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Zimbabwe’s voters roll perfect: Mudede

07/03/2012 00:00:00
††† by Gilbert Nyambabvu

REGISTRAR General, Tobaiwa Mudede has insisted that the country’s widely
condemned voters’ roll is “perfect” and dismissed fears of possible rigging
in elections likely to be held this year.

Mudede told state radio Wednesday that his office was maintaining an
up-to-date register with about 5, 8 million registered voters.

Critics have accused President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party of manipulating
the voters’ roll for political advantage and claim the list includes
children and people who have long since died.

The Zimbabwe Support Network (ZESN), a civic organisation that seeks to
promote democratic elections, last year reported that nearly a third of the
of voters on the list used in the disputed 2008 elections were dead.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party has made a sanitised roll one
of the key requirements before new elections can be held.

But Zanu PF says it has no problems with the current list and is confident
of winning elections whether or not the roll is re-done.
Mudede defended the register telling state radio that new computer systems
have since been put in place to detect double registration.

He has previously dismissed criticism of the presence of thousands of
centenarians on the roll in a country where the average life expectancy is
just 34 for women and 37 for men, according to the World Health
"You don't want these people to attain 100 years; you don't want them to be
alive?" Mudede said last year.

"The law does not say once one attains 100 years he/she should be removed.
It is their right to vote unless they come to say they want to be removed.
We will, however, still advise them that it is their right to vote," he

The Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) said it would need about US$20
million to spruce up the widely-condemned roll after which constituency
boundaries would be drawn up for general elections.

Meanwhile, the MDC-T said Wednesday it would step-up preparations for
elections despite demanding completion of political reforms required under
the GPA.

“The (party) resolved to treat the year 2012 as a watershed year and will
prepare for elections whether or not these elections were going to be held
this year,” the party’s national executive said after a meeting in Harare

“To Organising Department is working flat out to prepare the MDC structures
for elections.

“However, the committee reiterated that the elections must only be held
after all the conditions for a free and fair elections have been fulfilled.”

The party is resisting a push by President Mugabe for elections to be held
this year claiming conditions do not exist to ensure a free and fair poll.
Mugabe says the polls are necessary to replace a coalition government he
claims is no longer workable.

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Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede exposed

By Lance Guma
08 March 2012

Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede has told the ZANU PF controlled ZBC radio
that the country’s voters’ roll is ‘perfect’ and ruled out any possibilities
of rigging through double registration, saying this would be detected by a
‘computer system’.

Today SW Radio Africa focuses on Mudede and his tenure as Registrar General
since Zimbabwe’s first post independence election in 1985. Opposition and
civil society activists alike have accused him of playing a key role in
rigging elections for Mugabe in the over 27 years he has been in charge of
the voters roll.

Reacting to Mudede’s defence of the much condemned voters roll, political
analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa that “an accused person cannot
go to court and acquit him or herself. It is the court or the jury that must
acquit an accused person. An electoral thief cannot acquit himself through
the ZBC,” he said.

Before presidential elections in 2002 Mudede told a meeting at the
International School in Harare that, “he could imagine no circumstances in
which he would declare anyone other than Mugabe the winner.” It was only
after four court orders that pressure groups were able to see a copy of the
‘shambolic’ voters roll he used.

Last year in June a report by the South African Institute for Race Relations
said there were 42,000 people over the age of 100 on the voters roll and
that this was an ‘impossible’ number. Some on the roll appeared to be 120
years old, in a country with a life expectancy of 43, according to the World
Health Organisation.

The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) also noted that
nearly a third of registered voters are dead and described the voters roll
as a ‘shambles’ that needs to be overhauled before fresh elections are held.
ZESN also want the voters roll in electronic form, rather than the current
paper version.

Sources who spoke to SW Radio Africa last year alleged that ZANU PF is
secretly removing known MDC-T supporters from the voters roll. The sources,
who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, have claimed that chiefs
in the rural areas are being coerced into supplying the names of known
opposition supporters.

It was claimed the lists being drawn up from this exercise are being
forwarded to the Registrar General’s office, who are in turn removing the
MDC-T supporters from the voters roll. Mudede, a card carrying member of
ZANU PF, is also believed to be related to Mugabe.

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Ncube Threatens To Stall Constitution Making Process

Harare, March 8, 2012 - The leader of the smaller faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), Welshman Ncube says his party will not sign the
final constitution draft produced by the parliamentary select committee,
COPAC, if President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
continue to recognise Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Arthur Mutambara as a

Ncube accused Mugabe and Tsvangirai of protecting Mutambara despite a High
Court ruling by Justice Lawrence Kamocha barring the controversial
politician from acting as a principal on behalf of MDC. Mutambara has
appealed the ruling.

Ncube elbowed out Mutambara as party leader in a bloodless coup at a
controversial congress held in Harare early 2010, setting the stage for
bruising legal battles.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have given COPAC until March, 15, 2012 to complete the
draft constitution. According to officials from COPAC the review of the
first draft has been completed and would be forwarded to the principals
within the prescribed period.

Ncube said his party will not sign the COPAC document which it is not party

“We will not have anything to do with COPAC because we cannot take part in a
process when we are not represented. Mutambara has no party he controls and
the Kamocha judgment was very clear that he cannot masquerade as a principal
until there is a court order setting aside congress,” he charged.

“Mugabe and Tsvangirai are still recognising Mutambara despite the judgement
giving an excuse that they will wait for the outcome of the court case and
as such we will not recognise any decisions coming from the trio which do
not involve us,” Ncube said.

“Mutambara is buying time using the courts so that he retains his post as
deputy prime minister because he does not have a party and does not
represent any constituency. He is just a mud bull. He cannot do anything on
his own but waits for (President) Mugabe and (Prime Minister) Tsvangirai to
make sounds for him,” added Ncube.

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‘New Constitution no guarantee for credible poll’

By Sydney Saize
Thursday, 08 March 2012 14:51

MUTARE - US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray said yesterday the
constitution is not a panacea for free, fair and credible elections.

Ray, who was addressing journalists after commissioning an “American Corner”
at the Turner memorial library in the city, said it was “Zimbabweans’
business” to decide when they can have their own election.

The ambassador was responding to a question whether it was proper to have
elections at this time before a constitution as called for by some in the
inclusive government, particularly President Robert Mugabe.

“What I know for a fact is that it (constitution)† has some good parts and
from my experience in a number of places there are areas that need working

“But again what makes it work is the people who are behind it. The issue of
the constitution and the elections is like that of traffic laws — what makes
traffic flow well in a city is not the fear that you will get a fine, but it’s
about the driver in a car A, trusting that in most instances the driver in
car B will abide by the rules,” he said.

Ray said the current constitution guarantees the freedom of the press and
freedom of association.

“You can have the most perfect constitution on earth but if it’s not adhered
to or carried out it’s just a piece of paper,” said Ray.

He said Zimbabweans had to choose their future and not allow other people to
decide for them on their destiny.

He said the “American Corner” was a place where people can come and interact
with Americans, learn their culture, values and history.

He said the US government had donated nine computers all connected to the
Internet, books and other information about the USA.

“We sincerely hope that this American corner will be more than just a space
for books and computers. My staff intends to work with the excellent people
running Turner Memorial Library to make this
partnership into a vibrant, exciting and active source of information debate
and learning.

The “American Corner” would be accessed free of charge and would be free to

In Zimbabwe there are three “American Corners” in Bulawayo, Gweru and
Mutare. Previously the Mutare one was situated 17km away at the Africa
University, a Methodist-related institution where it has been operational
since 2003.

Mutare town clerk Obert Muzawazi in his remarks thanked the US embassy
highlighting that the library was in a state of closure owing to a cash

Muzawazi said the US partnership with the city of Mutare should be applauded
as it had managed to revive the library which was almost derelict.

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Generals to stage a coup if Mugabe lose election - PM

Staff Reporter 30 minutes ago

HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira has said State security
services chiefs will stage a coup if President Robert Mugabe does not win
elections likely to be held this year, MDC-T leader and

Setting his party’s “minimum conditions” for free and fair elections in
Harare on Thursday, Tsvangirai said military chiefs had told him that he
would not take over from Mugabe even if he wins the next elections.

“We have instead been told by a few individuals at the helm of these sectors
that anyone other than President Mugabe, even if they win an election, will
not be able to take up their mandate,” the MDC-T leader said.

“They have even gone further to dismiss the significance of an electoral
process by saying that they will not tolerate a new regime in Harare ushered
in through the ballot because President Mugabe cannot be removed by a ‘mere
pen which costs less than five cents’.”

Mugabe is demanding fresh polls this year to replace the coalition
government which he formed with MDC rivals, claiming the arrangement was no
longer workable.

But Tsvangirai – who won the first round of the Presidential ballot in 2008
beforer pulling out of a run-off citing violent attacks on his supporters –
insists reforms agreed under the coalition agreement must be fully
implemented to ensure a free and fair poll.
On Thursday, he said the threat by pro-Mugabe service chiefs made
implementation of such reforms even more urgent.

“The security of the person (who wins the elections), the security of the
vote and the security of the people needs to be guaranteed before we even
start to cast our ballots,” he said.

The MDC-T leader said he was encouraged by the tacit SADC backing of his
position: “We are heartened that the SADC region continues to restate the
importance of key reforms ahead of the conduct of the next polls.”

