Friday, 23 May 2008 10:06
President Morgan Tsvangirai arrives back home tomorrow to spearhead
presidential run off campaign to be held on 27 June.
Presiident Tsvangirai has been on a diplomatic offensive in the region
secure guarantees for a free and fair run-off. The offensive has seen
meeting several SADC and AU heads of state and government.
His arrival will see join the victory celebrations which started last
with a well-attended rally at White City stadium. President Tsvangirai
also visit victims of political violence that is being perpetrated by
PF militia and state security agents.
The official results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
that President Tsvangirai trounced Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF in the
of 29 March 2007.
A total 43 MDC activists have been killed to date while thousands have
made homeless after Zanu PF supporters destroyed their homes.
This orgy of violence has also seen hundreds of people seeking medical
attention after they were severely beaten by Zanu PF thugs.
From The Star (SA), 23 May
President Robert Mugabe remains in untrammelled power until the presidential
run-off election, which is now due on June 27. And if that run-off happens
and he wins it, he will retain most of his power for the next five years,
even though parliament will be controlled by the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). Such are the powers of the presidency in Zimbabwe's
mutilated constitution. Mugabe came second to the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in
the March 29 presidential election. But because Tsvangirai did not win an
outright majority of more than 50% - at least not officially - he has to
face Mugabe again in a run-off election. Mugabe is governing until then
without legislative control, because the Zanu PF-dominated Parliament was
dissolved before the March 29 elections and the new MDC-dominated Parliament
will not be constituted until a president has been duly elected.
When the results of the run-off election are released, the new president
must be sworn into office by the chief justice within 48 hours. The present
cabinet, which Mugabe appointed at the last general election in 2005, also
stays in office until the new president is sworn in. If Mugabe wins the
run-off, he can appoint a wholly Zanu PF cabinet, even though it will be
from the minority party in the House of Assembly. In theory having a Zanu PF
president and an MDC-controlled parliament could be unworkable. But, in
reality, there is only one task Mugabe needs parliament for, and that is to
pass the budget. So his minister of finance would write the budget and
present it to parliament. The majority party, the MDC, could presumably
re-write it and then pass its version. But Mugabe could in turn refuse to
sign it and it would sit in limbo for six months.
The MDC could then try and persuade enough Zanu PF MPs to vote with it, to
attain the two thirds majority which the constitution requires for
Parliament to override the presidential veto. But Mugabe could, if he wants,
just avoid the legislative budget process altogether. He could raise money
to pay the civil service via central bank governor Gideon Gono, who
continually bypasses the constitution to ensure Zanu PF and Mugabe retain
control. Gono began to take over the responsibilities of the ministry of
finance when he was appointed by Mugabe in late 2003. He does what he likes,
when he likes, with public money, from buying tractors for Zanu PF, to
approving arms from China. If all else failed, Mugabe could simply overrule
parliament any time he wanted to, using the Presidential Powers Temporary
Measures Act, which allows him to rule by decree for six months at a time.
He appoints the judges, the overwhelming majority of whom are not only
widely seen by the legal fraternity as incompetent but also respect (or
fear) Mugabe more than they respect the law. He would also appoint the
attorney-general, a powerful official. On matters other than the budget,
Mugabe will be able to use the Senate to good effect. On March 29, the MDC
and Zanu PF each won 30 senate seats and 18 traditional leaders - likely to
be sympathetic to Mugabe - have already been appointed. Before the
elections, the electoral laws were amended to remove 30 presidential
appointees from parliament (the lower house, or assembly). But these were
then effectively transferred to the Senate, the upper house. If he wins the
run-off, Mugabe would also appoint 10 provincial governors who would take
ex-officio seats in Senate, alongside five other presidential appointees.
The Senate may delay all legislation - except the budget - for 90 days, and
when that period expires, Mugabe can anyway then refuse to sign any bill.
But, of course, if Morgan Tsvangirai wins the run-off, he will inherit all
these powers from Mugabe and the boot will be very firmly on the other foot.
Hence the importance of being president. If he won, Tsvangirai would control
the Senate as he would appoint the provincial governors and enough chiefs
would probably fall in line to prevent the Senate from blocking his
legislation. His first job would then be to appoint a cabinet and draft a
budget. He would not be able to change the present constitution without a
two-thirds majority, for which he would need Zanu PF help. He would have the
power to re-appoint or sack and replace the service chiefs, but would very
likely negotiate this very carefully for fear of facing a mutiny. These are
just some of the scenarios in Zimbabe's unpredictable future.
Another is that ahead of the run-off Mugabe might win back parliament with
the help of the first Electoral Court with its 22 new judges, mostly Mugabe
loyalists, who will hear 53 challenges from Zanu PF and 52 from the MDC to
the March 29 parliamentary elections. These cases would not prevent elected
MPs and senators from taking their seats, but they could eventually reverse
the MDC's parliamentary victory. On the face of it, Tsvangirai should win
the run-off election. He scored 115 832 votes more than Mugabe on March 29.
Running on an anti-Mugabe ticket, former Zanu PF politburo member and
finance minister Simba Makoni won 207 470 votes, mostly in two rural
Matabeleland provinces, from supporters of the smaller MDC party, (the MDC
split in 2005) led by Arthur Mutumbara. Now Mutumbara's activists say the
Makoni alliance was a mistake and they only went for it because their bid
for reunification was rejected by Tsvangirai. These MPs say they would not
only ensure all Matabeleland votes for Tsvangirai, but will re-activate many
more MDC supporters who stayed away on March 29 muddled by the Makoni
factor. Those votes should give Morgan Tsvangirai at least 323 392 votes
more than Mugabe, or about 56% of the vote.
But will Zanu PF's terror campaign frighten off enough voters to enable
Mugabe to beat Tsvangirai? Will the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), which appointed President Mbeki in March 2007 to mediate Zanu PF-MDC
negotiations, properly fulfil its mandate by ensuring a peaceful and fair
run-off election? It doesn't look hopeful at present. That is why many
analysts and observers are calling for some sort of transitional
power-sharing arrangement between Zanu PF and the MDC to negotiate
conditions for a peaceful and fair election. But the likelihood of that
happening fades with each day. The persistent problem that bedevils that
option is who would be top dog in a power-sharing administration? It is
impossible to imagine Mugabe conceding supremacy to his hated rival
Tsvangirai. Likewise Tsvangirai has said that he is prepared to consider
such a deal - but not if Mugabe remained in charge. So Zimbabwe's political
future looks ever more uncertain as the political violence continues
unabated and warnings of impending civil war
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 May 2008
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her husband Solomon are reported to have
strongly objected to the use of violence to coerce rural voters into voting
for Robert Mugabe in the second round of the presidential poll.
The Zimbabwe Independent reported Friday that the Mujurus raised their
objections directly to Mugabe during a politburo meeting on Wednesday. Both
husband and wife queried why war veterans were targeting people in
Mashonaland East and Central provinces where Mugabe and Zanu-PF garnered
most votes in last month’s harmonised elections. But according to the paper,
Mugabe sidestepped the subject.
Although Zanu-PF had the popular vote in the two provinces, the MDC made
significant inroads and managed to grab a number of parliamentary seats in
the two provinces. The issue of violence has apparently divided the top
leadership of Zanu-PF with some believing it will cost them dearly on 27th
Human rights campaigners have recorded a number of atrocities that have been
committed in Mashonaland province. Recently, in one village alone five MDC
activists were tortured to death while several others were left fighting for
their lives. Zanu-PF officials are reported to have led a militia group that
rounded up the villagers and beat them using barbed wire.
Hebson Makuvise, the MDC’s chief representative in the UK said violence will
not help Mugabe in his bid to cling to power. He said if the use of violence
worked, Mugabe would have long acquired the support of people in
Matebeleland where he committed the ‘worst crimes against humanity.’
Ever since the Gukurahundi atrocities, Mugabe and his party have failed to
win an election against both ZAPU and the MDC in that region.
‘The MDC is determined to finish him off. People in Zimbabwe are just fed up
with him, it would be a miracle if he gets the same number of votes he got
in the first round,’ said Makuvise.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:35
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, fearing defeat in the forthcoming poll, has
urged his wounded party to establish a "warlike leadership" to conduct a
military-style campaign during the looming presidential election run-off.
The strategy — discussed at the Zanu PF politburo meeting on April 4 —
is believed to be at the root of ongoing political violence largely
attributed to Zanu PF activists and state agents. The opposition says at
least 45 people have been killed in the current wave of violence rippling
through the countryside. Police and government spokesmen have denied the
death toll figures. President Mugabe has of late been condemning violence.
Documents to hand show that Mugabe told the politburo during a
post-mortem of the March 29 elections Zanu PF must establish a warlike and
military-style leadership to campaign for him at the run-off.
"He said the party must establish an almost military/warlike
leadership which will deliver," one document says.
"The president and first secretary said the party must mobilise
massively to achieve a resounding victory in the run-off," it says. "He said
party members must understand this was a sink-or-swim election."
Last Friday Mugabe said the elections were being held in
"circumstances of an all-out war".
Mugabe’s official campaign team includes his deputies Joseph Msika and
Joice Mujuru and party chair John Nkomo. It also has 18 senior officials who
include Emmerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa, Nicholas Goche, Didymus
Mutasa, Elliot Manyika, Sydney Sekeramayi, Ignatius Chombo, Oppah
Muchinguri, Vitalis Zvinavashe, David Karimanzira, Webster Shamu, Mike
Nyambuya, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Olivia Muchena, Tendai Savanhu, Sithembiso
Nyoni and Walter Mzembi.
There are sub-committees on mobilisation, security and intelligence,
legal affairs, logistics, research and strategy, public relations, services,
finance, and information and publicity.
Insiders say Mugabe’s loyalists believe coercion is justified because
the party is defending a "revolution".
Sources said a carrot-and-stick approach that includes coercion and
inducements, such as food relief, would be used.
The documents say Mugabe said the party must prepare thoroughly for
what he described as a "do-or-die encounter" at the run-off scheduled for
June 27. They reveal Mugabe said this after meeting his Joint Operations
Command (JOC) advisors before the April 4 politburo meeting.
JOC, which brings together state security service chiefs, meets Mugabe
on Fridays to brief him on security issues.
Sources said senior army officers, including high-ranking generals,
have been roped into the Mugabe campaign. The army, whose top commanders
have openly opposed the MDC, has officially dissociated itself from the
current campaign of violence, but human rights groups insist it is involved.
A senior lawyer, Advocate Eric Matinenga, has already filed a High Court
application seeking an order to remove the army from Buhera.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief General Constantine Chiwenga, Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Prisons Commissioner retired
Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi, Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin
Chedondo and Brigadier-General David Sigauke have said they would not accept
opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai if he wins.
Chedondo hardened his stance on the opposition this week, attacking
the MDC as “puppets” helping Western imperialists to launch an onslaught
against the country.
The generals’ position is reportedly shared by Mnangagwa who is Mugabe’s
chief strategist for the run-off.
Mnangagwa’s rivals in the camp led by retired army commander General
Solomon Mujuru are opposed to current strategy, especially intimidation and
violence against voters.
At the politburo meeting last week on Wednesday Mujuru and his wife
Joice confronted Mugabe on the brutality against people in Mashonaland
They wanted to know why voters were being beaten in regions where Zanu
PF had won the majority of the votes. No one in the politburo replied to
their query. It is said the Mujurus are outraged by the violence that seems
to be targeting people in their regions. Political violence is rife in
Mashonaland regions where the Mujurus have their power base.
Besides the Mujuru faction, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is also
against the run-off — expected to cost US$60 million — but for a different
reason. Gono argues the run-off would destroy the economy and heighten
He wrote a letter to Mugabe last month on the issue, suggesting the
need for a negotiated political settlement.
Zanu PF’s campaign tactics — which are similar in some respects to
their electioneering in 1980, 1985, 1990, 2000, 2002 and 2005 — have created
a climate of fear and left people traumatised.
A South African team of retired army generals that arrived in the
country on May 4 to investigate violence went back on Tuesday after
discovering chilling evidence of brutality and impunity.
The violence alarmed South African President Thabo Mbeki who was in
the country recently to talk to Mugabe about the issue.
Civic group Crisis Coalition said yesterday the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Youth Assembly secretary for security
Tonderai Ndira, who was allegedly abducted by state security agents in
Mabvuku on May 14, was found dead on a farm in Goromonzi on Wednesday. His
brother Barnabas Ndira told Crisis Coalition Tonderai (32) was found dead
and his decomposed body was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary in
The MDC, civic groups and human rights organisations have accused Zanu
PF and state security agents, including army, police and intelligence
services, of unleashing violence in a bid to secure Mugabe’s re-election.
