The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News

      Musekiwa resigns

      3/13/2003 3:28:39 AM (GMT +2)

      By Pedzisai Ruhanya Deputy News Editor

      TAFADZWA Musekiwa, the MDC Member of Parliament for Zengeza, yesterday
dropped a political bombshell when he resigned his seat while in exile in
the United Kingdom, to which he fled last November.

      Musekiwa, 27, insisted in an interview yesterday that the government
was trying to kill him, after arresting him many times, during which he said
he had been tortured by the police. The police have denied the allegations,
although they admitted recently that they were investigating the torture
while in police custody of Musekiwa's friend and fellow opposition MP, Job
Sikhala (St Mary's). Speaking from the UK, where he successfully sought
political asylum, Musekiwa said he had decided to resign because there were
still threats against his life. He said he had informed Paul Themba Nyathi,
the MDC's spokesperson, of his resignation.

      But in Harare yesterday, Nyathi denied that Musekiwa had quit. "You
may think that you have a scoop. It's not a story as far as we are
concerned. He has not resigned. Can you call him back? A member of the party
does not resign through the newspapers.'' Sources said the MDC was reluctant
to announce Musekiwa's resignation fearing it could jeopardise their
campaign to win the Highfield and Kuwadzana by-elections, due this month.
The party won both constituencies in the 2000 election. Musekiwa said: "The
reason I am stepping down is because the situation on the ground regarding
my security has not changed.

      "I am also doing so in accordance with the Constitution which requires
that an MP should not be absent from Parliament for 21 consecutive sittings.
This provision expires next Thursday. If ever the threats against my life
change between now and next Thursday, the right thing to do would be for me
to catch the next flight and join my colleagues in the struggle against
torture and this dictatorship.'' He said that he would continue to
participate in the struggle for democracy "and I will never, never resign
from the MDC and betray the legitimate struggle in our country, but I will
fight from a different position and location". Musekiwa said it was not wise
to die in Zimbabwe when he could contribute to the struggle in safety from
outside the country.

      He said there were real attempts on his life which Zimbabweans should
appreciate. "Do you remember that when my father died last year, supporters
of the ruling Zanu PF in Chivhu denied me an opportunity to bury him, but
instead chased me away and threatened to kill me?
      "You should take note that I was probably the only MDC MP who was
tear-gassed in my bedroom by armed people and escaped from my house naked.
Do you want me to come home, to be killed so that you can believe that my
life is in danger?'' Musekiwa, who is single, left the country on 22
November last year, saying he was fleeing for his life. He said it would be
naive for anybody to fail to realise that the government was behind the
threats on his life.

      "Why didn't the government, through the police, arrest the people who
attacked me during the night and restrain Zanu PF supporters from denying me
an opportunity to bury my father?'' Musekiwa said he would rather serve
Zimbabwe in a different capacity "but at the moment I do not think dying in
Zimbabwe would make the maximum gains towards the democratic fight in which
I have been engaged since my days at the University of Zimbabwe". He said
that he would continue to support, when he could, the people of Zengeza who
elected him in 2000. A by-election to fill Musekiwa's seat is now set to be
held. Another by-election is expected to take place following the
resignation of Mike Auret, the MP for Harare Central (MDC). Auret resigned
last month due to ill health. By-elections are scheduled for Highfield and
Kuwadzana on 29 and 30 March.

      The Highfield seat was declared vacant when the sitting MP, Munyaradzi
Gwisai, was sacked by the MDC last year. Kuwadzana fell vacant following the
death in remand prison of Learnmore Jongwe last year while awaiting trial
for the alleged murder of his wife, Rutendo, in July. The police have been
constantly arresting and harassing MDC members and supporters, and other
perceived opponents of Zanu PF, including members of the clergy who have
been detained, but later released by the courts without being charged.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


            Buthelezi warns of Zimbabwean refugee influx
            March 13, 2003, 04:45

            Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Home Affairs Minister, has taken his
Zimbabwean counterpart to task for what he calls the "rapidly degenerating"
political situation in that country.