South Africa President Jacob Zuma is mediating the Zimbabwe crisis on behalf
of SADC. On Monday his Foreign Affairs minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
dismissed Mugabe’s threat to call elections without political reforms,
drawing fire from Zanu PF officials who accused her of interfering in
Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Mugabe – who turned 88 this year – accuses his rivals of frustrating
constitutional reforms in a bid to delay elections. They fear defeat, he
But Tsvangirai said he would not take part in an election that was certain
to end in “blood-bath”.

“We are not afraid of an election but we will definitely not participate in
a war,” he said.

“The way forward for Zimbabwe remains a free and fair election… Anything
else would be a circus.

“A circus or a bloodbath masquerading as an election would be a mockery and
an insult to South Africa, SADC and the AU who have all been painstakingly
working for the past four years to ensure that we hold a credible poll and
set the foundation for a prosperous Zimbabwe.”

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MDC-T resolves to prepare for polls

By Staff Reporter 23 hours 37 minutes ago

HARARE - The party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira, the Movement for
Democratic Change said it has decided to start preparing for general
elections amid bickering in the coalition government.

In a statement to the media the party said, "the 7th of March 2012 the
National Executive of the MDC met in Harare to discuss various issues
affecting the nation and the party."

"The National Executive received reports from the MDC representatives in the
government that a lot of Ministers were undermining key programs of the
inclusive government.

For example Minister for Media Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu has
consistently been refusing to implement key reforms in the Media reforms as
agreed by the negotiators and as directed by the Principals of the Global
Political Agreement. The MDC knows that the obstinacy displayed by Minister
Shamu is part of the grand plan by Zanu PF to undermine the government and
create conditions of free and fair elections.

President Morgan Tsvangirai advised the meeting that he will be reporting to
Parliament once every month on the performance of all the ministers in the
government. The MDC National Executive welcomed that move.

The national executive condemned in the strongest terms the moves by Zanu PF
to ban the operations of NGO's in the rural areas. The move is part of the
evil plan by Zanu PF to perpetuate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe
and thus use hunger as a political weapon. The national executive vowed to
fight these sadistic moves by Zanu PF and urged the Minister for Labour and
Social Welfare to make sure that these illegal practices are thwarted. It
was observed that NGOs were being banned in those provinces where Zanu PF
was beaten resoundingly in the 2008 elections.

The meeting also received reports about the progress in the constitution
making process. The national executive expressed satisfaction at the work
being done by the Parliamentary Select Committee so far under very difficult
circumstances. The MDC remains committed to the completion of the people
driven constitution process. The MDC condemns in no uncertain terms the
intimidation and harassment of the drafters by some elements within Zanu PF
and urged that Copac be allowed to complete its work.

The National executive resolved to treat the year 2012 as a watershed year
and will prepare for elections whether or not these elections were going to
be held this year. To that end the Organising Department is working flat out
to prepare the MDC structures for elections. However, the Committee
reiterated that the elections must only be held after all the conditions for
a free and fair elections have been fulfilled.

On the issue of the Constituency Development Fund, the party expressed
satisfaction at the way most of the MDC Members of Parliament have utilised
these funds for the benefit of their constituencies. However, all those MPs
who have abused the fund must be brought to book irrespective of their
political persuasion. To that end the MDC will support the efforts of the
Anti- corruption Commission and urged that it retains its professionalism
and non partisanship in the discharge of its work.

Lastly, National Executive resolved to assign teams to do evaluations and
performance audits for all rural and urban councils in the country. The aim
is to appraise the party with the performance of all the councils. These
committees will commence their work in the next few days and their work will
be made public.

The MDC leadership expressed alarm at the number of roadblocks that are
being erected by the Zimbabwe Republic Police. These roadblocks are
excessive and are apparently a ploy to fundraise for Zanu PF. The Committee
condemned the practice by some ZRP officers to smash windscreens of vehicles
as a way to enforce these excessive roadblocks," the party said.

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MDC launches booklet on minimum conditions for free and fair poll
Tendai Biti

Finance Minister Tendai Biti

By Tichaona Sibanda
08 March 2012

The MDC-T has launched a document on the minimum conditions required for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, detailing what must happen first in terms of reforms before parties to the GPA decide on a poll date.

The booklet was launched by party President Morgan Tsvangirai at a Harare hotel on Thursday night. It comes amid heightened talk of elections in the country as principals to the GPA are expected to meet soon to decide on an election date.

Both ZANU PF and the MDC-T have upped the ante in their election rhetoric, with the former ruling party insisting they can call for an election even without a new constitution, a call the former opposition party is resisting.

Tendai Biti, the Secretary-General of the MDC-T and Finance Minister said elections should be used as a stepping stone to a sustainable, conflict free and tolerant Zimbabwe. Addressing a Zimbabwe lecture series on whether the country was ready for the next elections, Biti said the next election should be a formula to find a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

‘We have never been a country at peace. We’ve been a country stuck in permanent crisis. We must find a solution to stop our elections from being cyclical.

‘We have to find a formula for preventing the conflict in Zimbabwe from continuously being repetitive like a broken record. That is the Zimbabwe we are looking for,’ Biti added.

The Finance Minister explained why his party is calling for reforms before elections, reminding the audience that the whole essence of the liberation war in the country was about reforms.

‘The reason for going to war was about democratising the state…and there was a new constitution that was agreed at the Lancaster House in 1979. That was reform.

‘So the call for reforms before the next elections is not an MDC agenda but the agenda of the people of Zimbabwe, who do not want a farce election like what was experienced in 2008,’ he said.

Listen to Tendai Biti’s lecture

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Zanu PF threat to sink constitution over devolution

07/03/2012 00:00:00
††† by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF has identified devolution of power as the new battleground with its
coalition partners as senior officials warned the party is ready to torpedo
the new draft constitution which contains the provision.

President Robert Mugabe’s party is also spoiling for a fight on two other
key issues: dual citizenship and abolition of the death penalty.

The Parliamentary Constitution Committee (COPAC) comprising lawmakers from
Zanu PF and the two MDC factions was due to meet on Wednesday to seek a
compromise on the three issues but the meeting failed to take place.

Officials say the draft constitution, which has been in the works for close
to two years, is ready but the first draft to be taken forward to a
referendum will not be printed until the political parties compromise on its

Zanu PF, which accuses the drafters of smuggling in some issues while
ignoring others raised at public meetings countrywide, says it is prepared
to sink the new constitution if certain provisions are not scrapped, chiefly
devolution of power.

Mugabe used his 88th birthday interview last month to insist that his party
would reject the principle of granting more power to the provinces, but his
rivals say he ignores the fact that the draft constitution is the product of
views expressed by Zimbabweans around the country.

“We don’t want to divide the country into small pieces because it will cause
disunity among our people,” Mugabe said. “Those things are done in big
countries, not to a small country like ours.”

Ignatius Chombo, a member of Zanu PF’s politburo, took the argument to
Bulawayo – the hotbed of devolution calls – on Wednesday.

“Devolution of power increases the risks of ethnic and civil strife,” Chombo
told a gathering of traditional leaders. “Loosening central control triggers
an inevitable sequence of ever-greater demands for autonomy, ratcheting up
the centrifugal pressures on the state.”

Both MDC parties led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry
Minister Welshman Ncube have put devolution at the top of their electoral
agenda, seeking to placate disillusioned provinces – mainly the Midlands,
Masvingo, Bulawayo and Matabeleland – who blame stunted development on a
deliberate policy of marginalisation by central government.

MDC-T deputy national spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo said: “Devolution of
power is long overdue for provinces that have suffered marginalisation for
too long.

“Why should people go to Harare for small things like passports and
obtaining permits for kombis? As a party, we are saying forward with

MDC national spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said: “The constitution of Zimbabwe
is being written on the basis of what was said by the people in the COPAC
process, on the basis of the views of Zimbabweans collected by COPAC during
the outreach meetings.
“No individual has a right to determine what Zimbabweans want or shouldn’t

A key mover for devolution has been the opposition ZAPU. The party has
accused Zanu PF of scare-mongering and misrepresenting devolution as

“It is clear that Mugabe, like many people in Zanu PF, doesn’t understand
the difference between devolution of power, secession, federalism and
decentralisation,” he told the NewsDay newspaper.

“They believe those who want devolution are trouble causers. The facts are
that under devolution, we will still have one flag, one national anthem, one
parliament, one national team in all sports and one president.

“Perhaps he needs to hear that we will still have one Commander-in-Chief and
Head of State. The difference is that provinces will have the power to deal
with local issues.”

But Zanu PF is prepared to frustrate the demands for devolution – even if it
slows down or craters the new constitution which must be in place before
elections are held, according to the power sharing agreement between the

Chombo said: “Devolution in the midst of high levels of unemployment,
polarisation and poverty may attract external infiltration by external
forces who are opposed to the policies that benefit Zimbabweans such as
indigenisation and economic empowerment and the land reform programme.

“Devolution limits central government's oversight and increases
inter-regional conflict, particularly in the re-allocation of resources
between regions precipitating demands in resource rich regions for
“Accordingly, devolution by itself cannot be a panacea for problems of

Instead, Zanu PF says the devolution demands can be met through an Act of
parliament that promotes what the party describes as “decentralisation”.

South African President Jacob Zuma – the regional point-man on Zimbabwe – is
due in Harare next week and the parties will be under pressure to move on
the draft constitution to prepare the stage for elections, but Zanu PF is
determined to have its way.