The army has distanced itself from violence but the accusations persist.
Mugabe and government officials have denounced violence but their
remarks are seen as designed to appease Mbeki, while camouflaging state
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:22
HUMAN rights lawyers have accused the police of committing serious
human rights abuses and causing a humanitarian crisis after launching an
operation to restore order at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange.
The lawyers say due to the operation, prison facilities are crammed
with people while courts are failing to cope with the huge number of
suspects coming before them.
The operation also netted children as young as 12 and 13 and elderly
Remand and prison facilities in this eastern border city which can
only accommodate a maximum of 300 people are crammed with over 1 000 people,
some with untreated wounds from police dog bites.
Those arrested are appearing in court in groups of 10 to 12. The
crisis has forced human rights lawyers in the city to intervene in a bid to
rescue the people detained at the remand prison.
Two weeks ago the police launched a massive operation to restore order
at the diamond fields in Chiadzwa, Marange, about 90 km south of Mutare.
Close to 1 000 illegal miners, dealers and vendors were netted within
the diamond fields and surrounding areas and were taken to Mutare.
In a statement the lawyers said armed police with specially trained
dogs moved into the Chiadzwa area and arrested hundreds of men, women and
children and detained them in conditions that are inhumane.
The lawyers, led by Tinoziva Bere, said in the process of arrest some
were bitten by the dogs, others were assaulted by the police officers and
others sustained injuries from falling as they were being chased by the
"Many complain that they were arrested from the main road, their
homes, the grazing fields, shopping centres and villages/homesteads in and
around the Chiadzwa area," the lawyers said in their statement in our
possession. "Some claim that they were vendors selling their goods in and
around the area while others were mere visitors to their relatives and
friends in the area."
"Most accused/detainees claim that they were taken to various
detention places and police stations where they were kept in crowded filthy
conditions for as long as four to five days before being brought to court.
The numbers were such the toilets and bathing facilities were inadequate to
non-existent. Most when brought to court had not bathed since arrest and
some had nothing or little to eat."
They said most of those in detention carry visible injuries especially
vicious and deep dog bites and had not received any tetanus injection or any
medication at all.
The statements said all those interviewed never had warned and
cautioned statements recorded from them and were simply told when they got
to court to plead guilty to the charges so that they would be asked to pay a
mere fine for environmental damage and be released. Many were not aware that
in fact the charges preferred were tied to a minimum sentence of two years
The lawyers accused judicial officers of failing to discharge their
duties properly when handling the cases of those netted in the police
"There is chaos in the record keeping, the movement of prisoners, the
identities of prisoners, and the identification of appropriate courts where
proceedings should take place, there is no recording equipment, and there is
a terrible stench that one senses from the court house because of the
numbers of wounded, unbathed prisoners."
The lawyers said the detained suspects had little or no access to
their relatives and lawyers were having difficulty tracing their clients or
the record or prison numbers or venues for their hearings.
"Prison service in Mutare has been overwhelmed seriously and Mutare
Remand Prison for instance now holds over 1100
prisoners instead of 300 which is its capacity. The farm is already at
"They had no advance warning of this blitz and have no space, food,
blankets, clothing, shoes, sanitary ware, toiletries, ablution facilities,
stationery, manpower, medication, transport and other resources needed to
run a human and safe remand prison."
"Because of food shortage and lack of transport feeding is a
challenge. Relatives who wish to feed their own are restricted by security
considerations which are severely constrained now because of the excessive
numbers," said the lawyers.
The lawyers are offering a free service. — Own Correspondent.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:19
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has written to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) expressing its loss of confidence in the
electoral management body’s ability to ensure a free and fair run-off.
ZEC has set June 27 as the date for the run-off that pits President
Robert Mugabe against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In a letter prepared by law firm Dube, Manikai, & Hwacha Legal
Practitioners, the MDC said it was convinced that ZEC was incapable of
ensuring the freeness and fairness of the poll. It said that it was also
convinced an election managed and conducted by ZEC would not produce a
result that signifies the will of Zimbabweans.
Said the MDC: "On the basis of the concerns expressed in this letter,
the Movement for Democratic Change hereby formally notifies the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission that it has resolved that the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission is presently incapable of conducting elections in Zimbabwe that
are free, fair, transparent, proper, efficient, and credible, and which
ensure a result that represents the true will of the people of Zimbabwe in
accordance with the constitution of Zimbabwe and Electoral Laws."
The letter cites the delays in announcing the presidential election
results, the three day announcement of the parliamentary election, "the
unlawful recounts conducted by ZEC at the instigation of Zanu PF", and the
failure and refusal by ZEC to verify the presidential results, as some of
"After the parliamentary elections it was apparent that the manner in
which the House of Assembly results were announced to the nation by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission was stage-managed.
"The results, which clearly, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had
already received, were announced over three days and managed or manipulated
to prolong for as long as was possible, the impression that Zanu PF had not
lost the parliamentary election to the MDC," said lawyer, Selby Hwacha in
the letter to ZEC.
Hwacha said his client was of the view that ZEC was "pliant" and could
not exercise its independence from the demands of Zanu PF.
The letter, the law firm said yesterday, had been served on all the
ZEC commissioners. However, the Zimbabwe Independent was unable to obtain
comment from the electoral body at the time of going to press last night.
Following the release of the contested March 29 presidential and
general election, the MDC, civic society, and some parts of the
international community have heightened calls for an international and
regional observer mission on the basis of blunders that ZEC is said to have
The letter comes after independent legislator for Tsholotsho North,
Jonathan Moyo had filed a Supreme Court application in Bulawayo, saying ZEC
had acted "unlawfully" in delaying and setting the date of the run-off. In
his application, Moyo said ZEC had usurped the functions of parliament
through its actions.
"The power to make and unmake the law," Moyo argued, "clearly vests
with the legislature. Where there are emergencies requiring the making or
unmaking of the law in the absence of the legislature, then the power to
make or unmake the law in that event rests with the (President) through the
instrument of the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act pending
ratification by parliament at a later stage."
Moyo said ZEC had no powers to "alter or amend the legal periods
within which elections must be held in terms of the law or fixing the date
"Unless specified by law, the fixing of election dates and election
periods for parliament or office of the president is the constitutional
responsibility of the (President)," Moyo said.
"ZEC has no legal power or authority to fix an election date or define
an election period for parliament or for the office of the president."
Moyo sought an order compelling Mugabe to comply with Section 110 (3)
as read with Section 38 of the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13 in respect of the
fixing of a date for a second presidential election, saying such a date
should not to be fixed beyond June 15.
He also asked the court to declare the promulgation by ZEC of
Statutory Instrument 73A of 15 May 2008 as ultra vires.
"In the event that this Honourable Court finds that the 2nd respondent
acted ultra vires Section 192 (5) (a) of the Electoral Act in promulgating
Statutory Instrument 73A, this court should strike down Section 192(5) (a)
of the Electoral Act as unconstitutional," read part of Moyo’s application.
By Nkululeko Sibanda
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:16
ZANU PF and the MDC are reportedly engaged in secret talks to form a
government of national unity (GNU) and forgo the June 27 presidential
election run-off after the two parties agreed that the poll will not resolve
the social, political and economic crisis in the country.
The run-off pits President Robert Mugabe against opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, who won the first round of the presidential election on
March 29, but was short of the mandatory 50% plus votes needed to assume
The reports of talks between the MDC and Zanu PF came amid growing
local, regional and international pressure on the two parties to reach a
negotiated settlement to the crisis.
Sources told The Zimbabwe Independent this week that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai were eager for a negotiated settlement arguing that the run-off
could not be a mechanism for conflict resolution.
The sources said the unity government was necessary to end the
political impasse and facilitate a smooth legislative process given that
Zimbabwe now has a hung parliament.
The idea of a GNU, the sources said, is backed by Sadc, South African
President Thabo Mbeki and the African National Congress (ANC)’s leadership
headed by Jacob Zuma.
"The protagonists are agreed on the need for a government of national
unity," one of the sources said. "The two parties realise that the run-off
will not resolve the crisis, hence the talks for a negotiated settlement."
The sources said Mugabe had reached out to Tsvangirai with the idea of
a GNU and high level talks were expected to commence soon.
Former Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday told the
Independent that Tsvangirai told him that Mugabe had invited the opposition
leader back to Harare to begin power-sharing talks.
Dabengwa — who met Tsvangirai in South Africa at the weekend —
described himself as "one of the facilitators of the GNU". He however
refused to reveal what was discussed in the meeting.
The former Home Affairs minister has strong links with the new
leadership of the ANC, whose president Zuma is reportedly pushing hard for a
GNU to end Zimbabwe’s crisis.
The international media quoted Dabengwa at the weekend saying
Tsvangirai and Mugabe wanted to meet and pave the way for a political
settlement that would avoid the run-off.
"[Tsvangirai] said he had been approached by Zanu PF and they were
prepared to forgo a runoff in favour of establishing a government of
national unity," Dabengwa was quoted as saying.
"I said: ‘Please don’t hesitate. Take it up, and let’s get on with the
MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, on Sunday told journalists in
Nairobi, Kenya, that the run-off would not resolve the crisis in the
country, adding that there was still room for negotiation to come up with a
"unity government of national healing".
"The basic problem is that we have an old man, a geriatric, who is not
prepared to give up power and that situation isn’t going to change on June
27," Biti said.
He said a run-off was "merely extending and exacerbating the crisis"
and legitimising "Mugabe’s constitutional coup".
The answer, Biti argued, should have been for African leaders to
persuade Mugabe to negotiate a GNU, but instead the leaders of neighbouring
countries had failed to confront him.
South African-based think tank, Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), on
Wednesday said Mbeki must urgently meet Zanu PF and the MDC and ask them to
consider the formation of a GNU or a transitional one.
The SPT director of research, Brian Raftopoulos, said considering the
post-election violence in Zimbabwe, a political solution was more "important
and appropriate" than the run-off.
"This will be another wasted election," he said during the launch in
Johannesburg of a report titled Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens: The
Zimbabwe Elections 2008. "Zanu-PF will not give in if it loses the election.
At this moment election is secondary what is important now is a political
solution that will come through a transitional government."
The report said the run-off was neither practical nor desirable in an
environment of state-sponsored violence.
"The Sadc mediator (Mbeki) should, therefore, take urgent steps to
bring the major parties together into a renewed mediation process to
discussions around the creation of a transitional government composed of
representatives of the MDC and Zanu-PF to map out conditions for political
stabilisation, humanitarian assistance and interim measures to help
stabilise the economy," reads the report. "Such a transitional authority
should then map out the process for the creation of a new constitution, and
the conditions necessary for such a constitution to come into force."
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) also said a
negotiated settlement leading to a transitional government led by Tsvangirai
might be the lasting solution to the country’s mounting political and
"African leaders, with support from the wider international community,
must step in to stop the violence and resolve the deepening political
crisis, ideally by facilitating an agreement establishing an MDC-led
transitional government that avoids the need for the run-off," the ICG said.
"That broadened mediation, supported by additional international actors,
should focus on two immediate objectives, which are not mutually exclusive,
as the end objective of each should be some form of government of national
unity, under MDC leadership."
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF information committee
chairperson Patrick Chinamasa were in vain yesterday, as he was not
answering his mobile phone. However, the party recently ruled out a GNU with
the MDC, saying they were puppets of the West.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson, yesterday could neither confirm
nor deny that there were secretive talks between his party and Zanu PF.
"We have no resolution on that (GNU)," Chamisa said. "Our position is
that whoever wins the run-off should come up with a government of national
healing that is inclusive of all political players."
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:14
UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee this week vowed that
he will continue to publicly condemn state-sponsored violence against
opposition members despite threats by government to expel him.
McGee, who was part of a group of envoys from various countries who
last week visited victims of political violence in Mashonaland Central, said
the government wanted to silence him.
Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi last week summoned
McGee to his offices in the capital and told him that the government would
not hesitate to expel him from Zimbabwe if he violates diplomatic protocol.
McGee was accused by Mumbengegwi of violating protocol when he visited
victims of political violence in Mvurwi, Chiweshe and at the Avenues Clinic
The US ambassador told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that his
visits were not in any way in breach of diplomatic protocol as Mumbengegwi’s
ministry had given him permission "to travel anywhere" in Zimbabwe.
"I am particularly concerned about the issue of travel outside of
Harare since I have in my possession a diplomatic note from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs dated May 18th 2006 that expressly says ‘yes you are allowed
to travel anywhere you wish in Zimbabwe’," McGee said.
In any case, the envoys submitted a diplomatic note informing the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their intended trip.
"Notification is nothing more than a formality, it is not a request
for permission," McGee said.