            Buthelezi said the situation could lead to a flood of refugees.
He made the comment yesterday, while meeting with Kembo Mohadi, the
Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister, in Cape Town.

            Mohadi dismissed the claims of a deterioration in Zimbabwe as a
"figment of the imagination". He said what prevailed was a situation created
between Zimbabwe and Britain. Mohadi said there was no disorder in Zimbabwe,
and he did not believe any Zimbabweans were coming to South Africa on the
pretext of seeking political asylum.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      MDC legislators kicked out of govt mine complex

      Staff Reporter
      3/13/03 2:10:48 AM (GMT +2)

      BULAWAYO - Three Matabeleland North Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) legislators have been evicted from the government-owned Kamativi tin
mine complex, allegedly to make way for ruling ZANU PF supporters and youth
militia trained under the national service programme, it was learnt this

      Joel Gabuza, Jealous Sansole and Peter Nyoni, legislators for Binga,
Hwange East and Hwange West respectively, were evicted last week from
properties they were renting on the complex.

      The evictions follow harassment by the youth militia, also known as
"green bombers", of several tenants on the complex, on which the government
says it plans to build a training centre for youths participating in the
controversial national service programme.

      "We were kicked out last week," Nyoni told the Financial Gazette. "We
are being replaced by known ZANU PF supporters.

      "They are now occupying the houses. Other houses in the compound are
now also being occupied by newly recruited green bombers," added Nyoni, who
recently clashed with the youth militia as they attempted to forcibly remove
his property from the house he was renting.

      Sansole also confirmed in a separate interview that he had been
removed from the Kamativi tin mine complex, where he had been renting a
house for the past six years.

      However, it was not possible to secure comment from Gabuza, although
Sansole said the Binga MP had also been evicted.

      "The whole thing boils down to politics," Sansole said. "As members of
the opposition, they don't want us to see the goings-on where a national
youth service training centre is fully operational."

      Officials with the government-controlled Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation, which ran Kamative tin mine until it closed in the 1990s, would
not comment on the evictions, saying the complex was now the responsibility
of the Youth and Gender Ministry.

      The ministry is in charge of the national service programme and is
spearheading the construction of a training centre at the mine complex.

      Although supposedly introduced partly to impart marketable skills to
unemployed Zimbabwean youths, the national service programme has been
dismissed as a front for the indoctrination of young people by the ruling

      Youths trained under the programme have been accused of violence and
sexual abuse against members of the public and MDC supporters. Female
recruits have also levelled allegations of rape against instructors and male

      The government has denied the reports, some of which are based on
testimony by alleged victims of systematic sexual abuse.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Succession struggle could democratise ZANU PF

      Masipula Sithole
      3/13/03 1:58:41 AM (GMT +2)

      BOLIVIAN Regis Debres' concept of a "revolution within the revolution"
is appropriate today in Zimbabwe as we look at prospects for democracy
within the ruling party as the struggle for succession inevitably moves to a

      Whether he will live forever or not, President Robert Mugabe will soon
be replaced by someone as leader of ZANU PF and as president of the country.

      The question is how the leadership succession both within ZANU PF and
the presidency of the country is effected. Is Mugabe's successor going to be
handpicked or chosen by and from the people?

      Since his controversial victory in last year's presidential election,
Mugabe has not had it easy; he has not had it his way both domestically and
internationally. He has been a beleaguered man, admitting of late the fuel
problem gives him "stomach aches".

      He has been a beleaguered man since the February 2000 defeat on his
draft constitution, the first real defeat Mugabe has experienced since
independence. He certainly is not used to defeats.

      The drama we have witnessed since then could be more due to adjustment
to these changed realities. Admittedly, a tragic process.