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Police ban ZCTU women’s march for International Women’s Day

By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 March 2012

On Thursday police in Bulawayo banned a march that had been organized by
women from Zimbabwe’s umbrella labour union, the ZCTU, to commemorate
International Women’s Day.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the reason given was
that Robert Mugabe was in town attending the Chiefs Conference that was
taking place on the same day.

According to Saungweme, anti-riot police were deployed in Bulawayo central,
some with AK 47 rifles. More troops were stationed near the ZCTU
headquarters, where they searched commuter omnibuses and innocent civilians.

Saungweme said the ZCTU women decided to gather at their offices instead of
marching and clashing with police, who threatened to unleash the riot squad
if the women came near Drill Hall where the Chiefs had gathered.

“Barbara Tanyanyiwa of the ZCTU Women’s Advisory Council said police have
personnel to beat us but none to protect us when we need them,” Saungweme

This is not the first time that other important events have been banned by
the police in Bulawayo because Mugabe was in town. Several MDC rallies were
banned last year, with police insisting ZANU PF or Mugabe also had events
planned on the same day.

International Women’ Day this year was held under the theme, “Empower Rural
Women, End Hunger and Poverty”. Several civic groups released statements
praising the country’s women for their strength.

The National Constitutional Assembly said they pay tribute to Zimbabwean
women and “the role they have played in the struggle for national
liberation, reconstruction and transformation of our country”.

“The matters that concerned women during the colonial era are the same
issues that concern women of today – housing, food prices, unemployment,
domestic violence, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and gender
discrimination,” the NCA said.

The MDC-T said their party is ready to deliver “real change” through
elections and Zimbabwean women should be assured that for the first time
they will “experience a new democratic Zimbabwe with jobs, food, upliftment
and equal representation in decision making”.

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Attacks on media intensify with increased threats against newspapers

By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 March 2012

Attacks on media institutions and practitioners in Zimbabwe have intensified
in recent weeks, as ZANU PF officials continue their push for elections to
be held this year, even without any reforms.

This week alone the Daily News reported that thugs from Robert Mugabe’s
party had illegally banned sales of the paper in Mashonaland East and there
have been threats by war vets against NewsDay newspaper, over a story they
claim was false.

Daily News editor Stanley Gama told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF thugs have
stopped the paper from being distributed anywhere in Mutoko and Murehwa
districts, by attacking the vehicles that bring copies to the area. He also
complained that police were not protecting their vendors around the country.

Gama said they plan to approach the courts through their lawyers in order to
re-establish circulation of the paper in those areas. He also plans to
travel to Murehwa and Mutoko to file police reports and discuss the issue of
protection with the police in the area.

“Our papers were also burned by ZANU PF thugs in Kadoma who came from their
office nearby. Vendors were also threatened in Kuwadzana. There are threats
every day but we will not be silenced,” Gama said.

He explained that the intensified attacks on the media are linked to talk of
elections from ZANU PF, as the party does not want people to have
information about their abuses ahead of the expected polls.

On Wednesday, war vet leaders for Harare province reportedly threatened to
shut down the operations of NewsDay, unless the paper revealed their source
for a story published last month, which said war vets had tried to exhume
the remains of Cecil John Rhodes at Matobo Hills.

According to NewsDay, Harare province war vet chairman Charles Mpofu claimed
that none of their members had been at Matobo on that day and gave the paper
five days to reveal who leaked the information, or risk being shut down.

Meanwhile, shortwave broadcasts from SW Radio Africa have been jammed
several times in the last month, with the most recent incident taking place
Wednesday night.

Attacks on the media have been part of ZANU PF’s strategy over the last
decade, whenever elections are approaching.

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Daily News Ban Must Be Investigated - MISA-Zimbabwe

Harare, March 08, 2012 – The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Zimbabwe has called on the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) to investigate
the alleged banning of the privately owned Daily News in Mashonaland East

In a front page story on Thursday, the newspaper said the ban in Mutoko and
Murewa was allegedly being effected by Zanu (PF) supporters who were forcing
people to read state-owned publications.

But MISA-Zimbabwe on Thursday protested the ban in a statement saying the
Daily News was operating lawfully in Zimbabwe and as such† the authorities
should act against those that are taking the law into their own hands and
depriving citizens’ of their fundamental right to access alternative
information without hindrance from any quarter.

“MISA-Zimbabwe calls on the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) as the licensing
authority to get to the bottom of these unlawful acts as mandated under its
constitutional obligation to defend media freedom and the citizens’ right to
freedom of expression,” read part of the media watchdog statement.

In the story, Daily News Editor Stanley Gama, said he was not surprised by
these developments as his newspaper threatened some people in the government
especially those to whom the “concepts of democracy and freedom of speech
are anathema”.

“It is clear that some people are scared of the truth. They are scared of
our incisive and balanced reporting and what this means for their backward
views and political cultures. The good news is that they will fail in their
ill considered mission because Zimbabweans love our papers and they won’t
allow these anarchists to continue doing this,” said Gama.

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4 days left in media reform ultimatum

By Alex Bell
08 March 2012

There are only four days left of a three week ultimatum allegedly set by
Zimbabwe’s government heads for key media reforms.

Media and Information Minister Webster Shamu was apparently tasked with
reconstituting the illegal boards of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC), the Broadcasting Authority (BAZ) and the Mass Media Trust. According
to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, theses orders were passed down during a
meeting of the government’s leaders more than two weeks ago.

The Prime Minister told a press briefing days after that meeting that Shamu
had been told to reconstitute the three boards within three weeks, an
ultimatum that ends of Monday March 12. This leaves four days for the
Minister to carry out these orders, but it seems extremely unlikely this
will happen.

Shamu has previously ignored similar orders and the MDC-T has said that the
“obstinacy displayed by Minister Shamu is part of the grand plan by ZANU PF
to undermine the government.”

Tsvangirai meanwhile also told that same principals meeting that any
decisions taken by the illegal boards must be reversed. This includes the
granting of two commercial radio licenses last year, a move that has been
widely criticised for favouring ZANU PF sympathisers.

The licenses were awarded to Zimpapers, who publish the state’s mouthpiece
newspaper The Herald, as well as AB Communications, owned by the former head
of ZANU PF’s Affirmative Action Group, Supa Mandiwanzira.

The MDC-T last year condemned the awarding of the licenses, dismissing the
move as a ‘political farce’. The party said the move “is nothing but a
desperate attempt by ZANU PF to tighten its grip on the airwaves and closing
the space for genuine independent broadcasters.”

“The shameful monopoly by ZANU PF of the country’s airwaves should be
stopped and the airwaves liberalised,” the party said last year.

Tsvnagirai’s party has also insisted it does not recongsie the two new radio
stations, but this has not stopped the stations gearing up to start

This week, the Mbare based Zimpapers Talk Radio station, held open auditions
for newsreaders, DJs and radio presenters, attracting thousands. The radio
station, nicknamed ‘Chipangano Radio’ after the notorious ZANU PF gang in
Mbare, has said the strong audition turnout is a sign of “enthusiasm” for
the station.

But SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said public opinion is that
the turnout is more of an indication of the desperation for jobs created by
the restricted media space. Muchemwa reported that there is clearly a huge
gap in the market which the government has failed to fill with independent
media players.

“People know this is just a smokescreen because real media reforms have not
happened. But there is a desperation for work,” Muchemwa said.

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Zimbabwe’s demands for ‘fair share’ of platinum plant threaten to ruin it

Onlookers fear that President Mugabe is repeating the land grab of white-owned farms that brought electoral victory

Jan Raath Harare† March 6 2012 7:40PM

The glinting steel of the platinum smelting works soaring above the once-orderly grainfields of Selous comes as a shock. It was here, west of Harare, that white farmers were driven out by President Mugabe’s hired thugs a decade ago.

From today, the Zimplats complex — the result so far of a $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) investment by South Africa’s Impala Platinum through its 87 per cent stake in the Zimbabwe-based company — is in serious danger of becoming another symbol of Mr Mugabe’s ruin, to set alongside the wasted farmland that surrounds it.

Impala has been given an ultimatum to hand over 29 per cent of its Zimplats shareholding, worth $300 million, into an as yet unformed trust. This is to make the world’s second-biggest platinum producer “compliant” with legislation forcing white and foreign-owned companies to “cede for value” 51 per cent of ownership to black Zimbabweans.

If it fails, “enforcement measures” will be issued, according to Saviour Kasukuwere, Zimbabwe’s Minister for Economic Empowerment overseeing the “indigenisation” that Mr Mugabe says is needed to correct the imbalances of white rule, which ended 32 years ago.

It is widely seen, like the land grab, as a means to win votes in an election expected in the next year.

Impala, which bought into Zimplats in 1999, plans to invest $10 billion to achieve two million ounces of production over 50 years, according to experts. A large chunk of the investment is to be in a refinery, of which there are only five worldwide. Already platinum output in Zimbabwe, dominated by Zimplats, accounts for 30 per cent of export earnings.

Impala went to great lengths to guard itself from what happened to the commercial farming industry. It persuaded the Government to lay down its mining title in an Act of Parliament. In 2006, Mr Mugabe signed an agreement for a 40km strip of claims worth 51 million oz of platinum to be handed over by Zimplats. These were to be translated into “empowerment credits” to be included in the calculation for meeting the 51 per cent “indigenisation” level.

But last year the agreement was abrogated and last month Mr Mugabe scorned a $10 million share trust for the local community as “not enough” and declared that there would be “no more discussions” with Impala.