The ambassador added: "I am afraid that the Ministry doesn’t know
exactly what it is talking about when they told me that I had broken some
laws or regulations by travelling more than 40km outside the city."
McGee said that efforts to explain his case and the circumstances that
saw him visit the victims of political violence proved futile, as he was
told "to shut up, you are not allowed to talk".
He said he would not allow his emotions to take precedence over common
sense, as this would degenerate into a fiasco of unimaginable proportions
between Zimbabwe and the US.
"I don’t want this to blow up into a situation where we end up
retaliating against Zimbabwean diplomats in the United States. Zimbabwean
diplomats in the United States are allowed to travel wherever they wish
without any impediments, without any restrictions, without any need to
notify the Department of State or anyone else," McGee said.
By Nkululeko Sibanda
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:11
SUSPECTED Zanu PF supporters have forcibly evicted more than 40
commercial farmers from their properties throughout the country since the
March 29 elections in a crackdown against white farmers ahead of the June 27
presidential election run-off between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) president Trevor Gifford this week told
the Zimbabwe Independent that since the polls, Zanu PF militia invaded 45
farms, but 37 of the affected farmers have since returned to their
"Since the (March 29) elections some 45 farmers were violently evicted
by youth militia, but some 37 have managed to return, or visit the
properties to manage them and manage them whilst staying elsewhere," said
Gifford. "Some 186 properties were visited by these (Zanu PF) groups around
the country. In most instances farmers were ordered to leave within 24
The CFU boss alleged that farm workers were forced to attend night
vigils (pungwes) where they were ordered to vote for Mugabe in the second
round of the presidential poll.
Gifford claimed that the police were declining to prosecute the
perpetrators of the evictions saying the cases were "political".
He said out of the reported cases, the police and the courts
successfully prosecuted one case.
"In the case, the accused were fined $40 million each," Gifford said.
"In many cases police refuse to prosecute as they say it is political."
Most of the forced evictions, according to the CFU boss, were against
the laws of this country.
"Only two of the evictions were in terms of the law, but both cases
are being appealed as they were both under an Interim Relief order from the
Sadc Tribunal," Gifford said.
Among some of the evicted farmers is Andrew Stidolph of Grand Parade
farm in Karoi North who alleged that a senior army officer violated both
Zimbabwe law and the Sadc Tribunal interim relief barring his ouster.
Stidolph, who is one of the 75 commercial farmers waiting for next
Wednesday’s determination by the Sadc Tribunal, alleged that Major-General
Nick Dube a fortnight ago ordered soldiers to evict him from the farm.
In March the Sadc Tribunal granted an interim relief to applicants
affected by the compulsory government land acquisition the right to use
farms until a determination was passed.
"Accordingly, we order that the Republic of Zimbabwe shall take no
steps, or permit no steps to be taken directly or indirectly, whether by its
agents or by orders, to evict from, or interfere with, the peaceful
residence on, and beneficial use of, their properties in respect of the
applicants or interveners referred to," read the interim relief.
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:08
THE National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango)
this week said the government must allow international humanitarian agencies
to carry out an assessment of the post-March 29 election violence in order
to facilitate mobilisation of support to assist victims of political
Fambai Ngirande, the spokesperson for Nango, told the Zimbabwe
Independent that a formal assessment of the humanitarian situation after the
election was necessary to comprehensively define the extent of the need for
assistance and the formulation of the appropriate response strategies.
"The United Nations (UN) humanitarian agencies and their partners in
the NGO community have been experiencing limited access to the affected
people due to this heightened tension and localised outbreaks of violence,
resulting in them scaling down their humanitarian programmes thereby
exacerbating the humanitarian situation," Ngirande said.
He said the UN agencies, the International Red Cross and other relief
organisations could be more effective after having undertaken their own
assessment of the situation on the ground.
Ngirande said Nango and its diverse membership was currently battling
to respond to the legal, medical, psychosocial and humanitarian needs of
thousands of internally displaced people and victims of politically
"In spite of a horrendously unfavourable operating environment,
notably characterised by, among other things, denial of access for
humanitarian organisations particularly in rural areas and the victimisation
of members of civil society, we are doing all we can to help the victims of
political violence," Ngirande said.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:06
ONE of the leading officials in the Mavambo/Kusile project, Dumiso
Dabengwa, has dismissed as unfounded rumours that have been circulating
countrywide that he was kidnapped and attacked by unknown assailants leading
to his hospitalisation at a private hospital.
In the last two weeks rumours had been rife that Dabengwa was
kidnapped and stabbed by unknown assailants and that war veterans had
invaded his Nyamandlovu farm as punishment for leaving Zanu PF to join the
Simba Makoni camp.
Dabengwa left Zanu PF earlier this year to join independent
presidential hopeful Simba Makoni just before the March 29 harmonsied
elections campaign. His departure caused rifts within Zanu-PF as speculation
mounted that more Zanu-PF officials would join him.
The Independent offices in the last two weeks have been flooded with
calls from concerned Zimbabweans who wanted to know Dabengwa’s fate.
However, in a statement this week Dabengwa dismissed the rumours as
false and said he was safe.
"During the last two weeks rumours have been circulating that I was
kidnapped and beaten up by unknown people and finally landed at the
intensive care unit at Mater Dei Hospital; also that my farm at Nyamandlovu
had been raided by the so-called war veterans," said Dabengwa.
"I wish to state that none of those events have happened. So far I am
safe and let us hope that none of such rumours become a reality. I have been
receiving an average of 50 calls a day and night from people on my
Dabengwa said callers had even gone to the extent of going to Mater
Dei Hospital to check on his condition.
"I would also like to thank members of the public within and outside
the country who have shown great concern by phoning and some, to the extent
of going to the hospital to check on my condition," Dabengwa said.
The fears over Dabengwa’s life come at a time when the opposition has
alleged that it has uncovered an assassination attempt against its leader
The opposition alleges that snipers from the army had been tasked to
wipe out the entire MDC leadership leading to Tsvangirai delaying his return
from South Africa where he ahs been since the March 29 elections.
Dabengwa is a former Zipra intelligence chief and was incarcerated by
President Mugabe together with commander Lookout Masuku during the 1980s
disturbances in the southern part of the country. — Staff Writer.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 21:02
MOST Zanu PF candidates who lost the March 29 parliamentary elections
have told the Electoral Court that their defeat was a result of economic
sanctions that were allegedly called for by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.
According to most Zanu PF electoral petitions seen by the Zimbabwe
Independent, the petitioners are arguing that the sanctions created an
uneven playing field that resulted in the MDC-T winning the elections.
The Electoral Court this week held pre-trial conferences for the first
batch of the 105 petitions filed by losing candidates of both the MDC and
In his petition, Zanu PF losing candidate for Masvingo West, Jabulani
Mbetu, challenged why the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) called for the
parliamentary elections when the sanctions were in force and consequently
created an uneven playing field against Zanu PF.
"It is an open secret that at the core and heart of the harmonised,
epoch-changing and defining elections was the issue of the economy," Mbetu
said. "It was equally blindly obvious that in their quest to convince the
electorate, the political parties involved all espoused policies on land and
how the land was inseparably tied to the grandeur and broader economic
He said there is ample evidence to show that the MDC-T and independent
presidential candidate Simba Makoni propounded polices anchored on what they
euphemistically termed a "rationalisation" of the land reform programme that
Zanu PF had engaged in and was continuing to consolidate.
Mbetu accused the MDC of supporting smart sanctions imposed on
President Robert Mugabe, the cabinet and key government officials.
"Evidence also abounds to the effect that the first respondent’s party
(MDC) had hankered for or at least openly expressed support for the
so-called targeted or smart sanctions against, typically, Zanu PF
presidential candidate, the entire cabinet and other top and key members of
the government, the party, and not least, the governor of the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe," said Mbetu.
Zanu PF candidates challenged parliamentary results in 53
constituencies won by the MDC-T on the grounds of general electoral fraud
and malpractices of a broad and significant nature as to affect the
The MDC-T, which filed 52 electoral petitions, accused ZEC of
malpractices and general electoral fraud.
"The constituency elections officer did not cause a notice of the
places at which polling stations were to be established and the hours during
which the polling stations would be operating at least three weeks before
the date of the election as required by the electoral laws," reads an
application lodged by Thomas Mutandwa, MDC losing candidate for Hwedza
The MDC-T is arguing that there was open vote buying and denial of
access to GMB-procured maize to all perceived MDC-T members and that
traditional leaders were used to intimidate and harass opposition supporters
and to canvass support for Zanu PF.
The MDC-T is arguing that its known supporters had their names removed
from the voters’ roll after its inspection.
"The voters roll was also in shambles. Several people had their names
removed from the voters’ roll without being informed. Ironically they had
checked their names in the voters’ roll and had found them there when
inspection was open to the public; their names were only removed from the
roll after inspection of the voter’s roll," reads the application.
Both parties accuse each other of using food relief as a vote-buying
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 22 May 2008 19:17
ON receiving the news that President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia had lost
to Frederick Chiluba of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) in the
country’s presidential election in 1991, Zaire’s strongman Mobutu Sese Seko
is reported to have remarked, "Lose an election? How? …That’s stupid!"
The significance of all this for the current Zimbabwean crisis should
be obvious in that it raises the hot subject of transition in
post-independence Africa. Significant also because, almost against the
grain, it was Kaunda who demonstrated that it is possible for a founding
father of the nation to concede defeat in an electoral process, after 27
years in office. Today, Kenneth Kaunda remains an elder statesman, not only
in his country, but in Africa as a whole. By contrast, Mobutu Sese Seko had
to flee the country he had ruled and abused for almost four decades, better
forgotten as having been a disgrace to both his country and to our
Is it too late for President Mugabe to follow President Kaunda’s
example or do we have in the making in Zimbabwe a crisis in which the
incumbent will have to leave, perhaps not as unceremoniously as Mobutu Sese
Seko did but, all the same, kicking and screaming? This is the main question
as we ponder on the way out of the current crisis, especially if, as appears
to be the case, the electoral process — including the proposed run-off-might
not succeed in effecting a peaceful transition.
Writing on the ANC’s website last week, South African cabinet
minister, Pallo Jordan, laments the problem of transition in Zimbabwe, while
calling on President Mugabe’s Zanu PF to "surrender power" to Morgan
Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC): "All
liberation movements, including both Zanu PF and Zapu, deliberately
advocated the institution of democratic governance with the protections they
afford the citizen. All liberation movements held that national
self-determination would be realised, in the first instance, by the
colonised people choosing their government in democratic elections.
The questions we should be asking are: What has gone so radically
wrong that the movement and the leaders who brought democracy to Zimbabwe
today appear to be its ferocious violators? What has gone so wrong that they
appear to be most fearful of it?"
That Zanu PF has for the most lost its liberation credentials is no
longer in dispute, as Pallo Jordan infers. But this does not answer the
pertinent questions raised. The answers to these have to be found largely in
the failure of bourgeois democracy to take hold in post-independent Africa.
The reasons for this failure are two fold.
Firstly, the absence of a national bourgeoisie that would act as a
socio-economic and political anchor, and around which the complex
institutional framework that defines democratic discourse can take hold and
develop an existence virtually autonomous of the party or leader in power in
any given period. Otherwise, democracy so-called has been reduced to "merely
the right" to participate in elections every few years; and even then, it
does not necessarily follow that the victor accedes to power nor that the
loser concedes defeat.
Secondly, the absence of the anchor class also means that state
actors — especially the head of state, ministers, service chiefs and even
senior bureaucrats are so dependent on the state itself for their very
livelihood and, as is the case in Zimbabwe, for the primitive accumulation
which is associated with land reform in particular and patronage in general.
The point is that few could survive after Mugabe or fend for
themselves economically and financially once out of office. Clearly, it is
more self-interest than commitment to an ideology that drives the party
zealots some of whom thereby shamelessly declare that they are Zanu PF
"through and through"!
So, the stakes are so high that to defer to the tenets of democracy
would amount to virtual political and economic suicide on the part of these
"hardliners" who are now in the driving seat in the current crisis.
Therefore the difference between most of post-colonial Africa and
post-liberation Zimbabwe is that the latter has at its disposal an armoury
of ideological claims and a resource for violence, both associated with the
struggle for national independence but now so abused for the purposes of
retaining power and privilege, almost at any cost!
It is understandable that Zanu PF has been shocked and shaken by the
defeat at the polls. More than that, it marks the beginning of the end of
Zanu PF: there is no political party in the post-independence era that has
survived outside state power; and it is the fate of all political parties
that have long lost their ideology and message, in favour of the Great
In turn, it is the combination of shock, and fear of the future, that
explains the current wave of the most gruesome and horrific
politically-motivated violence that has been perpetrated across many parts
of the country during the post-election period.