      Democratic pressures for good governance have not relented, both
internally and internationally. The main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), and civil society have questioned how Mugabe won
his presidency in March 2002, alleging that he won it by using violence,
intimidation and outright rigging. This is a perception held by many people,
even in the ruling party itself.

      In fact, many argue that ZANU PF and Mugabe have not won anything
legitimately since the referendum defeat. In other words, the claim is that
we have been ruled by a president and a government with questionable
legitimacy since 2000.

      If naked force, intimidation and outright electoral fraud have kept
ZANU PF and Mugabe in power since 2000, how has the President remained at
the helm of his party? Is he as popular now within the party as he used to
be in the 1980s and probably 1990s?

      Or his fortunes have been dwindling there too over the years? If they
have, how has he remained at the helm of the party? And can he successfully
name his successor, or something has happened?

      While in national politics Mugabe and his party's declining popularity
have been demonstrated three times in three years (February 2000 referendum,
June 2000 parliamentary elections and March 2002 presidential election), an
opportunity to test Mugabe's popularity within the ruling party has not
quite presented itself.

      There has never been open competition for the position of first
secretary and president of the party since Mugabe became leader of ZANU PF
in 1976. That party has never had a leadership succession.

      Mugabe has remained the unchallenged leader of his party for the past
27 years. He has been leader of his party by acclamation since 1976.

      But one suspects Mugabe's popularity within the party, as has happened
within the country at large, has also declined appreciably over the years
and he has remained at the helm by insulating his position through all
manner of stratagems known to authoritarian parties and regimes since

      No equivalent of the February 2000 referendum, or the June 2000
parliamentary elections and the March 2002 presidential election has been
allowed to test Mugabe's popularity within his party. It is unlikely to
happen now.

      We know how Edgar Tekere was thrown out of the party, and how Eddison
Zvobgo is today frozen in the ZANU PF political cooler. What is likely is
that the race for leadership succession rather than to oust Mugabe from the
leadership of the party could well democra-tise ZANU PF.

      Mugabe made three very strategic appointments - one to the government
and two to the party, almost telling the nation and his party whom and how
he wanted to be his successor when he should retire. By appointing the
relatively young Emmerson Mnanga-gwa, Speaker of Parliament, the second in
the line of succession after the ageing triumvirate presidency, there was no
doubt the "anointed one" had been anointed.

      The other two appointments were of again Mnangagwa as party secretary
for administration, replacing loyal "civil servant" Didymus Mutasa and
pushing him to obscurity. Mnangagwa thus became the de facto
secretary-general of the party.

      The third strategic appointment that Mugabe made in 2000 is that of
the late wild-mannered Border Gezi who became the new national political
commissar, replacing the late mild-mannered Moven Mahachi.

      The latter two appointments are closely related in that the commissar
takes his orders from and reports directly to the secretary for
administration on the state and health of the party and, more importantly,
on the cure.

      The new national commissar was immediately tasked with reorganising
and restructuring the party, province by province, weeding out "undesirable"
and planting in "loyal" structures in their place. This was a direct
response to the referendum defeat and near-defeat during the parliamentary
elections, and in preparation for the highly prized presidential election
and the succession plan after.

      Gezi had completed this process in Mashonaland Central, West and East
and Masvingo, where he helped the Hungwe-Mumbengegwi faction oust the
Zvobgo-Mavhaire faction when he met his untimely death. It is not clear at
what stage this process was in Manicaland, the Midlands, Matabeleland North
and South provinces.

      But what was clear was that the party was being re-invented in the
leader or his intended successor's image, Gezi giving it a Maoist "cultural
revolution" flavour of sorts.

      The internal and international reaction to the March 2002 presidential
election spoiled the game plan, at least for now, if not forever. Something
has happened, forfeiting Mugabe's opportunity to name his successor for
party leadership unchallenged.