The indigenisation law specifies that shares are to be paid for. Zimbabwe is in the midst of an accelerating liquidity crisis and can barely pay its civil servants, but Mr Kasukuwere has threatened to revoke Zimplats’ mining licence.

“It would be illegal, but since when was that a problem for this Government?” a senior mining executive said.

It also has no expertise in mining, let alone in platinum. “No problem,” the executive said. “Mr Mugabe’s heavies will take the vehicles, strip the buildings and sell the scrap metal, just like they did on the farms.”

Mr Kasukuwere has made clear that he also wants to settle 51 per cent indigenisation demands with Anglo American Platinum’s Unki mine and with the Australian-based Aquarius Platinum’s Mimosa mine, which it shares with Impala. Cynthia Carrol, Anglo American’s chief executive, expressed concern over the “political and regulatory problems” in Zimbabwe. No comment could be obtained from Aquarius.

Last week, however, Mr Mugabe’s administration was warned by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry that Zimplats was the property of a South African company and therefore was covered by a bilateral investment protection agreement signed last year.

“That is sacrosanct and we have been given the undertaking that it will be upheld,” Lionel October, the department’s director-general, said.

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Implats dispute with Zimbabwe deepens

Reuters – 10 hrs ago

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A war of words between South Africa's Impala
Platinum and Zimbabwe intensified on Thursday, when the world's
second-biggest platinum producer denied offering to hand over a stake in its
local unit to the government.

A senior Zimbabwean minister told Reuters on Wednesday Implats had agreed to
cede the 29.5 percent stake in Zimplats under a new law to transfer majority
ownership of foreign companies to local blacks.

Implats said this was not the case.

"Implats has not made an irrevocable offer to the Zimbabwe government
today," the company said in a two-sentence statement.

Implats has argued that the stake, worth more than $300 million, need not be
handed over because it was promised 'empowerment credits' for mining rights
it returned to the Zimbabwean government in 2006.

Senior Implats executive Johan Theron said that as far he was aware no
letter had been sent to Harare, but the Implats board would meet on Friday
to discuss the issue.

"A range of options will be put to the board," he said, adding that Implats
remained committed to finding a solution to the problem.

Implats shares have fallen 3.3 percent since February 22 when Zimbabwe
issued the company with an ultimatum over the Zimplats stake. Rival Anglo
American Platinum has dropped 1.9 percent over the same period.

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Former farmer loses bid to remain in retirement home

By Alex Bell
08 March 2012

A former Lowveld farmer has lost his bid to remain in his retirement home,
bringing an end to an almost four year battle to retain his property rights.

74 year old Peter Hingeston this week entered into a plea bargain with the
State after being charged with refusing to vacate so-called ‘state land’.
The property in question is his retirement home in the Vumba mountains,
where he moved after being forced off his Lowveld sugar cane farm in the mid

It’s understood that a top Mutare police official has been after the Vumba
property for about four years, and has laid claim to the land under the land
grab scheme.

Hingeston was charged under the Gazetted Lands Act and has been in and out
of court trying to secure his rights to his land. Last month, the legal
battle took a new turn when Hingeston was arrested and jailed for almost
three weeks.

He was finally released on bail and this week he appeared in the Mutare
magistrate’s court for trial.

On Wednesday his lawyer entered into a plea bargain with the state where
Hingeston pleaded guilty to the charges, on the understanding that he would
be given 60 days to vacate his property. This had allegedly been agreed with
the prosecutor the day before the trial.

But regardless of this agreement, the magistrate fined Hingeston and gave
him 30 days to vacate his home.

According to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), this court order is
“exceptional,” because most of the recent sentences passed down against
farmers included a 90 day period to vacate their properties. The CFU said
that in Hingeston’s case “very little consideration was taken of his
advanced age and current illnesses.”

He also has no other permanent home to go to now that he has lost both his
farm in Triangle and his residential property in the Vumba without any form
of compensation,” the CFU said.

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500 000 Hectares Of Planted Maize Crop A Write Off - Made

Bulawayo, March 08, 2012- Zimbabwe faces serious hunger as 500 000 hectares
of the planted maize crop during the 2011-2012 farming season is a write
off, Agriculture and Mechanization Minister, Joseph Made has revealed.

“According to the final crop assessment by the government, this past farming
season 1 600 000 hectares of the maize crop was planted but because of lack
of rain, 500 000 hectares is a write off. The planted crops suffered
moisture stress because of the pronged dry spell. We face hunger as a result
and urgent measures are needed to avert deaths due to starvation. The rains
really let us down,” Made said in an interview.

This leaves the country with only 1 100 000 million hectares of the planted
maize crop against the national grain requirement stands at two million
tonnes of maize per annum.

Made added that there is a need for the Finance Ministry to avail funds to
sustain the grain loan scheme and for the rollout of food for work
programmes for hunger facing provinces of the country.

China has since donated $14 million worth of food aid to Zimbabwe in an
attempt to ease the eminent food crisis facing country’s populace.

According to statistics from the World Food Program (WFP) indicated that
more than one million Zimbabweans are said to be in need of food aid between
now and March 2012 following the continuous dry spell that has been
affecting the national produce.

The southern African country has struggled to feed itself since 2000, when
President Robert Mugabe began a drive to seize white-owned farms to resettle
landless blacks, leading to a sharp fall in agricultural output.

Production of the staple maize started to recover after President Robert
Mugabe formed a unity government with his rival, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, and rose from less than 500,000 tonnes in 2007-8 to 1.45 million
tonnes in the 2010/11 season.

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‘Cops roadblocks excessive, used to fundraise for Zanu PF’

By Everson Mushava, Staff writer
Thursday, 08 March 2012 15:07

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party says police roadblocks
mounted by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) throughout the country were
excessive and were being used to fundraise for Zanu PF.

Addressing journalists after the party’s national executive meeting in
Harare yesterday, party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said police roadblocks
were too many, inconveniencing travellers and encouraging corrupt

This comes following a dispute between the police and kombi operators in
Harare last week which ended up in the courts.

Some operators boycotted transporting people to work in protest against a
heavy police presence on the roads. “These roadblocks are excessive and are
apparently a ploy to fund raise for Zanu PF.

“We are not saying roadblocks should disappear, but they are too much and
they are serving no legal purpose.

“You don’t fundraise by inconveniencing people, neither can you mount
artificial roadblocks to fundraise. One day when we were travelling from
Masvingo to Harare, there were 14 roadblocks for that 300 kilometre
distance. This is not the situation in other countries in the region,” said

Asked to comment, Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson rubbished the
claims by the MDC.

“It is nonsense, I cannot comment on that, the police are simply doing their
work,” Gumbo said.

According to Mwonzora, worse still was the fact that the money raised from
these roadblocks did not find its way into treasury and said his party does
not trust that the police commissioner-general will be responsible with the
money raised.

“He has acted improperly before in favour of Zanu PF and as a party, what
can prevent him from doing the same today?” asked Mwonzora. He said his
party also condemned the practice by the police to smash windscreens of
vehicles as a way of enforcing the excessive roadblocks.

Police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau last month told an interparty
peace body, Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, (Jomic) that the
police were sometimes forced to use unorthodox means to force the kombi
crews to obey police orders.

Mwonzora also told journalists that his party was restructuring its
grassroots structures to prepare for the elections that are expected this
year or next year but maintained that his party will only participate when
conditions for a free and fair poll are in place.

President Robert Mugabe, who turned 88 on February 21,† has said elections
will be on this year with or without reforms but Tsvangirai has maintained
that he will boycott any election modelled in the interests of Zanu PF and
is demanding electoral reforms first.

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Chiefs demand guns

By Pindai Dube
Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:04

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's traditional chiefs have demanded guns saying they want
to protect themselves from some people in the society, especially
politicians whom they said have no respect for them, and are beating them up
or threatening them daily.

The chiefs also demanded diplomatic passports saying they are the most
respected people in society, yet they travel with ordinary passports.

Presenting their grievances during the four-day National Annual Chiefs
Conference which kicked off at Bulawayo’s Large City Hall yesterday, the
traditional chiefs also demanded bodyguards during elections, a share in
Community Development Fund (CDF), free duty on vehicles, farms, among other

“As chiefs we want guns so that we can protect ourselves, because in our
communities there are some people who have no respect for the chiefs,
especially politicians. We are asking them to respect us, so that we can
live together peacefully in the community,” chief Dandawa,† chairperson of
the traditional chiefs in
Mashonaland West province told the conference.

Chief Dandawa also said they want chiefs to be exempted from paying toll
gate fees on the country’s highways and also want a share of the CDF.

CDF which was established by Finance Minister Tendai Biti in 2010† is
currently only given to Members of Parliament for distribution to deserving
projects in their constituencies.

Chief Nembire who represented chiefs from Mashonaland Central province told
the conference that the chiefs wanted diplomatic passports.

“We are respected people in the society therefore we should get diplomatic
passports, we have said this before. We should also be exempted from paying
duty so that we can also buy cars from Messina,” said Nembire.

Chief Nembire also threatened to mobilise traditional chiefs to go and
demonstrate at Finance Minister, Tendai Biti’s office saying he is slow in
releasing their monthly allowances.

“Maybe Biti wants us to go to his offices personally and demand our
allowances, because up to now chiefs have not received their January
allowances,” he said.

Chief Nembire added that the government should drill boreholes at their
homes and also give them free fuel.