Many of us have seen evidence of all this in the form of relatives or
friends who have been killed and those who lie in hospitals and clinics,
with frightening injuries and physical disfigurement that could only have
been inflicted by the most cruel and sadistic elements in our society.
The violence is a response to Zanu PF’s defeat at the recent polls; in
the calculations, by that cabal in Zanu PF, one or two of the service
chiefs, and loud-haling and senior civil servants, that such violence would
punish those who had voted against their party and warn the rest of the
rural population against voting for the opposition come run-off.
So, it would appear, a decision was made, in the days following the
election, to deploy a military-style operation across parts of the country,
in a manner designed to re-enact that of the war of liberation, including
the deployment of some such former commanders as did operate in the late
1970’s in those targeted areas, and bank-rolled by a lavish supply of bearer
cheques to hordes of unemployed youths now converted into convenient
And now with reports that members of the opposition MDC are
retaliating and turning on their Zanu PF counterparts, it is not far-fetched
to state that we have here a civil war-in-the-making, unless a political
solution is found.
No doubt, this will come back to haunt us in the same way that similar
atrocities of the post-independence period continue to pervade and needle
our national conscience: Gukurahundi and Murambatsvina in particular, but
also the land reform-related violence of 2000/2 and the brutal attack on
leaders and members of the opposition MDC on March 11 2007.
It is long overdue that Zimbabwe begins to exorcise itself of a legacy
of violence which has almost underpinned political life and the quest for
power and its retention. This has to start now, in the identification of
those directing and perpetrating this kind of violence.
In the meantime, it is doubtful that the scheduled run-off between
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe can take place against such a background
of politically-motivated violence across many parts of the country and a
pervasive atmosphere of acrimony, suspicion and immense anxiety among
Zimbabweans, both at home and in the diaspora. Therefore, in the limited
time that is left between now and the scheduled run-off on June 27, does
there exist the possibility that stakeholders could reach an agreement which
would pave the way for a transitional government, based on an all-inclusive
approach that engenders national confidence and reconciliation, thereby
rendering the run-off redundant?
Surely, it is an ambitious venture, by any stretch of the imagination,
to expect that the population, the majority of whom (55% at least, according
to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s own figures) have already declared
their opposition to President Mugabe on March 29, should suddenly be swayed
to vote for him on June 27. In this regard, those who share such an
impossible dream should also note that more than 50% of the rural population
voted against Robert Mugabe; and that, assuming the urban voter turn-out
alone increases from 35% on March 29 to 60% on June 27, Morgan Tsvangirai
will no doubt romp home to victory. And that is excluding “Matabeleland” as
a whole, and those parts of the rural areas in which voters will be able to
turn out, come June 27.
But that is not the point. For, even with a comfortable win, Morgan
Tsvangirai and his MDC might find themselves saddled with the same problem:
a delay in the announcement of the result; possibly a rigged election in
which Mugabe claims victory and the consequent status quo that has
bedevilled the country for the last few years; or, more likely, Mugabe’s
refusal to concede defeat and the persistence of the violent and indefinite
stand-off that already faces us now.
There is a way forward, provided Morgan Tsvangirai can pluck up the
courage and take the initiative towards a negotiated settlement of the
current crisis. He will find many who could assist in that journey, in
Zimbabwe itself, in the sub-region and Africa as a whole, and in the
This is the subject of the discussion being conducted within and
between various regional and global organisations now seized with the
Zimbabwe crisis. The hope is that the proposed roundtable conference can be
By Ibbo Mandaza: Academic and key member of the Mavambo Project.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:49
THE human rights violations currently obtaining in the countryside by
elements aligned to Zanu PF need to be understood in the context of world
The present violations need to be understood in the context of the
Nuremberg Trials in post Second World War Germany, the International
Tribunal on War Crimes in Rwanda among other cases where those who
abused human rights ended up facing both domestic and international
Zimbabwe’s securocrats, rogue elements of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association and Zanu PF thugs have behaved liked
Hitler’s Gestapo or Mengistu’s Gerd when they killed thousands of Germans
and Ethiopians respectively in order to safeguard dictatorships in those
In the run-up to the June 27 presidential election run-off, the
security forces in Zimbabwe and their surrogates in Zanu PF and war veterans
are facing accusations of involvement in cases of forced disappearances,
rapings, beatings, assaults, abductions torture, arson and murders of
opposition supporters and other pro-democracy activists in order to
intimidate them to vote for Mugabe or at least not to vote for the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
What the leadership of these groups, especially the security forces,
fail to appreciate is that they are committing crimes forbidden under
Zimbabwe as a state is party to the 1984 Convention Against Torture
(CAT) and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which
outlaws torture and the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
United Nations Charter. This regime of human rights forbids abuses against
citizens such as the ones currently taking place in Zimbabwe.
For instance, Article 1 of CAT defines torture as "any act by which
severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally
inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third
person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third
person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or
coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of
any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation
of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person
acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering
arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."
More so, domestic law under the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 15
forbids torture and other forms of inhuman and degrading punishment. The
government of Zimbabwe, those in the security forces and Zanu PF thugs
should fully understand the consequences of the current violence against
opposition activists and innocent Zimbabweans in areas such as Mvurwi,
Shamva, Mudzi and other parts of the country where they have become a law
These rogue elements should continue to abuse human rights in the
countryside fully aware that both domestic and international law forbids
I suspect that some of the elements committing these crimes have done
so since the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres in the 1980s and they live
under the misguided view that nothing will happen to them. This is the
reason why some top government politicians, military and intelligence people
involved in the Matabeleland and Midlands killings continue to be mentioned
as the drivers of the current madness. They live under the false hope that
nothing will happen to them just like nobody during Hitler’s time ever
thought that they could be tried for war crimes after the Second World War.
It is important for the government of Zimbabwe, or to be specific for
President Mugabe, to understand under that article 55 of the United Nations
Charter to which Zimbabwe is a member state, it is an obligation of states
to promote universal respect for, and observance of human rights and
fundamental freedoms. In order to show the significance of promoting human
rights, particularly the individual rights of citizens, article 5 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights both provide that no one shall be
subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment. Zimbabwe under the leadership of Mugabe is party to this human
rights regime and has no reason to violate it for political expedience.
It should also be known to the government of Zimbabwe and its
surrogates that the protection of individual or citizens’ rights became an
issue after the Second World War when the international community realised
the need to protect individuals from powerful states
or dictatorships following the way Hitler and other dictators such as
Italy’s Mussolini and Spain’s General Franco trampled upon the rights of
citizens and minorities during their rule.
In the case of Germany, those who abused human rights under the Nazi
rule which resulted in the massacre of more than six million in torture
chambers, the allied powers established the Nuremberg Trials in 1945 to make
them accountable to their misdeeds.
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of prosecutions of prominent
members of the political, military and economic leadership of Nazi Germany
from 1945 to 1949 at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice. The first and best
known of these trials was the trial of major war criminals before the
International Military Tribunal which tried 24 prominent leaders of Nazi
I have tried to go back to history in order to remind those who have
and are abusing human rights that their day of judgment will come just like
it did to the Nazi, Gerd and Hutu militias. The authorities in Zimbabwe
would know better that Mengistu, the former Ethiopian dictator who killed
thousands of people during the Red Terror in Ethiopia was recently sentenced
to life imprisonment together with some of his top aides.
The case of Rwanda is another that the Harare regime should take note
of. While the international community remained aloof when the Hutu militias
and extremists with the support of the incumbent regime then were involved
in massacres against the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus in the 1994
genocide, the perpetrators have been hunted down and are facing justice.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor despite some temporary asylum in
Nigeria is now facing trial for crimes against humanity at the International
Criminal Court in The Hague under international law. Those who are allegedly
supporting or spearheading the murders of people in the rural areas and some
urban centres should know that nothing lasts forever.
The Zimbabwe body polity is witnessing similar crimes committed
against the civilian population by armed elements. If the state was not
involved in the current killings and abductions of opposition activists,
numerous arrests and prosecutions could have been witnessed. However, what
we get from the authorities are denials while lawlessness is the norm in
some parts of the country.
What we see in Zimbabwe is the leadership of a party which lost the
parliamentary poll accusing the victims of its well-organised violence of
committing atrocities against innocent villagers. But the truth is that
while people in government are misleading themselves into believing that
they are untouchable and will never account for their blatant crimes, there
are brave people among ourselves who are busy documenting the incidents
detailing who did what, where, when, how and why and this will form the
basis of Nuremberg-type trials post the life of this regime no matter how
long it clings on to power.
By Pedzisai Ruhanya: Human rights researcher based in Harare.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:42
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s chances of winning the presidential run-off
against the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai are so slim that even a donkey would
have better prospects of victory over the octogenarian leader, a former
close advisor says.
Political analysts said Mugabe’s chances were next to zero owing to
the country’s flagging economic fortunes and the slump in the living
standards of the majority of Zimbabweans.
Former Information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo recently said in
an article the mind of the electorate was now fixed against Mugabe.
"If he was to contest against a donkey in the run-off, the donkey
would win by a landslide, not because anyone would vote for it, but simply
because people would vote against Mugabe and thus benefit the donkey."
The ex-Mugabe propagandist said Tsvangirai and the MDC fit the bill.
"Mugabe has become widely and deeply unpopular with a majority of
voters who see him not just as too old to remain in office after 28 years of
his failed rule, but who also see him as the personification of the biting
economic crisis about which he clearly has no solution," Moyo said.
"The feeling now among voters is no longer about electing the right
person or the right party with the right policy, but about choosing a
different person and different party with a different policy."
The analysts argued that nowhere in the world had a sitting president
won an election when inflation is above 355 000%, skyrocketing prices of
basic commodities, plus 80% unemployment rate, over 70% of the population
wallowing in poverty and industrial production down to 15% of capacity.
Moreover, the country faces a critical shortage of foreign currency, a
ballooning domestic debt and no meaningful direct foreign investment in the
past 10 years.
The analysts said the social, political and economic crisis would
result in the electorate voting for Tsvangirai, not because he can extricate
the country from the current problems, but they just needed change for the
sake of it.
The electorate see Mugabe as the personification of their misery.
Mugabe, the analysts argued, would face electoral defeat as they
expected opposition forces to unite and dislodge the old-guard leader who
has been at the helm for the past 28 years.
Despite the deployment of soldiers, war veterans and youth militia in
rural areas to coerce the electorate to vote for Mugabe, the analysts said,
Tsvangirai will triumph.
"If Tsvangirai and other democratic forces come together, they will
defeat Mugabe," political scientist Michael Mhike said.
"The people of Zimbabwe are determined to see the back of Mugabe.
Violence and rigging will not work. This time around, the electorate
throughout the country has rejected Mugabe and the same will apply in the
According to the result of the March 29 presidential election,
Tsvangirai could have won an overwhelming majority if all voters who backed
independent presidential candidates Simba Makoni and Langton Towungana in
the first round poll had voted for the MDC leader.
According to the ZEC results, Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562 votes or
47,9% of total valid votes cast to defeat Mugabe who garnered 1 079 730
ballots or 43,2% of the votes.
Makoni came a distant third with 207 470 votes or 8,3%, while
Towungana got a paltry 14 503 votes or 0,6% of the total ballots cast in the
The presidential result shows that if Makoni’s movement and the MDC
had agreed to field Tsvangirai as the sole opposition candidate, the former
trade unionist would have won the poll by 1 403 032 votes or 56,2% and the
run-off would have been unnecessary.
Moyo argued that what makes Mugabe’s task to win the run-off more
impossible, was that Zanu PF would enter the race divided.
He said Zanu PF was now split down the middle, with one camp led by
retired General Solomon Mujuru against Mugabe’s continued stay in power and
reportedly ready to work with the opposition.
The other faction reportedly supports Mugabe during the day only to
spend the "night scheming ways about how to replace" him.
"The results of the March 29 election clearly show that the biggest
loser was Mugabe as he lost big not only to Tsvangirai, but also to the MDC
and Zanu PF," argued Moyo.
"Therefore, there is no doubt that Tsvangirai would win the run-off as
he would be supported by a de facto united front of opposition and ruling
party forces. Mugabe would be haunted by the very problem that he sought to
avoid by having "harmonised" elections: namely that his party would play
"bhora musango (de-campaign)" against him."
But a political scientist who requested anonymity said while
indicators point to a Tsvangirai victory, Zanu PF could pull a surprise and
win the election given that the MDC went to sleep soon after the March 29
"The resolve by Zanu PF to go for the run-off instead of a negotiated
settlement reveals that the party has something up its sleeve giving them
confidence that they can overturn Tsvangirai’s victory," the analyst said.
