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Three MDC-T youths arrested after registering to vote

By Alex Bell
15 May 2013

Three youth members of the MDC-T were arrested on Wednesday morning, with
police accusing the group of attempting to ‘usurp’ the powers of the
Registrar General’s office.

Cabangani Tshuma, Willard Nsingo and Masiza Ndlovu were arrested at
Mahlathini Primary School in Cowdray Park after registering to vote. It is
understood that police targeted the three because they had copies of their
registration receipts.

SW Radio Africa’s correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that the youths
were held at Bulawayo Central Police Station throughout the day and
questioned. By Wednesday evening, no charges had been formally brought
before the three

“Their lawyer said the three had got some donations from well-wishers to go
and register, so they had the copies of their registrations receipts so they
could show people. The police are now accusing them of trying to usurp the
power of the Registrar General, but they haven’t been formally charged,”
Saungweme said.

Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, a group of other youths from the Mthwakazi
Youth Leaders Joint Resolution group handed themselves over to police in
Bulawayo. The group’s leader, Mqondisi Moyo, was ordered by two Bulawayo
inspectors to answer to the cops over an incident at a Plumtree primary
school in January this year.

Saungweme reported that the youth group had gone to Makuzeze School to
support the local Parent Teachers Association (PTA), who had complained
about alleged embezzlement of funds there, and the teaching standards.

“There had been accusations of misappropriation of funds and that the
headmistress had transferred the only Ndebele teacher at the school away,
leaving only Shona speaking teachers. The youths went there and supported
the PTA. Now there are accusations from the school authorities to say that
they (the youths) grabbed the school keys from the headmistress and were
violent,” Saungweme reported.

On Wednesday morning it is understood that police were planning to arrest
all the youths involved in the incident in Plumtree by raiding their houses.
The group however made a joint decision to hand themselves over and face
questioning, with the presence of a lawyer.

“By the end of the day (Wednesday) all their phones were switched off and it
wasn’t clear if there are any charges being laid against them,” Saungweme

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New voter registration exercise in pipeline

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

Herald Reporters
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is considering a new mobile voter
registration exercise after observing that the current one that ends on
Sunday was slow and would not capture all those interested in voting in the
harmonised elections expected before June 29.

Speaking after touring four mobile voter registration centres in Harare and
Chitungwiza yesterday, Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the
electoral body would meet on Friday to come up with modalities for the new

A new 30-day voter registration is provided for under the Constitutional
Amendment Bill Number 20 which should commence when the proposed
Constitution takes effect.

“I am disheartened at the nature of the whole exercise,” said Justice
Makarau. “The queues are long and are not being served effectively. This
means we need to re-organise and re-strategise. We may need to reconsider.
We may need a new voter registration exercise.

“The entire system is not coping. Voter education is not adequate. The
commissioners will meet on Friday to come up with one position. We need to
agree as the commissioners.”

Justice Makarau said she hoped the new exercise would be well funded and
well coordinated.

Justice Makarau, who was accompanied by her deputy Mrs Joyce Kazembe during
the tour, observed long queues and spoke to people who complained about the
“stringent” requirements to register as voters.

The people were not happy with the slow pace of registration.
Some of the people were having to follow the mobile registration teams to
other centres after failing to register, while at some centres officials
reported that they were being blocked by the people from leaving the venues
after close of business.

Justice Makarau said the two voter educators deployed per district to
educate the people on the voter registration exercise were not enough.
She said only US$500 000 had been released to Zec for voter education and
registration monitoring, which was not enough.

“We need funding because we need to be in every ward,” she said. “We are
being hampered from carrying out a legal mandate.”
Justice Makarau said those who wanted to register were being frustrated as
they were being made to wait in queues for too long.

She said while Zec had not set a target for the number of people to be
registered, statistics based on the constitutional referendum last month
show that over a million new voters needed to be registered.

Justice Makarau said in the 2008 harmonised elections, 2 million people
voted and the number had increased to 3 million who cast their votes in the

At least 40 000 people have registered during the mobile voter registration
which started on April 29.
During Justice Makarau’s tour at Mt Pleasant Hall, Mr Pedzisai Shava
complained that he was failing to get an identity card to enable him to

Long queues were observed at Kambuzuma Secondary School where at least 500
people were registering to vote per day.
In Chitungwiza, people complained that those without long birth certificates
were being referred to the Registrar General’s Office in Harare to process

Documents required to register as voters include proof of residence, which
can be in the form of utility bills in the name of the person registering or
letter from a landlord, hospital card and national identity card.

In Chinhoyi, Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Mashonaland West Cde John
Mafa said the mobile voter registration had failed to capture everyone
willing to register.

He said the process was not decentralised enough to reach all people,
especially in remote areas.
“We are going to make recommendations for the extension of the mobile voter
registration process so that as many people as possible are assisted,” he

Prospective voters in Chinhoyi said they were being forced to spend long
periods in queues, while others were sleeping at the district registration
offices waiting for their† turn.

The mobile voter registration officers were reportedly handling only 100
applications per day which sometimes overlapped into the next day.
Hurungwe North MP Cde Peter Chanetsa said mobile registration teams should
be increased.

“The distances that people have to walk to get to the mobile teams are too
long because they are using a ward system which leaves people getting the
information late, while others have to travel more than 20 kilometres to get
to a mobile unit,” he said.

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Cops charge voter educators


by Farai Mabeza

The Election Resource Centre has been charged with contravening the
Electoral Act by allegedly conducting voter education without the authority
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The police recorded a warned and cautioned statement from ERC director
Tawanda Chimhini, who reported to Harare Central police station on Monday
after being summoned. According to Chimhini’s lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara,
the police decided to charge the organisation and not the three volunteers
who were arrested over the weekend.

“The ERC is being charged with contravening Section 40 (C) (1) (g) of the
Electoral Act for allegedly conducting a voter education exercise without
authority or permission from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” Bhatasara
told The Zimbabwean.

Farai Saungweme, Wadzanai Nyaku and Moses Chikura spent 48 hours in custody
and have now been turned into State witnesses. The arrest comes shortly
after two separate incidences of harassment and intimidation of some X1G
Mobile Caravan Campaign officials in Masvingo and Gweru.

“On both occasions, (May 9, 2013) officials from X1G Campaign were briefly
detained and questioned by individuals who identified themselves as state
security agencies. The Masvingo incident witnessed eleven X1G officials and
volunteers being stripped of their branded X1G t-Shirts at Great Zimbabwe
University in full view of passers-by as the officials claimed that there
was no authority sought to conduct the campaign,” ERC said in a statement.

“The X1G Campaign is a nationwide campaign which was launched publicly in
June 2012. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has collaborated with the ERC
on many of the programmes involved with this campaign,” it added.

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One million stuck off voters roll alarming

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:55

The Herald of 3 May 2013 carried a story headlined, “One million struck off
voters roll”, a figure which is alarming considering that a week ago the
population figure was at† 5,6 and after the scraping off of deceased people
the figure still remains at 5,6.

This is a serious cause for concern as one is left to wonder if the alleged
one million people that were scraped off the voters roll were really dead
people or they are in actual fact existing people as we note that the number
of people on the voters roll before the scraping off of the deceased and
after remains almost the same.

The so called one million people that are said to be deceased may in actual
fact be MDC supporters who were deliberately scraped off as deceased so as
to disenfranchise them from voting in the next election.

It is also disturbing to note that the Registrar General office headed by
Mudede has chosen to remain silent on information about the venues of
registration centers and the time when people can go and register to vote.

The possibility remains high that Zanu PF, by choosing to withhold
information on voter registration is working behind people’s backs in
plotting to rig the next elections as the party has always done over the

The cabinet directive that all the Registrar General’s office should† avail
all information to do with the voter registration process to the electorate
is being ignored by the Zanu PF which is choosing to keep the people in the
dark with regards to information on the voter’s role.