Not to be outdone was Chief Malaba who represented Matabeleland South
Province chiefs and demanded that “mobile phone companies like Econet,
NetOne, and Telecel should erect more boosters in their area so that they
can communicate well with their people”.

The President of the chiefs’ council Chief Fortune Charumbira said he is not
happy that the government takes long to meet their grievances.

This year the chiefs were invited to the National Annual Chiefs Conference
together with their wives.

Present at the conference was Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made who promised to† meet the chiefs’

President Robert Mugabe is expected to official open the chiefs conference

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Mugabe meets top Chinese military brass

By Staff Reporter 22 hours 48 minutes ago

HARARE - The embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says Zimbabwe will
continue to support China even if western powers denounce the Asian world.

Mugabe said this when he met visiting Head of the Chinese Navy, Admiral Tong
Shiping in Harare this Wednesday.

"We have good relations with China which date back to the days of the
liberation struggle. We have always and we will continue trying to
strenghten the ties and notably after independence, we adopted the Look East
Policy. Now even the US and Europe are looking east," said the President.

Speaking after the meeting with Mugabe, Admiral Tong praised the friendly
relations between his country and Zanu-PF, adding that further cooperation
is required at a military level.

"The main purpose of our visit is to further promote the friendly relations
between China and Zanu-PF, and also cooperation between the Chinese army and
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in particular," he said.

The Chinese delegation, which is on a three day visit in the country, was
accompanied by Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Commander of
the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga when it met

Mugabe spoke of the good relations between Zimbabwe and China as well as the
Chinese defence forces.

The ageing tyranny’s murderous ZANU (PF) regime in Zimbabwe is being
enriched by blood diamonds even as the longsuffering Zimbabwe people are
suffering one of the worst economic melt downs in history.

National Suicide

More than half of the total population of Zimbabwe have fled the country,
which is inflicted with the highest unemployment and worst inflation world
wide. Now, numerous credible reports have revealed how Mugabe has continued
to stay in power despite the economic suicide of having destroyed the over
5,000 white commercial farms, which were once the major employer, main
source of foreign exchange earnings and which had effectively fed the
10million population.

The China Connection

Mugabe and his Marxists politburo have been enriching themselves with blood
diamonds from the Marange diamond fields in South East Zimbabwe. The area
has been declared a military zone and the area cleared of its local
inhabitants. Many hundreds have been killed and the tribes which inhabited
this area for generations have been chased away.

The Chinese Peoples Liberation Army is supervising the diamond mining in
Marange and Antanov cargo planes are transporting the diamonds exploited
from Marange directly from the bush runway to China. The Marange diamond
fields are believed to be one of the largest diamond fields in the world
with a potential of up to a quarter of all diamonds mined around the globe.
In return for the diamonds the Chinese military are supplying weapons and
other essential materials to keep the unpopular Mugabe regime in power in

Military Hardware for Diamonds

Zimbabwean human rights officials have documented numerous cases of murder
and torture of civilians who have strayed into the Marange diamond fields.
The weapons for diamonds deal between Zimbabwe and China was reportedly set
up by General Constantine Chiwenga. The Mbada Diamond Company has been
fronted by Mugabe appointees such as Robert Mhlanga, along with Chinese
partners Deng Hongyan Zhang, Shibin Zhang Hui, Jiang Zhaoyao and Cheng Qins.
Refugees from Marange have horror stories of atrocities and abuse by the
Zimbabwe and Chinese military.

China Moves into Africa

China’s trade with Africa has risen four fold in the last six years and is
estimated to exceed US$100billion this year. China has now overtaken Britain
to become Africa’s third most important trading partner, after the USA and

A New Colonialism

Angola, Algeria, the Congo, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Sudan and Zimbabwe are
among prominent nations in Africa which are purchasing weapons from Red
China by selling their mineral rights. Despite the international ban on
ivory poaching, the Marxist ZANU government of Zimbabwe has sold ivory to
Red China in exchange for jet fighters, tanks and other military hardware.

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Mugabe Is King And Should Die In Office - Chief

Bulawayo, March 08, 2012 - Chief Musarurwa who is also the Mashonaland East
provincial chairman for traditional chiefs has declared President Robert
Mugabe as “King and who will die in office”.

Musarurwa told the four days Chiefs Annual Conference that kicked off at
Bulawayo's Large City Hall on Wednesday: “Zimbabwe is ruled by a monarch and
President Robert Mugabe is our King. Mugabe is our King who will die ruling
Zimbabwe. Those who are saying we should remove him through elections are
wasting their time.”

Musarurwa added: “Elections and democracy were brought by the white
colonialists. As Zimbabwe traditional chiefs, we do not believe in that, but
we believe in our monarch that is why we still support Mugabe, we want him
to continue as Zimbabwe leader and not only as Zanu-(PF) leader”.

Musarurwa also blasted magistrate and police saying “they do not respect
traditional chiefs’ courts as they don’t enforce their judgments.”

The Chiefs Annual Conference is held under the theme: ’Traditional
Leaders:-Realigning Culture and Traditions towards Dynamic Community
Development and Empowerment' and is due to be opened by President Robert
Mugabe on Thursday.

At the same meeting, some chiefs demanded guns and diplomatic passports.

“We want guns so that we can protect ourselves, because in our communities
there are some people who have no respect for the chiefs. Especially
politicians we are asking them to respect us, so that we can live together
peaceful in the community,” said Chief Dandawa, chairman in Mashonaland West

The chief's demands for guns came three months after Tongai Matutu; the
Deputy Minister of Youth and MDC-T Masvingo Urban constituency MP was
convicted of assaulting Chief Serima and fined $100 or five days in prison.
But Matutu denied that he assaulted Chief Serima saying Zanu (PF) wanted to
fix him.

Speaking at the same occasion Chief Nembire who represented Mashonaland
Central province chiefs said the government should give them diplomatic

"We are respected people in the society therefore we should get diplomatic
passports. We have said this before,” said Nembire.

He added that the government should drill boreholes at their homes and also
give them free fuel.

The traditional chiefs also demanded bodyguards during elections, a share in
Community Development Fund (CDF), free duty on vehicles, farms among other

The President of the chiefs’ council Chief Fortune Charumbira said "he is
not happy that the government takes long to meet their grievances".

This year the chiefs were invited to the National Annual Chiefs Conference
together with their wives.

Present at the conference was Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo and
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made who promised to meet the chiefs’

Meanwhile spouses of traditional chiefs who are also attending the annual
chiefs’ conference with their husbands were taken around on a tour at
Matopos National Park.

The wives were transported to the World heritage site in ZUPCO buses
decorated with President Robert Mugabe’s campaign posters.

The chief’s spouses are attending the annual retreat for the first time in
the history of the conference.

“We used to come to these meetings without our wives. Last year we
complained to the Minister of Local government, Ingenious Chombo that we
want to came with our wives at such meetings because of the HIV /AIDS
pandemic,” said chief Mwapa from Mashonaland East.

The chiefs and their wives have been booked in five star hotels in the city.
According to investigations carried out by Radio VOP, bed and breakfast for
an individual cost between US$95 and $150.The three day conference is
expected to host over 1 000 delegates.

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Zimbabwe Govt. Could Acquire River Ranch Mine

07 March 2012

Dubai-based Rani Investment is negotiating with the Zimbabwe government for
the sale of its shareholding in Limpopo Mining Resources through which it
owns the River Ranch diamond mine in southern Zimbabwe, along the border
with South Africa, according to local media reports.

Rani Investment, which is owned by Saudi businessman Adel Aujan, is an
investment holding firm for the Aujan Group with more than US$300 million of
committed investments in the Middle East and Africa, reports the Zimbabwe
Independent. According to the company's website, the Aujan Group was founded
in 1905 as a trading company in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. The
company has subsidiaries in manufacturing, real estate, hospitality, mining,
trading, and distribution sectors.

The decision to sell its stake in Limpopo Mining comes as Rani Investment is
realigning its financial and management resources to focus on its core
business in hospitality and tourism in Zimbabwe and the region, reports the
state-run Herald, which adds that the company owns a hotel in Zimbabwe.
Additionally, sources say that recent efforts to recapitalize the River
Ranch mine, through input from the minority shareholders, have failed. In a
statement, Rani Investment said it believed government was best placed to
develop and expand the mine's operations, notes the Herald.

Aujan injected a total of US$41.4 million worth of loans into Limpopo Mining
between February 1999 and October 2001, and in 2004 appointed a new board to
oversee operations at the mine, according to the news source.

If the deal goes through, Murowa Diamonds, owned by Rio Tinto, will remain
the only diamond-mining company in the country in which the Zimbabwe
government does not have involvement. Through the Zimbabwe Minerals
Development Corporation (ZMDC), the Zimbabwe government has various joint
ventures in the Marange diamond concessions with Mbada Diamonds, Diamond
Mining Corporation, Anjin Investments, and wholly owns Marange Resources.

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Bail application for MDC members postponed for 3rd time

By Tichaona Sibanda
07 March 2012

Twenty-six MDC-T members facing charges of murdering a police officer will
remain behind bars after their bail hearing on Thursday was postponed for
the third time this week.

The 26 MDC-T members are being accused of murdering police inspector, Petros
Mutedza in Harare last year.

High Court judge, Justice Felistas Chitakunye, said she wanted time to go
through the state’s response on the bail application and had no choice but
to postpone it to Friday. The group was taken back into custody last week
Thursday after being indicted for trial, which starts next week. The MDC-T
denies its activists were involved in the murder of Mutedza saying the cop
was fatally assaulted by ordinary patrons at a Glen View bar who were
discussing football. The activists had been held in prison for 9 months and
had only been released on bail a week ago.