"After the harmonised elections, the MDC disappeared from the
political radar. They should have continued campaigning for the party."
Addressing his Central Committee in Harare last Friday, Mugabe
conceded that he lost dismally to Tsvangirai, but blamed the defeat on
lethargic party structures and vowed that he would win the run-off.
"They (structures) were passive; they were lethargic, ponderous,
diverted, disinterested, demobilised or simply non-existent," Mugabe said.
"It was terrible to see the structures of so embattled a ruling party
The veteran leader blamed the defeat on an ineffective leadership from
the national level down to the branch.
"We played truant; we did not lead, we misled; we did not encourage,
rather we discouraged; we did not mobilise, we demobilised. Hence the dismal
result we are landed with," Mugabe said.
He added that the party had failed to mobilise adequate resources to
fight an opposition "backed by a hostile axis of foreign governments with
the strongest economies in the world".
But the MDC said the run-off would be the final nail in the Zanu PF
coffin after its defeat in the harmonised elections.
"President Tsvangirai convincingly trounced Robert Mugabe and other
presidential aspirants on 29 March 2008," party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
"The March 29 poll signified the death of Zanu PF and the presidential
run off will be the burial of a party that has brought starvation and
poverty to the country."
In the unlikely event that Mugabe wins, University of Zimbabwe
economist Professor Tony Hawkins said his victory would prolong economic
ills, currently characterised by hyperinflation, negative real interest
rates, an overvalued exchange rate and a very high budget deficit. Hawkins
said inflation was likely to reach 500 000% by June adding that history has
shown clearly that Mugabe is not capable of reviving the economy which has
slumped by 60% over the past decade.
"If he wins, the economy will be in deeper trouble than it is now. An
international rescue package will be required and those offering it will not
negotiate with him. The price of such a rescue package is his leaving."
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 22 May 2008 20:45
FEW who know his record would deny Morgan Tsvangirai’s courage and
He has stood up to a ceaseless barrage of threats, charges of
treachery, and harassment. He has proved a charismatic leader who did what
many saw as the impossible on March 29. He defeated the incumbent, President
Robert Mugabe, in the nearest thing this country has had to a democratic
election since 1980.
But now, facing perhaps his sternest test, he is in danger of throwing
away his historic advantage. By refusing to come home when his people need
him most, he is betraying their trust and the nation’s need.
For make no mistake, Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. Years of misrule
have taken their toll on the fabric of the country. Zimbabweans face a bleak
future with an economy in free-fall and unemployment mounting. Mugabe’s
administration no longer even pretends that it has solutions to the nation’s
plight. Instead it relies upon the stale mantras of the past to get by — and
While the rest of the region has moved on, attracting investment and
enjoying unprecedented growth, Zimbabwe is stuck in the mindset of a
governing class which believes "100% sovereignty" gives them a licence to
The devastation in the agricultural sector and the collapse of
manufacturing and mining are their legacy. Zimbabweans are poorer today than
they were 30 years ago.
A new government would change that. International lenders are ready to
re-engage with Zimbabwe. Investors are waiting to come on board. An army of
economic exiles are prepared to come home and participate in national
reconstruction. But the country needs leadership as the brighter prospects
loom. Sadly it is nowhere to be found.
Rumour last Saturday of an assassination plot seems to have induced a
bout of skittishness that sent the proto-presidential party racing back to
their Johannesburg redoubt.
As Lovemore Madhuku has observed: "In politics there will always be
all sorts of risks and assassination threats, and as a leader he has to take
the risk and be with the people in the struggle."
Tsvangirai’s supporters take that risk every day of their lives. They
are in the front line of the struggle against the thugs who infest whole
swathes of the country. Yet their leader is nowhere to be seen. Why is he
not visiting hospital wards in Chiweshe and Mutoko, or addressing his
supporters in Bulawayo?
Tsvangirai’s best insurance against harm is his visibility. Any
politician seeking to boost his cause would have denounced the purported
assassination threat on arrival in Harare and drawn the world’s attention to
it. Whoever fed him this story has successfully kept him out of the country.
But we want to know what his plans are for the New Zimbabwe? What will
he do with immediate effect to remedy the condition of manufacturing, mining
and tourism? What can he do to reverse inflation?
He should be out there campaigning, setting up his stall in the market
place of ideas.
Instead, President Mugabe has stolen a march on him. His wares may be
threadbare but they are there for all to see.
Tsvangirai has already accomplished something significant. He has
broken the mould of a once invincible incumbent. Mugabe is now seen as
vulnerable to electoral defeat.
Tsvangirai on the other hand is now perceived as a democratic winner.
But that will only hold if he can be seen to lead his people into the next
round. Whatever his shortcomings, he stands for reform, recovery and the
rule of law.
That is not a mirage. Recovery is achievable within a matter of
months. But Tsvangirai must understand that this election is his to win or
lose. He can’t win it in Johannesburg.
There has been speculation about a government of national unity. This
is a project promoted by regional leaders and the Makoni camp. Essentially
they argue a lasting peace can only come by negotiation. A run-off will
prove nothing and only deepen national fissures.
There is some merit in this argument. We can see a defeated and
embittered Zanu PF opposition blocking Tsvangirai’s reform agenda at every
turn and blaming the new regime for every failure. Wouldn’t a GNU tie the
two parties together in a responsible collaboration?
Perhaps. But Tsvangirai needs to take a leaf from Mugabe’s 1980 manual
here. Despite enormous pressure to go into that year’s election as a
Patriotic Front alliance with Zapu, Mugabe understood perfectly the need to
first establish Zanu PF’s electoral hegemony before negotiating a GNU.
Tsvangirai needs to do the same. Mugabe’s party is a defeated and
discredited force. It needs to be shown that there has been a sea change in
popular attitudes and that the claim that Zanu PF was merely asleep in March
is a convenient myth.
It was caught in a tidal wave of discontent which it can no longer
escape. Nobody buys its time-expired anti-imperialist excuses for failure
any longer. The run-off will show that — but only if Tsvangirai returns and
gives the nation the lead it yearns for.
Come home Morgan: Your place is here with the majority of Zimbabweans
who voted for change. It’s time to finish the job.
By Iden Witherell
Thursday, 22 May 2008 20:41
IT is clear, as it has always been, that a Zanu PF defeat is a victory
for the Rhodesian settler, never of the MDC which is just a mere instrument
for disguising their overriding interest.
It is a victory for the British and Americans who arch over their kith
and kin here, themselves the beachhead of Western imperialism.
"The fall of Zanu-PF, therefore, is the fall of Zimbabwe as a
sovereign nation, indeed the displacement of our people’s interests by those
of imperialism. We have to be alive to our responsibilities as leaders of a
party of liberation."
This caveat by President Mugabe at the Zanu PF Central Committee
meeting in Harare last Friday paints a bleak picture of Zimbabwe’s future
after next month’s presidential election run-off.
Mugabe’s bluster at the Central Committee meeting is an apt
illustration that there are more problems in the air in the event that his
party comes out second best in the election.
All earlier undertakings that Zanu PF would accept the result of the
run-off have evaporated in the heat of executive mantras proclaiming the
need to safeguard the primacy of the party at all costs. Mugabe has remained
stuck in the groove that the MDC is a reincarnation of imperial forces and
should therefore not be permitted to form the next government.
"In an environment of defeat there can never be succession," Mugabe
said on Friday. "Our party must reclaim its glory so its leaders can hand
over the revolution to new hands who must assure continuity of the party.
Our people come first please."
But it is Zimbabweans in Gokwe, Binga, Makoni, Murehwa and the greater
part of the Matabeleland provinces who rejected Mugabe as leader. By
ascribing a Rhodesian plot to his defeat Mugabe and Zanu PF have
demonstrated shocking disengagement from the reality.
Perhaps conveniently so, as this provides an opportunity to use
heavy-handed tactics on innocent villagers in the name of trying to rid the
countryside of the "Rhodesian" influence. Mugabe’s statement therefore that
"support comes from persuasion, not from pugilism" appears threadbare in
light of the menaces that have resonated in statements from senior officials
and the security forces.
Only this week Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff Major-General
Martin Chedondo upped his anti-MDC dogma by painting the opposition as an
enemy which the army should be wary of. "We expect you to understand the
government, the party and you also need to understand that the country is at
a crossroads," he said in an address to newly promoted officers. "We are
under an onslaught of the Western countries, imperialists with the help of
their puppets, the MDC." He said the country’s Independence was brought
about by Zanu-PF through the formation of Zanu and Zapu. He said that legacy
must be protected at all costs.
"Ensure that the legacy of Chimurenga lives on. Some of us might
retire in the near future and you (all army officers) should ensure that
Zimbabwe would never be a colony again. It is you senior officers who should
ensure that the legacy is protected," he said.
The question for Chedondo is: what does the military have in mind as a
strategy to protect the Zanu PF legacy in the event of an MDC victory in the
run-off next month? Questions should also be asked how President Mugabe and
Zanu PF will react to an MDC victory after the warning last week that the
"fall of Zanu PF, therefore, is the fall of Zimbabwe as a sovereign nation".
We have always questioned this Zanu PF narrow and self-serving
definition of sovereignty. It is nonsense for President Mugabe to assume
that Zanu PF is the guarantor of sovereignty and the embodiment of
Zimbabweaness. It is not. The party has over the years forfeited that
accolade because of years of misrule which directly resulted in the
rejection of the party and its leaders at the polls two months ago.
Zanu PF should not be allowed to pretend to be the guardians of
national interest when it has led the country into the current morass.
Sovereignty has all to do with national pride which unfortunately has been
eroded by the realities on the ground. More than four million Zimbabweans
have voted with their feet and left the country.
Thus no amount of nationalist posturing will restore Zanu PF to the
pedestal of influence. Currently the so-called people’s interests — as
preached by the party — have become synonymous with fighting an imaginary
imperialist Viking. But the reality speaks otherwise. Voters are interested
in the restoration of basic aspects of life like putting food on the table,
accessing clean water and electricity, ensuring there are books in schools
and medicines in hospitals. That is what a sovereign state should
concentrate on instead of trying to disguise parochial partisan interests as
the common good. But Zanu PF has missed this point again. Its theme for the
run-off campaign is "100% empowerment, total Independence."
At the current rate, that means 100% destruction. Chedondo needs to
reflect on that reality before he lectures us on Zanu PF’s bankrupt legacy.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 20:38
SHORTLY before he deployed the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade to
the south-western region of Zimbabwe from 1982-87 which then went on to
butcher at least 20 000 civilians, President Robert Mugabe accused the main
opposition party at the time, PF Zapu, of "acts of banditry".
Mugabe — who has said he has "degrees in violence" — claimed that Zapu
leader Joshua Nkomo was using "dissidents" to destabilise and oust his newly
elected government, an allegation proven by the courts and events to be
unfounded. He said Nkomo was like "a cobra in the house". "The only way to
deal effectively with a snake is to strike its head," he declared.
In the process he accused Nkomo’s party officials and their supporters
of being "dissidents" in a bid to justify increasing repression to secure a
one-party state and consolidate his grip on power.
The scalding condemnation of Zapu went on for some time as Zanu laid
the ground for its offensive. The denunciation of Nkomo and his supporters
was meant to prepare the country for a military onslaught on a party which
was key in the liberation struggle but was now an inconvenient stumbling
block to Mugabe’s one-party state project.
Regrettably, Mugabe’s warlike propaganda found extensive purchase and
expression in commentary after commentary in the media. It was canvassed by
policy-makers, discussed from observatory to political observatory, and
openly celebrated in the streets, institutions and market places by Zanu PF
fanatics, especially after the bloody 1985 elections.
As they say, if you want to kill a dog first give it a bad name. That’s
what Zanu did.
What followed, as is now known, were chilling acts of brutality. A
fierce campaign of terror, characterised by beatings, torture, maiming,
arson, rape and mass murder, swept across a vast swathe of Matabeleland and
the Midlands leaving a trail of massacre and destruction.
Mugabe and his officials denied the killings. They are still in
denial, even though Mugabe himself has described them as an "act of
Although years have gone by now and circumstances changed since the
Gukurahundi days, echoes from that dark period were heard in Harare on
Friday last week when Mugabe accused the MDC of "acts of banditry".
He accused the MDC of attacking his party supporters, mainly in the
rural areas, before issuing a menacing warning: "Such acts of banditry must
stop forthwith. The MDC and its supporters are playing a dangerous game". He
further said the MDC "cannot win that kind of war". Mugabe said the recent
elections happened in "circumstances of an all-out war" in remarks
apparently designed to justify violent campaigning.
However, Mugabe last week admitted his party lost the elections
because it was "unprepared, disorganised, passive, lethargic and divided".