The alleged scraping of deceased people from the voters’ role and the
withholding of information from the people of Zimbabwe confirms the
existence of shenanigans taking place in the Harare North Province that the
voters’ roll is in shambles.

Honorable Makone, the Member of parliament for Harare North noted massive
irregularities in the office of the Registrar General (RG) on her
Constituency were she said that the numbers of people appearing on the voter’s
role change every day and some names are deliberately mispelt as a way of
ensuring that some people will not be able to vote in the coming elections.

Honorable Makone says she checked the voters roll on the 15th of April 2013,
and she noticed that her name went missing on the voters roll for her
constituency and when she checked again after a day she noticed that it now
appeared but her name was mispelt. We note that all these are deliberate
ways of fabricating the outcome of the elections even before the date of the
elections has been announced.

Furthermore we note that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the
nominally independent organization which controls elections at all levels of
Zimbabwe politics, registered its unwillingness to oversee the registration
of people for the elections, by remaining silent on the proceedings of the
registration process.

This further raises suspicion on the intention of the Zanu PF party
especially now that we are going towards the Presidential elections. The
people of Zimbabwe should at this point open their eyes and observe closely
the proceedings taking place at the Registrar General’s office, and those
that can, should go and cross check whether their names are spelt correctly
and that they are still appearing on the voters roll so as to avoid the
shock of being told at the last minute that they will not be able to vote
because their name is either mispelt or that its not appearing on the voters

It is crucial at this point to highlight the fact that if the voter
registration process is not observed closely chances are high that
Zimbabweans will not experience credible free and fair elections this year,
further perpetuating the problems faced by the people of Zimbabwe.

The Zanu PF in its quest to tarnish the image of the MDC† party is also
going around spreading rumours that MDC supporters are using false addresses
and abandoned buildings as addresses to register voters in Marondera.

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ZESN urges ZEC to extend voter registration


Harare 15 May 2013 – The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is calling on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to accredit local civic society
organisations to conduct voter education in view of the impending harmonised
elections. ZESN notes that the country is already in an election mode hence
the need for ZEC to expedite the accreditation of civic society
organisations that have applied to complement the Commission’s efforts in
conducting comprehensive voter education.

This call comes against a backdrop of challenges that have marred the
ongoing mobile voter registration exercise where hundreds of people have
been turned away for various reasons including lack of proper identification
and lack of proper proof of residence. In addition long queues have been
observed at most registration centres and this has been attributed to lack
of adequate human and financial resources. This therefore buttresses the
need for ZEC to accredit forthwith civic society organisations who are by
law prohibited to conduct voter education unless authorized by the
Commission. We also call upon ZEC to consider extension of the mobile voter
registration exercise.

Since the enactment of Electoral Amendment Act (2012), ZESN has observed
many organisations conducting civic education and not voter education which
is more specific to elections. The Building Resources in Democracy,
Governance and Elections (BRIDGE)[1] handbook defines voter education also
known as electoral education as programmes aimed at people of the voting age
and over and addresses voters’ motivation and preparedness to participant
fully in elections. The manual further explains that voter education is
basically concerned on giving the types of electoral systems and electoral
process and concepts such as basic human rights and voting rights, the role,
responsibilities and rights of voters, the relationship between elections
and democracy, conditions necessary for democratic elections, secrecy of the
ballot, why each vote is important and its impact on public accountability
and how votes translates into seats.

While civic education includes both school and community based education and
deals with all aspects of human rights, active citizenship, systems of
governance and elections. Voter information or awareness (more accurately
referred to as voter awareness or information programs) happens just before
an electoral event – usually they are one-off events and dwell on how to,
where to and when to vote. They aim to provide basic information enabling
qualified citizens to vote, including the date, time, and place of voting;
the type of election; identification necessary to establish eligibility;
registration requirements; and mechanisms for voting.

In Zimbabwe, the Electoral Amendment Act 2012 defines voter education as,
“any course or programme of instruction on electoral law and procedure aimed
at voters generally and not offered as part of a course in a law or civic or
any other subjects for students at an educational institution;”.

The continued arrest and criminalization of civic society organisations for
allegedly voter education without seeking permission from ZEC is worrying
and testimony to the need for ZEC to accredit CSOs. Given the vagueness in
the definition provided in the Electoral Act, we therefore call upon the ZEC
and other policy makers to clarify the distinction between voter
information, voter education, and civic education. Certainly, each falls
along a continuum of educational activities in support of elections and
democracy and is mutually reinforcing. We urge the reviewing of the Act to
mandate CSOs and any interested players and talk about voter education and
civic education while ZEC focuses on providing Voter Information.

It is therefore imperative that ZEC seriously considers accreditation of
civic society organisations in order to ensure that the voter education is
comprehensive. ZESN also makes reference to the constitutional referendum
which had a total of 56,627 votes being rejected given that the ballot paper
was very simple with either ‘Yes or No’; this again points to the need to
scale up early voter education programmes for the impending harmonised
election. Furthermore ZESN believes that a comprehensive voter education
exercise will also enable the electorate to make informed decisions and may
reduce voter apathy thus we consider it as one of the fundamental conditions
for the conduct of credible elections.

We reiterate our calls for early accreditation of observers to enable them
to observe all the electoral processes including voter registration. In
addition we continue to call for the adequate resourcing of ZEC to enable
them to effectively carry out their mandate. ZESN has continually expressed
that the election management body needs capacity enhancement and resourcing
in order to improve its ability to efficiently and effectively manage and
run elections. ZESN continues to advocate for the accreditation of local
civic society organisations to complement the work of the Commission as this
will increase the reach of electoral information to the electorate.

ZESN therefore urges the new Chairperson to instill confidence and trust in
the people of Zimbabwe in order to protect the integrity of the all the
stages in the electoral process including voter registration and voter
education. End//

[1] BRIDGE is an initiative by five leading organisations in the democracy
and governance field, which have jointly committed to developing,
implementing and maintaining a comprehensive curriculum and workshop
package, designed to be used as a tool within a capacity building framework.
BRIDGE partners are the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), International
Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International Institute for
Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division

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Influx of political parties ahead of Zim polls suspicious

By Violet Gonda
15 May 2013

There is potential for confusion in the forthcoming polls as 29 separate
parties are set to contest, in a process that is currently marred by
political bickering over funding and choosing the date for the election.
Political analysts also say while it is good for democracy to have variety,
it is “suspicious” to see so many political parties “mushrooming” at the
time of elections.

Zimbabwe Freedom Front launched the country’s 29th party Tuesday. The ZFF
president, Cosmas Mponda, told journalists the inclusive government has
failed the people, forcing him to form a political party that would address
the poverty and economic crisis affecting ordinary Zimbabweans.

Many of political parties are little known, such as the Multi-Racial
Christian Democrats, Free Zimbabwe Congress, Voice of the People, Zimbabwe
Youth Alliance, Democratic Alliance-United People’s Party, Innovative
Movement for People’s Prosperity and Zimbabwe Development Party. Many
suddenly appeared just three weeks ago after they’d been attending election
related meetings organized by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, as the
country prepares for the elections.

Analysts believe that outside the mainstream political parties such as ZANU
PF, MDC-T, MDC-N, Mavambo Kusile Dawn and Zanu Ndonga, there are only a few
other genuine ones. The rest could be parallel outfits funded by the larger
parties, either to spilt the vote or sidetrack their competition in the
political race.

Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader Simba Makoni recently told SW Radio Africa that
he believes there could be even more political parties. He said he was
surprised to hear that there are at least “33 political parties” and not
just 29. He said even though he is pro choice and multiple parties, it is
too much for a small country of 12 million to have so many political
parties. “Who are they? Where are they? Who takes them seriously?” Makoni
added: “Let 33 names be on that ballot paper and I can tell you that not
more than five, six will be the significant ones.”

International Crisis Group Southern Africa analyst Trevor Maisiri said the
issue is not just about the density of political parties but about the
timing of these new political parties, which should be a cause for concern.