UK based MDC-T activist, Winnifrida Mabuzane, told SW Radio Africa that it
was a wrong practice by the state to condemn their members before a trial.

‘Innocent until proven guilty is a valued principle of any legal system but
ZANU PF is abusing this principle to crackdown on its opponents. The country
is going for an election soon and it is obvious ZANU PF is intensifying a
crackdown against perceived MDC-T supporters,’ Mabuzane said.

Meanwhile in Chiredzi Masvingo Province, the whereabouts of the MDC-T’s
Rasmos Mutsenhuki, remain unknown, a week after he was picked up by the

MDC-T MP for Bikita South Jani Vharandeni said Mutsenhuki has not been seen
since the day he was picked up by detectives from Chiredzi. Efforts by the
party, Mutsenhuki’s relatives and lawyers to locate him have yielded

A leading human rights activist, Paul Chizuze, has been missing since the
evening of 8th February this year. Over the last three decades, Paul has
been either employed by, or active with, the Legal Resources Foundation,
Amani Trust Matabeleland, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace,
ZimRights, Churches in Bulawayo, CivNet, and Masakhaneni Trust.

Family and friends fear for his life after he disappeared. There are
suspicions he may have been murdered, hijacked or abducted by parties
unknown. His car, a white twin cab Nissan hardbody Reg Number ACJ 3446 is
also missing.

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Granny-headed Households in Zimbabwe under Stress

07/03/2012 – With 1.4 million orphans in Zimbabwe, many of the nation’s
grandmothers have taken over the responsibility for their wellbeing.

Three decades from the time that the first clinical evidence of the HIV and
AIDS viruses came out, the pandemic continues to stalk millions of people
across the globe—most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 30 million people have died from
AIDS-related causes, leaving it to charities, state-run institutions and
grandmothers to care for their orphaned children.

Most of the HIV-positive population is sexually active; this group also
tends to be the most productive part of society and parents of children.
HIV/AIDS has not only caused major consequences for health, but has wreaked
havoc on communities’ social fabric, causing family breakdown and increases
in grandmother- and child-headed households.

“I am not getting any help to fend for my grandchildren. I struggle everyday
to put food on the table and make sure that these children get a decent
education and medication among other things,” said 78-year-old Ambuya
Mtombeni to a local Zimbabwean news source. Ms. Mtombeni lost her daughter
to AIDS and now cares for her three grandchildren.

According to a report by the Commission on HIV and AIDS and Governance in
Africa, “most people caring for children orphaned by HIV and AIDS were over
50 years of age. Of those, over 70% were 60 years or older.”

A 2007 study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and
Help Age International showed that about 40-60% of the orphans (and other
vulnerable children) being cared for by elderly persons live with two other

Tending to households of three or more children is already a challenging
task for many parents, let alone for one burdened by age and poverty.

In this vein, a case study on Zimbabwe by the World Health Organization
(WHO), entitled the Impact of AIDS on Older People in Africa, found that
“older caregivers are under serious financial, physical and emotional stress
due to their care-giving responsibilities.”

Help Age Zimbabwe is a nongovernmental organization helping elderly persons
aged 60 or above in Zvishavane. The group provides granny-headed households
with farming supplies and monthly cash payment (if the head of household
over 80), builds toilets and constructs boreholes.

One million of the 1.4 million orphans who live in Zimbabwe lost one or both
of their parents to AIDS-related illnesses.

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Honor women by naming and shaming Zimbabwe

Here in Geneva, at the Human Rights Council, on International Women’s Day, I have a case I want to make. It’s about Zimbabwe. It should have been made by the United Nations, but it hasn’t been made by the United Nations. Frankly, that’s unforgiveable.

Let me set it out. And please bear with me for a few minutes of background, leading to a decisive revelation.

In Zimbabwe in 2008, there were two elections; the second was a run-off, held because Robert Mugabe refused to concede defeat. They were held in March and June. Between the two elections, there was a terrible campaign of political rape orchestrated by President Mugabe and his party, ZANU-PF.

The facts are not in dispute. My organization, AIDS-Free World, at the request of a group called The Girl-Child Network, decided to respond to the women who had been raped and take their stories by way of formal affidavits. On six separate occasions, accompanied by lawyers from pro bono law firms in Canada and the United States, we traveled to southern Africa and took the affidavits.

We gathered evidence from 70 women. Collectively, they were subjected to 380 separate rapes by 271 different men. In every single instance, the rapes were committed against women solely because they directly or indirectly supported the MDC, the opposition party.

The raping was diabolical, completely without conscience, merciless in its ferocity, committed by members of Mugabe’s Youth Corps and War Veterans. The pattern of rape was identical and uniform in every part of the country. It was carried out in every province. There was no doubt as to its orchestration. There was no doubt that it constituted crimes against humanity.

It was rape as a strategy of politics, no different in its execution and result than rape as a strategy of conflict. It was meant to terrorize the opposition, to destroy communities and families that harbored the opposition, to force women to vote for ZANU-PF, or to frighten women, their family members and neighbors away from the polls altogether. The fact that women might emerge as HIV-positive from such horror, mattered not at all.

It is not excessive to say that it was the plan of a madman.

AIDS-Free World meticulously documented the saga and produced a comprehensive report titled “Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.” We launched it in Johannesburg in December of 2009.

It garnered significant coverage in southern Africa, and from that day to this we’ve been telling anyone who would listen to us, within the United Nations and outside of the United Nations, that the international community must intervene because this strategy of rape is historic and it is ongoing. Women will be subject to terrifying sexual assault again during the next elections, expected to be held later this year.

We went so far as to prepare a case to be brought before the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in South Africa to take advantage of South Africa’s ability to use the legal principle of “universal jurisdiction” – that is, bringing those accused of crimes against humanity to justice through courts outside their own countries, because the crimes offend us all, and their own countries won’t prosecute. We were frustrated in that objective by the response to another case, also against Mugabe and Zimbabwe, alleging crimes of torture in 2007. The application of universal jurisdiction is stalled in that case, because the NPA argued that it didn’t have jurisdiction. The decision was appealed. There was no point in our proceeding until the question of the NPA’s jurisdiction was resolved.

Interestingly, the High Court of Gauteng has agreed to hear the appeal at the end of this month, so we will file our rape dossier before the NPA by May.

But while that may get some of the known perpetrators into jail should they cross into South Africa, the women who have been raped, will never receive justice, and those who most certainly will be raped in advance of the next election, will not be safe until the international community intervenes.

AIDS-Free World had resolved to apply pressure in every possible way to forestall a repetition of election-related raping later this year. But we have frankly felt deeply frustrated and depressed by the impunity that rests like an impenetrable halo over Robert Mugabe’s head.

Why will no one take him on? The days of Zimbabwe’s role as a Front-Line state against apartheid are long, long gone. Everyone — every country on the Security Council — knows of the sexual violence; knows what is being done to the women of Zimbabwe who dare to support the opposition; knows that a brutal, insensate regime is in power in the country. It appears to make no difference.

In the councils of the United Nations — indeed, here in the affairs of the Human Rights Council, where Zimbabwe has recently undergone its Universal Periodic Review and appeared before the Treaty Body for CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of ALL Forms of Discrimination Against Women just last month — it is de rigueur to rail against dozens of countries for violence against women, but Zimbabwe is always exempt.

On this International Women’s Day, we have to resolve to break the pattern. Incredibly enough, the chink in the armor of Zimbabwe’s impunity has finally been exposed.

Let me explain how it plays out.

Back in December of 2010, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1960. It was focused entirely on sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, bemoaning the extremely slow progress made in bringing any of the perpetrators to justice. In order to attempt to correct the situation, and in response to Resolutions 1820 and 1888 also dealing explicitly with sexual violence in conflict, the Security Council asked the Secretary-General, in his annual reports on the issue, to include “detailed information on parties to armed conflict that are credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for rape or other forms of sexual violence,” and to list the parties in an annex.

It became known as the “Naming and Shaming” resolution. There’s no question: it was important progress.

In January of this year, as requested, the Secretary-General submitted his report titled “Conflict-related sexual violence”. And it named names. It went through country after country — Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan (Darfur) — identifying the groups and sometimes individual assailants who were responsible for campaigns of rape between December 2010 and November 2011.

The next section predictably deals with “conflict-related sexual violence in post-conflict situations”, again naming names, or discussing the situation in detail, and citing Central African Republic, Chad, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste.

As we moved through the reading of the report, my colleagues and I were tormented by the all-consuming focus on “sexual violence in conflict” that seemed to preclude the inclusion of Zimbabwe. How could we explain to the world, and to the Secretary-General that sexual violence in conflict didn’t always require warring parties? How could we explain that sexual violence driven by political motives was simply a different kind of conflict, of similar scale and import, needing equally to be addressed.

And then we came to page 21!

The heading is “Sexual Violence in the context of elections, political strife and civil unrest.” I was stunned.

The first paragraph couldn’t have been more explicit:

“Situations of civil and political unrest or instability, including pre- and post-electoral violence, where reports suggest that sexual violence was used to serve political ends and to target opponents, are relevant for the purpose of reporting under resolution 1960. Sexual violence employed as part of the repertoire of political repression needs to be monitored as a security threat, as a context in which sexual violence amounting to a crime against humanity may occur, and as a potential conflict situation.”

