similarly,
people must be prepared to defend the Constitution. But when people consent,
either actively or passively, to the changes in the Constitution that
undermine the core values of a sustainable democracy, they can have no one
to blame for their problems.
5. Democracy - Just a Game of Numbers?
Some people think that democracy is simply about numbers - that it is about
the majority being in charge and the minorities being subservient and having
no voice whatsoever. This explains why in today's politics people are more
concerned with how many people attend a particular rally and not about the
substance of the speeches and discussions at meetings. It is numbers that
matter, substance comes second. There is more emphasis on quantity at the
expense of quality. People forget that even Hitler won an election. Numbers
of course do matter in distinguishing the winners from losers. But when
numbers alone become the determinants of where we are going and how our
democracy is evolving then clearly there is something missing. It seems to
me that besides the numbers Zimbabweans should also consider how far we have
moved on the other finer aspects that define and constitute the necessary
democratic culture. These include, the tolerance, the diversity, protection
of minorities, non-violence, respect for rules, etc. In reality, the
Constitution and rules can be made in one day but the relevant culture that
we need for a sustainable democracy requires longer. It needs patience but
we must set the necessary conditions to nurture it.
6. Positive Strategy: Union of Pro-Democracy Forces
The task of overcoming the current regime requires by and large the union of
pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe. There is a tendency among those that have
the most support to believe that they can go it alone but in reality, they
will almost always falter against the might of ZANU PF, which has the state
machinery at its disposal. When engaged in a battle one does not need to be
involved in other squabbles as is happening now in respect of the MDC. In
true style of throwing the baby together with the bathwater people have a
tendency to dismiss ideas coming from the likes of Professor Jonathan Moyo36
who has of late been making commentaries on the Zimbabwe situation. My view
is that there is nothing wrong with accepting ideas when they are well made
and especially when they make sense no matter what people think about the
I refer in particular to a recent lucid assessment of the state of politics
in Zimbabwe37 in which Professor Moyo made two key points that resonated
with my own ideas: First that if the opposition is to make headway against
the incumbent regime is needs to fight as a united bloc. The example of
Kenya cited in that article is apt. In Kenya, despite multi-party politics
coming in the early nineties, they were only able to dislodge the ruling
KANU in 2002, after uniting under the umbrella of the Rainbow Coalition. In
terms of economies of scale and scope the argument for a united front makes
strategic sense, especially given the failure to counter the fraudulent
electoral victories in the last six years. Second, he argued, as some of us
have done before, that the opposition necessarily needs to incorporate some
of the progressive elements from the ruling ZANU PF. The MDC's failure to
attract some major figures from within the ruling establishment has been one
of the major handicaps in the struggle. While it is widely believed that the
MDC won the general elections the fact remains that ZANU PF remained in
power having been declared the winner. The major question to occupy the
opposition therefore ought to be what it is that it must do to succeed
regardless of ZANU PF's machinations. This is where the cooption of
progressive ZANU PF elements becomes a significant.
To beat a cunning opponent such as ZANU PF a party needs inside information
and support from certain key organs of the state. In any transition, a lot
of people feel threatened by change and if they are in charge of certain key
arms of the state, they will naturally take sides with the one who promises
stability and protection. Having some key progressive figures from ZANU PF
in the opposition ranks could give some measure of comfort and reassurance
to such key figures. In addition, the need for institutional memory requires
that you retain certain elements that have been within the system for
purposes of transition. Again in this case the example of the cooption of
certain KANU figures into the Rainbow Coalition in Kenya is a fair example.