“The first extreme is that it something that is good for democracy if these
parties are genuine but the other extreme is that some of these parties
mushroom at the time of elections, which makes it very suspicious if they
are serious contenders for political office and also if they have credible
and serious policy propositions to be able to be an alternative to what we
have on the political landscape,” Maisiri said.

The influx of so many parties has also raised questions about who is funding
all these political outfits and where the money is coming from. However
Maisiri believes this is not an area of concern at present as the Zimbabwean
regulations do not require funding to register a political party.

“You could just wake up with your family, your wife and your children and
announce that you now have a political party, without any financial

“The issue of financing only becomes an issue if some of these parties or
all of them register for the elections and that is when we will start asking
where they are getting that kind of funding from,” the analyst said.

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New party launched, vows to win polls

14/05/2013 00:00:00
†††† by Staff Reporter

A NEW political formation, the Freedom Party, was launched in Harare on
Tuesday and immediately declared its readiness to contest the country’s next
general elections.

Party leader Cosmas Muponda said he was compelled to join the fray and
contest in the next polls by the administrative failures of the current
inclusive government.

He said Zimbabweans have been plunged into desperate times by the current
government and claimed to offer the only viable remedy if elected into

“There is stress. Most of our people are on high recorded cases of ailments
of high blood pressure, hyper-tension cases and high sugar levels, heart
failure, stroke and other related cases of ailments caused by the stressing
life and more so, most of our health centres are hit by shortage of drugs
and medication,” said Muponda.

“So, l have decided to form a new government with people at heart. I am
inviting all our people to come in to join. Let’s join hands, let’s move one
way; one way to freedom and one way to rebuild our nation and one way to

Muponda, a college graduate with a diploma in marketing and an advanced
certificate in sign writing, declared he was the “best” alternative to the
current Robert Mugabe-led government.

But the 39-year-old, who arrived at his press conference nearly an hour
late, admitted he had no political background in the country and has never
contested for any political post.

Still, he was adamant that he had enough support around the country to
upstage Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two MDCs which have dominated the country’s
political landscape over the last decade.

“I feel it. I have got it in me. If those with the political background can’t
make it, then who else should come in and do that?”

The Mutare-born presidential hopeful insisted that party structures were
firm on the ground adding he had other figures with stronger political
backgrounds behind him.

Muponda, a resident of Harare’s affluent Highlands suburb, was evasive when
asked about his political approach towards the next elections but said they
will not wade into the current debate around the date for the next polls.

He said he was a former musician and businessman with interests in
“hardware, granite and the motor industry” but refused to shed more light on
his business activities.

“We say no to the violation of human rights. If you spend a week or two
months without water in your household, that is tantamount to the violation
of human rights,” he said. “Hate speech is one other form of human rights

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Save Valley ‘facing collapse’ in the midst of political wrangle

By Alex Bell
15 May 2013

The Save Valley Conservancy, which has been targeted with a ZANU PF led
takeover, is said to be on the verge of collapse.

According to a senior official and investor at the Conservancy, worsening
political wrangling and a lack of clear leadership means the once highly
respected conservancy area is “in serious trouble.”

The Conservancy last year became the latest target of the ZANU PF led land
grab campaign, despite warnings about the destructive consequences such a
campaign will have on the wildlife and tourism sectors. Last year a
parliamentary committee said in a damning report that the forced seizure of
Save by top political and military figures with “no interest (or) experience
in wildlife conservation” had resulted in massive destruction there.

These same officials were given 25 year land leases for Save back in 2007,
and then in August 2012 the group was handed hunting licenses while the
legitimate investors of the area were denied permits.

Part of the group favoured by National Parks are war vets leader Joseph
Chinotimba, Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Major General Engelbert
Rugeje, Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke, ZANU PF
Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke, the late Higher Education
Minister Stan Mudenge, Health Deputy Minister Douglas Mombeshora, ZANU PF
central committee member Enock Porusingazi and ZANU PF MPs Alois Baloyi,
Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri and Noel Mandebvu.

Former ZANU PF MP and war vet Shuvai Mahofa was also a beneficiary of this
campaign, illegally seizing the Savuli Ranch in the Save Valley Conservancy
and evicting the owners and their employees this year. Mahofa has since been
implicated in poaching, after a butchery she owns was raided by police and
the carcasses of three buffalo and other bush meat was discovered. But she
was also recently removed from Europe’s list of targeted sanctions against
the ZANU PF regime, for unexplained reasons.

The situation at Save has also shone a light on serious ZANU PF infighting,
with senior party officials bickering over what to do. Tourism Minister
Walter Mzembi in particular has been fighting Environment Minister Francis
Nhema, with Nhema said to be responsible for ‘imposing’ the so-called
‘Masvingo Initiative’ as the new owners in the Conservancy. Mzembi, on the
other hand, has been left to deal with damage control, because of the threat
the targeting of the Conservancy potentially has for Zimbabwe’s hosting of
the UN Tourism conference in August.

One of the original investors, German national Wilfried Pabst, told SW Radio
Africa on Wednesday that the situation came to a head last November when a
parliamentary committee was convened. At the head of this committee is
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, but Pabst said he “is now part of
the problem.”

“The problem is Mutambara, being who he is, with no powers in the MDC, is
now vying to get a ZANU PF seat in Manicaland. So ZANU PF has a hold on him
and they can make him their agent to try and continue not giving us (the
legitimate Conservancy members) permits,” Pabst explained.

He also accused Minister Nhema of trying to impose the Masvingo group,
saying this is detrimental to the future of Save Valley.

“They have no expertise and no money, and they have admitted they aren’t
interested in anything other than cash, and that’s not going to work. What
this basically is, is starving the members of the conservancy of their
rightful revenue and threatening the tourism reputation of Zimbabwe,” Pabst

Efforts to contact Mutambara and other officials implicated in the Save
Valley crisis were unsuccessful.

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MDC-T youth leader Madzore out on bail after High Court appeal

By Nomalanga Moyo
15 May 2013

MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore, who was arrested and incarcerated
earlier this month for ‘insulting’ President Mugabe, was released Wednesday
after the High Court upheld an earlier ruling granting him bail.

Madzore was picked up on May 2nd and detained in Bindura on allegations that
he called Mugabe “a limping old donkey” while addressing a rally at
Mushumbe-Mbire, in Mashonaland Central.

Following a court appearance Monday, Madzore was granted $100 bail by
Bindura magistrate Elisha Chingano. However, the State used Section 121 of
the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to oppose bail, arguing that Madzore
was a flight risk.

This prompted the magistrate to remand the firebrand youth leader in custody
until May 28th, leading to the High Court appeal by the defence team.

Youth League Secretary-General Promise Mkhwananzi, who was in Bindura
Wednesday together with hundreds of other MDC-T supporters to welcome
Madzore out of prison, said reason had prevailed at the High Court.

He told SW Radio Africa: “The state is trying to use every trick in the book
to frustrate Madzore. They invoked Section 121 to keep him in custody and,
right now as we speak, the clerk is nowhere to be found to enable us to
deposit bail.

“I hope the state realises that by arresting Madzore, they have
unintentionally achieved two things. Firstly they have given him an
opportunity to demonstrate to the youth that there is nothing to be afraid
of in being sent to prison. He has been in and out and as a result, his
political profile is continuing to blossom.

“Secondly, the heavy-handedness shown by the police during Madzore’s court
appearances sends a clear message to the world that unless the country’s
draconian security laws are repealed, the country cannot conduct free and
fair elections,” Mkhwananzi said.

Mkhwananzi was referring to the skirmishes outside the Bindura courthouse
when police officers tried to arrest some MDC-T youths who had gathered to
support Madzore.

Several roadblocks were reportedly mounted along the highway leading to
Bindura Monday, as police tried to monitor the MDC-T youths who thronged the
town for Madzore’s hearing.