This is the exact definition of Zimbabwe in 2008, and what undoubtedly will be Zimbabwe in 2012. So which countries does the report name? Guinea, Kenya, Egypt and Syria.

What in heaven’s name is going on? AIDS-Free World was appalled by the post-election rape that haunted Kenya; collectively, we’ve spent months on it; assigned an intern to gather material; helped to design a conference that addressed it; and the co-Director of AIDS-Free World and I spent a week in Nairobi interviewing between fifteen and twenty activists, mostly from women’s groups, shortly after the post-election violence.

What they reported was awful; but the scale of the raping didn’t begin to approximate Zimbabwe. The Secretary-General’s report ends the section on Kenya with these words: “Generally, Kenya remains peaceful but the political environment is expected to continue to be charged as the country heads for the next general elections in 2012. Accordingly, there is continued monitoring and peace-building initiatives … in view of the potential for repeated violence and population displacement.”

If Kenya remains ominous for the repeat of sexual violence in 2012, then Zimbabwe is many times more threatening. And as bad as things have been and are in Egypt, Guinea, and yes, even Syria, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe beats them all for the scale of repression and rape throughout the 32 years he has been leading the country.

Why is Zimbabwe missing from the list? Why does the Secretariat allow it to happen, especially when a section of the Secretary-General’s own report cries out for the inclusion of Zimbabwe? The report is seen as a document that will change the course of history for women. It was debated by the Security Council for the first time just two weeks ago. Any analysis of the language of the report must conclude that Zimbabwe is the very embodiment of what’s being reviled, and is now definitively within the orbit of the actions to be taken on sexual violence by the United Nations.

So I must ask: why does the Security Council call for naming and shaming and then observe the omission of Zimbabwe without so much as a word? Nor, I might add, a word from the Human Rights Council. What hold does Robert Mugabe have on the Permanent Members of the Security Council, or on the member governments of the Human Rights Council? Does no one recognize the blow to the public credibility of the UN in both New York and Geneva when such obvious matters of principle are discarded?

It can’t be allowed to go on. Zimbabwe is now — by fact, by logic, by circumstance, by morality, by behavior — an organic extension of the Secretary-General’s report. It’s a travesty that of all the countries named, Zimbabwe is missing.

It smacks of a dreadful hypocrisy; it’s an unsettling glimpse into what might be called the collusion of camaraderie … that cozy male bonding when everyone agrees, behind closed doors, to be silent. It shows unsettling contempt for the women of Zimbabwe who have been raped by President Mugabe’s henchmen.

Someone has to correct this wrong. Neither the Secretary-General himself nor a single member of the Security Council can explain or defend it. Not after the words in the report.

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End political violence against women: Rau

By Staff Writer
Thursday, 08 March 2012 14:47

HARARE - Today, the Research and Advocacy Unit (Rau), NGO working on
providing specialist assistance in research and advocacy in the field of
human rights, democracy and governance calls on the Zimbabwean government to
eradicate politically-motivated violence against women as it is a drawback
to the development of communities in commemoration of International Women’s

Rau is deeply concerned with the manner in which political violence has
contributed to poverty and poverty traps for rural women. Political violence
as witnessed during the 2008 disputed elections resulted in the injury of
many women, leaving them maimed and unable to fend for their families.

Breadwinners were killed or disappeared resulting in income losses and at
times forcing families into abject poverty. Homes were destroyed and whole
granaries of harvest burnt to ashes.

This loss of assets forced many women into deprivation and economic distress
from which they are still to recover.

In many of the cases, national leadership, traditional leadership and the
police were unresponsive to the women’s pleas for protection and

Rau also notes that political violence affected education and literacy, two
important factors to the eradication of poverty among rural populations.

The disruption in schools by political campaigns as well as the setting up
of political bases at schools created security fears among communities as
schools had become political battlefields.

As a result the girlchild dropped out of school and teachers fled to “safe”
zones, depriving especially rural school children of skilled teachers and
the teachers of their sources of livelihood.

Political violence also impacted the delivery of health services which is an
essential indicator of poverty in any country.

Victims of the violence incurred injuries, ill-health and severe
psychological damage. Most of these individuals have still not received
adequate redress.

Rau expresses concern with lack of the eradication of poverty, especially
among rural youths as such persistent poverty created grounds for youths’
increased participation in violent campaigns during the 2008 elections.

The organisation also calls on the government to end political violence
against women in Zimbabwe by bringing perpetrators to book, providing
assistance to victims and preventing recurrence of such violence in the
future as part of their ongoing campaign.

It further calls for the involvement of women in positive and committed
reconciliation processes because this is not only a question of justice but
also sustainable development.

Rau calls for humanitarian and psychosocial support for all the women
affected by political violence as reiterated in the Global Political
Agreement and the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender
and Development which protects and upholds women’s human rights to which
Zimbabwe is a party.

It also implores the government to direct the Zimbabwe Republic Police to
investigate and prosecute all perpetrators of political violence against

In the absence of such measures, the recurrence of violence is highly
likely. Such violence only serves to entrench regression of the status of
women, especially rural women into poverty.

*Rau is the Research and Advocacy Unit, 2 Ernies Lane, Monavale, Harare.
Tel. 339421


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The MDC Today - Issue 216

Thursday, 08 March 2012

In a show of confidence on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s ability as a peace-maker, the Sudanese government has called on the Premier to help end tension with South Sudan.

The request cements the Prime Minister’s position as a man of peace despite suffering brutality at the hands of an autocratic, former Zimbabwean regime.
Ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, Elsiddieg Aziz Abdalla made the request to Prime Minister Tsvangirai after paying a him a Courtesy Call in Harare on Thursday. Abdalla urged the Premier to deplore the situation currently prevailing in his country and enhance the bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Sudan.
“I came here to discuss with the Prime Minister ways and means of enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries, particularly on the tension between the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan and plead with the Prime Minister to help ease the tension in our country,” said Abdalla.

Soon after meeting the ambassador for South Sudan, the premier also met Japanese Ambassador, Yonezo Fukuda at his Munhumutapa Offices. Ambassador Fukuda said the investment potential of Zimbabwe has continually been exhibited by the influx of investors in the country.

The envoy said Japan was keen to do business with Zimbabwe owing to the vast investment potential the southern African country possesses. “We would like to engage in investment deals with Zimbabwe and right now companies are coming to Zimbabwe to assess the business prospects in this country. We also intend to invite the Prime Minister to Japan so that we are not left behind in the investment prospects of this country,” said Fukuda.

Last week, Prime Minister Tsvangirai graced a two-day investment conference in South Africa where he spoke on Zimbabwe’s† investment potential which he said was being hindered by acts of sabotage being perpetrated by his coalition partner, ZANU (PF).

Speaking at the conference Prime Minister Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was on its journey towards economic recovery and would soon become an investment attraction.

“This event is a testimony of the painstaking journey we have travelled towards normalising the political, social and economic environment in our country. This tells you how, as Zimbabweans, we have sought to unleash our dreams and to make the necessary steps for a sound economic future. Over the past year, I have attended several investment fora in and outside Zimbabwe and I have been heartened by renewed business confidence in our country despite the political problems still dogging us,” said Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

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

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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MDC Assembly of Women International Women’s Day Statement

Thursday,08 March 2012

Theme: Empower Rural Women- End Hunger and Poverty

The assembly of women celebrates women as agents of real change working tirelessly towards a New Democratic Zimbabwe. The role of women in their diversity is critical for sustainable development and peace. The future of Zimbabwe remains an area of concern as women continue to be vulnerable to all forms of violence and discrimination with impunity. More than 70% of the population of women lives in rural areas and continue to have limited access to land, health, education and justice. There are laws and policies that Zimbabwe has committed to promote and advance women’s rights that continue not to be implemented. Time is now for prioritisation and ensuring women access and control of equal opportunities and resources.

There are women and girls who experienced politically motivated rape since 2000 and continue to live with trauma and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV.† Poverty and hunger continue to deteriorate the living standards of many with ZANU PF in a crusade of partisan distribution of food, resources and economic empowerment grants. There is an increase in girl child school dropouts, early marriages, teenage pregnancies, child headed households, child labour, commercial sex work with young girls being the mostly affected.

Most rural women MDC activists and leadership are disenfranchised because their identity cards were stolen to disenfranchise them, and their children have no birth certificates ensuring that they cannot get identity cards and they cannot to vote. As the country prepares for the next election women are registering to vote and want an environment that guarantees the security of the person, the security of the vote and the security of the people’s will.

To women of Zimbabwe, be assured the Movement for Democratic Change is ready to deliver real change, and that for the first time you will experience a new democratic Zimbabwe with jobs, food, upliftment and equal representation in decision making. Work is in progress on the finalisation of the constitution making process, key reforms for free and fair elections. We hope that this will enable Zimbabwe to be counted amongst the free nations of the world and our country will shed the pariah status once and for all.

Happy International Women’s Day!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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PM Tsvangirai’s speech at the launch of the MDC’s minimum conditions for document for a sustainable election in Zimbabwe (CoSEZ) Harare

Thursday, 08 March† 2012

Vice President Hon. Thokozani Khupe
Members of the Standing Committee, the National Executive and the National Council
Hon. MPs and Senators here present
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I feel greatly honoured to be part of this great event today. Today is an important day for the people of Zimbabwe who are facing the sternest test yet as they brace for what is definitely a watershed period in this transition. I am not going to deliver a speech, but I am merely going to restate the national wish for the conditions we all want before a credible election is held in this country.