Finally, this paper sought to dissect the high-level dynamics obtaining on
the Zimbabwean political landscape with a view to advocating a certain kind
of politics for sustainable democracy. My major concern is whether and to
what extent there is enough substantive change that is necessary to nurture
a sustainable democratic culture. I see the current struggle as a mere phase
in the long process of transition. Indeed the fruits of the struggle may
never be realised in our generation but it takes the current generation to
make sacrifices to prepare a better future. I conclude by making the
following points, which have formed the main thematic lines of this paper:
1. Democratic Culture
1. Zimbabwe needs to focus on nurturing a long-term democratic culture,
defined not simply by numbers but by the respect for key values and
principles. Democracy defined only by reference to numbers, in the absence
of core values including protection of minorities against majoritarian
oppression will be remain defective.
2. The MDC is a stronger party when the two factions are united. I see one
as providing the passion and the other as providing the reason. Better
still, the union of opposition forces is likely to present better results in
the struggle for democracy particularly in respect of the short-term goal of
dislodging the current regime.
3. The CSOs need also to get their act together and exploit the economies of
scale and scope. I would rather there is greater participation in the
political process but if they have to remain relevant they must live by the
word they preach. On their part, the donors who provide the financial
lifeline for these CSOs could do well to promote greater unity and avoid the
current duplication. Donors must also be careful not to perpetuate the
culture of impunity by funding organisations that clearly violate the
principles for which they are supposed to be safeguarding and promoting.
4. Finally, the importance of a reformed ZANU PF cannot be underestimated.
It has been a formidable organisation with a huge historical pedigree whose
main weakness has been the refusal and inability to change. There is no
doubt that there are some well-meaning people in the party. The question is
whether they have the will and drive to promote change. Whether as a ruling
party or in opposition, a reformed Zimbabwe could do well with a strong and
reformed ZANU PF.
2. Last Word: Democracy as a way of life
It is worth recalling that democracy is a way of life. As such, there is no
single day when Zimbabweans shall wake up to proclaim that they have
captured democracy. We are judged by our behaviour and actions everyday,
whether we are in opposition or in the ruling party. Even the so-called
great democracies of the world cannot claim to have achieved the perfect
version of democracy. We all know that they falter from time to time. But we
have to try in our own way, to make the democratic march, because it is in
the effort that we measure whether or not we are on the correct path. Right
now, I fear that we have met a barrier in Zimbabwe, and we have taken a
detour . we have to find our way back to the right path.
1 A word that combines the use of both the local Shona and English
2 I shall make references to a number of my articles to enable the reader to
get my full and detailed views on some of the issues that I will raise in
this article. There is so much to write about, time and space will not
permit me in this current context. Most of my articles have been published
on the website to which I contribute my views and ideas on a regular basis:
3 Similar views have been echoed eloquently by one of Zimbabwe's foremost
authorities on the land question Professor Sam Moyo in his article "Zimbabwe
Crisis and Normalisation" African Institute of Agrarian Studies July 2005.
4 A copy of the Leadership Code can be observed at
http://www.insiderzim.com/Zanu-Pf%20Leadership%20Code.html It among other
things prohibited wealth accumulation.
5 The Wretched of the Earth - chapter entitled The Pitfalls of National
6 The independence of Zimbabwe was negotiated at this Conference after
nearly a decade of the war of liberation.
7 See also De Villiers, B. in Land Reform: Issues and Challenges April 2003
Occassional Papper published by Konrad-Adenaeur-Stifting
8 That is the clause that provided for the protection of private property.
10 Land reform has generally been characterised by corruption, nepotism and
related problems. See also De Villiers, B. in Land Reform: Issues and
Challenges April 2003 Occassional Papper published by
11 The expiry of the entrenchment period of the Bill of Rights which
protected the status quo until 18 April 1990, gave the government a chance
to usher change to the land reform process from the market-based approach
grounded on the willing buyer willing seller principle toward a social
justice driven approach. Therefore where "adequate" compensation for
appropriated had to paid "promptly under the Lancaster arrangements, they
were now only required to be "fair" and paid within a "reasonable time".