      Facing a popular opposition party and massive international pressures
to democratise, ZANU PF has to find a way to come up with someone with wider
appeal not only to the generality of the ruling party membership but to the
country as a whole. It's no longer who Mugabe wants; rather it's who the
party and ultimately the country want who will succeed him as leader.

      It is in this fashion that recent talk about "exit" plans and the
denials and other speculations and posturing thereof have to be understood.
The blocked transition to democracy in Zimbabwe is leading to democratic
pressures within ZANU PF itself as aspirants lean more towards popular
appeal than to the incumbent leader.

      You may fault Mugabe in many other things, but as a strategist, he is
second to none; he is a cunning old man, indeed. But, as the legendary Bob
Marley says: "You can fool some people sometimes but you can't fool all the
people all the time." This is as it should be.

      lProfessor Masipula Sithole is a lecturer of political science at the
University of Zimbabwe and director of the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      . . . . AND NOW TO THE NOTE BOOK. . . . .

      3/13/03 1:26:00 AM (GMT +2)

      Voodoo economics
      So, Simba Makoni was right after all but failed only on the diction.
It seems Makoni's mistake last year was to use the word "devaluation" when
proposing the, well, devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

      President Robert Mu-gabe and the rest of the men and women of the
people in government would hear none of it. Mugabe even told Parliament that
people calling for a devaluation of the local dollar were economic

      Even now, with every Zimbabwean and not just exporters allowed to sell
their hard-earned foreign currency at $824 to the US dollar instead of the
old and discredited $55, the government still insists it has not devalued
the dollar.

      It appears it is only the word and not devaluation itself that they
hate. Crazy, isn't it?

      And of course, the entire circus about whether the dollar has been
devalued or not is quite a brilliant illustration of the kind of voodoo
economics that got Zimbabwe into the mess it's in in the first place.

      Olonga, Flower stay away

      Mukanya thinks if he were in the shoes of either Henry Olonga or Andy
Flower, he would by now have sought political asylum, either in South Africa
where the cricket World Cup tournament is winding up or in some other
"proper country".

      Those two gentlemen really shouldn't test providence too far by daring
to come back home. Not after giving Uncle Bob such a hiding with that black
armband protest.

      Just when Bob thought he was scoring well against opponents -
gallivanting to France while the cricket tournament was proceeding well in
Zimbabwe without any opposition demonstrations to disrupt the games - Olonga
and Flower pitched up with this protest of theirs.

      The two cricket players, who must be commended for showing real
bravery, put a spoke in Mugabe's wheel by turning up for Zimbabwe's match
against Namibia wearing black armbands and issuing a statement in which they
told the world they were "mourning the death of democracy" in Zimbo.

      Mukanya's advice to these two brave warriors is not to come home.

      After all, we have no evidence yet that the police have run out of
this mysterious liquid they are alleged to have dispensed liberally to
several Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, and which is
believed to have caused illnesses and even death.

      Back to the hard times

      Still on cricket, did anyone notice how fuel supplies, although not
back to normal, did improve somewhat during the World Cup?

      The queues were still there but were shorter and shorter every other
day. I'm sure readers will have realised by now that it was all part of
attempts by ZANU PF to hoodwink the world into thinking that all is well in
Zimbabwe, that the food and fuel crises were a wild exaggeration of the

      With the few litres brought into the country as part of the propaganda
now finished, the hard times are back again for Zimbabwean motorists and

      And somehow Mukanya thinks it is this fuel shortage and not those
alleged plots by Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC to kill Mugabe and seize power
that will get Uncle Bob into real trouble one of these days.


      Less than a third of invited African presidents pitched up for a
summit held in Abuja this week to seek ways to advance the continent's
latest economic rescue plan, the New Partnership for African Development

      Only seven out of the 23 invited African heads of government and state
were in Abuja to meet Mr Olusegun Obasanjo of the "everything is just about
fine in Zimbabwe" fame.

      Mukanya could not establish whether Uncle Bob was also invited
although we are sure if had been, he would have pitched up even if it meant
being the only one to turn up for the talk shop.