The document we launch here today, the Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe (CoSEZ)† captures our own expectations as the MDC on those conditions that should prevail in the country for a free and fair poll.

In fact, it is a misnomer to call it an MDC document because the conditions captured here are those things that all the parties to the coalition have agreed to in the GPA. We are not seeking to reinvent the wheel, but to restate those conditions that we all have agreed to as political parties but which have fallen short at the implementation stage mainly because our coalition partners have decided to renege and to betray their own signatures.

The GPA is clear on what should happen before the next election if we are to have a free and fair election that should produce a credible and legitimate government.

Paramount among the things we have agreed are a new Constitution, political, electoral, media and other key reforms that are necessary to vaccinate the next election against the virus of 2008. Instead of this transitional government implementing these key reforms, we have in fact witnessed intransigence in terms of pluralising the media, implementing the land audit, cessation of violence and security re-alignment, among other reforms.

Instead of the security sector realigning itself to the dictates of the new inclusive dispensation, we have instead been told by a few individuals at the helm of these sectors that anyone other than President Mugabe, even if they win an election, will not be able to take up their mandate.

They have even gone further to dismiss the significance of an electoral process by saying that they will not tolerate a new regime in Harare ushered in through the ballot because President Mugabe cannot be removed by a “mere pen which costs less than five cents.”

These are serious issues that need to be addressed so that the security of the person, the security of the vote and the security of the people’s will are all guaranteed before we even start to cast our ballots.

Media reforms as agreed in the GPA have not been implemented and the responsible Minister and his officials are arrogantly ducking from implementing what we have agreed as Principals, as Cabinet and as political parties. They have instead gone further to ban foreign newspapers and to grant radio licences to companies aligned to a political party.

We have instead become a laughing stock because in this day and age, you cannot have a government that spends time crafting laws that control information rather than facilitate its dissemination!

In short, all the 24† issues agreed by the parties and endorsed by Cabinet, which would have created conditions for a free and fair election have not been implemented because they are some among us who regard reforms as a way of ceding power. In this regard, we hope that the SADC facilitation team will be able to unlock some of the logjams and ensure that we abide by our own agreement and SADC’s own minimum conditions on the conduct of† free and fair elections.

As the MDC and as critical stakeholders in the next election, today we are drawing a line in the sand by restating those conditions that will yield a credible poll and result in a peaceful poll in this country.

As a party, our participation in the next election will largely depend on the implementation of those reforms and the creation of conditions that SADC itself has laid as the baseline conditions for holding elections in this region.

The experience of disputed elections accompanied by needless loss of blood in Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Ivory Coast cannot be repeated and the conditions contained in the document we are launching today, which in any case are SADC’s minimum conditions for elections, will go a long way in closing the recurrence of violence and bloodshed.

We are heartened that the SADC region continues to restate the importance of key reforms ahead of the conduct of the next polls. This is important if we are to poise Zimbabwe towards a new path of progress, peace, stability and development and the region has an important role to play in this regard.

We are not afraid of an election but we will definitely not participate in a war. It is because of this that the MDC will not be stampeded into a sham election that is not predicated on the necessary reforms.

I wish to reiterate that the date for the next election is process-driven and until the conclusion of the Constitution-making process and the implementation of key media, electoral and political reforms will the President and I agree on a date for the polls. Zimbabweans want a peaceful election and not a war. That is what the people of this country want and that is what SADC wants.

The whims of individuals and individual political parties cannot sway us away from the collective position that we have all adopted and agreed to in the GPA under the facilitation of SADC and guaranteed by the AU. That collective position is more important than individual and self-serving statements that may from time to time come from Morgan Tsvangirai, Robert Mugabe, Arthur Mutambara or Welshman Ncube.†

As Principals, we are now seized with the Constitution-making process and we have asked the COPAC management committee to furnish us with a trajectory of how they expect the process to pan out so that we can begin to have an idea of when we can hold the next election.

I am very clear on the process, that apart from the Constitution and other reforms, we have to look at the issue of the ZEC secretariat, a new voters’ roll, non-violence and other key steps necessary to ensure a free, fair and credible poll.

I said last week that we are aware of the plot to frustrate us, to wear us down and to force us out of this transitional arrangement but we have a mandate and a covenant with the people.† We will brave on and ensure that we hold a free and fair poll by creating an environment that will guarantee the security of the person, the security of the vote and the security of the people’s will.

The way forward for Zimbabwe remains a free and fair election but one only predicated by a process. Anything else would be a circus. A circus or a bloodbath masquerading as an election would be a mockery and an insult to South Africa, SADC and the AU who have all been painstakingly working for the past four years to ensure that we hold a credible poll and set the foundation for a prosperous Zimbabwe.

The lesson of 2008 is that Zimbabwe cannot afford anything other than a credible poll. Zanu PF is stalling the election because most of the reforms reside in their ministries. If these are implemented tomorrow, we can go to an election any time. The ball is clearly in their court.

So as we launch this document, we are guided by the cries of death that we heard from all those victims of violence in 2008.

We have in our minds those who were abducted, including our parents and relatives who lost homes and who to this day bear visible scars of that violent election.
We still have in our minds all those who were murdered through Operation Mavhotera Papi; that shameful vengeful campaign in which many were butchered and maimed for simply voting for change.

We will not allow that to happen again.

And as long as we implement the minimum conditions in this document, Zimbabweans shall peacefully walk to the ballot, well aware that there will be no retribution for exercising their right to vote leaders of their choice.

The onus is on us in this coalition, on SADC and the AU to walk with us. Today is International Women’s Day and I know that the women of this country have borne the brunt of violence and repression. We owe it to them to create a peaceful country and to enable them to pursue their dreams, to work for the country and above all to enable them to live and vote in peace.

As a country, we have walked the road of violence, fear and intimidation but we are not prepared to walk it forever more. I remain hopeful that the people of this country will vote freely in the next election. I know that they will use the next election to consign the past to the dustbin and vote for a future; a future that can only be guaranteed and sustained by an MDC government.

God bless You
And God bless Zimbabwe

I thank You

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Pissing on the long-term future in Zimbabwe

Got to confess to more confusion now. Short-term gain vs. long-term disaster
is dumb, but makes a wee bit of sense. But this!

Last week someone from the accommodations at Avondale Police station drove
into our Durawall. It was about 0300 in the morning but he woke someone up.
It was a Toyota Prada, and the driver parked, got out, and walked into the
accommodation area with a beer bottle in his hand. One section of our wall
panels is destroyed. An initial report was made at Avondale Traffic – RRB
1331739, to a Sergeant, and next morning a couple of us went across to get
the full story – TAB 228/12.

The full story we got was that we were making allegations that he was a
policeman, or known to the police, and allegations that he was drunk. And
why did we not get the licence plate number?

All well and good, these were allegations. We did not KNOW anything (except
the wall was destroyed)!

So, we are back again the next day to see the right person, and the day
after that, and finally we discover that an admission of guilt has been
signed and a fine paid. “But, we want our wall fixed.” Come back and we will
give you the papers on the alleged culprit, and your insurance company can
sue his insurance company and and, and, …

Immediately I have to make a correction. “If he has signed an admission of
guilt, it is no longer an allegation.” He has committed a crime.

Ah yes, well, come back …

And in the meantime, while watching the hole in our wall, we discover that a
load of Durawall panels has been dropped off and it looks like the wall will
be fixed. Which is fine. We have what we want. Our short-term gain is

But the criminal who broke our wall? (Allegedly a drunken policeman). There
was definitely a conspiracy on the part of the police to cover up for him.
First, they were not sure they could locate, or even identify whoever it
might be. Then, we were making allegations against the police! Then, he was
found, but even after signing an admission of guilt, he was still an
‘alleged’ criminal. And to date, no name has ever been given to us. However,
he has a criminal record. He paid a fine. He is fixing the wall. What
short-term gain did he get?

As for long-term disaster?

The police have serious mud on their faces. Smeared all over. They stink.
And for what gain? First, they have not managed to harbour any fugitive, he
was still caught and he has still paid for breaking the law. And now they,
the whole Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), are seen as an organisation that
attempts to cover for criminals. The whole block of flats now believes the
police are not to be trusted. Not to be given information. Not to be drawn
into any activity. So even the good ones (and there are many) are seen as
being less than ‘real men’. Less than decent humans.

After all, what would be the decent, human, ‘real man’, thing to do? It is
an accident, a mistake, an error. And what does a decent human do when they
make a mistake? They confess to it, and apologise. Go next door and say,
“Sorry I broke your wall. I was drunk, it was a mistake, so sorry. I will
fix it.” You have nothing to gain by not doing that. You still have your
criminal record, you still have paid your fine, and you still have to fix
the wall. So why not do it nicely?

Why drag the entire police force into it, and make them complicit, in your
drunken mistake? You have gained nothing by doing it all underhand. You have
only lost your credibility. And lost a good deal of credibility for the
entire ZRP.

So, destroying your long-term future for short-term gain (like shooting all
the rhinos to make money now, and making them extinct) may be more than just
a little bit silly. But there is at least a short-term gain. It does make
some, immediate, sense. But pissing away your long-term future for no
immediate gain is just, well … not a course of action I would recommend.

It is sheer stupidity.

This entry was posted on March 8th, 2012 at 12:38 pm by Michael Laban

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