Also land value was to be measured not according to standard principles of
market value but certain principles dictated by the government. These
measures were meant to give a great measure of flexibility for the
government. See Constitutional Amendment Act No. 11, 1990 and Constitutional
Amendment No. 13, 1993 and also the Land Acquisition Act 1990
12 President and Mugabe and his ministers were critical of the judiciary
after court judgments in the 1990s that seemed to protect property rights at
the expense of its land reform policy. The government saw land reform not as
a legal issue but one of politics, in which the courts had little if any
role to play. Indeed the Constitutional and legislative changes made between
1990 and 1993 introduced rules to oust the jurisdiction of the courts from
question the government's determination of what constituted the fair value
13 Zimbabwe joined the war in Congo, a conflict that involved several
African countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and Namibia. It came at a
considerable cost, both to human life and economically.
14 It must be noted that a War Victims Compensation Fund established earlier
had been fraudulently looted by several top politicians who had claimed
large amounts on the back of what they described as massive disabilities.
Ironically some of them claiming 98% disability were still ministers in
15 This view is also expressed by Prof. Sam Moyo in his paper "Zimbabwe
Crisis and Normalisation" (2005) in the following terms, " Given the limited
contextual analysis of the individual crisis issues and the tendency to miss
the interrelatedness of key problems in an evolving conflict situation, much
of the "crisis" discourse fails to explain the causes of the crisis and thus
how to address it adequately."
16 The government has lately begun to admit failures (albeit reluctantly) in
the wake of low levels of production although they often blame drought for
the woes. It also admits that high-ranking officials have grabbed more than
a fair share of the best land.
17 New farmers took advantage of cheap finance and incentives from the
Reserve Bank, which imprudently took on a role of commercial lender. The
loans and fuel facilities were traded on the parallel market, where returns
were obviously higher than engaging in commercial farming. See story
entitled ZIMBABWE : Top govt officials divert farm fuel to black market :
RBZ reported on 26.01.06 by African News Dimension available at
18 The two parties merged in 1987 Unity Accord, after years of conflict in
the post-independence era, which period saw the massacre of thousands of
people in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces constituted mainly by the
19 The Office of the President held by Rev. Canaan Banana between 1980 and
1987, was ceremonial
20 The account is divided into three parts:
Tsholotsho saga: the untold story(1) available at
Tsholotsho saga: the untold story(2) available at
Tsholotsho saga: the untold story(3)
21 As happened in 2004 when ZANU PF set about to elect the second Vice
Presidency. A new clause was added to provide for setting aside on of the VP
posts for a woman, which has been interpreted to mean that it was designed
to promote Mrs Mujuru, the favoured choice. See Moyo's article on the
Tshlthso Declaration cited above.
22 A leading MP at the time, Dzikamai Mavhaire suffered the wrath of ZANU PF
disciplinary machinery when he publicly for Mugabe's ouster. He spent years
in the political wilderness. Also it is widely believed that Edison Zvobgo
was never quite forgiven for making it known that he had ambitions to become
president after Mugabe.
23 ZANU itself had internal critics, who have sadly dwindled over the years.
The likes of Malunga, Nzarayebani, Mavhaire spring to mind.
24 Raftopolous B and Alexander K "Reflections on democratic politics in
Zimbabwe" available at
25 David Coltart has given a detailed account of his failed efforts at
mediation, which should give more light on some of the impediments in
Zimbabwe's march towards democracy. See "The reasons why I cannot join the
Tsvangirai faction" available at http://davidcoltart.com/archive/2006/147
26 For a more detailed critique of the MDC refer my article entitled "The
Pitfalls of Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe" published at
http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/thirdforce11.12923.html also available at
27"MDC must contain internal cannibalism - Kagoro" available at
28 Refer to an interesting report/analysis by Gumbo H. "Civil Society in
Zimbabwe: A Report From the Front Lines" ZimIndymedia July 2002 available at
29 I have previously written on the problems of CSOs and the competition for
political space. Refer to "Zimbabwe's civil society, and diminishing
political space" at
also available at http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/magaisa3.12956.html but
see also opposing view from Moyo K. "Zimbabwe's civil society vital to
democracy" available at http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/magaisa4.12960.html
30 See report/analysis by Gumbo H. "Civil Society in Zimbabwe: A Report From
the Front Lines" ZimInymedia July 2002 available at
says in part, "This is compounded by the newly flamboyant living style of
the civil society leadership. They must always have the latest cars etc. One
woman at a meeting said Nhasi tinoisa wedu. Tigopota tichikwira maPajero
iwayavo.(This Shona _expression means, that today we will elect our own so
that we can also enjoy these Pajeros) ."