Madzore, who denies insulting or undermining Mugabe, is being charged under
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

He was scheduled to address MDC-T supporters at his party’s Harvest House
headquarters following his release late Wednesday afternoon.

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State to take over US$600m ethanol firm

14/05/2013 00:00:00
†††† by Staff Reporter

THE government is set to take over a controlling 51 percent interest in the
US$600 million Green Fuel ethanol project in a deal that is expected to pave
the way for the resumption of operations at the company’s Chisumbanje plant.

According to state radio, a deal was now being finalised which will see the
company’s shareholding structure fall in line with the country’s
indigenisation laws, helping save the jobs of some 4,000 workers.

Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma said Cabinet recently
discussed the problems bedevilling the project adding an inter-ministerial
committee led by deputy premier Arthur Mutambara would, this week, clarify
the way forward.

“The issue was discussed in cabinet and we have adopted a decision which
will be made public by Professor Arthur Mutambara in few days’ time,” he

The project, developed by Green Fuel, a joint venture between private
investors who include millionaire tycoon Billy Rautenbach and the state-run
agricultural development firm ARDA had stalled after failing to win
government approval for mandatory blending of ethanol and petrol.

Launched with a promise to significantly bring down the country’s fuel
import bill, the project ran into problems as the government expressed
concern over various issues including the company’s shareholding structure.

The project also faced allegations that hundreds of villagers had been
irregularly displaced without compensation to make way for its vast sugar
cane plantations.

But in March, Vice President Joyce Mujuru, concerned about the plight of the
workers, ordered the re-opening of the Chisumbanje plant which was closed in
February 2012 after stocking up the maximum 10 million litres of ethanol
that its storage facilities will allow.

“The people are troubled because their hopes of a better livelihood have
been extinguished by the closure of the ethanol plant,” Mujuru said. “There
is no justification for closure, so this plant must be opened.

“When Billy approached us, we said: ‘Thank you.’ But is what’s happening the
best way to treat an investor? No, No, No! Some of the demands being made
[by ministers] are outrageous.

“By closing the project, we are deliberately inflicting suffering on the
people whose benefit from this project is our responsibility. We are guilty
of omission. We must separate developmental issues from politics. Consider
the ethanol plant opened.”

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No progress on SADC recommendations


by Edgar Gweshe

Zimbabwe is yet to make progress on recommendations by the SADC Electoral
Observation Mission to the constitutional referendum held in March this

The SEOM called for the establishment of a mechanism through which funds for
elections could be availed in time to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as
well as the update of the voter’s roll in time for polls. As part of its
recommendations, the SEOM added that there was a need for continuous voter

President Robert Mugabe told a Zanu (PF) pre-election Central Committee
meeting this month that his June 29 date for elections stands and is in
accordance with the law. His comments run contrary to recommendations by

Mugabe’s declaration came in the wake of a diplomatic offensive by Prime
Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai in which he was courting regional leaders to
exert pressure on Zanu (PF) to agree to the implementation of key reforms
before elections are held. A number of developments have threatened the
ability of Zimbabwe’s inclusive government to meet the recommendations by
the SEOM.

On Wednesday, ZEC Chairperson, Rita Makarau revealed that lack of adequate
funding has negatively impacted voter education exercises. As a result, ZEC
was forced to deploy only two voter educators per district. She further
highlighted that ZEC has so far received only $500,000,00 from Treasury out
of a budget of $8 million.

The issue of the voter’s roll has been quite contentious among Zimbabwe’s
coalition partners. The MDC-T has claimed Zanu (PF) is working in cahoots
with officers from the Registrar General’s Department to manipulate the
voter’s roll.

The MDC-T said some of it’s supporters were being struck off the voter’s
roll. The party has raised concern that the voter’s roll is filled with
names of deceased people.

On the issue of continuous voter education, civic society organisations are
allegedly being barred by the police and District Administrators in rural

Last month, the Director of Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Rashid Mahiya told The
Zimbabwean that the practice had impacted negatively on voter education and
national healing programmes. The Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network, Solomon Zwana said Zanu (PF’s) insistence on early
elections carried serious repercussions.

“If we are to have a credible election, these issues, including reforms,
need to be addressed first,” said Zwana. Issues raised by stakeholders to
the SEOM during the constitutional referendum included apathy among the
electorate, inadequate time for eligible voters to acquaint themselves with
the draft constitution and reports of intimidation and harassment.

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Moyo blasts ‘reckless’ South African minister

14/05/2013 00:00:00
†††† by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF strategist and politburo member Jonathan Moyo has dismissed as
“outrageous and offensive” remarks by South Africa’s deputy foreign minister
Ebrahim Ebrahim which appeared to back the MDC-T’s demands for further
reforms before new elections can be held.

"Ebrahim's intrusive comments are outrageous and offensive in the extreme
and they risk undermining President Jacob Zuma's personal role as the
facilitator of SADC's engagement in Zimbabwe," the Tsholotsho North MP

“It is clear that Ebrahim's premeditated recklessness is calculated to
incite a crisis through the media and that kind of megaphone behaviour is
totally unacceptable.

“What is worse is that Ebrahim's despicable comments have a sickening
semblance of representing the position of the South African government given
that they are coming from the loud mouth of that country's deputy minister
of foreign affairs."

About US$132 million is needed to finance the key vote but Finance Minister
Tendai Biti has conceded that the government was struggling to raise the

Ebrahim told reporters on Tuesday that South Africa was prepared, if
requested, to help fund the polls which are due this year although the
precise timing remains unclear with Zanu PF and the MDC formations still
bickering over the issue.

But it was Ebrahim’s suggestion that the MDC parties had a “legitimate
argument” as they demand further reforms before the elections can be held
which infuriated the Zanu PF lawmaker.

Said Ebrahim: “I think the opposition has a legitimate argument to say there
should be proper progression for the election.

"There have to be certain reforms that need to be speeded up. If Zanu PF
says they [polls] should be held in June or July, that is probably playing
politics. All parties should agree that the time is ripe for an election."

Moyo shot back: “What the hell is he talking about? What opposition? What
legitimate argument? And what proper progression? Why does Ebrahim not know
that the MDC formations are part of the government of Zimbabwe and not part
of the opposition?

“And why does it appear natural to him to be associated with what he clearly
sees as an opposition view? Would Ebrahim take kindly to public comments in
the media by Zimbabwean government officials which are in sympathy with the
opposition in South Africa?
“Why do people like Ebrahim never learn and why don't they understand the
harm they invite upon South Africa? How many Guy Scots (Zambia’s Vice
President) do they want to provoke out there across the continent for them
to finally get it?"

Zanu PF says the elections must, in terms of the Constitution, be held on or
before the end of the term of the current Parliament on June 29, but the MDC
formations are pressing for a delay, arguing reforms agreed under the
coalition deal have not been fully implemented.

Meanwhile, Moyo also took issue with Ebrahim’s suggestion that Zanu PF was
“probably playing politics” by insisting the elections – which will choose a
substantive government to replace the coalition administration – must be
held in June.

“If this is not a comment sponsored by the enemies of Zimbabwe then nothing
is,” he railed.
“Ebrahim and his lot should know that it is not Zanu PF that says elections
are due in Zimbabwe when the life of Parliament automatically ends on June
29 but the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

“While that might be just a piece of paper to Ebrahim and his diabolic
sponsors, it is the fundamental law of the land for Zimbabweans.† It is a
shame that the likes of Ebrahim think the rule of law should be invoked only
in South Africa as to them the rest of Africa is just a jungle.

“And the fact that Ebrahim made his distasteful comments when he was making
an announcement that South Africa will definitely assist with the funding of
Zimbabwe's elections if it is requested to do so is particularly insulting
and it smacks of the kind of arrogance only reminiscent of our colonial
masters whom we booted out precisely for that kind of behaviour of dangling
dirty carrots in the vain hope of purchasing our souls, values and freedom
for 30 pieces of silver.