Zanu PF diehards think violence is the answer to Mugabe’s faltering
electoral prospects and looming defat.
During the 1980s there were early wake-up calls, but the world
dithered. That the world initially remained silent was a tragedy. That the
world has eventually woken up bodes well for the future. One can be certain
that this will eventually spell the fall of the current regime as violence
yields diminishing returns.
While nothing of the scale of Gukurahundi can possibly happen again,
Mugabe’s remarks last Friday must be seen in the context of the ongoing
political violence. The "acts of banditry" are the pretext for this
crackdown as they were in the 1980s and later in the Cain Nkala case where
Mugabe accused the MDC of terrorism.
Zanu’s way of thinking has not changed. The underlying principle is
still the same: to win and consolidate power at all costs.
Although Mugabe said violence must stop, the reality is that the wave
of terror is still rippling through the rural areas. The recent brutal
attack on villagers at Mapondera in Chiweshe communal lands in Mashonaland
Central is a microcosm of escalating post-election violence.
Mugabe has called for an end to violence, but this is wholly
unconvincing coming as it does from the same people who as recently as two
weeks ago were denying there was any violence.
When there were public complaints about Gukurahundi, Mugabe briefly
withdrew it even if he was denying its atrocities. The same tactic is being
used now. There will be public anti-violence statements and possibly a brief
halt to brutality, but the cut-throat campaigning prior to the June 27
presidential election run-off will not stop. Violence is the only tool they
Opposition and civil society leaders, trade unionists, lawyers,
journalists, diplomats, workers and many ordinary people have been caught up
in the current crackdown since the March 29 elections which Mugabe and his
This entrenched pattern of repression will not cease. The
international community must be vigilant over Zimbabwe’s miscreant regime to
stop the violence and electoral theft.
In the meantime, let’s wait for June 27 — Judgement Day.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 19:12
AS Zimbabwe’s inflation soars ever upwards, at an escalating pace, and
its monetary system sinks lower and lower to points of near total collapse,
more and more of the Zimbabwean business community, economists, and many
others are advocating that Zimbabwe should "dollarise".
Dollarisation is the monetary environment wherein almost all within a
country’s economy substitute the US dollar for, or use it concomitantly
with, the country’s domestic currency.
Utilising the US dollar is not an absolute prerequisite for
"dollarisation", for other foreign currencies can be adapted for usage in
lieu of the local currency, or for usage as an adjunct to that currency.
Some of the advocates for Zimbabwe to dollarise recommend that the foreign
currency which should become the predominant monetary vehicle should be the
South African rand, whilst yet others suggest recourse to the euro.
Whichsoever foreign currency is resorted to for dollarisation, such
dollarisation becomes of effect when that foreign currency becomes the
principle, or sole, constituent of the country’s financial infrastructure.
To all intents and purposes, the domestic currency and the adopted foreign
currency are coalesced and unified.
Dollarisation has considerable merit in restoring economic stability
and a sound national financial system, and has been successfully pursued
over the last century by more that 30 countries, either by formalised
currency linkages, or by informal dollarisation, as is the case of Namibia,
where the South African rand is as legal tender as is that country’s own
But dollarisation can only achieve financial system and economic
metamorphosis if the underlying, principal cause of the distraught state of
that system and the economy is a pronouncedly defective central banking
system, in need of replacement by alternative monetary infrastructures.
Whilst it is undeniable that the Zimbabwean government’s continuous
abuse of responsible central banking functions is a significant contributant
to Zimbabwe’s economic ills, it is not the sole cause of those ills.
It is unquestionable that the ongoing imposition upon the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) of innumerable quasi-fiscal operations which should, if at
all pursued, be wholly undertaken by government, has contributed markedly to
Zimbabwe’s economic downfall. So too is the magnitude of RBZ’s printing of
money, unsupported by any effectual backing, partially in order to fund the
quasi-fiscal operations recurrently downloaded upon it by government, and
partially in order to effect endless lendings to a pronouncedly bankrupt
That never-ending production of unsupported money is irrefutably a
major contributant to Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, and that hyperinflation is
foremost amongst Zimbabwe’s immense economic woes.
Although no official data has been forthcoming for many months as to
the extent of inflation, and such data is undoubtedly intentionally
suppressed by government, it is incontrovertibly evident to the populace
that inflation has surged upwards to in excess of 400 000%, year-on-year to
April, 2008, and is continuing to rise at an horrendous pace, of at least
300% per month.
But that gargantuan inflation is solely attributable to the defective
monetary regime, and cannot be halted by an exercise, in dollarisation, in
isolation from addressing the other very major stimulants of Zimbabwe’s
Government’s destruction of the agricultural sector is at least as
much to blame for today’s inflationary morass as is the weakness of an
unsupported, ever-growing, monetary regime.
Although the state-controlled media herald with trumpeting acclaim a
few small-scale farmers as evidence of success of government’s land reform
programme, the reality is that those small-scale farmer successes are the
exception to the rule. The harsh facts are that Zimbabwean agricultural
production has declined, since the turn of the century, by between 50% and
75% (according to types of crops).
The sector is no longer able to feed Zimbabwe, in contrast to it
previously producing considerably in excess of national need, and
substantively exporting surpluses to the region.
The marked shrinkage in foreign currency generation, the massive
increases in production costs due to diminished production levels, and other
consequences of the emaciation of agriculture, are major contributants to
today’s inflationary catastrophe.
Concurrently, government’s near-total destruction of an
investment-conducive environment has severely jeopardised productivity in
most economic sectors, with consequential adverse inflationary effects.
The continuing fall in production levels of the manufacturing sector
has considerably fuelled inflation. The disastrously endless inflation is
also very extensively attributable to government’s profligate spending, far
beyond its means.
Over and above these, and many other causes of inflation, it is an
indisputable certainty that one of the greatest fuellants of inflation is
the overwhelmingly great insufficiency of foreign exchange to meet Zimbabwe’s
The very considerably decreased foreign exchange generation of
agriculture, the great reduction in export-operations of the manufacturing
sector, the lowering outputs of much of the mining sector, and the
substantial fall in tourism patronage (due to the ghastly, negative
international image of Zimbabwe, and perceptions of sharply decreased
safety) have all contributed to the intense erosion of foreign exchange
As a result, much of commerce and industry, and other economic
players, have become increasingly dependant upon alternative market funding
of imports, at exchange rates encompassing marked premiums over official
rates, and this has further fuelled inflation.
So too has government’s foolhardy, counterproductive pursuit of price
controls, which have had the disastrous effects of further diminution in
production levels, and massively increased black market operations, at
None of these causes of Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation would be
substantively and positively addressed by a dollarisation of the Zimbabwean
Despite the merits of dollarisation, those merits cannot be
forthcoming unless, prior to or concurrently with dollaristion, appropriate
actions would be taken to eliminate the diverse, major causes of inflation.
Without restoring viability to agriculture, boosting productivity in
other economic sectors, curbing state spending, restoring Zimbabwe’s
international image and relations, and accessing international investment
and balance-of-payments support, hyperinflation and most other economic ills
will endure, and worsen further.
Thus, dollarisation is not the answer, unless the other requisite
remedial actions are concurrently pursued. All that will happen is that, in
effect, continuous price escalations will be foreign currency-denominated,
instead of being in Zimbabwean currency terms.
Thursday, 22 May 2008 18:32
Last weekend the Sunday Mail published a front-page story headed "I am
under pressure…Mwanawasa speaks out".
Included in that story was a reference to a letter Gordon Brown
purportedly wrote to Morgan Tsvangirai "confirming that he would lobby Sadc
to take action against Zimbabwe".
"The British government is supportive of (regime) change in Zimbabwe.
The UK government believes that the situation is now untenable and a Zanu PF
government is no longer relevant to the people of Zimbabwe," Brown is said
to have written on April 9.
"I shall be communicating with you after lobbying Sadc to make sure
that a solution to the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe is reached and your
electoral process is respected."
The Sunday Mail last weekend then quoted Zanu PF media sub-committee
chairman Patrick Chinamasa as saying recently "the correspondence between Mr
Brown and Mr Tsvangirai exposed Britain as the brains behind (last month’s)
The Herald on April 17 had published a copy of the letter supposedly
written by Brown to Tsvangirai.
On April 18 the Herald published a response from the British embassy
exposing the Brown letter as "a forgery".
"No such letter or wider correspondence exists," the embassy said. "It
reflects the regime’s desperation that Zanu PF and state-controlled media
have resorted to faking documents for crude propaganda purposes, and not for
the first time."
In other words the Sunday Mail last weekend quoted from a document it
knew to be a forgery. Also in the Herald of April 18, Tendai Biti’s lawyers
pointed out that a document published widely in the state media and
allegedly authored by Biti was also a fake. But many of the claims in that
document continue to circulate.
Chinamasa, as chair of the Zanu PF media sub-committee, has an obvious
responsibility to check his facts before making allegations. He has accused
the MDC of treason on the basis of the fake letter from Brown. But what can
we say about editors who are suborned by politicians and permanent officials
into making manifestly false claims?
Who hands them these lies to circulate and why are they not
The state media editors have a representative body which is supposed
to maintain professional standards. How does the repetition of
self-evidently false stories fit into their mandate?
Meanwhile, readers may like to see what the Zambians think of
Chinamasa and Zanu PF’s attacks on their leader.
"The Zimbabwean government is not being fair to President Mwanawasa as
chairman of Sadc by heaping abuse on him and then asking him to assist the
country," Chief Government spokesperson, Mike Mulongoti said in the Times of
Zambia last week.
He said Zimbabwe should quickly resolve its problems by holding free
and fair elections before talking about the sanctions that have been imposed
Mulongoti was reacting to allegations by Chinamasa that President
Mwanawasa as the Sadc chair was doing nothing to ensure sanctions imposed on
Zimbabwe were lifted. He said it was surprising that the Zimbabwean
government had allowed its newspaper, the Herald, to heap abuse on Mwanawasa
and at the same time ask him to assist the country.
"The Zimbabweans need to exercise humility and show decency because
they cannot insult President Mwanawasa and at the same time ask him to help
them because as Sadc chair he has done what he can," Mulongoti said. He said
that Zimbabweans should hold the elections and "whoever emerges winner would
then talk about sanctions because to talk about sanctions now may be
premature". He said the issue of sanctions was for Zimbabweans which they
"It is surprising that Mr Chinamasa, the man who lost an election is
very vocal and bitter," Mulongoti said.
We would say "not surprising"!
We were interested to see the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is
approaching those agencies of Western imperialism, CNN and the BBC, to make
documentaries saying what a wonderfully peaceful country Zimbabwe is.
"This is part of our efforts to portray Zimbabwe’s warm hospitality
and its peaceful environment despite the negative attention the country has
been receiving after the March elections," a ZTA executive said.
Will this include such scenic attractions as Mvurwi District Hospital
or Howard Hospital in Chiweshe where evidence abounds of the "warm
hospitality" of those who want to see President Mugabe enjoying another term
ZTA executives talk about their "perception management programme". But
hasn’t it occurred to them that perceptions tend to be based on realities? A
bruised and beaten people cannot be hidden. And does the ZTA in all
seriousness believe that broadcasters like CNN and the BBC will collude with
the ZTA in a programme of deception?
Mugabe said last Friday that the recent elections took place "in
circumstances of an all-out war".
Zimbabwe is a country where lawyers are arrested for suggesting the
president should go (especially if the snitch who reported it carries the
same name) and where journalists are locked up for publishing articles by
opposition leaders saying the same thing. The fact that 48% of voters agree
is immaterial. It is treachery to state the obvious!
What Zanu PF never tells us is what Mugabe will do if he stays. More
of the same? Inflation of 1 000 000%? Jails full of people who think he
And then the ZTA talks about "perception management". Are tourists not
expected to read the state press which daily announces the arrest of polling
officers and civic leaders? Which pretends that the visible evidence of
brutal beatings are "lies" made up by the MDC?
The ZTA needs to get real. Tourists are not stupid.
We were amused by the report that US ambassador James McGee was given
a "dressing down" by Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi last
week following McGee’s excursion into Mvurwi and Chiweshe to see the
depredations of Zanu PF thugs. He was accompanied by envoys from several
other countries including the Netherlands and Tanzania.
Does anybody except the government’s captive media take Mumbengegwi
seriously? Perhaps they meant to say it was a "dressing gown" that McGee was
given? Whatever the case, the diplomatic community will have chuckled at the
prospect of McGee being "dressed down" by the representative of a regime
that long ago forfeited international respect.
There are no parts of Zimbabwe that are off-limits to ambassadors
based in this country. And the Americans and other diplomats submitted
diplomatic notes on their intentions before they set out to inspect the
damage caused by rampaging militias.