31 See a hard-hitting critical comment which sums up the feeling by Peta
Thornycroft entitled "Zimbabwe's sick joke" in The Daily Telegraph (London)
5 July 2006.
32 See Magaisa A "The Pitfalls of Opposition Politics in Zimbabwe: On Why
the MDC is Struggling" at
33 Magaisa "Reviving Commercial Agriculture in Zimbabwe" available at
34 Magaisa A "Zim Constitution not the primary problem" available at
35 Magaisa A, "Zimbabwe: Constitution without Constitutionalism" available
at http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/senate18.13087.html and also at
36 Former Minister of Information in recent years.
37 Moyo J. "Beyond Budiriro: The state of politics in Zimbabwe" available at
http://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/senate193.14202.html>>>>>>>BACK TO PAGE 1
Dr Magaisa is a lawyer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Edward M Sibanda
Last updated: 06/24/2006 10:13:52
OVER the years I have watched events unfold in Zimbabwe albeit from the
periphery. I have followed events from various forms of media including New
I should hasten to say after reading Chris Chogugudza"s, "Disentangling
Mawere and Moyo" I was left with no option but to pen a response to a
behaviour that I have seen evolve over the years.
This is nothing more than the cancerous culture of denial and deception. I
was following the Mawere - Moyo debate and gaining insight into how Zanu PF
operates, which I guess was the reason why the Editor allowed it in the
Then Chogugudza appeared with his paternalistic view, advising the Editor to
devote the space to "more pressing issues". The question is, what is more
pressing than understanding how Zanu PF operate and formulate something out
of it if need be. It can appear a simple "chikwereti" (loan) but in politics
that means a lot.
Why, also, should certain issues be swept under the carpet and be taboo to
discuss them? It is this attitude that has brewed the culture of denial in
the body politic of Zimbabwe. The fact is that this attitude has been amidst
us for as long as I remember. The media system has aided in instilling and
reinforcing this negative value in our society. I wish to highlight that
denial is endemic in most facets of our society, ruling party, opposition,
educational institutions and civil society to mention but a few. It has
become Zimbabwe's collective psychosis and if not checked the dream of a new
Zimbabwe will indeed remain a dream.
Let me highlight instances where denial has been exhibited and how this has
taken Zimbabwe back. Gukurahundi was unleashed on the people of Matabeleland
and some parts of Midlands in what has been described as tribal clampdown
and is still viewed as such as there has been no closure. That has been
denied to this day. There is even deliberate ploy to downplay the event as
if it did not happen.
It is therefore not surprising that no one has accepted responsibility and
publicly apologised. The same voices of denial with their paternalistic air
argue that these are old wounds that should not be opened for the good of
the country. They would rather not have the issue discussed. But the
question is, for how long do you keep something at simmering level? The same
voices are in denial when it comes to land reform. No one in government
would admit that the "process" has been chaotic, yet everyday there is
evidence to suggest otherwise.
Commissions have been appointed and presented findings to the effect that
there is multiple farm ownership and underutilisation of land. Further
reports of looting of equipment on farms have been tabled. Yet the voices of
denial in government argue everything is fine and under control. We were
once assured by a cabinet minister that food reserves for the country were
more than enough only for the truth to out. The same has been said of
We have also seen many so-called turnaround policies or blue prints from the
viewpoint of government, yet everyone knows it's forlorn hope as real
problems are denied as if they don't exist. When one policy is being
announced amid the hype and pomp, someone behind the scenes would be
thinking of the next turnaround blueprint to address the symptoms of the
problems besetting Zimbabwe.