“The time has come to tell people who treat us with this kind of contempt to
go to hell with their treachery and leave us alone".

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New policy will backfire: economist


by Chris Ncube

A policy developed by the Ministry of Finance to compel diamond-mining
companies to cede a significant portion of their earnings to the government
will have an adverse impact on the sector, a top economist has warned.

Recently, Finance Minister Tendai Biti stated that a policy has been
developed by his Ministry to require the country’s diamond miners to hand
over at least half of their revenue.‚€®The Minister added that a statutory
instrument had been formulated, although it cannot be made into law until it
gets the go ahead from President Robert Mugabe.

“If it goes ahead, it will be catastrophic for the diamond mining sector. A
significant portion of its revenue is required to fund operational
expenditure, development and equipping the mines,” economist Eric Bloch
warned. “Instead of growth in diamond mining operations, which would benefit
the Zimbabwean economy, the sector will decline significantly and increase
illegal diamond mining and smuggling.”

Zimbabwe has vast diamond resources, most of which have been discovered in
the east since 2006.‚€®While it is hoped these will eventually revive the
country’s economy, there has been concern some of the revenue from diamonds
has not been going to the state’s coffers but those of Zanu (PF), whose
senior members have a stranglehold on the industry.

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Poor governance and bad politics undermining Zimbabwe’s extractive sector

HARARE: politicization of natural resources in Zimbabwe is undermining
democracy and community rights, according to a new index analyzing the
governance of natural resources released today.

Revenue Watch’s Resource Governance Index measures the quality of governance
in the oil, gas and mining sector of 58 countries worldwide. Together these
nations produce 85 percent of the world’s oil, 90 percent of diamonds and 80
percent of copper, generating trillions of dollars annually. Each country,
from Norway to Myanmar, is ranked according to four criteria:

- Institutional and Legal Setting: Laws and systems that facilitate open,
accountable government
- Reporting Practices: The information governments actually share with the
- Safeguards and Quality Controls: The checks and balances in place to
follow the money
- Enabling Environment: The broader policies and practices that support
democracy, transparency, accountability and rule of law

Of the 58 Index countries, only 11 are doing a satisfactory job, ranking
high in all four criteria. Whilst the Index average score was 51, Sub
Saharan Africa had an average country score of 44 on a score sheet of 100.
Zimbabwe was ranked 51 out of 58 countries, with a failing score of 31.

Resource-rich countries have struggled with this governance paradox for far
too long. The opportunity for these nations to experience social and
economic independence is there—the problem is that too often weak
institutions, corruption and a lack of transparency and accountability
obstruct the path to development.

Some countries prove it is possible to lift the veil of secrecy and meet
higher standards of transparency and accountability. “The Index research
reveals a governance deficit in how transparent and accountable countries
are with their natural resources,” said Daniel Kaufmann, president of
Revenue Watch. “But by pointing to reforming states and to solutions, we
reject the tired notion of the deterministic ‘resource curse’,” Kaufmann

The Index offers recommendations for both highly-ranked countries like
Brazil and low-ranking countries like Afghanistan. From disclosing contracts
to passing a freedom of information act to improving state-owned company
oversight, there are many ways for governments of resource-rich countries to
become more effective and accountable to their citizens.

“The Resource Governance Index gives a panoramic view of resource governance
worldwide, highlighting success stories and also showing those countries
endowed with abundant natural resources and yet their peoples remain
marooned on the no-man’s land between dictatorships and abject poverty. The
index is not vindictive but rather therapeutic in that it offers
constructive recommendations for action,” said Farai Maguwu, Executive
Director of Centre for Natural Resource Governance in Zimbabwe.

For more details on the Index data and the report, visit

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Obdurate generals: history repeats itself


by Vince Musewe

It is a no brainer that the very same conditions the Patriotic Front desired
for democratic, free and fair elections in 1980, are the very same
conditions we desire today.

“By what faith can an election be regarded as democratic, free and impartial
if it is surrounded at its four corners by Smith’s policemen, his soldier,
his district commissioner and his judge?” Thus asked the White Paper drafted
by the then co-leaders of the Patriotic Front, Robert Mugabe and Joshua
Nkomo, in 1977 during attempts to find a lasting solution to majority rule
in Zimbabwe.

By what faith, therefore, can the 2013 elections be considered democratic,
free and fair if they are surrounded at all four corners by Mugabe’s men in
the army, in the police, the Electoral Commission and the Registrar General’s

History is amazing isn’t it? Reading the book “The Struggle for Zimbabwe”
leaves me with a new perspective on our current reality. I continue to be
intrigued at how the tides of change repeat themselves over and over and
yet, we never seem to learn from them. Significant similarities jump out
from our past, especially now as we move towards change.

Ian Smithwas as obdurate as some of our generals are now, when it came to
security issues and who would control the army and the police during the
transition period. He did all he could to delay the matter, kept moving goal
posts, lied and connived to delay the inevitable. Funny enough, I see the
same desperation in Zanu (PF) as it dawns on them that change is coming
whether they like it or not. The danger of not accepting it now is that one
can be swept away when it comes as happened to “good old Smithy”.

I think we should be not naÔve now to expect our generals to accept that yes
they are talking to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai simply because they
will compromise themselves in the current set up. Remember, what causes
these men to support each other now is raw fear - not some constructive
vision about the future of Zimbabwe. In that fear they must stand or fall
together, in that fear they cannot accept the inevitable until the very last
hour when the election results are announced and Tsvangirai wins. At that
point they will know that there is no turning back and calls will be made
and clandestine meetings held with the very men we see now insulting
Tsvangirai. So I think that, like a good hunter, we should wait patiently
for that moment.

Another point raised by Mugabe during the transition period in 1977 was
that: he who controls the army and the police controls power. Because of
that, the Patriotic Front insisted that an independent party should control
the army and the police and not Smith. The venerable Lord Soames took that

Now let us bring that thinking forward to 2013. Of course the same
principles should apply, shouldn’t they? He who controls the army and the
police controls the state and cannot be deemed to be an objective bystander
in an election where he may be thrown out of office. I think the SADC must
take note of this seriously.

I find it quite pathetic that Zanu (PF) is arguing to retain an unfair
advantage and we are actually entertaining that. It is a no-brainer that the
very same conditions that the Patriotic Front desired for democratic free
and fair elections in 1980, are the very same conditions we desire today.

History surely repeats itself and what matters is which side of it you
choose to be. But I guess for everything there is indeed a season. - Vince
Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on

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Zimbabwe’s sustained progress towards “Getting to Zero”

14 May 2013

L to R: UNAIDS Country Coordinator Tatiana Shoumilina, Chief Chiveso, traditional leader, Ms Beagle, and Provincial Governor Martin Dinha, in the area of Bindura, Zimbabwe. Credit: UNAIDS

Zimbabwe is an example of political commitment and progress in the AIDS response. Although it is one of the countries most affected by the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, with an adult HIV prevalence of 15%, the country has achieved and sustains universal coverage of treatment to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (93%) and adult antiretroviral therapy (ART) with 95% of adult Zimbabweans eligible for HIV treatment receiving it.

This scale up of comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services in the country has resulted in the decline in the rate of new HIV infections from a peak of 5.21% in 1994 to 0.86% in 2012.

Zimbabwe’s progress in the AIDS response is largely credited to the country’s capacity to mobilize and sustain domestic resources for the response through its innovative AIDS levy—a 3% tax on all taxable individual and institutional income. In 2012 alone, the levy generated US$ 32 million. Zimbabwe also successfully mobilized US$ 311 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria under its new funding model. A further US$ 244 million, from Zimbabwe’s quality request, is pending the outcome of the upcoming Global Fund replenishment.

The communities are doing exemplary work, addressing issues related to gender equality and the empowerment of women, using community dialogue and facilitating community actions and solutions.