"McGee’s sincerity has come under scrutiny as he is only visiting the
so-called MDC-T supporters in hospitals and ignoring Zanu PF supporters who
were brutalised by MDC supporters in different parts of the country," the
Sunday News told us.
Perhaps that was because nobody could find any Zanu PF supporters
brutalised by the MDC-T!
Perhaps the Sunday News knows where they are hiding.
But hospital wards across the country are full of ordinary folk whose
only crime was to vote — or were suspected of voting — against Mugabe
helping himself to another term. In some cases the victims were attacked
because relatives were associated with the MDC.
Chinamasa preposterously claimed Zanu PF had evidence that McGee was
"sponsoring violence" that he would later use as evidence against Zanu PF.
The ambassador was collecting the evidence, we were told.
Is it not the function of an ambassador to collect information and
send it home? Is that not part of their job description? The problem here is
that Zanu PF is in denial. It has told its captive media to call any
evidence of state brutality "lies" regardless of the facts. But just because
the state media is ignoring the shocking and disgraceful evidence of the
barbarity taking place around the country that doesn’t mean others have to
ignore it. McGee seems to be doing a good job, doing what any
self-respecting ambassador should be doing.
And have you noticed that since Thabo Mbeki’s visit a few weeks ago
those who were swearing that they would never recognise Morgan Tsvangirai as
head of state are now singing a different tune urging people to desist from
violence? That doesn’t mean their wives have reformed. They are still
spitting fire while claiming to be doing charity work!
Dumiso Dabengwa’s recent comments in the Christian Science Monitor may
be of interest to readers. He explains why he could not support a further
term for Zimbabwe’s long-serving ruler.
"We started saying to ourselves, are we really going to have Mugabe
stand as our presidential candidate, with all the problems we have in the
country, all the difficulties we are going through?
"And are we really going to contend for him and tell our people, you
are going to vote for this man? For some of us, it was a very difficult
prospect of supporting an idea like that."
There you have it. And how many times is that reflection being
replicated in the offices and homes of ordinary Zimbabweans?
The following figures from Macquarie First South were published last
week by Jayendra Naidoo in the Johannesburg Sunday Times. South African
Reserve Bank data shows that the combined GDP of South Africa and Zimbabwe
was US$143 billion in 1994, with Zimbabwe’s share about 5%.
By last year the combined size of South Africa and Zimbabwe’s
economies had doubled to $283 billion, but Zimbabwe’s economy accounted for
just 0,2% of the total.
Today the Zimbabwean economy is 40% smaller than it was in 1999. Had
it maintained its pre-2000 growth rate its GDP would be at least US$7
billion larger than it currently is. It is estimated that the share of
"lost" exports from South Africa to Zimbabwe is approximately US$22 billion.
This has contributed to a total loss in GDP of US$46 billion in the current
Macquarie First South’s research, Naidoo points out, suggests that a
meltdown in Zimbabwe could weaken the rand by as much as 20%.
This is all salutary stuff for those who deny the knock-on effect of
Zimbabwe’s crisis claiming it is none of South Africa’s business. Clearly
what is happening in Zimbabwe is bad for business!
"Zimbabwe’s crisis is not just a lost opportunity in terms of GDP,"
Naidoo says, "but a huge direct cost to South Africa. Formerly a food
exporter, Zimbabwe is now an exporter of poverty and refugees."
And this is the situation Zanu PF wants voters to endorse so it can
deliver more of the same!
By Lance Guma
23 May 2008
Zanu PF youths in Masvingo on Wednesday morning set fire to a house and car
belonging to Gutu resident magistrate Musaiona Shotgame. According to the
Zimbabwe Times website, property worth trillions of dollars was destroyed at
the Gutu Mpandawana growth point as the rampaging youths accused Shotgame of
being sympathetic towards MDC activists who had appeared before him in
court. The magistrate confirmed the incident to the Zimbabwe Times, saying
neighbours tried to help put out the fire but it was to no avail and they
were forced to watch his car burn to a shell. He said he was now living in
fear for his life.
Shotgame told the website, ‘Suspected ruling party supporters came to my
house and burnt my car and other belongings. They threatened to beat me up,
accusing me of being lenient to MDC activists who appeared before me.’ The
magistrate denied he was a political activist, and said he was being
punished for doing his job professionally. More surprising in the case is
that police in Masvingo are said to have pledged to investigate the matter.
Assistant Commissioner Mhekia Tanyanyiwa told the Zimbabwe Times, ‘We are
going to investigate the case until the culprits are brought to book. So far
no arrests have been made in connection with this case.’
The case highlights once again how the Mugabe regime has intimidated the
judiciary into supporting it. Judges who were perceived to be independent
were hounded out of the bench while those who passed favourable judgments
were rewarded with farms and other perks.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
22 May 2008
A heavily pregnant woman who was three months away from giving birth was
bludgeoned to death in a ‘horrific, brutal and frenzied attack’ that left
her almost unrecognisable.
Rosemary Maramba’s body was found in Nhakiwa village in Mutawatawa in
Mashonaland central. Maramba is one of three people linked to the MDC, who
were murdered in the area over the weekend.
The other two are Action Nyadedzi and a village head identified as
Chitsungo. Both were leading activists in the Chitsungo area, which is in
Mutawatawa. The bodies of the three victims were taken to a clinic mortuary
in the district.
The MDC MP elect for Mbare, Piniel Denga, told us from Harare that he was
informed by concerned members of the police force of the atrocities in
‘The killing of someone who is heavily pregnant, for her political beliefs,
is an inexcusable crime that exposes attempts by Robert Mugabe to gain power
at all costs. Leaving her so brutally unrecognisable is bad enough but what
about the unborn child. This is a double murder we are looking at,’ Denga
The MP said Zanu-PF had adopted a new strategy where they were now
specifically targeting influential MDC activists in the rural areas. In the
past week almost all of those killed were ward chairmen, polling agents and
‘Although any death can have a massive impact in a neighbourhood, villagers
in the affected areas are telling us they are determined to punish Mugabe at
the polls for his crimes against humanity. Right now they can’t wait for the
27th June to finish him off,’ Denga added.
The Mbare MP called for the deployment of election observers and monitors
immediately, to ensure that those displaced by the violence can go back to
their areas. So far the MDC estimates that over 40 000 people in former
strongholds of Zanu-PF have been forced to flee to neighbouring towns and
‘They (villagers) are saying the first round was a referendum against
Mugabe, this time they’re going to pass a judgement that would confine him
to the dustbin
By Tererai Karimakwenda
May 22, 2008
State agents in Murehwa town abducted the MDC candidate for ward 6 on
Thursday morning, as they continued to terrorise Murehwa district. A party
supporter who was with him said Shepherd Jani was beaten severely by 4 men
as they dragged him into a blue twin cab, registration number AAA 9248. Our
contact said the vehicle was familiar and he believes it is the same car
that was used in the abduction of Langton Mafuse, the MDC candidate for ward
10 Murehwa North, who was taken from his home last week and has still not
The MDC supporters with Jani said they tried to grab him and fight back, but
the abductors pulled out guns and threatened to shoot if they did not back
off. Jani was crying out in pain as he was beaten and forced into the
vehicle. “Ndaedza kubatsira nekuti handisati ndambonzwa murume achichema
kudaro (I tried helping because I have never heard a grown man cry like
that),” said our contact.
The car sped off and was last seen heading at high speed towards Macheke.
Our contact said that the state agents appear to be targeting MDC candidates
from ward to ward, and all party activists who served as election agents,
causing a major defeat of ZANU-PF in the council and parliamentary polls on
MDC officials and supporters in the Murehwa area report that many party
members have been assaulted since the elections. Many suffered broken limbs
and were taken to hospitals out of the area for their safety. Others with
serious injuries have not sought medical treatment, fearing for their lives.
In some cases state agents have been seen hanging around at local clinics
and state run hospitals in order to block their victims from receiving
Our contact appealed to the MP for Murehwa, the health minister David
Parirenyatwa, to take control of the area and stop the violence against
opposition supporters. But Murehwa residents say that the Minister is
directing the violence or is involved in some way. Last month he forced
businesses to close and gathered residents in a local hall for a meeting,
where he told them to vote for ZANU-PF next time in order to avoid violence.
Many abductions are still being reported around the country. Most victims
turn up having been tortured or savagely beaten, while others are just found
in the mortuaries. It is inconceivable that an election can be held in
Zimbabwe under these conditions but the victims of violence say it has made
their resolve to get rid of ZANU-PF even stronger.
By Lance Guma
22 May 2008
Imagine losing your loved one to senseless political violence and then on
the day you try to bury them over 300 Zanu PF thugs descend on the cemetery
and beat up everyone on site. On Wednesday that is what happened at Warren
Hills cemetery in Harare. Zanu PF mobs armed with stones, knobkerries and
machetes attacked mourners at the funeral of murdered MDC activists Godfrey
Kauzani and Cain Nyevhe. The bodies of Nyevhe and Kauzani were discovered in
Goromonzi on Saturday after they were abducted a week before with Beta
Chokururama, who was also killed. All 3 had knife and gunshot wounds.
On Wednesday many people were injured during the raid on mourners and
several were admitted to hospital. Human rights lawyer Dhewa Mavhinga who
was present at the funeral, said he saw Kauzani’s wife trying to flee from
the mob with her 4 children, including one who is disabled. Kauzani’s father
also fled the scene, but tragically the family did not even have bus fare to
travel to the relative safety of town. Mavhinga said the issue raised more
questions about how civil society groups could help in such situations. He
did concede the MDC was overwhelmed administratively by the current crisis.
Several leaders from civil society organizations were present at the
funeral, but the MDC leadership was said to be conspicuous by their absence.
Sources at the funeral said MDC activists sang songs asking where the
leadership was? ‘Ko muri kupi Morgan vana tichipera kudai, Ko muripo Morgan
(Where are you Morgan when the children are dying like this, where are you
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 May 2008
The ZANU-PF regime’s crackdown on its opponents continued this week with the
arrest of two more MDC legislators on charges of inciting the violence that
continues to rock the country.
Ian Kay, MDC MP for Marondera and one of the two white members of parliament
was picked up from his house on Tuesday, while the MP for Mkoba in Gweru,
Amos Chibaya was detained on Wednesday morning.
Kay’s son David told us that police officers first visited the legislator on
Monday, accusing him of masterminding all the violence in Mashonaland East.
‘They searched the house, looking for incriminating evidence. They also went
through the computer looking for pictures but found nothing,’ David said.
Kay was due in court on Wednesday but police said they were still carrying
out investigations. His lawyers however are waiting for the 48hours to
elapse before they can apply for his bail.
‘His lawyers have told us the authorities would not have any grounds to
detain him after the 48 hours. Hopefully they should be able to take him to
court tomorrow (Thursday) or else the lawyers will apply for discharge,’ his
The MDC’s Director for Information, Luke Tamborinyoka said Chibaya was
detained on Wednesday morning on charges of trying to stir up revolt in
‘He was arrested this morning for inciting junior officers to rebel against
their seniors. The police said he made the remarks at a rally,’ Tamborinyoka
On May 12, police also arrested MDC MP Heya Shoko on public violence
charges. The MDC won control of parliament from Zanu-PF at elections on
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 May 2008
Most basic goods in the country are now out of reach for many suffering
Zimbabweans following massive price increases in the past week.
Independent financial assessment on Tuesday reported that annual inflation
rose this month to 1,063 572 percent based on the price of a basket of basic
As stores opened for business on Wednesday, a small pack of locally produced
coffee beans cost just short of Z$1 billion. A decade ago, that sum would
have bought 60 new cars.
Journalist Angus Shaw said a loaf of bread now costs Z$200-million, enough
for 12 new cars a decade ago. One kilogram of chicken more than doubled to
Z$1-billion on Tuesday. He added that fresh price rises are expected after
the state Grain Marketing Board announced up to 25-fold increases in its
prices to commercial millers for wheat and the corn meal staple.
The collapsing economy was a major concern of voters who dealt long-time
leader Robert Mugabe a defeat in the March 29th elections. Economic analysts
say unless the rate of inflation is slowed, annual inflation will likely
reach about five million percent by October.
The official annual inflation, already by far the highest in the world, was
given by the regime as 165 000 percent in February, but since then the
government has not updated that figure. The state statistical service has
said there are not enough goods in the shortage-stricken shops to calculate
any new figures.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Friday, 23 May 2008 07:55
PRETORIA, (CAJ News)---THE government is yet to deploy the army in
areas hit by xenophobic violence, which has claimed more than 42 lives and
destroyed property worth millions of rands.