Denial has been exhibited over the years and the art was more than perfected
when Prof Jonathan Moyo became part of the government. With the aid of state
machinery (state controlled media) he ruthlessly denied there was any
problem or crisis in Zimbabwe. In an interview carried by the Sunday Times
of 12 August 2001 Moyo when asked why the Zimbabwean crisis was not being
discussed at the SADC meeting in Malawi, he retorted, "Crisis? What crisis?
There is no crisis in Zimbabwe so there is no need for it to be discussed
here" (see report).
I believe the mighty Zanu PF vessel was going down only for it to be propped
by the like of Jonathan Moyo. The reason why some of us followed the so
called mud-slinging between Moyo and Mawere was to see whether Moyo would
admit responsibility for his actions during his tenure in Mugabe cabinet.
Again denial was manifested, the learned Professor denies his role or seeks
to minimise it. The fact that he was part of government and its mouthpiece
for that matter makes it difficult to exonerate him. The Professor should be
reminded in the words of Martin Luther King Jr that, "He who passively
accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who perpetrates it. He who
accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it".
The art of denial is not only endemic in the ruling party and the likes of
Jonathan Moyo. It is something that has been embraced by the opposition with
such impunity. Its as if opposition spokespersons are groomed to deny
anything at their disposal. Nelson Chamisa for example, is like a chip off
Jonathan Moyo. He is still in denial concerning the split of the MDC. The
vice-president, secretary general, spokesperson and many others "left" and
even hosted a congress, but in his (Chamisa) wisdom or lack of it he
maintains a few disgruntled members left. It beats me. Then the numbers game
that the MDC factions has been playing is another sign of denying unfolding
events. The opposition should learn to accept that one may hold a different
viewpoint rather than just jump to conclusion that such person is Zanu PF or
CIO. That's why I was not surprised when Brian Kagoro stated that some
people in the opposition had acted as gatekeepers to a system that they are
now castigating. This does not do the struggle for change any good if the
same Zanu PF tactics are employed.
The culture of denial also characterises our civil society. There is so much
hypocrisy in civil society and Brilliant Mhlanga has done a good job in
exposing it. The Madhuku issue is case in point and does not need
re-emphasis here except simple words of advice from Mahatma Gandhi that "we
must be the change we wish to see".
Having highlighted some instances of denial my argument is that for as long
as there is no acceptance that there are problems in Zimbabwe, change will
remain a dream. All stakeholders should embrace acceptance . Its accept or
die as simple as that. It is common knowledge that alcoholics go to great
lengths to deny their drinking problems. For as long as they have not
accepted their problem cure is impossible.
Those who have had the opportunity to study the well-being of human beings
might have come across the classical work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She
wrote a book "On Death and Dying". She highlighted five stages that a dying
person goes through when they are told they have a terminal illness or the
stages of grief model. The stages progress through denial, anger,
bargaining, depression and acceptance. This model has been adopted to other
situations like bereavement work where one can only achieve closure when
they accept that their loved one is really gone.
Thus, for as long as Zimbabweans continue to deny glaring realities and
defend the indefensible no workable solutions will be found. As such
Zimbabwe and its problems shall remain a house on wheels gone astray.