Ms Jan Beagle, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance

In early May 2013, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Management and Governance, Jan Beagle, undertook a country visit to Zimbabwe to witness the progress made. She also looked at challenges ahead in achieving the targets of the 2011 General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and discussed the role of Zimbabwe, as a new member to the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board this year, in the governance of UNAIDS and the AIDS response.

During a meeting with the Vice President Hon Joice Mujuru, Ms Beagle commended the Government of Zimbabwe for its leadership in the AIDS response and encouraged the country to scale-up paediatric ART coverage, which by end of 2012 remained at 42%, and to accelerate efforts to reduce maternal mortality.

Communities leading the way

Ms Beagle travelled to Bindura, a rural area located about 90 km north-east of the country’s capital Harare, where she talked to community representatives, traditional leaders, local service providers, and district and provincial administrators. With support from the non-governmental organization PADARE, a movement of men advocating for gender justice, the community champions male involvement in preventing new HIV infections among children and increasing uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services. It also focuses on strengthening sexual and reproductive health services for young people, especially girls, and addressing gender-based violence.

PADARE concentrates on men in all settings and uses communication and networking tools, workshops and training, lobbying and advocacy to achieve social and behaviour change. The organization works through 65 chapters and has a membership of more than 3 000 in the country’s ten provinces.

“The communities are doing exemplary work, addressing issues related to gender equality and the empowerment of women, using community dialogue and facilitating community actions and solutions,” said Ms Beagle. She urged the communities to ensure that the needs of populations at higher risk of HIV infection—such as women, young people, people with disabilities, sex workers and men who have sex with men—are recognized and appropriately met.

NOTE: As part of her official programme in Zimbabwe, Ms Beagle also met Hon Dr H. Madzorera, Minister of Health and Child Welfare; Hon Dr O. Muchena, Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development; Hon Dr D. Parirenyatwa, Chair, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health; leadership of the National AIDS Council; members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism; members of the Executive Committee of the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV network; and the Steering Committee of Zimbabwe GlobalPOWER Chapter. She also interacted with civil society representatives and young people, and engaged with the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Country Team. She visited the Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital, a public health care organization providing adult and paediatric Opportunistic Infections and ART services.

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Zimbabwe Election Watch - Issue 2
A woman waits to obtain her national identity card during a voter registration drive in Harare May 9, 2013

Issue 2 of Zimbabwe Election Watch (ZEW) continues Sokwanele's tradition of monitoring elections, focussing on reported events since 18 April that breach the 'SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections'. At the date of publication, ZEW 2013 has recorded 523 breaches of the guidelines. Of these, the Zanu PF party is accountable for 510 breaches, MDC-T for 28, and MDC for 12. This issue focus on ongoing problems with voter registration, and also highlights reports of political intimidation in local communities. It focuses especially on how the conditions on the ground are negatively influenced by an overtly partisan security sector.

InZEW Issue 1Sokwanele reported on deep concerns about the voter registration process, identifying a series of breaches that undermine SADC guidelines to ensure non-discrimination in voters’ registration (4.1.3) and to ensure the existence of an updated and accessible voters roll (4.1.4). These concerns are ongoing: Theresa Makone, co-Home Affairs Minister, highlighted incredible irregularities when she obtained a copy of the register for wards in Harare. In one example, she initially found that Ward 18 in Hatcliffe had 5 196 registered voters. Two days later, when Makone purchased an updated copy for Ward 18, she found that the numbers of registered voters had swelled from 5 196 to 17 068 voters. Makone is reported as saying that the increase of 13 643 people within 48 hours translates to a very implausible 284 people being registered hourly if workers at the Registar General's office worked 24 hours without resting.

Two weeks into the voter registration process, Bulawayo residents continued to express dissatisfaction about the mobile registration exercise in their areas, with particular confusion apparently arising over whether 'aliens' were allowed to register to vote. In the Midlands Province, villagers in Gokwe-Gumunyu constituency said they hadn't seen a member of the registration team in any of their nine wards. On the 7 May SW Radio Africa reported discontent from Manicaland Province, which, although being a larger province with a bigger population, only had 40 centres registering voters for 26 constituencies - in contrast ZEC and the Register General had provided 70 registration centres to serve 18 constituencies in Mashonaland Central. The MDC-T spokesperson argued that this† was a calculated ploy to get more Zanu-PF voters to register in Zanu PF strongholds, and limit registration opportunities for MDC-T supporters elsewhere.

Security Sector reforms remains a point of profound disagreement between the three signatories to the Global Political Agreement. Obert Gutu, the Deputy Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs (MDC-T), noted that Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigations into corruption activities have been driven underground by Zanu PF stalwarts. His suggestion for this is that the Indigenisation policy is fundamental to the Zanu PF election agenda, and justice is a secondary concern to the party's attempts to win the elections. If this is true, subverting justice to partisan political imperatives undermines the SADC guideline to protect the 'independence of the judiciary' (2.1.7). (The harassment of Justice Hungwe in relation to the ZACC investigation was mentioned† in ZEW Issue 1).

The case of Oliver Mandipaka further illustrates the perception that there is one law for secureacrats, and another for the citizens. Despite the fact that the Police Act prohibits serving members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force from engaging in politics, media reports emerged as far back as 2012 that Mandipaka was embarking on an election campaign trail, positioning himself for a role in Parliament. He is indeed standing as a Zanu PF candidate in Buhera in the forthcoming elections, but far from being asked to step down from the police force, Mandipaka has very recently been awarded a promotion to assistant commissioner from chief superintendent. Mandipaka has been reported as saying that he will not leave the police force if he wins his seat. It is a disturbing that a serving member of the police force, occupying a senior position in the force, seems to hold the perception that the law that applies to all Zimbabweans citizens, does not apply to him. SADC guideline 4.1.2 demands that member states seek to ensure a 'conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections'. The selective application of the rule of law, as in the case of Mandipaka, undermines this.

There are further examples which send similar messages to the electorate; for example, Solomon Madzore, head of the youth wing of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was charged with controversial security laws that prohibit insulting the President. Madzore was accused of calling Robert Mugabe a "limping donkey", an accusation he denies. Although he was awarded bail, state prosecutors invoked yet another contentious law allowing the state to keep Madzore incarcerated for a further seven days while they appealed against the bail hearing.

Invoking this particular law so aggressively at election time, over what most reasonable people would consider a minor insult (if the allegations are even true), risks inhibiting criticism of the President's personal performance by his rivals. This in turn undermines basic democratic principles, as well as several SADC guidelines, including political tolerance (2.1.3), ensuring an equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for (2.1.6) and safeguarding the human and civil liberties of all citizens, including the right to speak freely and campaign (7.4).

The lack of anequalopportunity to campaign, and selective application of the law, is emphasised by the fact Zanu PF loyalists appear to have complete freedom to level personal insults against their political rivals, while their counter-parts are not. As SW Radio Africa pointed out, in the same week Mugabe was allegedly referred to as a 'limping donkey', the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga referred to Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister, as a “psychiatric patient who seems to be suffering from hallucinations". Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has very recently rudely described senior MDC-T politicians as "malcontents", and Robert Mugabe himself joined the fray, insulting Tsvangirai's appearance at a public rally and joking that at 84 he was physically more attractive than his closest rival (NewZimbabwe, 10 May 2013).

The media are also being held hostage to partisan security sector imperatives. Dumisani Muleya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, reporter Owen Gagare, and company lawyer Nqobile Ndlovu found themselves arrested for publishing a story reporting that the MDC-T was engaged in sensitive high-level talks with security chiefs. Their article was based on information provided to them by MDC-T defence and security secretary Giles Mutsekwa, who spoke on record and did not withdraw or refute the information after the arrests. The editor of the Zimbabwe Independent later concluded:

So what is the fuss all about and what is going on here? Well, the truth is, we simply don't know. What we do know is Zimbabwe's military as presently configured, a product of integration of former liberation forces and their adversaries, has always been involved in partisan politics since 1980.