      Whatever the case, if this is the kind of commitment most of these
misfits we call leaders in Africa have towards NEPAD, then one wonders why
they expect the West to be even bothered about it.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      ACP-EU row over Zimbabwe widens

      Staff Reporter
      3/13/03 2:02:58 AM (GMT +2)

      AFRICAN, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will undertake a
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe that does not include the European Union
(EU), in what analysts this week said signalled the widening of the ACP-EU
rift over the southern African nation.

      The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) had initially resolved
last year to send a mission to Zimbabwe prior to the JPA's next meeting,
schedulled for March 31 to April 4 in Congo Brazzaville.

      JPA co-president Adrien Houngbedji was mandated to approach the Harare
authorities to seek assurances that EU members of the joint assembly who
were blacklisted by the Zimbabwean government in 2002 would be allowed to
enter the country as part of the delegation.

      The Zimbabwean government last year imposed a travel ban against
several EU officials in response to smart sanctions slapped by the 15-member
economic bloc against President Robert Mugabe and his top hierarchy.

      But ACP spokesman Hegel Goutier said the EU, which last month renewed
sanctions against the Zimbabwean government for another year, had already
taken a position on Zimbabwe and European parliamentarians might therefore
compromise the findings of any mission to Zimbabwe.

      Goutier told the Financial Gazette from Brussels: "Normally, it should
have been necessary to have the mission under the JPA but in this case, it
is better for the ACP to send a delegation without the European Union.

      "We have communicated this to the Zimbabwean ambassador here and he
said his government will propose a date for our visit."

      He added: "We know that the EU has a misunderstanding with Zimbabwe
and it has made its position clear so we don't want them to influence our
findings. We want to have an open discussion with the Zimbabwean government
and gather as much information as possible about their problems. We can only
reach a decision on Zimbabwe after we understand the problems the government
is facing."

      Although officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
have warned against allowing Harare to influence the itinerary of the JPA
fact-finding mission, Goutier said the ACP delegation would be guided by the
government during its visit.

      He said the ACP was not keen on asking Harare to grant permission to
banned EU officials to enter Zimbabwe, adding that the European bloc was
imposing terms on its African, Caribbean and Pacific trade partners.

      "We are not going to ask for any special favours from Zimbabwe because
we cannot go on a mission and ask the Zimbabwean government to allow into
its country people it doesn't like," said Goutier.

      He added: "The EU cannot tell us what to do simply because they have
called us to a meeting. On principle, we cannot accept that. The JPA is not
part of the EU parliament so the EU cannot dictate to us what it wants us to
do. The EU cannot be allowed to continue behaving like that."

      But Michael Wood, an official with the European Parliament, expressed
surprise at the ACP's stance.

      He said: "According to the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November
last year, a decision was made to send a joint mission to Zimbabwe and that
the modalities of that mission would be worked out by the two co-presidents.

      "In principle, each side would nominate the people of its own choice
onto the mission so what Goutier is saying is very confusing."

      He said even if the ACP were to send a separate mission to Zimbabwe,
the delegation would still be required to fulfil the JPA's mandate and
request Harare to allow banned EU parliamentarians to travel to the country.

      Analysts said the latest development indicated deepening conflict
between the ACP and EU, which have taken diverging stances on Zimbabwe.

      While the EU has rapped alleged electoral fraud and human rights abuse
by the ruling ZANU PF, many ACP countries have publicly come out in support
of the Zimbabwean government.

      Last November, an ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting was
cancelled because two Zimbabwean government officials were refused entry
into the EU Parliament building in Brussels.

      ACP countries refused to participate in the meeting if the Zimbabwean
officials were not allowed to attend.

      The two, Paul Mangwana and Chris Kuruneri, are on the list of
Zimbabwean officials barred from entering EU countries.

Back to the Top
Back to Index