Edward M Sibanda writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted at:
From The Herald, 24 June
Harare Commission chairperson Ms Sekesayi Makwavarara has assumed all powers
at Town House and banned commission, committee and heads of department
meetings. She has also ordered all work needing approval to be directed to
her office despite the fact that she is not the council's accounting
officer. Ms Makwavarara wrote to town clerk Mr Nomutsa Chideya on June 20
banning all meetings at Town House and literally conferring all powers unto
her self. "Please be advised that with immediate effect, no meetings will be
held at Town House i.e. committee meetings, commission meetings, heads
meetings and any other meeting until further notice. Please forward any
papers that need authorisation to my office for my attention," she said. The
letter was copied to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
Urban Development, Cde Ignatius Chombo, his deputy Cde Morris Sakabuya and
Harare Metropolitan Resident Minister Cde David Karimanzira. In a related
matter, unconfirmed reports say Ms Makwavarara is pushing for the ouster of
Mr Chideya, citing health reasons and failure to effectively run the
operations of council, at a time the Government has acknowledged an
improvement in service delivery in the city. Ms Makwavarara is alleged to
have held two meetings with Mr Chideya on Tuesday and Thursday this week in
the company of a Harare lawyer, Mr Wilson Manase. Mr Chideya yesterday
reported for work and referred all questions to Ms Makwavarara who denied
ever meeting Mr Chideya over the issue. "There is nothing like that. If
there is no letter it means there is nothing," she said.
Although Ms Makwavarara denied trying to force Mr Chideya to quit,
impeccable sources confirmed that Mr Chideya, who is diabetic, was asked to
retire on medical grounds but also given an opportunity to take up an
unnamed post at the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) on the same terms
and conditions at Town House. The two allegedly exchanged harsh words on
Tuesday and Thursday in Ms Makwavarara's office after she had told Mr
Chideya that his services were no longer needed. Under the Udcorp deal, Mr
Chideya would have taken with him his four-wheel drive Prado at no cost. Mr
Chideya was also given another opportunity to resign voluntarily and still
keep the $25 billion Prado. Allegations against Mr Chideya are that he
failed to handle the collective bargaining process and that he had not
fulfilled promises he made to the workers. He is also being accused of
leaking information to the media and that he has failed to handle acting
public relations manager, Mr Madenyika Magwenjere. Mr Chideya has also been
accused of failing to implement the turnaround project, and putting Rufaro
Marketing on course and had also allegedly failed to appoint a substantive
chief security officer. He is also accused of failing to conclude labour
disputes involving suspended heads of department. Mr Chideya is also alleged
to have come short in controlling council expenditure. Mr Manase, however,
denied involvement in the matter. He said he was never at Town House to
discuss the alleged plan to dismiss Mr Chideya.
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
1. 26 June: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
(Note from Central London Forum: we will be attending this event in place of
our regular Forum - hope you can join us there.)
Date & Venue: 26 June 2006,
St Martins-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square London
Time: 1730hrs - 1830hrs
Background: The UN General Assembly in July 1997 decided to observe 26 June
as an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. With a view to
total eradication of torture and the effective functioning of the
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment. This was done at the proposal of Denmark which is home to
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). There are
events in almost every country in the world on this day, IRCT is
coordinating activities by NGOs. In London the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum have commemorated 26 June with different activities since 2002.
Subsequently other organisations have become involved including the Zimbabwe
Association, Redress and others.
2006: This year's event brings together Zimbabwean and Sudanese
organisations in an attempt to put the incidence of torture into a wider
African context. The event will be marked by a service at St
Martins-in-the-Fields, where torture survivors will share their experiences
including Gabriel Shumba . Arnold Tsunga the Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights will also speak at the service to give an insight into the
ongoing violations and efforts to prevent and highlight any further abuses.
The service will seek to highlight the cases of torture in Zimbabwe and
Sudan and offer support and solidarity to those that have suffered and
continue to suffer. According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in
Zimbabwe alone in the year 2005 there were 136 reported cases of torture and
more than 4000 cases amounting to degrading and inhumane treatment (ranging
from assault, attempted murder, displacement, unlawful arrest etc...).