As a result of the role of the military in politics and elections, the issue of security sector reform is looming large now. During political transitions, especially after conflict, as was the case in 1980, the military is always a factor and how it is managed is a big issue.

That is why there is so much sensitivity because the next elections are critical and could produce outcomes in which the military's reaction can be either a source of stability or instability.

So it's not surprising journalists, digging around this issue and writing inconvenient reports, will naturally be targeted. But our arrest was uncalled for. (The Zimbabwe Independent, 10 May 2013)

The security sector sensitivity Muleya speaks of is not benign: it translates into actions that contravene the SADC guidelines and undermine a level playing field for all parties taking part in a democratic election. In this case, the abuse of civil liberties including freedom of expression and unfettered access to the media are affected: all are impaired if journalists start to self-censor for fear of arrests, and if Zanu PF's political rivals are unable to freely communicate with members of the media (clause 7.4). It also undermines clause 4.1.2 which asks signatories to the SADC guidelines to ensure a 'conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections'.

The drama of security sector machinations continues to be played out against an insidious backdrop of persistent intimidation carried out in local communities. We noted in Issue 1 that the notorious 'war veteran', Jabulani Sibanda, was publically threatening a new 'war' on the campaign trail. In this current issue of ZEW, that dubious accolade now goes to Webster Shamu, Zimbabwe's Information Minister, who said at a public meeting,

"I want to repeat that this country came about through the barrel of the gun. It cannot be taken by a pen, never, never, you can forget".†

After completely deriding the basic democractic principle that power resides in the hands of the electorate, Shamu then went on to openly praise the overt partisan stance of security chiefs like Chiwenga, Zimondi and Chihuri, completely ignoring the fact that, legally, none are meant to engage in politics:

"We would like to thank the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga, commissioner of prisons Paradzai Zimondi and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri for making clear their position that they will not work with anyone who is out to auction this country".

His words inadvertently emphasise and confirm the points we referred to earlier, that were made by the editor of The Zimbabwe Independent.

More intimidation was present in Matabeleland, where one of the most sinister forms of violence - treating in the form of 'food for votes' - took place in Matobo. Zanu PF youths hijacked the government's grain loan scheme and seized bags of grain and rice:

“When they arrived they openly told villagers who had gathered for the maize and rice which was being distributed, that only Zanu PF members will benefit [...] They had a list of the Zanu PF members who were supposed to benefit and were also demanding party cards.”

It is important to remember that the use of food as a means to 'buy votes' particularly resonates amongst communities in the Matabeleland South Province: communities here were brought to their knees by a food embargo imposed on the area during the early 1980s as part of Zanu PF's Gukurahundi military operation. This, coupled with a terrible drought plus grotesque acts of terror, has left a lasting and indelible footprint of trauma in the collective memories of the people who live here. To resurrect it, in any form, is blatantly threatening. Inanycommunity, food for votes is a complete violation of SADC principles. In this community, where food has been experienced in the past as a weapon of terror, it is especially so.

In Mazowe, Mashonaland Central, there are reports that the Zanu PF District Councillors and village heads are actively seeking out and identifying MDC supporters for the purpose of intimidation: including threatening opponents with eviction from their village home, assault and even murder. Members of the community are being encouraged to† banish anyone from their villages if they are perceived to support any party other than Zanu PF and† teachers in the area are being forced to campaign for Zanu PF and threatened if they do not. It's a strategy that pits neighbour against neighbour, destroying the delicate community fabric that keeps societies peacefully and respectfully living together. The social consequences of this for future peace in these areas will reach far beyond the short election period.

In Mudzi West, increasing levels of intimidation are being reported with one perpetrator consistently named in reports; namely,† George Katsande, the son of Aquilina Katsande, MP for Mudzi West. In one report, a village head was directly threatened by George Katsande when he accused her of having a village full of 'MDC supporters' and promising to 'deal with her' as a consequence. These are threats locals take seriously: both Katsandes, mother and son, have been linked to terrible violence in the area and accused even of personally overseeing torture and murder. George Katsande is feared by all: the SW Radio Africa reporter noted that 'even ZANU PF supporters fear Katsande because he is said to be well protected by his mother Aquilina -† who guarantees her son immunity from prosecution'.

Although Robert Mugabe received praise for his public statements that the next elections should be peaceful, the tolerance amongst senior Zanu PF politicians for unlawful partisanship, and the lack of ciriticsm of acts of violence and intimidation by Zanu PF members, suggests that the the notion of a 'peaceful campaign' has yet to trickle through the whole party. This brings with it obvious concerns for how peaceful the next harmonised elections will actually be.

Massive irregularities on voters’ roll - Makone~
Nehanda Radio: 29 April 2013

Co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone has accused the Registrar General (RG)’s office of manipulating the voters’ roll, claiming she unearthed “massive irregularities” on her Harare North Constituency roll. Makone says on Monday April 15 she bought a copy of the voters’ roll from the RG’s office which had 8 305 voters for ward 18, where she is a registered voter. Her name was missing. She bought another copy for ward 42 which is Hatcliffe, it had 5 196 voters. She went back on Wednesday 17 April to find that ward 18 had 10 076 voters and her name was there, but misspelt. In ward 42, the figures had grown from 5 196 to 17 068 voters, she said. From the statistics 13 643 people were added to the roll within 48 hours, which translates to 284 people being registered hourly if workers at the RG’s office are working 24 hours without resting, Makone said.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 2.1.6 Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 4.1.3 Non-discrimination in the voters’ registration
  • 4.1.4 Existence of updated and accessible voters roll
  • 7.5 Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security

Bulawayo Residents Say Mobile Voters' Exercise Chaotic~
VOANews (USA): 6 May 2013

Bulawayo residents have expressed concern over lack of adequate information and publicity from the Registrar General's Office on the mobile voter registration exercise, now its second week starting Monday May 6. The program, expected to facilitate the registration of voters, especially those previously designated as 'aliens', is being hampered by administrative shortcomings, as Provincial administrative offices said they have not received communication from their bosses in Harare that the so-called aliens can now register as voters. City resident William Sithole, who went to Iminyela Hall to register Monday, said there hasn't been adequate publicity on the exercise to ensure citizens use this opportunity to register or check the voter's roll for their names. In rural areas, as in the Gokwe-Gumunyu constituency in the Midlands Province, villagers said they have not seen a single team from the Registrar General’s office in all their 9 wards. Another resident in the same constituency, said the absence of the mobile teams in his constituency is now forcing some villagers to travel long distances in an effort to register as voters or to inspect the voters’ roll

  • 2.1.6 Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for
  • 2.1.7 Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 4.1.3 Non-discrimination in the voters’ registration
  • 4.1.4 Existence of updated and accessible voters roll
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

Corruption investigations driven underground - Minister~
Zimbabwe Mail, The (ZW): 18 April 2013

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission investigations into alleged corrupt practices at the Indigenisation Ministry will never see the light of the day as Zanu PF fears it would open a can of worms ahead of the elections, says Obert Gutu, the Deputy Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs. ZACC obtained a search warrant from High Court Judge Charles Hungwe to comb for evidence at the offices of Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Nicholas Goche, the Zimbabwe Mineral Corporation Board and the national Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board. Speaking at a Transparency International Zimbabwe dialogue in Harare the week of 15 April, Gutu expressed doubts that the investigations would be revived before the elections. “I would bet ... that ... investigations were frustrated and swept under the carpet by top Zanu PF officials...,” said Gutu. He said the fight against corruption was not an easy one and that was one of the reasons why respected lawyers and judges like Hungwe were being publicly ridiculed in the state media.