Despite President Thabo Mbeki's announcement on Wednesday that his
government would deploy troops to quell the disturbances confined largely to
Gauteng, trouble was still evident in most parts of Diepsloot, Alexandra,
Germiston and other areas of Gauteng, which have been worst affected by
xenophobic battles against foreign nationals.
There were no immediate comments from President Mbeki's spokesperson,
Mukoni Ratshitanga, on the actual day of deployment.
More than 42 people reportedly died in the attacks, while more than
1500 others were injured, with over 20 000 foreigners rendered homeless and
Human rights groups, food agencies and churches are still mobilising
food aid, clothes, shelter and blankets for the foreigners seeking refuge at
police camps and other institutions.---CAJ News.
From The Financial Gazette, 22 May
Clemence Manyukwe, Staff Reporter
Zanu PF bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa has revived his political fortunes that
many thought were floundering three years ago, in a formidable comeback that
may see him landing the party leadership at next year’s Zanu PF congress.
Zanu PF insiders yesterday said the party’s secretary for legal affairs, who
is also President Robert Mugabe’s election agent, now has a "vice-like grip
on both the party and government that is almost unshakeable." Mnangagwa
seemed to have fallen foul of President Mugabe in 2004 over the Tsholotsho
saga that saw six provincial party chairmen being suspended, with then
junior information minister Jonathan Moyo subsequently being sacked from
government. An insider attributed Mnangagwa’s return to favour with
President Mugabe to his understanding of Zanu PF dynamics.
"He understands the political dynamics of the party and that is that
President Mugabe and Zanu PF are closely intertwined. As such the succession
debate cannot be conducted outside those two bodies: the president and the
party," the insider said. "Whereas Mnangagwa’s opponents thought they could
push the succession issue by excluding the President, Mnangagwa stayed on
course. That was their biggest blunder." As a sign of his surging influence
Mnangagwa, a qualified lawyer, was dispatched to defend the President at the
special Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Zambia. He
now chairs the Joint Operations Command credited with masterminding
President Mugabe’s remaining at the helm of the party and government after
being outpolled by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 elections.
Insiders say ministers now consult Mnangagwa on key issues and all external
contacts were made through him.
The insider added that there are two major reasons why Mnangagwa, who was
supposed to be the main beneficiary of the Tsholotsho incident, had not been
sacked when other lost their posts. The first is that President Mugabe
recognised that Mnangagwa had considerable support within the party’s
structures and therefore punitive action against him would have split the
party. "While others were dispensable, Mnangagwa was indispensable. Coupled
with that, the President has had a personal liking for him for a long time,"
the insider said. Mnangagwa worked as President Mugabe’s personal secretary
during the liberation war years. He was said to have been preparing the
groundwork for the highest office since 2004 and his patience, another
attribute, which saw him not joining those prodding President Mugabe to
quit, appears to be finally paying off. Sources said the former Speaker of
Parliament now has the ear and trust of the President more than any other
politician in Zanu PF.
After President Mugabe’s fierce opposition to the devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar, Mnangagwa played a pivotal role in convincing him to accept
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s liberalization of the local currency. A
source who described Mnangagwa as someone who does not like publicity and
"who would be very happy if he is bypassed by television cameras added: "He
is a businessman through and through. Despite the rhetoric, he is a disciple
of Western business capitalism. As a businessman, he likes doing things in
the boardroom or behind the scenes. He does not like too much publicity. He
convinced the President on the currency issue." Insiders said Mnangagwa’s
astute business dealings in the country had also endeared him to the
President unlike what they termed the "messy dealings" of other senior party
members whom President Mugabe has often criticised for corruption.
I am an SA citizen and have been following events in Zim for the past few
years .... with amazement, disgust, bewilderment, frustration whatever, I
might add. I do employ a Zimbabwe house keeper and have also done business
with a company in Harare up to about 2005. The business owners have left Zim
I look at the number of Zimbabweans in SA and wonder what chance do they
have to go back and cast their vote on that crucial day, the 27th of June
2008. Is there a way in finding out whether your name is on the voters roll,
without having to make the rather expensive trip back to your constituency.
I guess most Zimbabweans resident in SA , legally or illegally, probably do
not have the means to undertake two trips back, firstly to ensure that your
name appears on the voters roll and secondly, to actually be there on that
When the first result of the 29th March elections were "published", the joy
of the Zimbabweans, I know, was overwhelming. Since then resignation seems
to have set in, arguing that the "Old Man" is going to steal the elections
yet again that that there is nothing they can do. This is the kind of
attitude that I can, for the life of me, not understand. Another 5 years of
HIS rule will most definitely seal the fate of thousands of Zimbabweans, be
it through the actions of the Youth Militia et al or through starvation and
desease. Why are Zimbabweans not more resolute in getting rid of the scourge
that bedevils their lives? Why can they not say to themselves "enough is
enough" and no matter what the thugs throw at us, no one can change my
resolve in putting the cross on the ballot paper that will ensure a change
of guard in Zimbabwe.
The article "The End Game" by Eddie Cross is giving me a shimmer of hope
that there are some courageous people left in Zimbabwe that will assist in
making the change, so painfully necessary, happen in the end. I personally
do encourage every Zimbabwean I know, to spread the word and get people to
participate and not just stay here in SA and enjoy their luck of being able
to live a relatively normal life.
Please let me know how one can go about finding out whether ones name is on
the voters roll or not and if not, how to get it on. If an individual has
not voted on March 29th, will he/she be able to do so on June 27th?
May the force be with the peace loving Zimbabwean people.
A very concerned Zimbabwean neighbour.
The attacks on foreigners in South Africa have very little to do with
xenophobia. These are people venting their frustrations and Zimbabwean
refugees are a handy and defenceless scapegoat. South Africa was always
going to feel the ripple effect of the unfolding drama in Zimbabwe. Mbeki
has been quite rightfully afraid of 'liberation heroes' being seen to have
feet of clay. It seems that war heroes are supposed to be worshipped
forever, regardless of their subsequent behaviour. Much like Mugabe, Mbeki
seems content to live in a constant state of denial. His stance on Zimbabwe
is much the same as the stance he took on HIV Aids. Deny, deny, deny. It
angers him when realists attempt to drag him away from his daydreams. A
visionary, he is not. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. If
the Zimbabweans have the courage to voice their displeasure at how their
'liberators' have actually lowered their standard of living, it stands to
reason that South Africans will follow suit. Nothing has been done to
improve the lot of township dwellers. Not a thing. They are the blot on the
landscape they've always been. Little has changed or improved. How odd that
Mbeki could not forsee that frightened and discontented refugees - in their
millions - would have a profound effect on the frustrated psyche of the poor
in South Africa. No amount of anti-imperialist propaganda will dig them out
of this one. However, Mbeki is a master in the art of denial and he will
keep the 'anti West' card as a weapon. What these elderly statesmen (using
the word loosely) don't realise is that the world has changed profoundly.
The ancient, creaking dialogue of the communists of yore no longer resonates
with the young. They are better educated and have access to the Internet.
The gravy train, which many an African leader and his party have enjoyed, is
about to close it's doors. The message to them - coming through loud and
clear from their people is one of extreme dissatisfaction. These attacks are
just the beginning. Heed the warning signs ANC - your man, Mugabe, has paved
On a more spiritual note, it is not for mere mortals to imprison their
own people. It is not for mere mortals to dictate how their people should
vote. God has given us all free will. What we do with that, is our choice.
These puffed up, self important dinosaurs have incurred the wrath of God by
negating our profound human right. Free will. Earthquakes and typhoons are
happening where the concept of free will is alien. It's not difficult to
note the clear signals of disapproval and heed the warning.
Zimbabwe’s presidential run-off a mockery to justice
The presidential run-off in Zimbabwe has all the hallmarks of a fuss, and an
exercise not really intended for the people to chart the destiny of their
country. So much has happened since ZEC belatedly announced the March 29
presidential result, and consequently the run-off in August, often than not
unreported by both local and international press.
Independent reports suggest there has been sustained attack and intimidation
of the opposition and its supporters.
The fact that Tsvangirai is faced with assassination should be a clear
message to all that Zimbabwe’s woes are far from over, and that Mugabe has
no intention of relinquishing power. To make things worse many opposition
supporters have instead ‘voted with their feet’; rather than face torture
and harassment for what they believe in, have fled into neighbouring
countries. This is exactly what Mugabe intended, making sure that Tsvangirai’s
power base is severely eroded, as well as creating an environment were the
opposition cannot have a fair chance of campaigning.
In my view the only chance that Zimbabwe has is for the international
community (UN) to finally recognise that Mugabe is holding his people
hostage, a situation that requires immediate intervention in the form of an
advance team of observers, and as Desmond Tutu suggests, provide for a
peace-keeping force prior to the vote in August.
This will be a reasonable pre-emptive move in all calculation to avoid an
all out civil war in the Southern African country.
How about ALL the media support the struggle in Zimbabwe by not publishing anything pro-magabe/zanu pf? No comments or letters with lies, attacks on the mdc, anti-white racism and hatred for the west. All too soon, magabe chooses to forget the very generous handouts he has taken from the west over the years. The media have a unique opportunity to DO something while the rest of the world sits in the corner and plays with their spit. Not all true of course, there are the champions that do speak out. It's just that all those in a position to act choose not to. Selective publication may not be democratic but there again we are not dealing with a democratic situation in Zimbabwe. We are dealing with madmen who batter and torture poor folk. Let the media unite, help us by not printing magabe party lies or articles of hatred. Let the media impose it's own form of "sanctions" against dictatorship and disgusting, torturous criminals.
The world has neglected the Zimbabwean youths to perish.
My heart is troubled as I pen this script; my worry is about the Zimbabwean youths whose future seems to be hanging in the balance. I feel the whole world has neglected them to perish. The whole world has kept a blind eye to the Zimbabwean plight forgetting the fact that the same youths being abused today are going to be the parents and leaders of the future Zimbabwe. I wonder what kind of country will it be ? I was watching news about the xenophobia in south Africa where the locals are attacking mercilessly the hapless Zimbabweans. What caught my attention were youths who had sought refugee in a Methodist church in South Africa who looked dejected and hopeless. Zimbabwean youths have fled into exile because of political and economic reasons, and those who remained in the country have been converted into militias, who are killing and maiming their own relatives in the name of Zanu PF. The Zimbabwean youths are like a cigarette which is burnt and at the same time human teeth around it. Tears are flowing freely from eyes, I cant help it because the situation is overwhelming. Its too much for these youth to bear, can someone please do something pronto. I take this opportunity to make an appeal to the whole world to be tolerant to Zimbabwean youths who I feel are already victims of psychological torture. I feel that the youths are hopeless and very distressed. I also take this opportunity to remind them that suicide and robbery is not an option. There is no darkness that is forever, one day things will get better.
However I take this opportunity to say the chief architecture of our problem is non other than President Mbeki. He has forgotten that during the time of apartheid it was not only the Zimbabwean government who stood with the South African people, but the Zimbabwean people themselves accommodated their South African brothers and sisters. I do not blame the citizens of South Africa, but its government. President Mbeki has taken eight years to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis and I hope he is not enjoying the brother to brother fight.
I have been observing the hassle and tassle in Zimbabwe and wondered what is wrong.The problem involves two parties,Zanu PF and MDC.Where two elephants clash its obviously the grass that suffers ,the people have suffered from hunger ,despair and serious desperateness. People have been killed, maimed , tortured and harassed and yet the deadlock remains. What the people want at the present moment is food and nothing else. They want to buy basic needs like clothing shelter food and good water. People want their children to go to school with a lunch box with eggs and bread not mutakura(boiled grain mixed with beans)
Are there no elders in Africa, real elders from yesterday who have seen it all. Former Presidents and Prime Ministers should form an African or SADC council of elders which will then be mandated to solve our problems. They can deal with issues like poverty, AIDS and political wrangles. Those people though they stepped down from national service they should be taken to international levels of leadership. We should not neglect elderly statesman. We have leaders like Kaunda, Masire, Mogae, Mandela, Chissano ,Arap Moi,Sam Nujoma and many others.
These leaders can still be useful as advisors to our current leaders especially those involved in power wrangles. They have vast experience which can benefit our ailing African continent which has been bedeviled with poverty and dictatorships. Whenever a fiasco occurs they would summon the respective leaders and resolve the issue amicably. Obviously the elders should have the backing of the sitting Presidents.
I feel that this will be a good step towards a better Africa where rule of law is respected and peace would reign.
Simbarashe Chirimubwe is an executive member of the Global Zimbabwe Forum (a network of Zimbabwean NGOs and CSOs in the diaspora) representing SADC and rest of Africa . Contact him on email@example.com.