Programme of events (Please note the programme is subject to change)
· Laying of flowers at the Sudanese embassy 1700hrs
· Service starts at 1730hrs
· Reverend at St Martins-in-the-Fields opens the services
· Followed by speakers, commemorative music and cultural
performances will come from Paul Lunga, Qabuka among others
· Service ends at 1830hrs
· Followed by a procession to Zimbabwe House to Lay flowers
Organised by: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum in Association with: Zimbabwe
Association, Redress, SOAT, Zimbabwe Benefit Fund, ZADHR
For Further Information contact Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on:
Email: email@example.com, Phone: 020 7065 0945, Phillip Chikwiramakomo:
A Zimbabwean theatrical production which runs from 28th June - 15th July at
the Oval House Theatre (Box Office 020 7582 7680). Some Vigil supporters are
taking part. "Devised and improvised from the personal stories of over one
hundred Zimbabweans-in-exile, Full Frontal Theatre presents a magical and
exuberant look at the lives of Zimbabweans living in the UK. The last four
years have seen thousands of people abandon a country in crisis - many
fleeing persecution and torture - only to encounter Britain's asylum system.
QABUKA is a timely and at times spontaneous show, made in response to
current and changing events that affect those exiled. A postcard from the
edge which deftly finds the humour in tragedy and the mischief in
tribulation." For online booking and more information, check:
3. 24 hour Vigil of Solidarity, 2 - 3 July
The United Network of Detained Zimbabweans, Zimbabwe Action Group, Zimbabwe
Association, Free Zim, Zimbabwean Women's Network, Zimbabwe Vigil in
conjunction with the Refuge Council invite you to spend time at their Vigil
of Solidarity outside the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal. The fresh hearing
by the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal into the 'AA' case takes place this
week. The hearing will consider new evidence presented by the Home Office
to support its contention that it is now safe for Zimbabweans who have
sought refuge in the UK to be forcibly returned to the hands of Mugabe's
Zanu PF regime. The organisations involved call on the British government
· Recognize the risks faced by Zimbabweans who are deported
· Halt deportation to Zimbabwe
· Allow asylum seekers to apply for judicial review
Venue: Field House, Breams Buildings, Chancery Lane, London EC4A 1PR
Time: Sunday 2nd July 5.00pm until Monday 3rd July 5.00pm
Contact: Noble Sibanda - 07888 643 689, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
For news about Zimbabwe, read The Zimbabwean, www.thezimbabwean,co.uk.
Contact email@example.com for subs forms or Send a Sub to a school
or library in Zimbabwe for only £2.50 a week.
Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa | Johannesburg, South Africa
24 June 2006 02:59
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) defended its
withdrawal of an "unauthorised" documentary on President Thabo Mbeki in a
full-page newspaper advertisement on Saturday.
"At no stage was any pressure, political or otherwise, exerted
on our editorial or legal staff," read the public broadcaster's advert,
which ran in the Saturday Star and was signed by SABC group CEO Dali Mpofu.
The SABC had tried to "renegotiate and reschedule" the
documentary, which was to have been screened on May 17 but was pulled the
It was part of a series of "unauthorised" documentaries on
"Since then, the producers of the documentary, an outside
production company called Broad Daylight Films, have initiated a campaign
whose main thrust is to mobilise public opinion around the notion that the
SABC's abovementioned decision was motivated by political considerations,
more specifically, politically motivated pressure by external political
forces and/or internally by senior management of the SABC."
Mpofu said the documentary was pulled because of "editorial and
legal concerns". The SABC felt it lacked balance and had structural defects.
The national broadcaster's lawyers said sections were defamatory
and consent was needed from other media to broadcast some of the material.
External legal opinion agreed that parts were "incurably
defamatory and that none of the legal defences to defamation of character
were available to the SABC".
Mpofu said Broad Daylight Films "failed or refused to effect
suggested editorial changes", which the SABC had the right to order in terms
of its contract with Broad Daylight.
The documentary was pulled at the last minute and Mpofu said he
had personally apologised to Broad Daylight later for not having had time to
warn it of this because of tight deadlines.
Mpofu on Thursday announced an official inquiry into whether
certain commentators had been banned from the airwaves, the Mail & Guardian
reported on Friday.