  • 2.1.7 Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections

Khupe warns cops in politics~
Daily News (ZW): 16 April 2013

MATOBO - Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has warned senior police officers who are getting involved in politics now, saying they face dismissal should the MDC win the forthcoming polls. “According to our both new and old constitutions police officers should not get involved in politics,” Khupe ... told hundreds of MDC supporters at a rally in Matopo South on Sunday April 14. “I would like to warn those police officers who are going around saying, Pamberi ne Zanu PF while there are still in police force that bhasopo because you will be trouble in our new government.” Khupe spoke as a serving top police officer Oliver Mandipaka earned promotion from the rank of chief superintendent to assistant commissioner even though he is campaigning to be Member of Parliament for Buhera South on President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF ticket in apparent breach of the law ... The Police Act clearly states that a police officer who intends to contest an election shall resign from office before embarking on a campaign or the date of the election. Mandipaka ... has said he has no intention of quitting the force.

  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 5.1.1 Must comply with all national laws and regulations
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]
  • 7.5 Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security

Madzore granted bail but remains in prison~
SW Radio Africa: 6 May 2013

Last week an MDC-T youth leader was arrested and charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly calling 89 year old President Robert Mugabe a ‘limping old donkey’, but it appears the same rules do not apply when it comes to insulting the country’s prime minister who this weekend was described as a “psychiatric patient who seems to be suffering from hallucinations” by the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga. Solomon Madzore on the other hand has been in detention since Thursday after he was arrested for allegedly ‘insulting or undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe.’ He was granted bail of $100 by a Bindura Magistrate Monday May 6 but will remain in prison after State prosecutor Munyaradzi Mataranyika invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to oppose bail. His lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa that he will remain in custody for another seven days while the State appeals in the High Court.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 2.1.7 Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

Breaking news - Security chiefs won't meet Tsvangirai - Chihuri~
Herald, The (ZW): 30 April 2013

Security chiefs will never meet or engage MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to discuss the so-called security sector reforms and those who are peddling false information that they will meet over the issue face arrest. Responding to media reports that Mr Tsvangirai met with security chiefs to initiate post-election discussions to secure their positions, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri today April 30 said the security forces would never meet "malcontents". "We are too busy to engage confused malcontents ... They must stop abusing the freedom and democracy that so many Zimbabweans died for. I advise the journalists to stop being used in this regard." "This is a hollow political gimmick ... to try and bring on board the so-called security sector reform, a non-issue in terms of the current constitutional amendment number 19 that legalised the Global Political Agreement." State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi last week warned that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces security chiefs were not in office by favour, but competence and any party that wins this year’s polls should not tamper with the structure.

  • 2.1.1 Full participation of the citizens in the political process
  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 2.1.9 Acceptance and respect of the election results by political parties proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent National Electoral Authorities in accordance with the law of the land
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

'Bullet mightier than ballot'~
Daily News: 13 May 2013

Information minister and Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu says the country cannot be taken through a pen — in remarks that could set the tone for potentially-violent polls. The Chegutu East MP made the chilling remarks as he addressed hundreds of bishops drawn from the Apostolic Church at the party’s headquarters on Friday. Apart from the remarks, which echo President Robert Mugabe’s 2008 election statements that the bullet was mightier than the pen, Shamu proceeded to shower praise on security chiefs. Security sector chiefs have been warning against an MDC electoral win, saying they will not respect a party led by a person without liberation war credentials, a reference to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai has described such remarks as a coup plot. [...] “I want to repeat that this country came about through the barrel of the gun. It cannot be taken by a pen, never, never, you can forget,” Shamu said to a thunderous applause from the supposed men of cloth. Shamu on Friday praised [security chiefs] for their stance. “We would like to thank the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga, commissioner of prisons Paradzai Zimondi and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri for making clear their position that they will not work with anyone who is out to auction this country,” said Shamu.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 5.1.1 Must comply with all national laws and regulations
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]
  • 7.5 Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security

Editor & two others arrested over MDC-T meets generals story~
SW Radio Africa: 7 May 2013

Dumisani Muleya, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, reporter Owen Gagare and company lawyer Nqobile Ndlovu were arrested Tuesday May 7 for publishing a story claiming the MDC-T party was 'engaged in sensitive high-level talks’ with the country’s security chiefs. The report, written by Gagare, alleged the MDC-T talks with the top security service chiefs were also aimed at preventing political instability or a potential coup, if Tsvangirai defeats President Mugabe in forthcoming elections. The independent journalists were arrested even though they quoted MDC-T defence and security secretary Giles Mutsekwa confirming that he held talks with the military hardliners. Muleya said that they still face charges under Section 31 of the Criminal Law [Codification & Reform] Act, which deals with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State. Their lawyer, Tawanda Zhuwara, asked the police why they were not going after the source, but they could not answer that question. The three are due to appear in court at a date yet to be announced.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 2.1.7 Independence of the Judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

Zanu PF youths hijack grain loan scheme~
Daily News (ZW): 22 April 2013

MATOBO - A group of Zanu PF youths led by war veteran Soul Ndlovu on Friday April 19 allegedly hijacked the government’s grain loan scheme and barred non- Zanu PF members from getting anything. The incident took place at Bidi Business Centre under Chief Bidi in Matopo South, Matabeleland South. Gabriel Ndebele, MDC MP for Matobo South said that Ndlovu, who is also the Zanu PF Ward 8 chairperson, led a group of 10 party youths who seized the distribution of bags of maize and rice. “When they arrived they openly told villagers who had gathered for the maize and rice which was being distributed, that only Zanu PF members will benefit,” Ndebele said. “They had a list of the Zanu PF members who were supposed to benefit and were also demanding party cards.” During the incident, the MDC legislator claimed he called Matobo district administrator Doreen Molife to get an explanation, but she reportedly told him to get an answer from the President’s office.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]
  • 7.5 Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security

Zimbabwe - Villagers Threatened in Chiweshe~
ZimEye: 7 May 2013

Zanu PF District Chairpersons and village heads are at the forefront of activities that are contrary to President Mugabe’s call for peace and tolerance ahead of elections. The report, submitted to JOMIC by Martin Musemwa, Councilor for Ward 10 in Mazowe Central Constituency details how Zanu PF has enlisted village heads in its intimidation campaign strategy. The report states Zanu PF District Chairpersons, Chief Negomo and village heads continue threatening perceived opponents of Zanu PF with evictions and assault if they do not toe the Zanu PF line. Chief Negomo is said to have instructed village heads in his area to banish anyone who supports any other party, other than Zanu PF. The report alleges that on February 8 2013, Zanu PF district chairperson Alexander Chigwada went to Kakora Primary School and forced all teachers to buy Zanu PF data forms. Those who refused or showed little interest in the data forms were labeled MDC supporters. Chigwada told the gathering that that Zanu PF is going to kill people who refuse to vote for it like what happened in 2008.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

Mudzi West villagers face worsening intimidation by ZANU PF~
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 3 May 2013

Villagers in the Zhuwawo village of Mudzi West have reported worsening levels of intimidation by notorious ZANU PF member, George Katsande - son of Mudzi West MP Acquilinah Katsande - who is known for his violent attacks against perceived opponents of his party. Katsande most recently threatened the local village head on Wednesday May 1, saying: “We will deal with you. ”The threats were made at a ZANU PF meeting at Dendera Business Centre. SW Radio Africa’s correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that the village head was being accused of having a village “full of MDC-T supporters.” The village head, Miss Kungwengwe, immediately collapsed and is being treated at All Souls Mission Hospital in Mutoko. It is suspected that Katsande's threats brought back memories of the death of her son, Gregory Zhuwawo (murdered by ZANU PF supporters in 2000), because" threats by George Katsande are not idle", reported Saungweme. "Even ZANU PF supporters fear Katsande because he is said to be well protected by his mother Acquilinah - who guarantees her son immunity from prosecution", he said.

  • 2.1.3 Political tolerance
  • 4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the citizens
  • 4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections
  • 7.4 Safeguard the human & civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, & campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders [...]

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