The Sowetan revealed on Tuesday that four political commentators
known for their robust criticism of Mbeki had been put on a list of analysts
that producers of the SABC's news programmes were discouraged from using.
Speaking on SAfm, Mpofu pledged that "if we find that they have
been arbitrarily banned, we will come back to the public [to inform them]".
The inquiry may place Mpofu and the MD of news, Snuki Zikalala,
on a collision course, as it is now common cause that "arbitrary bannings"
did take place, the M&G reported.
On AM Live this week, anchor John Perlman contradicted SABC
spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, saying he had first-hand knowledge of
restrictions on certain analysts.
It is well-known that Zikalala has told producers not to use
certain commentators. During last year's Zimbabwean election, Moeletsi Mbeki
and Elinor Sisulu were banned because Zikalala believed they were not "on
the ground in Zimbabwe" and "did not know what was happening". Mbeki has
subsequently featured on the SABC.
Mbeki was exiled in Zimbabwe, while Sisulu is Zimbabwean. While
both are from struggle families, they do not subscribe to quiet diplomacy
and have been outspoken about the political mismanagement, economic meltdown
and rights abuses in South Africa's northern neighbour.
The four now under the spotlight differ markedly from the SABC
in their analysis of Mbeki. Presidential reporting at the SABC follows the
Malaysian and rest-of-Africa model, which seeks to provide wall-to-wall
affirmative coverage of the head of state.
Producers say Zikalala has tightened the grip on news coverage
at the corporation, particularly at SAfm, which has made its mark as the
home of high-quality, independent journalism. He now often sits in studios
and uses a system where journalists must post on the SABC intranet their
proposed line-ups of guests.
These are monitored and changed after Zikalala has seen them,
say producers. He relays his preferences to radio news managers.
Previously, programme producers enjoyed greater autonomy and
authority to include a wider range of views.
Zikalala failed to respond to five telephone calls and text
messages requesting his comment this week.
Mpofu said an inquiry was "the only decent thing to do. The
truth will out if you open up to scrutiny. There is no profit to be gained
from sweeping things under the carpet."
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
issue date :2006-Jun-24
The City of Harare could be in contempt of court after it emerged that the
local authority will not be paying its workers the 120 percent salary
increments awarded by the High Court this month.
The city last week lost an appeal in the high court to set aside an
arbitrary award granted to the workers by an arbitrator in October 2005.
Justice Chitakunye dismissed council's appeal with costs last week, and in
terms of the court order, council was obliged to implement the awarding of
the salaries, backdated to October, with immediate effect.
Sources at council told The Daily Mirror that council management had not
informed them as to when the salary increases would be paid.
Council has also not indicated an intention to appeal against the high court
"According to the court order, the increments were supposed to be paid with
immediate effect, but up to now we have had no confirmation from management,
so it is difficult to say whether they are paying us now or not," said a
source who cannot be named for professional reasons.
Joel Mambara, of Mambara and Partners Legal Practitioners, confirmed the
arbitral award for his clients had not yet been effected, saying he had
already written to council's lawyers, Mandizha and Partners, seeking
clarification on when and how the municipality would pay.
A copy of the letter in possession of The Daily Mirror reads: "We refer to
your application for the setting aside of the arbitral award in the above
matter. Our clients are anxious to know the modus operandi of implementing
the award and the time frame it shall take to comply fully with it".
Efforts to get an official comment from Town House were however in vain, but
Nomutsa Chideya, who is reported to have been suspended as town clerk, is on
record as saying council did not have money and would not comply with the
order to pay the workers the 120 percent salary increase awarded by the
This, however, is despite the fact that the local authority had drastically
improved on its revenue collection after government gave them the green
light to charge economic rates.
Council currently rakes in $20 billion per day in revenue,
compared to just $8 billion in March.
Efforts to contact Mandizha and Partners legal practitioners, who represent
council in the matter, were also fruitless yesterday.